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So, Obama’s Jobs Speech Won’t Include a Specific Plan to Move America Forward?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:27 am - August 23, 2011.
Filed under: Economy

On Thursday, I wondered if the president’s “big speech” on jobs would “just be another one of his big speeches, a lot of platitudes, emphasizing broad points, but providing no specifics“.

Looks like I was onto something.

Yesterday, having listened to the public statements of Obama advisors, Philip Klein wonders if that “very specific plan” to crate jobs has “already been downgraded to an outline“:

That is, at least, the impression I got watching Obama advisors Robert Gibbs and David Axelrod on yesterday’s Sunday morning shows.

The president is going to outline a short-term plan to accelerate the economy,” Axelrod said on ABC’s This Week. . . .

On Meet the Press, Gibbs used similar language, “The president is going to outline some ideas, the president has outlined ideas every day he’s been in the White House.”

Read the whole thing.  So, guess he’s not just “willing to make those tough choices” necessary “to move America forward.”

Mitt Romney’s Smart Move on Jobs

Of the two announced candidates for the GOP nomination, the two who, at present, seem most promising each have served as governor of a state. Yet, each comes with baggage attached.

On the campaign trail this time around — as well as in numerous web ads, Mitt Romney has been saying all the right things.  And now he’s made another smart move.  According to Michael Warren of the Weekly Standard:

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney told Fox News’s Neil Cavuto this afternoon that he will reveal his plan on job creation on September 6, the same week President Obama is set to unveil his own. Romney’s speech is part of a strategy to “pick up the pace” in a new phase of the campaign.

From what I’ve heard the former Bay State Govenor say on the campaign trail, I would daresay his plan won’t increase federal spending, but may decrease the “marketplace” for federal regulators.  Smart move to show that he is not just running against the Democrats’ failed policies, but has an actual plan to stimulate employment.  Indeed, the Democrats strongest attack against Republicans has been their charge that the Republican House has yet to pass a jobs bill.

Granted Republicans been busy cleaning up the Democrats’ messes, their failure to pass an FY 2011 budget and their failure to raise the debt limit high enough to accommodate their spending increases.  (The Democrats’ charge is not entirely accurate; the Majority Leader’s blog provides “a list of measures House Republicans have passed related to job creation“.)

House Republicans need do a better job of promoting their legislation promoting job growth — and remind Americans that the Senate has not taken action on many of these initiatives.

A Democratic “Stimulus” We Didn’t Pay For

“The latest posting by the Treasury Department” showing the national debt has increasing “by $4 trillion on President Obama’s watch” means that in the 2 years and 7 months since the Democrat took office, the nation has accumulated 82% of the debt it accumulated in 8 years under George W. Bush.

And someone thought we had been “living beyond our means” in the Bush era! ”

The debt,” reports Mark Knoller at CBS News, stood at “$10.626 trillion on the day Mr. Obama took office. The latest calculation from Treasury shows the debt has now hit $14.639 trillion“:

It’s the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president.

The national debt increased $4.9 trillion during the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush. The debt now is rising at a pace to surpass that amount during Mr. Obama’s four-year term.

Mr. Obama blames policies inherited from his predecessor’s administration for the soaring debt. He singles out:

  • “two wars we didn’t pay for”
  • “a prescription drug program for seniors…we didn’t pay for.”
  • “tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 that were not paid for.”

Um, Mr. Obama, we elected you to fix the problems you repeatedly refer to as “inherited.”  You don’t fix them by blaming your predecessor, but by offering solutions.

Oh, and since we’re talking about things we didn’t pay for, what about that $800 billion dollar “stimulus” that Congress passed when Democrats were in charge?

H/t Gateway Pundit.

In Memoriam Sara “Curly” Tunick

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:18 am - August 21, 2011.
Filed under: Strong Women

In some ways, I had five grandmothers, my mother’s mother, my father’s mother whom I knew only through stories (she died long before I was born) his step-mother, my Nonny, always a devoted grandmother, my beloved Aunt Ruth, my maternal grandmother’s older sister, and Curly Tunick who worked as a rental agent for my Dad from when he built his first large apartment complex until she was in her 80s.

