Archive

February 26th, 2016

Cranks on Top

    If prediction markets (and most hardheaded analysis) are to be believed, Hillary Clinton, having demonstrated her staying power, is the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination. The Republican race, by contrast, has seen a lot of consolidation — it’s pretty much down to a two-man race — but the outcome is still up for grabs.

    The thing is, one of the two men who may still have a good chance of becoming the Republican nominee is a scary character. His notions on foreign policy seem to boil down to the belief that America can bully everyone into doing its bidding, and that engaging in diplomacy is a sign of weakness. His ideas on domestic policy are deeply ignorant and irresponsible, and would be disastrous if put into effect.

    The other man, of course, has very peculiar hair.

    Marco Rubio has yet to win anything, but by losing less badly than other non-Trump candidates he has become the overwhelming choice of the Republican establishment. Does this give him a real chance of overtaking the man who probably just won all of South Carolina’s delegates? I have no idea.

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Ben Carson and Cornel West actually agree: Obama's 'not black enough'

    Ben Carson and Cornel West are polar opposites, ideologically, politically, socially. But they are kindred spirits when it comes to their disdain for President Barack Obama. For these guardians of blackness, the first African-American occupant of the Oval Office is not black enough. Better not tell Virginia McLaurin, the 106-year-old who was so excited to meet "a black president" that she danced her way into our hearts.

    Carson's presidential campaign is so anemic that a tear dropping into the ocean causes more waves. Yet he had time to crack wise on the president's upbringing during an interview with Glenn Thrush. He told the ace Politico reporter and podcaster that he "did not" derive any joy out of Obama's election.

    Carson: I mean, like most Americans, I was proud that we broke the color barrier when he was elected, but I also recognize that his experience and my experience are night-and-day different. He didn't grow up like I grew up by any stretch of the imagination.

    Thrush: That's right.

    Carson: Not even close.

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Cruz and Rubio, Separated at Mirth

    Ted Cruz described Marco Rubio last week as “Donald Trump with a smile,” saying that both are quick to call their critics liars, though Rubio does it amiably.

    Cruz is right about Rubio’s affect, wrong about which candidate it distinguishes him from. He and Rubio are the pair twinned in so many respects beyond the curve of their lips.

    That makes these two U.S. senators — both in their first terms, both Cuban-American, both lawyers, just five months apart in age — a uniquely fascinating study in how much the style of a person’s politics drives perceptions of who he is and in how thoroughly optics eclipse substance.

    Rubio, 44, is routinely branded “mainstream” and occasionally labeled “moderate.” There’s a belief among Republican leaders, along with evidence in polls, that he has an appeal to less conservative voters that Cruz doesn’t.

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February 24th

Neglected Stories

    March is Women's History Month so designated to focus on all the neglected stories of women's contributions to this nation's society.  Due to  the same type of neglect, February has long been named Black History Month. 

    Mitigating the latter is a museum due to open on our National Mall next September. A group chartered as the National Women's History Museum (www.nwhm.org)is attempting to build a like museum.  Congress has at long last established a committee to look into the possibility of a women's museum but unlike the one that resulted in the building of others on the mall the women are left to raise the entire funding - just to investigate the possibility!  A major part of the quest is to secure the last site on the mall.

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Trump lures Pope Francis into 2016 race

    So now The Donald is running against the pope.

    After waging a presidential campaign that appears to have been all but directed by Triumph the Insult Dog, billionaire developer Donald Trump has outdone his earlier displays of bold audacity. This time he's taking on Pope Francis.

    That's right. A man whose name is associated with wealth, power and self-promotion is taking on a man who chose to be named after the patron saint of the poor, Francis of Assisi.

    Yet, as much as Trump risks losing voters in heavily Catholic states, he may have helped to energize other elements of his base, particularly social conservatives who think Francis' policies have been too liberal.

    Either way, it is almost amusing to watch Trump play the victim card like a champ, all because his little feelings were somehow injured by the Pope's opposition to Trump's signature issue: his desire to wall off the Mexican border and somehow persuade Mexico to pick up the bill.

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Trump has a stranglehold on the GOP nomination. So why isn't he getting credit?

    Donald Trump cruised to a double-digit win over the Republican field on Saturday in South Carolina. It was his second straight easy win - coming 11 days after he swept the New Hampshire primary by nearly 20 points.

    Those back-to-back victories coupled with Trump's second-place finish in Iowa's caucuses - in which he took the second-most votes of any Republican candidate ever - affirm a simple yet still not fully grasped fact: Trump is the heavy favorite to be the Republican presidential nominee this fall.

    Let's start with the delegate math through the first three votes. Trump won all 50 of South Carolina's delegates Saturday, bringing his total delegate count to 67. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is in second place with 11 delegates. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has 10. Of the 103 delegates allocated in the race to date, Trump has won 65 percent.

    Now, look forward. On Tuesday, Nevada will hold its Republican caucuses. According to a CNN-ORC poll released on Wednesday, Trump leads in the Silver State by 26 points - an edge likely to hold steady or even grow in the wake of his convincing South Carolina win.

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The double bind trapping Hillary Clinton

    Now we know that Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright don't actually think that anyone should vote for Hillary Clinton simply because she's a woman. Does that mean we can forget about Clinton's gender? I don't think so. But the question we face is subtler, more complicated and harder to address than "Do I vote for her because she's a woman?" Rather, it's "Can I be sure I'm judging this candidate accurately, given the double bind that confronts all women in positions of authority?"

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The budget plan of a charlatan

    In this depressingly unserious campaign season, it's time -- past time -- to take Donald Trump seriously. In particular, to take seriously what passes for Trump's domestic policy, aside from that wall.

    Trump purports to care about the national debt. "We can't keep doing this," he said of the debt at MSNBC's town hall Wednesday. "We've got to start balancing budgets."

    Except, Trump -- alone among Republican candidates -- insists that he will leave entitlement spending untouched, although it consumes more than two-thirds of the federal budget.

    On Social Security, for instance, Trump rejects raising the retirement age (a move he once endorsed), increasing payroll taxes, reducing cost of living adjustments and trimming benefits.

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Republicans, you have one last chance

    Republicans, you have one last chance.

    Following his fourth-place finish in South Carolina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ended his campaign for the White House, diminishing the hope among Republicans seeking a tolerable alternative to Donald Trump. On a night in which Nevada Democrats helped the chances of their more pragmatic candidate, Hillary Clinton, the GOP found itself with just one even-keeled option left in the race.

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My son is not a mascot for abortion bans

    Before "I was born, the doctors told my mom that I'll be Down syndrome and so the doctors asked her if she wanted to have an abortion of me," says John, a star of the reality show "Born This Way." Cut to his mother, Joyce, who remembers doctors cautioning, " 'Don't expect a lot. He will never be an asset to society. He will never be a productive citizen.' Those are the words they tell you - you know, all negative. I just said, 'No, John is gonna be my child. I will take care of him. He has Down syndrome, but it's not gonna limit him.' " The John we see at age 28 is funny and kind. He has warm relationships with family and friends, and, like many other reality show stars, is pursuing a pipe dream - in his case, being a rap artist.

    This is a familiar story for people with Down syndrome and their advocates. Where once experts advised parents to institutionalize babies born with Down syndrome, in the era of genetic testing, expecting mothers are frequently urged to abort. Even those who would otherwise identify as staunchly pro-life have seen Down syndrome as a possible justification for abortion.

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