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Thursday :: November 16, 2017

Sen. Al Franken Gets A Groping Allegation of His Own

Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles reporter has issued a statement detailing a pretty disgusting encounter with Al Franken in 2006. Franken was not a Senator at the time. The story ends with a photo of him grabbing her breasts while she's asleep on the military plane home from Afghanistan.

The alleged incident occurred during her 9th ISO Tour to entertain the troops. (Her father was a Vietnam vet and her husband (then her boyfriend) is an Air Force Pilot.

Franken had written some skits for the show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many USO shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.

You can read the rest at the link. [More...]

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Execution Inmate Poked for 30 Minutes, No Usable Veins

Ohio began the process of executing Alva Campbell, a 69-year-old inmate with medical problems yesterday morning. The executioners jabbed him with needles for 30 minutes, in his arm and below his knee, trying to find a usable vein to inject him with the lethal drugs. They couldn't find one. At 9:40 a.m, the reporters were told to leave the room, and the execution was halted.

Gov. John Kasich has rescheduled the state-ordered killing for June, 2019. Why that date? Unknown. [More...]

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Tuesday :: November 14, 2017

Tuesday Night Open Thread

From Tina Brown's memoir: Donald once poured red wine down the back of a gown worn by Vanity Fair journalist Marie Brenner (and told another journalist he had done the same to Leona Helmsley.)

In news worth reading: An investigation by the BBC uncovers a deal to let ISIS members leave Raqqa as it was falling. The Washington Post reports on Russia using video game images on the topic of the U.S. colluding with ISIS. Bellingcat's report is here.

A new report commissioned by Democrats on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee addresses how much land the U.S. could seize under eminent domain to build Trump's border wall. The Trump Administration has not disclosed what this might cost: [More...]

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AG Sessions Testifies, Denies Lying About Russia

Attorney General Jefferson Sessions testified before Congress today about Donald Trump's campaign and Russia. He denied lying to Congress. He just has a bad memory. (Warning: auto-play video, shame on the NY Times.)
I have always told the truth, Mr. Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee, adding that he stood by his previous testimony because I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports.
In October, he claimed to be unaware of anyone in the campaign who had contacts with Russians. He also said, And I dont believe it happened, he said then. [More...]

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Don Jr. in the Soup Again

Via the New Yorker, Donald Trump. Jr. is in the soup again, this time over his contacts with Wikileaks. And according to the New Yorker, Mike Pence has been taken for a ride again, or else he's lying.

I wish Trump Sr. would stay in Asia. Unfortunately, he's returning home to make more of a mess for our country.

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Monday :: November 13, 2017

Monday Open Thread

Bill Gates is investing $50 million in Alzheimer's research. He says men in his family have suffered from the disease.

I switched from iPhone5s to a Samsung Galaxy 8 last month and I'm still struggling to adjust to the differences. One thing that's great is AT&T (and maybe others) are offering Direct TV Now for $10 a month with no contract (including live and local channels) and HBO for life. With one click of your phone, and no Apple TV or other gadget needed, it mirrors to you big TV. Only downside: You can't change the language of the closed captions -- if the show is in Spanish, the captions will be too. Other downside: There's no recorder. Still, I'm not sure it's worth keeping Comcast at $200 a month for internet and TV. But I do miss my iPhone.

I'm not seeing any other news to report on at the moment.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Friday :: November 10, 2017

Friday Open Thread: TL (Grand) Baby Karter News

The TL kids have sent out the first photos of their new 9 pound baby girl, born at 3:30 pm yesterday. She even has a cool name -- Karter.

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Tuesday :: November 07, 2017

Election Day Across America: A Day of Firsts

Democrats won from coast to coast yesterday.

In addition to Dems taking both Governor races in New Jersey and Virginia, it was a day of firsts: The first transgender legislator in Virgina.

The first Sikh Mayor in Hoboken, NJ. And Charlote, NC elects its first African-American Mayor.

This does not bode well for Donald Trump. Aside from the election results, which are impossible to disassociate from unhappiness with his occupancy of the oval office, there's this: [More...]

