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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.

Thought for the Day

December 16th, 2014 - 2:04 pm

News You Can Use

December 16th, 2014 - 1:19 pm


It’s just what the screencap says:

Cevin Key, the band’s keyboardist, says the band at first planned to design an album cover based on an invoice for the U.S. government, rather than sending a physical invoice. But after learning that the government had allegedly used their music without permission, Key says the band was told it could bring a suit against the Department of Defense.

“We sent them an invoice for our musical services considering they had gone ahead and used our music without our knowledge and used it as an actual weapon against somebody,” Key told CTV’s Kevin Newman Live.

As someone who has tried and utterly failed to withstand Skinny Puppy’s music on more than one occasion, I’d urge the government to pay up — the band is worth every penny at Gitmo.

Gun Grabbers Gotta Try and Grab Guns

December 16th, 2014 - 12:52 pm

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is set to unveil oodles of new restrictions on legal gun owners and purchasers, including this gem:

McAuliffe will also propose keeping guns away from people convicted of crimes related to domestic violence and revoking concealed-handgun permits for parents who are behind on child-support payments.

NRO’s Charles Cooke asks:

There’s no thinking — restricting gun ownership is a Progressive reflex, just like finding new things to tax. Before long, some smarty will figure out that people who don’t have their dogs licensed are also a menace to society, unworthy of a concealed carry permit.

The Big Ebola Lie

December 16th, 2014 - 11:28 am

Dustin Hoffman in Outbreak

Michael Fumento has the facts about what went down in an outbreak hyped for “funding & media attention.” Read:

The media weren’t asking skeptical questions. The next day, reporting on a separate WHO conference, a New York Times headline blared: “New Ebola Cases May Soon Reach 10,000 a Week, Officials Predict.”

The “soon” in that warning from the WHO’s Bruce Aylward was “by the first week in December.”

Well, the WHO has now reported cases for that period. Total: 529. It was no fluke; the average over the last three weeks was 440.

You’ve been lied to, folks. For months.

I took a lot of heat back in October for calmly explaining why “ebola just isn’t something I spend much time worrying about,” although I did have some unkind words to say about how the Administration was handling a very handle-able problem.

It’s nice to see a smarter and just-as-sane take from someone like Fumento.

Religion of Peace Update

December 16th, 2014 - 10:15 am


The President’s statement:

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and loved ones. By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity. We stand with the people of Pakistan, and reiterate the commitment of the United States to support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and to promote peace and stability in the region.

There is so much missing from that brief statement that I hardly know where to begin filling in the blanks.

Maybe we’ll get more later.

Required Reading

December 16th, 2014 - 9:00 am

David Harsanyi is just mean, saying that Hillary Clinton is the Democrats’ Mitt Romney — which is a great reason to read him this morning:

It’s not difficult to imagine Hillary Clinton ensconced in her penthouse suite in whatever city she’s about to give a six-figure lecture in, contemplating every conceivable political angle of this debate, tabulating every potential big-money donor’s interests, and asking obsequious staffers how polling looks before composing her own opinion on the matter. That’s because Hillary is the Democrats’ Mitt Romney. And Democrats would be engaging in a historic act of negligence if they allowed her to run unopposed for presidency.

But in one important way this is really a column about Elizabeth Warren:

The most obvious reason bolstering my concern trolling is that Warren’s positions far more closely reflect the sensibilities of constituents in the modern-day Democratic Party, not only in substance, but in tone.

Her hard-left economics—what the press quixotically refers to as “economic populism”—propels today’s liberal argument. It’s the default position of nearly every grassroots constituency on the Left. The center of the Democrats’ agenda. This isn’t just reflected in the embrace of class struggle (“inequality”) but a slow warming to socialistic ideas (and I’m not throwing the word in as invective; I mean it in the most literal way). Right now, few if any politicians are better than Warren at stoking the anxiety that makes that work.

The Complicit Media can float Jeb Bush stories all they want, hoping to make it true. But Elizabeth Warren is as real as a migraine, and hopefully just as popular with independent voters.

