But Senator Patrick Leahy does sort of reflect my POV on the notion of having another African-American president.
TAVIS SMILEY: Those who are pushing for these tough ID laws, there are those who cherish their right to vote, in part because, including the Supreme Court, I might add. Whose argument seems to be that in the era of the first African-American president, these voter ID laws, these laws in the Voting Rights Act specifically, are no longer necessary. We afterall, have an African-American president. How then does one make the argument that we still have to have these laws that carve out special privileges and special protections of African-Americans when they're done enough to elect a black president.
SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-Vermont): Well I was and am a strong supporter of Barack Obama, he's one of 44 presidents. 43 White, 1 African-American. We've got to do more about that. But I also know that it is not just the president, it is the legislatures, the governors, the members of Congress. Because there are those who never want to have another African-American president, and that would be another very, very bad thing for this country.
Leahy and Smiley are absolutely correct about my point of view – it is my profound hope and prayer that we never have another African-American president. Having lived under an African-American president for the last six years, I can tell you that I believe it has been destructive to this country to have an African-American president.
Which is not to say that I have an objection to electing a president who happens to be an African-American.
And for those of you who are confused, let me spell it out. Barack Obama was elected because of the color of his skin rather than the content of his character or his competence. As a result, he has been a disaster for this country. On the other hand, the election of a president who is of good character and high competence and who happens to be of African-American descent (or a Latino or an Asian-American or a woman) would be great thing in my book. The thing that matters is the essential qualifications of our president, not the accidents of race, ethnicity, or gender. Thus I’ll back Bobby Jindal, Tim Scott or Susana Martinez on the GOP ticket in 2016 without a second’s hesitation while rejecting a white guy like Donald Trump out of hand.
Which leads us back to the offensive comments of Pat Leahy and Tavis Smiley. So many of us opposed to Barack Obama are opposed to him because he is a narcissist hose policies are fundamentally wrong for America. He lacked the experience, knowledge, and temperament to do the job of President effectively. His election had much more to do with his skin color than anything else, and his supporters have used that fact to tar opponents as racist at every turn, creating division instead of unity. So no, I don’t want an African-American president – or a Hispanic President or a Woman President. I just want a president, and the demographic details don’t matter. Because unlike the Democrats, we in the GOP don’t judge someone by the “content of their color”.
Gotta love the way in which "pro-woman" Democrats engage in a War on Women (especially minority women like Gov. Nikki Haley) when they fail to do and say what they are told to by the Left.
Democrat Vincent Sheheen of South Carolina referred to his Republican opponent, sitting governor Nikki Haley, as a "whore" in an apparent slip of the tongue during a recent campaign rally.
"We are going to escort whore out the door," said Sheheen at a Thursday night event in Florence.
Sorry -- we won't let that "slip of the tongue" excuse slide. It would be a scandal if a Republican called a Democrat candidate a whore in the same circumstances, so we must insist that Sheheen be held to the same standard.
Exposing the ugliness and emptiness of the progressive vision won’t be enough to advance our cause. We also need to tell our story – we need to demonstrate, in word and in deed, the virtues and the humanity of our vision.
We will fail if we continue to limit ourselves to opposing government dependency. We must also celebrate the dignity of our interdependence with each other, and embrace the responsibilities that are indivisible from our freedoms.
It will always be our duty to reject the intolerance, conformity, and coercion of hyperactive government. But we must do more. We must also bear witness to the true diversity – of thought and of character – that naturally flourish when individuals, families, and communities are free to live in accordance with their convictions and the dictates of their conscience.
We don’t need to give up our support for investing in physical and financial capital. But we must also insist that the most important investments we make as a nation will be in human and social capital.
There’s another part of the speech that speaks to me as well – a part that eviscerates the false dichotomy that “progressives” present as they demand that we submit to regressive policies and programs that make us less and less free.
The conservative vision of American society begins from a very simple observation: in the real world. . . we are not isolated individuals and we’re not wards of the state.
Indeed, our lives are lived – and made meaningful – in the space between these two extremities... as husbands and wives; parents and children; teachers and students; neighbors and neighborhoods; volunteers and congregations; bosses and employees; businesses and customers; clubs, teams, and associations.
We are, in a word, citizens... who deliberate, participate, self-govern, and consent to be governed by our fellow citizens.
It is in this vital space between the isolated individual and the impersonal – often oppressive – state where lives intersect, relationships are formed, knowledge is shared, opportunity is created, and happiness is pursued.
It is in this space where Americans have always come together, in the free-market economy and voluntary civil society, to meet each other’s needs, improve each other’s lives, and overcome common challenges.
You know – this sort of reminds me of what the president during my college years used to say. Will this generation be as turned on to conservative principles by Mike Lee and those like him as my generation was by Ronald Reagan? I hope so – after all, Mike Lee is the guy who earlier this year called upon Republicans to stop talking about Ronald Reagan and start acting like him instead. That’s a vision and a mission statement I can buy into.
But the New York Post does do this interesting feature on one, contrasting her reception by the press with the reception received by a prominent (and floundering) female gubernatorial candidate.
This is a tale of two women politicians.
One is a Republican running in “blue” New York. Her name is Elise Stefanik, a Harvard alum who served in the Bush White House and now works for her family’s upstate plywood business.
If elected — and the latest poll has her 8 points up — the 30-year-old will make history as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
The other is Democrat Wendy Davis.
Davis too boasts a Harvard degree, from the law school. Back in June 2013, she was heralded as the voice of American women when she tried — and failed — to stop her fellow Texas legislators from passing a law restricting abortion after 20 weeks. Now she’s running for governor, where the latest poll has her down 13 points.
Guess who’s the national sensation?
Of course, Stefanik doesn’t have the “right” positions on the issues to get Davis-like media adulation. In other words, Stefanik has positions that are on the Right and are viewed as right by American voters after six years of Obamunist failure.
And she isn’t alone.
[T]he Stefanik story has been all but ignored outside of local and conservative media because she doesn’t fit the preferred profile: a socially liberal Democrat, preferably with a dovish foreign policy.
She’s far from alone here, given the large supply of accomplished Republican women running this year — mostly against men.
There’s Jodi Ernst, a colonel in the National Guard who served in Iraq and is up slightly in a very tight Senate race in Iowa.
Or Mia Love, a black Mormon running for Congress in Utah, who is up by 9 points.
Or Barbara Comstock, an attractive, unabashed conservative and working mom who leads in her highly watched Virginia race for an open House seat.
Or Marilinda Garcia, a young, Harvard-educated, conservative Latina who is slightly behind Democrat Ann Kuster in their New Hampshire House race.
In other words, the GOP is a party that is promoting women – real women – with realistic chances of victory based upon their common sense platforms. That certainly contrasts with the likes of Wendy Davis, whose campaign can be summed up with the slogan “Vote for Wendy – she may be a serial liar who is out of step with Texas, but at she does have pink running shoes and a vagina.”
