Tag Archives: Ted Cruz

A brief Trump rant after maybe his most offensive Tweet ever (I know, I know). The Winter Olympics have started and I’m surprisingly “meh” about it. And a squirrel makes me feel really good

I try. I really try to ignore 90 percent of what the President of the United States says or does. He has incurable diarrhea of the mouth and fingers, it’s impossible to take him seriously, and I know he doesn’t even believe 50 percent of the stuff he says or Tweets.

But sometimes, I can’t ignore it. I just hear about something he Tweeted and steam rises from my brain like in an old cartoon, and I just can’t get back to normal until I let out the fury and the anger.

So here goes. This was sent out into the world on Saturday at 10:33 a.m.

I mean… ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? A man who spent two years encouraging people to chant “Lock Her Up” at Hillary Clinton. A man who basically accused Ted Cruz’s father of being part of the JFK assassination. A man who has baselessly smeared journalists, TV personalities, other politicians who didn’t kiss his ass, and just about EVERYONE HE’S EVER MET is talking about someone ELSE not getting due process, and complaining??? The man he’s defending, former high-level staffer Rob Porter, had two ex-wives accusing him of abuse, with one producing photos of a black eye she’d suffered.

I just… I just can’t even with this sorry excuse for a human being, much less a President.

OK, I feel better. Thanks. Just every once in a while, I have to get that out of my system.

**I’m usually a pretty big Olympics guy. Winter, Summer, whichever, I usually get into them. I love the hockey and the curling and short-track speed skating at the winter Olympics, and the insane sport of Skeleton (basically a dude flying down ice at 90 miles per hour). And of course in summer I get way into the swimming, the track and field, and lots else.

But I gotta say, the South Korea Winter Olympics started Friday night and so far, I’m just kinda … meh. Didn’t watch the Opening Ceremonies (hey Mike Pence, that wasn’t you I saw not standing for an anthem, was it? Nah!), haven’t watched the early skating and skiing and snowboarding (I still can’t believe snowboarding is an Olympic sport, but hey, whatever floats your boat), and feel totally disconnected.

Lots of reasons I’m not into them yet; life is extremely hectic at the moment (who knew taking care of two kids was more effort than one?), I’m deep into college basketball here in mid-February, there’s a cool new pro men’s tennis tournament on Long Island I’m covering this week, there’s no NHL players in the hockey tournament which is a total bummer … probably a combination of all those reasons.

I hope I find a way to get into them, because for all the IOC corruption and stupid politicizing between nations, the Olympics are truly a wonderful spectacle.

**Finally today, this has nothing to do with anything but made me smile for a few seconds.

Whoever says newspaper readership is down obviously never saw this squirrel. He’s clearly going to head for the best branch with the best reading light once he gets to the top of the tree.

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The little kid who took NPR off the air briefly. James Corden and Gwyneth Paltrow do “Toddlerography” and it’s hysterical. And an NFL player’s fabulous essay on masculinity and rape culture

I’ll try to somehow carry on with my life now that our Lord and Savior Ted Cruz has announced he’s no longer a candidate for President. I’m not going to lie; it’s going to be hard. (that GIF above just keeps making me laugh, though. Poor Heidi Cruz).

But we must soldier on, as we scour the Internet for Cruz-Fiorina 2016 merchandise, and try to get our heads around the fact that John Kasich is the only challenger left on the GOP side, and who the hell would’ve predicted that six months ago?

Our first story today is one I found really funny; Take your Child to Work Day has become a pretty big thing in our country the last decade or so, and of course, when little kids come to the workplace, accidents are going to happen.

But this accident was a beaut: One of the little tykes brought to work by NPR employees accidentally knocked the entire station off the air for a little more than a minute.

“During a bring your kids to work day tour today, some of our junior visitors pressed some buttons that affected a portion of the 11 a.m. ET newscast that can be heard on a limited number of West Coast stations,” said Isabel Lara, NPR’s director of media relations. Not all stations were affected,” she said. “It was an educational day for us as well as our kids.”

More specifically, “one of our junior journalists was somehow able to press the exact sequence, and perfectly timed live insert panel to insert studio 42 into the stream 1. I kid you not,” an NPR employee email read. “Feel free to giggle at will.”

