Greg Hengler - Bill Nye Shares Secret With Ignorant Americans: "We Are Made Of Stardust"
Posted: 11/11/2014 12:05:00 PM EST

Prepare to be enlightened, because, as Bill Nye "the science guy" says, in order to be productive members of society and critically-thinking voters we need to understand "thee fundamental idea in all of life science." Here he mocks Creationists and then unveils this secret "fundamental idea" as the CBS "This Morning" trio (Charlie Rose, Gayle King, Norah O'Donnell) swoon.

Cortney O'Brien - Greta Van Susteren: Obama's 'Lopsided' Visa Deal With China Ignores Journalists
Posted: 11/11/2014 11:30:00 AM EST

When President Obama announced the new Visa deal between the United States and China at this week’s APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Beijing, he proudly beamed that the agreement would benefit everyone from “students, to tourists, to businesses large and small.” Student Visas, he explained, would be extended to five years instead of the current one year and business and tourist Visas would be extended to ten years. It was a welcome agreement, but Fox News host Greta Van Susteren noticed a “glaring omission.”

In her “Off the Record” comments Monday, Susteren slammed President Obama for forgetting all about the press when he worked out a deal with China and insisted we are being “had” by the Asian country.

“But, a glaring omission. President Obama did not demand that journalist Visas be part of the deal. China has a horrible history of restricting the press – both foreign and domestic. If the Chinese government doesn’t like a story written about China, China will block the English language news websites delay or deny Visas to journalists of the so called offending news organizations.”

Susteren went on to share her own personal struggles in China as a journalist. Once while traveling in the country, she was denied a transit Visa, meaning she couldn’t even change planes while in the Beijing airport.

China has continued to prove it’s no friend of the press as recent as this summer. In June, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television declared that reporters now had to get permission from their employers to write “critical reports” and were banned from starting their own websites. This is one of the reasons The New York Times has referred to China as “one of the world’s most controlled media environments.”

By failing to fight for more Visa privileges for journalists, Obama is acting complicit in China’s state-controlled media culture. Freedom of the press shouldn’t be taken for granted. No one should appreciate that more than the president of the United States.

Katie Pavlich - Sheriffs to March on Washington in Protest of Illegal Immigration Lawlessness: "We're Tired of Being Marginalized"
Posted: 11/11/2014 11:00:00 AM EST

As President Obama continues to double down on his plans to inappropriately use his executive authority to rewrite immigration law, Sheriffs around the country have had enough and are planning to make their voices heard with a march on Washington D.C. in December. 

The march is being organized by Massachusetts Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, not border sheriffs as people might expect. 

"Sheriffs across the country have reached a point where we're tired of being marginalized for protecting the citizens of our communities by a president who's saying 'look, I don't respect the immigration laws, I think people ought to be able to come here in violation of the laws' and expecting law enforcement to look the other way. This just can't be," Hodgson said in an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren last night. "I think everyone in this country understands, legal residents as well as American citizens, that democracy exists only because we have a framework of laws."

According to National Review, Hodgson sent a letter to fellow Sheriffs across the country urging them to join him in D.C. Republican Senators have already agreed to participate in the protest.

Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson of Bristol County, Mass., sent a letter to organize a meeting of sheriffs in Washington, D.C., on December 10, two days before the existing government-funding bill expires, to meet with congressmen and encourage them to take action to secure the border.

“Never before in our nation’s history has it been so important for the American sheriffs to stand united and speak with one voice to secure our nation’s borders,” Hodgson wrote. “Senator Jeff Sessions, Senator David Vitter and other members of Congress have agreed to join us at the Capitol to demand immediate action to secure our borders as the first step in achieving legitimate immigration reform in the future. Several sheriffs have agreed to work in a spirit of cooperation to assist in recruiting at least 200 sheriffs to travel to Washington, D.C. for this historic meeting and press conference with members of Congress.”

