I wrote a brief note on the shooting at the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
Now that more information has to come light, I have some further thoughts to offer.
First and foremost, we know the name of the suspect is Floyd Lee Corkins II, a 28-year old Virginia man who volunteered at a LGBT organization in D.C. More on him later.
I don’t think it’s prudent for Family Research Council President Tony Perkins to lay blame at the feet of the Southern Poverty Law Center. While I disagree with the FRC’s views on gay marriage they are not in the same league with neo-Nazis or the KKK and for the SPLC to say so is both defamatory and odious.
Nevertheless, I think Perkins’ dislike of the SPLC is clouding his view of the situation at hand. Under the circumstances, it would be difficult for Perkins to maintain his objectivity when you also consider that a man who is both his employee and a friend was injured in the shooting.
If we want to get to the bottom of what occurred on Wednesday morning, we have to know more about the assailant and his activities. CNN maintains Corkins “had no significant criminal record.” Well, what does that mean exactly? To say that someone has no significant criminal record suggests that person has been in some sort of trouble with the law. If that is the case then must ask if the incidents in question involved violence? If Corkins has a history violent behavior then the SPLC certainly does not bear any responsibility for his actions.
With that said, it would be interesting to know what the environmnent was like at the LGBT center especially considering that Corkins was carrying Chick-fil-A sandwiches with him at the scene of the crime. It would not be a stretch to suggest that emotions would have been running high at the LGBT center during the Chick-fil-A controversy. I cannot help but wonder if someone at the LGBT center might have suggested that harm should come to people who oppose gay marriage. I’ve been around gay rights activists who have said people like George W. Bush and Sarah Palin should be raped and murdered because they oppose gay marriage. If Corkins did in fact say, “I don’t like your politics,” as he began to shoot then one ought to ask how the atmosphere at the LGBT center might have influenced his behavior on Wednesday.
On the other hand, it’s quite possible that the staff at the LGBT center conducted themselves professionally and refrained from engaging in that kind of rhetoric. Let’s also keep in mind that Corkins was a volunteer rather than an employee at the LGBT center. So how often was he there? Once, twice a week? How did he interact with the staff and vice versa? Did he socialize with them after work hours? Of course, it’s also entirely possible that Corkins was a loose cannon and staff might have kept their distance from him. Yet they might have liked his passion and tried to channel his energy to specific projects or tasks.
I don’t think Perkins serves himself or the FRC well by blaming the SPLC in the absence of specific evidence. Chances are that Corkins has probably never even heard of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The reasons as to why Corkins brought Chick-fil-A sandwiches and ammunition to the Family Research Council on Wednesday lay with Corkins and possibly the LGBT center.
Since Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) became the GOP nominee for Vice President, the future of Medicare has gone from being an important secondary issue to the issue most mainstream pundits (and both campaigns) are talking about. The Romney campaign has released an ad hammering Obama over his Medicare cuts, liberals and conservatives alike have gone after the Obama and Romney campaigns, and the Obama campaign Twitter feed seems to only stop talking about Medicare and the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) when it wants to talk about how bad Ryan and Romney are for women.
A number of the Tweets from the campaign have their inaccuracies, but one claim in particular on August 15 was egregiously inaccurate:
“FACT: The President’s health care law extends the life of Medicare by eight years without cutting benefits to seniors.”
I won’t get into the life extension debate — that’s been dealt with by others — but his claim that the Affordable Care Act won’t cut benefits to seniors is the President’s version of trying to have his cake and eat it too.
How is this happening? Superficially, the President is correct. He won’t cut benefits to seniors. Instead, the law has components that may cut payments to health care providers, per certain programs it has enacted. Will this impact benefits to seniors? Consider some recent congressional history regarding the so-called “Doc Fix,” including how many doctors began refusing Medicare patients:
As explained in a 2011 Medicare actuarial study, Congress enacted [the law that created the Doc Fix] “to limit growth in spending on physician services to a sustainable rate, roughly in line with the rate of overall economic growth.” This effort lasted for five years, and in 2002, the New York Times reported: “For the first time, significant numbers of doctors are refusing to take new Medicare patients, saying the government now pays them too little to cover the costs of caring for the elderly.”
This practice of refusing new Medicare patients has continued to this day, which is why Congress regularly delays implementation of the Doc Fix. From the link above:
…[F]or every year since 2003, various congresses and presidents have legislatively overridden this so-called “sustainable growth rate” to ensure that Medicare patients have access to care. However, instead of removing this provision entirely, they overrode it one year at a time. Hence, each year, the distance between reality and what the law specifies became wider. This explains why Medicare was due to cut payments for physicians services by a whopping 27% this year.
Now, liberals may argue that the cuts will happen, especially with the power given to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to enact cuts that may be politically unpopular. Additionally, they cite CBO reports noting the cuts are set to happen. However, as I pointed out in the Hot Air Green Room two months ago, many are the policies that are supposed to happen in CBO’s estimates that never actually do because of a lack of political courage. CBO accounts for this, actually, in its secondary budget estimates:
The CBO baseline budget expectations are those based upon current law. The alternative scenario is based upon expected political actions, aka current policy, and shows a fiscal scenario that is far, far worse than the baseline expectations. [Is] the baseline budget more feasible than the alternative scenario, given the delayed implementation of several major policies in recent years, including ending the Bush tax policies, implementing the payment reimbursement cuts in the “Doc Fix,” and taxing millions of Americans under the AMT?
So, in short, with this one Tweet, the President has set himself up for one of two lies: either his law will harm seniors by limiting their access to health care providers, or his law won’t make the cuts it promises, thus not increasing the life of Medicare as much as he claims.
The country’s financial situation desperately calls for reforming the entire federal government, especially Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Pentagon, and the tax code. Cuts are going to be a part of the solution, whether by design (Congress actually doing its job) or from external forces (think international investors and inflation), but for the President to claim he can have his cake and eat it too is intellectually dishonest.
Many a patriotic heart races and stumbles at the thought of Joe Biden being one heart-beat away from the Oval Office. He’s the only man in the republic who can make conservatives think warm thoughts about Barack Obama and pray for his good health.
Biden is as left-wing as Obama. He’s also impulsive, thoughtless, easily excitable, narcissistic, and has a room-temperature IQ. You could say that he speaks before he thinks if there were any evidence that he’s capable of thought.
What Biden frequently comes out with aren’t exactly gaffes. A gaffe is usually defined as when a politician accidently utters the truth. So his phantasms are in another category. Blog items are supposed to be short, so I can’t catalogue Biden’s rhetorical knee-slappers, but most of you are familiar with them. I can say that my favorite is how he explained that when the stock-market crashed in 1929 as a preface to the Great Depression, President Roosevelt went on television to reassure the nation. That’s the sort of wisdom, incisiveness, and historical perspective that waits in the wings should, God forbid, something happen to our rookie president.
Unlike the horror expressed by the left-stream media over the prospect of Sarah Palin being “a heart-beat away,” crazy Uncle Joe’s idiocies are met in these quarters with a kind of tolerant affection. Here’s the Washington Post Alexandra Petri after Biden’s latest — the “back in chains” riff: “He inspires the sort of discomfort one feels upon introducing one’s fiancé to Grandpa after he has had a Scotch too many.”
Well, isn’t that cozy and special? Makes you almost want to know the guy. Many of us have and love relations just like this. (“Uncle Buford’s at the door — hide the single-malt!”)
Somehow I don’t recall this level of jocularity when Palin was on a national ticket. And it’s my understanding that people still approach Dan Quayle on golf courses to demand why he can’t spell “potato.” Joe gets a pass. Conservatives get the shaft. Well, at least we know the rules.
Readers of a certain vintage might be familiar with comedy albums, commercials of Stan Freberg. His spoofs of Lawrence Welk, Dragnet and Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat” are still funny more than half a century after they came to light. At 86, Freberg is still active in the entertainment industry.
Freberg is also well known for his satire as demonstrated in his 1961 album The United States of America: Volume 1: The Early Years. Much of it is an indictment of the McCarthy Era as can be heard when Thomas Jefferson tries to convince Benjamin Franklin to sign The Declaration of Independence. Freberg would later become a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War as illustrated by this appearance on The Dick Cavett Show.
But in 1980, late in the Carter years, Freberg set his sights on the federal budget. The result was a PBS special called Stan Freberg’s Federal Budget Revue which you can see here, here and here. The program features appearances by the recently departed Ray Bradbury (who describes the federal budget as “the greatest science fiction I’ve ever read.”) and David Ogden Stiers (who is best remembered for playing Major Winchester on M*A*S*H). It’s mostly a musical. There’s one song called “The Great Bureaucracy” which opens with this verse:
Make way for the great bureaucracy
Stand by for a War on Poverty
And though it’s possible you’re not poor, it’s true
You may be eligible before we’re through
Well, now that we’re a country that puts more people on Social Security Disability Insurance than into jobs, Freberg’s words have come to pass.
Back then the federal budget was $600 billion. Today, that doesn’t even represent all the money President Obama has cut from Medicare.
I wonder if Paul Ryan saw this on TV when he was 10-years old.
Anyway, it’s well worth your time. If it doesn’t make you cry, it’ll make you laugh.
The fantastic organization True the Vote, dedicated to ensuring that our elections are free of fraud, is having a series of state “summits” which are tremendously important for the cause of honest elections. I’m late posting about tomorrow’s summit in Colorado, but it’s well worth attending if it’s still not too late, and of course well worth paying attention to, regardless. Speakers include John Fund, co-author with Hans von Spakovsky of the sensational new Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk, and J. Christian Adams, author of the absolute must-read account of lawlessness at Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, Injustice; Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department. Do follow the link above for more details.
Then, next weekend, True the Vote hosts a star-studden summit in Ohio featuring former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief, and others.
True the Vote’s founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, is a dynamo in and of herself, and a superb speaker. She and her organization need volunteers nationwide to keep our elections safe.
Given that the Democrats’ Mediscare tactics aren’t working, the inherent brilliance of Paul Ryan and the inherent daftness of Joe Biden, the Obama campaign is trying to shift the conversation back to Mitt Romney’s tax returns.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina says that if Romney releases five years worth of tax returns “we’ll stop demanding more.”
I think Romney should take the deal in exchange for Obama’s academic transcripts at Occidental, Columbia and Harvard Law plus the Rashid Khalidi tape.
MSNBC’s Toure has figured out all of us white folk, especially Mitt Romney. Darn.
Well, for the record, I still think Barack Obama is an arrogant, angry food stamp president who is alien to traditional American culture.
And considering his family roots, one really must ask, “what’s the matter with Kansas?”
Several of my conservative friends warned before the fact that choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate would hurt Mitt Romney’s chances. Democrats would criticize Ryan’s budget proposal and ideas about Medicare, they warned. I counseled them to be of good cheer and to think cool thoughts.
First of all, the other side would demagogue whoever Romney picked. If Romney had chosen to run with St. Francis of Assisi, Democrats would have alleged that the saint in fact cooked and ate the birds he claimed to love. And the reasons why Ryan is a serious choice for a serious race in serious times have been well covered.
Sure enough the Democrats rolled out the “He’ll shove Granny over the cliff” narrative against Ryan. But this doesn’t seem to have gotten any traction so far in Florida, which has its share of folks on Medicare.
A Purple Strategies poll taken after the Ryan choice shows Romney leading Obama in Florida 48-47. A post-Ryan Rasmussen survey shows Romney ahead 45-43. These are similar numbers to what we saw before the Ryan pick.
After getting a look at the choir boy that is Paul Ryan, many Florida seniors (who are registered 43 to 41 percent Republican over Democrat) have concluded that anyone afraid of this guy should sleep with a night light. Democratic spin-meisters have their work cut out from them demonizing Ryan. Florida remains in play. And Granny is doing fine.
Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Wombats looked very good pitching a perfect game Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays (See Aaron’s post). His pitches were sharp, his command pinpoint. But the perfecto is somewhat discounted, coming as it did against one of the lamest lineups in memory.
Such success as the Rays, currently 63-54, have enjoyed is entirely due to lights-out pitching and good D. Lack of run production has been a long-running problem. So much so that the Rays have been the victims of three perfectos over the past four seasons.
In fact, the Rays’ offense has been so lame, and perfectos against them so common, my sources in Commissioner Selig’s office tell me MLB is considering fining pitchers for celebrating after they throw one against the Rays.
As I read Quin’s praise of Artur Davis’ scathing criticism of President Obama at NRO, I had this thought. Why doesn’t the GOP invite Davis to speak at their convention?
Well, lo and behold, Davis will be going to Tampa Bay to speak at the Republican Convention.
When you consider the concerted effort the Obama Administration and its supporters have made to accuse their opponents of being motivated by racial hatred, this invitation gives Republicans an opportunity to offer a stinging rebuke to such demagoguery.
Davis’ presence at the podium sends the message that one doesn’t have to support President Obama merely because of his skin color. It also sends the message that it is not only acceptable to criticize President Obama but that it is our patriotic duty to do so.
Four years ago, Davis seconded Barack Obama’s nomination. That Davis is now due to speak at the GOP Convention will demonstrate both the folly of Obama’s policies and the extent to which his performance has alienated even people who once strongly supported him.
Artur Davis could be to the 2012 GOP Convention in Tampa what the late Jeanne Kirkpatrick was to the 1984 GOP Convention in San Francisco and what Zell Miller was to the 2004 GOP Convention in New York.
In London, the Olympic village may have pulled up stakes, but the circus surrounding Julian Assange looks bound for the long haul. As you may have read, Ecuador has granted asylum to the embattled Wikileaks founder, who is wanted by British authorities for extradition to Sweden, where he awaits sexual assault charges.
Assange has been holed up in the modest stucco-fronted, red brick building in the exclusive Knightsbridge area since June 19th. His lawyer dismissed allegations of rape and assault as “consensual sex.” Assange has repeatedly claimed he’s been incriminated as part of a “smear campaign” against him and the Wikileaks brand. The two women he’s accused of abusing tell a very different story.
Ecuador’s decision to grant diplomatic sanctuary was celebrated by his supporters, but did not dissuade the British Foreign Office from its plans to execute its obligation to Sweden – which demands extradition of the Wikileaker to the legal climes of the Scandinavian Peninsula.
Per the Christian Science Monitor, Ecuador’s proposal of political asylum speaks to its current government’s “not so warm relations with Washington.” That’s putting it mildly.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño has been most vocal on Assange’s behalf, stating his belief that Assange faces threat of “political persecution.” If I had to take a wild guess, I’d suppose that’s ambassadorial doublespeak for “a hasty extradition to the United States to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act, undoubtedly absent due process or fair trial.”
According to a report in the WaPo, Patiño told a gaggle of reporters in Quito, “It is not impossible that he would be treated in a cruel manner, condemned to life in prison, or even given the death penalty […] Ecuador is convinced that his procedural rights have been violated.” One presumes he’s not talking about Sweden.
As if things weren’t already interesting enough, the Post reports that:
“Ecuadoran officials revealed Wednesday night that they had received a written warning from Britain saying that British police could enter the Ecuadoran Embassy to arrest Assange under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act, a little-known piece of legislation passed in 1987.”
The letter reportedly reads:
“You need to be aware that there is a legal base in the UK, the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, that would allow us to take actions in order to arrest Mr Assange in the current premises of the embassy. We sincerely hope that we do not reach that point, but if you are not capable of resolving this matter of Mr Assange’s presence in your premises, this is an open option for us.”
Naturally, Patiño portrayed this caveat as “a threat by the United Kingdom…that they could storm our embassy in London if Ecuador refuses to hand in Julian Assange,” before channeling protocols of the Vienna Convention and Britain’s colonial legacy.
