Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson has announced that pitcher Stephen Strasburg will be shut down for the rest of the season.
Last week, the Nationals indicated that Strasburg’s final start would take place on September 12th. However, after giving up five runs over three innings last night against the Miami Marlins, the Nats decided to pull the trigger early.
Strasburg missed most of the 2011 season due to Tommy John surgery and from the outset Nationals GM Mike Rizzo had indicated that Strasburg would be shut down at some point during the 2012 season. It had been widely reported he would be shut down once he reached 160 innings. This has created more discussion than any other topic in MLB this season. After last night’s start, Strasburg had pitched 159 and one third innings.
This is especially so because the Nats were not expecting to lead the NL East from pillar to post which has complicated the matter considerably. Frankly, I don’t think all this babying does Strasburg any favors. If he’s healthy then he should pitch.
As for the Nats, their starting rotation is arguably the best in MLB. In fact, you could make the argument that Gio Gonzalez, not Strasburg is the ace of that staff. Gonzalez has more wins and a lower ERA than Strasburg. Gonzalez along with Edwin Jackson, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler make for a strong foursome. John Lannan will become the number five starter in Strasburg’s absence.
Strasburg finishes the season 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA. He struck out 198 batters while walking only 48 in those 159 and a third innings. Strasburg averaged 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 2012.
The Nats currently have a six and a half game lead in the NL East with 24 games left to play. Chances are shutting down Strasburg won’t harm them. However, it should be noted the Nats have not had a losing streak of more than five games this season. Strasburg is a big reason for this fact. Eight of Strasburg’s 15 wins came following a Nats loss. If the Nats collapse and fail to reach the post-season then both Johnson and Rizzo will be out of a job.
In our summer issue, Wlady took a risk by running a long feature of mine of a stye and subject rather unusual for the American Spectator: a sort of “true crime” investigation, with fascinating (at least I thought so) back story about the accused, involving a conservative Republican county commissioner and former Al Haig aide in Mobile, AL, accused of murder. I had followed the case from the start, and when Stephen Nodine got out of prison on another charge and faced a second murder trial (the first resulted in a hung jury), I decided it would make a great human-interest story with a sort of “dual version” format: one scenario where he did murder the woman in question, the other where he didn’t. I expected that, due to the unique aspects of the case, it would be unlikely for further investigation to show anything more than a 60-40 likelihood in either direction as to what really happened; my investigation would illuminate the nature of the mystery, I thought, but not definitively solve it.
As you may have seen if you read the piece, my open-minded investigation took me in a different direction: I found that it was highly, highly unlikely that Nodine committed the murder. As there are few things in life more horrifying than the thought of facing a capital murder conviction if you actually didn’t commit the crime, it was important that justice be done. Here were some key paragraphs:
So-o-o… she had blood on her gun and on her right hand, and brain matter was all over the scene, but none of it showed up on Nodine, none on his clothes, none on his own hands that would have wiped off anywhere in or on the truck, not even any droplets on the door handle or the steering wheel. Nodine made no attempt to hide anything, gave no evidence of distress (on video cameras in two different places) until exactly the moment when Lawyer Number Two told him by phone that Downs was dead-and he made no attempt to cite the Fifth Amendment or deny law enforcement access to his person or possessions.
Back at Downs’ condo, investigators found no signs of struggle. Neighbors who clearly heard the gunshot report hearing no fighting or argument beforehand. Three of four forensic pathologists and psychologists concluded that Downs committed suicide, and the other one’s supposition otherwise relied in”defensive wounds” on her hands that, it was later discovered, actually were visible on photos taken that day at the beach, before the two returned to her condo.
Despite all this, prosecutors were pressing ahead with a new murder trial, scheduled to begin on Monday, Sept. 10 — even though, in an aspect of the story I had not reported, a newly convened grand jury recommended a lesser charge than murder (a really strange one that basically amounted to “emotional coercion into suicide”), presumably because the new jury also thought the facts did not support the theory that Nodine could have pulled the trigger.
Well, the truth will out. Exactly as was indicated in my piece, Nodine had been involved in a couple of ugly yelling incidents with his girlfriend that some might argue amounted to harassment. Yesterday, prosecutors facing the realities detailed in my article finally threw in the towel and accepted the likelihood that they would not succeed in a trial for murder or even for stalking; instead, harrassment was the worst thing (with regard to the deceased, Angel Downs) they could pin on Nodine. Nodine agreed to accept an Alford Plea on a misdemeanor harassment charge, plus plead guilty of perjury for over-stating his indigence in court documents requesting a court-appointed lawyer — and the prosecutors dropped every charge (not just murder, but stalking) with any direct connection to Downs’ death.
Nodine already served 15 months in a federal prison for a very dubious gun charge. (He lost another appeal of that just three days ago, not on the merits but on the quite obvious fact that he had earlier waived his rights to make such an appeal, a waiver that a lower court will almost never disregard.) He still awaits sentencing on the misdemeanor and on the perjury charge. And he has spent more than 27 months being labeled a murderer by prosecutors and facing a potential life sentence for it. He also, of course, resigned his public office, lost all his income, and completely lost his reputation. If indeed he did not commit the murder, which is what my investigation strongly indicated, then he has suffered more than enough for his sins. It seems to me that probation and serious community service would be in order — but no additional jail time. Rough justice — very rough — already seems to have been done.
Daniel Flynn isn’t a fan of the Whole Foods grocery chain, the products it carries (organic food in particular) nor its high prices.
All of which is fair enough. Of course, he (nor anyone else) is under any obligation to patronize Whole Foods.
But I like Whole Foods and have no problem saying so. When I lived in the Fenway, I did most of my shopping at the Whole Foods near Symphony Hall. From time to time, I will pop in there if I’m in the neighborhood. That particular Whole Foods is on the ground floor of a parking lot so it has a circular shape and it makes for a pleasant ambience. The staff are friendly and I like their products.
I realize Whole Foods isn’t everyone’s cup of camomile tea. But let’s remember that their founder and CEO John Mackey is a libertarian. Back in August 2009, Mackey became one of Obamacare’s earliest critics with an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. Just last month, Mackey sat down for a short interview with Matt Welch from Reason and spoke of the moral case for capitalism.
Another reason I stick up for Whole Foods is because of what happened last year in Jamaica Plain, the Boston neighborhood where I currently reside. When Hi-Lo, a Latin grocery store, announced it would be closing its doors after nearly half a century in business, Whole Foods stepped into the breach.
Now normally people are happy when a grocery chain announces its opening a new store in their neighborhood. Under normal circumstances, people are happy when new jobs are being created. Well, Jamaica Plain isn’t exactly normal (and I mean that with partial affection). A significant chunk of the People’s Republic of Jamaica Plain didn’t like that one bit. During a public meeting hosted by Whole Foods in June 2011, three people were arrested for disrupting the meeting. Could you imagine the hue and cry if three Tea Party members were arrested at a public meeting?
