Kyle Olson reports: Barack Obama was out stumping for the ailing Hillary Clinton today, but that didn’t stop him from talking about himself.
The president rallied with Clinton supporters in Philadelphia and when doing so, managed to mention himself 137 times.
At one point, after running down a list of what he considered accomplishments of his presidency, someone in the audience shouted out about lower gas prices.
“Thank you for reminding me,” he replied. “Thanks, Obama,” he said to himself. Read the rest of this entry »
Charge: sequence in film was ‘work of fiction’ that damaged reputation of commentators.
Gun rights advocates don’t enjoy being falsely depicted as dimwits who can’t answer the most basic of questions about their No. 1 public policy issue.
Erik Wemple reports: That’s the takeaway from a defamation lawsuit filed today against Katie Couric and the producers of “Under the Gun,” a documentary about gun violence in the United States. Having debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, the documentary itself came under the gun in May, when members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) claimed that it slighted them by mal-editing an interview in which they’d participated. In response to a question from Couric, the film’s narrator, the gun rights advocates were depicted as sitting in baffled silence for nearly 10 seconds.
In fact, they had supplied an extensive response to Couric’s question.
Many onlookers, including the Erik Wemple Blog, blasted the film for this portrayal. Couric, the global anchor of Yahoo News, initially stood by the product but ultimately apologized for the “misleading” edit. The film’s director, Stephanie Soechtig, wasn’t so contrite. “I think it’s sad to say that these eight seconds didn’t give the VCDL a platform to speak. Their views are expressed repeatedly throughout the film; we know how they feel about background checks. They said it earlier in the film,” said Soechtig in an interview after the furor.
Intransigence of that sort may bedevil Soechtig in a legal action filed by the VCDL and two gun rights defenders in the film — Daniel Hawes and Patricia Webb — against Couric, Soechtig, Atlas Films and Epix, the documentary’s distributor. Filed in a Virginia federal court by Elizabeth Locke of Clare Locke LLP, the complaint states, “The Defendants manipulated the footage in service of an agenda: they wanted to establish that there is no basis for opposing background checks, by fooling viewers into believing that even a panel of pro-Second Amendment advocates could not provide one.” It seeks compensatory damages of $12 million, and punitive damages of $350,000 per plaintiff.
The filmmakers gave this particular lawsuit a galloping start, with a dreadful sequence that comes less than a half-hour into the one-hour-and-45-minute documentary. Seated in a circle are members of the VCDL against a dark backdrop. Couric asks this question: “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?” In response, the VCDL members say precisely nothing. They stare into space, or at the floor. Brain-freeze appears to have enveloped them.
As the suit notes, this depiction is a “work of fiction.” The VCDL members actually filled Couric’s ear; Hawes, for example, said this:
The fact is we do have statutes, both at the federal and state level that prohibit classes of people from being in possession of firearms. If you’re under 18, in Virginia, you can’t walk around with a gun. If you’re an illegal immigrant, if you’re a convicted felon, if you’ve been adjudicated insane, these things are already illegal. So, what we’re really asking about is a question of prior restraint. How can we prevent future crime by identifying bad guys before they do anything bad? And, the simple answer is you can’t. And, particularly, under the legal system we have in the United States, there are a lot of Supreme Court opinions that say, “No, prior restraint is something that the government does not have the authority to do.” Until there is an overt act that allows us to say, “That’s a bad guy,” then you can’t punish him.
That argument, notes the complaint, is part of the six minutes that the gun rights advocates spent answering Couric’s question. Showing the VCDL as dumbfounded required some work on the part of the filmmakers. In coordinating the interview with the VCDL advocates, Couric and a cameraman from Atlas Films told them that they needed to sit in silence for 10 seconds so that the crew could calibrate the “recording equipment.” It was this passage that “Under the Gun” placed in the film instead of the actual answers supplied to the question about background checks. The suit alleges that this moment carried particular implications for each of the named plaintiffs in the case. Webb is a licensed firearms dealer (Gadsden Guns Inc.), and the edits indicate that “she lacks knowledge regarding background checks — a requirement for every gun sale she does,” argues the complaint. Hawes is an attorney who handles cases involving firearms, and the film suggests that “he lacks the legal expertise and oral advocacy skills required to perform his duties.” Read the rest of this entry »
Erin Blakemore reports Forty-seven years ago, mankind achieved what was once unthinkable when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon. But getting him there involved more than strapping the astronaut to a rocket and pressing “go.” Armstrong and his colleagues headed to space in the most advanced spacecraft of their time: the Apollo 11 command module, Columbia. Now, you can explore the module without leaving your couch with the help of a newly-released 3D model that offers unprecedented access to one of history’s most important technological achievements—and the inside scoop on what it was really like to be an Apollo astronaut.
The model is the result of painstaking digitization efforts by the Smithsonian Institution, which houses Columbia at the National Air and Space Museum, and Autodesk, Inc. Given the complexity of the craft—and the fact that photographers weren’t allowed to actually touch it while capturing every nook and cranny—the 3D model is an impressive feat.
It’s available to anyone with an internet connection and offers glimpses unavailable to museum visitors, who are not allowed to explore the inside of the craft. The model can be viewed online, but also comes with publicly available data files for 3-D printing or viewing with virtual reality goggles.
Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins lived in Columbia during their time in space on the Apollo 11 mission, which launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969. Four days later, Aldrin and Armstrong headed to the moon’s surface on the “Eagle” lunar module.
