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Archive for November 8th, 2014

Russian Lawmaker Wants Army of Putin Babies

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Russian Lawmaker Wants Army of Putin Babies
A Russian lawmaker has introduced a bill that proposes extending the greatness of Russian by allowing all women in the country to be inseminated by Vladimir Putin. “The essence of my proposition is simple,” said Yelena Borisovna Mizoulina. “Each female citizen of Russia will be able to receive by mail the genetic material of the president, get pregnant from him and have a baby. These mothers will be receiving special allowances from the government. … And after the birth of the child, he will have to be given to be raised into the special institutions that resemble Souvorov Schools with the aim that he will be loyal to the Motherland and personally to the president of [the Russian Federation].”

Pakistan Cop Kills ‘Blasphemer’ with Axe
A Pakistani policeman has been arrested after allegedly killing a man with an axe because he suspected him of committing blasphemy. Police say Faraz Naveed struck the victim, Tufail Naqvi, on the neck and head after the latter was arrested during a street fight on Wednesday. Naqvi reportedly blasphemed against companions of the Prophet Muhammad while in the police station. Correspondents told BBC News that the mere accusation of blasphemy is enough to make someone a target for hardliners, as is defending those accused of blasphemy or calling for the laws to be reformed.


Playoff hopes on line for Spartans, Buckeyes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Playoff hopes on line for Spartans, Buckeyes
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Mark Dantonio and Urban Meyer downplayed the rivalry between Michigan State and Ohio State this week.

Journalist in limbo fears returning to Botswana
CENTURION, South Africa (AP) — Journalist Edgar Tsimane says he faces danger if he returns to his home country of Botswana, where the government has criticized his reporting. The government in Botswana says it isn’t out to get him and he can return anytime from South Africa, where he has sought asylum.


Supreme Court to take up Obamacare subsidies case

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Supreme Court to take up Obamacare subsidies case
The Court will hear arguments on a case that could undermine the controversial health care law

“Face the Nation” marks its 60th anniversary with President Obama and George W. Bush
Bob Schieffer, who has been the public affairs show’s host for the past 23 years, joins “CBS This Morning” to preview his interviews with President Obama and former President George W. Bush that will air Sunday.


Fox’s Rivera: In “Minority Culture” They Embrace “The Thug Ethic”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Fox’s Rivera: In “Minority Culture” They Embrace “The Thug Ethic”

From the November 7 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

Previously:

Geraldo Rivera And The Victim-Blaming Of Black Teenagers

Fox’s Geraldo Rivera: “I Think The Hoodie Is As Much Responsible For Trayvon Martin’s Death As George Zimmerman”

Fox’s Geraldo Rivera Maintains “Hoodie” Comments Were “Potentially Life-Saving” Advice


How Terrorism and Ebola Influenced Midterm Voters

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

How Terrorism and Ebola Influenced Midterm Voters
David Paul Kuhn, RealClearPolitics
Joni Ernst had just won one of the nation’s most significant Senate contests. In her victory speech, the Iowa Republican said what newcomers say. She scolded Washington politicians who “ignore problems hoping they will go away.” But the first problem she mentioned was not the economy. Nor was it health care. Instead, she said that “ISIS isn’t just going to go away.” That’s what was different about the 2014 midterms. Writ large, this electorate was consumed by the economy, unhappy with the status quo, and worried about the direction of their nation….

Make D.C. Listen: Voters Reject Illegal Alien Rewards
Michelle Malkin, RealClearPolitics
Enough is enough. An important bloc of voters made their voices heard on Tuesday. Their message: Quit rewarding people who violate our immigration laws. They chose a sovereign nation over an illegal alien sanctuary nation, and they told politicians in both parties loud and clear: Put Americans first. Will D.C. listen? These voters are tired of politicians creating magnets for illegal immigrants. They’re tired of preferential treatment for defiant border-crossers, visa overstayers and deportation fugitives. They’re tired of the heavy costs and consequences of the government’s systemic refusal…

