Monday, February 28, 2011

Murdockinations Changes

First, let me mention you can now get to this blog more easily.

Murdockinations.com will now get you here. It's just a redirect, but still, it's easier now.
Art by Marvin Hayes (hanging in my home office)
Now the real news about this blog.
Art by Marvin Hayes
Doing two blogs per day (or more) each week, and one on the weekends, takes time to research and write. Sometimes I have felt lost in the vast Twilight Zone caverns of unbearable in-distinction. People asked me what I was thinking when I started doing it. But originally it was for my own benefit, to get more writing done, be more accountable to my statements, to get used to a stringent schedule, stuff like that.

But I was also working hard on other projects. Some of those other things have paid off and now I'm more busy than before. I simply do not have the time any longer for so many articles per week. So I am at least going to cut down by half, one blog a day, and maybe further back than that. The quality will get better and I will have more time for things I really need to be doing.

I have a couple of screenplays to finish, one for someone else and one for myself. We're still working on the screenplay that is now at a studio being edited. After that, I have other scripts to do. I have a book being edited in house at the publisher. It's an anthology of horror stories waiting for an editor to be free'd up to take it on.

So, I really need to spend more time with those pursuits.

Therefore, I am going to have to cut back to a workable solution, though I'm not quite sure yet what that is, but I'm sure it will evolve over time into whatever is most workable. The down side is that I will have less blogs, the upside is that they will individually be better and its good to note that my other efforts are finally paying off. It's nice to see that when someone works hard on something, it pays off in the end, don't you think? I find that reassuring. Well, it's better than thinking that working hard gets you absolutely nothing.

I'm also looking for a blurb for my book by Clive Barker (no, really, I'm not kidding). If I can only get in contact with him again as I haven't spoken to him in years, though that's not too easy now a days. It used to be far easier when he still lived in London, but those days are past; and hey, good for him.

However, now it's hopefully time for, "good for me", too. I've certainly put in a lot of work. In a few months it will be two years since I decided to make these changes. I started writing all the time back then. It was like (and still is sometimes) working two full time jobs. My day job alone is sometimes like two full time jobs. So I've been pretty busy and its easy to get burned out or feel all is hopeless sometimes.

But I kept pushing through it.

See, that's the key to making it. You simply don't stop. You have to have acceptable quality of course, but as you keep pushing, that too should increase in value. So now its beginning to pay off. I've made many new friends and associates. I've gotten scripts done, and much fiction written. I also started this blog and that has been its own reward and hopefully, has brought some knowledge and humor from time to time, to a few people around the world. It was certainly exciting keeping up with the happenings in Egypt while that was going full bore.

Well, that's all I have for now. I just wanted to state what's going on, why I'm making these changes and what they are to me.

All the best to you.
And yours.
And to those people in those countries of unrest where they are making for themselves a hopefully far better future...soon to come.
Cheers!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekend Wise Words - Useful Idiots

‎"Elements within the British establishment were notoriously sympathetic to Hitler. Today the Islamists enjoy similar support. In the 1930s it was Edward VIII, aristocrats and the Daily Mail; this time it is left-wing activists, The Guardian and sections of the BBC. They may not want a global theocracy, but they are like the West’s apologists for the socialism/communism — useful idiots". - Anthony Browne August 1, 2005.From "Fundamentally we're useful idiots". The London Times. Retrieved May 27, 2010

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. " - Sir Winston Churchill:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Iran hangs Dutch/Iranian woman allegedly for drug smuggling

This is actually old news now (January 30, 2011), but still relevant. It sounds a lot like the old story of someone has hurt the government's feelings, so they trump up charges on someone and remove them through that already in place process (Officials claim "national security issues" so they frame someone on drug or murder charges and voila! no more problem). Murder has no time limit, so I'm bringing this up again, now that time has passed. Has anyone done a THING about this yet? Was an innocent woman hanged?

I personally find this disgusting and I'm sick of some quarters of the world and their disregard for the sanctity of Human life, or life in general for that matter. What happened to an eye for an eye? Drugs = murder? I don't think so.

And if the was framed well, that's an entirely different matter. Perhaps those in the Government responsible for this, should be hanged too? Just a thought.

Torture rumors (from Radio Netherlands Worldwide, link above)
 
The Iranian human rights organisation says this strongly suggests that Zahra Bahrami was convicted for political reasons and not for possession of drugs, as the official verdict states. "The bodies of prisoners executed in Iran for drug offences are always returned to the families. That never happens with political prisoners because the regime is afraid their funeral will turn into a demonstration."

45-year-old Zahra Bahrami was hanged in Evin prison in Tehran on 29 January, after being sentenced to death for possession of cocaine and opium in early January. Following her execution, stories began to circulate that she had been tortured and her body showed signs of this. HRADI says this is another reason for the authorities not to release the body and to arrange a secret burial. 

An Iranian-Dutch woman, arrested after taking part in anti-government protests in Iran in 2009, has been hanged for drug smuggling, the semi-official Mehr news agency said.

Iran hangs security issues woman by hanging drug charges on her

"Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- The Netherlands froze all ties with Iran Sunday after Tehran hanged a Dutch-Iranian woman a day earlier, calling the execution a "shocking act by a barbaric regime."

"And Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal will "discuss possible measures" against Iran by the European Union on Monday, the foreign ministry said.

"Iran hanged Zahra Bahrami Saturday, saying she was a drug smuggler, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, although the Dutch government expressed "great concern" about her case three weeks ago.
Fars said Bahrami smuggled cocaine into Iran with the help of a Dutch partner.

"But the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran suggested the drug charges were only a pretext to execute her.

"The campaign said Bahrami was originally charged with security offenses in the wake of widespread protests against the government over a controversial presidential election in June 2009.

"Her lawyer was "shocked" to find she had been hanged, the group said.

"I was absolutely not informed about this. They should have informed her lawyer of the execution, but I had no idea. I don't know what to say. Just that I am shocked," Jinoos Sharif Razi told the group.

"The campaign said it learned of the hanging from Bahrami's daughter."

Boilerplate, JJ Abrams' new SteamPunk movie

"Bad Robot" studios finally make an actual robot movie..
From Clevver:

"It has always seemed a little odd that a production company called Bad Robot never made any movies that actually involved robots. We've overlooked that flaw until now, but it looks like we no longer have to. J.J. Abrams and company are fixing that strange oversight with Boilerplate.
"Boilerplate is about an early "steampunk" robot. Steampunk is the sub-genre of science fiction set in an era where steam power is still widely used, featuring futuristic technology as people of the era would have envisioned it to be. The robot in Boilerplate just so happens to be set in the Victorian Age. The robot fights with both Teddy Roosevelt and Lawrence of Arabia, starts a career in the movies, and even disappears during World War One. The story is based on the graphic novel "Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel." The tale first surfaced on the Web eleven years ago, but the novel was only published last year.
J.J. Abrams

"We're glad J.J. Abrams and crew decided to take the Bad Robot name seriously, but we're not quite sure what to expect from this one. Science fiction filmmaking is unusual by its sheer nature, and steampunk work even more so. With that in mind, we want to hear from you in the comments section below. Stay with us on Clevver movies for all the latest movie trailers and movie news. We'll see you next time."

J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Making Actual Robot Movie: Boilerplate, In Developmen.

