Archive for October, 2015
According to this article, Quentin Tarantino’s movies will be boycotted by police organizations. Since Tarantino accused police officers of being cold-blooded murderers, the protests against Tarantino have multiplied in number and ferocity.
These protests started when Tarantino said “I’m a human being with a conscience. And if you believe there’s murder going on then you need to rise up and stand up against it. I’m here to say I’m on the side of the murdered.” Saying that that touched off a firestorm is understatement. The “National Association of Police Organizations — a group representing 1,000 police units and associations and over 241,000 sworn law enforcement officers,” issued a statement saying “We ask officers to stop working special assignments or off-duty jobs, such as providing security, traffic control or technical advice for any of Tarantino’s projects.”
Here’s NAPO’s full official statement:
Just days after NYPD Officer Randolph Holder was killed in the line of duty, film director Quentin Tarantino bluntly referred to police as “murderers” during an anti-police rally in New York City this past weekend. As a high-profile figure, Tarantino’s language is utterly irresponsible, particularly at a time when the nation is seeing increasing and persistent calls for the killing of officers. Anti-police rhetoric like Tarantino’s threatens the safety of police and citizens alike. The police he are calling murderers are the same officers who were present along the protest route to ensure the safety of protesters, who provide security when he is filming, and who put their lives on the line to protect our communities day in and day out. The National Association of Police Organizations staunchly supports the call of the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Los Angeles Police Protective League to boycott Tarantino’s films. Furthermore, we ask officers to stop working special assignments or off-duty jobs, such as providing security, traffic control or technical advice for any of Tarantino’s projects. We need to send a loud and clear message that such hateful rhetoric against police officers is unacceptable!
Mr. Tarantino should expect a lengthy, extensive blowback after his comments. These police officers are under siege. The last thing they need is a grandstanding Hollywood nutjob making their jobs more difficult and dangerous. That’s what Tarantino did with his reckless statements.
The latest spin from progressives is that the questions asked at the CNBC Disaster were “the most substantive” questions asked this debate season:
Cruz ticked off the insults the CNBC moderators had lobbed Wednesday night at the assembled Republicans. “Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues?”
The crowd roared. Republican pollster Frank Luntz reported with some awe that his focus group gave Cruz’s riff a 98. “That’s the highest score we’ve ever measured,” Luntz tweeted. “EVER.”
Cruz’s attack on the moderators was smart politics, but it was almost precisely backwards. The questions in the CNBC debate, though relentlessly tough, were easily the most substantive of the debates so far. And the problem for Republicans is that substantive questions about their policy proposals end up sounding like hostile attacks, but that’s because the policy proposals are ridiculous, not because the questions are actually unfair.
Let me correct those deceptive statements before someone starts thinking that they’re substantive comments worthy of serious consideration. To do that, it’s important to provide context for the debate. CNBC signed a contract that said that this debate would be about economic issues.
John Harwood didn’t meet those expectations. He failed that test early and often. Early on, he asked Donald Trump a question that ended with him saying “Let’s be honest. Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?” That’s Klein’s idea of a substantive, hard-hitting question?
A couple minutes later, Becky Quick asked Dr. Carson a question about his tax plan, saying “Dr. Carson, let’s talk about taxes. You have a flat tax plan of 10 percent flat taxes, and, I’ve looked at it, and this is something that is very appealing to a lot of voters, but I’ve had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this.” Though this sounds like a fair question, it isn’t from the standpoint that Dr. Carson’s flat tax plan, in Dr. Carson’s words, “the rate is gonna be much closer to 15 percent.”
If these are examples of “the most substantive”, hard-hitting questions of the debate season, why are they utterly disrespectful? Why didn’t the ‘moderators’ do their homework and get the basics right? When Harwood asked Sen. Rubio about his tax plan, he got it almost entirely wrong. Here’s that exchange:
HARWOOD: Senator Rubio, 30 seconds to you. The Tax Foundation, which was alluded to earlier, scored your tax plan and concluded that you give nearly twice as much of a gain in after-tax income to the top 1 percent as to people in the middle of the income scale. Since you’re the champion of Americans living paycheck-to- paycheck, don’t you have that backward?
RUBIO: No, that’s — you’re wrong. In fact, the largest after- tax gains is for the people at the lower end of the tax spectrum under my plan. And there’s a bunch of things my tax plan does to help them.
Number one, you have people in this country that…
HARWOOD: The Tax Foundation — just to be clear, they said the…
RUBIO: …you wrote a story on it, and you had to go back and correct it.
