At the Movies: Ridley Scott’s “Exodus,” Hillsong’s “Let Hope Rise”

by Phil on 07/1/2014

Hollywood has really been hitting up the Bible lately for money-maker movies — be they controversial (such as for “Noah”) or not.

Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings is due out December 12:

Thou Shall Not Attempt to Outdo Charlton Heston. Okay, so that’s not an official Hollywood commandment, but the prospect of taking on the role of Moses in Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings (in theaters Dec. 12) did give Christian Bale pause. “Charlton Heston does Charlton Heston better than anyone,” says Bale. “But the biblical account of Moses is extraordinary, and there was lots of room for us to go to places that [Heston’s movie] The Ten Commandments never dreamed of going.” (Bale’s biggest stipulation before signing on? “No fake beards,” he says with a laugh.) …

For his 22nd film, Scott assembled an IMDb-busting cast, including Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, John Turturro, and Aaron Paul. “When you’re Ridley, you pick up the phone and people will turn up,” says Edgerton (The Great Gatsby), who plays Ramses. “I had to battle demons of self-doubt to feel like I belonged in this club.”

Hillsong UNITED, the contemporary Christian musical artists who have influenced worship services of a church near you, will be coming out with their own documentary-movie, due out in April, 2015.

Apparently Michael John Warren of Jay-Z’s Fade to Black will be directing.

Here’s the trailer:

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Newspaper Apologizes for 2008 Obama Endorsement

by Phil on 07/1/2014

On Friday, it was reported that the Billings Gazette retracted their original support for President Obama:

The Gazette said it missed George W. Bush and the “good ol’ days when we were at least winning battles in Iraq.”

It recapped several mistakes Obama has made during his presidency:

  • Obama has also failed on energy policy by not approving the Keystone XL pipeline, which could be helpful to the economy.
  • He has failed in Iraq; the country is now on the brink of civil war.
  • The Gazette wrote that the Bowe Bergdahl exchange made the Obama administration seem incompetent.
  • The VA system has been mismanaged by the Obama administration, leading to veterans dying before they could receive medical care.
  • Obama has also broken his promise to become the “most transparent administration in history.” The Gazette said the president’s administration is so opaque that is has earned a reputation worse than that of Richard Nixon.
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SCOTUS: “Partial public employees” and Unions, Hobby Lobby Wins

by Phil on 06/30/2014

Two interesting opinions from The Supremes came down the pike today, both decided 5-4.

The first ruling was in Harris v. Quinn, in which a question arose over whether or not private employees that happened to work for the State had to pay union dues:

In an opinion filled with strongly implied invitations to file a new case to go even further, the Supreme Court, dividing five to four, ruled on Monday that public employees cannot routinely be required to join labor unions or to support them by paying dues.  If state or local government workers who oppose unionism take the hint, this new decision may well spawn new lawsuits that could spell doom for organizing those workers for collective action.

What the Court did do specifically was to draw a legal distinction for now between state and local employees that it will consider to be “full-fledged” public workers and workers who will be treated as something less than that — “partial public employees,” such as the workers in this case — for purposes of union organization.  The workers in this case are home health care workers who look after a patient or two in the privacy of a household.

The second was of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobbyin which a question arose over whether or not private companies are mandated to cover certain birth control measures that go against their owner’s belief system:

…[R]egulations issued under the Affordable Care Act require employers to provide their female employees with health insurance that includes no-cost access to twenty different kinds of contraceptives.  The families that own Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties are deeply religious and do not want to make four of those twenty kinds of birth control – IUDs and the “morning after” pill — available to their female employees because they believe that it would make them complicit in abortion.  Today the Court agreed that they don’t have to.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is a federal law that prohibits the government from imposing a substantial burden on someone’s ability to practice his religion unless that burden advances an important government interest and does so in the least restrictive way possible.  The Court started by considering and rejecting the federal government’s argument that, because they are for-profit corporations, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga could not even rely on RFRA to challenge the mandate.  That contention, the Court observed, would require the companies to choose between two unpalatable options:  “either give up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits, available to their competitors, of operating as corporations.”