Honestly, I don't have high hopes for this film, but I look forward to checking out the effort they put into it and have high hopes they will pull it off. If you see what I mean. JJ has cranked out some pretty good stuff, some of the favorites. I went into, for instance, Star Trek, really expecting the worst, but came away pleased with what he did.

Abrams has after all, created some of the most favored of shows on TV in recent times: Lost (Never watched it, couldn't stand it), Fringe (still watching it, love it, for the most part), Cloverfield (nice effort), Alias (one of those guilty pleasures), Undercovers (didn't work for me), and the soon to come, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Coming this year, MI-GP is directed by Brad Bird (Simpson, The Critic, Toy Story 3 and Up), writers include Abrams and Cruise; but then Simon Pegg is in it too, so maybe it has a chance; here's hoping on that one.

Well, regarding Boilerplate, we have a bit of a wait, look for it in 2013.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Religious fundementalist type - Authoritarian Personality Type

We talk a lot about the Taliban. About religious terrorists. But what kind of person will fight to the death to keep music from people, to keep women hidden and in the background, to kill you if you do not wear a beard, to kill you simply because you have a different religion. Or as in America, to organize to put people down, stop behavior that are not your business, to give everything to turn into law, punitive fascism that restricts people's rights and freedoms.

This, is the Authoritarian Personality type. Authoritarianism is the putting of governments, groups, or individuals, above the rule of law. The types of people that are so into putting their beliefs over that of the rest of the state, are authoritarians. Bob Altemeyer wrote a book called,

The Authoritarians. Here are a few words from an article on the University of Manitoba web site:

" “It [the book] ties things together for me,” people have said, “You can see how so many things all fit together.” “It explains the things about conservatives that didn’t make any sense to me,” others have commented. And the one that always brings a smile to my face, “Now at last I understand my brother-in-law” (or grandmother, uncle, woman in my car pool, Congressman, etc.)."

Here is the book in Adobe .pdf format.

The following is from Prof. Altemeyer book.

"But why should you even bother reading this book? I would offer three reasons. First, if you are concerned about what has happened in America since a radical right-wing segment of the population began taking control of the government about a dozen years ago, I think you=ll find a lot in this book that says your fears are well founded.

"As many have pointed out, the Republic is once again passing through perilous times. The concept of a constitutional democracy has been under attack--and by the American government no less! The
mid-term elections of 2006 give hope that the best values and traditions of the country will ultimately prevail. But it could prove a huge mistake to think that the enemies of freedom and equality have lost the war just because they were recently rebuffed at the polls.

"I’ll be very much surprised if their leaders don’t frame the setback as a test of the followers’ faith, causing them to redouble their efforts. They came so close to getting what they want, they’re not likely to pack up and go away without an all-out drive. But even if their leaders cannot find an acceptable presidential candidate for 2008, even if authoritarians play a much diminished role in the next election, even if they temporarily fade from view, they will still be there, aching for a dictatorship that will force their views on everyone.

"And they will surely be energized again, as they were in 1994, if a new administration infuriates them while carrying out its mandate. The country is not out of danger.

"The second reason I can offer for reading what follows is that it is not chock full of opinions, but experimental evidence. Liberals have stereotypes about conservatives, and conservatives have stereotypes about liberals. Moderates have stereotypes about both. Anyone who has watched, or been a liberal arguing with a conservative (or vice versa) knows that personal opinion and rhetoric can be had a penny a pound. But arguing never seems to get anywhere.

"Whereas if you set up a fair and square experiment in which people can act nobly, fairly, and with integrity, and you find that most of one group does, and most of another group does not, that’s a fact, not an opinion. And if you keep finding the same thing experiment after experiment, and other people do too, then that’s a body of facts that demands attention.3 Some people, we have seen to our dismay, don’t care a hoot what scientific investigation reveals; but most people do. If the data were fairly gathered and we let them do the talking, we should be on a higher plane than the current, “Sez you!”

"The last reason why you might be interested in the hereafter is that you might want more than just facts about authoritarians, but understanding and insight into why they act the way they do. Which is often mind-boggling. How can they revere those who gave their lives defending freedom and then support moves to take that freedom away?

"How can they go on believing things that have been disproved over and over again, and disbelieve things that are well established? How can they think they are the best people in the world, when so much of what they do ought to show them they are not? Why do their leaders so often turn out to be crooks and hypocrites? Why are both the followers and the leaders so aggressive that hostility is practically their trademark? By the time you have finished this book, I think you will understand the reasons. All of this,
and much more, fit into place once you see what research has uncovered going on in authoritarian minds.

"Ready to go exploring?"

 We have to consider what is causing this growth of Authoritarianism. We have to counter them somehow. Typically, I see people who are feeling a loss to their status quo. That means these people are rigid in their thought and unhappy with the changes coming upon them, even if it means a better life for them. They do not however, consider or take a close look at what it is they are losing, or if it would benefit them to change.

Humans strive to maintain status quo, as genetically, it means safety, productivity as things are because they are working, even if working poorly, but not proficiency. Many times these people are actually fighting to keep a defective system, and many times, a system that simply doesn't work.

More from The Professor's book:

Authoritarian followers usually support the established authorities in their society, such as government officials and traditional religious leaders. Such people have historically been the “proper” authorities in life, the time-honored, entitled, customary leaders, and that means a lot to most authoritarians. Psychologically these
followers have personalities featuring:

1) a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in their society;
2) high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and
3) a high level of conventionalism.

"Because the submission occurs to traditional authority, I call these followers rightwing authoritarians. I’m using the word “right” in one of its earliest meanings, for in Old English “riht”(pronounced “writ”) as an adjective meant lawful, proper, correct, doing what the authorities said."

But, they aren't always lawful, proper, or correct. Are they?

Should we be afraid of these people? No. But we should be wary of them and work to make life better for everyone and find ways to educate these confused, backward people. I do not mean, 1984, or Soviet style re-education. But real, liberal arts education.

So much authoritarianism comes from misunderstanding or ignorance. It would benefit us to take a closer look at these people and work toward some kind of way to assimilate these people into the future and the 22nd Century. This is a good way to look at it, because then we all would be trying to acclimate into this new world and there would be no reason for them for feel alone.

They need to understand, life is exciting, rewarding, not simply fearful and dangerous. Life, is good, if you just let it be and try to make a better world for us all and not just for the vocal minorities.

Arrested Development, the Movie

Arrested Development, the TV show, is being made into Arrested Development, the Movie, scheduled to come out in 2012. In the last scene of the TV series, executive producer and narrator Ron Howard is pitched with an idea for a show about the Bluth family.

His reply: "I don't see it as a series. Maybe a movie."
 Producer / Narrator Ron Howard

 Jason Bateman

 Michael Cera

Portia DeRossi
I was a late comer to Arrested Development. I watched the entire series last year, one after another. Loved it. That lead to my watching all of Better Off Ted. Another show I liked a lot.
Mitchell Hurwitz
Director Mitchell Hurwitz, an alumni of the TV show version, is directing the film. His past credits include working as producer on shows like some of my favorites: The John Larroquette Show, The Ellen Show, both favorites of mine; as well as The Golden Girls, a very popular show I never watched. I always try watching a show I know I won't like, and sometimes I'm surprised (Firefly, yes, FIREFLY; Farscape, The Wire, and others). The man has game.

