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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Don’t Bump The Trump

One of a series

Politics-TrumpPreachHateIrony

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 firm grasp of reality:

Washington (CNN) — Donald Trump hit presidential campaign turbulence Friday for his handling of a town hall participant’s comment about President Barack Obama’s religion — but this was only the most recent time the real estate mogul stirred controversy over the President’s background.

Trump has long been one of the most vocal skeptics about Obama’s birthplace and faith.
Four years ago, Trump mounted a campaign to pressure Obama to release his long-form birth certificate, even saying he would send investigators to Hawaii to find out the truth. The effort helped fuel the so-called “birther” conspiracy theory that held that Obama was born in Kenya — and Trump also floated the idea that Obama’s birth documents may label him a Muslim.

All right. There have been times when The Donald strayed carelessly into the magical world of make believe. But all that was so yesterday. Since Mr. Trump became a serious candidate for President of the United States, he has reined in his penchant for flights of the imagination:

First, raise an outrageous untruth: Trump throws a rhetorical grenade at rival Ted Cruz on the day of the critical Indiana primary, linking Cruz’s father to the man who shot President John F. Kennedy. Cruz’s father calls the charge “ludicrous” and PolitiFact agrees, rating it Pants on Fire.

Actually, folks, it’s not a delusion if you don’t believe it.

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 of the Week

One of a series

I needed another bad movie, so I cast about frantically. Amazon Prime Video to the rescue. This one is really bad. It’s Robot Monster, from 1953 out of Three Dimensional Pictures, Inc. If you are looking for a shade above Ed Wood, this is your movie. Details are from Wikipedia.

This stars Gregory Moffett as Johnny, the little kid whose dream the whole plot is. Johnny and his sister Carla (Pamela Paulson) are playing in a wilderness area. Johnny wants to play space man—he has a space helmet and a ray gun that shoots bubbles. Carla wants to play house. They discover two scientists working in a nearby cave, exploring ancient cave paintings. The scientists are Roy (George Nader) and The Professor (John Mylong).

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After joining his mother (Selena Royle) and older sister Alice (Claudia Barrett) at a picnic in an open field, Johnny takes a nap. When he wakes up he heads back to the cave were the scientists are working. A bolt of lightning stuns him, and he dreams.

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Prehistoric monsters roam the Earth.

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A robot monster, Ro-Man (George Barrows), is at the cave, receiving instructions for the final destruction of Earth.

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Johnny joins the family, but they are not at a picnic. They are in a wired off bunker, the last remnants of human life. The Professor is now the father. Roy joins them. He’s been hiding out.

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The family conspires to defeat the alien invaders, with whom they communicate by way of a video link. Ro-Man takes a liking to Alice and demands she come for a meeting, alone. Johnny slips away and goes, instead, and Roy and Alice go out of the compound to look for him. Love blossoms.

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Roy and Alice get married and head out of the compound for a honeymoon. Carla follows them to bring them a wedding bouquet, but she is surprised and killed by Ro-Man.

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Ro-Man next surprises Roy and Alice making out in the bushes and kills Roy. He takes Alice prisoner and makes Earthly advances.

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Ro-Man defies orders from his master and refuses to kill Alice. In retribution the master culminates the destruction of Earth, and once again ancient monsters roam the planet.

Then Johnny wakes from his dream, rescued by the scientists. Roy casts loving eyes on Alice. There is going to be sex, after all.

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This is a deliberately lame plot. That doesn’t keep it from being a dumb movie. About the best thing going for it is the get-along score by Elmer Bernstein, in his fourth movie production. I caught him two years later in The Man With The Golden Arm, which was powered by his dramatic jazz theme. Watching Robot Monster, a casual listener will pick up on strains would surface in the Frank Sinatra film two years later. Bernstein went on to score other notable productions, including God’s Little AcreThe Magnificent Seven, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Gregory Moffett took another kid role in Two Gun Lady.

Don’t Bump The Trump

One of a series

Politics-TrumpABCNews25Aug2016-02

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 total sincerity and transparency:

Reno, Nevada (CNN) — The speech that Hillary Clinton delivered on Thursday was the one that many Democrats had been waiting for.

