Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fun find!

As I was leaving work on Tuesday, I stopped in one of the bathrooms on the first floor of my office building. The building is privately owned, and houses a half dozen federal agencies, comprising a few thousand people. There is a pretty extensive security presence in the building, managed by one of the agencies. The guards are friendly, and seem capable and professional.

The particular bathroom I was using is small, with only two stalls. I chose the larger of the two stalls and entered. Sitting on the back of the toilet, leaning against the wall was this:

I presume (and hope) it belonged to one of the guards. I quickly left the room, practically ran down the hall, and reported it to the nearest guard, who happened to be a woman. She alerted two of her male colleagues and one of them hustled down to the bathroom and retrieved the weapon. I can't imagine how horrified the guy who lost it must have been. I hope he didn't lose his job, although I trust he learned a valuable lesson. The guards I dealt with were kind of freaked out.

Me too.

So much for that memory

While in college, I played Harrison Howell in Cole Porter's musical take on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, Kiss Me Kate. One of the most famous songs from that show is "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" which I heard on the radio today.

I never realized it before, but it's kind of rapey.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Well, I didn't vote for you

I just found out that one of my best friends, Jeff, who occasionally comments on this blog, is playing King Arthur in Spamalot this summer. Huzzah! That's fantastic.

In honor of this achievement, here is possibly the funniest segment in the history of film.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Good News

The percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated – describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%.  Link
The sooner we get rid of this superstitious nonsense the better. It would be fine if Christians would just keep their beliefs to themselves, but when they legislate their superstition ( via abortion, prayer, creationism, abstinence, guns, marriage) to affect the rest of us, then the sooner the religion is extinct, the better off we'll be.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Good TV - 2015

I just finished watching two "television" series that I really enjoyed and recommend.

The first is FOX's Will Forte comedy, "The Last Man on Earth", created by The Lego Movie's Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

I've been meaning to blog about this show for a while, but didn't, and now the short, thirteen episode first season has run it's course. You can still catch it on Hulu, Amazon, iTunes or on TLMOE is the story of an average guy, Phil Miller, who, through an unspecified virus that wiped out humanity, is (duh) the last man on Earth. The pilot episode is absolute genius, as Phil travels America looking for other people, and, failing that, returns to his home town of Tucson to set up shop in a huge mansion. Will Forte is the only cast member and his efforts to keep himself entertained and comfortable are very funny and sad and touching.

Of course, things happen to Phil, and one of the joys of the series was how it kept surprising me. I won't mention any of the plot twists, but I enjoyed it all the way through it's season finale. The ongoing storyline did bog down a bit in the middle, but even then it still made me laugh. Fortunately, it has been renewed for Season Two and I can't wait.

The other series isn't on television, but is the Yahoo! original series, "Other Space", by Paul Feig, creator of the beloved Freaks and Geeks and the movie Bridemaids.

Other Space is the story of the misfit crew of an Earth spaceship who travel through a wormhole to an alternate universe. The humor is played very broadly, and it's pretty silly, but the show has a very good understanding of the conventions of dramatized science fiction, and how to mock them. Plus, the entire cast is terrific.

One of the standouts is Milana Vayntrub, the adorable young woman from the AT&T ads, who plays the incompetent, erratic, heartbroken navigator Tina. Also aboard, and likely one of the main reasons the show is so smart about science fiction tropes, are Trace Beaulieu and the guy who ate Joel Hodgson (I kid!), both from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Joel plays a slacker and Trace plays a robot, so typecasting, I guess. Both are great.

The first episode gets the action going, but is one of the weaker episodes. As the actors get more comfortable in their roles and the writing gets sharper, the episodes get better and better. There are only eight half hour episodes, so it's easy to binge watch.

The future of Other Space is still uncertain, as it hasn't yet been picked up for a second season. I sure hope it is.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Stuff Happening

Sorry for the lack of posts. Lots of life intervening.

Rachel's junior year of college ended this week and she's now home for three days before returning for a summer theater job. This will be her first summer away from home.

Ben has now taken the SAT and ACT and passed his driver's ed class. Now he just needs 56 more hours behind the wheel before he can take his driving test. This is easily the busiest time in Ben's life so far.

On Friday Carol and I saw the DC flyover and took video. I'll post that once I've edited it.

