HotAir.com is a famously cynical conservative blog which features commentary from celebrated bloggers Allahpundit and Ed Morrissey. HotAir.com celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and it’s fair to say the folks here have been conflicted about supporting Republican nominee Donald Trump, who they don’t consider conservative enough for their taste.
Marvel is bringing #JaneThor to the movies. The entertainment company announced yesterday it would release Thor: Love and Thunder in 2021 which will feature Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster picking up mighty Mjolnir aka Thor’s hammer for those not versed in Norse mythology. Via E! Online.
On Saturday, [Natalie Portman] made a surprise appearance at Comic-Con International: San Diego 2019, appearing at Marvel Studios’ panel, where it was announced that she will play the title superhero in the fourth film in the franchise, Thor: Love and Thunder. Chris Hemsworth, who played Thor in the first three films and the Avengers movies, will also return.
Director Taika Waititi told the Comic-Con audience while they were shooting Thor: Ragnarok, he read from Jason Aaron’s Mighty Thor comic series, which depicts Jane as a female Thor
“So, there’s only one person who can do that,” Waititi said, referring to Portman.
The actress then took the stage and was handed a replica Mjolnir hammer.
“This feels pretty good,” she said. “I’ve always had a little hammer envy.”
It should also be pointed out this is not the first time Foster has appeared as Thor. Marvel’s What-If series in 1978 featured an issue where Foster got the hammer – instead of the intended Donald Blake (Thor’s original secret identity in Marvel).
My TL has been flooded with MCU news from SDCC (understandably so). 3 months ago after seeing Endgame I posted about how cool it would be to have a fun comic series that I enjoyed reading come to life in the MCU. I just happened to pick this issue for the post. #janethor#whatifpic.twitter.com/BSHxIKyVmN
Of course, the main reason for #JaneThor coming to the movies is the popularity of the 2014 to 2018 series which featured the character. The story was extremely well written by Jason Aaron and did not come off like a suddenly thrown together project going, “Let’s shake things up and make Thor a woman!” Aaron had a definitive plan and stuck with it – and Marvel let him do it.
The promotion of the series? Well, that’s a different story. From Marvel’s 2014 announcement.
This October, Marvel Comics evolves once again in one of the most shocking and exciting changes ever to shake one of the “big three” of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. No longer is the classic Thunder God able to hold the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, and a brand new female hero will emerge worthy of the name THOR.
Who is she? Where did she come from and what is her connection to Asgard and the Marvel Universe?
“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” says Marvel editor Wil Moss. “The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”
It’s a horribly-written news release with cringe-worthy quotes. It’s so bad several friends of mine had to convince me to actually read the title once it was released. Thank Odin the story was really good, made sense, and wasn’t written as some sort of “Hi, we’re doing this to surprise you!” nonsense with no follow-up. And, yes, the Odinson got his hammer back, eventually.
The only concern of mine on this upcoming Thor movie is whether the makers are trying to throw too much into one film. Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and the Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) will also be in the film – although it isn’t known how large of a part they will play – it seems like Valkyrie and #JaneThor will be the focus. It also depends on whether the Odinson will be killed or take Odin’s place as King of the Asgardians. Or if he has to go on some walkabout which can be charted in another film (Guardians 3?) or elsewhere.
There are plenty of questions regarding how Marvel will pull this off – but it can definitely be done and done well. We’ll just have to see in 2021. Here’s hoping they don’t promote Thor: Love and Thunderbolts like #JaneThor was originally promoted. That won’t go well.
The push to have “plant-based meat” replace actual beef, chicken and other real meats is accelerating around the nation. Sales are now so brisk that Impossible Foods can’t keep up with the demand for their products. This is leading more and more journalists to experiment with their genetically modified nightmare offerings and the reviews have been surprisingly positive. One common claim is that they seem to have truly recreated the texture and “mouth feel” of actual beef patties.
Fair enough, but what about the juicy nature or a real burger? We all know where it comes from… blood. But plants don’t have blood, so how are they getting these frightening burgers to “bleed” when you bite into them? Jack DeWitt, a farmer-agronomist writing at Agdaily.com, looked into the matter and found out. And the story behind this fake blood is, if anything, more lurid than the process of making the burger patties.
Their controversial “blood” source is soy leghemoglobin, the red-colored protein found in the nodules attached to the roots of soybeans and other leguminous plants. Here Rhizobium bacteria take nitrogen from the air and supply it to the plant in exchange for some carbohydrate from the plant — a symbiotic arrangement.
