Monday, December 10, 2018

CNN Heroes 2018 emphasizes homebuilding skills, helping immigrants, trafficking victims; and finally introducing kids overseas to baseball



Anderson Cooper hosted “CNN Heroes” Sunday December 10, 2018. 
  
The winner was Ricardo Pun-Chong, a doctor in Peru who started shelters for homeless families. This idea comports with issues in providing shelter for migrants.
  
A similar project was Like Mickelson, who quit a high-paying jobs to make (with carpentry) beds for kids who sleep on floors, operated from Idaho, “Sleep in Heavenly Peace”.  I thought I had mentioned this on one of my blogs but can’t find it now.
  
Chris Stout builds tiny houses for homeless veterans.  I’m not fond myself of living in a tiny space. But there is a lot of emphasis on practical skills in this year’s winners.
  
I had covered Susan Munsey’s work helping the victims of sex trafficking here on Sept. 29.  Brisa D’Angulo was presented as having survived one of these situations.
  
Florence Phillip, 87, helps provide immigrants with instruction in English as a second language, in Nevada.  She had been in the Peace Corps.
  
   
Max Bobholz, 18 and a freshman in college, seems to have the same kind of “young people will win” zeal as David Hogg and Tyler Linfesty. (I hope they have met, at least online.)  A baseball player (I think a pitcher) he delivered baseball equipment to kids in Kenya.  Maybe he will be with the Nationals in a few years?  Chicago Clubs player David Bote had worked in Kenya on a similar charity;  Bote beat the Nationals with a walk-off grand-slam in August at Wrigley on an ESPN Sunday night game.  Michigan state representative, Jewell Jones, 23, having grown up in Detroit’s inner city and already been a policeman, might well have deserved to be on the list (met him at a libertarian forum on free speech).

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

"The Good Doctor" Season 2: "Empathy" and "Quarantine" episodes



I haven’t watched Season 2 of “The Good Doctor” after the “Hello” introduction, because of conflict with NBC’s “Manifest”, which in turn waited for some PBS POV films.
  
Last night the winter finale, “Quarantine” played, but in the DC area it was pre-empted (until 1:30 ASM) by Redskins football (a loss and another quarterback with another broken leg). So I watched Episodes 9 and 10 today on ABC. 

Episode 9 was called “Empathy”.  Because of the way Shaun’s brain works, his empathy is distant and intellectual.  He is “different” but not “special” and socially equal.  Yet, he still seems like a benevolent extraterrestrial, with more moral integrity than humans.

But as the episode begins, Shaun (Freddie Highmore) tells his mentor, Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff), who is undergoing radiation for a brain tumor, that he (Glassman) must surrender his driver’s license.  That is indeed possible: a doctor can inform a state DMV that a patient is no longer fit to drive. Later in the episode, Shaun finally gets his own driver’s license and has trouble applying strict rules in practice when driving his girl friend.

The episode also features a male-female transgender patient who looks make. But the self-medication has created a life-threatening crisis, which creates more dilemmas in the plot that the Left will not like.  Physically, the only change that happens in the course of the episode is that his chest hair melts away. 
    
The pre-Christmas finale, “Quarantine” (the same as the title of a 2008 horror film (cf blog, Oct. 11, 2008) is a wild melee with a cliff-hanger at the end to return in 2019.


A couple of patients show up in the emergency room, having been on a long international flight. Shaun quickly figures out that they may have a contagious disease, and soon the entire emergency room and much of the hospital is quarantined and locked down.  One person is knocked out with a needle to keep him from leaving. The disease (despite starting with a psoriatic rash) turns out to be a kind of SARS (although the type of virus, a corona virus, that can cause it usually just causes laryngitis or mild bronchitis). Soon of the male doctors gets it and dies. There is also a young man waiting for a bone marrow transplant for leukemia, and the quarantine threatens him with the inability to do it after the whole body radiation to knock out his current immune system was done (on camera).

At the same time, there is another patient with a bowel obstruction. Shaun gives him a saline enema, which works for a while, but then the patient vomits over another patient.  On to graphic surgery, with part of the hospital cut off by quarantine.

The episode also shows that Shaun becomes distracted by a malfunctioning fluorescent light that no one else can hear – right out of a David Lynch movie.

They teach screenwriters to create dire situations with rooting interests!
  
I think that the writers should give Shaun a cat at home.  Maybe a bobcat should befriend him and want to look after him. Cats actually do this.

Monday, December 03, 2018

"Presidents Under Fire: The History of Impeachment" with Fareed Zakaria on CNN



Presidents Under Fire: The History of Impeachment”, hosted by Fareed Zakaria, aired on Sunday, December 2, 2018 on CNN (best url ).
  
