Sunday, December 31, 2017

Litton's Weekend Adventure visits Belize

Saturday morning, Dec. 30, Litton’s Weekend Adventure aired something interesting because of what I’ve covered before.  They aired two half-hour segments on ABC shot in Belize, which I have talked about before with regard to a local church “Mission in Belize”.

This time the first segment showed film jaguars and ocelots, setting up items to attract them.  The females showed up with their young.  Earlier National Geographic films have shown that wild big cats sometimes start to accept humans beings around them to film them;  in one case a wildlife photographer consoled an aging female leopard as she passed away.

The second segment showed sea turtles of the coast of Belize. It was hard to see how they (as reptiles) could stay underwater so long.
Wikipedia attribution link for Mata pyramid in Belize, CCSA 2.0, by Ian Mackenzie. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

"Putin's Power: A Journey Inside Russia" on ABC Nightline

Late Wednesday night Dec. 20 ABC Nightline presented “Putin’s Power: A Journey Inside Russia”.

The report showed mounting demonstrations in St. Petersburg by youthful supporters of one of Putin’s political rivals, as well as they heavy handed police actions against political opponents.

The broadcast then moved to Siberia, showing squalor, and then to the growing HIV epidemic among drug users in Russia.  There was a scene in a home for mothers with HIV and their kids.
Putin has put out a message of heterosexual monogamy, but not been willing to talk about condoms.
Putin has also been trying to get families to have more kids and to repopulate rural areas in Siberia. Make Russia great again?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

"Putin's Revenge Part 2" on PBS Frontline

PBS Frontline aired “Putin’s Revenge Part II” tonight, Tuesday, December 19, 2017 (link).

The documentary traces Putin’s anger at Hillary Clinton to her remarks in 2013 supporting Russian dissidents.

Putin experimented with his disinformation and hacking campaigns in Ukraine in 2014, leading to a bloodless seizure of the Crimea.

Then the hack on the DNC in 2016 led to the tension between Sanders supporters and Clinton at the 2016 Democratic convention.

A media bombshell on Russian hacking in October would be immediately supplanted with Trump’s Access Hollywood fiasco, and then a slow burn from a Wikileaks release from the Russians 

Monday, December 18, 2017

CNN Heroes 2017

Sunday night, CNN, hosted by Anderson Cooper, hosted its annual CNN Heroes. The presentation ran past midnight. 
Here is the link giving the top ten heroes.  

The lineup starts with Stan Hays and barbecuing to feed hurricane victims in Florida and Texas.

Most of the heroes were recognized for meeting personal needs close-up, and mostly for people who cannot fend for themselves, sometimes medical or inherited disability, or often adverse circumstances.

My own talents would have to be much more specialized if I went in this direction.  For example, I could assist with chess tournaments (they happen in low income areas) or with helping people deal with Internet scams or viruses. But the needs here seem to be much more basic.

The Red Cross has been trying to recruit volunteers to install smoke detectors.
Do journalists like Anderson do this themselves? How could they have time?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Omarosa, of course; CNN nasty to OAN for Moore glitch

I remember Omarosa Manigault Newman in Season 1 of Trump’s “The Apprentice”.  She got fired, but Trump seemed to like her, and it was mutual, as she apparently had the run of the White House for her invented job as a liaison to the African American community.

So here is the story of her second firing. “He is not a racist” she says.

She had a problem getting along with Chief of Staff Kelly.

OAN reporter Trey Yingst tweeted that he called and after she put him off she hung up.

My own sense was that Omarosa did make a Trump presidency less menacing at first. She used to be the heart of Trump's reality world. 

There was another story about Roy Moore’s loss to Jones in Alabama.  OAN supposedly called the election for Moore and then retracted the story,  CNN’s Brian Stelter tweeted (in a retweet of Jon Levine) “This is bad and/but also shows how irrelevant “One America News” is.”  Seems inappropriate for a mainstream “liberal” network to call a conservative network “irrelevant” on a mistake.  All the networks blew it calling Florida too early in the 2000 election. 
Trey did ask a pointed question about the ending of network neutrality in the White House Briefing today.  I was home and reconnected to cable just in time to hear if after a scheduled maintenance power outage in my building.
Whatever happened to Troy McClain, who let his legs get waxed to “take one for the team”? Trump mentions him in “How to Get Rich”. 

Omarosa will be interviewed Thursday night on ABC Nightline, video here.  

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Three way interview with the gay love triangle on "Days of our Lives"

Freddie Smith (Sonny), Chandler Massey (Will) and Christopher Sean (Paul) do a jam with Michael Fairman of “Days of our Lives”. 

Chandler Massey has returned as the character Will has re-appeared;  he wasn’t dead after Ben strangled him, but was given a new identity. 

Will has amnesia, but his old gay self returns as he suddenly kisses Paul (the baseball pitcher).
Sonny pulled a stunt with Ben (breaking out of jail) to reenact the strangling so Will would remember.

In the meantime JJ (Casey Moss) tries to get his head back together after shooting the autistic Theo before recognizing him, after the Dimera’s put Theo up to a robbery.  JJ, now a cop, has evolved into the straight version of Will.

Sonny even got his chest hair back one more time. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"Singapore" on Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown

On Dec. 10, Anthony Boudain reran his Episode 1 for this season. “Singapore”, which apparently I had not covered before (best link). 

As for the individual behavioral rules, “there are many” he says.  Much like other Asian societies (especially China) there is an idea of rightsizing of the individual so that the less well-off have some reason to have faith in the system. And the strict behavior rules on some things are thought to make the city-state safer.

But Singapore is also a bit of a nanny state, with some specific rules to guarantee ethnic diversity in housing complexes.

Quora has an interesting set of answers on Singapore’s authoritarianism, which has evolved from the rule of Lee Kuan Yew, a one-party system that seems more benevolent and workable than most.  
Harvard points out, however, that Sinagpore believes in controlling individual speech, as with its sedition act. 

Compare to Josh Garcia's coverage March 13, 2017.
By Socksiong - Own work., GFDL, Link

Sunday, December 10, 2017

"Justice for Jessica": horrific crime in Mississippi, trial has just started

Justice for Jessica” is a one-hour special on CNN, narrated by Randi Kaye, about the murder of Jessica Chambers at the end of 2014.  

The documentary traced her movements after leaving a gas station. She was found walking while burning, but she died at the hospital soon thereafter.


There is plenty of circumstantial evidence against the accused. 

Saturday, December 09, 2017

"The Mystery of Michael Flynn" on CNN

On Friday, Dec, 9, CNN aired “The Mystery of Michael Flynn” (one hour, 10 PM, EST)  CNN’s own best link seems to be this article by Manu Ranju and Jeremy Herb, about discrepancies between testimony of Flynn’s aide and court documents. Or try-catch this story about ripping up Russia sanctions, by Ramju and Polantz.

CNN, unlike PBS Frontline, often does not provide specific url’s to track its special reports. 

Flynn  was the U.S.'s s 25th National Security Advisor.

The report went back to the time when Flynn contradicted Obama on Obama’s cheery progress on getting out of not only Iraq (a vacuum leading to ISIS) and eventually Afghanistan.


Then it covers Flynn’s speech at the GOP convention in 2016 (“lock her up”) and the events that led to Flynn’s firing early after Trump’s inauguration.  Flynn attracted attention in the first days when Steve Bannon was invited to be on the security team. 
Trump's erratic national security "leadership" may have proved tempting to Kim Jong Un. 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Shaun has meltdown in 2017 finale of "The Good Doctor"

Episode 10 of Season 1, “Sacrifice”, concludes “The Good Doctor” for 2017 and has us wondering if Shaun will return as a surgeon in 2018.

Shaun finds a sarcoma in a Hispanic athlete’s forearm after an injury, and then finds that it spread to his brain.  As usual, Shaun is the only one who can figure out how to save his life. The athlete engages Saun about his autism and lack of personal competitiveness.

Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff) hires a female therapist as Shaun’s life coach.  At the end of the episode, Shaun has as a meltdown over his loss of independence, and runs off, leaving us hanging as to what happens on Jan. 8.
I’d like to see Shaun’s cat from Wyoming show up. Shaun probably communicates with animals.

Picture: Palm Springs, 2012 (mine). 

Monday, December 04, 2017

Brian Ross suspension from ABC underscores how important fact checking is now on network news

An indication that major media outlets are now implementing zero tolerance of missteps by their own high profile personalities comes with ABC News four-week suspension without pay of Brian Ross, 69, announced Saturday.

Ross reportedly announced that, according to an anonymous source, Trump had told Flynn to contact the Russians while still a candidate in 2016. Later it was learned that this contact happened after the election and appears to have been legitimate legally.  This seems to have been a simple oversight in the procedure of fact checking.

CNN Money has a provocative story here;  CNN reports it pressured ABC to come clean on the matter.

The New York Times has a story here.

ABC News offers its statement on Michael Flynn here.  For the record, here is ABC’s account of Flynn’s charge, with a PDF of the charging documents.  Flynn plead guilty on Friday December 1.

Trump tweeted pleasure at the suspension.   The stock market dropped suddenly (then recovered) and Trump claimed investors should sue ABC News.

