Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Sharia Laws of Finance

Abu Dhabi, the richest city in the world. (Recently bailed out Citigroup with a $7.5 billion investment.)

Apart from easy inroads to the West courtesy of liberal academia, the arts and multicultural-minded government policy, we've kept Islamofascism on the run abroad (or relatively contained in European ghettos) in the years since 9/11.

The reason it's been so easy? They're all so poor. Backwards and poor.

And the Arabs rich enough to aid their cause -- apart from a certain bin Laden oil tycoon -- have opted to remain our reluctant allies in order to maintain their economic ties to the West.

But what if these extremist paupers suddenly came into some money? And what if our oil rich Islamic allies diversified to the point they didn't need us anymore?

Worse, what if the West decided it was too economically tied to Sharia Law to stand in its way -- or even want to? (Amoral capitalism being only slightly less evil than atheistic communism.)

Don't look now, but the groundwork has been laid, and it won't be long before this money starts to talk.

On the other hand, wealth and opulence destroyed the earlier Caliphates, so let's just pray history repeats itself...and we're still around to see it.

After the above link, click here for an update on how far gone the West is even without the threat/lure of Islamic Finance.

(Still skeptical? Check out the new World Trade Center breaking ground this summer not in New York.)

'Relentless' Urban renewal

Hollywood 'Noble Savage' advocate Zagar. Not happy.

"Homicidal natives"? Are they allowed to even think that?! I blame Mel Gibson.

Monday, April 28, 2008

'Hobbit' details

The road goes ever on...

In case you missed it, 'The Hobbit' is officially a go with director Guillermo del Toro, and he's already dutifully dropped by to introduce himself and lay our fears to rest.
Prep on "The Hobbit" will kick off this Summer, including the 'reforestation' of The Shire sets to look as much like they did in 'Rings' as possible.

He's already been in contact with the likes of Andy Serkis, Sir Ian McKellen, Howard Shore, John Howe, Gino Acevedo, and Richard Taylor in regards to the film to "ensure that whatever we do we keep continuity with the other films".

del Toro proudly says that he'll use as much practical filming as possible - "I would like to avoid is the recreation of the natural environments in CG, I don't like doing that. The movie is essentially a journey movie, I think you need to use locations as much as possible."
Del Toro will be moving to New Zealand for the next four years to immerse himself in producer Peter Jackson's WETA world. Jackson will also be a very, very hands-on producer, it seems.

I wasn't crazy about Del Toro getting the job, but his resume is no worse than PJ's when he came along. So far, I'm getting a good vibe.

Best of all, my son will be around 8 or 9 years old when these come out. I'm counting the days already.

'Unit' to re-up this fall?

Producer Shawn Ryan is optimistic that "The Unit" will return to CBS in the fall, though definitely not the spring as rumored.Unit

He said the show’s creative team pitched an outline for the show’s fourth season to CBS executives recently and “it could not have gone better.”

... A source at CBS noted that “The Unit” does have many fans at the network and is definitely a contender for the fall schedule, but confirmed that nothing has been decided yet. CBS will announce its fall schedule to advertisers in mid-May.

All in all, it feels to me Snake Doctor, Dirt Diver, Betty Blue and Cool Breeze will be back in action for America and creator David Mamet in '08.

This is the last show on network TV that can be considered politically conservative, or at least not liberal. I'll be deeply depressed if it dies.

You had to wonder -- and probably still have to -- if Mamet's recent piece in The Village Voice, in which he came out as a conservative, would nix all chances of the show's return. But unless they're blowing smoke, it doesn't sound like a blacklist exists at CBS at least.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sign me up

God bless the US Border Patrol, but why must they always stand in the way of stuff like this? It's not the Feds' country to rule. It's ours to maintain. (In other words, this is a good idea, but we should be shooting tracer rounds instead of infrared video.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Peace protestor beats girl in wheelchair

Feared by liberals

They're above violence. Morally evolved beyond the rest of us. And if you disagree, they'll beat the cerebral palsy right out of you and your puny wheelchair, girly!

