Why is this man still standing?

I think I asked this question before.

673px-Chris_Brown_5,_2012

The saga of Grammy-award singer Chris Brown continues:

Grammy-winning singer Chris Brown was arrested Tuesday after a woman claimed he threatened her with a gun, police said.

Earlier, officers obtained a search warrant allowing them to enter the entertainer’s Los Angeles mansion.

“Mr. Brown is going to be transported where he will be arrested for ADW — assault with a deadly weapon,” LAPD Lt. Chris Ramirez told reporters at around 5 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET).

Brown was later booked and then released on $250,000 bail, according to officials.

The woman reported the early morning incident to police, saying 27-year-old Brown pointed the gun at her before she left his gated estate in the wealthy Los Angeles enclave of Tarzana, law enforcement sources told NBC News.

And I continue to ask why fans support the likes of Chris Brown, buy his music, attend his concerts. What’s it going to take?

Don’t Bump The Trump

One of a series

Politics-TrumpUncontrolledPerson

A warning for those who chance to meet a wild Trump coming home late at night, past a graveyard, all alone in a storm: Don’t bump the Trump. [With apologies to Shel Silverstein.]

It’s game on. Self-professed billionaire Donald Trump earlier snatched the campaign torch from the Republican Party by scooping up conservative America’s low-hanging fruit. Full disclosure: it’s something I proclaimed over a year ago could not be done. I was wrong! How wrong? Very wrong. I completely failed to take into account Donald Trump’s uncanny sense of irony:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attacked former New York representative Anthony Weiner, calling the husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin a “pervert sleaze” just one day after the New York businessman’s new campaign manager said he “doesn’t hurl personal insults.”

“What about the fact that Huma Abedin — who knows every single thing about Hillary Clinton, she knows more about Hillary than Hillary knows — and she’s married to a pervert sleaze named Anthony Weiner, who will send anything that he has out over Twitter,” Trump said on Fox News Monday morning, referring to Weiner’s ongoing sexting scandals.

“Pervert?” “Sleaze?” The irony is too thick to stir.

Yeah, it’s game on. We are going to have more fun between now and November. We can be assured Donald Trump will never fail to entertain us.

Continue reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

Bad Movie Wednesday showcases films that are not necessarily rotten to the core. This one has much to redeem itself.

I this saw when it hit the theaters. That would be about my second year in college, in 1962, which means I saw it at a theater on The Drag (Guadalupe Street) in Austin. It’s David and Lisa, featuring Keir Dullea and Janet Margolin in the title roles. Fifty years, all right 54 years, was a long time to carry this one around in my head, and when it popped up on Amazon Prime Video I treated myself to a second, private, viewing. I must note, some things I remembered about the movie just were not so. Screen shots are from Amazon, and details are from Wikipedia. I’m not going to regurgitate the linear plot. It’s not the plot that makes this movie.

David is David Clemens, here being checked into a “residential treatment center” by his mother (Neva Patterson). David’s is a wealthy family, but it’s obvious he’s socially unstable.

DavidAndLisa-01

David is intelligent, meticulous to a fault, and obnoxiously abrasive. He recoils violently at any physical contact with another person. A large part of the drama is David’s verbal and psychological fencing with head psychiatrist Dr. Alan Swinford (Howard Da Silva). He is obsessed with clocks, which is where my recollection went wrong. My brain carried for over a half century the image of David staring intensely at Dr. Swinford’s clock, showing the wrong time. I was close. He is obsessed with clocks and despises clocks that are not on time.

Prophetically he describes his idea of clocks driven from a world-wide master time keeper. This technology has come true. You can purchase wrist watches that synchronize with the Naval Observatory’s atomic clock by way of radio station WWV.

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Lisa Brandt is certifiably schizophrenic. Lisa can speak only in rhyme, and her alter ego, Muriel, can only write.

DavidAndLisa-03

The treatment center hosts a dozen or so troubled adolescents, exhibiting a range of personality problems. This becomes manifest when, on a field trip, they encounter a local family at the train station. The man leads his wife and child away from the teens, declaring, “Bunch of screwballs, spoiling the town.” The teens follow him out, mocking him, repeating the phrase. They realize they are different from the rest of society.

DavidAndLisa-04

David gets belligerent with his mother, and his parents remove him from the center. Back home it’s apparent the Clemens family life is exacerbating his condition. He runs away from home and returns to the school.

