Kevin, we hardly knew ye.

The House has never removed its leader before.

I read Cassidy Hutchinson’s book, in which McCarthy comes off as a decent human being, which kind of surprised me. Unfortunately for him, his cowardly groveling and kowtowing to the nutbags did him no good at all in the long run. He’d have been far better off compromising with the Democrats.

(Matt Gaetz, by the way, comes off as a total creep in Hutchinson’s story, which probably comes as no surprise to most people.)

This ouster means that they can’t conduct any House business now, despite the fact that another shutdown is looming. The temporary speaker can’t conduct any business except when it involves electing a new one, and I can’t imagine how either party is ever going to produce enough votes to do that. It’ll be messy.

I’m not going to go into them, because they will be done to death this week as she promotes her book.

I just want to make a note on a picture accompanying a Cassidy story.

One site says: “Congressman Jim Jordan is 6’3″. This makes him one of the taller members of Congress.” Yeah … maybe not.

Here is Jordan next to Cassidy Hutchinson (5’7″, so probably 5’10” in heels), Kevin McCarthy (5’10”) and Mark Meadows (6’0″).

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There are some perspective issues in that photo, but it’s clear that Jordan is much smaller than Meadows.

Matt Gaetz is reliably measured at 6’2″ according to his arrest record, but if Jim Jordan is 6’3″, then I’m guessing that Gates may actually be seven feet tall (see below). I guess that could be. He does have the forehead of Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster, who was about seven feel tall in those built-up shoes.

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Jordan’s real height? Well, he wrestled at 134 in college, so I’d say 5’7″ or 5’8″ is a decent guess.

Trump up by ten.

Men favor Trump by a margin of 30 points (62-32) in this poll. (!!)

How depressing is it to be the seated President and be down so far to a Bond villain and complete schmuck with a -14 net favorability rating?

Biden really has to hope that poll is an outlier, but with his own approval rating under water by 19 points, he’s definitely in a jam. There’s more than a year to go until the election, so these polls are not very meaningful, but the way it looks now, he could run unopposed and lose to “none of the above.”

“Radical left-wing feminists in Chile with “ponytails inserted in their butts and performing dances” in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the military coup against Salvador Allende.”

(In an event sometimes called “the other 9/11,” the USA backed the overthrow of Allende, a democratically elected Marxist, by a military coup. The Nixon administration wanted to prevent the spread of Communism during the Cold War.)

I don’t think the ponytails are actually in their butts, so the quote above kind of overhypes the protest. Nonetheless, the impact is approximately as promised – women in thongs or with bare butts, some waving strap-on ponytails. I assume they are anti-coup, but isn’t this counter-productive? After seeing the vid, I want to join the CIA and foment a military coup so more women will do this.

There are also about 30 unindicted co-conspirators. “The Defendants, as well as others not named as defendants, unlawfully conspired and endeavored to conduct and participate in a criminal enterprise in Fulton County, Georgia, and elsewhere.”

Full indictment.

Among the national figures charged were Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman and Jeffrey Clark.

Sen. Lindsey Graham was not indicted.


The Georgia indictments offer certain features that the federal ones can’t:

Total transparency. The trial may be, and almost certainly will be, televised.

Accountability. Neither the POTUS nor the Georgia governor has pardon power over Georgia convictions.

On the other hand, this case is incredibly complex, with 19 different defense lawyers filing motions and demanding discovery. Many defendants will file to remove the case to federal court, and some may file to sever their case from the mass trial. Trump and his co-defendants are expected to file multiple motions and to appeal motions denied by the judge. Trump’s tactics are always the same – delay, delay, delay. All sorts of things happen over time, all of them favorable to the defense. Evidence disappears. Witnesses die or forget key facts.

Jury selection alone could take months, as it has in another racketeering case currently being pursued by the same DA. Jury selection for that trial began in January and not a single juror has been selected. Since the trial itself may last many months, it is no simple matter to find unbiased jurors who can commit to an unlimited amount of time to participate in a trial. That problem is further exacerbated in any case involving Trump, where the jurors’ lives may be at risk.

Even the trial itself may take several months, with 19 defense attorneys constantly objecting and cross-examining.

I know that the DA wants to handle the case expeditiously, but that’s unlikely. I’ll be surprised if she can bring this case to trial before the 2024 election. If Trump wins that election, I for one will be surprised if Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani will live to hear the jury return its verdict in this case.

The WAPO featured this headline:

“State affirmative action bans helped White, Asian students, hurt others”

A quick look at the data indicates that the headline should read “State affirmative action bans helped White, Black, Asian students, hurt others.”

The headline does not say that, presumably because it is extremely inconvenient for the liberal narrative to admit that Black students do better in the states that ban affirmative action.

As you can see in WAPO’s own chart (below), the main beneficiaries of AA, by far, are Hispanics, who are brought from significant underrepresentation almost all the way to population parity by Affirmative Action.

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If you want to design a program that benefits Hispanics, there’s a much easier and totally constitutional way: just give admissions preference to any student who is totally fluent in more than one language. If, on the other hand, you want to extend a helping hand to Black students, the great brains at Harvard and elsewhere should be able to create a system that works better than the existing Affirmative Action models, which don’t seem to have worked at all for that purpose.

(Note: black students are still dramatically underrepresented in both groups, with or without AA, when measured as a percent of the population. In other words, even those who actively seek diversity should realize that it was probably time to shelve the existing Affirmative Action programs and replace them with some new schemes. The Supreme Court’s action will apparently have a negative impact on Hispanic students, but not so much for other minorities, who have apparently not been helped significantly by any of the existing admission models, with or without AA.)

I would go even farther than this guy.