And for the record, I’d be thrilled to vote for any one of these Republican women. Not because of their genitalia – because of they are highly qualified and correct on the issues.
Of course, that’s what happens to groups that give 90% support to one party year after year after year – they get marginalized and taken for granted by the party they support. After all, why work for votes you are guaranteed?
Black voters’ disappointment with President Barack Obama, who they so eagerly embraced for so many years, could be costly on Election Day to Democrats, who badly need a big African-American turnout to win Senate and gubernatorial races in key states.
Instead, many African-Americans see an unemployment rate well above the national average, continuing problems with crime in many neighborhoods, and a president more interested in trying to help other voting blocs that didn’t give him such unwavering support.
He talks about same-sex marriage in a nod to the gay and lesbian community. He discusses immigration and its benefits, an issue particularly important to the Latino community. He fights for equal pay, a vital issue to the women Democrats so avidly court.
The black community, which gave Obama support like no other group, too often doesn’t see the investment paying off.
Of course he is focused on those other groups. Gays could swing to more libertarian Republicans. Hispanics are not a lock for the Democrats – look at the Texas gubernatorial election to see that. Women can and do vote Republican. But blacks – they just walk in and vote Democrat no matter how badly the party of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow and the Klan have screwed them over the years. No wonder the Democrats – especially black Democrats like Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus – play them for fools year after year after year. Doing so doesn’t hurt their electoral bottom line.
Is black discontent with Obama and the Democrats going to impact results at the polls? Probably. But will they vote for Republicans or just stay home? If they do the latter, then it is unlikely that things will change in terms of how the Democrats deal with the black vote. On the other hand, if they do the former it may be that both parties will begin to treat them as a voter group that is in play and finally begin giving a serious focus on the needs of African-Americans.
It is at least one of the two -- and probably both.
Hidalgo County, in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, is staunch Democratic turf — but notice anyone missing from this Democratic party mailer just sent out to Precinct 4 voters?
All politics may be local, but the absence of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is, well, conspicuous. Here is the party’s explanation, per the local Monitor:“Because of the large number of candidates, both statewide and countywide, we were just unable to fit all candidates while still focusing on our local candidates,” county Democratic Chair Ric Godinez wrote in an email. “For example, to highlight Gaitan (who runs only in Precinct 4) we had to sacrifice space for one of the statewides. Because Battleground Texas was pushing Sen. Davis primarily with plenty of literature, we felt we could get more coverage and bang for our buck for the entire Democratic Ticket (you will notice even in this piece, as in all our pieces, we are encouraging voters to make a straight party vote) while focusing on our local candidates in that precinct.”
Now I want you to notice something about the candidates endorsed on that slate card. Every last one of them is Hispanic. The only statewide candidates shown are the two Latinas – Leticia Van de Putte and Gina Benavides. Apparently Hidalgo County Democrats believe that if you aren’t Hispanic, you aren’t worth campaigning for.
Couer d’Alene City Attorney confirms: conservative Christian ministers’ wedding chapel business must provide same-sex marriage ceremonies
The letter, signed by the City Attorney, is here. It notes that, while nonprofits are exempted from the ordinance, for-profit wedding chapels are not: “if they are providing services primarily or substantially for profit and they discriminate in providing those services based on sexual orientation then they would likely be in violation of the ordinance.”
What’s more, it is time for Christians – and all people of faith – to stand up and resist efforts to force them to operate their businesses in a way contrary to their religious beliefs, and to refuse to pay any fine assessed as a massive show of civil disobedience.
Simply put – they cannot jail us all.
David French offers a great analysis of the problem with this situation over at National Review Online’s “The Corner” blog.
Chris Matthews reacts to Democratic Senate candidates Michelle Nunn (D-GA) and Mark Begich (D-AK), an incumbent, dodging the question if they voted for Obama.
"That's the way people walk past guys who are trying to get a buck or a quarter from somebody," Matthews said describing the candidates ignoring the question from a tracker.
"It's like Obama has Ebola," Matthews said on Monday's broadcast of Hardball on MSNBC. "I wasn't near him! I didn't touch him!"
I don’t think that is a fair comparison. Obama is not being treated like he has Ebola.
No, he IS electoral Ebola.
But since this is an “expert witness” hired by the civil rights division f the Obama/Holder Department of “Just Us”, it is OK for him to talk down the black population of the United States.
An expert witness hired by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice testified that North Carolina election law requirements have an adverse impact on black voters because they are less “sophisticated” than white voters and therefore have more difficulty figuring out how to register to vote. Christian Adams has the details.
The requirements that the DOJ’s witness found blacks less able than whites to comply with are (1) registering to vote before the day of the election and (2) voting in the precinct where one lives. Since one needn’t be at all “sophisticated” to comply with either requirement, the DOJ’s witness, who was paid with our tax dollars, must have little regard for African-Americans.
Asked whether terminating the ability to register to vote on the day that someone casts a ballot impacts blacks disproportionately, the DOJ’s witness, Charles Stewart, testified in court that it does. He reasoned that (1) people who register at the last minute “tend to be less sophisticated voters, tend to be less educated voters, tend to be voters who are less attuned to public affairs” and (2) “people who correspond to those factors tend to be African Americans.”
Got that – black people are less sophisticated, less educated, and less attuned to public affairs. Our nation’s first black attorney general, working for our first black president, tells us so. Could that explain why blacks are the only group of Americans who overwhelmingly back Obama?
The Democratic Party’s top super PAC disclosed more than $9.2 million in September contributions on Monday, listing a who’s who of wealthy liberal donors, many associated with the secretive Democracy Alliance donor network.
New York City businessman Ian Cumming—who “was awarded the largest bonus for any CEO of a publicly traded company in New York” in 2012, according to Crain’s—and a company called HFNWA LLC donated $1 million each.
It is not entirely clear what that company does, but it appears to be affiliated with Franklin Haney, a Democratic mega-donor who was accused of campaign finance violations in the 1990s.
DreamWorks CEO and 3D advocate Jeffrey Katzenberg and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull director Steven Spielberg each gave $250,000 to the Super PAC last month.
Big-name Democratic donors also chipped in: billionaire financier George Soros and real estate mogul Herb Sandler, who pioneered an investment model dubbed the “the Typhoid Mary of the mortgage industry,” gave $500,000 each.
Senate Majority PAC is one of 180 groups supported by the Democracy Alliance, and DA partners came through in a big way last month.
Contributions from those partners included $500,000 from Amy Goldman Fowler, $100,000 from Wayne Jordan, $95,000 from David Bonderman, and $12,500 from Lisa Blue Baron.
The super PAC also reported a $750,000 contribution from venture capitalist John Doerr, who has financed the campaigns of numerous Democrats and sat on federal panels advising the disbursement of green energy subsidies, some of which supported companies in which his venture capital firm had invested.
