Video Clips Worth Watching: Wayne v. Marvin

Friday, February 17, AD 2017

 

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), perhaps the greatest of Westerns, contains this gem of a scene with John Wayne, Lee Marvin, Jimmy Stewart, Strother Marvin, Lee Van Cleef and Woody Strode.  Marvin as Liberty Valance is the archetypal mercenary gunslinger, his days, and the days of his kind, about to come to an end.  Wayne as Tom Doniphon, rancher, is the obverse of Marvin, a man just as tough as Valance, if not tougher, but no bully.  However, his time is also closing.  Their destroyer?   The almost clown like figure of Ransom Stoddard, portrayed by Jimmy Stewart.  He knows nothing about guns, but he knows a lot about law, and law and civilization are fast coming to the range.  This is John Ford’s eulogy to the Old West, and to this type of Western.

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3 Responses to Video Clips Worth Watching: Wayne v. Marvin

  • This is an excellent post. The “Frontier Thesis” was abroad in which many believed that the end of the frontier represented the beginning of a new stage in American life and that the United States.

    An artist’s requiem to the “Old West” can be seen in the works of Frederick Remington – his paintings and sculptures.

  • “Marvin as Liberty Valance is the archetypal mercenary gunslinger, his days, and the days of his kind are about to come to an end.”
    No disrespect here. It occurred to me that the gunslingers and bullies of yesterday have only traded iron for text. Today’s full of the Liberty Valances of yesterday. Some use iron. Cop killers use iron. Berkeley thugs use gasoline and rocks. To me these hateslingers are made from the same mud as Liberty. Different times, same bullies.

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Seven Days in May Redux

Friday, February 3, AD 2017

What is it with liberals and coups?  Recently several liberals, including entertainer? Sarah Silverman, and Obama era Pentagon bureaucrat Sarah Brooks, have  been calling for/predicting a military coup against the Trump administration.  Such fools have no concept of our military where the officers are trained from day one of their careers in the essential fact of civilian control of the military.  If the impossible ever happened and some rogue faction of the military ever did move against Trump, the shots fired in such a coup attempt would merely be the opening shots in Civil War II.  Liberals have often fantasized about a conservative military coup against the government of the United States, perhaps most famously in the novel and film of the Sixties entitled Seven Days in May.  From current calls for a military coup emanating from the portside of our politics, such concerns about a conservative coup apparently were a case of the left projecting upon the right what the left would be tempted to do if confronted by a civilian government they viewed as a menace.

 

Hard to believe that it is more than half a century since the film Seven Days in May (1964) was released.  Directed by John Frankenheimer with a screenplay by Rod Serling based on a novel published in 1962, the movie posits a failed coup attempt in the United States, with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General James Mattoon Scott, played by Burt Lancaster, being the would be coup leader.  Kirk Douglas plays Scott’s aide Marine Corps Colonel Martin Casey who, while agreeing with Scott that President Jordan Lyman’s nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviets is a disaster, is appalled when he learns of the proposed coup, and discloses it to the President, portrayed by Frederic March.

The film is an example of liberal paranoia in the early sixties and fears on the port side of our politics of a coup by some “right wing” general.  The film is unintentionally hilarious if one has served in our military, since the idea of numerous generals agreeing on a coup and keeping it secret, even from their own aides, is simply ludicrous.  Our military leaks like a sieve, and general officers almost always view each other as competitors for political favor, rather than as co-conspirators.

Ironies abound when the film is compared to reality:

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20 Responses to Seven Days in May Redux

January 26, 1945: Audie Murphy Earns Medal of Honor

Thursday, January 26, AD 2017

The real heroes are dead.

Audie Murphy

When Audie Murphy starred in his aptly titled World War II biopic, To Hell and Back, his battlefield exploits were downplayed.  Partially this was due to Murphy’s modesty, he had not wanted to appear in the movie and did so only after he was promised that much of the focus of the film would be on his buddies who died during the War, and partially due to the fact that what he did during the War was so unbelievably courageous that film audiences might have refused to believe it.  Here is his Medal of Honor citation that he earned in truly hellish fighting near Holtzwihr, France on January 26, 1945:

General Orders No. 65

WAR DEPARTMENT

Washington 25, D.C., 9 August 1945

MEDAL OF HONOR – Award

Section
1
* * * * *

I. MEDAL OF HONOR. – By direction of the President, under the provisions of the act of Congress approved 9 July 1918 (WD Bul. 43, 1918), a Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty was awarded by the War Department in the name of Congress to the following-named officer:

Second Lieutenant Audie L. Murphy, 01692509, 15th Infantry, Army of the United States, on 26 January 1945, near Holtzwihr, France, commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. Lieutenant Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him to his right one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. It’s crew withdrew to the woods. Lieutenant Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, Lieutenant Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer which was in danger of blowing up any instant and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to the German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. the enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminated Lieutenant Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he personally killed or wounded about 50. Lieutenant Murphy’s indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy’s objective.
* * * * *

BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR:
OFFICIAL:

EDWARD F. WITSELL
Major General
Acting the Adjutant General

G.C. MARSHALL
Chief of Staff

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One Response to January 26, 1945: Audie Murphy Earns Medal of Honor

Faith Is Not Dead In Hollywood

Friday, April 29, AD 2016

Faith based films have seen a marked increase in Hollywood in the last several years. Critics were quick to dismiss the success of the Passion of the Christ some 12 years ago claiming its success was only caused by controversy, and the bankrolling of the picture by a celebrity like Mel Gibson. However, a few short years later came Fireproof and Courageous.  Both these films had an estimated budget of 1-2 million dollars and they grossed about $33,000,000. In 2011 a subtle pro-life film October Baby came out and moved the genre along to more success.

This set up the wildly successful 2014 which included films like God’s not Dead, Heaven is for Real, Mom’s Night Out etc.  The success continued in 2015 and 2016. Word is the big studios are now reaching out to small faith based companies to see if they forge partnerships, which while helpful also presents some serious concerns for faith based companies.

In full disclosure, the writers and producers of God’s not Dead are friends of mine who a few years ago came to a talk I gave at Family Theater in Hollywood, and then took my wife and me to dinner after reading one of screenplays. In a faith based world filled with Evangelicals, Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, as well as the crew at Family Theater in Hollywood are Catholic.  For those interested in Family Theater, you might want to read my past article on the late Father Patrick Peyton , the Rosary priest who is on the road to canonization.

In secular 2016, it is hard to believe how well received Father Peyton was in Hollywood.  Family Theater is where James Dean and William Shatner got their starts. A trip inside Family Theater affords one an array of pictures from Hollywood’s Golden Era when Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan and Grace Kelly all starred in Family Theater production films. A side note, tucked away in closet at Family Theater is an old film splicer. Rumor has it a young film student from USC named George Lucas used it to edit a Family Theater production film featuring a recently arrived young Canadian actor named William Shatner.

Everyone has their own story on how they ended up in the faith based realm. Chuck and Cary worked with the likes of Sylvester Stallone and other action oriented films for years until they could no longer resist the call to do faith based films. While they like Stallone, too few other people had the heart or character of Rocky Balboa in Hollywood. The initial years were tough, especially when hardly anyone was doing faith based films, they literally went into the valley before they could get back up to see the Promised Land. Needless to say, many thought they had lost their minds saying goodbye to the mainstream and taking the road less traveled.

Some readers might recall my initial 2014 review of God’s not Dead. The film made on a budget of $1,000,000 that initially generated a US box office figure of $60,000,000 and when all the worldwide receipts were accounted including foreign box office, DVD, movie subscription services etc totaled over$100,000,000. Generally writers and producers don’t see the kind of big money on an out of the blue success story like God’s not Dead. It comes later. If one thinks politics can be dirty, one needs to understand how the movie and music industry works.

Some film critics, even those in the faith based community complain that some of the scripts can be predictable, and perhaps the faith based angle needs to be more subtle, grittier and more provocative. Most faith based writers have no qualms with this argument. They are often put in a Catch 22, they either write a film that would be approved by faith based film companies like Pure Flix or risk the big studios saying a more subtle faith based approach is still too “faithful” for them.

Some secular critics showed nothing but venom for God’s not Dead, ( a Variety review actually used the words “Nazi propaganda film” to describe a scene) and the just released God’s not Dead 2 claiming Christians aren’t persecuted by the secular world. Then stories emerged that literally came right out of the plot lines of both films. Yet, these militant secularists give no apology.

While the critics of faith based films will always be sharpening their pens and swords, there is reason to believe that some of the Big Studios are seeing the light–or at least the financial possibilities. As mentioned above, some of the big time Hollywood studios are beginning to reach out to smaller faith based studios. Also, more faith based film companies are emerging. In addition up and comers like Nathan Leon, a talented writer, producer  and director received some notice for his film/documentary Sidewalk Chronicles on Unplanned Pregnancies which led to adoptions that positively changed the lives of so many. He and many others like him are generating some buzz in Tinseltown.

Indeed I met Leon and many other young talented men and women, while I was out in Hollywood a few weeks ago. I had been invited invited by Chuck and Cary for their premier party for God’s not Dead 2, over dinner they shared with me their big plans. They are literally this week putting the fishing touches on God’s not Dead 3 which should start to film in a month or so and be out in theaters next March or April. Also, they have an ambitious blueprint for the future and are seeking investors for their own studio and several projects are already in the works. Who knows where there this will all lead, but there are shoots and blossoms being seen in Hollywood. In a town known for fully embracing the dark side, shoots and blossoms of faith are a very good thing.

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8 Responses to Faith Is Not Dead In Hollywood

  • It’s so typical that the true fascist call foul and use discriptions like; “Nazi,” when they feel threatened, yet the freewheeling extermination of babies is freedom.

    “Work is Freedom,” the sign above the entrance to Auschwitz.

    Freedom to Kill. The new sign put up by our soul-less liberal neighbors. Poor lot.

  • Hollywood….TV, movies, popular music, I would argue has not embraced the Dark Side, but is an agent of the Dark Side.
    Seth McFarlane is at the same trims a talented and disgusting man. His adult cartoons are wildly popular and sickening to anyone of faith. He mocks his Catholic upbringing and he is worth over $100 million.
    I rarely see movies. I wish the best for the Christian filmmakers.

  • … claiming Christians aren’t persecuted by the secular world. Then stories emerged that literally came right out of the plot lines of both films.

    Oh, but that doesn’t count, because it’s not persecution if the target is double plus ungood.

  • Faith based films have always been an excellent way to evangelize. Hollywood is finally waking up to the financial possibilities which bodes well for those of us who long for the high quality production values of a well financed film project. Hurrah for Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman as they tap into what is undoubtedly a deep well of spiritual story telling and a wealth of great subject matter. Truth sells, especially when it is done right. Let’s support these films and other projects like them by promulgating their use in our parish PSR, CCD, and social halls, as well as in our family homes!

  • It’s instructive that great Hollywood actors can portray all different characters in any scenario, but they stay away from portraying the true character of people involved in the abortion holocaust. Hollywood loves sex, violence and death, along with a good scandal and coverup story but they can’t muster up the means to put the truth about abortion on the silver screen even though abortion is all about sex, violence and death and the biggest scandal and coverup of all time.

  • It is clear that fanboys will dole out huge wads of cash to see their favorite franchise even when they know ahead of time it will be just pure garbage, which is why the built in target audience has been so successful.

    The biggest builtin target audience would be the Abrahamic Faiths, of course. I think the general God awfulness of the movies and their critical success proves that people are so starved for faithbased cinema, they will put up with anything.

    Imagine the profit margins if Hollywood really invested in faith based films and made something faithful and not crap. The huge crossover hit that would be.

    The Coen Brothers made films like O, Brother Where Art Thou, and A Serious Man to critical and commerical success, and then of course, Jackson made millions and ade Oscar records with LOTR, so subtlety does well too.

    But i think the success a well done Biblical epic would have today.

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  • I find it very interesting that most of Hollywood will continue to produce trash in large amounts with the hope that, like spaghetti, some will hit the wall and make a profit when all evidence indicates that a relatively inexpensively made film with a traditional theme will almost always do quite well at the box office. Of course they will be ignored at the Oscars as not PC enough. Does anyone seriously think that any of today’s directors will be compared to John Ford or Alfred Hitchcock? Or that today’s actresses can stand up to Betty Davis or Olivia de Havilland? Today’s self absorbed entertainment industry turns out product geared precisely to its idea of itself, creating an endless circle in the process.

D-Day on Film

Saturday, June 6, AD 2015

 

 

There have been surprisingly few movies on D-Day, as indicated by the fact that three out of the five videos looked at below are from television miniseries.  Here are the five best from  a scarce lot:

5. Ike: The War Years (1978)

Robert Duvall as Eisenhower gives his usual riveting performance.  The late Lee Remick  gives a good performance as Captain Kay Summersby, the British driver/secretary assigned to Eisenhower.  Unfortunately the miniseries centers around the relationship of Eisenhower and Summersby, a relationship which is subject to historical dispute.

