Sunday Night Open Thread

Looks like an supporter of an Islamic militant group has taken between 13 and 50 people hostage at a chocolate shop in Sydney. He's making the hostages stand at the window with a black Islamic flag (that does not appear to match ISIS's flag. The news says it's an Islamic Shahada flag.) Here's a picture of the guy. Police say he may have an IED.

Update on Khalid el-Masri, the German shoe salesman who was mistaken for an al Qaeda operative and kidnapped by the CIA and tortured. I wrote about a few days ago. (I've been writing about him since 2005, the posts are collected here.) His lawyer says his life is destroyed.

Here is the latest on the Shami Witness investigation. He faces more questioning in Bengaluru where he is being held, but the investigation will primarily take place in New Delhi. [More...]

Most of the investigation will now move to New Delhi, and only the interrogation of Mehdi will be done in Bengaluru. Police and seasoned sleuths from counter-terrorism operations have already begun questioning Mehdi, who was taken into five-day police remand on Sunday. "If need be, we will take him into further remand," the police added.

The police are conducting forensic analysis on his two mobile phones and computer. They are going to be contacting the 50 or so persons he direct messaged with on Twitter.

National Intelligence Agencies (NIA) and the Bengaluru police have their hands full attempting to ascertain who these people are, what has transpired between them and Mehdi, and what their endgame is.

Was it merely confined to the recruitment of fighters for IS operations in Iraq and Syria, or did they in fact have an India-specific plan? This is the line of investigation policing agencies are currently following. The operation is certainly going to go beyond Bengaluru, India and stretch to several other countries.

"Going by the tweets and DMs, it is clear Mehdi had followers across the world. We will have to take the help of detectives and sleuths from different countries, especially in the West. Mehdi has left his footprints in the virtual world in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Middle East, and USA."

I think their focus on India is more to beef up the charges against him than it is for India's national security. The charges are described here. Indian legal experts say the Section 125 charge of abetting war against a friendly Asiatic power has never been tested and is opening up a Pandora's box.

Time to watch Homeland. This is an open thread, all topics welcome

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    In a post titled "Dick Cheney Will Eat (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Anne on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:16:46 AM EST
    Chuck Todd for Breakfast Unless Todd Does Exactly What I Say," Dan Froomkin at The Intercept suggested the following questions be asked (there are more, and you should read them all) of the former vice-president (none of these were asked, I don't think - it wouldn't have been nice to put Cheney on the spot like that, or challenge in any way the message he went to MTP to deliver):

    Q. Do you know who first came up with the idea of using torture as part of the interrogation of detainees?

    Q. What was the first time you heard anything about making interrogation tactics more brutal?

    Q. When was the first time you heard about waterboarding? What was your reaction?

    Q. How often were you or your office in touch with the CIA in late 2002 and early 2003 about interrogation matters?

    Q. Describe your chief counsel David Addington's involvement in developing interrogation policy.

    Q. What was the first report you heard that made you think torture was "working"?

    Q. What do you consider torture?

    Q. You know what brutal interrogation tactics have historically been good for and what they've not been good for, right? Historically, they've been good for punishing people and for eliciting false confessions. They've never been good at collecting useful intelligence, except maybe on TV. What was your historical basis for having confidence that these techniques would generate useful information?

    Q. Did you ever speak to anyone who opposed using these techniques? What argument impressed you the most?

    Q. On Fox News the other day, you were asked about one detainee who died in captivity in November 2002. This was Rahman Gul, a man who had no direct connection to the 9/11 attacks. You shot back "3,000 Americans died on 9/11 because of what these guys did. And I have no sympathy for them." Explain that. It sounded a bit retributive.

    Q. What do you consider too cruel to do, even to people you think are hiding life-saving intelligence? I gather mock burials were proposed and rejected. Do you consider that too cruel, or not too cruel? What about keeping someone in a coffin-sized box for hundreds of hours, which the CIA did? Etc.

    Q. There were 26 detainees, out of the CIA's 119 in total, who the agency itself determined should never have been held at all. They included "Abu Hudhaifa, who was subjected to ice water baths and 66 hours of standing sleep deprivation before being released because the CIA discovered he was likely not the person he was believed to be," and "Nazir Ali, an `intellectually challenged' individual whose taped crying was used as leverage against his family member." When did you first learn that some detainees who had been tortured were there by mistake? What was your reaction?

    The tweets that follow are rather pointed, as well.

    Suffice it to say that it was probably Cheney who needed extra napkins and a wet-nap after chowing down on Todd, and not the other way around.

    In other words, business as usual.

    Froomkin presents (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by KeysDan on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 01:38:40 PM EST
    good questions, but Cheney was not there to answer questions, other than the ones he wanted to.  And, then they would all be punctuated with, if you will, so to speak, and other time-fillers.  Todd had him on for "balance,"  and ratings. We need the pros and cons of torture, so we know what to think. (tune in next week, for a stimulating debate on the pros and cons of slavery, and, after that, pros and cons of murder.) The question I would have liked to see asked of both Todd and Cheney, is why are either of you here.

    I've never thought much of Chuck Todd ... (5.00 / 5) (#47)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 01:40:04 PM EST
    ... as a journalist, whose self-declarative "insight" I've long felt was superficial and sophomoric at best. As I said when NBC first announced the swap in the saddle at Meet the Press, exchanging the silly and insipid David Gregory for the ingratiating and insufferable Todd was nothing more than substituting Tweedle-Dee for Tweedle-Dum.

    At this point in my life, I've really got better things to do on a Sunday. I've ceased watching that show, which has long been little more than an on-air Beltway circle jerk as it is. So I can't say as I'm disappointed in yesterday's performance by Todd, which according to your description apparently ran true to form, because I'm simply no longer interested in what he has to say about anything.

    That noted, offering exclusive air time to a now self-congratulating war criminal like Dick Cheney for the expressed purpose of re-stating what everybody already knew he was going to say in the first place, was a very questionable moral / ethical decision on the part of Todd and his NBC / MTP producers.

    In that regard, yesterday's show was likely less newsworthy for its guest and subject matter, than it was as yet another gratuitously pompous exercise in Beltway self-validation. Because rather than being edgy and provocative, it only further underscored every bit of well-earned criticism that's been leveled repeatedly at both Meet the Press and the rest of the Sunday gasbag shows for some time now.



    Equal justice (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 10:05:57 AM EST
    Meanwhile an elderly man (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by ZtoA on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 11:31:19 AM EST
    gets the Taser and a tackle over nothing really. link

    A lot of the comments (5.00 / 4) (#28)
    by sj on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 11:56:50 AM EST
    on that link are really sick. And that's how society agrees to a police state.

    Don't know if this was posted earlier (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by jbindc on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 10:39:12 AM EST
    But sorry, no, the Pope did not say that pets go to heaven.

    However, it turns out the pope didn't say that. The news stories were apparently based on a misreading of remarks Francis made at his weekly general audience at the Vatican on Nov. 26 and on a comment that Pope Paul VI made several decades ago. Paul, who died in 1978, once said, reportedly while comforting a child whose dog had died, "One day we will see our animals in the eternity of Christ."

    "There is a fundamental rule in journalism," the Vatican's deputy spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said Saturday. "That is double-checking, and in this case it was not done."

    Benedettini said he received a number of calls about the story from outside Italy on Friday and was taken by surprise because he did not recall the pope saying anything like that.

    Religion News Service was among the first media to put the record straight. It said in an article published late Friday that the error appeared to have stemmed from a piece in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Nov. 27. The article recounted Francis's words from his general audience on Nov. 26, when the topic was the transformation of all creation into a new heaven and a new earth. The story cited the remark about animals and attributed it to Paul VI, but its headline said "The pope and animals: `Paradise is open to all creatures.' "

    But that doesn't mean that he doesn't think that, or that he hates animals, or whatever else.

    The Whole Premise is Silly (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 11:41:56 AM EST
    You are basically told you will have whatever you want, yet it doesn't mention anything about conflicts that time would surely create.

    For example, how exactly does one reunite with the love of their life, if that person remarries because you had a rather untimely death.  Or maybe a suicide, which ensures the love of your life will not get what they want most because you will be in hell suffering.

    Lot of folks will be turned away, or heaven is nothing as described, and the obvious, its an abstract empty promise that is used to bend the will of people.  Offering a haven from an eternity in damnation is most certainly meddling with their free will, which we are told god doesn't do.

    THIS clip pretty much covers it.


    Or you just go with it (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 12:05:13 PM EST
    And think that the end of life is just another phase and there's something better waiting for you.  Maybe it's reuniting with your loved ones, maybe it's reuniting with your pet, maybe it's just lying in a meadow with a good book. Who cares?  If it helps people cope with the inevitable at the end of their lives or their loved ones' lives, then who cares? [Personally, as I am a person who is allergic to animals, and wouldn't want one in my house, my idea of heaven has the animals somewhere not near me.]  

    I think it's a matter of perspective and if you are a person who is anti-religion, and anti-religious people, you will look for every little thing possible to say, "See!  I told you so!" But if you are person who finds peace and comfort in thinking you will be reunited with those you love, then good for you.

    Organized religion hasn't helped itself with some of the crazy things it has done and statements of belief that it has uttered.  But I'm personally not going to get all upset at religion for what other people perceive is going on, or, as in this case, the Pope did nothing wrong - it was bad journalism that got people talking about this silliness in the first place.


    Believe it or Not... (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 01:15:30 PM EST
    ...my GF is pretty religious, and on the level of your first paragraph, I find myself jealous at times that I can't bend my mind in those kind of pretzels to get the benefits most people get by believing there is just being that gives a damn.

    Then I snap back into reality and realize the costs to society have far exceeded the perceived benefits.  Telling kids about Santa is pretty cool in that Santa is a giving person.  The myth makes a lot of people very happy, but the second the disciples of Santa start doing doing unimaginably cruel things in his name, the myth should be terminated.  Because in reality, kids that never heard of Santa are no less off the the ones who believe.  If anything, they are in a better state of not having their parents telling them bold face lies for no other reason that to scare them into believing they will get nothing if they F up.

    But here we are, where the Catholic church systematically ensured kids were exposed to serial rapists using the money they gave them.  You of anyone knows how many atrocities the Catholic church is responsible and/or compliment in perpetrating against the most vulnerable.  But there they are packing the churches and giving them more money.  And for the grand finale, those same people claim the church is a great course of comfort to them.  Yeah, like the rapist who likes to snuggle afterwards and the Stockholm victims who are comforted by it.

