Curmudgeons Corner

Random thoughts on politics, current events, popular culture, and whatever else interests me.

Mark R. Whittington is a writer residing in Houston, Texas. He is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including the novel of suspense Nocturne which he coauthored with his wife, Chantal, The Children of Apollo trilogy, The Last Moonwalker and Other Stories, Gabriella’s War, The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper, and Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?

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Saturday, October 22, 2016
Would Hillary Clinton be a lame duck president from the very start?

Jonah Goldberg offered an interesting theory in the National Review recently when he suggested that Hillary Clinton would be a lame duck president from the moment she takes the oath of office. The reason is that the WikiLeaks revelations, which would have sunk her campaign were it not for the fact she is running against Donald Trump, will cripple her presidency by undermining her mandate and moral authority.

Joe Biden wishes he could beat up Donald Trump

That #Election 2016 has gotten acrimonious was struck home by none other than Vice President #Joe Biden was at a Hillary Clinton rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa and declared that he would like to beat up #Donald Trump because of his boasts on that now infamous video. “No, I wish I were in high school so I could take him behind the gym, that's what I wish." The statement was not even found to be very alarming by the mainstream media. To be sure it did not approach Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton territory. But one wonders how the media would have reacted if Trump had offered to thump on Bill Clinton for his savaging of women.

Friday, October 21, 2016
Thinking of a Ted Cruz presidency

Red State recently lamented that Sen Ted Cruz. R-Texas was not on the debate stage with Hillary Clinton when the question about the Supreme Court was asked by Chris Wallace. Cruz would have aced the question, mainly because he has successfully argued cases before the court as the solicitor general of the state of Texas. Cruz knows how the Supreme Court works intimately and has a handle on the stakes of the election.

Barack Obama compares Obamacare to a Galaxy Note 7 Smartphone

As #Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, enters its death spiral. President Barack #Obama decided to go full “remain calm, all is well” mode and proposed a few tweaks that will surely fix the system and make it a deliverer of health care that it was meant to be. But then the president was more apt than he knew when he compared Obamacare to a Galaxy Note 7 #Smartphone.

CBS to produce 'Salvation' a series about an asteroid on collision course with Earth

More than 18 years have passed since two rocks headed to wipe out the Earth, “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact” filled theaters and made their respected studios a lot of money. So it was about time for a major network, in this case, CBS, to order up a 13 episode series about the same idea “Salvation” for next summer. But the concept, as related by Coming Soon, seems terribly curious.

The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Donald Trump decides to accept the election results after all -- if he wins

According to ABC News, Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president, decided to revise and extend his remarks from the third presidential debate in which he declined to accept the results of the election in advance. He told a cheering crowd in Delaware, Ohio, "I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election -- if I win.” He went on to expound at length on the subject of voter fraud, including a WikiLeaks revelation that Hillary Clinton once opined that illegal aliens could vote if they have a driver’s license. In fact, it is illegal for any non-American citizen to vote whether they are legally in the country or not. He also referenced the Florida recount controversy, suggesting that he is not about to waive his right to a legal challenge under similar circumstances.

Presidential debate exchange may have helped Donald Trump with pro-lifers

Lost in the media hoopla about Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the election in advance was an exchange early in the debate that started with the Supreme Court but ended up in the rancorous debate over abortion. Trump, who intends to appoint pro-life judges, maneuvered Hillary Clinton neatly into taking one of the most extreme pro-choice positions imaginable, supporting the right to an abortion up to the moment of natural birth with a procedure called partial birth or late term abortion. Even most committed advocates of a woman’s right to choose find the idea a bit queasy.

The tensest exchange of the third debate took place between Megyn Kelly and Donna Brazile

One of the tensest exchanges that took place on the night of the third presidential debate did not actually happen between the two presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The exchange took place between Fox News host Megyn Kelly and Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile on the question of Brazile’s feeding Hillary Clinton debate questions during a CNN town hall when the former worked for that network. Brazile played the Christian card to counter the question, according to the Washington Examiner.

Hillary Clinton Heller gun ban claim on toddlers found to be bogus in 3rd debate

One of the highlights (or lowlights depending on one’s point of view) of the third presidential debate was when the discussion wandered over to the 2nd Amendment. While Donald Trump vigorously defended the right to keep and bear arms, Hillary Clinton pretended to do the same, but then undermined her position by also claiming also to favor “common sense gun laws.” She made a particular howler when she said she opposed the Heller decision that overturned a ban on the private ownership of handguns in Washington D.C. She claimed that she opposed the decision and would see it overturned by the Supreme Court so that toddlers would be protected from firearm accidents. But the Washington Examiner fact checked her and found her excuse to be bogus.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Donald Trump advisors roll out a new space policy

Two policy advisors to #Donald Trump, former Congressman Robert Walker, and Peter Navarro, a business professor at the University of California at Irvine, presented a #Space policy document in the pages of Space News. While the article contained the usual fluff about the inspiration of exploration, it did contain a couple of significant policy proposals.

Donald Trump not crazy to not automatically accept the outcome of the election in advance

Most of the media is leading their stories about the third and final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with the statement by Trump that he wouldn’t necessarily accept the outcome of the election if he lost. “I will look at it at the time,” he said and promised to keep moderator Chris Wallace in suspense. Most of the media is spinning the statement as the ravings of a madman. Indeed, it would be if the outcome of the election is not close, say by five or so points.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton meet in the third debate, argue the evil of two lessors

The main takeaway from the third presidential debate was Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of the election regardless of the circumstances. Trump has some reason to be skittish, considering some of the revelations of vote fraud from the Project Veritas videos. The huffing and puffing by some on the left will be somewhat curious considering the outrage about the Florida recount in 2000.

No handshake between Melania Trump and Bill Clinton at the third debate

One of the traditions of presidential debates, back when a pretense of civility was followed, was that the spouses of the candidates would greet one another and shake hands. This custom will not be observed during the third and final presidential debate. The New York Times is blaming, as it does all things bad that have happened in 2016, on Donald Trump.

How Hillary Clinton can win the debate and crush Donald Trump

The feeling among Team Hillary must be one of positive giddiness. Thanks to the great luck of facing the most dysfunctional Republican candidate possible, Hillary Clinton is poised to become the first woman president, a dream she had held for decades and for which she had paid much. But now is not the time for complacency. Election 2016 has had enough twists and turns that a last-minute reversal of fortune is possible.

How Donald Trump can win the debate and maybe the presidency

Donald Trump enters the third and final presidential debate in the worst possible position that a major candidate can be in, thanks to a number of unforced errors. Fortunately, he can turn things around even less than three weeks before the election. All he has to do is to act presidential and keep on the attack against his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Leonardo DiCaprio developing 'Captain Planet' movie for some reason

Leonardo diCaprio is set to produce a film version of the early 1990s cartoon series “Captain Planet and the Planeteers.” The series depicted five fresh-faced, clean-limbed young people from around the world who had been granted magic rings that, when brought together, summoned a super being known as Captain Planet who then did battle with a number of environmental harming super villains, each of which represented some separate ecological disaster. The series was a heavy-handed work of environmental agitprop with a decidedly anti-capitalist message.

Scientists may have found a cheap way to solve climate change

According to Popular Mechanics, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have stumbled upon a process that turns CO2 into ethanol. The method used carbon and copper arranged into nanospikes the better to exert absolute control with few contaminants. The one-step process takes place at room temperature which means that it is energy efficient.

Latest Chinese space mission highlights a challenge to America

With the recent successful launch of China’s Shenzhou 11, taking two Chinese astronauts for a 30-day stay at the Tiangong-2 space station, the focus has been renewed on that country’s slow but steady space program. Eric Baculinao, writing for NBC News, suggests that #china is poised to challenge American leadership in space, just as the Soviets did in the 1960s. China has lots of ambition, including a space station, manned lunar expeditions, and even a space telescope with greater capabilities than the Hubble space telescope.

Marco Rubio turns the tables on Patrick Murphy on groping women

One of the sad aspects of #Election 2016 is the fact that groping women have become the main issue on the presidential level, crowding out corruption, ISIS, and Obamacare, because of accusations levied against Donald Trump. However, that issue has turned out to be a double-edged sword down ballot as Democrats desperately try to tie Republicans to Trump’s alleged misbehavior. During a Florida Senate debate, Democratic candidate Patrick Murphy decided to lash his opponent, incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio, to Trump. Rubio released a picture Murphy posted of himself fondling a woman’s breast on Facebook a few years ago.

Monday, October 17, 2016
Donald Trump to visit the Kennedy Space Center and meet with aerospace leaders

Florida Today is reporting that #Donald Trump intends to tour the Kennedy #Space Center on October 24 and attend a roundtable discussion of aerospace industry leaders sponsored by the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast and Space Florida. A public rally will likely take place at a location off site as political campaigning is prohibited on a federal facility. Hillary Clinton has been invited to attend a roundtable as well but has so far not responded.

And a reading assignment for the Donald: Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?

New version of ‘impossible’ EM drive patented in Great Britain

ZME Science announced the latest event in the saga of the EM drive, the “impossible” engine that is alleged to produce thrust without propellant. Roger Shawyer, the British inventor of the drive, has just filed a patent with the British Intellectual Property office with a 2.0 version of the EM drive that he claims creates orders of magnitude greater thrust than the current version being tested at #NASA’s Eagleworks, among other places.

China launches the first Shenzhou manned space mission in three years

As the BBC noted, the latest Chinese manned space mission in three years, the #Shenzhou 11, blasted off with two astronauts, veteran Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong. The spacecraft is headed for the Tiangong-2 module for a 30-day mission to test technologies in preparation for a larger space station planned for the early 2020s. Thus the slow and steady Chinese space program made its next step to make #china a space power in its own right.

'Killing Reagan' a respectful view of the 20th Century's greatest president

“#Killing Reagan,” the latest TV dramatization of the “Killing” series based on a book by Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly, was, on the whole, a respectful depiction of the greatest president of the 20th Century and the assassination attempt that almost ended him. The TV movie avoided many of the Hollywood clichés about Reagan. The president, played by Tim Matheson, who won the Cold War was depicted as a competent statesman who was madly in love with his wife, First Lady Nancy Reagan, played by Cynthia Nixon. Kyle More plays John Hinckley, the increasingly disturbed, obsessive would-be assassin, a pathetic loser who almost altered #history.

Sunday, October 16, 2016
What does 'Game of Thrones' teach us about Election 2016?

What does “#Game of Thrones” teach us about #Election 2016. For one thing, as horrible as things are in the American political system, they can always be worse. At least the two primary parties have confined their assassinations to the character kind.

'Designated Survivor' jumps the shark with an insurrection in Michigan

“Designated Survivor,” the TV thriller that stars Kiefer Sutherland as a low-level cabinet official who suddenly becomes president of the United States when a devastating terrorist attack takes out most of the federal government, has often been gripping #Television. Unfortunately, the show also has a tendency to jump the shark with outrageous scenarios and liberal agitprop. For example, the series depicts a racist Republican governor of Michigan declaring the president to be illegitimate and proceeding to round up Muslim Americans for no reason.

Donald Trump surges to four points behind Hillary Clinton

#Election 2016 experienced another strange turn when a Washington Post ABC News poll showed #Hillary Clinton with just a four-point lead over #Donald Trump among likely voters. The poll came out at a time when most pundits believed that the election was all but over because of the series of women who have come forward who claim that Trump had “inappropriately touched” them sometime in the past./P>

Saturday, October 15, 2016
Hillary Clinton trashes environmentalists to a trade union group

The latest WikiLeaks revelation shows another difference between #Hillary Clinton’s public views, in this case on energy and the #Environment, as opposed to her private views on the issue as expressed to a secret meeting with a trade union group. Publically she is an environmentalist who wants to bring the big oil companies to heel and restrict fracking and pipeline construction. Privately she favors fracking and pipeline construction. "I want to defend repairing and building the pipelines we need to fuel our economy. I want to defend fracking under the right circumstances.” Clinton also opposes a carbon tax.

Friday, October 14, 2016
Could Bernie Sanders win Vermont even though he is no longer a candidate?

As if this election season is not weird enough, McClatchy is reporting that #Bernie Sanders, even though he has not been a presidential candidate for months, might actually win in his home state of Vermont. The reason for this is that Vermont is one of the few states of the union that allow write ins of any candidate no matter if they are running or not. The other states are Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Iowa and Oregon. Most other states allow write ins only if a candidate is officially registered.

The 2008 Team Hillary Clinton considered attacking Barack Obama''s Muslim father

The latest WikiLeaks revelations reveal that the 2008 #Hillary Clinton for president campaign poll tested a number of attacks against her then political rival Barack #Obama. Some of the proposed attacks were policy based, such as proposals for tax increases and even, oddly, Obama’s opposition to health care for babies who survived partial birth abortions.

Sorry Barack Obama but George W. Bush is responsible for space successes

With the recent chest thumping by President Barack Obama over the #NASA #Space program, especially the Journey to Mars, the Smithsonian Magazine provides a much-needed reality check. Most if not all of space successes of the past few years have their origins in the presidency of George W. Bush.

Stopping Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders with economic growth

The polls and the pundits agree that Donald Trump is likely to lose the 2016 election. But like the mirror image of the Trump movement, the Bernie Sanders revolution, the populist uprising is likely to continue so long as people feel economic anxiety. The solution to both Trump and Sanders, according to a new piece in the Washington Free Beacon, is economic growth.

Thursday, October 13, 2016
Tom Hanks is offended by Donald Trump, but not by Bill and Hillary Clinton

Tom Hanks is considered to be one of the most famous actors in Hollywood. He not only has played in a number of heroic roles, such as in “Apollo 13,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and, most recently, “Sully,” he has the reputation of being one of the nicest people working in the entertainment industry. So naturally when he condemned #Donald Trump for his statements in the now infamous sex talk tape, he carried some authority. “I’m offended as a man. I’m not offended as a husband or a father — I’m offended as a guy. That’s just not right.” However, Hank’s sense of moral outrage is somewhat selective.

Why awarding Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize for Literature makes a weird kind of sense

On the surface, the selection of Bob Dylan for the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature seems bizarre beyond the limits of human understanding. Dylan is the first person to win the literature prize in decades who is widely known and admired. He is the first performing artist in history to win the coveted award.

Lifetime Network rolls out Hillary Clinton web series 'Young Hillary Diaries'

Hot Air reports that someone at the Lifetime Network thought it might be a good idea to produce something called “The Young Hillary Diaries” as a web series. The premise is that young Hillary Rodham is running for class president at her high school in 1964 and is running into sexism and other obstacles. The idea seems like one that might care a lame “Saturday Night Live” skit but may be a stretch for any kind of series.

As Election 2016 draws to a close, Evan McMullin starts to rise

One thing is for certain. The past week in politics has proven to be as good for Evan McMullin as it has been horrible to Donald Trump and, to some extent, Hillary Clinton. The latest scandal to hit Team Trump involves two women who claimed they were inappropriately touched by the Donald many years ago, accompanied by Trump’s threat to sue for defamation. While Clinton is surging in the polls, Team Hillary has not gone unscathed. The WikiLeaks revelations show a group of people running the Clinton campaign who disdain many Americans, including Catholics, evangelicals, Hispanics, “rednecks,” and Bernie Sanders supporters. All of the sudden, the hitherto obscure conservative independent is starting to look pretty good.