Check out this article in the National Post written by Hillel Neuer, the Executive Director of UN Watch which is a NGO based in Geneva.
Despite the fact there is a food and water shortage in Syria, Olivier de Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on Food, will be turning his attention to Canada. Beginning tomorrow, de Schutter will be north of the border for 11 days to promote the right to food for all Canadians. You know the UN has its priorities backwards if it’s more concerned about access to food in Halifax than in Hama.
Yesterday, The Boston Herald reported that Harvard University acknowledged they have one Native American professor in their faculty but would not say if that faculty member is Democratic Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren. (H/T Michael Warren of The Weekly Standard - obviously no relation).
If the faculty member in question isn’t Warren then Harvard would have simply issued a denial. But they didn’t which leads me to believe that Warren is the only “Native American” faculty member at Harvard. Well, having high cheekbones makes you no more Native American than liking corned beef on rye makes you Jewish.
Now some people might ask, “What’s the big deal here?” But if Warren has misrepresented herself as Native American then how else has she misrepresented herself? This is an entirely reasonable question for Massachusetts voters to ask.
On Saturday night, the moon will be near its closest distance to earth of this year, getting as close as 221,802 miles. Since it is the closest full moon this year, this event is called a “Supermoon”, which appears 14 percent bigger than when the moon is at its furthest from earth.
Especially when the moon is near the horizon, it will look enormous tonight. Should be a fun thing to show your kids, in addition to being worth any astronomy geek’s time, at least for a minute or two.
More info HERE.
Adam Yauch (a.k.a. MCA), a founding member of The Beastie Boys, died today battling cancer for the past several years. He was 47.
Yauch directed many of The Beastie Boys videos as well as several documentaries. He was also a practicing Buddhist and was outspoken in his support for an independent Tibet. Here’s a transcript of an interview Yauch did with the PBS program Frontline about Tibet in the 1990s.
I must admit I’m not a huge Beasties fan or hip-hop in general. But “Fight for Your Right” brings back fond memories of the ninth grade. I hadn’t heard it since about 1987 which is perhaps fitting since the Beasties haven’t performed it in concert since 1987.
The Beastie Boys have come a long way from throwing pies and last month were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
“Julia” appears to have no males in her life — certainly not a husband when, at 31, she “decides to have a child” after disporting herself sexually, consequence-free in previous years, thanks to the wonders of Obamacare. (Where did “Zachary” come from - a test tube?)
Indeed, one must wonder if Julia has a Winston in her life. But then again that’s so 1984. Julia is the proverbial fish who has no need for a bike. Although I’m sure Julia has had her daily dose of the two minutes hate shouting at some guy named Goldstein only to find herself at peace upon seeing President Obama as he calms Oceania.
Reason senior editor Brian Doherty has written a new book called Ron Paul’s rEVOLution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired. My review appears today in Real Clear Books.
As a companion piece to my CFIF column earlier this week on the True the Vote summit held last weekend, here is a stats/examples-filled column for the publication affiliated with the impressive University of Mobile. An excerpt:
More numbers: In Texas, a voter must by law identify a permanent address, but in 2008 alone, 6,178 new registrants were accepted without one. Overall in Texas there are 29,345 names on the rolls with no address. In the town of Nacogdoches, 1,665 are registered from one P.O. Box. Statewide, 74,730 names of dead people remain on the rolls. In Florida, 29,935 dead people are still listed. In the largest county in Wisconsin, only 709,854 people are adults eligible to vote, but a stunning 954,008 names are on the registration lists.
There has been an ongoing discussion, these past few years, among those scholarly opinion-makers in politics, the media and the professoriate that America is in a state of inevitable and irreversible decline.
Let’s call them the “declinists.”
They readily accept the deterioration of U.S. power after the Second World War was hastened by a period of self-delusion that coincided, precisely, with the “remarkable triumphalism of the post-Gulf War '90s,” to echo the words of the declinist-in-chief, Noam Chomsky. China — they say — will become the world’s largest economy over the next decade, and surging giant India boasts a middle class population that’s larger than the entire United States. Doomsday forecasts and sound-bite metrics fuel an industry that’s reached prophetic intensity. Once a cottage industry, this schtick now heats Thomas Freidman’s palatial 11,400 square-foot home — bought and paid for by best-sellers sub-titled “How America Fell Behind in the World it Invented.”
For these folks, the daydream of American exceptionalism has been revealed as fallacy. Countries such as Russia and China threaten to obstruct our supremacy in matters of foreign affairs. Our leadership on the global stage is no longer wanted. Our flat-lining economy is hectored by a broken political system, itself ground to dust by the interminable gridlock of hyper-partisanship.
I know the academic argument backwards and forwards. The end of America’s time in the sun is supposedly presaged by historic failures of each economic behemoth before us. Whether Genoan, Dutch or British, the end of the hegemonic cycle generally coincides with overextension and financial crisis.
But I disagree that this is the end of our turn at the top.
Take a look around… or just scan the front page of your local paper. Where does one look for leadership?Continue reading…
New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera tore the ACL in his right knee yesterday while trying to catch a fly ball during practice in Kansas City prior to last night’s game against the Royals. Rivera could be out for the rest of the season, possibly a career ending injury.
Let’s just say right off the bat that this is the biggest challenge the Yankees have faced in more than 15 years. Rivera has been the Yankees closer since 1997. The Yankees have missed one post-season in his entire big league career. Rivera has 608 career saves, the most in MLB history. The 42-year old Panamanian has been his usual self. At the time of the injury, he was 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA and five saves.
Needless to say, who will the Yankees put out there in the ninth? Rafael Soriano did save 45 games for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010. Soriano struggled in 2011 and although he has pitched better in 2012 his walk totals are a little scary (six walks in nine innings). Being the closer might be shot in the arm he needs.
David Robertson has pitched well as an eighth inning set up man but is untested as a closer. Then again Rivera pitched well as an eighth inning set up man but was untested as a closer after John Wetteland went to Texas after the 1996 season. Robertson hasn’t given up a run in 11 innings pitched this season and has 18 strikeouts to boot. But eighth inning success doesn’t always translate into the ninth and Robertson is an unknown quantity in the ninth as is Phil Hughes who has struggled to regain his form of 2010 when he won 18 games. Hughes has had success in the bullpen as an eighth inning set up man during the Yankees World Series championship season of 2009.
The dark horse in all of this is Joba Chamberlain who dislocated his right ankle while jumping on a trampoline late in spring training. He just got put on the 60-Day Disabled List but could be back late in the season. If Soriano, Robertson and Hughes don’t pan out and they don’t trade for a closer then Chamberlain is an option.
In the grand scheme of things, losing Mariano Rivera is bad for baseball. He is a class act on and off the field and even Red Sox fans cheer for him. That would never happen with Jeter or A-Rod. Mariano Rivera is in a league of his own and it would be shame if this was the way his storied career ended.
UPDATE: Rivera, who had been pondering retirement after this season, vows to return in 2013.
