The most Popular Recent Posts

Apr 23, 2019


(CNN)The White House has ordered Trump administration officials to boycott the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, according to a senior administration official.
The order was issued Tuesday morning by White House Cabinet Secretary Bill McGinley, who announced that all Trump administration officials are being ordered to boycott the dinner, scheduled for Saturday night.
An administration official adds that the order came from Trump personally, though staffers have been trying to talk him out of it.
The move marks yet another deterioration in relations between the White House press office and the press corps, though President Donald Trump had announced earlier this month that he would be skipping the annual dinner for the third year in a row. The President will instead hold a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the same evening.

Movie Update

     Crew members for "Son of The South" get ready to shoot a scene in Downtown Montgomery this morning. It's outside the old Greyhound Bus Station (now The Freedom Rides Museum). 
     I play a reporter interviewing John Lewis (in Birmingham) as they prepare to go to Montgomery.

Bagage from the bus is scattered on the street
     That's where the bus was attacked as police, at the very least, looked away.
From the National Park Service history of the Montgomery station:

"Arriving early in Montgomery with only a lone motorcycle patrolman escort, the Freedom Riders soon discovered that a crowd of approximately 200 angry protestors crowded the streets and the arrival bay area at the bus station. Among the crowd were several notorious Klansmen who were involved in the Birmingham violence. Reporters greeted the Freedom Riders, but before the first question could be answered, a mob, bearing lead pipes and baseball bats, attacked first the reporters, smashing their equipment, before turning their attention to the Freedom Riders. By this time, some of the Freedom Riders formed a human chain by joining hands. The mob quickly overwhelmed them."
     Taking part in the movie reminded me of how many people it takes to produce  a film. Lots of extras and 1961 ear clothes and cars. It will likely be screened at movie festivals before a promised Montgomery premier.
Barry Brown and Bob Zelner


   The movie is Son of The South. Montgomery's Barry Brown is directing, Spike Lee is Executive Producer. 
     The script is based on the autobiographical book Wrong Side of Murder Creek by Bob Zellner.

Apr 17, 2019


Three women dress in costumes reflecting the cable TV show "Handmaid's Tale" after a House committee approved a bill that could ban almost all abortions in Alabama:

The bill would make performing an abortion a felony, punishable between 10 and 99 years in prison, although a woman would not be charged for having the procedure under the proposal. The legislation contains an exemption for the mother’s health, but not for rape and incest. But critics said moves to criminalize most abortions in Alabama would come in direct conflict with Roe v. Wade — the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Apr 16, 2019

Come on down, Y'all Atlanta Residents

You'll find a wonderful article in the latest edition of Atlanta Magazine about visiting Montgomery:

The capitol steps are the perfect place to pause and reflect on the various histories contained within Montgomery, and to think about the city’s future. King similarly took the long view when he addressed marchers that day. “How long?” he asked in unison with the crowd: “Not long. Because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

 More information for visitors is HERE.

Apr 15, 2019

Robots, via PEW

Our "Scientists at Work" podcast episode features Ashley J. Llorens, chief of the Intelligent Systems Center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He details how researchers work to bridge the gap between robots that are programmed by humans—and those that can learn and think for themselves.
Today we have robots that vacuum, talk to us, and even fill out our shopping lists. It isn't hard to imagine a world in which they can do just about anything a human can.

In fact, 20 percent of Americans find the concept of machines doing most human jobs in the future to be "extremely realistic," according to the Pew Research Center. But as you'll learn in this week's episode of "After the Fact," most robots still lack an essential human skill: the ability to think.
Host Dan LeDuc (left) and Ashley J. Llorens observe ISaaC, a robot “concierge” at the Intelligent Systems Center at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Credit: Greg Kahn/GRAIN for The Pew Charitable Trusts
First, let's test your robot smarts:

When did the word "robot" first appear?

a. 1000 B.C.
b. 1502
c. 1921
d. 1954

Tim's gut feeling: some folks are freaked out by Alexa...always listening to what is said (to respond when you say her name). How much more so when she becomes an android, looking just like us.

Solution? To prevent kids playing with fake guns being shot by police who think the gun is real, some toy guns are painted bright orange, or pink. Could we require human-appearing robots to have some kind of similar branding?