March 30, 2016

The Hateful Eight: The Best Fan-Film Tribute to John Carpenter's The Thing In Years
— Ace

Pointless and contrived, and filled with Tarantino's usual tics of hyperviolence, overly-long drawn-out takes, people who always talk like they're imitating black gangster movies set in 1990s Compton, and flashing backwards in time.

But still, not too bad. It holds your interest. It's nice to see a movie try something a little different.

It doesn't wear out its welcome, but it does remind you of why Quentin Tarantino annoys you so much.

He never says in three words what he can say in twelve -- or, I should say, he takes his mosey-ass time to type up his repetitive-ass words and throws in some cursing for "grit."

There is no adjective, it seems, that cannot be improved by appending "-ass" to it and some profanity garland. Especially when he's putting words in Samuel L. Jackson's mouth.

Why say "broken door" when you can say "crazy-ass broke-ass door?"

Why say "I'll kill you dead" when you can say, "Shit, I'll kill your cracker-ass ass dead as dead-ass roadkill"?

It's kind of racist, to be honest.

I didn't feel #Safe at times.

This movie #microaggressed me.

The characters are very thinly drawn. If you saw the trailer, you know each is identified by a tagline -- The Hangman, The... Actual Hangman,* The Bounty Hunter, The Cowboy, The General -- and that's pretty much all there is to them.

Oh, except they're all bad-asses, pretty much.

The actors (not really the characters, just actors delivering written lines) spend a lot of awkward time telling each other their stories, all about how bad-ass they all are and how many Dark and Gritty things they've done in the past.

It's sort of like Con Air, except, instead of just telling us quickly that Diamond Dog is a black revolutionary and a murderer, you have Walt Goggins yap for six or seven minutes telling us in detail about his various exploits.

There is one additional point of interest:

It's a straight-up remake of John Carpenter's The Thing, and no, I'm not kidding. It's a straight-up remake.

Okay, no a remake, but a very close-trailing tribute.

From the opening scenes of winter desolation, to the Ennio Morricone score (which sounds a bit more like his score for The Untouchables than The Thing, but you can still feel a Thing-ish mood to the score**), to the pressure-cooker situation of eight men (plus one woman) trapped in a claustrophobic space while a blizzard wails outside, to -- and I can't believe it took me this long to realize this -- Kurt Russell in a primary role -- this movie is, I'm not kidding you, The Thing with a change of genre (sci-fi suspense to Western-ish suspense), time (1983 to 1883 or so), and place (swap out Antarctica for Wyoming).

The plot is Find the Hidden Traitor(s) -- someone in this confined space is not who they say they are, and that person -- that thing that lurks among us -- may strike at any moment.

In fact, Kurt Russell himself even delivers the line, almost straight from The Thing, "One person here isn't who they say they are... it might even be two people."

There's a somewhat minor thing -- the ropelines away from the complex to its outbuildings. The literal lines of rope. These are present in The Thing, and directly referenced when one guy says "I cut him loose... I cut him loose on the rope-line." Though you might not realize they're important in the movie. The book version mentions them more.

In The Hateful Eight, you see them putting in the ropelines from the main building to the stable and from the main building to the outhouse.

That's a kind of minor thing, but a Thing fan recognizes another Thing fan.

And there are more direct and obvious swipes from -- or tributes to -- The Thing, but I don't want to get into spoiler territory. Let's just say there is a Biological Gross-Out sequence that occurs at about the same point in the movie, at the climax of maximum violence. The "you've got to be f***ing kidding me" moment.

There is a swipe from The Thing's best human moment, the moment two guys who are not fans of each other unite because they realize, whatever differences they might have, they are now each other the only ones they trust.

And sure, there's a direct analogue of the couch scene, the scene where we're gonna find out who You Things are, and separate you from the ones we can trust.

No blood test, though.

And there's a last shot which is... well.

Trust me, it's The Thing.