Oh those dirty, dirty Dems!
Admitting his confidence in Cook County ballot integrity is shaken, State Representative Candidate Jim Moynihan (R-56), was shocked today when he tried to cast a vote for himself and the voting machine cast it for his opponent instead.
“While early voting at the Schaumburg Public Library today, I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,” said Moynihan. “You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”
While using a touch screen voting machine in Schaumburg, Moynihan voted for several races on the ballot, only to find that whenever he voted for a Republican candidate, the machine registered the vote for a Democrat in the same race. He notified the election judge at his polling place and demonstrated that it continued to cast a vote for the opposing candidate’s party. Moynihan was eventually allowed to vote for Republican candidates, including his own race. It is unknown if the machine in question (#008958) has been removed from service or is still in operation.
I’m sure that there will be no scrutiny from the state or federal governments. After all, they both believe that everybody has a right to vote Democrat, whether they want to or not.
Attorney General Eric Holder said that his biggest failure during his time as head of the Justice Department was failing to pass expanded gun control laws and criticized former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for his negative characterizations of the president during an interview aired on Monday’s broadcast of “The Lead” on CNN. “I think the inability to pass reasonable gun safety laws after the Newtown massacre is, for me, something that I take personally as a failure, and something that I think we as a society should take as a failure” he stated when asked what he considered his greatest failure.
Seems pretty clear that the guy in charge of protecting civil rights thinks that the failure to pass laws restricting and eliminating civil rights is his biggest failure. Maybe that explains why he doesn’t view his failure to turn over subpoenaed documents to Congress to be a failure, and why he doesn’t consider his failure to investigate and prosecute the crimes of IRS to be a shortcoming.
Wow – just wow.
I didn't believe that Wendy Davis could go lower than her attack on Greg Abbott's use of a wheelchair. However, Abortion Barbie has gone even lower. No wonder that Texans are rejecting her in record numbers when she makes attacks on Greg Abbott, his wife and marriage.
Greg Abbott won't say whether he'd defend an interracial marriage ban—troubling but not surprising from someone who defends a "poll tax."— Wendy Davis (@WendyDavisTexas) October 20, 2014
Of course, the reality is that Abbott did answer the question -- just not to the satisfaction of the liberal editors of the liberal rag who were bound and determine to endorse the liberal candidate even though she is woefully underqualified for the job and unethical to boot.
“Right now, if there was a ban on interracial marriage, that’s already been ruled unconstitutional,” he told the paper. “And all I can do is deal with the issues that are before me … The job of an attorney general is to represent and defend in court the laws of their client, which is the state Legislature, unless and until a court strikes it down.”
Such laws are unambiguously unconstitutional. As Abbott noted later on, he made a conscious choice to do no more than note that fact and move on because such laws were definitively ruled unconstitutional long ago -- in fact, around the time that Abbott started elementary school. It is an absurd "gotcha" hypothetical and he simply wouldn't play the game. Good for him. He wants to talk about real issues.
And let's not forget who Greg Abbott is married to. She will be the first Latina first lady in the history of Texas -- something that Abbott has highlighted in his campaign, including in this add featuring his mother-in-law, who stood as his godmother when he converted to Catholicism.
But Wendy Davis, down by 15 points in the polls, is desperate enough to insinuate that her opponent is a racist. Personally, I find that more despicable than actually making the charge. It demonstrates her lack of integrity.
I look forward to the state of Texas giving Wendy what she deserves on November 4.
I wrote on the subject on Friday, and now commentator and author John Fund writes that he also thinks that early voting is not a positive thing.
Fund even raises the point I do about voters lacking all information when they vote.
Consider, for instance, that Ross Perot suffered his meltdown on 60 Minutes, in which he accused Republicans of disrupting his daughter’s wedding, only nine days before the 1992 Election Day. That same year, only four days before Election Day, Caspar Weinberger and other figures in the Iran-Contra scandal who were close to President George H. W. Bush were indicted. The John Huang campaign-fundraising scandal accelerated in the days just prior to the 1996 election; and, according to Bill Clinton, it cost his party control of the House that year. In the incredibly close 2000 election, Al Gore had a last-minute surge in support, fueled in part by negative reaction to George W. Bush’s 1976 DUI arrest, which hit the media five days before Election Day. Karl Rove says the incident cost his boss the popular vote and at least one state. Luckily for Bush, many voters had already voted, locking in their preference before the DUI story came to their attention. There was no way they could change their vote.
He also notes that early voting and other non-traditional voting systems (universal mail-in ballots, among others) serve as an incumbent protection program.
How is early voting changing our campaigns? They are increasing their costs and difficulty. Steve Schale, a Democratic strategist and adviser to gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, says of early voting: “Clearly it changes the whole way we campaign. It used to be you would build a whole campaign around Election Day.” Richard Smolka, an American University academic who published a newsletter for election officials for 40 years until his death last year, mourned the fact that early voting had made campaigns more costly and more complicated. Smolka cogently identified one of the main reasons so many state legislatures have approved early voting: “It’s incumbency protection,” he said. “It takes more money and more organization to deal with a longer voting period. It exacerbates their advantages.”
Such concerns are echoed by Christian Adams, a former Justice Department official. “Incumbents and Washington insiders love early voting because they already have the money and staff to monitor the integrity of the voting process,” he told the Washington Times. “They know that challengers and local candidates can’t afford it.”
Want honest elections -- require that most voters turn out in person on election day.
In other words, fully informed elections with minimal fraud require that we go back to the tradition of making voting on something other than election day the exception rather than the rule.
As Marine One thundered overhead, about to land on the White House lawn and take Obama to a series of political fund-raisers, I asked him if, like William Howard Taft, he entertained thoughts of serving as a judge later in his career. “When I got out of law school, I chose not to clerk,” he said. “Partly because I was an older student, but partly because I don’t think I have the temperament to sit in a chamber and write opinions.” But he sounded tempted by the idea.
“I love the law, intellectually,” Obama went on. “I love nutting out these problems, wrestling with these arguments. I love teaching. I miss the classroom and engaging with students. But I think being a Justice is a little bit too monastic for me. Particularly after having spent six years and what will be eight years in this bubble, I think I need to get outside a little bit more.”
While I find Obama’s demurral to be fascinating, I still think the reasons I gave in my earlier post are a better explanation of why we won’t see Justice – or Chief Justice – Barack Hussein Obama.
First, Obama is a polarizing figure who will be unable to make it through the confirmation process unless there is a Democrat in the White House and Democrat-controlled Senate. Heck, I dont know that even a Democrat-controlled Senate will be sufficient to get a confirmation done without invoking a harsh level of party discipline not seen since the days of Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson and a willingness to invoke the nuclear option to clear away the filibuster.
