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Is Bernie Sanders Too Honest to be President?

Posted by on Feb 9, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

 

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Presidential politics can be a dirty business.  And, the campaign trail is where people often get the dirtiest.

When it comes right down to gathering political dirt, money is the mud.  The more of it a candidate can rake in, the more mud there is to sling at the opposition, which presumably increases the odds of victory.

Senator Bernie Sanders (S-VT) is about to learn these painful lessons the hard way, especially if he chooses to run for president in 2016.  The darling of populists and progressives everywhere is now seriously considering making a run, which likely requires a conversion to the ethically cluttered Democratic Party ranks from his current Socialist Party affiliation (to be accurate, inside the Beltway he’s officially classified as an “Independent” — a slap in the face both to his party and to those like me who share his ideology).  Hence, before Sen. Sanders even goes out on the stump and delivers his first campaign speech, he’s required to compromise his principles because of the two-party system’s suffocating stranglehold on the rigged American political system.

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The Most Baffling Grammy Award Winners of All Time (i.e. “My Anti-Grammy Awards”)

Posted by on Feb 8, 2015 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews | 5 comments

 

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To suggest the Grammy Awards have been reduced to a guilty pleasure would be an understatement.

That’s because ever since these awards were first doled out in 1959, the Grammys have always translated into little more than a rubbernecking occasion for dedicated listeners and lovers of music.  Now in it’s 57th year, the annual presentation is a proverbial car crash of clashing musical genres and a twisted assemblage of conflicting generational tastes.

Seriously, what’s measured or achieved when pitting Arcade Fire, Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry against one other, tossed and blended into the same melodic gumbo, as occurred in 2011 when these were the five nominees in the “Album of the Year” category?  Aren’t most of the rockers going to vote for the rock group?  Won’t all the rappers instinctively vote for the rap artist?  Isn’t the country singer going to attract the votes from those connected to country music?  What’s the whole point of it all, other than an extended time buy on a major television network and a three-hour commercial for additional sales and airplay?

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Matt Lessinger’s Annual Grammy Awards Picks for 2015 (Handicapping the Odds)

Posted by on Feb 8, 2015 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews, Sports Betting | 0 comments

 

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I’ve written this before and I’ll say it again.

Matt Lessinger is one of the most trusted gamblers and wagering analysts I know.  He’s solid.  I don’t need an explanation when I’m told Lessinger has taken a position on a game or an event.  I can be confident that the work’s already been done and he’s on the right side.

This doesn’t mean he always wins, or course.  It just means he’s made a solid wager based on getting the very best value most of the time.  Ideally, that’s all you can hope for when you engage in sports wagering or in the case of what I’m about to discuss — wagering on popular events.

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President Obama Pisses Off Witch Doctors at the National Prayer Breakfast

Posted by on Feb 7, 2015 in Blog, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

 

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Congratulations to President Barack Obama for finally standing up and challenging the fables of historical Christian righteousness in a bold speech he delivered yesterday in Washington.

Predictably, the speech pissed off lots of witch doctors in the audience and has since frenzied the political right into a pack of rabid wolves who are now foaming at the mouth after what they heard the President say.

His controversial remarks about religious extremism and Christianity’s long and loathsome tradition of violence (READ MORE HERE) were offered at an annual gathering of Christian leaders called the National Prayer Breakfast.  Organized by a super-secret organization known as The Fellowship Foundation, the group purports to “provide a fellowship forum for decision makers to share in Bible studies, prayer meetings, worship experiences, and to experience spiritual affirmation and support.”  The meeting has taken place every year since 1953.  [Footnote 1]

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What If We Had Listened to Republicans During the Ebola Scare?

Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 4 comments

 

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Remember the Ebola scare?

Recall the virus that caused a nationwide panic and metastasized into an October surprise for Republicans, who unabashedly fanned the flames of fear for months, thus ending up as an unseemly political windfall for the party which spent most of the last election cycle inciting hysteria.  For Republicans, fear has become a viable political strategy.  It’s their nuclear weapon, or in the case of Ebola, their biological weapon.

Unfortunately, instigating fear works.  Scaring the hell out of people triggers votes.  Fear wins elections, even when it turns out there wasn’t all that much to worry about, after all.

No one remembers yesterday’s news, nor recalls last year’s lies.  Like the tiny microbe with origins in west Africa that caused many Americans to avoid public places and cancel their travel plans, the farce of fear perpetuated upon the nation has pretty much been forgotten now.  Out of the news, out of sight, out of mind.  Our attention is now focused elsewhere, on the next flavor crisis of the month.

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Is This the Future of Economy Air Travel?

Posted by on Feb 5, 2015 in Blog, Travel | 0 comments

 

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It was only a matter of time before someone came up with the idea of the world’s first “standing airline.”

That’s right.

Instead of fetal-positioning ourselves onto tiny cramped cushions the size of a chessboard for hours at a time, passengers flying economy class might soon be standing upright during an entire flight.  You think flying’s an exhausting experience now?  Wait until you’ve been tethered vertically and chained into a speeding air dungeon.  Imagine your legs starting to tingle and then the pilot announcing, “we apologize, but takeoff will be delayed another 45 minutes.”  Flying on what amounts to a crowded city bus is going to make a ticket on Spirit seem like first-class on Singapore Airlines.

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Warning: Do Not Eat At This Chinese Restaurant!

Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 in Blog, Las Vegas, Restaurant Reviews | 7 comments

 

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Rice Republic is a great Chinese restaurant….if you’re on a low-calorie diet.

 

Rice Republic recently opened up a new restaurant in Downtown Summerlin.  It’s in the epicenter of a neo-urban commercial enclave adjacent to the Red Rock Casino, which will eventually have more than 100 new shops and restaurants.  Think of a sparkling new downtown area, with plenty of parking and no crowds (at least, not yet).

From the outside, the popular Taiwanese-themed eatery seems quite appealing.  Everything looks clean and new.  The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating, which is divided by a huge glass window.  Yesterday afternoon while Marieta and I were standing outside pondering the menu which was posted on a marques near the front door, we were greeted by an aggressive host who invited us to take a seat.  We’d heard of Rice Republic before and we certainly love good Asian food, so this was the perfect occasion be adventurous and try out a new restaurant.

We were seated.  Then, things quickly went downhill until the unforeseeable edge of a cliff was reached.

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These Are My Thermostat Requirements When Visiting Your Home

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Blog, Personal, Rants and Raves | 12 comments

 

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I attended a Super Bowl party at a friend’s house on Sunday.

What I didn’t expect was the sauna and steam bath that came along with a small living room crammed full of people.  This is what happens due to poor planning.  A disaster.  The whole place turns into a fucking sweatbox.  If he invites me next year, I’m showing up in a bathing suit.  I’m also bringing a fan and a cooler full of ice cubes.  Then, maybe he’ll get the message.

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A Most Violent Year (Movie Review)

Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in Blog, Movie Reviews | 1 comment

 

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New York City’s masterful crime dramas of the 1970’s weren’t just epic battles between the forces of good and evil.  The very best movies of that genre were poetic morality tales played out on the big screen.  In between sporadic scenes of bloodshed — godfathers, gangsters, policemen, and prosecutors paused to soliloquize about personal honor and so-called sacred codes of conduct.  Cops weren’t always the good guys, and criminals were necessarily bad.  Perpetually clashing worlds were a murky shade of gray.  The clouds never cleared.

A Most Violent Year evokes the same gritty realism of those earlier times, every bit as reminiscent of The French Connection (1971), Serpico (1973), and Prince of the City (1980).  This comparative leap to the memorable films of Sydney Lumet and William Friedkin isn’t taken lightly, nor made frivolously.

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Has the Super Bowl Finally Jumped the Shark?

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in Blog, Sports Betting | 1 comment

 

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An estimated 110 million Americans watched the Super Bowl last year.

But wait.  That number can’t possibly be correct, can it?  Given the U.S. population is currently 316 million, wouldn’t that mean 206 million other Americans didn’t watch the game?  If television ratings are anywhere close to being accurate, nearly two-thirds of the American population doesn’t watch the Super Bowl.

I wonder.  Who are these people?  Babies?  Little girls playing with dolls?  Immigrants?  The senile?  The criminally insane?  Hospital patients stuck in a coma?  Who the fuck doesn’t watch the Super Bowl?  Except for the very young, the very old, and the mentally deranged — everyone watches the biggest sporting event of the year.  Right?

That’s what I used to think.

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