Vol. XXXIII, Issue 23 March 29, 2011
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#FTU1SPGFTTPS4P'BSDr. Jennifer Flanagan for international business. She really encouraged me to reach my goals in class as well as outside of class. You could tell she loved her job, and still remembered what itâ€™s like to be a student. $PPM4UVGG*%JEBU".$PNNFSDF: My life has completely changed for the better since coming to A&M-Commerce! Pledging Kappa Alpha Psi has always been a dream of mine, and it has been one of the best decisions Iâ€™ve made so far. Community service is one of the main things we aspire to help with in the fraternity. Weâ€™ve donated clothes for the womenâ€™s shelter, raised money for the Katrina and Haiti victims, and assisted the university with tasks around campus. I believe helping others in their time of need should be number one in anyoneâ€™s life. )PX".$PNNFSDF$IBOHFE.F: I am blessed to attend a university as great as this one, and I take every opportunity that comes my way to better myself. Iâ€™m positive my leadership skills have changed in so many ways. As time for graduation comes around the corner I can see that I am more prepared to take on the battle of life.
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QR-codes expand consumer options JASON BARRY Editor-in-Chief
QR-codes are the latest trend in advertising known as mobile tagging. These are basically real life hyperlinks that can be read by most any smart phone. QR-code stands for quick response code. It is a two dimensional barcode that is designed to have its contents decoded at a high speed. They are used in everything from tracking packages to mobile phone tagging and put on flyers, billboards, websites and newspapers. To read these codes just download the QR scanner application to a smart phone. This can be done by going to the phones market place searching for QR scanner and within seconds the application will be downloaded to the phone. By down-
loading the QR scanner application to your smart phone and then pointing the phone’s camera at the code, it can take you to a website, display text, add a contact to the phone or compose an email within seconds. The QR-code was invented by the company Denso Wave, a member of the Toyota group of companies, in Japan in 1994 for tracking car parts. It was spawned because of the Image courtesy- Takashi Murakami popularity of bar-
codes as a fast means of identifying items. The space and capacity for barcodes, however, was limited by how long the barcode was. There was a need for smaller barcodes and there were problems with printing and reading longer ones. The QR-code is the two dimensional concept that filled this need and took the place of the one dimensional barcode. “As a marketer, I see endless possibilities for
connecting brands with consumers. On the business side, there are clear ways that the codes could become time savers,” InformationWeek’s Steven Allen said. “Mobile technology is changing the way we interact; QR-codes will take consumerto-company interactions to another level.” Newer applications that these codes are being used for are downloading an mp3, dialing a telephone number, even adding friends on Facebook, all accomplished in seconds. Companies such as Louis Vuitton and BBC are even starting to develop designer QR-codes. These applications also have the ability to allow users to create their own codes that will send a link to a website, photo or text.
