Democrats can now sleep at night knowing there will be someone with a (D) next to their name in the White House come 2021.

Back in the summer of 2015, I began reading Breitbart News daily because they were one of the very few outlets left at that time with a comments section. By reading the average Breitbart reader’s comments, I knew with 100% certainty by October, 2015 that Trump would be the Republican nominee. This was at a time when nobody in the mainstream media, nobody on the left and nobody who was pro-Kascih, pro-Cruz, or pro-Rubio, or pro-Bush (“Jeb!” -LOL) believed Trump even stood a chance of being the nominee. What I wasn’t sure on, was whether or not he would beat Clinton in the Presidential race.

When Trump was elected, I felt strongly that he would be a one-term president, as I believed the Democrats would get their shit together and actually nominate a stronger candidate than Hillary Clinton in 2020. Those feelings then quickly turned the other way when Democrats completely lost their shit for months after the election while going so far left that it energized Trump’s core base even more.

The events of the past month and a half or so now strongly indicate he will indeed be a one-term president.

In fact, I guarantee it.

The first red flag that Trump may cross the aisle and start working with the Democrats came when Congress failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. At the time, people like me stated that Republicans now own Obamacare given that Republican voters have requested it be repealed for seven years now, there’s Republican majorities in Congress, and a President who wants it repealed, yet they still refused to repeal it. In fact, I actually now think of it as Republicancare.

Then he went and actually started working with Schumer and Pelosi on a spending and debt deal, basically saying “Fuck You” to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, no doubt due to their repeated failures with repealing Obamacare and a general complete inability to get anything done.

Then he went and struck a deal with Schumer and Pelosi regarding DACA and the wall, or lack thereof. Regardless of whether or not the deal is legitimate (there is nothing passed…yet) or whether or not it’s just Schumer, Pelosi, and the mainstream media playing games with misinformation, this has enraged Trump’s core supporters.

Working with the opposition party is a big no-no in our hyperpartisan society now and I could tell that day on twitter alone that Trump has now lost his core supporters. I don’t read Breitbart nearly as much as I did during the election cycle, and when I went to check on what Breitbart readers had to say about it the following day, I didn’t even have to go to the comments. Right there on the front page was Breitbart News, who was largely responsible for getting Trump elected, burning a red Make America Great Again hat.

This loss of core supporters will be Trump’s downfall in the 2020 election. He’s not going to get them back and a loss of interest from voters who voted for him in 2016 means the rust belt states that he won will go Democrat come 2020.

The only real question is, who will be the Democratic nominee? Current polls put Bernie Sanders as the leader. Even though there’s an eternity between now and then, the left hasn’t even been pretending it’s not socialist anymore, going full socialist in ideology on everything. Bernie Bros could easily get their President in 2020, but whoever it is will certainly be far left enough to satisfy the socialists.

The Congress of 2021 will be another question, but I don’t have an answer for that. The 2018 election looks to be a bad one for Democrats, but the 2020 one could easily be a wave election turning left. I just hope the Americans who vote the President in, and the Congress to go along with that President, adequately weigh the risks of socialism, which has never worked where tried, prior to voting. I do fear that American voters don’t realize that what’s going on in Venezuela now is what will be coming to America down the road given a far enough push to the left across all the branches of government.

A year and a half ago or so, I reduced my FiOS television package to have only the kids and entertainment packs. This cut out sports, which I was not watching. I checked to ensure ESPN was not available to me and it wasn’t. Then, on Labor Day weekend, I accidentally switched to ESPN and found it was available. I thought it must have been one of those promotions where you get free channels for a long weekend. I went back yesterday and found it to still be available.

So, I went to my Verizon online and found that I have been given the sports lineup for free to include a number of channels including ESPN and the NFL Network and Red Zone. The situation immediately reminded me of my cancellation of the Baltimore Sun back towards 2003 or 2004. After a few weeks of not receiving the paper after cancelling, it suddenly started showing up again. My wife called them (in CHICAGO) to see why they were doing that and they said that “the computer says someone called and asked to have it delivered again.”

That was obviously bullshit and I knew exactly what it was at the time – they wanted to keep delivering the paper to keep their numbers up for their advertisers. We had them stop delivering the paper again after making it clear we would not be paying for it. With ESPN and the NFL Network, I believe they are giving themselves away to keep their numbers up. Verizon seems likely to be chipping in too, since cord cutting is now admitted to be occurring even more frequently than before and they may be willing to play a part in the free channels to try to keep people from cutting out traditional cable-like TV entirely.

My two year agreement with FiOS has expired and I think I will renew (my kids watch plenty of the children’s channels) while calling them to ensure I am not given the sports pack for free. While I previously stated I stopped watching ESPN due to the all talk format they implemented with its left of center politics only being a minor issue with me, ESPN has gone way too far left for me to take seriously at all anymore and all of the left-of-center columnists who loudly insist that ESPN’s politics are not turning people off are incredibly annoying to read.

Most recently, ESPN was perfectly happy with its own Jemele Hill (who is black) calling Trump a white supremacist. This comes after ESPN suspend Linda Cohn (a long-time white ESPN anchor, who I have the utmost respect for as a sports commentator) for saying ESPN talks too much politics, something virtually everyone in the entire world, except ESPN itself, is in agreement with. This comes after ESPN fired Doug Adler (white) for using the term “guerilla tennis,” a term that has been in use since the 90s when Andre Agassi and Nike popularized it because black people on twitter thought he meant he was calling Venus Williams (black) a gorilla. This comes after ESPN fired Curt Schilling (white) for discussing right-of-center politics.

