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Is Paul Ryan too far left for today’s GOP?

That’s what the New York Times implies with this headline:
“Ryan found himself on the margins as his party moved to the right.”

But is that right?  Isn’t Paul Ryan much more “conservative” than Donald Trump and his followers on many, many issues? (e.g., fiscal policy, free trade, traditional Christian morality, entitlement reform)

What would political journalism look like if reporters couldn’t use the terms right/left or liberal/conservative? Those words have become almost meaningless except as markers of tribalism. The vast majority of Republicans now support a president who is against free trade and who defies traditional Christian morality. Mainstream Democrats are all-in on free-trade and claim that sexual transgressions disqualify you from public office.

Note that the NYT changes the headline when you click through the actual article:
“Ryan Found Himself on the Margins as G.O.P. Embraces Trump”

They appear to be uncomfortable with their own left/right clickbait.

Incredible Christian funk from a guy who ran a flour mill in Nigeria

Currently sitting in a coffee shop in Glassell Park, and they are playing one of my favorite artists of all-time, the obscure Nigerian funk master William Onyeabor, who died a couple years ago.  Here’s the song that turned me on to him, which I first heard on WMSE in Milwaukee. After abandoning his music career, Onyeabor ran a semolina flour mill in Nigeria.

Economists tout “success” of policy that drove housing costs up for millions of Californians

In the midst of an affordable housing crisis  in California, UCLA economists have the balls to put out a study trumpeting the success of California’s 2008 anti-foreclosure law.

Their definition of success?  Housing prices are now 15% higher than they otherwise would have been… up to 60% higher in some middle-class neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Our politicians continue to pass laws — often with the backing of prominent economists — that drive up the cost of education, health care, and housing.

Isn’t it at least possible that one reason we all feel less secure is that the government is driving up the cost of those things that are most critical for a sense of well-being and security?

 

 

Owl!

It only took me 7 years to get a photo of an owl at our house.  This one is a western screech owl that lives in the palm tree above my car.  I had to stake it out for 4 consecutive nights — after I first heard the hooing — and then got this photo.  Still going to try to get a video of the owl emerging from the tree at sunset.  Stay tuned!

 

When is it okay to be happy that someone is dead?

Billy Graham died. And I’ve seen several posts in my Facebook feed saying, in effect, “Good riddance.  The world is better without Billy Graham in it.”

I don’t know very much about Billy Graham, but I’m curious about this instinct to declare judgment on his life. How would one know whether Billy Graham had a net positive or net negative impact on the world?

The man had five kids, 19 grandchildren, and presumably even more great-grandchildren.  What impact will all of them have on the world?  Will it be net positive or net negative?  He was a counselor to presidents of both parties and a minister to millions of people.  How could we possibly know what effect he had on public policy or the lives of those who listened to his sermons?

He also said some very ugly, anti-Semitic things in telephone call with Richard Nixon over 40 years ago.  And he once claimed that AIDS might be a form of punishment inflicted on the gay community by God.  Then he apologized — seemingly sincerely — for both of those statements.

What’s interesting to me is how arrogant one would have to be to  claim that “the world is better off” when someone dies, especially if you’ve never met that person.   In effect, you’re casting yourself in the role of God, declaring who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.

But the people saying these things are non-religious and present themselves as the opposite of arrogant.

 

 

Scariest jobs chart ever – Not so scary anymore

This is astounding.  Back in 2009-10, I used to share this Calculated Risk chart with folks to get them to understand how devastating and persistent the job losses were after the financial crisis (especially when compared to prior recessions).

But now the very same chart tells a very different story.  The job recovery has been incredibly steady.  We’re coming up on 100 months of strong, persistent job growth.

Given the strong job market, when will workers begin to demand more in wages?

 

Reverse the Facts – the Nunes memo

Imagine for a moment that the Bush-era DOJ had sought a FISA warrant to surveil someone on the Obama campaign.  And they didn’t disclose to the court that a significant piece of evidence was an unverified product of oppo research funded by Romney.

As Orin Kerr points out, it doesn’t mean that the warrant is legally invalid or that the substance of the oppo research is incorrect.  It doesn’t mean that the subject wasn’t worthy of being surveilled.

But it’s still pretty icky.

If you reverse the fact pattern, then Rep’s are apoplectic about the Dem’s ties to Russia… and Dems are appalled at the surveillance-of-a-political-foe-justified-by-oppo-research.

Who can doubt that Trump would have conspired with Putin if he thought he could get away with it? He has no moral compass. So let’s see what Mueller’s got. There’s no evidence of collusion/conspiracy yet….just a bunch of ham-fisted, ethically dubious meetings and emails.

If real evidence of conspiracy comes out, then impeachment is the only option. Until then, I’m keeping my powder dry.

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