November 18, 2012
A MEETING WITH the last man on the Moon.
A MEETING WITH the last man on the Moon.
THOUGHTS ON MESSAGING FROM READER RICHARD FRANKEL:
In Intellectuals, Paul Johnson’s evisceration of Marx’s empirical work and discussion of Marx’s theories changed my thinking.
Arguments that have little factual or a priori support can have lasting and significant influence.
The key to attracting adherents is presenting the idea in poetical terms that inflame flaws in human nature. Marx had the ability to select clichés that resonated with envy and the wish to believe in miraculous solutions to the problem of scarcity and self-fulfillment. He assured believers his ideas were “scientific” and moral.
Republicans better consider this reality when confronting Obama’s “rich are not paying their fair share” argument.
Countering with “taxing the rich more will not appreciably reduce the deficit” or “this will hurt small business” or giving statistics showing the rich pay quite a bit already will be inadequate. Logic and facts are inadequate. Envy and scapegoating of the successful Americans will only grow as Obama’s policies devastate the poor. Republicans must counter with a similarly emotional argument (e.g. “Obama policies are enriching the Washington elite.”). The Republicans must also call Obama out for inflaming “envy and hatred” so the public cannot be comforted that taxing the rich is altruistic. Yelling “class warfare” is too sanitized to elicit a competing public emotion.
Republicans must also fight Obama’s idea of “a balanced approach.” Republicans must confront the argument that government spending helps the poor and therefore cuts must be offset by increased taxes. Point to all the programs that merely enrich the elite (e.g., NPR and windmills). Show how, under Obama, the Washington suburbs have grown wealthy while other places in the country have grown poor.
Yes, the Hunger Games argument seems quite well-founded.
OFT EVIL WILL SHALL EVIL MAR: “One likely result of the Gaza War: a boom in missile defense that will probably make a lot of money for some Israeli and American companies. Israel’s impressive Iron Dome system is really shining.”
DIRTY SECRETS of the hotel industry. Plus, this shocking advice: “When dealing with any member of the staff, be nice. Make eye contact. Remember names. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’”
LISTEN TO AMY ALKON TALK ABOUT relationships and blame. Live from 10-11 ET.
A SHOCKING DEVELOPMENT: GOP Too Libertarian, Free-Market-y, Say Anti-Libertarian, Anti-Market Pundits.
SUSAN RICE, ABANDONED BY DANA MILBANK, AND NOW BY MAUREEN DOWD: “Rice should have been wary of a White House staff with a tendency to gild the lily, with her pal Valerie Jarrett and other staffers zealous about casting the president in a more flattering light, like national security officials filigreeing the story of the raid on Osama to say Bin Laden fought back. . . . An Africa expert, Rice should have realized that when a gang showed up with R.P.G.’s and mortars in a place known as a hotbed of Qaeda sympathizers and Islamic extremist training camps, it was not anger over a movie. She should have been savvy enough to wonder why the wily Hillary was avoiding the talk shows.”
Yes, she could have figured that out just by reading the New York Times on September 12, a story that surely came from inside national-security sources.
UPDATE: Obama And The Gingerbread Man.
ANOTHER EMERGENCY POWER ITEM: Reader James Foster sends this link to the JuiceBox.
COMPETENCE: N.J. Transit Stored Trains in Low-Lying Areas Ahead of Sandy. “’They knew the storm was coming. Why did we lose any trains?’ All of those badly damaged locomotives and passenger cars were stored in yards in low-lying Hoboken and Kearny.”
UPDATE: Reader Drew Kelley writes: “It’s not like all that rolling-stock was a capital-investment by stock-holders, who were depending on management’s fiduciary responsibility to safe-guard that investment.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Don’t Shave Your Privates While Driving.
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MARK STEYN: “To an immigrant such as myself (not the undocumented kind, but documented up to the hilt, alas), one of the most striking features of Election Night analysis was the lightly worn racial obsession. . . . This is what less-enlightened societies call tribalism.”
Plus: “Everyone talks about this demographic transformation as if it’s a natural phenomenon, like Hurricane Sandy. Indeed, I notice that many of those exulting in the inevitable eclipse of ‘white America’ are the same people who assure me that demographic arguments about the Islamization of Europe are completely preposterous. But in neither the United States nor Europe is it a natural phenomenon. Rather, it’s the fruit of conscious government policy.”
