With Republicans forced to cancel the first day of the RNC due to the impending strike of Hurricane Isaac, I think it is safe that Republicans don’t like this “Ike.”
However, this might very well be a blessing in disguise given that the networks weren’t going to broadcast the first day of the RNC anyway.
As you probably know by now, the Boston Red Sox have traded firstbaseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers for first baseman James Loney, infielder Ivan DeJesus, Jr., pitcher Allen Webster and two players to be named later.
In his final Red Sox at bat, Gonzalez struck out against Angels closer Ernesto Frieri on Thursday night to conclude a wild 14-13 loss. The Sox had led the game 6-0 in the 2nd inning. When Gonzalez chased a bad pitch for strike two, I told my roomie that Frieri didn’t need to throw another strike. He threw another pitch outside and Gonzalez chased for strike three.
Both Gonzalez and Crawford joined the Red Sox in 2011. Gonzalez was acquired in a trade with the San Diego Padres and was quickly signed to a seven-year contract extension worth $154 million while Crawford was signed via free agency to a seven-year contract worth $142 million. While Gonzalez’s offensive numbers were good, he was a problem in the clubhouse both under Terry Francona and Bobby Valentine. As for Crawford, he had a lackluster 2011 and was injured most of 2012 with wrist and elbow injuries although he did play well in limited action in 2012. Crawford underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow and will not be able to play until late in the 2013 season.
Beckett has been a member of the Red Sox since 2006 when he and Mike Lowell were acquired from the Florida Marlins for Hanley Ramirez (who is now Beckett’s teammate in Los Angeles) and Anibal Sanchez. His best season with the Sox was in 2007 when he won 20 games for a Red Sox team that would win its second World Series in four years. Beckett was also runner up in the AL Cy Young balloting to C.C. Sabathia then of the Cleveland Indians.
But following the Red Sox collapse in 2011, it was Beckett who became synonymous with beer and chicken wings in the clubhouse. He did little to endear himself to the fans this season when he skipped a start against the Orioles but was well enough to go out for a round of golf. In 21 starts this season, Beckett went 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA.
The Dodgers are presently three games back of the Giants in the NL West and a game back of the Cardinals for the second NL Wild Card spot. Gonzalez joins a lineup which features Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and the recently acquired Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino. Perhaps he will feel more comfortable in an environment where he isn’t the center of attention (the bulk of that would go to Kemp) and is near his hometown of San Diego. I’m just not sure how Gonzalez will be in the clubhouse. Aside from his troubles in Boston, the Padres blew a large lead in the NL West in 2010. It could be that Gonzalez is a good player but not a good team player. Meanwhile, Beckett will join a rotation featuring 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. It’ll be interesting to see how Beckett responds to this change in environment. The jury is still out as to whether it’s enough to get them to the post-season. I suspect when Crawford returns from Tommy John surgery he will be far more comfortable in LA than he was here in Boston and may return to his form during his days with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Red Sox honestly don’t get much in return. James Loney is an underachiever and I would imagine six weeks in Boston would be enough for him to want to sign elsewhere in 2013 as he becomes a free agent. The Red Sox do now have a quarter of a billion to play with now. It will be interesting to see what they do in the offseaon. Will they re-sign Jacoby Ellsbury? Or will they go after someone like Michael Bourn?
However, I don’t think it really matters what the Sox do until they get rid of Bobby Valentine. Most of the players still don’t like playing under Bobby V. Until they are free of his antics, the Red Sox will remain a second division club.
UPDATE: In his first at bat with the Dodgers, Adrian Gonzalez has hit a three run homerun off Josh Johnson of the Miami Marlins.
UPDATE II: As for the Red Sox, they had a 9-3 lead into the 7th. The Royals scored six runs in the seventh to tie the game at 9-9. The Royals won the game in the 12th on a single by Tony Abreu. It’s already been a long season and it’s not getting any shorter.
TAMPA —- Word is out that due to an unpredictable Isaac, and a real chance of tropical storm force winds, heavy rain, and storm surge here Monday, the Republican Party has delayed the start of its national convention. Festivities, originally scheduled to get under way Monday, have been set back to Tuesday afternoon.
Perhaps we should call this the qualm before the storm.
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon, passed away today a few weeks following heart surgery. He was 82.
Armstrong was the Commander of the Apollo 11 mission and on July 20, 1969, after setting foot on the moon, said, “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”
It would be his last mission in space.
Unlike Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, the second man on the Moon, Armstrong shied away from the spotlight. A rare exception to this was when he did a spot for Chrysler in 1979 in an effort to help them out of their financial struggles.
In April 2010, Armstrong (along with Apollo 13 Commander James Lovell and Apollo 17 Commander Eugene Cernan) co-wrote a letter criticizing the Obama Administration for abandoning manned space exploration. A month later, Armstrong and Cernan went to Capitol Hill to testify in front of the Senate Commerce Committee to elaborate their views. During his testimony, Armstrong said, “All because a few planner with little or no space operations experience attempted an end run around the normal planning process and it has been painful to watch.”
Neil Armstrong and the moon landing became such an integral part of our culture that it has made for a lifetime’s worth of amusing anecdotes. I’ll give you two.
The first one involves baseball. Like many pitchers, Gaylord Perry was not known for his hitting prowess. He was a career .131 hitter. Legend has it that San Francisco Giants manager Alvin Dark said back in 1964, “They’ll put a man on the moon before he hits a homerun.” Well, after Apollo 11 landed, Perry hit his first career homerun off Claude Osteen of the Dodgers in a 7-3 Giants win at Candlestick Park.
In 1989, Bob Costas interviewed actress Marilu Henner on NBC’s Later. Henner is, of course, renowned for her memory. Costas asked her what she was doing on July 20, 1969. Henner was overcome with embarassment and thought someone put Costas up to asking her about that date. As it turned out, the night of the moon landing was the night Henner lost her virginity. To which, Costas quipped, “Well, one thing for sure. We know Neil Armstrong wasn’t the culprit.”
I leave you with a rare interview Armstrong did with the late Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes back in 2005.
TAMPA —With the Republican National Convention set to begin Monday — assuming an Isaac-free Tampa — Romney/Ryan is gaining ground on Obama/Biden in swing-state Florida, according to the latest Quinnipiac/CBS News/New York Times poll. The poll, released Friday, shows Obama leading Romney 49 to 46. The same poll August 1 had Obama ahead 51-45.
Apparently, despite the wishful thinking and febrile pronouncements of Democrats and their media bag-carriers, Florida’s seniors have not found VP-choice Ryan scary at all. In fact, since Ryan has been added to the Republican ticket, Florida seniors have been moving toward it. Florida seniors, a higher percentage of whom vote than any demographic, now break 55-42 for Romney/Ryan, according to the poll. Which has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent. Independent voters in Florida also favor the Republican team 48-44.
With any kind of a bump out of next week’s convention, Romney/Ryan could leave town with a lead in the race for Florida’s 29 electoral votes.
It’s still too soon to tell with any comfort. But the latest forecast track for Hurricane Isaac is tending toward the west. This is good news for Tampa, and the Republican National Convention scheduled to start there Monday. But not such good news for the Florida Panhandle, Mobile, Biloxi, etc.
But even if Isaac doesn’t put in an appearance as an uninvited delegate to the convention, there will still be at least one windbag in town. Vice President, and Obama court jester, Joe Biden has scheduled a campaign appearance in Tampa on Monday. Past practice has been that members of the opposing party stayed clear of the other party’s convention. But apparently our rookie president has decided that this courtesy is for the other 99 percent.
The plan may well backfire. Republicans in Tampa shouldn’t have too big of a challenge putting out a more coherent message Monday than Biden does.
Hal G. P. Colebatch’s thoughtful lament today on the peccadilloes of the UK’s Dirty Harry made me ponder what the always dignified Elizabeth II ever did to deserve so many undignified relations.
To satisfy my curiosity I made a few international calls. My sources in the British film industry tell me a major motion picture (ever heard of a minor motion picture?) is being made of Harry’s military career. The title is “An Officer and a Twit.”
I know Elizabeth II doesn’t answer her own phone. But when she hears one ringing in the palace, I’m sure the first thought that runs through her mind is, “What now?!” As a republican, I’ve no idea what a monarch’s prerogatives are. But can she have her entire family confined to quarters?
