Ted Cruz shuns the lectern.
An Ivy League debate champion, Cruz prefers to pace the platform without notes, which allows him to walk to the edge of the stage, look the crowd in the eye, and punctuate his points with swift hand movements. He finds his cadence and energizes the crowd with calls — “On guns, do we surrender? Or do we stand up now?” — that demand an audience response. He’s erudite, quoting Madison and Jefferson, yet approachable, cracking jokes and quoting lines from '80s movies.
If organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference aimed to fire up attendees and send them home happy, they could hardly have picked a better closing speaker than the junior senator from Texas.
The affable Cruz laid down a conservative governing agenda, point by point — leaving, of course, plenty of time for cheering in between. Repeal Obamacare. End corporate welfare. Build the keystone pipeline. Rein in the Environmental Protection Agency. Audit the federal reserve. Halt quantitative easing. Abolish the Department of Education. Expand school choice. Stand with Israel. Stop sending foreign aid to enemies.
Cruz said that the dirty secret in Washington is that conservatives have been winning the argument, and he cited as examples the controversies over drones and the “sequestration” budget cuts.
He mocked the sequester cuts as overhyped, and said President Obama’s “scare America tour” reminded him of this scene from Ghostbusters.
“In honor of the sequester, for each of you who went to dinner last night, your meals were reduced by 2.4 percent,” he joked. “I can see the looks of hunger and famine in your eyes. Indeed, I don’t know how you’re possibly still able to stand on 97.6 percent of your dinner. And I’ll always be haunted by the sight of Newt Gingrich’s emaciated face.”
He spoke at length about the GOP filibuster staged by Rand Paul earlier this month over the Obama administration’s opaque drone policy. Senator John McCain described the filibuster as a stunt and called the participants “wacko birds.” It’s a label Cruz seems content to wear.
“I have to admit, when Rand and I first heard that, we thought maybe that was a new kind of drone,” he said. “But if standing for liberty and standing for the Constitution makes you a wacko bird, then count me a proud wacko bird.”
Perhaps to deflect the speculation about political ambition that inevitably accompanies a gig headlining CPAC, Cruz himself noted that he was only sworn in 10 weeks ago. He has already drawn buzz as a potential presidential contender, and one who could bridge the gap between Hispanic voters and the GOP.
That day might still be a long way off. But while they wait, Cruz will surely give conservatives plenty to watch in what remains of his Senate term — all 306 weeks.
If you’re in or near Denver, I hope you’ll consider attending the tribute for General Jim Hall on Sunday, March 24 from 5 PM to 7:30 PM at the Glenmoor Country Club in Cherry Hills Village. Congressman Mike Coffman will also be attending.
More info HERE…and below:
Entertainment will be provided by Anthony Kearns, one of the world’s leading tenors, who is making a special appearance in Denver at General Hall’s request at the height of the “Irish season” (since Anthony is Irish through and through.)
There will also be an exclusive preview of the general’s parachuting display which will then move to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
The event is to benefit the general’s son, Eagle Hall, who has special needs, particularly to allow him to continue to participate in the Special Olympics.
To learn more about the event, guests can call (720) 675-7056. Guests must RSVP
to RSVPMarch24Tribute@gmail.com by
Wednesday, March 20. Reservations are accepted on a first-come,
first-served basis. Tickets are $35, or $50, with the $50 option
including a signed copy of my book, “Parachuting for Gold in Old
Mexico.” Checks made payable to “Glenmoor Country Club” and
sent to Andi Allott per the instructions in the invitation form
which you can find here:
The event will feature an Irish-themed menu with Irish signature drinks at the bar (it is a cash bar). There will also be delicious Irish coffee after the program and a meet-and-greet with special guests.
A little more about General Jim Hall:
Throughout his 36 years of military service and in his civilian life, General Jim Hall became a pioneer in the field of parachuting. A Master Parachutist with more than 1,800 jumps, he created the premier parachuting program for the U.S. Air Force Academy, which now trains 600 cadets annually and ranks first in the world. In addition, he created the “Buddy System” for free falling and the “4-line cut” for parachuting emergencies. In 1959, Hall and a partner founded the first professional parachuting firm ever. As Col. John Buckley said, “Almost every parachute development done for the USAFA in the first 30 years came from General Hall… he truly was a USAF pioneer…” General Hall’s developments saved lives and therefore, pilots everywhere owe General Hall for his contributions.
Gen. Hall has been honored numerous times, including receiving The Leo Stevens Parachute Medal (the highest award given annually for achievements in the field of parachuting) and the Colorado Meritorious Service Medal (the highest award that the state of Colorado can award to a member of the military). Learn more at: http://parachutingassociates.com/Pages/AboutJim.php
The American Conservative Union has just named Senator Rand Paul the winner of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference Straw Poll. Paul (25%) narrowly beat Senator Marco Rubio (23%), former Senator Rick Santorum (8%), and Governor Chris Christie (7%).
Given the ubiquity of “Stand for Rand” stickers and signs at this year’s conference, I’m not surprised by Paul’s victory. I am wondering, however, whether the Kentucky senator’s win tells us much about his chances for securing the GOP nomination in 2016. For every eventual nominee like George Bush and Mitt Romney (CPAC Straw Poll winners in 2000 and 2012 respectively) there is a Jack Kemp (1986, 1987, 1993) or a Steve Forbes (1998)—or even a Ron Paul (2010, 2011)—who fired up the conservative base but couldn’t hack it in the primaries.
Obamaphones. Teleprompters. Big Gulps.
Sarah Palin hit all the laugh lines in her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday afternoon, bringing the audience to its feet perhaps a half-dozen times. At points, Palin simply jumped between one-liners.
On proposals for gun control: “More background checks? Dandy idea, Mr. President. Shoulda started with yours.”
On the president’s permanent campaign: “Mr. President, we admit it — you won. Accept it. Now step away from the teleprompter and do your job!”
On advice to college Republicans: “You gotta be thinkin’ Sam Adams, not drinkin’ Sam Adams.”
At one point, the former Alaska governor pulled a Big Gulp soda out from under the podium and began sipping on it, to raucous applause, a joke at the expense of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on oversized beverages.
Palin preached — to a responsive congregation — a message of faith in conservative values and the American heartland. She blasted the capitol’s “cocktail parties of power” and put political consultants on the chopping block. “The last thing we need is Washington, D.C., vetting our candidates,” she said, slyly dinging Karl Rove’s new “Conservative Victory Project,” which intends to be a moderating influence in GOP primaries.
“We’re not here to dedicate ourselves to new talking points coming from D.C. We’re not here to put a fresh coat of rhetorical paint on our party,” she said. “We’re here to restore America, and the rest is just theatrics.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, who helped introduce Palin before her speech, seemed to defend her political relevancy by noting her early support for Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Tim Scott, Pat Toomey and Nikki Haley — and her role in promoting his own candidacy.
“Let me tell you something,” Cruz said. “I would not be in the U.S. Senate today if it were not for Governor Sarah Palin.”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day Weekend! Before you enjoy some libations, get caught up with our Spectaculars of the week!
A pervasive anti-boy culture is wrecking our nation’s very future.
Kirk Douglas would have taken greater care.
The History Channel’s inaccurate, relativist treatment of the Good Book.
