Wednesday, June 13, 2018

ABC Nightline: Stephanopoulos interviews Trump right after Singapore summit



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

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

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

Sunday, June 10, 2018

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Saturday, June 09, 2018

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



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


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

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

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

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

Friday, June 08, 2018

"Remembering Anthony Bourdain" on CNN



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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

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



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

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


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

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

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



Wednesday, May 30, 2018

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


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


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

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

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

Sunday, May 27, 2018

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



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

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

Saturday, May 26, 2018

ABC 20-20 examines crimes committed by people on ankle home monitoring


Friday, May 25, ABC 20-20 covered the problem of convicts, parolees, or arrested suspects on ankle monitoring committing crimes, on an episode titled “50 Murders Since 2012”, best link.
   
Some suspects figure out how to remove the devices.  Many companies do not respond immediately when there are violations, due to financial disincentives.

There was one particularly egregious case in upstate New York.


Monitoring is often used on celebrity defendants or convicts, like Martha Stewart, for part of her sentence in 2003, and now Harvey Weinstein.

Another report is here


Thursday, May 24, 2018

"Days of our Lives" now has a subplot of gay sexual harassment under false pretenses



Today, gay intrigue continued on “Days or our Lives”.  Leo has set up Freddie for a gay sexual harassment suit. First, Leo slept with him, then quit verbally, but didn’t give a written resignation letter.
  
Suddenly, Freddie is confronted with a process server with a complaint suing him for the sexual harassment.  Leo is snake just going after Sonny’s money.
  
Will and Paul are still researching scrapbooks, and Will these days keeps wearing very long-sleeved shirts, in May. 
  
  
Sonny, for now, has his chest hair back, but he has a good reason to lose it all now.
  
I can imagine what it must be like to be a writer working for a soap.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

PBS Frontine: "Weinstein"


On May 22, PBS re-aired its Frontline film “Weinstein”, originally March 2, 2018. 
The film emphasized Weinstein’s adventurousness in the early days of independent film, when he bucked the system and didn’t feel his company had to be numbers driven, even after separating from Miramax.
   
But gradually the little  scandals accumulated, not to erupt big time until 2017.  Weinstein would look so scruffy. (Just one of the brothers.) 
  
The film explained now non-disclosure agreements work, and they don’t stop prosecution for real crimes.

It’s a shame for emerging screenwriters to lose an important film company for a reason like this.

Update: May 25

Harvey Weinstein arrest and plea in NYC, report.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

"Growing Hope": NBC Datelines presents cannabis-related products that offer treatment for children with disabilities, but the feds resist



On Sunday, May 20, NBC Dateline aired a special documentary on medical marijuana – actually more on medical use of related substances that have no mind-changing uses – called “Growing Hope”.

Three mothers in Virginia presented the success of compounds related to THC on treating children with severe disabilities. 
  
  
Much of the material deals with a particular cannibas-related oil grown in Georgia.
  
The federal government has been recalcitrant on the issue on any substance that comes from THC.  The political firewall seems hard to breach.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Dylan makes a visit to Haley in a reprise of "Modern Family"



I haven’t kept up with “Modern Family” in recent years a lot, but episode 21 of this season, “The Escape”, features a return of Reid Ewing as Dylan to visit Haley, about three minutes before the end of the episode, link.

It was said to be the “peniultimate” episode.


But Andy (Adam Devine) visits first.
  
Reid’s interests in recent years (according to his own Twitter) have included Japanese manga (Danganronpa) and writing a graphic novel (“Apple Core”).  The movie would need investor $$, I would think. The idea, from what I see of it, though, sounds original and novel.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

"United Shades" covers disability, probes whether it is a "group"; best and worst cities in US



W Kamau Bell’s “United Shades of America” covered disability tonight.
  
The best CNN link seems to be here

56.7 million people are “disabled” in the US.  The program explored the idea of whether disability should be an identity group.  Many people did not want to see it that way.
 \

The worst city in the country for access for disabled people (in wheelchairs) is Boston, and one of the best is Overland Park, KS, suburb of Kansas City (KU is 35 miles away in Lawrence).
 
The program emphasized that anyone can become disabled, especially through accident or violence perpetrated by another.
 
