Friday, January 23, 2015

America's Suicide (A Review)

-The Cadence Group sent me a free copy of America's Suicide, if I would review it on my blog.

-I confess that I generally do not read books when I suspect I will disagree with the premise.  I decided to make an exception with this book, to sharpen my reasoning skills.

-I was surprised to find that I agreed with more of Michael H. Davison's points than I thought I would.

-I have a lot of quotes I would like to include in this review, but I'll have to limit myself, because there were a lot that resonated.  I'll include them throughout this review.
Liberalism cites compassion and fairness to justify its policies.  In practice this has meant taking from one group and giving to another minus handling charges; it neither cultivates compassion in the "giver" nor gratitude in the receiver.--pgs. 41-42 
The Parts of the book that I liked and/or agreed with:
1) The book as a whole helped me to think about and evaluate my personal belief system.  It woke me up and enabled me to see some of the decay I had allowed in my thinking.  The past couple of years have been extremely difficult for me.  I went through a divorce and was catapulted from being a homeschooling Mom to having to provide for myself and my kids all on my own after being out of the work force for 20 years.  I realized that in some ways I had adopted a victim mentality that society somehow owed me, because things were difficult.
With confidence in one's own effectiveness, an individual can persevere through life's trials and setbacks with courage and resourcefulness.  The senses of security and self value that form the foundation on which that confidence later rests are laid down in the first few years of life in a loving and nurturing home.  If adverse circumstances close that crucial window of time, but not impossible individual undertaking.  Government cannot compensate for that loss but in practice has only succeeded in furnishing rationalizations for those who shun the effort.--pgs. 102-103
-I realized that my current job as a waitress has shown me the realities of life.  As a waitress you don't have the luxury of calling in sick.  You could be on your death bed, but you still have to find a way to come in or find someone to take your shift.  You can't leave before your tables are clean and your side work is done, because if you don't do it, someone else has to.  This is exactly what "real world" living is all about.  If you don't do your job (whatever that may be), someone else has to pick up the slack.
Socialists cannot easily evade the reality that the three most virulent cultures to have ever infected the Earth, Soviet Russia, Communist China and Nazi Germany, rose and flourished under socialist banners.  More blood splashed horror and grief has been wrought, torture inflicted and terror perpetrated in the name of socialism than could have been by ten thousand Genghis Khans at their extremities of sadism.  Chinese currency still bears the portrait of Mao, among the worst butchers of history and a committed advocate of socialism.--pg. 72
2) The book gave me a clearer view of socialism.  Davison is able to articulate what should be said when explaining why socialism is so destructive.

The Parts of the book I didn't like and/or disagreed with:
1) Davison admits that he doesn't have any "deeply reassuring and effective political solutions to offer".  He does give some suggestions on what might make things better, but I found them lacking.  This is my exact problem with people like Davison, examples being men like Ron Paul and Michael Savage.  They are always ready to be pessimistic and point out how horrible Republicans and Democrats are, but don't have a good alternative.

-The only real solution he gives is that the world would be better off if we all had more knowledge.  He gives a list entitled, "Principles of The Rational and Responsible American Party."  The problem is he advocates getting back to the principles of our Founding Fathers but wants to divorce our country from any remnant of faith in God, which is the foundation that the Founding Fathers built our country on, which leads me to my next point.

2) Davison wants to create a perfect country by completely eliminating all religions.  He touts wisdom, honesty and courage, but where would we get the morality to exhibit these qualities without a belief in God?  He seems to have a lot of disdain for any belief system, and claims that religion causes as much destruction as socialism.  While I will admit that a lot of horrors have been committed in the name of religion, it isn't God's fault that some people twist and distort His message.

-He says that "religion will sink into irrelevance only when we find a better alternative for facing the pain and brevity of life."  Again my question is, what is the alternative??  As I pointed out earlier, if you are going to trash something, you need to have a solution or an alternative.

My conclusion:
-I think this book is well worth reading, if nothing else to enable you to think and evaluate what you believe and why.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

More on American Sniper!

"American Sniper" had a record-breaking weekend at the box office.

The Chris Kyle biopic, directed by Clint Eastwood, brought in more than $90 million during its nationwide opening.

