Friday, January 15, 2016

I Love New York and New Yorkers But I Do Not Like New York Values

I have family in New York and man, I love that place. A silly myth about New Yorkers is that they are unfriendly. They are the friendliest people on Planet Earth. They are loyal and courageous and their personalities are larger than other people's personalities. You literally cannot visit the city without meeting a bigger than life character. Go there and you will meet someone you will never forget. You might meet a few you would like to forget but most of them you will recall fondly for the rest of your life.

There is much to be said about New York and New Yorkers but the fact is about 8,000 citizens move out of the state of New York every month. It isn't always sunshine and low-paying jobs that lures people out of the Empire State. The common people are treated like livestock by the Bloombergs and Cuomos and de Blasios.

I had intended to write a post defending Ted Cruz's comments but the Senator speaks better for himself than I can. Dig his apology:

From "Dallas Morning News"

“I apologize to the hard working men and women of the state of  New York who’ve been denied jobs because Gov. Cuomo won’t allow fracking,” Cruz continued. “I apologize to all the pro-life and pro-marriage and pro-Second Amendment New Yorkers who were told by Gov. Cuomo that they have no place in New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are. I apologize to all of the small businesses who’ve been driven out of New York City by crushing taxes and regulations.

“I apologize to all of the African-American children who Mayor de Blasio tried to throw out of their charter schools instead of providing a lifeline ot the American dream. And I apologize to all the cops and the firefighters and 9/11 heroes who had no choice but to stand and turn their backs on Mayor de Blasio because Mayor de Blasio over and over again stands with the looters and criminals rather than the brave men and women of blue.”

“Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio have all demanded an apology and I am happy to apologize. I apologize to the millions of New Yorkers who have been let down by liberal politicians in that state,” Cruz told reporters as he left the University of South Carolina.

 I wish there were more apologies like this one.

Tea Party 2.0: Kelli Ward Is Challenging John McCain

Arizona holds her primary in August and the GOP Senate race might give the presidential race a challenge for our attention.

Kelli Ward seems like a dream candidate.  In fairness, so did Kelly Ayotte and Nikki Haley and Jeff Flake, ad infinitum. Check her out.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

One More RIP: Aljazeera America

So Aljazeera America is biting the dust? No tears for the soon to be unemployed MSNBC rejects. Ahh the vagaries of journalistic prostitution.

I confess to being one of the elite viewers who watched AA in its early incarnation. That says more about the sad state of TV news than it does about the greatness of OPEC's house organ. Some of us like information and fair and balanced discussions don't work well for us.  AA still did old fashioned narrative news reporting offering a global perspective that was not always propagandistic. That might sound like faint praise but given the mutts of competition, AA was often Best Of Show.

Bye bye Aljazeera America. Wonder who gets their cable slot.

Rest In Peace, Alan Rickman

A blogger has to be careful to offer condolences or otherwise acknowledge the death of a famous person. Before long, the blog is nothing but RIP's. You honor one and you feel slightly obligated to acknowledge the next one. As Yogi said, "If you don't go to other people's funerals, they won't go to yours." Yes but...

We lost a great one in Alan Rickman. For better or worse, Rickman will be remembered for his role in the Harry Potter industry and that means nothing to me. The casting powers that be made a great choice long ago and how can you go wrong with Rickman? For me, however, Rickman will always be an actor's actor, the character actor who often overshadowed the lead. There are no small parts and Rickman proves it.  You will be missed, Alan. What a career!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Top 10 Yet To Be Asked Questions In Republican Debates

Frustrated by the lack of pertinent questions in the first two GOP debates, this blog posed 50 unasked questions on September 19, 2015.

To the credit of the GOP candidates, they have addressed the ISIS threat and matters involving national security. Not that there isn't more room for discussion on the subject but the matters have not been completely ignored.

The first ten questions from that original list have gone unasked. So on the eve of the FBN GOP Debate, we pose them once more.

1. Do you prefer a strong or weak dollar?

2. Do you support repealing Obamacare?

3. Do you support repealing Dodd-Frank?

4. Do you consider voter fraud a significant problem? If yes, what would your administration do to correct the problem?

5. Would your administration proceed with criminal investigations involving bureaucratic and/or DOJ abuses of power?

6. Would you allow American citizens to own/possess/use toilet tanks that provide sufficient water to flush in an effective manner?

