Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper’ trailer is out, and it looks like a movie Chris Kyle fans will appreciatePosted: October 21, 2014
Originally posted on Douglas Ernst:
When it was first announced that Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s life would be made into a movie by Steven Spielberg, my first thought was, “Ummm, how is that going to work? Did Spielberg even read the book? Knowing his politics, I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be a horrible movie.”
Interestingly enough, Mr. Spielberg dropped the project and Clint Eastwood was there to pick it up. “That makes much more sense,” I thought. Now that the trailer is out, it appears as though the world will get the Chris Kyle story it deserves.
“They fry you if you’re wrong.”
How do you win a war when the men responsible for securing victory are paranoid that any mistake they make will land them in prison for the rest of their lives? The answer: You probably don’t win. You lose. Or you wind up pulling out of that country for…
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TIME reports: The nun who won Italy’s version of The Voice is out with a music video for her single “Like a Virgin.” Her debut album Sister Cristina, out Nov. 11, will feature covers of Coldplay’s “Fix You” and Alicia Keys’s “No One” — the song she performed during her audition that went viral, racking up nearly 62 million views on YouTube.
For comparison, here is Madonna’s music video for “Like a Virgin”:
Photos of Beijing Bride’s Anti-Pollution Lingerie Not Available
A woman wearing a wedding dress made out of 999 anti-pollution masks with a 10-meter long trail drew crowds recently in Beijing.
It was apparently in a move to bring more attention to environmental protection. The “bride” was a Chinese artist who had designed her wedding dress to ‘marry’ the sky, according to Chinanews.
Many Chinese on social media gave a thumbs-up to the artist’s creativity… (read more)
Wedding dress made of “cups, plates, and plastic utensils…”
[Best Day of the Dead Costume Ever, Oct 31st, 2013]
— CNN (@CNN) October 21, 2014
[Also see - Japan Makes First Arrest Over 3-D Printer Guns - punditfromanotherplanet.com]
Yoshitomo Imura, an employee at the Shonan Institute of Technology in Japan, was arrested last may for printing and firing a 3D-printed gun called the ZigZag. He printed three guns in total and was arrested for running afoul of Japan’s strict gun laws.
[More – [VIDEO] How 3-D Printed Guns Evolved Into Serious Weapons in Just One Year – punditfromanotherplanet.com]
— Robert Holguin (@ABC7Robert) October 21, 2014
The US State Department says Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans being held in North Korea, has been released
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Fowle was home Tuesday after negotiators left Pyongyang. She said the US is still trying to free two other Americans, Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae.
Associated Press journalists in Pyongyang spotted the US government plane at the capital’s international airport on Tuesday. The White House confirmed Fowle was released home to see his family. Read the rest of this entry »
Tens of Thousands of Federal Workers on Extended Paid Leave
For The Washington Post, Lisa Rein reports: Tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for misbehavior or cleared and allowed to return to work, government records show.
“It’s not authorized by any law. Bureaucrats are abusing it.”
– Sen. Charles E. Grassley
During a three-year period that ended last fall, more than 57,000 employees were sent home for a month or longer. The tab for these workers exceeded $775 million in salary alone.
“OPM has turned a blind eye to this, and it’s shameful. There’s no sense of urgency.”
– Debra Roth, general counsel for the Senior Executives Association
The extensive use of administrative leave continues despite government personnel rules that limit paid leave for employees facing discipline to “rare circumstances” in which the employee is considered a threat. The long-standing rules were written in an effort to curb waste and deal quickly with workers accused of misconduct.
While the employees stayed home, they not only collected paychecks but also built their pensions, vacation and sick days and moved up the federal pay scale.
And the comptroller general, the top federal official responsible for auditing government finances and practices, has repeatedly ruled that federal workers should not be sidelined for long periods for any reason.
“Six months went by, and we didn’t hear anything. You’re so anxious. You don’t know if you’ve got a job. You’re getting paid, but it’s no vacation.”
– Scott Balovich, who was put on administrative leave from his IT systems job at the NOAA in Alaska
But a report by the Government Accountability Office, first made public by The Washington Post on its Web site Monday, found that 53,000 civilian employees were kept home for one to three months during the three fiscal years that ended in September 2013. About 4,000 were idled for three months to a year and several hundred for one to three years. This is the first time the government has calculated the scope and cost of administrative leave.
Auditors found that supervisors used wide discretion in putting employees on leave, including for alleged violations of government rules and laws, whistleblowing, doubts about trustworthiness, and disputes with colleagues or bosses. Some employees remain on paid leave while they challenge demotions and other punishments.
“The Office of Personnel Management rule book lists dozens of reasons for allowing paid leave, such as donating an organ, house-hunting before a job transfer and attending the funeral of a relative in the military. Snow days also are permitted.”
