Not that I'm supportive of "safe spaces" and this movement to ban the freedom of speech on college campuses lest someone prick the precious sensibilities of our future generation of leaders such that they need to color and pet puppies to regain a semblance of composure, but there's a certain part of me that can at least understand why a generation raised on participation trophies and "self esteem training" might have tough time being in an environment that challenges their carefully curated presumptions about the world. But then they go and complain about sidewalk chalk and every shred of sympathy I might have had diminishes as quick as their allowance account in the sale section of an Urban Outfitters.
The Spectacle Blog
Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Belgium this week to extend the American peoples' condolences to the citizens of Brussels, hit on Tuesday with a terrorist attack that killed nearly 100 people and wounded many more, and probably to help counter the problematic public relations the White House is facing after the American President was pictured tangoing in Argentina last night rather than attending to important things, like people getting blown up in Europe.
But, fear not, America and our allies, because the State Department has a plan. Announced yesterday, they are now offering a $1.5 million grant to anyone who can pen a television drama series that can counter radicalization in the Middle East.
"This grant will fund the development and broadcast of a television drama series in which young people grapple with everyday frustrations and lack of opportunity, while growing and learning through new experiences," the offer said.
It's bad enough that President Obama did the wave with Raul Castro in Havana during the body count in Brussels, but doing the tango in Buenos Aires while the bombers are still at large amounts to dancing over graves.
Now I don't object to Obama being in Argentina given the recent election of a more pro-American government. Unlike Cuba, it is relationship that warrants cultivation.
Ceremonial functions are part of the duties of a head of state and inevitably some amount frivolity will be part of the proceedings. But if Obama sees fit to do the tango he might as well as leave office now and join the cast of Dancing With The Stars.
With his presence at the ballgame and on the dance floor in a time of disaster, Barack Obama comes across as a man who enjoys the trappings of power but cannot be bothered with the responsibilities that come with it.
Former MLB player, broadcaster and TV personality Joe Garagiola has passed away at the age of 90.
Garagiola, a native of St. Louis, would sign with the St. Louis Cardinals as a catcher at the age of 16. He would make his big league debut with the Cardinals in 1946 earning a World Series ring. However, Garagiola never lived up to expectations. The Cardinals would trade him to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the middle of the 1951 season and two years later the Bucs shipped him along with future Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner to the Chicago Cubs. Garagiola ended his playing career in 1954 with the New York Giants. He finished with a lifetime batting average of .257, 42 home runs and 255 RBI in 676 games played over 9 seasons. Garagiola would say of his playing career, "Not only was I not the best catcher in baseball, I wasn't even the best catcher on my street." Garagiola was neighbors with none other than Yogi Berra. Garagiola's passing comes just over six months after Berra's death.
Actor and SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard died suddenly today five days shy of his 72nd birthday.
Howard is best known for starring the CBS TV series The White Shadow which ran for three seasons between 1978 and 1981 in which he played Ken Reeves, a journeyman NBA player who becomes the coach of an inner city high school basketball team. Younger viewers may remember him on Crossing Jordan with Jill Hennessy which aired on NBC between 2001-20004 and more recently had a recurring role on 30 Rock. In 2009, he would win an Emmy for his role in the HBO mini-series Grey Gardens
Over the years, Howard guest starred in numerous TV shows like Murder, She Wrote, Dynasty (as well as its spinoff The Colbys), The Office, Law & Order: SVU & Blue Bloods.
I don't think Jeb Bush's endorsement of Ted Cruz is as much of a surprise as people might think.
There might not have been much love lost between them, but Cruz never insulted Jeb's wife the way Donald Trump did.
In all honesty, the moment Trump trashed his spouse, Jeb should have slugged him right then and there on the debate stage. It honestly couldn't have done him any worse. But Jeb didn't slug Trump and Jeb is out of the running. Meanwhile, Trump is insulting his way to the presidency or at the very least the GOP nomination.
Yet the last thing Ted Cruz wants is to become the darling of the Republicand establishment and nobody gets more establishment than Jeb Bush. Ted Cruz made his reputation by being openly disdainful of the Republican establishment. Having the Republican establishment (Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney and now Bush) embracing him will have the likely effect of driving more Republicans into Trump's arms. In a way, by endorsing him, the Republican establishment is getting a kind of revenge on Cruz. Well, sort of.
There were too many sidebars to yesterday’s game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team for me to include them all in my piece today on the rich history of Tampa/Havana beisbol. But I’m happy to add what a treat it was to see one of my all-Time favorites, Luis Tiant, throw out the first pitch in what was an entertaining, but, regardless of what overheated reporters have said all week, not a historic game.
El Tiante, now 75 and looking good in his guayabera shirt and BoSox cap, did not use the twisty delivery that confused so many hitters back in the day. It’s said of Louie that if you attended a game that he started, no matter where you sat, sometime during the game and during his delivery he would be looking right at you. Those fortunate enough to have seen Louie at work have no doubt that this is true. Hitters must have had a devil of a time picking up his release point. Which I guess is the point of having a delivery that looks like an amusement park ride. Long live Louie.
President Obama ludicrously defended attending the baseball game between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays in the wake of the Brussels terror attack by invoking Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz's response to the Boston Marathon Bombings:
When Ortiz went out and said probably the only time that America didn't have a problem with somebody, a person on live TV, was when he talked about Boston, how strong it was and that it was not going to be intimidated.
The President is referring to Big Papi's "this is our f#&kin' city" remarks at Fenway Park. But Ortiz made those remarks on April 20, 2013 prior to a game against the Kansas City Royals. This was five days after the bombing and less than 24 hours after authorities detained Dzokhar Tsarnaev in a day long manhunt which shut down a good deal of the city. In fact, because of the manhunt the Red Sox-Royals game scheduled that evening was actually postponed.
During his speech today in Havana, President Obama proclaimed, "I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas."
As Obama claimed he was laying the Cold War to rest (that was done by Ronald Reagan a generation ago), ISIS renewed its war against the West with its attacks in Brussels which thus far has claimed more than 30 lives.
The juxtaposition of Obama speaking with the chaos in Brussels demonstrated just how disconnected he is with the real world. The disconnection was further reinforced with his presence at a MLB exhibition game between the Cuban National Team and the Tampa Bay Rays complete with bromancing Derek Jeter and doing the wave with Raul Castro. I suppose we should be thankful that Havana isn't abundant with golf courses. But as Larry Thornberry put it today:
Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has succumbed to cancer at the age of 46.
Elected mayor of Canada's largest city in 2010, you were either part of Ford Nation or you were not. Ford was rough around the edges and his conservative politics made him a target of liberal elites, but at the same time he remembered people's names, personally returned phone calls of his constituents and more often than not got things done. This resulted in a great deal of goodwill.
Unfortunately for Ford he would become an international figure of ridicule in 2013 when a cell phone video showed him smoking crack cocaine. At first, he denied it, but once the video was revealed his public behavior disintegrated and Toronto City Council stripped him of many of his powers.