Brian Ross is known for investigative journalism on series like ABC 20-20.  I would think he would be able to review a problem like electric power grid security (with respect to solar storms and now North Korea), as to the “facts” regarding utility and tech company preparedness.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sexual harassment scandals and witch-hunts continue; there are no words

I could say, there are no words.

Lauer must not have been expecting the call Tuesday night. 

(I worked for NBC myself 1974-1977).

And then Garrison Keillor (“A Prairie Home Companion” which became a movie) is also being completely erased by Minnesota Public Radio after a bizarre story of one indiscretion.  Bari Weiss opines here

The witch hunt feeding frenzy continues.

Oh yes, the powerful kept the women (and sometimes men) silent, in fear for their jobs.

Or is this always the case. There seems to be no statue of limitations, not presumption of innocence in any of these cases.  Anyone could make up a claim.

You wonder what it is like to get a phone call suddenly about things that happened a few decades ago.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"Southern Italy: The Heel of the Boot", A Film by Anthony Bourdain, in Cinemascope (redundant for television)

CNN aired Anthony Bourdain’s last “Parts Unknown” of the fall, called “Southern Italy: The Heel of the Boot” the Apulta region (TV Guide). 

The broadcast was reformatted as 2.35:1 and claimed to be “a film by Anthony Bourdain”, rather like an independent art film.

Here’s CNN’s own “food montage”. 

The landscape had caves and ancient-looking towns. 

Wikipedia attribution link for photo by Robyn Hooz, CCSA 2.0 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

CNN holds debate on GOP tax plan

Senators debated the likely effects of a GOP tax plan tonight on CNN.
They had the presence of mind to do so even given North Korea’s missile test today.
The story by Sophie Tatum is here

There was a lot of sentiment that Congress should not continue subsidizing high tax states with state tax deductions – these states seem to have the larger impoverished population.

Republic Senators Ted Cruz and Tim Scott debated Maroa Cantwell and Bernie Sanders, with Jake Tapper moderating.

There was special concern over whether college tuition income should be taxed as income. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

"Trans Beauty" -- a transgender beauty pageant in Thailand on Lisa Ling's "This Is Life"

The episode “TransBeauty” on Lisa Ling’s “This Is Life” series on CNN depicted a transgender beauty pageant in Bangkok, Thailand (link )

Thailand has a more flexible attitude toward gender because of its Buddhist background.

Women say they want to show off the bodies they have created for themselves.
A young bald man from the Czech Republic (and thmooth) had married one of the women.

Wikipedia attribution CCSA 3.0


Saturday, November 25, 2017

" A Killing on the Cape": ABC 20-20 covers a 2002 murder on Cape Cod of a fashion writer

On Friday, Nov. 24, ABC 20-20 aired a 2-hour detective story, “A Killing on the Cape”, link (paywall with your cable company). 

Attorneys Sonny Hostin and Dan Abrams contribute to the narration of the story or the rape and stabbing of fashion writer Christa Worthington in 2002 in Truro, MA, in Barnstable County, on the way to Provincetown.

Eventually a black “garbage man” (Chris McCowen) was convicted to her but he maintains his innocence from prison despite the DNA evidence.  He admits he was intimate once. 

The episode covered the “race” angle, which does not seem critical. 
The episode was also developed as a "True Crime Podcast Hit" by ABC radio.
I drove through the town myself in August 2015.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Home team football on Thanksgiving Night (Washington Redskins win a sloppy game)

Well, Thanksgiving Day somewhat became game day (as on my GLBT blog), but for the first time ever the Washington Redskins hosted a Thanksgiving Day game at FedEx field, against the New York Giants.

NBCWashington carried the game, pre-empting usual programing.  I wonder that so much other programming stops for college and pro football, not just on the weekends but Monday nights and now Thursday night.
The Redskins won, 20-10, but the game was sloppy, and closer than the score makes it sound. The Redskins improved their record to 5-6 and are barely in the playoff contention. 

Football fans are slowly finding themselves under a moral cloud, as the NFL concussion problem grows, and the harm to young men in high school and college becomes more apparent  This old idea of fungibility that George Gilder likes is coming into real question.  Nevertheless, actor Richard Harmon stands by the Fighting Irish.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

ABC Nightline covers the sacking of Charlie Rose for sexual harassment

Wednesday night, the very late Nightline (airs at 12:35 AM on ABC) aired a report of the firing of Charlie Rose from both PBS and CBS after allegations of past sexual harassment of women surfaced. The video link is here

The allegations included appearing partially nude and making unwanted phone calls.

But a couple decades ago producers would say, “That’s just Charlie being Charlie”.
More women come forward against a growing list of male celebrities as “critical mass” has been reached. 