Second, Obamas record of public service is much more sparse than that of William Howard Taft. Taft had been a successful Cabinet member and territorial governor prior to his time in the White House as well as a respected federal judge. Obama, on the other hand, has a much less substantial resume and lacks the legal credentials both in terms of teaching, academic scholarship and legal practice that have come to be expected of a Supreme Court justice today. I dont know that (absent his years in the Oval Office) he would be recognized as qualified for a seat on a Circuit Court or even a District Court.
Third, there is the small matter that Obama is no longer even licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction in the United States. Obama does not currently have an active law license, having changed his registration to inactive when he began his presidential run in 2007 and to retired after his election as president. While he might go back and pay a decades worth of registration fees after his time in office expires, I find that unlikely and I doubt sincerely that an individual not eligible to practice law is going to be deemed qualified for the highest court in the land.
I think that is a much more realistic assessment than Obama’s own answer that he would not want to limit himself to the role of a mere Supreme Court Justice.
It shows that things are not looking good in the midterm elections.
And since people are walking out on Obama speeches, things look bad.
President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity.
With approval levels hovering around record lows, Obama has spent most of his campaign-related efforts this year raising money for struggling Democrats, who risk losing control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 midterm election.
* * *
A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks.
No wonder Democrat candidates are avoiding him like he's an Ebola patient.
Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to $1,000 in daily fines, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp, two ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene.
“Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted,” attorney Jeremy Tedesco told me. “The threat of enforcement is more than just credible.”
The wedding chapel is registered as a “religious corporation” limited to performing “one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.”
However, the chapel is also a for-profit business and city officials said that means the owners must comply with the local nondiscrimination ordinance.
That ordinance, passed in 2013, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and it applies to housing, employment and public accommodation.
City Attorney Warren Wilson told The Spokesman-Review in May that the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel likely would be required to follow the ordinance.
“I would think that the Hitching Post would probably be considered a place of public accommodation that would be subject to the ordinance,” he said.
The Alliance Defending Freedom is on the case -- and noting that this case underscores the threat that gay marriage and non-discrimination ordinances that include homosexuality are to religious freedom.
Note that, if the law can be applied against the Knapps, public accommodation laws could also equally be applied to ministers who provide freelance officiating services in exchange for money. The particular Coeur d’Alene ordinance might not apply there, since it covers only “place[s],” and that might be limited to brick-and-mortar establishments; but similar ordinances in other places cover any “establishment,” and if a wedding photography service is an “establishment” then a minister who routinely takes officiating commissions would be covered as well.
That leads me to wonder as well if a church that allows non-members to marry in its building might also be subject to such laws. After all, during my wife's time as a pastor she officiated at the marriages of couples who were not members of the congregation but who wanted a church wedding. Would this be sufficient to make the church a "public accommodation" -- or to allow government to force her (or a future pastor) to perform gay weddings? [As an aside, the denomination in which she served today permits gay marriages, though ministers have discretion as to whether or not to perform them and congregations have the discretion to refuse to allow them to be performed in their church.]
But at its core, this raises two questions:
Back in 2002, my wife and I got season tickets for the Houston Texans. Given her mobility issues, we were assigned seats in the southeast corner of the stadium, section 541. That changed our lives in ways we did not realize at the time.
You see, a couple of seats down was a fellow in a wheelchair -- not uncommon in the handicapped-accessible row, I know. David made a point of introducing himself and with his buoyant, enthusiastic personality he became a friend. Over the last dozen years, as Paula has dealt with various medical issues, surgeries, and decreased mobility, David was a great source of support. He suggested doctors, offered us questions we should ask her doctors, suggested equipment we might want to try to improve her quality of life, and invited us to events sponsored by a group he runs in Galveston, Turning Point Gulf Coast.
We got a surprise this morning when we opened up the newspaper and found David's face smiling back at us.
David Gaston has been around boats all his life.
"Anything that floats interests me," he says.
Today, the 55-year-old is the Adaptive Waterfront Coordinator for the Sea Scout Base Galveston, a state-of-the-art sailing complex that opened this month. At the end October, the base will host the U.S. Disabled Championships; a fitting project to work on for Gaston, who is paraplegic and uses a wheelchair.
Gaston was injured in a motorcycle accident just three weeks shy of his 21st birthday. Although some aspects of his life are now drastically different, his penchant for the sea has remained constant.
* * *
Right around his graduation from Texas State Technical College Waco in 1986, Gaston caught wind of a potential job opportunity with Paraplegics On Independent Nature Trips, called POINT, which has headquarters in Dallas. He had modified a custom three-wheel Harley Davidson and rode it nearly 100 miles to the interview. The following year, the group held the first-ever adaptive regatta.
"I met with the director of Moody Gardens, Sherry Kerwin, in 1989 about creating the Inaugural Adaptive Sports Festival," Gaston says. Shortly after, POINT changed its name to Turning Point to include anyone with a disability.
"I was the first one to create my own private chapter, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, called Turning Point Gulf Coast."
Last month, the organization celebrated the 25th anniversary of the festival.
As I've said -- David is a friend and a hero. I'm glad to see him get a little bit of the recognition he deserves.
And if you are looking for a place to send some of the dollars you give to charity, I'd like to encourage you to look at Turning Point Gulf Coast as an option -- they do good work.
Proving once again that Wendy Davis and her doomed campaign for governor for Texas are fundamentally tone-deaf.
For a contribution of $20, you can own a “Wendy Davis for Governor” onesie. The onesie is available on Wendy Davis’s campaign store.
The description of the onesie states: “Let everyone know that you’re raising the next generation of Texas Democrats with this Wendy Davis onesie. Union made in the USA.”
You can also choose a size for the appropriate age from 3-6 month year-old, 6-12 months, 12-18 months and 18-24 months.
Wendy Davis was propelled into the national spotlight by filibustering for 11 hours against a bill restricting abortion access.
Now let's not forget that Wendy and her merry band of Moloch-worshipers are all about making sure that a lot of Texas children don't make it out of the womb in order to wear this or any other onesie -- and that Davis herself eventually confessed to aborting a child. I wonder if those things have anything to do with the lack of "newborn" as one of the sizing options?
On one level, this is a victory.
Mayor Annise Parker on Friday followed through on her pledge to narrow the scope of subpoenas sent to local pastors who led opposition to the city's equal rights ordinance earlier this year.
Though the subpoena's new wording removes any mention of "sermons" — a reference that created a firestorm among Christian conservative groups and politicians, including Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who accused Parker of trying "to silence the church" — the mayor acknowledged the new subpoenas do not explicitly preclude sermons from being produced.
"We don't need to intrude on matters of faith to have equal rights in Houston, and it was never the intention of the city of Houston to intrude on any matters of faith or to get between a pastor and their parishioners," Parker said. "We don't want their sermons, we want the instructions on the petition process. That's always what we wanted and, again, they knew that's what we wanted because that's the subject of the lawsuit."
