Last night, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton hit his 100th career homerun in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Normally, a player hitting his 100th career homerun isn’t all that remarkable. But an hour later, his older brother B.J. Upton hit his 100th career homerun for the Tampa Bay Rays in a game against the Baltimore Orioles.
If Mel Allen were still alive, he’d say, “How about that?”
You can see the video of both homeruns here.
In the year 8 AD, the Dalmatae, that ancient Illyrian tribe of the eastern Adriatic, fell to the Roman general Tiberius on the banks of the Bathinus. A renowned warrior, Tiberius would ultimately conquer all of Dalmatia, Pannonia, Raetie and briefly Germania as he laid the foundations of the northern frontier. A dark and brooding sovereign, his success on the battlefield did not evoke the love of his people, nor his love for them.
Four hundred years later, Tiberius’s distant successor Theodosious II would exile the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius, to a far-flung monastery of Egyptian antiquity. Christological controversies of Nestorianism and Eutychianism exist in the ether of religious faith, but centuries later, battles were still fought on land. In 881AD, Louis the Stammerer, king of Aquitaine and Western Francia, took to the field of Saucourt-en-Vimeu to defeat the Viking hordes. The victory of the Frankish force was put to poetry in 59 rhyming couplets of celebratory verse, still known in Old High German as the Ludwigslied.
In 1031, Olaf II of Norway — you might remember him as Olav Haraldsson — was canonized Saint Olaf by the British Bishop of Selsey, Grimketel. Little is known of the latter, but that he was brought by the former to convert the pagan Norsemen. Along the lines of exploratory evangelizing, Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos de la Frontera across that ocean blue, on this date in history, in year 1492. Writing in his diary, the Italian explorer noted the corresponding expulsion of the Jews, ordered by Ferdinand and Isabella as his three ships put to sea. 35 years later, the first known letter from North America was sent back across the Atlantic by John Rut, writing from Newfoundland. Rut had been dispatched by his liege lord, Henry VIII, to command the British quest for an elusive Northwest Passage.
And then there were the wars. 1601 saw the fall of Transylvania to the hands of Hapsburgs at the battle of Goroszló. Austria, Wallachia and the fearsome Cossacks sacked Transylvania’s troops commanded by Sigsmund Bathory, in an early chapter of military encounters that simmered between the Ottoman Empire and the European counterparts, known better as the Long War.
Forty four years later, in the midst of the Thirty Years War, the second Battle of Nördlingen was fought between an alliance of the Holy Roman Empire and her allies Bavarian Catholic League and the combined forces of France and Protestant Germany. The imperial army of his Holiness fell back in reasonable order, as the battle provided little more than breathing room between invasions of the southern duchy.
Of course, not all battles are fought on land. In 1852, Harvard University won its first “Boat Race” against Yale University, and the first American intercollegiate athletic event. In short order, thereafter, the Second Maori War ignited in New Zealand, Macedonian rebels in Kruševo declared the Republic, thereof. The former lasted years, the latter only days.
On this date, Germany declared war against France, and Kenesaw Mountain Landis declared the interdiction of eight notorious Black Sox. Adolf Hitler collapsed the offices Reichsprasident and Reichskanzler into a furious Führer-ver, before Jesse Owens’ victory in the 100 yard dash offered an American aperitif in Berlin. Sixty-nine years later, Mahoud Ahmedinejad became president of Iran.
All of this…and so much more…on this date in history.
If the president supports the troops, as he so often claims, he sure has a funny way of showing it.
The Obama for America campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Party of Ohio quietly filed a lawsuit on July 17th trying to limit the number of days which members of Armed Forces have to participate in that state’s early voting.
Multiple veterans organizations are opposing the lawsuit.
To be clear, members of our military currently get three days longer to participate in early voting in Ohio than do other citizens, though favorable treatment for military service members is common-place throughout state, local, and federal election law due to the potential difficulty of voting for a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine who is, or is about to be, stationed overseas.
For example, many states authorize ballots to be sent to military service members earlier than to others, or have special ballots for the military.
So why sue Ohio? Because it is one of the most critical swing states in the 2012 election…or in any presidential election. In fact, no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio.
For President Obama, he supports the troops, but not so far as to actually make sure they can vote.
This should be hung around Obama’s neck by Mitt Romney and his surrogates every single day.
In the interest of keeping my article today shorter than my usual writings, I left out one point I wanted to make about part of President Obama’s Roanoke words which are not, in my view getting enough attention.
Specifically, Obama said “we do things together,” by which he meant individuals and government, not people working together in the private sphere.
In fact, showing that this is an intentional Obama campaign theme going forward, Obama used the word “together” ten times in that speech.
With that as introduction…
The other day, I overheard a woman walking out of the DMV after getting her driver’s license renewed say to her young son that “the DMV employee and I did it together.”
Actually, I didn’t hear that.
Nor did I hear the man coming out of the building permit office saying that he and the city planning staff “worked together” to pull a permit allowing him to make a modification on his private property.
Nor did I hear the woman who just had her taxes audited say that she and the IRS agent entered into a mutually-agreeable collaboration.
And nor did I ever think that the TSA agent and I “cooperated” when I endured an overly intrusive body scan, so he would oh-so-kindly allow me on to an airplane. (To be sure, the intimacy of the search and the images were as close as I ever want to get to “doing it together” with a TSA employee.)
Indeed, I have never heard anybody describe their interaction with the government as “working together” because that is not what government does. Government is force. And it is force paid for by the very people whom our current government most wants to bring that force to bear against.
At least in the way Barack Obama means it, we are most definitely not all in this together, and if we are, then the soul of our nation is surely lost.
The latest government figures show a slight uptick in unemployment in July. But these discouraging numbers are no deterrent to fraudulent happy talk about our rookie president’s leadership and policies.
In a press release from the White House, Allen B. Krueger, chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, came up with this forehead slapper: “Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.”