And sometime between Adler and Cohn, ESPN did one of the stupidest things the world has ever seen by removing Robert Lee (ASIAN) from broadcasting a game because his name was Robert Lee and might remind people of confederate general Robert E. Lee. You can’t make this stuff up and it really speaks to how stupid ESPN believes its target audience to be. I’m sure there’s plenty more nonsense that I can think of given time, but ESPN is dead to me given their asshattery, so it doesn’t matter.

As for the NFL, the national anthem protests continue, so I have no interest in the NFL beyond a passing interest in the Ravens, which I can watch on local channels if I want to.

There’s a scene in Red Dawn (the original one, not the shitty remake) where Colonel Andy Tanner takes Jed Eckert to the front line of the fighting in World War III where tanks are shooting at one another and planes are dropping napalm on either side, as both sides have gone conventional after initial nuclear exchanges. An exchange between the two characters goes:

Jed Eckert: So this is the battlefield?
Colonel Andy Tanner: It’s a real war, kid. It’s here every day.

We’re currently in the “events leading to” section of the Second American Civil War; that’s been evident for a couple of years now. The current front line has been twitter and that’s the reason I’ve been sucked into twitter – it really is a live look at the battle being waged for America. Initially, I started logging on to twitter to follow meteorologists, but when the politics of the 2016 Presidential election cycle started getting real ugly in later 2015, I expanded my horizons.

Today, those two worlds, meteorology and politics, collided as they often do, but today’s result was an epic napalming.

I have to first give a little background. Dr. Ryan Maue was one of the earliest people I followed on twitter because he’s the best meteorologist out there. Period. He earned my respect with his personal site back when he was studying the tropics in the PhD program and links to his site appeared on Anthony Watts’ “Watts Up With That?” blog from time to time. On twitter, he earned my respect even more because he basically wasn’t afraid to call bullshit when bullshit was evident.

Unsurprisingly, Maue has his detractors because of this too. Just take a look at some of the comments here from idiot weather weenies on the American Weather forum topic of his leaving WeatherBell recently; at least one of those comments is demonstrably false:

https://www.americanwx.com/bb/topic/50234-ryan-maue-has-resigned-from-weatherbell/

Between Hurricane Harvey and now Irma, all of the climate change and global warming crazies, basically anyone who leans left (including the mainstream media), are out in full force on twitter talking about the end of the world and how the two hurricanes are evidence of man made climate change getting out of control. They’ve conveniently forgotten the fact that 12 YEARS without a major hurricane causing destruction in the states completely negated their argument.

It was only a matter of time before a major skirmish between the two forces (pro-climate change religious zealots and rational meteorologists) occurred and the true napalm came out, and that occurred today. “Journalist” Kurt Eichenwald, who is a total clown, there really is no other way to put it, had this to say today:

“I’m not a scientist. I used a climate change equation &, using sea surface temps, predicted Irma intensity growth & timing. 100% correct.”

I can’t link to the original tweet, because it has since been deleted. Ryan Maue subsequently stated:

“I am a hurricane scientist and this is bullshit. That’s all.”

It’s enormously hilarious; thank God there’s at least one meteorologist out there not afraid to call bullshit on this stuff, but it got an extra boost of hilarity when David Burge, the overall funniest and wittiest person on twitter (I’ve been a long time follower of his too) chimed in with:

With a reaction like that from Burge, you know Maue’s takedown of Eichenwald was fucking gold.

There really is a war for America going on between emotional utter morons who honestly believe they are smart because they’ve been repeatedly told they are geniuses in their echo chambers and those who are rational, logical and simply want America to continue to be a great country. Both left and right sides believe they are in the latter camp, but as a political independent and relatively neutral observer, I can confirm only one is significantly closer than the other. Twitter is the current battlefield and it’s there every day, kid.

Another logical and rational opinion I saw today on twitter, this one apparently grabbed from facebook:

This is a full play-by-play of the eclipse with some technical details and minor analysis. Hopefully someone out there reads this and gets an idea of what maybe to do and not to do with their cameras during an eclipse. Click photos for full size ones.

I had identified the totality of the solar eclipse of Monday, August 21, 2017 as one I wanted to see years ago. It was the first one that I had access to see within my lifetime with plenty of options for travel within the United States to see it. I had planned on scheduling a big trip over a year out to see it, but the discovery of brain cancer and complications from it throughout 2016 led me to believe there was a reasonable chance of not being alive to see it. So, I waited until later December, 2016 to decide on a trip when it had become clearer that the tumor, or complications from it, would not kill me in the short term. I ultimately chose the Charleston, SC area, specifically Isle of Palms to the east/northeast as the viewing location. My other options seemed to be western KY or Tennessee, but neither provided a lot of options for entertaining my two kids. Given that my kids love the beach, Isle of Palms seemed like a no-brainer choice for a viewing location even though it would literally be the last place to see it along its path because the parts of SC further to the northeast within totality on the map along the coastline are uninhabited.

Sometime between then and the eclipse, the marketing and excitement within the general public for the eclipse began and the resort I was staying at, Wild Dunes, began a marketing campaign of “Dunes Go Dark”. Eclipse fever was in full effect when we arrived Friday later in the afternoon. For the week before the eclipse, the forecast was for partly cloudy skies with a 20% chance of showers on eclipse day. That was true as of that Saturday morning, but by Saturday afternoon the forecast for that Monday had changed to mostly cloudy skies with a 50% chance of showers. That forecast stayed the same through that Monday, with only the chances of showers varying from between 30% and 50%. Ultimately, the final forecast from forecasters was that skies would be cloudy and showers would be along the coastline for the morning and early to mid-afternoon before redeveloping inland sometime in the afternoon. I had previously decided I would drive to the northwest corner of South Carolina or far western North Carolina if the weather looked like it could be bad, but I decided to risk it and stay put on the beach for the eclipse.