    I was replying to your comment, which is how a blog works, if you don't want me expressing my views about religion, don't post stuff about religion.


    I am surrounded by the religious (none / 0) (#43)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 01:21:48 PM EST
    i can so relate to the first paragraph.   I have often thought if only I could do that.  

    It never lasts long.


    Shrug (none / 0) (#77)
    by jbindc on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:43:25 PM EST
    Some people find comfort in faith and prayer.  If you called it "meditation" and opened a little shop in an urban area, it would be considered awesome by the hipsters.

    Frankly, I think faith and prayer is easier to digest and understand than the need some people have to kill brain cells by smoking weed and / or drinking alcohol to excess so they can "relax", but wev.


    Yet, Only One... (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:38:54 PM EST
    ...you condemn and back locking people up for.

    I guess the method with zero proof that it actually exists would be a problematic in court.

    You say comforted, but all I see on the TV, is the people who believe in a god, mad as hell at anyone who doesn't believe what they believe.

    I guess the comfort is short lived.

    When the your hipsters start using their mediation to justify horrible acts against others, I am pretty sure they would be tossed in jail and their meditation rightfully vilified.


    Well, no (none / 0) (#201)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 10:08:30 AM EST
    Yet, Only One... (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:38:54 PM EST
    ...you condemn and back locking people up for.

    Wrong again. As usual.

    My position is that as long as something is illegal, and you knowingly partake of it anyway - knowing full well that you could face jail time - then, no, I don't have a lot of sympathy when you get caught and are forced to face the consequences.

    The public policy argument of "should marijuana be illegal" is a completely different question - to which I say, yes, probably. And then tax the hell out of it.

    But again- you like to conflate the two and pretend not to know the difference, even though I know you're smarter than that.


    And a Merry Christmas... (none / 0) (#108)
    by kdog on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:10:03 PM EST
    to you too!

    Not the religious sort, but I do love me some religious music...

    The Beautitude

    And one for Christmas.


    When I lived in Atlanta (none / 0) (#117)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:30:40 PM EST
    we would sometimes go to an AA church Sunday morning after clubbing all night just for the music.  

    Ha! No more clubbing for us, (none / 0) (#122)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:50:15 PM EST
    but the Mrs. SUO was just saying the yesterday that we need to get on down to the First AME sooner than later...

    They rock the house (none / 0) (#128)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:07:24 PM EST
    if you get high, get high first.

    They do rock the house, we usually go (none / 0) (#136)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:24:43 PM EST
    around this time of year. No enhancements necessary.

    The "so placid and self-contained" (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by jondee on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:58:16 PM EST
    animals might turn and let Walt Whitman into their Heaven but not too many other humans. And I wouldn't blame them.

    Well, speaking for myself only ... (none / 0) (#51)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 02:07:47 PM EST
    ... as a Roman Catholic, I would offer that if one isn't a Roman Catholic, then by all rights the Pope's pronouncements regarding tenets of Catholic faith -- or non-pronouncements, as is the case here -- shouldn't really be of any concern to that person, unless of course the Pontiff is calling for a revival of the Inquisition and the Crusades.

    Thus, people's various silly reactions to this manufactured contretemps over a wholly improvable premise regarding animals and souls, appears to me as more a useful barometer of heir own respective political orientations, than as a true reflection of their personal spiritual beliefs and commitments.



    What I can't believe... (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:15:42 PM EST
    ... is that the Vatican spokesman "corrected" the misinterpretation.  That church needs all the good press it can get.  There must be enormous numbers of people who were thrilled, literally thrilled, at the idea of re-uniting with their lost dogs, cats, etc..  Amazingly tone deaf.

    I'd like to think that ... (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:00:42 PM EST
    ... at some point, intelligent Catholics would have the common sense to ignore the men in the gold robes and ruby slippers, and keep their own counsel on matters that really cannot be so readily and easily defined, and further be willing to call their own shots on the topic of dogs in heaven.

    I mean, if "enormous numbers of people" are actually looking to the Vatican for spiritual guidance and validation on something so trivial as this, then I really and truly don't know what to say to them.

    Personally, and again speaking as a Catholic, I've always found the ecclesiastical argument against animals having souls to just so much hooey. It wouldn't surprise me if that notion was initially conceived by some Papal States magistrate from long ago, who at the time had somehow managed to corner the Roman market on beef and pork and was trying to convince people to eat more meat.

    In my estimation, and given my own understanding of the definition of "soul," any living creature that can feel and know joy, pleasure, pain, anger and fear, has a soul.

    So therefore, my ex-girlfriend's late silky terrier Sparky, viciously psychopathic mutt that he was -- Sorry Lisa, but I still have a couple two-inch scars on my right hand from that unprovoked attack to prove that yours was the dog from hell -- is likely roasting in the fires of damnation for all eternity. At least, if there is a god, he should be. Stupid thing bit me so hard that he ripped some tendons.



    Why can't you believe it? (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by nycstray on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:49:56 PM EST
    The Vatican has been tone deaf for years :P

    I don't think you need to be RC to care about what (none / 0) (#141)
    by nycstray on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:45:33 PM EST
    the Pope says. What kind of view is that? It matters what the Pope says to some of us who aren't RC, especially this one since he seems to express a more forgiving/tolerant spiritual nature than some of the church's other leaders/teachings. The teachings/feelings of the church do effect others besides the RCs, which I would hope you realize.

    Also, this Pope does bless the doggies . . . :)


    Given that the Pope is a world figure ... (2.00 / 1) (#151)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:06:16 PM EST
    ... with considerable influence in the temporal realm, I understand fully why people such as yourself pay attention to what he says and does.

    But in those matters concerning Catholic dogma, for which His Holiness's interpretations and pronouncements are ostensibly considered by the faithful to be spiritually infallible as though they came from the Lord Himself, if you're not a practicing Catholic -- then what's it to you, really? If you don't go to Mass and receive Holy Communion, then how does that affect you?

    The cockamamie notion -- strictly my opinion, not the Holy Mother Church's -- that animals don't and can't possess souls has long been part of traditional Catholic dogma. And as a non-Catholic and outsider, you're never going to change that.

    You have every right to express your opinion on the subject, but please don't be offended if Catholics ignore your objections or advice in what by all rights is an exclusively internal issue. Any changes to that dogma are going to be realized and achieved within the Church itself, and will not imposed from the outside.

    I mean, Hell, it took us the better part of five-plus centuries, before we finally recognized the possibility, however remote that possibility may be, that there just MIGHT be a place for you as a non-Catholic in Heaven! We're not exactly known for moving at a lightning-quick pace on such matters, historically speaking.



    But how the Pope acts towards (none / 0) (#174)
    by nycstray on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:45:26 PM EST
    animals does have an effect beyond the dogma. In some religions, dogs are considered dirty etc (what, you don't want my dog in your cab?!). A religion/church's teaching does have an effect on how people treat animals/others within a greater community. So excuse us if we find this Pope's attitude towards animals/pets refreshing and is just another area where a more positive example is being set, than say the last dude who wore the robe. No, we outsiders will not change certain dogma, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't pay attention and applaud steps moving forward.

    Plus, he might get more RCs wanting to go to Heaven vs the Rainbow Bridge ;)


    I try not to dislike One religion more (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:54:05 PM EST
    than another.  But the truth is there seems to me to be something fundamentally wrong about a religion that singles out dogs to disrespect.  If not mistreat. IMO.

    I knew there was something (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 10:38:24 PM EST
    I liked about you.

    Dogs in heaven


    Native Hawaiians raised dogs for eating. (none / 0) (#188)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 01:43:43 AM EST
    And Catholics long singled out meat as something avoid eating on Fridays, which I always thought was rather stupid. Who knows how and why some of these religious traditions / rituals got started? I even asked my grandmother, and she simply admonished me to not question the wisdom of the Lord, which told me that she didn't know why we omitted meat on Fridays, either.

    All religions and cultures have their quirks.


    Donald (none / 0) (#193)
    by CoralGables on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 06:53:43 AM EST
    Who knows how and why some of these religious traditions / rituals got started?

    Pretty sure I've mentioned this book here before. If you ever come across it, pick up a copy of Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches. It attempts to explain the possible reasons for many of the quirks of human nature, though I don't remember if it gets into "All You Can Eat Fish Friday".


    I agree (none / 0) (#142)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:48:26 PM EST
    good and bad effects lots of people.

    As it so happens, (none / 0) (#146)
    by Zorba on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 07:45:43 PM EST
    In the Greek Orthodox Church, we do have a special prayer for the blessing of our animals, and many Greek Orthodox Churches hold a yearly "Blessing of the Animals."

    See, for example, this.  Among others.

    The Greek Orthodox recognize St. Modestus as the Patron Saint of Animals.


    Yes, (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 07:46:28 PM EST
    we do too. I think apparently most liturgical churches have a blessing of the animals.

    Is it in Oct? (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by nycstray on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:06:18 PM EST
    I believe the Catholics do it also, or let's put it this way, somebody does! Now that I know Rox's social manners are pretty rock solid, I may take her next year. Maybe she'll dig the priest as much as she digs Santa!  ;)

    nycstray: It is October 4th (St. Francis Day) (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by christinep on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:57:27 PM EST
    Many Greek Orthodox churches (none / 0) (#171)
    by Zorba on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:31:57 PM EST
    do their Blessing of the Animals in December.  I think, mainly because the feast day of St. Modestus is on Dec. 18.
    Hey, Catholic, Orthodox, or whatever, take her!  
    When we had our new barn built years ago, we had the priest out to bless it.  (Yes, the Orthodox have a blessing for farm buildings, as well as farm animals and crops, among many other things.)  I figured, certainly couldn't hurt, might help.

    Yes, I believe so (none / 0) (#159)
    by Zorba on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:37:13 PM EST
    But he is post-Great Schism, so he is not recognized as a saint by the Orthodox Church.    ;-)

    Polanski petition seeks (5.00 / 1) (#189)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 01:56:13 AM EST
    dismissal of entire criminal case based on allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. See Los Angeles Times.

    Linkage: (5.00 / 1) (#190)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 01:58:43 AM EST
    Typeo I thnk (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 14, 2014 at 09:13:23 PM EST
    a blag Islamic flag

    thanks, fixed now (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Dec 14, 2014 at 10:11:10 PM EST
    Daily Dot (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 14, 2014 at 09:40:22 PM EST
    Saw "Exodus: Gods & Kings" tonight. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:10:28 AM EST
    Ridley Scott rewrites the second book of the Old Testament and hands down, it has to be the silliest and most overblown film he's ever made. I'm really sorry we wasted money on this tripe. You have been warned.

