The African-American Answer to George Wallace

A few days ago, an article appeared in Pravda-on-the-Hudson, reporting that pollsters had told the White House that, if there is not a huge African-American turnout on the first Tuesday this November, the Democrats are cooked.

In the meantime, there have been leaks from the Ferguson, Missouri grand jury investigation. Darren Wilson is said to have testified that Michael Brown attacked him in his police car and went for his gun, that he fired at him twice at that time, and that, when he emptied his gun into Brown, the young man was charging at him on the street.

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Another Day of Terror

While the news media focused on the deadly attacks in Ottawa, our friends in Israel also suffered today. A car drove into a crowd at a Jerusalem light rail station, killing a baby girl and injuring eight others. Three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun died at a nearby hospital and both of her parents were among the wounded; all three were American citizens.

Israeli officials identified the attacker as a Hamas member who had served time in Israeli prison. After police raided the suspect’s home, more violence hit his East Jerusalem neighborhood:

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Tracked and Targeted
Yes or No: Grilling on The Short Attention Span Podcast

Ep7_T&TWonderTwins

Wonder Twin Powers Activate:
Shape of a Steak! Form of a Question!

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A Basic Chicken-or-Egg Question for Conservatives

Let’s forget about the mid-term elections for a minute and consider two fundamental facts: 1) government don’t work good (in the immortal words of Michael Barone); and 2) the modern American (homo ironiae americanus), with his vintage clothing, white privilege seminars, environmental impact statements, interesting facial hardware, skinny no-whip lattes, shade-grown artisanal quinoa, etc., etc., is not the same creature that invented Coca Cola, built the Golden Gate Bridge (under budget, ahead of schedule and using only private financing), whupped Hitler and Tojo and invaded the Moon (homo virilis americanus).

Most reasonable people would agree that there is some relationship between fact 1 and fact 2, beyond mere correlation.

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The Ricochet Podcast
Not A Fan

Big Fans

This week on the Big Show: Ricochet contributor and political consultant to the stars @theRickWilson on the Governor’s race in Florida and a look at other contests around the country. Then, the federal government is too damn big, pondering whether or not we are past peak fast food, RIP Ben Bradlee, and will China’s growth stunt our own? Also, keep your ears peeled for a rare Peter Robinson presidential impression.

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2014 Triskaidekaphobia

Ok, so that’s a mighty big word staring at you in the headline.

Translated, it means “the fear of the number 13″ — an appropriate topic given that we’re 13 days away from the election, Republicans are feeling bullish about their chances, and the one looming question (well, aside from who bothers to vote on Nov. 4) would be what unlucky breaks could befall the GOP.

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Podcast: The Midterms, with David Brady

Last week, I sat down with David Brady, Deputy Director and Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution (as well as member of the faculty in virtually every department at Stanford University) to discuss the outlook for this year’s midterm elections. Is Republican bullishness justified? What might this year’s trends tells us about broader changes in the electorate? And what does it all mean as we head towards 2016? Herein, I get the answers from one of the savviest political observers out there:

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Canada Under Attack

On Monday a known-radical ISIS-wannabe killed a Canadian soldier (and wounded another) near Montreal. Today, shots have been fired on the National Parliament building in Ottawa.

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Reality Check: As Activists Push for a Higher Minimum Wage, McDonald’s Automates

shutterstock_161078552-600x600The economic impact of the minimum wage is one of the most studied public-policy topics I’ve run across. But sometimes these analyses have an air of unreality about them. At an AEI event earlier this year, Heidi Shierholz — then an EPI think tanker, now the US Labor Department’s chief economist – argued in favor of President Obama’s plan to raise the minimum wage. Shierholz also said she was “not so worried” about the possibility that dramatically raising the minimum wage might worsen the competitive position of low-skill humans versus machines. “It’s an unknown,” she added, what will happen in the future.

Well, perhaps the future is here. Here is an interesting tidbit from McDonald’s earning conference call yesterday (via The Wall Street Journal):

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What Keeps You Up At Night?

On a recent episode of the Mad Dogs & Englishmen podcast, starting around 25’45″, National Reviews Kevin Williamson and Charles C.W. Cooke asked each other about their political fears. Both agreed that the world is a much less scary place than it was a few decades ago. The chance of a civilization-ending nuclear exchange are greatly diminished; medicine continues to improve; violent crime is down significantly in the United States, etc.

Which is hardly to say everything’s perfect. Williamson pointed out that while the old Dr. Strangelove scenarios are far less likely, the chance of an odd nuclear weapon here or there is concerning, especially for someone who works at National Review’s address (or, for that matter, in Tel Aviv). Moreover, our increasing globalization gives contagious diseases an advantage and it’s possible that could get nasty again.

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Ricochet Forum: Allen West Answers Your Questions

Editor’s note: In the latest installment of our Ricochet Forum series, former Congressman Allen West took questions from Ricochet members and contributors. The questions — and his responses — are below:

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Has Feminism Jumped the Shark?

shutterstock_143044900A new video, “F-bombs for Feminism”, made the rounds on social media yesterday. (In case the title didn’t alert you, be warned that this is not something you necessarily want to watch without headphones!)

Following in the footsteps of Beyoncé, who last year made the “shocking” comment that “gender equality is a myth,” “F-bombs for Feminism” is a ridiculous attempt to wake people up to women’s rights. The group who created this video, FCKH8, gathered a group of little girls wearing princess dress-up clothing and using “offensive” language to bring attention to all the “really offensive” ways our patriarchal society discriminates against and mistreats women. And they play all the big hits: pay inequality, rape and sexual assault, and being pretty.

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How Much Is Your Vote Worth?

shutterstock_162124301In a recent, brilliant column Thomas Sowell argued something I’ve felt for awhile: that we should encourage people who feel they’re getting a bum rap in our society to leave.

[Leftist academics] teach minorities born with an incredibly valuable windfall gain — American citizenship — that they are victims who have a grievance against people today who have done nothing to them, because of what other people did in other times. If those individuals who feel aggrieved could sell their American citizenship to eager buyers from around the world and leave, everybody would probably be better off. Those who leave would get not only a substantial sum of money — probably $100,000 or more — they would also get a valuable dose of reality elsewhere.

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Monica Lewinsky Is (Half) Right

shutterstock_99375410Monica Lewinsky has reemerged to claim the spotlight. She gave a speech the other day about being the “patient zero” of Internet-driven attacks on one’s reputation. In describing her experience, she began:

Sixteen years ago, fresh out of college, a 22-year-old intern in the White House — and more than averagely romantic – I fell in love with my boss in a 22-year-old sort of a way. It happens. But my boss was the President of the United States. That probably happens less often.

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Wendy Davis’ Appeal Is Becoming More Selective

Puppet Show and Wendy Davis

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The Milt Rosenberg Show
The Consciousness of a Conservative


We recorded this one a few months ago, but the rush of events, crises, and scandals kept it relegated to the shelf until this week. Now, as the November elections are almost upon us, it seems to the proprietor that we should get it on screen and before our readers. The basic reason is not that we expect to change any or many voting intentions but, rather, because it is as good a statement of modern American political and pragmatic conservatism as any we have recently encountered.

Christopher Fitzhenry Robling is a corporate communications professional, sometime broadcaster, sometime election commissioner and a principled, critical observer of the current regime. We could characterize his past appearances on this podcast, thus: Economics, foreign policy (or its absence), sheer corruption, and rewarded incompetence all come under his purview as he lays out an “after six years” (that should be time enough) evaluation of the works and ways of that fellow Chicagoan who is still lingering around the White House.

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Democrats Shuffle Their Deck of Race Cards

Faced with a deeply unpopular President and a potential GOP wave, Democrats are digging deep to motivate their lackadaisical base. As always, the most prominent play is the race card.

In North Carolina, fans of incumbent Senator Kay Hagan are passing out disturbing fliers in African-American neighborhoods. “Kay Hagan Doesn’t WIN! Obama’s IMPEACHMENT Will Begin! Vote in 2014” says the text, which is printed over a photo of a white crowd lynching a black man.

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The Letter Obama Should Write to Putin

Over at Forbes, I’ve just penned a version of the letter that Barack Obama would send Vladimir Putin if he was serious about stopping Russian expansionism and wanted to salvage the final two years of his presidency. A taste:

Despite your pledges to recognize the May 25 Ukraine presidential election, you continue to the present day to characterize the Kiev government as an illegitimate, extremist, and neo-Nazi regime intent on genocide of ethnic Russians. (This criticism from a country that allows a Miss Hitler contest). Ukraine has no history of Ukrainian-on-Russian ethnic violence, and credible public opinion polls show that the residents of the rebellious Donbas, even to the present day, do not wish to secede from Ukraine. On the basis of your illegitimacy claims, you make the bizarre argument that the sovereign Ukrainian government has no right to deploy its forces in its own country. Using the same logic, Ukraine could argue that Russia has no right to station troops in break-away Chechnya.

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The Fiasco in Rome

I have never before heard of Andrew Ratelle, I confess, but he has just produced one of the most insightful–and disturbing–observations I’ve come across about the fiasco last week in Rome:

By upholding the nuclear family, the Church made what was perhaps the most important social investment in history. People in the poorer, more pagan regions of the world where polygamy, polyandry, arranged and child marriages were common, now had a place to look for support when it came to building a life that was most beneficial for themselves and their children. By weakening this support, or at the very least dispersing it to include more “diverse” arrangements, these bishops have weakened the very shield from which the nuclear family has received so much protection. Even in our own country, where “diverse” familial arrangements have almost become synonymous with urban poverty and crime (at least for those who have no gilded safety net to fall into), where should families look to now, since the Church has seen fit to dilute the medicine they have thrived on for so long?

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What Would MacArthur Do?

As our editor, Troy Senik, reminded me, yesterday was the 70th anniversary of Douglas MacArthur’s return to the Philippines. Troy knows my next book is on MacArthur, and when he mentioned the date to me, it made me cast my mind back to that time and place, as well as the cause that led MacArthur to his landing on Leyte—and into one of the iconic photos of World War Two.

By that October it had been a long, hard slog from the night in March 1942, when MacArthur reluctantly followed President Roosevelt’s explicit order and abandoned his forces on Corregidor and Bataan to leave for Australia. There he arrived to take command of the Southwest Pacific Area, a stretch of ocean and islands the size of North America from Alaska to Guatemala. He had no navy, hardly any air force, and no army except the Australians, against an enemy who enjoyed overwhelming numbers, as well as air and naval superiority. Moreover, MacArthur knew that three-quarters of all future US forces would be shipped first to Europe, and that he would have to share what was left with Admiral Nimitz in the Central Pacific.

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Time to Start Thinking Democratic Shake-Up?

With two week to go until Election Day, it may be premature to start tap-dancing on a grave. That said, there’s the question of what the Democrats’ next move (or moves) should be if the November vote doesn’t go their way.

Translation: losing control of the Senate, losing further ground in the House, no decisive gains at the state and local levels to distract from the story on Capitol Hill.

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Turnout Projections: Malaise?

With election day just two weeks away, I was somewhat startled to realize this morning just how quiet things seem. I am seeing far fewer road signs, for example, and hardly any fliers in my snail-mailbox — contrary to past years, including midterm elections. Among co-workers and friends, a few are talking about the various crises (Ebola, ISIS, and so forth), but no one is really talking about the election. My observations are purely anecdotal, of course, but there just seems to be a general lack of intensity when it comes to the upcoming vote. In my very red state, the energy level looks nothing like 2010. I can’t help but to think that we’re looking at a real potential for low turnout this year across the board.

Is it crisis fatigue? Is it Obama fatigue, and knowing that 2016 is still pretty far away? Is it a growing sense that it doesn’t matter who gets into office; that things are mucked up now and will stay mucked up for the foreseeable future?

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New York’s War On Airbnb

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is on the warpath against Airbnb, the popular service that allows people to rent out their homes and apartments to consumers looking for a better deal than they might get from the hotel market. Schneiderman’s office has released a massive report attacking the company on a number of grounds, most (though not all) of which are misguided. As I note in my new piece for Defining Ideas from the Hoover Institution:

…[T]he report ignores the substantial gains to Airbnb renters who get better deals than they could find at conventional hotels. Indeed, the net revenues from short-term leases count as a good thing, because it taps space that would otherwise remain an idle form of “dead capital,” as Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute reminds us. Of course, there is a serious housing shortage in New York City, but the whole point of markets is to make the best allocations of scarce resources under rapidly changing conditions.

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Knowing What To Look For: More with Herb Meyer

HerbMeyer154pxLast week, we shared an interview with Ricochet contributor — and former assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence – Herb Meyer, who then answered members’ questions about how national intelligence works, and sometimes fails to work, in the comments.

In the second part of his Powerline interview, Herb turns his attention to domestic surveillance and the threats posed from Islamist saboteurs and traitors:

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