So: Hyperviolent (to deliberate gross-out excess), a lot of thoughtless profanity where not needed, a really weird sense that it's Quentin Tarantino's crazy-ass cracker-ass jive idea that somehow this movie is going to unite the races and bring about racial harmony and understanding --yeah, the movie gives off the feel that it thinks it's delivering some kind of healing-ass message for our racially-divided-ass nation 'n shit-- but, on the other hand, a fair amount of suspense that keeps your interest, if not your actual admiration.

And then weirdly -- a straight-up rip-off of The Thing. So that you're sittin' there on your couch-sittin'-ass thinkin' "Man, does this crazy-ass cracker-ass cracker who wishes he was black think he's some kind of John Carpenter 'n shit? Sheeeet, Holmes. That's six different-ass shades of f**ked up!"

It's a strange movie. I kind of don't like the movie, but I was only bored for a few of the show-offy long takes in the beginning, and it doesn't feel like a three hour movie.

* See, one guy is called The Hangman, because he always brings his bounties in to be hanged instead of just shooting them and bringing in their dead bodies (and never gives a good reason for this; he might have just said "Because Quentin Tarantino thought it sounded cool and bad-ass"), but another guy is an actual working Hangman for the town, so, you have one guy called The Hangman, and another actual Hangman. Kind of weird but whatever.


** It's more than a Thing-ish feel to the music -- I just saw online that someone says that Hateful Eight used some of the unused score Morricone wrote for The Thing. Morricone complained that Carpenter had only used one of his pieces of music (in fact, he said, as soon as he wrote that piece, he knew Carpenter would use only, that one, because it's the sort of simple, ominous thing Carpenter would write himself). He was disappointed that the other themes he'd written for the movie were never used in the movie at all, and can only be heard on Special Edition DVDs where you can hear some it in a special menu selection.

Well, apparently, Tarantino's love of The Thing spurred him to resurrect this (virtually) unheard Morricone music.


Bonus similarity to The Thing: The Thing had a credit "Special Make-Up Effects by Rob Bottin." This movie has "Special Make-Up Effects by John Dykstra," and I'll bet you any amount of money he wanted Rob Bottin for his Thing tribute, but for whatever reason, had to settle for Dykstra.

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Mid-Morning Open Thread [CBD]
— Open Blogger


Samson Captured By The Philistines.jpg

Samson Captured By The Philistines
-- Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), Italian, 1591 -- 1666 more...

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Morning Thread (3-30-2016)
— andy

May your day be extra humpy.

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March 29, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (3-29-2016)
— Maetenloch

Quote of the Day I

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

-- Viktor Frankl

Quote of the Day II

In a class I attended earlier this semester, a large portion of the first meeting was devoted to compiling a list of rules for class discussion. A student contended that as a woman, she would be unable to sit across from a student who declared that he was strongly against abortion, and the other students in the seminar vigorously defended this declaration.

Also on campus: identitarian hair policing.

Heavy Social Media Users 'Trapped In Endless Cycle of Depression'

The more time young adults spend on social media, the more likely they are to become depressed, a study has found.

Of the 19 to 32-year-olds who took part in the research, those who checked social media most frequently throughout the week were 2.7 times more likely to develop depression than those who checked least often.

The 1,787 US participants used social media for an average 61 minutes every day, visiting accounts 30 times per week. Of them a quarter were found to have high indicators of depression. "One strong possibility is that people who are already having depressive symptoms start to use social media more, perhaps because they do not feel the energy to drive to engage in as many direct social relationships," said Dr. Brian Primack, director of Pitt's Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health. "People who engage in a lot of social media use may feel they are not living up to the idealized portraits of life that other people tend to present in their profiles.

...This would be concerning, because it would imply that there is a potential vicious circle: people who become depressed may turn to social media for support, but their excessive engagement with it might only serve to exacerbate their depression

Related: Prager University - The Unhappiness Equation, U = I - R

Note that social media is a large component of I these days.

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CNN Townhall Thread
— Ace

If Trump shows up, which he's threatened he might not, we can expect a few questions about the never-ending dramas which even some stalwart supporters liken to having to bail a hyperactive, anti-social 16 year old out of jail every couple of weeks.