Of course Zakaria stressed the history, with the impeachment of Andrew Johnson after the Civil War, and then the threat against Richard Nixon in 1974 (leading to his rather abrupt resignation on August 9, 1974), and then the silly trial of Bill Clinton given the Monica Lewinsky scandal (so well and explicitly written up in a book by Kenneth Starr).  Zakaria took a little time with Nixon, covering the Saturday Night Massacre of 1973.  That was during my own coming of age and I remember it well.
  
  
Zakaria stresses that once impeachment starts getting used as a partisan weapon, it loses its credibility when we really need it.  It’s like taking too many antacids and getting a rebound.  Zakaria also points out generally its only conduct while in office that can get him impeached (so the stuff about Putin before the election is a best a gray area).  It would be hard to get 67 votes from the Senate even if a Democratic House passed it.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Milo Yiannopoulos talks to his subscribers on a long video, says he really wants to fund a regular professionally produced channel



Milo Yiannopoulos recently delivered a two-hour “subscriber update” where he announced that he wants to have a real channel and a real show. 

There are some issues with his handling subscribers, and all the controversy that have happened.  But the is worth linking here.  He discusses his financial support and the controversies behind him, which are well known and need not be resummarized here.  I’ll let him speak for himself in the video.


I would say that the material in this video is not in itself offensive in any way “to speech codes”.  But he does have an operating business and revenue stream to stay online.

His website “Dangerous” is still up and the Magazine has some eye-catching headlines which may be a little more “sensational” than what I would do.  
   
His book publishing operation was successful with his own book and with Pam Geller’s book.

If you actually read his book or watch his videos, you find they are not nearly as extreme or reckless as everyone believes.  Some of his points, while hyperbolic, are similar to those in my own blogs. 

The radical Left is indeed “dangerous” and authoritarian on its own.   (Stalin and Hitler were essentially the same.)  My own model is “free” and supported by other assets, but I suppose that could become controversial.  I would certainly be willing to talk to him about how I work.   

Chadwick Moore appears in the video.
  
I was under the impression Milo operates from the Miami (lower Florida) area.

Update:  Dec. 3

Towlerload has an article about Milo's problems.  I was rather shocked at Vox's Carlos Maza for this tweet after Maza's wonderful video on David Hogg.  Deplatforming is a very slippery slope because the perception of what is "hate speech" is so much in the eye of the beholder.  Is a blog post with a gratuitous photo of a Confederate statue on Monument Ave in Richmond VA hate speech in the eyes of some people? 

Update: Dec 7

There is a rather disturbing Twitter thread about Milo and Patreon.  Some of the perks from the supposed membership do look a little silly if correct -- I can't imagine offering stuff like this. As Bernstein says there -- it's just sad.

Also, Milo's "Big Gay Army?"  Like "Big Gay Al" from Southpark? Patreon does (like Twitter) seems to be banning people for "association" with certain specific hate groups (that is, believed to believe in formal white supremacy).  It's about the person and his connections, not his content per se.

Update: Dec 8

There are stories to the effect that Milo was banned from Patreon one day after starting it because of his reported past association with Proud Boys (wiki). Mashable reports this here along with a letter.  It's disturbing that the email acknowledges that the action was taken for a past association and admits that Milo had disavowed the connection. While I am personally reluctant to characterize any group based on scattered news stories, the Wikipedia article is quite negative (and usually could be expected to be objective).  In the most extreme example imaginable, you would not allow someone who could be proven by credible evidence to have been a member of a true terror group as identified by FBI.  There is related material to the banning or Sargon on my main blog Dec. 8. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

"Truth and Justice Podcast" channel and ABC 20-20 review a bizarre Houston murder where prosecutors say the home invasion was staged by the wife



ABC 20-20 tonight covered the conviction of Sandra Melgar for the 2012 stabbing of her husband in what was said to be her staged home invasion, which is a very bizarre sequence, as in this news story on ABC

Sandra suffered from various medical ailments, including lupus, which makes this case even more bizarre.  Sleuths have crowdfunded attempts to reinvestigate and possibly overturn the conviction. 


The ABC 2020 link gives a “2020 extra” story where Bob Ruff, a former fire chief, runs a podcast “Truth and Justice” where he has looked at the case.  Oddly, the 2020 video does not have its own linkable UTL.
  
Ruff’s Truth and Justice also includes materials from NBC Dateline (there are numerous videos in his YouTube channel).   

Maybe Ruff could look at the 2008 cases of Kanika Powell and Sean Green in Maryland, described here Jan 24, 2015 from NBC Dateline. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

CNN: Wolf Blitzer and the Situation Room: "Root of Evil: The State of Hate" looks at right-wing hate groups around the world daily


CNN has been airing a series “Root of Evil: The State of Hate” on its 6 PM program “The Situation Room” hosted by Wolf Blitzer, starting Monday Nov. 26.
  
