Tuesday, April 30, 2013
There might be a loose end, but okay conclusion (don't worry; Tiva is fine ... physically) to last week's NCIS cliffhanger. Revenge is of course killing (American media rarely finds more creative means) but a couple good reaction shots and nice to have Ziva do the honors. Meanwhile, more cruelty for Mets fans. Too soon for this level of futility.
American Grown doesn't meet my expectations as a gardening or garden history book, but I admire it as a piece of propaganda.Yes, it isn't really a "how to," but it is not supposed to be. Its lovely pictures (which drew me in), testimonials and overall message of the value of gardening, community and healthy children (and adults) are enough. Check it out.
I clashed with a professor online regarding a few issues, my beef being that I didn't think he actually responded to me and in fact set up strawmen. This was shown in part when all three of us pointed out just that on a matter. I got a bit emotional, but so did he ("we get it" etc.). Felt like I was talking to a wall. Hate that, in part because I support reasoned debate with people I disagree with. I make the effort. But, if they make bad arguments, they can be called on it. I realize this takes some finesse. Can't be an asshole about it.
It is lame simply to blame him for not closing GITMO, but he is part of the problem. The hunger strike was raised in today's press conference. Will anything get done? Update: See here. I realize Obama is playing with a bad deck but if he can play with the rules by supporting an invasion in Libya, I think there is room here, including perhaps forcing the point with a certain detainee and seeing what Congress does. This is one of those special situations like Lincoln at the start of the Civil War.
That 15th inning slog, including blowing the lead in the 9th and 15th, against the Marlins (for now, the worst team in the NL East) hopefully will be the most pathetic game of the year. Well, one can hope. Beating the Mets might not matter much if Stanton is out for long.
Monday, April 29, 2013
When concern about scheduling a national event on Yom Kippur is compared to ice cream flavors at a retirement party, it might be time to ignore the person. But, I'm addicted -- I have to respond. On same sex marriage and certain other things, the person is not a tool.
I fear Toby (the baby after Charlie) was something of a "jump the shark" moment on Good Luck Charlie though it still can be amusing. The 4th season premiere had the Muppets but as a whole was "eh." Feel the same way about Veep though last week's episode was decent. This week? More typically "blah." A word that fits the Mets of late.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
This is a good fiction book by Leila Aboulela whose personal biography adds to the veracity -- it concerns a well off child from the Sudan whose life changes as the political winds of her country does, eventually leading her to become a strict Muslim as well as a servant, where she eventually falls in love with a younger man. Honest and realistic in its flawed characters.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Like Being Erica, there is a time lag before this Canadian show comes here, but checked demand and four episodes were ready all at once. Saw 2.7 and 2.8 so far, the latter like 2.6 having more than one really powerful moment and storyline. Not that both weren't good. The show about WWII Canadian women in a bomb factory is a good "I have that channel?" find.
The Unitarian-Universalist "religion" welcomes atheists, which is just one example of the title not being a contradiction in terms. Ronald Dworkin gave a series of lectures on the topic and was working on a book form when he died. It will be released posthumously.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
I enjoyed the book about this account of the secret mission to rescue six diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis and the film was well made too though it changed some stuff for dramatic purposes. [ETA: Near the end, it leans on the "exciting finish" too thick and it's mostly fictional anyway.] Ben Affleck is getting to be a pretty talented guy.
A book with an introduction co-edited by Johnny Depp seemed promising. The introduction was interesting and Bound for Glory was a good film of his life, if a bit meandering (fittingly so). Couldn't get into the poetic prose, but could see why some might like it. Meanwhile, for Downton Abbey fans, Life Below Stairs provides some history
Rules of Engagement was okay -- best for giving Jen a bit to do, to cite a hobbyhorse of mine. Don't recall a train delay that long. Saw two episodes of The Americans. Don't like all these killings and risk takings. Big surprise the Russian mole came clean. Is she trying to find a means to get revenge on her dead colleague? Few other nice touches too. Didn't see NCIS. Not really into the personal drama and push for revenge there. Nice Mets win.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Didn't see the remake but my horror movie blog source did provide this and in comments explained (though she might have been tongue in cheek) why the review of the remake of the source of the blog's name was never written. I thought that remake lame. Sheesh, has it been two years? I saw Evil Dead 2 & 3, but don't recall the first one. Was it more serious?
