Friday's HOT MIC
In case you've waited until the last minute, Phil Baker has some great Father's Day gift ideas for dads of every stripe:
I got my dad an Amazon Alexa (shhh...don't tell him). I plan to set him up with the Pandora polka station, the weather, and sports scores and see how that goes before we move on to more advanced skills like controlling the lights. He doesn't "do" technology, so I'm not sure what's going to happen. Who am I kidding? I know exactly what's going to happen:
He'll be throwing it at the wall by day's end.
What's your best Alexa story? Let me know in the comments. Mine? I don't have anything too crazy except that my (just hilarious) adult sons keep adding Spanx to my shopping list, and my younger son tells her to play "Let's Get It On" at random times. (How does he even know that song? He was homeschooled. It seems like it didn't take or something.)
There was a terror attack in Jerusalem today that has gone relatively under the radar so far -- but watch out. An Israeli policewoman was stabbed to death by a Palestinian who was then shot by police. Simultaneously, by the Damascus Gate of the Old City, an area I've been to a number of times but where I always felt nervous, two Palestinians attempted to stab some police but were shot first. Nothing extraordinary here really except that for the first time ISIS is claiming credit inside Israel. If this proves out, the Israelis are not likely to take this lying down, especially with Trump in the White House, not Barack O., who was always insisting on prudence. (What do you think he would have done in the Warsaw Ghetto?)
This doesn't look good:
Here's a close-up of the damage:
Though the ship is unable to operate under its own power, a Navy official told CNN that it is not in danger of sinking at this time. However, AP just tweeted out this update:
Stay tuned — and keeps those unaccounted for crew members in your prayers.
The "execrable Ben Rhodes" thinks the Cuban community in Miami (which overwhelmingly supports Trump on Cuba) should be "held accountable."
What does he mean by "held accountable" ? Is that some sort of threat?
I'll just say it -- the man is a menace.
Left-wing terrorist James T. Hodgkinson had an assassination list according to an exclusive report in The Daily Caller.
Hodgkinson opened fire on Republican congressmen and staffers during a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday, wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others. The FBI recovered a list of Republican names in his pocket, strongly suggesting that the attack was a premeditated mass assassination attempt.
The list was written out on notepad paper and found in the shooter’s pocket, according to multiple sources with intimate knowledge of the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the investigation. The list of names included Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan and Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, TheDC has confirmed.
The FBI has contacted at least one of the three congressmen to inform them of their inclusion on the list.
All three representatives on the list are members of the House Freedom Caucus, which contains the chamber’s most conservative members. Both Duncan and Brooks both attended Wednesday’s baseball practice, but were not wounded in the attack.
Two things, one minor:
First the minor: I think Alex Jones is looney tunes. Saw him almost get into fisticuffs with Roger Stone at the convention. (Remember that, Tyler?) But I hope he nails the far worse and more dangerous NBC as per Paula's post below. Further, Megyn Kelly is one of the creepier characters in public life, a good villain for a black comedy. She doesn't even look that attractive anymore. That's what overweening ambition does to you.
Now the major: Bravo to POTUS for getting rid of Obama's (Orwell alert) "objectively pro-fascist" Cuba policy - and not just because it seems to have gotten the Twitter goat of the execrable Ben Rhodes. The people of Cuba will thank you - and are. For all the fire Trump's taking, he's still doing a lot of good things. He's almost as adept at compartmentalizing as Bubba.
The police officer charged with manslaughter in the killing of a Minnesota man was found not guilty after lengthy deliberations by the jury.
Philando Castile was shot and killed by officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop. His death was partly streamed live on Facebook.
Several members of the Castile family screamed profanities and cried after the verdicts were announced, despite warnings from the judge that everyone in the courtroom should remain composed.
"Let me go!" yelled Castile's mother, Valerie.
The families of Castile and Yanez were escorted out of separate courtroom exits. At least 13 officers were present in the small courtroom when the verdicts were read.
