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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Shaun blurts out a question about attractiveness for marriage in newest episode of "The Good Doctor"

The Good Doctor” resumed new episodes on Monday March 12 with “Pain”.
Shaun treats another man from his past, who has become paralyzed in an accident that broke a neck vertebra.  Recent pain may suggest a tumor. But ironically the nerves may reheal and the man may walk again.
Shaun asks, in front of other doctors, why a woman would want to marry a man already paralyzed, with the girl friend present.  OK I’ve had those thoughts but wouldn’t blurt it out now.
At then end of the episode Shaun is playing video games with a friend (perhaps gay) at the apartment.

There are two more new episodes this season, and the series resumes with a second season fall 2018.  When will Shaun's cat return?  

Monday, March 12, 2018

CNN series: "Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History"

Sunday night, CNN premiered its new series: “Pope: The MostPowerful Man in History”. 

The one hour pilot present Pope Frances as having to soften the absolutism of Catholic doctrine in the past.

It also gave a history of late Rome, as the empire split into pieces with a Greek Orthodox church several hundred years after Christ, after the promotion of Christianity by Constantine the Great. The standard of living in Rome itself declined.
The documentary also depicts the Crusades, where Muslim communities in Jerusalem and the middle East were sacked, often with multiple home invasions, helping set up a motive for radical Islam today.  

Subsequent episodes covered papal renunciation

Sunday, March 11, 2018

"The Kennedy's" in CNN's "American Dynasties"

The Kennedy's” as part of the “American Dynasties” series on CNN premiered Sunday night.
Jack Kennedy’s heroism in the PT109 is questioned;  he was quite weak physically, and may  have mishandled the battle, and was thought left.

Joseph Kennedy was at one time though of as a “fascist” by FDR.

JFK’s younger sister Rosemary was permanently disabled by a barbaric lobotomy in the 1940s;  the operation was to continue until she stopped singing.  
Earlier Sunday night, the Van Jones show hosted "candidate" Oprah Winfrey. 

Update: March 28

Subsequent episodes have covered the 1960 television campaign and election, and then the year 1961, where Kennedy learned "OJT" and was seriously challenged by the Soviets on Berlin.  Kennedy found that the Soviets were not as determined to avoid nuclear war as he had been.  The famous snowy Inauguration ("ask not") is shown. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

NBC interviews Vladimir Putin on Dateline

In an NBC New Special, Megyn Kelly sits down with Russian president Vladimir Putin for an interview, with translation.  Here is the link.

Putin denies directing any hacks against American social media and any attempt to throw the election to Donald Trump. However Putin notes that private individuals and private companies could have decided to do so (which contradicts his own control of the media).

Putin faces re-election very soon.

The spirited Russian national anthem played at least once.  

And Putin, shirtless with a hairless body, on horseback, appears.  Frankly, he looks like he is starting transition.

And yet, the broadcast recalls the idea of a KGB agent tough guy.

Picture: The Philadelphia Orchestra recently performed the Shostakovich Symphony #7, the “Leningrad”, at Strathmore in Bethesda, MD.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Adam Rippon looks sharp hosting the Today show this week

Openly gay Olympic skater Adam Rippon helped host the Today Show on NBC Thursday, March 8. 
Rippon discussed his trip to the Oscars and buying a tuxedo (like “The Good Doctor” in a recent episode).  Rippon is said to be one of the older skating finalists, although he looks younger than 28.  (Well, Will Ripley on CNN looks younger than 37.)

Rippon would obviously be credible as an anchor for a daytime network lifestyle or broadcast show. 
He also has said that now could be a good time to meet with Vice President Mike Pence and make amends for past squabbles over homophobia.  This would also look good now since President Trump will soon meet with Kim Jong Un.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

SNL taps into the talent of Leslie Jones, without Milo's permission

Leslie Jones (or her doppleganger) appeared on SNL last night. (You may need to turn off https to make the embed work.) 