It starts late in the hour.  Monday’s transcript is here 

Monday the broadcast showed that the rise of right-wing white supremacist hate (and the idea of an ethnostate) has gained more traction in some rural areas than most Americans realize.  This problem last got public attention (before Trump and then Charlottesville) with the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 by Timothy McVeigh, and the reporting of the “militia”. This includes organized anti-Semitism.  
  
On Tuesday, the broadcast talked about the rise of anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism in Germany, where such speech and assembly is illegal, but is happening a lot more, and out in the open, since the migrant crisis started in 2014. But some citizens say they are not allowed to complain about immigrant crimes.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Fareed Zakaria: Global Lessons on Guns: US form of government with rural representation in the Senata makes gun control much harder



CNN: Fareed Zakaria Special: Global Lessons on Guns, Sunday November 25, 2018, started out with a reminded that our modern interpretation of the Second Amendment as an individual right, didn’t come about until fairly recently with the Heller decision for DC from SCOTUS. 


The government of the US, where the Senate gives more political power to people in rural places, provides a lot of explanation for the continuing resistance to gun control.

Zakaria examines the mass shooting in Tasmania in 1996 that led to strict gun control in Australia abd a buyback of most guns in the country, with about a tenth of the US population in the same area.

He then looks at Japan, which produces violent video games, but has some of the strictest gun control in the world.

He also looks at Switzerland, where men have guns at home after mandatory military service.

But no other place than the U.S. has so many guns for 300 million people.

The broadcast looked at mental illness, and generally it is not clearcut as a problem.  But domestic violence and radicalization are problems.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Timcast reports stern new Twitter rules on misgendering, possibly leading to bans for normally accepted mildly conservative content



Timcast has an important video on the expansion of Twitter rules about “misgendering” of transgender persons.
  
  
Pool claims a person can use this policy to make a false legal claim about gender in some situations.
  
More disturbing would be the insistence on using grammatically incorrect pronouns (“they” as singular).
  
Twitter rules seem now to enhance the rules regarding protected classes.  Would an embedded image “Be a Man: Get married” on a recent PragerU video be considered misgendered (it would expand as Youtube and present this implied misgendering).
  
This is all getting rather silly, to say the least.  He does talk about Meghan Murhy's banning.

Update: Nov. 25

Twitter has banned Federalist contributor Jesse Kelly (story), as well as Meghan Murphy for "deanaming" and "misgendering" a trans person (story).   The Left seems dug in on its rules for trans people, which it can manipulate to trick other conservatives into tripping and getting banned!  This is getting just ridiculous. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

"Manifest" on NBC: My own latest theory



Well, I wanted to make a note about the last few episodes of “Manifest” on NBC.

It seems as though the people on the flight had been invented in someone’s mind and then came into being.  There seems to be some mathematical set of relationships among the minds of the people, that crosses time.  Is the Singularity Project about matching people up across different periods of time? 
  
Imagine if you could be a few decades younger for a day and have someone you want.


Maybe they were taken by aliens for those 5 years and spent them living in an O’Neill cylinder on Titan, the moon of Saturn.  If that’s what happens in the next set of episodes, then you have my own “Do Ask, Do Tell: Epiphany” screenplay.  Maybe I’ve given away too many ideas for free in my own blogs.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

ABC 20-20 presents a story of a face transplant after a suicide attempt



ABC 20-20 Friday night presented a disturbing storyFace Transplant” about two young men with mental illness who each attempted (and in one case succeeded) in suicide.

The first young man started out life well, in California.   But as a young adult mental illness sunk in (possibly exacerbated by drugs or alcohol) and he attempted suicide with a shotgun pointed upward under his chin.  It shot off his face but missed his brain.  The police who reported in the story said that this kind of suicide attempt often fails for that reason. The family had only that one weapon at home, and it was apparently intended for legitimate hunting.

About a year later, another young man died of a drug or opioid overdose, after mental illness.  This young man had been a promising tournament chess player with the USCF (although I don’t recall seeing discussion of him in Chess Life). Again, in his twenties he had slipped into mental illness in New York.

The young man had signed up for organ donor registry, and was negative for all diseases (like HIV).  A tissue match was discovered.


The episode described the career of the surgeon from Hopkins in Baltimore;  he had been a dental surgeon before.  He got the right position by luck. 

The face transplant took 25 hours and the recipient has to take anti-rejection medication, which could expose him to cancers and infections and shorten his life span.

The surgeon had performed another face transplant on a firefighter who had lost his face rescuing someone from a fire – sacrifice.

The parents of the young men meet at the end of the episode.