Rose denies some of the claims.  There can be problems proving accusations for abuse years ago unless there are multiple victims.

But if you did something bad three or four decades ago it can come back to bite you and end your career very suddenly now.

Or are these witch-hunts?  It's senior citizens who are going down. 

I tried PBS during the Charlie Rose slot and indeed there was silly emergency fill-in programming.  I forget what it was. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"Late Night in the Age of Trump" on CNN

Monday night, Nov. 21, CNN aired a one hour special, “Late Night in the Age of Trump”, with Brian Stelter (link).  

Seth Meyers took up a lot of the special, explaining how difficult writing comedy can be.  We know his gigs from SNL  (some weekend I just have to go to it, with the right host.)

Alec Baldwin (hairy??) was a centerpiece of the episode, as he has often played The Donald, with the $60000 artificial hair do. 

And, of course, the infamous gig with Sean Spicer (falsetto and gender fluid) attacking reporters with his mobile podium. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

"Days of our Lives": Gay character Will Horton returns as a ghost, thinking he is EJ

Days of our Lives” has gotten a little interesting again.

It seems as those Will (again played by Chandler Massey) has come back as a ghost, resurrected by a witch, but the thinks he’s EJ.  Sami is back in the show, claiming she is his mother.  Sonny tries to convince Will that he had his daughter before he accepted who he was and married Sonny.
This is indeed a gay ghost story.  Or is this the sci-fi thing of switching bodies? 


In the meantime, JJ (Casey Moss) rocks. He has become the straight version of Will. Now when he does the right thing, he gets in trouble because of luck. The Dimera’s somehow hire Theo, who seems autistic, to commit a robbery for them. JJ catches him and thinks the scanning device is a gun.  When JJ says “drop that weapon”, Theo interprets it literally and turns to show the device. JJ  thinks it is a gun and shoots him. 

In a later episode JJ thinks he really did recognize Theo before pulling the trigger -- mind tricks.
I think DOOL needs to bring on Dr. Shaun Murphy from ABC's "The Good Doctor" as a crossover to bring Theo back!

It now looks like Will was rescued after the strangulation, found breathing, and given a drug to make him believe he was someone else.  I don't know how credible this is as sci-fi. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"The Good Doctor" bonds with an autistic teen patient on Season 1 Fall Finale

The Good Doctor” (“22 Steps”) on Monday night gave Shaun his most interesting challenge yet. He treats a young teenage boy who presents after an accident and other unusual symptoms and is the first to recognize that the teen is autistic, “like me”.

It gets interesting. During an MRI, Shaun tries to calm the boy by counting steps.  It only works so far. The parents have given the kid a fad diet to counter autism, and as a result the boy has a serious intestinal illness needing surgery.  The parents don’t want Shaun to participate.  But Shaun, as usual, winds up being the only person who can save the boy’s life. The boy actually likes Shaun. The intestinal surgery scene has some pretty realistic looking bowels. 

There’s a subplot of a 73-year old man who deliberately broke his pacemaker because he wants to die. Pretty depressing.

And we could lose the part about Shaun’s supposed 2 AM calls when he loses a tool in the apartment.
Shaun finally buys a flat screen TV and enjoys football. Maybe, like Richard Harmon (who is so spectacularly successful as an actor in “The 100” at 26 precisely because of social skills) he’ll root for the Fighting Irish.  Maybe Shaun will take up the problem of concussion damage in the NFL.
I think they should do something with that loose end where Shaun puts out tuna for a stray cat.  It would make sense to have Shaun befriend a stray cat (or for the cat in Wyoming to join him), or maybe a larger cat like a serval or lynx.  He probably would communicate well with sentient wild animals, especially cats and even foxes. 

Update: Nov 28

On Nov. 27, the series started its Winter episodes with Episode 9, "Intangibles".  Shaun dissects the doubletalk of heterosexual flirting, but helps save a pediatric heart patient from Africa with a simple but brilliant idea. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

"Track and Fear" on ABC 20-20: n Olympic female shotputter and her coach

ABC 20-20 episode “Track and Fear” presented the story of female shotputter Baillie Gibson’s relationship with her coach, Craig Carter at the University of Arizona.  View link

The litigation goes both ways in this case, but it is timely given all the recent attention to sexual harassment.  It would be inappropriate for an intimate relationship with a coach to happen anyway even when consensual.

ESPN has a more detailed account of the event  as quoted by the New York Post I May 2017. 

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of University of Arizona campus by JSCarreiro, P.D.  I have been in Tucson once, in 1980, but actually considered this school as a senior in high school.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Bill Weir visits Peru: Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and Amazon

Tonight on CNN Bill Weir presented Peru on his Wonder List program.

