Tag Archives: Comedy

Could The Shutdown/Debt Ceiling Cost Republicans The House?

Because the American people are a fickle bunch, the usual order of things is that the sitting President’s party loses seats in the House during the midterm election. Conventional wisdom would then lead one to accept the points expressed by The New Republic and Real Clear Politics in their estimation(s) that it’s unlikely Democrats will overturn the Republican majority in 12 months. The rule has exceptions, of course. Clinton’s Democrats actually picked up a few seats in 1998, following Speaker Newt Gingrich’s 21 day government shutdown.

It’s been reiterated quite exhaustingly that one of the main reasons Republicans have been able to keep the House despite losing the national popular vote to Democrats by 1.5% is that they enjoy the considerable majority of gerrymandered districts. In short, Democrats needed to win the House by a margin of more than 7% to become the majority party.

Fast forward to today. If this WaPo/ABC news poll is any indication (and I’d like to think it is), the country soundly puts the blame of the shutdown and the upcoming debt ceiling disaster on the shoulders of the GOP.

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But while public opinion of the GOP might be very low, commentators have rightly noted that President Obama garners considerable blame (deservedly or not) for the current Washington impasse. That may be true, but luckily for the President and his party, Obama is not running for re-election in the next 12 months. That point led Public Policy Polling to conduct a set of district-level polls meant for ascertaining Congressional preference — which has, in the past, tracked the national vote pretty closely. So, PPP set out to survey 24 congressional districts held by Republicans, and asked voters there to chose between their current Congressional representative and a Democrat. Here are their results, plotted against last year’s election result:

It’s important to note that we’re talking about surveys taken during a government shutdown explicitly engineered by Congressional Republicans, but the results show that Democrats swung 23 races (below the red line) while Republicans held one race (above the red line). If the results hold (and I don’t expect them to), Democrats will win the House. Comfortably.

I say I don’t expect this to last because, well, Americans have the tendency to forget about things like the shutdown when it comes time to vote. The midterm elections are still a long away off to where Republicans can successfully coerce their constituents to re-elect them to the House. I do expect Democrats to pick up some votes, which is not totally inconsequential since they’d be able to force the chamber to actually vote on resolutions that Boehner refuses to allow.

The survey doesn’t take into account how voters will feel about House Republicans if the Government hits the debt ceiling, but given the plausible disaster that would ensue if such a thing were allowed to happen, when compounded with the shutdown and the [still] terrible sequester, these results could hold true to the midterm, and possibly even increase.

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Best of the Week

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I’ll be away for the weekend — taking a little vacation to celebrate my brother’s upcoming wedding — so we’re rounding up a bit early this time. The most popular post of the week was Some Russian Perspective for the American LBGT Community.

Other selected posts included The Economy of Low Expectations, Ben Stein Really Wants You To Appreciate Richard Milhous Nixon, Hawaii To Offer Its Homeless Population One-Way Tickets Back To The Mainland, Manning Found Not Guilty Of “Aiding The Enemy”, and finally the expected but still mind boggling Republicans Reject Obama’s “Grand Bargain” Tax Proposal Sight Unseen.

Thanks for reading, more next week.

Publius

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Best Of The Week On Left And Center

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It was quite a heavy week of reporting here on Left and Center, but we gladly stayed away from writing anything about the Zimmerman Trial, and instead focused on the news. As always, the vast majority of the traffic went to the homepage, which is what I always intended with this blog.

Your favorite posts from this past week were a Massacre In Cairo: One Step Closer To Civil War, my polemic against Republican inaction and indifference titled Conservatives Don’t Give A Damn About Governing, Cato’s timely piece written more than a week past about Why The Farm Bill Mattered, my take on the importance and difficulties in Comprehending Evil, and a rather distressing and callous story out of one of our more tiny states where Iowa’s All-Male Supreme Court Says It’s OK To Fire A Woman If You Really Want To Sleep With Her.

Other notable posts included Koch Brothers To Launch Huge Misinformation Campaign Against Obamacare, my argument of the vital and usually overlooked impact of labeling something as what it is in Edward Snowden And The Difference Between Prosecution And Persecution, some thoughts regarding a really groundbreaking yet controversial college financing plan entitled Everything You Need To Know About Oregon’s “Pay It Forward” College Program, and finally our double dose of wonkish charts: the first showing that the U.S. Is Ranked 28th In Health Care Outcomes, and the second proving Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of Flying, Ever.

A wonderful weekend to you, dear reader. More on Monday.

