Kirk Douglas Dead at 103

 

Veteran actor Kirk Douglas died Wednesday at the age of 103. His famous son, Michael Douglas, said, “It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103. To the world, he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard of us all to aspire to.”

In 1996 he suffered a stroke but recovered most his faculties, kept active, and made many public appearances. He devoted himself to acting after serving in the US Navy during WW2. He starred in “Champion” (1959) where he was nominated for Best Actor Oscar, “Spartacus” (1960), and co-starred with John Wayne in several films.

President Jimmy Carter gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Academy Awards gave him an honorary Oscar in 1995. Rest in peace.

Converting One Young Person at a Time

 

I walked back to our Receiving department this morning to check out something on our hold shelf. The smart young man who works there asked me what I thought of last night’s State of the Union speech. Now, in the past, this young man has been a leftist and we have argued back and forth congenially. Today, however, he told me that he was really impressed with the President’s speech, and we laughed over Nancy Pelosi’s juvenile conduct with her copy of the speech. He says that he is now a supporter and I asked him what changed his mind.

He told me that, on YouTube, he had seen a video by a young black woman, who was familiar with US history, and who took her viewers on a tour through black history, emphasizing which party was the real bigoted one, and which party actually improved the lot of black people in America.

Van Jones Warns Democrats

 

Van Jones (former Obama official, current CNN Contributor) has a warning for Democrats following the State of the Union address. They need to take Trump seriously if they want to win. Trump has a great week. His acquittal is all but guaranteed, Iowa was a disaster for the Democrats, and the State of Union speech was strong. Trump is signaling that he is going to do something that Republicans have traditionally not done well — he is courting the Black vote. He is helping them in “real life.”

Never Trust Schadenfruede

 

I try to remain above schadenfreude; like its lesser cousin, gloating, there is something more than just undignified about it. But when Trump claimed yet another “win” last night and as the cameras swept the room and past a slumped Schiff and scowling Nadler, I had to resist a reflexive smile.

There was something pathetic about them, as well as their fellow glum Democrats, as they followed the lead of their mistress Pelosi in their resistance to any Trumpeting. Pelosi’s post-SOTU, petulant, destruction of the speech was the best she could muster, an empty gesture made for television and an unintended admission that her party has no answer for Trump. Like the failed Russia hoax and the impeachment fiasco, the Pelosi led Democrats got nothing.

Amid much good news, much, if not most of it, good for traditional Democrat constituencies, why were the Pelosi loyalists so sullen? In part, because they’ve taken some big losses recently. They thought that they could use last-minute theatrics to take out Kavanaugh. He’s now on the SCOTUS. Their Russia collusion joint venture with the deep state fell flat. The follow-on Ukraine impeachment strategy backfired. The Durham investigation may well expose them further. And, recent results and showings in Iowa do not bode well for their party’s November prospects, neither at the top nor down the ticket.

Senate Acquits Trump

 

The Senate voted to acquit President Trump on both articles of impeachment Wednesday.  On the first impeachment charge of abuse of power, the tally was 48-52, far short of the two-thirds requirement. All Democrats voted for removal; Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) was the only Republican voting for removal.

On the second impeachment charge, obstruction of Congress, it was 47-53 on a party-line vote. Romney voted with the majority on this one.

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Mitt Romney has just announced that he’ll vote to convict Trump on the first article of impeachment, but not the second.  I wish I’d seen the speech but I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I think Romney is in the zone of reasonableness.  I also think Lamar Alexander, who has said he’s voting […]

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Romney has given us a revealing glimpse into the workings of RINOism. It was never about ideology and compromise with the left. The true common ground is narcissism. Whether it is the bogus moral posturing of a RINO betraying his side because he is just so darn much better than they are or a lefty […]

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Confine Presidential Impeachment to Criminal Acts

 

The United States Senate has voted, along virtually strict party lines, not to call witnesses on the two key charges in the impeachment trial of the President: that President Trump abused his power by withholding military aid to Ukraine, and that he also obstructed Congress by refusing to participate in the House’s impeachment investigation. Given this outcome, the acquittal of the President is virtually assured to come Wednesday.

The Senate’s decision rests on this narrow but controversial definitional question: What is an impeachable offense? This past December, a “Letter to Congress” signed by over 800 constitutional law professors defended the legal position that “conduct need not be criminal to be impeachable. The standard here is constitutional; it does not depend on what Congress has chosen to criminalize. Impeach is a remedy for grave abuses of the public trust.”

More recently, a similar legal position was taken by one of Trump’s more eloquent defenders, Professor Jonathan Turley of the George Washington University Law School. He attacked Harvard’s Emeritus Professor Alan Dershowitz for claiming impeachment of the President requires the commission of some criminal act, something that was not alleged in the House’s impeachment articles. But unlike the Professors’ Letter to Congress, Turley sought to split the difference: “I do not believe that the House managers have sufficiently rebutted the defense of the president and specifically established the necessary intent to hold the Ukrainian aid for solely political purposes (as opposed to a policy concern of corruption or sharing costs with allies).” But, he continued, “I still believe that [Dershowitz] is fundamentally wrong in maintaining that impeachable offenses must be based on actual crimes or ‘crime-like’ conduct.”

What is Your Entertainment Wokeness Threshold?

 

Recently, Right Angles wrote a wonderful post making fun of 9-1-1 Lonestar and how incessantly woke it is. At around that time, I decided to give up on the television show, The Good Place, because it exceeded what I call my “wokeness threshold.” In Right Angles blistering review, she mentioned how insufferably preachy the show is. Most notably, the gay and the transgender firepeople before helping a lady suffering a cardiac arrest decide to bother the lady with their personal lives.

Before helping her, a fireman says “I should tell you I’m gay” (why?), and she recoils a little so the trans one bends down to help and says “And I’m trans.” When the woman is in respiratory distress! Excuse me?

Group Writing: Advice: Babies!

 

Seven months ago (no, not to the day, we missed our chance to gain a dependent on Independence Day), @kidcoder and I produced our first offspring, so here are a few brief analyses of common advice people give.

Sleep when the baby sleeps, do laundry when the baby does laundry, drive when the baby drives, etc.:

Vote for Us, the Adults in the Room

 

For many Americans, President Trump’s actions; the things his administration has accomplished, are worthy of reelection. But it’s his tone, his Twitter feed, his words, that leave much to be desired. It isn’t presidential and it makes one long for a more dignified period in American politics.

The Democratic Party can’t run easily against President Trump’s record, the economy is too good, his peace through strength foreign policy is proving remarkably effective. And so, if they want to convince Americans to hop ship, in my estimation, they have to prove to voters that they can be the adults in the room and bring decorum back to politics.

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In the Greek legend of Jason and the Argonauts, the Harpies were female winged creatures sent by the god Zeus to torment the blind seer Phineus. They are portrayed as voracious, malodorous (they smell really bad), and snatching away souls to carry off to Hades. In modern parlance, a harpy is a woman who screeches, […]

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Some of them are things I can’t look up because I don’t know how; but if I am simply patient and attentive, I’ll probably get a clue, or have the answer dropped in my lap. For example, there must be a word economists use to describe the point at which advertising or just market research […]

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It has been said that politics is show business for ugly people. If we extend that, then the State of the Union Address is somewhat like the Academy Awards for ugly people, although the host gets to do all the speaking and thanking. Like the award show, it has many applause lines, followed by applause […]

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State of the Union ‘Stronger Than Ever Before’

 

Early in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, President Trump declared “the state of our union is stronger than ever before.” Behind him, Pelosi sucked her teeth while the Democrats seethed. And thus begins the 2020 re-election campaign. (We can’t count Iowa as the beginning since Dems still haven’t figured out who won.)

Instead of lofty words, Trump opened with a litany of facts and figures. Lowest unemployment in 50 years. Unemployment rates for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans at the lowest level in history. African-American poverty at the lowest rate ever recorded. Female unemployment the lowest in 70 years.

Democrats sat stone-faced, grumbling amongst themselves as the good news piled up. Most impressive was that these are verifiable facts, not spin or vague promises.

‘Judy’ and the Curse of Child Stars

 

I just watched Judy, the biopic of Judy Garland played by Renee Zellweger. Judy Garland died when I was between 6th and 7th grade. I don’t remember hearing about it or where I was when it was announced. Basically, her career was before my time, and I only associated her with the film The Wizard of Oz, which played on television once a year when I was growing up.

I’ve since seen a few of her films made in the 1930s and ’40s on TCM, which really aren’t my cup of tea.  They are mostly, what we would refer to today as, “chick flicks.” One reason that Garland’s name continued to receive attention in the years after her death is her daughter, Liza Minnelli, became famous in her own right and was associated with Garland despite the differences in last names. She was asked about her mother in many interviews when she made it big.

After watching Judy, I watched her various appearances on YouTube, including a young Barbara Walters interviewing her (Barbara Walters was a knockout in those days).