It's been five years since Congress last raised the federal minimum wage, and the laugh-a-minute gang over at Organizing for Action wants you to do something about it. You might better remember the group as Organizing for America. An offshoot of President Obama's campaign apparatus, the grassroots organization is tasked with promoting his legislative agenda. Not sure why they dropped "America" from their name. Perhaps too many members found it offensive. I kid, I kid. Sort of. Anyhow, by their calculation, people who earn minimum wage are left with about $77 per week for food and transportation after other expenses. In the grand tradition of meaningless political theater, they are challenging sympathetic Americans to live for one week on that budget and chronicle the results on the Twitter hashtag #LiveTheWage. The results could not possibly be more entertaining.
The Spectacle Blog
There is a great deal of discussion today about the "botched execution" of convicted murderer Joseph Wood in Arizona last night.
The lethal injection should have killed Wood in 10 minutes took nearly two hours and left him struggling and grasping for breath. If the objective is to bring about death as quickly as possible then a cocktail of midazolam and hydromorphone sure isn't the way to do it. Indeed, there were concerns raised about the use of this cocktail when Wood's execution date was announced in May. These concerns were raised after the execution of Oklahoma death row inmate Clayton Lockett went awry last April. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has launched an investigation into Wood's execution.
Whenever conservatives talk about defunding Planned Parenthood, the left points out that the women's "health" business also provides a number of important services other than abortions. Pro-life group Live Action recently released a video that showed a Planned Parenthood employee providing one of these services: teaching underage girls about S&M.
The video is the fourth released by Live Action showing Planned Parenthood staffers encouraging investigators posing as fifteen-year-old girls to to partake in violent sex. From the Daily Caller:
In uncensored transcripts obtained by the Daily Caller, the girl tells the counselor her boyfriend wanted to try some “kink,” although she herself has no idea what that means.
“Different people have different types of fetishes,” the counselor explains. “Some guys like feet, and they find that kinky, and maybe they’ll wanna suck on your toes during intercourse. Or some guys will even want to, you know, ejaculate into your shoes, which is a little different.”
But today Bloomberg did a hell of a thing. He defied the Obama Administration's ban on air travel to Israel by taking an El Al flight to Tel Aviv.
The former New York City Mayor said, "The flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately."
Bloomberg has his moments. This reminds me of when he visited Jerusalem in 2003 and rode a bus that had been attacked by a suicide bomber.
John Kerry has made a surprise visit to Jerusalem to negotiate a cease-fire between Gaza and Israel, but since the conflict thus far has served only to unify Gazans and Israelis alike in mutual dislike, a more creative solution will be needed.
There is a certain appeal to this image of Kerry flying in unannounced to Israel's airport—which was recently closed to Americans for safety reasons—perhaps with a red, white, and blue cape fluttering in the breeze created by passing missiles. It is not terribly realistic, though. Both Israelis and Gazans view Egypt and the Obama administration—the powers that negotiated the ceasefire in 2012—with suspicion, and that will make a repeat deal challenging.
Besides that, neither side would gain much from a return to the tense, non-violent hostility of a month ago. For Israel, it would be a matter of time before war began again. And besides that, explained Jerusalem Post reporter Gil Hoffman, Israelis are almost unanimously behind the ground invasion:
This morning the head of the IRS, Commissioner John Koskinen, returned to Capitol Hill to testify on the ongoing investigation into the role the IRS played in targeting conservative and tea party groups. This comes after testimony that Lois Lerner, according to the head of the National Archives, broke the law.
The last time Koskinen appeared before the committee, things got testy and many Republican lawmakers questioned his credibility as a truthful witness. The commissioner testified that Lerner’s hard drive had been destroyed after her computer crash. This is despite the fact that Lerner’s emails were sent to and from her BlackBerry, which leaves the possibility that her phone could be searched.
Gay and transgender characters don't feature often enough in major Hollywood films, according to a bizarre claim from the activist organization GLAAD. I say that the claim is bizarre because their gripe is that "only" 17 out of 102 big studio films from 2013 featured gay characters. GLAAD regularly bean counts the number of homosexuals in film in their Studio Responsibility Index. "Only" seems a bit of an odd choice of words, though, when 3.8% of Americans identify as LGBT. If anything, gays are disproportionately represented in movies. This should hardly be surprising, given the distinctly liberal complexion of the entertainment industry.
I did not know about this until this morning, but over the weekend there were a couple of incidents where pro-Palestinian hooligans accosted pro-Israel demonstrators. One of the incidents involved a same-sex couple carrying an Israeli flag combined with a rainbow flag. They were confronted and told by Palestinian supporters, “Jews back to Birkenau” and “Drop dead, you Zionazi whores,” and then assaulted before Boston Police came to their rescue. The day before about a dozen pro-Israel activists were swarmed by another group of pro-Palestinian hooligans in front of the Israeli consulate. Assault and battery charges have been laid against one member of that mob.
The legend that is John F. Kennedy today, the martyred youthful president who is perpetually popular in polls rating the “greatness” of presidents, has left out a number of facts.
But one of those facts has resurfaced with the news that former congressman Ron Paul, father of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul—the latter a 2016 presidential possibility—has written a column sympathizing with Vladimir Putin’s Russians.
For those unfamiliar with the Kennedy story, essentially it is this. JFK’s father was Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. Joe Kennedy, whose own father Pat was a bartender, was an up-by-his-bootstraps Harvard grad, a wealthy banker and wheeler-dealer who accrued the Kennedy fortune from not only banking but (pre-regulated) Wall Street, Hollywood, and—famously—bootlegging in the days of Prohibition.