7. Do you prefer freedom of choice in light bulbs?

8. Do you support the prosecution of body part brokers who procure their commodity in an illegal manner?

9. Would you allow American citizens to play poker on their computers?

10. Do you support prosecuting state and municipal officials who provide non-emergency aid to illegal immigrants? (1/13/16: Perhaps the better question is should we criminalize knowingly providing non-emergency aid to illegal immigrants.)

Nikki Haley And The Comments

I lifted the transcript of Nikki Haley's rebuttal from NPR. I don't necessarily see it as a turncoat manifesto. The "angriest voices" comment is highlighted below. That is a bit disturbing but not the anti-Trump barb that we were lead to believe was the essence of her canned speech.

I italicized her statement:
No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.

Well who the hell wants to keep out legal immigrants? Trump wants to ban Muslims until such time "we straighten all this out." A common sense position. Unfortunately, the Syrian gropers, the Chechen shoplifters and bombers, Sayed Farook to name but a few do not want to work hard (except to kill us) abide by our laws and they definitely do not love our traditions. A straw man argument if ever there was one.

All in all, I found Haley's generic speech to be woefully predictable and lacking in gusto. Still, it was better than Ernst's retelling of her humble roots. I still have nightmares from that one.


Good evening.

I'm Nikki Haley, Governor of the great state of South Carolina.

I'm speaking tonight from Columbia, our state's capital city. Much like America as a whole, ours is a state with a rich and complicated history, one that proves the idea that each day can be better than the last.

In just a minute, I'm going to talk about a vision of a brighter American future. But first I want to say a few words about President Obama, who just gave his final State of the Union address.

Barack Obama's election as president seven years ago broke historic barriers and inspired millions of Americans. As he did when he first ran for office, tonight President Obama spoke eloquently about grand things. He is at his best when he does that.

Unfortunately, the President's record has often fallen far short of his soaring words.

As he enters his final year in office, many Americans are still feeling the squeeze of an economy too weak to raise income levels. We're feeling a crushing national debt, a health care plan that has made insurance less affordable and doctors less available, and chaotic unrest in many of our cities.

Even worse, we are facing the most dangerous terrorist threat our nation has seen since September 11th, and this president appears either unwilling or unable to deal with it.

Soon, the Obama presidency will end, and America will have the chance to turn in a new direction. That direction is what I want to talk about tonight.

At the outset, I'll say this: you've paid attention to what has been happening in Washington, and you're not naive.

Neither am I. I see what you see. And many of your frustrations are my frustrations.
A frustration with a government that has grown day after day, year after year, yet doesn't serve us any better. A frustration with the same, endless conversations we hear over and over again. A frustration with promises made and never kept.

We need to be honest with each other, and with ourselves: while Democrats in Washington bear much responsibility for the problems facing America today, they do not bear it alone. There is more than enough blame to go around.

We as Republicans need to own that truth. We need to recognize our contributions to the erosion of the public trust in America's leadership. We need to accept that we've played a role in how and why our government is broken.

And then we need to fix it.

The foundation that has made America that last, best hope on earth hasn't gone anywhere. It still exists. It is up to us to return to it.

For me, that starts right where it always has: I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants who reminded my brothers, my sister and me every day how blessed we were to live in this country.

Growing up in the rural south, my family didn't look like our neighbors, and we didn't have much. There were times that were tough, but we had each other, and we had the opportunity to do anything, to be anything, as long as we were willing to work for it.

My story is really not much different from millions of other Americans. Immigrants have been coming to our shores for generations to live the dream that is America. They wanted better for their children than for themselves. That remains the dream of all of us, and in this country we have seen time and again that that dream is achievable.

Today, we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory. During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation.

No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.

At the same time, that does not mean we just flat out open our borders. We can't do that. We cannot continue to allow immigrants to come here illegally. And in this age of terrorism, we must not let in refugees whose intentions cannot be determined.

We must fix our broken immigration system. That means stopping illegal immigration. And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries.

I have no doubt that if we act with proper focus, we can protect our borders, our sovereignty and our citizens, all while remaining true to America's noblest legacies.

This past summer, South Carolina was dealt a tragic blow. On an otherwise ordinary Wednesday evening in June, at the historic Mother Emanuel church in Charleston, twelve faithful men and women, young and old, went to Bible study.

That night, someone new joined them. He didn't look like them, didn't act like them, didn't sound like them. They didn't throw him out. They didn't call the police. Instead, they pulled up a chair and prayed with him. For an hour.

We lost nine incredible souls that night.

What happened after the tragedy is worth pausing to think about.
Our state was struck with shock, pain, and fear. But our people would not allow hate to win. We didn't have violence, we had vigils. We didn't have riots, we had hugs.

We didn't turn against each other's race or religion. We turned toward God, and to the values that have long made our country the freest and greatest in the world.

We removed a symbol that was being used to divide us, and we found a strength that united us against a domestic terrorist and the hate that filled him.

There's an important lesson in this. In many parts of society today, whether in popular culture, academia, the media, or politics, there's a tendency to falsely equate noise with results.

Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That is just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume.

 When the sound is quieter, you can actually hear what someone else is saying. And that can make a world of difference.

Of course that doesn't mean we won't have strong disagreements. We will. And as we usher in this new era, Republicans will stand up for our beliefs.

If we held the White House, taxes would be lower for working families, and we'd put the brakes on runaway spending and debt.

We would encourage American innovation and success instead of demonizing them, so our economy would truly soar and good jobs would be available across our country.

We would reform education so it worked best for students, parents, and teachers, not Washington bureaucrats and union bosses.

We would end a disastrous health care program, and replace it with reforms that lowered costs and actually let you keep your doctor.

We would respect differences in modern families, but we would also insist on respect for religious liberty as a cornerstone of our democracy.

We would recognize the importance of the separation of powers and honor the Constitution in its entirety. And yes, that includes the Second and Tenth Amendments.

We would make international agreements that were celebrated in Israel and protested in Iran, not the other way around.

And rather than just thanking our brave men and women in uniform, we would actually strengthen our military, so both our friends and our enemies would know that America seeks peace, but when we fight wars we win them.

We have big decisions to make. Our country is being tested.

But we've been tested in the past, and our people have always risen to the challenge. We have all the guidance we need to be safe and successful.

Our forefathers paved the way for us.

Let's take their values, and their strengths, and rededicate ourselves to doing whatever it takes to keep America the greatest country in the history of man. And woman.

Thank you, good night, and God bless."

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Most Repeated Cliche In Tonight's State Of The Union Address? I Am Betting on "Gun Violence"

Happy Birthday to Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, Jeff Bezos and Rob Zombie.

As Judith Regan pointed out long ago, there are a lot of similarities between Stern and Limbaugh. They are both prototypical Capricorns, breaking molds and finding success in a serpentine, abrupt or unpredictable manner. Bezos probably also fits this prototype but I know less about his biography.

Speaking of Capricorns, rest in peace, David Bowie. I consider myself someone who understands pop culture even when I run away from it. Bowie, like Elvis, will always be a bit of a head scratcher for me. Bowie was born on Elvis Presley's birthday and the similarities are unending. It is so much easier for me to see these artists's goodness than their greatness. Of course, "The Man Who Sold The World," "Young Americans," "Changes" will always resonate with me. It's always a shock when an icon dies suddenly.

Dig this segue: El Chapo claims to be a Capricorn, born on Christmas day but that issue is in dispute. Meanwhile prototypical Leo, Sean Penn, should probably be more concerned about the wrath of the Mexican cartels than any legal trouble he might incur as a result of his association with the reputed Christmas baby.

BTW, I find Penn's association with El Chupo much less disturbing and much less sleazy than his bromance with his fellow Leo, the late Hugo Chavez. And speaking of chronically dishonest and thuggish Leo's President Obama will deliver his final State Of The Union Address this evening. Everyone is on edge: what will be the most-repeated cliche in tonight's speech?

I am betting on "gun violence." The over/under is three and a half but I think it could hit seven or higher. "Social justice" and "income equality" seem a bit overpriced to me but you can bet they will be honorably mentioned.

Of course, the so-called smart money is going with "climate change." If you are playing the climate change chug along game and you have to drink every time you hear that vapid cliche, you might have a nasty hangover tomorrow.

Most bookies are offering pretty generous odds at the mere mention of "global warming." Consider that a bad bet at any price. Don't think the old gal has one more in her, at least not in January. I am loaded for bear and hope to hit the bullseye with "gun violence."