RaaD Movies, News and Technology

Dany's RaaD Roundup

This Week in News and The Daily Show for the week of May 8th, 2010

Last week, I posted President Obama’s official statement, announcing the killing of Osama bin Laden. This week, I have the only interview that President Obama gave on bin Laden’s death, which was released on the most recent 60 Minutes. The entire video piece is in 3 parts here.

Now THIS is the news media I expected, just 3 days after the bin Laden killing announcement, there’s tons of footage of politics as usual again… how fun to be back to normal, it’s great to get the political horse race back.
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Here is a look behind the scenes of the 24-hour media, showing that basically any media event will be debated as to whether it is the defining moment of the presidency… especially if you watch The Ed Show, which explains why I never like watching his show.
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This Jon Meacham interview mixes the history of the Civil War (buy his Civil War Trilogy book set here) with the potential impact of bin Laden’s death (buy Beyond Bin Laden: America and the Future of Terror here) along with the importance of Pakistan in world affairs.
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Is it wrong to LOVE it when religious zealots get caught in a steaming pile of their own propaganda BS? Watching this zealot getting tongue-tied when he can’t believe seeing a New Jersey mosque offering their prayer space up for Christians to pray in was GLORIOUS!
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Here is an interesting extended 5-part-interview of David Barton on American history and the role, along with his view of the role of, religion in the US. I LOVE that they can agree that they both love open conversations that accomplish nothing! That’s how I feel after every political debate I ever have, even with nothing accomplished, I feel that much better after.
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Enjoy

Dany

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May 9, 2011 12:20 am Posted by | books, clips, DC, education, Islam, Middle East, military, New England, New Jersey, Pakistan, politics, Religion, tv, Washington, Washington DC | 2 Comments

This Week in The Daily Show for March 5th, 2011 and the New Dead Island Game Trailer

Here is a great find by the Daily Show team of how when the issue is people making over $250K/year in business with giant benefits packages, 24 hour news pundits feel one way, but once you knock more than $150k/year off their yearly earnings and call them teachers, they are now treated as scum.
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When it comes to unions, any deal where it becomes virtually impossible to fire workers is bad, just look at the NY teacher rubber rooms where bad teachers just sit in rooms away from students all day and wait years before their disciplinary hearings… but that doesn’t mean that unions are bad and should be abolished and if you can’t reneg on Wall Street bonus contracts, why is it rational to do just that with union contracts? If you want to join a union, you should have that option. Unions for the public sector though are a bit tricky because the government can’t really fold and the money the workers get paid are not the politician’s money, it belongs to the constituents of the state, so any deal an official makes to increase longterm benefits only comes into play years after they are no longer on the hook for making the deal, while in the private sector, the owners that agree to these contracts are on the hook if they make a bad deal because the business could fail and have to close its doors.
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Here is an interesting interview with the Jordanian Ambassador Prince Zeid Ra’ad. King Abdullah has already dismantled the previous government, but I don’t think anyone yet knows what will come of his changes. The prince brings up some interesting possibilities, like what happens if the region unfolds into a battle between the Sunni‘s and Shia‘s on top of between the middle eastern countries that have already modernized vs the more conservative countries.
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Here’s just a bit of the absurdity what’s going on in Libya. With Muammar Gaddafi seeming to have lost his mind, although I don’t know how recent an event that actually is.
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Allison Stanger tries to explain just how much money is flowing from the US government to military contractors for her new book One Nation Under Contract. One point she brings up is that because there was no military draft, that changed the political discussion over going into Iraq and how we probably would not have gone into Iraq like we did if a draft was a possibility.
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Diane Ravitch talks about how complicated the issue of education is. How we stack up worldwide and what poverty does to education. Her book is The Death and Life of the Great American School System. I still think there needs to be a better way in a lot of these school districts to get rid of bad teachers, but it’s hard to put all the blame on them without dealing with the issues behind why the kids are doing badly in school. Teachers can’t make kids go to school and they can’t make them do their homework, sometimes the blame for why children do poorly in school is because of their family or their family situation.
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Lastly on a different note, thanks to the 404 episode465 (subscribe here) for letting me know about the new Dead Island video game trailer. I know the game won’t end up looking like this ultimately, but it certainly has piqued my interest.

