Stories for October 19, 2007
Yesterday we had a group of musicians on
El-Ibrahimi is transferred to a North African prison where Abasi Fawal (Yigal Naor) casually employs beatings, water soaked hoods, electrodes, humiliation and solitary confinement in a hole of a cell. Overseeing the interrogation is newbie CIA analyst Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) who bluntly tells Fawal, "This is my first torture." Freeman doesn't take to it very well and Fawal grows impatient with his American observer. In addition, Fawal has to deal with a rebellious daughter who's resisting an arranged marriage and is instead dating a politicized young Islamic man. Meanwhile, back in the states, Isabella hooks up with a college friend (Peter Sarsgaard) who is politically well-connected in Washington, D.C. The government, of course, denies any knowledge of Isabella's husband.
Several hundred San Diego city retirees showed up at a hearing today to defend disputed pension benefits worth $150 million.
The film's most blatant flaw is its heavy reliance on contrivance. There are some spoilers here, so don't read on if you plan to ignore my advice and see this film anyway. Everyone ends up knowing everyone in this film, and it becomes almost laughable. Maybe we could have bought into this if Director Terry George made us believe that this was a very small and close knit community. But we don't feel that when the hit and run driver ends up being connected to the family of the victim (and this comes on top of a series of other coincidences), you're only reaction is "You gotta be kidding?" Intensifying the problem is how plot information comes up in forced and often cliched ways. This includes having the hit and run driver's son come to him with a problem at school where "a no good coward" won't fess up to something he's done. Gee, do you think that will prompt dad to look at his own cowardice about not fessing up to his crime? Then the film drifts into something of an unconvincing revenge story.
The San Diego school board meets with community members Saturday to talk about what kind of person they want to replace Superintendent Carl Cohn. But so far, teacher union leaders aren't happy about the process. KPBS reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.
San Diego officials are trying to reach out to thousands of families whose children may be exposed to lead. Lead is a highly toxic element that causes health effects ranging from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. You can find out more about lead hazards at an event today in San Diego.
This week, rain douses San Diego as residents mark the fourth anniversary of the Cedar Fire. Also, the first baby boomer applies for Social Security benefits. And, the national GOP faces uncertainty as 16 Republican legislators announce their retirements.
Last week's edition of
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