Monday's HOT MIC

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Michael --


Today's most annoying headline:

Charlie Gard, The Tragic Baby Who Melted Trump's Cold Heart

"Trump's cold heart"? Seriously?

This just happened:

Not unusual to see movie and TV folk in my part of rural New England, including Meryl Streep, Michael J. Fox, Kevin Bacon and the late Ed Herrmann, neighbors all. But I have to admit that encountering Daryl Dixon in the drug store was a first.

A jury in New York on Thursday found that the U.S. government can seize an estimated $1 billion in property from the Iranian Alavi Foundation.

The Alavi Foundation owns dozens of properties across the U.S., including a 36-story office building in Manhattan and a 100,000-square-foot building at 2313 S. Voss Road, near Westheimer Road.

The building's tenants are collectively known as the Islamic Education Center, and include a school and mosque.

"We're not very clear how it impacts our activities or our use of the building," Faheem Kazimi, chairman of IEC Houston, said by phone.

The Alavi Foundation is a nonprofit foundation billed as a group that helps all community members, regardless of race or religion, providing social services, scholarships and medical treatment.

Federal prosecutors, however, have painted the Alavi Foundation as an illegal funding machine for Iran, siphoning money from the U.S., sometimes to fund terrorist attacks.

The case had been tied up in the courts for nearly two decades with close to 2,000 filings.


Okay, Times, seriously:

The Vatican's initial response to the case of Charlie Gard made me ashamed to be a Catholic. President Trump's tweet today made me proud to be an American:

The nation's most violent big city is holding its breath this long holiday weekend, bracing for the worst.

With homicides on pace to exceed 700 once again this year, the 4th of July weekend has started out in grim fashion.

Six people are dead as of early Sunday evening with another 40 wounded. Among the injured is the son of a Cook County judge.

CBS Chicago:

Four people are dead and 40 others are injured in shooting incidents as the city heads into Sunday night. Among the injured is the son of a Cook County judge, which Chicago Police have dubbed a gang related shooting.

Neighbors who know the family, however, say the 28-year-old victim is not in a gang, adding that he is a young, hard working father who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“This hits home because I’ve known this young man for years. I’m hoping he’ll be alright,” said Tom Keller, who is a neighbor of the family.

Keller added that it’s hard to comprehend how his neighbor’s son, Duriel Lyke, ended up getting shot Saturday night. “It’s kind of disturbing because it’s not like him — he’s not a gang member. He has a family, he’s not that type.”

Police say someone shot Lyke multiple times around 10 p.m. on the 900 block of East 79th Street in the Chatham neighborhood. He was transported to Advocate Christ Hospital in critical condition.

“The young man — I’ve known him since he was a baby; I’ve seen him grow up. I’m a friends of his father’s, his father is a judge.”

Lyke’s father is Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. Judge Lyke told CBS 2 he’s not in any shape to speak on camera. But in a Facebook message, he said, “My son is about to go back into surgery. Please keep him in your prayers.”

The holiday weekend will end on Tuesday at midnight. Chicago police are not optimistic it will get any better.

I am second to none in my dislike of house pets, including cats, dogs, birds, lizards, rabbits, snakes, and the pigs in the parlor that my Irish forbears probably kept in their stone hut back in County Clare. But now the situation is becoming intolerable: comfort animals on planes? Really? So kudos to the Washington Post for this debunking of the four-legged version of the binky:

A therapy-animal trend grips the United States. The San Francisco airport now deploys a pig to calm frazzled travelers. Universities nationwide bring dogs (and a donkey) onto campus to soothe students during finals. Llamas comfort hospital patients, pooches provide succor at disaster sites and horses are used to treat sex addiction. And that duck on a plane? It might be an emotional-support animal prescribed by a mental health professional.

The trend, which has accelerated hugely since its initial stirrings a few decades ago, is underpinned by a widespread belief that interaction with animals can reduce distress — whether it happens over brief caresses at the airport or in long-term relationships at home. Certainly, the groups offering up pets think this, as do some mental health professionals. But the popular embrace of pets as furry therapists is kindling growing discomfort among some researchers in the field, who say it has raced far ahead of scientific evidence.

Ya think? Truly, pitiful self-indulgence has reached a new level of disgusting when "frazzled travelers" have to tote ducks onto public transportation. Read the whole story, which conjures up images of neo-paganism as well as mental illness on the part of those weak-minded and emotionally unstable individuals who feel the need for a "comfort animal."

My advice: leave your smelly pet at home. Or just stay home yourself. In the immortal words of the Godfather:

You, and I, will both be happier.

The Guardian -- yes, the Guardian -- asks a question most lefties and #neverTrumpumpkins (but at this point I repeat myself) don't want to hear the answer to: what if President Trump turns out to be a success?

But politics, after all, is often a battle of perceptions. Niall Ferguson, a British historian and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California, said in May: “I think one of the things Guardian readers, and their counterparts on the American coasts, don’t want to think about is the possibility that despite his obvious ineptitude, Trump might actually be successful.

“I said last summer to a bunch of liberal friends: ‘Your worst nightmare is not a Trump presidency; it’s a successful Trump presidency.’ The successful Trump presidency scenario is one in which, despite it all, the economy does better thanks to deregulation and tax cuts, foreign policy delivers some big wins on North Korea, the Middle East.

“It doesn’t take an awful lot for a president to start looking good. If the expectations start really low, which they have done, it may be one win, and I definitely don’t rule out a kind of ‘success in spite of himself’ scenario. And then you begin to wonder if a left-of-Clinton Democrat in 2020 would be blown away. We’ll see. The fun thing about doing history is you really can’t tell at this point which way it will go. It could quite easily go Jimmy Carter and he could be a lame duck.”

Michael Barnett, chairman of the Republican party in Palm Beach County, Florida, said: “I haven’t seen Trump lose any bit of support on the ground here. I hear people say he’s not presidential but it looks like he is beginning to redefine what it means to be presidential. He’s not going to take it lying down but he’s going stand up for himself and give it back.”

I just got off the air in Ireland, where I pointed out that Trump's low poll numbers are, just six months into his term, irrelevant (they simply indicate that his base has not deserted him), that Lincoln was called more offensive names ("baboon") than Trump has been, that the wrestling tweet was obviously meant as a joke, that the media is hallucinating if they saw the tweet as a threat, and so far all the yapping from CNN and the fake-news stories in the New York Times and the Washington Post haven't amounted to a hill a beans in this crazy world.

But don't worry -- things will get crazier before they get crazier.