Off to Italy

I’ll be in Southern Italy for the next ten days. I don’t expect to blog while there.

I’ll be back in time for the election. In the meantime, John, Scott, and Steve will keep everyone fired up. I look forward to reading their coverage.

GOP election prospects look good to me. The old cliche would have it that 12 days is a lifetime in politics. That’s not true, but it’s enough time for a few key races to swing in favor of the Democrats or (perhaps more likely) the Republicans.

One thing I know for sure: My ten days in Italy will go by very fast.

STEVE asks: Which one of us did you leave in charge of the baseball beat?  I hear there is some kind of series going on right now.

Dems at work

Democrats protect illegal voters as though they are a core constituency of the party, and they promote arrangements that facilitate voter fraud as though fraud is a strategic electoral weapon in their armory.

In his latest video (below), James O’Keefe makes the rounds among Democrats and their friends at work on behalf of their causes in Colorado. O’Keefe has posted a partial transcript here. In the video O’Keefe and his colleagues describe how they intend illegally to exploit Colorado law for the good of the cause and meet with friendly encouragement. A representative of one of the organizations supporting Mark Udall even offers him a job. She’s got a good eye for talent.

John Fund is the coauthor with Hans von Spakovsky of a good book on voter fraud and he devoted a column to the new video in “James O’Keefe strikes again.” The column explains the Democratic “reforms” that facilitate the fraud discussed in the video. I think John accurately describes the video as “rais[ing] disturbing questions about ballot integrity in Colorado[.]”

Here are two key paragraphs from the column:

Colorado secretary of state Scott Gessler, along with several county election clerks, have raised warning flags that a new state law that automatically mails a ballot to everyone is an engraved invitation to commit fraud. “Sending ballots to people who did not even ask for them or have moved out of state is asking for trouble” he told me. For example, little can stop someone who collects discarded ballots from trash cans, fills out the ballots, and mails them in. Election workers are supposed to compare signatures on registration records with signed ballots. But if a person has a “witness” who signs the ballot on the witness line, then the signatures do not have to match and the vote is counted.

Secretary of State Gessler had futile arguments with Democratic state legislators last year who insisted on ramming a bill through that mandated Colorado become the only state in the nation with both all-mail balloting and same-day registration. Under same-day registration someone can register to vote online, have a mail ballot sent to them, and never physically show up to register or vote. Other places that use same-day registration treat the vote as a provisional ballot pending verification. Colorado immediately counts the vote and there is no way to separate it out if the person who votes is later found ineligible. “We know people in other states with better integrity safeguards have cheated using the cover of these methods,” Gessler told me. A decade ago, Melody Rose, then a liberal professor at Oregon State University, concluded that state’s vote-by-mail system “brings a perpetual risk of systemic fraud” in elections with razor-thin margins.

Coincidentally, the documentary Rocky Mountain Heist that I wrote about here earlier this week covers the same “reforms.” Michelle talked about the documentary with Megyn Kelly on the Kelly File. TheRightScoop has posted video of the Kelly File segment here.

Psaki pspeaks

A terrorist attack in Jerusalem yesterday resulted in the death of a three-month old baby girl, Chaya Zissle Braun. News of the attack was drowned out by events in Ottawa, but the attack is worthy of note.

It turns out, according to Israeli officials, that the perpetrator was connected to Hamas; he died of injuries sustained in the aftermath of the attack). Whether or not he was connected to Hamas, Hamas has issued a statement praising the attack. So has Islamic Jihad. It also turns out that the murdered infant was an American citizen. This is the statement issued last night by State Department spokesman Jen Psaki:

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem. We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured. We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.

Psaki’s statement leaves a few questions hanging. Among them: How many sides are there? Which side are we on? Or don’t we have a side?

You wonder how far we can fall into cretinous moral debility. When we seem to have hit bottom we discover that we have further to fall and that we are falling deeper into it every day.

Via David Steinberg/PJ Media.

Is Architecture “Racist”?