Wow! If this is recovery, what would stagnation look like? What the press release provides further evidence of, as if we needed more, is that the Obama administration is cheerfully indifferent to the truth, has no respect for the intelligence of American voters, and recognizes no limits to outrageousness. If Obama’s campaign strategy required voters to believe that July is the coldest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, I’ve no doubt Obama would simply appoint one of his willing elves to quickly prepare the necessary press releases.
If same-sex couples want to kiss in front of Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country then by all means go for it. Bless your little hearts. Exercise your first amendment rights as you see fit.
I look forward to future National Same-Sex Kiss Days to take place in front of African-American churches and mosques complete with graffiti.
One objection I’ve encountered to my column arguing that the growing DeMint caucus in the Senate is a good thing: if Republicans have fewer than 60 votes (a virtual certainty) a group of particularly uncompromising conservatives could make the perfect the enemy of the good and empower John McCain to cut deals with liberal Democrats.
My first reaction is that Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz were not nominated in a vacuum. They defeated Republicans who were too willing to compromise with Democrats and who were not sufficiently strict constitutionalists. And in many cases, the establishment Republicans they beat in their primaries would have been considered conservative enough as recently as when George W. Bush was president. So where is the center of gravity in the party?
If you are Lindsey Graham and you face a possible primary challenge in South Carolina in 2014, would you rather side with Jim DeMint and Rand Paul? Or would you rather vote with your buddy John McCain and some liberal Democrats? Graham’s preferences may be the latter, but his political interests are strongly aligned with the former. If you are President Romney, is it in your interest to have a McCain-Kerry policy agenda or one that is broadly supported by the conservatives in your party? Again, Romney’s preferences may be less important than his political incentives.
One area where a bipartisan moderates and McCain coalition could carry the day is on the federal budget. (This scenario assumes a President Romney.) The House-passed budget will almost certainly be a version of Paul Ryan’s plan, perhaps nudged slightly to the left for Romney’s benefit. This year five mostly moderate Republicans voted against Ryan, but many conservatives expressed concern that his plan didn’t cut spending or balance the budget fast enough.
But McCain voted for the Ryan budget. Rand Paul was the only the only senator who voted against it on purely conservative grounds. Whatever their concerns, DeMint and Lee voted for it. So did Pat Toomey. And remember the 2012 debate happened when there was no chance a Democratic Senate and president would ever have allowed the Ryan budget to become law. Next year, if Romney is president, the debate will be less theoretical.
Even here, having conservatives who won’t simply vote for whatever budget is cobbled together by Romney and the Republican leadership is helpful. The only way to get the most conservative deal possible is to have at least some conservatives be a realistic no vote if the GOP wants to spend too much. There is a risk of allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good, but let’s face it: the recent party’s recent track record on spending when Republicans hold power hasn’t been close to good.
The national unemployment rate for July rose 0.1% to 8.3%. We have now gone 42 consecutive months with an unemployment rate of 8% or higher.
On the surface, this wouldn’t be good news for President Obama. Indeed, a little over a year ago I made the case that the unemployment numbers could cost Obama his job.
At the time I wrote the article, the national unemployment rate was 9.2%. Obviously, that figure has gone down but that owes more to people dropping out of the labor force than any marked economic improvement. Labor force participation is down to 63.7%.
Yet these numbers could actually benefit Obama. If we look at the monthly unemployment rates from January to July, it has ranged between 8.0 & 8.3%. While these numbers are nothing to boast about one could make the argument that the unemployment rate is stabilizing. Things might not be getting better but they are not getting worse. If a critical number of voters think things aren’t going to get worse with Obama then he will have another four years of him in office. Assuming the unemployment numbers for August, September and October (assuming those numbers will be released the Friday before the election) are in that range it could bolster Obama’s chances.
Which is why it is incumbent upon Mitt Romney to not only convince voters that life won’t get better under Obama but that things will only improve if they elect him instead. His response to the unemployment numbers is okay but needs to be more vigorous. He has said that he will create 12 million new jobs in his first term in office. But he needs to present voters with a stark choice. Romney needs to say something along the lines of, “Do you want another four years of unemployment of 8% or higher under President Obama or do you want twelve million new jobs under President Romney? Do you want to merely survive under President Obama or do you want to succeed under President Romney?”
President Obama is counting on a complacent electorate prepared to accept 8% unemployment as a fact of life. The challenge for Mitt Romney is to shake people out of that complacency and into action.
Deroy Murdock brilliantly razes the leftist edifice in this column on the Chick-fil-A controversy.
While I differ with Cathy, however, his views are neither extreme nor medieval. Indeed, on May 8, they mirrored Obama’s definition of marriage. That was the day before Obama parroted Vice President Biden and endorsed gay marriage. Obama instantly “evolved” and told ABC News on May 9: “It is important for me personally to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
Cathy is being excoriated as a homophobic Neanderthal while just four months ago Obama’s position on gay marriage was equally prehistoric.
Rather than combat this year’s 39 percent spike in homicides in his town, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel pole-vaulted into this fracas.
“Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values,” Emanuel declared. If that’s true, Obama similarly lacked Chicago values while Emanuel was his chief of staff. Evidently, that did not bother Emanuel at the time……
Gay activists could encourage people to patronize Starbucks or simply avoid Chick-fil-A. That’s not good enough. Instead, some on August 3 will stage a National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chicks-fil-A nationwide.
Painting heretofore relaxed straight people into a sexual corner is no way to engender gay-friendliness. How would gay activists like to see social conservatives deploy squadrons of husbands and wives to penetrate gay bars and commence male-female lip-locking?
This fiasco confirms the intolerance of the supposedly “open-minded” American Left. Rather than simply dispute or debate Cathy, they immediately pilloried him and vilified those who share his traditionalist outlook.
Murdock is right, on both the Left’s hypocrisy and its totalitarian tendencies. Let freedom ring.
Predictably, Democrat incumbent Senator Bill Nelson is going after Republican opponent Connie Mack IV’s colorful and bumptious youth. Nelson’s first ad of the general election campaign focuses on the time when Mack, a congressman representing the Fort Myers area and son of former U.S. Senator Connie Mack III, gave free expression to his inner Charlie Sheen.