Story here. I wonder why this isn't bigger news, like when Army guards make fun of terrorist pee-pees.

Sky Sergeant and the World of Tomorrow!

"Believe it or not, I'mmmm walkin' on air!"

That's right. It's a real live Batsuit. You put it on, jump from a plane and descend on the Quran-loving enemies of Gotham at 125 mph. Making the Gryphon glider, by far, the coolest Special Ops toy ever. (Video link at Fox News.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

'24' new season cast photo up

Barack may take the Oval Office in the real word, but it looks like the "new-and-improved" (commie pinko liberal) '24' is playing "Hail to the Chief" for Hillary come hell or high water.

Cherry Jones is the spitting image, isn't she? Right down to the lesbian part. How's that for a dedication to realism?

I know everyone is swearing off this show now that the conservatives have retreated from the creative team, but I'll give it a whirl just to see Tony return as the villain. He looks baaaad, doesn't he? (Chloe looks as oddly fetching as ever, too, I might add.)

Click the photo to enlarge. Found also online here.

Please, sir, I want some more!

Yes, ladies and gents. Looks like we have a run on rice in America.

They say it isn't that big a deal, but I also just heard truckers on the news saying they're close to refusing certain long-haul jobs due to the cost of diesel, which apparently is high enough that many trips would actually cost them to undertake.

On the other hand, we're in the midst of earnings season, and we've had many surprises to the upside, including "crappy" old Ford today (which made me some ca-ching for a change). The only thing worrying me? Much of this news is from companies making their money overseas. Ford did it by cutting 46,300 jobs stateside and increasing its presence abroad:

Ford's pretax loss in its North America region narrowed to $45 million from $613 million a year earlier. Pretax profit rose to $257 million in South America from $113 million. It increased to $739 million for Ford of Europe from $219 million. The company's operations in Asia Pacific and Africa posted a pretax profit of $1 million after a $26 million deficit a year earlier.

``The international results really helped,'' Mikelic said.

So, just to be safe, start stockpiling that Charmin. It's gonna be worth a mint!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tossing cookies

David O. Russell. (Not to be confused with David O. Selznick.)

They can't figure out how to choke on a cookie, but these people have the answer to health care.

Son of Rambow

Technically I just make the cut as a child of the 80s. And even if the British setting takes away slightly from the experience, this still looks like all kinds of funderful.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ease up in Afghanistan??

We're not in Kansas anymore...and that ain't wheat

Had I encountered this article any way other than a recommended link from Michael Yon, I would have dismissed it out of hand.

Yon vouchsafes:
"I’ve mentioned Mr. Holloway in my 2006 dispatches on Afghanistan, after having met him on a remote airfield in Afghanistan. He’s a very smart man with an eye for truth about the war: good, bad and the ugly. In Afghanistan it’s mostly the bad and ugly."
Michael Yon is no appeaser, coward or liberal scribbler. If he says this guy knows what he's talking about, he pretty much knows what he's talking about. And what he's talking about is emphasizing the "speak softly" part of T.R.'s "big stick" model of diplomacy. (With the big stick yet an integral part of the equation.)

But the other reason this rings true? Read Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell's 'Lone Survivor' and you'll get the same sense of the situation along the non-existent border between Pashtun Afghanistan and Pakistan -- an intransigent cultural situation to make Iraq's tribal realities look positively new-millennium by comparison.

Though for the record, my blood still simmers to a rolling boil at the "cash up front" attitude of these tribal folk.

Finally, slightly off topic, check out these shots of Prince Harry in Afghanistan. Most of those in the press at the time seemed selected to make him look like a rich-kid wannabe, but these are a little different. Note the American flag on his hat in the first one.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ollie Johnston: 1912 - 2008

Ollie Johnston, the last of the Nine Old Men of Disney legend, is no longer with us.