So I'm looking forward to seeing this on the big screen. Honestly, I don't know how this could translate to the big screen, but I'm willing to give it a try.

Best of luck guys!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Zen - Bodhidharma and the Emperor Wu

Today, something a little different for the Noon Commentary:

Bodhidharma and the Emperor Wu
Emperor Wu

Emperor Wu of China was a very benevolent Buddhist. He built many temples and monasteries, educated many monks, and performed countless philanthropic deeds in the name of Buddhism. He asked the great teacher Bodhidharma,

"What merit is there in my good works?" Bodhidharma replied,

"None whatsoever." The Emperor then asked,

"What is the Primal meaning of Holy Reality?" Bodhidharma answered,

"Emptiness, not holiness." The Emperor then queried,

"Who, then, is this confronting me?"

"I do not know," was Bodhidharma's reply. Since the Emperor did not understand, Bodhidharma left his kingdom.

Later, the Emperor related this conversation to an adviser, Prince Shiko. Shiko reprimanded him, saying that Bodhidharma was a great teacher possessed of the highest truth. The Emperor, filled with regret, dispatched a messenger to entreat Bodhidharma to return. But Shiko warned,

"Even if all the people in the land went, that one will never return."


About Bodhidharma (from Wikipedia):

Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century and is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Zen (Chinese: Chán, Sanskrit: Dhyāna) to China. He is the patron saint of the Shaolin Monastery, and is attributed to, in Chinese legends, to have begun the physical training of the monks that later turned into Kung Fu. Throughout Buddhist art, Bodhidharma is depicted as a rather ill-tempered, profusely bearded and wide-eyed barbarian. He is described as "The Blue-Eyed Barbarian" in Chinese texts.

Some Chinese accounts describe Bodhidharma as being disturbed by the poor physical shape of the Shaolin monks, after which he instructed them in techniques to maintain their physical condition as well as teaching meditation. He is said to have taught a series of external exercises called the Eighteen Arhat Hands (Shiba Lohan Shou), and an internal practice called the Sinew Metamorphosis Classic. In addition, after his departure from the temple, two manuscripts by Bodhidharma were said to be discovered inside the temple: the Yijin Jing (易筋經 or "Muscle/Tendon Change Classic") and the Xi Sui Jing. Copies and translations of the Yi Jin Jing survive to the modern day, though many modern historians believe it to be of much more recent origin. The Xi Sui Jing has been lost.


While Bodhidharma was born into the warrior caste in India and thus certainly studied and must have been proficient in self-defense, it is unlikely that he contributed to the development of self-defense technique specifically within China. However, the legend of his education of the monks at Shaolin in techniques for physical conditioning would imply (if true) a substantial contribution to Shaolin knowledge that contributed later to their renown for fighting skill. However, both the attribution of Shaolin boxing to Bodhidharma and the authenticity of the Yi Jin Jing itself have been discredited by some historians including Tang Hao, Xu Zhen and Matsuda Ryuchi.





About Emperor Wu (from Wikipedia):


Emperor Wu of Han (traditional Chinese: 漢武帝; simplified Chinese: 汉武帝; pinyin: Hànwǔdì; Wade–Giles: Wu Ti), (156 BC–29 March, 87 BC), personal name Liu Che (劉徹), was the seventh emperor of the Han Dynasty of China, ruling from 141 BC to 87 BC. Emperor Wu is best remembered for the vast territorial expansion that occurred under his reign, as well as the strong and centralized Confucian state he organized. He is cited in Chinese history as the greatest emperor of the Han dynasty and one of the greatest emperors in Chinese history. Emperor Wu's effective governance made the Han Dynasty one of, if not by itself, the most powerful nations in the world.

Historians generally treated Emperor Wu with ambivalence. On the one hand, he is recognized for neutralizing the Xiongnu threat and expanding the Chinese territory. During his reign, China roughly doubled her size, and most of the territories he annexed became part of China proper permanently. The empire that Emperor Wu created surpassed in size the contemporaneous Roman Empire. His other, perhaps greater, legacy was the promotion of Confucianism. For the first time in history, Confucianism became the dominant thought in the Chinese government, and it remained so until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1911.

Source Code, a new film

Source Code, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan is an action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. This film does look interesting. As long as it doesn't fall into the same old traps this kind of tales can fall into.

Directed by Duncan Jones who recently did Moon which I liked for the effort he put into it. Not as convoluted as say, Triangle which I enjoyed watching recently, but still an interesting film.
Duncan Jones
Although Duncan wasn't writer on Source Code, as he was his debut film, Moon, or his previous short, Whistle, the preview looks interesting and something to watch out for.I like Jake, I liked Duncan's previous film and let's face it, Michelle Monaghan is simply fun to watch.

Source Code Interview with Jake Gyllenhaal.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Explaining Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

Now, I'm not sure how I feel about these guys. They were made illegal a long time ago in their home country. They had questionable beginnings.They are now trying for a political presence. I'm unsure of them. However, I'm hearing they are composed of intelligent, educated men, who say they are not looking to run a candidate (we shall see). What I do think, is that for now, we need not to have a knee jerk reaction to them, to not fear them, to have a rational dialog with them, to allow them like all other groups with concerns, to have a forum wherein to speak.
Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mohammed Mursi takes questions from local and international journalists at the end of a news conference Feb. 9 in Cairo.
 
From NPR's Fresh Air February 8, 2011
 
Lawrence Wright is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Looming Tower, which examines the history of al-Qaida. The founding members of al-Qaida are former members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group banned in Egypt by the regime of President Hosni Mubarak that could play an important role in the future of the country.

On today's Fresh Air, Wright talks about the history of the brotherhood, why al-Qaida considers the group an enemy, and what the future may hold for the organization. He says that the brotherhood's decision not to field a presidential candidate in Egypt is remarkable and, in some ways, unsurprising.

"They have an opportunity to put forward their own candidate but they recognize that the West is terrified of seeing Egypt turn into an Islamist state. And they also recognize that the Mubarak administration has used the Muslim Brotherhood as a kind of scapegoat," he says. "I think, very wisely, they declared they are not going to run a candidate, which [destroys] that whole argument that after Mubarak comes the deluge. That decision alone could be the turning point in what happens in these next several days."
Lawrence Wright
Enlarge Courtesy of The New Yorker Lawrence Wright is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.

Courtesy of The New Yorker
Lawrence Wright is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.

And if the Muslim Brotherhood plays a part in a new Egyptian government, Wright says, it will finally find its proper place and size within Egyptian civil society.

"We don't really know what size of a constituency they have," he says. "Other organized opposition parties [have] been so crippled by the Mubarak administration — and haven't been allowed to function and organize — so they simply haven't had a chance to get their roots out among the people. If the Mubarak regime comes down, which seems likely, there needs to be a period of time where people actually have the time to organize new parties with new candidates. One of the real problems in Egypt is [that there just] aren't very many democrats. They haven't had that experience and they're going to have to have it in an extremely compressed period of time."

