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Friday, Jun 24, 2016

The Right Stuff

A politics blog by Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson's baseball card - if he had one - would report he throws left, writes right. In his columns and blog, "The Right Stuff," southpaw Jackson provides insight into the evolving human condition from a distinctly conservative point of view.

Trump’s revealing National Enquirer fetish

Even as Indianans cast the ballots that polls indicate will thrust Donald Trump into the role of the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, the bombastic blowhard know-nothing gutter-trolling bully from Queens-via-Bizarro-World provided a fresh reason for decent people to recoil.

Tuesday, not for the first time, Trump hauled up the National Enquirer’s reporting as a way to cast doubt on his nearest rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Then it was about allegations of Cruz having committed serial extra-marital dalliances, none of which survived scrutiny. Now — “now” being the operative term; the story was published two weeks ago — it’s a claim, based on a fuzzy photo from the early 1960s, that Rafael Cruz, the candidate’s father, was somehow affiliated with Lee Harvey Oswald, who did something, or had something happen to him, that was awful. Trump doesn’t say, exactly.

“His father was with ... Oswald prior to Oswald’s being, you know, shot,” Mr. Trump babbled on ‘Fox and Friends,’ where he rightly surmised such derangement would not be challenged. “I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right, prior to his being shot — and nobody even brings it up.”

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Seeking balance in bathroom wars

About a month after Bruce Springsteen exercised his right to withhold services from eager customers living in a state whose legislature has expressed a viewpoint counter to his own, not much has changed.

Instead of settling things, the Boss appears only to have reaffirmed that our age is firmly post-ironic. Meanwhile in North Carolina, it’s still illegal for a person to enter sex-specific restrooms and changing facilities unless that sex is reflected on their birth certificate. (Who’s checking? Beats me.)

There are other parts of the North Carolina statute that are problematic, but, astonishingly, it’s the bathroom codicil that has everyone fixing bayonets.

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A spark named Carly; Trump’s legal trouble

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Not since Ronald Reagan in 1976 has a Republican presidential candidate identified his choice for a running mate before he secured the nomination ... and that little slice of strategy turned out not to be enough to overhaul front-runner Gerald Ford.

But desperate times, and all that.

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A spark named Carly

Not since Ronald Reagan in 1976 has a serious Republican presidential candidate identified his choice for a running mate before he secured the nomination ... and that little slice of strategy turned out not to be enough to overhaul frontrunner Gerald Ford.

But desperate times, and all that.

Now that Ted Cruz has tapped former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, it’s safe to say we have entered the kitchen-sink portion of the Texas senator’s campaign.

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Trump’s July just got far more interesting

Not to rain on Donald Trump’s resounding triumph in the so-called “Acela Primary” Tuesday — The Right Stuff never would do that intentionally ... or would it? — but a U.S. District Court judge has set the hearing for motions from lawyers for the billionaire businessman in the class-action suit over Trump University.

The date? July 19. Sound familiar? You better believe it does. Out of all the days in all the months in all the year, Gonzalo Curiel — Trump’s infamously reviled Hispanic judge — picked the first day of the Republican National Convention.

The case before Curiel is not the only legal trouble faced by the defunct real-estate instruction school. As Politico notes:

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The divine spark, revealed at last

Even the Founders who regarded God as a disinterested progenitor acknowledged a supernatural link between the supreme being and each human, an acknowledgment that produced is own sacred offspring, the most important passage in the Declaration of Independence, the one about being endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.

Lord Byron and George Washington wrote of the divine spark, the “celestial fire” within each of us. But through the ages, no matter how diligent the believer, the concept was only metaphorical.

Now researchers at Northwestern University have discovered something fascinating: The moment sperm unites with an egg, a bright flash is emitted.

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A new, improved Trump? Don’t bet the rent money

Donald Trump stormed to his most impressive victory to date in New York Tuesday, winning his home state with 60 percent of the vote — his first clear-majority triumph — and gobbling up all but five of 95 available delegates.

But as eye-popping as his landslide was, what seemed to catch commentators’ attention was his post-election performance. What a switch, everyone marveled.

Previously, Trump’s victory speeches seemed sprung from the WWE writers’ room, all graceless boast and bombast. If he wasn’t Muhammad Ali roaring over a crumpled Sonny Liston, he was the taunting chump on the sidelines of the Divison I national championship game.

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In which Ted Cruz declines to play Trump-surrogate Hannity’s game

Noted Donald Trump shill Sean Hannity invited Ted Cruz on his radio show Tuesday afternoon, apparently to explain how conventions work ... because obviously Hannity’s preferred candidate is only now beginning to figure it out.

But no matter how many times Hannity presented the question, the huckleberry in Trump’s haphazard march to the magic 1,237 delegates (the number necessary for the Republican nomination) declined to cooperate.

Instead, the Texas senator and nine-time representative of conservative causes before the U.S. Supreme Court invoked his prosecutor’s skills against the Trump campaign’s ineptitude — the Kardasian reality show couldn’t run a lemonade stand, he jabbed — while restating the case for the conservative planks of his platform.

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A modest proposal for divorce reforms

Houston lawyer Leslie Loftis writes persuasively that Gov. Rick Scott was wrong to veto this year’s attempt by the Legislature to reform Florida’s divorce laws.

SB 668, which passed overwhelmingly in both the Senate and House, staked out sensible modifications in the assessment of alimony — the sticking point when Scott vetoed a similar bill in 2013 — and, in cases involving children, would have instructed courts to begin from a presumption of equally shared custody.

What we now know, from decades of studies of Wednesdays [visitation] and assorted alternates, is that those custody arrangements do not come close to the 33 percent floor of father time that the now-established research says is best for child outcomes. Fatherlessness is the foundation of so many societal ills, and courts often create that fatherlessness. ...

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Holder knew, early, about Fast and Furious ... but do we care?

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Remember the adage, “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up”? Well. That one might have outlived its usefulness. In expert hands, obfuscation and delay can pay handsomely, as we continue to learn from the audacious presidency of Barack Obama.

At issue just now are fresh revelations about “Fast and Furious,” the infamous gun-walking scheme hatched in November 2009 by Obama’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Arizona branch, ostensibly to track the flow of firearms to drug cartels across the U.S.-Mexico border. Contrary to lore, this was long after George W. Bush had retired to civilian life, and a far smaller, but no less dubious, program (“Operation Wide Receiver”) was long shut down, leaving lessons not learned.

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