Questions about the McDonald shooting

Or really only one big question: Why did none of the other cops who were there tell their colleague to stop firing his weapon?

Here’s some of the story. Granted the kid had PCP in his system and was behaving erratically, he didn’t appear to be threatening the cop who shot him in the video that’s been released. He looked to be veering away from the two cops closest to him. Why shoot at all? Why not use a Taser?

There are plenty of other questions, to be sure, not the least of which is why it took 13 months to get an indictment laid against Van Dyke, the cop who fired 16 rounds into the youngster. I’d have thought once the city decided to pay Mr. McDonald’s family $5 million in April of this year that was tantamount to an admission of police misconduct, if not guilt.

Streisand receives Medal of Freedom

In her honor I’ll put a video up.

This is from Barbra’s Live Concert at the Forum recorded at the LA Forum in April, 1972. It was a fundraiser for Senator George McGovern; according to Wikipedia after expenses the campaign got $18K.

“Make Your Own Kind of Music” is a regular earworm of mine. I don’t know why. I played this album a lot back in 1972 when I bought it, but while I own nearly a dozen of Streisand’s albums I don’t binge on them. It’s a Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil composition, written in 1968. Mama Cass recorded it for her second solo album.

WaPo Republican columnist worries

Michael Gerson, who used to write speeches for George W. Bush, has been a columnist at the Washington Post for several years. He’s mostly been a reliable mouthpiece for the Republican Establishment with a side dose of evangelical lecturing.

He is expressing concern for the direction his party is heading, particularly with Trump in the lead for the Presidential nomination. Gerson does not like Trump.

The presidential candidate who has consistently led the Republican field for four months, Donald Trump, has proposed: to forcibly expel 11 million people from the country, requiring a massive apparatus of enforcement, courts and concentration camps; to rewrite or reinterpret the 14th Amendment to end the Civil War-era Republican principle of birthright citizenship; to build a 2,000-mile wall on our southern border while forcing Mexico to pay the cost. He has characterized undocumented Mexican immigrants as rapists and murderers, and opposed the speaking of Spanish in the United States.


There are, of course, Republican presidential hopefuls who have vigorously opposed each of these proposals, arguments and stereotypes. But Trump has, so far, set the terms of the primary debate and dragged other candidates in the direction of ethnic and religious exclusion.


And Trump would make — has already half-made — the GOP into an anti-immigrant party. Much of Trump’s appeal is reactionary. He has tapped into a sense that an older America is being lost.


It does not take much political talent to turn this sense of cultural displacement into anti-immigrant resentment; only a reckless disregard for the moral and political consequences.

As denial in the GOP fades, a question is laid upon the table: Is it possible, and morally permissible, for economic and foreign policy conservatives, and for Republicans motivated by their faith, to share a coalition with the advocates of an increasingly raw and repugnant nativism?

Well, Mr. Gerson, it seems to me that all those folks you just called out are somehow hoping he’ll go away, a victim of his own bluster and its effect on voters. Veteran GOP strategist and former Congressman Vin Weber asks a pertinent question: “How can you be the leader in national polls,” Weber says, “and in the early states, and maybe even in money, and be counted out?”

How indeed?

Trump is no longer amusing

This guy has stopped being funny. He leans too much toward violence for me. It’s not just this incident in which he approves of his supporters beating up a protester; Think Progress lists a few more in this post. There’s also his advocacy of war, his plan to “bomb the hell out of ISIS” and the idiotic idea of a wall along the Mexican border.

There’s his suggestion that all Americans who practice Islam be forced to register in some kind of Homeland Security database, his plan to deport 11 million immigrants without immigration court hearings, and his idiotic handwaving cure for everything that ails us: management, as in “it’s all about management, our country has no management…”. In that instance he was talking about getting Americans of Muslim faith to register in one of those databases (but no badges! None of that stuff reminiscent of Nazi Germany! Nosiree!), but he’s often used the all-encompassing “management” as shorthand for policy answers he doesn’t have.

He’s not fading away, either.

Trump leads Carson 32% to 22%, in a new poll by The Washington Post and ABC News [between November 16-19].

And the real estate mogul leads the retired neurosurgeon 28% to 18% in a new Fox News poll.

The two are trailed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

In the Washington Post/ABC News poll, Rubio is in third at 11%, followed by Cruz at 8%, Bush at 6% and former tech CEO Carly Fiorina at 4%. In the Fox News poll, Rubio and Cruz are tied at 14% and Bush has 5%.

I’m getting a little worried about this. Iowa’s caucuses are less than three months away in February; New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina all hold primaries or caucuses that month too. If Trump wins any of those he’s liable to stir up a bandwagon. I can’t imagine why people would vote for the blow-dried blowhard, but they might.

Sinatra and Sextet Live in Paris

In tribute to the City of Light. I’ve been there once, in the fall of 1984. We’d just concluded an American Express-conducted European bus tour in Cologne, I think, and we flew from there to Paris on a Lufthansa flight. During that flight we hit the biggest turbulence I’ve ever endured; we lost a whole bunch of altitude. We got to Paris and had three days and two nights before moving on to London. I remember two things: I was exhausted by the time I got to Notre Dame de Paris and decided I’d sit in a cafe across from it and sip a beer while people-watching and admiring the books I’d just bought at the famous Shakespeare and Company. I told myself I’d come back and go inside the Cathedral the next time I visited. That was 31 years ago. I haven’t done it yet.

The second thing I remember was that it was raining the entire time we were there. I spent an evening drinking a Kronenbourg beer or two indoors at a restaurant watching the rain come down on the streets as the traffic drove by slowly. It could have been considered romantic, I guess, if I’d had a romantic partner in tow.