The program also noted than in some European countries there are euthanasia procedures for some people with extreme disability. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saturday morning: Getting up to another Royal wedding; Meghan's message with her volunteerism


Okay, we get up to the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Saturday morning, around 4 AM East Coast time.
  
Let’s review the royal wedding of 5 years ago of William and Kate (Aprl 2011), typical video
  
Kate, dressed with a gown that flows far behind her (Alfred Hitchcock had used that image of a glowing gown in “Strangers on a Train”) is led to the altar while Sir Hubert Parry’s triumphant hymn “O Jerusalem” in C Major, about 5 minutes, is sung to a triumphant close.
  
The Anglican pastor, before joining them, announces a purpose of marriage:  to repopulate the earth, to sanctify sexual intercourse, and to provide mutual assistance and support.  I was not destined to enjoy any of these.
  
So it is today, with a very similar schedule this morning in the Telegragh and carried live as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry marry. A very similar music program is offered, with music by Boyce and Parry.  The Telegragh has the full schedule for the festivities on Saturday morning.  
  
On Friday, May 18, ABDC 20-20 aired “Royal Wedding: Legacy and Love”, full video here
  
The complete music videos from Saturday morning’s service are not yet published, but the music does seem to be very similar to five years ago.  All the media outlets have major prospective commentary on YouTube now. 

  
What is most remarkable about Meghan is her attitude toward volunteerism, with her experience committed to working on Skid Row in Los Angeles as a teenager.  She saw her own safety as secondary to their needs, and let her faith carry her.  I have not willing to be that generous in more recent years with the personal risks I will take for others, allowing myself to wind up in their shoes by one act of wrongdoing by another.  Such is the problem with unearned inherited wealth.
But marriage, “till death do us part”, is supposed to make this possible.

Later: Video of the ceremony. "Stand By Me" was performed.

CNN has mentioned Meghan's work with World Vision, which has come under a cloud with some groups over supposed connections to anti-gay forces, especially in Uganda. World Vision has sponsored "30 hour fasts" in youth groups in many churches;  some churches have switched charities over the Uganda-homophobia issues and continued the fasts, during which the teens sometimes make films!
 
Picture (Wiki): 
By Herry Lawford from London, UK - Westminster Abbey, CC BY 2.0, Link  I walked past Buckingham Palace myself on a visit to London in Nov. 1982.  I might get there later this year. 



Friday, May 11, 2018

ABC 20-20: Southwest Flight 1380



Tonight ABC 20-20 covered the engine failure and emergency landing of a Southwest Flight 1380, video
  
CNN has an account (incident happened April 17, 2018) here
  
The ABC presentation gave some details as to how the incident unfolded and how the passengers tried to save one passenger’s life when she was struck by debris. There was also a lot of credit for the female pilot. 

  
The engine brokeup after a titanium blade failed in two places and the pieces of it wrecked the engine. Titanium is extremely strong and the failure is rather shocking.
  
By National Transportation Safety Board - https://www.ntsb.gov https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/Pages/DCA18MA142.aspx, Public Domain, Link

Thursday, May 10, 2018

"Days of our Lives": Something about the reincarnated Will (as Chandler Massey now plays him) is disconcerting. Notice it yet?



Haven’t talked about the soaps for a while.

But right now, it seems as though “Days of our Lives” is in the middle of a scandal where someone can raise the dead at will.  And, in the case of Will, they may have amnesia for a long time – which raises philosophical questions about identity, consciousness and afterlife.

Right now, Will seems to be paired with Paul, and at the end of the episode Thursday they were in bed looking at a real-world scrapbook for clues as to how this Lazarus effect works.

Now Paul, of Japanese descent, was a baseball player and MLB pitcher who ruined his shoulder. But it would be a welcome plot development if Paul got back into MLB, and was an openly gay pitcher who tosses a no-hitter.  MLB says it is vigorous about no discrimination for sexual orientation.  Let’s see it happen.  It’s still conceivable that a gender fluid or trans person (female-to-male) could play at a major league level especially, say, as a relief pitcher.  Some day that will probably happen.
Sonny seems to be Leo’s boss, but there seems to be a relationship starting.  Now Freddie Smith is a little inconsistent as to appearance.  Sometimes he seems to have gained weight, and often his chest and arm hair disappears, only to show up again (gradually) a month later.


