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ROLL CALL: Bernie Sanders as GOP Tool: Their Plan to Use Him Against Democrats.

Sen. Bernard Sanders’ surprisingly strong candidacy for president has laid bare a sharp division within the Democratic coalition, pitting its activist base against the moderate-minded establishment.

It’s a split Republicans — especially the ones focused on winning down-ballot races this fall — are now racing to exploit.

The GOP is betting that the ideological fight at the top of the Democratic ticket will filter down the ballot, exposing incumbents and establishment-favored candidates to thorny questions about their support — or lack thereof — of the self-described socialist and his polarizing agenda. The idea: Either candidates disavow support for the Vermont senator and alienate supposed progressive allies, or they embrace Sanders and suffer the consequences in November when Republicans tie them to politically problematic issues such as single-payer health care. In effect, it mirrors the approach Democrats have taken in recent presidential elections, when they have successfully tied Republican candidates to the sometimes damaging positions of their party’s standard-bearer.

The strategy has special resonance now, after Sanders’s unexpectedly strong second-place showing in the Iowa caucuses. And for a party whose candidates have been relentlessly pressed for months about Donald Trump, there’s a palpable sense of relief and delight in giving Democrats a presidential headache of their own — one they hope lasts beyond even Sanders’s White House bid.

The Democrats’ problems have been underplayed.

SHAKEUP AT CAMP CLINTON: “Having learned apparently nothing from her top-heavy, expensive, and ultimately doomed 2008 campaign, Hillary Clinton is set for a shakeup just like the one following her first unexpectedly bad Iowa result eight years ago,” Steve Green writes in his PJM Column.

And when Hillary’s lost Politico’s sycophantic Glenn “Badass” Thrush, you know she’s hit an iceberg.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Aetna Joins Growing Chorus Warning About ObamaCare Failing.

NEARLY TEN PERCENT OF COUNTRY UNEMPLOYED UNDER OBAMA, BERNIE SANDERS CLAIMS:

“There’s another government statistic that comes out at the same time that does not often get reported, which looks at unemployment not only for those who don’t have jobs, but those who are working part-time when they want to work full-time,” Sanders said at an event in Manchester, N.H.

“And that’s a lot of people in this country. And those people in high unemployment areas who have given up looking for work,” he added. “When you add all that together, you’ve got 9.9 percent unemployment, which is a serious problem.”

And speaking of “All the President’s Stenographers,” naturally The Hill soft-pedals Sanders’ claim under the milquetoast headline, “Sanders lukewarm on jobs report.”

Unexpectedly — as Obama’s stenographers at Bloomberg have been saying since early 2009 whenever there’s bad economic news.

Related: What jobs? Bureau of Labor Statistics says 665,000 job LOSSES.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Clinton struggles again among younger voters.

UNEXPECTEDLY: “Hiring at restaurants, hotels and other leisure and hospitality sector venues slowed markedly last year in metro areas that saw big minimum-wage hikes, new Labor Department data show. Wherever cities implemented big minimum-wage hikes to $10 an hour or more last year, the latest data through December show that job creation downshifted to the slowest pace in at least five years.”

On the plus side, it’s likely doing wonders for the robotics and automation industries.

china_robot_waitresses_1-6-16-1

UNEXPECTEDLY: Bernie “living wage” Sanders pays his interns only $12 an hour.

THEY’RE VAST AND THICK: The Unexpectedly Chronicles So much for GOP hating Blacks & Hispanics.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Venezuela is on the brink of a complete economic collapse.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Fourth quarter growth was anemic.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Veterans Affairs to reinstate official who stole $130,000 from agency.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Nets Waste Nearly 10 Mins on Trump; Barely Preview Actual GOP Debate.

UNEXPECTEDLY: The murder capital of Britain is revealed to be a sleepy Lincolnshire town – which is also home to the highest increase of migrants in the country.

WHERE’S THE WORLD’S SMALLEST VIOLIN WHEN YOU NEED IT? The sky is falling on print newspapers faster than you think:

Nearly everyone in publishing with whom I shared the 2015 paid figures found them surprisingly low. There is no question that they are dramatically lower than the widely available 2013 numbers.

Unexpectedly!

Yet another reminder, that as Reason’s Matt Welch noted in 2012, when it comes to the first draft of history, it’s largely being written by the losers.

NEW YORK TIMES: America’s Best Days May Be Behind It.

Curiously though, CTL-F+”Obama” equals zero results. Unexpectedly!

UNEXPECTEDLY: CNN announces sudden Democratic town hall debate on a Monday during prime time!

UNEXPECTEDLY: Lookit my shocked face! Obama’s prisoner swap will help Iran arm Assad, Hezbollah.

LESSONS UNLEARNED:

Shot: “When South Vietnam fell…the North captured a treasure trove of American tanks, trucks and other equipment sitting in warehouses.”

“Lessons of Vietnam — How to avoid a repeat, and why it’s crucial to do so,” Brendan Miniter, the Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2007

Chaser: “According to Reuters, the U.S.-made weaponry that fell into enemy hands including 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles, at least 40 M1A1 main battle tanks, 74,000 machine guns, and as many as 52 M198 howitzer mobile gun systems, plus small arms and ammunition.”

“U.S. Shoots Itself In the Foot By Accidentally Arming ISIS,” the Fiscal Times, June 4th, 2015.

To be fair, “accidentally” is a perfectly cromulent substitute for the adverb “unexpectedly.”

 

ELDERLY WHITE DEMOCRAT CANDIDATES PARTICIPATE IN FORUM ON MINORITY ISSUES.

Which happened to run alongside the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff title game, to ensure that no one would see it, much like the DNC’s presidential “debates” this year.

(Unexpectedly.)

THE HANGOVER FROM 2009 CONTINUES: Washington Post admits that, no: electric cars were NOT worth it.

Unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Bay Area Job Growth Slows After Minimum-Wage Hikes:

The pace of hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector fell to a five-year low for the Bay Area last month, Labor Department data show. Job gains have slowed to less than half the rate that preceded Oakland’s and San Francisco’s adoption last spring of the highest citywide minimum wage in country.

After rising close to 5% a year, hiring at restaurants, hotels and other leisure sector venues rose just 2.2% from a year ago in November. Meanwhile, in the rest of California, where the minimum wage is generally $3.25 below the $12.25-an-hour level set in Oakland and San Francisco, leisure and hospitality employment rose 4.9%.

The data suggest potential employment headwinds from the higher minimum wage, which jumped 36% in Oakland and 14% in San Francisco. On top of that, Oakland’s minimum wage is set to rise to $12.55 in January while San Francisco’s will jump to $13 in July.

Also in news of fresh disaster from the formerly Golden State, What Price Will Californians Pay for Decent Roads?

Of course, all that deferred maintenance on some of the worst roads in the nation now also helps Jerry Brown sell his party-like-its-1899 fantasy of “high speed rail” to connect the state, the ultimate “desire named streetcar,” given all of its potential for graft and eminent domain abuse:

(Via Betsy Newmark.)