I care not for Mr. Assange, his contrived iconoclasty or his distaste for my country. I can only “armchair analyze” a man whose narcissism hints at the underlying sociopathy necessary to force oneself on a woman, nearly half one’s age.
However, to quote the UK’s former ambassador to Russia, Tony Brenton:
“If we live in a world where governments can arbitrarily revoke immunity and go into embassies then the life of our diplomats and their ability to conduct normal business in places like Moscow where I was and North Korea becomes close to impossible.”
I imagine this opinion won’t be popular, but as unpleasant as Assange may be, neither his criminal trial nor incarceration remotely merit a potential collapse of consular order. Nor should he be afforded the outpouring of misplaced support his diplomatic martyrdom would undoubtedly earn him from opponents of America and Great Britain.
Rather, I must hope the Brits decide to wait him out, and barring that, he exhausts the years, confined to his ornate cell…his personal Tower of London.
Both former Democratic U.S. Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama (now Virginia) and even Democratic former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder have been all over the news in the past couple of days blasting Joe Biden and the Obama campaign for racial divisiveness. Now Davis, long one of my favorite politicians even when he was a bit left of center, has added a sustained and well-developed argument in writing to his already-excellent TV interviews. At NRO today, he writes:
The transcendent moment of Obama’s triumph can’t be diminished. But one would have to be blinkered to deny that Obama’s race in 2008 likely empowered him much more than it weakened him — or to assume that Obama’s strategists and their acolytes in the press don’t recognize the power of recapturing race as both an offensive and a defensive weapon….
Biden brought this rawness to a place the Obama campaign and its allies have spent much time cultivating this year. It is visible in David Axelrod’s breathless assertions about a decidedly innocent, non-political moment: a small black child touching Obama’s head in an Oval Office photo-op. It is visible in Eric Holder’s deployment of the Justice Department to a series of battles over state voter-ID laws, and in the New York Times’ editorial-page crusade against all manner of alleged race-baiting by Republicans. (Including one writer’s remarkable, if side-splitting, assertion that Mitt Romney’s blandness is a calculated ploy to invoke memories of a Fifties-era, pre-multicultural America. Who knew?) It is an unmistakable, unapologetic argument that to defeat Obama is to suspend progress on race.
Then, this one-two punch:
Of course, there are different kinds of progress. There is the inconvenient fact that Obama has governed while black unemployment and the level of child hunger in the black community have risen to the highest rates in the modern era, and while educational achievement among African Americans continues to bottom out at appalling levels. This record is one that the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus said last summer would lead blacks to march outside the White House if it had a different occupant….Interesting that the Sixties-era figure whom the Obama reelect campaign conjures up is neither a Kennedy nor a King but that great hidden-hand stone thrower, Richard Nixon.
Davis was a national co-chair of Obama’s campaign in 2008, and was the very first elected official outside of Illinois to endorse him for president. But he soon became disillusioned, and he opposed Obamacare, and he has been a stalwart supporter of voter ID laws. More power to him.
My personal favorite is his Thanksgiving cartoon from 2010.
The United Steelworkers in the person of one Tony Montana has contacted me in response to my query yesterday to say that the man in the 2008 video mentioned in my article today is in fact not a younger Joe Soptic. He is Ken Flanagan, a member of the USW Local 1375 from Warren, Ohio.
Unsure myself, there was a need to ask for positive ID, which is now in hand. The question still stands, however. How did the Obama campaign and the Obama SuperPAC learn of Joe Soptic? Was it through Leo Gerard… who holds an official position in the Obama Administration? And as such is forbidden to have any contact/interaction with the Obama SuperPAC?
The Obama campaign has a problem here. Caught in the act of lying by Sean Hannity, with tapes to prove it, they have created their own campaign scandal.
AmSpec’s own Peter Ferrara (whom I also have a connection to through the Heartland Institute) did a great job in an interview on CNBC on Monday afternoon, discussing federal budget, the Ryan plan, what creates prosperity, and more.
Video embedded near end of link below:
The other day I received a nice note from cartoonist Chip Bok on Paul Ryan. He provided a link to his work… which I found spot on. A conservative cartoonist lives!
Here’s a link to the cartoon on Ryan and Obama and to Chip’s other work. You’ll laugh!
It is the third perfect game of the 2012 season. It is the first time in MLB history there have been three perfect games thrown in a single season although one could argue there should have been three perfect games in 2010 if not for Jim Joyce’s safe call which marred Armando Galarraga’s masterpiece. In April, the Mariners were on the receiving end of a perfect game by Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox. Then Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants attained perfection against the Houston Astros in June.
It is also the second no-hitter for the Mariners this season. Kevin Millwood and most of the Mariners bullpen threw a combined no-hitter in an interleague game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 8th. In all, King Felix’s regal performance marks the sixth no-hitter of the 2012 season. Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels and Johan Santana of the New York Mets have also thrown no-hitters this season.
The Tampa Bay Rays now have the distinction of being on the wrong end of three perfect games. In 2009, then White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle tossed a perfecto against the Rays with a little help from DeWayne Wise. In 2010, Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics threw a perfect game against the Rays. It should be noted that Rays fans have been spared the indignity of witnessing these perfect game. Today’s loss also snapped an eight game winning streak by the Rays who have surged into the lead of the AL Wild Card.
Hernandez made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2005 at the age of 19. In 2010, King Felix won the AL Cy Young Award despite a 13-12 record. His perfect game marked the 96th win of his big league career. At 26, Hernandez has yet to reach the peak of his career. He is signed with the Mariners through the 2014 season.
We don’t fully know the shooters’ motivations yet — although we have a pretty good guess — but the tragic act of violence at the pro-life, pro-marriage Family Research Council today again reminded me of the civility divide on social issues like marriage.
Thankfully, violence of this nature is rare and isolated, but the rhetorical violence from the Left on social issues is disturbing. As someone who recently covered the debate over a state-level marriage amendment in North Carolina, I can say unequivocally that foes of the amendment (and supporters of same-sex “marriage”) rarely engaged in civil discourse and almost always punctuated their arguments with four letter word and scalding personal attacks. Supporters of the amendment, on the other hand, were almost always civil and reasonable in their arguments.
The Left believes that vicious, hateful language is justified given the righteouness of their cause. Their abusive rhetoric raises the question: Which side is truly practicing love and tolerance in this debate?
Cabrera, who turned 28 on August 11th, was acquired by the Giants in an off-season trade from the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Jonathan Sanchez. It was arguably the most lopsided trade of the winter meetings. Coming into today, the Dominican born Cabrera was batting .346 with an OBP of .390 and was leading the NL in hits with 159 and runs scored with 84. Cabrera was also the 2012 All-Star Game MVP. As for Sanchez, he was 1-6 with a 7.76 ERA with the Royals before being dealt to the Colorado Rockies for pitcher Jeremy Guthrie. Unfortunately for the Rockies, Sanchez isn’t pitching any better for them going 0-3 with a 9.53 ERA in three starts since the trade.
But now the Royals may have the last laugh. Unless Cabrera pulls a Ryan Braun, he is done for the 2012 season as well as five games of either the post-season or the beginning of the 2013 season. Cabrera is a free agent at the end of this season and looking for a big payday. Now that is in doubt.
Cabrera began his big league career with the New York Yankees signing with them as an amateur free agent in 2001. He made his big league debut with the Yankees in 2005 and remained with them through the 2009 season collecting a World Series in his final season in the Bronx. However, Cabrera was viewed as an underachiever and was traded to the Atlanta Braves prior to the 2010 season for pitchers Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan. Cabrera had another forgettable season with the Braves and was released.
He signed as a free agent with the Royals prior to the 2011 season and finally began to fulfill his potential. Cabrera collected 201 hits for a career best .305 batting average, 18 homeruns and 87 RBI.
Entering today, the Giants were tied atop the NL West with their archrival Los Angeles Dodgers and as I write this are losing 2-0 to the Washington Nationals in the second inning as Tim Lincecum faces off against Stephen Strasburg.
