Sailors Missing After Collision, Total Eclipse

Collision: Ten US sailors are missing and five injured after a guided missile destroyer collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore early this morning. It is the second fatal collision between a US warship and a civilian cargo vessel since June.

The temporary loss of a second destroyer in Asia is a serious blow to the Navy at a time of increased tensions with China and North Korea.

The USS John S. McCain was passing through the Strait of Malacca headed to port in Singapore in the dark at 5:24 am when it collided with a 600-foot oil and chemical tanker, the Navy said. The warship was punctured at the waterline on the port side.

The Navy had no immediate explanation for the accident.

Asked by reporters for a response to the accident President Trump said, “That’s too bad.”

In June, seven sailors drowned in their sleeping compartment when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a cargo ship off Japan. The ship’s senior officers were relieved of duty after an investigation.

Permawar: President Trump is expected to speak tonight to announce a new strategy for the 16-year war in Afghanistan.

“The president has made a decision,” Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters on an overnight flight returning yesterday from Jordan. “I am very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous.” He added, “It is a South Asia strategy; it not just an Afghanistan strategy.”

The US has 8,000 troops in Afghanistan and several news reports say the new plan will be to send more. Mattis already ordered 4,000 American troops to Afghanistan to train and support the national army.

The Obit Page: Slapstick comedian Jerry Lewis, who rose to fame with the great crooner Dean Martin as his straight man, died yesterday in Las Vegas at age 91.

The son of vaudeville performers, Lewis played the loud, stumbling buffoon to Martin’s unflappable coolness. Martin and Lewis joined to make an act in 1946 and by 1948 they were playing at New York’s Copacabana. By 1949 they were in the movies, eventually making 13 of them together.

Their act was as big as fame gets. But Martin and Lewis wore thin on each other and had a bitter breakup in 1956. Martin went on to become a legendary singer actor, and member of The Rat Pack. Lewis moved on to direct and appear in his own movies, “The Bellboy,” and the “The Nutty Professor” among them. But his style of humor became dated and for a while he was more popular in France than America.

Over the years Lewis became equally famous for hosting the annual Muscular Dystrophy telethon, spending a straight 24 hours on set and ending by singing a maudlin rendition of “You’ll never Walk Alone.” It was effective. He raised two and a half billion dollars in 44 years.

The Path of Totality: In the old days people fell to the ground screaming and fearing the end of the world. Today, millions of Americans have set themselves in the path to watch the first total eclipse of the sun to cross the United States in 99 years. It begins in Oregon at 1:15 pm EDT and will east until it departs the South Carolina coast at 2:49 pm.

The eclipse is a cosmic coincidence in which the moon lines up to blot out the sun, leaving only a view of its fiery corona. It will take about two hours for the moon to move in front of the sun and then get completely out of the way. The moment of total eclipse is about two and half minutes.

The phases are known as “first contact,” when the moon first nicks the sun, all the way through “fourth contact,” when the sun is shining bright again.

The best viewing will be in what’s called “the path of totality,” a band about 70 miles wide. That includes Salem, Ore; Idaho Falls, Id.; Casper, Wyo.; Alliance and Lincoln, Neb.; Kansas City, Kan.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Columbia, SC.

Some people are still likely to be left screaming.

Eclipse of the News: The eclipse is a welcome relief from other events in the news. Finally, something fun. Newspapers around the country both big and small are mining every nugget of eclipse news. Here’s a collection of headlines:

“During an Eclipse, Darkness Falls and Wonder Rises”

“The Demons of Darkness Will Eat Men, and Other Solar Eclipse Myths”

“Why Some Say the Eclipse Is Best Experienced in a Crowd”

“Grand Teton park to outshine bigger Yellowstone for eclipse”

“Drawing energy from the eclipse, witches head to Casper

“No se pierdan el eclipse total que pasa por Nashville”

“Midstate couple win Eclipse Wedding at Adventure Science Center”

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Friday, November 24, 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

"One of the things that actually Trump has benefited from is that, on a daily if not hourly basis, there are things he says that you could never have imagined any other American president -- left, right, up or down -- saying, and they kind of bleed into each other. And you sort of forget, 'Oh, yes, 72 hours ago, he said this...'"

-Jeff Greenfield on CNN’s "Reliable Sources"

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