Thursday :: July 21, 2016

Trump: The Art of Laziness

Incirlik Air Base in Turkey houses NATO's largest storage of nuclear weapons.

According to Hans M. Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, underground vaults at Incirlik hold about fifty B-61 hydrogen bombs—more than twenty-five per cent of the nuclear weapons in the nato stockpile. The nuclear yield of the B-61 can be adjusted to suit a particular mission. The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima had an explosive force equivalent to about fifteen kilotons of TNT. In comparison, the “dial-a-yield” of the B-61 bombs at Incirlik can be adjusted from 0.3 kilotons to as many as a hundred and seventy kilotons.

In the face of current world problems, the prospect of a Trump presidency becomes almost a nightmare scenario. The New York Times has published the transcript of its interview with Trump on Turkey and NATO. Matt Yglesias at Vox explains why he's so dangerous, starting with his laziness. [More...]

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Michelle Obama Rocks it Out With James Corden

Here's the full version of Carpool Karaoke with First Lady Michelle Obama and James Corden, with Missy Elliott along for part of the ride.

Michelle Obama had all the moves and perfect timing. Not to mention incredibly toned arms. She really rocked it out. And James Corden...I just don't know where he gets all that talent from, his adorable parents notwithstanding. Even the opening scene where he gets ordered around by the White House Guard was funny. He sings, dances, tell jokes, has perfect delivery and timing, his monologues are funny, and he is just so happy while he's doing all this. I'm still a huge fan.

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Wednesday :: July 20, 2016

The Unwatchable RNC

I made it through the last 10 minutes of Eric Trump's speech. I actually thought he did a credible job (I only cringed once, when he followed up a reference to undocumented residents as being illegal.) While waiting for the next speaker, I learned from the CBS crew that Ted Cruz didn't endorse Trump when he spoke and got booed, and that the convention's video monitor system failed so there is no watching the speakers on a big screen if you are in the convention hall tonight.

Earlier I read the Trump campaign released a statement from a campaign worker who admitted being responsible for Melania's copycat speech. She said she offered to resign but Trump said no -- people make mistakes.

Apparently, Marco Rubio addressed the convention by video and didn't endorse Trump. [More..]

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Tuesday :: July 19, 2016

Tuesday Night Open Thread: RNC Alternative TV Watching

Donald Trump is the official nominee of the Republican Party.

More interesting: Last's night 3 hour finale for Senor de Los Cielos. Here is the last hour of the finale with the wedding and huge shootout (instigated by the Mexican marines and police):

Or, you can watch a preview of Michelle Obama who will appear tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with James Corden doing carpool karaoke.


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Trump: Carnival Barkers But no Champions

Queen is complaining that he continues to use "We are the Champions" after being asked not to.

Even musicians supporting Republicans are missing from the appearance list at the convention.

Maybe Republicans don't think they need music when they have Rudy Giuliani to scream like a hyena who didn't get his morning meds.

The New York Times in an editorial trashes Donald Trump and Republicans on the issues.

And Donald Trump's ghostwriter for "The Art of the Deal" tells the New York he's sorry now he put lipstick on the pig to make Trump look good in the book.

“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

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Melania Trump Channels Michelle Obama

The speeches speak for themselves:

Melania told Matt Lauer she wrote the speech herself, with as little help as possible.

Republicans say it was no big deal. Really? It was when Joe Biden did it: [More...]

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Monday :: July 18, 2016

The Alternate Universe Launches in Prime Time

The Republican convention is here. It's like watching an alternate universe. Who are these people and where did they come from? Who do they think they represent? Certainly not Americans or American values.

Melania Trump makes her debut tonight. The whole thing should be called the Trump family hour. It feels like an episode of the Apprentice except for the annoying pundits and news anchors with nothing to say. Tomorrow night, Trump's daughter with 2nd wife Marla Maples gets to speak. Who could possibly care what she has to say? And of course, we'll hear from Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. Why not let the nannies who raised them speak too? How about George from the Appentice? Maybe Ivana Trump has something to say. [More...]

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Saturday :: July 16, 2016

Saturday Night Open Thread

It's hot -- 95 degrees today.

