[syndicated profile] crooksandliars_feed

Posted by John Amato

NBA star Lebron James held a presser to explain why he was so critical of Trump's attacks on the Stephen Curry and NFL players over the weekend.

Stephen Curry said he was not in favor of going to the White House to celebrate the Warriors championship because of Trump's rhetoric, but a team decision had not been made, Trump then responded with another inflammatory tweet:

LeBron James jumped in with a response of his own.

[syndicated profile] crooksandliars_feed

Posted by John Amato

Trump's press secretary defended Trump vitriolic attack of the NFL and its players, telling the press. "I think it's always appropriate for the President of the United States to defend our flag," and for those "who fought and died to defend it."

Jingoism is MAGA!

After Huckabee's opening remarks, Fox News' John Roberts asked, "Given the response the president has gotten in the last 48 hours even from Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, who believes what the president said on Friday night was very divisive, does the president regret at all describing these players who take a knee for the national anthem as S.O.B.s who should be fired?"

Okay, this is a funny question for many reasons.

Not funny- ha-ha, but sad because Trump has never backed away from any divisive statement he's ever made since he's been in office.

She replied, "Look, this isn't about the president being against anyone - "

I think demanding players be fired and calling them 'sonsofbitches' is being against a whole lot of people, Sarah.

"- but this is about the president and millions of Americans being for something, being for honoring our our national anthem and honoring the men and women who fought to defend it, " she said.

She then read off General Dempsey's statement against not standing for the national anthem.

Roberts continued, "Did the president go too far in referring to the players as SOB's who should be fired?"

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Podcast Workshop in Bristol

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:40 pm
[syndicated profile] cherylmorgan_feed

Posted by Cheryl

On Thursday October 12th my Ujima colleague, Miranda Rae, and I will be running a Podcasting for Beginners workshop at the BBC offices. Here’s Miranda’s blurb:

Want to launch your own Podcast but not sure where to start? Or perhaps you have already started one but would like to improve it or develop it further? If either applies, this is the workshop for you! Podcaster, producers and broadcasters Miranda Rae (Radio 4, Radio 5, Sony Award Winner, Galaxy Radio, Ujima Radio) and Cheryl Morgan (Publisher, Critic, Hugo Award Winner) will guide you through a three hour crash course that will leave you with all the confidence and know how you need to get going with your very own podcast!

What makes a great podcasting story
How to conduct a good interview
How to get your Podcast out there
Branding your Podcast
Basic technical skills (Recording/Editing)
Recording a Skype Call
What equipment and software need to produce a Podcast

That’s 6:30pm to 9:30pm on Thursday, 12th October. A bargain at £30 per head. There’s a Facebook event with booking details here.

Where We Are

Sep. 25th, 2017 09:13 pm
[syndicated profile] atrios_feed

[syndicated profile] rudepundit_feed

Posted by Rude One

I know that I should be writing about President Trump's belligerent, oafish attacks on National Football League players who take a knee during the National Anthem. I know I should point out that Colin Kaepernick and others aren't protesting the flag or the dumb, boring National Anthem, but that they are protesting police brutality and the murder of unarmed African Americans by cops. I know I should call Trump all kinds of names and make nasty references to body parts.

But, instead, when it comes to Trump, it's more important to point out that, since last Wednesday, the President of the United States has not tweeted about Puerto Rico, the American territory that was devastated by Hurricane Maria last week and Hurricane Irma before. It's more important to point out that the White House website offers no information on Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, also wrecked by storms, since a readout of a phone call with their governors from last Thursday. At a point where a real president would be uniting us behind Americans whose lives have been destroyed, Trump has chosen to divide us between people who give a shit about the goddamn American flag and people who do not.

So I'm sorry that I'm not railing on that red meat topic. Instead, I'm thinking about the families of a hell of a lot of my students. I'm thinking about the millions of loved ones of the estimated over 5 million Puerto Ricans who live in the United States mainland.

