Today's Washington Post "Free for All" section included a letter to the editor from one R.E. Pound, a CIA veteran who retired after 33 years of service in 2009, some 31 years after being outed in a book as an operative. Pound took to task former CIA operative Valerie Plame for her "ludicrous" claim "that the exposure [of her identity] forced an end to her career in intelligence."
After all, Pound conducted an investigation "charged with looking into possible damage in one location caused by Valerie Plame's outing."
"There was none," Pound noted, and complained that the claims of the new "Fair Game" film "devalue the resolve of the officers who have overcome truly dangerous exposure, and they cheapen the risk from laying bare their very real achievements."
Here's the letter in full as published in the November 12 paper:
Samuels made her complaint in light of NBC's cancellation of it's ratings-plagued spy series, "Undercovers," which featured a black actor and actress in the lead roles as glamorous and deadly CIA agents:
The director of the new film "Fair Game" - released Friday - is either blatantly dishonest, or astoundingly lazy. The movie, starring Sean Penn as former U.S. diplomat Joe Wilson and Naomi Watts as his embattled wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame, makes a number of claims on controversial issues that are demonstrably false.
The Daily Caller's Jamie Weinstein did the legwork in demonstrating just how far from the truth some of the film's central claims are. Chief among them, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, and other White House officials exerted political pressure on intelligence officials to cherrypick intelligence favorable to claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
In the new issue of Vanity Fair, legendary singer Cher dished about her feelings on Sarah Palin and Arizona governor Jan Brewer. And – surprise! – she’s not a fan of either.
“I got so obsessed with [C-SPAN] that it was kind of interfering with my life,” Cher told the magazine. “Sarah Palin came on, and I thought, Oh, f---, this is the end. Because a dumb woman is a dumb woman.”
The “I Got Your Babe” singer was even harsher on Brewer, who spearheaded the recent immigration crackdown in Arizona.
“She was worse than Sarah Palin, if that is possible,” said Cher. “This woman was like a deer in headlights. She’s got a handle on the services of the state, and I would not let her handle the remote control.”
Actor and former Obama White House staffer Kal Penn joined Alyssa Milano and a handful of other actors in a short video urging "Funny or Die" website visitors to take time to vote next Tuesday, comparing the time it would take to do so with "much worse ways to spend 10 minutes," like "talk[ing] to your parents about the first time they had sex." [h/t blogger Robert Stacy McCain]
"That is a long ten minutes," Eric McCormack deadpanned in response.
But far from being a simple "do your civic duty and vote" PSA, the video skews leftward, taking thinly-veiled swipes at social conservatives and Tea Party voters.
It takes about ten minuts to "listen to your stupid uncle talk about the dangers of gay marriage," actor Eriq LaSalle noted.
It’s hard to tell what the end goal of HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher’s is with his constant barrage of elitist shots at the American public. Does he think demeaning the average citizens is the best way to win people over on whatever issue he is carping about on that given day?
When word hit that Zack Snyder would be directing a Christopher Nolan produced, David Goyer written version of “Superman,” many a geek heart rejoiced. Images of super slo-mo action, desaturated color palettes, and snappy and powerful one-liners filled our heads. All was good in the Geekosphere.
Then, alas, came word that the script for the film was “a mess.” The oddly named “Vulture” dropped the bomb that Snyder had been hired because the studio wanted a director capable of putting together a hacky “rush job” so Warner Brothers could keep the rights to the Man of Steel. Director Darren Aronofsky, fresh off the buzz of his upcoming film “The Black Swan” passed on the project because it was in such disarray and reeked of a studio cash grab…. Great Ceasar’s ghost, what’s going on here?
If you haven’t been reading Big Hollywood, or living on Planet Earth, you might not know that Hollywood has a leftist bent to it. You also may not know that the Hollywood press is just as corrupt, self-serving and leftist as their cousins in the mainstream media. The reports of “Superman’s” death are greatly exaggerated. This is nasty spin, aimed to take down two of Hollywood’s new school power players while boosting up a critical darling who has little appeal outside the coastal critics community. It also has a lot to do with politics and ideology.