I love it. Dead air caused by a 10-year-old. Think the kid’s parent who did it might be a little made fun of for the next 100 years or so by co-workers?

“Wait, Mommy, if I press this button, what happens?”

**Next up, even if you, like me, think Gwyneth Paltrow is a fairly useless and obnoxious human being, I think you’ll be entertained by this skit she did with James Corden last week.

It’s a dance class called “Toddlerography,” and it’s fantastic. I totally want to sign up for this at my gym…

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**Finally today, it’s extremely rare that an NFL player would write a thought-provoking essay of any kind. But when he writes one about male privilege and rape culture, and how whacked-out society’s ideas of masculinity are, then, well, I’m sitting up and paying attention.
DeAndre Levy of the Detroit Lions penned a fantastic essay for The Players Tribune, on the faux-masculinity so many men show, and why it’s so incredibly important that sex gets separated from “being a man.”

“It’s truly astounding how many awful things that occur in this world because men are afraid of appearing weak.… So what’s the opposite of weakness? Power. And oftentimes, how powerful a man is is directly associated with his sexual exploits. And that’s what I’d like to discuss.”

Levy goes on to say some very powerful things, including “The focus always seems to be on teaching young women how not to get raped and on what steps they can take to “stay safe.” But why are we not also focused on educating young men about the definition of consent and what constitutes rape? We’re essentially dealing with the problem by telling women to be more careful. And that’s bullshit…. It’s important for men, especially in a hyper-masculine culture that breeds so many assholes, to stand up and challenge the values that have been passed down to us.”

It’s a really powerful, important piece, especially coming from the hyper-masculine world of the NFL. Levy blames himself for much of what he thought as a young man.
I urge you to read the whole essay here.

An African-American dude who’s never seen hockey live-Tweets his first game, hilariously. Hillary and the Orange one romp in the Northeast primaries. And a really sweet love story commercial from Lowe’s

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We hockey fans know that our sport is perpetually unloved by a great majority of sports enthusiasts.

We know that so many people dismiss this incredibly exciting, fast-paced, stomach-twisting sport as “a bunch of dumb Canadians without teeth” skating around a rink.

We’ve heard all the complaints about how you can’t see the puck, how there’s not enough scoring, how the rules are too hard to follow, yada yada yada.

So when we get fantastic nights like Wednesday, when the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks played a scintillating Game 7 (won by the Blues), we relish the fact that only a small subset of us truly appreciated it.

But that subset may have increased by one, hilariously. A Twitter user named Tony X was apparently looking for a St. Louis Cardinals game and stumbled upon the Blues and Hawks, and just about lost his mind with excitement.

Some of my favorites? First up…

Then this one on Blackhawks star Patrick Kane…

Then the two best ones, as the Blues clung to a 3-2 lead in the final minutes…

And my favorite that made me literally cry laughing, when the Hawks pulled goalie Corey Crawford for an extra attacker…

My wife thinks this is a prank, that “Tony X.” is a phony who just tried to get Twitter famous.

Me, I’m an optimist. I think we’ve got another fan. One at a time, baby!

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**Next up, it was yet another “Super Tuesday” in the Presidential race that just goes on and on, at least as far as the primaries are concerned.

Couple quick thoughts on what’s quickly becoming a fait accompli:

–All of us political nerds who have been panting with anticipation of a knockout, drag down contested Republican convention, with no candidate getting the required number of delegates? Yeah, that’s probably not happening. Donald Trump swept all five Northeastern states Tuesday, winning big, and he’s got a really good chance of reaching the magic 1,237 delegate number before the convention.

It’s really going to be Trump as the nominee. Which means a complete Democratic sweep in November of all three chambers of government is possible. And I am gleeful.

— As Hillary beat Bernie like a drum in three of the five states voting, and squeaked out a win in Connecticut, there wasn’t much for me to smile about. But thankfully, I got the incredible footage of Chris Christie, bully extraordinaire, looking like a zombie or a hostage, standing behind Trump in his speech. I mean, look at that man’s eyes, does he look in any way human, or happy?

— Ted Cruz HAS to know it’s over. I mean, he has as much chance of winning the GOP nomination as I do. I just love his relentlessly optimistic concession speeches, though. He is as big a jerk as we’ve ever had run for President. And, in the words of Vincent from “Pulp Fiction,” that’s a bold statement.

