Monday, April 29, 2019

CNN's W. Kamau Bell visits megachurches in Dallas

W Kamau Bell continued his “United Shades of America” Sunday night with a presentation “My Megachurch Adventure”. 

Bell focused his broadcast on Dallas-Ft Worth (I lived in Dallas 1979-1988), and started out standing in what looked like the Cathedral of Hope on Inwood Road near Love Field in Dallas. The church belongs to United Churches of Christ and focuses on the LGBT community and various minorities. It got started in the late 1980s before I left (with some people from MCC over on Reagan St in Oak Lawn).

But Bell quickly moved to Grapvevine to one megachurch and then visited several others.  Many are non-denominational (like the McLean Bible Church in Route 7 in northern Virginia).

Many have African-American pastors, and one of them discussed going “political”.  “You can’t go to the bathroom today without it being political.”
Nevertheless, the influence of the “Moral Majority” of the 1980s with James Robson et al seems reduced.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

"The Redemption Project": Van Jones explores restorative justice on CNN

Van Jones premiered his series “The Redemption Project” about restorative justice on CNN tonight, major link here.  Not pleasant. 
The premier episode showed a man (white) in prison in California for life for impulsively stabbing a mom for money for a drug fix. He gets a letter from her daughter one day and has a meeting where he faces what came over him.

Later Van interviews a man who is out on probation and starting work as a counselor for other prisoners in Lancaster, CA (in the desert, near LA – I’ve driven past that prison a few times).

Friday, April 26, 2019

"5 Real Possibilities for Interstellar Travel"

PBS Digital Studios covers “5 Real Possibilities for Interstellar Travel”.

The supposition is that Earth has to relocate to an earthlike planet around Proxima Centauri, over 4 light years away.

The best practical chance is a drive made of thermonuclear weapons – a lot of them.

A fusion, anti-matter, or even micro black hole drive is possible, and it might get new residents there in 3 years relativistic time. Other scenarios say you need to house three generations on a space ship.  Who gets to go?
He doesn’t present the Alcubierre Drive. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

David Pakman starts out with impeaching Trump and ends by excoriating the EU's Article 17

David Pakman reports that the movement to impeach Trump is exploding.

But that’s not the controversial part of this broadcast.  Instead, toward the end (at about 8:10), he makes a pitch for NordVPN, and mentions the EU’s Article 13 (now Article 17).

He predicts that in the EU most videos from the US won’t be watchable except through VPN, as platforms won’t be able to take the risk of showing videos from anyone but large or established companies and orgs.
Biden would be the best candidate for the Dem’s to take the 2020 election.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

CNN holds quintuple presidential candidate town hall marathon

CNN was a bit gratuitous with its quintet of Democratic presidential town halls Monday might from Manchester, NH.  That’s about 70 miles north of Boston and a lot of Harvard and MIT students were in the audience.  The contestants were Amy Kolbuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg. 

I didn’t watch all of it, as I took off 90 minutes to watch PBS’s “Charm City” at 10 PM.

Elizabeth Warren rather overwhelmed everyone with her policy proposals and free college.  I didn’t know she had been a Republican until the mid 1990s, when, even under Clinton, she decided that working people were just falling too far behind (I wasn’t).

Bernie Sanders shocked everyone by maintaining that all prisoners should be allowed to vote, even Jahar Tsarnaev on death row. 
Pete Buttigieg sounded a little more conservative and reserved than the other candidates. He seems more concerned with individual rights on a neutral basis (like a libertarian) than with groups. He did make an interesting proposal regarding national service, which would be voluntary.  This comports with Buttigieg’s own military service from the Naval Reserve in Afghanistan in 2014, which occurred after the repeal of "don't ask don't tell".  He says he "came out" as gay later in life because he was satisfied about keeping his private and professional life separated for a long time, which became less tenable in the Internet era. 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

"Chasing Life": Sanjay Gupta visits Bolivia to learn how to adopt to high altitude, and then learn about a heart-healthy lowland tribe

Tonight, on “Chasing Life”, Dr, Sanjay Gupta of CNN traveled to La Paz, Bolivia and adapted to the altitude. 