HARWOOD: No, I did not.
RUBIO: You did. No, you did.
Sean Davis’ article settles that matter permanently by posting Harwood’s tweet saying that he “had to go back and correct it”:
John Harwood? Verified account ?
?@JohnJHarwood CORRECTING earlier tweet: Tax Foundation says Rubio benefits lowest 10% proportionally more (55.9) than top 1% (27.9%). Avg for all: 17.8%.
It’s stunning that the DNC apologists that call themselves journalists can’t even get their facts straight. They can’t even admit that they’ve made mistakes when it’s highlighted that they’ve made major mistakes. Harwood’s mistake was so bad that the Tax Foundation corrected him in a tweet…during the debate:
Scott A. Hodge ?@scottahodge
Rubio was right about his plan. Poor get larger tax benefit than the rich. #CNBCGOPdebate http://taxfoundation.org/sites/taxfoundation.org/files/docs/FF457-Charts_4.png …
These aren’t substantive, hard-hitting questions. If I wanted to write a 3,000 word article on the flimsy, unprofessional questions asked at the CNBC I could do it without much effort. When a moderator asks whether fantasy football should be regulated, the candidates should have the right to criticize the moderators.
After last night’s debate, Jeb Bush appeared on America’s Newsroom to insist that his campaign isn’t on life support, which means his campaign is on life support. It’s like when progressives insist that the science is settled and the debate is over on climate change. George Will properly noted that people who insist that the science is settled and the debate is over are usually fighting the fight of a lifetime and they’re losing the debate.
If David Catanese’s article is accurate, which I’m confident it is, Jeb Bush’s campaign is in trouble. The biggest attention-grabbing part of Catanese’s article is the part where he shares vote goals in Iowa. According to a report selectively leaked to the media, “Bush’s vote goal, according to the document, is to attain 18 percent of the vote share, or about 23,700 votes.” That isn’t optimistic. It’s unrealistic by orders of magnitude.
According to Catanese’s article, Gov. Bush’s “campaign identifies just 1,281 known supporters in Iowa, even after making over 70,000 calls and collecting more than 5,000 emails through mid-October.” That means Gov. Bush just has to increase his known support by eighteen times. The chances of that happening are nonexistent. The chances of him going from 1,281 known supporters to 5,000 supporters is a difficult, if not a near-impossible, proposition.
That’s before talking about something that other pundits haven’t talked about. Jeb Bush is a terrible candidate. Whatever people think of Jeb’s brother, the reality is that he loved campaigning and it showed. Jeb isn’t a good campaigner. He looks better suited to be a policy wonk at a DC think tank, where campaign skills aren’t required.
Jeb tried going negative during the CNBC debate. He looked awful attempting it. If you’re awkward going negative against Hillary, she’ll slice and dice you before turning you into “thousands of Julienne Fries” for breakfast.
According to this highly unscientific poll, Donald Trump won CNBC’s GOP debate quite handily. According to the online poll, Trump dominates with 48% of the vote, followed by Ted Cruz with 19.12% and Marco Rubio with 14.28%.
Finding out that Donald Trump won the troll poll immediately following a debate isn’t surprising. It’s like finding out that Rand Paul won the CPAC Straw Poll. It’s as surprising as finding out that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett made money last week.
Honestly, Donald Trump had a decent performance, with one high profile weak spot and one low profile weak spot. Mr. Trump’s high profile weak spot came when he insisted that he hadn’t criticized Mark Zuckerberg about H1B visas. The only thing weaker than his answer was that CNBC moderator Becky Quick apologized even though she got it right. Mr. Trump did criticize Mr. Zuckerberg about H1B visas. It’s even posted on Mr. Trump’s campaign website on his immigration issues page.
The other weak spot for Mr. Trump came when he started talking about how he isn’t being influenced by super PACs. From there, he pivoted to rail against super PACs, saying “Super PACs are a disaster, they’re a scam, they cause dishonesty, and you’d better get rid of them because they are causing a lot of bad decisions to be made by some very good people.”
Trump will get hit on this in the coming days, especially by columnists like George Will, who will excoriate him for hating the protections that the First Amendment provides.
The consensus from last night’s debate was that Rubio won it going away, that Cruz helped himself by ridiculing the CNBC moderators for asking gotcha questions and that it was terrible night for Jeb! The truth is that Mr. Trump was fairly subdued (perhaps sedated? LOL) last night. He didn’t have his swagger going, either, which meant he just bided his time before getting out of town ASAP.