At the time I booked the trip, I purchased a pair of plastic eclipse glasses and four of the cheaper paper eclipse glasses commonly seen. I also purchased an 8’x8″ solar filter sheet of the same material seen in the paper glasses to make a cheap filter for my camera for the partial parts of the eclipse. I definitely wanted some photos of the eclipse in all of its phases. My primary camera and lens combination is a Nikon D7100 with an 18-200mm lens. I had previously taught myself manual modes of DSLRs when I first got a DSLR in 2009, but I lost what I had learned and largely just became a “dad with a camera” using automatic mode almost exclusively.

A couple of months prior to the trip, I made my filters for my camera and took some test shots of the sun. My original plan was to try to do a time-lapse of the entire eclipse, if the skies were relatively clear, by using the filter during the partial phases of the eclipse and no filter during totality. I quickly discovered that a full time-lapse was not even close to possible because the sun moved too quickly across the sky. Even at 50 or 70mm, the sun moved too quick across the frame to be able to make a fairly seamless time-lapse. The test shots of the sun turned out well through the filter, though, and I jotted down some manual settings that I felt may help if there were light clouds or haze even though automatic mode seemed to work pretty well.

I then did some test shots of the nearly full moon at 200mm using some of the settings listed here:

 

The Nikon guide on photographing an eclipse helped too:

What I found was that all the photos of the moon looked relatively similar, but did not reveal any of the finer details of the moon and its craters, as I felt they should. Historically, my camera has always taken shit pictures of the moon no matter what I tried and this is the reason there was no way I was going to rely on automatic mode for the eclipse. It was only when I jacked up the ISO to 1600 in this series of tests that the details became a little clearer. I ultimately decided on an ISO of 1600, an f/number of 22 and a shutter speed of 1/200 as what I would attempt to photograph the eclipse with and those are the settings that were used to take this photo of the moon. The moon turned out significantly darker than it was to the eyes in this test, but it seemed like the best the camera would do:

According to the chart, those settings would give me some of the corona, which is all I wanted to capture as a memory, but really had no clue as to what I was going to get or if the photos were even going to look good at all. I also decided that since I was not going to be able to do a full time-lapse that I may take the camera off of my tripod right before totality so that I could also snap some quick pictures of the way the sky looked around the beach, as I figured this may look pretty cool too. But, I was bringing my old D70 for that, or as a backup camera in case my primary one somehow failed.

The day before the eclipse, I went on a fossil hunting trip in Summerville, SC and pulled out my old Nikon D70 to take some photos. The D70 game me a “CHA” error after snapping a photograph and turning the camera off and on allowed for another photo to be taken before the error occurred again. The same thing happened a third time. I didn’t try to take any more photos and when I got home, the photos were corrupted, and a quick internet search led me to believe that the CHA error is a result of a corrupt compact flash card or the camera having issues writing to it. So, my backup camera had failed.

Monday, August 21 arrived and the weather was mostly shit for viewing an eclipse. Skies were almost completely cloudy as a whole, a result of partly cloudy skies at the low, mid and high levels. There were even some sprinkles later in the morning, but a look at the radar showed the near-stationary thunderstorm bands to be forming about 20 miles inland and about 20 miles offshore, leaving us in the middle to be largely rain-free. The radar couldn’t be completely trusted, however, because the Charleston radar had failed the day before due to a lightning strike and wouldn’t be fixed until at least Tuesday, and the radar I was looking at was from far-away Columbia, SC. Regardless, my wife and I both remarked that it was great beach weather, if it wasn’t eclipse day, as the clouds made it feel nice without the sun beating down on us.

By partial eclipse start time, the sun had become mostly visible through the high clouds and I got some photos on a five second timer. They weren’t nearly as good looking as the test shots I had taken back at my house in Baltimore in clear skies, but they don’t look terrible either. Also, the videos didn’t show the transit of the moon nearly as well as I had hoped they would.

Here’s one just as the eclipse started:

Here’s another that seems overexposed after I manipulated the f/number and shutter speed in an attempt to make it look better through the clouds:

The last video shows the sun going behind a cloud deck and the sun continued to not be visible at all back behind cloud decks at all three levels:

 

It was especially the mid-level cloud deck that was the problem. This lasted for 45 minutes until about 10 minutes before totality. At this time, the low-level clouds started to dissipate and the mid-level cloud deck started to move away resulting in the sun being visible through the high cloud layer. People began cheering as the sun was now visible and nearly totally obscured by the moon. The low incoming solar radiation had made the sky look weird, too. It wasn’t like the evening; it was just different and a little eerie as pale sunlight came down from above. In the week before the eclipse, I had read a number of articles talking about animals acting unusual, like dolphins coming up to the surface of the ocean, starting about 15 minutes before totality. I can totally see why a more intelligent animal, like a dolphin, would come up to check out what was going on given the unusual light. This Gull’s behavior was not abnormal, however, as it was flying low looking for food in the low light that the crowd may have dropped on the beach:

I took my camera off the tripod. At this time, I snapped this photo without a filter and the time index indicates it was nine minutes before totality. Playing with the .nef file revealed just how many high clouds were remaining in place for the approaching totality:

Within a minute, photos without a filter were too bright because the clouds low and mid-level clouds continued to dissipate. I then snapped this photo with the filter. It didn’t turn out as well:

I kept briefly looking up at the sun, hoping that I didn’t blind myself. The photo through the filter overexposes the sun making the crescent look bigger, as I could see, and the previous photo showed, that it was just a small sliver at the time. With only a minute or so to go to totality, some younger women a few beach blankets towards the ocean started playing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler:

