Monthly Archives: July 2014

John McCain on the Decline & Fall of the United States Senate

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The Senate is in a bad way these days. Not that the Presidency and the House are functioning all that well, but under the leadership of Harry Reid since January 2007, the U.S. Senate has reached levels of dysfunction unparalleled in its history, and presided over eight years of economic stagnation and bitterly polarized and increasingly petty and juvenile politics. Reid has ruined the Senate’s onetime distinguishing feature, the ability of any Senator to submit amendments and have them debated when bills came to the floor, with procedural restrictions unheard of between 1789 and 2006. Meanwhile, scores of bills that have passed the House are never even brought to a vote in the Senate – and without the amendment process, they can’t even be raised indirectly.

At the same time, Reid used the unprecedented “nuclear option” against judicial nominee filibusters – a tactic that scandalized Reid when it was briefly suggested in 2005-06 – for the express purpose of packing the D.C. Circuit ahead of an expected en banc appeal in Halbig v Burwell. Reid’s shenanigans have abolished most of the things that made the Senate different from – and less partisan than – the House, and predictably have increased the partisan temper of Washington in general. That’s before we even get into his increasingly paranoid and possibly senile rantings about the Koch brothers at the drop of a hat (“Senator Reid, would you like milk or cream in your coffee?” “Let me tell you about those Koch brothers…”).

John McCain is not, to put it mildly, a popular man around these parts, and least of all on the issue of immigration. But today’s floor debate, in which Reid and the Democrats yet again closed off the amendment process, seems to have rubbed the last nerve of the already irascible McCain over the decline of the once-proud institution of the Senate, and the fecklessness of Congress in the face of the urgent crisis at the border, about which McCain, Jeff Flake and other border-state Senators and Congressmen and Congresswomen are plainly getting an earful from the folks back home. I recommend you watch the first 9:46 of this tirade, which is positively cinematic in McCain’s pleading with Reid and Dick Durbin to recall the way the Senate used to be, and how it doesn’t have to be this way, and what that …read more    

Richard Dawkins: Islamophobe and Sexist

Atheist author Dawkins speaks to the crowd during the "Rock Beyond Belief" festival at Fort Bragg army base in North Carolina

After making atheist provocateur Richard Dawkins a deity himself for his vitriolic attacks on Christianity, the left is suddenly experiencing a case of tightly wound panties over the discovery that Dawkins doesn’t reserve his misanthropy for Christianity. He also thinks the feminist focus of “rape culutre” is ridiculous and that Islam is violent and dangerous. Dawkins may or may not be particularly smart. Obtaining a doctorate and academic tenure doesn’t necessarily mean you are smart or talented (his bio suggests he was more the benefactor of the British class system than anything else, but that is another matter). What is certain is that he’s a boorish and unpleasant little man.

All was fun and games so long as he was making cute but profoundly stupid statements ridiculing Christianity like:

“horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was [suffered by some children at the hands of deviant priests], the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place.”.

Unfortunately, the “a” in atheisim means “against” and the “theism” means “belief in god.” So his personal theology, if you will, requires him to reject any manifestation of a god. So are we surprised when he tweets:

and makes a trenchant observation like:

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Of course not. This is his schtick. His alleged belief system. The way he gulls the anti-science science-loving left into giving him money. This bothered some on the left:

To be sure, it’s always okay to critique religious beliefs. It’s healthy to do so and no religion should be immune from — or its followers resistant to — well-intentioned and reasonable inquiries about faith claims. But there’s a difference between problematizing a religion’s tenets and persecuting its adherents. There’s also a difference between raising legitimate concerns about doctrines, scriptures and the rationale of one’s beliefs, and hurling insults that shift the tenor of the debate into a machismo register better suited for high school locker rooms.

I checked for this guy’s defense of Christians in general or Catholics in particular and found none. I know. You are as shocked as I am. But here I have an advantage. I know what Dawkins is and therefore his opinions have no weight. What is offensive here, of course, is not his attack on a religion or its adherents but rather his attack on the favored pet religion of …read more    

We, America, Created Ray Rice

Ray Rice Press Conference

Ray Rice faced the media today for the first time since he knocked his fiancee unconscious and dragged her to his hotel room. I didn’t watch; I have little interest in hearing questions from the same media that insists upon calling Rice an “alleged” woman beater even though he was literally caught on tape and even though he’s essentially admitted doing it. Neither do I care to hear his pre-canned answers.

Everyone right now is pretending outrage that Rice was only suspended for 2 games despite being caught on tape brutally assaulting a woman. And I agree that it is indeed an outrageously light sentence. What I don’t get is why anyone pretends surprise. After all, after the video tape surfaced but before Rice had gone to court or taken any punishment at all, Ravens head coach and apparent scumbag John Harbaugh had already set the tone for how Rice would be treated by his employer (keeping in mind that what we’re discussing is a man who’s just been caught on video knocking a woman unconscious and dragging her down a hotel hallway):

“Ray and I are real close,” Harbaugh said. “We have been for a long time, so it’s an easy conversation to have. I love Janay (ed. – Rice’s then-fiancee). She’s a great person.

“The two people obviously have a couple issues that they have to work through, and they’re both committed to doing that. That was the main takeaway for me from the conversation. They understand their own issues. They’re getting a lot of counseling and those kinds of things, so I think that’s really positive. That was the main takeaway.”

* * *

“There are a lot of facts and a process that has to be worked through in anything like this,” Harbaugh said. “There are a lot of question marks. But Ray’s character, you guys know his character. So you start with that.”

Harbaugh didn’t want to go too light on his public support of a guy who brutally assaulted his now wife, Harbaugh yesterday upped the ante.

“I hate what happened. What happened was wrong. Flat out,” Harbaugh told reporters after Wednesday’s training camp practice. “The thing I appreciate about it is how Ray has handled it afterward by acknowledging it was wrong and he’ll do everything he can do to make it right. That’s what you ask for when someone does a wrong thing. So, I’m proud of …read more