In fact, Will looks like, to put it generously, he must have competed in a swim meet or professional bicycle race and not remember it.  All the hair on his arms and legs is gone.  Maybe they did it with photoshop.  I wonder what the point is.  Maybe it’s a side effect of being raised from the dead? Or is Will starting transitioning? 
  
It’s a disconcerting, little mentioned topic, but white people (males) usually have more body hair than any other peoples, whose body hair follicles are wired to be more resistant to androgen.  One reason for the difference could be that generally (not always) Caucasians evolved in colder climates, with less sun and more clothing, so women could have developed the idea that body hair is more masculine, so hairy men would have more children in cold climates.  So maybe now there is some ritualistic interest in equalizing everyone for some sort of sacrifice for the sake of political correctness.  But with Will, particularly, the visual effect is disconcerting. He looks plucked. This is actor Chandler Massey, after all.
  
But body shaving (or waxing or laser treatment maybe) does happen behind the scenes in Hollywood.  Justin Timberlake, Jake Gyllenhaal, even Ashton Kutcher, and most of all, Steve Carrell (“The 40 Year Old Virgin”).  But lately it seems to happen a lot in the soaps.  You wonder if this could give the medical sanitation police some ideas, given all the scares about hospital bacteria (which itself could generate a soap opera subplot).  Somebody will come up with an anti-Minxodil cream for white men, for sanitation purposes.
  
The writers have a lot of ideas to work with.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Sikh religion presented on United Shades of America



Kamau Bell’s “United Shades of America” hosted a one-hour episode on the Sikh religion, on the experience in India and in the United States, especially around Yuba City, CA.
  
The Sikh Coalition had an aggressive statement about the show, encouraging viewing parties.. 

Bell’s interviews with practitioners of the faith emphasized the idea of selfless service and immediate community in a way that is alien to the individualism often associated with modern secular liberalism.


One practitioner reported being beat up in October 2001 after being confused with a Muslim (but even if he was, that is bad enough).

Here is a video from the Kamau special from CNN (no embed).  
   
By Mrwrite - Own work, Public Domain, Link

Sunday, May 06, 2018

CNN airs documentary "Spreading Hate: The Dark Side of the Internet"



CNN ran a particularly alarming special Saturday night May 5 at 8 PM, “Spreading Hate: The Dark Side of the Internet”, main link here

One of the most remarkable aspects of the documentary was a few specific stories. For example, a mom and apparent property owner in a small Montana town became the subject of a neo-Nazi troll storm, apparently right after a blog post about a confrontation, CNN story. This was the most disturbing of all the incidents reported. 
    
And private companies have stepped up pressure at least on “white supremacist” (for want of a better name) websites.  We all know about Daily Stormer after Charlottesville, but Specer’s own “Alt-Right” got shut down by GoDaddy.  

  
The documentary also reiterated the Comet Ping Pong “Pizzagate” incident in Washington DC December 2016; the perpetrator, Welch, now is serving a prison term but, as the documentary contends, the platforms are not held accountable for facilitating the channeling of hate to those intellectually unprepared to deal with it.  Welch even said “he had to protect those show couldn’t protect themselves” even if a few people died, and that seems ironic as he could not protect himself from his own gullibility and vulnerability to superficial propaganda.
   
In my own echo chamber, I never saw this kind of stuff in my own feeds in 2016. I didn’t realize what was going on and was totally shocked by Charlottesville.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

ABC 2020: "To Catch a Killer" and GEDMatch



ABC 20-20 presented “To Catch a Killer”, a biography of the decades long rampage of the “Golden State Killer” and his recent arrest after detailed detective work based on a homemade genealogy site, GEDMatch. The full episode may be watched here
  
  
Emily Shapiro has a detailed story on the investigation work.  The known killing and rape stopped in 1986. 
   
The New York Times has a detailed story here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

"United Shades of America" starts Season 3 with presentation of border crisis for new asylum seekers from Central America


W. Kamau Bell covered the border crisis as he opened the third season of “United Shades of America” (10:15 PM Sunday, April 29), link here
  
In the meantime, there is a confrontation at the border, which according to the latest news has allowed some migrants from Hondouras to cross the border at Sam Diego and ask for asylum (New York Times) and ABC News covers what should happen here
  
  
Kamau presented a reservation that straddles the border and has caused breakup or disruption of a native American family.