Before leaving for China earlier this week, President Obama said Republicans have "run out of time" to come up with a comprehensive immigration plan and that he's going to "do what he's doing to do" by the end of the year and before the lame-duck session of Congress ends.

Conn Carroll - A Threat to the Foundation of the Regulatory State
Posted: 11/11/2014 10:32:00 AM EST

Markets, Americans are told, are imperfect. That is why we need a $4 trillion federal government to protect us.

Without the Food and Drug Administration, we would be subject to rotten and unsanitary food, or poisonous and ineffective drugs.

Without the National Transportation Safety Board, our nation’s cars would be little more than high-speed deathtraps.

And without the Federal Communications Commission, we’d be unable to communicate by radio, television, or Internet.

Without Big Government to correct market failures, liberals tell us, the country would be an anarchic mess.

And it is true—market failures are real. Buyers and sellers rarely have perfect information about the goods and services they are transacting (e.g. few patients have medical training). Some economic actors do not bear the full costs of their actions (e.g. factories that pollute communities). And there are some public goods that do need protecting (e.g. if everyone was broadcasting at the same frequency no one could listen to radio transmissions).

But is Big Government really the solution?

Given property rights protections by the courts, couldn’t Americans voluntarily coordinate and come up with market solutions to these problems without a coercive federal government behemoth?

As managing editor Kevin Glass documents (see Uber Republicans), debates just like this are playing out at the local level across the United States. And in some rare good news for conservatives, more and more Americans are siding with the free market and voluntary coordination over coercive Big Government.

The frontline in these battles are currently over companies like Uber, Airbnb, and EatWith, which are each challenging the local regulatory frameworks for the taxi, hotel, and restaurant industries respectively.

In each of these cases, incumbent businesses are crying foul over how these new Internet startups are using smartphones and software to provide consumers valuable services outside of the government’s watchful regulatory eye.

How does an Uber user know if their driver is competent? How does an Airbnb user know if the home they are staying is clean? And how does an EatWith user know if the meal they eat is safe?

Under the old system, government guaranteed the answers to these questions. The cab drivers are competent because the local taxi commission monitors them. Hotels and restaurants are safe and clean because the government inspects them.

But in the sharing economy, the members of each community monitor each other. Uber drivers are rated by passengers and vice versa. Same with Airbnb, where guests rate homeowners and homeowners rate guests.

The market failure in each of these cases, an information asymmetry, is overcome not by Big Government, but by human ingenuity and voluntary cooperation. When markets fail, the answer is more markets, not more government.

And that lesson is not lost on the Americans who use these services, who also just happen to be a segment of the population that is usually dismissive of the Republican Party: young urban Americans. The more these businesses succeed, the more the conservative worldview spreads.

To be sure, no one will cast a vote for any Republicans in 2014 just because they love Uber. But when Americans use these services, and they see how incumbent businesses use Big Government to try and kill these startups, the seed that markets, not government, is a better solution to most problems has been planted.

Also in this issue, be sure to check out former-Townhall Magazine editor Elisabeth Meinecke’s report on the Left’s War on Football (see The No Fun Left), as well as Townhall Magazine managing editor Leah Barkoukis’ brief history of the Islamic State (see The Rise of the Islamic State), and web editor Cortney O’Brien’s look at rising anti-semitism (see An Old Hatred Returns). •

Katie Pavlich - Rush Limbaugh Prepares to Sue the DCCC For Defamation: "Shame on Them"
Posted: 11/11/2014 8:30:00 AM EST

After the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee used a quote from Rush Limbaugh out of context and essentially accused him of endorsing rape, the conservative talk radio king has had enough and is preparing to sue the fundraising machine for defamation. Limbaugh is arguing that the DCCC has not only tried to destroy his show but the hundreds of small businesses that benefit from advertising on it. 

"It's unforgivable. It's black and white. There needs to be no hyperbole. There needs to be no stretching. Rush's comments were deliberately taken out of context for apparently political reasons by people who should know better. This was not an irresponsible blogger, this was a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made up of people we have elected to Congress," Limbaugh's attorney Patty Glaser said in an interview on Hannity last night.  "Shame on them."

