I was so busy last November that I missed the deadline on the Forvm Pick 'em Sweepstakes, so I bailed. All I have left is rooting for those 'Hawks. Lately, that hasn't been such a bad thing. God, I love football. Watching it, that is. I never could play the game, and I passed that bad football-playing gene to my football-loving son, to his lament.
Here are some tab-clearing items that need clearing.
The Circus versus The Circus Harassing the Circus. The Circus wins.
On Friday Feld Entertainment, producer of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, announced a legal settlement under which the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has paid $9.3 million to the company.
Yes, you read that correctly. A special-interest group sued a corporation and in the resulting settlement it was not the business but the activist group that had to write a check.
After nine years of litigation, a federal court found that the plaintiffs had no standing to sue under the Endangered Species Act and that the former Ringling employee was "not credible" and "essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness" whose only source of income during the litigation was the animal-rights groups that were his co-plaintiffs.
2012 was a great year. Sayeth the Spectator. Poverty down, GDP up, lifespans lengthening, war down. Lots to argue about.
Jeffrey Goldberg on the gun control debate. Plenty of myths floating around. It's now clear that talk about guns is complete overshadowing talk about dealing with the mentally ill.
Al Qaeda has its own country. Northern Mali, which is approximately the size of Texas or France. Who knew that Texas and France are roughly the same size.
Christie pisses off party poobahs. Again. The New Jersey is running for reelection this year, so there are political motivations, but he also has the benefit of being right. The arguable part is whether his ire was rightfully focused on Boehner or the chuckleheads in Boehner's caucus.
Thoughts on the our deficits. From a Republican outcast. Sigh.
The Liberal Propaganda Channel. For those lefties complaining about FoxNews' ideological tilt, you have a place to go. Pew paints the picture.
This didn't escape the attention of the Baltimore Sun's TV critic.
ON MSNBC, the ratio of negative to positive stories on GOP candidate Mitt Romney was 71 to 3.
That's not a news channel. That's a propaganda machine, and owner Comcast should probably change Phil Griffin's title from president to high minister of information, or something equally befitting the work of a party propagandist hack in a totalitarian regime. You wonder how mainstream news organizations allow their reporters and correspondents to appear in such a cauldron of bias.
Paraguay's awful and little-known history. Who knew that three neighboring nations went to war and ganged up on this landlocked nation, resulting in the loss of 90% of its male population. Like with the descendants of American slaves, Paraguayans are still feeling the ill effects of its dismal history.
Boehner still Speaker. This is actually good news for Republicans and Democrats alike.
Good advice for the GOP going forward. From Peter Wehner:
Presumably Republicans will be in a stronger position as we approach our next governing crisis: the debt ceiling deadline in early March.
There is a twin danger for the GOP, however. One is that they enter negotiations assuming the president is responsible and acting in good faith—and that a “good government” solution will be found and a grand bargain will be struck. That’s not going to happen. Mr. Obama is a dogmatist and a committed progressive. He has no interest in reining in spending or reforming entitlements. He wants to, in his words, “transform” America. And he has a burning desire to destroy the GOP.
The second danger facing Republicans is they once again engage in brinksmanship with the president—that they elevate the debt ceiling debate and (unwisely) threaten to allow the United States to default right up until the moment when they cave (which they would be forced to do).
My counsel to them would therefore be to take the threat of default off the table sooner rather than later. (One way to do this would be to pass legislation that increases the debt limit for, say, six months at a time.) Republicans should simultaneously put forward reasonable and realistic cuts to offset the increase in the debt limit, in the hope that they can secure some gains. Which leads me to my broader piece of advice.
The Republican Party tends to do quite poorly when it engages in high-profile negotiations/confrontations with Democratic presidents. It happened to Newt Gingrich in 1995 over Medicare and the government shutdown. It happened to the GOP Congress in 1998 over impeachment. And it happened to John Boehner and the GOP in the summer of 2011 and December 2012 over the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff.
The reason for this has been, in part, because it’s impossible to govern when a party controls just one legislative chamber. The president, especially one with a sympathetic press, has enormous things working in his favor in any showdown with Congress.
On the flip side, the two greatest electoral gains for Republicans in Congress happened in 1994 and 2010. Those elections were not preceded by dramatic, high-stakes, last-second negotiations that took place in a crisis atmosphere. Rather, they came in the aftermath of Democratic presidents and Democratically-controlled Congress’ overreaching. Republicans forcefully criticized the policies of Clinton (in 1993 and 1994) and Obama (in 2009 and 2010)–but they did not threaten to shut down the government, cause America to go into default, and encourage America to go over any fiscal cliffs.
So what does that mean for the here and now? The mindset of the GOP should be to jettison the idea that Obama is a responsible interlocutor (Speaker Boehner seems to have gotten that message in pledging that he will no longer negotiate one-on-one with Obama). Second, congressional Republicans should accept the fact that even though they have a majority in the House, their power to shape the governing agenda is still severely limited. There will be no meaningful reforms of entitlements or the tax code. Accept it; and accept that they cannot undo the damage of Obamaism so long as he remains president.
Republicans should of course check Mr. Obama’s ambitions where they can and when they occupy the political high ground (like on the implementation of ObamaCare). But trying to put America on a different course right now, given the present circumstances, is a fool’s errand. Prudence is a political virtue–and in this case, prudence argues for modesty of aims and expectations.
Friedman's problem. In a nutshell: "I expect a lot from Obama..."
Obamacare means less hiring in 2013. Elections, consequences.
Obama picks Hagel for SecDef. Like with his preference for good doggy Rice, bad decision. I doubt he'll make it past a GOP filibuster. There are liberal reasons and conservative reasons for his not deserving the job.