Wednesday, June 29, 2016

49 Celebrities Pay Tribute To 49 Pulse Shooting Victims (Produced By Ryan Murphy)

Producer Ryan Murphy put together this tribute to the people killed at the Pulse Nightclub earlier this month, using many of his series' stars, and a host of other celebrities, some LGBT, some not. Each person killed at the club gets their own tribute by an individual celebrity.

Their stories are told by (in order of appearance): Lady Gaga, Chris Pine, Cuba Gooding Jr., Connie Britton, Matt Bomer, Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Lea Michele, Colton Haynes, Sophia Bush, Jane Fonda, Harry Shum Jr., Denis O’Hare, Rob Reiner, Melissa Benoist, Caitlyn Jenner, Edgar Ramirez, Max Greenfield, Chaz Bono, Cheyenne Jackson, Emma Roberts, Kerry Washington, George Lopez, Evan Rachel Wood, Sofía Vergara, Diego Boneta, Nina Jacobson, Demi Lovato, Tyler Oakley, Yeardley Smith, Kid Cudi, Kaitlin Olson, Kevin McHale, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lee Daniels, Chace Crawford, Evan Peters, Gerard Butler, Katey Sagal, John Stamos, Laverne Cox, Jordana Brewster, Wes Bentley, Finn Wittrock, Darren Criss, Kathy Bates, Anna Paquin, Guillermo Díaz and Joe Mantello.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Behind the Blogger: The Land of Confusion; or These are the Contents of My Head

I'm sitting in the calm at the center of a storm I can't see, and I'm confused. I'm not even sure there's a storm. And it's as metaphorical as it is literal. It's a weird day, and the full moon is over. So, what's going on?

Weather-wise, I'm finding Ohio to be very a deeply weird place to be. Nevada? Pretty much it's hot and sunny, warm and sunny, cold and sunny, or there are very obvious and clear storms. Here? There can be hourly predictions of 0% precipitation while it is pouring down rain. You can have predictions of certain rain, 100%, with thunder, lightning and the wrath of God, and. . .nothing happens. Right now, from north of Columbus to east of it, where I live, we have simultaneous storm and flood warnings, with the threat of hurricane-force winds, coupled with hourly forecasts of 0% rain and 4mph winds.  Which is it? damned if I know.

The forecasts are actually starting to finally line up, but to the bad
side, not the good.
Couple that with a spouse who is unforthcoming about work strife--but clearly unhappy. Family members with further inter-member strife that seems to only whirl around me when I'm not present (for the most part), and then this deeply weird stuff going on in the news. Sit-ins at the House of Representatives over gun control? A buffoon with the most bizarre hairdo and makeup job as a major party presidential contender (who could win!), versus another that people openly treat as if she's the devil, but only have the vaguest reasons for treating that way (I just don't trust her. . .where there's smoke there's fire!). And an uncertain current lifespace, personally.

I wonder if it's just me, or if the whole country is having a no good, very weird day. Personally, I'm anticipating both a medical and dental visit on the very-near horizon that could either yield easy and quick answers to immediate problems, or lead to protracted, painful, more serious efforts to correct. I am sort of between careers, thinking that at this time, that's the best thing--kind of the perfect thing, as a bridge between life events. But not so much when the spouse isn't feeling the same way. And much of this all came in the space of an hour or two, this odd assemblage of sometimes contradictory, sometimes confusing input.

The U.S. House of Representatives Sit In; Reuters
Reading this, it may not even make sense to you. Part of it is the still not-quite-settled new life chapter The Other Half and I are dealing with after our uprooting from both careers and location, having spent nearly two decades with Very. Little. Change. It may be almost a year and a half later, but much of it is still shaking out, and frankly, still feels surreal. We're doing that while I'm transitioning into my 50s, finding myself with new medical issues (not serious, at least I don't think so), new feelings of mortality and finality (eeeeek!). We're doing that after voluntarily jumping into the abyss from both our careers without the benefit of a safety net (or insurance!). We've gone from living 2,000 miles from family, living in the outer orbits of family events, missing most of the bad and the good of having family nearby; to being much closer to the vortex. We're doing this during the passing of the baton in perhaps the strangest, longest presidential campaigns we've ever lived through.