I think some people just don’t like competition namely Whole Foods’ competitors. I recall seeing WANTED posters of John Mackey in the establishment of at least one of their competitors. But the main argument against opening a Whole Foods was that it would drive up the cost of living especially where it concerned housing and result in displacing low income residents. Some community activists demanded that Whole Foods enter a “Community Benefits Agreement”. This would have required Whole Foods to give 1% of its revenue to affordable housing, small businesses and youth organizations. In other words, it was a shakedown. Fortunately, Whole Foods ignored the community activists and opened their doors anyway last Halloween. Nearly a year later, the sky still stands above JP and Whole Foods is doing good business.
Again, please feel free not to shop at Whole Foods. But I think Whole Foods has something to offer for those of us who believe in free markets and choice.
I’m not predicting it, but should Barack Obama win re-election this fall, we will know for certain what the first nine words of the fall 2016 national employment report will be: “While there is more work that remains to be done…”
Today’s lack-of-jobs report couldn’t be bleaker. Even an Obama-leaning news service like Reuters has nothing good to say. It’s even given up on trying to spin in the president’s favor. Perhaps the only good news for Democrats is that they had no balloons last night to toss around and so it can’t be said that the air has gone out of them and any post-convention bounce:
WASHINGTON — U.S. jobs growth slowed more than expected in August, setting the stage for the Federal Reserve to pump additional money into the sluggish economy next week and dealing a blow to President Obama as he seeks reelection in November.
Nonfarm payrolls increased only 96,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. While the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July, it was largely due to Americans giving up the search for work.
The report’s weak tenor was also underscored by revisions to June and July data to show 41,000 fewer jobs created than previously reported. The labor force participation rate, or the precentage of Americans who either have a job or are looking for one, fell to 63.5 percent — the lowest since September 1981.
I just finished listening to President Obama’s DNC speech. It was liberally peppered with platitudes and doused in demagoguery.
President Obama insisted he never said things wouldn’t be “quick and easy”. But then what of the Obama who said he would cut the deficit in half?
President Obama said that “education was the gateway to opportunity for me.” But just don’t ask him to release his college transcripts.
President Obama sung the praises of solar on the anniversary of Solyndra’s bankruptcy.
President Obama pat himself on the back for ending the War in Iraq. Well, that would not have been possible if not for President Bush’s troop surge which Obama bitterly opposed.
President Obama said he had blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan but doesn’t mention he wants them at the negotiating table.
President Obama said he had strengthened old alliances. The people of Britain, Israel and Poland would see things differently.
President Obama had the chutzpah to say that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan “were new to foreign policy.” He went on to say that Romney “couldn’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally.” This from the man who angered Brits when he returned the bust of Winston Churchill and referring to the Falkland Islands as The Maldives (while meaning to call it Malvinas).
President Obama says he’s “mindful of his own failures” but refuses to accept responsibility and is content to blame President Bush for his shortcomings.
President Obama says, “The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place.” But how much more debt will this country have to accumulate before we reach that better place?
In 2008, Senator Obama spoke of hope and change. In 2012, President Obama gave us the hope-a-dope.
I came across this video of Georgia Congressman John Lewis speaking to the DNC earlier this evening (h/t Eliana Johnson at NRO).
Lewis was recounting his time as a Freedom Rider in 1961. During a ride from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans, Lewis and his companion were beaten by a white mob when they attempted to enter the waiting room of a bus station in Rocky Hill, South Carolina.
Following the 2008 election, one of the men who beat Lewis came to his congressional office in Washington, D.C. to apologize and ask his forgiveness.
Now I’ll stop here for a moment. That is a very moving, powerful story.
Unfortunately, Lewis draws the wrong lesson from it:
This man and I don’t want to go back. We don’t want to go back.
Brothers and sisters, do you want to go back?
Or do you want to keep America moving forward?
The implication of Lewis’ questions are clear. If you elect Mitt Romney, white mobs will wantonly beat up black people in bus stations.
In so doing, John Lewis has cheapened the meaning of racism and thereby has cheapened himself.
Then again I can’t say I am terribly surprised. After all, this is the same man who put John McCain and Sarah Palin in the same breath with George Wallace four years ago. In 2010, Lewis was amongst several black Congressmen who accused Tea Party activists of shouting racial epithets at them during the height of the Obamacare debate.
During an Obama rally last June in Atlanta, Lewis said:
There are forces in Washington and all around the country who want to take us back. We’ve come too far. Some of us gave a little blood on that bridge.
The last sentence is a reference to when he sustained a skull fracture after being beaten by Alabama State Troopers when he led protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma back in 1965.
That John Lewis would liken Republicans or Tea Party activists to those who beat peaceful protesters nearly half a century ago is contemptible, disgraceful and unworthy of a man of his experience.
Sadly, I’m afraid this probably won’t be the last time we see John Lewis stoop to this level.
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry famously accused his fellow soldiers who served in Vietnam of cutting off heads and rape.
Tonight, Kerry, the 2004 presidential nominee of the Democrats, said that coming home from war wasn’t “easy.”
Hmmmmm. Might that have anything to do with John Kerry accusing his buddies of “cutting off heads” and “rape”????
So in a prospective second Obama term: Can you say Secretary of State Kerry?
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — How did Bill Clinton manage to run nearly 20 minutes past the scheduled end of his speech to the Democratic National Convention? Simple: He ad-libbed extensively, thus chewing up 48 minutes with what was supposed to have been a half-hour speech.
White House staffers reportedly had edited Clinton’s advance text for length, but when he started talking, he evidently decided to add back in a lot of what had been cut out. Dashiell Bennett of The Atlantic Monthly did a line-by-line comparison of the scripted version and what Clinton actually said, demonstrating the maestro’s method for hogging the spotlight. For example, the prepared, White House-approved text of Clinton’s remarks had him saying this:
When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better. After all, nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. All of us are destined to live our lives between those two extremes.
That’s 47 words. What Clinton actually said was much longer:
And so here’s what I want to say to you, and here’s what I want the people at home to think about. When times are tough, and people are frustrated and angry and hurting and uncertain, the politics of constant conflict may be good. But what is good politics does not necessarily work in the real world. What works in the real world is cooperation. What works in the real world is cooperation, business and government, foundations and universities. Ask the mayors who are here. Los Angeles is getting green and Chicago is getting an infrastructure bank because Republicans and Democrats are working together to get it. They didn’t check their brains at the door. They didn’t stop disagreeing, but their purpose was to get something done. Now, why is this true? Why does cooperation work better than constant conflict? Because nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. And every one of us — every one of us and every one of them, we’re compelled to spend our fleeting lives between those two extremes, knowing we’re never going to be right all the time and hoping we’re right more than twice a day.
That’s 199 words — four times as long as the scripted version, and by such on-the-fly additions to his official text, Clinton managed to push past the scheduled 11 p.m. Eastern end of his speech and extend his time on stage by an extra 18 minutes.