They are getting some congressional attention, including from the people who live in the targeted area. Innocents die when military force is used, which is part of why "war it is hell" and should be a last resort. Legal or not, dubious if the drone campaign as a whole is a good policy, even if I would not absolutely be against them.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The company’s regulatory history going back to 1976 comes to light as investigators seek the cause of last week’s fertilizer explosion that killed at least 14 people.This story is an "also ran," but shouldn't be ignored. This underlines why there really is no "media blackout" as to the Gosnell trial. These sorts of regulatory things are regularly underreported. Putting aside, again, that story was reported.
I talk a bit in reply to a blog post about that question, including how an embryo might be "life" but not "a person" for legal purposes (but still something more than a simple "thing"), and how "person" might in some fashion apply to non-humans, which sci-fi suggests is somewhat obvious. "Person" is in effect a value marker.
Monday, April 22, 2013
This is a collection of essays, some by the people themselves. Nothing too novel for someone familiar with the history, but some good stuff re. the changing role and flavor of the justices (1880s to 2000s) involved. Generally rather positive, so we don't get all the flaws, except for Douglas, of course. Interestingly, the mostly forgotten Charles Whittaker is included.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Another regular pick in the library are "film movement" independent/foreign films usually with a short film or two added. Mixed bag, but this one about a tech friendly pregnant woman struggling with doubt and parent issues was charming overall. Hilary Swank was in the HBO film Mary and Martha, which was somewhat standard, only saw part, but she had some powerful scenes, including one where she states her son's death was her fault.
A long suffering Mets fan all the more so that I began rooting for them after their 1980s heyday, this season to me has modest expectations. Still, requires taking advantage of a reasonable early schedule and realizing the team's penchant for last season swoons. So, these early blown games really are annoying and distressing. Yesterday was a game you expected to lose (mismatch!) but they soared ahead. For all of .2 of an inning. Tied, lasted one batter.
The website at one point notes profits from the film "will help provide mental health services for survivors of religious abuse" [also promote artists] and there is a PSA on the DVD on this issue. The danger of cults and lack of practicing with true free will is as noted not done by just bashing religion. This is a lesson that can be applied broadly to all types of beliefs.
There is a lot out there in the movie department but it's good to physically hold a DVD case, so the library is nice, and provides a limited number of options so you are not overwhelmed. The title film was a nice surprise. I agree with this review overall that it loses its way a bit. But, its treatment of a fundamentalist having a crisis of faith without simply losing it is still pretty good with pleasant leads and a nice twist on the Good Samaritan fable.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Various questions raised by the Boston attacks, including the application of the "public safety exception" by the Obama Administration (good article cited by Emily Bazelon). Lawrence O'Donnell had some good reporting on his show. As to the "lockdown," I understand the concern, but given the situation, acceptable. It also was limited and voluntary. Also, it is impressive that the person was caught so fast though not before more death and heartache.
I obtained a free copy of "Freethought Today" from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (to be a bit misleading given I interpret "religion" broadly). It looks like porn -- it is folded over and the "cover" is blank accept for the stamped on address label, even the name vague ("ffrf" and a PO Box though with a "non-profit" stamp). For Bible Country?
Listening to the Indian adoption case (sad facts but interesting; the patent case might be too, but the orals got boring fast), Sotomayor was in aggressive mode again. She might want to tone that down a bit; Roberts at one point got annoyed and told her to let the guy answer. BTW, for those not aware, I'm from the Bronx, so get to kid about it.
Friday, April 19, 2013
I was attracted by reviews that said this was standard but with some interesting things (like Jessica Biel's performance) mixed in. Saw a bit of that (the ex learning from his son about the mom's marriage plans was handled in a good understated way), but ugh, the "assembly line" was pretty boring fast. So, blah, you get better stuff for free on Hallmark.
Ronald Dworkin ... argued that speech should be protected in part because citizens have a “moral responsibility…not only to form convictions of one’s own, but to express these to others, out of respect and concern for them, and out of a compelling desire that truth be known, justice served, and the good secured.”An article argues this was the personal philosophy of Anthony Lewis and it influences my addiction of sorts to online comments. There is some egotism involved, yes, but also a personal evangelical desire to share and argue. I think I have insights to contribute and a certain mindset to provide them better than certain others. It's fun, but more that that.