THESE MISCONCEPTIONS JUST KEEP HAPPENING TO HIM SO “UNEXPECTEDLY” DON’T THEY? Obama dubbed “Muslim of the Year” by Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman.

Curiously, those grinding their teeth the loudest at Klayman’s article probably retweeted the largest number of “We Are All Muslim” hashtags last week.

FINALLY: THE BEATLES JOINED STREAMING MUSIC SERVICES SPOTIFY, APPLE MUSIC, AND AMAZON PRIME ON CHRISTMAS EVE.

Earlier this year, I read Geoff Emerick’s autobiography Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles on the Kindle, which, as the title implies, focuses on his career engineering the Beatles’ albums from Revolver to Abbey Road (with a timeout when he quit working with the group after he was fed up being their whipping boy during the tension-filled “White Album”). While the book is obviously aimed towards recording anoraks, Emerick gives a real sense of the internal politics of the group. It’s obvious that by the end of the Beatles, Harrison and Lennon chafed at essentially being sidemen for Paul McCartney. Yet, as Emerick writes, when manager Brian Epstein unexpectedly died at age 32 in 1967, it was McCartney who held the group together for their final years, with Lennon too drug-addled and dissipated to exert leadership – instead, making Yoko a near permanent fixture in Abbey Road Studios was his passive-aggressive way of pushing back at McCartney.

And while the public’s perception after the Beatles broke up is that Ringo was the least-talented member of the band, in part thanks to his goofy hangdog persona created for A Hard Day’s Night, he was — and is — an extremely competent four to the bar drummer, and worked tirelessly in the studio for the many, many takes the Beatles took to perfect their backing tracks. In reality, as Emerick wrote, it was really George Harrison who was looked down upon as the weakest member of the group, particularly by both McCartney and producer George Martin, both in terms of his songwriting and his lead guitar playing. It was so bad for Harrison that Martin ultimately had McCartney play lead guitar on Harrison’s 1966 song “Taxman.” Granted — it’s an awesome solo (so good, that as Emerick writes, it was pasted into the fade out of the song as well), but it must have stung for Harrison to not play lead on his own song. One of the great subplots of the Beatles’ history is Harrison’s growth, by the end of the Beatles’ run as a group into a musician and songwriter on par with Lennon and McCartney — you can make a pretty strong case for his 1970 triple-album All Things Must Pass as being the best of the Beatles’ solo albums.

No wonder that when the surviving Beatles reunited for their 1995 Anthology video series, Harrison demanded Jeff Lynne to be producer on the two John Lennon demos they overdubbed new parts onto, rather than McCartney ally Martin.

And speaking of Beatles videos — will we ever see Let It Be on Blu-Ray? I’d love to finally retire my early ’80s VHS cassette copy, which I copied onto DVD-R a decade ago.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Coal Downturn Hammers Budgets in West Virginia and Wyoming.  It’s not like someone made it his business to bankrupt coal plants, is it?

YEAH, NICE WEATHER CAN REALLY MESS UP YOUR SHOPPING EXPERIENCE. AP Blames Warm Weather For Slow Christmas Season Sales: “This morning, Anne D’Innocenzio at the Associated Press actually told readers that this year’s relatively warm Christmas season weather is what’s hurting Christmas shopping season sales. It couldn’t possibly be the ‘slowdown reality’ USA Today cited in headlining Friday’s second straight steep stock market drop, could it, Anne? Most other Americans participating in the real world have recognized the existence of a ‘slowdown reality’ for at least the past few months…Maybe, just maybe — no, make that probably — this ‘strategic buying’ behavior, which the press would likely consider alarming if it were occurring during a Republican or conservative presidential administration, is occurring because people don’t have a lot of discretionary money to spend because of the pathetic economy of the past seven years.”

Unexpectedly.

NOT THE ONION: Obama Ends Press Conference So He Can Go Watch Star Wars (Video).

Semi-retired President Chauncey Gardiner certainly is a voracious consumer of pop culture escapism, isn’t he? No wonder his handlers likely demanded that the Times expunge its reference on Thursday night that “Mr. Obama indicated that he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.”

Related: Networks Censor NYT Deleting Obama Quote Saying He Didn’t ‘Appreciate the Anxiety’ Post-Terror Attacks.

(Say it with me — unexpectedly.)

BLOOMBERG: Why This Year’s Christmas Season Is So Angry:

Yup, it’s an angry Christmas, and it’s worth thinking about why. Something has changed to create such a shift in the public’s leanings, from taking a chance on Obama’s audacity of hope to delighting in Trump’s straight-up audacity. Fear of Islamic terrorism has something to do with it. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that achieved approximately nothing* and the stunning rise of China as a rival power have also left many Americans feeling confused and vulnerable. But the most potent fuel for Trumpism is undoubtedly the sick economy. A long stretch of underperformance** has seeded mistrust in the American Dream among millions of would-be breadwinners, especially people without college educations.

Related: ‘Go To Hell’: Chris Matthews Curses MRCTV for Asking If His Leg Is Still Thrilled for Obama.

* Nice use of passive voice there, champ.

** Unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Obama Administration nixed probe into Southern California jihadists.

REPORT: REVIEW FINDS THAT HILLARY CLINTON RECEIVED ‘TOP SECRET’ EMAILS DESPITE STATE DEPARTMENT CHALLENGE.

Unexpectedly! Or as they say around the Politico’s water cooler, “Badass.”

UNEXPECTEDLY: Released Gitmo Detainee Now an Al Qaeda Leader in Yemen.

UNEXPECTEDLY! CBO projects 2 million fewer jobs under ObamaCare. Remember, if you predicted this back when the bill was under debate, media “fact checkers” would ask the White House if that was going to happen, then give you four Pinocchios when the White House said no. And then call you racist.

UNEXPECTEDLY!   Obamacare Has Driven Health Spending Up, While Covering Fewer Than Expected.

UNEXPECTEDLY: France’s far-right National Front on course for massive gains in regional elections after seizing on fears over the refugee crisis and Paris terror attacks.

All it would have taken to keep this from happening was for the people who were in power to take these issues seriously all along.

BLOOMBERG BUSINESS: Wal-Mart Sues Puerto Rico Over ‘Astonishing’ Tax Increases.

I started to ask, “is ‘astonishing’ the new “unexpectedly?”, and then realized the story was in Bloomberg Business, where bad economic news has been invariably appearing “unexpectedly” since oh, about January of 2009.

Unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY: “Officials say San Bernardino shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS during attack,” Ed Morrissey writes, adding:

“Having a good amount of ammo doesn’t mean you’re planning an attack.” Interestingly, I discussed this with another attendee at the Bullets & Bourbon event I’m at this weekend, and we agree. It’s not uncommon to have a significant number of rounds in hand in order to have enough to train at a range on short notice. One person noted that he has a few thousand rounds in his house at the moment, and he’s certainly not planning an attack. However, I’m pretty sure the number of pipe bombs in his house is, oh … zero. That’s not the case with Farook and Malik, as the Washington Post noted prior to the revelation this morning about the pledge to ISIS:

Read the whole thing.