Also predictably, Mack’s campaign has called the ad a smear. Misfortunately for Mack and his campaign, much of the smear is historically accurate. (Bad enough that Mack got into two bar fights as a young man, but he lost them both. Clearly he forgot these three important political principles: 1. Use your jab, 2. throw combinations, and 3. work the body.)
The Senate race now is competitive, with most polls showing just a few points difference between the two candidates. If Mack wishes to keep it this way, or to pull a head of a weak liberal candidate, he’ll have to find a way to deal with these charges and the image of him they paint. Republicans must hope that Mack, with a conservative voting record in Congress but a barroom brawl record of 0-2, has finally learned to counter-punch.
Mitt Romney’s recent revelation that a nuclear Iran — not Russia — is the United States’ “number one national security threat,” got me thinking…first of all, if the former governor makes it all the way to the Oval Office, his stacking chart of security priorities is in desperate need of a revamp. And secondly, why do we cling, endlessly, to the antiquated notion of threats, as posed by states?
Ages ago, I compiled a list of the top ten state threats to American interests, both at home and abroad. In hindsight, it was a silly, pedantic exercise that ignored a simple reality: states, themselves, no longer pose the primary security threat to this country. Foreign governments will sponsor terror organizations, mobilize militant clients, or project their power through proxies. But focusing our attention squarely on state actors flouts those forces most willing and able to do us harm.
It’s no secret why Romney said what he did. The tough-talking campaign tour hit the road fueled on political diatribe to win Jewish voters in swing states like Florida and secure a Christian evangelical base that remains cool to his candidacy. To his campaign’s credit, once he quit London, Romney said all the right things for all the right people.
As I’ve written before, if we’re being honest, there isn’t much separating Romney’s foreign policy platform from President Obama’s plan-in-action — invectives aimed at Russia and Iran, aside. Over at Real Clear Politics, Calvin Woodward does a nice job breaking down the relevant differences, minute as they may be. But his list speaks to the question I posed from the jump…why stick to states when we’ve got all sorts of new threats to respond to?
For the record, I think we can safely agree that the principal danger facing the United States is radicalized, or militant, Islamic terrorism. Recognizing that’s a terrifically imprecise heading for a vastly divergent security menace, I do digress…
Moving forward in this campaign — in an election year that won’t emphasize foreign policy — I think it’s important that both candidates remember that states’ monopoly on the use of force has been reduced to a well-worn archaism. If I were to re-compile a list of actual security threats to American interests, I’d make a couple adjustments.
Our economic security is constantly threatened by foreign governments and multinationals which infiltrate America’s tech networks to steal trade secrets and erode homegrown comparative advantage. Organizations such as Anonymous and Wikileaks have published vast troves of U.S. diplomatic papers that exposed America’s complicity with corrupt regimes and troubling information about the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. These exposures helped stir the false dawn of Arab Spring that toppled tyrants and fell pharaohs.
But not all threats are quite so ethereal.
Shortly after publication of the 2010 National Security Strategy, President Obama rebuked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her suggestion that the narco-violence had reached a level of “insurgency.” His unwillingness to accept the physical proximity of this increasingly ominous security crisis on our border suggests an inability to compose an immediate, comprehensive plan to avoid the failure of our neighbor and ally to the south. The discussion of Mexico’s security should leave all options on the table lest we wind up with a failed state parading as a narco-republic on our southern border.
Moreover, if the strength of our Union depends upon economic institutions as the “bedrock of sustainable national growth, prosperity and influence,” it seems odd that neither the president nor Romney has seriously emphasized the national security implications of a debt that tops out at $15 trillion.
More to follow on this topic of multivariate security threats that don’t come in “state” shapes and sizes…
This is one absolutely wonderful column by Rich Lowry.
The press can say, like it or not, it simply played its role. Which is true — if it’s supposed to be querulous, unfair and self-obsessed. …The reporters were said to be boiling over with frustration from lack to access to Romney. But Romney did interviews with Brian Williams and Matt Lauer of NBC, David Muir of ABC, Jan Crawford of CBS, Greta Van Susteren and Carl Cameron of Fox, and Wolf Blitzer and Piers Morgan of CNN…
Meanwhile, back here at home, where no journalists were mistreated by the Romney campaign, Newsweek ran a cover calling the former Massachusetts governor a “wimp.” A publicity stunt with a stitched-together excuse for an article attached, the cover nonetheless made “NBC Nightly News” on Sunday — one of the few segments on the broadcast not related to beach volleyball.
Despite all the conservative energy devoted to monitoring and critiquing media bias, it may be worse than ever.
Read the whole thing. Lowry really lays into the self-important popinjays who claim to be merely “reporting” the “news.”
One day, we can hope, there will be a reckoning.
My friend Jim Guirard has a brilliant piece at the American Thinker today that notes the Bush-GOP Congress economy was exellent, but the Obama-Pelosi-Reid-And-Hillary (OPRAH) economy since the beginning of 2007 has been awful.
Despite much evidence to the contrary, a recent Gallup poll indicates that Barack Obama’s scam of “what I inherited from eight years of Bush” is still working — with some 68 percent of Americans still believing that George W. Bush is primarily responsible for America’s ever-exploding budget deficits, our painfully high and long-lasting rates of unemployment, and our incurably anemic rates of economic growth….
The fact of the matter is that this is a patently false narrative based on a superficial and highly misleading comparison of eight awful years of Bush versus only three heroic “hope and change” years of Obama. We need a truthful new counter-narrative, designed to compare instead:
(a) George W.Bush’s first six years in office — called “Bush Country” for short — when he had a solid, pro-growth Republican Congress to work with, versus
(b) the next six years of what we should call the current “OPRAH Land” Economy, which we are now enduring and which will almost surely get “Progressively Worse” if Obama and his “green jobs economy” entourage are re-elected.
Read the whole thing. Good stuff.