I'm thinking about how:

- About 80% of the lines that bring electricity to cities and towns were decimated by the storms, on top of the fact that all the local power lines are down. The power grid will likely need to be rebuilt from scratch. The heat index in San Juan right now is 100 degrees. 91 plus the humidity. With not even a fan. And no water pumping stations on line. Which means you can't flush a toilet. Or get a drink. Imagine for a second being without electricity for months, as people without generators will be. Imagine being without every modern convenience and more than a few necessities.

- Maria "wiped out about 80 percent of the crop value in Puerto Rico." It took out dairy barns, chicken coops, and plantations. It destroyed the roads where food is transported with debris and landslides.

- The Guajataca dam still is at risk of breaking, flooding an area where 70,000 live. Meanwhile, the streets of the cities in Puerto Rico are still flooded, days after the storm.

- Fuel is in short supply. People line up for hours to get anything for cars or generators.

- Hospitals can't guarantee that they can take in more patients, let alone take care of the ones who are there. Hospitals lack enough electricity and running water, even with generators helping.

Fox "news" personality Geraldo Rivera is from Puerto Rico, and he was able to get to the island to see how his family was doing. His assessment is stark, especially for, well, Fox: "Only an approach like the Marshall Plan that resurrected Europe in the wake of World War II can save this place known as La Isla del Encanto, the island of enchantment. Bring in the aircraft carriers; import thousands of generators. Recruit linemen from around the United States to rally to the cause of their fellow U.S. citizens. The need is dire."

A massive effort will need to be undertaken, and, to be fair, FEMA is there and helping, as much as it can. But there are very few places for planes to land, and the Navy could send a hospital ship to help. Mostly, the level of devastation is too huge to grapple with. And we're talking a population roughly seven times that of New Orleans during Katrina. Right now, the White House is talking about getting a disaster aid request to Congress in the next couple of weeks. Enough time for a whole lot of people to die. Enough time for a humanitarian crisis to overtake any efforts going on now.

Trump's refusal to discuss Puerto Rico at all this weekend while he was freely disparaging the NFL and John McCain and, of course, playing golf come across as distressingly apathetic and unsurprisingly racist. And, frankly, the media is aiding and abetting this apathy by concentrating on his bullshit tweets (it'd be one thing if CNN was using Trump's hissy fit to discuss police tactics, but, no, it's just "Trump mad. You mad, too?"). This morning, NPR didn't even mention Puerto Rico in its news round-up. The New York Times had a brief mention of an article on the bottom of the front page.

Maria would be Trump's Katrina, except very few people seem to give a damn.
[syndicated profile] camestrosfelapton_feed

Posted by camestrosfelapton

There is a lot not to like about Angela Merkel and the gains by the far-right are troublesome but by the standards of everybody else (e.g. Brexit, Trump), the outcome could have been far, far worse https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/25/germany-elections-merkel-coalition-government

It is sad though that we need to be relieved when a modern democratic country manages to not undermine itself at the polls. Change has become alarming but at the same time change is vital to democracy.

[syndicated profile] camestrosfelapton_feed

Posted by camestrosfelapton

When I first heard the premise for Star Trek: Discovery I was disappointed. The show is set marginally before the original series relative to the broad continuity of the TV shows. As a decision, it implied the kind of navel-gazing or over-reverence to the original material that ends in both stagnation and a confused need for re-invention. It is the contradiction that leads to repetitive reboots of superhero origin stories but with odd new twists. I assume the thinking with Discovery was that they wanted to re-introduce viewers to the established Star Trek galaxy by having the protagonists encounter familiar elements while changing those elements so as not to be too predictable.

So you end up with a setting that is familiar but different but in a way that contains no real surprises and which makes the differences jarring. Why not just set the story AFTER the period of The Next Generation/DS9/Voyager shows? Create a sense of civilisation moved on? Perhaps here the baggage of all those shows felt too much – too many big bads (the Borg, the Dominion etc) too many alien antagonists (the Ferengi, the now unfortunately named Cardassians). The galactic quadrants had become too busy and too packed with rubber headed aliens. By setting the series back just before the original series the show could make the Klingons the bad guys again.

