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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jamie Dornan and Ellen DeGeneres

Making fun of Fifty Shades of Grey :) ....



Jamie Dornan and Ellen DeGeneres Substitute Office Supplies for Sex Toys in Fifty Shades Darkest Spoof

I've not read or seen any of the Fifty Shades of Grey books or movies because they sound like a conservative's control-freak porn, with power disparity, severe scripting, and a plethora of necessary props (The New Yorker: No Pain, No Gain).

But I am a fan of the actor in the films, Jamie Dornan ....



He's the Huntsman on Once Upon a Time :) ...


Monday, January 30, 2017

The Monday Night Massacre



Trump Fires Acting Attorney General Over Immigration Directive.

In the video above, Harvard law professor Larry Tribe is asked about what Trump has done. In part, Tribe said, "For him [Trump] to turn the Justice Department, though this discharge, into part of his fiefdom and compromise its independence suggests that he has no commitment to the institutional integrity of the department we rely on to represent the rule of law and not simply the will and whim of the president of the United States."

And here, Yates is grilled by Sessions at her 2015 confirmation hearing for deputy attorney general about her willingness to stand up to the president on principal ...



Something like this hasn't happened since the Saturday Night Massacre, when Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox and accepted the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus during the investigation into the Watergate scandal.

More from The Atlantic: Trump Fires Acting Attorney General for Defying Order on Muslims

So it took Trump 10 days to go Nixon.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Autobiography of James T. Kirk



It's hard not to write a post that's about the continuing insanity of the Trump presidency, but I'll give it a try. My latest kindle book from the public library is The Autobiography of James T. Kirk by David A. Goodman. It's pretty fun so far.

You can read more about it at Reuters: 'Star Trek's' Captain Kirk writes an autobiography.

Here's the blurb from the library's page ...

The Autobiography of James T. Kirk chronicles the greatest Starfleet captain's life (2233--2371), in his own words. From his birth on the U.S.S. Kelvin, his youth spent on Tarsus IV, his time in the Starfleet Academy, his meteoric raise through the ranks of Starfleet, and his illustrious career at the helm of the Enterprise, this in-world memoir uncovers Captain Kirk in a way Star Trek fans have never seen. Kirk's singular voice rings throughout the text, giving insight into his convictions, his bravery, and his commitment to the life--in all forms--throughout this Galaxy and beyond. Excerpts from his personal correspondence, captain's logs, and more give Kirk's personal narrative further depth.

And here's the forward, written (heh) by Dr. McCoy :) .....

* * *

First let me just say, I'm a doctor not a writer. But, having read this memoir, I’ve decided I do have something to add. For the most part, Jim Kirk said everything that needed to be said about himself. But he left out one important detail, for the obvious reason that he was too modest to think it, let alone say it, so I will:

He was the greatest hero who ever lived.

Now, before you assume I’m exaggerating, and before I tell you to go to hell, let’s look at his life objectively. Who else in the last fifty years was at the center of so many critical events? Who else in that time made more decisions that affected the course of civilization? It seems unbelievable that so much history could be centered around one person, but the record is clear. And I don’t know whether it was divine providence, luck, or the mythical Great Bird of the Galaxy that determined the man who would be in the center seat of the Starship Enterprise, I’m just thankful it was Jim Kirk.

Though he skips this description of himself, his memoir leaves out little else, and for that reason it is revelatory. The personal secrets in here paint an honest portrait of the man. In some ways, he was just like the rest of us: lonely, ambitious, a son, a father, a lover, never truly content. Where he set himself apart is in the way he took responsibility for his mistakes, embraced his weaknesses, and always strove to do better, to be better. It is in this way that he is a true hero; despite his successes, he knew there was always more work to be done, and he never shied away from the call of duty. His passing is a catastrophic loss; he looked after all of us.

For me, the loss is personal: I had no better friend, and I raise my glass to him one last time.

To James T. Kirk, captain of the Enterprise.

