The Moderate Voice http://themoderatevoice.com An Internet hub with domestic and international news, analysis, original reporting, and popular features from the left, center, indies, centrists, moderates, and right Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:24:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Twitter Could Predict Emergency Room Rush Hours http://themoderatevoice.com/204400/twitter-could-predict-emergency-room-rush-hours/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204400/twitter-could-predict-emergency-room-rush-hours/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:23:18 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204400 Just about everyone follows someone on social media who likes to complain about aches and pains, illnesses and maladies. While it can be tiresome, researchers at the University of Arizona say there is potentially life-saving value to people’s tweeting about their gripes. Research that will be published in the IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health [...]

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Just about everyone follows someone on social media who likes to complain about aches and pains, illnesses and maladies. While it can be tiresome, researchers at the University of Arizona say there is potentially life-saving value to people’s tweeting about their gripes. Research that will be published in the IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics…

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Confirm Loretta Lynch now http://themoderatevoice.com/204398/confirm-loretta-lynch-now/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204398/confirm-loretta-lynch-now/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:17:17 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204398 WASHINGTON — In a sane world, the Republican-led Senate would have confirmed Loretta Lynch as attorney general months ago. But sanity hasn’t been seen around here in some time. No one has raised the slightest question about Lynch’s qualifications. No one disputes that she has been a tough, effective U.S. attorney and a strong manager. [...]

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WASHINGTON — In a sane world, the Republican-led Senate would have confirmed Loretta Lynch as attorney general months ago. But sanity hasn’t been seen around here in some time.

No one has raised the slightest question about Lynch’s qualifications. No one disputes that she has been a tough, effective U.S. attorney and a strong manager. No one doubts she is fully capable of serving as the nation’s top law enforcement official — or fails to appreciate the importance of the job.

And no one denies that holding up Lynch’s nomination — she’s been waiting since November — is, for Republican senators, clearly and bizarrely self-defeating. As long as Lynch remains unconfirmed, Attorney General Eric Holder stays in the post. On the list of officials whom Republicans would most like to run out of town, President Obama would be first and Holder a close second.

So by refusing to move ahead with Lynch, Republican senators are keeping Holder in office. While they’re at it, perhaps they should send him flowers.

Last week, Obama called the delay “embarrassing” and pressed senators to act. “It’s gone too far. Enough. Enough. Call Loretta Lynch for a vote,” he said. “Get her confirmed. Put her in place. Let her do her job.”

Ah, but nothing is straightforward when congressional Republicans are embroiled in one of their epic struggles to get out of their own way. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has allowed his party’s best interests — and those of the nation — to be held hostage by three issues. One is tiresome, one extraneous and one nonsensical.

The first holdup, which should be no surprise, is that most Republican senators feel obliged to oppose anything Obama proposes, especially this close to an election year. So even though the Senate has twice confirmed Lynch as U.S. attorney, and even though she passed every substantive test in her Senate hearings with flying colors, all but a handful of GOP senators will likely vote against her. Assuming she gets a vote.

The second impediment is that Senate Democrats are holding up action on a bill to combat human trafficking because they object to the legislation’s anti-abortion provisions. I understand that abortion is a matter of principle on which it is difficult to compromise. But this is precisely why it cannot be used to hold completely unrelated Senate business hostage. Otherwise, nothing would ever get done.

Oh, wait, hardly anything does get done. But what sense does it make to slow the Senate from a crawl to a dead halt?

The last obstacle is that Lynch, at her confirmation hearing, said she believed Obama was within his presidential authority when he took sweeping executive action reforming immigration policy. Much of the conservative commentariat is outraged and believes this legal opinion should disqualify Lynch as attorney general.

As I said, sanity has left the building. What on earth would Lynch be expected to say? That the president who placed her name in nomination has illegally usurped the prerogatives of Congress? That as soon as she takes office, perhaps, she will try to undo the measures enacted by her boss?

Congress can modify the immigration laws however it wants — but chooses not to. Rather than do their job — convince House Republicans to take up the comprehensive reform bill that the Senate has already passed — some GOP senators prefer to grandstand by imposing a litmus test on Lynch, who had nothing to do with Obama’s immigration orders.

So Lynch waits, Holder continues in the job, and the optics for Republicans are not good: Lynch would be the first black woman to serve as attorney general. Democrats first hinted and now openly suggest that Lynch is being treated differently than if she were a white male nominee. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., outraged GOP senators when he charged that Lynch is being “asked to sit in the back of the bus.”

I would prefer to believe that what’s at work here is neither racism nor sexism but a continuation of the self-destructive political gamesmanship that Republicans prefer over actual governance. McConnell keeps promising to bring Lynch’s name to the floor one of these days, and she needs only a handful of GOP votes to win confirmation. At present, she seems likely to get them — but there is little margin for error.

The thing is, many Republican senators actually like Lynch but won’t vote for her. Unless, perhaps, Obama denounces his own nominee.

Eugene Robinson’s email address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com. (c) 2015, Washington Post Writers Group

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I Was Going To Write a Long Article on Procrastination, but… http://themoderatevoice.com/204392/i-was-going-to-write-a-long-article-on-procrastination-but/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204392/i-was-going-to-write-a-long-article-on-procrastination-but/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 04:52:21 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204392 This from the Atlantic is a good article on procrastination. I was going to put this article up sooner, but I was eaten like Jonah in the Whale… come to think of that, maybe that’s what procrastination is… a whale that munches you and you are immobilized in the whale’s belly. How did that story [...]

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This from the Atlantic is a good article on procrastination. I was going to put this article up sooner, but I was eaten like Jonah in the Whale… come to think of that, maybe that’s what procrastination is… a whale that munches you and you are immobilized in the whale’s belly. How did that story end, now?

And why is the word describing putting things off, so long? Maybe it ought be called ‘the nots’ or ‘the nevers.’ But I’ll have to look that up when I get time…

Hope you are smiling with me.

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The Forgotten Ones: Bi-Racial Children of Viet Nam http://themoderatevoice.com/204391/the-forgotten-ones-bi-racial-children-of-viet-nam/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204391/the-forgotten-ones-bi-racial-children-of-viet-nam/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 04:36:50 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204391 This is a fine and terrible and beautiful and necessary read. Sometimes to keep what yet has need above the waterline, is to witness. To witness and to speak of these matters– until there are no more matters to speak of.

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This is a fine and terrible and beautiful and necessary read.

Sometimes to keep what yet has need above the waterline, is to witness.

To witness and to speak of these matters– until there are no more matters to speak of.

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There is one who went before the favored Toqueville. Zavala, the Mexican http://themoderatevoice.com/204389/there-is-one-who-went-before-the-favored-toqueville-zavala-the-mexican/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204389/there-is-one-who-went-before-the-favored-toqueville-zavala-the-mexican/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 04:33:35 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204389 Lorenzo de Zavla written work is better recognized by his books titled: “Ensayo Historico de las Revoluciones de Megico des 1808 hasta 1830″ which was published in Paris 1831 and in New York in 1832. His other book titled “Viages a los Estados-Unidos del Norte de America” which was published in the Paris 1831. In [...]

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Lorenzo de Zavla written work is better recognized by his books titled: “Ensayo Historico de las Revoluciones de Megico des 1808 hasta 1830″ which was published in Paris 1831 and in New York in 1832. His other book titled “Viages a los Estados-Unidos del Norte de America” which was published in the Paris 1831. In Zavala’s book Journey to the United States of North America, written in Spanish, but was published in English translation until 1980. It was reprinted in 2005 in paperback as Journey to the United States of North America. It precedes Toqueville’s famous Democracy in America by five years and expresses similar opinions about America and Americans. Zavala writes in his prologue:

However, it should be very useful to Mexicans, for it is to them that I dedicate it. In it they will find a true description of the people whom their legislators have tried to imitate—a people that is hard working, active, reflective, circumspect, religious in the midst of a multiplicity of sects, tolerant, thrifty, free, proud and persevering.

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SciFi Weekend: Orphan Black; Outlander; Roy Leaving Arrow; Oliva Munn, Super Hero; Gotham; Veep; Daredevil; The Americans; Sopranos Ending Explained; Jon Stewart On Why He Is Leaving The Daily Show http://themoderatevoice.com/204387/scifi-weekend-orphan-black-outlander-roy-leaving-arrow-oliva-munn-super-hero-gotham-veep-daredevil-the-americans-sopranos-ending-explained-jon-stewart-on-why-he-is-leaving-the-daily-show/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204387/scifi-weekend-orphan-black-outlander-roy-leaving-arrow-oliva-munn-super-hero-gotham-veep-daredevil-the-americans-sopranos-ending-explained-jon-stewart-on-why-he-is-leaving-the-daily-show/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 20:47:26 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204387 Orphan Black returned on Saturday, beginning with a fun scene for the fans. It was another scene with Tatiana Maslany playing multiple seestas at once in Helena’s dream of perfect baby shower, reminiscent of the clone dance party scene last season. The theme for the season is girl clones vs. boy clones, which sort of [...]

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Orphan Black Helena Dream The Weight Of The Combination

Orphan Black returned on Saturday, beginning with a fun scene for the fans. It was another scene with Tatiana Maslany playing multiple seestas at once in Helena’s dream of perfect baby shower, reminiscent of the clone dance party scene last season. The theme for the season is girl clones vs. boy clones, which sort of sounds like a season of Survivor. So far I have far less interest in the male clones. They didn’t get the chance to be introduced gradually as the girl clones were and, as most were raised in the military, there also probably is not as much difference these clones. One does have a mustache and one does have a scar to help tell them apart.

The conspiracy aspect continues to grow as once we learn about one group another turns out to be above them. Now we are dealing with Topside, who sent a “cleaner” named Ferdinand, who was secretly plotting with Rachel in a plan called Helsinki to kill all the female Project Leda clones. After finding out about this I didn’t feel sorry at all for Rachel, who wasn’t recovering very well after Sarah poked a pencil through her eye and into her brain. She was also at the Mercy of Delphine, who is the new Rachel at Dyad, and can also be rather evil when necessary. Ferdinand’s arrival set up scenes where Sarah pretended to be Rachel, requiring Alison to pretend to be Sarah.

The New York Times Magazine looked at the filming of Orphan Black recently.

Outlander Devils Mark

The Devil’s Mark had major revelations on Outlander. Geillis revealed that she is a time traveler and this was the third show recently (besides The Americans and Game of Thrones) where someone apparently died by burning to death, although her death was not actually shown. I fear that this is an exception to the television rule that if you don’t see the body the character most likely didn’t really die, but maybe we will see her again. Hopefully Geillis’s confession won’t come back to harm Claire, and any other time travelers who might show up from the 20th century, after she claimed that her smallpox vaccine is the Devil’s mark.

Claire was saved by a combination of Jaime showing up and Gellis claiming to be true witch, followed by her telling Jaime. Surprisingly Jaime accepted it all, and even took her to the stones to make the decision as to which husband to be with. It appears she chose Jaime, although I imagine it is possible she tried to return home and failed. The possibility didn’t seem to come up that if she did travel in time again by touching the stones, there was no guarantee she would return to her original time. (It would have really been awesome if she turned up in the splinter facility on 12 Monkeys.)

