Doctors, Guns, And Staying In Your Lane

 

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is never one to back down from a fight, even during emotional times following mass shootings. Last week, however, they clearly stumbled, in response to a recently published paper recommending numerous gun regulations.

The article, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, was ostensibly a position paper for the American College of Physicians (ACP). The authors certainly do make numerous recommendations…some scientific and evidence based, while others were not. Among the various recommendations they make is banning all semiautomatic weapons, waiting periods for gun purchases, banning of bump stocks, and other restrictions.

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Trump’s Clumsy Mueller Gambit

 

It is commonly said that the next presidential campaign begins the day after the midterm elections are over. If that is so, then Donald Trump, true to style, has gotten off to a disastrous start with his opening gambit for the 2020 campaign. First, he fires—excuse me, requests the resignation of—Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom Trump could not abide because of Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from oversight of Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump then compounded his own misery by announcing his appointment of Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ Chief of Staff at the Department of Justice and alleged Trump “loyalist,” as Acting Attorney General until a permanent replacement for Sessions is confirmed by the Senate.

In one of the finer ironies of a most unsubtle age, progressive forces have come out in force to protest the removal of Sessions and to deplore the appointment of Whitaker. The past few days have witnessed mass protests to keep Mueller in place; 18 state AGs calling for Whitaker to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation; an open letter from members of the legal profession condemning “Trump’s outrageous attempt to undermine the investigation into possible wrongdoing” in the 2016 election; and Trump’s toe-to-toe press conference confrontation with CNN reporter Jim Acosta—only for Trump to revoke Acosta’s press credentials, with a promise of more to come. The entire episode has not been lost on the electorate. The lackluster 2018 showing of the Republicans in a strong economy bodes ill for the president. Trump remains his own worst enemy, and for what?

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Quote of the Day: Originalism and the Constitution

 

“Our cases acknowledge the [option of imposing a lesser sentence than the death penalty], but they say that the content of the Eighth Amendment changes from age to age, to reflect (and I quote) ‘the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.’ You will note the wide-eyed, youthful meliorism in this sentiment: every day, in every way, we get better and better. Societies always mature; they never rot. This despite the twentieth century’s evidence of concentration camps and gas ovens in one of the most advanced and civilized nations of the world. Of course the whole premise of a constitution in general, and of a bill of rights in particular, is the very opposite of this.” — Antonin Scalia, Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith and Life Well-Lived

Justice Scalia was a widely lauded originalist in his understanding of the Constitution, and his explanation of originalism in this book is enlightening. But his comment about the Left trying to justify their interpretations of the Constitution is profound. They demonstrate, over and over again, their naivete, arrogance, and ignorance about human nature that dominates their thinking in a way that endangers our Constitutional democracy.

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Kevin Williamson of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Texas Rep.Elect Dan Crenshaw for forgiving Saturday Night Live’s mocking of his war injury and using the opportunity to explain how all of us can best honor veterans. They also shudder as more Hillary Clinton acolytes insist she is planning to run for president in 2020 and will once again try to reinvent herself. And they discuss the avalanche of Democrats planning to run for the White House in 2020, including many obscure figures who have virtually no chance of winning the nomination.

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Thanks Dad, Rest In Peace On This Veterans Day

 

The Sand Lance, one of the boats my dad served aboard in the Pacific during WWII. This photo of Sand Lance was taken in 1963. More

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The Military Changes Lives Forever

 

Several years ago I had a small gathering of family and friends, and part of our reasons for coming together was to have a brief discussion on why we loved this country. My husband and I were the hosts, and my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, another couple who were friends of ours, and my aunt and uncle attended. […]

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Alexandra DeSanctis of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio calling out ballot counting irregularities in Broward and Palm Beach counties in the race between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson. Both counties are in clear violation of canvassing law and both Rubio and Scott are convinced that Democrats are trying to steal the election after the two counties suddenly discovered nearly 100,000 new ballots, the overwhelming majority of which are for Democrats. And Alexandra sounds off on the latest hypocrisy from New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

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Whatever Comes Below “Apparatchik”

 

About the same time Rodney Gilbert was teeing off on China, Peter Fleming was handling it with comparable percipience and a lot more humor. He went several times, by train, through the U.S.S.R., about which he was also witty. From One’s Company (1934), here’s Assorgim, age 22, from Baku, but educated at government expense in […]

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Alexandra DeSanctis of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America tackle three crazy martinis today. They wade into the battle of monstrous egos as CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta grandstands and tries to debate President Trump about the migrants headed for the U.S. border and Trump responds by calling Acosta a “terrible person” and pulling his White House press credentials. They also recoil as Antifa protesters find the home of Fox News host Tucker Carlson, damaging his front door, and chanting that they know where he sleeps while Carlson’s wife hides in the pantry. They get a kick out of the rank hypocrisy of the left-wing Women’s March for berating the white women who voted for Republicans. And Alexandra takes us inside the North Dakota and Indiana Senate wins for the GOP and what she learned from covering those two races closely.