Enjoy

Dany

March 5, 2011 9:39 pm Posted by | books, clips, commercials, economy, education, food, Iraq, Law, Lybia, Middle East, military, New Jersey, podcasts, politics, Religion, tv, video games, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment

Win Win Sneak Preview Review

Tonight was an interesting and unexpected night. A friend and I were originally going to a sneak preview of Unknown, with Liam Neeson, but once we got to the theater and got onto the end of the line that was literally around the block, five minutes before showtime a representative from Fox Searchlight came around the corner and announced that the screening we were to go to was full up beyond a point ahead of us and if we wanted to see the film he was screening, Win Win, we could get in to see that instead… so we decided to give that a go instead.

The film stars Paul Giamatti as a family man and New Jersey lawyer, who is in trouble and throughout the beginning of the film makes one bad decision after another and then he needs to spend the rest of the film trying to untangle himself and possibly actually make a good decision or two on the way. Especially since the film is not even released yet, I do not want to give any more of the plot away, but Amy Ryan and Jeffrey Tambor also bring strong performances, while Bobby Cannavale provides some quirky comic relief moments and Alex Shaffer‘s muted performance was very believable.

What is funny is that I really enjoyed the film, I had a great time watching it, but I went in not knowing anything about the film and not having seen any trailers for the film. After seeing the film though, I can not imagine a trailer that Fox could put together that would entice me to see this film… and now that I JUST found the trailer online (which I do not want to share here), my advice is SKIP THE TRAILER and just watch this movie once it comes out. It is a film that anyone that doesn’t mind a bit of cursing will enjoy, so I was surprised it received an R-rating, but it must have just had too much profanity to pass with a lower rating, although I feel like a broader audience would enjoy this film because the story ultimately speaks to family life.

I don’t know if our original movie we were supposed to see was really sold out, but either way, I don’t mind, I had a good night with a small movie that I was not expecting tonight.

Thanks to OnlineMovieHut for the above pic.

Enjoy

Dany

February 17, 2011 3:21 am Posted by | Law, movie reviews, movies, New Jersey | 1 Comment

Election Ballot Measure Resuts from Across the USA, The Daily Show and Colbert Report for the Week of November 6th, 2010

This week was a big election week in the USA, there are a lot of news sources where you can find the individual results from the House of Representatives, the Senate and all the different Governors races across the country, but what really interests me is how each state carves out their own differences from one another. Many states had a number of different ballot measures up for a vote as well this past Tuesday. Here are a few of the general trends I noticed: marijuana ballot measures for partial legalization or even just for medical purposes failed across the country wherever proposed, taxes were generally lowered or proposed increases failed, veterans gained new tax advantages and some states passed constitutional limits on the federal healthcare mandate. Of all of these trends, I was most surprised that all the legalization of marijuana measures failed.

Here are the interesting results from the 2010 midterm election state-by-state thanks to the NY Times State-by-State election results (for more details check out the Ballotopedia’s page on all the 2010 ballot measures):

Arkansas: A constitutional limit was set for interest rates to 17%.

Alaska: Not exactly a ballot measure but a write-in, Lisa Murkowski is currently ahead in the district reporting and is projected to win. It just goes to show how important the right to vote is, each vote counts.

Arizona: A constitutional amendment preventing the mandate to purchase health insurance passed and legalization of marijuana for medical purposes failed.

California: Legalization of small quantities of marijuana for any purpose failed.

Colorado: Defining a “person” as starting at “beginning of the biological development” failed and a measure to prevent mandated health insurance failed, meaning that at this point Colorado will uphold the federal mandate to purchase health insurance.

Florida: Eliminates public campaign financing, relaxes limits on public school class sizes and calls for a federal balanced budget amendment.

Idaho: Allows University of Idaho to charge tuition now.

Illinois: Changes the process of recalling a governor through special election instead of via impeachment.

Kansas: Prevents the legislature from removing suffrage for the mentally ill.

Louisiana: Increases the property tax exemption for disabled veterans, while general limits to property tax increases failed.