4.  Ike: Countdown to D-Day (1995)

Tom Selleck gives a very good portrayal of Eisenhower in the days leading up to D-Day.  The video does a first rate job of portraying the problems that Eisenhower confronted:  getting prima donnas like Montgomery and Patton to work as a part of a team, concerns about the weather, the deception campaign to convince the Nazis that Calais would be the invasion site, etc.  The video also shines a light on the weight of responsibility which Eisenhower bore, especially when we see him write out a note just before the invasion taking full responsibility on his shoulders if it failed.

3.  Band of Brothers (2001)

The epic miniseries covering the exploits of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne, captures well the chaos of the parachute and glider operations behind German lines that were so critical a part of the Allied victory on D-Day.

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Keep Up the Bad Work Seth Rogen

Friday, December 19, AD 2014

Seth RogenSo comedic actor Seth Rogen doesn’t hesitate to call Christians the A-word for supporting Hobby Lobby. Knowing that Christians don’t retaliate, maybe at worst start a picket line.

But when Seth Rogen makes a film, “The Interview”, satirizing the “Great Successor”, Kim Jong-un, he turned and ran, hired body guards, and is too scared to even offer a quote.

Seth Rogen is so fortunate to live in a country built upon Christian values. If he were in an Islamic or Communist nation, he wouldn’t be alive today.

Keep up the bad work Seth Rogen.

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9 Responses to Keep Up the Bad Work Seth Rogen

  • Great observation, Tito. It shows once again that left-wingers going back to Joseph Kennedy, Sr.,always cower before murderous dictatorships.

  • Rogen is a particular brand of Canadian that I’ve seen a lot lately: scream at people bigger than you and then tuck tail and run when they come at you. Ever read stuff about American/Canadian dynamics? Seriously its like those people have nothing to do other than complain about American politics and then get offended if America doesn’t have time to worry over Canada. Must be nice only having one boarder that you share largely unguarded with an ally. Must be nice to only have one home grown terrorist (Ottawa); Americans deal with that all the time. And in Rogen’s case: must be nice having an easier time entering the States and enjoying all that it has to offer including making tons of money off Americans. The Mexicans have to wait (or cross a desert wasteland and hope they don’t die). Must be nice.

  • “…he turned and ran, hired body guards, and is too scared to even offer a quote.”
    .
    Like all liberal progressive Democrats, Seth is a coward. He knows that what he supports as a liberal is intrinsically evil, and he knows what evil deserves, and he is afraid of receiving that which he does deserve.
    .
    Coward.

  • SETH, YOU KNEW THE JOB WAS DANGEROUS WHEN YOU TOOK IT! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKss2pBYQ6Y

  • Though Rogen is not admirable, do keep your facts straight. This week’s Village Voice has a featured cover-page interview with him by noted film critic Amy Nicholson.

  • What facts are those, Misty J?

  • I just wonder why anyone would think it was funny or smart to make low class movie about assassinating the leader of a foreign country who has demonstrated his aggressive and abusive mental Illness. How smart can Seth be?
    A dimwit … juvenile sense of humor that taunts and pokes until the sleeping bear wakes up. No thought of what the consequences might be, beyond hoping to get rich and a moment of fame.

  • Actually, Anzlyne, according to a senior defense analyst with the Rand Corporation, Bruce Bennett, though this is a crude film at some parts, Bennett says that this film would have seriously destabilized Kim ‘ s political leadership with certain NK elites. That is the pity: Sony and Rogen folded…predictably. Bennett makes the point that tens of thousands in NK death camps deserve more.

Hollywood Is Just Too Conservative

Wednesday, November 16, AD 2011

 

It has long amused me that in a country with 40% of the population considering themselves to be conservatives, we have an entertainment industry so dominated by a political point of view that regards conservatives with contempt.  Andrew Klavan, in his own inimitable fashion, explains how Hollywood distorts reality and presents it to us as entertainment.

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2 Responses to Hollywood Is Just Too Conservative

  • Actually, I am not too surprised. The arts (using the term loosely to include Hollywood) have been perceived as a more liberal profession for a long time now. Naturally, it would attract more liberal minded people, and perhaps repel more conservative minded ones. If you are a liberal college student, what major are you most likely to gravitate toward – theatre or finance? Marketing is about as close as liberals would get to a business major. And likewise in reverse for conservative students.

  • What you say is true now c matt, but it is a very recent development. Up to the 20th century artists tended to be quite heterogeneous in their politics. If anything, I think more artists would have been roughly on the right than than the left. (Think John Wilkes Booth for example.) This began to change during the Great Depression, along with the shift in academia from the right to the left.

The Leftist Mentality In A Nutshell

Wednesday, June 22, AD 2011

Cars is one of the few Pixar or Dreamworks movies that I have not seen (and with a two-year old, I’ve seen a lot).  Well it doesn’t look like I’ll be seeing the sequel either.

Debuting in theaters this Friday, the seemingly innocuous Disney-Pixar film ‘Cars 2’ has become a tool to wedge a fight against fossil fuels in favor of alternative forms of energy.

When John Lasseter moved from executive producer to executive director last year, he overhauled major portions of the plot into a good vs. evil story against big oil.

Here is the part of his interview that caught my attention.

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44 Responses to The Leftist Mentality In A Nutshell

  • This is vastly disappointing as Cars was a very good movie and I highly recommend it. So much of contemporary Leftism in this country boils down to a game of let’s pretend. Remember all those green jobs Obama was going to create?

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/56759.html

    Neither does he. When it comes to being out of touch with reality, the Bourbons just prior to the French Revolution had nothing on the forces of the Left in this country. Those who studiously ignore reality tend to end up being trampled by it.

  • No fan of greedy Big Oil here, but I still need gas to run my car and so do all the cars in the movies, which I haven’t seen. If Hollywood is so worried about fossil fuels, why not make a movie called “Trains” and push for high-speed rail. Here is WI, Gov. Walker turned down $800 million in federal aid for such a project. Last I heard, California took it.

  • Folks,

    I have worked in the nuclear energy field for 30+ years, including submarine pressurized water reactors, and commercial pressurized and boiling water reactors. Regardless of the sad events of Fukushima Daiichi, in general nuclear energy is the safest means of generating low cost, pollution-free electricity (I slept within the same container that held an operating nuclear reactor and I am still alive!).

    Now as for Fukushima Daiichi, these were BWR/3 and 4 designs with Mark I containments that had not undergone all the design chages made to similar reactors in the US. If those design changes had been made, then it is possible that the outcome of the earthquake / tsunami would have been different. Yet in spite of the fact that four of the six reactors have been utterly destroyed, there has been (to the best of my knowledge) ZERO loss of life among members of the general public due to the reactor mishaps, unlike a dam which burst due to the earthquake and drowned more than 1700 people in a nearby village (so much for green power) and unlike the oil refineries in the Chiba Prefecture which exploded and dumped their toxins to the ground and air, never to decay away.

    I don’t have time here to go into the non-issue of TMI (which proved that when the worst happens to a US PWR, containment works), or into Chernobyl (a graphite moderated light water cooled RBMK is an accident waiting to happen due to its positive void coefficient of reactivity at low power levels). But the new Generation III+ designs being put out by GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse employ passive cooling features that prevent or mitigate the impacts of Loss of Offsite Power (LOOP) events such as what doomed Fukushima Daiichi. The Economically Simplified BWR (ESBWR) and the AP1000 both use features that passively cool the reactor core in the event of a reactor coolant system leak or rupture with no outside electrical power available.

    Additionally there are Generation IV designs such as High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactors (HTGCR), Molten Salt Reactors fueled with thorium (MSR), Liquid Metal Fast Breeder/Burner Reactors (LMFBR), Peeble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR – a form of HTGCR) etc., for which loss of coolant accidents are non-issues. These designs can generate electricity and produce hydrogen gas for fueling motor vehicles employing either with fuel cell technology or the standard internal combustion process.

    There is enough uranium and thorium in Earth’s crust to provide energy to every inhabitant of our planet at the same level as the average American consumes, and to do so for tens if not hundreds of thousands of years. We do NOT have an energy crisis. We have a greed crisis. It’s easier to stay reliant on mineral slime and mineral rock that pollutes the air and kills thousands of people annually from lung disease than it is to do the right thing.

    Will we have future reactor accidents? Yes. And the aftermath will still be a fraction of what coal pollution kills annually, or what a single hydro-electric dam break can cause. And as to the issue of spent nuclear fuel, using a fast burner such as GE-Hitachi’s PRISM or Carlo Rubbia’s Energy Amplifier makes that a non-issue. And as to nuclear weapons proliferation concerns, civilian reactors that breed plutonium-239 from uranium-238 generate too much non-fissile, non-separable plutonium-240 along the way that would make any bomb fizzle out (as North Korea’s bomb did) to make it a militarily useful weapon. Furthermore, the thorium-232 / uranium-233 cycle would obviate this concern (especially since thorium’s abundance is 30 times uranium’s).

    BTW, even though coal pollution kills 30000 annually, it’s still safer than having no electricity and thus being without refrigeration, lighting at night, air conditioning, hospital machines that work, etc. We need some realism here: wind and solar are a joke, coal and oil are bad but not the worst, and nuclear is the best choice. To all those who decry fossil fuel, let them stop using gasoline for their cars, and tell the electric company not to transmit any coal-generated electricity to their house.

    When I have time, then I can give web links to wwhat I wrote above. But right now my employer (whom we should call “Nukes ‘R Us”) expects some service from me, so I have my duties to attend to (and I am sure readers want me attending to my duties even though I am thankfully a boring desk-top engineer right now and rarely have to go into the field – seniority has some advantages!).

  • Thank you Paul. One of the good things about blogging is encountering readers who are experts in various fields.

  • BTW, even though coal pollution kills 30000 annually, it’s still safer than having no electricity and thus being without refrigeration, lighting at night, air conditioning, hospital machines that work, etc.

    Well said. After the TVA electrified the region where he lived, a Tennessee farmer was quoted as saying:

    “The greatest thing in life is to have the love of God in your heart. The second greatest thing is to have electricity in your house.”

  • While I don’t claim to be a history buff, wasn’t Chernobyl an “intentional” accident? I thought the Russians were trying to see how far they could go on with a coolant failure before they could restore everything to normal. I am under the impression that they had to actually bypass nearly all the safety features built into the reactors to do this experiment, am I wrong on that? And everyone totes around saying how terrible nuclear is because of what happened there (and when I inform those opposed to nuclear that it was an intentional accident, they shoot back with, “well we shouldn’t do it anyway 🙄 ).

    Geothermal energy is also fairly useful. It powers about 30% of Iceland’s power, similarly with the Philippines. We can extract about ~1E18 Joules of energy (from all the geothermal plants in the world) from earth’s core which has a heat content of ~1E31 Joules, so our extraction is nearly insignificant. There are ways to even send the used heat back down to the core to be recycled. The environmental effects are also very small compared to coal & gas plants currently used, so it’s a win-win situation (cheap energy and little pollution).

  • High-speed rail is a good idea if it’s implemented right. In the US, we typically install it along short, crowded routes. The Acela, one of the US’s better HSR’s, connects DC and Boston with four stops along the way. You simply can’t get to high speeds when you’re going through cities and making stops. Consider the proposed high-speed rail line between Iowa City and Chicago. It’s projected to travel at 45 mph, taking an hour longer than a bus. It’ll cost riders more than twice a bus ticket, and be less fuel-efficient.

    The problem with energy policy is that it gets politicized. The Right objects to anything but drilling, while the Left signs off on any untested technology. We need to be more rational. Residential solar panels are popular and provide a decent-enough output; we should be promoting them. Wind farms and nuclear power are successful in Europe; we should be promoting them here. We should be drilling for oil for the long term, not tapping our strategic reserves for a short-run fix.

    In Europe, the major airports have train stations in them. A person can wheel his luggage down a ramp and onto a local or inter-city train. In the US, most newer airports are being built on cheaper land far outside the city, with lousy public transportation options and big rental car lots. That’s stupid. HSR isn’t going to replace air travel (which is increasing in popularity), but it can be integrated into our transportation system. If it isn’t, it’s a waste of money.

  • Kyle – Yes! Here’s a good rule of thumb: don’t put nuclear plants where the ground is unstable. Use geothermal in earthquake and volcano zones.

  • Regarding Chernobyl, please see:

    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/fschernobyl.html

    http://www.nucleartourist.com/events/chernobl.htm

    http://www.nei.org/resourcesandstats/documentlibrary/safetyandsecurity/factsheet/chernobylconsequences/

    An experiment was being performed at Chernobyl when at low power. The engineers wanted to find out if after a reactor scram there would be enough steam to keep the turbine generator generating electricity until the the emergency diesel generators got on line. The problem is an RBMK’s positive void coefficient of reactivity. During the experiment, steam voids formed under the control rods. In an RBMK, because graphite is the neutron moderator, the moderation effect of water is exceeded by its macroscopic cross-section for absorbing neutrons. So when the steam voids form, stem (being less dense than water) absorbed less neutrons. So more were available for fission. The process sky-rocketed. An exacerbating factor is that the boron control rods had graphite tips so that as the rod is inserted to nullify the neutron chain reactor, a spike in thermal neutrons occurs before the boron can absorb. Thus, when the control rods were inserted, power went momentarily up. This accelerated the steam void formation.

