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Thoughts On Homeland Finale

Caution: Spoilers ahead, don't read if you haven't watched the Homeland finale.

Season 5 of Homeland wrapped up last night. I think this Variety recap is the best.

For me, it was an okay season, but not one of the best. There were too many subplots going on in each episode, I never felt like I had a grasp of what was happening. [More...]

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35 Years Ago Tonight: Remembering John Lennon

35 years ago tonight, in the middle of Monday Night Football, Howard Cosell announced there had been an "unspeakable tragedy in New York City." John Lennon had been shot twice in the back outside his apartment building in New York City. He was declared dead upon arrival at the hospital. (Video here.)

There are millions of people in this world whose lives were enriched by John Lennon, his persona and his music. He told his truth and it was the truth of an entire generation. His death was a tragedy, but his life was an inspiration. His legacy is timeless. [More...]

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Time's ShortList for Person of the Year

Al Baghdadi and Donald Trump are on Time Magazine's shortlist for Person of the Year.

They are two peas in a pod in some ways -- one insists everyone practice his preferred brand of Islam, while the other finds any kind of Muslim entering the U.S. to be unacceptable.

As for Person of the Year, since all Trump has done is talk about himself on the campaign trail, I'd give it to al Baghdadi, who has actually done something even if it's a negative: He's instilled fear in the heart of every Western Government and many civilians in his neck of the woods, which includes great swathes of Iraq, Syria, and soon to include Libya. He took on al Qaida and beat them to the Caliph punch, leaving them way behind in second place. Al Baghdadi has also created a governing state in many provinces --Trump has no such governing experience.

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NY Times Runs Gun Control Editorial on Front Page

For the first time since the 1920's, the New York Times is featuring an editorial on the front page of the paper. It calls for gun control.

It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.


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Over the Vain-Bow

I would have loved to read Carly Simon's memoirs 30 years ago. Now, I could care less.

The parade of famous men she recounts sleeping with are all now in their 70's. No one is going to read about her exploits now and say "I wish it were me."

I doubt anyone who remembers wondering who "You're So Vain" was about 45 years ago could care less about the answer now. Maybe she needs the money, but I think the only people who will read this book are those vain enough to wonder if they're mentioned in it.

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Project Runway Finale

Project Runway's finale was so bad on so many levels. The show's judges were so proud it was trending on Twitter -- clearly, they didn't get that the likely reason was that fans were outraged.

First complaint: Half of the show was taken up by a new show that is starting next week, Project Runway Juniors. I was constantly hitting the mute button so as not to have to listen to it. (Especially since one of the judges will be Kelly Osborne, who never ceases to evoke a "nails on a chalkboard" reaction.)

Second, the amount of commercial time was absurd. And as if that wasn't bad enough, they had some guy from Lexus (one of their sponsors) come on during the show, not to award the contestants cars like other shows do, but just to show off the cars-- the guy actually tells the contestants they will each get one to ride in one time -- on the way to the finale. How lame.

Third, the winner, who designed a plus size collection, had the worst collection, was in the bottom several weeks, and often called out by the judges for her mistakes in the fitting of her garments and for her overly matronly designs. She said her inspiration for her final collection was Mexico City in the 1950's. (not exactly fashion-forward.) I doubt anyone, plus size or not, would wear her designs (crop tops with see though bottoms and big girl underpants in various Easter egg colors, almost all with flower-topped headresses.)

But don't take my word for it. Here's a sampling from Twitter: [More...]

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GHW Bush Book: Snipes at Cheney and Rumsfeld

I have no intention of reading a book about George Herbert Walker Bush, but some of the quotes in media reviews are interesting:

On Dick Cheney, who served under Bush for 4 years:

“He just became very hard-line and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with,” Bush reportedly told Meacham, speculating that 9/11 had affected Cheney’s views. “Just iron-a*s. His seeming knuckling under to the real hard-charging guys who want to fight about everything, use force to get our way in the Middle East.”

Bush said Cheney, pushed to be more conservative by his wife and daughter, “had his own empire and marched to his own drummer.” Whose fault was this?


