Chris Christie Really Only Beat Rick Santorum in Iowa

Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a town hall at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a town hall at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016.

John Kasich phoned in his Iowa campaign. Literally.

The Ohio governor and presidential candidate held three “tele-town halls” in Iowa, where he talked with voters over the phone. At one point, he flew into Iowa to hold one rally, which The Des Moines Register called “unusual” and said he “alternately complimented and playfully antagonized the people who had come to listen to him speak.”

Kasich has concentrated most of his campaigning in New Hampshire, where according to polls he’s in a race for second place. New York Times politics writer tweeted Kasich ignored Iowa.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also focused on New Hampshire, but he did not ignore Iowa. He was there for all or part of 42 days, costing New Jersey taxpayers millions. Christie first visited the state back in 2010, and famously vetoed a symbolic pig crate ban in 2014 in order to appease Iowa voters. On Sunday night, he campaigned with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.

His campaign manager said Kasich, who had already left the state, was making the wrong choice. “You fight for every vote,” Christie’s campaign manager, Mike DuHaime, told the Washington Post. “I know John Kasich decided to leave, and that’s fine, that’s their strategy. But you have to respect the process.” Christie told Good Morning America he wouldn’t win, but he’d do well: “What I’ve wanted all along is to come out of Iowa as the number one governor. Polls show that I will be the number one governor.”

Whoops. Read more »

False Alarm in “Active Shooter” Situation in San Diego

san-diego-shooting-940x540

UPDATE 1/26/2016 2 p.m.: On Tuesday morning in California, shots were reported inside a San Diego naval facility, but it looks like it was a false alarm, with multiple press outlets reporting that there’s no evidence that a shooting occurred.

“Apparently someone said they heard three shots in the basement of Building 26. Maybe they did or not is not the point; that’s what they reported, so that’s why we responded accordingly,” Navy spokesperson Jon Nylander said. “We haven’t gotten any reports of any injuries.”

ORIGINAL:

Reports coming out of San Diego, California indicate that an active shooter has been reported at the Naval Medical Center there. Read more »

Christie: Obama Lax on Weed Because He Used to Smoke Pot

AP-CHRIS-CHRISTIE-PHOTO-MATT-ROURKE-940X540

As we all know, Chris Christie isn’t spending much time in New Jersey, which is racking up quite the tab for his state security detail. But what do you expect: He’s running for president, and to win early-nominating states you have to spend a lot of time in Iowa and New Hampshire to talk about corn and freedom and whatever. This is how we choose our president.

So. Chris Christie was in Council Bluffs, Iowa, this morning — it’s just two weeks until Iowa’s first-in-the-nation nominating caucuses — and spoke before a standing-room-only crowd of about 100 people.

He told Iowans he would eliminate healthy school lunches if he became president. He also talked about his staunch anti-marijuana stance, and how when he’s president he will be cracking down on states that have legalized weed.

Read more »

Okay People, the Donald Trump Joke Is Over

Left: Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  (Courtesy of Warner Bros.) Right: Donald Trump in Las Vegas. (John Locher, AP)

Left: Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Courtesy of Warner Bros.) Right: Donald Trump in Las Vegas. (John Locher, AP)

I discovered a new favorite game a couple months ago while rereading the Harry Potter series. I call it, simply, “Who said it: Lord Voldemort or Donald Trump?”

Provided you don’t catch Voldemort during a tender moment, the bigoted egomaniacs have a lot in common. Want to play, for old time’s sake?

“There is no good and evil. There is only power, and those too weak to seek it.” (Voldemort, who apparently read The Art of the Deal)

“My Twitter has become so powerful that I can actually make my enemies tell the truth.” (this one is Trump, master of the Veritaserum serum)

“I can make things move without touching them. I can make animals do what I want without training them. I can make bad things happen to people who are mean to me.” (Voldemort, by a hair)

“Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.” (Trump, by a less dignified hair)

“I’m putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, if I win, they’re going back.” (Trump, right before outlining his position on mudbloods and muggles)

I’m not the first to connect the dots between the Dark Lord and the Donald. A genius Google Chrome extension changes all mentions of Trump to Voldemort or one of his aliases, including “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,” “You-Know-Who” or “Tom Riddle.”

It was an amusing little feature for a minute, but honestly, like my Harry Potter game, it’s just not that much fun anymore. Read more »

After San Bernardino Shooting, “Thoughts and Prayers” Anger Is Wrong

After Tuesday’s massacre in San Bernardino, this is almost certainly the most viral, most-Facebooked newspaper cover in the country today:

daily news thoughts and prayers

The idea? That “thoughts and prayers” are useless — that it’s time to take action and pass some gun control already!

I’m not unsympathetic to that idea. As has been widely noted, we’re experiencing about one mass shooting per day in the United States this year; and while it’s true that the number of homicides in this country is down, radically, from the 1990s peak, it’s also true that we’re still experiencing levels of gun violence that other countries endure usually only if they’re in the middle of a civil war or some other sectarian violence. And our violence is gun-fueled: We’re not counting the number of “mass stabbings” in America, are we?

Still, the anger over politicians expressing “thoughts and prayers” is misplaced, for two reasons: Read more »

What Lots of Americans Don’t Get About Islam

Veterans during a rally Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, at the Statehouse, in Providence, R.I., held to demonstrate against allowing Syrian refugees to enter Rhode Island following the terror attacks in Paris.

Veterans during a rally Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, at the Statehouse, in Providence, R.I., held to demonstrate against allowing Syrian refugees to enter Rhode Island following the terror attacks in Paris.

I am a Christian. So is Pope Francis. So was the Rev. Fred Phelps.

I don’t think anyone reading this would confuse any one of the three of us for the other.

Yet too many of us here in America do exactly that when it comes to dealing with Islam and Muslims, and in our current paranoid state in the wake of the ISIS attacks on Paris, our inability or refusal to recognize diversity within Islam may mean that we will fail in meeting a humanitarian imperative. Read more »

I See “The World” Differently Than Ta-Nehisi Coates

Coates | Nina Subin, Penguin Random House

Coates | Nina Subin, Penguin Random House

I missed out on the hottest ticket in town when Ta-Nehisi Coates was in Philly in October for a talk at the Free Library based on his bestselling, National Book Award-nominated tome, Between the World and Me. (There is a streaming finalists reading tonight at 7; the awards will be announced tomorrow.)

Chances are, though, that if you are an avid consumer of ideas, you’re talking about him anyway, even if you missed the talk, haven’t read the book or one of its many excerpts, or missed his chat with Terry Gross on WHYY’s Fresh Air.

That’s because Coates has undeniably struck a national nerve at just the right moment. As the drumbeat of stories in which cops kill black men (and they are mostly men) with questionable use of force continues, along comes Coates to tell us this sort of thing is encoded in our nation’s DNA.

Like James Baldwin before him, Coates has cast himself as our racial Cassandra, reminding us that the debt for slavery remains unpaid and condemning society for failing to recognize this. And like Baldwin before him, Coates has decided that it’s best to reflect on his native land’s transgressions from afar — Paris, to which numerous African-Americans fed up with the United States have retreated.  Read more »

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