Oh, and also, in Indiana (Indiana!) Tuesday he called a basketball hoop a “basketball ring.” I mean, come on…

— Bernie Sanders’ only national TV exposure Tuesday night came on C-SPAN. Ouch.  Hillary did throw his supporters a few bouquets in her speech Tuesday, expect a whole lot more of that over the next few weeks.

**Finally today, I thought this was a really sweet and clever new commercial from Lowe’s. It’s about a girl who moves across the street from a boy, how they grow up to fall in love, and their houses fall in love, too.

Just give it three minutes of your time, I have a feeling it’ll make you smile. Very well done ad.

Bernie and Hillary spar once again in terrific Dem Debate. Nancy Reagan’s indelible impact on Gen X’ers like me, in one TV clip. And remembering the great Bud Collins, as fine a man tennis has seen

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That was one heck of a newsy weekend, on a lot of fronts, in my world. Two very famous people died (more on them below), my Duke basketball boys lost to North Carolina Saturday night (not crushing because Duke is so undermanned but still, I hate losing to the Heels), Ted Cruz looks like the only person who might be able to stop Donald Trump, and Peyton Manning is going to announce his retirement today (and maybe Maria Sharapova too?)

No way to cover all that in one blog post, so let’s start with with a crucially important Democratic debate from Flint, Mich. Sunday night.

First of all, I don’t know what kind of “presidential debate” this was. Nobody made reference to their penis size, nobody called each other liars, and I don’t think in the whole two hours anyone obsessively bragged about their poll numbers. Weren’t Hillary and Bernie watching the GOP Debate last week, to see how it’s done? Geez, all we got Sunday night was a couple hours on substantive issues, policy, and real answers. Madness!

— In all seriousness, what a damn breath of fresh air this Dem debate was. Actual policy discussion, no ridiculous braggadoccio, and very few insults.  Tweeted NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof: “Listening to tonight’s debate  and the audience, it appears the Democrats and Republicans are competing to lead different countries.”

And said Yahoo!’s Matt Bai: “Watching these GOP and Dem debates isn’t like watching 2 different parties. It’s like watching 2 different political systems entirely.”

— Personally I thought it was another even debate. Hillary was outstanding on the schools question, her “blind spot” when it comes to race, and on guns. Bernie was terrific as always in pushing her about her Wall Street ties, his forcefulness about income inequality, and his fantastic line about mental health (“Either President Clinton or President Sanders is going to invest a lot of money in mental health, and when you watch these Republican debates you know why.”)

— But as a huge Bernie backer, I must admit that an “even” debate doesn’t help. He needs, in boxing parlance, some 10-8 rounds here. He had a strong weekend, winning Kansas and Nebraska and Maine caucuses, but he needs a yuge state win. He needs Michigan, or Florida, or Ohio on March 15 to really turn the tide here.

— I thought Bernie was fantastic and moving, in embracing his Jewishness really for the first time in front of a national audience. But I also think it’s completely ridiculous that in 2016, candidates still get asked about God and religion in their life, when it’s completely irrelevant and immaterial to them doing the job of President.

— Final thought: Bernie has to be careful with his hectoring and his temper and his “Excuse me, don’t interrupt me” like he did a few times tonight. Comes off looking bad.

**Next up today, Sunday brought news of the death of Nancy Reagan, who symbolized so much to so many. For a lot of people, she was a symbol of style of grace, the first lady of the 1980s and the strength behind her husband, Ronald Reagan.

For others, she was a cold, shrewish woman who consulted an astrologer on major decisions and helped her President husband do some terrible things for non-rich white people in that decade.

But for me, and my fellow Generation X’ers? Nancy Reagan will always be associated with three words: “Just Say No.” Her preaching on the drug issue to children was by far what we will remember her for, nevermind that her husband was doing absolutely nothing to help poor and inner-city people get off drugs, or give them economic opportunities besides selling on the corner.

Yep, for us and Nancy, it’ll always be about this “Diff’rent Strokes” episode…

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**Finally today, the tributes have been pouring in since word came down Friday that the great Bud Collins, a wonderful sportswriter and sportscaster of my favorite sport, tennis, had died.