Then, totality came and the dunes went dark. The sun’s corona was clearly visible to the naked eye, despite the high cloud cover and the crowd continued to cheer. I had switched to the manual settings that I had wanted and snapped a quick picture as it entered totality. When I looked at it later, I wasn’t sure what was going on in the bottom left quadrant of the picture in the reddish area, but research leads me to believe the camera was picking up the chromosphere. As to why it’s blurry, it could easily be caused by the clouds, it could easily be lens shake from me, it could be features of the chromosphere itself, it could be blurry bailey’s beads, or some combination of all four:

Subsequent photos clearly show red solar prominences extending out from the sun:

Both the chromosphere and solar prominences being visible in the photos were completely unexpected to me and these were not visible to the naked eye. It’s curious that neither my wife or I saw them, yet they are clear in the photos and that they are clear despite the high cloud cover. It’s also curious that Mr. Eclipse’s chart believes a much quicker (in fact, 10x quicker) shutter speed is necessary to capture prominences. Did the high clouds somehow bring them out? But also, the corona was a little less expansive in the photo than I was expecting. Surely the clouds were an inhibiting factor for that?

I then switched to automatic mode, just to make sure those pictures weren’t better and snapped several. They were shit, as expected, and this is by far the best one I got:

I then very quickly snapped a few photos of the way the sky looked towards the ocean, which was similar to sunset:

The bright spot in the sky in this photo is not a star, but someone’s drone filming totality:

But then, the color in the sky was lost as we entered the middle of totality:

At this time, my daughter noted what was likely Venus shining brightly in the sky. But, we couldn’t see any other stars given the cloud cover. We could also see flashes of lightning from the thunderstorm band to the north. At first, I thought it might have been people’s flashes on their camera, but it was definitely lightning without the thunder. This is what some people call nighttime heat lightning, which is a misnomer. I switched back to photographing the eclipse on manual and snappedtwo more photos.

I then took some wider angle shots on the same manual setting in the hopes of picking up Venus and perhaps some of the clouds, but that didn’t happen:

What’s noteworthy, though, is that the solar prominences are still visible, indicating that their visibility was definitely not a function of my lens extending to 200mm, as these shots were taken around 32mm.

A closer look at the eclipse at 32mm, still showing the prominences:

I then went back to 200mm as the eclipse was exiting totality and got a series of shots, ending in the diamond ring effect:

Every year or two I take a photo that becomes my new “favorite photo” that I’ve taken and one of the final photos of the diamond ring effect, with the “diamond” flanked by solar prominences on each side is my new favorite photo. My imagination tells me it’s a diamond surrounded by rubies. I like that it also highlights the fact that clouds were there, as that was part of the eclipse experience. I made a quick widescreen wallpaper out of it with some minor adjustments:

Here’s an animated .gif of all the photos taken of totality at 200mm. I tried to line them up, but it’s not perfect:

The sun came almost fully out shortly after totality and I was able to snap some pictures that were closer to the original test shots of the sun at home:

Here’s a last video as the sun was lowering in the sky:

With about 20 minutes of partial eclipse left, the thunderstorms started migrating south towards us slightly, as they reformed on their own outflow boundary, and threw some more high and mid level clouds over the sun, obscuring it. I could tell that was it for the eclipse, so I turned off my camera and started packing everything up to head back to the resort and make some backup copies of all of the photos.

Analysis of the photos taken around the beach indicate to me a possible reason why the low level clouds dissipated shortly before the eclipse and that is because the eclipse itself was occurring. I believe the significantly reduced solar radiation prior to totality may have broken the convection currents happening at the time causing the low level cumulus clouds to dissipate. From a general perspective, a daytime convective current at the beach looks like this:

At the cloud level, lower level cumulus clouds form as a result of the sun heating the surface of the earth. The air rises, causing the cloud to form, then the air descends on either side of the cloud in return flow. With the solar output reduced, the surface of the earth wasn’t warming, thus the convection currents may have been broken.

I’ve circled and drawn some arrows on one of the previous photos on a set of clouds that I believe shows this. While the clouds’ initial convective structure is still intact, these clouds out over the ocean are clearly in a dissipating stage, as they look tilted, jagged and weak:

Photos looking east/northeast still show some thicker lower level clouds and even a sprinkle out over the ocean, so it doesn’t fully explain the dissipation over my exact locality, and it doesn’t explain the mid-level clouds luckily departing, either.

Taking the photos and looking at them later has been fun. While I did a little bit of homework prior to the eclipse, I would say it was still about 95% luck that the photos turned out as well as they did with the low-level clouds dissipating and mid-level clouds departing and the chromosphere and prominences unexpectedly turning up in the photos. If you’re a dad or mom with a camera, amateur or novice DSLR user and I had to summarize some bullet points for photographing an eclipse, they would be:

  • Make sure your camera is set to write raw files (.nef files for Nikons) or jpg and raw files simultaneously. I had gotten away from this practice, but made sure raw output was being written prior to the eclipse.
  • Make your own cheap solar filter if you want, or don’t. The pictures are only a little better than taking a camera phone and snapping a picture through eclipse glasses. The photos are impersonal and difficult to take if there’s any clouds.
  • The time-lapses would be cool, though, if the transit of the moon can be shown clearly. Obviously, get a tripod if you’re going to do this. My interval was five seconds and I don’t think there’s such a thing as taking too many photos in a time lapse, so the interval could have been shorter. It’s just dependent on the total number of photos the camera allows in a sequence and how long the battery is going to last before you have to switch it.
  • Do your homework and find the best possible setting for taking a photo of the moon with your DSLR. Hopefully this translates well to the low light of eclipse totality.
  • I totally forgot to test out bracketing of shutter speeds or set this up before the eclipse. This is something that should be done.
  • Write all of your settings that you decided on down on a piece of a paper so that you don’t lose track of what you’re doing. There’s only several minutes, at best, to see a total eclipse and capture it and you’ll want to look at it with your own eyes too.
  • Get yourself a pair of plastic eclipse glasses, not the paper or cardboard kind. It will be much easier to work with them in the partial eclipse phases.
  • If your camera lens doesn’t have the eclipse filter on it, but it’s pointed at the sun on a tripod, cover it with a towel or something so it doesn’t get overly hot.

