Sunday, March 26, 2017

24:Legacy - - it's time to put 24 franchise out to pasture

*****DISCLAIMER:  This post may contain plot details, aka "spoilers"

I stopped watching 24:Legacy after the 5 PM hour episode and finally say it's time to put this great franchise out to pasture.   When 24 debuted after 9/11, it was one of the best shows I have ever watched.   24 starred Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, an ex-military who works for Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) who has 24 hours to save the day from a terrorist attack.  The show was unique for it's real-time format throughout the entire run, not just a single episode like the exquisite cop drama "Homicide:Life on the Street" Subway episode (very gripping and painful to watch for some), a season devoted to one continuous 24 hour period, split screen action and a cliffhanger or surprise moment in the last 3 minutes of each episode.  Characters would be killed off suddenly and most were believable.   Jack Bauer would make some of the most difficult decisions while trying to save his family. (of course he was too late to save his pregnant wife in season 1 - a really sad moment in TV history).  Seasons 1 through 5 were the best, while the 3 remaining seasons were good even though the luster of 24 was wearing off.  Then came a 24 TV movie then 24 Live Another Day which was OK.

Now 24:Legacy, I am writing this off despite the decent starring role of Corey Hawkins as Eric Carter, a civilian who does not work for CTU but gets caught up in a terrorist plot by Bin-Kahlid to use "sleeper cells" in blowing up landmarks in retaliation for an Army strike where Carter and his men killed Bin-Kahlid's men.   Carter gets assistance from CTU while keeping his wife safe in his older brother's house in the "hood" but she gets captured by Bin-Kahlid's men anyway (when it's suddenly a slow process of a scene where two CTU agents come by the safe house to pick up Nichole, you know something is gonna happen - another predictable outcome).   The show started strong, but I see the plot becomes laughable when Carter can "easily steal" $4 million from a police precinct, and get away with it so quick when CTU intervenes and and tells the precinct commander to let Carter go.   Or when his buddy can get rid of his beard in less than 5 minutes by using a scissors while inside a stolen van.  Then the plot to blow up the George Washington Bridge by a rigged truck driven by a sleeper cell was really another gasser - there is NO guard post on that bridge - - it's Port Authority Police, not Port Police on the patch and - - if you look closely, you will see a sign on what appears to be on a PA roadway, exit 293 I think.  There are no exits that high a number in NJ.   Yea time for some really traffic problems in NJ.   The ratings for 24:Legacy are suffering - - from 17 million viewer who stayed for the show's debut after Super Bowl LI to 3 million viewers on last Monday's episode.     I am also disappointed at the shows lack of suspense and character development.  The only characters I care about are Cory Hawkins and Anna Diop, who play Eric and Nichole Carter, respectively as well as Jimmy Smits who plays Senator John Donovan.   Everyone else is "going through the motions" once again is another predictable plot.

Coming soon:  The 10 best "24" scenes.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Breitbart News support of the "new" KKK

I am seriously bothered by the conservative news blog Breitbart News - - they are supporting the new KKK.

I would like to say otherwise - - noting that I am impartial when it comes to politics.  I have criticized former President Obama for his dissing of Chris Mintz - and recently gave some thought about why Obama did nothing to the city of Detroit in his 8 years in office (I didn't post anything on this) - just as much as I have gone against President Trump, not for his policies but for his ignorance against racism.    But while there are good and bad conservative news sources, from the real Fox News to the bad and fake American News, it's Breitbart News which is harvesting and defending a terrorist group as the KKK.  You can give thanks to former Breitbart head and current White House Chief Strategist  Steven Bannon who has taken a far radical right approach than the late founder, Andrew Breitbart.   When Andrew Breitbart founded his website, he wanted to ensure that conservatives had a voice, even if you disagreed with them - - they were just conservative right.  After Breitbart passed away, Bannon took over Breitbart News as CEO and proclaimed the "alt-right" movement - - a splinter group which embraces ultra-conservative views:  anti-feminism (hatred against women), anti-Semitic (that's clear and to the point, guess the USA lost our country's biggest ally, Israel.) and anti-globalism (this helps the Koch brothers, who have never gave a dime to any organization helping to combat poverty).  In an interview with the Wall Street Journal (and posted on Breitbart) shortly after President Trump's 2016 election win, Bannon  "... makes clear he has zero tolerance for such views (of racism and anti-semitism. " even though he acknowledges that the alt-right has some racist and anti-semitic tones.  Thanks for trying to be a hypocrite, Mr. Bannon.  If you embrace the alt-right, then you embrace racism and anti-semitism, no matter how small the disease is.  

1.  On December 1, 2016 - - Breitbart posted a story on the KKK embracing Trump but hinted that resurgence is not likely to happen.  In this story, a comparison of the KKK is made.

  • Far from the killings or the burning crosses that made the Klan’s grim reputation, leafleting is now the Klan’s chief activity in 14 states and “gives them an extensive geographical reach,” said Carla Hill, an investigative researcher with the Center on Extremism of the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish group dedicated to fighting intolerance.
You mean to say that according to Breitbart the KKK is no longer in the league of murdering innocent non-white men, women and children, burning of the cross, and anti-semitism????   In May, an North Carolina group plans a rally and cross burning   In 2014, a former KKK Grand Wizard murdered two people whom he thought they were Jewish - - they were actually Protestant.  Last year, a judge handed down a 30 year sentence to a former KKK member convicted of planning a calculated "death ray" attack on Muslims and other civilians in the NY State Capital region of Albany. 

2. On Feb. 3, Breitbart posted a story about the violent protests at the University of California at Berkeley which violent left wing terrorists shut down a planned speech by former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos (I treat everyone as a terrorist when they cause death and/or destruction to advance a cause.)  In that story is another defense of the KKK which was "forced" to pay $7 million to the mother of a son killed by Klansmen because they had assets compared to the groups responsible for the Berkeley Univ. incident which had no assets for any prospect plaintiff to go after in court.  Imagine the victim's mother reading this disgusting passage.

  • Unlike the KKK, which had a national headquarters that it was forced to hand over to a black woman because of a $7 million civil judgment over the murder of her son, there are no assets to seize, no institutions to shut down, no one financially liable

"Forced to hand over millions" for murdering a child - - that's like backing ISIS,   Sick.

3.  A video and story was posted about black gang members attacking a Klansmen at a KKK rally in South Carolina.   I never condone acts of violence to anyone, however Breitbart labeled the video as "shocking" in the story. In contrast - - another story has a video posted about KKK members stabbing several counter-protesters at a Klan rally in Anaheim, CA - - but not a single word of "shocking" can be found in this article.     Like the 3,000 plus innocent people murdered by the KKK should be "shocking" too - - but Breitbart won't say that word if the shoe is on the other foot.

Here are 17 things you should know about Steven Bannon - - unlucky #13 is no surprise.

Sexism, anti-Semitism and homophobia is common in Breitbart too - - they claim that there should be a cap on women studying science and mathematics.  Of course Bannon hates his own ex-wife -- he was arrested twice for domestic abuse.  In regards to anti-Semitism, this Jewish website has posted 5 things about Stephen Bannon as well.  Israel is our closest ally and friend of the United States.  Breitbart's homophobic views are easily expressed, such as promoting a "dangerous faggot tour" is a common Breitbart story against LGBT.  While I hold my beliefs about homosexuality with respect to religion freedom/expression - and against same-sex marriage - I am truly disgusted about how such an event which is truly anti-LGBT would be promoted by Breitbart.  Such a comment at work would be grounds for a Federal EEO discrimination lawsuit by the victim(s) and immediate termination by the instigator, like this below by Stephen Bannon.

  • “That’s one of the unintended consequences of the women’s liberation movement – that, in fact, the women that would lead this country would be feminine, they would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. "They wouldn't be a bunch of dykes"   - 

Let's make one thing clear - - not supporting LGBT is not homophobic - - you can respect them while they should respect you and treat them equally - - be at work or at home.   But name calling like that is vile, disgusting, and definitely homophobic.

There are many other conservative news sites such as Fox News, Mother Jones and NewsMax which can adhere to the right-wing core values without being racists.   For me, I'd rather read a biased right-wing or equally biased leftist news site over a racist one, I know what I will be getting may be good for our country.

Friday, March 17, 2017

More failed announcements on D/F and A/C weekend diversions

On the last weekends of the D/F reroutes on Feb 24-26 - I would think conductors on other routes would do better than Week 1 from Feb 10-13,   nope - - not much better on Week 3.  And on one of the last weekends of the A/C Cranberry Tube diversions, most conductors on the 2/3 lines were still announcing the A/C transfers at Fulton and Park Place

Starting with the D and F diversions, I went to work on Sunday night, Feb 26 - - first up is the E train at 7th Ave which is a transfer point to the D train - - as in my prior observations, I selected certain stations which have a transfer to a line which is not running and no other alternative service is available or the alternative service would significantly add more time than the existing service where the wrong announcement took place.   In the case of the E observations at 7th Ave and 53rd st station, the customer coming off the E train would be forced to wait for the next E train since there is no D service.  At least the conductors on the E should say something about no D service at 7th Ave, only 2 out of 4 passed - - both were World Trade Center-bound (southbound) trains.  All times are PM

6:40 - - Northbound, car #9866 - - Failed
6:49 - - Southbound, car #9554 - - Passed
7:02 - - Northbound, car #9404 - - Failed
7:16 - - Southbound, car #9910 - - Passed

Next up was the 7 train at 5th Ave again, a transfer only to the D and F through the passage, only one out of 5 passed

7:36 - - Northbound, car #7545 - - Failed
7:48 - - Southbound, car #7924 - - Failed
7:51 - - Northbound, car #7234 - - Failed
7:55 - - Southbound, car #7269 - - Passed
8:07 - - Northbound, car #7462 - - Failed

Finally, the 4/6 at Bleecker Street - - Broadway/Lafayette for the D and F (4 trains ran local to Brooklyn Bridge).  While there were only 3 observations, they all failed.

8:21 - - Southbound 6, car #2100 - - Failed, didn't say anything
8:34 - - Northbound 6, car #7628 - - Failed
8:47 - - Southbound 4, car #1135 - - Failed

And why continue to suggest the D for service between Manhattan and Brooklyn on the 4 line - - the D does not connect directly with the 4 because it is running on the A and C lines -- - it should have been the F between Manhattan and Brooklyn because you can transfer between the 4 and F at Canal St and again at Atlantic Ave for the 3 train.

Other thing to note, on an Northbound F train, 9:20 PM car #9517, the condctor manually announced 1 at Times Square and 5 at Union Square - - neither one was running at that time - - no service on the 1 line and 5 trains did not operate south of 42nd Street-Grand Centra;.

On March 11 there was no A/C and 4/5 service at Fulton St, - - of the observations along the 2 and 3 lines at Fulton, only 3 out of 11 passed.  After a year and half of the A/C closures at Fulton and the start of the 4/5 closures, you would think conductors would learn by now - - most haven't.  All times are PM.

9:00 - - Southbound 2, #6345 - - failed
9:05 - - Northbound 2, #6520 - - failed
9:08 - - Southbound 2, #6485 - - failed
9:18 - - Northbound 2, #6631 - - failed
9:22 - - Southbound 3, #1480 - - passed
9:37 - - Northbound 3, #1625 - - failed
9:43 - - Southbound 2, #6630 - - failed
9:47 - - Northbound 2, #6327 - - failed
9:50 - - Southbound 3, #1316 - - passed
9:56 - - Northbound 3, #1461 - - failed (no announcement)
10:02 - Southbound 2, #6560 - - failed
10:10 - Southbound 3, #1375 - - passed

So, when will NYCT ever fix this?

Monday, March 13, 2017

MTA keeps customers in the dark on Winter Storm Stella, as usual

Tonight, the n'oreaster Stella is poised to batter the New York Metropolitan area with 12-20 inches of snow.   The MTA and NYC Transit was preparing for this storm - - and with that, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the suspension of all above ground NYC subway service starting at 4 AM, similar to a service plan last year, this time with the addition of Q service running between Canal Street (upper level) and 96th Street/2nd Ave.  You can view the special map here.  MTA New York City Transit really does an outstanding job of keeping as much subway service running as possible but fail (once again) in informing customers about service changes tonight in preparation for the mandatory 4 AM partial shutdown.  In fact, it's the customers who are telling NYCT about the service changes taking place after this evening's rush hour.

Last year, I posted my real and undiluted guide to the winter service changes - - same deal tonight with B and W line suspensions - - as well as most express service running on the local track.   And only half of this is on the MTA website.  The only service changes they posted are the D/N local in Brooklyn, and the N/Q local in Manhattan.  Everything else they posted was 3-4 hours late or was after a customer tweeted to NYCT's Twitter account about why the W was not running or the 4/5 were running local in Manhattan.

Here's what they didn't post - - no B service after 7:30 PM.  In fact, I checked TripPlanner+ - - it showed two B trains at 10 PM.  And I called the Travel Information Center at 9:30 PM, asking if the B was running, they said yes the B is still running - - here are the snapshots showing nothing anywhere on the MTA website:

Poster at 145th Street, Lower level B/D platform

Snapshot showing D and N service changes but no B service change posted

Trip Planner result showing B trains arriving at West 4th Street  after 100 PM, nearly 3 hours after the start of the B suspension

And the customers took to Twitter asking NYCT why their train was not running.  Nothing was ever posted on  the MTA website on the last two shown and the W suspension was posted after Josh Abrams complained about no W service.   And it;s NYCT who should be telling the customers about these service changes, not the other way around.

The 2/3/4/5 trains were running local in Manhattan at 8 PM - - NYCT didn't post anything until 11:50 PM, nearly 4 hours later.  That's not "up-to-the-minute service updates through the service status box on the alert home page." Frankly, that is a complete lie by the MTA.

MTA Homepage as of 11:34 PM, showing almost nothing on 2/3/4/5/A//E/F service changes

So here is a checklist on what they posted and missed.

A local in Brooklyn and Manhattan after 8 PM - - nothing
B suspension - - nothing
D local in Brooklyn and Manhattan - - posted on time for Brooklyn service change, 3 hours later for West 4th-34th Street, nothing on 59-145.
E/F local in Queens after 8 PM - - nothing
N/Q local in Queens, N local in Brooklyn - - posted on time for both
W suspension - - after someone tweeted it - 1 hour late
2/3 local in Manhattan - - 3 hours late
4/5 local in Manhattan - - 3 hours late
4 local in Brooklyn  - - nothing

UPDATE:  As of this afternoon, they posted everything this morning related to an all underground service plan - - additionally, northbound 1 train service now terminates at 191 Street instead of 168....why was it difficult to post the suspension of B service and other changes last night?

MTA New York City Transit, you failed again in informing customers.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The mistake of firing Preet Bahara

Wall Street criminals, embezzlers and crooked politicians (Democrats and Republicans alike) can now sleep better thanks to President Trump and U.S. Attorney General Sessions backstabbing against the greatest prosecutor in U.S. criminal justice history: Preet Bahara,  U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY State.  Bahara's reputation as a crime busting prosecutor makes the great cop, Eliot Ness like an shy school boy.  He has prosecuted hundreds of criminal cases, won billion dollar settlements against the largest world banks for fraud, won criminal convictions against two of the top Al Qaeda terrorists, two powerful politicians in NY State, several contractors involved in that infamous CityTine overtime fraud scandal, and has been honored in Time Magazine.  Bahara represents the American Dream, an immigrant from India who graduated from Harvard and Columbia Law school, and rose up the ranks in criminal law as a hungry prosecutor to be appointed by President Obama as U.S. Attorney General.  After President Trump's election, he personally arranged a meeting with Bahara at his Trump Tower residence, asking Bahara to remain as AG.  Bahara accepted Trump's offer and continued to work, until last Friday when Sessions requested the resignations of the remaining 46 AG's who were Obama appointees.  Since Bahara was one of the 46 asked to resign, he refused and subsequently was fired, according to a tweet from Bahara's newly created personal Twitter account.  It was also confirmed that President Trump did try calling Bahara to "thank him for his service", indicating that his services to the incoming administration were no longer needed.  The firing put a sour taste on Bahara's mouth, comparing it to NY State Gov. Andrew Cuomo's formation then sudden disbanding of the Moreland Commission.  

We know it's customary for incoming Presidents to purge any of the predecessor's "fingerprints", including replacing all attorney generals.  However the timing of this matter in relation to Trump's request to keep Bahara, then Sessions firing him 3 months later while there are important criminal investigations against aides to NY State Andrew Cuomo as well as NYC Mayor De Blasio facing multiple criminal investigations is disgraceful at worst for the American public.  Bahara didn't care if you were Republican or Democrat, he went after anyone with greased hands, if you were a crook, Bahara's got your jail.  Hey Trump, Bahara even got convictions of at least one Mexican cartel, with a 30 year sentence.

But back to the firing...why?   It's too soon to tell as I will not post why because it's currently speculation.  But the right wing conservatives are blaming liberals, by claiming  crocodile tears over Bahara's firing.  Former Gov. Mike Huckabee warned that holdovers from a prior administration will "probably gonna sabotage the administration".   That is not the issue - - the issue is whether the move by Trump in keeping Bahara then firing him 4 months later smells of corruption and scandal - - in the Trump Administration.  Even after the firing of Bahara, it won't compromise his ongoing cases as they are usually handled by Assistant District Attorneys.  AG Session's replacement will not be anywhere near Bahara's league - - it's a tough act to follow when you amass over 100 plus convictions, taking down one of the most powerful politicians in NY State (former NY State Assembly leader Sheldon Silver, he currently remains free on bail) and refuses in submitting to partisan politics, the U.S. Government has lost a great leader in criminal justice.  

Beware Trump and Sessions - - that Bahara firing may bite you guys back....hard.