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Scene above:  Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
 

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NOVEMBER 20,  2014

COUNTING THE HOURS – AT 10:08 A.M. ET:  Oh yes, oh yes, we count the hours today, waiting for the president to unveil his immigration proposals.  Can you stand the excitement?

Already Bill Clinton is out there asserting that Obama clearly has the legal authority to do what he's doing.  Oh, Bill Clinton is a disbarred lawyer.  He undoubtedly is currying favor, the better to have Barack endorse Hillary if she decides to grant us another campaign.

Republicans are furious.  Obama has shown nothing but contempt for them and has not invited them to participate, in any serious way, in drawing up the White House plan.

In the end, the public will decide.  Polls show it is badly split on immigration, with large chunks favoring some kind of legalization, although not knowing exactly what that means.  The pollin on the president's proposal will start tomorrow.  If the president cannot win over even a simple majority of Americans, he will be even crisper political toast than he is right now.

November 20, 2014       Permalink

 

MIKE NICHOLS DIES – AT 9:32 A.M. ET:  Mike Nichols, the legendary comedy star and film director, has died at 83. 

Many people thought of Nichols only as a director.  But in fact he became famous as part of the duo of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, two of the "new breed" of comedians who surfaced in the late fifties and early sixties, doing a new kind of intellectual social comedy.  They entered realms not touched by the older comedians, like the marketing of funerals and the pseudo-intellectualism of the new generation of college graduates.  Nichols went to the University of Chicago, but did not graduate.  As a student there in his generation, I followed his career.  He was in the same "class" of comedians and comedy writers as Mort Sahl and Shelley Berman, but not as rough or caustic as Lenny Bruce.  From AP, via The Washington Times: 

NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Nichols, the director of matchless versatility who brought fierce wit, caustic social commentary and wicked absurdity to such film, TV and stage hits as “The Graduate,” ”Angels in America” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” has died. He was 83.

The death was confirmed by ABC News President James Goldston on Thursday. Nichols died Wednesday evening. Goldston said the family was holding a small private service this week.

During a career spanning more than 50 years, Nichol, who was married to ABC’s Diane Sawyer, managed to be both an insider and outsider, an occasional White House guest and friend to countless celebrities who was as likely to satirize the elite as he was to mingle with them. A former stand-up performer who began his career in a groundbreaking comedy duo with Elaine May and whose work brought him an Academy Award, a Grammy and multiple Tony and Emmy honors, Nichols had a remarkable gift for mixing edgy humor and dusky drama.

COMMENT:  In recent years Nichols was overshadowed by a new, rather less talented generation, in my view.  But I cannot forget, as a college student, listening to the Nichols and May album, "Improvisations to Music," and laughing, and laughing.  For that alone, Mike Nichols should be remembered.

November 20, 2014       Permalink

 

IT AIN'T OVER – AT 9:14 A.M. ET:  The election, that is.  There is still the Louisiana Senate runoff, and some House races are being recounted.  And then there's Arizona, where a particular House race holds special interest because we might be seeing the birth of Republican star.

She is Martha McSally, graduate of the Air Force Academy, the first woman in American history to fly a combat aircraft into enemy territory.  She also sued the United States Government when she was assigned to Saudi Arabia and forced to live as a Saudi woman, in other words, as a second-class citizen.  She won her case, and changed the rules governing the requirements imposed on American servicewomen who are posted to Muslim countries.  No more demeaning rules.

McSally ran as the Republican candidate in the district once represented by Gabby Giffords.  You'll recall that Giffords had to retire after being shot by some sicko.  Her assistant took over her seat.  Now, he and McSally are almost deadlocked as a recount of their contest looms.  From The Hill: 

Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) and Republican Martha McSally are both going about business as usual on Capitol Hill while gearing up for a recount back home that could stretch through the end of the lame-duck session.

The GOP hopeful, who leads by 161 votes, attended freshman orientation in Washington this week, optimistic that her advantage would hold. Meanwhile, Barber lost a legal challenge on Tuesday that might have been his best shot at closing the gap.

“Some of these cases of votes not getting counted make your hair stand on end,” a Barber ally told The Hill.