NPR Fresh Air interview with Lawrence Wright on the Muslim Brotherhood

Jeopardy! The IBM Challenge

Jeopardy! vs IBMs Watson computer
IBMs Watson Avatar

Everyone lives life through a filter, a delusion. It's a necessary buffer that once protected us from the thought that yes indeed, that tiger, that hyena, that other clan member, is going to kill and eat us; or, just kill us. Night terrors were once reality; sitting awake at night, wondering what those eyes in the dark are going to do is beyond terror to reality.

Thinking we are invincible, can fly, are invisible, or are protected by an all seeing, all powerful dude in a beard, certainly passes the time, and allows us to survive without murderous stomach ulcers or having a stroke, through one more night as a food source.

We have a new delusion. One that will be computer enhanced. It's called, Watson, 


For three days this week, I watched IBM's Watson advanced computer play against two of the best Jeopardy! players. Pretty cool. Both as a media stunt and to show off its abilities, IBM began talking two years ago to Jeopardy producers about doing a show, not unlike that of IBMs Big Blue computer playing (and winning) a chess game against Gary Kasparov back in 1989.


Watson beat out two humans and won the $1 million prize on the TV game show. The money won on Jeopardy! will go to charity.

This is one of those things that some day in the future, people may well talk about this three episode day shows of Watson against two of Jeopardy's best players from years past. The longest running player and the highest dollar winning player.

Watson had some quirky moments, like on Final Jeopardy, losing the answer, but winning by having the most monetary win for the day and only betting $947. What the formula is to have allowed it to judge that move is unknown but it was some great showmanship.

After competing against the two greatest Jeopardy! champions of all time, the technology behind Watson will now be applied to some of the world’s most enticing challenges.

“We’re just so excited about all the things we can do with this.” David Ferrucci, Watson Principal Investigator, IBM Research.

Preparing Watson for the Jeopardy! stage posed a unique challenge to the team: how to represent a system of 90 servers and hundreds of custom algorithms for the viewing public. The result? A dynamic visual avatar based on the smarter planet icon. A speaking voice that clearly pronounces a vast vocabulary. And an answer panel that reveals the system’s top responses and confidence levels. Watch the video to find out more about each of these elements.

Operating on a single CPU, it could take Watson two hours to answer a single question. A typical Jeopardy!contestant can accomplish this feat in less than three seconds. For Watson to rival the speed of its human competitors in delivering a single, precise answer to a question requires custom algorithms, terabytes of storage and thousands of POWER7 computing cores working in a massively parallel system.
“There’s a pattern here. It’s random, chaotic but it’s all based on data generated by Watson as it plays the game.” Joshua Davis, Digital Artist and Watson Avatar Collaborator

Watson was optimized to tackle a specific challenge: competing against the world's best Jeopardy! contestants. Beyond Jeopardy!, the IBM team is working to deploy this technology across industries such as healthcare, finance and customer service.

Now that Watson has won, it will be helping to analyze medical records for two hospitals.

One more thing to point out that the Future, is now.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My open letter to WWU about Prof. Perry Mills

This letter has been mailed to:

Dr. Deborah Currier, Theatre Arts - Chair
Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
Dear Dr. Currier,

I have recently heard of Perry Mills having problems over the years with the school. I was told it would be helpful to him to communicate information regarding my opinion of his personal and professional behavior in my past relationship with him. So, I offer you my open letter on Perry.
Prof. Perry Mills
 I graduated from Western in 1984, in Psychology, Awareness and Reasoning division, with a Minor in Creative Writing. I was referred to the Theater department by my Fiction writing Professor, where I took a playwriting class to buff up my dialog. From there I was selected with a small, special group to experience a year-long screen and script writing class taught by Bob Schelonka. Perry was adviser to that class. I cannot now remember how exactly I got to know Perry, but I got to know him pretty well outside of school activities, including spending time between classes in his office, at his home and at events at his house that he sponsored.

I did everything I could to be around him because I felt my goal at school was solely, to learn. The summer after graduation, I also took a single credit individual study type class with Perry to write a full screenplay (“Ahriman”), which I got an “A” on. I wanted to leave school with a finished screenplay and I did. That later helped me to get to work with a production company for two years as an “stable” or “in-house” writer.

I have been, among other things, an IT Sr. Technical Writer and during the day now I work at Regence BlueShield on web technologies. On the side, I am currently working on original screenplays, adaptions of novels to screen for published Authors, as well as short and long fiction. I have been highly thought of in my fields of endeavor. In all my life since I met Perry, he is one of the people I have told stories about and thought most highly of among all men, in a good way, of course. When I think back on my time at Western, I think most fondly of my main Psychology adviser, Prof. Rod Rees and of course, Perry. They were heads above all others in my book. I had other great Profs, like the impressive Dr. Paul Woodring, and of course others, but Perry and Rod stand foremost out in my mind.
 Dr. Paul Woodring (Woodring College of Education at WWU)

 I got to know Perry because I was impressed by his acuity, historical even anthropological perspectives, as well as his being a born entertainer. He had a special personality that was quite unique. At times he could seem harsh in his evaluations, having little patience for stupidity or flaws in one’s personality and would serve up comments regarding these things with a wry sense of humor and if you could see it, a sense of concern for his students. One thing I noticed quickly was that if you didn’t have a certain capability of nature and intellect, you might miss that concern of his.

Perhaps giving several examples might help to get across my understanding of Perry and his worth as a teacher and a person. One day I was in his office and we were just sitting and talking. I mentioned a short story I just wrote set in medieval times (“Poor Lord Ritchie”). He offered to read it saying he had an interesting in medieval literature. He did and the next day we discussed it. He offered me some suggestions that were incredibly valuable. He said I had nailed the speech in medieval times which he was quite used to reading. He even discussed doing a one man stage play of it, but I never could work that out and it fell by the way side. Years later, the actor Rutger Hauer, chose that story as an international story of the week in a contest he was sponsoring.

I later gave Perry another story. He turned it back to me the next day with sarcastic comments on it that although funny, seemed a bit harsh, however, he was basically showing me how amateurish I was being in my prose. I was, and I admit it, overachieving and banal in adjectives and overworking my vocabulary. That was simply, like many amateur writers, how I saw pushing up the quality of your writing. It’s not.  

And so, I took it home a little crushed. But I pushed through and re-read it many times that night. What came of that was that it changed my entire way of writing. It was like I grew as a writer overnight, to several many, many months beyond where I had been. Now I could have gone to complain, or not. I didn’t and it was at that time, that I saw the value and again, was amazed by the man’s capabilities. He took chances to make me better and I appreciated it. Should I have whined, or found the value in it?

Just the other day, someone made an anonymous posting to my blog site (jzmurdock.blogspot.com). The comment was on a blog about Perry and how things were going poorly in his relationship with the school over the years. You are welcome to peruse this blog article:


The comment from the anonymous poster was:

“I was a student. The guy is a clown. He ought to be fired.”  

I knew students like that when I was in school and those who felt this way, seemed to us to be of questionable overall quality in nature. Those who were the best and brightest seemed to appreciate Perry’s vast knowledge and biting intellect. I should also say, I was never intimidated by him, fearful or offended. IF I were to have felt any of those things, I would have examined the situation in my mind, or talked to him if need be.

