(I wonder how long I’ll enjoy it, but that’s another matter. Won’t know til I try.)
The premise is simple. Brockmire is a great major-league announcer (think “Bob Uecker”) until, on his anniversary, he comes home to surprise his wife and finds her (we are told) in the midst of a sexual Bacchanalia. He goes back to the stadium, broadcasts the game, but gets drunk and goes into a career-ending rant about what his wife did.
A decade later, we find him back at a minor-league baseball park in a declining small town, making one last stab at getting back in the broadcasting booth. His self-pity hysterically funny, matched, as it is, with his pitch-perfect announcer’s voice.
This clip is not from the series itself–it’s from the Funny or Die shorts that preceded it–but it gives you a sense of Brockmire’s life before he ended up in Pennsylvania, broadcasting for the “Frackers.”
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◆ The new healthcare bill, replacing Obamacare, has been introduced in the House. Keeps several key (and expensive) features of Obamacare and adds tax credits (direct cash payments) to help poor pay for coverage. No mandates.
As specialists begin offering detailed commentary, I will include summaries.
As political battlelines form, I will include stories and excerpts.
The bus project in San Ramon, at the Bishop Ranch office park complex, involves two 12-passenger shuttle buses from French private company EasyMile.
The project is backed by a combination of private companies and public transit and air quality authorities, with the intention of turning it into a permanent, expanded operation . . . .
California legislators late last year passed a law to allow slow-speed testing of fully autonomous vehicles without steering wheels or pedals on public roads, with the Bishop Ranch test in mind. –Reuters
Comment: Quick heads up for Beijing: A lot more of this is coming, including stronger US-Japanese ties, and you know why. It’s your wingman in Pyongyang, plus your own aggressive moves in the South China Sea. The THAAD missile system is, of course, solely to defend against North Korean missiles. China has a large arsenal that could overwhelm it.
The key provisions in this model legislation are inspired by three classic defenses of campus free speech: Yale’s 1974 Woodward Report, The University of Chicago’s 1967 Kalven Report, and the University of Chicago’s 2015 Stone Report.
The model legislation presented and explained in this brief does several things:
It creates an official university policy that strongly affirms the importance of free expression, nullifying any existing restrictive speech codes in the process.
It prevents administrators from disinviting speakers, no matter how controversial, whom members of the campus community wish to hear from.
It establishes a system of disciplinary sanctions for students and anyone else who interferes with the free-speech rights of others.
It allows persons whose free-speech rights have been improperly infringed by the university to recover court costs and attorney’s fees.
It reaffirms the principle that universities, at the official institutional level, ought to remain neutral on issues of public controversy to encourage the widest possible range of opinion and dialogue within the university itself.
It ensures that students will be informed of the official policy on free expression.
It authorizes a special subcommittee of the university board of trustees to issue a yearly report to the public, the trustees, the governor, and the legislature on the administrative handling of free-speech issues.
Taken together, these provisions create a system of interlocking incentives designed to encourage students and administrators to respect and protect the free expression of others. –Goldwater Institute’s “Campus Free Speech: A Legislative Proposal”
In 1979, when Pope John Paul II came to Chicago, Joe DiLeonardi was Acting Superintendent of Police and expected to be named to the job permanently. Highly regarded, he working to clean up the department and promote minorities. Yet, within two years, he was working at a low-grade police job at the airport and then demoted even further to the midnight shift in a high-crime neighborhood.
What did he do wrong, you might ask?
Simple enough, he wanted to root-out organized crime and its political connections. Mayor Jane Byrne, elected as a “reform mayor,” wasn’t having it. In 1980, DiLeonard told the Chicago Tribune that
two of Byrne’s top aides demanded the ouster of the department’s most prominent fighter of organized crime, and blamed influence from the mobbed-up 1st Ward organization. DiLeonardi’s successor, Richard Brzeczek, denied the allegations. …
DiLeonardi was said to be the inspiration for “Kojak,” the nattily attired TV detective played by Telly Savalas. –Chicago Tribune
A potentially major blow for privacy advocates occurred on Friday when a U.S. magistrate ruled against Google and ordered it to cooperate with FBI search warrants demanding access to user emails that are stored on servers outside of the United States. The case is certain to spark a fight, because an appeals court ruled in favor of Microsoft in a similar case recently. –Gizmodo
I love the Perry Mason show. I still watch it, mostly for the camaraderie–a combination of friendship and professional respect–among the three principals: Perry, Della, and Paul. One reason Della (Barbara Hale) joined the show was her old friendship with Raymond Burr.
I had just finished watching another old episode when I read the sad news that “Della Street” had died.