Last night, if you didn’t see it, Sean Hannity had a televised one-on-one with self-proclaimed anarchist Harrison Schultz.The interview was riveting television, and Fox wound up bleeping ….Hannity.
But well beside the theatrical aspects, what Hannity vividly illustrated here was just how confused, intellectually shallow and decidedly greedy leftists really are. Everything is to be “free” and they have a decided chip on their shoulder if it isn’t. Why? Well…just….because. Having a job is unfair. Taking responsibility is unfair. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
The Schultz interview recalled another highly instructive Hannity interview, this one with the Islamic cleric Anjem Choudary, a decided Al Qaeda and Sharia supporter operating out of London. (!!)
If you want a quick, pointed and decidedly educational video lesson in the two biggest problems facing not only America but the West, these two Hannity interviews are a superb summation of what we face domestically and in foreign policy/national security. They tell you in short form everything you need to know about why countries like Greece are falling apart and why there are bombs going off in Afghanistan within hours of a presidential visit.
And yes, the first step out of this nightmare and bringing Morning to America ‘in 2012 boils down to:
Romney v. Obama.
Anyone who struggles with that choice is more confused than Harrison Schultz.
Or, one way or another, they are on his side.
Although the national unemployment rate fell to 8.1% for the month of April, the decline is due not to job growth but declining participation in the labor market. Simply put a critical mass of people have given up looking for work. Consequently, labor market participation is now at its lowest level in more than thirty years with only 63.6% of the adults in the workforce.
Some stimulus plan.
It’s no wonder that President Obama is dancing on Osama’s watery grave and telling people Romney wouldn’t have called the tune. He is a song and dance man. But song and dance men know how to use smoke and mirrors. It’s up to Mitt Romney to make sure this smoke doesn’t get into the eyes of the electorate and find a clear way to tell people that Obama hasn’t done the job he was elected to do.
Congratulations to Colorado Republican House Representative BJ Nikkel who sided with Democrats on the Colorado House Judiciary Committee to approve Senate Bill 2, which would permit same-sex (as long as opposite-sex) civil unions in the state. The Committee’s approval does not guarantee that the measure will get to a full House vote, as it needs to pass two more committees, as well as minor but potentially terminal procedural issues, in a Republican-controlled chamber nearing the end of this year’s legislative session.
The bill includes some sensible provisions:
“A priest, minister, rabbi, or other official of a religious institution or denomination or an Indian nation or tribe is not required to certify a civil union in violation of his or her right to free exercise of religion.”
Parties to a civil union will have many or most of the same responsibilities and rights of married people, including responsibility for financial support,…the ability to inherit property,…the ability to adopt a child,…survivor benefits,…medical directives,…dependent coverage on life and health insurance.
The measure was clearly written with the intention of getting at least a modicum of Republican support, with these key caveats in the legislation itself:
“The Act shall not be construed to create a marriage between the parties to a civil union or alter the public policy of this state that recognizes only the union of one man and one woman as a marriage. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the Act shall not be interpreted to require a child placement agency to place a child for adoption with parties to a civil union.”
I share Rep. Nikkel’s commendable view: “It’s not something I’m passionate about, but I think we ought to move forward and bring it to a vote in the House.”
In particular, I would in fact prefer not to have government involved in marriage in any way, and then allow any two people to make any contract they want to (as long as it’s not a contract aimed to illegally hurt someone else.)
But as long as government has its nose in our private business, I believe there should be “equal protection” regardless of sexual preference.
Furthermore, this is smart politics for Republicans…and especially here in Colorado where two of the biggest funders of leftist candidates are (or have been) gay men: Tim Gill and Jared Polis. While Polis is now in Congress and much less involved in Colorado state-level politics, Mr. Gill remains very active and highly motivated by “gay rights” issues.
[For the record, I don’t believe in gay rights or black rights or Jewish rights or any other rights granted to groups. We have our rights as individual human beings and Americans, not as members of “victim” groups or other politically-targeted segments of society.]
Neutralizing not just Mr. Gill (on this issue, at least) is a good thing. But it’s certainly not the only thing. Whether it’s civil unions or hawkish immigration rhetoric, Republicans too often look intolerant and xenophobic. And it hurts the GOP at the ballot box, so that we’re stuck with Democratic policies in other important areas of government, such as taxation and spending.
I hope that BJ Nikkel is rewarded in her next election, to give some other Republicans the backbone to do what’s right, both morally and politically. I realize this was a tough vote for her, and that more “conservative” and religiously-motivated Republican politicians may disagree for deeply-felt reasons. But for those who vote against civil unions and vote in other ways which cause the GOP reputation for being a party of straight, old white men to persist, I encourage you to ask yourself whether you truly believe your vote or whether you think it’s just what you’re supposed to do, under pressure from a vocal minority intent on imposing morality through government.
It remains uncertain whether this bill will pass (or even reach) the other House committees needed to get to a full floor vote, where it would likely pass given Rep. Nikkel’s support. I hope there are a few other courageous Republicans on those committees. It’s time…past time…to get this done, for reasons of both principle and politics.
In a letter obtained by the Las Vegas Sun, the Republican National Committee’s chief counsel warns the Nevada GOP chairman that if Ron Paul supporters sweep the state convention and wind up taking too many delegate slots it could affect the seating of the state’s delegation in Tampa.
The RNC lawyer advises, “I believe it is highly likely that any committee with jurisdiction over the matter would find improper any change to the election, selection, allocation, or binding of delegates, thus jeopardizing the seating of Nevada’s entire delegation to the National Convention.”
As I wrote on the main site, Paul is moving toward having enough delegates to place his name in nomination at the convention. Even some of the delegates legally bound to other candidates will actually be Ron Paul supporters, including 16 of 19 delegates named at the Massachusetts congressional district caucuses, where Paul forces even beat out former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey. Salon notes the potential for disruption, which the party now may be belatedly taking steps to avoid. It’s likely that Paul will overperform the media delegate counts when he gets to the national convention.
It’s not the Tampa convention politicos are waiting for, but the United Methodist Church is currently holding its General Conference in the Florida city. The largest mainline Protestant denomination has voted against changing the Book of Discipline’s holding that homosexual behavior is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The United Methodists upheld the doctrine by a vote of 61 percent to 39 percent (the New York Times described this as a deadlock). A compromise amendment saying Methodists can agree to disagree on the issue was defeated by a vote of 53 percent to 47 percent.
The votes suggest a working majority coalition between orthodox African delegates and U.S. evangelicals. This has kept Methodists from going in the same liberalizing direction on social issues as the other mainline Protestant churches. It will be interesting to see if this coalition has the votes to yank the United Methodist Church out of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
Last night, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jered Weaver threw a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins en route to a 9-0 victory.
Weaver’s no-no comes less than two weeks after Chicago White Sox pitcher Philip Humber tossed a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners. The 29-year old righty was very nearly perfect. Only two batters reached base against Weaver. After striking out, Chris Parmelee reached first base on a passed ball by Angels catcher Chris Iannetta in the second inning. The only other base runner was Josh Willingham who walked in the seventh. Otherwise, Weaver was dominant striking out nine.