She made fun of the winter Olympics, and especially of the fact that the Koreans are physically short.  That reminded me of Will Ripley’s encounter on the beach on CNN.

I could imagine someone making a doppleganger of Milo Yiannopoulos for SNL, and pitting the double against Leslie with Ghostbusters in the background.

Of course, the North Korean nuclear crisis is nothing to make fun of.  But they could do a caricature of Kim Jong Un and his deliberate weight gain to look like a god king. Let Milo’s double do the fat-shaming.
Why is it that that SNL always presents Sean Spicer as trans? Trump would have banned Spicer from the military.  Spicer is in the Naval Reserve.

Monday, February 26, 2018

"The Good Doctor" is pressured to buy a tuxedo for a pricey fundraiser

The Good Doctor” continued new episodes with “Heartfelt” tonight.
Shaun is pressured to attend a hospital fundraiser, and not only that, to buy a tuxedo for it.  A gay colleague recommends he just rent one, but that doesn’t seem to be good enough. I’ve never worn a tuxedo in my life.  Here we go with the radical Left, demanding workers join their specific causes, even to the point of demanding formal wear!  I do remember employers insisting on United Way participation, and trying to nudge blood donations (a sensitive issue), PACs, but never formal ware for a party.  (We actually had a seven course dinner back in 1988 for a small company.)

There are some other oddities.  A model prisoner is brought to a hospital for an organ donation, and winds up committing suicide.  And a teenage girl takes a chance with risky heart surgery so she doesn’t have to remain an invalid.  And a new colleague tells Shaun in surgery that she doesn’t respect him.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

"Radical Story of Patty Hearst" concluded tonight on CNN with some cynicism by Toobin

Sunday night, February 25, 2017, CNN aired Parts 5 and 6 of the “Radical Story of Patty Hearst”.
The conclusion shows her arrest and the trial with F. Lee Bailey’s defense.  Gradually, Hearst returns to “normal” mentally as she eventually is convicted.

Jeffrey Toobin still maintains that the narrative shows how much money can help you get away with. 

Her book “Every Secret Thing” might have exposed her to more prosecutions.

The story of Sara Jane Olson aka Kathleen Ann Soliah is certainly interesting.  I was living in Minneapolis in 1999 when she was arrested in St. Paul. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

CNN holds Town Hall of Stoneman Douglas students

CNN is hosting the Town Hall in Sunrise, Florida with students and parents from Parkland Hospital, at 9 PM.   Jake Tapper moderated and Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio were there.  Florida governor Rick Scott was not present.

Senator Marco Rubio was present and made sense.  He said that a Clinton-style assault weapons ban by itself will not work because if you take off the plastic gunstock the weapon is legal. Almost any rifle can be made into a an assault weapon, so it is difficult to pass a law that respects the 2nd Amendment and doesn’t have holes.  

Later, Rubio said he would consider regulations on clip size on a question from a senior joining the Army at graduation.

Student Cameron Kasky asked Rubio if he would not accept a donation from the NRA.

A teacher asked about arming teachers (which Trump said today he supports), and Rubio said that it is a bad idea because swat teams cannot tell who is armed.

Rubio also tried to explain how influence groups like the NRA work.

Trump heard an emotional appeal today in the White House from parents of victims, here is a CPAN tweet link
A Facebook friend who fought the military gay ban wrote a Facebook post explaining how military personnel must register their personnel weapons, here.
An AP history teacher asked the NRA representative to explain “well regulated militia”.  Her answer was that it is every lawfully qualified adult citizen (as in the DC case in the Supreme Court), different from what Justice Berger had said.
CNN reported on student protests all around the country, which school systems said were illegal. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

CNN continues the story of the radicalization of Patty Hearst

CNN continued “The Radical Story of Patty Hearst” with Jeffrey Toobin’s (executive producer) narration on Sunday, February 18, 2018, with parts 3 and 4.