The Democrat’s campaign petitioned the Pima County Board of Supervisors to delay certifying election results to allow time for consideration of more than 130 provisional ballots the campaign says have been erroneously disqualified.

The Barber camp says the votes were rejected because, in some cases, the voters’ addresses weren’t on the voter rolls, the voter accidentally cast a ballot at the wrong polling place, the voter had recently moved, a signature didn’t match or an early mail-in ballot wasn’t received.

However, the McSally campaign argued that some of the ballots are missing critical requirements, like a poll worker’s signature, and only missing ballots can provoke a delay in certifying a canvass, and these were never missing.

The Board — comprised of three Democrats and two Republicans — ruled 4 to 1 against delaying certifying the results to allow for more time to verify the provisional ballots in question.

COMMENT:  Unless something truly odd happens, McSally will prevail.  Her story alone makes her a potentially major figure in politics.  We'll wait for official certification of her victory to discuss it further, though.

November 20, 2014       Permalink


LOOMING DEADLINE – AT 8:32 A.M. ET:  Monday is the deadline to complete negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.  It probably won't be met.  And isn't it interesting that some of the sharpest warnings about what Iran is up to are coming from, of all places, the UN?  From the Jerusalem Post: 

VIENNA - The head of the UN nuclear agency said on Thursday that Iran had again failed to provide explanations about suspected atomic bomb research, as a deadline looms for a comprehensive deal between Iran and six world powers to end the long-running controversy.

Iran is holding talks with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China in Vienna this week in a push to reach an agreement by Nov. 24.

The deal is intended to set limits on Iran's nuclear program in return for an end to international sanctions. As one of the conditions, Western officials say Iran must stop stonewalling the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 12-year-old investigation into allegations that Iran may have worked on designing an atomic bomb.

But IAEA director general Yukiya Amano made clear the agency was still far from satisfied.

"Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures," he told a meeting of the UN agency's 35-nation board of governors.

COMMENT:  The real issue, of course, is what will Obama do?  While there are many around the world who are determined to stop Iran's nuclear program, there are others, especially in the European business sector, who can't wait to get back to business as usual.

But what will Obama do? 

The latest betting is that Monday's "deadline" will be extended, which will have the effect of letting Iran have more months to work toward a bomb.  In the meantime, under Obama's influence, some of the sanctions on Iran have already been reduced, even though Iran has done nothing.

Critical issue, not much sense of urgency.

November 20,  2014     Permalink

 

 

 

NOVEMBER 19,  2014

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 11:55 P.M. ET: 

LOUISIANA SENATE RUNOFF – From The Hill:  "Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) has opened up an 11-point lead over incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) in their runoff race for Senate, according to a new survey from Republican polling outlet Vox Populi.  The poll finds Cassidy with a 53-42 lead over Landrieu, with 5 percent undecided. That’s up from Cassidy’s 48 to 44 edge in the same poll in October.  Cassidy is crushing Landrieu 58 to 31 among independents in the state."  Let's not get overconfident.  Our people must actually turn out and vote on December 6th.  You have to run as if you're 20 points behind.

I'VE HEARD OF WEIRD IDEAS – From AP:  "SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Utah lawmaker concerned about government spying on its citizens is questioning whether city water service should be cut off to a massive National Security Agency data storage facility outside Salt Lake City.  Republican Rep. Marc Roberts, of Santaquin, said there are serious questions about privacy and surveillance surrounding the center, and several Utah residents who spoke at a legislative committee hearing Wednesday agreed."  This is raising privacy to the level of a cult.  The NSA performs invaluable work in penetrating hostile communications networks.  Are there privacy issues?  Sure.  Can they be handled?  Of course.  But let's not do the kind of damage to the NSA that was done to the CIA by purists in the 1970s.

WHERE? – From AP:  "WASHINGTON (AP) — In a broad test of his executive powers, President Barack Obama declared Wednesday he will sidestep Congress and order his own federal action on immigration — in measures that could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people illegally in the U.S. and set up one of the most pitched partisan confrontations of his presidency.  Obama declared that Washington has allowed America's immigration problem 'to fester for too long.'  The president will use an 8 p.m. EST address Thursday to announce his measures and will sign the executive actions during a rally in Las Vegas on Friday. In doing so, Obama will be taking an aggressive stand that he had once insisted was beyond his presidential power."   He'll sign it where?  Las Vegas?  What kind of a message does that send?  Is this a roll of the dice?  Is the American taxpayer, who'll foot the bill, a slot machine?  Optics are important in politics, aren't they?