350,000 Years from Fire to Splitting the Atom

December 16th, 2014 - 7:49 am


We’ve been using fire a long time, but exactly how long has remained a mystery — until maybe now:

A group of archeologists studying artifacts from an ancient cave, however, claims to have figured out when humans learned to master fire. For their study published in the journal Science on Oct. 19, Ron Shimelmitz, from the Zinman Institute of Archaeology of the University of Haifa in Israel, and colleagues examined artifact, most of which were flint tools and debris excavated from Israel’s Tabun Cave.

The archeological site, which was declared as having universal value by UNESCO two years ago, documents half a million years of human history and provided the researchers with the opportunity to study how the use of fire evolved in the cave.

By examining the cave’s sediment layers, the researchers found that most of the flints were not burned in layers that were older than 350,000 years old. Burned-up flints, however, started to show up more regularly after this with most of the flints characterized by cracking, red or black coloration, and small round depressions where fragments called pot lids flaked off the stone, indicating exposure to fire.

The researchers said that since wildfires rarely occur in caves, ancestral humans likely had something to do with the burning of the flints.

Fire allowed us to leave the caves, and eventually to reach the moon. Today our leadership restricts our access to energy, or causes prices to “necessarily skyrocket,” out of contempt for that progress.

And they call themselves “Progressives.”

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

December 16th, 2014 - 6:47 am

Tammy Bruce warns that the Feds are coming for your medical privacy:

The Weekly Standard tells us it “details the efforts of some 35 departments and agencies of the federal government and their roles in the plan to “advance the collection, sharing, and use of electronic health information to improve health care, individual and community health, and research,” and offers a graph that shows exactly how this Kafkaesque scenario will unfold.

They will indeed collect (via electronic health records), share (patient information with “the community”) and use (stating the vague notion of “advancing the health and well-being of individuals and the community” as well as “advance research, scientific knowledge and innovation”).

Make no mistake about it: This is the start of a single-payer health care infrastructure.

Divide and conquer, then unite and rule.

And if anyone gets unruly, well… somebody in power can get to their medical records.

It Takes Three to Tango

December 16th, 2014 - 5:21 am

With a tip of the hat to Ed Morrissey, Politico’s Todd Purdum says it’s “Obama’s big Clinton moment” and the President’s embrace of the triangulation of the ’90s. Read:

In the six years of his presidency, Obama hasn’t had to do much of that kind of compromising, nor has he been willing to. But in the wake of the GOP’s midterm rout, the president and his aides have now apparently come to the conclusion that that’s what the American public wants — and even expects.

The stakes facing the two presidents are not really comparable. Clinton — in the midst of his first term — was trying to reorient his party by upending three decades of Democratic orthodoxies concerning the social compact, while Obama — nearing the end of his second — was simply trying to avoid the threat of another round of brinkmanship over a government shutdown by passing what — in a less rancorous era — would have been a routine spending bill.

I’ll quote a bit more of Purdum’s article in a moment, but we had to take a little aside together to take note of the way Purdum is framing the story as seen in that second graf. Clinton was trying to reorient his party for modern times (atta boy, Bill!) while Obama was trying to save the country from evil Republican brinksmanship — and never mind that half of the brinksmanship was coming from the Looney Tunes Wing of the Democratic Party.

So with that in mind, onward:

This president bent on Democratic priorities — allowing the weakening of a key provision of the financial reform bill he himself fought so hard to pass, and a big increase in individual contribution limits to political parties and their congressional campaign committees — to stave off even more unpalatable elements: cuts to Obamacare, or retribution for his recent executive actions on immigration. From the administration’s perspective, accepting this bill — warts and all — was better than risking an immediate shutdown or a 90-day continuing budget resolution that would have to be relitigated in the far more unstable circumstances of a larger House GOP majority and a Republican Senate.

Obama’s presumed intention is to live to fight another day. And if he has any hope of avoiding complete marginalization in his last two years in office, that’s just what he’ll have to do — if only by using his veto pen — in the new year.