 

HEY, REMEMBER WHEN BILL CLINTON CLAIMED “WE’RE EISENHOWER REPUBLICANS HERE?” New Email: Podesta Rips Axelrod For ‘Totally Caving in to Right Wing Economics.’

If only that was true — both Obama and the nation would be doing better.

Speaking of which, Citibank warns of US recession next year:

As the U.S. economy enters its seventh year of expansion following the 2008-09 crisis, the probability of recession will reach 65 percent, Citi’s rates strategists wrote in their 2016 outlook published late on Tuesday. A rapid flattening of the bond yield curve towards inversion would be an key warning sign.

“The cumulative probability of U.S. recession reaches 65 percent next year,” Citi’s rates strategists wrote in their 2016 outlook published late on Tuesday. “Curve inversion will likely come more quickly than the consensus thinks.”

Unexpectedly, in other words. But have the last six years felt like a real economic recovery — “Morning in America,” to a coin a phrase — to you?

UNEXPECTEDLY: Bloomberg: Sweden Anti-Immigration Party Surges in Poll Amid Refugee Crisis.

UNEXPECTEDLY: The Hill Deliberately Lies About Ted Cruz Comments Regarding Colorado Shooter.

They’re probably still bitter that their efforts to draft John Cougar Mellencamp for the Senate never caught fire.

AP BLOCKED REPORT THAT PALESTINIANS REJECTED ISRAELI STATEHOOD OFFER. In 2009, “a long-time Jerusalem reporter learned of an Israeli offer that would give a majority of the West Bank and all of Gaza—including a corridor between them—to the Palestinians. But his scoop was blocked,” as former AP man Mark Lavie writes in his article at Tablet:

In March 2009, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was interviewed in Arabic on Al-Jazeera. When I saw the MEMRI translation I immediately understood its significance: Erekat disclosed that Abbas had turned down an offer that would have given the Palestinians a state in almost all of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and parts of Jerusalem. Then I found out about the map. No one else had the story.

Excited about this scoop, I raced into my bureau chief’s office at the AP in Jerusalem. Imagine my shock when I was told it’s not a story—and I was banned from writing about it. It just couldn’t be a legitimate story, in line with the new definition of journalism.

The profession I joined in the 1960s wasn’t about helping anyone. It was about reporting and explaining the news. This new definition of journalism, apparently requires choosing sides. This became clear to me as long ago as 1988, at the beginning of the First Intifada, when I saw a reporter jump out of her car in the middle of a Gaza riot and shout at the Palestinians throwing rocks at the vehicle: “Why are you doing this? I’m trying to help you!” Like most Western media sources, she wanted to frame the uprising—the Palestinians as people—as helpless victims, to pillory the Israelis as the cruel oppressors. Stories that didn’t fit that framework had a hard time seeing the light of day. Even a peace offer.

So, naturally, despite the fact that Israel offered the Palestinians a state twice—in 2000 and 2008—the world saw Israel as the intransigent side. The 2008 proposal was largely unreported in world media.

Unexpectedly.

WITH ALL EYES ON ISIS, IRAN ‘DRILLS’ ISRAEL’S DESTRUCTION.

Don’t worry, I’m sure they don’t mean it — and “unexpectedly,” neither does AP.

DEAR LIBERALS, STOP DEFENDING RACIST PROGRESSIVE WOODROW WILSON: “Surprisingly, the 28th president still has his defenders on the left,” Damon Root writes at Reason, although much like the MSM’s constant stream of “unexpectedly” bad economic news post-January of 2009, I’m not sure what’s “surprising” about Wilson’s sclerotic “Progressive” defenders:

Not everyone is quite so eager to see Wilson knocked off his pedestal, however. Writing at Politico Magazine this week, left-wing New York University professor Jonathan Zimmerman attempted to defend the beleaguered 28th president by reminding the ungrateful student activists about Wilson’s pioneering progressive agenda. Sure, Wilson may have been a racist, Zimmerman admitted, but “the Progressive doctrines espoused by Wilson” ushered in a new era of activist government that was ultimately “reflected” and enshrined in Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Wilson was a founding father of modern liberalism, Zimmerman insisted, and therefore “deserves a good deal of credit” for improving the lives of “America’s poor and dispossessed, including minorities.”

I never cease to be amazed when I encounter this sort of liberal apologia for Woodrow Wilson. This is the same Woodrow Wilson, after all, who imposed Jim Crow on the federal government, praised segregation, glorified the Ku Klux Klan, spied on innocent Americans, censored the mail, trashed the Bill of Rights, and imprisoned multiple critics for the “crimes” of giving speeches, writing editorials, and distributing pamphlets. As H.L. Mencken once remarked about the ugly record of another unlikely liberal hero, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., “If this is Liberalism, then all I can say is that Liberalism is not what it was when I was young.”

Well, it’s not – Mencken wrote that sentence around 1930; as Fred Siegel wrote in his 2014 book, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class, in order to put a fresh PR spin on their ideology after the horrors of the Wilson administration, the self-described “Progressives” of the 20th century’s early years began to call themselves “liberals” instead during the previous decade — a huge stolen base, considering that there’s a vast difference between the traditional laissez-faire meaning of classical liberalism and the racism, eugenics, and “moral equivalent of war” obsessions of “Progressivism.”

Apparently Hillary thought all of that baggage was forgotten by 2007, when she decided that due to the L-word’s own accumulated history from 1933 to the present, she rebranded herself as “a proud modern American progressive, and I think that’s the kind of philosophy and practice that we need to bring back to American politics.”

Mission accomplished, and then some, Hillary — a racist like Woodrow Wilson would be astonished that a black man was president, but he’d find much to admire in Mr. Obama’s own racialism, corporatism, foreign policy utopianism, and the chaos and riots that he’s sewn since 2009.

UNEXPECTEDLY: LePen Leads First Presidential Poll After Paris Killings. And note this:

Europe’s far-Right will gain a lot of strength after the Paris attacks—and for that, you can largely blame the centrists.
Not surprisingly, figures like Marine Le Pen are making hay. Just after the attacks, Le Pen called for the “immediate halt” of the admission of refugees. Hungarian President Viktor Orban crowed that he was right all along. But in doing this, the far-Right is essentially doing what it’s always done. And what gives it oxygen is also the same thing as ever: The centrists declare any discussion of immigration (other than “it’s wonderful!”) off-limits, and so drive concerned voters to where they otherwise would not go.

Even in the wake of Paris, Euro-centrists couldn’t seem to stop preening, impugning their own citizenry, and generally insisting that all must go on as before. Less than a day after the attacks, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker declared that, “there is no need for an overall review of the European policy on refugees.” And while President Hollande has taken an admirably tough line on foreign policy and European matters, on November 18 he declared that France would increase its refugee intake over the next two years, to 30,000, in a speech whose upshot was that “France should remain as it is. Our duty is to carry on our lives.” Everything can go on the same as before, at the very least.

There may be both strategic and humanitarian arguments in favor of continuing to admit refugees, but the rhetorical tone on display from several of Europe’s highest-profile centrists, before and after the attacks, has seemed almost designed to alienate concerned citizens.

