Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Betsy DeVos

It must be nice to have friends in high places.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Robert Reich on King Trump

Don't be conned by the Trump claims of opening up White House press conferences to more reporters.  This would not be a good development.   As Robert Reich explains:

"Tyrants don’t allow open questioning, and they hate the free press. They want total control.
That’s why, according to three senior officials on the transition team, the incoming Trump administration is considering evicting the White House press corps from the press room inside the White House and moving them – and news conferences – to a conference center or to the Old Executive Office Building.
This may sound like a small logistic matter. It’s not. The White House “press room” contains work stations and broadcast booths, and the briefing area for presidential news conferences. Reporters have had workspace at the White House since Teddy Roosevelt was president, in 1901. 
But we’re in a new era, the reign of King Trump.
Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, acknowledges “there has been some discussion about how” to move the press out of the White House. Spicer says it’s because the new administration would like a larger room to allow more members of the press to attend press conferences.
Rubbish. It’s because a larger room would allow the administration to fill seats with “alt-right” fringe journalists, rightwing social media, Trump supporters and paid staffers. They’d be there to ask the questions Trump wants to answer, and to jeer at reporters who ask critical questions and applaud Trump’s answers.
The move would allow Trump to play the crowd.
That’s exactly what happened at Trump’s so-called “news conference” on January 11 – the first he’s held in six months.
It wasn’t really a press conference at all, and shouldn’t have been characterized as one. It was a fake news conference that took place in a large auditorium. 
In the audience were paid staffers who jeered and snickered when reporters asked critical questions, and cheered every time Trump delivered one of his campaign zingers. It could easily have been one of his rallies.  
In this carnival atmosphere it was easy for Trump to refuse to answer questions from reporters who have run stories he doesn’t like, and from news outlets that have criticized him.
He slammed CNN for dispensing “fake news,” called Buzzfeed “a pile of garbage,” and sarcastically called the BBC “another beauty.” The audience loved it. 
Just as he did in his rallies, Trump continued calling the press “dishonest” – part of his ongoing effort to discredit the press and to reduce public confidence in it. 
And he repeatedly lied. But the media in attendance weren’t allowed to follow up or to question him on his lies.
For example, Trump wrongly stated that “the Democratic National Committee was totally open to be hacked. They did a very poor job. … And they tried to hack the Republican National Committee, and they were unable to break through.” 
Baloney.FBI Director James B. Comey said there was evidence that Republican National Committee computers were also targeted. The critical difference, according to Comey, was that none of the information obtained from the RNC was leaked. Also, according to Comey, the Russians “got far deeper and wider into the [DNC] than the RNC,” adding that “similar techniques were used in both cases.”
Trump further asserted at his fake news conference that “I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia.”
Wrong again. Trump repeatedly sought deals in Russia. In a 2008 speech, Donald Trump Jr. said “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” and “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Trump’s statements at his fake news conference were, and are, big lies. They influence public understanding and opinion about two critically important issues: Did the Russians help Trump win the election, and, if so, why might they have done so?
At the very least, they should have been followed up with questions from the White House press corps. That would have happened at a real news conference in the White House press room, holding 45 correspondents from major media outlets who are assigned full-time to report on the president.  
Which is the danger of evicting the press from the White House and putting press conferences into a large auditorium: Trump won’t be called on his lies, and the White House press corps will lose the leverage they have by being together in one rather small room.  
And that’s precisely why Trump wants to evict the press from the White House. 
A senior official admitted the move was a reaction to hostile press coverage. The view at the highest reaches of the incoming administration is that the press is the enemy. "They are the opposition party,” said the senior official. “I want ‘em out of the building. We are taking back the press room.”
The incoming Trump administration is intent on neutering the White House press corps. If it happens it will be another step toward neutering our  democracy." 
Full article here and here

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

TPSG Top 10 Movies of 2016

Better late than never.  Disclaimers:  For various reasons, I saw fewer movies in 2016 than in any recent year that I can recall.  This list only contains movies that I have personally seen.  I'm not a movie critic.  You are not going to see a lot of art house or documentaries in this list.  It's also subject to updating as I see more 2016 movies.