Arrow-Broken-Arrow

On Arrow we learned that Roy’s sacrifice to save Oliver was part of a plan which left everyone alive and out of prison, but left with Roy needing to leave town to keep anyone else from realizing he is still alive. While this leaves Oliver free, I still wonder how they are going to get the Arrow back openly in action. The moment the Arrow is spotted Detective Lance has new justification for following up on his knowledge that Oliver is really the Arrow.

Deadline spoke with co-creators/executive producers Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim on Colton Haynes leaving the show as a regular (but will already be returning for an episode later this season).

DEADLINE: When did you know that Colton Haynes was leaving after Season 3?
BERLANTI: When we made the deal. We made a two-season deal that had a clock on it, we always knew that. When he was coming off Teen Wolf, we described the role to him, and we agreed to do it for a couple of years. At that particular moment, he had a lot of opportunities to do things, and we’re lucky he chose us. He brought a lot of notoriety and viewership to Arrow when we were growing, and the show wouldn’t be the show it is without him. He is such a talent and such a nice guy, everybody from the crew to the writers were so enthusiastic to have him for the time we had him. We are sad to see him go but excited to see what he does next.

DEADLINE: How and when did Roy’s Season 3 storyline came about?
BERLANTI: We knew based on what had happened last season. Roy has struggled with guilt after killing a policeman. In saving Oliver, he sees a chance to absolve himself. Hopefully it was surprising for the audience as some thought for a moment that he might die.
GUGGENHEIM: We were able to deign his arc for the season with the end point in mind. We always knew he would take a heroic stance and redeem himself for his actions. It’s always a blessing when you know where exactly you are going to end up.

DEADLINE: Did you consider killing off Roy?
BERLANTI: We wanted to do something different. These characters are so young, they represent the next generation of superheroes, and we love the idea of having them just out there. And as a person we like Colton so much, we all would love to see him back. Such a talented, great guy.
GUGGENHEIM: The hope is that he’ll continue to be part of the universe we are building. We love working with his so much. We’ve talked to him about returning to one of the three shows, and if available, he has expressed interest. He is gone but definitely not forever.

DEADLINE: What will the impact of Roy’s departure be on Team Arrow?
BERLANTI: It’s always affecting the show when one character is moving on to the great beyond. That allows the show to grow and change, with the state of loss providing high stakes. The end of this season is very much a punctuation mark on the first three seasons. Third season will feel like the end of a trilogy, with elements and pieces coming together. We are heading into a big, epic, climactic battle, and I’m not not going to give away who is going to make it. Everything will be changed after this season.
GUGGENHEIM: The third season finale is among our best episodes, with each twist more shocking and surprising than the next.

Olivia Munn Suck It Wonder Woman

Geek Olivia Munn finally gets to become a super hero character. She will play Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse

Jada Pinkett Smith’s charter, Fish Mooney, was a good addition to the Batman back story on Gotham, but they don’t seem to know what to do with her since Oswald Cobblepot got control of her nightclub. I am glad that they seem to have ended her recent storyline on the island, which seems pointless as it was totally unconnected to anything else going on. It doesn’t help matters that she escaped so easily (once setting up a distraction) thanks to a helicopter being unguarded and ready to go. Jada Pinkett Smith has said she will be leaving the show after her contract runs out this season but the producers have hinted that they might find reason to keep her around. It better be a better story line if they do.

HBO has renewed Veep and Silicon Valley just after their current seasons began and Netflix has renewed Orange Is The New Black for a fourth season before the third season has become available. Selina Meyer in now President on Veep and Hugh Laurie will be guest staring later this season. The Hollywood Reporter has interviewed Veep series creator Armando Iannucci about the current season.

There were complaints previously that blind people could not appreciate Daredevil, a show with a blind hero, because Netflix did not use audio description as some networks do. Netflix has remedied the problem to make the show more accessible to the visually impaired.

The-Americans-I-Am-Abassin-Zadran-Season-3-Episode-12-08

The penultimate episode of The Americans, I Am Abassin Zadran, may have concluded one story line but leaves many story lines open. The producers have said they plan to carry some over to next season. The situation with Paige is pretty obviously ongoing. It is hard to believe they will wrap up Nina’s storyline in Russia. There has been very little of Kimmy recently and, while this conceivably could be wrapped up in the final episode, I suspect they are intentionally moving slowly on this to wait until next season.

Of course the big cliff hanger of the episode occurred when Phillip slowly removed his wig and revealed how he really looks to Martha, who was sitting on the bed with a suitcase, on the verge of leaving town. At least two quite different interpretations for this come to mind. Maybe he is revealing himself to her prior to giving her the Annelise treatment and packing her up in her own suitcase. Maybe he is thinking of how he came clean with Paige, and is also planning to tell Martha a variation of the truth in a last attempt to get her to trust him. This could be either to continue spying for him, or to get her to safety before the FBI figures out that she was the one to plant the bug. If that is his plan, he is taking a bigger risk. Previously if she was arrested she might have given the FBI a description of Phillip in disguise. Now there is the risk she will give a description of how he really looks, and just maybe Stan will recognize him.

It was also good to see Margo Martindale return in her scene in the diner with Gabriel as they discussed background information going back to last season when Jared killed his parents, along with how Americans have too many choices for their tastes. I was surprised to see that Gabriel was so sympathetic to Phillip’s desire to protect Paige.

Tony Soprano Finale

David Chase gave a fascinating description of what he planned scene by scene in the finale of The Soprano’s. Here are the descriptions of the final scene, but check out the full article for his description of the scenes leading up to this:

This is the last shot of the family, or the three of them anyway. Framing is extremely important. I think it makes you feel so much below the level of verbiage and words. What they’re talking about is how good those onion rings are. For me, food is always central to a feeling of family and to a feeling of security and happiness. A.J. had remembered a moment at the end of the final show of the first season when they were all sitting down, eating in Vesuvio’s Italian restaurant and Tony said, ‘Just remember … value the good times,’ the moments, there really aren’t that many of them. And this is one of the very good times. And yet there’s something wrong with it because Meadow is not there. So the family isn’t really together. I think on some subliminal level that raises the tension. We know the family should be together and they’re not.

I said to Gandolfini, the bell rings and you look up. That last shot of Tony ends on ‘don’t stop,’ it’s mid-song. I’m not going to go into [if that's Tony's POV]. I thought the possibility would go through a lot of people’s minds or maybe everybody’s mind that he was killed. He might have gotten shot three years ago in that situation. But he didn’t. Whether this is the end here, or not, it’s going to come at some point for the rest of us. Hopefully we’re not going to get shot by some rival gang mob or anything like that. I’m not saying that [happened]. But obviously he stood more of a chance of getting shot by a rival gang mob than you or I do because he put himself in that situation. All I know is the end is coming for all of us.

I thought the ending would be somewhat jarring, sure. But not to the extent it was, and not a subject of such discussion. I really had no idea about that. I never considered the black a shot. I just thought what we see is black. The ceiling I was going for at that point, the biggest feeling I was going for, honestly, was don’t stop believing. It was very simple and much more on the nose than people think. That’s what I wanted people to believe. That life ends and death comes, but don’t stop believing. There are attachments we make in life, even though it’s all going to come to an end, that are worth so much, and we’re so lucky to have been able to experience them. Life is short. Either it ends here for Tony or some other time. But in spite of that, it’s really worth it. So don’t stop believing.

So apparently when Chase has said in some interviews that the final scene had a definite meaning, the meaning was more along the lines of “don’t stop believing” than whether Tony was killed here or at some other time.

Jon-Stewart

Jon Stewart spoke with The Guardian about why he is leaving The Daily Show:

“Honestly, it was a combination of the limitations of my brain and a format that is geared towards following an increasingly redundant process, which is our political process. I was just thinking, ‘Are there other ways to skin this cat?’ And, beyond that, it would be nice to be home when my little elves get home from school, occasionally.”

He has a 10-year-old son, Nathan, and a nine-year-old daughter, Maggie; Stewart and his wife, Tracey, have been married for almost as long as he’s been doing the show, after Stewart proposed to her via a crossword puzzle.

If anything, it was the prospect of the upcoming US election that pushed him to leave the show. “I’d covered an election four times, and it didn’t appear that there was going to be anything wildly different about this one,” he says.

Ah, but who could have anticipated the excitement over Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails?

“Anyone could, because that story is absolutely everything that it’s supposed to be about,” he says, with a groan; as a revelation, it managed to be at once depressing and completely unsurprising. “I also felt that, for the show, you don’t want to leave when the cupboard’s bare. So I think it’s a better introduction when you have something providing you with assisted fuel, like a presidential campaign. But really, the value of this show is so much deeper than my contribution,” he says.

This means he will no longer have to watch Fox, but he did answer a hypothetical question as to a situation in which he might watch again:

Now that he is leaving The Daily Show, is there any circumstance in which he would watch Fox News again? He takes a few seconds to ponder the question. “Umm… All right, let’s say that it’s a nuclear winter, and I have been wandering, and there appears to be a flickering light through what appears to be a radioactive cloud and I think that light might be a food source that could help my family. I might glance at it for a moment until I realise, that’s Fox News, and then I shut it off. That’s the circumstance.”

Dan Aykroyd told The Huffington Post that “America is flat-out gun crazy.”

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Originally posted at Liberal Values

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Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb Faced The Media But Hillary Clinton Continues To Avoid The Press http://themoderatevoice.com/204386/martin-omalley-and-jim-webb-faced-the-media-but-hillary-clinton-continues-to-avoid-the-press/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204386/martin-omalley-and-jim-webb-faced-the-media-but-hillary-clinton-continues-to-avoid-the-press/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 20:06:11 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204386 Martin O’Malley appeared on Face the Nation today, on Sunday, told Bob Schieffer that he plans to decide by the end of May as to whether he plans to run against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Schieffer asked him why he plans to run: O’MALLEY: Because I believe that our country faces big challenges. [...]

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O'Malley Face The Nation

Martin O’Malley appeared on Face the Nation today, on Sunday, told Bob Schieffer that he plans to decide by the end of May as to whether he plans to run against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Schieffer asked him why he plans to run:

O’MALLEY: Because I believe that our country faces big challenges.

And I know that leadership is important, if we’re going to turn these challenges into opportunities. I have 15 years of executive experience as a big city mayor and as a governor bringing people together to get things done. And I believe that I have the ideas that will help our country move forward to a time when our economy is actually working for all of us again, instead of wages declining.

There has been repeated mention in the media as to how Clinton has taken the unusual course of not meeting with the press (see here and here). O’Malley did not take advantage of this opportunity to criticize Clinton:

SCHIEFFER: What do you think of way she launched her campaign? All these Republicans are up there making speeches, kind of doing it the old-fashioned way. She gets in this little van and drives all the way out there. She’s given no interviews, as far as I can tell. She hasn’t had a news conference. Can you get the nomination that way? And how will you do it?

O’MALLEY: Well, look, I will let others talk — second-guess her strategies and tactics. And she can certainly defend herself. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Secretary Clinton.

I believe that the best way to campaign is one-on-one with people. You can’t forge a new sort of consensus, you can’t forge public opinion by following public opinion. And you have to engage with people in living room after living room, in luncheonettes and lunch counters. I think that is the best type of campaign is the one- on-one contact, where we actually talk about the better choices we need to make to get earnings to rise again.

