William Peter Blatty is the author of the deeply thoughtful novel The Exorcist. (The movie tried, but didn’t quite, capture the depth of theology in the novel; the movie is now remembered mostly as a rather graphic horror flick, but it really was far better than that.) Now Blatty has taken up a massive cudgel against his (and my) alma mater, Georgetown University, for its repeated affronts to people of Christian and particularly Catholic faith which — after including the draping of the Jesuit cross in order for President Obama to speak on campus — has culminated in yesterday’s featured speaking role for HHS Secretary and religious-freedom assault queen Kathleen Sebelius. As Jenna Johnson reported in the Washington Post, “An invitation to be seated on the commencement stage is one of the highest honors a university can bestow. Especially coveted is the opportunity to address the graduating class.” Yet Georgetown’s increasingly radical President Jack DeGioia, in direct defiance of the Archdiocese of Washington, has defended the Sebelius invitation and basically thumbed his nose at every Catholic bishop in the country and at all the faithful following.
Blatty is justifiably incensed. He offers a petition drive against Georgetown, asks those who ordinarily donate to the school to withhold contributions for at least a year, and promises a canon lawsuit against the university. Among the potential outcomes from the lawsuit would be “relief that may include a declaration by the appropriate ecclesiastical authority that Georgetown University is no longer entitled to call itself a Catholic or Jesuit university.” This would be big stuff. Frankly, my understanding is that it is within the Pope’s authority to order the Jesuits out of Georgetown entirely.
In addition to these potential actions, I would suggest consideration — not a conclusion yet, but definite consideration — of another one: Fire Jack DeGioia.
I write this with heavy heart. Jack and I have always been friendly, ever since my first day on campus as a resident of the building he then served as Resident Director. In many ways he has served Georgetown well in various capacities for something like 35 years. But he has gone well beyond the pale. His defiance is outrageous.
Despite an absurd editorial by the increasingly anti-Catholic-leaning Washington Post, the Sebelius speech has nothing to do with “the free exchange of ideas.” It is patent dishonesty to somehow suggest that a speech at a diploma ceremony does not carry with it a rather explicit honorific. This is not an in-semester speech sponsored by the College Democrats or by an on-campus debating society. This is a university sponsored and sanctioned event — as Johnson wrote, “one of the highest honors a university can bestow.” DeGioia knows this. The Post knows this. To suggest otherwise is errant nonsense, so much a prevarication as to be beneath contempt.
As the Archdiocese noted, DeGioia is being deliberately and flagrantly misdirectional by making the excuse that the invitation to Sebelius went out before the January announcement of the final decision on abortifacient mandate. The fact is, as the statement indicates, that “the mandate was published last August” as a near-final draft rule for public comment. In fact, it was way back in September that the bishops objected and called it “an unprecedented threat to individual and institutional religious freedom.” That was long before the invitation from Georgetown was issued. DeGioia knows this.
It is not just the defense of the invitation by DeGioia that raises the issue of his fitness to continue as president; it is the intellectuall dishonesty represented by the above-described evasions of the truth.
Again, this isn’t just some debate about contraception or even about abortifacients. This mandate is a direct frontal assault on religious liberty — and not just that of Catholics, but of every faith and denomination in the country. It is the very essence of tyranny to force somebody to financially support that which his faith teaches is among the gravest of all sins.
When I was at Georgetown and writing 200 articles for the Georgetown HOYA newspaper, the single biggest feature I did was on the role of the Jesuits at Georgetown. I was/am a Catholic-leaning Anglican, but I was fascinated by the additional moral seriousness at GU that seemed to stem from its Catholic identity. I wish I had the story in front of me, but one of the interviews I did has stuck with me until this day. The legendary Fr. Joseph Durkin, S.J., founder of the school’s American Studies program, author of a multi-volume history of the university, and beloved, active member of the campus community until his death two weeks after his 100th birthday, told me in words that I can repeat almost verbatim from memory even a quarter-century later:
“We are a Catholic and Jesuit University. Because we are a university, we welcome and encourage freedom of thought and of speech. Because we are Catholic and Jesuit, we take specific positions on certain issues. You have every right to speak up against those positions of ours, openly and without fear of repercussion. But we reserve the right to explain to you why you are wrong, and to insist that while you are perfectly free to keep being wrong, we will continue to say publicly why we are right. An example of this is the Communist philosophy, which teaches atheism. It is wrong, and we will say so.”
Jack DeGioia not only is failing to step up and say that Kathleen Sebelius is wrong, but is going in the other direction by providing her a speaking slot that carries with it a widely understood honor (even if not officially an honorary degree). DeGioia thus has moved nearly 180 degrees away from Father Durkin’s wisdom. Shame on him. And shame on the university’s board if it lets him get away with it.
In recent months she has become one of her party’s chief counter-punchers to criticism from Democrats.
She has appeared on TV and written defiant opinion articles, saying that Democrats are accusing Republicans of being anti-women because the Democrats do not want to discuss President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy and the federal debt.
A PRO-BUSINESS APPROACH
Such arguments might be helping Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee to face Obama in the November 6 election.
For months, polls showed Obama with a significant lead over Romney among women, but recent surveys have shown the gap closing. One poll - the CBS/New York Times survey - recently showed Romney with a slight lead among women.
A focus on free-market enterprise runs through McMorris Rodgers’ conservative voting record, which she says reflects her stance that all women, like men, are better served when businesses can flourish without being too burdened by government.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers is definitely one to watch.
Debbie Schlussel is angry about the forthcoming joint cruise between TAS and National Review for amongst other things including Grover Norquist in the proceedings. Then she launched a lengthy tirade against TAS part of which I have highlighted below:
And as for the American Spectator, it’s the same deal. Several American Spectator editors repeatedly attacked me for exposing Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih’s Hezbollah family and the fact that her pageant bids were paid for by PFLP terrorist, immigration defrauder, and FBI Award revokee Imad Hamad. They also attacked me for pointing out that Lara Logan learned the true Islam when she was gang-raped by the Egyptian Muslim “democracy” protesters in Tahrir Square. This little, inconvenient fact got in the way of the magazine’s strong support for the “democracy protesters” and the removal of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (the Spectator’s idiotic Aaron Goldstein actually quoted the New York Times pan-Muslim Marxist Nicholas Kristof to bolster their support).
Well, one can say many things about Debbie Schlussel. Being diligent isn’t one of them.
Alas, Guardiano is content to dismiss the anti-Semitism of some of the protesters. Why? Because The New York Times says so. OK, maybe Nicholas Kristof saw only one anti-Semitic sign. Well, he can take a look at these others. Somehow I find it hard to believe there aren’t more where those came from.
So I didn’t quote Kristof on Egypt much less endorse any argument he was making. In fact, the only time that I have quoted Kristof was to critique an article he wrote concerning his questions for Bahrain’s King Hamad.
With regard to Egypt, as John can attest, we disagreed quite sharply. I wasn’t the only one here at TAS who took a skeptical view towards Egypt. For Ms. Schlussel’s edification, I cite articles written by Ben Stein, Jed Babbin, as well as a thoughtful blog post from Jim Antle.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time Ms. Schlussel has been inaccurate in her characterization of what I wrote (and probably not the last):
As his proof that the 200 Muslims who attacked Logan were operatives of Mubarak, Guardiano cites some Kapo token Spectator Jew, Aaron Goldstein. Goldstein’s “proof” that the attackers were Mubarak “thugs masquerading as protesters”? Well, he links to the terse CBS statement announcing the assault - a statement which says no such thing, doesn’t mention Mubarak, and says absolutely nothing he claims.
