Fighting erupts in Syrian capital.
GOP representative says “no evidence” of of Trump-Russia links.
Democratic representative says there’s “circumstantial evidence” of Trump-Russia links.
North Korea holds “high thrust” missile engine test.
Wildfire near Boulder, Colorado, forces thousands to evacuate.
R.I.P. Jimmy Breslin, 88, columnist and writer.
Britain denies wiretapping Trump.
Senate committee vs. White House on wiretapping proof.
Syrian mosque hit by airstrike; dozens killed.
Trump’s proposed budget screws his voters.
Oklahoma lawmaker accused of child prostitution.
Democrats go after Jeff Sessions for lying to Congress.
Sessions recuses himself from further investigations of Russian meddling.
U.S. launches airstrike in Yemen.
Sweden reinstates the draft.
Kansas court says education spending is too low in the state.
Trump proposes to increase Pentagon budget by 10%.
Strike targets al-Qaeda leader in Syria.
Hundreds of Jewish graves vandalized.
Kansas bar shooter appears in court.
SpaceX plans first trip to the moon.
ICE widens net for deportations.
Troops battle to dislodge ISIS from strategic airport.
Dutch parliament votes to allow cannabis cultivation.
White House signals reversal of transgender bathroom policy.
His fifteen minutes were up a long time ago.
Appeals court rules unanimously against Trump’s executive order on immigration.
It’s a no-no: Conway gets schooled on hawking Ivanka merchandise.
Heavy winter storm cancels thousands of flights in the Northeast.
Russian airstrike kills Turkish soldiers.
Aretha Franklin announces her retirement.
Shelling goes on in eastern Ukraine.
Now Trump is telling Israel not to build settlements.
U.S. to hit Iran with sanctions for testing missile.
GOP votes to overturn rule limiting coal mining.
“What he meant was…” John McCain makes nice with Australia after Trump call.
The U.S.-led commando raid on al-Qaeda in Yemen that left one American and several civilians dead was ordered by Trump “without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations” according to Reuters.
The raid was initially planned by the Obama administration but left for Trump to decide whether or not it was to be carried out.
From the New York Times:
President Barack Obama’s national security aides had reviewed the plans for a risky attack on a small, heavily guarded brick home of a senior Qaeda collaborator in a mountainous village in a remote part of central Yemen. But Mr. Obama did not act because the Pentagon wanted to launch the attack on a moonless night and the next one would come after his term had ended.
With two of his closest advisers, Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon, joining the dinner at the White House along with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Mr. Trump approved sending in the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, hoping the raid early last Sunday would scoop up cellphones and laptop computers that could yield valuable clues about one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups. Vice President Mike Pence and Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, also attended the dinner.
As it turned out, almost everything that could go wrong did. And on Wednesday, Mr. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be present as the body of the American commando killed in the raid was returned home, the first military death on the new commander in chief’s watch.
The death of Chief Petty Officer William Owens came after a chain of mishaps and misjudgments that plunged the elite commandos into a ferocious 50-minute firefight that also left three others wounded and a $75 million aircraft deliberately destroyed. There are allegations — which the Pentagon acknowledged on Wednesday night are most likely correct — that the mission also killed several civilians, including some children. The dead include, by the account of Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Qaeda leader who was killed in a targeted drone strike in 2011.
Mr. Trump on Sunday hailed his first counterterrorism operation as a success, claiming the commandos captured “important intelligence that will assist the U.S. in preventing terrorism against its citizens and people around the world.” A statement by the military’s Central Command on Wednesday night that acknowledged the likelihood of civilian casualties also said that the recovered materials had provided some initial information helpful to counterterrorism analysts. The statement did not provide details.
But the mission’s casualties raise doubts about the months of detailed planning that went into the operation during the Obama administration and whether the right questions were raised before its approval. Typically, the president’s advisers lay out the risks, but Pentagon officials declined to characterize any discussions with Mr. Trump.
These kinds of operations are always fraught with peril and can turn sideways very quickly, so even the best-laid plans can blow up. In this case, the only sure thing is that they will blame the failure on Obama. On the other hand, had they pulled it off, it would be because of the brilliance of Trump, Kushner and Bannon.