While the employees stayed home, they not only collected paychecks but also built their pensions, vacation and sick days and moved up the federal pay scale. Read the rest of this entry »
Probation in Child Abduction Case: Mother who was the Focus of an International Manhunt Won’t Serve Any Jail TimePosted: October 21, 2014
In 2012, Pfeifer, 32, was arrested in France last December after violating custody orders that she return with her sons.
“The safety of the two sons that are at issue in this case was my primary concern.”
– Prosecutor Deanne Castorena
LOS ANGELES (KABC) Robert Holguin reports: A mother accused of keeping her two young sons from their fathers has escaped jail time. Maria Pfeifer was the subject of an international manhunt for violating custody orders and failing to return from vacation in Europe.
“For us, for the defense team, the big result was she’s not serving a day in jail on this case.”
– Pfeifer’s attorneys
On Monday, Pfeifer, a former Los Angeles resident, was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution.
Prosecutors says Pfeifer plead guilty to one felony count of custody deprivation. The sentence imposed Monday allows for Pfeifer, who is nine months pregnant, to travel out of the country. Read the rest of this entry »
Late 1960s, Economy Class Seating on a Pan-Am 747 pic.twitter.com/YmjUUdYCJl
— Old Pics Archive (@oldpicsarchive) October 19, 2014
Originally posted on Variety:
Chuck Workman’s latest bouquet to cinematic history, “Magician,” provides [pmc_film_review_snippet]a solid overview of Orson Welles’ life and output[/pmc_film_review_snippet]. While little here will be news to cineastes, the mix of interviews and archival footage — particularly high-quality clips from the subject’s directorial features — should engage fans while providing a fine introduction for those whose knowledge doesn’t stretch beyond recognizing the words “Citizen Kane.” More a natural for ancillary formats (it’ll be a film-studies classroom perennial) than theatrical exposure, the documentary plans a theatrical launch on Dec. 12.
A straightforward, chronological approach in chaptered form starts with “1915-1941: The Boy Wonder,” charting Welles’ eccentric, transient childhood, and the thirst for artistic expression that led to adventuresome stage triumphs (like the all-black “Voodoo Macbeth”) in his early 20s. He also became a highly popular radio actor (notably as voice of “The Shadow” on that mystery serial), and it was in that medium…
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“La plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu’il n’existe pas.”
― Charles Baudelaire
Contagious Coulrophobia Epidemic in Pas-de-Calais
Béthune, France (AFP) – The party is over for a fake clown who received a six-month suspended jail term Monday for threatening passers-by while in full circus garb, a disturbing trend terrifying towns in northern France.
“They take their inspiration from American horror movies.”
Whether brandishing a rubber chicken at a children’s party or starring as the evil protagonist in a horror film, clowns have long had both the ability to entertain and terrify.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that children are held hostage by such acts.”
This fear of clowns, dubbed coulrophobia, has swept small towns in Pas-de-Calais in northern France where police report a wave of complaints over people dressed up as the tricksters and threatening passers-by.
A 19-year-old young man was arrested on Friday after waving a stick resembling a long knife while chasing a group of teenagers, who had to seek refuge in a chip stand. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally posted on Vancouver Sun:
A vigorous debate between Chinese Christians in Canada has been taking place on this blog, The Search, in the last couple of weeks over whether to fully support the Hong Kong protests.
In this installment more than two dozen Chinese Christians with roots in Vancouver passionately stand up for the pro-democracy protesters, who are in the third week of a stand-offwith troops and politicians over their dogged push for free elections in Hong Kong.
Their critical aim is focussed on Jonathan Chan, executive director of the Company of Canadians, an ethnically diverse B.C.-based Christian ministry that counts some of the city’s 100,000 Chinese Christiansamong its members.
(For the record, Chan has never claimed to me to represent the views of all or most Chinese Christians in Vancouver. But, since the writers of the public letter below have made that question a centre of their argument, I will leave…
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Originally posted on Quartz:
HONG KONG—Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement protesters have been demanding that the city’s top official, CY Leung, step down for weeks now. They may soon be joined by many more of the city’s 7 million residents, after a controversial interview last night in which Leung suggested that election reforms sought by the protestors would invite undue influence from the city’s poor.
Speaking at his official residence, a colonial-era mansion set above the city—it’s furnished with crystal chandeliers and guarded by massive stone lions—Leung addressed three foreign newspapers that target Hong Kong’s wealthy international community. Allowing the entire voting population of Hong Kong, some 5 million people, to directly nominate candidates for the city’s top official position would be a mistake, Leung said:
“If it’s entirely a numbers game—numeric representation—then obviously you’d be talking to half the people in Hong Kong [that] earn less than US$1,800 a month. You would end…
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