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Showing posts from September, 2017

Where in the world is Puerto Rico?

It's hard to know where to turn with all the competing headlines this past week, but somehow Puerto Rico remains the top story largely thanks to Trump's vacillation on lifting the Jones Act.  This delayed efforts to bring aid to the devastated American territory by other countries, who couldn't ship supplies directly to San Juan without heavy duties being imposed.

At first, Trump had a hard time locating the island, when pressed at a briefing with Spanish PM Rahoy, stating that it was difficult to get supplies to an island in the middle of the ocean.  Yet, as we should all know from geography class, Puerto Rico is part of a rim of islands in the Caribbean Sea.  Trump should know this since he has had real estate dealings on the island in the past, but maybe he thought a little "truthful hyperbole" might highlight how difficult it is to respond to the crisis?

He spent a full five days teeing off on the NFL and NBA, without a single tweet about Puerto Rico, which …

The Ballad of Judge Roy Moore

So, we have former Judge Roy Moore representing the Great State of Alabama in the United States Senate, assuming he wins the general election against Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate.  Moore rode into the polling station like the Lone Ranger, with putty gray cowboy hat and sunglasses.

One can only assume that Trump was forced to support Luther Strange, as that was probably Jeff Sessions' choice.  However, Trumpists in Alabama were solidly behind the Ten Commandments Judge, who kicked Big Luther to the curb in the special election primary.  I think even Trump saw the writing on the wall when he went down to the state with a banjo on his knee, giving what could only be described as a lukewarm endorsement for the interim senator.  He chose instead to rail against the NFL, "Rocket Man," and whatever else irked his addled brain.

Judge Roy came to fame in the early 2000s for placing a two-and-a-half-ton stone replica of the Ten Commandments in front of the state judicial …

Trump vs. the NFL

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now.  He is fired.  He's fired!'"
Leave it to Dotardly Don to blow the NFL national anthem protests out of the water.  Owners had been hoping that the protests would fade out over the course of the year but thanks to his fiery stump speech in Alabama, where he was promoting "Big Luther," they were forced to come to the defense of their players.  Even long-time friend Robert Kraft voiced his disappointment in Trump's coarse references.  Other owners stood with their players during the national anthem on Sunday, while entire teams stayed in their locker rooms while the anthem was being played.

This may come to be known as Black Sunday, the day the NFL stood up to the President of the United States, and to much of its fan base who seem to believe players have no right to express themselves in public.  The emer…

The Jimmy Kimmel test

One would have thought that after the long break, Republicans would have come back with a new resolve to work with Democrats on improving the Affordable Care Act.  But, we should know better by now.  They appear to have no shame, especially Bill Cassidy who four months ago went on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! and vowed that he would not support any bill that didn't pass the "Jimmy Kimmel test."  Needless to say, Jimmy Kimmel let Bill Cassidy know what he thought about this turn of events.

Cassidy and Graham have teamed up to push yet another "last ditch" attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, which appears to be gaining traction in the Senate thanks to compromises meant to appease wayward senators like McCain and Murkowsky.  The GOP has apparently given up on Susan Collins.  They need both McCain and Murkowsky because Rand Paul is opposing the bill on different grounds.  No one is sure how many persons Paul can drag with him, but Sen. Thune seems to think the GOP is…

The Life of Brian

I came into the middle of Love & Mercy last night, which was a bit confusing since there was a "Brian - Past" and "Brian - Future," played by Paul Dano and John Cusack respectively.  The "Brian - Past" was more interesting as it revolved around the making of the Beach Boys' classic Good Vibrations, a polyphonic gem of a song.  Director Bill Pohland meticulously recreated the studio scene featured in the "lost studio footage" that appeared in 2012.

Seems everyone recognized Brian's immense talent except his father, who taunted and abused him for years, making Brian feel that his songs never measured up to his father's standard.  Not only that but he ended up with a domineering psychotherapist in the 1980s, who insinuated himself into every aspect of Brian's life.  By this point, Brian was so strung out that it probably took a domineering figure to bring him back onto the stage, but Dr. Landy didn't stop there.  He became …

Fire and fury signifying nothing

Yesterday being a Tuesday, I should have known anything could happen.  Trump dropped the bomb on the UN, giving what some reporters have called George W. Bush's "axis of evil" speech on steroids.  John Kelly's facial expressions said it all.

