There was a time at Dodger Stadium, back during the days when Vin Scully called the entire game, where fans would bring their transistor radios to the stadium to listen to him call the game they were watching. Even if you didn’t have a radio, you could pretty much follow along, as there were so many radios around you. Everyone knew the best part of the Scully broadcast were the stories he would tell about baseball history, or the stories he would weave out of the game happening in real time in front of him, often with a touch of irony or humor. When he would tell a story, pretty much the whole section around you would smile or laugh.
Last week, Hugh Hewitt interviewed Vin Scully, and the transcript is worth reading in its entirety. At one point, Hewitt asked him if he had gone to parochial schools or public schools when he was little. Scully answered that he “was parochial all the way,” starting with Incarnation Grammar School at 175th Street in Manhattan. He asked Hewitt if he “might bore you with a little story” about the Sisters of Charity who were his teachers. Here is the story:
Correlation can be coincidence. But the greater the correlation, the less likely it is to be coincidence. As Ian Fleming explained in words he put into the mouth of Auric Goldfinger after his character encountered James Bond for the third time, “Once is an accident. Twice is coincidence. Three times is an enemy action.”
How about 17 times? That’s the number of states that elected Republican governors in 2010, thanks to Tea Party demands for fiscal conservatism. And as Breitbart reports today, 17 is the number of those states that have seen a drop in unemployment since January 2011. While the national unemployment rate has dropped .9 percentage points since then, these 17 states have dropped an average of 1.35 percentage points. States that elected Democratic governors in 2010 tracked the national decline in unemployment. And some of those states have had increases in the level of unemployment.
Most officers, now deploying to Afghanistan often for their third or fourth time, are far more attuned to political developments and the problems facing that country than the politicians who are ordering them into battle. Based on my experience teaching classes to deploying officers before each unit departs, there is an overwhelming consensus that governance in Afghanistan is fatally flawed. While officers recognize that a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan is inimical to American security, few officers see how propping up Hamid Karzai’s corrupt plutocracy is a U.S. interest.
Alas, the problem that Karzai has become today is the direct result of a strategy that traded short-term gain for long-term ills. Without doubt, it was important that the United States unseat the Taliban. Simply put, the Taliban can never be a partner for peace and it should have no role in Afghanistan’s future; it must be eliminated. The Clinton administration had tried a negotiated solution with Taliban leaders; the same Taliban representatives with whom Obama’s team now engage promised any number of resolutions, but then as now always failed to deliver.
The Miami Herald has a startling story about Michael Moore’s model healthcare system, down in Cuba: “The first cholera outbreak in Cuba in a century has left at least 15 dead and sent hundreds to hospitals all but sealed off by security agents bent on keeping a lid on the news, according to reports Friday.”
The country’s time-warp politics and infrastructure now match its diseases. Cholera was supposed to have been wiped out in Cuba around 1900. And this is only one of many Cuban health crises. Apparently Cuba has become something of a Petri dish since Russia stopped subsidizing Castro’s island prison in the 1990s. The Herald reports that “During one 24-hour period in January, three flights from Cuba to Toronto arrived with groups of passengers suffering from nausea, vomiting and fever.” There’s also “an acute soap shortage,” and “rumors of an increase in dengue, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that thrive during the hot and rainy months of summer.”
With a sinking economy and few accomplishments to his credit, President Obama has been doing the only thing an incumbent in his position can do: trash his opponent. Democratic attacks on Mitt Romney’s business record have taken a toll on the Republican candidate, but the assault on his record as an investor can only go so far. The president’s base may buy into the claims that Romney’s wealth was gained only by outsourcing American jobs abroad, but most are not that gullible. The line between throwing mud at Romney and trashing capitalism is very thin. If the president is going to go to the polls as the champion of propping up doomed businesses with bailouts as opposed to creating wealth and jobs by promoting those that can succeed, Romney will win. However, Romney’s problem is not so much his record at Bain Capital as it is the idea that he is an out of touch rich guy. And that, rather than Bain, is the real Democrat target, as today’s front page story in the Sunday New York Times rightly points out.
Seen in that light, Democratic strategists had to be pleased this week when photos of a shirt-sleeved President Obama on his working class bus tour of Ohio were contrasted with pictures of Romney jet-skiing on a New Hampshire lake while on a July 4th vacation with his family. Republicans who remember the points they scored when photographers caught John Kerry windsurfing during the 2004 campaign probably winced when they saw Romney cavorting on the water. But it remains to be seen whether Barack Obama–the candidate of Hollywood elites and who recently was hosted at a gala fundraiser in New York by Sarah Jessica Parker where his candidacy was touted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour–can convince wavering independent voters he is the champion of the working class. The question for the country is not so much who’s the rich guy in the race as who is the one who is out of touch with the country’s economic dilemma. While Romney’s weakness has always been his inability to connect with ordinary voters, Obama’s is that he is the guy in charge of an economy where employment is shrinking rather than growing.