The 1997 film “Face-Off” was mentioned, and I’ll cover that on the Movies blog later.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

"How to Get Away with Murder" presents a gay marriage with a dangerous backstory



I haven’t followed “How to Get Away with Murder”, now in Season 5, with Viola Davis as the itinerate law professor.

Tonight, with Episode 8, “I Want to Love You Until the Day I Die”, Connor (Jack Falahee) and Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) have a beautiful wedding, in a church.


But the gay marriage has been shadowed by all kinds of subterfuge that I haven’t followed (rather like on a soap opera like Days).  Connor shows up with wounds on his face, and a flashback shows a near fatal beating.
  
I would have had to be born forty years later to be able to have a reasonable shot at a relationship like this.  

Some more episodic video of Conner and Oliver is here

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"New Amsterdam" episode on NBC stretches live organ transplant donation expectations to incredible extremes



Tuesday Nov. 13 I watched, for the first time, NBC’s “New Amsterdam” medical drama show created by David Schulner. A new medical director (Ryan Eggold) creates controversy in New York City’s oldest public hospital, Bellevue, near Greenwich Village. 
  
  
Last night the episode, called “Domino Effect”, presented a situation of “chain letter organ transplants”.  I won’t get into the details of the characters, but living people can donate one kidney, parts of a liver, part of a lung (one or two lobes), pancreas, or intestines (source).  
  
People can also donate bone marrow (often for leukemia patients needed stem cell transplants) as well as blood and plasma and platelets.
  
The  FDA’s guidelines for blood donations from MSM (essentially, gay men) have been modified to exclude only men who report certain behaviors within the past twelve months. 

But what is shocking about this episode to me is that when I was growing up, in the 1950s and 60s, such donations were not yet medically possible or expected.
  
Many of these surgeries could be disruptive to the donors and disrupt body integrity, which has been an important concept to me personally.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Why You Don't Need to Vote" on Reason TV (I personally think you do need to)





James Monticello on Reason TV “Why You Don’t Need to Vote”


Unthinkable?  Offensive?

Your own vote will not change an election, even in Broward County, FL.

But this seems like a question of “public hygiene” doesn’t it?

A two-party system doesn’t serve “my” interests.  I speak for myself on my blogs.

And hence I reduce solidarity.  Because I don’t want to legitimatize the lobbyists to speak for me.

It is certainly true that if most minority people turned out to vote, members of these groups would probably be better off with the results, given who would be elected.  That’s why I’m glad that David Hogg spent as much effort on getting people to polls as on gun control itself.

And in many countries, like Australia, voting is mandatory.  It’s rather like vaccination. 
  
Twitter banned people before Nov. 6 for posting the idea that you need not vote. 
    
But it’s true, I don’t volunteer to take people to polls just to get a political result for a candidate.  I have a feeling that “EI” doesn’t either.  



In Dallas, in the early 80s, gay bar raids would happen just before elections. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Trump scolds CNN reporter Jim Acosta in a noon press conference as if Acosta were a child misbehaving in a grade school class



Donald Trump had a testy exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta today on an 85-minute press conference carried live by CNN and all other major networks during the middle of the day.


Trump called Acosta “a terrible person” who shouldn’t be working for CNN!

He treated Acosta like a disruptive child in a grade school class.  He sounded like a disciplinarian teacher from the 1950s. 
  
My own father had some authoritarian tendencies (but was born in 1903 and grew up on a farm).

Tim Pool posted some pictures of a body contact incident with Acosta today on a Twitter thread.  Acosta appeared on AC360 tonight.  He has lost his press pass at the White House tonight. CNN has taken no action as far as I know so far.   

More recent information (from Pool's tweets) suggests that Acosta was only reaching for a microphone when the body contact happened.

Update: Nov. 8

Tim Pool's take on this:  Acosta has been a bit unprofessional. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

"Are Virtual Particles a New Layer of Reality?" PBS Digital



Are Virtual Particles a New Layer of Reality?


Matt O’Dowd explains how virtual particles are predicted by the mathematics of Hawking radiation, when a black hole evaporates.  So does the information stored on it.
  
That would be interesting if the mini black hole was carrying around and transferring some critical information, kike someone’s identity (all the information in the person’s lifetime tesseract) after the person passes away. 

Maybe they matter to identity flipping, like on "Smallville". 

Saturday, November 03, 2018

"Democracy in Peril: The War on Voting Rights" on CNN



CNN, on Friday Nov. 2, aired the one-hour special “Democracy in Peril: The War on Voting Rights”.  Here is CNN’s own best link. CNN often fails to give good summaries or trailers for its hour-long news specials.

The democracy covered voter suppression practices since the Civil Rights Movement.


Of special attention was “Section 5” (the Voting Rights Act, 1965 law) which slows down the ability of some southern states to change their voting practices without Federal Circuit supervision. 
  
