Tuesday Morning Quarterback: Would You Rather Have Belichick or Brady?

So the Patriots are heading back to the Super Bowl for the 278th consecutive year. The last time New England did not make the Super Bowl, the Hapsburgs were still on thrones. Gosh is it exciting when the same team wins over and over and over!

01/23/18 10:30 AM

White House Watch: Trump Schlongs Schumer

After a two-day impasse, enough Senate Democrats agreed to pass a short-term continuing budget resolution Monday, the first step to ending a government shutdown that began early Saturday morning. The measure passed overwhelmingly, with just 18 senators, mostly Democrats, opposing. The House of Representatives, which had passed a different CR last week, subsequently passed the Senate’s version Monday, which will extend government funding into February. It was a defeat for Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats.

01/23/18 6:48 AM

House Republicans and Democrats Spar Over Memo Alleging FISA Abuses

Top House Republicans met Saturday amid mounting calls for the release of a memo about alleged surveillance abuses by federal officials, a document that Democrats describe as a partisan stunt meant to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller.

House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) chairman Devin Nunes met with House Oversight Committee chairman Trey Gowdy and Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte in part to discuss the possibility of publicly releasing a four-page memo that Republicans say outlines politically motivated abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Lawmakers have been hesitant to detail the contents of the classified memo, which was authored by GOP staff.

01/23/18 9:07 AM

Is Madison Keys Next?

In last year’s U.S. Open final, Madison Keys couldn’t sprint, or bend properly, or swing her racket without feeling pain. Her upper leg injury slowed her and frustrated her, and eventually left her in tears after a 6-3, 6-0 defeat against Sloane Stephens. Keys says the sadness lasted a while, for the obvious reason: When you come oh-so-close to winning your first Grand Slam title and crumble, nothing feels worse in tennis.

“To have such a great two weeks and then have it end the way that it did, it was really devastating for me,” Keys said. “It definitely took some time to get over.”

That time is up. Clearly, Keys is fresh now—and healthy, too.

01/23/18 6:26 AM

Congress Kicks Task of Finding a New Metaphor Down the Road

It’s not surprising that members of Congress would have a habit of repeating a short list of talking points, given how often they face the media and how important it is for them to stay on message. But that tendency was more apparent than usual last week during a feud over a stopgap spending measure and the ensuing government shutdown.

We searched every issue of the Congressional Record from the beginning of last week through Monday, the day the government shutdown ended, to pinpoint exactly how many times Congress pulled out its favorite spending metaphor: “Kick the can down the road.

01/23/18 12:19 PM

Pompeo Says CIA Previously Had 'Insufficient Focus' on North Korea

CIA director Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that the agency had, until a year ago, not been paying enough attention to North Korea, even as the Hermit Kingdom worked to advance its weapons capability.

“When I came in there was insufficient focus on the problem set,” Pompeo said during an event at the American Enterprise Institute. “It wasn’t the case that it had been ignored, it wasn’t the case that we had missed material things. But clearly it hadn’t received the focus and attention that were going to be needed to deliver for … this administration.”

Still, Pompeo pushed back on reports that the intelligence community had been caught off guard by Pyongyang’s sprint toward a

01/23/18 2:37 PM

Fact Check: Did Infowars Release the 'Secret FISA Memo'?

Caricature-extraordinaire Alex Jones claimed on Tuesday to have in his possession THE secret FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) memo that congressional Republicans are calling to be declassified so as to demonstrate surveillance abuses.

“Congress is writing their report on this memo,” Jones said on his program.

EXCLUSIVE: Infowars has obtained and is now releasing the secret FISA memo - https://t.co/gikhkeHZwz #ReleaseTheMemo #SecretMemo #FISA #Infowars— Alex Jones (@RealAlexJones) January 23, 2018

Jones’s website Infowars published an article with the title, “Exclusive: Infowars Releases Secret FISA Memo” and claimed that the document was

01/23/18 5:10 PM

Fact Check: Did Infowars Release the 'Secret FISA Memo'?

