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Showing posts from January, 2016
With the return of The X-Files, you can bet there is going to be a lot of interest in the recent Air Force documents known as the Project Blue Book, which contain over 130,000 pages of UFO sightings and other phenomena that have beguiled UFO enthusiasts for years.  The recordings go back to the 1940s, but for some reason leave out the notorious Roswell incident, which conspiracy theorists insist the government has harbored what really happened one summer night back in 1947 on ranch in southern New Mexico.  This incident is the starting point of the re-booted television mini-series that will run for 6 episodes.

Roswell is a mecca for ufologists and fans alike.  It's not surprising strange things have been spotted in the night sky, as Walker Air Force Base is close by.  One of the reasons the Roswell incident wasn't included is because the Air Force has insisted for decades that it was nothing more than a conventional weather balloon that crashed to the ground.  It has already …

Who is Megyn Kelly?

Vanity Fair devoted a cover story to the winsome Fox political personality, who has been at the center of Donald Trump's latest act of defiance.  It is hard to think of her as a journalist, as it is hard to think of anything they do at Fox News as journalism.  Still, she has made a mark for herself by refusing to stand down to Trump and other bully boys like Ammon Bundy on her Kelly File.

The funny thing is that Trump seemed to show great respect for Megyn when she interviewed him on her show last May.  However, Megyn blindsided him with her question at the first GOP debate, and ever since then Trump has effectively used her as a foil on his campaign, and most recently as an excuse to duck the latest GOP debate, which she moderated.  The incident has vaulted her to the top of the Fox News show ratings, surpassing mighty Baba O'Reilly himself.

It's too bad Fox isn't hosting the Super Bowl this year, as Megyn Kelly might have gotten a shot at the President.  Last year, N…

The last throes of the Jeb Bush campaign

In many ways it looks like Jeb Bush's campaign is on life support, so it should come as no surprise that he is once again exploiting the Terri Schiavo story for his own political gain.  From the beginning, it didn't seem like the his campaign had any reason for being.  It was clear that GOP voters didn't want another typical establishment candidate, much less another Bush.  In the previous two presidential elections, Republicans had been forced to swallow bitter pills like McCain and Romney for the sake of party unity, both coming up short in the general election.  Along comes Jeb, unable in anyway to distinguish himself from these two or his brother, who many Republicans desperately wanted to disown.

Trump was successfully able to play off the widespread dissatisfaction with the GOP establishment, quickly overtaking Bush in the polls, and has only had to worry about other insurgent candidates like Carson and Cruz ever since.  The nearest establishment candidate is Marco …

Rough Day for Fox

It's two biggest ratings grabbers -- the Bundy Brothers and Donald Trump -- have pulled out.  It was the Bundy Brothers ill-fated decision to attend a rally that led to their arrest.  There was a brief shootout.  How could it end otherwise, but unlike the television show Fargo there was surprisingly very little blood.  One of the gang is dead and Brother Ryan took a bullet in the shoulder for the cause.  All were apprehended in separate raids.  This brings to an end the month-long standoff that had most conservatives perplexed as they weren't sure how to address it.  Trump remained surprisingly quiet, as did all the GOP presidential candidates, waiting to see how it played out.  No doubt, LaVoy Finicum will be made into a martyr for this lost cause.

Trump shockingly pulled out of Fox's Thursday GOP Presidential Debate, citing "wise guy press releases" on the part of Fox.  It seems the Donald doesn't like to be taunted and that is what he felt Roger Ailes was…

Hillary's New Groove

The "Anti-Establishment" Candidate

I suppose it is hip to be "anti-establishment" these days, but it is a bit of a stretch for Hillary to now be running as an "outsider."  After all, this is the same woman who was first lady in one Presidential administration and Secretary of State in another, not to mention an 8-year Senate tenure in between.  But, on CNN the other day that is what she projected herself as.  I guess sitting out of politics the last four years makes her "indie."  She even has some new dance moves to go along with her new look.

Don't get me wrong, I like Hillary, but come on, does she really expect us to buy this?  Bernie may have served in the Senate longer, but he was always a maverick, serving as an Independent all these years as he doesn't think the Democratic Party is liberal enough.  This is certainly the case with health care, as he pitches a single-payer system, which Hillary regards as "risky and irresponsib…

Man in the Wilderness

Barrack Obama wasn't forced to spend the night in an animal carcass like Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, but the President learned a few other valuable tips from Bear Grylls on his expedition into the Arctic Circle, the first ever by a standing President.  The episode of Running Wild was made more to highlight the impact of global warming than it was to show how to survive in the wilderness, with the President and Bear exchanging thoughts and observations over bear-killed salmon.

Grylls was pleased as punch to have scored such a huge guest for his show, saying what a down-to-earth guy the President is, something that probably won't sit well with many in his audience, who had petitioned for Bear to make Obama drink his own urine, as others have done on the show.  Bear was a little put off by the all the security and press that came along for the ride, but in the end the President put full trust in Bear, and the two had a great time.

