Tag Archives: Ben Carson

The worst kind of grief exploitation, fear-mongering and oh yeah, plagiarism at the RNC. And Jon Stewart makes a triumphant return to late night.

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So, so, so many thoughts to share after the first two nights of the KKK rally Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

I mean, just … wow. As awful as I thought it was going to be, it was worse. I swear to God, Ben Carson and Chris Christie on Tuesday were thisclose to saying Hillary Clinton should be dragged to Salem and burned at the stake as a witch.

Full disclosure: Tuesday night I was out at my annual Yankees game trip with my wife and father-in-law, so mostly I only followed it on Twitter (but I saw the Christie/Carson highlights and threw up in my mouth a bit.)

But that’s OK, Monday night I was tuned in, riveted and horrified for the whole three hours-plus spectacle.

— First of all, nothing was more disgusting and distasteful than the politicization of family grief. It was ALL over the stage Monday night, and the worst offender was Pat Smith, whose son tragically died in the Benghazi attack (maybe you’ve heard of it?). She stood up and blamed Hillary Clinton personally for her son’s death. As if the Democratic nominee had a hand in killing him. So we had, from the stage of the national convention of one of the two major political parties in America, accusations that the nominee of the other party was responsible for murder.

Going out on a limb here, but as we’ve said so many times during this campaign, that’s never happened before. It’s absolutely, positively disgusting and immoral, what Ms. Smith said, and as we know I’m far, far from a Hillary Clinton defender.

— What’s almost as amazing as what Smith said is that, while she was saying it, Donald Trump called in to Fox News for a live interview, stepping on his own convention coverage! The man’s pathological need to constantly be on TV is really quite something. I mean seriously, he should be studied in psychology textbooks for decades.

— Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato, Jr. were both tapped to give speeches, and I’ll never be able to watch “Charles in Charge” again without crying.

They were both horrendous (Sabato later said he was absolutely sure Obama is a Muslim, so I’m glad we cleared that up), but I honestly wondered where the hell was Kirk Cameron? He was a MUCH bigger star than Baio in the 1980s, he’s certifiably wing-nut crazy, and they had plenty of time to let him talk.

Mike Seaver got screwed, folks. I blame his sister.

— The plagiarism thing with Melania Trump’s speech became a huge deal Tuesday, and justifiably so. Lifting entire passages from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech is hilarious, and sad, and I honestly have no idea whether Melania wrote the speech and thought no one would notice, a vengeful Trump campaign speechwriter inserted the passage as a mean shot at Melania (my wife’s theory), or this is just incredible negligence.

What I do know is my fellow Blue Hen and Twitter must-follow, Frankie the Goat (I’m guessing that’s not his real name) had the two best Tweets of the night on the controversy.

— Another highlight of Monday: GOP Congressman Steve King saying that white people have been the only group responsible for the progress of Western Civilization.

Said King: “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out: Where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about? Where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization?”

I can’t make this shit up.

— Rudy Giuliani. My goodness, what a trainwreck. New Yorkers of my generation and older may remember that back in the early 1990s, Rudy was actually considered a moderate, almost a real Democrat. Now he’s so far out there I think Pat Buchanan was saying to himself last night “Man, that guy’s nuts.”

**Watched some of Paul Ryan’s speech, calling for civility and decency and coming together. Then saw Chris Christie give one of the most vicious and hateful speeches in convention history, followed by the completely nuts Ben Carson comparing Hillary Clinton to Lucifer. In prime time, on national TV.

I mean… what the fuck has happened to the Republican party?

— Facts have no bearing at this convention. None, whatsoever. Crime is lower than it has been in decades. The economy is humming along, unemployment is below five percent, but if you listened to the first two nights of speeches, you’d think we were on the verge of collapse as a society.

And we’ve got two (count ’em, TWO) more nights to go.

**Finally today, the best thing that happened Monday night wasn’t that Giuliani finally left the stage, or that wingnut GOP Senator Joni Ernst was bumped past 11 p.m. It was the wonderfully welcome return of Jon Stewart to late-night TV.

He was on a sketch with old buddy Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show” live episode after the convention, and it was great. It was only four minutes, but it made me miss Stewart all the more (shouldn’t he be doing some of those HBO shorts we heard about by now?)