Maine: Allows a new casino in Oxford County be built, voting rights for legal noncitizens in Portland failed.

Maryland: Baltimore‘s Orphan Court judges must now be bar members.

Massachusetts: Eliminates sales tax on alcohol, but attempts to reduce the sales tax from 6.25% to 3% failed.

Michigan: Prevents certain felons from holding elective office.

Missouri: A property tax exemption for disabled former prisoners of war passed, they prevented cities from using income taxes and prevented governments from collecting real-estate taxes.

Montana: Limits fees and rates for payday and other loans and continue to prohibit any new real estate taxes.

Nevada: Consolidated Reno and Sparks County governments.

New Jersey: Now dedicates state wage taxes to benefits only.

New Mexico: Fails to pass an extension of term limits for county officials to three terms instead of two terms, establishes a new scholarship program for veterans and a property tax exemption for veterans organizations also passed, they will now issue bonds for improvements to senior centers, library acquisitions and public schools, but not for public colleges. New Mexicans were VERY busy at the polls this week, if the people are voting directly on all these issues themselves, I wonder WHAT the local government is actually doing THEMSELVES.

New York: Returns city term limits to two terms.

North Carolina: Prevents felons from being elected sheriff.

North Dakota: Places oil and gas tax revenue in a trust fund while a measure to prevent hunting in fenced enclosures failed.

Oklahoma: Prohibits mandated purchase of health care, requires identification for voters, set term limits for statewide officials, makes English the language of official state actions and forbids the use of international law or Sharia law in state court decisions. This makes Oklahoma the first state in the US to forbid the use Sharia law in their courts.

Oregon: Expands eligibility of subsidized home loans for veterans, increases mandatory minimum sentences for sex crimes and DUIs, fails to allow sales of medical marijuana, prevents the building of a casino in Multnomah County, extends dedication of 15% of lottery proceeds to wildlife, water and recreation.

Rhode Island: Attempts to remove “and Providence Plantations” from official state name failed and issues bonds for higher education facilities, transportation and open-space projects.

South Dakota: Passed a measure ensuring the right to a private ballot in all elections, broadens their smoking ban, but their attempts at legalizing marijuana for medical purposes failed.

Utah: Affirmed the right to a secret ballot in all elections and passed a property tax exemption for nonprofit water operations.

Vermont: Changed their voting-age requirement (18) to only be applied at time of the general election.

Virginia: Passes a property-tax exemption for disabled veterans.

Washington: Attempts to remove the worker-paid share of health benefits failed, failed to increase the income tax on wealthy and lower other taxes, failed to close state liquor stores/deregulate liquor sales, ends certain sales and excise taxes and lowers food-processor taxes, while lastly fails to issue a bond for energy efficiency in schools.

Bipartisanship will remain dead as Republicans will not compromise, even after railing against Democrats for failure to work with them in compromising on issues… and once again Fox News attacks Obama for something he said that was milder things that Republicans had said previously.
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Jon interviews Chris Wallace from Fox News. Here is the extensive interview of them talking about political coverage from cable news:
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David Sedaris comes on The Daily Show to promote his new book Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk.
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Jonathan Alter provides a different type of analysis about President Obama‘s first 2 years of the administration.
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Colbert interviews David Frum as he talks about the direction of the Republican party and how he does not think it is sustainable for the future of the Republican party.
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Doris Kearns Goodwin gives some presidential perspective to the last 2 political waves from the 2008 and 2010 elections.
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All I know is I hope Spider-man wins in Alaska as a write-in, unless it’s really Joe Miller in disguise.
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Here is an odd bit of muddled political commentary from Elvis Costello along with him performing a new song from his album, A Slow Drag With Josephine, and then a duet of All I Have to Do Is Dream with Stephen on The Colbert Report, not really my cup of tea except for the duet (1st video), but if you like it, get his new album National Ransom.
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Enjoy

Dany

November 7, 2010 1:49 am Posted by | Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, books, California, clips, DC, economy, Florida, health, Idaho, Illinois, Islam, Kansas, Law, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, medicine, Michigan, military, Missouri, Montana, music, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, NYC, Oklahoma, Oregon, politics, Religion, Rhode Island, South Dakota, tv, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment