Thursday, April 19, 2018

This Got Talent Clip Is REALLY Magical

Marc Spellman on "Britain's Got Talent" seemed low key, but......
As anyone who reads this blog thingy knows, I am a fan of those "reality" talent shows in which people sing, dance, do magic, do something weird for fame and fortune.

This season's "Britain's Got Talent" has started, and the first coveted "Golden Buzzer" has been bestowed. Deservedly.  

The Golden Buzzer is given to contestants who wow the judges durin their auditions. It forwards the contestants on to later shows, without having to compete with earlier hoi polloi and earlier rounds.

This Golden Buzzer contestant is a magician names Marc Spellman. Be patient with the clip, because frankly, this guy starts out a little sluggish and low key, and you wonder what the hell he's trying to do.

But it's totally worth the watch:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sinclair Sounds Like An Evil Place To Work

A still from that Sinclair News Group "hostage video" in which anchors
at local television stations were ordered to read a pro-Trump fake news
script to their viewers. 
I'm sure many of you have heard the hue and cry about Sinclair.... the parent company of  lot of local television stations who forced all those local anchors to parrot Donald Trump's "fake news" talking points. (read: lies.)

This was made wildly famous earlier this month by that viral video that came from Deadspin of all those anchors from Sinclair-owned stations being forced to read a "hostage video" script about how every news outlet except Sinclair, supposedly, is biased fake news.

You can see this video for yourself at the bottom of this post. I'll quote a key line from the video.

"Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control 'exactly what people think'.......This is extremely dangerous to a democracy."

So instead, the Sinclair Trumpian overlords used their corporate platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control what the people think - which is extremely dangerous to a democracy.

But, whatever.

Sinclair owns 193 local television stations and is looking to buy many more, apparently in an effort to sell their right wing bullshit at the expense of accurate local news. And since there are often no local alternatives for viewers, Sinclair believes they can brainwah the viewing public.

Besides all this awful stuff, Sinclair sounds like a terrible, terrible, place to work.

First of all, most journalists, certainly including local television journalists, pride themselves on accurate,  hard-hitting reporting that is unbiased as humanly possible.

I was in journalism for year. I get it. We all have our biases, opinions and slants. We're human beings after all. But from Journalism 101 and on through my 20-year career as a reporter, it was always ingrained in me to follow the fact where they led, question everything, be skeptical and do everything I could to purge my internal biases from my reporting.

A group of Sinclair local anchors wrote about their outrage about being forced to read the script in a Vox article last week:

"For many of us, that was the death knell. The perception among much of the public was that Sinlar was Trump TV. Now it felt like that perception was a reality. Had Trump's seal of approval put is in the same camp as Infowars and Fox News? This was a place many Sinclair journalists never expected, or wanted to be in. 

A station we've cared about for many years has been stripped of its credibility. The station lost longtime viewers - and respect from the community, its most important asset. And we Sinclair employees have lost respect for our jobs."

So why don't these Sinclair journalists just quit and find work somewhere else?

The answer gets into why Sinclair is such an evil company for employees. The anonymous Sinclair journalists writing for Vox were anonymous knew that if their names became public, Sinclair would fire them, and worse, make them pay back the corporation thousands of dollars.

That's right.

Various versions of Sinclair employee contracts leaked to the media show that employees who quit the company might be subject to "liquidated damages" which would make them pay Sinclair up to 40 percent of their annual paycheck as penalty.

Now, most television stations, and many companies in general have a non-compete clause.  You'd be restricted from working for a direct competitor, and if you do, your former company can demand money.

But some Sinclair employees, like Jonathan Beaton, quit his job at Sinclair-owned WPEC and took a new job by starting up a public relations firm, which is not in competition with Sinclair or WPEC.

As the Daily Beast and other news outlets point out, this Sinclair contract could well be iffy from a legal standpoint.

"This liquidated damages clause seems highly problematic......In general, such clauses are not enforceable if they are simply punitive; they have to be reasonable attempts to capture likely damages. In the employment contact, this is very unusual," Samuel Estreicher of the Center for Employment Law and New York University told the Daily Beast. 