Outside court, Valerie Castile said she was disappointed in the state of Minnesota, "Because nowhere in the world do you die from being honest and telling the truth.
"The system continues to fail black people," she said. "My son loved this city and this city killed my son and the murderer gets away! Are you kidding me right now?
"We're not evolving as a civilization, we're devolving. We're going back down to 1969. What is it going to take?"
The jury deliberated about 29 hours about the July 6 traffic stop and heard two weeks of testimony in which prosecutors portrayed Yanez as a nervous officer who lost control of his traffic stop.
He was too quick to pull the trigger after learning Castile had a gun, based on an unreasonable suspicion that he was a robbery suspect, they said.
Yanez, a St. Anthony officer, testified he feared for his life because Castile reached for his firearm, despite being instructed not to do.
Yanez's lawyers alleged Castile had been smoking marijuana the day of the shooting, which they said affected his judgment.
Yanez had good reason to be nervous and in a situation where someone has a gun, a police officer should be allowed to err on the side of caution.
Was Castile's death necessary? Probably not. But if there is blame to fall on the officer, Castile comes in for his share of blame as well. When a policeman has a gun pointed at you, you don't reach into your back pocket for anything. In fact, you keep your hands where the policeman can see them.
I will be accused by some of blaming the victim, but acting stupidly in the presence of a policeman with a gun deserves blame.
What kind of sadistic monster would do this?
Prior to his Wednesday afternoon flight from Miami to London, McDonald made himself a sticker that looked exactly like an electrical outlet. Later, upon arriving at Miami International Airport, he placed the sticker in an outlet-deficient area of the terminal, then sat back and waited for an unsuspecting passenger to fall for his prank.
At least a couple of his fellow passengers fell for the prank. (I would definitely have been one of them.)
According to the prankster, his marks weren’t even that miffed. Once they figured out what was going on, McDonald says they played along for the benefit of future victims.
"After I was done videotaping, I told them what I did and they all laughed,” McDonald told ABC News. “And we acted like nothing happened and waited for the next person to try it."
This morning, I want to ask everyone on every “side” of the political spectrum, to take a step back. Yes, the majority of my remarks are aimed at the progressive side of things, as they are the ones initiating most, if not all, of the violence. But, it also applies to everyone as far too many seem intent on throwing thermite on the fire.
In more than fifty years of life, I have never seen this Republic so divided, and the concept of discourse so thoroughly discarded. I have never seen a level of hatred with open calls of violence by so many in all those decades.
With tears in my eyes, I beg you: please step back. Think.
Read the whole thing.
The Pentagon is denying a report that the U.S. plans to send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan. The Associated Press reported the news as a done deal, but the brass says ... not so fast.
The Pentagon is pushing back on a report that 4,000 more U.S. troops will head to Afghanistan and that an announcement about the deployment is imminent.
Defense Secretary James Mattis “has made no decisions on a troop increase for Afghanistan,” chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement Friday. “As he said throughout the week in testimony, the revised Afghanistan strategy will be presented to the president for his approval in the coming weeks.”
On Thursday night, The Associated Press, citing an unnamed Trump administration official, reported that Mattis has decided to send about 4,000 troops to Afghanistan to break what top generals have described as a stalemate.
Right now, there are about 8,400 troops in the country on a dual mission of training, advising and assisting Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban and conducting counterterrorism missions against groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
According to the AP, most of the extra troops would go to the train, advise and assist mission, while a small number would go to the counterterrorism mission.
The AP said the decision could be announced as early as next week.
Liberals are aghast that Trump is leaving it up to the Pentagon to decide how many -- if any -- more troops are needed to win the war in Afghanistan. I wish Obama had done the same thing. Presidents with no military command experience -- and who but Ike since the end of WW II has had it? -- can only act on the recommendations of their top military advisers. So in the end, the president usually follows what the military leadership desires.
If the president doesn't like what's being suggested, he can always veto it. So getting your panties in a twist over Trump "giving away" the decision to send more troops is ignorant.