Hope is not a plan, and virtue-signalling is not a policy. American political elites have enabled the rise of Trump in much the same fashion.

SWEET HOME, CHICAGO:

…And here we go:

“Video: The shooting of Laquan McDonald.”

—Allahpundit, at Hot Air.

● “Did Corrupt Rahm Emanuel Wait to After Election to Release Video?

—Steve Bartin, Newsalert. (And a reminder to a suddenly and “unexpectedly” incurious MSM: “This ‘Mayor of Chicago’ who suppressed Laquan McDonald tape was Obama’s WH Chief of Staff, Chairman of House Dem Caucus, & Chairman of DCCC.”

“CHICAGO ERUPTS! Laquan McDonald Protesters ATTACK POLICE, Toss BOTTLES, Steal Police Bikes (Video).”

—Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit.

“Chicago Releases Video of Police Shooting of Suspect; City Braces for Violence That Some Predict Could Be Described as ‘Tuesday’”

—Ace of Spades.

And finally, good advice from John Nolte, as the media gets ready to whip up a hot fresh riot in time for Thanksgiving (and in honor of the one year anniversary of last year’s holiday season riots): “Praying for my many family members in Chicago. Told them if they see any CNN trucks, they need to run.”

Indeed. ™

UNEXPECTEDLY: Ancient DNA shows Stone Age humans evolved quickly as they took up farming.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Clock Kid Ahmed Mohamed Wants $15 Million in Damages.

Iowahawk suggests that the city of Irving, Texas “Pay him in 50% off Radio Shack coupons.”

Texas Muslim Student Clock

 

UNEXPECTEDLY: Colbert Drops to 3rd Place Behind Kimmel as New Poll Shows CBS Host Alienating Audiences:

Most importantly for Colbert, he’s found a niche in offering what the Jimmys can’t really offer (particularly Fallon): consistent political satire and more substantive interviews with big political guests (his interview with Joe Biden as the vice president openly displayed his inner conflict on running for for president was widely-praised in this space and pretty much everywhere else). But therein lies the rub: most sit-downs with politicians don’t exactly result in riveting television (outliers like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to a lesser extent notwithstanding). And Colbert has shown almost no willingness to hit both sides of the aisle even close to equally… it’s simply not in his DNA.

Consequently, according to a Hollywood Reporter poll just released, Colbert has successfully alienated self-described Republicans who see what’s being offered on a nightly basis and exploring or staying with other options. And with the country as polarized as it is, the host is thereby saying goodbye to half his potential audience, which can’t be a sound business model.

Per The Hollywood Reporter‘s survey of 1000 late-night viewers aged 18-65, only 17 percent of those identified themselves as Republican watch Colbert, while attracting 47 percent of those who identify as Democrats, a 30-point gap. But more liberals watch late-night TV than stuffy, old conservatives, right? Guess again. In Kimmel’s case, the split is 34 percent Democrats, 33 percent Republicans. In Fallon’s case, it’s 36-31 Democrats.

Why so even-keeled? Because Kimmel and Fallon go through great lengths to be apolitical. To equally mock or simply find other props and topics to use for comedy outside of political humor and (oftentimes in Colbert’s case) commentary on how stupid/awful/inept Republicans are. It’s a smart approach if the goal is to reach as broad as audience as possible, something Colbert never cared to achieve going back to his Comedy Central days and The Colbert Report. In character, out of character… Colbert is Colbert. And that’s fine on Comedy Central, even downright expected. But network TV? Not so much…

The ratings result of said approach is now beginning to come to fruition as the bloom comes off the rose ten weeks since his debut.

Who could have seen this coming? Err, lots of people — including me. As I wrote a year and half ago when Colbert was first announced as Letterman’s successor, CBS forgot the lessons of the 1996 HBO movie The Late Shift, based on the best-selling book by the New York Times’ Bill Carter on how NBC forced Johnny Carson’s hand and pushed the increasingly isolated and emotionally brittle king of late night TV into retirement, and chose Jay Leno, rather than Carson’s hand-picked successor David Letterman to replace him:

What particularly makes The Late Shift such an interesting film is that when it was originally shot, it looked like CBS got the better of the deal, with Letterman dominating the ratings. As it turns out, according to the Internet Database:

Subsequent airings after the initial release have added an additional epilogue on how the Hugh Grant interview boosted Jay Leno’s ratings past David Letterman’s.

Thus Littlefield and Agoglia [the NBC executives who chose cheerful lovable Jay Leno over the cranky neurotic David Letterman to replace Carson], despite being portrayed as Machiavellian manipulators on massive scale, end up looking like rather smart guys, in spite of themselves.

* * * * * * * *

Letterman’s retirement would be the perfect time for CBS to find a host to replace who connects with Middle America, the massive audience that Letterman and CBS’s late night division chose to abandon. Instead, by going with Colbert, CBS chose to continue to alienate this large group of viewers. Or worse, “CBS Declares War on Heartland of America,” as Rush Limbaugh said yesterday. “Why would CBS hire such a divisive host who is already failing in Late Night?”, John Nolte pondered yesterday. “All about the left holding on to the culture.”

As I wrote last year, “The early-1990s CBS executives portrayed in The Late Shift left the former ‘Tiffany’ network shortly after hiring Letterman. Too bad their successors seemed determined to live out their predecessor’s mistakes, in a seemingly unending ideological loop.”

WHAT COULD GO WRONG? “Obama administration counter-terrorism officials have trained domestic Homeland Security law enforcement officers to focus on the behavior of people entering the United States, rather than their political, ideological or religious background,” Kerry Picket writes at the Daily Caller:

“‘Are you a member of the Muslim Brotherhood? What school of Islamic law do you follow? Where do you go to mosque? Do you believe someone who insults Islam deserves to be killed? Would you like to make America an Islamic country?’ All of these questions — the most important ones — are off-limits,” Reaboi said.

Unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY: “The three candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination had different ideas at Saturday night’s Iowa debate about what to call terrorists — but they wanted to leave ‘Islamist’ out of any descriptor.”

UNEXPECTEDLY: Moderator of Tonight’s Democrat Debate Met With Campaign Teams Yesterday.

Related: CBS Democratic Debate Moderator John Dickerson’s Most Liberal Outbursts:

But as his time as a CBS correspondent, anchor of Face the Nation and writer for Slate and Time magazine Dickerson has advised Barack Obama to “destroy the GOP,” told Hillary Clinton she was “transparent” on the e-mail scandal, and urged the ultra-liberal Elizabeth Warren to join the 2016 race.

On the other hand, he chided the Benghazi committee for “fighting like cats and dogs” and called CNBC editor Rick Santelli’s rallying cry that inspired the Tea Party movement “clownish.”

Nope, no bias there.

UNEXPECTEDLY! TERRORIST LEADER CAUGHT HIDING AMONG ‘MIGRANTS’  — “Angela Merkel is probably the only person in Europe who didn’t know this would happen.”

