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Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Five Things

With 100% of the precincts counted, the total number of people whose minds were changed about Hillary Clinton today comes out to exactly zero. House Republicans, of course, are furious she won't be indicted, and are calling for an independent prosecutor to look into her e-mails. I would suggest calling Kenneth Starr, who has plenty of free time after being fired recently by Baylor University. He has lots of experience conducting useless investigations of the Clintons. Oh, wait, he's been saying nice things about them lately, so maybe he's not your guy.

If you're a regular reader of this site, you know I'm strongly pro-vaccine, which is why I was happy to read this article about how the Gardasil vaccine gets credit for an almost 90% drop in cervical cancer-causing infections from HPV, the most sexually transmitted disease worldwide. Unfortunately, there are still too many places around the globe where teenage girls are not getting the vaccine, leading to some 600,000 preventable cancer cases a year. But put the Gardasil results down as Science For The Win.

Last week, when news broke of a fatal accident involving the autopilot setting on a Tesla Model S, I had a feeling it was not the fault of the car, but of the human behind the wheel. His name was Joshua Brown, a former Navy Seal who made YouTube videos of himself driving his Tesla with his hands off the wheel to demonstrate the technology. All the "breaking news" stories made it sound like the car had failed somehow and killed him, but now we have a report that Brown was apparently watching a Harry Potter movie on a portable DVD player when he died. Bottom line: autopilot (whether from Tesla, Google, or any other company) is nowhere near the point where you can ignore what's happening around your vehicle and just go for a ride. If you want to sit in a car without having to worry about touching any controls or paying attention to your surroundings, call a cab or an Uber driver.

PBS got some flak for running fireworks displays from previous years during its "A Capitol Fourth" telecast Monday night. Who the hell cares? As long as they didn't show backyard footage of my late Uncle Arnold struggling to keep a Roman candle from burning down his house, fireworks are fireworks.

Before a recent taping of his show, Stephen Colbert was taking audience questions when someone asked how he met his wife. He lit up and launched into a delightful six-minute story, complete with references to his hometown, an arts festival, and "The Odyssey." There's no other current late night host who could do this with so much charm and intelligence. It made me wish this was the Colbert we saw on CBS rather than the trying-too-hard-to-please-everyone version that's caused many of us to quit his show...