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Illinois abolishes the death penalty
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After weeks of deliberation, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Senate Bill 3539 on March 9, eliminating the state’s death penalty and commuting the sentences of 15 inmates currently serving on death row to life imprisonment without parole. The legislation follows a moratorium on capital punishment imposed by former Gov. George Ryan amid media concern that some of Illinois’ death row inmates had been wrongly convicted. In a statement accompanying the legislation, Gov. Quinn said that after listening to the views of a wide variety of people on both sides of the argument and reviewing the past cases of death row inmates who have since been exonerated, he concluded that the death penalty system was inherently flawed and that the only way to ensure justice was to abolish it. “This was a difficult decision, quite literally the choice between life and death,” Quinn said in his statement. Quinn’s decision makes Illinois the 16th state in the nation to ban capital punishment. “This was not a decision to be made lightly, or a decision that I came to without deep personal reflection,” he said. Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, told The Associated Press that the new law could influence other states and that Illinois’ decision carries more weight than those of previous states that have abolished the
death penalty. “Illinois stands out because it was a state that used it, reconsidered it, and now rejected it,” Dieter said. Kristin Houlé, executive director of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP), agreed, telling The Chicago Tribune, that Gov. Quinn’s decision “shows the national momentum toward repealing the death penalty and all the efforts lift efforts in states like Texas.” However, Richland student Morgan Stephens is dubious about the effects of Illinois’ decision on the use of capital punishment in the state of Texas. “Texans are too prideful – there are a lot of them who want to keep [capital punishment] because it’s tradition,” Stephens said. “But maybe now that a lot of other states have gotten rid of the death penalty, things will be different,” she said. Texas has executed 466 individuals since 1977, according to statistics gathered by the TCADP. While a nationwide poll conducted in 2010 by Lake Research Partners suggests that 65 percent of U.S. voters would support abolishing the death penalty if funding was used for crime prevention, most Texans, including Gov. Rick Perry, strongly support its utilization. Some opponents have cited the case of Cameron Todd Willingham. Willingham was convicted of setting a fire that killed his three children and was executed in 2004. However, since his execution, a panel of the Texas Forensic Science Commission has investigated the case and concluded that the original arson investigators used “flawed science” to determine if the fire had been arson.
Images courtesy - mobilitysite.com
LAURA GARSEA Viewpoints Editor
Last week, Dallas based company AT&T unveiled its agreement to purchase T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion. This acquisition will make AT&T the largest network, with over 130 million customers. According to ABC, AT&T claims that “it would be able to bring a high-speed 4G connection to 95 percent of the U.S. population.” So, what does this mean for customers? AT&T says that it is planning to revamp T-Mobile’s cell phone towers from 3G services to 4G, according to AP. This will result in TMobile customers having to replace their current phones for AT&T’s existing 3G frequency in order to receive service; a procedure that is planned to occur during the normal phone upgrade process. According to AT&T’s head of wireless and consumer services, Ralph de
AT&T to acquire T-Mobile
la Vega, the entire process will be completed over several years. During a conference call on Monday with investors, AT&T Chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson, said that the acquisition will extend services to customers. He stated that advanced LTE capabilities will be brought to virtually every community across the United States. “We have achieved the best solution for our company, our customers and shareholders,” CEO of Deutsche Telekom, René Obermann, said in a press release by TMobile USA. “We will be able to focus more on the opportunities of a modern infrastructure in Germany and Europe, as well as in Internet products that accompanies to our strategy “fix, transform and innovate.” Students currently using T-Mobile were agitated to hear about the potential merge. “As a T-Mobile customer for the past five years, I believe they are very personable and customer
friendly and offer great assistance and plans to their customers,” Richland student Obaid Khan said. “I worked at places that carried AT&T and personally dislike it with a passion. I know how they run and they run a very monopoly style business.” Other students commented that they didn’t mind the merge as long as it doesn’t involve an increase in prices. Some of the pros of the potential merge include: better network coverage of areas that previously were economically unfeasible, faster and wider broadband coverage, and more phone choices for current T-mobile customers, including the iPhone. The cons include: fewer pricing plans, job cuts for T-Mobile employees, no more unlimited data plans, and one less wireless company for phone manufacturers to sell their products to. If the deal is approved by federal regulators, it is expected to close in a year.