So far Clinton has only received gentle criticism for the manner in which she has avoided the press, but if she keeps this up I would expect the press to discuss this more, as back in 2008 when Sarah Palin was hiding from the press. The Washington Post noted that O’Malley and James Webb appeared on the Sunday interview shows but Clinton was only represented by stand-ins.

The full transcript of Face the Nation is available here.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

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From ‘Dead Broke’ To Millionaires http://themoderatevoice.com/204384/from-dead-broke-to-millionaires/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204384/from-dead-broke-to-millionaires/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:33:08 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204384 Several benefactors to the Clinton Foundation — the nonprofit established in 2001 by former U.S. president Bill Clinton — received favors from the U.S. State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, according to a soon-to-be-released book accessed by the New York Times. The book, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and [...]

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Several benefactors to the Clinton Foundation — the nonprofit established in 2001 by former U.S. president Bill Clinton — received favors from the U.S. State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, according to a soon-to-be-released book accessed by the New York Times. The book, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why…

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GMAB (Give me a BREAK): New York Newspaper says de Blasio wants to Challenge Hillary Clinton http://themoderatevoice.com/204382/gmab-give-me-a-break-new-york-newspaper-says-deblasio-wants-to-challenge-hillary-clinton/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204382/gmab-give-me-a-break-new-york-newspaper-says-deblasio-wants-to-challenge-hillary-clinton/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:20:03 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204382 As Charlie Brown would say: “SIGH.” Yes, folks, its the silly season where all kinds of political speculation and paper-thin reporting can get big play. Stories can be generated by a story — no matter how unlikely it is to become reality or if it’s really a bunch of this – because then it’s picked [...]

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As Charlie Brown would say:

“SIGH.

Yes, folks, its the silly season where all kinds of political speculation and paper-thin reporting can get big play. Stories can be generated by a story — no matter how unlikely it is to become reality or if it’s really a bunch of this – because then it’s picked up by s-e-r-i-o-u-s political reporters, becomes a topic on the increasingly tiresome and predictable ideological political shows on MSNBC or Fox News, or treated with seriousness by CNN, which still tries to position itself as doing traditional journalism. And so we have the latest example of this (SIGH) from the New York Post, suggesting that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is positioning himself to be a liberal alternative to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who those in the Democratic Party’s liberal wing feel is just too moderate:

Despite repeated claims to the contrary, Mayor Bill de Blasio is positioning himself to be the leftist “progressive” alternative to Wall Street-friendly Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president, a national party operative told The Post.

So off the bat we are seeing a story based on O-N-E unnamed Democratic “operative.”

De Blasio’s hope, the operative said, is a “Draft de Blasio’’ movement will develop among progressive activists over the next several months that will lead to the mayor being able to defeat Clinton in the primary elections next year in much the same way leftist Sen. George McGovern successfully challenged the initially front-running establishment Democratic candidate, Sen. Edmund Muskie, more than 40 years ago.
Standing ready to back de Blasio against Clinton, said the operative, is the state’s small but influential Working Families Party, which has strong ties to de Blasio and is funded by some of the nation’s most powerful labor unions.
Earlier this year, the New York-based WFP urged Massachusetts Senator and Wall Street-bashing “progressive’’ favorite Elizabeth Warren to challenge Clinton and run for president — but she has repeatedly said she won’t do so.
“With Warren saying she’s not running, de Blasio and his advisers are trying to position the mayor as the ‘draft’ candidate for the left in 2016. That’s why he refused to endorse Hillary last week,’’ contended the operative, who is involved in presidential politics.
The draft effort explains why deBlasio was accompanied last week on his “progressive” speech-making trip to Iowa by John Del Cecato, one of the nation’s most important Democratic communications strategists and the man responsible for the popular “Dante” TV spot that helped get de Blasio elected mayor, said the operative.
“Why would your ad maker be traveling with you in a non-campaign year? Why was he there with de Blasio in Iowa unless you’re trying for something bigger?’’ asked the operative.

And — more speculation — that Del Cecato, a longtime advisor to Barack Obama, might have a personal motive to help draft DeBlasio.

For Del Cecato, an expert in Iowa politics and a longtime campaign adviser to
Del Cecato was described by the operative as “part of the faction of Obama advisers who still deeply dislike and deeply distrust Clinton’’ dating from the time the two faced off in the Democratic primaries in 2008.

And there’s more. Read it in full.

Several things about this:

!. So tell me. Exactly when was the last time a first term mayor of a city was elected President?
2. One source? This is a story based on an “operative.” I didn’t get the big bucks working on a newspaper in a city as big as NYC. But when I worked on the newspapers in Wichita, Kansas, and San Diego, CA, and when I freelanced for publications such as The Christian Science Monitor, The Chicago Daily News from India, Bangladesh, and Spain in the 1970s none of these papers’ editors would have EVER run a story that was supposed to be a story that’ll bust this town wide open based based on a SINGLE SOURCE. They would have insisted I get several corroborating sources and would not have run it until I did so.
3. Was the real writer of this story Dick Morris?

(SIGH).

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Holocaust Survivor believes he was saved to ‘tell the story’ http://themoderatevoice.com/204380/holocaust-survivor-believes-he-was-saved-to-tell-the-story/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204380/holocaust-survivor-believes-he-was-saved-to-tell-the-story/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:41:26 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204380 Survivor believes he was saved to ‘tell the story’ By Rabbi Ben Kamin ENCINITAS, California (SEDONA)– Lou Dunst, the renowned and beloved survivor of four Nazi death camps and two aborted gas chamber murders, remembers many things. Of his innumerable escapes from certain death, he simply asserts: “Ha-Shem [God] made another miracle.” On one occasion, [...]

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Inside the Gas Chamber - Dachau Concentration Camp

Inside the Gas Chamber – Dachau Concentration Camp


Survivor believes he was saved to ‘tell the story’
By Rabbi Ben Kamin

ENCINITAS, California (SEDONA)– Lou Dunst, the renowned and beloved survivor of four Nazi death camps and two aborted gas chamber murders, remembers many things. Of his innumerable escapes from certain death, he simply asserts: “Ha-Shem [God] made another miracle.”

On one occasion, there was an unfathomable malfunction in the delivery of the Zyklon B tablets (the cyanide-based pesticide) that were to be funneled through the shower heads. Lou and the others escaped from the gas chamber, hysterical, demoralized, relieved, confused, grateful, terrorized, but still not dead.

Lou Dunst, who was 14 when the Germans arrived to his home village of Jasina, Czechoslovakia, and whose mother and father were vaporized in the camps, believes that heaven saved him, in his words, “so that I could tell the story.”

Dunst commissioned me to write his biography in 2013 and we speak nearly every Friday afternoon, just before the arrival of the Jewish Sabbath. He calls a number of people in a kind of personal spiritual telethon and conveys his hope that we all enjoy “peace, happiness, and prosperity.”

He is the soft-spoken, pious, living refutation of the “Final Solution of Jewish Question.”

The San Diego philanthropist and inspirational speaker is being honored and appreciated more than ever during the current cycle of Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations around the world. The cherubic and endearing man, approaching 90, continues to say, without fanfare: “I did nothing special and nothing heroic to survive.”

At one point during his ghastly journey through hell, Lou approached a fellow inmate who happened to be a Russian officer, older, not Jewish. The Nazis had a rabid approach to their Soviet prisoners-of-war that rivaled their sadistic treatment of Jews.

It is estimated that during World War II, some 5.7 million Russian soldiers fell into Nazi hands. Their treatment in the camps is generally regarded as being the second most horrifying, only after what the Jews received.

So there was a kind of grisly affinity between some of the Jewish inmates in places like Auschwitz, Mauthausen, and Ebensee and the many Russian servicemen who also found themselves in these diabolical places. It was not unusual for someone like Lou to interact, if briefly with a Soviet prisoner.

Lou Dunst traveled through his “Black Hole,” his own purgatory, via the ghetto, in the suffocating and stinking box cars time and again, and through these infernal death communities. It was at Ebensee, nineteen years old, with only his brother Irving occasionally able to put his hands on Lou’s shoulders that Lou saw a Russian officer seated alone on a stump—in a rare, brief moment of solitude and contemplation. Missing his own father, looking for some kind of insight, some wisp of reason, some paternal comfort, something other than the madness, Lou approached the soldier. “He looked educated, maybe with some wisdom he could give me,” remembers Lou.

Lou approached the man, a ranked serviceman but a “subhuman inmate” nonetheless. The tattered coat of his uniform assigned to him by The Red Army Krasnaya Armiya barely concealed his withered body and the purplish patchwork of gashes and blows and bruises that discolored his face and hands and that damaged his soul.

Lou asked him: “Tell me, what’s going on? What is this? What can it be?”

The Russian looked at him with eyes as empty as death. He said in own language:

“My head is not working and my heart is bleeding.”
*
Rabbi Kamin is an author and freelance writer. He can be reached by email at ben.kamin@sdjewishworld.com. This article has been reprinted from San Diego Jewish World which, along with The Moderate Voice, is a member of the San Diego Online News Service.

Photo: Adam Jones, Ph.D. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Mike Peters Guest Cartoon: Hillary Hits the Campaign Trail http://themoderatevoice.com/204378/mike-peters-guest-cartoon-hillary-hits-the-campaign-trail/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204378/mike-peters-guest-cartoon-hillary-hits-the-campaign-trail/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:17:10 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204378 Hillary Hits the Campaign Trail by Mike Peters OF RELATED INTEREST: –David Letterman made Hillary Clinton’s campaign announcement video into a Scientology ad –Hillary Clinton’s Calculated, Low-Key Campaign Rolls On –Mission possible? Turning Hillary Clinton into a fresh face. –How Hillary Clinton is Trying to Win Over Liberal Critics Mike Peters is recognized as one [...]

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Hillary Hits the Campaign Trail
by Mike Peters

unnamed (13)

OF RELATED INTEREST:

David Letterman made Hillary Clinton’s campaign announcement video into a Scientology ad
Hillary Clinton’s Calculated, Low-Key Campaign Rolls On
Mission possible? Turning Hillary Clinton into a fresh face.
How Hillary Clinton is Trying to Win Over Liberal Critics

Mike Peters is recognized as one of our nation’s most prominent cartoon artists for his outstanding work as both a political and comic strip cartoonist. His favorite expression “WHAT A HOOT” certainly sums up his outlook on his life and work which are inexorably entwined. Mike’s warm, easygoing and zany demeanor is evidence that his personality matches his creative talents. As so eloquently phrased by a colleague — “Mike is the Peter Pan of the cartooning world; he’s boyishly charming, good with a rapier and doesn’t spend a lot of time on the ground. And he doesn’t seem to want to grow up”.

The Comic Strip Mother Goose & Grimm appears in over 800 newspapers worldwide and consistently places in the top 10 most popular ratings. Licensees distribute Grimmy products all over the world, and the Grimmy TV show continues to air in several countries. Mother Goose & Grimm is included in the Toon Lagoon theme park at Universal Studios that opened in July 1999.

This copyrighted cartoon is licensed to be run on TMV and is from his website. Reproduction elsewhere is strictly prohibited.