Leghemoglobin is very similar to blood hemoglobin. Blood hemoglobin absorbs oxygen in the lungs and ferries it to tissues where it exchanges it for carbon dioxide, a feat made possible by differences in pH in the lungs versus tissues. Leghemoglobin is 10 times more efficient than hemoglobin at binding oxygen. Its function in the nodule is to absorb excess oxygen that would poison the nitrogen-fixing process carried out by the Rhizobium.
Boy howdy! The “red-colored protein found in the nodules attached to the roots of soybeans.” Makes your mouth water just reading the words, doesn’t it?
But DeWitt is a man of science and points out some disturbing facts here. Chief among these is the fact that Leghemoglobin “has never been consumed by humans before.” He points out that Impossible Foods conducted “very little safety testing” before injecting this fake “blood” into their burgers. Further, the FDA warned the company that they had not proven that Leghemoglobin is safe for human consumption but they’re still allowing the company to market the burgers anyway.
Also, this blood isn’t coming from soybeans or even the roots of the plant. Just like the “Heme” they use to make the “meat,” it’s being made in vats of genetically modified yeast. Remind me again how this was all approved so quickly?
This entire project is just part of the liberal vegan plot to wipe out cows because their farts are causing climate change or something. And too many of you are jumping whole hog onto the bandwagon. (Of course, we probably won’t have hogs for much longer at this rate.) Then, after they’ve shipped off all the cows, only the very wealthy in their gated communities (many of whom will probably the liberal investors pushing this mad science project) will be able to afford an actual hamburger.
Meanwhile, we’re all being told to cut back on burgers and only have one and a half per week. This is supposedly meant to ensure we can feed ten billion people by the second half of this century. But it’s all part of a massive conspiracy to get rid of the cows and force everyone to live on leaves and twigs. And we’re just sitting back and watching it happen. Shameful.
Lost in the kerfuffle over Houston Congressman Al Green’s failed attempt to get an impeachment vote on President Donald Trump and the “send her back” chants is a rather interesting piece of news regarding Google’s censored search engine for China.
It’s deader than Jacob Marley.
Google’s Karan Bhatia told a U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday the company was no longer working on the project using the phrase, “we have terminated that,” when asked by Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley. A Google spokesperson provided a little more context to Buzzfeed.
A company spokesperson pointed to its statement in a March 2019 story published in the Verge: “As we’ve said for many months, we have no plans to launch Search in China and there is no work being undertaken on such a project. Team members have moved to new projects.”
When asked whether “terminated” meant Google would not launch a censored search app in China in the future, the spokesperson said, “We have no plans to launch Search in China and there is no work being undertaken on such a project.”
It’s a bit of a hit towards Peter Thiel who suggested to Fox’s Tucker Carlson last week he believed the FBI and CIA should look into Google. Thiel’s wild hare is Google has somehow been infiltrated by the Chinese. One does have to wonder how many Langley assets might be accidentally turned up should the U.S. government start an investigation (this is a joke for those who do not understand dry humor).
One thing which should be pointed out is why Google decided to squash Project Dragonfly – even if it’s always possible the company may revive it like some sort of Frankenstein’s monster. The Intercept_, whistleblowers, and Google employees all complained about the alarming project. Amnesty International and a group called Google Employees Against Dragonfly released a letter last November decrying Dragonfly.
Our opposition to Dragonfly is not about China: we object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may be. The Chinese government certainly isn’t alone in its readiness to stifle freedom of expression, and to use surveillance to repress dissent. Dragonfly in China would establish a dangerous precedent at a volatile political moment, one that would make it harder for Google to deny other countries similar concessions.
Our company’s decision comes as the Chinese government is openly expanding its surveillance powers and tools of population control. Many of these rely on advanced technologies, and combine online activity, personal records, and mass monitoring to track and profile citizens. Reports are already showing who bears the cost, including Uyghurs, women’s rights advocates, and students. Providing the Chinese government with ready access to user data, as required by Chinese law, would make Google complicit in oppression and human rights abuses.