"This is staggering. It's blockbuster numbers in January, the sort of numbers usually reserved for summer films and superhero movies," Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst for Rentrak, told USA Today. "No one saw this coming. The film has been building an audience and blasting any projections all weekend."--ABC News
-American Sniper is now the top-grossing film to premiere in January. I'm excited that the movie is doing well. I liked it so much that I may see it again.
My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren't heroes. And invaders r worse.--Michael Moore
-As should've been suspected, the Hollywood elite isn't as excited about the movie as the American public is.  Michael Moore and Seth Rogen couldn't help themselves and tweeted disrespectful comments about the movie.  Of course, they are both now trying to back peddle out of the statements.

-Just when I think that Michael Moore can't stoop to a new low, he does.  It seems to me that he hates our country, and has no respect for the men and women that sacrifice their lives for the very freedom he enjoys when he speaks out (and reminds everyone that he's an idiot).
Clint shot bad guys in movies and I shot bad guys in real life, so let's go ahead and make a realistic movie, says former Navy SEAL Kevin Lacz about his first acting gig.--The Hollywood Reporter
 -Kevin Lacz is a former Navy SEAL who started out as the SEAL technical advisor for American Sniper but ended up starring in the movie.  Bradley Cooper persuaded Lacz to play himself in the movie and Clint Eastwood agreed.
In 2006, Lacz served for four years with the film’s hero Chris Kyle, played by Cooper on screen, and the two shared an unbreakable bond. The film ends with footage of Kevin at Kyle’s memorial service where each SEAL pinned their trident onto Chris’s casket. Lacz’s relationship to Kyle as well as his work as a platoon sniper and medic to the most highly decorated special operations task unit since Vietnam contributed to his skill set as the SEAL technical advisor for Eastwood’s film.
-There are just so many good things about this movie, the praise is endless.  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Review of American Sniper

-I have been looking forward to seeing American Sniper since I first learned about it this past October

I was excited about the movie for several reasons:
-I've been a huge fan of Chris Kyle's for a long time
-I bought his book, and am looking forward to reading it also
-I'm a huge Bradley Cooper fan
-Clint Eastwood is a phenomenal director, and I knew with him directing it the movie would be done right.
-I'm a war movie buff
-I am inspired by seeing the sacrifices men and women have made for our country.
-I obviously had very high expectations going in, and yet the movie still far exceeded them.

-This is Bradley Cooper's finest role, by far, to date.  I almost didn't recognize that it was him because he carried himself in such a different way.  He was very much like I imagine that Chris Kyle was.  Cooper definitely deserves to win an academy award for his portrayal, whether the liberal elite in Hollywood will agree, is a different story.

-The movie enabled you to fall in love with Chris Kyle, and yet still see his struggles with adapting to life back in the U.S.  He was portrayed as a hero, but with all the grit and realness of his struggles and humanity.

-My favorite movie from last year was Lone Survivor, but American Sniper surpasses it.  The way they end the movie is especially touching.  Tears streamed down my face as they showed real footage from Kyle's memorial.

-American Sniper is an incredible movie about an amazing man, and the lessons his life can teach us all.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Unbroken (A Review)

-The movie, Unbroken is based on the book, Unbroken, written by Laura Hillenbrand, which is about the true life story of Louis Zamperini.  A troubled boy who turns his life around and makes it to the Olympics, and then survives the horrors of World War II.

-As you watch the movie, it is hard to believe that someone could survive everything that Zamperini did, and yet he was able to.

He survived:
-Being shot at during the war
-A plane crash into the Pacific Ocean
-Drifting on the Pacific for 47 days
-Numerous Japanese POW camps

-I'm not a big Angelina Jolie fan, but I will grudgingly admit that she did a good job directing this movie.

-It is an inspirational story, made more so by the fact that it is true.  And what the movie doesn't show is how Zamperini kept his promise to live his life for God after he survived the war.

-In 1949, he got saved at a Billy Graham crusade and then returned to Japan to forgive his captors.  The Billy Graham Evangelical Association has released their own movie about Zamperini's life and faith that tells the rest of the story entitled, Louis Zamperini: Captured by Grace

Additional Links:
The Rest of the Unbroken Story--Chuck Norris
The Rest of the Unbroken Story (Part 2)--Chuck Norris

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Not Afraid!