When an outspoken ally like Jennifer Rubin gets tough on a candidate she obviously likes, it should be a sign that the campaign needs to step up its game. In that light, Jennifer Rubin has offered several very pointed, but constructive, criticisms to the Romney team in recent days. Here’s the most recent, right on target.
In the last couple of days, in other forums, I have had two pieces related to key legal issues involving ObamaCare. Here, on Madison against the mandate, and here, on an unfortunate byproduct of John Roberts’ awful decision.
Democratic Congresswoman Laura Richardson Broke Law, Obstructed Probe (WaPo)
Partisan Stalemate on Fiscal Policy Continues (Bloomberg)
Phelps, Lochte to Go Head-to-Head in Final Olympic Showdown (ABC News)
Business Booms for Chick-Fil-A as Supporters Rally Around Pro-Family Stance (CNN)
Obama, Romney Court Swing Voters in Tight Presidential Race (The Economist)
Ted Cruz’s Victory Indicates Increasing Relevance of Tea Party (The Atlantic)
Republicans Weign in on Romney’s Potential Running Mates (Politico)
Cybersecurity Bill’s Backers Slam Antivirus Firms’ Crybercrime Stats (Forbes)
Please announce that I am not welcome in Chicago… so I can make a gazillions dollars in one day.
Please announce that anti-Obama voters aren’t welcome at the polls… so the One can get destroyed in a political landslide.
Please “finger” me as a bigot… so I’ll have millions of people knowing my heart and head are in the right place.
Please know that we really, really appreciate your political acumen as the greatest organizer of those who value liberty since George III put a tax on tea.
1. London did have questions leading into start of Olympics.
2. Palestinian culture has indeed shown deficiencies, as have other cultures — while Israeli culture is a testament to the power of freedom and hard work.
3. Chick-fil-A’s owner said not a word about homosexuals.
3a. It is not “bigoted” to oppose the policy of having government provide legal “marriage” status to homosexual relationships.
3b. People making a point of happily eating at a restaurant in defense of said restaurant from bullying by government officials is not “hate.” But “kiss ins” as “in your face” moves are just bad manners. This isn’t an anti-homosexual thing; it’s a matter of public mores. Whatever happened to the respect for others inherent in the avoidance of PDAs (public displays of affection)?
3c. It is the Left, not the right, that is obsessed with sex. Go to a Netroots nation convention and you’ll all but be assaulted by people giving away condoms and talking about sex. Go to a Tea Party rally and sex usually isn’t even mentioned, in any way.
4. Barack Obama is trampling over restraints on executive power in ways the media would absolutely go bonkers over if a Republican did it. His administration also radically tramples over its own pledges of transparency. Media hypocrites yawn.
From Fox News: “A powerful New York politician claims she was just speaking as a private citizen when she tried to run Chick-fil-A out of town, but she used her official letterhead and even invoked her position as City Council speaker to apply pressure on the embattled chicken chain.”
Note that this “tolerant” liberal’s definition of “diversity” apparently means “everybody who agrees with me.”
Nice to see another prominent NYC Democrat (Peter Vallone) push back…
Vidal was born into a wealthy family as Eugene Vidal, Jr. His father, Eugene Vidal served under FDR as Director of the Bureau of Air Commerce. He also made a success of himself in aviation co-founding several airlines including Northeast Airlines which he started along with Amelia Earhart. It is believed that Vidal and Earhart were also romantic partners which the younger Vidal maintained was so. However, there is some dispute to these facts and his belief could have been the product of a wild imagination or wishful thinking. His maternal grandfather, Thomas Gore was a long serving Democratic Senator from Oklahoma. Vidal would later adopt his maternal grandfather’s name.
Despite his prolific output, Vidal will probably be best remembered for his outlandish opinions and acerbic manner as demonstrated by this famous exchange between him and National Review founder William F. Buckley during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. While Buckley later regretted calling Vidal “a queer”, Vidal apparently had no such regret in referring to Buckley as “a crypto-Nazi.’
One could make the case that Vidal significantly contributed to the decline of liberal thought. He engaged in conspiracy theories suggesting that both FDR knew about Pearl Harbor and that George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks ahead of time. To give you an idea of Vidal’s state of mind, he told Joy Behar that he thought Barack Obama was “too intelligent” to be President and that he wished he had murdered Bush much to the delight of Behar and her staff. Of course, if any writer were to have wished he had murdered Obama, Ms. Behar would be the first to issue a condemnation.
Vidal was also not fond of Jews. In 1986, he referred to American Jews as “Israeli fifth columnists” who “stay among us; in order to make propaganda and raise money for Israel.”
I think Leon Wiseltelier, the longtime book editor for The New Republic, summed Vidal up best when he called him “Abu Vidal”.
Jennifer Rubin makes some great points here on the vice presidential selection, while favoring Ryan or Jindal. (And if you are a commenter more interested in trashing the source than in paying attention to the message, which is the point, then stuff it. Disagree with the message: Fine. Say so. Otherwise forget it) Here’s part of her take, which is absolutely on target throughout:
Likewise, the “safest” candidate according to conventional wisdom, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, might bring back the dreaded Romneycare vs. Obamacare debate. Moreover, the VP debate becomes a nailbiter with Pawlenty, who showed himself in the primaries to be a weak debater. Again, he’s a fine Republican but the idea that he is a “do no harm” candidate is a misnomer. More to the point, if Romney wants “do no harm,” he might as well nominate an empty brown bag. The point, of course, is to find a vice president who actually helps, even a little, and doesn’t deflate the base.
Empty brown bag! Well put.
As is happening all over the country, the Chick-fil-A across the street from my office is doing immense business today. At 11:07 a.m., central time, long before the usual noontime rush, the in-person line already was out the door and snaking around the corner of the building, and there was a large traffic jam on a divided main street caused by so many cars waiting in line for the drive through. It has gotten steadily MORE crowded since then.
I didn’t have time to wait, so I ate elsewhere. But here’s my suggestion: Let’s keep doing the equivalent of sending dead fish to Rahm Emanuel by continuing to Eat More Chikin long after this day is done. I usually eat there something like twice every three weeks. Since I couldn’t make it today, I’ll make sure to go at least twice next week and twice the week after and twice the week after that — in other words, three times more often than usual. I urge everybody else to do the same.
