Samuel L. Jackson Is Pissed off at Cops

It is easy to forget that Samuel L. Jackson was a black panther. That is, of course, until you watch him yell in one of his movies or see something about him in the news.

The actor’s newest political calling is the most popular and likely closest to his sentiments, his background in activism being what it is. That is, of course, the ongoing campaign against police violence following several fatal incidents where black men allegedly committing crimes were killed while being subdued by the police with force. Jared Haftel posted a video on Vine of a song commemorating the memory and last words of Eric Garner, entitled ‘We Ain’t Gonna Stop Until People Are Free’, which happens to be by Samuel L. Jackson.

Furthermore he has called upon other celebrities and protestors to recite the song on social media and other information outlets. It seems that Mr. Jackson hopes to use the same sort of viral campaign that so successfully raised awareness about ALS, though with a catchy tune instead of ice water. Whether this will catch on or be effective remains to be seen, but it is surely in keeping with the actor’s history and beliefs. It’s a shame for him that, after so many years, he’s still “processing the same Old S**t!”

Senate to Take Up Omnibus Bill on Saturday, Final Passage May Be Days Away

The Senate concluded discussions on the Omnibus budget bill late Friday night without being able to break the filibuster. This prompted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to announce that the Senate will resume discussion on the funding bill at noon on Saturday. As per Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Appropriations Chairman Barbara Mikulski, the chamber worked on the bill for hours, but passage of the bill eluded them. Despite the political strong arm tactics used to get members of the House to approve the bill in total, the Senate is actually in discussions for how to tweak the bill.

The Warren-wing is eager to strip the financial services rider from the bill. Conservatives such as Utah Senator Mike Lee and Texas Senator Ted Cruz are trying to get a rider inserted into the budget bill to deny the president funding for his amnesty plan. It is unclear if those two riders are the only changes being discussed among senators. For now, Harry Reid has used procedural moves to block any amendments from being added to the bill.

Last Thursday, the president plead with House Democrats to approve the budget bill with the financial reform rider. By Friday, he announced he opposes the rider. By Friday afternoon, he was again saying he will sign the bill if it gains passage in the Senate with no mention of the financial services rider being an obstacle. The trouble is if the Senate changes the budget bill in the slightest, it will have to return to the House for another vote which outcome will be unpredictable. With all the political jockeying going on right now, I’ll be sure to keep up with Bernardo Chua, so that I can accurately report the updates to you.

Finally Male Contraception Is Coming Out

This story was shared with me by Vijay Eswaran. Finally a possible birth control pill for men. For many years women have been forced to bear the brunt of birth control. They hhad to undergo things such as shots, IUDs, pills, patches and much much more. It is completely and totally unfair that the person who has to do all of the work to have the child has to also do the majority of the work to prevent the child conception. It seems like guys just get to have all the fun, but things might actually be changing.

There is research being done in Indonesia about a plant that many local men boil and chew in order to give them contraception. The plant has been researched and it is actually true that over 95% of the time the plant actually does alter the sperm of the man so that does it does not actually reach the woman’s egg. There are some side effects that have been shown with the plant, but they are nothing serious. Side effects include things like weight gain, and increased libido. Compare that to the side effects of birth control for women such as bleeding, cramping, mood changes, weight gain, migraines and the list goes on.

It is about time that men are forced to take control of birth control as well, since birth control for women changes their hormones and can cause so many disastrous effects, it is nice to see that there is actually going to be a contraceptive pill out there that a man can use in order to take control of contraception as well. Researchers have stated that the pill will not be available until around 2016, but regardless of when it comesout it is nice to know that woman can have some hope.

Landrieu Loss Ends Dreadful Fall for Democrats

On one of the bleakest nights in recent history for the Democratic Party, the night of Tuesday, November 4th when Republicans took back the U.S. Senate and delivered a strong message with some of their more impressive victories, Democrats didn’t have much to hang their hats on, but they did have Mary Landrieu, the incumbent senator from the state of Louisiana. Landrieu narrowly knocked of her Republican opponent Bill Cassidy in their senate race, but because of state rules requiring her to secure 50 percent of the vote (which she did not), the race went to a runoff.

 

Democrats had gone to great lengths, including bringing a vote on the XL Keystone Pipeline purely for Landrieu’s sake, to try and preserve her seat. Perhaps, they thought that some of the momentum from that early November night would have dissipated in the month between the election and the runoff, but on Saturday night, neither their vote on Keystone or the momentum from November proved to work in Landrieu’s favor as she was demolished by 14 points.