I will give him credit for going to Dover to meet the family of CPO Owens. I wish that would be the only time he has to go, but I have my doubts.
Nigeria accidentally strikes refugee camp; dozens killed.
President Obama commutes Chelsea Manning’s sentence.
Senators scrutinize Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education.
Trump enters office with historically low poll numbers.
British PM commits to clean break from E.U.
Trump gave his first press conference since July.
Six VW executives indicted in emissions-cheating scandal.
China aircraft carrier enters Taiwan Strait.
No more Gitmo releases to be sought under Obama.
Vote for your favorite Monopoly token.
Intel chiefs presented Trump with evidence of Russian attempts to compromise him.
Taliban takes credit for bombings in Kabul.
Roof gets death penalty in Charleston church shooting.
Senate GOP delays four cabinet hearings.
Volkswagen to plead guilty in $4.3 billion deal.
Six dead, traffic snarled in nasty weather in the West and Southeast.
Four soldiers killed in truck attack in Israel.
300 U.S. Marines return to Afghanistan opium region.
Queen Elizabeth II makes first public appearance after illness.
Your complete list of Golden Globe winners.
Former Iranian leader Rafsanjani dead at 82.
It’s time for my annual re-cap and prognostication for the past year and the year coming up. Let’s see how I did a year ago.
- Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. I have no idea who she will beat; I don’t think the Republicans know, either, but she will win, and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it will be a decisive win. The GOP will blame everybody else and become even more cranky, self-injuring, and irresponsible.
- The Democrats down-ticket will do better than expected by taking back the Senate and narrowing their gap in the House. This will be achieved by the number of voters who will turn out to vote for them in order to hold off the GOP’s attempt to turn the country back over to the control of white Christian males.
Both of those were spot-on until sometime in the late evening of November 8. And I’m not the only one who blew that one.
- The economy will continue to improve; maybe this is the year the Dow will hit 19,000. The limiting factor will be how the rest of the world, mainly China, deals with their economic bubble. I think a lot of the economic news will be based on the outcome of the U.S. election and the reaction to it. If by some horrifying chance Donald Trump wins, all bets are off. Economists and world markets like stability and sanity, and turning the U.S. over to a guy who acts like a used car hustler crossed with a casino pit boss will not instill confidence.
I covered my ass on that one but I think it’s still true. By the way, the Dow did hit 19,000 in 2016.
- ISIS, which barely registered on the radar as an existential threat to the U.S. and the west a year ago, will be contained. There will not be a large American troop presence in Syria and Iraq thanks in part to the response by the countries that themselves are being invaded by ISIS. Finally.
- Refugees will still be pouring out of the Middle East, putting the strain on countries that have taken them in. It will be a test of both infrastructure and moral obligation, and some, such as Canada, will set the example of how to be humane.
I’ll give myself a gentleman’s C on the first one because ISIS is still in play and Syria is looking like the horror that war brings and we’re no closer to an end to it. As for the refugees, I underestimated the venality and xenophobia of some of the countries — including our own — in taking in the refugees.
- Maybe this will be the year that Fidel Castro finally takes a dirt nap.
Got that one right, finally.
- The Supreme Court will narrowly uphold affirmative action but leave room for gutting it later on. They will also narrowly rule against further restrictions on reproductive rights. And I am going out on a limb by predicting that President Obama will get to choose at least one more new justice for the Court, an appointment that will languish in the Senate until after the election.
I got that one right, including my out-on-a-limb one about President Obama having to pick a new justice for the court and the GOP sitting on it. I hate it when I’m right about something like that.
- Violence against our fellow citizens such as mass shootings will continue. The difference now is that we have become numb to them and in an election year expecting any meaningful change to the gun laws or the mindset is right up there with flying pigs over downtown Miami.
- Marriage equality will gain acceptance as it fades from the headlines, but the LGBTQ community’s next front will be anti-discrimination battles for jobs and housing. It’s not over yet, honey.
- We’re going to see more wild weather patterns but none of it will convince the hard-core deniers that it’s either really happening or that there’s anything we can do about it.