A few conservative Republicans are following principle (contra to some of the gun bills cited yesterday) and supporting a bill that would allow local options for marijuana. Sounds a bit tricky if the conduct really involves out of state actors (e.g., sales to travelers), but good for them. Mere possession of small qualities of marijuana are not really a "crime" in NY though "public view" can get you in trouble. No medicinal marijuana exception, yet.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Two amendments to the gun regulation bill passed -- mental health care and a national check on state discretion on releasing information about gun owners. Another two -- expanding rights of vets and overriding local law on concealed carrying in regard to travelers received 56/57. A gun trafficking proposal, contra the article, received the most at 58.
I understand the argument here that the Dems who voted against background checks can be forgiven, but it was a compromise bill by a quite conservative Dem. Sometimes, you have to follow the team. Also, reject that it was so very trivial. Did the Newtown families think that? At the very least, it had real symbolic effect as a sign that the gun power has to compromise just a tad. Assuming it would fail in the House also is a tad too defeatist.
h/t to article with video and audio. Upstate NY is farm country as Gillibrand shows. All for prison alternatives, including "drug courts." Not gung ho about dairy as a vegan in spirit, but if it's going to be there, do it in a way good for the community.
Ms. Thomas, 30, wore a cardigan to her job interview — preemptively and perhaps prudently — seven years ago, and remains grateful that the human resources manager never panned down to her right ankle, which bears a tattooed sword with a banner reading “Daddy” (when she meets with clients, on go Ms. Thomas’s black tights).Interesting article on tattoos as an employment issue.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
pissed off at Senate filibuster of seven gun control proposals today. As my own Sen. Gillibrand noted on Twitter, the Senate "let down" the public and is "truly broken." Julia Sweeney called it "Really unfuckingbelievable."
No per se "no warrant" rule for blood tests of alleged drunk drivers. 8-1 but split on line drawing. Seems okay. Alien Tort Statute case doesn't override presumption against extraterritoriality but 4-5 justices [see various posts here] leave something of an opening. Yesterday, had two more Kagan opinions, her style discussed here. Like it, especially the down to earth flavor, but at some point sarcasm does get to be a bit too Scaliaesque.
Talked about a book by the family seen in the article. Basically, don't criminalize polygamy, but the issue with SSM is equal legal recognition. Different thing and the Slate piece doesn't do a great job discussing the nuances. But, the headline catches the eye!
First, if Gee cannot pitch five innings, the team needs another starter. Second, all you needed was a split. It took a ridiculous amount of screwing up (the eighth inning was a classic here) to manage to blow that. And, after a long day, after 1 A.M. NY time, do we really need your typical Gary Cohen "[the other team] WINS IT!" call? You know, shut up.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
Not a big fan of Julia Sweeney's entertainment work (Baby Blues was cute), but enjoyed her monologues (saw one in person). So, looked forward to her new book, focusing on motherhood (she adopted a child on her own after a hysterectomy). Amusing and perspective so far, hard not to hear her bemused voice while reading. Mother's Day upcoming!
Sunday, April 14, 2013
It got a lot of nominations, but only the lead won though given how good it looked maybe it should have won a technical. Film itself was somewhat boring, starting with a hard to believe opening (pretty sassy black solider there) and a dragged out final twenty after the 13A was passed. Stevens showing it to his black "housekeeper" seemed like a good place to end. Various things to keep interest including some good performances. Mixed though.
Matt Harvey gave up his first hit after 6.2 (Santana gave up a "hit" around then) but continued his dominance / suggestion he will be this year's Dickey. Weather led to a cancellation today, weather no surprise, so should have had a DH. OTOH, both teams are not playoff bound, so a make-up game is sorta pointless. CO weather bad too.
"Pope Names Panel to Advise on Reforming Vatican." Along with some efforts to show his humility and tone down the pomp (reminds me of an episode of an old show -- the things that you remember), perhaps there are signs that the new pope will do some good for his flock.
Like the guy here, I like to read reviews, but do read the book from time to time. Some reviews do lead me to read or watch the thing. This one didn't work out. Get Fuzzy's plots about catching the mouse are amusing -- sometimes that comic loses its way. The new monopoly piece bit (who says comics aren't educational?) in Pearls Before Swine also funny.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
This might be a bit harsh, but I do find it more true than the "OMG" approach taken at Talking Points Memo. It is very important to consider the mind-set of those who we find wrong or even evil. Sometimes, this is not easy or overly pleasant. It is not the same thing as actually supporting them. In fact, opposition requires truly knowing your enemy.
