Hollywood Gets It

The Kingdom | Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner | Official Site | Now ...
The Kingdom (2007)
The Kingdom - Movie - New York Times the film’s notion that conventional movie values — buddy bonding, boisterous action and a relentless determination to get the bad guys — could bridge the deepest cultural chasm. ....... to figure out “what would a murder investigation look like on Mars?” ....... as they break political barriers and cultural taboos to investigate a bombing in Saudi Arabia not unlike the real-life attacks on Western residential compounds in Riyadh. Those occurred in May 2003, just as Mr. Berg began working on “The Kingdom.” ........ “Two of those guys from the most oppositional backgrounds you can imagine, a Saudi cop and an African-American from Washington, would have more things in common, wanting to make bad things not happen, than all the cultural differences between them.” ......... The film was shot in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, as well as in Washington and Arizona. ...... several Saudis were retained to provide cultural advice, though one, Mr. Berg said, was distanced from the project after he developed a crush on Ms. Garner ........... one of the traditionally dressed Muslim women at his London screening said she had read the movie as being “about the absurdity of military solutions” to Middle Eastern problems.
The Kingdom (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Movie Review: The Kingdom
The Kingdom - Movie - Review - New York Times taking aim at the ethical nuances and ideological contradictions of the war on terror and blasting away. ....... “The Kingdom” takes the breathless visual precision of the Jason Bourne movies — what the film scholar David Bordwell calls “intensive continuity” — out of the abstract hall-of-mirrors universe of intra-C.I.A. skulduggery and into a semiplausible world of international tension. Rather than explore that tension, as some other, more ostentatiously serious movies coming out shortly seem poised to do, Mr. Berg and Matthew Michael Carnahan, the screenwriter, do what they can to relieve it with fireballs and frantic chases. The result is a slick, brutishly effective genre movie: “Syriana” for dummies. ....... unpretentious professionalism ..... a horrific double terrorist attack on American oil company workers and their families. ........ Their presence is barely tolerated by the Saudi authorities, many of whom are either incompetent or in cahoots with the jihadis. ......... Fleury recognizes a fellow good cop in the person of Faris Al Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom), a Saudi colonel who helps the Americans both before and after the bullets and rocket-propelled grenades start flying. Once they do, the good guys are in the familiar, physically perilous but morally gratifying position of being outmanned and outgunned with the cavalry nowhere in sight. ....... “I’m not saying America is perfect,” Fleury says a while before the climactic barrage, “but we’re pretty good at this.” ....... depiction of American competence and righteousness. ...... Just as “Rambo” offered the fantasy of do-over on Vietnam, “The Kingdom” can be seen as a wishful revisionist scenario for the American response to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. .......... After a murderous terrorist attack a few of our best people — four, rather than a few hundred thousand — go over to the country that spawned the terrorists, kill the bad guys and come home.

The terrorists are like organized criminals, only they also dabble in religion and politics. In their mind, they are entirely political. You don't invade a country to tackle its organized crime. You send in a few, specialized people who will work with the good people already working towards the same goals locally. You team up.

That is one aspect of it. There are many aspects.

Number one keeps being spreading democracy the progressive way, country after country after country.

You help build a democracy where democracy does not exist. You help build a state where a state does not exist. Too bad Americans only get it when those goals are explained in terms of anti-terrorism.

The world is failing Burma right now. The support extended to the democracy activists in that struggle is mind boggling in its lack of sophistication and magnitude.

Anti-Mormon Prejudice Is Holding Romney Down

Romney otherwise looks good. He looks the part. He looks qualified.

