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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 48
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,702

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John Simon, Wide-Ranging Critic With a Cutting Pen, Dies at 94

John Simon, one of the nation’s most erudite, vitriolic and vilified culture critics, who illuminated and savaged a remarkable range of plays, films, literature and art works and their creators for more than a half-century, died on Sunday in Valhalla, N.Y. He was 94.

His death, at Westchester Medical Center, was confirmed by his wife, Patricia Simon.

In an era of vast cultural changes, Mr. Simon marshaled wide learning, insights and acid wit for largely negative reviews and essays that appeared in New York magazine for nearly 37 years, until his dismissal in 2005, and in The Hudson Review, The New York Times, Esquire, National Review, The New Leader and other publications.

In a style that danced with literary allusions and arch rhetoric — and composed with pen and ink (he hated computers) — he produced thousands of critiques and a dozen books, mostly anthologies of his own work. While English was not his native language, he also wrote incisive essays on American usage, notably in the 1980 book “Paradigms Lost: Reflections on Literacy and Its Decline.”


Trump isn't running in Britain's election. That hasn't stopped him from getting in the middle.

Donald Trump just can’t seem to stay away from British politics. He’s fired off comments on topics including Brexit, his low opinion of a British ambassador, and how his Trump-branded golf course in Scotland “furthers U.K. relations.”

So there’s little surprise that the American president is playing an outsize role in Britain’s upcoming elections — for good or bad, depending.

In Britain, more than any other country aside from the United States, Trump has sought to bolster his political allies and trash his detractors.

In so doing, he has blithely crossed traditional red lines. In late October, Trump phoned in to a talk radio show hosted by a friend, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, to dump on leftist Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn.


It's a good bet Trump pardons his felon allies. Here's when that's most likely.

The future isn’t promised, but it is a good bet that three felons and close allies of President Trump — Roger Stone (found guilty of obstruction of a congressional investigation, witness tampering and lying to Congress), Paul Manafort (serving a prison sentence for tax evasion and bank fraud) and Michael Flynn (pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI) — will be granted executive clemency. The only question is when.

It might be a tad bit premature for Manafort to start humming “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” But he will be there next year.

To be sure, Trump could free his friends before voters cast their ballots in 2020. But that’s politically risky, as President Gerald Ford’s 1976 defeat can attest. His approval rating dropped more than 30 points after he pardoned Richard M. Nixon.

Trump’s safest course of action would be to wait to do the dirty deed until after Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. Trump’s impulsiveness, however, is a wild card.


Facing impeachment, the president strives to look hard at work

As Democrats in Congress push to impeach him, President Trump has toured a manufacturing plant in Texas, boasted about economic gains and signed numerous bills. He served turkey to U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving and grieved with the families of fallen service members at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

And next week, Trump is scheduled to jet to London to meet with European allies and be received at Buckingham Palace by Queen Elizabeth II.

Sure, Trump has been consumed by the impeachment proceedings, popping off daily, if not hourly, about what he dubs a “hoax.” But he and his aides also have staged photo opportunities and public events designed to showcase the president on the job — a strategy one year out from the election to convince the American people that he is hard at work for them at the same time that Democrats are trying to remove him from office.

“I’m working my ass off,” Trump told a thunderous rally crowd of roughly 20,000 on Tuesday night in Sunrise, Fla. He added: “The failed Washington establishment is trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you and because we’re winning. It’s very simple.”


Working hard my ass. From the photos I've seen, he's still got an enormous ass -- for someone working his ass off.

How a feud over two jobs tipped the West Coast longshore union toward bankruptcy

A feud that could wind up bankrupting the powerful West Coast dockworkers union began like a scene from a B-grade gangster film, when two men met over a calamari lunch.

According to federal court testimony, Leal Sundet, a burly blond union leader, introduced himself in a Portland, Ore., restaurant to Elvis Ganda, a gray-haired port terminal executive, with the words: “I’m the guy that can f— you badly.”

At that time, in 2012, Sundet held the second-highest position in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which handles every shipping container that crosses West Coast ports. Sundet pressured Ganda to help the ILWU wrest control of the jobs of two dockside workers from a rival union, according to court testimony. The terminal manager told Sundet that he felt as if a gun were being held to his head.

The ILWU, whose 15,000 dockworkers make an average of $171,000 a year plus free healthcare, pursued the two jobs relentlessly for the next four years, staging slowdowns at the Port of Portland and flouting federal court orders. The resulting chaos caused international shipping lines to abandon Portland, ending Oregon-based cargo service for exporters as far inland as Idaho’s Snake River.