Here was my response to Schlussel:
If Ms. Schlussel is going to refer to me as “some Kapo token Spectator Jew” then should do me the courtesy of actually reading what I have written. Not only have I not asserted that the thugs who attacked Logan were pro-Mubarak but I criticized Guardiano when he claimed they were. I also criticized Guardiano when he suggested pro-Mubarak forces produced anti-Semitic signs seen during the protests.
I ended with that post by writing, “And with that I trust that Schlussel will correct the record.”
Well, that was fifteen months ago and I’m still waiting.
Last night I was privileged to participate, along with a number of colleagues in the conservative media, in a taping of tonight’s Hannity TV special vetting President Obama.
Jim Geraghty of National Review Online, David Freddoso of the Washington Examiner, radio host David Webb, journalist Erik Rush, Dr. Alveda King and the Daily Caller’s Michelle Fields take star turns dissecting Obama’s much un-examined autobiography Dreams from My Father, with the rest of us discussing as the show moves along.
Take a look tonight on Fox at 9pm.
And yes…in this space we will be returning to the subject of Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama — and the Romney campaign — next week.
Thanks again to our host, Sean Hannity. He is fearless. Which, of course, is exactly why Mr. Obama seems to be obsessed with Hannity, attacking him in the latest version of Dreams from My Father. At the conclusion of the book’s re-issue is the inclusion of an excerpt from Obama’s second book, The Audacity of Hope in which Obama snarls:
When I see Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity baying across the television screen, I assume that they must be saying what they do primarily to boost book sales or ratings, although I do wonder who would spend their precious evenings with such sourpusses.
Coulter and Hannity as “sourpusses”? This is the laughable description of a deeply irritated president who is used to nothing but the kind of adoring coverage he gets from the mainstream media, where anchors like Chris Matthews get a “thrill” going up their leg whenever Obama speaks.
So tune in to Hannity tonight. We’ll all be baying across the television screen together. Aroooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!
The announcement may come following this afternoon’s game at Wrigley Field against the crosstown rival White Sox as interleague play begins.
Wood, who turns 35 next month, has struggled this season. In nine appearances out of the bullpen, Wood has gone 0-2 with an 8.64 ERA surrendering eight runs in eight and a third innings pitched and has walked more than twice as many batters as he has struck out (11:5).
In a classy move by the Cubs, it looks like Wood will get to pitch one more time in front of Cubs fans before he hangs it up.
Wood was the Cubs first round pick in the 1995 MLB draft and would make his MLB debut in 1998. In his fifth big league appearance, on May 6, 1998, Wood set a National League record and tied a major league record held by Roger Clemens (and later Randy Johnson) by striking out 20 Houston Astros on a one-hit complete game shutout.
Wood won 13 games that season and was named NL Rookie of the Year as the Cubs won the NL Wild Card.
However, injuries would soon become Wood’s constant companion. He missed the entire 1999 season due to Tommy John surgery. In all, Wood would be placed on the Disabled List 16 times including earlier this season due to a sore shoulder.
His best season came in 2003 when Wood won a career high 14 games and led the NL in strikeouts with 266 as he and Mark Prior led the team to the NL Central Division title. Of course, the Cubs were five outs away from going to the World Series in Game 6 of the NLCS until Luis Castillo hit that ball down the leftfield line. What is forgotten is that there was a Game 7 which Wood started. He even hit a two-run homerun in the second inning to tie the game at 3-3. Unfortunately, the Marlins took the lead in the fifth and Wood was removed in the sixth having given up seven runs. There would be no joy in Wrigleyville and Steve Bartman had nothing to do with it.
The Cubs converted Wood into a reliever late in the 2007 season and in 2008 would record 34 saves for the Cubs who won another NL Central title before being dispatched by the Dodgers in the NLDS.
After more than a decade in a Cubs uniform, Wood signed a two-year deal with the Cleveland Indians prior to the 2009 season. However, Wood would be traded to the New York Yankees in mid-2010 where he pitched effectively as an eighth inning set up man for Mariano Rivera. But after the Yankees declined to sign him in 2011, Wood returned to Wrigley.
If not for injuries, Wood could have been amongst the all-time greats. But he certainly had flashes of greatness and never made excuses when things weren’t so great which made him one of the most popular players in Cubs history.
UPDATE: Wood came on in the bottom of the eighth to face Dayan Viciedo and struck him out on a curveball and bid baseball adieu. He was greeted at the dugout steps by his son and teammates amidst a standing ovation. Now that’s ending things on a high note. Well, not completely. The Cubs lost 3-2.
Paul Ryan says he’s “nervous” about the upcoming recall election in his home state of Wisconsin:
Ryan told editors and reporters of The Washington Examiner that the race between Walker and Tom Barrett, the Democratic mayor of Milwaukee, will be close despite a poll released Wednesday by Marquette Law School that shows Walker leading by a comfortable 6 percentage points.
“I’m nervous about it because this is [about] execution, this is turnout, this is too close to call,” Ryan told The Examiner. “But I would rather be Scott Walker than Tom Barrett at this point.”
While it’s always good to refrain from counting one’s unhatched chickens, Congressman Ryan can calm his nerves a bit. Including Marquette Law’s, there have been four polls taken since last week’s primary, and all show Walker in the lead by between 4 and 9 points.
Last week Dave Weigel visited Wisconsin and marveled at the broad coalition of enthusiastic Walker supporters, writing that the Walker campaign “is what every Republican presidential candidate tried and failed to build. There’s a perfect link-up here between Tea Party, Republican Party, and megadonor.” Walker and his allies have a significant financial advantage, and Wisconsin Democrats are complaining that the Democratic National Committee and the Obama campaign aren’t giving them any help. (Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin suspects that Democrats at the national level see the race as a lost cause.)
The recall fight began with a fight over the power of public sector unions, but the Democrats aren’t even trying to run on that cause anymore. As Brett Healy of the Madison-based MacIver Institute tells Weigel, “I must assume that the left has done some polling and their data shows that the public isn’t with them on those issues.” Instead, Barrett has tried to lean on a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey suggesting that Wisconsin has lost jobs during Walker’s tenure.
But the much more comprehensive Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages released this week shows that Wisconsin has actually gained jobs since Walker took office, and there’s little question the latter report is more accurate; it’s a comprehensive analysis of information from nearly every employer in the state, whereas the BLS survey captures only about 3.5% of employers (as anyone who has ever followed employment data from the BLS knows, their numbers are often revised after an initial estimates). Barrett has claimed that Walker would “cook the books” to show a rosier picture, but as John McCormack explains at the Weekly Standard, that’s an absurd charge — the chief economist at the agency that prepared the data signed a petition to recall Walker, so it seems doubtful that he’s doing the governor’s bidding.
Walker quickly cut an ad touting the new data, taunting his opponent: “Mayor Barrett, you said this election’s about jobs. I couldn’t agree more.” With the argument over jobs favoring Walker, it’s hard to see how an underfunded Barrett can mount an effective attack to close the gap; the unions’ ground organization might be worth a point or two, but not five or six. Perhaps something will change in the next three weeks, and the governor’s supporters certainly shouldn’t be complacent, but right now all signs point toward a Walker victory.
A couple of days ago, I wrote about Oakland A’s thirdbaseman Brandon Inge having the best week of his 12-year big league career.
Well, this week hasn’t been so good. The A’s have placed Inge on the 15-Day Disabled List due to a strained right groin.