This no-hitter is the tenth in Angels’ history and comes almost exactly fifty years after the late Bo Belinsky (better known for spending his nights with the likes of Mamie Van Doren) spun the first in franchise history against the Baltimore Orioles. Nolan Ryan threw four of the Angels no-hitters while Mike Witt tossed a perfect game against the Texas Rangers on the last day of the 1984 season. Witt would also get credit for pitching the last two innings of Mark Langston’s no-no against the Seattle Mariners early in the 1990 season although those no-hitters would no longer count if they were thrown today. Prior to Weaver’s gem, the most recent Angels no-hitter came last season when Ervin Santana tossed one against the Cleveland Indians.
The Twins have seen better days. They have not scored a run in 19 innings. On Tuesday, the Twins were shutout by journeyman pitcher Jerome Williams. It was Williams’ first big league shutout since 2003. The Twins own the worst record in MLB. The Angels, of course, have had a rough start as well in 2012. But thanks to the Twins they have won three in a row for the first time this season.
As it turns out, Weaver’s next start will also be against Minnesota on Monday when the Angels visit the Twin Cities. Could Weaver be the second coming of Johnny Vander Meer?
Even if Weaver doesn’t throw back to back no-hitters, he has nearly half of the Angels’ 10 wins this season. He is 4-0 and leads the AL in both ERA (1.61) and strikeouts (45). Weaver was the runner up to Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Cy Young Award balloting in 2011. I picked Weaver to win the 2012 AL Cy Young Award. We’ll see where Weaver is at in September but he’s making a good case for himself so far.
Happy birthday tomorrow to George Will and to son Jon, about whom the father writes a wonderful and instructive tribute today. An excerpt:
This era has coincided, not just coincidentally, with the full, garish flowering of the baby boomers’ vast sense of entitlement, which encompasses an entitlement to exemption from nature’s mishaps, and to a perfect baby. So today science enables what the ethos ratifies, the choice of killing children with Down syndrome before birth. That is what happens to 90 percent of those whose parents receive a Down syndrome diagnosis through prenatal testing.
Which is unfortunate, and not just for them. Judging by Jon, the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go. It is said we are all born brave, trusting and greedy, and remain greedy. People with Down syndrome must remain brave in order to navigate society’s complexities. They have no choice but to be trusting because, with limited understanding, and limited abilities to communicate misunderstanding, they, like Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” always depend on the kindness of strangers. Judging by Jon’s experience, they almost always receive it.
Less than a month ago I wrote about similar issues here at The American Spectator, mostly about a book by Amy Julia Becker called A Good and Perfect Gift, about her child with Down syndrome. Excerpts:
What is striking is how often even the most well-meaning of Becker’s acquaintances say things about Penny that made Penny sound like a terrible burden rather than a joy. Especially frustrating were the times medical professionals seemed to assume that a baby with Down would be a baby not worth having. They also, rather insistently, pressured Becker to have various forms of pre-natal testing when she again became pregnant. Becker’s observations tracked closely with what Santorum said in a famously contentiousinterview with the clueless Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation.
Here’s what Santorum said: “We’re talking about specifically prenatal testing and specifically amniocentesis, which is a…procedure that creates a risk of miscarriage when you have it and is done for the purpose of identifying maladies of a child in the womb, which in many cases, in fact, most cases, physicians recommend, particularly if there’s a problem, recommend abortion.”….
Pre-echoing Will, there was this:
And here is Amy Julia Becker: “Every day I become more and more clear that Penny is not a ‘Downs kid.’ Penny is a child with wonderful and fascinating aspects to her personality. Penny is a child who knows and loves her family, who has a big vocabulary and loves books, who blows kisses to anyone who says hello, who is learning to climb stairs, and, oh, yes, Penny is also a child who has Down syndrome.”
This is what is missing from so much cultural commentary today— not just about children born with maladies, but in so many aspects of life — what is missing from the way so many of us look at the world: What is missing is the sense of individuals as individuals, not as part of some larger group category….
We have individual worth as human beings. We have individual worth as children of other men and women who themselves are individuals. We have individual worth, mostly, as children of God. That status, alone, is a good and perfect gift.
George and Jon Will, and Amy Julia Becker and daughter Penny, open our eyes to what is real, and good, and important. Bless them. And please do read Will’s whole column, linked in the opening paragraph above.
Economic data has been mixed and basically stagnant in recent weeks, pointing to an economic recovery which has gone from weak to weaker…and far weaker than we should be seeing at this point in the business cycle, i.e. during a recovery from a deep economic downturn.
On Wednesday morning, the private payrolls firm ADP reported its monthly estimate of private sector employment conditions. The report, for April, came in with a gain of 119,000 jobs, far below the Bloomberg consensus estimate of 183,000 jobs. The prior month was also revised down slightly.
Although the reports do not correlate perfectly, this does not bode well for Friday’s official Labor Department release of the national employment situation. Prior to revisions which may follow the ADP report, the consensus was for 165,000 new jobs to be reported on Friday, including 178,000 new private sector jobs and the loss of 13,000 government jobs.
The unemployment rate is estimated to be unchanged at 8.2 percent, but this is a tricky call because changes in the “participation rate” have had as much impact on changes in the actual number of working Americans in recent months.
The ADP result contrasts with a Gallup survey released minutes after ADP which shows Gallup’s Job Creation Index at its best level since July 2008. Gallup released a separate poll on Thursday which showed a 0.1 percent drop in unemployment from March to April without seasonal adjustments but a substantial rise in the seasonally-adjusted rate.
Also on Thursday, the government’s report on initial jobless claims came in slightly better than expectations, while the prior week’s number was revised upwards (i.e. more unemployed.) For several weeks in a row, new claims for unemployment have come in higher than estimates and most of the revisions have been upward.
And later on Thursday morning, the ISM non-manufacturing report came in below the lowest Bloomberg estimate.
Earlier on the week, on Tuesday, a stronger-than-expected report on manufacturing sent the stock market up to a very strong gain, though more than half of the gain had evaporated by the end of the day. ADP’s weak manufacturing employment number (actually showing a loss of 5,000 jobs) was an odd contrast to the Tuesday report.
On Monday, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index report was substantially weaker than expected, as was the Dallas Fed’s survey of manufacturing. Personal income and spending data, along with recent inflation data, have been roughly in line with expectations — expectations which are typical of moderate-at-best economic growth.
Last Friday, the important GDP report showed an anemic 2.2 percent year-over-year growth, well below the average estimate of 2.5-2.6 percent. You may recall that the stock market did well on Friday, likely because the weak number perversely gave markets hope that the Fed may come back in with “QE3.” We should all hope not; it is remarkable how little the Fed has learned from its failure thus far.
Beyond showing how useless economists are when it comes to estimating what reports will show, the data — to they extent they are consistent with anything — are consistent with the Obama Non-Recovery.