    BTW, to do this experiment the operators had to over-ride safety systems and violate procedures. And on top of that, an RBMK is a natural uranium fueled weapons breeder. The Soviets were trying to kill two birds with one stone. Still, the number of direct deaths from Chernobyl are in the scores, and pale into insignificance when compared with other sources of energy (e.g., wind power when there’s no wind or solar power at night and your hospital machine keeping you alive needs electricity).

  • Hey guys, my response to the question about Chernobyl went into moderation. Is this because of the links I put in it to Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Energy Institute and Virtual Nuclear Tourist web sites?

  • Paul,

    Yes, if your comment has more than one link it will go into moderation. I approved it. And thanks for the info. I completely agree with you on nuclear energy. Honestly I think we should use all forms of energy that are available to us. If wind and/or solar is viable in a certain location, go for it. What’s insane is mandating a one size fits all for the entire country.

  • The US NRC has specific siting criteria for nuclear power plants. All this is a part of 10 CFR 50. See General Design Criteria at:

    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/part050/part050-appa.html

    See also “License, Certifications and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants” at:

    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/part052/

    You guys have no idea of all the analysis that goes into probabilities for worst case earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., here in the US. It literally fills volumes.

  • To be honest, I wasn’t all that crazy about the first Cars either, it was one of my least favorite Pixar movies (down there with Bugs Life) in part because of the “how heartless is it that the new highway caused this town to dry up” theme — which kind of ignored the issue that the town was portrayed as only having boomed in the first place because of the old highway.

    It sounds like the new film just takes the unthinking heartstrings pulling one step further.

  • Pinky, the lame “drill, baby, drill” argument from the right merits a response. First of all, the once Seven Sisters, now down to 3 or 4, that monopolize the oil industry continue to do so not only by maintaining one of the most influential lobbies in Wash, DC, but also by manipulating the markets through so-called speculators in the trading pits.

    The world is awash in oil, but turn down the spigot a bit and create an artificial demand and, thanks to the laws of economics, you’re able to keep the price up and pocket billions.

    Secondly, the idea that America can drill its way out of the “energy crisis” and become “less dependent on foreign oil” — two bromides that the corporate and state-controlled media have managed to thread successfully into the running narrative — is ludicrous on its face.

    Back in the 1980s I visited Alaska’s North Slope to cover the oil boom. Everybody back then was hailing the discovery of millions of barrels of oil in Prudhoe Bay, to be pipelined from Valdez down to Alaska southern ports for shipment throughout US. But Atlantic Richfield and its partners, in cohoots with Aramco and other Arab-linked groups, did what any good capitalist does: they sold the oil to the highest bidder, which turned out to be Japan.

    Thus, over a 20-year period, American oil was being sold almost exclusively to the Japanese. So much for solving the “energy crisis” and becoming “less dependent” on foreigners. Instead, U.S. oil companies were reaping obscene profits — as they still do to this day — by exporting precious assets overseas.

    One or two other points: The media like to headline the crude oil price every day to accustom the ignorant masses to the notion that if the price goes up or down a few dollars this will have a direct impact on what they pay at the pump. In fact, the refineries are making gasoline from oil stocks and inventories that were bought, for the most part, years ago at much cheaper prices. Yet the price of gasoline keeps going up. Why? First of all, as the spread between crude costs and gasoline widens, so do profits. This accounts for the typical 40 to 60% profit gains by ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and others. Meanwhile retired oil execs bail out of their golden parachutes with nine-figure payoffs and everyone is dumbfounded as to why it costs them $4 a gallon to fill up their tanks. Can anyone read a balance sheet anymore? Of course, the stockholders are happy but the taxpayers and consumers, get the short end as usual. Meanwhile Congress and the White House do everything they can to maintain the oil depletion allowance and cut tax breaks for Big Oil.

    In January 2007 crude was selling for $75 barrel and my corner station sold gasoline at $1.75 a gallon. Now crude is $100 and gas is $4. There is no correlation other than to note the obvious disparity. You can’t blame inflation, OPEC, the Arabs, gas-guzzling SUVs as much as you can Big Oil, which continues to gouge. As Gordon Gekko famously proclaimed “Greed is good, and for want of a better word, it’s the only thing that will save the United States of America.”

    Lastly, Obama, who has taking major campaign “contributions” from Big Oil does little except to unleash toy poodle Eric Holder to keep an eye on “speculators” to make sure they’re not violating the law, whatever the law is. Unlike JFK, who bully pulpited U.S. Steel after it raised steel prices and got them to back off and unlike LBJ, who called GM’s boss on the Oval Office for raising car prices, Obama has said nothing about gouging. And his scolding of Wall Street has been mere lip service to placate the dumb voters.

    There, I feel better now.

    Drive on!

  • Joe, I didn’t say “drill, baby, drill”. I definitely don’t believe that we can drill our way out of the energy crisis, although drilling will be part of the solution. The whole point of my post was that that sort of sloganeering doesn’t help anyone; we need to be looking at practical solutions.

    With that in mind, it’s got to be recognized that Alaskan oil increases the overall world supply of oil, thus decreasing the pressure on prices. The more we produce, wherever it’s sold, the more the world market is satisfied. Also, there is a bottleneck in the refining process, and any increase in our national refining capability would increase the worldwide capability.

  • Let me add to what Joe has so correctly described. Fossil fuel’s only credible competitor is nuclear. Fossil fuel loves renewable energy because renewable is so unreliable that utilities always have to have spinning reserve (i.e., generators spinning at low output) for when the sun gets hidden by clouds or the wind stops blowing. Renewable energy is big bucks for fossil energy.

    Now let’s have a few facts. Gregory Jaczo is the current US NRC Chairman. He used to work for Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey against the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in MA and against the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in the adjaceent state of VT. Then he went to work for Harry Reid against the Yucca Mountain spent fuel repository. When John Roberts waas nominated by Bush as Cheif Justice in SCOTUS, Reid said no, not unless his boy Jaackzo got appointed to the NRC as a Commissioner.. So Bush compromised. Then the Nuclear Energy Institute pitched a fit aand proposed Peter Lyons, a pro-nuke, to balance him out. Bush agree. Jackzo and Lyons were both recess appointments to the NRC when pro-nuke Dale Klein was Chairman. Then Obama got elected. He demoted Dale Klein to being a regular Commissioner and promoted Jackzo to Chairman. Then at the end of the 5 year terms of Klein and Lyons, he let them go. Now we have an anti-nuke as NRC Chairman and this guy has just recently killed NRC review of Yucca Mountain wiithout allowing it to go to a full vote by the five member Commission. GAO just did a report on this. He didn’t do anything criminal, but what he did was unethical. I can’t find the GAO report right now, but the fact of the matter is that Jackzo did an end run around the other 4 commissioners to serve his master Harry Reid..

    Now at the same time we don’t reprocess / recycle spent nuclear fuel to remove the long-lived actinides and burn them up in fast neutron reactors because Carter (another liberal Democrat – all these guys are liberal Democrats) killed reprocessing on false fears of nuclear weapons proliferation (and that isn’t feasible because PWRs and BWRs in the US make too much non-fissile plutonium-240 with the plutonium-239; not good for bombs but great for reactor fuel).

    So inn the meantime we use fossil fuel and continue our dependency on imported oil. While most of our imports are from Canada (Canadian shale oil), we make Europe moree dependent on Mid-East oil and that finances the terrorists. Who supports this? Obama’s renewable energy schemes. Sure, little electricity comes from oil, but all that coal (22 railroad car fulls every 2 weeks for a typical coal plant) has to be transported by diesel powered trains.

    A 1000 MW reactor is refueled once every 2 years by a truck load of fuel rods.

    We are so freakiing stupid.

  • Our failure to reprocess nuclear fuel is the most inexplicable thing in the whole energy story. And it was implemented by Carter, who should have been our most pro-nuclear president! But it wasn’t overturned by Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr., or our current President, and I’ve never heard a good reason why.

  • Pinky,

    The answer is the same as it has always been all throughout history when money is involved: greed. All those politicians on left and right who benefit from contributions from fossil fuel are beholden to fossil fuel. Nuclear is a threat to fossil fuel. Reprocessing / recycling is a threat. So the answer is to amp up the regulations to make building a new nuke too expensive, and then prevent life cycle management of used nuclear fuel. We only burn 5% of what’s in the fuel rods. Only 5%! Instead of recycling / reprocessing, we were going to throw the 95% away! That’s plain stupid.

    Using Carlo Rubbia Energy Amplifiers or fast neutron burner reactors we can consume the 95%. Indeed, even a Candu (Canadian Deuterium Uranium) reactor could burn what spent fuel a US PWR and BWR produces, but we don’t even do that.

    There’s big money involved here, and both political parties have dirt and blood on their hands.

  • I do NOT speak for any utility, NSSS company, or other organization, but I worked here for 18 years (not now – went to a different company for more $ and fewer off-hour call-ins – selfish of me I suppose).

    http://www.safesecurevital.com/about-us/photo-gallery.html

    Safe. Secure. Vital. And the best group of people I have ever worked with. That’s the truth.

  • Paul P: You have not addressed the problem of nuclear waste. As long as nuclear power creates deadly waste that will remain deadly for pretty much all of time, and we have no good way to store it, I don’t see how anyone can really be in favor of it. Otherwise, yes, I agree — nuclear energy is clean, safe to operate, and pretty much limitless. But nuclear waste is an awful big elephant in the room. However, maybe you have an answer and I’m not aware of and if there is one I’d be glad to hear it.

    I am so sorry to hear this about Cars 2. I really thought I would hate Cars 1 and I thought it was great. The part about the town being abandoned when they built the new highway may be uncomfortable for some, but that’s what really happened to towns on Route 66. The only Pixar movie I have disliked is Ratatouille. It had a fabulous end but getting to the end was so tedious! It was supposed to be a French rat, not a neurotic New York rat who ought to have been in therapy and so talked all the time as if he were talking to his therapist. Not to mention the “I am too artistic to fit in with my blue collar family” stuff (so boring) and the human hero being illegitimate. Yeah… didn’t like that one. Although, as I said, I do think the end is a classic. And I liked A Bug’s Life!

  • Yes, I have addressed nuclear waste. Compared to the millions of tons of toxins dumped into the environment by coal plants every year, nuclear waste for all the US reactors would fit into a foot ball field. Furthermore, we can recycle the “waste”, burning up the long lived actinides and rendering a million year repository like Yucca a moot point. I now have to go to a meeting, but I will have more to say on this later. BTW, a 1000 MW coal plant releases more radioactivity into the environment than a 1000 MW nuke because of the naturally occuring thorium, uranium and radium in coal. At Indian point Con Ed in the 1960s wanted to build a coal plant but couldn’t because the emissions from the coal plant would swamp our rad monitors. The whine about waste is a red herring. What are you going to do about the fly ash fields from coal plants that have toxic mercury that never every decays away. Millions of tons of it.

  • For more information about radioactivity in coal combustion, please see the following from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory:

    http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html

    I have written several essays on this topic which I will post once I get access to my computer at home. Suffice it to say that I have stood above spent fuel pools with radioactive rods in them, I have been around dry casks that store spent fuel which has been outside the reactor for at least five years, I have been involved in programming PLCs that control massive refueling machines that move fuel rods from core to spent pool and back, I have stood but inches from fresh, non-irradiated fuel, I have calibrated radiation monitors for buildings containing spent fuel, and miraculously I am still alive.

    I’d rather work in a nuke plant any day of the week than a coal plant where black dust is everywhere and no one does anything to clean up messes. Look at those photos in the link I gave you to IPEC. Look at how the turbines and floors gleam. look at how clean everything is. That’s nuclear power. We manage our spent fuel the same way. In fact, if coal had to sequester its wastes the way we nukes do, there wouldn’t be a single coal plant running. But willy nilly they got to dump millions of tons of sewage into the atmosphere while some people whine about spent nuclear fuel that is really a resource, not a danger.

    BTW, 50% of US electricity is coal, 20% is nuclear and the rest is mostly natural gas with a sprinkling of renewables. Want to know why there aren’t more nukes? Because natural gas was marketed as cheap and clean in 1990s, and TMI and Chernobyl were marketed as the poster children of nuke power. Now we all pay through the nose for that mistake and who gets rich? Big natural gas suppliers like Russia. It ain’t about safety or spent fuel, folks. It’s about the money. Follow the money. Who benefits from fears over spent fuel?

    OK – more tonite when I have time – gotta go. After all, my job is “Nukes ‘R Us.” And I LOVE my job.

  • Gail,

    The only Pixar movie I have disliked is Ratatouille.

    Aw, come on, Ratatouille was the best one! 🙂

  • Folks,

    I promised more information on used nuclear fuel commonly called “waste”, and what a waste it would be to deposit it in a geologic repository for a million years, not using up all the valuable energy left within in. The Nuclear Energy Institute has lots of information at sub-links here:

    http://www.nei.org/keyissues/nuclearwastedisposal/

    So lets puts some things in perspective:

    A 1000 MWe PWR or BWR nuclear power plant annually produces 27 tons of used fuel that can be recycled and consumed in a fast neutron burner reactor, obviating the need for Yucca Mountain.

