Following the Trayvon Martin case, Chris Matthews had a serious discussion about racial profiling on his MSNBC show, Hardball With Chris Matthews, on Thursday. During a segment of his cable news program, he spoke with NBC News Vice President Val Nicholas and former RNC chairman Michael Steele.
Nicholas wrote an op-ed for MSNBC.com titled "I Could Have Been Trayvon Martin," where he recalled that "twice as a teen, I ended up looking down the barrel of police guns for no other reason than I happened to be a black teenager."
Steele had similar experiences of being judged solely by his race. "It is a story of a lot of young African-American males. What Val, myself, and so many others have in common is our black skin, and a lot of the perceptions that come with that," Steele said.
Matthews reacted to his colleagues' stories by saying, "I'll just tell you one thing, and I'm speaking now for all white people but especially people that have tried to change over the past 50 or 60 years, and a lot of them have really tried to change: I'm sorry for this stuff."
Although Matthews' willingness to work on the country's racial issues is commendable, there's probably a lot of white Americans out there who wouldn't appreciate him speaking on their behalf.
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The person behind the person who revealed that J.K. Rowling is the author behind the pseudonym Robert Galbraith has now been exposed. The British law firm Russells admits that one if its partners is responsible for the leak.
The Sunday Times became hip to the fact that the Harry Potter author was the brains behind The Cuckoo's Calling — a critically successful yet commercially strugglling crime novel written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith — after receiving a tip on Twitter. Now, according to the Associated Press (via CBS News), we know that Russells partner Chris Gossage let the fact slip to Judith Callegari, a close friend of his wife's, who then sent the tweet.
"We apologize unreservedly," Russells says in a statement aquired by the AP. As well as that "the disclosure was made in confidence to someone he trusted implicitly." The statement continues, "We can confirm that this leak was not part of any marketing plan and that neither J.K. Rowling, her agent nor publishers were in any way involved."
In response, Rowling issued a statement that reads, "Only a tiny number of people knew my pseudonym and it has not been pleasant to wonder for days how a woman whom I had never heard of prior to Sunday night could have found out something that many of my oldest friends did not know."
"To say that I am disappointed is an understatement," she added. "I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russells, a reputable professional firm, and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced."
Should Rowling decide to seek legal action against Russells, we're sure the firm knows the name of a good lawyer or two.
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Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.