Many months ago, I had the opportunity to be a guest on Larry Kudlow’s TV show. He asked me if I thought we’d see a “V” recovery or a “W” recovery. I said I thought we’d see a “square root” recovery, i.e. a small bounce followed by stagnancy because Obama’s policies would be somewhere between growth-neutral and anti-growth, but certainly not pro-growth.
I’ve been proven right so far, sadly for America.
But if there is a bright side, it is that many of Barack Obama’s 2008 supporters are actually people who would like to have jobs. And other than tenured university professors and their students, who probably represent a good chunk of his support, they must be disappointed at the lack of improvement in employment opportunity under The One.
As for me, I would gladly forgo some, or even much, of the income I hope to make over the next six months if it would mean the defeat of President Obama in November. I realize that many Americans cannot easily afford having little or no income, even for a few months, and that the Obama economy is a true hardship for many.
But wouldn’t it be better to have a weak economy for six more months, allowing the election of a president and members of Congress who will bring in pro-growth policies, than to have the re-election of Obama and another four years of financial repression, persistently high unemployment, and the tyranny of executive agencies out to “crucify” anybody who disagrees with them?
Although two years ago, when liberals said I wanted the American economy to do relatively badly in order to have the political issue, I said they were wrong. And they were wrong, because nearly three years is too long to want the American people to suffer no matter how beneficial the eventual result. But when we’re talking about a few months instead of a few years, my view has changed. At this point, I do in fact hope that the economy doesn’t improve so that Obama loses.
The bottom line, though, is that what I hope is irrelevant. More important is that the Obama administration’s policies, and those of his henchmen in Congress, are antithetical to economic prosperity. To the extent that there is any job growth, it is a testament to the American spirit, and it is happening in spite of, not because of, Barack Obama.
I may be projecting, but I think Americans are realizing that and may indeed be willing to admit they were wrong in 2008 to elect a man whose economic views were so explicitly redistributionist and unAmerican.
If the economic data persist as disappointing as they’ve been recently, the economy may be Mitt Romney’s strongest selling point — which plays right into his technocrat, businessman wheelhouse.
One important thing to keep in mind is that the stock market and the economy (particularly employment) are related, but not the same. In particular, large corporations can find economies of scale and efficiencies which can lead to increased profits without increased employment. Thus, a strong stock market, especially in the large-cap sectors (the biggest companies), does not imply broader economic prosperity — and certainly does not imply better employment since those efficiencies are often achieved by firing people. The flip side of the coin is that a stagnant economy does not mean that stock prices are “wrong” for being relatively strong. An argument can be made that if a Republican president is elected, the EPA stopped, and Obamacare turned back, stocks may be very cheap here.
I blogged about this earlier today.
John Boehner enters the fray, with a statement of perfect pitch. Part of it:
I am deeply disturbed by the most recent report by the Associated Press, which suggests Chen Guangcheng was pressured to leave the U.S. embassy against his will amid flimsy promises and possible threats of harm to his family. In such a situation, the United States has an obligation to stand with the oppressed, not with the oppressor.
Well done, Mr. Speaker
Former NFL linebacker Junior Seau died today of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Oceanside, California. He was 43.
After playing with distinction at USC, the San Diego Chargers made him their top pick in the 1990 NFL Draft. He was the fifth overall pick in the nation (quarterback Jeff George was the number one pick by the Indianapolis Colts that year). Seau played twenty seasons in the NFL with the Chargers as well as with the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots. He was a 12 time Pro Bowler and went to the Super Bowl with the Chargers in 1995 and with the Pats when they went 16-0 in 2008 but did not earn a ring. Seau retired after the 2009 season at the age of 40.
Following his retirement, Seau starred in a short-lived reality series called Sports Jobs with Junior Seau which aired on Versus. Seau did things such as working as a caddy for an LPGA golfer, on a pit crew for an Indycar driver and as a bat boy for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In October 2010, Seau made headlines when he drove off a cliff and survived a fall of more than 100 feet. The incident happened only hours after he had been arrested on a domestic violence charge. Seau told authorities that he had fallen asleep behind the wheel but in light of today’s events one cannot be so sure.
Early on in his playing career, Seau established the Junior Seau Foundation which has disseminated nearly $4 million in funds to organizations helping children and young adults. Under the circumstances, one can only hope this work will carry on.
UPDATE: As it turns out, Seau is the eighth member of the 1994 Chargers AFC Championship team to have passed away and the third member to have died in the past two years. When Natron Means learned of Seau’s death he said, “Not again.” What else could be said?
The best linebacker for the longest time in NFL history, period. And clearly a man who, even if troubled, had a great big heart and who did an awful lot of good off the field. What a crying shame.
John Guardiano took the words right out of my mouth with his headline, “Obama’s Latest Campaign Stop: Kabul, Afghanistan”.
President Obama’s address to the troops would have been fine on its own. But the fact that it comes while his campaign is asserting that Mitt Romney would not have authorized the raid which resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden cheapens both the occasion and the office of the presidency. Our troops deserve better than to be used as political props by President Obama.
As former Attorney General Michael Mukasey noted in The Wall Street Journal, we would have never seen this sort of behavior from Dwight Eisenhower or Abraham Lincoln, whom Obama is fond of quoting and, for that matter, George W. Bush, whom Obama is not fond of quoting.
Mukasey also notes that if the operation had failed the buck would not have stopped with President Obama. There would have been a fall guy. In this case, it would have been left to Admiral William McRaven, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, to fall on his sword:
A recently disclosed memorandum from then-CIA Director Leon Panetta shows that the president’s celebrated derring-do in authorizing the operation included a responsibility-escape clause: “The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven’s hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out.”
Which is to say, if the mission went wrong, the fault would be Adm. McRaven’s, not the president’s.
So much for that “new era of responsibility” President Obama spoke about when he was inaugurated. It seems to me that President Obama has a different understanding of what responsibility means than most of us. For Obama, when things go wrong he takes none of the blame and when things go right he takes all of the credit. It is the sort of thing you can expect of someone who thinks the world around him.
President Obama simply does not grasp that there’s no “I” in Team Six.
Kevin Mooney did a good job here blogging on the True the Vote summit last weekend in Houston, so some of this will be repetitive, but… here, at this link, is my first full-column take on the event, with another one coming soon in a different forum.
Here’s a taste:
The summit itself featured a combination of excellent training (for those who will organize poll watchers) and superb speeches by a plethora of luminaries including journalist John Fund, author of Stealing Elections, Justice Department whistleblower J. Christian Adams, author of Injustice, and longtime Democratic pollster Pat Caddell. The latter fired up the crowd with his insistence that existing vote fraud is widespread and “nothing less than the political equivalent of treason” and “a bullet at the heart of what this country is about” – while also expressing amazement that Attorney General Eric Holder has not yet been “impeached” for “corrupt[ing]” the Justice Department “in the service of every bizarre ideology you can imagine.”