We'll probably hear about some "deals," and how we need to make "great" ones, and, one can only hope, some discussion of which candidates or candidates' wives are sub-Trumpian in terms of physical appeal.

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In Yemen, Six Children Are Killed Or Wounded in the Fighting, Every Single Day
— Ace

I have asked, very rhetorically: Why does the world only seem to care about casualties that occur when Israel takes defensive action against Palestine?

Why does no one ever talk about the human toll in other conflicts?

To re-phrase Shakespeare -- "If someone is pricked by a non-Jew, does he not also bleed?

injuredboy.jpg
taken from Le Figaro

Translated from Le Figaro. Not sure if any US or UK outlets will give this story much play.

In a report published Tuesday, UNICEF offers warnings about the catastrophic situation of Yemeni children, the first victims of the conflict between the rebels and loyalists for the the past year.

Violence, deprivation, fear, recruitment [into armies] -- the daily lives of Yemeni children are as terrifying but little documented.

Yes, because there is a Palestine Caucus the world media obeys and dutifully re-transmits their propaganda -- but otherwise, people don't seem to report on the fact that war, generally, has a lot of casualties. Which makes Israel-Palestine conflicts seem worse, because you never hear about this in any other sort of conflict.

Well, that's not totally true -- you're sure to hear all about casualties caused by American troops, too.

But everyone else can butcher to their heart's content and know the world (and American) press will give them free reign to do so.

Nearly a year to the day after the start of the war, which has caused 6,300 deaths of which most are civilians, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) published its report on the catastrophic situation of children in Yemen. "In this conflict, the children pay a heavy price. They are killed or wounded in all of the country and are not safe anywhere. Even playing or sleeping can be dangerous," said Julien Harneis, the representative of UNICEF in Yemen.

The numbers speak for themselves: 934 children killed and 1,356 wounded in the conflict which has for a year pitted the rebel Shiite Houtis, who control the north of the country, and a loyalist coalition led by Saudi Arabia. Since March 2015, six children are killed or wounded each day on average, principally in the north othe country, in the cities of Taiz, Sanaa, Aden, and Hajjah. All told, the children represent around a third of all civilian deaths. Worse still, as dramatic as they are, these statistics "are only the tip of the iceberg, [only] the incidents that UNICEF has been able to verify," notes the report.

In most of the cases, "the children are not targeted directly," says Julien Harneis, but are the collateral victims -- and "pointless" -- in a use of force "disproportionate and indiscriminate," in cities having a high density of population. In all, the report finds, 61% of the children killed since 2015 had been killed by blind [untargeted] bombing lead by Saudi air forces...

Furthermore, 320,000 children suffer from severe malnutrition, while millions of others do not have access to potable water or the most basic necessities.

I ask again, knowing I will continue to be ignored: Why are these childrens' hardships and deaths not worth noting on NBC News and CNN?

Are civilian casualties just not worth mentioning unless the Arab Lobby is pushing the world news organizations to talk them up?

Maybe add this to the Why Do They Hate Us file -- when the world media only reports on the grim toll of warare when it involves Israel and the United States, maybe people around the world get a very biased view of things.

When only two countries are reported on negatively regarding collateral damage and civilian casualties, maybe everyone else in the world gets the impression that the US and Israel are uniquely evil among all countries.

Maybe the fucking BBC could do a single report on casualties of someone other than the Israelis or America some fucking time.

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Court Splits 4-4 on Key Union Case; Absent Scalia, Unions Will Continue Extracting Dues from California Teachers Who Object to Belonging to Union
— Ace

The lower court found for the union, and it takes a majority to set aside that decision, so the decision will stand.

It could be that the court could revisit this later with a majority of conservatives, but that seems to be a more and more unlikely proposition.

The vacancy helped the liberals this time. The deadlocked vote came in a case that considered whether unions representing government employees can collect fees from workers who choose not to join. California teachers backed by a conservative group said being forced to pay union fees violated the free-speech rights of nonmembers who disagree with the union's policy positions.