It’s okay. Obama’s economic policy will soon have immigration flowing the other way.
CHARLIE MARTIN: 13 Weeks: Week 2, In Which We Eat. “Diet, schmiet, I’m eatin’ good. And I’ve lost 21 pounds, my blood sugar is down from 157 to 119.”
IT’S EASIEST TO FOOL THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE FOOLED: Bloggers Spot More Dead Child Fakery by Hamas; CNN Fooled.
SHIKHA DALMIA: FEMA: Welfare Masquerading As Disaster Relief.
FEMA’s tragic missteps after Katrina earned it well-deserved disgrace. The Times blames those on the Bush administration, whose anti-government philosophy supposedly gutted FEMA. President Obama, the argument goes, straightened things out, and Americans should now “feel lucky” that the agency is there for them. Without it, local and state authorities wouldn’t be able to coordinate where “rescuers should go, where drinking water should be shipped, and how to assist hospitals that have to evacuate.”
So how did the new and improved FEMA perform post-Sandy, a storm for which it had lots of advance warning? Not so well.
It didn’t set up its first relief center until four days after Sandy hit — only to run out of drinking water on the same day. It couldn’t put sufficient boots on the ground to protect Queens residents from roving looters. The Red Cross — on whom FEMA depends for delivering basic goods — left Staten Island stranded for nearly a week, prompting borough President Jim Molinaro to fume that America was not a Third World country. But FEMA’s most egregious gaffe was that it arranged for 24 million gallons of free gas for Sandy’s victims, but most of them couldn’t lay their hands on it.
FEMA isn’t a first responder. It mostly writes checks.
BARRY RUBIN: Here’s How — As With This Israel-Hamas War — Western Elites Are Baffled by the Middle East. “Much of the Western elite no longer understands concepts which their predecessors took for granted during the last two centuries.”
Related: Walter Russell Mead: America, Israel, Gaza, the World. “As Israeli airstrikes and naval shells bombarded Gaza this weekend, the world asked the question that perennially frustrates, confuses and enrages so many people across the planet: Why aren’t the Americans hating on Israel more? . . . America is a big country with a lot of things going on, but the real force driving American support for Israeli actions in Gaza isn’t Islamophobia, Jewish conspiracies or foam-flecked religious nuts. It’s something much simpler: many though not all Americans look at war through a distinctive cultural lens. Readers of Special Providence know that I’ve written about four schools of American thinking about world affairs; from the perspective of the most widespread of them, the Jacksonians, what Israel is doing in Gaza makes perfect sense. Not only are many Jacksonians completely untroubled by Israel’s response to the rocket attacks in Gaza, many genuinely don’t understand why the rest of the world is so steamed about Israel—and so angry with the United States.”
In Bob Dylan’s phraseology, they’d rather see us paralyzed. And Israel dead.
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MAYBE THE WAPO SHOULD HAVE RUN THIS GRAPH BEFORE THE ELECTION: This Graph Should Scare You.
ROSS DOUTHAT: “Liberals look at the Obama majority and see a coalition bound together by enlightened values — reason rather than superstition, tolerance rather than bigotry, equality rather than hierarchy. But it’s just as easy to see a coalition created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear.”
THE FORDHAM CENSORSHIP SCANDAL just gets weirder.
THE WORST HOTEL IN THE WORLD, and proud of it.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: PA State Universities Face First-Ever Faculty Strike. “A total of 115,000 students are enrolled in the system. Both enrollment and state funding are reportedly down.”
17 EUPHEMISMS FOR SEX FROM THE 1800S: Perhaps David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell could have hidden their affair if they’d used code words like “lobster kettle” and “bread and butter.”
THE NEXT STAGE IN A SCANDAL — THE OFFICIAL DENIAL: White House Denies Editing Terrorism Reference Out Of CIA’s Benghazi Talking Points.
UPDATE: Link was wrong before. Fixed now. Sorry!
IN THE MAIL: Exiled: Clan of the Claw.
THAT’S OKAY, THE OBAMA ECONOMY WILL HAVE THE BORDER-MIGRATION GOING THE OTHER DIRECTION SOON: After 15 years and hundreds of billions of dollars, the virtual border fence is still just a mirage.