Glasey argued Ninth Circuit precedent that gives Limbaugh not only the ability to sue, but the ability to win.

Looks like some of the money raised off of Limbaugh could be going directly back to him if the lawsuit is successful and damages are paid.
Matt Vespa - Stay Classy, Liberals: Gov. Rick Perry Gets Anal Sex Questions At Dartmouth
Posted: 11/10/2014 8:15:00 PM EST
This is liberalism at its finest. Get really angry with someone who holds views different from your own, and then berate that person with hyper-emotional drivel. In this case, the victim was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who received sexually explicit questions from Dartmouth's student body regarding anal sex during a visit to the college. Perry is a social conservative.

According to the Dartmouth, the student newspaper, Perry was there to discuss the midterms, border security, energy initiatives and foreign policy. There was a Q&A session–and that’s when things devolved. Both presidents of the College Democrats and Republicans condemned the actions of their peers [emphasis mine]:

When Perry opened up discussion to the audience, several students posed questions, deriding Perry’s views on same-sex marriage.

Emily Sellers ’15 asked if Perry would have anal sex in exchange for campaign contributions of $102 million, while Timothy Messen ’18 accused the governor of comparing homosexuality to alcoholism.

Ben Packer ’17, who wrote and distributed these and other questions, said Perry’s views were more insulting than the questions.

Several members of the audience said they were excited to hear Perry speak but offended by the questions.

“I was really excited to see him come out to Dartmouth and speak with the students and I think he was able to cater towards the entire audience, not only the College Republicans,” Abraham Herrera ’18 said, noting that some students’ remarks were offensive.

“They were phrased in incredibly insulting ways, and I’m horrified,” College Republicans president Michelle Knesbach ’17 said. “We allow people to ask policy-driven questions, but when they’re phrased in an insulting manner, we try to avoid that, because it just detracts from the overall political discourse we can have on campus.”

College Democrats president Spencer Blair ’17 agreed, stating that he understood concerns about Perry’s stance on gay marriage but was disappointed by the tone of the questions.

“I think it’s really disappointing that anyone would undermine a serious political event with sexually explicit questions, and neither I nor anyone from College Democrats would ever condone such behavior,” said Blair. “We appreciate Governor Perry visiting campus, as we encourage any sort of political engagement and discourse here at Dartmouth.”

Zachary Myslinski ’15 said that he thought the questions posed legitimate concerns about Perry’s social policies.

Keep in mind; this is the same school that held a lesson in “cultural appropriation” for Halloween costumes last month.

Again, liberalism at its finest.

H/T Campus Reform Staff - Heh: Watch How MSNBC Hosts Reacted on Election Night
Posted: 11/10/2014 8:00:00 PM EST

The Washington Free Beacon strikes again:

Matt Vespa - Fail: Democrats Are Not Turning Texas Purple
Posted: 11/10/2014 7:00:00 PM EST

After Wendy Davis’ epic loss to Republican Greg Abbott in the Texas gubernatorial election, Democrats have to face reality: they failed in their ambition to turn Texas purple. Davis lost by 20 points. That’s quite the catastrophe.

Democrats have been salivating over the prospect of making Texas competitive, or even blue, given the racial demographics of the state. It’s also the largest bloc of guaranteed electoral votes for Republicans in national elections. You take that away and perhaps the GOP gets wiped out in the Electoral College.

Yet, those plans blew up, as Bloomberg’s Dave Weigel noted last month:

Bottles of beer cost $3 at the Hollywood Bar. After dark, bottles of very necessary mosquito repellant are passed around, gratis. It’s a hot night, fifty or so locals have come to talk and meet Republican candidates, and nobody’s got anything kind to say about the immigration detention center down the road. The Mexican border is just a few miles away. The reporters who trekked down to cover the late summer’s child migrant crisis? Long gone. Yet the building goes on.

