Cuomo vs. Cruz: And the Winner Is…

Say what you will about CNN, they’re certainly gluttons for punishment. After their media correspondent Brian Stelter got schooled by Ted Cruz yesterday for saying that the Texas senator was afraid to appear on the network to defend his views on gun control, you would think that they would think twice about poking that particular hornet’s nest again. Sadly, CNN anchorman Chris Cuomo must’ve missed the memo, as the New Day host tweeted his own taunt–and sealed his own fate–in what could be charitably described as an exercise in extremely bad timing:
https://twitter.com/ChrisCuomo/status/964269092113911809
Wow, Cuomo must’ve been feeling pretty good about himself after that! I can almost picture all the high fives and back slaps as he swaggered though the newsroom, winking at the ladies and telling all the guys, “How ya like me now?” Alas, it couldn’t have lasted long, as Cruz–ever at the ready with a rejoinder–turned the smack back on Cuomo with a zinger of his own:
https://twitter.com/tedcruz/status/964525103320059905
Hey, look at that! Cruz even brought proof!
https://twitter.com/tedcruz/status/964550355995553792
Oof! That’s a rat-a-tat punch to the ribs followed by a haymaker right upside the head. No TKO here, folks. By my view, Cuomo’s flat on the mat seeing birdies.
Next time, he might want to have a chat with his producer before talking trash about my boy Ted.

The Greatest Tweet of All

When it comes to Twitter trolling, there are some who are simply in a class by themselves.  Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon, with his unconditional love of the movie Sucker Punch and his defense of Miracle Whip, comes to mind.  Then there’s Comfortably Smug, who’s the kind of guy who probably would have taken up for Tonya Harding if social media had been around in those days, just because nobody else would.  It’s feeds like theirs that make Twitter—which daily manages to drain yet more water from the shallow pool that is my remaining faith in humanity—somewhat bearable and sometimes fun.

But even these giants cannot hold a candle to the Once and Future King of Twitter—the one man who, through the sheer force of his epic trollery, just might be mankind’s last, best hope against the coming AI singularity.  Not only that, he also happens to be President of the United States.

That’s right, I’m talking about none other than Donald J. Trump.  Don’t mess with this bull, fellas, because if you do you’ll get the horns—especially if you’re a little boy dictator with body image problems.

Case in point:  one Kim Jong-un, son of the wacky North Korean despot Kim Jong-il.  Junior took over running the joint when his daddy bought the corner lot in one of hell’s seedier neighborhoods, and has since become known for his taste in Western whiskey and his penchant for executing relatives in rather creative ways.  He also likes to pal around with Dennis Rodman when he’s not threatening to rain down fiery destruction on the United States—kind of like a toddler screaming for attention, but with nuclear weapons.  Barack Obama seemed content to coddle this kind of behavior when he was president, but since Trump moved into the White House he’s been somewhat less indulgent.  This has led to a war of words between the two leaders, with Kim reportedly dinging the Donald over their respective age differences.

Trump, meanwhile, fired back with a rejoinder for the ages:

That’s weapons grade trolling, folks.  The only thing that would make it better is if Trump shipped a case of Jenny Craig to Pyongyang and had it delivered to Li’l Kim with his regards.

Liberals, of course, scoffed at the president’s mockery, screaming that Obama would have never done this and that Trump is leading us into war, blah, blah, blah—but my favorite response came from the satirical news feed DPRK News Service, which was so good that some Democrat detractors probably took it seriously:

Get your popcorn ready and let the games begin!

Meow Murder

Since it’s Friday–and since I wanted to write something, anything, that didn’t involve a sex pervert–I figured I would search the realms of weird news on the internet to see if I could find some inspiration.  It didn’t take long before I came across a story so bizarre, I’m surprised it didn’t happen in Florida.

You’ve heard of murder, most foul.  Well, how about murder, most feline?

A Japanese police probe into the attempted murder of an elderly bedridden woman has reportedly led to an unlikely suspect: a stray cat.

