Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp has non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which can refer to a large number of types and severities of cancer. Camp supposedly caught it very very early and it supposedly among the most treatable kind, which is good news. Here’s wishing him a full and speedy (and not-too-uncomfortable) recovery. He’s a good guy. Also say a nice prayer for him. May he serve the public for many years to come.
I wasn’t planning on watching the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics but I decided to check in on them as the Red Sox were being pummeled by the Yankees.
When I flipped the channel, I saw Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle’s tribute to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). I wasn’t so astonished about the spectacle as I was by Matt Lauer’s reaction to it. Lauer basically said to the effect if Britain can provide healthcare for everyone then why are we even having a debate about it in America?
Well, the NHS isn’t all sick children and their doctors dancing about their hospital beds. In 2009, a 16-year old boy died of thirst when NHS staff wouldn’t give him a glass of water. Admittedly that is an exceptional example but given the circumstances the NHS isn’t worth dancing over. Boyle’s choreography didn’t include the fact that hospitals are short staffed on weekends (which is when hospitals are normally at their busiest) not to mention the spectacle of patients waiting to see the doctor. Waiting times to receive care have been increasing. Indeed, a NHS board in Scotland is under fire for manipulating waiting list data.
So yes Matt Lauer. Americans ought to have a robust debate about the kind of health care system we want. If Lauer thinks America should adopt British health care then he should be careful for what he wishes because he might get it.
With that said, it should be noted that for all the socialist programmes Margaret Thatcher dismantled, she left the NHS alone. The NHS is not without its virtues and indeed I received treatment from an NHS doctor shortly I arrived in Britain as a student intern in 1995 and my experience was a good one. If you want to read a fair and balanced comparison between the American and British health care systems then read what Fox Business Channel anchor David Asman wrote back in 2005 after his wife suffered a severe stroke while vacationing in Britain.
As widely expected, the Milwaukee Brewers have traded starting pitcher Zack Greinke. But what was not widely expected was that Greinke would end up with the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels sent Milwaukee three prospects including shortstop Jean Segura.
Going into the 2012 season, the Angels arguably had the best starting rotation in MLB with Jered Weaver, ex-Texas Ranger C.J. Wilson, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. But it’s been a mixed bag. While Weaver (13-1 2.26 ERA) and Wilson (9-6 2.89 ERA)have excelled both Haren (7-8 4.76 ERA) and Santana (4-10 6.00 ERA) have struggled. I wonder if the acquistion of Greinke means Santana will be sent to the bullpen with Garrett Richards remaining at the number five spot in the rotation.
The Angels are five games back of the Rangers in the AL West but only half a game ahead of the upstart Oakland A’s who have gone 16-3 in the month of July.
Greinke, of course, got his start with the Kansas City Royals with whom he won the AL Cy Young Award in 2009. He was dealt to the Brewers prior to the 2011 season and reached the post-season with the NL Central Division champions. However, 2012 has been a much different story for the Brewers who are 14 games back of the Cincinnati Reds. Despite the Brewers struggles this season, Greinke has performed effectively going 9-3 with a respectable 3.44 ERA in 21 starts.
The 28-year old righty is known for having social anxiety disorder and this affected him adversely early in his big league career. Although he has got through the worst of it, Greinke is not known for liking the spotlight. Los Angeles certainly has a bigger spotlight than Atlanta or Phoenix. But the LA media is more apt to focus on rookie sensation Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Albert Pujols. As far as pitchers go, C.J. Wilson has plenty to say and could by himself remove whatever pressure Greinke might be under the brighter lights of LA.
Greinke should be a good fit with the Angels although he will become a free agent at the end of the season.
UPDATE: Greinke made his Angels debut against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday afternoon. He gave up only two runs in seven innings pitched striking out eight. But the Angels offense gave Greinke no support and the Rays prevailed 2-0.
With regard to the comments from Jim and Quin on this matter, is anybody really surprised that Jonathan Chait would assert that Mitt Romney’s criticism of President Obama’s infamous “You Didn’t Build That” remark is racist?
Let us not forget that it was Chait who in 2003 began an article with, “I hate President George W. Bush. There, I said it.” Of course, if any conservative writer were to include a sentence which read “I hate President Barack Obama,” Chait would be the first amongst a legion of liberals to denounce the conservative writer in question as racist.
As with many liberals, Chait does not approach conservatism and its adherents rationally. He looks upon both conservatism and conservatives with hatred in both his mind and heart. So when Chait makes his latest charge we have to consider the source. With that now let’s consider these two sentences:
Watch Obama’s delivery in the snippet put together by this Republican ad. The key thing is that Obama is angry, and he’s talking not in his normal voice but in a “black dialect.”
But it is President Obama who chose to be angry in that moment. It is President Obama who chose not to talk, as Chait puts it, “in his normal voice.” It is President Obama who chose to stray from the teleprompter. No Republican made Obama do that. President Obama is responsible for what he says and does. Thus President Obama has only himself to blame for striking the wrong chord with the American people during his speech in Roanoke, Virginia.
Now as long as there are liberal politicians and liberal writers who insist any criticism of President Obama is an act of racism, conservatives have an obligation to call them out on it. We have an obligation to tell the Jonathan Chaits of the world that they cheapen the meaning of racism and therefore cheapen themselves. We also have an obligation to tell liberals that there going to have to better than that. Because as long as Jonathan Chait is considered a leading light amongst liberals, it tells you how much the intellectual foundations of American liberalism have flickered out.
My take on the war on Chick-fil-A.
In May, much ink was spilled when President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden announced to the world that they now supported gay marriage. Was this an attempt to raise more money from Hollywood liberals? An effort to rally the Democratic base? An act of pure conviction?
Perhaps there was a simpler explanation: Obama and Biden want to operate a fast food chain when they leave office. For we have learned in recent weeks that restaurateurs who hold their previous views are not welcome in major cities….
In Rahm’s world, a belief that marriage is between a man and woman should be no barrier to running the country, but it is a disqualifier for those serving sweet tea.
Read the whole thing here.
From a Carter-appointed, Peace Corps-veteran judge no less. HUGE.
Naturally, the liberal media in this country delights in the row between Mitt Romney and the Cameron/Clegg government and the British press over his comments about London’s preparation for the Olympics.
Yet President Obama has had more than his share of trouble with the Brits during his Presidency. Here’s a list from Nile Gardiner titled, “Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Britain”. If Romney is elected President, I doubt you could ever compile such a list.
The roots of Obama’s Anglophobia purportedly stem from the treatment his grandfather received in Kenya at the hands of the British during the Mau Mau rebellion in the early 1950s. Although new information has called that story into doubt. Well, whatever the case, Obama doesn’t much care for the Union Jack.
Aside from returning the bust of Churchill, there was the time Obama snubbed then UK PM Gordon Brown at the UN. Prior to that, Obama gave Brown 25 DVDs after Brown had given him an ornamental pen holder made from material from the HMS Gannet, an anti-slavery ship. Of course, the DVDs were Region 1 so Brown couldn’t even watch the damn movies. It’s probably just as well because even if he could have watched the DVDs he could only do so out of one eye.
Who could ignore Obama talking over “God Save The Queen” just over a year ago? The liberal media, that’s who.
And there’s President Obama’s posture over the Falkland Islands. Argentina, then governed by a vicious dictatorship, invaded the Falklands thirty years ago and British forces successfully defended their island against invasion. But not only does Obama take Argentina’s side on the Falklands, he wanted to call them Malvinas as the Argentines do. Instead, Obama called them the Maldives which are situated in the Indian Ocean. Obama’s statement on the Falklands is far more egregious than what Romney had to say about the London Olympics. Frankly, statements like that lead me to conclude that Obama isn’t intelligent enough to be in the same room with Romney.
The British press isn’t so awed with Obama and finds his oratory rather tedious. So Obama’s rows with Britain get covered by the British press, right and left. However, the liberal press in this country has said more about Romney’s row with the Brits in one day than they’ve had to say about Obama’s litany of troubles with the UK in the past 3½ years.