He took a full stress test with electrodes on his chest at 13,500 feet and then a special test to simulate 20000 feet, where a soccer match was played.
He visited a higher village, El Alto.

He found that high altitude life generally made the people living there healthy. There are special tea leaves and plants that seem to help open their coronary arteries.

Then he visited a village in the lowland, where the people have unusually healthy hearts.  They are active, taking 17000 steps a day compared to our 5000, eat no processed foods, and their constant low-level exposure to parasites and bacteria keep their immune systems occupied and prevent the inflammation of coronary arteries from autoimmunity.

Wikipedia attribution link for La Paz picture, CCSA 4.0. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Timcast livestream on lawsuit by Covington family for Lincoln Memorial libel

On Feb. 19, Tim Pool did a live stream chat “Covington Student Sues Washington Post for $250M”, which about what the paper is worth.

Later the student (Nicholas Sandmann) or his family sued CNN also.

Pool notes that relatively few people on Sunday morning Jan. 20 started to question the conventional narrative on social media, and a few contacted Tim.

I questioned two people on Facebook who had blindly criticized the kids.  It struck me that Nicholas’s standing motionless was a typical reaction from a more mature teenager to defuse a situation. I know a couple teens whom I’ve seen behave this way when suddenly confronted with something inappropriate.  Oddly, the Timcast reports that Nick had never been away from home by himself (with a group) before (at age 16).  I seem to remember this in seventh grade (12), going to Williamsburg (from northern VA). 
At about the 58 minute mark Tim talks about how he is commissioning videos on news stories, even from “skilled amateurs”.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

"Tricky Dick Part 4": the resignation

Sunday night April 14 CNN concluded the series “Tricky Dick” with Part 4, covering his landslide victory in 1972 and inauguration on a cold day (we had very little snow that winter).

Nixon would announce a Vietnam peace agreement five days later and would soon end the draft.

But Watergate developed very quickly, leading to the Saturday night massacre in October, and the resignation on August 9, 1974.  It was at the farewell speech Friday morning that Nixon mused about hating others.

I would start working for NBC on August 12, 1974 and soon move into Manhattan from New Jersey. 

AC360 held a special after the program and interviewed Woodward and Bernstein, going back to the time they expected impeachment.

Nixon is said to have wanted to reverse many of his “liberal” programs including price controls in his second term.

Although he made some progress with Civil Rights he is said to have harbored “racist” attitudes.
He never reacted to Stonewall.

Friday, April 12, 2019

"Your Biggest Fan" on ABC 20-20: the murder of Rebecca Schaeffer, leading to anti-stalking laws

Your Biggest Fan”, about the 1989 murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer by a fan, aired on ABC 2020 tonight as a two hour documentary, best link here

Good Housekeeping (remember that “women’s magazine” from the 50s) has a detailed story of the incident, where a “fan”, Robert Bardo, hired a private investigator to search public records for her address, eventually went there and shot her. 

That led to anti-stalking laws, before gun control became a more serious issue.

Bardo would be sentenced to life without parole.  Marcia Clark (later with the OJ case) would be a prosecutor.  He was said later to have psychiatric issues as well as a narcissistic personality disorder. He has remorse now.

The episode presented a few other stalking attempts that were turned back by security at events.

In the Internet age, some younger celebrities (especially men) are more likely to be open to corresponding with the public on social media, especially Twitter.   In recent months, some of these men have pulled back from social media, given all the problems,

That sounds good, but there is a socially negative side to it.  Some people will prefer pseudo-relationships ("orbits") with people they see as accomplished rather than real-life relationships with people whom they see as less “worthy” for “life points”.

YouTube celebrities are more approachable than “establishment media” celebrities.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

CNN does serial town halls; Gillibrand explains her change on immigration

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (from Albany NY) scored poorly in the ratings as she did a town hall on CNN on Tuesday night, April 9.

She was asked right off the bat about her previous hard line on immigration.

At one time she had wanted to force English as an official language and took a hard line on illegal immigrants.  She was tough on Trump’s family separation policy and inflexibly and called him a “cowardly president”.

Washington State governor Jay Inslee did a town hall Wednesday night with a focus on one issue: climate change.