Mayuko Matsumoto’s daughter found her bleeding profusely from about 20 cuts to her face on Monday at her home in a mountainous region of southern Japan.

Bloodthirsty cats?  Remote mountainous town?  This has all the makings of a David Lynch movie.

Police launched an attempted murder investigation after seeing the wounds, some of them relatively severe, according to local broadcaster RKK.

“When we found her, blood covered everything above her chin. Her face was soaked in blood. I didn’t know what had happened,” Matsumoto’s daughter told RKK.

Is it just me, or does RKK sound more like the acronym for a secret government agency conducting mind control experiments through the television set?  Or maybe they’ve been tasked with cleaning up the deadly radioactive tuna created by the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, which has turned the cats into C.H.U.D.-like mutant killing machines.

Man, this script practically writes itself.

Matsumoto, who is 82 years old and reportedly unable to speak, had to receive emergency care, Kyodo News said.

Investigators found no sign of people entering or leaving the house at the time of the suspected attack, the private network NTV said.

They then realised that Matsumoto’s wounds looked like cat scratches…

Hmm, cat scratch fever.  I wonder if the old lady was listening to Ted Nugent when Fluffy put the hurt on her.

Police turned their attention to the stray cats loitering around Matsumoto’s house, and found traces of what may be human blood on one of them, the Nishinippon Shimbun newspaper said Friday.

“Police are analysing a blood sample taken from the claw of the cat which might have scratched the victim,” national broadcaster NHK reported.

Clearly this is a job for CSI:  Cat Scratch Investigation.  The only question is, if they find their cat will they throw the book at him–or a shoe?

I’m here all weekend, folks.  Be sure to tip your waiters and waitresses!

Will John McCain Kill Tax Reform?

Fresh off getting its butt kicked in Virginia on Tuesday night, I warned the GOP that its defeat had less to do with the unpopularity of Donald Trump and more to do with the Senate’s utter inability to move anything that resembles a conservative agenda forward.  Their last big failure came courtesy of Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain, who torpedoed Obamacare repeal even after voting for it repeatedly while Barack Obama was president.  Now it seems that the World’s Greatest Deliberative Potty has moved on to strangling tax reform in the cradle, and guess who’s hands are doing the dirty work again?

As you might expect, Collins is also back on board to sabotage the GOP’s one last shot at redemption because she thinks it’s unconscionable that people shouln’t have to turn over half of their estates just because they kick the bucket.  Joining the list of usual suspects is Bob Corker, who after announcing his retirement from the Senate is in full kiss-my-ass mode and figures he might as well give Trump the finger on his way out.

Those two plus McCain equals three, which means only 49 GOP votes left—and no tax reform for you.

McCain is ostensibly applying the bipartisan standard, in which he says he can’t in good conscience vote for something that doesn’t have at least some Democrat support.  Would that the Democrats had paid him the same courtesy when they shoved Obamacare down the country’s throat without a single Republican vote.  It doesn’t really matter, though, because McCain doesn’t mean a word of it.  If he did, he would have voted for a clean repeal on principle, so that Democrats and Republicans could then craft a truly bipartisan solution for health care.  Instead, he’s content to saddle the country with an unsustainable  program that is causing real hurt for the middle class.

The same goes for taxes.  What we have right now is a hopelessly complicated system riddled with so many special interest carve outs and favors that nobody can possibly understand it, which also makes American business less competitive and incentivizes them to park mounds of cash overseas.  Reforming that system could bring that money back and unleash the power of the American economy, while giving real relief to people who haven’t seen their real wages rise in years.  As an added bonus, it would also rally voters back to the GOP and prove that it can actually get things done.

Instead, McCain would rather stick a finger in the eye of the president just because he can.

What he seems to forget—or maybe McCain just doesn’t care—is that there are millions of us out here in the country who will have to pay the price for his vindictiveness.  The GOP will also suffer—because if they fail yet again, it’s a virtual guarantee that what happened on Tuesday will repeat itself on a national scale.