I had scheduled a vacation in Peru in the summer of 1974 which I cancelled when I went to work for NBC.  I spent a weekend in Mexico City.

The main event in the broadcast was the presentation of Machu Picchu, which can be reached by train and bus from Cuzco (which itself it at 11000 feet). There used to be another trainride from Cuzco across a 15000 foot pass in the Andes.  
There are several other sites similar to Machu Picchu. The Incas built an empire without a written language, and fit stones together without mortar.  Much of this was built before 300 AD.  

Weir visited Lake Titicaca, the highest in the world, and showed a micro-civilization of woven raft islands in the Lake, some of which offer motel or Airbnb accommodations. Other parts of the marsh people are poor, and there are legal issues of real property rights for floating islands (they pay no tax now). One is reminded of the Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq.

Bourdain did not visit the Gate of the Sun, which Van Daniken had claimed was built by aliens. There is also the mystery of the Nacza lines.
Bourdain then visited the areas of the Amazon pillaged by gold mining, leaving toxic lakes after strip-mining, along with a lot of mercury pollution. 

Wikiepedia attribution link for photo of Uros floating island in Titicaca

"Diego Delso,, License CC-BY-SA 4.0"

Thursday, November 09, 2017

"Tipping Point: Sexual Harassment in America": CNN Town Hall tonight

On Thursday Nov. 9, CNN hosted a Town Hall, “Tipping Point: Sexual Harassment in America” hosted by Alysin Camerata   Here is a major link for it, maintaining that 20% of all Americans know a woman who has experienced sexual harassment at work.

Anita Hill, now a professor at Brandeis, also helped host.

Gretchen Carlson talked about her experience at Fox with Roger Ailes, and then about a creepy experience early in her career on Capitol Hill. 

There was discussion of the fact that in Congress there are several legal impediments for women reporting sexual harassment against male congresspersons.

Matt McGorry, from “Orange is the New Black” also spoke.
On my Wordpress news commentary blog, I have pubbed a detailed guest post by David Essel, “Sexual harassment, when will it end?” 

Today Roy Moore was accused of illegal sexual harassment during his candidacy for a seat as GOP Senator from Alabama, link. Moore's supporters made an odd comparison to Joseph as father of Jesus, which I have heard in sermons before.  Joseph had some explaining to do. (See "BillBoushka" blog, Dec. 24, 2007 on a sermon by James Somerville.) 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

"Business of Disaster" on PBS Frontline looks at behavior of FEMA and flood insurance after Sandy in New York

Tonight Wednesday November 8, 2017, PBS Frontline aired “Business of Disaster” about the way homeowners lost out after counting on government-backed flood insurance after Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

The broadcast focused on Staten Island and southern Rockaways.

People often tried to lift their homes on stilts, or to rebuild all the joists from scratch.  A big controversy was whether foundation damage was caused by Sandy or had been pre-existing.

Byzantine bureaucracy of New York’s “Build It Back” program seemed to leave homeowners owing large legal bills. 

Thursday, November 02, 2017

On Fox, Houston Astros "Strong" take Game 7 on the road in LA

The Houston Astros, who moved to the American League in 2013 (winning only 51 games that year, but 84 games in 2016), clinched game 7 Wednesday night on the road in LA.   Fox broadcast the series.

But of course it is Sunday night’s crazy 13-12 game that everyone will remember.
How often does a visiting team win game 7?  More often than you think. In 1975, after Cartlon Fisk’s homer in game 6 in Boston, the St, Louis Cardinals won the 7th game quietly in Fenway, 4-3.

Minute Maid Park is rather like another Fenway, with a short left field. It had been called Enron Field until the scandal in 2001.

I saw a game in the old Astrodome in 1984 (the Astros lost that game to the Giants). 

The grassy knoll in center field was removed before 2017.  
By User AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker on Flickr - From Flickr; description page is (was) here, CC BY 2.0, Link

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Shaun becomes more "assertive" as "The Good Doctor" progresses

Two more episodes of “The Good Doctor”.

I didn’t see “Point Three Percent” until today, watched online.  Shaun has to deal with the idea of “lying” to a minor patient, a boy who resembles his deceased brother. He even says to a nurse “I need you” to get her to do the lying for him.  Them he has to ask if he is in trouble for ordering an extra test when he believes the osteosarcoma diagnosis may be wrong (0.3% chance)  There’s an interesting medical question:  could Epstein Barr virus have caused the sarcoma in a genetically susceptible patient?

There’s a subplot about an older man with tapeworms.