“They’re actually opening up stuff faster for them than they are for us,” says Jose Pena, who works at a local appraiser’s office.

“Yeah, they put up a school for the immigrant kids like—whoosh—like that,” says Manny Rosales, a Navy veteran who’s still looking for work. “They took an old building, but they rebuilt it and got it up and running in a month. They couldn’t do it fast enough!”

It’s early October, right before the start of early voting in Texas’s elections. Rosales, Pena, and a few dozen other people who’d grudgingly shown up to support Carlos Cascos, a Cameron County judge who’d recently been winning elections as a Republican. The county, which runs along the Mexican border to the Gulf, is nearly 90 percent Hispanic. In the 2012 election, Barack Obama won it by 31 points. But when I ask him what he thinks of the president, Pena sounds like this year’s ever-growing posse of squirming Democratic Senate candidates.

“Obama 2008 or Obama now?” he says with a laugh. “Man, don’t get me started on that.” He switches the subject to Hillary Clinton, whom he’d be happy to support, because she’s always seemed competent. Over plates of brisket and tortillas, Rosales tries to convince Pena that Clinton’s past her prime. They finally reach an accord on the upcoming gubernatorial race between Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott and Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis.

“All I know about Davis is that she made that stand in the Capitol,” says Pena. He shrugs. “That got my interest, I guess.”

Neither is excited about that Democrat. They’re intrigued by Abbott. At a table nearby, Cascos is showing off photos of the pachanga he held this year, the one where Abbott showed up and stayed late. “Ninety percent of the people there were Democrats,” says Cascos, “but they see themselves as independents, and Abbott reached out to them.”

Weigel noted a Texas Tribune poll that showed Abbott with a double-digit lead over Davis. Davis and Abbott were virtually splitting the Hispanic vote as well 48/46, with Davis leading by 2-points:

None of the “purple Texas” plans contemplated a Republican candidate pulling 46 percent of the Hispanic vote. They assumed a backlash among Hispanics to the GOP’s right turn

The majority party’s candidates responded to the Battleground [Texas, a left-leaning group] threat with a very strategic panic. They knew that Texas Latinos tended to have deep roots in the state, and weren’t going to embrace the Democrats on immigration the way that more recent immigrants did.

There was also the abortion issue:

And there was another plank to their Hispanic platform. Davis had risen to national prominence with an epic, and briefly successful, filibuster of an abortion restriction bill. Republicans had numbers, including a 2013 Wilson Perkins Allen survey that found Latinos in the states identifying strongly as “pro-life,” by a 2-1 margin. When he traveled to the valley, Abbott started reminding voters that he, too, was “pro-life and Catholic.” According to strategist Dave Carney, a veteran of Perry’s campaigns, the brain trust looked at the lost Davis counties and identified more than 1 million Hispanic voters who might be receptive to a social, economic conservative message.

I [Weigel] meet investor and Democratic mega-donor Alonzo Cantu at his usual table at McAllen’s Peppers restaurant. Cantu, a bundler for Hillary Clinton, had plowed even more money into his own long-term registration effort—the Advocacy Alliance Center of Texas.

“There’s a perception that Wendy Davis is pro-abortion, and that’s hard to overcome with us Latinos,” says Cantu. “It’s been hard for her to get away from that.”

Republican inclusion of Hispanic voters in Texas has yield small, but noticeable results.

As for Election Night last Tuesday, Davis lost pretty much across the board (via Mother Jones):

When Battleground Texas first launched, 2014 was considered too much, too soon. But when Davis entered the race, fresh off of an 11-hour filibuster of an anti-abortion bill, the calculus changed. The group merged its offices with Davis' gubernatorial campaign, set about building an army of 34,000 canvassers, lawyers, and voter-registration volunteers, and looked to pick off low-hanging fruit wherever it could.

The idea was that an Obama-style organizing operation could make a real impact in down-ballot races, which are traditionally less sophisticated. It didn't.

