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 -, 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.