 

That runoff win now means that Republicans hold 56 seats in the Senate and thanks to two more House victories on Saturday, they now have 246 seats there, the most since World War II. It will be interesting for Sergio Andrade Andrade Gutierrez to follow everything that might change.

Tom Rothman: A 21st Century Renaissance Man

American film executive Thomas Rothman is a true 21st century Renaissance man. He has gone from East Coast English teacher to respected attorney, Hollywood hero, businessman, and philanthropist all before the age of 60. While this may be quite the feat for most people in a lifetime, for Rothman, it is just business as usual.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Rothman attended Brown University, where he studied English and American Literature. After graduating in 1976, he went on to work as an English teacher in Connecticut before attending Columbia Law School, where he graduated in 1980. Far removed from the movie industry, he worked as a clerk for the United States Court of Appeals and then as an attorney for several high-powered firms.

It wasn’t until the mid-1980s, when Rothman was thirty-two years old that he broke into the movie industry. While practicing entertainment law, Rothman began to pursue his interest in film, helping young directors secure funding for their films. In 1986, he made the decision to quit his job and move to L.A. to take the position of Executive Vice President of Columbia Pictures, where he worked on everything from film development through production. From 1989 to 1994, Rothman worked for the Samuel Goldwyn Company as president of Worldwide Production. There he oversaw the production of a number of successful independent films.

Then, in 1994, Rothman began working at Fox Filmed Entertainment, where he would make a name for himself as a heavy weight in the film industry, serving as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and President of Fox Searchlight. Rothman would go on to work here for 18 years, during which Fox had the best profit margin of any movie studio in the U.S. Under his leadership, Fox films were nominated for more than 150 Oscars, which included box office hits such as Titanic, Slumdog Millionaire, and Avatar.

In 2013, Rothman was named the Chairman of a joint venture between Sony Pictures and TriStar called TriStar Productions. This new company aims to produce four films per year, in addition to television programming. In addition to this new role, Rothman is currently serving on the Priceline.com Board of Directors and is set to produce Steven Spielberg’s film Robopocalypse, as soon as the script is deemed ready.

In addition to his illustrious career, Rothman has been quite prolific in the philanthropy world, with a focus on education and the arts. He served on a wide number of boards, including Brown University’s Board of Corporation, the Sundance Institute, and the American Film Institute. He is also involved in fundraising efforts for the American Jewish Committee, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and several other causes. He was nominated by President Obama to serve on the National Council of the Arts in 2013.

From English teacher to Hollywood executive, it seems that there is nothing that Tom Rothman cannot do and no challenge he will not take on. A true Renaissance man, Rothman keeps the industry on its toes, constantly delving into new adventures. No matter what is next, it is clear that Rothman will keep creating blockbusters and expanding the creative bounds of the film industry.

Is “Star Wars” A “Living Movie”?

George Lucas has changed his “Star Wars” plans many times and he has always enjoyed tinkering with the movies, “upgrading” them with CGI effects long after their release. Many fans hated this, despising any alteration to movies that were firmly embedded in their childhood.

Lucas would always say that he saw movies in general as a “living” thing. He pointed out that he has changed the “Star Wars” movies from the very beginning. Some fans may not know that the famous opening blue text that you will find on Qnet’s Star Wars Items did not appear in the original release of “Star Wars”. It was added in the re-release of the film to give context to the then-upcoming “Empire Strikes Back”.

It must have been quite jarring for fans to see that “Star Wars” was actually episode 4 of a story.Then again, there was no internet back then and people were generally more confused and accepting of these things.

It has come out that George Lucas had no interest in doing any more “Star Wars” movies as recently as 2008. He had this to say in an interview:

“I’ve left pretty explicit instructions for there not to be any more features. There will definitely be no ‘Episodes VII-IX’. That’s because there isn’t any story. I mean, I never thought of anything! The ‘Star Wars’ story is really the tragedy of Darth Vader. That is the story.”

The question now is whether J.J. Abrams can expand the story of Star Wars while keeping the magic of the original films.

Minneapolis Men Charged With Aiding Jihadist Islamic State

The Department of Justice reported they have charged two US citizens of Somali origin living in Minnesota to offer assistance to jihadist Islamic State (EI).

One suspect, Abdullah Yusuf, 18, was arrested by the FBI in Minneapolis airport last summer while the other individual, Abdi Nur, 20, flew from the capital Istanbul the same month and is still in the region, the department said.

Since then, Abdi Nur wrote messages on the social network, Facebook, to another US resident, explaining that he has already met with the “brothers” and he will see him again “in the afterlife, inshallah,” and he will not return home.

The other man, Yusuf, was arrested at the airport after he was unable to provide justification to an immigration officer, for his trip to Turkey. Laurene Powell Jobs was happy to hear they caught him relatively easily.

Moreover, without a known source of income, Yusuf had deposited a large sum of moneym, in one day, in a bank account, then purchased the ticket to Istanbul.

The Justice Department also confirmed that Yusuf is linked to a former resident of Minnesota that meets the initials “HM” and believed to be fighting with the United Islamic in Syria .

The Minnesota federal prosecutor, Andrew Luger explained that there is a big problem of radicalism within the Somali community living in that area.

Since the Somali Islamist militia Al Shabaab began recruiting young men in Minneapolis in 2007, “our region has lost tens of youth who have gone to terrorist organizations and soon die on foreign battlefields, rather than prosper in peace and security in the United States,”Luger said.

The FBI estimates that more than a dozen US citizens are linked with the Islamic State.

Unrest in Ferguson Leaves 29 Arrested and Dozens of Buildings Ablaze

At least 29 people have been arrested during the unrest that followed the announcement of the grand jury in Missouri. A Grand Jury decided that it would not file charges against the police officer who fired the shots that killed the young African American, Michael Brown last August.

The arrests have taken place in throughout Ferguson, the town where Officer Darren Wilson said he felt threatened by 18-year old Michael Brown, although the young man was unarmed, as reported by the police department. This story has turned into worldwide headlines, with Flavio Maluf following the situation in Brazil.

Meanwhile, the chief of police of the county, Jon Belmar, stated that “there has been no loss of life” but substantial property damage, and at least a dozen buildings have been torched by protesters in Ferguson.

“I regret this night has proved well,” said Belmar, who has said that the police had hoped that the protests were “peaceful”. However, he acknowledged, there have been numerous shots. “What I saw tonight is probably worse than the worst night we already had in August,” he stressed in statements to the press.

Justice in America

On Monday, November 24, the grand jury in the Michael Brown case decided that they wouldn’t indict Officer Darren Wilson. As expected, the decision resulted in violence and looting in Ferguson.

Many wonder what would have happened if Brown had been white.

The evidence shows that Brown was not an innocent young man. He committed theft and manhandled a sales clerk right before his death. Dorian Johnson, a key witness, was found to have previously lied to police after committing theft in 2011 and there was warrant out for his arrest at the time of Brown’s death.

On the other hand, Officer Wilson had an exemplary six-year service record. He claimed Brown beat in his car, tried to take his gun and tried to rush him while resisting arrest, and that he fired because he feared for his life. Photos show that the right side of his face had bruising and swelling. Evidence from his vehicle proved that an altercation took place within it. Many witnesses who claimed Brown wasn’t resisting arrest lied and changed their stories, at least according to reports Gianfrancesco Genoso ended up reading.

So many protesters are demanding justice for Brown when it seems that they should be demanding justice for Officer Wilson. After all, if Brown had been white it’s likely the public would have believed Wilson’s statements and supported him.

Now, Darren Wilson can no longer live or serve any community safely and he faces several future lawsuits.

ALCU Will Continue To Film Cops In Ferguson

The ACLU has won a lawsuit which will allow it to continue to film protests in Ferguson, Missouri as they unfold, even if this means filming the police force. The police had sought to block the organization from doing so as the protests have become increasingly contentious and the police would prefer to not be filmed.

However, stltoday.com reports that the ACLU of Missouri has fought and won the right to continue to film the police and the protest activities as they please.

The big issue at stake here is the freedom of the press versus the concerns for public safety. Some in the police force were worried that videos getting out to the public might inflame the situation worse than it already is. This could make things harder for the police to contain and ultimately, this could cause more problems on the ground. Andrew Heiberger says that is the argument that the police force has been trying to make. However, the courts were not having it and have determined that it is the constitutional right of anyone to film these events in public places.

Ferguson, Missouri is in fact on the brick of potential mayhem as the situation is being carefully monitored each and every day. The case for the ACLU has been won and filming will continue, but beyond that it is difficult to say what will happen next.