    Loved this (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 07:21:31 AM EST
    This was the year that Hollywood tried to revive the Biblical epic, hoping to duplicate the success of 1950s smashes like The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur. It seemed like a long-shot, but Hollywood was willing to try anything (other than originality) to pull in audiences. But after Darren Aronofsky's bizarre Noah and now Ridley Scott's turgid Exodus: Gods and Kings, don't be surprised if the idea quietly falls by the wayside and nobody in Los Angeles County mentions the Bible again until they're called to swear upon it before testifying in court.

    I haven't made it yet but I probably will.   I have friends who worked on it.


    Then I think you'll probably enjoy this, too: (none / 0) (#74)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:36:35 PM EST
    "Livin' Thing: The Oral History of 'Boogie Nights.'"

    I believe that director Paul T. Anderson really nailed his take on Southern California's adult film industry in a way that few directors ever have in any movie, regardless of the subject matter. I consider "Boogie Nights" to be not only a classic story about L.A., but arguably one of the top ten films of the 1990s.



    I agree (none / 0) (#106)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:01:25 PM EST
    thanks for the link

    I had a feeling it wasn't going to be great (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by McBain on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 11:16:21 AM EST
    Years ago, Ridley Scott directed two of my favorite films.... Alien and Blade Runner.  Since then, he's made several visually striking but, overall, unsatisfying movies. I even thought Gladiator was overrated.

    I have a theory about directors.... they do their best work before they get super rich.  George Lucas is the ultimate example.  


    Bladerunner is possibly the best scifi (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 11:26:49 AM EST
    movie ever made. Of course it was based on Dick's "Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep" and wasn't just a western/war movie set in the future.

    If you watch it again notice how the hitech stuff is just accepted and used by a society that probably couldn't reproduce them from scratch.... Reminds me of us.


    It would be an interesting SF fiim (none / 0) (#29)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 12:02:02 PM EST
    If they had a techie like you in it.

    It's a great film, regardless. (none / 0) (#59)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 02:50:02 PM EST
    Sorry, but I'm with Jim on this one. "Blade Runner" is one of the few movies ever made that successfully overcame its initial audience misgivings to become recognized as a true classic of its genre.

    The film works on different levels, as both an action movie and also as a cautionary and still very relevant morality tale about mankind's propensity to play God, particularly through our own tinkering with nature's genetic components.

    The audience is clearly set up to identify with Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) and despise the Nexus 6 Replicants (Rutger Hauer, Darryl Hannah, et al.). Yet by the end of the film, we're left to ponder who the real villains and monsters are in this story, and to further reassess Deckard not as an action hero, but as someone who was used callously and cruelly by other persons for their own nefarious ends -- and who even may be a Replicant himself. As such, "Blade Runner" is a visually stunning and intellectually thoughtful masterpiece.

    In my opinion, Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner: The Final Cut" -- the only version over which the director exercise total control over the film's content -- is eminently superior to the film's original 1982 theatrical release.

    Scott is presently engaged in planning for a sequel to "Blade Runner," and has apparently talked Harrison Ford into reprising his role as Deckard. That's somewhat of a surprise, since both director and actor were known to have had their differences during the production of the original film.



    Nice to find some common ground (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:16:00 PM EST
    And along with the direction, Phillip K. Dick's story is a classic as are many others. Many movies were adopted from his works including "Total Recall," and "Minority Report."

    And yes, the Director's Cut is the best video.

    BTW - Pay no attention to Mordiggian. He's just mad because he can't play.


    It's high time you got a 5, Jim. (none / 0) (#121)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:37:30 PM EST
    Horselover Fats [fans will recognize the reference] was one of the greats.

    If it were remade, the movie would be shinier with more stuff melting, morphing, and whizzing around, but they did a pretty good job with what was then available - and a good screenplay.


    I meant in general (none / 0) (#61)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:01:28 PM EST
    Not BR.

    You lost me. (none / 0) (#63)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:04:29 PM EST
    Please, further expound. I have no idea what you mean.

    Have a self-described techie like Jim (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:29:49 PM EST
    Who always is asking others to prove their claims to him"is the plot line.

    You could call it "Techie without a clue."


    Mordiggian (2.00 / 2) (#148)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 07:52:41 PM EST
    or Shadow2, why am I so fascinating to you??

    Is it my good looks? Sweet temperament??

    Give up. I ain't gonna lend you any money. Or buy lunch....


    Mordiggian (2.00 / 1) (#149)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 07:52:42 PM EST
    or Shadow2, why am I so fascinating to you??

    Is it my good looks? Sweet temperament??

    Give up. I ain't gonna lend you any money. Or buy lunch....


    That's okay (none / 0) (#155)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:14:18 PM EST
    I make enough that li could eat steak every day of the week if I wanted to.  

    I'm sorry you get all nervous and double-post in your haste to respond.

    Have you ever thought about seeking some help over this apparent loss of self-control when it cones to me?


    Ever see the epic documentary (none / 0) (#91)
    by McBain on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:20:01 PM EST
    "Dangerous Days"?  A must see for all Blade Runner fans.  

    We recently watched Bladerunner afresh (none / 0) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 02:12:16 PM EST
    It takes place in 2019.  Where's all the smog?  Thank you EPA :)

    Smog schmog (5.00 / 3) (#54)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 02:21:43 PM EST
    where are the flying cars

    Only a matter of time (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by CST on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 02:32:20 PM EST
    Uh MT.... It is a (none / 0) (#53)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 02:19:36 PM EST

    BTW - You didn't see all the rain and cold??

    Thank you global cooling.



    I remember smog though in 1982 (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 02:24:06 PM EST
    I had an asthma attack visiting home at Christmas in C Springs 1985 during the inversion.  The smog was so thick in the street lights it looked like fog.  It wasn't difficult then to believe that by 2019 it would a perpetual smoggy darkness engulfing all of us :). Thank you EPA :)

    Have you ever seen (none / 0) (#70)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:28:22 PM EST
    pictures of Denver back then?? And LA?

    Plus, even in small town West TN there was a problem .... my Mom would watch the weather before washing and hanging out sheets... The coal soot would not rise and would fall on the wet sheets...

    In later years that was solved when natural gas came through... so Thank You Big Oil!

    Wood was reserved for the fireplace. Coal was used in a "Warm Morning" stove which would hold hot coals all night and when stoked with fresh coal it would start producing heat almost immediately.

    Some of my fondest memories are of watching my Dad stoke it up and then dance around the room and into the kitchen where he would hug my mom, who was trying to cook, and declare that it would be a good day.

    And wasn't it Tricky Dick who got us the EPA? Why yes. Yes he was.


    I thought we Fox-script-following (5.00 / 3) (#85)
    by jondee on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:11:32 PM EST
    conservatives believed the EPA wasn't needed -- because it promulgates green-leftie hoaxes among other things..

    And what does it say about today's conservative movement that they manage to make someone like Nixon look sane?


    Jondee, regarding Nixon, and (5.00 / 2) (#158)
    by NYShooter on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:30:26 PM EST
    his very long list of Liberal programs, way too long to have done them for some sort of political benefit. In fact. if my memory serves me correctly, he was roundly beaten up by some truly powerful "John Birch types. Nixon, like Johnson, did many, many great things for the majority of Americans, rich, poor, and, everything in between. (But, of course, "the other thing")

    Let's see what I remember:

    1. Established relations with "Red" China. (a big-time no-no with Conservatives of his day)

    2. Started the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (S.A.L.T.)

    3. Successfully submitted, and, got passed, an immediate 10% S.S. increase, followed by automatic, yearly, cost-of-living increases. (unbelievably revolutionary!)

    4. Get this...promoted, and, got established Occupational Safety and Health Act, yup, thanks to Nixon, we got OSHA.

    5. I'm not writing any more; the list is really long. If you're really interested, just type, "NIXON, Liberal," and get ready to be amazed.

    O.K. just a couple more:

    expanded unemployment payments

    formalized public welfare

    instituted the food stamp program

    expanded supplemental security income

    added mass transit subsidies to highway funds

    And, when Nixon thought of women as "Sweeties," I don't think they minded at all. He offered up, and baby-sat all through to enactment, The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children,  in 1972, I believe.

    Unbelievably crazy, don't you think? And, don't even start comparing him to today's R's, it's just too depressing. Most republicans were actually humans then. No, really.


    But then, there was Watergate, ... (none / 0) (#165)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:03:07 PM EST
    ... the expansion of the Vietnam War into neighboring Cambodia and Laos (which led directly to Kent State), his political campaign's "Southern Strategy," his blatant attempt to scuttle the Paris Peace Talks during the 1968 presidential campaign, his administration's orchestration of the military coup against Chilean President Salvador Allende, his "Enemies List," etc.

    I've always though it to be one of the great tragedies in American political history, that someone of Nixon's admittedly brilliant intellect could be so fatally compromised by his own innate paranoia and self-esteem issues. Because for all of Nixon's achievements while in the White House, the dark side of his presidency ultimately cost this country very, very dearly -- and in a great many respects, we're still paying for that today.



    I didn't forget (none / 0) (#185)
    by NYShooter on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 12:36:20 AM EST
    probably why I wrote,(But, of course, "the other thing")

    Maybe should have added an "s" to "thing"

    Boy, this is one cold crowd tonight:)


    Don't forget the never-ending (none / 0) (#199)
    by Chuck0 on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 08:46:15 AM EST
    "War on Drugs" that he started.

    You "thought?" (2.00 / 2) (#150)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:03:25 PM EST
    Now there's an oxymoron.


    Not that it matters or that you will pay attention or even grasp it.......my point is this.

    The road to hell is often paved with good intentions.

    Bureaucracies always go from wanting to do good to doing good to wanting to grow because the original "do good" has been done and now the prime objective is to protect the entity.  


    1982 was a special year for sci fi (none / 0) (#94)
    by McBain on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:28:23 PM EST
    Blade Runner
    The Road Warrior
    The Thing
    Star Trek 2

    And the greatest of all... Zapped:  with Scott Baio and Willie Aames


    Also (none / 0) (#97)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:35:44 PM EST
    TRON, Poltergeist, Creep Show, Wrath of Kahn and lots of other good stuff.

    It was a good movie year.


    Oops (none / 0) (#98)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:38:38 PM EST
    my reading comprehension suks.

    But also Victor/ Victoria and Tootsie.


    Now you're talking (none / 0) (#156)
    by ruffian on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:25:19 PM EST
    Omg, I love Tootsie. Was it the same year as 'Hannah and her Sisters' too? I remember them being in the same era, at least in my VHS library.

    Some of Tootsie (none / 0) (#170)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:28:13 PM EST
    was filmed in the Copacabana.  As it happens my friend Don was a waiter there at the time and one afternoon when he was off I went with him to pick up his paycheck.  We went back to the office area to the room where the paychecks live when he opened the door there was Dustin Hoffman sitting on desk in full drag. Except for the wig which he had removed and placed on the desk on top of the paychecks.  Don had to ask him politely to move his wig so he could get paid.

    Jessica Lang (none / 0) (#173)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:36:17 PM EST
    is so beautiful in that movie

    What year was the remake (none / 0) (#161)
    by NYShooter on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:45:55 PM EST
    of that great classic, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" opened in theatres?

    There was (none / 0) (#177)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 10:03:25 PM EST
     1951 and 2008.
    Unless ther is one I don't know about.  

    '51 sounds right (none / 0) (#186)
    by NYShooter on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 12:59:39 AM EST
    I screwed up which one was first, and, which was the remake.

    Of course, the original came out in 1951, and the Keanu Reeves do-over in '08.'

    Really good sequels are, to me. pretty rare. But, I thought both of The T.C. Affair movies were great. Pierce Brosnan is a natural playing Crowne, and, Rene Russo is just gorgeous. As always, Dennis Leary plays his journeyman's role to a "T."


    Being rich has nothing to do with it. (none / 0) (#25)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 11:39:56 AM EST
    Ridley Scott's been making movies since 1977, and the generally superior quality of his overall body of work really speaks for itself. But like most prolific directors, he's going to turn out a turkey every once in a while. "Exodus: Gods & Kings" is certainly one of them, on the level of his 1992 dud "1492: Conquest of Paradise," which was godawful.

    OMG! (none / 0) (#83)
    by Zorba on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:02:56 PM EST
    Even Gerard Depardieu and Sigourney Weaver, et al, couldn't save the turkey that was "1492: Conquest of Paradise."
    You're absolutely correct, and if "Exodus: Gods and Kings" is on that level, I will certainly be passing it up.   ;-)

    Well, why did he make two amazing films (none / 0) (#103)
    by McBain on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:48:45 PM EST
    so early in his career and then nothing close to that since?  Very few of his movies suck but compare Prometheus to Alien and something is missing.

    Many filmmakers peak early..
    George Lucas
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Woody Allen
    William Friedken
    Quentin Tarantino  


    He's done a lot more than that (none / 0) (#107)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:08:21 PM EST
    i guess I'm the only one who liked Prometheus.  But I thought The Counselor was excellent.  Also BlackHawk Down, Hannibal, White Squall, Thelma and Louise, Legend.

    A lot.  And Hot Zone sounds very good.


    Hot Zone (none / 0) (#113)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:21:36 PM EST
    is one of those projects trying to get made for decades.  It was floating around Digital Domain in 1994-95 along with Avatar.

    But with current events I think a movie about hemorrhagic fever has found its time.

    In his blurb, horror writer Stephen King called the first chapter, "one of the most horrifying things I've read in my whole life."

    I agree with you on the Counselor (none / 0) (#129)
    by jondee on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:09:30 PM EST
    a lot of people hated how dark it was and how Cormac McCarthy put Nietzchean speeches in Cameron Diaz's mouth. Even as an overall failure, it beat the living crap out of safe twaddle like Captain Phillips.

    Diaz's character in that movie was a symbolic variant of McCarthy's character "the Judge" in the book Blood Meridian.  


    It wasn't sexy (none / 0) (#130)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:14:18 PM EST
    it was to "gynecological".   Funniest thing ever.

    Like one of those tank-cleaning (none / 0) (#133)
    by jondee on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:20:18 PM EST
    fish..Did he say that or am I imagining he said that?

    You are not imagining it (none / 0) (#134)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:21:48 PM EST
    hilarious.   I have three of those fish.   Every time I walk by the tank now I think about Cameron Diaz.

      but Oliver Stone could be included.

      Salvador and Platoon were good movies, but I thought Wall Street was overrated, and JFK, the Doors and Born on the Fourth of July all very  lame.

      In my opinion his best movie is one he just wrote, Midnight Express, very early in his career. On the other hand, I thought Scarface was a terrible, unoriginal  script; the  buckets of blood, De Palma's unintentionally campy direction  and Al Pacino chewing scenery made it worse, but I've never understood the praise.


    From a standpoint of filmmaking as art, ... (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:19:29 PM EST
    ... I thought Oliver Stone's "JFK" was an awesome bit of storytelling. So were his films "Nixon" and "W," for that matter.

    But as a historical source of record -- well, suffice to say that Stone's dogmatic insistence that he was truthtelling in "JFK" rendered him his own best parody on the subject. The film's veracity is a discussion probably best left for another thread.

    And in my opinion, "Scarface" is now considered a cult camp classic for exactly those reasons you just listed. Now, say hello to my little friend.



    Well.. (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by jondee on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:32:02 PM EST
    there was something very sketchy going in that building on Camp St in New Orleans in the early sixties..the trouble is, Stone said he knew EXACTLY what was going on..

    If you're going to go camp (none / 0) (#139)
    by jondee on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:36:16 PM EST
    why stop halfway at a movie like Scarface?

    Go all the way and watch the World's Greatest Sinner or It Conquered The World.


    If you want great camp, ... (none / 0) (#157)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:28:55 PM EST
    ... there are few better directors than John Waters. This particular scene from the 1994 film "Serial Mom" still makes me howl. But if you haven't seen the entire movie, I suppose I should put that scene in its proper context.

    Directors (none / 0) (#123)
    by McBain on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:57:49 PM EST
    De Palma has been mostly awful since the early 80s. Carlito's Way was decent. I'm not a big Stone fan.

    I wonder if great film making requires a certain youthful edge that doesn't last very long. Orson Welles may have made the greatest film of all time, Citizen Kane, but he burned out early.

    Stanley Kurbick was the exception.  He made great films in at least four decades.  2001 is one of my all time favorites.  Of coure, his best effort was his filming of the fake moon landing.  He used The Shining to reveal several clues about that..... or, at least, that's one of my favorite conspiracy theories .


    Orson Welles was a true visionary. (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 07:35:53 PM EST
    There's not just "Citizen Kane," but also "The Magnificent Ambersons," "The Third Man," and "The Lady from Shanghai." Welles' main problem was that he absolutely refused to be pigeonholed as an artist and further insisted on total control over his films, which classified him as difficult in the old studio system.

    As such, Welles often ran afoul of that system as it existed in his time. The bosses really didn't like him, they resented his genius and to be fair to Welles, they probably went out of their way to derail his career. But even late in that career, when the studios were throwing him scripts which by all rights were pure schlock, he endeavored to produce a quality product and put his own inimitable imprint on it.

    To that effect, his 1958 film "Touch of Evil" is arguably considered the geatest "B movie" ever made, and it stands as one of the last true noir films of that era. (The term "B movie" was used to reference a film that was intended to be the second half of a studio-sponsored double feature. As such, they were often low-budget affairs and showcasing either promising studio newcomers, or longtime stars whose best days were considered behind them.)

    Because Universal Studios envisioned "Touch of Evil" as a starring vehicle for the up-and-coming Charleton Heston as the indomitable Mexican police detective Ramon Vargas, Welles was initially hired by Universal only as an actor in the supporting role of the thoroughly corrupt American police captain, Hank Quinlan. (Like I said, a B movie role for a star whose best days were behind him.)

    But when the original director dropped out very early in pre-production, Heston insisted that his co-star should be hired as the replacement behind the camera. The result was electric, because while the studio bosses hated Welles, actors loved him. From what I've read, Heston and co-stars Janet Leigh, Marlene Dietrich, Mercedes McCambridge, Keenan Wynn and Welles' old friend from Mercury Theatre days, Joseph Cotton, offered to work for less than scale just for the opportunity to practice their craft under his direction. Further, Welles brought "Touch of Evil" in on time and under budget, which pleased Universal.

    "Touch of Evil" has since been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation as part of the U.S. National Film Registry, and it's rightly assumed its place in American filmography as a noir classic. Most certainly, it's long since eclipsed in stature the "A movie" which Universal included in that double bill, the eminently forgettable "The Female Animal" starring Hedy Lamarr.



    You sure you aren't Uncle Chip?? (none / 0) (#152)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:06:25 PM EST
    Of coure, his best effort was his filming of the fake moon landing.  He used The Shining to reveal several clues about that..... or, at least, that's one of my favorite conspiracy theories .

    DePalma's blatant ripoffs.. (none / 0) (#131)
    by jondee on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:18:38 PM EST
    excuse me, "homages" to Hitchcock..and Antonioni for that matter..

    One of the all time great SNL sketches: "Brian DePalma's The Clams..in which he rips off Alfred Hitcock and gives his wife a job.."


    Heh. Whatever happened to Nancy Allen? (5.00 / 1) (#145)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 07:42:43 PM EST
    We saw one of Brian De Palma's more recent efforts, the 2006 film "The Black Dahlia." What was initially an intriguing and promising premise quickly turned into a royal mess for all involved. Hillary Swank gave what has to be THE worst performance of her career under De Palma's listless direction.

    About "Gladiator": (none / 0) (#62)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:02:41 PM EST
    McBain: "I even thought Gladiator was overrated."

    I initially didn't care for it, and like you, thought it was overrated. But upon subsequent viewings, I've since reassessed my initial impression, and have come to recognize "Gladiator" as a very good and thoughtful film which, like "Blade Runner," works on several different levels simultaneously.

    That said, there's little or no chance of that ever happening with "Exodus: Gods & Kings," because I would never willingly subject myself to a repeat viewing of that tedious waste of time.



    What I like about waiting for the DVD (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:33:52 PM EST
    If it's great, I can keep it to watch again.

    If it's average I can sell it on Ebay.

    If it's bad I can turn it off and sell it on Ebay.

    Works double good for TV series.