Opponents took advantage of the broad original language, Parker said, to deliberately misinterpret the city's intent and spur what City Attorney David Feldman called a "media circus."
Let’s look at that, shall we?
When Mayor Parker declares that those non-parties to the case who received subpoenas that demanded "all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession," how exactly were they to know that all you wanted was instructions on the petition process? After all, these non-parties were ordered to produce so much more than that. Under this subpoena, a sermon on one of the many biblical passages condemning homosexuality was required. Indeed, a PowerPoint presentation to a teen group on sexual morality that was approved by the pastor would also be subject to compulsory discovery. So, too, would be a speech delivered by the pastor in his personal capacity that endorsed or opposed the mayor’s reelection. There were other provisions of the subpoena requiring the production of emails, letters, and other communications on these same topics, meaning that pastoral communication with a member of the congregation might also be subject to disclosure. Frankly, the least offensive part of these overly broad subpoenas was the compulsory production of sermon texts and recordings, given that those are often downloadable from the church’s website.
Even now, the subpoenas are overly broad by the mayor’s own admission.
Though the subpoenas still cover speeches or presentations related to HERO, Parker stressed the filing was "not about HERO, it's about the petitions."
Sorry, Mayor Parker, but if it is only about the petitions, then you don’t need to gather materials that discuss the ordinance itself. That you are doing so indicates your intention to open churches and pastors up to harassment over their opposition to the ordinance – and that is simply intolerable. If you don’t go back and narrow the subpoena further, then it is clear that the original subpoena was not in error and your actions now are simply an effort at damage control after having been caught. And unfortunately, you are still lying to the people of Houston -- and the rest of the United States -- about what this has all been about.
On the other hand, you've managed to take a referendum that I thought would hurt Republican chances this fall if it appeared on the ballot and turn it into a GOTV tool that will bring conservatives and Republicans to the polls in droves.
In the crucial weeks leading up to the midterm elections, the broadcast networks were obsessed with scandals, but not any of the Obama administration controversies that might influence how voters behave on Election Day. No, despite revelations in the Benghazi, IRS, Veterans Administration and Secret Service prostitution scandals it was the NFL domestic abuse scandals that captured the attention of the Big Three (ABC, NBC, CBS) networks.
Since September 4 (the start of the NFL regular season) through October 15 the networks, on their evening and morning shows, devoted a total of 171 (NBC 71, CBS 55, ABC 45) stories or briefs to five NFL players (Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Jonathan Dwyer, Ray McDonald, Greg Hardy) embroiled in domestic abuse cases. Number of stories on Obama scandals over that same time period? Just three. And while no one would dispute the seriousness of the charges underlying the NFL cases, the question has to be asked doesn’t the state of the body politic deserve at least the same amount of coverage as the state of the NFL?
Let’s be honest – while there is no defense for the activities of these five players, theirs are the sort of offenses that are police blotter fodder for ordinary citizens. On the other hand, the high crimes and misdemeanors (and incompetence) of Barack Obama and his subordinates should be the lead story on every newscast. Unfortunately, our national priorities are a mess and so the media focuses on misbehaving jocks rather than misbehaving public officials. America deserves better – and Americans should demand better – for the good of the Republic.
All summed up in one neat little package (which is not a reference to the “package” that the victim of these protests lacks despite claiming to be a man).
A student who was born female felt perfectly comfortable identifying as a man at Wellesley College — until people said he shouldn’t be class diversity officer because he is now a white male.
Timothy Boatwright was born a girl, and checked off the “female” box when applying to the Massachusetts all-women’s school, according to an article in the New York Times. But when he got there, he introduced himself as a “masculine-of-center genderqueer” person named “Timothy” (the name he picked for himself) and asked them to use male pronouns when referring to him.
And, by all accounts, Boatwright felt welcome on campus — until the day he announced that he wanted to run for the school’s office of multicultural affairs coordinator, whose job is to promote a “culture of diversity” on campus.
But some students thought that allowing Boatwright to have the position would just perpetuate patriarchy. They were so opposed, in fact, that when the other three candidates (all women of color) dropped out, they started an anonymous Facebook campaign encouraging people not to vote at all to keep him from winning the position.
“I thought he’d do a perfectly fine job, but it just felt inappropriate to have a white man there,” the student behind the so-called “Campaign to Abstain” said.
When it comes right down to it, the contemporary Left uses terms that may at one time truly been part of a movement to end racism and sexism to justify engaging in racially and sexually discriminatory conduct.
A couple of years back, a black politician in Louisiana made a video explaining why he left the Democrat Party and became a Republican. I really knew nothing about him, but by coincidence had a colleague at school who was from Louisiana and who had the same last name and so asked if they were family. It turned out that they are cousins and my colleague had plenty to say about him – and by the time we were done talking I had become an admirer of Elbert Guillory.
I can’t even begin to excerpt this article from National Review in a way that does it justice – but I will share this with you:
Guillory’s personal investment in the [Opelousas] area derives from his belief that his story is the story of his family and his town emerging from the Civil War and gradually overcoming the racism and segregation of the 20th century. “I am the gumbo of Louisiana,” he says, referring to his African, Cherokee, and French heritage. And he takes pride in how his family helped shape Opelousas. His grandfather helped found two churches, including the Black Academy at Mt. Olive Baptist Church. Later, his father started a small school where black men in town could learn a trade.
Guillory still lives on the property that his grandparents purchased from their former masters after the Civil War — next door to the Big House, where the descendants of those former slave owners also live. “We still serve this family,” Guillory says. “We do their law stuff, now, we don’t do their horses.”
This isn’t just a story about politics. It is a story about good people who are committed to improving their community and their country, and who isn’t afraid to step on some toes along the way. Frankly, I think we could use a few more Elbert Guillorys in both parties.
By my count, the Obama administration has secured 526 months of prison time for national security leakers, versus only 24 months total jail time for everyone else since the American Revolution. It's important and telling to note that the bulk of that time is the 35 years in Fort Leavenworth handed down to Chelsea Manning.
Then again, since this is the Obama Administration it is likely that the reason for such harsh punishments is that the leakers are all racists – and anyone who objects to these sentences is probably racist, too, and deserves some jail time for their hateful utterances against their unicorn-riding Lord and Savior.
And as an aside – Hube is getting married tomorrow. Here’s all my best wishes to him and his lovely bride, along with my observation that he is clearly getting the better end of the deal. May God grant the happy couple many years of joy together.
Oh, that’s right – black on white violence is normal and acceptable. White on black violence is unusual and so must be highlighted in order to keep the racial grievance fires burning.
A black Baltimore bus driver organized a mob of 20 black people to assault a white family of three on her bus, which they did with gusto and pepper spray. All the while, the other black passengers hooted and hollered in encouragement.
All while the bus driver waited for the beating to finish so the attackers could get back on the bus. With her thanks.
The bus company didn’t give a darn. And it took Baltimore police two months before they even investigated it.
