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Friday :: September 18, 2020

R.I.P. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away today from complications of pancreatic cancer.

Ginsburg had experienced a series of health issues. In July she disclosed she had a recurrence of cancer after bouts with pancreatic cancer in 2019 and 2009. She also survived bouts with lung cancer in 2018 and colon cancer in 1999.

Tonight is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. According to Jewish wisdom (called Midrash), a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah is a tzaddik, a person of great righteousness and justice.

when a tzaddik departs, then the "glory (hod), splendor (ziv), and beauty (hadar)" that infuse his being accompany him as he moves on. There is a profound feeling of gratitude for the gifts the tzaddik bestowed upon the community while he was present. At the same time, there is an unavoidable and genuine sense of loss that marks his departure.

The politics of replacement have already begun. But for today, let us all remember she was indeed a Champion of Justice. May she rest in peace.

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Sunday :: September 13, 2020

Giuliani's Golfer Son Wants to Run for Mayor of New York

This is the funniest thing I've read all day. Andrew Giuliani, the golfing son of Rudy hired by Donald Trump in 2017 as an "assistant to the public liaison office" for which taxpayers shelled out $90k a year says he is seriously thinking of running for Mayor of New York:

“I am certainly thinking about it. It’s something that a bunch of people that I trust have approached me with,” the younger Giuliani told The Post. “It’s been terrible to see over the last few years how the city has spiraled. I am afraid if the right candidate doesn’t win in 2021, four more years of de Blasio’s policies will remind us of the 80s.”

I guess Don Jr., who once was toying with running for mayor, has now passed the post on to Andrew. Don, Jr. probably thinks the job isn't good enough for him, he'd make a better governor or Senator. (I doubt he'll run for Congress, it's too much work to have to reapply to your constituents every 2 years.) [More...]

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Trump Holds Indoor Rally in Henderson, NV

Donald Trump's is holding an indoors rally today in Henderson, Nevada.

The campaign rally in Henderson, Nevada -- which will be held inside a facility of Xtreme Manufacturing -- is expected to violate the state of Nevada's restriction on gatherings of 50 people or more.

200,000 Americans have now died from the coronavirus. It is not going away. Cases have risen in 11 states this week: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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Thursday :: September 10, 2020

So Many Books, So Little Time

Is Michael Cohen's book now chopped liver?

Making a bigger splash today is the release of Bob Woodward's Rage,, which exposes more of Donald Trump's incompetence and lie, as told to Woodward by Trump himself, in 18 separate interviews, only 3 of which took place in office settings: The remaining 15 were Trump calling Woodward late at night from his private (and likely unrecorded) phone line from the White House bedroom. It may be that Trusty Trump let Woodward record his calls without him recording at his end. Which would mean White House Staffers have never heard most of the 18 hours of tapes. No wonder they weren't all over the air last night giving advice.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, all hired at the start of Trump's presidency, are quoted detailing their frustrations with Trump's inability to focus, their alarm over his refusal to accept facts or listen to experts, their fears over the consequences of his impulsive decision-making -- and one top official even suspected Russian President Vladimir Putin had something on Trump.

The Washington Post published snippets of Trump's taped comments to Woodward.

Wouldn't a normal person in Trump's situation apologize and resign, after which the media would get in position to broadcast his final frog-march across the White House lawn, with his stiletto-heeled wife and towering son at his side? But Donald Trump is not normal. [More...]

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Saturday :: September 05, 2020

Labor Day Weekend Open Thread

The Rolling Stones and Axl Rose of Guns 'N Roses singing "Salt of the Earth." It's my favorite song for Labor Day.

Below is one of my favorite sculptures. It is in downtown Omaha, at the Lewis & Clark landing, along Omaha's Missouri River Walkway. Created by Matthew Placzek, it is the second-largest labor monument in the U.S.. Two-hundred-fifty tons of cement and 39,000 pounds of steel were used in its construction.

Larger version here. If you are ever in downtown Omaha, I highly recommend seeing it up close. The trail that leads to it is right by most of the major downtown hotels.

Enjoy the weekend everyone and if you are going out, please avoid large crowds.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Wednesday :: September 02, 2020

Reuters Poll: Trump Lags, Coronavirus is Biggest Voter Concern

Reuters has new national poll results. It's findings: Trump got no convention bounce. He's 7 points behind Biden. His efforts to deflect (from his performance with the coronavirus) and redirect (attention to crime and BLM) have not worked.

Trailing Biden in most national opinion polls since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus this year, Trump has sought to change the subject from a pandemic that has killed more than 180,000 Americans, blaming Black Lives Matters protesters for violence in the cities and accusing Biden of being weak on crime.

The poll numbers show: [More...]

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Thursday :: August 27, 2020

Thursday Open Thread: Hurricane Laura Damage

There is a lot of hurricane damage in the south. Louisiana got hit hard, and it looks like Arkansas is next.

Bon Jovi just released this new single which he wrote from home, with input from fans during the COVID19 stay at home period. The graphics showing people helping others are moving. I think it would equally apply to the help people can give to hurricane victims.

In other new music: [More...]

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Tuesday :: August 25, 2020

RNC: Is Anyone Still Watching?