Trump veered wildly off course, not only lashing out at North Korea's "rocket man," but all "rogue leaders," as if he was the new sheriff in town.  He said he would "totally destroy" North Korea if he had to, which would be unsettling if he had any support among his staff, much less Congress, for such wild rhetoric.  Nikki Haley and Rex Tillerson similarly appeared dazed and confused by Trump's hyperbolic rhetoric.

He chortled on twitter that he "met with leaders of many nations that agreed with much (or all) of what [he] stated in [his] speech!"  The only one smiling was Bibi Netanhayu who is trying to get Trump to tear up the Iran nuclear agreement so that he can take out their n…

The Big Whiff

Looks like it was a big whiff at the UN for Donald Trump on Monday.  His speech was remarkably bland by his standards.  A bit disappointing since his aides indicated Trump would have some strong words to say to the general assembly.  Basically, he just talked, which is something he admonished the UN for in a December 2016 tweet.  So, was this stage fright, or did the president just get lost in his own words?

Of course, he was quick to condemn North Korea and Iran, but there wasn't much fire or fury in his comments.  Seems he has pretty much accepted there isn't much he can do about Pyongyang, when there is little will on the part of China and Russia to back sanctions.  Putin chose not to attend, preferring to watch the fireworks show along the Baltic border instead.  President Xi similarly skipped the assembly, having decided enough was said in a telephone conversation and there was no more to add.  This doesn't say much for Trump's ability to unite nations against No…

Hear MOAR roar!

So much for the Mother of All Rallies.  No more than 1800 Trumpers pitched up to show their support for the president, turning the rally into prime fodder for late night comics.  As it turned out, the Juggalos drew a bigger crowd, holding a free concert by the Lincoln Memorial to protest the FBI designating them as a "hybrid gang."

Yet MOAR has to be happy it got as much coverage as it did.  Even BBC devoted a segment to them last night.  It seems no matter how small the Trump rally, it still gets coverage as the media loves nothing more than showing what a Trump supporter looks like.  This is pretty much how the Birther campaign gained traction in 2009.  
Our flighty president escaped to his New Jersey retreat after another week marred by controversy.  He was getting it from all ends.  Right-wingers were furious he backtracked on DACA by working on a "deal" with the Democrats.  Others were upset when he once again equated Antifa with the neo-Nazis in Charlottesv…

There's Something About Hillary

In case you haven't heard, Hillary Clinton has a new book out.   Not surprisingly, response has been all over the board, largely because she seems to take pretty much everyone to task, except herself, for her electoral loss.

One of her favorite targets is Bernie Sanders, who she thinks undermined her in the primaries, and laid the groundwork for Donald Trump's "Crooked Hillary" campaign.  That's a pretty bold assertion, especially given that he campaigned for her quite actively in the general election, particularly in the Midwestern states where she was most vulnerable.

What's most interesting in her attacks on Bernie is that she portrays him as a shallow politician, pushing gimmicks rather than solutions.  She compares him to the "deranged hitchhiker" in Ben Stiller's There's Something About Mary.  Not having seen the movie, I had to watch a clip to familiarize myself with this character.

It seems Hillary picked up her metaphor from a me…

Bad Karma

So many ironies to the two hurricanes.  Between the global warming denials, the conspiracy theories and just plain stupid comments made by religious political leaders, one would like to think there might be more acceptance of the fact our planet is changing after all the destruction these past two weeks, but probably not.

Rush Limbaugh was forced to evacuate after insisting Irma was a liberal conspiracy.  He claimed on radio that this faux storm was nothing more than a means for retail and grocery stories to have clearing house sales and for the liberal media to preach to us about global warming.  Mercifully, he was off the air for a couple days as the massive storm passed over Florida.

For years, he and fellow global warming denier Rick Scott have been trying to tell Floridians there is nothing unusual about these prolonged hurricane seasons or that the cyclones are two, three, even four times bigger than they ever were before.  Irma dwarfed Andrew, which hit South Florida in 1992. …

Is there nothing sacred anymore?

