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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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On race, there are no neutral observers

On Meet the Press, this morning, the Washington bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, Gerald Seib, said:

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Brian Williams Demoted, Will Return to MSNBC

Brian Williams is returning to NBC -- but not as the anchor of the evening news. Instead, he will anchor breaking news and special reports on MSNBC. He appeared as a guest on the Today Show this morning with Matt Lauer. He said he's grateful for the second chance and he knows and expects he will be held to a higher standard.

Other changes are coming for MSNBC, as the network, whose ratings have been poor, starts to focus more on breaking news and less on punditry and talk shows.

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Netflix Increases Latin Programming, Including Novelas

I just re-signed up with Netflix. It has announced new deals with Telemundo, Unimas and Univision and will expand it's latin programming.

I just finished watching 48 episodes of El Cartel 2: La Guerra Total (sequel to Cartel de Los Sapos.) I bought the DVD's, since it wasn't available with workable subtitles anywhere else.

Unimas has been airing Cartel de Los Sapos for a few months, and the finale is tomorrow night. Telemundo is in the midst of Senor de Los Cielos 3. Both have English captions, even on Xfinity. [More...]

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NYT Defense of Clinton Coverage: Drudge Loves It

No seriously, that's what they said:

The editor running the coverage, Carolyn Ryan, is more than satisfied with the results so far. “We’ve had extraordinary and world-beating coverage,” Ms. Ryan, the Washington bureau chief, told me by phone this week, mentioning her “dream team of reporters.”

In the news media world, she said, “it’s been broadly recognized that we are dominating.” She mentioned that commenters from Matt Drudge to Dylan Byers of Politico to Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed have praised the coverage or aspects of it. [My emphasis.]

Somewhere, Howell Raines and Jeff Gerth are smiling.

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Sunday TV Watching

It's been raining and cold in Denver for days. Perfect activity for being indoors on a holiday weekend: Watching the final 24 episodes of Season 1 of El Cartel, aka Cartel De Los Sapos (Cartel of the Snitches.) Unimas has been re-airing episodes every weeknight since April, but is only up to episode 23. Since I hate to wait, I ordered the second half of season 1 for $5.00 on Ebay (free postage, brand new and shrink-wrapped). The six disk set with 24 episodes and English subtitles arrived yesterday. I've already watched 12 episodes. There are no commercials, no ads at the bottom of the screen and no annoying previews.

I knew El Cartel was the story of the end of the Cali cartel and the rise and take-down of the Norte Valle Cartel in Colombia, but I hadn't realized until watching the show how the NV takedown was done. Here is the true and fascinating story taken from U.S. court records of how agents from DEA Group 43 conducted a rogue operation, and along with their famous informant, photographer Baruch Vega, convinced dozens of cartel bigwigs that if they paid millions of dollars each, promised to stop trafficking and divulge their trafficking routes, they could come to the U.S., get bail, return home, keep all their money, and serve no jail time. Dozens fell for it. [More...]

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