If you want to reread that another ten times, go ahead. I’ll wait.
More details from WBAL TV that somehow escaped the attention of the Baltimore Sun. (Which means either this happens all the time and is not newsworthy. Or the paper has an embargo on news about large scale black mob violence. Or both.)
Not only did the driver encourage the violence, she actually called for the mob of thugs that did the assault. Where’s Jesse Jackson? Where’s Al Sharpton? Where’s all the ratings-driven news-harpies from the cable shows doing highly concerned, highly inflammatory reports?
Oh, that’s right – this sort of incident doesn’t matter because they don’t fit the politically correct narrative needed to keep certain demographic sub-groups voting Democrat.
Republicans are the party of the rich, right? It's a label that has stuck for decades, and you're hearing it again as Democrats complain about GOP support for tax breaks that benefit corporations and wealthy individuals.
But in Congress, the wealthiest among us are more likely to be represented by a Democrat than a Republican. Of the 10 richest House districts, only two have Republican congressmen. Democrats claim the top six, sprinkled along the East and West coasts. Most are in overwhelmingly Democratic states like New York and California.
The richest: New York's 12th Congressional District, which includes Manhattan's Upper East Side, as well as parts of Queens and Brooklyn. Democrat Carolyn Maloney is in her 11th term representing the district.
Per capita income in Maloney's district is $75,479. That's more than $75,000 a year for every man, woman and child. The next highest income district, which runs along the southern California coast, comes in at $61,273. Democrat Henry Waxman is in his 20th term representing the Los Angeles-area district.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco district comes in at No. 8.
Across the country, Democratic House districts have an average per capita income of $27,893. That's about $1,000 higher than the average income in Republican districts. The difference is relatively small because Democrats also represent a lot of poor districts, putting the average in the middle.
In other words, the GOP is the party of the hard working American middle class. Democrats are the party of the rich and of those the rich need to keep poor in order to win elections.
Here in Texas, millions of mail-in ballots are in the hands of Texas voters – often for no reason other than the age of the voter. On Monday, early voting starts. Before November 4, millions of Texans will have cast their ballot – and in some counties, the total number of votes cast in the days and weeks before the election will approach the number cast on that day. That’s a trend nationwide.
Midterm elections are less than three weeks away, yet more than 904,000 Americans already have cast their ballots, with almost 60 percent of those early votes in Florida, according to data compiled by The Associated Press from election officials in 11 states. Those numbers are climbing daily as more states begin their advance voting periods and more voters return mail-in ballots ahead of Nov. 4. Early voting doesn’t predict electoral outcomes, but both major parties emphasized the opportunity in recentelections as they try to lock in core supporters. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia allow some form of advance voting other than traditional absentee voting requiring an excuse.
Now I understand the desire to lock those votes in early, but doing so creates a problem. Things can change in the weeks prior to an election. Crises can occur that test the mettle of an officeholder. Candidates can die or become engulfed in scandal. And these things can change people’s view of a candidate – consider the 2000 presidential election in which the revelation of a long-hidden drunk driving conviction shifted enough votes Al Gore’s way to create the electoral fiasco that engulfed the country for weeks thereafter. But the number of votes already cast by early voters secured the election for George W. Bush – despite the fact that many of those voters might have voted differently if they had the same information as their fellow citizens who voted on Election Day. A partially informed segment of the electorate determined the outcome of the election. And that happens year after year.
Am I against absentee ballots? Not at all – those who are ill, travelling, or on military deployment need to be afforded the opportunity to vote. But for the average American, early voting is a convenience that allows them to opt out of fully participating in the electoral process with their fellow citizens. Is it truly of such great benefit to the body politic that it should continue at the expense of diluting the practice of communal voting on one Election Day?
After all, if the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment means anything, it obviously means that a government official has no place declaring in his official capacity what is or is not the theologically correct interpretation of a faith’s religious texts or teachings.
Secretary of State John Kerry said ISIS is “dead wrong” in its justification of slavery that appeared in the latest issue of its English-language magazine.
The Dabiq issue describes how Yazidi women and children were “divided according to the Sharī’ah amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations” and analyzes how “one of the signs of the Hour is the increased conquests and bringing in of slaves from the lands of kufr.”
“One should remember that enslaving the families of the kuffār and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Sharī’ah that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Qur’ān and the narrations of the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and thereby apostatizing from Islam,” the article states.
“Finally, a number of contemporary scholars have mentioned that the desertion of slavery had led to an increase in fāhishah (adultery, fornication, etc.), because the shar’ī alternative to marriage is not available, so a man who cannot afford marriage to a free woman finds himself surrounded by temptation towards sin. In addition, many Muslim families who have hired maids to work at their homes, face the fitnah of prohibited khalwah (seclusion) and resultant zinā occurring between the man and the maid, whereas if she were his concubine, this relationship would be legal.”
Kerry’s statement late this evening said “no one needed a reminder of ISIL’s depravity and evil, but now we have the latest example.”
“ISIL now proudly takes credit for the abduction, enslavement, rape, forced marriage, and sale of several thousand Yezidi and other minority women and girls—some as young as 12 years old. Just as despicably, ISIL rationalizes its abhorrent treatment of these women and girls by claiming it is somehow sanctioned by religion. Wrong. Dead wrong,” he said.
“ISIL does not represent Islam and Islam does not condone or honor such depravity. In fact, these actions are a reminder that ISIL is an enemy of Islam.
Let’s set aside for a moment the question of whether or not Islam condones slavery, especially considering that Islamic tradition has always allowed for slavery and the practice has continued in the Islamic world up to and including the past decade. That really isn’t my point. Instead let’s focus on the fact that we have a US Secretary of State declaring that, as a matter of government policy, Islam does not condone slavery. Since when does the US government get to decide what is the correct doctrine in any faith or declare that some sect within a larger religious faith group is wrong in its teachings? Should we allow such declarations, given that they could well lead to declarations that opposition to certain government programs or policies is contrary to the Gospel and therefore not consistent with the teachings of the Christian faith – even if those who hold to the positions opposed to those promoted by the government have centuries of Christian theology on their side. Frankly, that is dangerous, un-American, and unconstitutional.
Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis appeared on MSNBC Tuesday, refusing to apologize for a recent ad that snidely referred to her opponent’s disability.
But Davis went further than that, choosing a rather unfortunate metaphor in response to host Andrea Mitchell’s questions about the criticism over the ad.
“[Greg Abbott] received millions of dollars in a settlement, and since then, in his entire public service career, he has been working to kick that ladder down and deny that same opportunity for justice to other people,” Davis said.
“Kick down the ladder”? Really Wendy? You didn’t see anything wrong with that turn of phrase?
Indeed, the tactics the desperate Democrat is using in this race cannot even be reasonably described as “gutter” – they are below the gutter.