In Episode 6. “Not Fake”, Shaun decides he can save a leg after a huge accident with a titanium femur. Another female patient is severely burned.

Shaun avoids eye contact and is always probing the way he roves with his eyes. He says he doesn’t want “love” but he really does care about people.
I want to see his boyhood cat visit him.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Netflix ends "House of Cards" after long enough run; Wasn't Kevin Spacey's sin venial enough?

Netflix will end its “House of Cards” series with Season 6, which is a lot, NPR announced today in a typical story.

I know the purists will say there is no “statute of limitations” on involvement of a minor in moral codes (sometimes there is in state law).  Spacey’s tease of a 14 year old might have seemed more acceptable in 1986 (although you wonder about on the heels of HIV), than it would be after the exposure from NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” (mostly heterosexual cases) with Chris Hansen in 2005-2006, when public opinion flipped so quickly. Some teens are mature for their age and can tease.  But the social intolerance for anything like this seemed to flip around 2005.

Kevin Spacey has “come out” as a gay man, something I’ve heard for years.  Many are saying he has no right to hide behind a past phantom closet.

Milo Yiannopoulos, following the pseudo accusations against him in February, jumped all over Spacey on his own site today.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

"Putin's Revenge" in 2016 had been building up a long time (PBS Frontline)

A two-part series on PBS Frontline’s “Putin Files”, called “Putin’s Revenge”, traces the history that leads to Putin’s leading Russia to hack American social media with fake news to sow division and put an authoritarian-minded person (Trump) like himself in the presidency.

Putin, even like Kim Jong Un, has seen the US dispose dictators.  He interpreted statements by George W Bush (even after empathizing over 9.11) and then Hillary Clinton as an existential threat to the Russian state.  The fall of Gadaffi in 2011 after the Arab Spring strengthened Putin’s resolve.
Was the 2013 anti-gay propaganda law a diversion from this agenda?

A major incident that affected his attitudes was the 2004 Beslan School Siege by Checnynan extremists. 
Minnpost has a good summary of the new subseries. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Real life cold case clown killer case solved when Stephen King's remake of "IT" shows

ABC 20-20 aired a documentary ("American Horror Story") Friday Oct. 21 about Florida’s 1990 “killer clown” case that had gone cold for 27 years. The best link is a Miami Herald story on the episode here. 
Shelia Keen Warren was arrested in late September 2017 and extradited to Florida where she could face the death penalty for killing her former husband’s wife in the face after dressing as a clown and ringing a doorbell. She faces the death penalty now in Florida. 

The case drew some interest because of the Stephen King horror film (actually a remake) “IT” in 2017.

ABC produced a store owner who remembers a woman buying a clown suit. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cruz bests Sanders on CNN debate

CNN featured a 90-minute debate between Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday night. Ed Rogers of the Washington Post says that Cruz “outclassed” Sanders. Odd for a liberal paper. 


Cruz made a salient point about the death tax.  Family offspring often have to sell businesses, which would have employed people, to pay taxes.  Cruz seemed to imply that people who inherit estates have a moral obligation to try to employ people with profitable businesses.  People who are good at running restaurants or especially franchise stores generally learned these skills from families. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

This is Life: for teens the punishment way exceeds the crime on sexting

Teens indeed have trouble seeing around corners as to how adults apply the law.
Lisa Lang's "This is Life" presented two cases of teenage boys being tried as potential sex offenders.

In one case, in Minnesota, a fourteen year old had texted indecent pictures of himself to a 13-year old girl.  He was charged with producing and distributing child pornography -- of himself. His entire family lost Internet access, and his probationary therapy required passing inadmissible lie detector tests.

In Milwaukee, a 17 year old senior and athlete was prosecuted for "consensual" sex with a seductive 14 year old girl.  The parents called police.  He wound up with two years probation and ten years sex offender registration, and having to report himself a felon for ten years. There was a similar case in Michigan where the defendant said the girl had lied about her age. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Anthony Bourdain visits Lagos, Nigeria

Anthony Bourdain visited Lagos, Nigeria on Parts Unknown Sunday night, Oct. 15 (link )

The rich people live on Victoria Island, but the poor people live on canals in shantytowns.
Yet the people turn to entrpreneurlialism in  city with poor government services.  People scrape with little businesses, like cell phone repair.  They are good with their hands.  They are not afraid of high pressure selling.
Nigeria, however, is known for its anti-gay laws.  Why is this the case in a relatively “libertarian” economy?  Bourdain didn't go near this question.

Attribution link CCSA 2.0 on Wikipedia for picture OpenEdU.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"The Good Doctor": Shaun operates on a liver in transit; does Shaun talk to animals?