This backlash fails to be mentioned in any commentary by Carlson, Thiel, or other outlets enraged over Project Dragonfly. Thiel even suggested there was, “a broad base of Google employees that are ideologically super left wing sort of woke, and think that China is better than the U.S. Or that the U.S. is worse than China. It’s always — it’s more anti-American than anything.” One has to think the aforementioned letter telling Google to quit its censored search engine work shows there are plenty of employees who do not believe China is better than the U.S. – regardless of political affiliation.
There will be patrons in the gallery who cry foul over Google’s decision to rid itself of the Defense Department’s Project Maven – while Project Dragonfly was active in development or conception. It would be a mistake to consider the decisions one and the same – as Thiel did on Fox News. Project Maven is an artificial intelligence program involving the analysis of drone footage for the Defense Department. Drones used to kill suspected terrorists (not to mention innocent children and family members) and could be used to spy on American citizens without their knowledge (or a warrant). Google employees revolted and resigned in protest over Project Maven causing the tech giant to decide it wasn’t going to renew its contract with the U.S. Perfectly understandable.
Just like the revolt over Dragonfly.
It is completely possible Google executives are lying and the company is still working on Projects Dragonfly and Maven. This would not be surprising. Yet, it’s a mistake to say the federal government needs to do some sort of oversight or regulation or disbanding of big tech (not that politicians aren’t trying). It was watchdog media organizations like The Intercept_ who made sure people knew about Google’s work with the Department of Defense and China. The outcry from these outlets – and current and former employees – forced Google to scuttle the plans and either not renew a contract or cancel them outright. This should say something about the power of public pressure versus government intervention.
Mayhaps we should keep this in mind before running to the government to solve all our problems – regardless of political ideology.
If you missed Ed’s post on Friday about Team Bernie’s crash course in real-world economics, read it now for background. The campaign’s field organizers realized they’ve been working an average of 60 hours a week at a rate of $36,000 per year, which shakes out to a bit less than $15 per hour — the magic number Bernie himself has demanded be set as the new federal minimum wage. He can’t pay us less than what he wants every American to be paid, his staffers rightly reasoned. So they’ve complained to management and the complaints leaked into the press and now there’s a hubbub over the country’s most prominent socialist nickel-and-diming his own labor force and, quite simply, it’s the feelgood story of the summer.
It was, of course, also completely foreseeable. Mandate higher wages and a business will start slashing hours to make ends meet. Or laying people off, of course — that’s the inevitable next chapter in this comedy. Unless, I suppose, Bernie decides to sell one of his vacation homes and uses the proceeds to keep a few extra people on the payroll for awhile.
In a statement provided to Newsweek, [campaign manager Faiz] Shakir said that the campaign has been in discussions about pay structure changes with the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400, the union representing the organizers.
“We look forward to continuing those discussions and obviously are disappointed that some individuals decided to damage the integrity of these efforts before they were concluded,” Shakir said. “As these discussions continue, we are limiting hours so no employee is receiving less than $15 for any hours worked.”…
Shakir also told Newsweek that leadership at the campaign previously offered a pay increase for field organizers, but that the offer was rejected in a formal vote. According to the Post, Shakir offered organizer pay to be raised to $42,000 annually and extend the workweek to six days. The offer was reportedly rejected because it would have elevated staff to a pay level in which they’d be responsible to pay more of their own health care costs.
As of now, Bernie’s field organizers have all of their health insurance premiums covered by the campaign. By comparison, campaign supervisors who make more than $36,000 per year have only 85 percent of their premiums covered. Team Bernie, champions of Medicare for All, counteroffered the field organizers’ demand for higher pay here in part by adding the condition that disgruntled employees take on some of the financial burden of their own health insurance.
[Sanders] expressed frustration that staffers had taken their complaints to the media.
“It does bother me that people are going outside of the process and going to the media,” he said. “That is really not acceptable. It is really not what labor negotiations are about, and it’s improper.”
Yeah, since when do workers make their grievances with management publicly known in order to gain leverage in a labor dispute?
This guy and his fans get boners every time a picket line forms somewhere but when it’s his own staffers complaining to the press he’s like, “I’m disappointed they weren’t more discreet about this.”
Spend a few minutes with this very recent analysis from CBO estimating the macroeconomic effects of a mandatory $15 minimum wage. Bottom line: 1.3 million jobs gone. Those lucky enough to keep their jobs will do better, obviously, but there are other bad knock-on effects:
In CBO’s estimation, it would:
— Boost workers’ earnings through higher wages, though some of those higher earnings would be offset by higher rates of joblessness;
— Reduce business income and raise prices as higher labor costs were absorbed by business owners and then passed on to consumers; and
— Reduce the nation’s output slightly through the reduction in employment and a corresponding decline in the nation’s stock of capital (such as buildings, machines, and technologies).