Long before Google Street View existed, long before we started sending out alerts every time we breached the perimeter of Starbucks, the U.S. government embarked on an epic quest to establish a “virtual” fence along the Mexican border. The year was 1997. And while the U.S. Border Patrol’s surveillance technology then consisted primarily of sunglasses, border hawks and bureaucrats dreamed of a thin technological line of motion sensors, infrared cameras, and video-driven command centers producing the same sort of omniscience we now exert over 7-Eleven parking lots. To realize this bold but improbable vision, Congress approved funds for a pilot project called the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System, or ISIS.
Thus began a long stretch of failure: cameras that wilted from the heat when thermometers hit a relatively temperate 70 degrees, ground sensors that could not tell a native cactus from an illegal intruder, inept project management, insinuations of fraud and corruption. Periodically, the quest would be canceled and then revived under a different brand name. ISIS begat America’s Shield Initiative, which begat the Secure Border Initiative Network, or SBINet. In January 2011, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano officially pulled the plug on this latest incarnation, thereby ushering in what arguably has been the project’s most successful two-year run. Zero functionality was added during this time, but at least spending came to a standstill too.
With government projects, that counts as a win, these days.
SOMETHING THAT CAN’T GO ON FOREVER, WON’T. “My main consolation is that the change will uproot many of the delusions that have sprouted up. My main fear is that history shows this is never, ever, a peaceful process.” One way or another, the Gods Of The Copybook Headings will have their due.
Related item here.
MAX BOOT NOT SO HAPPY WITH LUCIAN TRUSCOTT IV: Petraeus’s Phony Critics. A lot of military folks in my Twitter feed were mocking Truscott’s piece yesterday. Boot: “It is insulting not only to Petraeus but to all those men and women who have served valiantly and at great risk in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
UPDATE: Link was broken before. Fixed now. Sorry!
THE 21ST CENTURY ECONOMY: Life As A Porn Agent.
HMM: LIVE BLOG: IDF prepares for ground invasion as Gaza offensive enters fourth day. They should force Egypt to take Gaza back, then hold Egypt responsible for what happens after that.
BOY, ALL KINDS OF STUFF COMES OUT ONLY AFTER THE ELECTION: Cortland County district attorney admits acting in porn movies in 1970s.
In a 3 p.m. news conference today, he admitted that he lied about his history to The Post-Standard and other news operations in the days before the Nov. 6 election. He was re-elected to a second term.
He said he would continue as district attorney. After he was done, he walked out without responding to reporters’ questions.
Suben is a Democrat. He defeated Republican defense attorney Keith Dayton 9,815-7,507, according to unofficial results.
He’s still got the porn mustache, too.
LOIS MCMASTER BUJOLD’S Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance has debuted at #16 on the New York Times fiction bestseller list. Plus, she gets a nice little writeup in the NYT. It’s a good book — I read it in an advance copy. Had my doubts that Ivan Vorpatril — a secondary character in the other books — could carry a story by himself, but he did.
ERIKA JOHNSEN: What Does The Obama Administration Have Against Farmers?
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Return Of The Nuclear Nightmare.
Since their use invites devastating retaliation, many strategists today imagine that nuclear weapons can never be used to good effect and are therefore essentially worthless. This perception doesn’t just shape American thoughts about our own arsenal; it impels American leaders to underestimate the difficulties of nonproliferation because they don’t fully grasp the size of the gains that nonnuclear powers can achieve in joining the Bomb Club. Our strategists, says Mr. Bracken, are in a state of denial: “An older generation wants to make the nuclear nightmare go away by inoculating the young with protective ideas. Nuclear weapons are useless and we should get rid of them. Strengthen the [Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty]. Get rid of ballistic missiles. Deterrence will work.”
These ideas, very much at the heart of the present administration’s strategic thought, are fantasies.
Don’t worry — we’ve got “Smart Diplomacy” to protect us!
Mead’s writing about Paul Bracken’s new book, The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger and the New Power Politics. Bracken’s a very smart guy. I remember him from when I was at Yale; his big book then was The Command And Control of Nuclear Forces. He’s been thinking about this stuff for a long time, and people should be paying attention to him now.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): McDonald’s Says Tough Economy Is ‘New Normal.’