    A 1000 MWe coal fired power plant annually produces:
    400,000 tons of fly ash
    20,000 tons of SOx
    20,400 tons of NOx
    7,400,000 tons of CO2
    100 tons of small particulates
    1,440 tons of CO
    for a grand total of 7,841,940 tons of waste (compared to nuclear’s 27 tons that can be recyled)

    And the coal plant’s waste never ever decays away and cannot be recycled or otherwise reused.

    Let’s take a 1000 MWe natural gas plant:
    2 tons of SOx
    157 tons of NOx
    199,472 tons of CO2
    12 tons of small particulates
    68 tons of CO
    for a grand total of 199,711 tons of waste annually. So the next time Obama’s General Electric (yup, CEO Jeff Immelt is Obama’s jobs adviser – follow the money!) talks about clean natural gas turbines, they sure are clean – up to a whopping 199+ thousand tons! And the more GE wind turbines you buy, the more spining reserve you need, for which GE has a solution – its natural gas turbines. It’s all about the money.

    Here’s a 1000 MWe petroleum burner:
    2248 tons of SOx
    898 tons of NOx
    328,655 tons of CO2
    168 tons of small particulates
    66 tons of CO
    for a grand total of 332,036 tons of waste dumped into the atmosphere as if into a sewer.

    Now I didn’t even consider the tons of mercury, chromium, nickle and other heavy metal toxins that fossil fuel burning releases – toxins that never ever decay away. And I simply don’t have time to go into more detail.

    The nuke industry (under Carter’s non-proliferation act) has had to give the Federal Government a certain amount of money to store used fuel. Each nuke plant of the 104 in the US has to give so much money every year. Back when I was tracking this stuff in the early 2000s, the fund was 25 billion dollars +. Now Harry Reid and his hey boy Gregory Jackzo in the NRC has said: no Yucca Mountain. So the right thing to do is return all those billions of dollars to the reactor plant owners and tell them to take take of their own waste. But Dems won’t let them. Why? Reprocessing! The fools are afraid of weapons proloferation, but used commercial fuel is useless for bombs – too much Pu-240 with the Pu-239.

    Those billions of dollars for Yucca Mountain are probably up to 30+ by now. But we got cash for clunkers and a banking bailout and a bailout of Government – er, I mean, General – Motors! Follow the money, folks, follow the money.

    Is nuclear power 100% safe? Nope, never will be. Ain’t no such animal as 100% safety – never will be. But there are worse things than nuclear: coal. And then there are things even worse than coal: no electricity. Any complainers out there want to live with gas lanterns and no running water? You want your lights to turn on at night and your refrigerator to work? Then let us professionals do our job and stop tying our hands. (I speak rhetorically – not to anyone specifically on this blog site).

    Sorry, folks. I get so darn irritated. The public and the politicians haven’t a clue, Dem or Repub. Time to go to Adoration and get calmed down.

  • I am amazed at the level of expertise certain people can bring to a discussion such as this.

    Here in Southwestern Pennsylvania, specifically in Washington and Greene counties, there is a nearly 300 year supply of coal. The local leftist rag ran a series of articles about the “horrors” of burning coal for power generation.

    Most of Pennsylvania, except for the northwest corner and the southeast corner, sit atop the Marcellus shale formation, which contains more than a hundred year’s worth of natural gas. Once again, the leftist rag runs screeds demanding an extraction tax. People (I think most of these are bussed in and organized by some Soros backed group) protest against “fracking” and accuse it of fouling their water wells. Water wells go at most a few hundred feet deep. The shale formations are more than a mile deep.

    Westinghouse Electric is based in Pittsburgh, They build nuclear power plants all over the rest of the world – but not here.

    I’ll take my 3 year old to see Cars 2 anyway. He likes the characters. Lasseter makes good movies despite his lousy politics. I skipped Wall-E, which is about an overly polluted world.

  • I agree with Penguin Fans. The liberals don’t want any solution except the solution that doesn’t work. Can’t use nuke ’cause of spent fuel fears, meltdown fears, and weapons proliferation fears. Can’t use coal and gas ’cause of green house gas fears and ground water pollution fears. Gotta use wind and solar that don’t work when you most need them: at night and on hot windless summer days or snowy, cloudy winter days. Indeed, if wind power were so darn great as they claim, then why don’t we still ship cargo at sea using sailing ships?

    Even though I think nuke power is a magnitude of order better, there are things worse than a 300 year supply of coal and a 100 year supply of shale oil. It’s called no refrigeration, no lighting at night except for candles, no air conditioning, no TV, no radio, no computers, no running water, no in-house toilets (because of no sewage treatment plants run by electric motor-driven pumps), no electronic hospital machines, no anything that requires electricity which is virtually everything nowadays.

    This is but one of many reasons why I despise liberalism (though there are some pro-nuke bloggers who are liberals and I can’t fathom why – some people are simply suicidal).

  • PP, I’ve got nothing against nukes, but can’t help remembering the scary scenario in the 1979 thriller, The China Syndrome, in which a physicist says a meltdown would render “an area the size of Pennsylvania permanently uninhabitable.” The movie, starring Jack Lemmon and Jane Fonda, was released 12 days before the Three Mile Island accident, which, of course, helped box office sales.

    Fiction or not, the film raised disturbing questions about the safety of nuclear plants and while accidents have been rare if they do occur the possible outcomes are indeed frightening (Fukushima, e.g.), triggered by a 9.0 earthquake.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster

  • “I’ll take my 3 year old to see Cars 2 anyway. He likes the characters. Lasseter makes good movies despite his lousy politics. I skipped Wall-E, which is about an overly polluted world.”

    I’ll take my 9 year old also and like other movies explain how people can use movies and other venues (schools, churches) as political propaganda. He’s already become quite proficient at pointing out flaws in commercials and Obama speeches.

  • Joe,

    You can read about the TMI event here:

    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/3mile-isle.html

    TMI proved that when the worst thing happens to a US reactor, no one dies, no one gets injured, but the stockholders get hit in the pocket book and the regulations are amp’ed up. Yup, the operators screwed up: tagged out aux feed water, didn’t believe their indications when the PORVs stuck open and RCS press was low bur Pzr level was rising, failed to see that the steam bubble went into the core, etc. ad nauseam (I teach this stuff because my employer insists that our engineers follow the darn the procedure and believe in their indications and obey the stinking regs, and my employer is an evil capitalist who wants too make money and can’t do it without obeying the regs and being safe – imagine that!).

    Now as for Fukushima Daiichi, it was hit by a double whammy of an earthquake and a tsunami. Call it an “Act of God” or “Act of Nature” if you will – no one can protect against that. Maybe half a dozen people died directly. In the mean time, the same earthquake cause a dam failure that drowned 1700 people in a nearby village. Let’s see: less than dozen deaths from Fukishima (and all plant workers, NOT general public) vs 1700 villagers dead from green power – black death.

    By the way, why no mention of the petro fires in the Chiba Prefecture that burned out of control for 10+ days, spewing their never decaying chemical toxins into the atmosphere and soaking the nearby land with oil? Pictures of secondary containment roofs blowing off at Fukushima makes for good sensationalism, but not for accurate reporting of what really happened.

    And BTW, if the Fukushima plants had implemented the upgrades that US BWR/3’s and 4’s with Mark I containments had to implement, then the events would have been very different. The batteries for Reactor Core Isolation Cooling Turbines lost power because they didn’t have long enough lasting batteries for the valve controls. And no, I don’t like Mark I containment structures and I can’t go into all the technical reasons here. But the facts are less than a dozen deaths due to Fukushima and 30000 annually in the US from coal fired power plant air pollution.

    That magic word “radiation” makes nuclear so much more fearful. Did you know that wildlife has returned to the Chernobyl area and is thriving? Or how about the Oklo natural reactor in Africa a couple of billion years ago, and today Africa has among the widest diversities of life on the planet. See:

    http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/Files/Okloreactor.pdf

    As far as the China Syndrome movie goes, there is a reason why Jane Fonda is called Hanoi Jane.

    Next will be web links to the passive safety features of GE’s ESBWR and Westtinghouse’s AP1000 that obviate TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima events.

  • For an animation on the passive safety design of GE-Hitachi’s ESBWR, please see:

    http://www.ge-energy.com/products_and_services/products/nuclear_energy/esbwr_nuclear_reactor.jsp

    In the Media gallery on the right side of the page you will have to click the first arrow or triangle to get the video going, then just follow the on-screen instructions.

    For the Westinghouse AP1000 passive core cooling system, please see:

    http://ap1000.westinghousenuclear.com/ap1000_psrs_pccs.html

    For the Westinghouse AP1000 passive containment cooling system, please see:

    http://ap1000.westinghousenuclear.com/ap1000_psrs_pcs.html

    I can get the Mitshubishi APWR and the Areva EPR ones, too, if you want, but you get the idea. These designs are even safer than the current ones and are designed for a LOCA concurrent with a LOOP. And GE’s design doesn’t need any outside intervention or even external electrical power for up to 72 hours.

    Any more questions? Oh, one last thing: go here for the PRISM reactor. It obviates our spent nuclear fuel problem. Harry Reid can go jump in a toilet.

    http://local.ans.org/virginia/meetings/2007/2007RIC.GE.NRC.PRISM.pdf

    I used to teach training classes on basic nuclear technology with the guy who is in charge of this. But I went to a different (and better) employer. Can’t stand Jeff Immelt (GE’s CEO) sucking up to Obama.

  • Opps – sorry guys – you gotta approve another of my posts because I put too many web links in it to nuke specific info that will clear up a lot of mis-conceptions. Lots of animation, too.

  • I am sorry to post yet again, but Joe had mentioned the mishaps at Fukushima Daiichi. Please go here for info:

    US Nuclear Regulatory Commission – Japan Nuclear Accident – NRC Actions
    http://www.nrc.gov/japan/japan-info.html

    US Nuclear Energy Institute – Information on the Japan Earthquake and Reactors in That Region
    http://www.nei.org/newsandevents/information-on-the-japanese-earthquake-and-reactors-in-that-region/

    Do NOT listen to ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MS NBC, NBC, NPR, PBS, etc. Whenever one of the talking heads open their mouths with the word “nuclear”, you can be assurred it’s BS. News journalists (for all their liberal screeching that we Christians are so anti-science) are themselves without even the basics in knowledge of physics, chemistry and biology. The overwhelming majority wouldn’t know the difference between a centimeter and an inch (2.54 cm = 1 inch, BTW). So how can they possibly speak intelligently about neutrons and gammas, boron and hafnium, Pu-239 and U-235, rems and sieverts, etc.? Dumb, dumber, dumbest. Sorry – I have a low opinion of what passes for media in this country.

  • Paul, it’s easy to see why you get so annoyed at the politicians and the media. A half-truth works just as well as a lie and has a longer half-life.

    29 years ago I started my first year in college. In my first class (Speech) there was a character who was fervently anti-nuclear power. According to him, he knew all of the problems with nuclear power that no one else knew because of his father’s employment in the nuclear power field.

    Yeah, right, another 18 year old know it all. I did not like teenagers when I was a little kid. I didn’t like teenagers when I was a teenager. I don’t like teenagers now.

    There were some articles in the local libertarian rag, quoting a nuclear engineer, who was asked about what to do with the spent nuclear fuel. He pointed out how easy it is to reprocess the stuff, but Carter made it illegal and nobody has had the guts to overturn that stupid decision.

    When it comes to the “enviornment”, truth rarely gets out, but lies last forever. Rachel Carson was a total fool. Her contention that DDT caused the shells of wild birds to be too thin has been thoroughly discredited, but DDT is illegal almost everywhere. Had DDT still been in use, countless lives lost to malaria would have been saved, but the “enviornmentalists” don’t really care about human life.

    I pointed out earlier some facets about the Marcellus shale gas deposits in Pennsylvania. Our local school board was overwhelmed with a bunch of protesters whining about a proposed gas well on some vacant property owned by the school district. The usual platitudes about “the children” were thrown about, like my son throwing rocks in the street. It’s so much BS. Pennsylvania has had a boom in gas drilling because New York State and West Virginia (also part of the Marcellus shale gas field) either ban drilling (New York, no surprise) or an extraction tax (West Virginia). My cousin is a geologist and she said the complaints about fracking are all lies. The damage done, if any, is due to an unreputable company that damages roads by exceeding weight limits, or improperly treats the used fracking fluids.

  • Please do not let your little ones watch TV. Read books, play toys or just enjoy the day. TV dulls everyone. Thanks.

  • Penguins Fan,

    I agree with you 100%. BTW, President Jerry “lame duck” Ford was the one who started the nonsense about no spent fuel reprocessing and Jimmy “I am a liberal” Carter implemented it. Both Repubs and Dems have their hands dirty. And from his days at US Naval Nuclear Power School, Jimmy Carter (a former nuke sub officer) KNEW that spent fuel from a commercial PWR or BWR had too much Pu-240 in it to make a useful bomb. He KNEW. I know he knew because he went through the same US Naval Nuclear Propulsion Training that I went through. But as you pointed out, the facts don’t matter.