That was a six-week vacation. After we left London I found a week’s worth of work to do in Los Angeles before flying back home to Honolulu.

For the Koch Brothers

The Chad Mitchell Trio, Live at the Bitter End.

This was one of four albums I got in the mail this week from Second Spin for $24. The others? The long-unissued eponymous solo album by Karen Carpenter, Sinatra in Paris, one of only three live albums he ever released, and A Christmas Heritage by NewGrange, a group of supremely-talented acoustic players of guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass, piano and a few other instruments.

Read your enemy’s publications

A guy named Robert Evans at Cracked did just that. He read some 700 pages of the glossy magazine that ISIS puts out (Dabiq) and learned a lot but also learned how little we really know. Two conclusions he drew are 1) ISIS wants the West to invade, because it needs to have its final battle with the infidels on its home turf (not coincidentally at the town named Dabiq in Northern Syria) and 2) despite its murderous actions toward Americans and Europeans it reserves its real hatred for apostate Muslims, particularly those who practice the Shi’a branch of Islam.

It’s really worth a read, and at only two pages it’s not going to take up much time.

Christmas albums 2015

[This is] iTunes’ chart of the best selling holiday and Christmas albums that were released in 2015. To be listed on the chart below, the album must have been released in 2015 and rank among the top 200 Christmas albums on the overall iTunes Christmas album chart.

India.Arie and Joe Sample, LeeAnn Rimes, Kenny Rogers, The Brian Setzer Orchestra and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra have all issued new records/CDs this year.

Here’s Setzer having fun with the theme from The Flintstones cartoon show from the 1960s:

Preach it, Mr. President

Move forward to 5:02 in the video.

I am embarrassed and ashamed of the (mostly) Republican politicians who are so gutless that the thought of Syrian families with small children arriving in America terrifies them. I’m sure most of them went off half-cocked without knowing how strict the vetting process is and how long it takes for a Syrian refugee to pass it, but they had and have an obligation to find out how it works before squealing like five-year olds.

Incidentally, Governor Christie of New Jersey is, like all bullies, disposed to spit on people who can’t fight back, including five-year olds.

Chris Christie says the U.S. should not accept any new Syrian refugees, not even young orphans.


When asked if he would make an exception for “orphans under the age of five,” Christie said no.

Well, Syrian five-year olds may be more dangerous than American ones. I suppose it makes sense that they should be prohibited entry to our brave and beautiful land.

God, I’m disgusted with these clowns.

FIFA Presidential Candidates? Ew!

FIFA, the governing body of world football (soccer to us American Johnny-come-latelies) is going to hold an election to replace its notorious President, Sepp Blatter, in February 2016. All of the candidates claim to be running on a reform platform, saying they’ll clean up the corruption that resulted in fourteen indictments and seven arrests in May of 2015. Sounds good, right? Certainly FIFA appears to need to be shaken up, its culture changed and its site award system hosed off and expunged of bribery. Unfortunately, none of the candidates for President are what you’d call squeaky-clean.

The organization has just cleared five candidates in the race to succeed Blatter as president of world football. FIFA’s electoral committee says it conducted a thorough “integrity check” of each candidate, reviewing everything from corporate records to media reports of “potential red flags.”

One candidate, Liberian Football Association head Musa Bility, failed to clear that integrity check. But FIFA won’t say why, for “reasons of protection of personal rights.”

Another candidate, former football star and European soccer boss Michel Platini, wasn’t even considered. Like Blatter, he’s suspended while FIFA investigates him for corruption. He’s alleged to have accepted a mysterious $2.1 million payment from Blatter himself. Both men deny it was a bribe.


Absent Platini, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim al Khalifa from Bahrain is considered a favorite. But he’s perhaps the one with the most serious allegations against him. Forget corruption. This guy is accused by human rights groups of helping to imprison and torture people during pro-democracy protests in Bahrain back in 2011.


Then there’s Prince Ali bin al Hussein. He’s the half-brother of Jordan’s King Abdullah, and a former FIFA vice president. He was on the inside when FIFA controversially awarded the next two World Cups to Russia and Qatar.


Gianni Infantino is a Swiss lawyer who works for Michel Platini over at UEFA, the European soccer body. He’s said to be a good administrator, but also a stand-in for his boss, who I remind you is under investigation for corruption. If by some miracle Platini were to somehow pass his integrity check, the word is Infantino would step aside to let the boss through to the top.

Then there’s Jerome Champagne, a former French diplomat and FIFA insider, with old ties to Sepp Blatter. He’s the only candidate who’s put out any specific plans for FIFA’s future. It calls for a redistribution of wealth throughout FIFA.


And finally, the so-called outsider in the race: Tokyo Sexwale. He’s a former anti-apartheid activist from South Africa who served time alongside Nelson Mandela. He’s since become a millionaire businessman, and now says he will “follow the money” to clean up FIFA. He’s also a former member of the organizing committee that brought the 2010 World Cup to South Africa. US prosecutors allege that organizers in South Africa paid $10 million to a now-disgraced former FIFA vice president in order to make sure South Africa was awarded the tournament.

If Jimmy Carter were asked to adjudicate this election, he’d suggest throwing out the nominees and starting over. The outfit certainly doesn’t seem to get the idea that its new President must be pure as the driven snow in order to show the world’s football fans that there will be no more bribes to get World Cups in sites more suited for the World Camel Driving (or maybe Water-Skiing) Championships like Qatar.