Ditching DST would save billions in medical care and energy costs.
Carney doesn’t reveal White House is a museum funded by private contributions.
Disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s dormant New York City mayoral campaign paid more than $100,000 to a San Francisco-based polling firm earlier this month, suggesting the once-prominent Democrat whose career was derailed by allegations he sent salacious texts and photographs to various women online was contemplating a return to politics in this year’s elections.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker whipped a CPAC ballroom crowd into cheers Saturday morning, to the point that he had to shout the end of his speech over the applause.
Walker told the audience that real reform doesn’t happen in Washington, D.C., but in Republican statehouses and governors’ mansions all over the country. He walked through the 2011 battles with labor and teachers’ unions that rocketed him into the limelight, and he said that “in the states, to be successful, we have to be optimistic; we have to be relevant; and most importantly, we have to be courageous.”
“All too often in politics, we talk in phrases like sequesters, debt limits, and fiscal cliffs,” Walker said. “I don’t know about all of you, but the people I talk to in Wisconsin, they talk to me about things like, ‘Is my neighbor down the block who’s been out of work for 6 months going to be able to find a job? Is my son or daughter who’s a year out from graduating from college going to be able to find a job in our state or our community and stay here? Are my grandkids going to be able to afford the debts that are being passed on to them by our federal government?”
Walker also discussed “the dignity of work,” and efforts to reform his state’s food stamp program and reduce government dependency.
“I don’t want to make it harder to get government assistance, what I want is to make it easier to get a job,” he said. “We have a moral cause: It’s not just about balancing budgets. It’s not just about getting the economy going again.”
When pundits discuss the shortlist of potential presidential candidates for 2016, Walker is mentioned behind such stars as Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, if he is mentioned at all. But the governor told Politico on Friday that he has not ruled out a White House bid.
The NFL is considering rules changes that would make it a personal foul for running backs to lower their heads and plow into tacklers. None of your John Riggins or Jim Brown nonsense in the kinder, gentler NFL.
Rich McKay, chairman (is the NFL insisting on chairperson yet?) of the NFL Competition Committee, calls the proposed change in the game a “pure and simple player safety rule.” He added that the NFL believes it is time “to address the situation in space where a runner or a tackler has a choice of how to approach his opponent.”
Huh? I’m sure this last statement is a real head-scratcher to every running back and tackler in the NFL. But not to worry, the NFL running back would not be completely neutered under the proposed rule. The ball carrier would still be allowed the lower his shoulder and to drop his head to protect the ball. And he would not be required to say, “Mother, may I?” before running past a tackler, nor would he be required, as premature and erroneous reports have it, to wear a dress on the field.
OK, this stuff is easy to ridicule. I know we’re trying to make a fundamentally unsafe game, safe. But as some point these well-intentioned efforts take on the flakey aspect of Billy Bob’s surgeon general, Joycelyn Elders, who demanded safer bullets.
Bullets aren’t safe, or at least if made safe wouldn’t be bullets. The same can be said of football. We’re only now beginning to understand the price athletes pay for playing this gladiator sport. New rules could probably lower that price a bit. But at some point, football would cease to be football. And fans would cease to care about it.
If this new rule is adopted, does this mean we have to kick Riggins and Brown out of the Football Hall of Fame? Or at least put them in the time-out room for a quarter or two?
After a handful of light-hearted, nerdy jokes to open his CPAC speech, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal spoke about where the GOP needs to go as a political party.
Jindal said it’s shortsighted for conservatives to make their case on “who can better control the federal government.” It’s a “rigged game,” he said, “a sideshow trap,” and “the wrong game for us to be playing.”
To win the argument, he said, conservatives must put their faith in individuals. “Government doesn’t order greatness,” he said. “What sets us apart is not our government, but free individuals taking risks, building businesses, inventing things from thin air, passing immutable values from one generation to the next. That is the root of America’s greatness.”
Pope Francis is known in Argentina for riding the bus. After his election, I wrote, “However, I doubt Pope Francis will never again utilize public transportation.”
Well, it seems that the new Pope really likes buses because he eschewed the Popemobile for a shuttle bus ride with the College of Cardinals. OK, it isn’t exactly public transportation but I guess Francis likes company when he travels. The new pontiff probably didn’t lead the Cardinals in a rendition of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” but I’m sure it was a memorable ride just the same.
And for good measure, he paid his own hotel bill in person.
Some might argue that this is just for show. But given that this was his modus operandi as Archbishop of Buenos Aires I suspect this won’t be the last of such public gestures.
Now I also commented that the temptations and trappings of power can overcome the most humble and holy of men. Yet it would appear that Pope Francis is making it part of his mission to demonstrate that while he is a man of the cloth he is also a man who is no better and no worse than anyone else. Now that Francis has been elevated to a position of enormous responsibility I guess he wants to show Catholics and non-Catholics alike that he will lead by example. Should he continue to set these kind of examples he will leave the Catholic Church a better place than he found it.
Whatever any of us might think about its artistic merits or lack thereof, the History Channel’s production of The Bible is a huge hit. Very interesting. Maybe Roma Downey is right that making the Good Book “accessible” is a useful exercise. I still thought the first week’s show (I didn’t watch the second one) was leaden and a bit too free in straying from the text. And I still think that the intent behind the series is laudable.
Gov. Bobby Jindal wants to abolish Louisiana’s income tax.
The Weekly Standard
John McCormack praises Rubio’s “Big Tent Conservatism” as seen at CPAC.
Bill Kristol describes Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster as mere “Sound and Fury.”
Daniel Horowitz describes Sen. Ted Cruz’s “missile strikes” in the Senate against such seniors as Dianne Feinstein.
The Daily Caller
The Washington Times
Another EU nation is failing financially.
Bob Costa explains Rand Paul’s Big Fight.
The American Conservative
Mitt Romney may have lost the election but he evidently hasn’t lost the hearts of many conservatives. Introduced at CPAC a few minutes ago, Romney was given a prolonged standing ovation and welcomed with chants of “Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!”
Romney, acknowledging he lost the election, nevertheless advised optimism and encouraged attendees to look to the states, where GOP governors are having success. Romney said we should be paying particular attention to Republican governors in purple states, including Chris Christie who he mentioned by name, and who wasn’t invited to CPAC this year after his post-Hurricane Sandy embrace of President Obama.
Much of the rest of Romney’s speech was a general defense of America and the American dream. The former Massachusetts governor also pledged to fight for conservatism. “I’m sorry I won’t be your president,” he said, “but I will be your co-worker and I’ll continue to fight alongside you.”
Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshman, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay. He said he’d known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn’t something he chose; it was simply a part of who he is. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage. We were surprised to learn he is gay but knew he was still the same person he’d always been. The only difference was that now we had a more complete picture of the son we love. […]
I wrestled with how to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister. Ultimately, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God. […]
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he supports allowing gay couples to marry because he is a conservative, not in spite of it. I feel the same way. We conservatives believe in personal liberty and minimal government interference in people’s lives. We also consider the family unit to be the fundamental building block of society. We should encourage people to make long-term commitments to each other and build families, so as to foster strong, stable communities and promote personal responsibility.
Portman voted for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, but he now thinks the Supreme Court, which is hearing a challenge to the law this year, should strike it down. A reported piece in the Cleveland Plain Dealer explains the nuances of Portman’s position:
Portman said he believes that same-sex couples who marry legally in states where it’s allowed should get the federal benefits that are granted to heterosexual married couples but aren’t currently extended to gay married couples because of DOMA, such as the ability to file joint tax returns. Family law has traditionally been a state responsibility, Portman says, so the federal definition of marriage should not preempt state marriage laws.
Colorado State Senator Greg Brophy (R-Wray), in debating the Michael Bloomberg-pushed “high capacity” gun magazine ban in Colorado, announced that if the bill becomes law, he will not obey it.
Neither will I, and I imagine many thousands of other Coloradoans will also refuse to comply. (The link and embedded video below start at the 10:48 point in Brophy’s testimony where he says this, followed by cheers from the gallery that the Senate President silences with the gavel. But I encourage you also to watch the entire 12 minutes.)
Not only does the measure ban pistol and rifle magazines with capacity greater than 15 rounds, but it bans magazines which are “designed to be readily converted to accept more than 15 rounds.” As Senator Brophy explained at the beginning of his testimony, this bill makes illegal the standard magazines of 15-round (or less) capacity for many guns, including Glock pistols, probably the most popular handguns in the United States, because Glock magazines and most others include a removable base plate which allows an extender to be attached. Thus the 15-round magazine is “designed to be readily converted” to exceed that limit, and is thus illegal even if not converted.
At least unless and until Glock makes a magazine without a removable base plate (which is also useful for magazine cleaning), the magazine ban effectively bans the sale of many or most handguns.
It is time for those who support Second Amendment rights to stand up even more aggressively (but not violently) against these out-of-control anti-gun bills, including by contacting Governor John Hickenlooper to let him know that we will refuse to abide by this law.
Greg Brophy is truly a champion for the rights of Coloradoans. (And to be clear, I’m fairly impressed with most of our Republican state senators on that score.) It is a long time until the next election, but I trust that Democrats will be harshly punished for ramming unpopular legislation down their constituents’ throats in the service of Michael Bloomberg and Joe Biden. If they want to represent New York and Washington, DC, I encourage them to move there. Until then, it will be the voters’ job to move them out of their seats in the legislature.
Rep. Paul Ryan and NRA President Wayne LaPierre were the big speakers at CPAC this morning. The speeches were pretty much what you’d expect: Ryan stumped for a balanced budget and LaPierre gave a rousing defense of the Second Amendment. Videos below.
Will a balanced budget amendment advance the cause of limited government and constrain spending? This question was explored during a panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) yesterday moderated by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (AFT). The short answer is yes, so long as that amendment is crafted in the right way with a proviso that requires a supermajority for raising taxes. That seemed to be consensus in the ballroom and the panelist made a strong case. This conservative has mixed feelings. Go back to the 1990s, and we did achieve a balanced budget by way of robust economic growth and much lower federal spending. This was done without changing the U.S. Constitution. As conservatives, shouldn’t we prioritize the repeal of damaging amendments instead of adding new ones? (I’d start with the 17th Amendment, but there are others.)
Still, the panelists made a strong case.
Lou Uhler, president of the National Tax Limitation Committee, threw some sobering stats. If the Balanced Budget Amendment President Reagan supported in the early 1980s had prevailed over then-House Speaker Tip O’Neill’s recalcitrant Democratic majority, the nation would have saved $10 trillion in spending in the intervening years, and the debt held by the public now at $12.6 trillion would be less than $1 trillion. So it’s getting harder for me to resist the amendment.
Nick Dranias, a legal scholar with the Goldwater Institute, directly addressed the concerns I have over constitutional purity. Under Article 5 of the Constitution, once two-thirds of the states — 34 out of 50 — agree on an amendment, Congress must set a time and place for delegates of all 50 states to hold a convention. Three-quarters of the states — meaning 38 of them — must then approve the result. The founding fathers specifically put this provision in as a check against an oversized federal government.
Does this open the way to a “runaway convention”? That is one conservative concern I’ve heard. The answer I think is that the runaway convention is already in motion on Capitol Hill. We are where we are.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, correctly noted that conservatives have scored important victories on the tax front. Over 90 percent of Republicans in the House and Senate have signed his pledge to refrain from raising taxes. We do have a handful of squishes. “Republicans who raise taxes are like rat heads in a coke bottle, they damage the brand for everyone.” Still, the GOP at large maintains a strong anti-tax streak.
But regardless of how much new revenue the political class takes in, it can always spend more. Outside pressure is needed to force change; that’s why I’m warming to the idea of a Balanced Budget Amendment.
Last summer, after an exhaustive investigation into a “was it murder or was it suicide” case in southern Alabama, I wrote a 5,000-word “true crime” type of feature story in the AmSpec print edition showing that the accused murderer, local political star Stephen Nodine, almost certainly did not pull the trigger, and that he had been, in effect, framed for the crime. At the time, nobody else in print had reached such a near-definitive conclusion. Well, with CBS’ “48 Hours” about to air a big segment on the case in a few weeks, one of my former colleagues at the Mobile Press-Register, the superb reporter Brendan Kirby, has done a terrific piece showing just how outrageously the local prosecutors and sheriff interfered in the normal course of the investigation, in order to force what was about to be labeled a suicide to instead by labeled a murder, with Mr. Nodine as the alleged culprit.
As the date of the grand jury session approached, [prsecutor Judy] Newcomb and her team faced a potentially devastating problem. Dr. Eugene Hart, who performed the autopsy, had told law enforcement authorities that the death of Downs was consistent with a suicide.
Such a ruling likely would have severely compromised Newcomb’s ability to get a grand jury to issue an indictment.
Newcomb directed that the victim’s body be sent back to Hart so that he could re-examine some injuries that investigators believe they had found on the fingernails and back of her scalp. The second look, Hart later would testify, did nothing to change his mind.[See the notes
Click here to see the handwritten notes of a meeting between District Attorney Judy Newcomb and Dr. Eugene Hart on the day of his grand jury testimony.]
Newcomb then arranged a face-to-face meeting with Hart and his boss – then-Chief Medical Examiner Kenneth Snell – on the day Hart was to testify before the grand jury. In the conference room were the two forensic examiners, Newcomb, assistant district attorneys and investigators from her office and the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.
Three pages of handwritten notes that current District Attorney Hallie Dixon gave to the defense after she took office suggest that Newcomb pressed Hart for a favorable death ruling.
By “favorable,” the article means favorable to Newcomb’s desired ruling that the death could have resulted from a murder.
Stephen Nodine did not murder his mistress. He was not living an upstanding private life, on several levels, and he seems to have in some ways violated some public trust as well. But conservatives who believe in the cause of justice should insist that nobody be convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, nor punished more harshly than would ordinarily be the case for other infractions that either arose only because of the murder trial (perjury on an extreme technicality) or came to light only in the course of the murder investigation (a non-specific “harassment” charge) — especially when the man, for yet another “infraction” that came to light during the investigation, already has served a full year in a federal pen on a charge that is constitutionally suspect.