The Giants have lost a key cog in their offense with the suspension of Cabrera. Although Buster Posey has had a sensational second half and the acquistion of Hunter Pence from the Phillies is beginning to pay dividends, the rest of the lineup isn’t much to write about. Yes, Brandon Belt is starting to live up to his name and there’s Pablo Sandoval but he’s already been on the DL twice this season. Their pitching is still very good with Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner but Lincecum still hasn’t quite got his freak on although he has pitched better since the All-Star Break following a 3-10 start. He’s 3-2 in the second half but has a tall order with the Nats today. While Grant Hughes from The Bleacher Report doesn’t think this will shrink the Giants, I have my doubts. Hanley Ramirez is looking awfully good in Dodger Blue.
Over at the Foreign Policy Association, I’ve written a brief review of a memo published by the Council on Foreign Relations, titled “Renewed Violence in Iraq.” Authored by Douglas Ollivant of the New America Foundation, the report offers practical recommendations as to how the U.S. can help the Iraqi government cope with a number of relevant security contingencies.
“To what end..?” you may be asking yourself. These days, if we speak of the war in Iraq, we do so in brief, terse terms reserved for an ultimately unpopular war. A war best remembered for false start declarations of missions accomplished and the slow bleed of American blood and treasure. Not a popular subject…but one that demands our attention.
Ollivant summates the security implications, expertly:
“Iraq is also not only an influencer but a participant in the “Arab-Persian” axis. It is primarily an Arab country like much of the Middle East, but it has a Shia majority like Iran that exercises political control. Similarly, Iraq is a frontline state in the conflict between moderate Islam and al-Qaeda, a battle for ideas that will continue to be of major import in the fight against terrorism. Iraq has a significant minority Kurdish population, a distinction it shares with the otherwise dissimilar Iranian, Turkish, and Syrian regimes. With the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves, Iraq’s output can stabilize or roil markets, directly affecting the U.S. economy. As Iraq moves back into the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota system, how it aligns within the organization—whether with the stability-oriented bloc of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States or with the more ideological bloc led by Iran and Venezuela—will have clear implications for U.S. energy policy.”
As I wrote for FPA, that list provides an effective aggregate of America’s enduring interest in the future of Iraqi governance and energy output.
Having detailed all the internecine and intra-national spats that have plagued the country since the 2003 invasion (plus newly emergent ‘Shi’a vs. Shi’a’ frictions), Ollivant pleads stubbornly optimistic that the state has potential as an “emerging regional power.” In theory, he’s correct.
As I wrote for the Foreign Policy Association, Iraqi oil production now outpaces Iran, while the parliamentary democracy (although fragile) and “quietest Shi’a tradition” (as embodied by Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani’s opposition to Khomenei’s vision of Islamic guardianship) remain obstacles to the brittle legitimacy and power of Iran’s titular theocracy.
Of course, Iraqi opposition to Iranian influence is a matter of profound intricacy, hinging on matters of religious, social and political identity. Although it’s a matter many would like to forget, U.S. policymakers would alienate Iraq at our peril…as Ollivant suggests, delicate American assistance, regional, bilateral partnerships (e.g., with Ankara) and electoral stability could still prove an effective counterbalance Iran’s regional sway.
When I read Ross’ post about the shooting at the Family Research Council HQ, I was glad to learn no one had been killed and that the guard who had been shot in the arm helped subdue the assailant to the ground.
As Ross notes, Fox News is reporting that a source told them the suspect “made statements regarding their policies, and then opened fire with a gun striking a security guard.” But according to this AP story, the suspect hasn’t been interviewed and a FBI official stated, “We don’t know enough yet about him…or mentally what he’s thinking.”
So at this point we don’t know all the details. Conclusions can be drawn at a later time.
Well, there is one conclusion I can draw. Had such a shooting taken place at the headquarters of GLAAD, the liberal media would be in hour five of a week long exposition on right-wing, homophobic violence.
I agree with Aaron’s post below. I write to add that I know numerous, numerous conservatives, myself included, who thrill to part of Rand’s message while utterly rejecting other parts of it. There is not a single contradiction in that unless somebody actually says he embraces Rand in full and then still tries to claim to be a devout Christian. But Ryan never did that.
I will be inspired by, and refer favorably to, some of Rand’s ideas until the day I die. But I challenge anybody to tell me it makes me any less Christian, any less religious in any sense. (In fact, if I weren’t a Christian, I would threaten to punch in the nose anybody who said so — but that wouldn’t be turning the other cheek, as Christ commands!)
I actually like Dave Weigel personally a lot, and I think his interest in the subject is sincere. But I think it is absurd for people to get out their “hypocrisy meters” on such matters, on such thin reeds of evidence. And I think it’s especially questionable, as Aaron accurately notes, to apply different standards to Ryan than to Obama. If Obama’s deep background as an instructor of and adherent to Saul Alinsky’s teachings is not a fit subject for inquiry, then neither is Paul Ryan’s favorable mentions of Ayn Rand in a speech to a libertarian outfit. This is especially so when so many liberals also found inspiration from parts of Rand — Hillary Clinton not least among them. It is far, far more common for ordinary people to have been influenced by Rand than for them to have been influenced by the nihilist radical, Alinsky.
The folks at Red State and other conservatives were justly angry at the apparent insult to conservatives contained in an interview given by House Speaker John Boehner. I now have clarification on the remark.
First, here’s what Boehner said, when talking about Paul Ryan:
BOEHNER: I mean, I think that he’s a practical conservative. He’s got a very conservative voting record, but he’s not a knuckle-dragger, all right? He understood that TARP, while none of us wanted to do it, if we were going to save — save our economy, save the world economy, it had to happen. I wish we didn’t have to do it, either, but he understood that.
Now, I can report this direct quote from Dave Schnittger, the Speaker’s Deputy Chief of Staff:
“The Speaker said Paul Ryan is a practical conservative, and that Paul Ryan is not a knuckledragger. He did not say those who opposed TARP are knuckledraggers, and he does not believe TARP opponents are knuckledraggers. He did not say tea partiers are knuckledraggers, and he does not believe tea partiers are knuckledraggers. To the contrary, he has enormous respect for the tea party movement, which reflects the will of the American people and their desire for a government that respects our Constitution. Whether you supported or opposed TARP, we all can agree the crony capitalist philosophy of forcing responsible taxpayers to subsidize irresponsible behavior – perpetuated and perfected under President Obama – has wrecked our economy, and has to end.”
If you watch the interview, and listen to the intonation and the pacing of the remarks, I think it IS believable that Boehner was separating the “not a knuckle-dragger” part from the TARP part. I think it is fair to give Boehner the benefit of the doubt that he was not intending to suggest that only knuckle-draggers opposed TARP.
That said, I still take issue — not insult, but substantive issue — with what Boehner actually did say about TARP. TARP did not “have to happen.” It was not necessary to “save our economy save the world economy.”
Now, that’s just pure economics. I will think to my dying day that the “crisis,” in pure economic terms, was overblown, and that the situation could therefore have been ameliorated through other means far less abusive to our economic and political systems.
That said, it might be arguable that Messrs. Geithner, Paulson, Bush, McCain, Reid, Obama and others had so loudly hit the panic button that failure to pass TARP would have indeed caused a cataclysmic panic and a resulting, absolute meltdown of the international economy. In short, Paulson and Geithner especially had created a situation almost sure to be a self-fulfilling prophecy if they didn’t get their way.
I myself disagree with that. I think that the right leadership from other sources could have lessened the panic, and that the crisis could still have been averted without the unwise and still arguably unconstitutional TARP. But I must admit that that argument is a much, much closer call, and that those on the Boehner/Ryan side of it have many legitimate arguments on their side. I also recognize that Paul was part of the negotiating team on TARP, and that there were several important improvements from the original TARP proposal that resulted directly from Ryan’s involvement — and, while ideologues refuse to recognize this fact, it is a well-understood and very reasonable convention on Capitol Hill that in crucial negotiations, he who gets his way on important substantive changes is expected in return to support the final product. This is, practically speaking, especially true if the final product looks almost certain to pass anyway, so the only result of obstinacy would be to lose the improvements that the negotiator did achieve. (If other negotiators didn’t really want the changes, they could jettison said changes at a moment’s notice.) In short, this is all about “negotiating in good faith,” and it is a very important tradition in order for the whole system to work. For that reason, as I was fiercely opposing TARP, even as I did I immediately excused Ryan’s vote for it, because I understood how all this works.