UNEXPECTEDLY! New Yorkers Face Hard Decisions After Collapse of Health Republic Insurance. “If anyone could manage to obtain treatment under the Affordable Care Act, it should have been Liz Jackson. With a severe nerve condition that forced her out of a job, Ms. Jackson did not just qualify for a government-subsidized plan, but she also knew her way around the new system, having been trained as a volunteer ‘health care navigator’ to help others sign up. Yet the collapse of her insurer, Health Republic Insurance of New York — the largest of 12 health care co-ops nationwide set to close this year — has left her and more than 200,000 others in a panic over medical coverage after their plan ceases on Nov. 30.”

Plus: “’I’m an advocate for the health care law,’ said Ms. Jackson, who lives in Harlem. ‘And if I can’t navigate this, who can?’”

It’s as if the whole ObamaCare thing was just a politicized Potemkin village.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Great news: the EPA’s new smog rules will only cost 40 times as much as they said.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Cost Of Cheapest ObamaCare Plans Is Soaring.

Contrary to expectations, the mandate really doesn’t seem to be doing much to get people to buy insurance, at least yet (the penalty is set to go up again this year, and that may get people to pay attention). The subsidies, on the other hand, clearly have a large effect, which is why the customer base for the exchanges is so disproportionately composed of folks who are getting large amounts of taxpayer assistance to buy insurance. Anything that increases the gap between the cost of the insurance and the subsidy they are getting is therefore worrisome, if you want the exchanges to get and stay healthy.

It is possible to find out what different rates are being charged by insurers in many states; I have a giant spreadsheet of the 2016 rate increases for those states that make them available, and boy does that make me popular at cocktail parties. Unfortunately, we still don’t know what rate increases people are facing, because we don’t know what individuals had in 2015, or what they’ll buy in 2016.

This is frustrating. But a consulting company, Avalere Health, has provided at least slightly more data than we had before, supplementing the administration’s release of the information on benchmark plans by looking at the cost of the cheapest Bronze and Silver policies. It’s still far more limited than one would like, but looking at those rates does give us additional information.

The biggest thing they tell us is that, as I suspected when I wrote about the CMS release, the whole bottom of the market is undergoing a fairly massive repricing. In most states, the cost of the cheapest Silver plan, relative to the cheapest one last year, rose even more than the benchmark rate. And in most states, the cost of the cheapest Bronze plan went up by more than the cost of the cheapest Silver plan.

Good news! You’re now required to buy health insurance that you can’t afford! Also, the deductibles are huge. . . .

TRUTH REVEALED ABOUT ‘RAZOR BLADE’ FOUND IN LITTLE GIRL’S HERSHEY BAR:

It appears as though the little girl was not the only one to make a false report about dangerous objects in their candy bars.

In the greater Pennsylvania and New Jersey area, numerous reports were made to police, stating that sewing needles were found lodged inside Halloween candy:

t turns out that Robert Ledrew of Blackwood, who made the initial report, had fabricated the story as well, reports CBS3.

Ledrew, who posted needle-filled candy bars to his Facebook, claimed he was trying to teach his children a lesson to be careful with their candy. He was later arrested and charged with making a false police report.

Unexpectedly.

MILLENIALS EVEN SEE TRANSPORTATION DIFFERENTLY, Nicole Gelinas writes at the New York Post:

It’s all wonderful, then, that people are changing their behavior — except for the fact that the country needs for people to keep driving ever more miles so that it can fund its highway and transit infrastructure. Remember: Just as not everyone needed to default on his mortgage to cause a housing bust, not everyone needs to take the bus instead of a car to cause a roads bust.

To wit: Without money from gas taxes pouring into federal highway coffers, taxpayers have had to bail out the nation’s highway fund for the past half-decade. I-95 from Florida to Maine needs at least $8 billion in bridge repairs — and we don’t have the money to make them.

Transit infrastructure is falling apart, too, even as people increasingly crowd trains and buses.

It’s tempting to want to keep bailing out the highways, just as we bailed out our housing market seven years ago.

It’s also foolish. Just as the 2008 housing crash was a necessary market signal that our way of life — bigger houses and bigger cars, all paid by bigger debt — was unaffordable, the traffic crash is a necessary market signal, too.

More people want to spend their lives working or with their families, not sitting on their butts behind a steering wheel.

Need another market signal?

You can buy a big house anywhere in the country, dirt cheap — as long as it’s nowhere near an efficient mass-transit system.

It’s also an opportunity for pols to say that we need a new way of funding our infrastructure. Sure, we should raise the gas tax — to what it would be if it kept up with inflation.*

Over time, though, charging people by the amount of gas they use or even the amount of miles they travel may be a losing game, as people travel less. Nearby real-estate owners who benefit from keeping up a highway may have to kick in.

In August, the London Independent claimed “Millennials are no longer going to night clubs,” with a take that presumably is applicable to American Millenials as well, given that on both sides of the pond, “once costly high-end audio equipment can be easily and inexpensively sourced online, meaning that the house party represents a better value option, as indeed do the entertainment offerings from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video or games companies.”

And as we noted back then, at least in America, that house party is likely to be in mom and dad’s basement. “More young adults are living at home than five years ago, despite the economic recovery, according to a new report by Pew Research Center that crunched U.S. Census bureau data from 2010 to 2015,” Forbes reported.

So they’re not going out to night clubs, they’re not driving, and they’re staying home watching TV. Congratulations, Millenials – you’re already leading the sedentary lifestyle my parents led in their 70s and 80s; have we got an exciting, wild and crazy candidate whose boundless sense of fun matches yours!

*  It’s always time for Democrats and the MSM (but I repeat myself) to call for new gasoline taxes.

UNEXPECTEDLY! “It’s like every Canadian just got a pay cut” as dollar plunges after Trudeau’s win. Hey, it’s only a few percent!

So far.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Obama Justice Dept.: No criminal charges for ex-IRS official. “The department also announced that Lois Lerner, who headed the division that processes applications for tax-exempt status at the time, would not face any charges.”

 

UNEXPECTEDLY: Dan Rather and Robert Redford’s paradoxically-named “Truth” bombs at the box office:

The movie — starring Robert Redford as Rather and Cate Blanchett as his longtime producer Mary Mapes — has grossed a paltry $66,000 in limited release. But its prospects are dim as it goes nationwide on Oct. 30, because “Truth” will have to compete with “Suffragette,” “Burnt” and a few other new features.

However, “Truth’s” real damage will be when it’s available for essentially zero-cost streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime, and in endless repeats in the bowels of cable TV, where it will pollute the historical record in much the same way as Oliver Stone’s JFK, 20 years ago.

 

SURE, AND NEXT YOU’RE GOING TO TELL ME THAT THERE’S GAMBLING GOING ON IN RICK’S CAFE, TO BOOT: The American boy arrested for making a clock meets Sudan’s president, an accused war criminal:

Bashir is no ordinary world leader. He has an outstanding arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, for example, for allegedly orchestrating genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. The country he leads is under a variety of U.S. sanctions. His government harbored Osama bin Laden for five years in the 1990s. A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks even suggested he may have secretly stolen $9 billion in oil money.