Before this one, the last total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States was in 1979. The next one will be in 2024:

Looking at the map, I can’t be the only one thinking a trip to Niagra Falls is in order? Maybe I’ll get some even better photos when the Falls Go Dark.

***
Here’s a few more photos from the Isle of Palms and Capers Island:

 

 

 

So I got an email from AMC Theatres a little while ago about a free advanced screening for The Hitman’s Bodyguard at 7:00 at my local White Marsh theater sponsored by gofobo. It said I was receiving the email because I am an AMC Stubs Premiere member. I’ve previously been to several gofobo screenings and it took me to the gofobo site and I scored a ticket for myself, or so I thought.

Gofobo screenings can fill up if you don’t get there early because they give away more tickets than seats to ensure a full house, but I got there a half hour early, which was plenty of time, especially since most of the movies don’t sell out unless you get there with only a few minutes to spare. I asked a woman who takes tickets where to line up for the movie and she said I first had to get a physical ticket. So, I went to the counter to get a physical ticket and the guy said it was sold out and that I couldn’t see the movie. This was all fine, well and good, except the guy had a giant stack of VIP passes (whatever that means) professionally printed on quality stock paper to hand out to people to get access to the movie for free from August 21-24. The whole thing smelled strongly of a bait and switch.

As I left, a guy saw that I had the pass in the parking lot and approached me and asked if I knew we were supposed to go to the theater days in advance to get the ticket. I had no idea that was the case. I still wouldn’t have that big of a problem with it all if the movie wasn’t starting at the tail end of rush hour. White Marsh is only 2 or 3 miles from my house, but in the shit show Perry Hall and White Marsh rush hour that means 20 minutes one way. And who would want to go to The Avenue at White Marsh twice to see a movie, once to get a ticket and once to watch the movie?

The jury is out in my mind as to whether or not this was a true bait and switch. If the movie gets shit reviews, I will feel strongly that it was a bait and switch and that they were simply giving away free tickets for the movie after it opened to pad their numbers after the opening weekend and the bad reviews and bad word of mouth spread. Regardless, I won’t bother with any AMC Stubs Premiere advanced screening passes in the future.

I was watching the situation with the Ravens talking to Colin Kaepernick closely. Having been a Ravens fan since 2000, I was fully prepared to dump them as my team and become a Steelers fan effective immediately had they signed him. It doesn’t sound like the Ravens have completely decided not to sign Kaepernick, so me waving a terrible towel tomorrow is still a possibility. And that’s if I were to even decide to continue watching the NFL at all.

There’s been a number of opinion articles trying to dissect the fans’ reactions to Kaepernick’s antics last year. They try to keep an even tone between the two sides, but almost all of them conclude that Colin Kaepernick is better than any other quarterback on the market right now and should have a job. There’s an even larger number of articles out there that point out the hypocrisy of NFL owners, coaches, and fans who do not want Kaepernick stating that there are far worse human beings actively employed by the NFL. Some of them bring up his charity work and extended political statements that he’s made that sound a little more moderate. They also bring up Ray Lewis and Ray Rice. All of these articles then conclude Kaepernick should have a job too.

But, he shouldn’t. Fuck him. All of the sportswriters have it wrong as to why people like me say fuck him. It’s not exactly the fact that Kaepernick’s politics don’t suit me, it’s the fact that he brought politics at all into the game combined with the fact that his politics are mostly shit. We live in a world now where the left has made absolutely everything political.

The fact that I have a penis and identify as a male? I’m a sexist pig. The fact that I’m of European descent? I’m a racist slave owner. The fact that I believe men shouldn’t be walking into a women’s room? Homophobic pig. The fact that I have a job? White privilege. The fact that I drive my car to work? Killing my grandchildren and other people around the world. The fact that I eat vanilla ice cream every once in a while instead of chocolate? My racist subconscious coming out. The fact that I choose to stand for three minutes while our national anthem is being played to pay respect to the best country in the world and those who have fallen for it? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Literally Hitler.

I strongly believe none of the left’s opinions apply to me in those cases, yet the left continues to act like I should have a swastika tattooed on my forehead. And here comes Kaepernick last year being an attention whore assclown sitting or kneeling for the anthem, wearing socks that have police officers as pigs, and supporting Fidel Castro, among other things. I strongly believe in the right for Kaepernick to do all of those things. I also strongly believe in my right to say fuck him. Fuck him. I also believe that is what is going through the minds of most of the people who are anti-Kaepernick.

Football is a form of escapist entertainment for the people who are ultimately paying to watch it. Period. Bringing bullshit attention whore politics to the game makes it non-escapist, just as Hollywood often ruins films and shows due to their bullshit politics. If a team signs Kaepernick, they may as well have Lena Dunham at quarterback. I think the sportswriters fully understand that’s where the mentality is of many football fans, but I think they’re afraid to say it.

Even after everyone finally came into agreement that Kaepernick was being blackballed, his girlfriend went out and compared Ravens owner Biscotti to a slave owner and this was while Kaepernick was officially still under consideration of becoming a Raven. I can’t even imagine the feeling of entitlement I would need to have to compare the owner of a company I was interviewing with to a slave owner during the interview process. And I’m the one who supposedly feels entitled?