I hadn’t mentioned the cyanide-tipped bullets in the arsenal.  Patty is allowed to go free but chooses to stay, an shocks her mother with telephone messages, about wearing the black dress.

The SLA movies to LA, tries some burglaries, and while Patty is in Disneyland, there is a shootout at a safehouse, one with some of the largest count of rounds used in US history.  Six SLA members die in the burning house.

Patty seems to have become fully radicalized during the entire episode. Along the way they attached themselves to a radical athletic coach Jack Scott, who eventually leaves “Tania” on her own in Las Vegas.  In Sacramento, Patty meets Steve Soliah and “falls in love”.  They even want to go to Cuba.

The son of Myrna Opsahl, whose mother was murdered in a bank robbery, appears.
The CNN link this week is “Radical: The Double Life of Patty Hearst. 
Patty Hearst and her family refused to be interviewed.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

PBS Frontline: "The Gang Crackdown", and the history of MS-13; documentary focuses on Long Island, NY

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, PBS Frontline aired “The Gang Crackdown”, subtitled “How the U.S. Fueled the Rise of MS-13”, major link here
 Indeed, this seems to pre-date Donald Trump, with wars in El Salvador pursued by Bill Clinton, and then Bush and Obama (who was quite aggressive). Trump is wrong to complain that earlier presidents didn’t do anything.
The film focuses on police intelligence particularly in Long Island, which involves local police departments and county sheriffs  more than the FBI.   In some circles, teens are effectively “conscripted”.
The New York Times has a factual article by Liz Robbins from January 31 tracing the problem back to the 1980s in El Salvador, here
Miriam Valderde has a similar article on Politifact 
 The article refers to the problem of unaccompanied minors from south of Mexico (not Mexico itself) which predates Trump.   Much of it has to do with how the asylum seeking process works, which has been controversial with recent changes (“last in, first out”).  It does not appear that this would affect an appropriate resolution of the DACA problem.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cunanan and Versace, Ep. 5, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace” continued tonight, S2. E5 presented the backstory of the first victim of Andrew Cunanan in an episode called “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”.
Cunanan flies to Minneapolis in order to sponge off Trail and Madsen.  The episode then goes into the backstory of Trail as a Navy officer on a ship, intervening in a fragging of a gay sailor.  These incidents were relatively uncommon under Clinton’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” but could happen. Later superior officers suspect Trail of being gay. He is asked to read the DOD regulation from February 1994 which looks like a graphic novel.
Trail gives an anonymous interview with the press about the Clinton policy and then leaves the service five years after graduating from the Naval Academy without incident.
The episode shows scenes in Minneapolis gay bar that resembled the Gay Nineties. The Saloon is my own favorite. 
Cunanan is very manipulative when he first meets Trail.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

"The Radical Story of Patty Hearst" starts on CNN

The Radical Story of Patty Hearst” aired its first two segments Sunday night, Feb. 11, typical link. Victim, or terrorist?  Or both simultaneously. 
Jeffrey Toobin (author of a 2016 book “American Heiress”) offers commentary.  He focuses on the very radical approach of the SLA, the Symbionese Liberation Army which believed it was waging war on capitalism.  Former SLA member Bill Harris narrates.  The film actually starts with an aged Steven Weed (her boyfriend at the time) narrating. 

Toobin characterizes the Hearst incident as the only major political kidnapping on US soil in US history. (The Getty event in 1973 happened in Italy.)   Toobin somewhat dismisses the deepest moral irony of the existence of a “vanguard Army”.

The SLA had not thought of its demands when it kidnapped Patty Hearst on Feb. 4, 1974, after shooting Oakland school superintendent Marcus Foster in November 1973.

It then issued demands that the Hearst Family make huge donations to feed the poor in Oakland (the “People in Need” program).  Volunteers had to be recruited to actually do the work.  A crime leads to the generation of a social service agency.  