But then again, consider how Davis made it in life – her deadbeat dad set her up with a wealthy donor to his theater group in return for a donation, and she made the most of that relationship by having him pay her way through college and law school before dumping him and leaving her kids behind. She’s since sold her votes on the Fort Worth City Council and in the Texas State Senate in the same way, making money for both herself and her clients. Her ethical standards just don't rise much above gutter level to begin with.
HARVARD LAW PROFESSORS go after Harvard’s new sex Kangaroo Courts.
Sex kangaroos? Is nothing sacred?
And then I realized it wasn't what I thought.
Of course, I noted this several years ago.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have filed a motion in a Texas court to stop an attempt by the city of Houston to subpoena sermons and other communications belonging to several area pastors in a lawsuit in which the pastors are not even involved.
City officials are upset over a voter lawsuit filed after the city council rejected valid petitions to repeal a law that allows members of the opposite sex into each other’s restrooms. ADF attorneys say the city is illegitimately demanding that the pastors, who are not party to the lawsuit, turn over their constitutionally protected sermons and other communications simply so the city can see if the pastors have ever opposed or criticized the city.
“City council members are supposed to be public servants, not ‘Big Brother’ overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “In this case, they have embarked upon a witch-hunt, and we are asking the court to put a stop to it.”
“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions. Political and social commentary is not a crime; it is protected by the First Amendment.”
Now consider this for just a moment. It isn’t just the writings and speeches of those who are parties to the lawsuit that have been subpoenaed. The city is going after the papers and sermons of pastors who are not part of the suit but who may have expressed an opinion on the wisdom and propriety of the proposed city ordinance the mayor and her policies, or even about homosexuality generally. Apparently Mayor Parker wants to silence the Christian opposition – but she would no doubt be outraged if there were an attempt to subpoena all writings and speeches of every prominent gay man or lesbian woman in the city regarding the ordinance without regard to their involvement in the lawsuit. That amounts to liberal fascists using the jackboot of big government to oppress the citizenry.
Of particular note is that the lawsuit in question is in regards to the standard used by the city to determine the validity of signatures on petition pages and the unprecedented intervention of the city attorney to throw out signatures after they had been determined to be valid by the city secretary. What the contents of a sermon or a letter by someone not a party to the suit and uninvolved in the certification decision would have to do with the subject of the lawsuit is mystifying – unless it is merely an effort to intimidate Christians who believe that they have the right to take their place in the public square like other citizens. Apparently Houston’s lesbian mayor considers it an essential right that one be allowed to let one’s freak flag fly, even on private property and against the will of the proprietor of a business – but to the preaching of the Gospel and its relevance to contemporary issues is something that must be suppressed at all costs.
I’ll be honest – I don’t agree with my district’s hard line on social media which threatens disciplinary action for anything it finds inappropriate on the internet. To listen to some district administrators, becoming employed in education requires us to surrender all First Amendment rights – something the Supreme Court has stated is not true in any number of cases, including Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District.
"It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."
And if we don’t shed those rights at school, we clearly have them off school grounds and on our own time.
But if we make statements in connection with our employment that do cause a problem, I agree that something can and should be done. Which is why I’m glad that a neighboring school district has taken action over something one of its coaches put on Facebook.
A history teacher who is also the head coach of the freshman football team at Goose Creek Memorial High School in Baytown is on paid leave because of a Facebook rant administrators say he posted.
The post was made by Scott Griffin and it bragged about Memorial beating its rival Lee High School 40-6 on Oct. 6. It used profanity and said, 'you’re the worst team in town.'
Parents contacted Local 2, outraged by what they read and said it was bad sportsmanship, especially coming from a coach.
Parents also showed Local 2 a drawing that appeared on the white board in the school’s field house. It showed some Patriots, which is Memorial’s mascot, shooting and killing Ganders, which is Lee’s mascot. It's unclear who put the drawing there but parents said it's taking the rivalry too far.
The board was full of threatening words and even said, “Dig up the Ganders that are already dead and kill them again.” Parents feel it’s taking the rivalry too far.
The problem, of course, is that he publicly disparaged the students of another school in his district in a publicly available Facebook post connected to an account that identifies his employer and his position as a coach. What’s more, his words were quite clearly intended to be coming from him in his position as a coach after he allowed his team to run up the score against the other school. The words on the white board might be over the top “fire ‘em up” motivational stuff before the game that might be justified on such grounds – the mocking of the kids on the opposing team after the game clearly was not.
Frankly, I don’t know that this is the sort of person who should be in a coaching position. That said, I’ve heard that this individual is a pretty good teacher in the classroom. I’m hoping that his district relieves him of his coaching duties – but that they don’t remove him from the classroom. Good teachers with a passion for their subject are hard to find.
For example, instead of studying Ebola, the National Institutes of Health were studying the propensity of lesbians to be fat.
Then there was the money for a study on wives who calm down quickly.
And the Centers for Disease Control spent its budget on gun violence studies on order of the President as part of his agenda to curtail the second amendment.
The CDC also spent its money to survey what bus riders thought of HIV videos.
Hey, and let’s not forget all the money the CDC spent to convince people to stop smoking and now we need tobacco to manufacture the drug to fight Ebola. Classic.
Maybe if they had done the important research on Ebola instead of on these peripheral health issues, the budget cuts would not have mattered.
Life, work, and a bout with allergies have left me not in a blogging mood. Therefore I give you a little something to make you smile.
When you are utterly unqualified for the office you seek, have no accomplishments other than blathering away while wearing pink tennis shoes, hold political positions that are rejected by most voters, and are congenitally unable to put forth a coherent case for your election, of course you have to go negative in every campaign ad. But Texas Democrat Wendy Davis has reached a new low in her floundering campaign for governor -- she has attacked Greg Abbott, her Republican opponent, because he was paralyzed in an accident as a young man.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is using Republican opponent Greg Abbott’s disability against him in a new TV ad, accusing the attorney general of repeatedly siding against victims like himself.
The Abbott campaign was swift to condemn the 30-second spot, which opens with a reference to the 1984 accident that left him partially paralyzed.
“A tree fell on Greg Abbott,” a narrator says over an image of an empty wheelchair. ”He sued and got millions. Since then, he’s spent his career working against other victims.”
Let's be clear about the three cases the Davis ad highlights -- and how she misrepresents Abbott's position in each of them.
As for Abbott's own award nearly two decades before the passage of tort reform by Texas voters, the money he receives are actual damages for his injuries and the cost of his healthcare, NOT punitive damages. Such an award would still be permitted under Texas tort reform laws.
Abbott has responded with a level of dignity and decencyy that Davis has refused to show during her doomed campaign against him.
The 30-second ad, which the Davis campaign said Friday would start running across the state, drew a swift rebuke from Abbott's campaign, which called it "disgusting" and "desperate."