Now, with this new report by Mr. Kirby (again, here), it is rather evident that Mr. Nodine has been railroaded, and punished more than he deserves. It is now incumbent on Gov. Robert Bentley to commute Nodine’s current sentence (for perjury and harassment) down to time-served, plus some extra community service and probation. Nodine should no longer be behind bars.
That is all.
When I picked up a copy of The Boston Phoenix this morning I had no idea I had just picked up its last issue.
This afternoon, the Hub’s long running independent weekly newspaper, abruptly announced it was closing its doors. The Phoenix newspapers in Providence, Rhode Island and Portland, Maine, however, will remain open.
Back in October, Phoenix Communications had changed the newspaper from a tabloid into a glossy. Regardless of its presentation, both its editorial content and reportage was roughly equivalent to that of The Socialist Worker. Last July, when I spoke at an anti-Obamacare rally sponsored by the Greater Boston Tea Party, The Boston Phoenix sent a reporter who was a member of Occupy Boston. Let’s just say he didn’t exactly have an open mind. On occasion, I would write letters to the editor from time to time but mostly it wasn’t worth the effort.
Yet when I moved here 13 years ago, I found The Boston Phoenix a useful tool not only in finding out about to things to do about town but getting to know the city and its neighborhoods better. However annoying its editorial content it was never enough to prevent me from picking up a copy almost every Thursday morning.
California’s senior nanny, Dianne Feinstein, and her Democratic colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee have approved a bill that would prohibit “assault rifles,” largely on the basis that law-abiding Americans don’t “need” them. Citizens of the land of the free don’t need magazines that hold more than 10 rounds either, so say the wise ones.
Where is it written that Americans should be denied whatever these presumptuous wing-nuts have decided we don’t need? In a weapons-grade non-sequitur, Feinstein defended her pointless attack on the freedom of Americans by saying that her bill “exempts 2,271 weapons. Is that not enough for the people of the United States? Do they need a bazooka,” she whined?
“Oh — reason not the need,” Lear said when his greedy and ungrateful daughters deprived him of his hundred knights. Looking around my office as I write this, I can see countless items that I don’t need, but if I were deprived of which Americans wouldn’t be a bit safer? We certainly won’t be any safer if law-abiding Americans are denied access to the weapons Feinstein and Co. wish to make verboten.
What America really doesn’t need are elected officials who have such a poor understanding of both pubic safety and freedom as Dianne Feinstein and her fellow deniers demonstrate daily.
When we’re listing the stars in the Tea Party conservative firmament, we’re quick to name Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee. There’s a fourth name from the Senate that should start leaping into our minds: Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina. His speech today was one of the best ones at CPAC so far — and remarkably wonky:
He’s a bit wet-behind-the-ears to run in 2016…but 2020 or 2024 perhaps? He certainly has a bright future.
I posted such a plethora of material Tuesday on Obamite Justice Department official Thomas Perez, rumored to be the next nominee for Secretary of Labor, and on the Inspector General’s report about the rot at DoJ’s Civil Rights Division, which Perez heads, that I thought I should take the day off from the subject yesterday so as to not cause an information overload. But now it’s time to resume the process of making sure the now-public record of Perez’ perfidy, and that of his compatriots in the Eric Holder Justice Department, is highlighted, echoed, and spread widely. With that in mind, here’s the round-up of important coverage since early evening on Tuesday.
First, for the single-best, concise, oral recapitulation of the findings in the IG report, please listen to this superb interview Mark Levin did with former DoJ whistleblower and author J. Christian Adams.
Here, John Fund puts things into perspective, and notes that even some honest establishment-media outlets (although not enough!) are recognizing the import of the report and blasting Eric Holder’s management of DoJ.
On video, Sean Hannity interviews the wonderfully inimitable Michelle Malkin, an indefatigable chronicler of Perez’ radical record, about the IG report and also about Perez’ history of trying to run roughshod over existing immigration laws.
The honorable bolldog of a congressman, Virginia’s Frank Wolf, now pressures Holder to live up to promises to release numerous documents. (I hope this link works.)
Black conservatives at Project 21 helpfully weigh in.
Andrew Cohen, left-leaning, weighs in with tough, important words in The Atlantic.
Jennifer Rubin — who like me, the Washington Times’ Jerry Seper, John Fund, and Michelle Malkin (along with my former WashTimes colleague John Lott) has been covering this for nearly four years, discusses the implications of “a division entirely out of control.”
For a humorous interlude, you may want to read as Media Matters whines about our coverage of these scandals and tries (and fails) to spin the report to the Left’s advantage.
Back to serious stuff….
Quite chillingly — AND THIS IS AN EXCLUSIVE!!! — a southern Alabama sheriff explains how Perez “threatened” local law enforcement, and said federal funds would be withheld from various programs and grants, if local police and sheriffs actually enforced the state’s immigration laws.
And in some prior material worth noting, Scott McKay of The Hayride (in Louisiana) describes how Perez has been trying to shake down the Bayou State to register more welfare recipients to vote — not just to make registration accessible at welfare offices, etcetera, but to “proselytize” those welfare recipients.
And, finally, PLEASE read my piece at CFIF, which wraps into one package the essential findings in the IG report.
The IG absolutely confirms what I and others have repeatedly reported: On two different occasions in the fall of 2009, political appointee Julie Fernandes made statements at widely attended staff meetings to the effect that civil rights or voting rights laws would not be enforced, despite unambiguous language directing such enforcement, to protect white people or to protect against ineligible names remaining on voter lists. Worse, she and others in the Obama political ranks acted precisely accordingly: Despite repeated entreaties from honest staff members, supported by overwhelming documentation, the department failed (refused) for 15 solid months to enforce voter-list-maintenance laws against eight states that were flagrantly violating the laws.
Again, the obvious goal was racial or partisan/ideological/political. Blacks/Democrats/liberals are not understood to benefit from efforts to clean up voter rolls of the names of dead people, incarcerated felons or other ineligibles; so, therefore that portion (Section 8) of the National Voting Registration Act was not, according to Fernandes herself, among what she called the “enforcement priorities” of the Division’s political leadership.
Again, to quote the IG report: “Thirteen witnesses told the OIG that Fernandes stated that she ‘did not care about’ or ‘was not interested’ in pursuing Section 8 cases, or similar
No matter how the IG tries to excuse the Obamites’ motives, the facts speak for themselves. If numerous people in the Civil Rights Division express hostility against race-neutral enforcement of laws, and then a top political appointee in the division says on two occasions that she is not interested in enforcing parts of the law or enforcing the laws against non-white perpetrators, and if the Attorney General himself says that his team has other enforcement “priorities,” and then if the actual record shows that the division did indeed fail to enforce those specific parts of the law despite repeated staff advisories to do so backed by copious evidence in support of doing so… well, then, this obviously amounts to selective non-enforcement of the law, and considering all the other partisan, racial and ideological viciousness detailed by the IG, it is silly to conclude anything other than that partisan, racial and ideological motives drove the non-enforcers in their non-enforcement decisions.
This is lawlessness. It ought to be punishable.
During his CPAC speech moments ago, Governor Rick Perry swiped hard at his fellow 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Perry was discussing accusations that conservatism couldn’t win elections, which, he declared, “might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012.”
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli told CPAC attendees that he would pursue five main public policy directives if he elected governor of Virginia this fall. The emphasis he placed on putting an end to human trafficking was of particular interest. Here, very briefly, are the main points of his talk.