The International Olympic Committee has rejected a proposal by Israel for a moment of silence at the 2012 Olympic Games in London in honor of the eleven Israeli athletes and coaches murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Summer Games in Munich.
I cannot say this comes as a great shock. The IOC is probably no different than the UN. If the IOC were to have honored the fallen Israelis in this way then the Arab/Muslim bloc would have either threatened to boycott the ceremony or the Olympic Games altogether. The truth of the matter is that most of the Arab/Muslim bloc is delighted the Israelis were murdered forty years ago and would probably celebrate if the entire Israeli delegation were to be slaughtered again this summer.
Joe Ricketts, formerly of TD Ameritrade and whose family owns the Chicago Cubs, proposed putting together a series of Super PAC ads highlighting President Obama’s relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Both Axelrod and Messina said that Romney should take a page out of John McCain’s book and not focus on Wright. Well, of course, Axelrod and Messina would like that because, gee, McCain lost to Obama. Romney responded it would be “the wrong course for a PAC or a campaign.”
So Axelrod and Messina got Romney to condemn ads that haven’t been even made. Score one for Team Obama.
Now while one could certainly argue that Romney is better off highlighting Obama’s three plus years in the White House rather than rehashing Reverend Wright, I think Romney took the wrong approach here.
What Romney ought to have said something along the lines of, “We’ll take your suggestion under advisement. In the meantime, when is the Obama PAC run by Bill Burton going to return Bill Maher’s $1 million?”
That would have put the ball back into President Obama’s court instead of having Romney juggle a hot potato he shouldn’t have touched in the first place.
This is absurd. And a disturbing symptom of cultural decay. Can a company whose main achievement has been to turn an entire nation into teenage girls (Would you be my friend, please? Can I see your pictures?), wasted billions of hours of what might have been productive time, and has otherwise produced absolutely nothing, possibly be worth $104 billion? That’s more than five times the value of all Major League Baseball teams combined.
We used to value companies that made serious stuff. (See General Motors in the city formerly known as Detroit. Or Ford, for those of us old enough to remember when the Mustang was hot.) Now we value a time frittering device invented by a guy who for formal occasions puts on a clean T-shirt.
Donna Summer, who had a string of hits in the 1970s and 1980s, passed away today of cancer. She was 63.
I had no idea she was ill.
Born here in Boston, Summer was amongst the first artists who popularized disco in 1975 with the 17-minute song “Love to Love You Baby”. She reached her peak in 1978 and 1979 with hits like “Last Dance”, “Hot Stuff” and her cover of Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park” which had been a hit decade earlier for actor Richard Harris.
Summer continued to have hits in the 1980s the most notable of which was “She Works Hard For The Money” which became a staple of MTV in 1983.
I remember when she did a guest spot on Family Matters when she played Urkel’s Aunt Oona from Altoona. Yes, Aunt Oona could sing.
UPDATE: Via Mark Steyn, Summer was apparently exposed to toxic particles in the air from the attacks of September 11, 2001 resulting in lung cancer. Yet another reason to despite terrorism committed in the name of Islamic fundamentalism.
Bluegrass banjo player Doug Dillard passed away last night after a lengthy illness. He was 75.
Dillard began playing banjo as a child and idolized Earl Scruggs (who passed away back in March). After Scruggs replied to a letter he wrote, Dillard convinced his parents to drive him to Scruggs home in Madison, Tennessee. He knocked on Scruggs’ door and asked the bluegrass legend to install his tuners on his banjo. Dillard was only sixteen at the time.
Dillard and his younger brother Rodney along with Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne would form The Dillards. They got their first break on The Andy Griffith Show as a fictional bluegrass band known as The Darlings and made regular appearances on the show between 1963 and 1966. Here they are singing “Dooley”.
The Dillards were to bluegrass what Bob Dylan was to folk in that they were amongst the first bluegrass groups to play with electric instruments. Dillard liked the electric sound so much that he eventually left The Dillards to tour with The Byrds. He became close with Gene Clark and in 1968 they left The Byrds to form Dillard & Clark. They recorded two albums The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark and Through the Morning, Through the Night. Neither album sold well but Dillard & Clark were an influence on country-rock acts like Gram Parsons, The Eagles and Poco and The Flying Burrito Brothers. Take a listen to “Why Not Your Baby” and you’ll hear why Dillard & Clark were indeed on a fantastic expedition.
There is a sign from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) which has been placed on the door of the ice cream stand at Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle about 20 miles northwest of Boston. It reads:
Last weekend, DCR officers shut down the popular ice cream stand and stood guard to ward off anyone crazy enough to think about buying an ice cream cone on a warm day.
The ice cream stand was shut down because its owner Mark Duffy because construction had been done without local and state permits. Duffy, who operates a dairy farm and has operated the ice cream for more than 25 years, says he has been making improvements everyday without permission.
That isn’t good enough for MCR Commissioner Edward Lambert who said, “I like ice cream as much as anybody, so it pains us to even temporarily close what is an iconic property, but we have to make sure people eating ice cream there are safe.”
Safe from what exactly, Lambert didn’t say.
This is a classic case of, “We’re from the government and we’re to help.” Well, their help has forced Duffy to lay off 13 high school and college students who work for him, has affected the ice cream manufacturer in Attleboro which distributes their product to him and if the shutdown lasts much longer it may force Duffy off his farm. This weekend is due to be as warm as the one we had here last weekend and Duffy is being deprived of his livelihood from an unaccountable bureaucracy which applies its authority arbitrarily and capriciously.
The Obama administration continues to expand access to health insurance. In response to its mandate that everyone in America pay to ensure that impecunious Georgetown law students can have sex for free, a Catholic university in Ohio has dropped student health insurance. Reports the Washington Times:
“The fact that there will be no room one year from now for students to offer health coverage that does not provide contraceptives,” said David Schmiesing, Franciscan University’s vice president for student life. “There’s no room for that one year from now with the current situation. It’s hard for me to see how that’s a compromise.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Tuesday said the rules are not nearly broad enough to ease their concerns that religious groups will be forced to pay for contraception their faith forbids - although indirectly.
“The central problem remains that conscientiously-objecting non-exempt religious organizations will still be required to provide plans that serve as a conduit for contraceptives and sterilization procedures to their own employees,” they wrote. “And their premiums will help pay for those items.”
In fact, the Catholic bishops are threatening to sue over the regulation, as they should. Mandating health insurance benefits is bad policy, since it raises costs and forces all of us to pay for benefits we don’t want. Mandating benefits which violate fundamental moral beliefs also is a violation of religious liberty. This is a freedom which people who call themselves “liberal” especially should defend.
Law students at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) had their classes shut down this morning by masked hooligans who stormed the campus forcibly removing some students from the classroom as they shouted, “Scab!!! Scab!!!”
The law students had obtained a court injunction permitting their return to class. There have been more than thirty such injunctions around the province but they have been ignored by striking students.
Last Thursday, Montreal’s Metro was shut down during rush hour after several UQAM students allegedly threw smoke bombs onto the tracks at several Metro stations.
The student strike has lasted more than three months and according to Michelle Courchesne, Quebec’s new Minister of Education, CLASSE (the student union) is “hardening” their demands. The Quebec Liberal government of Jean Charest is contemplating measures which would hand down heavy fines to those involved with organizing and encouraging the disruption.