I’m shocked — shocked! — by this oh, so “unexpectedly” occurring development, aren’t you?

UNEXPECTEDLY! Russia’s Military Prowess Surprises Western Analysts.

Russian air and missile strikes in Syria over the past two weeks have surprised military analysts, who did not appreciate Russia’s sophisticated capabilities. . . .

The capabilities on display in Syria are surely sending shudders up Eastern European spines, but Washington should worry too. Although the United States remains a far more powerful military power than Russia, the speed with which Russia has managed to significantly upgrade its military equipment indicates the perils of resting on one’s laurels in an age full of rapidly-developing high technology. Armchair analysts who pooh-poohed the Pentagon budget cuts created by sequestration ought to revisit their arguments.

A greater worry: if Russia is startling us with its military might, how much might we be underestimating China?

Remember, the Administration wants to underestimate their strength, because a correct estimate would require them to do things, and make spending changes, that they find unpalatable.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Another Anti-Gay Hate Crime Turns Out to Be a Giant Hoax.

“Commentator Michelle Malkin has dubbed the phenomenon ‘faking the hate,’ and has blogged about it for many years.

THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: Unexpectedly, The Middle East Meltdown Continues. “Some of President Obama’s critics accuse him of lacking a strategy for the Middle East. This is far from the truth. From where the President sits, the Administration has a Middle East strategy, and it is just given him a huge success.” Well, you know, it all depends on what your goals are.

UNEXPECTEDLY: University of Toronto Dumps Transgender Bathrooms After Peeping Incidents.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Bern Notice: Socialist Venezuela Has World’s Worst Economic Forecast.

CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE — THEN SEND THAT CHECK TO THE IRS!

A political humorist named Mark Dice took a camera to the streets of San Diego and decided to interview Hillary Clinton supporters, acting as if he was one of them.

He told them that Clinton planned on instituting a “white privilege” tax.

In other words, she planned on taking money from each and every Caucasian and distributing it among the other races.

Guess what? They not only bought it, they agreed with it.

Unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Once the Biggest Buyer, China Starts Dumping U.S. Government Debt.

UNEXPECTEDLY: How Dodd-Frank explains our weak recovery.

“INADVERTENTLY” IS THE NEW “UNEXPECTEDLY!” The Immigration Act That Inadvertently Changed America: Fifty years after its passage, it’s clear that the law’s ultimate effects are at odds with its original intent. “Seven out of every eight immigrants in 1960 were from Europe; by 2010, nine out of ten were coming from other parts of the world. The 1965 Immigration Act was largely responsible for that shift. No law passed in the 20th century altered the country’s demographic character quite so thoroughly.”

In academia, we say that personnel is policy. Does that hold for nations, too?

UNEXPECTEDLY:  Vermont — The Land of Bernie — Is Seeing a Mass Exodus of College Aged Students Because There Are No Jobs.

But there are plenty of ways to kill the pain: “Heroin epidemic hits Vermont community hard,” CBS reported last month.

David Brooks, call your office — it just might be time to update that “Latte Town” thesis.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: “Today it is my sad duty to report to you the death of the Pax Americana. This isn’t shocking news, as though the Pax had died unexpectedly in a car accident. No, this has been a long and lingering death — but the end now has come,” Steve Green writes — and I think I need to borrow a cup or 20 of Steve’s vodka after reading it; the photo accompanying the article says it all.

Still though — look on the bright side: Mr. Obama assured us that we would have “peace in our time” during his second term’s inauguration speech. With a keen knowledge of modern history like that, what’s the worst that could happen?

UNEXPECTEDLY! US sees ‘surprising’ spike in border crossings.

The United States saw a spike last month in the number of unaccompanied minors and families illegally crossing the southern border, the White House said Monday.

“We have seen, just in the last month, in the month of August, a surprising uptick,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

Earnest did not provide exact an exact number but said it was “far below” last year’s peak level, which initially overwhelmed U.S. government resources.

The spokesman said the increase was unusual because the number of unaccompanied minors who cross the border usually falls in August due to extreme heat.

“That is something that is concerning,” Earnest said.

The increase in crossings could raise fears about a repeat of last year, when the U.S. faced a border crisis spurred by people from Central America fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries.

At the crisis’s peak, as many as 10,000 children per month, and 16,000 adults with children, came to the U.S.-Mexico border, according to CNN, which first reported the news about the August figures.

Earnest said administration officials would brief members of Congress on the latest details. And he said the U.S. is redoubling its effort to warn people in Central America about the dangers of the journey.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think they really mind all that much. Now if these illegal aliens were likely to vote Republican. . . .

UNEXPECTEDLY: Migration crisis creating ‘wave of criminality’ as gangs turn to people-smuggling.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Cascading Border Closures Rock Europe.

Europe is experiencing a series of cascading border closures, rippling outward like circuit breakers tripping during a power surge. A week ago, Denmark suspended its rail link to Germany. On Monday, Germany closed its border with Austria. Austria, Slovakia, and the Netherlands all clamped “temporary” border restrictions into place.

On Tuesday, Hungary sealed its border with Serbia; yesterday, Hungarian border guards used water cannons, tear gas, and truncheons to beat back a sea of migrants. This in turn forced more than 5,000 people to seek an alternate path through Croatia north to Slovenia and Germany. Croatian authorities indicated that while they want to help, Croatia’s capacity for handling migrant flows was limited to the thousands, not to the tens of thousands. And then Slovenian authorities today announced that they would reinforce their border with Croatia, potentially creating another dead end for the thousands of migrants massing in the Balkans.

This was inevitable when Brussels and Berlin signaled a determination to treat the immigration problem—which is a hybrid refugee crisis and migrant moment—in purely humanitarian terms. Those languishing in the south of Europe or even in refugee camps in Turkey heard the official declarations as an open-ended invitation to the generous, prosperous, new Germany; they rushed northward and overloaded the system.

European leaders had no practical plans to deal with the wave of migrants they were encouraging. While some of the border shutdowns—such as Hungary’s—were triggered by ideology, many are a matter of logistics. Germany, it turns out, has absolutely no legal immigration mechanism. It hasn’t enforced a land border since 1995. Is it any wonder it wasn’t able to process the inflow into Bavaria, despite the government’s best intentions? Now, border controls are now rippling from the desirable destinations in Europe (Germany and Scandinavia) outward to its more remote borders.

The Gods of The Copybook Headings smile and nod.

NOBEL PANEL SAW OBAMA PEACE PRIZE AS ‘MISTAKE,’ NEW BOOK CLAIMS. “The former director of Norway’s Nobel Institute revealed this week that he regrets the committee’s decision to give the 2009 Nobel Peace award to President Obama:”

Geil Lundestad, director at the institute for 25 years, said in his just-published memoir that he and the committee had unanimously decided to grant the award to Mr. Obama just after his election in 2009 more in hopes of aiding the American president to achieve his goals on nuclear disarmament, rather than in recognition of what Mr. Obama had already accomplished.

Looking back over Mr. Obama’s presidency, Mr. Lundestad said, granting him the award did not fulfill the committee’s expectations.