In The News

Kidnappers beaten to death in Bihar Hindu
Wheels of justice turn in Bihar
The Statesman
Musharraf gets uneasy victory
Los Angeles Times
Mynamar junta takes soldiers off Yangon streets
Reuters The Myanmar junta reduced security in Yangon sharply on Sunday, apparently confident it would face no further mass protests ...... the streets remained unusually quiet and arrests continued. ....... few people on the streets said they were still fearful and the Internet .. remained cut off. ..... mass protests which filled five Yangon city blocks ...... referred to her respectfully as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a departure from past practice when her father's name, Aung San, was dropped to deny her link to the nation's independence hero.
Junta eases up on security in Myanmar International Herald Tribune
Myanmar Junta Puts Pressure on Monks The Associated Press saying Sunday that weapons had been seized from Buddhist monasteries ...... recent raids on monasteries had turned up guns, knives and ammunition
A small flame of hope burns in Burma San Francisco Chronicle Even China, perhaps Burma's closest ally, called on Burma's leaders to "achieve democracy" - a curious remark from a country that crushed its own peaceful uprising, at Tiananmen Square, 18 years ago. But the weight of public opinion from around the world left China little choice. ........ Once again the advocates had hope; some were giddy as the world focused on their country, so often ignored. ...... So now the uprising appears to be dead, just like previous failed efforts in 1988 ......... Burma seems to be one of those problems that the world is powerless to correct - like President Robert Mugabe's destruction of Zimbabwe, or the government-sanctioned cultivation of coca in Bolivia. ......... after a moment of reflection, she insisted, "I don't think it is finished. Burma is much more connected with the world now. The military relies on the same technology. They can't cut it off. I don't think this is over." ...... an uprising from within the military could bring the junta down. ........ the next day a Burmese army major fled to Thailand and told a Thai TV reporter: "As a Buddhist myself, when I heard that monks had been shot dead on the streets and that other people had been shot dead, I felt very upset." All the experts insisted that one change may yet bring the regime's downfall - its attack on the monks. Buddhism is to Burma as Islam is to Saudi Arabia. ........ We have been conditioned to expect results overnight, brought to us on television - as happened in the Soviet Union, Poland, Georgia, Ukraine. ...... The demonstrations may be over. But their repercussions may very well bring change - in time.
Secret cremations hide Burma killings Times Online THE Burmese army has burnt an undetermined number of bodies at a crematorium sealed off by armed guards northeast of Rangoon over the past seven days, ensuring that the exact death toll in the recent pro-democracy protests will never be known. ........... The secret cremations have been reported by local people who have seen olive green trucks covered with tarpaulins rumbling through the area at night and watched smoke rising continuously from the furnace chimneys. ........ watched soldiers in steel helmets blocking off roads to the municipal crematorium and threatening people who poke their heads out of windows overlooking the roads after the 10pm curfew. ........... “There has been no attempt to identify the dead, to return the bodies to their families or to give them even the minimum Buddhist religious rites” ............. Horrifying rumours are sweeping the city that some of those cremated were severely injured people thrust into the ovens alive ........ the army moved bodies after the shoot-on-sight curfew. ....... between 100 and 200 people lost their lives in the Rangoon disturbances. The number of Buddhist monks arrested is put at about 1,000, while about 3,000 civilians have also been detained. The regime’s own statement is that 2,093 people are in custody. ........ The Chinese army carried out a similar practice of anonymous cremations in Beijing after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, when many unidentified bodies were disposed of at the city’s Babaoshan crematorium. The true number of dead has never been established. ........ the apparently continuous stream of deaths days after the guns fell silent. ...... hospitals and clinics were ordered not to give any treatment to the wounded ...... beaten, injured or wounded people taken into custody have got no treatment and may have died ....... grave concern for the wellbeing of elderly monks and very young novices rounded up, by all accounts, with brutality. ......... Blood-stained robes, shattered statues and defaced holy pictures have been caught on digital images smuggled out of the country. ........ soldiers lined the monks up against a wall and smashed each of their shaven heads against the wall in succession. The monks were roughed up and thrown into trucks, but the abbot was so severely beaten that he died on the spot ........ two boy monks asking for alms on a street in a nearby area appealed for help in their limited English. ..... “We are very frightened,” said the elder, who was about 14, while the younger, about 10, said: “I want to go home to see my mother and father again.” ....... beatings, abuse and starvation in custody ...... The regime has refused to grant access for the International Committee of the Red Cross to inspect the conditions of those in detention. ......... “mass relocations” of monks and protesters ..... systematic arrests have continued at night ...... world’s first globalised on-line revolt, instantly dubbed the Saffron revolution. ....... the regime was techno-savvy, patient and thorough. It kept the internet open long enough to allow its own cyber-operatives to down-load the images and recordings of street protests to identify the protesters. The internet is now shut down. ........ Every Burmese street has a block registration with photographs of each resident on the wall of the local administration office ...... arriving to make arrests with computer-generated photographs of their targets pulled off the internet.
With Assists From Google and Apple, Tech Sector Rebounds Washington Post Google and Apple are in the top 10 of almost every portfolio I see. That's what concerns me a little bit about it ......."Be careful what you buy," Dolan said. "A lot of the managers who are managing these tech funds today weren't even around during the boom and bust."
SOCCER: Blurring the lines between politics, money and sports International Herald Tribune
Soccer Seeks Limits on Foreign Players in Challenge to EU Law Bloomberg
Europeans Oppose FIFA's Planned Cap on Foreign Players Deutsche Welle
New Microsoft Service Stores Health Records Online
PC World
Spears' New Song Rises on Music Charts Washington Post
Microsoft Wants Your Health Records MSNBC For the umpteenth time you fill in your name, age, allergies, medical history, and the like. ....... Patient health records are about as resistant to information technology as the common cold is to a cure. Doctors with small practices haven't always been keen to make the investment in computer systems when the payoff seems so unclear. Few hospitals have bothered to set up systems to retrieve data from patients' electronic files. ........ there isn't any real economic incentive to digitize data. ...... figures he can build a business that generates "a billion-plus" in revenue from HealthVault as well as another business that sells software to hospitals. ........ Medstory queries generate health-specific information, grouped together under topics such as clinical studies, nutrition, and medication. .......... 76% of adults over 55 use the Web to help diagnose their medical conditions. Those queries generate $500 million to $1 billion in advertising a year ......... most medical information is already in digital form, ready to be gathered up in one place. ....... Terabytes of electronic health-care data already exist, scattered on the servers of pharmacies, insurers, hospitals, and many doctors' offices. ....... With the data in one place, any doctor should have access to it. ....... Microsoft's servers are about as secure as they get. That's because "if they spill the data, it would completely ruin" Microsoft's reputation, says Peel. "It would be like the Exxon Valdez."