We saw Avengers: Age of Ultron for the second time tonight. It's a good, but not great, superhero movie. The huge weight of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is complicating the storylines and the sheer number of characters is getting cumbersome. This was inevitable, I suppose. Worse, though, while the action in the first Avengers movie was very clean and easy to follow, the editing in this movie was very choppy and the action was difficult to follow at times. It was still a fun ride, but not as good as the first one.

And finally, Happy Mother's Day!  (Especially you, Mom).

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Income Inequality - WOW edition

Here's the "blow your mind" fact for today.
The eruptions in Baltimore have been tied, in complex ways, to frustrations at American inequality, and a new measure of the economic gaps arrived earlier this year:
It turns out that the Wall Street bonus pool in 2014 was roughly twice the total annual earnings of all Americans working full time at the federal minimum wage. Link
The bonus pool, NOT the entire salaries, of a small group of people working in one industry in one city in America, was bigger than the ENTIRE salaries of every single American working full time at minimum wage. And this industry makes its money by pushing around other people's money, rich people making money for other rich people, as opposed to all the waitresses, busboys, retail staff, garbage collectors, security guards and minimum wage jobs that we all interact with every single day. You know, the people who do all the hard work.

If you can't see why this is a problem, then maybe you should study a little bit more before having an opinion on economic policy.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Let the summer movie season begin!

Ben and I are waiting for Avengers: Age of Ultron to start. I haven't been to a movie theater in months. 


Report to follow. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I just have a couple of things to say about the riots in Baltimore after the funeral of Freddie Gray who died in police custody.

I was talking with some folk last night and some suggested that the police should have just started shooting the looters. Let's get some perspective, shall we? The looters weren't murdering people, they were stealing and damaging property, so executing them in the streets wouldn't have been an appropriate response. What's more, decades of police violence and intimidation helped to create the environment in which the riots erupted, so an escalated police response would have just made things worse. We'd have had riots around the country today.

Bob Cesca had the perfect response to the events.
It’s unfair that the memory of Freddie Gray, the latest victim of unfair police profiling and excessive force, is besmirched by looters and rioters who are effectively spitting on his grave by turning what ought to be peaceful protests into self-serving violence and theft — where personal outrage and greed supersede a far more noble cause. The fact is, the looters probably don’t care too much who was killed or by whom. They’re merely piggy-backing their personal greed and lack of morality onto an entirely unrelated event.
It’s unfair that more commentators don’t make a clear distinction between the original tragedy and the violent unrest.

It’s unfair to the broader African-American community, which still struggles with racism and racial discrimination, that a relative few looters reinforce the ugly stereotypes marketed by those who seek to separate rather than unite. The looters and assailants are no more representative of the African-American community than secessionist Bundy ranch hooligans are representative of whites.
It’s unfair that poverty, one of the root causes of racial animosity, isn’t viewed by more Americans as a national problem demanding national solutions, rather than a wedge to be marginalized, ridiculed and demagogued with racial scare-words and Southern Strategy dog-whistles.

And if you're one of those charming people who believe that people reacted with violence because of the color of their skin, then check out Cesca's article for a gallery of other recent riots, committed mostly by white people over far more trivial matters.  Here are a couple.

The top is Vancouver, the bottom Kentucky. Both riots occurring after sporting events.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

This Thing of Darkness

A couple of weeks ago as we wrapped up our Spring Break visit to various colleges, we ended up in Harrisonburg to see Rachel in a show. This wasn't your run-of-the-mill stage show, but a student-created theater "experience" for her experimental theater class, called "This Thing of Darkness".

Typically, I would avoid this kind of thing like the plague, but you know, Rachel.

And I found it a great deal of fun. The first show saw the biggest attendance so there were a lot of people having fun, which elevated the experience. We started out in a big classroom which represented a ship. As we stood around, all the actors swayed to indicate ship motion and engaged people in small talk. Suddenly, there was an emergency and we all headed to the lifeboats in three pre-determined groups.

Once in our smaller group, we were lead to other rooms throughout the building for more theatrical scenarios intended to represent the island on which we were stranded. We had to deal with one of the actors bursting into tears, a quasi-religious experience, a charming shadow puppet story, and even a full fledged tribal council from Survivor. Near the end, Rachel played a corpse for a bit, and we were given terrible tasting punch at a party. And we all learned something about ourselves. :-)

It was a fun, unusual experience and I'm really glad we went. The students did a great job.

