Former heavyweight boxer Ron Lyle has died of a sudden illness. He was 70.
Lyle learned how to box while he was serving time in Colorado State Prison for a gang related murder. Paroled in 1969, he made his pro boxing debut two years later at the age of 30. Lyle went undefeated in his first 19 fights before losing a unaminous decision to Jerry Quarry in Madison Square Garden in 1973. After losing to Quarry, Lyle won eleven fights and had a draw before losing a unaminous decision to Jimmy Young in February 1975.
Despite losing to Young, Lyle would get a title shot at Muhammad Ali three months later. Lyle took Ali to the limit and was ahead in the fight at the end of ten rounds. But the referee would controversially stop the fight in the 11th round after Ali threw a flurry of punches.
After defeating Earnie Shavers in September 1975 in front of his hometown fans in Denver, Lyle would be matched up against George Foreman in Las Vegas in January 1976. It was Foreman’s first fight since losing to Ali in the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire in 1974. It would prove to be Lyle’s most memorable fight. In the fourth round, Lyle knocked down Foreman twice while Foreman knocked him down once. Foreman would then knockout Lyle in the fifth round.
In 1978, Lyle stood trial for murdering his former road manager. However, Lyle claimed self-defense and a jury acquitted him. Lyle resumed his boxing career and would continue to fight until October 1980 when he was knocked out in the first round by Gerry Cooney. He came out of retirement nearly fifteen years later at the age of 54 in the hope of getting a rematch against George Foreman who had embarked on a successful comeback and by this time had become the heavyweight champion of the world. However, this fight would never come to fruition and Lyle hung up the gloves a few months later.
In recent years, Lyle ran a gym in Denver where he mentored up and coming boxers. Earlier this month, shortly after the death of Joe Frazier, Lyle conducted his last interview. Lyle never fought Frazier but greatly respected him. Ironically, the interviewer noted how good Lyle looked. Well, you know what they say about appearances.
Well, no more. Inspectors from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygeine have seen fit to order the Algonquin to banish Matilda III from the lobby and place her on a leash behind the check out desk or out of sight on upper floors. It seems that the city government view Matilda III as a public health menace because she could contaminate food is served in the lobby despite the fact no one has got sick much less sneezed. How excessively bureaucratic. Or should I say “bureaucatic.”
Leave it to Nanny Bloomberg’s administration to create a problem where none existed.
When we say “thanks,” we offer an expression of our gratitude. The following can best be described as my humble expression on behalf of a friend who served our country — who has dedicated himself to an important cause, and one that conveys his own sense of duty and grateful appreciation.
My friend, Joe Coon, an Iraq war veteran who lives and works in Washington D.C., recently wrote an opinion piece regarding a very important matter: the visa status of Iraqi interpreters employed by the U.S. military during the war effort.
This is a matter largely overlooked by the public, confounded by politicians and staggered by byzantine procedure.
Joe served in Iraq for all of 2005, stationed some 40 miles north of Baghdad near a town called Balad. If you recall, this period represented a major turning point in the post-invasion storyline. All hopes for a peaceful transition to democracy and a speedy U.S. withdrawal were shattered in May, the bloodiest month since the initial invasion, as Sunni Arab insurgents tore through the country. Iraq appeared to be hurtling towards disintegration. However, turmoil was tempered by promising news: the new constitution was ratified and elections for the new Iraqi National Assembly were held. Purple fingers were emblematic of hopeful hearts. These gains were due in no small part to the efforts U.S. servicemen and women — and brave Iraqis who supported our troops and their nascent democracy.
Thankfully, Joe returned safely from his deployment. However, he left behind a close friend and critical partner — an Iraqi national who served the U.S. army as an interpreter, by the name of Bandar. Ultimately, Bandar’s problematic immigration through the special immigrant visa program (SIV) inspired Joe to speak out on behalf of those interpreters who were promised sanctuary in America. Many have been robbed of safe haven by ham-fisted political processes. They remain prime targets of the insurgency. Hundreds, if not thousands have already been killed. It’s anybody’s guess what will happen to those that remain after the U.S. leaves for good.
The SIV system was nearly brought to a halt by the Obama administration back in June, when two amateurish Kentucky-based “jihadis” stumbled into an FBI snare. However, neither man entered the country through the SIV program nor worked for the US government.
This leaves a lot of good Iraqis, who risked their lives to assist our troops, twisting in the wind.Continue reading…
Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers, and thanks for you readership and support.
Wishing a happy Thanksgiving to all our readers!
I’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving with my family in Massachusetts; The Spectacle will be quiet. Enjoy the holiday!
With most Republican presidential candidates beating the war drums against Iran, it is worth reflecting on what Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently had to say on Iran’s nuclear developments. Reports The National:
It’s no wonder that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly ordered his defence minister to shut up. Ehud Barak, after all, has a well-established habit of telling inconvenient truths - while running for prime minister in 1999, he was asked what he would do if he had been born Palestinian. He answered:”I would join a terror organisation.” That willingness to put himself at odds with Israel’s PR line was once again on display last week when Mr Barak was interviewed by the US TV talkshow host Charlie Rose.
“If you were Iran, wouldn’t you want a nuclear weapon?” Rose asked his guest.
“Probably, probably,” Mr Barak replied. “I don’t delude myself that they are doing it just because of Israel. They have their history of 4,000 years. They look around and they see the Indians are nuclear. The Chinese are nuclear, Pakistan in nuclear as well as [North] Korea, not to mention the Russians.”
The problem that Mr Barak’s remarks present for the Israeli narrative is obvious: Iran’s rulers, we are typically told by Israeli officials, are fanatical religious extremists determined to destroy Israel at any cost, even if that meant national suicide. They are implacably committed to their pursuit of doomsday weapons, and will not be deterred by the logic of “mutually assured destruction” that prevented Cold War nuclear exchanges.
But if, as Mr Barak inadvertently suggested, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons was a response to its perception of its threat environment, that is an entirely different proposition. Indeed, that is exactly what governments that reject the US-led effort to isolate and pressure Iran over its nuclear programme have been arguing. Turkey, for example, strongly opposes that its neighbour develop nuclear weapons, but believes Washington’s approach of piling on sanctions and threats of military action are more likely to ensure that Tehran goes nuclear. “It is important to put oneself in their shoes and see how they perceive threats,” Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul told the Guardian this week, referring to Israel’s undeclared nuclear capability.