Until last month the Washington Post’s daily “morning headlines” email featured a lead section entitled “Today’s Highlights,” which would link several stories of the “front page” variety. On July 27, for example, the second story listed was captioned “Romney tries to defuse controversy after comments on London’s readiness.” There were also subsequent sections, entitled in order “Nation,” “Local,” and “Politics.” The lead story in the last section, on July 27, was “Public vs. private-sector pay debate goes on.” In short, big stories — especially those about the approaching elections — were at the top, “front page” stuff.
But something happened on the way to the conventions. In August the Post dispensed with the lead “Today’s Highlights” section, in favor of “Highlights” broken down into “Nation,” “Local,” and “Politics” sections. As I learned, this served the purposes of Post editors anxious to give us what they deemed the appropriate emphasis as stories about the conventions broke.
Take Ann Romney’s speech, hailed by many as a highlight of the GOP convention. It was number 13 in the Post’s headline rankings of August 29, when one had to scroll down into the “Politics” section to find it. The Post gave higher rankings to stories about EPA mileage standards, the discovery of a meth lab in Arlington, Virginia, and the news that someone hacked into Amnesty International’s computer system.
On the next day, August 30, Paul Ryan’s speech was story number 11 in the Post’s headline hit parade. The Republican vice-presidential nominee came in behind such urgent news as scientists questioning the longevity benefits of low-calorie diets and the competition for a replacement to the Humvee as an army tactical vehicle.
Finally, on August 31, Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech was headline number 11 in the Post’s daily message. Although he may be our next president, Mr. Romney’s address was ranked below headlines about the West Nile virus, flooding in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, and the Justice Department’s closing of an investigation into CIA interrogations that occurred a decade ago.
Meanwhile, one of the speakers at the Republican convention was a former Congressman who had seconded President Obama’s nomination four years ago. That’s a pretty big deal it seems to me, even without knowing that Artur Davis is black. Likewise, a young conservative black woman, Mia Love, gave what others reported to be an excellent speech, which one might think relevant given the Democrats’ “war on women” narrative and their heavily race-based attacks aimed at Republican candidates. But neither Artur Davis nor Mia Love garnered a headline the Post’s daily listing of significant news. Their stories don’t fit the Obama team’s narrative, so they were not news.
Did the Post accord the Democratic convention speakers treatment consistent with the “scroll way down” treatment given the Republicans? Well, not at all.
Thus, when Michelle Obama spoke one week after Ann Romney, she was headline number 1, leading off the “Nation” section. Was it that her talk concerned the nation, but somehow Mrs. Romney’s did not? Come now. There are messages to be promoted, and stories to be suppressed, and the Post makes it easy to sort out what its editors consider one and the other.
Thankfully the American people have other sources of news. And they are paying attention.
TAMPA — The Paulistas were at the Republican National Convention last week, and they were cranky. They held up cranky signs and wore T-shirts with cranky messages. They scowled. They pouted. They sometimes shouted when others were speaking. They were clearly cheesed off that their man, who won several states during the primaries, did not get to write the platform and otherwise dominate the convention.
Oh, wait. Oops. No, Dr. Paul, the gold-medal winner this year in the Olympic Pat Paulsen look-alike competition, didn’t win several states. In fact, he did not win a single state. He ran early and late. He ran in the south and the north and the west. He lost early and often. He lost late. He lost everywhere. The entire primary season was an oh-fer for Dr. Paul, who, as he was not named Republican quarterback, holds out the prospect that he may take his football and go home for this fall, taking much of his small but intense following with him.
At the convention, Dr. Paul himself was coy, declining to say that he would endorse Republican nominee Mitt Romney, leaving open the possibility that he thinks his principles could as well be implemented by our rookie president as by Romney. It also makes one wonder what those people wearing T-shirts that say “I’m a Ron Paul Republican” could possibly mean by it.
Every indication is this presidential race will be a close one, including in vital Florida with its 29 electoral votes. Republicans are justified in wondering if Ron Paul could be their Ralph Nader. Nader, every bit as politically evangelical as Dr. Paul, nearly siphoned enough voters away from George W. Bush in Florida in 2000 to throw that state, and the presidency, to Al Gore.
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry told me this morning that during the RNC and in his travels since, he is seeing more “tea-party energy” behind Romney’s candidacy, including many Ron Paul supporters who are now on board. “Ron Paul’s supporters are divided into two groups,” he said. “There’s the activist branch, like in any movement. But this is the smaller group.” Members of the larger group, Curry says, are telling him they “like some of the messaging” from the Romney campaign and he is confident these folks will turn out for Romney on election day.
It’s not easy to accept, especially for people who are as intense about their political principles as Ron Paul’s supporters are. But America’s democracy doesn’t work unless all participants understand a vital part of the competitive political process, the part that says, “You lost — get over it.
In December of 1968 at a freezing Franklin Field in Philadelphia, fans of an awful Eagles team, which would end the season 2-12, booed and threw snowballs at Santa Claus during a botched halftime show. Philly sports fans have a rep for being the toughest. It’s said of them that they would boo your kid at an Easter egg hunt. But booing and pelting Santa Claus has been generally accepted as about as low as an audience for any event could go.
That is, until yesterday, when thousands of Democrats, in Charlotte for a convention based around the worship of secular government, booed God.
It was an amazing sight.
Democrats, under a fusillade of ridicule for ejecting God from their platform, decided to reconsider. In a parliamentary sense, this required amending the platform.
The amendment was proposed… and a vote called. The magic number required to accomplish this was two-thirds.
Here are the painful results.
The Convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, called for the voice vote and…. hmmmm. No two/thirds of ayes or nays. He did it again. And finally, again.
So… with a glance at the teleprompter… the Mayor threw caution to the wind and did what he had apparently ordered by President Obama to do. Put God back in.
Thus a clearly divided convention — not to mention the watching national audience on TV — was preposterously told that “in the opinion of the chair” there was a two-thirds majority for God.
Clearly, this was an obvious untruth. Among other things, this small but very telling episode confirms just how far left the modern Democrats have become. Having one reference to God in a platform clearly couldn’t muster the necessary votes. Yow!
But forever after, it’s fair to say that whenever the Mayor steps into the national limelight, he will be known at least in this space as “Tony Two-Thirds.”
Bill Clinton is the Democratic Party’s best salesman even when he’s selling a bill of goods.
He gave a good speech (although it went on way too long). But I’m not sure he believes a word of it.
It was rather curious of him to say the following:
Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats.
Did Bill Clinton miss eight years of George W. Bush being called a fascist and a Nazi?
And what about this past week? What about the Democratic official from Kansas who likened Mitt Romney’s talking points to Hitler’s “big lie”, the Democratic official from California who compared Paul Ryan to Goebbels not to be undone by the Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party who likened South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to Eva Braun.
Still, it does him no harm to sing the praises of Eisenhower, Reagan and both Bushes.
Yet he struggled to sing the praises of President Obama.
His best defense of Obama was when he praised Joe Biden for ending the War in Iraq and for the Stimulus Bill.
Bill Clinton isn’t helping Obama when he uses the phrase “saved or created jobs” and claims 95% of Americans received a tax cut.
This passage was also curious:
No President - not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years.
