1. “President Obama: Why I Acted on Immigration.” President Obama penned an op-ed explaining his decision to do what he can to fix our broken immigration system. This post originally appeared in Gannett newspapers and websites.
“For more than 200 years, that heritage has given America a big advantage over other countries. It has kept us young, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. But today, our immigration system is broken. When I took office, I committed to fixing our broken immigration system. I began by doing what I could to secure our borders. Today, we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. Over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it’s been in nearly two years. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s.”
2. “King Richard III’s DNA opens a door to a new historical mystery.” The discovery raises questions about the Queen’s ancestry and, some say, the legitimacy of her claim to the throne.
“In the paper, the researchers say they are 99.999% certain they have found King Richard. The DNA evidence also suggests that the king had blue eyes and that he had blond hair as a child. [Turi] King also tried to confirm that the bones were those of King Richard by comparing the Y-chromosome DNA of the skeleton with another set of living relatives of the king. This is genetic information that is passed down just through the male line, from father to son. Genealogist Kevin Schürer, also of the University of Leicester, identified five living males who should have shared the same Y-chromosome as Richard. However, King did not find a match. This suggests that there was a false paternity event at some point in the genealogical tree. And, depending on where that break is, it could call into question the legitimacy of Henry V’s and Henry VI’s claims on the throne hundreds of years ago.”
3. ”The Wire in HD.” HBO is remastering The Wire, but in the wrong aspect ratio. David Simon has some misgivings, but is mostly at peace with the decision.
“Because we knew the show would be broadcast in 4:3, Bob [Colesberry] chose to maximize the storytelling within that construct. As full wide shots in 4:3 rendered protagonists smaller, they couldn’t be sustained for quite as long as in a feature film, but neither did we go running too quickly to close-ups as a consequence. Instead, mid-shots became an essential weapon for Bob, and on those rare occasions when he was obliged to leave the set, he would remind me to ensure that the director covered scenes with mid-sized shots that allowed us to effectively keep the story in the wider world, and to resist playing too much of the story in close shots. Similarly, Bob further embraced the 4:3 limitation by favoring gentle camera movements and a combination of track shots and hand-held work, implying a documentarian construct. If we weren’t going to be panoramic and omniscient in 4:3, then we were going to approach scenes with a camera that was intelligent and observant, but intimate. Crane shots didn’t often help, and anticipating a movement or a line of dialogue often revealed the filmmaking artifice. Better to have the camera react and acquire, coming late on a line now and then. Better to have the camera in the flow of a housing-project courtyard or squad room, calling less attention to itself as it nonetheless acquired the tale.”
4. “Bill Cosby and drugging: My 34-year-old secret.” Charlotte Laws had about his dark side since that night in 1981, but she had no idea what to say about it—until now.
“’Did I ever drug you?’ Bill Cosby joked when I entered his dressing room at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California, in February 2005. He was performing at the venue, and it was ’between shows.’ I was accompanied by my husband and stepdaughter. His comment was meant to defuse tension because a woman had just come forward, saying she was drugged and raped by him. It was obvious that Bill was feeling uneasy about negative media attention. I wondered if his decision to hang out with me and my family one-on-one for 45 minutes was part ’damage control.’ I was not his close friend; I was more of a friendly acquaintance. Perhaps ’friendly acquaintances’ can expect more attention when 34-year-old secrets are involved. Bill knew that I knew. I could feel it. I had known the truth since that memorable night in 1981. Bill had drugged my close friend, whom I will call Sandy, and then had sex with her.”
5. “16 Best Stand-Up Comics Turned Filmmakers.” From Woody Allen to Joan Rivers, these comedians went from prowling club stages to calling the shots behind the camera.
“She started out as one half of the pioneering comedy duo Nichols and May—the epitome of “snob and mob appeal”—and ended up becoming one of the more in-demand screenwriters (and script doctors) of the 1970s and 1980s. But Elaine May has also directed four films, each one singularly wonderful, idiosyncratic, left-of-center and offbeat enough to make you wish she’d gotten the chance, or perhaps the leeway, to do more. She’s become one of the great martyrs of the studio system, tussling with her patrons and, courtesy of the underrated Ishtar (1987), had her reputation dragged through the mud. But make no mistake: Anyone who’s seen A New Leaf (1971) or Mickey and Nicky (1976) knows that May is a filmmaking force to be reckoned with. The Must-See: May’s The Heartbreak Kid (1972) is both a perfect film and the precursor to today’s cringe comedy, featuring the single best Charles Grodin performance ever—yes, better than Midnight Run—and the cinema’s best sunburn gag ever.”
Video of the Day: Little White Lies presents a video countdown of the 25 best films of 2014:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.