Plenty more can be said about how obscene it was to threaten Chik-fil-A — and how absurd it is to say that opposition to homosexual marriage is even remotely akin to bigotry. For now, though, it behooves conservatives to keep on fighting back against leftist bullying — not just by eating at a chicken fast-food place, but also by channeling our energy into the cause of traditional values more broadly, very much including any political causes or candidates that fill the bill.
This has nothing to do with imposing any moral beliefs on others via government. This has everything to do with protecting the free expression and exercise of moral beliefs from the interference, whether prescriptive or proscriptive, of big government.
Frankly, I don’t care what consenting adults do behind closed doors. I do care if some self-appointed tough guy like Dead Fish Emanuel thinks he can use government to punish those who dare say positive things about traditional cultural institutions that have been honored for millennia.
As for Emanuel, that incompetent hack, maybe he should practice, in the political sense, some of the euthanasia his brother is so fond of, and put his own administration out of its misery by leaving public life altogether in atonement for allowing the murder rate in his city to skyrocket while he spends more time protecting the supposed feelings of homosexual Americans (most of whom probably care nothing about the owner of a chicken chain) than he does protecting the lives of citizens.
After Michael Phelps set an Olympic record by winning his 19th medal he was congratulated for his achievement by President Obama via Twitter. “Congrats to Michael Phelps for breaking the all-time Olympic medal record. You’ve made your country proud,” tweeted Obama.
Phelps, of course, has become a recognizable face on TV for his commercial endorsements especially with Subway Restaurants and this great AT & T spot with Bill Kurtis. In other words, Michael Phelps is also a successful businessman.
I made a point of mentioning this in my swimming article yesterday but I’ll do so again. If we President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” argument to its logical conclusion then it’s not inconceivable that he could have said to Phelps, “You didn’t earn those medals. Somebody else built that pool. You had great coaches.” Well, someone else did build the pool but Phelps put in the hours to do something with it that no one else has done. And yes, Phelps did receive great coaching. While a great coach can lead you to water, he can’t win 19 Olympic medals for you.
Michael Phelps built his American dream and worked hard for it spending three to six hours in the pool each day to achieve it. Well, there are entrepreneurs in all corners of this country who spend 12, 15, 18 hours a day trying to achieve their American dream. Their feats might not be as spectacular as winning 19 Olympic medals but they are the key to a thriving economy. Yet President Obama is far more likely to give entrepreneurs a condescending sneer than a congratulatory tweet.
I’ve studiously ignored the Olympics. Superannuated rockers, the Queen being obliged to do undignified things, and tributes to the NHS not being to my taste. But this Rowan Atkinson shtick is funny.
I agree, as all civilized folks must, that it’s bad practice to speak ill of the dead, especially the recently dead. And I will resist the considerable temptation to do so in the present instance, beyond remarking that a measurable fraction of the world’s nastiness and bizarreness is gone this morning.
We can pray that Gore Vidal will now rest in peace.
Ted Cruz Wins Texas Senate Primary, Renews Tea Party Momentum (WaPo)
Gore Vidal, Controversial Author and Commentator, Dies at 86 (CNN)
Michael Phelps Wins Record-Setting 19th Career Medal (ESPN)
Media Outrage Over Ann Romney’s $990 Shirt, Praises Michelle Obama’s $6,800 Jacket (Fox News)
163,000 Jobs Added Last Month, Too Modest to Lower Unemployment (Forbes)
‘Mitt’s VP’, Smartphone App, Unveiled (Politico)
What Churchill’s Bust Means to the Right and Left (The New Yorker)
Power Restored in India After Blackout (NY Times)
Breitbart is reporting that Willie Nelson will be crooning at the Republicans’ national séance in Tampa later this month. Great singer, but a strange selection for the GOP.
Willie is a versatile stylist with a well-deserved reputation for connecting with his audiences (I caught the magic one night in the late eighties at a concert in Lakeland, Florida). But while Willie is a musical genius, he’s a political ignoramus. His politics are straight left-populist, made even gauzier by smoke from the weed Willie would like to see made legal. So how well will he connect with the junior bankers, car dealers, marketing majors, and hedge funds managers that will make up a fair fraction of the Republican delegates? It’s hard to imagine Mitt Romney and Willie sharing a drink and a moment. Less likely things have happened. But it would take a while to think of one.
And was Willie chosen because other talented and more conservative country artists — Trace Adkins, Toby Keith, Reba McIntire, George Strait, et al. — did not return the RNC’s phone calls?
Not that Willie isn’t a great entertainer. He’s one of the best, and not just with country classics. He can put life and feeling into any kind of song. His renditions of “Funny How Time Slips Away,” “Crazy” (which Willie wrote in 1962 for the likes of Patsy Cine and others before Willie was known as a singer), and “Night Life” will always thrill country music purists. Who wouldn’t feel better after hearing “On the Road Again” or Willie’s version of “City of New Orleans”? Willie’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” is the best grab-ass, slow dancing song in the history of the world.
On top of all this country gold, Willie recorded one of the best renditions of “Moonlight in Vermont” I’ve ever heard, as well as a cheery take of “On the Sunny Side of the Street.” Hoagy Carmichael wrote “Georgia on My Mind” just for Ray Charles and Willie Nelson. And Willie’s gospel renditions — “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “Amazing Grace” — have had the most devout taping their toes and in the presence of a loving and upbeat God (one who is not as opposed to happy hour as is thought to be the case in some circles).
OK, re-reading my previous paragraph, maybe Willie wasn’t such a strange pick after all. Let’s just hope the hedge fund managers get it, that Willie isn’t too put off by all the grousing about un-funded mandates, and that Tampa PD doesn’t decide to raid Willie’s dressing room.