On the basis of those effects and CBO’s estimate of the median effect on employment, the $15 option would reduce total real (inflation-adjusted) family income in 2025 by $9 billion, or 0.1 percent.
Exit question: Will Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez join in solidarity when Bernie staffers eventually go on strike against him?
The story of Facebook users organizing to show up outside of Area 51 and “storming the base” has made for some good entertainment, but it is a really bad idea, as Jazz pointed out. It’s scheduled for September 20th, but there is still little or no indication as to whether anyone will actually show up.
Some entertainers got on board and hyped up the story. Over the course of the last week, Budweiser has gotten in on the action. How about a Bud Lite to quench the thirst of “any alien who makes it out”? The “prankster” behind the Facebook page has since said that this event is a joke. Budweiser is looking to get some publicity for creating a can design that acknowledges the aliens.
Originally, Budweiser said the company would like to be the first to announce that they would not be sponsoring the Area 51 raid. Then a follow-up tweet was posted.
True to form for covert action involving a top-secret military facility, Bud Light would only comment on the matter via an anonymous spokesperson: “Whether you’re from this planet or another galaxy, nothing says ‘welcome to our planet’ like a few beers. The way we see it, there’s no better way to show these aliens ‘we come in peace’ than a few BLs. Who knows? Maybe a few beers will make this a party rather than a raid.”
Here’s the text of the can design for “The Universally Renowned Bud Light Space Beer”:
“Greetings Earthlings. This is the famous Area 51. We know of no space beer by any other life form which is brewed and aged to be more refreshing. Our cryogenic aging produces a light bodied space lager with a fresh taste, a crisp, clean finish, and a smooth drinkability. Take us to your leader…for drinks.”
Here is a tweet showing aliens with their Bud Lite beer:
It’s all in good fun, even if the U.S. Air Force wasn’t particularly amused about the whole thing.
“[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” a spokeswoman for the base said last week.
“The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets,” she added.
It’s very hot, being July and all, so a cold, frothy beverage is a polite gesture to any potential alien visitor. We can all enjoy a chuckle thinking about that. Meanwhile others have jumped on the bandwagon.
Moon Pies offered free goodies to those at Area 51, too.
This is a follow-up to a story that Allahpundit covered on Friday. While the subject of plastic waste that doesn’t decompose winding up in our oceans and landfills is a serious one, not all of the proposals to address the situation are as serious as others. As AP noted, the President was asked about a ban on plastic straws and he responded by saying that it makes little sense to ban them when we’re not banning all of the other, larger plastic products that are also not recycled.
Not long after that, somebody saw a fundraising opportunity and plastic “Trump straws” were on sale at the President’s fundraising site. Charging a dollar and a half each for what is essentially just a plain, red plastic straw with Trump’s name emblazoned on the side might not sound like much of a bargain, but that obviously wasn’t the point. The President was capitalizing on pushback against a liberal idea that seemed excessively intrusive while producing little in the way of measurable results. So how did it work out? The straws sold out in a matter of days.
“I’m so over paper straws, and I’m sure you are too. Much like most liberal ideas, paper straws don’t work and they fall apart instantly. That’s why we just launched our latest product – Official Trump Straws,” Parscale wrote late Friday. “Now you can finally be free from liberal paper straws that fall apart within minutes and ruin your drink.”
Journalist Yashar Ali appears to have been the first to notice the new merchandise in Trump’s campaign store. A pack of 10, which are red and emblazoned with “TRUMP” in silver, is available for $15. However, it takes almost two weeks for shipping.
They’re still taking orders, but you’ll have to wait a few weeks to get them. And considering what they cost in bulk and how many people are snapping them up, whoever came up with this idea probably deserves a bonus next month.
The underlying idea that kicked all of this off is a very real one, however. I’ve tried those paper straws at a local diner and they’re simply useless. You can finish maybe a third of a 12-ounce cup of ice tea before the straw is totally falling apart and filling your drink with soggy paper. But what’s the viable alternative? You can carry your own around, but glass straws have a nasty habit of breaking and immediately turning into a rather deadly weapon. The metal straws seem like a far better choice, assuming you don’t die while impaling your brain on them. I haven’t had a chance to try one of the bamboo ones yet, but I’ll admit they sound like they would last longer than paper, though I have to wonder if they don’t impart some sort of bamboo taste.