Also, please do link through in order to get the full flavor of my account of the impressive speech by Democratic former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama. If Mitt Romney wins this fall, there really ought to be a Cabinet post of high-level sub-Cabinet position for him in the new administration.
If anybody, anybody with sense, actually believes that Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng is happy to be staying in China, or that he and his family will be safe for longer than a few months, that person is, in the old terminology, a “useful idiot” for the Communist cause. The American agreement that sends Chen back from the U.S. Embassy is a craven capitulation to Chinese Communist thuggishness.
What should have been done? The United States ought to have demanded that China also provide safe haven for Chen’s family and offered asylum to all of them within the United States. The Obama administration ought to have made clear that the fate of this family is of paramount importance, and that it will continue to highlight their situation, and thus embarrass China, for as long as it takes to get them free.
But this administration has no moral courage. This administration lets Iranian freedom fighters be slaughtered. This administration drags its feet in protecting Syrians being butchered. This administration has failed to speak up effectively for prominent dissidents in Cuba and China. This administration is an embarrassment.
From Veterans for a Strong America:
It’s difficult not to view the president’s surprise visit to Afghanistan as little more than just another domestic political campaign ploy. The trip, after all, comes only a day after the president and his reelection team tried to make political hay out of the Navy Seals’ killing of bin Laden.
Obama, moreover, long ago abandoned any pretense to governing and has said disconcertingly little about Afghanistan.
Sure, in 2009 he announced a troop surge — but only after dithering for months while the situation there deteriorated. Worse yet, at the very time Obama ordered more troops into battle, he was undercutting them by announcing a date certain for their withdrawal. He then fired the commanding general there, Stanley McChrystal, because McChrystal expressed some mild disappointment in his civilian chain of command.
Gen. Petraeus (and later Gen. Allen) took over in Afghanistan and Obama has since all but forgotten about the place — except to announce that we will be leaving soon, in 2014. And now, all of a sudden, while in the midst of a fierce reelection campaign, the president trumpets “his” killing of bin Laden (sic) right before descending into Kabul.
His message: peace in our time.
My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The Iraq War is over. The number of our troops in harm’s way has been cut in half, and more will be coming home soon. We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan, while delivering justice to al Qaeda.
Maybe, but with the Islamic world in turmoil, Syria in flames, the Iranian mullahs still in power, and al Qaeda far from dead, it may be premature to say that America’s decade of war has passed. Obama is basking in the glow of successes initiated by his predecessor, George W. Bush. But there remain a host of problems — including Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea — that Obama has bequeathed to his successor, Mitt Romney.
Ashley Parker, the sister of beaten man Matthew Owens, called to politely correct the record on some things I reported yesterday. Note that these are all in the “he said/she said” category, meaning I was careful not to report these things as facts in the first place, but as the reports from several witnesses. That said, Ms. Parker said that the incident reported by one neighbor, a supposedly racially charged confrontation two days before the beating, did not involve her brother but instead involved a neighbor. She also said, despite some speculation to the contrary, that her brother had not been drinking that day, had not drunk anything in quite some time, and had no alcohol in his blood when he was taken to the hospital after the beating.
The good news is that Mr. Owens, while still not feeling great, is feeling far better than he felt when he was readmitted to the hospital yesterday.
The police continue to diligently re-interview people to try to get a better sense of what happened. I need to make another thing clear: I do not think the police are failing to take this case seriously. I said I suspect “a bit of a cover-up” because of the repeated official statements that race played no role in the incident. In other words, the part being covered up is the nature of the attack — one which is neither entirely racial (by any means) nor completely devoid of racial animus. The important thing is not to over-emphasize the racial part of this, but to put the whole thing in context, learn from it — and help figure out who did what and by what motives, which is always a consideration in deciding whether to press charges for a crime.
What’s a 19-year old single male with a mohawk to do in Washington, D.C. on a Monday night? Why look for a baseball game of course. Failing that crashing a softball game between the World Wildlife Fund and the Alliance to Save Energy would have to do. Well, that’s if you’re Washington Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper. It isn’t quite Willie Mays playing stickball in Harlem but it’s still pretty cool.
Harper, of course, made his MLB debut with the Nats on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine to heavy jeering. Despite not getting the red carpet treatment, in his first two big league games, Harper has gone 2 for 6 with an RBI double along with a spectacular catch and a perfect throw to home plate. Needless to say, there will be a much friendlier reception for Harper when he makes his debut at Nationals Park tonight against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Doubling down on his new role as Decider, Barack Obama will give a speech from Afghanistan at 7:30 this evening on the anniversary of the bin Laden strike. The president is on firm ground taking credit for signing off on a raid that killed one of America’s deadliest sworn enemies. It is his campaign’s characterization of Mitt Romney’s views on going after bin Laden that should be in dispute.
In any event, if the president plans to “spike the football,” here is my advice on how to do it.
With today being the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden, I have a piece up today on the mainpage concerning how Obama and company tout how Mitt Romney wouldn’t have given the order to raid bin Laden’s compound while at the same time negotiating with the Taliban and declaring the War on Terror to be over.
Prior to writing the article, I had seen Lesley Stahl’s 60 Minutes interview with Jose Rodriguez, the former CIA Director of Clandestine Operations. I wanted to work it into my piece but I just didn’t have the room. Nevertheless, the interview is worth commenting upon in its own right. Consider this question Stahl asked about the treatment 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed received at the hand of CIA interrogators:
Stahl: Did you make him wear diapers?
Rodriguez: Diapers? I don’t recall specifically. But diapers is something that is approved.
Stahl: It’s so humiliating.
Rodriguez: It’s standard. Standard. Yeah.
When Stahl admonishes Rodriguez for humiliating KSM it’s as if she’s taking a teacher to task for being too hard on a third grader. Her grandmotherly tone made me think she wanted offer KSM milk and cookies to make him feel better.
For his part, Rodriguez wisely reminded Stahl that this was the man who killed Daniel Pearl:
He slit his throat in front of a camera. I don’t know what type of man it takes to cut the throat of someone in front of you like that, but I can tell you that this is an individual who probably didn’t give a rat’s ass about having water poured on his face.
As Rodriguez was saying this, a look of sadness came over Stahl’s face. She closed her eyes and tightened her jaw. I don’t know if she knew Daniel Pearl personally but it was only at that moment that she seemed to comprehend the vicious nature of KSM. Aside from that moment however, Stahl was full of the sort of sanctimony that has come to exemplify 60 Minutes and the mainstream media at large.
What is so troubling about Stahl’s sanctimony is that if she were to offer KSM milk and cookies he would thank her by doing to her what he did to Daniel Pearl.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich released a video thanking his supporters in advance of his press conference suspending the campaign tomorrow. He doesn’t mention Mitt Romney by name but promises to work for the defeat of Barack Obama: “A reelection of Barack Obama would be a genuine disaster.”
