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A reader wrote back in early January with speculation that many of Obama’s dubious prospective appointments—Rice for state, Lew for treasury, Hagel for defense, and now Todd Jones for ATF—might be part of a deliberate strategy to provoke GOP filibusters such that Harry Reid would have more cover to eliminate the filibuster, notwithstanding the recent small-bore deal between Reid and McConnell. As Mr. G wrote:
Three obviously partisan picks meant to generate highly publicized, partisan confirmation hearings and opposition from the R’s … Does this not appear to be a set up for Harry Reid to eliminate the filibuster to ease in radical leftist justices to the Supreme Court? I can hear Reid now, “We had to eliminate the filibuster on nominations because those awful R’s won’t confirm any of Obama’s picks …”
Hard to know about how Machiavellian Obama might be. But in pondering this (and preparing for class next week), I had occasion to recur to Federalist 76, where Hamilton discussed the president’s appointment power in relation to the Senate “advise and consent” role through the confirmation process:
It will readily be comprehended, that a man who had himself the sole disposition of offices, would be governed much more by his private inclinations and interests, than when he was bound to submit the propriety of his choice to the discussion and determination of a different and independent body, and that body an entire branch of the legislature. The possibility of rejection would be a strong motive to care in proposing. The danger to his own reputation, and, in the case of an elective magistrate, to his political existence, from betraying a spirit of favoritism, or an unbecoming pursuit of popularity, to the observation of a body whose opinion would have great weight in forming that of the public, could not fail to operate as a barrier to the one and to the other. He would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure.
It would seem Obama has little shame putting forth nominees who have “no other merit than that of . . . [being] personally allied to him.” This suggests that Obama, who reportedly seldom talks to members of Congress even from his own party, has little regard for the first branch of government. It’s one thing to provoke Republicans into furious opposition, but do you really want to make your own party vote for an obvious turkey like Hagel? If I were Harry Reid I wouldn’t be pleased.
**Written by Doug Powers
This past Monday I wrote that the White House would find a photo of President Obama shooting skeet within a week, and they came in just under the wire. The picture is said to be from last summer and features the president in traditional “mom jeans camo” skeet shooting garb. Take that, “skeeters”:
So can we put Marsha Blackburn’s challenge back on the table?
From The Hill:
The White House has released a photo of President Obama skeet shooting at Camp David from August, 2012, attempting to quell a controversy that arose when Obama said that he sympathized with hunters because he frequently went shooting himself.
“Attn skeet birthers. Make our day – let the photoshop conspiracies begin!,” former White House advisor David Plouffe tweeted in a message containing a link to a photo of Obama brandishing a shot gun and wearing ear muffs and sun glasses.
Conservative critics questioned the veracity of the Obama’s claims of skeet shooting because he had never been seen publicly shooting a gun.
I was going to have a little fun with the picture, but Pasadena Phil’s warning may have saved me considerable legal hassle (not everybody’s paying attention to that, however). It had something to do with a teleprompter with the word “pull!” on the screen, but never mind now. We’ll have to settle for the version The New Republic briefly pointed out the other day.
National Review’s Jim Geraghty has some presidential skeet shooting trivia:
The skeet Obama missed were subsequently eliminated with Predator drone strikes.
— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) February 2, 2013
On the president’s birthday last summer, the skeet shooting is said to have taken place after a round at Andrews, naturally (if Obama would have said he golfs “all the time” nobody would have doubted it for a second).
What this story needs now is a “History of the World” reference:
“Sire, the peasants are revolting!” “You ain’t kidding, they stink on ice. PULL!” breitbart.com/InstaBlog/2013…
— John Hayward (@Doc_0) February 2, 2013
**Written by Doug Powers
Chuck Hinton, an outfielder for the Washington Senators and the Cleveland Indians during the 1960s and early 1970s, died this week at age 78. Hinton was the first African-American baseball player who plied his trade in predominantly black Washington, DC to be perceived as a star.