Two people (EV and Kopel) at VC are particularly expert on 2A issues, but neither has found it useful to talk there about the ongoing proposals in a significant moment. But, EV feels it necessary to have three posts about a somewhat lame letter from the senator from Connecticut. Also, "gun control" is used loosely while we continue are preached about the proper use of "assault" and "automatic." Sorry, also one about a poll. Bias showing, guys.
Major happenings on 2.5 and 2.6 (missed 2.4), including hey isn't that Myles? (The finance whose death we discover in a nice underplayed scene was on Being Erica). Good drama though not some great work of art or anything. Betty had her moment too.
Friday, April 12, 2013
The Texas Supreme Court overturned a novel ruling that provided damages [comparing it to rulings on sentimental value of an heirloom] for the sentimental value of a dog. The court deemed such a major change of the law, especially given all the lines you had to draw, was better left to the legislature. Seems valid, but the legislature should act.
As noted here, "there is no Gosnell coverup," and he is if anything a symbol for those who want readily available health care, including abortion services, of what happens when it is not adequately provided. If there is a lack of coverage, I'm all for more. OTOH, for those who want to single this out out of personal beliefs, things are seen thru their own tinted glasses.
On the last chapters of this book on threats to academic freedom, particularly anti-communism, focused on events in New York City particularly. It covers important ground and the people's stories shine through. But, it is somewhat tediously put together and the legal stuff is not really always clearly expressed. Somewhat disappointing.
Last Word at times is a bit tiresome and/or heavy-handed, but has some good material. A particularly good extended feature (two nights so far) on the title person, the architect of Social Security includes insights on how it has been adapted (including lowing benefits in some sense) over the years, is recommended. Idealistic realism is great.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Michelle Goldberg speaks to the darker side of homeschooling here. The blog cited by Ms. King is especially sad, though it's great she seems to be doing well now. For instance, see how her twisted upbringing led to stop praying. Prayer is not magic and all, but even if you believe in God, this response should not be too surprising. I don't think the state can ban such schooling, but this underlines the value of exposure to diversity, especially as a child.
I comment here after someone suggests those who support it don't think religions should be treated differently. Totally bogus. I think Oregon v. Smith was wrong decided. And, it is the opponents that repeatedly ignore the religious liberty of employees and students. The balancing of interests is correctly decided here, at most a problem of the small print.
He is testing the waters to see if a NYC mayoral run is in the cards, now that Bloomberg is retiring. Like last time, don't think he has much of a shot. Better off trying to find some local race, ala Mark Sandford, if he wants to return to politics. Choose wisely, I think the voters might accept him. We have second chances here, including for putzes like him.
I think Jeremy Hefner is a credible fifth starter, but apparently he can't handle the Phils well, though this time he did get an out. Took awhile though. With Marcum out and Gee blowing it, the not that great anyway bullpen is being overworked. Expect a game to be blown by them (well, one was, though an error helped). Okay, some. Long season.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I think this bleg interesting, but it basically became a chance for people to attack any hint of non-absolutism. Like how someone found it hard to oppose purchase of stolen guns. Multipe people didn't think the front of a courthouse was a sensitive place, favoring a narrow definition of "in." Calling Bill Clinton! Meanwhile, at TPM, somewhat different mindset ...
Reading this now, a fan of two of her previous works. I also believe I read a book by all who wrote a blurb. About 1/3 in and it's pretty good reading (much of it in fact focuses on local events, not the USSC) though not sure if it covers much new ground. Good left friendly history with some balance: injustice does not take everyone targeted off innocent babes.
Monday, April 08, 2013
Read in the NYT today the latest in Catholic colleges' latest campaign to look like backward Puritans. The "pro-life" student against use of something that will prevent conception got me, though again, they are for the promotion of more life. Private college, they have likely a right to stop students giving out condoms on campus, but it's still stupid.
One thing cited along the way yesterday was that the new Cubs ace had a heckuva lot of strikeouts. I missed the part where he lost the game in the sixth. Don't worry. Some pretty good pitchers had bad days yesterday. BTW, yeah, the Mets pitcher yesterday was mediocre. Guy's the second replacement aka #7 starter. Low bar there.
Had a major cleaning chore yesterday, providing a chance to listen to the Mets game. Though I'm not a big fan of the sidekick to Howie Rose, the Mets do have a top radio/t.v. crew. More consistently than the on the field talent. Spot starter was knocked around but the Marlins only scored three, their closer blowing it while the questionable Mets pen kept them scoreless for 4.2. I know, the Marlins, but did make up for Friday's late game messiness.
