Turkey's Best Asset: #SaltBae

Turkey has the hottest, most sensual butcher, chef/restaurateur ever. His name is Nusret Gökçe, and his Instagram videos have now gone viral. Bruno Mars posted a photo of them together last week. Then James Corden did the hilarious clip above, which pretty much sums him up. He's been dubbed #SaltBae on Twitter (reflecting his signature move with salting meat.) Here's his Twitter page. You can scroll also through his posted Instagram photos and videos. He now has a million and a half Instagram followers and Corden's clip has been seen more than 1 million times.

He's been prominent in Turkey and Dubai for a while -- he and his partners own a chain of steakhouses called Nusret ET with restaurants in Istanbul and other places in Turkey, and in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE. (The resturants' instagram account adds "soon the world.")[More...]

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SNL Cold Open and Open Thread

Alec Baldwin has so many funny lines and faces in last night's SNL cold open. Enjoy.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Tuning Out Donald Trump

Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker writes on the Music Donald Trump Can't Hear. He has a point.

There is no song to describe UnPresident Elect Donald Trump because he has no music in his soul. The emotional state he triggers in so many of us, other than his under-informed, radical right supporters, ranges from sickening to terrifying. As the caption to the graphic accompanying the New Yorker article says,

There is an abyss between the man about to assume power and the best shared traditions of the country he represents.

This is not a time to reach out or accept him or the incoming Administration. Kudos to those bailing on Washington this week for other parts of the country. Tens of millions of us will blocking him out at home, with a firm hand on the remote control at all times to ensure he doesn't slip into our consciousness. [More...]

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Saturday Open Thread: No Inauguration News Here

In the "things I am not reporting on and couldn't care less about" department: UnPresident Elect Donald Trump's inauguration. I'm going to do other things and put up a few open threads until its over. After that, I will do my best to ignore him for the next four years, except for anything non-defamatory that could lead to his impeachment or resignation. You can discuss him in open threads, of which this is one. Insults and name calling will be deleted and violators put it time out.

A person I'm not finding sympathetic these days is Julian Assange. He and WikiLeaks are about as welcome on my computer screen as James Comey. (He's in the news because he's offering to allow himself to be extradited to the U.S. if Obama grants clemency to the former soldier Chelsea Manning. (As if he'll have a choice once the worm turns at DOJ.) I do support clemency for Chelsea Manning, I'm just not buying an altruistic motive by Assange. [More...]

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Receiver Sets Price for Trump Tower in Toronto

Toronto's Trump Tower, another mega property Trump sold his name to and managed ended up in the hands of a receiver in November. The receiver has just offered it for sale and bids start at $298 million.

A group of owners in the property, who claim to be the victims of misleading marketing, are suing the property’s developer, Talon International and the business organization owned by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, which manages it and licensed the use of its name on the property.

There have been three court actions on the property -- including one trying to remove Trump's name and cancel his management contract.

On Tuesday, an Ontario court placed the Trump International Hotel and Tower into receivership after the owners failed to make debt payments for more than a year. That came after a three-judge panel on the Court of Appeal for Ontario found last month that the project’s investors had been deceived. And in a third legal action, the hotel’s owners tried to remove the Trump name from the building and cancel his company’s contract to manage the hotel.

Shortly after it opened in 2012, the building began "shedding glass."

For the first of many times, the police had to close the surrounding streets because of falling debris.


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Guantanamo Turns 15 Today

Guantanamo turns 15 today. Democratic legislators have sent a letter to Obama urging him to shut it down so Trump can't further abuse it. The letter is here.

A letter sent to the White House on Wednesday by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and obtained by the Guardian, warns of “torture’s resurgence” under the Trump administration unless Obama fulfills his thwarted “laudable” pledge to close Guantánamo.


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Trump to Let Sons Control His Assets

Donald Trump says as a conflict avoidance measure, he will put his assets in a trust, to be run by his sons Donald and Eric, and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.

He will even hire a "conflict adviser" to determine if new deals pose a conflict. (Will this be an independent contractor or a Trump employee?)

Trump will place the majority of his assets—including cash, real estate and licensing entities—into a trust controlled by his sons by January 20th, she said. The trust agreement includes the hiring of an ethics adviser who must evaluate all new deals the Trump Organization makes that could pose possible conflicts of interest. The company will make no new foreign deals, but can work domestically.

“He will only know of a deal if he reads it in the paper or sees it on TV,” Dillon said.

What if one of his sons or someone else tweets about it? Donald will refrain from picking up the phone to tell them what he thinks? Right.

I hope some government agency will be monitoring every communication device accessible to Trump (and his wife when they are in the same city.) Sounds like a perfect job for the DEA since the FBI under Comey seems paralyzed by partisanship.

Jared Kushner will do something similar -- he will sell some assets, turn some over to his brother, and put others in a trust run by his mother.

Ivanka will no longer work for Trump and she will give up control of her company (that sells shoes made in China and Ethopia. Probably a good idea.)