From the prepared text of Donald Trump, Jr.'s propaganda pep talk last night:

Imagine the life you want to have--one with a great job, a beautiful home, and a perfect family. You can have it.

Who wrote his speech? Is he channeling the Talking Heads again (Once in a Lifetime)?

You may find yourself in a large house
You may find yourself with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself "How did I get here"?
....And you may ask yourself "What have I done"?

Or is he channeling his father? How about both.

Trump world: False facts, false narratives, flawed family. Same as it ever was.

If you are still watching, feel free to tell us what you saw.

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Cocaine and RNC Are Trending on Twitter

The Talking Heads, Living in Wartime, 1983

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
This ain't no fooling around No time for dancing, or lovey dovey, I ain't got time for that now

Could have fooled me. Don, Jr and Kimberly were wound so tight last night, they could have jumped right into the video and given David Byrne and the Talking Heads a run for their money.

When was the last time you saw cocaine trending on Twitter? Answer: Last night, after the RNC aired the pre-taped speeches of Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Trump National Finance Committee chair Kimberly Guilfoyle (formerly Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsome, a San Francisco prosecutor, wife of Gavin Newsome and more recently Fox News legal analyst),. I didn't watch but the comments and reactions on Twitter are hilarious -- many are laugh out loud funny.

Kimberly shrieked out her speech to the empty hall at the top of her lung. Even Republicans were asking why she was hollering at them. And dozens or hundreds of people commented that Trump Jr.'s eyes and demeanor looked like he had snorted too much cocaine in before they took the stage. Both of their speeches were pretaped, and one does wonder, where were the editors and monitors? Why didn't they step in?

Check out this twitter feed of Brian Tyler Cohen. I had never heard of him before, but there's a blue check mark next to his name which means he is who he says he is -- a political host on You Tube and the former managing editor of Occupy Democrats. Here are three of his tweets with a lot of funny comments posted in response: [More...]

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Monday :: August 24, 2020

Scott Peterson Death Penalty Reversed

The Supreme Court for the state of California has issued a unanimous 101 page opinion in the Scott Peterson case. Peterson was convicted of killing his pregnant wife Lacie Peterson, whose decomposed body and that of the fetus who would have been named Conor had he been born alive, were found in the water a mile from where Peterson said he had been fishing months earlier. Peterson was convicted sentenced to death. Cable news followed every detail of the case, night after night, from the day of Laci's disappearance through the trial.

The death sentence was reversed because the trial court judge excluded jurors who were opposed to the death penalty in general, but never questioned as to whether they could put those feelings aside and judge this case by its facts, or whether, should they find Peterson guilty, they would impose the death sentence no matter what. U.S. Supreme Court precedent is clear that the Court must not. [More...]

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Trump Opens RNC With Claims the Election Will Be Stolen

Donald Trump opened the RNC today claiming the Democrats are using COVID-19 to steal the election.

There is no reason to watch any further, in my opinion. Does anyone need to hear from these three who are also on the speaking agenda this week:

Donald Trump is banking on the politics of fear. The Republican convention will be filled with images of tanks, protesters setting things on fire, and praises for the police. Donald Trump reportedly has hired the Apprentice producers to stage it. He should have gotten Law and Order creator Dick Wolf. [More...]

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KellyAnne and George Take a Break to Parent

KellyAnne Conway is leaving her job working for Donald Trump to attend to her children, one of whom announced on TikTok this weekend that she would be seeking early emancipation. The daughter cannot stand that her mother works for Donald Trump. But she says her father, for different reasons, is no better. Her father, George Conway, announced he will be stepping down from the Lincoln Project and from Twitter. [More...]

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Thursday :: August 20, 2020

Steve Bannon and Others Charged In Border Wall Funding Scheme

Steve Bannon, Brian Kolfage, an Iraq war vet who happens to be a triple amputee, a man named Timothy Shea from Castle Rock, Colorado and a man named Andrew Badolato have been charged in federal court in Manhattan with fraud offenses and money laundering for a scheme to raise funds for a privately built section of Trump's border wall, during which they collected millions of dollars.

“As alleged, the defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction. While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, the defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle. ....

“The defendants allegedly engaged in fraud when they misrepresented the true use of donated funds. As alleged, not only did they lie to donors, they schemed to hide their misappropriation of funds by creating sham invoices and accounts to launder donations and cover up their crimes, showing no regard for the law or the truth.

This case should serve as a warning to other fraudsters that no one is above the law, not even a disabled war veteran or a millionaire political strategist.”

The Indictment is here. [More...]

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Wednesday :: August 19, 2020

An Anthem for Our Times

We need the Democrats to win in November.
Our democracy needs the Democrats to win in November.

We need a capable, experienced Vice President who is ready to stand in on an unexpected moment's notice.

Kamala Harris is more than up to the task. She is reflective of all of us. Joe Biden may care about us, but Kamala Harris will do something for us. She will give us what we need.

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Obama and Kamala Score Huge

President Obama was terrific for his take-down of Donald Trump.

But Kamala Harris was the star of the night. Her demeanor was impeccable. With her facial expressions, she made us feel like she was talking to each one of us. She was so believable, so self-assured, so happy to be there, so (justly) proud.

Kudos, Kamala. I hope you win.

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