Roy Disney:
"Ollie was part of an amazing generation of artists, one of the real pioneers of our art, one of the major participants in the blossoming of animation into the art form we know today. One of Ollie's strongest beliefs was that his characters should think first, then act ... and they all did. He brought warmth and wit and sly humor and a wonderful gentleness to every character he animated. He brought all those same qualities to his life, and to all of our lives who knew him. We will miss him greatly, but we were all enormously enriched by him."
Brad Bird, the genius behind Pixar's The Incredibles and Ratatouille, has a nice tribute up here, which includes an anecdote about inheriting Johnston's desk (and hallowed pencil shavings) at Disney the week Johnston retired.

Johnston became a mentor who appeared in animated cameo in two of Bird's pictures, which says a lot about both Bird and Ollie Johnston. It's comforting to know that in Disney/Pixar animation today, they do make them like they used to, thanks to this kind of respect for tradition and continuity.

Rest in peace, Ollie.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

McConaughey P.I.

How did I miss this?

Garth Frankin doesn't sound too keen on the idea of Matthew McConaughey stepping into Selleck's white deck shoes, tight pants and tucked-in Hawaiian shirt...
"The character, a former Navy Seal turned reluctant detective, was previously played by Tom Selleck who was quite different (both physically and in performance style) than the "Fool's Gold" star.

Magnum isn't Magnum without the mustache, chest hair and every guy charm - the later two things McConaughey doesn't have and can't really develop."
...but I actually think it's a great idea if they're taking this thing seriously in the first place.

Personally, I'd prefer a send-up staring Jack Black in all Magnum's acid-washed, mustachioed glory. Just picture him peeling out Nacho Libra-style in that red Ferrari during the opening credits. Pure box office gold.

Friday, April 11, 2008

James Cameron on the future of 3D

Oooo... Ahhh...

Don't let that whole "tomb of Jesus" thing throw you. When he sticks to things he actually understands -- in this case, movie technology -- James Cameron is worth listening to. Check out this post on John August's blog about the future of the big screen experience. Very spiffy indeed.

Yes, the future is now, people...or maybe tomorrow. Definitely next week. It's really close, is my point. Oh, just go and read it already.

(Thanks to our pal Mike Rinaldi for the heads-up.)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Was WW II the 'Good War' or not?

Belgian refugees circa 1940

I'm not sure what Pat Buchanan's motive is in writing this piece (apart from promoting a similarly themed book of his own), but he makes some good points.
"...There are things worth fighting for: God and country, family and freedom. Martyrs have ever inspired men. And to some evils pacifism is no answer. Resistance, even unto death, may be required of a man.

But when one declares a war that produced Hiroshima and the Holocaust a "Good War," it raises a question: good for whom?"
I'm not sure I buy Red China as a consequence of WWII, but Buchanan's litany of tragedy for the rest of world (the U.S. notwithstanding, which clearly benefited) is hard to deny.
"And how good a war was it for the British?

They went to war for Poland, but Winston Churchill abandoned Poland to Stalin. Defeated in Norway, France, Greece, Crete and the western desert, they endured until America came in and joined in the liberation of Western Europe.

Yet, at war's end in 1945, Britain was bled and bankrupt, and the great cause of Churchill's life, preserving his beloved empire, was lost. Because of the "Good War" Britain would never be great again."
That's true. Britain became a nanny state as a direct consequence of the shattering it endured during the war. The government was left to pick of the pieces. It did in a big way and never let go.

Of course Buchanan, like a milder version of Ron Paul, has always been for avoiding foreign wars. It's a position clearly in line with the sentiment of the Founders, and one I've gone back and forth on in my own mind over the years.

What we're fighting for in Iraq is noble, but is it worth the billions we're spending? We can't leave now, but in the end, I just don't know the larger answer.

Personally, I still maintain we should have destroyed Saddam and pulled out again, with the promise that we would return to annihilate whatever arose in his place should it pose a similar threat. (In other words, I'm OK with war, but it strikes me that to "rebuild" is to make the case for socialism, which particularly sucks when our money is being spent by the C-130 load on people who may or may not appreciate it in the end.)

Then again, Buchanan doesn't offer a better alternative after Pearl Harbor was attacked -- and by extension 9/11 in 2001. At least not in this piece. No doubt that will be in his book, which I'll approach with an open mind for now at least.