Puppeteer Jerry Nelson passed away yesterday at the age of 78. No cause of death has been released as of this writing.
Nelson was a close associate of the late Jim Henson and was a fixture on Sesame Street, The Muppet Show as well as Fraggle Rock. He was best known for being the hand and voice behind Count Von Count. Nelson gave life to other Sesame Street characters like Herry Monster, Sherlock Hemlock and The Amazing Mumford. In the early years of Sesame Street, Nelson was the original Mr. Snuffleupagus. While on The Muppets, Nelson was the creative force behind Dr. Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand and Dr. Julius Strangepork from Pigs in Space.
I leave you with The Count counting sheep to the everlasting regret of Ernie & Bert.
At least ten people have been injured in a shooting in and around the Empire State Building in New York City. Two people have been confirmed dead (including the shooter).
I am sure there will be more details to follow.
On a personal note, the first thing that came to mind when I heard this was my Dad. I just phoned him. No answer. Probably still asleep.
UPDATE: Just talked to my Dad. All is well at his end.
Unfortunately, there is probably someone out there trying to get in touch with a loved one, cannot do so and will never do so.
UPDATE II: Apparently, the shooter was fired from his job in a shop inside the Empire State Building yesterday. Today, he returned for payback and shot a manager before shooting indiscriminately. How bloody awful.
UPDATE III: Several commenters mentioned it. On Saturday, the NYPD confirmed that the 9 bystanders who were shot in and around the Empire State Building were shot by two police officers who were pursuing the shooter. While the two officers killed the shooter they also could have killed innocent bystanders. This doesn’t inspire confidence. I realize that this happened very fast and you cannot guarantee civilians won’t get hurt in these situations but the NYPD clearly needs to review its procedures where it concerns firing weapons.
Political columnist Froma Harrop makes the odd and offensive suggestion in this column (entitled “Akin’s Consistency is GOP’s Real Problem”) that fingernails are equivalent in human value to an early-trimester unborn child:
I believe that abortions should be easy to obtain early in a pregnancy and progressively harder to get as time goes on. The issue isn’t when life begins, but when “personhood” begins. Sperm, unfertilized eggs and fingernails are all life and human. The point of development at which the fertilized egg should be considered a full-fledged person is determined by theology or philosophy, not science.
Basing when human life begins on the nebulous idea of “personhood” leads to the kind of fallacious thinking that equates a fetus with sperm, eggs, and (weirdly) fingernails. Yes, a sperm and egg constitute the ingredients of human life, but taken separately they aren’t human life. Combined, at the moment of conception, the ingredients form a human being.
Where do fingernails fit in? No idea.
The chief ethical challenge for supporters of abortion-on-demand is defining when “personhood” begins. For pro-lifers, that decision is easy. It begins at conception. Abortion supporters, however, must choose another arbitrary date, at which point basic human rights and constitutional protections are conferred.
From the paragraph I quoted above, it’s obvious that Ms. Harrop struggles with that decision. Why should an abortion be more difficult to obtain as the pregnancy progresses? Is an unborn child becoming “more human,” while not fully human until after birth? From a moral standpoint, is a third trimester abortion wrong (or more wrong) than a first trimester abortion? If so, why?
Those are the challenges of abortion-rights advocates. Most in their camp feel comfortable defining “personhood” as beginning at birth, when the baby can be sustained apart from the mother’s body. The trip down the birth canal makes the difference. (The reality, of course, is that a newborn baby is just as reliant for survival on the mother as he or she would be while still in the womb.)
Pro-life conviction based on the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death is the most consistent position to take in the abortion debate. Those who fall into the other camp are routinely reduced to comparing unborn children to fingernails.
I just saw DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s cringeworthy interview (but then aren’t all her interviews cringeworthy?) with Anderson Cooper on CNN. Cooper took her to task for misleading DNC fundraising e-mails which asserted the Romney campaign had directed the RNC to write the GOP’s platform on abortion. Debbie W-S said “it doesn’t matter” if she misquoted The Los Angeles Times and misrepresented the situation. She stated stridently:
The reason we sent out that e-mail, and that we will continue to send out e-mails, and reach out to voters is we want them to know the difference between the two parties and two parties’ candidates on a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choice and that Mitt Romney has a very extreme position on that issue.
Translation: We’ll say what we want about Mitt Romney’s position on abortion when we want. The truth be damned.
Of course, this is the same woman who insisted earlier this month to John Roberts of Fox News that she had “no idea of the political affiliation” of the people involved with Priorities USA, the Super PAC which produced the ad insinuating Mitt Romney was responsible for the death of the spouse of a former Bain employee. The “brains” behind that ad was former Obama Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton.
But by all means, please keep sending Debbie W-S on TV every chance you get. She is the equivalent of fingernails running down the chalkboard. Every time Debbie W-S goes on TV, she loses President Obama another 10,000 votes.
Alas, President Obama has only himself to blame for this sorry state of affairs. Obama personally lobbied for Debbie W-S to be installed as DNC Chair only to soon regret his wish. At one point, Obama is said to have told Debbie W-S, “Don’t forget, you work for me.” So why did Obama want Debbie W-S for the job in the first place? According to this blogpost:
They chose Wasserman Schultz because of her “party uber alles” approach and her over-the-top rhetoric simply because they were in need of someone to advance the political narrative and agenda they chose to pursue, facts be damned.
President Obama reaps what he sows. With that, I eagerly look forward to Debbie W-S’ next TV appearance.
Matthew Continetti today absolutely flays the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, the aggressively liberal and hideously intellectually dishonest hack known for hit jobs on Clarence Thomas, Dick Cheney, and others.
What binds the disparate threads of Mayer’s piece together is its assumption of good faith on the part of progressives and bad faith on the part of Republicans. This kindergarten-level reasoning is presented matter-of-factly, as though American politics at the highest level had all the subtlety of a Disney cartoon.
No one familiar with Mayer’s work could be surprised by her blatant disregard of news reports that undermine the idea that Democratic donors are somehow morally superior to Republican ones. On Valentine’s Day 2012, the Washington Post reported, “$3.9 billion in federal grants and financing flowed to 21 companies backed by firms with connections to five Obama administration staffers and advisers.” An April report in the New York Times “showed that those who donated the most to Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party since he started running for president were far more likely to visit the White House than others.” After Obama reversed his position and endorsed same-sex marriage in May, the Post disclosed, “A review of Obama’s top bundlers, who have brought in $500,000 or more for the campaign, shows that about one in six publicly identify themselves as gay.” In June the Huffington Post “compared the State Department diplomatic list with information on 2008 contributions and found 28 individuals of ambassadorial rank who had raised a total of more than $14 million for the president.”
And so on, in a fact-filled, well organized, well-reasoned case against the preening hypocrisy not just of Mayer, but of the entire edifice of self-selected delusions of the establishment media who inhabit a strange little subculture of mendaciously preening self-regard. Well worth a read.
In what is both a solid attack and an appeal to the better minds of voters, Romney threw a nice punch in a recent speech in Iowa. Washington Post national reporter Philip Rucker has the quote:
Romney in Iowa: “President Obama, bless his heart, has tried to substitute government for free people, and it has not worked.”
The phrase drew some immediate reactions from both the left and the right. Within 30 minutes, the world of social media was set atwitter:
@daveweigel RE: Stump speeches — I haven’t heard Romney say this before: https://twitter.com/philiprucker/status/238333621264596993 …
Since then, Romney’s phrase has been reported on by ABC News, gleefully recounted at American Thinker, and added to Real Clear Politics’ list of political videos. For me, a conservative who is wary of Romney — he’d make a much better president than Obama, but will he actually do much good with regards to our debt problems? — it is good to see that the awkward Romney in the primaries has been replaced by the speech-savvy, stick-and-move Romney so many conservatives wanted to see. Between this attack, his pick of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as VP, and his well-played whiteboard comparison of his and Obama’s Medicare plans, it appears conservative fears that Romney would be too nice for the general election may have been overblown. Here’s hoping he throws some good policy proposals on top of his thus-far solid general election campaigning.
Note: The American Thinker piece claims that “bless his heart” is a devastating insult in the South. As a New Hampshire native, it struck me as a kind word to Obama’s well-intentioned, if woefully inadequate, efforts to get our economy back on track. Can any Southerners help me out with this?
