Thursday, January 18, 2018

Nina Agdal Takes It Off (VIDEO)

Actually, Ms. Nina's taken a hiatus from modeling, apparently after being fat- and figure-shamed by a magazine that declined to put her on the cover after a major photo shoot.

She's alright by me, though, and I hope she's doing better.

What a fabulous woman!

At Sports Illustrated Swimsuit:

L.A. Times Publisher Ross Levinsohn Accused of Sexual Improprieties

Well, I've been reading the Los Angeles Times for over thirty years, almost on a daily basis. I had a subscription to the paper when I lived in both Fresno and Santa Barbara, and of course since 2,000 and working at Long Beach City College. Reading the paper becomes just part of your life. I know it's a left-wing paper, but you fight the ideological culture war with and against the media you have. And it's war, that's for sure.

In any case, sometimes I wonder how much longer LAT's going to hold out as a viable concern. There's a unionization effort going on right now, with the results of the vote to unionize going public tomorrow. And according to Business Insider, the Times is looking to go with some sort of "contributor" publishing model, offering the pages of the paper (at least online, I guess) as a platform for writers and commentators.

On top of all that the new publisher, Ross Levinsohn, is now the subject of sexual harassment allegations. That can't be good, man.

At NPR (where else?), "Accusations of 'Frat House' Behavior Trail 'LA Times' Publisher's Career" (via Memeorandum):

The Los Angeles Times has given prominent coverage to recent revelations of sexual harassment of women by prominent men, particularly in entertainment and media. Yet a review by NPR finds that the newspaper's own CEO and publisher, Ross Levinsohn, has been a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits and that his conduct in work settings over the past two decades has been called into question repeatedly by female colleagues.

This story is based on a review of court documents, financial filings and fresh interviews with 26 former colleagues and associates. Taken in concert, they suggest a pattern of questionable behavior and questionable decisions on the job. The portrait that repeatedly emerges is one of a frat-boy executive, catapulting ever higher, even as he creates corporate climates that alienated some of the people who worked for and with him.

Among the accusations:

— Levinsohn was sued in separate sexual harassment lawsuits as an executive at two different corporations. By his own sworn testimony, Levinsohn admitted to rating the relative "hotness" of his female colleagues in office banter as a vice president at a digital media company. He also testified that he speculated about whether a woman who worked for him there was a stripper on the side.

— Two witnesses say they were shocked to see Levinsohn aggressively kissing and pressing himself against a woman at a glitzy music industry dinner in plain view of his subordinates and his clients. Levinsohn was married at the time.

— Levinsohn once told an executive for the Hollywood Reporter he would not stay at the publication's lunch honoring the entertainment business' most influential fashion stylists because he would have to be surrounded by gays — using a vulgar epithet for them, according to the executive.

Almost all people interviewed declined to be quoted by name, citing concerns for their careers given Levinsohn's current perch atop the Los Angeles Times. It is one of the most important newspapers in the country and it is the most influential media organization in California, the capital to the world's entertainment industry. His behavior, as described by those who worked with him, raises questions about how effectively he can lead the paper as it covers the #MeToo movement and such widespread harassment revelations.

Levinsohn did not respond on the record to detailed questions emailed to him and a Times spokeswoman setting out the chief allegations raised in this story. In a telephone call he initiated Wednesday with NPR's CEO, Jarl Mohn, Levinsohn called those allegations "lies" and said he would retain legal counsel if he felt NPR had disparaged him. NPR sent detailed questions to Tronc's chief executive and public affairs staffers early Wednesday morning. The crisis management strategist Charles Sipkins issued a statement on Tronc's behalf Thursday afternoon saying Levinsohn had been placed under investigation by the corporation after the story was posted.

"This week, we became aware of allegations that Ross Levinsohn acted inappropriately. We are immediately launching an investigation so that we have a better understanding of what's occurred," the statement read. "At Tronc, we expect all employees to act in a way that supports a culture of diversity and inclusion. We will take appropriate action to address any behavior that falls short of these expectations."

Sipkins said Tronc had not suspended Levinsohn...
Threatening legal action didn't seem to help some of the earlier targets of the #MeToo recrimination ("reckoning") campaign, so I doubt it's going to help this guy.

Whatever. (*Shrugs.*)

More at the link.

Daniel Day-Lewis Opens-Up About Retirement

I watched "The Last of the Mohicans" over the weekend, and then "Lincoln" was on the other night, so I got to thinking about Daniel Day-Lewis: Why'd he retire? So then I'm out with my wife yesterday at the Spectrum shopping center in Irvine, and she stepped into a hair salon for a consultation about getting a perm. While waiting, I started reading this article about Day-Lewis at W Magazine. Not sure if I'll see his latest --- and last --- movie, "Phantom Thread," which seems a bit too artsy, even for me.