Many students made their own unique posters
advertising the show. This is Rachel's.

Avengers: Age of Oops

This week, two of the stars of the Avengers, Chris Evans (Captain America) and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), made some disparaging, sexist remarks about the character of Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson). They rightly received some negative pushback, and both apologized.

Well, one of them apologized, anyway.
“Yesterday we were asked about the rumors that Black Widow wanted to be in a relationship with both Hawkeye and Captain America,” Evans said in a statement provided to EW. “We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize.”
“I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone,” Renner also said in a statement provided to EW. “It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour.”
Notice anything about the two remarks? One is an apology, the other is a passive-aggressive deflection. One is an actual apology, the other is not.

For a good article on what makes a good apology, check out So You've Been Publicly Wrong: Anatomy of a Good Apology.

2015 White House Correspondents' Dinner

This is absolutely awesome. The President's comedic timing is just unbelievable.

Barrack Obama is easily the best President of my lifetime. There's really no contest. What a thoughtful, intelligent guy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Do you have any idea how much it costs to operate a yacht?

Bill O'Reilly feels really sorry for America's rich. They're just so oppressed.

Read all the details of this tragic story.
This year -- 2015 -- the feds will gather more tax money than ever before, about $3 trillion.

That's because since taking office President Obama has proposed 442 tax increases, not counting 20 others associated with Obamacare.

As you may know, Americans earning more than $400,000 must pay close to 40% of their income to the federal government.

The Social Security tax has increased from 4.2 to 6.2%; all workers pay that.

And itemized deductions, which you can use to bring down your tax bill, are now being phased out for high-wage earners and profitable businesses.

In fact, the USA has the highest tax rate on business in the world.

And if you invest in business, the short-term capital gain is now close to 40%.

Long-term cap-gains up from 15 to 20%.

There's also an additional 3.8% tax on investment income to pay for Obamacare.

So you can see that taxes are through the roof on affluent Americans and business profits.

But for the rest of Americans, things are not so bad.

The bottom 60% of wage-earners pay just 2.7% of federal income taxes.

The bottom 40% actually get money from the feds; they receive payments called earned-income tax credits.
Yes, those poor, poor rich people. They have to actually pay taxes! And since they have most of the money, they end up paying most of the taxes! Waaah!!

I mean how awesome would it be to make so little money that you don't pay taxes and actually get money from the government (other than property, usage, state, local, and sales taxes, of course)! That would be awesome. The poors have it SO easy, amiright?

Later O'Reilly said, "I believe that I've cut back investing because of the heavy capital gains hit."

That is so funny! Because every poor person I know has also cut back on investing because of the high tax on capital gains. I mean, if you're investing to make millions of dollars, why even bother if the government is going to take another 5%? It's like common sense.  Geez, Obama.

The standard disclaimer: most of those stats are dead wrong. President Obama did not propose 442 tax increases and even if he had, 442 were not enacted, no rich American pays 40% of their income to the government, the Social Security tax is capped at $116,000, and the U.S. has the highest tax rate on business in the world ONLY if you ignore all their massive deductions.

How entitled and out of touch do you have to be to say any of the above?

Bill O'Reilly (actual photo)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lawyers doing lawyer stuff

I'm a lawyer, so last week I had to attend an American Bar Association event to get Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit so I can keep being a "proud" member of the Indiana Bar. I'm not especially fond of going, but everyone is very nice, I see some people I used to work with, and it's only a couple of days of listening to various speakers and panels lay out the current state of the type of law I practice. I go once a year and that's it.

The event is held at the very nice JW Marriott in downtown DC and, after years of frugality, the ABA finally started shelling out some bucks a few years ago for a breakfast spread, with beverages available all day. It's pretty nice and makes the whole thing tolerable.

The center table has coffee and tea. The side tables have danishes of various sorts, breakfast bars, and an entire table of bananas for some reason. Near the doors in the top picture you can see bagels and toasters for toasting said bagels. On each side is a refrigerator with sodas, water and juices.

This was literally the ONLY perk of going. But it was a pretty decent perk.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ipecac Eats Burgers #21 - Johnny Rockets

We have several outlets of the national chain Johnny Rockets in the area and I like their burgers quite a bit. JR's shtick is their fifties diner motif which is an aesthetic I appreciate.