Former Sinclair employees could then conceivably fight the company in court, but most don't want to invest money and time they don't have for a legal fight.  That's why the anchors in the above-mentioned Vox article want to remain anonymous.

Beaton, though, IS fighting in court.

And, demonstrating how badly Sinclair is into controlling employees, the company is trying to claw back $5,700 for the part of Beaton's unfinished contract. Beaton, writing in HuffPost, tells us he's fighting it. 

First of all Beaton tells us why he quit the Sinclair owned station:

"As reporters and anchors at the company, we were routinely told to follow leads and angles with a clear-cut conservative agenda. At  CBS-12,  (WEPC) I was ordered to do man-on-the-street interviews that were clearly politically biased. I'd ask loaded questions like, 'How much do you disagree with Obama this year?' 

It was disguised as real journalism. The funny thing is, I'm a Republican - and I was still pissed by it. But it was more than just the questions. It was stories we were told to do. They often had to have a religious tie-in. We couldn't do stories, for the most part, that involved the LGBTQ community. There were a set of parameters and we had to stick to them."

So much for Sinclair's anchor hostage tape supposedly decrying fake or biased news, huh?

You'd think a corporation making a profit of $443.5 million in its latest quarterly earnings wouldn't spend a lot of time and litigation trying to get $5,700. But you'd be wrong.

"Sinclair argues that I caused them irreparable harm by leaving. Believe me, I was a good reporter, but not that good," Beaton says.

Of course, there's a larger goal here on the part of Sinclair. Make an example out of Beaton and nobody else will quit. But as Beaton puts it, "I refuse to cower and acquiesce to this malevolent corporation. I'm fighting back."

Good. I'm glad to see some rebellions starting againt Sinclair. If anything good came out of the "hostage video," it's the attention it brought.

Fourteen journalism schools have come out critcizing Sinclair. Budding journalists have been put on notice not to apply for jobs at Sinclair because if they do, they'll face a career of misery. Which means, by attrition, Sinclair will lose its remaining crop of good journalists, and just complete its transformation into an untrustworthy shill for the Trumpians of the world.

And then we can all go on ignoring the blah, blah, blah noise of the Sinclair Trump hornblowers. Buh-bye!

In case you forgot it, here's that "hostage video."


Sunday, April 15, 2018

If You're Having A Bad Day, People In These Videos Had It Worse.

The remains of a Turkish mansion after an out of control ship hit
it in the Bosphorus Straight.
Sometimes, things just don't go right during a day on the job.

Lately, quite a few people have had that happen in a huge way.

A lot of what you are about to see look like at least potentially fireable offenses. So keep checking out this post every time you make a mistake at work.

It could always be worse.

First, we go to Denmark, where it was time to demolish an old silo. It was all set up. The giant silo would come down, and tilt to the right and crash into an open lot.

Bummer. The damn thing tilted to the left. Where, of course, there was a building in the way.  Part of the silo landed on a library and cultural center. While that building was badly damaged, most of the books inside were saved, even though they were covered in dust.

Watch:



Next, we go to the Bophorus Straight near Instabul, Turkey, where, unfortunatly, a ship's rudder recently failed.

Which is bad, but it got worse. The out of control vessel smacked into the Hakeimbasi Salih Efendi mansion on a recent afternoon. The opulent place was built in the 18th century and has recently been used to host weddings and concerts. The mansion appears to have been destroyed.

Not after the ship hit it. It was quite an impact, as you can see from the video below. Luckily no injuries were reported



Now we go to our nice close neighbors in Montreal, where, on an icy day in early April, the cargo hold of a truck lifted up as it sped along Highway 40. Nobody is sure why yet, but it sure led to a dramatic crash into a pedestrian bridge

The load of corn went everywhere, and a motorist nearby filmed the whole thing.

Strang truck mishaps seem to be an epidemic. A truck loaded with empty beer kegs plunged off a Pennsylvania overpass recently, spilling the kegs all over Interstate 95 and forcing a temporary closure of one of the world's busiest highways.