    When the lights go out and the refrigerator compressor motors stop, then they’ll ask where’s the coal, gas and uranium. Green power – black death.

    Hey, as an aside, what’s green on the outside and pink on the inside? Nope, not a watermelon, but a Demokratik Party operative hell bent on eco-justice and social justice. Think about it. I gotta stop. Time for my nightly meditation and Bible reading. I need some serenity. But thanks for the support, Penquins Fan!

  • I really Enjoy Wallie (probably my favorite), Monster inc., Monsters vs Aliens and the first Toys. I never seen Cars didn’t seem apealing. Paul P. Thanks for the information. I had to do research on Nukes when Japan problem hit because I knew hype would be overwhelming. I went to the MIT site and a site call ANS all things nuclear. I was waiting for someone in California to find some unfound uranium with all the gyger counters that were purchased.

  • Cars has to have been the worst Pixar film, and has become their merchandising movie, which I suspect may have been the intention. As an adolescent (I’m as ashamed of that fact as I should be) ’90s kid, I grew up on Pixar, consistently amazed – with the notable exception of the stupid sports movie where nothing happened to completely uninteresting characters. The sequel ( I am willing to bet hard money.) will be comparable to “Space Balls II: The Quest for More Money.”

  • I sounded so hard on Pixar in that post. Let me say for the record that I am a massive Pixar fan, and that I really think every movie with that one exception is both hilarious and beautiful, and that I have cried during at least four of their movies.

  • Well, I took the family to the drive-in (right next to the takeoff runway at the Pittsburgh Int’l Airport) last night. My son loves the Cars characters and, for being 3 1/2 years old, watched most of the movie.

    I saw countless kids with Cars clothes, Cars kid sized lawn chairs, etc.

    It wan’t bad, but the end of the movie was as convoluted as h-e-double hockey sticks and it definitely was not the best effort made by Pixar.

    As for the merchandising – people like me are as much to blame for it as the people who license and produce the stuff. My son has, as follows:
    – a Lightning McQueen tricycle, (I bought it and it was the cheapest trike in the store)
    – a Cars toybox (the only other one in the store was a Toy Story toybox)
    – a set of Cars sheets and pillowcase for a twin bed (I bought ’em)
    – several Cars characters t-shirts (all from my cousin, whose son outgrew them)
    – several Cars pajamas,
    – a Cars toddler bed he has since outgrown ( a present from Grandma),
    – a McQueen -shaped pillow,
    – Matchbox size toy cars of McQueen, Finn McMissile and another character, and
    – a Sheriff with a (formerly) loud siren my brother bought, in part to annoy me with the noise.

    When we were looking for a toybox, my son wandered off a few feet away, grabbed the set of Cars sheets, and dragged them over to my wife and me.

    I grew up with Loony Tunes, Speed Racer and the black and white Popeye cartoons. Those were better than anything made today – and a LOT more violent. Merchandising back then was unheard of

  • Fan, I haven’t seen a drive-in since I left NYC 40 years ago. Didn’t think there were any left in the country. Of course, in those days, nobody watched the movie. It was just the best place to take your girlfriend. 😆

  • I neglected to point out that Rachel Carson, she of the garbage book Silent Spring (the Dan Brown of her time), which propogated the lie about DDT, was from Pittsburgh and had a bridge named after her. I still call it the 7th Street Bridge. Carson’s garbage has cost an untold number of lives, in my wife’s native Colombia and elsewhere where malaria can be contracted.

    One more thing about the natural gas wells, and oil wells in particular – in parts of rural Northeastern Ohio, specifically eastern Portage County, northwestern Mahoning County (not far from Youngstown) and Columbiana County (about 60-65 miles northwest of Pittsburgh) there are countless oil derrick and gas wells to bee seen in farmers’ fields. Imagine that – food being grown near a gas well! Some fortunate folks there have gas wells that supply their homes with natural gas and they don’t have to buy natural gas or propane or heating oil.

  • Joe, I live near Pittsburgh.

    Pittsburgh is 25 years behind the rest of the country and is d_*n proud of it.
    Catholics are 50% of the population of Allegheny County and Allegheny county has among the highest rates of church attendance in the nation. This cuts across all Christian churches.

    As for who gets elected from here, that’s another discussion.

  • Pitt Fan, I just hope you don’t catch up to NY, which just passed “gay marriage” law and made me vow never to go back to the city that I once thought was the greatest in the world. Now it’s a cesspool.

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4 Responses to This Explains a Lot about Hollywood

Janeane Garofalo Is Our Intellectual Superior

Wednesday, June 30, AD 2010

She continues to invited on MSNBC and network morning shows spouting out words of wisdom when asked her opinions on important topics of the day.

But why is she constantly being invited back when she’s not even a political pundit nor works in politics for that matter?

No problem, she now offers us what she knows about Christianity.

We are all better for it.

In fact, I feel that after being exposed to this intellectual superior, I’ve regressed enough to begin enjoying her comedy bits!

(Biretta tip:  Andrew Breitbart)

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9 Responses to Janeane Garofalo Is Our Intellectual Superior

  • Why does she keep saying “six and a half”?

  • “But why is she constantly being invited back when she’s not even a political pundit nor works in politics for that matter?”

    Because many in the media think just like her.

  • She meant to say “Six Of One, A Half Dozen Of The Other” which means they are the same thing …

  • I remember back in the mid-90s I quite liked her handle playing quirky, ironic and self-aware characters.

    Now, she’s just sad. Look and learn, kids, look and learn.

  • I think that most people under the age of 35 would know who this woman is. Her acting career has long since passed her by. At least she has her stunning intellect, good cheer and good looks to keep her warm at night. May God bless this poor, bitter woman and may we all see our poverty, and bitterness through her saddening display and ask God for deliverance from these crosses.

  • I meant people under 35 would NOT know who she is…

  • Regarding the title of this article: the truth hurts, doesn’t it?

  • It certainly made me laugh when I read it.

  • Amazing! This woman is more enlightened than Francis Bacon, Galileo, Issac Newton, Albert Einstein… more inspirational than Johann Bach, Shakespeare, Handel… more eminent than Washington, Adams, Lincoln… and more virtuous than Francis of Assisi, Amy Carmichael, Mother Theresa…

    All such puerile souls, tsk, tsk, believing in a Creator, Savior, and a Book of Truth.

    Can we clone her?

Celebrity Pay

Wednesday, May 26, AD 2010

People often demand to know why it is that we as a society consent to pay movie stars and professional athletes such obscene sums of money, while teachers and other people clearly providing greater benefit to society are paid so very little.

There are a great many economic and social explanations one can go into, but one basic point that probably bears pointing out is that society does not in fact spend more on Hollywood or on professional sports than it does on teachers. Nationally, the US spends an average of $10,000 per year on each student in public schools, and average college tuition (blending public and private) is roughly the same. Thus, a person with a four year college degree has had roughly $170,000 spent on his education — almost certainly more money than he will spend over his lifetime on movies or watching sports.

The reason why teachers make so much less than movie stars or professional athletes is that the total amount of money collected by these entertainment celebrities is spread over a much smaller number of people. There are under 500 players in the NBA, around 1700 in the NFL. The number of actors who make truly large amounts of money (especially when averaged over a career which often has long dry periods) is at most a couple thousand. By comparison, there are over six million teachers and three hundred thousand college and university professors.

Entertainers make so much money because modern means of communication allow large numbers of people to enjoy the performances of a comparatively small number of people.

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6 Responses to Celebrity Pay

  • That is a good point. Also, athletes and other celebrities make a lot of their money off of endorsements. We do not directly spend our money on the celebrity in that case. Teachers/professors could certainly get in on that gig if they want to, and with some medical/health care products, some have.

  • It’s also due to the monopolization trends in entertainment. 100 years ago, there were thousands of baseball organizations, for example. They ranged from 16 major league teams to semi-pro outfits barnstorming and playing minor (nor development) leagues. Not so today. 30 MLB farm systems, and a few co-ops calling themselves independent leagues.

    Music, too. More people made a decent living performing and many more enjoyed music as an avocation. American culture has largely abandoned entertainment as a participatory activity. More adults watch sports, including their kids’, than play it, and many more people watch or listen to music instead of learning an instrument and doing it themselves.

  • While certainly I’m not one to defend actors, I will make a few points in their favor.

    TALENT.

    Having worked in advertising, let me tell you— its incredibly important to find performers that get your script, can add qualities to it that you didn’t originally see and can perform when they’re asked to.

    I once worked on a tv campaign that was a complete casting disaster. We hired exactly who the client wanted, against the recommendations of the ad agency and the director combined. This guy made about 100K to film 5 tv spots and he was TERRIBLE. When we edited, we found that the spots were dry, lifeless and totally boring.

    We worked overtime to find a solution that allowed us to edit most of the poor performance out and replace it with a new voice over. But who would do the voice over? Against the clients wishes, the agency quietly spent 50K to get a very well known “Hollywood” actor to come in and record at TEST voice over. The agreement was that if we used it on television, he would get an additional 150K.

    Let me tell you. This guy came in, he was a bit of a jerk: but in under an hour he NAILED the performance we needed and saved our campaign. As far as I’m concerned, he was worth every penny. We would have saved thousands of dollars had we been focusing on the right talent, versus believing we could find substitutes.

    I’d also put forward some other reasons why they are paid as much as they are:

    — few people do what they do well, and do it on-demand

    — many of the best paid actors also play roles in story development and production

    —yes, as has been mentioned, they “play” to a larger audience than your average 5th grade teacher

    —and of course, a single large salary for an actor might have to stretched over months or even years between major acting jobs. Only the most in-demand actors find themselves with regular work.

    Certainly I think exorbitant figures do get passed along, but considering how much money is taken in, and that a movie can make money for a studio for YEARS from licensing, dvd sales, advertising, etc. It makes more sense.

    Lets put it this way: Iron Man would have been NOTHING without Robert Downey Jr. He made that film work and overcame a fairly by-the-numbers story and a comic character that was not as well-known as Batman or Spider-man. So, I would argue that yes, he is worth every penny.

  • Anthony,

    Agreed on pretty much all points.

    Though one thing I’d flesh out a little further: While I agree that the talen to be a top actor (or a top professional athlete) is pretty rare, it’s rarity still wouldn’t be worth nearly as much if we didn’t have the technology to take that one good performer and put him or her in front of hundreds of millions of people nearly instantly. If we lacked that ability to mass broadcast the few top performers, there would be a much bigger niche for mediocre actors and atheletes making mediocre incomes.

    By the same principle, if there was a way for the true top 500 teachers in the country to educate nearly everyone at once through some mass medium, and if people recognized their work as far superior to most other teachers, we’d probably have teacher superstars making tens of millions a year for doing their stuff.

  • Darwin Catholic,

    Thank you for addressing this subject in this manner. I’ve long been frustrated by the bumper sticker arguments about compensation for teachers. This is always a touchie subject. Many teachers are fantastic educators and earn every cent they are paid. However, it is ridiculous to lump them all together and compare their salary to the absolute best ball player. Reality is most teachers get paid more than most ball players. I’m a baseball player and I get paid nothing. Most don’t. A very tiny percentage of ball players get to play in the minors for a year or two. Out of that tiny minority an even smaller percentage get to visit the majors for a week or two. An extremely tiny percentage (one in ten million) are good enough to last long enough to have a lucrative career. Reality is they are incomparable. A good teacher and a below average teacher are equally capable of having a long career and will likely be compensated (paid) equally. That is the problem.

  • While I agree that the talen to be a top actor (or a top professional athlete) is pretty rare, it’s rarity still wouldn’t be worth nearly as much if we didn’t have the technology to take that one good performer and put him or her in front of hundreds of millions of people nearly instantly.

    I’m not sure about that. The top actors of the 19th century – Bernhardt, Henry Irving, Edwin Booth, etc – made fortunes. All of them spent a lot of time touring and to live in the sticks and see Booth perform was the thrill of a lifetime for many people. How their fortunes compare to the ones made by movie stars today, I wouldn’t know, but certainly they made far far more than the average worker (including the average actor) of their time. Star quality mattered as much then as now.

Roman Polanski and Hollywood Defending the Indefensible

Saturday, May 15, AD 2010

Whoopi “it isn’t rape-rape” Goldberg, Woody “I married my daughter” Allen, Martin “Jesus slept with Mary Magdalene” Scorsese, Monica Bellucci, David Lynch, Michael Mann, and Tilda Swinton are just a portion of the Hollywood crowd that are clamoring for the release of Roman Polanski who is being held in Switzerland waiting extradition to the United States.

Roman Polanski is on the run from the law for his rape of a 13 year girl in 1977 when he was a young 44 years of age.

Yesterday a former Hollywood starlet, Charlotte Lewis known for costarring opposite Eddie Murphy in The Golden Child, came out in a news conference that she was raped when she was 16 years of age in Paris by Roman Polanski when he was 50 years old.

Her reasons for coming out now?

Her disgust at how Hollywood is defending Roman Polanski and minimizing his offenses.

