📺 PBS NewsHour full episode May 23, 2017

Watched NewsHour full episode May 23, 2017 from PBS
Tuesday on the NewsHour, an alleged suspect is named after a bombing kills more than 20 in Manchester, England. Also: Former CIA director John Brennan shares concern over Russian election meddling, deep cuts to social programs in President Trump's proposed budget, previewing a presidential visit with the pope and shifting education dollars to school choice.

📺 Charlie Rose May 23, 2017

Watched Charlie Rose: Manchester Attack; Rep. Adam Schiff; Stephen Starr from PBS
Caroline Hyde of Bloomberg TV and Ray Kelly, the former New York City police commissioner, discuss the investigation of the deadly suicide bombing at Manchester Arena on Monday. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, discusses former CIA Director John Brennan's testimony in the Russia probe. James Beard award winner Stephen Starr, the owner of more than 30 restaurants across four states and two countries.

📺 Charlie Rose May 19, 2017

Watched Charlie Rose: Trump's first foreign trip; John Carlin, Remembering Roger Ailes, Adam Lindemann by Charlie Rose from PBS
Ian Bremmer, the president of the Eurasia Group, and Michael Hanna, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, on Donald Trump's first foreign trip of his presidency. A discussion of Robert Mueller's special counsel appointment with John Carlin, the former assistant Attorney General for national security and Chief of Staff to Robert Mueller. Gabe Sherman and Jim Rutenberg reflect on the legacy of the late media titan Roger Ailes, known for launching Fox News in 1996. Adam Lindemann, an art collector and gallery owner who held the previous auction record for a Jean Michel Basquiat painting with his sale of Untitled (Devil) for $57.3 million last year.

I haven’t been following the deeper analysis of Trump’s Middle East trip, but Ian Bremmer’s pre-analysis here which I’ll synopsize as Trump is taking a cheese-puff trip to areas where he’s likely to be loved, adored, and appreciated (surprise!!) and which the US won’t really benefit from in the coming decades seems sadly correct. I suppose it’s better for him to focus on his vanity rather than destroying value.

I could have appreciated another 20 minutes on Ailes and analysis on his ongoing influence, but then again, it’s just as well to relegate him to the dustbin of history.

📺 PBS NewsHour full episode May 22, 2017

Watched NewsHour May 22, 2017 from PBS
Monday on the NewsHour, President Trump visits Israel, insisting that peace in the Middle East requires resolving the long-standing conflict with the Palestinians. Also: What's on Trump's budget chopping block, how Medicaid cuts would affect special ed, a political storm at home while the president is overseas, Tunisians revive a treasured city center and finding a sweet way to make a difference.

📺 Ivanka & Jared: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) | YouTube

Watched Ivanka & Jared: Last Week Tonight from HBO
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner hold an incredible amount of political power. That's troubling considering their incredibly small amount of political experience.
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📺 French Elections: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) | YouTube

Watched French Elections: Last Week Tonight from HBO
The presidential election in France could determine the political future of Europe. John Oliver visits an excessively French bistro to deliver an urgent message to voters.
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📺 Gerrymandering: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) | YouTube

Watched Gerrymandering: Last Week Tonight from HBO
Lawmakers often reshape voting districts to shift the balance of political power. That's unfair to voters, even those of us with questionable judgment.

Gerrymandering has become a very precise science, and interestingly it’s one of the few remaining types of science in which the republican party currently believes.

–John Oliver

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📺 Dialysis: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Watched Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Dialysis from HBO/YouTube
For-profit dialysis companies often maximize their profits at the expense of their patients. John Oliver explores why a medical clinic is nothing like a Taco Bell.

The lack of humanity showed by these corporations is simply horrific. Certainly a market failure which is causing some painful externalities. We need something more significant to fix the inequities that are happening here.

Also, what a terrifically hilarious episode!

