Trump Arrogantly Declared His Inauguration a National Holiday - Just Like Someone Else


The internet outrage machine kicked into high gear this week when President Trump declared his inauguration day a National Day of Patriotic Devotion. The order itself is fairly inoccuous.

There are no greater people than the American citizenry, and as long as we believe in ourselves, and our country, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

The level of arrogance required to declare your own inauguration a national holiday, though, is astounding. Unsurprisingly, it reminded many of third world despots.

Obama’s Legacy: Drug Warrior-in-Chief


As the sun sets today on President Obama’s two terms in the White House and dawns on incoming President Trump’s first, the “legacy” pieces have already started flowing. Most of them are, of course, glowing, noting his transformational moves in many areas, like LGBT protections and healthcare. But on criminal justice and civil liberties issues where he had the chance to be equally radical, he’s been at best a nudge and at worst a reactionary.

Barack Obama, leader of the “Choom Gang” of potheads in high school, could have literally ended the War on Drugs, at least federally. He could have been the example to show that drug use in and of itself is harmless for the vast majority of people, especially marijuana. Drug abuse is a scourge to be treated as a health care issue, but not moderate recreational use, and certainly not with a federal paramilitary war costing billions every year and incarcerating hundreds of thousands of men and women.

Although not directly in control of it, the president can request that the various departments with relevant oversight change the classification of marijuana and other drugs. As political appointees, the heads of those departments answer to the president and can be replaced by more ameanable yet still qualified candidates if they don’t perform to his satisfaction.

This is not about Meryl Streep


But she tried her best to make it that way.

Just like Trump himself is often praised at being a master troll, getting people to attack him for things that end up showing their own weakness instead, Meryl Streep accepted her Cecil B Demille Lifetime Achievement Award last night at the Golden Globes by attacking the president-elect, his supporters, and their very culture. She knew that anyone riposting her would be attacked by hordes of online fans as mysogynist, xenophibic, etc etc etc.

So this is not about her. She is an immensely talented actress, and by all accounts a gracious and generous person. It’s about what she said, how nauseatingly predictable it all was, and the entitled, tunnel-vision worldview that fostered it.

The speech began by pointing out all the talented, foreign-born actors at the awards show. The ability of Hollywood to attract the best and brightest from around the world to become Americans, on screen if not by law, is truly a remarkable microcosm of the overall immigration system.

Streep used it instead to pretend that the incoming Trump administration has an actual plan to “kick them all out”. Fact check: Pants on fire. Hugh Laurie accepted an award earlier in the evening and joked that he was proud to accept the award the last time they would be handed out, since an organization called the Hollywood Foreign Press probably wouldn’t be around much longer in Trump’s America.

Poll shows support for Obamacare repeal, reporting spins instead


After the newly sworn-in Senate voted last night in the first procedural move to pass a budget that (never balances but) repeals Obamacare, the news is awash in stories of agony and warning.

52 million people have preexisting conditions that wouldn’t be coverable without it! Even though no one wants to scrap preexisting coverage.

20 million people have gained insurance coverage under the law! Actually, most of them have been through Medicaid, a welfare program, not even subsidized exchange insurance.

And now a new poll seeks to add a clever spin to the anti-repeal campaign.

Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy and polling organization, has a new report out showing that 49% of adults support repeal of the law, while 47% oppose. It’s a close result that’s technically within the margin of error. But that’s not good enough for Kaiser, or the Huffington Post, which both reported the result differently.

Bouie v Bourdain: Race is important, not all-important


We’ve all seen it. Someone gets on their high horse to criticize an idea, not even realizing their criticism proves the same idea exactly. It’s 2016 after all; irony knows no bounds. Today we have yet another shining example in the punditry.

Anthony Bourdain, CNN host and global foodie, is being celebrated for a short, but wide-eyed interview at Reason where he addresses political correctness and bubble-dwelling in the Age of Trump.

The utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes is largely responsible for the upswell of rage and contempt and desire to pull down the temple that we’re seeing now.

I’ve spent a lot of time in gun-country, God-fearing America. There are a hell of a lot of nice people out there, who are doing what everyone else in this world is trying to do: the best they can to get by, and take care of themselves and the people they love. When we deny them their basic humanity and legitimacy of their views, however different they may be than ours, when we mock them at every turn, and treat them with contempt, we do no one any good. Nothing nauseates me more than preaching to the converted. The self-congratulatory tone of the privileged left—just repeating and repeating and repeating the outrages of the opposition—this does not win hearts and minds. It doesn’t change anyone’s opinions. It only solidifies them, and makes things worse for all of us. We should be breaking bread with each other, and finding common ground whenever possible. I fear that is not at all what we’ve done.