* * *

Saturday, January 28, 2017

ACLU takes immigration ban to court

UPDATE: ACLU Received Record $24 Million in Online Donations This Weekend

Federal Judge Stays Deportations, Blocking Part Of Trump's Immigration Order ...

Federal Judge Judge Ann Donnelly in Brooklyn, N.Y. granted a request by the American Civil Liberties Union and issued a stay late Saturday on the deportations of refugees and valid visa holders after they have landed at a U.S. airport. The ruling by Donnelly temporarily blocks President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration signed Friday ...




Friday, January 27, 2017

Alternate facts & the March for Life

UPDATE: I feel uncomfortable whenever I post something about abortion because the image of pro-life people is that of sweet kindly baby-lovers and to be pro-choice is to be seen as cold, cruel, selfish. That's public perception but when you look at actual cases, you might see things differently.

For instance, read Andrew Sullivan's series on the personal stories of women who had to get late term abortions. Or read about the case of the nine year old Brazilian girl who was pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather. Her doctors told her she would die without an abortion but the church did its best to keep her from getting one. When the church failed, it excommunicated her mother and her doctors. And then there is the case of Savita Halappanavar, a Hindu woman living in Ireland who was refused an abortion when she miscarried and she died as a result: Miscarrying woman denied an abortion dies in Ireland.

Pro-life people don't care about the lives of girls and women. I don't think they even care about fetuses, because they won't promote the one thing that really reduces abortion - contraception. I think what's really at stake for them is controlling women's reproductive lives. So, even though it makes me uncomfortable, I will keep posting about this subject. Oh, and for the record, no, I have never had an abortion. Now, here's the original post ....

* * *

The March for Life happened and VP Pence spoke there (see Mike Pence’s March for Life Address Was Mawkish Doublespeak and Why Do Pro-Life Activists Seem Only to Care About Unborn Lives?).

One of the things he said was that "life is winning in America". I just want to point out that this, like so many statements made by the Trump administration and by the pro-life movement, is of questionable veracity .....

- As of 2016, public support for legal abortion is as high as it has been in two decades of polling. Currently, 57% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 39% say it should be illegal in all or most cases. - Pew Research Center

- A large majority of voters support the 44-year-old Supreme Court decision that established women’s abortion rights — and oppose efforts to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood — according to a new poll released Friday. The Quinnipiac University poll — which shows 70 percent of voters agree with the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade — was released on the day anti-abortion demonstrators rally in Washington, and six days before President Donald Trump is slated to name his nominee to fill a vacancy on the high court. - Poll: Voters favor Roe, oppose cutting Planned Parenthood funds

Yes, given Trump is anti-abortion and will appoint an anti-abortion justice to the Supreme Court, it may look as though "life" will win, but that's certainly not a done deal ....

- Why Donald Trump Won't Be Able to Overturn Roe v. Wade

- Trump Probably Can’t Get Roe v. Wade Overturned

- Could Donald Trump overturn 'Roe v. Wade'? Here's what would have to happen

When Pence says life is winning, he really means that the Trump administration will do what they can to punish women who get abortions, by making it more difficult. But public opinion and the law will counter that.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Size matters



Trump pressured Park Service to find proof for his claims about inauguration crowd

Rogue National Park Accounts Emerge On Twitter Amid Social Media Gag Orders

Trump: bringing back torture

UPDATE: Despite Trump's apparent love of torture, GOP leaders speak out against torture after Trump comments. I never thought I'd be grateful to the Republican leadership for anything, but I am for this.

I have a question for all you Catholics who voted for Trump because he was pro-life: is Trump the torturer pro-life enough for you? Oh, wait, I forgot ... pro-lifers only care about the treatment of others *before* they're born.

- Trump Poised to Lift Ban on C.I.A. ‘Black Site’ Prisons ...

