When Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) accused unnamed male senators of sexually harassing her, but chose not to name them, there were really only a couple of ways the story could go.
The harassers must be Democrats, and Gillibrand did not want to name them to shame them. Sen. Gillibrand was, therefore, protecting her own harassers for political reasons.
Or the harassers must be Republicans, and Gillibrand was waiting to reveal their names closer to the mid-terms, to shake up the election and launch the latest offensive in the phony “war on women.” Gillibrand was therefore delaying naming the perps for political reasons.
Either way, Gillibrand knew that there remain sexual harassers in the Senate, but politics stopped her from telling the truth about them.
Well, there was a third possibility — that Gillibrand was making it all up for political and victimhood reasons. But the first two seemed more likely. It’s not a revelation that there are boors in politics and in Congress.
The first possibility was causing Gillibrand problems that she did not anticipate. It was Republican-leaning pundits who spent more time demanding names than anyone else.
The New York Times today kills off the second and third possibilities, and pins the rap on a dead guy.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, caused a commotion this month when she revealed in a memoir how her male colleagues felt free to comment rather vividly on her weight. The senator came under pressure to reveal the names of the perpetrators, but declined, setting off a guessing game in Washington.
Probably the most egregious incident was when a senior senator squeezed her waist and told her: “Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby!”
It turns out the senator was the late Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii, the decorated veteran and civil rights hero, according to people with knowledge of the incident.
With his deep baritone and courtly manner, Mr. Inouye was revered by his colleagues and was a powerhouse in both Hawaii and the Senate, where he was a reliable supporter of women’s rights.
But in an all but forgotten chapter of his career, the senator had been accused of sexual misconduct: In 1992, his hairdresser said that Mr. Inouye had forced her to have sex with him.
Now that Inouye is dead, he makes an easy target. It’s all very convenient — Gillibrand doesn’t have to name and shame any living Democrats now. The story she created gets to be swept away. And Inouye’s leisure time activities are pretty well known by now, so this revelation lets all the air out of the Gillibrand story.
Sure, as the story notes, Inouye’s activities became a campaign issue in 1992, in the same year that Bill Clinton’s sexcapades became a campaign issue and a plurality of American voters decided that character doesn’t matter. But being Democrats, Inouye and Clinton could wage all the war on women that they wanted. They both won, and were re-elected later on. Inouye carried his harassment of a fellow senator to the grave.
Had either been Republicans, they would have been Bob Packwooded out of office, only to have Joe Biden admit that he misses them now.
Side note: Packwood. Wasn’t that his problem?
Exit question: As we see the Times kick a dead Democrat now that he can’t fight back, what will we eventually learn once Bill Clinton passes on to the next life?
The net’s buzzing about this clip, in which Alaska TV reporter Charlo Greene resigns with an obscenity.
It seems to me that there are about a million better ways to do this, none of which would jeopardize the station’s FCC license. I know, it’s funny, and it’s buzzkill to talk about being a professional.
But even more than that, who tasked this reporter with reporting on an issue in which she has a personal and professional interest? Greene is on the air reporting about the effort to legalize pot in Alaska. As the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, she had no business being the reporter on this story. Either she didn’t disclose her personal interest in the story, or the station didn’t ask, or the station knew but didn’t care. Which is it?
So Greene quit unprofessionally, and will have a tough time getting another media job anywhere if she wants one, but the station’s assignment editor needs to answer a few questions too.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he thinks the fight against ISIS will eventually evolve from an air campaign to fighting on the ground.
President Obama has repeatedly stressed that there will be no U.S. boots on the ground, but Blair said commanders will need to assess that as the battle heats up.
“We have got absolutely no choice but to do this, and not just in order to contain and then destroy the onward march of ISIS, but also to send a very strong signal to the other terrorist groups operating in the region and beyond the region that we intend to take action and intend to see it through,” Blair told CNN on Sunday.
“You certainly need to fight groups like ISIS on the ground. It is possible that those people who are there locally and who have the most immediate interest in fighting ISIS can carry on the ground offensive against them,” he continued.
“But, look, this will evolve over time, I’m sure, and I’m sure that the leadership both in the U.S. and elsewhere will make sure that whatever is necessary to defeat ISIS is done. I think, by the way, no one’s talking — there’s no need to put in a kind of army of occupation. I mean, you’re not rerunning Iraq or Afghanistan.”
But, Blair stressed, “there will undoubtedly be, over time, a need to hit ISIS not simply through an aerial campaign, but also on the ground.”
“And the question will be, can those people, if they’re supported locally, can they do the job or will we have to supplement that?” he asked.
The former prime minister called the beheadings of British and American citizens “horrific, it’s evil, and it’s totally contrary to the principles of any form of religious faith.”
“How many British-born jihadists are going from Britain to fight in Syria, the estimates are several hundred have gone there. This is not, unfortunately, though, a problem just for Britain. Most European countries also have foreign fighters there,” Blair said.
“…I mean, these people aren’t going because they’re mistreated back in the U.K. They’re given the benefit of a free education, free health care. They’re given all the benefits of the freedom that comes living in a country like Britain.”
Blair said the Brits who have signed up with ISIS “have been subject to an ideology that’s come in from abroad that, unfortunately, is not just limited to Britain, but is right round the world today.”
“It’s an ideology based on a complete perversion of the proper faith of Islam, but it is powerful. It is proselytized and preached by people in mosques, in madrasas, not just in countries like Pakistan and parts of the Middle East and parts of Africa, but even back in parts of Britain,” he continued. “And one of the things that we have got to look at as a country is, how do you root this kind of teaching out and make it absolutely clear that it is completely unacceptable to teach these forms of extremism, whether in a formal school setting or an informal school setting?”
At least, according to the “People’s Climate” marchers who trashed New York City this weekend.
These people want to impose socialism, the brutal system that has failed or is failing everywhere it has ever been tried.
Former President Bill Clinton said he agreed with his wife in an administration squabble three years ago over arming Syrian rebels at the start of the uprising against Bashar al-Assad.
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argued for arming the unified opposition then, before the Free Syrian Army took a beating and terrorist groups set up shop in the war-torn country.
“I would have taken the chance. I also agree with her when she said we can’t know whether it would have worked or not, and that’s when you have to be careful when you make these commitments because you can’t know,” Clinton told CNN. “But since ISIS has plenty of money, it’s one of the great bank robbers in human history among other things, they were going to get their weapons one way or the other so I would have risked it.”
“And besides, when we were talking about doing it, there was no ISIS,” the former commander in chief added. “However, it was an argument she lost within the administration and she admitted then and acknowledged in her book that she can’t know that if her recommendation had been followed it would have worked. That’s one of those things you can’t know. That’s why all these decisions are hard.”
Clinton called the overall Syria question the “much harder” piece of the puzzle.
“I support giving the forces that we most closely identify with greater capacity to fight ISIS. The whole question about the Syrian government is really academic. Between the Iranians and the Russians and others, they will give them enough money and military capacity to do what they have to do,” he said, referring to Assad’s main avenues of support.
“I think that the worst enemy right now is ISIS, and I don’t think we should be in a position of directly coordinating with or cooperating with Assad, but I think we all recognize what would happen if ISIS had like a monster-like state that included most of Syria and Iraq, and — but I don’t — I think, therefore, that when the president said we’d cooperate with a moderate Syrian forces, they’re the only people we have to try to empower there to do their part in this struggle.”
On the subject of ISIS using beheadings to provoke an American response, Clinton noted “there’s a difference in, for example, using targeted drones and airstrikes as we did against al-Qaeda effectively for years to try to take down their leadership and infrastructure and let them know they can’t just decapitate people for the cheap thrill of the global media response and horrify people and get away with it and getting bogged down in the kind of war they would like us to get bogged down in that would cost us a lot of lives and a lot of treasure and inevitably lead to greater civilian casualties, which is why I think the president’s strategy has a chance of succeeding because the Iraqi government is now more inclusive than it has been since the fall of Saddam Hussein.”
“And that seems to be awakening, if you will, the willingness of the Sunni tribal leaders to participate in fighting,” he said. “We know the Kurds and the Peshmerga are willing to fight. If we can help them and support them, I think the larger fight against ISIS can continue as it should as a local struggle for the freedom and liberty of the people.”
Police gun buy-back programs are a) stupid and b) cheap weasels. They tend to offer potential sellers no more than a quarter of what the guns in question are actually worth (other than the non-working guns, which aren’t any more of a threat than a baseball bat). They also do nothing to make the public any safer. Gun safety courses would do that. Removing Eric Holder from office for Fast and Furious would do that, too. Gun buy-back programs don’t do that.
And how can the government “buy back” something that it never owned in the first place? The phrase “buy back” implies previous ownership.
