Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Red Tails


 If memory serves, this is the first review I've ever distributed written by someone else.  The author of this one, Stanley Gray, is an old friend of the Holzers, and his reaction to the new film is worth noting.  It follows...............
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The movie Red Tails almost made me cry…...
The major studios should be applauded for having the decency to pass on this movie.
To belittle and dishonor the heroic accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen by using them as an excuse to make a sloppy, comic-book aviation movie was unconscionable. The movie is a disgrace to film making and to black people.
 
I’m seventy-four years old. When I was a kid, growing up in a black neighborhood, the Tuskegee Airmen were one of the few (very few) heroes that we had. They still are, and always should be.
How racially arrogant is it of George Lucas to assume that it’s okay for him to turn our precious black history into a comic book film. Someone once said, "If you can’t shed any light on the subject, leave it in the dark."
 
Many young people don’t know about the Tuskegee Airman, and after seeing Red Tails, they still won’t. To say that Lucas squandered a great opportunity to shed some light, would imply that maybe it was unintentional. Believe me it wasn’t, because film making is about choices.
 
In real life The Tuskegee Airmen were college educated. In Red Tails they are caricaturized as bumpkins, speaking (and mumbling) clichéd lines and making uneducated decisions.
The special effects were mostly second-class and never once did I get the feeling that the actors were actually flying those planes. That’s cheesy film making, implying that black film-goers will accept anything. Ditto for the shoddy storytelling, or lack thereof.
 
The only love interest was an absurd, unbelievable hook-up between a pilot and an Italian woman. (And they killed the pilot off before the wedding). This poor choice was compounded by the fact none of the other pilots had any love interests in their lives.
Growing up in the 1940s, I saw a lot of war movies, and always the barracks were full of pictures and stories of loved ones back home. Apparently these black airmen in the movie didn’t have wives or girlfriends or mothers or children. There is only one very brief scene where a pilot is looking at a picture of a loved one, but he quickly hides it when another airman enters his room, as if he’s ashamed.
 
George Lucas, aided and abetted by blacks who were unable or unwilling to recognize that the king has no clothes, intentionally sabotaged a part of our history.
In my lifetime, I have seen unbelievable progress made in race relations, and I work hard at not being an "angry old black man."  But just when I think I’m over the hump, up pops a reminder like Red Tails. 
 
Instead of suggesting that people ignore this movie, I’m going to encourage all blacks to see it-- so as not to forget that it’s not over yet.
If we fail to speak out against this disrespectful trivializing of our history, we’re going to eventually need another civil rights movement. “Those who can’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mitt Romney's "Crime"


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is being pilloried for having been a venture capitalist.  His company used its own and investors' money (which was theirs to do with whatever they wanted) to purchase usually failing enterprises.  Their goal was to make them better and sell either parts or all of them for a profit.

Much has been said by pseudo conservatives like Santorum, Gingrich and Perry—and by the collectivists in the media, academia, not-for-profits and Democrat Party—that in risking their own money and trying to make a profit Romney and his colleagues somehow "took advantage"of the failing companies.

Worse than that anti-capitalist rant is the chorus' lament that in Romney’s investing, buying, fixing and selling, some people lost their jobs.

What everyone seems to be missing, however, is the insidious implication lurking in that lament: that those who lost their jobs were deprived of something to which they were entitled.  That the capital and labor of Romney and his colleagues was somehow to be used to benefit not themselves and their investors, but instead sacrificed for the benefit of the employees of the companies they had purchased.

Webster’s defines altruism as "the doctrine that the general welfare of society[other people] is the proper goal of an individual's action" — the antithesis of one acting in pursuit of his or her own interests.

The late Ayn Rand defined altruism this way: “the ethical theory which regards man as a sacrificial animal which holds that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.”

That's what Mitt Romney is being accused of by his supposed friends and avowed enemies alike: not being an altruist. 

According to them, Mitt Romney’s "crime" was not sacrificing his own interests to those of other people. 

Not serving others at his expense.

To be moral—presumably like the mystic Santorum, the conniver Gingrich, the lightweight Perry, the confused Paul and the altruists/collectivists/statists of the Democrat Party—Romney was supposed to squander his time and lose his (and others') money so that the employees of failed and failing companies could keep their jobs.

That's not only not capitalism. 

It's ethical and economic cannibalism.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"The Supreme Court Opinions of Clarence Thomas, 1991-2011 (2d ed.)"

My publisher--McFarland & Company--has just informed me that Thomas II is now shipping.  It is available from McFarland, Amazon, other Internet sellers and brick and mortar book stores.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Recess Appointments and Imbroglios

As to Obama's recent recess appointments, the Constitution's Art. II, Section 2, paragraph 3, provides that "The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate . . . " (My emphasis.)



As to whether what Obama has done is a "Political Question" that a court would decline to review for jurisdictional or prudential reasons, I think it's not (see Powell v. McCormack).



If it's not, then there's a factual question whether there was a "recess." We Originalists probably wouldn't have much difficulty answering that question.



If there was not, the question then becomes one of judicial enforcement. But by then, there should be a new President.



So I see the entire imbroglio as moot.