There’s a distinct possibility the NFL will not gain its lost viewership back if Kaepernick is signed, regardless of the team Kaepernick signs with, given the politics of today. It was only recently that the sports industry came out of denial that the lost NFL viewership of last year was due to Kaepernick, something that any swinging dick could have told the sports industry at any time. It may be several more years before they realize what happened if they were to bring him back.

Further reading:

http://www.sfchronicle.com/49ers/article/Kaepernick-and-the-NFL-A-sad-state-of-affairs-11735443.php

https://sports.yahoo.com/prayers-tell-ravens-pass-colin-kaepernick-still-shot-nfl-return-020539795.html

http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/seahawks/colin-kaepernick-issue-becoming-obvious/

 

P.S. Why are most people named Colin opinionated assholes?

Spoilers

Sometimes when re-watching movies later in life, the movie is better on the second viewing. Other times it seems worse, or at least dated. When I re-watched The Sixth Sense for the first time in 18 years, I found it to be exactly the way I remembered it to be, which was very good. It’s got the star power of Bruce Willis, a rare great child performance courtesy of a then entirely-unknown Haley Joel Osment and an academy award winning performance from a then-relatively-unknown Toni Collette. It’s too bad Olivia Williams character couldn’t be in it more, because she was great as well.

My biggest problem with this movie at the time was the twist ending. I didn’t buy it at all at the time, but I was one of the rare people who thought the movie was great despite not buying the ending. Of course, when re-watching it, I was on the lookout for clues to the twist, and found some that I didn’t see at the time, including some references from Cole (Osment), which seemed to indicate he was aware Dr. Crowe (Willis) was a ghost the entire time. But, I still feel Dr. Crowe getting shot towards the beginning of the film followed by a cut to a scene that begins with “The Next Fall” showing him seemingly alive and well was cheap and ruined the twist, something I said at the time following the movie. “The Next Fall” established that a significant amount of time had passed and seemed like a lame trick to play on the audience when coupled with him looking up items in his office at home, among other things. Was it foreshadowing when Shyamalan had Dr. Crowe do his lame trick with the penny, something another kid later said was flat-out stupid?

I also noted that about 50 minutes elapsed before Cole specifically states he sees “dead people” with a lot of character development and slow-burn buildup before the real scares get started. And the real scares are actual scares because there haven’t been any really cheap jump scare items before that point. While it’s not “the scariest movie of all time”, as the marketing put it, it is an effectively scary movie thanks to the character development, slow burn of the first half, and excellent direction from M. Night Shyamalan.

As for Shyamalan, this movie made him a household name with audiences expecting a similarly great movie with a twist from each subsequent movie from him. His subsequent movies then divided audiences, likely because of this expectation. I felt Unbreakable was rather boring, while it spoke directly to some people’s hearts – those people will love the fact that Shyamalan is making a sequel to it titled Glass. I enjoyed Signs, although I felt the same as many others at the time when it was revealed that the aliens had invaded a planet made of 70% water while being aquaphobic. Later, very solid-sounding theories seemed to indicate that they were demons, not aliens and that the water left around the house by the smallest child was actually holy water.

I felt The Village and Lady in the Water were weak and generally tuned out of Shyamalan movies after The Happening, which was an interesting premise, but poorly executed. I later saw Devil, which was written by Shyamalan, but not directed, and felt it was halfway decent. I would like to see Split, but haven’t yet. The Sixth Sense remains the best of his films that I’ve seen. Since I’m hearing good things about Split, hopefully Glass turns out to be a good one. I may have to re-watch Unbreakable and see if my opinion changes with that one. I hardly remember it, so it should be interesting viewing.

Grade: A-

For the uninitiated, Charlie Gard is a baby boy in the United Kingdom with a rare genetic condition known as mitochondrial DNA Depletion Syndrome. The hospital he was being treated at decided they were going to withdraw medical care for the boy, thus causing him to die. The parents wanted to explore further treatment for their child because a couple of American doctors believed further treatment was possible, while the parents also raised the money for treatment in America via crowdsourcing. The hospital refused to release the boy and the parents then sued the hospital and the case went through numerous UK courts, and an EU court with all of the courts deciding in favor of the hospital.

While the court cases were going on, Charlie Gard became somewhat of a cause célèbre for Americans on the right side of the political spectrum, stating that a panel had decided Gard would die and that the hospital was holding him hostage while the court cases were being argued allowing his condition to further deteriorate as time went on to ensure that Gard died. The right argues that this is what would happen if socialized health care came to the United States.

Wesley J. Smith, who seems pretty knowledgeable on the subject, notes earlier in July:

“This is where Charlie Gard’s case is breaking new and even more authoritarian ground. Not only are doctors and judges forcing Charlie off life-support; they are also declaring that their ethics rule over Charlie’s life, even if the parents—Chris and Connie Gard—find alternative care. As far as I know, this is unprecedented in futile-care controversies.”

Everything I’ve read so far indicates that the Republicans and conservatives who are harping about the Charlie Gard case are…wait for it…entirely 100% correct. The first indication that the right was probably legitimately on to something was the initial complete blackout of coverage of the Gard case from the [extremely left] mainstream media. But, that’s not conclusive. The second, and critical piece of information to me, is that the parents did indeed raise the needed 1.2 million pounds via GoFundMe by the end of April. So, at any point during the three months from the end of April through the end of July, the hospital could have released the baby boy to the parents for treatment without fear of it costing the United Kingdom.

By July 24, the parents of Gard withdrew their request to fly Charlie to America and their challenge to the removal of ventilation because the American doctor who was going to treat Gard believed Gard now had irreversible damage from the disease. On July 28, 2017 Charlie Gard died in hospice after the judge denied the parents’ request to allow Charlie to die at home.