Governor Reagan criticized the people who accepted the food on terrorist terms.

The SLA looked at itself as following the Geneva Convention and following prisoner of war rules.  Gradually, Patty started to believe the revolutionary ideology as giving her own life meaning.
The SLA actually thought Hearst had more money than he did (sort of the Getty problem in “All the Money in the World”).  
The transformation of Patty into a “revolutionary” seems to happen in weeks.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Cunanan and Versace on FX: House by the Lake (Ep. 4)

The FX “American Crime Story: the Assassination of Daniel Versace” continued on Wednesday February 7 with an 80 minute (minus commercials) epsisode “House by the Lake” as the series tells the story in reverse (link).

Cunanan (Darren Criss) brings Jeffrey Trail (Finn Wittrock) to architect David Madson’s loft apartment in the East Bank of Minneapolis.  I think I may have been on the property in 2002 with IFP-MSP when it was casting a short film.

Cunanan stabs Trail in front of Madson and his dog and then kidnaps him and forces Madson on the run, finally shooting him at Rush Lake along I-94 when Madson tries to escape to what looks like his father’s cabin. Cunanan wants to frame Madson for the murder and the super finds the body, the police first think Madson did it.  There is an early bathroom scene which is shocking in its intimacy, where Cunanan’s washes blood off Madson’s smooth body in a shower.

The episode has flashbacks of Madson’s childhood and relationship with his father, and his father’s ambivalent reaction when a grown Madson tells dad he is gay after winning an award as a young man.  
Criss’s acting shows Cunanan as a typical psychopath, manipulative and charming, resentful of the “elite” whom he believes should be brought low like him.  Such psychopathy is rare in the gay community. 

Picture: Near Brainerd MN, my visit, June, 2011.  This is very similar to the last scene in the episode, which happened at the end of April 1997. 

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

One America News and cable television; Would OANN take up covering the EMP issue that major networks seem to be sleeping on?

On February 10, 2015 I attended a “Your Voice Your Future” forum at WJLA (owned by Sinclair) in the station’s Rosslyn, Arlington VA auditorium, with a topic about free speech being threatened by terrorists (cf blog, that date).  On that evening I met Trey Yingst (now about 24), at the time was a student at American University and had helped found “News2Share”.  He had been “arrested” covering the riots in Ferguson.  He would soon cover the riots in Baltimore in 205. In time, he would join One America News and become the White HouseCorrespondent, typical story on Poynter here.       

He often does get called on by Sarah Sanders (and was often able to get two or three questions a session out of Sean Spicer, whatever fun was made of Sean later on SNL).  But all of this makes me look into who One America News Network, in San Diego, is.

First, my own impression from looking at the content is that it is not necessarily more conservative than Fox, and it is no “Breitbart” and no “Milo’s Dangerous”.  There’s no flame throwing at individual people. But the video says it is “just the facts, no opinions, no editorials”. 
I note that the network says it is available 21 hours a day on Direct TV outlets, but it seems unable to get a foothold with large cable telecom providers, including Comcast and Cox.   The Direct TV appears to have two special shows:  The Daily Ledger” and “Tipping Point” (which do sound like they would be commentary shows) as well as news feeds.  

I went ahead and contacted Cox on Twitter by message and got an answer to the effect that they would consider adding it.  CoxHelp actually started following me on Twitter (including all my own provocative news link tweets, including about Trump).   But nothing has happened yet with OANN on Cox.

I have become interested in encouraging a network to follow particularly the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) risk on the continental US in detail.  As I’ve noted on my Wordpress blogs, the conservative media outlets cover this issue much more often than the “mainstream” or other major networks.  I do think a major fact-finding project on this matter is important to do.  That is, get all the military information, and all the science and engineering information from reputable sources and present it to the public. My own gumshoeing about this since about 2013 (including materials from Oak Ridge from a trip there and National Academy of Sciences) suggests that this is a real threat, and not a right wing “fake news” fantasy fed by the Russians.   It’s important to note that there are several different kinds of threats (E1 to E3) that can come from different kinds of events (including extreme solar storms, and we may have dodge a huge solar flare and CME in July 2012).  And the networks have waffled on giving serious attention to whether North Korea could pose this kind of a threat even now (without reaching the US with ground blasts from ICBM’s), as from satellites, if the US keeps tightening the noose (starting right after the Winter Olympics).  