It’s not fair to compare this decision with the Doctor Who reboot because despite their similar age the shows don’t treat continuity in the same way. However, Russell T Davies made a smart move from which Discovery could have learnt. Set a new series in a time that follows a catastrophe that creates both a bridge to the previous series, and allows the viewers to re-encounter familiar protagonists in a new way. That doesn’t imply a new Star Trek would need to have a post-apocalyptic vibe, rather some sort of event that disrupted galactic civilisations sufficiently that the Federation is needing to rebuild (a gamma-ray burst, a contagion that spreads via transporter beams, a big-bad alien did more damage than usual).

Discovery hasn’t taken that option but the setting kind of looks like it did. The technology is both old and new, the spaceships look both updated and more grungy, some aliens are now more familiar and closer to humans (e.g. the Vulcans) while others have become even more alien and Star Fleet understands them less (the Klingons). The whole feel of the show implies a setting where change has occurred but which claims that it is about changes that will occur and I find that somewhat annoying.

Visually the show looks fantastic. The capacity to produce a SF TV show with stunning visuals has grown tremendously. An alien desert planet in episode 1 looks like more than just a sandy patch. An EVA to an alien artefact in the accretion disk of a binary star system consuming itself makes little astrophysical sense but again looks suitably spacey and has a nice echo with the first Star Trek film. [Minor spoiler] Episode 2 features a full-on multi-starship space battle and some very good action scenes. The new version of the Klingons are still rubber headed aliens but distinctly more alien looking.

Meanwhile, the phasers and the communicators are reverently remodelled versions of the ‘classic’ props. Which is fine but together it doesn’t make much sense. It feels like the story team (who want the setting to be distinctly just a few years before TOS) and the effects and design team (who want to show off all the new things that can be done) are at loggerheads. It works when what is showed is things that we didn’t see before but which have always been implied (e.g. episode 2 use the shields and force fields effectively as visuals and as part of the story on a damaged starship). It works less well when funky new things are added because they are cool (starship communications now included projecting hologram avatars right in front of you because that looks cool).

The Klingons speak Klingon and end up speaking a lot of Klingon – maybe a tad too much to be honest. Meanwhile, the Vulcans just look like Vulcans and the main protagonist Michael Burnham (more on the name below) is a human who was brought up as a Vulcan and looks a bit Vulcany. The unfortunate effect is that the nice aliens look more human than ever and the nasty aliens look even more alien than ever.

I don’t want to delve too much into the details of the story but I thought, despite all my griping above, that it was decent. It isn’t a spoiler to say that the first two episodes are about the federation re-encountering the Klingon Empire – the first episode’s cold open is a Klingon speech that reveals their anxiety about a growing menace and a “lie” that they see as an open threat: “We come in peace.” The story suffers a bit from wanting a sense of realism but then pitching events and circumstances that require a more generous suspension of disbelief.

Interspersed with the main story we also see more of the backstory of the central character. Michael Burnham is a human who has been raised by Vulcans – specifically Sarek, the guy who is Spock’s dad (although that connection is not mentioned in the show). Her name is giving the Scrappy-Doos conniptions because it is a boys name! (OMG! A girl with a boys name! I guess they’ve never met a Robin or a Cameron or an Ashley or a Meredith, heck isn’t the Gamergate mascot called Vivian?) Assuming that you can cope with the shocking news that there are women in the future called Michael, I really liked this character. She is a mess of contradictions and makes some very bad decisions and this aspect is where the show starts doing something genuinely different and interesting.

