Puritan Family Torn Asunder by Demonic Forces in Chilling Historical Thriller

 

The Witch

Film Review by Kam Williams

Puritan Family Torn Asunder by Demonic Forces in Chilling Historical Thriller

It is Colonial New England in 1630, and William (Ralph Ineson) has just been banished from a Puritan plantation, ostensibly over religious differences with the settlement’s elders. The proud patriarch exhibits a stoic resolve as he prepares to move his family from the safe The Witch, Film Review by Kam Williams, chilling historic thrillerconfines of the fort to an unprotected, undeveloped plot of land located on the edge of the forest.

William naturally expects to face some serious challenges trying to harness the harsh elements, given how he and his homely wife, Katherine (Kate Dickie), had five children to feed. But as devout Christians, they were willing to trust in the Lord to provide. Still, there would be no anticipating the host of supernatural horrors about to unfold which would test their faith while members of the tight-knit clan gradually turn against one another.

Their troubles begin when newborn Samuel vanishes into thin air while being watched by the eldest of his siblings, Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy). William is inclined to explain away the disappearance as an abduction by wild animal, even though his teenage daughter has already confessed to a sinful self-indulgence of pangs of sexual arousal. Prescient twins Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson) hint at Satanism, while pubescent Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) is too aroused by Thomasin’s cleavage to ascribe any evil to his big sister.

The Witch, Film Review by Kam Williams, chilling historic thriller

The Pilgrims’ plight proceeds to deteriorate further as crops fail, livestock produce blood instead of milk, and Caleb inexplicably falls ill and slips into a catatonic state. At this juncture, inconsolable Katherine starts yearning to return home to England and even questions whether God exists.

This being Massachusetts in the 17th Century, suspicions of sorcery soon swirl around Thomasin, her vehement protestations of innocence notwithstanding. For, this was a time when a rumors of witchcraft could land a young woman in a heap of trouble.

The Witch, Film Review by Kam Williams, chilling historic thriller

Winner of the Best Director Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, The Witch marks the phenomenal directorial and scriptwriting debut of Robert Eggers. Between period costumes and palpable atmospherics, the movie manages to generate an eerie air of authenticity that keeps you squirming in your seat. Another plus is the talented cast that proves to be totally convincing as Puritans.

A survival saga reminiscent of the The Revenant, except with demonic forces added to the frontier endurance test.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for disturbing violence and graphic nudity

Running time: 92 minutes

Distributor: A24 Films

Source:  Baret News

With Crossbow Hunting On the Rise

 

With Crossbow Hunting On the Rise,

TenPoint Leads the Charge with Light, Compact Models

By Burt Carey

As support for crossbow hunting continues to grow across the United States, TenPoint Crossbow Technologies has been busy creating models hunters are clamoring for like the new Carbon Nitro RDX and Turbo GT.

Hunters in Missouri, Minnesota and Vermont are expecting to see changes this year opening traditional archery seasons to crossbow hunting. West Virginia amended its crossbow law in 2015 to allow crossbow hunting during archery seasons, joining Wisconsin and New York, which moved in that direction in 2014.

In New York and other states, hunters within archery organizations have recognized that crossbows operate under virtually the same shooting and accuracy limits as compound bows. To find out what your state’s crossbow regulations are, click here.

It’s all good news not only for crossbow hunters and potential crossbow hunters but for TenPoint as well, as the sales environment has surged, pushed by hunters who demand innovative crossbows and accessories made with high-quality technology.

 

Carbon Nitro RDX Crossbow

TenPoint’s Carbon Nitro RDX is positioned to quickly become the Cadillac of the new crossbows for 2016. The Carbon Nitro RDX is the high-tech manufacturer’s response to the growing number of hunters attracted to reverse draw crossbow technology.

“The popularity of reverse draw crossbows continues to grow every year,” said Rick Bednar, TenPoint CEO. “We are excited to introduce this technology to the TenPoint lineup. Pairing our highly successful wrapped carbon fiber barrel and our new PolyOne engineered carbon-fiber-infused polymer stock offers our TenPoint customers a refined, premium-level reverse draw crossbow option.”