Then again, maybe that’s all part of the plan.  Maybe the establishment is content with seeing the GOP majority wiped out, just so they can halt the Trump agenda and show him who’s really boss.  And if a Dem-controlled House votes to impeach him, so much the better.  That’s what an outsider gets for daring to shake up the Washington status quo.

The swamp will not be so easily drained.

Hot Takes On A Cold GOP Night

There is a very human tendency to ascribe significance to events in such as way as they can be used to predict the future.  Psychologically, I think this phenomenon is closely related to why people see the image of the Mona Lisa in a piece of toast, or the shape of a ducky or a horsey in clouds floating across the sky.  Since we’re always trying to impose a sense of order on the chaotic universe around us, we seek out patterns to try and make sense of it all.  Not only does this offer a sense of comfort, it also gives us a feeling of control:  if X happens, then Y is sure to follow.

It’s therefore no surprise that politicians and pundits alike are making all kinds of hay about the results of the Virginia and New Jersey elections yesterday.  In all fairness, there’s no other way you can spin it—the Democrats had a great night, and the GOP pretty much sucked wind.  Polling had Ed Gillespie running neck-and-neck with Ralph Northam, but in the end Northam blew him out with a comfortable margin.  In the Garden State, meanwhile, Phil Murphy utterly trounced Kim Guadagno, who had served as lieutenant governor to the notorious beachcomber Chris Christie.  Dems also racked up huge numbers in the Virginia legislature, erasing the Republican majority there in one fell swoop.  Naturally, this has all the talking heads asking what it all means for 2018, when control of Congress will be up for grabs in the first midterm election since Donald Trump won the presidency.

For what it’s worth, I summed it up in a single tweet:

As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

THE DEMOCRATS

Give them credit, they were able to gin up and harness a mother lode of angst against Donald Trump, and then use it to drive voter turnout.  The enthusiasm gap between them and the GOP was indeed palpable, and as any seasoned politico will tell you, that’s where the battle is won and lost.  The Democrat rank and file saw themselves on a mission to save the country from Trumpzilla, whereas Republican voters largely yawned.  If they can keep the momentum they started going, the GOP just might have some big trouble ahead next year.

But let’s also look at the landscape.  New Jersey was a lost cause from the start, after Chris Christie throughly destroyed the GOP brand there.  The man who once thought he could be president rendered himself so toxic that he now couldn’t even get a Reform Party nod to run as dog catcher in Trenton.  Anyone connected to him was a long shot to begin with, especially in a state where Democrats enjoy a 2-1 advantage over Republicans.  Guadagno’s loss there was a foregone conclusion, so it doesn’t signify much of anything.

As to Virginia, the political terrain there was also tough for Gillespie.  He had already lost a Senate bid there before, and political comebacks are tough no matter how you slice them.  There are also a great number of people in Northern Virginia who make their living off the federal government—which doesn’t exactly make them friendly to Republicans.  Add to that the tens of thousands of felons that outgoing governor and Terry McAuliffe put back on the voter rolls, and what you have is a basically blue state getting even bluer.  That trend started before Trump entered the picture—although having him as president has probably accelerated the change.

In other words, what happened in Virginia does mean something.  But it doesn’t mean everything, in spite of what the Democrats would have you believe.

THE REPUBLICANS

There isn’t much positive to say about the GOP here.  While it’s true that Donald Trump has been a polarizing figure, he’s not the only one responsible for the drubbing that happened on Tuesday night.  The GOP itself has sunk to levels of disapproval that would make Kevin Spacey wince—except they can’t make a dash into rehab to pretend that they’re working on their problems.

How did this happen?  Simple.  Voters gave them the House, then the Senate, and then the White House in the hopes that the GOP would actually fulfill its promises it had been making for seven years to roll back the Obama agenda.  Instead, they got plenty of nuthin’ as the GOP Senate failed to deliver.  Balking on Obamacare was the last straw, which led voters to ask why they should bother giving Republicans a majority when they refused to do anything with it.