The Iranian leadership is evil, but not so obviously stupid. More important, there’s no evidence that ruthless elites busy scrapping for power and building fortunes are interested in committing mass suicide. Indeed, it is a delusion to believe that a different Iranian government wouldn’t also want nuclear weapons—after all, Iran’s nuclear program began under the Shah, an ally of America. It really is a Persian Bomb, not an Islamic Bomb. The last thing the U.S. needs to do is again blindly follow the Sirens of war in the Middle East.
Having decided that ethnic Albanians can leave Serbia, NATO in its wisdom decided that Serbs could not leave Kosovo. After dismantling Serbia, Western officials explain, we must not allow any border changes! Of course. This unbalanced approach long has been U.S. policy in the Balkans. Washington consistently criticized—rightly—Serbian atrocities against their neighbors, but rarely mentioned—shamefully—atrocities against Serbs.
No surprise, such an unprincipled policy has led to continuing instability in Kosovo:
Nato troops fired tear gas and gunfire was heard in north Kosovo late on Wednesday as hundreds of Serbs poured into the streets to defend barricades erected against the country’s ethnic Albanian authorities. Sirens called Serbs out to respond as Nato soldiers moved to dismantle one of more than a dozen roadblocks erected in July against an operation by the Kosovo government to post border police in the mainly Serb north, a Reuters witness said.
It’s time for genuine negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia, with no predetermined result by the West, as before. The obvious trade is to leave the Serb-dominated territory in the north of Kosovo with Serbia in exchange for Belgrade’s recognition of Kosovo. Neither side would be happy, but both sides would be better off than today.
It’s good that Moammar Qaddafi is gone. But will the new cabinet dominated by defectors from his regime be a lot better? We’ll see. The latest report on human rights in “liberated” Libya is not reassuring.
Thousands of people, including women and children, are being illegally detained by rebel militias in Libya, according to a report by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Many of the prisoners are suffering torture and systematic mistreatment while being held in private jails outside the control of the country’s new government.
The document, seen by The Independent, states that while political prisoners being held by the Gaddafi regime have been released, their places have been taken by up to 7,000 new “enemies of the state”, “disappeared” in a dysfunctional system, with no recourse to the law.
The report will come as uncomfortable reading for the Western governments, including Britain, which backed the campaign to oust Gaddafi. A UN resolution was secured in March in order to protect civilians from abuses by the regime, which was at the time mercilessly suppressing the uprising against the Gaddafi regime.
There was evidence, says the report by Ban Ki-moon, due to be presented to the Security Council, that both sides committed acts amounting war crimes in the bitter battle for Colonel Gaddafi’s hometown, Sirte. The Secretary-General who recently visited Libya, echoes the concern expressed by many world leaders over the killing of the former dictator by rebel fighters pointing out that Gaddafi was captured alive before being put to death.
The report also stresses that it is a matter of great praise that the country has been liberated after 42 years of totalitarian rule. The victorious opposition - which formed a new interim government this week - fully intends to follow a democratic path and introduce a functioning legal system, he says. The report is due to be circulated among members of the UN Security Council, and discussed next week.
However, Ban Ki-moon also presents a grim scenario of the growing power of the armed militias that control of the streets of many towns, including those of the capital, Tripoli, and the settling of internecine feuds through gun battles resulting in deaths and injuries.
Meanwhile the lawlessness has resulted in the vast majority of the police force not being able to return to work. In the few places where they have been back on duty under experienced officers, such as Tripoli, their role has been restricted largely to directing traffic.
Hopefully everything will work out well. But it isn’t clear that the Islamists who control many of those street militias are going to cheerfully accept their exclusion from the new government. If not, the civil war might not be over. Of course, from the West’s standpoint, it probably would be worse if they were included in the government.
Such are the benefits of President Obama’s “splendid little war”! Hopefully he’ll keep this experience in mind before plunging America into war elsewhere.
My review of Peter Schweizer’s new book Throw Them All Out ran in today’s Washington Times.
The Bipartisan Policy Center provides some context on the sequester — the automatic cuts now scheduled to take place because the supercommittee failed. Basically, the cuts included in the sequester would push discretionary and defense spending down to historic lows:
Even though I think Congress will ultimately undo the sequester one way or another, these graphs are useful reminders that the sequester’s spending cuts would be real and that the fiscal problem really can’t be addressed without reforming entitlements, even if other areas of the budget are cut “to the bone.”
James Pethokoukis reports that Jon Huntsman has proposed a solution to the problem of banks that are too big to fail. Huntsman’s six-point list:
1. Set a hard cap on bank size based on assets as a percentage of GDP. (This cap would be on total bank size, not using any of the illusory “risk-weights” currently central to thinking about bank accounting. The lowest risk assets for banks in Europe, supposedly, are sovereign debt-yet this very same debt is now at the heart of the current crisis.
2. We should have a similar cap on leverage-total borrowing-by any individual bank, relative to GDP.
3. Explore reforms now being considered by the U.K. to make the unwinding of its biggest banks less risky for the broader economy.
4. Impose a fee on banks whose size exceeds a certain percentage of GDP to cover the cost they would impose on taxpayers in a bailout, thus eliminating the implicit subsidy of their too-big-to-fail status. The fee would incentivize the major banks to slim themselves down; failure to do so would result in increasing the fee until the banks are systemically safe. Any fees collected would be used to reduce taxes for the broader non-financial corporate sector.
5. In addition, focus on establishing an FDIC insurance premium that better reflects the riskiness of banks’ portfolios. This would provide an incentive for banks to scale down, allowing the financial system to absorb them organically in the event of a collapse.
6. Strengthen capital requirements, moving far beyond what is envisaged in the current Basel Accord. The Accord is a mixture of regulatory oversight and political compromise. As a result, the U.S. has allowed its banking policy to be determined by the “least common denominator” among European and Asian countries, many with a long history of not being prudent.
Although Huntsman is thought of as a no-hoper, he (and other GOP candidates) can influence the primary and the general election by pressing important issues, on the campaign trail and in the debates. Too-big-to-fail banks are a problem that, for various reasons, Republican candidates haven’t addressed, and it would be good if the frontrunners were compelled to take a stand on banking reform.
As for Huntsman’s specific plan, it includes some attractive features, although though it’s questionable whether the central element — capping banks’ absolute size — would be remotely politically feasible. It’s good that he has specified that the “size” fee would be used to reduce taxes across the board, eliminating the confusion that often arises with such “sin taxes” regarding whether they are intended to discourage certain behaviors or raise revenues.