Gaetz Threatens Kemp With Primary, Should He Defy Trump's Wishes

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of President Donald Trump’s most vocal acolytes, threatened Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) with a primary challenger in 2022 should he not select Trump’s preferred candidate for a soon-to-be-open Senate seat.

It is not clear from where Gaetz, a congressman from Florida, gets the authority to threaten the Georgia governor with a primary.

Kemp wants to pick businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who is retiring at the end of the year. According to Politico, Kemp thinks that Loeffler can help staunch the flow of suburban voters fleeing the party.

Trump, and by extension, Gaetz, wants Kemp to pick Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) instead, a much more diehard MAGA type.


We'll get to see Dipshit Doug Collins in action at the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment hearings in a few more days, in case you're wondering about his Senatorial qualifications.

North Korea launches two projectiles in Thanksgiving message to Trump

Source: Washington Post

North Korea fired two projectiles Thursday, using the start of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States to telegraph its frustration over Washington’s refusal to grant sanctions relief.

The short-range projectiles were launched from Ryonpo on the North’s east coast around 5 p.m. local time, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. They added that the projectiles, presumed to have been fired from a super-large multiple rocket launcher, traveled about 235 miles and reached an altitude of 60 miles.

“This type of act from North Korea does not help efforts to alleviate tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” the JCS said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described Pyongyang’s actions as a threat to the region and the world.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/north-korea-launches-two-projectiles-in-thanksgiving-message-to-trump/2019/11/28/3cb203d4-11be-11ea-924c-b34d09bbc948_story.html

Fox News guest nails it: 'Why in hell does Tucker Carlson have a job here?'

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is a propagandist, though a clever and savvy one. And on his program Monday night, he was up to the usual routine of discrediting the entire Democratic presidential field — talking up their divisions and reaching far to fetch a solution. Michelle Obama, he said, was “one of the only people who could unite the party’s warring factions.”

On the morning program “America’s Newsroom,” host Bill Hemmer used Carlson’s comments to introduce a chat with Michael Blake, a New York state assemblyman and a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. “What do you think about the prediction on Michelle Obama?” Hemmer asked. “Would you like to see that?”

It was a curious way to premise a conversation on the Democratic presidential race, as Blake noted in his response. “Well, she’s not running,” Blake stated right off the bat.

Then came the haymakers: “But the core question is why in hell does Tucker Carlson still have a job here in the first place. The reality is this is someone who said white supremacy is a hoax and why does Fox allow him to still be here in the first place?”


US economy grew at a moderate 2.1% annual rate last quarter

Source: AP

The U.S. economy grew at a moderate 2.1% annual rate over the summer, slightly faster than first estimated, the government said Wednesday. But many economists say they think growth is slowing sharply in the current quarter.

The July-September growth rate in the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, exceeded the Commerce Department’s initial estimate of a 1.9% annual rate. A key reason is that businesses didn’t cut back on investment spending as much as first estimated.

The economy had begun the year with a sizzling 3.1% GDP rate, fueled largely by the now-faded effects of tax cuts and increased government spending. Many analysts have estimated that GDP growth is weakening in the current October-December quarter to a 1.4% annual rate or less. The most pessimistic forecasters foresee growth slowing to a sub-1% annual rate this quarter, largely because the U.S.-China trade war is causing businesses to reduce investment and inventories.

Still, the holiday shopping season is expected to be relatively healthy given solid job growth and consumer spending.

Read more: https://apnews.com/17c1023b42894f6caed3da623cb50918

Where's that 3+% growth rate Trump promised?

A healthy man was licked by his dog. He was dead within weeks.

A 63-year-old German man showed up in the hospital with a burning sensation in his left leg and muscle pain in both. His flulike symptoms were severe, with labored breathing for three days. He had petechiae, or rounds spots on the skin that look like rashes as a result of bleeding capillaries, which made his legs look discolored.

The patient’s heartbeat was stable, doctors said, even though he was running a temperature of 102. His labored breathing caused an inadequate supply of oxygen to his tissue. His failing kidneys were not producing urine, researchers wrote.

But doctors had no idea what was wrong with him. He had not recently been in the hospital. They suspected some kind of bacteria, but he didn’t have any open wounds and he didn’t have meningitis.

It wasn’t until his fourth day in the hospital that a blood test revealed the man had a type of bacteria found in the saliva of healthy dogs and cats. It’s a kind of bacteria that’s usually only transmitted to humans if they are bitten.

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