My posted blog response was as follows, and I think it very much sums up this situation. My fellow students that I still know and who know Perry have read this, and all agreed with me, by the way:

“I found that the only people who seem to have a problem with Perry, are those who are weak in intellect or spirit, or both. Just my opinion of course. Of all my university Profs I learned more and faster from Perry than anyone else. It wasn't easy, sometimes it was a bit painful, but I took it, and considered why, and in the end, learned a lot. It’s interesting to note, how a good group of people got nothing from his teaching, and others got so much. It would also seem that those who did indeed feel they learned a lot from him, were somewhat in awe of him, and have little sympathy for those who did not. Still, all the best to you all and I hope life is easy on you."

I hope life is easy on them because they will need it. Perry doesn’t pull his punches sometimes. Because life doesn’t. Some years after I left school, 1992 to be exact, I had a bad divorce come about. I went to Bellingham for a weekend away and called Perry. We talked on the phone and he said I should come over to that perfect little house of his. We talked and he said I should spend the weekend in his loft, in his shop out back. He had said, “Sure you might as well, all the suddenly divorced guys seem to end up here.” I believe this speaks to his true nature as a humanitarian.

I have a fond memory of breakfast the next day with him in his backyard, sitting at a picnic table in a warm and sunny morning. I should also mention, one of the “divorced guys” who ended up in that loft was an alumnus, Doug, who went on to be an author of a best seller and whose writings lead to a miniseries. I know of others went on to found acting theaters such as Seattle’s Annex Theater.

Deep down Perry cares greatly, but I’m sure there are many who haven’t a clue of that, who cannot or will not, try to take the time to understand what he is saying, or to take the time to think about what has happened between them; to use their minds, which they are at school to enable, to push above and beyond, and to realize what it’s all about.

I will close now with this…If Perry is having trouble with some individuals, perhaps this can be worked out by the school? All hearings in my belief, should be open to the public; what is there to fear? If Perry was wrong, let it come out; if not, let’s hear it.

Does Perry sometimes have singular techniques for achieving change in a student or person? Yes, absolutely. Should everyone be able to “get it?” No, I rather think not. That would be nice, but truly it’s not reasonable. I can think of many Profs whom I got little from, but others got much from. They were just not so controversial.

A university is not a place to coddle youngsters. It is a place of Higher Learning. To me a good Prof is one who does shake things up once in a while. Administration is not there to second guess them; they are there, in my humble opinion if you will forgive me, to support their Tenured Professors. Yes, they are there to support the students, of course. But how many students do you have in a year who are troubled, defective in thought, sadly educated not just in academia , culture and mores, but also in a variety of strength of character, perseverance, patience and understanding? Those types, perhaps, do not work that well with Perry. Well, there are other Professors for them, in that case.

In my opinion, speaking to the Perry I had known for many years, he is a benefit to academia and we need people like him. Even if he does not follow the formats of established method. Don’t get me wrong, we need those too who do not rock the boat; who do not disturb the Administration, but we need also and always, those like Perry who challenge our natures and push our limits. When I think back now of Western, after so many years from my graduation, two things come to mind: the Western Old Main building, and Perry. Icons, in my mind. I had never imagined that one day I would be considering one or the other would be gone by other than old age and respectful ceremony.

All the best to you and those doing such admirable work at WWU. I do hope you find a way to maintain a stable and workable situation that includes my old teacher and friend, Perry Mills.

Yours truly.


About Perry Mills:

Perry F. Mills was hired by the founder of the CFPA, William Gregory, to further the liberal arts component of the Fine and Performing Arts curriculum.  For thirty years he has taught aesthetics, film, dramatic literature, playwriting and patience. His book on film studies is out of print and in the WWU Wilson Library. His playwriting students have won numerous awards and have plays in current productions in NYC and London. Take a class with Perry if you want a sample of academic diversity: he’s not good-looking, but he’s hard to kill…

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Journalist Sets the Facts Straight on WWU Prof. Perry Mills

The following was posted two weeks ago about Western Washington University Theater Professor Perry F. Mills by Paul de Armond.

Embattled WWU Prof. Perry Mills
Yet another article at The Seattle Weekly blog just came out eschewing the same discredited information reporter de Armomd (below) has disputed in his post. The post on Seattle Weekly includes a quite obviously PhotoShopped photo of Prof. Mills.

My own open letter to the chair of the Theater department will be posted here tomorrow morning as I have known Perry for a few decades now. You will get quite a different view of Perry from what is below as well from my letter tomorrow morning.

Misinformation has yet again made it to the newly prestigious Huffington Post, even.

This sounds very much like someone is being railroaded and someone has broken the law that Perry has blown the whistle on, which has lead to someone trying to destroy this academic's life.

From Paul de Armond:

I'm the reporter who was barred from the hearing, thus kicking off this legal travesty. Mills was suspended and barred from campus for a year before he brought suit in federal court to force WWU to state the reasons for his suspension and to get a hearing on the facts. Only then did the university reveal 4 reasons which were accepted on the basis of hearsay and not investigated. The move to suspend Mills followed immediately after the publication of a year-long audit of his department in which Mills charged his department Chair, Mark Kuntz, had wrongly diverted around $20.000 in student course fees.

This audit was a whitewash that came to the ultimate conclusion that the money had been diverted but that the university could not take action because it had no written policy forbidding students to be charged course fees that were applied to other purposes. The publication of the audit was followed by an angry letter from the former dean of the college stating showing such policy was in place and the audit was a fiction. The audit was irregular in several ways, not just the false statements but also in the fact that Kuntz, the person who committed the embezzlement, was a key member of the audit committee and was instrumental in re-writing the initial auditor's report to absolve himself of wrong-doing.

Mill's was suspended based on complaints made by Kuntz to Provost Bodman, who was responsible for the audit and appointed Kuntz to the audit committee. An earlier letter from Kuntz, written while the audit was underway, was very specific about the need to silence Professor Mills: "How long are we going to protect his freedom of speech?"

After suspending Mills and barring him from campus, Bodman and Kuntz refused to take any further action to investigate, collect facts or follow the procedures laid out in the faculty handbook. Instead, a series of meetings ensued in which Mills resignation was demanded. Mills sued in federal court for denial of due process. The upshot was the university would hold a hearing, now 18 months after the suspension, into the facts. Essentially, the court ruled the administrative process needed to be completed before the courts could intervene.

The faculty panel (which should have happened before the suspension) finally occurred 15 months later. The panel was conducted as as quasi-judicial hearing that allowed hearsay, statements without cross-examination, and introduction of new charges as the old ones were knocked down. I was present long enough to hear some of the ground rules laid out.

I was well known to the university because I had been pursuing a series of public document requests for a year in an attempt to obtain the facts about the audit of the diverted $20.000. Despite the obstruction of the administration, I had found enough to show the audit was hopelessly compromised by Kuntz' participation investigating himself.

When the hearing began, the first item of business was my ejection and the closure of the hearing. I was there because I had done considerable investigation and was hoping for further disclosures regarding the embezzlement and retaliation against Mills for reporting the diversion of funds. I was never readmitted to the now secret proceeding.

Later, the faculty panel found all of the allegations regarding guns, knives, etc. were fabrications. In particular, the supposed incident reported by Kuntz involving a knife was refuted by his own informant, who was interviewed under oath by telephone.

The panel's findings of fact and conclusions (6 months suspension without pay) were repeatedly rejected by the administration. Then Mills' suspension with pay was extended an additional year under the excuse that the university did not have office space available.