Yesterday Eliot Spitzer pronounced himself very impressed with a New Republic article straining to find the Founding Fathers supporting something like the individual mandate. The argument is essentially that because members of the militia had to own guns and provisions were made to keep a relatively small number of seamen from becoming public charges, Congress can require the whole country to purchase health insurance or other goods. (Note to self: refrain from making joke about Spitzer and seamen.)
But the 1798 Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen doesn’t exactly require the purchase of health insurance. As Dave Kopel explained when this chesnut first made the rounds, the legislation actually imposes a tax to be withheld by the employer and turned over to the Treasury on a quarterly basis, to be spent by Congress. There had also been previous federal laws requiring ship owners to provide health care for seamen or pay for their care while in port. And this is all limited to one regulated industry, not the entire U.S. population or workforce.
The firearms requirement of the 1792 Militia Act was much broader, since at the time the militia was free white men between the ages of 18 and 45, subject to some exceptions. But that law was rooted in Congress’ power to raise and organize a militia under Article I, section 8, clause 16 of the Constitution. Everyone outside the militia was exempt and there was broad latitude as to how the weapons could be obtained. (By the way, I look forward to future Eliot Spitzer articles arguing for universal firearms ownership or the proposition that the Alien and Sedition Acts were constitutional because John Adams signed them.)
“Offering the militia duty as a precedent for the individual insurance mandate is revealing,” writes Randy Barnett. “For it highlights the fundamental question posed by this case: does every citizen of the United States serve at the pleasure of the Congress of the United States in the same manner as a draftee serves in the military?”
The individual mandate rests on such assumptions, or at the very least a general police power for the federal government. The ratifying public would not have approved the Constitution if they believed it contained such powers. That, and not some magical attempt to determine what the Founders would do today, is what matters. Who delegated these powers?
Well, April is in the books for MLB. The most striking story to come out of MLB in the first month of the season took place in Los Angeles. Specifically, I refer to the contrast in performance between the sluggers from the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels and consequently the teams.
Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp had a banner month. Kemp, who signed an eight year contract extension with the Dodgers worth $160 million in the off season, hit .417 with 12 home runs and 25 RBI. His OBP is .490. That means he effectively reaches base in half of his plate appearances. Even so, I am surprised he’s only walked 13 times and hasn’t been issued an intentional walk yet this season. Kemp will surely be named NL Player of the Month.
However, if one were to drive south on I-5 to Anaheim, the same cannot be said for Albert Pujols. April is a month Pujols and the Angels would just as soon forget. Like Kemp, Pujols had exactly 98 plate apperances in April. Unfortunately, Pujols hit exactly 200 points below Kemp. That’s right. For the month of April, Pujols hit .217 with no home runs and only 4 RBI. The Angels, of course, signed Pujols to a 10-year deal worth $254 million.
It’s probably no surprise that the Dodgers and Angels are going in opposite directions. What is a surprise is the respective directions in which they are going. The Dodgers, fresh off years of ownership turmoil, own the best record the NL, going 16-7 in April. They currently have a 3½ game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL West. Conversely, the Angels despite signing Pujols and former Texas Rangers starter C.J. Wilson are in last place in the AL West with an 8-15 record in April. They are currently 9 games back of the two time AL champion Rangers.
But baseball is a funny game and there is much more to come. Fortunes can change fast over six months. So it would not come as a surprise to me in the least if Pujols finished the 2012 season with more home runs than Kemp and if the Angels did better than the Dodgers at season’s end.
Last week, news broke that Harvard Law had cited Warren as a minority hire — a Native American — when it was under criticism for lack of faculty diversity in 1996. Asked Friday for proof of her Indian ancestry, Warren’s said it’s part of her family “lore.”
She also said she couldn’t “recall” if she’d ever claimed minority status when applying for a job and that she’d never known of Harvard’s 1996 boast until Friday. When Brown’s campaign demanded that Warren apologize for taking part in a “diversity sham,” she said her campaign is searching for “evidence” of her Native American lineage.
Warren’s tax returns also suggest that this heroine of the 99 percent is, contrary to Occupy family lore, a member of the 1 percent. She also recently had to admit she didn’t pay the voluntary higher Massachusetts income tax rate, preferring to benefit from Republican tax cuts like everyone else.
It’s stories like these that give the “Mainstream Media” such an incredibly bad — fatally bad — reputation. So bad that they lose audience and all manner of one-time media powerhouses like the New York Times are struggling to survive.
In this case it’s this story now posted over at MSN Money. The story by Douglas A. McIntyre, headlined “5 Most Damaged Brands Right Now,” says this in its subhead:
Superlatives have been used to describe these products, places and people, though not all the adjectives have been positive. What makes a brand’s value fall?
The story features as number two none other than — Rush Limbaugh. The reason given for his “damaged brand” is, of course, the Sandra Fluke business and the resulting artificial push by every left-wing wacko with someone else’s bucks in their pocket to push Rush off the air. As we detailed here in “The Plot to Get Rush.”
Mentioned exactly nowhere in this story is that The Plot to Get Rush — failed. Failed miserably.
Not only did Rush’s audience understand exactly the game that was being played with Rush, they rallied to him immediately, taking their wrath out on his much advertised handful of departing sponsors. As we noted, one sponsor, Sleep Train, was hit so hard by Rush’s audience they begged Rush to let them come back — and Rush, understandably, refused.
Most notable in the “not mentioned” category of this MSN story is that Rush’s audience has increased between 10%-60%! With seven new sponsors signing on!
In short — there was no damage to Rush’s “brand.” He sails on, buoyed by a terrifically loyal audience of some 20 million a week. Make that now 20 million-plus.
The damaged brand here?
MSN Money for posting such a hilarious untruth — and thinking no one would notice.
I don’t know what’s more remarkable: that a former high-ranking CIA operative wrote this article, or that the Washington Post agreed to run it:
Citizen activists who are working to safeguard the integrity of America’s election system should know they will be outspent and viciously maligned by left-wing pressure groups in 2012. But they should also know that they are on the right side of the history and that they are winning.
This was the central message John Fund, a TAS senior editor, and J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department attorney, conveyed to audience members at the “True the Vote” Summit held this past weekend in Houston, Texas.
True the Vote was founded after the 2008 elections in response to ACORN-led efforts that resulted in voter registration fraud. Since then, the group has developed an “exportable model” used to train poll workers across the country so they can identify and root out corrupt practices at the ballot box.Continue reading…
That’s what two (black) witnesses to the Mobile mob beating of Matthew Owens said a lot of people on the scene were yelling when they came up, just in time to see Owens’ pursuers run into the yard behind him. The yard is bordered by high bushes, so it is difficult to see, especially at dark, what is going on behind the bushes if you are not already there or looking in via the driveway.
But the witnesses said, first, that about 20, maybe 25 people poured into the yard. And with that many people in a yard with very little egress opportunity, it is clear that the mere presence of all those people, unless they were there to stop the attackers, would have the effect of cornering Owens. They said, second, that there was so much yelling that it was difficult to tell what the predominant message of the yellers was, but that some bpeople were clearly yelling to call the police and to not go into the yard — remarks presumably aimed at the attackers as well.