“Steve Jobs” a rip-roaring, crackling good time at the movies. Another disgraceful police brutality incident at a school in S.C. And GOP Debate III, the insanity continues!

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(That World Series game last night, oh my God how fantastic was that! Too exhausted to write about it after it ended, but wow was that great.)

Sometimes, it’s like movies are made exactly for me.

Aaron Sorkin, my favorite Hollywood writer, pens a flick about Steve Jobs, one of the craziest and most brilliant thinkers of the 20th century? And it stars Kate Winslet, Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels?

Yeah, there was a 99 percent chance I was going to love this picture. The wife and I saw “Steve Jobs” Saturday night, and it was spectacular.

Honestly, I had so much fun at this film, and not just because it was a rare date night without the little guy for us.
Sorkin’s script was so sharp and funny and witty, it was like he’d totally forgotten how badly he’d screwed up “The Newsroom” and was channeling the best of his “The West Wing” writing.
The acting, led by Fassbender’s brilliant, frenetic turn as Jobs, was uniformly terrific, with Rogen surprising the hell out of me with the depth of his performance as Steve Wozniak, Jobs’ co-creator of Apple who got shunned to the side as Jobs’ star rose.

The movie shows Jobs as a complicated, often cruel, often whimsical guy, who had a knack for knowing what the customer wanted most times, but stubbornly refusing to yield to basic common consumer sense at others.

I came away from the movie not feeling sympathy for Jobs, but rather, being amazed he was able to accomplish what he did, with so many crippling flaws.

It’s a truly fantastic movie, with great insights into a man few understood. Go see it.

**Next up, you may have seen this video Tuesday, yet another despicable act by a law enforcement officer. This one thankfully didn’t result in a murder, but is distasteful for other reasons. Monday at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C., a female student was assaulted and manhandled by Richland County sheriff’s deputy Ben Fields, one of the two officers who works at the school.

The girl was allegedly not obeying the teacher’s orders, and was asked to leave. Fields then ordered the girl to get up, before he yanked her wrist, wraped his arm around her neck, and FLIPS her (and her desk) onto the ground. Fields then drags her out of the overturned desk, throws her across the room, and jumps on top of her while instructing her to put her hands behind her back. At no point does the girl appear to put up a physical fight.

To say this was an incredible overreaction and a wanton abuse of power is an understatement. Incredibly, I saw some people on Facebook defending Mr. Fields Tuesday.

As my friend and e-migo, Dr. Rebecca M. said to me as we discussed this: “People are arguing that security needed to be called for a student not participating, so that learning could happen. If you think learning is going to happen after students witnessed THAT, congrats you have passed the sociopath test.”

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**Finally today, great night for obssessive channel-switchers like me: We’ve got World Series Game 2 (last night was a hell of a game in what ought to be a fabulous Series, I’m picking Royals in 7) and we’ve got Episode 3 of the long-running series “Which 2016 Republican presidential candidate can say the most crazy shit and still get the nomination?”

Yes friends, we’ve got the third GOP debate tonight on CNBC at 8 p.m, starring new front-runner Dr. Ben Carson, who likes to use Nazi Germany references when talking about U.S. legislation; The Man Called Trump, as the great Charlie Pierce calls him, Marco Rubio, who is the only candidate who actually scares me in a general, but can’t seem to get any traction; and W.’s brother, who is running the worst campaign this side of Lincoln Chafee.

One of these days I’ve got to live-blog or live-Tweet these GOP debates, because they’re so batshit crazy, filled with so many far-right ideas and racist, homophobic and xenophobic comments that my head spins.

Couple things to look for tonight: This is the first debate since Carson has surged into the lead, so look for Trump and others to attack him; also, look for Rubio and Bush to really take on Trump some more, now that there’s finally been some denting in his armor.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Kasich continue his theme of “sanity,” in a desperate appeal to seem different from the rest. This debate is supposed to focus on the economy, I’ve read, so with the U.S. economy humming along and the Affordable Care Act a big success in every way, can’t wait to see how they blame Obama.

Get your popcorn, this one ought to be a whole lotta fun.