"It's offensive ... It shows the tenor of the campaign," Abbott said during an exclusive interview with the San Antonio Express- News. "If you look at my ads, I focused on what I'm going to be doing as governor, and my opponent spends all her time in ads attacking me, as I'm attacking the challenges that fellow Texans deal with."
Abbott, the state attorney general, lost the use of his legs after his spine was crushed when a tree fell on him while jogging in 1984.
"It's her choice if she wants to attack a guy in a wheelchair. I don't think it's going to sell too well," Abbott added.
It isn't unexpected that Davis acolytes are celebrating this ad as "The Greg Abbott ad we’ve been waiting for." After all, the scum who are working for Battleground Texas have been mocking Abbott's disability since early in the campaign and local left-wing bloggers here in Houston who have been backing Davis have had a great time yukking it up over the accident for over a year. Remember -- these are guys who consider any criticism of Obama from the right to be racist and any criticism of Davis from Republicans to be sexist -- but fail to recognize that their own attacks on Abbott over his disability are fundamentally bigoted -- just like this ad.
Now let's consider how Davis has campaigned. Her campaign ads have almost all been negative attacks on Abbott because she has little in the way of accomplishment in her own time in office to qualify her to be governor, has a record of unethical activity to enrich herself and her donors via her votes on city council and in the state senate, has lied about her biography in an attempt to deceive the voters of Texas, and has positions on the issues that are out of step with most Texans. Indeed, the only thing more fake than the claims in a Wendy Davis campaign ad are her hair color and her breast implants.
The nice thing is that Davis is being attacked from all sides over this ad. Of course conservative sites like Hot Air, National Review Online and Weasel Zippers attack Davis over this one, But they aren't alone. Libertarian blogger Doug Mataconis, who finds the ad despicable, notes that even those from the Left are troubled.
The ad is obviously being condemned on the right, but the Davis campaign is also being criticized from the left by people who are otherwise inclined to support the campaign. Mother Jone’s Ben Dreyfuss, for example, calls the ad “offensive and nasty,” and says that it shouldn’t exist. Additionally, as Aaron Blake notes, this kind of ad is the kind of desperation move that one sees from a campaign that is losing and losing badly. In Davis’s case, she has trailed Abbott by double digits in polling for months now, and the RealClearPolitics Average currently gives Abbott an 11.3 point average in the race. In other words, Davis is going to lose this race. It’s too bad she couldn’t lose with dignity.
I've got some things I would like to say about Davis in light of this ad, things that I've refrained from saying because I don't want to lower myself to the level of Davis and her supporters. Instead I'll just settle for putting up this graphic from January.
I think that says all that needs to be said about Davis and the degree to which she deserves to be taken seriously by anyone. Now come on, fellow Texans -- go out and vote for Greg Abbott.
UPDATE: Noah over at Texpate -- a Davis supporter -- clearly explains what is wrong with the ad.
In 1984, when Abbott was 26 and studying for the bar exam, a tree fell on him in a freak accident. He was running around his neighborhood following a storm. The accident left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down; it also prompted him to sue both the homeowner and the landscaping company responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of the tree in question. He won about $10 Million off of that lawsuit. Later, Abbott heralded tort reform that capped punitive damages in lawsuits and brought about big changes that made suits harder for victims. Longtime readers of my opinions will be familiar with my skepticism of so-called tort reform, but that’s not really at issue here.
Accordingly, this narrative, that Abbott rightly received justice after he was wronged but then pulled up the ladder behind him to prevent others from doing the same, is somewhat compelling. It is edgy but it makes a valid point. Considering how Abbott has used his wheelchair to benefit himself in his ads, it appears it is fair game to bring it up in a respectful manner on a relevant point.
All that being said, the ad does not talk about tort reform. Instead, the 30-second spot — filled with ominous narration and music — broadly connects the accident/lawsuit with some of Abbott’s actions in the past, none of which related to tort reform.
Please note -- Noah thinks that there is a legitimate point to be made about Abbott receiving the settlement and his position on tort reform. I disagree, given that Abbott's settlement is entirely for economic damages rather than non-economic and punitive damages. But I at least respect his position because he gives the matter a reasoned intellectual approach rather than the "mock the cripple" approach taken by Davis and so many of her supporters. I give him props for that.
In the wake of his once again being permitted to address a college graduation, one conservative site raised the question of whether or not President Obama would pardon cop-killing scum-bag Mumia Abu-Jamal.
I mention “CV” and “Obama administration” in the same sentence for a reason. As I read it, Abu-Jamal’s commencement address is the latest entry in a résumé he has been compiling with one purpose in mind: to convince a president one day to grant him a pardon. Recall that Abu-Jumal was initially sentenced to death but managed, after intense lobbying, to get his sentence commuted to life in prison without parole. Only a presidential pardon can get him out. Obama is his last and only chance.
Furthermore, Obama could use the Abu-Jumal pardon as a sort of one-upmanship should Hillary Clinton be elected in 2016. Recall that on his last day in office, Bill Clinton pardoned indicted businessman Marc Rich, who reportedly had donated more than $1 million to the Democratic Party, including $100,000 to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign and $450,000 to the Clinton Library. Obama would be able to argue moral superiority: he was being charitable where Clinton had been venal. Abu-Jumal, arguably rehabilitated as a published author of world renown, would make valuable contributions to society as a free man – unlike the (alleged) crook Clinton pardoned. The Clintons would squirm at the unflattering comparison but would have to lump it. Score one for Obama.
The revenge factor would come into play if a Republican is elected president in 2016. Obama’s deep animosity toward the GOP, bordering on hatred, is well-known. The president has blamed Republicans for his many failures, at home and abroad, so often that it has become a broken record and something of a joke. The Abu-Jumal pardon would be one last act of defiance and contempt for the GOP by President “Pen-and-Phone.” Besides, Obama wouldn’t need to worry about the judgment of history if he went through with it. The army of sycophants clamoring to compose glowing narratives of his presidency would cover for him with a portrayal of the pardon as – you guessed it – an act of Christian charity by a forgiving president. Score one more for Obama.
The answer is simple -- no, Obama will not make such a pardon. He lacks the constitutional power to grant a pardon for a state offense -- which is something that this lawless president's Department of Justice explicitly acknowledges.
2. Federal convictions only
Under the Constitution, only federal criminal convictions, such as those adjudicated in the United States District Courts, may be pardoned by the President. In addition, the President's pardon power extends to convictions adjudicated in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and military court-martial proceedings. However, the President cannot pardon a state criminal offense. Accordingly, if you are seeking clemency for a state criminal conviction, you should not complete and submit this petition. Instead, you should contact the Governor or other appropriate authorities of the state where you reside or where the conviction occurred (such as the state board of pardons and paroles) to determine whether any relief is available to you under state law. If you have a federal conviction, information about the conviction may be obtained from the clerk of the federal court where you were convicted.
Until and unless a Pennsylvania governor issues a pardon, Mumia will stay exactly where he is -- behind bars for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.