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(Very) Early Returns

October 31st, 2014 - 1:29 pm

BALLOTS

Here is the latest out of Colorado’s mail-in ballots by party affiliation via AOS Decision Desk. Blue Dem, Red GOP, Indy and Other are Gray. Denver County/City is of course the urban heart of Colorado’s Democrats. El Paso County is the southern Colorado giant, and very Republican. Both have similar populations — 620,000 or so for El Paso, 640,00 or so for Denver. (Denver doesn’t include the suburbs, which balloon the metro Denver population to about 2.2 million. But the ‘burbs are also much more competitive.)

As you can see, El Paso GOP voters are outvoting Denver Democrats by a whopping 20%. Dems in El Paso are outperforming Republicans in Denver by a similar percentage margin — but the overall numbers are much smaller, and there are likely more registered Democrats in El Paso than there are registered Republicans in Denver. Overall, Red is out performing Blue by a total of just over 7,000 votes in their two biggest core areas.

The metro battlefield counties are Douglas, Jefferson, Arapahoe, and Adams. The GOP leads by a total in those four counties (up in all but Adams) by 47,000 returned ballots. That’s tempered somewhat by Boulder, where the Democrats have returned a net of 16,013, and in Pueblo, where they’re up by 5,295. That just about cuts the GOP return advantage in half.

Overall? AOSDD has GOP ballots up overall by 104,487 out of a total of 1,149,745. If we split the difference of Indy and Other voters right down the middle, the GOP candidates should, at this early date, be getting around 52-56% of the vote. That spread is a guesstimate to account for split tickets and party switchers.

And if the generic party preference polls are any indicator, I was overly generous giving the Democrats half of the Indy & Other votes.

If you haven’t mailed in your ballot, what are you waiting for?

Do You Want to Live to Be 250?

October 31st, 2014 - 12:28 pm

Make it so.

Required Reading

October 31st, 2014 - 11:31 am

Tales from the Caliphate:

Jana was a 19-year-old in her final year of high school, with dreams of becoming a doctor. Then, ISIS came to her village last August, and her world collapsed.

She described to me in chilling detail, how the jihadis first demanded that members of her Yazidi religious minority convert to Islam. Then they stripped villagers of their jewelry, money and cellphones. They separated the men from the women.

A United Nations report explained what happened next. ISIS “gathered all the males older than 10 years of age at the local school, took them outside the village by pick-up trucks, and shot them.”

Among those believed dead were Jana’s father and eldest brother.

A different fate lay in store for the women.

Read the whole thing if you dare.

UPDATE: Oh, lord — just moments after posting today’s Required Reading, I came across a report from BI on what they’re calling ISIL’s “most horrific single massacre.”

Read:

“My face was down in the sand. I heard the footsteps of the ISIS guy, he was standing over me and he shot the man lying next to me in the head. He shot me too but the bullet hit my right forearm. I heard death gasps. I felt something coming under me. It was warm. It was the blood of my friend Haider. I took some of that blood and put it on my face and head so that if they came back they would think I am dead,” a survivor told Human Rights Watch.

Another said he used a small knife to cut his own head and neck so that the blood would make it look as if he had been shot. After the gunmen left, he says he raised his head.

There’s much more, along with some disturbing photos, at the link.

Lyndon Baines Obama

October 31st, 2014 - 10:48 am

The “war” against ISIL is going worse than you think:

As the American-led battle against ISIS stretches into its fourth month, the generals and Pentagon officials leading the air campaign and preparing to train Syrian rebels are working under strict White House orders to keep the war contained within policy limits. The National Security Council has given precise instructions on which rebels can be engaged, who can be trained, and what exactly those fighters will do when they return to Syria. Most of the rebels to be trained by the U.S. will never be sent to fight against ISIS.

Making matters worse, military officers and civilian Pentagon leaders tell The Daily Beast, is the ISIS war’s decision-making process, run by National Security Adviser Susan Rice. It’s been manic and obsessed with the tiniest of details. Officials talk of sudden and frequent meetings of the National Security Council and the so-called Principals Committee of top defense, intelligence, and foreign policy officials (an NSC and three PCs in one week this month); a barrage of questions from the NSC to the agencies that create mountains of paperwork for overworked staffers; and NSC insistence on deciding minor issues even at the operational level.