As of this writing, the 38-year old Jeter is leading the AL in hits with 169 this season. Jeter just passed Eddie Murray to move into 12th place on MLB’s all-time hit list. He now has 3,257 hits for his career and needs 27 hits to pass Willie Mays and exactly 1,000 hits to pass Pete Rose for the number one spot. During 2010 and 2011, it had been suggested that Jeter was on his last legs. But everybody loves a comeback story.
When Bayless was making his argument (which stopped short of accusing Jeter of actually using PEDs), Stephen A. Smith went ballistic on him. At one point, Smith absurdly compared Jeter to “a decorated soldier.” However, Smith is correct to say that Jeter is an “institution” in Major League Baseball. But the same could have been said for the likes of Jeter’s former teammate Roger Clemens, his current teammate Alex Rodriguez and, for that matter, Pete Rose.
But Bayless stuck to his guns. “I am not saying he uses a thing. I have no idea. But within the confines of his sport, it is fair for all of us, in fact you are remiss, if you don’t at least think about this.”
Well, I must admit that the thought has crossed my mind that Derek Jeter has been using PEDs. Indeed, it has been a subject of conversation with my Dad during our regular phone calls about baseball. Granted, I am a Red Sox fan and Jeter has long been a thorn in the side of Red Sox pitching. So you can take my thoughts with however many grains of salt you wish. But how can a 38-year old man run down to first base faster than he did five years ago?
Now one could certainly argue that it would be irresponsible to make such a speculation without more compelling evidence. One could also argue that it is unfair to single out Jeter. After all, given MLB’s more stringent drug testing procedures I would imagine that Jeter has passed hundreds of these tests in recent years. Even if Jeter using PEDs has crossed my mind, it has done so because of my heart, not my head.
For his part, when Jeter was asked about Bayless’ comments he suggested in jest that Bayless ought to be tested. Well, I hope for Jeter’s sake that he’s telling the truth. If Jeter retired today he would be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Of course, he does have an outside shot at eclipsing Pete Rose and if he does that would be a magnificent accomplishment. But if Jeter does test positive for PEDs then he, like Pete Rose, can kiss the Hall of Fame goodbye and for that matter all the goodwill he has built up over the past 15 years or so. He would become yet another of baseball’s discredited institutions.
There would also be a lot of people who would owe Skip Bayless an apology starting with Stephen A. Smith.
Maybe this isn’t fair. Well, if not, that’s exactly the point. Read this as a point about guilt-by-association attempts. (Funny, isn’t it, how only conservatives are guilty by association with others?)
Anyway, again, in this column just up at the Daily Caller, I note an Obamite weakness:
Surovell the surrogate is one of six Obama Truth Team members who voted against HB 973, which “imposes a mandatory minimum life sentence for rape, forcible sodomy, or object sexual penetration of a child under the age of 13 when it is alleged in the indictment that the offender was 18 years of age or older at the time of the offense.” This is the same Obama campaign that has spent all week somehow trying, dishonestly, to link opponent Mitt Romney with a stupid rape-related statement by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin…. Then again, maybe this whole game of “gotcha” isn’t fair. Maybe it’s not fair to tag Obama with the idiocy of his surrogates. If not, then it’s even less fair to tag the Romney campaign with some sort of guilt by association with a Senate candidate they have nothing to do with and whose idiotic statement was quickly denounced by both Romney and running mate Paul Ryan.
Worth thinking about…..
Among the many individuals who impersonated voters in Rhode Island during the 2010 election cycle, there was one that really stood out.
That was the year Democratic Mayor David Cicilline of Providence, Rhode Island, ran for and won the seat congressional seat vacated by Rep. Patrick Kennedy.
A key witness who claims she was hired by Cicilline in 2010 alleges in sworn statement that several individuals impersonated actual voters, and voted in disguise. Here is where it gets very creative.
“That afternoon I identified individuals who had voted in disguise, including cross-gender clothing, earlier in the day,” the witness said. “This included a currently powerful leader in the Rhode Island House of Representatives.”
U.S. Rep. David Cicilline’s political campaigns benefitted from a highly organized voter-fraud effort dating back to 2002, his Democratic primary opponent alleged in a press conference yesterday.
Anthony Gemma, who is running against Cicilline in the September 11 primary, told reporters in Providence that a private investigation agency he retained uncovered evidence that demonstrates how fraudulent activity conducted in Cicilline’s name “compromises the very core of the electoral process.”
Since this one involves all Democrats, it will be interesting to see how the Brennan Center For Justice, the Advancement Project, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and other voter fraud deniers spin this one.
Full report from the OceanStateCurrent.com is available here.
Just a note that Barack’s Bad Economy keeps getting worse. The new CBO report and the rising jobless numbers show that Mr. Obama’s policies are dangerously counterproductive. Between slow-downs in energy production, the blocking of pipelines (and all the contruction jobs they would entail), the extreme “consumer product safety” regulations, the forced closure of politically disfavored auto dealerships, and too many other foolish policies to list, the Obama administration is, by far, the worse job-killer since the Smoot-Hawley Tariff helped ensure that the 1929 stock market crash would result in a Great Depression.
A Rasmussen Reports poll taken yesterday of 500 likely voters in Missouri has Claire McCaskill, who should be the single most vulnerable Democrat in the US Senate, 10 points ahead of Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin.
Akin needs to be told (as I’m sure he is being told) that this is no longer about him and that he needs to be out of this race immediately. I think there’s a 20% chance he gets out.
As for the question of whether a Missouri court allows him to leave the race, I think it would seem so hyperpartisan to refuse that I believe he would be allowed to leave, even by a Democrat-majority State Supreme Court.
In case you missed it, Mark Levin hosted Paul Ryan on last night’s show.
As you would expect, Ryan was terrific and Mark at the top of his game.
Here’s the link, have a listen.
Judge Andrew Napolitano has a thoughtful column in The Washington Times on Todd Akins’ “leigitmate rape” comment. While calling Akins’ remark “absurd,” “bizarre,” “offensive,” and “incorrect,” Napolitano supports the implications of Atkins’ comment that rape is never a moral justification for the taking of an innocent human life through abortion:
…. isn’t a baby in a womb a person? Of course a baby in a womb is a person. A baby is produced by the physical interaction of two human parents, and every unborn baby possesses a fully actualizable human genome: all the material necessary to grow to adulthood and to exist independently outside the womb.
What about rape? Rape is among the more horrific violations of human dignity imaginable. It is a crime committed by the male, not the female — and certainly not by the child it might produce. When rape results in pregnancy, the baby has the same right to life as any child born by mutually loving parents. Only the Nazis would execute a child for the crimes of his or her father.
Every abortion ends the life of an innocent unborn human being. When politicians in both parties claim to be pro-life but favor abortions because of the criminal behavior of the father, as in rape or incest, they are politically rejecting that hard truth. What other violations of the natural law will they condone for political expedience?
It’s a shame that this truth has gotten lost in the maelstrom of vitriol directed at Akin. The sad fact is that Republicans are held to a wildly different standard when it comes to these matters than are Democrats, as Jeff Lord writes about Slick Willy today. A man accused of rape is lauded in Democrats’ eyes, while a man who chooses unwise words on the matter is vilified. The difference, of course, is that Akin is staunchly pro-life while Bill Clinton is not. Democrats won’t stand for their sacred idol of abortion to be defiled.
Yesterday morning, I experienced transnational censorship, firsthand.
While researching Iranian oil output (‘vis-à-vis Asian buyers circumventing the EU embargo), I stumbled upon a Tehran Times piece, titled “Asia’s Imports of Iranian crude to regain levels prior to EU ban.” Attributed to Reuters, the article was bullish on the Islamic Republic’s export recovery, as Japan and South Korea accelerate energy purchase.
Here’s the trick. The copy that’s live on the Tehran Time’s website is conspicuously absent 325 words from the version posted at Reuters.com. (Understanding editors are often forced to “adjust” copy from news agencies like Reuters and AP, I’ve contacted the TT to confirm the decision making process.)
The section that’s been erased from copy at the Tehran Times begins, as follows:
Still, the recovery will not return Iran’s exports to last year’s levels, as buyers have to ensure they have cut shipments sufficiently to stay eligible for a waiver from the sanctions imposed by the United States. Washington has given waivers to the top four Asian buyers that come up for renewal later this year.