The Trump administration is preparing a sweeping executive order that would clear the way for the C.I.A. to reopen overseas “black site” prisons, like those where it detained and tortured terrorism suspects before former President Barack Obama shut them down. President Trump’s three-page draft order, titled “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants” and obtained by The New York Times, would also undo many of the other restrictions on handling detainees that Mr. Obama put in place in response to policies of the George W. Bush administration ...

- Donald Trump says torture 'absolutely works' -- but does it?

- Torture Is a Denial of Jesus

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

RIP: Mary Tyler Moore



Sad to see that Mary Tyler Moore has died ... Postscript: Mary Tyler Moore ...

MTM dying is more than this feminist can take this week,” my feminist friend Andrew texted me this afternoon. Mary Tyler Moore, who died today, at the age of eighty, meant a lot to all of us; for feminists who remember the seventies, she was a member of the family. From 1970 to 1977—and long afterward in reruns—on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” in which she played the plucky associate news producer Mary Richards at the Minneapolis TV station WJM, Moore embodied for many Americans a novel, groundbreaking, and warmhearted vision of feminine independence. Many had already been won over by her performance on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” in the sixties, in which she played the innocently flummoxed Laura Petrie, wife of Rob (Van Dyke). “Dick Van Dyke” was a clever, if square, black-and-white delight, but Rob and his writer buddies seemed to be having all the fun; Laura deserved better. On “Mary Tyler Moore,” she got it. Mary Richards drove to a new city, Minneapolis, got her own apartment, had her own fun job, and turned the world on with her smile ...

I especially liked her because she was an animal rights activist and a vegetarian ...

A long-time animal rights activist, Moore worked with Farm Sanctuary to raise awareness about the process involved in factory farming and to promote compassionate treatment of farm animals. Moore appeared as herself in 1996 on an episode of the Ellen DeGeneres sitcom Ellen. The storyline of the episode includes Moore honoring Ellen for trying to save a 65-year-old lobster from being eaten at a seafood restaurant. She was also a co-founder of Broadway Barks, an annual animal adopt-a-thon held in New York City. Moore and friend Bernadette Peters worked to make it a no-kill city and to encourage adopting animals from
shelters.


I did like her tv shows but especially liked the movie in which she played the uncharacteristic role of a cold and unfeeling mother, Ordinary People ...

a 1980 American drama film that marked the directorial debut of actor Robert Redford. It stars Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch and Timothy Hutton. The story concerns the disintegration of an upper-middle class family in Lake Forest, Illinois, following the death of one of their sons in a boating accident. The screenplay by Alvin Sargent was based upon the 1976 novel Ordinary People by Judith Guest.

The film received six Academy Award nominations and won four: the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director for Redford, Adapted Screenplay for Sargent, and Supporting Actor for Hutton. In addition, it won five Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director (Redford), Best Actress in a Drama (Tyler Moore), Best Supporting Actor (Hutton), and Best Screenplay (Sargent).

Trump: trying to silence the truth

Each day I decide to write about something other than the Trump disaster, but then I read the news and the need to document the horror takes hold. The Trump badness for today ...

* Trump silences EPA scientists ...

- Make America Gagged Again

- The Trump administration reportedly plans to literally deny the existence of climate-change science

* And then there's the ongoing attack on women's health care - yes, abortion is health care ...

- House Republicans tackle their first priority under Donald Trump: attacking abortion rights

- How Ultrasound Became Political

- Bernie Sanders Slams Trump’s Budget Chief Pick For Wanting To Defund Planned Parenthood

- Netherlands moves on abortion funding after Trump reinstates 'gag rule' ...



* There's more, of course, but I'm already enraged and depressed enough for one morning. Let's finish with some comic relief instead ...


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trump and the pipelines

My friend Denny said that he wished I wrote more personally in my posts instead of just posting links. I guess sometimes I'm so upset about current events that I let the links speak for me. An example - iIn today's news, Trump has signed an executive order to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. I do have some links below.