Then there's the famous 11 foot, eight inch bridge in North Carolina, which continues to claim the lives of many trucks which are too tall for the low overpass. Despite numerous safety measures and warnings that have been installed there over the years, trucks continue to hit the railroad bridge.

Yeah, people are stupid.

Here's the Montreal crash


Finally, this is what happens when a car stalls out on a California freeway. This video was taken a couple months back.Yikes!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Alabama Town Obviously Not Happy About Trainloads Of (Literal) Crap In Their Town

Trainloads of human poop are rotting in an Alabama rail yard, and nobody
seems interested in moving it away from people.
Train loads of poop - shit, crap, whatever you want to call it - 10 million pounds of it - are sitting in a railyard in Parrish, Alabama.

The fine 982 residents of Parrish are not happy about this. You can imagine why.

The whole situation just goes to show you what happens when a small town, or a person, or a business without a lot of money and without regulations in place can become the victim of aloof businesses, and neighboring communities that have more resources.

The crap has been sitting there for two months, and smells like rotting animal carcasses. By the way, this is mostly human crap. Not produced by the people of Parrish, but by residents of New York and New Jersey.

Summer is rapidly approaching Alabama. When it gets hot the extreme stench will only get worse.

Apparently, nobody gives a, um, shit about this except the people in Parrish.

Here's how Parrish got here, according to CNN.

The companies that handle this call the shit biowaste, I guess to make it sound better, but it's shit. For the past year, waste management facilities in New York and New Jersey have been shipping tons of this crap to Big Sky Environmental, a private landfill in Adamsville, Alabama.

The town of West Jefferson, right near Adamsville, filed an injunction to keep this sludge from being stored in a nearby rail yard. So, Big Sky decided to park it in Parrish.

Obviously, Parrish doesn't like this, as noted above, but they don't have many resources. Big Sky is "solving" the problem by not returning phone calls from the mayor of Parrish, or local news media outlets, or CNN for that matter.

The crap in Parrish was parked there because it was already in transit when West Jefferson got the injunction. But couldn't Big Sky send it back where it came from. Not literally, because you can't insert it back into people, but maybe store it where nobody lives?

Parrish Mayor Heather Hall says she's trying to get the shit train out of town. Hall said Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and other lawmakers are trying to sort it out, but so far, no luck.

The smell from the train is permeating the town. "It greatly reduces the quality of life. You can't sit out on your porch. Kids can't go outside and play and God help us if it gets hot and this material is still out there," Hall said.

Officials are telling the town's residents that this isn't a health hazard, but come on! If it smells that bad, and people are breathing it, it can't be good.

And it's warming up down there. Temperatures around Parrish are supposed to be around 80 degrees on Friday.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Sewage Leak Forces Baseball Game To Shut Down. Ewww!

A smelly sewage problem developed in Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles
during an exhibition game this week. 
Baseball games are called for all sorts of reasons: Rain, lightning, hail. Even snow!

But this is a new one. Sewage forced the premature end of an exhibition game at Dodgers Stadium last week.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the sewage mishap killed the exhibition game between the Dodgers and Angels in the fifth inning on Tuesday.

The LA Times says the Dodgers have not exactly said what was spilled, but we do know it was brown and smelly and didn't seem to want to stop gurgling out.

I totally feel sorry for the groundskeepers who had to try to contain the icky brown flood.

Dodgers Pitcher Ross Stripling had this little editorial comment about the situation.

"Crappy way to end the spring.... Get it?"

Unfortunately,  yeah, we get it.

We're told the problem has been fixed and we can get on with Major League Baseball season in Los Angeles.

Here's the video:


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Right Wing Wacko Pasters Always Entertain (Continued)

Frank Amedia says he miraculously resurrected an ant. You gotta start somewhere.
In this here blog thingy, I always love to quote some of the more, shall we say, colorful, evangelical right wingers who, I must admit are incredibly creative with their stories.

I've got a couple more, and let's start with the best one, which I think tops anything I've seen so far.

DEMONIC INSECTS

According to Right Wing Watch, Frank Amedia, who served as a volunteer "Christian policy liaison" for Donald Trump's presidential campaign, says he resurrected an ant back to life.