Of course, it doesn't match the real-…

If not Trump, Who?

Less than two weeks to the Iowa caucus and he Republican Party seems as lost in the wilderness as it was when it was swamped with all these candidates.  The one thing the Republican establishment can seem to agree on is that it doesn't want Donald Trump (or Ted Cruz) as its nominee.

The National Review gathered together its leading voices to tell its relative handful of readers why Trump is bad for the GOP.  But, what these leading conservative lights fail to do is rally around an alternative, instead splitting among the half dozen other candidates that they feel better represent their values.

There still appears to be some hope that Jeb Bush can unite the real conservatives as Romney did in 2012, surviving a string of early losses to mount a Super Tuesday of Armageddon proportions, wiping out all his rivals with his Super PAC.   However, most political pundits are treating Jeb as a lost cause.

It is clear that there is a seismic shift at the base of the party and the hardcore c…

The Incomprehensible Sarah Palin and the Impervious Donald Trump

It doesn't get any whackier than Sarah Palin riffing on Donald Trump, as she gave him her full-throated endorsement.  It was utterly mind-boggling.  Of course, the press is having a field day, re-broadcasting clips from her rousing speech in front of an adoring Iowa crowd with a sanguine Donald looking on.  Some pundits are even predicting that this little show has tilted Iowa firmly into the Trump column, as Ted had been hoping to get Crazy Sarah's endorsement, but had to settle for the supreme Duck Commander's endorsement.

Trump's strategy is to keep feeding the insatiable media such juicy morsels so that they don't stop commenting on his campaign, effectively drowning out his opponents, Republican and Democratic alike.  Hillary had brought Demi Lovato to her rally in Iowa, but she was no match for Crazy Sarah.  What little the media did report on Hillary's appearance was how short her speech was -- barely five minutes -- leaving many Iowa students feeling s…


Spike Lee has spoken out on the whiteness of the Oscars this year, although he says he is not encouraging a boycott.  He simply isn't going.  No reason to go since his highly touted Chi-Raq wasn't nominated for a single award.  I thought this might have been because of its late release, but both The Revenant and The Hateful Eight came out after Spike Lee's movie.

It really is hard to figure why the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science has such a hard time picking Blacks or any persons of color for the top awards.  Part of it is due to most of the Academy being White (94%) and male (77%).  There are over 5000 members and each has a say in the nomination process.  It is doubtful that many of them even watch the films, going on buzz or leaving it up to their kids to fill out the ballots.  How else does Mad Max get nominated for 9 Oscars?

The Revenant isn't much better.  It is Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's depressing ode to the Lost West with Leonardo DiCaprio as…

The Long Run

Glenn Frey's passing brings back an interesting set of memories.  I was never a big fan of the Eagles but Hotel California is one of those songs that is hard to get out of your head.  Don Felder wrote the music, which to me is the most haunting part, but Frey and Don Henley are given more credit for the lyrics.  Felder is a Gainesville native.  He and Bernie Leadon both grew up in Hogtown and helped spawn a music scene that was second to none in the 70s, which included Tom Petty among others.

I remember as a college student "camping out" to buy $6 tickets for a Tom Petty concert, as it was expected to be sold out the first day.  Petty was making his triumphant return to Gainesville, kicking off a new tour, and it was rumored Stevie Nicks would be joining him on stage, after their huge hit, Stop Draggin' My Heart Around, the previous year.  Petty may have not been ready for the big stadiums like the Eagles, but he was sure to pack the 12,000 seat O'Connell Center…

Have no fear Erin Brokovich is here

Like a page taken from a Hollywood script, Erin Brokovich has arrived at the scene of the crime to sort out all the particulars in the Flint water crisis, or "poop water" as it has been dubbed.  Actually, it looks more like pee in the pictures, but no matter, it is a serious issue as 10 persons are reported dead since the city dropped the Detroit Water and Sewage Department and started drawing water out of its own river.  Serious mistake.

The city was trying to save money for its residents as the DWSD had jacked up the water rates in an effort to meet its ongoing budget crisis.  Flint's water department tried to use chlorine to clean the river water, but left higher than accepted levels of Trihalomethane, which pose serious health risks.  There are also higher than accepted levels of lead in the water supply.

Of course, the river shouldn't be so badly contaminated.  Governor Rick Snyder is taking the blame for this as it is state department of environmental quality…

Hillary get your gun

Politics is largely about momentum, and with the Iowa caucus two weeks away, Hillary badly wanted to wreck Bernie's momentum, as he has been gaining ground quickly in Iowa polls.  She doesn't want a repeat of 2008, when Obama staged a big early victory that put her campaign on its heels for the remainder of the primaries.  This explains her strident tone in the fourth Democratic debate, in which she went after Sanders like never before, attacking him on gun control and surprisingly health care because Sanders was opposed to some of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

This time it was Sanders who looked the most presidential, brushing off her criticisms, notably national health care, which he has been a strong supporter throughout his years in Washington.  Sanders doesn't think the ACA goes far enough.  He wants universal health care like they have in Vermont.  So, one had to wonder where Clinton was coming from leveling a charge like this against Bernie.