In sum….. In sum, I think Boehner was wrong here on substance, but not outrageously so, speaking in terms of how the practical politics (and state of panic) actually were playing at the time. And I think he made a big faux-pas in talking about TARP immediately after talking about knuckle-draggers, giving the impression that he was conflating the two. But I do not think he really meant, or believes, that those who opposed TARP are knuckle-draggers. And I credit his staff for so quickly moving to correct the misimpression — I think quite sincerely so.
Boehner should be a bit more careful, but almost everybody, every day, says something that comes out a little wrong. On this contretemps, let’s cut the Speaker some slack.
Conservatives should move on.
A couple of days ago, I pondered why the media is falling all over itself to examine Paul Ryan’s intellectual influences (namely Ayn Rand) while this same media failed to show any curiosity about President Obama’s intellectual influences (i.e. Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers, Reverend Wright, Rashid Khalidi).
Well, Dave Weigel (who was amongst those who has been writing about the Ryan/Rand connection) replied in kind yesterday. I would have responded sooner but Weigel’s response only came to my attention today while reading Seth Mandel’s observations about the matter in Commentary.
While Weigel’s reply is lengthy it is ultimately unsatisfactory because he didn’t address the issue at hand. It’s all well and good that Weigel read Atlas Shrugged in high school and subsequently worked at Reason magazine for 2½ years. While it does explain why Weigel is personally interested in the Ryan/Rand connection, it does not explain why the liberal media isn’t interested in exploring President Obama’s intellectual influences and that is the main point of my argument.
Again, I’m not arguing Weigel shouldn’t explore this line of inquiry. Weigel argues that there’s a crevasse when it comes to Christianity and Rand’s Objectivism. Fine. But I would in turn argue that there’s as deep as crevasse when it comes to Christianity and Marxism. Last I checked Marx wrote, “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” Well, let’s consider someone I haven’t previously mentioned. One of President Obama’s earliest intellectual influences was Frank Marshall Davis, a card carrying Communist. The AmSpec’s own Paul Kengor has written a book about Davis titled The Communist and also discussed him in a recent TAS article. So why does The Washington Post, NPR, Newsday, The Los Angeles Times and Weigel’s Slate see fit to discuss the Ryan/Rand connection but doesn’t see fit to explore the Obama/Davis connection?
From where I sit, there are five reasons these liberal media outlets don’t pursue this line of inquiry:
a) They don’t care.
b) They don’t want to know.
c) They consider such an inquiry to be racist.
d) They don’t want to criticize Obama when they can criticize Romney and Ryan.
e) They want Obama to serve four more years in the White House.
At the risk of being accused of ignoring the substance of Weigel’s argument, I have this to offer. A few years ago during a speech, Ryan made an offhand remark referencing John Galt’s speech towards the end of Atlas Shrugged. Weigel describes Galt’s speech as “one of the most aggressive arguments against Christianity you will ever read.” Yet Weigel is also of the opinion that Ryan was “pandering”. Indeed, Weigel ends his piece by stating, “I don’t assign any of these beliefs to Ryan, but I’d love to hear him talk about them…” OK, so if Weigel believes that Ryan doesn’t actually agree with the substance of Galt’s speech then what is there for Ryan to talk about? It might very well be interesting but when it comes down to it isn’t all that important. Well, whatever floats Weigel’s boat. I think most people would rather hear Paul Ryan talk about balancing the budget, improving Medicare and offer other viable alternatives to the policies of President Obama than give an oral dissertation on Atlas Shrugged.
There has been a shooting at the Washington, D.C. offices of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian organization run by Tony Perkins.
The FRC put out a short note on its web site after a security guard there was shot; early reports are that the guard is OK and that the shooter has been arrested.
Fox News reported that the shooter made comments opposing FRC’s positions on certain issues.
It will be interesting to see whether any of the major liberal media outlets give this prominent coverage. After all, in most recent shooting incidents there has been immediate anti-conservative, anti-Republican finger-pointing by Democrats and their media parrots, but there has been zero evidence to support those charges. The Arizona shooting was the worst example, with the shooter not only insane but seemingly leaning left politically rather than right.
Today’s shooting, in which thankfully it seems nobody was killed, is the first I can think of in recent memory where the political (or at least pollicy) motive is apparent — and where the motivation is against conservatives.
UPDATE at 12:43 PM EDT: Fox reporting: Guard was shot in the arm. Shooter reportedly 28-year old man from Virginia who posed as an intern. Shooter may have been shouting something about FRC’s politics. Law enforcement searching area for other weapons in case shooter came with more than one.
According to Washington Post, the guard (apparently after being shot in the arm) along with other FRC personnel wrestled the shooter to the ground. So far no mention from Washington Post about shooter shouting anything political. No mention of that in ABC News or Politico.com report either. Fox will have egg on their face if that aspect turns out not to be true. If I had to bet, I’d bet it is true and that the other liberal outlets are doing editing gymnastics to avoid talking about it. But I wouldn’t yet bet much. Story still developing, so let’s see what happens.
Update, 2 PM EDT:
From Fox News: According to authorities, shooter made statements about FRC’s conservative policies, then shooting. Security guard “was a hero…went above and beyond…” Incident appears to be classified as domestic terrorism, which suggests FBI believes the motive was political. Fox News reporter also suggested that maybe statements about FRC policies were made after shooter was wrestled to the ground (though whether it was before or after is irrelevant.)
Politico.com is quoting Fox News regarding statements by shooter. Updated Washington Post article still does not mention that aspect of story, and niether does CNN story.
This, via the Atlantic, is probably a first in campaign history. In a Florida state senate race, a new ad charges that, essentially, a statehouse incumbent vying for the seat cares more about robots than people.
“Technology is great. But driverless cars?!?!” an elderly voice exclaims as a totally empty vehicle runs a stop sign in front of an old woman with a walker. “Is this really a priority for our state? Well it was a priority for Jeff Brandes.”
On this one, count me with Mr. Brandes.
Humans are awful, awful drivers. We crash cars at a rate of about 11 million per year. And no wonder: We get distracted, we flip the radio… I’m actually writing this post on my iPhone as I drive to the office. (Just kidding.)
Self-driving cars have the potential to make the roads much safer; to decrease congestion; to increase mobility for the disabled and elderly. Indeed, the Atlantic quotes Brandes’ reaction to the attack: “I thought [the ad] was a little bit bizarre. It’s clearly trying to scare seniors, even though seniors might benefit the most from this technology.”
From what I understand, perhaps the largest barrier to the technology is the liability question. How do you insure a self-driving car? If one does crash, who’s at fault?
On Saturday, Washington Post blogger Suzy Khimm wrote about “draconian budget cuts” in state and local governments “throughout the recession.” Unfortunately, Khimm’s analysis is wrong in several ways, which is pretty impressive considering how short the post is.
First, there haven’t been budget cuts at the state and local level over the last several years. I wrote about this to refute Paul Krugman a while back, but the facts bear repeating:
First and foremost, local and state government spending hasn’t gone down since the recession started. The linked chart does show that government spending went down in from 2009 to 2011 as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, but in pure numbers (also seen at the link) only 2009 saw a drop, and the spending in 2010 more than matched the 2009 drop.
Second, Khimm claims that government employment has gone down ignores context — namely, that government employment went up during the recession that officially ended just over three years ago. Such context is provided by an April 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis of the 2007 to 2009 recession, which says government employment went up 0.8% in that time. Further context is provided by Ed Carson, who pointed out the following in Investor’s Business Daily:
Private-sector jobs are still down by 4.6 million, or 4%, from January 2008, when overall employment peaked. Meanwhile government jobs are down just 407,000, or 1.8%. Federal employment actually is 225,000 jobs above its January 2008 level, an 11.4% increase. That’s right, up 11.4%.
