Monday, July 25, 2016

Shaky Start For the DNC & Star Trek: Beyond

Out: DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz 
Well I just listened to Minnesota Democratic Senator Al Franken deliver his remarks on the stage of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to the Democratic convention.

It was nice to hear some humor injected into this affair after the controversy that dominated domestic headlines over the weekend.

Franken's funny Trump jabs seemed to help thaw the tense atmosphere in the room; and now comedian Sarah Silverman is at the podium helping to bridge the gap between Bernie supporters and Hillary supporters.

Especially after she just told the faction of Bernie supporters in the hall tonight that they're being "ridiculous" for chanting Bernie's name whenever Hillary's name is mentioned or one of the speakers pledges support for her.

Hey, we're Democrats, it might've been a bit of a messy start but we'll get there; Paul Simon singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is truly appropriate.

It was my niece's birthday over the weekend and she came down from Park Slope, Brooklyn to spend a couple days at my mom's condo as my older sister (said niece's mom) is down at the Democratic National Convention in Philly.

I'm proud to say that my sister was selected as one of the 1,900 delegates for the Bernie Sanders campaign who are attending the convention.

It's unfortunate that the start of the DNC was overshadowed by the bizarre accusations that two of Russia's security agencies (the K.G.B and G.R.U) hacked Democratic party servers to gain access to thousands of highly controversial emails posted on the WikiLeaks Website that revealed DNC Chair and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and some other party officials were clearly biased in favor of Hillary Clinton and held Bernie Sanders in contempt.

But I'm hoping to get some interesting perspectives from inside the convention from my sister which I'll share on the blog after I get a chance to touch base with her.  

For now I'll keep this entry brief as I want to listen to the rest of the convention coverage on WNYC, but I did want to share a quick observation on a critical issue that I'm hoping to hear addressed at this convention this week - gun control.

Zachary Quinto, Sophia Boutella & Karl Urban in Star Trek: Beyond
On Saturday evening I took my niece and my mom to see the new release Star Trek: Beyond as a birthday gift.

We saw it in IMAX 3-D and as an old-school Star Trek fan, let me just say that it was well worth the extra few bucks to truly appreciate the special effects.

No spoilers or anything, but if you're a sci fi fan you don't want to miss a chance to see a nasty space attack on the Enterprise on the big screen.

If you want to geek out, you really have to see the massive Starbase Yorktown on the big screen; what an amazing vision of the future that blends technology, architecture and art.

The film has a solid plot, impressive special effects and an excellent cast, but what I really loved is the vision of a multi-ethnic, "multi-alien" and tolerant society for the future.

As I watched the crowd scenes when the Enterprise crew visited Yorktown, including the wordless visual introduction of Sulu's non-traditional family (I'm guessing you've heard about the controversy surrounding the revelation that Sulu is gay) it genuinely lifted my spirits after last week's toxic display of hatred, bigotry and divisiveness at the Republican National Convention.

But one thing I noticed when we entered the theater, was the fully-armed police officer carefully patrolling the lobby entrance; bullet-proof vest, weapon the whole nine yards.

I had my niece and mom with me so I was happy to see that there was a visual security presence at the theater given some of the irrational mass shootings that have taken place in movie theaters across the nation.

But part of me was also saddened as I can remember going to movies in the summer in the 70's and 80's with my friends when we only worried about getting good seats or having enough money left over for candy and popcorn.

We never even thought about someone entering the theater with a gun to shoot complete strangers.

So I'm really hoping to see some serious discussion on commitment to passing sensible gun control measures this week at the Democratic convention; that's something the city of Philadelphia, and many other communities around this nation (including Fort Meyers, Florida) could really use.

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