Monday, September 29, 2014

Bourdain gives as a tour of Shanghai, but emphasizes food porn, as he opens a new season of "Parts Unknown"

Anthony Bourdain launched his new season of Parts Unknown on CNN with a visit to Shanghai, in “The People’s Republic of Capitalism”, CNN pressroom link here

Bourdain reminded us that the city is more ostentatious than any in the US in its displays of extreme wealth, particularly in the newest skyscraper section of Pudong. 
But the broadcast showed relatively little of the scenery, and focused mainly on the food, with exotic dishes that take a great deal of precision labor and energy to make.  The pork and crab soup dumpling and soup recipe attracted a lot of attention, with the precise hand-folding of each dumpling twenty times (link to recipe here ).  The preparation of the individual morsels reminds one of origami.
The food often includes small invertebrate animals (insects, crustaceans) and spices and sweet flavorings. It often is pan fried and flamed in exotic manners.
Shanghai is currently the most populous “city proper” in the world, with 23 million. But the city measures over 2400 square miles, which would be almost 50 miles square.  It approaches the size of Clive Barker’s “First Dominion” in his fantasy novel “Imajica”. 

Going to China would be like visiting another planet, for me.  But so would visiting Saudi Arabia.  
Wikipedia attribution link for area photo of Shanghai flat land mass 

Re-aired on Dec. 10, 2017. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

"Who Is your Sugar Daddy?" on CNN's "This Is Life with Lisa Ling"

CNN launched its series “This Is Life with Lisa Ling” Sunday night with a one-hour episode “Who Is your Sugar Daddy?”, main link here.

The report talked about the practice of “sugaring”, and the website “Seeking Arrangement” , link here, tagline “Relationships on Your Terms”.

The average female using the service was reported to be 27.  The average male was 40, and made $250000 a year.  Most of the men were married and seemed to be seeking mistresses. 

The idea that someone so “dependent” could be interesting seems alien to me.  Yet I can remember being counseled, “You need to experience being sponged off of.”   In fact, when I was growing up, most men were anticipating being the sole support for their future families, and the heterosexual world had been predicated on that mechanism.  
Picture:; random, from Virginia State Fair ("artwork", no connection to report, from my visit Sept. 27, near Doswell VA) 

Chris Pratt ("Bright" from "Everwood") leads SNL opening night for 40th season

Saturday night, Chris Pratt (“Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Zero Dark Thirty”) hosted the opening of the 4oth anniversary of Saturday Night Live.

He admitted in his monologue that this appearance would become one big selfie. He says he had to lose 60 pounds for a movie part (“Guardians”?) and I had notice some bloatware in recent years.   
A couple months ago, NBC had polled Facebook for suggestions for hosts.  Chris was one of eight on my list.  Maybe I had something to do with this.  If so, why wasn’t I in New York in the audience?  Maybe I should have been.  I was down in Richmond yesterday for Virginia Pride and later the Virginia State Fair.  It’s not easy to get in to the show, although the space looks pretty large. (A link on tickets is here.  )

A new comic, Pete Davidson, 20, the son of a NYC firefighter who died on 9/11, introduced himself during the Weekly Update and spun some gay jokes.

I had met Chris Pratt and Gregory Smith (who had starred together in the WB series “Everwood”) in August 2005 at a party at the King of Prussia Mall near Philadelphia. I had talked about DADT and EFF (and the COPA battles) with them.
Most of the skits were pretty goofy.  Toward the end, there was a piece where a girl undoes his shirt, to show a bizarre makeup shoulder scar.  Yes, he’s grown some hair on his chest since his days as Bright in Everwood.  

(Note: Because of a technical bug when creating the post, I had to delete and repost it.  The Blogger software inserts the string "_28" at the end of the URL, causing a search to lead to a "not found".  There;s not much I can do this time. I'll explain the bug on a future post on the IT blog; I see how to prevent it in the future.)  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

ABC 20-20 "Out of the Woods": documentary report on the "Slender Man" case in Wisconsin

On Friday, ABC News 20-20 presented an episode “Out of the Woods”, with David Muir reporting, about the case of two twelve-year old girls in Wisconsin who plotted the attack on their friend in order to present her (the daughter of Joe and Stace Leutner) as a “burnt offering” (to quote to movie or novel title) to the Internet character Slender Man, link here. (The character's name is also sometimes spelled as one word, "Slenderman".) 
The most telling part of the broadcast occurs when David Muir plays teacher in a New York City middle school and asks how many of the kids have heard of the character (all of them), how many realize he does not exist (a few kids didn’t yet understand this), and how many kids’ parents know what they are doing on the Internet (all kids raised their hands and verified that their parents did not know the “Wild West”).  Kids are exposed to things their parents don't know how to deal with because of the omnipresence of the Internet. 

