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Friday :: July 29, 2016

Jabhat al Nusra in Splits From al Qaida and Changes Name

For at least a week, there have been reports that the leader of Jabhat al Nusra in Syria, Abū Muhammad al-Jūlānī, (sometimes spelled al-Jolani and al-Joulani and al-Golani), is about to announce the group's split from al Qaida.

Yesterday, it happened. Announcements were made by both groups, emphasizing this is not an ideological split. The U.S says it's just a rebranding, PR move. Al Qaida and al Nusra say it's much more than that. [More...]

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Thursday :: July 28, 2016

Thursday Night DNC: I'm With Her

Update: The theme: We are Stronger together.

Hillary did what she needed to do. She was Presidential, confident, experienced, committed, and determined. It's so easy to picture her as Commander in Chief.

Her ending: The world is watching. Let's be stronger together. Let's look to the future. Let's build a better tomorrow for our children.

The crowd erupts. Tim Kaine joins her on stage. Then Bill. Donald Trump must feel like chopped liver right now. He should -- that's all he is.

Highlights below:

"I am not here to repeal the Second Amendment. I'm not here to take away your guns." I'm here to keep you from being killed by someone who shouldn't have a gun in the first place. [More..]

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Thursday Night Open Thread: Non-Election Edition

Windows 10 free upgrades end tomorrow. I've been dreading installing it on my office computer, because like everything these days, text is an afterthought to graphic icons and video. I have been using Windows 10 on my laptops for 6 months and I still waste far too much time trying to find things. I like text, not pictures. I rarely find the icons intuitive.

Here's the good news. This morning when I got the message "Your computer is ready to upgrade" and it told me all my files would be in the same place and I could switch back if I didn't like Windows 10, I took a deep breath and hit the "OK" button.

For a few hours I worked on documents while it was doing something in the background. Then I left and forgot about it. When I got back around 5 pm, there was a big message on the screen saying I was ready to go. The best part was it asked me if I wanted to use custom settings (like for Groove music and Windows photo program) and had a very small button to click that said "no, use my existing programs to open everything." So I clicked the very small button and lo and behold: My desktop looks just like it did in Windows 7, my photos open with Adobe Photoshop and my music and video is in iTunes. It also gave me the choice to turn off all the notifications to Microsoft and syncing apps and location services, which of course I chose to do. [More...]

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Wednesday :: July 27, 2016

Weds Night DNC: The "Dangerous Demagogue" vs the Qualified Woman Who Never Quits

Update: Obama knocked it out of the park at the end. So forceful, uplifting, genuine... and Here's Hillary! With Stevie Wonder's "Signed Sealed, Delivered" playing the background, the two of them make an amazing sight. I think Bill Clinton is so overcome with emotion he might cry. What a moment. Just the best. Thank you, President Obama. Welcome, Hillary Clinton. Anyone who doesn't think she will own this election is delusional. Americans are a lot of things, but they are not stupid enough to elect the inexperienced egotist Donald Trump.

Update: It's Obama time. After that horribly weak and depressing introductory video, I hope he reverses the tone and has something inspiring to say.

He does. He calls Hillary the woman who never quits, who is absolutely qualified to be President. He praises and vouches for Tim Kaine.

Best line about Trump: "Don't boo, Vote." Good question he asks: Does anyone believe that someone who never did anything for working people is now going to be your daddy?

Obama says he looks much older now than he did at his first convention 12 years ago. That would be Boston in 2004. Here's a photo I took of him at the Bloggers' Breakfast in Boston at the DNC: [More...]

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Tuesday :: July 26, 2016

Tuesday Night DNC: Clinton Time

I just tuned on the TV for the first time today. I caught the last part of Madeline Albright and thought she was terrific. I purposely waited until certain mothers were finished.

Now it's time for Bill Clinton.

"In the spring of 1971, I met a girl."

Bill looks very healthy, rested and tan.

He met Hillary at law school and it took him a few days to talk do anything but stare at her. She finally came up to him and said, "I'm Hillary Rodham, who are you?"

"We've been walking and talking and laughing together ever since." Through good times and bad, joy and heartbreak. "We built up a lifetime of memories."

"Knowing her was one of the greatest gifts Hillary ever gave me." [More....]

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Tuesday Afternoon Open thread

Open Thread.

Bill Clinton tonight in the 10 o'clock hour. Also Meryl Streep and Alicia Keys.

At 8 Mothers of the Movement.

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My Day In Philly at the DNC

I start at the 12 minute mark and drone on for an hour.

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Scott "Chachi" Baio Being Unavailable, Trump Provides Omarosa As Foreign Policy Expert

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Monday :: July 25, 2016

Bernie Sanders Speaks: "No One is More Disappointed Than I Am"

Bernie comes through at the end:

"Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding President and I am proud to stand with her tonight. Thank you very much."

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Original Post

Entering to Simon and Garfunkle's "America," Bernie Sanders takes the podium. He looks rested and tan. He looks happy, his young supporters in the audience do not.

