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Have Yourself a Snazzy Little Christmas

December 22nd, 2014 - 5:00 pm

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” isn’t a song about date rape. It’s a cleverly told musical version of the age-old dance of seduction, where both dancers know exactly what they’re doing along the way to an almost predetermined (and happy!) ending. “Hook up culture” doesn’t teach those dance steps, which leads to lots of confusion and the occasional tragedy.

But enough of that — enjoy yourself some Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalbano.

Das Ende for Tolerance?

December 22nd, 2014 - 2:14 pm

Der Spiegel reports on Germany’s anti-Muslim wave:

What is going on in Germany, the world’s second most popular destination for immigrants? Has the open-mindedness for which Germans had long been praised now ended? Are we seeing a return of the vague fear of being overwhelmed by immigrants that Germany experienced in the 1990s, when a hostel for asylum seekers was burned down? How large is the new right-wing movement, and will it remain limited to Dresden, or is it spreading nationwide?

So far, protests held under the PEGIDA label in under cities — like Kassel and Würzburg — have attracted only a few hundred people at a time. In fact, some of the protests attracted significantly larger numbers of counter-demonstrators. And while thousands of “patriotic Europeans” aim to take to the streets in Dresden again in the coming days, their counterparts in Germany’s western states are taking a Christmas break. PEGIDA supporters are waiting until after the holidays to return to the streets in cities like Cologne, Düsseldorf and Unna.

Still, many Germans share the protestors’ views, according to a current SPIEGEL poll. Some 34 percent of citizens agreed with the PEGIDA protestors that Germany is becoming increasingly Islamicized.

“Tolerance” is hardly the word I’d use for Germany’s attitude — then or now — towards Muslim immigrants.

During Germany’s postwar Wirtschaftswunder, the country didn’t have enough workers to produce all the goods demanded by its newly-prosperous consumers and export industries. So Germany brought in millions of Gastarbeiter, or guest workers, mostly from Turkey. Back in 1984, I saw some of the Muslim areas in Cologne and West Berlin firsthand — and trust me, those slums were not the result of happy multiculti tolerance. The Turks were shoved into bad areas and assimilation with ethnic Germans was never on the menu.

So I’d argue that today’s protests aren’t some sudden U-turn in German-Gastarbeiter relations, but instead are a natural consequence of Germany’s decades-long refusal to assimilate its permanent “guests.”

There’s a lesson there, if only we’d bother to (re)learn it.

Show Jeb the Money

December 22nd, 2014 - 1:14 pm

Hugh Hewitt:

In the money sweepstakes, Bush is out to an early lead. Sitting in for me on my show Friday, “Hot Air”‘s Ed Morrissey asked “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd about the race for big donors now on between Bush and New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

“I think Christie’s going to be on the losing end of this,” Todd told Morrissey.

“I mean, look, Jeb Bush basically is the number one fundraiser, right now, will end up being the number one big fundraiser in Texas, the number one big fundraiser in Florida, the number one big fundraiser in California, and he might end up being the number one guy even in Wall Street in New York, because remember, a sitting governor has to be careful who he raises money from on Wall Street,” Todd added. “It’s a big, it’s a little bit of an arcane issue, but there’s a lot of issues there with sitting governors when it comes to raising Wall Street money.”

Bush is a former governor who hasn’t run a race since 2002, and he may already be sewing up the money for 2016? The GOP is finally developing a deep bench, and one candidate of moderate distinction, but with a an old family name, threatens to suck up all the oxygen.

That’s not America as I understand it.

Earl Grey, Hot

December 22nd, 2014 - 11:56 am


This isn’t quite Captain Picard’s replicator, but it’s close:

The “Foodini,” as it’s called, isn’t too different from a regular 3D printer, but instead of printing with plastics, it deploys edible ingredients squeezed out of stainless steel capsules: “It’s the same technology,” says Lynette Kucsma, co-founder of Natural Machines, “but with plastics there’s just one melting point, whereas with food it’s different temperatures, consistencies and textures. Also, gravity works a little bit against us, as food doesn’t hold the shape as well as plastic.”

The Barcelona-based startup behind the machine says it’s the only one of its kind capable of printing a wide range of dishes, from sweet to savory.