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7 Responses to Roman Polanski and Hollywood Defending the Indefensible

  • Joe Friday says it all:

  • It’s kind of funny to see figures in Hollywood do all sorts of moral gymnastics to defend Polanski. Say what you will about the scandals in the Church, you don’t see Catholics suddenly stretching Catholic teaching in order to defend genuine abuse cases.

    I can only imagine people would defend Polanski out of a horribly misguided sense of compassion, or they too have some skeleton in their closet that makes them think “that could have been me.”

    Seriously. The guy took advantage of a minor and then evaded the rulings of U.S. courts. Wouldn’t it have just been easier to do the time and move on? I mean, if he’s such an amazing and important “artist” wouldn’t all of his buddies been waiting to work with him when he was available again? Wouldn’t they have “understood” the horrible injustice of his incarceration and worked to put together projects so Polanski could “redeem” himself?

    I imagine all this is happening because Polanski, and his friends, know that going to jail means the end of his film career. I still contend to this day that had Michael Jackson been found guilty of child molestation none of us would be playing his music today.

  • Actually, we have seen some Catholic prelates stretch or dismiss church teaching to make excuses for sex offenders. Certainly it happens among cardinals who have, until recently, been “promoted.” For every Woody Allen or Tilda Swinton, there’s Bernard Law “and Order” and Angelo “Petty Gossip” Sodano.

    That said, I think Roman Polanski is a creepy criminal and should be prosecuted. If guilty, he should go to prison. I’m happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with Charlotte Lewis, Michael Douglas, and even the conservatives at AC in saying so.

  • If Polanski has two who have reported his actions then there are dozens more who have remained silent.

  • Todd,

    For once I agree with you (mostly).

    Certain prelates have done injustice to the many abused children and youth in the Church.

  • I think they should hand Polanski over to the 16th Century Brits and accuse him of being a Papist.

  • Actually, we have seen some Catholic prelates stretch or dismiss church teaching to make excuses for sex offenders.-Todd

    Got any actual examples supported by actual quotes?

    I’m most interested in your accusation that a prelate would “dismiss church teaching” – the criteria for “stretch” is potentially too subjective. Dismissal is an active act of the will. Do you really know of a statement from any of those prelates you named such as “Church teaching on this subject does not matter,” or was your accusation a rhetorical stretch?

Live Long and Prosper

Friday, April 23, AD 2010

Leonard Nimoy is calling it quits as to any future portrayals of Mr. Spock, and is retiring from show business.

Leonard Nimoy, the actor who has famously portrayed “Star Trek’s” original alien Spock for over 40 years, has announced he’s officially hanging up the pointy Vulcan ears for good. Nimoy, 79, plans to retire shortly from show business and the “Star Trek” convention circuit, according to the Canadian newspaper Toronto Sun.

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4 Responses to Live Long and Prosper

South Park, Fear and Self-Censorship

Friday, April 23, AD 2010

I confess that I have never watched South Park.  From what I have read about it, the show holds nothing sacred and has had cruel attacks on Christ and other religious figures.  Some people have given it a thumbs up for not being politically correct.  I guess the latter is true, because in an episode that aired Wednesday the South Park crew went after the ultimate sacred cow in today’s America, the founder of Islam, Mohammed.

Or rather they attempted to.  Comedy Central, obviously caving to death threats from Islamic extremists, bleeped out the portions of the broadcast aimed at Mohammed:

Comedy Central bleeped out all references to the Prophet Muhammad in Wednesday night’s episode of the animated show “South Park.”

The episode was a continuation of last week’s episode which depicted the Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit.

A radical Muslim website threatened the show’s creators following that episode.

Comedy Central confirmed to FoxNews.com that it had censored the show, and that the episode was not available on its website.

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50 Responses to South Park, Fear and Self-Censorship

  • Matt Stone and Trey Parker are part of the problem.

    Look at their depiction of Muhammad. They were scared enough not to portray him, so they opted for a bear costume.

  • They were scared enough not to portray him, so they opted for a bear costume.

    This was a reference to an earlier episode of South Park where Comedy Central censored an image of Muhammad. Trey and Matt were basically mocking the network for their actions and making a point about the completely absurd double standard, and Comedy Central not only validated their point, but upped the ante as well. Truly remarkable.

  • I have seen South Park on occasion. It’s often hilarious, but too vulgar for me to watch in good conscience. At the same time, I don’t really get the criticism offered in the post. Sure, there’s a double standard; Comedy Central doesn’t receive many death threats from Scientologists (one of the few episodes I’ve seen), Mormons, Catholics, or many other groups. They do receive death threats with a nonzero plausibility from various Muslim groups. And so they have censored some inflammatory comments aimed at people who are threatening their employees.

    Why, exactly, does a tv network devoted to comedy have a moral obligation to stand up to Muslim extremists? Isn’t it just good business practice to take reasonable steps to protect your employees? Also, I can see why you’d object if you thought the show was a valuable contribution to society; but as you don’t, why would you care one way or the other whether it is edited to be less offensive?

  • John Henry,

    It’s my impression of the cowardice of Hollywood and their constant attacks on non-violent Christians is what Don was getting at.

    It’s to highlight how morally deprived and without standards Hollywood has… and to continue to remind the culture of these biases.

    Paul,

    Thanks for clearing that up. It makes much more sense that way.

  • “Why, exactly, does a tv network devoted to comedy have a moral obligation to stand up to Muslim extremists? Isn’t it just good business practice to take reasonable steps to protect your employees? Also, I can see why you’d object if you thought the show was a valuable contribution to society; but as you don’t, why would you care one way or the other whether it is edited to be less offensive?”

    We all have a moral duty in a democracy John Henry to stand up to those who choose to use murder and threats of murder to get their way. Weimar Germany is a prime example of what happens when most people decide to simply keep their heads low and not speak out against those who use violence to intimidate. I dislike what little I know of South Park intensely. I dislike far more those who use threats of homicide getting their way.

    Comedy Central is guilty of cowardice. The cowardice is more contemptible due to their pose of being courageous in giving a forum to a show like South Park which regularly butchers sacred cows. At the first hint of trouble the pose drops in an instant and they stand revealed as cowardly school yard bullies who are shocked that there are consequences to puerile insults.

  • It’s to highlight how morally deprived and without standards Hollywood has… and to continue to remind the culture of these biases.

    Again, why is it morally depraved for a comedy television channel to censor a program – making it less offensive – out of concern for the safety of its employees?

  • Again, why is it morally depraved for a comedy television channel to censor a program – making it less offensive – out of concern for the safety of its employees?

    I double down on your again and will repeat myself to clear my point.

    It is to remind people, again and again, of the moral depravity around us. Once we stop speaking out, like Don says, evil will triumph.

    Or you can continue to live in your relative lap of peace and luxury and continue slinging non-sequiturs at those of us trying to change the culture from your peanut gallery and let it slide.

  • Weimar Germany is a prime example of what happens when most people decide to simply keep their heads low

    Don, you are too well read and sensible to make this type of analogy. Censoring a vulgar comedy show that mocks Muslims in the U.S. in 2010 is not remotely analogous to the rise of the Nazi’s in 1920’s and early 1930’s Germany.

    At the first hint of trouble the pose drops in an instant and they stand revealed as cowardly school yard bullies who are shocked that there are consequences to puerile insults.

    Not really. They still ran the episode, and they have responded to countless legal threats over the years from offended parties. They are willing to accept legal risks, but not physical threats to their employees; that doesn’t seem crazy for a comedy tv channel to me. I don’t understand the content of the moral obligation you are imposing on comedy tv channels. You agree that there is little value to the programming, but state that they should ignore threats to their employees lives in order to broadcast it.

  • Maybe it’s important to point out the hypocrisy of a network that likes to pass itself off as “edgy” with all its attacks on non-violent Christians and suggestions to employees of other “less noble” networks to go fornicate with themselves.

    What Comedy Central should have done is made clear why they are engaging in a double standard by issuing a disclaimer that spelled out that the reason they don’t censor blasphemous things such as Jesus watching pornography is because Christians, despite the rhetoric of Hollywood, don’t actually turn out to be very violent when they have their Faith mocked, whereas practitioners of Islam have shown themselves to be quite violent when their faith is questioned in the arts and the media.

    The fact is that “edgy” Comedy Central is really just a bunch of cowards and bullies striking out at those who don’t fight back while shrinking from those most deserving of having their beliefs (or at least how those beliefs are often put into practice) called into question.

  • It is to remind people, again and again, of the moral depravity around us.

    But aren’t you making the case for broadcasting ‘depravity’?

    Look, this isn’t a big deal. I don’t care whether or how Comedy Central censors their programs. I’m sympathetic to the idea that Western culture needs to defend its values; I just don’t think this is the best example to make that case. It seems to me we could pick our battles better.

  • I generally disapprove of skewering religion for laughs, and maybe it isn’t Comedy Central’s job to draw the line in the sand. But if any show were going to get away with something like this, it’d be South Park. It’s disappointing that no one stands up to this kind of crap:

    “It’s not a threat, but it really is a likely outcome,” al Amrikee said, referring to the possibility that Parker and Stone could be murdered for mocking Muhammad. “They’re going to be basically on a list in the back of the minds of a large number of Muslims. It’s just the reality.”

    That kind of stuff is just crying out for ridicule. When South Park does those “Jesus and Pals” TV, they’re probably blasphemous (and sometimes funny, I’ll admit). I never issued a mafioso-sounding statement like that guy, though.

  • I think the obvious source of frustration here is not that people want to see Islam insulted, but rather the feeling that Islam is being rewarded with more respect because of the small minority of its followers who are ready and eager to behead or otherwise attack those who offend them, while Christianity is being punished because it lacks a true violent minority.

    And this is made the more galling because Christians are often scolded for allegedly being violent and oppressive.

  • but rather the feeling that Islam is being rewarded with more respect because of the small minority of its followers who are ready and eager to behead or otherwise attack those who offend them, while Christianity is being punished because it lacks a true violent minority.

    Well, but it’s not just Christianity. South Park takes on all comers – from Jews, to Mormons, to Scientologists, to politicians; it’s basically anybody in the country that doesn’t happen to have a sizable minority that issues official death threats. And even then, they ran the episode. I don’t think that really amounts to more respect for Islam; just an acknowledgment that some of its adherents are prone to violence. If anything, that results in less respect for Islam as a religion. People wouldn’t respect Catholicism more if Catholics issued death threats every time they were mocked, although it might lead to a reduction in mockery. In the end, this is not a flattering message about Islam; quite the opposite.

    And this is made the more galling because Christians are often scolded for allegedly being violent and oppressive.

    I can understand why that suggestion is galling. But this is much better understood as the idea that there are different rules for Islamic terrorists than for everyone else, than as a contrast with Christians, or Jews, or whomever. If South Park only picked on Christians this would make more sense to me. As it is, it appears like a comedy channel is being criticized for not confronting terrorists more forthrightly…I’ve never thought that was in the job description of a comedy channel, nor do I think on the merits that there is that much value to insulting religious traditions. I understand the hypocrisy objection Jay raises – and I understand the artistic expression objections no one here has raised – but it’s only hypocrisy if there’s inconsistency. The threats of Islamic extremists are different in kind than the other threats, so I see that type of inconsistency as sensible rather than hypocritical. At least, while I might want to run the episode unedited just to be contrary, I don’t blame people actually responsible for the decision for choosing otherwise.

  • But of course comedy central had no issue leaving in the parts of the same episode where Jesus was watching porn and buddha snortng coke.

  • Interesting discussion- I like John Henry’s out-of-the-box thinking on this- my first reaction is to lash out at the cowardice of Comedy Central- but really the reality is that the threat of violence is a real one and one has to be prudent. The real solution to the double-standard is for Catholics and all Christians to find a non-violent means of conveying the same kind of “threat” not to the lives but to the livelihoods of South Park’s personnel and Comedy Central as well. This is a whole lot harder than having a little violent mafia that can be summoned to break some arms and legs to get our way. But it shouldn’t surprise us that since Christ’s Way is the Truth, He wouldn’t allow us to take immoral shortcuts. And so, we resume the battle for souls in an often hostile world- My own contribution has been to stop watching larry david’s show after the “piss christ” episode even though I really really wanted to see the Seinfeld reunion bits, and I stopped watching South Park a year or two ago and even Colbert is something that I am rarely taking in anymore- I suppose it is something of a boycott, and boycott are only effective if they are huge- these things are tough to organize, but we start with ourselves and our little sphere’s of influence to get people to consider just taking a powder of such offensive programs.

  • If anything, that results in less respect for Islam as a religion. People wouldn’t respect Catholicism more if Catholics issued death threats every time they were mocked, although it might lead to a reduction in mockery. In the end, this is not a flattering message about Islam; quite the opposite.

    That’s actually precisely one of the takeaways I had to this kerfuffle. I don’t think it justifies Comedy Central’s decision, but what does it say that even a veiled threat is taken so seriously?

  • You own a business with many employees under your care. A couple employees want to stage some public spectacle sponsored by the company that you have no objection to except that protesters promise to retaliate with lethal force. What do you do?