And although Huntsman deserves credit for proposing an alternative to Dodd-Frank, which will not solve the problem of too big to fail, he should also outline a replacement for the mechanism for safely unwinding failed banks contained in Dodd-Frank. Inevitably some banks will become too big to fail, or at least big enough to leave the market uncertain as to whether the government will allow them to fail. The government should have a clear and understandable process already in place for resolving such firms in a moment of crisis, so that the uncertainty is reduced. The process put in place by Dodd-Frank is flawed, but it can’t be simply repealed and not replaced.
Huntsman is doing Republicans a favor by criticizing the public’s implicit subsidization of large banks — an issue that has both technocratic and populist appeal. Hopefully his plan will be taken as a challenge by the other candidates.
As I expected, there were a large quantity of comments by Ron Paul supporters to my article critiquing his foreign policy. Alas quantity often doesn’t mean quality. There were, of course, exceptions to the rule but they were few and far between.
It is worth noting that I made not a single reference to Israel in the article and yet the commentary by Paul supporters was rife with anti-Israel references. And then there were comments along these lines:
“It would be great if “jews” like Aaron Goldstein would not incite the wars Christians and Muslims die in.”
“Goldstein? That ain’t a Smith or Jones, now is it? I wonder where his slant comes from? We just gotta have a bogey man to chase and fight, don’t we? Ron Paul 2012!”
“Some influential persons in the US have ties to AIPAC, or are Jewish, or even have dual citizenship (US and Israel). Do any of these apply to you?”
“Last name is Goldstein. Well I think that about sums up the bias in this article. Ron Paul 2012!”
Are Ron Paul and his campaign team are proud of these endorsements? How is it that Ron Paul attracts people of such dubious character to support him? Apparently, anti-Semitism is a socially acceptable prejudice amongst his supporters. Mr. Paul would be wise to denounce their behavior in no uncertain terms. But I’m not holding my breath. Why would he alienate his most reliable constituency?
Now I could have deleted those comments but I have chosen not to do so. After all, Ron Paul ought to be judged by the company he keeps.
Yes, my name is Aaron Goldstein, I am an American Jew with dual citizenship (I was born in Canada) and I am pro-Israel. I am proud of it and I will not apologize for it. If Ron Paul supporters don’t like it then too damn bad. That’s their problem, not mine.
After I praised the NYPD for liberating Zuccotti Park last week, the Spanish language daily El Diario La Prensa asked me to write some additional thoughts about Occupy Wall Street. You can find the piece here.
Please note the piece has been translated into Spanish. The way I look at it is that a whole new audience now has an opportunity to be offended by my writing.
President Obama will pardon the Thanksgiving turkey (Politico)
Obama will press for an extension of the payroll tax holiday (New York Times)
The possibility of the sequester’s cuts taking effect has taken the Pentagon off-guard (New York Times)
The federal government has sued Utah over new immigration law (USA Today)
Mitt Romney will make a rare Des Moines campaign stop today (KCCI Des Moines)
60 second recap of last night’s debate:
On the main site:
Newt Misses His Moment, by George Neumayr: He thinks “strategically” about everything except his own campaign.
Mitt, Newt, and the Greater Good, by Neal B. Freeman: A sober assessment of the good news in store.
Why We Should Give Thanks for the British Empire, by H. W. Crocker, III: On Thanksgiving Day, let’s remember where our ideals of freedom and limited government came from.
The Bell Tolls for Obamacare, by Peter Ferrara: The key to the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling will be clear recognition of constitutional alternatives to Obamacare.
Forstmann, The Big-Hearted Prodigy, by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.: Theodore Forstmann, RIP.
Obamacare Sequesters Your Flex Account, by John Berlau: How to minimize the damage from Obamacare’s stealth tax hikes.
Another Reason for Giving Thanks, by Ron Ross: Back in 1900 life expectancy in the U.S. was below 50.
America’s Good Losers, by Mark Tooley: Each of them not only could have been but was a contender. Thank you, C-Span.
Should Matt Kemp Have Won the NL MVP? by Ryan Young: Why Ryan Braun proved more valuable.
Tonight, I watched the CNN-AEI-Heritage Foundation GOP Debate and here is my evaluation of each candidate.
Jon Huntsman - This was probably his best debate. He had a strong exchange with Mitt Romney over troop levels in Afghanistan. Huntsman also made a salient point when he said that sanctions against Iran wouldn’t work as long as China and Russia weren’t going to play ball. However, he spent much of this time talking about domestic affairs in a foreign policy debate. Huntsman has New Hampshire on his mind.
Michele Bachmann - She continued her polite disagreement with Rick Perry over our relations with Pakistan and also had an interesting exchange with Newt Gingrich on immigration. Bachmann also took President Obama to task for giving Iran “the luxury of time” in developing a nuclear weapon. Although she acquitted herself well I don’t think she gains much from this debate. However, I think she will be guns ablazing in the next televised GOP debate in Iowa next month.
Newt Gingrich - He had an exchange with Ron Paul over the Patriot Act at the outset of the debate. But for the most part he maintained his posture of remaining above the fray. He could have been in a vulnerable position when the discussion turned to illegal immigration. When Gingrich argued in favor of allowing illegal immigrants who had been in the country for 25 years who had committed no other crime and belonged to a church instead of pulling a Perry and criticizing his rivals for having no heart, he made the case it would be a pro-family immigration policy which drew strong applause. It was a very deft reply.
Herman Cain - Unfortunately, I don’t think he did anything to change the perception that foreign policy isn’t his strong suit. When he was asked a question about Rick Perry’s proposal for a no-fly zone in Syria, Cain ended his answer by saying how “we need to grow our economy.”
Mitt Romney - This was a so-so debate for Romney. He spoke in platitudes and seemed to be going through the motions.
Rick Perry - It was his second straight good debate. For a moment there, I thought he was going to get into it with Romney over immigration but in his better judgment refrained from doing so.
Ron Paul - Although I have been critical of his foreign policy, this was by far Paul’s best debate. Usually when it comes to foreign policy, Paul will say something that draws jeers from the debate audience. That didn’t happen this time. He held his own with both Gingrich and Romney and advanced his case. If anyone benefits from this debate, it is Paul.
Rick Santorum - A solid, snark-free debate performance. He’ll need one next month in Iowa.
