Arsenal of Freedom (TNG Rewatch, Season 1, Episode 21)

With an A-plot that comments on the Cold War arms race, a B-plot that tests LaForge’s command skills, and a C-plot that explores the Picard/Crusher dynamic, I wanted to like this episode more than I did. Yar wisely observes that it’s kind of pointless for the landing party to strategize against a system that has already wiped out all the intelligent life on a planet, yet the characters still peek through the bushes at the wobbly floating plastic menace, and leap out of the way of its space-zapper ray gun blasts, because TV.

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The Last Outpost (ST:TNG Rewatch. Season 1, Episode 4)

Rewatching TNG after about a 20-year break. This odd episode introduced the Ferengi, a parody of the capitalist patriarchy. I only remember bits and pieces of this episode, possibly because the pieces really don’t fit together very well. The long opening sequence gives us a good look at how the bridge crew deals with an evolving situation. We open with a chase scene, that quickly becomes a standoff, then morphs…

Trump and Putin shake hands during a joint press conference at the Helsinki summit.

Trump’s reference to “the transcript” of the Helsinki conference… which transcript? There are several.

This is why journalism matters: The Atlantic offers a good overview of the confusing fact that the official transcripts published by the White House and the Russian government don’t match the video. Compare this transcript, of what actually happened, to the White House’s version. Here is the record of what took place, starting with the last part of Putin’s comments before Mason’s questions. Putin is describing his willingness to assist with Robert…

Meet the guys who tape Trump’s papers back together

I tell this old newsroom tale to my students: An angry editor sees a cub reporter coming into work. “I sent you to cover a concert,” says the editor. “Why didn’t you file the story?” The cub reporter says, “The concert hall burned down.” Sometimes the story you set out to cover is not the one you find. This passage from this Politico story explains how a story that was…

Taking Harassment Seriously Requires Serious Distinctions

Editor and columnist Jonah Goldberg questions his fellow conservatives who call for the resignation of Al Franken (a Democrat; junior senator from Minnesota), equating the allegations against him with the allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, all the while downplaying the serious allegations against Roy Moore (a Republication; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama). Franken, formerly a writer and performer for Saturday Night Live, has been accused of…