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Spanish Programming and Subtitle Purgatory

The new TV season is beginning. Last night, I got bored during Downton Abbey and was not impressed with The Good Wife. They both seemed sluggish and a bit dull. Tonight, The Bachelor begins a new season, which of course I'll watch, but it will be the same old formula (although the Bachelor this year is from Venezuela and a native Spanish speaker.)

I think know why these shows, which I used to really like, now seem plodding and predictable to me: For the past few months, I've been watching Teleseries produced in Colombia, including La Reina Del Sur and Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal, and they just rock. They are like the Sopranos on speed. Only Breaking Bad and the first season of Homeland come close in terms of capturing your attention and holding it.

But here's the problem and why I'm writing about this. Other than these two shows, which were available with English subtitles when I watched them on MUN2-TV, since I can't understand Spanish when spoken rapidly, I have no way to watch other shows like El Capo, El Cartel de Sapos (Snitch Cartel), Alias al Mexicano and Los Tres Caines. None of the networks airing these other shows provide English subtitles or even English closed captioning.

These shows aren't all fictional. From the cartels to FARC and the right-wing paramilitary death squads, to the militarization of law enforcement, corrupt cops and the global reach of the DEA, many are educational as well as entertaining. [More...]

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Most Interesting Crime Stories of 2013

Time to recount the year's top crime stories: In no particular order, here's my list:

1. Colorado and legal recreational marijuana
2. Edward Snowden and NSA Phone Records
3. Guantanamo Hunger Strikes
4. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the Boston Marathon Bombing
5. The George Zimmerman trial
6. DOJ and Kim Dotcom
7. DOJ and Aaron Swartz
8. Mexico's Release of Rafael Caro-Quintero
9. Adam Lanza (and efforts to enact new gun control laws)
10. Oscar Pistorius

Feel free to add your own own, but please keep them related to crime and civil liberties.

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RIP Lou Reed

Sad news. Lou Reed has died of liver disease at age 71.

I remember him more from the days of the Velvet Underground than his later solo work. In addition to Heroin("I don't know just where I'm going, But I'm goin' to try for the kingdom if I can") I still listen to "Sweet Jane" and "I'm Just Waiting for the Man."

R.I.P. Lou Reed.

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Breaking Bad: "Guess I Got What I Deserved"

Stop reading now if you haven't seen the finale.

What a great finale. No loose ends. [More...]

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Sunday Night Open Thread

Who is the rabid dog, Jesse or Hank?

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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The Reporter Behind the Shellie Zimmerman Interview

Christi O'Connor, the reporter who conducted the ABC Shellie Zimmerman interview, does not work for ABC. She is a freelance investigative journalist.

She says she is writing a book about the trial. I don't recall her reporting on the case prior to now, and with the exception of a reference to her in a video clip on CNN the night on July 13, Lexis.com has no record of articles or media transcripts with her about the case.

She says her book will reveal new information that could have resulted in a different verdict. Here's what she is peddling: A story about a white Sanford police officer's alleged misconduct in tasering an African American male which she is self-publishing on her weblog. On her blog, she writes: [More...]

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Saturday Open Thread

Thinking good thoughts for Linda Ronstadt, who in an interview with AARP this week, says she can no longer sing due to Parkinson's Disease.

Picking just one of her songs is so difficult. Other favorites: Love is a Rose, Desperado, Poor Poor Pitiful Me, Tumbling Dice, Silver Threads and Golden Needles, Love Has no Pride, When Will I Be Loved, and on and on.

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Anti- Anti-

Atrios writes:

[I]t's not that I think everyone to "the left" of me is a posing emo-prog and everyone to "the right" of me is a posing o-bot. There are people genuinely to the left and to the right of me on policy, people who have different ideas about what our goals should be and how best to achieve those goals. And, you know, these people rarely piss me off. People disagree about stuff. People have different priorities. But there are also people who seem to enjoy judging your worth by how righteously you dislike or like the Obama administration. It's annoying.

When you write about politics, team jerseys are alwys a factor for everybody I think. The question is is it the only factor? Or the biggest factor?

I try to make it as small a factor as I can, but there is always the "big political picture" (GOP really sucks) right? And sometimes I get too caught up in it.

Speaking for me only

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Monday Night TV: Bachelorette Finale

It's been billed as the most dramatic, unexpected ending of the Bachelorette ever. Will Desiree take Brooks back or end up alone? Or pick one of the remaining two?

[Deleted: My inaccurate predictions.]

There will be a ring and a dress -- Neil Lane and Randi Rahm have already been paid and need the promotion. [More...]

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R.I.P. Helen Thomas

Journalist Helen Thomas has died at age 92 after a long illness. She was the longest-serving White House journalist and the first female president of the White House Correspondents' Association and Washington's Gridiron Club.

She was a trailblazer, and fearless in her reporting, but as NPR says:

Had she stepped away after the first six decades of her career, she would have been hailed simply as one of the most famous White House reporters in modern times.

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We Hold These Truths

Guilt sells in America, innocence does not. More often than not, the public tunes in for guilt, and changes the channel for innocence. Either innocence is boring to them, or they take a perverse joy in believing some defendant they know nothing about has more flaws than they do, which means their lives aren’t so flawed after all. Or, perhaps it’s that their lives are so filled with perceived slights by others, at work or at home, they just want someone to beat up on – their own personal punching bag – to lessen their frustration and make them forget their own problems. What better scapegoat than a stranger everyone agrees to hate in unity?

The media, all too willing to sacrifice truth for higher ratings and increased ad revenue, indulges the guilt- hungry viewing public. It’s a vicious cycle that never seems to end. Add to the mix a few private parties with a well-oiled public relations team, and chaos ensues. [More...]

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R.I.P. James Gandolfini

James Gandolfini, forever loved as Tony Soprano, died today at age 51 while on vacation in Rome. The cause of death has not been released, but the LA Times reports he may have suffered a heart attack or a stroke. [Added: The Daily News reports he suffered a massive heart attack.)

What a shock, and how sad. Our condolences to his family and friends.

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American Idol Finale

Despite it being a boring season, I thought Candace Glover knocked it out of the park tonight with "I (Who Have Nothing)."

On a related note, Shakira and Usher are probably leaving the Voice. Christina Aguillera is returning, and probably Cee Lo Green too. I like the show better with Shakira and Usher.

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Jon Stewart on Nancy Grace and the Arias Trial

Funny and apt.Starts about 1 minute in.

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Obama at the White House Correspondents Dinner

President Obama is about to take the stage at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Michelle looks great as usual.

Big Media blew a lot of stories this year, especially in the early reporting days of major events -- like Adam Lanza and the Boston bomb suspect. They are like a big echo chamber, with too many of them citing each other instead of doing original reporting.

Nevertheless, tonight's their night, and I'll probably watch some of it. Is anyone else here watching?

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