Las Vegas: Worst Mass Shooting in US

Mass Shooting: At least 50 people are dead and 200 wounded in a gun attack at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, making it the worst mass shooting in US history.

About 40,000 people were gathered on the Las Vegas strip for a country music festival. Video taken by witnesses recorded the chatter of gunfire, which some people initially thought was fireworks.

Witnesses said the firing continued and periodically stopped as the gunman re-leaded. A woman told CBS News “As we were running, there’s people laying everywhere. People were bleeding. One guy was holding his girlfriend or wife and crying ‘baby I’m so sorry, so sorry, it’s my fault’ and I think she was shot in the head.”

As concert-goers dodged and took cover, the SWAT team responded and pinpointed the gunfire coming from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. They breached the room and killed the gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada about 90 minutes outside Las Vegas.

The local sheriff says that with so many people wounded, the death toll may grow.

Everything is Fantastic: President Trump yesterday continued to promote what a great job of emergency relief his administration is doing in Puerto Rico. Actually, those are his words. “We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico. Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates,” he tweeted, “people are now starting to recognize the amazing work that has been done by FEMA and our great Military. All buildings now inspected for safety.”

What he means by “all buildings,” he didn’t say. Puerto Rico is an island of 3.4 million people, surrounded by a big ocean, as the president has previously pointed out.  San Juan alone has a population of nearly 390,000 people who use and occupy thousands of buildings, let alone the rest of the island, much of which is cut off from civilization.

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CNN, “I’m not aware of such inspections, there are areas of Puerto Rico where we really haven’t gotten contact.”

“Tremendous progress being made,” Trump said on getting off Marine One after a weekend at his New Jersey golf resort.

Trump continues his attacks on the press. When reports do not flatter him, they’re “fake.” Peter Baker writes in The NY Times, “His view of politics is unlike that of any president in modern times. Where other occupants of the Oval Office might go out of their way to avoid public fights with hurricane victims, popular athletes or members of their own team, Mr. Trump relishes them. He thinks they make him look strong.”

Foreign to Relations: Trump undercut his own secretary of state yesterday, tweeting that trying to talk to North Korea about its missile and nuclear programs is a waste of time. “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump wrote. “Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”

Well, that’s comforting. Tillerson told reporters Saturday that the US is trying to open several avenues of discussion with the North Koreans. What’s missing is what should be his next line: “I resign.”

Farewell to Catalonia: The government of Spain’s Catalonia region declared a landslide victory for its secession vote yesterday in which as many as 800 people were injured in conflicts with Spanish authorities trying to stop the referendum. Catalonia has “won the right to become an independent state,” Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said after the polls closed.

The Obit Page: S.I. Newhouse Jr., who inherited a publishing empire and made it even bigger, owning The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest and other magazines with enormous sway over American culture and tastes, died in New York at age 89.

Known to everyone as “Si,” he and his brother Donald built one of the biggest family fortunes in the US. Donald ran the newspaper and television operations, while Si took over the glossy magazines.

Newhouse was very successful in the glitz and scandal genre of journalism. Famous people, sex, and death. He once told The NY Times that he was not an editor himself and gave free reign to his editors. “We feel almost that whichever way it goes, as long as it doesn’t do something absolutely screwy, you can build a magazine around the direction an editor takes.”

Except when he disagreed, then he fired them.

Mission Impossible: With the release of “American Made” over the weekend, actor Tom Cruise suffered the lowest box office opening of his career at just $17 million. The movie cost $55 million to make, not a fortune in Hollywood, but with fading DVD sales making it unlikely the movie will recoup its nut, that makes “American Made” a dud.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

"The greatest absurdity of our time is You Know Whom, which goes without saying but I will anyway. What his election showed is that a considerable number of people, in order to demonstrate their frustration with the world as it is, are willing to drive their car, with their children in the back seat, over a cliff, smash the radiator, bust an axle and walk away feeling good about themselves. No other president in modern times has been held in contempt by a preponderance of people from the moment he said, 'So help me, God.'"

-Garrison Keillor on President Trump

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