Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Bill Clinton-Raul Castro handshake is hard to watch

(My new American Thinker post)



Former President Clinton and Cuban dictator Raul Castro had a friendly handshake at the UN. To be fair, these handshakes are part of the phoniness of this UN week when all of the world's leaders drop in for their big speech. Nevertheless, the Clinton-Castro love fest took many of us back to that day in 1996 when CNN reported this:



Two small planes operated by a Cuban-American group were shot down by Cuban fighters over the waters north of Havana and the four people on board were missing, President Clinton and the U.S. Coast Guard said Saturday.


Clinton said he had been briefed on "the shooting down Saturday in broad daylight of two American civilian airplanes by Cuban military aircraft."



"I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms," Clinton told reporters in Seattle, Washington.



The two planes with four people on board were twin-engine Cessna aircraft operated by the group "Brothers to the Rescue," a Miami-based group of Cuban exiles funded by private donations. The group has flown hundreds of missions to spot Cuban rafters attempting to flee their island nations.



Group founder Jose Basulto was on a third plane that escaped the gunfire and returned to Miami.



Basulto said all three planes had radioed Cuban air traffic controllers to identify themselves and report their intentions to search international waters for Cuban refugees who may be on rafts.


An act of war? I would say that shooting innocent citizens over international waters is pretty close to an act of war.  



President Clinton announced new sanctions against Cuba, again as reported by CNN:



In addition to pursuing international sanctions, Clinton pledged Monday to work with Congress to pass the so-called Helms-Burton legislation which would tighten the existing U.S. embargo against Cuba.



The president said he would ask Congress to permit him to use some of the approximately $100 million in frozen Cuban assets in the U.S. to compensate the families of the four missing Cuban-American pilots and crew members.



Clinton also announced additional punitive measures, among them:


  • tighter restrictions on the movement of Cuban officials in the United States;
  • efforts to increase funding to help the U.S. government's Radio Marti overcome Cuba's jamming of its broadcasts;
  • suspension of all commercial charter flights between the U.S. and Cuba

It's hard for me to watch that handshake at the UN without asking two big questions:



1) How desperate is Bill Clinton for contributions to the Foundation? Will Raul Castro be the new despot to put money in the Clinton machine?



2) Will anyone in the Cuban government ever be held accountable for the shooting of these 4 individuals?  



Last, but not least, let's remember that the U.S. wanted to indict Raul Castro for his "Cocaine connection" back in 1993. It had to do with Raul Castro letting cartels use Cuban airways to move cocacine into the U.S.



That was then and this is now. And frankly now makes no sense!



P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


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Some thoughts on the Pope in Cuba & US plus Raul Castro at the UN


Guest: Jorge Ponce, Cuban American writer and contributor to Babalu Blog, joins me for a look at Pope Francis' visit to the US..........overall I was satisfied because he stayed away from politics and focused on the message of the church......Raul Castro was also in the UN for the annual meeting......he shook hands with President Clinton who must be desperately looking for some new contributions to the Foundation.......wonder how the families of the "Brothers to the Rescue" feel about the handshake?     

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Williams showed some real character playing that doubleheader

(My new American Thinker post)

1941 was the year of DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak, the last summer of peace and Ted Williams ended up with a .406 batting average.  

It is remarkable to go back and see Williams' consistency:

The eventual seventeen-time All-Star began the season going one-for-one with a 1.000 batting average.
Over the rest of the season, his average never fell below .308, and was almost always over .400.

In fact, on July 24, it stood at .397. It would never again fall below .400. Williams wrapped up 1941 at 185-456, good for an average of .406.

While Williams’ batting average garnered all of the attention in 1941, he also led the league in home runs (37), base on balls (147), runs (135), slugging average (.735), and on base percentage (.551).

But here is the best part of the story. This is where this goes from another baseball story to a triumph of character.



This is where Ted Williams' talent and tenacity was displayed, as remembered in this article by Bill Pennington years ago:

Inside his room at Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Hotel on Saturday, Sept. 27, 1941, Ted Williams was jumpy and impatient.

That might have been an apt description of the mercurial Williams at most times, but on this evening he had good cause for his unease.

His batting average stood at .39955 with a season-finale doubleheader to be played the next day at Shibe Park, home of Connie Mack’s Athletics. Since batting averages are rounded to the next decimal, Williams could have sat out the final two games and still officially crested baseball’s imposing .400 barrier.

At the time, Williams said, “If I’m going to be a .400 hitter, I want more than my toenails on the line.”







So he went 6 for 8 and crashed through the .400 barrier.



As we learned later, Williams had many character flaws.He wasn't the nicest guy in the clubhouse or with the media. He couldn't even return a salute to the fans at Fenway who cheered his last at bat, a home run, naturally.



Nevertheless, his performance in the last game of 1941 is a lesson for us all. He could have sat out the double header and hit .400, or the rounded version of .3995. Instead, he put everything on the line and came out with a .406 average.


Love him or hate him, I have to love that he was not afraid to put everything on the line.   



As the son of Cuban immigrants, I know a bit out putting everything on the line. I watched my parents do that several times. Maybe that's why I admire that quality in Ted Williams so much.



P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.



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The week in review with Bill Katz, the editor of Urgent Agenda


Guest:  Bill Katz, the editor of Urgent Agenda......we will look at Speaker Boehner's resignation.....who is the next Speaker?    the GOP contest for president.......President Obama meets President Putin at the UN.........it appears that Russia will be more involved in the Middle East..................VP Biden looks more and more like a candidate......Pope Francis before Congress and UN......Iran nuclear deal.........the President of China is in the US......we remember Yogi Berra......and other stories of the week....

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Tags: Speaker Boehbner's resignation, President Obama and President Putin, Russia has expanded its role in the Middle East, VP Biden 2016, Pope Francis in the US, President of China in the US  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the My View by Silvio Canto, Jr. Thanks!

Monday, September 28, 2015

How did we go from the Kennedy-Nixon debates to this?

(My new American Thinker post)

Here is a little project. Go to the internet and watch the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960.  You may be shocked to discover how seriously we used to treat our politics, especially the journalists.

The first Kennedy-Nixon debate took place on September 26, 1960.  We learned later that radio listeners thought that Nixon had won but TV viewers gave Kennedy the edge.  The election was settled by 114,000 votes out of 76 million, so I'm not sure how much of an impact the debates actually had.

Watching the video of these debates today did have an impact on me.  It took me to a time when our politicians – and journalists – had a greater level of civility and seriousness than they do today.

For example, the media did not ask these questions:  

Senator Kennedy, VP Nixon said this about you.  Can you respond, please?  

VP Nixon, Senator Kennedy said this in a speech in 1955.  What do you think of something he said 5 years ago?   

On the contrary, the questions were very serious and showed tremendous respect for the millions tuning in.  Everyone on the stage, and in subsequent debates, made us proud of American democracy.

Our debates today are too much entertainment and not enough substance.  Frankly, that's how I felt about the CNN debate that just happened.

Check out the 1960 debate.  You will have the same reaction that I did.  How did such a serious nation get so unserious?

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


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The GOP in California with Patricia Dickson........plus......the president of China in the US

Guests:   We will hear from Patricia Dickson.....she recently attended the GOP convention in California and has some ideas about the state of the party.............In Segment 2, we will hear from Barry Jacobsen about the president of China in the US......there are many issues on the table, from climate change to military activism y the Chinese Navy.....and other stories of the week....


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Sunday, September 27, 2015

The pope and the ObamaCare nuns

(My new American Thinker post)

The pope's speech before Congress had few if any specifics.   In retrospect, the pope's approach was correct.   In other words, we don't need a pope getting in the middle of politics.  I'm grateful that he took this thoughtful approach.
The pope did make a political statement, although most of the media missed it. The pope met with the sisters in a fight with the Obama administration over Obama Care. This is from The Washington Post:
Pope Francis met with the Little Sisters of the Poor — nuns who have been in a long battle over a contraception mandate part of Obamacare — at their home across the street from Catholic University after he celebrated Mass on Wednesday. The pope’s visit to the Little Sisters was a sign of support for them in their legal battle, Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, told reporters.
The Little Sisters of the Poor, which operates homes for the elderly in cities across the country, has been in a battle with the Obama administration over the law’s requirement that they allow their insurers to offer free contraception coverage to employees.
The Becket Fund senior counsel Mark Rienzi, lead attorney for the Little Sisters, who spoke with one of the nuns after the meeting, said the pope was at their home for about 15 minutes and shook hands and spoke with each one of them in their chapel.
The pope visited the White House on Wednesday morning calling for strong protections for religious liberty. During his meeting with the sisters, Francis told them how important their ministry is and how ministry to the elderly is often overlooked, Rienzi said.
The nun he spoke with said she did not hear the pope bring up the lawsuit during his brief visit.
The pope did not have to bring up the lawsuit.   The Pope's decision to meet with these nuns speaks for itself.   It was not an accident.  He could have met with lots of other religious men or women.  The pope's visit was a clear sign that the Vatican is not happy with ObamaCare, and more importantly, the attack on religious liberty.
The media has not covered this visit to the nuns as much as other issues.  Yet, this meeting with the nuns is the closest that Pope Francis came to making a political statement in the US.


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The Pope in Cuba plus US-Latin American stories of the week




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Saturday, September 26, 2015

55, and I am not talking about the speed limit

(My new American Thinker post)

Speaker Boehner is out, and most conservatives are apparently happy.  
I have mixed feelings, since I think that the problem is a bit more complicated than changing speakers.
I agree that Speaker Boehner could have been more aggressive, especially on Obamacare.  After all, doesn't the House hold the purse strings?
Nevertheless, most bills are tied up in the U.S. Senate or the filibuster.  The House has passed bill after bill repealing Obamacare, but they go nowhere in the Senate.  The late-term abortion bill did not get 60 votes.  The Iran deal got 58, or two short of the magic number.
How can you govern if every bill requires 60%?  Shouldn't elections have some consequences?
Who will replace Speaker Boehner?  I agree with Leon H. Wolf that replacing Boehner with McCarthy will do little.
The answer is for the Senate GOP leadership to take a look at the filibuster rule.  I'm not suggesting that we go 51, but maybe 55 is a more reasonable number.
Good luck to Speaker Boehner.  I just hope that his critics realize that the 60-vote rule is the reason that nothing happens in Washington, D.C.
Fifty-five is not a simple majority, but it will force U.S. Senators to vote more often than they do now.  We've had one president get more than 55% in 31 years, or President Reagan in 1984.  Generally, 55 requires the majority to get some senators from the other party.
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Speaker Boehner, Pope Francis in the US and the filibuster rule


Guest:   Frank Burke, author, businessman and contributor to American Thinker.......We will look at Speaker Boehner's resignation.....who is the next Speaker?    the GOP contest...who is the next one to drop out?  Pope Francis before Congress and UN......the President of China is in the US......the filibuster rule needs to be reviewed.....or 55 rather than 60 so that we force more votes in the US Senate.....and other stories of the week...........

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Friday, September 25, 2015

The Pope should give a climate change speech in China

(My new American Thinker post)



Pope Francis spoke before Congress.   I heard it on the radio and did not hear anything explosive.   He did talk about refugees and immigration but he was careful not to step on anyone's shoes.    Same on abortion and marriage.  It was a vanilla speech and very difficult to understand because of the Pope's thick accent.



My suggestion is that Pope Francis should take his climate change message to China because that's where the problem is, as reported by BBC a couple of months ago:
China - the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases - has announced details of its climate action plan.
The office of Premier Li Keqiang said that emissions "will peak by around 2030" and China would work hard to achieve the target even earlier.

The Pope should also travel to India and give a similar speech.   India is 3rd on the list!   The US is # 2.

My point is that too much of the climate change criticism is directed at the US.   Even American environmentalists do not challenge China or India.  

I will give Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt on intentions.   I'm sure that he means well.   However, you can't fix this problem without involving other countries or discussing the real world consequences, as Senator Rubio said in the last debate:

“Here’s the bottom line,” Rubio answered. “Every proposal they put forward will make it harder to do business in America. Harder to create jobs in America.Single parents are already struggling across this country to provide for their families.Maybe a billionaire here in California can afford an increase in their utility rates, but a working family in Tampa, Florida or anywhere across the country cannot afford it.”


That's correct.   No one has discussed or analyzed how all of these ideas will impact the middle or lower middle classes.   

How are people going to cool or warm up their homes?   

What are they going to put in their cars or the trucks that move commerce?  

What is the jobs impact of all of this?

And the US is not a planet.   We can only do so much anyway.   This is a global problem but you wouldn't believe it by the criticisms always directed at the US.


P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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The California GOP plus the President of China comes to the US


Guests:   We will hear from Patricia Dickson.....she recently attended the GOP convention in California and has some ideas about the state of the party.............In Segment 2, we will hear from Barry Jacobsen about the president of China in the US......there are many issues on the table, from climate change to military activism y the Chinese Navy.....and other stories of the week.................Click to listen:


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Thursday, September 24, 2015

1974: Al Kaline gets # 3,000


Al Kaline was one of the most consistent hitters of the 20th century.  He was also a superb right fielder.   On this day in 1974, Al Kaline got # 3,000 in a game against the Orioles in Baltimore.   He retired at the end of the season   Overall, Kaline hit .he 3,007 with a .297 career average, 399 home runs and 1,582 RBI.

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Yogi Berra was one of a kind


(My new American Thinker post)

As a little boy, I remember my dad talking baseball with friends over dominos, cigars, and Cuban coffee.  

Most Cubans were Senators' fans because of Camilo Pascual and Pedro Ramos, two of the best Latino pitchers ever. They pitched for bad Washington teams until they moved to Minnesota and started winning. Unfortunately, Pascual and Ramos did not enjoy pitching for those Twins teams that featured fellow Cubans Tony Oliva & Zoilo Versalles, a young Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew in his prime.

My dad and friends were huge admirers of the Yankees, the top sports team of the time. I remember my dad telling stories of the Dodgers-Yankees rivalry and those World Series that he followed on radio, and then on TV. Yogi Berra was one of those players that they talked about. 

Like a lot of kids of my generation, we got to know the post-baseball Yogi Berra. We remember him on Johnny Carson or other baseball events. We remember laughing and admiring the wisdom of his quotes.   

Berra died yesterday at age 90. It's worth remembering just how great a player he was:  
1) 13 World Series rings, three American League MVP Awards (1951, '54, and '55) and World Series records;

2)  He batted .285, hit 358 home runs and drove in 1,430 runs. No player whose primary position was catcher has driven in run more runs. He averaged just fewer than 5.5 strikeouts per 100 at-bats, never striking out more than 38 times in a season, and 102 RBIs per season in an 11-season sequence that began in 1948, the first year he appeared in more than 100 games.

3) He was a teammate of Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle; and

4) He played for the Yankees that won the Series 5 years in a row: 1949-53.
He was a great player as those 3 MVP's confirm. Like Pete Rose, he made the best out of his skills.

Of course, you can't write his story without one of his quotes. My favorite is one about life that is so profound, especially those of us who had Little League kids:
I tell the kids, somebody's gotta win, somebody's gotta lose. Just don't fight about it. Just try to get better.
RIP Yogi Berra. Wonder how St Peter greeted Yogi?  He probably said:  Thanks for your generosity, loved your quotes, and a lot of your Yankee teammates are waiting over there.  

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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The Pope in Cuba plus US-Latin America stories of the week


Guests:   Fausta Rodriguez Wertz, editor of Fausta's Blog, and Fernando Hernandez, author of "The Cubans" will join us for a look at Pope Francis in Cuba.....reactions in the Latin America media............the bad economy in Brazil........an earthquake in Chile.........the ongoing border crisis between Venezuela and Colombia......the continuing story of the 43 missing students in Mexico.......El Chapo is still missing........a column by Andres Oppenheimer and Latin America disenchantment..........and other stories of the week.......

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

We remember Marcelino Lopez

Marcelino Lopez was born in Havana 72 years ago.   He died in Miami in 2001.

50 years ago, 21-year old Marcelino was named AL Rookie of the Year.   He won 14, lost 13 and finished the year with a 2.93 ERA.   It was a great year for the young Cuban lefthander.

A few years later, Marcelino played with the Orioles and pitched in the post-season.    In 1970-71, he pitched with the Brewers.

His career ended in 1972 and I'm not sure what he did in the Miami area after he left baseball.

Nevertheless, we remember the young Cuban lefty who shared the Los Angeles sports pages with Sandy Koufax in 1965.

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More evidence of the poisonous effect of Roe v. Wade

(My new American Thinker post)


Back in 2005, David Brooks wrote this about Roe v. Wade and the Alito confirmation for the Supreme Court:

Justice Harry Blackmun did more inadvertent damage to our democracy than any other 20th-century American. When he and his Supreme Court colleagues issued the Roe v. Wade decision, they set off a cycle of political viciousness and counter-viciousness that has poisoned public life ever since, and now threatens to destroy the Senate as we know it.When Blackmun wrote the Roe decision, it took the abortion issue out of the legislatures and put it into the courts. If it had remained in the legislatures, we would have seen a series of state-by-state compromises reflecting the views of the centrist majority that's always existed on this issue. These legislative compromises wouldn't have pleased everyone, but would have been regarded as legitimate.
Instead, Blackmun and his concurring colleagues invented a right to abortion, and imposed a solution more extreme than the policies of just about any other comparable nation.
Religious conservatives became alienated from their own government, feeling that their democratic rights had been usurped by robed elitists. Liberals lost touch with working-class Americans because they never had to have a conversation about values with those voters; they could just rely on the courts to impose their views. The parties polarized as they each became dominated by absolutist activists.






Check out the U.S. Senate today and you will see what Mr. Brooks was talking about.

We can't even get 60 votes in the U.S. Senate to have a vote on late-term abortion, a practice that most Americans reject, according to a very recent poll:

Americans strongly support legislation that would ban late-term abortions and protect babies who are capable of feeling intense pain during an abortion. 
So why can't we have a vote on a law that restricts late-term abortions but keeps abortion in place?  The answer is Roe v. Wadeand the poisonous political landscape that it created.  Frankly, Roe v. Wade has become like a religion for the left, even when the law being discussed in Congress does not stop a woman from a having an abortion – only a late-term abortion.  

We will go through the same charade with Planned Parenthood, another sacred cow of the left.

I ask you this: would we be going through all of this if the Supreme Court had let voters and state legislatures decide the issue of abortion in 1973?  The answer is no.  In fact, I argue that voters would have come up with a far more workable solution – probably one that allowed abortion in most states but did not permit late-term abortion.

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A world without Yogi Berra

We learned early today that Yogi Berra passed away at age 90.    We will remember Yogi for all of those incredible quotes.   We will also remember his work on the field:
Berra's skills as a catcher and batter sometimes were obscured by his comic-book image. But his baseball jewelry -- 13 World Series rings, the three American League MVP Awards that bear his name (1951, '54 and '55) and the slew of World Series records he holds (most games, at-bats, hits, singles, doubles and games caught) are irrefutable evidence of his talent and impact as a player.He batted .285, hit 358 home runs and drove in 1,430 runs. No player whose primary position was catcher has driven in run more runs. He averaged just fewer than 5.5 strikeouts per 100 at-bats, never striking out more than 38 times in a season, and 102 RBIs per season in an 11-season sequence that began in 1948, the first year he appeared in more than 100 games.
DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle were his teammates from 1946-51 and 1951-63, respectively; still, Berra led the Yankees in RBIs for seven successive seasons beginning in 1949. He was among the four leading MVP candidates each year from 1950 through '56, placing second twice. He received MVP votes in 15 straight years.
He played his last game in the early 1960s.    However, Yogi never left the game.   He managed for a bit and then turned into the greatest ambassador that the game has ever known.

It's hard to think of a baseball workd without Yogi Berra. 

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Let's chat with Israel Ortega about Hispanics & 2016


Guest:  Israel Ortega, OpportunityLives.com, joins me for a discussion of the political scene and the role of Hispanics in 2016?  What opportunities does the GOP have to attract Hispanic voters in light of the failures of the Obama administration....we will discuss how the stagnant economy is impacting Hispanics......what about immigration reform?......trade and Hispanic........and other stories of the week.......click to listen:


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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September 1975: Two assasination attemps on President Ford


President Ford's tenure was short but very consequential.  He became VP when VP Agnew resigned in 1973.   He became president when President Nixon resigned.  He pardoned President Nixon, saw the country through a recession and lost a close election to Governor Carter in 1976.

In September 1975, President Ford faced two assasination attempts:

On this day in 1975, Sarah Jane Moore aims a gun at President Gerald Ford as he leaves the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco, California. The attempt on the president’s life came only 17 days after another woman had tried to assassinate Ford while he was on his way to give a speech to the California legislature in Sacramento.
Thankfully, both failed but it was a scary time for the country.

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1968: Cesar Tovar played all 9 positions

Cesar Tovar was the Twins' leadoff hitter for several years.    It was a lineup that started with Tovar and followed by Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison.   Needless to say, they drove a lot of pitchers crazy in their prime.

On this day in 1968, Tovar played all 9 positions in a late season game.  

He is a better remembered for hitting .281 for the Twins over 8 seasons and leading the league in hits in 1971 with 204.   He had 195 in 1970.   

Tovar broke up 5 no-hitters in his career, including twice in 1969 against Mike Cuellar and Dave McNally of the Orioles.

Tovar died in Venezuela in 1994.   

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