Fahrenheit 11 9.The family saw Fahrenheit 11/9 at the Spectrum Theater this month. I knew it was going to be heavily about the guy currently running the regime, but it was a lot more than that.

In fact, what filmmaker Michael Moore said about him early on was, as Moore noted, known or at least knowable. OK, there was one thing I was not aware of, involved Gwen Stefani. The filmmaker did confirm what I suspected about the motivation for the candidate’s campaign run.

Moore showed Michigan governor Rick Snyder, a Republican elected in 2010, as a prototype for the former Apprentice star. The agendas were similar: reduce democracy, big tax breaks for the rich, “remove services from the people, especially from the poor. There’s a racial element to it” as well, as seen painfully in the Flint water crisis that his administration created.

One of the members of my church who saw Fahrenheit 11/9 before I did, complained that Barack Obama came to Flint and did nothing. I disagree; he deflated people’s hopes, and in an unnecessary manner.

Even though I noted it in this blog at the time, listening to now-former CBS head honcho Les Moonves tout the great ratings the reality show guy was creating for the network was really revolting. Likewise that interview Matt Lauer did of the party’s presidential candidates in the summer of 2016; he was unrelenting about Hillary’s emails but offered up softballs to the Republican. Ditto Charlie Rose’s coverage. All three, not so incidentally, were ousted from their positions as sexual predators.

The news outlets, as my friend Dan noted, presented “him nonstop as an entertaining TV personality full of outrageous antics while suppressing mention of other candidates… that is, besides a coordinated campaign of negatives about Ms. Clinton as a sideshow.” The reality show host was able to “normalize” some outrageous behavior.

“Also, [Moore] convincingly demonstrates that Bernie Sanders actually won more than half a dozen other states in the Primary election, but” the use of the superdelegates undermined the will of the electorate. “For example, Mr. Sanders won all 55 counties in the West Virginia Primary…”

Can we stop this “calculated slide into fascism and chaos”? A stream of often young, frequently female candidates, give hope, though the pushback from establishment Democrats, embodied here by House party whip Steny Hoyer, makes one wonder.

I’ve seen a lot of Michael Moore films over the years. This one is less optimistic than most, but perhaps that’s the nature of the situation. If you like Moore’s work, you’ll probably appreciate – enjoy isn’t the right word – Fahrenheit 11/9. If you hate his documentaries, you’ll likely despise this movie.

dual sovereigntyWhen I was growing up, I was fascinated by the fact that the United States government could, in certain narrow circumstances, prosecute people who had been acquitted in state courts.

These cases often involved white people in the southern United States who had been accused of grave assault or even murder of black people. The local, often all-white jury may have let the alleged perpetrators go. But the feds would charge the same people with some crime such as “violating” the victims’ “civil rights.”

I’ll admit that I appreciated the outcome, with those victims finally receiving a modicum of justice. At the same time, my political science major part of me was asking, “Isn’t that double jeopardy?”

Double jeopardy is a procedural defense “that prevents an accused person from being tried again on the same (or similar) charges and on the same facts, following a valid acquittal or conviction.” It is a feature in many countries’ jurisprudence. In the United States, “The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution provides: “[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…”

Here’s the odd American twist: “Under the dual sovereignty doctrine, multiple sovereigns can indict a defendant for the same crime. The federal and state governments can have overlapping criminal laws, so a criminal offender may be convicted in individual states and federal courts for exactly the same crime or for different crimes arising out of the same facts.”

Suddenly, Republicans are very, very interested in double jeopardy law. “At this moment, a case making its way through the court system is garnering an unusual amount of attention. It’s a case about a convicted robber in Alabama who was found in possession of a gun and charged by both state and federal authorities.

“For 150 years, the Supreme Court has held that these kinds of cases… don’t violate the Constitution’s prohibition against double jeopardy… But The Atlantic reports: “Utah lawmaker Orrin Hatch, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, filed a 44-page amicus brief [in September] in Gamble v. United States, a case that will consider whether the dual-sovereignty doctrine should be put to rest.

“Republicans, always talk a good game about promoting the sovereign right of states … so long as what the states are doing agrees with them. But here Hatch is willing to take a power away from every state. And why would that be? Two words: Mueller investigation.”

Go see what Arthur has to say about this angle because there’s another example I want to show.

Per the Los Angeles Times, California lawmakers passed a net neutrality proposal at the end of August, responding to the repeal at the federal level. The bill “would prevent broadband providers from hindering or manipulating access to the internet, bringing the state closer to enacting the strongest net neutrality protections in the country.” It was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

“Justice Department officials… announced soon afterward that they were suing California to block the regulations. The state law prohibits broadband and wireless companies from blocking, throttling or otherwise hindering access to internet content, and from favoring some websites over others by charging for faster speeds.”

The federal government has also pushed back against California’s more stringent car pollution standards.

However you feel about dual sovereignty, there’s little doubt that it’s under attack.

white albumI distinctly remember the first time I heard the “white album” by The Beatles. In November 1968, a bunch of our merry band, dubbed Holiday Unlimited – “a splendid time is guaranteed for all” – were in the basement of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Binghamton, NY.

Our friend Steve, the only UU among us, “sponsored” our gathering as an LRY (Liberal Religious Youth) event. we listened to each of the four sides, with only a brief bathroom breaks.

We were gobsmacked. The sounds were all over the place. But I must have liked it, because I got it for Christmas (or maybe my next birthday), but I had to replace one of the discs because the intro to Birthday skipped.

The album The Beatles, generally referred to as the “white album,” is being reissued in several formats, including a limited 6 CD + 1 Blu-ray audio Super Deluxe box set.