Curly died yesterday just shy of her 100th birthday. She and I always had a special bond almost from the time my Dad hired her. She says she first remembers me crying about something. I would have been about two. She must have told a crazy joke and quieted me down.

I used to treasure going to my father’s office and walking up the hill to where she worked in the model apartment. Sometimes I’d even go with her when she showed units to potential renters. She had this way of telling whether people were just checking things out or were serious about renting. As I grew older, she used some rather, shall we say, colorful terms to describe those who were just passing the time — or dispatched by representatives of my father’s competitors.

And she had a zest for life, cracking jokes, speaking her mind. I think her husband was a bookie, but I never really knew. And although she had endured her share of adversity, with her father, brother, husband and daughter dying within months of each other, she always seemed to be smiling, savoring every minute of her life. This is one of the last pictures taken of her and me when I visited her last May in Atlanta. In every picture in that set she was smiling — as she is smiling in my every memory of her — in all save one.

(more…)

The problem is always “cycle of violence”, never the Palestinian terrorists

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:36 am - August 21, 2011.
Filed under: Media Bias,Politics abroad

Once again, the AP shows that it would rather spin the news in Israel than report it straight. After terrorists from Gaza slipped first into Egypt, then into Israel, murdering innocent civilians on an isolated road, Israel, as would any nation whose sovereign territory had been invaded by armed men seeking its destruction, retaliated.

Now, terrorists from Gaza fire rockets and mortars toward civilian population centers in sovereign Israeli territory. This is how the AP “reports” it:

A new cycle of violence began Thursday with militants ambushing Israeli vehicles near the southern border with Egypt, killing eight people.

Once again, it’s a “cycle of violence.” Here’s how a more responsible journalist would have reported it:

Terrorists from Gaza slipped into Egypt and from there into Israel territory attacking a bus filled with civilians. In response to this violation of its border, Israel pursued the attackers, seeking to protect its citizens from further violence.

Militants, possibly allied with the Hamas government in Gaza, continue to fire rockets and mortars at civilian targets inside Israel.

The word, “civilian,” was not found in the AP article cited in this post.

Should a teacher be fired for opposing same-sex marriage?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:46 pm - August 19, 2011.
Filed under: Free Speech,Gay Marriage,Liberalism Run Amok

Ed Morrissey doesn’t think so:

Do teachers in public-school systems have a “special ethics” code that prevents them from publicly speaking on policy issues?  Lake County Schools in Florida suspended Jerry Buell, a high-school teacher with a reportedly impeccable record for 22 years, for posting his opposition to New York’s new gay-marriage law, and will start termination proceedings against him.  The case will test First Amendment rights and encroaching political correctness . . . .

The school district suspended Buell, who had been the school’s Teacher of the Year in 2010-11, because they are concerned that gay students might be “frightened or intimidated” in his class.  That’s a pretty thin rationale for punishing someone over what appears to be more or less mainstream opposition to the gay-marriage law.  Even saying the above in a classroom would be a thin rationale for disciplinary action, unless school districts will be taking action against all teachers who talk politics in the classroom, and a Facebook posting is not a classroom speech.

If this were at a private school, then the school would entirely be within its rights to dismiss the man.  But, a public school should only be able to dismiss him if it holds all its teachers to a similar standard, suspending them from publicly speaking out on political issues.

Could Christian students be intimidated if they heard a teacher speak out against the public expression of their faith?

Oh, and one more thing, my favorite political science professor is college was a Marxist who regularly denounced Ronald Reagan and his policies, yet I wasn’t frightened or intimidated in his class, despite my open support of the Gipper.  That professor may have been wrong about politics (and economics), but he could still teach in an even-handed manner — and show respect for those with whom he disagreed.

Do hope the PC police in Lake County, Florida bear that mind as they weigh the case of Mr. Buell.