Not content with the multiple lawsuits that have been filed in an effort to block implementation of the new school voucher program in Louisiana, one of the state’s teachers unions is now applying pressure against the individual schools accepting vouchers.
In the legislative session that ended this past June, Gov. Bobby Jindal converted a New Orleans scholarship program into a statewide school voucher system. State officials estimate that about 5,000 new slots will be available to students in the fall. The Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT) have already filed suit arguing that the voucher program violates the state constitution. But now, the LAE has gone a step further by sending letters to the participating schools demanding that they withdraw from the voucher program.
One letter from LAE to a Catholic school is online here. Superintendent John White and Penny Dastugue, who chairs the state board of education, have issued a joint statement today condemning the threats. Several school choice advocacy groups have also weighed in, including the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the American Federation for Children, and the Pelican Institute.
Meanwhile, Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) President Joyce Haynes has issued a statement meant to clarify the intention of the letter her organization sent to the schools.
“The letter was our way of ensuring that Louisiana students don’t have to pay for the unconstitutional maneuvers made by Governor Jindal and Superintendent White,” she said.
LAE Attorney Brian Blackwell views the letter as a routine procedural move.
“We hope to prevent schools from having to pay back the money when the courts rule that Act 2 and SCR 99 are unconstitutional,” said Blackwell. “The schools can still accept students on a contingency basis. The letter just provides an opportunity for the private or parochial school to agree to hold off using the money until the case has been finalized. The program is unconstitutional. The lawyers for the bishops know this and so does the governor. We are trying to prevent the spending of public dollars on unconstitutional programs.”
Baton Rouge District Judge Tim Kelley has already rejected a petition from the unions to issue an injunction blocking implementation of the voucher program.
It’s become a cliche to say that “racist” has been redefined to mean “anyone winning an argument with a liberal,” but sometimes words are overused for a reason. Jonathan Chait attempts to racialize the “you didn’t build that” controversy, identifying what the thinks is the real reason the attack against Barack Obama works well:
The key thing is that Obama is angry, and he’s talking not in his normal voice but in a “black dialect.” This strikes at the core of Obama’s entire political identity: a soft-spoken, reasonable African-American with a Kansas accent. From the moment he stepped onto the national stage, Obama’s deepest political fear was being seen as a “traditional” black politician, one who was demanding redistribution from white America on behalf of his fellow African-Americans.
We’ve heard all this before, from Harry Reid saying that Obama spoke “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one” to liberals complaining that issues like welfare, crime, and taxes are really just racial code words. (The term “dog whistle” is generally preferred today.) No chance that people might actually be concerned about welfare, crime or taxes, natch.
I’m not naive about the impact of race on American politics. But some of the most effective attacks on Obama’s statism prior to this flap have concerned his giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry through Obamacare and money being shoveled to corporate cronies at Solyndra. Neither group is disproportionately black.
For a group that purports to be about tolerance and love, same-sex marriage advocates are showing neither as they strive to block Chick-fil-A from setting up shop in Boston and expanding its presence in Chicago.
Remember, Chick-fil-A isn’t refusing to serve openly homosexual patrons. The restaurant chain’s only “crime” is that its owners as Christians who hold to the Good Book’s clear teaching on sexual morality.
As Fox News reports, though, Chick-fil-A foes don’t have a legal leg to stand on — and support is coming from an odd quarter in the ACLU:
Barring the popular fast-food restaurant over the personal views of Cathy is an “open and shut” discrimination case, legal scholars told FoxNews.com.
“The government can regulate discrimination in employment or against customers, but what the government cannot do is to punish someone for their words,” said Adam Schwartz, senior attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “When an alderman refuses to allow a business to open because its owner has expressed a viewpoint the government disagrees with, the government is practicing viewpoint discrimination.”
The ACLU “strongly supports” same-sex marriage, Schwartz said, but noted that if a government can exclude a business for being against same-sex marriage, it can also exclude a business for being in support of same-sex marriage.
“But we also support the First Amendment,” he said. “We don’ think the government should exclude Chick-fil-A because of the anti-LGBT message. We believe this is clear cut.”
When even when the ACLU isn’t on your side as a liberal, it’s time to rethink your strategy. Big time.
Later in the article, Chicago Alderman Proco Joe Moreno performed the following verbal two-step:
Reached by phone Thursday, Moreno first appeared to back away from his stance, saying traffic concerns drive his objections to the store. But when pressed, Moreno refused to back off his criticism of Cathy’s position on same-sex marriage.
“No, I’m not saying that, I’m not walking back about from that,” Moreno said when asked if his objection to the restaurant has nothing to do with Cathy’s beliefs. “That’s another part of it .. I think businesses should be neutral on that. They should be selling chicken.”
OK. And Starbucks should be selling coffee.
Here in the South, we virtually have a Chick-fil-A on every corner. They serve delicious, high-quality food in a clean atmosphere. Their service is always excellent, and their employees courteous. As a Christian, I feel doubly good giving them my business because the owners share my faith.
But for any defender of free markets — regardless of faith — there can be only one side on which to fall on this issue … that of Chick-fil-A.
Yesterday afternoon, Boston Mayor Tom Menino backed down on his comments concerning the opening of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in the city.
Now Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel should do the same.
Although Emanual might be right to say, “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values.” Chick-fil-A stuffs chicken, not ballot boxes.
Well, on the bright side, when Chick-fil-A does open in Boston there will be lines of people waiting to get in wanting a good meal and wondering what all the fuss was about.
Gun Wielder Stops Stabbing Spree in Salt Lake City (ABC Salt Lake City)
First 2012 Olympics World Record Set by Blind Archer (CNN)
New Rasmussen Poll Puts Romney in the Lead by 5 Points (Rasmussen)
Growth Stagnates at a Low 1.5% (Breitbart)
Anti-Taliban Activities Growing in Afghanistan (Washington Free Beacon)
CNN Chief Resigns Over Low Ratings (LA Times)
Carney Can’t Name Israel’s Capital (The Weekly Standard)
I hate anecdotal evidence. It’s my single greatest annoyance. This goes for those who cherry-pick comments, magnify innocuous incidents, quote out of context, or pretend a single statement made on the campaign trail really amounts to anything more. It drives me bonkers.
I recognize that electoral politics exists on a squirming coil of sound-bite substantiation. But this most recent flap over Romney’s Anglophilia really exhausted my patience. (For the record, he’s got nothing on my father who was birthed in tweed, and hoisted me across the pond so often as child that I could navigate the streets of London better than Philadelphia, the city of my birth. If you’re reading this, Dad, it was always a pleasure.)
For those of you who missed it, the story goes something like this (and with a tip of the hat to Charles M. Blow at the New York Times):
A couple days back, a reporter from the Daily Telegraph cited an anonymous adviser from Romney’s foreign policy staff who said the following:
“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and [Mitt Romney] feels that the special relationship is special. The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”
Cue shock and indignation, right? The paper suggested the comments might prompt accusations of racial insensitivity. But before we leap to conclusions about the political leanings of this particular broadsheet, remember that the Telegraph is Britain’s flagship conservative daily.
Well, this is nonsense. Or bollocks, as the case may be. I won’t waste your time dignifying the ridiculous stretch between an unnamed adviser, speaking on the condition of anonymity, and the linguistic contortion necessary to stretch this into a vague cultural smear on the president. But Romney’s visit suggests that he appreciates this most “special relationship.” Better than Obama? Well, it’s too soon to say, and it would be irresponsible to sum up our nations’ trans-Atlantic connection based on a bust of Churchill. But he’s off to a better start than he’s getting credit for, at the moment.
Over at the American Conservative, Daniel Larison asks, “Who cares?” He hints that a “national security and interest filter” sieves better decisions than a “values continuum” (with thanks to Aaron David Miller for providing the copy). Usually, I’d agree. On those terms alone, the relationship between Great Britain and the United States exceeds values.