THOUGHTS ON THE PETRAEUS AFFAIR, from the Pickup Artist community.
WILL OF THE PEOPLE: 56% of Britons would vote to quit EU in referendum, poll finds.
UPDATE: Australian reader Kingsley Smith thinks the Brits should join NAFTA instead: “Much better cultural fit, outstanding security relationship already in place, a brighter economic future ( I hope), shared language with 2 biggest members and a trade agreement much more likely to remain just a trade agreement respecting national sovereignty versus the EU “grand vision” of one Europe.”
Works for me.
IN BLOOMBERG’S NEW YORK, Superstorm Sandy Exposes A Class Divide.
OUTPERFORMING ENVER HOXHA: In 37 Chicago Precincts, Romney Received No Votes.
UPDATE: By the way, the Wikipedia entry on Hoxha is a disgrace.
ANOTHER UPDATE: What’s wrong with the Hoxha entry? It doesn’t really make clear that he ran a dictatorship more-or-less comparable to North Korea, that’s what.
FROM HOPE AND CHANGE TO FORWARD AND REVENGE: HuffPo poll shows 22.8 percent of Americans support their state seceding.
PAPA JOHN’S APPRECIATION DAY: Reader John Jenkins sends this report from right here in Knoxville: “I thought I’d let you know that on Friday night, we ordered Papa John’s for a family party. My wife had to send my niece into the Papa John’s on Clinton Highway, and circle the parking lot until she could come out with our order. There was no place to park and it was a complete madhouse. Not as dramatic as with Chick-fil-A, but an amazing show of support!”
IT REALLY WAS A MISTAKE TO TRY TO OUT-CRAZY Stacy McCain.
PUNCHING BACK: Walmart Files Complaint with NLRB Over Union Harassment. I used to think that Wal-Mart was being unfairly targeted by lefties. I still do, but after the whole Obama-backing thing I don’t care as much.
OBAMA’S OUTRAGEOUS OUTRAGE:
Try as I may, I cannot recall any other president implying that criticism of the statements of an ambassador to the UN, acting in his/her official capacity as spokesperson, should be off-limits — and especially the approach Obama takes here, which is to say that the men who criticized Rice (McCain and Graham) are somehow “besmirching” her reputation (Rice is a vulnerable little woman, not just a gender-neutral official, when it suits Obama’s political purposes) and that such comments are “outrageous” and beyond the pale. Should those on the left who criticized Colin Powell for presenting information about WMDs to the UN, information “based on intelligence that he had received,” have been admonished to shut up because they were “besmirching his reputation” in an “outrageous” manner? Of course not, as they’d be the first to tell you. But Rice is apparently off-limits, because Obama says so.
Has any other president even hinted that his appointed officials are beyond reproach, and that anyone who would question them is a lout? There’s something truly imperial about Obama making such a suggestion, and anyone in the press who fails to call him on it is complicit.
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WHEN THE MODERN WORLD BEGAN.
On today’s date in 1558, Mary I of England died, and her half-sister the Princess Elizabeth succeeded her as Queen. Elizabeth would reign almost 45 years and change the world. Americans should think of her as our Founding Mother; although Sir Walter Raleigh’s attempt at a colony failed, from her reign on the English planned the establishment of major settlements in what is now the United States. She patronized Shakespeare and presided over what is still the most glorious era in the history of English literature. She did her best to promote some kind of religious tolerance in an age of bigotry and religious war, and it is to her that we owe the survival of the beautiful liturgical music of the Church of England. . . . If she hadn’t been around, or been as clever or as forward thinking a ruler as she turned out to be, the world would be a much uglier place. As the daughter of an executed traitor (Anne Boylen, for in those days adultery against the king counted as treason), and a focal point for opponents of Mary’s rule, Elizabeth led an often terrifying life. She seems to have been sexually approached by one of her adult guardians when she was still a girl; she was sometimes heir to the throne, sometimes under suspicion of treason and once confined in the Tower itself; yet out of this life of insecurity and fear she somehow managed to find the strength of character to give her subjects a stable government under which Parliament began to recover the liberties lost under her tyrannical father. Her life wasn’t easy, and not all of her deeds were good, but on the whole she did her job well in the place where God placed her, and that is about as much as any of us can hope to do.