“In essence, this is a mini food manufacturing plant shrunk down to the size of an oven,” Kucsma said, pointing out that at least in the initial stage the printer will be targeted mostly at professional kitchen users, with a consumer version to follow, at a projected retail price of around $1,000.

If you need me, I’ll be standing over my charcoal grill with a couple of ribeyes cut from an actual cow.

News You Can Use

December 22nd, 2014 - 10:38 am


Exhibit #1,000,006 in why nothing good ever came from hiding in the closet:

An American pastor from Indiana, who leads a church that preaches same-sex marriage is “sinful”, has been arrested after he allegedly grabbed and squeezed a man’s genitals before requesting oral sex.

Gaylard Williams, 59, who leads the Praise Cathedral Church of God in Seymour, southern Indiana, was arrested and charged with battery and appeared in court last week, WLKY reports.

Williams allegedly approached a 27-year-old man in his car at Cypress Lake in Indiana. The man said that when he rolled down his window to speak to Williams, the pastor grabbed and squeezed his genitals, and then requested oral sex.

This next line is the clincher:

Police found gay porn in Williams’ car, who denied it was his and claimed he was returning it to the owner.


The Oil Wars

December 22nd, 2014 - 9:12 am

Andrew Scott Cooper says that relief you feel at the gas pump is due to the ongoing Saudi-Iranian rivalry:

There’s no doubt that shale has eroded Saudi Arabia’s “swing power” as the world’s largest oil producer. But thanks to their pumping capacity, reserves, and stockpiles, the Saudis are still more than capable of crashing the oil markets — and willing to do so. In September 2014, they did just that, boosting oil production by half a percent (to 9.6 million barrels per day) in markets already brimming with cheap crude and, a few days later, offering increased discounts to major Asian customers; global prices quickly fell nearly 30 percent. As in 1977, the Saudis instigated this flood for political reasons: Whether foreign analysts believe it or not, oil markets remain important venues in the Saudi-Iranian struggle for supremacy over the Persian Gulf.

The last time the Saudis played ball this hard with Tehran, it helped to bring down the Shah. We had — and blew — a similar opportunity against the mullahs in 2009, but it’s becoming clear that the White House blew that opportunity on purpose.

Which has to make you wonder if the Saudis won’t flood the market even longer this time around. It’s obvious we aren’t going to help them deal with Iran, so maybe they’ll keep up enough pressure to do what we won’t.

Required Reading

December 22nd, 2014 - 8:08 am


Kevin Williamson nabs today’s top spot with his year-end wrap:

If 2014 had a grand theme, it was testicular absence.

In science fiction, corporations are deathless juggernauts imposing their will on governments and galaxies, but in the real world Sony, one of the most powerful business entities in the world, got cowed into submission by the release of some embarrassing e-mails and threats from hackers acting on behalf of the Evil Kingdom of the Hermit Midgets. Hollywood is forever congratulating itself on its courage for banging on, e.g., the American suburban bourgeoisie, because bourgeois American suburbanites don’t generally resolve disagreements by sawing off heads. But let Kim Jung-un take offense at your dopey Seth Rogen movie and Sony is suddenly a wounded kitten.

You think the Weyland-Yutani Corporation would put up with that nonsense?

Read the whole thing.

Kerry Sinking in Turtle Bay

December 22nd, 2014 - 7:18 am

Benny Avni takes you behind the scenes of the maneuvers going on that the UN between the Palestinian Authority and the US State Department:

Presidents of both parties have long understood that Israel can’t get a fair shake at the United Nations, that Washington alone must steer any international attempts at peacemaking with the Palestinians.

Past UN ambassadors — John Negroponte, John Bolton, Richard Holbrooke — have publicly expressed red lines regarding Israel-related resolutions. Violate these lines, and America would use its veto.

But our current UN ambassador, Samantha Power, has yet to speak publicly about the various ideas for resolutions — even though these could change the entire Israeli-Palestinian political landscape. And Kerry is now negotiating proposed UN texts as if it were a vital world issue.

This is not the behavior of a superpower. It’s the tactic of minor players whose only power derives from being UN members (or, here, a “UN observer” with too many fans).

