Over the past year or so, there has been a lot of cheerleading the U.S. economy—talking up whatever relatively positive signs that appear—as a way to change the psychology around it. The thinking goes: if the perception grows that the economy is growing, then the economy will actually grow. That wishful thinking approach to a healthy, robust economy is clearly not working.
For the 1996 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, I wrote a paper titled “Understanding Newt Gingrich.” Click the link for full text: the takeaway is that typical ideological labels really do not apply, which helps us understand his controversial comments about the Ryan plan. Some other materials on Newt:
If the billions in foreign debt-to-be-forgiven or granted in cash to be invested will be used by democratic governments in the region to move their societies away from fundamentalism, radicalism and inequality toward secular, liberal democracy, then the financial support is commensurate with American ideals, the will of the American people and their elected leaders.
The undistinguished person who has inherited the helm of the once great Forward was appalled by Netanyahu’s speech to Congress this morning. Jane Eisner, fearing that the warm welcome Bibi received might be associated with people like her, rushed to assure the most reliably anti-Jewish newspaper in the English-speaking world that she and her fellow upper-middle-class urban Jews were not to be associated with the self-confident and unashamed speech delivered to Congress.
During the 2008 campaign, the American people once again became well-acquainted with “the Chicago way.” Scandals and corruption involving the then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the then-Chicago mayor, Richard Daley, Chicago-area Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., another Chicago-area Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Chicago “businessman” Tony Rezko, and allegations of graft and selling political seats and favors burst onto the national stage. Not everyone in Chicago is corrupt, of course, but the people who get to the top of the power ladder there must bathe in the corruption at some point. It was odd that somehow, Barack Obama miraculously came out of this morass without the mud of scandal flicked on him. Blago, Rezko, Jackson: they all got nailed, but somehow, miraculously, Obama floated above it all, an angel amidst the devils. Yeah, right.
What Obama said during his now infamous recent speech, and what he meant, may have been two different things, and what various people heard may not have been what he said or what he meant, but at this point it doesn’t even matter.
Actress Jane Seymour now says The Terminator has fathered two more illegitimate children other than the one he has admitted to. The big problem I have with Arnold (Please Tell Me That Bump in Your Tummy is a Tumor) Schwarzenegger is not so much what he did to impregnate various women, although I think it’s despicable, it’s that he did the same thing to California for seven years as governor. Depressingly, only in our celebrity-obsessed culture could someone who had as much business being a governor as you or I be elected as chief executive of the most populous state in the union. Had he, instead of being Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor been Arnold Schwarzenegger, insurance agent, or held any other job, his candidacy would have been a joke. As it turned out, that’s what his time in office was.
In his speech about the Middle East this week, President Obama just couldn’t leave well enough alone. He had gotten an enormous outpouring of support after ordering the killing of Osama bin Laden. He had scored a major achievement for the United States and for his presidency, and he got a modest uptick in popular support because of it.
Last week a desperate Bashir Al Assad tried to divert world attention away from the specter of another Arab tyrant killing his own people and back to the good old perennial of the “travails” of the Palestinians whom Syria has been keeping in refugee camps for over 60 years. For a few days, he seemed to be failing. For the first time in decades the international media not only refused to play along but steadfastly exposed his ruse. But he should not have worried. Yesterday with great fanfare President Barack Hussein Obama came to his aid with his much touted “historic” speech designed to lay out a new coherent policy response to the Arab uprising. It was to be carried live around the world not only in English but in Arab and Farsi. Much of the speech ended up to consist of little more than another event forced retreat from the Cairo Speech back to the George W. Bush’s freedom agenda. But tucked into it was a call for a renewal of the Arab Palestinian negotiations based on the reconciled Hamas/Fatah Palestinian negotiation position. Consequently, Assad got up this morning to find that Obama succeeded where he failed. He focused world attention on “difficult” Netanyahu and away from Assad murdering his people. 5 more just this morning. Just look at the post speech headlines.
Enough has already been written about the outrageous behavior of the NYC cop and the movie-star governator - there’s little left to say except that one claims to be innocent of the charges and we’ll soon know whether a jury concurs. Less has been said about the women - a housemaid and a young woman with an obvious alcohol problem. The latter was so drunk on the night in question that the taxi driver had to call for police assistance to get her out of his cab in which she had already vomited. Friends who were questioned admitted that she was known to be a heavy drinker - who knows whether police had been called to help her in the past? I haven’t read anything pejorative about her repeated loss of responsibility for herself and how disturbing it is to be accusing someone of a very serious crime while admitting that you were too drunk to remember significant details of that night. If she was raped, her drunkenness doesn’t diminish the heinousness of that assault. But what if she wasn’t actually raped? And what if a man who thought he was having consensual sex with a flirtatious, boozy, half-dressed woman spends many years in jail because of her blurred memory of what happened? The policeman deserves to be fired for several violations of the Department code of behavior but that is separate from the question of his guilt as a rapist. The law protects the identity of this young woman so that her reputation remains intact while the accused is splashed across newspaper headlines, t.v. news and the internet before his guilt has been established.
The concerned neighbour suspected something amiss. She came to check on the old lady and saw the mailbox covered with cobwebs. The only letters in it were yellowing, untouched bills. Forcing open the barricaded front gate and peering through a broken window, she saw lights illuminating a formerly beautiful interior now in total disrepair, filthy clothes, junk mail and boxes strewn everywhere.
Osama bin Laden was No. 1 on the world’s “most wanted” list, a serial mass murderer of Americans that the United States wanted dead or alive, a fugitive from U.N. justice pursued by the nations of the world, and evil incarnate to millions of people around the world.
Muslim family values. Check out this sweet 92-year-old Palestinian granny gloating about how her family and friends slaughtered the Jews in Hebron who had been their neighbors for 20 years before the big “catastrophe” of Israeli statehood ever happened.
Since I recently posted a nice letter by a Mexican Catholic named Gamalieth, I am reminded that I never cross-posted a fabulous 2010 interview with my favorite Irish Catholic, Mary Walsh. Since there is otherwise no English-language record of it online, it’ll be here for future referencing:
You can’t blame the press; its job is to get the story. But you can finger the White House and other government officials for not keeping enough of a zipped lip on some elements of the historic operation.
If any administration was going to invite to the White House a rapper whose lyrics have supported a cop killer and advocated the killing of President George W. Bush, it would be this one, as demonstrated by its hosting of rapper Common at a “poetry” event. But why should rap “music” be the preserve of thugs who preach violence. How about a conservative rap song, like this:
I’ve commended Bad Eagle’s David Yeagley before, and need to do so again. The following blog post was actually from a year ago — I missed it at the time — but it is an excellent synopsis of what’s going on:
The idea of American exceptionalism is much in the news. Critics disparage it as the idea that Americans are better than everyone else and that the United States can do whatever it wants.But it doesn’t necessarily mean that at all.In its most modest form, it is simply the idea that the United States tends to differ from other nations in certain important respects.There is abundant empirical evidence for this point:for instance, there are other rich countries, and other religious countries, but the United States is unusual for being both rich and religious.
Walt Whitman attended the opera the night of April 13, 1861, and was walking home about midnight when a mob of newsboys came “tearing and yelling” up the street, waving extra editions announcing the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter.
The killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Navy SEALs was a spectacular achievement: for the United States, for the SEALs and the rest of the United States military, for the intelligence community, for President Obama, for President Bush, and for countless others who have sacrificed so much in order to take out the al Qaeda kingpin.