And better than many manage.
LIFE INSIDE THE “URBAN COCOON.”
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Women serving in positions of power are subject to the same criticisms as men, and efforts to defend them that are premised on the idea that women deserve special protection, solicitude, or respect or that deploy metaphors from the realm of domestic violence are perversely implying that women do not belong in power. It is absolutely disgusting to defend Susan Rice this way. If we were required to moderate our criticism of women in power, we would need to oppose having women in power in order to preserve our freedom as American citizens.
The suggestion — even implicit — that there is a requirement like this is offensive and retrograde.
Indeed. Who knew that the 21st Century legacy of 20th Century feminism would be a bunch of fainting pearl-clutchers defined by their lady parts?
FLIGHT CAPITAL: “Foreign money is flowing heavily into US real estate markets. Now some think that foreign money is going to prop up the entire market but this is simply not the case. The money flowing in from abroad is going specifically into targeted markets. This isn’t necessarily a US trend only. Canada is experiencing a massive housing bubble from money flowing in from China in particular. Here in Southern California many cities are seeing solid money flowing in from Asian countries. You have this occurring while big fund domestic investors are buying up low priced real estate cross the country as investments. What occurs then is the crowding out of your typical home buyer. . . . I’m always wary about home prices rising so fast while incomes remain stagnant. This is a hot money scenario.”
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DANA MILBANK: “Obama’s over-the-top defense of Rice was surprising, particularly in contrast to the president’s relative indifference in accepting the resignation of CIA chief David Petraeus, one of the most capable public servants. And it was disappointing, because McCain, even if wrong on the particulars, is right about Rice. She is ill-equipped to be the nation’s top diplomat for reasons that have little to do with Libya.”
WELL, REMEMBER, THEY DON’T HAVE EMAIL IN THE TWELFTH CENTURY: Taliban accidentally CCs everybody on its mailing list.
WELL, THEN, IT’S SETTLED: Nate Silver: Democrats Unlikely To Regain House in 2014.
AS YOU DO YOUR CHRISTMAS AND HANUKKAH SHOPPING, remember that you can get a one-month free trial of Amazon Prime. But I warn you, once you try it, you’re very likely to keep it.
IT’S COME TO THIS: Ellen DeGeneres Has A Conversation With Rihanna’s Vagina.
21st CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Love Me, Don’t Love My Dog. “No sane man is going to put up with a ‘mature’ woman who refuses to train her dog on the grounds that she shouldn’t have to ‘compromise’. No man with an ounce of sense is going to want to be tethered to a woman who thinks that her tiny dog is a source of protection.”
FRONTIERS OF SCIENCE: Belly Button Biodiversity. No, it’s not about innies vs. outies. “BBB grew the bacteria from hundreds of swab samples and found that most people’s belly button ecosystems are pretty unique.”
NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Wax-filled nanotech yarn behaves like powerful, super-strong muscle. “New artificial muscles made from nanotech yarns and infused with paraffin wax can lift more than 100,000 times their own weight and generate 85 times more mechanical power during contraction than the same size natural muscle, according to scientists at The University of Texas at Dallas and their international team from Australia, China, South Korea, Canada and Brazil.”
MORE ON THE CENSORSHIP SCANDAL AT FORDHAM: “Father McShane isn’t available for an interview, I’m afraid.”
STANFORD LAW STARTS a Religious Liberty Clinic.
WALL STREET JOURNAL: Hillary and Libya: The policy failure goes beyond the murder of her deputies in Benghazi. “Mr. Petraeus wasn’t responsible for lax consulate security or the U.S. policy that led to the Libya debacle. That’s Mrs. Clinton’s bailiwick. Last month in interviews from deepest Peru, the Secretary of State said ‘I take responsibility’ for Benghazi. Except she hasn’t. She was conveniently out of the country for this week’s House Foreign Affairs hearing, and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry refuses to hold any hearings on Benghazi. His loyalty may get him a cabinet job, while Carl Levin’s Armed Services Committee also pretends nothing much happened in Libya.”
Hmm. Is Carl Levin vulnerable in 2014?