However, the ruling was a narrow one:

The Court’s opinion made clear that today’s decision was a relatively narrow one.  It does not mean, the Court clarified, that an employer can automatically avoid paying for a particular kind of insurance coverage just because it has religious objections to it.  Thus, for example, the Court explained, employers might still be required to provide coverage for vaccinations – an example that came up at oral argument – even if their religious beliefs might dictate otherwise, because of the need to prevent the spread of contagious and deadly diseases.  Nor, the Court took pains to add, does the decision provide cover for employers to rely on religion to discriminate on the basis of race.

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MS Senate Primary Update: Allegations of 1,000+ Illegal Votes, Officials Barring Reviews, Corrupt GOP Establishment?

by Phil on 06/27/2014

Update:

Not only is the DailyMail beginning to rather extensively report on the below, but apparently “‘Several’ Republican senators reportedly uneasy with GOP’s tactics in Mississippi runoff.” Ya think? I have my thoughts below.

TheGatewayPundit has been taking serious point on Chris McDaniel’s campaign continuing to investigate alleged shenanigans by — of all organizations — the State’s GOP party, seemingly in concert with the Cochran campaign:

The Chris McDaniel campaign identified multiple Mississippi counties in which enough improper ballots were cast that a legal challenge to the outcome of the election is warranted.

This comes after 25,000-35,000 Democrat votes helped push Thad Cochran to victory over Chris McDaniel (by 6,880 votes) in the June 24 runoff.

The McDaniel campaign has already found 1,000 examples in one county of Democrats who voted in the June 3rd primary as Democrats and then crossed over into the Republican primary this week.
This is illegal and their votes should not be counted. [emphasis original]

Several independent sources seeking to review voter rolls had blatant push-back from being able to review, with officials citing paperwork concerns.

All of this makes me wonder: if the Governor of Mississippi is working with the Washington GOP Establishment to keep Sen. Thad Cochran in office under the auspices of reaching a GOP majority in the Senate, does that really make sense to have the GOP going against State law by allowing individuals who allegedly previously voted to give the incumbent Senator a boost for a “win?”

In other words, where does this get the national GOP in that they’ve allegedly cheated to seemingly win the Senate majority in 2014? Does the national GOP establishment care that such alleged cheating (if all of this does turn out to be true) was performed on the backs of the Tea Party?

Is it really wise for a national political party to not just write off but potentially illegally ignore at least a plurality of its own base? After all, it took Democrats to vote for the Republican incumbent to get that same Republican incumbent over the proverbial finish line. That says a lot, doesn’t it?

A posting at RedState makes a sobering case that a majority Senate win by the GOP this year might not actually matter with Obama as President.

So, let me ask the same question in a different way: Why not allow the electorate to legitimately choose who they wish to represent them in a Senate primary?

(Both parties are seemingly becoming absolutely corrupt, aren’t they?)

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TX Reps Flores, Gohmert Propose $1 Million Reward for IRS Emails

by Phil on 06/27/2014

The Identify and Recover Sent Emails Act:

would award $500,000 to anyone with “pertinent information sufficient for prosecution” of anyone involved in the destruction of Lerner’s e-mails or a cool $1 million to anyone who can recover the e-mails outright.

How is the sizeable bounty to be funded? From the IRS budget.

In addition, the bill would mandate that all IRS employees receive not more than 80 percent of their 2014 salaries until the e-mails are recovered.

There must definitely be something in the water in Texas, as another Republican House member from the same State — Steve Stockman — previously proposed the Dog Ate My Tax Receipts Act, which included the following excuses:

1.         The dog ate my tax receipts
2.         Convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction
3.         Traded documents for five terrorists
4.         Burned for warmth while lost in the Yukon
5.         Left on table in Hillary’s Book Room
6.         Received water damage in the trunk of Ted Kennedy’s car
7.         Forgot in gun case sold to Mexican drug lords
8.         Forced to recycle by municipal Green Czar
9.         Was short on toilet paper while camping
10.       At this point, what difference does it make?

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Tech: Apple Creating Smart Home Hardware, ESPN FIFA Steaming Issues, Walmart Discounts iPhones

by Phil on 06/27/2014

With its introduction of the iOS-based HomeKit Application Programming Interface (API), Apple is said to be creating hardware that would enable a smart home — without directly competing with products such as Google’s Nest learning thermostat.