Many other voter suppression practices have included “exact spelling laws” as in Georgia, and requiring street addresses on native American reservations, as in North Dakota.
  
But the biggest problem is gerrymandering.  That’s based on the idea that in MLB, you need to win your one-run games;  a win where you blow-out your opposition by double-digits (the way the Nationals did in 2018) doesn’t count more (the “Pythagorean” in professional sports – but it also applies to elections).

Thursday, November 01, 2018

"EI" answers "Should You Use Social Media?"



Economic Invincibility has a challenging video from April 2018, “Should You Use Social Media?
  

Even though he says he uses YouTube and Gab (which is down due to the current de-platforming),tjos os pretty much “do as I say” and not as I “do”.

Usually, the answer is No. But -- in my view -- it depends. 
  
I would agree with him for many people.  Had I become a teacher, say, around 2006 with a “career switcher” I would have reserved my site for logon only for people who had paid for my books (at least one of them), and stayed off any news social media.  If I have responsibility for judging other people as part of my job, I can’t be expressing my political opinions in an ungated public forum. I’ve covered this before as “conflict of interest”.

This gets into online reputation.

But there are some jobs, especially in sales, where you are expected to have a social media presence to advance the employer, not your own views.  I was approached in 2005 about becoming a life insurance agent, since I had twelve years experience, but in the technical, individual contributor side.

It is true that I was able to do this in the 1997-2001 period because as an individual contributor in those days, you could lead a double life.  You can’t do that now.  Facebook blew all that away.

Later, in the late 2000s, if I tried to get a W2 job as a programmer, I probably ran into the situation where people could check my reputation on search engines, and wonder if I would write about “this” (instance) company after I left.  You see the problem?

Maybe you could have a limited account with maximum privacy settings.

That also means that if you want to be active clandestinely on political causes, you have to join a group and probably support a lot of things you don’t fully agree with that a lot of resentful or aggrieved people want.  But in many jobs, I don’t recommend being seen as an activist.

Of course, if you have a union job (even a teacher’s union), the union generally speaks for you, even on political issues.  Of course, for public employee unions, there was a controversial Supreme Court decision recently trying to counter this.

I don’t like to let others speak for me, and I don’t like to be hired as somebody’s mouthpiece. (Sorry, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.)

I’m 75 and retired with decent assets so I can “get away with this”, but there could be future crackdowns on politica or issue-oriented  blogging not accounted for by there own income (I’ve been covering that elsewhere – has to do with non-connected PAC’s).
    
So “EI” is largely right about this.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

"The Mediums of Lily Dale" on "This Is Life"



“This Is Life” with Lisa Ling presented “The Mediums of Lily Dale” Sunday night Oct. 28, link 

In a small village in upstate New York near Lake Erie, there are a number of mediums. 
  
Various clients, including Lisa and her sister, visit mediums.  Sessions take place in well-kept living rooms or dens, with simple hand-to-hand contact.

  
Lisa finds her own session less than convincing, but in most cases customers feel convinced they have reached the spirit of a relative with whom there was some apology to settle.
  
There is no use of Ouija boards (I attended a séance in Brooklyn in the 1970s where one was used.)

The community may not be too far from where the Buffalo unit of Understanding was located in the 1970s. 
   
The spirit of a departed person may be a four-dimensional tesseract with all the information of the person’s life in space-time. It would somehow have to be projected onto current time.  But it could matter how the person passed away.  If it were a gradual process with people present, there may be more substance to the soul object.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

"Will We Ever Find Alien Life?" on PBS Digital Studios



Matt O’Dowd, from PBS Digital Studios (in London, and the Curiosity Stream) asks (and “tells”) “Will We Ever Find Alien Life?”


He examines the Fermi paradox and Drake equation and gives us bad news on Tabby’s star. Dyson swarms could be easier to make than Dyson spheres.

Recent probes have shown that there should be about 40 billion inhabitable planets (and maybe moons) in the Milky Way.  Civilizations could build other structures, like O’Neill cylinders.

But civilizations have to pass through filters where asymmetric access to technology can jeopardize them.  O’Dowd mentions impulse control and the compulsive personality problem.  That sounds like Nicholas Taleb’s “Black Swan” long tail problem in his “skin in the game” book.

Civilizations will develop finance (probably digital currencies and blockchain) and political structures, which are likely to be authoritarian most of the time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"The Pension Gamble" on PBS Frontline



Tuesday night, Oct. 23, PBS Frontline aired “The Pension Gamble”.

The documentary examined the developing unsustainability of pubic employee pensions, most of all focused on Kentucky. In fact, PAAMCO Prisma responded to the broadcast with this link

The narrative explained how in the past public employees had defined benefit plans, which have gradually been replaced by hybrid plans that may be a little better than comparable plans in private industry, such as what I got when ING froze our pensions in 2000 (I was laid off or rather bought off with a retirement package at the end of 2001 in major downsizing).