IN THE MAIL: From Edward Moser, Foundering Fathers: What Jefferson, Franklin, and Abigail Adams Saw in Modern DC!
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: The Complicated Geopolitics of Decline: Germany & Russia Edition. “Few things are more obvious in geopolitics than the decline of Europe compared to other parts of the world. It’s one of the oldest and most marked trends in world affairs. In 1914 European powers ruled most of the world, and the past hundred years have seen a steady decline: the collapse of the great empires, the eclipse of Europe by the superpowers during the Cold War, and, since the Cold War, the rise of Asia and lately the euro crisis have all marked new stages in Europe’s decline. Within that broader story, however, is a story of German success relative to other European countries, if not necessarily to the world as a whole.”
KATRINA ON THE ATLANTIC: Post-Sandy, Long Island residents buried under uncollected trash. “Plagued by filth, health concerns are mounting on Long Island’s South Shore. Streets in one local community are still buried in more than two weeks of trash build-up and another is pumping out rivers of raw sewage.”
WHEN THE NERDS GO MARCHING IN: How a dream team of engineers from Facebook, Twitter, and Google built the software that drove Barak Obama’s reelection. Interesting story. I wonder if this will hurt their brands among people on the right?
INTERVIEWED IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Greg Lukianoff weighs in on the Fordham censorship scandal. “This was the longest, strongest condemnation of a speaker that I’ve ever seen in which a university president also tried to claim that he was defending freedom of speech.”
I recommend his new book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship And The End Of American Debate.
ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE: In response to my question below: Moe Lane: My quick handicapping of Democratic at-risk Senate races in 2014.
UPDATE: Reader David Rosenfeld writes:
For 2014, I looked at Democrat senators from states that went for Romney in the presidential election. Mark Begich (AK), Mark Pryor (AR), Tim Johnson (SC), and Kay Hagan (NC) fit that description. So do Max Baucus (MT) and Jay Rockefeller (WV), but their long-term incumbency makes them seem somewhat less vulnerable to me. I’m also tempted to say that Al Franken is vulnerable, because he was elected so narrowly.
It all comes down to candidates, doesn’t it? The Republicans need to find smart, well-spoken candidates who can clearly and unashamedly articulate conservative economic principles and explain why those principles are good for the country. Less Todd Akin, more Marco Rubio.
It is worth remembering that Claire McCaskill boosted Todd Akin in the primary (by running attack ads against his stronger opponents) to give herself the weakest possible opponent in the general election. Alan Grayson did the same thing in my majority-Hispanic congressional district in Florida, running attack ads against a Hispanic Republican candidate during the primary, which resulted in him facing a much weaker opponent in the general election. I expect that we’ll see more of that tactic in the future, because it works.
Maybe the GOP could learn something here?
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails:
These are the states where there is an incumbent D senator with a 2014 election, where the Romney ticket won in 2012:
* Montana ( Max Baucus )
* South Dakota ( Tim Johnson )
* Arkansas ( Mark Pryor )
* Louisiana ( Mary Landrieu )
* West Virginia ( Jay Rockefeller )
* Alaska ( Mark Begich )
And these are the main 2012 battleground presidential states, where there is a 2014 U.S. Senate race and the incumbent is a D:
* Colorado ( Mark Udall )
* Iowa ( Tom Harkin )
* Michigan ( [Carl Levin] )
* Virginia ( Mark Warner )
* North Carolina ( Kay Hagan )
* New Hampshire ( Jeanne Shaheen )
So, those are the most likely states for an R pick-up in 2014.
Here it is in map form. The four states with a red + are states where there is a state government GOP trifecta…the GOP controls the governorship, state senate and state house.
NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: 7 Amazing Ways Nanotechnology Is Changing The World.
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STILL FIGHTING: Allen West wins partial recount request. How much help is he getting from the GOP?
JOURNALISM: AP story about Petraeus scandal mistakenly refers to “Florida socialist” Jill Kelley. Well, to be fair, she did visit the White House three times this year, so that may have confused all those layers of editors and fact-checkers. . . .
INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Obama’s Economy: What We’ve Learned Since Re-election. “In the ‘now they tell us’ file, add a vast array of reports that have come out since the election showing just how weak the economy really is. Looks like the president will need a new scapegoat soon.”