In other words, at least some people on the scene were, by this telling, trying to act responsibly.
My witnesses said they don’t know how long the beating went on. They vamoosed back down the block to call the police — but the police came onto the scene very quickly, so somebody else probably already made the call.
Finally, let it be said that there does seem to be a bit of the equivalent of omerta going on here: No matter how many people were around that night, nobody seems to be able to identify a single other person who was on the scene. Everybody to whom I’ve spken who says they were on the scene says they weren’t part of the crowd in the yard, that they didn’t know who any of the pursuers were, that they can’t identify even those who tried to do the right thing, and that it was all a big jumble.
But there were about 20 people in the yard. Some of them apparently were trying to do the right thing. Those same people should do the right thing now by telling the police exactly who else was there and exactly what happened. And police should find ways to make them feel safe in doing so.
For those of you who check the Spectacle blog pages during the day but don’t revisit AmSpec’s main page, I would like to alert you to an article posted on the main page mid-day today (Monday) reacting to the NY Times and “reporter” Johathan Weisman’s simply terrible article about House Budget Committe Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).
I hope you read it, and that you then understand (though readers of these pages certainly do already) why the NY Times Corporation’s stock price is hovering just above its all-time low.
It’s no coincidence that the least taxed and least regulated sector of the American economy, high-tech, is also the most dynamic and successful. Think Apple, Google, smart phones, e-book readers, and electronic tablets. The economic benefits of American high-tech innovation are significant. High-tech has dramatically lowered transaction costs, while effecting a big increase in workplace productivity.
So it’s not surprising that our progressive elite and other denizens of big government have high-tech in their crosshairs. They’re concerned, you see, that Apple and other high-tech companies don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes.
Why, high-tech is even (brace yourself) “’sidestepping’ billions of dollars in taxes by setting up subsidiary companies in tax-free or low-tax states and countries.”
Of course, companies have always sought to minimize their tax burden; but instantaneous communications and digital technology mean that capital today is more mobile than ever. Consequently, companies — and especially high-tech companies such as Apple — are increasingly able to move their money and operations overseas and across state lines: to places where the confiscatory arm of the state is less onerous and less burdensome.
The result has been a technological boon, which has benefited people the world over. There has, however, been one big loser in all this, and that is the bureaucratic state, which can’t seem to gets it hands on elusive high-tech money.
So it is that the pied piper of liberalism, the New York Times, has published a long and lengthy lament of the government’s failure to confiscate high-tech wealth.
The Times editorializes against high-tech under the rubric of “objective journalism.” This means simply that it quotes the right people to give voice to its prejudices — people such as De Anza College President Brian Murphy.
“When it comes time for all [of] these companies – Google and Apple and Facebook and the rest — to pay their fair share, there’s a knee-jerk resistance, Mr. Murphy said. “They’re philosophically anti-tax, and it’s decimating the state [of California].
“But I’m not complaining,” he added. “We can’t afford to upset these guys. We need every dollar we can get.”
In other words, America’s high-tech sector is responsible for California’s fiscal crisis and economic decline, because high-tech companies don’t pay enough in taxes. And, worse yet, high-tech companies are holding the state of California hostage to their own selfish economic interests.
That well encapsulates the liberal worldview: The problem is never that the state spends too much and over regulates; it is that entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, and innovative companies such as Apple, are insufficiently patriotic.
Of course, this isn’t true. The truth is that Apple, Google, Facebook and other high-tech companies generate untold billions of dollars in economic activity.Continue reading…
A decidely groggy, unwell-looking Matthew Owens, victim of a beating nine days ago in Mobile, AL, had finally been released from the hospital — but less than 90 minutes ago he was returned to the hospital while looking glassy-eyed and complaining of headaches, dizziness, and a severe inability to “keep down” any food.
Meanwhile, it is still true that only one man has been arrested, and he is out on bail. Police say they expect no more than three more arrests, if that. Owens himself is not clear on how many people actually struck blows against him, reportedly, other than that at least three did so.
Further interviews today, with several black residents of the street, produced a cloudy picture. First, some background as described by the interviewees: At one and the same time, the block was described as usually friendly and as the site of several other horrid events in recent years. One man was stabbed to death two years ago (reportedly 14 stab wounds), and another man shot. But neighbors, black and white, also report little in the way of overtly racial feelings or disputes — except as relates to Mr. Owens. One black resident said that Mr. Owens is usually “good as gold, man, good as gold” — except when Owens has been drinking, a weakness that has shown up in several items on Mr. Owens’ arrest record.
On the other hand, residents confirm the reports about black teens sometimes or often refusing to clear the street of their basketball games in order to let cars pass — and they also, uniformly, accuse Mr. Owens of using the “n” word numerous times. One neighbor reported that police were called just two days before the beating to investigate a racially charged confrontation involving Mr. Owens, but one that involve no violence.
As it was, one direct witness (all these witnesses are black) who arrived at the scene about halfway through the assault said by the time he got there he observed only one man beating Mr. Owens. On the other hand, one black interviewee whose family member arrived on scene before the first blow was struck (but after the verbal confrontation had already escalated significantly) said the family member definitely observed an adult and a number of teens beating Mr. Owens. Repeat: Despite police reports to the contrary, this second-hand source does confirm that multiple attackers were directly involved. All interviewed (and there weren’t a large number interviewed) said that at least 15 people were on the scene, but how many were just curious and how many were either involved directly in the violence or egging it on remains a point of dispute.
Not a single person denied that racial animus was involved, although most said that it stemmed fromContinue reading…
I had not heard about Tim McCarver’s riff on global warming causing an increased number of homeruns. There’s a reason for that. As much as I love baseball, I try to avoid watching games covered by the dynamic duo of McCarver and Joe Buck. Indeed, when the Red Sox have been in the post-season I turn the sound down and listen to Joe Castiglione on WEEI instead.
This isn’t to say that weather doesn’t play a role in how many homeruns get hit or don’t get hit. The wind can all the difference between a three run homerun and a third out of the inning. Indeed, the air in Denver is so thin that over the past few seasons baseballs are placed in a humidor to reduce the number of homeruns that were hit at Coors Field.
But in recent years, homeruns have been declining. In 2009, 5,042 homeruns were hit in MLB. That figure fell to 4,613 in 2010 and fell again to 4,552 last season. So from 2009 to 2011, homeruns have declined by more than 10%.
“That pitch wasn’t down and in, that pitch was down and up.”
“Watch Darren Daulton use his mitt like a glove.”
“Yankee pitchers have had great success this year against Cabrera when they get him out.”
The thing about McCarver that stands out for me was something he said during the pre-game show of the 2003 All-Star Game at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. He said that in order to have success at the All-Star Game you needed to have experience. Well, the hero of the 2003 All-Star Game was first time Texas Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock, a first time All-Star, who hit a two run homerun off Los Angeles Dodgers closer Eric Gagne in the bottom of the 8th to give the American League a 7-6 victory. It was Gagne’s only blown save that season and he would go on to win the 2003 NL Cy Young Award. As for Blalock, it was his first full season in the bigs. So much for needing experience to succeed in the All-Star Game.