Everyone in tennis has a Bud Collins story, or at least, they do if they’re lucky. As good a sportswriter and broadcaster as he was, he was an even better person. There was no one he didn’t have time for, whether you were from Sports Illustrated or a two-bit weekly with a circulation of 12.

Me? I got a Christmas e-card from Bud and his wife twice, and felt honored. I had interviewed the legend a few times by phone that year for a few freelance stories I wrote for Tennis Week magazine, and thoroughly enjoyed both conversations.

You couldn’t not enjoy talking to Bud; I saw in one of the tributes to him a comparison to Dick Vitale, in that both were so passionate about their sport that you couldn’t help feeling energized.

I’m sure I got the card because I had first emailed Bud through his wife, Anita, who took care of him in all ways, and that thousands of other people got the same card.

Still, I was excited. I felt, somehow, part of the big, beautiful world of Bud Collins. He made everyone feel that way, and he will be sorely missed.

I hope he’s got a great seat for this year’s French Open up there in heaven.

Here’s the best Bud tribute I’ve read, by the great S.L. Price on SI.com.

 

Super Tuesday brings more Trump victories, and it’s almost over for Bernie. And The latest “Mean Tweets” is great.

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Well that kind of sucked.

Super Tuesday came and went in the Presidential race, and some of the things I was hoping for (somebody slowing down the Trump-mentum, Bernie Sanders outperforming expectations) didn’t quite happen.

Instead, the man the great Charlie Pierce calls “the vulgar, talking yam” dominated yet again. As I write this late Tuesday night the orange-faced idiot has won six states, and could win a couple more.

He is amazingly, truly an unstoppable force right now. Marco Rubio ain’t stopping him (Headline of the night: “Rub-i-No”), Ted Cruz ain’t stopping him, and all this bluster and bravado about millions of dollars suddenly coming in from the GOP Establishment, and the horror they’re all suddenly feeling and their insistence that they’ll be the ones to destroy Trump… yeah, I’m not seeing it.

It’s March 2 and a racist, sexist, xenophobic ego-whore is going to be a major party candidate for President. God save us all.

Even though Tuesday night didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, I sure had lots of fun watching, Tweeting, and reading all the coverage. Lots of thoughts on the results…

— First and most importantly in my mind, on the Democratic side, Hillary continued to do what she needed to do. She dominated the South, she dominated among African-American voters, and except for Massachusetts, none of the states she won were particularly close.

My  man Bernie won Vermont, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Colorado, but lost Mass., which I think he really needed to win. It’s not over Bernie, the fat lady isn’t singing yet, but she’s sure warming up her vocal chords.

— Hillary continues to astound me with her firebrand liberal speeches on primary  nights. I don’t care if she comes out holding copies of “The Nation” and reading from Paul Wellstone’s autobiography, she is NOT a liberal (And yes, I understand maybe only three of my readers got those references). I gotta take my hat off to her, she is trying so damn hard to be a liberal. Maybe somehow all of this leftward movement will lead to a more liberal Presidency from her. I sure hope so.

— I really don’t know why Bernie isn’t making inroads with minorities. He’s so, so much more progressive on issues like police brutality, incarceration, and unemployment than she is. He’s done a hell of a job getting this far and scaring Hillary so much, but I think Bernie’s got about 2-3 more good weeks left.

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— So… Trump. Let’s forget for a minute the improbability of a slick, fast-talking con man from New York winning primaries in the Deep South. And forget that it looked like Chris Christie was making a hostage tape while introducing Trump, then staring up at him from behind for 20 minutes (“Seriously Governor, blink three times if you’re being held against your will” was a popular Twitter comment made by many).

I have to admit it was brilliant stagecraft for Trump to hold a press conference and not a pep rally. He actually seemed calmer and almost rational for a few minutes, but then he reverted back to his old self (he basically threatened the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, that he better get along with President Trump or “he’s going to pay a big price.”)

He was trying to seem Presidential, and it almost worked. I got a little scared.

— I’m finally giving up on Rubio. I’ve been saying for months he’d be the nominee, but the dude just cannot win anywhere. His speech Tuesday night, saying we’re getting closer and Trump’s numbers are falling, was pathetic. He did finally win something late, Minnesota. Way to go, Marco!