Carbon Nitro RDX Crossbow-TenPoint Technologies-Whitetail Hunting-Archery-BFMG-Content-Youth Hunting

Carbon Nitro RDX Crossbow

The Carbon Nitro RDX’s stock features TenPoint’s lightweight, three-piece C3 construction, and is designed to reduce weight, noise, and vibration – three areas of concern for hunters. With the RDX riser positioned in the center of the barrel, the bow and stock assemblies combine to create a perfectly balanced precision hunting machine that weighs 7.8 pounds and shoots bolts at a supercharged 385 feet per second. At 10 inches axle-to-axle when cocked and 34.25 inches long, it’s perfect for any tree stand or ground blind setup.

The Carbon Nitro RDX is double-dip fluid imaged in Mossy Oak Break-Up® Country™ camo and sells only as a complete package that includes everything you need to start hunting – a cocking device, RangeMaster Pro scope, quiver, arrows, and a string stop system!

The Turbo GT, introduced at the Archery Trade Association show in January, is outfitted with a new stock and barrel design that promises to deliver improved performance and maneuverability compared to the company’s previous Turbo models.

 

Turbo GT Crossbow

“The Turbo model has been a staple in our lineup for quite a few years now because of its maneuverability, power, and price,” Bednar said. “With the new stock and barrel, we’ve made it shorter and easier to handle  ?  all without adding any cost to the consumer.”

Turbo GT Crossbow-TenPoint Technologies-Turkey Hunting-Whitetail Deer Hunting-BFMG-Content-Youth Hunting-

Turbo GT Crossbow

The Turbo GT’s stock assembly features the company’s new shorter Fusion S stock and 19.5-inch synthetic barrel, fitted with a 4-inch bullpup version of its 3.5-pound T3 auto-engaging safety trigger. TenPoint outfitted the Turbo GT with a supercharged 175-pound version of its XLT bow assembly that measures a compact 13.5 inches from axle-to-axle when cocked.

Assembled, the Turbo GT Crossbow is 35 inches long, weighs 6.5 pounds, and shoots up to 360 feet per second. That is 3 inches shorter, a half-pound lighter, and 15 fps faster than its Turbo XLT II predecessor. In a nutshell, it is the lightest, fastest, most compact TenPoint Turbo ever.

Decorated in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country camo, the Turbo GT sells as a complete package that includes a cocking mechanism (if you choose one), scope, quiver, and arrows – everything you need to head straight to the woods!

TenPoint Crossbow Technologies is 100% USA owned and operated, and all of its crossbows are manufactured in Mogadore, Ohio.

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle

For movies opening February 12, 2016

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules:

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun                                                               

by Kam Williams

This Week’s DVD Releases, by Kam Williams, February 12

For movies opening February 12, 2016

BIG BUDGET FILMS

Deadpool (R for sexuality, graphic nudity, graphic violence and pervasive profanity) Ryan Reynolds plays the Marvel Comics antihero in this origins adventure about a Special Forces mercenary left mutated by a proverbial medical experiment gone horribly wrong. With Ed Skrein, Karan Soni and Michael Benyaer.

How to Be Single (R for sexuality and pervasive profanity) Romantic comedy revolving around the misadventures of a newcomer to New York City (Dakota Johnson) who decides to test the waters of the Manhattan dating scene after breaking up with her marriage-minded college sweetheart (Nicholas Braun). Co-starring Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann, Damon Wayans, Jr. and Alison Brie.

Where to Invade Next (R for profanity, drug use, violent images and brief graphic nudity) Michael Moore mockumentary finds the inveterate iconclast mounting faux invasions of other nations in search of ways to improve the quality of life in the United States of America.

Zoolander 2 (PG-13 for brief profanity, coarse humor, crude sexuality and a scene of over-the-top violence) Ben Stiller reprises the title role in a silly sequel which finds the dim-witted model joining forces with his former adversary (Owen Wilson) in order to fight a new fashion industry nemesis (Will Ferrell). Ensemble cast includes Kristen Wiig, Benedict Cumberbatch, Penelope Cruz and Olivia Munn, with cameos by Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Lenny Kravitz, Demi Lovato and Macaulay Culkin.   

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (Unrated) Romantic comedy revolving around the love which blossoms between an Asian-American (Jamie Chung) visiting Hong Kong for the very first time and the white guy (Bryan Greenberg) giving her a tour of the city. With Sarah Lian, Jaeden Cheng and Richard Ng.