CORRECTED: Romney swipes at Republican front-runner Giuliani Reuters
Analysis: Giuliani Lead No Guarantee The Associated Press He has been married three times and supports abortion rights and gay rights ........ his oddities — answering his mobile phone during speeches — and his frequent odes to his beloved New York — cheering the Yankees everywhere he goes — as well as his whiff of arrogance — "I'm probably one of the four or five best known Americans in the world" — ........... The former Massachusetts governor looks and acts the part of a president. He is physically fit, impeccably dressed, handsome and intelligent with deft management skills and a grasp of the issues.
Giuliani's echoing cellphone Los Angeles Times Rudy Giuliani's cellphone chat with his wife during the middle of a recent speech to the National Rifle Assn. is duly added to our roster of candidate-gaffes-that-linger. It joins John Edwards' infamous $400 haircut, Mitt Romney's ill-considered comment about his five sons not serving in the military, and virtually any of Bill Richardson's early debate performances. ........ As with almost every answer Giuliani gives as a presidential candidate, he worked 9/11 into his response. ......... John McCain just ran his first television ad (in New Hampshire). Mitt Romney just ran his 10,000th TV ad ...... livingroomcandidate.movingimage.us .... Until 1952, political advertising on TV was in long blocks of time that allowed a besuited candidate to deliver a speech to the camera. Like radio with a picture. Yawn. ........ www.latimes.com/topoftheticket. ...... Isn't it just a wee bit early for President Hillary Clinton to be making such specific plans for how to use her once infamous now famous husband Bill in her almost-certain administration? ....... He's spinning his wheels at the moment trying to figure out how to rip into her ("How does experience as a first lady traveling to Kenya to visit a school and ride an elephant possibly qualify you to become commander-in-chief?") without tarnishing his nice, polite candidate of hope image. And fewer people are paying attention to that Carolina trial lawyer who's challenging everyone to do what he has to do, take public financing, when they don't have to. ............. Eighteen months before her presumed inauguration, President Clinton II was describing to campaign crowds how she'd use her husband as a roving ambassador sending him all over the world to rebuild the U.S. image. He's got Secret Service protection for life anyway. Why not put them to good use? ............ 'Contrary to the image that has been cultivated about my wife, she's always been a rather reluctant electoral person ........ The Obamans have been working hard to try to build a social movement to elevate their campaign and to avoid the Dean path (and sound effects), but there are a lot of parallels to the Dean campaign. Both drew supporters, many new to politics, who embraced their candidates with an almost messianic zeal, and who used the Internet to try to build fresh networks. ......... One thing Obama has going for him: Dean stumbled as the front-runner. Obama is still trying to catch up to Clinton, and underdogs tend to attract sympathy while front-runners attract brickbats. ........ the Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Jan. 14, followed by the Michigan primary on Jan. 15, Nevada's caucuses and the South Carolina Republican primary on Jan. 19, and the Florida primary and South Carolina Democratic primary on Jan. 29 ........ New Hampshire has yet to set its date, though the DNC has pegged it at Jan. 22 -- after Michigan's new date. The DNC has threatened to not seat delegates from Michigan and Florida if they maintain their unsanctioned dates, but so far the thumbs are on the noses. ........ the Wyoming Republicans are set to hold a primary Jan. 5 ...... Iowa is looking at Jan. 3 or Jan. 5, with New Hampshire likely to go Jan. 8. That will apparently draw Nevada to Jan. 12

