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Friday :: May 06, 2016

Friday Open Thread: Musing on Taco Bowls

The tweet by Donald Trump depicting him eating a taco bowl in his office (made at Trump Tower Grill) and proclaiming his love of Hispanics in celebration of Cinco del Mayo is hilarious. It's been retweeted 73,000 times as of now, and "liked" by 85,000 people. (There's no dislike number, which for all we know, could be in the hundreds of thousands.

I think his account was hacked. Even he's not stupid enough to think anyone would believe he loves Hispanics or would eat that Taco bowl. I don't even believe he eats food from a restaurant in his building. Do you really think he doesn't have a private chef?

Best response I've seen so far: "Can we have the taco bowl for President instead of Trump?" [More...]

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Thursday :: May 05, 2016

Obama Commutes 58 More Drug Sentences

President Obama commuted 58 sentences today. 57 of the 58 inmates are drug offenders.

His statement is here. He called for Congress to reform unjust mandatory minimum sentences.

While I will continue to review clemency applications, only Congress can bring about the lasting changes we need to federal sentencing. That is why I am encouraged by the bipartisan efforts in Congress to reform federal sentencing laws, particularly on overly harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. Because it just doesn’t make sense to require a nonviolent drug offender to serve 20 years, or in some cases, life, in prison. An excessive punishment like that doesn’t fit the crime. It’s not serving taxpayers, and it’s not making us safer.

This brings Obama's total number of commutations, to 306, which he says is more commutations than the last six presidents combined.

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Trump vs. Ryan

House Speaker Paul Ryan won't support Donald Trump right now. He said Trump doesn't advance the principles of the Republican party. He doesn't think Trump is running a campaign Republicans can be proud of. He is unhappy with Trump's belittlement and bullying.

Is it Trump's crassness or his values Ryan objects to? Sounds like the former. Ryan sounds like he's trying to dictate how Trump runs his campaign. Memo to Ryan: It's not going to happen.

I've always disliked Paul Ryan's values. You can read his position on issues here.

Watching Republicans fall all over themselves and castigate their fellow Republicans is mildly entertaining. But in the end their views are all the same -- unacceptable.

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Rolling Stones Tell Trump to Stop Using Their Songs

The Rolling Stones have sent a cease and desist letter to Donald Trump, telling him to stop using their music. They released a statement to the media saying they never gave him permission.

I suggested such a letter two weeks ago when I heard the notes of "Start Me Up" at the end of Trump's victory speech in South Carolina.

I doubt the Stones would let him use their music. They should send a "cease and desist order" telling him they have no sympathy for the devil.

Time Magazine explains why this issue seems to be happening more frequently. [More...]

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Wednesday :: May 04, 2016

New Details in Prince Death Investigation

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports new details in the investigation into the death of Prince. It sounds like an intervention was in the works.

Andrew Kornfeld was one of the three people at Paisley Park the morning Prince was discovered in his elevator. Kornfeld works for a rehab facility in California owned by his father, Dr. Howard Kornfeld. Prince's staff called Dr. Howard Kornfeld the night of April 20, saying there was a "grave medical emergency." Kornfeld couldn't go to MN immediately, so he sent his son to explain the program to Prince, and arranged for a local doctor to do an initial assessment. Dr. Kornfeld intended to fly to MN the next day.

Andrew Kornfeld took the redeye to MN and got to Prince's house the next morning, intending to begin the process of explaining his father's program and convince Prince to enter treatment there. In other words, an intervention. But he never got to meet with Prince.[More...]

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Navy Seals in Gunfight Against ISIS

The Navy Seal who died yesterday in a shootout with ISIS is Charles Keating IV, grandson of the late financier and real estate developer who was convicted and served jail time in the 1980's savings and loan scandal.

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Charles H. Keating IV, 31, was shot and killed during a two-hour battle with about 125 militants who had stormed the Kurdish-held town of Tel Skuf, about 20 miles north of Mosul.

Keating “got hit just in the course of his gun battle. Whether it was a sniper or some fighter with his [rifle] is unclear,” Warren said. “This was a gunfight so there were bullets everywhere.”

As the militants advanced, the U.S. force was sent in to extract the Americans and to help the Kurdish fighters, who have been key allies in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State.

Here'a a video of the Navy Seals participating with Peshmerga Kurdish forces in direct clashes with ISIS in Telskuf in Mosul. (No graphic images or victims)

How is this not "boots on the ground?"

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Kasich Drops Out

John Kasich is back in Ohio where he will announce his withdrawal from the race for the Republican presidential nomination at 5:00 pm (ET.)

Trump will be the Republican nominee. Now come the expressions of shock, awe, and more importantly, the jokes.

My view: Hillary will win in November. The longer she can concentrate on Trump instead of Bernie Sanders, the greater her chances. [More...]

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Tuesday :: May 03, 2016

Indiana Exit Polling and Results

Here's a thread for Indiana results. Indiana is in two time zones, so some polls close at 6 pm and others at 7pm.