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The Sexism Is Back: NYT's Bruni Calls Hillary "Calculating" and "Controlling"

In a typical Frank Bruni piece on political theater, as opposed to, you know actual issues, Bruni let's his sexist flag fly.

It starts with belittling her interacto with Lena Dunham as a "pajama party." Would he have used tha phrase if it involved 2 men. Never.

But it gets worse:

How can her response to charges that she’s too packaged and calculating be this packaged and calculated?

You can read the thought in his mind - why won't the calculating bitch stop being a calculating bitch? And get this one:

She’s impressively controlled. She’s distressingly controlling.

Yes, the controlling bitch is what he is saying.


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Senor de los Cielos: Gran Finale Tonight

Season 3 of Senor de los Cielos on Telemundo ends Monday night with the Gran Finale. Since April or May, there have been 104 episodes and I've watched them all. (Season 1 and 2 are still available on Netflix, and on DVD through Amazon and Ebay.)

I would be sad the show is ending, except filming for Season 4 is already underway, and it seems like most of the main characters will be returning. (Spoiler photos here.) [More...]

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The Emmys Tonight

The 2015 Emmys are tonight. Andy Samberg is hosting.

So far, I'm not liking what I see on the red carpet. Here's Heidi Klum. This is one of the worst, worn by Kiernan Shipka of Mad Men. Too much tummy on Padma Lakshmi of Top Chef and I doubt chartreuse looks good on anyone. [More...]

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China Cancels Bon Jovi Shows

Bon Jovi was scheduled to play its first concerts in China next week -- in Shanghai and Bejing. Yesterday, the band announced the concerts were cancelled for "unforeseen reasons." The Financial Times reports it was because the backdrop to one of the band's songs at a 2010 concert included the image of the Dalai Lama.

Seriously? That has to be the song "We Weren't Born to Follow", which as I've written several times (see here for one), is one of my favorite all time videos. I've probably watched it 100 times and I've seen the band perform it twice, in 2010 and 2013. It is both inspirational and empowering.

While Dalai Lama is not shown in the official video, the band did include his image when performing the song live during its 2010 Circle Tour. Here is an image from the performance in Tokyo. [More...]

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Not Your Average Narcos Review

Did anyone watch "Narcos?" I was not impressed. They should have named it "Narcs" -- it's the story of two U.S. drug agents helping Colombia nab Escobar. It's not the story of Esobar, it's the agents' story, and it's got some factual issues. If you want the real flavor of who these agents are, read some Congressional Hearing testimony from around 1993 or their description of their time in Colombia over at the DEA Museum where they gave a tour. [More...]

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About that NYT OIG-Clinton email story

Update [2015-7-24 12:30:17 by Big Tent Democrat]:


David Nir writes about the NYT's dramatic walkback of its claim that two government Inspector Generals had made a referral to the Justice Department seeking a criminal inquiry of Hillary Clinton regarding her e-mails.

But the story gets worse for the New York Times. These memos (PDF) from OIG regarding the very same investigation demonstrate that in fact the issue is about how the State Department handled Clinton's e-mails AFTER she turned them over to State:

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Egypt Bans Reporters' Use Of ISIS Terminology

Egypt's Foreign Ministry has issued a new style guide for media coverage of terrorism. It bans the use of the words "ISIS, ISIL or Islamic State." It instructs reporters not to use any religious based terms when referring to terrorist groups, including "jihadists", "Islamists" or "fundamentalists." Reporters cannot refer to leaders of these groups with the label "Sheikh" or "Emir."

How are reporters supposed to refer to the groups? The guide says the acceptable terms include "terrorists, extremists, criminals, murderers, savages, slaughterers, assassins, radicals, fanatics, rebels" and a few others.

You can read the new rules here.

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Nurse Jackie Finale: It Was Time to Go

Showtime's Nurse Jackie ended its 7 year run last night. (Spoiler Alert: Don't read further unless you've seen it or don't intend to watch.) [More...]

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