But I doubt it will be enough. The use of the Sûreté du Québec (the province’s police force) will probably need to be stepped up and if that doesn’t work then Charest might need to ask Ottawa to send in the military. Of course, if students rioters are killed in the course of restoring order then Canada’s left-wing media will crucify the authorities. Of course, I hope it doesn’t come to that but I don’t see a peaceful resolution in the offing.
Former big league pitcher and coach Kevin Hickey has passed away. His cause of death is unknown but he was a diabetic and had been found unresponsive in his hotel room in Dallas prior to Opening Day last month. He was 56.
Hickey did not have a distinguished big league career except to say that it is a minor miracle that he pitched in the big leagues at all. Born on the South Side of Chicago, Hickey worked in a steel mill and in his spare time played softball and semi-pro baseball. In 1977, he was one of 250 players to attend an open tryout at Comiskey Park and was the only player offered a contract by the White Sox. He made his big league debut with the Chisox in 1981.
He pitched with the White Sox through the 1983 season. That year the White Sox reached the post-season for the first time in 24 years winning the AL West by 20 games over the Kansas City Royals. It marked the first of 14 post-season appearances for manager Tony La Russa. I remember the ‘83 White Sox well. Ron Kittle won AL Rookie of the Year on the strength of his 35 homeruns. Greg Luzinski, Carlton Fisk and Harold Baines also supplied power. There were the Laws - Rudy and Vance (no relation). And how many people besides diehard Chisox fans remember that Jerry Dybzinski was the starting shortstop?
Then there was the pitching staff led by LaMarr Hoyt, whose 24 wins would earn him the AL Cy Young Award. Richard Dotson quietly won 22 games. The starting rotation was rounded out by Floyd Bannister, Britt Burns and 40-year old Jerry Koosman of Amazin’ Mets fame. The Chisox didn’t really have a closer that season. Dennis Lamp led the team with 15 saves but Salome Barojas had 12 while Juan Agosto and Dick Tidrow had seven apiece. For his part, Hickey recorded five saves in ‘83.
I remember Hickey because he had long hair and a moustache. He looked like a lefthanded version of LaMarr Hoyt. Most baseball fans might not remember Hickey but George Brett sure does. The three time AL batting champion and Hall of Famer was 0-for-15 lifetime against Hickey.
But then Hickey disappeared. He was released by the White Sox prior to the 1984 season but re-signed with them days later. He would be traded that summer to the New York Yankees along with pitcher Doug Drabek (who would later win the NL Cy Young Award with the Pittsburgh Pirates) as players to be named later for Roy Smalley. Hickey would bounce around in the minors with the Philadelphia Phillies, back with the White Sox and with the San Francisco Giants before signing with the Baltimore Orioles prior to the 1988 season.
I was shocked to see Hickey when he returned to the big leagues with the O’s in 1989 after an absence of more than five years. His hair was much shorter but he still found a way to get lefthanded hitters out. That year the Orioles nearly went from worst to first in the AL East. Unfortunately, the Toronto Blue Jays had other ideas. Nevertheless, Hickey was back in the bigs and would remain with the O’s until they released him during the 1991 season.
In 1994, Hickey got some acting work and appeared in Major League II alongside Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernsen and ex-big leaguers Bob Uecker and Steve Yeager. After being out of baseball for more than a decade, the White Sox hired Hickey as a part of their coaching staff as a pre-game instructor/batting practice pitcher in 2004 and was on hand in 2005 when the Chisox won their first World Series in 88 years.
In an op-ed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Rich Cohen argues that Wrigley Field should be torn down in order to put a merciful end to the Chicago Cubs’ 104-year (and counting) World Series drought:
I’m a Roman, and to me, the expanse between Waveland and Addison on Chicago’s North Side is Carthage. The struts and concessions, the catwalk where the late broadcaster Harry Caray once greeted me with all the fluid liquidity of an animatronic Disneyland pirate - Hello, Cubs fan! - the ramps that ascend like a ziggurat to heaven - it’s a false heaven - the bases, trestles, ivy, wooden seats and bleachers, the towering center-field scoreboard - all of it must be ripped out and carried away like the holy artifacts were carried out of the temple in Jerusalem, heaped in a pile and burned. Then the ground itself must be salted, made barren, covered with a housing project, say, a Stalinist monolith, so never again will a shrine arise on that haunted block. As it was with Moses, the followers and fans, though they search, shall never find its bones.
Methinks Cohen is making a scapegoat of Wrigley. Now it’s true the Cubs have never won a World Series in all the years they have played at Wrigley. But the Cubs haven’t always been synonymous with futility and lovable losers. During their first thirty years at Wrigley, the Cubs were amongst the best teams in the National League. Between 1916 and 1945, the Cubs won six NL pennants. Only the New York Giants won more NL pennants during this period with seven. Of course, the Cubs went 0 for 6 in the Fall Classic during that period including The Called Shot by Babe Ruth during the 1932 World Series against the Yankees. Nevertheless, the Cubs were a perennial contender and had 14 consecutive winning seasons between 1926 and 1939.
So the Cubs trouble didn’t begin with Wrigley but rather with The Curse of the Billy Goat. Before Game 4 of the 1945 World Series between the Cubs and the Detroit Tigers, Billy Goat Tavern owner William “Billy Goat” Sianis and his pet goat, Murphy, were refused admittance into Wrigley because of the goat’s stench. Sianis appealed to Cubs owner Phil Wrigley to no avail. An enraged Sianis told Wrigley, “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more. The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field.” The Cubs lost the ‘45 Series in seven games and haven’t been back since.
Between 1946 and 1983, the Cubs had only eight winning seasons and the bulk of those came between 1967 and 1972 when the club was managed by Leo Durocher. The Cubs led the NL East for most of the 1969 until along came a black cat which crossed Ron Santo’s path on the on deck circle. From that point forward, the New York Mets ascended to World Series glory.
Things have been better (or worse, depending on your point of view) since 1984 when the Cubs won the NL East only to lose to the San Diego Padres in the NLCS in five games after having a two games to none lead needing to win only one more. Before there was Bill Buckner, there was Leon Durham and a little spilled Gatorade. Since 1984, the Cubs have been to the post-season five times including 2003 when they were five outs away from winning their first NL pennant in 58 years. Who knew that a fly ball by Luis Castillo headed down the leftfield line would cause so much trouble?
So the next time the Cubs are in the post-season, for crying out loud, let in the Billy Goat, keep out the black cats, hide the Gatorade and publicly apologize to Steve Bartman. That would sure cost a lot less than to tear down Wrigley and build a stadium with a half a billion dollars of taxpayer money.
The Democratic-controlled Senate hasn’t passed a budget in 1,113 days and that is unlikely to change today. But senators are scheduled to vote on five different budget proposals, four of them proposed by Republicans.Senate Democrats did not agree to a budget of their own. There are a few interesting questions:
The biggest question is probably how long we can run the federal government without a real budget. My guess is we’ll have to wait at least until after the November elections.
Yesterday, I posted to these pages a blog note of 619 words on the subject of the politics of Obama’s flip-flop-flip on gay marriage. Of these, four words were “as we should be” which I used in reference to the nation’s getting more comfortable with homosexual relationships.
To be perfectly clear, I am neither gay nor willing to learn. But not being gay doesn’t cause me to automatically dislike gays anymore than not being black causes me to automatically dislike blacks. Of course, I’m perfectly willing to dislike any individual based on his or her own merits.