This is the "Original" and the only thing unusual about it is the inclusion of relish. I never put relish on a burger myself, but this is one of those burgers on which I enjoy it. Generally I find the Johnny Rocket burgers to be juicy and just the right size, so I'm always happy to have one.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

And we'll also finally get our (coal-burning) jetpacks!

Yay! The future is FINALLY here!!

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is not the candidate of yesterday (psst, that would be Hillary Clinton), he's the Candidate . . . of Tomorrow!
“The Republican Party, for the first time in a long time, has a chance in this election to be the party of the future,” Rubio told donors in a preview of his speech. “Just yesterday, we heard from a leader from yesterday who wants to take us back to yesterday, but I feel that this country has always been about tomorrow.”
“Yesterday is over,” stated Rubio.  Link
Not only does he represent the future, but he has a firm grasp on when a particular day is over. Swoon!

Four days later, from an interview on MSNBC:
Kasie Hunt: Seventy-four percent of young Americans show in the NBC poll that they back same-sex marriage. Are you out of step with younger generations on that issue?
Marco Rubio: No—well, ultimately the decision on how we define marriage has always belonged to the states. And if in fact, as the polls indicate, a growing number of Americans believe that sex—marriage between two individuals of the same sex should be—legal, then they can petition their state legislatures and change their state laws.
And in fact, I suspect you’ll see that happen. It’s already begun to happen. So at the end of the day, I always believed marriage is regulated by states. 
What an awesome movie reference! See, having taken us into the future (where being fundamentally opposed to what 74% of what young Americans want is NOT disagreeing with them), Rubio now wants to come Back from the Future, to take us into the past!

1955 seems about right.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Metrorail Coolness

This is a big week for DC's Metrorail.

On Monday, they put all 8 car Red Line trains back under computer control. For decades, the DC system was notable for the trains being run by computer, rather than by humans. The crash in 2009, which killed 9 people, put an end to that. For the past six years all trains in the system have been run manually by their driver and, believe me, there was a learning curve.

Now, with repairs done on the Red Line, which I happen to ride, the 8 car trains are back under computer control, which means a much smoother, quicker ride. Hooray! The 6 car trains and other lines will take until 2017 to get back under computer control.

And in other news, the new 7000 series Metro cars went into service today, and I rode one! For the premier, Metro only ran a single 8 car train along the Blue Line. I usually transfer from the Red Line downtown and take the Yellow/Green to my work station. Today, I switched to the Blue/Orange/Silver line from the Red hoping to see the new train. The first train to arrive was an Orange Line, so I got on but kept my eyes open. As we pulled into my destination station, I was (way too) excited to see the new train pull in, going the other way. I ran across the platform, jumped in and rode a couple of stops back the way I came.

The new trains are much more technologically advanced than the dinosaur trains Metro has been running. They have many new displays to show where the train is and where it's going. They're also much safer in a crash and the doors are not death traps waiting to chop off a limb. To my huge relief, the high backed seats are really comfortable. The biggest surprise is that the door chimes are different and the voice announcing "Doors closing" and such is still a woman, but different. The whole experience had a more European feel to it. All in all, I'm pretty excited about the new cars which will roll out over the next few years.

So here are some pictures I took.

One of the new LCD screens.
Sorry, suspicious woman. I'm taking a photo
of the destination sign above your head.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Another victim, more blame

As you probably know, a 50 year old black man, Walter Scott, was shot in the back last week by a South Carolina policeman. Like most black victims of police violence, many people are seeking ways to blame him for his own death. In Mr. Scott's case, the cry is that if only he hadn't run from his killer, he wouldn't have been shot in the back.

This is wrong. It's wrong for any number of moral, social and humanitarian reasons. But rather than take the time spelling the reasons out here, the link below is to an excellent article explaining why, far more articulately than I ever could. The whole thing is worth a couple of minutes of your time.

Walter Scott is Not on Trial
The judicial system could have easily dealt with any misdeed Scott is accused of — failure to pay child support, failure to present proper documentation for a car he was driving, resisting arrest, fleeing — and none of those offenses, if he were found guilty of any or all, would have carried the death sentence.
Unfortunately, police officers encounter lawbreakers on a regular basis. Unfortunately, some resist arrest. Some flee. These are simply occupational conditions of being an officer — an admittedly tough job that few of us would sign up to do. But none of those offenses grant a license to gun a man down.
It is tragic to somehow try to falsely equate what appear to be bad decisions made by Scott and those made by the officer who killed him. There is no moral equivalency between running and killing, and anyone who argues this obdurate absurdity reveals a deficiency in their own humanity. Death is not the appropriate punishment for disobedience. Being entrusted with power does not shield imprudent use of power. And one of the saddest and most frustrating features of our current debate about police use of force, in communities of color in particular, is the degree to which justice itself has been absorbed into the ideological struggle in this country.
Exactly. Read the whole thing.

Ipecac Endorses Dick Cheney as the Republican nominee for President

Bill Kristol, the man who is ALWAYS wrong (seriously, if this guy said it was sunny outside, I'd wear a raincoat), said this on ABC's show, This Week:

STEPHANOPOULOS: One final question for each of you, who is the most promising Republican candidate not in the race yet? […]
KRISTOL: If they get to nominate Hillary Clinton, why don't we get to nominate Dick Cheney/ I mean, he has a much—he has a much better record...
KRISTOL: He has a much better record...
SMILEY: God help us all.  Link
Why indeed!

Republicans, please, please, please, please, please nominate Dick Cheney as your candidate. Please!! I am begging you. That would be super-awesome and I would love you forever.

Remember, if you don't nominate him, he might shoot you in the face. Do you really want to take that chance? So, please nominate him.

Thank you.

Sharia Law?

I recently learned that a good friend of mine is worried that Muslims in America are going to implement Sharia Law. Notwithstanding that most conservatives don't know what Sharia Law actually entails (I suspect my friend does, as he's pretty intelligent), this is a long-debunked conservative idea that Muslims are gaining the power to institute Islamic religious law in the United States.

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

First and foremost, the Constitution of the United States forbids the establishment of religious law. It's that whole pesky First Amendment thing. So the issue is a non-starter. However, upholding the Constitutional separation of church and state requires a vigorous judiciary, and religious laws have made their way into United States law before and continue to do so, so let's assume that the judges are all out to lunch and we can ignore the Constitution.

The current U.S. population is approximately 320 million people. Religion-wise, that roughly breaks down into 73% Christian, 20% unaffiliated, 1.7% Jewish, 0.6% Muslim and a smattering of others. 0.6% Muslim means there are approximately 1.9 million Muslims. All of them don't want to institute Sharia Law, it's likely that a vast majority don't, but for purposes of this, we'll assume that ALL of them do. That's 1.9 million pushing for Sharia Law out of 320 million people.

What about political power? There are currently two Muslims in the United States Congress, the only two ever elected. There are no Muslim governors and only a few state representatives. So formal, institutional political power is lacking. Do we expect a wave of Muslims elected to public office any time soon? (Oh, are we counting the President as a Muslim? Wink, wink. Got it.)

What about social power? Do we even need to discuss this one? What social power do Muslims have in the United States? Whenever a Muslim sneezes in America, there are more anti-Muslim Americans peeing their pants than there are actual Muslims in America. The idea that any sort of "Sharia Law" would even be considered without being attacked by millions of Christian conservative watchdogs is absurd. (Not to mention that liberals and pretty much everyone else except those 1.9 million would also be against Sharia Law).

Meanwhile, Christians, who represent a large majority of Americans, and have a correspondingly large majority of every political body in America, from the lowest city and county governments to the Congress and Supreme Court, are actively pushing religious laws in America every single day. Whether it's the increasingly strident regulation of abortion, the anti-civil liberties policies regarding LGBT individuals, or the decades-long fight against evolution and enforcing Christian prayer in schools, Christians are constantly pushing their distinctly religious-based laws onto the rest of us.

I'm much more worried about Christian extremism than the exceedingly remote possibility that an insignificant minority, with no social or political power, is somehow going to dominate American politics and institute their particular form of religious oppression. I want none of it and the best way to fight religious intrusion into our laws is to not ignore the Christian elephant in the room over the non-existent Muslim threat.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Jurassic World

Now THIS is how you do a movie tie-in website.

Jurassic World

The web site is done as if the movie's Dinosaur Amusement Park were an actual place. I spent more than a half hour exploring the site and especially enjoyed the interactive "Disneyesque" map of the park and the Park Cams. It will be fun to see how the Park Cams change once the movie is released.

It's definitely one of the best viral efforts to promote a film I've ever seen.