Two police departments outside Boston, MA — Waltham and Beltmont — held a gun buy-back program on Saturday. It was a typically cheapskate affair.
- Participants will receive Visa gift cards for the following: $50 for a rifle or shotgun, $100 for a functioning handgun and $200 for an assault weapon.
That’s pennies on the dollar. Especially for the so-called “assault weapons.” Those tend to retail for several hundred dollars at the low end, even used. They can go for thousands at the top end. Savvy gun owners will know this, and will stay away from gun “buy-back” programs. Especially if there’s a gun show going on anywhere nearby. Or a decent pawn shop.
These buy-backs are also incentives for thieves to steal guns and then sell them to police for quick cash, no questions asked. But we’re not supposed to consider that.
One Massachusetts man decided to provide the Waltham buy-back program a little capitalist competition. He went there during the event and held up a sign that said he’d pay more than the police were offering.
I was there for 15 seconds literally, on the sidewalk right near the entrance. Two cops, one Belmont and one Waltham came over to me and asked what the sign said. I showed them “WILL PAY CASH FOR GUNS, AMMO, ETC.” They were pissed. started saying oh no, you’re not doing that here, etc. I argued with them for 5 minutes, they threatened me for soliciting without a vendor’s license. So I said oh, what if I change my sign and have it say “Don’t get screwed, go to a gun dealer and get 4 times the money”. They said that would be legal but she would have the largest Waltham PD cop on duty come down and block me and harass me the whole time.
I really felt the love.
I went back to my car, Lt Dectective dickhead brooks came across the street, I put my hand out to shake and he did, then started yelling and getting his panties wedged up his tight ass. Sbi showed up about then and detective tight ass was trying to harass us both. Sbi and I were perfectly calm, knew what we were talking about, etc. unlike those tools. It was worth the trip just for the experience. I hope I raised brooks blood pressure enough for him to have a heart attack later. The woman from Belmont wasn’t bad after we chatted a bit. The Waltham pd must have the jbt manual.
I wish someone could have recorded their faces when they read the sign. They said what’s this, I said competition. They didn’t want to play.
One of the posters pointed out that the police probably lacked a vendor’s license too. Also, are they federally licensed firearm dealers? Probably not. Those licenses are expensive.
Congress barely returned from the five-week summer recess, and now lawmakers have left again until Election Day.
The House had originally been scheduled to come back for one week in October, but House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told lawmakers to leave Thursday and not come back until after midterms. The Senate also wrapped up Thursday.
That meant eight days of work were completed between recesses.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released a list of five things he thinks the Senate should have stuck around to work on:
- ISIS – “Instead of going into recess, the Senate should be debating whether President Obama’s plan actually accomplishes the goal of destroying ISIS, as well as the appropriateness of involving ourselves in another Middle Eastern conflict.”
- Obamacare – “On Obamacare we should be repealing the job-killing medical device tax, allowing families to buy health insurance across state lines and enabling small businesses to pool their resources and purchase more affordable health insurance. All of these are step-by-step reforms that will repair the damage of Obamacare by increasing freedom and choice and driving down the cost of health insurance.”
- Jobs – “On jobs, we should remove the big, wet blanket of burdensome regulations the Obama administration has thrown over the economy, approve projects like the Keystone Pipeline and reform and streamline federal worker training programs. All of these proposals would get Washington out of the way and make it easier for Americans to find a job.”
- Education – “On education we need to fix No Child Left Behind and send back to states all the decisions about common core and academic standards and tests to stop the Obama administration from acting like a national school board. We could also make it easier for students to go to college by simplifying the 108-question student aid form that keeps an estimated 40,000 Tennesseans from receiving student aid.”
- Debt – “On debt, the Senate should pass the plan Senator Corker and I have proposed that would reduce the growth of out-of-control entitlement spending by nearly $1 trillion over the next 10 years. If we don’t fix the federal government’s nearly $18 trillion debt, which is currently more than $55,000 per Tennessean, we risk letting America slip from the hands of the ‘greatest generation’ to the ‘debt-paying generation’ with nothing to show for it but the bill.”
“The Senate should be working instead of going into recess, and a Republican majority wouldn’t tolerate such nonsense,” Alexander said in his statement. “We should be standing up to terrorists, repairing the damage of Obamacare, making it easier to find a good job, sending education decisions back to states and fixing the debt.”
“Instead, Harry Reid and the Democrat Senate majority have wasted time on political stunts like a proposal to limit free speech and kept the Senate from addressing real issues – it’s no wonder Americans are frustrated.”
A power-sharing deal in Afghanistan has brought about a resolution to the June presidential runoff, making a candidate who once used Clinton adviser James Carville for his campaign the successor to Hamid Karzai.
Ashraf Ghani’s win in the presidential contest marred by election fraud gives Afghanistan a Christian first lady: his Lebanese wife, Rula.
Former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, who emerged from the first round of voting in May with lead, will assume the newly created post of chief executive, with similar duties to a prime minister.
Abdullah and Ghani signed the agreement in a ceremony broadcast across the country on TV.
“The President spoke with Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah earlier today to congratulate them on concluding their agreement for a government of national unity and safeguarding the first democratic and peaceful transfer of leadership in Afghanistan’s history,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement Sunday.
“The President thanked Drs. Ghani and Abdullah for their leadership and willingness to partner to advance Afghanistan’s national interests,” Earnest continued. ”The President reaffirmed the United States’ strategic partnership with Afghanistan and commitment to continue its support to the new Afghan government.”
Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the deal as “a moment of extraordinary statesmanship.”
“These two men have put the people of Afghanistan first, and they’ve ensured that the first peaceful democratic transition in the history of their country begins with national unity,” Kerry said.
“Americans know very well that the road to democracy is contentious and challenging, but it’s a road that leads to the best place. It doesn’t happen overnight. We’ve had our own contentious elections and witnessed their aftermath. I’ve lived some of them. But if my recent visits to Kabul and the hours upon hours on the phone with these two men have taught me anything, it’s how invested Afghanistan is in this historic effort.”
Kerry added that Afghanistan “has an enormous opportunity to grow stronger from this recent moment of testing.”
“Elections are not the end. They must be the beginning, where Afghanistan and its people move forward on a reform agenda and make improvements to the electoral process,” he said. “…The United States remains determined to honor the Afghan people’s historic achievement by helping their transition succeed.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) noted ”the election, especially the tabulation, has been rough, but there is cause for hope, if things change.”
“After nearly 13 years under the failed policies of the Karzai administration, Afghanistan desperately needs a fresh start with a new leader and innovative ideas,” Royce said. “…President-elect Ghani must confront many challenges, including rampant corruption, revenue shortfalls, and a very challenging security situation.”
After the Taliban took over, Ghani taught at UC Berkeley and Johns Hopkins. After the fall of the Taliban, he returned to his home after 24 years away and became chief adviser to Karzai, receiving wide coverage in international media. Ghani ran against Karzai in 2009 yet finished fourth; he hired James Carville as a campaign consultant then. He’s for women’s rights but also supports negotiating with the Taliban if the terrorists agree to a ceasefire first.
Citing Karzai’s corruption, Abdullah, a doctor and former adviser in the Northern Alliance that battled the Taliban and al-Qaeda before the coalition invasion, ran for president in 2009 but withdrew due to the tainted election process. He has criticized Karzai’s intention of negotiating with the Taliban.
The lone Texas gubernatorial debate took place in the Rio Grande Valley Friday night. Front-runner Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican, just had to get through the debate without making any negative news. The pressure was all on Wendy Davis, Democrat state senator trailing by a lot in the polls, to make something — anything positive — happen.
Well, she made something happen. But it wasn’t positive.
Davis attacked Abbott over a school finance lawsuit that’s in appeal.
Abbott responded that as attorney general, he has an obligation to follow the law and keep the suit going.
Davis then went into unleashed mode, and talked over everyone. Her actions are aptly being called a “meltdown” statewide. The moderator felt compelled to remind her of the debate rules.
You can hear in the clip, Davis calling on Abbott to ignore a state law in the matter and “stand up to the legislature.”
That would be the legislature of which Davis is a member, which passed a law concerning when the attorney general may not just settle a case, as Davis wants him to do in this case. That law is S.B. 899, which passed during the 2011 session of the Texas legislature. Davis ought to remember, because she was there. It prohibits the state attorney general from entering into a settlement that costs over $10 million or that “commits the state to a continuing increased expenditure of state funds over subsequent biennia” without the legislature’s approval. The school finance case would clearly cost far more than that.
So Attorney General Abbott, following the law, cannot settle the school finance suit unless the legislature authorizes him to do so. That’s the law. He reminded Davis of her own record on that law.
Namely, that Wendy Davis voted for that very law.