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A Dog’s Gaze Strengthens Its Bond With Humans http://themoderatevoice.com/204376/a-dogs-gaze-strengthens-its-bond-with-humans/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204376/a-dogs-gaze-strengthens-its-bond-with-humans/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:35:47 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204376 They say the eyes are the window the the soul. Cliché, yes, but if that saying was to apply to one thing, it’s arguable there’s nothing more fitting than the stare a dog owner and his companion share. That’s because each time it happens, triggers in both brains are being fired, and the love hormone [...]

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They say the eyes are the window the the soul. Cliché, yes, but if that saying was to apply to one thing, it’s arguable there’s nothing more fitting than the stare a dog owner and his companion share. That’s because each time it happens, triggers in both brains are being fired, and the love hormone oxytocin…

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When are we conservative and when are we liberal? http://themoderatevoice.com/204374/when-are-we-conservative-and-when-are-we-liberal/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204374/when-are-we-conservative-and-when-are-we-liberal/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:31:18 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204374 When are we conservative and when are we liberal? Easy! Or pretty easy… We are culturally pretty liberal (albeit with some mama’s boys on the sidelines reserving their right to tell everyone else how to live). We are economically pretty conservative (with the mama’s boys active in the movement “MoreForMe,LessForYou” that works both sides of [...]

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When are we conservative and when are we liberal?

Easy!

Or pretty easy…

We are culturally pretty liberal (albeit with some mama’s boys on the sidelines reserving their right to tell everyone else how to live). We are economically pretty conservative (with the mama’s boys active in the movement “MoreForMe,LessForYou” that works both sides of the issue. And “Less for you” turns out to be as important psychologically as “More for me.”)

John Cassidy explores the national issue of “income redistribution” — a phrase that strikes me as overkill when used as a stand-in for raising taxes on the top ten percent. Maybe it’s the use of that commie-sounding phrase that causes people to jump back and assure their gated friends that they’re not commies– that they’re real Americans with humble aspirations, not pitchforks. The way Cassidy puts it makes us sound kind of sicko, doesn’t it?

For instance, a 2010 study by Nathan J. Kelly, of the University of Tennessee, and Peter K. Enns, of Cornell University, concluded, “When inequality in America rises, the public responds with increased conservative sentiment.” In a 2013 paper by Matthew Luttig, of the University of Minnesota, backed up this finding, noting, “the absolute level and the changing structure of inequality have largely been a force promoting conservatism, not increasing support for redistribution as theoretically expected.” ...NewYorker

As they tug respectfully on their forelocks, etc.

When it comes to affordable healthcare for the peasants, look at who’s complaining, for crying out loud. It’s senior citizens, comfortably surrounded by soft cushions of Medicare. Nice (not).

But not all of us are disgusted by economic justice. Those of us who see money as no more sacred than people (real persons, not corporations) tend to be at ease with “fairness.” Over the years we have shifted views on “redistribution,” depending on how the economy is faring at the time. Recessions tend to make people who have bucks more tight-fisted.

So where are we now?

… It isn’t enough to simply point to the rise in inequality and expect an outpouring of mass support for any and all liberal policies. The argument for each proposal has to be made on its own terms, and Americans still show little enthusiasm for anything that smacks of welfare. Would-be reformers also need to avoid alienating seniors, whose declining support for redistributive measures probably reflects a fear that such policies would come at their expense, in the form of cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Still, the polling data shows that a healthy majority of Americans believe that income and wealth should be more evenly distributed, and that a smaller, but steady, majority believe that the current situation justifies heavier taxes on the rich. That surely gives the Democrats something to work with.

It all comes down to individual policies. In the cases of the estate tax, the “carried interest” deduction enjoyed by hedge-fund managers and private equity, and other loopholes that benefit the very wealthy, would-be reformers can appeal to the voters’ sense of fair play, which remains undiminished. In seeking to expand support for working families—for example, by expanding the earned-income tax credit—progressives can appeal to the widespread sympathy for the working poor. When presented in general or ideological terms, redistribution has always been a tough sell. But when the debate gets down to specific proposals, redistributive arguments can still win out. …NewYorker

Obamacare is unpopular; the ACA is welcomed warmly.

When Fox News is on, decency doesn’t have a chance. But when you return to your real life, decency is what makes life meaningful … and honorable… and just plain worth living.

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

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Make room for more Republican candidates http://themoderatevoice.com/204371/make-room-for-more-republican-candidates/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204371/make-room-for-more-republican-candidates/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:49:15 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204371 Make room for more Republican candidates NASHUA, N.H — Think the Republican field is already crowded? Better find more room, because the roster of potential candidates for may grow even more. New Hampshire Republicans over the weekend heard from 18 people who are or may be running for president. Two others didn’t attend. It probably [...]

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Make room for more Republican candidates

NASHUA, N.H — Think the Republican field is already crowded? Better find more room, because the roster of potential candidates for may grow even more. New Hampshire Republicans over the weekend heard from 18 people who are or may be running for president. Two others didn’t attend. It probably didn’t matter, because when the forum marathon…

graphic via shutterstock.com

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Seven Years On: Why The Sarah Palin Birth Hoax Story Still Shouldn’t Go Away http://themoderatevoice.com/204270/seven-years-on-why-the-sarah-palin-birth-hoax-story-still-shouldnt-go-away/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204270/seven-years-on-why-the-sarah-palin-birth-hoax-story-still-shouldnt-go-away/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 10:22:13 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204270 Rumors, innuendo and inconclusive photographs do not a true story make, but the fact of the matter is that seven years after the birth of Trig Paxson Van Palin, there is no proof that right-wing sweetheart Sarah Palin is his biological mother and evidence he may be her grandson. If you believe that I — [...]

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Rumors, innuendo and inconclusive photographs do not a true story make, but the fact of the matter is that seven years after the birth of Trig Paxson Van Palin, there is no proof that right-wing sweetheart Sarah Palin is his biological mother and evidence he may be her grandson.

If you believe that I — or anyone else — has no business pursuing the question of whether John McCain’s 2008 running mate put over an enormous hoax on the American public because the whole idea is so . . . well, yucky, then you need read no further. Besides which, a kid with disabilities having a home with a family that has plenty of dough is enough for many people who are averse to questioning Palin’s serial evasions.

But if you, like me, remain curious about the evasions concerning her alleged pregnancy and Trig’s birth, as well as her unwillingness to provide any proof to tamp down rumors that she faked the birth of the Down syndrome child, then stick around. Palin still will not even release a copy of Trig’s birth certificate although she hectored Barack Obama to release his.

This story deserves to have legs because the former half-term Alaska governor turned author and reality show princess and most recently Tea Party carnival sideshow freak not only has not gone away.

She continues to inject herself into national politics, having campaigned early on for the 2012 Republican president nomination until even she realized that her brand was tarnished despite a small but hard-core conservative constituency that continues to cling to her every statement as if they were Biblical missives.

These statements have included appallingly outrageous and tone deaf comments in the wake of the 2011 assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and attacks on Hillary Rodham Clinton, the likely 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, whom she infers is brain damaged and should release her medical records. And come to think of it, what has Palin accomplished over the last decade beyond running her mouth?

Please click here to read more — lots more.

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Book Review: “Vernon Dent: Stooge Heavy” by Bill Cassara (a second banana gets his due) http://themoderatevoice.com/204363/book-review-vernon-dent-stooge-heavy-by-bill-cassara-a-second-banana-gets-his-due/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204363/book-review-vernon-dent-stooge-heavy-by-bill-cassara-a-second-banana-gets-his-due/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 04:50:25 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204363 Review of Vernon Dent: Stooge Heavy, a second banana gets his due by Doug Gibson It’s a pleasant surprise to see that BearManor Media has provided cinema genre fans a biography of that most famous supporting character of slapstick comedy shorts, Vernon Denton (here). Mentored by Keystone cop Hank Mann, his career started about 100 [...]

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Review of Vernon Dent: Stooge Heavy, a second banana gets his due
by Doug Gibson

It’s a pleasant surprise to see that BearManor Media has provided cinema genre fans a biography of that most famous supporting character of slapstick comedy shorts, Vernon Denton (here). Mentored by Keystone cop Hank Mann, his career started about 100 years ago and never really ceased, moving smoothly through the heydays of Mack Sennett, Educational shorts and the Columbia comedy shorts.

Dent (1895-1963) was fated to have a face often recognized but a name that would come slow to the lips of the average theater-goer. He’s best associated with the Three Stooges. (In fact, just a few days I was watching The O’Reilly Factor have a segment that was highlighted with old film clips. Although it lasted a mere five seconds one of the blackouts was Dent — in some old Stooges short — getting a pie in the face. I hope I’m not the only viewer who snapped his fingers and said, “THAT’S VERNON DENT!”

But enough of my chatter, I need to get to reviewing “Vernon Dent: Stooge Heavy: Second Banana to the Three Stooges and other Film Comedy Greats,” by Bill Cassara, BearManorMedia, 2013. To be very frank, if you’re looking for a personal biography of Dent’s life, and his impact on the times, you’ll be disappointed. This is not really a biography. It can’t claim that status when major events such as the death of Dent’s mother, Fannie, or his first marriage, are captured in a passage or two.

Instead, what Cassara presents is the equivalent of a well-researched, in-depth, entertaining long magazine piece on the times of Dent’s life, with major focus on the entertainer’s career. Cassara provides scores of newspaper, school and publicity accounts to traverse Dent’s interesting life and times. One personal note that does include extensive reference is the 1909 murder of Dent’s father, William, a saloon keeper. William was murdered by the boyfriend of a woman he was having an adulterous affair with. Not unlike today, such an unsavory scandal attracted the media; an added incentive was that William Dent was a nephew of former U.S. President U.S. Grant.

The scandal caused Fannie to move her family from San Jose, California to Oakland, and Vernon grew up in northern California. He seems to have been stagestruck since about the age of nine, and received his share of local publicity as a teen. Fannie Dent died in 1915; by that year the young Dent was married and a professional musician performing in San Francisco and he later Southern California in a nightclub in 1916.

As mentioned, Hank Mann, who had a young Charley Chase directing films, started using Vernon as a supporting player in a series of one- and two-reelers. By 1920 The Pacific Film Company attempted to make a star of Vernon by having him basically do a Fatty Arbuckle takeoff in a series of shorts. As Cassara notes, that ended with Arbuckle’s scandal involving the death of actress Virginia Rappe. In these early comedies, Vernon also starred with a beautiful, petite actress with the odd name of Duane Thompson, although in the comedies she went by Violet Joy. Some of these films still exist.

At this juncture of his career, Dent had roles in some features, including “Hail the Woman,” but he caught the eye of Mack Sennett and that solidified him as a comedy shorts player. He had a natural rapport with star Harry Langdon, and the pair would work together in films for two decades. Late in the 1920s, during the evolution from silent to sound films, there were two attempts to pair Vernon with co-stars Monty Collins and later Lou Archer. Both attempts could not generate the fan interest to keep them competitive with popular teams such as Laurel and Hardy.

That Dent failed to click as a comedy shorts star is likely because he didn’t generate the pathos or likability that Oliver Hardy, for example, could muster with his screen presence. Or maybe he had weak scripts too often? Dent was a splendid actor and talented comedian. That made him very valuable to the comedy shorts producers, who could essentially plug him into any part, star, supporting or bit player. He was always on the payroll of Sennett, Educational and Columbia and often made the equivalent of a $100,000 a year salary today.