Once the administration's machinations in trying to fire Mills ground to a halt, Mills' attorney filed for a review by the Superior court. Suddenly, the discredited allegations about guns and knives showed up in the university's pleadings, despite their own quasi-judicial process had rejected these accusations as false and unfounded. Judge Steven Mura of the Whatcom Superior Court side-stepped the university's procedural irregularities and upheld the closure of the hearing and six month suspension without pay. His oral ruling was bizarre (I was present) in that he spent much of his time referring to the discredited allegations and did not appear to have read the findings of fact from the faculty panel. He also stated that he expected to have his ruling appealed.

The next step was the State Appeals court, which fixed on the closure of the hearing as the point at which the process became illegal. The university appealed to the Supreme Court which reversed the appeals court and made new law in granting legislative authority to university administrations.

Note that none of the court cases (which are cases, but the internal prosecution of Mills by the university is not a "case" under the state constitution) were rehearing the facts of the "case" before the university faculty panel, only the legal procedure. Yet, low and behold, the allegations rejected by the panel keep popping up as sensational commentary on the facts, contrary to the findings of the only hearing into the facts.

In the upcoming budget crunch, state educational institutions will be well advised to take advantage of this newly discovered feature of the law in getting rid of faculty who embarrass their administrations by daylighting theft and fraud.

So the long sad tale has come to this. Not one single institution, not the university, nor the courts, nor the press, has managed to get the facts before the public.

As an addendum to this article above, there was a photo going around of Prof. Mills sitting with guns in a bathing suit:


There was speculation about whether or not the photo of Perry was photo shopped or real, but I found the oringal on line. Here it is, untouched and that is not, Perry:

Another Weekend Wise Word: Where gone is the chivalrous man?

chiv·al·rous
/ˈʃɪvəlrəs/ Show Spelled[shiv-uhl-ruhs] Show IPA
–adjective
1.
having the qualities of chivalry,  as courage, courtesy, and loyalty.
2.
considerate and courteous to women; gallant.
3.
gracious and honorable toward an enemy, especially a defeated one, and toward the weak or poor.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weekend Wise Words

Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.
W. Clement Stone

Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.
Benjamin Franklin

Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes.
Antisthenes

The wise learn many things from their enemies.
Aristophanes

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
Napoleon Bonaparte

A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and that which we take the least care of all to acquire.
François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Sir Winston Churchill, Hansard, November 11, 1947
British politician (1874 - 1965)

Friday, February 18, 2011

What is a religious Government?

What is a religious Government?

It is a continuation of ancient ways of thinking. It is counter to intelligent thought. It was only a good way to rule (if at all, if ever) when you are dealing with a smaller group of people. Once you get over the size of a village, or town, you are looking for problems. If the entire grouping of towns or cities within a region all have the same way of looking at things, then it can extend to a larger model.

If however you throw things like communication via knowledge in individuals traveling, books, or more so, modern communication methods such as radio, TV, Telephones, cell phones, instant messaging, or the internet, then you have a variety of thought far greater than a specific ethnocentric religion can handle. People have their own thoughts, religion is by its nature, designed to be a rigid structure where in people's thought can be contained.

Once you have variety of thought, you have other religions involved in a group governed by that religious thought, you have problems and this form of government is no longer viable. Especially within a group whose standard of living is far below that of many other nations, you have people starting to desire luxuries, sometimes in the form of what other nations consider necessities. This attitude spreads across the hindered nation and you have unrest within thought. Throw in a lack of freedom and you have a top heavy government run by a group who are cut off from the people, eventually deluded and finally toppled.

What matters at that point is, how long, how cruel will that government remain in order to maintain the status quo, to continue doing what they think is best for the people (by their outmoded, outdated, archaic and anachronistic considerations) which is actually oppressing the people. What you have is a coup, eventually, or a revolution. Sometimes, you end up with an even stronger religious model in power.

Why? Because, especially in religious thought, people believe that if you are failing at something, in their ignorant beliefs, then you must need to be even more adherent to the ancient ways to rectify the situation.

A similar situation is there regarding any dictators. They too try to hold in their control, issues beyond their capabilities. They just don't realize it. They, like the religious leaders, are deluded. A dictatorship is never a good thing. A ruler, or ruling group in power, by the very nature of power, is not a good thing.

Myanmar dictator General Than Shwe
But what is really needed is 180 degree turn to enlightenment and a better, more modern, more functional, more accepting of differences, model. Something that will allow the central group to operate within a group that has a greater disparity than that religion was originally designed to handle.

And so, we have what is going on today. This is not something covertly propagate by a Western, Democratic, capitalistic society, this is what was going to naturally happen once you allowed things like telephones, TV, and especially the Internet.

What this means is that all those regimes who are religious in nature, or autocratic by design, you are forewarned. All you can do now is prepare your escape, because the world is calling you out. And you cannot last against eight billion people. All you have left is your desire of what your legacy will be. Take the money and run, because power, is running down your leg into the gutters.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The people will win in the end. This is a rule, a law and an historical predecessor that has proven itself throughout history.

Good bye to you (Iran, Myanmar, and still too many others).

Welcome back, to those oppressed, back to the World.
If it hasn't happened yet where you are, it will. It's only a matter of time.

Arnold, is Back! Sci Fi News

I'm sorry, but I find it extraordinary that an actor became a politician (shades of Ronald Reagan, and then some) but then went back to acting (because, I'm sure, he can't become president now having been born here). :)

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER IS BACK AND READY TO MAKE MOVIES

Well I never thought this day would actually come, but the day he left office there was hope and Arnold Schwarzenegger has confirmed that he is ready to return to the screen.The guy who starred in such classics such as Predator, The Terminator, Total Recall, The Running Man and Commando. Schwarzenegger took to his Twitter page and announced he is ready to return to the screen; "Exciting news. My friends at CAA have been asking me for 7 years when they can take offers seriously. Gave them the green light today.

"The possibilities are endless for Schwarzenegger, I've heard he has read through a couple of scripts, one titled With Wings as Eagles, in which he would play an older officer who gets ordered to kill a bunch of kids. Of course he doesn't and gets them to safety risking his own life, which is said to based on a true story. Now I say get rid of that horrible CGI Schwarzenegger in Terminator 4, Cameron step away from the 3D camera and give us possibly a True Lies 2 or a Terminator 5. Either way I can't wait to see him back on the screen.

‘THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ‘ TO BE RELEASED JULY 13TH 2012 + NEW PHOTO!!!!

Check out Andrew Garfield in full Spider-man Clad on this link to our photos section-

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=189905234366239&set=o.100186690040995&theater

Columbia Pictures announced today that the title of the next Spider-Man film will be The Amazing Spider-Man. The studio simultaneously released a photo of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, the first shot of Garfield in the famous full mask and suit.The film, which is now in production and is being shot entirely in 3D, will be released on July 3, 2012. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field.

The film is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt and Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach are producing the Marvel Entertainment production for Columbia Pictures. The executive producers are Stan Lee, Kevin Feige, and Michael Grillo.The film's official website is TheAmazingSpiderMan-movie.com.