Actually, Earl Battey, who played for the pre-expansion Senators, was probably a better player than Hinton. But Battey, a catcher, found himself overshadowed by teammates like Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, Jim Lemon, and Camilo Pascual. Hinton, a speedy outfielder, easily outshone his teammates on some very poor expansion squads.
In 1962, Hinton batted .310 and stole 28 bases in 38 attempts. As this was only Hinton’s second year in the big leagues, most Washington fans thought we had a phenom on our hands. Had we understood baseball statistics better, we would have noted that Hinton was already 27 years old, and that he didn’t walk enough. But we still would have recognized him as a breath of fresh air on a team in desperate need of one.
It’s not clear why Hinton arrived in the Majors so late. His career Minor League batting average was .346. It looks like a late start (he began his career at age 22 after his college education and later missed two years due to a hitch in the military) was to blame.
One cannot discount racism as a possible explanation. However, I believe that Baltimore Orioles, the organization for whom Hinton played, liked Hinton. Although they didn’t protect him in the expansion draft, Paul Richards reportedly planted a phony story in the Sporting News (“the Baseball Bible”) that Hinton was injured. When the expansion Senators drafted Hinton anyway, the “Wizard of Waxahachie” is said to have complained, “What’s the matter with the Senators; don’t they read the Paper?”
New York Yankee pitcher Ralph Terry beaned Hinton late in the 1963 season. Hinton suffered a concussion, and was never quite the same hitter thereafter. However, he played well enough in 1964 to represent Washington in the All Star game. He entered the contest late and didn’t get to bat. His contribution consisted of watching Johnny Callison’s walk-off home run sail over his head and into the seats.
The Senators traded Hinton to Cleveland before the 1965 season. He was ordinary with the Indians, but good enough to remain with the club for six years. Hinton’s career stats — .264/.332/.412 with 113 homers and 130 steals– understate his talent. With an earlier start and no beaning, surely the numbers would have been more impressive.
After the big leagues, Hinton became a successful baseball coach at Howard University. He also helped found the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, an organization promotes baseball to young people and has raised millions of dollars for charity. Reportedly, he had time for anyone who needed his help or who just wanted to talk about baseball.
You probably won’t find anyone in the D.C. area with a bad word to say about Chuck Hinton. He was a good ballplayer and an exemplary citizen.
New York passed some new firearms legislation last month, and according to the Utica Observer-Dispatch:
But… [t]o get a perfect grade, women will have to do only 8, compared with the 20 required for men.
“I don’t think it’s a very high bar,” said Capt. Ann G. Fox, a Marine Reserve officer who during her first deployment in 2004 worked with the Iraqi Army and who thinks women could do better if it was required of them. “I think the test should be the same as the men 20 pull-ups. People train to what they’re tested on.”
… we finally got the snow that reopened the ski trails, but it’s 4.6 °F — “Feels Like -11 °F” — here in Madison, and that’s beyond the point where you can say to yourself be tough, be strong. Not for mere recreation or the general principle of getting out of the house.
Within this shut-in-ism, let me offer another exam in my capacity as Freewheeling Lawprof of the Internet. Open the door to the exam room carefully….
The last exam was in media bias, and some excellent answers were turned in there. This is a difficult assignment for a class in Creative Misinterpretation. You’ve got to get up to speed with the “Gatsby” project sentences. I think there are about 30 or so of them by now. If you’ve been following along, you have your favorite phrases — “leaking isolated and unpunctual tears,” “contiguous to absolutely nothing,” “a puddle of water glaring tragically,” “I suppose it is the latest thing to sit back and…,” “stirred the gray haze,” “warm human magic,”"mashed potatoes and coffee,” “hot whips of panic,” “the frosted wedding cake of the ceiling,” “shadows… rouged and powdered,” the “continually smouldering” nerves under the “spotted dress,” the “crowded hams,” cooking things through bewitchery, “suck on the pap of life,” “tortuously, fashionably,” “the real snow, our snow,” nibbling “at the edge of stale ideas,” “a Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden,” and — of course — running out of a room calling “Ewing!” and returning with “an embarrassed, slightly worn young man, with shell-rimmed glasses and scanty blond hair.”