The split vote left in place an appeals court ruling that upheld the collection of "fair share" fees from nonmembers.

The result was an unlikely reprieve for organized labor. It had seemed virtually certain that the high court would rule 5-4 to overturn a system that's been in place nearly 40 years. But the court now is operating with only eight justices after the Feb. 13 death of Scalia, who had been expected to rule against the unions.

Would Obama's appointee Merrick Garland have voted with the liberals? Most likely, yes.

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Justice Merrick Garland has a history of showing deference to federal labor regulators in reviewing unfair labor practice charges against employers. An analysis conducted by OnLabor found that Garland ruled in favor of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a top federal labor arbiter, in 18 of 22 appeals that appeared before his court. Garland granted the agency leeway in interpreting its regulatory approach and interpretation of its mission.

"Judge Garland wrote the majority opinion in 22 cases involving appeals of NLRB decisions. In all but four, Judge Garland upheld the entirety of the NLRB's decision finding that an employer had committed unfair labor practices," ONLabor said in a blog post. "This deference to the NLRB has had favorable consequences for labor and unions."

A pragmatic moderate centrist -- just like Obama, who's given to claiming lately that there's no difference between capitalism and communism.


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Wisconsin Morons and Ettes: The Desk Needs You!
— CAC

Hello everyone, and happy election season!

We are approaching the fifth anniversary of a night that electrified the Wisconsinites and election junkies here on the blog: the Supreme Court election between incumbent SC Justice David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg. The race had a very revealing turn of events that a moron had unwittingly noticed in the comments:

WaukeshaWeirdness.png

It turns out that the Waukesha County clerk hadn't updated the Brookfield results at all, and the AP carried over the error. The rest made for a week of fun, where "newly discovered votes" broke Republican for a change.

Well, fast forward five years. We are approaching two contentious Presidential primaries in the state, and another Supreme Court election, this time with Walker-appointed Rebecca Bradley facing...JoAnne Kloppenburg.

more...

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Pentagon Orders US Military Families to Evacuate Southern Turkey Due to ISIS Threat
— Ace

JV squad. Contained. Not an existential threat.

The U.S. military has ordered military family members to evacuate southern Turkey, primarily from Incirlik Air Base, due to security concerns, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Family members will also be evacuated from facilities in Izmir and Mugla, according to a Pentagon statement....

Protection Condition Delta for weeks, the highest level of force protection for U.S. military bases. Delta level means that either a terrorist attack has just taken place in the immediate vicinity or "intelligence has been received that terrorist action against a specific location or person is imminent," according to military guidelines.

The upside news is that we seem to have some intelligence about ISIS, though that almost certainly comes from the Turks, rather than our own services. (The Pentagon statement, which I haven't quoted, notes that this decision was made in consultation with, inter alia, the Turkish government.)

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Democratic Race Tighter Than Ever, Nationally: Clinton 49, Sanders 43
— Ace

A schlonging?

After suffering significant losses to Bernie Sanders last weekend in the Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii Democratic caucuses, Hillary Clinton finds herself in a closer race than she perhaps expected after rolling to a series of wins earlier this month.....

This is the smallest gap since the beginning of the tracking poll in late December.

National support for Clinton now stands at 49 percent down from 53 percent last week. Sanders support is at 43 percent up slightly from 41 percent last week.

Hillary leads Sanders by about 700 delegates if you count the "pledged superdelegates," but only by around 300 and change without them.

The pledged delegates could unpledge themselves if they felt they were backing a loser who might be indicted.

Sanders' growing strength means that he might also, maybe, start winning more delegates than Hillary from here on out. That could set up the embarrassing situation where Hillary wins the nomination, but for the few months before the convention, she's actually the delegate-race loser.*

* As someone rooting for Cruz, this "who is winning lately" analysis seems reasonable to me, but your mileage may vary.