However, ideas matter. Concepts matter. History matters. In the discipline of International Relations, there is a school of thought known as constructivism. Without launching into the nitty-gritty of Habermasian communicative action theorists and Foucauldian geneaologists, I’ll sum up the constructivists as follows: scholars in this camp argue that foreign affairs are bounded historically and socially. Ideas and language matter. All institutions are social constructions. As such, a state’s international posture is shaped by its social, cultural and historical identity.
So we can make jokes about Romney sticking to his guns on the “No Apology” diplomacy tour, or tease Obama for begging forgiveness for the Revolutionary War on his next visit to Buckingham Palace. Better yet, we can recognize and admit what the Romney campaign has. Namely, Anglophilia matters when it comes to our relationship with Great Britain. To paraphrase Alexander Wendt, grand Poo-Bah (an allusion to Gilbert and Sullivan seemed apt) of modern constructivism — the structure of human association is formed by shared ideas. Not material forces. In this case, he’s right.
And Larison’s correct to question “why should it matter who has the stronger personal or emotional attachment to another country?” But it’s important to remember that there’s a “construction” to our relationship that binds our identities and interests. The relationship between Britain and America transcends that “national security filter.” And kudos to the Romney camp for having the stones to admit it.
Actress Mary Tamm has passed away of cancer. She was 62.
In 1974, Tamm co-starred with Jon Voight and Maximilian Schell in The Odessa File. However, she was best known for her one season in the late 70s on the British sci-fi TV series Doctor Who as Lady Romana alongside the Doctor played by Tom Baker in The Key to Time saga. It’s been at least thirty years since I’ve seen those episodes but I will always remember Romana because she was so easy on the eyes. Let’s just say that Romana was very popular with the men and boys in the Goldstein household.
Tamm’s death comes 15 months after the passing of Elisabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane, another beloved companion to Doctor Who. Sladen also succunbed to cancer in her early 60s.
Here’s a short clip of the Doctor, Romana and the robotic dog, K-9, goofing around at Christmas time.
I explain here.
My colleague at CFIF has a terrific column here.
This man in the Oval Office is supremely dangerous. Here’s one more compendium explaining why.
Back in the Stone Age of 2010, we wrote of Newsweek and the canary in the coal mine. In short, we said Newsweek magazine was “gasping for financial breath.”
Our friends at Newsmax have now officially reported the inevitable: Newsweek — the print version — is dead. Dead as the proverbial doornail.
Multiples of reasons, some of which we discussed back in the Stone Age of 2010. But in sum?
Liberalism is dying. This is Bob Tyrrell’s point in The Death of Liberalism.
Make no mistake: Newsweek was struggling for two reasons: the Internet — and the self-inflicted wounds of American liberalism. In part — Newsweek killed itself.
Just to note?
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Fox News are doing just fine.
But Newsweek? The print version? The magazine that thought there was a huge audience in mocking Sarah Palin by picturing her on the cover in hot pants with the American flag with the headline, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah?”
That Newsweek is now officially dead.
And Sarah Palin — not to mention the conservative movement — is alive and thriving.
Iran Claims Israel Behind Bulgaria Bus Attack (Reuters)
Obama Video: “Union is Perfectable” (Real Clear Politics)
USDA Attacks Meat in Favor of Environment (Daily Caller)
In Wake of Tragedy, Gun Sales Up (Breitbart)
But Obama Calls for Tighter Gun Control (Washington Times)
Rahm Emanuel Attacking Chick-fil-A for Moral Views (Chicago Sun-Times)
Olympic Mix-Up; North Korea Walks of Field after Flag Mistake (CNN)
FBI to Investigate Anaheim Police Shooting and Subsequent Unrest (LA Times)
Quin tells us that he ate mor chikn at Chick-fil-A in response to Boston Mayor Tom Menino refusing to let the Georgia based restaurant chain do business in the Hub. Menino won’t let Chick-fil-A open its doors because of its opposition to gay marriage.
Well, I wish I could say the same. Yeah, I live in Boston.
Now I support gay marriage but I think Menino ought to pluck off.
Menino said, “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population.”
First, it isn’t for Menino to say who does and doesn’t belong in Boston. If Chick-fil-A has the money to pay the high rents near Fanueil Hall then who is Menino to say otherwise? The location is currently occupied by The Purple Shamrock but it is moving out in mid-September because of a 60% increase in the rent. Does Mayor Menino really want that prime piece of real estate to sit empty for months on end?
Second, who says Chick-fil-A is discriminating against anyone? There’s no evidence to suggest Chick-fil-A has refused to served lesbians, gay and transgendered people. None. It simply disagrees with gay marriage and uses its money to campaign against it. Last time I checked that was protected by the First Amendment.
Third, Menino has been Mayor for nearly twenty years. He thinks he runs the place and certainly acts like he does. Menino is so used to having things his way that he doesn’t think he can be unreasonable.
Finally, whether Chick-fil-A does business in Boston should be up to the people of Boston, not Mayor Menino nor anyone else in the city government. People ought to be free to choose whether or not they spend their money at Chick-fil-A. If it turns out that Bostonians like eating chicken on Sunday then Chick-fil-A might have a problem. No one is forcing anyone to eat at Chick-fil-A. If people don’t agree with their stance on gay marriage then they can eat at Boston Market instead. It’s called free enterprise.
For years, auditing the Federal Reserve was a fringe idea taken up only by Ron Paul. Both the Democratic and Republican wings of the establishment argued that it would compromise the Fed’s independence. Given the economic impact of bad monetary policy, some countered that perhaps their vaunted independence should be constrained slightly.
This bid for transparency is no longer a marginal concern. Legislation calling for a Fed audit enjoys bipartisan support, including the backing of the entire Republican leadership team. Today Paul’s audit the Fed bill passed the House by 327 to 98. There’s a good chance the measure will be endorsed in the Republican platform and advocated by Mitt Romney during the fall campaign. It’s a big victory for Paul. He is still working to ensure that other once-marginal ideas become mainstream, in the Republican Party and beyond.
In the ongoing debate over the meaning of “that,” John O’Sullivan points out the president’s genuinely statist logic:
Let us look at the life-span of Obama’s successful businessman: He is not only allowed to “thrive” by “this unbelievable American system,” his goods delivered over government roads and bridges, his efficiency improved by an Internet “created” by the government, his status improved by entry into a middle class “created” by government, but he is himself shaped by government through “some great teacher” and the G.I. Bill passed by government. His own abilities don’t explain his success — there are a lot of “smart” people who don’t make it. And if he thinks he’s done well through hard work, well, remember he had a great teacher and a college education. “Doing things together” under such circumstances means that the business owner becomes the junior partner to the government with civil society gradually morphing into semi-independent licensed agencies of the state.
The much-mocked “Life of Julia” ad also assumes that most of its main character’s achievements in life are due to government. It’s one thing to say that there is a government role, or that we are all products of an environment larger than ourselves. What Obama and Elizabeth Warren are saying goes well beyond that.
And that, despite all the indignation about roads, bridges, and antecedents, is why the Roanoke speech has blown up into a major campaign issue.
With six days left before the MLB trading deadline there has been a flurry of activity.
Let’s begin with the Miami Marlins trading Hanley Ramirez along with lefty reliever Randy Choate to the Los Angeles Dodgers for starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and minor league pitcher Scott McGough.
Ramirez, of course, began his career in the Boston Red Sox organization. I remember seeing him play with the Double A Portland Sea Dogs. He was originally touted to be the Red Sox shortstop of the future. Instead, prior to the 2006 season, the Sox dealt him and pitcher Anibal Sanchez to the then Florida Marlins for pitcher Josh Beckett and threw in a supposedly washed up third baseman named Mike Lowell. The trade worked well for both teams - for a time. The Red Sox won a World Series in 2007 while Ramirez became one of the NL’s best pure hitters. In 2009, Ramirez won the NL batting title with a .342 average.
While Ramirez hit an even .300 in 2010, the past year and a half has been disappointing. In 2011, injuries limited him to a career low .243 batting average. The arrival of Jose Reyes forced Ramirez to third base and although his power numbers are better (his slugging percentage is more than 50 points this year than it was in 2011) he hit .246 with the Marlins this season.
