Saturday, October 13, 2012

Naval Vessels Collide Off East Coast

The USS Montpelier and USS San Jacinto collided off the east coast, Saturday afternoon.

Both ships were doing maneuvers out of Norfolk, Virginia, when the incident occurred.

They are each under way, on their own power, headed to port for inspection of the damage.

An investigation is being conducted by the Navy.

The USS San Jacinto is a nineteen year old AEGIS cruiser, whilst the USS Montpelier is an eleven year old nuclear submarine.

1 Dead, 20 Sick From E Coli at North Carolina Fair

A toddler has died from E. Coli contracted at the Cleveland County Fair, in North Carolina.

Twenty other people have fallen ill to the bacteria.

Three other North Carolina counties, and one South Carolina, have
joined in the investigation, due to people from the counties being among the sick.

No specific source for the outbreak has yet been determined, but all who became sick visited between September 26 and October 7.

E. Coli is found in animal waste product, it can then be contracted by people who come into contact with it and then touch their mouth.

The fair had worked hard to ensure that the food area was on the opposite side, of the fair, from the animal pens, to avoid any issues there.

Quebec Police Find More Stolen Syrup

Police in Quebec conducted a raid on a warehouse which contained hundreds of barrels of stolen maple syrup.

Sixteen thousand barrels, which is worth thirty million dollars worth, syrup were stolen back in August, from a national strategic reserve warehouse, in Saint Louis de Blandford.

This is the second successful raid that police have carried out, the first found six hundred and sixty barrels, in New Brunswick.

Around fifteen thousand barrels are still missing, and police all over Canada and the northern US are looking into leads.

It is still unclear how the thieves made off with the barrels, and so far, none of them have been caught.

Turkey Continues Military Buildup While Denying Foreign Help

Turkey continues to mass forces near the Syrian border, as the civil war in Syria drags on.

Photos of Turkish tank parks have surfaced, showing that their ready to do more than defend the border against stray shots.

Tensions have only increased between the two countries over the holding of a Syrian plane, flying from Moscow.

On Friday, Turkey told it's planes not to fly over Syria, which Syria responded to, Saturday, by banning Turkish flights from it's airspace.

Russia states that Turkish claims, that it was carrying weapons and ammunition, are outright lies, saying that radar parts were the only cargo with possible military applications.

At the same time Turkey responded to reports that British, French, and US special forces were in country, with denial.

NATO has already confirmed that they will defend Turkey from any hostile Syrian actions.

US troops have been confirmed to be aiding Jordanian troops prepare to defend their border, if necessary, and Defense Secretary Panetta stated that they are aiding Turkey with plans, but not to what degree.

Bullet Fired Into Obama Campaign Office

A single shot was fired into an Obama campaign office, in Denver, Friday night.

No one was injured when a bullet came through a window of the building, near 9th and Acoma.

Workers had the window replaced and the whole mess cleaned up by Saturday afternoon.

Police are seeking anyone who may have seen the act occur.

Indiana Joins Meningitis Cases

Indiana became the twelfth state to be dealing with meningitis, and the sixth to see a death.

Saturday's numbers list one hundred and ninety-eight confirmed cases, with fifteen dead.

As many as fourteen thousand people, in twenty-three states, may have been infected.

So far one person is suing New England Compounding Center, for making the spinal anti inflammation shots, which were contaminated with the fungal meningitis.

Once the outbreak was known of NECC quickly turned in their operation licenses, recalled all of their other products, and assisted investigators in every way possible.

From The Mouth of Matuszak: 2012 VP Debate Analysis

Last night, the Vice Presidential candidates sat down, literally, to debate the issues, and the nonissues, in the one and only VP debate of the 2012 election.

Though polls and pundits on both sides have their opinions on the outcome, it was a much closer debate than the first Obama Romney tete-a-tete. My analysis gives Ryan the win I predicted, but barely. The debate was close. CNN's poll judged the results as Ryan over Biden forty-eight to forty-four. I would call it closer, forty-seven to forty-five, a statistical tie. The edge, at that point, goes to the contender as the incumbent should have automatically polled higher.

One aspect of this debate rings significant. From the beginning, the moderator, Martha Raddatz, seemed to be leading Joey Biden, almost feeding him talking points. In contrast, her questions toward Ryan took a more accusatory tone. Lehrer, in contrast, was more  balanced and professional. Martha unethically used her role as moderator to pontificate her own views on issues rather than sit as an unbiased referee for the competitors. Martha also diverted from the real issues, distracting into issues of religion and abortion. The truth is that the majority of Americans do not see abortion as a key issue for our country. Of course, this is what we have come to expect from the so called Mainstream Media.

Again, one major contributing factor to the debate scoring were demeanor and body language. Obama's looking down and appearing like a scolded child lost the debate for him as much as his inability to justify his poor record. Biden was much less a push over, to the point he came across, instead, as a playground bully. Bullies have no credibility with US Citizens.

Paul Ryan's closing remarks were the best part of the final segment of the debate.

On performance and appearance, Ryan remained calm and collected, even when confronted with remarks and evidence he was apparently not prepared to confront. In contrast, Biden was not prepared. He was angry. He was ill mannered and disrespectful. He was belligerent. He came across looking like a mobster instead of a Vice President. Biden interrupted Ryan between eighty-two and ninety-six times. (Reports from those who counted vary between those numbers). It was as though Joey forgot this was an election debate and thought filibustering was allowed. In the end, Biden complained that Ryan was given more time though the clocks displayed that Joey had over a minute more speaking time.

To recap, Biden nailed Ryan with the "stimulus letters". His opening few answers, though I disagree, were strong. Ryan was not as well prepared, and it showed, though he held his own. Biden's demeanor and composure didn't disappoint, though he didn't throw one of his classic tantrums. Biden tried to argue emotionally , attempting to claim Ryan was lying, but had no facts to support the contrary.

The moderator was less than professional. She used the debate as a platform to demagogue her own political agenda instead of moderating a debate over the issues of the campaign. Her bias was not veiled, but blatant. A better moderator would have been somebody who could have put personal political ideology aside and moderated from an objective, true journalistic point of view. This debate may have been more pertinent if it had been moderated by somebody like Jamie Dupree. If the commission is unable to find an objective moderator, then they should have used two, like Martha and somebody to balance her, like Sean Hannity or Neal Boortz.

There was no knock out. There was no TKO. This fight went all fifteen rounds and to the judges for decision. The decision was split. In the end, though, it wasn't so much that Ryan won. It was more that Biden lost. The final victor was Ryan.

For a more in-depth analysis including a play-by-play breakdown, please read P-G Matuszak's full article at Mental Aikido.

Must See: Five Graves to Cairo (1943)

Billy Wilder directed some of the best movies ever made: Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment, Some Like it Hot. Five Graves to Cairo shows you how he hit the ground running with his second American film, adapting a play and changing the World War I subject to fit the times and the setting to the North African front of World War II.

Franchot Tone plays a British corporal, the delirious sole survivor of a tank crew who wanders into an abandoned Egyptian border hotel. Tone isn't welcomed warmly by Anne Baxter, a French maid who holds a grudge against the British, but she and hotel owner Akim Tamiroff hide Tone when Nazi Field Marshall Rommel (Erich von Stroheim) rolls in with the Afrika Korps and commandeers the hotel.

Seeing it as his duty to get top secret information, Tone pretends to be a spy and tries to find out where German arms are located in the desert on the way to Cairo. Baxter, though sympathetic, remains an unknown quantity since she's only working there to grab her chance to put on some lipstick and "do business" with a German VIP to get her brother out of a Nazi prison camp. Some saw this angle as too obvious a personification of France being willing to prostitute itself for the Germans, but for Wilder it was usually not symbolism but realism to portray basic human interests.

There are some clever, memorable moments, like the tank trundling along creepily through the desert, Rommel introduced with back turned to the camera, the camera’s focus on a flashlight during a fight in the dark, and shadowy noir like shots of Tone's eye peering through lattice, but even better is the acting and tension between the characters.

Franchot Tone (one Joan Crawford's husbands) got the role after Cary Grant declined (reportedly to avoid the heat of the Arizona desert). Tone was a great actor with a bemused and knowing expression and sophistication that had him most often typed as an uppity socialite or playboy. His slick, cerebral, and ironic style has aged well and was perfect for this role that called for a quick and calculating intelligence, a believably upright and duty bound soldier with just the right amounts of reluctance and cynicism.

Anne Baxter, best known for her delightful scheming in All About Eve, is perfectly seething, bitter and ashamed at what she's willing to do for her brother, and proud at what she's willing to do for Tone.

Erich von Stroheim was the extravagant, talented and perfectionist director who chronically went overboard and over budget, once turning in a ten hour first cut and insisting on authentic underwear under period costumes. By the time of Five Graves, he had stopped making movies for about a decade and was enjoying a run as a character actor. Wilder, a huge fan from way back, eagerly sought von Stroheim for Five Graves, and then listened to his idol's ideas on improving every aspect of the film. As Rommel, von Stroheim is delightfully nasty, arrogant, overconfident, and egotistical (even comparing himself to Moses), and Wilder cast him again in Sunset Boulevard.

Five Graves is a tight little thriller where war is reduced to a puzzle on a map, a virtual chess board in a hotel, its pieces a handful of complex people with totally different goals and questionable motivations. It's one of the top classic war movies, and an absolute must see for fans of Billy Wilder and of suspenseful pacing, smart writing, dark wit, and great acting.

See it SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14 at 10:45 PM on TCM.

Find me at the Speakeasy for much more classic entertainment.