Reaction to the 2016 Presidential Election

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Back in August I wrote the following blog on the Trump Effect: https://jpierro21blog.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/the-trump-effect/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true. I mention this because it is the main reason for the result of the presidential election. Donald Trump didn’t necessarily win the election based on specific policies or stances on certain issues, he won the presidency because he is not a politician and that is the message that came across loud and clear last night.

Politicians are lying, greedy, corrupt, hypocritical scumbags that use their power and the government to exploit the people for their own personal gain. That is simply a straight up fact. How can you possibly blame anyone for being disgusted with the current system? Donald Trump has hammered home this point over and over again. He’s called out politicians for being liars. He’s called them out for being corrupt criminals. He’s called them out for achieving nothing in Washington while being bought out by Wall Street and big corporations. Trump is a billionaire who will be in his 70s for most of his presidency. He could live out his life in retirement however he wanted, yet he chose to take on the most difficult job in the world because he, like many Americans, are sick of the government and needed a change.

Has Donald Trump always spoken like and acted like a great leader? Not necessarily, but that doesn’t matter. In fact, you could easily make the case that anti-Trump people are far more deplorable than Trump supporters. This entire election cycle has featured hatred and judgment from Democrats and supporters of Hillary Clinton. Being told that you are automatically a racist and sexist because you support Trump is extremely unfair and fueled the fire. Those supporting Trump gave a giant “Fuck you” to politicians, “Fuck you” to the media, “Fuck you” to all the hatred and judgment coming at them, and “Fuck you” to the PC liberal culture that is without a doubt ruining our country.

Whether you are happy with the election result or not, what happened last night is without a doubt a great thing for our country. If you were on the winning end, you know that a great opportunity for change awaits and all you can ask for is opportunity. If you were on the losing end, this should be a giant wakeup call and message from the people that American politics will not be tolerated in its current state. People would rather elect someone accused of sexual assault and discrimination than hear the same old bullshit lies and be taken advantage of by a corrupt government. If you are crying or protesting today, it is only reassuring those who voted for Trump that they made the right decision, because they don’t want to live in a world of crying sore loser babies who get offended by everything and protest anything that doesn’t benefit them personally.

In my personal opinion, not much will really change over the next four years. I am fortunate to be one of the few people that understands and realizes it, and I look forward to writing the blog about how I have been 100% correct on everything relating to politics this entire time.

Jeff

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2016 World Series Preview and Prediction

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AL Champion Cleveland Indians vs. NL Champion Chicago Cubs (-175)

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It has been well documented that Chicago is making it’s first World Series appearance since 1945 and is currently riding the longest championship drought in any of the 4 major pro sports at 107 years. However, the Indians come in right behind them with the second longest championship drought at 67 years. One of these long suffering fan bases will get to rejoice for the first time in a lifetime and that should make this a very entertaining World Series. It’s only fitting that the men behind the players – Terry Francona on the Indians and Theo Epstein on the Cubs – were both part of the Red Sox team that broke what was an 86 year drought back in 2004.

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Wild Card Game - Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates

The Indians lineup thrives of getting on base and running. Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor provide the speed and runs at the top of the lineup, while Mike Napoli’s 34 HR 101 RBI bat provides power in the cleanup spot for an overall well-rounded lineup. Meanwhile for the Cubs, they boast a lineup without many weaknesses from 1-8, and if Jake Arrieta is on the mound then you can make that 1-9. Likely NL MVP Kris Bryant along with Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez lead a dynamic Cubs offense that ranked third in the majors this season. Despite the temporary power outage in back to back shutouts during games 2 and 3 of the NLCS against the Dodgers, there is too much talent for the Cubs lineup not to deliver during this World Series.

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MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs

Each team boasts a former Cy Young winner in their starting rotation for this World Series. For the Indians, it’s Corey Kluber, who has been dominant this postseason. However, the story of the Indians pitching this postseason has been the unexpected performances from Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin, and even rookie Ryan Merritt. With injuries to probable #2 and #3 starters Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, the rest of the rotation has stepped up big time. Their best pitcher right now is in the bullpen though, ALCS MVP Andrew Miller. With the ability to pitch multiple shut down innings, expect to see Miller in key situations late in games this series. For the Cubs, their former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta is #3 in the rotation, behind Cy Young candidates for this year Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks. Lester has postseason experience and Hendricks has been lights out so far this postseason. Add in flamethrower Aroldis Chapman to close things out and the Cubs have a complete pitching staff.

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The managers in this World Series are two of the best in the game – 2 time champion Terry Francona and Joe Maddon who took the lowly Rays to the World Series back in 2008. Even though the Cubs are significant favorite, I think this will be a close and hard fought series. The Indians have had time to rest and will begin the World Series at home, but the Cubs are battle tested and desperate to break professional sports’ last great curse. I predict that the Cubs will win the World Series in 7 games and Kyle Hendricks will be named MVP with a 2-0 record and 1.80 ERA.