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Tuesday Open Thread: Baby Day

Update 11/8: 3:30 pm: A healthy baby girl has arrived, 8 lbs. 15 ozs! Mom and baby are doing well!

The TL kids are at the hospital this morning where they will will hopefully deliver a healthy baby girl. I'm on pins and needles, so until I get more news, here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

Update 10:45 pm MT: No baby yet, labor continues!

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Saturday :: November 04, 2017

Donna Brazile: Fact, Fiction, Bias or Fantasy?

Donna Brazile has a major fact problem with her bizarre claim Hillary rigged the primaries. It's called evidence. The contract she refers to as support for her claim actually refutes it. Her claim, according to the Washington Post:

Brazile also details how Clinton effectively took control of the DNC in August 2015, before the primaries began, with a joint fundraising agreement between the party and the Clinton campaign. She said the deal gave Clinton control over the DNC’s finances, strategy and staff decisions — disadvantaging other candidates, including Sanders. “This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity,” she writes.

Here's the document, obtained by NBC News. It specifically applies to the general election, not the primaries.

[More...]

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Friday :: November 03, 2017

Friday Open Thread

Time for a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Thursday :: November 02, 2017

Senor de Los Cielos 5: The Finale

Note: No one has the time or the interest to read a post this long about a TV show in a foreign language. I've written it more for posterity than for reading enjoyment. Janis Joplin once joked that "Mercedes Benz" was a song with "great social and political import." Joking aside, that's how I feel about well-done narco-dramas, and Senor de los Cielos in particular. Yes, it's a fictionalized account of the life of a real life trafficker, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, and his family and loves, with exaggerated characters and events. But, unlike a Mercedes Benz, there are glimpses of political and social realities in the stories that I think give them a greater meaning. Also, I think many of the actors' performances, which take months to film, and the high production quality, deserve greater attention.

So don't feel like you have to read the whole thing, or any of it. It's enough that someone somewhere, googling for information about the show or its actors, will eventually come across it.

Update (recap and spoiler alert): By now anyone who is interested in Senor de los Cielos 5 has seen the finale or read what happens. It was good, and the best part is, there is going to be a Season 6. Here are 31 photos with captions from Telemundo, showing what happens in the finale. [More...]

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Reports That Trump Blames Kushner's Advice for Russia Problems

Several media outlets are reporting that Donald Trump is now blaming Jared Kushner's bad advice for his Russia problems.

Speaking to Steve Bannon on Tuesday, Trump blamed Jared Kushner for his role in decisions, specifically the firings of Mike Flynn and James Comey, that led to Mueller’s appointment, according to a source briefed on the call. When Roger Stone recently told Trump that Kushner was giving him bad political advice, Trump agreed, according to someone familiar with the conversation. “Jared is the worst political adviser in the White House in modern history,” Nunberg said. “I’m only saying publicly what everyone says behind the scenes at Fox News, in conservative media, and the Senate and Congress.” (The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment by deadline.)

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Ivanka Visits Japan

Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of Donald Trump, whose shoe factory in China has been reported for violating human rights, has traveled to Japan to speak at the country's “World Assembly of Women” conference.

Has her father become so unpopular that he needs Ivanka to grease the skids for him? He arrives two days later:

That visit will include a round of golf at a fancy country club and a banquet, but no headline speech. That job will fall instead to his daughter. Ivanka Trump will give a “special speech” on female entrepreneurship and women's participation in the economy.

Donald Trump's approval rating is at the lowest rate ever. Is he now using his model-ish looking daughter as a foil? [More...]

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Republicans Introduce Their Tax Cut Plan

Republicans have introduced their own tax cut bill. Is anyone surprised the cuts help businesses and the wealthy?

House Republicans on Thursday unveiled a tax cut plan that would slash the corporate rate and lower the personal taxes of most Americans but also limit a cherished deduction for homeowners, as President Donald Trump and the GOP seek to deliver on the first tax revamp in three decades.

Another false Trump bragging claim, according to Reuters: that his cuts would be the largest in history for corporate rates and individuals. It's only true for corporate rates. [More...]

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