Sunday, September 24, 2017

President Trump Revokes White House Invite For Stephen Curry & Lebron Responds With Major Take Down & Insult of Trump

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors

Creative Commons License:

Trump must have some serious attention deficit disorder. He is just all over the place, a self-proclaimed expert on everything, which is why he feels the need to comment on everything.

Just think about this week. On Tuesday, he gave an unimpressive speech before the United Nations, railing against the failings of the organization and mocking what he suggested was false grandeur. Can you imagine this idiot, of all people, accusing anyone of false grandeur? He also spoke about how the Iran nuclear deal was, according to him, a humiliation for the country, and then, of course, the most infamous part of his speech, the part that sent chills down the spine of any objective individual who does not merely talk about wanting peace, but truly wants it. He referred to North Korea's leader as the "Rocket Man," and threatened to obliterate that country, to effectively wipe it off the map.

The next day, though, he created an entirely new nation, the Republic of Nambia (presumably, a mixture of Namibia and Zambia). He did this during a lunch meeting with African leaders, and surely, they must have been impressed with his obviously extensive knowledge of their continent.

Now, back in front of his supporters, where he apparently feels the most emboldened, President Trump went back to race baiting. Just a few weeks after refusing to get off the fence about condemning white supremacists, he suggested that players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired on the spot. 

Surprise, surprise - the protesting players are almost exclusively black.

He also suggested that he was rescinding his invitation to NBA champion and basketball great Stephen Curry, even though Curry had already suggested that he was not interested in going to the White House to visit with this president. 

This was where the other major NBA star of this age, LeBron James, stepped in, attacking President Trump with a tweet (which usually is Trump's own bread and butter):

“You bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!”

James is right. Trump was just essentially trying to save face by claiming that he was taking his invitation of Curry back, following the NBA Championship that Curry and his Golden State Warriors captured earlier this year - their second title in three years. When Curry and the Warriors won it two years ago, there was another president sitting in the Oval Office, and nobody on the Warriors had any problems with a White House visit at that point. 

But that is not the case this time around, and Curry stepped up and made clear that he was turning down the invitation to visit the White House, due to disagreement with the man in charge nowadays. It was not a secret or anything, either. Curry was very clear on why, precisely, he was declining. He said that he and his team "basically don’t stand for what our president has said, and the things he hasn’t said at the right time.” according to SF Gate.

Curry continued with the statement that expanded on the precise reasons that he would not be visiting the White House this time around:

“By not going, hopefully it will inspire some change for what we tolerate in this country and what we stand for, what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye toward. You can talk about all the different personalities that have said things and done things from [Colin] Kaepernick to what happened with Michael Bennett to all sorts of examples of what has gone on in our country that has led to change.

“We’re all trying to do what we can, using our platforms, our opportunities, to shed light on it. I don’t think not going to the White House will miraculously make everything better. But this is my opportunity to voice that.”

Well, there you have it. Curry followed the example of numerous members of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in declining the invitation, specifically because Donald Trump is the man serving as the sitting president. This has been an ongoing trend, and it has not been helping Trump's image, obviously. So, of course, he has to try and be petty and deceitful, and make it seem that he was the one who rejected Curry, and not the other way around. Because, you know, Trump can never, ever let anything go. This overgrown manchild just always has to feel that he one-upped everybody. 

Clearly, it did not work so well, however. Many people knew that Curry rejected the idea of visiting Trump's White House almost immediately after the Warriors won the NBA Championship. And just in case anyone did happen to forget, Curry's rival, LeBron James, stepped in to remind everyone and to make it clear, once and for all and without any doubts, that Curry had rejected Trump's invitation specifically because it was Trump who extended it. And an issue that was more or less dormant suddenly received much more attention because of the big names involved in this little dispute, or spat, or whatever you would call this. 

The facts do not favor Trump, but unfortunately, this likely will not improve his behavior. Also, facts never bothered him before. Anyone who looks at the facts will immediately know that Trump was just trying to save face after being slighted for his bigotry, once again. Yet, his supporters will grab onto his version of things, and dismiss anything else, true or not, as "fake news." And even if they are directly confronted with the truth somehow (which seems unlikely), they will follow the lead of their pathetic prince of orange and skewer everything, so that it will confirm their world view, that everyone indeed is out to get Trump, to try and undermine his presidency, and that their man is of such a high character, that he is fighting back and calling these spoiled yet ungrateful millionaire athletes out on their hypocrisy and/or lack of patriotism. 

Same old same old, even if they seem to view Trump as a fresh approach, a breath of fresh air. 

Truly absurd times in America, and bizarre stories like these not only have become the norm, but will obviously be the norm, at least for the next three years and change.


This is the article that I used in writing this particular blog entry (as well as where I got the above quotes from), which felt a bit like a mixture of sports and politics - at least the trashy and dishonest brand of politics that President Trump ushered in, and which has been uniquely, if also tragically, successful thus far (he is the president, after all):

LeBron James hits Trump: White House visits were an honor 'until you showed up!' BY BRANDON CARTER - 09/23/17

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Trump Verifies Once Again Astonishing Levels of Incompetence and Arrogance

Never before had an American president used the United Nations as a forum to give a very menacing speech, going as far as to essentially threaten an entire nation's very existence. However, we have Donald Trump in the White House these days, and that means that things are different than before. He did this just two days before International Peace Day. 

That changed, however, with Trump's speech at the United Nations earlier this week, when he basically threatened to level North Korea. He also lambasted the United Nations itself, suggesting that it has failed to live up to the ideals of what it was supposed to represent and be when it was first formed, when the smoke began to clear after World War II, and when the streets of many cities in Europe and Asia lay in rubble.

In a mocking tone that sounded almost casual at times, like a schoolyard bully threatening his next victim with a beat down on the playground later in the day for recess, President Trump (still cannot get used to those two words combined like this) addressed the entire world, for all intents and purposes, as if he were still campaigning to be president. For all intents and purposes, he threatened North Korea with nuclear annihilation.

Here is what Trump said, specifically:

"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about; that’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do."

Wow. Really, what can any thinking person get from this, other than that these are the rantings of an undisciplined, overgrown brat, a manchild who really does not see the potential dangers of careless words. He threatened the very existence of a country that happens to border China, and both North Korea and China have nuclear weapons. China has suggested that it will remain neutral in this recent spat between the United States and North Korea, assuming that the United States does not invade or attack North Korea. But if the United States, under President Trump, decides to wipe North Korea off the map, literally? Not only would he (and his supporters) rightly be labeled as a modern version of Nazis, but he would likely have instigated an out and out world war involving China. And frankly, I have no confidence that Trump is not capable of outright launching an attack of that sort, all the while completely blissfully aware of how horrendous and apocalyptic that decision might be.

Indeed, perhaps the old description of Trump, which we heard during the presidential campaign, rings true, that we should not take his words literally, but we should supposedly take him seriously. The fact that he, in his official capacity as president now, should go before the entire world and issue such a threat is almost unimaginable, and a definite sign of the tragedy of America's collective decision to have this man elected president in November. 

Predictably, North Korea's equally unstable leader made grandiose threats as well, essentially promising that Trump would face fire from his own country, and he suggested that Trump was a nutcase.

Frankly, it seems that there are two nutcases trying to outdo one another with their immature shows of bluster and bravado, playing for the highest stakes. The only problem is that both men actually have the power to make something truly catastrophic become a reality.

Of course, Trump discussed other subject matter, as well. The main points that he tried to pound home was his "America First" policy. He suggested, essentially, that all leaders put the interests of their countries first, and that this was essentially the meaning of his own "America First" policy.

Perhaps, but Trump's version of "America First" tends to be so Americentrist as to exclude any cooperation with the rest of the world, as this seemingly is somehow seen as some kind of weakness. This appears to be the message, never outright stated, which the rest of the world is understandably worried about with Trump at the helm. Growing ever more insular and inward looking, the United States keeps lowering the bar with it's leaders and, thus, with just about everything else. And what President Trump suggests is simply looking out for our own interests first, seems to many others to be an aloof standoff-ishness and presumption of superiority.

Somehow, Trump managed to make people forget his idiotic and, frankly, dangerous speech on Tuesday with another obvious mishap the very next day. During a lunch meeting with African leaders, Trump talked about the improving healthcare system of Nambia.

The only problem? No such nation exists!

Did he mean Namibia? Zambia, perhaps? Maybe even the Gambia? No one can say for sure. It remains unclear.

What is clear, however, is that this man really is the most ill prepared man ever to hold such a high office in American history. Other than his consistent golf outings on extended weekends, he rarely takes any breaks in finding new and innovative ways to humiliate himself and his country before the entire world.

The tragedy, also, is that he makes other mediocre presidents, most notably George W. Bush, look very good and distinguished by way of comparison. Remember that Bush also sometimes seemed intent on humiliating himself and his nation as well, particularly with the faulty "facts" that he and his administration used liberally in order to justify the invasion of Iraq that they clearly wanted so badly. Yes, Bush (and Cheney and Rumsfeld) were bad, but this administration is just far, far worse. The most amazing thing to come out of the Trump administration thus far is that he makes everyone else, including George W. Bush, look incredibly bright and even enlightened by way of comparison.

Trump’s menacing United Nations speech, annotated By Aaron Blake September 19, 2017:

Where is 'Nambia'? President Trump 'invents' African country 21 September 2017  From the BBC section on Africa:

Friday, September 22, 2017

Today is the Autumnal Equinox

Yes, it is that time of the year again.  While in reality,  it has felt like summer ended after Labor Day weekend,  the change in seasons becomes official today.

At 4:02 pm EST,  summer will yield to the fall season.

What is a bit unusual is that while we have had a cooler than normal summer,  it has grown quite warm lately. It feels more like summer now than it often did in July and August.

Guess we will start the autumn here in the greater New York and New Jersey metropolitan area with Indian summer!

Thursday Night Football Wrap-Up: Rams Survive 49ers Comeback Attempt

One game down, 15 more to go. 

After one game, my predictions are so far accurate - albeit barely! Indeed, the Rams won, but they had to withstand a furious comeback rally at the end of the game to do so. 

The Rams had built up a considerable lead, aided in no small part by capitalizing on San Francisco mistakes, including a pick six on the 49ers first play of the game. Los Angeles had one of the lowest scoring offenses last season, and there were concerns that offensive production would continue to be a problem this year.

However, the Rams exploded yesterday. In fact, both teams did, combining for a total of 80 points overall, as the Rams eventually outlasted the 49ers for a 41-39 win. Neither team went into the game with impressive looking offenses, but both offenses showed something by producing some great numbers last night.

So yes, my prediction was accurate...sort of. I never would have expected for either team to put up the kinds of offensive numbers that each team did, let alone both teams. I never would have expected this game to be a wild, wild NFC West showdown being the highest scoring game thus far in this young season to date! And I must say, I am a bit surprised by it.

Los Angeles rebounds from their loss to Washington last week, to raise their record to 2-1, while the 49ers remain winless at 0-3, but easily put up their most impressive game this season, which has to give them some sort of a lift. 

One more thing: both teams wore their "color rush" uniforms. The Rams one was extremely bright, as they wore their older helmets, the ones that are dark blue with the bright yellow rams horns that they used to wear until after the Super Bowl season in 1999. San Francisco, by contrast, wore very dark uniforms, wearing black jerseys and pants. I prefer the Rams old look, the one that they wore up until that 1999 season, while the 49ers just look better with their traditional, standard uniforms.

Am I the only on getting a bit tired of these color rush uniforms? Seems like just another money making gimmick to me, a reason to try and sell more jerseys, these ones with a different feel. But there is nothing radically different about the NFL's self-serving greed over the years, is there?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

NFL 2017-18 Week 3 Predictions

Okay, the season is starting to take shape. We have an early glimpse of teams that are doing as well as expected (the Raiders, Steelers, and the Falcons are the best examples), the teams that are surprising at least some people with how well they are ding (the Lions and the Chiefs would be the best examples here), the teams that are doing as poorly as expected (the Jets and the Browns would be the prime examples of these), and the teams that are surprising some with just how poorly they are playing thus far (the Colts and, unfortunately, the Giants would be prime examples of this). 

Yet, the season is far from over, and these trends still might reverse themselves. Week 3 is upon us now, starting with a NFC West game later today, and another early game in London to kick things off on Sunday.

As for my predictions, well, I also got off to a rough start in week one, getting eight right and seven wrong. Last week, I got 11 right and five wrong. Better, but still quite a few wrong. 

Can I do better with my picks this weekend? Time will tell, of course.

So, here are my predictions for week 3:

Thursday Night Football - L.A. Rams at San Francisco - Last year, the 49ers won only two games all season long. Unfortunately for the Rams, both of those wins came against them. In fact, the 49ers might have done the Rams no favors last season, not only sweeping them, but also in being the last place team in the division, which meant that the Rams could not even excel at being the worst team, only really bad. San Francisco had a higher draft pick, and Los Angeles went through the turmoil of a coaching change and some personnel change. Now, Los Angeles had an impressive debut this season, obliterating the Colts and looking sharp. But they came back down to earth last week in losing at home to Washington. Now, they have their first chance at revenge against the Niners, but they will have to try and win on the road in San Fran. Still, San Francisco has some serious issues on offense, as they are one of two teams that I know of who have yet to score a touchdown this season (the other being the Bengals). The Rams might be inept, but they are not that inept, and they have had an entire offseason to prepare themselves not to repeat the embarrassment of being swept by an otherwise winless team. I am predicting the Rams to take this one on the road in San Fran. My pick: L.A. Rams

Baltimore at Jacksonville at London's Wembley Stadium - Jacksonville got lucky in week one and caught the Texans by surprise. But last weekend, the Titans exposed them, limiting their offense and exposing weaknesses on their defense. Now, they have to face a very tough Baltimore Ravens team that may be having some issues on offense themselves, but who also seem to have a legitimately wicked defense. Frankly, it is hard to see how the Jaguars can win this one, as almost every advantage that comes to mind seems to favor the Ravens getting off to a 3-0 start. My pick: Baltimore

Atlanta at Detroit - This suddenly feels like a feature match for this week! The Falcons are off to a solid start, avoiding an upset at Chicago in week one, and then stomping on the Packers last weekend. Once again, they play an NFC North team this week, but it should be their toughest test yet, because the Lions look really, really good thus far. They beat the Cardinals in week one, and then went on the road and dominated the Giants on the road last Monday. Their offense has looked very good in the process, and Matthew Stafford could be a candidate for the MVP award this season if he continues to play like this. They have home field advantage, and they have to feel hyped for what is now a huge game. Tough one to call, but I'm going to have to go with the home team here. My pick: Detroit

Cleveland at Indianapolis - Two winless teams go after each other, both pursuing their first victories of the season. The Colts have home field advantage, but with so many question marks on their offense without Luck, it is questionable how much of a home field advantage it really is. For Cleveland, two tough losses to the Steelers and the Ravens have nevertheless revealed that this team might not be as embarrassing as they seemed to be last year. This might be an upset pick, but I will do ahead and predict that the Browns will get past Indy for their first win of the season in this one. My pick; Cleveland  

Denver at Buffalo - The Broncos look good again. Their defense is predictably tough, and Siemian seems to be coming into his own as the starting quarterback. Denver won their first two games, although both of them were in Denver. Now, they go on the road to Rich Stadium (or whatever it is called these days) to face the Bills. But at least it is not December or later, with that trademark frigid weather. The Bills won their first game against the Jets, but then fell short in a tough game against Carolina. They have a tough defense, not having yielded a touchdown yet. That will likely change this weekend, but can the Bills actually pull off a win? This is a tough game to call, but I suspect that the Broncos are the better team, and so it is hard to predict against them. My pick: Denver

Houston at New England - The Patriots lost a tough surprise game in week one, but if their victory over the Saints signified anything, it is that they are back. And the Texans look filled with issues and question marks, as their offense looks predictably atrocious thus far. They had a very embarrassing loss in week one, followed by an ugly win. Their defense is good, but the offense is a liability. Historically, they have never done well against the Patriots, especially up in Foxboro. Frankly, it is hard to see that changing for this upcoming weekend. My pick: New England 

Miami at N.Y. Jets - The Dolphins earned a tough win against the Chargers last weekend, largely due to a missed field goal. They are on the road again, but they take on the likely cupcake team of the AFC, the Jets. I would love to say that I could in good conscience boldly predict the Jets to win this one, but it is difficult to see it happening. They got walloped in Oakland last weekend, and both their offense and defense looked pathetic. They will likely play better this weekend, but good enough to pull off a win against Miami? Not likely. My pick: Miami

New Orleans at Carolina - How will the Panthers do with Olsen in the line-up? Well, that question will begin to be answered in this game, as the winless Saints come to town. New Orleans has the talent on offense, but their defense, once again, looks very bad. They cannot be feeling too good, after dropping both of their first two games. Carolina has a lot of question marks, but they have a familiar opponent coming into their home stadium. This will be a surprisingly close game, and in fact, I will go out on a limb and go ahead with an upset prediction here. My pick: New Orleans

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia - The Giants are in trouble here. They have dropped both of their first two contests, and now have to go to Philly, a team that seems to be brimming with confidence. Often, the Giants struggle in Philadelphia, and as much as I would like to suggest that this time will be different, it appears that the G-Men have a lot of issues to iron out, and especially on offense. Hard to see them pulling this one off, and that means that the Eagles should win, and the Giants will fall still farther behind in the NFC East. My pick: Philadelphia

Pittsburgh at Chicago - Years ago, this might have been a slugfest between two heavyweights specializing in strong defenses and conservative, run-oriented offenses. That is not so much the case this time, as the Steelers have an explosive offense (as well as a solid defense), while the Bears have...well, they have limited talent on both offense and defense. The Bears have home field advantage, but that appears to be the only advantage that they have here in this game. My pick: Pittsburgh

Tampa Bay at Minnesota - The Vikings are hard to figure. They beat the Saints in week one, but the Steelers made short work of them. Still, Minnesota is not an easy place to play, and it will be the first real test for Tampa. Going on the road to take on a team of the Vikings's caliber will be a huge challenge for them. The Vikings have the talent and home field advantage to win, but I will go out on a limb and predict a Bucs victory in this one. My pick: Tampa Bay 

Seattle at Tennessee - Wow! Tough game to call! Seattle is a good team, but they are clearly going through some issues. And the Titans are up and coming, but this will clearly be a tough test for them. They have to feel confident after beating up on the Jaguars last week. But will that be enough to knock of the Seahawks? Seattle still has their defense, but nothing else is looking especially good for them right now. I suspect that the Seahawks are still the better team, and should sneak out a tough win here in this one. My pick: Seattle

Cincinnati at Green Bay - The Packers have an explosive offense and the considerable home field advantage going into this one. The Bengals have a disappointing team that seems on the verge of some major collapse. Some players from Cincy last week were evidently suggesting that Colin Kaepernick should be their quarterback, which is not exactly a vote of confidence for Andy Dalton. If this team does not do something soon, this season will likely spiral out of control. However, it is difficult to see them pulling this one off, or even really keeping it close. My pick: Green Bay 

Kansas City at L.A. Chargers - The Chargers are losing games once again in strange fashion, much like they did last season. They now get to host perhaps the hottest team in the league in the Kansas City Chiefs. Yes, KC has a solid offense with a strong running game, and they have an innovative coach in Andy Reid. The Chargers right now have talent, but some major issues. They should keep it close, but somehow, I see another strange loss with something truly bizarre preventing them from winning this one yet again. My pick: Kansas City 

Oakland at Washington - These two teams do not meet very frequently, yet they will take the field together on Monday Night in Washington. The Raiders still look like they are justifying their status in the minds of many experts as one of the elite teams, and a serious contender for the title this season. Washington earned themselves a good, tough road win against the Rams last weekend, but Oakland? Even with home field advantage against them, the Raiders will prove to be a challenge, one that I suspect Washington will not be up to the task to meet. My pick: Oakland

Today is Muḥarram (Arabic: مُحَرَّم‎‎)

Today is Muḥarram (مُحَرَّم‎‎ in Arabic), which is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the holiest days in the Islamic calendar.

September 21st - Today is International Peace Day

September 21st - Today is International Peace Day.

It was established as this back in 1981, through a United Nations resolution that was passed unanimously. The idea is for people the world over to focus and dedicate themselves to peace, between nations and between people.