Monday, November 30, 2015

A great movie about Churchill: Young Winston





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Churchill and "The gathering storm"




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Happy birthday Bo Jackson



We remember Bo Jackson who was born on this day in 1962.    I thought that he was one of the most amazing athletes to ever play sports.  

It's a shame that he did not concentrate on baseball.   He would have been a candidate for the Hall of Fame.   He hit 107 HRs & 304 RBIs in 790 games before he got hurt.   

Of course, you could say the same thing about his football career.

Bo was great.   It's also unbelievable that he played his last ball game in August 1994.  

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George Harrison died on this day in 2001



We remember that George Harrison died of cancer on a November day like this in 2001.  His death was not a shock because we knew that he had been deteriorating for months.

George was a teenager when he met Paul & John in Liverpool.  Later, they formed the band that ended up as The Beatles.  

It's hard to believe that it was so many years ago.   Where did the time go?


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Remember when they told us that "an ice age" was coming?



President Obama is in Paris to talk climate change.   He wants to prove to ISIS that they can't stop us from having a meeting and talking about climate change.

So what's going on with the world's climate?   I don't know but there is a lot of confusion.

The Wall Street Journal has a good analysis this morning about the temperatures.   

It also points out that many countries, like India and China, are talking but not playing ball.

Nothing will happen in Paris.   They may sign some vague agreement that will have zero impact.

In the meantime, we remind you that we were warned about an ice age back in 1970s.    
How did that prediction work out?


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Nov 30, 1874: Winston Churchill was born!


We remember today one of the great men of the 20th century:


"Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, is born at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England."   (History)

Churchill was the man at the right time for the UK in World War II.   




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Macri is saying the right things in Argentina


We mentioned last week that Argentina has a new president. He is already sounding a lot different than the incumbent. President-elect Mauricio Macri of Argentina sent a message to Venezuela and Iran:
Only a day later, Mr. Macri moved quickly to strike a different tone from that of the departing president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who — along with her late husband, Néstor Kirchner — had controlled the presidency for the last 12 years.
At a news conference on Monday, Mr. Macri emphasized how his administration would differ from that of Mrs. Kirchner on foreign policy. He announced an effort to get Venezuela — a close ally of Argentina under the Kirchners — suspended from the Mercosur regional trade bloc over claims of the infringement of civil liberties there.
And he made clear his desire to revoke an agreement struck under Mrs. Kirchner with Iran to jointly investigate the 1994 bombing here of a Jewish center, which killed 85 people. Some investigators have accused senior Iranian officials, including a former Iranian president, of planning and financing the attack, making the agreement to give Iran a direct role in the investigation a political lightning rod.
Mr. Macri has also announced plans to improve diplomatic ties with the United States, which became strained in recent years over Argentina’s international debts and Washington’s sway in the hemisphere.
“There is little doubt that Argentina’s relations with the U.S. under a Macri administration will become friendlier,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a policy group in Washington.
Mr. Macri understands how the Kirchner regime has hurt Argentina, from a relationship with Iran to demonizing foreign investors to distract the people from the failures of crony capitalism.    
Let’s hope that president-elect Macri will also restart the investigation into the death (or murder) of Mr. Nisman, the prosecutor who was killed in his apartment the day before he was to appear in Congress.
It will take time, and patience, but Argentina has a chance to turn it around and become a vibrant economy and U.S. trade partner.   
Singing a different tune with Iran and Venezuela is the right “tango” for the moment!
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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Is Mexico going “Trump” on Cubanos?

(My new Babalu blog post)


Up here, Mr Trump wants to send illegal immigrants back home. The Mexican government has criticized such a campaign position.

I have said several times that massive deportation is an unrealistic option, in large part because it will get caught up in the courts and not send any one home.

Interestingly, the Mexican government is doing its own version of Trump’s idea.
They pick up “indocumentados cubanos” and send them back to Cuba, as we read in The Yucatan Times:
After providing first aid and verifying that they were in good health, the Navy transferred the rafters to the remote terminal of the Port of Progreso.
The Cubans were then sent to the Merida facilities of the National Institute of Migration.
Authorities have reported the arrival in Yucatan of more than 150 Cuban rafters in 2014 and so far in 2015, in what is considered the largest exodus from the island in the past decade.
Most are seeking to reach the United States, using Mexico as a stopover on their journey.
However, unlike the Cubans who have in past months arrived to Mexico, the six recent arrivals could never reach the United States due to the Mexico-Cuba repatriation agreement signed Nov. 7 in Merida by President Enrique Peña Nieto and Cuban President Raul Castro.
Due to the agreement, the six Cubans would be sent back to the island.
We understand that Mexico is a sovereign country and has the right to enforce immigration laws, such as keeping people without papers away from its territory.
Here is the question: Why do so many Mexican politicians criticize Mr Trump for proposing to do here what they do down there?
The bottom line is that Mexico is hypocritical about enforcing immigration laws.   Apparently, it’s OK for Mexico to deport Central Americans or Cubans in the name of sovereignty and the rule of law.   It’s not OK for the US to do the same thing.
The word is “hipocrita”!   Someone should ask President Pena-Nieto about it!
P. S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.