Monday, April 30, 2018

CNN's Anthony Bourdain visits West Virginia. especially the coal town Welch



On Sunday, April 29, 2018, Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” visited West Virginia, specifically Welch in the southern part of the state, McDowell county.  This is not "almost heaven" anywhere. This was a longer (75 minute) episode. 
  
Greg Morabito on Easter summarized many of the scenes, especially the homecooked food without recipes, here

Welch was a boomtown in the 1940s (called “Little New York”, 600 miles away), as the picture shows.  Today it has fewer than 2000 people.

The broadcast makes the point that even a slight recovery in coal jobs does make a real economic difference to the lives of many people.  That is one reason so many supported Trump.  However, mountaintop removal mining has removed many underground mining jobs, which were always very dangerous.
  
  
I believe I visited Welch in 1991, after visiting the underground mine attraction in nearby Beckley (and also Bluefield). In 1972, I went on a weekend trip where I met a previous roommate from KU. I believe that on that weekend I drove through Logan, to the north of Welch but similar. I made that visit the subject of the short story “Expedition” in my DADT III book.
  
In my planned novel “Angel’s Brother”, as backstory, the character Frankie is supposed to have been born around 1960 in a coal family and moved out to his own life, before being recruited into “intelligence”, so to speak.
   
In the movie “October Sky” (1999)  inventor Home Hickum comes from a coal family which pressures him to drop out of school and work in the mines when his dad is sick (from black lung).  This film got shown to a high school physics class when I worked as a substitute teacher in 2005.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

"Weed 4: Pot or Pills": Gupta argues that medical marijuana may help control the opioid epidemic


Tonight, CNN produced a special report with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, “Weed 4: Pot or Pills” (writeup).
  
Gupta started by interviewing a pro football player, Mike James, who gradually got addicted to opioid painkillers after knee surgery in 2010, for an injury incurred when he was playing right after his mother’s death. 
  
Gupta explains how opioids alter the receptors in the brain with prolonged (if legal use), but in many cases medical marijuana seems to replace the need for painkiller and offer a pathway to gradual withdrawal
  
James has applied to the NFL for a therapeutic exemption from the ban in marijuana use but so far been denied.
  
  
Gupta says that at one time he was opposed to medical marijuana, but has become convinced of its medical benefits.
  
He indicates that many drugs now controlled were legal until the 1930s.  Marijuana became illegal as a result of big business pressure to outlaw hemp which competed with their products for many uses.
  
A few scenes with Gupta deserve careful watching, for future clues. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

ABC 20-20: Popular actress from "Smallville" indicted in apparent trafficking activity in New York State



ABC 20-20 tonight aired a report on the secret sorority NXIVM and the indictment of well-known actress Allison Mack, as well as the founder, for “sex trafficking and force labor conspiracy” in upstate New York (in a federal indictment).  The lead story on the 20-20 site right now is here.  20-20 had aired a report on the group in 2017.

Allison was of interest because she had played Chloe Sullivan, the teenage Clark Kent’s best friend in many early seasons of “Smallville”.  In the summers between the early seasons, she had often offered speculations online as to what mysteries of Clark would be revealed the next season (as when Christopher Reeve eventually appeared).  It seems interesting that Mack would follow up on acting in such an upbeat series with joining a “sorority”. 


ABC’s own legal columnist Abrams reported that the defendants might be able to argue that legally the sex and other activities were consensual (and by adults).

The case is also interesting in view of the fact that Congress recently passed a controversial law regarding liability for platforms online that knowingly allow sex trafficking on their facilities, although that law doesn’t seem to have figured in to this specific case.
  
Broadway World has a thorough account ("scoop")  of the episode here

Check back to the 20-20 site to view the full episode (cable provider paywall) which should appear shortly. 

Update: 4/28

The episode is called simply NXIVM and is available now

Thursday, April 26, 2018

James Comey does town hall at William and Mary, moderated by Anderson Cooper



Wednesday night, CNN aired a two hour Town Hall with former FBI director James Comey, from the College of William and Mary, of which Comey is a graduate.  Comey has authored the book “A Higher Loyalty” which I have just received from Amazon.
  
Anderson Cooper moderated.  The main link is here (many videos).  
  
