John Fortune (1939-2013)

Somehow I missed the sad news that British comedian John Fortune had died on December 31, 2013. Michael Coveney provides a retrospective of his life. I came across Fortune only about a decade or so ago, when the brilliant improvisational sketches that he did with John Bird appeared online. These took the form of an interview in which one of them would question the other on the issues of the day. I love this kind of deadpan comedy, where the conversation takes an absurd turn but the speakers discuss it quite seriously.
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Even the CIA now admits that Dick Cheney lied about Iraq

One of the interesting things about the current presidential race is that the whole issue of the criminal act of taking the US to war against a country that had not attacked it has come front and center. Pretty much all Republicans are being asked about the Iraq war, with the question being framed as to whether, given what we know now (presumably that Iraq did not have any nuclear weapons), they would have made the decision to go to war.
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Twin Peaks may not be an allusion to the TV show

I learned a couple of interesting things about the tragedy that occurred in Texas when rival biker gangs started fighting that resulted in nine people being killed, 18 others injured, and over 150 arrests. One is that the media are shying away from calling it a ‘riot’ or the behavior of ‘thugs’, the language that comes easily to them if the perpetrators are black. Jenny Kutner says that much milder terms are being used in this case, such as ‘melee, fracas, brawl, fistfight, brouhaha, trouble, and chaos’ (CNN) and ‘shootout, fight, chaos, confrontation, problems’ (New York Times). Brouhaha? For something that resulted in such carnage?
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Review: Secrets, Politics and Torture vs. Zero Dark Thirty

Last night I watched the Frontline program Secrets, Politics and Torture: The secret history of the fight over the CIA’s controversial interrogation methods, widely criticized as torture that I alerted readers to. The show, broadcast last night on PBS, looked at how the US government has indulged in the most brutal acts of torture and lied about it. For those who missed it, these programs are usually later available online for at least a brief time and may be shown again on PBS. [Update: Thanks to reader lanir, the link to see the 54-minutes documentary is here.]
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Frontline TV documentary tonight: Secrets, Politics and Torture

I just learned about a Frontline documentary with the above title and the subtitle The secret history of the fight over the CIA’s controversial interrogation methods, widely criticized as torture that is being shown tonight on PBS stations at 10:00pm though your local station might have it at a different time. The description is:
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Social media puts police under scrutiny

The city of Cleveland is on alert because there are several issues that could trigger unrest. I got an email from our university president about contingency plans in case of trouble. Other places of work are warning their employees that there could be disruptions and to be ready to work from home if they can and parents are being told that they can keep their children at home if necessary. City officials and police are taking other preventative measures.
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Another Fox News whine fest

Fox News is all of a doodah because president Obama said something that is blazingly obvious by saying that they demonize the poor. They have gone on a weeklong whine fest about being so unfairly maligned. The Daily Show poses the question of whether this shows that Fox News in merely lacking in self-awareness or is cynical or stupid or just downright evil.
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