Hillary in…

New York State of Mind

Everyone knows how obnoxious New Yorkers are!  This is a stereotype that has been perpetuated for decades, largely to provide a sharp contrast to the rural voters Republicans aim at every election with their baseball and apple pie vision of America.  Even to the point that the Abner Doubleday myth was invented so that many persons believe baseball was invented in a cow field in upstate New York rather than at Elysian Fields, New Jersey, where the New York Knickerbockers staged their first games.

But, this election offers something different.  There is actually someone to defend the Big Apple in the GOP primaries, albeit not the best spokesperson you would like to have.  Donald Trump took Ted Cruz's accusation that New York does not represent American values and threw it right back into his face.  This may turn out to be the deciding point of the Republican nomination process, as in one fell swoop, Donald pulled the rug right out from under Ted's feet, his closest challenger. …

13 Hours

Michael Bay, the producer and director who has given us Armageddon, Transformers and The Rock, now presents 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi to once again revive all the conspiracy theories that surround the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Libya.  As you can expect, the conservative blogs have run wild with this movie, and there are no end of personal accounts like this one by Col. Andrew Wood, who says his special teams forces had been removed one month before the attack took place by the Obama administration.  Col. Wood conveniently fails to mention that funding had been cut by Congress for embassy security prior to the attack as well.  Needless to say, Michael Bay doesn't deal with such nuances.  What he specializes in are heavy hitting action movies with little or no nuances, which make it very easy for conservative audiences, or any audience for that matter, to understand.

"Bob" appears to be Michael Bay's stand-in for the Obama administration, …

The Big L

After years of haggling and unable to reach a deal, the NFL cobbled together its own tapes to produce a nearly full length version of Super Bowl I.  For some reason, no one thought to save the original broadcast in its entirety for posterity's sake.  The most complete tape is owned by an anonymous Pennsylvania resident, who when contacted by the NFL wanted a million dollars for the original broadcast.  The NFL wasn't about to be extorted for a tape they believed belonged to them by eminent domain, although they were willing to pay "low five-figures" for it, according to the lawyer of the tape owner.

Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, didn't quibble when he paid $2.4 million for the original scroll of On the Road, which he has been most generous in sharing with the public.  Yet, the NFL and its billionaire owners think the owner of this tape should give it up for the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl.

This is the same league, mind you, that gave ow…

Last Go Round

I imagine there are a lot of Republicans happy that this was President Obama's last State of the Union address, but many others felt he saved his best for last.  Rather than offer a laundry list of legislative goals, Obama painted his speech in broad strokes, giving it more color and vibrancy than he has in the past.  He answered his critics by highlighting his many accomplishments, yet criticizing himself for not healing the partisan divide.  At one point, he said that if he had been Lincoln or Roosevelt he might have bridged that divide but history tells us otherwise.

This has always been a bitterly divided nation.  Lincoln faced a bitter hard fought re-election only to be assassinated one year into his second term.  Roosevelt, Franklin I assume, overreached his authority and found himself at odds with Congress throughout his last years in office.  Neither were able to get a Civil Rights bill through Congress.  It would be Lyndon Johnson who would achieve that goal only to ali…

Robinson Crusoe on Mars

In watching The Martian, apparently the future is no better for NASA than it is now.  Even by its own estimates, we are at least 20 years away from a manned expedition to Mars, assuming they get the funding from Congress.  In this film, it was at least the third expedition to Mars, setting the date sometime around 2050, with NASA as cash-strapped as ever.

Another space oddity is mission commander Melissa Lewis's passion for disco music.  I guess she listened to these albums on her grandmother's old turntable, although her husband at one point proudly holds up an ABBA Greatest Hits gatefold album in a video message, which he picked up in an antique store, with no scratches no less.  It would probably be worth a small fortune by this time given the disco revival.

For the most part, The Martian has received rave reviews.  Even Neil de Grasse Tyson found little to complain about as far as the science goes.  He questioned some of the administrative decisions and the fact that NASA…

The braggadocia of it all

It was an eventful Sunday with Ricky Gervais seeming to want to end his run of hosting the Golden Globes by offering his most acerbic and uncensored comments yet.  He was merciless, but then that's what people love about Ricky.  What can you say about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which awards Best Musical or Comedy to The Martian?  I suppose because the soundtrack was principally derived from disco music of the 70s.

No sooner did the Golden Globe awards come to an end than we were dealt the sad news that David Bowie had died.  Ridley Scott actually used Starman in The Martian, when Astronaut Mark Whatney wasn't playing Abba and the Ohio Players from a playlist left by Chief Officer Melissa Lewis.  Not exactly the Mars David Bowie imagined back at the peak of the Glam Rock movement in the early 70s.

But none of this topped Sean Penn's published interview with El Chapo, which has received almost universal condemnation, including that of Marco Rubio, who found th…