He talked about a time that he had to greet immigrants at SeaTac airport when families were being separated.
Julian Castro will give a town hall Thursday night.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

"Days of our Lives" resurrects a mean Trump meme

Days of our Lives” has gone off on tangents indeed.  Now Will is a victim of an “Evil Eye” (an alternate body for Leo Stark) in a bizarre gay love triangle and passes out – and is held for more tests.  His white count is up.  Hope this isn’t something like leukemia.

Then there is the illegal alien, who has been JJ’s girl friend for a while.  JJ was in danger of prosecution or giving assistance to an undocumented person, which is a real risk sometimes in housing or assisting someone unless you work through an organization that knows what it is doing.  This could be a real issue now with LGBT asylum seekers.

Yesterday, the character was confronted at a party, with the female mob chanting “send her back”, sounding like a rewrite of “lock her up”.  Trump has suddenly invaded the soap opera world.

April 10:

Will has a brain tumor, it seems. 

Friday, April 05, 2019

John Fish talks about tribalism and individual moral choices as his video tours Cambridge and Harvard

John Fish starts his thrice-weekly YouTube partial livestreams, about Harvard.

Yesterday, he asked “Can Conflicting Moralities Ever Agree?” He names the two major American political parties.  I honestly don’t know how parties work in Canada.

That’s based on his book assignment (maybe for poly sci, maybe for English, maybe for philosophy) “Moral Tribes” by Joshua Green. He has to write his essay (essentially like one of my own book reviews) tonight. I ordered the book from Amazon and will post my own review soon (no, I won’t plagiarize his).  Seriously, I have a lot of other book reviews on my sites, and have gotten a few complaints over the years that students had plagiarized them and gotten caught by “Turnitin”.

John gives a preview of what he will say in the prose book review as he tours the campus, with snappy music in the background (given copyright these days, he’d have to have gotten a license for the music, although maybe it is in the Creative Commons – which EFF and Wikipedia both explain pretty well).  What happens to his videos in the European Union, given Article 17?

He mentions “meta-morality” as a term from the book, and seems to think it is OK that humans have to be challenged to balance their goals as individuals with those of the tribe they belong to.
John, however, doesn’t behave as if he belongs to a tribe.  In that sense, he resembles Tim Pool, although he talks mostly about personal and academic issues, not political.  Maybe Pool should interview him about “tribalism”.

There are a couple of odd comments about puberty in the comments.  At age 18-21, the college years, the finishing touches of puberty (for men) happen.  The brain isn’t fully grown until age 30 (finished pruning).  So chess player Magnus Carlsen has two more years to reach his summer solstice.

You can be a US Senator at Age 30 and president at 35, except, well, John Fish (19?) was born in Canada (I think).  So was actor Richard Harmon (look at his resume).  But so was Ted Cruz, and somehow he gets to run. I think that CNN should pretend David Hogg is running for president at 18 now and let him do a Town Hall.  Hogg doesn’t behave as a tribal person either.

Jack Andraka, now a senior at Stanford, doesn’t run a YouTube channel, but appears in loads of videos about his Science Fair-winning pancreatic cancer test. Again, no tribalism.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

The David Pakman Show: some Americans just aren't smart enough?

OK, time to put David Pakman on this blog. Pakman looks like a teenager but is 35, so he can declare himself as a Democratic candidate for president if he wants.  (He was born in Argentina and raised here, according to Wikipedia, and naturalized. It looks like constitutionally speaking, he can't run. A lot of my favorite people weren't born in the U.S.) 

He’s pretty blunt.  Many Americans are not cognitively capable of seeing through Donald Trump.
Or, is this video just globalist-liberal elitism?   Martin Goldberg (“Economic Invincibility”) would find a more circuitous way to say this.

He’s right, that being educated has become smeared.  Is this about tribalism? (as per Sebastian Junger).  About “paying your dues”?  

Some people have street smarts.  Trump even did an “Apprenctice” episode on that theme.
Also, a brief announcement to make somewhere.  David Hogg will start a podcast called "Hogg Wash" on Instagram Friday April 7.  Check his Twitter.  I'd rather see a YouTube livestream. Pakman should interview him.