It is truly a great time to be a nerd.
At a small New York press event on Tuesday, Marvel Studios announced their next phase of superhero movie releases after next spring’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, including the third Thor and Captain America titles, a slew of new character solo films, and a two-part grand finale called Avengers: Infinity War. In total, nine new movies were announced, spanning from late 2016 to the end of 2019, corresponding uncoincidentally with what will be almost the entire first term of President Rand Paul.
In addition to the already in production Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, both scheduled for release in 2015, the newly announced Captain America: Civil War will premiere in May 2016, in the midst of the presidential primaries. Though by that point, now-Senator Rand Paul may have wrapped up the GOP nomination and be gearing up to choose a running mate and rally the nation at the Republican National Convention.
Doctor Strange, the first of the newly announced character films, which likely will star Benedict Cumberbatch, will premiere on November 4, 2016, just four days before GOP nominee Paul receives at least 270 electoral votes (though probably closer to 315) to win the presidential election on November 8.
But having a vision of a free society doesn’t mean we’re incapable of common-sense political calculations.
For example, my long-run goal is to dramatically shrink the size and scope of the federal government, both because that’s how the Founding Fathers wanted our system to operate and because our economy will grow much faster if labor and capital are allocated by economic forces rather than political calculations. But in the short run, I’m advocating for incremental progress in the form of modest spending restraint.
Why? Because that’s the best that we can hope for at the moment.
It’s 2014, and American consumers are increasingly making purchases online. This trend shows no signs of changing. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his ideological allies are scheming to throw a wrench in the works. Online shoppers who enjoy the benefits of tax free online shopping may no longer be able to do that if Sen. Reid gets his way. Small online businesses are currently taxed on sales only where they have a physical presence and therefore political representation. If the Internet sales tax becomes law, they will no longer have that freedom, which is a violation of federalism.
Reid announced in September that he will do whatever it takes to pass an Internet sales tax bill, the misleadingly named the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), after the midterm election. The bill would place burdensome regulations on small online businesses and would entail a massive expansion of state taxing authority. Because only 35 percent of Americans support Internet sales tax legislation, he plans to attach it to a very popular ban on Internet use taxes known as the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA).
At first I thought he was just trolling, using the term for clickbait to get people to read what I assumed would be his innocent rah rah patriotic defense of American exceptionalism. But then I actually read Keith Ablow’s latest Fox News post, and he’s totally serious. He actually thinks ‘It’s time for an “American jihad.” What a reckless, terrible, stupid idea.
Dr. Ablow is so patriotic, so proud of the Constitution and our system of laws that he thinks other nations should literally be forced to adopt them. I, too, think the US Constitution is the most transformational document in the history of human civilization, and I would be happy to see the rest of the world adopt a similar republican system of government. However, it is madness to “insist” that they do so.
What about the existing Islamic jihad does Ablow think would be good to replicate? It’s not just the Sharia and Islam that we oppose about it. The entire concept of an outside force imposing its political will on us is anathema to the American spirit. It would be others if we did it as well. It certainly has been in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and everywhere else we’ve attempted to export democracy with bombs.
In fact, I’m surprised so many conservatives are inspired by the idea. We espouse federalism and freedom for Texas, Virginia, and New Hampshire from control by Washington, DC. Yet we don’t think Argentina, Iran, and Libya would mind being controlled by Washington, DC? It’s worse than statism, it’s trans-statism, and it’s un-conservative and dangerous.
Dispatches from the #WarOnWomen: Democrat-endorsing corporation sending a party bus full of shirtless models to get out the vote
Perhaps the worst, least sexy thing one can do is politicize the normal sexual tension that exists between heterosexual men and women. That is to say, short of criminal and/or deviant activity, men and women expressing sexual desire for one another — even in a public way, assuming it’s respectful of societal norms — is healthy.
Which is why it’s always so strange when the more rabid of the feminist stripe freak out over what is essentially a biological pull. The magazine Cosmopolitan knows this. They’re famous for it, in fact. So their party bus full of models they intend to use to shuttle voters from North Carolina State University to the polls next week makes sense. They’re that kind of outfit.
The bus is part of a contest won by the university, and the latest in Cosmo’s foray into political coverage. This year, the magazine endorsed candidates in 10 races — all Democrats — based on their views on abortion, contraception, and equal pay.
“On Election Day, a bus decked out with snacks, swag, and models (hi, this is Cosmo) will roll up to North Carolina State University, the winner of Cosmopolitan.com’s first-ever party bus contest,” the magazine said. “The bus will shuttle students back and forth to a nearby polling location so students can vote.”
Millennials are over Obama’s Democrats in 2014, but they aren’t sure which party to call home longterm
Most Millennials became politically aware in the waning days of the Bush Administration and the “Hope & Change”-iness of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. According to a Pew Research report, Millennials supported Obama over John McCain in 2008 by 66%-32%, and Obama over Mitt Romney in 2012 by 60%-36%.
