American Sniper’s Critics and the ‘Usefulness’ of Art

American Sniper

In a triptych of tweets last night, Ross Douthat succinctly explained the controversies swirling around best picture nominees Selma and American Sniper:

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Why Does Hollywood Ignore the ‘American Sniper’ Audience?

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 3.43.49 PM

The Hollywood Reporter has a fantastic look at the astounding success of the Clint Eastwood hit film, American Sniper. The analysis provides incredible insight into how this film shocked the industry to break box office records last week.

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Santorum: ‘Sometimes It’s Very Difficult to Listen to the Pope’

Rick Santorum / AP

Outspoken Roman Catholic (and presumptive presidential candidate) Rick Santorum appeared today on Hugh Hewitt’s nationally syndicated radio program.

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Hillary Clinton Is George Costanza

It's time for a change.

Hillary Clinton is George Costanza. She had so much promise. She’s rich. She always knows when someone is uncomfortable at a fundraising gala. But it’s just not working. Every decision she’s ever made in her entire life has been wrong. She really wanted to be president in 2008. But because of her poor political skills and an opponent (Barack Obama) who embodied everything she was not, she failed, and was relegated to the edge of the national spotlight for eight years. It’s time to try the opposite.

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Paul Krugman’s War on Facts

Paul Krugman wears a fancy medal. (AP)

Taxpayer-funded millionaire Paul Krugman is known for his endless supply of hot takes, as well as his profound sense of self and perpetual outrage. In his latest column for the New York Times, Krugman writes about the same topic all other liberal pundits are writing about: How conservative climate change denial is destroying America. (Tuesday’s Washington Post, for example, includes two separate columns on how the GOP is “Dangerously in denial,” and “Too stubborn for change.”)

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FLASHBACK: Hillary Clinton Uses ‘One-Percenter’ Loopholes to Avoid Paying Her Fair Share in Taxes

AP

Hillary Clinton hasn’t always agreed with President Obama on taxes. In 2008, she thought his proposal to hike capital gains taxes “for purposes of fairness,” something the president will bring up again in tonight’s State of the Union address, was a bad idea.

Generally speaking, the tax hike proposals Obama plans to announce put Hillary is a tough position because they target some of her closest friends and Wall Street donors. However, she has long agreed with Obama that the U.S. should have a hefty estate tax in place to ensure the country doesn’t become “dominated by inherited wealth.”

But Hillary and her husband Bill are less fond of actually paying the taxes they want everyone else to pay. As Bloomberg reported last year, the Clintons take advantage of “one-percenter” loophole in the tax code to avoid paying their fair share in estate taxes:

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Watch This Pentagon Official Literally Joke About Lowering Standards for Women in Combat

Pentagon official Juliet Beyler / Screen Shot, Defense News

Even among those who disagree about the issue of opening ground combat arms jobs to women in the military, I have found that there is a general consensus on one key point: That physical standards should not be lowered in pursuit of ‘gender’ integration. Weakening standards in the pursuit of social justice would endanger troops and render meaningless the accomplishment of those women who would potentially serve in ground combat units. In a way, this consensus is very American: Equality of opportunity and a fair shot for all. Keep the standards high, as they’ve always been, and let the chips fall where they may.

The Department of Defense disagrees.

This may seem shocking, but consider the following Defense News interview with Juliet Beyler, director of officer and enlisted personnel management for the DOD and a retired Marine officer.

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New Republic Trailer Critic Dennis C. Jett Can’t Even Critique Trailers Correctly

Garbage human being

Noah Berlatsky thinks it’s quite unfair that people are piling on noted dope Dennis C. Jett for writing an essay about a trailer for a film and suggesting in that essay that the film makes an argument it doesn’t. Here’s Berlatsky:

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Hillary Clinton’s Next Speech Hosted by Foreign Bank Accused of Aiding Enron Fraud

Gotta get paid. (AP)

As Hillary Clinton prepares to mount another bid for the White House (she tried and failed in 2008), she has taken great care to appear in touch with the concerns of average American voters.

On Wednesday, for example, Clinton will continue quest to become more relatable by speaking at an event hosted by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, a Toronto-based institution that has been the subject of multiple U.S. investigations into fraud and other financial transgressions, including helping the notorious Enron energy company to mislead investors.

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Machine Guns, Ranked

Machine-Guns-Ranked-Final

During my recent trip to Machine Gun America I was able to fire a number of fully automatic assault rifles and one submachine gun. To say the least, it was incredible. Now it’s time to rank them all.

Of course, this isn’t easy to do. Ranking machine guns is a lot like ranking your children; you love them all so much. They each have their own special qualities and quirks. They each fill your heart with a slightly different kind of joy. How can you ever pick between them?

Well, here’s my best shot.

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FLASHBACK: Hillary Clinton Said She Wouldn’t Raise the Capital Gains Tax Above 20 Percent (Obama’s New Tax Plan Would Raise it to 28 Percent)

Awkward. (AP)

In his State of the Union address tomorrow night, President Obama will unveil a new tax plan targeting some of Hillary Clinton’s closest friends and political donors (i.e., super-wealthy individuals and Wall Street banks like Citigroup).

A central component of Obama’s proposal is to raise the capital gains tax on top earners from 20 percent to 28 percent. It will be interesting to find out where Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton stands on this issue, given that it was her husband, Bill Clinton, who signed legislation cutting the top capital gains rate from 28 percent to 20 percent during his second term as president.

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I Haven’t Read Dennis C. Jett’s New Book, But It Looks Like Garbage

Garbage human being

Dennis C. Jett is a professor of international affairs at Penn State, a university best known for covering up the rape of small children so as to not bring shame to its football program. Before accepting the role of professor at the notorious school, he was an ambassador to noted powerhouse American allies Peru and Mozambique, plum gigs he received after almost three decades in the foreign service. In his spare time, he writes essays about movies that he has not seen for Poke Button Pioneer Chris Hughes’ New Republic. These essays are then used to denigrate the film he hasn’t seen and hurt their Oscar chances.

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American Sniper Posts Huge Box Office (UPDATE: Really, Really Huge)

American Sniper

Update: Wow:

Early morning estimates are showing that Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s American Sniper is set to post a FSS of $90.2M with a cume to date of $93.6M.  By tomorrow with the MLK holiday, its cume is looking to raise to $105.2M.

These are Marvel tentpole numbers. For a R-rated, adult-focused drama. I think it’s safe to say that American Sniper might (might! There’s a long way to go) end up being the most surprising $300-million-grossing film since … Passion of the Christ. 

Huh.

[Original post below.]

Clint Eastwood’s new biopic about Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in American history, is a monster at the box office:

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Hillary Clinton: A Life in Pictures (Vol. 1)

AP

By all accounts, failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is gearing up to give it one more try. Many expect her to be a strong candidate to challenge Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden for the nomination. She has many strengths, including her considerable age, massive unearned fortune, close ties to Wall Street and the D.C. political establishment, ability to dodge bullets, ruthless lack of compassion for political enemies, and a laugh that is as natural as it is endearing.

Clinton has spent the vast majority of her life in politics, and has been photographed in public by professional photographers far more often than most commoners. The Free Beacon would like to honor Clinton’s decades long commitment to public service and personal enrichment with a multi-volume photo essay documenting some of the highlights of her political career. Enjoy!

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Jimmy Carter Calls Citizens United ‘The Stupidest, Most Damaging Ruling’ in Supreme Court History

(AP)

Worst Living President Jimmy Carter said something profoundly silly on Friday, and to the surprise of many, it wasn’t about the Jews.

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