Costa Rica Votes on Trade Deal With US The Associated Press
Iraq says Blackwater killed 17, shooting "deliberate" Reuters India
Nepal's coalition partner seek Koirala's resignation Hindu have demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Koirala after the key election was postponed for the second time in six month due to his inability to end the deadlock ....... the Prime Minister's indecisiveness. ..... "We are not to blame for not holding the election," Gurung said, adding it was the joint responsibility of the seven parties to hold election on time.
Sharpton Seeks an Apology Over Thomas’s Language New York Times
The Winners and Losers in Britney’s Drama AFTER years of being fodder for the celebrity press, Britney Spears’s train wreck of a story hit a news high this past Monday ....... the attention paid to this long-running public drama has become a force of its own — one that sells magazines and music, increases Web traffic and gives obscure characters their minutes of fame. ...... one of the top gossip Web sites, adding that both page views and unique visitors spike when an item on her appears ........ the site has run numerous updates, some as brief as a video of Ms. Spears making a left turn onto the Pacific Coast Highway. ........ interest in Ms. Spears outweighed that of any other celebrity ...... “There are people who love her and there are people who think she’s a train wreck,” he said, “and everybody wonders how it’s going to end.” ....... a summer cover, “Britney’s Meltdown,” which was OK!’s best-selling issue ever, at 1.2 million copies ......... her single “Gimme More” is selling strongly ...... the song pole-vaulted from No. 68 to No. 3 ......... Ms. Spears, who has hired and fired numerous publicists, managers and lawyers .......... risks irreversible damage to her career. “There’s a tipping point and she’s close to it,” he said. “Michael Jackson found this out.” ....... Ms. Spears a habitual user of drugs and alcohol ........ a two-minute video for YouTube in which he rails against Ms. Spears’s detractors while sobbing. The “Leave Britney Alone!” video has become one of the site’s most viewed entries of all time, with more than 10.8 million viewers, and Mr. Crocker is making appearances on national talk shows. ......... “This is a woman who loves her kids who doesn’t have her kids. It’s now taken tragic elements.”
Clinton Takes lead for Democrats, Iowa Poll Shows ABC News 29 percent of likely caucusgoers preferring Clinton ..... Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, was the choice of 23 percent ... Obama, an Illinois senator, was at 22 percent , virtually unchanged from May. ...... Clinton picking up support while Edwards and Obama have sharpened their criticism of her. ....... a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. ..... with 53 percent of respondents saying they could be convinced to support someone else, down from 69 percent in May. ...... his paying hundreds of dollars apiece for haircuts and building a $5 million home in North Carolina. ........ Obama, who was campaigning in the state while the poll was conducted, had the highest rating on the traits of integrity, vision and charisma. ...... Among those surveyed who were backing someone other than Obama, 77 percent said his relative lack of experience in national and foreign affairs was a factor.
Faith `plays Every Role' in Obama's Life The Associated Press
Iowa Poll Puts Clinton Ahead
The Associated Press