Obama wants GOP to hike taxes to pay for his party’s profligacy

President Obama, I believe, made two crucial decisions, deciding perhaps (at least in the first case) by choosing not to decide that make his grandstanding on the tax issue little more than political demagoguery.  In the first case, he chose not to stand up to congressional Democrats when they presented him with their $800-billion dollar “stimulus.”   The second was when he agreed to extend the tax Bush tax cuts.

Now, wherever he goes, whatever he does, he talks about shared sacrifice and people paying their fair share, by which he means that he wants Congress to tax “millionaires and billionaires.”   Yet, if he thought we needed to raise more revenue from taxpayers, why then did he sign off on extending the tax cuts?  WIthout doing anything, they would have just lapsed and, presto chango, millionaires and billionaires (not to mention small business owners) would be sacrificing a little more to Uncle Sam.

And today the president and the various left-of-center pundits are lecturing Republicans for rejecting tax increases altogether.  Yeah, but Republicans didn’t support the Democrats’ supposedly stimulative spending spree which the president pushed without providing a means to pay for it.  And now the president’s supporters are demanding Republicans support tax increases to pay for that ill-advised piece of profligacy.  And pay the political price for it as well.

The primary reason Republicans are focusing on spending cuts is because the Democrats have ratcheted spending up to levels so high that George W. Bush looks stingy by contrast.  Many of us who would be happy just getting spending down to Clinton-era levels.

Should you build a monorail on a moonbeam?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:45 am - August 19, 2011.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,California politics

Back when my parents took us to Disneyworld as a kid, I thought the monorail was the coolest thing. I recall we stayed in this hotel where the elevated track came right into the lobby.  I was convinced this was the future and should serve as transportation everywhere–not just in theme parks.

Well, it seems some folks just haven’t shaken their childhood fascination with such projects, especially when they can get others to pay for them.  Our governor, as blogger Tyler Durden informs us, has decided “that the most insolvent state in America should proceed… with a high-speed rail project.”   He quotes this from the Sacramento Bee:

Gov. Jerry Brown said this afternoon that California’s embattled high-speed rail project should move forward, despite growing criticism about the project’s management and cost.

While the nation is in a “period of massive retrenchment,” Brown told The Fresno Bee’s editorial board, “I would like to be part of the group that gets America to think big again.

The Democratic governor has said little publicly about the project since it came under fire this year in Sacramento, with cost estimates rising and lawmakers questioning its oversight. The project, to connect San Francisco and Los Angeles, was once expected to cost about $43 billion, a figure the California High-Speed Rail Authority is expected to update this fall.

Emphasis added.  Um, Jer, considering the state’s fiscal woes, don’t you want to wait on those updated figures before signing off on the project?

And why, may I ask, is it that when Democrats “think big,” they do by imagining appropriating other peoples’ money — or spending funds they just don’t have?

H/t:  Instapundit.

NB:  Tweaked the title.

Clinton’s Stimulus Failed in the Senate; Obama’s in Practice

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:05 am - August 19, 2011.
Filed under: American History,Economy,Real Reform

You know how Democrats was nostalgic about the Clinton years when, they claim, the Arkansas Democrat’s economic policies lifted us out of a lingering recession and the charismatic Southerner single-handedly balanced the budget.  There are a number of problems with this narrative, the first being that the recession ended before Clinton took office.  He was just lucky that it appeared to linger through the 1992 campaign.

Now, to be sure, I do give the Democrat credit for learning from his mistakes and his party’s setbacks at the ballot box.  After the 1994 elections, he pivoted to the center and worked with congressional Republicans to enact real reforms and balance the budget.  Indeed, the unemployment rate in November 1992 was 7.4%, down from its peak of 7.8% in June of that year.

There’s another thing to bear in mind when talking about Bill Clinton’s economic policies.  Senate Republicans blocked his “stimulus”. From the April 22, 1993 New York Times:

Senate Republicans killed President Clinton’s economic stimulus program today, maintaining their filibuster until Democrats surrendered and agreed to limit the bill to $4 billion for extended unemployment benefits.