Even after the resumption, Japan’s purchases will be about 25 percent lower than a year ago, while those by South Korea will about 20 percent less. Though India’s MRPL is able to raise imports because of its new facility, it plans to cut shipments by 20 percent this year.
These are sobering statistics when you consider that Asian markets consume more than half of Iranian oil exports. Thus the deletion of the gloomier figures, and corresponding analysis. (For the record, The Tehran Times is not a “government” news outlet. Rather, it’s a private English language daily, created in 1979 to “export the ideas of the revolution.”)
As you might have guessed, the Iranian government wields a blunt edge when it comes to the suppression of information that’s potentially harmful to governance or insulting to a medieval construction of Islamic mores. A vast spectrum of media is subject to restriction – television, print, media, radio, film…even art galleries and cultural exhibitions. You name it, they’ll edit, expunge, or otherwise eliminate it.
Since the Green Revolution, some of the world’s most popular websites have been off limits. Reporting for The Guardian in 2010, Robert Tait wrote that edicts have been issued against sites such as Amazon.com, YouTube, Wikipedia, IMDB.com and The New York Times. Anyone who attempts to access these sites receives a simple negation: “The requested page is forbidden.”
Jamillah Knowles, of TheNextWeb.com, reports that stiff moral values and an iron grip on dissent have cut off the Iranian people from approximately one quarter of the internet. She writes, specifically:
In the news sector 32% of the world’s top news sites are blocked. Currently, BBC News, The Guardian, Fox News, The Huffington Post and the New York Post sites are blocked, but interestingly CNN, Reuters, and Bloomberg are still accessible.
As reported last December, Iran is now constructing a “national” internet that would effectively detach Iranian cyberspace from the rest of the world…Wide Web. Similar to the parochial intranet architecture raised in North Korea, Iran’s project would consist of an insular data network offered within the sovereign borders of the Islamic Republic. It would also represent a whole new take on political censorship.
(Of interest, the website viewdns.info has compiled a raw list of websites that are censored in Iran and a test function to determine if a particular site is firewalled, with a tip of the hat to Ms. Knowles.)
This is most unfortunate. Ultimately, the ruling regime will not fall absent international electronic subterfuge – not of the Stuxnet-sort. 2009’s Green Revolution was catalyzed by a diffusion of electronic information within a virtual public square. Consider then, a nation of 75 million souls where more than two-thirds of that population is under the age of 30. These 50 million young Iranians don’t remember Khomeini’s revolution, but they know plenty about civil oppression, mounting poverty, and increasing isolation from the international community.
Now imagine these young men and women are suddenly and completely severed from the internet…from that virtual public square that allows them to long for something better. It makes my trivial experience with The Tehran Times pale in comparison.
Writing in the 19th century, manufacturer and British MP, Richard Cobden, wrote of commerce as the “grand panacea.” In his words:
“Not a bale of merchandise leaves our shores, but it bears the seeds of intelligence and fruitful thought to the members of some less enlightened community; not a merchant visits our seats of manufacturing industry, but he returns to his own country the missionary of freedom, peace, and good government – whilst our steam boats, that now visit every port in Europe, and our miraculous railroads, that are the talk of all nations, are the advertisements and vouchers for the value of enlightened union.”
With apologies for the paternalism of the latter, we’ve entered an internet age. Substitute “commerce” for “information.” The dissemination of ideas and identities will ultimately unseat illiberal and illegitimate regimes. Ideas are simply more powerful than bombs or computer worms. Today’s “grand panacea” is communication, plain and simple. Attempts to censor such exchange speak to an inherent fear, made manifest in states such as Iran.
Once upon a time, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty was developed to provide news, information, and analysis “where the free flow information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed.” Lucky for us taxpayers, the internet has largely privatized that mission.
Time to win the war of ideas. And keep the proverbial lights on in Iran.
TAMPA — Right now the projected track line for Tropical Storm Isaac, almost certainly soon to become Hurricane Isaac, goes right through Tampa. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat but a sensible fellow taken all around, says he won’t hesitate to pull the plug on the Republican National Convention if Isaac pays a visit.
“Safety and human life trump politics,” Buckhorn told CNN Wednesday. “Whatever we do will be based on getting people out of harm’s way.”
RNC host committee CEO Ken Jones said that he’s not worried yet, proof that he’s been working too hard. Earth to Ken — start worrying. Unless Jones plans to take 50,000 delegates, cops, journalists, demonstrators, and hangers-on home with him to ride out the storm, Isaac could be a real problem for him and his colleagues.
Jones, and all the folks who decided it was a good idea to put on a huge event in Central Florida during the peak of hurricane season, can take comfort in the fact that the projected paths of past hurricanes have gone through Tampa, only for the storm to take a different direction before it got here. The chances of Isaac hitting Tampa are well below 50-50. But even a glancing blow from a category two hurricane could cause havoc for a badly over-crowded Tampa. Some convention facilities and vital access roads to the convention forum this week were damaged by Tampa’s normal August thunderstorms.
I pray Isaac spares my town, which has been mostly hurricane free for my years here. Let’s hope this terrifically expensive and burdensome (on the city and its residents) show is put on and Romney/Ryan well and truly nominated and sent on to a vigorous campaign. But those who rolled the dice against the possibility of really bad weather in Tampa in late August can just take their reflux medicine, and pray that they don’t look really bad next week.
Over at CNN, Erin Burnett conducted a survey of “thirty-one independent political journalists and analysts” as to whether Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akins’ “legitimate rape” comments will hurt the GOP’s electoral prospects in November. A resounding 89% of said “independent political journalists” responded in the affirmative.
I’m not buying it.
1. What CNN considers “independent political” views aren’t what most Americans consider “independent political” views. I am willing to bet that you if surveyed the same 31 journalists as to their opinion on abortion, 89% would be pro-choice. Well, 89% of the American public is not pro-choice. According to a Gallup Poll released last May, 50% of Americans are pro-life while 41% of Americans are pro-choice. This is important because Democrats like Elizabeth Warren are making a concerted effort to link Todd Akin’s views on abortion and other social issues mirror those of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Scott Brown and the entire Republican Party. Most people know such efforts are hogwash.
2. After all, nearly every Republican and conservative in the country has denounced Akin for what he said. Of course, people who think Republicans are conducting a war on women aren’t going to vote Republican anyway. But even if an independent voter doesn’t like what Akin had to say or is pro-choice on the abortion question, they also know that what he said doesn’t represent Republican or conservative thinking.
3. I suspect Akin will be gone despite his defiance. But even if he’s still on the ballot there’s still the economy. President Obama didn’t fix the economy and now he owns it. Things aren’t likely to get any better in the next 76 days and I suspect by early November that Akin will be but a footnote. Obama’s policies affect every American whereas the stupid, offhand comment of one Republican in Missouri doesn’t.
Colon’s suspension comes only a week after San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera received a 50 game suspension for testing positive for testosterone.
In 24 starts for the Athletics in 2012, the 39-year-old Colon went 10-9 with a respectable 3.43 ERA on a team considered the biggest surprise in MLB. The Athletics are currently ½ game back of the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL Wild Card lead and five games back of the Texas Rangers in the AL West. With the return of Brett Anderson to the starting rotation, I don’t think the Athletics will be harmed by Colon’s absence although it helps to have a veteran starting pitcher at the end of the rotation who can log innings. His ten wins were the most Colon has had in a season since winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2005 when he won 21 games with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Colon has pitched with the Cleveland Indians, Montreal Expos, Chicago White Sox (twice), Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees prior to signing with Oakland as a free agent in the offseason.
Prior to the positive tests for Colon and Cabrera, three other players also received 50 game suspensions this season - San Francisco Giants reliever Guillermo Mota, Philadelphia Phillies infielder Freddy Galvis and outfielder Marlon Byrd who had stints with both the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox in 2012. Interestingly, four of the five suspended players hail from Latin America (Colon, Cabrera and Mota were born in the Dominican Republic while Galvis is a native of Venezuela). I don’t know if this is purely coincidental or if the Latin American players simply haven’t yet been deterred by MLB and the MLBPA’s drug policy. It’s just what jumps out at me.