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The week in review with Bill Katz, the editor of Urgent Agenda




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Sunday, November 29, 2015

So who really killed JFK: Another anniversary for The Warren Commission

A few weeks ago, we got together with some friends for another Saturday night of good food and conversation.
We discussed the subject of another movie about the Kennedy assassination that was being filmed around Dealy Plaza.  Naturally, a good family friend raised the conspiracy question.  I stayed a bit quiet, because another “who shot JFK” conversation is the last thing that I want to talk about.
However, I had to say something when it came around to me.    
I said that I believe that Oswald did it, or pretty much the official conclusion.
A week after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, his successor, President Johnson, created the Warren Commissionto investigate the murder:
During its almost year-long investigation, the Warren Commission reviewed reports by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, Department of State and the attorney general of Texas. It also poured over Oswald’s personal history, political affiliation and military record. Overall, the Warren Commission listened to the testimony of 552 witnesses and even traveled to Dallas several times to visit the site where Kennedy was shot. The commission concluded that Oswald had acted alone and that the Secret Service had made poor preparations for JFK’s visit to Dallas and had subsequently failed to sufficiently protect him.
We’ve had a lot of books and films since the commission made that conclusion.  I remember that a lot of authors brought their papers and books to a JFK conference held around here in 1993, or the 30th anniversary.  I heard some of their presentations.  I even heard comments about a minister who spoke with Jack Ruby at the Dallas city jail.
Some of the authors made strong cases, although I still don’t know how the conspirators could keep a secret that long.  In other words, it’s hard to believe that so many people could stay quiet.
Some of movies were just bizarre and irresponsible, such as Oliver Stone’s JFK.  I remember watching the movie in 1991 and going home furious.  The movie was absurd, a hate piece against the U.S.
One of my favorite books, and the one that persuaded me that The Warren Commission got it right, was Case Closed by Gerard Posner.  As I read in a recent book review:
Like Mr. Posner, I firmly believe that Oswald, by himself, was responsible for the murders of JFK and Dallas city policeman J.D. Tippit. And while re-reading “Case Closed” recently, I came across many outstanding hunks of fascinating text, including a good collection of direct quotes from various individuals that were placed into the book by author Posner in his efforts to provide the reader with a complete picture of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who was charged with killing America’s 35th President in Dallas.
I’ve listed some of what I think are this book’s most intriguing passages and quotes below, which give a good general indication as to the type of person Lee Oswald truly was (i.e., a strange, disconnected, secretive, violent, and abusive young man who embraced Communism and hated the American society he was living in).
In other words — Lee Harvey Oswald was the exact type of individual who might just have had an urge to take his mail-order rifle with him to work one day (a day when the President’s motorcade was scheduled to pass right in front of the building he worked in) and fire a few shots at JFK from a secluded sixth-story perch.
The evidence in the John F. Kennedy murder case, in fact, tells the world that Mr. Oswald did that very thing on Friday, November 22, 1963.
We will never know 100%, because life is that way.  However, put me down as one who believes that the Warren Commission got it right.  It’s a testament to the integrity of the commission, made up by very good people, including future president Ford.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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A chat with Israel Ortega and US immigration policy and 2016





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Saturday, November 28, 2015

The 18-5 Dallas Stars will make you fall in love with hockey


Vancouver was in Dallas last night and it was another great hockey game to watch.   In fact, playing good hockey is turning into a habit for the young and very talented Dallas Stars.

This is Mike Heika:
Signs of the Stars' ability to handle the challenges of a normal NHL season were all over the ice Friday at American Airlines Center.
Dallas was battling a hard-charging Vancouver team with revenge on its mind.
Dallas was battling a brief puck-handling slump that had gripped several players and left them just a little below their best.
And Dallas was battling some tough officiating that put them short-handed seven times.
And yet, the Stars found a way to win. Led by Antti Niemi's 34 saves, Dallas took a 3-2 shootout win over the Canucks and pushed their record to 18-5-0 (36 points) - the best start in franchise history, exceeding the 35 points collected by the 1971-72 Minnesota North Stars.
It was a heck of a statement game for a team that has had plenty of them this season, and it was the fifth time this season this group has toughened up and refused to lose two games in a row. Dallas was coming off a 7-4 loss to Ottawa Tuesday in which they were guilty of several bad turnovers.