“[We] thought it would strengthen Obama and it didn’t have this effect,” he wrote.

Unexpectedly.

The elites guffawing the loudest over this year’s Trumpmania have the most to be embarrassed about in 2008 and early 2009.

HOW OBAMA HAS FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED POLITICS: Michael Barone writes, “In this presidential cycle voters in both parties, to the surprise of the punditocracy*, are rejecting experienced political leaders:”

They’re willfully suspending disbelief in challengers who would have been considered laughable in earlier years.

Polls show more Republicans favoring three candidates who have never held elective office than 14 candidates who have served a total of 150 years as governors or in Congress. Most Democrats are declining to favor a candidate who spent eight years each in the White House and the Senate and four as secretary of state.

Psephologists of varying stripes attribute this discontent to varying causes. Conservatives blame insufficiently aggressive Republican congressional leaders. Liberals blame Hillary Clinton’s closeness to plutocrats and her home-brew email system.

But in our system a widespread rejection of experienced leaders ultimately comes from dismay at the leader in the White House. In 1960 Richard Nixon, after eight years as vice-president and six in Congress, campaigned on the slogan, “Experience counts.” No one is running on that theme this year.

Well, America abandoned the notion that “experience counts” as a presidential resume enhancer in 2008. As CNN admitted in late November of 2008 after it was too late to make a difference, “The Americans who are comparing [Obama] to those remarkable predecessors [Lincoln, FDR, JFK, and Bill Clinton were name-dropped in the article] are putting a lot of faith in a man they barely know.” Why would voters start caring about that sort of minutia now?

* Unexpectedly!

(Via Betsy Newmark.)

UNEXPECTEDLY! The economy never seems to be as good as the Fed thinks it will be. That’s some bad luck, right there.

UNEXPECTEDLY! A Hunting Ban Saps a Village’s Livelihood.

Lions have been coming out of the surrounding bush, prowling around homes and a small health clinic, to snatch goats and donkeys from the heart of this village on the edge of one of Africa’s great inland deltas. Elephants, too, are becoming frequent, unwelcome visitors, gobbling up the beans, maize and watermelons that took farmers months to grow.

Since Botswana banned trophy hunting two years ago, remote communities like Sankuyo have been at the mercy of growing numbers of wild animals that are hurting livelihoods and driving terrified villagers into their homes at dusk.

The hunting ban has also meant a precipitous drop in income. Over the years, villagers had used money from trophy hunters, mostly Americans, to install toilets and water pipes, build houses for the poorest, and give scholarships to the young and pensions to the old.

Calls to curb trophy hunting across Africa have risen since a lion in Zimbabwe, named Cecil by researchers tracking it, was killed in July by an American dentist. . . .

“We had a lot of complaints from local communities,” Ms. Kapata said. “In Africa, a human being is more important than an animal. I don’t know about the Western world,” she added, echoing a complaint in affected parts of Africa that the West seemed more concerned with the welfare of a lion in Zimbabwe than of Africans themselves.

This is what happens when you let your policy be driven by “social justice” virtue-signalling, instead of, you know, reason and consideration actual human needs.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Sanctuary City enjoys skyrocketing rates of murder, rape.

I’M SURE IT’S JUST A COINCIDENCE:

Al-Qaeda Tries to Recruit Black Activists in New Magazine Issue.

Law Enforcement Agencies On High Alert For 9/11 Attacks Following Threats From Black Militants.

Curious how the goals of radical Islam and the radical left always seem to “unexpectedly” connect, isn’t it?

UNEXPECTEDLY: This Deal (Still) Keeps Getting Worse All the Time.

TO BE FAIR, THAT’S ALWAYS THE LEFT’S PREFERRED APPROACH TO UNDESIRABLES: Guardian Columnist Julie Bindel Says Put All Males ‘In Some Kind of Camp.’

RELATED: Guardian columnist proclaims “Wasps may have stung me in the testicles – but I love them anyway.” Unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY:Thousands of cancer patients to be denied treatment. Common drugs for breast, bowel, prostate, pancreatic and blood cancer will no longer be funded by the NHS following sweeping cutbacks. … BUT Great Britain had a pony and our progressives wanted one too. So they assured everyone that everything over there was running beautifully.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Russian troops ‘fighting alongside Assad’s army against Syrian rebels’.

IS IT 1968 AGAIN? CRIME RISING “UNEXPECTEDLY:” How bad is it? So bad that as Steve Hayward writes at Power Line, even the New York Times has noticed – and of course, the Times passage that Steve quotes listing the cities of Baltimore, New Orleans, Washington DC and St. Louis is a classic “Name that Party” moment.

I was about to make a cheap Fox Butterfield joke goofing on his series of unintentionally hilarious late-1990s Times headlines culminating in “Number in Prison Grows Despite Crime Reduction” from 2000, but it’s worth noting that Hillary is openly running against all of her husband’s successful law and order related policies of the 1990s.

NEW SAN FRANCISCO RESTAURANT REPLACES HUMANS WITH IPADS: Eatsa in the city’s financial district offers iPad-based ordering, with meals prepared by people whom customers never have to see:

Not far from San Francisco, a hotel in Sunnyvale, the Aloft Cupertino, recently began testing a robot that assists its human colleagues with daily tasks such as changing linens and towels and delivering amenities to guests.

Riley Thomas, a San Francisco resident who works near Eatsa, was one of the few patrons who questioned the concept at a time when more and more families are struggling to survive in the city. “I like the food and love the price,” he said. “Still, it worries me that people will begin to think that this is how all restaurants should be run and it could really hurt jobs that are needed right now.”

Co-founder Scott Drummond said: “There is a fast food business model that we need to hit and we’re looking at ways that technology can increase efficiency … That way we can get the price down.”

Gee, what could have inspired these San Francisco restaurateurs so “unexpectedly?”

UNEXPECTEDLY: The Green Energy Scam Exposed by . . . Berkeley!?!

TANNED, RESTED, READY: Biden donors lying in wait.

Major fundraisers for Joe Biden’s past campaigns have not committed to Hillary Clinton, leaving the vice president’s allies convinced he can win the financial support necessary to challenge her.

Biden would face a financial giant in the Clinton campaign, which has won over many of President Obama’s fundraisers and already had a vast financial network.

But a number of big donors with ties to Biden have not thrown their support to the Democratic frontrunner.

And Clinton, who already faces an unexpectedly tough challenge from liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has seen doubts creep into her campaign as she has dealt with the controversy surrounding her use of a private email account as secretary of State.

“If VP Biden decides to run I will support him 100 percent,” New York attorney Richard J. Davis, a campaign bundler for Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign, told The Hill. Davis is a long-term Democratic supporter who served as assistant secretary of the Treasury Department during the Carter Administration.

The organization urging Biden to run for President – Draft Biden 2016 – would not comment specifically on its fundraising challenges.

I’m sure Hillary is thrilled.

UNEXPECTEDLY: White House, Clinton Make Gun-Control Push Hours After Virginia Journalist Murders.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Second-highest paid L.A. County employee in 2014 didn’t work a single day.