Wendy Davis was clearly very unhappy to have her own record used against her. So she stepped all over the debate rules and ended up advocating that the elected attorney general break the law just to satisfy her.
Wendy Davis violated the debate rules, which isn’t a huge deal, but she did so in pursuit of trying to goad her opponent into breaking a state law — which she voted for and which as a lawyer, Davis knows that the attorney general cannot do.
That is a huge deal. It’s a disqualifying deal.
It’s at this point that Texas writers usually deploy a finishing phrase — that dog won’t hunt, Davis is all hat and no cattle, she’s a gun with no ammo that still manages to misfire — that sort of thing. All of those phrases and a whole lot more fit the Davis run for governor. She’s all hype and no substance. She’s one-dimensional, just a left side who’s never right. But those two minutes showed a deep problem with Wendy Davis as a candidate, a lawyer and a person.
Not only did Wendy Davis meltdown at the mere mention of her own record, showing an intemperate side that would wear thin quickly with daily exposure, she signaled that if she were ever entrusted with executive authority of any kind in state government, she would not hesitate to shred state law and the Constitution if she found them to be in the way of pursuing her leftwing agenda. Davis would form a government unto herself and just ignore precedent, current law, and the people’s representatives in the legislature.
That’s just not how things work. Not now, and hopefully not ever.
Watch the whole embarrassing two minutes on the next page.
My social media feed has lit up with cyber-angst and the digital rending of robes in response to comments made by Ann Coulter in her most recent column. “Ann Coulter Wants to Drown Libertarian Voters” reads the headline over at Before It’s News. “Ann Coulter just told libertarian voters that she wants to drown them,” echos the libertarian publication Rare. Reason piles on as well. Even some lefty publications have jumped on the bandwagon.
The problem with these headlines, and some of the writing which follows them, is the attention they deflect from the vital point she made. If you take time to soberly read Coulter’s column, it becomes clear her comments were benign and even in libertarians’ best interest. She wasn’t addressing libertarians as such, but voters who throw their vote away on third party candidates. The relevant excerpt:
The biggest current danger for Republicans is that idiots will vote for Libertarian candidates in do-or-die Senate elections, including Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina and Colorado. (That’s in addition to the “Independent” in Kansas who’s a Democrat.) Democratic candidates don’t have to put up with this crap — they’re even trying to dump the official Democrat in Kansas to give the stealth Democrat a better shot.
When we’re all dying from lack of health care across the United States of Mexico, we’ll be deeply impressed with your integrity, libertarians.
Which brings me to my final assignment this week: If you are considering voting for the Libertarian candidate in any Senate election, please send me your name and address so I can track you down and drown you.
I won’t waste time defending Coulter’s rhetorical choices. Suffice it to say, she’s read widely due in large part to her antagonistic style. But when you push past that to the substance of her argument, where is she wrong?
Indeed, a few cycles back, the Democrats did a fair job of browbeating their third party competitors into towing the line for the sake of “the greater good.” Remember Michael Moore and Bill Maher getting on their knees to beg Ralph Nader not to run for president in 2004?
USA Today sums up the situation for hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who may owe the IRS for overpayment of subsidies for Obamacare policies: “Sadly, it’s fair to say some people will see some unexpected, unpleasant surprises on their tax returns next year.”
If you’re receiving an Obamacare subsidy and you had certain “life changes” over the past year — marriage, divorce, a raise, a new child — chances are, you are going to owe Uncle Sam some cash.
When you file that 2014 tax return next year, the Internal Revenue Service will compare your actual income for the year with the amount you estimated when applying for exchange-based health insurance under the health insurance law.
The next open enrollment period begins Nov. 15. But notices were sent this week to some consumers whose incomes don’t match up to such things as 2012 tax return information.
On Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said at least 279,000 households reported incomes that still don’t match what the government has on record. Supporting documents are needed by Sept. 30.
What can you do to avoid tax-time problems?
Experts say people need to realize early on that they should report changes in income and other changes in one’s life, such as a marriage, throughout the year. See HealthCare.gov to report “income and life changes.”
Of course, many people may have no idea that they’d need to report changes.
The IRS put out some more details on the issue mid-month.
What should you report? A move, an increase or decrease in income, a marriage or divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, whether you started a job that offers health insurance and whether you gained or lost eligibility for other health care coverage.
Best spots for information: HealthCare.gov and IRS.gov/aca.
Karen Pollitz, senior fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation, said many people who qualify for these tax credits aren’t working 9-to-5 jobs with regular salaries. So guesstimating one’s income for the coming year can be very tough.
“It’s people in transition. Maybe they’re in and out of work,” she said. Or maybe they’re self-employed.
People who lose a job would want to report that change during the year, as well, because that change can lead to a higher advance payment for the credit.
“Life changes can drive tax changes,” said Mark Steber, chief tax officer for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.
Steber stressed that people need to make sure to update information via HealthCare.gov or their state insurance exchanges.
If your income ends up below 400% of the poverty line, you would owe a maximum of $600 for a single filer, and $2500 for a family.
But if your income is over 400% of the poverty line, there is no limit. You will have to repay the entire amount of the difference between what you received as a subsidy and what you actually deserved.
There are already going to be millions of taxpayers who get a nasty surprise when the IRS withholds part or all of their refund to pay the fine for not having insurance — and then bills them if that’s not enough.
Welcome to the Brave New Tax World of Obamacare.
Many politicians have a gift for understatement. So it’s not surprising that Kansas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis would describe being caught getting a lap dance in a strip club in the late 1990s when police raided the joint looking for drugs as being in the “wrong place at the wrong time.”
Got that right, dog.
In the late 1990s the Democratic candidate for governor of Kansas was getting a lap dance at a strip club when cops raided it in search of drugs, a situation Paul Davis on Saturday described as being “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Davis was not charged with any crime, but a police chief involved in the raid wrote afterward that he had been drinking and was found “in a somewhat compromising position … in a back room of the club.”
According to police reports, he was alone with a topless stripper who was wearing only a G-string.
Davis, who was unmarried at the time, identified himself as an attorney for the owner of the strip club after an officer ordered him at gunpoint to lie on the floor during the raid for methamphetamine.
That’s one lap dance Davis won’t forget.
“When I was 26 years old, I was taken to a club by my boss – the club owner was one of our legal clients,” said Davis, a state representative. “While we were in the building, the police showed up. I was never accused of having done anything wrong, but rather I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
This news comes amid recent polling that shows Davis with a slight lead over Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, the former U.S. senator who is seeking a second term.
How many points in the polls is a lap dance worth to Brownback? Kansas is a very conservative state — as culturally conservative as they come. I suppose it will depend on how many voters believe that Davis having a mostly naked woman writhing on his lap constituted “the wrong place.”
A few minutes after midnight on Aug. 5, 1998, a group of officers executed a search warrant after an informant said he bought drugs from the owner of the club.
One of Davis’s “legal clients.” Sheesh. The owner was later arrested for selling drugs and the strip club was closed.
For those of you not familiar with strip-club nomenclature, a “lap dance” can take many forms, but is usually performed as a clothed sex act. I’ve never had the pleasure, but I am told by reliable sources that a good lap dance can really curl your toes.
In Davis’s case, it appears that the poor guy suffered the ultimate indignity and had his ego — or something — deflated in the most humiliating way.
Like any good politician, Davis used the revelation to turn the tables on his opponent and attack:
Responding to the strip club story Saturday, Davis pointed to press reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been investigating whether confidants of Brownback were involved in an influence-peddling scheme around the governor’s attempt to privatize the state’s Medicaid program.
Brownback has denied any wrongdoing, and his team questions the political motivations behind leaks to the Topeka Capital-Journal this spring. The governor declined to say in a July interview whether he’s been in contact with the FBI.
Is one lap dance worth one FBI investigation? Not when you consider no one would pay an FBI agent to walk around in a G-string.
Well, maybe they’re not really marching to end industrialized civilization. But given all the monumental exaggeration and hyperbole of which they are guilty, perhaps I can be excused a few small liberties while describing their goals.
Tens of thousands of marchers from all over the world came to New York City to protest inaction on climate change. A “wake up call” they are calling it. In fact, at 12:58 Eastern time, there was to be a moment of silence followed by “a blare of noise — a symbolic sounding of the alarm on climate change — from horns, whistles and cellphone alarms. More than 20 marching bands and tolling church bells were expected contribute to the cacophony.”
A perfect way to sum up the march: a lot of noise signifying nothing.
As might be expected, the New York Times is all over the story:
With drums and tubas, banners and floats, the People’s Climate March turned Columbus Circle, where the march began just before 11:30 a.m., into a colorful tableau. The demonstrators represented a broad coalition of ages, races, geographic locales and interests, with union members, religious leaders, scientists, politicians and students joining the procession.