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Russia's Alleged Not So Secret Dossier on Trump

Here's the dossier compiled by a British operative on Donald Trump, for the benefit of Russia. courtesy of Buzzfeed, which says the material is unconfirmed and there are some errors (although the ones they cite are very minor, like misspelling Alpha as Alfa.)

The dossier, which is a collection of memos written over a period of months, includes specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians. BuzzFeed News reporters in the US and Europe have been investigating various alleged facts in the dossier but have not verified or falsified them. CNN reported Tuesday that a two-page synopsis of the report was given to President Obama and Trump.

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Tuesday Open Thread

It's a jail day for me, which means an open thread for you.

All topics welcome.

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When Terror Victims Sue Twitter Over ISIS

A few months ago, a federal judge in California tossed a lawsuit by the family of a terror victim, finding Twitter isn't liable for ISIS rhetoric.

Yesterday, the families of some of those who died in European attacks for which ISIS has taken credit filed a 90 page lawsuit against Twitter. It's case No. 17-cv-00122-PAC in the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs are Cain and Gonzalez.

I'm still reading the Complaint, which begins with a detailed history of al Zarqawi and continues through the formation of the first iteration of ISIS and subsequent changes. It has imported photos into the document, such as the photo of Nick Berg as he was about to be killed by presumably Zarqawi and others, and the photo of the first flag of ISIS.


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100 MPH Winds in Colorado Springs

I thought the winds were bad here Christmas Day, but yesterday they were just outrageous. They hit 100 mph in Colorado Springs.

The Colorado Springs Airport recorded an all-time record wind gust of 80 mph at 12:02 p.m. and a gust of 101 mph was recorded at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station earlier in the day.

The El Paso County Courthouse was evacuated and closed for the day after the powerful gusts ripped chunks of roofing from the top of the 5-story building. Tejon Street and Vermijo Street were closed, and deputies used shields to protect people from the debris as they escorted them out of the building. The courthouse is scheduled to reopen at noon Tuesday.

The photo above is from a news video (available here) that aired on KRDO, Channel 13, the local ABC affiliate in the Springs. The good stuff starts at 39 seconds in, after the reporters stop yakking. In the video you can see the wheels lifting off the ground as the truck sways on the highway.

There's also a viewer taken short clip in the video of a big tree going from standing upright, to swaying, to boom, it's yanked out from the ground by its roots. Below are screengrabs of the three stages. [More...]

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Golden Globes Tonight

Update: Thank you, Meryl Streep. You made the entire 3 hour show worth watching. In accepting a lifetime achievement award, she blasted Donald Trump for his positions of foreigners, Hollywood, the press and especially the disabled, without ever mentioning his name. She called on the foreign press to support the Committee to Protect Journalists and hold Government accountable. The audience cheered her. If you get a chance to watch her speech, please do.

“You and all of us in this room belong to the most vilified segments of America right now: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press,” she said, with a hoarse voice, as the crowd roared.

....“Hollywood is crawling with foreigners and if you kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

...Slamming Trump without actually naming him, she said “disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence,” after recalling an incident in which the now-president-elect in November appeared to mock the appearance of a New York Times reporter with a physical disability. “When the powerful use their position to bully, we all lose,” she added


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Sunday Sweets

The TL Kid's fiance (and yes, Nic and Kaitlin officially got engaged over Xmas) said these are the greatest chocolate cookie: No gmo, no wheat, no butter,granulated sugar and they taste delicious.They do have carob powder (fair trade) and some organic chocolate chips. Here's the recipe if you want to try them.

The recipe is from fellow Denver-ite Julie Baer's cookbook, PaleOMG!

No pots to clean, just one bowl, they take 5 minutes to make and 10 minutes to bake. I'll be curious to hear what you think if any of you make them. The Recipe is below.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome. [more]

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Friday Open Thread

I've been in court hearings this week so I'm behind on the news. Mr. UnPresident Elect is asking Congress to pay for his border wall (claiming he'll get the money back from Mexico.)

He gets his Russia intelligence briefing today but prefers to tweet about Arnold's lower ratings for Celebrity Apprentice. (The reason the ratings are lower in my view is not that he's more popular than Arnold -- just the opposite-- fewer people are watching now as people are boycotting the show because of Trump, knowing he remains on the credits. (Also it faces much stiffer competition from the Bachelor. Was Trump's Apprentice ever on the same night as the Bachelor? )

The U.S. has added Osama bin Laden's son, Hamza bin Laden to the designated terror list.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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1,100 Law Profs Write Letter Opposing Jeff Sessions for AG

1,100 law professors have signed a letter to Congress urging that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) not be confirmed as Attorney General. The letter is here.

In my view, Jeff Sessions has always been a disaster for criminal justice. (The NY Times declared him an "insult to justice" after Trump picked him.)

On a related note, UnPresident-Elect Donald Trump, who has no say in the matter yet, yesterday opposed the release of more detainees from Guantanamo. President Obama, meanwhile, is pressing ahead with plans to release another 19 detainees.

“There is one commander in chief at a time, and the secretary of defense will continue to carry out his responsibilities as he sees appropriate,” said Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook.


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