Comey revisited his claim that Donald Trump is morally unfit for the presidency, and does not respect the norms and boundaries of exercising power for its own sake.
  
  
He also recounted the experience he had repelling a home invasion in northern New Jersey at age 15, an event which cemented his desire to go into law enforcement. 
  
Comey discussed an incident around 1980 at the College where he was involved in dorm bullying, and incident he says he regrets.  I have covered at great length my own expulsion from William and Mary in the fall of 1961 for “admitting latent homosexuality” to the Dean of Men, an incident that shaped my adult life.  I hope Comey finds my postings and is aware of the college’s history.  (All three of my books are at the law school library.) Comey mentioned specific buildings on campus, like Rogers Hall (which used to be for chemistry when I was there).
  
Comey reiterated his position on how he handled Hillary Clinton’s email problems, saying he had to thread a path between bad alternatives regarding the independence of the FBI.
  
Comey also reviewed his firing by Trump, and Trump’s disquieting private dinner in which Trump demanded “loyalty”.
  
There were a number of spirited questions from undergraduates in the audience.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

"Trafficked in America" on PBS Frontline; labor trafficking is less discussed than sex trafficking (FOSTA)


Tuesday night, April 24, PBS Frontline presented the episode “Trafficked in America”, link here.
  
The documentary tracked the process of bringing teens from Guatemala into the US illegally so they can wind up working in agriculture; in this case, on an egg farm in Ohio.


Labor trafficking has not gotten as much public attention as sex trafficking, because the latter was the subject of a controversial law, FOSTA-SESTA, that recently passed Congress.  This law may undermine downstream liability (CDA Section 230) protections for Internet intermediaries in a way as to jeopardize a lot of unrelated user-generated Internet content.

Nevertheless, agricultural employers (often big companies) have trouble finding Americans who can do the hard manual labor, for low pay. Leila Miller explains “why labor trafficking is so hard to track.”

Picture: near Mt. Vernon, Ohio, January 2018 (personal trip, not part of film) 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

"My Reality: A Hidden America" on ABC 2020: sexual harassment of low income domestic workers


“My Reality: A Hidden America” aired on ABC 20-20 Friday April 20, 2018 with a report on sexual harassment of women in the workplace, with viewer link here.  and a writeup here. This broadcast appeared to be an episode in a running 20-20 subseries.


Yet the most interesting aspect of the report was the coverage of how hard the physical labor is of domestic work, as in hotels.  A typical expectation on a shift is 14 rooms cleaned to military perfection. There was a trace of cultural revolution in the report.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

"McCain" biography on PBS Frontline



Tonight PBS Frontline presented a one-hour film “McCain”, link
  
The biography covered the excruciating details of McCain’s capture by the North Vietnamese and his attempted suicide before capture, because he feared dishonor if he confessed under torture.  I can relate to these feelings.


Yet his life recovered enough for the 2008 presidential nomination and loss to Obama.  McCain would not go along with the tribalist far right, with its birtherism and its uncompromising demands that its candidates remain hyperpartisan.  However McCain appointed an ideologue as a running mate in Sarah Palin, who "didn't know anything"  (See HBO "Game Change", movies, March 11, 2012). 

The documentary covered McCain’s no vote on undoing Obamacare in the middle of 2017.

It briefly covered his new struggle with a brain tumor, which has required some absence, but he seems to be doing much better medically than perhaps was expected, with new treatments.
  
McCain was hesitant about the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” at the end of 2010 but has been fine with saying that indeed some transgender troops are entirely fit to serve, in response to Trump’s attempted transgender ban.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Stephanopoulos interviews James Comey on his new book concerning Trump



James Comey gave a special interview on ABC 20-20 tonight at 10 PM with George Stephanopoulos. Comey’s book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.” 

Comey says that Trump’s leadership culture resembles that of a mob boss, even if he hasn’t followed through with any personalized violence.


Comey was particularly concerned about the 1:1 dinner and Trump's expectation of "loyalty". Comey describes it as a "shakedown".  

Comey says that he released the letter on Hillary Clinton’s emails appearing on a laptop connected to Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandals. (on Oct 28, 2016) because he feared if he withheld them, and Clinton won (which he expected) he would appear to have withheld possibly pertinent information out of political considerations, and the FBI must remain non-political.
  