But if you want to know how I personally feel about this, here it is .... I feel sick, I think this will be a terrible mistake, I think the environment and wildlife and farm animals and indigenous people will suffer if those pipelines go through, and I think the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief is a bad president. Plus I'm disappointed in Justin Trudeau as well. And I have a question: at what point did "jobs" become the default incontestable excuse for anything and everything?

Now for the links ...

- Trump's Green-Lighting of Keystone and DAPL Is a Power Play That Won't Create Jobs

- Editorial: Tar Sands and the Carbon Numbers

- Statement from the Sierra Club: Trump to Advance Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline, Confirming He's the Dangerous Threat Warned Against


Monday, January 23, 2017

Trump presidency: punish women

- Trump just reinstated the global gag rule. It won't stop abortion, but it will make it less safe. ... Thousands of women will die across the world, and millions will lose access to both safe abortion and birth control.

- Trump Strikes at Abortion With a Revived Foreign-Aid Rule ... On Monday, just days after hundreds of thousands of women marched on Washington, as well as in hundreds of cities around the nation and the world, to call for, among other issues, the protection of women’s reproductive rights, President Donald Trump signed off on the first anti-abortion policy of his term .... a rule that prohibits foreign organizations that receive U.S. family-planning funds “from providing counseling or referrals for abortion or advocating for access to abortion services in their country.”

- Trump Reinstates the Anti-Abortion “Global Gag Rule” That Has Been a Public Health Disaster ... On his first full workday in office, President Donald Trump got straight to work making women’s lives unnecessarily difficult .... To be clear, the gag rule goes much further than preventing U.S. taxpayer dollars from directly paying for abortions, which is already illegal under the 1973 Helms amendment. Under the gag rule, even NGOs that wish to use their own funds to pay for abortion care and information, while using U.S. grants to support programs that have absolutely nothing to do with abortion, are barred from receiving federal funding. Hypothetically, health care providers are allowed to talk to patients about abortion in the event of rape, incest, or life-threatening complications, but it’s unclear exactly how such exceptions would work once a compliant NGO has eradicated all abortion-related resources from its programming.

Ironically, the gag rule has been shown to increase abortion rates—particularly unsafe abortion rates—in areas that depend heavily on NGOs to provide needed reproductive health care. Clinics often have to close or consolidate when they lose U.S. funding, and the U.S. Agency for International Development is barred from communicating with and sharing resources with clinics that don’t comply with the rule. As a result, women lose access to needed contraception. A 2011 study found that enforcement of the gag rule by the George W. Bush administration led to an increase in abortion rates in sub-Saharan Africa, likely because of lost contraception access. In Ethiopia, where unsafe abortion is the second-leading cause of death after HIV-AIDS, the George W. Bush administration’s enforcement of the gag rule “hampered Ethiopia’s efforts to address high rates of unsafe abortion,” according to a 2010 study.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Pussy hats in Russia

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Trump presidency day 1: lies

And so it begins ....

- White House Pushes ‘Alternative Facts.’ Here Are the Real Ones

- The White House's 'alternative facts' about Trump's inauguration crowd and how they are wrong

- 'Alternative Facts': The Needless Lies of the Trump Administration ...

[...] Top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway appeared on Meet the Press Sunday morning, where Chuck Todd grilled her on the incident. “The presidency is about choices. I’m curious why President Trump chose yesterday to send out his press secretary to essentially litigate a provable falsehood when it comes to a small and petty thing like inaugural crowd size,” Todd asked. Conway first tried to deflect, saying, “I don’t think presidents are judged by crowd sizes, they’re judged by accomplishments.” Fair enough, Todd said—so why lie?

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts,” Conway responded.

Todd was flabbergasted by the Orwellian turn of phrase: “Alternative fact are not facts. They’re falsehoods.”

There’s still no good explanation for Spicer’s statement, but it fits with a long-running mantra from Trump aides and supporters that there’s no such thing as an objective reality. The question for Trump and his aides is simple: If you’re willing to lie about stuff this minuscule, why should anyone believe what you say about the really big things that matter?