One problem, though, is that if you presented the facts, you’d have to get scientists and policy people to interpret the facts, which means commentary and opinion, which OANN’s own video says it wants to avoid.   But you do need the facts first, which the major networks seem to be sleeping on .  I make the challenge. I have accumulated a lot on this problem myself.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

"The Good Doctor": Shaun is blunt with a transgender patient, and then we see some visual paradox

The Good Doctor” ventured into the subject of gender identity last night in an episode called “She” (ABC link). That, by the way, was the name of a sci-fi film set in Egypt made in the 60s. 

The new episode, directed by Seth Gordon, introduces a teen girl whom Shaun examines and then blurts out (like me at Fort Eustis), “She is not a girl. He is a boy”.

Shaun quickly diagnoses testicular cancer. At the same time, the girl’s grandparents want to remove her from the parents because the parents are too supportive of her new gender identity.

Shaun, you think, could become more supportive with her, since he is different with autism. Toward the end of the episode, he is much kinder to her  The hospital debates whether to remove both testicles since she wants a gender reassignment anyway.  Then there is the ridiculous argument that she will never provide sperm for her own future natural children.

We also learn she was taking medication to delay puberty. She says she doesn’t ever want to have body hair, but Shaun makes the odd comment, “I have some body hair.”  But you can never see it. It’s all too easy for him to scrub his forearms for surgery.  Shaun also announces that he is not a good swimmer (ironically).

In the meantime, there is another male patient who has gotten into trouble by taking left-over antibiotics and become resistant to all of them. They do an appendectomy (even laparoscopically) confounding Jack Andraka’s 2016 “IV crticic” tweet at Stanford when he said online that he needed one (and seemed to be back to normal two days later, which is about right for normal full recovery).  

 But this patient (in the episode) gets sepsis and soon they are proposing a colostomy, for a man 40 years old.

A new female surgeon joins the staff, and she announces she sees the world as a zero-sum game. Soon she will taunt Shaun in future episodes.

“She” apparently comes out of trouble, and the episode concludes in Shaun’s apartment where a male neighbor comes over to watch TV.  You wonder if the (very cis male) neighbor (a new apartment super?) is gay. Shaun asks the neighbor to admit him to the heated pool (it’s winter and normally closed).  We see Shaun floating and meditating, upright, but his body is absolutely hairless. 

Monday, February 05, 2018

Justin Timberlake returns to his glory days at the half-time show at the Super Bowl

The Philadelphia Eagles pulled a 41-33 upset in the NFL Super Bowl Sunday night at the new US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, with two controversial touchdown catches, broadcast on NBC.  But Justin Timberlake, now 37, stole the show with his halftime show where he seemed to go through a “white tunnel” to get to the stage.

Timberlake had performed in 2004 when he encountered Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction”.
Timberlake had been the centerpiece of the boy band ‘Nsync, which had performed in the old Metrodome, ironically, on Pride Sunday June 24, 2001). In those days, Timberlake, at 20, looked rather like a stud.  But in time he waxed and tattooed his bod (as has Jake Gyllenhaal) for quirky roles like “Alpha Dog” and “Southland Tales”.

Last night, he wore a camouflage shirt that looked like a tattoo. 

He sung "I would die for you" with an image of Prince on stage. when downtown Minneapolis lit up in purple (GIF) . 
Here’s AOL’s account.  EON notes the accidental introduction of tween Ryan McKenna, who looks mature for his age.  Is “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Flashdance

I acted as an extra in "Major League 3" at the Metrodome in Nov. 1997, holding my book in the stands for 1/4 second.  