When I wrote those four words, I knew they would generate some controversy on the blog pages, but I did not expect that of the large number of comments to the note nearly 90 percent would be in reference to four words rather than to the other 615 words (in which I argued that Barack Obama’s rapid “evolution” on gay marriage was not turning into political success, though it was bolstering his Manhattan and Hollywood fundraising).
Since you, esteemed readers, were so interested in those four words, I thought it only fair to respond.
A few specific replies. I won’t mention commenters’ names. You know who you are, or you know if you agree with those who made the initial points:
Now, one thing I could have made clearer: I did and do mean that I believe we should be getting more comfortable with those in same-sex relationships…with those people as individual human beings or as couples. I did not say and did not mean we should necessarily be more comfortable with “gay marriage” per se (and not with particular sexual acts, though that is no more your business than your sexual acts are anyone else’s business).
Even Barack Obama, in 2004, noted that marriage has a specific meaning with thousands of years of history behind it. I am among those who think that part of the problem with this debate is the use of the word marriage. My wife asks rhetorically: if the majority of us have to suffer through marriage, why should gays be exempt? I concur except for the use of the word marriage.
I understand that civil unions and domestic partnerships may be perceived, and may be intended by some, as the camel’s nose under the tent — a giant step toward gay marriage. But having spoken to a few gays about this, I know that a substantial percentage of them don’t care about the word marriage as much as they care about equal treatment under the law. And in that a least they have a reasonable argument.
I maintain my view that we should get government out of marriage, allow any two people to make any contract they want to (which does not infringe on the natural rights of others), allow any house of worship to decide whom they will or won’t marry, and only have government involved insofar as contract enforcement.
Lest my conservative friends and readers on these pages think I am a full-fledged apologist for “gay rights,” allow me a couple more points:
Some gays wildly exaggerate the “rights” that they don’t have. But more importantly, “gay rights” crusaders, just as many other crusaders for other “victim groups” that the left likes to create in their permanent divide-and-conquer strategy, misunderstand and misuse the word “rights.”
Our rights are inherent in our being human beings. Our Founders said that our rights come from God. It is in that sense of us being equally human — no matter your view of God — that we have equal rights. But we are a nation of negative rights, which is to say that our fundamental law, the Constitution, is a code which says what government may NOT do to us. Neither the Constitution nor any politician gives us rights. (In fact, this was part of the original argument about the Bill of Rights: James Madison, among others, initially opposed the idea of a Bill of Rights as potentially implying that rights not spelled out were rights not retained by citizens; thus the inclusion of the 9th and 10th Amendments.)
No group has a claim to special “rights” that others don’t have. (One example of the government violating this precept is the existence of “hate crime” laws. There should not be a bigger penalty for beating up a gay or black than for beating up a straight white guy.) Furthermore, I believe that private businesses and private citizens have a First Amendment right NOT to associate with people just as much as we have our rights of association as normally considered. Thus, those who dislike gays or blacks or Jews or left-handed people or people who enjoy the sport of curling should have the right to exclude them, or anyone else they don’t like for any reason whatever, from their private property.
The other side of the coin, however, is that the government should not be able to discriminate at all. Government’s picking winners and losers in no more appropriate in society or culture than in business; I say this in complete realization that today’s government does all of the above. Because, I repeat, government is force. This means that government must not treat gays, blacks or any others worse than they treat members of society’s (then current) majority; but it means just as importantly that government must not treat them better than they treat others.
One commenter got something right yesterday: When I deleted those four words – not because I was backing away from my position, but because I wanted people to focus on the other 615 words – someone suggested I should have left them. I probably should have. After all, the virulent reaction of several commenters, both against gays and against me, says at least as much about them as my words said about me.
In any case, I am appreciative, as always, of the conversation and of those who engage in a civil discussion on issues, regardless of whether we agree or disagree.
Five days ago, Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett was booed off the mound after a dismal performance against the Cleveland Indians in which he gave up seven runs over two and a third innings en route to an 8-3 loss.
Red Sox Nation not only was miffed with Beckett’s performance but teed off after it was revealed Beckett played a round of golf despite missing his previously scheduled start against the Baltimore Orioles.
But today all is forgiven - for now. On his 32nd birthday, Beckett pitched seven shutout innings against the Seattle Mariners striking out nine batters. The Red Sox 5-0 victory over the M’s is their fifth in a row. They have not lost since Beckett’s debacle last Thursday.
Have the Red Sox turned the corner or will they return to their struggles? After starting the season 4-10, the Sox won seven of eight to finish the month with a .500 record at 11-11. But the Sox began May by losing eight of nine games before their current five game winning streak. As of this writing, the Sox are 17-19 and five and a half games back of the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East.
Speaking of the Rays and Orioles, the Red Sox embark on an eight game road trip to St. Pete, Baltimore as well as an interleague series against the Philadelphia Phillies. It will be interesting to see where the Sox stand the next time they play at Fenway.
Former President George W. Bush made a rare appearance in Washington, D.C. today on behalf of George W. Bush Institute which promotes universal freedom and houses the “Freedom Collection”, an archive of video testimonial by activists in freedom movements the world over. Amongst those who provided testimonials include the late Czech President Vaclav Havel, Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson and Kang Chol-Hwan who survived a decade in a North Korean labor camp and wrote about his experiences in the book Aquariams of Pyongyang (which I highly recommend).
The event included a video interview with newly elected Burmese parliamentarian Aung San Suu Kyi and was attended by dissidents from around the globe. I second Elliot Abrams when he writes, “The support that Bush and his wife Laura, who spoke as well and who took a special interest in ending the dictatorship in Burma, gave to such dissidents is notably absent today.”
However, I was troubled by the former President’s enthusiasm for the Arab Spring especially when he said, “America does not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere. It only gets to choose what side it is on.”
The problem with that, of course, what side we’re on doesn’t come down to a choice of good and bad but rather a choice between bad and worse. More often than not, kicking out the old and bringing in the new does not bring with it more freedom. In Egypt, we’re choosing the Muslim Brotherhood over a military regime. In Libya, we chose al Qaeda over Colonel Qaddafi. In Syria, we may choose al Qaeda over Assad. Of course, we rid Iraq of the Stalinesque Saddam Hussein only to replace it with an Iranian puppet which has driven Iraqi Christians out of the country. It is difficult to promote universal freedom in Muslim countries that would deny the most basic freedoms to non-Muslims not to mention the ancient schism between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
This isn’t to say that Bush’s endeavors aren’t noble and I think they can be helpful in places like Burma, Cuba or Zimbabwe. Nevertheless, humanity is seldom black and white but rather shades of grey covered in crimson.
Over at Mother Jones, Adam Serwer cites polling data that suggests Republicans shouldn’t expect a lot of black votes over the president’s embrace of gay marriage. First he looks at Pew numbers showing that 68 percent of black Americans say their views of Barack Obama were unaffected and an earlier survey showing a drop in black opposition to same-sex marriage since 2004. Serwer continues:
Perhaps even more indicative of the direction black voters are heading, a Washington Post/ABC poll released Tuesday shows a larger percentage of whites (48 percent) disapproving of Obama’s decision than blacks (37 percent) despite the fact that polls have consistently shown black voters more opposed to marriage equality on average. The fifty-seven percent of black voters who approve are even more likely to approve strongly (31 percent) of Obama’s decision than the population as a whole (28 percent).
Serwer is undoubtedly right that Mitt Romney will net very few black votes from Obama’s flip-flop. My guess is that Obama’s percentage of the black vote won’t look much different than in 2008. But if the race remains close, Obama won’t just need the same percentage. He will need black turnout to be comparable to what it was four years ago. Here is where I think in a tight contest the issue could hurt him at the margins with blacks: some number of black pastors and churches will not work as hard, or at all, to get out the vote.