Either you’ve been following along or you haven’t. If you haven’t, you could try to catch up, or you might want to run right out of the room, in which case, just humor me by calling “Ewing!” as you go.
Now, what happened yesterday was that I toyed with the idea, suggested by Original Commenter Genius Palladian, that we should abandon “Gatsby” and switch to “Paradise Lost.” I only veered into that because the “Gatsby” sentence included “rivulets,” and I looked up “rivulet” in the OED and saw a quote from “Paradise Lost.” I found the entire “rivulet” sentence — 18 lines! — and reprinted it in the post, and that led Upstart Commenter Genius betamax3000 to riff in a strange manner:
“The tears coursed down her cheeks — not freely, however, for when they came into contact with her heavily bedded buttocks they assumed an inky color. She went out of the room calling ‘Ewing!’ and returned in a few minutes accompanied by an embarrassed, slightly worn young man, with shell-rimmed glasses and scanty blond hair. Tears coursed down his cheeks, too, an indefinite procession of cheeks, that rouged and powdered on an invisible ass….”It goes on, collecting and repurposing sentence fragments from past posts (into which we are borne back ceaselessly). That gave me the idea for a new exam. You can decide if you want to compete at the basic or the advanced level. At the basic level, you need only combine fragments from the “Gatsby” project sentences in any way that you think might amuse us.
If you would like to compete at the advanced level, I’m a little worried. You’ll have to be very tough. At this altitude, it’s 4.6 °F and feels like -11 °F. You have to take the 18 lines of “Paradise Lost” and redo them using the fragments from “Gatsby” project sentences. You know, Gatsby is the snake, trying to get Daisy alone. Daisy is futzing with the drooping flour/flower stalks. The Garden of Eden becomes the “Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden.”
Time limit: You have until the temperature hits 32° in Madison. Answers may be submitted in the comments. Grades will be arbitrary or nonexistent or the incomparable milk of wonder.
“Perhaps we could design ‘love drugs,’ pharmaceutical cocktails that could boost affection between partners…”
Mark Steyn’s weekly column is posted at NRO as “Containing Hagel.” Subhead: “Tehran is pleased that we aren’t.” Steyn does the Steynian thing with Hagel’s almost unbelievable performance before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week. Among other things, Mark rescues a few of Hagel’s quotable quotes before they are overlooked by Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and recede into the mists of the Age of Obama.
Iran figured prominently in Hagel’s mysterious misspeaking:
He warmed up with a little light “misspeaking” on Iran. “I support the president’s strong position on containment,” he declared.
But not for long:
“I was just handed a note that I misspoke, that I said I supported the president’s position on containment [of Iran]. If I said that, I meant to say that we don’t have a position on containment.”
This clarification required the intercession of Senator Carl Levin as a sort of deux ex machina to rescue the protagonist. Then Senator Gillibrand descended to lend a hand:
After he’d hailed Iran’s “elected, legitimate government,” it fell to another Democrat, Kirsten Gillibrand, to prompt Hagel to walk it back. Okay, delete “elected” and “legitimate”:
“What I meant to say, should have said, is that it’s recognizable.”
Getting closer all the time! Here Steyn gives credit where credit is due:
“I don’t understand Iranian politics,” he announced in perhaps his least misspoken statement of the day. But the Iranians understand ours, which is why, in an amusing touch, the foreign ministry in Tehran has enthusiastically endorsed Hagel.
More material for the editors of Bartlett’s, not that they have the wit to use it:
“There are a lot of things I don’t know about,” said Hagel. “If confirmed, I intend to know a lot more than I do.”
“I intend to know a lot more than I do.” Is it too late make it the motto of Faber College?