Reminder to California civil servants: Bell, California’s staggering fiscal meltdown at the dawn of the Obama era is a warning, not a how-to guide for the topping the Guinness World Record Book of graft.

A TALE OF TWO MEDIA SOURCES: Donald Trump’s last minute decision to change the venue of a political rally in Mobile, Alabama has caused some outlets in the mainstream media to fully reveal their inability to report simple facts without mind-numbing spin. CNN, to their credit, seems to have (mostly) resisted the urge with “30,000 turn out for Trump’s Alabama pep rally“:

The event was previously planned to be held at the nearby Civic Center but was moved to the 43,000-seat Ladd-Peebles Stadium — a venue normally home to high school football games — to accommodate the crowd. The City of Mobile confirmed late Friday that 30,000 people attended.

At least CNN accurately reported the 30,000 attendance. But they failed to mention that Trump’s campaign team altered the venue late Thursday from Mobile’s approximately 2,000 seat Civic Center to the 40,000 Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Notice also that the CNN reporter couldn’t help but snark that the stadium was “a venue normally home to high school games.” While the stadium does host some of the bigger local high school football playoff games (and high school football is very big in Alabama), it is actually principally a college football venue, being the home stadium of the University of South Alabama football team and the GoDaddy Bowl.

The New York Times, as usual, couldn’t resist spinning and twisting the facts in its effort to make Trump (as with all things GOP) look as bad as possible, its headline reading “Donald Trump Fails to Fill Alabama Stadium, But Fans’ Zeal is Undiminished”:

Before Donald J. Trump arrived at a college football stadium here on Friday evening, the colorful guessing games that often accompany his campaign were very much in the air.

Would Mr. Trump actually fill all of the tens of thousands of seats at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, the home field for the University of South Alabama Jaguars? How would one of the largest cities in one of the country’s most conservative states respond to a candidate whose bombast and brashness can sometimes seem limitless? Would Mr. Trump wear a “Make America Great Again” baseball hat, perhaps to conceal the effects of the wilting Gulf Coast heat and humidity on his much-remarked-upon mane?

As usual, the answers — no, loudly and yes — came amid the trademark gusto of both Mr. Trump’s personality and his evolving campaign for the presidency.

“Now I know how the great Billy Graham felt, because this is the same feeling,” Mr. Trump, referring to the celebrated evangelist, thundered from a stage built for the night’s rally, where the vast stretches of empty seats indicated that attendance had fallen short of the more than 30,000 people he had predicted.

Aside from the fact that the New York Times reporter, Alan Blinder (apt name), didn’t realize that his piece had asked three questions but proceeded to answer only two “no, loudly and yes,” he answered his initial, irrelevant question about filling the stadium “no.” Mr. Blinder felt the need to go even further and “report” that there were “vast stretches of empty seats” and that “attendance had fallen short of the more than 30,000 people he had predicted.”

The title of the  New York Times’ piece and its failure to mention the last-minute venue change leaves the reader with the distinct impression that Trump had planned a rally in a large stadium all along, and had miserably and embarrassingly failed to fill it. This, of course, is 180 degrees from the actual truth. Can you imagine how the Times would have slobbered all over itself if Hillary Clinton had scheduled a rally in a 2,000 seat venue and, due to overwhelming interest, had changed the venue at the last minute to a 40,000 seat stadium, filling 30,000 of the seats? The Times would have been so excited it would have wet itself.

Look, whether you’re a fan of Trump or not isn’t the point here. The point is that, love him or hate him, the man is drawing unexpectedly large crowds, which is something no other Democrat or GOP candidate is doing. When reporters can’t seem to report this simple fact accurately, we all realize (once again) that we are being treated like little children who need to be “protected” by those who think they know better.

WIPING ISRAEL OFF THE MAP: “If Israelis aren’t paranoid, they should be. Every time they turn around, someone is trying to wipe their country off the map. Literally.”

Of course, Mr. Obama’s would-be deal with Iran is designed to simply take that punitive worldview to its ultimate end game.

RELATED: “Obama lawyers intervene to protect PLO funds in terrorism cases: In an unusual legal move, the Obama administration has taken the legal side of the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization in a federal court case that American terrorism victims’ families had already won.”

Unexpectedly.

EVERYTHING IS SEEMINGLY SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL: Actual AP headline: “AP Exclusive: California fails on promises to create green jobs, energy savings.”

Gosh, other than half the country, who could have seen that one coming?!

MEMO TO VOX: YOU KNOW HOW THIS PROSPERITY WAS ACHIEVED? WE LET IT HAPPEN. “Readers of this blog will likely  have seen this before (though it may well be new to Vox readers).  Here is the amazing thing about the Vox article:  It never once mentions capitalism, trade, economic freedom, or any synonym.”

Unexpectedly. (OK, to be fair, it’s rather “expectedly,” given Young Ezra’s views on the toxic brew that is nationalism combined with socialism.)

FROM THE GANG THAT BROUGHT US THE OBAMACARE WEBSITE: ‘NEXTGEN’ AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL COMPUTER SYSTEM BLOWS UP.

Unexpectedly.

JON STEWART WANTED VIDEO EVIDENCE THAT HE WAS AN OBAMA PROPAGANDIST SO WE FOUND A BUNCH.

Unexpectedly.

DISPATCHES FROM THE FRONTLINES OF INCOME INEQUALITY: “Housing is so outrageously expensive in San Francisco the city can’t hire enough teachers: According to a report from KTVU in San Francisco, the city’s school district needs to find 51 more teachers in the 2 weeks before school starts, but is having trouble hiring due to the high cost of living.”

And just to place this report in perspective, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2013, San Francisco has the lowest percentage of children of any major American city:

Just 13.4 percent of San Francisco’s 805,235 residents are younger than 18, the smallest percentage of any major city in the country. By contrast, San Jose’s percentage of children is 24.8 percent, Oakland’s is 21.3 percent, Boston’s is 16.8 percent and Seattle’s is 15.4 percent, according to Brian Cheu, director of community development for the Mayor’s Office of Housing. Even Manhattan is composed of roughly 15 percent children, according to Dan Kelly, director of planning for San Francisco’s Human Services Agency.

In 1970, children made up 22 percent of San Francisco. In 1960, they constituted 25 percent.

Curious how that number keeps “unexpectedly” declining.

(Although considering that in 2008, the Chronicle was complaining that “There is nothing more bacchanalian than a kid’s birthday party,” and how those bacchanalian birthday parties lead to increased global warming, from their perspective, those declining numbers are good news, right?)

RELATED: “Urine-Corroded San Francisco Lamp Post Falls in Street, Nearly Hits Driver.”

As Harry Stein wrote 15 years ago in How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (and Found Inner Peace), one item on the checklist that you may be drifting towards the right is that “Someone’s going on about how fantastic San Francisco is, and it suddenly hits you that’s one place on earth you never want to live.”

UNEXPECTEDLY: Report: Obama Admin Taking the Side of Palestinians Over U.S. Citizens in Terror Case.