Sunday, February 04, 2018

NBC "Taken" episode involving "nuclear football" seems particularly timely now

Taken” is a series on NBC based on the film trilogy, with a complicated plot setup. Bryan Mills, played by Clive Standen.  The series starts with Mill’s sister being killed in a train shootout, with enemies that include a drug lord Mejia.  Other characters include a Director of National Intelligence Hart (Jennifer Beals) and a DEA undercover agent Mike Hall.

I first checked into the series Friday night Feb. 2, “OPSEC”.  A man carrying the nuclear “football” (briefcase) is kidnapped, and a child is bargained for.  The episode seems timely because there is a lot of concern now about president Donald Trump’s access to the “football” especially given the situation he has gotten himself into with respect to North Korea.
NBC’s own link for the show is here

Saturday, February 03, 2018

"Slender Man: Out of the Woods" on ABC 20-20

ABC 20-20 offered an hour long documentary on the “Slender Man: Out of the Woods” case in Wisconsin in 2014, best link.'

The documentary summarized the events in the stabbing of a pre-teen girl in Waukesha WI in May 2014 by two twelve-year old female friends who thought they were pleasing a comic book character popular on the Internet, Slender Man, which will soon be a film from Screen Gems.

The victim was found by a cyclist and miraculously survived.

What is surprising is that both girls were found to have mental disease, one of them schizophrenia. 
  Both are now sentenced to decades in a mental hospital, after being tried as adults.

Schizophrenia at his age is unusual;  it usually appears in young adulthood.

The narrative also reminds us that some unstable minors are indeed harmed by what they find on the Internet --- this goes back to the COPA case. 

Here's a somewhat related case: near Pittsburgh, teen girls are charged with intentionally exposing a student whom they knew was allergic to pineapple (I've never heard of that) to the fruit 

Friday, February 02, 2018

Cunanan-Versace pn FX: Episode 3

In Episode 3 of “American Crime Story: the Assassination of Gianni Versace” on FX, “Random Killing”, Cunanan, as the series works backward, Cunanan visits who seems to be like a former sugar daddy, architect Lee Miglin, in Chicago. (Other accounts say Miglin was random ).

Cunanan pampers him over plans to build the tallest building in the US (“I know what you’re doing”) with the charm of a psychopath. Then he goads him into the garage, and to start an SM session ties him up with duct tape before beating him with boards and then stabbing multiple times.

He then drives a stolen car to a graveyard in New Jersey, where he follows the grounds person to a little house to carjack him, orders him downstairs, and shoots him from behind in cold blood. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Trump's SOTU (that's not tofu)

Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech ran 80 minutes, like a short feature film, and started about 20 minutes late, and was carried live on everything Tuesday January 30.

One of the biggest concerns came with the North Korea portion, which I covered on the International Issues blog Jan. 30.

The pace of the speech was slow, but the tone appeared to be conciliatory, without the reality TV behavior of the campaign.

One of his most controversial claims was that “we are all dreamers”.

He also seemed to suggest a false analogy (statistically) between ME-13 and dreamers.

The claim about chain migration has little real significance. Distant relatives cannot get green cards now, and the process for all but immediate family is very slow and takes years.

Joe Kennedy’s Democratic response seemed inclusive, but some of the empathy was overdone. At one point, he seemed to put transgender people in the same boat as opioid addicts, probably not intending to.  HRC tweeted it. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Anthony Bourdain visits Puerto Rico (before Hurricane Maria), then Cuba

On Sunday night, January 28, 2018, I did catch up with Anthony Bourdain’s coverage of two more places: Puerto Rico, and Cuba (link ).
The Puerto Rico episode was shot a few weeks before Hurricane Maria.  It talked about the Ponzi scheme of bond holders, who can take all the public employee’s pension deductions and keep them to pay back debt. Furthermore the bond holders can dictate severe cutbacks in spending and public services. No question this added to the death toll an crippling inability of the territory to restore its power grid efficiently after the storm.