  • “Don, you are too well read and sensible to make this type of analogy. Censoring a vulgar comedy show that mocks Muslims in the U.S. in 2010 is not remotely analogous to the rise of the Nazi’s in 1920’s and early 1930’s Germany.”

    Actually John Henry I think that Islamic Jihadists and the Nazis have quite a bit in common in regard to their use of violence and the threat of violence to achieve their ends. I also think many of the elites in our society are every bit as decadent and cowardly as the elites who ran Weimar Germany.

  • “They still ran the episode, and they have responded to countless legal threats over the years from offended parties.”

    They ran a censored episode John Henry as a sign of their capitulation. They were unafraid of legal challenges, because, as you and I as attorneys both know, they had nothing to fear from the legal challenges and much to gain from the free publicity. They gave the Jihadists a victory and gave way to death threats because they are craven cowards.

  • John Henry, we commonly come up short in various ways. We should not. We need to understand that we come up short. Lacking in physical courage and cojones is coming up short. Offering apologetics for this sort of behavior works toward breeding more of it in the coming generation, which is not to be desired.

  • AD, I believe the phenomenon you’re describing is referred to as ‘projection’ in the psychological literature. Not everyone evaluates arguments primarily through the prism of adolescent chest-thumping. Not that there is anything wrong with being an adolescent, of course. It’s a question of the proper time and place.

  • I also think many of the elites in our society are every bit as decadent and cowardly as the elites who ran Weimar Germany.

    And so…what? Comedy channels should run programs offensive to Muslims to prevent radical Islamists from over-taking our government like the Nazi’s seized power in Germany? As I said, I don’t really care one way or the other what Comedy Central does. I’d probably rather see the episode unedited; but I don’t think the arguments you’ve offered are very compelling.

  • They gave the Jihadists a victory and gave way to death threats because they are craven cowards.

    Again, what is ‘craven’ about this? It may be cowardly – most precautionary measures can be so described – but what is craven about it?

  • If Catholic programmers had bowed to threats made by Islamic extremists who did not like the orthodox Catholic perception of Islam or some key component of Islamic religious practice- like the problem of reciprocity in giving religious liberty to non-Islamic religions- then I would be upset. Catholics should not bow down to unjust demands- but Comedy Central is probably staffed by moral relativists who represent the secularist mindset well- hold to certain ideals until they become inconvenient- and switch back when they the storm has passed. The South Park approach of skewering all sacred cows will be revised according to the level of “threat” to either physical lives of the show’s creative staff or to the economic damage that a planned or spontaneous boycott would create.

  • AD, I believe the phenomenon you’re describing is referred to as ‘projection’ in the psychological literature. I would advise you not to showcase certain insecurities, intellectual or otherwise, so openly.

    I look forward to john Henry’s next blog post about how conservatives commentators need to be more reasoned, and how we should avoid ad homimem argumentation. Leading by example, as always.

  • Paul, I don’t know why you felt the need to comment there. I mean, honestly. What are you trying to accomplish? Granted, I shouldn’t have responded with an ad hominem to AD”s ad hominem. It’s bad practice. I don’t really see why you decided to get involved, though. I certainly wasn’t talking to you, and there is no need for you to be so nasty.

  • So, basically you acted like a tool, and your reaction is to admonish me.

  • I apologize, again, for responding to AD’s ad hominem in kind. There is not much else I can do. I am not going to hi-jack Don’s thread any further responding to your unnecessarily hostile remarks.

  • When someone is attacked via ad hominem or otherwise it is acceptable in my view, and in fact can be noble, for a third party to defend the person attacked.

  • Mike,

    I agree. I thought what happened was that Art Deco attacked me with an ad hominem and I responded, wrongly, in kind. Then Paul jumped in ostensibly to scold me for responding with an ad hominem, while throwing another into the mix. Was I wrong to interpret Art Deco’s remark as a childish ad hominem? If so, then I apologize both for misinterpreting and for responding as I did. As it is, I just apologize for the response.

  • John, I dunno. I suspect that all of us just allowed our passions to momentarily get the better of us, me included.

  • John Henry,

    Why are you bending over backwards to defend cowardice?

    You say you really don’t care about this issue, yet here you are a dozen posts or so into defending your view on it.

    Your attitude, if I may say so, is precisely the wrong one to take. You are distorting the comparisons others in order to continually justify a position that most of the people here rightly and instinctively know is wrong – servility and groveling in the face of a relentless and brutal enemy.

    You say,

    “Look, this isn’t a big deal. I don’t care whether or how Comedy Central censors their programs. I’m sympathetic to the idea that Western culture needs to defend its values; I just don’t think this is the best example to make that case. It seems to me we could pick our battles better.”

    We don’t get to pick our battles, John. Our battles come to us. They “pick” us.

    If we can’t stand up for ourselves over “small” things, then I question our ability to stand up over large ones.

    When dealing with an aggressive foe, boundaries must be drawn, they must be made to know that they can NEVER get away with death threats against American citizens.

    I don’t give a rats about the content of South Park. The show has its great political moments, it has also terribly insulted the Church and Christ on numerous occasions. The show’s writers are still too childish and naive to understand that the Church is the best thing that ever happened to Western civilization and is worth promoting, and not attacking; so be it.

    They’re still American citizens and they still deserve to be able to exercise their first amendment rights without fear of death threats from a group of fanatics who use violence to show how angry they are that people portray them as violent in the ultimate act of psychopathy.

    What if the Muslims threatened to blow up the studio where South Park is made unless Matt and Trey convert to Islam? Should they do it? Where do you draw the line? At what point does “safety” take a backseat to human dignity and honor?

    I would like to know.

  • I view this whole thing as a sad commentary on free speech today. The 1st amendment at its finest is meant to protect the thoughts and speech that people would die for; yet it has become merely interpreted by our society as the right to say whatever disgusting and offensive thing they can think of.

    While the creators of South Park & Comedy Central would no doubt believe themselves to be advocates of free speech (as shown by the show’s frequent attempts to push the limits of the FCC), it is telling that what they backed off as soon as any consequences were hinted at.

    That’s not to say the made the wrong decision. I don’t think unnecessary blasphemy is funny nor do I think it’s worth dying to protect the right to unnecessarily blaspheme. I just wish that they would take the same time & effort they have put into this into saying something worth saying and worth dying for.

  • John Henry, I do not think the term ad hominem means what you think it does.

    That aside, my personal biography is obscure to you, as are my insecurities and what not.

  • What if the Muslims threatened to blow up the studio where South Park is made unless Matt and Trey convert to Islam? Should they do it? Where do you draw the line? At what point does “safety” take a backseat to human dignity and honor?

    Since you’ve specifically requested that I respond, I will, but I think my shift as volunteer pinata on this thread will be over after that. I am not sure that running vulgar, self-satisfied cartoons that insult various religious traditions is a matter of ‘human dignity’ and ‘honor’. And so I’m fine leaving the decision of whether to offend Muslims in that way up to Comedy Central and the writers to work out among themselves. It’s not like we’re talking about high art or a great contribution to culture here. South Park is probably the crudest show on cable – and that’s a difficult category to win these days. Notice, most of the criticisms above are about a double standard – South Park goes after anyone else with abandon, but not Muslims. I explained above that there seems to me to be a reasonable distinction there given the threats of violence, or at least there is room for reasonable disagreement.

    Is this a type of ‘surrender’ to violence; maybe, but I would not be surrendering anything I view as particularly valuable here. A private company that runs a Comedy Channel self-censoring to make its program less offensive doesn’t bother me. When something that I value is at stake, that’s where I’ll draw the line. For instance, if the FCC or some other government group tried to coerce a private company to self censor in this manner, I’d absolutely oppose that type of government action. Or if the program in question was a debate among scholars about the Koran or Islam & violence, I’d have a problem. But, as it is, the terrorists are damaging themselves more than anyone else – and more than any episode of South Park could.

  • John Henry, I do not think the term ad hominem means what you think it does.

    That aside, my personal biography is obscure to you, as are my insecurities and what not.

    AD, now, that you’ve re-appeared, I apologize again. I am well aware of what an ad hominem is; apologies for the misinterpretation (assuming you were not intending to insult me) and response (regardless of whether you intended to insult me or not).

  • ” I am not sure that running vulgar, self-satisfied cartoons that insult various religious traditions is a matter of ‘human dignity’ and ‘honor’.”

    Way to twist the argument. It is a matter of dignity and honor to not cower before threats of violence, regardless of what one is doing.

    For their part, Matt & Trey are challenging the double standard as applied to Islam. As a point of logic, they are absolutely correct – it is inconsistent and cowardly for CC to allow them to mock Christ and other religious figures but not Mohammed. It is a clear sign and signal that Islam’s violent threats have “worked”, that they have acquired a special immunity. This is unacceptable.

    “It’s not like we’re talking about high art or a great contribution to culture here.”

    It doesn’t matter.

    “South Park is probably the crudest show on cable – and that’s a difficult category to win these days.”

    You haven’t seen Drawn Together, then… At any rate, while it is slightly off-topic, South Park may be crude but it often approaches political issues from a more mature standpoint than most cable news commentary. Sometimes I think the creators add as much vulgarity as they do as a test – if you “see through it” and watch the show for the message, you learn something. I could be wrong.

    “Notice, most of the criticisms above are about a double standard – South Park goes after anyone else with abandon, but not Muslims. ”

    Though this isn’t your point, I will say here that Matt and Trey WOULD “go after Muslims” – it is the network execs. at CC that censor them.

    The first part of the episode (it was a two parter) highlighted the fact that BEFORE the controversy in Denmark, South Park prominently featured a Mohammed in the original “Super Best Friends” episode and there was NO PROBLEM.

    Then a group of fanatics in Denmark arbitrarily decided that it was the time to start getting violent over print depictions of Mohammed, and everything changed. Frankly, as a Christian I am as disgusted as any civil libertarian at this servility. These people are bullies, and you stand up to bullies, you don’t back down.

    “When something that I value is at stake, that’s where I’ll draw the line.”

    Ok. I think that strategy is pointless, since the thing to be valued is our freedom not to be threatened by violent extremists, but whatever.

  • Why expect the Comedy Central execs to be any braver than the newspaper editors who refused to publish the Mohammed cartoons, or Western leaders who rush to preemptively denounce “hate crimes” against Muslims the second after any Muslim commits a hate crime?

    The merits and faults of South Park are secondary compared to the larger context, which is that Western governments and media (the same media which pride themselves on “speaking truth to power”) are utterly cowed by Muslim. The MSM caved on the Mohammed cartoons; Mark Steyn was hauled before the modern day equivalent of the Star Chamber in Canada for “hate crimes” (his “crime” was actually quoting a Muslim iman accurately); the French media reports on “youths” holding their nightly carbeques in the Paris suburbs without mentioning that the Renault-torching youths all belong to a certain religion; Geert Wilders is on trial for hate crimes against Muslims, although he is the one who needs police protection; Theo van Gogh was carved up in an Amsterdam street in broad daylight and none of his fellow filmmakers saw fit to mention his brutal slaying at that year’s Academy Awards. I could go on – and on. The more they bully and threaten, the more the West kowtows to their demands, to their inviolate right never to be offended, no matter how mild or unintentional the offense is. A few years ago, some company in the UK banned coffee cups depicting Porky the Pig because Muslim employees were offended by them. The Jews traditionally have never had much use for pork, but I’ll wager it never crossed the minds of even orthodox Jews to call for a ban on cups with pictures of cartoon pigs.

    The Muslim grievance society is perpetually aggrieved. They demand and demand and demand, and the West gives in and apologizes and capitulates endlessly. And the same people who do give in to the Muslims because of the very real fact of Islamic extremism fret about imaginary “tea party violence” and congratulate themselves for being daring when they insult Christians.

  • “And the same people who do give in to the Muslims because of the very real fact of Islamic extremism fret about imaginary “tea party violence” and congratulate themselves for being daring when they insult Christians.”

    That they do – and they sicken me.

  • Very interesting thread. My first instinct was to side with the snot-nosed religion-bashers over the violent psychopaths and the cowards, but really there are no role models in this story.

    I think it is the obligation of anyone in the field of communications to risk his life for human rights. We typically don’t think of it that way, but Vaclav Havel would. If you’re lucky enough to go a few decades without risking your life for something, you’re in a historical lull, but those don’t last long. The whole point of life is to pick a side.

  • Is Obama a coward for refusing to release the prisoner abuse photos?

    It’s one thing to put your own life on the line, but when you’re responsible for the lives of others, sometimes you should bite your tongue. Besides, it’s not like Comedy Central was protecting the Holy Grail. It was a cartoon. The right of Comedy Central to air a cartoon on one side and real lives on the other. I think they did the right thing.

  • Giving into a threat of murder restrainedradical merely encourages those who make the threats. It is cowardly and simply doesn’t work in the long run.

  • Some of you may be getting caught up in the vulgarity of southpark but it actually touches a lot on social and political issues. By the mere fact that they are willing to accept death threats because they believe in free speech actually says a lot about their character.

    Lets set aside the problems you have with southpark and at least acknowledge that.