Mr. Clinton’s first serious legislative defeat was marked by complaints from Democrats in the Senate and the White House. But Bob Dole, the Senate minority leader, was satisfied that the Republicans had shown that they deserved to be taken seriously. He avoided gloating, and promised occasional cooperation with the President.

A brief, harsh outburst from Senator Robert C. Byrd, the West Virginia Democrat who heads the Senate Appropriations Committee, served as the eulogy for Mr. Clinton’s original $19.5 billion measure, which was proposed in February.

Emphasis added.  $19.5 billion dollars ($31.4 billion in today’s dollars), chump change to the guy who has Clinton’s old job.  Does look like Bob Dole actually did some good while in the Senate.  Had Republicans succeeded in filibustering the Illinois Democrat’s stimulus plan, we might have seen a less anemic recovery.

Do hope the president recalls that Clinton’s success may well have derived, in part, from his failure to pass his “stimulus.”

The Michele Bachmann Obsession

This morning, when I read Nick’s post on how the left just can’t let social issues go, I wondered if this obsession accounted for the media focus on Michele Bachmann.  And not just the liberals in the MSM.  It seems that a day doesn’t go by without a liberal friend posting some damning accusation (usually exaggerated) about this charismatic conservative on Facebook.

Now, I’ll grant that many of her activities should draw scrutiny.  But, she has already been subject to more scrutiny than had Barack Obama at this point, indeed perhaps at any point, in the 2008 campaign.  She has her associations with some fringe social conservatives.  He has had his with some very radical leftists and sat for twenty years in a church helmed by a pastor who regularly spewed hate from the pulpit.

I think Nick’s onto something in suggesting that the media seek to focus on the social issues so as to avoid the Democrats’ failed economic policies — and to paint conservatives as fringe cranks more concerned with what people do in the privacy of their homes than as concerned taxpayers worried about a bloated, inefficient and intrusive federal government.

They want to make Mrs. Bachmann the face of the GOP — and not the Michele Bachmann who has shown a remarkable fluency on fiscal issues, but the ostensible crank who worked with someone who knows someone who praised someone else who once engaged in some truly inflammatory language.

Let me stress.  I do not back Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination and will not vote for her in the California primary.   Given her past associations, I don’t think she has the capacity to unite the GOP. (more…)

Will Obama’s Big Jobs Speech be, like his other big speeches,
full of sound and fury, specifying nothing?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:48 pm - August 18, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,Economy,Obama Watch

Shortly after Bruce returned to blogging in June 2005, I found it uncanny how oftentimes he would post on topics that I had intended to post on, with a spin similar to that I intended to offer, but with a style that, well, a style that showed the difference between the two of us.

And then when I started blogging more often than he, oftentimes he would e-mail me thanking me for addressing a topic he had intended to address, oftentimes embedding the same video he wanted to embed or quoting the very column he sought to quote.

Today, I woke to find that Eric and Nick had respectively considered two of the issues about which I wanted to write today — though Nick approached the social issue question through Christine O’Donnell, I will (in my next post) be approaching it through the much and mercilessly maligned Michele Bachmann. Uncanny indeed!

As to Eric’s point, I was wondering if the president had any idea what his actual jobs approach would be. In the first two years of his term, he depended almost entirely on his party’s leadership in Congress to draft his key domestic initiatives.

Will his big speech just be another one of his big speeches, a lot of platitudes, emphasizing broad points, but providing no specifics? (more…)

Left Can’t Let Social Issues Go

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 11:30 am - August 18, 2011.
Filed under: Social Issues,Tea Party

If you haven’t seen Jamie Farr cum Larry King wannabe Piers Morgan getting into it with Christine O’Donnell, here is that video:

(apologies for the adverts at the beginning of the clip…apparently going on a quasi-news interview show to whore for a new book is matched dearly by a ‘news’ network playing commercials before even online videos)

I have no beef with Morgan being a tough interviewer, and I never really followed O’Donnell’s run for the Senate from Delaware. I realize she’s a social conservative and had run as such.

