Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"When We Rise": ABC miniseries dramatized LGBT history from the time of Stonewall

When We Rise”, directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Dustin Lance Black (supervising others), premiered at 9 PM EST on ABC stations on Monday, February 27, 2017.   Local station WJLA noted the series with a Facebook Live session earlier, and two major news stories, about gay adoption and transgender bathroom issues last night (the Gavin Grimm case before SCOTUS).

It is the largest GLBTQ media event ever made (outside of the “Queer As Folk” series some years back). There was a two hour pilot;  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, there will be six more one-hour episodes.

ABC’s Blog entry describing the series is here.

The premier is centered on the post Stonewall period of the early 1970s, about the time of my own “second coming”.  It focuses on several people who would gradually become known as gay activists.

Maybe the most conspicuous is Cleve Jone (Austin P. McKenzie) , who seems very charismatic and appealing as an 18 year old from Arizona.  His Quaker father wants to “cure” him with psychiatry when he comes out in 1972. Kicked out, he moves to San Francisco and deals with a world of police raids (though already abating) and fag street beatings, and crashing in people’s grungy apartments. Hosting people used to be common in the gay community in earlier days, although it often started with tricks.   Jones's father talks about "curing" him, but the script makes it clear that dad is worried about getting grandchildren.

Son Richard Socarides plays his dad Charles, the famous "therapist" with chilling effect.

Ken Jones (Jonathan Majors) deals with covert homosexuality talking to his Navy chaplain in the days long before “don’t ask, don’t tell” (after falling in love with a white sailor).  When he goes out on pass, he finds many gay bars (like the Black Cat) “off limits” for servicemembers (and signs are actually posted to that effect;  I never saw that personally).

Roma Guy (Emily Skeggs) moves to San Francisco from Maine to join the Women’s Movement.
Somehow, the title reminds me of the opening episode of ABC’s “The Winds of War” in 1981, “The Winds Rise.”

Here’s some typical coverage in The Advocate.

Wikipedia attribution link for San Francisco City Hall   CCSA 3.0 by “Cabe6403”.

Updates:  Wednesday, March 1

Episode 2 documents the Briggs Initiative in California in 1978, a referendum that would have mandated firing of teachers who promoted homosexuality (rather like Russia's anti-gay propaganda law in 2013).  The motive for it sounds like it's only about procreation -- a self-effacing belief that accepting open sexuality in society interferes with "normal people" having children -- but people used to experience marital sex much more collectively.

The episode then moves to covering the assassination of Harvey Milk by Dan White.

Episode 3 covers the emergence of AIDS in 1981.

There is a shocking scene where monitors at a bath house come into the floor and rip off the towel of a young man with hairless chest covered with Kaposi's sarcoma lesions.  "You can't be in here like that" the attendant says.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Full Measure: "The Sum of All Knowledge"

ABC station WJLA ran a show called “The Sum of All Knowledge” Sunday morning at 10 AM in the “Full Measure” series with Sheryl Attkisson..  (Like you can have the trappings of manhood “full measure” – an Army joke.) .

The broadcast talked about hired-under-contract digital activists who make paid posts, often automated into robo-posts, often with zombie profiles or “10 personas per user”.

So social media companies, especially Facebook, are becoming more sensitive about their “news curation”.

Facebook has been accused of suppressing conservative stories.  Twitter is believed by some people to be more likely to suspend conservative accounts (not sure there’s any substance, Milo notwithstanding).

There was mention of the Comet Ping Pong fake news fiasco in Washington DC in December 2016.

So a new messaging service called “Gab”. Founded in August by Andrew Torba, purports to appeal to those with more conservative, possibly even “alt-right”, views (Guardian story).

The link is here.  The tld is from Anguilla, and it is popular with artificial intelligence startups).

I tried the “Let Me In” and my email is on a long waiting list.  Wikipedia confirms that this happens.  If there is a waiting list, is this really “pro free speech”?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

"Journey with Dylan Dreyer" shows Leonardo da Vinci experiment

Saturday morning Feb. 25, NBC aired (after “It’s Academic”) the adventurous “Journey with Dylan Dreyer” (part of “The More You Know”), 30 minutes, exploring daredevils, in an episode called “Adrenaline Rush”.

Dreyer said that men with lower levels of certain brain hormones take more risks.

There was some extreme ski jumping in Norway, and then skydiving, but the main attraction was an experiment with a balloon and wind sails imagined in the 15th Century by gay inventor Leonardo Da Vinci.  It appeared to be carried out in the high desert in California near US 395.

The local LGBT outdoor group “Adventuring” in Washington DC used to do hot air ballooning (has to be very early in morning) and actual parachute training ($160 a session back in the early 1990s).