On the other hand, at least the GOP now has a clear message from its base:  get to work or be out of a job.  There’s still a full year before the 2018 midterms—lots of time to develop a clear agenda and then push it through.  Tax reform is already in the works, so they can start there.  Then they can actually show that they’re serious about meaningful immigration reform with national e-Verify and funding the border wall.  Get some of the Big Ticket items under their belts and demonstrate that Republicans are ready to seize the opportunity that the voters have given them and effect some real change.

Otherwise, jilted voters will treat them like jilted lovers always do—and it will get ugly.

Evan McMullin: From Never Trump to Never Gillespie

Evan McMullin must be looking to expand his brand.  Since his #NeverTrump shtick failed to impress Jeff Zucker enough for MSNBC to give him a show, it looks as if the erstwhile conscience of conservatism has moved on to attempted sabotage against other Republicans.  Or, as McMullin himself tells it:

Marketing 101, Evan—the sequel almost never does as well as the original, especially when nobody went to see the original in the first place.  Besides, #NeverGillespie just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Still, you have to give McMullin some credit—at least he’s not afraid to fall on his face, as his original campaign to play spoiler between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shows.  But if that campaign went over like the New Coke of politics, this one seems more like Crystal Pepsi:  misbegotten from the start and incompetent in execution, yet so inconsequential in the scheme of things that it will scarcely be remembered.  If Northam wins, nobody will think that McMullin had anything to do with it.  And if Gillespie wins, McMullin will simply become the punchline in another joke.  It’s all downside, bruh.

I am left to wonder about this whole “white nationalism” angle, though.  As shades of pale go, Evan McMullin ranks at the extreme upper end of the spectrum.  He’s like a stockbroker who does a karaoke version of “Bust a Move” at his office Christmas party and trips all over the lyrics before the end of the first verse.  His idea of gangsta is less Tupac Shakur and more Vanilla Ice.  For him to call anyone out for being too Caucasian is beyond me.  If I didn’t know better, I’d swear the Latino Victory Fund hired McMullin to come up with that pickup truck ad.  Of course, if Evan had done it, he probably would have added “Just-a Good Ole Boys” to the soundtrack to make sure that everybody got the point.

On the bright side, however, at least he makes everyone who reluctantly pulled the lever for Donald Trump feel better about their vote.

New York, Sutherland and the Illogic of Gun Control

Between the vehicular attack in New York on Halloween and the terrible mass shooting in Sutherland, Texas yesterday, it’s been a tough week with violence in the United States of America.  Compounding the tragedy is the by now familiar compulsion of bad actors across social media to use these events to push some kind of political agenda.  This isn’t a phenomenon unique to liberals or conservatives—but as the left is typically on the offensive in the culture wars, and as the news media and the popular culture are themselves creatures of the left, it’s usually their hot takes that get the most attention.

In the case of mass shootings, it’s always a call for more “common sense” gun control—as if firearms weren’t already heavily regulated, and buying one is as easy as ordering a pizza.  They seem to think that if it’s next to impossible to obtain a gun legally, this will somehow deter people who are determined to commit murder—itself an illegal act.  It never seems to dawn on them that people with criminal intent won’t let gun laws stand in their way, and that burdensome restrictions will only keep the law abiding from exercising their rights under the Constitution.

So it’s very telling when liberals don’t apply the same logic they use for gun control to the problem of Islamic terrorism.  In their view, when a radical Islamist rents a truck and kills eight people by mowing them down on a bike path, that is not representative of all Islam—and they are correct, no question.  In the next breath, however, the same liberals will turn around and shout that when a crazy man with a rifle guns down dozens of people in a church, it is absolutely the NRA’s fault.

How are you supposed to square that?

I’m baffled, but apparently leftists have no trouble holding these two oposing views at exactly the same time.

For instance, there are around one billion Muslims worldwide, many of whom live in countries that are hostile to the American way of life.  Only a relatively tiny number of Muslims, though, actively seek our destruction through terrorism and other forms of violence.  This is why liberals have resisted President Trump’s restrictions on travel from these countries, and maintained that the United States should, as a matter of compassion, admit large numbers of Syrian refugees.  The likelihood that terrorists would be hiding among them, they say, is small enough that it justifies the risk of allowing them in.