Jay Carney to GOP: Your Party Is Racist — and ‘You Know It’
Larry Elder, RealClearPolitics
Former Obama White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, now a political commentator for CNN, casually admitted that, yes, his party uses race to convince minorities that Republicans seek to oppress them. Before the midterm election, Carney said: “Republicans are going to pick up seats in the Senate and the House, and they may win control of the Senate. So (Democrats) need to mobilize their base voters, and that is especially true of minority voters.” Carney also admitted that the use of the race card is cynical: “Equating support for stand-your-ground law … doesn’t mean you supported the…


Osborne accused of EU budget ‘spin’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Osborne accused of EU budget ‘spin’
Chancellor George Osborne’s claim to have halved the UK’s £1.7bn EU budget surcharge is “smoke and mirrors” and “spin”, Labour and UKIP say.

Findlay launching Labour leader bid
MSP Neil Findlay is launching his campaign to be the new Scottish Labour leader insisting he is no “machine politician”.


Romney: Democrats Lost Because They Weren’t ‘Proud’ Enough Of Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Romney: Democrats Lost Because They Weren’t ‘Proud’ Enough Of Obama
WASHINGTON — Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney might have been forgiven for gloating a little about this week’s election. A half-dozen GOP Senate candidates pulled a page from Romney’s 2012 playbook and ran successfully as moderate, pro-business Republicans, helping the GOP take control of the Senate for the first time in nearly a decade.

But instead of patting himself on the back Friday during an appearance at the Israeli American Council’s inaugural national conference, Romney paid President Barack Obama a compliment, of sorts, telling the audience he believed a major reason Democrats lost the Senate was that they didn’t align themselves closely enough with the president.

Democratic Senate candidates campaigned as, “I’m not president Obama, I’m as far from him as I can be,” Romney said. “I think it would have been wiser to say, ‘I liked what the president did here, I’m proud of what we did there, I applaud what we did here, there are some things I think he did wrong, but these things I’m proud of,” he more than 500 attendees. “I think that would have been a better strategy.”

Romney is familiar with the topic. He spent much of his losing 2012 presidential campaign trying to distance himself from the universal health care law he signed while governor of Massachusetts. He delivered Friday’s comments in a way that both knocks the Democratic Party and appears gracious.

The event was set up as a question-and-answer program with former George W. Bush administration adviser Dan Senor. Romney spent much of it bashing Obama’s foreign policy.

Romney said he was “stunned” and “speechless” to learn from news reports that Obama had written to the supreme leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, about the need for Iran and the U.S. to combat the so-called Islamic State terror group. Romney called the letter “an enormous error,” which he said “diminished” the U.S. and “leads bad people to believe that America can be pushed around.”

Many of Romney’s comments garnered applause mid-sentence from the mostly Israeli-American audience. The non-profit Israeli American Council was founded in 2007 and centered primarily in Los Angeles until last year, when an infusion of money from conservative casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson helped launch the group nationally. Adelson’s wife, Miriam Adelson, is Israeli-American.

Adelson was among the largest individual donors to pro-Romney causes during the 2012 presidential campaign, contributing around $150 million to various non-profits, PACs and dark-money groups designed to help get Romney elected.

Adelson’s record in presidential politics served to fuel speculation among attendees at Friday’s event about a potential Romney campaign for the White House in 2016. The former Massachusetts governor did not address the gossip, however, and Senor didn’t ask him about it.


Ukraine Accuses Russia of Sending Tanks Across Border

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Ukraine Accuses Russia of Sending Tanks Across Border
A Ukrainian military spokesman said a Russian convoy had crossed into the Luhansk region to bolster separatists, but offered no clear evidence to support the claim.



World Briefing: Saudi Arabia: Advisers Urge King to Let Women Drive
The Saudi king’s advisory council has recommended that the government lift its ban on female drivers — but only for women over 30, who must be off the road by 8 p.m., cannot wear makeup behind the wheel and require a male relative’s permission, a member of the council said Friday.