However, as the documentary showed, many intermediaries on Wall Street made off well during the growth of the pension funds.
  
The documentary focused also on the plight of teachers in some states, like West Virginia, where many teachers have two jobs.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

"Far West Texas": a penultimate episode of Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" on CNN


Tonight, CNN presented one of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” last episodes, Far West Texas
  
Bourdain focused on the southern part of the region, especially the St. Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, with the border going right down the middle as they have a picnic. No wall.
  
Over Thank  But it managed to warm back up to 70 two days later.
sgiving 1979, I went on a bus trip backpacking hike in Big Bend with the Sierra Club, and spent the first night at 6500 feet in Laguna Meadows, and a low of 15F.

  
I’ve also driven through Guadalupe Mountains National Park, with the highest point on Texas (8700), which I have never climbed.

The broadcast also focused on the town of Marfa and on ranching.

In my novel “Angel’s Brother”, the young character has had an epiphany on a hike with a friend on Guadalupe.  Later in the novel, the character “Bill” reintegrates himself as he “waltzes across Texas” (the western part) before he meets up to take off on a space voyage at the end of the novel.
 
There is an astronomy exhibit near Midland, farther north than in the program, at Meteor Crater.

On a flight from Dallas to San Francisco in September, I did fly over the Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle (far north of where Bourdain filmed). 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

ABC 20-20: How a boy of 11 was charged as an adult with murder in PA



ABC 20-20 aired a disturbing segment Friday night, “My Son Is Not a Monster”.

The story concerns Jordan Brown, in Wampum, PA, north of Pittsburgh. When father Chris Brown’s fiancée Kenzie Houk was murdered in Feb. 2009 by a shotgun while 8-1/2 months pregnant, the son Jordan at age 11 was charged with the murder at age 11.  The ABC story is here

The charge – the arrest at 3:30 AM – seemed to depend on circumstantial evidence surrounding the weapon.


The case was eventually moved back to juvenile court, and Jordan was convicted in a bench trial. But eventually the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the conviction over unconvincing evidence. 

A different suspect has never been found.

Friday, October 19, 2018

O'Rourke looks sharp in Texas senatorial debate on CNN



Congressman Beto O’Rourke did a town hall on CNN Thursday night.  O’Rourke, from El Paso, is tall and thin and looks younger than 46, although not quite as young as David Hogg.  But the young people might win this seat. The debate was held in McAllen, TX, on the border.  

O’Rourke argued for pragmatic solutions to immigration and health care issues
 . 

The Houston Chronicle has endorsed him. 
Ted Cruz refused to appear.  But Cruz has argued that Democratic tax and carbon plans would hurt jobs in the Texas energy sector.
  
Texas has its own grid interconnection and would be in a position for national leadership on power grid security, no matter which party is in power.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

"How Tech Companies Are Fighting Screen Addiction" on Lisa Ling's "This Is Life"


Allen Kim, for CNN, writes “How Tech Companies Are Fighting Screen Addiction” for Lisa Ling’s “This Is Life” series on CNN Sunday nights.

The show featured a basketball player who got so hooked that he dropped out of school and sports.  But he did know how to code and perform in games.  Extreme gaming addiction is common. 


The episode stressed the way social media sites are programmed to become addictive by feeding the reward centers of likes or dislikes.

But this problem may be more serious, ironically, for people who use social media for social purposes.  It wouldn’t matter much for researchers and professionals.

The episode also showed a California teacher doing grade school math lessons with yarn, and no electronics. 

South Korea has rehab camps for screen-addicted teens.

Cathleen O'Crady weighs in on this problem on Ars Technica, here

Monday, October 15, 2018

"EI" discusses tech companies' deplatforming of sites due to activist public pressure after Charlottesville



“Economic Invincibility” offers a particularly telling discussion, “My Future on YouTube”.


He posted this in August 2017, shortly after the Charlottesville riots and the sequence where several white supremacist sites were deplatformed not just by social media but by domain registrars and conventional webhosts.

He mentions that he does not need the YouTube channel for a living.

He expresses a concern that some essentially left-wing activists would pressure YouTube to deplaform his channel as somehow indirectly harmful to some minorities.

He also talks about the possibility of writing a book.

This is quite a disturbing soliloquy.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Lesley Stahl interviews Donald Trump on CBS 60 Minutes



Lesley Stahl interviewed President Donald Trump on CBS “60 Minutes” tonight.
  
The full transcript is here
  
A critical part of the interview concerned Kim Jong Un.  Trump called his “love” for him a figure of speech (after the big "love letters"). He admits he had to manipulate Kim because of the threat of war, on South Korea and possibly even the US homeland sooner than we thought (I’ve talked about his EMP threat before).
  