Kerry may think that by showing good faith, he’ll get the Palestinians to back off. They won’t: They’ll only demand deeper UN involvement in their dealings with Israel.

Do you get the feeling the American people are being set up by the White House for an unprecedented sellout of Israel?

The Last Jews in Britain?

December 22nd, 2014 - 6:22 am

Just last week I ran across the story of the last two Jews remaining in Edirne, Turkey. Quite a bit closer to home is this report from London:

Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem on Sunday, [Director of BBC Television] Danny Cohen said the past year had been the most difficult for him as a Jew living in the United Kingdom.

“I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months. And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually. Because you feel it. I’ve felt it in a way I’ve never felt before actually,” he said in a conversation with Channel 2’s anchor Yonit Levi.

Cohen went on: “And you’ve seen the number of attacks rise. You’ve seen murders in France. You’ve seen murders in Belgium. It’s been pretty grim actually. And having lived all my life in the UK, I’ve never felt as I do now about anti-Semitism in Europe.”

Cohen made the comments as one of the international television and comedy professionals participating in a two-day conference at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on the ability of comedy to drive forward social change.

Last month, Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who is also Jewish, decried the rise of anti-Semitism in Great Britain and called for “a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism in the UK.”

Miliband is going to find that a “zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism” simply won’t square with Britain’s touchy-feely multiculturalism. This “New Britain” which turned a blind eye to the mass rape of 1,400 girls by Muslim men in Rotherham is morally and legally ill-equipped to deal with the brutal reality of a sizable fraction of its immigrant community.

Miami 2014 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)

December 22nd, 2014 - 5:01 am


The news from New York keeps getting worse:

The gunman who fatally ambushed two police officers in their squad car had a long criminal record, a hatred for police and the government, and an apparent history of mental instability that included an attempt to hang himself a year ago, authorities said.

Moments before opening fire, Ismaaiyl Brinsley approached people on the street in Brooklyn, He also asked if they had any gang affiliation and asked them to follow him on Instagram, then told them, “Watch what I’m going to do,” Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.

Brinsley reminds me of Jared Lee Loughner, another deeply disturbed individual who used politics (or perhaps in Brinsley’s case, religion) as an excuse to act out his murderous fantasies. The important difference between these two men isn’t in their actions or their supposed politics or in the color of their skin — but in the political climates of their home states.

What happened in Arizona in 2011 led to a brief and failed attempt by the Left to try and pin Loughner down as a typical right winger. Life in Arizona returned quickly to normal. New York City won’t be so lucky, because Brinsley’s grisly double murder is bringing that city’s political and cultural divisions into sharp relief. Jazz Shaw explains:

I’m not going to beat around the bush here. It is time for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to resign. Yesterday’s assassination of two of New York City’s finest was only the latest and most devastating brush stroke on a canvas which has been coming into focus for months. When you are the mayor of a city you have many responsibilities, but one of the most vital (in terms of maintaining a functional societal structure) is the mandate to enforce the laws and maintain social order. It is the same for mayors everywhere, as well as governors and presidents. But currently, the state of relations between City Hall and the New York Police Department has devolved to the point of complete dysfunction, and criminals are well aware of this state of affairs. The fault for the creation of this toxic atmosphere is essentially found solely at the feet of Mayor de Blasio.

So caustic is the current state of relations between the Mayor’s office and the police that a shocking and dismaying scene took place in the wake of the horrific assassinations. When de Blasio arrived at the hospital yesterday, the uniformed officers literally turned their backs to him as he walked by. And this was at a moment when, in more normal times, they should have been rallying to the leadership of the executive.

Brinsley was a madman who acted alone, but the aftermath is the bitter fruit of the Left’s divide-and-conquer politics. Now I hope I’m wrong about this, but my friend Jazz is nuts if he thinks for one minute that de Blasio will do the right thing and give up power — and Jazz isn’t nuts.

New York City is getting the government it asked for, but I’ll never believe this is the government anyone deserves.

Have Yourself a Snazzy Little Christmas

December 19th, 2014 - 5:24 pm

It might not even be arguable that the greatest achievement ever in American popular music is Ella Fitzgerald’s Songbook series. The concept was simple: One album (sometimes a double album) dedicated to one great American songwriter, or songwriting team. The music for each album would have a single band with a single conductor-arranger. That way a consistent sound was achieved throughout, with the focus being on Ella’s interpretation of the lyrics. The execution was flawless, of course — we’re talking Ella here.

