This is not about Meryl Streep

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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

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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

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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.

Indeed.

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

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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

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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?

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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.

Trump’s Nomination Doesn’t Mean Libertarians’ Involvement in the GOP Has Been Misplaced

[Editor’s Note: This commentary by former Federal Election Commission Chairman, Center for Competitive Politics Chairman and Founder, and Capital University Josiah H. Blackmore/Shirley M. Nault Professor of Law Bradley A. Smith is reprinted here with his permission.]


A libertarian professor friend of mine took the opportunity of Trump’s nomination to write on Facebook:

The fact that the GOP appears to be nominating Trump, and the fact that libertarian-leaning conservative intellectuals in the GOP are (rightly) frothing at the mouth the most about it, only provides more evidence for my long-standing view that libertarian intellectuals who thought their (our?) home was in the GOP were making a very risky “pact with the devil.”

He went on a bit but that gets the mood and core message of the piece.

My response, which I’ll reprint here with light edits, was this:

Trump Fears A Brokered Convention, With Good Reason

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“Somebody said, ‘Well, there’s a rule and another rule.’ I don’t care about rules, folks… We win, we get the delegates.” ~ Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump

That, in a nutshell, summarizes the Trump campaign’s approach to winning the 2016 Republican nomination for the presidency; defying and discarding conventional rules of politics, refusing to abide by the traditional rules of decorum which provide a patina of civility to an often bitter political process, choosing instead to resort to character assassination and open mockery of his opponents (accusing Ben Carson of being a child molester, branding Cruz “Lyin’ Ted”, labeling Rubio “Little Marco”, and mocking Carly Fiorina’s looks, just to name a few).

Trump, with virtually no traditional political organization to start, relied on sheer force of will and a larger-than-life personality to rise in the polls. Trump’s faux pas and unapologetic coarseness seemed only to increase his popularity. Trump has been the front-runner in the race almost from the day he announced.

His non-traditional strategy has worked well thus far, but in recently, like Achilles’ heel, Trump’s lack of grassroots political organization has proven a serious liability. Long before Trump announced his candidacy; indeed, long before he announced his own candidacy, Ted Cruz was working in the political ditches, recruiting grassroots activists and local elected officials at the county and district level to serve as campaign chairs, and eventually, as delegates during the Republican convention cycle. It has paid off well for him. The race has come down to the strength of Trump’s cult of personality, versus the breadth and depth of Cruz’s grassroots campaign organization.

Stossel’s Libertarian debate highlights the good…and bad of the third party option

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A stoner, an outlaw, and a teenager walk into a television studio. Not the start of a terrible joke, but the latest Libertarian Party debate, hosted by John Stossel on Fox Business, the first half of a two-hour forum. The second half airs next Friday, April 8.

Participating in the debate were former New Mexico governor and previous Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, software entreprenuer John McAfee, and Libertarian Republic founder Austin Petersen. Each demonstrated plenty of knowledge about liberty issues, but also plenty of idiosyncracies that, while largely unnoticable among the Libertarian faithful, might hinder their appeal in a general election.

Helpfully, Stossel himself pointed out some of these issues and had the candidates address them.

Petersen is only 35 years old and inexperienced in the campaign and television world. He was very animated and forceful in his answers, but has a very freshman debate club tone that would need to be refined over the campaign.

Loss of Scalia Spares Unions Another Damaging Blow

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It is difficult to quantify the impact on the nation of the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Adored by conservatives/originalists, and reviled by progressives and the “living Constitution” crowd, Scalia was not only arguably the greatest legal mind of his generation, but one of the most brilliant and articulate legal scholars in all of America history. Combining rapier wit with a towering intellect, he shaped the legal thinking of conservatives and liberals alike in the judiciary.

In recent years many of the most controversial rulings handed down by the Supreme Court have come in the form of 5-4 rulings, typically with Justice Anthony Kennedy being the swing vote. The loss of Scalia leaves the Court with eight justices, increasing the likelihood of 4-4 decisions that, rather than establish constitutional law precedent, leave issues unsettled and keep in place lower court rulings.

It’s time to start including another name in polls and campaign coverage

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Twice in the last week I’ve had to personally update candidate comparison articles or memes that left out perhaps the most important name on the ballot. It’s time the professional media did their job up front instead.

As we’ve discussed, a Trump-Clinton election will likely be a historic low in terms of turnout and enthusiasm. It also opens a unique opportunity for another party candidate to make inroads in the national political landscape. So why are people ignoring that there are other candidates available?

You may have seen this candidate issue flow chart on social media in the last couple weeks.

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I noticed that it was missing something, so I updated it.

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Similarly, Vox’s income tax calculator showing how each candidate’s plans will affect your wallet only has four results.

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LOL @ “mostly on the rich”.


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