— The GOP elite have a real problem: The one guy who’s beaten Trump, Ted Cruz, is the most hated man in Washington, by Republicans. Can they really swallow their hatred and support him to ward off a Trump landslide defeat in November?

— And finally, I watched MSNBC most of the night and can someone tell me how Brian Williams so easily got his reputation back? I mean, hasn’t he lost all credibility as a newsman?

— Sorry, one more thing: Anyone know if Ben Carson is still alive?

**Finally today, I haven’t featured one of these in a while but they always make me laugh. In honor of Sunday’s Academy Awards, Jimmy Kimmel offered up his latest edition of “Mean Tweets,” where celebrities read out loud the horrible things said to them on Twitter lately.

This is the all Hollywood edition; I think Susan Sarandon’s response was the best, at around 1:05…

 

Good News Friday: A little girl’s awesome reaction to getting a TD ball. The Cavaliers do an awesome MLK Day tribute. And the best free-throw distraction technique ever. And a beautiful tribute to a fallen police K-9.

And a Happy Friday to you! As we await the mother of all snowstorms here in the Northeast (one of those times where I’m thrilled to live in a city where you can walk everywhere, and there’s no need to drive in this muck), I bring you three stories of joy and good cheer.

Of course, my ultimate good cheer would be seeing Brady and Belichick lose on Sunday and Ted Cruz suddenly getting deported, but hey, we can’t be greedy.

First up today, speaking of football, the above video was a small moment of joy from last week’s Panthers-Seahawks game. Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart scored a touchdown and, taking a cue from star quarterback Cam Newton, handed the ball to a young fan.

Her face is priceless; just look at the sheer joy on her face from such a small gesture and moment. She will never, ever forget that.

**Next up, the Cleveland Cavaliers did something tremendous during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day game on Monday. A few years ago, some archivists were working on a project and found audio of an MLK speech he gave to a Cleveland high school in 1967, just a year before he died.

It’s a phenomenal speech, very different from his tone at the famous “I Have a Dream” oration in 1963.

At halftime Monday, the Cavs put together a phenomenal presentation of the speech at halftime of their game vs. Golden State, interspersing the speech with photos of King on the arena floor.

A few amazing excerpts, but I highly recommend watching the whole thing:

— “Set out to do a good job and do that job so well that nobody can do it any better. “Set out to do a good job and do that job so well that nobody can do it any better. If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures. “Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. “Sweet streets like Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.’

“We must keep moving. If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.”

Just a phenomenal, beautiful presentation by the Cavs. God, what an incredible speaker King was. Joe Posnanski wrote a column about the Cavs doing this here.

**Finally, this struck me as pretty hilarious. College and high school student sections have, for decades, tried a bunch of different techniques to distract free throw shooters.

This one, from Sheridan High School in Ohio, is one I’ve never seen before. The kids decided to pretend to have a live “birth” while their opponent was taking a foul shot.

Their parents must be so proud!

The GOP debate produces the usual high comedy and insanity. And why the Monmouth basketball team bench is the best show going

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I resolved to myself that I’d write about the GOP Presidential debate for this post today, but halfway through watching this exercise of extreme diarrhea of the mouth, I stopped and had a thought: Maybe I shouldn’t blog about it. Why?

Because honestly? This is like shooting fish in a barrel. If the fish are already dead. And the barrel is inches from you. It’s way, way, way too easy.

There was just SO much insanity, idiocy, lies and outright wrong-ness on that stage Tuesday night, it was breathtaking. I had no breath at some points. It was, for lack of a more PC term, the biggest and loudest dick-swinging contest I’ve ever seen in my life. Every single candidate (except Carly Fiorina, who was oddly restrained) tried to be the biggest, most macho, baddest dude around, who was going to kick ass and blow the crap out of ISIS and do it yesterday.

So, so much to comment on and mock. But I’ll try to keep this to a reasonable length.

— First, these guys are all supposed to be so tough and so baaad, yet there was a guy on the state tonight who was walloping them all by at least 15-20 points in the polls, voting for real starts in about six weeks, and yet only two of them went after Trump at all, and only one with any real passion. These guys are so strong and so fearless, yet they’re afraid of a real estate developer with an acid tongue?