Women's March on Washington

Women’s March: Hundreds of Thousands Protest President Trump

- Gloria Steinem's speech at the March .....



- Michael Moore and Ashley Judd speak at the March ....



Washington Flooded With Pink As Women's March Descends On D.C.

The National Mall has flooded with pink, as demonstrators descend on the nation's capital Saturday for the Women's March on Washington. Just one day after President Trump's inauguration, marchers from across the country have gathered in the city to protest his agenda and support for women's rights ....

Despite the event's humble origins — a simple Facebook invitation after Election Day — the protest has ballooned into something much more massive. By the time marchers hit the streets Saturday, the Women's March on Washington had gotten a broad platform of progressive political positions, a slate of celebrity performers and a series of sister marches planned across the world — on all seven continents ...

Friday, January 20, 2017

Lucifer

I've been trying a new tv series this week - Lucifer ...

an American fantasy police procedural comedy-drama television series .... It features a character created by Neil Gaiman .... The series focuses on Lucifer Morningstar, the Devil, "who is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell and resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for the beauty of Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping the LAPD punish criminals".

The show is, well, not awful ;) so I may keep watching. It does have a lot of music in its soundtrack. Here's one of the songs from the episode I watched tonight, A Girl Like You ...



And here's a trailer for the show ...


Inauguration Day 2017

Donald Trump’s ‘American Carnage’ Inaugural

All hail the PussyGrabber-in-chief :(

Or be like me and instead think about how you can help those who will be the most vulnerable in this new administration ... those homeless and low-income, LGBT people, women, immigrants, racial minorities. And don't forget the environment. Consider supporting organizations like the ACLU ... Here Is the ACLU's 7-Point Plan of Action to Take on the Trump Administration

Resistance is *not* futile.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Women's March: pro-life's effort to co-opt feminism



Coming up in a few days: the Women's March on Washington. There's been much in the news lately about the fact that a pro-life women's group has been dropped as a partner to the march because of their anti-choice stance, and the question has been asked once again ... can someone be pro-life and a feminist? The short answer is "no".

Here's a bit from an article about the women's group that was dropped as a partner to the march ...

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa applied for her organization, New Wave Feminists, to become a formal partner of the march in early January. New Wave Feminists describes itself as a “Badass. Pro-life. Feminists.” Herndon-De La Rosa, who lives in the Dallas area, has long been outspoken in her opposition to Donald Trump. “Donald Trump is the guy who asks to buy you a drink at the bar and when you tell him you’re not interested, he calls you as a cunt and says he didn’t want to do it anyway,” she told me in August .... her goal is to “make abortion unthinkable.”

Perhaps she believes that being "badass" enough to use the dreaded C word makes her a feminist ;). There are a number of these pro-life women's groups that try to pose as feminist ... another is the Feminists For Life, of which Sarah Palin is a member (I wrote about it here) ... and what they have in common is that they want to abolish all legal abortion, even in cases of incest, rape, when there are severe fetal abnormalities, and when a woman's health/life is in danger.

Simply being female is not enough to make you a feminist .... President Obama is a feminist and Justin Trudeau is a feminist and both are men ... Sarah Palin is a woman and she is not a feminist. Being a feminist means, in part, believing that women are responsible moral agents who have the right to make decisions about their own bodies. These pro-life "feminist" groups do not trust women to make those decisions, instead they want to take away women's choices.

What's creepy is the way these groups are trying to twist the meaning of the term "feminism", trying to co-opt it for their own pro-life purposes. It isn't working ...



Read more: Top 10 Worst Pro-Life ‘Feminist’ Lies

Monday, January 16, 2017

Troubled Times

Green Day drops new anti-Trump music video ....