Posted by: Ace at 09:58 AM | Comments (430)
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Jupiter, Flordia Police Charge Corey Lewandowski With Assaulting Michelle Fields
— Ace

Trump's guy. Touched a lady, said he didn't. Bad man!

more...

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Mid-Morning Open Thread [CBD]
— Open Blogger

manet-ragpicker.jpg

The Ragpicker -- Eduard Manet

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Morning Thread (3-29-2016)
— andy

Happy Tuesday. Or something.

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March 28, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (3-28-2016)
— Maetenloch

Quote of the Day

Those of long memory may recall that my bestest chicken ever was mille fleur (who, sadly, has joined the choir eternal), so this is a bit of a science experiment: seeing how much of Lucia's personality was mille fleur personality.

There is something to this, you know. Different colors (and certainly different breeds) share personality characteristics. It's uncontroversial in livestock circles; you get into trouble when you apply it to people. Except gingers.

-- Sweasel

Mark Steyn on His Critics

So I'm disinclined to get into a Who's Got The Biggest Swinging Islamophobic Dong? contest with you. In that Easter piece I said that Islam cannot abide the other and is incompatible with a pluralist society, and throughout last week I reiterated my call for an end to mass Muslim immigration. If that's insufficiently butch for you, if that's "hampering attempts to stop the Islamization of the west", then please bugger off and get on with stopping the Islamization of the west your own way. And then you wouldn't need to mischaracterize what I wrote and put your words in my mouth, would you?

By the way, this campaign to "stop the Islamization of the west that I'm "hampering", where is it? Is it a club you've formed? Are you the chairman? Can anyone fill in a membership application? Or are you blackballing?

If I sound a little tetchier than usual, it's because Sebastian Faulks' farewell to The Independent put me in a wistful and somewhat elegiac mode, mourning my carefree younger self. So I hope you'll forgive me if a guy who lives with death threats, and "human rights" complaints for "flagrant Islamophobia" with attendant legal bills, and tedious expenses like having to switch hotels at the last minute for security reasons, and US State Department and British Foreign Office advisories warning their nationals it's unsafe to go anywhere near my events, and even crappy restaurants deciding it's too dangerous to honor dinner reservations resents being told he's not puilling his weight and is "hampering attempts to stop the Islamization of the west".

'It Was Like Locusts': Parents Trample Kids, Steal Eggs During Easter Egg Hunt

An Easter egg hunt in Connecticut turned into a shoving match on Saturday, March 26th and ended with broken baskets and children in tears. In this case, it was the adults who could have used a "time out."

The field adjacent to the PEZ Visitor Center in Orange, Connecticut was the site of a holiday Easter egg hunt that was free and open to the public.

..."When it came time for like 10:30, the parents just bum-rushed that area," Nicole Welch said.

"So we started talking to folks and, 'hey, you know, this is supposed to start at a...directed time that we've posted. Let's wait. We'll give a whistle. We'll give the signal to start this.' And that lasted about a minute. And then folks just rushed the field and took everything," Shawn Peterson, PEZ general manager said.

"When my son left he had a broken basket and was hysterically crying," Welch said.

Peterson and his staff tried to regain control, but things quickly spiraled out of control.

"It was like locusts. Everybody just descended and then left," Peterson said.

cteastereggclusterfck

more...

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Justice Department to Apple: We Cracked Your Phone, Dudes
— Ace

They're withdrawing their application to compel Apple to aid them in cracking the uncrackable iPhone, because they've now cracked it.

The Justice Department is expected to withdraw from its legal action against Apple, as soon as today, as an outside method to bypass the locking function of a San Bernardino terrorist’s phone has proved successful, a federal law enforcement official said Monday.

The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said the method brought to the FBI earlier this month by an unidentified entity allows investigators to crack the security function without erasing contents of the iPhone used by Syed Farook....

It has been claimed that an Israeli firm named Cellebrite demonstrated to the FBI that it was possible to crack the phone's security, but Cellebrite is refusing comment.