LEX LUTHOR WILL RETURN FOR ‘SMALLVILLE’ FINALE

Don't believe the rumors, Michael Rosenbaum will indeed be back as Lex Luthor for the 2-hour "Smallville" finale on May 13. His deal to return was signed tonight."It feels like the stars are aligning, literally. We couldn't be more excited about having Michael back," Smallville executive producers/showrunners Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson told Deadline. "And as far as the way he returns … there'll be no doubt about how Lex becomes the great rival in Clark Kent's life. He is the villain of the story."

"I'm simply doing it for all of the fans out there who made Smallville the great success it is," Rosenbaum said. "I appreciate all of their passion, their relentlessness and even their threats. Ha ha. I can't wait to hug the old crew back in Vancouver one last time and see all of my old friends once again..... Oh, and for Lex to become the badass he's destined to be."

MICHAEL BAY UPDATES US ON ‘TRANSFORMERS:DARK OF THE MOON’

Serving as producer on next week's I Am Number Four, Michael Bay spoke with MTV News from that film's premiere about his other big 2011 project, directing Transformers: Dark of the Moon.While Shockwave has already been confirmed as the film's villain, Bay added a bit of information, saying that he's "got a much bigger gun" and is "more vicious" than Megatron."Sentinel Prime is great," Bay added, confirming the character, "He's great. I can't tell you anything else, other than he's great."Bay also reiterated that this entry would be his last for the franchise."It does have an end, yes," Bay said, "Because I am finished doing this." Transformers: Dark of the Moon will hit regular theaters and IMAX in 2D and 3D on July 1st.Am I the only one who Thought ‘Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen’ was overblown and very dull??

AMBER HEARD WANTED FOR ‘RED SONJA’ REMAKE

Nu Image and Millennium Films' Red Sonja appears to be back on track with Simon West (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, The Mechanic) at the helm and an eye already given to the casting of Amber Heard (who next appears in Drive Angry) in the lead."Amber is the new Red Sonja," producer Avi Lerner told Empire today, "but she doesn't know it yet!"The catch there is that, while Heard is eyed for the role, negotiations have, apparently, not begun. As such, the role sounds like it is Heard's to lose.

The character of Red Sonja, a fiery-haired warrioress in a chainmail bikini, seeks vengeance on those who destroyed her family. In her path of destruction she discovers a larger purpose for her unearthly powers: to save all Hyrkania from the villainous Kulan Gath.Long in development, Red Sonja was once announced to star Rose McGowan and would have featured Robert Rodriguez and Doug Aarniokoski directing. (Officially, Aarniokoski would direct, but Rodriguez told a crowd at Comic-Con in 2008 that that was the result of the tricky ins and outs of dealing with the Director's Guild and that he'd be very much hands-on behind the camera).

The project even went so far as to receive teaser posters and other promotional images.While the character is often credited to Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian), she only takes her name from another, unrelated Howard character and was primarily designed by Roy Thomas to appear in Marvel Comics' take on Howard's Hyborian Age. "Red Sonja" comics are currently published by Dynamite Entertainment.

Red Sonja will presumably spinoff from the upcoming Conan the Barbarian, hitting theaters on August 19th.

‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2’ ON THE WAY…WELL IN 2013

How To Train Your Dragon was unquestionably one of the best animated films of last year, even if Toy Story 3 keeps pipping it to the Best Animated prizes this awards season. So it's with a song in our heart that we bring you the latest news on How To Train Your Dragon 2, with co-director Dean DeBlois confirming that all is shaping up well."What I presented to them was the second act of a much larger story," says DeBlois. "So the film takes on much more breadth, it's really quite epic. We leave the first film with these Vikings on the backs of dragons, so the world just opens up and expands exponentially.

"The main voice cast was already confirmed to return, including Jay Baruchel (Hiccup), Craig Ferguson (Belch), America Ferrera (Astrid), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fishlegs), Jonah Hill (Snotlout), TJ Miller (Ruffnut) and Kristen Wiig (Tuffnut). But now the last major holdout, Gerard Butler, has signed on according to DeBlois, and cinematographer Roger Deakins (a BAFTA winner last night) is back to consult on the lighting. Check out the full interview below.All sounds promising, eh? How To Train Your Dragon 2 is out in the summer of 2013, which by our count is not nearly soon enough.

JAMES FRANCO TO STAR IN LIVE ACTION ‘AKIRA’???

He most definitely is, according to JustJared. It’s not like I visit JustJared a lot or anything, so I don’t know how they do with breaking movie news. Usually they just post celebrity pictures, don’t they?Anyways, here’s the word from JJ:James Franco is in talks to star as the lead role Kaneda in the live action feature-film Akira, JustJared.com has exclusively confirmed.The flick will be based off of anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s six-volume cyberpunk manga (Japanese word for comics). The film is set in New Manhattan, where the leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment.

Obviously if Franco lands the gig, you can kiss teenager Kaneda goodbye.The Hughes brothers have been attached to direct for some time, with Leonardo DiCaprio’s shingle producing.

If this thing ever gets made, what are the chances we’ll see this scene play out in live-action?

MORE NEWS NEXT WEEK

RICH (El Jefe) Uncle Dale,Rockin Reggie+David (all around badass)
From Rich Goellnitz February 16 at 1:45pm

Thursday, February 17, 2011

CIA's 20:20 Vision for the future Caliphate is Short Sighted!

This is in some ways a very interesting article foreshadowing what is currently going on in the Middle East and Egypt and elsewhere. Understand that documents like the Mapping document are done by countries all around the world all the time. Many times they are incorrect on many points but they are still helpful in giving a way to view something. Sometimes, seeing something incorrectly, can still help you make the right decision, as long as you know it is conjecture, but also brings along with it, relevant information you may not have known before.

This article was posted on  13 Sep 2010 on PKPolitics.com (Full article)

In December 2004, The National Intelligence Council of the CIA predicted that in the year 2020 a new Caliphate would emerge on the world stage. The findings were published in a 123-page report titled "Mapping the Global Future". The aim of the report is to prepare the next Bush administration for challenges that lie ahead by projecting current trends that may pose a threat to US interest. The report is presented to the US president, members of Congress, cabinet members and key officials involved in policy making.

Another point of contention in the report is the claim that the emergence of the Caliphate will not cause the regimes in Muslim countries to collapse one after the other - the domino effect.

Again this understanding is derived from an incorrect understanding of society. A cursory study of the Muslim world shows that there exists strong polarization in viewpoints between the regimes and the people they govern. Before the collapse of the Baath regime, Saddam an atheist was delivering speeches laced with Islamic terms. He did this, because he realized that the people were no longer motivated by Baathism, secularism or Arabism and only responded to Islam. Similarly, when Musharraf sided with America' s war against Afghanistan he had to quote lengthy passages from life of the Messenger (SAW) to justify his stance.

The conflict between maintaining the secular order and preventing political Islam from assuming power is a daily occurrence in much of the Muslim world. The regimes in the Muslim world are viewed as the custodians of western interests and antagonistic towards Islam. Muslims simply loathed these regimes and are eager to extinguish their existence. The only reason these regimes survive is because of the dogged support from western governments.

Today, the Islamic Ummah stands on the cusp of a monumental change, just as the Warsaw pact countries stood some 18 years ago. The iron curtain came down because people had changed their viewpoint from communism to capitalism. Likewise the Muslim Ummah has abandoned both communism and capitalism, and is waiting for the emergence of the Caliphate, which will cause these regimes to collapse in spectacular fashion, only to be absorbed by the Caliphate.