Battleground invested in a dozen state-legislature races, targeting House and Senate districts that will have to turn purple for anyone at the top of the ticket to have a chance—East Dallas, the Houston suburbs, and a South Texas seat held by a party-switching state represenative. Democrats didn't win a single one, and most of the races weren't even close. In Harris County (Houston), where Democrats talked of tapping into the roughly 800,000 nonregistered potential voters, Davis lost by four points. (The Dem's 2010 nominee, Bill White, won it by two.) In the final indignity, Democrats even lost Davis' state Senate seat to a pro-life tea party Republican.

Even though Battleground boasted of having trained 8,700 new voter-registration volunteers, the overall voter turnout dropped by 300,000 from 2010. Absent any sort of marquee victory to call its own, the fate of Battleground is now outside its control. Texas Democrats won't have another big election for four years—plenty of time to lose interest—and, well, something else might come up in the interim.

As I posted earlier today about Dan Balz’s piece in the Washington Post, the lack of Democratic strength at the state-level will see their state political apparatuses “atrophy.” He used Texas as an example; Democrats haven’t won a statewide race since 1990.

I'll leave this here as well.

Matt Vespa - WaPo: The Democratic Party Has Been Gutted
Posted: 11/10/2014 6:00:00 PM EST

Oh, schadenfreude; it won’t end. Except this time, it’s Democrats who are on the receiving end. In 2012, liberals pretty much rubbed it in when Obama won re-election. It was probably one the worst nights for the Republican Party. They lost the presidential race and a few Senate seats that were eminently winnable.

Four years prior, there was an absurd discussion about the end of conservatism after Obama’s win over Sen. John McCain. The Democratic permanent majority was upon us. Then, 2010 came.

Both sides are guilty of this drivel; public opinion can change so nothing is permanent in American society. Hence, there can be no permanent majorities. There could be a prolonged period of time when a party dominates the national scene, but like empires and Tony Soprano, it all comes to an end.

As the Washington Post’s Dan Balz noted, it’s the Democrats who face a problem in future elections. Despite the liberal talking point that Republicans are full of old, white men, it’s the Democratic Party that’s looking increasingly like the home of the merciful rest, especially when it comes to national elections; there is little new blood within the ranks:

As the post-Obama era nears, the Democrats’ best-known leaders in Washington are almost entirely from an older generation, from the vice presidency to most of the major leadership offices in the House and Senate. The generation-in-waiting will have to wait longer.

Think of it this way: If Clinton were to win the presidency and serve two terms, the next opportunity for a new generation of Democrats to compete nationally would not come until 2024. The Democrats could go 16 years between competitive presidential nomination contests, wiping out opportunities for today’s younger generation to define or redefine the party apart from either the Obama or Clinton eras.

The last competitive nomination campaign, in 2008, included — in addition to Obama and Clinton — an experienced field: then-senators Joe Biden, Christopher Dodd and John Edwards, and then-governor Bill Richardson. Clinton has been on the national stage for two decades. Biden, who might run if Clinton does not, was elected to the Senate four decades ago. Dodd and Richardson are out of office. Edwards is in disgrace. With the obvious exceptions, that field has disappeared.

The more serious problem for Democrats is the drubbing they’ve taken in the states, the breeding ground for future national talent and for policy experimentation. Republicans have unified control — the governorship and the legislature — in 23 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Democrats control just seven. Democrats hold 18 governorships, but only a handful are in the most populous states.

Without prominent statewide elected leaders, Democrats are in danger of seeing their state party structures atrophy. This has happened in Texas over the past two decades, ever since Republicans seized control of the politics of the state.

Since 2010, Republicans have showcased their governors’ conservative agendas. Some of those governors have felt the sting of a voter backlash against some of those policies. Yet other than in Pennsylvania, they all won again, carrying red, blue and purple states. Those who survived should learn from the scares they got this fall, making them more battle-tested and perhaps wiser in their second terms.