IS THAT A THREAT OR A PROMISE? Meghan McCain Threatens To Leave Republican Party Over Marriage Equality. I suspect that most Republicans will say “don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.” She should have threatened to stay.
UPDATE: Can I call ‘em, or what?
STILL KINDA WISTFULLY LOOKING AT THE Electoral Heat Map.
HEY, HAS ANYBODY SEEN A LIST OF DEMOCRATIC SENATORS WHO ARE VULNERABLE IN 2014?
ARE WE HEADING FOR A FOOD CRISIS across much of the globe?
NEW YORK POST: Petraeus Testifies, Leaves Questions. “Congress needs to create a joint, bipartisan investigating committee that will answer all these questions — up front and in public. The same way Congress dealt with the Iran-Contra affair back in 1987. Benghazi, unresolved, will poison American politics for years. Congress can’t let that happen.”
I’VE ONLY BEEN CALLING FOR THIS SINCE 2002: Republicans Repudiate 40 Years of Tougher Copyright Laws. “For Republicans, opposition to new intellectual property enforcement is starting to look like a political winner. It pleases conservative bloggers, appeals to young swing voters, stokes the culture wars and drives a wedge between two Democratic constituencies, Hollywood and Silicon Valley.”
THE CONSOLATIONS OF PHILOSOPHY: Edmund Burke was a prophet without honour in his own time. “Choosing to be truthful in politics often means choosing to be justified by long-term events not short-term elections.”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Financial Worries Pile on Long Before Graduation. “Money troubles interfere with the academic performance of about one-third of all college students, and a similar number of students regularly skip buying required academic materials because of the costs, according to a survey released on Thursday. In an era of stagnant incomes and rising tuition and student debt, the burden of college costs on families and former students is well documented. But the new findings, from the National Survey of Student Engagement, show that financial worries are a major source of stress for undergraduates while they are still in school.”
MICKEY KAUS: MSM falls for “New Coke” poverty con.
The regular old, still-official poverty line is simple and understandable. It is the level that bought a minimal market basket of food in 1963-4, adjusted for subsequent inflation and multiplied by three. As such it measures what people think a poverty line measures–how many people fall below certain absolute living standards, whether basic human needs are being met. We’ve been using it for decades, so while it may be too high or too low people have a rough feel for what it is and what it isn’t.
The new “supplemental” poverty line is a complicated measure produced by formulas that are barely understood by poverty experts. It takes into account in-kind government benefits, which is fine, and regional costs-of-living. But at its core it is a deception: it measures not absolute poverty but relative poverty–i.e. inequality. . . . Under the old poverty line, “poverty” could be eliminated as society got richer–an achievable and widely shared goal. But the new poverty line will rise as society gets richer. . . . Most scandalously, the Census’ own official press release explanation doesn’t let Americans in on the secret of the new numbers.
It’s not a poverty measure. It’s a full-employment measure for “poverty” bureaucrats. It’s tough living in a world where you can’t trust the numbers. As Kaus notes: “If Republicans weren’t shellshocked they might make an issue of this.”
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THE AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN Rachel Maddow Corrects Nancy Pelosi on Afghanistan.
FREE SHORT STORY: Sacrifice. The gods sell all that they give…
PYRRHUS OF EPIRUS WAS UNAVAILABLE FOR COMMENT: Maine’s striking Hostess workers say company’s collapse a strong message of union resolve.
WHEN PROFESSORS TALK RACE WAR.
But she needs to get with the times — as I said earlier, nobody’s worried about being overrun by Mexicans anymore, because what Obama’s doing to the U.S. economy will do more to stanch immigration from Mexico than any border fence.
WELL, THIS SEEMS LIKE NEWS: BREAKING: The president knew the truth about Benghazi. “How could the president and his senior staff then have allowed (or rather, sent) Rice to go out to tell an entirely different tale to the American people on Sept. 16 on five TV shows? This report indicates that the president certainly knew that Benghazi wasn’t a rogue movie review gone bad. He had information that plainly spelled out what was later confirmed by additional intelligence. If this information was too confidential to share with the public, at the very least the president and others should not have misled voters.”
FROM REDALERTPOLITICS: 30 Under 30.
CHECK OUT JULES CRITTENDEN’S Combat Reads.