I have been as guilty as anyone in the past two days — REALLY guilty — of piling on with harsh words for Todd Akin. I thought that under the circumstances, there was no time for subtlety or honey to work, so the only alternative was to speak the truth brutally, without niceties. I may have been wrong; there’s no way to know. That said, Bill Kristol, quoting Abe Lincoln to great effect, suggests a different approach, and I think he is probably right and certainly wise:
Now is the time for kind, unassuming—and private—persuasion by conservatives, by pro-life and pro-marriage advocates, by serious people who’ve worked with Akin and by his fellow Missourians. I have reason to believe that’s now beginning to happen behind the scenes.
That said, I am quite worried that any attempt to replace Akin on the ballot will fail. Here’s the deal: While Missouri state law makes it clear that a petition by Akin to withdraw should enjoy the strong, strong assumption of being granted, I do not trust Missouri’s judiciary to allow it. I know nothing about any individual Missouri judge, but I am told the Mizzou Supreme Court is majority Democratic. I can see any court order dropping Akin from the ballot being appealed by the Dems, and can see the high court majority ignoring the law and upholding the appeal, thus blocking the replacement of Akin. (This is the exact reverse situation from New Jersey several cycles back, where state law clearly barred the Dems from replacing Robert Torricelli on the ballot with Frank Lautenberg, but Democratic judges allowed it anyway.) Because this would involve an interpretation of state law, it almost certainly would not be reviewable by federal courts — leaning conservatives high and dry.
All of which is to say that some serious legal planning/gaming out of possible scenarios should be in order by state and national Republican leaders. Kristol’s wisdom, which puts my earlier fulminations to shame, is probably unassailable here — but even if it works, it won’t be the end of problems with that race.
In the aftermath of Rep. Todd Akin’s comments about abortion and “legitimate rape,” as well as the attention given to Rep. Paul Ryan’s “almost no exceptions” opposition to abortion, the idea has resurfaced that opposition to abortion hurts pro-life candidates among women voters. But polls have consistently shown little difference between the abortion views of men and women.
A 2002 Public Agenda poll found that men were two percentage points more likely to believe that “abortion should be generally available” to those who want it (44% to 42%), and that women were slightly more likely to think “abortion should not be permitted” (22% to 21%).
A 2003 ABC/Washington Post poll found 58% of women and 54% of men felt abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances.
More recently, a 2009 CBS News/New York Times poll found that 40% of men and 37% of women felt “abortion should be generally available” while 20% of men and 24% of women felt “abortion should be not permitted.”
A 2012 Gallup poll found women (44%) were more likely than men (38%) to call themselves “pro-choice” and that men (53%) were more likely than women (46%) to call themselves “pro-life.” But Gallup found that from 2001-2008, 48% of men and 49% of women self-identified as “pro-choice.” Between 2009 and 2012, 43% of men and 45% of women identified as “pro-choice.”
According to Gallup, the share of women who thought abortions should be legal under any circumstances varied from 22% to 34% between 1975 and 2009. The share of men who took the same view varied from 21% to 29%.
What about the no exceptions position? The percentage of women who thought abortions should be illegal in all circumstances ranged from 15% to 21%, while the share of men who took the no exceptions pro-life view varied from 13% to 19%. In 2009, 21% of women and 16% of men took the no exceptions position.
Bottom line: Men and women hold very similar views on abortion and under which circumstances it should be available. Women are slightly more likely to hold an absolutist view — either that abortion should be “legal in all circumstances” or “illegal in all circumstances.”
But the real dividing lines are elsewhere. Education, age, religiosity, political affiliation, marital status and even regional differences play a larger role in determining someone’s views on abortion. As a 2010 Gallup survey found, “Educational achievement is much more important than gender in determining support for broadly legal abortion.… This has been the case since the 1970s.”
Leave it to the Dowdy one to (in the words of a former baseball coach of mine) go bat-sh*+-crazy in her description of “core conservatives.” As I blogged at CFIF:
The writing sins there are abundant: extreme triteness (gee, it is just so original and clever to call conservatives “troglodytes” and “antediluvians” — although one does wonder, as a matter of chronology, how we can be troglodytes and “medieval” at the same time), breathless overstatement not as intentional irony but as an actual attempt at persuasion, and blind, over-broad, demonizing assertions unmoored from proof.
Again, please read my whole post.
TAMPA — Lena Horne, call your office. In addition to all its other heartaches and potential problems, next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa may be in for a dose of stormy weather.
Tropical Depression 9 is just some harmless fussy weather in the Atlantic now Tuesday. But it’s scheduled to be Hurricane Isaac in a couple of days, probably a category two, and paying a visit to Hispaniola and Cuba.
Isaac’s current straight westerly path would take it well south of Florida. But it almost certainly won’t stay on this path. The weather elves say that when the high pressure system north of the storm moves off, the storm will turn north. If that high pressure moves off fairly early, Isaac will spin harmlessly into the Atlantic, well east of the United States. If the system moves off later, the storm will turn north later, putting the U.S. in its path.
Even with the late northerly turn there is plenty of territory Isaac could bedevil. But one of the possible destinations for a late-turning Isaac is the west coast of Florida and Tampa. Mother Nature, you see, is non-partisan.
National Republican officials will soon understand why this time of year Floridians watch more weather reports but enjoy them less.
The deadline passed for Todd Akin to easily get out of the race in Missouri, without Akin giving the slightest clue that he is a sentient human being. The man makes Walter Mitty look like a realist. He is hurting the Republican Party, the conservative movement, the country, and the causes of life and liberty. Having already shown himself both hopelessly ignorant and bizarrely insensitive, he hasn’t left himself much room to avoid such a perfection of the trait of asininity that said asininity ranks up there with the 4-minute mile and the first conquest of Everest as monuments to the human capacity for surpassing previous frontiers. Too bad that his frontier is one that no reasonable human would ever aspire to.
Yesterday, a Bloomberg editorial looked at the fiscal challenges facing the federal government. While the editorial was fairly solid in a number of ways, it also had a number of errors and misstatements that should be corrected.
First, however, the Bloomberg editorial deserves praise for its recognition of fiscal and political reality: namely, that if either Obama or Romney wish to cut the size of our deficits in a meaningful way, yet also take reforms to entitlements off the table, tax revenue increases will be required to make up the difference. However, the editorial fails to mention that the Romney campaign is very willing to reform Medicaid. Since the program makes up nearly ten percent of the federal budget, reducing this spending will have a measurable impact on future deficits.
The editorial’s next error is to say that tax increases on the middle class are necessary to bring the budget to “primary balance,” meaning that the budget is in balance if one ignores interest payments on the debt. It also says it is a “canard” that tax cuts would stimulate enough growth to eliminate the deficit. These two statements are canards in and of themselves. For example, bringing the budget to “primary balance” means deficits of over $500 billion and growing. Such massive deficits, larger than any in American history prior to Fiscal Year 2008, would be unsustainable if consistent economic growth fails to materialize, especially if interest rates climb as expected later this decade and the national debt grows between now and when “primary balance” is achieved.
Regarding the tax cut claim by Bloomberg, I challenge the editorial staff to name one prominent person who thinks the deficit can be eliminated through tax cuts. While loophole elimination and rate reductions, as well as a broadening of the tax base, would do a great deal to cut the deficit, balancing the budget solely through economic growth is somewhere between highly improbable and impossible. Bloomberg is right to note this, but incorrect to pretend it’s a common view.
Two final issues with the Bloomberg editorial: first, it says that the “imbalance” between low levels of tax revenue and increased reliance on safety-net programs has “produce[d] budget-busting deficits.” While it is accurate to note that food stamps and other programs are at record levels of participation, and tax revenues are near record lows, the fact is that Social Security, Medicare, defense spending, and interest payments on the debt total nearly 70 percent of the budget. Even if tax revenue were one-third higher (near the record high levels seen in the late 1990s), and food stamp participation were zero, for example, we’d still be running a deficit of several hundred billion dollars in fiscal year 2012. The deficit problem facing America is not a matter of a few safety-net programs and low tax revenues; as the editorial noted elsewhere, it is Social Security and Medicare that are the biggest “budget-busters” in the federal budget.