The hurricane could also provide a warning of what could happen in other parts of the US were there ever to be an EMP attack.

Boudain had a lobster and conch meal with one family and then visited a former Naval test range.

The Cuba segment talked about the waning of Communism.  As people start businesses and hotels or cruise ships begin to imagine coming, occasionally you see homeless in the streets.  That would never have been allowed during Castro.
The episode started with John Kennedy opening his first speech on the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Wikipedia attributions for photos:

San Juan

By JialiangGao www.peace-on-earth.org - Self-photographed, GFDL, Link

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Van Jones Show on CNN

CNN premiered “The Van Jones Show” Saturday night at 7 PM EST.   There was a lot of talk at the outset of Donald Trump as a “virus” who evolved from an atmosphere of tribalism, and individualism that was leaving too many people out of the game.  Then Jones called the year one “A Tale of TwoPresidencies”. 
He spent a lot of time interviewing sports agent Jay-Z, before presenting the most interesting segment of the hour. Van drives through Charlottesville, around Lee Park, with one American-American woman and two conservative white men, one of them young.

The black woman insisted that the statues had been put up to keep blacks in their place (maybe they had, a century ago). But the white men talked about the specific architect who had put up the Lee statue and denied the idea.  Both felt that conservatives had become way too partisan and tribal and forgotten how to solve real people’s problems.  

Trump tweeted about this show Sunday morning, link.  

Friday, January 26, 2018

ABC 20-20: Sister Survivors: The Larry Nassar case

ABC 20-20 on Friday night presented “Sister Survivors” of sports doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse for 20 years of female athletes, link
The episode covered the seven days of victims’ statements and the duplicitous “apology” by Nassar (“a woman scored”). The Michigan judge signed his death warrant.

My own reaction is to wonder how he got away with this for twenty years.  A few women tried to speak up and were put down. No one would challenge the power structure, until someone did.

Nassar, 54, got 175 years in prison, on top of 60 years for child pornography.

At any time during those 20 years, someone could have called the police.  Did that occur to him?
Nassar even had peer-reviewed papers published on doing physical examinations.

One victim said she didn't want to testify because she didn't want to be remembered as a victim, but rushed to the airport at the last minute to get to the trial. 
This (heterosexual) case is even more grotesque than Larry Sandusky’s at Penn State. 

The judge has been criticized for suggesting that Nassar will experience in prison what he dished out (LA Times).  Monica Davey and Mitch Smith write in the NY Times, front page Sunday, about how Michigan State had conducted its internal review. Rachel Denhollander gives her own account on p. 2, NYTimes Sunday Review, "The Price of Raising and Army", here.  The Washington Post writes how Denhollander suddenly broke open the case after seeing a story in the Indianapolis Star in August 2016, and there had been 13 other chances. (Why a paper in another state?)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Milo Show

OK. Here we go, with “The Milo Show”, on Facebook Live. 
I don’t think Milon Yiannopoulos has his own cable channel yet, but he wants to pretend he does. He’s even charging a small subscription paywall starting in late January  2018.

Here is his spiel on “Fat Studies”.  He speaks for himself; I need not summarized further. 
Milo seems to be broadcasting the series from Miami, which I just visited in November for the Miami Book Fair (also Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manor).  Our content is similar, although I am less “sensationalist” in how I say certain things.  Maybe I’ll see Miami again.  Another trip to Paradise, another visit to Hunter’s in Wilton Manor?  (In gay discos, most men are cis and thin, up to Milo's specs.)  I’d probably make a good subject for Milo to interview with my three “Do Ask, Do Tell” books. 
Oh, it’s only about 70 miles to Mar a Lago, if I can get invited there.

Try this Times article, which seems to belong.