Malaysian Court Overturns Islamic Law Banning Cross-Dressing
The decision struck down a law in the state of Negeri Sembilan that prohibited men from engaging in transgender practices, including posing as women.




Another Teenager in Washington State School Shooting Dies

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Another Teenager in Washington State School Shooting Dies
Andrew Fryberg, 15, died Friday evening, hospital officials said, bringing to five the number of fatalities after a student opened fire two weeks ago then shot himself.




The Army Just Decided That Soldiers Cannot Be Referred To As ‘Negros’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 8th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

The Army Just Decided That Soldiers Cannot Be Referred To As ‘Negros’

What year is it?

The post The Army Just Decided That Soldiers Cannot Be Referred To As ‘Negros’ appeared first on ThinkProgress.

shutterstock_15909043

CREDIT: Shutterstock

The U.S. Army just removed “Negro” from its command policy, 24 hours after the word was discovered in regulation AR 600-20.

The Army Command Policy issued on October 22 said that “Negro” was an acceptable term to describe troops, under its race and ethnic code definition section. The document stated that “‘Haitian’ or ‘Negro’ can be used in addition to ‘Black” or ‘African American.’” It is unclear how long the word was included in the document.

A new version of the command policy released on Wednesday took out the word altogether.

On Thursday, Army spokeswoman and Lt. Col. Alayne Conway said in an official statement, “The U.S. Army fully recognized, and promptly acted, to remove outdated language in Army Regulation 600-20 as soon as it was brought to our attention. The Army takes pride in sustaining a culture where all personnel are treated with dignity and respect.” The statement also alleges that the definitions were included in an attempt to “provide (equal opportunity) and fair treatment for military personnel and family members without regard to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, and provide an environment free of unlawful discrimination and offensive behavior.”

This was not the first questionable policy targeting African-Americans in the Army. For instance, the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms guidelines discriminate against black women’s natural hairstyles by banning twists, headbands, dreadlocks, or multiple braids longer than a quarter-inch.

The post The Army Just Decided That Soldiers Cannot Be Referred To As ‘Negros’ appeared first on ThinkProgress.

The Gory Truth Of ‘Nightcrawler’

Jake Gyllenhaal in his creepiest role yet.

The post The Gory Truth Of ‘Nightcrawler’ appeared first on ThinkProgress.

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CREDIT: Screenshot, “Nightcrawler” trailer

Nothing stays bloodless for long in Nightcrawler, the debut feature by writer-director Dan Gilroy that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. Nightcrawlers are freelance videographers who chase the goriest crimes by night to sell footage of the carnage to newscasts by morning. Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal, who with this performance is putting up a good fight against his ex’s news cycle dominance this week), is an enterprising psycho who wants to become one. He is utterly indifferent to the lives of those around him and he speaks entirely in business jargon. He fakes it until he makes it, selling himself as the president of a non-existent video production news corporation, building the myth on the cocky assumption that reality will follow in due course.

Just the sound of that word, nightcrawler, gives you the feeling of the movie. We’re dealing with some slithering, stealthy predator who only operates in darkness—not only literal, dusk-to-dawn darkness, but an internal darkness. He has a black hole where his soul should be.

Lou pitches himself as a hustling, scrappy hard worker who wants to make his way in the business world, constantly referring to his willingness to start at the bottom and work his way up to management. Lou is never not negotiating; by the time someone insists they aren’t negotiating with him, as multiple people do throughout the film, it’s too late. Gyllenhaal comes off as a cross between American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman—slick, sociopathic, a too-smooth surface with a moral vacuum beneath—and Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks: hyper-precise, chipper in the face of tragedy, with a tendency toward overly formal diction. He is ruthless and cunning and occupies this sort of Uncanny Valley space: just close enough to human to be very, very eerie.