She never seemed unhappy about being identified with one character throughout her career. In 1993 she told the Chicago Tribune that Della Street was “a woman who knew what everybody was thinking.”
“She was informed and very observant of everything that went on,” she continued. “That was my challenge as an actress, to be a necessary part of the office without being too aggressive.” –New York Times
The California Legislature, in its wisdom, passed a law in 2015 requiring an internet site (IMDb) not to disclose any actor’s age if that actor requests that it not be published. The same law applies to directors and writers.
Jerry Brown, who raises money from these folks, just as the legislators do, naturally signed it into law.
If these people thought it was constitutional, then they have IQs smaller than their shoe sizes.
A sixth-grade civics class could tell you it violates the First Amendment’s protection of free speech.
A pro-bono attorney, who graduated last in his class from the Lionel Hutz School of Law, could win this one.
At the time [our 9-year-old son] was consumed by violent rages. He would bang his head, scream for hours and literally eat his shirts. At dinnertime, he threw his plates so forcefully that there was food stuck on the ceiling. He would punch and scratch himself and others, such that people would look at the red streaks on our bodies and ask us, gingerly, if we had cats.
But when I got the cookies right, he calmed down. His aggressions became less ferocious and less frequent. Mealtimes became less fraught. He was able to maintain enough self-composure that he even learned how to ride a bike — despite every expert telling us it would never happen.
… It seemed like a miracle. And seven years later, it’s still working. –Marie Myung-Ok Lee (Chicago Tribune, originally in Washington Post)
Comment:The political wisdom of the Democrats’ strategy depends on their reasons. If they want essential financial and ethics information, the delay will be seen as justifiable. If there are not substantive reasons, then the Democrats will be seen as obstructionist, part of the swamp Trump promised to drain.
◆ “The stuff that dreams are made of” I just learned that Bogie ad libbed that line. It wasn’t in the script.
◆ Goodbye to two fine men: Nat Hentoff and Mario Soares
◆ Hentoff, aged 91, was a great jazz critic, a fierce defender of free speech, and prolific author. A true mensch. The NYT obituary is here.
◆ Putin wins his last round against Obama, says The Economist. Now, they say, he will have to hang on to power with that scapegoat. The story is here.
Comment:We’ll see. Putin is currently jousting with plenty of dragons around the world; perhaps they can serve as scapegoats. Trump clearly wants to shift relations with Russia; that explains his overtures and smooth relations with the Kremlin before he takes office. The question is what will happen to those relations after Trump faces his first crisis with Russia. (Remember, things went smoothly with Ted Cruz, too, until their interests clashed directly.)
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◆ That story about Russia hacking a Vermont utility . . . well, the investigation now goes in other directions and the Russians don’t seem to be involved. (Washington Post)
Comment: The WaPo deserves praise for openly criticizing its own reporting when the story broke.
◆ House guts its own ethics panel, overriding objections from Speaker Paul Ryan. Previously, the panel had been outside investigators, though they lacked the power to punish. Now the panel will be supervised by the House members themselves. The CNN report is here.
The proposal would bar the panel from reviewing any violation of criminal law by members of Congress, requiring that it turn over any complaint to the House Ethics Committee or refer the matter to an appropriate federal law enforcement agency. The House Ethics Committee would also have the power to stop an investigation at any point and bars the ethics office from making any public statements about any matters or hiring any communications staff. –CNN
Comment: The swamp creatures include legislators, as well as lobbyists.
◆ Experts fear North Korea may be developing dirty bombs that can be delivered by drones, making large areas radioactive. There is considerable uncertainty, however, about this conjecture by a South Korean think tank. (Popular Mechanics)
◆The NY Times goes to Texas to find out why the natives love trucks. It is much like a Victorian explorer mapping the territory of interior Africa. “Dr. Livingstone, I presume. What is this barbecue and local music you speak of?”
◆ When only one person shows up for services at Portland’s Episcopal cathedral, the seat of the Maine archdiocese, the priest conducts the services as normal. (Story in the Portland Press-Herald) It’s a sad state of affairs, another blow to a denomination in deep turmoil. (From a tweet by Brit Hume of Fox News)
Such a poor turnout for an evening service isn’t surprising given the national trends. Episcopal churches, like those of other mainline Protestant denominations, are far emptier than they used to be. The Episcopal Church in the United States says average Sunday worship attendance at its churches declined 26 percent between 2005 and 2015. The Diocese of Maine says it lost nearly 17 percent of its baptized members in that decade, although some congregations in southern Maine are growing. –Egan Millard (a reporter and the sole attendee) in the Portland, Maine, Press-Herald