That being said, Morgan’s insistence on discussing not the debt problem, not the out-of-control runaway spending, not the unconstitutional interference of the current ruling class that led to historic turnover on Capital Hill in last year’s midterm elections; but rather topics such as DADT and gay marriage is a perfect example of why the Left keeps losing elections.

While controversy and drama are good for ratings, there’s also a seriousness in Leftists in the media like Morgan and others insisting on painting the Tea Party with an intolerant brush.

It’s the Alinskyite drubbing and constant drone about Tea Partiers being anti-gay, racist knuckle-dragging Bible-thumping social conservatives that the Left and the media (pardon my redundancy) are hoping to use to discredit their opponents rather than engage in the real argument that they know they’d lose: Is our government too bloated, is it doing things it shouldn’t be doing, and is it impeding our recovery?; or is it not big enough, not spending enough, and not regulating sufficiently?

The Left knows it can’t win that argument in a center-right nation, so they will search for social conservatives within the Tea Party movement (which, unquestionably it can easily find), and then generalize such positions broadly to paint us all as intolerant neanderthals hoping to cast homosexuals into prison.

Can anybody relate an experience at a Tea Party rally or other such event that even addressed social issues? Were gay marriage and DADT even topics of conversation (other than the court’s overreaching in many big cases, and the lack of 10th Amendment appreciation by the ruling class, that is)? I search and search Rick Santelli’s original rant on CNBC but can’t find either of these topics (nor religion, abortion, or race issues) having anything to do with his anger.

I, for one, am completely tired of hearing about social issues. Totally and completely. I can’t believe that with $14,000,000,000,000+ in debt and a new credit line of another $2,000,000,000,000 recently added on, three wars, 9.1% unemployment, GDP growth rate out of a recession at only 1.5%, housing failing, hiring failing, a credit downgrade, that to some morons, the issue of gay marriage and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is actually pertinent.

As I had admonished them a couple weeks ago, the Social Left in America is ruining our Nation because they care more about their social issues than they do about the fiscal and economic strength of our country.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)

Another Big Speech, Mr. Obama?!?!?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:47 pm - August 17, 2011.
Filed under: Economy,National Politics

Just caught this on AOL:

Guess this’ll be his much touted jobs plan?

Last night before bed, I scribbled a note as a reminder to check the president’s various speeches on his jobs tour across the Midwest to see if he then put forward any specific proposal.

UPDATE:  In response to the president’s announcement, Sonicfrog released this rant:

Don’t you think this would have been more timely maybe FIVE MONTHS AGO?????? And it’s SOOOO important, he’s waiting until September… Because, after all, it’s not like there is any need or urgency to get the economy moving sooner than that! Talk about leading from behind!!!!!

Instead, you went on A [political] BUS TOUR?

The Marcus Bachmann Obsession

A number of people have asked me over the past few days whether I thought the husband of a certain presidential candidate was gay. I find it amusing how so many people protective of the private lives of Democratic politicians have an almost perverse fascination with the most intimate details of the lives of prominent conservatives, their spouses and progeny

I am tempted to reply as Tallulah Bankhead once did to a question about the sexuality of one of her male contemporaries because, like her, I just don’t know.

Of the many reports and video clips that readers have sent me — or that I have seen on other blogs — none has provided evidence that Marcus Bachmann ever engaged engaged in sexual activity with another man, even before his marriage to the Minnesota Congressman and Republican presidential candidate.

If indeed, the man (as some say) is homosexual (using the term as an adjective not a noun), in the sense that he is primarily attracted to men, then we have no confirmation he acted on it.

Weighing in on the controversy, my pal Joy McCann (whom I call a “pal” because we have corresponded, I have met her on several occasions and, well, I enjoy her company) observes:

Cynthia Yockey is of the belief that Marcus Bachmann is gay, and closeted. Which I have no way of being sure of. I do know that I’ve known multiple men in my life who were terrific non-conformists about their approach to masculinity, and though straight as arrows, were continually assumed to be gay—even by those who were gay.