The early part of the documentary broadcast showed the timeline, how the two girls plotted the incident for months, wanting to prove that Slenderman is real.  On YouTube, there are little clips and short films like “Slender Suits: The Documentary of Slender Man”. 

The Huffington Post as a story where Eric Knudsen, the “creator of Slender Man”) is reported to have commented on the tragedy here

When I was 12 years old, I certainly understood that fantasy characters from television and movies were not real.  It’s hard to see why these girls did not.  Some of the documentary goes into whether they should be tried as adults. 

Update: Feb. 20, 2015

ABC updated the story tonight.  CNN has some new footage, too, here, from AC360.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

CNN and Erin Burnett host Bill Clinton in town hall tonight

Erin Burnett debriefed former president Bill Clinton on CNN Wednesday night before the Town Hall at  9 OM, main link with many short videos here

Clinton said he (and Hillary) had disagreed with Obama before when Obama didn’t want to arm the rebels in Syria.  Clinton agreed that the people in the region have to win the battle on the ground, and the talked in detail about internal politics in the Muslim world.   He said that the more the US has to spend defending against enemies, the less it can spend fixing inequality at home. 
Clinton also said that he thinks the country is, as a whole, much less racist than it was two decades ago.

Clinton said that he relates to the domestic abuse scandals in pro football because he saw it in his own home growing up. 
President Obama’s address at the United Nations earlier today was broadcast on CNN, as was his chairing of the UN Security Council meeting. Obama laid the greatest moral responsibility at the hands of moderate Muslims to challenge the plundering and hijacking of their religion. 

I was odd to see Obama concerned about parliamentary procedure.  

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Under the Dome" seems to head toward a conclusion as the Dome starts to implode on top of Chester's Mill

Under the Dome” caught my attention tonight with the episode “Go Now”.  The Dome has been starting to collapse and threaten to destroy the town, while some of the townspeople have found an escape through the cave, under where the UFO landed in 1988.  A lot of the episode shows them jumping a “Galt’s Gulch” that grows underground, and finding the way led by incandescent butterflies (worthy of Tiny Tim and my old Armies buddies at Ft. Eustis in 1969).  The kid Joe McAlister (Colin Ford) seems to take a leadership role.  At the very end, a young female angel appears to lead them out. 

In the meantime, the sheriff goes mad, commits arson and tries various kinds of mayhem but is stopped.  We don’t know if Junior Rennie will get out, or the young lady he is protecting. 

As to how it can rain under the Dome, the Huffington Post has a detailed narrative of who the Dome has “protected” and threatened residents, and developed its own climate, link here

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Whitey: The United States of America v. James J. Bulger" airs on CNN

Whitey: The United States of America v. James J. Bulger,”  a documentary by Joe Berlinger, aired on CNN Thursday night as one of a series of CNN Films.  In fact, this 90-minute documentary will have a limited release from Magnolia Pictures. A typical CNN link is here. James Joseph “Whitey” Bulger, Jr. was one of history’s most famous “godfather” figures, of sorts, but was the brother of Massachusetts state senator Billy Bulger.
Bulger, born in 1929 and now 84, is serving five life terms for organized crime, including many hits and murders.  But he had been on the run for sixteen years before he was recaptured in Santa Monica CA in June 2011, where he had lived in hiding for most of that time, a lot of it in a rent-controlled apartment.
Bulger's intention at the end was to show that he had never behaved as an informant, and to show the US government and Justice Department as corrupt.  He did not know if he would live through the trial. In his mind, with a background from "Southie" or "The Town", a "snitch" was the lowest thing he could be.  But the government needed to show his actions as a "double agent".
The brutality of Bulger's actions is well described. 
The documentary got into the mechanics of witness protection, which can end “life as you know it’ for a targeted person.  It’s not available to someone who has made himself a public figure, and it would sound much harder to pull off in a world of social media.  Bugler was almost caught after being sighted at a theater showing “The Departed”.  The style of the documentary is more like that of an extended news reel, with many interviews.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Agent Storm: Inside Al Qaeda for the CIA" on CNN tonight; also, discussion of ISIS and social media on Lemon's show; could social media really be shut down for security?