Now consider that in America, we have a population of around 330 million, and altogether there are around 300 million firearms in circulation.  Even so, among all those people and all those guns, only an infinitesimal number will use them to commit murder.  Even fewer will use them in a mass shooting.  And yet somehow, in the liberal mind, this justifies taking guns away from those who have never committed a crime—because even though the overall risk is so small, we simply can’t take the chance that even one bad apple might use a gun in an act of mass violence.

Again, anybody else see the contradiction here?

If the left applied the same logic they use on guns to Islamist terrorism, they’d not only be talking about an immigration ban, they’d be advocating the ban of Islam altogether.  Sure, they would be punishing all Muslims for acts of terrorism they didn’t do—but if the impulse after a mass shooting is to take guns away from the people who didn’t do it, then what’s the difference?

Liberals, however, would never propose such a thing—nor should they.  For one, it would be immoral.  It would also violate one of the basic precepts of the First Amendment, the right to worship as one chooses. We can’t violate such a fundamental right, even if it would make solving the terrorism problem easier—even if it would save lives.

But guess what?  There’s also a Second Amendment, which guarantees another fundamental right—for the individual to bear arms.  The founders believed that right to be critical for a free people, every bit as important as freedom of speech and religion, because all serve as a bulwark against encroaching tyranny.  Ignoring that fact because it makes it easier for the left to advance their agenda doesn’t change a thing.

Sam Smith’s Sexy Sadness

I really only know a couple of things about British pop sensation Sam Smith.  One is that he did a song with the DJ act Disclosure called “Latch,” of which I’m rather fond.  Another is that he sang the indisputably worst song ever from a James Bond movie–and when I say worst, I mean a terrible, awful, over the top piece of caterwauling that sounds like two stoned cats in an alley who can’t decide if they’re mating or fighting.  It’s so bad it makes Madonna’s song from Die Another Day almost listenable by comparison.  It also has the rather cliché title of “Writing’s On the Wall,” which is rather inexplicable as the film it comes from is called Spectre.  If John Barry and Don Black can come up with with a song called “Thunderball,” certainly Smith could have worked the actual movie title into his ditty–couldn’t he?

Naturally, Smith took home an Oscar for Best Original Song.  Click here if you want to hear it, and if you dare.

Alas, this post is not a lament on the injustices of the Academy, or even their questionable taste–although that might make for some fun reading at a later time, what with all the sexual harassment revelations pouring out of Hollywood like a tsunami out of some Roland Emmerich eco-disaster movie.  No, we’re here because of Sam Smith, who recently had an ill-conceived conversation with the New York Times whilst promoting his new album.  Smith expressed a certain, ah, hope that even David Bowie would have been loath to consider in his Berlin Trilogy days.  As I can’t quite bring myself to type the words, I’ll just let the Times Twitter feed explain it:

I’ll confess that when I first saw the tweet with picture, I had the horrible notion that somehow Morrissey had gone completely around the bend this time–but, thankfully, it was only Smith apparently trying to ape Morrissey’s coiff.  Kind of apropos, since Morrissey used to front for a band called the Smiths, although that outfit was much better at expressing odd concepts without inspiring utter horror in their vulnerable listeners.  “And on cold leather seats, well it suddenly struck me I just might die with a smile on my face after all” strikes me as far more sensible than attempting coitus with my own sorrow.  How would one even do such a thing?  How would you know if your partner ever achieved climax?  And would Xanax be an effective prophylactic?  The questions boggle the mind.

At any rate, I suppose we should commend Sam Smith for exploring bold new avenues in auto-erotica.  They actually seem quite tame at a time when you can select from a smorgasbord of 52 different genders on Facebook–just one wobble outside the orbit of normal, actually.  I do wish he’d try something different with the hair, though.  Perhaps something more akin to Simon Le Bon from the Seven and the Ragged Tiger era or that chap from a Flock of Seagulls.  If you’re going to bring the 80s back stylistically, one might as well go all the way.