Speaking of which, the next televised GOP debate takes place on December 10th at Drake University in Des Moines. It will air on ABC at 9 p.m. EST.
The big question coming out of tonight’s debate: Will Newt Gingrich’s immigration answer hurt him? In an otherwise dominating performance during which he, not Mitt Romney, seemed like the frontrunner, Gingrich appeared to endorse DREAM Act-like indifference toward sympathetic subsets of illegal immigrants and Michele Bachmann called him out on it. A similar position got Rick Perry into serious trouble just as his presidential campaign was taking off.
Gingrich has two advantages here. One is that he articulated his immigration position much more skillfully than Perry did, which is no surprise. The other is that he did not call people who disagreed with him “heartless,” though there was a slight hint that they may not be very bright. It is the hostility toward anti-amnesty conservatives that rankled many Republicans about Perry, George W. Bush, and John McCain. It will be interesting to watch how this plays out going forward.
Romney mostly phoned it in tonight, sticking to crowd-pleasing lines and playing prevent defense. Michele Bachmann had a strong answer on Pakistan and “too nuclear to fail,” but other than that only made an impact during her immigration exchange with Gingrich. Herman Cain didn’t do anything to help himself or hurt himself. Ditto Ricks Santorum and Perry.
Jon Huntsman had his strongest debate yet. He outlined real differences with Romney — though I thought he might actually mention the George Romney “brainwashing” comments on Vietnam — and displayed much more fire than before. The question is whether Republican voters have already started tuning Huntsman out. If not, he may finally get a second look.
Ron Paul manfully defended his foreign policy views in front of a mostly hostile Heritage/AEI crowd, though he did have some supporters applauding. Calling the drug war a failure also seemed to go over well. The gap between him and most other Republicans on major foreign policy issues showed, and could be problematic in his closing comments about the Taliban. Some commentators speculated Paul would pivot and talk about domestic policy, where his positions are more popular with rank-and-file Republicans. But there was no chance of that, as Paul is in the race to get noninterventionist arguments a hearing in mainstream conservative debates.
When asked about entitlement reform, Newt Gingrich noted how he unveiled a Social Security reform package yesterday in Manchester, New Hampshire based on plans in effect in both Chile and in Galveston, Texas.
Herman Cain has been talking about the Chilean model for months.
Most U.S. Presidents make their first foreign trip to Canada or Mexico. Mitt Romney just said if he is elected President that his foreign trip will be to Israel.
Rick Santorum nearly had a stop the presses moment when he said, “I agree with Ron Paul.”
Specifically, Santorum said he agreed with Paul that this isn’t a “war on terror” because terror on tactic. Santorum said this is a “war on radical Islam.”
Paul was chomping at the bit to respond but Wolf Blitzer went to commercial.
Last night on Fox News, Rick Perry did a “Center Seat” interview with the Special Report panel, and became the first presidential candidate to endorse a no-fly zone in Syria. Byron York recounts the exchage:
[Charles] Krauthammer asked: “Would you do what we did in Libya, which is to institute a no-fly zone over Syria? If you were president today, would you advocate that we do that in Syria?”
“Absolutely,” Perry said. “Absolutely.”
At that point, Fox panelist William Kristol asked Perry if he would impose a no-fly zone unilaterally, without waiting for the United Nations to approve. “I would not spend a lot of time waiting for the U.N.,” Perry answered.
Perry will almost certainly be asked to clarify this in the debate tonight. While we wait for that, some background on the idea Krauthammer asked about. Some elements of the Syrian opposition have been calling for a no-fly zone for a while; protestors in the street called for such an intervention last month. Most of the bloodletting in Syria has been done by bullets and mortar shells; there have been a handful of attacks from helicopter gunships, but stopping those would not significantly affect the Assad regime’s capacity for violence against peaceful protestors, though it might have second-order and symbolic effects. Last month, Council on Foreign Relations Fellow Micah Zenko examined what protestors think a no-fly zone might accomplish; he was (and remains) quite skeptical of the idea.
There has been talk in Turkey of establishing a “buffer zone” just across the Syrian border to give civilians safe haven, but there is the obvious risk that an incursion into Syrian territory could escalate into a full-scale war.
What has changed recently is attacks carried out by the Free Syrian Army, a group led by defectors from the Syrian military. The FSA says that foreign intervention could help them overthrow Assad, and has called for a no-fly zone and buffer zones along both the Turkish and Jordanian borders. The core of their argument is that more units will defect if they can do so without fearing that they’ll be bombed from the air.
The Obama administration and NATO has more or less ruled out any military intervention, hoping that Assad can still be toppled without a civil war — though a civil war seems to already be breaking out. In the current Weekly Standard, Lee Smith makes the case that it’s too late for that, and the Obama administration’s policy of discouraging the opposition from taking up arms is perverse. He concludes that answering the FSA’s calls for a no-fly zone to encourage more defections is the best move.
We’ll see tonight whether Perry is prepared to coherrently make that argument, and whether other candidates are prepared to join him.
Yesterday, following a steak dinner, pitcher Joe Nathan agreed a two-year contract with the Texas Rangers worth $14.5 million with a club option for the 2014 season.
The Rangers are planning to use Nathan as their closer and the move will enable the team to move Neftali Feliz into the starting rotation. All of which probably means that C.J. Wilson is good as gone.
Frankly, the Rangers are taking a gamble with Nathan. Between 2004 and 2009, Nathan saved 246 games for the Minnesota Twins before missing the 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery. Nathan returned to the Twins in 2011 but pitched ineffectively. Today is Nathan’s 37th birthday and I doubt he can return to his previous form.
As for Feliz, I think he’s better suited to closing than starting. It would not surprise me that Feliz will be back closing games for the Rangers by mid-season. Despite his disappointing post-season performance, I think the Rangers would have better off to re-sign Wilson than to gamble with Nathan and for that matter with Feliz.
This email came from Vice President Joe Biden:
I’ll cut to the chase: If Congress doesn’t act soon, middle-class Americans will see their taxes go up starting on January 1st, taking almost $1,000 out of the pockets of a typical family next year.
Last year, President Obama and members of both parties in Congress cut the payroll tax for 155 million workers, putting money in your pockets. Now, that tax cut is expiring. So in September, the President and I proposed extending that tax cut and cutting your taxes even further: giving the typical family a $1,500 tax cut. Steps like this won’t just help families feel more secure in their budgets, it’ll give them more money to spend at local businesses that will hire more people and make investments in new equipment too.
