The CDC Strikes Again

Here is a story, dated 23 October 2014, from The New York Daily News:

The Harlem doctor who was rushed to a hospital Thursday with suspected Ebola symptoms had gone bowling in Brooklyn the night before.

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All You Really Need to Know about Franklin Delano Roosevelt

There’s been a lot of talk about FDR lately: on the flagship podcast, on PBS, and on the short list of presidential corpses more attractive to have at your midterm election rally than the one currently in office.

But all you really need to know about this man is indeed contained here in this once popular television special of yesteryear. (Note: One not-CoC compliant term about a minute in.)

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From the Chronicle Herald, Nova Scotia.

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Of Sergeants-at-Arms and Honour Guards

You know, until yesterday, I though the position of Sergeant-At-Arms in Canada’s House of Commons was largely ceremonial – a retirement perk to the politically connected; that the man who wears antiquated costumes and carries a golden mace into Parliament is little more than an actor. One of the gratifying thinks I learned yesterday, in that otherwise horrible day, is that I was wrong: that it is a serious job, held by a serious man, with long experience as a peace officer, who is also properly armed to face real trouble. He is far more than just a play-actor.

On the other hand, pictures taken at the War Memorial immediately prior to the shooting showed two Canadian soldiers, both real soldiers – not actors, and both armed with serious weapons – the C-7 assault rifle. When the Islamofascist murdered Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, his fellow guardsman could not retaliate. He was helpless in the face of the enemy. The magazines of their C-7’s were empty, no doubt for reasons of safety.

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Perception vs. Reality

Here’s a headline you probably weren’t expecting: “Most Expect GOP Victory In November”. It goes with this week’s poll by Associated Press-GfK, which included the following stats:

  • 55% of likely voters are now assuming Republicans will take over the Senate, an 8-point gain from September.
  • 25% of Democrats think it’s going to happen, a 7-point gain in the past month.
  • 47% of likely voters favor a Republican-controlled Congress versus 39% who want Democrats in charge. A month ago, it was an even divide.
  • 44% of women prefer Republicans, versus 42% for Democrats. A month ago, women favored Democrats by a 47%-40% edge.

It’s a reverse from the 2012 campaign, when most voters expected President Obama to win a second term and Mitt Romney’s supporters were more pessimistic than those on the Democratic side.

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“Assumptions” and the Canadian Shooter

Do you know what happens when you assume? Well, you’re generally correct. Despite nursery rhymes to the contrary, assumptions are a wonderful and necessary tool in life. Without them, one can do hardly anything but stand in place.

When you drive through an intersection with a green light, you make an assumption that the cross street has a red light.  You make this assumption despite the fact that traffic lights can and do fail, causing hundreds of traffic accidents every year.

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Obama’s Iran End Run May Finally Stir Congressional Action

Word inside the Beltway is that President Obama intends to reach any deal involving Iranian nuclear weapons without involving Congress. Defenders of the Constitution may just sigh and throw up their hands (again). Obama’s plan only adds to the long list of unconstitutional executive actions taken by this administration: refusal to enforce federal laws on health care, immigration, welfare, and crime; refusal to defend federal laws in the courts; appointment of rump officers to federal bodies without Senate advice and consent; targeting of groups by ideology for tax or criminal investigation, and so on.

For the most part, President Obama has gotten away with it. He has been aided and abetted by his supporters in the Congress, the media, and the academy (who went ballistic over far more plausible claims of executive power by George W. Bush in the context of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq). This, however, might be the final straw that breaks Congress’s back.

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Lileks, Long, and Goldberg: Live in D.C. (October 28)

Seven_Deadly_Virtues_Mechanical.inddRicochet readers in the Washington D.C. area are cordially invited to join us at the American Enterprise Institute on the evening of Tuesday, October 28 for a book forum on the new essay collection The Seven Deadly Virtues: 18 Conservative Writers on Why the Virtuous Life is Funny as Hell. The panelists for the evening will include Rob Long, James Lileks, and Jonah Goldberg, as well as P.J. O’Rourke and Christine Rosen. The event will be moderated by the collection’s editor, The Weekly Standard’s Jonathan V. Last. You can find all the logistical information about the event here.