That’s hardly the description of a candidate who won the debate handily.
Last night, Glenn Beck was on Megyn Kelly’s show. Beck said that Republicans should listen to Bernie Sanders in one respect. Beck paraphrased Sanders as saying “the way that Washington is functioning is immoral.” Later, he revisited that part of Bernie’s riff, saying that Sanders added “and everybody knows it.”
First, it’s important to note that Beck said to “take away everything of what his solutions are because his solutions just don’t work.” What’s important for Republicans to note, however, is the outrage at how Washington is corrupt.
This week, the Justice Department announced that they wouldn’t prosecute Lois Lerner, the corrupt IRS agent who tried to prevent American citizens from exercising their rights to participate in the political process.
Last Friday, Hillary Clinton said that the VA scandal wasn’t as widespread as Republicans would have you believe. Then she said that Republicans were criticizing the VA in their attempt to privatize VA hospitals.
Here’s what Beck said:
These fit perfectly with what Mr. Beck said:
The IRS is immoral and everyone knows it. Lois Lerner wasn’t prosecuted because the Justice Department is immoral and corrupt and everyone knows it. The way that the VA mistreats veterans is immoral and everyone knows it. When Democrats defend Planned Parenthood’s practice of infanticide for profit, it’s immoral and everyone knows it.
Hillary Clinton’s State Department didn’t supply additional security to Libya, which got Ambassador Christopher Stevens murdered by terrorists. That was immoral and everyone knows it. Telling the American people that Christopher Stevens died as a result of an anti-Islam video but telling the Libyan president and the Egyptian prime minister that it was a terrorist attack is immoral and everyone knows it.
Most importantly, Hillary saying that 300,000 veterans died without getting medical treatment is the Republicans fault is highly immoral and everyone knows it.
I won’t pretend that there’s no corruption within the Republican Party. I also won’t pretend that the Democratic Party gives a damn about morality. The Democratic Party is corrupt to the core and everyone knows it.
Hillary Clinton has started using the gender card so often that I wonder if she thinks that the only qualification she needs to be the next president is being a female. The truth is that the biggest thing Mrs. Clinton is missing is a heart. This past weekend, Mrs. Clinton agreed to a softball interview with Rachel Maddow. Let’s just say that Mrs. Clinton managed to piss off an entire group of people. This time, she shot her mouth off about the VA hospital system. According to S.E. Cupp’s article, things got ugly pretty quick.
It started when Ms. Maddow asked about the VA scandal. That’s when Mrs. Clinton said “You know, I don’t understand why we have such a problem, because there have been a number of surveys of veterans and, overall, veterans who do get treated are satisfied with their treatment.” Unfortunately for Mrs. Clinton, she was just getting started. Next, she said “Now, nobody would believe that from the coverage that you see, and the constant berating of the VA that comes from Republicans in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have.”
That’s breathtakingly dishonest. It isn’t surprising that Hillary blamed the VA scandal on Republicans. That’s a reflex with her. What’s disappointing is that she deflected blame away from the corrupt administrators who gave themselves bonuses while veterans died while waiting to get treatment. No amount of money would’ve fixed that. In fact, more money might’ve made the problem worse.
Ms. Cupp then asks a pair of important questions:
When did it become politically permissible to either ignore or accept the systematic negligence of our servicemen and women? And then blame the other political party for pointing it out?
Hillary Clinton doesn’t care about people outside her inner circle of friends. Think about this:
- Will Hillary fight for a single mother’s right to defend her family in the crime-infested neighborhoods of her hometown of Chicago?
- Will Hillary fight for veterans to get timely medical treatments from some of the nastiest medical conditions?
- Will Hillary fight for unemployed construction workers who want to build the Keystone XL Pipeline?
We know the answer to those questions. The answer isn’t no. It’s hell no.
This is a presidential campaign. I know that the candidates will play hardball. That’s fine. Presidential politics is a contact sport. What’s beyond the pale, though, is saying that 300,000 veterans dying without getting treatment is the fault of partisan politics.
That’s as disgusting as Hillary saying that she takes “full responsibility” for Benghazi in one sentence, then insisting that she neither approved or rejected any of Christopher Stevens’ requests for additional security.
Torii Hunter, one of my all-time favorite athletes in any sport, announced his retirement this week. It’s a sad week for Minnesota sports fans, especially coming so soon after Flip Saunders died way too young of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Officially, Torii retired without winning a World Series Ring or even without reaching the Fall Classic. Hopefully, though, Paul Molitor will hire him as a coach or Terry Ryan will hire him as a minor league instructor to teach young Twins prospects the Twins way. Torii’s outgoing personality and Torii’s commitment to being the consummate professional were instrumental to the Twins’ revival this season.