The only way it gets worse than reading the latest pinko missive by Robert Redford on the Huffington Post would be if Michael Moore was checking your prostate at the same time and muttering, “No, no, no, that doesn’t feel right at all.”
Redford used to be a movie star and heartthrob until he began noticeably wizening in the 80’s (watch 1992’s Sneakers; Redford’s got more loose skin going on than Ed Gein’s basement). After that, he largely moved on to directing crappy movies about how America sucks that no one watches, like 2007’s Lions For Lambs, and lecturing the rest of us about how we have failed to live up to his expectations.
His current bugaboo is that evil companies are engaged in the political process. Redford warns:
During Monday's CBS Early Show, a promo ran for the network's new daytime show, 'The Talk,' based on ABC's 'The View.' The show features former Early Show co-host Julie Chen and five other well-known women chattering about topics of the day.
At one point in the ad, fellow host and actress Leah Remini declares of Chen: "Julie, very smart. Makes me feel stupid." On the May 22, 2008 Early Show, Chen mistakenly placed Hawaii in the Atlantic Ocean.
The promo begins with Chen claiming another show co-host, Sharon Osbourne, wife of rocker Ozzy Osbourne, to be "the most real person I know."
We may have just found the outer edge of the Hollywood taste envelope, all thanks to Andy and Larry Wachowski, the creators of The Matrix. Formerly known as the Wachowski Brothers - that is, until Larry decided after making zillions of dollars and gaining millions of slobbering fans that the only thing standing between him and true happiness was his penis - this pair's latest project, Cobalt Neural 9, appears to be repelling even the jaded mandarins of Hollywood.
Oh, it's not because the content of CN9 will be vacuous, foul and outright evil, though it is. It's because no one in Tinseltown thinks the movie will make any money.
So what is CN9 about? Well, it appears to mix condemnation of the Iraq War, a healthy dose of gay sex, naturally, a plot to assassinate George W. Bush. Sounds less like a hit movie than the agenda for a Daily Kos staff meeting.
What – was Janeane Garofalo busy this week? If not, she has some real competition in the "lefty comic making outrageous statements" category.
On HBO’s Oct. 1 “Real Time with Bill Maher,” during the “Overtime” segment available on HBO.com, left-wing comedian David Cross of “Arrested Development” fame appeared to offer his view on issues of the day. This segment of the program is produced generally to answer viewer emailed questions. One of those questions was if people in the media “should be held more legally accountable for presenting false or misleading information.”
The host, Bill Maher likened that scenario to the system in place in the United Kingdom. However in the United States, Americans are protected by the First Amendment and he explained the legal implications of speech in the U.K. compared to the U.S. But in Cross’ estimation, that protected right is somehow wrong. He named two Fox News Channel hosts, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, and declared he would like to see them taken off of the airwaves although he wasn’t clear about what “false or misleading information” they may have presented that would warrant this action.
“I think so, absolutely, and I say that as somebody who would like to see Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity off the air, you know,” Cross declared with an approving response from the audience. “So, I think to -- it’s just part of the job. It should be part of the job, you know, if you knowingly do that, then absolutely you should lose your job. We don’t get to, you know, lie and make up things in our jobs, you know. And nobody really does.”
Oliver Stone is discovering one of the many joys of capitalism: without it, he would never be able to make such flashy, well-produced films bashing capitalism!
Stone's latest film, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps", may have replaced Charlie Sheen, star of the original, with a younger Shia LaBeouf, but it's still as hypocritically anti-capitalist as the original.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, "Money Never Sleeps" would not have been able to muster a sufficient budget without massive product placement campaigns. The film benefitted "enormously" from the advertising technique, Stone admitted (h/t Big Hollywood headlines).
