Last week, my mother strongly recommended that I watch Simon Schama's five-part series, The Story of the Jews, which aired on PBS. I cannot give a comprehensive review as other activities permitted me to watch only three of the five episodes including the final installment, which was devoted to the State of Israel. I shall confine my comments on Schama's documentary to the Israel episode.
The Spectacle Blog
I think Bill Zeiser speaks to two sides of a major problem facing today’s Republican Party.
When it comes to the Hispanic vote, the GOP suffers from cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, they pay lip-service to a burgeoning constituency that produces 50,000 potential new voters every month. On the other, they appear perfectly content to cede their support. This, despite the fact that 2.3 million Hispanic-owned businesses anchor a Latin mainstream that identifies the economy as the country’s chief concern.
After the 2012 cycle, the conservative pollsters at Resurgent Republic took a closer look at four critical swing states—Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico—with a post-election survey of Hispanic voters. Their conclusion? “Republicans have run out of persuadable white voters.” Bill cites Ramesh Ponnuru’s criticism in his piece—his analysis is fair, but, perhaps, too pessimistic. It also speaks to hard truths.
In the post-Bridgegate world, many have pronounced Governor Chris Christie dead in the 2016 GOP presidential primary.
However, new polling suggests what most wise people already know: The field is still wide open.
In a national survey, WPA Opinion Research found that Republicans and Republican-leaning independents currently favor Senator Rand Paul and former governor Mike Huckabee, with both winning 13 percent of the vote. However, Governor Christie, former governor Jeb Bush, and Senator Ted Cruz are within the margin of error (3.5 percent) at 9 percent, 11 percent, and 9 percent respectively.
More good news for Christie can be found in the polling:
When participants were also asked about which candidates would have the best chance of beating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election for President, Sen. Paul and Gov. Christie each received 13% with Gov. Bush (12%), Sen. Rubio (9%), Huckabee (8%) and Sen. Cruz (8%) closely following.
United States Senator and prospective presidential also-ran Rand Paul warned Republicans today that until they get "beyond deportation," they will be ineffective at courting Hispanic voters. Politico reports:
“The bottom line is, the Hispanic community, the Latino community is not going to hear us until we get beyond that issue,” he said at a conservative event. His comments came immediately following a discussion on work visas, in the context of a broader address about reaching out to that community.
“They’re not going to care whether we go to the same church or have the same values or believe in the same kind of future of our country until we get beyond that. Showing up helps, but you got to show up and you got to say something, and it has to be different from what we’ve been saying.”
The fourth season of the wildly popular series, The Walking Dead, wrapped up this past Sunday, and 15.7 million viewers tuned in. Most of this season was spent rebuilding each character after the end of their peaceful stay in a refurbished prison. The fourth season separated each of the main characters into groups and began to build out backstories and develop narratives in a very pleasing way. The finale ended that granular storytelling and brought the larger group back together. It also created a new antagonist to contend with.
The finale, "A", was comprised of the current storyline juxtaposed with a flashback story of Rick in the peaceful prison. This showed that Rick is done trying to live a life of peace in this brutal new world. However, the show, as it sometimes does, dangled over the edge of being too obvious and cliché with its signaling of character changes. There was also the constant reminder that "We’re all the walking dead!" which is ubiquitous and overdone.
Breitbart columnist John Sexton is reporting that the LA Times claims 9.5 million previously uninsured Americans now have health insurance. But almost half – 4.5 million – are on Medicaid. Countless others signed up through the health care exchanges and are receiving subsidies to make their insurance affordable. Another 3 million simply piggy-backed on their parents’ plans.
Then of the 6 million the government claims have enrolled on Healthcare.gov, even the Times admits that only 2 million were previously uninsured. (And who knows how many will actually pay their premiums?)
Sexton’s main point was that expanding Medicaid and allowing adult children to remain on their parents’ insurance would have been enough to solve 80 percent of the problems that Obamacare’s bureaucratic labyrinth “fixed," while saving billions of dollars, hours of time, and the mental health of the country.
Now this is a first. Prior to last night's Opening Day game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners, Angels hitting coach Don Baylor fractured his leg after catching the ceremonial first pitch from former Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero. He will undergo surgery today. The Angels lost the game 10-3 despite a first inning home run from Mike Trout.
Baylor returned to the Angels in the off-season after having spent the past three seasons as part of the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff. After beginning his playing career with the Baltimore Orioles, Baylor played with the Angels from 1977 to 1982 winning the AL MVP in 1979. Baylor would later play with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins and Oakland A's and has also managed the Colorado Rockies and the Chicago Cubs.
I have a feeling this might be a bad omen for the Angels. However the Angels do this season I hope Baylor has a speedy recovery and returns to his duties soon.
The Associated Press is reporting, quoting unnamed sources, that Attorney General Eric Holder is preparing a criminal indictment of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius based on a still-secret joint finding by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Justice Department that Sebelius received payments from a secretive conservative organization – thought to be tied to two wealthy drug dealers (known to their customers as the "Coke Brothers") and an associate of theirs in the arms trafficking business – in order to intentionally damage the functionality, credibility, and roll-out of the web site for the federal Obamacare exchange.
According to the sources, Sebelius received cash, a remodeled kitchen, and a red Tibetan Mastiff puppy (sired by a champion) valued at over $100,000, with the total compensation approaching $425,000.
We made it. Today is the “official” deadline to sign up for Obamacare (ignoring the unofficial deadline that’s still two weeks away).
That is, if the White House can get the website up and running.
When Americans logged onto Healthcare.gov this morning, they were unable to create a new profile. Although anyone already in the system had no trouble completing their application, new enrollees were locked out of the website.
Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said the tech team monitoring HealthCare.gov identified an issue with users creating new accounts, a problem agents were reporting earlier in the day and USA TODAY found when reporters tried to create accounts.
At noon Peters said the application and enrollment tools were unavailable to new users. "The tech team is working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible," she said.
At shortly after 1 p.m. it appeared the situation had improved somewhat and some newcomers were able to enroll.
I rarely credit Slate with genius, but their coverage of what was and wasn’t biblical in the new Noah deserves respect.
I’d read multiple blogs about the “extra-biblical” nature of Noah from other devout Christians. Some cursed the movie and some praised it. Being the curious person I am, I had to watch it for myself.
Let’s just say it wasn’t worth the $13 movie ticket price.
Although the movie had some compelling and riveting scenes, the overall premise and many details of the film were simply un-biblical. I have seen plenty of “un-biblical” movies—but if you are going to base a movie off of sacred texts, you should approach it with special caution. This environmentalist apocalypse theme couldn’t be further from the point that the biblical story of Noah is supposed to make.