I think this is one of those deals where the player just needs a change of scenery. Ramirez should fit in nicely with the likes of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. It also doesn’t hurt that Don Mattingly is the Dodgers’ manager. Mattingly, of course, was a batting champion in his own right during his glory days with the New York Yankees in the mid to late 1980s. If anybody could get Ramirez back to his ,300 form it would be Mattingly. The 28-year old Ramirez has two years left on his contract.
After going 32-19 in April and May, the Dodgers have gone 21-25 although they have won five in a row. Presently, they are 1½ games back of the San Francisco Giants in the NL West. Ramirez may be the spark they need to get back on the top of the division.
Meanwhile, the Marlins are sellers. This after signing high profile free agents like Reyes, starting pitcher Mark Buehrle and closer Heath Bell not to mention opened a ridiculous looking, taxpayer funded stadium. I picked them to win the World Series this year. Well, there is no joy in South Beach. After struggling in April, the Marlins went 21-8 in May but have gone 16-29 since. The Marlins are presently 11½ games back of the Washington Nationals in the NL East and prior to trading Ramirez had dealt the aforementioned Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the surging Detroit Tigers.
Another team that is selling off its parts is the Houston Astros. On July 4th, the Astros dealt slugger Carlos Lee to the Marlins. Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s worse being an Astro or being a Marlin right now. Four days ago, the Astros traded closer Brett Myers to the Chicago White Sox. Now the Astros have dealt their ace Wandy Rodriguez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for three minor league prospects.
The Pirates have two very strong starting pitchers in A.J. Burnett and James McDonald. Jeff Karstens looks like he’s good number five starter but Kevin Correia and Erik Bedard have been shaky. The addition of Rodriguez bolsters their rotation. If Rodriguez had been pitching for the Bucs this season there’s no way he’d be 7-9. Rodriguez has pitched his entire big league career in Houston and has 80 big league wins under his belt. I suspect the Pirates are not done dealing. Expect them to add a bat or two. The Pirates are presently 1½ games back of the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central.
One pitcher who isn’t going anywhere is Cole Hamels. The 28-year old lefty signed a six-year contract extension worth $144 million. With the Phillies in last place in the NL East and Hamels facing free agency at the end of the season, it was thought that Hamels was on the trading block. With a season ending injury to Colby Lewis and ongoing back troubles for Roy Oswalt, the Texas Rangers were interested in obtaining the services of Hamels but to no avail. It looks like the Rangers will have to set their sights on Zack Greinke or maybe join the Ryan Dempster sweepstakes.
Well, since Hamels is staying in the NL East this means he will be facing Bryce Harper for many years to come. He just won’t be plunking him in the back.
Dana Gioia’s fourth book of poems is out—his first in eleven years. Gioia was head of the National Endowment of the Arts under President George W. Bush, and one of those rare poets who, à la Wallace Stevens, was an executive for a number of years before turning to writing full-time. If you haven’t read anything but Wendell Berry for the past five years, do yourself a favor and pick up Gioia’s book.
Italian archaeologists believe they have unearthed the bones of the model Leonardo da Vinci used to paint Mona Lisa.
July 21st was Ernest Hemingway’s birthday. He was born in 1899. The Christian Science Monitor has ten of his most famous sayings here, but my favorite is from his son (courtesy of Matt Milliner): “When it’s all added up, papa, it will be: he wrote a few good stories…and destroyed 5 persons.”
In the more-than-we-want-to-know category, novelist John Irving tells us: “Growing up in the '50s and '60s, I spent more time imagining sex than actually having it. There was a period in that time where I was frightened of half of my sexual fantasies. I was attracted to my friend’s mothers, and I did have an occasional crush on a boy in the wrestling team. [But] I liked girls in my life, and it proceeded in a normal, unchallenged course.”
Other items of interest:
The world capital of the tango is apparently Finland.
How New Orleans became decadent.
Plato, the first literary dandy.
Poems inspired by Titian.
Public choice versus public good and the forgotten Wilhelm Roepke.
After my post just an hour ago predicting Bobby Jindal as Veep, I was told that a very astute observer says the fix is in for Tim Pawlenty to be Romney’s choice. (Pawlenty was the one I said had the second best odds of being chosen.)
Okay, fine. I’m already yawning. I can’t keep my eyes open. Please wake me up when this rotten campaign is over and the Obamites have won.
The best thing that can be said about Pawlenty is that he is inoffensive. But another word for that is “milquetoast.” Watch him on a TV interview, and then try, just try, to tell somebody even ten minutes later a single interesting or memorable thing that Pawlenty just said. Betcha can’t do it.
The Romney folks apparently are impressed with Pawlenty’s supposed ability to “connect” with “average Americans” in person, on rope lines and the like. Well, it doesn’t translate on TV. And it didn’t translate for me when I’ve been in his presence several times. Nice guy. Decent. Well meaning. But also calculating, cautious to a fault, perfectly practiced in the art of glad-handing. And if he is so good on a person-to-person level, why did he flame out so badly in neighboring Iowa despite devoting large resources to the state, for caucuses famously rewarding of person-to-person contact? The reason he pulled out of the race is that he saw he was getting nowhere in Iowa, despite what really amounted to two solid years of efforts there.
Heck, Pawlenty doesn’t carry much political weight even in his home state of Minnesota — where he never earned 50% of the vote, and where he couldn’t deliver for Romney even in the primary.
I have yet to find a single person, in travels this spring and summer to the mid-Atlantic, the Northeast, the southwest, and to Northern California, not to mention here on the Gulf Coast, who is excited by the idea of Pawlenty. He energizes nobody.
As Fagin (sp?) sang in Oliver Twist, so too should the Romneyites say, if they think they have settled on Pawlenty: “I think I better think it out again!”
In response to the cheap shots aimed at Chick-fil-A, I ate at a Chick-fil-A just now. It was delicious. Well worth going to, again and again. For all those who care about private free speech against government bullying, and for all those who recognize that even if someone is against homosexual “marriage” it doesn’t make them “bigoted,” it might be a good idea to patronize Chick-fil-A for the rest of this month and on August 1, and to make known what you are doing.
Mayor Menino, meanwhile, can go blow — blow off his bile somewhere else.
The president has again invoked his daughters to justify his support for abortion. According to a Politico story, Obama, campaigning in Portland, OR, Tuesday, said, “Mr. Romney wants to get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood. I think that’s a bad idea. I’ve got two daughters. I want them to control their own health care choices.”
It’s probably not a coincidence that Obama mentioned Planned Parenthood just as it has come under fire in the wake of news of a woman dying from a botched abortion at a Planned Parenthood facility in Chicago last Friday, and after renewed calls by congressional Republicans for public hearings about the scandal-plagued abortion business.
Obama invoked Malia and Sasha in March, when he explained why he had called Sandra Fluke after she was insulted by Rush Limbaugh. Fluke was the Georgetown Law School student and abortion activist who demanded at an unofficial congressional hearing that her friends receive free birth control from the Catholic institution. “The reason I called Ms. Fluke is because I thought about Malia and Sasha and one of the things that I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about,” Obama said.
On the 2008 campaign trail, Obama told an audience that he supported sex education that included information about contraception and abortion because, “I don’t want [my daughters] punished with a baby.”
In the past, Obama has declared candidates’ families “off limits” to the media and political opponents.
Obama employs a double standard when it comes to his own family and the political spotlight. That’s no example for his daughters to follow.
So the idea is an old one.
If one has a rep as Not Rush, or worse, as a Moderate Not Rush, try to be More Conservative Than Rush.
Governor Mike Huckabee, whose much ballyhooed moderate talk radio show challenge to Rush Limbaugh was widely presented as the “safe, non-dangerous alternative” to Rush, has apparently had some ratings trouble. Or, as we have noted, his success would be promoted everywhere. This ratings problem, one suspects, is something along the lines of the same way the Titanic had an ice problem.
So… if the moderate, safe approach to Rush isn’t working — and as noted in the link above there has been radio silence about the Huck’s ratings — bailing faster while steering away from the iceberg might appear as an alternative. To wit: Suddenly become “non-safe” and “dangerous.”
