Yes, of course, the ending of the Cuba embargo is a Very Serious topic, but the jokes remain irresistible. From the NYTimes, “How a Cuban Spy and His Wife Came to Be Expectant Parents“:
It was no easy feat to get a vial of frozen sperm from Gerardo Hernández, a Cuban spy serving two life sentences in California, to Panama, where his wife, desperate to have a baby, was artificially inseminated.
Yet the matter became an urgent priority over the past year for the small group of Cuban and American officials who were secretly working to broker a historic thaw in relations. Facilitating the pregnancy, one of the strangest subplots in the annals of secret negotiations between Washington and Havana, fell largely on the shoulders of a Senate staffer who had become central to laying the groundwork for the change in United States-Cuba policy.
Mr. Hernández was one of three Cuban spies who returned home last Wednesday to a hero’s welcome as part of a deal that included the release of Alan Gross, the American subcontractor imprisoned in Havana for five years. Photographs of Mr. Hernández, who had been in an American prison for 16 years, and his pregnant wife became the talk of the town in Havana. He meekly told reporters that the baby was his, but offered no details.
There are plenty of unsung heroes who helped bring about the shift President Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba announced last week. But no one seems to have delivered as much as Tim Rieser, a powerful yet unassuming Senate staffer who advises Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, on foreign policy and helps put together the State Department budget each year. Besides taking on the unexpected sperm diplomacy task, Mr. Rieser worked tirelessly to improve the treatment of Mr. Gross, who had become despondent and suicidal…
Seriously, kudos to Mr. Rieser. Who’s already heard every possible variation on “not shaking your hand until I’m sure you’ve washed it”…
He mailed it in!
Another happy ending…I’ll see myself out.
Rubio reminds me of the “gangsta” rapper who grew up in the suburbs. Has to pretend to be extra hard for his audience.
In his case, he’s the phony exile rather than the phony kid from the streets.
Speaking of James Bond:
I am so into Elba as Bond. Fine looking man.
c u n d gulag
I see a new book coming:
“The Spy Who Came in the Cold.”
I like how they juxtapose frozen sperm and a thaw in relations
@c u n d gulag: “The Spy Who Came in the Cold Test Tube.”
@skerry: Well, I hope Daniel Craig retains the Bond franchise for at least another film or two. But Elba would make a fine Bond if he wants the role — Bond is British, period — and Limbaugh can go choke on a bag of white, haggis-flavored dicks.
Gonna be a first class kid.
The Ancient Randonneur
Well we always knew diplomacy was hard.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@raven: Spew warning next time, por favor. I hope you and your bride have a terrific holiday trip to VA, with an uneventful drive.
If Bond is Scottish, why hasn’t Limbaugh raised an equal outcry about him being played by other non-Scottish actors, which includes everyone who’s played the role since Sean Connery? There must be something else about Idris Elba that’s the real thing that sets him off. I wonder what that could be…
“James Bond was white and Scottish, period”
I thought Bond was originally an upper class English twit who worked in the naval intelligence during WWII.
But, then, the wiki says the Bond novels were written in Jamaica… so let’s have a Jamaican after Elba gives it a whirl.
And while we’re at it, lets go back the original Santa Claus who was Turkish, or at least from where Turkey is now, so doubtful a fat old Nordic looking guy with big white beard.
@Roger Moore: Because Rush is a drug addled racist. But, by now, we all know that.
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Our ex-pat friend and her wife just showed up and we went to lunch. It was such a treat to see them and we are thankful they took the time to get in touch while they are here from down under!
“James Bond was white and Scottish, period”
Pierce Brosnan is Irish…
@skerry: It could also be that they just call their current top spy “James Bond” to scare the enemy. Like when the secret police in Haiti were called the boogieman.
It would explain how he could remain active for over fifty years and change appearance.
Tim Reiser is a great American. Marco Rubio es mierda.
@jl: Didn’t Megan Kelly/FOX let everyone know last year that Santa and/or Jesus was white, Northern European?
(I think it was Kelly – I can’t tell all the FOX blond talking heads apart.)
Dalton is Welsh.
@jl: “Fleming” was OK, not great but ok:
headlined story on Yahoo news right now.
Off duty, black cops in New York feel threat from fellow police
I remember seeing a commenter link to a story about a high ranking black NYPD officer quitting the force. So, wonder what is going on.
Will be interesting to see if anything going on. But initial signs from reading story are not favorable…For example, some NYPD brass interviewed for the story had these helpful words of wisdom:
” The officers said this included being pulled over for no reason, having their heads slammed against their cars, getting guns brandished in their faces, being thrown into prison vans and experiencing stop and frisks while shopping. The majority of the officers said they had been pulled over multiple times while driving. Five had had guns pulled on them. ”
Those sound like rather overly pro-active and aggressive ‘stop and frisk’ protocols, you ask me. Or maybe that is what ‘community policing’ has come to these days.
Wikipedia has an illustration of Ian Fleming’s idea of what Bond looked like. Sean Connery may have been cast with that in mind, it does resemble him.
Idris Elba is OK with me. Who cares what Rush Limbaugh thinks?
Millions of our fellow Americans, unfortunately.
@Mike J: All those Celts look and sound alike anyway. And, can’t blame Rush for not distinguish their accents, though. His hearing is bum anyway….’cause too much drugs.
@burnspbesq: Able was Rush ere he saw Elba?
The Dread Pirate
I just want to say I’m enjoying how the President’s diplomatic move has set off a blood feud between Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Let’s go, casualties!
@jl: i stand by my “fire them all the next time the blue flu hits” position from earlier.
Let them have it out behind second base at Citizens Bank Park. The scum-sucking Phillies fans will boo them both.
‘ Rush Limbaugh sneers at Idris Elba as Bond: “James Bond was white and Scottish, period” ‘
Becuase Rush lives in some kind of ‘opposites world’ I did (literally) 30 seconds of research, since I just knew it had to be totally different from whatever Rush said.
From wikipedia article on Sean Connery:
‘ Ian Fleming, originally doubted Connery’s casting, saying, “He’s not what I envisioned of James Bond looks” and “I’m looking for Commander Bond and not an overgrown stunt-man,” adding that Connery (muscular, 6′ 2″, and a Scot) was unrefined. Fleming’s girlfriend told him Connery had the requisite sexual charisma. Fleming changed his mind after the successful Dr. No première; he was so impressed, he created a half-Scottish, half-Swiss heritage for Bond in the later novels. ‘
Edit: If Idra doesn'[t work out, they could try Bruno Ganz.
Edit2: Werner Herzog ever directed a Bond film? That would be interesting…
Tree With Water
“Because Rush is a drug addled racist”.
Make that a “hypocritical drug addled racist”. Before he was busted for hillbilly heroin, the miserable SOB milked an entire show taking cheap shots at Jerry Garcia, the day after Garcia died.
@Mike J: Every spy being James Bond is akin to the Dread Pirate Roberts.
ot but A Houston Grand jury has refused to indict a cop for killing an unarmed black man. This script is getting old: 1. report of suspicious behavior by a black man. 2. cop thinks he matches description of a suspect in another crime. 3. man runs and cop gives chase. 4. man stops, turns, puts his hands on his belt and charges the cop. 5. cop shots him dead. 6. man is unarmed. 7. oh well mistakes happen.
Seriously, I have a question – do they teach this script at the police academy? Maybe there is a course – how to kill a citizen and get away with it. Or is there a page in the benefits manual explaining how to avoid a murder charge. Maybe it’s between the pages explaining the medical plan and the vacation policy.
Mike in NC
Would be great if the next Bond movie featured a scumbag super villain modeled on Rush Limpdick.
@D58826: I doubt it is taught at the academy. I’d wager the union passes out the script when dues are paid.
Mike in NC
@Tree With Water: This seems to be a regular part of his schtick, as he was observed mocking Robin Williams the day after he died.
Steve in the ATL
Limbaugh is an idiot, but you know that already. And Bond was English, not Scottish. The original casting choice was David Niven, but Niven was the perfect Englishman and Ian Fleming pointed out that Bond was most decidedly NOT the perfect Englishman, so they went with Connery instead.
I would pay to watch Elba sit in a chair for two hours so Elba as 007 would be phenomenal.
My stepdad was involved in a lot of “informal diplomacy” during and immediately after WWII and some of the stories were outrageous. The stuff was literally out of a Bond movie since he knew Ian Fleming. My Mom has the most ridiculous collection of his photos. I keep trying to convince her to publish them.
Read the article. DO NOT read the comments.
Basically, if you are dressed like a “thug” you will be treated like a “thug,” aka a criminal.
And you’re a fat fucking idiot. What’s your point?
My two favorite surprising WWII spies: Julia Child and Christopher Lee.
And though David Niven was generally cast as an effete gentleman by Hollywood, he was a commando officer in the war.
Explains why a lot of good cops don’t say anything about the bad cops.
Isn’t this what our gun culture is doing in so many areas of civic life? If you speak out about gun violence and call for any kind of responsible regulation you will likely find yourself the subject of threats. Republican politicians can call for “second amendment remedies” and use target symbols on their political opponents.
Guns have become the way to right any perceived slight or wrong which includes putting uppity women and blah people in their place.
I think the majority of Americans are disgusted by this behavior but unfortunately I think the majority of Americans who are disgusted by this behavior are so disgusted by the dysfunction that they completely disengage from politics and activism.
My kids are really politically active. They phone bank, volunteer, etc for candidates and issues but even they have been expressing a lot of despair about the political process as a means for making change. One of my sons is talking about how his generation has to find a way to work around the political gridlock. They are fed up with the incompetence, corruption, and inability of institutions to address the challenges they face.
Yup. I’ve seen photos of Julia. Got to drive with a spawn of Fleming in an antique Bentley–actually I drove the car. I should work with you on a script–I mean the stories are unbelievable. I wouldn’t believe them had it not been for the pictures and some of the people I met.
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): Niven:
@skerry: the original Bond stories have him as mostly Welsh
@Mike in NC: Too bad he want be around for the hilarity and massive celebrations nationwide the day after he dies.
In case you haven’t seen it, I think you’d like Niven’s postwar film “A Matter of Life and Death” (US title: “Stairway to Heaven”). Niven plays an aviator whose guardian angel loses track of him during a crash landing so that Niven survives when he was supposed to die. It’s directed by Michael Powell, who’s one of the all-time great British directors (“I Know Where I’m Going” is another of his films). They are suitable for viewing as a couple as well — romantic without being mushy. :-)
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): Really interesting and strange film, a must see.
I like Colin Salmon he’s been in three Bond movies and he was also in Resident Evil.
@PurpleGirl: “Every spy being James Bond is akin to the Dread Pirate Roberts.”
And it’s also most of the plot of the non-franchise 1967 “Casino Royale” with David Niven, Peter Sellers, and Woody Allen. I always thought it interesting that when the franchise producers got around to doing that book they got a wiry red-haired Bond–sort of like Woody Allen’s Jimmy Bond.
If you’re in the mood for a serial killer movie, Powell’s “Peeping Tom” is one of the best ever made. He made it the same year as “Psycho” but it ended up ruining Powell’s reputation as a filmmaker.
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): Yea, I’ve read about it but it really doesn’t appeal to me very much.
Hadn’t heard about that, and didn’t know Michael Powell, but what an interesting story. Have heard of Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes (have seen neither, yet). Will have to catch his films.
From The Telegraph (UK): Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom: the film that killed a career
Trivia item: he was married to Martin Scorsese’s film editor, the great Thelma Schoonmaker, from 1984 until his death in 1990.
It’s Powell’s take on a serial killer movie, so there are probably things you would like about it, but I had a feeling you’re not really a horror movie guy.
“Thief of Baghdad,” maybe? The stop-motion and other visual effects are dated, but it’s still a fun adventure with a little wartime propaganda snuck in (Conrad Veidt plays the hissable villain — he’s best remembered today as the Nazi commander in “Casablanca.”)
@Elizabelle: The British film-making partnership of Michael Powell (1905–1990) and Emeric Pressburger (1902–1988) — together often known as The Archers, the name of their production company – made a series of influential films in the 1940s and 50s. Their collaborations — 24 films between 1939 and 1972 – were mainly derived from original stories by Pressburger with the script written by both Pressburger & Powell. Powell did most of the directing while Pressburger did most of the work of the producer and also assisted with the editing, especially the way the music was used. Unusually, the pair shared a writer-director-producer credit for most of their films. The best known of these are The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Black Narcissus (1947) and The Red Shoes (1948).
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): Yea, I have little intrest in horror or sci-fi but I loved Gods and Monsters!
Which he more or less played as the explosives guy in “The Guns of Navarone”, one of my favorite WW2 movies and probably my favorite David Niven movie. Lots of testosterone pumping and manly confrontations in that one, especially between Niven and Gregory Peck.
Powell can be surprisingly divisive because he has a very particular (somewhat mannered) style that people either love or hate. I love it, but my spouse (who worships Kubrick) is Not A Fan.
It’s hard to explain in American terms how highly regarded Powell was in England, which is why his reputation fell so far. The only vaguely similar comparison I can think of would be if Merchant/Ivory had made a serial killer film as their follow-up to “The Remains of the Day.” I can’t think of an American director right now who’s considered highbrow the way Powell was.
The Telegraph article mentioned David Lean’s career tanked after “Ryan’s Daughter.” Did not know that. (Other flop mentioned was Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate.) ETA: I guess Elaine May’s Ishtar is another famous flop, but hearing recently that it’s getting a critical reappraisal.
Powell was too ahead of his time with the serial killer movie, it sounds. I truly wonder why he didn’t recover his career, given the string of successes before. Strange story.
Also: Night of the Hunter was the only film Charles Laughton directed, didn’t do that well at the time, and it’s phenomenal and a critical favorite now.
Elba as Bond would certainly forward the old fan theory that Bond is a code name for whoever is designated 007, but that theory was pretty much ko’d in Skyfall when we briefly see the tombstones of Bond’s parents with the name Bond.
IMO (with this opinion partially swiped from film critic Danny Peary) it’s partly because “Peeping Tom” is a critique of the acts of filmmaking and watching a film. It equates filmmaking with murder and film watching with sick voyeurism (essentially, masturbating to a snuff film). Critics at the time did NOT like having that mirror held up to them, which is one of the reasons for their revulsion against the film.
Raven on the Hill
@pat: but he was dressed so provocatively.
Idris Elba can save my Empire any time.