    Do we know the origin of the name Blade Runner (none / 0) (#125)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:58:43 PM EST
    its taken from a William Burrows book of that name.  I'm not sure why. I've been told Burrows is credited for the title in the screen credits but I've never checked.

    The Burrows book is amazing.  Like everything he wrote.  And the title actually makes sense.  The story is set in an overpopulated future where medical care is illegal and doctors are treated sort of like terrorists.   It's so risky that when they make a house call, since there are no hospitals, they cant risk carrying their tools with them.  So someone else brings the doctors bag and meets at the location.

    That person is the Blade Runner.


    from a book called Future Noir (none / 0) (#127)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:04:30 PM EST
    Google is my friend

    Fancher found a cinema treatment by William S. Burroughs for Alan E. Nourse's novel The Bladerunner (1974), entitled Blade Runner (a movie). Scott liked the name, so Deeley obtained the rights to the titles. Eventually he hired David Peoples to rewrite the script and Fancher left the job over the issue on December 21, 1980, although he later returned to contribute additional rewrites.

    Fancher recalls that in July 1980, "Ridley said we couldn't keep referring to Deckard as a detective, because that was the lazy way out. Couldn't we come up with a different name for his line of work?"

    Ransacking his mind and home library, Fancher discovered a slim, little-known book by celebrated "beat" author William Burroughs. It was title Blade Runner: (a movie). After then bringing these words back to Scott, the director responded favorably to them, reasoning that a "Blade Runner unit" was a catchy term to describe the departmentally sanctioned police assassins outlined in Fancher's script.

    Ridley and I also thought that Blade Runner would make a hell of a new title for a screenplay," Fancher continues. "So Scott asked Michael Deeley to approach William Burroughs' representatives with the idea of buying the use of his title. Deeley did so, and Burroughs was really cooperative. That's when the film started being called Blade Runner.

    I loved his stuff with Laurie Anderson... (none / 0) (#137)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:29:07 PM EST
    You know, I can see two tiny pictures of myself And there's one in each of your eyes...

    True story (5.00 / 3) (#140)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:37:53 PM EST
    we were talking about Lennons death the other day.  That night I was walking around in the area and I went into a coffee shop on the upper west side and sat at the counter.  
    Then I looked over and sitting next to me was William Burroughs (note correct spelling, thank you wiki) and Laurie Anderson.  
    I am not a person who gets giddy around celebrities but I was giddy.  Two of my absolute heroes sitting right there next to me.   I fought hard for composure gave them as cool a smile as I could manage and folded a napkin and placed it under my coffee cup.  Which got a little smile out of Bill.
    I felt like I shared a tiny bit of grief with two legends.

    What I wouldn't give to have a voice like his (5.00 / 1) (#183)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 11:32:51 PM EST
    I still remember when my little sister turned me on to Laurie Anderson.  People were doing this?  It was like I'd been plugged into a wall outlet for the first time.

    The latest scuttlebut from (none / 0) (#7)
    by Uncle Chip on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:52:24 AM EST
    Courtland Mississippi:

    here and here

    and a whole lot of questions that should have the Feds swarming all over that place.

    What do you make of this, Jeralyn? (none / 0) (#8)
    by NYShooter on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:57:12 AM EST
    "'Shami Witness': Twitter's top Islamic State 'jihadi' outed as a fake"

    "A major English language, pro-Islamic State Twitter account turns out to be run by a Hawaiian-shirt-wearing executive in Bangalore, India."

    Story in The Christian Science Monitor

    All I know is that this whole ISIS thing is going to make one heck of a Blockbuster movie some day.

    It depends on... (5.00 / 7) (#35)
    by Dadler on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 12:36:47 PM EST
    ...what the definition of IS IS.



    lol (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by NYShooter on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 01:27:13 PM EST
    o.k. that was funny.

    Score "1" for the Dadler!


    How long have you waited (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:55:51 PM EST
    for this opportunity?

    I felt that way too after discovering he was in (none / 0) (#49)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 02:00:09 PM EST
    India.  I perceived his tweets in the Kobane hashtags as propaganda tweets, but when Jeralyn said he had been cited by Western experts, how did that happen?

    If it is true that he had no direct contact with ISIS jihadis in combat how could he have known anything?

    Very good with words though.  I was looking for news of the peshmerga finally arriving in Kobane, and Turkey allowing them to join the fight.  So I was usually wanting an image/photo too in the tweet.  Something of substance to indicate where things stood.  His jihad prose showed up often.


    What do you make of this, Jeralyn? (none / 0) (#9)
    by NYShooter on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:58:14 AM EST
    "'Shami Witness': Twitter's top Islamic State 'jihadi' outed as a fake"

    "A major English language, pro-Islamic State Twitter account turns out to be run by a Hawaiian-shirt-wearing executive in Bangalore, India."

    Story in The Christian Science Monitor

    All I know is that this whole ISIS thing is going to make one heck of a Blockbuster movie some day.

    sorry about double (none / 0) (#11)
    by NYShooter on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 07:01:17 AM EST
    good ole windows said, "go ahead, no double in cache, hit post, you're cool to go."

    PJ O'Rourke told to write about Lena Dunham (none / 0) (#10)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:59:02 AM EST
    Money quote:
     Who can read a memoir by a 28-year-old? What's to memorialize? The last 28-year-old who could have written a memoir worth reading was Alexander the Great in 328 B.C., after he'd conquered the known world, but he was too busy conquering the rest of the world to write it.

    Is 34 too young to write a memoir? (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by jbindc on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:23:29 AM EST
    You'd have to consider that Part 1 (none / 0) (#160)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:40:53 PM EST
    which in this case has already proven to not be too early.

    Watching the new Robocop (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:00:13 AM EST
    movie this morning.  Some very interesting tidbits.  Sam Jackson playing a right wing TV personality named Pat Novak  is worth watching the movie for.   But the "best" part- the movie is about a future police state where machines are in charge of law enforcement.  The slogan these lumbering weapons stalk around Detroit repeating is " Peace be upon you.  Please exit your homes with your arms raised for a non invasive search procedure.  No one will be harmed"

    Btw (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:03:58 AM EST
    the movie was released February 12.

    Torture versus Drones (none / 0) (#18)
    by RickyJim on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 10:21:42 AM EST
    A common reason I see for the Obama Administration not going after the torturers is that they would be liable if somebody like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul (Remember "Stand With Rand") became President and decided to punish those who killed civilians with drones.  Anybody care to explain why Obama isn't as morally culpable as Bush and Cheney?

    Speaking as someone who (2.00 / 3) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 11:43:26 AM EST
    who fully understands that we are at war, I disagree that Obama is anymore culpable than FDR, Truman, et al...

    To summarize, sometimes things must be done that are, in various degrees, not nice. In fact, they range from "ouch" to horrible.

    And I find that I am unable to understand people who seem to think the world would become this warm wonderful place if we just let our enemies do what they want.

    George Santayana wrote, "In every generation we face a barbarian threat in our own children." Not a threat TO our children. A threat FROM our children.

    It is necessary to teach them right from wrong. That we have failed on a global basis is obvious.



    For someone who expresses almost daily (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by Anne on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 12:43:41 PM EST
    an anaphylactic reaction to people "making things up," that's one bald-faced bunch of nonsense you've posted.  I don't recall anyone suggesting or saying that we should just let our enemies do what they want, but so what if that's not what anyone has expressed, right?  You want to have that argument, so by God, you'll do whatever it takes.

    But where we seem to be is in a place where we keep taking one event - the attacks of 9/11 - and using it to justify actions and policies years and years later.  Handy thing, this Global War on Terror; as far as we're concerned, we will never be the attacker, right?  How could we be?  We have 3,000+ deaths to avenge, and it's kind of looking like there will never be a time when things are "even."

    Are my grandchildren going to be explaining to their children that whatever horrors we're imposing on our "enemies" are the result of 9/11?  Will the Congress still be renewing whichever version of the AUMF is in force?  Will we have new and more repressive and invasive versions of the USA Patriot Act?  Will the drones still be flying and killing, and will we have some form of "boots on the ground" somewhere?  Will we still be turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in countries we need for something, while standing on the high moral ground of being all about truth and justice and freedom?

    We went to war with a country that wasn't responsible for the attacks, and it's been all downhill ever since.  Should we not have responded?  Certainly a response was called for, but shouldn't it have been directed at those who were actually responsible?  What does that teach our children about right v. wrong?  That two wrongs still don't make a right?  Or that as long as you're the one with more might, you can declare that you're always right?

    Life is just so simple for you, isn't it, jim?


    "life is so simple..." (5.00 / 4) (#50)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 02:05:18 PM EST
    A straw man a day keeps reality at bay.

    anne, speaking of simple, (none / 0) (#60)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 02:50:04 PM EST
    somehow some way you seem to equate NOT engaging enemies as NOT being responsible for their actions.

    I ask again, if we fail to use all of our resources to protect ourselves and if the terrorists kill, aren't we responsible?? Aren't we our brothers keeper??

    One event?? Really? Just ONE?? Have you been in a cave? Have you missed the Boston Marathon? The Fort Hood Murders? The Underwear Bomber? The NY Times Square Bomber? The Spanish Train bombings? The Portland Xmas Bomber? The JFK Fuel Farm Plot? The Fort Dix plot? The El Al killing? The Syndey Murders? The Shoe Bomber? The Honor Killings?

    And just who declared global war??

    REPORTER: Mr. Bin Ladin, will the end of the United States' presence in Saudi Arabia, their withdrawal, will that end your call for jihad against the United States and against the US ?

    BIN LADIN:... So, the driving-away jihad against the US does not stop with its withdrawal from the Arabian peninsula,

    but rather it must desist from aggressive intervention against Muslims in the whole world.

    OBL ininterview with Peter Arnett then with CNN 3/97

    That's plain. You must let me do what I want to do or pay the consequences.

    It seems to me that, based on bin Ladin's demands which are echoed throughout the radical islamists holdings and your position, we are more likely to be telling our grandchildren what it was like before the radcial islamists broke our will and we bowed our collective heads in submission.

    What shall it be, Anne? Tax? Convert? Or beheaded??


    you are fighting an invisible enemy (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by CST on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:15:02 PM EST
    Osama Bin Laden is a dead man.  Who cares what he thinks, he can't hurt us anymore.

    Thereby witlessly validating Anne's point. (none / 0) (#75)
    by desertswine on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:37:32 PM EST
    My point was (none / 0) (#76)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:37:48 PM EST
    It seems to me that, based on bin Ladin's demands which are echoed throughout the radical islamists holdings

    and where would that be exactly? (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by CST on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:45:35 PM EST
    These radical Islamist holdings that are such a threat to the United States?