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Welcome lil’ chil’ren to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for November 7, 2018, the day after the day (election day, that is)! We are bringing you episode number One-Nine-Nine of this venerable podcast. Who are we, you ask? We are East Coast radio guy Todd Feinburg and West Coast AI guy Mike Stopa. We are here every week and we hope you are too!

This week it is wall-to-wall elections! The Blue Wave! Was it transcendental? Was it a mere ripple of its promised self? Was it mitigated or enhanced by Le Grande Orange? We will discuss.

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In a recap of the 2018 midterm elections, Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer the expanded Republican majority in the U.S. Senate after four incumbent Democrats were defeated. They also wince as Democrats comfortably take back the House majority. And they look at the surprising GOP wins and disappointing losses in the governor’s races.

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Washington Can Do Better Than Gridlock

 

So the word on the street, certainly on Wall Street, is “gridlock.” Now we can debate whether political gridlock is in fact good (for the economy and markets), but the consensus take is that it’s the new status quo in divided-government Washington. Goldman Sachs, for instance, sees “no major changes on taxes . . . spending is likely to be extended at current levels . . . an infrastructure deal seems unlikely.”

That’s pretty representative of what most analysts, whether in Manhattan or Washington, are saying today. And maybe that’s the correct take. Lots of investigations by House Democrats and lots of tweets by President Trump. But no meaningful legislative action. On to 2020.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America kick off Election Day by improving their mood from Monday and welcoming the final polls which seem hopeful for many Republican candidates. They also shake their heads over the Michigan newspaper reporter who cursed GOP Senate candidate John James after she thought she had hung up the phone after leaving a voicemail. And they offer up predictions for the House, Senate and key governor’s races while wondering why Republicans aren’t doing better in a number of winnable races.

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A Model Environment, However Imperfect, For Such Political Ambitions As I Might Ever Have

 

I understand that circa 1990, certain Yugoslavian Communists enjoyed for the first and last time real popularity, on account of Serbia’s and Slovenia’s open favoring of nationalism, something true Yugogooks had always condemned. This popularity turned out to be needed because while Yugoslavian elections were complicated processes that diluted power, they still mattered, and with […]

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The Shaky Case for Birthright Citizenship

 

President Donald J. Trump exercised his uncanny ability to suck the oxygen out of the room by his bold tweet last week that the United States should do away with “so-called Birthright Citizenship,” perhaps even by executive order, because it “costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens.” Trump insists that children of illegal aliens born in the United States do not become citizens of the United States by their birth alone. The counterattack, mounted by anti-Trump crusaders like Bret Stephens of the New York Times, has been equally categorical: “Shame so-called conservatives and ‘originalists’ can’t respect the plain text of the U.S. Constitution.”

The issue is a lot more complicated than either of these hyperbolic assertions. To put the problem in context, let’s start with the relevant text of the Constitution—Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, adopted in 1868, which reads:

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Higher Wages Are Great, But We Also Want Faster Productivity Growth

 

The good news on take-home pay isn’t limited to faster wage growth, though that is certainly welcome. The new Employment Cost Index report for the third quarter showed private-sector wages and salaries rose 3.1 percent from a year earlier, the best pace since 2008. I mean, who doesn’t like nominal wage growth? But real wages — wages adjusted for inflation — are growing, too. The PCE price index (the Fed’s favorite inflation gauge that measures a broader swath of personal consumption than the CPI) for Q3 — it’s right there in last week’s GDP report — increased 1.6 percent. In other words, worker pay is rising faster than costs. And that has been happening quarter after quarter since mid-2012 and more clearly since mid-2014.

Now one can question why real wages aren’t growing even faster, given labor market conditions, but there are real gains being had. And tomorrow’s October jobs report is also expected to show 3 percent or higher wage gains.

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