DavidAndLisa-05

Issues are resolved when Lisa acknowledges she is Lisa and not Muriel. She quits speaking in rhyme, but runs away when David rebuffs her. Seeking her out, David and Dr. Swinford locate her at the museum in Philadelphia, and David takes her hand. And that’s the end.

DavidAndLisa-06

What caught everybody’s attention 54 years ago was the acclaim garnered by this low-budget film. Wikipedia shows a $185,000 budget, and it picked up two Oscar nominations:

The film earned [Frank Perry] a nomination for the 1963 Academy Award for Directing and one for [Eleanor Perry] for her Screenplay.

My recollection (possibly faulty) is the producers attempted to repeat their financial coup, but without success. A stage play and TV movie followed.

This was the film debut for Margolin. Her film career continued into 1989, and she died in 1993. Dullea went on to play Dr. David Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey. As recently as 2014 he was Dr. Marlow in Space Station 76.

When You Know It Is Really Over

Full disclosure: I’m a great fan of women. My mother was a woman, and I was blessed with two wonderful sisters. I’ve been married twice, to women. My daughter is a woman. I think women are just great.

Politics-AnthonyWeiner-01

But I have to ask: Women of the world, what is wrong with you, babes?

Washington (CNN) — Longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin announced Monday that she and former US Rep. Anthony Weiner are separating after new reports surfaced that he sent sexually suggestive photos again.

“After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband. Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life. During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy,” Abedin said in a statement Monday.

Girl, how come it took you five years to decide this guy was defective merchandise?

Ms. Abedin is presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s closest adviser. Which brings us to ask, how come you are taking advice from her? Wait, is it possible Abedin is the one who previously advised, “You really should hook up with Bill Clinton. He has the makings of a great family man.”

Irony upon irony! Weiner’s correspondent in the latest texting episode is a Trumpette:

The object of Weiner’s affections is his polar opposite politically: a self-avowed supporter of Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association who’s used Twitter to bash both President Obama and Clinton.

Screenshots show the electronic chats began in late January 2015 and continued through earlier this month, according to the woman, who spoke to The Post on condition of anonymity.

And while Weiner repeatedly invited her to visit him in New York City, she said, “We never met.”

Politics-WeinerTrumpette

Of course, The Donald is making hay of it all:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attacked former New York representative Anthony Weiner, calling the husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin a “pervert sleaze” just one day after the New York businessman’s new campaign manager said he “doesn’t hurl personal insults.”

“What about the fact that Huma Abedin — who knows every single thing about Hillary Clinton, she knows more about Hillary than Hillary knows — and she’s married to a pervert sleaze named Anthony Weiner, who will send anything that he has out over Twitter,” Trump said on Fox News Monday morning, referring to Weiner’s ongoing sexting scandals.

Bringing us around to the matter of Melania Trump and the choices women make.

Don’t Bump The Trump

One of a series

Politics-TrumpDropOut

A warning for those who chance to meet a wild Trump coming home late at night, past a graveyard, all alone in a storm: Don’t bump the Trump. [With apologies to Shel Silverstein.]

It’s game on. Self-professed billionaire Donald Trump earlier snatched the campaign torch from the Republican Party by scooping up conservative America’s low-hanging fruit. Full disclosure: it’s something I proclaimed over a year ago could not be done. I was wrong! How wrong? Very wrong. I completely failed to take into account Donald Trump’s commitment to the electoral process:

(CNN) — Donald Trump loves being unpredictable — it’s a valuable card in any good negotiator’s hands, he insists.

But now the presumptive Republican nominee is seemingly joking about the latest political speculation that a victory in November doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll take the oath of office to become president of the United States.

“I’ll let you know how I feel about it after it happens,” Trump told The New York Times in a story published Thursday while flashing what the newspaper described as a “mischievous smile.” The paper said Trump was responding in an interview when presented with the scenario that he may win and decide not to serve.

Of course, the meme at the top of this post is completely misleading. Donald Trump spoke those words last year during the time the primary contest was just getting warmed up. He was saying he would drop out of the primaries if his poll numbers started going south.

As it is, his poll numbers did not go south, and he is now the Republican nominee. And about deciding whether to actually serve if elected, what do you think?

Yeah, it’s game on. We are going to have more fun between now and November. We can be assured Donald Trump will never fail to entertain us.