Cabin Fever (Unrated) Faithful remake of the 2002 horror comedy about five college friends (Gage Golightly, Matthew Daddario, Nadine Crocker, Dustin Inram and Samuel Davis) on the run from a flesh-eating virus during a weekend getaway at a remote rural retreat. Featuring Randy Schulman, Louise Linton, Jason Rouse and Eli Roth.

Fitoor (Unrated) Bollywood version of Great Expectations, the Charles Dickens classic revolving around the coming-of-age of a struggling street urchin (Aditya Roy Kapoor). With Katrina Kaif, Rahul Bhat and Tabu. (In Hindi with subtitles)

Mountains May Depart (Unrated) Three-part character study, set in 1999, 2014 and 2025, chronicling events in the life of a beautiful (Tao Zhao), pursued by two suitors (Yi Zhang and Jing Dong Liang), who opted to marry for money over love. With Zijan Dong, Sylvia Chang and Lu Liu. (In Cantonese, Mandarin and English with subtitles)

National Parks Adventure (Unrated) Eco-documentary, narrated by Robert Redford, extolling the virtues of America’s national parks.


Of Mind and Music (
PG-13 for suggestive material, drug references and mature themes) Tenderhearted family drama, unfolding against the backdrop of the New Orleans music scene, examining the toll exacted by Alzheimer’s on a popular street performer (Aunjanue Ellis). Co-starring Bill Cobbs and Joaquim de Almeida.

Providence (Unrated) Silent film set in a tiny Tennessee town where it takes a tragedy for two people (Juli Tapken and Rich Swingle) who’ve known each other for over forty years to realize they were meant for each other. With Irene Santiago, Katie Pavao and Marcy Conway.

Standoff (R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity) Psychological thriller  about a disgraced veteran (Thomas Jane) who makes the most of a shot at redemption created when an adolescent murder witness (Ella Ballentine) is targeted by a bloodthirsty assassin (Laurence Fishburne). Featuring Joanna Douglas, Jim Watson and John Tench.

Touched with Fire (R for profanity, drug use, brief sexuality and a disturbing image) Romance drama revolving around a couple of mental patients (Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby) who fall madly in love over doctors orders while institutionalzed for manic depression. Support cast includes Christine Lahti, Griffin Dunne and Bruce Altman.

Source:  Baret News

Newcomer Samples Manhattan Singles Scene in Raunchy Romantic Comedy

 

How to Be Single

Film Review by Kam Williams

Newcomer Samples Manhattan Singles Scene in Raunchy Romantic Comedy

When Alice (Dakota Johnson) graduated from college, it would have been very easy for her to settle down with her college sweetheart of four years. After all, Josh (Nicholas Braun) was not only a nice guy with a promising future but very eager to marry and start a family.

How to Be Single, Film Review by Kam Williams, Dakota Johnson, Manhattan Singles Scene, Romantic Comedy

However, since she’d never really dated anyone else, Alice wanted to test the waters before making such big a commitment. So, she ended the relationship and moved clear across the country to New York City to live with her elder sister, Meg (Leslie Mann), an obstetrician who hears her biological clock ticking.

Alice lands a job as a paralegal at a big law firm where she makes fast friends with a flamboyant co-worker (Rebel Wilson) eager to show her the ropes both around the office and the Manhattan dating scene. Despite a Rubenesque figure, Robin exudes an enviable confidence that the relatively-modest Alice ostensibly admires.

How to Be Single, Film Review by Kam Williams, Dakota Johnson, Manhattan Singles Scene, Romantic Comedy

After hours, the two descend upon a trendy meat market, where Alice catches the eye of a handsome bartender (Anders Holm). Against her better judgment, she impulsively agrees to a one-night stand with the stranger, only to find it not to her liking.

Worse, the disaster has her pining for Josh who has no interest in reconciling. That means Alice must continue to negotiate her way around the gauntlet of a strange new world where she can’t quite get her footing.

Thus unfolds How to Be Single, a raunchy romantic comedy directed by Christian Ditter  (Love, Rosie). The movie is very loosely based on Liz Tuccillo’s 2008 best-seller of the same name which revolved around a 38 year-old heroine instead of one in her early twenties.

