The second Fifty Shades film was not that interesting -- they get back together fairly quick so there isn't much drama to be had. Saw a reference of Purim and checked out Esther and the King after seeing a positive online review. What I saw was fairly silly. No Samson! High Noon was on the t.v. and I rented it to see the whole thing. Excellent cast and good crisp classic. Like an early bit: can't arrest three waiting goons -- didn't do anything yet!
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
There was already a Loving movie out when What Comes Naturally about the history of interracial marriage came out right before the author died. Forty Autumns, about a family on both sides of the Iron Curtain, has movie potential. Very readable but perhaps a bit too brisk at times. Then, we did have three generations and forty years to handle. Battle of the Sexes was well acted but got bored half-way thru, especially since even the first match didn't occur yet by then. Not my "favorite band," but Mountain Goats are pretty good. Not a big Beatles fan, but Yellow Submarine was an impressive movie. Reminds me of Monty Python.
Some action of note order-wise, including letting the DACA case continue meaning the stay in place continues. Notable oral arguments this week. And, decisions today, including a 5-3 case [if some Democrat appointee took part, would it have been 4-4?] involving bail hearings for immigrants [Breyer dissenting from bench], a unanimous bankruptcy case and a splintered result in a jurisdiction case that involved Roberts being pretty upset in dissent. ETA: A comment at the bail hearing link suggests the bottom line constitutional question is still open but here warns that it very well still might have broad reach in another fashion. Some of the negative coverage was probably too blunt but that's typical.
Years back, Saturday at 7 on C-SPAN (at least one of the channels, once there might have been but one) was "American and the Courts" time. For whatever reason, they stopped regularly providing Supreme Court programming like that but now have a new Landmark Cases series that discusses twelve, one each Monday night, with two talking heads [at times taking different sides], extras about the people/events involved (more clips on the site, where you can also see each episode) and call-in [at times an uncomfortable practice]/ability to Twitter/Facebook to discuss & ask questions. As someone familiar with the cases, found it a mixed bag, at times too cursory. But, welcome it and more court programming.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
I understand especially to the degree it led her to go overboard [Trump is some instigation but the average lefty did not simply give her a pass; compare some of Scalia's statements, at times on the bench] for people to be wary of hero worship of RBG or anyone, but as I note here that is the point -- be evenhanded. RBG has her moment and she deserves it -- she has had a distinguished career, she is eloquent and charming. Without saying "that's what the Right likes in a justice," some elderly conservative could have been treated similarly. And Also: Compare the second comment (down to somehow making Thomas not an "icon") or the op-ed referenced making RBG into some "ethically challenged" justice her supporters give a pass too while not even admitting Scalia/Thomas/Alito/etc. counsels not to toss stones.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
There is a Trump supporter on certain blogs I read that I feel compelled to answer though clearly it isn't going to suddenly make him change his mind. After all this has been going on since Bush was in office. But, he comes off as informed enough that some degree of logic should get through. OTOH, constant repeating of bad cant and an inability to get around it even when directly confronted shows otherwise. And, eventually I get annoyed and it's hard not to basically give some sort of dig, which basically just helps his "the Left" mentality. It is all somewhat addictive since I like to post on blogs even when few others do so.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
After a break, they first handed down orders, including a solo dissent from denial by Thomas, the "no one cares about the 2A" Cassandra of the Court. Kinda has a point. Then, four decisions, including two criminal, Gorsuch writing a really tedious textual majority with a potshot at legislative history in one (four dissenters managed to read the text another way). Roberts and Gorsuch joined the liberals in one involving guilty pleas, here involving a 2A claim. Sotomayor and Ginsburg had two unanimous rulings with restrictive results, the latter resulting in Sotomayor/Breyer and Thomas/Alito/Gorsuch have competing concurrences to talk about legislative history. Calling Victoria Nourse, who in part supported that. ETA: Two rejections of last minute capital appeals, one with RBG/Sotomayor dissenting as to means with Breyer noting the guy was on death row for decades and he would if given his druthers take the case to decide the constitutionality of capital punishment. That one never managed to be completed; the other guy was executed after challenges supported by top experts failed. The governor commuted a third to LWOP.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Not into superhero films (and plot summary didn't do it for me), wary about the musical about Barnum being too watered down and didn't think the animation movie was for me. So, what to watch this time at the discount rate? Yeah -- another movie with mostly bad reviews! And, again, not a work of art, but fine for a low budget faith based film. I continue to think a series of biblical based films by various directors would be an interesting idea. A lot of material that can use some new perspectives. Some of that already out there.
Monday, February 19, 2018
Another shooting. I agree sensible (whatever that is) gun policy is not blocked by Heller or the Second Amendment and have various comments below the article. One suggested gun "regulation" works better than control -- the amendment itself says "well-regulated"! Contra an annoying reply, I'm not suggesting "magical" results here but seems a reasonable way to help normalize gun regulations, to help influence many people somewhat. ymmv. ETA: I have no easy answers except that no solution will "stop" school shootings but some policies will net improve the overall situation. A comprehensive background check system -- there remains loopholes, issues with data etc. -- does appear basic. Simply banning "assault weapons" will have limited impact but very well can be an aspect of overall policy, including as a symbol that there are reasonable limits. That website has a lot of data.
Happy Art. II Day. Item: The spelling of these collective holidays confuses me a bit. A liberal writer on five underrated presidents. The day can be seen as about more than two guys with February birthdays though still like that reenactment. And, President Rat over ...
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
I read one of the few fresh tomato reviews of this film and thought "sorta want to see this." After watching the resident prude over at the NYT talk about banning porn (and a few idiots sympathetic with it), wanted to more. And, instead of waiting to see another film, actually did. It was overall relatively um painless with some shades of fun. She got the best lines and action scenes too. Surely ridiculous and making you wish a better take on the basic idea was done and overdid the music. But, it's escapism. Duh. Anyway, relax bad reviewers. Have fun. ETA: Watched the first one. I liked it, the ridiculous aspects adding to the fun. She really had a "Rory Gilmore" vibe. And, sure, you can criticize it in various ways. For what it was, it was fun and Christian here had more meat as a character. Her mother an intriguing character.
Sunday, February 11, 2018
The companion film on the old B-movie DVD didn't much work for me (lead was good) but this was overall pretty good as a genre film. Ida Lupino's role (including her real life husband playing "Dr. Crane") provides for an interesting backstory. Nothing special but an enjoyable time capsule. The implicit reference to a quickie was a nice touch.
Friday, February 09, 2018
Prime reason I saw this film when and where I did was the discount price since $13.50 to $15 for a film without carfare is too much for me. Felt it was very good in various respects, especially the lead, but did not find is as really really good as its reputation. The mom was a bit over the top for me and the episodic quality at times had me bored. In the field of character studies, this is not somehow unique though the teen lead, mom and female director and Catholic school location together is a plus. NYC conclusion seemed tacked on. DVD ETA: I enjoyed, though it started off really laying it on thick that "she's a bitch," Happy Death Day. It's a sort of horror movie Groundhog's Day, which was lampshaded late.
66th Annual National Prayer Breakfast in D.C. included by various reports (see, e.g., NYT) fairly bland comments from Trump. Looking on Twitter, saw some seeing some strong sectarian rhetoric, but then that's typical here. So, maybe we are grading on a curve. Some references are annoying, such as the prayer in support of a sick girl (how about supporting health care?). Obama gave more inclusive remarks; back in the day was somewhat concerned with his framing. Overall, don't like talk of "believers" (=in a certain version of God). Overall, these things amount to mild establishments of religion, that is, certain forms.
The Rob Porter news (CNN had a piece concluding he was seen as too important in managing information in the White House to fire) is disgusting, both regarding defense of a batterer and the lax concerns for security (had to continuously rely on temporary security clearances and was a prime blackmail candidate; recall Clinton's email "sins"). By now, though, it's "yeah, but it doesn't matter." It does, of course, but not enough. BTW, the CNN article's comment regarding Ivanka and Donald's reaction should be put in sarcasm font.
Sunday, February 04, 2018
Not this time. Eagles went ahead, couldn't get two to be up by five with about two minutes left, get another three after a Pats turnover & of course the Pats had one more drive left in them. But, a little over a minute with no time outs was just (Phil fans said the Hail Mary when he threw his) not enough. Stressed just checking and looking at updates online.
Saturday, February 03, 2018
The latest book on the side panel [as it was once before] is a 2004 book discussing the Pentagon Papers with various interviews with participants included. We get a discussion of their creation [the content is touched upon, but a fuller summary might have been useful], Nixon's reaction, legal discussion (including since then) and rebuttal of claims of threat to national security. [Free speech includes speech that might be dangerous though.] A good short companion read to The Post movie with various "hey, that was in the movie" moments. ETA: Might check out a longer examination by someone interviewed here but this Verdict essay summarizes the legal issues. Movie does provide a sort of behind the scenes look.
Thursday, February 01, 2018
Years back, before even this book was written, I wrote a paper of James, the brother of Jesus, of which I remember nothing. This is an interesting subject on someone we have fragments of information on (somewhat more so late though of mixed value) but clearly was an important figure in his time. The fact we only read of him in passing biblically is telling. OTOH, what do we really know about Peter even? Anyway, this academic style book was a trudge, dwelling long on academic points. But, the discussion of references in the gospels that imply he might have followed Jesus during his lifetime alone suggests there are kernels of interesting analysis. But, it could have been put together in a much more readable way.