Stahl challenged Trump on climate change, with a metaphor of icebergs breaking off of Greenland.
  
  
Trump still rationalizes his denial and is concerned about US job loss and personal sacrifice.

The media is offended by Trump's "rogue actors" theory on the assassination of the Saudi Post journalist. 
  
Remember how Lesley Stahl at one time interviewed Mark Zuckerberg “The Toddler CEO”, when Mark asked, “Is that a question?”

Thursday, October 11, 2018

"Are Baby Boomers the Problem?" "EI" lays it on the line and talks about hypocrisy and sacrifice




Are Baby Boomers the Problem?

“EI” (Economic Invincibility) lays it on the line, and scolds some baby boomers for not being willing to make sacrifices when it comes to retirement and social security, given the demographic problem of their living much longer than did previous generations.


He mentions the Vietnam War and acknowledges that some made sacrifices and returned maimed and not appreciated, but then notes that many boomers didn’t serve in the military (like the student deferment system)  He vacillates or waffles somewhat between recommending just that boomers support Social Security reform for future retirees and insisting that they make some sacrifices now, living less independent with or near their kids.

I was born in 1943 (slightly pre-boomer technically).  I’ve gotten a decent pension since 2002 and Social Security since 2005.  I’ve been writing, a lot of it for free.  If I “had to”, I would have to raise money like other people.  This might be fairer to existing political advocacy because I would have to “play ball”.  EI, while conservative himself, is actually making a comment that could help progressivism on the Left.

I also insist that I view my FICA taxes over the years as an “annuity premium” even though legally it is not (Flemming v. Nestor, 1960).

EI says both of his parents are baby boomers.  For a young man who discusses heterosexuality so explicitly in other videos, his personal appearance is lean and immaculate and would appeal to most gay men. Of maybe he believes that even in the heterosexual world, the male should be conspicuous with beauty, as it is with many birds (like cardinals).

Monday, October 08, 2018

PBS: "Where Did Viruses Come From?"



Where Did Viruses Come From?” from PBS Digital and PBS Eons.


Most of us have viral DNA, even templated by retroviral RNA, in our genomes.

The video examines whether viruses came before cellular life, and it isn’t clear.

And because viruses don’t produce energy, there is a good question as to whether they are really alive. An RNA or DNA strand wrapped in protein. The video examines some very large viruses, actually larger than some bacteria.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Lisa Ling covers "Gender Fluidity" on "This Is Life"



Lisa Ling’s “This Is Life” series covered “Gender Fluidity”, season 5, episode 3.

The Advocate has a summary presenting EJ Johnson (son of Magic Johnson), here. 

The episode young adults who view themselves as “agender” (with no gender) was well as transgender (woman to man in one case) but “gender flux”.  I had covered gender-neutral pronouns on the LGBT blog Sept. 9.


There was a 42-year old man, already balding, who liked to experiment with women’s clothes and considered himself fluid, and his wife was OK with it. They have a daughter.
  
At age 75, I can say I would never have considered an intimate relationship with a self-declared fluid person. I’m too much into the cherry picking and upward affiliation.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

"Modern Family", Season 10, Episode 2, brings back Reid Ewing as Dylan



Reid Ewing, who I believe turns 30 in November, appears in Season 10, Episode 2 of ABC's “Modern Family”, called “Kiss and Tell”.

  
I haven’t followed the series recently.  But he appears to revisit his old relation with Haley at about 19:00 into the episode, link

It’s interesting that his appearance has hardly changed in all these years.

Yet, he offers a shocking chapter in the new book “(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation About Mental Health”, edited by Kelly Jensem, on p. 95, “I underwent cosmetic surgery for my body dysmorphia and I wish I hadn’t” back in 2008, when he was 19 and thought he had to in order to make it as an actor.  The piece is graphic and shocking, yet you can’t see any evidence of it on television episodes or his own Twitter pictures. I’ll di a review of the book later. 

 Note that around six years ago he did a video “Imagine Me Naked”, still on YouTube.

I hope this is a sign his acting career is resuming (he presented a rainbow over LA on Twitter recently, about the same time I was in San Francisco). But he has a manga animated film he is producing and editing (“The Winchester Half-Tragedy”).  I wish my own “Do Ask, Do Tell: Epiphany” (set in an O’Neill Cylinder but not animated) were as far along.
  
Much of the episode today presented Mitch and Cam.  I guess Jesse Tyler Ferguson is holding up pretty well at 42.  Can I say the same for Ryan Seacrest on “Live with Kelly and Ryan”. He won’t wear socks.

