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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.

Tax THIS!

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

CLINK

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

THE DOCTOR IS IN

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 CNBC.com’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

COCKTAILS

Full story from Mashable.

Alone Again, Naturally

December 17th, 2014 - 12:31 pm

Ouch:

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

imrs.php

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.”

Yahoo.com 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

SKINNY PUPPY

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

DRUDGE

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

UNFROZEN

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.

Enjoy.