Wednesday, June 13, 2018

ABC Nightline: Stephanopoulos interviews Trump right after Singapore summit



The two previous episodes of ABC “Nightline” have dealt with Donald Trump’s meeting in Singapore with Kim Jong Un. The highlight of the episodes is the interview by George Stephanopoulos with Donald Trump, here .

Trump, needless to say, has drawn a lot of “constructive” criticism, such as this piece by Rick Wilson in the Daily Beast.

   
My take: we may have evaded a catastrophic war on the Korean peninsula and conceivably at least an EMP threat to the homeland USA.  At least for now.  But true, this is bad karma: Un is the world’s most brutal dictator, and it looks silly for Trump to have to indulge him, as to how much he “loves” his own people, whose understanding of life is a lot more collective than ours.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

"The Two Faces of Kim Jong Un", by Fareed Zakaria, airs on CNN in advance of the Singapore summit


The Two Faces of Kim Jong Un: A Fareed Zakaria Special” aired Sunday night on CNN at 8 PM EDT, best link now. 

I could have put this on mu “cf” blog, which isolates films on existential threats of American freedoms.

Were Kim Jong Un really able to fire nuclear weapons to the continental US (or Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, etc) that would be appropriate, and he may be very close to actually being able to reach eventhe US East Coast (and there may be an EMP threat).  We don’t know whether he really destroyed anything last week in front of journalists.


The film covered the history of the Kim family, and the earlier attempts to develop nuclear weapons, which was interrupted by a deal that Jimmy Carter brokered in 1994 under the Clinton administration.

The deal gradually leaked, partly under GOP hostility in the US, and by 2006 the Kim Song Il had tested a nuke with plutonium fuel.  Without help from the Soviets and Chinese at first, North Korea developed its prototype weapons over a period of years.

The show explains how the Kim family has imposed a pseudo-religious cult (almost based on Christianity) on a communist regime. Kim has tried to make Pyongyang a showpiece for the 11% of the population picked by the state to live there.  He needs more money to keep up his promises to his own elites, or he could get thrown out of power.  That is one reason for the summit.
  
Zakaria insists that Kim Jong Un is rational (however Janus-faced), as is his family, which has kept up this bizarre charade for 70 years, through the Korean War, with a narrow miss in the 1990s.
  
Picture: By Women's International Democratic Federation(Life time: N/A) - Original publication: "We Accuse", 1951, East BerlinImmediate source: Twitter, PD-US, Link

Saturday, June 09, 2018

"Father Knows Best" (1955) looks at "The Art of Salesmanship"



The Art of Salesmanship” (1955) gives us pause to think about “sales culture” today.


What? “A man’s son is an extension of himself?”

Dad is so proud to have a salesman in the family, and challenges the son to sell some junk, and the son doesn’t have what it takes and winds up washing dishes.  Manual labor?

I’ve never seen manipulating others to get them to buy things as a virtue.

OK, this is a “Father Knows Best” episode, with Robert Young and Jane Wyatt (Screen Gems, Columbia).

Friday, June 08, 2018

"Remembering Anthony Bourdain" on CNN



Friday night, CNN present an hour-long “Remembering AnthonyBourdain”. 

I can recall a pastor that I know calling him an outstanding journalist.

Bourdain was found unresponsive in a hotel room in France Friday morning. It has been definitively reported as a suicide.

I had not been aware that Bourdain, 61, had started out as a chef.  But it makes sense – the centerpieces of his episodes was the sharing of homemade meals, often in remote jungle locations or on river boats.

  
Bourdain was quite concerned about the political implications of his journeys.  When he visited the Congo, he discussed colonialism.  In Russia, he mentioned the 2013 anti-gay “propaganda” law.

One physical oddity -- Bourdain had tattooed his arms in the past couple of years.  Commentary says he had been a smoker.
   
Bourdain also found interesting location in the US – his own native New Jersey, and Brooklyn, as well as the Louisiana bayous and the California valleys.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

"Brain Secrets with Dr. Michael Merzenich": how your own momentum can keep your brain intact as you age



Maria Shriver (whose dad died of Alzehimer’s) hosted “Brain Secrets with Dr. Michael Merzenich” today on many PBS stations
    
This sort of personal advice program punctuated with appeals to funds tends to irritate me, but many of the ten tips sounded important.

Merzenich seems to accept that physics says that the brain determines consciousness, so if it changes, you change.  But, as a paradox, you can control how your brain changes.  The presentation often mentions “brain plasticity”.


My going on a 10 day trip with many destinations and some risks of so much driving and so much attention to the minutia of keeping track of things when traveling, may be my own way to stay sharp.

I do believe that momentum can keep seniors active much longer.  Once you start the multiple medicare visits and treating every pain, the game is over.

He recommends acts of kindness as good for the resilience of the brain.There was mention of specific functional issues, like being able to remember names of things or certain words, even though you remember identities. 



Wednesday, May 30, 2018

ABC cancels Roseanne over questionable tweet(s); she blames Ambien


ABC cancelled “Roseanne” after Roseanne Barr issued a tweet(s) offensive to many people. ABC7Chicago has a story
  
The cancellation will cost many show staffers their jobs, as pointed out on MSNBC this morning


ABCNews has a bizarre story to the effect that Roseanne blames Ambien.

From my perspective, the tweet was possibly an attack just on extremism, not on Muslims or any race per se.

But private companies can control what visible employees or associates or other stakeholders can say on social media. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

CNN documentary "1968": the most pivotal year of my own lifetime



Sunday night May 28 CNN aired the first two parts of the 4-part 4-hour documentary “1968: The Year that Changed America” from Playtime and Tom Hanks (best link). 

  
The documentary seemed to expand from the “1968” episode of CNN’s “The Sixties”. It emphasized tha 1968 was a pivotal year in which the country almost came apart.
  
The first episode is called “Winter” and focused on the Tet Offensive in Vietnam at the end of January.  I went into the Army personally on Feb. 8.  The episode said that white people went out of the way to avoid redress of racial grievance out of desire to remain segregated and not even have to see blacks.  In the Army it was different.  Blacks were more likely to wind up in infantry and become casualties in Vietnam but were much more respected within the ranks or in Basic Training. The episode ends with LBJ’s announcement that he will not run – the lowest day of my tenure in Special Training.
   
The second episode was called “Spring” and focused first on the assassination of Martin Luther King in Memphis and on the resulting riots, and then on candidacy of Robert Kennedy and his assassination in Los Angeles in June 1968.  Had be not been attacked, he might have won the nomination and handily defeated Nixon.