Read the rest of her post. Like Stacy McCain in the post I linked yesterday, she raises some interesting issues, not that I agree with everything she says, but I do not doubt her sincerity and respect the integrity of her opinion.

Why so many people so intent on snooping around into the private life not of a presidential candidate, but of her husband?  How would they feel if conservatives started asking about Michelle Obama’s college boyfriends?

My Favorite Tweet of the 2012 Campaign So Far…

From John Hawkins today:

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

On the myth of desire — and the fixed nature of our sexuality

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:57 pm - August 16, 2011.
Filed under: Gays / Homosexuality (general),Random Thoughts

In an extended, but thoughtful, rant today on human sexuality, R.S. McCain questions our modern notion of sexual expression:

. . . with the Desire Is Destiny theory of sexuality, promulgated so relentlessly (first by Kinsey, then by Hugh Hefner, and then by damned near everybody) that we cannot think about sex in any other terms. What is overlooked is that this liberationist theory denies the power of human will and human choice. If we desire someone, the liberationist argument would have us believe, we must act on that desire or else suffer psychological trauma as a result of the (harmful) repression of our desire. The only “moral” standard by which any such pursuit may be judged is whether the resulting sexual encounter is between consenting adults.

Read the whole thing.  I don’t say that because I agree with everything Stacy has to say, but believe he has made an important contribution to the current debate begun when allegations were leveled against a certain presidential candidate’s spouse.  And, well, given his style, it’s always a delight to read his posts.  (Familiar with his puckish nature, I know that he seeks to engage rather than offend.)

We do have a choice.  And sometimes in refusing to act on our desires, we strengthen another bond, a bond which often helps secure our own happiness.  Frustrated desire does not necessarily make us miserable.

His critique of the modern notion of Desire as Destiny dovetails nicely with my thoughts on the fluidity of our sexuality.  Both of us take us issue with societal assumptions about sexuality.  He that we need indulge our every desire, I, that our sexual orientation is fixed.  For some of us, it may well be, but it’s important to keep an open mind about these things. (more…)

This divisive president can’t control his spending addiction

Our famously even-handed media have long subjected us to the myth of the long-suffering, noble Democrat, too decent a human being to engage the vile, mean-spirited Republican rabble who regularly make angry accusations and engage in dishonest discourse. If only these high-minded Dmocrats had fought back, lament the well-educated pundits reaching for their smelling salts, they would win more elections.

As Eric noted earlier today, the famously dispassionate Maureen Dowd is the latest liberal pundit to count Barack Obama among the number of Democrats who have seen their standing in the polls slip because they just aren’t as mean as their right-wing adversaries. Calling the president “conflict-averse” and fearing that with that Democrat, “there is always the danger of a relapse into the passive, we’re-all-reasonable-people style,” E. J. Dionne shared this view, relishing the emergence of a fighting Obama.

Guess the columnist missed all those group Eric mentioned and hadn’t been listening, say, to the president’s budget speech on April 13 or his debt speech on July 25.  He has engaged in some of the most divisive discourse of any U.S. President,  even this week on his taxpayer-funded campaign-style swing through the Midwest where he “he fired off his most intense criticism of Congress yet, warning lawmakers they will be defeated if they continue to obstruct his policies.

Republicans have good reason to “obstruct” those policies.  Instead of turning to policies which work to create jobs, the Democrat is returning to those that failed.  In Cannon Falls, Minnesota, he indicated that despite the 2010 election and the mounting federal deficit, the “balanced” approach he favors means higher taxes and more government spending: (more…)

Should media report a candidate’s every gaffe?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:06 pm - August 16, 2011.
Filed under: Media Bias

Only if her name is Michele Bachman or Sarah Palin.  CNN’s Political Unit is beside itself because Mrs. Bachmann flubbed Elvis’s birthday:

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann stepped all over Elvis Presley’s blue suede shoes while stumping Tuesday, when she mistakenly wished “The King” a “Happy Birthday.”

