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Showing posts from September, 2016

The Morning After

It didn't take Donald long to rebound, claiming "there was no sniffles," pointing to Drudge Report polls that showed him winning the debate, and getting a little help from conservative pundits like Morning Joe and Newt Gingrich.  But, probably the most telling comment of all came from Mayor Rudy, who felt Trump should skip out on the remaining debates given how unfair the questions were in the first debate.

Virtually every major media outlet gave Hillary the win Monday night.  It was clear to the approximately 100 million viewers that Trump was badly off his game and never really challenged Clinton throughout the night.  Caroline Framke of Vox said what threw off the Donald was the lack of crowd response.  Silence acts as a wet blanket for an improv candidate like Trump, who thrives off a lively audience.  But, it was more than that.  He was unable to bait her into an ugly exchange like we saw during the GOP debates, and he had no one to hide behind like he did Chris Ch…

Snifflin' Donald

There are so many ways one could go with last night's debate that it is hard to choose.  Probably the worst thing to come out of it is that Trump has a new nickname, Snifflin' Donald, as he seemed to be battling a cold or as Howard Dean tweeted, "Notice Trump sniffing all the time.  Coke user?"  Maybe the mic had been turned up to magnify his sniffles as they became the biggest takeaway from the evening.

The Donald appeared despondent afterward, claiming his mic was defective, but viewers had very little trouble hearing him.  I guess Donald didn't like the way he sounded -- loud, harsh, off balance and often incoherent.   What little traction he found early, when he attacked Hillary on her husband signing NAFTA into law, was lost when it came to his tax returns and how to address institutional racism.  He never regained his composure, even appearing to be sulking as Hillary continued to attack him on his taxes and shady business dealings.

Hillary was calm, cool …

Everything is Illuminated

During the Obama administration there have been a lot of incentives to move toward more energy-efficient building materials, heating and cooling systems, appliances, cars and street lighting in an effort to cut down on oil dependence.  As a result, we have seen a sharp drop in oil prices as supply has far outstripped demand.

One of the big shifts these past eight years has been in lighting.  Incandescent bulbs are no longer being produced and the cost of LED lighting has dropped considerably.  We refitted most of our home with LED lighting and not only is it more energy efficient, but provides considerably more light than standard halogen and incandescent bulbs.  The reason for that is that LED lights have a much higher color temperature on average.

The AMA recently published a study questioning the use of high-intensity LED street lamps, which many cities have adopted because they provide much greater illumination at significantly less cost.  At 4000K you can easily distinguish color…

Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

If you thought things couldn't get more kooky, think again.  Donald Trump has apparently invited Gennifer Flowers to the first presidential debate to sit in the front row in what is a rather lame effort to psych Hillary out.  This stems from his latest twitter war with Mark Cuban, who has been baiting Trump into rash statements in hopes of flustering the rival billionaire.  Cuban  had initially shown some interest in Trump way back in Spring but has since become a very vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton and proudly boasted of his front row seat at the first debate.

Trump is doing his best to make the first debate look like a Heavyweight title match.  He has even dragged fabled boxing promoter Don King into the mix.  All he needs now is Michael Buffer to announce the fight, I mean debate Monday night.

Yet, the "Manhattan Mauler" has been doing his best to lower expectations at the same time, claiming the debates are rigged against him.  But, more interesting is the phony…

#TerenceCrutcher

A not-so-funny thing happened while all those pundits and politicians were venting their rage on Colin Kaepernick in the wake of the New York-New Jersey bombings, two unarmed black men were gunned down in Tulsa and Charlotte by police officers.  The movement to sit, kneel or raise a fist during the national anthem has grown during the football season, not just at the professional level but at the college and high school level as well.  As a result, "patriots" like Steve King blamed Colin directly for the NY/NJ bombings.

It's the kind of mind-numbing stupidity that led many whites to turn their backs as police chiefs like Bull Connor turned dogs and fire hoses on black protesters in Birmingham, which is not lost on the black community.  Donald Trump addressed the issue at a rally in Philadelphia but his words fell flat when he foisted the blame on Obama and Clinton for creating this climate of unrest.

We are getting a replay of the late 1960s and early 70s when Nixon tr…

Manufacturing Consent

It's hard not talking about this election.  It has stirred up a level of ignorance not seen in a very long time.  The social media is lit up with memes like this one that infer that somehow we got along just fine before the federal income tax was introduced in 1913.  We didn't become a superpower until WWII thanks to federal income and corporate taxes, and would have never been able to undertake the interstate road system in the 1950s without these taxes, but that doesn't stop persons from posting memes they get from the comical conservative and other right-wing blogs.

Rather than make us smarter, the Internet appears to have made us dumber.  There is a wealth of information available at our fingertips, but for the most part we choose to ignore it, preferring instead to visit websites that support our insipid world views.  Social media has become a vast support network where you establish your social circle based on similar interests rather than broadening your views by h…

Who's Afraid of Edward Albee?

Most of us know Edward Albee through Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? the movie version, if we know him at all.  On top of that many of us probably thought the play was about Virginia Woolf when it had nothing to do with her.  According to Albee, the title came from a bathroom mirror in a nameless Greenwhich village saloon, where he saw it scrawled in soap and couldn't get it out of his head.  He saw it as an academic intellectual joke and felt it fit with what he was writing at the time.

The Daily Mirror called it "a sick play for sick people," and when awarded a Pulitzer Prize by the jury, it was rejected by the advisory board, who chose not to give an award for drama that year.  The jury resigned en masse.  But, Albee not only persevered, he flourished in his own inimitable way, turning out plays and eventually winning three Pulitzers for his work, when the committee could no longer summon up the courage to reject him.

To read this New York Times obituary, it all …

It's deja vu all over again

You ever wonder how polls can shift so dramatically despite being told that most persons have made up their minds this election?   It all depends on who you poll and for what purpose.

Last month, Hillary appeared to have an insurmountable 12-point lead in a Reuters Poll, but early this month that lead had completely disappeared and CNN had Trump up by 2 points.  Reuters still has Hillary up by 3.  Meanwhile, CNN's Poll of Polls has Clinton bouncing back to take a 2-point lead.

Chuck Todd exposed the CNN/ORC Poll that had that amazing 14-point turnaround.  Turns out the poll had taken the sampling disproportionately favoring "likely voters" with no college education.  CNN did it again by basing an Ohio poll on a sampling that heavily favored voters over 50.  It's not so much that Clinton is slipping in the polls as it is CNN manufacturing polls to make the race look closer than it actually is.  I suppose if they kept showing Hillary 4,6 or even 10 points ahead, view…

The media gives Donald a clean bill of health

When the going gets weird, the weird get weirder.  It really is a shame the good doctor isn't around to cover this campaign.  Hunter Thompson would have had a field day with this election cycle.  I don't even think he could have imagined Trump going on Dr. Oz to discuss a one-page summary of his physical examination.  It was such a momentous occasion that CNN and Fox were compelled to provide breaking news reports of the Trump campaign delivering this highly classified paper to the Oz studios, as apparently Trump was of two minds on whether to divulge this personal information or not.

Perhaps the only person more shameless than Trump is Dr. Oz, who has made a fortune off hypochondriacs and obese persons who will take advice from virtually any charlatan.  I can well imagine John Oliver's response to this utterly shameless act of self-promotion, as he is no friend of either Trump or Oz.  Of course, Donald presented himself as the very picture of good health and Dr. Oz seeme…

Semi-Tough

Donald Trump finally has some competition as the football season is upon us.  It is pretty hard to compete with all the antics in the NFL like Colin Kaepernick protesting the flag, Tom Brady forced to sit 4 games because of under-inflated balls from two seasons ago and a hapless Rams team that returned to Los Angeles only to get shut out by an equally lowly San Francisco.  Football is a multi-billion business and at one point the Donald wanted in, but the NFL didn't want any part of him.

Back in the 1980s, Trump bought the USFL franchise team New Jersey Generals.  The Donald wanted to make the USFL into a really big thing, so he bought the best players he could find like Heisman-trophy winners Herschel Walker and Doug Flutie.  Salaries weren't particularly "yuge" back then so the USFL owners could afford to buy a few marquee players to make their league shine.  However, most owners were content to keep this a summer league and not compete head to head with the might…

Life During Wartime

15 years on and many Americans still can't get past 911.  Thomas Hoepker waited five years before publishing this photo he took that day in Brooklyn, and it still wasn't long enough.  Hoepker suffered a torrent of abuse, even from those in the photo, who said they were in a profound state of shock, not making light of the situation as the photo appears to imply.  Photos can lie.