Not a huge number, mind you, and there will be a lot of factors that are more important to whether Obama is reelected in November. But if we are headed toward a 2000/2004-style squeaker, it could make some difference.
If Bob Tyrrell can be banished from CNN because describing President Obama as “a stealth socialist” is considered “rude” then one would must wonder what exactly CNN’s standards of rudeness are.
Well, check out Don Lemon compare Mitt Romney’s statement, “Marriage is between a man and a woman” to George Wallace’s infamous “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.” (H/T to Jonah Goldberg at NRO). Yet notwithstanding Obama’s public support for same sex marriage his statement doesn’t prevent North Carolina from prohibiting it. Imagine if JFK had stated he favored integration but said that Wallace had a right to keep schools segregated and did not send in the National Guard. Or as Ross Kaminsky put it so eloquently:
If “gay rights” are the moral equivalent of civil rights for blacks or voting rights for women, as Obama claims, how can he justify leaving the issues to the states — something few people (other than true racists) would have said about key 1960s civil rights legislation.
So if likening Mitt Romney to George Wallace is how people at CNN behave then Bob is better off staying far away from such contemptible company.
Ron Paul has announced he will no longer devote resources to contesting the remaining primaries, but wasn’t dropping out of the race or suspending his campaign. Paul would continue to try to accumulate delegates at state and local Republican conventions, with the intention of bringing as many as possible to the national convention in Tampa.
On the one hand, this decision makes sense in terms of spending money wisely. Paul has been beating Mitt Romney at many state conventions and grabbing delegates even when he comes up short. Paul isn’t likely to beat Romney in any of the remaining primaries and neither the polling nor the first post-Santorum-and-Gingrich contests showed Paul consolidating the anti-Romney vote the way he did in Virginia on Super Tuesday. This also will soften the blow of a weak showing in Texas, Paul’s home state, or Kentucky, where Rand Paul is the junior senator.
On the other hand, when your campaign is having its first sustained success since the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, why send signals that could demoralize the foot soldiers? Paul will still need his supporters to turn out in large numbers for the conventions and to donate to his money bombs. Will his supporters be as motivated if they are conceding primaries, suggesting (as his campaign chairman did today on a conference call) that they can’t block Romney in Tampa, and saying there is “no chance” Paul will endorse Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson?
Although Paul failed to finish first in the popular vote in any of the caucuses, he has succeeded in getting the most delegates out of some states. To that extent, the delegate strategy has been paying dividends. But there is a question of what to do with the delegates. And one wonders if campaign prioritized process over momentum. If Paul had finished ahead of Rick Santorum in both South Carolina (which was doable) and Florida (which admittedly may not have been doable), it could have knocked Santorum out of the race. Even though there was no scenario where Paul was going to win Florida’s delegates, he could have gotten more delegates in total — and had more momentum — in a Santorum-less race.
UPDATE: Yes, Ron Paul did win the popular vote in the Virgin Islands.
Mitt Romney is set to give a major speech on the national debt in Des Moines today as part of his offensive against the Obama administration’s big-spending fiscal policies. Some excerpts:
A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation and every day we fail to act we feed that fire with our own lack of resolve. This is not a Democratic or Republican problem. That fire could care less if you have a donkey or an elephant in your front lawn, it’s still coming for your house. There’s plenty of blame to go around for both parties. But in my years leading businesses, an Olympics and a state, I’ve learned one simple principle of leadership that never falters: Leaders lead. I will lead us out of this debt and spending crisis.
Romney on Obama:
President Obama started his days in office with the trillion-dollar stimulus package – the biggest, most careless one-time expenditure by the federal government in history. And remember this: the stimulus wasn’t just wasted – it was borrowed and wasted. We still owe the money, we’re still paying interest on it, and it’ll be that way long after this presidency ends in January.
Then there was Obamacare. Even now nobody knows the exact cost of that new program. And that uncertainty has done great harm to our economy. Employers aren’t hiring, entrepreneurs are worried, all because of a massive, European-style entitlement that Americans didn’t want and can’t afford.
Romney’s record as somone who has experience turning around troubled financial institutions may be his hottest hand in this race, and it is certainly a qualification the country needs in the next president. There nevertheless remain serious questions about the price tag of his actual policy proposals, since he is vague about his domestic spending cuts and specific about his defense budget increases.
Yesterday I got a chance to watch Marco Rubio, Florida’s Republican senator, praise small business at a reception held by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Those looking for Rubio to tip his hand about his vice presidential prospects came away disappointed.
At one point, Rubio said he hoped to help small business in the years he had left in the Senate. A member of the audience asked whether he was in fact measuring his time remaining in the Senate in years rather than months. Rubio replied, “Look, I love serving in the United States Senate. I know that sounds strange, but that’s the place I think I can make a difference.” He chided the Senate’s lack of urgency, calling it “frustrating.”
NFIB joined the multi-state lawsuit against President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. A Supreme Court ruling is expected next month.
Photo by: Katherine Ruddy
A CBS News/New York Times poll shows that two thirds of Americans believe that President Obama’s recent “evolution” on gay marriage was a political stunt while one quarter thinks his change was “mostly because he thinks it is right.”
Amusingly, an Obama campaign official claimed that the poll used a “biased sample.” Surely she recognizes that this poll was done by two of the most pro-Obama organizations in America.
Perhaps what we are witnessing, pace Andrew Sullivan, is America’s First Gay Ex-President.
Political bettors also don’t think Obama’s flip-flop-flip (he was for gay marriage before he was against it before he was for it) is a winner, with Obama’s betting odds (to be elected president) slightly lower than they were prior to his May 9th position change. Still, Obama leads Mitt Romney in current betting by about 20 points, roughly 59 percent to 39 percent. (I’ve been buying Romney and selling Obama just a few points from these levels.)
Despite the issue not working so far, Democrats are doubling down, with 17 Senate Democrats (actually 16 Democrats plus socialist Bernie Sanders) asking the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to stop refusing green cards to foreign gay “spouses” of Americans.
It is true that Americans are steadily becoming more comfortable with homosexual relationships, and even with gay marriage, but we’re not comfortable with radicals shoving their views down our throats, even to the point of the President refusing to defend the duly-passed Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.
Voters recognize the tyranny of (so-called) good intentions when we see it, and that’s why the Democrats’ full-court pander on “gay rights” and gay marriage will not work except among college students and as a short-term fund-raising ploy — which is probably more than enough for an Obama campaign which has struggled to raise money outside of Hollywood and Manhattan. Of course, this only helps them raise money in Hollywood and Manhattan, but those are very fat arteries for the leeches that are Obama bundlers (of whom a reported one in six is gay) to bite into.
It is also worth noting that the “gay rights” activists are hearing what they want to hear, rather than what Obama is really saying: this president, who never found an issue that he didn’t want the federal government to dominate, says that individual states should decide on the permissibility of gay marriage. This following last Tuesday’s vote in North Carolina which by a stunning 61 percent to 39 percent margin became the 30th state to ban gay marriage. In fact, gay marriage has never passed a statewide vote of the people in any state in our republic. If “gay rights” are the moral equivalent of civil rights for blacks or voting rights for women, as Obama claims, how can he justify leaving the issue to the states — something few people (other than true racists) would have said about key 1960s civil rights legislation.