It includes the much-sought-after Esher Demos, recorded at “George Harrison’s bungalow in Esher, London, fresh from the band’s fabled Rishikesh trip,” plus three sessions discs and a slip-sleeved 164-page hardbound book. “The book also includes new introductions by Paul McCartney and Giles Martin and in-depth track-by-track details and session notes.”

The Deluxe 3 CD set which includes the Esher demos, has a 24-page booklet abridged from the Super Deluxe book. There are also a couple different LP versions. I may purchase the 3 CDs at about $30, because the super deluxe set, at $150 may be too rich for my blood.

Paul McCartney goes through The White album track by track.

I’m now convinced that people will still be talking about Beatles’ music fifty years from now. Part of the reason is the sheer volume of their music being released decades after their breakup. I have approximately three dozen albums that are strictly Beatles covers. The band remains a regular topic on the Quora website.

YouTube automatically rolled to Ticket to Ride by the Beatles. the music is as seminal as ever and the video is a hoot. Minimal attempts to feign playing their instruments, the wry look at 1:40 from John.

Here’s The Story Behind John Lennon’s Walrus. It reminded me of a little joke my junior high school friend Ray made, musing on whether Lennon meant “standing in the English rain” or perhaps the “English reign,” meaning the Queen.

Today is Sean Lennon’s 43rd birthday, which is really hard to fathom; I saw him in concert about a decade ago. It would also have been John Lennon’s 78th birthday.
***
Geoff Emerick, recorded the Beatles in their prime, dies at 72

Network newsI have been watching the network news for a long time, going back to the 1960s, with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley on NBC and Walter Cronkite on CBS. For you not from the US, these were legendary journalists.

Currently, I watch two network news programs. And by “watch”, I mean, record to view afterward. The reason? Commercials, the majority of which are for medicines that must be prescribed by a physician. They’re for all sorts of ailments that I didn’t know I had or that even existed until I saw the ads, diseases generally designated by initials.

First I watch CBS News. They used to have a solid anchor, Scott Pelley, now 61, but he was pushed out after six years for low ratings.

After an interim period, he was replaced by Jeff Glor, a forty-something guy with a boyish face from upstate New York. But the real change is now, at the top of the broadcast, they summarize the news in 60 seconds so you don’t actually have to watch it. And the network is still in third place.

Then I watch the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. He was the weekend guy who replaced Brian Williams when Williams was suspended for six months for “misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003.” I usually zap through the first half of the NBC news unless they’re covering a different story. They tend to differentiate more after the first commercial.

I gave up on ABC News years ago. It was my go-to network when Peter Jennings anchored before he died in 2005. But by the time Diane Sawyer was in the chair, the network was telling me what was trending on Twitter. If I wanted to know what was trending on Twitter, I’d have gone to that platform. I’ve not seen the broadcast since David Muir took over.

I watch other news and read other sources, and here’s why. Some people don’t believe the news at all and don’t watch. I have a healthy suspicion, so I watch/read a LOT of it, including a variety of online versions of the print news. I feel that, as a librarian, I cannot NOT be informed.

Arthur wrote a post which linked to a video, Why obvious lies make great propaganda. Hint: it wasn’t, initially, about DJT. He also cites an article, How Your Brain Tricks You Into Believing Fake News, and it’s totally credible. I’ve recently spent a good amount of time with such people; intelligent, basically kind, and believing things that were demonstratively untrue.

For ABC Wednesday

house fireOn my way to church Sunday, September 30, I noted that Quail Street was blocked between Western and Washington Avenue. I could see buildings in the middle of the range still smoldering.

On my return trip, I saw a guy from the Capital District Transportation Authority and I asked why there was a bus parked at the corner of western and Quail. He said that CDTA often dispatches a vehicle to this type of disaster so that people displaced in the middle of the night have a place to stay warm.

It wasn’t until I got home that I heard there was ANOTHER multi-building fire, this one on Sheridan Avenue, about ten blocks away, but apparently unrelated. A total of a dozen buildings were heavily damaged or destroyed.

When I was a kid, there was a multiple-structure fire on Grandma Williams’ one-block street, Maple Street in Binghamton, NY. The four or five wooden structures were utterly destroyed. I don’t believe anyone was hurt, but naturally, many lives were disrupted. So that type of fire always makes me especially sad.

Among the actions being taken to help the September 30 fire survivors is a Community Benefit Dinner.

Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 5:30-8:30pm
First Lutheran Church of Albany
646 State St, Albany, NY 12203

Pay What You Can – Suggested Donation for Entry:
$5 for Students & Seniors
$10 for Adults
$15 for Families
There will be raffles and a silent auction and the opportunity to create cards for survivors.

Dinner will be an Italian Feast of Chicken Parm, Baked Ziti, Carmelized Green Beans, Tossed Salad, Desserts, Assorted Beverages

This dinner is sponsored by UAlbany Student Affairs, Pine Hills Neighborhood Association, and First Lutheran Church with support from Hon. Alfredo Balarin, Hon. Doug Bullock

If you can’t make it and want to donate:

* The United Way of the Greater Capital Region, Albany City Fires Fund. The mailing address is Albany City Fires Fund, PO Box 13865, Albany, NY 12212. All funds will go directly to the fire survivors.

* Any of CAP COM Federal Credit Union’s 11 branches in the Capital Region.

* The Catholic Charities Disaster Recovery – indicate Fire Survivors in the Comments Section. The mailing address is Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, 40 North Main Avenue, Albany, New York 12203. Use the Donate Form to direct funds to fire survivors.

Contact Pine Hills Improvement Group at PHIGPineHills@gmail.com or 518-852-7878 with any questions.

More details are available on the Community Benefit Dinner event page on the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association Facebook Page.

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