Ted Cruz has defeated David Dewhurst in Texas, securing the GOP nomination for US Senate; he is virtually certain to win in November. This was a significant reversal from the first round of primary voting in May; while Dewhurst failed to meet the 50% threshold needed to avoid today’s runoff, he did beat Cruz by eleven points. Katrina Trinko examines the result:
So why did Cruz win? Well, one significant change: the percentage of tea-party voters he was attracting. A late May PPP poll, taken before the first round of the primary, showed that 38 percent of Tea Partiers backed Cruz, while 39 percent backed Dewhurst. But in PPP’s poll from this past weekend, that dynamic had changed significantly, with Cruz now getting 75 percent of tea partiers and Dewhurst winning only 22 percent.
Over the weekend, I recorded a Bloggingheads episode with Conor Friedersdorf; in the first segment we discuss Mitt Romney’s performance on the first leg of his trip abroad, in the UK, where the British press didn’t take kindly to his comments about possible problems with the London Olympics. As I said to Conor, Romney’s comments were arguably correct, but unwise. Brits, like most groups of people (national, ethnic, or other), are uncomfortable with criticism from outside the family, so to speak, and the British press is always primed to magnify perceived discord in the Special Relationship. This has tripped up President Obama several times, and it was unfortunate that Romney couldn’t manage to draw a contrast.
I predicted that the leg of the trip in Israel would go better, and I was right. This was the most politically important leg of the trip, for reasons laid out beforehand by Walter Russell Mead (hint: it’s not about the Jewish vote). As Noah Pollak notes, Romney did succeed in drawing a contrast with Obama, both on Iran and on the status of Jerusalem. On the latter topic, much has been made of how US presidential candidates tend to hew closer to the State Department’s neutral line on Jerusalem’s final status once they’re elected, but that’s somewhat overstated. While I wouldn’t count on a President Romney moving the embassy (there is a lot of wiggle room in his statement on this), I doubt that a Romney administration would continue the Obama administration’s extreme, almost comical fastidiousness about never acknowledging that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, which is in fact a departure from previous practice (see J.E. Dyer and Omri Ceren for extensive documentation on this point). Romney is alleged to have committed a gaffe in his comments about the relative merits of Israeli and Palestinian culture, but offending the Palestinians isn’t like offending the British — it’s neither substantively nor politically troubling. As John Podhoretz puts it, “anyone who publicizes his remark is helping Romney win the election. Even those who foolishly think they’re hurting him.”
The third leg of the trip, in Poland, also went well; Romney received a warm welcome from Lech Walesa. Dave Weigel has a fairly good backgrounder on the political significance (although his juxtaposition of the unpopularity of Obama among the Polish political class with the popularity of the United States itself among the Polish public seems like something of a non sequitur).
The MLB trade deadline has passed. The biggest deals were, of course, done several days ago with the Yankees acquiring Ichiro Suzuki and the Angels landing Zack Greinke.
There was nothing on that level. It will be best remembered for the Chicago Cubs fire sale. Within the past 24 hours, the Cubs sent pitcher Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson to the Atlanta Braves and in separate deals sent catcher Geovany Soto and pitcher Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers.
The Braves, of course, wanted Ryan Dempster but Dempster didn’t want to pitch in Atlanta. Yet Maholm has nearly twice as many wins as Dempster. If I were managing a big league ballclub I would want Johnson on my team. He’s good defensive outfielder and is a solid hitter with occasional power. Johnson has never played in the post-season and the Braves are a good bet for one of the NL Wild Card spots.
It was thought that Dempster would end up with either the Yankees or the Dodgers but the Rangers need starting pitching with Colby Lewis out for the season and with the ineffectiveness of Roy Oswalt. Dempster has been with the Cubs since 2004 but was actually drafted by the Rangers back in 1995. If nothing else, Dempster will give the Rangers some innings.
As for Soto, he hasn’t been the same since winning NL Rookie of the Year in 2008. But perhaps he’ll be rejuvenated now that he’s been thrust into a pennant race.
The Cincinnati Reds bolstered their bullpen by acquiring Jonathan Broxton from the Kansas City Royals. Broxton signed with the Royals in the offseason after parting ways with the Dodgers. The big righty saved 23 games for the last place Royals. However, in Cincinnati, Broxton will be the set up man for Cuban southpaw Aroldis Chapman. Broxton will take it as he has gone from a team that was 13½ games out of the first place to a team that’s leading the NL Central by three games.
The Philadelphia Phillies are officially sellers and have also stoked the Dodgers-Giants rivalry. They began by trading longtime centerfielder Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers for reliever Josh Lindblom and a minor leaguer. Then they dealt rightfielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Nate Schierholtz and two minor leaguers. This is the second year in a row that Pence has been dealt at the deadline. In 2011, the Phillies acquired him from the Houston Astros.
With both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira hurt, the New York Yankees acquired infielder Casey McGehee from the Pittsburgh Pirates for veteran reliever Chad Qualls. I’m not sure McGehee makes up for that vacancy but the Yankees probably aren’t done. As for the Bucs, they obtained outfielder Travis Snider from the Toronto Blue Jays for reliever Brad Lincoln. Snider spent most of the year in Triple-A and has been an underachiever but now he finds himself in a pennant race. If that doesn’t light a fire under him then nothing will.
The Boston Red Sox traded reliever Matt Albers and outfielder Scott Podsednik to the Arizona Diamondbacks for reliever Craig Breslow. I can’t quite figure out this trade. Albers is a workhorse while Breslow is basically a lefty specialist. Did Albers get into Bobby V’s doghouse? Breslow did pitch with the Red Sox back in 2006 so Fenway isn’t unfamiliar terrain. The only compelling reason to deal Albers for a lefty reliever is if the Sox are planning to put Franklin Morales in the rotation. But with Bobby V. who knows?
Of course, trades can continue to be made although now players will have to clear waivers.
Mitt Romney is correct to say he wasn’t specifically speaking about Palestinian culture when he juxtaposed the Israeli and Palestinian economies. Indeed, when Romney spoke about culture he was referring to the work of Harvard economics professor David Landes in his book The Wealth & Poverty of Nations.