I’m sorry that those were right.
- The Tigers will not win the division in 2016. (Caution: reverse psychology at play.)
But the Cubs won the World Series so that makes up for it.
- On a personal level, this could be a break-out year for my writing and play production. I don’t say that every year.
One of my plays won a playwriting contest and I actually got a cash prize for it. It has been submitted for a full production at a theatre in Boca Raton in their 2017-2018 season. So that worked out.
Okay, predictions for 2017.
- I have no earthly idea what will happen with Trump in the White House. But I can say that for the first time in my life — and I will hit 65 this year — I am frightened both for myself and my country.
- At some point in 2017 elements of the electorate will realize that they got conned into voting for Trump and that they were played for fools. The backlash will begin when they find out he can’t follow through on his bullshit promises, and reach a peak when they find out that repealing Obamacare and deporting 11 million people effects them personally. When it happens, it will not be pretty.
- There will be a downturn in the economy thanks to the cyclical nature of economics and the instability in the market by the Twitter-In-Chief. He will, of course, blame it on Barack Obama.
- A year from now the Syrian civil war will still be dragging on. ISIS will still be a factor, and if Trump does what he says he will do with the Iran nuclear deal, expect to see them re-start their nuclear program. “Dr. Strangelove” will be seen by historians as a documentary.
- The refugee crisis will continue and fester once nativists and right-wing elements win majorities in western European countries.
- Our diplomatic thaw with Cuba will freeze as the attempts to end the blockade will not get through Congress. Only until Trump gets permission to open a casino in Varadero Beach will there be any progress.
- Violence against our fellow citizens will continue and take on a more xenophobic tone as the white supremacists think they are now in control. The attorney general will do nothing to put an end to it because, in his words, “they had it coming.”
- We will lose the requisite number of celebrities and friends as life goes on. 2016 was an especially painful year. As I always say, it’s important to cherish them while they are with us.
- The Tigers will finish second in their division.
- A year from today I will write this same post and review what I got right and what I didn’t. But stick around and see how I do on a daily basis.
Okay, your turn.
President Obama promises retaliation for Russian hacking.
Dylan Roof convicted on all counts in Charleston church murders.
A thousand Syrian civilians evacuated from Aleppo.
Heavy snow expected in the Midwest, Northeast.
R.I.P. Carl Sager, ESPN broadcaster.
Report: Putin personally involved in hack of U.S. election.
Video shows shelling in Aleppo and the end of the ceasefire.
Over a billion Yahoo customers had their data hacked in 2013.
North Carolina Republicans try to pull off banana republic attempt to cling to power.
Church-goer describes attack by gunman in South Carolina murder trial.
Rebels announce cease-fire deal in Aleppo.
Energy Department refuses to name names for Trump team.
Ohio bans abortions after 20 weeks; Kasich vetoes “heartbeat” bill.
“Pizzagate” gunman faces federal charges.
R.I.P. Alan Thicke, 69, sitcom star and songwriter.
Bombing near Cairo Christian cathedral kills 25.
ISIS retakes ancient city of Palmyra.
Alarming: Trump rejects findings of intelligence agencies on Russian hacking.
Fire injures 12 guests at Michigan ski resort.
The last Zika outbreak in Florida is over, for now.
South Korean parliament votes to impeach president.
Russia says Syria halted combat to evacuate civilians.
Final “Zika Zone” on Miami Beach to be lifted.
Winter storm in Michigan causes havoc including a deadly car pileup.
Aw: Trump fans on campus say they need “safe space.”
Syria tells residents of Aleppo to leave or “be annihilated.”
All bodies have been recovered from Colombia plane crash site.
Three people have died in the wildfire in Tennessee.
Scientists blame ocean warming for massive coral die-off.
Obama to send aide to Castro’s funeral.
How’s that transition going?
Secret backdoor on some U.S. phones sent data to China.
Google and Facebook to cut off fake news sites.
Russia resumes airstrikes in Aleppo.
Good luck with that: Sen. Boxer files bill to eliminate Electoral College.