Obama was trying to have it both ways on the issue of gay marriage until Joe Biden pushed him off the fence. He’s still trying to have it both ways, but it’s not working. Conservatives, and some independents, are being pushed toward Romney while Obama shores up part, but not the African-American part, of his voting base. If his gleeful gay bundlers were paying attention to Obama’s actual policy prescription, they would be a lot less happy than Ricky Martin seems to be. But when you have the “first gay president,” facts be damned! How can you not just write a check?
Again, despite all the media frenzy and Hollywood hosannas, in the real world Americans are not fooled by Barack Obama’s transparently political ploy.
That CNN would declare Bob Tyrrell persona non grata and withdraw its invitation to him, of course, says a great deal more about CNN than it does about the esteemed Mr. Tyrrell.
As Jeff Lord notes, CNN is barely afloat in the ratings. But even that doesn’t describe just how bad things are at CNN. From March 2011 to March 2012, CNN lost a staggering 50% of its viewers. That’s right! CNN lost half its audience in a year.
So perhaps we here at TAS can count this development as a blessing in disguise. If CNN hadn’t cancelled and Bob went on as scheduled would there have been anyone watching?
CNN has blackballed our founder and editor-in-chief R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
Because in his new book The Death of Liberalism, Bob Tyrrell labels President Obama a — gasp! — “Stealth Socialist.”
Specifically, his book publicist reports that CNN actually disinvited Bob from a show because the network felt calling the president a “Stealth Socialist” was — are you ready? — “Rude.”
Oh nooooooooooooooooooo! Imagine actually discussing such a concept on CNN!!!!! OMG! Why… why… the nerve of Tyrrell to espouse a serious conservative thought on a liberal network.
Or, as our friend and colleague Jed Babbin calls it in his column today, “the Gatekeeper Media.” Says Jed — with an unerring accuracy, considering he wrote his piece without knowing of Tyrrell’s dis-invitation:
Yes, they’re at it again. Or I should say, “still.” The Obama media — the Gatekeeper Media who try to control what people know based on what fits their narrative — are proving almost daily that they’re not in the news business. They are in the business of political activism, aimed solely at getting their guy another four years in the White House.
That is exactly what is going on here.
So Bob Tyrrell, founder and editor-in chief of a magazine now 45 years on the American scene, selected in the 1970s by Time magazine as one of the rising stars in American media, recently interviewed on Sean Hannity’s Fox and radio shows, and by Mark Levin, and with his recent talk on the book to the Manhattan Institute carried by C-SPAN — is out at CNN.
Because in the course of the Great American Debate he has a book calling Barack Obama a “Stealth Socialist” — based on an actual record in the White House. A record that manifests all manner of socialist behavior, from buying General Motors with taxpayer money, to dishing even more taxpayer bucks to favored companies like Solyndra — and that’s before one gets to Obamacare and the socialist saga of the imaginary Obama heroine named Julia, who is feted with cradle-to-grave socialism.
You can’t make it up.
This kind of incident with Bob Tyrrell is exactly why CNN is barely afloat in the ratings, losing big time to Fox. And why it will drown if it isn’t careful.
Our own R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. has been barnstorming the East Coast on a whirlwind tour to promote his new book, The Death of Liberalism.
On Fox News with Hannity:
Speech at a Heritage Foundation book event:
Interview with the Daily Caller: “Conservative commentator R. Emmett Tyrrell: Liberalism is dead”
As the 2008 November election loomed, it appears that then-Senator Barack Obama was traumatized — by Sean Hannity.
Author Edward Klein, whose new Obama book The Amateur is just out, has a startling piece in Sunday’s New York Post.
As revealing for what it says as for who it doesn’t mention.
Klein had interviewed the president’s controversial ex-pastor the Reverend Jeremiah Wright for the book. Wright claims he was offered $150,000 by an Obama supporter to silence himself during the presidential campaign. And that there was a secret meeting between Obama and Wright that took place in the parsonage of the Trinity United Church of Christ, a meeting in which Obama asked Wright to stop preaching sermons until after the November, 2008 elections.
Wrote Klein in The Post, beginning with a direct quote from Wright:
“Man, the media ate me alive,” Wright told me when we met in his office at Chicago’s Kwame Nkrumah Academy. “After the media went ballistic on me, I received an e-mail offering me money not to preach at all until the November presidential election.”
“Who sent the e-mail?” I asked Wright.
“It was from one of Barack’s closest friends.”
“He offered you money?”
“Not directly,” Wright said. “He sent the offer to one of the members of the church, who sent it to me.”
“How much money did he offer you?”
“One hundred and fifty thousand dollars,” Wright said.
“Did Obama himself ever make an effort to see you?”
“Yes,” Wright said. “Barack said he wanted to meet me in secret, in a secure place. And I said, ‘You’re used to coming to my home, you’ve been here countless times, so what’s wrong with coming to my home?’ So we met in the living room of the parsonage of Trinity United Church of Christ, at South Pleasant Avenue right off 95th Street, just Barack and me. I don’t know if he had a wire on him. His security was outside somewhere.
“And one of the first things Barack said was, ‘I really wish you wouldn’t do any more public speaking until after the November election.’ He knew I had some speaking engagements lined up, and he said, ‘I wish you wouldn’t speak. It’s gonna hurt the campaign if you do that.’
“And what did you say?” I asked. “I said, ‘I don’t see it that way. And anyway, how am I supposed to support my family?’ And he said, ‘Well, I wish you wouldn’t speak in public. The press is gonna eat you alive.
“Barack said, ‘I’m sorry you don’t see it the way I do. Do you know what your problem is?’ And I said, ‘No, what’s my problem?’ And he said, ‘You have to tell the truth.’ I said, ‘That’s a good problem to have. That’s a good problem for all preachers to have. That’s why I could never be a politician.’
“And he said, ‘It’s going to get worse if you go out there and speak. It’s really going to get worse.’
“And he was so right”
An offer of hush money that appears to be connected in some fashion with an Obama donor? Is this not exactly what former North Carolina Senator John Edwards is on trial for as we speak? The use of campaign donor money as hush money for his mistress? What’s the difference, in terms of campaign finance laws, between using campaign donor money to silence a mistress and a minister?
Second point. While neither Wright nor Klein mention it here…who specifically was “the media” that both Wright and Obama were so concerned about?
When Obama said “The press is gonna eat you alive” — who exactly in the press was he talking about?
That’s right. It was none other than our friend Sean Hannity. The same Sean Hannity who first brought Reverend Wright to national attention through writer Erik Rush — and then brought Wright on Hannity and Colmes. Hannity was relentless in bringing Wright’s controversial sermons (like this one, Wright’s infamous “Goddamn America!” sermon) to national attention — while the mainstream media was quiet as a church mouse.
Eventually ABC’s Brian Ross woke up to the controversy, but it was Hannity who took the heat — tons of it — for repeatedly exploring the potential links between Wright’s far-left Black Liberation Theology, socialism and a would-be Obama administration.
Now, according to Klein, we know that Obama himself was so concerned about what was in fact Hannity’s continuous reporting on Wright that the then-Senator personally had a secret sit-down with Wright to ask his pastor to, well, shut-up.
Campaign donor hush money offer to Jeremiah Wright? Who else from Obama’s past did the campaign or its donor friends try and hush with big bucks? And who took it?
And what is the difference between mistress hush money and minister hush money?