We thought the extension would win bipartisan support again. How could Republicans in Congress, some of whom have pledged not to raise taxes by a penny, oppose extending the same tax cuts they just passed? But after years of protecting expensive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, many Republicans now say we should let this middle-class tax cut expire.
The answer to Biden’s question in the last paragraph, is that some — not all — Republicans now oppose extending the payroll tax cut because they perceive it as a temporary measure at a time when permanent tax reform is called for. Regardless, this is probably the highest card that the Obama team had to play: because the Republicans scuttled the supercommittee, your taxes are going up in the very near future.
Tonight’s national security debate, televised by CNN and sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, could be a big event for serveral Republican candidates. Coming right before people will be talking politics with their families over Thanksgiving turkey, it’s another pivotal moment as the first nominating contests draw closer.
Newt Gingrich, a former AEI fellow himself, will look to cement his status as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. This is his kind of a debate. It will allow him to showcase his wonky side, downplay past domestic policy transgressions, and speak in bold, occasionally apocalyptic terms. The debate is also an opportunity for Jon Huntsman, even though he doesn’t fully take the Heritage/AEI line on foreign policy, and Rick Santorum, who is a hawk’s hawk, to showcase their knowledge.
Herman Cain has seen his poll numbers fade recently and has had to combat allegations that he doesn’t know anything about foreign policy (the widely circulated interview with a Milwaukee newspaper showing Cain struggling to gather his thoughts on Libya didn’t help). This is a big debate for him tonight. Rick Perry is in the same boat, and he is fighting to remain near the top tier. Michele Bachmann could also use a good performance.
The candidate for whom this debate has the most obvious pitfalls is Ron Paul. He is the only Republican on that stage who has ruled out attacking Iran (Cain seemed to do so as well at the last debate, but who knows what that means). He supports military spending cuts opposed by Heritage and AEI. He will probably be given more than 90 seconds to expound upon his views this time, and the other candidiates may gang up on him.
For Paul, there is a possibility of a repeat of his 2007 South Carolina exchange with Rudy Giuliani. That dust-up benefited both candidates, but surprisingly helped Paul more by galvanizing his young, antiwar followers. The danger for Paul is that last time around, he had nowhere to go but up. This time, recent polling shows him positioned to either make a move into the top tier (at least in Iowa and New Hampshire) or to fall toward the middle of the pack. He is also drawing more traditional Republican support than he was four years ago. What impact will a foreign policy debate have on that?
Today, Sylvester Stallone announced plans to bring Rocky to Broadway.
What would the world be like today if Stallone hadn’t watched the Ali-Wepner fight.
We can only hope this production won’t spawn any sequels. I can’t quite imagine a melody accompanying Ivan Drago as he tells Rocky Balboa, “I must break you.”
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has bested Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp for the National League MVP Award. Braun hit .332 with 32 homeruns and 111 RBI for the NL Central Division champions. Known as The Hebrew Hammer, Braun also led the NL in slugging percentage (SLG) and on base plus slugging percentage (OPS) with .597 and .994, respectively. Braun becomes the first Jewish player to win the NL MVP since Sandy Koufax did it with the 1963 World Series champion Dodgers.
Kemp hit .324 while leading the NL in both homeruns and RBI with 39 and 126, respectively and earned a Gold Glove for his play in centerfield. He finished third in the NL batting race behind Braun and free agent shortstop Jose Reyes who hit .337 for the New York Mets in 2011. Had Kemp won the batting title he would have been the first Triple Crown winner in MLB since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967 with the “Impossible Dream” AL champion Boston Red Sox and the first in the Senior Circuit since Joe Medwick did it with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1937. If Kemp had won the Triple Crown he would have won the MVP unaminously. The only other way Kemp would have won the NL MVP would have been if the Dodgers made the post-season but they finished 11½ games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West in 2011.
So going forward who will be better? Who will become the NL’s most dominating right-handed hitter? Braun or Kemp? Braun is about a year older than Kemp but Kemp reached the big leagues a year before Braun. On the other hand, while Kemp was a sixth round draft pick by the Dodgers in 2003, Braun was a first round draft pick by the Brewers in 2005 and fifth pick overall in the country and needed far less minor league seasoning than Kemp. So it was no surprise to see Braun make an immediate impact when he reached the bigs (he won NL Rookie of the Year in 2007.) Kemp, on the other hand, was viewed as an underachiever even within the Dodgers organization until this season. I remember when Dodgers GM Ned Colletti ripped Kemp a new one on a radio talk show early in the 2010 season.
But what a difference a year makes. Last week, Kemp signed an 8-year, $160 million contract extension which will keep him wearing Dodger blue through 2019. Interestingly, in April of this year, Braun signed a five-year contract extension with the Brewers worth $105 million. Keep in mind that Braun had previously signed a seven-year contract with the Brew Crew during the 2008 season. This means the Brewers have Braun’s services through the 2020 season.
I think Braun is the better investment of the two. Braun has demonstrated he can be productive year in and year out while Kemp hasn’t yet demonstrated he can put together productive back to back seasons. I grant you that Kemp’s homerun totals have increased every season but his batting average, on base percentage and run production haven’t been as consistent as that of Braun. In his rookie season, Braun had 97 RBI and has had four consecutive 100 plus RBI seasons. He’s also hit over .300 in four of his five big league seasons.
I am not saying Kemp isn’t a productive big league player but I can’t help but think that 2011 was a career year for him. It would come as no surprise to me if Kemp were to be disappointing in 2012 while Braun has yet another MVP caliber season.
Last week on my “Hillyer Time” radio show, my opening monologue
explained why I think it’s ludicrous to think Newt Gingrich could
possible win a general-election battle against Barack Obama -
analysis that stands regardless of whether one personally
likes the idea of Gingrich in the Oval Office if he should pull off
the miracle and win anyway. Some people wanted to be able to read
what I said.
So, slightly adapted from radio notes for reading ease, here’s what I said:
Welcome to Hillyer Time….
For now, I really need to vent. I am absolutely flabbergasted at what I see in the latest Republican polls for president. What I see looks like a mass political suicide attempt — so determined to commit suicide that it uses too many pills, plus a slit wrist, plus a gun, on the ledge of a 1,000-foot building, just to make sure that at least one of the methods succeeds.