Perhaps the last chance Dent had to develop a team was with Langdon in the Educational shorts of the early to mid 1930s. They have some great rapport in shorts, particularly “The Hitchhiker,” “The Big Flash,” and “Hooks and Jabs,” but the death of director Arvid Gillstrom, and later Educational studios, moved both stars to the more slapsticky, Stooge-comedy Columbia, with its shorts head Jules White. As Cassara writes of the Stooges, “The humor of The Three Stooges was physical, lowbrow and ‘vulgar.’ It was anything for a laugh. The Stooges were a curious combination of surrealism and exaggerated sound effects.”

And it worked. Audiences loved the Stooges and their act kept at least two dozen more comedians busy working at Columbia in its many different shorts series. Vernon worked for everyone, but in popular culture, he’s attached to the Stooges. In fact, the final 40 percent of the book is a compendium of Vernon’s 400-plus film appearances, including his roles with the Stooges.

As the reader gets closer to the appendix, more of the personal life of Vernon is noted. This is mostly thanks to interviews with Vernon’s third wife, Eunice, conducted by film historian Ed Watz. (Vernon’s second wife had died in the 1930s). He met Eunice at a party thrown by his good friend Langdon, and his wife, Mabel. According to the book, Eunice says he proposed that very night. Their marriage lasted until Dent’s death.

As Dent settled into life as a Columbia comedy shorts player, he contracted diabetes in the mid 1940s. It was no surprise as the very heavy Dent loved eating sweets. The condition worsened and by the mid 1950s Vernon was blind. According to Cassara’s book, he became blind after refusing to submit to more painful insulin shots.

The strength of Cassara’s book is that casual, and even genre fans, will learn many new things about Dent. One was his participation in a “keep-up-the-moral” feature from the World War II era, “San Diego, I Love You,” a Universal offering. I have embedded a scene from the film that includes Vernon at the end of this review. Other interesting tidbits is Dent’s appearances on TV, including “I Love Lucy.”

The details of Watz’ interviews with Eunice provide fantastic ancedotes into the lives of the husband and wife, as well as a glimpse into the Hollywood of that era. She notes that Vernon was a favorite of Frank Capra, who used him in bit parts in some of his films. She also expounds more on the close friendship between the Langdons and Dents.

Dent died of a heart attack in 1963, having survived long enough to witness the rejuvenation of the Three Stooges’ careers after the Columbia shorts ended. It would be very interesting to read similar accounts of other Columbia shorts supporting players, such as Christine McIntyre or Dick Curtis.

(Also embedded below is a clip from a 1924 Sennet short with Vernon and Andy Clyde, “Black Oxfords”).

One more note: This Dent biography can be purchased in book form and also for under $10 via Kindle.


Doug Gibson is the Features and Entertainment editor for the Standard-Examiner newspaper in Northern Utah. He has also co-hosted the Plan9Crunch cult movies blog for several years.This review has been cross posted from Plan 9 Crunch.

OF RELATED INTEREST:

Available in book form:



On Kindle:

Vernon Dent’s work with The Three Stooges can also be seen in full on the incredible remastered, definitive collection of their Columbia shorts “The Three Stooges: The Ultimate Collection.” Additionally, he is seen in many of the shorts on the “bonus” material disc in this set which contains the rarely seen (and often quite good) solo Columbia shorts of later Curly replacement third stooges Shemp Howard, Joe Besser and Joe DeRita. This set will be reviewed in detail in a future review on The Moderate Voice.

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Jeb Bush and “Death Panels” http://themoderatevoice.com/204269/jeb-bush-death-panels/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204269/jeb-bush-death-panels/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 04:10:53 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204269 Ezra Klein notes Jeb Bush’s support for end-of-life directives on Vox.com. The dumbest controversy of Obamacare, by far, was when Sarah Palin took an anodyne provision directing Medicare to cover end-of-life care consultations and branded it a “death panel.” Senator Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican who had backed the idea, was unsparing. “How someone could [...]

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Ezra Klein notes Jeb Bush’s support for end-of-life directives on Vox.com.

The dumbest controversy of Obamacare, by far, was when Sarah Palin took an anodyne provision directing Medicare to cover end-of-life care consultations and branded it a “death panel.” Senator Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican who had backed the idea, was unsparing. “How someone could take an end-of-life directive or a living will as that is nuts,” he said. PolitiFact gave Palin its coveted “Lie of the Year” award.

 

But Palin won. The provision was deleted from the bill. And politicians learned to fear any discussion of end-of-life care, even though roughly 30 percent of Medicare’s spending comes in the last six months of a patient’s life.

 

And that’s been the sorry state of Washington’s conversation over end-of-life care. Until now.

 

In New Hampshire on Friday, Jeb Bush made a startlingly sensible proposal. “I think if we’re going to mandate anything from government, it might be that if you’re going to take Medicare, you also sign up for an advance directive,” the New York Times reports Bush saying.

This goes much further than the provision in Obamacare. All that did was allow Medicare to pay for “voluntary advance care planning.” Bush appears to be suggesting something much more radical, and much more sensible: that Medicare mandates an advance directive as a condition of receiving insurance.

 

This shouldn’t scare anyone. An advance directive can say that the patient wants all measures used to prolong her life, or it can say that the patient wants nothing done. An advance directive doesn’t tell you what to choose; it simply forces you to make a choice.

 

And people should be forced to make a choice. Because if they don’t, then terrible things can happen to them at a point when they’re no longer mentally or physically capable of choosing.

 

“End-of-life care” is such a clean euphemism. But CPR cracks the ribs of 92-year-olds with dementia. Brutal surgeries are performed that will leave patients with a few more months of life, at best. There are fates that are worse than death.

Cross-posted from The Sensible Center

http://thesensiblecentercom.blogspot.com/2015/04/jeb-bush-and-death-panels.html

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Can the GOP Learn from California? http://themoderatevoice.com/204366/can-the-gop-learn-from-california/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204366/can-the-gop-learn-from-california/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 04:00:03 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204366 LOS ANGELES — Jim Brulte, California’s Republican chairman, has sobering but useful words for his party’s leaders and 2016 candidates: If they don’t learn from what happened to the GOP here, they may doom themselves to repeating its decidedly unpleasant experience. “California is the leading edge of the country’s demographic changes,” Brulte said in an [...]

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LOS ANGELES — Jim Brulte, California’s Republican chairman, has sobering but useful words for his party’s leaders and 2016 candidates: If they don’t learn from what happened to the GOP here, they may doom themselves to repeating its decidedly unpleasant experience.

“California is the leading edge of the country’s demographic changes,” Brulte said in an interview. “Frankly, Republicans in California did not react quickly enough to them, and we have paid a horrible price.”

One measure of the cost: In the three presidential elections of the 1980s, California voted twice for Ronald Reagan and once for George H. W. Bush. The state has not gone Republican since, and it won’t get any easier in 2016.

The hole is deep enough that Brulte has concentrated his own energies on rebuilding the party from the bottom up. He has enjoyed some real successes at the local and county levels, and the GOP eliminated the Democrats’ veto-proof majorities in the state legislature in the 2014 mid-terms.

But the Republicans are still vastly outnumbered in both houses — 25-14 in the state Senate, 52-28 in the Assembly — and the Democrats picked up a seat in 2014 in the U.S. House of Representatives. They have won all of California’s statewide offices in three of the last four elections. The last time that happened: 1882.

The principal cause of the GOP’s troubles is its alienation of Latinos, Asian-Americans and African-Americans in a state whose population is now a majority non-white. Republicans can win in 2016 without carrying California, but the party’s struggles here highlight the extent to which the GOP is making its life in presidential years very difficult with its increasingly hard line on immigration, its image as a bastion for older, white conservatives, and its solicitude for Americans with very high incomes. When House Republicans in Washington voted to repeal the estate tax last week, it was helping all of 5,400 of the wealthiest households in America, not exactly a move with mass appeal.

As has often been the case in American history, California is simply the harbinger of changes — in this case demographic — that are happening more slowly elsewhere. “The one thing no one can stop,” says Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat who was elected to Congress here in 2014, “is that every month, the rest of America looks more like California.”

The Republicans’ problem with Latino voters is especially pronounced here. The passage of Proposition 187 in 1994 with the strong support of Republican Gov. Pete Wilson — the ballot measure barred illegal immigrants from a variety of state services — simultaneously alienated Hispanic voters from the GOP and mobilized many of them into the political process.

The same thing is now happening nationally. The growing anti-immigrant sentiment in the GOP has cut the Republicans’ Latino share of the vote from the 40-percent range for George W. Bush to 27 percent for Mitt Romney in 2012. The party’s strenuous opposition to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration will only make this problem more acute.

But even more remarkably, Republicans have also suffered severe declines among Asian-Americans. According to the exit polls, a majority of Asian-Americans voted for George H.W. Bush in 1988. But in 2012, Romney won only 26 percent of their ballots.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, a Democrat whose district here includes Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Chinatown and Historic Filipinotown, notes that when he was first elected to Congress in 1992, a large share of Asian-Americans leaned Republican. That’s no longer true, and both Becerra and Lieu pinpointed the immigration issue as the primary cause for the shift.

Republican opposition to the Dream Act, designed to give relief to illegal immigrants brought to the United States as minors, especially rankled Asian-Americans, Lieu said: “Republicans were saying, ‘Come support us, we like you, but we want to deport your children.’”

Brulte thus takes particular pride in his outreach efforts to Asian-Americans. His party’s victorious legislative candidates last year included state Sen. Janet Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American, and Young Kim, the first Korean-American Republican woman to serve in the California Legislature.

But this was only a start, and as 2016 approaches, every GOP candidate should tack this reminder from Brulte on a headquarters wall: “In 2012, Mitt Romney carried 59 percent of the white vote and he carried independents. In 2004, this would have elected him president. In 2000, it would have given him an Electoral College landslide. In 2012, it gave him second place.”

E.J. Dionne’s email address is ejdionne@washpost.com. Twitter: @EJDionne. (c) 2015, Washington Post Writers Group

graphic via shutterstock.com

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Cartoon: On your marks http://themoderatevoice.com/204354/cartoon-on-your-marks/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204354/cartoon-on-your-marks/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 20:06:22 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204354 See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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Joep Bertrams, The Netherlands

Joep Bertrams, The Netherlands

See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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Will Immigrants Be Key to California—and America’s—Success? http://themoderatevoice.com/204352/will-immigrants-be-key-to-california-and-americas-success/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204352/will-immigrants-be-key-to-california-and-americas-success/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 19:57:22 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204352 Will Immigrants Be Key to California—and America’s—Success? By Chris Jennewein Last Wednesday afternoon, a booster rocket built in Los Angeles came very close to making the first return landing in history after lofting a resupply mission to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Falcon 9 booster tipped over after landing, but it’s another example of [...]

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket attempts to land on a barge off Cape Canaveral. Photo courtesy SpaceX

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket attempts to land on a barge off Cape Canaveral. Photo courtesy SpaceX

Will Immigrants Be Key to California—and America’s—Success?
By Chris Jennewein

Last Wednesday afternoon, a booster rocket built in Los Angeles came very close to making the first return landing in history after lofting a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 booster tipped over after landing, but it’s another example of out-of-the-box thinking by entrepreneur Elon Musk, an immigrant from South Africa who has also turned the automotive world upside down with his Tesla electric cars.