How to Be Single, Film Review by Kam Williams, Dakota Johnson, Manhattan Singles Scene, Romantic Comedy

Dakota Johnson exhibits an endearing mix of sensuality and vulnerability as the naive newcomer looking for love in all the wrong places. And her character’s plight is playfully juxtaposed against that of her sister who is so desperate to get pregnant that she’s willing to  visit a fertility clinic.

Alice has to kiss a lot of frogs before finally finding a prince in David (Damon Wayans, Jr.). Too bad the wealthy real estate developer is a still-grieving widower with a young daughter (Zani Jones Mbayise) to raise.

I suspect Millennials might more readily relate to the frenetically-paced hookup culture captured onscreen than us old fogeys. Nevertheless, the irreverent brand of humor has a universal appeal, provided the over-the-top antics of shameless, scene stealer Rebel Wilson suits your taste.

An utterly unfiltered salute to the Age of Indiscretion.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for sexuality and pervasive profanity

Running time: 110 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

Source:  Baret News

Get Started Dolphin Fishing with Tidewater

 

Get Started Dolphin Fishing with Tidewater

by Ted Lund

Without a doubt, dolphin (mahi-mahi) are one sport fishing’s favorite species. They are found worldwide, bite readily, are colorful, strong, acrobatic fighters — and as a bonus, they are great table fare.

Getting started dolphin fishing is easy if you live along the East Coast. The first ingredient you need is ready access to bluewater. If you live in Florida, that’s relatively easy to find. Elsewhere, it can be more difficult to pinpoint, but with the help of ocean forecasting services like Roffer’s (www.roffs.com) anglers can avoid wasting time and fuel looking for the right conditions.

Once you pinpoint the most likely water, the next goal is to find anything floating. Mats of Sargasso weed, old logs, semi-submerged hawser line discarded from ships and other debris provide cover and harbor food for predatory pelagics like dolphin.

One of the most effective ways of targeting dolphin is called running-and-gunning, where anglers run until they find debris or feeding birds, then put baits out. Fish the area for a while and if you don’t find anything, keep moving.

Artificial lures like Moldcraft Stubbies or C&H lures rigged with frozen ballyhoo are among the best artificials, and can easily be trolled on light conventional or heavy (20- to 30-pound-class) spinning gear. Once hooked up, it’s a good idea to stop the boat and start throwing chum (glass minnows, chunks of herring, etc.). Dolphin often travel in large schools, and this is a great way to maximize your harvest. Have several rods ready with pitchbaits just in case. And it’s not a bad idea to have jig or other artificial lure ready in case you have to whip them into a frenzy. You’ll also want to keep one hooked fish in the water at all times, helping keep the school around.

Tidewater Boats-Saltwater Fishing-Dolphin-BFMG-Content Marketing-Because they are readily available, anglers in many different styles of boats can capitalize on them. One good middle of the road choice is the 230 CC from Tidewater. At 23 feet long and with an 8-foot, 10-inch-beam, the 230 CC is a perfect compromise for near and offshore anglers. Rated for up to 300-hp and with 95 gallons of fuel capacity, it’s got the legs to reach out to the bluewater. It’s 3200-pound weight and 20 degrees of deadrise at the transom but 55 in the bow where the work is done.

The 230 CC is available in white, black, sky blue, Bimini blue, Fusion blue, Carbon grey and Island green.

Some standard accessories include automatic bilge pump, LED navigational lighting, forward casting decks with fish boxes, a 25-gallon aerated live well, stainless steel rub rail, and cockpit courtesy lights. Popular options include bolsters, cushions, bow lifting ring, 24 or 36-volt charging system, fresh water shower and Sea Star hydraulic steering is Standard.

Like all members of the Tidewater family, the 230 CC offers no-wood construction, a 10-year transferable hull warranty, foam flotation, fiberglass stringer system and hand-laid fiberglass hull. For more information on the Tidewater 230 CC or the rest of the Tidewater family of boats or to find a dealer near you, visit www.tidewaterboats.com.

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle

Tidewater Bayboats lead in Outdoor Recreation

 

Tidewater Bayboats lead in Outdoor Recreation

By Ted Lund

Tidewater Boats, one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of fun, family-oriented fishing boats, has teamed up with three of the world’s leaders in efficient four-stroke power to show their wares at the Miami International Boat Show, scheduled for Feb. 11-15 at Miami’s Marine Stadium Park and Basin.