Now, it is only two episodes in but the approach here appears to be to follow a central character’s story through a set of events set in the Star Trek universe rather than to have a show that follows the standard Star Trek story structure. By the end of episode 2, the titular starship “Discovery” hasn’t appeared, nor has its captain and the central character is not in a good place. I think this is a smart decision. A planet/monster of the week show is something that other shows can do quite effectively (e.g. see Killjoys) on a smaller budget. More substantial story arcs make more sense for a pricey show on a streaming service (CBS’s own service in the US, Netflix for the rest of us – which is probably a better deal for the non-USAians). Showing us a character that fits with the Starfleet and Federation ethos but whose bad decisions drive the plot is a clever change.

Worth watching? If you already have a Netflix subscription, yes, definitely I’d say. Despite the annoying continuity/not-continuity element of the show, it looks good, it was nicely acted and the dialogue gets snappier (no laughs though). A strong attempt to do a serious space opera. For Americans, I don’t know what else the CBS streaming service has and I’m not sure I’d feel happy having paid for access JUST for this show. Your mileage may vary.

[syndicated profile] crooksandliars_feed

Posted by Frances Langum

Steve Bannon Wanted To Infiltrate Facebook Hiring Before Joining Trump Campaign

No one is surprised. Except maybe Facebook, which clearly spent 2016 entirely focused on cashing checks rather than noting their site was being taken over by Republi-Russians. Business Insider:

In a message to Bannon, the conservative Family Research Council's Chris Gacek passed along a job application at Facebook-owned messaging platform Whatsapp, and suggested that it may be "perfect for Breitbart to flood the zone with candidates of all stripes who will report back to you/Milo with INTEL about the job application process."

"Can u get on this," Bannon asked Yiannopoulos, who forwarded the message to his research team.

One researcher voiced skepticism, saying it "seems difficult to do quietly without them becoming aware of efforts."

Wow, Family Research Council, Steve Bannon, and MILO? Future poster boys for the "Andrew Breitbart Wing of Dante's Antenora" sure are busy!

Yet another reason for making sure Democrats control the Congress in 2018.

UPDATE: Apparently the story was broken by Buzzfeed. Somebody leaked Bannon emails to Buzzfeed. Dang, is this White House in trouble.

[syndicated profile] crooksandliars_feed

Posted by John Amato

Rep. Louis Gohmert told Fox News' Steve Doocy that Sen. McCain should be recalled because of the stress of fighting cancer and because he broke his word on repealing Obamacare.

I kid you not.

"Arizona could help him and us, recall him," Gohmert said.

Fox and Friends brought on the Texas Congressman to complain along with Steve Doocy about how the Senate has failed to pass a healthcare bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare.

Doocy said, "So many Republicans in the Senate who said give me a chance, reelect me and now it looks like this [Graham-Cassidy] is DOA."

Rep. Gohmert said he was out in Arizona when Trump endorsed John McCain and called it " a rare mistake."

Doocy, "Now McCain is saying no."

Gohmert replied, "He is one of those that said I will repeal -- if he had said last year what he was going to do, Kelli Ward would have beat him, Ann Kirkpatrick would have beat him."

He continued, "You know, nothing inhibits recovery from cancer like stress. I think Arizona could help him and us; recall him. Let him, you know, fight successfully this terrible cancer and let's get somebody in here that will keep the word he gave last year."

This stunned the Fox and Friends co-host.

Doocy, "Say that again? What are you suggesting, that he be recalled?"

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Gotta Know Someone

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:22 pm
[syndicated profile] atrios_feed
I know too much relies on one or two of the right GOP members of Congress to have some personal experience which makes them see the light that their cold black hearts previously did not let them see, but the health care thing is a mystery. You gotta be pretty damn richie rich, and have pretty damn good richie rich insurance of the kind that most people with "good" insurance don't have, to not get that there is a big problem with our health care system. Most of these people have to have an old friend (maybe even a facebook friend! it's 2017) or a cousin or brother-in-law or whoever who has had an expensive tangle with our medical system. Sure some of the House Freedom Caucus genuinely believe if only we had FREEDOM then everybody would have cheap medical care, but most of the members of Congress aren't that...ok..not ALL of the members of Congress are that dumb.

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