You can really appreciate this too, so long as you don’t have to worry about the Secretary of Defense having any responsibility for the national security of the United States:
He then denied that “I will be running anything.” Don’t let the fact that the secretary of defense presides over 40 percent of the entire planet’s military spending confuse you. He’s not really “running” a thing — or, as he was anxious to assure us, “I won’t be in a policy-making position.”
The transcript verifies that Hagel actually said this without any Obama administration staffer passing him a note to clarify his testimony:
Late in the day, after five o’clock, he pronounced definitively: “It doesn’t matter what I think.”
I was in my hospital bed when the waves came and I began to lose control of my body and mind. Unbelievable, I thought. I’m only 52. I didn’t even know anyone who’d had a stroke.Later:
More than a week later, I regained a confused consciousness in the intensive care unit. I knew I was lying in a bed. I thought someone was sharing the bed with me, but it was my own leg. I vaguely remember a party the ICU staff had for the Super Bowl and the smell of the food they brought.
I regarded my left leg as a lifeless appendage. Mike kept insisting that it would bear weight. The moment I realized that it would, and that I could swing it from my hip and propel myself forward, was the breakthrough revelation of my rehabilitation.IN THE COMMENTS: Someone snarks: “Show me when this paper has done a similar story for a Republican. *crickets*” — only to be told that Kirk is a Republican. I blogged this item without remember Kirk’s party affiliation or caring enough to check. But when the subject came up in the comments, I did check, went to Kirk’s website, and saw his statement, released yesterday, rejecting Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense:
During yesterday’s confirmation hearing, Senator Hagel instinctively called the Iranian government both elected and legitimate. He initially offered strong support for containment of Iran, rather than President Obama’s stated policy of preventing an Iranian nuclear breakout. He could not clearly explain his past opposition to unilateral sanctions against Iran – opposition as recent as 2008. And at no time did he state his position on whether the European Union should formally designate Iran’s terror proxy, Hezbollah, as a terrorist organization – a critical step to cut off the flow of funds to a group responsible for the murders of some 280 American citizens.The statement is illustrated with the chilling photograph of “Neda Agha-Soltan who was killed during 2009 Iranian election protests.”
Am I going to die today? Just give me a percentage.
One sinkhole is 50 feet across and 8 feet deep, and they’ve just put police barricades around it. To deal with the desperate decay, locals are using the old strategy of humor — naming it “Super Sinkhole Walter” and designating it as a sightseeing point of interest on the travel website Foursquare.
At the Munich Security Conference today, Vice President Joe Biden revealed that President Barack Obama “doesn’t want to go” to Iraq and Afghanistan. The audience laughed.
“To think that I would go on a national TV show and get away with continuing a lie so big… is ridiculous.”
Former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen is an AEI fellow, a Washington Post columnist, and author of Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack. When it comes to the techniques used by the CIA to interrogate detainees in the aftermath of 9/11, Thiessen knows what he is talking about. Prompted by the controversy over Kathryn Bigelow’s film Zero Dark Thirty and its portrayal of the hunt for bin Laden. Thiessen moderated an AEI forum this past Tuesday with a few witnesses who speak from experience in separating fact from fiction:
Gen. Michael Hayden (ret.), former director of the CIA, suggested that enhanced interrogation techniques were never used to elicit information in the moment, but to move detainees out of the “zone of defiance” and toward cooperation. Hayden argued that it is incredibly unlikely that the raid in Abbottabad would have been successful without the help of intelligence gained from CIA detainees.
John A. Rizzo, former chief legal officer at the CIA, stressed that while the public can disagree on how big a role enhanced interrogation techniques played in the hunt for bin Laden, the intelligence collection component was paramount for the first years of the search. Jose Rodriguez, former director of the National Clandestine Service, concluded by saying that the Obama administration’s narrative conveyed that enhanced interrogations were torture and useless, but reality belies this view. The intelligence obtained at black sites was key.