1. Tax simplification — “We hear the word fair a lot,” he said. But getting rid of special interest breaks that have found their way into the tax code while offering low tax rates to middle-class Americans and small business owners is more in step with sound policy, he said.
2. Streamline regulations — By “eliminating harmful government interference in the marketplace” and defending Virginia’s “right-to-work,” the state can expect to experience great job and income growth, he said.
3. Rein in government and balance the budget — enough said there.
4. Quality education — This is the “surest way to bring opportunity to every Virginian,” he said. “No child should be forced to remain in failing school” and “condemned to mediocrity” because of where they live.
5. Speak for those citizens who have no voice — Becoming governor of Virginia “allows someone to occupy the same seat as Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry.” This great responsibility means protecting the most vulnerable citizens “at every stage of life” including those who suffer under human trafficking.
Here’s Marco Rubio’s speech at CPAC:
And here’s Rand Paul’s:
Related: Jim Antle in 2011 on the two senators’ dueling foreign policy philosophies, implicit in Rubio’s paean to American exceptionalism and Paul’s emphasis on the limits executive power in warfare.
Rand Paul made a pitch for a more libertarian Republican Party this afternoon in his 10-minute speech on the main stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered,” the Kentucky senator said. “I don’t think we need to name any names, do we?”
Paul argued that members of “the Facebook generation,” are looking for leaders who “won’t feed them a line of crap.”
“Our party is encumbered by an inconsistent approach to freedom,” Paul said. “The new GOP will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and the personal sphere.”
That said, the majority of Paul’s points — and the audience’s reactions — fell comfortably within the Republican big tent. His call for eliminating the federal Department of Education, for instance, elicited wild cheers. His call to stop jailing non-violent drug offenders, resulted in more measured applause.
On a party-line vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) proposed assault weapons ban, setting the stage for a bruising floor fight. None of the four amendments offered today — all by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), who said he would reserve others for the floor — were approved. Feinstein took the opportunity to make an impassioned plea for an end to the kind of street violence that she saw as the mayor of San Francisco. “I thought it would end with the Texas bell tower, but it hasn’t…and these weapons become the weapon of choice. Why allow them?”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) returned to his own talking points, that rifles are rarely used in homicides and that there are instances in which a law-abiding citizen may require more than ten bullets for self-defense.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) struck a meditative chord in response: “It may be a small percentage, but the tragedies we have witnessed remind us that we cannot sit idly by.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) retaliated by asserting that rifle homicides are now half as common as they were when the first assault weapons ban expired in 2004. “If the passion in this room were directed at reducing violent crime” in a more systematic manner, real progress could be made. “When our rights are popular, we do not need them,” he declared, defending the sanctity of constitutional liberties. Yet Democrats on the committee have frequently cited Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s statement in his District of Columbia v. Heller majority opinion that, “We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’”
Senator Cornyn (R-TX) offered amendments to create exceptions to the ban for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors and residents of border counties, whom he argued face immense security threats from paramilitary cartels. Last week he attempted to add an exception for military veterans. All of these amendments failed.
However, the bill does include an exception for retired police officers, added after police personnel expressed concern over being disarmed. “The whole point of this bill is to reduce overtime the supply, possession, and transmission of military-style weapons,” Feinstein said. “In the crafting of the bill, we obviously made certain compromises, we made certain changes, and that was one we made.”
Cornyn argued the assault weapons ban is a distraction, and that Congress should focus on, for instance, patching holes in the background check system or improving enforcement. “The bill does nothing to deal with the lack of effective enforcement of current gun laws,” he said. “There is almost a zero-percent chance of getting prosecuted by this Department of Justice.”
Yesterday, Jim Antle asked if Wes Welker would walk away from the New England Patriots.
Today, it appears we have our answer. Welker has reportedly signed a two year contract worth $12 million with the Denver Broncos.
I think the Patriots will rue this day for years to come. Welker is the last piece of the puzzle for the Broncos. Look for them to win the Super Bowl XLVIII and for Welker to be the Super Bowl MVP.
If nothing else, Welker won’t have to worry about Gisele Bundchen anymore.
But now that Welker will be catching passes from Peyton Manning instead of Tom Brady, he will face the wrath of Pats fans when he returns to Gillette Stadium.
As Jackson Adams has noted, the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as pontiff is historically significant because he is the first Pope to take the name Francis, the first from the Americas (indeed he is the first non-European Pope in well over a millennium) and the first Jesuit Pope.
He further notes that the new Pope lived modestly during his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires and was known to take the bus. However, I doubt Pope Francis will never again utilize public transportation. There are practical reasons of course. Let us not forget the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II in 1981.
I have no doubt that Francis will continue to live a simple life. Yet the trappings of power can overcome even the most holy and humble of men.
Given that Francis is 76, his papacy will very likely be a short one. Of course, given the long reign of Pope John Paul II it is easy to forget that most Popes are lucky to last a decade. As such the task of rebuilding the Catholic Church will far outlast the stewardship of Francis. At the very minimum, it will take a generation to restore the Church’s prestige and this is probably an optimistic assessment.
As I have written previously, the Catholic Church is most likely to regain trust through deeds rather than words. This isn’t to say there aren’t Catholic institutions engaged in good deeds. There most certainly are. But there is much work to be done. Its reputation will not be restored until it is no longer perceived as being synonymous with sexual abuse.
The first Pope from the New World comes from Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. The first Pope from the Society of Jesus, he is taking the name Francis, an historic first which nevertheless has a long tradition: St. Francis of Assisi (founder of the Franciscan order in the 12th Century) and St. Francis Xavier (one of the first Jesuits, whose evangelizing mission took him as far as Japan in the 16th Century) being two notable examples.
The new Bishop of Rome will also be the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere, which is demographically a new Catholic center of gravity. He is 76 years old, and was second in the ballots that ended in Benedict XVI being elected Pope. It is rumored he was high in the running at every conclave ballot.
His welcoming address expressed excitement at the prospect of evangelizing the beautiful city of Rome, and included a recitation of an Our Father and a Hail Mary. He also requested a moment of silence for prayers on his behalf before giving his own blessing. He marveled that the cardinals had to look “to the ends of the earth” to find a Pope.
Bergoglio became Archibishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, where is style was known as “low key and close to the people.” He lived there in a small apartment, was known to ride the bus. He served his entire career in Argentina.
Bergoglio is no stranger to difficult times. He was a Jesuit provincial during Argentina’s military dictatorship 1976-1983.
Himself of Italian descent, Francis I comes from a country with one of the largest Italian populations outside of Italy. 53-60% of Argentina’s population of 23 million can claim Italian heritage.
And he is … according to my inside sources, he is…. a Catholic priest and bishop.
More to come….
White smoke has been sighted above Saint Peter’s Basilica.
TAS will have updates about the new Pontiff as soon as information becomes available.
It is one thing to oppose enshrining homosexual “marriage” into federal law as some sort of constitutional right. It is one thing to personally believe in traditionalist Christian teachings. But it is quite another to write hateful things painting all homosexuals with the same brush — especially the brush of Communism, among other things. A certain column by a CPAC sponsor, published in the last week, apparently is going viral on the left, and Bloomberg has already run a big story on it. This column goes beyond public policy into the realm of hatred, as referenced above. It doesn’t even deserve the dignity of a link. I am a full, three-stool-leg conservative, including pretty much across the board on public policy regarding the “social issues.” But for the record: The column in question violates Christ’s Second Great Commandment. It therefore does not represent valid social-conservative thought.
Michelle Malkin kindly quoted me in her column today on the radical, prevaricating Thomas Perez, the apparent nominee-in-waiting to be Labor Secretary — but her column was more concise and devastating than mine. She covers territory I didn’t, especially Perez’ longest-standing hard-left obsession, namely the elimination of all enforcement of laws against illegal aliens and the provision of as many taxpayer (and other) benefits to those aliens as possible.
Perez rose from Casa de Maryland volunteer to president of the group’s board of directors. Under the guise of enhancing the “multicultural” experience, he crusaded for an ever-expanding set of illegal alien benefits, from in-state tuition discounts for illegal alien students to driver’s licenses and tax-subsidized day labor centers. Casa de Maryland opposes enforcement of deportation orders, has protested post-9/11 coordination of local, state and national criminal databases, and produced a “know your rights” propaganda pamphlet for illegal aliens that depicted federal immigration agents as armed bullies making babies cry.
Meanwhile, with yesterday’s release of the Inspector General report that effectively made mincemeat of Perez’ incompetent (or worse) management of the Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice, former DoJ whistleblower J. Christian Adams reports, via sources, that Perez’ reaction within the department was far different than his public pledge to crack down hard against the manifold abuses described in the IG report. (Note: As every accusation made by Adams in his testimony to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and in his book Injustice has now effectively been validated by the IG report, Adams has proved again that he and his sources are to be trusted about the internal proceedings in Perez’ den of vipers.) Specifically, Adams reports that in yesterday’s departmental meeting in response to the IG report, Perez “didn’t become animated or upset at the perjury detailed in the report, or the racial harassment of black interns. Indeed, most of the guilty parties still get federal paychecks. Instead, Perez was upset there were leaks in the Voting Section that portrayed his tenure in a negative light.”
Senators, take note: As a few of my young nephews or nieces might say, Perez is a bad, bad man.
Here and here and here and here. All of which are really good work. You’ve gotta particularly love the headline for the first one, by Jim Simpson: CASA de Maryland: The Illegals’ ACORN. His exhaustive report more than backs up the headline’s claims.
And here, Chuck Hagel critic extraordinaire Jennifer Rubin asks if Perez is even worse than Hagel — which is like a Red Sox fan suggesting that there might even be people worse than New York Yankees. In other words, coming from Jennifer, this is strong, strong stuff — and excellent!
Let me go against the grain today and agree with Quin Hillyer on something — not his take on the History Channel doc The Bible (I gave up TV for Lent), but his column on Thomas Perez’s nomination to the Labor Department.
From his perch at the DOJ, Perez, an activist lawyer if ever there was one, took discrimination and disparate impact lawsuits to new and abusive levels. Among his targets were an Oklahoma sheriff’s office that was assigning pregnant female corrections officers to desk duty, a 16-unit apartment building that was advertising a 21-and-over age policy, and universities using Kindle e-readers which supposedly discriminate against the blind. That last one deserves particular scorn (don’t paperbacks do the same thing?), but that’s Perez for you. He’d sue the English language if he could.
Perez’s nomination shows President Obama wants to bring his brand of victimological bullying to the DOL’s fight for workplace rules and labor unions. Quin is right: this can’t be allowed to happen. It’s common courtesy for the Senate to give the president wide deference with his Cabinet nominees. But stopping Perez is worth every tooth and nail of a fight. Republicans should stand united against him.
At NRO, Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, provides further details about the dishonesty and evasiveness of rumored Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez. Well worth a read, on top of my column today.
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling (R) has announced that he won’t be running for governor in Virginia. After conceding the Republican gubernatorial nomination to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli at the end of last year, Bolling hinted that he would launch his own campaign as an independent. As I reported in February, this rift in the Republican Party raised questions about the GOP’s future. Yet Bolling’s announcement today diffused the risk of division that a third-party challenger would bring. Bolling said:
“Running as an Independent candidate would have required me to sever my longstanding relationship with the Republican Party. While I am very concerned about the current direction of the Republican Party, I still have many dear friends in the Republican Party, people who have been incredibly supportive of me over the years. Maintaining their friendship and respect means more to me than the prospects of being Governor and I was unwilling to jeopardize these longstanding relationships by embarking on an Independent campaign.”
Bolling also cited insufficient funds as one challenge which factored into his decision to abandon the election:
“The biggest challenge an Independent candidate faces is fundraising. You can have a winning message, but if you don’t have the resources to effectively communicate that message to voters you cannot win. Based on my discussions with key donors over the past three weeks, I was confident I could raise enough money to run a competitive campaign, but I was not confident I could raise enough money to run a winning campaign.”
In a letter to the Iowa Republican on the issue of involving Karl Rove’s controversial “Conservative Victory Project” in next year’s Republican primary to fill outgoing Senator Tom Harkin’s U.S. Senate seat, the head of the CVP has now backed off on the idea of challenging Congressman Steve King.
As this article in the February 2nd New York Times indicates, a potential King candidacy was very much on the mind of Rove and his backers. The article featured a photo of the Iowa Republican congressman, falsely accusing him of having agreed with the idiotic comments from 2012 Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin on rape. King did no such thing, specifically saying he disagreed. In spite of this, the CVP president Steven Law was quoted in the Times as saying:
“We’re concerned about Steve King’s Todd Akin problem,” Mr. Law said. “This is an example of candidate discipline and how it would play in a general election. All of the things he’s said are going to be hung around his neck.”
Now, while Law is still trying to say King said something he clearly did not, the Rove ally and CVP president has conceded that opposition from CVP to a King candidacy is “non-existent” — and went out of his way to note that Rove’s other group — American Crossroads – had supported King’s re-election to the House in 2012.
An interesting about-face. While the letter to the Iowa Republican contains a lot of Beltway mumbling, Law is clearly backing off in a letter that is as close to a public apology as Iowa Republicans and King will get.
It will be interesting to see if Law and Rove stick by Law’s promise of “non-existent” involvement against King in the Iowa Senate primary as 2014 gets closer.
This morning, as a light drizzle fell upon our nation’s capital, a line grew outside of The Dirksen Senate Office Building. Men and women, young and old, the be-suited and the uniformed, stood in the rain and waited. Imagine the line at your local DMV, whisked outside, and doused in a sprinkle.
All other doors to the Senate have been closed to visitors.
As reported in Politico, the Capitol Police Board announced that the sequester would mean fewer entrances and checkpoints around our Congressional campus. The changes were to go into effect at the stroke of midnight, Monday, March 11.
Closures were necessitated, and hours of access have been modified to “allow management to cut back on overtime pay to officers typically stationed at those posts.”
Perhaps what’s most remarkable about this political theater are the police officers who remain graciously stationed at each of the closed entrances to inform visitors that this is all because of that pesky sequester.
Credit goes to my colleague Josh Withrow for providing photographic evidence of this absurdity, and his thumb for the look of agitated immediacy.