At the end of the hour Comey said that he views Trump as morally unfit for the presidency.
       
The best ABC link for the interview is here.   The transcript is here.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

David Hogg's footage of a California beach incidents in August 2017 (CBS)



Here is a CBS2 (LA) interview with David Hogg made six months before Parkland, when David filmed an incident on a beach in California involving a lifeguard.


Then the video moves to cover David’s initial coverage of the shootings at Parkland Feb. 14. 
  
David seems determined to film what he sees and annotate it in detail. 
  
Everybody says that the University of Missouri is the main journalism school in the nation. I remember that from my days at KU in the 1960s.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

"The Kennedys" on CNN continues with the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962



The Kennedys” continued Sunday April 1 on CNN with an episode that focused on the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Kennedy was at Hyannisport and knew that there was suspicious activity in Cuba about a week before getting the intelligence photos (as in the movie “13 Days”). 

Extensive plans were made to evacuate the Kennedy family, but Jacqui wanted to stay by her husband’s side even if they were to die in a fireball together, or of fallout.


The episode also emphasize how important the work of Robert Kennedy (Attorney General) in setting up the final compromise with the Soviets removing a base in Turkey.  

I was at GWU in Washington in a cafeteria eating dinner when I heard the speech.  I had to return to NIH later that evening.  I had heard about an hour before that there was a serious threat from Cuba.  Back at NIH, the patients knew nothing about it.
  
I was not as shaken personally now as I would be now.

Monday, April 02, 2018

"The Crossing": Asylum seekers from an AI-dominated future


ABC’s “The Crossing” started this evening, with a Pilot.  Off the California coast, bodies start showing up, and some people survive.  They claim they are refugees (or asylum seekers) from the future, where AI has taken over the world and decided who is fit to live. That’s after a war.  They get put into detention at first. 
  
Then we find out the refugees have “powers”, and that some of them are already here.They want to change the future as it is the past for them, and that always presents a problem of logic. 
  

The series is created by Jay Beattie and Dan Dworkin. Steve Zahn is the lead DHS ICE cop as the series starts.
  
Does this sound like “The 4400”?  Maybe with a little of “The Event”.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

"The Good Doctor" will save his own mentor's life


The final episode of Season 1 of “The Good Doctor” was called “More” (watch ) 
  
Shaun makes a mistake in heart surgery because he is distracted with having discovered has mentor DSr, Glassman has an apparently inoperable brain glioma.  But Shaun figures out how to do the biopsy and plant he surgery that will save Glassman’s life, and fix the other mistake which had caused an aneurysm.
  

The issue of reporting surgeon’s mistakes is covered.

The series will return in the fall.
  
The previous episode (March 19) was called “Smile” and involved the Mobius Syndrome and a complicated medical identity theft scam, taking advantage of an opioid addict.  Shaun has a great line, "I am a person." 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Local TV station presents report on bone marrow donation from viewpoint of donor; then ABC News reports on a liver transplant



Today, WJLA7 in Washington DC aired a report on the medical procedures behind bone marrow donation. The report was introduced by Robin Roberts from ABC News;  she had received one from a sister from an unusual pre-leukemia.  But this report concerned the bone marrow registry for those without possible relative matches

The link is hot there yet, but here is a similar video.  (Note: the original ABC News link is there now as of 3/28, here ).


Like many other organ donations while alive, this procedure was not possible when I was growing up.  So the idea that it could be expected or be virtuous was not familiar at the time.  By the late 1970s, the idea of “super donors” of plasma and platelets was becoming circulated. Of course, the HIV epidemic eliminated gay men from any such donation until recently.

Marrow donation is more demanding than ordinary blood donation;  it takes a number of hours, maybe two days, and can have some side effects and be intrusive on body sanctity. 

Later, on ABC World News Tonight, there was a story of a young man who took eight weeks out of his life to make a donation of part of his liver to a young child for a transplant.  This was very invasive.  I had not heard this was possible.  Here is a Mayo Clinic link

Today there are different expectations than in the past, and they have become more personal.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Stormy Daniels talks on CBS 60 Minutes to Anderson Cooper



Here’s the transcript of Stormy Daniel’s Interview with Anderson Cooper on CBS 60 Minutes. . 