Many of the most innovative new ideas in the world come out of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, and more often than not an immigrant is behind them.

Even the fracking revolution, which has made the U.S. the largest energy producer and forced Saudia Arabia into a price war, has an immigrant connection. George Mitchell, the father of fracking, is a first-generation American, born after his father arrived in Texas from Greece. The family name was changed to Mitchell from Paraskevopoulos.

Last week The Wall Street Journal profiled the man behind the revolution in consumer drones. Jordi Munoz from Ensenada developed the software eight years ago while waiting for his green card. Later he co-founded 3D Robotics, which employs 300 in San Diego and Berkeley and is the leader in the U.S. market.

At at time when American businesses face growing worldwide competition, it may be our country’s ability to attract and assimilate the best and brightest that gives us an edge. As former Labor Secretary Robert Reich put it during a visit to San Diego last week, “America is an assimilation machine.”

Because the world’s youth are attracted to America, the nation’s demographics are promising. The United States is the only large, advanced country expected to have significant population growth in the coming decades. Our working-age population will be growing, while Europe, China, Russia and Japan face declines.

California is poised to benefit because it has the largest immigrant population in the United States, and has done the most to ease their way despite the logjam over immigration reform in Congress.

Last month state legislators introduced a package of 10 bills designed to make immigrants’ lives easier and protect them from the unscrupulous.

“With these bills California will again show the kind of practical, humane, and forward-thinking leadership that we hope can move the needle on the national discussion,” said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, who represents the 78th District in San Diego.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Texas are trying to repeal the state’s 2001 Dream Act, which allows children of illegal immigrants to attend state colleges. Opponents say the law is an incentive for further immigration and thus must be repealed. The governor has said he will not stand in the way of repeal.

It’s a safe bet that America’s next George Mitchell, Jordi Munoz or Elon Musk will come from California, not Texas.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego. This article is reprinted from The Times of San Diego which, along with The Moderate Voice, is a member of the San Diego Online News Association.

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Holocaust-Deniers Hold ‘Unprecedented’ Major London Conference http://themoderatevoice.com/204349/holocaust-deniers-hold-unprecedented-major-london-conference/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204349/holocaust-deniers-hold-unprecedented-major-london-conference/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 19:16:59 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204349 An unprecedented meeting of holocaust-deniers took place in London last week, drawing the who’s who of the European and North American fringe far-right and triggering concern from Jewish and anti-fascism groups. The meeting – said to be the largest of its kind ever held in the UK – took place in on Saturday April 11 [...]

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An unprecedented meeting of holocaust-deniers took place in London last week, drawing the who’s who of the European and North American fringe far-right and triggering concern from Jewish and anti-fascism groups. The meeting – said to be the largest of its kind ever held in the UK – took place in on Saturday April 11 at…

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(Another) Bush-Cheney Consquence: Fired Iraqi Officer Under Saddam Masterminded The Rise Of ISIS, Reports Spiegel http://themoderatevoice.com/204347/another-bush-cheney-consquence-fired-iraqi-officer-under-saddam-masterminded-the-rise-of-isis-reports-spiegel/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204347/another-bush-cheney-consquence-fired-iraqi-officer-under-saddam-masterminded-the-rise-of-isis-reports-spiegel/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 19:13:43 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204347 On a day when yet another ISIS brutality is pitchforked into the headlines — this time news that the terrorist group issued a new video showing the beading and shooting of nearly 30 Christians in Ethiopia who wouldn’t convert – a new report gives further evidence of the unintended consquences of the Bush-Cheney administration. An [...]

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On a day when yet another ISIS brutality is pitchforked into the headlines — this time news that the terrorist group issued a new video showing the beading and shooting of nearly 30 Christians in Ethiopia who wouldn’t convert – a new report gives further evidence of the unintended consquences of the Bush-Cheney administration. An Iraqi officer who was one of many in the Iraqi military disbanded and effectively fired in 2003 is the one responsible for ISIS’ rise in Syria.

A former intelligence officer for the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was the mastermind behind Islamic State’s takeover of northern Syria, according to a report by Der Spiegel that is based on documents uncovered by the German magazine.

Spiegel, in a lengthy story published at the weekend and entitled “Secret Files Reveal the Structure of Islamic State,” says it gained access to 31 pages of handwritten charts, lists and schedules which amount to a blueprint for the establishment of a caliphate in Syria.

The documents were the work of a man identified by the magazine as Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi, a former colonel in the intelligence service of Saddam Hussein’s air defense force, who went by the pseudonym Haji Bakr.

Spiegel says the files suggest that the takeover of northern Syria was part of a meticulous plan overseen by Haji Bakr using techniques — including surveillance, espionage, murder and kidnapping — honed in the security apparatus of Saddam Hussein.

Which confirms most assuredly that Saddam & Co. weren’t nice people. But the significance comes further in this Reuters report on the Der Speigel piece:

The Iraqi national was reportedly killed in a firefight with Syrian rebels in January 2014, but not before he had helped secure swathes of Syria, which in turn strengthened Islamic State’s position in neighboring Iraq.

“What Bakr put on paper, page by page, with carefully outlined boxes for individual responsibilities, was nothing less than a blueprint for a takeover,” the story by Spiegel reporter Christoph Reuter says.

“It was not a manifesto of faith, but a technically precise plan for an ‘Islamic Intelligence State’ — a caliphate run by an organization that resembled East Germany’s notorious Stasi domestic intelligence agency.”

The story describes Bakr as being “bitter and unemployed” after U.S. authorities in Iraq disbanded the army by decree in 2003. Between 2006 to 2008 he was reportedly in U.S. detention facilities, including Abu Ghraib prison.

The disbanding of Iraq’s army has been mentioned by many analysts and some current histories of the war as in retrospect a huge mistake.

But it’s increasingly clear that much of the Bush- Cheney foreign policy when it came to Iraq was by-the-seat-of-the-pants or by the neocon talking points: it may have sounded good or logical, but seeming left out one ingredient that is useful in sound policy making: nuance, and the consideration of it.

In 2010 however, it was Bakr and a small group of former Iraqi intelligence officers who made Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the official leader of Islamic State, with the goal of giving the group a “religious face,” the story says.

Two years later, the magazine says, Bakr traveled to northern Syria to oversee his takeover plan, choosing to launch it with a collection of foreign fighters that included novice militants from Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Europe alongside battle-tested Chechens and Uzbeks.

And so it goes — producing news stories and videos illustrating a brutality and ruthlessness that brings back memories of Germany’s 20th century Nazis. Like this latest:

A shocking new video appearing to show at least 30 Christians being beheaded and shot by ISIS in Libya has been released.

The 29-minute video, titled ‘Until It Came To Them – Clear Evidence’, shows dozens of militants holding two separate groups captive, thought to be in the south and the west of the country.

At least 16 men, described by Islamic State as the ‘followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church’, are lined up and shot in a desert area while 12 others are filmed being forced to walk down a beach before being beheaded.

This follows another video in February of the beheading of a group of 21 Coptic Christians on the beach in Libya, though that terrain was rockier than the one shown in the latest film.

It raises fears that ISIS is consolidating its presence on the ‘doorstep of Europe’, as Libya is just a few hundred miles from the coast of Italy

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And, yes, Italy does fear a future invasion of ISIS.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Dick Cheney continues to have a high profile calling Barack Obama the worst President in his lifetime, a subject he will detail more in an upcoming book and book tour. The main thrust of Cheney’s assertions since Obama took over was that he was right and Obama is wrong.

An easy bet: Cheney will go down in history as one of the most powerful and worst Vice Presidents in all of American history — one whose rhetoric was often not matched by fact and often laced with outright deception and whose decisions as a Vice President with enormous influence left the U.S. with lingering wars and unintended consequences that cost the United States and the world money and lives.

ISIS will be one of them.

graphic via shutterstock.com

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Marijuana, Needle Exchange Programs, And Clinton’s Cultural Conservatism http://themoderatevoice.com/204345/marijuana-needle-exchange-programs-and-clintons-cultural-conservatism/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204345/marijuana-needle-exchange-programs-and-clintons-cultural-conservatism/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 17:16:34 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204345 Following recent posts about Lincoln Chafee talking about running for the Democratic nomination I began looking to see if there are any other issues where the two have major differences besides Clinton’s support for the Iraq war, which he has been attacking Hillary Clinton on. I was pleased to see that back in 2011 Chaffee [...]

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Clinton Marijuana

Following recent posts about Lincoln Chafee talking about running for the Democratic nomination I began looking to see if there are any other issues where the two have major differences besides Clinton’s support for the Iraq war, which he has been attacking Hillary Clinton on. I was pleased to see that back in 2011 Chaffee called for a reclassification of medical marijuana from a Schedule I controlled substances, which puts states which have legalized medical marijuana at odds with federal laws.

Three years later, Martin O’Malley took this a step even further, signing a bill decriminalizing marijuana, while opposing outright legalization. Hillary Clinton, as would be expected from her overall cultural conservatism, has lagged behind the country, and the Democratic Party, on both legalization of marijuana and medical marijuana.

On a related issue, Clinton’s opposition to needle exchange programs, while certainly not a major issue, was also an early issue in the 2008 nomination battle which differentiated the political philosophies of Clinton from the more liberal Barack Obama. Martin O’Malley, who is also moving well to the left on economic issues, signed a bill allowing needle exchange in Maryland. Clinton and Obama also differed in 2008 on reforming sentencing for violation of drug laws. While Obama’s record on the drug war has certainly been mixed, I would hate to see a move further to the right under Clinton.

Clinton’s cultural conservatism and promotion of conservative causes has often been traced to her membership in The Fellowship while in the Senate. From Mother Jones in 2007:

Through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. Her collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that connection…

That’s how it works: The Fellowship isn’t out to turn liberals into conservatives; rather, it convinces politicians they can transcend left and right with an ecumenical faith that rises above politics. Only the faith is always evangelical, and the politics always move rightward…These days, Clinton has graduated from the political wives’ group into what may be Coe’s most elite cell, the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast. Though weighted Republican, the breakfast—regularly attended by about 40 members—is a bipartisan opportunity for politicians to burnish their reputations, giving Clinton the chance to profess her faith with men such as Brownback as well as the twin terrors of Oklahoma, James Inhofe and Tom Coburn, and, until recently, former Senator George Allen (R-Va.). Democrats in the group include Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor, who told us that the separation of church and state has gone too far; Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is also a regular.

Unlikely partnerships have become a Clinton trademark. Some are symbolic, such as her support for a ban on flag burning with Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and funding for research on the dangers of video games with Brownback and Santorum. But Clinton has also joined the gop on legislation that redefines social justice issues in terms of conservative morality, such as an anti-human-trafficking law that withheld funding from groups working on the sex trade if they didn’t condemn prostitution in the proper terms. With Santorum, Clinton co-sponsored the Workplace Religious Freedom Act; she didn’t back off even after Republican senators such as Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter pulled their names from the bill citing concerns that the measure would protect those refusing to perform key aspects of their jobs—say, pharmacists who won’t fill birth control prescriptions, or police officers who won’t guard abortion clinics.