“We are getting a lot of micromanagement from the White House. Basic decisions that should take hours are taking days sometimes,” one senior defense official told The Daily Beast.

Unfortunately, you go to war with the President you have.

Ms. Jarrett will see you now, Barack.

Sign “O” the Times

October 31st, 2014 - 10:35 am

DENIAL

Democrats have been complaining all week that the White House is out of touch with their difficulties on the campaign trail. So now the White House is pushing back:

White House officials are preemptively spinning a midterm defeat, and they’re using their own fantasies to do it. They’re starting to blame candidates for not supporting President Obama enough. As a top White House official told The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty, “He doesn’t think they have any reason to run away from him. He thinks there is a strong message there.”

This is pure delusion: Obama is the main reason Republicans are well-positioned to win control of the upper chamber next Tuesday.

I haven’t seen intraparty sniping this ugly since 2006, and the election hasn’t even been held yet.

Popcorn?

Required Viewing

October 31st, 2014 - 9:34 am

Once again, the American people prove themselves to be much better people than their political leaders.

There’s some blunt talk, there are some loud disagreements, there are some people who are just plain wrong. But everybody there is being honest and heartfelt — and deserve far better than they get.

Tim Cook Is Out

October 31st, 2014 - 8:11 am

COOK

I meant to write about Tim Cook’s coming out yesterday, but it got put on the back burner of a very busy kitchen because A) It’s been Silicon Valley’s least-kept non-secret and; B) We’re making great progress from NOBODY CAN BE GAY!!! to Who Cares Who’s Gay? and in short order, too.

But having read his Bloomberg column, I did want to say a couple of things. The first is that of course I disagree with most of his politics. The second is that I wholeheartedly endorse the sentiments he expressed here:

I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.

I’ll admit that this wasn’t an easy choice. Privacy remains important to me, and I’d like to hold on to a small amount of it. I’ve made Apple my life’s work, and I will continue to spend virtually all of my waking time focused on being the best CEO I can be. That’s what our employees deserve—and our customers, developers, shareholders, and supplier partners deserve it, too. Part of social progress is understanding that a person is not defined only by one’s sexuality, race, or gender. I’m an engineer, an uncle, a nature lover, a fitness nut, a son of the South, a sports fanatic, and many other things. I hope that people will respect my desire to focus on the things I’m best suited for and the work that brings me joy.

Isn’t that lovely?

And since that’s all there really is to say, I’m going to go back to being ruthlessly unconcerned about who Tim Cook sleeps with. That’s the way Tim wants it, and that’s the way it ought to be.

On the other hand, if he’d like to hear what I have to say about how to fix iTunes and the iOS Music app…

Thought for the Day

October 31st, 2014 - 7:44 am

Mario Knows When You Are Sleeping…

October 31st, 2014 - 6:12 am

Mario-Bros-15

Nintendo is getting into the health monitoring device business:

The Quality of Life (QOL) Sensor sits by a user’s bedside and monitors body movements, heart rate and breathing via radio waves. The non-contact unit then sends the data it gathers to cloud-based servers for analysis. Users can then access results that show their sleep and fatigue levels.

The system will also automatically make recommendations such as getting more exercise or changing one’s diet. The information would be made available on “smart devices,” Nintendo said, without elaborating whether that would include smartphones. However, dedicated video game systems could also be used to improve users’ quality of life, it said.

Nintendo really blew it with the Wii U — so badly that it looks to me like it might be the company’s last living room console. So it makes sense that Nintendo would branch out into new markets. But until they reveal more about how QOL works and exactly what it does, and if they can beat a whole host of similar Android and iOS devices to market, it’s impossible to know if they have anything unique or timely to offer.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

October 31st, 2014 - 5:32 am

The Law of Unintended Consequences has no sunset clause:

“There have backlashes, but never like this,” said Harvard School of Public Health professor Robert Blendon, who co-authored the analysis of several polls taken since 2010, reports Politico.