Bernie touts Elizabeth Warren and Michelle Obama. He thanks the hundreds of thousands of volunteers in his campaign and his 2 1/2 million campaign supporters. He thanks the 13 million Americans who "voted for the political revolution", which gave him the "1,846 pledged delegates here tonight." He looks forward to their votes at the roll call tomorrow night. (Is he still asking his supporters to vote for him?)[More...]

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Monday Night at the DNC

Update: Michelle Obama looks terrific, that blue is a great color for her and her dress really showcases her super-toned arms.

"I trust Hillary to lead this country because I've seen her devotion to children, not just her own, who she has raised to perfection...Hillary has spent decades doing the relentless work to make a difference in their lives."

"When she didn't win the nomination 8 years ago, she didn't get angry or disillusioned. Hillary didn't pack up and go home."

"Hillary doesn't buckle under pressure." She never takes the easy way out. She doesn't give up.

Really great speech. Bill Clinton, in the audience, was ecstatic. So was the crowd. [More...]

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DNC Opens in Philadelphia

It's Day One of the DNC. Among the prominent speakers tonight are Michelle Obama,Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, will not open the convention (she resigned this weekend.) The opening, at 4pm, will be done by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, secretary of the Democratic National Committee.

The online streaming coverage seems messy, with intrusive comment feeds, live pundit commentary and multiple video frames. The You Tube channel for the DNC is here. [More....]

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Sunday :: July 24, 2016

El Proceso Scores Interview with Rafael Caro Quintero

The DEA and Mexico (at the request of the U.S.) have been trying to find Rafael Caro-Quintero since 2013, when Mexico released him from prison after serving 28 years of a 40 year sentence, following a court decision later reversed.

I doubt they had a clue where he is. And I wonder if they haven't just used an old trick on him: Accuse him of something he hasn't done so he surfaces to make a denial. If so, it worked, because El Proceso will broadcast an interview with Caro Quintero from an undisclosed location today -- his first since his 2013 release from prison. [More...]

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Saturday :: July 23, 2016

Saturday Night News and Open Thread

Here's an interesting article about abusive conditions at a Honduras factory where Donald Trump shirts are manufactured.

Employees at a textile factory that made Trump shirts report dangerous, abusive conditions — harsh even for Honduras.

Politico takes a look behind the vetting process that resulted in the selection of Tim Kaine for Hillary's veep.

Hillary and Kaine made their first appearance today. In the short video clip of their appearance, he doesn't seem boring at all. I kind of like him. But then I could care less about his (or Bernie Sanders') positions on trade or Wall Street -- I'm more concerned with how faith-oriented he is. I don't like religion in politics. Hopefully he'll keep his religious views to himself. With Hillary beaming throughout the appearance like she just won the lottery, I'm revising my opinion that she wasn't thrilled with this choice. Clearly, she is. I'm sure she knows what she's doing, so Clinton-Kaine it is -- I'm on board.[More...]

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Friday :: July 22, 2016

Hillary Picks Tim Kaine as Running Mate

Hillary Clinton has picked Tim Kaine as her running mate. What a dull, uninspiring, lackluster choice. He seems as exciting as Mike Pence. But, it really didn't matter who she picked. No one will honestly claim they have decided to vote for Trump because she picked Kaine instead of someone else.

Still, it's disappointing Hillary went the so called safe route instead of adding a refreshing newcomer or a minority to the ticket. I wonder if she would have chosen Kaine if Trump hadn't chosen Pence. If not, then her choice is reactive and responsive. I'd rather she grabbed the initiative and made bold choices.

Since Trump will have made himself unacceptable to everyone but the most angry, marginalized and under-informed voters, and his own children, I'm still confident she'll win in November. But I'm not buying she's "thrilled" to make this announcement.

Update: Nate Silver at 538 analyzes Kaine's likely effect on Hillary's chances in November. He says he'll help a little, but not much.

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Munich: Lone Shooter, Native German, Killed Himself

Update: Not ISIS, not any terror group. 18 year old David Ali Sonboly was just another loony teenage wolf acting on his own. He was obsessed with shooting rampages. He had undergone psychiatric treatment. He was depressed. He had been bullied at school. He lived with his family. His parents are Shiite Muslims (the enemy of ISIS which is Sunni) who migrated to Germany. He was a child of migrants, not a migrant hater. His target was kids. He didn't use a long rifle but a handgun, which had been stolen, not acquired lawfully.

So this had no connection to ISIS or Islam and was not motivated by right wing racism or Germany's migrant policy. The media sure got this one wrong.

Bump and Update: Munich police held a press conference on the shootings. There was one shooter and he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. Police say he acted alone. He has been identified him as an 18 year old native born German of Iranian descent. He had been in Munich for at least 2 years and was not known to law enforcement. Police say they doubt he was not affiliated with any terrorist group. [More...]

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