It was a blistering attack on Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric that left no gaffe or alleged dog-whistle unmentioned, framing him as a vessel for hate speech, a champion of conspiracy theories, and a representative of the far-right fringe of the Republican Party.

All right, readers, you can safely disregard those comments by former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Why? Because she only wants to disparage Mr. Trump. And why might that be? Could it be that Hillary Clinton wants the same job Donald Trump is now seeking? Aha! That’s it. She must be lying about Donald Trump. Let’s see where she gets it wrong.

First of all, here is how Mr. Trump describes what’s really going on:

“Hillary Clinton is a bigot… who sees people of color only as votes,” Trump told the largely white audience in a state where he is heavily favored. Trump also continued his push for minority support, reports CBS News correspondent Major Garrett.

“It’s time to give the Democrats some competition for African American votes and for Hispanic votes,” Trump said.

That’s Trump calling out Clinton and the Democrats and telling it like it is. Of course, some consider these remarks to be a new low in the Trump campaign, so that may explain the pained expression on the woman in the background listening to Trump making this statement:

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Disregarding any second thoughts this Trump support might have had at the time, we can rest assured that Donald Trump is sincere in his commitment. Nobody out there doubts Donald Trump’s opposition to bigotry. Except maybe those who do bigotry for a living:

Ahead of a Thursday speech in which Hillary Clinton is expected to attack Donald Trump’s ties to the “alt-right” movement, her campaign dropped a video tying Trump to his most vocally racist supporters, including members of the Ku Klux Klan.

The video opens with a white-hooded KKK member saying in an interview that “the reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes, we believe in.” The video then cycles through clips of white supremacists explaining their fandom for Trump, and pivots to footage of Trump unable to answer a question on whether he’d disavow the support of former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke.

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I know how Donald Trump must be feeling right about now. There are times when you just can’t win. His misfortune is he got to where he is in the race today due to his appeal to certain groups. He made his bed with these people, and now he’s having to sleep with them. Happy dreams. I’ll be watching the inauguration ceremonies on TV come next January. Maybe Donald Trump will care to join me.

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 Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Not yet

Not yet

Four friends spend weeks planning the perfect desert camping and riding trip.

Two days before the group is to leave Rob’s wife puts her foot down and tells him he isn’t going.

Rob’s friends are very upset that he can’t go, but what can they do?

Two days later the three get to the camping site only to find Rob sitting there with a tent set up, firewood gathered, and supper cooking on the fire.

“Dang man, how long have you been here and how did you talk your wife into letting you go?”

“Well, I’ve been here since yesterday. Yesterday evening I was sitting in my chair and my wife came up behind me and put her hands over my eyes and said ‘guess who’?”

I pulled her hands off and she was wearing a brand new see through nightie.

She took my hand and took me to our bedroom.

The room had two dozen candles and rose petals all over.

On the bed, she had handcuffs and ropes!

She told me to tie and cuff her to the bed and I did.

And then she said, “Now, you can do what ever you want.”

So here I am.

Don’t Bump The Trump

One of a series

Politics-TrumpCoolArrow

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 appeal to all sectors of American society:

Like so much of what Trump has said and done, this new outreach forces writers like me to conduct scatological studies, framing Trump’s actions in their historical and intellectual absurdity.

But, here we go.

Trump, who got a shocking 1 percent of support among black voters in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, has been urged to reach out to black voters.

All right. That’s just an opinion piece running in The New York Times. All of which means the “1 percent” is just an opinion. If you look at the actually polling numbers you get an entirely different picture:

In this latest poll, Clinton enjoys a significant advantage among women (51 percent to Trump’s 35 percent), African Americans (91 percent to 1 percent), all non-white voters (69 percent to 17 percent), young voters (46 percent to 34 percent), and white voters with a college degree (47 percent to 40 percent).

All right. That didn’t come out quite as I expected. One percent, two percent, five percent, who’s counting anyhow? What really counts is the way Donald Trump  connects with all segments of society:

Trump made a fortune before his career as a reality TV star predominately in the world of real estate, where he took the reins of his father’s burgeoning housing empire in the early 1970s and expanded it to become the global juggernaut it purportedly is today. But in 1973, he was introduced on the national stage for less auspicious reasons: his battles with the U.S. Justice Department over charges of violating the Fair Housing Act. The Trumps were accused of systematically discriminating against black tenants seeking rentals in their buildings, even using a code letter “C” to represent “colored” applicants.