For a pure distillation of liberal stupidity, it is hard to beat this article in the Denver Post by the paper’s Fine Arts Critic. Denver’s main train depot, Union Station, has been renovated and restored to its former glory (more or less), which is what troubles the arts critic. The restored building is, he thinks, racist…

Our fearless critic began by spending hours at Union Station, classifying visitors by skin color:

Thursday, 1 p.m.: 186 whites, 1 black, 4 Latinos, 4 Asians.

Friday, 6 p.m.: 647 whites, 6 blacks, 6 Latinos, 7 Asians

Saturday, 11 p.m.: 693 whites, 4 blacks, 2 Latinos, 7 Asians.

It’s dangerous to assign race to people simply by glancing at their faces. Some people don’t look at all like their race. Many people are a mix.

But if my recent counts of people in the restaurants, bars and shops in and around Denver’s rehabbed, reopened Union Station are even close, it’s an overwhelmingly white place.

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Union Station is, of course, open to all members of the public. Maybe Latinos, Asians and African-Americans are too smart to patronize mediocre, overpriced restaurants. But there is more to the Post’s “racism” theory:

It’s easy to speculate why things are different at Union Station, though it requires some less elegant thinking about the way people of different ethnicities behave, some stereotyping. That’s more dangerous than going room-to-room at the station, divvying up faces by the way they look, and keeping tallies on my iPhone.

But, hey! We’re liberals. Let’s go ahead and stereotype. It’s all in a good cause:

Let’s start with the building itself, the actual architecture. Union Station is a neo-classical mix of styles — European styles. The symmetry, arched windows, ornate cornice and stacked, stone walls have their roots in the glory days of France, England, Greece and Rome, in empires that were nearly absent of ethnic minorities and who felt fully at ease invading, exploiting and actually enslaving the people of Africa, subcontinent Asia and South America.

This is mind-bendingly dumb. It is evident that the Post’s Fine Arts Critic didn’t major in history. France, England, Greece and Rome–four peas in a pod! But let’s not pause to consider the ancient Greeks’ conquest of Brazil, or what on God’s green Earth any of this has to do with Denver’s train station. The stupidity continues:

Yes, that’s all in the past; things have changed. But the $54 million renovation of Union Station doesn’t take that into account. It restores the symbols of an old world with no updates. The gilded chandeliers have been rewired, the marble polished, but there’s no nod to the present, no interior walls in the bright colors of Mexico, no Asian simplicity is in the remix. There are no giant sculptures by African-American artists bonused into the lobby, no murals on the basement walls.

Have you noticed that Asian-Americans don’t like to go anywhere that doesn’t exhibit “Asian simplicity,” and African-Americans won’t set foot in a public place unless it features “giant sculptures”? Sure. Just as I, a loyal Norwegian-American, refuse to patronize any restaurant that doesn’t feature a replica Viking ship in the lobby and whose walls are not lined with horned helmets. Stereotypes rule!

The craziness goes on and on, but let’s close with this:

There is no one at the door looking folks over. The workforce is mixed. There’s no open policy of exclusion.

But there may be an institutional one. RTD had a thousand choices when it was rehabbing the station. It could have put in a farmer’s market or a suite of micro-offices. It could have let its imagination run wild and installed a basketball court or a rec center, day-care facility, museum, a theater that any group could rent, an indoor playground, or yes, a Subway.

But it chose a different path. RTD, whose buses and trains are the most diverse places in Denver, created a monster of separation.

A “monster of separation”? Seriously? This guy needs to take a brisk walk, or, better yet, get a new job, preferably one requiring physical exertion. I have critiqued his effort gently; for less polite evaluations, see the comments on the article at the link. They are unanimously brutal–which, I guess, means that there is still hope for Denver.

Terrorist Attack In Ottawa [Updated]

Today a Muslim convert attacked the Canadian Parliament building, after first murdering a soldier at a nearby memorial. The terrorist, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau–real name, Michael Hall–apparently fired dozens of rounds inside the Parliament building, without injuring anyone, and was shot and killed by a Sergeant at Arms who effectively discharged his ancient duty.

As usual, the Daily Mail has the best pictures. This is Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who was murdered as he stood guard at the National War Memorial:

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This photo was taken inside the Parliament building, reportedly as shots were being fired:

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It was originally believed that there were one or two terrorists in addition to the one who was killed; current news reports leave this question open. Canadian officials tweeted their concerns about being in danger. This photo shows the inside of the Conservative Party Caucus, where the door was blocked with chairs:

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The Wall Street Journal has a good narrative of today’s events. It includes these observations on America’s counter-terrorism strategy:

U.S. officials have long regarded U.S. security as dependent on Canada’s, given that terrorists could fly anywhere in North America and make their way across the border into the U.S.

For that reason, U.S. and Canadian security officials have worked closely on monitoring travel by extremists.

However, if the Canadian attack turns out to be a so-called homegrown threat, it could challenge the assumption that the best way to prevent terrorist attacks is to prevent terrorists from coming to North America.

The bulk of U.S. counterterrorism efforts have focused on marshaling intelligence and military means to find and sometimes capture or kill terrorists overseas—or tracking any U.S. links they might have and arresting them or their co-conspirators in America.

“Those tools cannot be applied to threats that originate domestically,” said John Cohen, the former top counterterrorism official at the Homeland Security Department who now works at Rutgers University.

Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau is not the only recent homegrown Canadian threat. Just two days ago near Montreal, a Muslim convert named Martin “Ahmad” Rouleau rammed two Canadian soldiers with his car, killing one.

The driver of a car who rammed two Canadian Forces members near Montreal before being shot dead by police was known to counter-terrorism authorities who believed he had become radicalized, the RCMP said on Monday as they continued to investigate the possible terrorist attack.

So that’s two home-grown terrorist attacks in the space of two days. It is reasonable to believe that some of these converted Muslims, at least, are motivated by exhortations from ISIS. But the common denominator is Islam. We should, certainly, limit Muslim immigration and track terrorists overseas, but that is evidently not a complete solution. Crushing ISIS would help, as no one flocks to the banner of a loser. But that is not currently on the agenda in Washington. In the meantime, today’s attack is a reminder of how much disruption can be caused by a small number of terrorist (likely just one) armed with universally available weapons.

UPDATE: I should have noted that Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was already known to Canadian authorities as a potential terrorist; he recently had his passport confiscated as a “high risk traveler.” His mother, it turns out, is the Deputy Chairperson for the Immigration and Refuge Board of Canada. This photo of Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau has also surfaced:

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Fraudie Foodies Exposed

McDonald’s just turned in a lousy earnings quarter, but don’t say I didn’t warn you this was coming.  The company is promising “fresh thinking,” which will prompt all the Big Mac deniers to make the obvious jokes about offering fresh food.

Except that it turns out there is no one easier to fool, apparently, than snobby foodies.  Check out this three-minute video out of Europe (it’s in Esperanto or something, so you need to click on the “closed caption” or “cc” button at the bottom for English subtitles), in which some merry pranksters dress up some McDonald’s food in haute cuisine disguise, and totally fool the foolish foodies. My favorite is the young lady who says: “It definitely tastes a lot better, and that fact that it’s organic is definitely a good thing.”

Next up: Maybe we’ll recycle one of those “ban di-hydrogen monoxide” petition drives.

Anne Kuster’s ghoulish pro-choice rally [UPDATED]

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Annie Kuster, a Dartmouth grad, represents New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District. She’s a “pro-choice” Democrat.

Kuster is locked in a tight race with rising star Republican Marilinda Garcia. Larry Sabato rates the race “leans Democratic.”

This morning, Kuster held a rally to announce that she has received the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire, the state’s leading pro-abortion outfit. The rally was held in a room decorated with a skeleton and other spooky Halloween decorations. These items were intermingled with various “pro-choice” signs.

Naturally, the ghoulishness of the juxtaposition was lost on Kuster, her staff, and her pro-abortion supporters. Perhaps it will not be lost on swing voters in the Second District.

UPDATE: To support Marilinda Garcia, you can contribute here. It would be great if Mia Love, Elise Stepanik, and Garcia all won. That would provide quite an infusion of young talent into the Republican caucus.