Category Archives: TV Shows and Movies

The Oath with Chuck Rosenberg

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The Oath with Chuck Rosenberg is a podcast hosted by, you guessed it, former prosecutor and Justice Department administrator Chuck Rosenberg. You will know of Mr. Rosenberg as a regular justice expert guest on various MSNBC shows, especially the Rachel Maddow Show. Rosenberg was appointed as US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia in 2006, and was previously a US Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, and later, Chief of Staff to Jame Comey at the FBI. He was administrator of the DEA from May 2015 to October 1, 2017. Appointed under Obama, departed under Trump.

Rosenberg stepped down from his post at the DEA because he had to either go along with Trump’s very wrong policies, or step away, which at the time was considered proper for justice department officials. (I suspect that is changing.) You may have heard his famous departing remark, issued in an internal DEA memo in response to Trump telling cops to get illegally tougher on the people they interact with:

The President, in remarks delivered yesterday in New York, condoned police misconduct regarding the treatment of individuals placed under arrest by law enforcement… I write to offer a strong reaffirmation of the operating principles to which we, as law enforcement professionals, adhere. I write because we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong. That’s what law enforcement officers do. That’s what you do. We fix stuff. At least, we try.

Among his well known cases were the dog fighting charges against Michael Vick, the case against Zacarias Moussaoui, and work on child porn (against, not pro). So, not only has he great and interesting experience, but over time, he has made good friends with many key players in US Justice under the Bush and Obama administrations.

Because of these connections, and the high degree of respect he commands from his colleagues, it has been possible for him to put together a rather bang-up podcast. Different people will like or not like the subject matter, or will find it essential or outside their area of interests, but in fact, any one who listens to a good sampling of the interviews will learn things they didn’t know they didn’t know, but in fact, do need to know. I just now listened to his interview with Joyce Vance, also a regular on MSNBC as a commentator, and former AUSA in Alabama. (You also learn things like what “AUSA” stand for from this podcast.)

One thing I appreciate about The Oath is that Rosenberg, either through careful planning or skilled and thoughtful editing (probably both), makes sure the audience gets what they need to understand the story that is being told. He eschews the common fault many interviewer have of making sure the audience knows how much the interviewer knows, and asks what are probably utterly dumb questions from the point of view of an expert, but essential questions for the average listener. Like, “So what does AUSA stand for?”

I have never been a big podcast listener, but a while back, long after I started my own podcast with Mike Haubrich, I started to listen to a few, and I have a very short list of blue ribbon podcasts I keep up on. The Oath is one of them.

The podcast web page is HERE, but as is the case with most podcasts, you can listen to it with your favorite podcast accessing software on whatever device you use. Within reason.


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I didn’t think I cared about “I, Tonya” until I heard who was staring in it

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I refer, of course, to Allison Janney! There are some other people in the film as well.

It is an interesting idea, that the Kerrigan-Harding situation, and Tonya herself, were different from what we came to understand at the time. It will take a bit of a shove to get me to not think Harding was an utter asshole, but that is what the movie apparently purports.

Have a look at this discussion: Continue reading I didn’t think I cared about “I, Tonya” until I heard who was staring in it


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Netflix gets Stranger

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Stranger Things Season 2 will be available on October 27th, just in time for Halloween.

I expect there will be widespread disappointment, because there is always a lot of disappointment from the usual suspects when something loved is extended, redone, or done again. Part of the charm of the first season was discovering the 1980s retro allegory, and there is more of that in the new Stranger Things, but since it is the second time around … well, we’ll see. Also, Eleven was one of the great science fiction characters ever written, directed, and acted, and I understand that Eleven’s character is different this time around. So that will be a blow to civilization itself. Continue reading Netflix gets Stranger


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Can Stranger Things 2 be as good as Stranger Things 1?

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Will the Second Season of Stranger Things be as good as, or better than, the first?

I suspect not, but I don’t say this because I don’t trust the actors, the director, the writers, or the producers, to do an excellent job. I say this simply because Stranger Things 1 was a) so very good and b) good in part because of its refreshing uniqueness.

What did that refreshing uniqueness come from? It is anti-uniqueness. Stranger Things Season One turned uniqueness upside down. Or, more exactly, it turned plagiarism upside down in a kind of alternate universe of unique familiarity. Continue reading Can Stranger Things 2 be as good as Stranger Things 1?


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Why Was the Grizzly Man Eaten by a Bear? (Film review and commentary)

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Grizzly Man is Werner Herzog’s film about Timothy Treadwell, mostly using Treadwell’s own footage of his time living among grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in Katmai National Park, Alaska. Treadwell spent each of thirteen summers up to 2003 mainly in two areas of the park where a community1 of grizzly bears lived and foraged. During the last three years of this stint, Treadwell went to the field with video cameras and produced quite a bit of footage. In 2003 he and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, were killed and mostly eaten by a bear.

Continue reading Why Was the Grizzly Man Eaten by a Bear? (Film review and commentary)


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Netflix gets Stranger

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Stranger Things Season 2 will be available on October 27th, just in time for Halloween.

I expect there will be widespread disappointment, because there is always a lot of disappointment from the usual suspects when something loved is extended, redone, or done again. Part of the charm of the first season was discovering the 1980s retro allegory, and there is more of that in the new Stranger Things, but since it is the second time around … well, we’ll see. Also, Eleven was one of the great science fiction characters ever written, directed, and acted, and I understand that Eleven’s character is different this time around. So that will be a blow to civilization itself. Continue reading Netflix gets Stranger


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