In this case, Huckabee has abruptly changed course to stake all by identifying with Chick-fil-A. The Chick-fil-A folks have run afoul of the same-sex marriage supporters.
The Huck has suddenly jumped into the fray. Calling for everybody to eat at Chick-fil-A on August 1. And what happened in response?
Yesssirrrreee. The Governor has found out just how faithful his liberal fans are when he’s under fire. Here’s a take down from the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank
What is…ahhhh…curious here?
What is at issue in the Chick-fil-A dust up? Right — gays. The company is being pictured as hostile to gays because of its stance on gay marriage. So The Huck noisily jumps in to defend them.
What about that New York Times Magazine interview with the Huck and Timsester Andrew Goldman that we cited in our July 12th piece that is linked above?
While we focused on the section of the interview that was relevant to the Huckabee challenge to Rush, there was something else said in that interview that looks mighty curious in light of the sudden Huckabee defense of Chick-fil-A. Here it is, from the transcript, word for word:
Goldman: During the Republican primary debates, audience members booed a question from an active serviceman who was gay and shouted, “Let him die,” about a hypothetical gravely ill patient without insurance. Is this different from the party that you know and love?
Huckabee: Very much. It’s one of the reasons that I did not think this was a good time to run. The atmosphere was so toxic that it would not be an atmosphere in which I would breathe well. There is almost a hyperorthodoxy that is gripping the party that you have to go out and prove that you can be tougher, meaner, more hard-line than anybody else on the stage. It may lead to effective campaigning if the goal is to be the most ideological puritan on the platform, but the ultimate goal is more of what I’d call a true Reagan model. Not the Reagan model that has been invoked — but Ronald Reagan who understood that governing is an art.
Reporter Goldman paints a picture of the Republican Party as viciously anti-gay. The predictable left-wing portrait of a group of gay-baiting thugs. Precisely the image that is now being painted of Chick-fil-A by its left-wing opponents.
And what was The Huck’s response? Did he rebuke the reporter? Was there a staunch defense of the GOP as not anti-gay but simply principled on the marriage issue? Did he defend the GOP and conservatives as he is suddenly, loudly and on-air defending Chick-fil-A?
Ah…um…no. Nope. Nada. Not a word.
Instead The Huck couldn’t agree fast enough to the question of whether the GOP’s stance on same-sex marriage made the GOP “different from the party that you know and love?” Again, he said:
Very much. It’s one of the reasons that I did not think this was a good time to run. The atmosphere was so toxic that it would not be an atmosphere in which I would breathe well. There is almost a hyperorthodoxy that is gripping the party that you have to go out and prove that you can be tougher, meaner, more hard-line than anybody else on the stage.
The GOP — for opposing same-sex marriage — has a “toxic” atmosphere. It is in the grip of a “hyperorthodoxy.” It takes the stance it does to prove it can be “tougher, meaner, more hard-line.”
But Chick-fil-A, for taking the exact same view as the GOP, is now worthy of an all-out radio-noisy demand for support?
What is this?
Yes yes yes. It’s the old double-standard, sure.
But you know what I think?
I think the water is rapidly rising in the good talk radio ship of the moderate Mike Huckabee.
And what this whole loud defense of Chick-fil-A is really all about is a way, in the Huck mindset, to try and boost his ratings with conservatives in his challenge to Rush.
He wouldn’t defend the GOP it when it would offend the Times. But, the water rising on his radio show, he’ll do it now for Chick-fil-A.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a small case study of just how moderate Republicanism works.
And why millions of Americans listen to Rush Limbaugh — and not Mike Huckabee.
American Spectator contributor George Neumayr told a lively crowd at the Heritage Foundation yesterday that President Obama’s religious sentiments align closely with the Marxist tradition. In 2008, the president opined that religion is a consolation for the “bitter,” which, Neumayr said, is “essentially a restatement of what Karl Marx had said about religion,” namely the now-infamous phrase, “religion is the opium of the masses.”
Neumayr and his co-author, longtime conservative activist
Phyllis Schlafly, spoke to promote their new book, No
Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious
“Our book is not based on what we speculate his inner beliefs might be,” Schlafly told the audience. “It’s based on his actual words and actions.”
The duo outlined several examples to illustrate their
point: Obama’s omission of “Creator” during his recitation of the
Declaration of Independence; his refusal to celebrate the National
Day of Prayer at the White House; and most recently, his
controversial contraceptive mandate.
“[Obama] saw that health care would be the perfect point of leverage to drive religion out of public life, for if the government is controlling health care, it’s controlling everything.” Neumayr said. “Government dominion over health care means government dominion over all things, because health care extends to all stages and dimensions of life and has an undeniable public component to it.”
He sees Obama’s secularism as part of his plan to
make the government “larger and more godlike” and to replace “the
drug of religion” with, say, free health
“No Higher Power is really on the
theme that Obama doesn’t want to recognize any power higher than
the federal government, particularly the executive branch.”
Can the government replace God, however? Neumayr doesn’t think so, and neither did the Founding Fathers.
“Our rights come not from government but from
God. And the legitimacy of the government depends upon its
remaining faithful to that concept and recognizing God-given
freedom and rights,” Neumayr said. “Once it starts violating these
rights, the people then have a right to overthrow the government —
that’s the whole foundation of our
N.Y. Fed Failed to Expose Corrupt Practices at Barclay’s (WaPo)
3 Million Unfilled Positions Indicate Skill Crisis (Bloomberg)
Romney Critical of Obama’s Defense Cuts and Foreign Policy (The Hill)
Gov. Walker: November Election is Not Just ‘Referendum on the President’ (Politico)
Obama and Romney’s Olympic Strategies (The Atlantic)
Kim Jong Un Marries Unidentified Woman (CNN)
Chick-fil-A Alienates Muppets and Boston, Gains Huckabee’s Support (Chicago Tribune)
Self-Defense Pro: ‘Guns Protect Women’ (The Daily Beast)
Actor Sherman Hemsley died today of natural causes. He was 74.
Hemsley is, of course, best known for his portrayal of George Jefferson first as a recurring character on All in the Family before being given a starring role in the spin off The Jeffersons which aired on CBS for more than a decade.
After The Jeffersons was cancelled in 1985, Hemsley would have a starring role on the NBC sitcom Amen.
I had absolutely no idea that Hemsley was a devotee of prog rock. Just thinking about it makes me weezy. Hemsley was a big fan of prog rock bands like Nektar, Gentle Giant and Gong. He even collaborated on an album with former Yes lead singer Jon Anderson which was never released. It’s too bad because if Jon Anderson could collaborate with Vangelis then why not with George Jefferson?
Now that Hemsley has moved on up to that sky I think it’s fitting to leave you with The Last Will and Testament of George Jefferson.
Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payàwas killed on Sunday in a car accident. He was 60.
While Cuban authorities claim Payà’s vehicle crashed into a tree, Payà’s daughter claims his vehicle was run off the road. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has called for an independent investigation into Payà’s death.
Payà, a Catholic layman, is best known for being the driving force in the late 1990s and early 2000s behind The Varela Project, a petition drive demanding the Cuban government hold a referendum to allow Cubans to determine their fundamental rights. There is a provision in the Cuban constitution which provides for a referendum if more than 10,000 signatures can be collected. Despite collecting more than 11,000 signatures, the Cuban government unsurprisingly ignored the petition and would later jail a large number of Cuban dissidents in 2003 although Payà was spared imprisonment.
The collision also claimed the life of fellow dissident Harold Cepero. Two other people in the vehicle sustained minor injuries. They have been identified as Jens Aron Modig, Chairman of the youth wing of Sweden’s Christian Democratic Party and Angel Carromero, Deputy Chairman of the youth wing of Spain’s Popular Party.
Here’s an excerpt from the 2002 documentary Dissident: Oswaldo Payà and The Varela Project.
If you want a corrective to some of the anti-gun nonsense circulating since the Aurora shootings, there is no better place to start than this well informed piece by Robert VerBruggen.