The Lexington, South Carolina-based boat builder will be exhibiting their full line boats at Booth L1715. But the real fun takes place out at the in-water displays for the motor companies, where boaters can walk through and test four different models.

Bay Boats-Saltwater Fishing-BFMG-Content Marketing-Mercury Marine is showcasing Tidewater’s newest boat, the 2500 Carolina Bay at its in-water display in slips 211-224. This innovative, stepped hull approach to an inshore/nearshore crossover will be powered by a 350-hp Verado. In addition to the ground-breaking twin-stepped V-hull, the 2500 Carolina Bay features a host of well thought out, standard features including electronic tilt power steering, hydraulic jack plate and trim tabs. Fishermen will appreciate the twin 30-gallon live wells, Tidewater’s built-in Icehouse cooler and lockable, under gunwale rod storage. Ample storage is provided in the bow, as well as a below-deck anchor locker and integrated below deck bucket storage.

Over at the BRP/Evinrude display in slips 108-124, Tidewater is showcasing the flagship of its center console line, the 280CC Adventure alongside its more diminutive little brother, the 252CC Adventure. Both feature twin-engine installations with revolutionary Bombardier power plants and are serious offshore fishing machines that double as family-friendly weekend boats.

Inshore fisherman will want to head over to the Honda in-water display in slips 339-353 to see Tidewater’s 2110 Bay Max, rigged with a 150-Tidewater Bay Boats-Saltwater-BFMG-Content Marketing-hp four-stroke. The sleek 2110 Bay Max is equally at home fishing inshore for redfish, nearshore for tarpon and cobia and even offshore chasing sailfish on those glass-calm days. This small boat packs a big punch.

All of the Tidewater Boats family feature all-composite, no wood construction. Stringers are crafted from all fiberglass, and each hull is hand-laid with the best materials available. Each and every Tidewater Boat is rigged to the American Yachting and Boating Council’s rigorous standards. All of that is backed up by an industry-leading 10-year transferable hull warranty. Tidewater stands behind what they build.

If you’d like to learn more about Tidewater or any of its power partners, or to find a dealer near you, visit www.tidewaterboats.net,  or call 803-732-7300. Better yet, see and experience their boats at the Miami International Boat Show, Feb. 11-15 at the Miami Marine Stadium and Basin at booth L1715 or the in-water displays for Mercury (Slips 211-224), BRP/Evinrude (Slips 108-124) and Honda (Slips 339-353).

Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle

DVD Exposes Neo-Nazi Enclave in North Dakota

 

Welcome to Leith

DVD Review by Kam Williams

DVD Exposes Neo-Nazi Enclave in North Dakota

Does the name Craig Cobb ring a bell? It didn’t for me either. But the notorious white supremacist is on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s watch list of the Top Ten most
dangerous racists in America.  He also mentored Frazier Glenn Cross, the anti-Semite Welcome to Leith, DVD Review, by Kam Williams, North Dakota, Neo-Nazi Enclaverecently convicted of hunting for Jews during a deadly rampage around Kansas City in April of 2014.

Well, there aren’t exactly a lot of cities likely to roll out a red carpet for his ilk, which explains why Cobb and his followers decided to settle in Leith, North Dakota. In 2012, they purchased their first piece of property in the tiny town of three square miles, at a time when only a couple dozen people resided there.

The hate monger’s diabolical plan was to turn the quiet hamlet into a mecca for bigots, and to wrest control of the municipality’s government via a combination of importing allies and scaring locals into leaving. After all, the real estate was cheap enough. He bought his first house for just $500, that’s right just $500. Furthermore, there were excellent paying jobs not far away, thanks to the state’s oil boom.

So, Cobb and his henchman, Kynan Dutton, moved in and immediately set about terrorizing their new neighbors by hanging big Confederate flags in front of their homes and brandishing shotguns as they strolled down the street spouting racist rhetoric. They proceeded to harass Leith’s Mayor, Ryan Shock by disrupting city council meetings with chants of “Heil Hitler!” while routinely referring to Bobby Harper, the only African-American resident, as “boy.”

Despite the inveterate racists spouting rhetoric advocating the extermination of blacks and Jews, the tight-knit community would not be intimidated. Instead, they responded by employing tactics designed to force the invaders out before they could take root. And they enlisted the assistance of a nearby tribe of unamused Native-Americans in this endeavor.

