I haven't quite figured this Pope out yet, and that's probably a good thing. You're supposed to feel that way about a religious leader who challenges you to think differently about the way you operate. And this Pope in particular, in turns surprises and shocks me.
The Spectacle Blog
During his speech before the UN General Assembly today, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared he is no longer bound by the Oslo Accords because of alleged violations by Israel. The Oslo Accords were signed on the White House lawn 22 years ago this month with President Clinton, the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.
Such talk is precious coming from Abbas, a man who is entering the second decade of a four year term as Palestinian Authority President. Let us remember that the Palestinian Authority has never meaningfully amended the PLO Charter, has never disbanded the militias like the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and never stopped inciting violence against Israel on its streets, schools, soccer fields and on its state TV. The Palestinian Authority has also violated Oslo by gaining observer status at the UN and full state membership in the International Criminal Court as a means around direct negotiations with Israel to gain de facto recognition as a nation state.
The Dodgers will face the New York Mets in the NLDS beginning October 9th. At this point, it has yet to be determined if Game 1 will take place in New York and Los Angeles. It will depend who finishes with the better overall record. At the moment the Mets are one game better than the Dodgers in terms of their won-loss record which would mean the NLDS would begin at Citi Field. The Mets and Dodgers have faced each other in the playoffs twice previously. The Dodgers beat the Mets in the 1988 NLCS while the Mets beat the Dodgers in the 2006 NLDS.
For two straight seasons, the Dodgers post-season dreams were crushed by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 NLCS and the 2014 NLDS. The Cardinals could clinch the NL Central today with their MLB leading 100th victory. It is certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that the Dodgers might have to once get past the Cardinals again in order to win their first NL pennant since 1988.
Yesterday, there was some speculation that Trey Gowdy. might consider running for Speaker of the House, challenging House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy., who is Boehner's. obvious successor. Gowdy's office quickly dismissed those rumors, saying that he had no interest in a leadership position.
Today, the news is even more dire. According to Congressional sources, Gowdy is not just uninterested in taking on greater responsibility in Congress. He's uninterested in remaining there for very long at all, beyond the 2016 elections, a sentiment apparently revealed as his office tried to dispel rumors of his desire for a greater role.
I'll be back later today or early tomorrow with my assessment of the Republican performance in yesterday's Planned Parenthood debates (let's just say, if they are as "well-prepared" for next week's Benghazi hearings, Hillary Clinton will sail through them like they were a pantsuit sale at Bergdorf's), but regardless of how misguided and hapless the questioning committee was, Planned Parenthood's CEO Cecile Richards certainly didn't earn her (more than half million dollar) salary yesterday either.
Ten years ago yesterday, Judge John Roberts took the oath of office to become the 17th Chief Justice of the United States. Although we speak of “the Roberts Court”—its 10th term now behind it, its 5th under its current composition—it’s somewhat misleading to do so since it seems to imply that the chief justice has more power than in fact he has. To be sure, he leads the Court in a number of administrative respects, including the not inconsiderable power of assigning opinion writing when he’s in the majority in a given case. But at the end of the day, his vote counts for no more than that of any other justice.
Singer Frankie Ford has passed away yesterday following a lengthy illness at the age of 76.
Ford is best known for his 1959 hit "Sea Cruise" which made him a teen idol. "Sea Cruise" was written and originally recorded by New Orleans music legend Huey "Piano" Smith. In fact, Ford's vocals are sung over Smith's arrangement. You can watch the video below complete with an introduction from Dick Clark sponsored by Beech Nut spearmint gum.
He would also have a minor hit with a cover of Joe Jones' "You Talk Too Much".
Although Ford never topped the charts again, he spent more than 50 years performing both in his native New Orleans as well as on the Oldies circuit until illness forced him abandon his career in 2013.
There is a good deal of whooping and shouting just now in advanced circles about the confirmation that there is water on Mars. I’ll hold my applause until NASA finds that there is also Scotch on Mars.
The advancement of knowledge is usually a good thing. Though in this case it’s hard to imagine how Homo sapiens sapiens is better off for knowing there is water, and therefore possibly microbes, on Mars. And none of the stories on this find tell us how much tax money a dead-broke country spent to find this out.
Fantasists in the space biz still harbor ambitions to visit the red planet. (Figure the price-tag on this round trip.) Should this unlikely event take place, the temptation to bring some of those microbes home would be irresistible. Though with what we know of the declining effectiveness of antibiotics, I’d have thought we have more than enough pernicious domestic microbes without importing more. I fear Martian microbes would be at least Tijuana-squared.
According to the Washington Post, Jeb Bush has until Halloween to clean up his act, or his donors will be bailing for greener, less moderate, possibly less entitled pastures.
Jeb Bush has been something of a non-entity through the first leg of the 2016 campaign. He came in assuming that the waters of the GOP pool would simply part to allow him to walk easily into the nomination, as though he were some sort of second coming of Mitt Romney, and not the third coming of the Bush dynasty. He's run up against Donald Trump, no doubt, which makes it much harder to capture any breathing room even in debates, but Jeb has also failed to distinguish himself from his rivals, he's been skipping fundraisers, and though he's still cashing his checks, the people writing them are starting to speculate that they might have backed the wrong horse - so they've reportedly given Jeb an ultimatem.
During his interview which aired on 60 Minutes last night, Donald Trump declared NAFTA "a disaster" and went on to say "we will either renegotiate it or we will break it."
His rhetoric echoes that of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on NAFTA during the 2008 campaign. In her debate with Obama in Cleveland in February 2008, Hillary stated, "I will say we will opt out of NAFTA unless we renegotiate it, and we renegotiate on terms that are favorable to all of America." For his part, Obama stated, "One of the first things I’ll do as President will be to call the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of Mexico and work with them to fix NAFTA." During the Ohio primary, Obama called NAFTA "devastating" and "a big mistake."