On whether 1990s-style gun control laws would have prevented the shooter from obtaining weapons:
James Holmes passed a background check — his worst prior infraction was a traffic ticket — and although some of his acquaintances found him “creepy,” there is no evidence that he was diagnosed with any mental illness. Further, while it’s true that one of Holmes’s guns was a so-called “assault weapon” similar to an AR-15, this gun does not differ from standard hunting rifles in most of the important ways. Holmes’s rifle fires at a semiautomatic rate — one bullet for each pull of the trigger, unlike a machine gun, which fires continuously when the trigger is held down — and uses .223-caliber ammo. This ammo is frequently found in “varmint rifles”; it is on the small side even for shooting deer.
What about the magazine, which was higher capacity than was permitted under the now-expired assault weapons ban?
Mayor Bloomberg is wrong that these magazines have no legitimate purpose — I personally own an extended magazine for my 9mm pistol; it cuts down on loading time at the range if you fill a big magazine before leaving the house. But one can make the case, and many have, that high-capacity magazines make these kinds of shootings easier to pull off by decreasing the number of times that the shooter has to reload or change guns….
However, changing magazines can take less than a second — here is an extreme example of a fast change — and someone who takes as much time preparing as Holmes did will practice doing this. Further, Holmes’s choice of a drum magazine might have made him less effective — there are reports that the magazine jammed, as large magazines are known to do.
The whole thing is worth a read.
Popular conservative blogger Ace of Spades first enunciated The Marcotte Rule of Blogging: No public controversy is complete until Amanda Marcotte has made a complete fool of herself.
In case you don’t remember, Marcotte was one of two left-wing women whom John Edwards recruited in 2007 to boost his presidential campaign’s connection to the progressive blogosphere. Alas, this turned out to be a very short-term gig when it was discovered what manner of “political commentary” Marcotte and her comrade Mellissa McEwan had hitherto provided their readers, as eloquently summarized by Mary Katharine Ham: “Vote for Edwards, Godbag Christofascists!”
Marcotte and McEwan are both radical feminists of the most extreme variety, generally arguing that the Republican Party is a theocratic plot for the patriarchal oppression of womyn. McEwan remains rather obscure, but Marcotte is slightly more telegenic (which ain’t saying much) and therefore is considered acceptable to appear occasionally as a commentator on MSNBC, the network that promotes Ed Schultz and Al Sharpton as marquee TV talents. Marcotte is thus able to get freelance pieces published in such progressive venues as Salon and the Guardian, despite her repeated demonstrations that she is a blithering idiot prone to counterfactual assertions and astonishing crimes against logic.
Which brings us to the subject of last week’s gruesome mass murder in Aurora, Colorado. The senseless slaughter of moviegoers appears to have been perpetrated by a delusional kook with no political motive. James Holmes was a grad student with poor social skills who seems to have undergone some kind of psychiatric meltdown in the weeks preceding the shooting spree in which police say Holmes killed a dozen people and wounded dozens more.
What insights could a radical feminist like Amanda Marcotte offer us about this horrible crime? You might have thought Marcotte would have taken notice, for example, of Holmes’s sexist objectification of a “Page 3” pinup girl. That would be an aspect of the story within her accustomed gynocentric purview. But no, this is what Marcotte chose to address in a Twitter message Monday morning:
“It was desegregation that caused white America to believe that the government had stopped ‘protecting’ them, and so they needed guns.”
No one can explain how Marcotte’s warped mind managed to gin up that particular piece of counterfactual absurdity. Conservative blogger Darleen Click sees this as an expression of raw ignorance — or inventing fake history to suit the Left’s current political convenience — while my own co-blogger Smitty marvels at the foresight of the authors of the Bill of Rights who so presciently anticipated future developments. For her part, Marcotte takes to the blogosphere today to claim victimhood, saying she’s “getting screeched at by a bunch of wingnuts on Twitter,” without bothering to share with her readers the exact wording of the Tweet that provoked this common-sense reaction.
The significance of all this is that any political controversy resulting from the Colorado shooting is officially over, now that Amanda Marcotte has once again made a complete fool of herself.
Today, around 2PM, Mitt Romney is addressing the annual conference of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He’s expected to lay out the broad strokes of his foreign policy platform. His speech at the summit preludes the international leg of his campaign, when he’ll travel to Britain, Israel and Poland to secure international aegis as the conservative candidate for president.
Last week, I expressed my hope that Romney will spare a war-weary American electorate the jingoism that’s defined his foreign policy statements, thus far. The discussion prompted a thoughtful response from our own Jim Antle, some challenging consideration from Daniel Larison at the American Conservative, and some typically provocative thoughts from Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Beast.
Today, in preview of Romney’s talk, Jennifer Rubin posits that Romney’s foreign policy is the “opposite” of President Obama’s. If we’re talking in terms of political geometry — perhaps identifying the shape, size, and scope of Romney’s policy priorities — then I’d beg to differ with the Post’s conservative cognoscente. However, Ms. Rubin does offer an adroit summation of reality:
Moreover, unlike Barack Obama, who came to the presidency with sky-high expectations (and was promptly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing), Romney may benefit from more realistic and limited expectations. He would come to the White House with fewer budget resources and less public appetite for an interventionist foreign policy than did George W. Bush. Romney also has the benefit from lessons learned from the Bush and Obama administrations.
How he’ll balance these fundamental realities with the Cold War chatter we’ve heard thus far remains at question. Perhaps we’ll have a better idea after his 2PM, but if I was writing this speech, I’d stick to hammering the president for leaking secrets of state — better known as “top-fold headlines” for the current administration.
The pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute has put out a new report documenting a “seismic shift” during the past decade in the number of states with significant protections for unborn human life:
Over the last decade, the abortion policy landscape at the state level has shifted dramatically. Although a core of states in the Northeast and on the West Coast remained consistently supportive of abortion rights between 2000 and 2011, a substantial number of other states shifted from having only a moderate number of abortion restrictions to becoming overtly hostile. The implications of this shift are enormous. In 2000, the country was almost evenly divided, with nearly a third of American women of reproductive age living in states solidly hostile to abortion rights, slightly more than a third in states supportive of abortion rights and close to a third in middle-ground states. By 2011, however, more than half of women of reproductive age lived in hostile states. This growth came largely at the expense of the states in the middle, and the women who live in them; in 2011, only one in 10 American women of reproductive age lived in a middle-ground state.
Gains for the pro-life caused occurred mainly in the Sunbelt, midwest, and mountain west. Many of these states and regions are the fastest growing in the United States, while more pro-abortion regions (such as New England) are losing population.
Guttmacher uses the trend as a call-to-arms for abortion advocates, and with good reason. These developments show the effectiveness of a pro-life strategy working at the state level. While state-level action alone won’t be enough to defeat the evil brought about by Roe v. Wade, it is increasingly making that Supreme Court ruling irrelevant as attitudes about the value of unborn human life continue to shift.
One fun feature in my DirecTV service is that the “info” button shows movie ratings from RottenTomatoes.com as well as a brief description of the selected movie. Please don’t hold it against me, but for some reason the other day I decided to watch “X2: X-Men United,” partly because I wanted something that would not require any brain usage to watch, and partly because the aforementioned movie ratings for the film are quite good.
I scanned the movie description quickly before watching the film, thinking little of its statement of the basic plot line.
The story includes a vendetta/obsession by one Colonel William Stryker, apparently a rogue former military officer, who is bent on destruction of all “mutants,” including the movie’s heroes, living on earth.
After watching about one third of the film, I had this nagging feeling that something I had read in the movie description didn’t seem right, but I didn’t remember what it was. So I pushed “Info” again, and re-read the sentence: “Wolverine, Storm and the other mutants must fend for themselves after a right-wing militarist invades their school.”
Nowhere during the movie (made in 2003) did Stryker express a fondness for Republicans, George W. Bush, the John Birch Society, or even the Wall Street Journal.
