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Loving Dogs For Votes

Bill Simmons:

I'm amazed that a 2012 presidential candidate hasn't taken advantage of [dog loving], filmed a series of dog-loving commercials and pushed for things like "more dog beaches" and "better veterinarian health care benefits" as part of their platform. Dog lovers are totally irrational. I include myself. If Obama wants to improve his approval rating, he should rescue a mutt every six weeks and keep, like, 10 or 12 dogs in the White House — he'd have dog-lover voters saying, "Even if I'm let down by the last four years, I gotta be honest … it was pretty neat how Obama kept rescuing those dogs."

Interesting thought I think. Can you think of other such gimmicks that might work?

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UARS is Down

So UARS passed over the U.S. and is down somewhere. NASA was checking on where an hour ago, and then must have gone home to bed because there's no tweets since. There are reports it was sighted in MN, continued on to Canada, Africa and Australia.

Anyone see anything?

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Saturday Night Open Thread: New York Greets Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene has reached New York. Mayor Bloomberg says it's too late to evacuate, just stay indoors.

Here's the current tracker. For those of you on the east coast, how are you doing?

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Saturday Open Thread: Hurricane Irene Still a Threat

Hurricane Irene is weakening but still a threat. More here.

In New York, there are no planes, subways, buses, Broadway, Bloomingdales or Saks.

Another tracker here.

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Hurricane Irene Tracking

The New York Times has this easy to follow graphic Hurricane Irene Tracker where you can follow the storm's progress, estimate the time it will hit various places, and at what strength.

Washington, DC is slated to greet Irene at 8 am Saturday morning. President Obama is leaving Martha's Vineyard a day early. In North Carolina, Irene has been downgraded to a Cat 2. A lot of power outages are expected.

What are you doing to prepare? What online sites are you following for updates? The National Hurricane Center is here. And will there be any other news to follow over the next few days?

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Earthquake on East Coast

Really? An 5.9 earthquake on the east coast? How odd. Hope everyone's okay.

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered northwest of Richmond, Va., shook much of Washington, D.C., and was felt as far north as New York City and Rhode Island.

The quake sent hundreds of people spilling into the street a block from the White House, with other buildings evacuated in North Carolina and tremors felt as far away as New York City.

The heart of the quake apparently was Mineral, Va., in Louisa County. And I just read Colorado had an earthquake last night -- the largest one since 1967. It was in the southern part of the state, near New Mexico.

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The Donald comes to the rescue?

So much for dropping out -- Donald Trump tells TPM he believes he can win the White House as an independent candidate, keeping his name in the presidential game despite declaring last month he would not run for the GOP nomination. [. . .] As for whether he'll run, he said it depended on the GOP nominee. "Let's see what happens with the Republicans, who they put up," he said.

I still have the Short Fingered Vulgarian to kick around!! About two weeks ago, Trump said:

After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the presidency. Business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.

I guess the Reality TV and licensing business is not as exciting to Trump as he thought it would be. Of course this can not go on forever - the moment Trump has to reveal that he really is just another Kardashian is when the fun stops.

Speaking for me only

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NBA Fines Noah 50K For Gay Slur

I'm a big fan of former Florida Gator and current Chicago Bull Joakim Noah. Like Charles Barkley, Noah is my favorite player. In Sunday night's game against the Heat, Noah delivered a gay slur at a heckling fan. He issued an apology immediately after the game, and was fined Monday by the NBA:

The NBA on Monday fined Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah $50,000 for hurling profanity and a gay slur at a fan during the Bulls’ Game 3 loss to the Miami Heat. Noah had immediately apologized for the slur and said he expected a stiff financial penalty for his words. “I got caught up. A fan said something,” Noah said after Sunday’s game. “I said something back. I apologize. I don’t mean no disrespect to anybody.”

I believe and hope the apology was sincere. Noah's a pretty openly progressive person politically, so it is not a stretch to believe the apology was sincere. Hopefully, he'll learn from this incident. Also, I hope he has a good game tonight against the Heat, who lead the series 2-1 over the Bulls.

Speaking for me only

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Delta Connections Carrier Pilot Refuses To Fly Plane With Muslims Onboard


ASA had the lowest rate of on-time performance, and the worst rate of mishandled baggage among all 19 US air carriers reporting to the US Department of Transportation for the full-year 2006.

This won't help:

Two Muslim religious leaders who were removed from a commercial airliner in Memphis say they were told it was because the pilot refused to fly with them aboard.

Masudur Rahman and Mohamed Zaghloul were supposed to travel on an 8:30 a.m. Delta flight, run by a subsidiary, from Memphis, Tenn. to Charlotte. They were traveling to attend a conference of the North American Imam Federation that, ironically, intends to address prejudice against Muslims.

[. . .] ASA released this statement: “Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight 5452 from Memphis to Charlotte returned to the gate to allow for additional screening of a passenger and the passenger's companion. We take security and safety very seriously, and the event is currently under investigation. Compensation and re-accommodation on the next available flight were immediately offered to the passenger and the passenger's travel companion. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused.”

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Trump Toxic

The Short Fingered Vulgarian seems to be overplaying his buffoonish hand. The latest - Jerry Seinfeld does not want to be seen standing next to him:

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld canceled an appearance at one of Donald Trump’s charity events, saying that he is disturbed by Trump’s rhetoric about President Obama. Seinfeld will however still make a monetary contribution to the charity, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Trump, in typical fashion, crudely lashes back:

We don't care that you broke your commitment," [Trump] wrote, [. . .] "What I do feel badly about is that I agreed to do, and did, your failed show, 'The Marriage Ref,' even though I thought it was absolutely terrible . . .

Trump seems on the verge of a Torpedo of Truth tour.

Speaking for me only

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Sidney Lumet

Sidney Lumet passed away yesterday. He was one of the great film directors of our time. But I had not thought of just how great. Digby is one of the great bloggers we have. But I am especially grateful for her bringing Dennis Hartley's insights on film to our attention. Last night, Hartley wrote a post (Digby adds a nice postscript on how Network shaped her blogging) about Lumet's works. Go read it.

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March Madness: Elite 8

Florida v. Butler kicks off the Elite 8 matchups. Florida defeated the Jimmers in overtime in a poorly played game by both teams. Alex Tyus had a career gamer to save the Gators. Butler played well for 37 minutes against Wisconsin, but then looked vulnerable to pressure and almost spit the game up.

Butler is a very physical team, with a very skilled guard in Shelvin Mack. They play good defense. Matt Howard has played quite well. Florida has shown it can play fast or slow, and has a deep bench. It will be interesting to see how Billy Donovan decides to play it, especially in light of Butler's miscues against pressure by Wisconsin late in their previous game.

If Florida shoots well, I believe they should have a good chance to win. If not, probably not. I expect another nailbiter, so I will take Butler (+4) (2 units.) More . . .

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March Madness: Sweet Sixteen Day 2

My picks for tonight's games:

Marquette +4˝ over North Carolina (2 units). North Carolina has looked shaky.

Richmond +10˝ over Kansas (2 units). Just a hunch.

Ohio State -6 over Kentucky (3 units). Best team in the tournament. Best low post player in Sullnger. Experienced. Ohio State should win easily over a poorly coached Kentucky team.

Florida State -4 over Va Commonwealth (4 units.) VCU has been on a roll. They are not that good. Down to Earth tonight. Noles win easily.

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March Madness Sweet 16: The Law Of Gus

4 games are on tap tonight in the Sweet 16 portion of March Madness.

Kicking it off is the Florida-BYU game. BYU guard Jimmer Fridette is the likely Player of the Year in college basketball. His range for tonight's matchup in New Orleans begins from Lake Ponchartrain. (BTD sidebar: I was born in New Orleans.) A year ago, these two teams played a 2OT thriller in the first round of the NCAAs with The Jimmer going for 37 in leading the Cougars to the win. Both teams are markedly better this year. Another thriller in store tonight? The Law of Gus suggests so. Gus Johnson is calling the Florida-BYU game and when Gus calls a game, any game, the chance seem to rise markedly that it will be a thriller. More . . .

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Elizabeth Taylor, RIP

Elizabeth Taylor has passed away:

Elizabeth Taylor, the actress who dazzled generations of moviegoers with her stunning beauty and whose name was synonymous with Hollywood glamour, died on Wednesday of congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, her publicist, Sally Morrison, told The Associated Press. She was 79.


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