None of which stopped Obama from promising to keep unemployment below 8% and to cut the deficit in half. Perhaps Obama shouldn’t make promises he knows he can’t keep.
Nevertheless, Clinton did what he was supposed to do. He carried President Obama’s bags.
On at least three occasions during her speech, Massachusetts Democratic Senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren said “the game is rigged.”
That might get the base of the Democratic Party excited but it’s hard to see how that will win over the general public.
I was struck by the conclusion of her speech:
So let me ask you - let me ask you, America: are you ready to answer this call? Are you ready to fight for good jobs and a strong middle class? Are you ready to work for a level playing field? Are you ready to prove another generation of Americans that we can build a better country and a newer world?
Joe Biden’s ready. Barack Obama is ready. I’m ready. You’re ready. America’s ready.
Shouldn’t Obama-Biden been ready at noon on January 20, 2009? If they weren’t ready then, what makes anyone think they’re ready now?
I caught most of Sandra Fluke’s speech to the DNC. Her tone was shrill and strident. Here is but a sample:
In that America, your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs. Who want to stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party.
For a moment there, I thought she was speaking of President Obama and Bill Maher.
It would be an America in which you have a new vice president who co-sponsored a bill that would allow pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms.
So first Mitt Romney is responsible for the death of the spouse of a former Bain employee. Now Paul Ryan is responsible for the deaths of pregnant women.
I think of Sandra Fluke as a younger version of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. So by all means I hope Obama has Fluke stumping for him between now and November. For every person she engages, she will annoy a hundred others.
Singer-songwriter and guitarist Joe South passed away today of heart failure. He was 72.
South is best known for his 1969 hit “Games People Play”. The song won him two Grammys. He also wrote “Rose Garden”, “Down in the Boondocks” and “Hush” which became hits for Lynn Anderson, Billy Joe Royal and Deep Purple, respectively. In addition to his songwriting, South was earned a reputation as a respected session guitar player. His guitar work was featured on Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools”, “Sheila” by Tommy Roe and played on Bob Dylan’s classic album Blonde on Blonde.
South was truly a musician for all seasons.
It’s not easy for a two-term U.S. Senate incumbent to have a 35 percent favorable standing with 42 percent unfavorable and still hold a seven-point lead over his opponent. But that’s where the latest Public Policy Media poll puts Florida Democrat Bill Nelson.
For the third straight election, “Lucky” Nelson has drawn a weak Republican opponent. This time it’s Connie Mack IV, son of still popular former U.S. Senator Connie Mack III. But most Florida voters have not pegged young Mack, a three-term congressman for the Ft. Myers area, as a chip off the old block. The PPP poll shows Nelson ahead of Mack 45-38, a five-point improvement for Nelson over a similar survey done in late July.
Mack IV’s baggage includes an undistinguished pre-politics career, incidents of road rage and bar fights in his younger days, and a not so noteworthy congressional career. But his voting record has been conservative. Nelson’s baggage has been a consistently liberal voting record, including votes for Obama’s stimulus slush fund, Obamacare, Cap and trade, and other liberal larks that are not popular in Florida.
Mack argues that he has matured out of his bad behavior. He has led Nelson in polls on a couple of occasions. He has two months left to convince Florida voters that an undistinguished conservative is preferable to a liberal of any kind.
I did not hear about this until someone mentioned it to me after my swim. There was a shooting at a rally following the Parti Quebecois’ election victory last night. As Premier-elect Pauline Marois spoke, shots broke out resulting in one death and one person being injured.
The suspect was detained and has been identified as a fishing lodge owner from Mount-Tremblant. He was alleged to have to spoken about an awakening of Quebec’s Anglophones. But details are sketchy.
Under the circumstances, it could have been much worse. Still, it is a shame that it happened at all.
While listening to the opening of today’s session of the Democratic National Convention, I heard some of the most remarkable political theater, at one of the most unexpected moments, that I’ve ever encountered.
Convention Chairman and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villarigosa introduced former Ohio Governor Tom Strickland who was the Chairman of the party’s Platform Committee which has taken so much heat in the press over the past couple of days for removing any reference to God and certain positive statements regarding Israel, including recognition of Jerusalem as our ally’s capital.
Strickland first asked for the rules to be suspended so he could move a motion. Villarigosa asked for a voice vote of the delegates, noting that a 2/3 majority was needed to approve the suspension of the rules. Based on the yells of the delegates in response, it was well above the 2/3 majority. In fact, Villarigosa obviously thought of the vote as such a foregone conclusion that he started saying (and I won’t get the words precisely right) that “In the opinion of the chair, a sufficient majority has approved the suspension of the rules” even before the sound of the few “no” votes had stopped echoing in the room.
However, Strickland then went on to propose a 2-part amendment to the party platform: One item would add a reference to God back into the official document. And the second item would say that President Obama recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Villarigosa then went back to the delegates, saying that a 2/3 vote was needed to approve the amendment. He asked for the “ayes”, which were quite loud, then asked for the “nays.” Immediately after asking for the “nays” he started to say that in his opinion there was a sufficient majority, but the sound of the nays was so loud — to me it was as loud as the “ayes”. He stopped saying that there was a majority and asked again for the voice vote, and again the opposition was, to me, just as loud as the support.
Then (and since I’m traveling and can’t go back and listen to it today, I hope one of you will…I was listening on CNN), I heard a quiet voice, apparently speaking to Villarigosa, mutter something like “let them do what they’re going to do.” Villarigosa asked for a third voice vote and this time, even though the support and the opposition sounded equally loud to me, said that in his opinion there was a 2/3 majority in support and the amendment to the platform was accepted.
I tell you, from how it sounded to me listening on satellite radio, there was no way it was a 2/3 majority.
I understand that Bill Clinton will be the big story of the DNC today, but this should be right up there.
Clearly a large number the Democrat delegates are perfectly happy with the platform as it was modified, to exclude God and Israel. And clearly the Democrat big-wigs brought this forward without talking to the delegates first. They are, after all, used to members of their party doing whatever they tell them to do because if you don’t, you are likely to be reminded by Barack Obama himself that he is “keeping score.”
Based on my score-keeping, the vote on the platform amendments was a tie, and the umpire lied.
Just the latest example of the petty tyrannies of the non-democratic Democratic Party.
Seriously, this needs to be the main story of today’s Convention proceedings, if we can get through all of Bubba’s hot air.
Abortion is no longer a winning issue for Democrats. It’s astounding, then, that national Democrats would use yesterday evening to create a massive paean to taxpayer-funded destruction of unborn human life. It’s particularly ironic given that, until recently, Democrats have argued that Republicans are the ones side-lined by social issues.
Democrats are over-reaching on abortion in a big way. It’s understandable that Obama and company want to distract attention from the economy, but why do it by staking out radical positions that please the radical Left but are odious to a growing majority of Americans?
Look for more of the same tonight, as Sandra Fluke speaks and the slow-motion train wreck continues.
