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Last Build Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2018 03:19:54 +0000


John Kelly boasts about firing Rex Tillerson while he was on the toilet

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 01:54:04 +0000


Meet John Kelly, the White House's "adult in the room":

Reporters gathered at the White House on Friday were stunned when Chief of Staff John Kelly shared a very embarrassing story about outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Kelly recounted a very awkward conversation with Tillerson during which he informed the secretary that President Donald Trump would very likely soon fire him. ... Tillerson, Kelly told the room, was suffering from a stomach bug during a diplomatic swing through Africa, and was using a toilet when Kelly broke the news to him.

Sources were stunned that, even in an off-record setting, Kelly would say this—to a room filled with White House officials and political reporters—about Tillerson, who does not officially leave the State Department until the end of the month.

The idea that John Kelly is the "grown-up" is one of the saddest lies the press tells itself about Trump's White House. Kelly is a stone-faced moron in public and an adolescent boy in private, a Jessup-esque archetype of the military lifer made real. A perfect fit for Trump, not a foil.

Ireland lost a musical giant this week

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 23:47:23 +0000


Irish music lost one of its legends this week, with the passing of Liam O'Flynn.

A player of the Uilleann pipes, O'Flynn, or as he was known by the Gaeilge iteration of his name, Liam Óg Ó Floinn, was born in 1945 to a family of musicians. In his youth, his piping earned him prizes at county and national levels, but it wasn't until he was in his thirties that he really hit his stride. As one of the founding members of Irish trad super group Planxty, O'Flynn helped to breathe new life to traditional Irish music by showing that it could be every bit as exciting and full of life as rock and roll. Without Planxty, there may not have been a Dexy's Midnight Runners; No Waterboys, Pogues, or Dropkick Murphys. We'd all be poorer for it. Plantxy's music left me with the impression, as a kid, that the tunes I played on the instruments I grew up with were cool. I had the privilege of meeting Mr. O'Flynn at a musical festival I was covering for a magazine back in the 1990s. He was pleasant and seemed genuinely pleased to make my acquaintance. The encounter left me feeling giddy for days afterwards.

One of my favorite songs by Planxty, Raggle Taggle Gypsy, has a tune lashed on to the end of it called Tabhair dom do laimh, which roughly translates as Give Me Your Hand. O'Flynn's rendition of the tune has been one of my happy places for decades. The Uilleann pipes are a difficult instrument to play competently. When he's in charge of the bellows, the music that comes out is emotional, and as full of love as the tune's title.

It makes me sad that the world has to go on without him, but I've his music as consolation.

Journalist charged with Criminal Harassment for attempting to set up an interview

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 23:35:57 +0000


Two of the largest parts of a journalist's job are waiting and making phone calls. When you're waiting, it's likely for someone to return a call. When you're making a phone call, it's likely to set up an interview, or interview someone over the phone, Skype or whatever.

Antoine Trépanier is a reporter for Radio-Canada: it's the French language farm of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation. Think PBS, only Beyond the Wall. Recently Trépanier was covering a story about a manager from a high-profile NPO falsely representing herself as a lawyer. Just another day in the dry-as-a-popcorn-fart world of public broadcasting. He called this individual, Yvonne Dubé, the executive director of the Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter in Gatineau, Quebec, to see if she'd be interested in sitting for an interview. She was down with the idea, or so it seemed. She cancelled the interview at the last moment. Trépanier emailed her, explaining that Radio Canada was going to run the story on his investigation. He wanted her to have the opportunity to comment on the allegations being leveled against her.

The next day, the Gatineau police dropped by to arrest Trépanier for criminal harassment.

According to the CBC, The Crown (our Queen-loving version of a district attorney) hasn't decided whether the charges will make it into court. The story of Trépanier's arrest touches on the topic of where the right of a journalist to contact a source ends and the rights of a source begin. It's an important issue: How much does the public's right to know about a topic that could effect their lives matter versus an individual's right to privacy? Should the rules for this be different if the individual in question holds no public office? Where are the lines drawn? A great American example of this issue can be found in whether American citizens have the right to see President Trump's tax returns from before he took office.

As a tech journalist, I don't have to worry too often about pissing in someone's cornflakes. More often than not, companies want to talk to me and show me all of their new toys. I've always felt that journalists reporting on hard news do a more important job than I do. That what they uncover matters more than my telling you whether a smartphone sucks or not. It's my feeling that they deserve the highest levels of access possible, where the public trust is concerned.

What's your take on it?

Image: Evan-Amos - Own work, Public Domain, Link

Terry Gilliam: women "knew what they were doing" with Harvey Weinstein

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 19:20:28 +0000


Looks like Terry Gilliam is one of those guys: “Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey — that’s the price you pay.”

In a an interview with AFP on Friday, the filmmaker, a member of the comedy group Monty Python, specifically went after Harvey Weinstein’s alleged victims, and said, “Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey — that’s the price you pay.”

“It is a world of victims. I think some people did very well out of meeting with Harvey and others didn’t,” he added. “The ones who did, knew what they were doing. These are adults; we are talking about adults with a lot of ambition.” Gilliam also claimed that some of the women didn’t actually suffer, but used Weinstein to further their careers, and that he knew women who walked out of meetings with the mogul before getting sexually abused.

Has a Gilliam film ever had a woman lead? Hell, has one ever had a woman in it?

Photo: Vegafi (CC-BY-SA)

Little kid works hard at jumping onto stool

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 19:12:56 +0000


This reminds of the saying that goes something like, "A mistake is when you fall. Failure is when you don't get back up." This little kid is the opposite of failure.

According to The Telegraph:

Georgia's Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed emergency ski patrols were quickly dispatched to the scene and a helicopter helped transport injured parties to hospital.

“Among the injured are Swedish and Ukrainian citizens,” said Mr Sergeenko [translated].

“Only two cases need to be monitored,” he added. “One of the injured, a Ukrainian citizen, broke his hand during the incident, and has a small head injury, while a Swedish citizen is pregnant and feels pain in her waist.”

A spokesperson for Austrian-based ski-lift producer, the Doppelmayr Garaventa group, confirmed to The Telegraph it does not yet know what caused the incident.

Image: Alena Pakhomova/Instagram