Link to "Mapping the Global Future (2009) .pdf

And from the Guardian in the UK:
Barack Obama to authorize record $60bn Saudi arms sale -Biggest arms deal in US history will shore up a Gulf ally against Iran threat, but angers Tehran and worries Israel. From September 13, 2010

Bar Karma, Current TV's new community show

There is a new show in town, called 
Bar Karma

So far, I like this show. From their web pages:

There's a place at the edge of the universe, a venue that's behind time and before space, a watering hole where the tab you run up may never be paid - in this lifetime, at least.

That place is Bar Karma.

Starring 
Matthew Humphreys
Matthew Humphreys has appeared on a diverse roster of television shows including "Big Love," "Supernatural," "Burn Notice," "Medium," "Journeyman," "The Forgotten," and "All My Children." His work in films includes the Beyonce Knowles' thriller "Obsessed," "Chapter 27," and "The Good Shepherd," directed by Robert De Niro. 
 William Sanderson
Fans might recognize William Sanderson for his role as J.F. Sebastian in the sci-fi classic, "Blade Runner." The veteran character actor has worked steadily in film and TV for over three decades, making his mark with unforgettable roles in "Deadwood," "Newhart," and "True Blood."
and the lovely Cassie Howarth
In addition to being an actress, Australia native Cassie Howarth is also a professionally trained dancer. She was able to marry those passions when she appeared in director Bruce Beresford's film "Mao's Last Dancer." She has also performed in the short films "Deathclock," "High Rise and Afternoon," the feature film "Deranged High." 

Notoriously lucky billionaire Doug Jones wins Bar Karma on a bet. He soon learns that ownership includes more than pouring the perfect cocktail - a lot more. Every happy hour one lost soul wanders through the bar's doors, finding themselves at a karmic crossroads in his or her life. The Bar Karma staff guides their patrons using eerie glimpses into the past, present and many possible futures.

What would happen if you could change your fate? That's the question Bar Karma sets out to answer. The show may begin with "a guy walks into a bar..." but Bar Karma always ends with someone's life being changed...forever. 

A new episode of Bar Karma, the first community-developed TV show, premieres every Friday beginning February 11 at 10/9c on Current TV.

 But there is a bit more to this show, that's kind of cool:

You Decide the Direction of Bar Karma.

Harnessing innovative technology from the mind of video game legend Will Wright and storytelling expertise from television hitmaker Albie Hecht, Bar Karma will revolutionize the way TV is made.

And that's by including you in the creative process. 

Utilizing Will Wright's StoryMaker Engine, you decide the creative direction for Bar Karma, the first community-developed television series. Impress the Bar Karma producers and community with your suggestions, and your name just might end up in the credits.

Our characters may help decide the fate of others, but you decide theirs.
It's not reality television; it's real television made by real people.
Including you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Church Of Scientology, Fact-Checked

L Ron Hubbard said he had been damaged and blind when he was out of the military after the war. And from that he healed himself and wrote Dianetics. Actually, he had not been a war hero, though he had medals, but military documentation showed Hubbard wasn't anything outstanding in the military and his entire system and therefore, the Church of Scientology is all false.

Scientology, is false, based upon a false foundation. He was a science fiction writer and a con man. At the end of his life he was under scrutiny by the FBI. His contemporaries such as Isaac Asimov, all laughed over Hubbard and his sci fi religion, back in the day before Scientology began and after. Does it really matter if Scientology has actually helped people? Yes, it does. Scientology can help people, on a superficial level, as can anything actually. But if you get too deep into it, it will fall down, the church as abused civil rights and there are allegations that they have actually surreptitiously caused the demise of more than one person who has gone up against them or tried to speak out against them.

Why are some ex Scientologists so fearful to speak out against this pseudo religion and science?

From NPR:
"New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright explains how he found a number of inconsistencies between documents the Church of Scientology says are official records of founder L. Ron Hubbard's war service and the actual official military records that Wright obtained."

Screenwriter Paul Haggis left the "church" of Scientology. Haggis wrote and directed "Crash" and won an Oscar for it. Wright asked if he could interview Haggis and they refused. But this lead Wright to be more curious and seek deeper information on the Scientologists.

"Wright says that one of the most interesting parts of the meeting came when he asked Davis about L. Ron Hubbard's medical records. Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, had maintained that he was blind and a 'hopeless cripple' at the end of World War II — and that he had healed himself through measures that later became the basis of Dianetics, the 1950 book that became the basis for Scientology.
"I had found evidence that Hubbard was never actually injured during the war. ... And so we pressed [Tommy Davis] for evidence that there had been such injuries and [Hubbard] had been the war hero that he described," says Wright. "Eventually, Davis sent us what is called a notice of separation — essentially discharge papers from World War II — along with some photographs of all of these medals that [Hubbard] had won. ... At the same time, we finally gained access to Hubbard's entire World War II records [through a request to the military archives] and there was no evidence that he had ever been wounded in battle or distinguished himself in any way during the war. We also found another notice of separation which was strikingly different than the one that the church had provided."

On the meeting Wright held with Tommy Davis and scientology lawyers
"In September, Tommy Davis and four Scientology lawyers arrive in New York with 47 volumes of supporting material, these binders that stretched seven linear feet. And we met in a conference room in 10 in the morning with me and two of the checkers and the head of our checking department and our lawyer and my editor and David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, who had just come in to welcome everyone, but took a seat and didn't get up until six that evening."

"In one very interesting moment, Davis said, 'Of course, if it's true that Mr. Hubbard was never injured during the war, then he never did heal himself using Dianetics principles, then Dianetics is based on a lie, and then Scientology is based on a lie. The truth is that Mr. Hubbard was a war hero.' And the way he phrased that, that everything depended on whether Hubbard had sustained these injuries and healed himself was like a wager on the table."

On what the Church of Scientology said about Hubbard's war records
"I asked Tommy Davis to square the records that we had with the church's own records of Mr. Hubbard's war records. And he said, 'Well, we the church were also puzzled about it until we found an expert who clarified all this.' And he said the man who did that was Mr. X in Oliver Stone's movie JFK who in real life was a man named Fletcher Prouty, who had been involved in inner circles of the American Defense Department. And Prouty, who also had worked for the church, had told them that Hubbard had actually been an intelligence agent, and the records were, as he said, sheep-dipped. That's apparently a term of art in intelligence that maintains that there were two sets of records. And we obtained all of Mr. Hubbard's military records, and there was no second set of records. There was no evidence that he had ever acted as an intelligence agent during the war in any serious capacity, and that he had never been wounded."

On Hubbard's notice of separation
"The notice of separation they gave us was signed by an individual named Howard Thompson, a lieutenant commander who apparently never existed. They gave us a photograph of the medals that Mr. Hubbard supposedly had won. Two of them weren't even commissioned until after he left active service. On there, it says that he graduated after four years of college and got a civil engineering degree, which is not accurate. ... In the 900-some-odd pages of Hubbard's war records, there were numerous letters from other researchers from over the years. And one of them had inquired about Howard D. Thompson, this lieutenant commander that supposedly signed this notice of separation. And the archivist at the time said they had thoroughly researched the roles of Navy officers at the time, and there was no such person."

Full NPR article