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  • Of course catholics would defend the muslims because just like them they are responsible for far worse evils than ANYONE in the history of hollywood. Im glad its finally coming to light just how corrupt the holier than thou are.

  • Right. People killed in just wars waged by the Catholic Church (the “Crusades”) = a few thousand.

    People killed by atheist communists for a demented ideology that doesn’t even work = somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 million.

    No, you non-believers have us beat.

  • MR, who can possibly argue with someone who has such a keen grasp of history? For future reference I am going to exercise my prerogative of blog censorship and state that I find your assumed name offensive and any further comments under that name will go to the spam file and you will be banned from this blog. I defend the right of the South Park creators to be jerks in the face of Jihadist death threats. That does not mean that I wish to see their style of ignorant jerkiness emulated in my threads.

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Neal McDonough: Bravo!

Thursday, April 1, AD 2010

An actor, a faithful Catholic, willing to lose a role in a TV series because he won’t do sex scenes?  Surely not in this day and age?  Guess again!

Neal McDonough is a marvelous actor who elevates every role he plays, whether it’s in Band of Brothers or Desperate Housewives. So when he was suddenly replaced with David James Elliott 3 days into the filming on ABC’s new series Scoundrels earlier this week, there had to be a story behind the story. The move was officially explained as a casting change. But, in fact, McDonough was sacked because of his refusal to do some heated love scenes with babelicious star (and Botox pitchwoman) Virginia Madsen. The reason? He’s a family man and a Catholic, and he’s always made it clear that he won’t do sex scenes. And ABC knew that. Because he also didn’t get into action with Nicolette Sheridan on the network’s Desperate Housewives when he played her psycho husband during Season 5. And he also didn’t do love scenes with his on-air girlfriend in his previous series, NBC’s Boomtown, or that network’s Medical Investigation.

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24 Responses to Neal McDonough: Bravo!

  • He was superb in Band of Brothers. I’m glad to see he’s a good fella in addition to a good acta’

  • I’ve been a fan of his for a while, but I didn’t realize that he was a faithful Catholic… awesome!

  • I tried to find some way to email or contact Neal McDonough for his ethical stance. I couldn’t find a way, so please if possible forward to him that I’m very impressed. It’s good to know there are still some real men in Hollywood.

    Kind regards,

    Mark Emma
    Parsippany, NJ

  • Good for him.
    This culture is so overly saturated with sexuality that I cannot understand how anyone does not get bored with it. Religious convictions aside, don’t people ever get tired of trying to outdo each other in depravity? These so-called sexual rebels are really just marching in lock step with the culture. They all seem convince that they are breaking new ground. A month ago I was on the UIC (U of Illinois, Chicago) campus and some cute girls were at a table promoting the Vagina Monologues. Nobody paid them a visit. They looked pathetic and they shamed themselves.

  • Mr. McDonough has a facebook page where you can leave a message

  • @daledog, well said!

    @Marie, I found him on Facebook and am now a fan. Thanks.

  • I fixed the link.

    Good story and even more interesting comments on their posting over at Deadline Hollywood.

  • I remember the character he played on Boomtown, an adulterer and black-out drunk. I guess it’s good that McDonough doesn’t want to portray anything sexual, but that doesn’t seem like a big difference to me. It depends on how “hot” the scenes were going to be.

  • The reason this is so shocking is because everyone was pretty sure there was no one of character left in Hollyweird. Then Neil looses his job to his values.

    What is amazing to me is how the Hollyweird minion are suggesting there is no difference between playing a murderer, and taking your clothes off, making physical sexual (at least sensual) contact with an actress (who is not your wife) are not different issues. One is pretend, while the other is far from it.

    Hats off Neal, stand your ground, do not back down, and never apologize for being the last one standing with a moral core.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised Randy if a fair amount of actors and actresses aren’t secretly cheering him on. The entertainment industry is pretty intolerant of dissenters, and most people who dissent from the dominant worldview of Hollywood learn pretty quickly to keep their mouths shut if they want to work.

  • Pinky,

    In the Catechism it specifically states that even acted out sex is prohibited.

  • get tiger to do his role

  • Awesome!!! Finally someone to stand for faith, values and morals, Hollywood could take this to heart. Cheers for Neal McDonough.

  • Tito, are you referring to paragraph 2354 in the Catechism? I don’t think that every depiction crosses the line into pornography. A lot depends on how “hot” the scene is, I’d think.

  • @ Mark Emma
    I was thrilled to hear about Neal McDonough!!! I am also looking for a way to send email to applaud his actions. It also reminds me of another soap star who did the same thing…. Roark Critchlow- he played Mike on Days. If you find a way to catact Neal, let me know! I think he will get more opportunities to work- I believe God honors you for standing up for what is right!!!!

  • How awesome is that! Someone who actually has morals.

  • I also wish to applaud Neal McDonough for standing up for his beliefs and remaining faithful to his Catholic faith. May God continue to bless him and his family.

  • Glad to see an actor with moral character to say no to the filth and trash on our movies and TV screens. I commend him for his decision and wish more actors and actresses had the courage to do what he did. God Bless him. May he be an example for hollywood.

  • Yes, indeed. Bravo, Mr. McDonough! I’ll be looking forward to your new series.

  • Bom, sou brasileiro e achei muito impressionante a posição deste católico. Sou católico também e parece que o mundo não tem mais jeito. Mas mesmo sendo católico, eu duvido sobre estas coisas, mas aí que vem o poder de Deus e age para acreditarmos sempre, sempre. Felicidades para vc Mr. McDonough! Jesus o abençoe e Maria sempre o proteja!!!

  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy:) Mr. de Melo’s comment is basically on-topic, so here’s a VERY rough translation from his Portuguese via my college Spanish:
    “Well, I’m Brazilian and [I like to look at things(?)] from a Catholic point of view. I’m Catholic, too, and it seems that the world now has more [skill?]. But this Catholic blog, you’re devoted to these things, so that one can see the power of God and have to praise him forever and ever. Congratulations to you Mr. McDonough! May Jesus lead you and Mary always protect you!”
    (As I said, this is a very rough translation of Waldney’s comments, so if anyone can refine it, that’d be great.)

  • Here’s Google’s translation:

    Well, I am Brazilian and found it very impressive that the Catholic position. I am a Catholic and seems also that the world is hopeless. But even being a Catholic, I doubt about these things, but then that is the power of God to believe and act whenever, wherever. Cheers to you Mr. McDonough ! Jesus and Mary bless you always protect him!

    /translation finished

    Pretty close to Mrs. Cathy “Civilization Guru” McClarey’s translation.

  • i just want to say…..I love this guy! why can’t i find a fan site??

Now Showing: The Tudors

Wednesday, March 3, AD 2010

The following is a column posted by Brad Miner of The Catholic Thing on Monday, March 1, 2010 A.D.:

John Timothy McNicholas, Cincinnati’s archbishop from 1925 until 1950, went to a New York convention in 1933 and heard the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, Amleto Cicognani (future Vatican Secretary of State), rail against Hollywood’s “massacre” of American moral innocence and call for the “purification of cinema.” McNicholas took the message to heart and founded the Catholic Legion of Decency (CLOD). As TIME magazine reported in 1934, the organization’s mission was simple: the faithful should stay “away from all motion pictures except those which do not offend decency and Christian morality.” So popular did the Legion’s campaign become that Jews and Protestants joined the crusade, and the organization was quickly rechristened the National Legion of Decency.

The Legion’s descriptions of films were exclusively condemnatory; calling only for protests about and boycotts of films deemed impure. And some of the films CLOD listed have been subsequently delisted by its successor, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Office for Film and Broadcasting. For instance, “Finishing School,” a Thirties production starring Billie Burke, Ginger Rogers, and the too-often ignored Frances Dee, was condemned by CLOD as portraying an “attempted seduction and an accomplished seduction. . . . Protest. . . . Protest. . .” Today, the USCCB rating of the film is A-III, in essence: It’s a quality movie. Go ahead and watch it – you’re grown-ups.

Archbishop McNicholas

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5 Responses to Now Showing: The Tudors

  • Note how that classic film depicted Henry’s adultery. Wolsey: “He’s been to play in the muck again. He’s been with Mistress Anne Boelyn.” Those lines convey the reality of the situation so much better than any nude scene could. The current porn fixation of contemporary films is not only a moral evil, but it is a degradation of the art.

  • There is a place for nudity, not for sex.

    And the sex scenes in The Tudors as well as most of the nude scenes (if not all), are gratuitous to say the least.

    Though I enjoy viewing The Tudors, I stopped after a while. It certainly could have done very well without the sex and nudity and played on the History Channel instead of the porn site that is Showtime.

  • An honest question: If the sex depicted doesn’t glorify the immoral, why can’t the depiction be moral?

  • RR,

    Excellent point.

    But if the sex were allowed, does it have to show full frontal nudity for BOTH sexes?

    Plus the act of watching simulated sex is an occurrence of sin.

    Offense Against Chastity:

    CCC 2354 – Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.

    The Sixth Commandment: You Shall Not Commit Adultery. (Ex 20:14; Deut 5:18.)

  • Tito you are right. Here are other relevant sections of the Catechism.

    2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

    2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

    2523 There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.

    2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.

    2525 Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint. Purity of heart brings freedom from widespread eroticism and avoids entertainment inclined to voyeurism and illusion.

Family Guy Actor Sides With Palinth

Friday, February 26, AD 2010

Patrick Warburton, who the true geeks among us will remember as The Tick, sides with Palin over the FamilyGuy attack onTrig episode:

Cast member Patrick Warburton told TV critics Wednesday he objected to the joke.

“I know it’s satire but, personally, that [joke] bothered me too,” Warburton said on a conference call to promote his other primetime show, CBS’s sitcom “Rules of Engagement,” which returns for a fourth season on March 1. (On “Family Guy” Warburton does the voice of the wheelchair-bound police officer, Joe.)

“I know that you have to be an equal-opportunity offender, but there are some things that I just don’t think are funny.”

Shhh. Wait. It gets better:

“Look, I have fun. I like Seth [MacFarlane, the show’s creator]. He’s got a great comic mind and I think that the show can be fantastically funny. But I do believe that it can be hurtful at times,” Warburton said in response to a question about the episode posed by WaPo Team TV’s “Family Guy” bureau chief Emily Yahr. […]

“A show like that … is going to offend everybody at one point or another,” the actor said.
“My mother actually believes my soul’s in peril for being on the show,” he added.

Hold up, for the Post felt it needed to make sure readers knew Warburton was being sarcastic with that last line:

Note to Ms. Palin — he was making a joke.

Phew. And I thought he was being serious.

Warburton is a Catholic, and he and his wife have four kids.

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9 Responses to Family Guy Actor Sides With Palinth

  • He may be The Tick to geeks, but to us dorks he’s Puddy!

  • I’m a dork. The episode where Puddy gets religion jumps to mind.

  • If we’re going to play this game, I suppose I should note that Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress who played the girl on the Family Guy episode (and who herself has Downs Syndrome) thinks Palin was the one who was out of line.

  • “My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.”

    Yeah, she’s a real sweetheart BA.

  • Ms.Friedman seems to be doing the part of the house “low life African-American” for the Family Guy IMHO.

  • Marv,
    I see you haven’t changed. Still wrong about pretty much everything, including contributors and commenters on this site. How very sad for you.

  • Oh, my goodness!

    That last comment actually interrupted the finishing touches on a homily that has to be delivered in 25 minutes!

    Judge much, Marv? “Her children are heavily involved in sex and drugs”? Scandalize much, either, for that matter?

    what do you know of what Chelsea Clinton has or has not done (not that it matters)? the one thing everyone knows about Chelsea Clinton is that she hasn’t given birth to a child. We know *nothing* else. (not that I care to, but there it is.)

    And it would not be inappropriate to moderate that little puppy out of the conversation.

    I’ll pray for y’all at Mass.

  • In all honesty, haven’t had a chance to read the comments re Pat Buchanan. I’m not singling you out, Marv, really. I’m singling the comment out.

    Re Sarah Palin and her motherhood, well…she ain’t Catholic. Is she a good role model for young women? I like much of what she does in public. MILF? Perhaps the carnal man might think so. But I choose to TRY not to think of ANYONE in that way, so as not to degrade either her or myself. Seems like she gets an awful lot of bad commentary based on the gifts god gave her. it isn’t like she spent millions on plastic surgery to look the way she does.

    Lastly, “judge not” in the context of Scripture doesn’t mean that we should never call anything wrong because we all sin. Right and wrong are OBJECTIVE. Just because I smoke crack doesn’t mean I can’t call someone else wrong for doing it; it just means I recognize that I am wrong too. And your comments really do verge on being awfully ad hominem (what difference does my opinion about Sarah Palin’s politics OR body have to do with the correctness of her criticism of Seth Macfarlane (the correct answer is, “none”)?

    We’d all be much more effective debaters if we stuck to the facts, and those conjectures and opinions supportable by facts. Whether Sarah Palin is pretty or not has no bearing, does it?

  • Marv, one of the joys of being a blog contributor is being able to pick and choose who I allow to comment on my threads. I have deleted your comments and you are now banned from commenting on my threads. Have a nice life.