Just 47 percent of Americans believe the government should make sure there is health coverage for all, a number that has dropped drastically from 69 percent in 2006, before President Barack Obama took office.

And among voters most likely to cast ballots on Nov. 4, just one in four think the government should play a role in health care coverage, said the analysis, which was released on Wednesday.

Somewhat paradoxically, declining numbers of Americans want to see ♡bamaCare!!! repealed or scaled back, although that could be a function of either people getting used to the New Craptaculence, or not wanting to make losers out of the law’s relatively few winners, or out of frustration that real reform seems impossible.

This Town Needs an Enema

October 30th, 2014 - 4:20 pm

Hickenlooper’s greatest hits and misses, except that he doesn’t have any hits.

Sign “O” the Times

October 30th, 2014 - 2:51 pm

It’s tough out there for Democrats in –blue???– districts? Yep:

In one sign of Democratic concern, Vice President Joe Biden was heading to Massachusetts on Wednesday for a rally with Seth Moulton, who is trying to hold onto a Democratic seat against Republican Richard Tisei. Then Biden was traveling to California on Saturday to campaign in an open-seat contest east of Los Angeles that surprisingly looks closer than a sure-fire Democratic gain.

“Heck, it’s been so long since a Republican was elected to the Congress in Massachusetts, most Republicans don’t know how to spell Massachusetts,” joked Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. He said the GOP is spending 78 percent of its independent money in districts that Obama won.

National Democrats are coordinating with local campaigns in Nevada, Hawaii and California in hopes of holding seats.

In one example, the Democratic committee has bought $99,000 in radio ads for eight-term Rep. Lois Capps in her Santa Barbara-area race against Chris Mitchum, the son of the late actor Robert Mitchum. The GOP candidate has relatively little money still on hand for his campaign – $96,108 – but the contest is considered close.

Hey, Dems — get the money out of politics and give the poor Republican a chance, will you?

It gets worse:

The committee also reserved $360,000 in air time for ads for first-term Rep. Steven Horsford in his central Nevada district north of Las Vegas after the Karl Rove-founded group Crossroads GPS made a late ad buy of $935,000. And In Hawaii, the Democrats are spending $200,000 on television ads and voter outreach for Mark Takai, who is locked in a tight race with former Republican Rep. Charles Djou in an open Honolulu-based district that Obama won with 70 percent of the vote.

In the closing days, the Democratic committee has invested $1.1 million in an effort to protect six incumbents in Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, West Virginia and California.

Every dollar spent on ads in a previously-safe district is a dollar that can’t be spent on GOTV (or on cheating) in a competitive district.

If they’re going to steal this election, make them work for it.

Double Down on Double Digits

October 30th, 2014 - 1:10 pm

From Cook, via Andrew Clark’s NRCC mailing list:

Overall, we are adjusting our outlook from a GOP gain of four to ten seats to a GOP gain of six to 12 seats, with slightly larger GOP gains not out of the question. With ten ratings changes today, there are 19 Democratic seats and just seven GOP seats in Toss Up or worse. If Republicans were to pick up 13 seats, they would win their largest majority since 1928, when Herbert Hoover was elected president.

Of particular concern for Democrats are several races in DCCC Chair Rep. Steve Israel’s New York backyard, where there is no competitive statewide race driving turnout. Although Reps. Tim Bishop (NY-01), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), and Dan Maffei (NY-24) are all very much still in contention, their leads are no longer large enough to keep them out of the Toss Up column.

Of the three, Maffei occupies the most Democratic district, yet he has never established a strong personal brand in Syracuse and took just 49 percent of the vote in 2012 while President Obama was winning 57 percent. Bishop and Maloney may have the opposite challenge: both won with 52 percent in 2012, but they occupy more GOP-leaning seats and could lose in the event of a big Republican night.

Here’s the link, which as of this writing is subscription only. But it is interesting that a reputable middle-of-the-road pollster like Cook sees the sands shifting so rapidly this close to election day.

Don’t get cocky. Take nothing for granted. Vote, and bring friends. Plural. Lots and lots of friends.