Last, the editorial hits Romney for proposing tax changes that would, according to the Tax Policy Center, increase taxes on middle-class and low-income earners. Considering that the bottom 20 percent of Americans have an effective federal tax rate of 1 percent but receive education, border protection, and other benefits at the expense of top earners who pay in some cases 1,500 times as much in taxes, is Bloomberg saying low-income earners already pay too much in taxes? Furthermore, considering that Romney’s plan — center-right though it is — would increase economic growth, it certainly is arguable that the greater tax burden on non-wealthy earners would be more than offset by increased earnings as the American economy finally shakes off its Bush/Obama-created lethargy.
Neither the President nor Mitt Romney has a plan to balance the budget within a single term, which is something this country desperately needs. Bloomberg is right to call both campaigns out on the disconnects between campaign promises and financial reality. However, Bloomberg should also not undercut its own case by forgetting some basic math and economic realities.
While Republicans are pushing Rep. Todd Akin to drop out of his senate race because of something he said, Democrats in Minnesota are dealing with a much more unsavory problem.
State Representative Kerry Gauthier has admitted having oral sex with a 17-year old boy behind a highway rest stop after posting a Craigslist ad seeking “no strings attached” sex. Democrats are asking Gauthier to drop out of the upcoming election; Republicans are calling for him to resign his seat immediately.
This morning, while scanning the headlines, I brushed over discussions of Syrian weapons stockpiles and the jaw-dropping stupidity that compelled a candidate for the US Senate to parse the definition of “legitimate” rape.
Rather, I latched on to a Bloomberg TV piece regarding Paul Ryan’s college days – the crystalline lens of journalistic integrity undoubtedly focused on the issues that matters most. The video opened with a narrative head-fake…a scenic shot of the idyllic Miami University Economics Department building, (where Paul Ryan was “taught that man is a rational actor…”) cuts to the façade of the Delta Tau Delta house (where Ryan learned “that man is also a social animal.”)
I expected an editorialized historiography of late-night debauchery and medieval hazing. What I got was a two minute indictment of “Paul Ryan: Pencil Necked Geek?” His fraternity was portrayed as sporting a “student government” reputation…more “popped collar” than “campus Casanova.” The sort of “nice guys” a gal would like to split a sundae with.
Oh, did I mention the piece was titled “Paul Ryan’s College Frat House: Nerds or Cool Kids?” Clearly, this is the sort of steel-toed journalism our American civitas deserves in the run-up to a historic November election.
The takeaway line from this hard-hitting expose was a rival frat guy stating “They try really hard to be ‘fratty’, as they say […] I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody in DTD with a hot girlfriend.”
The piece ended on the hunt for “beefcake” shots of the would-be Veep, and a promise to explore “secret rooms, secret rituals and how much time Ryan spent in the library.”
To quote the dek from Ross’s great column, yesterday, “…anything to avoid dealing with the substance of the Ryan/Romney ticket.”
I understand August is dead weight in the news year, but absent any discernible “news” (the fraternity, itself, was booted off campus in 2000 and has since been re-branded, socially) this piece is my personal front runner for the most inane story of the year.
In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has struck down the EPA’s “Transport Rule,” also known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, based on the EPA’s exceeding the authority permitted it by statute. The two judges in the majority were appointed by George W. Bush; the dissenter by Bill Clinton.
For those interested in the specifics of the two areas in which the court found the EPA to have done so, here is the relevant text from the opinion:
Here, EPA’s Transport Rule exceeds the agency’s statutory authority in two independent respects. First, the statutory text grants EPA authority to require upwind States to reduce only their own significant contributions to a downwind State’s nonattainment. But under the Transport Rule, upwind States may be required to reduce emissions by more than their own significant contributions to a downwind State’s nonattainment. EPA has used the good neighbor provision to impose massive emissions reduction requirements on upwind States without regard to the limits imposed by the statutory text. Whatever its merits as a policy matter, EPA’s Transport Rule violates the statute. Second, the Clean Air Act affords States the initial opportunity to implement reductions required by EPA under the good neighbor provision. But here, when EPA quantified States’ good neighbor obligations, it did not allow the States the initial opportunity to implement the required reductions with respect to sources within their borders. Instead, EPA quantified States’ good neighbor obligations and simultaneously set forth EPA-designed Federal Implementation Plans, or FIPs, to implement those obligations at the State level. By doing so, EPA departed from its consistent prior approach to implementing the good neighbor provision and violated the Act.
The opinion went on the emphasize that the court is offering no opinion on the wisdom of any particular environmental policy, and — almost seeming to apologize for this ruling — named four cases in which “this Court has affirmed numerous EPA clean air decisions in recent years…”
The Transport Rule was a dagger aimed at the heart of the coal-powered electricity industry, the first step in President Obama’s stated goal of causing electricity prices to “necessarily skyrocket.”
Today’s ruling should scare the EPA and other radical environmentalists deeply, particularly as it offers precedent to every court in the nation other than the Supreme Court to consider whether federal regulations violate the authority delegated to the particular bureaucracy by Congress.
It may even, and I realize that this may strike some as little different from believing in unicorns, cause regulators to rethink the aggressiveness of proposed regulations. (OK, you can stop laughing now.)
No doubt some in Congress will use this ruling to argue for increasing that authority. They are unlikely to succeed even in a Democrat-controlled Senate because coal-state and rust-belt Democrats will not support rules designed to directly or indirectly bankrupt some of their largest voting blocs.
In a somewhat frightening dissent, Circuit Court Judge Judith Rogers leads off her disagreement with the panel’s majority opinion by giving multiple reasons that the court should not even have heard the case. I understand that the issue of standing is a serious one, but when a judge in the second-highest court in the nation must begin a dissent with that issue rather than the constitutional issues at hand, it becomes that much clearer how “progressivism” is a cancer that infects every branch of government, in particular by destroying whatever part of a person’s brain which holds any respect for principle. The majority responds to the dissent’s issues in detail, but I will leave that for interested readers to peruse for themselves.
Today was a victory in a small battle in our enormous war to curb our leviathan regulatory state. The dissenting opinion is just the latest reminder of the importance of the 2012 election for things outside of Congress, Welfare, and the P90X workout system.
My friend Quin Hillyer has an excellent post on Mike Huckabee and Akin below. Among other things, Quin says: “This is no time for niceties. This is a time for hardball. No matter what Akin meant to say, what he said is so ignorant and offensive as to be disqualifying. A moral leader, as Huckabee aspires to be, would see that, and use his considerable weight accordingly.”
But while Huckabee dithers, Quin has come up with another idea on getting Todd Akin out of the Senate race. He touched on it in a post yesterday.
So let’s get it out there on the table:
While Mitt Romney is now the titular leader of the GOP as its soon-to-be nominee, within GOP circles there are three people with a very unique standing: Former Vice President Dick Cheney, Former First Lady Nancy Reagan, and Michael Reagan. In yesterday’s post Quin also mentioned the two former Presidents Bush and Bob and Elizabeth Dole.
Romney has stepped up to the plate on Todd Akin. While several of these people might put out forceful public statements, there’s one person on this list who could pick up the phone and have the kind of private chat that use to scare the hell out of liberals and al Qaeda.
Quin actually used a phrase that involved words like “chew” and “a….”.
I’d write out that second word, however this is a family publication. But you can say all kinds of things in a private chat. And Dick Cheney knows how to do just that. He has quite effectively chewed many posteriors in his time. And Akin’s just begs to be chewed.
Also… kudos to Senator John Cornyn for threatening to withold Akin’s funding from the NRSC. Good for him. No more mother’s milk.
The clock ticks.
Last night Missouri’s now-controversial Senate candidate Todd Akin went on the Mike Huckabee show. He said he wasn’t a “quitter” — which is to say Akin insisted he would stay in the race.
Now take a look at this clip over on YouTube:
That would be none other than Governor Huckabee endorsing Todd Akin in his tight Senate primary.
Until yesterday everyone was rallying to Akin as the flag bearer in the fight to unseat Claire McCaskill.
Now… everyone from literally Mitt Romney on down in the conservative world is pleading with Akin to self-immolate somewhere else, let the Missouri GOP replace him pronto — and get on with the task of defeating McCaskill.
The question now is: where is Mike Huckabee? He gave his endorsement to Akin… and now we have a problem and a big one.
One would hope that the Governor would quickly step up to the plate and ask Akin to withdraw before 5 p.m.
We will see.
Beginning this week there will be at least two women teeing it up with the boys from time to time at the Augusta National Golf Course, home of something called the Masters tournament, where the uniform-of-the-day is a golf grass green blazer.
