Sunday, July 20, 2014

James Garner Gone




As women of a certain age, we have our favorite actors and a number of them are passing; one of mine was James Garner.  He was handsome, witty and an excellent character and lead actor.  He was so nuanced I think his performances were under appreciated at times.  He played romantic leads (Murphy's Romance, The Americanization of Emily, The Notebook), con men (The Great Escape, The Americanization of Emily), a hapless husband (The Thrill of It All, Move Over Darling) a hapless gangster (Victor, Victoria), comedy (Support Your Local Sheriff, his Doris Day films and more), race car driver (Grand Prix), all his western roles which began with the TV show "Maverick" and, for me, his most endearing turn as the reluctant private eye in "The Rockford Files".  



There will be many accolades and remembrances.  Here's a brief encapsulation of his career.  The second to the last paragraph mentions his 12,000 sq ft home in northern Santa Barbara County. One of my friends was the builder.  From what I understand, it's one heck of a homestead.  But, of course, he was one heck of a man.

Clip from "Support Your Local Sheriff", a very funny film.



Siskel & Ebert's review of "Murphy's Romance".  The visual resolution on YouTube is fuzzy but their review is spot on; a terrific, funny and very romantic film.




"The Americanization of Emily" was Garner's favorite film.





RIP James Garner


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

If Corporations Are People, Why Aren't They Held to Account?

Disillusion with government and its willingness to protect "we the people", crony capitalism of our elected officials, life time appointments to the Supreme Court, polarization on major issues and the failure of certain unalieanble rights to materialize, such as equal pay for equal work, lead me to ponder the possible consequences of the Hobby Lobby decision and other political decisions.







Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that the decision "of startling breadth" that could unleash "havoc" on American society (in fact, Mother Jones surmises that 90% of all American businesses fit the criteria to be classified as "closely-held corporations," so, gird your loins, ladies. Literally). She wrote that for-profit companies, unlike nonprofits, don't exist to further an agenda beyond money making and therefore cannot be said to have religious beliefs, and points out that one of the forms of birth control objected to by the fact-ignoring folks at Conestoga Wood and Hobby Lobby is the IUD, which, if purchased and installed without the help of insurance, would cost about as much as a woman earning minimum wage would make in a month. "The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield," she wrote.  Jezebel.com 6/30/14
Then there's our "too big to fail" banking system.  What happened?  Why weren't the perpetrators of the mortgage fiasco brought up on criminal charges?  
...in the 1980s, the so-called savings-and-loan crisis, which again had some eerie parallels to more recent events, resulted in the successful criminal prosecution of more than eight hundred individuals, right up to Charles Keating. And again, the widespread accounting frauds of the 1990s, most vividly represented by Enron and WorldCom, led directly to the successful prosecution of such previously respected CEOs as Jeffrey Skilling and Bernie Ebbers.
...While officials of the Department of Justice have been more circumspect in describing the roots of the financial crisis than have the various commissions of inquiry and other government agencies, I have seen nothing to indicate their disagreement with the widespread conclusion that fraud at every level permeated the bubble in mortgage-backed securities. Rather, their position has been to excuse their failure to prosecute high-level individuals for fraud in connection with the financial crisis on one or more of three grounds... NY Review of Books  1/09/14  
John Oliver gives his takeaway on possible scenarios treating corporations as people:



There are ways to protest.  Boycott products, stores and establishments owned by corporations whose behaviour, in your opinion, is unacceptable.  Hollywood insiders are boycotting the famed Beverly Hills Hotel & it's iconic Polo Lounge for the following reasons:
Since word spread of the May 1 implementation of Sharia law by Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah -- owner of the hotel through his Dorchester Collection of properties that also includes Hotel Bel-Air -- power players have responded by using their pocketbooks to condemn the criminal code that could mean stoning deaths for gays and adulterers.   
"I'm no longer going [to the Polo Lounge], and I was there three times a week," says WME partner Richard Weitz. Same for Trigger Street Productions' Dana Brunetti: "I will not return there while the sultan owns it." That sentiment was echoed by about two dozen industry names contacted by THR, even if most admit they're keeping an eye in the rearview mirror.   
"I feel bad for the staff," says Weitz. But waitstaff who rely on tips received good news May 8 when Dorchester announced that personnel at its L.A. properties would be compensated for lost gratuities in addition to wages and benefits.   The Hollywood Reporter 5/22/14 
If you notice in the last paragraph on the BHH, it's the staff who suffer, not the billionaire owner.  