Yesterday, congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth spoke at the Democratic National Convention. Duckworth, a former Army officer who served in Iraq as a Black Hawk pilot under President Bush and subsequently as Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs under President Obama, praised Obama for working to help veterans:
Then President Obama asked me to help keep our sacred trust with veterans of all eras at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. We worked to end the outrage of vets having to sleep on the same streets they once defended. We improved services for female veterans. I reached out to young vets by creating the Office for Online Communications.
Unfortunately, other testimony about the state of things at the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) is not as positive. According to an August 10 column by Al Poteet, a former Vietnam-era Army gunship pilot and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs, there is a backlog of 900,000 claims at the DVA. This number has grown significantly in the last several years. According to Poteet, “the growing backlog exists due to four external factors.”
- Ten years of war with increased survival rates;
- Post-conflict downsizing of the military;
- Additional medical presumptive conditions; and
- Successful outreach encouraging more veterans to submit claims.
While all Americans should be grateful that increased survival rates have been a part of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that more veterans have been reached to submit claims for injuries received in service, the fact is that this backlog is not a new problem. From Poteet’s column:
In fact, these four “external factors” actually parallel a similar situation that occurred at VA during and after the Vietnam War. However, in VBA, the past is often prolog so veterans continue to be subjected to more half-hearted plans that are essentially dilatory tactics by the Under Secretary’s senior staff.
So the Simon Lagree’s of VBA operations continue to trot out one lame horse after another to explain why the backlog now grows beyond their control.
By taking an old page from prior VBA game plans, the latest “transformation” appears to be designed to kick the can down the road for a few years beyond the 2012 elections while simultaneously claiming spectacular productivity improvements are right around the corner.
Nonetheless, the plain fact is VBA has had numerous, less than successful attempts to reinvent the bureaucracy usually ending with limited strategic success.
As usual, these “half-loaf” transformations sound plausible, complete with the kind of hype and hyperbole we have come to expect from the Under Secretary’s staff.
This concern was given national attention by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who interviewed Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee about statements the Congressman made in a Committee hearing. According to Filner, “People die before they can get that final adjudication, or they may commit suicide.” The interview, which is embedded into Poteet’s column, is unflinchingly critical of the DVA’s failure to take care of those who have served our nation so valiantly. As Filner — a self-described opponent of the wars — pointed out, veterans deserve all the care and respect a grateful nation can offer them, regardless of one’s thoughts on the conflicts themselves.
The story about backlogs was first brought to my attention last week by Ed Timperlake, a former Marine fighter pilot and the first Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Public Affairs for the VA. He is also the editor of the site at which Poteet’s column was published. According to Timperlake, he contacted the DVA about some of his own issues and was told there was a 500-day wait. When he asked whether the wait would be less if his issue was terminal — theoretically, since Timperlake does not have a terminal illness — the DVA told him the wait would be five months.
As always, veterans deserve all the care they have earned. Duckworth, who “lost both legs and part of the use of her right arm” in combat in 2004, knows that better than most. Unfortunately, her testimony praising Obama’s efforts on behalf of young and female veterans pales in light of the kinds of delays Timperlake, Maddow, Filner, and Poteet are bringing to light.
Note: I contacted Duckworth’s campaign for comment about the DVA’s delays, but they were unable to get a comment to me before my deadline. If and when they respond, I will add an update.
While debating Monica Crowley on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News program today, Democratic consultant Julie Roginsky claimed that there was Republican support for Obamacare when it passed Congress.
Roginsky was wrong, and probably knew she was wrong…just hoping people are uninformed enough to believe her.
But in fact, even at the time, the only thing bipartisan about Obamacare was the opposition to it.
As you can see in the links below, in the House, the vote was 219-212, with zero Republicans voting for the bill and 34 Democrats joining all 178 Republicans voting against.
And in the Senate, 58 Democrats and two “Independents” (Lieberman and Sanders) voted for the bill, with 39 Republicans voting against and one Republican not voting.
Even votes to repeal Obamacare since it passed have generally included at least a few Democrats voting for repeal, along with every Republican.
The only thing bipartisan about Obamacare is the opposition to it.
The atheists are thrilled.
God has been removed from the Democrats’ platform.
And no less than Illinois Senator Dick Durbin says removing God is “carping on a trifle.”
As reported on the CNN Political Ticker:
David Silverman, president of American Atheists, said the exclusion of “God” in the Democrats’ document was a step forward in including non-religious Americans in the official party stance.
“We are obviously happy that the Democrats are taking these positive steps,” Silverman wrote. “We are looking for the inclusion of everyone and we are hopeful that that inclusion will continue to the point that we can depend on Mr. Obama to repeal the faith based initiatives and reinforce the separation of church and state.”
“It comes as a pleasant surprise,” he added. “It is something that we have been pushing for and is certainly a positive step. But it is only one step and I would like to see action more than words.”
If the atheists are thrilled, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin was nothing but defensive and angry.
Fox reported last night that the Democrats had removed the solitary reference to “God” from their platform. This was followed by a Bret Baier interview with Senator Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip and a close Obama ally.
As seen here, Durbin quickly became upset when Baier began to question him on the fact of “God out of the platform.”
Durbin instantly snaps that if “the narrative” of Fox News is that “the Democrats are Godless people” they ought to know better. God is not “a franchise of the Republican Party,” he snarls. A startled Baier politely persists as Durbin demands “present your evidence.” Baier immediately recites the times God was mentioned in past platforms…once in 2008, seven times in 2004, four times in 2000…only to have Durbin angrily interrupt. “So what’s your question…..you are carping on a trifle.”
Great television, yes.
But I would suggest there was considerable reason for Durbin’s sudden outburst.
This is the political party that has acquired a reputation in the last 50 years as being increasingly anti-religion. Well aside from issue positions on such things as partial-birth abortion or school prayer (the first favored, the second not), not to mention the constant hate-campaign against the “Religious Right,” God has been dumped in the Obama-era from such routine things as a Thanksgiving proclamation in 2010 and a Thanksgiving address in 2011.
The impression is well out there that Democrats hate religion. In fact, that they have an ill-concealed contempt for it. And Durbin knew instantly his party was self-sabotaging.
So to sum up.
God is out of the Democrats’ platform. The atheists are thrilled. Durbin thinks God’s removal a “trifle.”