The other problem with reusable straws is that they have to be washed and there is no brush or other device I’m aware of that can fully clean the inside of them. If all you’re drinking is water or other very “thin” liquids, you should be able to soak them in hot water and then run rise water through them and get them mostly clean. But if it’s any sort of thick, creamy beverage you can probably forget it.
Aside from milkshakes, how many drinks do you actually need a straw for? Sure, they’re very convenient if you’re in the car, but still…can’t we sip out of the little slots in the cup lid? (Odds are that your cup lid is probably plastic too, but let’s not be distracted by that.)
Surely some genius out there can come up with some sort of artificial wood material that would biodegrade and can be rolled up to make straws, lids or cups at a reasonable cost. If they do, they should be in for a decent profit. Until then, I suppose we can just pony up fifteen bucks for Trump straws or buy one hundred of them at the dollar store and bring them with us when traveling.
Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
It’s been many years since I’ve been part of a wedding, and except for the signal that it means I’m getting old, I don’t mind it much. The stress of weddings, especially formal weddings, tends to bring out the worst in people, in part because of the expectations we build up for such events. On the surface, it looks like a fun event, being dressed to the nines, having a banquet with friends and family, and dancing the night away. The emotional clashes and costs to get there, though, often overshadow the point of the celebration — so much so that we now have television shows glamorizing the interpersonal fights more than the weddings themselves.
Who needs to watch that? Just sign up to help organize the next family wedding.
I’m kidding (mostly), but it’s true that we sometimes get so caught up in preparation for an event that we forget the purpose of the event itself. That’s not just true of weddings, but of other celebrations and events. It’s not that preparation isn’t necessary, but so is perspective. This is one of the lessons we learn today from Jesus in this exchange with Martha, who has reached the end of her rope with her sister, but hardly the only one.
In the culture of that day — and to ours, still — hospitality was not just a virtue but a social imperative. Martha had not just welcomed Jesus into her house, but his disciples, which we know because she was “burdened with much serving.” It would have been rude not to serve the crowd, a type of rejection. Whether Mary helped or not, the job had to be done. Martha couldn’t let welcomed visitors go without food and drink in her house.
At the same time, Martha seems to be missing the point. This episode parallels Peter’s first impulse at the Transfiguration, in which he offers to build three tents as tribute rather than be in the moment with Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. There is nothing ill-intended about Peter’s suggestion, but the process of building tents would necessarily have taken him away from a miracle unfolding before him, unfolding for his benefit. In its way, it misses the forest for the trees.
The same is true here. Jesus gently rebukes Martha’s complaint not because He scoffs at her responsibilities, but because she hasn’t focused on the most important aspect of the event. Christ has come into her house to discuss the Word of God. That should be Martha’s focus and the focus of her preparations and service as well. As necessary as preparation and service are, they cannot distract us from God’s Word.
This speaks to our own approach to worship, and beyond that to life. It’s certainly easy to busy ourselves with preparation and service, and it’s a virtue to volunteer one’s gifts to both, especially for the benefit of the church. But do we replace worship with service and preparation? Are we so burdened with service at Mass or chapel that we forget to pay proper attention to the Word of God? Are we seeing the forest in church, or just the trees?
The same is true outside of church, sometimes immediately outside of it. Inside, we sing about loving thy neighbor, but are we cursing him in the parking lot afterward because of frustration with traffic? (We have an unusual parking situation at our parish, so that one’s on me.) More importantly, do we put service to our other responsibilities, or our own desires, ahead of our need to listen to the Holy Spirit in our hearts? That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re out being mean and nasty to others, but it speaks of a kind of compartmentalization that often occurs between our faith and how we live our lives.
This extends to prayer life as well. As with many conversations in the Gospels, Martha’s conversation with Jesus is a model of prayer, although not the best one to follow. How do we talk to the Lord? Martha loved Jesus and longed for His Word, but all that service was getting in the way of it — and her reaction was to complain about her sister to the Lord. Do we pray in that way? Are we asking the Lord to change others rather than asking the Lord to help form us to His will? Jesus patiently provides some instruction for us in how we pray to Him in his response to Martha, which is to say we should focus on our own shortcomings before assuming those of others.