Thursday, February 23, 2017

CNN: "The History of Comedy"

I finally got to CNN’ “The History of Comedy” tonight, with the episode 3 title “Comedy in Real Life”.

So they showed Ozzie and Harriet as a kind of sanitized real life that sat well with sponsors.

Then they moved on to trendier movies like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “The 40 Year Old Virgin”.  Quirky men (including hairy men) could sometimes become the butt of “family comedy”.
Comedians said that a lot of their humor came from dealing with nasty challenges in childhood.

“Comedy can’t exist unless it’s true.  You don’t laugh unless there’s truth to it.”

What I recall is really loving the situation comedies of the 50s: “Amos ‘n’ Andy” (“there is no legal marriage between George Stevens and Sapphire Smitm”), “l Love Lucy” (especially when Lucy works on an assembly line) and, “My Little Margie” (which really invented the like “You’re fired”)

Feb. 25 CNN re-aired "The Funnier Sex". .

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

CNN airs Democratic Party Chair debate

CNN aired its Democratic Party chair debate from Atlanta tonight, account here.   It started late, at 10 PM.  Dana Bash and Chris Cuomo moderated.

Trump was called a “draft-dodging” charlatan.

At least one candidate talked about impeaching Donald Trump over violating laws against emoluments.

There were seven candidates, listed here by NPR.

There was a lot of talk that the party needs to take the vote seriously in every state and in rural areas.

There was criticism of playing bedfellows with big business.

"A unified party is Donald Trump's worst nightmare."

The "party of fairness" had its theme stolen by Donald Trump.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

ABC 20-20 covers Atlanta area baby hot car murder conviction

ABC 20-20 on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 aired the story of the conviction of Justin Ross Harris for the death of his son left in a hot car in an Atlanta suburb (main link ).

Amy Robach, his wife, says her nightmare started when she went to the day care center that end of a June day and found her son had never been left there.

The court trial would emphasize their lack of emotion with the loss, and with Justin’s philandering.

Amy still supports his side of the story.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Law and Order SVU: "Great Expectations" provides a lesson on dangerous sports hazing that becomes sex abuse

An episode called “Great Expectations” (as if based on the Charles Dickens novel and derivative classic film, with the Twilight Zone character Pip) on NBC’s  “Law & Order: SVU” (or “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”) on Thursday, Feb.16, was especially instructive.

A 13 year old boy is hazed after causing his junior varsity hockey team to lose a game to a missed goal shot.  The hazing is sexual, and includes anal prodding, apparently with a hockey stick.
The boy dies from secondary infection.  That shows that in rare cases, homosexual abuse of a minor can result in death (just as with heterosexual abuse).

The boy has finally “talked” before dying, having resisted because of team peer pressure.  Another team member is arrested and charged with manslaughter. But it turns out that this boy in turn has been severely abused by his own father, who is exposed and arrested.

Here’s the playback link for the episode.

Friday, February 17, 2017

"Real Time with Bill Maher" features Milo Yiannopoulos and a "conservative" panel

Tonight, “Real Time with Bill Maher” started out with a twelve-minute interview with provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.  There had been a lot of publicity over the protest cancellation by Jeremy Scahill. 

Milo, looking very young, and pretending effeminacy, partied in his usual way and said he does hire gau people at Brietbart (joke).  They talked about Leslie Jones (who recently impersonated Donald Trump).  Breitbart just put up the full interview here

I had missed the first ten minutes (didn’t realize it was on tonight).  I caught the end of the interview, which then went into a panel discussion (“What Conservative Principles?”)  with Malcolm Nance (Counterterrorism Information Center), Larry Wilmore (comedy) and Jack Kingston, Representative from Georgia (Republican).  The panel felt that the Flynn-Russia mess and pre-election hack presented a grave national security and political crisis.

Larry Wilmore gave Milo a hard time over Milo's attitude toward transgender people (Vox story). 

The Maher interviewed Leah Remini about scientology.
The show offered 15 minutes extra of all panelists (except Leah), including Milo, in “Overtime” on Live YouTube.  Milo said, surprisingly, that transgender could be mental illness and that the public does need to be protected in the bathrooms.  But that was his only provocative statement.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

PBS Nova: "The Origami Revolution"

PBS Nova produced a stunning documentary “The Origami Revolution”, aired tonight at 9 PM EST.
The documentary traced a Japanese art form of folding flat sheets of paper into an understanding of how most or all of nature is predicated on origami.  In biology, leaves fold as origami into fractals.  In organic chemistry, bonds seem to follow origami, as does the formation of proteins, viruses, and now appropriate drugs to counter them (like PrEP).