In Episode 3  “Oliver”of “The Good Doctor”, Shaun gets detailed to pick up a transplant donor liver. In route, with police escort, Shaun, using his savant abilities, detects a blood clot within the liver and performs roadside surgery on the organ.  He also keeps it cool in an emergency incident in a convenience store ice machine.

He also interacts with a neighbor in his Bay Area apartment. There is the barest hint of interest in future female companionship. 

A big cat who resembles mama cat back in Wyoming appears on his patio, and later Shaun puts out canned tuna to attract her back.  Did Shaun’s boyhood cat travel 1000 miles by magnetic sense to find him?  Does Shaun have an unusual ability to communicate with animals?  Maybe a future scene with dolphins and their sonar?

Shaun seems like an angel from another planet.  He speaks in non-idiomatic English, putting everything into logical consistency.  Yet he can take care of everything.  He remains physically fit.  Maybe there will be a scene showing him coding like Mark Zuckerberg. 

Episode 4 (Oct 16), "Pipes", impressed less. While the hospital struggles with a touch issue terminating a pregnancy, Shaun annoys his landlord with ridiculous demands.  This time his probing became irritating. 

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Lisa Ling shows Chinese capitalism, and birth tourism in the US

Lisa Ling’s “This Is Life” on CNN tonight offered a look at the progress of capitalism in her home China (link  )

She showed the glitz of Shanghai, and said that a lot of formerly inconspicuous people had become able to get rich by making and selling consumer items. This is true despite the authoritarian view of speech and dissent and one-party rule.

One reasonably privileged young man wanted to develop a virtual reality business to allow poorer people to enjoy things without having to possess them.

The broadcast covered birth tourism.  Chinese mothers come to the US and get put up in homes for about $30000 to give birth to citizens.  But the parents have to struggle to get green cards, especially now.  And the kids may not learn Chinese well if the parents take them back.
Lisa Ling wants her own daughter to learn Chinese because she will need to be able to function in the Chinese economy, even given its authoritarianism.
By JesseW900 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Saturday, October 07, 2017

AC360 on CNN: Portrait of the victims in Las Vegas

On Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, Anderson Cooper AC360 aired a tribute to the 58 victims, fatalities in the Las Vegas shootings Sunday night Oct. 1. 

Cooper calls it “stories of the fallen”.  He also says he does not name perpetrators on programs like this.

Here is the portrait of the victims and a narrative of each one in the Los Angeles Times. 

The photo is from my own visit to Las Vegas in May 2012. 

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

"The Good Doctor" went door-to-door as a boy

The Good Doctor” continued with Episode 2, “Mount Rushmore”. 

The episode starts with Shaun waking up in his minimalist apartment, doing pushups, and arriving at work.  The bus is late, and he says it cannot be his fault that the bus is late.  Odd.
His bedside manner is challenged when he is brutally honest about seeing a patient’s sarcoma near her aorta.  But later he will propose a way to save her life, by removing a kidney first to get at the tumor.

When he questions the discharge of a little girl with stomach problems, he goes to her house later, just in time to save her life, too. 

His manner sounds robot-like, rather like Spock in Star Trek. But he can question other people’s social games, like sarcasm.  He sees and processes everything the way a cat would (compared to a dog) – and cats really do notice everything in their environments. Still, he remains lovable. It is almost as if he came from another planet with unusual abilities and different modes of self-awareness and expression. 


The title of the episode comes from a flashback where as a boy he is raising money for a brother’s cancer treatment after a trip from Wyoming to Mt. Rushmore (in SD) is canceled. When a homeowner turns him away, he throws a stone.  I found that backstory disturbing, as I am sensitive myself to receiving door-to-door visitors out of security concerns.  That is getting less acceptable today than it used to be.  

ABC has reportedly ordered the rest of the season as episodes. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Days of our Lives: a gay wedding breaks up as a former husband is rumored to have returned from the dead

Well, gay marriage is back on Days of our Lives. Sonny is trying to marry Paul, the baseball pitcher, as part of a double wedding (the other part is straight). When Ben escapes from a mental hospital and shows up and crashes the wedding, it all breaks loose. Ben claims Will is still alive.

So there is a love triangle again.  What a nice plot on a soap for a gay triad.

Straight young policeman JJ (Casey Moss) has turned himself around and rather rocks now, and says he loved Will himself.

Nevertheless, it still seems that Sonny has trouble protecting his chest hair. 

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Lisa Ling covers sex therapy on her "This Is Life" series

Lisa Ling, in her series “This Is Life” on CNN, presented an episode on sex therapy, in one of the most explicit episodes ever, best link.  This seemed to be the premier for the fall of 2017. 