Turns out she can make a Christmas record pretty good, too.

Program Note

December 19th, 2014 - 6:32 am

Taking a personal day to catch up on shopping & wrapping.

Have Yourself a Snazzy Little Christmas

December 18th, 2014 - 5:00 pm

Tony Bennett released his first collection of Christmas songs, Snowfall, way back in 1968. It’s so good he gave Lou Rawls competition for Snazziest Christmas Collection Ever — but I might not have ever heard of it had he not re-released it 20 years ago. There was one additional track, Tony’s performance of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” with the Ralph Sharon Trio on the old Jon Stewart Show. That live track is a favorite of mine, but since I played that one last years, let’s go back to ’68 and some of my favorite things with Tony and arranger-conductor Robert Farnon.

Never been able to find out which band was playing, so my guess is that it’s just a bunch of session guys. But like most session players, these guys are good. Tony’s voice was still at its peak, too.

So that’s plenty of breezy holiday goodness for you on this one.


December 18th, 2014 - 12:00 pm

Single-payer is so great, they couldn’t even make it work in Vermont, with a comparatively healthy population, and a healthy median income, too. Jazz Shaw explains why Governor Peter Shumlin has given up his dream of socializing medicine in the Green Mountain Worker’s Paradise State:

Far more of a problem was the fact that the project couldn’t be funded in a self-sustaining way without causing an all out revolt among the peasants. Individual taxpayers would have been subjected to a 9.5% “premium assessment” while businesses would have been paying an even larger tax hit. And all of the money wouldn’t have resulted in an actual single payer system anyway. Shumlin was going to have to exempt large companies with their own healthcare plans and people would have still been eligible for Medicare. The competing plans would have gutted the system which would have needed essentially 100% buy-in and contributions from every citizen to even have a chance of working.

But perhaps the most telling feature of this staggering failure was the fact that the plan could not work without a massive influx of federal dollars.

Vermont ran out of other people’s money — and mercifully quickly, too.

Here Comes the Backlash, Ricky

December 18th, 2014 - 10:45 am


President Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Cuba is meeting bipartisan resistance on Capitol Hill:

Republicans, and even some Democrats, pushed back strongly, with some GOP heavy hitters calling Obama’s plan “another concession to tyranny.”

“These changes will lead to legitimacy for a government that shamelessly continuously abuses human rights but it will not lead to assistance for those whose rights are being abused,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Wednesday.

“It’s absurd and it’s part of a long record of coddling dictators and tyrants,” Rubio told Fox News, claiming the administration is “constantly giving away unilateral concessions … in exchange for nothing.” Rubio called Obama the “worst negotiator” the U.S. has had as president “since at least Jimmy Carter.” He also said Congress would not support lifting the embargo.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also criticized the administration’s plan to change the current U.S. relationship with Cuba. McConnell said he defers to Rubio on the matter.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who, like Rubio, is a Cuban-American lawmaker, said this is a moment of “profound relief” for Gross and his family. But he voiced concerns that this constituted a “swap of convicted spies for an innocent American.”

There’s been an ongoing and bipartisan failure to reexamine our trade embargo with Cuba, due entirely to domestic politics — which is supposed to stop at the water’s edge. (Admittedly it’s been a long time since that was true, if ever.) The right time to have begun the process was approximately 11 seconds after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when Cuba ceased having any geopolitical relevance to much of anyone. But three administrations — Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43 — refused to do more than tinker around the edges of an outmoded, outdated, and probably self-defeating policy.

So now change has been left up to the one Administration we can count on to somehow screw it up.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

December 18th, 2014 - 9:36 am


Ohio’s GOP House delegation has collected ♡bamaCare!!! horror stories from their constituents. Here are a few:

“We have a ten-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. We are already feeling the effects of Obamacare, with our current insurance company limiting therapy visits…and informing us that her current drugs may not be covered starting in January. I believe health care reform is needed. However, government-controlled healthcare is not the answer. Health care needs to be patient-and-doctor centered, with competition allowed across state lines for insurance companies.”