“I’m here because I really feel that every major social movement in this country has come when people get together,” said Carol Sutton of Norwalk, Conn., the president of a teachers’ union. “It begins in the streets.”
With world leaders gathering at the United Nations on Tuesday for a climate summit, marchers said the timing was right for the populist message in support of limits on carbon emissions. The signs marchers held were as varied as the movement: “There is No PlanetB,” “Forests Not for Sale” and “Jobs, Justice, Clean Energy.”
The description of the tableau was accurate. The colors reminded me of a tie my little niece bought me a few years ago.
Truth be told, if things are as dire as the marchers believe, it’s already too late. That’s the problem with the hysterical wing of climate change advocacy. Cutting emissions of greenhouse gases won’t do the trick if we are on the edge of the climate precipice. We would have to halt all human activity that contributes to global warming and then hope nature can reverse the process.
And if this movement was really about “climate change,” they might be forgiven their hysteria. But as world leaders gather at the UN beginning Tuesday, it will become clear that, at least for the politicians of the world, it’s not about climate change at all. It’s about power, control, and money.
If history is any guide, the rich countries of the world will say how concerned they are about the damage their emissions of heat-trapping gases are causing. The poor countries — whose people have done little to contribute to global warming but stand to suffer the most from it because of their vulnerability to rising seas and weather extremes — will point out that this professed concern never seems to translate into sufficient action.
“We’re saying to the U.S. and the developed world, ‘You’re responsible for this,’ ” said Ronald Jean Jumeau — the ambassador to the United Nations for the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles, off the coast of Africa — in a preview of his country’s remarks. “Don’t tell us you can’t cut emissions, you can’t give money, while you bask in the rich way of life you enjoy now. You know your emissions are damaging us. Help us out here.”
People like Mr. Jumeau have been pleading for help for years, and they have heard many promises that help will come. The latest attempt to make good on those pledges is the Green Climate Fund, a financing vehicle that is eventually supposed to funnel as much as $100 billion a year to poor countries.
The fund, which struggled for four years to get off the ground and opened its doors only recently, has received just one large donation to date: $1 billion from Germany. More are expected this week.
Notably absent from the summit will be the leaders of China and India — the two nations that make any effort to cut CO2 emissions a waste of time.
China is building three coal-fired power plants a month. India isn’t far behind. And neither country seems interested in anything the rest of the world wants to do about global warming. The fact is, any schemes the nations come up with to reduce their emissions won’t matter a fig if China and India refuses to cooperate.
Forces of the Islamic State in Syria have mounted a huge offensive with columns of heavy armor sweeping through the Kurdish region of northern Syria near the Turkish border.
Their goal is apparently capturing the strategic border town of Ayn al-Arab, and more than 60 towns and villages in the region have fallen to ISIS forces in the past few days.
This has unleashed a nearly unprecedented wave of refugees streaming into Turkey. More than 60,00 women, children, and old people crossed the border into Turkey in the 24-hour period from Friday to Saturday, overwhelming aid resources.
Kurdish forces in the region are falling back while others are making their way to the front from Turkey to join their comrades.
Since Thursday, Islamic State rebels, backed by tanks and other heavy armor, have seized control of more than 60 villages near the regional capital of Ayn al-Arab, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group. The extremist insurgents, also known as ISIS or ISIL have also forced the evacuation of about 100 other villages, Kurdish field commanders and Turkish officials said.
Turkish television on Sunday continued to broadcast footage of thousands of Kurds, many on foot, crossing the border into Turkey to escape Islamic State. The U.N. refugee agency said most of the refugees were Kurdish women, children and the elderly. Hundreds of Kurdish fighters and volunteers were traveling in the other direction to Syria to shore up their brethren’s defenses, Turkish media reported.
Kurdish militia in Syria, under the banner of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Defense Units, or YPG, said dozens of Kurds had been killed in fighting to defend Ayn al-Arab, called Kobani in Kurdish. They said the jihadists had advanced to within 9 kilometers of Kobani and appealed for international intervention to help their outgunned forces.
The call was joined by one from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a rebel group closely affiliated with the YPG, for the youth of Turkey’s mostly Kurdish southeast to rise up and rush to save Kobani. The PKK, listed as a terror organization by Washington and Turkey, has spent three decades fighting for autonomy for Turkey’s Kurds.
“Supporting this heroic resistance is not just a debt of honor of the Kurds but all Middle East people. Just giving support is not enough, the criterion must be taking part in the resistance,” the PKK said on its website. “ISIL fascism must drown in the blood it spills…The youth of north Kurdistan (southeast Turkey) must flow in waves to Kobani.”
Islamic State’s progress toward the Turkish border again showed the group’s military strength. It seized Kurdish territory in Syria even as French warplanes launched their first attacks Friday against the group’s positions hundreds of miles away in northeastern Iraq.
The move on Ayn al-Arab follows the seizure by Islamic State insurgents this past week of a strategic bridge over the Euphrates River. The capture enabled the rebels to march on the city from the west and rain down artillery shells on the city’s streets, said Khaled Issa, a representative of the Syrian Kurdish administration in Paris.
The timing is almost too coincidental, as I’ll explore after the page break.
Hey, Democrats! How about giving some props to your party leader, your president, by talking about him on the House or Senate floor?
What’s that? President “who”? My, how the worm has turned.
When President Obama took office in 2009, congressional Democrats were euphoric. With control of the House, Senate and the White House, and high public approval for their new party standard bearer, Democrats eagerly embraced Obama and all the long-awaited policy initiatives he’d surely help them achieve.
In that first month, congressional Democrats mentioned Obama during floor speeches 200 or so more times than Republicans. In the next year and a half, the parties referred to the president at similar rates, sometimes with the Republicans having more to say, other times the Democrats.
One can reasonably assume that when the Democrats speak of the president publicly it’s in a favorable way and when Republicans do it’s, well, not quite as glowing. As positive public opinion of Obama began to dip after his first year, the spread between how often Republicans and the Democrats invoked Obama grew wider. Put simply, the Democrats weren’t mentioning Obama by name nearly as much as Republicans.
This chart from the Sunshine Foundation tells the tale at a glance. The Democrats have almost stopped mentioning the president in public debates, according to the Congressional Record.
The gap between how many times the Republicans anhd Democrats have mentioned Obama has considerably widened in the last year.
Much has been written this election cycle about the Democrats distancing themselves from Obama ahead of the midterm elections. Some Democratic candidates in tough races regularly emphasize their differences with the president. And Obama is persona non grata on the campaign trail (unless it’s inside private high-dollar fundraiser dinners).
If the number of times they bring him up in front of the C-SPAN cameras is a measure, the Democrats detachment from the president is even evident on Capitol Hill – where every spoken word is recorded forever, so it’s especially crucial to choose them carefully.
Politicians are feral when it comes to their survival, so it’s not surprising that Democrats would have stopped talking about an unpopular leader. The problem is that history shows it won’t matter. Trying to run away from your party leader is a futile strategy and Democrats are likely to find that out in November.
Turkey is celebrating the return of 49 of their citizens held for 101 days by Islamic State. The hostages were captured when the Iraqi city of Mosul fell to the terrorists.
Turkey’s state run news agency Anadolu reported that “no ransom had been paid and “no conditions were accepted in return for their release.”
But many observers weren’t buying that explanation.
The official explanation “sounds a bit too good to be true,” said Sinan Ulgen, a former Turkish diplomat who chairs the Istanbul-based Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies. “There are some very legitimate and unanswered questions about how this happened.”
The hostages — whose number included two small children — were seized from the Turkish Consulate in Mosul after the Islamic State group overran the Iraqi city on June 11. Turkish leaders gave only the broadest outlines of their rescue Saturday.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the release was the work of the country’s intelligence agency rather than a special forces operation.
“After intense efforts that lasted days and weeks, in the early hours our citizens were handed over to us and we brought them back,” Davutoglu said.
Davutoglu was the star of the homecoming ceremony Saturday, flying the hostages back to Ankara on his plane and delivering an impassioned address to the crowd. Families rushed the aircraft to greet their returning loved ones. The ex-hostages emerged wearing clean dresses and suits and showed little sign of having been held captive by fanatical militants for more than three months.
The hostages’ joyous reunion at the airport came as an enormous relief after the recent beheadings of other hostages — two U.S. journalists and a British aid worker — by the Islamic State group. The gruesome deaths briefly reignited a debate over whether the U.S. or British government should pay ransoms to free hostages.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported no ransom had been paid and “no conditions were accepted in return for their release,” although it didn’t cite any source for its reporting.
The agency said the hostages had been held at eight separate addresses in Mosul and their whereabouts were monitored by drones and other means.
The Iraqi government said it had no information about the rescue.