ESPN had some issues with their live stream of the 2014 FIFA World Cup (particularly when the US and Germany were playing). The company said in a statement that they were hosting a record of more than 1.4 million concurrent connections. The fact that the match occurred during the workday meant that most fans could only stream over the Internet.

Today, Walmart has officially and permanently cut the prices on iPhone 5C 16GB to $29 and the 5S 16GB to $99, both scenarios involving a 2-year contract.

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SCOTUS: Pro-Lifers Have Free Speech at Abortion Clinics

by Phil on 06/26/2014

Analysis:

The Supreme Court, leaving a clear impression that foes of abortion have at least a limited constitutional right to succeed in having close, one-on-one encounters with patients seeking that medical service, struck down on Thursday a seven-year-old Massachusetts law that created a “buffer-zone” around every abortion clinic in the state.  The law, the Court said, went too far to silence the messages of abortion opponents outside clinics even when those messages are quiet, intended to be courteous attempts to dissuade patients. …

Concluding that sidewalk counselors working the sidewalks around abortion clinics are “not protestors,” the Court’s main opinion said that “they seek only to inform women of various alternatives and to provide help in pursing them.  [They] believe that they can accomplish this objective only through personal, caring, consensual conversations.”

The opinion thus put state and city governments on notice that, while they may act to ensure public safety around and abortion patients’ access to medical facilities providing such services, they cannot do so by making entirely off limits to counselors the areas closest to the clinics that include public sidewalks and roadways.

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SCOTUS: Obama Recess Appointments Invalid; Recess Length Undetermined

by Phil on 06/26/2014

While POTUS can still make recess appointments, he or she must make sure that a Legislative recess is in effect:

Supreme Court: “the President lacked the authority to make those appointments”

The AP calls it a 5-4 ruling, but the four signed on to a concurring opinion by Justice Scalia, not a dissent… So if you view it as 5-4, that means the Court’s liberals & Kennedy sided against President Obama on the case… Scalia, Roberts, Alito & Thomas wanted a ruling that only allowed recess appointments between sessions of Congress

Specifics:

Here is the upshot of the decision. The President can make a recess appointment without Senate confirmation when the Senate says it is in recess. But either the House or the Senate can take the Senate out of recess and force it to hold a “pro forma session” that will block any recess appointment. So while the President’s recess appointment power is broad in theory, if either house of Congress is in the hands of the other party, it can be blocked. …

In terms of these recess appointments of members of the NLRB, they were invalid. That means that their rulings were invalid. It is unclear what will happen with other NLRB rulings from that period. …

Scalia criticizes the majority for relying on historical practice (which he says is unclear) instead of the text of the Constitution (which he says is clear and limits recess appointments to between formal sessions). …

This is a narrow ruling. It gives the President substantial recess appointment power. It says the only problem with the appointments was that the President had to respect the Senate’s pro forma recesses. …

The opinion goes on to say that the clause does not say how long the recess must be to fall within the clause, but even the Solicitor General concedes that a 3-day recess would be too short.

Will update as SCOTUSBlog analysis is available.

Update:

Opinion analysis: Pragmatism triumphs over formalism

Court strikes down recess appointments: In Plain English

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“America: Imagine the World Without Her” in Houston, Atlanta Tomorrow; Nationwide July 2

by Phil on 06/26/2014

Showtimes.

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McDaniel’s Not Conceding; Suggests Illegal Dem Vote for Cochran by Way of GOP Leadership

by Phil on 06/25/2014

Full audio from The Mark Levin Show at link:

We haven’t conceded and we’re not going to concede right now. We’re going to investigate.

Naturally sometimes it’s difficult to contest an election, obviously, but we do know that 35,000 Democrats crossed over. And we know many of those Democrats did vote in the Democratic primary just three weeks ago which makes it illegal.

We likewise know that we have a statute, a law in our state that says you cannot participate in a primary unless you intend to support that candidate. And we know good and well that these 35,000 democrats have no intention to do that. They’ll be voting for Travis Childers in November. We know that. They know that. And so that makes their actions illegal.

So we’re going to be fighting this.

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