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📺 Net Neutrality II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Watched Net Neutrality II from Last Week Tonight (HBO)
Equal access to online information is once again under serious threat. John Oliver encourages internet commenters to voice their displeasure to the FCC by visiting www.gofccyourself.com and clicking "express" to file your comment.

tl;dr: Net neutrality is important and we need to support and protect it.

and the update:

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📺 Madam Secretary, S3 E18 “Good Bones”

Watched Good Bones, S3 E18 from Madam Secretary (CBS)
Elizabeth enlists the help of a Hollywood starlet to free victims of human traffickers in Kyrgyzstan. Henry's finds the bomb he's been looking for when his undercover agent brings it to a local mall but uncovers an even deadlier plot.

This episode seems to be speaking directly to the fact that the Trump administration has recently called for gutting the budget for State in preference for military spending and how that could potentially play out. Possibly one of the most depressing episodes of this show in memory.

📺 Madam Secretary, S3 E17 “Convergence”

Watched Convergence, S3 E17 from Madam Secretary (CBS)
When a computer sting uncovers the possible mole in the CIA arms smuggling ring, Elizabeth's questioning of the suspect makes her think that a larger, more dangerous force is behind the operation. Also, Henry worries that the doomsday cult is drugging his embedded operative, and Elizabeth and her State Department staff come up with an unorthodox approach to solving black rhino poaching in Namibia. Enrico Colantoni guest stars.

Interesting to see the solution presented for protecting the black rhino. This is an interesting example of the complexity of the world and both how and why science can be used as a tool to move policy.

📺 Madam Secretary, S3 E16 “Swept Away”

Watched Swept Away, S3 E16 from Madam Secretary (CBS)
Elizabeth's landmark global climate treaty with more than 200 countries is jeopardized when China threatens to back out due to her meeting with an ailing Dalai Lama. Also, Henry worries about his undercover operative's safety, and Jay is surprised when Abby serves him with a custody agreement for their daughter.

📺 Madam Secretary, S3 E15 “Break in Diplomacy”

Watched Break in Diplomacy, S3 E15 from Madam Secretary (CBS)
Elizabeth visits the newly elected President Andrada to advise against withdrawing from the Singapore Interchange agreement. Progress is made on the BoJ compound while Jay looks into Kevin Park's research.

The president of Philippines here is a very thinly veiled version of Donald Trump, and as a result makes it an interesting think piece for considering how other countries are viewing the United States right now.

🎞 Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (RKO Radio Pictures, 1948)

Watched Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House from RKO Radio Pictures
A man and his wife decide they can afford to have a house in the country built to their specifications. It's a lot more trouble than they think. Director: H.C. Potter; Writers: Eric Hodgins (novel); Norman Panama and Melvin Frank; Stars: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas |

It’s always fun to watch classic pictures like this one. They’re such an interesting look back on the subtleties of how the world used to be. This is a great example of when married couples had separate beds, men used shaving brushes, there were shower caps, everyone wore hats, and electric razors were becoming popular. The opening in particular has some interesting social commentary about society, class, and progressiveness. It also has commentary on advertising and people apparently becoming more open to having analysts (therapists).

This even has a snippet about current fashion in home decoration with mentions of a cobbler’s bench, a breakfront, a hooked rug, a pie cooler (whatever that is), and a Martha Washington desk.

An interesting linguistic relic I caught in the opening was a phrase that “New York has 7 millions” [referring to number of people]. Today, most would use the singular million instead.

I could easily see a case one could build for the original book and this film as the likely inspiration and precursors for comedies like The Money Pit (Universal, 1986), Funny Farm (Warner Bros., 1988), and even a bit of Baby Boom (United Artists, 1987).

I’m curious to know in how many movies Cary Grant played an advertising executive. Leading characters with this profession during this time period must have been romantic seeming at the time, but they always give an additional layer of meaning when watching them decades after the fact.

Quotes

Mr. Blandings (in his best pitch-man voice talking about his razor): “I prefer the clean sweep of the tempered steel as it glides over…”
Mrs. Blandings (curtly): “No advertising copy please.”

Bill Cole: “I had no intention of sending you to Reno.”
(At the time Reno was one of the few (only) places to grant divorces.)

Interesting tidbits of history

This was a Dory Schary presentation when he was still at RKO prior to his reign at MGM. The generally great black and white cinematography was by a mid-career prolific journeyman cinematographer James Wong Howe. This also features an appearance of Jason Robards. Robards Sr. that is, father to the more well known Jason Robards, Jr.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

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