What I’m talking about is the rise of Newt Gingrich to the front of the Republican pack. If this isn’t mass suicide, is mass amnesia of a particularly dangerous variety. And, politically speaking, if it continues it will be an absolute guarantee of Barack Obama’s re-election next Fall.
Why? Well, for months I’ve said…Continue reading…
Yesterday I posted a few items on Twitter endorsing Ramesh Ponnuru’s argument that conservative concerns about people not paying income taxes are overblown (Joe blogged about the Ponnuru article here yesterday). Some of the responses I received are themselves worth responding to.
Many conservatives are fixated on the the 47 percent of Americans (probably closer to 46 percent this year) who don’t pay income tax. To the extent that this is a rhetorical point against liberal arguments that the rich are undertaxed, it is worthwhile. I can also understand concerns about people voting for big government without paying for it, though one can be a net beneficiary of federal spending even if they pay some amount of income taxes.
The Reagan and Bush tax cuts dropped millions of Americans from the income tax rolls altogether. So did the child tax credit passed by the Gingrich Congress, later expanded by Bush. Bush also cut the bottom tax rate from 15 percent to 10 percent. These middle-class tax cuts for families wiped out some families’ income tax liability entirely. Others don’t pay income tax because of their untaxed Social Security benefits. Conservatives supported all of these policies. The earned income tax credit is another contributor to non-payment; it is more controversial among conservatives, but it has had Republican support in the past and has something of a conservative pedigree.Continue reading…
If politics makes for strange bedfellows, then it’s anybody’s guess what who waking up next to whom in Cairo these days. Cloudbursts of tear gas hang low over a third day of violent protest, where political activists, Islamists and a unique brand of Egyptian soccer hooligan known as “the Ultras Awlawy” have battled the state’s Central Security Forces (CSF) — a paramilitary force supervised by the parochial Ministry of the Interior.
According to the Health Ministry, 23 people have been killed and more than 1,500 injured during reinvigorated protest movement that has prompted suggestions that Cairo may be cresting on the verge another revolutionary wave. The CSF have assumed the role of state-sanctioned head-crackers, and they seem to enjoy their work.
In more peaceful times, the CSF protected embassies and public infrastructure, while assisting with traffic direction and crowd control. Since their formation in 1977, the organization has swollen to 300,000 members following Mubarak’s emergence as dictator-in-chief. The government had hoped that the CSF would counterbalance the conscription military’s people power, but the force never served such a function.
That is, until now.
During the excitement that followed the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak back in February, Egyptian protesters cheered the military as it took control. “The army and the people are [united in] one hand,” they cheered. Soldiers were handed flowers as they pulled children onto their tanks to pose for photographs.
But the CSF cannot be understood as anything resembling “people’s army.” Rather, they’ve demonstrated they’re the hammer swung by the ruling military cabal.
In media res, three American students studying at the American University in Cairo injected themselves into the fray…and found themselves detained, and publicly accused on state-controlled television of destabilizing military order.
However amateurish, their experience is informative. This isn’t our revolution. When soccer hooligans are pitting themselves against shadowy paramilitaries and political cabinets resign bi-annually, it’s clear that there are forces at play in Egypt that we cannot be expected to understand or wrangle, effectively.
After securing the release of these slapdash revolutionaries (who really ought to have kept their noses buried in the books) it’s important that the administration maintain a low-profile. Having witnessed the Arab protest movement firsthand, I can assure you that simmering antipathy for American meddling is at an all-time high.
Of course, we all want to see liberal, democratic candidates emerge victorious in free and fair elections that marginalize Islamist forces. But as this Arab Spring v2.0 heats up, we’d be wise to engage it unobtrusively.
The Wall Street Journal has penned a nice thank you to long-time pro-growth, low tax advocate Grover Norquist. Saying, in part, this:
Not to enhance this Beltway fable, but thank you, Mr. Norquist. By reminding Republicans of their antitax promises, he has helped to expose the real reason for the super committee’s failure: the two parties disagree profoundly on a vision of government.
Well done. I first became acquainted with Grover, like so many others, in various Reagan battles.
Since that time Grover has made a point of carrying the Reagan low-tax, pro-growth agenda in the Washington trenches every single day. If you think Zuccotti Park is ugly, you have no idea what he has to endure day in and day out. Now he catches heat from the usual quarters furious that his message has carried the day in various Senate and House corners. To which I can only say, without Grover Norquist, his laser-like focus, and complete willingness to walk into the heat of the kitchen — this battle against the socialization of America would be incredibly more difficult.
So here’s to Grover.
And a real reason to offer thanks at Thanksgiving for someone’s hard work that is paying off in multiples of ways.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is at it again, bashing Catholics for their pro-life position when she has promoted abortion in defiance of Catholic Church teaching at every turn.
This time, Pelosi is upset that the nation’s Catholic bishops are protesting a potential Obama administration decision forcing insurance companies to cover birth control, contraception and drugs that could cause abortions. They say certain religious groups may not be exempt from providing the insurance, which would violate their moral and religious views.
Pelosi says the position is akin to having hospitals “say to a woman, ‘I’m sorry you could die’ if you don’t get an abortion,” she told the Washington Post.
“Those who dispute that characterization “may not like the language,” she said, “but the truth is what I said. I’m a devout Catholic and I honor my faith and love it . . . but they have this conscience thing” that the Post said Pelosi “insists put women at physical risk, although Catholic providers strongly disagree.” [Emphasis added.]
Catholics, like adherents of other faiths, populate both sides of the aisle. And both sides have members who, in good faith, violate the Church’s strictures in one way or another. What’s unusual about Pelosi is that she is not only, unquestionably, on the wrong side of the Church’s teachings about abortion, but she has outright contempt for her supposed co-religionists who have it right. By “this conscience thing,” Pelosi means “a desire not to be forced to violate their core beliefs as Catholics.”
Here’s the question: why does she bother to keep up the pretense that she is a “devout Catholic”?
Sen. Pat Toomey tells the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack that supercommittee Democrats rejected his offer to raise taxes on the two highest brackets by $250 billion out of sheer partisanship.
For the supercommitttee’s recommendations to move to the full Congress for an up-or-down vote, the six members of one side needed to peel off only one member of the other six to get a simple majority. By indicating a willingness to cede billions in taxes on high income earners, Toomey, a freshman Tea Party stalwart, accomplished two things. First, he demonstrated to Tea Partiers that maybe he wasn’t as hard core as they had thought when they helped elect him. Second, he highlighted the Democrats’ obstinance to the broader public, which is more interested in seeing the problem solved than partisan games.