Ricochet members should also plain on joining Rob and James for an informal meetup the night before (Monday, October 27), which will take place at the bar in the Mayflower Hotel at 7:30 PM. We hope to see you there!

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Did Janet Yellen Make a Huge Mistake by Talking About Inequality?

That’s the question raised in a new Washington Post column by AEI economist Mike Strain. Or as the click-friendly headline puts it: “Janet Yellen is in danger of becoming a partisan hack: The Federal Reserve chair shouldn’t be picking a side in political debates.” Keep in mind Strain is no reflexive Yellen critic. As he writes, “I forecast Yellen will be an outstanding Fed chair.” But he doesn’t much like how Yellen, first, presented an incomplete analysis of how middle-class incomes have been doing the past three decades, and, second, came close to advocating expanded preschool funding, a contentious issue both politically and economically. Strain:

But even by focusing on income inequality she has waded into politically choppy waters.  … Like many conservatives, income inequality isn’t on my list of the top problems facing the country. But it is a live issue for progressives, many of whom still share the president’s earlier sentiment. By expressing her “great concern” over the issue, Yellen is putting herself squarely in the progressive camp. … If Yellen continues to sound like a left-leaning politician, the political pressure on the Fed will mount, and the ability of the Fed to operate independent of politics will be threatened. If those threats are realized, everyone loses.

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The Libertarian Podcast: Airbnb, Property Rights, and Land Use

If you read Professor Epstein’s post earlier this week on New York’s efforts to crack down on Airbnb, you’ve got the starting point for the this week’s podcast. From that story, however, we move on to broader considerations: how much of the affordability crisis in urban housing is being driven by land use policy? What’s the principled position for a classical liberal to take on the government’s role in housing markets? And will the sharing economy ultimately be able to triumph over the efforts of would-be regulators across the country? All is answered in this week’s installment of The Libertarian podcast:

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The Decline of the Islamist Murderer

Thirteen years ago, we rightly thought of Jihad as typified by the 9-11 attacks. Years in the making, the plot involved scores of people across multiple continents, training camps, and a small fortune. Similarly, the attacks on Bali nightclubs, the London Tube, the Madrid commuter rail, Mumbai hotels, and the Nairobi mall — though all far less spectacular and deadly than their predecessor — were also complicated, planned, and coordinated, often by people with professional training in war and sabotage. Casualties tended to be in the hundreds.

A second kind of Jihadi emerged shortly thereafter: the lone wolf with Western citizenship who plans his attacks without the coordination, resources, and numbers available to the semi-professionals. The Tsarnaev brothers’ bombing of the Boston Marathon was premeditated and long-coming, but they lacked the resources and smarts to have thought much beyond their once-off attack. The DC snipers, Major Hasan, Faisal Shahzad, and a few others also fit into this category of planned terrorism inspired by al Qaeda, but not directed by it or its cells. Casualties tended to be in the dozens.

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Driving with the Entitled

Few things irk me more than people who drive in a manner that suggests that they believe themselves to be The Chosen One. Though I confess to not being the world’s most faithful speed limit adherent, I try to be courteous in my driving. But like many, I am subject to the impulses that underlie road rage. My hackles get up when encountering cell-phone abusing drivers, cutters-off, and generally oblivious drivers dangerously weaving about as if they were the only people on the road. But while my temperature rises and my language becomes more colorful — unless there are kids in my car — I can generally avoid seeing red.

Except in school zones.

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In Defense of Karl Rove

STAFF PORTRAITS OF KARL ROVEKevin D. Williamson had a piece in National Review Online this weekend on the man both sides love to hate.

For the Left, Rove served for many years as the go-to bogeyman, the marquee name with which to conjure before Democrats discovered Charles and David Koch. “Karl Rove” was how the Left pronounced “Satan.”

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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


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 ironicus 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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