This has been a rough eight days for Billy Nungesser Jr. Nungesser is the president of Plaquemines Parish, LA, now perhaps the most famous county/parish executive in the country after his high-profile responses both to the BP oil spill several years ago and now, eight days ago, to Hurricane Isaac, which badly flooded about half of his parish. Well, now today’s Times-Picayune carries news that his mother, Ruth, has died at age 79. I never really knew Ruth well, but I was around her on numerous occasions. She always was a solid little source of stability — and to me, at least, kindness and graciousness unfailing — a wonderful pillar of quiet strength who kept her husband, also named Billy, well moored even as he bounced strode around exhibiting one of the most outsized and colorful personalities Louisiana politics has ever seen. (And THAT is saying something, considering how many colorful political personalities the Pelican State has spawned.) I knew the elder Billy a lot better than I knew Ruth, and he was one of my all-time favorite people: Raw, temperamental, big-hearted, hard-working, conservative, feisty, full of humor, and singularly irrepressible. I wrote about him in the course of a larger story here at the Spectator. The occasion described was one in which Klansman David Duke tried to create a riot at a Republican state convention by rushing the podium during a lull in the proceedings. Here’s one of my paragraphs about the elder Nungesser:
This was a man who had come up the hard way, serving as a Marine during the Korean War, building a riverboat catering business from nothing, helping organize and finance the campaigns for public office of his more “Uptown” former high-school classmate David Treen, and then serving as Treen’s chief of staff when Treen became Louisiana’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction. (While in that administration, Nungesser donated his whole salary to children’s charities.) Nungesser, despite his penchant for shiny pastels and whites, was just plain tougher than most men, and he damn sure wasn’t gonna let this Kluxer steal the day.
The current president of Plaquemines Parish seems, at a distance, to possess his father’s tough-minded energy, along with the compassion that always seemed to emanate from the eyes of his also steely but quieter mother. May she rest in peace alongside her late husband Billy, and may son Billy and his whole family know God’s comfort.
Oh, boy, I can’t wait: The former Rapist in Chief is speaking tonight at the Democratic convention. I wonder how many coffee klatsches with shady Asian donors he’ll attend beforehand. Good thing for him that disbarment doesn’t mean he loses First Amendment rights. But I bet he really resents not being able any longer to rent out the Lincoln Bedroom, or to have his wife conveniently lose her investment records until statutes of limitations have run out. Even worse, he can’t have aides rifle through FBI personnel files any longer. On the bright side, since he is now a multi-millionaire who is part of the one-tenth of One Percent, he and his wife no longer have need of the services of Red Bone. And…. and…. and no, we won’t just “put some ice on that.”
In about 36 hours, our arrogant, angry, welfare-reform-killing, food stamp golfer-in-chief from Chicago will tell the country why he thinks he deserves a second term even though he wasn’t experienced enough for a first term. But, due to weather, and after consulting with his kitchen Cabinet, he won’t be speaking from what will instead by a blackened Panther stadium, but instead will give us his professorial views from AOL-Time Warner failed merger Center. We out here in voter-ID land wait with race-bated breath.
Fox News is reporting that Barack Obama’s Thursday evening acceptance speech will be moved from the enormous outdoor Bank of America stadium, where they were hoping to cram 74,000 fawning fans, to the indoor Time Warner Cable Arena (where the rest of the convention is happening, the usual home of the Charlotte Bobcats NBA team and Charlotte Sting WNBA team) which will likely allow only about 15,000 people to attend.
It’s a big blow to the Democrats’ hopes to keep North Carolina in November because the scheme was to get those who would attend the event to volunteer for the campaign. There will certainly be thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of disappointed NC Dems. Their disappointment will be all the greater if when Thursday night rolls around the weather is just fine.
If I were cynical, I would suggest that the reason the DNC canceled this so far in advance is that they were having trouble filling the stadium, and if there were more than a few empty seats that, almost as much as Obama’s bloviation, would have been the story.
[Update: Again on Fox News, Brad Blakeman, says “it is clear…they could not fill this arena” even with efforts to bus people in. Transportation was difficult as was housing those people, and unions weren’t helping the way they expected. The weather was the rationale but the real reason was that they could not fill the stadium. Liberal Alan Colmes said it’s “right-wing Republican political spin” and that it’s “been raining on and off all week; they can’t take the chance.”]
At least the DNC already has the phone numbers and e-mail of the extra 60,000 people, and I’m sure they will still reach out to ask them for help. My bet is that Republicans will carry North Carolina by a substantially wider margin than the current neck-and-neck polls.
We invited president Obama, but he did not want to appear in a photo because of the cross on the small fishing boat just off the end of the pier. Also, he noted that this island falls far short of Michelle’s standards, which are more Costa del Sol and Martha’s Vineyard than North Aegean.
If Democrats could they would excise God from The Bible and insert Obama in His place. If Obama can be inserted into presidential biographies then why not The Holy Book? In Obama they trust.
But I prefer to look at it this way. Democrats are bitterly clinging to Obama.
In case Jeff Lord didn’t give you enough examples in his excellent article yesterday about the DNC’s Bold Lies, we now have another example.
Yesterday, I heard DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz tell Shepard Smith of Fox News that she was deliberately misquoted by a “conservative newspaper” (by which she meant former Spectator columnist Phil Klein) as having said that Republican policies are dangerous for Israel.
Debbie said that she never said such a thing.
Debbie was lying.
Klein has responded by posting a recording of Debbie saying exactly what he originally said she said.
Rep. Wasserman Schultz is, and I realize this is a big statement, probably the biggest, most consistent liar among the many truth-stretchers in Democrat leadership. She is an embarrassment to the Party, and probably not at all effective at this point. I’m so glad they have her.
The Fox News interview and the original recording are both
contained in the YouTube clip in Phil Klein’s update to his
With friends like this, Israel sure doesn’t need the enemies that it has and whom Barack Obama seems to prefer, with the most recent evidence being yesterday’s news that the Democratic Party platform has been modified in ways which show much lessened support for Israel and greater support for Palestinians.
It remains slightly bewildering and extremely disappointing that any Jew, particularly an Orthodox Jew (as I saw in the DNC crowd on TV last night) would consider supporting this terrorist-tolerating, anti-Israel administration.
As Jeffrey Lord reported below, Democrats have chosen to remove the word “God” from their 2012 platform. In 2008, the platform mentioned God one time. In the 2004 platform, He was referenced seven times. In the 2000 platform, He was mentioned four times.
Meanwhile, the Democrats’ 2012 platform references “Obama” 100 times. Perhaps they got the two concepts mixed up.
North of the border, the separatist Parti Quebecois has returned to power in Quebec after nearly a decade on the opposition benches.
PQ leader Pauline Marois will soon be sworn in Quebec’s first female Premier. Jean Charest, who had been been Premier since 2003, lost his seat in Sherbrooke. Charest has not stepped down as Quebec’s Liberal Party leader at this point. In the 1980s and 1990s, Charest was a cabinet minister in the Tory government of Brian Mulroney.
The PQ, however, will fall short of forming a majority government. The newfound center-right Coalition Avenir Quebec won 19 seats in its inaugural election. The presence of the CAQ may keep the PQ from holding another Quebec referendum in the near future. The CAQ, which proclaims itself to be neither federalist nor sovereignist, pledged there would be no referendum in Quebec for at least 10 years.
In addition to holding another referendum, the PQ pledged to implement Quebec citizenship, toughen the province’s French only language laws including a provision in which anyone running for office in Quebec be required to speak French. But with the CAQ and a still strong Liberal Party presence in the Quebec National Assembly sans Charest, the PQ may be limited in implementing its agenda - for now.