Publius

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Parisians Get Some Politeness Training

Paris skyline, France

If you’ve ever found yourself in Paris, you’ll have undoubtedly stood in awe of the magnificent art, the timeless architecture, the romance of the city, the quality of the food, and most importantly (for me) the taste of the wine. And while ordinary Parisians can be lovely, accommodating, and polite, the same is not usually said for the city’s taxi-drivers, hotel clerks, restaurant staff and shopkeepers. And for a city and state which gets a fair share of its money from the tourism industry, France can’t afford for foreigners to be turned away from visiting the City of Lights:

The Parisian Chamber of Commerce has started a campaign on the Web and in printed pamphlets called “Do you speak tourist?” And it’s targeted at taxi drivers, shopkeepers and restaurant and hotel workers. It offers suggestions on how to conduct polite conversation with foreigners.

It’s also chock-full of advice on what certain nationalities prefer. It claims that Brits like to be called by their first names, Brazilians like Wi-Fi and the Japanese wait until they are back home to make criticisms. These are all national stereotypes, of course. But I wonder how most people would characterize the French? Maybe as being a bit rude or stand-offish, right? And that’s exactly why Paris had to institute this “get friendly” program in the first place.

(Photo by Luke Ma)

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The Best Of The Week On Left And Center

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The most popular posts from the week were Sibling Aggression Linked To Mental Health Distress In Children, A Wake Up Call For The American Left, A Dissent To Edward Snowden’s Q & A, 35 Percent Of All Women Are Victims Of Sexual Violence, and Another Iraq? Experts Question Whether Assad Actually Used Chemical Weapons

Other noteworthy posts include the heartwarming story of a Deaf Three Year Old Hears His Father’s Voice For The First Time, The Underrepresentation Of Women In Philosophy, Here’s What Brazilians Are Actually Protesting, the U.S. Has Been Secretly Training Syrian Rebels All Along, and last but not least, Meet The 46 Guantanamo Detainees Never To Be Tried Or Released.

Thanks for reading!

Publius

(Photo by flickr user Frederic.jacobs)

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A Father’s Day Message From Louis C.K (Video)

It may be a few years old, but this timeless video of the great Louis CK totally nailing fatherhood in two minutes is absolutely perfect for father’s day. Enjoy!

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June 16, 2013 · 12:37 pm

Season 4 of Arrested Development summed up in one emoticon, :(

Like every single other huge Arrested Development fan, I eagerly awaited the return of the transcendent television series on Netflix this past Sunday. I had some fears as to whether or not the actors and creators could channel the same pithy, tightly structured absurd brilliance of the first three seasons, seven years removed from the last time the Bluth family made us laugh and cringe. I’ve not made it through the entire series yet, partly because I haven’t had the time and also due to the fact that the new season, as a whole, has been hugely disappointing.

I know I’m nitpicking here. It’s still well enough done to provide some laughs to newcomers, and David Cross is as hilarious as ever, but for me, the show lost its one crucial element: the abrupt, unexplained madness that never seemed to make much sense but made enough sense to make us all roll on the floor in fits of laughter. Todd VanDerWeff reviews the new season:
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The Weekly Roundup

24 | May | 2013

The Unblinking EyeThe Unblinking Eye: Taken at the October 24th, 2012 campaign event of Governor Mitt Romney at Reno, Nevada (cc photo by Darron Bergenheier)

Friday on Left and Center, Publius shared some background to the new Wikileaks documentary, discussed how California gave Obamacare some really, really good news, argued that the Republican Party can no longer honestly call itself a party of conservatism, mitigated a debate between Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald on whether or not the London beheading of a British soldier could be categorized as terrorism, and had a good laugh at a photographer’s hilarious depiction of toy storm troopers.

23 | May | 2013

Obama at the John S. Knight CenterObama at the John S. Knight Center (cc photo by Beth Rankin)

Thursday on Left and Center, Publius unearthed the government’s war on whistleblowers, considered a damning opinion by Martin Wolf on austerity, saw Mnemosyne weigh the efficacy of corporate self-regulation, relayed President Obama’s speech on the future of the war on terror, and shared a wonderful photograph of Wadi Rum – Jordan.
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Photo of the Day

Four Storms And A TwisterFour Storms and a Twister (cc photo by JD Hancock)

Check out the photographers hilarious Stormtrooper series here.

Oh why not another one as well?!

Career-Limiting MoveCareer limiting move

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When conservatism left the Republican party

The Unblinking EyeThe Unblinking Eye: Taken at the October 24th, 2012 campaign event of Governor Mitt Romney at Reno, Nevada (cc photo by Darron Bergenheier)

Jonathan Chait does a really fantastic profile of 28 year-old Bloomberg columnist Josh Barro, who he labels as the “loneliest Republican”. What’s been a startling and troubling political trend these last few years has been how the Republican party has openly and damningly retreated from pretty much every single policy ground they once stood on. Parties evolve and ideologies adapt, but that’s not necessarily what’s happened to the so-called “conservative” party. Leaving aside the “why this happened?” for another time, the truth of the matter is that if you’re a policy wonk, and hold yourself to be a conservative – assuming you’re honest with yourself – you don’t really have a political home anymore.
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Apparantly, immigration reform is completely unacceptable if it is extended to gays.

120613-D-NI589-518Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) (cc photo by Chuck Hagel)

That’s the major takeaway from last nights Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where Senator Patrick Leahy (D) stood alone in support of extending immigration rights to gay married couples.

But the debate regarding gay immigration rights isn’t necessarily at an end. Instead, we may be in store for some really interesting political maneuvering in the lead-up to the 2014 election cycle.

Senator Leahy – the chair of the Judiciary Committee – previously proposed two amendments aimed at protecting the immigration rights of gay couples, but pulled them off the table last night when he received absolutely no support from members of either party – that much we know. Democratic aides expect, however, that Leahy plans to reintroduce the amendments when the immigration debate hits the Senate Floor, which will a the very least force a public floor debate on why so many Senators think straight married couples deserve more rights than gay ones.

The amendments probably wouldn’t pass, in any case, but the debate can theoretically provide Democrats a means of portraying Republicans as anti gay rights. Marco Rubio and Bubbles – sorry, Lindsey Graham – have warned that any move to involve gays in the conversation would immediately kill the immigration reform bill. Much of the reason that pretty much every single Democrat agreed to pull these amendments in the first place was because they believed the threats, and decided against calling the Republican’s bluff.

Something else that’s really interesting is that at some point in June, the Supreme Court is going to rule on DOMA. If they strike down the Defense of Marriage Act – many believe they will – then these issues will be solved for since the federal government will have to constitutionally extend recognition to legally married gay couples. So timing is important here: if the Democrats wait until SCOTUS rules on DOMA, they lose any political leverage they have regarding gay immigration rights; if they introduce the amendments on the Senate floor prior to the decision, they can force a public battle with Republicans on the issue of gay rights.

It’s unfortunate that these amendments will probably never see the light of day. But with the massive leaps gay rights has made over the past few years alone, there’s reason to be hopeful that – inevitably – Washington will soon lose the means of discriminating against people based on who they love.

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The Daily Roundup

The Reverse BlessingThe Reverse Blessing (cc photo by VinothChandar)

Today on Left and Center, Publius considered the new information out of the IRS office in Cincinnati and concluded that the scandal is really just an unfortunate case of incompetence, applauded the sanity of Americans to be able to discern between real scandals and fake ones, pondered who we should arm in Syria given the complex web of rebel groups vying for control of that country, lamented Peggy Noonan’s descent into madness and ridicule for her terrible journalism regarding Benghazi and the president, shared a study which found that only 27 percent of college graduates find a job related to their major, chose for the daily quote a great message from Obama’s commencement speech at Morehouse College, chuckled at a photo of an elephant blessing a pilgrim, and awed at a video of freestyle football champion Andrew Henderson taking us on a journey through London.

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The Daily Roundup

Retrieving Dropped SuppliesCredit: NASA/Kathryn Hansen

Today on Left and Center, Publius scoffed at Rumsfeld’s attempt to appear as anything other than a war criminal/scumbag, directed attention to the increasingly interesting presidential election in Iran, considered the weight behind Harry Reid’s plan to tackle filibuster reform in July, pondered whether we should exonerate the government’s subpoena of AP phone records given new information, argued that there is no climate change debate while questioning whether religion is to blame for scientific opposition, had a laugh with Ricky Gervais’ new sitcom Derek, unwound to a beautiful video of Iceland, and shared a wonderful photo of the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland.

Happy Friday!

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Your Daily Quote

“Look at it, why would you ever make two of ’em? It was made in China, they made one of ’em, they turned the machine of immediately after they saw what they produced. We don’t need any more of ’em in the world.”
– Dougie (Karl Pilkington)

side note: I watched the entire first season of Derek on YouTube recently and I can honestly say it’s one of the most intelligent, hilarious, heartwarming pieces of television I’ve ever come across. Here’s the link for the first episode, do yourself a favor and check it out!

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Daily Roundup

Today on Left and Center, Publius lamented the outgoing IRS commissioner being made the fall guy, defended the president amidst a swell of politicized scandals, offered thoughts as to why the 37th attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act is important, chuckled at the president’s use of a Marine umbrella, shared a remarkable aerial shot of the Nā Pali Coast, kicked back to a cool Pianoworks video for the daily unwind, and finally, introduced Left and Center as the new title for our little blog here, saying goodbye once and for all to BaddiesBoogie, and our moose.

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