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2016 ALCS and NLCS Preview and Predictions

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ALCS: Wild Card Toronto Blue Jays @ #2 Cleveland Indians

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Both teams enter this showdown coming off series sweeps of the ALDS. Toronto’s power lineup featuring Donaldson, Bautista, and Encarnacion has carried them along with great starts from starters Marcus Stroman and Marco Estrada. The Blue Jays also have playoff experience on their side, having reached the ALCS last year before losing to eventual World Series champion Kansas City. Cleveland, despite missing two starters in Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, still has excellent pitching which includes former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber along with Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. This trio was able to silence the Red Sox #1 offense holding them to under 10 runs total in the ALDS. Cleveland also has an advantage at manager, with two time World Series champion Terry Francona who has plenty of playoff experience. Despite sweeping the Red Sox, I still think Cleveland is being underrated in this series partly due to the flashy and more exciting Blue Jays. However, I like Cleveland to win this series in 5 games and advance to the World Series.

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NLCS: #3 Los Angeles Dodgers @ #1 Chicago Cubs

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Much like the Toronto Blue Jays, the Chicago Cubs are also one step away from the World Series for the second consecutive year. Clearly the 103 win powerhouse Cubs are the odds on favorite to win the World Series, so the only question is if they can handle the pressure and actually deliver. For a young team, having had previous postseason experience last year will make a big difference this time around. Kris Bryant has emerged as an MVP candidate this season, the starting pitching is lights out with Lester/Hendricks/Arrieta, and the acquisition of closer Aroldis Chapman at the deadline has the Cubs a complete team. For the Dodgers, their chances in this series will come down to how Clayton Kershaw is able to perform. Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game, but has had consistent postseason struggles. He will need to deliver 2 lights out performances against the high powered Cubs offense to give them a chance. I think the Chicago Cubs ultimately win this series in 6 games.

 

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2016 MLB Division Series Preview and End of Season Awards

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ALDS

Wild Card Toronto Blue Jays @ #1 Texas Rangers

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In what has become somewhat of a heated rivalry lately, the Toronto Blue Jays will head to Arlington, Texas to take on the Rangers in a rematch of last year’s ALDS, which Toronto won in 5 games. It should be another great series this time around, as both teams have star power in their lineup, a solid rotation, and most importantly recent postseason experience. For Toronto, the duo of Bautista and Encarnacion was clutch in the playoffs last year and has already come through again this year in the wild card game. The Rangers improved their lineup by signing Ian Desmond who hit .285 with 22 HR and 86 RBI while stealing 22 bags this year, and trading for Carlos Beltran at the deadline. This series will come down to which pitching staff shows up for their respective club. With former World Series champion Cole Hamels starting Game 1, I think the Rangers will win another hard fought 5 game series with Hamels closing it out in Game 5.

#3 Boston Red Sox @ #2 Cleveland Indians

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The AL East champion Boston Red Sox will start the playoffs in Cleveland and take on former Red Sox manager Terry Francona and the AL Central champion Indians. After consecutive last place finishes, general manager Dave Dombrowski has Boston back in the playoffs for the first time since winning the World Series in 2013. The story of the season has been the offense, which led the majors in runs scored (878), batting average (.283), on-base percentage (.349), slugging (.462), OPS (.811), and was second to the Cubs in run differential (+184). The question will be the pitching, which has been up and down during the season. Price had one of his worst seasons, and has been historically bad in the playoffs. Porcello is a Cy Young candidate this year, but Rodriguez has no playoff experience and Buchholz had been anything but reliable. On the other hand, Cleveland had one of the best rotations to start the year but are without Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco for the playoffs. For this reason, I think the Red Sox will sweep the division series.

NLDS

Wild Card San Francisco Giants @ #1 Chicago Cubs

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The 103 win powerhouse NL Central champ and #1 overall seed Chicago Cubs begin their quest to finally win a World Series against the most successful team of the past 6 years – the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs are one of the most complete baseball teams that have ever been assembled. Their pitching is led by Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, and Kyle Hendricks while Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo lead a potent offense. That has led to an absurd +252 run differential for the Cubs season. The big question is how they will handle the pressure of expectations this year, especially against a team who may be among the best under postseason pressure. Madison Bumgarner reminded everyone he’s the best postseason pitcher in baseball by tossing a complete game shutout on the road against the Mets on Wednesday. The additions of Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardijza have helped the rotation as well. However, the Giants bullpen has been historically awful this year and I don’t think they have enough firepower on offense to handle the Cubs pitching rotation. The Cubs will win the series in 4 and advance to the NLCS.

#3 Los Angeles Dodgers @ #2 Washington Nationals

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Washington is back in the playoffs after a one year absence and will take on the 4-time defending NL West champion Dodgers. Bryce Harper has been mediocre following an MVP season in 2015, but the acquisition of Daniel Murphy and the emergence of rookie Trea Turner have powered the Nats to the NL East title this year. 20 game winner Max Scherzer has been dominant at the front of the rotation, but the loss of Stephen Strasburg for this series means that pitchers like Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez will have to step up. The success of the Dodgers in the postseason always seems to hinge on the success of perennial Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw, who has historically struggled in the postseason. In a battle of aces and potent lineups, I think this matchup will go the distance with the Nationals winning in Game 5.

 

END OF SEASON AWARDS

AL Manager of the Year: Terry Francona (CLE)

AL Rookie of the Year: Michael Fulmer (DET)

AL MVP: Mookie Betts (BOS)

AL Cy Young: Rick Porcello (BOS)

NL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon (CHC)

NL Rookie of the Year: Corey Seager (LAD)

NL MVP: Kris Bryant (CHC)

NL Cy Young: Jon Lester (CHC)

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Tragedy Rocks Major League Baseball with the Devastating Death of Miami Marlins Superstar Jose Fernandez

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It’s been about 12 hours since I first learned of the shocking death of Miami Marlins superstar pitcher Jose Fernandez this morning, and it’s still hard to even fathom what happened. Fernandez, and two of his friends, passed away this morning after a horrific boating crash off the coast of Florida. The news sent shock waves throughout the baseball community and prompted Miami to immediately cancel today’s game against the Braves.

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Fernandez made his major league debut for the Marlins in 2013, and went on to be an All-Star and win NL Rookie of the Year that season with a 12-6 record and 2.19 ERA. Over his four year career, he went 38-17 with a 2.58 ERA while being one of the most exciting pitchers to watch in the game and helping revitalize a Marlins franchise that had become irrelevant for over a decade. There is no doubt that Fernandez was going to be one the best pitchers in the game for the next 10-15 years and headed toward multiple Cy Youngs and a Hall of Fame career.

 

It’s devastating enough that a 24 year old superstar with so much promise and potential suddenly lost his life, but the story behind Fernandez and how he arrived in the U.S. from Cuba makes his passing that much more tragic. Jose defected from Cuba at the age of 15 along with his mother and several others. He left his grandmother behind, who he was extremely close with and who was his biggest fan from a baseball perspective. While en route from Cuba to the U.S., he saved his mother’s life who had fallen overboard without even knowing who had fallen overboard when he dove in. He was rewarded several years later when the Marlins arranged for his grandmother to come to the U.S. on a two year visa and she was able to see him pitch on opening day in 2014.

 

In case this story wasn’t sad enough, Fernandez announced just last week on Instagram that his girlfriend was pregnant with their first child.

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Finally, the outpouring of love and support from other Major League Baseball players shows just how much Jose Fernandez was well-liked and well-respected by his peers. Sometimes life isn’t fair, and the tragic events that took place this morning will hurt for a long time. This young man should have had an outstanding career and an even better life with his family in the United States of America. The world lost an amazing athlete today, but even more importantly it lost a great human being.

http://6abc.com/sports/mlb-players-react-to-death-of-jose-fernandez/1525918/

 

 

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The Night Of: Thoughts and Reaction

 

The Night Of is an HBO crime drama starring Riz Ahmed as Nassir Khan and John Torturro as John Stone. Nassir, or Naz, is a Pakistani American living in New York City. One night he goes out, planning on going to a party, but ends up meeting a young woman on his way there. They end up going back to her place for a night of drug-infused romance. The next morning, Naz wakes up to find the woman brutally murdered and is arrested by the police not long after. In the remainder of this blog, I’ll give my thoughts on this series and what I found the most interesting. There will be spoilers, so don’t read further if you haven’t seen this show yet and plan on watching.

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My first reaction to The Night Of was a fear that the type of situation Naz found himself in was not all that unrealistic. Everything about what happened that night makes it seem very obvious to those on the outside that Naz was the killer. It’s a rather extreme circumstance of “this is not what it looks like”. You can’t really blame anyone in the show for automatically assuming it was him. He was at the house, he had the murder weapon, a witness saw him leave the house, and he tried to run from the police after he was arrested. As if he wasn’t unlucky enough, he ends up getting pulled over after leaving the house which ultimately does him in. Any one of us could end up in a situation where, despite doing nothing wrong, all of the circumstances point toward guilt and there’s nothing you can really say to defend yourself, which is a scary notion. Even Naz’s own mother turns against him at one point during the trial.

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Something I found interesting throughout this series was the prison culture. When Naz first enters prison, he’s scared, lonely kid who doesn’t look like he’ll last more than a few days. However, after becoming allies with Freddy, the ring-leader of the prison, he realizes what he has to do to survive. We watch him transform from a defenseless kid to a ruthless prisoner smuggling in drugs and viciously beating other inmates. In an ideal world, we would expect the prison system to reform criminals. It should help them see the error of there’s ways so that they can be a better person when they are released. In The Night Of, we see the exact opposite happen to Naz: he was a very kind, gentle, and hard-working young man before being arrested, but eventually leaves a prison a cold, angry, hardened young man with an addiction to heroin. The Night Of did an excellent job of showing that, while there was a happy ending with Naz finally getting out of prison, prison life does take a toll on people with permanent consequences.

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I thought this was a really great show overall. The premiere was one of the best episodes of television of the year, and the acting was phenomenal throughout the whole series. While there were a few extraneous story-lines such as the cat and John Torturro’s ongoing feet problems, the show’s writer Richard Price did a phenomenal job of showing how the criminal justice system operates – from the detectives, to the police, to the prison, and to the lawyers and jury during the trial. I also thought the finale was more than satisfactory. We get to see Naz freed from prison and the show strongly hints at the real killer and what actually happened that night. I would highly recommend The Night Of to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.

Thanks to everyone for reading. Let me know your thoughts and opinions on the show in the comments down below.

Thanks,

Jeff

 

 

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2016 Rio Summer Olympics Recap

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As the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro come to close tonight, it’s time to look back at what, in my opinion, were the most significant parts of this summer’s Olympic Games.

 

Controversy leading up to Olympics

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Mosquito sucking blood on a human hand

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There was no shortage of concern for Olympic athletes in the months leading up to Rio. Several notable athletes dropped out of the Olympics over concern about the Zika epidemic raging across Brazil and Southern America. Team USA basketball even decided to live on their own personal mega yacht during the Games rather than stay in the Olympic village, in what was one of the biggest power moves of all time. The other major concern during these Olympics was the safety of the players, which is illustrated perfectly by the picture above of protesters greeting athletes at the airport. Despite these major concerns, there were fortunately no major incidents that harmed any of the participants.

 

USA Swimming Dominance

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Between the men’s and women’s teams, the United States racked up 33 medals, including 16 gold, in swimming alone. Australia was the next closest with 10 swimming medals (3 gold). Of course, the two biggest stories were Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky. Phelps, 31 years old and playing in his 5th Olympics, added six more medals this summer, including five gold, to bring his record-breaking totals up to 28 career medals and 23 golds. My favorite Phelps race was the 200m Butterfly Final, in which he avenged a previous Olympic loss by winning gold and destroying rival Chad Le Clos who failed to even medal at the event. Ledecky was arguably more dominant this Olympics, racking up 4 golds and 1 silver by destroying not only the competition, but the record books. This was never more obvious during her performance in the 800m freestyle, in which she won by an absurd 12 seconds over the silver medalist while smashing the world record.

 

USA Women’s Gymnastics

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Out of all the Olympic events, gymnastics will always be the one I’m most impressed with. The USA women’s gymnastics team set out to dominate again, this time led by a record breaking performance from 19 year old Simone Biles. I’m pretty sure my bones almost broke just by watching her floor exercise routine. That amount of athleticism and coordination is mind-boggling. She took home five medals this Olympics and became the first gymnast in US history to win 4 gold medals at a single Olympics. Fellow American, and Massachusetts native, Aly Raisman added 3 more medals to her total in her second Olympic stint following London in 2012.

 

Usain Bolt’s Triple Three-peat

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Usain Bolt can run 100 meters before I even finish typing this sentence. The Jamaican once again established his dominance by winning the 100m, 200m, and 4 x 100 relay for an unprecedented 3rd straight Olympics. He finished with a world-record breaking 9.58 seconds in the 100m this time. Just to put that in perspective, 100 meters in 9.58 seconds translates to TWENTY-TWO AND A HALF miles per hour. Usain Bolt can literally run faster than I can bike. He will go down as the fastest man on earth.

 

Team USA dominates basketball

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My favorite thing to watch in the Olympics every year is the USA Men’s basketball team. Team USA had its struggles with some games early on in group play, but when it mattered most they came through led by Kevin Durant’s 30 points in a 30 point blow out win over Serbia for the USA’s third straight Olympic gold medal and record-breaking 76th consecutive win in international play. It will be the end of an era for Coach K, the only coach to win 3 gold medals, and Carmelo Anthony, the only player to win 3 straight gold medals. On the women’s side, Team USA was able to capture it’s 6th straight gold medal by dominating Spain in the gold medal game.

 

FINAL MEDAL COUNT

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Let me know your favorite moments from the 2016 Rio Olympics in the comments down below.

Thanks for reading,

Jeff

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