I find golf narcoleptic. So the wonder to me isn’t that this country club has denied women membership for the 80 years of its existence, but that anyone wants to play this expensive, exacting, and slow-moving game at all. But there’s no accounting for taste. So I wish all golfers well. And I hope the new experience takes a few strokes off of Condoleezza Rice’s game.
You’d think by the amount of media coverage of this event that we’ve taken a great step in civilizational uplift. I can see how charter members of NOW can finally go happily to that great assertiveness training class in the sky. And Gloria Steinem’s life now has meaning. Otherwise it seems a victory for years of cultural nagging and bullying more than anything else. After years of resistance, Augusta finally wearied and gave a meek, “Yes, dear.” Let freedom reign.
I’m not clear on why the guys at Augusta have not wanted to hang out with the likes of Rice and financier Darla Moore. These accomplished women are both comely, and for all I know great company. But in our “land of the free,” as we celebrate it in song before every baseball game, we used to be able to associate with whomever we wanted to. You would think, if we’re going to continue to ham it up about freedom, it would be sufficient to say, “No, we’re not going to do that because we don’t want to, and that’s reason enough.”
Look, Todd Akin wouldn’t be the nominee right now if it weren’t for Mike Huckabee’s endorsement. And he wouldn’t keep his support in the churches if Huckabee very publicly urged him to withdraw. Instead, Huckabee is acting as an enabler for Akin, putting Akin on his radio show in a way designed to try to salvage Akin’s now-hopeless candidacy. But this isn’t about Akin: It’s about the future of the country. Akin now is an almost certain lock to lose a seat that a conservative otherwise would win. That one seat could mean the difference between repealing ObamaCare or not repealing it. There are other pro-life Missouri Republicans who can win the race and who will vote to repeal ObamaCare. Without repealing ObamaCare, the demonstrably evil HHS mandate (evil because that which tramples religious liberty is intrinsically evil) could still go into effect. Even if Akin is too dim to see this on his own, it is incumbent on Huckabee to make him see it.
This is no time for niceties. This is a time for hardball. No matter what Akin meant to say, what he said is so ignorant and offensive as to be disqualifying. A moral leader, as Huckabee aspires to be, would see that, and use his considerable weight accordingly.
Sure, the left has a double standard on this sort of thing. State Sen. Barack Obama did not say “rape is rape” and must always be condemned when Lisa Myers showed rather convincingly that Bill Clinton told Juanita Broaddrick to “put some ice on that.” But that’s not what is at issue here. What is at issue here is, first of all, the idea of taking responsibility for one’s own inexcusable statements, and taking the punishment accordingly (i.e., it is Akin’s responsibility to withdraw); secondly, taking responsibility for an endorsement gone wrong and doing all in one’s power to correct it (i.e. Huck’s responsibility to try to force Akin from the race); and third, the responsibility of Akin and all his supporters to see the larger picture that shows, clearly, that he is hurting the very causes he says he wants to champion.
If Akin doesn’t get out of the race today, he is a louse of the first order. If Huck can help Akin prove he’s not a louse, Huck should do so.
Our friend Jim Geraghty over at NRO has put on the green eye shades this morning to take a look at the poll numbers in the Todd Akin Senate race.
Over at HuffPo and AOL they are hyping a poll purporting to show that even after Akin’s rape comments he’s doing just dandy in the polls — tied with McCaskill.
Jim took a look and discovered that the number of GOP’s versus Dems was…9 points! Which is to say, the suspicion is that the poll is deliberately weighted to produce a pro-Akin result….so that Akin will stay in the race. Jim also sweetly points out that Public Policy Polling is a Democrat-leaning polling outfit and asks:
“Anyone suspect that the Democrat polling firm might be trying to get the result they want, to ensure Akin stays in, so that he can get pummeled in November?”
The column of the day award goes to Brother Geraghty.
Comedienne Phyllis Diller has passed away after a myriad of health problems. She was 95.
Diller was a fixture on television on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In and a variety of Bob Hope specials. She also accompanied Hope on various USO Tours.
In addition to her comedic skills, Diller was an accomplished pianist and harpsichord player. Here she is in a duet with Liberace.
I leave you with Diller roasting Ronald Reagan while he was still Governor of California. Diller was as perceptive as she was funny. She predicted The Gipper would be elected President.
Mark Levin has ripped Democrats over Akin.
Citing the accusations of rape against Bill Clinton by campaign worker Juanita Broaddrick, along with the accusations of being groped in the Oval Office made by Kathleen Willey, and adding in Ted Kennedy’s behavior at Chappaquiddick, Levin ripped into the idea that Democrats have some sort of high-flying position that enables them to criticize Akin. Pointing to the relentless defense of Clinton’s behavior made by liberals, Levin noted: “We don’t need any lectures from you on women’s rights.”
That said, Levin zeroed in on the core problem. We must win the Senate, we must defeat McCaskill, Levin said in his usual shy and retiring fashion. It’s a “mistake” for Akin to stay in this race.
“If I had my druthers he would get out,” he said.
But Levin left no doubt of the focus for conservatives in Missouri and elsewhere whatever Akin does: the Senate is the goal, the White House is the goal.
And those goals remain whatever happens to Todd Akin.
In an exclusive to The American Spectator, Sean Hannity has now called for Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin to withdraw from the Missouri Senate race.
Earlier this afternoon Hannity interviewed Akin, politely prodding Akin about the problems the Senate candidate will surely face over the next 79 days in the wake of his controversial rape remarks.
Now, interview over, Hannity has told TAS that he does indeed believe Akin should withdraw from the race.
This is big news.
The tide is quickly rising, and, to borrow from LBJ and his problem with Walter Cronkite on Vietnam, if Mr. Akin has lost Sean Hannity he’s losing conservatives.
Missouri is a key state — both for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and for GOP control of the Senate.
Akin’s controversy is a reminder that with 79 days to go there is a belief in conservative circles that there is no margin for error — not to mention a self-inflicted wound of this type.
Stand by for the next 24 hours as this drama unfolds.
Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin has amazingly gotten himself in the middle of a controversy that is totally unnecessary. In an interview in Missouri Akin, a decided conservative -that’s good- allowed himself to get segued into musings on rape.
The uproar now threatens the vital race against the quite vulnerable liberal Senator Claire McCaskill. Not to mention causing ripples in the presidential race for Romney and Ryan every time they step foot in Missouri to campaign for a thoroughly winnable state.
Mr. Akin sounds like a very nice man. But his appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio show a few minutes ago was almost painful to listen to. Hannity was 100% correct to gently point out to Akin that the political environment is such that he will never be able to discuss the issues with McCaskill. Akin’s thoughts on rape, regardless of whether he apologizes hourly until November, guarantees the focus will be removed from McCaskill’s devotion to all things Obama. Bluntly put, Akin will be a drag — an avoidable drag — on the ticket.
Apparently Akin has until 5pm tomorrow to remove himself and give the Missouri GOP a chance to replace him.
The Missouri primary was contentious, and one understands all the fine lines of internal controversy.
But Akin has set himself up. And this kind of thing can in fact threaten the GOP control of the Senate, removing Harry Reid — not to mention creating needless complications for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Hannity gently prodded Akin to do the right thing, and he was right to do so.
This is no time for distractions.
Mr. Akin should change his mind and allow the Missouri GOP to replace him. Pronto.
Last week, Democratic Vice President Joe Biden uttered an idiotic, offensive, race-baiting statement, telling a mostly black audience that Mitt Romney wants to “put y’all back in chains.”
This week, Republican Congressman and candidate for US Senate Todd Akin uttered an idiotic, offensive, rape-baiting statement, making the insane suggestion that a woman’s body can naturally prevent pregnancy following a “legitimate rape.”
For your perusal, an example of the different reactions from members of each offender’s political party:
Democrats in respose to Biden:
Republicans in response to Akin:
The difference between Democrats and Republicans in these two back-to-back examples of foot-in-mouth disease simply serves to highlight what readers of these pages already know: While Republicans sometimes deviate from their stated principles, at least they have some principles; and when they do deviate, they tend to be punished by their own as much as by the media, who offer no such scolding to Democrats in similar situations.