— Gotta say, though, the one candidate who really tore into The Donald was Jeb Bush, and he did go after him. That was as strong as Bush has been this whole campaign. Trump is the most thin-skinned politician in history, so when he’s called out on things he’s said in the past, he either calls it a lie, or goes to a personal attack. He’s a schoolyard bully of the worst kind, but it was nice to see Bush stand up to him.

— Ted Cruz is getting closer to this nomination than I ever thought possible. Listening to him talk, he’s Dick Cheney on steroids. I cannot even fathom him talking/negotiating with a world leader.

–Ben Carson couldn’t be sinking faster than if he was a rock in the ocean. His answer about killing children in war and comparing it to kids about to undergo brain surgery was … beyond bizarre.

— Enjoyed the Marco Rubio-Ted Cruz fighting about immigration. Seems everyone on stage took a lot of time to go after Rubio, which surprised me. He’s so far back in the polls, even though people like me think he’ll eventually be the nominee. Why did the other candidates spend so much time attacking him, are they suddenly afraid he’ll start gaining popularity?

— Now Trump, in addition to barring all Muslims from entering the U.S., wants to kill the families of suspected terrorists. And shut down part of the Internet. Swell.

— Nice to see Chris Christie taking the Rudy Giuliani 2008 playbook by invoking a noun, verb and 9/11 in every sentence. How’d that work for Rudy?

— “We’re going to start killing the bad guys.” Ted Cruz. So THAT’s what we should be doing! Thanks Ted!

— I know this was a foreign policy debate, but there are other problems in the world besides ISIS. Would’ve liked to have heard more (or anything!) about China, Russia, or lots of other places.

— Finally, remember when a lot of us thought Rand Paul was going to be a serious candidate for the nomination? Now he and Kasich sound like the only mentally stable folks at sanitarium, shouting into the wind. And the wind is coming from Trump’s mouth.

**Finally today, this is sort of about sports but more about creative celebrations and how much fun they are to watch. One of the coolest under-the-radar stories in college basketball so far this season has been the Monmouth Hawks, and their crazy-cool bench antics.

The scrubs sitting on folding chairs while the action is going on have choreographed some elaborate, hilarious routines to perform when things are going well, and this season, they’ve been going really, really well. Monmouth beat Georgetown Tuesday night, and have a real chance at making the NCAA Tournament, which would make their bench 100x more famous.

Check out the above video for some of the bench highlights; my favorite is the football-themed hike at :26.

And here’s more, from a recent game vs. Wagner. I just love stuff like this, bored college kids having fun and enjoying themselves…

A few words about Nelson Mandela, one of world’s greatest leaders. The Jets win on a day of miracle finishes. And Regis sings a duet with an NBA player

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Millions around the world mourned Nelson Mandela’s passing over the weekend, and rarely has one man been so universally loved and admired (Except by the Facebook friends of Sen. Ted Cruz, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)

I think of all the reasons Mandela is so wildly praised and admired, the one that has always made him such a hero to me is that after 27 years in prison, he emerged without bitterness or rancor. He was wronged, he had more than 25 percent of his life taken away for no good reason other than that he had dark skin, and yet when he finally emerged in 1990, he spoke of peace and reconciliation. (I found this speech he gave in April, 1990 very moving; it was his first major public appearance after being released)

Could any of us really not be bitter after such a traumatic stay in prison for that long? We’ve seen some wrongly convicted prisoners get out and say they’re free of anger, but it’s rare.

And for Mandela to have such an amazing “second act” as South Africa’s President, and help usher that nation through such turmoil, was amazing to watch.

I truly wonder whether we’ll ever see a man like Nelson Mandela again.

**Next up, it’s not every day you see the ageless Regis Philbin singing a duet with an NBA player.

But ex-Indiana star and current Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo, who-oh-by-the-way is really good vocally and on the court, decided to harmonize with Reege to the classic “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.”

I thought it was fabulous.

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**Finally, another insane day in the NFL, with maybe the most surprising thing being not Matt Prater of the Broncos setting a new NFL record with a 64-yard field goal, not there being four touchdowns in the final three minutes of the wild Vikings-Ravens game, and not even the Patriots stealing yet another game they had no business winning.

Nope, the most surprising thing is that the New York Jets scored THIRTY-SEVEN points! That’s right, THIRTY-SEVEN! (cue all of you who love the movie “Clerks” like I do going “Thirty-seven???”)