But sooner or later though there will be another Quebec referendum whether its next year or next decade. The first referendum took place in 1980 in which Quebec voters rejected independence by a 60-40 margin. However, the federalists would win the 1995 referendum by the narrowest of margins. Well, if at the first they don’t secede…
UPDATE: A source tells The Montreal Gazette that Charest will step down as Liberal Party leader later today. For all the corruption associated with the Liberals, they still won 50 seats last night as compared to 54 for the Pequistes. At this point, the Liberals probably need a fresh face to lead them.
Quoth my wife, born in Australia and now an American citizen with libertarian leanings:
“The best thing about Michelle Obama’s speech was her dress. Really, that’s a great dress.”
If it’s subtle racist code to talk about Chicago or welfare, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was far less subtle during his DNC remarks when he said that he refused to let Barack Obama “be bullied out of office.”
So the mean white kids are picking on the poor, defenseless black kid at school?
(After all, if Patrick was watching MSNBC last week, he might have thought the Republicans only had mean white speakers at their convention…he might totally have missed the mean black and Hispanic and Indian kids.)
Meanwhile, this president is the biggest politicial bully on a major (American) stage whom I can recall, complete with talking about Republicans as enemies who should be punished. And when his union thug supporter, Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. introduced Obama by saying of Tea Party Members that Democrats and other union thugs should “take these son of a bitches out” (sic), Obama did not bat an eyelash in disagreement.
Bullied out of office? Give me a freakin’ break.
So the single reference to God in the Democrats’ platform is now out.
Fox News reports — just as Senate Democrat Whip Dick Durbin appears for an interview with Fox’s Bret Baier.
Durbin launches — furious — on the Fox anchor. When this gets posted… we will post. One of those small moments that says it all.
I read about Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s remarks to a Planned Parenthood rally in Charlotte before the start of the DNC via Katrina Trinko at NRO. Well, judge for yourself. Referencing last week’s RNC, Booker said:
Then I heard something that is one of the reflections, an echo of some of the most insulting things we’ve been hearing for a long time. I heard people stand up and say, ‘I love women.’ I heard people stand up: ‘I’ve got a sister. I’ve got a mother.’”
That’s like saying you’re not a bigot ‘cause you have a black friend. That’s like saying I love Latinos, I go to Taco Bell every week. That is like saying that you are a person that is just and right because you know what, you like Jewish people.
To start with I wish Booker would specifically identify the Republicans to whom he objects. Otherwise he is making blanket statements. Then again, we ought to know why Booker is taking this tone. Since calling Obama’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s association with Bain Capital “nauseating” back in May, Booker has been in the President’s doghouse. He needs to get his street cred back and what better way to do it than by taking a battle position in the non-existent “War on Women” while insinuating Republicans don’t care for African-Americans, Latinos and Jews.
It’s just the sort of talk I find nauseating. I would expect more of Cory Booker. But then again he is a Democrat.
CNBC just reported that the national debt has exceeded $16 trillion in the past hour. (Although my favorite debt clock web site still shows a few minutes to go, the Department of the Treasury’s site confirmes the dubious new record.)
On the first day of the Democratic National Convention. How utterly appropriate.
My friend (and former Congressman) Bob Beauprez has a note on his blog about the enormous shift in voter affiliation over the last several years. This as much as anything else should have Democrats extremely worried.
The media made much ado about the Republican Party’s 2012 pro-life platform, particularly based on the inference that it doesn’t contain an abortion exception for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.
Now comes the Democratic Party’s 2012 platform — which misses the political mainstream to a far greater degree than does the GOP’s agenda. Polls consistently show that a solid majority of Americans — in the three-fourths range — want abortion either banned altogether or restricted. Meanwhile, the Democrats have proferred a platform that goes a giant leap beyond by demanding legal abortion through all nine months of a pregnancy on the taxpayer dime.
Here is the exact language from the Democrats’ platform:
The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way.
Jennifer Rubin summarizes the DNC’s abortion extremism thusly:
Notice the platform doesn’t bother with the part of the Bill Clinton aspiration that abortions be “rare.” Moreover, the platform explicitly opposes any (parental notification, partial-birth abortion) regulation of abortion and considers public funding of any type of abortion to be a “right.” This means the Democratic Party would favor, for example, public funding of partial-birth abortions. Now, that is extreme.
Newt Gingrich made the same point about the Democrats’ abortion extremism over the weekend. As a side benefit, watch New York Times columnist Tom Friedman’s verbal convulsions as he tries to defend the Democrats’ indefensible platform:
Americans should be thankful the platform stopped short of taxpayer-funded infanticide. If President Obama wins re-election, perhaps we can expect that when Biden runs in 2016.
According to Bloomberg News, “Food-stamp use reached a record 46.7 million people in June.”
More from the same news story: “Food-stamp spending, which has more than doubled in four years to a record $75.7 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2011, is the USDA’s biggest annual expense. Republicans in Congress have criticized the cost of the program, and the House budget plan approved in April sponsored by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the party’s vice-presidential nominee, would cut expenses by $33 billion over 10 years.”
Newt Gingrich nailed it: Barack Obama is “the most successful food stamp president in American History.”
This panel led by the loony-left Melissa Harris-Perry is a travesty. Utterly dishonest, race-baiting claptrap — so much so that one hardly knows where to start in blasting it. She uses 20-year-old data, itself problematic, to pound home the idea that every time Republicans or conservatives say “welfare,” we really mean to stigmatize black people. (Note that one of the most left-wing panelists, claiming that voter-ID movements are actually anti-democratic, is Bob Franken, who once pretended to be a fair-minded journalist/anchor at CNN. Is there ever going to be a supposedly neutral journalist who comes out as a right winger? I doubt it.)
Anyway, as a founding board member of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism, let me just say: “Welfare, welfare, welfare, welfare, Chicago, welfare, golf, welfare, food stamps, welfare, angry, welfare, arrogant, welfare, welfare, welfare, welfare.”
There: That should do it. I’ll just note in passing that I also referred to GW Bush’s administration as “arrogant and insular,” and that I have blasted John McCain for so often being angry. But, aside from that, welfare, welfare, welfare. Oh, and Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka, Brian Urlacher: Chicago. Oh, and welfare. welfare, welfare.
Actor Michael Clarke Duncan passed away today of complications of a heart attack he suffered in July. He was 54.
Duncan was best known for his portrayal of John Coffey in The Green Mile starring Tom Hanks. I remember seeing that movie when it came out. It was a great ensemble cast but Duncan really stood out. His performance garned Duncan an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In recent years, Duncan did a great deal of voice work most notably in Kung Fu Panda and Brother Bear.
Aside from The Green Mile, I also remember Duncan from this Lincoln Town Car commercial.
Buzzfeed reports that Chelsea Clinton, the uber-successful and talented NBC media personality and former “business consultant” and hedge fund industry pro, might speak at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday, possibly to introduce her father.
In a recent “exclusive interview” with Vogue, she said that she might be considering a political career, having worked on her mother’s presidential campaign in 2008 and hosted the wildly successful “Making A Difference” segment on Rock Center with Brian Williams.