Perhaps the most disturbing element of Nightcrawler is the alarming ethical elasticity of everyone around Lou: their willingness to, in the face of desperation, opportunity, or, as is most often the case, a corruption-ready cocktail of the two, acquiesce to his horrific and unquestionably immoral demands. Lou is a monster, but he looks like Jake Gyllenhaal. He’s gorgeous-grotesque. And knowing how pliable we all are in the face of people we find attractive, it is especially unnerving to see how the people around Lou can be manipulated with what appears to be very little effort on Lou’s part. These are just people who live, as most people do, in an ethical gray area: the kind of people who want to do the right thing when everything is going right but, in the face of things going wrong, are tempted to veer in the other direction.

Everyone who comes in contact with Lou, though, seems like they just met the wrong guy at the wrong time and the wrongness of their choices and situations escalated accordingly. As the news producer who first takes Lou’s bait, Rene Russo masterfully sells the idea that she is simultaneously turned on and repulsed by Lou. She facilitates his rise, even when it means giving him total power over her professional and personal fate. Rick (Riz Ahmed) the broke, homeless high school grad who can’t land a job, is skeptical but too down on his luck to have the luxury of reading the fine print in Lou’s offer of an “internship” at Lou’s fake video news business. He’s naïve but skeptical, jittery as a junky, a teenager in need of a mentor. You want to jump through the screen at him and tell him to run, run away, run anywhere at all, but he doesn’t have anyplace else to go. Everyone gets screwed by Lou, even resident moral compass Frank, played by Kevin Rahm (who you may recognize as Ted, the guy who screwed over Peggy on Mad Men. Fictional karma is real!)

Pulsing through the tense, violent two hours is this broad critique of exploitation. Lou exploits everyone, usually via a one-two punch of corporate platitudes and extortion, and for this he is as detestable as his victims are pitiable. But he is just a link on a chain of exploitation that he didn’t create and probably couldn’t stop, even if he wanted to, which he obviously doesn’t. Everyone’s complicit in the crime, even his on-screen pawns. Even the audience. If nobody tuned in for stories about wealthy, white suburbanites being viciously attacked by assailants of color, for instance, no news station would bother to air them.

Nightcrawler wants us to hate the usual suspects: the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality of news, the way we take other people’s murders with our breakfast cereal as naturally as we take our coffee. Yet the end result of that wide accusation is as slippery as Lou: what is it, exactly, we’re supposed to leave feeling? Vague, unfocused rage? At what? The futility of law enforcement in the face of exceptionally clever criminals? Television news? Some anchorless, faceless system? What could be a wide-ranging satire ends up overreaching. Gyllenhaal’s Lou is powerful and creepy as all get-out, but to what end? Was I supposed to walk away thinking that sociopaths are the worst? Is that supposed to be some kind of earth-shattering thesis?

The movie exists in a heightened reality, satirizing instead of strictly observing, so it is a little to the left of the point to suggest that anything about it isn’t “realistic.” That said, it is a little distracting to think too hard about the way Lou goes about his nightcrawling. Isn’t this whole enterprise a little… analog? Seems like Lou, a self-proclaimed hater of humanity, would be much more likely to post his findings online and get money through clicks and adds, instead of offering his tapes around—this is the most distractingly backwards part—by showing up, in person, at dawn, to the news station he hopes will buy them. And the idea that this is, every single night, actually a thing that happens — that freelancers with video cameras chase the most horrific scenes of carnage, then shill those wares to the highest bidder — is jarring for the same reason (although if so, wow, The Today Show is a WAY more sordid dog-and-pony operation than I ever would have believed).

Nightcrawler‘s cast is killer — it’s worth it for the performances alone — but seeing this neo-noir means settling in for two hours of feeling uneasy and more than a little sick to your stomach. There are sharp jolts of humor, depending on your sensibilities. Did you laugh at the black comic moments in Gone Girl? Do you like Heathers? You’ll probably laugh, sometimes just to release the tension, while watching Nightcrawler.

Just be prepared for some weirdness, an overwhelming sense of despair, and blood. Lots and lots of blood.

The post The Gory Truth Of ‘Nightcrawler’ appeared first on ThinkProgress.