Congress Shall Make No Law…

October 30th, 2014 - 12:06 pm

In which your Trifecta crew takes on the FEC in defense of DailyKos*.

*And of VodkaPundit, too.

Apple Store — Tehran?

October 30th, 2014 - 11:40 am

Maybe, someday:

Senior Apple executives have met potential Iranian distributors at Apple’s regional headquarters on London’s Hanover Street, four people familiar with the matter said. The Cupertino, Calif., company explored the possibility of having Iranian partners sell Apple products at so-called premium resellers, three of the people said. Instead of company-operated Apple stores, such outlets would be midsize franchisees that sell Apple products only, a model the company has used in Europe and Asia, the people said.

Apple declined to comment.

Now the real reason for the Administration’s pro-Iran policies become clear…

Now for a slightly more serious note.

Businesses exist to make money, and an easy way for a business to make more money is to move into a new market starved for its products or services. For a purely hypothetical example, imagine if California imposed a 30-year moratorium on common sense, you own a profitable cluebat manufacturing plant in Arizona, and the moratorium is about to expire. Naturally, you’d be talking to people across the state line about setting up distribution channels.

There’s nothing right or wrong about what Apple is doing — it’s just business.

The question in my mind is: Why now? What makes Apple think this is a good time to spend scarce resources and precious personnel on the Islamic Republic? Let’s even leave aside for now that big-time Democrat Al Gore sits on the company’s board. (And when Al Gore sits on the board, he really sits on the board.)

We all saw the story this week that the Administration is nonplussed that Iran is close to getting nukes, and seemingly giddy that Israel has acquiesced to that deadly fact. We’ve also all read the stories that Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom, in one of his rare-yet-boneheaded instances of decisiveness, is ready to end-run Congress on lifting the sanctions on Iran unilaterally.

So what Apple is doing is just smart business. What I’m afraid of is we’re all about to learn if iPhones glow in the dark.

The Ugly Side of Lena Dunham

October 30th, 2014 - 10:00 am

LOSER

Not to take one single smidgen of a thing away from Jonah Goldberg, whom I enjoy and respect in equal and enormous measure, but Kevin Williamson is to me the most interesting thinker at National Review. Today he takes on Girls girl Lena Dunham, who he says in one sense

may truly be the voice of her generation: The enormous affluence and indulgence of her upbringing did not sate her sundry hungers — for adoration, for intellectual respect that she has not earned, for the unsurpassable delight of moral preening — but instead amplified and intensified her sense of entitlement. The Brooklyn of Girls is nothing more or less than a 21st-century version of the Malibu Barbie Dreamhouse, with New York City taxis standing in for the pink Corvette. Writers naturally indulge their own autobiographical and social fantasies, from Brideshead Revisited to The Lord of the Rings, but Girls represents a phenomenon distinctly of our time: the fantasy not worth having.

Read, of course, the whole thing.

It’s that last line which really got me thinking about so much of what is supposed to pass for entertainment on TV. Today’s great shows — Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Hannibal — or even the “merely” fun shows — Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Castle — are as great or as fun as anything ever on TV. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the modern age’s great dramas, starting probably with The Sopranos, are the best TV shows ever made.

But we also live in the age of the worst shows ever made — and I don’t mean the mediocre schlock and dreck typical of any (every!) network’s lineup since the Dawn of TV. Ninety percent of everything is crap, after all, and TV shows are no exception. With 570 channels and something on, the vast middle has never been vaster. And it’s a straight, short line from Three’s Company to Just Shoot Me to The Millers. These aren’t the worst shows by any measure. They’re just OK. And that’s OK. No need to shoot anyone.

No, the worst shows are the ones filled with unappealing characters in bad situations of their own design, which we’re somehow supposed to enjoy on some strange “elevated” level because the shows are filled with unappealing characters in bad situations of their own design. Girls is the most visible of the New Pure Awful genre, along with more recent additions like Stalker and Scandal, but the latest, worst offender might be ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder.

I watched the first five or six episodes because the cast was strong and some of the writing was sharp. But I gave up a week or two ago after realizing that there was not one single person to cheer for, not even the murder victim, and there likely never would be. I wasn’t able to recognize a single character who wasn’t on some level a sociopath. We find Hannibal Lecter appetizing because while his standards are not the same as decent people’s, he does have standards — and is fully cognizant of his own inhumanity. The monsters of HTGAWM have no standards apart from a chilling capacity for self-presevation, and seem to consider themselves the future of humanity. Gross.

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Thought for the Day

October 30th, 2014 - 9:01 am

News You Can Use

October 30th, 2014 - 8:49 am

Meanwhile, in the Denver suburb lovingly referred to as Saudi Aurora:

An unidentified Colorado man suffered life-threatening injuries Sunday morning when he jumped out of his vehicle to avoid being burnt by a lit cigarette he had dropped down the front of his jacket — and was run over by his own car.

The incident occurred on the 15900 block of East Nassau Drive in Aurora at 6:37 a.m. while the man backed his vehicle out of a driveway.

As the driver jumped out after the cigarette fell, his van kept rolling backwards and he was knocked to the ground. The front driver’s side tire rolled over his head.

He’s expected to survive, but he may never live down being the guy who ran over his own head.

Japan’s Last Chance

October 30th, 2014 - 7:39 am

Chart of Doom

Stephen Roach takes a look at Japan’s most recent attempt to spend its way to prosperity:

Abenomics, with its potentially powerful combination of monetary and fiscal stimulus, coupled with a wide array of structural reforms, was supposed to end Japan’s “lost decades.” All three “arrows” of the strategy were to be aimed at freeing the economy from a 15-year deflationary quagmire.

Unfortunately, not all of the arrows have been soaring in flight. The Bank of Japan seems well on its way to delivering on the first one – embracing what it calls quantitative and qualitative easing (QQE). Relative to GDP, the BOJ’s monetary-policy gambit could actually far outstrip the efforts of America’s Federal Reserve.

But the flight of the other two arrows is shaky, at best. In recent days, Abe has raised serious questions about proceeding with the second phase of a previously legislated consumer-tax hike that has long been viewed as the linchpin of Japan’s debt-consolidation strategy. Abe has flinched because the economy remains weak, posing renewed risks of a deflationary relapse. Meanwhile, the third arrow of structural reforms – especially tax, education, and immigration reforms – is nowhere near its target.

Abenomics, one might conclude, is basically a Japanese version of the failed policy combination deployed in the United States and Europe: massive unconventional liquidity injections by central banks (with the European Central Bank apparently now poised to follow the Fed), but little in the way of fundamental fiscal and structural reforms. The political expedience of the short-term monetary fix has triumphed once again.

I think it’s safe to conclude that politicians — and this is universal, not unique to Japan — will never undertake serious political or economic reform, so long as they’re allowed to take the easy way out of printing money.

Printing money feels good, it’s easy to achieve, and it provides effortlessly the illusion of prosperity. Real reform means pushing even your friends off of the gravy train and forcing even the most entrenched business interests to compete. That makes for unhappy power brokers — the only real anathema to progressive political leaders.

So it’s free money for everybody forever. But as Heinlein wrote, anything free is worth what you pay for it — you just don’t find out until later.

Well, it’s later than they think.

Gray Lady Calls for White House Shakeup

October 30th, 2014 - 6:21 am

It looks like our friends at the NYT are trying to get ahead of the White House Disaster Curve, because even if the Dems steal a win next week, it’s obvious to everybody that the final quarter of the Obama Administration is going to require some fresh faces:

At a time when the Obama administration is lurching from crisis to crisis — a new Cold War in Europe, a brutal Islamic caliphate in the Middle East and a deadly epidemic in West Africa, to name just the most obvious ones — it is not surprising that long-term strategy would take a back seat. But it raises inevitable questions about the ability of the president and his hard-pressed national security team to manage and somehow get ahead of the daily onslaught of events.

Early stumbles in the government’s handling of the Ebola crisis as well as its belated response to the Islamic State have fueled speculation that Mr. Obama may shake up his team, which is stocked with battle-tested but exhausted White House loyalists and cabinet members, like Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who are viewed as less cohesive than the “team of rivals” in Mr. Obama’s first cabinet. George W. Bush took that route after the bruising midterm elections in 2006, when he dismissed Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

First, take notice of the de rigueur “But Booosh!” in the second graf. NYT readers may nod their heads sagely at the reminder that whatever terrible thing might befall Teh Won, it first happened to Bush but worse.

Second, I do love the use of the phrase “battle-tested” to describe Obama’s “loyalists” and cabinet members. “Battle-test and found wanting” would have been closer to the truth, but undoubtedly too wordy when the real point of that graf was to comfort readers with the “But Booosh!”

If the Dems don’t manage to steal a win next week, then things will get seriously ugly.

Seriously, deliciously, delightfully, schadenfreudelly ugly.

Ace calls it a “schadenboner,” and who am I to disagree?

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

October 30th, 2014 - 5:14 am

SHOCKED

About those millennials who are giving up on the Democrats

Average insurance premiums in the sought-after 23-year-old demographic rose most dramatically, with men in that age group seeing an average 78.2 percent price increase before factoring in government subsidies, and women having their premiums rise 44.9 percent, according to a report by HealthPocket scheduled for release Wednesday.

The study, which was shared Tuesday with The Washington Times, examined average health insurance premiums before the implementation of Obamacare in 2013 and then afterward in 2014. The research focused on people of three ages — 23, 30 and 63 — using data for nonsmoking men and women with no spouses or children.

This next bit is, if I’m choosing the right adjective, rich:

“It’s very eye-opening in terms of the transformation occurring within the individual health insurance market,” said Kev Coleman, head of research and data at HealthPocket, a nonpartisan, independently managed subsidiary of Health Insurance Innovations in Sunnyvale, California.

“I was surprised in general to see the differences in terms of the average premiums in the pre-reform and post-reform markets,” Mr. Coleman said. “It was a higher amount than I had anticipated.”

What part exactly of requiring wider benefits and most people will never use or not charging sick people more than healthy people was supposed to decrease costs for the young.

And how did so-called experts miss this teensy little fact?

CurrentC is even worse than I thought:

After you’ve launched CurrentC you’re given two options: I Have An Invitation or I Need An Invitation. If you tap I Have An Invitation you’ll be asked for your email address and ZIP code. Entering an email that hasn’t been invited yet will kick you back to the first screen and give you a message saying they’ll let you know when CurrentC is available in your area. A concerning behavior I saw here is that regardless of what email you enter, CurrentC’s service will respond with a large dictionary of user data.

connectc_03

Now, I have to stress here, I never got CurrentC to return me a real user’s data. However, the fact that these fields exist is a good indicator that CurrentC plans to collect this data, and also why on Earth would you ever return these fields without any sort of authentication first? I never hit on an email that appeared to be a valid account, but I was honestly too nervous to keep trying given the data it seemed eager to send back.

Your CurrentC account, I should add, is tied directly to your checking account. This is ripe for all kinds of abuse, the least of which is all the tracking MCX retailers will put on you.

ONE MORE THING: They just got hacked. Read:

On Wednesday, those taking part in the CurrentC pilot program received a warning from the consortium of anti-credit-card retailers called MCX, or Merchant Consumer Exchange: The program was hacked in the last 36 hours, and criminals managed to grab the email addresses of anyone who signed up for the program.

MCX confirmed the hack, adding what’s become a go-to line for any company that loses your data: “We take the security of our users’ information extremely seriously.”

It’s a rough start for an app that aims to be a competitor to Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

Over a million people happily gave their credit card numbers to Apple Pay in the first 72 hours, instantly making it bigger than every other e-payment system combined. It doesn’t seem likely that people will be lining up virtually to hand over their Social Security and checking account numbers to CurrentC.

Run Away! Run Away!

October 29th, 2014 - 2:14 pm

RUN AWAY

Running away from Bush worked so well for the GOP eight years ago, didn’t it? Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom isn’t making things easier for his own Senate caucus when he insists that while he isn’t on the ballot this year, his agenda is. But read past the headline to learn of Wiggleroom’s exasperation:

With so many Democrats trying to suggest a distance from Obama that doesn’t exist, Axelrod added, it’s natural for the president and his team “to be a little frustrated.”

Another senior Democrat who advises the White House, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said the current feeling among Obama and his aides is “exasperation.”

“He doesn’t think they have any reason to run away from him,” the adviser said. “He thinks there is a strong message there.”

Because that’s what Valerie tells him.

GRRRRREAT

The Nanny State sees all, even things that aren’t there:

“You could tell straight away it wasn’t a real tiger,” says Andrew Holland, describing a video sent to him of a man in a tiger suit having sex with a woman. “Right from the word go, the tiger was talking.”

Unfortunately for Andrew, a 51-year-old bus driver from Wrexham, North Wales, police and prosecutors didn’t pick up on this subtle clue. Instead, they claimed the video was of a woman having sex with a real tiger (again, it was not a real tiger; it was a human man dressed as a tiger) and charged Andrew with possession of extreme pornography.

As he was the first person to fall foul of this offense under the recently amended Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, prosecutors were determined to make an example of him. That, coupled with the fact that “MAN FOUND WITH TIGER PORN” is a very clickable headline, effectively meant Andrew’s life was ruined from the second he was taken into custody.

He pleaded innocence, telling police, “It was a joke; my mate sent it to me. It’s not a real tiger—real tigers don’t say, ‘That was grrrreat.’”

Andrew has faced two sets of charges, “lost his job, suffered a heart attack, and, after being branded a pedophile, been physically assaulted several times.”

These are Heinlein’s Crazy Years; we just live in them.

Too Cool for School

October 29th, 2014 - 12:55 pm

SWEATY

Millennials are abandoning Obama and the Democrats:

A new and massive poll of 2,029 18- to 29-year-olds from Harvard’s Institute of Politics just released found that of those who say they will “definitely be voting,” 51 percent want the GOP in charge, 47 percent favoring Democratic control.

The unexpected anti-Democratic swing prompted a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reporter quizzing poll experts on a media conference call to IOP blurted out, “How did the Democrats and Obama screw this up?”

All I have to say to the shocked reporter is, “Look around you, dumbass.”

But then I’d return to my normally polite self and thank them graciously for showing their true colors.

There is more to this story however than just a bitter laugh. Democrats’ big gains in the second half of the first decade of the 21st Century came from lopsided strength among single women, blacks, Latinos, and young voters. It does’t take a huge swing from those groups, or even just staying home*, to cause big electoral swings. We’re seeing cracks in three of those four groups (single women seem to be the exception), which is why I still believe the next two cycles are the right time for the GOP to launch a “50 State Strategy” of its own.

You can’t win if you don’t play, and the GOP has fooled itself for too long that it only has to play on its home turf.
(more…)

Sign “O” the Times

October 29th, 2014 - 11:45 am

FRETTING

Nancy Pelosi knows about shrinkage, but she’s about to learn more:

With President Barack Obama’s unpopularity hindering their candidates and Republican cash flooding into races across the country, Democrats are increasingly worried that the election will push them deep into the minority and diminish their hopes of winning back the majority in 2016 or beyond.

Looking to contain the damage, Democrats are pumping money into liberal congressional districts that were long thought to be safely in their column. Over the last several days, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has directed resources to maintain seats in Hawaii and Nevada, both of which broke sharply for the president in 2012 — an indication of just how much the terrain has shifted against the party over the past two years.

One of the great pains of the 2008 GOP nominating process (and the pains were legion) was watching the candidates twist themselves into low-sodium pretzels, trying to distance themselves from Bush without actually repudiating many of his policies they still agreed with, which most GOP primary voters still agreed with, but which most general election voters had despaired of. And of course the press was there to twist the stiletto at every opportunity, which is exactly its job.

Minus the stiletto-wielding press, it will be the singular great joy of 2016 watching the Democrat contenders do the exact same thing to Obama.

Required Reading

October 29th, 2014 - 10:31 am

BOOM

David Harsanyi takes on Jeffrey Goldberg and the anti-Israel wing of the Democrat Party:

But you know what is unmistakably anti-Israel? Gloating over how the United States has strong-armed Israel into living with a nuclear Iran, which seems like significant news to me:

This official agreed that Netanyahu is a ‘chickenshit’ on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a ‘coward’ on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. ‘It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.’

At the United Nations a few years, Obama reportedly offered to do whatever it took to prevent Iran from producing atomic weapons in exchange for Israeli assurances that it would not attack Iran’s nuclear sites before the presidential election in 2012. (And to think, Obama officials have the audacity to whine about Netanyahu’s “near-pathological desire for career-preservation.”)

A couple of things before you click over to read Harsanyi’s entire column — one trivial, the other not so trivial.

First, I’d just like you to remember that “chickenshit” Netanyahu led an IDF special forces unit in combat and took a bullet. Contrast that to Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom, who reportedly could barely bring himself to give the order to have other people kill Osama bin Laden. So there’s that.

Secondly (and much more importantly) please also take note of the tone in the Goldberg paragraph quoted above by Harsanyi. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but the Administration sounds positively gleeful that it has “strong-armed Israel into living with a nuclear Iran.” Much worse than ISIL, this might prove to be Obama’s legacy in the Middle East — an intractable, hostile, and nuclear-armed Iran, and the prospect of a nuclear arms race in the most unstable part of the world.

And this White House knows it, and they’re happy with it.

Idiots.

♡bamaCare!!! Returns as a Campaign Issue

October 29th, 2014 - 9:26 am

And in a big way, according to recent ad buys:

According to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), Republicans ran nearly 12,000 anti-Obamacare ads in Senate races during the week of October 13-19. That’s almost twice as many ads as they ran on jobs/unemployment, more than twice as many as they ran on international affairs, and more than three times as many as they ran on taxes. In fact, it’s more than they ran on jobs/unemployment, taxes, and social issues combined. It’s also more than they ran on jobs/unemployment and immigration combined.

The top-5 issues for the GOP in Senate races for the week of October 13-19 were as follows:

1. Obamacare (nearly 12,000 ads)
2. Budget/Government Spending (nearly 9,000 ads)
3. Energy/Environment (nearly 7,000 ads)
4. Jobs/Unemployment (more than 6,000 ads)
5. Immigration (nearly 5,000 ads)

A week earlier, the pattern was basically the same—as Republicans ran over 11,000 anti-Obamacare ads.

And after all those assurances from the professional punditry that ♡bamaCare!!! was no longer a campaign issue…

Free To Be Quarantined

October 29th, 2014 - 8:45 am

Trifecta takes on mandatory quarantines and where principle clashes with the real world.

Leave My President Alone!

October 29th, 2014 - 7:02 am

FLIRTY

Look, I know it’s too soon to gloat. In fact, I’m deep into the Night Sweats/Night Terror Zone where the bags under my eyes could store enough gear for a week in the woods — and I don’t pack light. And yet I did find one of my big toes doing a miniaturized Happy Dance whilst reading this story from Newsbusters:

The CBS This Morning crew on Tuesday alternated between confusion as to why Barack Obama may be driving Republicans to a big midterm victory and strident declarations that the GOP would have no mandate. Co-host Charlie Rose talked with political director John Dickerson and wondered of disenchanted voters: “So, why is it they don’t like this President so much? Is it a spillover from ObamaCare or something else?”

Dickerson declared that the midterm elections are not “about a set of ideas.” Perhaps looking for reassurance about next Tuesday, Rose insisted, “…If the Republicans win the Senate and control the Congress, they have no mandate.” Co-host Norah O’Donnell pre-spun the bad news: “If Republicans take control, they’re going to win in six Senate seats that Mitt Romney won by double digits in the last presidential election. Where’s the mandate for compromise in that?”

O’Donnell then tried to downplay the importance of the elections, noting, “Every midterm election, that since World War II, the President’s opposing party has lost an average of six seats. It’s really about a fickle public.”

A fickle public — I’m sure that’s exactly what O’Donnell was saying in October, 2006.

In case you’re wondering, I’ll be tuned into MSNBC exclusively next Tuesday night, because schadenfreude is a dish best served with a cold martini.

And if the election doesn’t pan out? Martinis go just as well with despair.