No, no it did not.
5:10 PM, Jan 23, 2018
Caricature-extraordinaire Alex Jones claimed on Tuesday to have in his possession THE secret FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) memo that congressional Republicans are calling to be declassified so as to demonstrate surveillance abuses. “Congress is writing their report on this memo,” Jones said on his program. EXCLUSIVE: Infowars has obtained and is now releasing the secret FISA memo - https://t.co/gikhkeHZwz #ReleaseTheMemo #SecretMemo #FISA #Infowars— Alex Jones (@RealAlexJones) January 23, 2018 Jones’s website Infowars published an article with the title, “Exclusive: Infowars Releases Secret FISA Memo” and claimed that the document was  Read more

Afternoon Links: The School District Deep State, Long Live the Mold-A-Rama, and Paul Ryan's Crazy Challenger Returns

Plus: Michael Barone's Guide to Government
4:12 PM, Jan 23, 2018
Uncovering the TUSD Deep State. Imagine if your local school district had a secret document. The purpose of this document is to blacklist and retaliate against employees. That's what the Arizona Daily Star's Hank Stephenson uncovered at the Tucson Unified School District. I started on the education beat for the Arizona Daily Starless than six months ago, and heard about the Tucson Unified School District blacklist almost immediately. A longtime school board member told me such a list existed, and had been used to retaliate against employees for at least a decade. He also said he had never seen it. He’d told other reporters about the rumored blacklist, he said, but nobody listened. Except Stephenson  Read more

Twelve Times the Media Offered a 'Rare Glimpse' Into North Korea

More like medium-rare.
2:53 PM, Jan 23, 2018
NBC’s Lester Holt, on assignment in North Korea, is offering his viewers that most unusual of treats: a “rare look” inside the famously reclusive country. In fact, so rare was Holt’s visit to a Potemkin ski resort outside of Pyongyang—it has, after all, been visited previously only by the likes of National Geographic, the Associated Press, and CNN—that it was billed by NBC News an “exclusive.” Holt’s sojourn to the North was indeed rare all over. In fact, only dozens of other newsmen and media companies have offered similar “rare glimpses” and “rare looks” inside the country in recent years.  Read more

The Substandard on the Oscar Nominees

2:38 PM, Jan 23, 2018
In this latest micro episode, the Substandard discusses the nominees for this year's Academy Awards. Sonny thinks The Shape of Water is in great shape to win. JVL wonders if a movie that's not woke even has a shot. Vic fears that Darkest Hour and Dunkirk split votes? And where's Wonder Woman? This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to the Substandard on iTunes, Google Play, or on Stitcher.  Read more

Fact Check: Is California Registering Illegal Aliens as Democratic Voters?

No, not at all. Not even close.
1:48 PM, Jan 23, 2018
A “best practice” among those who spread false information is sloshing it around with the tiniest bit of truth. Some, however, ignore this and go straight to peddling absolute falsehoods. For example: “California will automatically register all illegal aliens to vote … democrat” A website under the ironic name Truth Uncensored posted this ridiculous headline above a somewhat more accurate article. Relying primarily on a report from World Net Daily, the article states that in April, California will start registering everyone with a driver’s license to vote.  Read more

Border Bike Trip, Day 4: Real Economic Growth Amid the Chaos in Tijuana

The city appears to exist under a high-functioning form of anarchy, but it has burgeoning industries and attracts wealthy tourists from Southern California.
11:56 AM, Jan 23, 2018
TWS’s Grant Wishard is biking the U.S.-Mexico border and sharing his observations. Check here for updates. Before biking into Tijuana, we took a tour of the San Ysidro border crossing, the busiest land crossing in the world. Two agents at Customs and Border Protection generously came into work early to show us what they do day to day. At 7 a.m. the place was already a parking lot, packed with traffic from Mexico. It's at this choke point that the most drugs and illegal immigrants pass into the United States. The vast majority of drivers are, of course, regular commuters, and searching every car would be a disruption to the legitimate economy. According to some estimates, San Ysidro is worth $1,000,000 a minute to the U.S.  Read more

Prufrock: The Art of Charles I, in Defense of the Electoral College, and the Literary Intrigues of Putin's One-Time Chief of Staff

Also: How dance music conquered bros, and more.
11:30 AM, Jan 23, 2018
Reviews and News: In The New York Review of Books, Barry Yourgrau writes about the “literary intrigues” of Putin’s one-time chief of staff: “In the summer of 2009, a slender novel caused a literary sensation in Moscow. Centering on a poetry-loving gangster-cum-book publisher wracked by Hamletian perplexities over a possible snuff film, it unloaded a darkly absurdist, but caustically knowing, satire on the corruptions and machinations of post-Soviet Russia, with a whirligig of literary remixes and references. What really triggered the sensation, though, over Okolonolya, or Almost Zero (subtitled gangsta fiction, in English, in the Russian edition), was the identity of its author, an unknown named Natan  Read more

Tuesday Morning Quarterback: Would You Rather Have Belichick or Brady?