CNN Special Reports Tuesday night aired “Agent Storm: Inside Al Qaeda for the CIA”, with main link here. Nic Robertsen hosted the documentary about Morten Storm, based on the book by the same name by the ex-spy (with Tim Lister).  The CIA did not stop the publication of the book but waned Storm that he was on his own.
Storm, a boxer at one time, converted to Islam and radicalized himself.  He at one point accepted the idea that Islam (as radicals interpret it) had the only truth and that any non-believer is an “enemy”, which is an idea that makes no sense to western civilians.  But after joining, and being rejected for “service” in Somalia, he became disillusioned over the violence against civilians, and contacted intelligence agencies, first in Demark.  He wound up working with Danish, British and US intelligence.

Storm's self-radicalization was very sudden, reading in a library;  so was his de-programming, when he started looking for "contradictions within Islam" on the Internet.  He demonstrated his de-conversion by ordering beer and pork in a restaurant.  Later, while setting up a rendez-vous, he changed plans without the CIA's permissions when he discovered that a particular place in Vienna served alcohol, and had to go to a nearby McDonald's.  

He even found a future bride for al-Awlaki( himself in Yemen), meeting her in Vienna. Much of the plot to get to al-Awlaki concerned the fake marriage.

Much of the film is shot in Copenhagen, which I visited in 1972.

Storm, with his red hair and somewhat portly appearance, looks out of place as a radical Muslim in the film. He resembles a “transfer agent” character, Lurku, in my own novel “Angel’s Brother”, who operates in Russia in my book.  In fact, he’s pretty much what I had visualized for my character, even the same body language.

Had my early life gone differently, or had I not had my college expulsion incident over homosexuality in 1961, I probably would have made a good intelligence analyst, although I wouldn’t have the temperament for covert work in the field, and I don’t recruit people.

Storm points out that the Muslim culture and religion emphasizes belonging to a group or tribe and absolute loyalty to it, to the extent that "unebelievers" are automatically viewed as enemies against Allah (or against the tribe) in the most extreme groups, and fair game just like soldiers.  The sense of morality is far removed from western ideas of individualism and "personal responsibility". 

Later Tuesday, on Don Lemon’s hour, experts were asked about the way ISIS and other terrorist groups recruit with social media.  Earlier today, CNN had talked about ISIS’s new magazine, Dabiq, and compared it to Inspire (New Republic story here ). Lemon mentioned the arrest today of a man in upstate New York for trying to recruit for ISIS and was caught in part through social media.  There was a debate on whether to “jam the signals” or leave them open and eavesdrop (Alan Turning style).  I was rather shocked when the idea that social media (especially Twitter and probably Facebook) could be shut down to stop the recruitment.  No, the panel said, we shouldn’t do that, we should monitor it (particular Twitter, which has fielded rather bombastic threats for closing accounts) and listen in.  But the fact that a shutdown could even be proposed (so the idea could be shut down) was shocking enough. 

Wikipedia attribution link for Copenhagen picture here

Sunday, September 14, 2014

PBS starts Ken Burns film "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History"

PBS aired the first two hours of Ken Burns’s new documentary “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History”, with primary link here, link here.
I wasn’t aware that Theodore was a sickly child, apparently only, and disregarded orders from his doctors and became more physically active as a young man and became robust as an adult. As a moral matter, he overcame his handicap.  To the extent that I may have had a similar constitution, I did not.  He credits this to his mother.  He was at his home deep within the Adirondacks when McKinley died and he became the youngest president of the United States at 42 in 1901.

FDR was not popular at Groton, his boarding school, where he managed the baseball team because he wasn’t good at playing it. 

But both men wanted to give back to society, making it better for others of less privilege by serving in public life. 
The film shows the unveiling of the Teddy Roosevelt bust at Mt. Rushmore in SD, which I have visited twice (in 1974 and 1998). 

The pilot emphasized that both men believed that federal government had to do more than the founding fathers envisioned when they wrote the Constitution, which they saw as a bit of an inconvenience, to say the least.  
Wikipedia attribution link for Mt. Rushmore picture 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

CNN presents Miami case of Krishna Maharaj on "Death Row Stories", echoes of "Scarface"

Friday night, CNN re-aired the “Death Row Story” of British businessman Krishna Maharaj  (born in Trinidad), who was convicted in 1986 of a drug-related slaying in Miami (Wikipedia story ) of Derrick Moo Young and Duane Young.  The death sentence was removed, but appeals to overturn the conviction based on possible prosecutorial misconduct have been denied by Florida governors.