At least 15,000 gathered at the Place de la République for a vigil after the three gunmen, wearing hoods and armed with Kalashnikov automatic rifles, stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo shouting Islamic phrases and killing 12 people. The publication is a satirical newspaper that has caricatured the prophet Mohammed in the past.
"They wanted to put France down on its knees but we will show them solidarity and unity," Ilan Scialom, 30, vice president of "COEXISTER," an interfaith group in Paris that promotes tolerance, said at the Paris rally. Thousands turned out for similar vigils in Lyon and elsewhere across Europe. Some held signs saying, "Not afraid."
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the midday attack, the deadliest on French soil in more than 50 years.--USA Today
-I have to say that I am inspired by the courage of the French people in their response to the deadly terrorist attack on their soil today.

-Terrorists' main goal is to strike fear in the hearts of people to keep them from being free.  This response lets the terrorists know they haven't succeeded.

-The suspects:
Officials said late Wednesday that the suspects had been identified and that two were brothers. They were identified as Said and Cherif Kouachi, 32 and 34, and Hamyd Mourad, 18. French news reports said the brothers, known to intelligence services, had been born in Paris, raising the prospect that homegrown Muslim extremists were responsible.
Additional Links:
-Islamic Terrorists Attack French Magazine That Published Muhammad Cartoons
-Charlie Hebdo: Gun Attack on French Magazine Kills 12

Sunday, January 04, 2015

My Top Ten Books from 2014

-I don't think any of these books came out in 2014, but these are my top 10 out of the 62 books I read last year.

My Top 10 Books from 2014!
1) Happily Ever After: Walking with Peace and Courage Through a Year of Divorce-Kristin Armstrong--This is by far the book that ministered to me the most while I was going through my divorce.  So much so, that I have bought it for other friends going through the same thing.

2) You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a more Fulfilling Life-Eleanor Roosevelt--A friend was reading this book and bought a copy for me so we could read it together.  We read it in January and it was an awesome book to start my year off with.  Eleanor inspires people with her words and in the way she lived her life.  She was an incredible woman.

3) Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight-Karl Rove--Rove is an amazing man on so many levels.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about him in his candid book and about what went on in the Bush Administration.

4) Chasing the Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer-David Reichert--Reichert is a man who never gave up on finding the Green River Killer (who turned out to be Gary Ridgeway) and thus bringing some measure of justice and closure for all the victims' loved ones.  This was an inspirational story on not giving up on a just cause.

5) Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10-Marcus Luttrell--The book and the movie about this true story made both of my Top 10 lists.  An incredible story about some amazing men, true heroes indeed.

6) Smokin' Seventeen-Janet Evanovich--No top 10 list is complete without a Stephanie Plum book on it.  Evanovich's series on Stephanie Plum makes me laugh out loud, reader beware if you are reading this in a public waiting room, people will think you are crazy.

7) Sleepers-Lorenzo Carcaterra--I saw the movie about this years ago and didn't realize it was based on a true story.  I found the book in a thrift store and ended up reading it right away and not being able to put it down.

8) Escape-Carolyn Jessop--This is the book that started all of my research on the FLDS and the many brave women and men who escaped the FLDS's clutches.

9) Frances Folsom Cleveland-Susan Sinnott--I found all the first ladies that I read about this year to be fascinating, but I especially loved learning about Frances because I didn't know much about her and there were a lot of firsts for her and her husband in the White House.

10) Harriet Tubman: The Moses of Her People-Sarah Bradford--A wonderful book about an amazing woman.

Friday, January 02, 2015

My Top Ten Movies from 2014

-I took a little break from blogging, so, I thought I would return with some fun lists from 2014.
-I didn't agree with the lists in the KC Star, so I thought I'd make my own.
-Below are my favorite movies that I watched in 2014, most of them are new movies from last year, but a couple were older ones that I didn't watch until last year.

My Top 10 Movies from 2014!
1) Lone Survivor
 -The movie and the book, both based on an incredible true story, were amazing.
2) Fury
-Brad Pitt was compelling.
3) The Good Lie
-A wonderful movie based on the true events of Lost boys from Sudan adjusting to life in the U.S. with a Kansas City tie.
4) Unbroken
-An inspirational true story.
5) When the Game Stands Tall
-You mix Jim Caviezel with a meaningful movie and you've got a great mix.
6) Belle
7) Invincible
8) 12 Years a Slave
9) 3 Days to Kill
10)The Shooter