Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Past, an Iranian film by Asghar Farhadi

This film by the director of the Iranian film "Separation".

We watched this last night - quiet long - in one sitting.

The lives of 2 men, 2 women, 3 children weave a most intriguing story.

Well worth the length.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Moonlight, the Oscar winner

Moonlight did, in fact, win the Oscar for best film.

We watched it last night - WOW.  It was certainly not light and fuzzy, it certainly did put out a powerful message about several subjects.

Well worth the time spent watching it.

Dana Milbank's editorial 3-26-17

Plutocracy Doesn’t Come Cheap

WASHINGTON -- How many Americans does it take to keep President Trump and his family in the lifestyle to which they are accustomed?

Well, think of it this way. The Washington Post last week had a scoop on the Secret Service requesting an additional $60 million in its next budget: $27 million to protect the president’s wife and son in their three-floor penthouse at Trump Tower in New York, where they live instead of the White House, and $33 million for additional travel costs.

The average family of four in the United States pays about $4,000 a year in federal income taxes. That means the entire tax bill for 15,000 families for the year will go toward these additional protection measures for Trump. And the Secret Service is just a slice of the overall expense. Figure in costs incurred by authorities in Florida and New York, the Pentagon and others, and costs related to the Trump sons’ international business trips, and we’re well over $100 million a year.

That’s the annual federal income-tax bill for some 25,000 American families. Each trip Trump takes to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where he has gone most weekends since his inauguration, is estimated to cost taxpayers in excess of $3 million. And an unknown chunk of the taxpayers’ money subsidizes Trump businesses in the form of rent, restaurant bills and publicity. In April, Trump will host Chinese leader Xi Jinping at what Trump dubs the “Southern White House,” which is a Trump property where the initiation fee has doubled to $200,000 since Trump won the presidency.

The taxpayer subsidization of Trump’s rich-and-famous lifestyle is but one of the bait-and-switch maneuvers by Trump, who said during the campaign that “I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done.” The man ran as a populist and is governing as a plutocrat.
Trump’s budget, unveiled shortly before one of his Mar-a-Lago jaunts, would cut many of the government’s efforts to help low- and middle-income Americans: aid for small manufacturers, financial assistance to rural regions, affordable housing, job training and home heating. Analyses of previous Trump proposals have shown that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans would get nearly half of the tax benefits.

On March 18, The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Robert Costa reported on the unexpected influence of a “coterie of ascendant Manhattan business figures” around Trump aligned with son-in-law Jared Kushner: Gary Cohn and Dina Powell, formerly of Goldman Sachs, and two other businessmen recruited by Kushner, Chris Liddell and Reed Cordish. They, along with finance and industry heavies in the Cabinet such as Wilbur Ross, Steven Mnuchin and Rex Tillerson, are providing a counterweight to adviser Stephen Bannon’s populism.

Plutocracy doesn’t come cheap, in ways big and small. Tillerson, the secretary of state, kicked the press corps off his plane, which means taxpayers will probably pick up tens of thousands of dollars in travel costs that had been paid by media organizations. (The administration said Tillerson flew on a smaller plane to save money, but the military 737 he took is often used by officials traveling with reporters.)

A budget-conscious president would spend weekends at Camp David rather than hopping on Air Force One, at $200,000 an hour, to Palm Beach. The Post’s Philip Bump estimated spending on Trump travel and protection, if it continues at current rates, at $526 million for his presidency. This dwarfs what was spent by Trump’s predecessors, even though Trump in 2012 tweeted that Obama’s “vacation is costing taxpayers millions of dollars -- unbelievable!”

Trump has already used his office to boost Trump properties by dining at the Trump International Hotel in Washington and playing golf on his courses. And the Trump administration has told the Trump Organization that this is just fine. The General Services Administration last week declared that the Trump Organization is in “full compliance” with the terms of its lease of the Trump International facility, even though the agreement says no “elected official of the government of the United States” can get “any benefit” from the lease. Trump stepped down from day-to-day management of his company, but he and his family still stand to make out financially.

Trump, who has often pointed out that he’s exempt from conflict-of-interest rules, isn’t just any elected official. This week, when asked by Time’s Michael Scherer about credibility problems over his false intelligence claims, Trump had an imperious justification: “I’m president, and you’re not.”
Or, as another big-spending politician once put it: L’etat, c’est moi.

Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.
(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

Friday, March 24, 2017

Janet King, Australian TV series

We just "bumped" into this Australian TV series.  
Criminal justice from both sides of the bench.
Very well done series.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A French Village, tv series

A very different view point regarding WWII and what occurred during the occupation of one small French Village.
This series in is French with English subtitles, very easy to keep up with.
We enjoyed the first season - there are some characters that one really doesn't like, however, the cast is excellent in their portrayals.

Hope you will give it a shot.

Quote of the Day-----Goodreads

The future is now. It's time to grow up and be strong. Tomorrow may well be too late.

Neil LaBute

Happy 54th birthday, Neil LaBute! The controversial playwright's first major work, In the Company of Men, premiered at his alma mater, Brigham Young University. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Shetland, ITV series

This is a really "great" detective series from ITV - one really needs to view the first 2 seasons, which are in one box set.  Also, dialect might be an issue with some viewers. This series - 6 episodes on 2 discs - is a continuing saga, so at the end of each segment, well Cliff Hanger comes to mind, you want to continue.

Archie Panjabi, who starred in CBS's "The Good Wife" series makes her debut in this season, it would appear that her character might be continuing.

The series is based on Ann Cleeves' bestselling books.

Give it a try!

Land Ho, a film

Mitch, a retired surgeon, "ropes" his former brother-in-law, Colin, in taking a trip with him to Iceland.
Mitch can be somewhat of a "dirty old man", his heart would generally be in the "right" place, he just is having a hard time accepting age and retirement....
Colin has a hard time accepting all of Mitch's goofy ideas - like taking a walk in the dark with only glow sticks to guide their way, luckily they didn't fall into any crevices or hot springs.
The scenery of the film is positively STUNNING! 
With all of Mitch's bawdiness, he is a likable character, Colin finally just falls in line when he realizes that life just goes on.......

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Special Day, movie

Many years ago, we watched this interesting film, starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni - it has just been re-released.

Hitler has come to meet with Mussolini and review the Italian troops, everyone is excited, and expected to participate in the events of the day, everyone except the two characters portrayed by Marcello and Sophia.  By a twist of fate, although they live directly across the way from each other in the high rise building, they meet for the first time.  Tensions run deep throughout the course of the day, and eventually we discover why Marcello's character did not participate - we already know why Sophia's character remained at home.

The film is set in 1938, and there are many historic film clips of events of the day, along with commentary from the actual radio broadcast of the day.

This is a stirring film about the awfulness of fascism.


Okay all those elected "R's" in the United States House and Senate need to start standing up to the person residing in the White House (gold house!), history can and does repeat itself!  
We just need to look back at what occurred in Europe during the 1930's - even some in our country applauded what Hitler stood for. Charles Lindbergh was one of those who applauded the Nazi party campaign - check out your history books if you think this is not true - although he did eventually realize that it was not a good cause to be a champion for.

Quote of the Day --- Goodreads

I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us.

Khaled Hosseini

Before Khaled Hosseini (born March 4, 1965) became a novelist, he was a doctor. Even after his first book, The Kite Runner, was published, he continued to practice for another year and a half before deciding to write full time.

IF ONLY the person, and his staff, who resides in the White House (now the Gold House) would start being truthful.