The show as interesting in that it described the climate in south Florida in the early 1980s, the basis of Brian de Palms’s film “Scarface” (1983) with Al Pacino.  De Palma often said on television (like on Nightline, to Ted Koppel) that he made the film to show what was going on in south Florida.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

AfroPop presents "Deported": film about immigrants returned to Haiti after felony convicted (PBS, Howard University)

 On Tuesday, Sept. 9, PBS station WHUT at Howard University in Washington DC aired episode 6 of “AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange”, which was “Deported”.  (It could have been “The Deported”.)  This film is a 45-minute documentary by Chantal Regnault and Rcahele Magloire.  It presents a relatively little known immigration issue:  anyone born outside the US, even after being here legally (but not a citizen) can be deported to his or her home country after serving a prison sentence for conviction of a felony. The law was actually passed in 1996 when Clinton was in office, but was heavily pursued after 9/11.
This particular episode follows four men raised in the US back to Haiti, where they had never lived since early childhood, where they have to adopt to a life of privation.

The main link is here
One of the men says the thought he was an American and found out he was not. 
There was mention of the idea that the Dream Act would make it easier for immigrants to stay after military service or college. 
Some of the film is in French.  The film visits US backgrounds of the men in Lynn MA and Brooklyn NY.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

CNN's "Death Row Stories" examines Nathan Dunlap case (Chuck E. Cheese) and Gov. Hickenlooper's reprieve

CNN has aired an original series called “Death Row Stories”, which examines many death penalty cases and the moral issues surrounding it.
Last Sunday, CNN focused on the case of Nathan Dunlap, an ex-employee of a Chuck E. Cheese pizza restaurant in Aurora, CO, who returned after a firing and murdered four employees in a “robbery”  in December 1993.  Dunlap, then 19, was arrested quickly, having told some acquaintances about his plans for a killing spree.  The CNN link is here

Dunlap was examined then by the state for mental illness, and psychiatrists claimed he was faking.  But at his conviction and later sentencing, he went into rants in court.  He was sentenced to death unanimously by the jury quickly.

In succeeding years, Dunlap would be diagnosed with bipolar disorder and his behavior would improve with medication.
Aurora Colorado would be the site of a heinous slaying of a crime witness Javad Marshall-Fields days before he was to testify against Robert Ray in a murder case, as explained in this Denver Post article  and discussed in the CNN program.  He had gotten a phone call threatening him and was gunned down while driving.  His mother, Rhonda Fields, would become a Democratic member of the Colorado legislature and work for stronger witness protection, which was little known at the time.  The very disturbing 2006 Lifetime film “Family in Hiding”  (by Timothy Bond, with Brenda Strong) demonstrates how witness protection works.  It could never benefit me as I am too public already.
In May 2013, Democratic governor John Hickenlooper signed an indefinite reprieve of the execution of Dunlap, now 39; the stay remains in effect as long as Hickenlooper is on office.  The CNN report emphasized Hickenlooper’s personal questioning of the death penalty.  The effect of this situation is to make Charles Dunlap’s potential execution a political issue; his life could depend on who wins the next election.
The report shows impressive shots of the capitol building in Denver under renovation. 

Aurora is the site of the movie theater rampage by James Holmes on July 20, 2012.  He goes on trial in December 2014.  The best story on motive that I can find on the motive is in the New York Daily News here.  Jury duty for such a case would involve real sacrifice.

Wikipedia attribution link: Buckley AFB in Aurora.  I was in the area in 1966, 1973, and 1994. Haven't been to Colorado in a long time, so I'm overdue.  But it was during lunch in Sterling CO in 1994 that I decided to write my first book.  

