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Wednesday :: May 04, 2016

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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ISIS Releases Nasheed Video "Blood for Blood"

ISIS news of note this week: Al-Hayat Media, ISIS' official media arm, has released a new "nasheed" video featuring child fighters. It's called "Sang Pour Sang" (Blood for Blood). The children sing in French, but there's an English and French option for viewing the words. The point of the video: to warn the U.S. and its allies that revenge for the airstrikes is coming.

Via Belgian researcher and analyst Pieter Van Ostaeyen, here are the words in English. He has also posted the video here. [Heads-up, there are graphic images of bombing victims but with one exception that I saw, no victims of ISIS killings. The exception is a very small still image of someone being beheaded in the frame accompanying the words "to slice necks". So if that will upset you, don't watch the video. I'm writing about the video because I think it's important to know what ISIS says it believes. In order to defeat your enemy, you first must understand it. ( The Art of War.)][More...]

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Friday :: April 29, 2016

Trump Unplugged in California: Advocates Torture

As the media focuses on the Trump protesters at his rally last night in Orange County, CA, I hope it doesn't overlook what Trump is saying -- to cheers of his supporters. For one thing, he's back to advocating torture. The LA Times reports on what it calls his "raw" performance.

Donald Trump put his roughest edges on display Thursday night in Costa Mesa as he opened his California primary campaign with a raw performance highlighting his hard-line views on illegal immigration and torture while trashing an array of rivals.

He criticized Ted Cruz for not supporting torture: [More...]

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Thursday :: April 28, 2016

Accused Planned Parenthood Shooter Found Incompetent

A state psychologist has concluded that Robert Lewis Dear Jr., accused in Colorado's Planned Parenthood shootings, is incompetent to stand trial (unable to assist in his own defense and understand the nature of the charges and consequences.)

Dear faces 179 counts — including eight charges of first- degree murder — for the Nov. 27, 2015, attack at the Colorado Springs clinic. The 57-year-old is accused of killing University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Police Officer Garrett Swasey, Ke'Arre Stewart, 29, and Jennifer Markovsky, 35.

If the Judge agrees, Dear, Jr. will be sent to the State Hospital for treatment to restore his competency. At an earlier hearing, Dear, Jr. announced his guilt.

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The Will of Bernie

Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane seem to think that the Democratic nomination isn't about nominating a Democrat. (scroll down to 7:45 am entry.) They think non-Democrats should be allowed to dictate who the Democratic nominee should be:

In an interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday, Jane Sanders noted that Bernie Sanders won Rhode Island on Tuesday, which was an open primary, allowing independents as well as Democrats to vote for her husband.

"If you close the primary and you only have people who have been in the Democratic Party for years, what you are doing is effectively shutting the door on the millions of people that Bernie has brought in to the political process during this election," she said.

This isn't rocket science. There's a Democratic nominee and a Republican nominee. The Democrats nominate a Democrat and the Republicans nominate a Republican. If an outsider wants to participate, he can run as a third party candidate after being nominated by that party. [More...]

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House Committee Passes Bill Requiring Women to Register for Draft

A House Committee has passed a bill requiring women to register for the draft upon turning 18.

Women would be required to register for the military draft under a House committee bill that comes just months after the Defense Department lifted all gender-based restrictions on front-line combat units. A divided Armed Services Committee backed the provision in a sweeping defense policy bill that the full House will consider next month...

Total defense spending package in the overall bill: $602 billion.

War is not the answer. Either is the draft (which we haven't had since 1973.)

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