The forum has not elicited much attention. One exception is Will Saletan in the obtusely titled Slate column “The case for torture,” providing a useful summary of the proceedings from the hostile point of view reflected in the title of his column.
AEI has posted the audio, video, and transcript of the event here. This is an important subject in so many ways. Thiessen and AEI have performed a public service in hosting this forum and making it accessible to the public. The video is below. Please check it out.
I like the “43″ signature. Did you know the Bush had taken up oil painting? I’d missed the snarky notes about it last summer, like this from ArtFagCity:
This is all the information we have: at a hospital fundraiser in Memphis Monday night, former President George W. Bush mentioned his new hobby, oil painting. He told the crowd he’s “kinda stuck” to painting dogs. Tragically, there are no pictures. [The Daily Beast] Relatedly, we’ll totally pay you if you find pictures of George W. Bush’s dog paintings.I guess Bush knew his dog was dying — it was 12 years old and had lymphoma — and he intended to show his first artwork when the time came to announce the dog’s death.
And then there was this, last October: “George W. Bush Painting Dogs All Day, Becoming ‘Agoraphobic,’ Is Skeptical Of Romney’s Chances, New Profile Of Bush Fam Reveals.”
The mag describes a Bush that is hiding away from the public eye, with one unnamed person observing: “He’s become increasingly agoraphobic… he doesn’t like people, he never did, he doesn’t now.”He doesn’t like people, he never did, he doesn’t now…. So says an unnamed person.
The profile also says: “The most unpopular president in recent political history, W. left a record of big-government spending and intractable wars that remains difficult even for allies to defend … W. remains convinced history will vindicate him….”
A hug for President Bush today. And I think the painting is very good. Of course, there will always be Bush haters. Can’t stop the Bush haters from hating their Chimpy McHitler.
You know, Hitler painted.
Born two weeks and 2,000 miles apart in 1920, Stanislaw Franciszek Musial and David Warren Brubeck would, decades hence, define the golden eras of the two great inventions of American culture: baseball and jazz. That they did so with utterly unconventional styles, and without once calling New York City their professional homes, is remarkable enough. More important, their almost perfectly congruent lifespans — Stan the Man died six weeks after Brubeck’s passing in December 2012 — invite reflection on the humility, decency, and deep faith that lay at the heart of their greatness, and inspired the affection of millions who mourned their passing.
To say that Brubeck and Musial were the unlikeliest of men to reach their respective pinnacles would be a stretch. Brubeck’s mother, after all, was a concert pianist who traded that calling for life as the wife of a California cattle rancher. And Musial was such a dominant high-school player in Donora, Pa., that he was drafted by and played in the St. Louis Cardinals’ farm system before returning to Donora High School in 1939 to receive his diploma. But in late 1940, Musial, plagued by an arm injury that ended his budding career as a pitcher, had to be talked out of quitting baseball altogether by his minor-league manager. Across the continent, at the College of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., Brubeck was told by a professor in his chosen major, veterinary science, to “stop wasting my time and yours” and enroll in the college conservatory. There, the more hidebound professors were scandalized that he could not read music, and approved his graduation in 1942 on the condition that he promise never to teach piano. Being drafted into the Army immediately upon graduation, Brubeck did not find the promise of immediate concern.
Keep reading this post . . .
I’m done grumbling about how President Obama is empowering America’s enemies. After all, it is not just Obama. When it comes to abetting the Muslim Brotherhood, Republicans are right there with him.
Not all of them, of course. This week, for example, Senator Rand Paul proposed an amendment that would have prohibited our government from transferring F-16 aircraft and Abrams tanks to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood–dominated government. This lunatic plan is not just an Obama initiative. It is also a GOP brainstorm — of a piece with 2011’s Libya debacle, in which Republican leaders cheered as Obama, upon consulting with the Arab League, ignored Congress and levied war on behalf of the very jihadists who, quite predictably, have since raided Qaddafi’s arsenal, besieged northern Africa, and massacred Americans in Benghazi.
Keep reading this post . . .