Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NEW YORK magazine's Frank Rich on the Bradley Manning verdict.


Yesterday, Private Bradley Manning was convicted on multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act (which could result in 136 years of prison) but was found not guilty of the most serious charge against him, "aiding the enemy." What do you make of the verdict?What matters here is not that Manning was found guilty of leaking — which he admitted to and will not get anything like 136 years for — but that he was found not guilty of “aiding the enemy.” That “not guilty” is a good thing, but it doesn’t mitigate the reality that “aiding the enemy” was a bogus and dangerous charge in the first place. The fact that the government would even pursue it is chilling to a free press. Under the prosecution’s Orwellian logic, essentially any classified information given by a whistle-blower to a journalistic outlet (whether WikiLeaks or the Times, which published Manning-WikiLeaks revelations) amounts to treason if “the enemy” can read it. Well, the enemy, whomever it may be at any given moment, can read anything it wants on the Internet, the government can (and does) stamp its every embarrassing action “classified,” and so almost any revelatory investigative reporting on national security (the Pentagon Papers, the Abu Ghraib revelations, you name it) could in principle lead to the death penalty (even if that punishment wasn’t sought in the Manning case). That’s a powerful deterrent, clearly designed to stop whistle-blowers, reporters, and news organizations from taking the risk of uncovering government misbehavior. It’s a particularly devastating blow at a time when investigative journalism is shrinking anyway because of the financial woes of the news business. The Obama administration’s increasingly virulent efforts to shut down hard-hitting journalism — exemplified as well, recently, by the attempt to force Times reporter James Risen to testify in another leak case — is not just outrageous on First Amendment grounds but also makes you wonder what else the White House is hiding. Let’s not forget that high among Manning’s revelations were the cockpits videos chronicling the killing of civilians in an American air strike. What else is there that the Obama administration is so desperate to keep quiet that it will take on leakers with a virulence unmatched by any modern White House?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Post-Mortem on the Bradley Manning verdict.

We are, more and more, a society where unaccountable people can commit unspeakable acts with impunity. They are creating a surveillance state that makes not just dissent, but knowledge itself, more and more dangerous. What we know about this is entirely due to leakers and their outlets. Ignorance is only bliss for the unaccountable.--quote from Dan Gillmor of THE GUARDIAN

Link to his article in its entirety:

Friday, July 26, 2013

My 30-years-of-Madonna playlist.

In no specific order:
5. SIDEWALK TALK (Jellybean Benitez w/Madonna)
18. IN THE CLOSET (Michael Jackson w/Madonna aka Mystery Girl)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


shall I dare
shall I dare

time to step
upon the stairs
to the basement
where the computer
is waiting
waiting just for me and you

in the chatroom
you and I
come and go
talking of POLITICO
when not sending photos
back and forth

someday maybe baby
we'll have Chicago
you can shop the Magnificent Mile
while I plan my campaign for NYC Mayor
in our private condominium for two

let's talk health care
I know it turns you on
and it turns me on
when you're turned on

please don't talk to anyone about this,
especially PEOPLE magazine
Huma believes everything's fine
just like I said in the interview

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bill/Hillary 1992 and Anthony/Huma in 2013. and Hillary Clinton on 60 MINUTES from Anthony Weiner's press conference statement. Abedin speaks at husband Anthony Weiner's press conference. press conference feed as aired on CNN.

Anthony Weiner sexting scandal Part Two: "Carlos Danger" on Twitter.

Now, a random list of tweets related to Anthony Weiner's "Carlos Danger" alias:
"Carlos Danger"? The jokes were too easy when you were just "Tony Weiner." I can't. I just can't.--Patton Oswalt

"Who is this 'Carlos Danger'? I like the cut of his jib." Geraldo Rivera--Gerard Mulligan

For Halloween this year, I'll be going as Bun E. Carlos Danger. Just need to figure out the appropriate props.--Alan Sepinwall

Anthony Weiner steps to the mike at his inaugural, pauses. "Today...we are ALL Carlos Danger!!" The place goes nuts.--Ken Jennings

If the were to be named "Carlos Danger", this would be the greatest news day of all time. !--Rainn Wilson

Carlos Danger sounds like Archer's nemesis for next season.--Brian Reed

wait, is Carlos Danger the nickname for Anthony's weiner? look what happens when I do actual work all day.--Sarah Jaffe

And finally:
Eliot Spitzer would like to thank Carlos Danger for taking the heat off him for the day.--
Joeanna Sayler

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

New poem: ODE TO JUROR B37

she had her mind made up
nothing would breach
the fortifications
of a lifetime
of just knowing
that neighborhood watchpeople
had oh-so-good intentions
even when ignoring 911 operators
even when engaging in pursuit-with-loaded-gun
even when shooting unarmed teenage boy
who very likely thought
neighborhood watchperson
was someone intent
on robbery or worse
and she just knows
that neighborhood watchperson
will do his job better now
never again committing
the regrettable error
of taking a human life

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tom Bradley in 1992 vs. Barack Obama in 2013: how can one react to injustice when an African-American authority leader?

"In the aftermath of the riots, critics suggested that the usually mild-mannered Mayor Tom Bradley had actually made the already tense situation that much worse soon after the verdict came down when he declared, "Today that jury asked us to accept the senseless and brutal beating of a helpless man." It was a statement many said fanned the flames of the L.A. riots, but Bradley never apologized to his critics."
From a 2007 Jesse Singal article in TIME.

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama called on Sunday for "calm reflection" following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
The president, in a statement, acknowledged an emotionally charged climate but concluded that "we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken."
Obama called Martin's death a tragedy for America.
"I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher," he said.
"I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we're doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities.
"We should ask ourselves if we're doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis," Obama said.
A Florida jury on Saturday night found Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in a shooting that grew from a confrontation as Martin, 17, walked home from a convenience store in February 2012.
The verdict closed a case that gained national attention and sparked public outcry, much of which focused on race. Reaction generated protests across the United States, including outside the White House.
Obama said in closing his statement that Americans asking "ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this" is one way "to honor Trayvon Martin."

It's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.  If Obama had dared to give a Bradley response, then he'd be blamed by white racists for inciting violence.
I remember seeing the ugly spectacle of affluent white people booing Tom Bradley when he made a ceremonial appearance at the Playboy Jazz Festival in 1992.
We should be past the 1940s when Jackie Robinson had to display no reaction to prejudice.
If Barack Obama continues to dispense symbolism, then he should be willing to make the bigoted a bit more uncomfortable with their bigotry--and, like Bradley, not back down and "make nice" to those with malice in words, minds and actions.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Teri Garr dissing background actors (also known as extras).

Long ago, I worked as a background person on two episodes of a quickly-cancelled Witt/Thomas/Harris ABC sitcom titled GOOD AND EVIL--meant to recapture the naughty-serial vibe of SOAP (which began a decade-and-half earlier and ran for five years).

Among the stars of the show were Margaret Whitton (best known for playing Michael J. Fox's aunt in THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS), Mark Blankfield (from the SNL-imitation show FRIDAYS) and comedy legend Teri Garr.

I just discovered an old interview Ms. Garr did for the AV CLUB site.  While she's candid about Industry sexism, it depressed me to read this fie-on-you-peasants comment, uttered in the context of how she moved up from dancer/extra to actress:

" Usually the extras have a different mentality. I had the mentality of an artist, because I was a "ballet-rina." But most extras are out to make a fast buck for nothing. They're "atmosphere." How can you have a job called "atmosphere" and be proud of yourself? [Laughs.]"

Here's the link to the 2008 interview:,2390/

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Justin Bieber's entourage-enabled behavior--and a similar incident I once witnessed.

What the Justin Bieber urination incident (topped with a chaser of Bill Clinton abuse) teaches:
if you're a young male star with a young male entourage in tow, everything you do is cool.

About 23 years ago, I was an extra (hired, but not used that day) on a critically-acclaimed film noir partially shot at an old, ornate apartment building in L.A.'s Wilshire District.  Nearby was a storage area, where the Young Male Star and friends practiced throwing a football at a glass window.  Presumably it was a game to see how to throw the football at the window without causing breakage.

Eventually, an older man came out and told the Young Male Star and his friends to stop.  They stopped.

I saw this and kept silent; I didn't want to lose a day's pay and be blackballed from the casting agency who sent me on the job.

And, in retrospect, the Young Male Star (now middle-aged and still active in films) was blessed with living in a time where cell phones were few and primitive--and tabloid TV hadn't evolved (or devolved) into the TMZ era.

Press release for HOLLYWOOD POETRY: 2001-2013

New Memoir Reveals Hollywood’s Lights and Shadows Through Poems
Author-poet Terry McCarty shares his experiences in “Hollywood Poetry 2001-2013”
CANOGA PARK, Calif. – (Release Date TBD) – “Hollywood is a door leading to a thousand doors,” author
Kensington Roth once said. Not many people have had the privilege of having such many opportunities. Up and
coming author and poet Terry McCarty has had that privilege when he worked in Hollywood for several years. Now,
he publishes his stirring memoir titled Hollywood Poetry 2001-2013.
Hollywood has always been a hot subject of news, gossips, controversies and the like. It has a kind of lure and
charm that many could not resist. McCarty has always wanted to share his first-hand observations and experiences
at the heart of America’s motion picture industry. He could not pass up the singular opportunity he possesses, so he
publishes a new book impelled by his own desire to write his memoir through poetic verse.
Each poem in the book gives readers a unique worm’s eye view of late 20th-century Hollywood and some of its
inhabitants. Some poems are based on McCarty’s personal experiences, others on the experiences of other people
he encountered in the industry. Collectively, their underlying theme is man’s insatiable desire for fame and fortune,
or if not for stardom, at least for a stable career in show business.
Filled with wry humor, 20/20 hindsight and vivid details, Hollywood Poetry 2001-2013 is a book that will surely pique
the interest of many people. Its unique offering of a low-level perspective, which may appeal to the average
American reader, will surely have people enjoy satire, curious insights, and privileged peeks behind the curtain of
the world’s most dominant film industry.
For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to
About the Author
Terry McCarty was born in Electra, Texas. He moved to Southern California in 1988. From 1988 to 1997, he worked
as a background actor (extra) and occasional stand-in for actors including Joe Pesci (The Public Eye, Lethal
Weapon 3, and Jimmy Hollywood) and Wallace Shawn (House Arrest). He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and
three cats. He has written other poetry books including “Imperfectionist”, “I Saw it on TV” and “20 Greatest Hits:
Hollywood Poetry 2001-2013 * by Terry McCarty
Publication Date: April 24, 2013
Trade Paperback; $15.99; 57 pages; 978-1-4797-9382-2
eBook; $3.99; 978-1-4797-9383-9
To request a complimentary paperback review copy, contact the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. To purchase
copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (812) 355-4079 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879.
For more information, contact Xlibris at (888) 795-4274 or on the web at

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Paul Schrader and Bret Easton Ellis' adventure in relatively-microbudget cinema: THE CANYONS.

Quote from Paul Schrader, who long ago made films as diverse as BLUE COLLAR and PATTY HEARST: “The number one fact of the new low-budget cinema is that it is no longer impossible to get your film financed, but it is impossible to get anybody to see it."

And the difficulty is quadrupled when your film is rejected by Austin's SXSW festival and emerges into an environment where people would rather laugh cruelly at Lindsay Lohan and her ongoing self-destruction/social skills decline than actually see a movie she stars in for a still-reputable, still-hanging-in-there veteran director.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Now vs. then: film critics/reviewers/watchdogs on the far edge of PG-13 violence.

"Even allowing that TLR's weirdness is "interesting" -- and I think it's just an overstuffed train wreck of multiple agendas, myself -- there is such a thing as a movie's implied compact with its audience, particularly when it's a supposed kiddie flick. I've read about droves of parents exiting with their tykes as soon as [SPOILER ALERT] one character cuts out and eats another one's heart. I'm with them, and remember: that's one hefty chunk of change for parents to burn off at the multiplex all of 1/2 hour in."--Tom Carson, veteran of publications such as L.A. WEEKLY and ESQUIRE, commenting on Glenn Kenny's review of THE LONE RANGER.

"The film betrays no human impulse higher than that of a ten-year-old boy trying to gross out his baby sister by dangling a dead worm in her face."--Dave Kehr on INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, which had a heart-removal scene and caused the creation of the PG-13 rating midway through the summer of 1984.

And here's Ed Grant of Common Sense Media doing a years-after-the-fact assessment of Tim Burton's 1992 BATMAN RETURNS:

Critical tut-tuts, audience squeamishness in certain cases--and more broad-audience-friendly sequels with the latter two films.  Given the response to THE LONE RANGER (though the film has its critical defenders), it's not likely to get that far.