Continue reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Religion-FaithHealingDeathByPrayer

Allow me to take the opportunity to thank the parents of two-year-old Harrison Johnson for sacrificing their child in order that I should be able maintain my quota for this series of posts:

Harrison Johnson a 2 year old from Tampa, Florida was stung by wasps 432 times. The family, believers of The Fellowship didn’t seek medical treatment till 7 hours after the stings occurred. They did, however, have neighborhood children and church members pray for him during that time. When the EMT’s arrived he was no longer breathing and there was no pulse (“Victims”, 2000). In each of these cases the parents and the church believed that they were doing what was right in the eyes of God, and that they were giving the child proper care. They hold the tenant that God will heal them if they are meant to be healed and that it is left in God’s hands according to Wallace (2002).

The sacrifices some people make on my behalf are just indescribable.  So, I won’t attempt to describe them. Nothing says love and caring like “no pulse.”

The Ever-Diminishing List of Those Who Cannot Obtain Life Insurance at any Price

One of a continuing series

War-HafizSaeedKhan

The above photo from Google images shows Afghanistan ISIL (Daesh) leader Hafiz Saeed Khan, apparently during one of his better times. Such time being when he was still alive. CNN reports on one of his not so better times:

Washington (CNN) — US and Afghan Special Operations Forces conducted an airstrike in Afghanistan that targeted and killed ISIS leader Hafiz Sayed Khan on July 26, according to a statement from the Pentagon.

Khan’s death affects ISIS recruiting efforts and operations in the region, the Pentagon added. Afghan defense ministry spokesman Dawlat Wazirir confirmed his death.

Beyond misspelling his name, CNN failed to mention whether Mr. Khan’s life insurance policy was paid up. Don’t you just hate it when you get killed and the news gets your name wrong?

Additional reporting by Aljazeera states that, “Hafiz Saeed Khan’s senior commanders and fighters were also killed in the drone strike.” All of which makes it unclear who will be stepping up to replace the late Khan. Or whether life insurance will be available. I will follow up with details whenever the matter is settled, including the name of the unfortunate insurance underwriter.

Don’t Bump The Trump

One of a series

Politics-TrumpPurpleHeart

A warning for those who chance to meet a wild Trump coming home late at night, past a graveyard, all alone in a storm: Don’t bump the Trump. [With apologies to Shel Silverstein.]

It’s game on. Self-professed billionaire Donald Trump earlier snatched the campaign torch from the Republican Party by scooping up conservative America’s low-hanging fruit. Full disclosure: it’s something I proclaimed over a year ago could not be done. I was wrong! How wrong? Very wrong. I completely failed to take into account Donald Trump’s service to his country:

Without setting foot on a battlefield, Donald Trump said he received a Purple Heart medal on Tuesday at his rally in Ashburn, Virginia, from a retired lieutenant colonel and supporter.

“I said to him, ‘Is that like the real one, or is that a copy?” the Republican nominee said moments after taking the stage at a local high school.

Trump recounted the exchange, remarking that the man, who he identified as retired Lt. Col. Louis Dorfman said, “That’s my real Purple Heart. I have such confidence in you.”

“And I said, ‘Man, that’s like big stuff. I always wanted to get the Purple Heart,” Trump said. “This was much easier.”

I do not personally know anybody who has been awarded the Purple Heart medal, but I have seen a few of these heroes interviewed on television. They generally wish they hadn’t gotten one.

Yeah, it’s game on. We are going to have more fun between now and November. We can be assured Donald Trump will never fail to entertain us.

Continue reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

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I’ve been watching police chase videos on YouTube, and this came up. The white car is being chased by police on Los Angeles streets. Absent any back channel information, I think I notice three things this image tells me.

The first Quiz Question is what are three things of note discernible from this image?

That being answered, I will later ask for details.

Post your answer in the comments section below.

Update and Answer

Here’s my take on first viewing this:

  • The shadow of the car is short. This is about mid day.
  • The shadow of the car is short. The date is close to the summer solstice.
  • The shadow is mostly behind the car. The car is going south.

You can view the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YL4BgFNYvsE

If the shadow were longer, then the time is not mid day or the date is closer to the winter solstice. The shadow behind the car indicates the direction of travel at mid day.

Although the date is not given, the video was published in June of this year, and commentary in the video indicates it is about mid day. And the vehicle is going south or nearly south.