The hostages declined to answer all but the most general questions, although a couple hinted at ill treatment or death threats.
While the Turkish government broadly hints at some kind of cloak and dagger operation, the truth may be as simple as the government of Prime Minister Erdogan trading their pledge not to allow anti-ISIS forces uses of their bases and not joining the coalition for their prisoners.
What is certain is that the release of the hostages hasn’t changed Turkey’s mind about the coalition:
Turkey had been reluctant to join a coalition to defeat the Islamic State group, citing the safety of its 49 kidnapped citizens, but Stein said he doubted Turkey would suddenly adopt a much more muscular attitude toward the organization. Turkey might feel freer to advertise its existing efforts against the group, he said, citing its efforts to control oil smuggling across the border. But he said Turkey would not open its air bases to U.S. aircraft operating against the group.
“There will some changes, but not as much as people hope,” he said.
ISIS has hardly been restrained from killing fellow Muslims so there has to be another reason the hostages lives were spared. Whatever that reason was, Turkey — a member of NATO at present — still won’t allow their allies to press the fight against ISIS from their soil.
In the first big move by Pope Francis to put his imprint on the American Catholic church, the pontiff named Blase Cupich, the Bishop of the diocese of Spokane, to lead the 2.2 million Catholics of the archdiocese of Chicago.
Cardinal Francis George, the current archbishop, announced he was stepping down last May after he was diagnosed with cancer for the third time since 2005. Since then, George has said that he believes the cancer will take his life.
Bishop Cupich is considered a “moderate” in church circles and is said to mirror the opinions of the pope about de-emphasizing issues like abortion and gay marriage. While Cupich is said to be opposed to both, he is expected to bring a different style of advocacy to the debate.
Chicago is the third largest diocese in America and is considered one of the most influential in the nation, with innovative lay outreach programs and the largest private school system in the country.
Cupich, 65, is a native of Omaha, Nebraska, where he was ordained a priest. He holds degrees from the Pontifical Gregorian University and The Catholic University of America. He was appointed bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1998, and served there until 2010, when he was appointed to Spokane.
In a 2012 essay in the Jesuit magazine America, Cupich said the U.S. bishops “rightly objected” to the original narrow religious exemption in President Barack Obama’s requirement that employers provide health insurance that covers contraception. But Cupich called for a “return to civility” in conversations about religious liberty and society.
Cupich also served as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ child protection committee at the height of the clergy sex abuse crisis and as church leaders were putting in place a toughened policy on disciplining guilty priests.
“While the outrage to the (government) decision was understandable, in the long run threats and condemnations have a limited impact,” Cupich said. “We should never stop talking to one another.”
Cupich has also defended Francis’ views on the economy and emphasis on fighting poverty, which some Catholics and others have criticized as naive and against capitalism.
“Instead of approaching life from the 30-thousand-feet level of ideas, he challenges policymakers and elected officials — indeed all of us — to experience the life of everyday and real people,” Cupich said at a conference last June on the Catholic case against libertarianism. “Much like he told religious leaders, Francis is saying that politicians and policymakers need to know the smell of the sheep.”
A Francis clone in the 3rd largest diocese in America would certainly have an impact on the hierarchy. Catholic bishops tend to be more liberal than their leaders both in the US and Rome and the notion that a more pastoral archbishop will have such a high profile position can only encourage the bishops in their attacks on wealth and capitalism.
But there is no difference of opinion regarding the contraceptive controversy, except perhaps in the manner in which Cubich will approach the administration.
In a letter last year on the Obama administration’s birth-control coverage rule for employers, Bishop Cupich said faith-affiliated groups should never be forced to provide services that the church considers morally objectionable. However, he condemned threats by some U.S. church leaders that they would shut down social-service agencies over the Affordable Care Act.
“These kind of scare tactics and worse-case scenario predictions are uncalled for,” he wrote in a letter to diocesan employees. “I am confident we can find a way to move forward.”
Is Pope Francis sending a message to the American Catholic church? “I think he sent a pastor, not a message,” Cupich says. Nice thought, but irrelevant. Of course popes send messages. But what kind of message he is passing along won’t be known until Archbishop Cubich has a chance to place his own stamp on the Chicago Catholic church.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has asked for a Pentagon review of the military’s involvement in the National Football League. The review comes in the wake of several domestic violence complaints against NFL players.
The connection between the NFL and the military goes back decades, and the connections are considerable.
The Army alone spends some $10 million a year buying advertising from television networks broadcasting NFL games. Games are also broadcast by the Armed Forces Network to troops deployed overseas.
Military support for the NFL games includes: providing ceremonial units at games for colors ceremonies; military personnel singing the national anthem, and other units providing drill teams or flyovers. Military personnel, including wounded warriors, often appear at NFL events honoring those who serve.
The Army and the NFL also have a agreement to share information and resources to better understand traumatic brain injury, which is a major medical issue both for wounded troops and football players. They are working together on awareness of TBI as well as research into treatment. The military has been sharing some of the lessons learned on TBI from the last 13 years of war, specifically.
Another program, NFL Play 60, has seen players visit military bases to encourage children to be more active as least 60 minutes a day to help prevent childhood obesity.
It is clear the White House is also closely monitoring the NFL controversy, with one senior administration official calling recent abuse allegations “deeply troubling” and stressing the league’s obligation to “(get) control of the situation.”
“Many of these professional athletes are marketed as role models to young people,” the official said. “So their behavior does have the potential to influence these young people. So that’s one of the many reasons it’s important the league gets a handle on this and have zero tolerance.”
Just how is the NFL supposed to “get control” of the domestic violence committed by their players? There are more than 1300 NFL players on 30 rosters across the league. Six players have been accused of domestic violence in recent months. While that is six too many, the question has to be asked: is domestic violence in the NFL so serious and so widespresd that it must become a federal issue?
No doubt women’s advocates would love to make it one. Already several big money advertisers like Anheuser-Busch and Nike are looking closely at their relationship with the NFL. A pullout by those two giants would hit the league where it hurts the most: advertising dollars.
There are legitimate questions about how the league has handled specific cases — most notably, the Ray Rice clocking of his girlfriend in an elevator. But how can you blame anyone, especially Commissioner Roger Goodell, for the actions of players off the football field? The only way this campaign against the NFL makes sense is if you consider the enormous amount of money at stake, and the high-profile nature of the crimes, which aids women’s groups in fundraising and marketing.
When good habits are bad, or something.
A 13-year-old California boy was reportedly placed in detention for sharing a school-prepared lunch with another student.
Kyle Bradford, a student at Weaverville Elementary School in Weaverville, Calif., was disciplined after sharing his chicken burrito with a friend who didn’t like the cheese sandwich he was given by the cafeteria, KRCR-TV reported.
“It seemed like he couldn’t get a normal lunch so I just wanted to give mine to him because I wasn’t really that hungry and it was just going to go in the garbage if I didn’t eat it,” Bradford told the website.
The Trinity Alps Unified School District, however, has rules that prohibit students from sharing food — claiming that students can have allergies their classmates may not be aware of, according to the website.
When in doubt, overreact — that is the way of school administrators. I am sure we can partially blame the lawyers for that. However, I also think this has to do with the liberal fantasy of being able to have rules that make every little bad go away in childhood.
I will now leave you with the immortal words of Susan Powter:
Iowa and South Dakota are the two states where the ACA insurance marketplaces have struggled the most. In both states, just 11.1 percent of residents eligible for subsidized insurance signed up for it — the lowest rates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)
What happened in Iowa and South Dakota? The answer lies in commerce, not politics.
The individual insurance market in both states is dominated by one insurer, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Wellmark BCBS chose not to sell on the ACA exchanges in the first year, locking out its consumers from buying subsidized plans from the company. And it has decided to stay out of the Iowa and South Dakota exchanges for Year 2.
Competitors claim that Wellmark BCBS is cleansing its risk pool by staying off the exchanges because “presumably” poorer, less healthy people would be there. The company counters that the federal end of the system is so problematic it prevents them from adequately serving their customers.
Wellmark BCBS cited technical problems with the back end of HealthCare.gov as a reason it is staying out of the market in 2015. A spokeswoman said data discrepancies in the enrollment process could affect consumer subsidies and eligibility.
“How data is transferred between the system, government entities and ultimately, health insurers continues to be problematic,” Wellmark BCBS Public Relations Manager Traci McBee writes in an email. “Because we rely on this information to serve our members, we need to ensure the information we receive is timely, secure and accurate.”
Wellmark says despite not selling on the exchange in 2014, it sold more ACA-compliant plans through its website and insurance agents than any of its competitors did in the two states.
That the company claims it can be more “timely, secure and accurate” with the federal bureaucracy out of the way seems like a…sane reason.