This team is fun to watch.     They will be a lot more fun when they start playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs!   The Stars are for real!

P.S.   You can hear our Friday sports show here:




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"Gone with the wind" on a rainy morning in North Texas


It's the kind of Saturday morning to write a post and keep on eye on the TV, specially if "Gone with the wind" is on AMC.    

I have seen the movie a million times and still enjoy it.   It seems like I always pick up a new line.

Great movie for a Saturday morning!     And I love that theme song!

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1582: Happy anniversary to William Shakespeare & Anne Hathaway


We don't know much about Shakespeare's early life but we can tell you  this:

On this day in 1582, William Shakespeare, 18, and Anne Hathaway, 26, pay a 40-pound bond for their marriage license in Stratford-upon-Avon. Six months later, Anne gives birth to their daughter, Susanna, and two years later, to twins.

So happy anniversary to the man who gave us "Romeo and Juliet".

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How close is Putin to blowing up NATO?

The Turkey-Russia feud raises a few questions about the future of NATO. In other words, are NATO allies ready to defend Turkey?  Or are they expecting U.S. jets to do it?   
Based on what we saw in Iraq in the late 1990s (enforcing the no fly zone) and Kosovo in 1995, NATO will come down to U.S. and UK jets doing all of the flying.
My guess is that Putin knows this and will try to force NATO to act. He is now saying that the U.S. knew that Turkey would shoot down a Russian jet. On the other hand, Turkey is telling Russia not to play with fire.   
Who really knows? At the same time, it does not matter. The jet is down, a pilot is dead and Putin just got the opportunity to prick the NATO balloon.
Putin has been trying to downsize NATO for some time. I agree with Stephen Covington:
Russia’s leadership wants a Europe without strategic Alliances, without multi-national organizations and without a U.S.-Europe Transatlantic link that can through collective policies and action offset the national strengths Russia would hold over any one European nation. It would be a European security environment that would allow Russia to apply its national strengths to great effect without challenge and competition — enhancing its power abroad and at home.
How does Putin blow up NATO? He doesn’t. He simply watches NATO blow up itself. He forces NATO to work together, such as in defending Turkey under Article 5 or fighting ISIS.    
In the end, NATO won’t work together because of weak U.S. leadership and the reality that most countries have no real military resources to bring to the game. NATO is like a baseball team where only a couple of guys can play and the rest can’t do much more than watch from the dugout.
We will watch to see how this plays out. Nevertheless, Putin is a master tactician and he assumes that Obama is weak and the West is weaker. He is betting that he will win because the other side doesn’t want to fight. And he is right!
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DFW sports: The Cowboys, Stars, Mavericks, and Rangers





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Friday, November 27, 2015

The Shangri Las and "The leader of the pack"



It was 1964 and the year of "Beatlemania" and what they used to call "The British invasion" of the US charts.

It was rare for a US group to break through but The Shangri-Las hit # 1 in the US charts with "The Leader of the Pack".


The girls were Mary Ann Ganser, Marge Ganser and Mary Weiss.  They had a unique "look" and "hair style".      

They were very young and had a few other hits but nothing came close to the success of "The Leader of the pack".

According to songfacts:

"This is a tale of young love, parental disapproval and death by motorbike."

It is one of my all time favorite "girl group" classics.

The Shangri Las
The leader of the pack

"Is she really going out with him?
Well, there she is. Let's ask her.

Betty, is that Jimmy's ring you're wearing?

Mm-hmm

Gee, it must be great riding with him

Is he picking you up after school today?
Uh-uh 
By the way, where'd you meet him?


I met him at the candy store

He turned around and smiled at me

You get the picture? (yes, we see)

That's when I fell for (the leader of the pack)


My folks were always putting him down (down, down)

They said he came from the wrong side of town

(whatcha mean when ya say that he came from the wrong side of town?)

They told me he was bad

But I knew he was sad
That's why I fell for (the leader of the pack)

One day my dad said, "Find someone new"

I had to tell my Jimmy we're through

(whatcha mean when ya say that ya better go find somebody new?)