Private payrolls have been trending higher in the last couple of years while government has been shedding staff. But that’s because governments did not cut jobs right away. Overall government employment didn’t peak until April 2009, 16 months after the recession started. It didn’t fall below their January 2008 level until September 2010.
The recession was boomtime for federal employment, especially after Obama took office. Federal jobs kept rising (excluding a temporary Census surge in early 2010) until March 2011 — more than three years after overall payrolls peaked.
Lastly, Khimm cites a Bloomberg chart showing government employment as a share of the civilian population has gone down in the last several years. However, BLS data for July shows that while the unemployment rate for all workers is 8.6% (clearly, this particular data set differs from the popular unemployment data the BLS publishes on the first Friday of each month), the unemployment rate among government workers is 5.7%, and has gone down by nearly a percentage point since July 2011.
Khimm writes for the Post’s Wonk Blog, which prides itself on solid, substantive analysis of issues important to public policy. While the blog has a decidedly liberal slant, I often find it a useful read for my own knowledge of both issues and how liberal writers think. Unfortunately, Khimm’s piece relies heavily on misdirection for its argument, and thus discredits both its argument and the organization for which she writes.
This morning, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson issued a short statement denying a preliminary injunction against the implementation of Pennsylvania’s new Voter ID law, passed by the state legislature and signed by the state’s Republican governor, Tom Corbett. The note said that a longer opinion would be issued shortly.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Lawyers for the ACLU and other groups seeking the injunction are expected to appeal the ruling.”
Republicans, especially those running for local offices, should trumpet the continuous efforts by liberal groups to facilitate the corruption of elections. It is not only the right position morally, but it’s good politics, with the majority of Americans, including the majority of blacks and Hispanics supporting Voter ID laws.
Later today, a judge will hear the case being brought by the Obama administration and other Democratic Party groups regarding Ohio’s recent law which limited early voting in the three days before an election to members of the military, with the rest of the population having their in-person early voting end the Friday before the Tuesday election. (Mail-in early voting remains available during that time.) In my view, it is unlikely that Obama wins this case, and I continue to believe that Republicans should berate Democrats for this move at every opportunity.
For those of you who are interested in hearing Paul Ryan in his own words prior to his selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate, I offer you this extended interview I had with Congressman Ryan in May, 2011 when I was the host of Backbone Radio on 710 KNUS in Aurora/Denver. (I have since moved to 850 KOA.)
It’s full of (in my opinion) interesting perspective into who Paul Ryan really is, including our conversation about the importance of the morality of our nation’s economic system. How often do you hear a Congressman, talking about the intellectual history of the left, say “I’ve read Hegel. I’ve read Weber and Bismarck, and the thinkers of those times…”? How often do you hear a Congressman talk about “Natural Rights”?
In a part of the conversation which is very relevant to today’s situation, Ryan explains why he believes “Medi-scare” politics do not have to be successful for the left.
Ryan has been consistent, including through today, despite claims to the otherwise by Democrats, in his promise that Medicare reform will not impact anyone currently in or near retirement.
We went on to an interesting discussion about the morality of Medicare itself. The answer which Paul gives to my question is one which utterly belies Democrat claims that Ryan is a radical who wants to eliminate entitlements and “shred the safety net.” Indeed, I wished he had been more anti-Medicare than he was.
I closed the interview by asking him about the betting odds of his being the Republican nominee for president; little did I know he would end up being the nominee for vice-president.
No politician is perfect, but Paul Ryan is the most intelligent and principled Republican VP nominee in my lifetime. I don’t know whether his selection will be a political winner, but it can’t be all bad to turn this election into a discussion of big issues. For that in particular, Mitt Romney has my appreciation. Upon re-listening to my discussion with Paul Ryan, my confidence in him and his vision was further reinforced. And my interest in this election has moved from almost entirely being about removing Barack Obama to be as much about helping the GOP ticket get elected because I believe that they will do good things for this country.
On the mainsite, I have an article arguing that Jews can do nothing about Arab/Muslim hatred so long as Arabs/Muslims, amongst other things, refuse to be in the same room with an Israeli.
I cite the example of the Lebanese judo team refusing to work out the in the same room as the Israeli judo team during the London Olympics. The organizers placed a screen in the room so that Lebanese judo team would not be scarred for life looking by gazing upon a Jew.
Well, Lebanese antipathy towards Israel is hardly confined to athletics. A similar incident occurred last December in Washington, D.C. when two Lebanese academics refused to share the same dais with two Israeli academics during a meeting of the Middle East Studies Association. The Israeli academics were asked to sit in the audience while the Lebanese professors presented their papers. (H/T Michael Warren of The Weekly Standard).
As shameful as the behavior of the Lebanese athletes and academics has been, the response of both the Olympic Committee and the American Council of Learned Societies (which organized the conference). Instead of telling the Lebanese “up your nose with a rubber hose” both the Olympic Committee and the ACLS facilitated anti-Semitic prejudice. As Edmund Burke said, “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” It also triumphs when good men do the wrong thing.
First, Epstein. Now Horshack is gone.
Actor Ron Palillo died suddenly this morning of a heart attack at his home in Florida. He was 63.
Palillo is, of course, best known for playing Horshack on Welcome Back Kotter from 1975 through 1979. The Horshack character became well loved for his laugh and the eagerness with which his he raised his hand in Mr. Kotter’s class.
Palillo’s death comes less than eight months after co-star Robert Hegyes suddenly died of a heart attack. This leaves John Travolta and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs as the only surviving Sweathogs.
After Welcome Back Kotter went off the air, Palillo had trouble finding work. He did the occasional guest spot on TV shows like The A-Team, Murder, She Wrote and Cagney & Lacey. At one point, Palillo actually played himself on Ellen for a few episodes.
In recent years, Palillo taught acting at a performing arts high school in West Palm Beach, Florida and was due to begin teaching another year of classes next week.
YouTube video of event:
Jim Antle is an insightful analyst and a true gentleman. I am sorry to see him leave the Spectator. I join in wishing him the best of luck with his new venture!
Author and publisher Helen Gurley Brown passed away yesterday after a brief illness. She was 90.
After a successful career as a copywriter, Brown came to international prominence half a century ago with the release of her book Sex & The Single Girl which, for better or for worse, played a significant role in fomenting the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
In 1965, Brown took over the reins of Cosmopolitan magazine and would remain in that role for more than three decades until she was unceremoniously ousted in 1997.
Brown was derided equally by both conservatives and liberal feminists. Case in point. Regarding Anita Hill’s accusations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearing to the Supreme Court twenty years ago she was asked if there was sexual harassment at Cosmo. She said in jest, “I certainly hope so. The problem is that we don’t have enough men to go around for harassing.” At around the same time, Brown also came to the defense former liberal Republican Senator Bob Packwood after multiple accusations of sexual harrassment. She remarked, “My darling, would you please remember that he was one of the congressmen who supported legal abortion. He was one of us, so we have to forgive him for being a jerk.” These remarks would in part lead to her dismissal from Cosmo five years later.
Yet what is interesting about the Packwood remarks is how similar they were to remarks made at the end of the 1990s by Gloria Steinem, a frequent critic of Brown. During the Monica Lewinsky Scandal, Steinem wrote an op-ed in The New York Times which became known as the “first grope is free” defense. Yet Steinem was never ostracized for her defense of Clinton as Brown was for her defense of Packwood and Thomas. The only difference is Brown made the mistake of defending Republicans and for that she was a bad girl.
But Helen Gurley Brown had a long life and it took her everywhere.
I would like to take this moment to wish Jim Antle good luck in his new venture with The Daily Caller.
From time to time, Jim provided me with constructive criticism which I have found helpful.
His summaries of weekend political activity were a must read and will be missed.