Monday, October 01, 2018

"Manifest": new series on NBC presumes an airline is "abducted" and disappears for over five years, and then lands



I watched, online, the Pilot for "Manifest", the science fiction drama created by Jeff Rake for NBC, which had premiered Sept. 24 while I was in California. 

The premise is that in April 2013, a flight from Jamaica for NYC dematerializes in the air and reappears and lands in November 2018. The passengers experience severe turbulence and the lights go off, and laptops fall to the floor – and then it all returns to normal.  The first sign of “trouble” is that air traffic control sends them to Newburgh, and the people are met by security on the tarmac.
    
Much of the story is seen through police officer Michaela Stone (Melissa Roxburgh), who volunteered to accept denied boarding. In the meantime, her fiancé married someone else. She was traveling with her brother Ben (Josh Dallas).


Michaela learns that her mother has died. But soon she starts hearing voices that lead her to prevent a child from being struck by a bus, and later to rescue two abducted kids.
  
Michaela’s nephew Cal (Jack Messina) will be eligible for a new treatment for cancer, yet the researchers are reluctant to start because his time period is “out of protocol” because of the “abduction”.
  
At the end, the plane blows itself up.  It doesn’t want to release its secrets.  The premise of the show does remind me of "The 4400". 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

"The Good Doctor" starts Season 2 as Shaun helps the homeless



The Good Doctor” Season 2 resumed Monday Sept. 24, with an episode called “Hello”. I was out of town and the timing conflicts with PBS POV and NBC “Manifest” which I will have to catch up with. 

But I did watch this episode through my cable provider.  Shaun visits skid row to give medical treatment, and becomes very determined to help one man who shows signs of a brain tumor, after a colleague (Neil, played by Nicholas Gonzalez) first suspects meningitis. The man has forgotten who he was and after leaving home when his wife forced him to leave because of sudden domestic abuse.  At the end he is reunited with his wife.

  
Shaun faces social pressure to spend time with his mentor Dr. Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff).
   
The doctors also do a piggyback heart transplant.  I’ve never heard of that before.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

CNN Heroes releases preview of work by woman for victims of sex trafficking


CNN has provided a preview of its “CNN Heroes” awards, with a short clip on Susan Munsey’s efforts to help victims of sex trafficking, CNN story here.  The story is by Allie Togan.

Among her efforts includes setting up a shelter in San Diego.

Munsey has worked on a “We Do Better” bill in California.
  
But the clip did not mentioned the controversial FOSTA/SESTA law regarding downstream liability on the Internet early this year.  But Susan does mention the idea that a lot of trafficking is facilitated through the Internet. No one starts out wanting to do sex for money, she says. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

AC360: how an impromptu confrontation between an individual voter and Jeff Flake changed everything today in the Kavanaugh confirmation mess



The confrontation between Ana Maria Achila and Jeff Flake at the Capitol shortly after 9 AM today, which I saw live on CNN, seems to have changed the course of the confirmation hearings on Brett Cavanaugh.


As most visitors know, Jeff Flake spearheaded an effort to delay the vote until the FBI did an investigation on Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony. President Trump agreed to allow the investigation, and Mitch McConnell has no practical choice but to allow it if he wants the confirmation.

Anderson Cooper interviewed Ana tonight on AC360.
  
She reminds me of Ana Navarro.

Ford Fischer and News2Share also have a video of a protest that resulted in 70 arrests today, here

Monday, September 24, 2018

"Alternative Influencer: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube"



Here’s a good broadcast by Tim Pool, Timcast, 30 minutes:

Alternative Influencer: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube


The video has a research chart that links “influencers” together.   I wonder if I belong on it.  Milo Yiannopolous is near the bottom.  Tim is in the middle.

Tim says he is not a "conservative" although many of his broadcasts tear apart illogical thinking on the far Left.  He is very liberal on social issues like gay marriage, but more from a libertarian idea of equality before the law. He believes some common sense needs to prevail in health care, climate change. etc.  

Tim was at a "Mythconpanel in Milwaukee Saturday at the Pabst Theater that was canceled because of threats. 

Check out the Vox story on YouTube and the reactionary right. Here's a bio of Jordan Peterson and the irony of some of his threatened lawsuits. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

HLN "True Crime" describes Williams Brothers hate crime spree in 1999, 2001



On Tuesday, September 18, 2010, HLN “True Crime” covered the spree in 1999 of the white supremacist Williams brothers (Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams), who killed a gay couple – Gary Matson and Winfried Mowder, near Sacramento, Advocate story

In 2001 they set fire to synagogues and an abortion clinic.  Another story describes their rearing by an ultrafundamentalist sects. 


But in some ways their spree reminds one of Andrew Cunanan in 1987.
  
Their crimes were also depicted in the “Not in Our Town” series.