“C” for “colored?” Well, what would you expect? “N” for “nigger?” Mr. Trump has a history of being remarkably sensitive to divisive issues such as race. Anyhow, he is sensitive to the everyday concerns of Americans of color:

At those rallies this week, Trump’s appeal to black voters took a curious turn — replacing “give Donald Trump a chance” with a new angle:

“Look, it is a disaster the way African Americans are living … We’ll get rid of the crime. You’ll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. Right now, you walk down the street, you get shot.”

Trump’s assertion that getting shot is an everyday worry for black Americans at large speaks to what critics say is his most glaring weakness with this demographic — that he is out of touch with people of color.

OK! That’s enough. It appears there is no pleasing some people.

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.

Friday Funny

One of a series

Gun-NRAFacebookSuggestedPost

It’s Friday again, and I know the NRA is always available. Their postings are funny, however, in a grim sort of way. Allow me to transcribe from the Facebook post that appeared on my feed as a “Suggested Post.”

NRA National Rifle Association

Help ensure no law abiding American is forced to face evil with empty hands.

Join NRA®: Stand and Fight

Limited Time Offer: Up to $40 Discount Plus Free NRA Duffle Bad.

MEMBERSHIP.NRAHQ.ORG

 

A “suggested post” is paid advertising, from which I gather the NRA paid to have this pop up on my feed. Jolly for them.

What catches my attention is “Help ensure no law abiding American is forced to face evil with empty hands.” Yeah, Dude. Without the NRA you may not always be allowed to keep your trusty firearm close by, and when “evil” finally does come to your door, you are going to regret ever having voted for Obama or Clinton or some other left-leaning enemy of the Bill of Rights.

And that I find to be very funny.

Don’t Bump The Trump

One of a series

Politics-TrumpGOPLetterAgainst

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 drawing in 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, very wrong. I completely failed to take into account Donald Trump’s demonstrated qualifications for the office:

Washington (CNN)—Fifty prominent Republican foreign policy and national security experts — many veterans of George W. Bush’s administration — have signed a letter denouncing Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy and pledging not to vote for him.

The letter, first reported by The New York Times Monday, warns: “We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.”
Its signatories include former CIA and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former Director of National Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Eric Edelman, who was Vice President Dick Cheney’s national security adviser and has worked closely with Michele Flournoy — a candidate for secretary of defense in a prospective Clinton administration — to forge a centrist group of defense experts on key military issues.
It also includes two Homeland Security secretaries under Bush, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and Robert Zoellick, a former World Bank president, U.S. trade representative and deputy secretary of state.

At first glance this may appear disheartening to Mr. Trump, I mean, being dissed by all these Republicans and such. But keep in mind, these Republicans are losers. Yes, losers! They got defeated eight years ago, and Donald Trump has a well-known disdain for losers.

So, that does it for the Republicans. While you’re at it, you can cross off the Democrats, as well. That leaves Trump with a straight shot at the November election. And the pyramids of Giza were used to store grain.

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.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

Gun-FacebookNRA-01

It’s a dangerous world out the. Criminals and enemies of this country find defenseless Americans to be easy prey. The NRA assures us the Second Amendment is our guarantee of our right to keep ourselves safe. Even while shopping at Walmart:

The victim was named as Veronica J Rutledge, 29, of Blackfoot, Idaho; she is understood to have been visiting relatives in the area.

Ms Rutledge was a nuclear scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory, which supports the US Department of Energy.

She was shopping with three nieces when her only son shot her with a small-calibre handgun. Her husband was not with her, but arrived shortly afterwards.

Lt Miller said the victim had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

It’s important for citizens to remain vigilant. Keep your handgun with you at all times, and never turn your back on a suspicious adversary.