All the best.
After five and a half fun years at The American Spectator, I am moving on to a new role with the Daily Caller News Foundation. Since I’ve been at the Spectator I’ve seen the Republicans lose and then regain the House. It remains to be seen if that same trend holds for the White House.
It’s been a great run and I’ve had an amazing degree of freedom to write about and cover the things that interest me. Hopefully, those things have occasionally interested you. Bob and Wlady have given me a tremendous amount of encouragement and support. The Spectator not only features a number of writers I’m pleased to be associated with, but has a terrific staff of people whose hard work behind the scenes makes everything we do possible. I’ll miss them all.
Finally, I want to thank all of you for reading and commenting. I’ve entered the comments sections to answer questions and engage in debates. The back-and-forth is important, otherwise writers are just talking to themselves. I’ll still be popping up here from time to time, as I can’t be on the sidelines during an election season, but goodbye for now.
When he delivers the keynote address at the Republican National Convention (RNC) later this month, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie may have a few choice words for Attorney General Eric Holder who has become a huge liability to Team Obama in the aftermath the “Fast and Furious” scandal. House Republicans are filing a federal lawsuit against Holder in an effort to obtain documents connected with botched effort to link Arizona gun sales to drug cartels in Mexico.
Holder has also been called out for abusing and manipulating the “motor voter” provision for the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), while ignoring a separate provision of the same law that requires state officials to remove ineligible voters from the rolls. By blocking voter fraud investigations, Holder’s Justice Department aims to uptick the Democratic vote.
By contrast, while serving as the U.S. attorney in N.J., Christie aggressively prosecuted top officials in both major parties and applied the law evenly. As governor, he has taken the power of organized labor and activist judiciary to implement reforms that were viewed as unthinkable just a few years ago. He would be an ideal pick as the next attorney general of the United States.
When he announced that Gov. Christie would be the keynote speaker at the GOP convention, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus issued the following statement:
As governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie has proven how bold Republican leadership gets results. He has fearlessly tackled his state’s most difficult challenges, while looking out for hardworking taxpayers. He is a leader of principle and conviction, and I am excited to hear him address the Republican National Convention as our keynote speaker. Governor Christie will make the case for America’s Comeback Team and will rally our party and country in support of the Romney-Ryan ticket.
It is not by happenstance that the “motor voter” suits flowing over Holder’s Justice Department in cooperation with far left pressure groups are targeting swing states. That might be worth mentioning in the keynote.
A sad day for Baseball Monday, especially in Boston, with the loss of star player and star human being, Johnny Pesky (See Aaron G…).
I never saw Pesky play. But I enjoyed watching Pesky teaching young players to bunt before spring training games in Winter Haven, Florida, where I was working as a reporter in the seventies.
He was a natural, and you could see the youngsters responding to him. I experienced the Pesky charm first hand at a Red Sox media function where I got to talk a little baseball with him. It was clearly his favorite subject. The stories were first-rate and well told. And he put as much into the stories if he were telling them to Ted Williams, or to a local reporter stealing a little time away from the job.
Guys like Johnny Pesky make baseball special. He will be missed.
Google, the omnipresent web search and advertising company, purchased Motorola Mobility (the cell phone division of that venerable electronics company), in May of this year for about $12.5 billion. (The deal was originally announced in August, 2011, but it took the next nine months to receive the various necessary regulatory and international approvals.)
In a filing with the SEC on Monday, Google announced that it would lay off 4,000 Motorola Mobility employees (of whom about a third would be in the United States, and half of those in Chicago) and “close or consolidate about one-third of its 90 facilities.”
But if one of these unfortunate engineers or other Motorola employees has a spouse who loses health coverage, gets sick, and dies, don’t expect to ever hear a word from the media or anyone else about Google having any responsibility. (And Republicans, even those running PACs, won’t swim in the gutter slime which Bill Burton, Stephanie Cutter, David Axelrod, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz are so at home in.)
More importantly, don’t expect to hear a word from the mainstream media about the fact that creating efficiencies in business sometimes requires firing people.
After all, it’s supposed to only be the heartless, cancer-causing Bain Capital which would ever lay off a worker.
As for predicting the media reaction, all you need to know is that Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google, is a huge donor to the Democratic Party and affiliated organizations. (To be fair, he has also donated to the GOP and a few Republicans, as any good crony capitalist must, but his heart and his biggest checks are all in for Barack Obama.) Similarly, Google co-founder Sergei Brin has donated more than $75,000 to the DNC and the Obama campaign just in the past 10 months.
A search at OpenSecrets.org of Google employees who have donated to Barack Obama in this election cycle turns up 349 records totaling about half a million dollars. Donations to the Romney campaign? Eight, for a total of $5,500. A search for contributions to the DNC turns up 41 records… totaling over $393,000. Indeed, of the 20 Google employee political contributions of $10,000 or more, the only three that went to the Republican Party were matched, by those same donors, with contributions to Democratic organizations. And all 12 contributions of $30,800 by Google employees went to Democratic Party organizations.
This means that coverage of Google’s firing of 4,000 people, including well over 1,000 Americans, will get the most gentle treatment, where it is discussed at all. Exhibit A: The New York Times’ story on the layoffs is entitled “Motorola Set for Big Cuts as Google Reinvents It.” Any bets on when later smears of layoffs at companies owned by Bain Capital will be described as “reinventing”?
H/T My friend who goes by the name “Airbus”
Last Wednesday, in an op-ed for The Orange County Register, the Cato Institute’s Gene Healy made the case that while amazing, our newest “R/C” space crusade to Martian terra firma is ultimately unaffordable:
“At 2.5 billion and counting […] it’s a hell of a neat trick that NASA just pulled off, and it’s sure to generate a lot of amazing video. And yet, Houston – and Washington – we have a problem. By the end of the year, the Congressional Budget Office warns, federal debt will approach 70 percent of GDP, near the post-World War II high. In 25 years, CBO projects, health care and retirement outlays will consume nearly as large a share of the economy as the entire federal government does today.”
In other words, quips Healy, “This is why we can’t have neat things.”
The space rover Curiosity is keeping busy collecting soil sample to test for microbial life. According to NASA’s James Green, evidence thereof would demand that humankind “rethink our place in the universe.” Healy suggests that reckoning “our place in the universe” isn’t an essential purpose of federal government. And he’s absolutely correct.
Listen, I understand an inclination to achieve what’s awesome. And having the ability to scope out the dusty, desolate panoramas of the Red Planet from the comfort of your laptop is just that. According to the LA Times, the linked panorama – which is almost impossibly reminiscent of Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine – was compiled by Andrew Bodrov, a user on the 360cities.net, a website dedicated to panoramic photos.
But maybe we should expect even more? Back in 1998, Edward Hughes – also of Cato – wrote in the Baltimore Sun:
“Put the progress in spaceflight in historical perspective. The Wright brothers’ first flight was in 1903, and Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. By the late 1930s, the first commercially viable aircraft, the DC-3, was flying. But 35 years after Mr. Glenn’s first flight [Hughes writes at the time of Glenn’s “bread and circus” foray into orbit as a 77 year old] travel into space is still an expensive luxury.”
So while Gene’s correct, and NASA is expensive…it may also be inefficient? Perhaps that’s not too much of a stretch for the same government that brought you the U.S. Post Office and the Pentagon.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that “After traveling some 350 million miles and executing a flawless supersonic-parachute-and-sky-crane-assisted touchdown on the Red Planet, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is just kicking back and relaxing for a few days.”
So, yeah. That sounds about right.
Hughes wasn’t conflating (precisely) contemporary space travel with those intrepid, aeronautical pioneers. But running with his theme, I’ll humbly suggest that it’s not necessarily crazy to expect something even more “mind-boggling” than a Martian landscape via web browser…that was, itself, brought to you not by NASA, but by user generated content.
I find it interesting how The Washington Post, NPR, Newsday, Slate and The Los Angeles Times amongst others are falling all over each other to scrutinize the influence Ayn Rand had on the intellectual development of Paul Ryan.