Congress has recessed to prepare for November’s midterm elections, and President Obama warned the DNC Women’s Leadership Forum today that “in the coming weeks, the American people will see two very different visions of this country.”
One is the top-down economy and the other “says that our economy grows best from the middle out… and in case you didn’t figure it out, the second vision is better.”
“We do better when we embrace an economic patriotism that says we’re all in this together,” Obama said.
The president said his pitch for “getting rid of policies that belong in the Mad Men era” isn’t political.
“It’s not politics in the narrow, cramped sense, but, yes, it’s politics in the big sense of us organizing ourselves to try to move our country forward,” Obama continued. “The work we do is bigger than partisan politics. And I believe that for all that is wrong with our politics right now, there’s so much that’s right with America that if we could just create a government and a politics that spoke to common sense and what was important for ordinary Americans, we’d do great.”
“…America isn’t the party we belong to — we’re not born Democrats or Republicans. America is the values we share: hard work and responsibility, and sacrifice, and looking out for one another.”
He called one brand of politics “mean and nasty and polarizing” and another sense of the word “having a common vision for the future.”
Obama asked the Democrats to “choose hope,” because “hope is what gave soldiers courage to storm a beach.”
The president also touched on foreign policy, stressing that with all of the challenges “America remains the one indispensable nation in the world.”
“Even the folks who badmouth us look to us,” Obama said. “America is leading the effort to rally the world against Russian aggression. America is leading the fight to contain and combat an Ebola epidemic in Africa. America is leading the coalition that will degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL. And as Americans, we welcome these responsibilities; we don’t shy away from them.”
A cyclist pedaling a $4,000 racing bike at high speed through Central Park slammed into a suburban mom in town shopping for her daughter’s birthday present — leaving the woman brain-dead, sources said.
Jill Tarlov, 59, of Fairfield, Conn., the wife of a CBS executive, was in a crosswalk near 63rd Street when Jason Marshall, 31, came barreling along West Drive at around 4:30 p.m. and yelled for her to get out of his way, law enforcement sources said.
Tarlov was rushed to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where she was declared brain-dead, the sources said.
This is a terrible, and wholly avoidable tragedy. Cyclists in every city I visit seem to be getting bolder and more lacking in regard for pedestrians and traffic laws in recent years. They’re allowed to ride on sidewalks here in LA, so they randomly jump from there to the street and back without much warning. It’s a dicier proposition for me to walk a block to 7-11 than to get on the 405 and drive fifteen miles.
During a news conference on Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell promised that the league “will get our house in order.”
Goodell announced that former FBI Director Robert Mueller will lead an investigation of the way the league handled the Ray Rice case, and he said that at the end of the process the league will implement new conduct policies.
“I promise you that any shortcomings he finds will lead to swift action,” Goodell said. “The same mistakes will never be repeated.”
Goodell has faced intense criticism over the league’s handling of off-field violent behavior from some of its players. The issue came to a very public head when a video surfaced showing Rice, a star for the Baltimore Ravens, punching his then-fiancee.
As long as Goodell has the support of owners, he should have some breathing room to be more proactive. In a radio interview this morning, I mentioned that Goodell can’t get a complete grip on this until the surprises stop. He thought the Rice situation was handled, then the second video surfaced. Just when damage control was settling in there, the Peterson incident became public. Before almost anything could be done about that, a second allegation was made known. Then the Dwyer story happened. Goodell and the league have been reeling and on their heels in a purely reactive mode because of all of this.
They need the surprises to stop before anything substantive can be done. The PR department needs to be paid more too.
In other not-so-good news for the league, the Dept. of Defense is looking into its connections with the NFL.
If your neighborhood is anything like mine (or any other neighborhood, frankly), there’s a Starbucks in it, and that Starbucks was crowded with a line of cars around the block a week or two ago. That’s when the coffee chain rolled out its popular pumpkin spice latte drink.
I’m not a fan of that drink, but evidently everyone else who lives within about five miles of a Starbucks is. There were huge lines.
The pumpkin spice latte even got its own official Twitter feed.
Twitter: “We can’t verify you.” Me: “I came out here to have a good time and honestly I’m feeling so attacked right now” #VerifyTheRealPSL
— Pumpkin Spice Latte (@TheRealPSL) September 17, 2014
The “verify” crack comes courtesy of Vani Hari, aka the “Food Babe.”
When Starbucks rolled its seasonal pumpkin spice latte out, Hari was ready with a damning infographic to attack the drink and you, if you drink it.
Geez, didn’t Basher Assad just declare a bunch of these things chemical weapons and ship them out to be destroyed?
Look, it is a little problematic that the pumpkin spice latte doesn’t contain any actual pumpkin. I’ll even side with the Food Babe that a lot of this artificial stuff is bad. High fructose corn syrup is nasty stuff, in my opinion, and I avoid it as much as possible. By the way, it’s in pretty much everything.
But HFCS isn’t in that latte. It has 50 grams of sugar, which Hari describes as “toxic.” See the graphic above.
50 grams of sugar is a lot for one grande drink, but it’s a sweet drink. The grande is also a fairly big drink — about 16 ounces. So the grande pumpkin spice latte’s 50 grams tracks with the 39 grams of sweetener that’s in a 12-ounce can of Coke.
And 50 grams of sugar is nowhere near “toxic.” It’s about 3.5 tablespoons. Many, many people put nearly as much in a regular sized cup of coffee without thinking twice about it.
I suppose if someone did the Super Size Me thing and drank nothing but grande pumpkin spice latte drinks every day every time they got the urge, they wouldn’t feel very good. It would be bad for them. But no reasonable person is going to do that. So the sugar in the drink is not, in any way, “toxic.”
Healthy eating and living are good things. I’ve changed my own diet recently to get more nutrients and fewer processed items into my body. Nothing to do with the Food Babe or any fad, I just want to lose a few pounds and be healthier. Fewer meats, more fruits and vegetables, more grains, you probably have heard the drill by now. If you haven’t, look into it. Yes, quinoa can be made edible. So far, about a month in, the results are inconclusive. But I’m sticking with it, with only an occasional dabble into a sweet item like a seasonal latte. And my grill is standing out back neglected. I need to rectify that soon.
This Food Babe is verging on becoming a Food Nazi, though. Hari makes her way through life being hot, and throwing out hyperbole. I get it, that’s how the Internet works. Hot gets you gigs on networks even if you don’t really know what you’re talking about. But Hari twists facts on ingredients when she lacks any sort of scientific background.
But before anyone enlists with the #FoodBabeArmy (yes, that’s a real thing), it’s worth pointing out that Hari is not a chemist or a scientist in any way. She’s an activist. More power to her, Army of Davids and all that, but reader beware. Now that she is a public figure and a known crusader, her livelihood will depend on her ability to “uncover” more things like non-toxic doses of sugar in a coffee drink. Having already successfully launched her “quackmail” campaigns against beer, Chick-Fil-A, Kraft, Panera, Subway and now Starbucks, who’s next?
Prior to the independence vote in Scotland, there were predictions that, win or lose, the vote would encourage other regions of Europe and around the world to seek independence in order to fulfill the national aspirations of their people.
Several European enclaves have been agitating for independence for decades — even centuries. Many of them have their own history, culture, and language that predate their assimilation. The Basque may be the most notorious of these independence seekers since the armed wing of their revolutionary party — the ETA — used to routinely carry out terrorist attacks. The ETA laid down their arms in 2011, but the desire for independence has not lessened.
Italy’s South Tyrol and Sardinia, Belgium’s Flanders, France’s Corsica, the United Kingdom’s Wales and Northern Ireland — all of these and a dozen more have expressed an interest in gaining independence.
And that’s just Europe. There are dozens of separatist movements in Africa and Asia that also have been cheered by events in Scotland. While independence may have lost, the fact that a vote was held in the first place has leaders of separatist movements around the world hopeful that they can be more successful.
The next turn of the screw for Europe will apparently be in Catalonia, the richest and most productive area of Spain. Within hours of knowing the outcome of the Scottish vote on independence, the Catalonian parliament voted to hold their own referendum on independence in November, thus directly defying the national government in Madrid which has threatened to take legal action against the autonomous region.
A day after a majority of Scots voted against secession from the U.K., the parliament in the wealthy, industrial Spanish region of Catalonia approved a law to allow for its own, albeit nonbinding, referendum on independence.
The 106-28 vote Friday set Spain on a path toward a legal and political crisis. The central government in Madrid has vowed to block the referendum, which it says is unconstitutional.
After the law is published in the coming days, Catalonia’s regional president, Artur Mas, is expected to sign a decree formally convoking the referendum for Nov. 9. At the Spanish government’s request, the Constitutional Court is then expected to issue an injunction to halt the vote.