And I'm typing this on a blog I've nearly abandoned, not really for any reason, other than it just kind of petered out. And here I am, typing what may be the purest kind of old-school web log post of all, the pointless emptying of my head into my online diary! Probably no one will read it. Or if they do, it'll make them angry at me! Such is life, I suppose.


House Democrats broadcast 'sit-in' on social media after cameras shut down

Democrats demanding action on gun control turned to Twitter's Periscope and Facebook's live video platform to broadcast their "sit-in" on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday after the chamber's cameras shut down. Representative Scott Peters of California told Reuters he downloaded the online video platform Periscope from the House floor after it became clear that chamber cameras were not operating. . .

Read more at: Reuters

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Over Time with Bill Maher, June 17, 2016

Bill Maher and his guests – Rebecca Traister, Lawrence Wilkerson, Josh Barro, Emily Miller, and Ravi Patel – answer viewer questions after the show.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Breaking: Donald Trump's Response Speech on the Orlando Mass Shooting

Donald Trump's response to the mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando was truly bizarre. It swayed wildly from compassionate, to almost profoundly rational, to unhinged and nonsensical. Looking particularly badly color-tuned, with day-glo yellow fiberglass looking hair, Trump started out blasting Islamic terrorism, intimating it was the sole consuming issue. Then--surprisingly--he swung into a passionate-though-scripted-sounding defense of gay people and their freedom, and then incoherent sentences with absolutely self-contradictory verbiage.

At one point, he's attempting to thrash Hillary Clinton, using the attack as a foundation, and then goes from there to flat-out lying about her positions on gun control. No, Mr. Trump, Mrs. Clinton has never advocated either "gun grabbing," nor abolishing the 2nd Amendment.

The speech is very difficult to follow, with points to like, points to vehemently disagree with, and parts to just scratch your head at. It will be very interesting to see how it ultimately lands with the people, and with the punditry. As I type this, he still is talking (giving this write-up its own likely somewhat muddled syntax), and is using some facts, some hypebole, some subjective opinions, some objective truth, and far too many parenthetical half-thoughts.

That's a photo from my TV. Do not adjust your set. . .
In short, he's all over the place. But more so than usual. Anti Muslim (except some good Muslims, but they're all bad, except when they're not, and on and on). Pro-Constitution, except when convenient, particularly when finding out about Muslims.

In addition to looking even more garishly colored than usual--bigly or big league, your choice--he also has a curiously audible inhalation every few lines.

Keep your eyes and ears open on this one. Because in the as-it-happens, this is impossible to figure out. He's pro-gun control, anti-gun control, anti-Obama and anti-Hillary to the point of utter dishonesty. He seems to have gone full-throatedly pro-gay, while refusing to be "politically correct." He seems to advocate some implicitly political correct ideas, but misconstrues the concept of PC as inherently bad.

He wrongly states that the shooter was born Syria (he was born in New York), implies that his policy could "Keep them out" (again, he was born in New York), and can't seem to stay on subject beyond one or two sentences. He seems to think that it's been years since the San Bernardino shooting. He jumps from Obama to Hillary, from specific to vague. He's forceful, I'll give him that. That kind of "wrong but strong" that works with dumb people. But if you parse this thing, it's an utter mishmash. It's like someone shoved a microphone in my Step Dad's hand, after he's had a couple of rum and Cokes, and just let him riff.

Who Were the Victims of Orlando Pulse Mass Shooting

We have had numerous shootings in this country since the last "BAD" one, a statement you could make most days. Because no matter what you consider a really BAD one, there has almost always been a series of them that barely register as news. We're so used to them, something has to stand out for it even rise to the level of newsworthy, all-caps BAD. And to push the presidential nomination practically out of the news, it has to really be something.
This most recent one wasn't merely "BAD," it rates as the single-largest mass shooting in American history, and one of the worst terror attacks on American soil in history. It also contains so many hot-button political story elements, as to confuse anybody as to how to approach it, particularly when writing about it. Namely:

- The target was a popular gay bar, the victims obviously gay or gay-friendly,
- The event was "Latin night," providing a second minority in the mix, and
- It's gay pride month in the United States.
- The shooter was of Muslim/Middle-Eastern descent, but
- The shooter was born in the United States, and was a full-fledged citizen, and
- The shooter is alleged to have had Al Qaeda and ISIS allegiances, but
- The shooter very well may have been a lone wolf, glomming on to either or both of the above as inspiration, and not necessarily directed by anyone to carry out this action, and
- It's Ramadan.
- The shooter had violent tendencies, a police record, and was on the FBI's radar, but
- The weapons were legally obtained.

