Huge cyclone hits Australia.
Jared Kushner faces questions from Senate.
Sessions threatens sanctuary cities; mayors vow to fight back.
Dakota pipeline now has oil under river near Standing Rock.
Terrorism charges for white man accused of hunting down black men.
Snow pummels Northeast.
Dutch vote puts populist support to the test.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used an e-mail alias when he was head of ExxonMobil.
Female senators fiercely question Marine commandant over nude photos scandal.
Canadian Girl Guides cancel trips to U.S. because of Muslim ban.
If you live north of Washington, D.C. and east of Pittsburgh, you’re literally up to your neck in snow, sleet, and ice.
Stay home, stay warm, and catch up on your reading, your writing, or Netflix.
And here’s some warm thoughts for you.
UK Parliament passes Brexit bill.
UNICEF says Syrian children experiencing “unprecedented” levels of suffering.
Thousands of flights canceled ahead of Northeast snowstorm.
Department of Justice wants more time to produce “wiretap” evidence.
Beware: U.S. Border Patrol can search your cell phone.
McCain to Trump: Put up or shut up about wiretaps.
Northeast braces for another snowstorm.
Trump voters hit hardest by GOP healthcare plan.
Ethiopian trash landslide kills 48.
What to do with 3.5 billion gallons of radioactive soil?
Criminal probe launched into CIA leaks.
Prove it: Senate seeks evidence of Trump wiretaps.
Texas bathroom bill passes key vote.
Jon Huntsman appointed ambassador to Russia.
It’s not over yet for wildfires out west.
Earliest evidence of life on Earth found in Canada.
Tornadoes strike in the Midwest leaving three dead.
Officials say still no actionable intelligence from Yemen raid.
UN says both sides guilty of war crimes in Syria.
The Obamas sign multi-million dollar book deals.
North Korea launches missile into the Sea of Japan.
Second storm heads for Northeast packing more snow and high winds.
Widespread anti-Trump demonstrations take place across Mexico.
World War II bomb defused in Greece, allowing 70,000 people to go home.
R.I.P Al Jarreau, 76, jazz singer.
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.
Sessions confirmed by narrow vote.
Dakota pipeline work set to resume.
Pentagon says airstrikes in Syria killed bin Laden allies.
Scores of Inauguration Day protestors indicted.
New York City braces for winter storm.
19 killed in suicide bombing at Afghan Supreme Court.
Court questions whether travel ban is anti-Muslim.
Tornadoes and severe weather hit New Orleans.
Army to grant permit for the Dakota pipeline.
Sen. Warren silenced on Senate floor for reading words of Coretta Scott King.
Trump withdraws U.S. from TPP. (The Senate never ratified it.)
Foreign aid for family planning nixed if there’s even a whiff of pro-choice.
Marco Rubio caves on Tillerson vote.
Clean-up underway after tornadoes touch down in Florida.
Rescue teams hold out hope for survivors of avalanche in Italy.
Heavy storms and tornadoes leave 14 dead in Georgia.
United Airlines back in business after computer glitch held up flights.
Samsung blames batteries for fires in the recalled flaming phones.
Ethics lawyers to file suit against Trump to end foreign payments.
It’s the Patriots vs. the Falcons in the Super Bowl.
Two officers killed in hunt for murder suspect in Orlando.
Sen. Booker to testify against AG nominee Sessions.
U.S. warship fires warning shots at Iranian boats.
North Korea says it can test-launch an ICBM any time.
Clemson upsets Alabama for the national title.
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.
The real 2016 election is today.
Senators push to broaden hearings into Russian hacking.
More cold weather sweeps across upper portion of the U.S.
Massive 2013 oil spill in North Dakota still not cleaned up.
R.I.P. Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99, famous for being famous and the last of the Gabor sisters.
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.
Via the Washington Post:
November was abnormally mild in the United States, and snow was nowhere to be found. But winter has come on with a vengeance in December’s second week.
Two pieces of the polar vortex have broken away from the Arctic region and will swirl through Canada, drawing frigid air into the Lower 48.
The first pool of bitter cold air has already plunged into the Upper Midwest and will reach the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Thursday and Friday.
The second wave of punishing cold will crash into the Northern Plains on Saturday and Sunday before lifting over the Great Lakes on Sunday and Monday.
The back-to-back blasts will cause temperatures to drop to 20 to 40 or more degrees below normal in affected areas. Although the cold is expected to set just a few records, many areas will experience some of their coldest December weather in several years.
In between these two Arctic blasts, a sprawling storm system will develop in the Rockies and charge across the nation between Friday and the weekend, spreading snow and/or mixed precipitation from Denver to Washington and points north.
Some of the heaviest snow over this busy travel weekend is expected between Minneapolis and Buffalo.
This is just more ammunition for the idiot climate change deniers who confuse weather with environment.
Meanwhile, about an hour’s drive south of here…
Yes, it’s worth putting up with the humidity in the summer.
Trump to name Exxon Mobil chief as Secretary of State.
Congressional leaders are on board with investigating Russia inquiry.
Report: Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy. (Oops)
Polar Vortex hits from upper Midwest to Northeast.
Golden Globe nominations are out.