So, Charlie Gard was held hostage by the hospital and his condition was indeed allowed to further deteriorate when there was no legitimate reason to allow it to happen. The July events also showed that the parents of Gard were OK with ending treatment after going through all of the available options, something that apparently the hospital, and by extension the United Kingdom, felt that Gard’s parents were incapable of doing on their own. The July events also showed that the state continued to believe it owned the boy in his last days, even after his parents agreed to withdraw treatment.

Back in 2009, the left harped on Sarah Palin’s comments that “death panels” would decide to “euthanize grandma” if socialized health care came to America. It seemed at the time it was obvious scare tactics on Palin’s part and fully warranted at least some ridicule, but now that a socialized health care death panel from one of our biggest allies has decided to kill a baby boy, it doesn’t seem so worthy of ridicule now. This comes a few years after Palin was proven correct about Russia becoming more of a problem during the Obama administration and doing things such as invading the Ukraine, something she had predicted and was ridiculed for too.

Tack on the fact that Senate Republicans universally denounced Obamacare back in 2009 stating it was simply a step towards single-payer and Democrats universally sang the “Republicans are paranoid” song, then later admitted that Obamacare was meant to simply be a step towards single payer and you have the Republicans looking like they were speaking closer to the truth about what was going on with the bigger picture of health care in America.

This 2009 image was supposed to be satirical.

In the final weeks of Gard’s life, the judge in the Gard case has gone out of his way to address a couple of times the social media furor from the American right over the Gard case claiming the state is killing him by stating that the state is not killing him.

The “Honourable” Mr Justice Francis has in one of his comments from July 24, 2017 addressing this notion:

 Our judges are fiercely independent of the state and make decisions, having heard evidence and having considered the law.

It’s been maddingly stupefying reading his comments – where do the “fiercely independent”  judges in the United Kingdom courts get their law from? Is it not the United Kingdom? Am I missing something here or is Francis full of shit?

I’ve seen numerous others from the United Kingdom that don’t see what the problem is here either. What’s going on here is a fundamental difference in ideology between the United States and the United Kingdom. People in the United Kingdom are so entrenched in their culture lacking some freedoms that they don’t know or understand what those freedoms are. It’s no different from the incompatibilities between Western ideology and Islamic ideology that produces Sharia law. Now I fully and truly understand why America fought a bloody revolutionary war to get away from the British ideology. While they’re our friends, their treatment of their people is obviously shit and has occurred for so long that many in the UK consider it completely normal.

America, FUCK YEAH!

This case also does indeed highlight problems with socialized health care. I will be the first to admit that I don’t know the intricacies of United Kingdom health care. Shit, I don’t even know or understand American health care – Obamacare, the insurance companies, politicians and the media have done a more than adequate job of obfuscating everything related to health care law here in the states. But, the United Kingdom’s health care system has been advertised as a “gold standard” of single-payer health care. The parents of Charlie Gard took him to the hospital after being born healthy, but not gaining much weight after a couple of months. Then, the hospital held him hostage. So, the hospital, and by extension, the state, did believe it owned Charlie Gard under whatever health care system it has. While there’s a debate as to whether single-payer healthcare truly constitutes socialism, states believing they own someone is a very strong indicator of socialism. If it’s not technically socialism, it’s certainly socialism in practice.

Here in the states, anyone with common sense (and I know not a lot of people have that) knows that when a doctor lays down some heavy news, a second opinion is always warranted, no matter how much you like the doctor or how knowledgeable they appear to be. Doctors don’t always know what they’re talking about either, like at all, even within their own specialized field. For me, I was told my headaches were obviously the result of allergies and sinus issues for nearly FORTY FUCKING YEARS before it was discovered there was a slow growing cancer in the middle of my brain that was likely there since early childhood. Doctors missed the tumor on CT scans of my sinuses that included my brain in the mid-2000s and it could have been treated then, instead it was 2016 before any sort of treatment could begin. Gard’s parents not being allowed to explore the second opinion under their health care system, that they were ready and willing to pay for, is astonishing. Apparently if they wanted the ability to have a second opinion on a major health issue, the parents shouldn’t have taken him to a UK hospital from the start. But how would they have known that, or why would they be thinking that when all they were doing was trying to figure out why he wasn’t gaining weight at the moment?

The Charlie Gard case never passed any smell test and the more one whiffs with their nose, the more the nasty stink of socialism sets in. The right appears right on this one when it says this is an example of socialized health care being about big government control over the individual first with health care coming second, perhaps a distant second. As a father of two children, I can’t imagine being told one or both of them has a terminal disease, told they are going to be entered into palliative care and not being allowed to obtain a second opinion. Technically Sarah Palin was wrong about socialized health care euthanizing grandma; socialized health care euthanizes the grandchild.

***

Speaking of Obmacare, Republicans somehow, and almost unimaginably, now fully own it and all of its myriad problems. Voters have asked Republicans to repeal it for 7 years now and it’s clear that it will never be repealed given the latest antics with McCain making a dramatic entrance in the meeting to vote yes to set the next meeting then voting no to a repeal in the next meeting. Once again, this proves to me that there is no actual difference between the two parties when it comes to Congress and that it is just one large establishment party, a sentiment I’ve held for 15 years. Many voters who voted in Trump fully own Obamacare now as well given that the entire point of the “Trump Train” they all jumped on was that Trump was a master negotiator and would finally be able to work with a Republican Congress to get it repealed.

Gonna repeal Obamacare! WOO WOO!

The reported reason some Republicans voted no was because they didn’t want to simply repeal it without another option in place. Well, I’m not even a Republican and would rather have had a straight repeal than a system that is a step towards death panels.