In our first reading today, Abraham shows a good balance between service and presence. When the three men approached his tent, Abraham welcomed them to his tent with full hospitality. He did not fuss over them, however; when he had given the full measure of hospitality, Abraham waited with patience for them to eat, refresh themselves, and speak their minds.
This is how we are meant to prepare and serve as well. We ready ourselves and we do the work necessary to make the Word of God central to our day and our life. That preparation and service need not be perfect; Christ perfects it for us. When service, preparation, and the business of life distracts us from God’s Word or compartmentalizes it, we should recall the good efforts of Martha and how they missed the mark. While we have Him in our lives, He should be the focus, and we should not resent those who have the correct perspective. And He has promised to be with us until the end of time.
The front page image is a detail from “Christ with Mary and Martha” by Jacopo Tintoretto, c. 1570-75. On display at Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany. Via Wikimedia Commons.
“Sunday Reflection” is a regular feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection represents only my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussion. Previous Sunday Reflections from the main page can be found here. For previous Green Room entries, click here.
On July 30, a celebration will be held to commemorate the 400th anniversary of representative democracy in America at Jamestown, Virginia. Many distinguished guests were invited to attend by Governor Northam, Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox, and Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment. Friday night, Virginia Democrats issued a statement – if President Trump attends, they will boycott the event. Their message is “Send Him Back.”
The drama at this late date is all about capitalizing on the Trump versus the Squad kerfuffle. Virginia House Democrats issued their ultimatum. If President Trump accepts the invitation to attend and speak at the celebration, they won’t be there. This looks like a preemptive strike by the Virginia Democrats, though, because it is unclear if President Trump is even planning to attend the event. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was also invited, has declined to attend. The group in charge of organizing the celebration, American Evolution, notified both Pelosi and Trump Saturday of the Democrats’ statement. While Pelosi declined, President Trump has not announced his decision, according to the organizers.
The event had been planned as part of “American Evolution,” a series of events at Jamestown, the site of the first permanent English colony, to celebrate key events in American and Virginia history that took place in 1619, according to the event’s website. A July 30 gathering had planned to commemorate the first legislative meeting and would feature members of Congress, the Virginia legislature and other state legislatures.
It should be noted that the Virginia House has a Republican majority, as does the Virginia Senate. Governor Northam is a Democrat. Hey, remember that time some embarrassing photographs of Ralph Northam surfaced from back in his college days and he was in blackface for a frat party? I’m old enough to remember that and yet there he is – still the Governor of Virginia. Democrats united behind him as though it was no big deal. They moved on in order to keep Virginia in the hands of the Democrats. (You may also remember that Virginia’s Lt. Gov. has some real problems, too, but he’s still there.)
The Virginia Democrats who were fine with Northam’s past involvement with partying in blackface now are virtue-shaming President Trump. Maybe the Democrats think that racism comes in varying degrees. Apparently, it is a bridge too far for the Democrats in Virginia that President Trump spoke up and criticized congresswomen who so strongly bashed his administration’s immigration policies and the Border Patrol agents doing their jobs. Trump punches back. This is not breaking news.
On the chance that President Trump does agree to attend the event in Jamestown, the Democrat leadership in the House issued a statement and posted it on Twitter Friday night.
“The current president does not represent the values that we would celebrate at the 400th anniversary of the oldest democratic body in the Western world,” the statement reads. “We offer just three words of advice to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation: ‘Send Him Back’.”
According to the Richmond-Times Dispatch Saturday, “an individual familiar with the planning of the event” says the president will attend. Republican leadership issued comments and remind that it was a Democrat governor who issued the invitation in the first place to President Trump.
“Sadly, it is no longer exceptional when elected leaders make partisan concerns paramount in their decisions,” Norment wrote. “The decision by the Senate and House Minority Leaders, and the Senate and House Democratic Caucus Chairs, to boycott the commemorative session because of President Trump’s participation is disappointing and embarrassing.”
Cox spokesperson Parker Slaybaugh tweeted a reminder that it was a Democratic governor who invited Trump to come and that the event should not be politicized.
Like clockwork, former Governor and Clinton minion Terry McAuliffe jumped into the fray on Twitter after the Virginia Democrats weighed in. He described President Trump as a racist and a white nationalist, just in case there was any confusion with the meaning of the message.