Part of the reason the image of the burning towers still burns bright in our minds is that we really haven't come to terms with it.  We look at it as some great harm inflicted on us from out of the blue, much like Pearl Harbor 60 years before.  We believe ourselves relatively safe from the conflicts that tear apart the world.  After all, this country went through both world wars essentially unscathed, and we never could quite bring ourselves to believe the Soviet Union would actually launch a nuclear warhead at us.  Like those young persons in the photos, world conflicts take place on some distant…

Obama to be put on Mount Rushmore

This story has gained enough traction on social media that Snopes felt the need to respond to it, a very sad indicator of the gullibility of much of the conservative electorate, which this juicy piece of gossip seems aimed at.  A short-lived  facebook "campaign" actually dates back to 2010, but this particular story stems from "American News" and began to be widely circulated after Jack Lew announced earlier this year that Harriet Tubbman would be put on the 20-dollar bill.  I guess if you are going to deface currency, why not a mountain?

I noticed a friend of mine had recently shared the bogus story on facebook, unfortunately not in jest.  Judging by the comments, quite a few others took it seriously as well.

Russia Today even picked up on the story in May, although the author noted that it was the desire of some historians, and referenced a HuffPost piece from November, 2012, that commented on the feasibility of adding another face to Mt. Rushmore.  To be fair,…

The Cool Dude

Gary Johnson comes across as a cleaned-up version of Lebowski, offering the kind of social liberalism many of us crave for, yet sees the economy in Milton Friedman terms.  Despite the glaring contradiction, Johnson has managed to appeal to Democrats and Republicans alike, mostly young ones thanks to his pro-pot position.  In fact, Cool Gary is for legalization of all drugs, which put him in a bit of a tight spot at a CNN town hall this past June, when he casually dismissed a woman's concern over the legalization of heroin.

This isn't the first time Johnson has campaigned as a Libertarian.  He was nominated by the party in 2012 after he decided not to run as a Republican in the primaries.  It was a watershed event for Libertarians as Cool Gary garnered one percent of the national vote, doubling the performance of any previous Libertarian candidate in a general election.  It helped that he was a recognizable face to more people, and had toned down the Libertarian message to one…

A Kinder, Gentler Trump?

In one of his most daring "pivots," Donald Trump is trying to recast himself as Abe Lincoln.  Of course, most of us are laughing at this latest transformation attempt, but it seems a few persons are taking him seriously.  The most important thing is that it has everyone talking.

This has been primed by conservative pundits who have tried to cast the Democratic Party as the one with the KKK heritage, not the Republican Party.  It doesn't matter that David Duke and other noted former KKK leaders have long identified themselves with the Republican Party, the GOP would like us to think that it still holds Abe Lincoln close to its heart.

What makes it even more strange is the number of noted conservatives who have had some pretty harsh things to say about Honest Abe.  Judge Nap has been one of the harshest critics of Lincoln.  In his mind, Lincoln imposed the Civil War on us rather than letting slavery die a natural death.  Nap added that Abe's tyrannical war made him th…

News with legs

It is nice having a range of cable news programs again.  For the last few years the only one we got from our analog cable subscriber was CNN, but with the new digital cable subscriber we get BBC, Euronews, and other premium channels if we so choose.  You realize how badly CNN has slipped behind other news networks, seeming to have adopted the Fox model of generating faux arguments with their round table discussions.  Kate Bolduan has emerged as their answer to Megyn Kelly, replete with plexiglass tables so you can see her legs better.  Chris Cuomo has become their "Hannity," stirring up unnecessary arguments mostly to hear himself talk, albeit to the left of the political spectrum.  Wolf Blitzer lords over the station like Baba O'Reilly, although he tries hard to keep his political views right down the middle.

I suppose the success of Kate Bolduan can be measured by SNL now lampooning At This Hour, and also the fan base she now has thanks to her sexy legs.  She also anc…

Calling Dr. House

In its initial run I caught the occasional episode of House.  I had always been a fan of Hugh Laurie and he played the part of the gimpy cynical doctor to perfection.  Well almost.  Now that I have had the chance to go back and watch the series from its initial pilot, thanks to Netflix, House is no longer so appealing.

What started as a witty take on Sherlock Holmes devolved into a soap opera over time, with way too much focus on the lives of House and Wilson and Cuddy and the young doctors that formed his diagnostic team at the fictional Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.  For some reason I had previously thought it was set in Boston, but maybe that was because I wrongly associated David Shore with St. Elsewhere.

The show was clearly more fun when Dr. House was diagnosing mysterious illnesses and having to deal with the petty maladies of clinic patients.  The first two seasons seemed to be grounded in actual cases, as there was often painful attention to details.  Andrew Holtz…