Showing posts from February, 2019

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Questions: Is Osama bin Laden really dead, and if so, what proof shows it?

Is Osama bin Laden really dead, and if so, what proof shows it?

He hasn’t made any videos or recorded statements since May 2011. As the charismatic leader of a large terrorist organization which uses propaganda and psychological warfare, bin Laden’s silence (which has gone on for over seven and a half years and is not going to break any time soon) is a dead giveaway.Al-Qaeda, the group of radical Islamists Osama bin Laden led for more than 20 years, named a successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, on June 16, 2011. The terrorists themselves said their “Sheikh” was dead.The CIA, the Special Operations Command, and the U.S. Navy SEALs, as well as then-President Barack Obama, confirmed Osama bin Laden was dead.

Book Review: 'Apollo 13'

In October of 1994, New York-based Houghton Mifflin published the first edition of Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13. Written by retired Navy Captain Jim Lovell and science beat journalist Jeffrey Kluger, the book tells the story of Lovell's final - and star-crossed - space flight in April 1970: Apollo 13. Shortly after its publication, Imagine Entertainment founders Brian Grazer and Ron Howard bought the film rights and adapted the book as the 1995 movie Apollo 13.  As a result of the film's success, Houghton Mifflin changed the title from Lost Moon to Apollo 13 when it released the paperback edition to coincide with the film's theatrical premiere.

Lovell, a Naval Aviator and test pilot before joining NASA as a member of the agency's Astronaut Group II - "the New Nine" - in 1962. As a result, Lovell and his eight colleagues (which included Neil Armstrong and Pete Conrad) joined the six remaining Mercury Program veterans for NASA's Gemini and A…

Q&As About 'Star Wars': Would 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' have been way better if Luke actually was there for the fight, instead of just a Force projection of him?

Would Star Wars: The Last Jedi have been way better if Luke actually was there for the fight, instead of just a Force projection of him? 

A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack. - Yoda to Luke Skywalker, Star Wars - Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Questions like this, quite frankly, leave me cold. They reflect only the barest understanding of Star Wars, its mythos, its themes, and its character arcs. They also reinforce my opinion that the Expanded Universe (now called Legends) has an unhealthy grip on many Star Wars fans’ minds that makes them unable to understand the dynamics of the saga. Contrary to the oft-seen complaint that Kathleen Kennedy, Rian Johnson, and J.J. Abrams ruined Star Wars and that Luke Skywalker’s character was not written in a way that fits the “lore,” Star Wars: The Last Jedi did a great job at depicting a very human Luke who, despite his failure to properly restore the Jedi Knights to their original roles as teachers, healers, and …

Documentary Review: 'Restrepo'

Restrepo (2010)

Produced and Directed by: Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington

Cinematography by: Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington

Starring: The men of Battle Company, 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade

One platoon, one valley, one year

The war in Afghanistan is the longest conflict in U.S, history. It has been going on for so long that it has had two distinct phases: Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-2014) and Operation Freedom's Sentinel (2015-present). Launched on October 7, 2001 as a response to the September 11 attacks on the U.S. by Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror group, its stated goals were to topple the harsh ultra-conservative Islamic regime known as the Taliban, capture or kill Bin Laden and his cohorts, and deny Al Qaeda a secure base of operations. It has been the largest military operation carried out by the NATO alliance (the 9/11 attacks activated the Alliance's Article Five, which states that any attack on a member coun…

Talking About...U.S. Conservatism: Why did James Alex Fields from the Charlottesville protests get recommended 419 years in prison for killing one person?

Why did James Alex Fields from the Charlottesville protests get recommended 419 years in prison for killing one person? If he were a liberal and rammed his car into Trump supporters and killed people, would he get the same harsh sentence? I really hate questions written by “conservative” zealots that seek to demonize fellow Americans who happen to hold different views on how the country should be governed. Not only are they insincere (not seeking real answers but, rather, making a political statement instead), but they are not well thought-out. Still, I’ll answer it, even though I seriously doubt it will enlighten the dude that wrote this, ahem, question. Firstly, James Allen Fields, Jr. deserves what he got for driving his car into a crowd of people who were counter-protesting a Neo-Nazi rally and killed a young woman, Heather Heyer. A life sentence in prison is far better than he deserves, actually, seeing as to how Ms. Heyer is dead and Mr. Neo-Nazi Fields is still alive. Also, he …

Talking About....U.S. Conservatism: Fox News seems not to dissect and interpret current developments in the Russia Probe like other channels do. Why?

Fox News seems not to dissect and interpret current developments in the Russia Probe like other channels do. Why? Are they intentionally limiting the information that their viewers receive?

As I’ve said in my previous answers to questions about Fox “News” Channel, the reason for this is simple: Fox News Channel is not a dedicated newsgathering organization. It might have a news division with real journalists for “breaking news” or their off-peak hour news programming, but in reality, Fox News is a propaganda outlet for the post-Reagan Republican Party. For this reason, thoughtful, dispassionate, and honest dissection of such news stories as the Trump Organization’s connections to Russia and the conspiracy to basically use the Internet as a Psychological Operations (PsyOps) weapon to give Donald Trump an edge during the Presidential election in 2016 goes against Fox News Channel’s ethos. I mean, think about it. Fox News is a propaganda machine that would make Joseph Goebbels turn green…

Q&A's About 'Star Wars': If someone actually bought Star Wars from Disney, would Canon and other things change once again?