Students tune into mensâ€™ chorus
A mensâ€™ chorus is tuning in to help expand the music program this semester. Dr. Michael Crawford, associate dean of performing arts, said there was enough interest last semester to make the chorus a one-hour credit course, MUEN 2141.8003 for spring. Crawford said there are 25 men in the chorus, which is named Richmen. Their ages range from 17 to 70. â€œWe have four or five older singers and everything in between,â€? Crawford said. â€œThe class is doing great, and the men are having a great time.â€? Crawford was director of the Turtle Creek Chorale from 1983 to 1987, and has been at Richland for six years. â€œIâ€™ve always loved male voices,â€? Crawford said. â€œWe do a little bit of all different styles - Broadway show tunes, such as â€˜Lullaby of Broadwayâ€™, some barbershop music, some Bach and a traditional menâ€™s piece called â€˜Viva Lâ€™Amourâ€™. Some of the men are experienced singers.â€? Crawford said the chorus is open to all interested singers. There are no auditions. This fall it will be offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but it wonâ€™t be offered in the summer. â€œYou donâ€™t have to be a music major,â€? he said. Crawford said the class is doing great and the men are having a great time. Ron Gorham, 70, said heâ€™s taking the Richmen class because he just loves to sing. Heâ€™s also in the adult choir at the First Baptist Church of Carrollton. Gorham has three degrees -- two associate degrees are from Richland in administrative management and music. He went to Dallas Baptist University to earn a bachelorâ€™s degree in Applied Business Administration. He has also started taking classes for another degree in art, working toward a double associate degree in engineering technology. Gorham said what he likes about the class is the variety of music. Itâ€™s not all heavy baroque or renaissance. Gorham said Crawford has an extensive background directing male choruses. Mahmud Akel, 19, a vocal performance major, said when he started at Richland last year, he was trying to expand what he did at Poteet High School in Mesquite. He was a big fan of mensâ€™ choir, so when Craw-
ford started the choir, he continued from last semester. â€œIâ€™ve always loved music,â€? Akel said. â€œA mensâ€™ group is so much different than just a normal choir. You have four different parts - bass, baritone, tenor and tenor 2. The basses are the lower voices. Putting these together, the voices harmonize very well, more so than female voices.â€? Akel said the menâ€™s voices are easier to blend and get a more powerful sound. He has been singing since the fifth grade and is impressed with the Richmen chorus. â€œI would recommend it to any man who was interested in singing and doesnâ€™t have much experience in music at all,â€? he said. â€œMusic isnâ€™t hard. You donâ€™t have to be a professional singer.â€? Akel said one of his favorite songs in the chorus is â€œSing Me to Heavenâ€? by Daniel Gawthrop because itâ€™s not a typical male group song but more mellow with a peaceful tone to it. Akel has performed at a jazz festival in Iowa and is working toward an associate of arts degree with a major in music. Don Conyers, 59, is taking the chorus just for fun. Both he and his daughter are students at Richland. He said he just wanted to do the â€œfather-daughter thing.â€? â€œI like to find the talents I had years ago. Theyâ€™ve been laying dormant for decades,â€? Conyers said. â€œI sang in choirs, but never in college. I enjoy it a lot.â€? Conyers said Crawford is very good at picking a variety of songs - some fast and others slow, and he thinks they are beautiful. â€œHeâ€™s [Crawford] got the ability to put this rough piece of music into a fine-tuned vocal group,â€? he said. â€œWe really sound good at concerts.â€? Conyers took the chorus last semester. Both he and his daughter are in the chamber choir this semester. Five choruses are offered through the music department. Crawford directs the chamber chorus, jazz singers and Richmen. Boriana Savova, adjunct music professor, teaches the womenâ€™s chorale and also directs the gospel choir. The Spring Concert will be held at 8 p.m. Friday, April 15. The Richmen will also perform at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 12. Both will be held in the Fannin Performance Hall. All events are free and open to the public. No reservations are required. For more information about the music department and its courses, call Crawford at 972-238-6284.
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Mac Powell of Third Day
Third Day rocks again
LINDSEY JUAREZ Managing Editor
Third Day never fails to impress. The southern-rock-influenced Christian band performed an awesome show on their Make Your Move Tour at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, March 19. They were joined by another acclaimed Christian band, Tenth Avenue North, and upcoming artist Trevor Morgan. Both acts did a great job opening for Third Day and Tenth Avenue North was especially entertaining. It was a little surprising to see them open the show,
considering that they could headline their own tour. But it was fun to see a band that was almost as recognized as Third Day. Now, I will admit that the show wasn’t as rockin’ as the one they did at the same theater on their Revelations tour. In that show, they had the audience dancing in sync and brought out a fiddler to play some Charlie Daniels. They even managed to throw in some laughs when lead singer Mac Powell stopped the show to pick on an audience member on her cell phone. But the tours did have two different messages: Revelations was more about listening, while Make Your Move is more about doing.
