Saturday, July 12, 2008

 

Sad Saturday

Following the early morning news of Tony Snow comes the late afternoon word of the death of a beloved member of the New York Yankees family, Bobby Murcer. Murcer had the unenviable role of being projected as the "next great Yankee centerfielder" after Mickey Mantle.

Murcer was never quite that good, but he nonetheless had several tours of duty with the team from the '60s and '80s-- and then gained even greater respect and love from the Yankee faithful as a broadcaster. An especially poignant passing just three days before the All-Star Game is held at Yankee Stadium.

Bobby Murcer, dead at 62, from cancer.

R.I.P.

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Tony Snow, R.I.P.

My condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of former White House press secretary and journalist Tony Snow who passed away this morning at the age of 53. I first met Tony nearly 20 years ago in Washington. He was editorial page editor of the Washington Times. He also appeared on a prototypical version of what many years later would become "Fox News Sunday". It was called "Off The Record." It had a younger, bouncier feel to it than the other news shows at the time.

While still at the Republican National Committee, I encountered Tony after he had become head speechwriter in the first Bush White House. Though he only briefly knew me, he was nice enought to pass along my name to a newspaper editorial page editor who was looking for an editorial writer. That particular offer didn't work out, but Tony's generosity toward a young professional starting out in DC was really impressive.

Snow was a conservative on-air journalist to emulate because he knew his stuff, stuck to his beliefs -- but didn't feel the need to belittle those with whome he disagreed. He was an essentially decent person.

Again, my thoughts and prayers to his his wife, Jill, and their three children.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

 

Open Thread

This thread is to get us through a long week before the premiere of a certain Dark Knight.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

 

RAG on NPR

Farai, Donna Brazile and I talk about McCain, Obama, Latino voters and other issues.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

 

Obama's "Sister Souljah" Moment...

...is delivered by Jesse Jackson -- on himself!

Jackson is caught on tape saying he wanted to "cut [Barack Obama's] n*ts off,"
because Obama was "talking down to black people." This, because of Obama's speech on fatherhood a few weeks ago. Fox will apparently be running the clip several times in prime-time tonight.

Jesse, realizing what he's done, goes into pre-emptive apology mode.

This is just too great: Jackson gets all bent out of shape over Obama giving his most common-sensical address of the year -- a speech that, decades ago, Jackson himself would have been giving. Of course, that was well before he started his own baby-mama drama with former RainbowPUSH aide Karen Stanford!

Getting attacked over fatherhood -- from Jesse Jackson? And Barack Obama didn't even have to get himself invited to a Jackson event to set this up.

Obama truly does lead a charmed life.

UPDATED: Corrected to reflect Jackson's actual quotes.

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Leviathan Is The Slaveholder

Okay, let's stipulate that Jonah Goldberg makes a pretty silly argument in his Los Angeles Times column. Getting young people to volunteer more is in no way slavery and, in fact, were Obama not black, it's doubtful that the "irony" cheap-shot valve in Jonah's brain would kick in.

That said, in slapping Jonah down, Jeff Fecke misses an important point himself:
Wha–? Did Jonah Goldberg just make the argument that adding a curriculum requirement for colleges and schools is tantamount to slavery? Really? I mean, by that logic, isn’t compulsory education itself slavery? Does this make No Child Left Behind the Dred Scott decision of the 21st century? And if so, does that mean the anti-choicers have to stop using it as a dog-whistle?
Cheap allusions to the 13th amendment should be as off-limits in political discussion as similar ones that invoke the Holocaust, Hitler, concentration camps, Kristallnacht, etc.

However, Fecke unwittingly points to a major problem that those on the right have had about NCLB, almost from the beginning. The greater role the federal government assers in an area that should ideally be left to state or local authorities, the greater likelihood that the federal government will find ways to increase that power -- depending upon who is in power. Under Bush, the feds essentially turned most local schools into mega-testing centers. Now Obama comes along and thinks, "Hmmmm...in addition to testing the kids on reading and math, lets make sure that every school system has some sort of volunteerism requirement in its curriculum."