I had an idea. Not a good idea, but an idea. I thought maybe the FBI cooked up this Miracle Solution without actually having a solution -- that is, they're just pretending they've cracked the phone -- in order to make terrorists think the iPhone is insecure and thus steer them towards other models. Indeed, to poison the phone's reputation even further, they've leaked it that a bunch of Zionists will be riffling through terrorist emails.

But I don't think that's what happened. I think someone actually just cracked the iPhone's security.

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In Wake of Lahore, Pakistan Easter Bombing Which Targeted Christians and Killed 70, the White House Needs You To Know That Muslims Were The Main Victims Here
— Ace

You motherf**ers.

An initial statement released by the State Department on Sunday noticeably neglected to mention the fact that Christians were specifically targeted in the attack for which the Pakistani Taliban later claimed responsibility.

Though Earnest did acknowledge that Christians celebrating Easter were the intended targets of the bombing, he stressed that "the majority of the victims were actually Muslims."

Here's the latest slaughter of Christians by Muslims that the White House is pretending away, lest you become the murderous terrorists Obama knows you secretly are.

Pakistan's prime minister on Monday vowed to eliminate perpetrators of terror following the Sunday suicide bombing that targeted Christians gathered for Easter in the eastern city of Lahore, killing 70 people and injuring around 300.

In response to the attack, the military reportedly arrested dozens in raids in eastern Punjab, where several deadly militant organizations are headquartered.

And in Lahore, forensic experts sifted through the debris in the park where the suicide attack took place. The bomb had been a crude devise loaded with ball bearings, designed to rip through the bodies of its victims to cause maximum damage, counter-terrorism official Rana Tufail said. He identified the suicide bomber as Mohammed Yusuf, saying he was known as a militant recruiter.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a Taliban faction that, in a sort of cosmic harmonic convergence of psychopathic assholes, supports ISIS. They claimed credit and specifically acknowledged they intended to target Christians on Easter -- though they also claimed they didn't intend to kill women and children, just Christian men.

But that is, of course, a lie.

. They could have targeted the men with a more precise method of attack, or at other places and times. They deliberately chose an Easter celebration because it would involve families at a time when their guard would be down.

We'll wait to see if Josh Earnest and Barack Obama vouch for the Taliban's good intentions.

This is somewhat reassuring: Pakistan's army chief is vowing to hunt down the "non-humans" who did this.

Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif promised Pakistan "will never allow these savage nonhumans to overrun our life and liberty."

Doesn't he know that that kind of dehumanizing rhetoric is Just What ISIS and/or The Taliban Wants?


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Capital Police News Briefing: Capitol Shooter "Was Known" to Police; "Nothing To Indicate That This Was More Than a Criminal Act"
— Ace

One reporter asked if the man in custody was the same man "from Tennessee" who had caused some sort of disturbance "last fall."

The cop giving the briefing decline to answer.

Various news outlets now claim the shooter is Larry Dawson of Tennessee. In October of 2015, he caused a disturbance in the House of Representatives by shouting "I'm a prophet of God!" from the galleries.

Silly man. That's Barack Obama's job.

Update: Early reports that a cop was injured (but not seriously) were apparently wrong. It was a bystander who was injured, and the perp himself.


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Sanders Sweeps Washington State, Alaska, and Hawaii Caucuses, With 75+% of Vote
— Ace

Huge, luxurious margins.

Still, Clinton still maintains a wide advantage in delegates, winning 1,243 to Sanders' 975 based on primary and caucuses to date.

Her lead is even bigger when including super-delegates, or party officials who can back any candidate they wish. Clinton has 1,712 to Sanders' 1,004, with 2,383 needed to win.

And Sanders has two structural problems:

1. He does well in caucus states, and there's only two caucus states yet to vote.

2. He still does very poorly with blacks, who are Hillary's most (only?) enthusiastic supporters.

I'll let you ponder why it is that a candidate who does very well with whites and not well with blacks -- as Hillary herself did in the second half of the race of 2008 -- isn't necessarily racist, while many candidates with similar supporter profiles are, per the media's telling, very, very racist indeed.


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