In politics, you have only so many friends. Part of the great balancing act of being in elected leadership, aside from doing important work while sporting the approximate IQ of an electric toaster oven, is to keep those who are reliabily in your camp happy, while maintaining enough openness to attract those who could, one day, become part of your election campaign. Sometimes, this balancing act is difficult, as with foreign policy - a war-weary America is loathe to involve itself in more Middle Eastern conflicts, while Middle Eastern conflicts still provide the globe with the lion's share of its instability, for example - and sometimes this balancing act is easy - don't, for example, anger an important key demographic, with a youthful component, on the eve of its most important event of the year.
The Spectacle Blog
On September 10, 2014, in a nationally televised address by President Obama on ISIS/ISIL (the one in which he said ISIL isn't Islamic), he stated:
This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.
Scarcely 100 days have passed and now Yemen's government has fallen with the president and cabinet resigning.
So much for President Obama's counterterrorism strategy.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, "We are seeking a peaceful transition."
A peaceful transition to what?
On one side, there are the Iranian backed Shi'ite rebel Houthis and on the other you have al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Pick your poison.
Jeb Bush is making his way to Utah to meet with Mitt Romney.
Somehow I don't think they'll be talking about jazz or bee keeping.
Speculation abounds that Bush will try to gently persuade Romney not to run in 2016.
Unless Bush makes Romney an offer he can't refuse, I don't see Mitt bowing out. And what can Jeb offer Mitt that he doesn't already have?
So don't be surprised if Romney tries to persuade Bush not to run. If that's the case don't expect Bush to budge either.
The argument is that if Bush and Romney run then someone like Ted Cruz can cruise his way to the nomination.
But if Bush and Romney cancel each other then surely Cruz and Rand Paul cancel each other out as well. Ditto for Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. While you're at it you can ditto Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal.
Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has done an about face. Well, sort of.
When prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead hours before he was due to testify in front of Argentina's Congress to detail allegation that Fernandez de Kirchner had entered an agreement with Iran not to prosecute those responsible for the 1994 attack on Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center which killed 85 people in exchange for Iranian oil, Fernandez-Kirchner claimed that Nisman had committed suicide.
Argentinians reacted by taking to the streets with the Charlie Hebdo inspired slogan, "Yo Soy Nisman".
Now Fernandez-Kirchner says Nisman didn't kill himself after all. On her website, she wrote, "They used him while he was alive and then they needed him dead.”
Of course, Fernandez-Kirchner did not specify who "they" were. Yet let us consider Fernandez-Kirchner's rhetoric in recent years against Argentina's Jewish community which is the largest in Latin America.
I was most of the way through my bottle of wine by 9pm CST on Tuesday, but I'm fairly sure that a major part of Obama's State of the Union proposals, made with regard to technology, centered around protecing Americans from cunning and dastardly commercial data companies who harvest your Internet preferences without your consent and sell them in bulk to major retailers who then use them to determine which products they can successfully market to you through social media. It's how one click over to Neiman Marcus's website to check on how much Michelle Obama's Michael Kors suit cost has managed to fill my Facebook news feed with ads begging me to drop $3K on something that looks like a Chanel knock-off Hazmat suit.
Anyway, the White House, which has often used micro-targeting data in its own campaigns wants to require companies to inform consumers that their data is being collected, and subsequently, allow those same consumers to opt out.
At least the current NFL balls-up gives sportswriters and TV bloviators something to write and talk about in that hard-to-fill two weeks before the actual ball game. Some of the most tedious sports coverage on the planet takes place in this over-long run-up.
For me the central question is if the footballs were deflated enough to make a difference, how come the officials who handled them all day didn’t notice this and throw them out of the game? And my main fear is that Roger Goodell, hoping to prove that his own balls aren’t soft, will over-discipline in this case.
I don’t have a dog in the Super-Bowl hunt. But I think it would be wildly excessive to bar Pats coach Bill Belichick from the sidelines on Super-Day, as the easily excitable Tampa Tribune sports columnist Martin Fennelly called for this morning. Steady on, Marty. Take a few deep breaths.
When the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were murdered two weeks ago, the civilized world took to social media with #JeSuisCharlie.
Yesterday, a dozen people were stabbed aboard a bus in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian from the West Bank, Palestinians took to social media with #JeSuisCouteau which in English means, "I am a knife."
This on top of a Hamas official who called the attack "a bold, heroic act."
Can we expect anything less from the Palestinians who from the time they wake up until they go to bed are fed a non-stop diet of hatred towards Jews and Israel?
How can Israel be expected to make peace with such an uncivilized people?
What astonishes me about this deflated football affair with the New England Patriots is the fact that each team is allowed to supply a dozen of its own game balls.
Yes, the referees have custody of the balls until 10 minutes before kick off. But if this is an issue then why not have the refs supply and keep custody of the balls during the entire game just as umpires do in baseball?
Yet this raises another question. If teams can supply their own balls and deflating them makes it easier to pass around then why haven't more teams done this before?
I mean pitchers aren't supposed to scuff baseballs, but it doesn't stop them from doing it or at least make hitters think they are doing it.
Honestly, I think this is much ado about nothing. The Pats were better than the Colts, deflated balls or no deflated balls. If the Seahawks are as good as everybody thinks they are then this shouldn't bother them at all. But if visions of deflated balls get in the heads of the Seahawks then the Pats will prevail.
On those rare occasions when a friend takes pity on me and invites me to the Cosmos Club for dinner, I often see General Petraeus seated at a corner table, alone with his wife. Neither talk to each other. It is painful to see. I remember him at an AEI banquet in 2007, where he was the guest of honor, the man who led the American army to victory in the surge in Iraq. He was, it was thought, an eminently suitable candidate for the presidency—for either party.
What happened next, we all know. A shoddy affair. A resignation as CIA director. Now the threat of an indictment for leaking state secrets to his mistress. Even Senator Feinstein thinks the threat of prosecution excessive.
I can think of only one reason why the Justice Department should be thinking of a criminal prosecution.
He must have written a book.
Last night, the White House laid off the general #WaronWomen rhetoric, since they no longer need single women under the age of 35 to vote for them in droves in order to "save their birth control," as though anyone was physically stopping them from filling a prescription at Wal-Mart. The President did, however, touch on the subject of "pay equity," playing on the tried-and-true assumption that women in the workforce make less than men do, which persists despite all evidence to the contrary.
In a "won't you think about the ladies?" moment, the President urged Congress to pass a bill that would demand pay equity, even though there are already laws against discrimination on the books, and overall merit pay discrepancies between the genders is due largely to union and government influence. Unfortunately, even if you were screaming this impotently at the television screen, you could hardly make a dent in the administration's self-satisfaction. Which is why watching Carly Fiorina lay waste to White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett on this exact subject, using these exact talking points, live on MSNBC's Morning Joe is totally worth it.