Now, personally, as I've alluded to before, I don't have a knee-jerk opposition to the idea of some form of universal national service. However, one can see almost immediately where the likely ideological battlefields will spring up over Obama's idea:

Will the local Planned Parenthood be considered a legitimate charity where little liberal Lisa can volunteer?

Or how about the local Birthright, where little conservative Connie might want to counsel someone out of having an abortion?

Will both be considered "valid" volunteer options by either local or federal powers-that-be?

In short, this would immediately open up another field for the "federal funding for abortion" fight.

Now, this is the very serious discussion that should be had -- how the federal leviathan inevitably extends and expands its fingers into every part of society.

Smartass "slavery" rhetoric does nothing more than obscure where this debate should be centered.

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RAG on Radio and *Live*

For the second week in a row, I will be on NPR's "News & Notes" today (check local listings).

For those folks in New York City and free this evening, you can also catch me at the Broadway Comedy Club, 318 W. 53rd (bet. 8th & 9th Avenues), 7 PM show. It's a $20 cover and two-drink minimum.


Have a listen and/or take a look!

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

 

Paging Joe Biden

Remember how this little, um, Kinnock-off-the-old-block deep-sixed a certain loquacious senator's 1988 presidential bid?

Well, guess where the McCain campaign has gone for "inspiration" -- the British Tories of thirty years ago.

Stay away from British campaigns, guys. Inevitably, something gets lost in translation.

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"Timetable" Is The Word...

...that even Iraq has heard.

So, the question for John McCain: Why not declare victory -- and get out?


Make the point that 1) George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld's early fumbling nearly brought the United States to defeat; 2) You were the one who insisted on the surge mere months after the initial invasion; 3) The surge has "worked"; 4) the US has done as much as it can; 5) the Iraqis are satisfied enough that they want us out.

Good enough. The entire point was to create a sovereign (relatively) democratic Iraq.


Mission accomplished. Take the victory, Johnny Mac -- and the credit.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

 

Weekend Wrap-Up

After battling the flu for a couple of days, I'm going to have to do a little hit-and-run compendium today of stuff that occurred over the weekend:

1) Sen. Jesse Helms departs this mortal coil. Yes, he was a powerful, principled, conservative senator. He was also a hardcore segregationist early in his life and did little to achieve racial "enlightenment" over the years. Contrary to my friend, John Miller's view, the "particular vision" of civil rights that Helms opposed included interracial marriage. Of course with his death now, if Barack Obama becomes president, Helms can actually roll over in his grave.


2) Without a doubt, the greatest tennis match I've ever seen, eclipsing the 1980 Borg-McEnroe classic. Nadal running down shots he had no business getting to; Federer seemingly knocked out early, only to keep coming back; Nadal doing a mini-choke during the fourth set tiebreaker. On and on, back and forth. Absolutely stunning tennis.

3) A well-played Serena-Venus match on Saturday; it was good to see Venus win again. Even better, this wasn't one of those tentative mistake-prone matches that often occur between the sisters.

4) The New York Yankees would have been much better off not resigning A-Rod. He is a walking soap-opera, of which this divorce/Madonna/Kabballah mess is a perfect example. Derek Jeter has had more than a few attractive celebrity girlfriends in the dozen years he's played in New York. He's dated -- among others -- Vanessa Minillo, Mariah Carey and Jordana Brewster. But, proving that there is a difference between a ladies man and a cad, when Jeter is mentioned in the tabloids (including the Post's "Page Six"), it's never done in a way that is embarrassing to the Yankees. The married A-Rod, on the other hand, has been with the team four years and he's been caught hitting Toronto strip clubs with "busty blondes" -- and now apparently, his flagrant infidelity has caused his wife to walk out on him. This tawdry divorce will play out for months to come.

Just what the Bombers need.

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