Columbia itself is filled with clues as to life as an early astronaut. While photographing the inside of the module, curators discovered markings made by the astronauts on their mission, including information relayed by mission control and a hand-drawn calendar that documents the journey. The men even scribbled notes to one another on the walls, including a warning about “smelly waste!” that presumably cautioned intrepid explorers to keep away from a certain panel on the cramped craft. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] OH YES HE DID: Texas News Anchor Does Pretty Darn Funny Impression of Hillary Clinton When He Thinks Cameras Are OffPosted: July 7, 2016
Louis C.K. on the Right to Be Offensive, Why White Guys Should Stop Whining, and Bored Masturbation.
Talking feminism and optimism with the comedian who upended the conventions of TV comedy.
David Marchese writes: When you watch comedy on television these days, especially shows that don’t seem to care if you’re laughing or wincing, there’s a good chance you’re watching something indebted to Louis C.K. As the creator of FX’s Louie, the 48-year-old comedian pioneered the filthy and emotionally fearless, auteur-driven and defiantly non-pandering genre of prestige comedy. But just as his footprint became inescapable, C.K. put his namesake show on hold for Horace and Pete, a ten-part kitchen-sink tragedy he self-financed and surprise-released on his own website in January. Emotionally brutal, and economically self-sufficient, the latter series suggests a new way forward for the comedian. This summer, he’ll lend his voice to the animated movie The Secret Life of Pets, and he’s devoting the next year to touring his stand-up act. “Part of what keeps me going is that I keep learning and trying to figure things out,” he says during one of our long talks — the first at the Hudson Diner in the West Village on May 12, the second on the phone before a gig in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on May 20. “But comedy is something that I’ll never figure out.”
David Marchese: You were in the news for calling Donald Trump Hitler
Louis C.K.: Yeah, yeah. That was a messy thing to do.
Then you said publicly that you regretted sharing that opinion. I found it weird that you seemed uncomfortable with the idea that you’d divulged too much of your own political thinking. You’re a guy who tells jokes about why your 4-year-old daughter is an asshole.
As far as talking about what’s deep in my gut about certain subjects, I’ll put that out there because I know I do that really well, and I’m a unique originator of certain thoughts. Politically I’m not an expert. And also there’s very little rational intake of political thought. People get so upset that they don’t hear what you’re saying. There’s this feeling with people where they’ve got to decide whether an opinion or information is right or wrong. Nobody can eat a whole meal and then digest it and see how they feel the next day. You’ve got a meal in front of you, and you take a piece of lettuce and you go, “Why is there just a piece of lettuce? I’m hungry for more.” “What do you mean? There’s a bunch of other shit on the plate. Take a minute and eat that!” “No. It’s just lettuce, and fuck you, I hate lettuce.” That’s how it is with every conversation now.
So what I hear you saying is that you’re endorsing Donald Trump.
You’re 100 percent right. I’m very pleased with everything he’s done. I don’t know, celebrities saying things politically is obnoxious, because you’ve got a bullhorn that was given to you for one reason and you used that bullhorn for something else. But also I think when there’s somebody as terrible as Trump running, you’re a little bit of a coward by keeping it to yourself if you’re really concerned about it. I felt like I had to raise my hand and be counted because I believe he’s a bigot with a hole in his heart. A guy who shouldn’t be anywhere near the fucking thing is the Republican nominee.
How are you feeling about Hillary and Bernie?
I keep going back and forth. Sometimes I think the system is so deeply fucked up that somebody as disruptive as Bernie — maybe he doesn’t even do a good job as president but he jars something loose in our system and something exciting happens. I mean, Hillary is better at this than any of these people. The American government is a very volatile, dangerous mechanism, and Hillary has the most experience with it. It’s like if you were on a plane and you wanted to choose a pilot. You have one person, Hillary, who says, “Here’s my license. Here’s all the thousands of flights that I’ve flown. Here’s planes I’ve flown in really difficult situations. I’ve had some good flights and some bad flights, but I’ve been flying for a very long time, and I know exactly how this plane works.” Then you’ve got Bernie, who says, “Everyone should get a ride right to their house with this plane.” “Well, how are you going to do that?” “I just think we should. It’s only fair that everyone gets to use the plane equally.” And then Trump says, “I’m going to fly so well. You’re not going to believe how good I’m going to fly this plane, and by the way, Hillary never flew a plane in her life.” “She did, and we have pictures.” “No, she never did it.” It’s insane.
You mentioned in a radio interview how interested you were in this election cycle. What specifically are you finding so interesting?
It’s very emotional. There is a fear of Hillary, you know? I think some of it has to do with Hillary being such a strong candidate and being a woman. The response to her is very male. The other side is very male-oriented. Trump is a man. Well, he’s a boy, and Bernie is an old man. Neither is a feminine person. Obama’s a very feminine person. I don’t mean effeminate.
You mean he’s not macho?
Everybody has both masculine and feminine sides, but Obama is feminine inside. There ain’t no femininity in Trump. There’s none in Bernie. These are both really emphatic guys saying, “We got to do this!” Hillary’s trying to say, “Guys, this is reality. These are complex issues.” And those two are going, “I don’t want to fucking hear it!” It’s weird to watch. It’s like if you had an election in your family. Imagine that when you were a kid there was an election to decide whether Mom or Dad would be in charge for the next four years. Or if some group of siblings got together and said, “We’re going to get this woman to replace Mom.” After the election, imagine how you would feel about each other. It’s terribly, terribly interesting.
You’ve been saying lately that you’ve quit the internet.
I don’t look at any of it now.
I don’t believe you.
Obviously I sell my shit on it: my stand-up tickets, Horace and Pete. I just don’t look at any web pages.
So if you’re not looking on the internet, what do you jack off to? Are you one of those weirdos who buy porn on DVD?
Here’s a weirder option: Take a little longer and try to get your imagination frothed up to where it gets you off. What a strange exercise! I hadn’t done that since 1998. Read the rest of this entry »