-Carol, Mason, OH

“Since I was a sophomore I had been working two jobs at Miami University to help pay for my education. When I received a letter over the summer saying that I would no longer be able to work more than thirty hours a week because of a new ObamaCare requirement, I was forced to give up one of my jobs. This is happening to students all over the country due to the reckless requirements written into the President’s health care law. At a time when education is so expensive in the United States, these work hour requirements are hurting hardworking students.”

-Carolyn Turner, Daughter of Congressman Mike Turner, Dayton, OH

“I found out today our premium is going up again this year another 35 percent. We also have a $7,000 dollar deductible… It really angers me. We pay our taxes, we pay our bills. We try to do the right thing … As things stand right now, with increasing cost of living, [stagnant] wages, and increasing health care costs, I don’t know how we are going to remain financially solvent and also have any kind of quality of life. For a health care law that was intended to help people, it sure seems that the ones who are being hurt are those who have worked hard to make a living for themselves.”

-Jamey, Piqua, OH

Just a bunch of bitter clingers, right?

The Last Jews in Turkey

December 18th, 2014 - 8:29 am

Perhaps the most underreported tragedy of the 20th and 21st centuries is the religious cleansing in the Middle East that’s been going on most of that time. Here’s a part of Turkey’s role in it:

Before the Turkish Republic was established in 1923, the Jewish population of Edirne, for centuries a home to Jews, was 13,000, as reported in the detailed essay “The Jews of Edirne,” by Rifat Bali, an independent scholar specializing in the history of Turkish Jewry. But by 1998, Edirne had three Jews left: Yasef Romano, who was born in 1938, and Rifat and Sara Miftani, a couple who owned a shop there.

Today, the current Jewish population of Edirne is two.

The Jewish presence in Edirne dates back to early Byzantine times, during the rule of Roman Emperor Theodosius I (reigned 379-395 CE). During the Ottoman Empire, Edirne — home to many Jewish intellectuals, scientists, musicians, publishers and merchants — was as central to Jews as Constantinople (Istanbul) and Thessaloniki.

What happened?

Read the whole thing, never forgetting why there must be an Israel.

Sign “O” the Times

December 18th, 2014 - 7:19 am

Martha McSally

It’s official: The GOP now enjoys its biggest House caucus since before Herbert Hoover went on a spending spree big enough to make a Democrat blush. Well, except for FDR and most of the Democrats who followed him. Read:

Republicans will have their largest U.S. House majority in 83 years when the new Congress convenes next month after a recount in Arizona gave the final unresolved midterm race to a Republican challenger.

Retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally won a House seat over Democratic incumbent Ron Barber by 167 votes out of nearly 220,000 cast, according to results released Wednesday.

Barber was district director for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords when he and the congresswoman were wounded in a mass shooting at apolitical event in Tucson in January 2011. Barber then won a special election to fill out the remainder of Giffords’ term after she stepped down in early 2012. He went on to defeat McSally in that year’s general election to win a full term in Congress, in a race separated by fewer than 2,500 votes.

Barber said he wouldn’t contest the results and that he called McSally to congratulate her. “I want her to be successful because the people of southern Arizona deserve that,” he said.

Congrats to McSally, but win or lose, Barber sounds like the kind of old fashioned gentleman we get too few of on Capitol Hill.

Pop Goes the Oil Bubble (Stocks Are Next)

December 18th, 2014 - 6:12 am

OPEC and fracking aren’t the only reasons for the collapse in oil prices, according to Euro Pacific Capital’s Peter Schiff:

“If oil prices are artificially inflated by the Fed, so are stock prices and real estate prices,” he told’s Futures Now.

Crude has lost almost half its value since its June highs, as a supply glut and a rising dollar have conspired to crush crude. The pain has hit other commodities, as well. Gold, copper and even wheat has lost a respective 13, 13 and 15 percent from their recent highs.

According to Schiff, the brutal price action across the commodity complex is simply the result of the Fed pulling back from its massive stimulus programs. By Schiff’s thinking, other assets are soon to follow if the fed continues its course.

“All these bubbles are going to burst because of the same pin, which is the Fed withdrawing stimulus.”

Dow 10,000 wouldn’t shock me.

Party Crashers II

December 18th, 2014 - 5:12 am

I have the Trifecta Triple this week, looking at the budget deal and the disconnect between the national political parties and the voters back home.

Today in Part II, we take on the GOP.

Have Yourself a Snazzy Little Christmas

December 17th, 2014 - 5:00 pm

It’s easy to make fun of Michael Bublé, with his often lazy-sounding delivery, and that time he showed up seriously drunk on American Idol to introduce the contestant who’d just appeared topless all over the internet.

Then again, he does have a nice voice, and more importantly, he usually has interesting arrangements and impeccable taste in songs. Here’s an example of all three, as he lends that voice to a New Orleans-infused recording of Billy Hayes & Jay W. Johnson’s “Blue Christmas.”

News You Can Use

December 17th, 2014 - 1:41 pm


Full story from Mashable.

Alone Again, Naturally

December 17th, 2014 - 12:31 pm


Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.) called out President Obama for his poor political acumen, particularly as it relates to the recent $1.1 trillion spending bill Monday on MSNBC’s The Ed Show.

“The president is going to have to listen to some people other than the little group of people around him now,” McDermott said. “He is all by himself. He doesn’t have the Senate to save him as they have in the last six years. He is really in danger of really doing some awful things because he really doesn’t understand.”

Is that supposed to be better or worse than the awful things Obama did which he understood completely? I’m not sure we have the political math to make that call.

And this next bit was especially rich:

McDermott was baffled by Obama’s move announcing his intent to sign the bill if passed, comparing it to a bad move in poker.

“But he got into it way too early and put his cards on the table face up. You could see what he had,” McDermott said, and because of that Obama and congressional Democrats lost political leverage.

Don’t call my bluff.”

Life on Mars

December 17th, 2014 - 11:51 am
(Not an actual depiction of Mars.)

(Not an actual depiction of Mars.)

The chances are still slim of there being life on the Red Planet, but they’re better than they were last year:

A year after reporting that NASA’s Curiosity rover had found no evidence of methane gas on Mars, all but dashing hopes that organisms might be living there now, scientists reversed themselves on Tuesday.

Curiosity has now recorded a burst of methane that lasted at least two months.

For now, scientists have just two possible explanations for the methane. One is that it is the waste product of certain living microbes.

“It is one of the few hypotheses that we can propose that we must consider as we go forward,” said John P. Grotzinger, the mission’s project scientist.

The scientists also reported that for the first time, they had confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them.

Let the terraforming begin.

Party Crashers

December 17th, 2014 - 10:26 am

It’s my turn to host the Trifecta Triple, and this week’s threefer looks at the disconnect between both national parties and their constituents back home.

Today, we take on the Democrats, with Stephen Kruiser ably filling in for Bill Whittle. Bill is currently secluded at an ancient temple high up in the Himalayas where there exists the only remaining monk with the necessary training to get his hair just right.

How’s that for a pot & kettle joke?

What If Congress Had Four Parties?

December 17th, 2014 - 9:07 am


Fun thought experiment from Philip Bump, with the breakdown looking like this:

The Liberals

House minority leader: Nancy Pelosi
Senate minority leader: Elizabeth Warren

House caucus: 129 members
Senate caucus: 21 members
Likely electoral votes: 175

The Democrats

House minority leader: Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)
Senate minority leader: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

House caucus: 42 members
Senate caucus: 23 members
Likely electoral votes: 7

The Republicans

House Speaker: John Boehner
Senate majority leader: Mitch McConnell

House caucus: 143 members
Senate caucus: 27 members
Likely electoral votes: 240

The Conservatives

House minority leader: Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.)
Senate minority leader: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

House caucus: 60 members
Senate caucus: 21 members
Likely electoral votes: 83

First takeaway: The Real World Democrats are owned nearly lock, stock, and barrel by the far left of the party. The far right of the GOP has far less clout.

Second takeaway: This is very much a center-right nation, and libertarians have a long, long way to go.

Third takeaway: A parliamentary-style congress might lead to even deeper disfunction than Washington has now — or do you think it would give party leaders more room to maneuver outside of the traditional Dem/GOP divide?

Courting Warren

December 17th, 2014 - 7:55 am

Elizabeth Warren

Scott Conroy reports on the freshman Massachusetts Senator’s somewhat coy denials that she’s a 2016 contender:

As NPR’s Steve Inskeep and many other observers have noticed, Warren always answers the presidential query in the present tense and assiduously avoids any deviation that might rule out a future bid.

Warren may not be “running for president” at the moment, but neither is anyone else, for that matter.

Far more relevant is the question that she has repeatedly chooses not to answer: Might she run for president, after the 2016 campaign official kicks off next year?

The continued interest in her unwillingness to clarify this distinction is one that appears to frustrate Warren, yet the former Harvard Law School professor knows full well that the “will she or won’t she” speculation is largely of her own making.

“I believe her when she says she’s not running for president, and she’s not taking steps to do so, but as we know from history, these things are extremely fluid,” said Scott Ferson, a former spokesperson for the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. “I’m sure she’d like the questions to go away, but I don’t think she wants to do it at the expense of taking herself out of any potential future run. Why would she be the only person in D.C. to do that?”

Run, Liz, run! And I say that because she either runs and loses and discredits the Marxist Wing of the Democratic party for a generation — or she runs and wins and we can finally put the last of this dying liberty thing out of its misery.

Rocky Mountain High

December 17th, 2014 - 6:38 am
Actual Teenage Pot Smoker

Actual Teenage Pot Smoker

One year after legalization, marijuana use is down among teens in Colorado and in Washington State:

University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, now in its 40th year, surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in 8th, 10th and 12th grade in schools nationwide about their use of alcohol, legal and illegal drugs and cigarettes.

“There is a lot of good news in this year’s results, bu the problems of teen substance use and abuse are still far from going away,” Lloyd Johnston, the study’s principal investigator, said.

After five years increases, marijuana use in the past year by students in all three grades declined slightly, from 26% in 2013 to 24% in 2013. Students in the two lower grades reported that marijuana is less available than it once was, the survey found.

One year does not make a trend of course, so I’m not jumping up and down over this, even though I support legalization.

I had expected a small bump in the usage numbers — even if teenage pot smoking had remained unchanged — because it’s safer to tell a pollster you’re doing something legal, than it is to admit to breaking the law.

It will be interesting to see what the next few annual polls brings.

Required Reading

December 17th, 2014 - 5:02 am

Jerome Hudson:

According to new economic numbers, white Americans were the only ethnic group to see their wealth rise in the wake of the “Great Recession.” reports:

White households’ median wealth ticked up to $141,900 in 2013, up 2.4% from three years earlier, according to a Pew Research Center report released Friday.

Net worth for black households dropped by a third during that time to $11,000. Hispanic families experienced a 14% decline in wealth to $13,700.
Whites have 13 times the net worth of blacks, the largest wealth gap that’s existed since George H.W. Bush was president in 1989. The ratio of net worth between whites and Hispanics now stands at more than 10, the widest it has been since 2001.

According Federal Reserve Bank data, non-white households’ median income fell 9% between 2010 and 2013, compared to a 1 percent drop for white households. White people also own and trade stocks at a much higher rate than blacks, so the stock market’s recent explosion hasn’t been felt in minority precincts.

Just 47.4% of minorities owned homes in 2013, compared to 73.9% of white home owners.

I have long-argued that most black uplift is held hostage by a confluence of cultural cancers that are constantly overlooked as being part of the problem.

It’s no secret that the secret to achieving middle class success is really just four things:

Finish high school.

Get a job.

Get married.

Have kids.

It’s also important to do them in this order. But the Left’s century-long War on Bourgeois Values has had a predictable — and intended? — effect of undermining families and creating dependency.

Anyway, do go read Hudson’s whole thing.

Have Yourself a Snazzy Little Christmas

December 16th, 2014 - 5:00 pm

Louis Armstrong with Lionel Hampton and Sonny Parker doing “Merry Christmas, Baby.”

This track is from a compilation album called Louis Armstrong & Friends: What a Wonderful Christmas. It’s all of four dollars on Amazon, and Armstrong’s “friends” include Dinah Washington, Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, and Louis Jordan. Not sure how you could get more holiday bang for four bucks.