Friday, April 28, 2017

A new perspective on dietary laws

"Wild boars mauled three Islamic State (Isil) fighters to death near the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, according to Kurdish fighters."

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Count On Me

From a piece on the new book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign:

"Mr. President, I'm sorry," she said, according to a Washington Post review of the book due out today.

The White House urged Mrs. Clinton to concede as Mr. Trump claimed battleground states--some by slim margins--because Mr. Obama wanted to avoid a messy recount.

They simply didn't want a messy recount?  And because the White House didn't want that, Hillary complied?

I'm certain Hillary wouldn't have minded a messy recount if she thought it could have made a difference.  Same for the White House.  If they urged her to concede, it's because it was over.

Let's recall the margin of Trump's victory.  Electorally, he won handily. The three surprise states that put Trump over the top were Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  He could have lost any two of those (assuming no faithless electors) and still taken the Presidency.

He won Michigan by over 10,000 votes.  He won Wisconsin by over 20,000.  He won Pennsylvania by over 40,000.  Close elections, but not really recount close.

Reminds of the 1960 election, which some Republicans are still whining about.  The popular vote was close, but not the Electoral College.  Even if Chicago chicanery handed Illinois to Kennedy, that state alone wouldn't have swung the election.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Update

I should wait till the end of the year, but with 2017 one-third over (wow!), let's have a quick look at whether or not my crystal ball was cloudy.

The following are predictions I made on January 1.  My comments are in italics.
     
Domestic Politics:

The Republicans will repeal Obamacare, despite ferocious opposition from the Democrats. However, they will use half measures, not really pleasing anyone.
 
Looks like it may soon be happening, though we'll see.

Trump's first nominee to the Supreme Court will please conservatives and will be confirmed.  A contingent prediction--if the Dems try to filibuster, the Repubs will use the nuclear option.

Called it.

There will be no hearings for another Supreme Court nominee in 2017.

We'll see.  Some are saying Kennedy or Thomas should retire to let in a new person, but I ask why would they do that voluntarily?

Strong rifts will appear among the Republicans--and both Trumpians and establishment GOP will complain about certain things the Trump administration does.

I guess this is so.

Trump will have trouble getting the entire amount he wants for infrastructure.

He hasn't really tried that hard so far.

Trump will start building The Wall, but construction will go slowly.

If he's started at all, it's going very slow.

The Keystone Pipeline construction will continue apace.

Seems to be.

Trump will attempt to cut off money to sanctuary cities.

He's certainly attempted it.

Former President Obama will speak regularly in public about the direction of the country.

So far wrong.  He's been too busy enjoying himself and making money.

There will be a fair amount of civil unrest in the U.S.

I think this is true.  Perhaps depends on what is meant by unrest, but there have been huge demonstrations and certainly lots of trouble on campus.


International Politics:

Cuba will remain solidly communist.

I think so.
The U.S. will seriously consider pulling out of the UN.

I think not.  Same for NATO.

Trump will have trouble renegotiating trade treaties.

We'll see.
There will be more than one major terrorist attack.

Alas, yes.

The EU will be on the verge of falling apart.

I'd say yes, though it depends on how you define "verge."


The Economy:

By the end of the year, the Dow will be above 20000.

A decent chance.

By the end of the year, unemployment will be over 5%.

Let's hope not.

Gas prices will not be significantly higher than they are now (which is a bit over 2 bucks a gallon).

We'll see.


Sports:

The BCS Bowl will be a repeat, with Alabama defeating Clemson.

Called it. (Though is it still call the BCS Bowl?)

The Patriots will win a hard-fought Super Bowl.  (My team, the Lions, will not get past the first playoff round.)

I'm not sure if hard-fought is strong enough to describe the Patriots' comeback.

The Wolverines will take the Big Ten Conference.

We'll see.


Popular Culture:

Movies:  The Great Wall will disappoint. [correct] The Fate Of The Furious will not be as big as Furious 7[correct if you're talking domestic]  Wonder Woman won't come close to Batman V. Superman numbers.  Dunkirk will be a fiscal disappointment, as will Blade RunnerStar Wars: Episode VIII will be the highest-grossing picture of the year (including its 2018 receipts), but it won't surpass The Force Awakens.