POLITICO suggested in its 2012 election post-mortem that Romney likely would have won had he split the Millennial vote evenly with Obama.
But a Harvard Institute of Politics poll out today shows a dramatic shift in support by Millennials in the 2014 midterm elections (emphasis mine):
A new national poll of America’s 18- to 29- year-olds by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, finds slightly more than half (51%) of young Americans who say they will “definitely be voting” in November prefer a Republican-run Congress with 47 percent favoring Democrat control – a significant departure from IOP polling findings before the last midterm elections (Sept. 2010 – 55%: prefer Democrat control; 43%: prefer Republican control). The cohort – 26% of whom report they will “definitely” vote in the midterms – appear up-for-grabs to both political parties and could be a critical swing vote in many races in November.
It’s no secret Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is considering a run for the presidency in 2016. In fact, the discussion is so serious in the Paul camp that he’s calling a meeting of top advisers and allies in D.C. the week following the mid-term elections, ostensibly to switch gears from 2014 to 2016:
The gathering of Paul’s top lieutenants in the nation’s capital has been quietly organized by Doug Stafford, his chief political strategist, who began reaching out to key figures in Paul’s political world earlier this month, multiple sources told National Journal.
Stafford has told invitees to reserve Nov. 12 on their calendar both during the day and into the night. Paul himself is expected to attend some of the meetings.
“This is the come-to-Jesus before the planned launch,” said one Paul insider, who has been invited to the gathering.
The meeting of the Kentucky Republican’s kitchen Cabinet has been kept under wraps, with most of the invitees not even told who else will be there. Stafford has yet to circulate a formal agenda, though few on “Team Rand,” as Stafford sometimes calls the group, need to be told the talks will focus on a presidential run.
But in the weeks leading up to Election Day 2014, Senator Paul has been the most visible sitting Republican Senator on the campaign trail — stumping for incumbents and challengers alike as Republicans seek to take back the Senate majority.
As hundreds of cab drivers ensnarled traffic in downtown Washington, D.C. this morning at the behest of the Teamsters Local 922, the Council of the District of Columbia passed trailblazing legislation that “[embraces] innovation, [supports] consumer choice and [empowers] small business owners,” according to a post on Uber’s blog.
From the BuzzFeed account:
The controversial bill [B20-753], dubbed the Vehicle-for-Hire Innovation Act of 2014, has been heavily opposed by the taxi unions for not creating a level playing field but praised by Uber for codifying safety standards they say have already been in place.
The legislation “could be a model for the rest of the country and maybe the world,” said David Plouffe, Uber’s chief strategist and former aide to President Barack Obama, in a Q & A session with the Washington Post.
That’s great, right? A win for consumers, who are overwhelmingly pleased with Uber’s service, and entrepreneurs, who are clamoring to drive for Uber and other ride-sharing apps.
The legislation does create a stricter regulatory framework for UberX than the existing framework for DC cabs, as indicated in this side-by-side comparison:
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray must sign the bill before it goes into effect.
Let’s talk about something positive: The future. A front page story in the Wall Street Journal today reports that people are living longer. Men have added 2 years to their life expectancy and women have added 2.4 years. We are living longer, and it is a beautiful thing — even better if we prepare for it.
From the story:
Life expectancy for men and women is on the rise because fewer are smoking and there is better medical treatment, said Dale Hall, managing director of research for Society of Actuaries.
The actuarial group’s figures differ from other mortality estimates.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this month that the average 65-year-old man would live to be 82.9 years old, while the average 65-year-old woman would live to be 85.5 years old.
The life expectancy from birth for the total U.S. population was 78.8 years old, the agency said. (That figure is markedly lower than the others because it factors in the deaths of Americans who never reach age 65.)
Most of us don’t live to work, but we do work to live. Whether we like our jobs or not, work is a part of life. What’s more, if you want to live a long time, you had better work for it. And you ought to plan ahead.
Irony? Left-Wing Commencement speaker Bill Maher target of latest “disinvitation” protest at America’s most liberal college
It has become commonplace for students — predominantly liberal ones — at universities to organize against speakers — predominantly conservative ones — in an effort to put pressure on the administration to disinvite those speakers or to have the speakers themselves withdraw.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) calls Commencement season “disinvitation season” for a reason, and they have tracked an alarming increase in the number of speakers who have been “disinvited” to speak to university students, particularly over the last 15 years. Just take a look at the findings from their 2014 report:
But in an interesting turn of events, students at America’s most liberal university — University of California at Berkeley — launched a change.org petition to disinvite notoriously liberal comic and HBO show host Bill Maher.
This author believes speakers of all political persuasions should be encouraged to address students and spark dialog on campuses, which are often touted as the “marketplace of ideas.” This author also realizes that most speakers who are invited to address students on university campuses trend liberal.