Found this free at the library (NYPL don't accept donations, but some libraries give away books. The chapter on the Creeks discussed something I didn't know much about, the others providing a few interesting insights on standard subjects. An example: the Constitution set up a continuing conversation, no one side winning out. Pleasant read.
Sunday, April 07, 2013
Take that title literally. The movie provides some touches (unless your typical suburban party has heroin) but things are fairly sedate other than the occasional riot. Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley are nice company and the film (and commentary) on the whole is nice in a melancholy way. Rambles along too much with various good supporting roles along the way.
Saturday, April 06, 2013
All that makes last night’s missteps all the more frustrating. Why did Stan Beeman, an upstanding FBI agent whose life was completely upended by an undercover assignment with an Aryan gang, break bad so quickly?I agree -- was pissed when Stan killed the guy in the last episode. Found the kill level a bit too much already (reality: more boring) and the beating up a superior bit ridiculous but after three agents died in a tragic f-up, another two "agents" basically did as well? Ugh.
Friday, April 05, 2013
The latest on this case. It was understandable, but still a mild wrong, that the Obama Administration decided to "maintain limits on access to Plan B contraception by girls under the age of 17." It very well might not be the last word. The courts are in part there to guard against illicit political decisions though administrative rule-making is usually upheld
Thursday, April 04, 2013
Just heard his cancer returned and that he might not have much more time to live ... now, it has been reported that he has died. I grew up watching him and Siskel (whose death ended an era) and deeply appreciate those like them who provide a summary to help contemplate a movie, an issue or anything else. Where would blogging be without such launch points?
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
The Canadian teenage drama Degrassi a few years ago back did something basically never done -- a character had an abortion. Bomb Girls, though it hints a character had one in the past, took the norm and a character (pregnant by an affair) decided not to have one. And, then she miscarried. Still, showing the abortionist as an acceptable character, notable.
“This Article proposes that same-sex marriage bans channel individuals, particularly bisexuals, into heterosexual relations and relationships, impermissibly burdening the sexual liberty interest protected under Lawrence v. Texas.”Interesting summary though the article goes on a bit too long.
Okay, so I turned off both Zero Dark Thirty and Life of Pi, watching about an hour combined, bored in both cases. Still I could determine how the torture scenes were used in one (mixed message) and where he got his name in the other. So, it wasn't a total loss.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
He started Game 2, but he really seems like the "ace" of the Astros, going 11-11 on that AAA team last year and giving up one run in six against the Rangers today, leaving down 1-0 (Astros avoided a perfect game by one out). Astros is prime "no hit" fodder to be sure. How about Kershaw's complete game victory yesterday, his HR starting the scoring in the 8th?
Telling me I "tend" to be "obnoxious and abrasive" and even I should understand something though later (while noting an edit on another point, not saying he did so) toning it down to "can be obnoxious," and refusing to let me defend myself since the person doesn't want to "debate civility." And, then warning me to be civil. Physician, heal thyself.
I don't really care that the Yanks and Mets started the same day. They have different fan bases generally speaking and the best a local sports show had to offer were problems of the media (big enough to deal) to report both at once. Still, neither team plays today. Why couldn't one start the season today? Or, later in the day yesterday? A bit weird.
A recent review of Justice O'Connor's newest book on the Supreme Court criticizes it as underwritten pablum. A past collection make me receptive to this conclusion. O'Connor is one of many judicial centrists who have voiced a middle path with a certain lack of depth. We can challenge them on the point while recognizing non-centrists have their own faults. Point is that there are "givens" that only a few completely analyze. Cheers for those who can.
Monday, April 01, 2013
Emmy Rossum performed the national anthem at the Mets season opener. Who knew she was a singer? She did great as did the NYMs (11-2). The Astros did too, going against Rangers (your '12 choke winners), but that might have been a premature April Fools' joke.
Some orders and a per curiam were handed down. Generally less divisive orals this month, but a few look interesting, including to decide (w/o Kagan) if a law "which requires an organization to have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking in order to receive federal funding to provide HIV and AIDS programs overseas, violates the [1A]."
... and old guy and a young thing get locked in a bathroom with but a towel between them and continue okay conversation without any big reveal (other than some mostly female nudity). The 2012 Spanish film held your interest for an hour or so, the actors in what amounts to a stage play doing well enough. Then, it gets a bit boring.