She started with a couple in a second marriage where the husband had settled into his role of instant family but host the ability below the waist.

She presented a therapist who treated a middle aged man who simply wanted to be able to experience intimacy.

She mentioned the movie “The Sessions”, and presented a therapist in San Francisco treating a young man with cerebral palsy.  Lisa Ling joined in appearing in the nude in that session (blurred on television).

Intimacy was presented as an end in itself.  I remember the tension when I went through my heterosexual dating in 1971.

Intimacy in relationships makes openness to those in need easier and more likely. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

AC360 hosts townhall on NFL player kneel protests

Anderson Cooper hosted a townhall on the President, protests, kneeling and race tonight, story. 

Filmmaker Spike Lee, Rev. Mike Faulkner, and former Green Beret Nate Boyer spoke.

Faulkner said that the flag should be honored and saluted, but protests could follow the anthem and flag presentation.

The media seems to rewarding Trump’s obsession with the NFL protests, at the expense of attention to grace infrastructure problems like in Puerto Rico, or even coverage of North Korea. 

There is a United States Flag Code, 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

CNN: Obamacare repeal debate on Graham-Cassidy, the day before it dies

On CNN, JakeTapper and Dana Bash hosted a debate on Obamacare repeal or replacement with Amy Klobuchar, Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, and Bernie Sanders on CNN Monday night, Sept. 25, at 9 PM

Graham insisted that the block-grant idea behind the repeal was better because the people in the states could elect officials who would represent their interests.  Obviously low income people in red states won’t buy this.


There was some discussion of how Britain, Canadian, French and Swiss healthcare systems work.  Obamacare was compared to the Swiss system, except that in Switzerland all policies are individual or family, none come from employers. 

The Senate gave up on the vote Tuesday as it did not have enough votes, after Susan Collins insisted on remaining a No. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

"The Good Doctor" starts on ABC, with an autistic surgical resident who is lovable

ABC premiered “The Good Doctor”, created by David Shore, tonight with a one-hour Pilot (“Burnt Food”) as resident Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), leaves his home in Cheyenne, WY, leaving behind a matronly tabby cat who seems to have helped raise him. Here’s ABC’s best link, for Autism Speaks. 

When he gets off a plane in California, a teenager is gravely wounded by a falling sign.  Shaun takes over from another doctor and saves the boy’s life, but not before getting into an awkward scuffle with the TSA. 

The hospital board contemplates whether to hire a resident with autism (with a meditation on comparative diversity), which seems more like Asperger’s Syndrome.  Most of incidents in the episode are preceded by flashbacks into his childhood when he was bullied, but was close to his brothers, one of whom dies in a fall in a railroad museum.

Not only does Shaun have a photographic memory but he also is savant, able to recall precise medical details and visualize all internal anatomical structures.  He seems not to react to some social cues because he appeared overstimulated but what his brain processes as “noise”.

But he always seems lovable and sincere.  Oddly, he can call people out for suddenly being rude and be right (almost like in a Ninth Street Center talk group in the 1970s, pretty much the way Paul Rosenfels would have).  It seems that a relationship with him would work unless it subjected him to sudden taboo surprises.
At one point Shaun says he wants to make money so he can have a TV set.  That may sound autistic, or maybe he was just being snarky for once. 
Sometimes his speech patterns and sentences remind one of Jack Andraka (at Stanford), except that Jack normally would not miss any social cues in common situations. (Jack is an accomplished athlete with his kayaking, but the show leaves the impression that Shaun could probably do something like that, too, maybe that will occur in a later episode.)   Shaun could probably speak publicly OK like in a Ted talk.   Maybe some people would compare his sentences to those of Mark Zuckerberg. Or perhaps Alan Turning, they way he is portrayed in "The Imitation Game".

Sunday, September 24, 2017

ABC 20-20 airs bizarre double-murder plot or ex-spouses in Texas, before trial

ABC 20-20 presented a murder for hire plot in Houston that is one of the most bizarre ever, the most detailed link is here in a story by Gwen Geffen, et al.

An established veterinarian. Valerie McDaniel, after a divorce, fell in love with Leon Jacob, who was a medical school graduate from the Caribbean.  As with a similar story on Dateline (May 18, 2017) about a different case, sometimes young doctors don’t work out well in residency and then go down into spirals. 

McDaniel would commit suicide by jumping from a balcony of her condo, after having said her gradual involvement in a double-murder for hire plot was insidious. 

The suspect in the episode does seem to indicate psychopathic personality disorder.

It’s unusual for news magazines to present cases like this before conviction.  The defendant maintains his innocence.
The heterosexual world seems to have a lot of these “Orient Express” plots.

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