“The lyric on ‘Revelation’ [says] ‘tell me should I stay here or do I need to move?’” the band’s guitarist, Mark Lee, said. “We’ve given everybody a couple of years to marinate on that and now we’re saying, ‘Go, move!’” This year’s performance featured messages from one of the band’s usual sponsors, World Vision. There was also a call for students of all ages to further their education and find out more about Grand Canyon University. Though the winner wasn’t announced at the show, one audience member is to be awarded a $10,000 scholarship to the college. One thing the tour added this year was a video for each song. This isn’t a new feature in concerts, but it’s relatively new for this band. Whether it was lyrics on the screen or a produced film, the graphics added to the entertainment and message of the songs. They even showed a sneak peak of a new film which will feature their song “Born Again.” Third Day, as usual, had the audience members jumping up and down and singing at the top of their lungs. The band is always full of energy playing loud and proud, leav-
ing attendees with ringing ears and smiling faces. For my fifth time seeing the band, I am still impressed with Third Day’s vigor and talent. I can’t wait for the next show!
Mike Donehey of Tenth Avenue North Images credit - Lindsey Juarez and Jason Barry
Richlandchronicle.com • March 29, 2011 +
Overview: Experience the emotional survival of the future war MARY CHANNELL Layout Editor
“Homefront” takes place in the year 2027 at the time when the world has been suffering for a decade from a crumbled economy and a crippling energy crisis. The United States has become a shadow of its former power and is now the target of a North Korean takeover. The suburbs, city streets, and malls of America have become battlegrounds as
the Civilian Resistance fights for freedom. Featuring a single player story, “Homefront” immerses players into an interactive and cinematic first-person shooter experience. Players can take on the role of a soldier or take command of a large variety of aerial and ground vehicles. Gamers should expect a robust multiplayer adventure that will provide countless hours of extreme fun. “Homefront” is available on the Playstation 3, xbox 360, and the PC.
EDITORIAL STUDENT MEDIA LEADERS Richland Chronicle Editor-in-Chief KDUX Web Radio Station Manager Chronicle TV Station Manager Managing Editor KDUX Web Radio Production Director News Editor Radio News Director Sports Editor Photo Editor Viewpoints Editor A&E Editor Copy Editor Layout Editor Chronicle TV Executive Producer Chronicle Illustrator
Jason Barry TBA Dacota Taylor Lindsey Juarez Josh Kirkley TBA Carla Davis TBA TBA Laura Garsea Joyce Jackson TBA Mary Channell Patricia Villacin Julie Phan
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STUDENT MEDIA ADVISERS Esther Cho Erica Edwards Jack Fletcher David Goodloe Tim Jones
Steve Noviello James Ragland Marshall Siegel Doug Wilson
SPRING 2011 ISSUES January 18 January 25 Febtuary 2 February 15 February 22 March 1 March 8 March 29
April 5 April 12 April 19 April 26 May 3 May 10
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CONTACT INFORMATION El Paso Hall, Room E-020, 12800 Abrams Rd. Dallas, 75243 Newsroom: 972-238-6079 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: 972-238-6068 E-mail: email@example.com Fax: 972-238-6037
MEETINGS & POLICIES Staff meetings: Monday and Tuesday 2 p.m. and Wednesday 3 p.m. in E-020 ------Letter Policy Letters to the editor may be edited for space. They will be edited for spelling, grammar and malicious or libelous statements. Letters must be the work of the writer and must be signed. For identification and verification purposes, letters also must include the writer’s classification (grade level), full name, address and telephone number, although address and telephone number will not be published. Editorial Policy The Chronicle is the official student-produced newspaper of Richland College. Editorials, cartoons, columns and letters are the opinions of individual students and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of other individual student writers, editors, advisers or the college administration. © Richland Chronicle 2009
Illustration credit - Julie Phan
Can morals overpower legalities?
A hate group disguised as the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) consists of irrational extremists who protest anything and anyone who doesn’t concur with their beliefs, especially homosexuality and the military. In 2006, the church gained national attention for its protests. The members carry offensive signs that include messages such as “God hates America” and “Thank God for 9/11.” The church is most commonly found protesting at military funerals, yelling chants of obscenities and lining the streets. The Supreme Court’s ruling stated that WBC was legally able to continue its protesting as protected by the First Amendment. States including Arizona, Indiana and Illinois made it illegal for the protestors to get within 300-500 feet of a funeral. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop them from lining the streets and attempting to disrupt the service. At the Chronicle we believe that although the protestors are protected by the First Amendment, their picketing is wrong and hurtful. Even with a restriction on how close they are able to be to funerals, the pain they are inflicting on already emotionally damaged people is immoral. Fred Phelps heads the independent Baptist church, headquartered in Topeka, Kan., which consists mainly of his extended family. The family of crazies start branding their beliefs in their kids from the day they
areborn. WBC member Steve Drain’s twoyear-old daughter was featured on ABC’s 20/20 where she sang how “God Hates the World.” Coached by her parents, it’s clear the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It’s so unfortunate to see a kid singing words of hatred. What the church is teaching the youth is sickening. Drain’s 24-year-old daughter, Lauren, once questioned some of the church’s beliefs, claiming there was hypocrisy. Upon this accusation, she was immediately not only cast out of the church, but out of her own family. Her parents claim they don’t miss their daughter and are happy she’s gone. Lauren said she’s not able to return and that her siblings now hate her. That includes her younger sister in particular who she raised for over three years. It’s baffling how these people can happily go through their day knowing how much they can hurt their own family members. The church claims that America is doomed because of its acceptance of gay rights and that Americans are therefore guilty by association. They claim that every tragedy experienced by the world has a link to homosexuality. So, even though the WBC members live in America, they are exempt from this damnation? If these people would just educate themselves beyond attempting to interpret one line of the Bible, maybe they’d see the flaws in their logic. Unfortunately most of them seem to be at a point of no return.
Imagine driving down Greenville on your way to Richland passing Restland cemetery. Typically a couple of funerals are under way and mourners are lined down the cemetery’s roads. Now, further imagine a group of protestors on the other side screaming hate messages and holding signs that degrade the deceased and their families. This is what has been experienced at funerals across the nation. Luckily, a group of motorcyclists known as the Patriotic Guard Riders attend military funerals and shield families from WBC protestors. Using American flags, revving their bikes and singing patriotic songs, these bikers work diligently to drown out the noise of the protestors and let the mourners proceed in peace. Instead of waiting for karma to roll around, counter-protests have been an effective way to grind the WBC’s gears. Demonstrations by homosexual couples, oppositional signs such as “soldiers rock” and “Dorothy left Kansas for a reason,” are peaceful manners of disputing the WBC. Although legally there’s no way of stopping WBC members from attempting to spread their hate messages, hopefully active anti-WBC demonstrations will overshadow those of church and more members like Lauren will separate themselves from the irrationality and insanity that lies within the WBC.
Upcoming Events Tuesday, March 29: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. All music events will be held in the Fannin Performance Hall, Room F-102 The Richland Wind Symphony and Chamber ensembles will entertain today. Also, the Spring Chamber Concert at 8 p.m. is free and open to the public. March 29: 8:30 a. m. to 12:30 p.m. University Visit Dallas Baptist University representatives available in El Paso Hall.
Wednesday, March 30: 9 a.m. to Noon and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. University Visit University of Texas at Dallas representatives available in El Paso Hall. Thursday, March 31: Noon to 1 p.m. Opening Reception, Annual Student Art Exhibition. Brazos Gallery, Room C-140: March 31April 17 Gallery hours: Monday â€“ Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 31: 8:30 a.m. to Noon University Visit The University of Texas at Arlington representatives available in El Paso Hall. Wednesday, April 6: Noon to 1 p.m. Opening Reception, Digital Art & Multimedia Student Exhibition
Health Professions speakers to inform students
Image courtesy - www.club306.com.ar
ALEJANDRA BRIONES Staff Writer
Several guest speakers in the medical field will be on campus from Monday through Thursday, March 28-31 for Health Professions Week. They will inform prospective students about a number of fields in the health profession and offer advice to those who are undecided. The daily programs will run from 9:30
a.m. through 7 p.m. in Sabine Hall, Rooms 117 and 118 and in Wichita Hall, Rooms 249, 253 and 255. There will be an Allied Health Professions Panel, as well as another panel discussion where students and graduates from a number of health professionsprograms in the metroplex will talk about their respective occupational fields, and a medical, osteopathic and dental school panel. For information about the seminars, call 972-238-6248 or go to Sabine Hall, Room 205, and pick up a flyer for the event.
Lago Vista Gallery, mezzanine of the library Hours: Monday -Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays Noon to 4 p.m. Thursday, April 7: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. HIV Community Forum, sponsored by the Dallas County Health Department and Human Services and Richland College. Sabine Hall, Room S-118 Friday and Saturday, April 8-9: 7:30 p.m. Spring Dance Concert Fannin Performance Hall, Room F-102 No reservations are necessary. Tuesday - Thursday, April 12-14: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Richland Cheerleaders Tryouts - in the gym. Contact Shawanna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Weekly Support Groups through the Counseling Center All groups meet in El Paso at 12:30 p.m. Throughout the semester, the Counseling Center offers free support groups, which meet for about an hour and are open to Richland students. International students meet Mondays. Other groups include: Improving Relationships and Decreasing Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse Recovery, Stress and Anxiety, and a Grief Support Group. For students who are parents, a group meets on Thursdays. For more information, call the center at 972-238-3777. Tuesday, April 5: Next edition of the Richland Chronicle.
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Music Events: Each week, the Music Department of the School of the Division of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts will present its Recital Series on Tuesdays. All performances are free and open to the general public. For more information, contact Dr. Michael Crawford, associate dean of Performing Arts, at 972-238-6284.
Ralph Gibson comes to Richland
LINDSEY JUAREZ Managing Editor
Richlandchronicle.com • March 29, 2011 +
Renowned photographer Ralph Gibson visited Richland College on March 10 for a morning and evening presentation. Gibson is best known for his photographic books which feature images with mysterious tones. Gibson says of himself and his photography, “I’m really not the music. I’m the radio through which the music plays.” The morning seminar in the Lago Vista Gallery was a private Q&A session and presentation of some of his prints for students only. Gibson spoke about his biography and
gave students his insight and opinions about photography and the production process. Gibson says he tells photography students to ask themselves three questions: Where are you? Where would you like to be? What’s holding you back? He said his hope is by having students ask themselves the questions, students will push their creative boundaries. “To be human is to be creative,” he said. During the public evening session in the Fannin Performance Hall, Gibson had a presentation of his work followed by a reception and a book signing. When asked what his advice for photography students would be, he responded, “Stay pure.”
Richland wins Waste Wise Award
ALICE ROBINSON Staff Writer
Richland College received an award March 22 that could make less aware colleges turn green all over with envy. During a ceremony in Sabine Hall, a handful of representatives from the Dallas office of the Environmental Protection Agency gave out the 2010 Waste Wise Award, for Richland’s efforts in creating a campus that honors the
environment. Few students attended, but many school officials were on hand, including Kay K. Eggleston, Ph.D., interim president. Richland was honored for its recycling campaign and for efforts to protect the earth’s environment. About 20 people attended. Photos were taken and friendships were made between EPA representatives and Richland officials. The event lasted about 15 minutes.