One of the two isn't reproducible. Plus: Defense still won the conference titles, and bad coaching cost them.
10:30 AM, Jan 23, 2018
So the Patriots are heading back to the Super Bowl for the 278th consecutive year. The last time New England did not make the Super Bowl, the Hapsburgs were still on thrones. Gosh is it exciting when the same team wins over and over and over! Maybe the ultimate cause of declining NFL ratings is that audiences are sick of the Patriots, especially since New England is perceived as cheating and as being favored by the officials. Whether either perception is fair is beside the point when it comes to popularity. The NFL is an entertainment business—game outcomes have no larger significance beyond sports entertainment. If the NFL becomes less popular because the league is perceived as slanted toward New England, then the  Read more

When Our Leaders Fail Us

The shutdown and the honor of our leadership class.
6:15 AM, Jan 23, 2018
Time dulls the sharp edges of painful memories, but some events are so traumatic that they are burned into our psyches where they live on forever. For me, September 11 is one of those experiences. It continues to shape and forge who I am, even now, nine years after I separated from the Marine Corps. I’m fairly certain it will continue to influence me for the remainder of my days. Yesterday, while our government was shut down due to incompetent leadership in the halls of Congress, I took the time to see 12 Strong, the new movie about Operational Detachment Alpha 595, the first 12-man Green Beret team to go into Afghanistan in early October 2001. The movie was very, very good.  Read more

House Votes to End Government Shutdown

The bill now goes to the president's desk.
Jan 22, 2018
A short-term funding bill to end a three-day government shutdown passed the House Monday evening after getting a thumbs-up from the Senate earlier in the day. The bill passed 266-150, with 45 Democrats joining Republicans in support of the measure. Next, it will go to President Donald Trump’s desk to be signed. The continuing resolution will keep government operations running through February 8, fully fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years, and suspend some Obamacare taxes.  Read more

Afternoon Links: NASA Tinkering For The Win, Remembering Joe Rago, and how 'Babe' Turned #MeToo into a Racket

Plus, how the onions get made.
Jan 22, 2018
Thrusters, go! Apollo 13 it's not, but NASA found out a way last month to fire up thrusters on the ancient Voyager spacecraft that haven't been used in 37 years. It's a neat story: If you tried to start a car that's been sitting in a garage for decades, you might not expect the engine to respond. But a set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft successfully fired up Wednesday after 37 years without use. Voyager 1, NASA's farthest and fastest spacecraft, is the only human-made object in interstellar space, the environment between the stars. The spacecraft, which has been flying for 40 years, relies on small devices called thrusters to orient itself so it can communicate with Earth.  Read more

Fact Check: Did the GOP Oppose a Bill Ensuring Military Paychecks During the Shutdown?

An article suggesting so is correct but incomplete.
Jan 22, 2018
“Republicans Just Killed The Bill To Make Sure Troops Get Paid During Shutdown,” or so ran a headline from Addicting Info, flagged as potential fake news by Facebook users. The article explained how a resolution from Senator Claire McCaskill “would have ensured that pay for military service members and death benefits would not be disrupted.” after the Senate failed to pass a measure to keep the government from shutting down on Friday. “That sounds reasonable enough, right? Well, not to Mitch McConnell. For some reason, the Kentucky Republican objected to McCaskill’s resolution,” the piece said. It’s true that McConnell objected to the resolution from McCaskill, but the  Read more

North Korea Hijacks the Olympics

Given an inch, the Pyongyang regime is taking a mile.
Jan 22, 2018
At first, it seemed like a joke. Because the name of the South Korean city where the Olympics will occur in February—Pyeongchang—sounds so much like the North Korean capital—Pyongyang—many joked that scores of spectators would accidentally turn up in North Korea expecting the Olympics, only to be bitterly disappointed. But, little by little, the Olympics really are becoming North Korea’s show, regardless of which city they'll actually occur in.  Read more

How Did the FBI Lose Five Months of Text Messages Between Two Trump-Hating Employees?