OK, OK, bringing an ant back to life isn't exactly the same as the Resurrection of Jesus, but you have to start somewhere.

Amedia begins his story: "This was the most incredible one." When you read on, you'll realize you can't argue with him.

On a recent trip to Israel, he was bitten on the leg by an ant while praying (of course!) and he instinctively swatted it before crushing it into pieces with his thumb.

OK, a little mean, but I would have done the same thing. Here's where it goes off the rails:

"All of a sudden, the Holy Spirit speaks to me so clearly. It was as clear as I have ever heard....It was the voice of the Father. The Father calls me son, an dthe Father said, 'Son, look at the ant......And the Lord said to me, 'Son, I hear the cry of an ant.'"

It's nice to know that the Lord loves all creatures, great and small, including ants, so it's good that the Lord heard the anguish of this poor ant.

Amedia continues: "I began to weep inside of me....And then the Lord said, 'Son, take your finger and touch the ant.'"

Or the little pieces of it, but whatever.

Anyway, Amedia, being obedient, did as the Lord instructed. And lo and behold!!!. Well, let's let Amedia tell us:

"The power of God shot out..and the ant, it came alive and the pieces all were together and it jumped up on my finger, came up slowly my palm, and stopped right there as if it was looking right at me.'"

The video of Amedia's tale, at the bottom of this post, is something to, um, behold, so it's worth the watch.

Amedia does have something of a fascination with insects. Back in November, 2016, Right Wing Watch tells us he warned us about demonic hornets. I hate hornet stings, so I don't blame him for calling them demonic.

But Amedia went pretty far with his story.

He warned us that he saw hornets "dipping these stingers into a cesspool" that contained "a liquor, a potion, and the potion was filled with all the vile characteristics and the power of witchcraft and occult, of abortion and murder and selfishness and deceitfulness.... and they were being sent out to invade humanity, and, if you will, inject these potions."

I guess in other words, the hornets were drinking Bud Light and then stinging us to inject us with that awful piss water. That's my theory, anyway.

Amedia, as always, goes on: "And I saw that they (the hornets) were dipping their tails in that putrid muck that was coing up from Abaddon (whereever that is) and being sent out to sting, sting, with homosexuality........ "

The rest is the whole litany of other "sins" he hates.

Oh, so that's why I'm gay! My mother wasn't liberal enough with the bug spray, and as a child, I must have gotten stung by a demonic hornet and here I am today. Oh well, bummer.

GOD COMMANDS US ALL TO OWN AR-15S

There's a lot of controversy these days about AR-15s, the semi-automatic weapons that are the centerpiece of so many tragic mass shootings in our nation.

Chuck Baldwin says you're not a true Christian unless you own an AR-15
It turns out, AR-15s are pure and godly, and everybody in this Christian nation should own one, or at least something like one of these.  

So says Chuck Baldwin, who, sadly, failed to win the presidency in 2008 as the Christian Reconstructionist Constitution Party's nominee. (Don't worry, I've never heard of this group, either.)

According to Right Wing Watch. (Again! I swear they're not making this stuff up) Baldwin informs us that any Christian that does not own the equivalent of an AR-15 "has denied the Christian faith" and is "worse than a heathen."

His proof is Bible passage 1 Timothy, Baldwin said that every adult has "a duty to provide for your family, but you cannot provide protection for your family without being equipped to do so."

OK.

I'm not a Bible expert, so I looked up 1 Timothy. Maybe I'm not a careful reader, but for the life of me, I could not find any reference to AR-15s in that Bible passage. I couldn't even find much there regarding protection of family. Oh, well.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

James Corden Gives An Epic "Stormy" Forecast

On The Late, Late Show, James Corden recently gave a television weather forecast. At first glance, you'd think it belongs on my sister blog "Matt's Weather Rapport" but nope, this is strictly poltical humor.

We have "Stormy Daniels" of course, looming long the East Coast, combining with a lot of hot air from Washington, meaning the forecast can't be good at all. But it is really funny. We'll let Corden take it from here: