Currently viewing the tag: “Director”

From The Daily Caller:

Artist-director Julian Schnabel today blasted critics of his controversial new film, “Miral,” hinting at a conspiracy underlying some of the movie’s poor reviews.

I actually think that there’s a plan to undermine this thing because people wish that it would go away,” Mr. Schnabel said after being asked whether some of the harsh reviews of “Miral” were politically motivated. A politically charged film about three generations of Palestinian women, the story is adapted from a semiautobiographical novel by Rula Jebreal, who wrote the film’s screenplay.

And people don’t want to get fired from their jobs,” said Mr. Schnabel, one-time enfant terrible of the New York art world and director of critically acclaimed films such as “Before Night Falls” (2000) and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (2007), which earned four Oscar nominations (including best director).

There’s a woman that was fired from her place, Nina Rothe. She wrote a beautiful review of this movie,” explained Ms. Jebreal, the stunning Palestinian journalist with whom the divorced Mr. Schnabel now lives in New York.

Nina Rothe reviewed the movie, very favorably, at the Huffington Post. Her review was less about the merits of the movie than about its politics. I could not find anything about her being fired; she is certainly still at HuffPo, not even at her Twitter page which is filled with raves about Miral. So I have no idea what Jebreal is talking about.

On the other hand, Rotten Tomatoes – which collects movie reviews from both critics and moviegoers – says only 18% of the movie critics like the film. Their reviews are sometimes about the politics but often about the fact that is it simply not good filmmaking. Even very left-wing outlets like NPR panned the film.

To imply that film reviewers – perhaps the most liberal group of people in the media – are adhering to an anti-Palestinian Arab agenda borders on paranoia. (The idea that a movie reviewer can lose his or her job over a review in any major media outlet is simply insane.)

If you want to see politically motivated reviews, though, go to Yahoo Movies and look at all the A+s Miral received from viewers – across the board for acting, direction, story and visuals – in what sure looks like a small but coordinated campaign to raise its rankings. Many of the reviews simply like the movie because it makes Israel look bad, not because they have anything good to say about the actual movie.

This is the only possible conspiracy I can find.

(h/t Ian)

UPDATE: Check out this description of the film, and of Schnabel’s words after a showing.

Elder of Ziyon

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A decision by the city and county of Jackson to hire a former University of Toledo administrator as the new director of human resources for both government bodies is coming under fire.

On Tuesday, the two government entities announced that Crystal Dixon of Maumee, OH had been hired to administer the combined human resources programming for the city and county. Dixon was fired from the University of Toledo in 2008 after she published an editorial letter in the Toledo Free Press that was seen as bigoted.

In the letter, Dixon opined that as a “black Christian woman,” she was offended by the comparison to gays to African American “civil rights victims.” She argued that homosexuals chose to be gay, and therefore are not eligible for civil rights protections.

As proof of her arguments, she cited controversial ex-gay groups like Exodus International and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX). Both groups advocate controversial programs which purport to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals. The programs have been condemned by most official psychology and psychiatry professional organizations as harmful to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.

In a December interview with the Toledo Free Press, Dixon said she would publish the editorial again if given the opportunity to do everything over again. Lawyers from the conservative Thomas Moore Law Center took her case and sued the University of Toledo.

In a video interview with Dixon on the Thomas Moore Law Center, she says she wrote the editorial because she “woke up with a divine mandate, if you will.” In that interview, Brian Rooney, a former Republican candidate for the 7th Congressional District, which includes Jackson, is identified as an attorney assisting her in her lawsuit against U of T. He has since been hired by the Michigan Department of Human Services.

The outcome of the federal lawsuit is unclear.

Reached by email, Dixon declined to be interviewed, instead referring inquiries to Adam Brown, the interim Jackson County Administrator.

In response to a series of questions sent by e-mail, Brown would say only, “I have read your questions and I have no comment other than that I have confidence in Ms. Dixon’s ability to accomplish the things we need her to do.”

But others in Jackson had much to say about Dixon’s hiring.

“The hiring of someone with such uneducated and bigoted views toward LGBT people is bad enough. To hire Ms. Dixon as joint Director of Human Resources boggles the mind. Sadly the steady decline in the City of Jackson population will continue as long as the city continues to nurture its image as a backward, discriminatory town (no longer a city!),” says Julie Nemecek who made national headlines in 2007 when she was fired by the conservative Christian college Spring Arbor for being a transgender woman.

“This hiring underscores the need for a civil rights ordinance for the City of Jackson that will protect city employees and Jackson citizens from the likes of Ms. Dixon,” Nemecek continued. “Like many gay, lesbian, and transgender people in Jackson, I know that I am genetically and biologically the way I am and, like Ms. Dixon, ‘very pleased to be so as my Creator intended.’”

Nemecek was not alone. Lorraine Hampton, president of the Jackson area Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), released the following statement on behalf of the group:

“We at PFLAG Jackson are dismayed by Ms. Dixon’s apparent woefully-misinformed attitude about what it is to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. However, if she truly believes that LGBT people suffer no discrimination, then we will hope that she will follow that in her hiring and retaining of city and county personnel, and will herself show no discrimination toward any qualified applicants. We also hope to serve as a resource to help her increase in her knowledge and awareness, as we try to bring all aspects of our diverse community together. After all, our LGBT friends and families want only what everyone else does: a chance for meaningful employment, a way to feed our families and provide a safe home for them and ourselves. We are in dire economic straits here in Jackson; it’s time to pull together and help everyone, and we hope Ms. Dixon will bring that spirit of working together instead of divisiveness.”

Equality Michigan, a statewide LGBT rights organization based in Detroit, also weighed in on the Dixon hiring.

“The residents of Jackson County and the City of Jackson deserve more than just somebody with the appropriate skills to serve as their human resources director,” said Emily Dievendorf, policy director for the group. “The job in question places Crystal Dixon as lead negotiator for contract agreements and will make her an influential voice in searches for department heads. She needs to be capable of providing equal opportunity and advocating for the interests of all Jackson residents. Her job history, a component on a resume easily as important as required skills, does not support her being qualified to serve the entire Jackson community.”

Former Jackson City Councilmember and retired President of Comerica Bank in Jackson Rick Davies called on county and city leaders to rescind the hiring decision in an e-mail sent Wednesday morning.

“I strongly urge you to rescind your offer of employment to Ms. Dixon and search further for an individual who, in this critical position, can better represent the rights of all of our citizens,” Davies wrote, after noting he was “flabbergasted” by the hiring decision.

“It seems like a terrible hire. The county is sending the wrong message to attract people to move to the area,”says Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, a national organization which challenges the ex-gay movement in the U.S. “No one wants to live in an area that is perceived as intolerant and she is the epitome of such intolerance.”

“I don’t think anybody- particularly LGBT people — can be comfortable walking into her office and trying to get a job,” Besen said. “She might as well have a big sign that says “I discriminate: Go home.” To put people in such a position is grossly irresponsible on behalf of the county.”

Michigan Messenger

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and a small group of conservative House lawmakers are pushing House Republicans to go after all of the mandatory spending in the Affordable Care Act, claiming that Democrats snuck in $ 105 billion in hidden mandatory spending into the health care law. “This is something that wasn’t known,” Bachmann said on Meet The Press earlier this month. “This money was broken up, hidden in various parts of the bill.”

I’ve argued that this spending had been widely publicized during the health care debate and this morning, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf admitted that the information was, in fact, widely known:

REP. FRANK PALLONE (D-NJ): We considered a bill that would repeal funding for section 1311, the health insurance exchange planning and establishment grants. Did you know about that funding stream?

ELMENDORF: Yes, Congressman.

PALLONE: Okay, so it wasn’t hidden. What about section 4002, the prevention and public health fund. Did you know about that?

ELMENDORF: Yes, Congressman.

PALLONE: So that wasn’t hidden either. And what about funding for school based health centers? Did you know about that?

ELMENDORF: Yes, Congressman.

Watch it:

Bachmann is still fundraising off the “discovery,” however. “As I continue to fight against President Obama’s far-left agenda in Washington, the liberal left has stepped up their attacks against me,” Bachmann wrote in a March 29th email to constituents. “But, despite these attacks I am committed to…repealing Obamacare, and exposing government corruption like the $ 105 billion the Democrats appropriated toward funding Obamacare. This was a complete circumvention of the legislative process and I am working stop your tax dollars from being spent on an unconstitutional law.” “That’s why any amount you can donate to my campaign today – up to the $ 2,500 legal limit – is appreciated,” she added.

Wonk Room

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“We don’t deal with the health side …”

When Congress debated legislation barring federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, its CEO warned that “millions of women are going to lose their health-care access, not to abortion services, but to basic family planning, you know, mammograms.” Sounds awful, doesn’t it?  Live Action decided to start scheduling those mammograms at PP clinics before the […]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

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“We don’t deal with the health side …”

When Congress debated legislation barring federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, its CEO warned that “millions of women are going to lose their health-care access, not to abortion services, but to basic family planning, you know, mammograms.” Sounds awful, doesn’t it?  Live Action decided to start scheduling those mammograms at PP clinics before the […]

View the video »

Hot Air » Top Picks

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“We don’t deal with the health side …”

When Congress debated legislation barring federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, its CEO warned that “millions of women are going to lose their health-care access, not to abortion services, but to basic family planning, you know, mammograms.” Sounds awful, doesn’t it?  Live Action decided to start scheduling those mammograms at PP clinics before the […]

View the video »

Hot Air » Top Picks

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“We don’t deal with the health side …”

When Congress debated legislation barring federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, its CEO warned that “millions of women are going to lose their health-care access, not to abortion services, but to basic family planning, you know, mammograms.” Sounds awful, doesn’t it?  Live Action decided to start scheduling those mammograms at PP clinics before the […]

View the video »

Hot Air » Top Picks

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When Harley G. Lappin, the director of the Bureau of Prisons, announced his plans to retire last week after 25 years at the agency, Attorney General Eric Holder praised him as a “sound steward of taxpayer dollars” who had “served as an example of integrity and professionalism.”

But it turns out there was a bit more to the story. Andrew Ramonas of the legal news website Main Justice reports (reg. req.) that Lappin was arrested back in February and is facing drunk driving charges stemming from an incident in Annapolis, Md.

Lappin was pulled over less than a half mile from his house at 3:59 a.m. on Feb. 26, the website reported. He’s been charged with driving while under the influence, reckless driving, negligent driving and failure to obey the instructions of a traffic-control device, according to the news website. A spokeswoman said that Lappin informed his staff of the arrest.

Lappin will be due in court on June 16, a little over a month after his resignation becomes effective on May 7.


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New York Times reporter Jennifer Medina’s Sunday story from Sacramento focused on the state’s cute political couple, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and his young budget director Ana Matosantos: “Political Odd Couple, United by Crisis In California Budget.”

They are a constant if unlikely pair these days: the oldest man elected governor of California and the woman who is its youngest budget director, shuttling from office to office as they meet with lawmakers, confer quietly in the Capitol hallways and fend off reporters and lobbyists.

Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, lived through another fiscal crisis when he was governor 30 years ago. The budget director, Ana Matosantos, 35, was barely able to do addition back then, but she has the experience that comes with having served under the last governor and through three years of California fiscal crises.

Medina painted Matosantos as a budgetary whiz (who, conveniently, is also opposed to Republican spending cuts):

And now the two of them are at the center of what has become the critical battle in Mr. Brown’s first few months on the job, as he tries to push through a budget that would almost certainly define much of his remaining years here. And for all of Mr. Brown’s knowledge and self-assurance, it is this unlikely budget director — a Republican appointee — to whom the governor keeps turning to help him navigate this treacherous terrain….Without hesitating, she explained how the state made up for services that local governments could not afford.

Months later, Bill Emmerson, a Republican state senator, asked for similar information in a private meeting. Ms. Matosantos ticked off the information without looking at any notes, convincing Mr. Emmerson that an inflexible spending cap would not work. A few weeks later, Mr. Emmerson could not remember the details himself. But he was certain that Ms. Matosantos had given them the right guidance.So why would the Times bother to butter up a relatively obscure political figure in the bowels of the California state bureaucracy? Maybe because her pull may help push up state taxes and reduce spending cuts:

While the Legislature has moved forward in approving more than $ 11 billion in cuts, parallel negotiations to put a tax extension up for a statewide vote have sputtered and stalled. Now Ms. Matosantos is going through marathon meetings with Mr. Brown, as well as painstaking, occasionally painful sessions with Senate Republicans, whose votes are needed to get the tax initiative on a June ballot. Without those taxes, Mr. Brown has said, the cuts to the state’s budget will need to be even more draconian.

Medina even made politically correct points out of Matosantos’s gay relationship.

Ms. Matosantos seems unconcerned about her status as a first in so many categories — in addition to being the youngest, she is the first Latina and the first openly gay person to hold the job — and likes to keep her matter-of-fact tone on any topic. “At the end of the day, what matters is the numbers: this all has to add up and make sense.”

(Back in June 2007, Medina fretted that after arrests of illegals immigrants in New Haven, Conn, “any sense of sanctuary that the city and advocates for immigrants had developed over the years was turned upside down, replaced with fear.") blogs

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Is President Obama really thinking of nominating Jamie Gorelick to head the FBI? It seems almost inconceivable that anyone would consider appointing her to run anything. The Examiner reprises her career, which has led some to call her the Mistress of Disaster:

Movie patrons recall Forrest Gump’s remarkable presence in an amazing succession of notable historical events. … [T]here is no escaping the damage that would result if President Obama appoints Jamie Gorelick to succeed Robert Mueller as FBI director. Like Gump, Gorelick was present at a remarkable series of recent historical events during the past two decades, but through them all she displayed nothing that could be called either innocent or wise. So let us count the ways in which Gorelick earned the sobriquet “Mistress of Disaster.”

First, there was her tenure as deputy attorney general under Janet Reno during President Clinton’s first term. Reno described Gorelick as Justice’s “chief operating officer” from 1993 to 1997. She was a key Reno adviser during the horrendous events in Waco, Texas, in which David Koresh, 76 of his Branch Davidian followers (including 20 women and children) and four federal agents died in an unbelievably bungled assault intended to end a 50-day siege. …

Next came Gorelick’s move to Fannie Mae, where as vice chairwoman from 1997 to 2003 she was paid in excess of $ 26 million. During her time at Fannie Mae, Enron-style accounting techniques were used to make the government-chartered mortgage corporation appear to be in better financial shape than it was. As a result of the cooked books, Gorelick was paid more than $ 800,000 in bonuses in 1998. … It was also during these years that Fannie Mae began investing heavily in the subprime loans and unsecured mortgage securities that were at the heart of the Great Recession of 2008.

Finally, and most seriously, there is the matter of “Gorelick’s Wall” and 9/11. Gorelick was a member of the 9/11 Commission and became a focus of critical attention during its hearings when it became known that during her DOJ tenure she imposed a policy of radical separation between the FBI and the nation’s intelligence agencies in terrorism investigations. According to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, “Gorelock’s Wall” was a key reason why “we did not know an attack was coming.”

Ms. Gorelick has been a disaster everywhere she has gone. Like so many Democrats, she combines self-interest and self-righteousness to a remarkable degree. Through corrupt self-dealing she has become rich, while at the same time contributing to both the worst episode of terrorism in our history and the worse economic debacle since the Great Depression. For God’s sake, Barack, don’t inflict her on us again! She is rich enough, and the rest of us are poor enough, already.

Power Line

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Edward McNally ponders the oversight duties of directors with respect to natural disasters:

The recent events in Japan prompt the question of whether the members of a corporation’s board of directors have any exposure to liability when a natural disaster strikes their company.  The potential claim would be that as part of their duty to oversee the company’s risk management that they should have better protected their company from losses resulting from a natural disaster.  Of course, most people view such national disasters as Black Swans, events no one anticipates will happen.  Surely directors are not responsible for future events no one anticipates.  Or are they?

He concludes:

A large corporation may receive literally thousands of complaints each year from customers, employees or regulators.  It is not reasonable to ask a board of directors to consider each of those complaints as red flags requiring their inquiry.  The board would do nothing else if it had to look into a thousand complaints.  Instead, what the board should do is have in place some process that is designed to catch wrongdoing, filter complaints and sends to the board only those few that warrant further action by the board of directors.

That same analysis applies to the board’s duties concerning potential natural disasters.  It is to be expected that some level of natural events may occur and lead to damages to a corporation’s infrastructure.  Storms are even classified by how often they are expected to occur, with a “10 years storm” expected at least once a decade.  The board should have in place insurance and other measures it has been advised by experts are sufficient to protect their corporation from a natural disaster that was reasonably likely to occur.  The board should periodically review the company’s insurance and disaster avoidance plans, at least to be satisfied that appropriate steps have been taken by management to address that threat to the company.  Not every potential disaster needs to be planned for, just those that are actual threats.  If these basic steps are taken, directors should not be held liable if a natural disaster causes an anticipated harm to their company.  We have not yet reached the point where the courts will expect directors to foresee Black Swans.  Some risk is necessary for success.  A properly functioning board is entitled and indeed expected by its investors to take such risks.

I think that’s good advise as a matter of best corporate governance practices. The Delaware courts have consistently explained, however, that the fiduciary duties of directors do not not necessarily require best practices. To the contrary, conduct falling short of best practices has consistently been protected from liability.

As for Caremark liability in this context, I explained in my article Caremark and Enterprise Risk Management that:

Under Stone, the initial question is whether the board “utterly failed to implement any reporting or information system or controls.” Where a Caremark claim is premised on accounting control failures, liability would arise if “the company entirely lacked an audit committee or other important supervisory structures, or that a formally constituted audit committee failed to meet.” Note the emphasis that a mere failure is not enough; there must be an utter or entire failure. This requirement follows inexorably from Caremark’s dictum that “the level of detail that is appropriate for [the requisite] information system is a question of business judgment.” Courts are not to second-guess a board’s determination that the company’s risk management programs are adequate.

I further explained that:

This judicial reticence is appropriate because substantive analysis of board decisions with respect to the nature, scope, and content of risk management programs are themselves business decisions of the sort protected by the business judgment rule. The levers a board can pull when supervising the company’s risk management include, for example, the human capital resources devoted to the task. The board might ask such questions as: To whom do risk management officers report? How are they chosen? How much are they paid? How is their performance evaluated? Personnel decisions like these are core business judgments protected from judicial review by the business judgment rule. Likewise, managing operational risk by choosing among possible business activities is a basic business judgment that should be protected by the rule.

The same should be true of natural disaster preparation. And so I am not too worried about this issue. As my article concluded with reference to the three leading cases:

In Caremark, Chancellor Allen opined that the oversight claims countenanced by that case would be perhaps the most difficult corporate law claim for plaintiffs to satisfy. Guttman likewise emphasized that Caremark claims are difficult to prove. Stone reiterated the same emphasis on creating a high liability bar.

I’d be willing to be a fancy steak dinner that the odds of a tsunami hitting Delaware are higher than the odds of a Delaware court finding a Caremark violation triggered by the fall out (pun not intended) from a natural disaster.

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B&C – Breaking News

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ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: The White House announced today that Washington Post reporter Shailagh Murray will become Vice President Biden’s Communications Director, starting next month. Murray will replace Jay Carney who of course left Biden’s office to become the…

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Political Punch

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Washington (CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden has tapped another journalist to be his communications director.

Washington Post reporter Shailagh Murray will step into her new role “next month” according to a statement from the vice president’s office.

In announcing his choice, Biden praised the veteran journalist. “She is as well respected among her peers as she is versed in the serious issues facing our nation and the world.”

Murray follows Jay Carney who left that position to become White House press secretary after longtime Obama spokesman and confidante Robert Gibbs departed to become an outside adviser and cheerleader for the president.

In one of her last stories posted on the Washington Post’s web site in early March, Shailagh wrote about her new boss and his role intervening in a “partisan brawl” to work out a compromise to fund the federal government.

“Shailagh’s years of experience covering a broad array of issues ranging from domestic policy to foreign affairs make her uniquely positioned to lead our communications team,” the vice president said in the statement.

CNN Political Ticker

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With his ten year term nearly up, the Washington Post reports the “jockeying over who will replace FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has begun, with FBI agents urging that President Obama select the former head of the bureau’s Washington field office for the critical position.”

“White House officials declined to comment, but law enforcement sources said the search for Mueller’s successor is being led by Vice President Biden… It is unclear if any front-runner has emerged or precisely what qualities the administration is seeking in a nominee, though sources said counterterrorism experience is considered especially important.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

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