Archive for ‘Books’

August 9, 2012

The Beginning of the Left: The School of Athens

Plato and Aristotle walk together in the center of the canvas under a marble archway surrounded by ancient scholars, including Pythagoras, Euclid, Socrates, and Ptolemy. An aged and wise-looking Plato points to the sky with one finger, symbolizing his Theory of Forms, which concludes that abstract ideas, not the material world, are the highest form of reality. Meanwhile a considerably younger-looking and robust Aristotle holds his right hand out facing down as if palming an invisible basketball, silently referencing his philosophy of empiricism, or truth through the study of objective reality. (an excerpt from the book ‘I am John Galt’ by Donald Luskin & Andrew Greta.)

The School of Athens

Painted by Raphael in 1510-1511, The School of Athens is the epitome of Renaissance artwork.  Immediately, by looking at the painting, one can tell that there is a frenzy of people doing different things.  However everyone in the painting is doing something involving education.  The group of people huddled around Plato and Aristotle are the main thinkers of the classical world.  On the bottom left of the painting are the mathematicians, huddled around Pythagoras, who is introducing his theory that ultimate reality is made up of numbers and harmonic ratios.  On the right side of the painting, another group is paying close attention to the work of Euclid or Archimedes as he demonstrates geometric compositions with a pair of compasses.  Heraclitus, who is sitting by himself on the right side of the painting is the only solitary figure in the painting.  He was a pre-Socratic philosopher whose theories were not understood by anyone.  One of the most notable points of this painting is the vanishing point created by the pillars in the background.  The vanishing point is centered on the hand of Aristotle, who is the main focus of the painting.  By bringing in past philosophers, Raphael makes an unrivaled setting for the development of humanitarian thoughts.

Does it seem ironic that a painting that is promoting humanitarian thoughts was placed in the Vatican?  The Vatican and the Catholic church believed in strict obedience TO church dogma and tried to dispel any other beliefs that may have contradicted their own. The message that Raphael is trying to get across through this piece of art directly contradicts the ideas of the Church.  Looking at Plato and Aristotle in the center of the painting, it is easy to tell that Aristotle’s hand is pointing toward the ground and Plato, in the red robe, is pointing towards the sky, referring to the heavens.    Aristotle is trying to convince Plato that the answers lie on earth in physical science and practical reason.  This contradicts the church because it maintained that the heavens hold all the answers. (Silenos, Socrates)  It was a very bold move on the part of Raphael to put a painting of this nature in the Vatican and send a message to the church that would still be relevant today.

via Perseverance In the Face of the Church: The School of Athens.

July 18, 2012

Leaked! Obama’s devastating 2nd-term plans

A soon-to-be-released, game-changing election book will reveal the blueprint for a second Barack Obama presidential term.

Slated for release Aug. 7 by WND Books, “Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed” uncovers the template for Obama’s next four years – the actual, extensive plans created by Obama’s own top advisers and progressive strategists.

The explosive book unveils all the main areas of Obama’s second-term domestic policy onslaught – jobs, wages, health care, immigration “overhaul,” electoral “reform,” national energy policy, Pentagon plans and much more.

via Leaked! Obama’s devastating 2nd-term plans.

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February 15, 2012

Stephen F. Hayward’s New book grades the presidents from Wilson forward

You have graded the presidents from Woodrow Wilson onward, giving Fs to five presidents: Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. You also give President Obama a provisional F. What does it take to get a failing grade?

Article II of the Constitution is fairly short, but it contains the specific oath of office to “protect and defend” the Constitution. My three-fold criteria for giving a constitutional grade to presidents according to how well or badly they did in living up to the oath is simple: do they understand — and agree with — the principles of the Constitution as the founders understood them; were their actions in office consistent with the founders’ constitutionalism; and third, were their Supreme Court appointments faithful to the founders’ constitutionalism, or were they liberal judicial activists? Many Republican presidents did very poorly on this last criterion.

via Stephen F. Hayward | | The Daily Caller.

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October 12, 2011

Part 2 of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ film due October 2012!

By PATRICK GAVIN | 10/12/11 1:18 PM EDT

In March, POLITICO told you about the new movie, “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1,” based on the Ayn Rand novel that has enjoyed a resurgence in political circles thanks to the tea party’s embrace of its exploration of limited government power and individual freedom.

Given its mild marketing and theater screenings, “Atlas” box office performance was lukewarm: It did $1.7 million on its opening weekend on 300 theaters, for $5,600 per screen. (Its second weekend was even less successful.)

But the folks behind the movie were undeterred and are moving forward with a second installment of “Atlas.”

Harmon Kaslow, who produced “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1” along with John Aglialoro,told POLITICO that “Part 2,” which will cover roughly the second third of the novel, will soon get under way. And the hope is that it will be bigger and better.

First, it’ll be longer.

“Right now, it’ll probably be 30 to 40 minutes longer than the first movie. The first one was about an hour and a half and a lot of those faithful to the book said they really wished we would have given them more out of the book. … We’re going to slow things down a little bit and let people enjoy what they experienced in the book, in the theater.”

Then, there’s the new cast. Part 1’s journey to the screen included a long history of production changes that at various points included talk of casting A-listers such as Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron and Brad Pitt, but the final product featured a more modest cast (Taylor Schilling, Grant Bowler, Matthew Marsden, Graham Beckel and Rebecca Wisocky). Kaslow is realistic about what he can afford, but said, “We’re going to aspire to get the biggest names that we possibly can” while also being faithful to the book’s characters and who’s best for those roles. Some of the new actors will step into roles played by others in Part 1.

And they’re hoping to have a bigger budget. “We’re going to spend more money on it than we did the first one,” Kaslow said. “We’re stepping it up on ‘Part 2’ with a substantially greater budget for advertising.” Kaslow said he thinks the first movie could have done “significantly better” but also has a glass half-full perspective on things.

“Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts do a film in the $4,900 per theater range and nobody batted an eye. But ‘Atlas Shrugged’ did over $5,000 and it’s a ‘failure’ and so on and so forth. We don’t subscribe to that. … We probably spent less than 1 percent of what a studio spends on marketing a film. If you look at all of these factors, our assessment is that it was very successful.”

Key to that success was the tea party’s embrace of the movie, and although Kaslow is clear that tea party types are a key part of the audience (“If you look at Ayn Rand’s core message, it really revolves around respect the rights of the individual and that’s really where the connection is with groups like the tea party and that’s what we’ll be focusing on”), he also hopes to avoid being pigeonholed.

“We’re not going to change the message of the book simply because one or more political or activist groups have found a connection with the message of the book. To the extent that these type of groups embrace it, we welcome their support, but we’re not going to go and actively solicit it.”

Kaslow said he hopes to start production in early 2012, “with hopes of previewing it around the time of the nominating conventions.”

via New ‘Atlas Shrugged’ film on the way – Patrick Gavin – POLITICO.com.

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