In designing space craft, origami can be used to define space structures that can unfold as deployed.

Bullet-proof vests can be designed according to origami folds.

The program especially focused on the work of 35-year-old MIT professor Erik Demaine, who has produced mathematical proofs that almost any structure can be approximated by origamis (papers {
"The Fold-and-Cut Problem"} here and {"Folding and Cutting Paper"} here).

In cosmology, dark matter seems to fold by origami, with conventional baryonic matter galaxies forming along the folds.

Wikipedia notes Jack Andraka’s interest in origami, contributing to the intuition that led to his pancreatic cancer detection test. (Sorry, Jack, I misspelled “oragami” in my tweet;  no spell check, corrected it in subsequent general tweets with the hashtag.)   Reid Ewing’s display of Japanese art (from manga and Dangaronpa) on his twitter feed seems based on origami.

Wouldn’t carbon nanotubes (for many new medical tests) be created as origami?

Origami can be protected by copyright law (and very likely patent), which could certainly generate future litigation even in areas like pharmaceuticals.  However the existence of academic mathematical proofs for existence of various folds might argue for “fair use”.  In that sense, origami could have the same status as chess openings or chess endgame problems.

PBS had aired a longer Independent Lens feature film on Origami in 2009. It was titled "Between the Folds: Art, Imitating Life".

Wikipedia attribution link (p.d.) for art work made by folding dollar bills.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

CNN: "Debate Night: The Future of Obamacare": Sanders v. Cruz was the pitching matchip

On CNN, “Debate Night: The Future of Obamacare”  Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) square off on Obamacare and replacing or “repairing” it   The debate took place at George Washington University in Washington DC.

There is an existential question on whether health care is a “right”.

Sanders keeps insisting on single payor, “Medicare for all.”

Cruz says “Medicare for all” would be “Medicaid for all” and that Medicaid has poor outcomes for patients.

A woman with multiple sclerosis talked about having to leave Texas because it didn’t provide the Medicaid extensions for Obamacare.

Cruz talked about the waiting lists and often poor care in Britain, with socialized medicine under the National Health System.

No one, however, had a solution for the fact that younger, healthier people, often saddled with college debt, have to pay higher premiums to subsidize older people or people with pre-existing conditions.  How to solve this?  Family values?  Volunteerism?  GoFundMe?

I have suggested a reinsurance mechanism for excess claims due to pre-existing conditions.

The waiting list issue is real.  When I had a freak accident and major hip fracture in Minnesota in 1998, I got a top-flight surgeon and successful surgery immediately at the University of Minnesota, probably because my employer, ReliaStar, had excellent “cherry picked” health insurance.  With weaker insurance, I might have lay in traction for surgery much longer.

Cruz did a thought experiment, in which he speculated that expropriation of the top tech companies in the US would pay for only one year of Sanders’s Medicare for all.

Vox disputes Cruz's claim that Canadians come to the US to get around waiting lists for health care.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Patriots make record comeback in Super Bowl on Fox; Lady Gaga dazzles at halftime

We’re told that this was the first overtime Superbowl in history,  Down 28-3 at one point early in Q3, the New England Patriots came up with 25 unanswered points (with two 2-point conversions despite a missed extra point) to tie, and won quickly in overtime, 34-28, barely placing the ball over the goal line.

The game, which lasted over four hours elapsed, was broadcast on Fox.

Atlanta had a chance to put the game out of reach with a spectacular reception, before a sack took them out of field goal range.

Here is the widely circulated Lady Gaga halftime show link. One conservative Facebook female friend asked if her performance came right from Satan.
Mike Pence appeared at one point, in a VIP box.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of NRG Stadium in Houston, p.d., DHS photo

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Nancy Pelosi holds town hall on CNN

Nancy Pelosi held a town hall on CNN Tuesday night January 31, 2017 with Chris Cuomo moderating, at George Washington University.

Pelosi dodged questions from audience members who claimed they had been harmed by immigrant crime, with tangential apologies.

But he did say “Democrats are capitalists”  in answering a college student’s question whether adults under 30 were rejecting capitalism.  But she discussed the progression from “stakeholder capitalism” to “shareholder capitalism” which had led to huge compensation for CEO’s and had exaggerated income and accumulated wealth inequality.

Pelosi's analysis of capitalism can be compared to Steve Bannon's, who talks about "statist capitalism" and "extreme capitalism" (of the Ayn Rand sort, which is essentially shareholder capitalism), and claims that people need a grounding in faith to have balanced capitalism because secular logic alone can rationalize anything -- but I don't get his connection to nationalism and autarky, other than in connection with religious war imposed by others.