Is this another sign of the ongoing turf war between the White House and California or just business as usual at the Department of Housing and Urban Development? There’s a bit of a face-off going on this week between HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. It involves $80 million in grant money that was slated for the City of a Million Rats, designated to be used for the development of affordable housing, but now the cash is being put on hold. The reason? Los Angeles has been repeatedly found in violation of rules requiring their housing projects to be fully accessible to residents with disabilities. (LA Times)
In an unwelcome turn for a city suffering from a homelessness crisis, federal housing officials said they have denied Los Angeles $80 million in funds, citing long-standing failures by local leaders to ensure that properties built with government money are accessible to those who use wheelchairs or have other disabilities.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson informed Mayor Eric Garcetti in a letter Friday that his agency was rebuffing funding proposals submitted by city officials last month.
“As you have been notified time and again, the city is unlawfully discriminating against individuals with disabilities in its affordable housing program, under federal accessibility laws … and has refused to take the steps necessary to remedy this discrimination,” Carson wrote. He said a more detailed explanation for the rejection would be sent to the city within 15 days.
The requirements in question seem pretty basic. They’re talking about ramps and suitably wide elevators for people in wheelchairs and grab rails to assist in getting up and down. You also need to make sure that closets are wide enough to be accessed from a wheelchair and kitchen counters aren’t too high to reach. The repeated failure to pass inspections for such features in Los Angeles public housing is cited as the reason for denying the funds.
Some might see the evil hand of the Bad Orange Man in the background, looking to deprive the sanctuary city of more money, and it’s certainly possible that the Trump administration could see that as a side benefit. But the reality is that this dispute predates both Trump’s time as President and Garcetti’s time as Mayor. This fight has been going on since 2012 when the Obama administration went after Los Angeles for exactly the same reasons. And seven years later they are still failing inspections.
There’s more than a bit of irony in the idea that one of the most woke cities in the country is getting hammered for being insufficiently sensitive to the needs of the disabled. But this is no laughing matter. The City of Angels is being crushed by an epidemic of homeless people and toxic trash and human waste piling up in the streets. And a lot of the homeless are disabled themselves. If they’re going to get them under a roof, they will need to practice what they preach and ensure that the facilities are accessible to everyone, and not just those who are physically able.
Normally the Sunday shows are a look back at the week that was. This morning they’re a preview of the week (well, 10 days) to come. The top story is Robert Mueller’s looming appearance before the House, with Jerry Nadler and Adam “Pencilneck” Schiff on tap to pregame their respective committee hearings. Republicans are ready for Mueller too, per the Times:
“The obvious first question will be, ‘When did you know there was no coordination and no conspiracy?’” said Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, one of the Republicans’ most recognizable attack dogs. He now sees Mr. Mueller as the ideal mouthpiece to deliver the conclusion that the investigation found insufficient evidence to charge anyone with conspiring with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Not every Republican is on board with a gentler approach. Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas rejected any suggestion he might pull his punches. “I can’t wait,” he said. Representative Matt Gaetz, a firebrand from Florida, pledged a pointed discussion of bias, which he has long maintained corrupted the investigation.
His goal for the hearing? “We are going to re-elect the president,” he said.
The grandstanding on both sides will be magnifique given the amount of public attention. Schiff is set for “Face the Nation” while Nadler will sit down with “Fox News Sunday.”
The other preview this morning will come from Cory Booker, who’s desperate to get traction in the Democratic primaries and may have his last meaningful chance to do so at the next debate at the end of this month. His communications team is already taunting Joe Biden, knowing that Booker’s going to do his level best onstage to elbow aside Kamala Harris and present himself as the more aggressive champion of black Democrats in calling Biden to account his past sins against wokeness. How hard is Booker planning to hit him? We’ll get a taste this morning when he turns up on “Face the Nation” and “State of the Union.”
There’ll be some chitchat too about the “send her back” chanting about Ilhan Omar at Trump’s rally on Wednesday night. Liz Cheney is also set for “Face the Nation” to talk about Iran’s seizure of two more tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and how that calls for a muscular American response, but she’s the third-ranking Republican in the House and is destined to be grilled about Trump’s war with the Squad as well. Same goes for Stephen Miller, who’s making a rare Sunday-show appearance to talk immigration and will naturally be pressed about righty populists wanting to send a U.S. citizen back to her country of origin. Expect pugnaciousness from Miller and conciliation from Cheney since that’s what their respective political roles require. The full line-up is at the AP.