So for quoting David Landes, Saeb Erekat called Romney a racist. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Erekat, he is to Mahmoud Abbas what David Axelrod is to Barack Obama. Well, Romney should wear Erekat’s disdain as a badge of honor.
Let me say a few things about Palestinian culture beginning with the economic context. How did Palestinians react when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in September 2005? By looting greenhouses that contributed to the health of Gaza’s economy. Why? Because they had been operated by Jews who had been evicted by the IDF. The Palestinians cut off their noses to spite their faces.
Whether a Palestinian resides in Gaza under the rule of Hamas or in the West Bank under the rule of Fatah, from the moment they awake until the moment they go to sleep they are inundated with anti-Semitic propaganda in their homes, their mosques, their schools and their media be it print, broadcast or social. Just over two weeks ago, on Palestinian Authority TV, Israel was depicted as a monster that stabs and eats children.
What are we to expect of a Palestinian culture that dances in the streets and hands out candy to children when Jews are murdered as was the case with the Fogel family in March 2011? Can we honestly expect Palestinians to be prepared to live side by side with Israelis in peace when they delight in the slit throat of a 3 month old girl?
So the Palestinian leadership in Gaza and the West Bank is angry at Romney. Well, too damn bad. After all, it is these same leaders who see fit to name schools, soccer fields and streets after suicide bombers and that should tell you everything you need to know about Palestinian culture.
In response to (unsurprising) data showing a massive disparity in political contributions among academics — far more to Democrats than to Republicans — one professor says the reason is that Republicans are stupid, or at least that a smart person would never believe what Republicans believe:
Threat of Layoffs as ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Looms (WaPo)
Democratic Platform Backs Gay Marriage (Washington Times)
U.S. Stock Futures Advance After High Profits (Bloomberg)
Romney: Nuclear Iran is ‘Number One Threat’ (CNN)
BP Reports $1.4 Billion Loss (NY Times)
GOP Senators Block Obama’s Judicial Nominee (Politico)
Romney Campaign to Announce VP Choice via Smartphone App (The Hill)
Ryan Lochte Loses in 200-Meter Freestyle (ESPN)
At lunch today a conservative friend complained, with some feeling, that Newsweek has come forward with a cover photo of Mitt Romney and the accusation that he’s a wimp. Not to worry, G.I., I counseled. It’s of no account. This is just the sort of thing Newsweek subscribers are comfortable with. Both of them.
That’s what seems to be the case. Follow the links here.
I have long found Adam Serwer nasty and intellectually less than fully honest. In Mother Jones, though, he does a nice job in a defense, from the left, of the rights of Chick-fil-A. I hereby tip my cap to him. My estimation of his intellectual integrity just went up several notches.
David Catron had a superb piece today on site here on the injunction favoring Hercules Industries against the Obama team, with regard to the HHS abortifacient mandate. I have one up at Fox News.com on the same subject:
As President Obama’s mandated insurance coverage of sterilization, contraception, and abortion-inducing drugs takes effect on August 1 for ordinary businesses, the Health and Human Services mandate’s ultimate survival suddenly appears blessedly jeopardized….
In the text or footnotes of his decision, Kane used strong language against various arguments put forth by the Obama administration. As in: “I reject it out of hand.” And: “a distinction without substance.” Another argument is “irrelevant in this context.” And “the balance of the equities tip strongly [my emphasis added] in favor of injunctive relief.”
The ramifications of this decision could be enormous. If even a secular entity enjoys a “likelihood of success” on the merits of the challenge to Obama’s sweeping edict, then the dozens of suits filed by explicitly faith-related institutions probably enjoy a particularly strong likelihood of victory in court…..
This is very important. Other family businesses probably ought to follow Hercules’ lead.
A few responses to my recent column on the Chick-fil-A business are worth sharing with the rest of the class.
If the owner of Denny’s said he believed African Americans were cursed as the son of Ham I would expect my mayor to say something similar. The fact that the same is not expected just shows that the gay activists are right about acceptance in our society.
The president of Chick-fil-A didn’t say anything other than that he believed marriage was between a man and a woman. This happens to be a view codified in federal law as well as the law in over 40 states. Only a minority of states that take a contrary view have done so democratically, none have yet done so by popular vote. This view of marriage is also held by anywhere from 40 percent to a majority of the American people, and by both major party presidential candidates in 2008 (and by the sitting president of the United States as recently as the beginning of May).
You may believe these laws and views to be antiquated or wrongheaded. I personally believe the legal killing of unborn children is unjust and wrongheaded, and could make abortion analogies as heated as “cursed as the son of Ham” to practices and beliefs that would be almost uniformly condemned. But I recognize that I live in a country where large numbers of people of sound mind and good will disagree. It might be nice to imagine legislating such beliefs out of existence, but persuasion might be a better tool. Chick-fil-A banners ought to keep it mind.
Gay marriage isn’t about tolerance. It’s about equal rights and equal protection under the law.
Two points here: First, not all relationships can be classified as relationships. Is defining the term or setting any conditions for marriage therefore a denial of equal rights or equal protection under the law?
Second, tolerance is a huge part of why gay marriage has advanced politically. Even the arguments about equal rights ultimately have persuaded people out of a sense of fairness and tolerance.
Neither mayor ultimately did anything. Isn’t that just free speech?
It’s true that it was just grandstanding by politicians. And yes, they both have the right to express their disagreement with Chick-fil-A’s president. But they both threatened to use government power to block the restaurant before realizing they had no such authority. Rahm Emanuel was voicing support for a Chicago alderman who was going beyond voicing disagreement. The speaker of the New York City Council isn’t just expressing disagreement.