In a way, though, the whole exercise is pointless because there isn’t a big constituency of reasonable observers that will vote based on which party is least reasonable. The reality is that almost everyone who’s politically active understands that Democrats want to raise taxes, and Republicans don’t, and vote accordingly. If the Democrats had taken up Toomey’s framework and actually raised taxes on high income-earners, that would have been a noteworthy development. But since they didn’t, the situation is basically unchanged, and there’s not too much that postgame recriminations can do.
Surprise, surprise. No Supercommittee deal. And the Democrats know just who to blame.
By Asher Embry
We’re 15 Trillion bucks in debt
And Democrats won’t even let
300 Mil. be cut a day.
It’s Grover Norquist’s fault, they say.
There’s finger pointing all around.
The middle finger’s best, I’ve found.
(You can read more of Asher Embry’s Political Verse at www.politicalverse.com.)
From the supercommittee:
“After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline.
“Despite our inability to bridge the committee’s significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation’s fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve. We remain hopeful that Congress can build on this committee’s work and can find a way to tackle this issue in a way that works for the American people and our economy.
“We are deeply disappointed that we have been unable to come to a bipartisan deficit reduction agreement, but as we approach the uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving, we want to express our appreciation to every member of this committee, each of whom came into the process committed to achieving a solution that has eluded many groups before us. Most importantly, we want to thank the American people for sharing thoughts and ideas and for providing support and good will as we worked to accomplish this difficult task.
From the beginning, both sides in the deficit negotiations worked not to find a compromise to lower the debt, but to control the narrative for when the supercommittee failed, in order to pin blame on the other team. Arguably, that’s exactly what they should have done: Texans didn’t elect Jeb Hensarling to raise taxes, and Washingtonians didn’t elect Patty Murray to cut Social Security. So now the games begin, starting with a statement from President Obama to be issued at 5:45.
O.K., it’s doubtful that Justin Verlander could only lay such a claim beyond Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and perhaps some pockets of Windsor, Ontario. But he is most certainly the new king of the American League after first winning the AL Cy Young Award last week and today being named the AL MVP.
Verlander becomes the first pitcher to win the AL MVP since Dennis Eckersley did it with the Oakland Athletics in 1992. He also becomes the first starter to be so honored since Roger Clemens in 1986 when he wore a Boston Red Sox uniform. Clemens beat out New York Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly that season and after that there was something of a backlash against pitchers winning the AL MVP (with the notable exception of Eckersley.) A couple of months ago, ESPN’s Steve Berthiaume noted that two members of the BBWAA left then Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez off the ballot in the vote for the 1999 AL MVP which went to Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers despite that fact he did his very best pitching during the steroids era.
Unless the BBWAA renders pitchers ineligible for consideration then pitchers have every right to stake a claim as their league’s MVP. In 2011, no player in the American League was more valuable than Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers.
Yuval Levin doesn’t think that avoiding the Budget Control Act sequester will be so easy. He notes that both the president and Congress will have to draw up budgets for Fiscal Year 2013 in early 2012, and thus will be forced to contemplate the prospect of the sequester (although presumably Senate Democrats will avoid this problem, since they never introduce budgets anyways). That will raise some tough choices for Republicans, who don’t want to let the sequester slash the defense budget or to give Obama an opportunity for demagoguery by proposing trillions in spending cuts.
A lot has changed since I wrote the cover story for our November issue in the early fall. Rick Perry, then at the top of many national Republican polls and making waves for his criticism of Social Security, has faded. Newt Gingrich, whose dismal poll numbers are referred to in the piece, has rebounded to the point where some surveys show him leading Mitt Romney. (Perry’s slide had little or nothing to do with entitlements, while Gingrich has making arguments on the subject that could be described as Paul Ryan lite).
But the basic problem of how to deal with entitlements remains the same, as underscored by the failure of the supercommittee. It’s gut check time for a Republican Party that has vacilated between bold reforms and demagoguery on the issue. How to make reform politically palatable, especially since many core Republican voters depend on Social Security and Medicare, also remains a major challenge. Most of the Republican presidential candidates are currently gesturing in the right direction while avoiding the details that proved politically perilous for the Ryan plan. Whether this is smart strategy or just a prelude to further disappointment remains to be seen.
In National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru takes on the “Freeloader Myth,” namely, the increasingly prevalent worry that half of all workers “pay no taxes.” It’s a meme that Michele Bachman, prominently among others, has helped perpetuate.
Ponnuru explains that 47 percent of workers paid no income taxes in the latest period. Most of them, though, did pay payroll taxes — the contributions to Social Security and Medicare automatically deducted from every worker’s paycheck. And many of them would have paid income taxes if not for a number of factors, including the recession, the Bush tax cuts, the Gingrich expansion of child credits, and more — read Ponnuru’s piece for a complete rundown. There’s no conspiracy here, nor any looming tipping point at which the “takers” outnumber the “producers” and vote themselves even bigger handouts.
Ponnuru also makes an important point about payroll taxes:
How to count payroll taxes is a disputed subject. Many conservatives argue that since payroll taxes are dedicated to Medicare and Social Security, people who pay only payroll taxes are contributing to their retirements but not to the general operations of the government. The irony here is that FDR deliberately and explicitly introduced the payroll tax to accompany Social Security because it would encourage people to draw this false connection. In reality, the relationship between payroll taxes sent to Washington and Social Security benefits sent back is loose: Today’s beneficiaries get much more than they sent, and tomorrow’s will get less. (In the case of Medicare, there is no relationship.)
The point of the payroll tax, for FDR, was to ensure that “no damn politician” could ever take away the benefits because (to paraphrase conservative author William Voegeli) all the damn voters would think they had earned those benefits through their payroll taxes. All federal taxes go to the federal government, and all federal spending comes from it: The rest is accounting, and accounting tricks. People who pay payroll taxes are funding the federal government, and conservatives who deny it are falling for a trap FDR set for them.
I’d add that there’s a certain tension between regarding Social Security as a “monstrous lie” and also discounting the payroll taxes paid by people lower on the income tax brackets. If Social Security’s future benefits are a lie, then where are today’s payments going?
The supercommittee’s failure is, at first glance, yet another reason to despair of there ever being enough fiscally conservative members of Congress to limit federal spending to sustainable levels.