So exactly where did the person writing the description get the idea that Stryker was “right-wing”? It can only be that in his or her view, someone who dislikes someone who is different from himself, i.e. a “mutant” versus an ordinary human, is the sci-fi equivalent of a racist, and further that racism is, obviously, a “right-wing” trait.
Never mind that the biggest racists in American history, the strongest forces against civil rights legislation, indeed the founders and earliest members of the KKK, were all Democrats. Never mind that some of the most vicious racism in America today is anti-white racism by blacks – whom nobody would call right wing. Never mind that officials the Obama Justice Department refuse to prosecute voting rights infringements if the victims are white. Never mind that in 2008, Barack Obama received the highest share of the white vote of any Democrat in a head-to-head matchup since 1976, or that he received votes from 9 percent of Republicans, a 50% jump from John Kerry’s tally among the GOP in 2004.
It’s not that one sentence in a description of a decade-old movie impacts voters. But the subtle persistent representation by Hollywood of anybody who doesn’t like somebody else (due to fundamental traits of that somebody else) as “right wing” is little different from ABC News’ Brian Ross deep desire to tie the Colorado movie theater murderer to the Tea Party.
Complaining about liberal bias in Hollywood and the media is much like complaining about a puppy peeing on the rug. You know it’s just what they’re going to do. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the occasional swat on the rump to let them know that we noticed, and we’re not happy. Unfortunately, neither Hollywood or ABC News is any more likely to clean up their mess than a puppy is.
Colorado Massacre Suspect Makes First Court Appearance (WaPo)
Sally Ride, First U.S. Woman in Space, Dies (WSJ)
‘News of the World’ Journalists Charged in Phone-Hacking Scandal (The Daily Beast)
Obama, Democrats Back in Welfare Reform Dispute (Bloomberg)
Unintended Consequences of Bloomberg’s Large Soda Ban (Forbes)
Florida’s Voter Purge May Cost Obama the Election (The Atlantic)
What Possible VP Picks Are Up to (Politico)
Top Solyndra Figures Attend Obama Fundraiser (Washington Times)
The Seattle Mariners have traded outfielder Ichiro Suzuki to the New York Yankees for two minor league pitchers.
Instead of moving from coast to coast, Ichiro went from clubhouse to clubhouse. The Yankees are in Seattle for a three game series. Ichiro will play right field for the injured Nick Swisher during this series but is expected to move to left field once Swisher returns to the lineup on Friday.
After collecting 200 plus hits in his first ten seasons, his offensive production has tailed off. Entering tonight, the 38-year old Ichiro was hitting .261 with 4 homeruns and 28 RBI.
I haven’t talked to my Dad but I have no doubt that he’s ecstatic about this trade. He has long called for the Yankees to acquire the services of Ichiro. The Mariners have not reached the post-season since Ichiro’s rookie season in 2001 when he won AL Rookie of the Year and AL MVP during the M’s 116 win season. Changing uniforms may recharge Ichiro’s batteries.
I can’t wait for Red Sox Nation to print “Ichiro Sucks” shirts.
UPDATE: Ichiro went 1 for 4 with a stolen base in his Yankees debut. The Yankees won the game 4-1 snapping a four game skid after being swept over the weekend by the upstart Oakland A’s.
While the IOC won’t honor the 11 Israelis murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics during the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics with a moment of silence this weekend, Bob Costas will. Costas has called the IOC’s decision “baffling” and “insensitive”.
Costas will be hosting NBC’s coverage of the opening ceremonies as he has for the past twenty years. IOC President Jacques Rogge has said the opening ceremonies are not the appropriate venue to honor the slain Israeli athletes and coaches. Rogge did participate in a ceremony honoring the Israeli athletes at the Olympic village in London today. But if honoring the Israelis is appropriate in the Olympic village then why isn’t it appropriate when the whole world is watching?
Like the UN, the IOC sucks up to the Arab/Muslim bloc and is afraid of offending its sensibilities. As I wrote here a couple of months ago, “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.”
Bravo to Bob Costas for having the basic human decency to remember.
Sally K. Ride, the first American woman to enter space, died today of pancreatic cancer. She was 61.
Ride joined NASA in 1978 after answering a newspaper ad. She rose to fame in 1983 when she was a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. At 32, Ride was also the youngest American to go into space. Ride would go into space on the Challenger for a second time the following year. She was due to fly on Challenger again but it was, of course, destroyed on an ill-fated mission in 1986. Ride served on the panel investigating the Challenger accident. She would also be appointed to the panel which investigated the 2003 Columbia accident.
Since Ride went into space nearly thirty years ago, 42 American women have followed suit.
In 2001, she founded Sally Ride Science which is dedicated “to supporting girls’ and boys’ interest in science, math and technology.”
Any punishment of Penn State handed down by the NCAA was always going to be inadequate. The sports body doesn’t have the authority to deliver what would be justice for Jerry Sandusky’s unspeakable crimes and those involved in the cover-up. The $60 million fine seems fair. But what about vacating past wins?
Michael Brendan Dougherty writes:
Basically the NCAA will pretend (and ask everyone else to pretend) that Penn State football didn’t win those games. Consequently, we must pretend that Joe Paterno is no longer the college football coach with the most wins. And that is supposed to make everyone feel good about themselves.
Usually this punishment is reserved for cases when an athlete or sports program is alleged to have engaged in activities that call their wins into question or make them illegitimate: cheating, in short. But Sandusky’s monstrous behavior gave the Lions no advantage. The players who won those games may not have had even the slightest knowledge of Sandusky’s inclinations.
The logic runs roughly this: Paterno helped hush up Sandusky because he was concerned about his reputation and that of the Penn State football program. Take away his status as the winngest coach in college football history and that reputation takes the hit they endangered children to preserve.
But Paterno and Penn State’s legacy would have deservedly taken a hit without vacating those wins. And everyone knows that Penn State really won those games. This is an act of make-believe, not of justice. Prosecuting the living people complicit in covering up for Sandusky accomplishes something. Punishing innocent student athletes — including those now banned from postseason play under Bill O’Brien, without any connection to Sandusky or even Paterno at all — does not.
Barack Obama stepped in it with his “you didn’t build that” speech, the subject of my column last week. But now people are claiming that he was taken out of context.
One popular reinterpretation is that when Obama says “you didn’t build that” he is not referring to the small business he just talked about but the roads and bridges mentioned in the previous sentence. Far from being the obvious antecedent his supporters insist it is, this version would require him to misspeak. But it was the spoken word, not a carefully finished piece of writing. And it isn’t quite as absurd as entrepreneurship trutherism.
The first problem with this is that it remains an unpersuasive argument. Small business owners pay taxes that help build the roads and bridges just like everyone else. And while everyone benefits from the roads and bridges, not everyone builds small businesses.
The second, larger problem is that there is the rest of the speech. Obama says that if you are wealthy, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there by smarts. You didn’t get there by hard work. You got there because of a surrounding community and, above all, a government that needs to be financed by a higher top marginal tax rate.
As I wrote last week, there is an extent to which all of these statements except for the income tax bit are partially true. No man is an island, communities matter, and yes even government has a role. Some people are lucky, others are unlucky. But none of this really justifies downplaying the role individual merit and effort play in personal success. Nor does any of this have any bearing on whether the top tax rate is 35 percent or 39.6 percent.
Elizabeth Warren gave essentially the same speech arguing that nobody got rich in America on their own. They had help from the roads and the bridges the “rest of us” paid for. Her remarks went viral in the progressive blogosphere. I had a college philosophy professor who argued that the concept of the self-made man was a right-wing myth, because we are all part of a broader community.
Look, Obama probably didn’t mean to say that people didn’t build their small businesses, at least that straightforwardly. But his remarks did portray a mindset about the American dream that is to the left of Bill Clinton’s vision of people who “work hard and play by the rules,” and one that is likely to strike most voters as peculiar. The only way to say the line was taken out of context is to actually ignore the context of the rest of the speech.