Yep, all it took was a team more putrid than my Gang Green, a special teams touchdown, and Geno Smith only making two really horrible throws all game, and the Jets won.
Geno was terrific, using his legs and his arm to make several nice plays, throw for one TD and run for another. For once, he didn’t force things.
Of course, the Jets defense was putrid, Ed Reed needs to be put out to pasture, fast (nothing like KO’ing your own teammate while a Raider ran for a TD), and they’re still a longshot for the playoffs.

But for one day, it was nice to see my team score some points.
Couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts:

— It’s been said many times before, but man, the Browns really know how to torture their fans. For three quarters they dominated the Pats, and went up 26-14 with a little more than three minutes left. And still lost.

— Never seen a finish quite like Vikings-Ravens, with five lead changes in the final 2:05. I watched it at the bar with my mouth open and jaw on the floor the whole time.
— And did you see the finish of Dolphins-Steelers? With the Dolphins up six, on the last play of the game the Steelers tried one of those crazy lateral plays where nine guys touch the ball, and it ended up in the hands of Antonio Brown, who ran for a touchdown to win the game … except he stepped out of bounds at one point.

— Love it when we get some snow games in the NFL! We had a bunch Sunday, though Lions-Eagles had the worst weather (above). I always feel sorry for the poor fans who sit through that, and the guys in the officiating crew who carry the chains. But it sure is fun watching players slide around in the snow.

— Finally, the 64-yard FG by Prater really was amazing; check it out here.  Kind of amazing that the 63-yard record lasted for four decades.

The federal government, back open for business. A brilliant story on the flight home from Dallas on 11/22/63. And a disturbing new high school rape case

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Well Hallelujah and pass the champagne: We have a government back open in these here United States!

Yes, our brief national nightmare is over for now, after two-plus weeks of hundreds of thousands of government workers furloughed, national parks and other major pieces of society closed, and more ridiculous posturing in Congress than any country should ever be subjected to.

Happily and surprisingly, this shutdown ended with a pretty complete surrender by the Republicans, as even the wing-nuts like Ted Cruz and Louis Gomert seem to have realized that they weren’t going to win this one.

Some quickie thoughts on the end of a shutdown that never should have happened:

— I was happy to see that for once, Harry Reid and his fellow Dems didn’t back down, didn’t cave, didn’t move an inch. But as I said to a friend Wednesday night, “where would they have caved to?” Would they have agreed to repeal ObamaCare, to delay it for a few years, to do all kinds of the idiotic measures the House wingnuts were asking for?

— Also, all this talk of the Democrats “winning” is nice, but look at all kinds of discussions we’re having now. The sequester cuts seem permanent, we’re not spending ANY money to replace all the devastating cuts to social services, infrastructure, etc., and it would take an act of God to raise taxes in this country again. The GOP has pushed the debate so far to the right that just the Dems stopping them a little bit seems like a big victory.

— And before we all start celebrating, and I hate to throw cold water on things, but all the deal Wednesday does is delay the real negotiations for a few months. The debt ceiling and the funding of the federal gov’t only goes through mid-January and early February, so we might have to do this all over again this winter.
Now I can’t BELIEVE the GOP Tea Partiers will be stupid enough to try another gov’t shutdown, but no one ever went broke overestimating the Tea Party’s stupidity.

— My buddy Clay seems to think this shutdown, which has greatly damaged the GOP in every poll I’ve seen, is going to have a big effect on the 2014 elections. I’m dubious, though, because 2014 is a long way away and this country has the attention span of a gnat, and because all kinds of delay and obstruction can still happen between now and then.

So, we’ll see. But hey, for today, we’ve got Yosemite National Park (above) open again, so let’s be happy.

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**Whether you like it or not, you’re about to be inundated with news about the the JFK assassination, as we’re a few weeks away from the 50th anniversary. There’ll be TV specials, movies (the new “Parkland” movie, about what happened at the hospital right after the shooting, looks interesting), and a whole ton of newspaper and Internet stories about it.