Decentralizing the Federal Workforce is a Great Bipartisan Idea, With a Partisan Twist


In 2016, the year that #lolnothingmatters, it’s not surprising to find that even staunch ideological opponents share the occasional policy overlap. David French at National Review highlights one policy proposal for the incoming Trump administration that could unite both right and left: decentralizing the federal workforce.

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds suggests that if we can’t significantly reduce the size of the federal workforce, we should at least get them out of Washington.

That would mean that in 8 years, the population of bureaucrats in the Washington, D.C. metro area would be roughly halved. That would make Washington less vibrant, but more affordable — and those bureaucrats working out of offices in the hinterland would be brought closer to the American people. Drain the swamp? Well, it’s a start.

Vox’s Matt Yglesias agrees.

Moving agencies out of the DC area to the Midwest would obviously cause some short-term disruptions. But in the long run, relocated agencies’ employees would enjoy cheaper houses, shorter commutes, and a higher standard of living, while Midwestern communities would see their population and tax base stabilized and gain new opportunities for complementary industries to grow.

It seems like a great bipartisan idea that would benefit everyone. Economic stimulus for widespread areas of the country, government more directly in contact with the population it serves, relieve congestion in the nation’s capital. The benefits abound!

Actually, the polls were right


After the shocking result of the 2016 election, election data science was on its heels.

How did pollsters get Trump, Clinton election so wrong?

Yes, the election polls were wrong. Here’s why

Earthquake science explains why election polls were so wrong

The polls almost all showed Hillary winning. How did Trump pull it off?


Because the Electoral College. The polls weren’t wrong; they predicted a 3% Hillary national popular vote win and were only off by 2; they just missed a few key states.

The primary problem is relying on national polls to predict an election that isn’t nationwide. The Electoral College system means that states elect the president, not voters nationwide. Hillary Clinton won the nationwide vote, but she lost the election, primarily because she ran up her margins in diverse major urban areas but lost almost the entire rest of the country.

Yes, Trump voters excused racism. Now what?


If you’ve been on the internet this week (and you can be forgiven for not), you’ve probably seen this tweet in one form or another:

It’s been shared almost 24,000 times on Twitter alone, not to mention the versions of it floating around Tumblr and Facebook. What it states is undisputably true, but “end of story”? No, this is the beginning of the story, not the end.

The finality of this message and others like it that Clinton voters are voicing online is baffling. Even worse is this one, a revision of a meme promoting unity, now promoting the opposite.


I realize Clinton voters are having a hard time understanding how they lost, but this kind of self-segregation from (slightly less than) half the voters in the country is the opposite of the solution.

The staggering hypocrisy of #NotMyPresident


The world was outraged a few years ago when it was revealed that as soon as President Obama was elected, in a closed door meeting with his colleagues Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to oppose him every step of the way as a strategy to secure their own reelections in future years and make Obama a one-term president.

The entire media establishment went apoplectic. How could he oppose the new president before he even knew what he was going to do? It must have been racism!

Hogwash. Republicans don’t want Democrats to get their agendas passed or be elected or reelected, and vice versa. This is not horrifying or unprecedented on any level. They work with each other when they need to and oppose each other when they feel they must.

Now, after a year and a half of the most ugly and divisive presidential campaign in any of our lifetimes, the same thing is happening, but on a more base level.

Election 2016: Potential outcomes

If you only watch TV news and know nothing about electoral politics, you might think there are only two possible outcomes on election night: Clinton wins, or Trump wins. Those of us who study these things and have thus been in a Xanax coma for months know otherwise. Here are a few ways the election could go down, with probabilities included.

Narrow Clinton win

narrow clinton

Based on simple state polling averages, Hillary Clinton is likely to have enough votes to be elected the 45th President of the United States on Tuesday night. RealClearPolitics currently expects that to be with 301 electoral votes, well shy of President Obama’s 332-vote majority four years ago, but enough to get the job done.

Probability: 80%

Narrow Trump win

narrow trump

However, if just two key states flip, Trump could actually pull it off. Clinton leads in Florida on average right now, but a couple polls there have Trump leading or tied instead. In New Hampshire most polls show Trump ahead, but one large outlier has pulled Clinton up in the average. If Trump wins just those two states, he could walk away with exactly enough votes to win.

Probability: 20%

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