August 16 actually marks the 34th anniversary of Presley’s death.

A quick google search could reveal no evidence that CNN had not given similar coverage to then-candidate Obama’s contention that there were 58 states (he claimed he had been in 57 states with “one left to go. . . .“)

And I’m sure our readers can come up with other Obama gaffes that haven’t received the attention of Mrs. Bachmann’s various errors.

Did Commies Kill Camus?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:52 am - August 16, 2011.
Filed under: Communism,Great Men,Literature & Ideas

Albert Camus has long been one of my favorite writers.  Indeed, I quoted the Nobel Prize-winning author in my very first blog post (with the quotation reposted here).  While Camus always considered himself a “man of the left,” I have long called him “the first neo-conservative“.  He had always strongly opposed tyranny which he first witnessed in fascist societies, particularly under the Nazi occupation of Paris, but soon began to see not just in Communists societies, but also in leftist movements.

His opposition to Stalin and Stalinism earned him the scorn of his one-time allies in the French left, including Jean-Paul Sartre, an apologist throughout his life for Soviet tyranny — and a man who dressed up his own participation in the resistance to Nazism.

Sartre became increasingly jealous of Camus after their split, particularly since the Algeria-born Frenchman had produced a far broader range of work than had he. I’d often wondered if maybe Sartre had leaned on his friends in the KGB to dispose of the more talented writer. Camus died in a car accident on January 4, 1960.

Now, David Zincavage, based on an account in an Italian newspaper asks, “Did the KGB arrange the death of Nobel Prize winning writer Albert Camus in a car accident in 1960?”

An article which appeared in the Italian paper Corriere della Sera on August 1 quotes Eastern European scholar Giovanni Catelli, who discovered that the complete version of the Diary of Czech poet and translator Jan Zábrana contained a reference to the death of Albert Camus omitted from abridged French and Italian translations.

Read the whole thing.  Well, this story doesn’t support my speculation about Sartre, but does raise some interesting questions.

Remember, Albert Camus was one of the first prominent literary men of the left to publicly criticize Communist.  His outspoken critiques of the brutal system could cause more intellectuals to question their defense of the Soviet Union. (more…)

Exit Pawlenty (or, the failure of Minnesota Nice in the Obama Era)

The only candidates I am seriously considering for the Republican nomination are individuals who have served as governor of a state. It’s more than having someone who has escaped the taint of Washington politics, coming to town as outsiders, not part of a system some former Senator calls “broken.”  (Funny how just after that Senator got a promotion, he didn’t find the city to be broken. Guess “our politics are only broken when “Obama isn’t doing so well.”)

A governor will have had experience both running a state government and working with an elected legislature.  In his first few months, the next president will have to work with the 113th Congress to repeal much of the bad legislation passed in the 111th while appointing individuals to the various federal agencies able to rescind or otherwise revise the anti-business regulations that have proliferated in the past two-and-half years (and yes, even before then).

That’s why the immediate past Minnesota governor was on my short list, now reduced to two of the announced candidates (as I hold out hope for one who has not announced).  Michael Barone pretty much summarizes why that good man did not do as well as he had hoped in the Ames Straw Poll this past weekend:

Pawlenty seems to have suffered the fate of a vanilla candidate, with a record generally acceptable to economic, cultural and national security conservatives, but unable to stir the enthusiasm necessary to win him first choice votes in a state in which his chances on paper seemed better than almost any place else. Pawlenty has many admirable qualities, and having observed him in Minnesota over the years I expected him to do better. . . . He has reason to feel that he has been thrust aside, in ways that almost no one predicted or foresaw, by two female candidates substantially less qualified for national office than he is. But no one is guaranteed a fair shot at the presidency.

Emphasis added.  Read the whole thing. Lamenting that “Pawlenty proved unable to maintain his campaign all the way to the Iowa caucuses next year“, Scott Johnson wonders if the accomplished former governor had the fire in the belly necessary to take on the incumbent: (more…)