So much attention is being focused on Adam Scott’s four closing bogeys in yesterday’s British Open that not enough credit is being given to Ernie Els for one of the greatest closing nine holes in a major championship in a generation. Els’ four-under-par 32 was achieved in conditions that, while not absolutely brutal, were still notably difficult. And on two other of the closing holes, his birdie putts missed by no more than a centimeter or so, meaning that in those difficult conditions he almost shot a 30.
While it is easy to say that comparisons of one man’s closing nine to another, in such circumstances, don’t fully tell the tale of the conditions, because of course one man might be “choking,” it IS a good measure to compare one player with ALL of those who played in the final seven or eight groups, because if one and only one stands out, then it is a good indication of how much better he was than the ordinary conditions would warrant.
In that light, consider that Els’ 32 compares with Scott’s 39, Brandt Snedeker’s 36, Tiger Woods’ 36, Graeme McDowell’s 39, Luke Donald’s 35 (finishing lots earlier), Thomas Aiken’s and Zach Johnson’s 38s, Thorbjorn Olsen’s 37, Mark Calcavecchia’s 36, Matt Kuchar’s 38, Bill Haas’ 37, Bubba Watson’s 39 and Louis Oosthuizen’s 40.
Els’ charge was magnificent.
Taking a broader view, this win puts Els’ career back into almost perfect alignment with that of his near-contemporary Phil Mickelson (the latter being just nine months younger). In terms of major tourneys, their records are: Els and Mickelson wins: 4 each. Seconds: Mickelson 7, Els 6. Thirds: Mickelson 7, Els 4. Total top fives: Mickelson 22, Els 21. Total top tens: Mickelson 33, Els 31.
In total professional titles (not counting minor tours): Els 40 (19 US, 21 other Euro not already counted in US total), plus one in Japan and 16 in the mid-level Sunshine Tour; Mickelson 42 (40 US, plus two not already counted in US total). Mickelson also won a US Amateur title.
In my book, this puts them both among the top 15 or 16 golfers of all time. (Not in exact order, still ahead of both of them: Nicklaus, Woods, Jones, Hogan, Hagen, Sarazen, Player, Palmer, Watson, Snead, Nelson, Trevino, Faldo, probably Ballesteros. Perhaps tied with them: Billy Casper.) Rather heady company!
(Just behind them: Ray Floyd, Cary Middlecoff, Vijay Singh, Jimmy Demaret…. and one tiny step behind those, Hale Irwin, who would move higher if Senior Tour record were counted, which I don’t.)
Anyway, all hail to Ernie Els. Very impressive indeed.
Last Friday morning, we wrote this:
The President will speak (in this case, President Obama is now set to speak at 11:20 this morning). The left will seek to make an issue of this, as they did most recently with the shooting by a disturbed loner of then-Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. There will be the usual shrieking about gun control. There will be mind-numbing discussions of whatever violence is in the Batman movie and isn’t our culture all to blame. Some conservative somewhere will be targeted for doing something if this guy has ever watched Fox, belonged to the NRA, listened to talk radio or picked up a book by Ayn Rand. And, of course, the 24-year old man who committed this latest act of horror — not all that far from the scene of the 1999 Columbine shootings where two high school kids killed 12 of their classmates and a teacher — will be psychoanalyzed to a fare thee well.
It’s now Monday morning, and all of these things have, in fact, now happened. Friday was barely halfway through when Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site recorded the inevitable “it was Rush” nuttiness. (For the record — obvious though it may be — the shooter was prepping for this event for months, long before Rush ever mentioned the Batman movie.)
To illustrate how perfectly inane these leftist nuts are was this posting that read:
Hannity beck limbaugh paraphernalia Found at aurora shooters home.
Of course, as the entire world knew, the police hadn’t even gotten into the shooter’s place because it was booby-trapped beyond belief. Which is to say, this post was about as brazen an outright lie as one could conceive.
The gun control business has started, fueled by the usual suspects. The Mayor of New York, who goes nowhere in his own city without pistol packing guards, wants everyone else disarmed. Lead by example, Mayor Bloomberg? Not a prayer.
Movie critic Roger Ebert chimes in at the Times that it’s all about guns. Not movies, mind you, guns. If we were to have “movie control” — ban movies — Mr. Ebert would be out of a job and surely feel compelled to give back his lifetime of earnings made reviewing these dastardly things. Right? Wrong.
Who’s kidding whom here?
The only things people want banned or controlled are things that they A) don’t like or B) don’t apply to them.
Leftists hate Rush and Hannity so — blame them.
ABC’s liberal newsies hate the Tea Party — blame them.
Liberal movie critic Roger Ebert wants to protect his own turf — movies — so not a peep about movie control.
The definition of a “nano-second,” Mark Steyn said on Friday when subbing for Rush, “is the time between a mass shooting and some guy from the left blaming it on talk radio, or Sarah Palin, or Fox News.”
Americans have long since gotten on to this very bizarre, very sad game.
A game which, it needs to be said, does nothing for the real victims here — the people who were in that movie theater when an insane man went about his insane task.
A man who bears 100% of the responsibility for his actions — not anyone, nor anything, else.
President Obama and Gov. Hickenlooper Remember Aurora Shooting Victims (CNN)
Former President Bush Continues Fight Against AIDS in Africa (WaPo)
Penn State Fined $60M for Sandusky Scandal (The Daily Beast)
U.S. Stocks Decline as Europe’s Debt Crisis Worsens (Bloomberg)
Wiggins Becomes First British Cyclist to Win Tour de France (ESPN)
Batman Sales Fall Short of Prediction, Still High at $162M (NY Times)
Romney Praises Obama for Colorado Visit (Politico)
Paterno Statue Removed by Penn State (The Atlantic)
Focus Likely to Shift from Romney’s Tax Returns to Economy (The Economist)
Art collector Herbert Vogel died on Sunday of natural causes. He was 89.
A few years back, I saw the documentary Herb & Dorothy on PBS. Vogel along with his wife Dorothy accumulated one of the largest collections of conceptual and minimalist art in the world despite their modest means. Herb was an employee of the USPS while Dorothy was employed at the Brooklyn Public Library. The Vogels became early champions of Christo and Jeanne Claude. On one occasion, the Vogels procured a collage in exchange for cat-sitting.
In 1992, the Vogels donated their collection to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Until then their collection had been stored in their one bedroom, rent controlled apartment in Brooklyn. It took five tractor trailer trucks to clear their apartment of the collection.
In 2008, the National Gallery began disseminating the Vogel collection around the country in a program called Fifty Works for Fifty States.
Herb Vogel could have easily a millionaire many times over. But for him and Dorothy, it was never about the money. It was just a love and passion for visual art.
The Vogels were married for fifty years.
Left-wing journalist Alexander Cockburn died on Saturday following a two year battle with cancer. He was 71.
Born in Ireland, Cockburn became one of the most influential leftist writers in the U.S. as co-editor of the bi-weekly newsletter, CounterPunch. Cockburn was also a columnist first with The Village Voice and later with The Nation.
Aside from Noam Chomsky, Cockburn was not only influential in steering the Left towards its present anti-Israel inclinations but also played a role in making anti-Semitism acceptable to said constituency. Indeed, Cockburn relished being labeled an anti-Semite.
Occasionally, Cockburn strayed from leftist orthodoxy as was the case with his skepticism towards global warming.
Last December, Cockburn wrote a scathing obituary of his rival Christopher Hitchens.
Cockburn was the uncle of actress Olivia Wilde.
1. The previous week’s political events lost a great deal of their force when a gunman opened fire on moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado. The country’s thoughts and prayers are with the people impacted, much more than with the summer campaign.
2. But politics always has a way of intruding. Brian Ross of ABC News initially wrongly fingered a Tea Party activist in the shooting, while others have begun to clamor for more gun control.
3. Federal “explosives control” laws didn’t deter the man behind this event.
4. President Barack Obama is speaking in Colorado. He largely eschewed any attempt to politicize a similar event, the attack on Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, though the same cannot be said of some of his supporters.
5. Obama’s Bain barrage has yet to do anything to change the deadlock in the polls. Mitt Romney even has a small, stastically insignificant lead in the latest Rasmussen poll. Gallup has Obama up by 1 point.
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?