If someone actually bought Star Wars from Disney, would Canon and other things change once again? Sure, if there was a company or individual with enough money to buy Lucasfilm Ltd. and the Star Wars franchise from The Walt Disney Company, and if Bob Iger and the stockholders were willing to sell either the franchise or Lucasfilm. Whoever owned the Star Wars brand would then decide: What “canonicity” means under the new regimeWhat new content would be created, in what format, and which venue (theaters, television, or Internet)Whether or not to re-release existing movies in their current form, or (in the case of the Original Trilogy) their original (as released) editionsWhich video game companies would get licenses to create new gamesWhether or not licensed printed media original works (novels, comics, anthologies) are canonical After all, that’s what ownership entails. If The Walt Disney Company had not been given independence from what the previous owner. George Lucas, had wanted, (no …

Talking About Politics in the Age of Trump: NFL Players, the Owners, and the Rules Governing Protests

The question, as originally posted, is: Do you feel as if the NFL’s updated national anthem policy is unfair? Several months ago,  when I answered a question on Quora regarding this topic, I erroneously said that forcing NFL players - who are all adults and have certain inalienable rights as citizens of this country - to stand during the playing of the National Anthem if they choose to be on the field at such time during a pro football game is unconstitutional. I was disabused of this belief by Quorans who pointed out that such a policy is only unconstitutional if it is foisted on the players by any government official at any level, be it local, state, or federal. It’s not unconstitutional, apparently, if a business owner (in this case, the National Football League’s owners) tells employees (aka the pro football players) that they can either stay in the locker room while The Star Spangled Banner plays or stand with the team as a gesture of respect to the American flag. No kneeling, n…

Book Review: 'Ernie Pyle's War: America's Eyewitness to World War II'

On April 18, 1945, a 45-year-old war correspondent named Ernest Taylor Pyle was accompanying Lt. Col. Joseph B. Coolidge, commanding officer of the U.S. Army's 305th Infantry Regiment, part of the 77th Infantry Division, on a jeep with three other officers on the small island known as Ie Shima (now Iejima), off the coast of Okinawa. Pyle, who was better known to his readers and the U.S. service personnel he wrote about in a nationally-syndicated column as "Ernie," had landed ashore with the 77th Division just one day before. As the five men drove to Coolidge's new headquarters in an area that was not yet cleared of Japanese defenders, a lone enemy gunner fired his Nambu machine gun at the jeep, forcing its occupants to take cover in a nearby ditch.

"After a moment," writes author James Tobin in Ernie Pyle's War: America's Eyewitness to World War II, "Ernie raised his head and the machine gunner fired again, hitting him in the left temple just …

We don't need a wall; the enemy is already within

We have met the enemy, and he is us. - Walt Kelly

Dear friends , maybe that’s a bit of a misnomer. Acquaintances more likely. Hope this finds you well. I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth. - Christopher Hasson, in an email draft recovered by government investigators

As the ongoing debate on President Donald Trump's pet project of the Great Border Wall on the border with Mexico continues, along comes a reminder that the greatest threat to Americans does not come from undocumented immigrants from Latin America, but rather from native-born Americans armed with enough weapons to equip your average Army or Marine Corps infantry squad.

Per a report published last night (and updated this morning) by National Public Radio, Christopher Paul Hasson, a lieutenant on active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard, was arrested last week "on charges of illegal possession of a firearm as well as possession of a controlled substance. But the government called those charg…

Book Review: 'The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945'

On September 8, 2011, Penguin Press published the first edition of Sir Ian Kershaw's The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945. It is an in-depth scholarly look at the psychological, political, and socio-cultural factors that allowed Adolf Hitler's Third Reich to resist the Allied onslaughts on all fronts (the West, the East, and Italy) during the last 10 months of World War II in Europe. Written by the renowned author of a two-volume biography of Hitler and other books about Nazi Germany, The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945 tackles a subject that, at best, is only tangentially covered in other works that focus on the military campaigns that took place between July of 1944 and the spring of 1945 or, in Max Hastings' pithy phrase, "bunker porn" that describes in lurid details, the last 10 days of Hitler's wretched life in Berlin.

In retrospect, it is amazing that a regime such as Hitler's…

Talking About Politics: Trump, Saturday Night Live, and that pesky Constitution thing....

Anonymous on Quora asked:  Why is Saturday Night Live so disrespectful to Donald Trump? Why isn't there a law making it illegal to slander the President of the United States?

Political satire, which is the type of comedy practiced by Lorne Michaels’ long-running comedy-sketch series when it lampoons any sitting President, is one of the oldest forms of satirical comment in the humanities. As long as there have been kings, emperors, prime ministers, presidents, and other heads of state, there have always been comedians and/or political cartoonists who, in their routines or drawings, comment on the political realities of the day. To those diehard loyalists of those heads of state, who tend to see things in a different light as the opposition, any criticism of their nation-state’s leadership is often interpreted as an unwarranted attack. And because the satire is often a response to a policy or political philosophy that the head of state promotes, and the loyalists support, then the jo…