Perhaps the less said the better about the continuing misrepresentations, either willful or dense, by Matthew Walther, with regard to my semi-defense of Roma Downey and her husband. The latest on the subject by Jackson Adams, however, is thoughtful, constructive, and enlightening. He writes:
Questioning motives is the easiest thing to embark upon and the most difficult thing to prove, and Mr. Hillyer is especially correct in urging caution on this point. To criticize motives one must be able to point them out in the producers’ own explanations.
It is for that reason that I try to avoid attacking motivations in the first place, at least until multiple occasions have provided enough history of bad will that the motives, rather than just the actions, are all too clear. That said, Jackson helpfully provides a video clip of the producers to demonstrate what he means. Having watched the clip, I find myself even more impressed, not less, by their motives. On this, Jackson and I will just respectfully disagree. Jackson makes a debatable point: “To encourage, perhaps even mandate, the teaching of the Bible in public schools as a primary document of Western civilization” is to quietly take away its self understood place as the inspired Word of God. To read the Bible merely in order to understand cultural references innoculates it, reflecting a kind of arrogance that is indeed well known on the continent of Europe.”
Hmmm. I think that understanding the Bible as literature and as a cultural reference is, or at least can be, an important stepping stone to understanding it as the inspired Word of God. I know all sorts of people who came to faith purely through intellect (C.S. Lewis did so largely through intellect) — and they could not have done so if they had not been fully introduced to its claims and its roots in the first place. In fact, in a secular culture where most school children just aren’t taught anything at all about the Bible, the exposure they might get to it in the classroom could mean the difference between faith and no faith. Furthermore, it remains absolutely true that even if the Bible is, as we believe, the inspired Word of God, it also is indubitably a cultural and literary touchstone and thus absolutely legitimate as a part of school curricula, which indeed are empty if schools make conscious efforts to avoid all mention of the Bible even where other literary or historical works make references that make no sense without the Biblical context.
I do continue to do more than quibble, however, with Jackson’s use of the word “hypocrite” (or “hypocritical”). That is a very strong word indeed. I think Jackson is misusing it; perhaps he misunderstands it. To be hypocritical is to be intentionally two-faced or misleading. It is almost axiomatic that one cannot be sincere and be a hypocrite at the same time. If one produces art that cheapens faith, and one knows that one is cheapening faith, but claims to be enhancing faith, then that is hypocrisy.Continue reading…
The second installment of The Bible fared somewhat better in terms of accuracy this week. I at least observed no grievous misrepresentations, barring a significant shortening of the Samson and Delilah story that took away the original’s mysterious charm — in the actual story Samson tells Delilah three different ways to lose his strength that prove false before giving her the correct one, this after being nagged “to death” (Judges 16:16). The series has Samson bluntly tell her without any ado whatsoever.
Here are the sentences from Quin’s original post that correspond in a fairly straightforward manner to the steps I listed in my response:
1) Bible sucks: “[T]he production is leaden and the dramatic licenses taken are neither good ideas nor particularly effective.”
2) Bible was also produced by nice people: “I think their intentions were entirely laudable.… I have been struck by how sincere she is and how laudable her goals seem to be. She clearly is a person of deep faith and of a good heart.”
3) Ergo, the show shouldn’t be criticized: “I think Jackson is too tough on its producers, especially on their motives.… I think all believers should applaud their overall intentions, and hope they succeed better in future endeavors.”
I’m willing to admit that 3) was not expressed as clearly as it might have been: a more accurate statement of what I take to be Quin’s conclusion is that criticism of bad art produced by a “nice” person or a person with “laudable” intentions should be tempered. My larger point still stands, though: if art is not a matter of disinterested aesthetic production (or even simple desire to entertain) but rather a vehicle by which a political, social, or cultural agenda may be furthered, then it is entirely reasonable to make the jump from 2) to 3). This is simply not how I see art. Quin, however, has made it clear that he supports the efforts of conservatives who wish to make films in the hope of furthering their political and cultural agenda. It seems fairly obvious to me that he wants to encourage talentless people like the Downeys in their future endeavors not because he hopes to see great future works of art produced but because he wants more people to think and feel as he does.
A few follow-up points:Continue reading…
On Monday, The Netherlands defeated Cuba 7-6 in Tokyo on a 9th inning sacrifice fly by Kalian Sams to advance to the semi-finals of the World Baseball Classic. The Netherlands will face two-time WBC Champion Japan at AT & T Park next Sunday. The winner will face the United States, Puerto Rico, Italy or the Dominican Republic in the WBC Final.
It was the second time The Netherlands had beat Cuba in the tournament. They also bested Cuba twice at the 2011 Baseball World Cup in Panama.
Still, it is a significant achievement given that Cuba has been a baseball powerhouse for decades while the Dutch are only beginning to emerge as an international player.
I would love it if The Netherlands and Italy were to face off in the WBC Final. No one would have seen that one coming.
I have no problem with somebody criticizing the Roma Downey production of The Bible. But somehow Matthew interprets my defense of Downey’s motives with a defense of the production itself. That’s a sort of strange mis-reading of a rather clear post in which I write that the production “fails to achieve lift-off.” I never, ever said that the show shouldn’t be criticized; I very clearly said that Jackson had been “too tough on its producers,” especially in his use of the word “hypocrite” to describe them. I would have been fine with criticism of what I called the “leaden” production. I just didn’t think the producer’s motives should be attacked along with their creation — or at least not attacked in terms as harsh as “hypocrite.” It is quite obvious to any sentient being that sometimes people’s reach exceeds their grasp, and that sometimes people’s attempts at art fail to achieve a satisfactory outcome. Has not Matthew ever tried to do something but failed? Or has he never gone into a project with a poorly formed idea of what the project really entails? I agree that Downey and her husband exhibit “fuzzy” thinking about the actual Bible and probably about the content of most people’s faith. I just took great pains to explain why I thought Downey is, rather than hypocrtical, entirely sincere — and why she’s also doing a great thing by insisting that the “separation of church and state” should not be interpreted to mean that schools can’t study the Bible.
But there is absolutely no “logical leap” in what I’ve written — because I didn’t come close to writing what Matthew said I did. How in the Lord’s name Matthew can fail to recognize the distinction that I made is beyond me. I would appreciate him in the future abstain from mischaracterizing what I wrote. Yes, if I had written what he said, he would have had a point. But instead he created a straw man, placed me in the straw man’s suit, and then proceeded to light the match.
It also was really frustrating to see him accuse me of relegating art to the “cienaga” (fancy word alert! — meaning “marsh” or “mire”) of politics. Roma Downey wrote a WSJ column about the needs of education (not politics), and I endorsed her educational project. If endorsing the idea of teaching the Bible in public schools, as literature, is a cienaga, then please, please, please can I and all people who care about the educational enterprise be sent into that glorious swamp?
So, after reading Jackson’s column (and Quin’s response to it) last week, I found myself turning on a rerun of Bible this weekend to see what all the fuss is about. (“Turning on” here is actually code for “watching five minutes before shutting off the television and wondering whether I should throw away my last $5 bill on a double bourbon at the bar next door or run two blocks to the nearest church and make confession.”)