SAD – From WaPo:  "Bill Cosby’s dazzling, decades-long career as one of America’s most beloved entertainers appeared to be toppling this week amid a succession of allegations painting Cosby as a serial sexual predator.  On Wednesday, NBC — the network that roared back to television supremacy in the 1980s thanks to Cosby’s warmhearted family sitcom — joined the list of entertainment companies and TV programs that have abandoned projects or distanced themselves from the 77-year-old comedian and actor amid the cascade of shocking headlines."  So sad, because Cosby has often taught the right things to young African-Americans.  But, although he's denied the allegations and has never been legally charged, he hasn't exactly been vigorous in his own defense.  He seems guilty, and appearances are everything in show business. He either should come clean, settle with the women if possible, or get himself different lawyers.

November 19, 2014       Permalink


THEY'RE JUST DISCOVERING THIS? – AT 9:46 A.M. ET:   Some journalists are actually waking up to the fact that their profession hasn't exactly done the job in reporting on Barack Obama.  From Newsmax: 

Six years into his presidency, Barack Obama remains an enigma — an outsider who has failed to engage himself in the complex world of Washington politics, says Chuck Todd, political director of NBC News and moderator of "Meet the Press."

"The most familiar refrain is how many people feel as if six years in, they still don’t know him, they still don’t quite know what makes him tick," Todd said Tuesday during a visit to "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"I had one Democratic senator who was a big supporter of him in the primary against Hillary Clinton saying '[I] backed the wrong horse, I didn’t realize he hadn't climbed the greasy pole of politics.'"

COMMENT:  Well, light bulbs are finally flashing above important heads.  The coverage of the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns was a disgrace to journalism.  The coverage in 2008, in particular, will go down as one of the worst moments in modern news gathering.  It got so bad that "Saturday Night Live," a liberal outfit, was actually doing sketches ridiculing the press's bowing down to the new political god.

A president has to know how to do things, not just say things.  The last president to have Obama's aloof, condescending attitude was Jimmy Carter, and you know how that worked out. 

Obama was elected because he represented a racial breakthrough, a moment in history.  That's fine.  We're all for equality and decency.  But wouldn't it have been nice if he were treated equally by the press?  Serious questions about him were essentially disallowed.  Big gaps in his history were ignored.   His first presidential opponent, John McCain, who served this country with distinction, was ridiculed.  Sarah Palin was asked tough questions.   Barack Obama was not. 

November 19, 2014       Permalink 

 

WHAT HATH OBAMA WROUGHT? – AT 9:14 A.M. ET:  Ah yes, I remember it well, all the predictions that Saint Barack would restore America's "prestige" in the world.  Of course, the mainstream media defines "prestige" as the opinions of foreign leftist journalists and "intellectuals." 

Uh, well, it hasn't quite worked out.  In fact, American prestige under Obama is slipping, by any reasonable measure.  From USA Today:   

Well, it took about 70 years.

Yes, from being the world's pariah in the decades following Nazism and World War II, Germany is now the world's favorite country, according to the Anholt-Gfk Nations Brand Index, which measures the image of 50 leading nations.

The Teutonic powerhouse knocked the United States from its longtime perch at the top of the ratings, which measure "twenty-three different attributes that make up the six overall dimensions on which national image is based."

Feelin' great already?  Get this:

The USA, which held first place since 2009 and is still seen as No. 1 one in creativity, contemporary culture and educational institutions, suffered from its perceived shaky record in global peace and security.

"In a year of various international confrontations, the United States has lost significant ground where tension has been felt the most acutely," said Xiaoyan Zhao, senior vice president and director of the index. "Both Russia and Egypt have downgraded the U.S. in an unprecedented manner, particularly in their perception of American commitment to global peace and security, and in their assessment of the competence of the U.S. government."

COMMENT:  Really?  You mean they're doubting Field Marshal Obama?  Why, the scandal of it all.  Next time, maybe the mainstream media might be a little more careful before putting in the White House a glorified town councilman. 

And he has two more years left in office.  Get that underground bunker ready.

November 19, 2014       Permalink

 

THE AWKWARD SUBJECT – AT 8:58 A.M. ET:  Emerson said there's a party of hope and a party of memory.  We've pointed out here that the Democratic Party used to be the party of hope.  Today it's the party of memory.  Let's go back to the sixties.  Abortion for all, even men if possible.  Hey, the personal is political. 

We bring up the awkward subject of age.  Americans are learning just how old the Democratic leadership is.  It is going to be noticed as 2016 approaches.  Consider, from the Washington Free Beacon:   

Grandmother Hillary Clinton, 67, is vying to become one of the oldest world leaders in history. In order to achieve that goal, however, she may have to defeat a slate of Democratic challengers who are even older than she is.

That sounds hard to believe, but it’s true. In addition to Clinton, the 2016 Democratic field could include: California governor Jerry Brown, Vice President Joe Biden (the presumed frontrunner), and Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders.

In such a scenario, Brown would be the oldest Democrat in the race; he’ll be 78 in 2016. Biden will be 73. Sanders will be 75. Hillary, who will be 69 on Election Day, would be younger by comparison. If Elizabeth Warren decides to run, she would be the youngest Democrat, thought not by much. Warren will be 67 in 2016.

Democratic leaders in Congress, meanwhile, are also very old. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will be 76 years old in 2016. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid will be 77.

COMMENT:  It's been noted by some pundits that almost the entire young leadership of the Democratic Party has been demolished in two disastrous (for Dems) midterm elections – 2010 and 2014.  It is a party run by the sixties generation, hopelessly out of date, with no new ideas.  It depends on identity politics, seeing people as members of "oppressed" groups, low-information voters who can sell a bill of goods.  It's pathetic. 

A man like Jack Kennedy couldn't get anywhere near a Democratic presidential nomination today.  He'd most likely be a Republican.  Harry Truman wouldn't be let into the party.

November 19, 2014       Permalink

 

FERGUSON PREPARES – AT 8:19 A.M. ET:  Ferguson waits for the grand jury decision surrounding the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown.  The usual suspects have come into Missouri to create as many problems as possible.  From Fox: 

Gun dealers in parts of the St. Louis suburbs have reported brisk sales, especially among first-time buyers, as local residents wait for a grand jury decision on whether to indict the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot teenager Michael Brown this past August.

One shop, Metro Shooting Supplies, located in an area near the city's main airport, reported selling two to three times more weapons than usual in recent weeks — an average of 30 to 50 guns each day.

"We're selling everything that's not nailed down," owner Steven King told the Associated Press. "Police aren't going to be able to protect every single individual. If you don't prepare yourself and get ready for the worst, you have no one to blame but yourself."

The store's waiting list for private lessons and concealed-carry training classes extends into 2015.

Protest leaders say they are preparing for non-violent demonstrations after the grand jury's decision is announced, but they also acknowledge the risk of more unrest if the panel decides not to issue criminal charges against Darren Wilson, the white officer who shot Brown, who was black and unarmed.

The term "unarmed" is deceptive.  Brown had his fists, great physical strength, and that combination can kill. 

Other gun dealers say their sales spikes are comparable to the increases seen soon after Brown's death on Aug. 9.

"I've probably sold more guns this past month than all of last year," said County Guns owner Adam Weinstein, who fended off looters last summer at his former storefront on West Florissant Avenue, the roadway that was the scene of many nightly protests. Weinstein stood guard over his business with an assault rifle and pistol.

The store has since moved out of Ferguson — in part because of concerns about the potential for further violence.

COMMENT:  You would think that the president of the United States would go to Ferguson and make a speech demanding calm in the face of a judicial decision.   No such luck.  This president is a leftist.  His attorney general is a racialist.  They don't mind a little roughing up.

And to think, the American press told us, when Obama ran in 2008, that we was a practical man, not an ideologist.  What a crock.

November 19,  2014    Permalink

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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