Clinton has championed federal funding of faith-based social services, which she embraced years before George W. Bush did; Marci Hamilton, author of God vs. the Gavel, says that the Clintons’ approach to faith-based initiatives “set the stage for Bush.” Clinton has also long supported the Defense of Marriage Act, a measure that has become a purity test for any candidate wishing to avoid war with the Christian right…

The libertarian Cato Institute recently observed that Clinton is “adding the paternalistic agenda of the religious right to her old-fashioned liberal paternalism.” Clinton suggests as much herself in her 1996 book, It Takes a Village, where she writes approvingly of religious groups’ access to schools, lessons in Scripture, and “virtue” making a return to the classroom.

As noted in the above excerpt, Clinton’s affiliation with the religious right was seen in her support for the Workplace Religious Freedom Act , a bill introduced by Rick Santorum and opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union for promoting discrimination and reducing access to health care, along with her promotion of restrictions on video games and her introduction of a bill making flag burning a felony. Her social conservatism is also seen in her weak record on abortion rights, such as supporting parental notification laws and stigmatizing women who have abortions with the manner in which she calls for abortion to be “safe, legal and rare.”

Updated from a post at Liberal Values

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700 African Migrants Believed Dead after Boat Capsizes http://themoderatevoice.com/204342/700-african-migrants-believed-dead-after-boat-capsizes/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204342/700-african-migrants-believed-dead-after-boat-capsizes/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 13:55:46 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204342 Some 700 African migrants are feared dead on Sunday, after their boat capsized off the coast of Libya in the Mediterranean Sea. Declared an emergency at around midnight, the ship is believed to have started capsizing when migrants aboard all moved to one side of the ship, as a merchant vessel approached. Only twenty-eight people [...]

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Some 700 African migrants are feared dead on Sunday, after their boat capsized off the coast of Libya in the Mediterranean Sea. Declared an emergency at around midnight, the ship is believed to have started capsizing when migrants aboard all moved to one side of the ship, as a merchant vessel approached. Only twenty-eight people have…

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A Review of Death Cab for Cutie’s Kintsugi: A Beautiful Reformation of Life’s Shards http://themoderatevoice.com/204337/a-review-of-death-cab-for-cuties-kintsugi-a-beautiful-reformation-of-lifes-shards/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204337/a-review-of-death-cab-for-cuties-kintsugi-a-beautiful-reformation-of-lifes-shards/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 19:48:09 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204337 Death Cab For Cutie’s new album Kintsugi is more Death than Cutie, but it still has plenty of Cab to make it a worthwhile journey. The album’s title, Kintsugi, comes from the Japanese art of repairing or transforming broken pottery with gold, silver or platinum lacquer. Instead of hiding the breakage lines of the pot, [...]

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Death Cab For Cutie’s new album Kintsugi is more Death than Cutie, but it still has plenty of Cab to make it a worthwhile journey. The album’s title, Kintsugi, comes from the Japanese art of repairing or transforming broken pottery with gold, silver or platinum lacquer. Instead of hiding the breakage lines of the pot, the gold, silver and platinum threads highlight the cracks as part of the restored pottery’s life and beauty. Although restored to a similar form, the metallic veins weaving through the vessel’s structure testify to the power of embracing and reinterpreting a work in light of its brokenness. The beauty is found in how the artist infuses the broken pieces together with precious metals. Death Cab For Cutie’s latest album is an attempt to embrace such a technique through song.

For the most part, Kintsugi the album is a contrast between lyric and melody. The lyrics are the broken shards; the melody is the threaded gold, silver and platinum lacquer. For lack of better phrasing, this album is full of really beautiful, even cheerful melodies that accompany terribly sad experiences. If you don’t listen carefully to the lyrics, you’ll think the album is full of upbeat happy songs. If you listen carefully, you’ll realize that you are, in fact, wrong.

The first song, “No Room in Frame” embraces the Kintsugi theme, with a lovely upbeat tune about a relationship that fell apart because of selfishness. Most of the songs on the album follow this pattern of describing a relationship ending, or over, because of selfishness or irreconcilable distance. It’s sort of a soundtrack for divorce or separation after a longterm commitment. Regardless of the darkness of the lyrics, the melodies still float along with comforting beauty. This is probably best seen in the song “Everything’s A Ceiling” that literally compares a relationship ending to digging oneself into an endless hole of misery. This would be the anti-song to The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights.”

Now before you abandon this album as the downer of the year, you must hear it! For the melody and song structure are a golden thread that reinterprets the broken lyrics to make really beautiful and oddly uplifting songs. That’s right, even though the lyrics seem like downers, the actual Kintsugi inspired songs are beautiful and frequently uplifting.

I purposely did not look into the personal life of anyone involved in making this album. I didn’t want to look into the trauma backstory that most likely has inspired many of these seemingly personal songs. I didn’t look because I wanted the art to stand on its own. It must have beauty in its present form. In other words, I’m not concerned with how the pottery got broken but with what the artist made out of the reformed pieces.

In many ways, the album Kintsugi is an example of why art has power and is needed in the development and well being of society. Art gives us the ability to reinterpret and recast both the good and ugly of our lives. Art can take traumatic memories, events and experiences and turn them into something that comforts others or even ourselves. Art also demonstrates that answers are not always necessary for people to move forward. Sometimes the story just needs to be expressed in a different way or with a different tune. Simply put: the tune can change how we experience the events of our lives.

It should be noted that not every song on the album is about broken relationships. Regardless, one can still hear a golden thread throughout the entire work. Death Cab For Cutie’s Kintsugi is not trying to whitewash the pain of the past with a clever tune. Rather, it’s an example of the beauty that can be found when we allow our trauma to be part of our artistic expression. The music doesn’t hide the cracks, it just gives them new meaning. It’s this new meaning that makes Death Cab for Cutie’s Kintsugi a worthy work.

Doug writes at http://fairlyspiritual.org
and tweets @fairlyspiritual

Death Cab for Cutie

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Report Clinton To Oppose Iran Deal & The Politics Of Tipping http://themoderatevoice.com/204335/report-clinton-to-oppose-iran-deal-the-politics-of-tipping/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204335/report-clinton-to-oppose-iran-deal-the-politics-of-tipping/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 19:20:21 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204335 The Hill is running a story that major Clinton contributor Haim Saban is hinting that Hillary Clinton will come out against the Iran deal. Clinton was often more hawkish than others in the Obama administration, and had criticized Obama for his plans to negotiate with Iran during the 2008 campaign. She had claimed that the [...]

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The Hill is running a story that major Clinton contributor Haim Saban is hinting that Hillary Clinton will come out against the Iran deal. Clinton was often more hawkish than others in the Obama administration, and had criticized Obama for his plans to negotiate with Iran during the 2008 campaign. She had claimed that the United States could “totally obliterate” Iran.

Clinton’s views on Iran have remained unclear. Clinton’s 2014 book, Hard Choices, claimed that she helped initiate the negotiations, but this was a ghost written campaign book and might not be a very reliable account. Obama has said that Clinton was wary of the negotiations, but interested. Since the agreement was announced, Clinton has been supportive, but has left herself some wiggle room.

With all the mixed signals about her position on Iran, it would be helpful if Clinton faced press interviews to clarify her views–ideally with follow-up questions allowed. Instead Clinton has avoided the press since announcing her candidacy, rather than allowing interviews and having the press along on a campaign trip, as is generally seen in such a political campaign. Her campaign aides have instead held off-the-record dinners to attempt to woo the press which Clinton did not attend. She held a single press conference about a week after the email scandal broke in which she took limited questions, and fact-checkers found her to be lying on multiple points.

The other campaign controversy today was far less serious than this matter of war and peace. Clinton has come under criticism for failing to leave a tip when she ate at Chipotle. I see no fault in Clinton’s actual actions. While it is customary to leave a tip for servers, it is far less usual to leave a tip for counter service. The bigger issue is one of understanding how campaigns work. Politicians generally understand that every act is scrutinized, and know it is better to always tip, and tip generously. For example, The Hill contrasted Clinton and Obama:

President Obama has gained a reputation as a big tipper dating back to his first presidential campaign in 2008.

One month before Clinton conceded the nomination to Obama, he stopped at The Raleigh Times Bar in North Carolina, where he reportedly left an $18 tip on a $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

Obama and Vice President Biden lunched at Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington, Va. in 2009, and the president left $5 in the tip jar.

And during the government shutdown in Oct. 2013, Obama and Biden walked to the Taylor Gourmet sandwich shop on Pennsylvania Ave., which was giving a 10 percent discount to furloughed government workers.

The president paid a $21.56 lunch tab and left a tip of $18.44.

This does not necessarily mean that Obama is a better person than Clinton or even more generous. It does show that Obama was better at campaigning, at least in this type of situation:

The majority of Democrats do favor a primary opponent, whether because of opposition to Clinton or believing it will make her a better candidate in the general election. Personally I think that if Clinton doesn’t have this down by now, she probably never will. The Democratic National Committee aims to please. Debbie Wasserman Schultz says this will be a contested primary and has scheduled a series of debates. She named the same potential candidates who have often been mentioned:

Wasserman Schultz said she has been talking about the planned debate series with both official candidates (so far, there’s only one) and potential entrants. She mentioned Vice President Joe Biden, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, former Senator (and Governor) Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Senator Bernie Sanders—although she noted that Sanders, a Vermont independent, would have to change parties to qualify for a Democratic primary.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

Update: Marijuana, Needle Exchange Programs, And Clinton’s Cultural Conservatism

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UPDATE: A Former, and Possibly Future, First Daughter’s Role in Her Mother’s White House Bid http://themoderatevoice.com/204333/a-former-and-possibly-future-first-daughters-role-in-her-mothers-white-house-bid/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204333/a-former-and-possibly-future-first-daughters-role-in-her-mothers-white-house-bid/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 19:09:53 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204333 UPDATE: Interesting piece by Maureen Dowd in the Sunday New York Times, highlighting the competing forces and impulses a woman running for the highest office in the land — to date always occupied by a man — feels and has. Dowd: “The most famous woman on the planet has a confounding problem. She can’t figure [...]

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UPDATE:

Interesting piece by Maureen Dowd in the Sunday New York Times, highlighting the competing forces and impulses a woman running for the highest office in the land — to date always occupied by a man — feels and has.

Dowd: “The most famous woman on the planet has a confounding problem. She can’t figure out how to campaign as a woman.”

Dowd reviews how, in 2008, taking advice from two men — Bill Clinton and Mark Penn — Hillary “campaigned like a man,” but that, today, she may be “overcorrecting”:

Now she has zagged too far in the opposite direction, presenting herself as a sweet, docile granny in a Scooby van, so self-effacing she made only a cameo in her own gauzy, demographically pandering presidential campaign announcement video and mentioned no issues on her campaign’s website.

Dowd asks, “But isn’t there a more authentic way for Hillary to campaign as a woman — something between an overdose of testosterone and an overdose of estrogen, something between Macho Man and Humble Granny?”

Not mentioned by Dowd, perhaps the increasingly prominent role Hillary’s daughter (below) is taking in her 2016 campaign may bring the proper balance or even suggest to her mother that she run like the real person she is: a woman, a mother, a grandmother and a very capable person.