I am not saying these outlets shouldn’t do so. But it would be nice if they had devoted the same energy to scrutinizing President Obama’s intellectual development vis a vis Saul Alinsky and the very much alive Bill Ayers, Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Rashid Khalidi. Alas, such scrutiny into Obama’s intellectual development is viewed as rude and racist. Besides these outlets reserve their branding for Republicans. Or in this case you could call it Randing.
BTW, The Los Angeles Times still has the videotape of Obama’s 2003 appearance at the Khalidi tribute under lock and key having deemed it unfit for public viewing.
Pesky played only 10 seasons in the bigs but his connection to the Red Sox endured to the very end.
Born John Michael Paveskovich in Portland, Oregon, Pesky made his big league debut with the Red Sox in 1942. If there had been an AL Rookie of the Year Award back then he would have surely won it. Pesky hit .331 and led the AL in hits with 205 finishing third in the AL MVP balloting behind teammate Ted Williams and Joe Gordon of the New York Yankees.
Pesky would miss the next three seasons serving in the Navy during WWII. When he returned to the Red Sox in 1946, he didn’t miss a beat hitting .335 and again leading the AL in hits with 208. The Red Sox would win the AL pennant that year. Pesky would be unfairly blamed for holding on to the ball during Game 7 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals during Enos “Country” Slaughter’s mad dash home.
Although Pesky did not get another chance to play in the World Series, he had his third consecutive 200-hit season in 1947. Pesky’s offensive output gradually declined and in the middle of the 1952 season he was traded along with Walt Dropo to the Detroit Tigers for George Kell and Dizzy Trout. Two seasons later he was with the Washington Senators where he would finish his big league career.
Pesky returned to the Red Sox organization in 1961 managing the Seattle Rainiers. Owner Tom Yawkey would tap Pesky to manage the big league club in 1963. However, after two lacklustre seasons, he was out. After three years as a coach and minor league manager in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, Pesky returned to the Red Sox for good in 1969. For six seasons, Pesky worked with Ned Martin and Ken Coleman in the broadcast booth. In 1975, Pesky joined the Red Sox coaching staff where he would remain in various capacities for the next decade. He even briefly managed the club in the final days of the 1980 season following the dismissal of Don Zimmer.
For the past quarter century, Pesky served as a goodwill ambassador for the Red Sox. In recognition of his six decades with the organization, the Red Sox retired his number 6 in 2008.
Of course, when people think of Johnny Pesky they think of the Pesky Pole in rightfield at Fenway Park. It was named so by the late Red Sox pitcher Mel Parnell who told how Pesky (who only had 17 career homeruns) would hit all his homeruns around that pole which is only 302 feet away from homeplate.
The Red Sox are on the road but return to Fenway one week from tonight. The team will presumably honor Pesky before that night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.
President Obama announced today that the Agriculture Department will spend $170 million to buy meat ($100 million for pork, $50 million for chicken, and $10 million worth of yummy lamb) and $10 million for catfish, freeze the stuff for a while, and distribute it to food banks.
According to Reuters, “The president will also direct the Department of Defense to “encourage” its vendors to speed up purchases of lamb, pork and beef and freeze it for later use.”
Even those who know that Barack Obama understands no limits on government must occasionally be jarred by his willingness to use our money to transparently buy votes. I’ll never think of “pork” spending the same way…
We’re all lying Cretans. Robert Hughes, on the other hand, was brutally honest about himself and others: “The unexamined life, said Socrates, is not worth living. The memoirs of Julian Schnabel, such as they are, remind one that the converse is also true. The unlived life is not worth examining.”
Ulysses is a tweet, says that grand master of nuance Paulo Coehlo.
Roger Kimball, saving art in a time of ruin.
The great Sonny Rollins.
The play acting continues, though without the tents and the pizza: Occupy!
South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserperson-Schultz, chairwomanperson of the Democratic Party, gave up a howler this morning on Fox News Sunday (along with her usual garden-variety nonsense). She said, with a straight face, that she didn’t know if the people who put together that infamous ad accusing Mitt Romney of causing a steelworker’s wife to die of cancer were Democrats.
“I have no idea of the political affiliation of folks who are associated with that super PAC,” our Debbie crooned. I wonder if Debbie has any opinion on whether or not the Pope is a Catholic.
1. Obviously, there was no bigger news than Mitt Romney tapping Paul Ryan to be his running mate. Romney has added to his generally policy-phobic campaign one of the brightest, most articulate defenders of a comprehensive fiscal policy in the entire party.
2. For the Ryan pick to work, it must be part of a larger amping up of the campaign’s message: sharpening and adding meat to the economic argument against President Obama, presenting a positive case for a ticket that can rescue the government from Greece-like insolvency, and pushing back the Democratic narrative that Republicans don’t understand regular people. Ryan should also be utilized in discussions of social issues like life, not just economics. Simply plugging Ryan into the existing campaign will not work. Too vulnerable to charges that Republicans see people as numbers on a balance sheet.
3. Expect the Republican ticket to pound hard on the idea that the Democrats are actually cutting Medicare for current recipients, which is not what Romney-Ryan are proposing to do. The argument has the benefit of being true, though there is no guarantee it will work as it runs counter to the Democrats longstanding image as the party of Medicare.
4. There have been a lot of comparisons between Romney-Ryan and Dole-Kemp. I’ve made them myself, but I do think there is one important distinction. Jack Kemp was well past his prime in 1996: out of Congress for eight years, didn’t get very far in his 1988 presidential campaign, mostly sidelined in the first Bush administration, increasingly a conservative hero of the previous decade like Paul Laxalt or Phil Crane. That’s not a criticism of any of these men, but it reflects where they were in their political careers at the time.
Paul Ryan was chosen while he is still a rising figure in the party and still someone setting the fiscal agenda. Ryan is young (Kemp was 61 in 1996), has no losing campaigns to his name, and his vice presidential bid has less of a valedictory feel to it. And I say that as someone who circa 1994 wanted Kemp on top of the ‘96 ticket. One test for Ryan is whether he can become as popular with conservative voters as he already is among conservative journalists and policy analysts.
5. Should Romney talk about the big banks? Taking on “too big to fail” will help obviate the perceived need for future bailouts, a political advantage for a Republican ticket with two TARP supporters. It also lets Romney be populist without violating free-market principles and play against type.
6. On Tuesday, Wisconsin voters will decide a contentious Republican primary. The three main candidates are Tommy Thompson, the longtime former governor and Bush administration HHS secretary (plus short-term 2008 presidential candidate), businessman Eric Hovde, and conservative former Congressman Mark Neumann. Thompson has recently deteroriated from the welfare reform-pioneering governor of the '80s and '90s to establishment type who has flirted with everything form embryo-destructive stem-cell research to early versions of Obamacare. Hovde is hitting everyone else on taxes even though he hasn’t taken the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Neumann ran a widely panned campaign against Scott Walker, who has proven conservative enough.
One of the keys to this election will be whether young, idealistic, and mostly ignorant young voters remain enthusiastic supporters of Barack Obama. Given that this group gets a lot of information from non-traditional sources, such as Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and YouTube, and given that you and I have little (which is to say zero) impact on the content of The Daily Show, I suggest that we do our parts to share YouTube and other online content which might diminish that generation’s view of The One.
I have two such videos to share today, and I hope you’ll do what you can to get them wider distribution, especially among those aged 15-30.
First, from a group called RightChange.com comes a parody of the Dos Equis beer ad featuring The Most Interesting Man in the World. This version, about our very own Barack Obama, is entitled The Most Arrogant Man in the World:
Next, and probably even more effective for those in their first several years of voting eligibility, is a take-off of a very popular music video by Gotye entitled “Somebody That I Used to Know.” This version, by a group called Just New Productions, is called “Obama That I Used to Know” and it’s actually a rather devastating explanation of buyer’s remorse among young adults who still wish that “hope and change” were real.
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?
H/T to National Review Online