A few days ago, I noted the irony in the unfolding controversy involving the results from the New York Democratic primary. At a time when Democrats around the country, including Attorney General Eric Holder, have been vociferously claiming there is no such thing as voter fraud in the United States and that efforts to uphold the integrity of elections are a form of racism, the senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus appears to have engaged in a variety of forms of fraud himself. The latest results from the June 26 election show Rep. Charles Rangel holding a more than 900-vote edge on challenger Adriano Espaillat. But Espaillat is screaming bloody murder over the way Rangel’s party establishment followers may have cooked the results.
Rangel’s people disqualified hundreds of ballots from presumed supporters of Espaillat as well as a number of other dirty tricks aimed at keeping the ethically challenged incumbent in office. But the latest twist shows the brazen nature of the plot to commit fraud. According to the New York Daily News, a few days before, city election workers engaged in some slippery manipulations that helped Rangel:
Timothy Gay, the deputy chief clerk for Manhattan’s Board of Elections — and the person currently supervising the count of the votes in the Manhattan part of the 13th Congressional District — held a meeting in Harlem with key Rangel campaign operatives, and with district leaders supporting Rangel.
Asked about the meeting, Gay said he attended at the request of state Assemblyman Keith Wright, the Manhattan Democratic chairman, to provide “district leaders with lists of their Democratic inspectors assigned to their specific districts” and to “discuss election matters in general.”
So why did candidate Rangel’s campaign staffers attend, while no Democratic district leaders who supported Espaillat were invited?
I honestly can’t believe we’re expected to take seriously the Al Jazeera “scoop” about Yasir Arafat being murdered. Disgraceful innuendo-filled articles of the type being written by the AP and published by the Washington Post are reporting “evidence” to the effect that Arafat might have been poisoned with Polonium 210. The proof, such as it is, comes from unusual levels of Po 210 reportedly detected on Arafat’s clothing and toothbrush by a Swiss lab in the last few months.
But given how math works, and taking into account the isotope’s 138 day half-life, that’s inane.
The minimum amount of Po 210 that’s fatal when ingested is about 50 nanograms (ng). Alexander Litvinenko, widely thought to have been poisoned with the radioactive element by the Russians in 2006, ingested around 10,000 ng, or 200 times the minimum lethal dose. That’s a tiny amount, but nonetheless there was so much Polonium in Litvinenko’s system that his sweat left a car permanently unusable and his house uninhabitable for six months. As a diagnostic matter, it was obvious to doctors he had been poisoned.
None of that was true for Arafat. Doctors couldn’t tell by looking at him whether he had been poisoned and he was not irradiating entire cars and buildings. So he would have had to ingest less Po 210 than Litvinenko. Let’s peg the amount at 5,000 ng, which is 100 times more than the fatal dose but still half of what Litvinenko ingested. As you’re about to see, the math works out in such a way that the actual amount doesn’t matter as long as it’s kept reasonable.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has consistently refused to negotiate in good faith or to make peace with Israel since he succeeded the equally obdurate Yasir Arafat in 2004. He’s also been consistent in another way: he lies a lot. Abbas’s mendacity isn’t the garden-variety white lies, exaggerations and obfuscations that are the routine fare of American politicians. Instead, he is given to telling the barefaced lies we tend to associate with the heads of dictatorial regimes. Which is, of course, the sort of government the Palestinian Authority has more in common with than democratic systems such as that of Israel and the United States.
The latest example of this came in an interview Saturday night with Israel’s Channel Two in which Abbas was reduced to claiming that some well-documented statements of his never actually happened. According to Abbas, he never discussed Israel’s offer to allow some Palestinian refugees into the country with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He also claimed he never told respected Washington Post editor and columnist Jackson Diehl that he had no intention of negotiating with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That both of those figures can prove he did say those things goes without saying. But the point here is not just that Abbas is a liar, though that is exactly what he is. Rather, it is that Palestinian political culture is such that Abbas knows he has no choice but to lie about these things. To do otherwise would place him in opposition to the overwhelming sentiment of those opposed to peace or to even the appearance of compromise with Israel.