Who's the moocher?

A lesson for today in hypocrisy.
Imagine that the tab for dinner and drinks for 10 executives comes to $1,600. Current tax law allows companies to deduct half of the cost of business meals — in this case, $800. With a corporate tax rate of 35 percent, each dollar of deductions yields 35 cents of tax savings — so that $800 deduction saves $280 in taxes. This means one dinner for 10 people provides more public food assistance than the $279 an average household receives in food stamps for the whole month. Link
 Remember that when conservatives and rich dudes are trying (and succeeding) to cut public assistance programs.

Friday, April 10, 2015

College visits - travel pics

Here are a few pics from our trip to take Ben to visit Berklee College of Music (Boston), College of St. Rose (Albany) and William Paterson (New Jersey). 

Lobster at Legal Seafood. 

Boston from Prudential Building. 

Hugely long corridor in hotel at Pompton Plains, New Jersey. There were also these two twin girls standing at the end of the hall but I never managed to get their picture. 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Paul, Rand is running for President. Hooray.

And he's off to such a good start.
"I have a message: A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words," Sen. Rand Paul said in announcing his bid for the White House. "We have come to take our country back."
Take it back from whom? Americans?

Fuck you, Rand Paul.

The Meh Commandments

It's spring break this week so Carol and I are schlepping Ben around to several colleges. We've already visited Berklee School of Music in Boston and are now at the College of St. Rose in Albany. Tomorrow we head to William Paterson in New Jersey.

On Sunday night, as we hung out in our hotel room, The Ten Commandments was on TV, as it has been every Easter evening forever. I'm not sure why a movie about Moses is the go-to for Easter, rather than a movie about Jesus, but TV scheduling makes about as much sense as Christianity (boom!). I've seen it many times over the years and I like the amazing sets and the spectacle, if not the story, which features some real boneheadedness by every character. Since nothing else was on, I watched it. Neither Carol nor Ben have ever seen it and neither was interested.

Watching the movie as a non-believer, it really struck me how actually crazy "holy" Moses seems at first. Pharaoh's skepticism at Moses' claims of speaking for god is completely justified, and I liked the way that he thinks Moses' first attempts at miracles were mere tricks. Later, when the Nile turns red, Pharaoh actually cites the news that a mountain nearby was erupting a red fluid, thus turning the river red. I found myself rooting for Pharaoh (aside from him being a despotic douche for having slaves).

But then Moses pulls off some tricks that would be hard to explain. Calling for flaming hail minutes before it arrives is pretty convincing of his having some power as is a three-day eclipse. At that point, Pharaoh starts to look pretty stupid for continuing to fight Moses. Finally, after God kills a bunch of innocent Egyptian children, Pharaoh relents and frees the Hebrews, and then immediately changes his mind to go chasing after the departed slaves to kill them.

At this point in the story, we come to Dathan, played by Edward G. Robinson, who is a Hebrew collaborating with the Egyptians. He is thrown out of Egypt with the rest of his people but longs to return to his life of power. At every stage of the flight from Egypt, he urges return, despite striking, irrefutable evidence of Moses' power. He witnesses a tornado of fire, the parting of the Red Sea, and the destruction of Pharaoh's army, but still believes that Pharaoh (and his Egyptian gods) is right. The movie makes Dathan look like a moron just for added conflict, and when he convinces almost all of the rest to rebel when Moses goes up Mt. Sinai, it makes the Hebrews look like complete idiots. I mean, how many clearly supernatural miracles does it take to convince these dumbasses? It seriously makes you wonder how such doofuses became God's chosen people.

I always enjoy the special effects of God writing the Ten Commandments, but the commandments, themselves are mostly useless. Anti-rape and anti-slavery commandments would have been much more useful than the one about cursing. And coveting is a serious sin?  Sheesh.

When Moses returns to find his people in rebellion, he destroys the tablets to kill a bunch of them (including Dathan) and then the Hebrews spend 40 years wandering in a fairly small desert, thus demonstrating that they're not only idiots, but that they apparently have no navigation skills. There's no word on how Moses gets another set of tablets.

Finally, it should be noted that the movie is FICTIONAL. There is no archaeological evidence that Hebrews were ever enslaved in Egypt. Moses himself is likely just a myth and many Jewish scholars admit it. So anyone taking this movie as actual historical fact is as crazy as many of the characters.