The internet is abuzz with praise for the new documentary that points out the many faults of public education, Waiting for Superman. With positive reviews from both the Huffington Post on the Left as well as the New York Poston the Right, it makes one wonder, how could this be? It appears that this film has single-handedly done what President Obama could not do to save his own life: bring the Left and Right together on a single issue.
It is refreshing that the film's director, Davis Guggenheim (who directed An Inconvenient Truth), is able to put politics aside to see the destructive nature of teachers unions. Guggenheim put his own kids through private school but realizes that not everyone can afford such a luxury. Here, he sets out to tackle the real problems that have long plagued public school systems: teachers unions. Though, he is careful to say that he isn't bashing unions in general.
Guggenheim sees that not everything has to be a political football, which is why we should applaud him for taking a bipartisan approach. However, some feel that the response to the film shows the true, negative colors of conservatives. Liberal Patrick Goldstein comments in the Los Angeles Times:
"It is time for stronger remedies to be applied," said abolitionist Wendell Phillips of the Union's effort during the Civil War,"in the form of hot lead and cold steel duly administered by 100,000 black doctors." His vision became a reality as over 180,000 African-Americans (free men and escaped slaves) joined the Union Army to fight against the slave-holding Confederacy.
The story of the first such "colored" regiment to be formed, the 54th Massachusetts, is beautifully retold in director Edward Zwick's 1989 film Glory. That this film didn't even garner an Oscar nomination for best picture - in a year where Driving Miss Daisy took the prize - is puzzling to me. Glory features a first-rate script, wonderful imagery, and a stellar cast led by Matthew Broderick who plays Col. Robert Gould Shaw, the real-life idealistic white officer chosen to lead the regiment. The film is also a feast for the ears as the majestic chorus of the Harlem Boys' Choir permeates the score.
A terrorist group bombs a police funeral? It must be some "patriots" upset about health care reform and our black president, or something.
That, at least, is what some viewers took away from the season premiere of CBS's hit show "CSI". The episode starred teen pop star Justin Bieber as "a domestic terrorist with Tea Party leanings," in the words of the New York Times, implicated in the bombing of a Las Vegas police officer's funeral.
In the show, a cell phone used to trigger the bomb is traced back to a group of "patriots" - those government-hating extremists the Southern Poverty Law Center keeps warning us are on the verge of waging violent revolution - that are, according to some viewers (including the Times, apparently), crude portrayals of Tea Party protesters.
"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." That was the defining line of Oliver Stone's 1987 film "Wall Street," and his attack on the financial system that the news media would use for decades to portray businessmen as villains.
The theme Stone wants viewers to take away from his sequel, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," was tucked away in the credits of his film on a greenback. "In Greed We Trust," the bill proclaimed where the words "In God We Trust" should have been.
"Money Never Sleeps," which opens in theaters Sept. 24, uses the financial crisis of 2008 as a backdrop for the comeback of Gordon Gekko, the iconic villain of the original. This time Gekko reinvents himself as a changed man, coming back bearish on housing and speculation.
In a business school lecture Gekko warns, "The mother of all evils is speculation -- leveraged debt." He claims the economy is merely moving money around in circles and the business model itself is like a "cancer."
I was flipping through the tube last night, and found myself in an all-too familiar situation: watching reruns of Seinfeld. Sure, you could chalk it up to my lack of a basic cable package, or it could be due to the fact that I'm no longer able to stomach Letterman's increasingly senile, liberal spewage (and Leno is sort of hit-or-miss these days). I would argue, however, that one reason stands above the rest:Seinfeld is honest.
The truth is that Seinfeld reflects the worst among us. It is made up of a memorable cast, all of whom play the most self-serving people you could ever meet. Self-absorbed, vain and often underhanded, the show is a perfect embodiment of many involved with the entertainment industry. You've got to love its transparency. Unlike James Cameron (who is just as materialistic and self-serving as a George Costanza), you never have to worry about the show sermonizing the politically correct cause du jour.
Funnily enough, it is Seinfeld's lack of a soapbox that spurs me to take a good hard look at myself more than any other show on television. How often do you find yourself disgusted at the selfishness of George or Jerry, only to realize that you've most likely acted similarly (if not identically) at one point or another?
Is there no end to the many talents of Lady Gaga, already recognized as the greatest Madonna impersonator of this century? Of course we all know her as a singer, musician, fashionista and female impersonator, but recently she has revealed herself as maven in two new areas: military expert and political advisor.
It started at the MTV Video Music Awards. That is ironic in itself since I think that MTV stopped being a music channel sometime in the 1990's. Ms. Gaga, (I don't know if "Lady" is a title or simply the first part of her pseudonym) appeared in a costume made of meat. When asked the meaning of her get-up by Ellen DeGeneres, she explained it wasn't a slam on vegans.
"As you know, I am the most judgment-free human being on the earth," Gaga replied.
Wow! Did the irony of that statement knock anyone else down into their La-Z-Boy? That might be the truest thing she has ever said. It wasn't too long ago that having judgment skills was considered a plus. Not anymore!
Remember when American comedians went after the powerful in an effort to bring them down to earth with the sharp satire of accountability? Today, they appear to only protect the powerful. Well, unless the powerful aren't liberal enough. As things stand now you have the likes of David Letterman and Louis C.K. savaging Sarah Palin's family, SNL terrified to rip Obama with any real zeal, cartoonists proclaiming President Teleprompter too cool to mock, and Will Ferrell films flaking for corrupt public unions, all in an effort to protect the corrupted leftist elitists currently holding power.
It's like we now live in an alternate universe you might call ... North Korea.
In desperate Hail Mary moves to protect Obama and Democrats from what's looking like a November rout, three of the left's most beloved Palace Guards have just upped their game considerably. Bill Maher's now openly blackmailing Delaware Republican Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell, threatening a weekly drip-drip-drip of videos he thinks will ruin her candidacy unless she agrees to appear on his show - which is where he'll really pull out the stops to finally win that Emmy by attempting to destroy her:
"Feminism is a Crock - and Other True Stories." That's the title for a book I'd like to write someday. The reason I say feminism is a crock is because it has morphed from "equal rights for all" to "women are better than men, and if you disagree you're a sexist pig who should be castrated." It's also morphed into a sexual free-for-all: what used to be sauce for the gander (and those ganders were usually considered cads) is now sauce for the goose. This image is being perpetuated by pop culture and entertainment, and women are more and more frequently being portrayed as strong through their sexuality, not through their actual accomplishments. Is this the standard to which we want our daughters to aspire?
Early feminists fought against the centuries-old image of a "woman on a pedestal." Gloria Steinem (she of the "a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" who in later years ended up getting married anyway) once said, "A pedestal is as much a prison as any small, confined space." I suppose a bra is also a small, confined space, which might explain the bra burnings of the 1960s. But the early feminists had a point - to a point. If a woman wants to be put on a pedestal and admired and adored, fine. But if she doesn't, she should have the right to do with her life as she chooses. She should be free to pursue any vocation for which she is qualified, either as a single or married woman, children or no children.
NBC tonight (10 PM EDT/PDT, 9 PM CDT) debuts a new drama, Outlaw, centered on a conservative Supreme Court justice who, as a gambler and a philander, is a hypocrite played by Jimmy Smits. Realizing his political misdirection, he resigns from the court so he can become a crusading lawyer for liberal causes. But the program is so awful, even MSM TV critics are ridiculing it. (Joe Scarborough has at least one cameo in it.) “The show is so ludicrously dumb that your eyeballs will hurt from rolling so much,” Hank Stuever warned in Tuesday's Washington Post.
In USA Today, Robert Bianco pleaded: “Surely NBC's joking. There's awful, and then there's atrociously, hilariously awful -- a line NBC and Jimmy Smits soar across with Outlaw.” He proceeded to describe the show's premise:
A gambling, womanizing, conservative Supreme Court justice who chucks the court to become a crusader for the outcast and oppressed? That's not a prime-time show, it's a Saturday Night Live sketch. We meet Smits' Justice Cyrus Garza as he's being thrown out of a casino for counting cards. Outside, he stops to debate a case he's due to decide with a pretty ACLU protester (because you know those justices, yak, yak, yak) -- whom he then beds. But her words move him, and he resigns to become a trial lawyer.
Do the math. Instead of someone with the last name Rodriguez telling the tale of noble, sympathetic Hispanics victimized by white American southern rednecks - all of whom are portrayed as murderous racists, what if we had a white filmmaker telling the tale of noble and sympathetic Texas border ranchers victimized by marauding, racist, gold-toothed unwashed Mexicans out to steal their land? Oh, and we would close our story with a stand-up-and-cheer race war where Texas ranchers unite to violently mow down evil Mexicans.
The same Left whose standards are so low that opposition to ObamaCare, same-sex marriage, and the Ground Zero Mosque can only be driven by a "phobia" or "ist" - the same PC Left that hides "silly" old Bugs Bunny cartoons and can't broadcast a season of "24″ without including a patronizing Don't Be Racist to Muslims PSA - sees the vicious portrayal of white Texans in "Machete" as nothing more than a silly goof. I guess it's easy to convince yourself of that when your principles are based on an agenda as opposed to any sense of consistency or intellectual honesty.
It breaks my heart to write this article. Roger Ebert has been a part of my love for cinema since I was eleven years old. When I was in the hospital for two months at age 19, I devoured his entire book of movie reviews. I even met him at the 2002 Conference on World Affairs when he dissected David Lynch's masterpiece Mulholland Drive (though I thought he needlessly threw in the towel regarding the film's meaning). I don't need to expound on his contributions to film education and his championing of truly great movies.
Nevertheless, I don't know the man. I only know his words. Yet I have to wonder if the physical and mental trauma Roger has endured has taken a toll on his mind. He always seemed apolitical to me. He just wrote great movie reviews. However, he started a political journal on his website in the past year. It's full of the same clap-trap expected from those on the Left: false premises, poorly constructed arguments, and replies to comments which dodge legitimate challenges.
The pop-music world is turning into a caricature of shamelessness, childishness and even spoiled-brattiness. To get attention quickly, some pop stars will try absolutely anything. The soul singer Cee-Lo Green has a new album coming out. How's this for art: His first desperate single is titled "F—- You."
The shock value is already working. A video was posted Aug. 19, and within four days, it had grabbed 1.4 million views on YouTube — another sign that YouTube is not a safe website for children. On Aug. 23, YouTube began requiring visitors to sign in to view the video, saying it "may contain content that is inappropriate for some users." That's quite an understatement. But it's also meaningless: it's unrestricted on Cee-Lo's personal website. Clicking on his MySpace page brings the song up automatically.
The entire song is obscene. It's stuffed with 16 uses of the F-bomb in under four minutes, erupting on average once every 14 seconds. It also has 10 uses of the S-word, and even two uses of "nigga." (Don't tell Dr. Laura Schlessinger.)
On July 27th and 28th, the New York Times published the following headline: "The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected." In the story that followed the headline, readers were informed: "The immense patches of surface oil that [once] covered thousands of square miles of the gulf after the...oil rig explosion are largely gone."
Ironically, the man who predicted this would be case was the much-maligned Tony Hayward, former Chief Executive of British Petroleum (BP). While being grilled on Capital Hill about the oil spill earlier this year, Hayward described it as a "relatively tiny" one in comparison to the "very big ocean" in which it had occurred. Although the backlash Hayward faced by Democrats was nasty, Rush Limbaugh concurred with the BP boss, and stories like the one I cited from the New York Times seem to demonstrate that Hayward and Limbaugh were both correct.