Monday, September 08, 2014

"Utopia" on Fox: Two hours with 15 people starting an intentional community

I tried the two-hour kickoff of “Utopia” on Fox Sunday night.  Fifteen adults, from various walks, assembled to build an intentional community that appears to be in the coast mountains in California somewhere.  (For properties I have visited in Virginia, see Twin Oaks, April 7, 2012, and Acorn, July 16, 2014. 
The property has a barn, a waterfall and pond (which could dry up with the latest drought) and some animals.  The pioneers come in with no rules, except to share what they bring. 
The backgrounds are indeed diverse.  One man has been in prison. One was an attorney on Wall Street.  One is a born again pastor.  But another female participant says that the three great evils are power, money and religion and she wants out of all of it.
One of the men, a contractor, harasses one of the women, and the group puts him on probation in a kind of hearing.   They do have the ability to call 911.  One female gets alcohol poisoning on the first night. 
The pioneers even have to build their own electric grid.  They also make clothes optional.
The official site is here

This reality show follows on some others, like “Survivor”.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

President Obama interviewed by Chuck Todd on NBC Meet the Press, offers alarming speculation on Ebola, softer on ISIS and immigration

Chuck Todd opened his reign on Meet the Press with an interview of President Obama, text and video here
The president talked about three main areas.  One of these was the coalition to challenge ISIS (or ISIL). The president said that he believes ISIS will eventually become a major security problem for the US homeland over time, but probably this will not happen very quickly. But afterward several panelists disagreed with Obama, saying that the ISIS threat could become very urgent. 
The president said that he would address the nation on ISIS (or ISIL) later this week. He never mentioned Syria or Ar-Raqqa explicitly.
Then the president took up the Ebola epidemic in west Africa and said something startling. He said that the virus might in time mutate into a more contagious or even airborne strain which could threaten every western country, as if it were like the flu.  This comment could have been based on the history of the Ebola Reston monkey virus in 1989, although that virus is not infectious to humans (link), despite the speculation in Robert Preston's book "The Hot Zone".  In the mid 1980s, the religious right, especially in Texas, tried to claim that HIV would someday mutate into a more contagious form, as an argument against male  homosexuality (and as an argument against an enhanced anti-sodomy law introduced in 1983 in the Texas legislature).  This has never happened, but such speculative arguments can become dangerous.  I was living in Dallas at the time.
The president is holding off on immigration reform until after the mid-term elections. 

NBC News airs "Saving Dr. Brantly"; interview by Matt Lauer; Brantly's recovery from Ebola was more gradual than had been reported; the role of faith

On Friday, September 5, NBC Datelines and Matt Lauer aired a one hour special “Saving Dr. Brantly” with Matt Lauer interviewing.

Dr. Kent Brantly emphasized his Christian faith in his overcoming Ebola, as well as science, where he sees no conflict.

The interview gave the details of the use of the serum, which was supposed to go to Dr. Writebot, but while it was thawing next to her body heat, literally, the decision was made to give it to Kent first because he took a sudden turn for the worse.

Brantly did shake a lot during the infusion but started to feel much better about an hour later.  The rash disappeared quickly.

Brantly was able to walk onto the rescue plane to bring him back to Atlanta, but says he was still very weak and had profuse diarrhea for about a week.  He was given heavy doses of electrolytes by iv. 

There was a day about a week after he entered CDC where the fever broke and he suddenly felt much better. 

It was still another ten days or so before his blood was clear of live virus.  Dr. Writebot was clear sooner.

Did the serum “cure” him?  Maybe not.  It seems as though the most critical aspect of treatment is continuous supportive care by iv. 

Will Brantly and Writebot now travel to Nebraska to participate in treating Dr.Rick Sacra, for whom no serum was available?  Sacra seems to be stabilizing with supportive care.  It takes about three weeks for the body with a normal immune system to subdue the virus and break symptoms. 

Once hemorrhagic symptoms start, prognosis is very poor without extensive supportive care, which is not possible in much of Africa,

One could discuss Brantly’s drive to serve Samaritan’s Purse (employment link),  

Saturday, September 06, 2014

"Stand Up to Cancer" hosts 2014 Telethon on all major broadcast networks

The four major broadcast networks (NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS) all hosted the “Stand Up To Cancer Telethon 2014” (or “Standup2cancer”) at 8 PM EDT Friday night, Sept. 6, basic link here. CNN did not participate, but will soon host its own “CNN Heroes”.
Many celebrities appeared, including Meredith Vieira, Katie Couric, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Mitch” on “Modern Family”) as well as Eric Stonestreet (“Cam”).

My own perception is different with age.  We will all dies of something and will get cancer – very likely prostate or breast if we live long enough, so I don’t see a cause there.  It is definitely a factor for a marriage or a family.  But when cancer appears in a younger person, especially pediatric cancer, that’s different.  I’ve always felt that the television ads from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America were a bit over the top and patronizing in tone.  Unusual tumors are, of course, a complication of HIV disease.
The telecast asked the public to host fundraisers.   Now I generally don’t “pimp” fundraising for groups or causes, and I don’t have the social pull to do that in my own home (although I may have the space). Events held in public spaces (like rented theaters) seem much more like comfort-inducing ideas.  But my own reaction to this highlights my own separation from any mass of “social capital”.  