Dowd ends with this word of caution:

Let’s hope that the hokey Chipotle Granny will give way to the cool Tumblr Chick in time to teach her Republican rivals — who are coming after her with every condescending, misogynist, distorted thing they’ve got — that bitch is still the new black.

Read more here

Original Post:

As Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign gets into full gear, the question on many people’s minds is what roles her husband, Bill Clinton, and her daughter, Chelsea, will have in the campaign.

In a recent Politico “guide to some of the most influential players in [Hillary Clinton’s] 2016 presidential bid,” Katie Glueck lists the former president as part of “the inner circle” and says, “It’s unclear what role Bill Clinton will play in his wife’s campaign, but he is clearly a prominent voice, could be a major asset to her and brings with him a cadre of friends and advisers.”

Although some may feel nervous about Bill Clinton’s role, Glueck’s prediction is on target. However, strangely missing from the list of power players is a person who many — including this writer — feel will be one of Hillary Clinton’s greatest campaign assets: her 35-year-old daughter, Chelsea.

Already an experienced campaigner — during her mother’s 2008 campaign, “she did more than 400 events in 40 states over the course of five months” — Chelsea is expected to be an even greater asset to her mother this time as she has achieved her own professional stature and — perhaps equally important — as she is now a mother herself (Charlotte is the name of her daughter) and fits right in with and supports the family and “grandmotherly” images her mother’s campaign is projecting and emphasizing.

Sam Frizell, in TIME, says that Chelsea will be in demand during the campaign because “Americans increasingly want female candidates to talk about their families,” and, quoting Adrienne Kimmell, executive director of the Barbara Lee foundation, “It’s believable and real when you’re talking about your kids and grandkids…Voters connect with that.”

He adds:

With her mother likely to focus on her family and her personal life more in this campaign than eight years, Chelsea will be a key voice. The mother-daughter duo’s connection on stage is apparent: Hillary calls her daughter “Chels,” and Chelsea feels comfortable correcting her mother. Chelsea’s natural connection with younger voters makes her an important complement on the campaign trail to her 67-year-old mother. Emily Lobbato, a 22-year-old who saw Chelsea and her mother at an event last month, says, “Chelsea and Hillary remind me of me and my mom.”

In addition to this mother-daughter connection and appeal to women and millennial voters, Chelsea brings her own professional competence and political savvy.

Taking on increasingly prominent roles at the Clinton Foundation — she is presently vice chair — Chelsea has built a reputation by pushing for a “data and metrics office, as well as a partnership with the high-end data company Palantir, a stats review to help inform Foundation projects [and for] organizational overhauls and implementing a 2011 Simpson Thacher review recommendations for tighter fiscal oversight”

Appearing on the front cover of Elle the weekend her mother announced her campaign, Chelsea told the magazine, “When you ask about the importance of having a woman president, absolutely it’s important…One of our core values in this country is that we are the land of equal opportunity, but when equal hasn’t yet included gender, there is a fundamental challenge there that, I believe, having our first woman president — whenever that is — will help resolve.”

Of course the Clintons’ foes will point to the “$1,500 Gucci dress and Cartier bracelet” Chelsea is wearing on Elle’s cover and to Chelsea’s and her husband’s $9.25 million Manhattan apartment and to the “reportedly” up to $75,000 Chelsea is paid for speeches, “although the fees go straight to the Foundation,” according to yahoo.com.

As Chelsea becomes a more prominent and effective voice in her mother’s campaign, criticism of her is expected to grow. Fair enough, I believe she can take it. My only hope is that it will never again stoop to the level of depravity once displayed by GOP spokesman Rush Limbaugh.

Lead photo: Chelsea Clinton attends the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City, September 24, 2013. JStone / Shutterstock.com

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‘Love hormone’ helps pet bonding http://themoderatevoice.com/204331/love-hormone-helps-pet-bonding/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204331/love-hormone-helps-pet-bonding/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 15:42:47 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204331 The “love hormone” that secures the bond between a woman and her newborn baby is also involved in bonding between dogs and their owners, scientists have found. Researchers in Japan have found that oxytocin, the hormone released into the bloodstream by women after childbirth and babies during breast-feeding, also increases in dogs and their owners [...]

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The “love hormone” that secures the bond between a woman and her newborn baby is also involved in bonding between dogs and their owners, scientists have found. Researchers in Japan have found that oxytocin, the hormone released into the bloodstream by women after childbirth and babies during breast-feeding, also increases in dogs and their owners after…

graphic via shutterstock.com

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Chris Christie Has Gone to Pot (Guest Voice) http://themoderatevoice.com/204329/chris-christie-has-gone-to-pot-guest-voice/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204329/chris-christie-has-gone-to-pot-guest-voice/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 15:25:16 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204329 Chris Christie Has Gone to Pot By Dick Polman Amidst all the early GOP presidential jockeying, let’s check on our Jersey boy Chris Christie. Looks like the tough-love guv surfaced this week on a radio show and ranted about reefer madness. “Right now, we’ve got the states of Colorado and Washington (defying) federal law by [...]

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Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Chris Christie Has Gone to Pot
By Dick Polman

Amidst all the early GOP presidential jockeying, let’s check on our Jersey boy Chris Christie. Looks like the tough-love guv surfaced this week on a radio show and ranted about reefer madness.

“Right now, we’ve got the states of Colorado and Washington (defying) federal law by allowing people to sell dope legally,” said host Hugh Hewitt, whose show is a required pit stop for Republican aspirants. “If you’re president of the United States, are you going to enforce the federal drug laws in those states?”

“Absolutely. I will crack down and not permit it,” Christie responded. “Marijuana is a gateway drug. We have an enormous addiction problem in this country… Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law. And the states should not be permitted to sell it and profit from it.”

Granted, the status of weed is not the weightiest issue in America. It’s not even as important as Christie’s pitch to raise the normal Social Security retirement age to 69. And if federal prosecutors announce indictments in the George Washington Bridge probe – as expected soon – Christie is probably toast anyway. But his reactionary pot stance is a window into his alienation from the Republican mainstream, Not to mention the American middle.

Start with the fact that his key line – “Marijuana is a gateway drug” – is empirically ignorant. (Deposed Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett also invoked the gateway canard, and we all know what a brainiac he was.) Christie has been saying it a lot.”Every bit of objective data tells us that it’s a gateway drug to other drugs,” he said last month.

That’s a lie and an insult to the actual science.

In 1999, the Institute of Medicine, part of the American Academy of Sciences, concluded: “There is no evidence that marijuana serves as a stepping stone on the basis of its particular physiological effect.” In 2002, the British Journal of Addiction concluded: “While the gateway theory has enjoyed popular acceptance, scientists have always had their doubts. Our study shows that these doubts are justified.” In 2006, the American Journal of Psychiatry concluded: “The likelihood that someone will transition to the use of illicit drugs is determined not by the preceding use of a particular drug, but instead by the user’s individual tendencies and environmental circumstances.”

In plain English, the scientific consensus is that weed is typically a gateway drug – or, more precisely, a starter drug – for people who are already predisposed to use drugs. And that for many of those people, the real starter drugs are alcohol and cigarettes.

Plus, we have the federal drug-use stats: In the five years from 2007 to 2012, the number of monthly marijuana users reportedly rose from 14.4 million to 18.9 million – yet, during that same span, the number of monthly cocaine users fell from 2.1 million to 1.7 million; crystal meth, from 530,000 to 400,000. Heroin use (still a fraction of pot use) has gone up, but the gateway drug for those users appears to be prescription painkillers.

Christie’s 1930s-era gateway canard might click with anti-science conservatives, but otherwise his hardline pot stance is a political loser. At this point, with prohibition on the wane (68 percent of Millennials – the future of America – want legalization), there’s little appetite for a Big Brother crackdown on the states that have legalized recreational and medical use. Last month, the Pew Research Center reported that 59 percent of Americans – including 54 percent of Republicans – want Washington to leave those states alone.

Indeed, Christie has staked out a position far to the right of the likely Republican field. Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Rick Perry all have the 10th-Amendment ‘attitude that states should decide for themselves. It’d be fun to watch Christie debate his rivals on stage about marijuana policy.

Assuming that he even makes it to the gateway.

——-

Copyright 2015 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman is the national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in Philadelphia (newsworks.org/polman) and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Philadelphia. Email him at dickpolman7@gmail.com.

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Cartoon: Bill and Hillary http://themoderatevoice.com/204327/cartoon-bill-and-hillary/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204327/cartoon-bill-and-hillary/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 15:14:03 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204327 See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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Patrick Chappatte, Le Temps, Switzerland

Patrick Chappatte, Le Temps, Switzerland


See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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Jeb’s ambition? Be like W. …only more so. http://themoderatevoice.com/204325/jebs-ambition-be-like-w-only-more-so/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204325/jebs-ambition-be-like-w-only-more-so/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 15:10:15 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204325 Lots more war along with more strong-arming — what this Republican candidate calls “American leadership.” If Jeb Bush is elected president, the United States won’t be on speaking terms with Cuba and will partner more closely with Israel. He’ll tighten sanctions on Iran and urge NATO to deploy more troops in Eastern Europe to counter [...]

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Lots more war along with more strong-arming — what this Republican candidate calls “American leadership.”

If Jeb Bush is elected president, the United States won’t be on speaking terms with Cuba and will partner more closely with Israel. He’ll tighten sanctions on Iran and urge NATO to deploy more troops in Eastern Europe to counter Vladimir Putin. And he’ll order the U.S. military to root out “barbarians” and “evildoers” around the globe.

Far from running from or playing down the views once expressed by his brother George W. Bush, Jeb Bush is embracing them — and emphasizing them. …WaPo

The Post takes note of the language Jeb uses — words like “evildoers.” The latest Bush also buys into the notion that Obama can do no right, is insufficient when it comes to being an international bully.

“He’s wrong. With all due respect, he is just plain wrong.” ...WaPo

Reality is not, evidently, a strong suit for this son of a Bush. He wants more aggression, thinks we want more war, too, and that somehow Obama doesn’t understand that.

Undeterred by public opinion polls that suggest his views are not shared by a majority of voters, Bush believes that global events might prompt Americans to eventually embrace his thinking. During an appearance in San Francisco in January, he accused Obama of exploiting America’s war fatigue to justify withdrawing U.S. military forces abroad. …WaPo

Of course, the expectation most Americans have of their private lives being safe from government interference is out the window. It looks like we’re headed back to the world of Dick Cheney if brother Jeb succeeds in taking the White House.


Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

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How ‘Liberal Hollywood’ Raised Money For GOP http://themoderatevoice.com/204323/how-liberal-hollywood-raised-money-for-gop/ http://themoderatevoice.com/204323/how-liberal-hollywood-raised-money-for-gop/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 14:40:03 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=204323 After the Republicans took over the House of Representatives in 2010, Hollywood bigwigs, often stereotyped as liberals, adapted. In order to build clout with the new Congress to help ensure favorable legislation, the entertainment industry started moving its money to Republicans. The Wall Street Journal chronicled this major shift last year. Now, emails from executives [...]

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After the Republicans took over the House of Representatives in 2010, Hollywood bigwigs, often stereotyped as liberals, adapted. In order to build clout with the new Congress to help ensure favorable legislation, the entertainment industry started moving its money to Republicans. The Wall Street Journal chronicled this major shift last year. Now, emails from executives at…

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