If you’re a Torii Hunter fan, then you’ve got a lengthy list of Gold Glove-worthy plays that he made. To the national audience, though, there’s only one play that people are likely to remember. This is that play:
In the first inning of the All Star Game in Milwaukee, against Barry Bonds, Torii soared over the fence to steal a home run away from Bonds. Still, there were other plays that Twins fans will remember besides just that catch. Lifelong Twins fans won’t forget Torii barreling through White Sox catcher Jamie Burke in the opening game of a series in Chicago. After that collision, the White Sox played like a timid team. After that collision, the Twins played like they were the home team while sweeping the series.
In December of 2001, Major League Baseball tried to contract the Minnesota Twins but were unable to dissolve them thanks to a judge’s ruling. In February, 2002, I attended Twins spring training. After the workout, I got Torii’s autograph, which I still have. Though Torii was still young at the time, he was respectful of the fans. He carried on a conversation for over 45 minutes while signing autographs. Throughout the autograph session, Torii’s infectious smile shined brightly.
The thing about Torii isn’t just that he was a great athlete or that he was a charismatic leader. Certainly, he’ll be remembered as both of those things. It wasn’t just that he knew how to play pranks in the clubhouse or have fun with his teammates.
The thing I’ll remember most about Torii now that his playing days are over is that he was stubbornly professional. This year, he was essentially the father of the Twins outfield. At season’s end, Torii had taught Aaron Hicks, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario a ton of lessons on how to play the game right, to have fun and to be a professional. Aaron Hicks finally became a major league hitter. In 2013 and 2014, Hicks’ batting average was .201. This year, with Torii’s arrival, Hicks’ batting average improved to .256 with 11 home runs.
Thanks to Terry Ryan’s drafting and Torii Hunter’s leadership, the Twins outfield should be in good shape for years.
Normally, Kirsten Powers is one of the somewhat sane liberals in the national media. Ms. Powers’ latest USA Today article proves that there’s an exception to every rule.
The subject of Ms. Powers’ latest column is last week’s Benghazi hearing. According to Ms. Powers, who seems to have digested the Democrats’ chanting points then regurgitated them for this column, Republicans “bungling and bullying at Thursday’s hearing should count as an in-kind donation to the Clinton campaign.” Of course, Ms. Powers then said that what “happened in Benghazi matters” before saying that “investigating security failures, especially those that resulted in the deaths of Americans, is a laudable endeavor.”
Unfortunately, she then asked “does anyone really believe that’s what the Republicans were up to last week?”
The reason I suspect that this is a world-class spin job is this question:
But is it really a mystery as to why a friend of at least two decades would have her email address?
That’s spin. It isn’t surprising that Sid Blumenthal would have Hillary’s email address. It’s that Christopher Stevens didn’t have it. This emphasizes the point:
“During the hearing Michael McFaul tweeted, “As ambassador in Russia, I enjoyed multiple ways to communicate with Secretary Clinton. Email was never one of them.”
Actually, McFaul might’ve highlighted something important in that tweet. Clearly, he was able to “communicate with Secretary Clinton.” Why wasn’t Ambassador Stevens able to communicate directly with Mrs. Clinton? It’s clear that Stevens tried getting Mrs. Clinton’s attention often. According to documentation introduced at the hearing, Christopher Stevens literally made hundreds of requests for additional security.
According to Mrs. Clinton’s testimony, she never received a single request. She said that she “neither rejected or approved” any of Christopher Stevens’ security requests.
Ms. Powers says that “hate-blinded Republicans” bungled the hearing. That’s a cheap shot and then some. Republicans weren’t blinded with hate. They were determined to find out why Mrs. Clinton failed to protect Christopher Stevens, the man Mrs. Clinton called her “dear friend.” Is it typical for Mrs. Clinton to treat dear friends like that? If it is, then I’m thankful I’m not one of Hillary’s dear friends.
Does Ms. Powers think that it isn’t a big deal that Mrs. Clinton repeatedly told the American people for well over a week that a video caused the terrorist attack after telling her daughter that it was a terrorist attack? Does Ms. Powers think it isn’t a big deal that Mrs. Clinton told the Egyptian prime minister and the Libyan president that Christopher Stevens died in a terrorist attack?
