Archive

September 16th, 2016

The pervasive paranoia of Hillary Clinton strikes again

    "Trust us."

    That's the message from Hillary Clinton's campaign in the wake of a medical incident on Sunday in which the former Secretary of State appeared wobbly, at best, as she left a Sept. 11 memorial service early.

    Clinton got overheated and dehydrated at the event because she is battling pneumonia, according to her doctor. "Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies," said Clinton's doctor Lisa R. Bardack in a statement. "On Friday, during a follow-up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule. While at this morning's event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely."

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The American people agree with Clinton: Trump is a bigot. This new poll confirms it

    Monday morning on Fox News, Donald Trump addressed the two biggest stories of the weekend: He mostly laid low on the news that Hillary Clinton has been diagnosed with pneumonia, saying he hopes she "gets well," while also tearing into Clinton's suggestion that half of his voters are bigoted or chauvinistic "deplorables." These two things are related: The Washington Post reports that Trump advisers want him to go easy on Clinton's health, because they want the focus this week to be on her "deplorables" remark.

    And so, on Fox, Trump had this to say about Clinton's "deplorables" comment: "I think it's the single biggest mistake of the political season."

    But the new Post/ABC News poll released over the weekend raises questions about whether Clinton's remarks were really a political mistake. If Clinton's goal was to force a public discussion of Trump's bigotry and chauvinism, well, the Post poll finds that a large majority of Americans agree with her that Trump is biased against women and minorities, including among the voter groups that Trump needs to improve among in order to win.

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If guns come before mental health, that’s just crazy

    We interrupt non-stop coverage about what happens during an NFL national anthem to bring news that actually might matter.

    (By the way, ending that national anthem crisis is simple, says my wife: Stop televising it. Three national annoyances go away at once: pop stars butchering it, sports stars protesting it, and media fixating on it.)

    Now, as promised, a matter that actually affects lives:

    While lawmakers of both parties are standing to salute a good idea to address mental health, one man has been criticized for taking a knee – kneeling toward the gun lobby.

    That would be Texas Sen. John Cornyn.

    Cornyn promoting a mental health bill that has supporters in both parties. However, his inclination to combine gun matters with mental health matters threatens the very things everyone else supports.

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Don't leave kids near judgmental strangers

    As a child, Ashley Thomas loved to go by herself to a meadow about a 10-minute walk from her house in Ojai, California. Playing on her own let her imagination soar. "You can pretend you're the Queen of Sheba," she says. Exploring made her feel independent and grown up. Once, when she was in about the first grade, she even found a snake. "There's no way I would have picked up a snake in front of my parents," she says. "The reason I knew it was OK was I had also gone by myself to the library to take a snake safety class." (Yes, a snake safety class.)

    Ah, the olde-time memories of the days when kids could play on their own without someone posting a video online to shame their parents -- or calling the police to have mom arrested and the children seized by social services. But Thomas isn't an aging baby boomer telling tales to her grandkids. She's just 30.

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Clinton can restore health, not voter trust

    Hillary Clinton became "overheated" and left the Sept. 11 memorial service abruptly after an hour and a half. Television cameras were rolling, allowing much of the world to see her being loaded into her van. She went to her daughter's nearby apartment for a breather, emerged looking chipper, stopped for a picture with a child, and drove off.

    If it had ended there, the incident would have been unfortunate, but wouldn't have altered the course of the campaign. Instead, the public learned later that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Sept. 9 and neglected to tell anyone.

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The Clinton campaign's bad damage control just made the health story even worse

    Conservative media coverage of Hillary Clinton's health has been borderline hysterical. OK, not even borderline - just plain hysterical. Amateur diagnoses of the Democratic presidential nominee on various news sites range from Parkinson's disease and cancer to radiation poisoning and aphasia. Mainstream outlets have generally dismissed such conjecture.

    But after Clinton was forced to leave a Sept. 11 memorial service early Sunday - feeling overheated, according to her campaign - the journalistic scrutiny seems likely to intensify. And not only - or even primarily - because of the overheating.

    The bigger issue is the secretive manner in which Clinton's campaign managed the incident. It is an approach that is sure to prove counterproductive than if reporters had been allowed to follow Clinton out of the ceremony or if aides had been faster to address her condition. A lack of information always makes journalists wonder whether something more serious is being kept hidden. It just does.

    In the immediate aftermath of Clinton's exit, reporters tweeted their frustration at not knowing what was going on - and being prevented from finding out.

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How did we get so clueless about news?

    Veteran journalist Alan Miller tells the story of the high school students who, years after the fact, didn't know that Osama bin Laden had been killed. These were seniors, no less - in a journalism class at a well-regarded New York City charter school.

    "Their reaction was 'Wait, what? He's dead?' " said Miller, who won a Pulitzer Prize as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

    His story, though, has a happy ending. After immersion in the News Literacy Project, a Bethesda, Md.-based nonprofit organization that Miller founded to give teenagers the tools to know what to believe in the digital age, the students became news junkies. They were seriously annoyed if their classroom copies of the New York Times didn't show up on time.

    Every bit as dead as bin Laden, it sometimes seems, is many American citizens' basic knowledge of news. Young people, especially, get their news in isolated bursts on their phones (the experts call this disaggregation). That makes it harder than ever to tell established truth from opinion, propaganda or pure fiction.

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About the ‘Basket of Deplorables’

    Let’s get straight to it: Hillary Clinton’s comments Friday at a fundraiser that half of Donald Trump’s supporters could be put in a “basket of deplorables” wasn’t a smart political play.

    Candidates do themselves a tremendous disservice when they attack voters rather than campaigns. Whatever advantage is procured through the rallying of one’s own base is outweighed by what will be read as divisiveness and disdain.

    Here is Clinton’s full quote:

    “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.

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Clinton staggers after self-inflicted political wounds

    There's a certain irony in Hillary Clinton, well known for caution and secrecy, now finding herself on the defensive for an incautious smear of Donald Trump's supporters and simultaneously under fire for failing to disclose a health problem that temporarily knocked her off the campaign trail.

    The double whammy to her shaky lead in most of the polls may well be fleeting. But the phenomenon well demonstrates the way unanticipated factors can skewer the most conservative predictions of the outcome of a presidential campaign.

    Only four years earlier, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney seemed headed to a tight showdown in his bid to deny President Obama a second term. Then, at a supposedly private fund-raiser, Romney uttered a similarly incautious slap at "the 47 percent of Americans" on federal welfare he said would never vote for him.

    Unfortunately for Romney, an attendee caught the remark on camera, and in unfriendly hands it went "viral." The comment may not have determined the election outcome, but it obliged him to try to explain away the unfortunate implication that he was writing off nearly half of American voters.

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September 14th

This election's faith-based candidate

    This is the inversion election, a contest in which so many of our familiar mental categories have been turned upside down.

     This year, it's the Republican presidential candidate who says the United States isn't great anymore and the Democrat who insists it is. The Republican says that the former KGB agent now presiding over Russia is a better leader than the president of the United States. The Democrat condemns him for it.

    But last week reminded us that there is another role reversal in this election. There is one candidate who is authentically religious, who has thought seriously about what the Scriptures teach, and whose own view of the world was changed radically by her engagement with faith. Her name is Hillary Clinton.

    Yes, I flinched when I typed that word "authentically." How can we know whose faith is authentic or truly understand someone else's relationship to God? It's hard enough for most of us to come to terms honestly with our own relationship to the Almighty.

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