Cobb and his minions soon found themselves being hounded by honking car horns outside their windows and confronted by angry citizens also armed to the teeth. Their cars were spray-painted with graffiti identifying them as Nazis, too. Eventually, the police found a good excuse to arrest Cobb and Dutton and, the next thing you know, their homes were burned to the ground while they were sitting behind bars.

A textbook primer on how a united community ought to respond to the arrival of racist bullies before the creeps have a chance to ruin the neighborhood.   

Excellent (4 stars)

Unrated

Running time: 86 minutes

Distributor: First Run Features

DVD Extras: Extended and deleted scenes; and biographies.

To order a copy of Welcome to Leith on DVD, visit:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B017Y4CBLU/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  Baret News

Heretic

 

Heretic

Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now

by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Harper Collins Publishers

Paperback, $15.99

288 pages

ISBN: 978-0-06-233394-0

Book Review by Kam Williams

“Ayaan Hirsi Ali argues that… Islamic extremists… are driven by a political ideology embedded in Islam… She makes a powerful case that a religious reformation is the only Heretic, Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, book reviewway to end the terrorism, sectarian warfare, and repression of women and minorities that each year claim thousands of lives throughout the Muslim world…

Hirsi Ali shows there is no denying that some of Islam’s key teachings–not least the duty to wage holy war–inspire violence not just in the Muslim world but in the West as well. [She] believes that a Muslim Reformation–a revision of Islamic doctrine aimed at reconciling the religion with modernity–is  [necessary] to bring the religion out of the 7th Century and into the 21st.”

— Excerpted from the Bookjacket

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali native who settled in Holland where she was eventually elected to the Dutch Parliament. Disenchanted with the state of Islam, she wrote the script for Submission, a movie chronicling the religion’s misogyny and culture of violence against women.

Instead of stimulating a healthy debate of the issue, the picture’s release only enraged radical Islamists who issued a fatwa leading to the 2004 assassination of the film’s director, Theo Van Gogh. A mullah also issued a fatwa against Ayaan, marking her as deserving death for participating in the blasphemous project.

Over the intervening years, jihadists the world over have become even more emboldened, evidenced by beheading of Christians just for being Christian and murdering cartoonists for making fun of the prophet Muhammad. To her credit, the fearless Ayaan has remained an outspoken critic of a primitive faith seemingly stuck in the Middle Ages which has failed to keep up with the times.

In Heretic, she asserts that “Islam is not a religion of peace,” before calling for some “fundamental alterations” to its core concepts. She fervently believes that a modernization of its tenets is necessary to avert the holy war with the West looming over the horizon.

Ayaan specifically indicts President Obama for repeatedly downplaying the ISIS threat while promoting Islam as a “peaceful religion.” She vehemently disagrees and  says his denial has only served to embolden the terrorists determined to hijack the religion.

However, according to the author, it is not Obama’s job alone to turn the tide. “The fundamental problem,” she insists, is the deafening silence of “the majority of otherwise peaceful and law-abiding Muslims.”

The solution? Ayaan proposes five amendments to the religion, starting with reexamining

Heretic, Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, book review

Author: Ayaan Hirsi Ali

belief in the Quran as the immutable word of God. She also wants her fellow Muslims to drop their obsession with the afterlife which makes them so easy to recruit as suicide bombers. And she calls for a rejection of Sharia law, a code she claims keeps Muslims stuck in the 7th Century.

It’s anybody’s guess whether these controversial suggestions will be received as a viable blueprint for a kindlier, friendlier Islam or as the polarizing ravings of a disaffected turncoat. Regardless, at least Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a breath of fresh air as a brave, moderate Muslim with the gumption to kickstart a conversation most would prefer to avoid at all costs.

To order a copy of Heretic, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0062333941/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  Baret News

Sears Accelerates Store Closings

 

Sears Accelerates Store Closings

By Burt Carey

Sears, an American icon of department stores, announced this week that it will accelerate the planned closings of stores in 50 locations, following poor fourth quarter sales.

With holiday season sales figures falling short of expectations, Sears reported sales of $7.3 American icon of department stores, selling assets, 50 locationsbillion in the fourth quarter of 2015, down from $8.1 billion a year earlier. The result is $100 million short of the retail chain’s expectations for the quarter.