Considering the way that she has been staunchly protected from even the slightest media criticism during her adult life thus far, even while actively campaigning for Democratic candidates, this all raises an interesting question: Will anyone be allowed to criticize her speech at the convention? Will anyone dare?
We first properly met Chelsea at her father’s Inaugural Ball in 1993, clapping along onstage to Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” while thousands of her parents’ old Law Review buddies gyrated along with her (war hero George Bush? He was sitting at home, man). Sensing that something profoundly important was happening but lacking her hip-swinging parents’ ol’ college-gang rhythm, Chelsea struggled to clap along on cue, desperately trying to catch for herself an adequate share of the good vibe.
How would this bizarre spectacle affect the poor girl, wondered America. What would become of this bright young woman who so wants to learn all the Vietnam War-ending, Watergate-uncovering dance steps, but just can’t seem to find the beat?
As the years went on and Chelsea came of age, we started getting a picture.
In one of the more absurd episodes of the 2008 presidential race, then-MSNBC commentator David Shuster said that Chelsea was being “pimped out” on the campaign trail by her parents.
(Before I go any further, a note to Media Matters: I personally found Shuster’s comment to be one of the worst traumas this country has ever suffered, one that tested the very fabric of our nation, and at the time I would have encouraged all fair-minded citizens to call the Washington, D.C. District Attorney’s Office to apply pressure to prosecute Shuster under some law or statute. Disgusting, reprehensible comments they were. Got it? Reprehensible! )
According to the liberal tell-all book Game Change, Hillary was apparently on the verge of tears over Shuster’s comments, prompting Chelsea (an adult woman acting as a spokeswoman for a political campaign) to call her mother and assure her, “I’m okay.” Nevertheless, Hillary went ahead and led a smear campaign against Shuster that led to his suspension and some of the most over-the-top apologies in the history of media. Shuster’s comments were “utterly inappropriate and indefensible,” Keith Olbermann said at the time in his apology to the Clinton family.
Compare that long national nightmare to the things Shuster has said about Chelsea’s conservative age peer James O’Keefe, or to the sexist things the liberal media routinely says about Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Ann Romney, etc. etc.
The constant, shrill, all-consuming faux-outrage with which the Left constantly inundates us — a political tactic reaching historic heights during the 2012 election — owes much of its genesis to Chelsea Clinton, who is, by any indication, the most victimized person that has ever walked the Earth. Remember the apology Saturday Night Live had to issue in 1992 when Wayne and Garth said that Chelsea is “not a babe”? At the time, she was an adolescent. But the protective bubble her Mommy and Daddy have built around her has persisted well into adulthood, even as she advocates for candidates trying to transform the country.
Buzzfeed’s reporting on the jealousy and hatred with which Chelsea’s NBC co-workers have treated her behind-the-scenes indicates that maybe she’s finally being exposed a little bit to the real world, or at least to an especially vicious subsection of her own world (how dare she use her family name to come in and here and steal our spotlight, raved dozens of liberal Ivy Leaguers at NBC who would have otherwise protected her had she not been stepping on their turf).
Nevertheless, Vogue glowingly called Chelsea Clinton a “representative of her generation.” I couldn’t agree more.
While Baby Boomers treated political correctness like a fraternity affiliation at cocktail parties (“it’s okay, we speak the right way, too. You’re among friends”) their children aggressively police casual conversation and media discourse for P.C. violations. While Boomers were merely very special people trying to move the world forward a little, their children are nothing less than hyper-rarefied victims of a system designed solely to deny them their gold stars and after-school snacks.
Chelsea Clinton, in effect, is the voice of a generation, and in her burgeoning political career the Democratic Party has found its dream candidate: one completely and utterly immune to criticism.
I hope she represents us well at the Democratic National Convention. But if she doesn’t, I’ll be damned if anyone dares to publicly point it out.
The headline in the Washington Post suffices to demonstrate how completely Dan Balz misses the point:
But this is not Obama’s problem, or at least it was not the problem during the first two years of Obama’s term, when Democrats controlled the House of Representatives and had a nearly filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. During that period, Obama practically had carte blanche to do as he pleased, and what did he do? Bailouts and stimulus and health-care and — more than anything else — massive deficit spending.
It was what Obama and his Democrat congressional allies did during those two years, and not “united Republican opposition,” which determined the course of Obama’s presidency. Whatever one says about Obama’s “hope and change” agenda, its economic component was straight-up Keynesianism, and this clearly failed to solve the unemployment problem while adding more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt. Dan Balz gives us the Democrat narrative:
The president’s advisers contend that Republicans chose the course of obstruction and intransigence from the day Obama was sworn in.
“We met an implacable opponent in the Republican leadership,” said David Axelrod, senior strategist for Obama’s reelection campaign and former White House senior adviser. “They made a decision, and they’ve been very open about it, that from Day One they weren’t going to cooperate on any major issue.”
Did Axelrod expect Republicans to endorse and ratify — to lend bipartisan legitimacy to — Obama’s agenda? Was that a reasonable expectation? And what happened to those Republicans, like former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Delaware Rep. Mike Castle, who did embrace Obama’s agenda?
“Hope and change” made for nice rhetoric, but it failed both as policy and politics, and Obama’s attempt to place the blame on “united Republican opposition” shows the fundamental irresponsibility as the heart of the Democratic Party’s failures. To this day, Democrats have refused to accept the electoral verdict of the mid-terms, “The Republican Mandate” election in which the GOP gained a net 63 House seats to give them a total of 242 seats — the most Republicans have held since 1949, a majority 12 seats larger than the one captured by Newt Gingrich’s GOP in 1994.
The tendency of Democrats to externalize blame, to excuse their failures by reference to Republican scapegoats, is at the heart of the failure of Obama’s administration. This blame-shifting tactic may occasionally work as political rhetoric — with the help of a servile press corps, Democrats may succeed in convincing voters that those evil Republicans somehow stole the “hope and change” — but it is ultimately an evasion of responsibility. Voters on Nov. 6 will have an opportunity to end this evasion.
In an interview making the rounds on the Internet, Conservative South Florida Congressman Allan West, locked in a competitive race with Democrat Patrick Murphy, tells a Palm Beach Post reporter that he doesn’t want that paper’s endorsement.
“I want you to continue to endorse the other guy,” West said, “because they’re the ones who always lose.”
This exchange reminds me of an incident in my early reporting days when I worked for a NYT-owned daily in conservative Central Florida, a paper that took liberal editorial stands. It was (and is) out of step with the community it serves. I continually had to explains to the people I dealt with on my beat, which included the citrus town of Haines City, that I didn’t write editorials and had nothing to do with the dopey stands the paper took on its editorial page. One day I jokingly said to a smart, down-to-earth city councilman named Herb Key, who was up for re-election, that there was “still time to make an appointment with the editorial board and perhaps get the Ledger’s endorsement.” Herb laughed and replied, “Larry, I’d rather have the swine flu.”
Herb won. I can’t remember, but a good guess is most of the Ledger’s picks that cycle did not. I don’t know what the Palm Beach Post’s batting average is in picking candidates. But I’m sure Allan West does.
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?