What good is love and peace on earth?
When it's exclusive?
Where's the truth in the written word?
If no one reads it
A new day dawning
Comes without warning
So don't blink twice

We live in troubled times
We live in troubled times

What part of history we learned
When it's repeated
Some things will never overcome
If we don't seek it
The world stops turning
Paradise burning
So don't think twice

We live in troubled times
We live in troubled times
We live in troubled times

We run for cover
Like a skyscraper's falling down
Then I wander like a troubled mind

What good is love and peace on earth?
When it's exclusive
Where's the truth in the written word?
If no one reads it
A new day dawning
Comes without warning
So don't look twice

We live in troubled times

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Links

- German priests: open the priesthood to women, make priestly celibacy voluntary ... It makes no sense continuously to ask the Holy Spirit for vocations while at the same time excluding women from the priestly ministry. .... Celibacy often leads either to fruitless loneliness and social isolation or helpless work agitation. It rarely releases a spiritual source for pastoral work. We accepted celibacy but did not choose it.

- A Firestorm of Protests Will Take Aim at Donald Trump's Inauguration

- Pope Francis Completely Trivializes The Reasons Why Women Seek Abortions and Ugh, the Pope Told a Story About a Woman Who Had an Abortion to Preserve Her Figure

- Scientists solve a whale of a mystery: Why orcas have menopause ... Out of all the mammal species in the world, only three are known to experience menopause: humans, short-finned pilot whales and killer whales.

- Who owns the moon? Competition heats up for Google's Lunar X Prize.

- So what was that dossier on Trump all about? Find out: SNL’s Donald Trump Grilled About Alleged ‘Big Russian Pee-Pee Party’ .....


Saturday, January 14, 2017

The movies of 2017

The Atlantic: 27 Movies to Look Forward to in 2017

The ones from their list that I'm especially looking forward to are all science fiction :) ...

- Logan ...

an upcoming American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Wolverine .... The film takes inspiration from "Old Man Logan" by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, which follows a past-his-prime Logan undertaking a final adventure in the post-apocalyptic future .... Hugh Jackman stars as Logan, known before as Wolverine, in what is intended to be his final portrayal of the character after having played the role for 17 years, with Patrick Stewart co-starring as Charles Xavier.



- Kong: Skull Island ...

an upcoming American monster film directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein. The film is a reboot of the King Kong franchise and will serve as the second film in Legendary's Godzilla–Kong film series. It stars an ensemble cast consisting of Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman ...



- Wonder Woman ...

an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name .... and stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui and David Thewlis. In Wonder Woman, after American pilot Steve Trevor crashes on the island of Themyscira and tells Diana Prince about a world war that is happening, Diana leaves her home to try to stop the war and becomes Wonder Woman.



- Blade Runner 2049 ...

an upcoming American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve .... It is the sequel to Blade Runner .... Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.



- Thor: Ragnarok ...

an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Thor, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is intended to be the sequel to 2011's Thor and 2013's Thor: The Dark World and the seventeenth film installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Taika Waititi with a screenplay by Eric Pearson, and stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor must defeat the Hulk in a gladiatorial duel in time to save Asgard from Hela and the coming Ragnarök.



- Justice League ...

an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics superhero team of the same name .... and features an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, and Ciarán Hinds. In Justice League, Batman and Wonder Woman assemble a team consisting of The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg and the newly resurrected Superman to face the catastrophic threat of Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons.



- Star Wars: Episode VIII ...

an upcoming American epic space opera film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It will be the second installment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). The film is produced by Lucasfilm, will be distributed worldwide by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis in returning roles. New cast members include Benicio del Toro, Laura Dern, and Kelly Marie Tran in unconfirmed roles. It is Fisher's final film role following her death in December 2016. Johnson has stated that the story resumes immediately after the events of The Force Awakens.





Friday, January 13, 2017

Some music :)



The song Badge, written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison. Especially recognizable is the short guitar refrain written by George.

I helped Eric write Badge you know. Each of them had to come up with a song for that Goodbye Cream album and Eric didn't have his written. We were working across from each other and I was writing the lyrics down and we came to the middle part so I wrote Bridge. Eric read it upside down and cracked up laughing - 'What's BADGE?' he said. After that, Ringo walked in drunk and gave us that line about the swans living in the park.
- George Harrison: George Harrison performs on Badge by Cream

Here's the original Cream version ...