Balz also noted how the “dearth of power in the states” would lead to a soporific debate on policy at a time when Democrats need to find a more compelling message to persuade voters. Democrats had no message in 2014.

Democrats seem to have fallen into the “demography is destiny” trap. A lot can change in two year and in some lefty circles; the 2012 exit polls weren’t going to work in some of the races this year.

If you look at this year’s exit polls, all demographics moved towards the GOP. With Asians, there was a HUGE shift towards Republicans. In 2012, Democrats won this demographic 76/23. In 2014, they broke slightly for Republicans 50/49.

What about the “War on Women,” the evil wealthy folk, and other liberal talking points made in 2012? They all “fell flat” (via Cook Report):

The War on Women and War on Rich Guys Fell Flat: In Colorado, where Mark Udall spent most of his time talking about Republican Cory Gardner's views on contraception, just 48 percent of the electorate was female (a drop of three points from 2012). Moreover, Udall's performance among women voters was four points worse than Michael Bennet's showing among female voters in 2010 (52 percent to 56 percent). In Illinois, Connecticut, and Florida gubernatorial races, and the Georgia Senate contest, the Democrat tried to "Romney" the GOP candidate by attacking that candidate's wealth and business practices as beneficial to those in the one percent. As of early this morning, only Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy looks to have prevailed.

Yet, Republicans also need to take a step back. First, midterm elections are not good indicators for presidential years. Second, as Ed Morrissey noted, while demographics trended towards the GOP, we still lost ground with women, independents, and Hispanic voters if you compare the exits from 2014 to 2010:

However. Those gains came in comparison to a presidential cycle, and the differences in the natures of those cycles can account for at least some of those differences. The Post compares the exit poll results to 2010 in more of an apples-to-apples analysis, and the results should worry Republicans. The GOP made slight gains in 2014 over 201o among blacks, 18-29YOs, the middle class, and a large jump among Asian-Americans. They lost ground among women, Latinos, independents, seniors and 30-44YOs, and both working class and the wealthy. None of these declines went into double digits, but aside from the income demos, they all exceed the margin of error in the polling.

Still, when it comes to women voters, Republicans lost them to Democrats 51/47, which is competitive–and there’s plenty of time to make inroads in other voting groups as well. As for the Asian-American vote, it’s growing and still up for grabs.

And, Hillary, unlike Obama, is not the personification of change, nor a breath of fresh air. The Clintons’ inability to move the needle for Democrats in the vast majority of races they decided to stick their beak in should worry Clintonites; their era in American politics may be coming to an end.

Final note: Can we put to rest the notion that the Republican Party is a regional one?

Daniel Doherty - Report: Only About 36 Percent of Those Eligible to Vote...Actually Did
Posted: 11/10/2014 5:30:00 PM EST

Which is, as you might expect, historically anomalous.

For example, as Time reported earlier today, more eligible voters participated in the 1942 midterm elections than in the elections we just witnessed. And of course, as Time also points out, many eligible voters in 1942 were either (a) off fighting Imperial Japan or (b) preparing to invade continental Europe. Astonishing stuff:

The last time voter turnout for a national election was as low as it was on Nov.4, Hitler was still in power, and Mitch McConnell was only nine months old.

Only 36.4% of eligible voters voted in this year’s midterm elections, down from 40.9% who voted in 2010, according to preliminary analysis by Michael McDonald at the University of Florida. The last time voter turnout was that low was 1942, when only 33.9% of voters cast ballots, according to the United States Elections Project.

These are just the preliminary figures and therefore by no means official. But what’s beyond dispute is voter participation rates in 2014 were extremely, almost alarmingly, low. This is one reason, perhaps, why Democratic candidates lost so many close elections, in blue states like Illinois and Maryland, and in battleground states like North Carolina and Colorado.

The Democratic base was nowhere to be found on Election Day. As a result, the president’s party suffered heavy (and indeed historic) losses at both the state and federal levels.