    ISIS?  Syria?  Egypt? Saudi Arabia? Turkey?  Muslims living in the west?  Chechnya?

    When your enemy is invisible it is everywhere and is making you paranoid.

    Btw, I still walk past the marathon finish line.  I still live my life in comfort and peace completely unafraid of Muslim terrorists or being beheaded or forced to convert.  They haven't beaten me or made me cower in fear yet, but I think they have beaten you.


    Like too many you equate knowledge, (2.00 / 1) (#86)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:13:22 PM EST
    concern and watchful awareness with fear.

    Think of it like a 75 year old male does when he is told his prostrate is growing abnormally and his PSA has gone up.

    Will he need the surgeon's knife? Unknown. But that doesn't mean he quits being informed.

    And Turkey is spinning towards radicalism. Egypt has the Muslim Brotherhood. Plus we have the devils brew of al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah,Wahhabism. the Russian problems and the late comers, ISIS and SA


    So yes, you do think (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by CST on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:34:35 PM EST
    we should be at war with everyone.

    I don't know why I bother.

    Killing all the Turks/Egyptians/Muslims isn't gonna solve a d@mn thing.

    You're more like the guy who finds a lump that might be cancer so you cut off your own b@lls with a dull knife and wonder why you started bleeding to death.

    And on that note I'm done with analogies/this conversation.


    No, I do not think we should be at war with (2.00 / 1) (#111)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:15:51 PM EST
    everyone. That is unless you think that everyone is a radical islamist.

    I do think, and have shown, that radical islamists are at war with us.

    Much to our disadvantage and future problems we have not recognized that fact.


    I have just one question, Jim (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by jondee on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:36:16 PM EST
    do you -- and Newt and any number of right wing radio savants STILL believe advancing "secularism" in America is something to be feared?

    Have some of these extreme expressions of supernaturalism and superstition made you rethink what you were saying about the danger of secularism after Obama was elected?


    Groups like ISIS (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by jondee on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 06:23:15 PM EST
    are going to make the wingnuts honor "secularism" the way they now claim they honor Martin Luther King.

    I don't know what Newt (2.00 / 1) (#154)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:12:50 PM EST
    or right wing radio savants think.

    And why don't you link to something I wrote rather than hinting???


    I fear an attack from a police officer in the US (5.00 / 6) (#114)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:21:47 PM EST
    waaaay more than I fear an attack by a terrorist, Muslim or otherwise.

    jim, I don't think you know what either of (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by Anne on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:33:29 PM EST
    us is saying, and I'm not sure I can make it as simple as you need it to be.

    One event?? Really? Just ONE?? Have you been in a cave? Have you missed the Boston Marathon? The Fort Hood Murders? The Underwear Bomber? The NY Times Square Bomber? The Spanish Train bombings? The Portland Xmas Bomber? The JFK Fuel Farm Plot? The Fort Dix plot? The El Al killing? The Syndey Murders? The Shoe Bomber? The Honor Killings?

    So, what you're telling me is that each and all of those events were isolated, and none of them were a reaction or response to, or were motivated by our going to war against a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11?  Or all the other things we did in response?  

    Unless you've been living in a cave, you can't have missed the way 9/11 has been used to justify all manner of things - not just torture, and drone strikes, but significant incursions on our own civil and constitutional rights.

    I'm not getting into a radical islamist conversation with you jim - you don't make much sense as it is, but when you go off the rails to start those arguments, there's no point in engaging.


    Thanks for proving my point (2.00 / 1) (#79)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:52:44 PM EST
    It is a global war, as OBL, noted, embraced by radical islamists and pursued with a relentless purpose.

    And the only way we can stop the war is to surrender and let them do as they wish through out the whole world.

    And based on your opposition to our response to 9/11 we were also wrong on 12/7/41... Of course our response led to defeating two evil regimes and stopping the Nazis's genocide.


    oh please (5.00 / 3) (#81)
    by CST on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:56:29 PM EST
    The whole world was already at war and there was an obvious enemy with an obvious leader leading a nation with a standing army that wore uniforms into war.

    But please, tell me more about how this is like 1941.

    Oh right, both Hitler and Bin Laden are dead and irrelevant.  Only after Hitler died we pretty much stopped fighting the Nazis.


    It is not like 1941 (none / 0) (#88)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:15:43 PM EST
    On 12/8/41 we had a national consensus and understood we were under attack and what we had to do.

    Sadly, not true today.


    The absolute (5.00 / 3) (#105)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:59:27 PM EST
    LAST thing you or any other Bush supporter should talk about is the Nazi Regime. Mr. Natural linked to a memo from Himmler during the Nazi Regime and it's almost IDENTICAL to what Bush and Cheney did. So you wouldn't recognize evil if it hit you in the face and as a matter of fact even if it hit you in the face apparently you'd EVEN VOTE FOR IT.

    Why don't you link to the memo??? (2.00 / 1) (#162)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:48:08 PM EST
    Let's examine what it says.

    I mean, if you're not up for it, why bring it up??


    Here's my point, jim: (5.00 / 2) (#163)
    by Anne on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:48:55 PM EST
    Conor Friedersdorf:

    Once 9/11 happened, Dick Cheney ceased to believe that the CIA should be subject to the U.S. Constitution, statutes passed by Congress, international treaties, or moral prohibitions against torture. Those standards would be cast aside. In their place, moral relativism would reign. Any action undertaken by the United States would be subject to this test: Is it morally equivalent to what al-Qaeda did on 9/11? Is it as bad as murdering roughly 3,000 innocent people? If not, then no one should criticize it, let alone investigate, charge and prosecute the CIA. Did a prisoner freeze to death? Were others anally raped? Well, what if they were?

    If it cannot be compared with 9/11, if it is not morally equivalent, then it should not be verboten.

    That is the moral standard Cheney is unabashedly invoking on national television. He doesn't want the United States to honor norms against torture. He doesn't want us to abide by the Ten Commandments, or to live up to the values in the Declaration of Independence, or to be restrained by the text of the Constitution. Instead, Cheney would have us take al-Qaeda as our moral and legal measuring stick. Did America torture dozens of innocents? So what. 9/11 was worse.

    I don't know what all that gibberish was that you posted, but it bore no relation to what I wrote.  I feel like you literally drool at the chance to say "radical islamists!"  "terrorists!"  "9/11!!!"

    Maybe there are people who quake in their shoes every time the government "reminds" us about 9/11, but I'm not one of them.


    You can claim to not understand but (1.50 / 2) (#178)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 10:31:02 PM EST
    you do understand. My point was and is that the radical islamists, as OBL noted, won't willingly stop until we let them have their way in the whole world.

    I understand you mistrust the government. So do I. But if I have to choose between our government, and all its faults, and the propaganda put out by the radical islamists and their water carriers I'll choose the one that doesn't promote fathers and brothers killing daughters who have "embarrassed" the family.


    So, what's your solution, jim? (5.00 / 4) (#194)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 06:58:42 AM EST
    Since you apparently see every person of the Muslim faith as a potential radical, are we supposed to engage in a never-ending war to eradicate "them" before they can eradicate us?

    Now, there's an enlightened approach.

    In the meantime, our government becomes more repressive, more militarized, more punitive.  It discourages the expression of opposing views, it uses the media for its own propaganda.  Wealth and power are being concentrated among a smaller and smaller number of people.  At what point do people like you wake up and realize that in the quest to assert our will and wipe out the "radicals," we become more and more like the governments we attack?

    Perhaps you think the trade-off is worth it, but I don't.  I just can't imagine hating anyone or any group to the extent that I'd be willing to give up my freedoms in order to eliminate them.  Because, then what, jim?  Then what?  How do we break out of a prison we've given the government permission to create around us?

    Do you ever look past the end of your own nose, or beyond your hatred?


    Anne writes (none / 0) (#202)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 10:11:52 AM EST
    Do you ever look past the end of your own nose, or beyond your hatred?

    Your replies betray you. Nasty, often vulgar, personal and snarky. Not that I mind, in fact I treasure you demonstrating who you are.  

    Let's review what I have posted in response to your wildly inaccurate claims. One of which is:

    "Since you apparently see every person of the Muslim faith as a potential radical..."

    You are either deliberately making a false statement or truly have great difficulty in understanding simple English.


    My point was and is that the radical islamists, as OBL noted, won't willingly stop until we let them have their way in the whole world.

    Note the specific words. "Radical islamists." That defines them quite well and separates them from the rest of the Muslim world.  

    And you offer no solution to the problems they present.  Your strategy seems to be to ignore where possible and accommodate when you can't. You demonstrate a world view that is both isolationist and pacifist. Very much like the Republican Party prior to 12/7/41.  And also, like the French and English, who after suffering greatly in WWI, foolishly thought that "Peace in our time" was possible.  How did that work out?

    Yet having no strategy you demand to know what I would do.

    Okay. My strategy would be to keep constant pressure on the radicals.

    On a military front I would attack the radicals wherever and whenever they pop up using, as best possible, local Muslim forces in opposition to the radicals. I would interdict and destroy their support lines and wipe out their command and control groups and propaganda sources.

    On the cultural front I would push the moderate Muslims to become very active in condemning the radicals while also pushing for interfaith groups, Muslim, Christians, Jews...all groups, to recognize each other's ceremonies, celebrations, etc.  At the same time I would stress that we are a secular society and no group should demand special treatment. I would insist that the DOJ pursue all attacks on any group with great vigor.

    I would also push the various women's groups to demonstrate strongly against US holdings by SA and other foreign Muslim, groups demanding that they open up their society by establishing women's rights. Hollywood could show they really care by putting their money where their mouths are.

    At the same time I would establish a "Manhattan" type effort to insure that we become energy independent. That would include vigorous use of coal, oil and natural gas while investing heavily in nuclear and fusion. While wind/solar has no practical  large scale application I would push small "homeowner" applications to reduce the pressure for more oil/gas/coal electric generation. In other words, use current methods to keep energy costs low and secure while working towards phasing them out as new technologies become available.

    There you go, Anne. Have you thought through your position?


    Jim (5.00 / 1) (#169)
    by Politalkix on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:27:24 PM EST
    Are you sure your base year is 1941 and not 1095?

    Pope Urban II may have proclaimed the first crusade but Pope Francis is saying that we can stop now. The good Pope has even offered help in closing Guantanamo using his papal connections.