And here it's performed by Eric Clapton at the Hartford CT Civic Center, on May 1st, 1985 ...


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pope Francis and Fr. Mauro Inzoli

There's not been much about this pedophile priest and Pope Francis in the English-language news but I think the situation is a good example of why many people feel that Francis is failing miserably on the issue of sex abuse by Catholic priests.

One cliché in our church is that all those who criticize Pope Francis must be reactionary conservatives who fear his liberal reforms. It's true that many conservatives dislike him, but what often is left unsaid is that he is *not* a liberal reformer and that he is not popular with liberals either - he is the darling of moderates only. My point here is that there should be no ideological divide when it comes to the sex abuse problem - if the Pope is doing badly on this issue, that should be noted by everyone, conservative, moderate, and liberal.

Here are some mentions of the Inzoli situation and the Pope's role in it ...

- From the National Catholic Reporter: The strange disconnect between Pope Francis' words and actions about sex abuse

[...] In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI dismissed Fr. Mauro Inzoli, who was accused of abusing dozens of children over a 10-year period. In 2014, Pope Francis reinstated him and required him to live a life of "prayer and penance", the same punishment that Pope Benedict XVI handed out to the notorious Fr. Marcial Maciel. When Italian Magistrates asked the Vatican to have access to the evidence submitted to Inzoli's canonical trial, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith refused, stating, "The procedures of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are of a canonical nature and, as such, are not an object for the exchange of information with civil magistrates." Pope Francis himself maintains the secrecy that this week he condemned ...

- From The Week: A child abuse scandal is coming for Pope Francis

[...] Consider the case of Fr. Mauro Inzoli. Inzoli lived in a flamboyant fashion and had such a taste for flashy cars that he earned the nickname "Don Mercedes." He was also accused of molesting children. He allegedly abused minors in the confessional. He even went so far as to teach children that sexual contact with him was legitimated by scripture and their faith. When his case reached CDF, he was found guilty. And in 2012, under the papacy of Pope Benedict, Inzoli was defrocked.

But Don Mercedes was "with cardinal friends," we have learned. Cardinal Coccopalmerio and Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, now dean of the Roman Rota, both intervened on behalf of Inzoli, and Pope Francis returned him to the priestly state in 2014, inviting him to a "a life of humility and prayer." These strictures seem not to have troubled Inzoli too much. In January 2015, Don Mercedes participated in a conference on the family in Lombardy.

This summer, civil authorities finished their own trial of Inzoli, convicting him of eight offenses. Another 15 lay beyond the statute of limitations. The Italian press hammered the Vatican, specifically the CDF, for not sharing the information they had found in their canonical trial with civil authorities. Of course, the pope himself could have allowed the CDF to share this information with civil authorities if he so desired ....


- From Damian Thompson: Why more and more priests can’t stand Pope Francis

On 2 January, the Vatican published a letter from Pope Francis to the world’s bishops in which he reminded them that they must show ‘zero tolerance’ towards child abuse. The next day, the American Week magazine published an article that told the story of ‘Don Mercedes’ — Fr Mauro Inzoli, an Italian priest with a passion for expensive cars and underage boys.

In 2012, Pope Benedict stripped Inzoli of his priestly faculties, effectively defrocking him. In 2014, however, they were restored to him — by Pope Francis, who warned him to stay away from minors.

Then, finally, the Italian civil authorities caught up with this serial groper of teenagers in the confessional. Last summer Inzoli was sentenced to four years and nine months in jail for paedophile offences. The Vatican, under ‘zero-tolerance’ Francis, refused to supply evidence that prosecutors wanted.

If Pope Benedict XVI had displayed such a hypocritical attitude towards a clerical child abuser, the roof would have fallen in on him: he’d have been driven out of office instead of resigning.

