Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Short Takes

Kerry: ISIS pushed back in Iraq but threatens Libya.

Scary: Zika virus in Texas was transmitted by sex.

North Korea prepares long-range missile launch.

Flint’s former manager resigns as emergency manager of Detroit schools.

Snow and high winds hit Plains and Midwest.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Stay Safe and Warm

I know it’s easy to post pictures of nice warm and sunny Florida when the rest of the country is buried in a blizzard, but I’ve done my share of snow-slogging, shoveling, and driving through blizzards to know it’s not fun; it’s like a hurricane in terms of danger to life and property.

If you’re up there in the Northeast — New York, Washington, D.C. or in between — I hope you’re staying safe and warm.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Short Takes

Heavy winter storm bearing down on the Mid-Atlantic.

British court says Vladimir Putin was behind the assassination of a Russian dissident.

E.P.A. official quits as the agency slams response to the water crisis in Flint.

Russia and U.S. jockey for position in Syria.

Drop in oil prices don’t help the U.S. economy this time.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Friday, January 15, 2016

Short Takes

ISIS claims credit for the attack in Jakarta that killed seven.

President Obama took his SOTU tour to Louisiana.

Anglicans suspend entire U.S. Episcopal church over marriage equality.

Goldman Sachs to pay $5 billion in mortgage settlement.

The Oscar nominations were announced.

Tropical Update: A hurricane in January?  I blame Al Gore.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Short Takes

U.S. and South Korea doubt that North Korea set off an H-bomb.

El Niño brings a lot of rain to California and around the world.

Texas trooper who arrested Sandra Bland indicted for perjury.

Alabama Chief Justice defies the U.S. Supreme Court on marriage equality.

Florida university fires Sandy Hook-doubting professor.

Ken Griffey, Jr. elected to the Hall of Fame with highest vote percentage (99.3%) ever.  (So who didn’t vote for him?)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Short Takes

Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Iran after attack.

Armed group vows to continue occupation of federal wildlife refuge center.

President Obama plans executive action on gun violence.

6.7 magnitude quake hits near India-Burma border.

Winter will finally arrive in the East as the Midwest cleans up.

Top aides to Ben Carson quit his campaign.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking Back/Looking Forward

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.

– Now that we have a Republican House and Senate and a president who isn’t running for re-election, get out the popcorn, and I mean the good stuff.  The GOP will try to do everything they can to destroy the legacy of Barack Obama, but they will end up looking even more foolish, petulant, infantile, and borderline nuts than they have for the last two years, and that’s saying something.  Repeals of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and recharged attempts to investigate Benghazi!, the IRS, and the VA will be like the three rings of Barnum & Bailey, all of which President Obama will gleefully veto.  As Zandar noted at Balloon Juice, “Over/under on when a Republican declares on FOX that Obama’s veto is  “illegal”, Feb 8.”

They did all that except actually pass the bills for President Obama to veto.  Instead they putsched John Boehner and replaced him with Paul Ryan who will more than likely face the same nutsery in 2016.

– Hillary Clinton will announce that she is running for president by March 2015 at the latest.  Elizabeth Warren will not run, but Bernie Sanders, the Gene McCarthy of this generation, will announce as an independent and become a frequent guest on MSNBC.  Jeb Bush, after “actively exploring” a run in 2016, will announce that he is running and quickly fade to the single digits when the GOP base gets a taste of his views on immigration and Common Core.  He may be popular in Republican polls, but those people don’t vote in primaries.  The frontrunners for the Iowa caucuses a year from now will be Rand Paul and Chris Christie.

Nailed that one except for the last sentence.  But to be fair I don’t think anyone had Donald Trump on their betting sheets a year ago, and if they did, it was more for the entertainment value than serious consideration as a Republican candidate.

– The war in Afghanistan is officially over as of December 2014, but there will be U.S. troops actively engaged in combat in what is left of Syria and Iraq in 2015.

More’s the pity.