He stood there and asked me why

But all I could do was cry
I'm sorry I hurt you (the leader of the pack)

He sort of smiled and kissed me goodbye

The tears were beginning to show

As he drove away on that rainy night

I begged him to go slow

But whether he heard, I'll never know
Look out! Look out! Look out! Look out!


I felt so helpless, what could I do?

Remembering all the things we'd been through

In school they all stop and stare

I can't hide the tears, but I don't care

I'll never forget him (the leader of the pack)
The leader of the pack - now he's gone

The leader of the pack - now he's gone

The leader of the pack - now he's gone

The leader of the pack - now he's gone...."





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Dear Mr Jones: It's time for a new Dallas QB!


Like Danny White, the great QB between Staubach and Aikman, Tony Romo did not take Dallas to the Super Bowl.   Nevertheless, he's been a great QB and ranks way up there in statistics.   

Tony's work has been brilliant but he's been down too much and too often.

Yesterday, Romo got hurt again and that may be it for this season.   Dallas can not go not go into the next season with such a fragile QB.

So I hope that Mr Jones is looking for a new QB!

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Even Dana is bummed out!

Turkey may have done what ISIS hasn’t in two years. In other words, Turkey’s decision to shoot down a Russian jet may very well drag the U.S. into a war.   
According to a paper from Stratfor, the situation could get ugly very quickly because the U.S. may find itself in a spat between Moscow and Ankara.
After all, Turkey is a NATO ally. And we’re in if they call out Article 5, or the one that calls on members to defend another under attack.
President Obama will have to respond somehow if Putin fights back. Wonder how many Democrats will support joining a NATO operation? 
Again, we are seeing the consequences of U.S. weakness, from the vacuum left in Iraq, not enforcing lines in Syria to allowing Russia back into the Middle East. It’s amazing how quickly the entire situation has collapsed without the U.S. leading the way.
We are also watching what happens when a U.S. president does not prepare the American people for events like these. How many times has President Obama addressed the nation about national security? I don’t remember but he has addressed climate change with regularity. He is even on his way to Paris for a climate change meeting. 
It’s enough to even drive a liberal Dana Milbank to write: 
Then came President Oh-bummer.
“Syria has broken down,” he said. “And it is going to be a difficult, long, methodical process to bring back together various factions within Syria to maintain a Syrian state.”
Maybe you can motivate people when you sound so discouraging. But it’s hard.
Dana O’ Bummer! Where was Dana when the media put Mr Obama on its shoulders and treated him like a Messiah?   
What a bummer indeed. It’s harder and harder for bummed out liberals to carry President Oh-bummer’s water!
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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Russia vs Turkey/NATO plus Trump vs media




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1941: DiMaggio beats Williams for the AL MVP


Who should have won the 1941 AL MVP?   Joe DiMaggio had a 56-game hitting streak and played for the AL champ Yankees.   Ted Williams hit .406 but played for a Boston squad that did not compete for the AL pennant.   

The MVP went to DiMaggio:  291-254 over Williams!

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We remember Bruce Lee (1940-1973)


The amazing Bruce Lee was born on this day in 1940.  He became a legend in the early 1970s and then suddenly died in 1973.  

His story is rather interesting:   
Lee was born while his father, a Chinese opera star, was on tour in America. The Lee family moved back to Hong Kong in 1941. Growing up, Lee was a child actor who appeared in some 20 Chinese films; he also studied dancing and trained in the Wing Chun style of gung fu (also known as kung fu). In 1959, Lee returned to America, where he eventually attended the University of Washington and opened a martial-arts school in Seattle. In 1964, he married Linda Emery, who in 1965 gave birth to Brandon Lee, the first of the couple’s two children. In 1966, the Lees relocated to Los Angeles and Bruce appeared on the television program The Green Hornet (1966-1967), playing the Hornet’s acrobatic sidekick, Kato. Lee also appeared in karate tournaments around the United States and continued to teach martial arts to private clients, including the actor Steve McQueen.In search of better acting roles than Hollywood was offering, Lee returned to Hong Kong in the early 1970s. He successfully established himself as a star in Asia with the action movies The Big Boss (1971) and The Way of the Dragon(1972), which he wrote, directed and starred in. Lee’s next film, Enter the Dragon, was released in the United States by Hollywood studio Warner Brothers in August 1973. Tragically, Lee had died one month earlier, on July 20, in Hong Kong, after suffering a brain edema believed to be caused by an adverse reaction to a pain medication. Enter the Dragon was a box-office hit, eventually grossing more than $200 million, and Lee posthumously became a movie icon in America.
Like Hendrix and Morrison, you can identify his face in a heart beat.


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