The bureau's claim of an IT failure is not sitting well with some Republicans.
Jan 22, 2018
You’ve got to feel for Robert Mueller. The man overseeing the special investigation into Russian election meddling is by all accounts a non-partisan straight shooter, the model image of a public-minded civil servant. Drafted to lead politically polarizing investigation, working under the beady eyes of distrustful congressional Republicans, Mueller has striven to keep his team’s conduct as unimpeachable as possible by bringing on some of America’s sharpest legal minds to check his own work and keeping public comments to a minimum. Imagine how Mueller feels, then, to have to answer so frequently for the partisans and incompetents surrounding him.  Read more

Five Reasons the Philadelphia Eagles Are America's Team Now

Nick Foles is just one.
Jan 22, 2018
The Philadelphia Eagles routed the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 in the NFC championship game on Sunday, which means they will play the despicable New England Patriots in the Super Bowl in two weeks. They are America’s team now, and you should root for them. Here’s why: 1) The Eagles are blue-collar workmen. The Patriots have the greatest quarterback in the history of the game, a guy who’s better looking than George Clooney and is married to the world’s most famous supermodel. They have the greatest coach in the history of the game, a guy who’s an evil genius bent on hackingthe league for everyconceivable advantage. (Seriously: In 18 years with the Patriots, Belichick has used left-footed punters almost  Read more

Senate Reaches Agreement to End Shutdown Without DACA Fix

Chuck Schumer announces he has a deal with Mitch McConnell to work on immigration legislation.
Jan 22, 2018
Lawmakers in the Senate reached an agreement to end the government shutdown Monday afternoon, but congressional Democrats who voted down a spending bill that would have kept the government open on Friday because it did not include a replacement for the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program appear to be right back where they started. “The Trump shutdown will soon end,” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer before a vote on a three-week continuing resolution, “but the work must go on. And it will.” The chamber voted 81-18 to proceed to a final vote on a CR that would keep the government running through February 8, fully fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years, and  Read more

Border Bike Trip, Day 3: Meet the Team

New friends gather in Tijuana.
Jan 22, 2018
TWS’s Grant Wishard is biking the U.S.-Mexico border and sharing his observations. Check here for updates. My life is entirely in the hands of near strangers and new acquaintances. On other bike trips I’ve traveled with close friends, but this time it’s an army of mercenaries. Yesterday and today all those hired deckhands came together to push this trip out of drydock. We arrived in Tijuana early this morning and now the gang’s all here. First, there’s Jon Knebel. I met Jon only five weeks ago, but I’m convinced he was born to bike the border with me.  Read more

Prufrock: In Defense of the Western Tradition, Joyless Germans, and Isaac Babel's Grim Wit

Also: Elena Ferrante's first column, bad people and good art, and more.
Jan 22, 2018
Reviews and News: A couple of items from the German desk here at Prufrock: Why are Germans so successful? They complain. A lot. Jonathan Kay traces the invasion of German board games. And last: Germans used to love diesel. Not anymore. On Friday, I reported that Elena Ferrante would be writing a regular column for The Guardian. Here’s her first, and it’s about love, running under the cliché “I loved that boy to the point where I felt close to fainting.” Her failure at cleverness throughout is all the worse since it is so obviously her only goal. All columnists write to be thought of as clever, of course. The key is to not seem to do so.  Read more

'Authorizing' vs. 'Funding': What Was in Schumer's Proposed Wall Offer?

It has implications not just for the current impasse, but for the future, too.
Jan 22, 2018
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Trump negotiated toward a bargain on immigration reform that could have satisfied both parties and reduced the likelihood of a shutdown, the New York Times reported hours before government funding expired at midnight Saturday. Democrats would have received a DACA fix—and Trump would have received some sort of spending commitment for a southern border wall. What type of commitment Schumer made in his closed-door meeting with the president is a point of disagreement between the two parties. According to the Times’s source, Schumer “discussed the possibility of fully funding” the wall. The White House disputed the word “fully”—budget  Read more

Take Our Colleges Back: A Blueprint for Rolling Back Campus Radicalism

It's time for conservatives to stop complaining about campus radicalism and start fixing it. Here's how elected Republicans can do it.
Jan 22, 2018
Conservative criticisms of the modern university are as old as modern conservatism itself. And yet criticism hasn't led to a reformation. If anything, the radicalism on college campuses has gotten worse. But it's not an impossible task. There are real-world, concrete steps elected Republicans can take to start dismantling the university victimology regime. Here's how they can do it. Read more
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