If asking tough questions of Mrs. Clinton is bullying, then this nation’s best days are in its past. If trying to hold Mrs. Clinton accountable for her decisions is proof that Republicans hat Mrs. Clinton, then Ms. Powers has a dramatically different definition of hatred than I do. Does Ms. Powers think Mike Pompeo bullied Mrs. Clinton when he asked her why nobody at the State Department got fired for not approving Christopher Stevens’ requests for additional security? Does Ms. Powers think Susan Brooks bullied Mrs. Clinton when she asked Mrs. Clinton if she ever talked with Christopher Stevens after he was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Libya?
Personally, I’d call those important, thoughtful questions proof that Republicans on that committee took their jobs seriously.
Finally, I’d love hearing Ms. Powers response to whether these questions are either a) inappropriate or b) proof that I’m trying to bully Mrs. Clinton.
The latest update on the Tech bonding referendum is that the school district knows exactly how much money they need to build a new Tech High School but they aren’t finished designing the building.
According to Barclay Carriar, a 57-year-old adviser with Ameriprise Financial and co-chair of Neighbors for School Excellence, “What a lot of them don’t recognize is, with the cost of designing a building, 80 percent of it isn’t going to be designed until after the referendum. And the plans we’ve got now are still tentative.”
Picture this. Picture a homebuilder just starting out going into a bank and telling the loan officer that he wants to borrow $250,000 to build a home. The first thing that loan officer will do is ask about how big the house is, whether the contractor already has a buyer, etc. Imagine the contractor telling the loan officer that he’s got a good lead on someone who might buy the home but that he hasn’t had someone draw up the blueprints.
That contractor’s interview would end abruptly. This referendum should end quickly, too. This argument is absurd:
The group also points out that homeowners in the district already pay lower taxes than almost every other district in the immediate area. St. Cloud’s annual school tax expense on a $150,000 home is $521. The other metro area districts of Sauk Rapids-Rice ($741), Sartell-St. Stephen ($686) and Rocori ($627) all are higher. Even with passage of the referendum, St. Cloud taxes would rise to $739, still just below Sauk Rapids-Rice…
My first reaction is “So what?” If other cities want to spend more, that’s their decision. I’ve never been a fan of keeping up with the Joneses. If you want to win my vote, explain with specificity how spending additional money will improve the students’ learning experience.
Telling me that ‘we must invest in education’ is fluff. It isn’t a serious argument.
It isn’t often that I find sanity on the St. Cloud Times Opinion Page. This LTE from Loren Weinberg fits the criteria for sanity.
One of the points Mr. Weinberg makes is that the sample ballot and the flyers sent out by the St. Cloud School Board are significantly different. According to Mr. Weinberg, “the ballot … only mentions the final amount, $167 million.” Meanwhile, the flyer sent out by the School Board tells voters “exactly how much will be spent on each of the four projects.”
That’s an important difference. Information in a flyer might or might not be accurate. It certainly isn’t legally binding. If a majority of voters vote to approve the bonding request, the School Board won’t be obligated to spend the $167,000,000 on the things their flyer said they’ll spend the money on.
Voting no on this referendum is the only responsible thing to do. First, school district residents don’t have any guarantees that the money will be spent on the projects the School Board says they’ll be spent on. Second, school district residents haven’t seen blueprints of what the Apollo renovation or the new Tech High School look like. Third, school district residents didn’t have input on the front end as to what the district’s needs are. Supposedly, the plan is for both high schools to hold 1,800 students each.
John Palmer, now a retired professor from St. Cloud State, worded things this way:
The fundamental problem I have is, if you were going to be buying something as an individual, the first thing you would do is identify the need — not the want. I can see no evidence of what specifically the need is. The capacity of the two new buildings, if this should pass, would be 1,800 (each). Enrollment right now is about 2,800 (total between Tech and Apollo). I don’t know if that capacity would be high, low or in between because I don’t believe there has been any work done on determining what it will be in the future.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve known John since 2005 and consider him a friend. The points that John makes aren’t just legitimate. They’re the heart of the matter.
There’s nothing I’ve heard that suggests that high school enrollment will increase by 30% over the next 20 years. The recent trend, in fact, is heading in the opposite direction. If that’s the case, why should school district residents build schools that are significantly bigger than what’s needed?
It isn’t difficult to argue that the School Board wants us to essentially write them a blank check, then trust them. However, it’s difficult for thoughtful people to trust this school board considering how secretive and deceptive they’ve been.
Voting no is the only right way to vote.