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34, from source, Los Angeles Times

In this day of extreme political polarity in our country, and instantaneous social media interaction, there is immediate public and political response. But, because of the mixed nature of the elements of this story, it's been interesting (to say the least) to see how conservatives vs. liberals respond, how the presidential candidates respond and see where the media goes with the story.

Personally, I'm torn on the whole "hate crime vs. terrorism" angles on the story. I find this obsession by the political right that President Obama call any attack by a Muslim "Radical Islamic Terrorism" or some variation (their variation) bizarre. As if something magical would happen. I find the focus being taken away from the gay hate crime angle somewhat refreshing and somewhat irritating. As always, I find the ammosexuals' instantaneously rabid response to even the notion of talking about guns and gun laws ridiculous and revolting. Most of all, I'm sorry that all of this distracts from the actual victims of--again--the worst mass murder in American history. So, let's take a moment to focus on that.

Amanda Alvear, 25, from source, LA Times


Victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre: Who they were

A gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday, killing at least 49 people and wounding more than 50 others in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

The shooter, identified by authorities as Omar Mateen, 29, of the Fort Pierce, Fla., area, was killed at the scene. Mateen, born in New York to parents who immigrated from Afghanistan, had worked as a security guard in Florida. Authorities said he had pledged allegiance to Islamic State and reportedly had told family members he was disgusted by gay people. . .

Read more at: Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Why Bernie Sanders is Actually Winning

Hillary Clinton: Presumptive 2016 Democratic Party Nominee for President

And um, yeah. We kinda knew that. Hillary Clinton didn't want it announced yet. Bernie Sanders certainly didn't want it announced yet. And Sanders' supporters have frankly lost their fricking minds by this point (I'm voting Jill Stein! I'm writing Bernie in!, I'm not voting! I'm voting Trump! All the same thing, by the way). But the time has finally come, bad timing or not, we have our first major party presidential nominee who is a woman. And that woman, Hillary Clinton, is--for reasons I've yet to comprehend, despite living in America for 50 years--despised by roughly half of Americans.

I really, seriously will never understand the Hillary Hatred that has existed in this country for more than half my life. I didn't get it then, don't get it now. I've seen her in person. She commands a room. She's smart. She is, near as I can figure, a heck of a lady, maybe even a broad. So, what's the problem? Damned if I know.

Fortunately, Hillary is running against another despised famous human, Donald Trump. The reasons for despising The Donald are many, and obvious. But this blog--as left to lie fallow as I've allowed it--has long had a feature called Captain Obvious (yes, before that hotel chain stole it) for the express reason that what should be obvious to sentient humans isn't always obvious. Trump's default mode is: this is so wrong on so many levels, you'd have to be deaf, dumb, blind, stupid and half-past insane not to see it, but still some people somehow don't see.

Hillary was fortunate though, that on the very same day that she hit the magic number, Trump seems to be self-destructing. I won't declare it outright, as nothing about his campaign has been "normal." But even some diehards have been awakening from a Trump high to a Drumpf hangover. And this bit about not understand how judicial conflicts of interest works (or how racism is bad, or much of anything about how anything really happens in government) is showing as glaringly as Trump's fiberglass hair weave/combover, and bad orange fake tan. So, assuming a Bernie mutiny doesn't happen, and that something even weirder doesn't happen, Hillary should win this by default. It's certainly hers to lose.


BREAKING: Hillary Declared Presumptive Nominee

NBC News reports: Striding into history, Hillary Clinton will become the first woman to top the presidential ticket of a major U.S. political party, capturing commitments Monday from the number of delegates needed to become the Democrats’ presumptive nominee. The victory arrived nearly eight years to the day after she conceded her first White House campaign to Barack Obama. . .

Read more at: Joe.My.God.
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