CBS early exit polling for Republicans:

Early exit polling data finds a majority of Indiana GOP primary voters are angry or dissatisfied with the federal government: 34 percent said they were "angry" and 50 percent said they were "dissatisfied." (Only 14 percent said they were "satisfied" with their government.)

And outsider status is important to Indiana's voters: 59 percent said they want the next president to "be outside politics," compared with 36 percent said it was more important to "have political experience." More than half of GOP voters, 53 percent, said they felt "betrayed" by the Republican Party.

[More...]

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ISIS: Third U.S. Combat Death in Iraq

The U.S. has confirmed a navy SEAL was killed today by ISIS fire.

On Tuesday, a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed by “direct fire” about three miles from the front lines north of Mosul after Islamic State fighters penetrated Kurdish peshmerga forces, U.S. officials said. It was the third U.S. combat death in Iraq linked to the fight against the Islamic State.

The name of the U.S. base is Firebase Bell. On March 19, Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin was killed in a rocket attack on the base.

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Indiana and Beyond: Republicans to Get Trump'd

As Ted Cruz and Donald Trump wade into the mud with their personal attacks against each other, Republicans are coming to grips with the realization that Donald Trump will be their nominee.

Former John McCain top advisor Mark Salter says he'll vote for Hillary. Here's his Tweet:

The GOP is going to nominate for President a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks it's on the level. I'm with her.

Reuters contacted Salter who added: "She is fit for office. He isn't." "Salter also called Clinton "the more conservative choice."

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Monday :: May 02, 2016

United Shades of America Visits San Quentin

CNN's new series, United Shades of America with comedian and social commentator W. Kamau Bell, airing on Sunday evenings is worth watching. Two episodes aired last night: one on the KKK and one on San Quentin.

In the KKK episode, Bell meets with a grand wizard of the KKK. Their conversation is quite awkward.

The second episode, where Bell goes behind the walls of San Quentin (but not death row) to interview the prisoners and staff and show the human side of the inmates, is very well done.

Props to both CNN, for commissioning a series that focuses on our over-reliance on prison, and to Bell. In the San Quentin episode, Bell skillfully uses humor to gain the confidence of the inmates, who otherwise I suspect would not be so have been so candid and cooperative in their interviews. [More...]

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Sunday :: May 01, 2016

Sunday Open Thread

Everybody's got talent. In Vietnam, voting is open for "Vietnam's Got Talent" on its You Tube channel.

Check out Nguyen Trọng Nhân, a 9 year old boy drumming to Bon Jovi's "It's My Life." The song starts at 1 minute 10 seconds in, and after a sound glitch and some pretty non-impressive vocals by the singer, the boy takes over for the rest of the song. At around 2 minutes in, he really comes into his own. By 2 minutes and 15 seconds, he owns it. There's also an adult drummer, but he can't match the kid drummer. In the last 30 seconds, the adult drummer does a solo finale, but then Trọng Nhân closes, and he knocks it out of the park. The Judges' reaction is priceless. [More...]

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Malia Obama Headed to Harvard, After a Year Off

Malia Obama will be going to Harvard in 2017. She graduates this June and will be taking a year off before college, which Harvard encourages students to do.

Harvard encourages admitted students to defer for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work, or spend time in another meaningful way. The student must not enroll in a program at another college that would grant that student a degree.

I wish that policy existed when I was graduating from high school. Or from college. I don't think it would have made much of a difference in the long run if I became a lawyer at 25 instead of 24. And having a year off to travel or volunteer would have been fun.

Malia wants to be a filmmaker. The Obamas have been good at keeping their daughters out of the limelight. I don't recall reading about either of these intern/apprenticeships she served: [More...]

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Obama and the White House Corres. Dinner

President Obama made the most of his final White House Correspondents' Dinner last night. While he probably can't take credit for the content of the jokes (written by others), he did a great job delivering them. He really had the timing down.

Obama and the jokes were funny and entertaining, especially about Trump, Cruz and Kasich. Here are some of the funnier ones.

Larry Wilmore gave the comedy monologue. I didn't care for him. He wasn't funny, just insulting. [More....]

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Saturday :: April 30, 2016

Saturday Open Thread

Republicans are convening in Burlingame, CA this weekend. Updates here. There were Trump protests and a few arrests. Trump and Kasich spoke (Kasich is staying in.) Cruz and Fiorini will speak tomorrow.

Trump said it would be nice for Republicans to unify, but if they don't, he will still win and he doesn't much care:

Could I win without it? I think so, to be honest, I think so," he said. High-profile Republicans such as Jeb Bush, he continued, may not support him in the general, but he brushed that off as a minor issue. "Big deal, like I care. OK?"

"Again, ideally, we're going to be together," Trump said. "I think I will win even if we're not together. I mean there are some people, I honestly don't want their endorsement. I just don't want it ... It's not going to have any impact on whether or not we beat Hillary Clinton. It's not going to have any impact. But most of the party has to come together."

[More...]

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