TV: Game Of Thrones:  Season seven (with only seven episodes) will have Arya reunite with at least one sibling.  Jon Snow will not find out his real parents.  The Hound will either fight his brother or meet Arya (or both).  Dorne will support Dany.  Dany will meet Davos, or Brienne, or both.  Ser Jorah will see Khaleesi again. Samwell will become a maester. White Walkers will broach the Wall.  Littlefinger will not die.  Tyrion will not meet Cersei.  We haven't heard the last of the Iron Bank of Braavos.

The Walking Dead:  In the rest of season seven, Negan will die, Rick, Carl, Daryl, Carol, Morgan and Michonne will not. [wrong about Negan]

Better Call Saul:  Jimmy will finally become Saul.  Mike will start working for Gus. [Jimmy is taking a long time to change, but we'll see.  Mike is already working for Gus]

Oscars: Some tricky choices here.  Best Picture will come down to La La Land and Manchester By The Sea, with the former winning. [wrong, unless you go by Faye Dunaway's word] Best Director: Damien Chazelle. [yes]  Best Actor: Casey Affleck (though his personal scandals might bring him down).  [yes] Best Actress:  Very cloudy here--especially with the Adams/Huppert/Portman/Stone quartet.  I'll go with Portman, though I may change my mind later. [did change my mind, but too late]  Best Supporting Actor:  Mahershala Ali (though it won't be fair if Dev Patel is nominated, since he's the lead in the second half of the film) [yes].  Supporting Actress:  Michelle Williams or Viola Davis.  It's Davis's turn, but Williams had the more memorable crying scene. [Davis won] "City Of Stars" will take Best Song. [yes]

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Goes Good With Tomato Soup

Did you know April is grilled cheese month?  Such a simple yet satisfying sandwich.






Inside baseball

I admit this made me laugh out loud.

But really, how iconic is the first image? I wouldn't think it would be enough to sustain the joke.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Also "Racketeer"

A lot of people have been mocking Howard Dean for claiming "hate speech" isn't protected speech.  As they should, since "hate speech" is as protected as any other speech.  Dean tried to claim he was referring to the Chaplinsky case, but, as everyone knows, that's about "fighting words," which is not the same thing at all.

But let's look a bit at the case.  It's about a guy named Chaplinsky who called a city official names and was fined for using offensive language in public.  He challenged the law on First Amendment grounds but it was upheld by the Supreme Court.

And what was it he said?  Well, a couple things, but one of things he called the marshal was "a damned fascist."

Got that?  Calling someone a fascist is fighting words, and not protected by freedom of speech.

So, I assume from now on, Howard Dean and all those protesters who don't want certain people to speak on campus will show their respect for the law by no longer calling anyone a fascist.

Everything you need to know about John Kasich

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Up In The Valley

Silicon Valley, season 4, debuts tonight. You always wonder where they'll go each season, because it's a tricky concept--the guys have to always be on the verge of success, but always failing.  In fact, tonight's episode is entitled "Success Failure."

Anyway, we're just about back to full strength, TV-wise.

Homeland and a few other shows recently finished their seasons, but look what we've got: new Fargo (with a great new cast), new Better Call Saul, new The Leftovers (which just keeps getting better), new Veep, new Brooklyn Nine-nine.

That should hold me until we get to new Rick And Morty and Game Of Thrones in the summer.

In other words, no need to start reading books just yet.

Heavy snowfall with large flakes in calm wind

And I thought this was just a funny concept in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

But the revered Icelandic language, seen by many as a source of identity and pride, is being undermined by the widespread use of English, both for mass tourism and in the voice-controlled artificial intelligence devices coming into vogue. Linguistics experts, studying the future of a language spoken by fewer than 400,000 people in an increasingly globalized world, wonder if this is the beginning of the end for the Icelandic tongue.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Main Man

Cuba Gooding, Sr. has died, a week short of his 73rd birthday.

Even if his son weren't famous, we'd be mourning his death, since he was lead singer of the great soul group The Main Ingredient.



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