Presidential

Books-ClintonAWomanInCharge

Full disclosure: I voted for Hillary Clinton’s husband twice in the presidential races, and I plan to vote for Hillary in November. I contribute money to Clinton’s campaign, and I regularly post material derogatory to Donald Trump on this blog. Additional full disclosure: My wife and her husband were in the same high school class in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

All that said, a few weeks ago I obtained a copy of Carl Bernstein’s book about Hillary Clinton, titled A Woman In Charge. This is the Kindle edition, now available at $1.99, just in time for the presidential campaign. I paid considerably more a few weeks ago. That’s what I get for being impatient. I’m not going to provide a comprehensive analysis of the book or of Clinton. This review will give you some of the flavor, of both the book and the subject. On occasion, as the election season warms up, I will salt some of my posts with additional excerpts from the book.

Up front, readers need to remember that Bernstein, along with Bob Woodward, wrote scathing news reports for the The Washington Post about President Richard Nixon’s Watergate debacle and his fall from grace. They pooled their resources and followed up with an equally scathing book about the affair, titled All The President’s Men. The book was the basis for a popular movie of the same name and starring Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein and Robert Redford as Woodward.

Of the two, Bernstein has been notably liberal while Woodward, a Republican at the time, likely voted for Nixon. So here it comes, just in time for the election cycle, a feel-good book about candidate Hillary Clinton. Not nearly.

Bernstein traces Clinton’s life from rough-as-a-cob middle class, suburban Chicago up through the highest reaches of power. And he does not pull any punches. Clinton is shown as an over-achieving student, perhaps driven by a massively critical and harsh father, Hugh Rodham. Her stellar rise is shown coupled with a dramatic shift from her father’s rigid conservatism and Republican politics to today’s liberal icon.

That shift can be attributed to the influence of Methodist youth minister Don Jones, who arrived at her church when Hillary was in the tenth grade, and also to Hillary’s experience while working for the Barry Goldwater campaign to disqualify black voters in the seamier parts of Chicago:

In Hillary’s junior year in high school, she and Betsy both became Goldwater Girls, assigned by local campaign aides to check for voter registration fraud in minority neighborhoods in Chicago. Hillary’s father raised no objection to his daughter knocking on doors in the slums to find out the registration status of voters whom the Goldwater campaign might be able to disqualify. Hillary’s territory included the new (and later infamous) Robert Taylor Homes housing project, bulldozed into oblivion as a symbol of poverty and racism eight presidencies later. She was a privileged suburban teenager seeing, close up, how thousands of poor black people lived, and it made a transforming impression.

Bernstein, Carl. A Woman in Charge (p. 31). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The coming together of Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham was to politics what the collision of two galaxies must be in cosmology—history-making, earth-shattering, at times calamitous. Reading through the story of their life together, one has to wonder how it would have all turned out had Hillary gained better control of her political intransigence and Bill better control of his willie. Time and again when the two should have followed Bill’s political instincts (and those of wise advisors), they followed Hillary’s, leading to disaster. Time and again when Bill seemed about to gain political mastery, his zipper failed him. All the while scandal followed Bill, political missteps followed Hillary.

The dynamic duo made their first mark together in the Arkansas statehouse, where early good intentions seemed to end their run at a single term. Bill’s grand scheme to improve Arkansas infrastructure, near the bottom rung among the states, suffered a horrendous backlash when he tied the program to a vehicle tax scheme that shafted the state’s downtrodden to the benefit of its elite. Back in office after sitting out a two-year term, Hillary scored her first triumph:

Hillary’s preparation for her assignment (as in Washington with health care) was exhaustive, her expertise made almost as sharp as that of professionals with years of experience. She researched the curriculum of every Arkansas school district and traveled the state to attend public hearings. Hillary said she kept hearing stories about grossly incompetent teachers who could hardly read or spell.

Ultimately Hillary would prevail in the political battle for education reform. It would be her greatest achievement in public life until she was elected to the U.S. Senate, though the substantive results fell short of the grand expectations of her plans. And the methodology she employed to win the battle, and the lessons she and Bill took away from the experience, would haunt the Clinton presidency and doom health care reform from the start.