The Romney campaign held a conference call this afternoon previewing some of the themes they would explore in a general election against President Barack Obama. Former RNC head Ed Gillespie represented Mitt Romney. Gillespie laid out a fairly comprehensive agenda: attacking Obama’s record on spending and the national debt (a record he said Obama was understandably running away from), proposing solutions to the persistent unemployment and underemployment under Obama, cutting spending without compromising military strength, and ideas for entitlement reform.
But what most striking was Gillespie’s emphasis on the theme of “crony capitalism.” Gillespie said the administration lacked private sector experience, which he argued is why they favor government support for politically advantaged companies over proven private sector job creation.
“In the private sector, they made decisions based on profit and loss and what’s going to create jobs and what’s going to work,” Gillespie said. “When you have this level of government involvement in our economy, Solyndra and the decisions on the auto layoffs, and you don’t have that transparency, you don’t know if there’s political influence — who gets a health care waiver and who doesn’t — they still don’t say how they make those decisions…” Gillespie described crony capitalism as “rampant” in the Obama administration.
It’s also clear that the layoffs forced by the Obama administration under the auto bailout will be a big part of Romney’s counterargument to the Bain charges. But the crony capitalism angle from a Republican venture capitalist is interesting. I wrote about the Obama administration’s crony capitalism in the April issue of the print magazine.
In 1994, Mitt Romney ran a surprisingly competitive Senate race against Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts. Kennedy fought back with an ad campaign targeting Romney’s business record at Bain, painting the Republican as a heartless plutocrat who ruthlessly broke up companies and laid off workers. The ads helped Kennedy claw his way back from an 8-point deficit to a 17-point reelection.
Bain was brought up in the Republican primaries, with mixed results at best. But that was a Republican primary where criticisms of business struggle to gain traction. The Obama campaign team is eager to try this line of attack again in the general election. There are some complicating factors, however.
The first is that Romney will hit back using the federally supervised layoffs that resulted from the Obama administration’s auto dealer closures. As Ed Morrisey points out at HotAir, the Obama czar who ran this is reluctant to join the Bain attacks. Here’s Steve Rattner on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
I think the ad is unfair. Mitt Romney made a mistake ever talking about the fact that he created 100,000 jobs. Bain Capital’s responsibility was not to create 100,000 jobs or some other number. It was to create profits for his investors, most of whom were pension funds, endowments and foundations. It did it superbly, acting within the rules and acting very responsibly and was a leading firm.
So I do think to pick out an example of somebody who lost their job unfortunately, this is part of capitalism, this is part of life. And I don’t think there’s anything Bain Capital did that they need to be embarrassed about.
Then there are Obama’s own Bain connections. Robert Costa connects the dots:
[Jonathan] Lavine, according to the Los Angeles Times, is a top Obama bundler and a managing director at Bain Capital. Lavine, who has raised over $100,000 for the president, was at the firm when GST Steel declared bankruptcy. So according to the Obama team’s logic, Romney, who had left Bain, is responsible for GST Steel’s demise, but Lavine, who was there, is not? Expect to hear more about this connection.
Questions about Lavine won’t go away.
In the great minds think alike department, Tim Carney also writes about the fundraising benefits of Barack Obama’s marriage “evolution.” (Perhaps Tamron Hall will shut off my microphone too.) He quotes Rahm Emanuel as saying, “Gays are the next Jews of fundraising.” Last week, NBC’s Chuck Todd compared gay donors to Wall Street money.
My point isn’t that there is anything illegitimate about people spending money in pursuit of their political goals. Pace McCain-Feingold, political giving is free speech. But it is interesting that the ubiquitous liberal objections to money in politics go out the window when it comes to the super-rich promoting social liberalism or furthering progressive objectives.
Bass player Donald “Duck” Dunn, best known for his stints with Booker T & the MGs and The Blues Brothers, died in his sleep following a performance in Tokyo. He was 70.
I had a chance to see Dunn perform with Booker T & the MGs at the Ottawa Blues Festival in 1999 along with fellow MG Steve Cropper. Dunn had a nearly half century collaboration with Cropper. Together, they forged the core of the Stax Records sound. Over the years, Dunn played with the likes of Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Rod Stewart, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the recently departed Levon Helm.
Most people think of “Respect” as Aretha Franklin’s song. It was actually written and originally recorded by Otis Redding. Dunn played on that record and it has a much different arrangement.
1. Following on the heels of Barack Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage, Mitt Romney gave a well-received commencement address at Liberty University. This is starting to look like a replay of 2004, where each party tries to maximize its base vote in order to win the election.
2. The conventional wisdom is that Obama’s evolved stance makes Romney look excessively right-wing. But Obama is the one being hailed as the first gay president on the cover of Newsweek and being asked to talk about the issue incessantly. Romney can keep his comments on same-sex marriage confined to socially conservative audiences and debates, when he can simply say he believes marriage is between a man and a woman — just like Obama did in 2008.
3. It would probably help if Romney didn’t say things like this, however: ““You don’t change your positions to try and win the states or certain subgroups of Americans, you have the positions you have.” Pot, kettle, etc.
4. On Saturday, Ron Paul supporters booed Josh Romney, the likely Republican nominee’s son, at the Arizona Republican State Convention. This highlights the danger for Romney appearing to lose control of the national convention in Tampa with a large Paul contingent present — and also the risk for Paul supporters of repelling the rest of the party at Rand Paul’s expense.
5. This Sunday many black churches reacted uneasily to the president’s marriage announcement. Black counties in North Carolina voted heavily for Amendment One last week.
6. As California’s state budget shortfall balloons to $16 billion, Gov. Jerry Brown naturally calls for a ballot initiative to raise taxes. Brown is also offering some spending cuts, plus further cuts to punish the voters if they don’t go along with his tax hike plan.
A non-profit organization that provided training last week to House Democrats, portraying Republican opponents as racially motivated, has received significant funding from foundations linked to controversial left-wing multibillionaire George Soros.
Soros’s Open Society Institute has given $75,000 to the Center for Social Inclusion, which has also received more than $850,000 from the Soros-connected Tides Foundation/Tides Center since 2005, according to documents obtained by The American Spectator.
In a training session for House Democrats and their congressional staffers last week, Center for Social Inclusion founder and president Maya Wiley described “conservative messages” as being “racially coded,” and suggested that Democrats “raise racial disparities” in public policy discussions, Joel Gerhke of the Washington Examiner reported.
Since 2002, Wiley’s New York-based Center for Social Inclusion has received funding from a variety of organizations and individuals. Documents obtained by the Spectator indicate that Soros’s Open Society Institute was one of the earliest donors to Wiley’s non-profit group. In fact, her biography on the group’s Web site describes Wiley as having formerly served as director of U.S. programs for the Open Society Institute. She currently serves as chairman of the board of the Tides Network, which supervises activities by a number of grant-making non-profit organizations, including the Tides Foundation and Tides Center.
Direct contact between such a close Soros ally and congressional Democrats is certain to provoke controversy. A hedge-fund mogul and currency speculator, Soros has been linked to many radical figures, including Wade Rathke. A former official of the corrupt Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Rathke founded the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which recently disbanded and re-organized after a series of high-profile scandals.
The Soros-Wiley connection was noted by Matthew Vadum of the Capital Research Center. Vadum, an investigative reporter and American Spectator contributor, is author of the widely-praised recent book Subversion, Inc., an exhaustive exposé of ACORN. Wiley’s background also drew attention from Michelle Horstman of PJ Media, who noted that Maya Wiley is the daughter of 1960s radical George Wiley, founder of the National Welfare Rights Organization.
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?
H/T to National Review Online