Mr. Mas has expressed misgivings about going ahead with the referendum in violation of Spanish law because the vote might lack international credibility. Another way for him to satisfy pro-independence groups clamoring to cast ballots would be by calling early regional elections as a proxy vote.
During the Catalan parliament’s 2½-hour debate, many speakers took note of the historic nature of the proceedings.
“Democracy without liberty is a sham and we want to vote—not a sham,” said pro-referendum congresswoman Dolors Camats.
Albert Rivera, leader of the Citizens’ Party and an opponent of the referendum, said that those advocating it were being irresponsible. “This isn’t a day of celebration, but of worry because these separatist movements have a sword over Europe’s head,” he said.
Catalan separatists complain that the government in Madrid drains the region of tax revenue without offering sufficient respect for its language and culture. Spanish government officials maintain that Catalonia receives economic benefits from being part of Spain and has plenty of autonomy under the constitution.
While there is certainly resentment against the perception that Madrid is stifling their national character, Catalans have an economic bone to pick with the Spanish government — especially after the last few years of “austerity” budgets that put most of the burden on the region:
The pro-independence forces claim that Catalonia’s fiscal imbalance with Spain’s national budget amounts to $20 billion (US dollars) per year, according to figures from the Catalan government’s finance minister. This office claims that Catalonia—origin of a quarter of Spain’s exports—suffers an insufficient investment and financial disadvantage since it generates nineteen percent of Spain’s GDP and receives back eleven percent in expenditure from the central government. Indeed, with a population of 7.5 million out of 46 million, Catalonia is, after Madrid, the second-wealthiest of Spain’s seventeen so-called autonomous communities, as stated in the last available Spanish government’s National Statistics Institute account, which excludes the Basque Country and Navarre because they benefit from a special fiscal regime due to their historic “foral” tradition. However, Catalonia is also the most indebted autonomous community among the communities.
Madrid responds to Catalan complaints by claiming that Catalonia receives special assistance from the Spanish government, outside of money from the national budget, in the form of ad hoc loans to make payments not previously planned for. (The central government is in fact its only lender, since Spanish law blocks access by the autonomous communities to shop for loans on international markets.) Spain also insists that solidarity must be at the core of relations among its regional governments. But this has proven a double-edged sword since the separatists claim that Catalonia is discriminated against within this community, noting that Spanish investment in Catalonia (i.e., annual government budgeting for the region) will drop twenty-five percent compared to an average decrease of 7.2 percent for the nation as a whole during the current belt-tightening effort to stop the country’s economic free fall. Catalan nationalists refer to this imbalance as “plunder.”
With Barcelona, one of the jewel cities of Europe and a vital hub of finance and commerce as Catalonia’s capital, it is not likely that the Spanish government will allow independence for the region even if a vote for independence is successful.
Besides, it appears likely that the Catalans themselves are wary of even holding a vote if it contravenes Spanish law:
Just 23 percent of those surveyed in a Metroscopia poll published in El Pais said Catalonia should press ahead with the referendum, even if it is declared illegal. This is the stance of Mas’s coalition partner, the separatist party ERC.
The poll showed 45 percent of those surveyed believed Catalonia should respect the decision of the court and 25 percent said the region should look for other legal ways to redraw its relationship with Spain.
A NC Report poll, published in La Razon newspaper, showed 55 percent of Catalans would not support the referendum if declared illegal. Both polls surveyed 1,000 people.
The wealthy region of 7 million people has its own language and cultural identity and has long sought greater self-rule. Central government spending cuts during a deep recession have helped fuel independence sentiment.
The Metroscopia poll found just 27 percent of those polled wanted full independence from Spain, with 42 percent wanting Catalonia to form a part of Spain but under new terms. Many Catalans want more power over taxes and welfare spending.
The Catalonian people share a common dream with other small European enclaves of distinct ethnic minorities: they want their culture and history back, as well as some sense that they have their hands on the levers of economic and political power to help direct their national destiny. If this can be accomplished within the framework of remaining attached to their current parent country, that would probably be satisfactory to the majority.
If not, we are going to see more votes like the one in Scotland.
Clinton hasn’t spoken much publicly about the impending birth of her first grandchild, but Friday, that’s how she anchored her argument.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about family, because as you know, I’m on grand-baby watch. And I think a lot about this new member of our family and what he or she can look forward to,” Clinton said.
“The Democratic Party is at its best, just like America is at its best, when we rally behind a very simple but powerful idea: family.”
How can she call it a “grandbaby” if it isn’t here yet? Aren’t the Democrats the ones always telling us that it’s not a baby until it’s born. Hillary really needs to get on message here.
Sure, if the kid can survive the womb gauntlet the pro-abortion Democrats have created, then it is all about family, right?
Clinton is setting up the narrative for 2016. It is obvious she is going to lead with the “War On Women” nonsense, despite the fact that leaning on her more-hawkish-than-Obama foreign policy credentials might serve her better by the time 2016 rolls around. However, the focus on the former will enable her to play the gender card every time she feels put upon, which will be always.
It’s fair to say that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver is a critic of President Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. He voted against the plan, and then he appeared on MSNBC to trash the plan.
Cleaver called the congressional vote authorizing arming the rebels a vote “to arm semi-bad buys to kill some barbarically-bad buys to teach all the world that bad guys should not kill.” Cleaver pointed out that we don’t even know who many of the rebels are or why they’re fighting.
Having said that, Cleaver says he has no plans to spend the next month “bashing” Obama because the president “had no good options.”
Plus, the president is a Democrat and there is an election on.
Cleaver didn’t say that last part. It was implied.
Brendan Tevlin was driving home all alone in his car when he became a casualty of war from 6,000 miles away. Brendan did not know who it was who killed him or why. What did he do to have 8 shots pumped into his car killing him instantly? He died because an empowered Ail Muhammad Brown thought he had the right to kill for his religion, To Brown it says in the Quran Chapter 17.33, “Killing by right has five sections” and Brown chose the section covering the, “Willful murder for retribution.” The police, the press, and the Federal Government refused to call it a terrorist attack.
On September 13, 2013 in an address to the world the Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri urged small-scale attacks inside the United States. Lone wolf terrorists attacks have been going on for a long time.
Another example of a lone wolf attack was Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist, who shot and killed 13 people on November 5, 2009 at Ft. Hood Texas. The Federal Government called what happened at Ft. Hood a “Workplace Violence incident.” Again nobody at any level of government or law enforcement or the press would challenge the government assertion it was not an act of terrorism. Why is it that in both cases the government refuses to call these acts as terrorism?
Our Federal government doesn’t have the skill to follow long wolf terrorists. Jeffrey Simon is a visiting lecturer of political science at UCLA, an expert on terrorism and political violence, says in his book, “Lone wolf Terrorism, Understanding the Growing Threat.” “What makes lone wolves so dangerous is their ability to think outside the box. Since they operate by themselves, there is no group pressure or decision-making process that might stifle creativity. Lone wolves are free to act upon any scenario they can dream up. This freedom has resulted in some of the most imaginative terrorist attacks in history.
Our government is quick to call something racist and dispatch significant resource to make sure justice is done. A young black man was killed in Ferguson and the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder went to Ferguson in person to insure that the full weight of the Federal Government was brought to bear to insure justice was served. Has he been in Newark? Has he visited the parents of Brendan Tevlin? Did President Obama call the Tevlin parents and express on behalf of the nation sorrow for their loss? Did he tell them, “We will not tolerate brutal attacks on American citizens and Mr. Brown will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
It is clear from the confession Ali Muhammad Brown he did not believe he had done anything wrong when he killed Tevlin and 3 or possibly 4 others in Washington. So he believes that he is not guilty because his faith tells him he can kill.
How is it that the local and state police refused, along with the Justice Department to call this at least for now, a lone wolf terrorist attack? The problem for the government is that it can’t follow the, “Lone Wolf Terrorists.” Innocent people were killed just like Brendan in the Boston Marathon bombing again by two lone wolfs.
So back to the question, why did the press not cover this story? First of all unlike Ferguson, which was a white police officer killing a black young man and potential racism, in Brendan’s case this was a Black Muslim terrorist killing a white man. The press knows that terrorists, as was demonstrated with the murdering of Brendan Tevlin can kill you for any reason. If you have interfered with the goal of Islam then the terrorist has the right to kill you. Look what happened to the two reporters that were beheaded in ISIL If you’re a reporter for TV or newspaper do you want to take the chance of risking your life by condemning the act of terrorism? Why take the risk of speaking out about Islam and ISIL. I have no doubt that the fact that the race had the wrong spin, black on white gave them the chance to gloss over the story and in turn pass on the story.