Friday, September 05, 2014

AC360 honors Joan Rivers; will soon cover Kristen Beck

Anderson Cooper’s AC360 on Thursday night at 8 PM was dedicated to an hour’s remembrance of Joan Rivers, with a link here.  The broadcast noted her good relationship with the LGBT community.
Toward the end of the broadcast, Dr. Sanjay Gupta tried to explain how the medical emergency during her minor throat surgery, an outpatient procedure, might have developed.  Her airways seem to have closed, preventing breathing, and it isn’t yet clear how this possibility is usually prevented. WebMD has an article, which explains medically induced coma, here. There will surely be more details soon.  This was a routine procedure. 

Much was said about her performance the night before, and having refreshments with others late at night before surgery early the next morning.
I had double hernia surgery in early January 2010, as an outpatient, and was officially “out” for just 67 minutes.  I was home by early afternoon and not uncomfortable until the anesthetic wore off. 
I had sedation dentistry to have all of my teeth replaced by implants with dentures, two sessions in 2013.  During the procedure, just three leads for an EKG are used (not ten).  Time seems to pass very quickly during several hours of sedation.
Anderson had originally intended to interview transgender former Navy SEAL Kristen Beck, as preparatory to the film “Lady Valor” (aired at 9 PM, Movies blog), but that interview was postponed until alter.   

ABC 20-20 did a special Friday night, "Joan Rivers: Living for the Laughs", best link

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

AC360 and CNN Tonight (Don Lemon) give pointed coverage of North Korea, ISIS news with panel discussions

Although I’ve tried to emphasize distinct shows and episodes on this blog, tonight’s news coverage on CNN by Anderson Cooper (AC360) and Don Lemon (CNN Tonight) deserves a post, first for the month.
Anderson Cooper presented a report on Matthew Todd Miller, the youngest captive of the three being interviewed in North Korea.  The 24-year-old is from Bakersfield CA, and the family has refused to talk to reporters, and asked others not to.   CNN indicated that Miller did not have his quasi-British accent when he left home.  He had arranged a tour with the DPRK with a company called Uri, which can only so far in vetting its customers.  (Sounds like “Section 230” doesn’t it.)  It’s unclear why Miller tore up his visa. 
“CNN Tonight” with Don Lemon, presented the same panel as last week, with Pamela Brown to help interview, covering apparently a second beheading, this time of journalist Steven Sotloff, who had been in Syria. The four panelists were the same:  former jihadist Mubi Shaikh, professor Mia Bloom, and Paul Cuickshank, and then Robert Baer.  Shaikh discussed how to counter recruitment of disaffected youth to extremist causes, and suggested “trusted intermediaries” and “subject matter experts”.   
 The perpetrator said “I’m back, Obama” in the video (main CNN story).  Of course, what is disturbing is that the enemy will use non-combatant hostages, in the case overseas conflict journalist or aid workers, to pretend to “negotiate” with the president.  One could look back in history and remember the time of the hostages in Iran.   The state department warns Americans against travel in almost all conflict areas or in countries with serious drug trafficking cartels (now including Central America and Mexico).   The worst case or most brazen possible scenario could be an abduction, by a sleeper cell, actually on the soil of a western country, which would be much easier to meet with a swat team and law enforcement.  

The panel on CNN even considered whether there should be a media brownout on covering the executions, so as not to inspire more of these psychopathic incidents.  The videos get put on social media and go viral (in the community of disaffected youth who are targets for recruitment  (before the hosting companies can find them and take them down under TOS violations.

Because of inherent asymmetry, social media is working both ways, allowing an Arab spring, but also giving credence to incredibly psychopathic behavior overseas. 

Later tonight, Lemon presented a report from the Minnesota State Fair, which I used to attend (even manning the LPMN booth), of a group of Somali youths from a group called "Ka Joog", meaning, "To stay away".  

AC360 and CNN Tonight tend to be slow to put up that day’s content online. 

Later, CNN said that reporters withheld the fact that Sotloff was Jewish. 
Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Ar-Raqqah, Syria, effectively the “capital” of the unrecognized state of ISIL.   It’s an important place in Biblical times.  It’s not on my travel list.