Yet, not only does BP continue to be the target of heavy criticism by Democrats and environmental groups, it has even found itself in the crosshairs of Brad Pitt, who recently "said he would consider the death penalty for those to blame for the Gulf oil spill crisis." According to the UK's Daily Mail, Pitt's exact words were: "I was never for the death penalty before - I am willing to look at it again."
E! Online "The Awful Truth" columnist Ted Casablanca on Aug. 21 called the graphic depictions of sex and violence on HBO's vampire drama "True Blood" "highly ironic" and promoted the show as "great fun."
Casablanca defended the show on Fox News Channel's "Geraldo at Large" in a discussion with host Geraldo Rivera and Culture and Media Institute Assistant Editor Nathan Burchfiel. The debate was sparked by the controversy surrounding a recent Rolling Stone magazine cover that depicted "True Blood" stars naked and covered in (fake) blood.
Burchfiel pointed out that while the shows originate on premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime, many "worst-of" clips are available online within hours of broadcast, and many popular shows like "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City" have found their way onto basic cable via syndication, a likely future for "True Blood."
"It's highly ironic, Geraldo," Casablanca said of the show, adding, "It's a highly intelligent, very clever indictment of the very conversation that we're having right now and it's an allegory to our times."
There are three important things going on in "The Tillman Story" (in selected theatres today), two of which almost make the conspiracy-mongering documentary worth your time. The first and best is the opportunity to get to know better the extraordinary and extraordinarily complicated and interesting Pat Tillman. In the best sense of the word, this was a fierce and fiercely passionate man - fierce on the football field, fierce on the battlefield, and fierce in his personal beliefs. This was also a man who only ever dated one woman, the woman he would marry the same week he enlisted; and my guess is that Tillman was the kind of man and husband who found leaving the fame of professional football much easier than leaving his young bride.
You also meet Tillman's family; his parents, brother and wife - a decent, loving, inconsolable group dealing with the terrible loss of someone they obviously loved and miss very much. This is a family furious with a United States government who didn't know all the facts before they told the story of Tillman's death to them, and to the American people. And as far as that goes, they are right to be angry.
Last week, film writer extraordinaire Christian Toto fell under the delusion that yours truly was interesting enough to interview, and if you're under the same delusion you can read the two-parter here and here. Among other things, Toto asked me about the clout critics wield and the most common mistakes they make. Here's a combination of my answers:
Critics aren't dumb, they know the public doesn't much care which way their thumbs point. But critics do know that based on their opinions and reviews they can enjoy an influence over what kind of films get made. And that's not a small amount of power. Culture is upstream from politics, after all.
If you have 95 percent of critics savaging a faithful retelling of the Gospels as anti-Semitic, no matter how successful "The Passion" is, no one's going to go near that subject matter again. And that's the goal. Same with anything that comes close to patriotism or conservatism. Such cinematic rarities are frequently labeled "jingoistic, fascist or simple minded." This is all done consciously and for a desired effect.
With the release of The Expendables, it seems that every self-respecting male has caught 80's fever. As a way to clear the palette from modern metro-sexual romps, my friends have resorted to re-visiting old B-movie beauties such as Cobra, Road House and Tango and Cash. Sure they're awful, but unlike the Kaiser-helmet wearing hipsters of the lower east side, those movies never tried to be anything that they weren't.
When looking back at the 80s however, the one thing that strikes me the most are the cartoons. I'll admit it, I'm a cartoon junkie. To this day I can still be found in my pajamas with a bowl of Cap'n Crunch, catching up on animated glory. Back in the 80s though, cartoons were still violent... and I liked it that way.
Of course, I'm discussing the cartoons aimed squarely at young boys. You see, back then, before gender roles became considered hateful and being androgynous had been transformed into a virtue, boys actually watched different cartoons from girls, and they were proud of it.