    I'll be happy to stop (2.00 / 1) (#179)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 10:32:50 PM EST
    now tell me how we can be sure the radical islamists have.

    Go ahead. I'm listening.


    Yeah, and they'll get a WMD from Pakistan (none / 0) (#195)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 07:40:44 AM EST
    Or Iran and blow up NYC with it.

    I think there should be a children's book based on Jim's paranoia:

    "Mom, there's an Imam under my bed!"


    Thank you (none / 0) (#30)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 12:04:43 PM EST

    Sony Hack (none / 0) (#19)
    by CST on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 10:25:43 AM EST
    Rock and a hard place.  I think what happened to Sony was terrible.  I also think that the issues about pay inequality are something we need to be discussing.

    Frankly, I don't really care if you're making off-color jokes in your work e-mail.  I do care that there is some blatant pay discrimination going on that maybe as a society we should be talking about.

    I liked Lisa Kudrow's comments (none / 0) (#22)
    by ZtoA on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 11:23:17 AM EST
    "It doesn't matter how many times [an email] says 'This is confidential, meant for just between the sender and the recipient,'" she said. "Why don't we know that there are no rules? Everything is broadcast and published. That's the part I just don't understand."


    I liked the comment in that article (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by CST on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 12:13:03 PM EST
    It's not that they should know better, it's that they should be better.

    I think they'll have a pretty serious class-action lawsuit on their hands soon.

    But more relevant - who else thinks this is par for the course?  I somehow doubt that the pay situation is better at any of the other studios.


    It's absolutely par for the course (none / 0) (#33)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 12:19:02 PM EST
    One of my best friends is a woman named Karen Goulekas who has some pretty serious chops as an artist and more recently an effects supervisor.  We started in the industry the same week at the same studio.

    You and her should definitely have drinks some time.  The stories.........


    Ok very funny (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:16:15 PM EST
    after I posted that I realized I had not heard from her in a long time.  I probably should have said one of my best industry friends.  None of whom I have really seen in a few years for the most part.
    Anyway, I start poking around and I realize in addition to the books she has written on CG effects she has written not one but two books of limericks  and has a blog dedicated to limericks amazing.
    So I go to her twitter account.  I started a Twitter account a couple of weeks ago and I'm still trying to figure it out.  And she had some how already found me and sent me a tweet using her pet name for me that only she uses.



    example (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:19:07 PM EST
    The Palin Family got into a brawl
    A big drunken fist fight - thrown punches by all
    "Don't you know who I am?"
    Sarah shrieked with a Wham!
    Yes we do Sarah, but we don't give a damn!



    I think I technically (none / 0) (#67)
    by CST on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:18:56 PM EST
    Have a twitter account from a few years ago.  Still haven't tweeted anything/figured it out.

    I just sent my first responding to her (none / 0) (#69)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:20:06 PM EST
    we will see what happen now.

    Ha (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 03:35:43 PM EST
    same old keg.

    She is very excited to have gotten my Twitter cherry.


    - from a review of her compendium of VFX (none / 0) (#187)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 01:01:29 AM EST
    (a word I hadn't heard until about a minute ago)

    "as books go, a whole lot of words and very, very heavy."

    lol.  Strangely enough, I already knew about L-systems and octrees.  But Pixel monkey?  

    I met one of your peers, Scott Squires, many years ago at a FORTH programming conference.  He talked about building an application specific language to control cameras and the multiple degrees of motion control that moved cameras around models of spaceships and other stuff to provide the illusion of motion.  I talked about a language I'd built to build teachable inspection gantry robots, not nearly as cool.  

    Sometimes I sit through all the credits on an effects-intensive film, like Avatar or Gravity, agog at the sheer number and miles of names credited with effects and graphics.  Some of the credits and job titles are funny.


    In the works (none / 0) (#37)
    by NYShooter on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 12:51:06 PM EST
    Silicon Valley WORKERS MAY PURSUE COLLUSION CASE AS Group.....Court

    Jan 14 (Reuters) - Roughly 60,000 Silicon Valley workers won clearance to pursue a lawsuit accusing Apple Inc, Google Inc and other companies of conspiring to drive down pay by not poaching each other's staff, after a federal appeals court refused to let the defendants appeal a class certification order.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late on Tuesday let stand an order by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California to let the workers sue as a group, and pursue what the defendants said could exceed 9 billion of damages.

    If you just Google, "Collusion, salaries, Silicon Valley" you'll get hundreds of cases. It seems the problem is quite endemic. All the Big Boys involved, and, from what I've read, Steve Jobs was fanatic about maintaining the collusion. He demanded swift, and severe, punishment (termination) for any employees who sought better paying jobs. I was doubly surprised that the biggest of the big, guys like the Google Boys, Adobe, and, Intel cowed under to Jobs' demands.

    Please understand, cases are still pending, and, I'm just quoting what was offered in the Business News. (Reuters link below) "Innocent till proven guilty."



    Yeah... (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 12:35:23 PM EST
    ...those ridiculous claims are especially funny when some idiot doesn't bother reading the entire email thread before forwarding it outside the company.

    It's not even that they aren't rules, it's that it never degrades, and what you write today will be in the exact same condition in 5 years, and the only thing keeping your words from being read by some you don't want reading it, is the click of a mouse.

    It would be interesting to find out how many people have lost jobs because of an email that inadvertently send to someone who should not have received it.

    As far as Sony goes, could not have happened to finer bunch.  They are the ones who pioneered the concept of controlling your equipment with their product, aka redering your remote useless during previews.  This took a lot of dollars, lobbying, and technology to ensure that your equipment does what they want it to do.  That started an entire revolution in which companies coordinated with manufactures, and sometimes the government to have the ability to do things with your property you don't wan them doing.  And anyone with a computer or a smart phone know exactly how diabolical and frustrating it can be.

    Next time you see the FBI warning about piracy not being a victimless crime, the j@ckasses sending out hateful emails are those the 'victims' they are referring to.


    More cops playing victim card (none / 0) (#38)
    by Reconstructionist on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 12:58:54 PM EST
    Cleveland Police union President says:

       It's pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law. They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology.


        Now, the Browns might owe an apology for their performance on the field yesterday, but the cops have the right to have their mouthpiece criticize the player's speech and for it to get plenty of attention.

    Here I thought protecting the (5.00 / 5) (#42)
    by MO Blue on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 01:19:25 PM EST
    stadium was part of their job and they were paid a salary in compensation. I didn't realize that their contract contained a provision that stated they need only serve and protect those who say nice things about them. :o(

    Weird to see... (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by kdog on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 01:41:28 PM EST
    "protect and serve" and "Browns" in the same sentence.  ;)

    I, for one, am happy to see athletes speaking their social conscience again...and I hope they keep speaking out.  


    ... if they didn't subsequently lose the game, 30-0.



    I think it's pretty pathetic when police claim (5.00 / 4) (#118)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:33:35 PM EST
    to know the law. Trust me, too many of them don't know squat about the laws they are paid to enforce. Case in point, recent story of 76-year-old man in Victoria, Texas getting thrown to the ground and tazed for an expired Texas inspection on a vehicle that was exempt from inspection. I was cited many years ago in Texas for not wearing motorcycle helmet when Texas had a mandatory helmet law. The law had a specific exemption for medical reasons. The law was written with clear on how the medical exemption applied. I handed the officer the medical exemption paperwork (I was healing a broken jaw). The cop read the paperwork, proceeded to throw back to me, saying "this don't mean nothing," then wrote the ticket.

    There are other many examples. Namely the many recent cases of cops telling people they can't video them, when courts of clearly stated that cops in public on the public dime can be recorded.

    This pouty rant by the Cleveland cops is much like the one from St. Louis county. Entitled thugs made cause angry cause the rest of us are tired of taking their crapola.


    I think (none / 0) (#39)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 01:13:03 PM EST
    professional sports is really worried about this.  All those people of color you know......

    Well, Lot of Black People Wearing Shirts... (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 01:29:37 PM EST
    ...I would imagine some of them have had their skulls thumped by the police.  It's the nation wide media coverage they fear.  They know how to handle the folks in their jurisdiction.

    But that is police, they are known for their tolerance of criticism.


    Yeah, public relations (none / 0) (#41)
    by NYShooter on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 01:17:17 PM EST
    has always been important but, never more than at these times. Doesn't the Union have a "front" man, knowledgeable about these kinds of things.

    "No-Win" situation, and/or "let sleeping dogs lie" comes to mind.

    And, of course, aren't they both "brothers" in the Union struggle? (give or a few zeros)

    ....o.k. That was <snark>

    Yes, an opportunity (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by KeysDan on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 02:36:08 PM EST
    for a good public relations offensive. I want that contract.

    The Police Unions could take a cue from the Senate Torture summary report counter-offensive campaign.  Get some really smart, if not smarmy,  spokesman, like Michael Hayden to say up is down. Hold forth with a grand and patriotic backdrop, like Brennan did in the marble foyer of the CIA headquarters.  Keep to the theme of "just a few bad apples," call for a "blue ribbon committee,"  get behind "reform" some time in the future, and wait for the next news cycle.

    The CIA did destroy the videos so the police unions do have a challenge--but not an insurmountable one---easily overcome with clever videos, perhaps,  adapted from the 1933 Marx Brothers, "Duck Soup,"  when Chico, dressed as Groucho, says "who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"  It worked for Mrs. Teasdale, it can work for the world.


    Ah, yes! "Duck Soup." (none / 0) (#191)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 02:44:39 AM EST
    It has my favorite Groucho line of all time:

    "Remember men, we're fighting for this woman's honor -- which is probably more than she ever did."



    SC: Ignorance of the Law Is an Excuse (none / 0) (#56)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 02:31:14 PM EST
    Disagree (none / 0) (#84)
    by jbindc on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:10:14 PM EST
    I think the North Carolina Court of Appeals got it wrong in the first place. Probably why this case had an 8-1 ruling.