Sears Holdings, which also owns Kmart, blamed the losses on its sagging apparel business, which was affected by unseasonably warm weather and competition from other retail outlets.

Shares of Sears (ticker SHLD) stock dipped to $15.25 when the announcement was made Tuesday. In May 2015 its stock was selling at $45 per share.

Sears executives say they will speed up the closing of 50 unprofitable stores, which were expected to be closed over several months. While they did not say which stores would be closing, the retail giant will also look for ways to cut costs by $550 to $650 million this year, and signaled that employee numbers will be evaluated.

Based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., Sears will be looking to sell about $300 million worth of assets early in 2016, and is including a potential sale of it Sears Auto Center enterprise. It has already sold real estate investments.

Sears, which was the country’s largest retailer until Walmart displaced it in October 1989, has struggled in recent years, competing with other retailers, such as Target and H&M. It is now the fifth largest department store chain in the U.S., behind Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Home Depot. It has also encountered fierce competition for appliance sales from home improvement companies such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. Its retail standing has dipped, as well. Sears is now the 12th largest retailer in the country.

Apparel sales remain key to the Sears’ profitability, executives said, and they emphasized that the company will makes adjustments in clothing prices, variety and product sources.

The Sears & Roebuck Co., was founded in 1886 by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck as a catalog company. It began retail operations in 1925. The company was purchased by Kmart in 2005, when the two corporations merged under the name Sears Holdings.

Sears will report final fourth quarter and annual revenue on Feb. 25.

Source:  Baret News

South Florida’s Best Winter Destinations

 

South Florida’s Best Winter Destinations

By Burt Carey

Snow and ice are two things South Florida never sees, which means the far reaches of the Sunshine State just might be the perfect destination for those looking for a mid-winter vacation to escape the grip of winter.

Slipping away to a secluded island or key requires more planning than a last-minute decision to escape the snow drifts built up outside your front door, but the following destinations will be relatively easy to book with minimal preparation.

The Everglades

Winter Destinations, The Everglades, Miami, Key West, Florida hotspotsFlorida’s Everglades National Park covers more than 1 million acres of waterways and grass-filled wetlands. While it plays an integral part in protecting Florida’s overall ecosystem, the Everglades are a favored destination by visitors throughout the year.

Here you’ll be able to see subtropical plants and animals, both endangered and plentiful, that simply cannot survive north of the Mason-Dixon Line. You’re thinking alligators, of course, but there’s also the endangered Florida panther and Key deer, a subspecies of the whitetail.

Bring your camera, rent a boat or go on a guided tour. This is definitely a must-see for anyone who wants to experience wildlife and nature in its most natural setting.

Do a quick Internet search for Everglades City or Ochopee to find accommodations, restaurants, guides, fishing and other activities in the area.

Miami

Winter Destinations, The Everglades, Miami, Key West, Florida hotspotsIf wilderness doesn’t sit well with you, perhaps it’s the city you prefer. We’re talking Miami, of course, where nightlife and shopping thrive.

Point your rental car toward Ocean Drive, and you’ll be among some of the best retail stores in the country. You can stick around that area for some good party action, or once you’ve got the right duds for the evening, South Beach and its beautiful people could be your next stop. Don’t forget your dancing shoes.

And if you’re looking for upscale shopping, the Coral Gables Miracle Mile will fill the bill.

There’s always plenty to do and see in Miami, from Little Havana to Surfside Beach. The palm trees are a-swayin’ and a-waitin’, and can be yours virtually overnight.

Key West

Winter Destinations, The Everglades, Miami, Key West, Florida hotspotsIt won’t be like summer at Florida’s far-southern tip, but the temperature is typically in the 70s this time of year, which is just hot enough to require a good slathering of suntan lotion and lots of little drinks with umbrellas in them to keep you cool.

What’s hot in Key West are water sports. Just about every direction you look you’ll find boats and other watercraft, snorkeling and scuba, and beach activities all day long. Charter fishing boats offer inshore and deep-sea excursions, and snorkelers and scuba enthusiasts love to swim around the many shipwrecks in the area.

It is also the priciest destination on our list of South Florida winter hot spots, but you’ll be talking to your friends and family back home about Key West so much that they will want to go next year.

Source:  Baret News