The Late Late Show with James Corden has been nominated for three Emmys -- None for Stephen Colbert or the Daily Show. Corden is so much more entertaining to watch. But I've been saying that for months. I just wish he'd come back to the show -- far too many repeat episodes lately.

The rest of the Emmy list is pretty uninspiring. I'd rather watch Senor de los Cielos or re-runs of La Reina del Sur than suffer through yet another show about O.J. Simpson or drug cops. I'm glad Lily Tomlin got nominated for Grace and Frankie -- Jane Fonda should have been as well.

There seems to be more hand-wringing than buzz about the Republican convention. It will only get worse.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Mass Arrests After Failed Coup in Turkey

Turkey's president Erdogan is demanding the U.S. extradite his long time enemy, Fetullah Gulen, alternatively described as a Muslim cleric and scholar or an Islamic ideologue, whom he says is responsible for the failed coup in Turkey. Gulen has resided in Pennsylvania for years.

An extradition request was submitted in Turkey the day before the coup.

Thousands of people have been detained in the coup's wake. More than 2,700 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed and 132 judges have been arrested.

The detainees are accused of being members of FETO, the terrorist organization led by U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen. Friday night saw military elements make a “vile” attempt to overthrow Turkey’s elected government, according to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Around 160 people were martyred in the ensuing violence.

Some 2,839 military personnel involved in the coup attempt have been arrested, and 20 pro-coup soldiers, including some senior officers, were killed in the attempt to overthrow the government.


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Friday :: July 15, 2016

Trump Picks Michael Pence as Running Mate

The Republican ticket will be Donald Trump and Indiana Governor Michael Pence.

Although I know next to nothing about Pence, I feel like we dodged a bullet by Trump's bypassing Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie. [More....]

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Death Toll Tops 80 in Bastille Day Attack in Nice

More than 80 are dead in last night's terror attack in Nice, France where crowds of people were watching fireworks and celebrating Bastille Day.

The driver of the truck, a French-Tunisian binational, was killed by police. ISIS supporters on Telegram are celebrating and promoting lone wolf attacks. Other cities are mentioned as potential targets, including Berlin and Toronto. I refuse to get a Telegram account because it insists on providing a phone number, but Journalist Tam Hussein's twitter feed has a roundup with graphics. As of now, there is no official ISIS statement.

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ISIS Military Commander Omar al-Shishani Dies Again

The Pentagon said it killed the red-bearded ISIS military commander Omar al-Shishani in an airstrike in March. (Background here.) ISIS chatter refuted this. Some said he had been wounded, others said he was just fine. Al-Shishani, who headed up the Army of Immigrants and split from Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Answar in 2013 when he pledged allegiance to ISIS leader al Baghdadi, has been declared dead at least five times.

Wednesday, Amaq News Agency, which is affiliated with ISIS but not an official ISIS media group, announced al Shishani died a few days ago in preparation of the upcoming battle to take back Mosul.

And the Pentagon has now admitted it was wrong in March, and al-Shishani was killed this week. [More...]

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Trump Postpones VP Announcement

Donald Trump has postponed the announcement of his Vice Presidential running mate. He attributed the postponement to the attacks in Nice. I don't buy it.

The clock is ticking for Mr. Thump. The Republican convention begins Monday in Cleveland. Is anyone else a little unsettled about reports that the finalists are being chosen by Trump's children? What do they know about running a country? I'd feel better if he picked George -- the older guy who advises him on the apprentice. He seems smart and even tempered.

Newt did a have a funny line though: In an interview yesterday, he said he told Thump the choice was between having "two pirates on the ticket or a pirate and a relatively stable, more normal person." Which did Newt think he was?

Trump also told Fox News he would ask Congress for a Declaration of War against ISIS.

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Thursday :: July 14, 2016

Thursday Afternoon Open Thread

Pence or Newt?

Open Thread.

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Tuesday :: July 12, 2016

New ISIS Video From Mosul With Hostage John Cantlie

Photo from Site Intel Group

A new ISIS video was released today featuring British cameraman and hostage John Cantlie. He criticizes the bombing of Mosul University by the U.S. which he says happened about 3 months ago. The video was released by Amaq News Agency which while not an official ISIS news agency like al Hayat, is ISIS affiliated. [More...]

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