I am skeptical that Akin is smart or humble enough to drop out of the race, particularly in the next 24 hours which is what would be necessary (specifically by 5 PM Tuesday, local time) for the Missouri GOP to replace him on the ballot. As Quin Hillyer has suggested, I hope that every Republican “big gun” calls Rick Akin personally and urges him to drop out, including telling him that he will receive no support from the party, even if that means McCaskill getting re-elected. (Can you imagine any such pressure by Democrats on a Democrat?)
Republican New Mexico Senate candidate Heather Wilson has called for Missouri Rep. Todd Akin to “step aside” from his role as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate from Missouri.
“As a woman and a mother, I found Representative Akin’s comments this weekend to be sickening and deeply offensive. There is no such thing as ‘legitimate rape.’ His remarks undermine his ability to command the respect necessary for leadership and he should step aside,” Wilson said shortly after 1:30 PM EST Monday.
Wilson’s statement follows a similar plea from Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown, who made a statement shortly before 11 AM EST calling Akin’s comments “so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for US Senate in Missouri.”
Akin claimed in a television interview Sunday that female rape victims cannot physically become pregnant, a comment that has drawn widespread criticism from both sides of the aisle.
After Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin’s well-reported idiotic statement on rape, big Republican names all over the country are calling on him to drop out of the race. Now I read that unless he drops out by tomorrow, the Missouri state party would be unable legally to replace him. Time is definitely a-wasting. This calls for the big guns. Both George Bushes, Nancy Reagan, Michael Reagan, and Bob and Elizabeth Dole should all put out a joint statement demanding that Akin get out of the race. Behind the scenes, Dick Cheney and others should all Akin and read him the riot act, explaining that they will make sure he has no chance to win if he stays in.
Some mistakes are politically inexcusable. Akin made such a mistake. Somebody needs to put the fear of God into him.
Director Tony Scott committed suicide yesterday by jumping off a bridge in Los Angeles Harbor. He was 68.
Apparently, Scott had received a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer.
Scott, the younger brother of director Ridley Scott, is best remembered for directing Tom Cruise in Top Gun. He also directed Cruise in Days of Thunder. Some of his other credits include Beverly Hills Cop II, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and Unstoppable.
My personal favorite would be Crimson Tide co-starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman. Set aboard a nuclear submarine, my favorite line from that film was from Hackman whose character said, “We’re here to preserve democracy, not to practice it.”
Scott also co-produced two hit series with brother Ridley for CBS - Numb3rs and The Good Wife.
Oddly enough, The Fan with Robert DeNiro and Wesley Snipes was on late Saturday night. Under other circumstances, I might have watched a baseball movie but I had to get up early and went to bed after the first twenty minutes.
Here’s Scott being interviewed in 2009 about his remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.
UPDATE: Both Scott’s family and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office have stated that Scott did not have brain cancer. So why did he end his life so violently?
Todd Akin’s statement on rape, etcetera, are wrong on at least three fronts at once — and so wrong as to be politically disqualifying. Rather than belabor the points about why they are so wrong, let’s just cut to the chase: Akin needs to get the bleep out of the race. Now.
Look, everybody makes mistakes. His statement doesn’t make Akin a bad man. It makes him an incredibly ignorant one. Ignorant, and horribly insensitive. While ignorance and insensitivity are, in the long run, fixable, they are not acceptably, especially on such a sensitive topic, for somebody currently running for high office.
Akin should step aside and let the Missouri Republican Party replace him on the ballot.
After the third perfect game in four years was thrown against my hometown Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday — this perfecto by Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Sushis — I posted a snarky Spectacle item suggesting MLB disallow celebrating after perfectos against the Rays as the team’s hitting is so weak. Rays runs this season have been nearly as rare as coherent statements from Joe Biden. At least until Thursday.
Who knew Rays hitters would take this heart-felt if hastily composed lament so seriously? After it appeared, all Rays hitters have done is sweep the California Angels in a four-game series in Lalaland and score 37 runs while doing so, a franchise scoring record for a four-game set.
I like to think the Spectacle item was pinned over the whirlpool in the Rays clubhouse as a source of inspiration and resolve. This comes as a reminder of the power for good that Spectacle contributors can wield. (Angels fans may see it differently.)
If the Pittsburgh Pirates should reach the post-season you can point to today as the day they became a playoff team. The Pirates bested the Cardinals 6-3 in 19 innings. Bucs thirdbaseman Pedro Alvarez hit a homerun in the top of the 19th to win the game.
Prior to today, the Pirates had lost 7 of their last 10 games and entered play today only a game up on the Cardinals for the second NL Wild Card spot.
You will recall that in July 2011, the Pirates lost a 19-inning game to the Atlanta Braves on a controversial call at home plate. The Bucs were never the same after that game. Perhaps fortune is smiling on the Pirates this year.
When I got home, I went online and saw the game was in the 18th inning. I turned on the MLB Network and, lo and behold, I saw Jim Kaat was in the studio. Usually Kaat broadcasts games instead of working as a studio analyst. I don’t know if Kaat brought this up but he was in an extra inning game between the Pirates and Cardinals thirty years ago this month.
On August 2, 1982, I watched the Pirates and Cardinals play 17 innings on ABC’s Monday Night Baseball. For years, it was the longest game I had ever watched from start to finish. Kaat pitched the last six innings of the game for the Cards. He ended up being tagged with the loss after Pirates rookie secondbaseman Johnny Ray hit a two-run triple off him for a 4-2 victory. Prior to that at bat, Ray had been 0-for-7 in the game. I don’t know if Kaat said anything about that game. If he didn’t then perhaps his Kaat caught his tongue. Although the Pirates won the game, the Cardinals ended up winning the World Series that year. Could history repeat itself? Or will the Pirates raise the flag?
Singer Scott McKenzie passed away yesterday of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. He was 73.
McKenzie rose to international stardom with his 1967 hit “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)”. It was written by the late John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas as the theme song for The Monterey Pop Festival and became an unexpected hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
The song has been both credited and blamed for drawing young people to the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco during the Summer of Love. Yet “San Francisco” also became the unofficial anthem of the Prague Spring the following year during the ill-fated peaceful uprising against Soviet rule in Czechoslovakia.
As for McKenzie, he largely dropped out of public view until the mid-1980s when he began to tour with a revamped Mamas & Papas. McKenzie also co-wrote The Beach Boys’ 1988 hit “Kokomo” along with Phillips, Beach Boy Mike Love and Terry Melcher.
The Houston Astros have dismissed manager Brad Mills following a 12-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday. The Astros also dispensed with first base coach Bobby Meacham and hitting coach Mike Barnett.
The Astros are 39-82 in 2012 sitting 34 games back of the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central. On May 25th, the Astros were 22-23. The following day the Astros began an eight game losing streak and their season was effectively over. Since the Friday before Memorial Day, the Astros have gone 17-59. To make matters worse, the Astros have been 7-38 since June 28th. Suffice it to say, the Astros have the worst record in MLB.
Yet I am surprised that Mills was fired today. I mean it’s not like the Astros can win the NL Wild Card at this point. It would have made more sense to dismiss Mills after the season.
Despite their poor record, the Astros were a competitive ballclub. Yes, they usually lost but were generally not blown out by their opponents. Ask the Washington Nationals what they think of the Astros. While the Nats swept a four game series from the Astros earlier this month, they won three of the four games by one run and two of the games went into extra innings.
The Astros will announce Mills’ replacement tomorrow morning. I’m not sure if it will make much of a difference now. Things won’t get any easier for the Astros in 2013 as they move from the NL Central to the AL West with such powerhouses as their intrastate rival Texas Rangers, the Los Angeles Angels and the resourceful Oakland A’s.
Mills took over as Astros manager prior to the 2010 season and was 171-274 in his tenure. The Astros lost 106 games in 2011. Yet keep in mind that the team was undergoing a change in ownership and has shipped off the likes of Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn and Wandy Rodriguez. Mills hasn’t exactly had a lot to work with and neither will his successor.
Prior to becoming manager of the Astros, Mills was the bench coach for the Boston Red Sox under Terry Francona. The two knew each other going back to their days in the Montreal Expos organization in the early 1980s.
UPDATE: The Astros named Tony DeFrancesca interim manager. DeFrancesca has been managing the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City. The Astros lost 8-1 to the D’Backs. A full-time replacement will be named after the season.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?