***

Not to stir the pot any further or anything, but when I was reading up on the Gard case, a little voice in the back of my head briefly piped up and spoke a couple of times. It said “Charlie Gard may be being denied treatment because he’s a white male.” It’s no secret that the left in the west is currently waging a war on both men and white people. It does make me wonder if the hospital’s decision would have been different if Charlie was named Charlene or if they would have made the same decision and then buckled under the pressure of being called misogynist from everyone on the left. Add to that a bonus for the left if Charlene was black and we may have even seen the UK pay for her treatment in the United States to avoid being called both racist and misogynist. No doubt the judges in the case would have ruled differently if it even came to the courts.

The UK, like much of the rest of Europe, has been busy purposely importing every race and culture out there because it’s politically correct to do so. That’s no secret either. If you have a backwards mentality of owning people’s lives while all this importing is occurring, I suppose you can also have a mentality that believes you can’t have white people babies screwing things up.

***

Speaking of the UK and political correctness, Paul Joseph Watson has an excellent video out discussing just this. I haven’t watched him in a while, but I think I’m going to have to watch him more given the amusement I felt watching this one:

This was the best thing I’ve seen all July.

***

Further Reading:

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/07/whose-baby-is-charlie-gard-anyway

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/07/charlie_gard_is_the_face_of_singlepayer.html

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/449781/high-cost-charlie-gard-coercion

https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/gosh-v-gard-24072017.pdf

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/24/charlie-gard-mothers-full-statement-sorry-couldnt-save/

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/grim-defeat-for-one-child-his-parents-and-every-family/article/2629547

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/28/charlie-gard-dies-babyslife-support-withdrawn-hospice-parents/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_tw

 

A tornado hit Kent Island in the middle of the night last night. The Mount Holly, NJ National Weather Service declared it an EF2 tornado at ~125mph, but the photos of damage done to Kent Island indicate it is the strongest tornado to strike Maryland since the F4 April, 2002 LaPlata tornado that also went across the bay to be an F3 tornado in Dorchester County, MD.

Photos this morning showed extensive damage to some houses, others shifted off their foundations, cars and boats tossed around, and numerous large trees shredded or uprooted. Everything can be found on social media, but I wanted to comment that this appears to me to be another tornado forming as a result of the sudden friction difference between water and land. It’s widely taught on television during approaching hurricanes that when hurricanes strike land, tornados often form within the rain bands due to the sudden encounter of friction with land. It’s actually the friction difference and tropical systems that still have strong circulation that are later exiting the continent onto the ocean (which happens in some cases) also exhibit the same behavior.

The same appears to be true with “regular” thunderstorms or thunderstorm cells of a non-tropical origin – difference in friction can turn them into full-blown mesoscale low pressure systems with a strong tornado. Our local National Weather Service noted on a now defunct web page that the LaPlata tornado in 2002 was likely initiated by the strong thunderstorm crossing the Potomac River from Virginia. With the Kent Island tornado, the thunderstorm was strong in Prince George’s county (there was a report of a tree down in Glenn Dale), then went through Anne Arundel County, entered the Chesapeake Bay non-tornadic and by the time it was on Kent Island only 4.3 miles later, was obviously a full-blown mesocyclone with a strong tornado. It seems likely to me that the thunderstorm exiting the western shore of Maryland onto the Chesapeake Bay was a factor in initiating and forming the powerful tornado.

It’s fortunate that nobody was killed in this storm.

***

Justin Berk stated it was likely an EF0 or EF1 tornado around 1pm today after photos of damage clearly indicated it was EF2 or higher.

There were indications this was a major tornado (EF3), as exterior walls of houses fully collapsed, but its dependent on the construction of the house and that is a subjective call after the fact. The NWS usually goes conservative in their estimate, so the EF2 rating is not that surprising. Berk later stated Doppler radar estimate of winds was 86mph and that is presumably why he felt it was an EF0 or EF1.

***

Before the NWS assessment came out, a number of outlets stated the maximum wind gust was 68mph. I tracked down this obviously erroneous information and found that it came from a buoy on the western shore near Eastport and that this was the highest wind speed recorded in the local storm reports from the Sterling, VA National Weather Service forecast area. Why news outlets were saying this was the wind speed on Kent Island is beyond me, but it’s further proof that the mainstream media refuses to do its job and warrants being given the name “fake news”.

000
NWUS51 KLWX 240533
LSRLWX

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
133 AM EDT MON JUL 24 2017

..TIME…   …EVENT…      …CITY LOCATION…     …LAT.LON…
..DATE…   ….MAG….      ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. …SOURCE….
..REMARKS..

0124 AM     TSTM WND GST     1 E EASTPORT            38.97N  76.46W
07/24/2017  M68 MPH          ANZ532             MD   BUOY

&&

EVENT NUMBER LWX1702513

$$

DH

Not as good as what reviewers stated it is. While all the acting was good and the characters fleshed out, it got way too slow in both the second and third acts. I know this is total blasphemy to say, but both my wife and I agreed that 2002’s Spider-Man and 2004’s Spider-Man 2 with Tobey Maguire were overall better movies. I skipped the Andrew Garfield reboots, so I can’t comment on or compare it to them.

There were a couple of very funny moments in the movie and there was a blink-and-you-miss-it reference to Batman with Michael Keaton’s Vulture character. I’m glad I didn’t blink. Stan Lee got his obligatory cameo in early. There were a couple of good action scenes, but the ferry scene was too reminiscent of Tobey Maguire’s train scene in Spider-Man 2.

While die hard fans of the Avengers will certainly like this film and I’m sure have already seen it in the theater, others may want to wait until streaming.

Grade: B-