Latest News

The Congressional Spectator

Senators Slippery on Iran Deal

By 8.27.15

The authors of our U.S. Constitution envisioned Senators as serious-minded leaders. Now many act like weasels. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) , Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), and Cory Booker (D-NJ), and others — some 18 senators in all — give slippery, noncommittal answers about the proposed deal with Iran and claim they are studying the issue. Sorry. They’re dodging the issue. 

Watching these senators avoid taking a stand is nauseating. If this deal is approved, our children will face the threat of a nuclear war with Iran. These senators are not worried about that. They’re looking out for their own political futures and squirming under pressure from the White House to support the deal, while opponents warn that the deal is a serious threat to America and a death sentence for Israel.

These senators are gaming the system. If the President appears to have enough votes without them, the White House will quietly release them to vote against the deal. Otherwise, they’ll have to vote with Obama, the safety of our children and Israel be damned.

Media Matters

Jorge Ramos Gets Trumped

By 8.27.15

Jorge Ramos played the race card in an Iowa press conference.

Donald Trump would have none of it. Bravo.

So as the scene unfolded on CNN, there is Donald Trump in Iowa, holding a press conference.

And from off screen comes this insistent voice — barely heard as there was no microphone for the unidentified speaker. But even barely heard it was clear whoever it was had a cause to promote — an agenda. Trump, the anti-Hillary who repeatedly talks to reporters of all stripes, all networks, all publications, was clearly in the process of calling on another reporter. The speaker was having none of this. He demanded attention from Trump — right NOW! 

As it came clear that Trump — no Bernie Sanders he — was not going to be bullied by whomever and would actually run his own press conference — the cameras pulled back to reveal the rude guy.

Special Report

Happy Anniversary #GamerGate, Love Adam Baldwin

By 8.27.15

Today marks the one year anniversary of #GamerGate, an online phenomenon that has permanently altered the world of online journalism and the landscape of media ethics. It has had an impact, as well, on politics and public policy. For an introduction to #GamerGate, please see Mytheos Holt’s primer on #GamerGate from yesterday. Today we post a tribute from a Hollywood veteran of this freedom fight.

One year ago, I coined the hashtag #GamerGate on Twitter. I couldn’t have imagined then the controversy that would follow. Ever since, I’ve been near the center of an online conversation that's transforming an industry I’ve long admired, and worked within.

In helping to catalyze that conversation, my hopes turned to opening the eyes of young consumers: the people who help support the video game industry, as well as many careers in Hollywood. They’ve long been incredibly passionate, devoted friends and lovers of the art that we create — playgrounds where people can live out their dreams and aspirations after long days on the job. 

The Health Care Spectator

Reform, Replace, Restart, or Innovate?

By 8.27.15

Editor’s Note: Debra J. Saunders is off. The following column is by Veronique de Rugy.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker recently released his replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act and jump-started the presidential debate about how to wind down Obamacare.

In his book Overcoming Obamacare, the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein catalogs the three main schools of thought regarding post-ACA policy: reform, replace, and restart. The restart school needs a little explaining. It would repeal the ACA and implement reforms as lawmakers would have at 2009 spending levels, had they a chance.

The main difference among the three approaches is how much their proponents favor the government’s role in providing health insurance. The plans formulated by the restart school are often the ideologically purest of them all. Its biggest current advocate in the presidential race is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Walker, on the other hand, belongs to the replace school.

Another Perspective

Criminal Justice Reform Begins With Fair Sentencing and Fair Chances

By 8.27.15

Political conservatives who, since at least the Nixon administration, have worn with pride the badge of “tough on crime” are beginning to realize that tough doesn’t necessarily mean the same as being “smart on crime.”

Just as the private sector has embraced the mantra of “working smarter, not harder,” it’s time for federal and state officials to acknowledge the need for a smarter and more cost-effective criminal justice system.

Reducing life-without-parole sentences is one of several planks in the Coalition for Public Safety’s nonpartisan campaign for fair sentencing and fair chances, the overall goal of which is aimed at reducing the nation’s burgeoning jail and prison populations and breaking down the barriers to successful re-entry into society.

Breaking News

Murder Most Foul

By 8.26.15

On Wednesday morning Vester L. Flanagan II, aka Bryce Williams, shot 24-year-old reporter Alison Parker and 27-year-old cameraman Adam Ward who were both employees at WDBJ Television in Roanoke, Virginia, where Flanagan had previously been employed. Another woman, Vicki Gardner, who was being interviewed by Parker at the time, was shot in the back and is reported in stable condition after surgery.

Parker’s boyfriend, Chris Hurst, said the two of them were “very much in love” and that he is “numb.” Parker’s family issued a brief statement to Entertainment Tonight: “Today we received news that no family should ever hear. Our vivacious, ambitious, smart, engaging, hilarious, beautiful, and immensely talented Alison was taken from the world. This is senseless and our family is crushed.”

Special Report

Things Louisiana People Will Tell You About Katrina, Part One

By 8.26.15

At my site, which covers Louisiana politics, we’re not doing a 10-year anniversary thing about Hurricane Katrina, which blew through Southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi gulf coast at the end of August 2005. Our readers are not asking for one.

But on Monday Wlady Pleszczynski asked me to offer a perspective on Katrina as we mark that ugly historical event, and I notice this week that the major media is taking a great deal of ghoulish pleasure in revisiting all the horrors Mother Nature inflicted on New Orleans and the surrounding area in that horrible time, with the long and painful recovery that still isn’t complete.

So while this is a command performance rather than a labor of love, I offer a handful of items with a perspective you probably won’t hear elsewhere amid the media hurricane, in two parts.

In this installment, we’ll attack the question of who actually gets the blame here in Louisiana for the poor Katrina response.

Special Report

The Babies With Disabilities Act

By 8.26.15

The Left presents itself as a great champion of the disabled even as it favors wiping them out in the womb. This stark contradiction resurfaced this week as liberals complained about a proposed law in Ohio that would outlaw abortions motivated by a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome in the child.

In protesting the proposed law, the Left has reiterated its raw support for eugenic abortion, which is reaching levels even Hitler may not have anticipated. Some studies on eugenic abortion suggest as many as nine out of ten unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. In the face of these staggering numbers, liberals just shrug. Their attitude was once summed up by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she bloodlessly approved of the eugenic rationale for Roe v. Wade by saying,  “Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of.”

Political Hay

Trump the Trickster and Our National Identity

By 8.26.15

The rise of Donald Trump, which at the same time is a repudiation of a well-thinking and comfortable Republican establishment, represents a critical point of inflection in our understanding of the wellsprings of human action. Oddly enough, it’s best illuminated by Friedrich Nietzsche in this little allegory from Thus Spoke Zarathustra:

At Large

A Tale of Two Societies

By 8.26.15

How many of us could walk through the desert to sit outside of school because we had such a thirst for knowledge? Gaze through a hole in a mud schoolhouse with a tin roof? Stare at a chalk board covered in symbols, seeing letters for the first time? Walk home for several hours? And then be beaten upon arrival for resisting a predetermined destiny to be a shepherd?

The man who did all of this and more is Mohed Altrad, the son of a Bedouin girl in Syria who was either 12 or 13 when she was first raped by his father, the leader of their nomadic tribe. Into these horrific circumstances Mohed and his elder brother were born. Altrad says he does not remember his mother’s name, but he does know that she died giving birth to him.

His elder brother was eventually murdered by his father, leaving Mohed to be raised by his maternal grandmother just outside Raqqa, which like many towns and cities in Syria is now controlled by the Islamic State (ISIS). Back then it was the place he called home.