A word to the wise to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who seems very eager to be chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate: If you veto the new voter-ID bill now before you, then fuhgeddaboutit!!!
What sort of pathetic excuse for a conservative does not understand that requiring voters to show IDs is fair, wise, sensible, reasonable, and desperately necessary for the integrity of our elections?
Yet McDonnell still is unsure whether he will sign the bill, worrying entirely about spurious objections that basically amount to excuses, as if he somehow fears the Occupy crowd.
As this Washington Post story explained, Virginia legislators carefully considered the governor’s suggestions, and accepted some of them while rejecting the one about voter signatures for the patently obvious and sensible reason that it would turn polling officials into handwriting analysts with no training, and open up decisions to widespread lawsuits.
Look, Guv’ner: 64% of Americans support photo ID laws. Voter fraud is rampant, with 46 states featuring vote-fraud prosecutions in the past decade. And career Democrats such as former Rep. Artur Davis and longtime pollster Pat Caddell says IDs are essential for the integrity of the vote.
Do you really want Virginia to be to the left of Rhode Island when it comes to voter ID?
Get some backbone, Gov. McDonnell. As Robin Williams’ character asked in Dead Poets Society, “are you a man, or an amoeba?”
I was sorry to read in Aaron Goldstein’s blog that Bill “Moose” Skowron has gone to that great dugout in the sky. Another of my boyhood baseball cards has left us.
Skowron was a good hitter, traded by the Yankees to the Dodgers after the 1962 season. It must have been a great pleasure for the Moose when the Dodgers swept the Yankees in the 1963 World Series with Skowron hitting .385.
In the fifties there were two Major League Baseball players nicknamed Moose. Walt Dropo was called Moose because he was from Moosup, Connecticut. Skowron was called Moose because he looked like one. Then there’s the business of the boot camp buzz cut his grandfather gave him. Because of the look, people started calling him Mussolini, which, with the help of the facial resemblance, got shortened to Moose.
Dropo, also a power-hitting first baseman, died in 2010.
Fox baseball sportscaster Tim McCarver is one of the better talking jocks. He’s a fairly bright and articulate fellow. He usually doesn’t prattle too badly on air. And from time to time he actually says something insightful or entertaining about the game. But he did his reputation great harm Saturday during a Milwaukee Brewers/St. Louis Cardinals game when he said that global warming is causing more home runs in baseball.
Here’s the direct quote: “It has not been proven, but I think ultimately it will be proven that the air is thinner now, there has been climatic changes over the past 60 years in the world, and I think that’s one of the reasons balls are carrying much better now than I can remember.”
Before ascending to the broadcast booth, McCarver put together a fine 21-year career as a major league catcher. This uncharacteristic but really dumb observation makes me wonder how many of Tim’s 1900+ games he caught without wearing a mask.
Stick to color and game strategy, Tim.
1. Osama bin Laden has already assumed a starring role in the 2012 presidential election, with Barack Obama taking credit for ordering the hit on the 9/11 mastermind and Mitt Romney’s camp zinging the president for politicizing the issue. (Note the cameo appearances by Bill Clinton and John McCain.)
The bin Laden strike was an obvious political plus for the president, though not one that had much impact on his overall numbers. But this does reignite the debate over whether Bush-era Republicans took their eye off the ball on al Qaeda in their focus on going to war with countries like Iraq. Romney could point out that Obama ended up keeping most of Bush’s national security policies, but that would undermine his attacks on the president as weak relative to Republican leadership.
2. Newt Gingrich was expected to drop out of the Republican presidential race Tuesday. Now some reports are suggesting his departure will come Wednesday. May Day is for commies, anyway. Gingrich had hoped to land some blows against Romney now that Rick Santorum is out of the race, but instead finished third or worse in all but one primary held last week. He is expected to endorse Romney for president.
3. There have been questions as to why Santorum hasn’t endorsed Romney yet. Many observers expect an endorsement to come in time, after reflection and suitable breathing space. But given Ron Paul’s recent under-the-radar success at gathering delegates — he dominated the Louisiana caucuses Saturday after coming in last in the state’s primary earlier this year — I wonder if Romney might not prefer that Santorum hold on to his delegates for now.
4. Marco Rubio’s foreign policy speech this week heightened speculation that he is near the top of Romney’s list of vice presidential prospects. But let’s not count out Kelly Ayotte, the Republican senator from New Hampshire. Romney and Ayotte are scheduled to appear together tomorrow morning in Portsmouth. Romney’s lieutentant governor in Massachusetts was a woman, as was a majority of his cabinet.
5. Speaking of New Hampshire, will the Granite State’s House seats keep flipping back and forth between the parties depending on which way the pendulum swings? The latest polling makes it look that way.
6. Richard Lugar has definitely gone on the offensive in his primary with Richard Mourdock. Lugar and Mourdock have even invoked dueling poll numbers, differing as to who is favored to win the Republican nomination. Lugar was first elected in 1976 and this race is considered the biggest Tea Party pickup potential this year.
On Saturday, 19-year old Bryce Harper made his MLB debut with the Washington Nationals. He was called up as a result of Ryan Zimmerman being put on the 15-Day DL after injuring his shoulder.
Harper was the first round pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. It was fitting that Harper should make his MLB debut with Stephen Strasburg pitching for the Nats. Strasburg was the number one pick in the 2009 MLB Draft.
After bouncing out to the pitcher in the top of the second and flying out to left field in the top of the fifth, Harper got his first big league hit in the top of the seventh when he hit a long double over Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp’s head. Harper ran hard to second base. He’s got a little Pete Rose in him.
In the bottom of the seventh, Harper flashed his arm. After A.J. Ellis singled, Harper fired a strike from left field to home plate but Jerry Hairston, Jr. knocked the ball out of Wilson Ramos’ glove and tied the game 1-1. Harper’s gun is almost as good as Rick Ankiel’s. Of course, when Mike Morse returns to the lineup it could be Ankiel who is the odd man out.
Harper then drove in his first big league run on a sacrifice fly in the 9th giving the Nats a 2-1 lead. The Nats added a run on a single by Ramos.
Unfortunately, the Nats bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. The Dodgers tied it in the bottom of the 9th on a wild pitch by Henry Rodriguez.
The Dodgers won the game in the bottom of the 10th on a walk off homerun by (who else?) Matt Kemp. It was Kemp’s 11th homerun of the season. As Kemp rounded the bases, Dodgers fans were chanting, “MVP!!! MVP!!!”
Well, it’s still April. But I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more from both Matt Kemp and Bryce Harper before the season is done.
I also have a feeling the 19-year old Harper will be facing 49-year old Jamie Moyer. When that happens the generation gap will be but sixty feet, six inches apart.
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?