– The U.S. economy will continue to improve at a galloping pace.  The Dow will hit 19,000 at some point in 2015 and oil will continue to flood the market, keeping the price below $60 a barrel and gasoline will sell for under $2 a gallon, and finally wages will start to catch up with the improving economy.  I blame Obama.

Except for my overly-optimistic prediction on the Dow, this pretty much came true, even down to the price for gasoline: I paid $1.99 last night in Miami, which is not the lowest-priced city in the country.  President Obama is not getting any credit whatsoever for helping the economy improve, which he should, but then the Republicans never blamed Bush for crashing it in the first place.

– The Supreme Court will rule that bans on same-sex marriage violate the Constitution.  They will also narrowly uphold Obamacare again.

Happy dance, happy dance.

– The embargo against Cuba will end on a narrow vote in the Senate thanks to the overwhelming influence of Republican donors who see 11 million Cubans starving for Dunkin Donuts and car parts and don’t care what a bunch of domino-playing dreamers on Calle Ocho think.

The embargo is still in place as a matter of law, but for all intents and purposes, it is crumbling.  U.S. airlines and cruise ships are setting schedules, direct mail service is resuming, and travel there has become routine.

– The Tigers will win their division again.

Oh, shut up.

– We will lose the requisite number of celebrities and friends as life goes on. As I always say, it’s important to cherish them while they are with us.

I hold them in the Light.

– I technically retired on September 1, 2014, but my last day at work will be August 30, 2019.  (It’s complicated.)  I’m planning a return trip to Stratford this summer — more on that later — and I’ll get more plays produced.  I will finish at least one novel in 2015.

This was a productive year for me on the writing front: several plays of mine were done either in full stage productions or readings, and more are on the way.  No, I did not finish a novel yet.

Now for the predictions for 2016:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Maybe this will be the year that Fidel Castro finally takes a dirt nap.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Tigers will not win the division in 2016.  (Caution: reverse psychology at play.)
  • On a personal level, this could be a break-out year for my writing and play production.  I don’t say that every year.
  • 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, it’s your turn.  What do you see for 2016?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Short Takes

Iraqi forces claim to have driven ISIS forces out of Ramadi.

Russia’s defense minister says his forces launched new attacks in Syria.

Trump’s anti-Muslim rants get noticed overseas.

Smog in China closes schools and curbs traffic.

80 people sick from eating at Chipotle outlets in Boston.

House passes bill to ban plastic microbeads from soap and body washes.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Rain, Rain…

From the National Weather Service in Miami as of 5:56 a.m. ET:

The record daily rainfall for Dec. 4th has already been reached at Miami today. So far, 2.31 inches of rain has been recorded at the Miami International Airport since midnight. This breaks the record rainfall for December 4th… previously 2.29 inches set in 1997. Additional rainfall will occur today which will only add to this daily total.

Rain on Screen 02-16-13

Rain on the patio screens.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Short Takes

Attack on Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs was “a form of terrorism,” says Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO).

Victims of Planned Parenthood attack identified.

World leaders start Paris climate change summit.

Turkey returns body of downed Russian fighter pilot.

More wet and snowy weather ahead for the Midwest.

Today is the last day of the North Atlantic hurricane season.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Short Takes

Winter weather and tornadoes hit the Midwest.

Over 100 people indicted in Waco biker brawl that killed nine.

Two relatives of Venezuelan president indicted on drug charges.

Another fence is built in Europe to thwart immigrants.

Weather may have caused Ohio plane crash.

Hurricane Kate heads east across the Atlantic.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Short Takes

Afghan forces struggle to retake Kunduz from the Taliban.

President Obama tells U.N. that it will take more than weapons to defeat ISIS.

House conservatives push Trey Gowdy for Majority Leader.

Volkswagen’s diesel fix doesn’t apply to U.S vehicles.

Tropical Update: TS Joaquin is heading towards the Bahamas, but is expected to turn north before it gets to the U.S. mainland.

The Tigers lost 7-6 to the Rangers.