Team USA Beats France in First Olympic Basketball Game (NBC)
Health Care Mandate Faces Opposition in Oklahoma (WaPo)
Romney Vows to Move Embassy to Jerusalem (CNN)
Cheney: McCain Picking Sarah Palin as VP was ‘Mistake’ (Bloomberg)
Sen. McCain to Hold Town Hall Meetings to Publicize Military Spending Cuts (The Hill)
Apple’s ‘Mountain Lion’ Disappoints (Forbes)
Ted Cruz on the Cusp of Senate Runoff Victory (Politico)
Why Romney is Going to Poland (The Atlantic)
Prior to this season, I picked the Boston Red Sox to finish last in the AL East which is where they currently find themselves. As recently as Saturday, I told my Dad this wasn’t their year. Nevertheless, they managed to take two out of three from the Yankees in New York this weekend.
For the first time all season, I saw the Red Sox operate as a unit. It happened in the top of the 10th inning of Sunday night’s game. Will Middlebrooks was up with Jarrod Saltalamacchia at first with nobody out. Middlebrooks attempts a bunt but the pitch comes in too tight and Middlebrooks pulls the bat back but gets hit in the hand. Only the home plate umpire gets knocked down and none of the other umpires see it.
This brings out Bobby Valentine who is mimicing Middlebrooks pointing to his wrist as if he had been hit with the pitch. Bobby V. gets angrier and angrier and is eventually tossed from the game. And the Red Sox bench is right with him. Everyone to a man is yelling at the umpires. I’ve never seen Adrian Gonzalez so fired up. While AGon doesn’t get ejected, Josh Beckett does. It’s the first time I’ve seen the Red Sox red hot with a unified passionate intensity and a common cause all season.
After the dust settles, Middlebrooks singles on the very next pitch. A couple of batters later, Pedro Ciriaco hits a bloop single to score the game winning run.
I still have major doubts about the Red Sox. But it wouldn’t surprise me if the Red Sox got red hot even if they do have to go face the Detroit Tigers back at Fenway. If the Red Sox do make the post-season in 2012 you can point to the late of hours of July 29, 2012 as to when they turned things around and put the debacle of 2011 in the rearview mirror. The final 60 games of the season will tell the tale.
1. Mitt Romney had a bad week. But if I was running for president, would I rather deal with having committed an alleged gaffe in London or being an incumbent with an economic record that includes weak 1.5 percent growth in the second quarter of an election year? I think the question answers itself.
2. Romney delivered a speech today in Jerusalem in which he stood strongly with Israel and praised the Middle East’s lone true democracy. Most Americans will agree with his defense of Israel against her critics. But Romney also came awfully close to committing the United States under a hypothetical Romney administration to a repeat of Iraq in Iran. It’s less clear he can sell a majority of Americans on that.
3. While New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided that the Chick-fil-A spat was a government encroachment too far even for him, the woman who would like to succeed him disagreed. City council speaker Christine Quinn would like to keep the fast food restaurant out of the city that never sleeps because of its president’s views on the love that dare not speak its name.
4. Ross Douthat correctly observes that some would like religion to be the love that dare not speak its name, at least in the public square:
If you want to fine Catholic hospitals for following Catholic teaching, or prevent Jewish parents from circumcising their sons, or ban Chick-fil-A in Boston, then don’t tell religious people that you respect our freedoms. Say what you really think: that the exercise of our religion threatens all that’s good and decent, and that you’re going to use the levers of power to bend us to your will.
Preach it, brother.
5. The runoff in the Texas Senate primary will be held Tuesday, with David Dewhurst vs. Ted Cruz standing out as the latest contest between the Republican establishment and the Tea Party. The polls and the tone of Dewhurst’s campaign seem to favor Cruz.
6. Democrat Tammy Baldwin has taken her first significant lead in the Wisconsin Senate race, though things remain competitive. It doesn’t seem to matter much whether Tommy Thompson, Eric Hovde, or Mark Neumann is the nominee, based on the numbers.
Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the United States, is one of the most destructive forces against the rule of law in our nation, including being the man responsible for the DoJ dropping charges against the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation in Philadelphia during the last presidential election. (If you want to understand more about just how bad this man is, read “Injustice” by Christian Adams.)
Perez appeared before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Constitution (glad to know we have one of those!) which is a subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) chairs that committee, and the congressman posted a clip of the questioning to his YouTube page with the following introduction:
In a Constitution Subcommittee hearing yesterday, Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02) questioned Assistant Attorney General, Thomas Perez, over the Administration’s commitment to 1st Amendment rights. Franks’ questions were prompted by a Daily Caller article from late last year in which Perez was quoted as warmly embracing the proposals of Islamist advocates in a meeting at George Washington University, among them a request for “a legal declaration that U.S. citizens’ criticism of Islam constitutes racial discrimination.”
Perez’s refusal to answer Franks’ question suggests a further dangerous inroad by Islamists into the policy-making of this administration (by which I do not mean that Perez is a Muslim, but rather that he is sympathetic to any force, such as Islam, which runs counter to the rule of law in this country.)
One has to wonder whether the rational questions by Rep. Michele Bachmann and others — despite the weak-kneed response of Republican “leaders” like John McCain — about the infiltration of Islamists into the Obama administration (and to be sure the reprehensible smiling photos of prior presidents with some terrible characters) will become a campaign issue.
Frank Gaffney has put together an online course about “The Muslim Brotherhood in America” which contains more than its fair share of eye-opening information (and rather dramatic music), though I have no easy way to validate what is true and what isn’t…particularly when it comes to the ongoing fued between Mr. Gaffney and Grover Norqust, president of Americans for Tax Reform, known best to Americans as a champion for low taxes. Chapter 8 in particular relates to Islamists and the Obama administration.
Discussion of Huma Abedin, the key advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who has become such a big part of the Bachmann-initiated discussion in DC, begins at 6:55 of Chapter 8. To be sure, essentially all of the questions about Ms. Abedin relate to her family ties to radical Islam. While there is little evidence about Huma Abedin directly, it is nevertheless reasonable to wonder whether a child is likely to be very different from her parents and other family members when it comes to political views. It is also reasonable to wonder whether a hard-core Islamists, as some are suggesting Huma Abedin might be based on her family and other associations, would marry a Jew as Ms. Abedin did…though her particular choice of husband (former Congressman Anthony Weiner) might add to questions of her judgment.
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.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?