Obviously we can’t consume all of it, but if you read only one thing, I highly recommend this Chris Jones story from Esquire this month. Through meticulous reporting and dozens of interviews, Jones reconstructed what happened on the flight back from Dallas to Washington on Air Force One, when John F. Kennedy’s casket was on board, along with a grieving Jackie Kennedy, a stunned but suddenly-President Lyndon B. Johnson, and two rival factions of advisers trying to figure out what to do next.

What struck me most about the piece was how composed Jackie Kennedy was, how unsure of everything LBJ seemed, and just the incredible balance everyone else tried to achieve between grief, and acceptance, while the body literally lay a few feet away.

Truly an incredible, and unprecedented moment in American history, and awfully compelling reading.

**Finally today, you may remember the rape trial of a couple of high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio last year, where two boys got a girl drunk and then sexually assaulted her. The case, and trial, divided the town and attained the kind of national attention a city just doesn’t want.

Not surprisingly, another small town is now facing the same specter. Again, the details are disgusting: Teenage boys, 14-year-old girls, a whole lot of alcohol, and sexual assault (this one has the lovely detail of the boys dumping one of the half-naked victims out of the car and leaving her, completely drunk, outside her house in the 22-degree weather.

Maryville, Missouri is where this incident occurred, and Yahoo!’s Dan Wetzel has all the gruesome details, including why the prosecutor there already decided the boys should not stand trial. Here’s an interview as well with the second victim

A weekend visit to D.C., aka “Shutdown Central.” A funny take on Columbus Day. And Bill Maher, nailing it yet again

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Sorry there was no post on Monday; your humble correspondent just returned late Monday night from a trip down the Atlantic Coast. Had a small reunion of some of my college newspaper friends in Philadelphia (more on that tomorrow), then a family engagement party at my wife’s aunt’s house in Baltimore, followed by two fantastic days in Washington, D.C.

Yes, a few months ago a Washington, D.C., Columbus Day weekend seemed filled with promise. All the museums! The World War II Memorial and MLK Jr. Memorial, two things that weren’t there the last time I visited! All the…

Um, yeah, it wasn’t quite what we expected. The government shutdown has closed 95 percent of the usual tourist-y things I would’ve wanted to do, but we still made the best of it and had a great two days in the nation’s capital. As usual when I take a trip, I have lots of bullet-point thoughts:

— Best thing by far we did was visit the Newseum, something I’ve wanted to to for a long time. The Newseum is the First Amendment/Media museum located on Pennsylvania Avenue, and as a journalist I knew I would love it from the moment I heard it existed. It’s got a history of newspapers with ancient front pages, displays and tributes to coverage of 9/11, the Civil War, and the JFK assassination, really cool interactive exhibits, it was fantastic.

We were there for five hours on Sunday and an hour on Monday (a one-day ticket was good for both days), and I could’ve stayed even longer. I highly recommend it.

— It was disturbingly quiet in downtown D.C., obviously because of the now two-weeks old shutdown. Plenty of room to walk on the sidewalks, and very little car traffic.

What gets lost in all the b.s. posturing in the media is how much this is affecting real people, like the hotel concierge who told us he lost a ton of reservations this weekend, including a 300-person strong school group, and the restaurant waiter who told me their business has fallen off dramatically. People’s businesses and lives are being majorly damaged, like any of the politicians give a damn.

— We were a few blocks away from the protest at the WWII Memorial, so I can’t report first-hand on it, but let me just say that Sarah Palin and Ted Bleepin’ Cruz leading a rally of people protesting the government shutdown is just… there’s not a big enough megaphone in the world for that pot to call the kettle black, you know what I’m sayin’?

–Have said this before and I’ll say it again: The D.C. Metro is the most efficient, cleanest, best subway system I’ve been on anywhere (cue all my readers who live there gasping in horror). I don’t know, maybe I’ve been lucky, but all 4-5 times I’ve been in D.C. and ridden the Metro it’s been great.

**Next up, a bit of an “alternative” look at the man we got Monday off for, Christopher Columbus. Comedian Hari Kondabolu takes a look at Columbus and doesn’t come away impressed. I laughed a few times…

**Finally today, I always forget to throw some Bill Maher brilliance on the blog, but I happened to see this on the hotel TV Friday night and laughed pretty hard. It’s Maher, taking on Michele Bachmann, Antonin Scalia, and the sheer lunacy of the belief that the End Times are near and that the Devil walks among us.