    From Kagan's concurrence:

    The Court's analysis of Sergeant Darisse's interpretation of the North Carolina law at issue here appropriately reflects these principles. As the Court explains, see ante, at 12-13, the statute requires every car on the highway to have "a stop lamp," in the singular. N. C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §20-129(g) (2007). But the statute goes on to state that a stop lamp (or, in more modern terminology, brake light) "may be incorporated into a unit with one or more other rear lamps," suggesting that a stop lamp itself qualifies as a rear lamp. Ibid. (emphasis added). And the statute further mandates that every car have "all originally equipped rear lamps . . . in good working order." §20-129(d) (emphasis added). The North Carolina Court of Appeals dealt with the statute's conflicting signals in one way (deciding that a brake light is not a rear lamp, and so only one needs to work); but a court could easily take the officer's view (deciding that a brake light is a rear lamp, and if a car comes equipped with more than one, as modern cars do, all must be in working order). The critical point is that the statute poses a quite difficult question of interpretation, and Sergeant Darisse's judgment, although overturned, had much to recommend it. I therefore agree with the Court that the traffic stop he conducted did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

    I think Sotomayor stretches a bit in her dissent. I don't think it was a mistake of law at all - the law is clearly contradictory and poorly worded, as Kagan clearly points out and would be out of the norm for every other jurisdiction.  It is also common sense (I know, right?) that if you have two brake lights, they should both be working.  I can't imagine any state law that says you have two brake lights on your car, but it's ok for you to be driving when one is out.

    More Think Progress pearl clutching.


    Tail lights (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by Uncle Chip on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:46:57 PM EST
    I can't imagine any state law that says you have two brake lights on your car, but it's ok for you to be driving when one is out.

    Afterall why should the law require the police have to bust both tail lights out in order to search your car when busting just one out will do.


    From SCOTUSblog (none / 0) (#200)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 10:04:32 AM EST
    The whole meme that "Ignorance of the law is no excuse except for police officers." A complete canard.

    Before closing, let's put one trending, but erroneous, sound bite to rest.   Heien argued that because the common-law maxim "ignorance of the law is no excuse" applies to private citizens who break the law, it should also be applied to police here. Tweeters are now claiming that today's ruling means the maxim applies to everyone except the police. That not only ignores the very different contexts (criminal law breaking versus justifications for stopping suspected law-breakers), but it's wrong also in its premise. In fact, the Court long ago ruled that a reasonable "ignorance of the law" can be a defense to prosecution. In Lambert v. California (1957), the Court vacated a criminal conviction because the law at issue could not be reasonably known to the citizenry. This ruling still finds application today, albeit rarely. It seems that the Court may have (even if not consciously) reinvigorated the Lambert concept today at page 12, where it indicated that "the government cannot impose criminal liability based on a mistaken understanding of the law." If read broadly, this statement could represent a sea change in the modern understanding of Lambert - a decision that Justice Frankfurter called, in dissent, "a derelict on the waters of the law." But it seems clear that the Court today meant "on [its own] misunderstanding of the law," not a private citizen's.

    Meanwhile, police who break the law are still subject to the usual maxim: ignorance of the law will not excuse their lawbreaking any more than anyone else's. But here, police are trying to implement the Fourth Amendment, not break the law. There is of course some tension between the idea that "the law is definite and knowable" versus an officer's "reasonable" legal mistake. But the Court held today only that when police officers reasonably understand others to have broken the law, they may briefly stop them to investigate without violating the Fourth Amendment. Absent a shift in societal standards for law enforcement - and recently we are witnessing at least a re-examination -- this ruling seems unsurprising.

    Speaking of Christmas, (none / 0) (#87)
    by fishcamp on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:14:45 PM EST
    my GF, who is a fantastic chef and caterer, asked if she could fix a nice Christmas Eve dinner for a few of our friends, here at my house.  Of course, I said yes, and one of the friends called to tell me how nice The Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner will be.  Whoa, what is this all about?  It seems The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an old traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner, with at least seven fishes, since the number seven is mentioned over 700 times in the bible.  You can even have nine, or thirteen fish dishes.  The thirteen fish one represents the seven Apostles, and Jesus.  There are some traditional fish dishes, like salted Cod, Mahimahi (no problem), various shellfishes with pasta, and stuffed eel.  Yes, just ask your fish monger to skin and slit the eel for stuffing.  Hopefully we have no eels down here, or else, I will have to ban that species.  Milk products are not used, so I will not be able to make a batch of Zorba's famous Tzatziki.  Has any one ever heard of The Feast of the Seven Fishes?

    make that 12 Apostles... (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by fishcamp on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:16:33 PM EST
    You can skip the eel, (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Zorba on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:20:56 PM EST
    As far as I'm concerned.  I really don't like it at all, and I've had it prepared several ways.
    Maybe my antipathy towards eels stems from the time I watched the movie "The Tin Drum," based on the novel by Günter Grass, with the beach scene involving using a horse's head to catch eels.  {{Shudder}}
    Not that this was the only disturbing scene in that movie; there were plenty of others, believe me.  

    A fish story, or (5.00 / 3) (#115)
    by KeysDan on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:29:34 PM EST
    better, an eel story.  When traveling in China, our host served a platter of eels of various sizes.  When served,  I asked  for the lesser of two eels.  My American colleagues laughed (either at me or the lame joke), but our host did not--thinking the laughter was directed at the food.  A lesson in diplomacy ensued--check humor, or attempts, at the door, unless you are ready for joke explanations.  

    do it every year.

    We've done it every year (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by jbindc on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:28:21 PM EST
    For about the last 10 years. Thankfully, my aunt (who always hosts) also gets some kind of chicken, as I and a few others, really don't like a lot of seafood (although I do love lots of the shrimp cocktail she serves).

    A few fishes short (none / 0) (#92)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:22:17 PM EST
    I love eel (none / 0) (#95)
    by CST on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:30:58 PM EST

    My family's Christmas tradition is Chinese food, usually Peking Duck.  I think I was 25 before I learned this was a "Jewish" thing (we're not really Jewish).  I always figured it was because my mom didn't feel like cooking (probably the real reason).


    It was only a "Jewish thing" (none / 0) (#109)
    by Reconstructionist on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 05:10:58 PM EST
      because all the other restaurants were closed on Christmas.



    Not I (none / 0) (#100)
    by sj on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:41:52 PM EST
    I will have to ask my New York Italian brother-in-law about it. But was that how the invitation was presented or did you guest assume?

    And what do you have against eel, anyway?


    sj, I found out about the eel (5.00 / 2) (#167)
    by fishcamp on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:11:12 PM EST
    part of the feast via Google.  Eating eels is just not something I'm used to, and the horse head story that Zorba mentions has prejudiced me even more.  Also, we have so many varieties of fresh fish down here;  but if she gets some eels, that will be fine, I guess. I also wonder what they are stuffed with, traditionally speaking.  I guess I shouldn't be so squeamish since we Scots have Haggis.

    If I'm going Seven Fishes (none / 0) (#164)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 08:59:07 PM EST
    I'd like to request: Hog Snapper, Yellowtail, Dolphin, Grouper, Salmon, Snook, and Seatrout. But if we're strictly talking Keys Seven Fishes, feel free to drop the salmon and throw in either Wahoo or Cobia.

    CG, I think part of the Italian (none / 0) (#168)
    by fishcamp on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:19:49 PM EST
    Feast of the Seven Fishes, includes shellfish with pasta, which she makes regularly.  Sea trout are good,  but they often have worms, kinda like little eels.

    I view shellfish as fish (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 11:35:02 PM EST
    the same way I view catfish as cats. But at your suggestion I'll be happy to drop the trout for a few Florida lobster.

    Sea trout figures prominently in (none / 0) (#181)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 11:24:25 PM EST
    "The River," the play featuring Hugh Jackman. Nut nothing about worms.

    Richard Linklater on writing Boyhood's (none / 0) (#101)
    by Angel on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:46:35 PM EST
    Saddest Moment. Brought tears to my eyes reading this and remembering the end of the film.  I so love his work.  Would be so happy if Patricia Arquette received the Oscar for her role in this film.

    That was an emotionally brutal scene. (none / 0) (#192)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 04:16:54 AM EST
    It evoked a lot of memories. When I left for college, my mother drove me to Burbank Airport to put me on the plane for Seattle, and walked with me to the gate. When they called my flight for boarding, she gave me the biggest hug, told me she was proud of me, and then scooted me off.

    Honestly, I think I was simply too excited and scared to death that day to notice any real emotion on her part. In fact, my own anxiety level was pretty much through the roof that entire week. I turned around to wave goodbye, but she had already turned and was walking away and back to her car. She said much later that she left quickly because she knew I was stressed out enough as it was, and she didn't want me to see her cry.

    I was very grateful that she gave me a written list of things to do upon my arrival at UW and check-in at the dorm -- unpack all my things from the boxes and put everything away in the drawers and closets, sign up for the meal plan, open a local bank account (to deposit the checks she and my grandparents gave me as an initial stake), set up phone service, buy laundry detergent, go to the bookstore, etc.

    (I'm also really glad that she read the UW dorm manual and took note of all the things I'd need, because I sure didn't! That last week home, she took me shopping for sheets, towels and other personal items. But then, she no doubt knew instinctively -- as I know now as a parent myself -- that teenagers tend to not read instruction manuals.)

    That first day at school, I focused like a laser beam to complete everything on my mother's list. Silly as this sounds, looking at her handwritten instructions gave me comfort and reassurance. Once I was finally done, I called her that evening as she requested -- it was the very last item on that list -- and she just basically said to me over the next couple of minutes, "Good. Now that wasn't so hard, was it? You'll do just fine, I promise. Call me if you need anything. 'Bye. Love you. Have fun. We'll see you at Thanksgiving."

    And just like that, I was newly emboldened and on my own.


    USA Today rape hoax article (none / 0) (#104)
    by McBain on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 04:59:23 PM EST

    Glenn Harlan Reynolds' article fits with my overall attitude that things tend to get slightly better, not worse.

    "Americans have been living through an enormously sensationalized college rape hoax"

    " Because the truth is that there's no epidemic outbreak of college rape. In fact, rape on college campuses is -- like rape everywhere else in America -- plummeting in frequency"

    We have a Surgeon General (none / 0) (#172)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:32:39 PM EST
    Isn't this odd writing: (none / 0) (#182)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 11:28:35 PM EST
    But in the end, the political immunity of lame duck status was too much to overcome -- even the N.R.A. Senators Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, all Democrats who lost in November, voted for Dr. Murthy.

    Pehaps (none / 0) (#196)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 08:23:44 AM EST
    but good news

    In what way is it odd? (none / 0) (#197)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 08:44:30 AM EST
    Not really sure I see where the oddity is.

    Me either (none / 0) (#198)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 08:46:09 AM EST
    i was just not feeling like being argumentative.