Bernstein, Carl. A Woman in Charge (pp. 171-172). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

An aside here. I grew up in small town Texas—remember, Texas borders on Arkansas. Things may have changed since, but back then in Texas, Arkansas was a punchline. No place was figured more backward than Arkansas. Which explains this:

THEN HILLARY RODHAM became Hillary Clinton, as she had vowed never to do. Changing her name, which seemed to signal to voters that she was changing her attitude, was as essential to Bill Clinton’s future as apologizing for the car tag fiasco. Or, as Jim Blair said about the name change, Hillary “would sacrifice some of her principles to keep political expediency.” Hillary talked to Hubbell about why she now thought changing her name was important. “We had a long conversation that day, and I understood a lot more about her afterward,” he said. “There was the notion of retaining her own identity, which she had submerged in coming to Arkansas, and the conflict of interest sensitivity she felt as a lawyer. And there was something closer to the bone. It hurt her that people would think she didn’t love her husband. It hurt her when people asked what Chelsea’s last name would be. It hurt her that people in Arkansas didn’t try to understand her as much as they wanted her to understand them. But the name had become an issue, and she was prepared to change it to help her husband.”

Bernstein, Carl. A Woman in Charge (pp. 165-166). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Yes, to voters in Arkansas, that Hillary retained her father’s name would mean the difference between success and defeat in the election—this being today written by a person married to Barbara Neuser.

Surprise, surprise! The main thing holding Bill and Hillary back from running for the presidency to succeed Ronald Reagan was Bill’s willie. They figured there was no way they could mount a campaign with Bill’s most recent Arkansas escapades still cooling down. With the help of independent candidate Ross Perot in 1992, the pair ascended to the highest rung, where more disaster followed.

Hillary’s notorious intransigence is cited for the failure of the Clintons’ signature health care initiative. Unwilling to compromise when Republicans made overtures, she saw her cherished initiative go down in flames under vicious attack from Republicans and even from Democrats. The Democratic losses in the 1994 election were traced back directly to the President’s wife. She pulled back totally from politics and almost completely from public life for the duration of their tenure. But it was during this time Hillary’s popularity soared across the globe and even in American politics:

Hillary had learned (or so she said later) from her health care experience that the tone and pitch of her voice often worked against her when she felt strongly about an issue. (She attributed this to women being subject to criticism if they showed too much feeling in public.) The Chinese, ultimately, blacked out her speech on official state radio and television, but her message was startlingly forceful and clear to her hosts:

It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are girls. It is a violation of human rights when women and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution. It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small. It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war. It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages fourteen to forty-four is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes. It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation. It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.

Her twenty-one-minute-long oration ended with a plea that the delegates return to their countries and demand action to improve opportunities for women— in health, the law, politics, and education. Now there was an agonizingly long delay before the translations were completed (delegations from 189 countries were in attendance). Hillary anxiously awaited the audience response. Suddenly there was something approaching pandemonium as hundreds in the hall leaped to their feet and began a long-standing ovation for the first lady.

For the rest of her time in China, Hillary was mobbed by those who had heard the speech, both in Beijing and at a huge meeting of nongovernmental organizations in Huarirou, whose conference— to coincide with the smaller official U.N. assembly in Beijing— had been moved by the authorities to a distant city.

“It kind of legitimized her as an ambassador for those issues,” said her speechwriter Lissa Muscatine, who had accompanied Hillary and worked on the address. After two taxing years, and for the first time since her trip to Capitol Hill when she had charmed the committees of Congress that were to consider, and eventually help bury, health care reform, this was the first widespread positive recognition she received.

Bernstein, Carl. A Woman in Charge (pp. 437-438). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

What you are going to get from Hillary Clinton as President is a leader with philosophies based on a radical, almost pathological, Christian mindset. Bernstein sees her history of intransigence derived from a self-righteousness ordained by God. He concludes:

As Hillary has continued to speak from the protective shell of her own making, and packaged herself for the widest possible consumption, she has misrepresented not just facts but often her essential self.

Great politicians have always been marked by the consistency of their core beliefs, their strength of character in advocacy, and the self-knowledge that informs bold leadership. Almost always, Hillary has stood for good things. Yet there is often a disconnect between her convictions and words, and her actions. This is where Hillary disappoints. But the jury remains out. She still has time to prove her case, to effectuate those things that make her special, not fear them or camouflage them. We would all be the better for it, because what lies within may have the potential to change the world, if only a little.

Bernstein, Carl. A Woman in Charge (p. 554). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The book came out in 2007, depriving us of Bernstein’s insights into more recent Clinton controversies. I have already remarked on some of these. More will come between now and November. Keep reading.