We can assume Alex Jones and Jim Bakker aren't as stupid as they look.  They are successfully using tragedies to promote their own products -- a tried and true method for Evangelists for decades.  But, it really takes the cake when you use a film as ludicrous as Geostorm to promote a theory that Irma may be government engineered.  Even more amazing is that Media Matters devotes time to Jones' half-baked conspiracy theories.

For a guy who is constantly urging his viewers to buy his products to keep his show on television, it is amazing how much money Alex Jones has managed to sock away.  His Infowars is valued at $75 million by the Worth of Web Calculator.  Of course that's pretty small potatoes compared to Trump, but it really makes you wonder just how gullible many Americans are?

Jim Bakker has been hawking Doomsday Survivor Kits for quite a while now, so using Irma to give his business a boost should come as no surprise.  He looks slightly more respectable with his whi…

Are you ready to rumble?

Maybe rescinding DACA is just a means to draw Obama out of retirement.  Trump badly needs a bogeyman to rally his base behind him, and who better than the man they all love to hate -- Barack Obama!

The former president had laid down the gauntlet during the transition period, urging the incoming president not to touch DACA.  Here we are 7 months into Trump's term and he does exactly that, using Jeff Sessions and the "rule of law" to drive a dagger into the heart of Obama's signature immigration reform measure.

Not sure what sort of demons this will unleash.  Senators in a rare show of solidarity have vowed to go back to immigration reform.  The only problem is getting such a bill through the House.  Boehner refused to even put the 2013 bill on the floor, saying he required a majority of Republicans to do so.   The RNC turned immigration into an effective campaign issue in the 2014 midterms, winning full Republican control of Congress.  There was no action on DACA or…

Restless natives

The problem with Trumpism is that there is no break from it.  Everything he tweets or says is dissected by the press.  Even his hand gestures have come under scrutiny as to possible white supremacist links.  Just as it is hard for him to separate fact from fiction, it is hard for us to any longer determine what is real or fake about this administration.
It seems we have reached a tipping point, however, as calls for war grow louder from the White House.   Trump and his generals have backed themselves into a corner on North Korea and there no longer seems a way forward short of confrontation.  Trump let Gen. Mattis and UN ambassador Nikki Haley do the talking but the message was one he could have just as easily posted on twitter.
Former advisers say Trump is desperate for any sort of victory.  He would love nothing more than to fly onto an aircraft carrier like Bush did after declaring Iraq "mission accomplished" in  May of 2003.   This is the stuff of television ratings and…

"I want dreamers to come from the United States"

Trump seems to enjoy nothing more than to make someone beg.  Like the classic bully, he goes after the weakest members of our society -- transgenders and now "dreamers."  Why is anyone's guess, as they represent no threat to him, or for that matter the constituency he has chosen to cater to in this administration.  Very few persons are actively calling for an end to DACA, just like few are calling for a ban on transgenders in the military.

Maybe he has to take his rage out on someone, given that Little Kim has made him look impotent, Russiagate isn't going away, and he was forced to make a return trip to Texas after showing so little heart the first time around.  This time he actually visited Houston and the waterlogged parts of Louisiana that were hardest hit by Harvey.  Trump never manages to get things right the first time, or for that matter any time.

Many persons dismissed his early morning tweet on a military transgender ban as a cruel joke, but after a month…

Between the hashmarks

Football season is upon us and once again the main topic of discussion is the national anthem.  Some are sitting in support of Colin Kaepernick, who remained unsigned through the pre-season despite being the best quarterback available in free agency.  Denver would rather experiment with a slough of novices than sign a quarterback they were willing to trade for a year ago, but couldn't come to terms with the 49ers.  Colin would fetch a much lower price today.  Seattle had a shot at Colin but chose to stick with second-year quarterback Trevone Boykin, who ran into legal problems during the offseason and hasn't exactly shined in the pre-season.  Baltimore owner Steve Bisciotti literally asked for prayers in helping to reach a decision on Kaepernick.

It really makes you wonder what's at stake here -- the integrity of the NFL or how to respond to a restless fan base that has very strong emotions when it comes to the national anthem?  The NFL has remained as equivocal as you w…