Don’t Bump The Trump

One of a series

Politics-TrumpErection

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 drawing in 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, very wrong. I completely failed to take into account Donald Trump’s tremendous sense of civic responsibility:

Forty-nine seconds it took. Forty-nine seconds for Trump to tire of pretending to help unload Play-Doh from a truck. Just be glad Palin wasn’t there, she’d have tried to use the Play-Doh to fix somebody’s house. Or just eaten it.

All right. That didn’t go half as well as expected. What the people of Louisiana really need is help in setting political priorities. This is an area in which Donald Trump shines:

Donald Trump, who recently claimed he would fight for the rights of LGBTQ Americans, just donated $100,000 to a church that hates them.

As part of his tour through flood-stricken Louisiana last week, the candidate stopped at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church. Supporters waited outside in “Make America Great Again” gear, and clamored for photos when he approached.

“You’re going to be fine,” Trump told them.

Days later, the church confirmed in a Facebook status that Trump gave them a hefty donation. CNN reporters Ashley Killough and Dana Bash separately confirmed the Republican nominee donated $100,000, though they did not specify how the funds will be used.

I’m still waiting to see if Greenwell Springs Baptist Church plans to erect a statue.

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

Here’s another Tom Clancy movie. I don’t have a copy, but it came up on Amazon Prime Video recently. It’s Clear and Present Danger, released by Paramount Pictures and starring Harrison Ford as CIA operative Dr. John “Jack” Ryan. This came out in 1994, following The Hunt for Red October (1990) and Patriot Games (1992), also by Clancy and featuring Harrison Ford in the lead. Screen shots are from Amazon Prime Video, and details are from Wikipedia. I’m not going to detail the plot, but here is a bit of insight. First some background:

Clear and present danger was a doctrine adopted by the Supreme Court of the United States to determine under what circumstances limits can be placed on First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, or assembly.

Where this comes in is with the President of the United States using this principle to justify a war against some drug cartels in Colombia. What kicks it off is a routine traffic stop in the South Caribbean by the Unites States Coast Guard.

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Two crew members are apprehended, and the findings are grisly. A wealthy American citizen and his family have been murdered and dumped overboard. They were personal friends of the President, and he decides to take executive action, especially after he learns his old school chum had lifted $650 million from a cartel, and that money could be obtained.

CIA Deputy Director for Operations Bob Ritter (Henry Czerny) goes south to engage an operative named John Clark (Willem Dafoe) to coordinate with an American Special Forces team that will be sent in.

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One of those recruited is sniper specialist Captain Ramírez (Benjamin Bratt). He is to become indispensable to the plot.

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Shortly a force of special troops is inserted into the Colombian jungle, and they begin to wreak havoc with the operations of Ernesto Escobedo, head of the Cali Cartel. They destroy airplanes and blow up drug processing plants.

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Meanwhile, Col. Félix Cortez (Joaquim de Almeida), formerly of Cuban Intelligence, is doing intelligence for Cortez. He travels frequently to Washington, where he romances Moira Wolfson (Ann Magnuson), Assistant to the Director of the FBI. After he learns from her that her boss, Emil Jacobs (Tom Tammi), will be coming to Colombia, he murders her and arranges to have Jacobs ambushed in the streets of Bogata.

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There ensues a massive fire fight, leaving Jack the sole survivor.

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Following Jacobs’ funeral back in Washington, Jack learns from his wife, Dr Caroline “Cathy” Ryan (Anne Archer), of the murder of Wolfson. The pieces begin to fall into place, and an intelligence assault is initiated to identify Cortez. The Electronic Intelligence operation at Fort Huachuca in Arizona picks up a phone conversation involving Cortez, matching a voice message on Wolfson’s phone.

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When that flashed on the screen I thought to myself, “Oh, yeah!”

Fort Huachuca in 1996

Fort Huachuca in 1996

The game escalates. A strike by an F/A-18 is ordered on a meeting of cartel chiefs. This succeeds in wiping out a luxurious country estate packed with cartel leaders plus assorted women and children. Things are going to get nasty.

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Ritter cuts a treacherous deal with Cortez. It requires the black-ops team be abandoned and pinpointed. The group is ambushed and wiped out, with a handful taken prisoner. Captain Ramírez avoids capture and goes into stalking mode.

