Thursday, November 23, 2017

Should we be ashamed to watch a Kevin Spacey movie?


Commentary: Should we be ashamed to watch a Kevin Spacey movie?


 Cary Cooper

MANCHESTER: Enjoying the work of Kevin Spacey the actor doesn’t make you a bad person.
Even now, knowing what you’ve read about him in the media, you are under no moral obligation to switch channel if American Beauty comes on.
Enjoying the actor’s work doesn’t mean you tacitly endorse the alleged behaviour of Kevin Spacey the private citizen.
The moral panic around people watching and appreciating Spacey’s many critically acclaimed dramatic performances isn’t about Kevin Spacey and whether he deserves an audience.
Let’s not forget, he hasn’t been convicted of anything.
This is about us. It’s about how Spacey reflects on us as arbiters of public virtue.
Because in 2017, the people we admire, much like the brands we buy and the ones we boycott, form an integral part of our own identity.
We’ve learned to treat the virtues of our favourite public figures and our favourite brands as if they’re our very own. When our favourite celebrity sends a Tweet attacking Donald Trump or attacking sexism, or – as is quite likely – attacking Trump’s sexism, we retweet.
When Beyoncé Knowles awards someone a scholarship, we all award someone a scholarship. Celebrities invite us to partake in their good deeds – and we gladly accept. The blurb for Beyoncé’s #Beygood initiative is explicit:
We’re all in this together. Each and every one of us can make a difference by giving back. Join Beyoncé and #BEYGOOD.
A solid set of ethics are now part of the artist’s public persona.
Celebrities need only mutter in support of a popular idea and their social capital rises. It rises because we amplify it. We amplify it because it reflects well on us.
Social media has enabled celebrities and brands to communicate a social purpose at a volume that was impossible before. They can reflect back to us what we want to see in ourselves.

They’re allies to our cause. They prove to us that we chose wisely in elevating them with our patronage.
So when they fall short of the standards we demand, as humans often do, it feels like a personal betrayal. We put them in this position of great influence.
ABUSING TRUST
But investing this heavily in the social construct of a celebrity is unhealthy. It’s what drives us to worry about whether or not we’re allowed to still like the actor Kevin Spacey or enjoy his work.
And after Harvey Weinstein, that reflex has evolved into a much more visceral protection of our own identity. This is why we question ourselves so harshly when one of our own favourite celebrity transgresses.
Evolving concurrently with the morals-as-marketing concept was its ethical counterweight. If liking ostensibly good artists made you a good person, then surely it also reflects on you when they transgress. And the bar for outrage is getting ever lower.
YOUR FAVE IS A PROBLEM
Three years ago, six bloggers founded a Tumblr page called Your Fave is Problematic. It’s a meticulously compiled and zealously moderated archive of celebrity transgressions. High-profile individuals accused of micro-aggressions, cultural appropriation and fat-shaming were chronicled daily.
It marked a turning point in what was already a burgeoning call-out culture.
The blog implicated not only the transgressor, but their admirers. The tone – and of course the name of the blog – effectively lays the blame for the celebrity’s transgressions at the door of his or her admirers.
If you see your favourite singer on here, that’s on you. Make better choices.
Of course, if you never liked Kevin Spacey to begin with, it doesn’t matter. Your identity remains intact, enhanced even. It’s as beneficial to a person’s identity when someone they dislike proves them right by being a bad person.
There’s a reason Google searches for Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein costumes spiked the week before Halloween this year. For some of us, it’s all fun and games. When the person never formed part of our own personal brand, their behaviour doesn’t impact us.

SO WHY DO SOME PEOPLE GET A FREE PASS?
Some celebrities have acted so wickedly that there’s no question of whether to disavow them.
But when you consider less open-and-shut cases, it’s hard to know how to proceed.
Yet-to-be proven allegations, denied allegations and even plain old rumours are either cast-iron proof of a person’s lack of virtue, or it proves that the “other side” are making unfounded claims, depending on your existing opinion of that person.
It often comes down to politics and ideology. Right leaning groups barely concealed their schadenfreude when the Democrat-supporting Weinstein was outed as a sexual harasser. Their opposite numbers were quick to point to the current inhabitant of the White House in response.
But when we invest so heavily in the public image of someone we don’t know, we do become blind to how problematic they are. Woody Allen and Roman Polanski have continued working while dogged by allegations of moral equivalence to those made against Spacey.
Michael Fallon recently quit as UK defence secretary for touching Julia Hartley-Brewer’s knee 15 years ago. She’d already forgiven him, but have we?
We’re right to question which people we admire – but the intense process of self-interrogation and policing of those who may consume the work of someone like Kevin Spacey is not healthy.

Cary Cooper is 50th Anniversary Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School. This commentary first appeared in The Conversation. Read the original here.
–CNA

Many ESC fans from all over the world are so very sad because we lost Joy Fleming - one of the best singers ever. 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sings  'Try to remember' especially for Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund at Vita Magica September


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Woman raises more than $250,000 for homeless man






A homeless man outside of Philadelphia has a lot to be thankful for this year: After he helped a New Jersey woman who ran out of gas on an interstate last month, she returned the favor by raising money for her benefactor.
Kate McClure's online effort has ballooned to more than a quarter of a million dollars.
McClure, of Florence, was driving into the City of Brotherly Love and ran out of gas on Interstate 95 at around 11 p.m. "My heart was beating out of my chest," McClure, 27, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I didn’t know what the heck to do."
A man she identified only as "Johnny" came up to her car, told her that it wasn't safe for her to leave her vehicle and went to purchase her gas with his last $20.
"Johnny did not ask me for a dollar, and I couldn't repay him at that moment because I didn’t have any cash, but I have been stopping by his spot for the past few weeks," McClure said in her GoFundMe post, which has now raised more than $250,000 for the homeless man as of Thanksgiving Day.

Image: Kate McClure stands with Johnny, the homeless man that gave her his last 20 dollars to fill her car with gas when it broke down on the side of I-95. Kate is trying to raise money for Johnny so he can get back on his feet.

Kate McClure stands with Johnny, the homeless man that gave her his last 20 dollars to fill her car with gas when it broke down on the side of I-95. Kate is trying to raise money for Johnny so he can get back on his feet. Kate McClure / via GoFundMe
"I repaid him for the gas, gave him a jacket, gloves, a hat, and warm socks, and I give him a few dollars every time I see him,” McClure wrote.
McClure only aimed to raise $10,000 initially to help her rescuer find an apartment, a vehicle and four to six months of expenses. But her fundraising has now gone well beyond that goal.
For the holiday weekend, McClure was able to put Johnny in a hotel and take him shopping for some essentials — but the possibilities do not stop there for the once homeless man.
According to McClure’s posts, Johnny was in the Marine Corps and had been a firefighter and paramedic before becoming homeless. McClure did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
"This changes my life right there," Johnny said in a video posted to the GoFundMe page after only $1,700 had been raised.
"I'm not gonna sleep," he added later, when told he could get a room for two months in Philadelphia with that money.
The fundraising page was taken down for a time at Johnny's request when it had raised more than $100,000, but McClure said in a subsequent post that she restarted it because interest had not abated.
McClure wrote that Johnny has said that he is more than happy with the amount that has been raised and doesn't "want to seem like he is taking advantage," so he plans to donate the rest to a good cause.
McClure told the Inquirer that Johnny told her that he hopes to get a job at an Amazon warehouse in Robbinsville, New Jersey.
According to McClure, Johnny will announce the donation at a later time. 




Donald Trump and Happy Thanksgiving 2017



Happy Thanksgiving 2017: Donald Trump wishes USA happy holidays - ‘make America great

DONALD Trump today wished the people of USA a Happy Thanksgiving as he called on his government to 'Make America Great Again'.





Donald Trump wishes people of USA a Happy Thanksgiving





The US president took to Twitter this morning to wish the American people happy holidays.
He expressed his gratutude to the armed forces in a live video teleconference and focused on those serving overseas.
HE spoke to sodiers in Afghanistan, Iraq and in Turkey via a conference call from his privade Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
He repeatedly called the soldiers "very very special people"
Writing on Twitter earlier he said: "HAPPY THANKSGIVING, your Country is starting to do really well. Jobs coming back, highest Stock Market EVER, Military getting really strong, we will build the WALL, V.A. taking care of our Vets, great Supreme Court Justice, RECORD CUT IN REGS, lowest unemployment in 17 years....!
 
Happy Thanksgiving 2017: Donald Trump wishes the troops happy holidays 
AP
Happy Thanksgiving 2017: Donald Trump wishes the troops happy holidays
 
Happy Thanksgiving 2017: Donald Trump on a conference call 
AFP
Happy Thanksgiving 2017: Donald Trump on a conference call
 

"MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

During the conference call he said: "It is an honor to speak with you all and give God thanks for the blessing of freedom and for the heroes who have this tremendous courage to defend us."
He added: "We totally support you, in fact we love you,' he told the soldiers.
"This is a Thanksgiving you won't forgot. You're in a very different part of the world than you're used to but boy are you doing a job there and thank God for you.
 
Many ESC fans from all over the world are so very sad because we lost Joy Fleming - one of the best singers ever. 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sings  'Try to remember' especially for Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund at Vita Magica September


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Halfway through Trumps presidency?



Slowik: We may already be about halfway through Trump's presidency

Mueller charges against Manafort, aides mark new phase in Trump, Russia investigation



Daily Southtown


It's been more than a year since the Electoral College picked popular-vote loser Donald John Trump to lead the nation. It's been 10 months since he began his presidency with an easily disprovable lie.
"That was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period," then-White House spokesman Sean Spicer declared, ushering in a new era of alternate reality.
Now, with polls showing Trump's popularity on a par with head lice, it's more fair than ever to wonder, "How's it going to end?"
Will he serve four years, or eight? Will he resign? Will he be impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate?

I think a lot depends on how the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller progresses.
They don't spend a lot of time talking about the Mueller investigation in the alternate reality. They prefer to talk about the Clinton Foundation and uranium. I think eventually reality will catch up with them.
I noticed an uptick in reader comments and sensed an air of desperation earlier this month when the Mueller investigation produced its first charges.

"Not everyone buys into those left wing views you try to pass off as journalism," a reader said via email last week. "I am sure if you had your way the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville would be replaced by a bronze one of Jane Fonda sitting on an anti-aircraft gun during her traitorous visit to Hanoi."

I'll give the reader points for creativity. But the charges against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and others seem to have vaulted some supporters to a new level of extreme nationalism.
Maybe the resounding Democratic victories in Virginia and elsewhere this month triggered a new sense of panic. Some are worried that a blue wave of Democratic victors will sweep Republicans from their House and Senate majorities when voters decide the midterm elections next year.
Perhaps, the indefensible creepiness of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore prompted the latest surge in the ferocious tenor of political rhetoric. It used to be people of both parties could unite in condemning child molestation.
It's now normal to publicly say an alleged sexual predator is preferable to a liberal.
Ah, but lechery appears to inflict damage upon both parties. It remains to be seen whether harassment claims involving Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., will equal the alleged depravity of Moore in terms of political harm.
All I can say with certainty is that Trump's presidency will end at some point. The question is how.
I asked people to vote in a Twitter poll on the question. I could offer up to four options. My poll received 10 votes. One person voted that Trump would serve eight years.
I agree that's the least likely scenario. Trump's bullying and vindictive personality are tiresome. In the great American experiment of democracy, people yearn to try new approaches. They gave a whirl to a TV celebrity with far more experience in bankruptcy court than the political arena. A re-election in 2020 is possible, but I think it's a long shot.
Two respondents believed Trump would serve four years. A bunch of variables could affect this outcome. He could keep the base energized with "the wall" and stoke nationalist sentiments with talk of "America First." He could earn the support of conservatives with judicial appointments and tax cuts for the rich. Anything's possible.
Three people voted that Trump would be impeached. If Democrats flip the House in 2018, impeachment proceedings seem more likely. A conviction by the Senate would be far less certain, since it would require a two-thirds majority.
Four people said Trump would resign. It's an unscientific poll with a tiny sampling, but it says something. When asked for opinions about how Trump's presidency would end, this was the most popular response.
I think it's valid to compare Trump to Richard Nixon, the only man who resigned from the U.S. presidency. In 1972, Republicans orchestrated the Watergate burglary to steal campaign information from Democrats.

In 2016, representatives of the Trump campaign corresponded with Wikileaks regarding emails stolen from the Democratic campaign by Russians.
After 44 years the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.
I believe Mueller is methodically conducting a thorough investigation into Trump's global business empire. Numerous press accounts have traced connections between riches pilfered from Russian enterprises by oligarchs and allegedly laundered through real estate around the world.
There are nagging questions about why Trump refuses to make public his tax returns, along with a host of concerns about potential conflicts between his business dealings and his public service as president.
Trump associates have a suspicious track record of denying contacts with Russians, then having to clarify when evidence contradicts their earlier denials. Then there's Trump's odd practice of praising Russian President Vladimir Putin when he's quick to pick fights with Gold Star families, members of Congress and professional athletes.
We've learned a lot in the year since the election about how Russians bought ads on Facebook and pushed fake news on social media to damage Hillary Clinton's candidacy.
Republicans in Congress seem to fear that acknowledging the truth about Russian interference in our election would delegitimize the presidency of their party's leader.
Their strategy is to keep the base outraged about the opposition and distracted with talk of anything but Russia. The peddlers of the alternate reality try to muddy the waters and confuse people who try to make sense of complicated issues.
Ah, but as Mueller continues his work it will become increasingly difficult to keep up the charade.
Veteran journalist Bill Moyers provided some clarity in a piece published on his website Tuesday. He asked attorney Steven Harper what's the most important thing for people to know today about the Trump/Russia investigation.

"Everything the Trump campaign told you about the connections between Trump and Russia was a lie," Harper replied.
Mueller's investigation will reveal whether Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey as FBI director, he added. He talked about the "insidious" willingness of the congressional GOP to "be complicit in all of this."
It's that simple. How long Trump serves depends in large part on the findings of Mueller's investigation. Congress can influence the outcome, but it depends which party is in charge after next year's midterm elections.
Who knows? We may already be about halfway through Trump's presidency.

Many ESC fans from all over the world are so very sad because we lost Joy Fleming - one of the best singers ever. 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sings  'Try to remember' especially for Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund at Vita Magica September


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Angela Merkel's German coalition crisis

Angela Merkel's German coalition crisis greatly exaggerated

There has been a lot of talk about German democracy in crisis. But the government keeps ticking along, and politicians across nearly the whole spectrum say the situation is hardly as dire as some are making it out to be.

Deutschland Recycling der Bundestagswahlplakate 2017 (picture-alliance/dpa/U. Baumgarten)

Politicians don't get more veteran than the president of the Bundestag, 75-year-old Wolfgang Schäuble. So it's interesting to recall what he told the German parliament on Tuesday in the wake of the breakdown in talks to form a new government coalition.
"Dear colleagues we have an extraordinary situation," the elder statesman said. "It's a test, but it's not a crisis of state."
Angela Merkel may have failed for the moment to pave the way for a new German government. But that doesn't mean that Germany is without a government. On the contrary, Merkel continues to govern from the Chancellor's Office just as she's done for the past 12 years.
Officially Merkel is now a caretaker chancellor leading a caretaker government. But the German constitution gives the current government the same powers and duties as one sanctioned by an election. There is also no time limit. The same government cabinet members who have led Germany for the past four years will continue in their posts until a new government has been formed and they can be replaced.

Uncertainty as opportunity for democracy

Christian Lindner, FDP (Getty Images/S. Gallup)

The FDP precipitated the crisis talks when they withdrew from coalition negotiations on Sunday
The situation may be uncertain, but many parliamentarians — including those from the center-right, pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), which scuppered the coalition talks last weekend — think that the opacity of the current situation opens up new possibilities.
"The hold of the big establishment parties is loosening somewhat," FDP member of the Bundestag Christoph Hoffmann told DW. "We now have more parties in parliament, and it's more difficult to arrive at a stable coalition. We have to get used to that. But it's a chance for democracy and won't weaken the parliament."
Johannes Kahrs of the left-wing Social Democrats, who together with Merkel's conservatives formed the grand coalition that still runs Germany, seconds that sentiment.
"We have a working government," Kahrs told DW. "We have a budget. We also have a debate right now about what to do with the results of the national election. But that should be part of any democracy."

SPD-politician Johannes Kahrs: SPD should consider all options

No fundamentally new policy directions 

Practically speaking, the only thing the caretaker government isn't able to do is make decisions that would involve major changes in policy. Two major examples from Germany's recent past, for instance, the end of compulsory military service and the phase-out of nuclear power, would be impossible right now.
The constraints of a caretaker government became evident at the COP23 Climate Conference in Bonn last week. There more than 20 countries declared that they wanted to phase out coal as a source of power. German Environment Minister Barbara Hendrix would have loved to join them, but had to defer, saying that she didn't want to preempt the next government's policies.
There's nothing in the German constitution that mandates this, but it is governmental practice.

The Climate Conference COP23 in Bonn World Conference Center (DW/M. Monti)

Germany's hands were tied to an extent at COP23
If the caretaker government has no choice but to take an important decision, it can still ask for the support of the new Bundestag, where conservatives and Social Democrats still have a healthy majority. Even though the SPD has ruled out a continuation of the grand coalition, Social Democrats would likely support individual measures to help the government of which they are still part.
Other options, examples from other countries
The collapse of the coalition talks has got many people in Germany talking about the possibility of a minority government. Merkel's conservatives could form a coalition with either the Greens or the FDP and then try to secure the missing votes they need ad hoc for individual initiatives.
Denmark, for instance, is quite familiar with such minority governments, although experts doubt that they could function in the long term in Germany.
"A minority government certainly wouldn't be a problem in the short term," says Volker Boehme-Nessler, a professor of law and political science at the University of Oldenburg. "But it's not a long-term solution. It's psychologically difficult to pass new laws with new partners each time."


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte signs the royal decree to form a government while sitting next to King Willem-Alexander (Getty Images/AFP/L. van Lieshout)

The Netherlands took seven months to form a new government
The non-ideological Merkel may seem like the ideal leader to cope with such a situation, although detractors sometimes say the reverse side of her pragmatism is a complete lack of political vision. But even Merkel says she prefers a new election if she can't create a coalition with a stable majority.
Whether a fresh vote will be needed or not, Germany can take heart from the examples of its neighbor the Netherlands. It took the Dutch seven months to agree on their current government after their national election in March. Chaos did not break out there, and there's no reason to expect it would in Germany either.

Many ESC fans from all over the world are so very sad because we lost Joy Fleming - one of the best singers ever. 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sings  'Try to remember' especially for Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund at Vita Magica September


you can join 


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Vita Magica Betty MacDonald event with Wolfgang Hampel, Thomas Bödigheimer and Friedrich von Hoheneichen


Vita Magica 


Betty MacDonald 

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Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I 


Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( Polski)   

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - LinkFang ( German ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Academic ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel -   

Wolfgang Hampel - DBpedia  ( English / German )

Wolfgang Hampel - people check ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Memim ( English )

Vashon Island - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French ) 


Wolfgang Hampel - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle - Wikipedia ( English)

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I  
 

Betty MacDonald fan club groups 

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund