November 28, 2014
In a vacuum, Webb would be a compelling candidate. While independent-minded groups like No Labels obsess over liberal Republicans or independents (Jon Huntsman, Michael Bloomberg) as credible third-party candidates, Webb’s profile better fits that bill. He’s one of the few politicians who caters more to the populist grassroots than to elite public opinion. He has angered Democrats by expressing skepticism about increased immigration and has been downright critical of affirmative-action policies, but he is passionate about the issue of income inequality. He’s ticked off Republicans over their foreign-policy interventionism, with his outspoken opposition to the Iraq War fueling his 2006 Senate campaign. He’s skeptical of the free-trade deals that most Republicans champion, and is so at odds with the ascendant environmentalist wing of the Democratic Party that the online magazine Grist headlined its profile: “Jim Webb sucks on climate change.”
In a Democratic Party that’s been shedding white working-class voters during the Obama era, leaders would be wise to pay closer attention to Webb’s views on economic and cultural issue—and consider co-opting some as their own. On paper, his resume is first-rate: decorated Vietnam War veteran, secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, swing-state Democratic senator, and an acclaimed author. At a time when economic anxiety is a defining feature of American politics, Webb’s record on the subject is as impressive as Elizabeth Warren’s. That he’s treated more like a fringe figure these days is a testament to how far his party has drifted from its roots.
Consider: There will be only five red-state Senate Democrats left in the next Congress if, as expected, Sen. Mary Landrieu is defeated in next month’s runoff. Even more striking, there will be only five House Democrats left representing districts that Mitt Romney carried in 2012. The once-influential Blue Dog Caucus of fiscally hawkish Democrats is all but extinct. Republicans now boast twice as many blue-state senators (10) and five times as many blue-district representatives (25) than their Democratic counterparts in red territory.
The Democratic Party has become an aging, regional party with a diversity problem.
Related: Gallup: Only 27 Percent of Working-Class Whites Support Obama. There are, you know, rather a lot of white, working-class voters. And if you want their support, the very first thing you need to do is show respect to people who, you know, work.
With a handful of weeks left in his term, the Republican introduced bills to mandate a public firearm range in the District of Columbia and prohibit the city from using automated speed and traffic cameras.
Stockman’s gun legislation comes about a month after the city enacted a system to begin issuing concealed carry permits, in response to a federal judge’s ruling. The July 26 order briefly wiped D.C.’s ban on carrying handguns from the books, something Republicans on Capitol Hill tried to do over the summer with an appropriations rider. The D.C. Council is putting the finishing touches on a more permanent solution that would maintain strict gun control standards.
Stockman’s traffic camera proposal is similar to that by another short-timer in Congress: Michigan Republican Kerry Bentivolio, a freshman heading home at the end of this session. Bentivolio sought co-sponsors for a similar bill last year, but it was never introduced. Stockman’s proposal is more broad. In addition to targeting the District, it would cut certain federal highway funds from any state or local government that uses automated traffic enforcement systems.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., caught wind of Stockman’s attempt to curtail traffic cameras and accused both Republicans of bullying the District.
The District is bullying America on a daily basis. Stockman is trying to inject a little freedom into its confines.
“SMART DIPLOMACY” UPDATE: Anti-ISIS coalition to meet next week. “Foreign dignitaries from around 60 countries that make up the international coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will meet for the first time next week, the State Department announced Wednesday. Secretary of State John Kerry will chair the first ministerial meeting on Dec. 3 at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The ministers plan to ‘discuss the political mechanism for our joint efforts to degrade and defeat’ ISIS, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.”
I’m not super-optimistic about this.
MILO YIANNOPOULOS: An Open Letter to Bloomberg’s Sheelah Kolhatkar, on the Delicate Matter of Anita Sarkeesian. “Dear Sheelah Kolhatkar: Yesterday, my attention was drawn to your extraordinary profile of video game critic Anita Sarkeesian, which is to be a cover story in Bloomberg Businessweek. On Twitter I intemperately called it a ‘grotesquely shoddy work of credulous, ridiculous fangirlism.’ On reflection, I conclude I did not go far enough.”
NO, AND I HOPE SOMEONE CHALLENGES THEM ON THIS: Constitution Check: Does the government have the authority to write restaurant menus?
It’s also an obsolete approach, now that there are loads of smartphone apps that give you more detailed nutritional info — carb/fat/protein breakdowns, for example — at your fingertips.
HMM: NSA Chief Predicts ‘Traumatic’ Cyber Attack Within Next Decade. “NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers, who took the helm of the agency in April, said that foreign criminal gangs have traditionally hacked into U.S. commercial systems to steal information that they could use or sell for a profit. But a new trend is emerging as these groups and foreign governments are increasingly cooperating with one another.”
Yeah, this is another reason why I’m not excited about the “Internet of things.”
WELL, THEY HAVE TO BE WORRIED ABOUT RE-ELECTION. OBAMA DOESN’T. Tensions flare between Senate Democrats, White House.
Criticism of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law by a top Senate Democrat this week laid bare post-election tensions that could pose challenges for the party in upcoming fights with Republicans over taxes, energy and immigration.
In a high-profile speech on Tuesday dissecting Democrats’ losses in this month’s midterm elections, Charles Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, listed “a cascade of issues” botched by the White House, starting with Obama’s push for healthcare reforms soon after he took office in 2009.
Later on Tuesday, the White House took the unusual step of publicly pledging to veto a deal on tax breaks that Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid was trying to hammer out with Republicans in the House of Representatives.
Funny, just a couple of weeks ago it was the White House accusing Congressional Republicans of “obstructionism.”
November 27, 2014
CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE: Pentagon Renaming “Illegal Combatants” as “Unprivileged Belligerents.” No, seriously. The Obama Administration seems determined to live up to every right-wing caricature. Hey, maybe those aren’t caricatures after all, then.
VITAMIN D UPDATE: Low Vitamin D Tied to Higher Death Risk. “Many observational studies suggest that low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk for disease, but it is not clear if low vitamin D is a cause or an effect of poor health. Now a new study, using a technique called Mendelian randomization, provides persuasive evidence that low serum vitamin D itself increases the risk of death.”
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: The ATF’s Fake Retail Stores, Bad Behavior… And Why It Only Came Out Because They Failed To Pay Rent.
WELL, YES: Where UVA Went Wrong: Students Need to See Rape as a Felony, Not Just a Campus Infraction. But treating it as a felony doesn’t create work for campus bureaucrats.
IN THE MAIL: From Mercedes Lackey, Revolution: The Secret World Chronicle III (The Secret World Chronicles Book 3).
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ROBERT TRACINSKI: Dear Media: How Not to Screw Up the Next Ferguson.
I hate to say, “I told you so.” No, really, I hate it. The city of Ferguson, Missouri, is in flames yet again as angry mobs—largely composed of outside agitators—vent their rage against “the system” after a grand jury refused to indict a white police officer for shooting a young black man. All of that destruction could have been prevented if the media knew its own business and didn’t need constant reminders from people like me about how to report on the use of deadly force.
Specifically, I warned them about Zimmerman Amnesia, the dogged failure to learn from the media’s mistakes in reporting previous cases. . . .
The early reports were very clear that Michael Brown was a good, kind-hearted young man bound for college, that the shooting was totally unprovoked, that he was shot multiple times in the back, that he was executed in cold blood. Then the evidence, as it emerged, knocked down each of these claims one by one.
Cases involving the use of force tend to be messy, and getting at the facts is difficult. It requires a lot of sorting of competing claims, cross-examination and confrontation of witnesses, and a thorough review of the physical evidence, which often refutes the eyewitness testimony.
Two things: (1) They don’t want to do the work; and (2) They don’t mind peddling falsehoods so long as those falsehoods inflame the right people.
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HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Wisconsin Adopts “Yes Means Yes” Rule.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Maryland’s Assistant Attorney General For Consumer Protection Falls For Urban Legend.
HMM. WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT BARACK OBAMA’S PRESIDENCY? Elizabeth Drew: The Firing of Chuck Hagel.
While I had come to admire Hagel as a thoughtful man, there’s a question of whether anyone can make the leap from a senator’s office—with an average staff size of 34 people, to the Pentagon, the world’s largest institution, which employs about 26,000 personnel on site, plus about a half million overseas, plus an active military of about 1.5 million men and women. In general, transitions from Capitol Hill to a cabinet office, in either party, haven’t been markedly successful. The Pentagon has been a sinkhole of failures.
So if the transition from Senator to SecDef is too much, how about from Senator to Commander In Chief? The evidence would seem to support Drew’s position there, too . . . .
HOW TO GRILL YOUR ENTIRE THANKSGIVING DINNER. I cook the legs of lamb on the grill, but the turkey goes in the oven, as do the sides. That’s why I have a double-oven kitchen.
If you’re going to do that, you should pick up his book.
November 26, 2014
BOMBS FOR BUMS: Alleged plot included bombing Gateway Arch, killing St. Louis County prosecutor. “The men wanted to acquire two more bombs, the sources said, but could not afford to do it until one suspect’s girlfriend’s Electronic Benefit Transfer card was replenished.”
WELL, TO BE FAIR, THAT’S THE GOAL: The Microaggression Farce: The latest campus fad, which sees racism everywhere, will create a new generation of permanent victims.
BIG GOVERNMENT: How the Obama administration gives away military-grade weapons to local police. “In the weeks after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., images of officers training rifles on crowds of protesters from the turrets of armored vehicles became a potent symbol of the distrust between law enforcement and citizens in Ferguson — and elsewhere.”
Though, to be fair, in light of what’s happened in Ferguson since then, my initial distaste for that behavior has weakened somewhat.
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: The teenage girl with a bi-gender boyfriend who decides every morning what sex he wants to be.
SELF-GRUBERING: Obama: “I just took an action to change the law.” Well, this should help the legal challenge to his immigration order . . . .
SO I SAW INTERSTELLAR LAST WEEKEND, AND I WAS GOING TO POST A REVIEW, but I’ve been busy and honestly I don’t have a lot of thoughts. It looked great on IMAX. The beginning and end were good; the middle not so much. I don’t expect Hollywood productions to get the orbital mechanics right, but good grief. . . . Overall, I give it about a 7. Parts were excellent, but I wish they’d spent as much time on story refinement as they probably did on deciding whether or not to include fake lens-flare in shots of Saturn’s rings.
SO WHY ALL THE FERGUSON HOOPLA? Last time the Dems and Sharpton made a big deal of a shooting, it was the Trayvon Martin case, hyped to keep up black turnout for 2012. But now there’s not an election. So why Ferguson, and why now? Polling indicates that most people aren’t all that sympathetic, and protests that tie up Interstates, etc. aren’t going to attract swing voters.
But it’s not about swing voters. It’s about the base. And it’s not about the Democratic Party’s base, but about certain leaders’ base within the Democratic Party. This may be best understood as an intra-party struggle. Obama is the champion of the urban-black wing of the party, and because of him that wing has been on top. But his star is fading, black voters are beginning to realize that they haven’t benefited economically, and the next Dem nominee — whether it’s Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, or Elizabeth Warren — will be from the white gentry-liberal wing of the Democratic Party. The riots, the marches, the traffic-blocking are a way of telling them that the Sharpton wing is still a force to be reckoned with, and to improve its bargaining power between now and 2016. At least, that’s the only way this — not at all spontaneous — street theater makes sense.
MASCULINITY, AT A GUESS: Zero Tolerance For What? “The University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors on Tuesday unanimously committed to adopting a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual assault – although the university hasn’t figured out what zero tolerance means.”
You want to show zero tolerance for rape? Report it to the police. Plus, from the comments:
If this is true, and i suspect it iS, then a zero-tolerance policy is likely to dissuade many students from even applying for admission to UVa. Who would want to risk expulsion for having a sexual relationship that could be misinterpreted, intentionally or otherwise, as sexual assault?
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Why are so many young men paying for sex? Well, it protects you from the Campus Sex Police.
IN THE MAIL: From Gregory Zuckerman, The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters.
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WHY UVA COULDN’T WIN:
I’ve spoken at length about the troubling impact that campus adjudication with limited due process can have on the lives of accused men. I’ve spoken less, however, about the other problem, which is how it can leave predators free to commit more rapes. Helping victims focus on their own healing may well be better for the victims; I’m not an expert, so I couldn’t say. But it’s probably worse for the future victims. Expelling a man may be a pretty big burden on him, but we’d really like to put an even bigger burden on people who gang-rape 18-year-old girls; we’d like to lock them up where they can’t get at any more 18-year-old girls. I’m at least open to arguments that a college disciplinary hearing is what we need to combat “non-consensual-kissing.” But it is ludicrously inadequate as either a punishment for, or a deterrent to, what allegedly happened in that fraternity house.
Do victims have a right to stay home and focus on themselves, while leaving the predators who did it at large to rape again? Do administrators have a right to focus on the victims, rather than the risk to the community? These are hard questions, and I’m not sure I have good answers. But I do worry that by bundling gang rape into the catch-all category of sexual assault, in the hopes of raising the offensiveness of groping women and otherwise forcing your unwanted attentions on their bodies, we are also reducing the seriousness with which we treat gang rape.
When a currency is inflated, it loses value. That applies to moral currency, too.
AUSTIN BAY: As The World Burns, Obama Fires Hagel. “Gates and Panetta demonstrated a commitment to U.S. defense, a commitment beyond dramatic gesture. Their post-Pentagon assessments of the Obama administration are both scathing. They see Obama as a political leader focused on his own political welfare. Obama is fixated on two figurative battlefields: domestic U.S. social justice/identity politics and the next news cycle. He is very good with words. He is very good at winning presidential election, but as for other deeds? Not so much. . . . A SecDef serves at the president’s pleasure. Contradicting your boss has risks, especially a boss with a brittle ego. Hagel is gone. The Islamic State, however, remains. The Islamic State will have to be convinced it’s a junior varsity. Vladimir Putin is a big-league player; he persists in waging an imperial war in Eastern Ukraine. China probes its Southeast Asian maritime border. Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons continues. Syria bleeds. Libya fragments. North Korea builds ICBM’s. Unless backed by demonstrated capabilities and the demonstrated will to act, dramatic gestures and words in the Washington Beltway do not affect these circumstances a whit.”
CHANNELING YEATS. WELL, KINDA. James Delingpole: These Cambridge buttocks have restored my faith in the future of Western Civilisation.
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ROGER SIMON: The New York Times and Other Members of the Ferguson Hall of Shame. “That the photograph of Walter Duranty — the New York Times Moscow correspondent who deliberately whitewashed Stalin’s 1930s forced starvation of millions of Ukrainians and won the Pulitzer for it — still is on the newspaper’s wall of fame with their other prize winners is apparently no aberration. The New York Times has no moral center. In fact, it’s despicable. On November 24, they published the home address of Officer Darren Wilson.”
Plus: “Not quite cancer but pretty bad is Jay Nixon, the governor of Missouri. Not only did he attempt to prejudge the case, calling for Wilson’s head like some minor league Robespierre months before there was any evidence, but then, on the night of the grand jury announcement, after having brought in the National Guard, he goes completely AWOL and doesn’t use the Guards at all, leaving the poor store owners of Ferguson to fend for themselves, not to mention the police. Everyone got to watch the results on TV.”
WHO WANTS TO BE THE LAST CAREER TO DIE FOR A MISTAKEN PRESIDENCY? Hagel successor, with limited room to maneuver, will face quandary in Iraq, Syria. “The next defense secretary will also have to contend with a sometimes-tense relationship with the White House. Both of Hagel’s predecessors, Leon Panetta and Robert Gates, have criticized Obama’s handling of national security matters since leaving office and have complained of White House micromanagement of the military.”
The White House isn’t competent. But it is involved.
IT’S NOT A CURE-ALL, BUT IT’S DEFINITELY SOMETHING I FAVOR: Brown Family Statement Vows Campaign for Police Body Cameras.
HEY, REMEMBER WHEN HE HAD CONTROL OF BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS? Roll Call: Obama Wants Middle Class Aid Before Corporate Tax Breaks.
Meanwhile, I have a few proposals of my own.
HEY, I WAS SAYING THAT BACK IN 2009. Schumer says Democrats erred by passing ObamaCare. “Schumer says Democrats ‘blew the opportunity the American people gave them’ in the 2008 elections, a Democratic landslide, by focusing on healthcare reform instead of legislation to boost the middle class.”
Do tell. It’s almost as if helping the middle class wasn’t a priority.
November 25, 2014
LEFTIES ALWAYS WANT TO ELIMINATE ALTERNATIVE POWER CENTERS IN ANY SYSTEM THEY CONTROL: UVA Faculty Want Abolition of Greek System, Emails Reveal.
THOUGHTS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: “Domestic violence is not a gendered issue. When it comes to violence in the family, women are just as violent as men, and until we stop acting like this is a men’s problem and start treating it like a problem women and men alike face, as both victims and perpetrators, we can never make things better. The ones who suffer most are the children who grow up in environments where hitting and other forms of abuse are how you solve problems or resolve frustrations. . . . I think our problem as men is our inability to see women as dangerous and violent, as if women are not fully grown adults capable of as much violence and abuse as we are. I’ve seen time and again, not just in myself but in other men, an almost complete inability to label a woman acting violently as an abuser.”
The American right was at once mocked and feared by liberals for the scrutiny they devoted to the sex lives of average Americans. This impulse among conservatives culminated in George W. Bush’s administration’s unsuccessful attempt to enshrine heterosexual marriage into the U.S. Constitution.
The critiques of social conservatism in the last decade as prudish and meddling were well-founded, but that seems like a generation ago. As American conservatism continues to embrace a more libertarian view on those policies which relate to the policing of consensual relationships, the left has become consumed with supervising sexual activity and defining more and more of it as unconventional.
Mrs. Grundy self-identifies as feminist now.
ELIANA JOHNSON: Henry Waxman’s Republican Heir: Jason Chaffetz hopes to land the kind of blows that Darrell Issa hasn’t been able to. To be fair, Waxman always had a lot of help from the press.