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With the recorded conversation of Cortez planning to usurp Escobedo, Jack plans to put the kibosh on Cortez, but it’s too late. Cortez has already enlisted the upper echelons of Escobedo’s organization, and Escobedo is murdered by one of his security guards. A fierce fire fight ensues.

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Jack, Clark, and Ramirez rescue the prisoners and depart in a helicopter, with Jack hanging on for dear life. Ramírez finishes off Cortez with a spray of bullets from the door of the helicopter.

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And that’s all the action. Writer Tom Clancy is known for his technical insight, but some this went by the board in production:

  • We see the F/A-18 unloading a (supposed 2000-lb) Paveway bomb while operatives on the ground paint the target with the laser designator. Only we see the bomb passing through a cloud layer that obscures the target. The bomb can’t track the laser spot through the clouds, even though we hear the pilot saying the target has been acquired just before he releases the bomb.
  • We see the F/A-18 being launched with a payload slung under its belly, and we see a sequence of the aircraft releasing that payload. But it’s not the same bomb the movie follows to the target.
  • The black-ops team puts the laser spot on the side of a yellow monster pickup truck parked out front, but the movie shows the palatial estate being blown up from the inside.
  • We see the cartel gunmen executing wounded soldiers, and we wonder why they decided to take a few prisoners. Who’s to figure? It’s not in the book.
  • Jack needs to crack Ritter’s computer password so he can obtain incriminating files. A techie assistant works the problem by entering various combinations of numbers from Ritter’s personnel file. Date of birth, date of birth reversed, wedding anniversary date… He hits pay dirt after working just a few minutes. Never going to happen. Nobody builds password protection like that these days, and likely did not when this movie was produced. Any sensible system will lock you out after three wrong passwords. Any sensible system will require a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols.

The book came out in 1989, and during the five years following before the movie related technology was undergoing a major league surge. You can see some of that when comparing the book and the movie.

What appears to have happened is the movie writers (Donald E. StewartSteven ZaillianJohn Milius) read the book, tossed it aside, and said something like, “Hey! I have a great idea for a movie.” As a result, similarities between the book and the movie are striking:

  • Both involve the United States government, the CIA, and CIA Deputy Director (Intelligence) Jack Ryan.
  • Both involve a friend of the President and his family being murdered on the high seas due to transgressions against his Colombian drug cartel associates.
  • Both feature Paveway strikes on cartel mansions, except the book goes the movie one strike better.
  • Both involve elite American soldiers infiltrating into Colombia to mess with drug cartel operations.
  • Both feature a deal struck between the President’s Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs that involves betrayal of the American troops.

What makes for the differences is that Clancy wrote a novel, albeit an inch deep, and the movie script would only occupy two chapters in the book.

  • In the book the Coast Guard interception on the high seas involves a crusty mustang skipper who devises a mock execution of one of the captured killers, resulting in some interesting intelligence.
  • This is a Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) movie from start to finish, but the book brings him completely on board only after half the action has already been drained.
  • The book involves many more locations and much more action, including the contract killing of an Alabama cop, and retribution upon the Caribbean pirates. Two local gang bangers are given a pass in exchange for slipping the shiv to the pirates in a jail house shower.
  • Cortez and Escobedo don’t die off in the blaze of gunfire that close off the movie. They are captured in a raid conducted while Ryan and Carter are rescuing American soldiers from the jungle. Escobedo is handed over to his cartel associates in exchange for a large sum of money. They want to talk to him concerning word that he has been engineering a coup against them. Cortez is taken to Guantanamo, where he talks freely on camera. He is then escorted to the gate, with a copy of the video stuffed in his back pocket, where Cuban officials are happy to see their intelligence chief who defected a few years back. Moira (not killed) is there to see him off.

Obviously there is much more. The book has a prologue that deals with the development of the aerial bomb. The book also goes to great length with the legal ramifications of extra-judicial proceedings. If all were included, the book would make a six-hour movie. I will attempt to get out a review in a few weeks.

When I saw Joaquim de Almeida pop up as Félix Cortez I flashed back to the third season of 24, the TV series featuring Kiefer Sutherland. In the movie he’s a Cuban transplanted to Colombia. In 24 he plays Mexican drug cartel leader Ramon Salazar. He’s actually Portuguese.