TPSG Top 10 Movies of 2016:
  1. Deadpool - Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin 
  2. Hacksaw Ridge - Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn
  3. The Nice Guys - Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe
  4. Hell or High Water - Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges 
  5. Captain America: Civil War - Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr
  6. O.J.: Made in America - Ezra Edelman
  7. Suicide Squad - Will Smith, Margot Robbie
  8. Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill
  9. Jason Bourne - Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones 
  10. Sausage Party - Seth Rogen, Johan Hill
Worst Movie of 2016:  Ride Along 2 - Kevin Hart, Ice Cube

Haven't Yet Seen:  "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story", "Sully", "La La Land", "Moonlight", "Manchester By the Sea", "Arrival", "Jackie", "Everyone Wants Some", "Lion", "Nocturnal Animals", "Deepwater Horizon", "Hidden Figures", "Fences".

Previous Years: 2015, 20142013201220112010200920082007200620052004200320022001200019991998199719961995199419931992199119901989198819871986198519841983198219811980197919781977197619751974197319721971, 1970.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Monday, January 2, 2017

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Cardinals 44, Rams 6

The Cardinals finished their season today with a 44-6 win over the Rams in Los Angeles.  The Cardinals close their season with a 7-8-1 record.  It was a highly disappointing season for them but at least they can go into the offseason coming off of two impressive road wins.  Of course, they hurt their draft standing by winning those 2 meaningless games.  Bring on 2017 already.

Observations:
  • Was there really any need to play David Johnson in this meaningless game? 
  • Let's hope that we haven't seen the last of Larry Fitzgerald playing in the NFL. 
  • The Cardinals will be fine with Carson Palmer as QB for at least one more season. 
  • I suspect that the Cardinals bring back DE Chandler Jones next season. 
  • Markus Golden was a beast once again today for the Cardinals. 
  • The Cardinals will be drafting 13th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. Deshawn Watson please. 
  • Fan support in Los Angeles for the Rams is just how I remember it. 
  • Robert Nkemciche wrapped up his final game of the season in street cloths once again.
  • Total Yards:  Cardinals 344, Rams 123
  • First Downs:  Cardinals 21, Rams 9
  • Passing Yards:  Cardinals 260, Rams 71
  • Darren Fells is proving to be a quality NFL TE. 
  • Should I know who Jeremy Ross is?   
  • Harlan Miller flashed again in his extended tryout in the Cardinals secondary. 
  • It'll be interesting to see if the Cardinals can hang onto Harold Goodwin.
  • The Cardinals really do need to make changes in the way they approach special teams.  
  • Apparently it's much too early to discount Justin Bethel as a CB. 
  • The Cardinals defense did a really nice job of getting to the QB this season. 
  • The Rams should go all in on Nick Saban, he's got nothing left to prove at Alabama
  • Carson Palmer just does not lose at the LA Coliseum. 

Vikings 38, Bears 10

The Vikings closed their season today with a 38-10 win over the Bears in Minneapolis.  The Vikings finish the season with an 8-8 record.  It was a season of could have beens.  They started out 5-0, then injuries (especially along the offensive line) began to take their toll.  They've still got a lot of talent, I think they can rebound quickly.  I suspect that there will be some changes, and the fact that they won't have a number one draft pick this offseason won't help, but they are really not that far away.  The offensive line does need some serious revamping though.

Observations:

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Friday, December 30, 2016

POTpourri

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

TPSG Best of 2016

Person:  Barack Obama 
Movie:  "Moonlight
TV Show:  "The Americans
Entertainer:  Lin-Manuel Miranda 
Book:  "The Underground Railroad" - Colson Whitehead
Song:  "The Sound of Silence" - Disturbed
Band:  Red Hot Chilli Peppers 
Sports Story:  Summer Olympics - Rio 
Sports Person of the Year:  Michael Phelps
Sports Team:  Chicago Cubs
Fight (Boxing):  Vargas vs Salido
Fight (MMA):  Lawler vs Condit
News Story:  Trump wins Presidency
Arizona Athlete:  David Johnson
Arizona News Story:  Joe Arpaio Ousted
Politician:  Barack Obama
Pariah:  Donald Trump 
Invention:  Hmbldt Vape Pen
Hottest Woman:  Galina Dubenenko
Porn Star:  Adriana Chechik

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Holiday Bowl

Minnesota 17, Washington State 12

The Gophers concluded their 2016 football season tonight with a 17-12 win over Washington State tonight in San Diego.  The Gophers finish their season with an 9-4 record.  Their defense played incredibly well tonight given the loss of of 3 key secondary contributors due to the EOAA investigation.  It may just be the most impressive defensive performance that I've seen from a Gopher football team.  I hope this win puts to rest any thought of moving on without Tracy Claeys.

Observations:

In Memoriam 2016