There is a 60 Minutes “Overtime” segment where Stormy Daniels explains why she went public.  Then a second Overtime segment (each one is less than a minute) shows her attorney explaining how illegal campaign contributions may have happened.



The campaign contribution issue has a distant relation to an issue I have presented previously on other blogs, when back in 2005 there was controversy over whether unpaid political blogging could be seen as “contributions”, and played into an incident when I worked as a substitute teacher.
Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Gregory Clifford) has been an actress, screenwriter and director in the pornographic film business.  On 2006 at Lake Tahoe, she says she had unprotected sex with Trump, whom she was not attracted to.  (Who would be?  This is hardly what Masters and Johnson had in mind in their 90s book "Heterosexuality".)   In the ensuing years she would meet him again, but one day in Las Vegas got approached by a thug in a parking lot threatening her to remain silent.
    
She took the hush money right before the 2016 election to protect her daughter.  That brings up the campaign contribution.  The recent threats for a $20 million suit were converted.
   
AOL has five takeways from the episode.



Thursday, March 22, 2018

"Cambridge Analytica Uncovered" on UK Channel 4


Cambridge Analytica Uncovered: Election Filming Reveals Election Tricks” from UK Channel 4 (20 minutes)


This looks like a spy caper.  The film focuses not so much on the use of social media data, but instead on setting up politicians, to throw elections all over the world.
  
And all these men in business suits meeting in London pubs enjoy their lives so much.
  
By Aurelien Guichard from London, United Kingdom - 30 St Mary Axe, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mark Zuckerberg appears on CNN AC360 and offers to testify before Congress, accept more regulation


Mark Zuckerberg reappeared and was interviewed by CNN’s Laurie Segall on AC360 tonight from Facebook’s headquarters.
  
Here is the CNN link

The interview as conducted in two parts. Zuckerberg said he favored federal regulation of Internet ads similar to what is done for TV, inasmuch as those who paid for ads should be made public and transparent.'

Theoretically, similar regulation of content itself could follow (as we know from the scurry on 2005 over McCain-Feingdol).


Most CNN commentators gave Zuckerberg for at least starting the conversation.

Zuckerberg said he would be willing to testify before Congress. He admitted that bad actors were likely to be trying to swing the 2018 midterm elections but that Facebook had a handle on it.

He also said that when he invented Facebook in his dorm room in February 2004, he had no idea that he could manipulate elections, wars, and international propaganda in fourteen years -- primarily because the "masses" don't have the cognitive ability to recognize tribalistic fallacies.  Zuckerberg would have been aware of my own site (doaskdotell) on gays in the military when a freshman in 2003, because it became a major controversy at Harvard and my site at the time got lots of hits all the time because of its unusual setup.  I had "reach" then, which is not quite the same as "influence" but leads to it. 

Internet companies will face real problems in the sustainability of their business models. Facebook, the product was the “user” and this seems no longer as acceptable, so it puts free user-generated content at risk at a conceptual level, as being gratuitous or of nuisance value if others don’t pay for it. That's why this about more than just who pays for the ads. Who pays for the news stories if they "divide people" and inspire crime (like Comet Ping Pong). 

The idea that Facebook is a neutral platform is a hostile foreign power can target it with fake accounts to overwhelm a certain less literate and propaganda-susceptible "peoples". 



Today Congress passed the "Backpage bill" that would erode CDA Section 230 protections; this is distantly related to Facebook's problems and could complicate things. 

On PBS, Frontline offered a disturbing interview with a former Facebook executive. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

"For the People" offers novel legal cases in NYC



I took a look at ABC’s “For the People” , created by Paul William Davies.  Tonight’s episode was called “Rahowa”. 
  
On the “Mother Court” in the southern District of New York (federal), controversial cases are assigned to prosecutors and public defenders.
  
In one case, a young male prosecutor reluctantly agrees to go harder after doctors running opioid mills.
  
  
But the more interesting storyline concerns a young defense attorney played by Wesam Keesh, who defends a skinhead with nazi-tattoos on a bald head, accused of a shooting.  He talks about the abstraction of free speech with body art and objectionable idea, and then says there is no actual evidence that the defendant used a weapon.
  
The defendant doesn’t like the attorney. The actor is the same person whom I believe plays the teenager in an accident forgiveness ad for auto insurance.