Brown has not said that he was a supporter of ISIL but he did say that he was a devout Muslim and his killing was retribution for American sins in the Middle East. I wonder if the press and the Treasury will change if an American reporter is beheaded on American soil? Brendan Tevlin I have never met you but my brain tells me that you would have made America a better place, we can’t afford to loose any more good guys like Brendan, because the government is afraid to call something what it is.
(VIDEO) Scarborough Wants ‘A Certain Network’ To Cover Christie’s Bridgegate Clearing Like It Did Allegations
Wishful thinking. MSNBC was hyperventilating about Christie’s culpability as recently as a week ago.
This indulgence so overwhelms our ruling class’s perception of reality that the recipes put forth by its several wings, little different from one another, are identical in the one essential respect: none of them involve any plans which, if carried out, would destroy the Islamic State, kill large numbers of the cut-throats, and discourage others from following in their footsteps. Hence, like the George W. Bush’s “war on terror” and for the same reasons, this exercise of our ruling class’s wisdom in foreign affairs will decrease respect for us while invigorating our enemies.
The WSJ’s recommendations, like the Obama administration’s projected activities, are all about discrete measures—some air strikes, some arming of local forces, etc. But they abstract from the fundamental reality of any and all activities: He who wills any end must will the means to achieve it. As in Bush’s war, as is the custom in Washington nowadays, our ruling class’s several sectors decide what actions they feel comfortable undertaking about any given problem, while avoiding reasonable judgment about whether these actions will actually fix the problem. This is the very definition of irresponsibility. But they call it “strategy.”
This is a pretty spot-on analysis of what ails us when it comes to foreign policy. As long as wars are fought to preserve the borders of politicians’ comfort zones thousands of miles away rather than focused on the destruction of an enemy, the enemy has an advantage. Modern American leaders rightfully praise the World War II military members as “The Greatest Generation”. Perhaps they should dust off a history book and familiarize themselves with the decision making and methods used to win that war.
As for the lack of debate, I lay that at the feet of the Democrats, specifically the Clintons. Any person with an ability to perceive reality knows that Hillary’s bemoaning of “the politics of personal destruction” back in the day was pure projection. American politics had always been rough and tumble, but the Clintons took the demonizing and destruction of political enemies to another level. Now Democrat politicians have no compunction whatsoever about labeling (libeling?) Republican foes as Nazis, terrorists or grandma-killers. Who wants to debate with these little Alinskys?
The Republicans don’t get a free pass on this, however. More of them need to be bold in condemning the ridiculous accusations coming out of the mouths of their Democrat counterparts.
Good luck with that.
Democrat strategist Bob Beckel warned Republicans that the Democrats have a surprise coming, during yesterday’s episode of The Five.
“I’ll tell you: I would expect an October surprise,” Beckel said on Thursday. “I think I know what is — I’m not going to say it, but I think I know what it is — and it is going to shake things up, and it has to do with national security.”
Video at the link.
What could it be?
The Democrats’ base no longer vote on national security, or at least they don’t vote in favor of national security. What could the Democrats come up with that would help motivate their base and bring moderates around to their side?
I can’t think of much. Perhaps the capture of Mullah Omar or a major ISIS leader. But if that’s a planned “October surprise,” unveiling it at some strategic point means the actual act has already been accomplished — and it’s being kept under wraps for political reasons. That will backfire.
If it’s Obama’s amnesty, we already know all about that. It’s baked into the election now. It’s not helping the Democrats.
So what could it be?
Speaking at a Democratic National Committee event for women’s leadership Friday, Vice President Joe Biden gave a positive shout out to Bob Packwood, a former U.S. senator who was ousted from Congress following sexual harassment accusations.
Biden made his remarks at Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. The event was dubbed the Women’s Leadership Forum Breakfast.
Making the point that present day Republicans do not compromise with Democrats, Biden said the GOP was once “involved” with expanding voter access. “Guys like [former Maryland Sen.] Mac Mathias and Packwood and so many others,” Biden said. “It wasn’t Democrats alone.”
The Washington Post broke the story in the 1990s of several women who claimed Packwood sexually harassed them. Packwood resigned sometime after.
“So I’m not joking,” Biden said. “This is not your father’s Republican Party or your mother’s Republican Party.”
Biden’s ill-timed, Bidenesque comments come two days after having referred to Asian as “the orient” and opportunistic bankers as “Shylocks,” a term offensive to some Jewish groups.
Seriously, who lets this guy off-leash? I am now almost looking forward to this clown getting enough money to make a serious run at Hillary just for the theatrics. Between his constant bumbling and her shrill overreaction to everything, I’ll have enough material for five years. Elizabeth Warren will have to become a fake Native American juggler just to get stage time during the primaries.
Go, Joe, go!
UPDATE: BuzzFeed‘s White House reporter quickly ran interference for Biden on Twitter, pretty much saying Packwood’s support of Title IX makes the remark OK, despite all of the harassment and abuse:
— E McMorris-Santoro (@EvanMcSan) September 19, 2014
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) offered some common sense during the debate over whether the US should arm and train the so-called moderate rebels in Syria.
Gohmert notes that despite more than a decade of working alongside the US, Afghanistan jihadists keep killing Americans. They just killed four more.
Are we smart enough to separate moderates from radicals in the Syrian rebel groups, supposing that there even are any moderates?
Scotland voted against leaving the United Kingdom Thursday. The vote wasn’t even that close — 55-45 voted for Scotland to reject going its own way.
But the Russians showed up and are behaving boorishly, according to the Guardian.
Russia has said the conduct of the Scottish referendum “did not meet international standards”, with its observers complaining the count took place in rooms that were too big and that the procedure was badly flawed.
In an apparent attempt to mirror persistent western criticism of Russia’s own elections, Igor Borisov – an accredited observer – said the poll failed to meet basic international norms.
Among their objections, the room where votes were counted was too big.
He said the room where he watched the count on Thursday night was a cavernous “aircraft hangar” next to an airfield. It was difficult to see what was going on, he said, adding: “The hangar is approximately 100m by 300m. There are tables, with voting papers stacked upon them, but the observers are stuck around the perimeter. Even if you want to, it’s impossible to tell what’s happening. It’s also unclear where the boxes with ballot papers come from.”
Borisov said the US state department, the UK and other western countries loudly hectored the Kremlin about Russia’s supposed democratic deficiencies. But in this instance, he said, London and Edinburgh had not “fully met” the requirements of a proper referendum.
“Nobody was interested in who was bringing in the voting slips. There were no stamps or signatures as the bulletins were handed over,” he said.
The Russians wanted Scotland to vote for independence. Evidently they saw that as somehow justifying their annexation and fake vote in Crimea this past spring.
That, plus the fact that Scotland National Party leader Alex Salmond, leader of the independence movement, admires Russia’s Vladimir Putin a little bit. So an independent Scotland might have become friendly to the Russians, right on the rest of the United Kingdom’s doorstep.
The 22 senators who voted against arming Syrian rebels in the continuing resolution came from each party and had different reasons for their objections.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who may be contemplating a run for the White House, told MSNBC he voted “no” because “I do not want to see this become a war between east and west, a war between Christianity and Islam, a war between the United States and ISIS.”
“The bottom line is, we will not be successful until the countries of the Middle East themselves become engaged and are prepared to take on this terrible organization called ISIS,” the senator argued.
Sanders brought up the wealth of those nations as one reason why they should pick up the fight.
“Saudi Arabia has the fourth largest military budget in the world. They spend more than the United Kingdom and France. If we talk about ISIS being a threat, they are most definitively a threat to the countries around Saudi Arabia and around Egypt. Those are the guys who are really threatened. Where are they? Where is Kuwait? Where are — where is Turkey?” he said.
“So, I do not want to see this be a war between the United States and ISIS. These guys have got to the commit both militarily and financially. Last point on this issue. It turns out, of course, that the Saudi family is worth hundreds of billions of dollars, one of the wealthiest families in the world,” Sanders continued. “You tell me why taxpayers in the state of Vermont who cannot afford to send their kids to college are in a sense subsidizing the efforts of one of the wealthiest families on earth. Does not make a lot of sense to me.”
Sanders said he supports President Obama in the overall strategy to conduct airstrikes against ISIS and forge an international coalition, “but we are not yet there.”
“I hear many of my colleagues, especially the Republicans, criticize the president because ‘he did not have a strategy for ISIS,’” the senator said. “Well, I remember a President and a vice President Bush and Cheney, they had a strategy. They were forceful. They were bold. They took action. And, they committed the worst foreign policy blunder in the modern history of the United States. The result of which we are trying to deal with today.”
“Let me tell you what the nightmare is. The nightmare is that a U.S. fighter plane gets shot down or some American soldiers are taken captive. The war hysteria rises in this country. Our troops get sent into battle. You are already seeing Republicans are talking about boots on the ground.”