Images credit - Lindsey Juarez
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‘Battle: Los Angeles’ delights audiences with American patriotism Staff Writer
“It’s not a great movie, but it is a thriller ride, fairly realistic depiction of Marines, and very rough-even the camera movement is unsettling and not a carefully crafted Hollywood story... it’s ANTI-AVATAR to the bone.” This is an email I received from a friend recently after he saw “Battle: Los Angeles.” Up until then, I wasn’t sure after seeing all the negative reviews from film critics bashing the $100-million-plus budgeted alien invasion movie if I should go to a before noon showing Monday where the price of admission would be five bucks or go after noon and pay the $7.50. I chose the before noon showing . But even after seeing “Battle: L.A.,” I probably wouldn’t have been too upset if I had paid the additional $2.50.
“Marines are great heroes,” my friend wrote. “Americans are caring people, and aliens are not giant peace-loving Smurfs but rather a predatory species looking for natural resources.It’s the kind of movie that makes you ask, Shouldn’t we have more arms for our troops?” My friend is not a fan of “Avatar” (2009). Neither am I. Now that I have seen “Battle: L.A.,” which grossed $36 million opening weekend, I can verify his comment that it is “ANTI-’AVATAR’ to the bone.” “Avatar” was nothing more than liberal bashing: “I hate America – America is evil – America is responsible for 9/11.” -Battle: L.A.” is the kind of movie John Wayne probably would have starred in just because it shows our nation’s armed forces performing the kind of everyday heroics they continue to display on a daily basis overseas. At one point in the film, a soldier complements Staff Sgt. Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) for his “John Wayne” heroics in taking
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out one of the alien ships. Then someone asks, “Who’s John Wayne?” Perhaps the real question should not be “Who?” but “Where’s John Wayne?” when it comes to the lack of positive war movies. By that I mean, why aren’t American forces the heroes and not the enemy? I still have not seen Wayne’s Vietnam war movie, “The Green Berets” (1968) but what I do know is “The Duke” liked to portray his characters as heroes, even if they died in battle, like he did portraying Davy Crockett in “The Alamo” (1960). I thank God I cannot remember the few negative Iraq war and war-on-terror-themed movies that have been released over the past 10 years. Like last year’s anti-Iraq war best picture winner, “The Hurt Locker” (2008), none of those films did any box office business. The reason? It was because of their negative portrait of America and our armed forces. I was happy when Kathryn Bigelow won the best director Oscar last year.
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When I heard her dedicate her win to the men and women serving overseas, however, I found it a little hypocritical since “The Hurt Locker” is anything but positive when it comes to the Iraq war. I just don’t believe one can say they are for the nation’s military and then bash the mission they have been sent to carry out. That’s what makes “Battle: L.A.” such a refreshingly welcome change. No, it’s not going to receive any Oscar nominations but it’s certainly not bad enough to receive any Razzies either. With the exception of Eckhart’s Nance, most of the characters lack so much depth that when some of the servicemen do go down, we don’t know them well enough to care, while the jerky camera movements look as though half the film was shot using a handheld device, as in “The Blair Witch Project” (1999). The focus here is not so much the aliens plundering Mother Earth of its precious resources and wiping out civilization. It’s about the nation’s military marching in to do a job no one else has the guts to do. In “Battle: L.A.,” the United States Marines do it without question. There is no political grandstanding. It would be no different than if this country came under attack by foreign invaders. I don’t know what director Jonathn Liebesman and screenwriter Christopher Bertolini’s intentions were when they made “Battle: Los Angeles,” but the film offers refreshing ideas: American patriotism and respect for our nation’s military - something sorely lacking in a lot of today’s liberal America-bashing movies.
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