My apologies to Quin, but if anything Jackson is too soft on the show’s producers. Bible is rubbish; tawdry, banal, possibly even sacreligious rubbish that makes Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments look like Gregory of Nyssa’s Life of Moses by comparison. Jackson quotes producer Roma Downey saying that “We’ve tried to make it gritty and real and authentic.” Absolute rot. How does one make the Word of the Lord (verbum Domni) “gritty” or “authentic,” much less “real”? Isn’t God’s unique revelation to mankind as, uh, “real” as it gets? Goodness knows we’ve already produced plenty of nonsense “translations” of the Bible (including the NAB read at the Novus Ordo Mass in the United States) to accommodate il- and post-literates. How much further do we need to fall on the downward spiral of crassness and impiety before we’ve achieved that most essential of postmodern existential imperatives, “authenticity”?
Quin’s argument seems to be:
1) Bible sucks.
2) Bible was also produced by “nice” people.
3) Ergo, the show shouldn’t be criticized.
There’s a logical leap between 2) and 3) above that I don’t think any critic should feel obligated to make. It depends upon an unspoken premise that if a nice person (or a person with “good intentions”) creates bad art, he or she should not be attacked for doing so. Only someone to whom art is nothing more than propaganda could possibly believe such a thing. Lots of people with admittedly “good intentions” are philistine vulgarians, and I for one would rather watch a well-made film about the life of a leftist saint (e.g., Gus Van Sant’s Milk) than, say, an anti-abortion drama with Hallmark Channel production values.
Can we please allow art and criticism (even of film and television) to float above the cienaga of politics?
Looks like the folks over at the Salisbury Review have decided to put several of their previous issues online free of charge. Certainly worth checking out. If you enjoy what you read, you might even consider subscribing for only $16 a year!
The Salisbury Review is an oasis of incisive, well-written conservative reaction in a transatlantic desert of wishy-washiness. Its editorial line is, to quote Churchill on his friend, mentor, and commanding officer Col. John Palmer Brabazon, that of diehard Toryism of the strictest and most robust school. It makes National Review look like The Nation. (Its editors handle correspondence by carrier pigeon for goodness’ sake!)
A preview, here.
The kind of “wacko” who gives wackism a truly good name. Take that, Mr. McCain.
Earlier this morning, Breitbart News had posted an article about Paul Krugman filing for bankruptcy after years of lavish spending, seeming to show the irony of someone recommending big spending being done in by those policies on a personal level.
It is a story that has been making its way around the web for a few days, and was picked up at the relatively reputable Boston.com except that it appears to have been posted by a blogger rather than a reporter. That blogger picked up the story from an Austrian magazine, Format. The Austrian magazine noted at the end of the piece that they got the story from the web site The Daily Currant which is a satire site, like an online version of The Onion.
In short, the story about Krugman going bankrupt is an amusing bit of satire, one which many non-leftists might hope to be true — but which isn’t true.
If you see the story being passed around as fact, you are now armed with the truth. I don’t like seeing “our side” passing around untruths because it makes us seem less credible. To be clear, the story was obviously explicitly satire given the source, and the fault with making it seem as if it were a real story lies with those who aren’t doing the one minute of fact-checking needed to recognize where it came from.
The online betting site intrade.com, where I used to have an account to trade/gamble on political events, has a rather frightening message on its home page now. Makes me very glad I closed my account in November. Sounds like embezzlement…
To Our Customers:
With sincere regret we must inform you that due to circumstances recently discovered we must immediately cease trading activity on www.intrade.com.
These circumstances require immediate further investigation, and may include financial irregularities which in accordance with Irish law oblige the directors to take the following actions:
- Cease exchange trading on the website immediately.
- Settle all open positions and calculate the settled account value of all Member accounts immediately.
- Cease all banking transactions for all existing Company accounts immediately.
During the upcoming weeks, we will investigate these circumstances further and determine the necessary course of action.
To mitigate any further risk to members’ accounts, we have closed and settled all open contracts at fair market value as of the close of business on March 10, 2013, in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of our customers’ use of the website. You may view your account details and settled account balances by logging into the website.
At this time and until further notice, it is not possible to make any payments to members in accordance with their settled account balance until the investigations have concluded.
The Company will continue the maintenance and technology operations of the exchange system so that all information is preserved properly.
We are not able to provide telephone support or live help services at this time, please contact the company by email at: email@example.com
We appreciate your custom and support over the years. We are committed to reporting faithfully the status of things as they are clarified and hope you will bear with us as we do all we can to resume operations as promptly as possible.
The Board of Directors of Intrade the Prediction Market Limited
She takes a lot of heat, but her column on the conservative hawk response to Rand Paul’s filibuster is sheer excellence. The two best paragraphs:
Conservative hawks sought to divide Paul from the larger GOP on his broader national security vision rather than find some commonality with his insistence on a straight answer from this administration. It is not loony or delusional or irrelevant to require a president, who has been so cavalier with the truth and so willing to aggrandize executive power, to acknowledge some limit on his authority; it is disturbing that the administration had to be humiliated into providing an answer about domestic drone use against non-combatant Americans. …
Hawks have been remarkably inept lately in public diplomacy and in putting some fences around political theory. They have stopped making cogent arguments for some policies either because either there are none (really is there some justification for continuing to pump up the Muslim Brotherhood?) or because like other conservatives they are trapped in an echo chamber. I will put this bluntly: They now face a Rand Paul problem because they did not construct a sound, reasonable national security policy that would endure over time. In short, they lost the public and now they are panicked that Paul may win the party and the country over.
I’m surely more dovish than Rubin on a lot of things. And I wouldn’t mind seeing Paul win over both the party and the country. But her broader goal here, charting a tough foreign policy that still respects our civil liberties and holds the executive branch accountable, is one we all ought to seek.
Our diamonds in the rough from this week: some must read stories!
Samuel Gregg on how we might still avoid the fate of Europe.
Could there be an education proposal more straightforward than assigning the Great Works?
A Malaysian scandal raises questions about 21st-century journalism.
Political and economic crisis can create strange bedfellows, as Egypt and Iran are proving.
Government regs have driven costs up — yet diesel power still may be the way to go.
On Saturday, I was watching the World Baseball Classic game between Canada and Mexico and all hell broke loose.
Canada had a 9-3 lead in the top of the 9th when catcher Chris Robinson bunted for a leadoff single. Now bunting with a six run lead in MLB is severely frowned upon. However, under WBC rules, the number of runs scored can determine a team advances to a successive round. Apparently Team Mexico didn’t know this or at the very least third baseman Luis Cruz didn’t get the memo. He signalled to pitcher Arnold Leon to throw at Rene Tosoni. Home plate umpire Brian Gorman issued a warning which Leon proceeded to ignore.
In all seven players were ejected from the proceedings including Boston Red Sox pitcher Alfredo Aceves. To make matters worse, Team Mexico fans began to throw debris on the field including a water bottle which hit Canadian pitching coach Dennis Boucher’s face. This nearly resulted in Mexico forfeiting the game. But order was restored and Canada won the game 10-3 and following Team USA’s victory over Italy, Mexico was officially eliminated from the tournament.
Canada and the United States will play tomorrow afternoon to determine which team advances to the second round in Miami along with Italy who upset Mexico earlier this week.
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?