As for me, I'm still looking for answers like this one:  
...no one that I know of has ever contended that a big financial institution would collapse if one or more of its high-level executives were prosecuted, as opposed to the institution itself.  NY Review of Books  1/09/14

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Agree With Glenn Beck and Joe Scarborough...this time

Miracles do happen and today I find myself agreeing, nay, applauding Glenn Beck.  

You:  "Applauding Glenn Beck?  WTF?"

Me:  "Well, he's on the side of the angels right now.  As Bullwinkel liked to say 'Just listen'"

Link to video in case embed code doesn't publish:  http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/mika--why-is-beck-facing-border-backlash--301028931780



Glenn Beck calls out the hypocrites; those who profess to be Christians yet will not extend a kindness to those in need.  Joe Scarborough points this out after they run the Beck clip.  And Mike Barnicle points out this is "...a humanitarian crisis...we are capable of handling..."

In the end, it was Jesus who said
Matthew 19:14King James Version (KJV)14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.





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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hold On To Your Reproductive Rights, Ladies!



The fight for the reproductive rights of American women is ramping up.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday that the government cannot force certain employers to pay for birth control was more than a rebuke to President Obama. It was vindication of the conservative movement’s efforts to chip away at laws it finds objectionable by raising questions of freedom of expression. 
 The decision — like several recent rulings from the justices and lower courts involving prayer at town meetings and protests outside abortion clinics — carved out a significant, albeit narrow, legal exception in the context of a broader cultural fight that social conservatives have been unable to win outright.  
The ruling comes as social conservatives have suffered setbacks on another high-profile social issue, same-sex marriage, and leaders predicted Monday’s decision would infuse Republicans with energy as they fight to take control of the Senate this year and reclaim the White House in 2016.  
“The court has made clear today that the Obama administration’s assault on religious freedom in this case went too far,” said Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, one of several conservative Republicans weighing a White House run. “But this assault will not stop in our courts, in our schools and in the halls of power.”    New York Times Jul 1, 2014

Corporations are (not) people, my friends.  But apparently SCOTUS thinks they are. Yesterday's ruling on the Hobby Lobby case has given companies the right to decide if they want to support your contraceptive choices, on the grounds of religious beliefs.  In other words, if they don't believe in your method of contraception, they aren't going to pay for it.  

I suppose it makes sense on the surface.  I mean, why should a Christian Science employer pay for any kind of medical insurance?  After all, "sickness is an illusion that can be cured by prayer alone."  They don't need no stinkin' health insurance! 



It does beg the question, where does this end?
...the court ruled that closely held corporations that have religious objections to providing birth control to employees through benefits programs are free to stop doing so...
A number of corporations and nonprofits have signaled their intents to either continue their own pending lawsuits in lower courts, or move forward and drop their birth-control coverage given the Hobby Lobby ruling. The Daily Beast has a tally of 46 corporations and 36 nonprofits with pending cases.   Vanity Fair online 7/01/2014

The willingness of a "closely held corporation" wanting to exercise First Amendment rights  when it comes to what it will and will not honor opens the door to chipping away at women's rights. At what point do we, as a nation, demand the corporation seek the common good?  Why do they have the right to decide my method of contraception  and still not pay me equally for the same job as a man? 

When does the right of a woman to choose prevail?  It costs over $250,000 to raise a child to adulthood today.  Is it a woman's sole fault if she becomes unintentionally pregnant?  No.  But it can and will be her responsibility if she goes it alone, if she has no partner, if she cannot afford to raise a child.  I don't advocate abortion as birth control.  I do advocate my right to choose should I need to make the choice.  

Isn't it much simpler and less painful to take preventive contraceptive measures to avoid having to make that choice?  



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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Photoshopping Real Women Into Cover Models

As much as I think I'd like to have this done (and I'm married to a photographer who can do it), would I be happy with the results? Interesting approach to an age old, or is it "old age", question.

 

My husband has a fabulous photography book of Hollywood stars from the 30s & 40s showing hand-retouched before and after shots of the most famous stars of those eras.  It is eye opening.

posted by BuzzFeed Video Feb. 13, 2014


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Christina

Christina
by Cole Scott