In any case, at W, "Exclusive: Daniel Day-Lewis Opens Up About Giving Up Acting After Phantom Thread":

Day-Lewis has not seen Phantom Thread. He has viewed many of his other films, but has no plans to see this one. Earlier this summer, he announced through a written statement that he would not continue acting. He only discussed this decision with Rebecca—and has not spoken publicly about his retirement until now. In the past, he always took extended breaks between films—blue periods and times of decompression that prompted Jim Sheridan, the director of My Left Foot and two other Day-Lewis films, to remark that “Daniel hates acting.” But after a break, he would be seduced anew by a fascinating character, a compelling story, an exciting director. “What has taken over in the past is an illusion of inevitability,” Day-Lewis said. “I’ll think, Is there no way to avoid this? In the case of Phantom Thread, when we started I had no curiosity about the fashion world. I didn’t want to be drawn into it. Even now, fashion itself doesn’t really interest me. In the beginning, we didn’t know what profession the protagonist would have. We chose fashion and then realized, What the hell have we let ourselves into? And then the fashion world got its hooks into me.”

The fashion world, in turn, was obsessed with the film, which was cloaked in secrecy. At first, Phantom Thread was rumored to be about the couturier Charles James, a great innovator whose work was recently celebrated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, who ended life destitute and virtually unknown, living in the Chelsea Hotel. Anderson and Day-Lewis were not interested in telling that story. ­Phantom Thread is one of the most beguiling portrayals of fashion in the history of film, but in the end, it’s not a film about fashion.

Day-Lewis was uncharacteristically inarticulate when speaking about the exact reasons why he found Reynolds Woodcock so overwhelming. Perhaps, I suggested, it was a combination of being back in his homeland and playing an exacting artist like his father. He politely brushed my theories aside. “There are spells in these films that you can’t account for,” he said. “Paul and I spoke a lot about curses—the idea of a curse on a family, what that might be like. A kind of malady. And it’s not that I felt there was a curse attached to this film, other than the responsibility of a creative life, which is both a curse and a blessing. You can never separate them until the day you die. It’s the thing that feeds you and eats away at you; gives you life and is killing you at the same time.”

Day-Lewis paused. I wondered why a man who is widely acknowledged as the greatest actor of his generation, who has won three ­Academy Awards for best actor and is magical onscreen, would want to walk away from his profession. “I haven’t figured it out,” he said. “But it’s settled on me, and it’s just there. Not wanting to see the film is connected to the decision I’ve made to stop working as an actor. But it’s not why the sadness came to stay. That happened during the telling of the story, and I don’t really know why.” He paused again. “One of my sons is interested in musical composition, so I showed him the film Tous Les Matins du Monde, about the French composer Sainte-Colombe. My son was deeply struck by the sobriety that it took to create that work, Sainte-Colombe’s refusal to accept less than what was extraordinary from himself or anyone else. I dread to use the overused word ‘artist,’ but there’s something of the responsibility of the artist that hung over me. I need to believe in the value of what I’m doing. The work can seem vital. Irresistible, even. And if an audience believes it, that should be good enough for me. But, lately, it isn’t.”

Day-Lewis has often wanted to quit after emerging from a character. This time, by making a public announcement of his retirement, he sought to make the decision binding. “I knew it was uncharacteristic to put out a statement,” he continued. “But I did want to draw a line. I didn’t want to get sucked back into another project. All my life, I’ve mouthed off about how I should stop acting, and I don’t know why it was different this time, but the impulse to quit took root in me, and that became a compulsion. It was something I had to do.”

Interestingly, Day-Lewis speaks about the need to retire in the same manner he speaks about the need to take on a character: with a kind of intensity that takes over his entire being. And, as with acting, he is still uncertain of his feelings. “Do I feel better?” he asked, anticipating my question. “Not yet. I have great sadness. And that’s the right way to feel. How strange would it be if this was just a gleeful step into a brand-new life. I’ve been interested in acting since I was 12 years old, and back then, everything other than the theater—that box of light—was cast in shadow. When I began, it was a question of salvation. Now, I want to explore the world in a different way.”

Although there have been rumors that Day-Lewis is going to become a fashion designer, he laughed when I suggested that career. “Who knows?” he said mischievously. “I won’t know which way to go for a while. But I’m not going to stay idle. I don’t fear the stony silence.” He has always had a variety of passions: He once wrote a comedy script with Rebecca; he paints well; he makes furniture; and he is a fan of MotoGP, the competitive motorcycle tournament. But he also has a deep love of film, and it is hard to imagine that he will not continue to contribute to movies in some way.

“They will not let you go quietly,” I said to him. And Day-Lewis smiled. “Hmmm,” he said. “They will have to.”
Keep reading.

False Twitter Memes About Homeless Encampment Along the Santa Ana River Bike Trail

I've written about the O.C.'s homeless problem a few times now, and it's not because of "left-wing socialism," as at least a couple of commenters have argued on Twitter. There's a viral video of the homeless camp along the bike trail near Anaheim Stadium, and some tweeps are claiming that these are migrant camps with "refugees." That's just not the case. These are regular urban homeless encampments, and from what I've learned you've got the full range of people residing in them. The most common cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing. And usually the homeless are those with severe mental illness, people who normally refuse offers of temporary shelter (because they'll lose their freedom and be told what to do and how to live).

Unfortunately, in our tribal political era, fake memes aren't the exclusive domain of your political enemies. Sometimes people on your own side push false narratives, pernicious narratives. And this bothers me.

This person below, Ryan Saavedra, supposedly a "reporter" at the Daily Wire, did not respond to my tweet nor remove or make corrections to his comments.

Oh well. I'm a positivist conservative. I still believe in the truth. Truth should win out. In the end, conservatives will win when truth wins, so I'm sticking with it.

Freezing Weather is Creating Energy Shortages in the Northeast

I just saw this at Watts Up With That?, "Frigid cold is why we need dependable energy."

Which reminded me of the East Coast natural gas shortages causing problems this last few weeks, not the least of which some folks couldn't heat their homes. Thanks radical left-wing anti-human environmental psychos!

At the Hartford Courant, "Cold Wave Puts Pressure On Energy Suppliers":
Energy industry officials have for years warned that inadequate pipeline capacity limits the amount of natural gas coming into New England during peak demand periods like this one. Several multi-billion-dollar proposals for new pipelines have been blocked or withdrawn in the last two years as a result of financing issues and opposition from environmental and consumer groups.

Herb said the current cold spell’s inadequate gas supply problems have triggered increased demands for heating oil.

“We’ve absolutely seen huge [institutional and industrial] users switching to fuel oil,” Herb said. He said big schools like the University of Connecticut, Yale University and Fairfield University, as well as a number of big industrial plants, are now using oil to power their heating systems.

Steve Sack, of Sack Energy, a major Connecticut fuel oil wholesaler, said those major users are now looking to purchase fuel oil on the spot market.

In some areas of the northeast, including portions of Pennsylvania and New York, major demand for fuel oil is creating shortage worries. But wholesalers and retail home heating oil suppliers say Connecticut isn’t experiencing the same problems.

The primary reason for Connecticut’s comfortable supply situation is that most of this state’s fuel oil comes into New Haven by barge and then is pumped up through the Buckeye pipeline to major portions of Connecticut. That avoids the kind of problems New York is having getting oil barges up the ice-choked Hudson River, Herb said.

“Right now, we’re having no issues with supply,” Sack said. He said areas of Connecticut that aren’t along the pipeline that runs from New Haven up through Springfield, Mass., are being supplied by tractor trailer trucks from the port or terminals along the pipeline.

Sack said wholesale fuel oil prices at New York’s harbor are now running at about $2.06 per gallon, which are “down a little bit right now” from earlier price levels.

Herb said his office is constantly monitoring the supply situation. He said he recently got a call from U.S. Department of Energy officials asking if the federal regional petroleum reserve should be released to help the energy situation.

“We told them no. … We did not need that,” Herb said.

Heating oil company drivers are being pushed to the max to keep getting fuel deliveries to residential customers who need them.

Feminism Has Become an 'Unapologetic Anti-Male Hate Movement'

At the Other McCain, "‘Maybe as an Old Chick I Don’t Get it’":
Back in the day, women knew men wanted sex, but they were cool with it because women wanted sex, too. It may be difficult for young feminists to believe, but there used to be women who actually liked men. In fact, there still are women who like men, but none of those women are invited to write op-eds for the New York Times. In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat, feminists have removed the mask of “equality.” Feminism is now an unapologetic anti-male hate movement...
There are at least 3,000 words at that post, so click the link and read the whole thing.

Courtney Knox by Jordan Green


Minority Unemployment at the Lowest Levels on Record

If voters truly vote their pocketbook, then President Trump should be a shoo-in for reelection in 2020. Alas, I doubt the economic models of elections have much predictive power in this age of political tribalism.

This is good news either way.

At IBD, "Don't Look Now, But Minority Unemployment is at Record Lows Under Trump."

Gallup: Approval of U.S. Leadership Drops to New Low in Global Survey

Who cares?

There's a reason "America First" resonates with the lunch bucket set. Who cares what the rest of the world thinks? Sheesh.

At Politico, "Poll: Under Trump, global approval of U.S. leadership hits historical low." (Via Memeorandum.)