Yet the idea that a bipartisan committee would find compromise so close to a momentous election was questionable from the start. One way or another, the country and the legislature will have more clarity about fiscal issues in early 2013. In all likelihood the new Congress won’t have a mandate to fix the overspending problem, but at least it won’t face the pressures of a looming presidential election.
Furthermore, there are reasons to think that it will be easier, procedurally, to get a deal through Congress in 2013. Former senator Phil Gramm explained in the Wall Street Journal that the Budget Control Act that created the supercommittee also “revived” the 1985 Gramm-Rudman Act, “bringing back to life provisions enabling the president and Congress to propose alternatives after the sequester is ordered.” That means that a Republican president could work with Congress to revise the automatic cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act into whatever cuts they desired. Doing so would require only a 51-vote majority in the Senate, instead of the usual 60 required to overcome a filibuster. So the supercommittee’s failure could enable a Republican president, aided by a Republican House and Senate (or even a divided Senate), to address entitlement spending without many of the normal procedural dead ends.
Obviously, that’s a rosy scenario. But it’s probably less rosy than the scenario in which the supercommittee cut trillions in spending without raising any taxes.
Did anyone actually expect anything out of the super committee? Its very existence was a product of Washington dysfunction coupled with the fact that the two parties are very far apart on how to deal with the federal government’s long-term fiscal challenges. Few of its members on either side have much of a reputation for being consensus-builders. They mostly represented their parties’ diametrically opposed views about the role of government.
If no grand Solomonic compromise could be come up with when Republicans and Democrats were negotiating the debt-ceiling statute that created the super committee, what hope did this panel ever have? The smart reaction to any 11th-hour compromise would be to question the math and count the silverware.
Our elected officials have displayed virtually no willingness to confront the unfunded liabilities of the country’s major entitlement programs or annual budget deficits that are larger than the entire federal budget as recently as when Bill Clinton was president.
“It took 40 presidents and nearly two centuries, from George Washington to Ronald Reagan, for the US government to accumulate $1.5 trillion in indebtedness,” observes Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby. “The 44th president - aided and abetted by Congress - enlarges the federal debt by that amount every 12 months.” Barack Obama’s immediate predecessor — and some of those who would like to be his successor — also pushed irresponsible, unsustainable fiscal policies.
Getting beyond the super committee, there is a major dilemma the right must confront that is obscured by all the media sturm and drang about Grover Norquist’s taxpayer protection pledge. There is no reason to imagine the Democrats will accept any serious spending cuts without accompanying counterproductive tax increases designed only secondarily (at best) to raise revenue rather than legislate fairness. Recent history does not give many reasons for optimism that the spending cuts will be particularly serious even if accompanied by real tax increase. The failure of the current tax code to consistently raise enough revenue to fund our existing spending commitment regardless of the rates is a powerful argument for dealing with the matter on the spending side.
Yet there also isn’t much evidence Republicans, much less conservatives, will ever have a firm enough grasp on Washington’s purse strings to achieve meaningful spending reductions on a partisan basis. Sixty Republican senators? A Republican president and House? Striking a deal on revenues means weakening the Republican bargaining position with uncertain results on spending, especially if such a deal broadens the tax base with a VAT or similar contraption. Waiting for the Republicans to have the power to reform entitlements in an enduring way on their own may be waiting for something that will never happen.
Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman was stabbed to death in The Netherlands today. Rotterdam police have his younger brother in custody. He was 24.
The Dutch native was signed by the Mariners in 2004 and played parts of 2010 and 2011 with the big league club. Halman also played with The Netherlands national team during the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Not only has this tragedy curtailed a promising career and a promising life but it may very well destroy his family. How absolutely awful.
The supercommittee is expected to announce this afternoon that it has failed (Washington Post)
Both parties hope to twist the supercommittee’s failure to their advantage (Politico)
President Obama will sign bill creating tax breaks intended to spur hiring of veterans (Politico)
Michelle Obama was booed at a NASCAR event over the weekend (The Hill)
New York man charged with plotting to detonate pipe bombs in New York city was influenced by al-Awlaki (New York Times)
Newt Gingrich unloads both barrels on Occupy Wall Street:
On the main site:
Super Dud, by Jed Babbin: The supercommittee was bound to fail. Naturally, the Pentagon will be the fall guy.
The Democrats’ Waving Hand, by Ross Kaminsky: Super committee failure is preferable to Republicans allowing their focus to drift from the only issue that matters — government spending.
Heroes Forgotten, Lessons Unlearned, by Robert Stacy McCain: Protest mob’s Marxist mentality conjures Cold War memories.
Split Personality, by W. James Antle, III: What the Republican divide over Social Security means for the future of entitlement reform.
Upon Further Review… by Gerald Nachman: How the media does love its monsters.
On the Road Again and Again and Again, by Ben Stein: Not bad except for the horror show in Philadelphia. Happily, there was Mr. Ostrander.
The Euro’s Last Stand, by George H. Wittman: So much for eliminating Germany’s potential for dominating Western Europe.
A Great and Wonderful Experiment, by Andrew Roberts: H.W. Crocker III’s politically correct homage to the British Empire.
With much fanfare, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office reopened its investigation on Friday into the 1981 drowning of actress Natalie Wood.
I still remember hearing about Wood’s disappearance and eventual demise on CBC Radio. At the time, I wasn’t familiar with her movies but I did remember her from a TV commercial which aired shortly before her death and I have never forgotten her face.
I have a feeling that little will come from this investigation. Potential witnesses who may be interviewed are dealing with recollections from thirty years ago. Although forensic technology has advanced considerably, there is no guarantee any new information will come to light should investigators opt to exhume Wood’s body.
As with most things Hollywood, we can expect a great deal of sensationalism and not a great deal of substance in this matter.
Today, Spain’s electorate gave the conservative People’s Party a landslide win ousting the Socialist Party from office. Mariano Rajoy becomes Spain’s new Prime Minister succeeding Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero who came to power in March 2004, three days after the Madrid train bombings.
Although Zapatero was re-elected in 2008, the Spanish economy has been in freefall ever since. For all of the economic problems which have beset Greece and Italy, Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the EU at 22.6%. Zapatero announced he would not seek another term in office back in April and voters took out their anger towards Zapatero on his successor, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba losing nearly sixty seats in the Spanish parliament.
Rajoy won’t be sworn into office until next month but unlike Greece and Italy, he’ll have a solid majority in parliament. The only thing that could constrain the new government at this point would be decisions made in Brussels rather than Madrid.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?