Before we get to my question, let’s go to Ed Morrissey’s take over at Hot Air:

It’s not as complicated as Purdum appears to think. The reasons why Obama never tried Clinton-style triangulation fall along two lines — different situations and fundamentally different politicians. Clinton was a people pleaser who sincerely wanted to govern. His political DNA derived from the Democratic Leadership Council, which expressly wanted the so-called Third Way to create a path between Left and Right, and then claim it for the Democratic Party. Clinton succeeded at that, but it didn’t last past his own presidency, thanks to Al Gore’s seeming repudiation of Clinton in 2000 in favor of a lean to the Left again.

Democrats still claim to represent the center, but that hasn’t been true for years.

Now, at long last for my question: Triangulate with whom?

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Have Yourself a Snazzy Little Christmas

December 15th, 2014 - 5:00 pm

Had so much fun putting this series together last December, that I just had to do it again.

Tonight we have Frank Sinatra doing “Winter Wonderland” on a 1940s (I think) radio show, and the spoken-word intro is a retro delight. Frank promises a show “playing it safe all the way, strictly loaded with favorites and fun to do.”

Today most entertainment seemingly has to be reimagined or rebooted or deconstructed — usually more of a tribute to the artist’s ego than out of respect for anything the audience might enjoy.

That is precisely how we aren’t going to play it with this year’s “Snazzy Little Christmas” series. So I’ve prepared nothing but favorites, which is always fun to do.


Headline of the Day

December 15th, 2014 - 1:12 pm


The photo caption reads “Please, don’t.”

On the off chance those two perfect words aren’t enough, here’s plenty more from Michael Brendan Dougherty:

By the time 2016 rolls around, it will have been eight years since the previous Bush presided over an economic disaster. The economy may have mostly recovered, but it is drastically more unequal. What is Bush’s cheerleading going to do for that? Does anyone think the GOP needs another captain of private equity to be its leader? And as loathsome and un-American as it may seem to hold someone’s family name against him, this point needs to be emphasized: the GOP and the country don’t need another Bush.

Although recent years have made me appreciate the creative realism of George H.W. Bush’s foreign policy, Jeb Bush seems to be taking after his moralizing and confrontational brother, rather than his more restrained, consensus-building father. A recent speech in Miami revealed that Bush accepts the “we’re-rubber, you’re-glue” moral calculus of the most hawkish voices. When America kills foreigners, the foreigners are to blame. But when Russia invades Ukraine, or Syria disintegrates into civil war, that’s America’s fault for not doing something. This is stupid and dangerous.

The George H. W. Bush style of domestic policy that both his sons inherited is one of giving liberal programs half the funding and authority liberals want, but dolloping on so much conservative-branded “accountability” that it can be sold to the right. Poppy pushed “standards-based reform.” W. did No Child Left Behind. And Jeb is the leading GOP advocate for what’s become of Common Core. Whatever the merits, being identified so closely with a Bill-Gates subsidized education scheme hated by both the the right wing to Louis C.K. will prove costly.

Read the whole thing.

Jeb Bush seems like a decent guy, the kind of guy you’d like as a neighbor, maybe even to head up your Boy Scout troop.

But this country ought to be done with political dynasties, especially one as tarnished as the Bushes.

Good Advice to Ridley Scott

December 15th, 2014 - 12:17 pm

The famed director’s latest, Exodus: Gods and Kings, looks like a flop — although I suspect it will do better on home video. Generally speaking, Hollywood seems to have a problem in this century with making decent biblical epics. A year ago I asked “Who in their right mind thought Darren Aronofsky was the right director to helm a Biblical epic?” And sure enough, Noah was pretty awful. Biblical epics made by actual practicing Christians tend to be of the basic cable variety — with scripts, actors, and production quality to match. Where’s Cecil B. DeMille when you need him?

Anyway, Wired has some advice for Ridley Scott:

In the last 10 years, you’ve made eight movies, half of which have been sweeping period epics or ambitious tales of science fiction. Prometheus, Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood, and now Exodus. It’s clear you love to paint with a big, fantastical brush, so why not make a miniseries? Give yourself 12 hours to tell a story instead of two. Maybe then you won’t have to sacrifice character development in favor of world-building and we won’t have to spend more than two hours in a theater and still leave unfulfilled. We can’t lie to you, Ridley. We haven’t felt emotionally invested in the outcome of one of your protagonists since American Gangster in 2007, and when you’ve got knockout stars like Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, and Christian Bale in your stable, we should have at least cared about someone on accident.

But you’ve turned cold on us, Ridley, casting heavyweights to immerse themselves in could-be-genius source material only to leave them extremely under-utilized. In Exodus, a plague of frogs got more screentime than Sigourney Weaver, which should never happen, and nearly every A-lister with a pulse was in The Counselor and it still felt empty. After your early 2000s run from Gladiator to Matchstick Men, almost everything else has felt like “Because I can.” And because you obviously can, that’s exactly why it’s time to try something new.

I would watch the hell out of a Scott-helmed miniseries, and I bet I’m not the only one.

Thought for the Day

December 15th, 2014 - 11:05 am

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

December 15th, 2014 - 9:55 am


Need some cheery news during this holiday season? Then you don’t want to read the latest totally unintended consequence of the completely settled law of the land:

The Affordable Care Act is spelling the demise of free healthcare clinics across the country, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Of clinics across 28 states, almost a dozen in the past two years have cited Obamacare as their reason for shutting their doors.

Both The Good Samaritan Free Clinic in Rock Island, Illinois, and the Ninth Street Ministries Free Medical Clinic in Polk County, Arkansas, shut their doors this year saying their missions were complete. Now that most of their former clients have medical insurance, many through expanded Medicaid, they are no longer needed, they say.

“When we started we said if there ever was almost universal health care, our mission was accomplished,” Good Samaritan co-founder Kerry Humes told the Journal.

I guess the sick joke is on them.

UPDATE: Rasmussen says most Americans still expect health care to worsen under ♡bamaCare!!!. Whatever could have given us that idea?

Dems Double Down on Dumb

December 15th, 2014 - 8:40 am

Stephen Moore wants to know if Republicans will “seize the opportunity” created by the latest Democratic blunders, described thusly:

Right after Democrats got routed in the midterm election, the left-wing group blasted their activists with a message not to panic. Party leaders should, in fact, “double down on progressive policies.”

This is the kind of advice you would expect from a gang of young ideological activists, but what is amazing is that Barack Obama and the Democrats have followed it. On immigration, energy, climate change, regulatory overreach—Obama issued 3,000 new rules before Thanksgiving—the Democrats have pretended that the election didn’t happen.

Obama’s immediate response to middle- and working-class economic anxiety was a new global warming deal with China and a call to close down coal-burning power plants, both of which will destroy even more jobs. The White House followed up with a new program centered on “gender equity” in the workforce.

They learned this behavior — “pretending that the election didn’t happen — from the man at the top. Obama doubled down after the 2010 debacle, and he came out swinging at his re-innauguation with a speech devoted to More of the Same, Only Bigger. He’s the one-trick politician at the head of a one-trick party.

Great Britain: You’re No Fun Anymore

December 15th, 2014 - 7:06 am

It’s a long way down from the comedic genius of Monty Python’s “Sit On My Face” (above, mildly NSFW) to this:

Sex workers and campaigners have gathered in front of parliament to protest against changes to UK pornography regulations.

Organiser Charlotte Rose called the restrictions “ludicrous” and said they were a threat to freedom of expression.

Protesters say the list of banned activities includes “face-sitting”, and campaigners planned to carry out a mass demonstration of this while singing the Monty Python song Sit On My Face.

“These activities were added to this list without the public being made aware,” Charlotte Rose said. “They’ve done this without public knowledge and without public consent.

“There are activities on that list that may be deemed sexist, but it’s not just about sexism, it’s about censorship. What the government is doing is taking our personal liberties away without our permissions.”

There is absolutely nothing which political busybodies can’t and won’t suck all the fun out of.

(Hat tip, Glenn, who ought to be kicking himself for not going with Monty Python first!)

Extra Extra

December 15th, 2014 - 6:06 am


This week’s Trifecta Extra is yet another riches of embarrassment!

BONUS: I only flub my intros when we’re running late, and we were running spectacularly late.

“Elizabeth Warren Is Catching Fire”

December 15th, 2014 - 5:22 am


The headline seemed to promise a big story about something going terribly wrong on the Senate floor, perhaps with an ill-chosen prop. But instead of a Capitol Hill horror show, we get the delightful tale of the next Great White Progressive Hope:

Progressive activists haven’t agreed on what to call the movement urging Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for president, but they largely concur on this: With every recent anti-establishment move, the Massachusetts Democrat grows more attractive as a 2016 candidate, both in her own right and as a progressive foil for Hillary Clinton.

Such sentiments were on vivid display this week at RootsCamp, a gathering of some 2,000 progressive activists held in Washington, D.C. The event was held as Warren and others on the left have been denouncing the “cromnibus” spending bill winding its way through Congress over provisions they say are too friendly to Wall Street.

One panel at the conference, for instance, was called #HillaryProblems, and it delved into the disconnect between the Democratic establishment and the grass roots. Another was devoted to the “Draft Warren” movement, and it included members of groups such as, which has pledged to spend at least $1 million to nudge the senator into the race, something she has said she won’t do.

Her mouth says No, but her firebrand eyes say Yes.

If she does run — and nobody has any real idea if she will or not — Warren would be the most outspokenly far-left candidate since George McGovern. I use the modifier “outspoken” because although she might not actually be any further to the left than President Obama, he ran a stealth campaign (which many of us on the right saw right through) based on biography rather than on ideology.

McGovern of course went on to lose roughly 57 states against Richard Nixon.

But this isn’t 1972, and two important dynamics have changed since then.

The first is that Warren wouldn’t be running against a GOP incumbent. Second — and this is the truly salient point — the Culture Wars weren’t nearly so far along, but instead were just really getting heated up. Nixon could count on his “Silent Majority” of Americans who hadn’t yet gone totally bat guano crazy, steeped in mythical tales of the War on Women, cisnormative patriarchal racism binders, and the like. And back then probably a majority of our public schools still produced graduates with enough math and civics to allow them to fully function as adult citizens.

Those days, needless to say, are over — and Warren could very well prove to be the first Marxist American to run and win as a Marxist American.

She has to want it, and she has to want it badly enough to go head-to-head against the entire Clinton Machine. But culturally the country has never been more ready for President Marxist American.

Politically? That’s the real test, and right now the Democrats are hurting. Here’s a little something from Jamelle Bouie at Slate:

As Amy Walter notes for the Cook Political Report, Democrats lost big at all levels of government, including the states. “Today,” she writes, “about 55 percent of all state legislative seats in the country are held by Republicans. That’s the largest share of GOP state legislators since the 1920s.” What’s more, “just 11 states have an all Democratic-controlled legislature,” and Democrats hold single-party control in just seven states. By contrast, “Republicans have a legislative majority in 30 states, including the battleground states of Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina,” and single-party control in most of the South.

This, Walter says, is a slow-moving disaster for congressional Democrats. She’s right. Absent major gains in 2016, 2018, and 2020, Democrats will be shut out of the next round of redistricting. If, she writes, “Democrats can’t get a seat at the redistricting table in 2020, they may find themselves locked out of a congressional majority for another 10 years.” And even if they do get a seat at the table, argues Greg Sargent for the Washington Post, there’s still the problem of population distribution; even in blue states, most Democratic voters are crammed in a handful of urban areas, which dilutes their strength in House elections.

If conservatives and libertarians are serious about fighting the Culture Wars which someday will produce a President Marxist American, there’s never been a better time or opportunity to launch a counteroffensive — from the states and counties first.

Friday Night Videos

December 12th, 2014 - 10:20 pm

The holiday season is really starting to impose on my Friday night blogging, so just turn up The Cars and enjoy three and a half minutes of rockin’ high school angst.