But most of the world’s media have pigeon-holed Francis as a fearless reformer, doing battle against Vatican mafiosi, kiddie-fiddlers and ‘fundamentalists’. This perception made it easy for the Pope’s allies to keep the name of Mauro Inzoli out of English–speaking news outlets until last week ....


More from International Business Times: Playboy paedophile priest 'Don Mercedes' pays out €125k to families of abuse victims in Italy

For more on the Pope and sex abuse, here are a couple of my past posts: Pope Francis and the sex abuse Cardinals and Pope Francis is failing on sex abuse

Monday, January 09, 2017

Doctor Strange



I'm looking forward to the Marvel film, Doctor Strange ...

a 2016 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures .... and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton. In Doctor Strange, surgeon Stephen Strange learns the mystic arts from the Ancient One after a career-ending car accident.

You've got to like a movie with Mads Mikkelsen in it :) Most known for obscure Danish films, he was in Arthur (see my review) and in the recent Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

But anyway, it will be some time before I get the film from Netflix, so meanwhile I'm reading the book instead - Marvel's Doctor Strange. I remember the comics from when I was a kid and all the mystical stuff in the story really appealed to me when I was a teen. Here's a bit about the story from the Wikipedia page for the movie ...

Stephen Strange, an acclaimed neurosurgeon, loses the use of his hands in a car accident. Fellow surgeon and former lover Christine Palmer tries to help him move on, but Strange, firmly believing he can regain use of his hands, instead uses all his resources pursuing experimental surgeries in vain. After learning of Jonathan Pangborn, a paraplegic who mysteriously was able to walk again, Strange seeks him out, and is directed to Kamar-Taj. There, Strange is taken in by another sorcerer under the Ancient One, Mordo. The Ancient One shows Strange her power, revealing the astral plane and other dimensions such as the Mirror Dimension. Amazed, Strange begs her to teach him, and she eventually agrees despite his arrogance ...

And here's a trailer for the movie ...



Too much fun :)


Sunday, January 08, 2017

Second Chance

Playing tonight on the Muzak at the grocery store :) ...

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Links

- Mark Hamill's Carrie Fisher Tribute: "Making Her Laugh Was a Badge of Honor" (Guest Column)

- More Americans Support Roe v. Wade Than Ever Before, According to a New Pew Poll

- Mistakes in 'Paleo' Eating

- Obama: The Ocean President

- When I saw this headline ... Pope to bishops: Defend children from abuse, protect their dignity, joy ... I sighed in frustration because it sounds so pious but has little to do with the actual situation or how the pope is/isn't dealing with it. Looking at the comments to the article, I saw I wasn't alone in thinking this. Here are a few of them...

* After giving this sermon, Francis then ordered that Cardinal Law be immediately sent back to America and Cardinal Pell to Australia. Actually, he didn't. I've just been reading the fake news thread....

* Excellent article in "The Week" on Pope Francis and his handling of abuse issues. Apparently there are a number of cases that Francis and friends have let pass... abusers who get off lightly because they are "friends of Cardinals". Francis it seems wants to take the investigation of these items out of the hands of the CDF where in recent years these cases were handled. Perhaps Francis doesn't want the CDF to get in the way of "mercy" actions to these abusers. http://theweek.com/articles/670249/child-abuse-scandal-coming-pope-francis

* Our Holy Father has again made his intentions clear. I expect that any day now his Commission on abuse will show how serious he is by upgrading their website, and maybe even issue a press release or two this year.

- Here's a little piggy :) ...



Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Goodbye to the Office of Congressional Ethics

Update: Oh, the Republicans have backed down on this after Trump nixed it in a tweet ... House Republicans back off gutting ethics watchdog after backlash from Trump. Poor toadies - it's not easy to please the king.

Now that they have the power to do so, Republicans have voted to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, because, you know, in post-Trumpocalpytic America, being ethical is so passé.



What you need to know about the ethics office House Republicans want to gut

House Republicans’ Twisted ‘Reform’ Plan: Gutting the Office of Congressional Ethics

Republicans, you must be so proud.