Granted, I am a skeptical man, but here’s what I see:

  • Prigozhin challenged Putin with an armed rebellion, but was allowed to re-settle in Belarus, with all charges dropped. (Oh, that Putin – always the forgiving guy!)
  • Prigozhin is going to end up in Belarus, unpunished, not as a lonely exile, but with his mercenary army.
  • The Wagner group potentially could have access to the nuclear weapons that Putin conveniently started moving there last week.
  • It is only about 100 miles from Kyiv to the nearest point in Belarus.

All of the bullet-points above seem to be undisputed facts, yet few people seem to find that concatenation of circumstances to be alarming.

Add one more possibility. Russia and Belarus have been in talks to unite as a single country. Even if that does not happen, Belarus is just a vassal state, so as Putin sees it, Prigozhin is just in another part of his empire.

Some Ukrainians have noticed. One Ukrainian blogger wrote:

There will be a threat from the north. There is no need for “patriotic heroism,” but a sober approach to the current situation is needed. It was too easy for Putin and Prigozhin to reconcile. For Russia, a couple dozen corpses and five downed planes are a trifle when implementing a secret operation to “kindly” transfer Wagner specifically to Belarus. And think about why, under an agreement and “good will,” Prigozhin was sent specifically to Belarus and not to Africa or Syria, where Wagner has existing bases.

Another opined:

Even if there are only 15,000 mercenaries, in order to prevent any provocations on their part, we need to redeploy 5-6 brigades to the North. Under the conditions of the offensive in the South, this is a lot.

The list includes Stephen Colbert, Brad Raffensberger, Letitia James, Morning Joe and Seth Meyers.

Raffensberger and James, in particular, are not involved in foreign policy. To my knowledge, neither of them has made any public statements about Russia, but they are among Trump’s bugbears. Perhaps the most obscure private citizen on the list is the Capitol Police officer who killed one of the January 6th rioters. (Although this man has no connection to Russia in any way, he is the subject of lunatic conspiracy theories among the Trumpies, and has also been singled out by Putin in the past.)

The list is confusingly inconsistent.

  • One of the most baffling omissions is Jimmy Fallon, given that Kimmel, Meyers and Colbert are banned. If Fallon’s writers ever return to work, they should have a lot of fun with this. Conan O’Brien is not on the list either, and he’s just ballsy enough to go to Russia for a comedy special.
  • In another example of inconsistency, the list does not include others perceived by Trump as enemies, like Alvin Bragg.

The list of 500 new names means that there are now 1,344 Americans covered by Russian sanctions. I was kind of heartbroken to see that I did not make the cut.

Biden is correct about the numbers. More than 1/3 of the American electorate consists of white people with no college degree.

There is a very good reason why Donald Trump famously said:

They voted 67-32 in favor of Trump in 2020.

That means that a Democrat must either (a) cut into that group or (b) win 60% of the remaining votes. Neither is easy to accomplish. Biden won with (b) in 2020, but has chosen to focus on (a).

No problem. All he needs is a time machine back to 1960, when the unions could bring in lots of blue-collar white voters for the Democrats. At the moment Biden has devised no strategy to counter the culture-war stuff with blue-collar voters. He thinks money is the answer, but those voters are not responding.

The weirdest thing about the current state of American elections is that candidates who would appeal to both sides (except their fringes) can’t win the primaries. Chris Sununu would probably defeat Biden in a landslide, but he ain’t makin’ it through the wackjobbery in those GOP primaries.

Oh, cripe, I just dread a Biden-Trump rematch.

Get out your popcorn out for this one, which will end up with many matters to be decided by the judiciary.

Jim Jordan will be investigating the Jan 6th investigation – of which he is almost certainly a target. Should an FBI officer be forced to reveal details of an investigation to the guy he’s investigating? The common sense answer is obvious, but the legal answer is not.

Furthermore, there could be a battle of subpoenas. Jordan could be issuing subpoenas to the investigators while they are issuing subpoenas to him to testify about his actions on and leading up to January 6th. The DoJ will obviously challenge any congressional subpoena in court if the subpoena interferes with a criminal investigation, and the Supreme Court will probably have to sort it out eventually. The congressman, on the other hand, can’t ignore a grand jury subpoena. Judges take those very seriously. In the most extreme example, it could actually end up with Jordan questioning a guy one day, then getting arrested by the same guy the next day!

538 now shows that the GOP is slightly more likely to capture the Senate. The forecast model moved the GOP from “51 wins per 100 simulations” to 55/100.

538 now shows Fetterman ahead by half a percent in Pennsylvania. No forecast or poll comes close to that kind of precision so the bottom line is – we know nothing.

Georgia is in precisely the same boat. 538 shows Walker up by a tenth of a point. There is a key distinction between Georgia and the other states in that a win on Tuesday does not mean an automatic Senate seat unless the winner exceeds 50%. Given a third party candidate and a virtual tie between the major party candidates, a December run-off seems like a strong possibility.

538 still has Nevada in the toss-up category, but it seems increasingly likely that Laxalt will win. 538 shows him winning 59/100 simulations, versus 41 for the Democrat. The problem here is that Sen. Masto (birth name Catherine Cortez), despite being Hispanic through her father’s side, has lost Hispanic support. In September she had a 19-point lead among Hispanic voters, and she now faces a 13-point deficit. A Laxalt win will most likely mean that the Democrats have to win both Pennsylvania and Georgia.


Maybe not.

We may not know which party will control the Senate until December.

The problem is that Tuesday’s winner in Georgia doesn’t necessarily get a Senate seat. Georgia law requires a run-off if neither candidate gets 50%, and that is a distinct possibility because Libertarian Chase Oliver has about 5% support and the other two guys are about tied.

People sometimes abandon third-party candidates on election day, but if a run-off is required, and if the Republicans are ahead 50-49 for the other seats, control of the Senate could all hinge on that one state, which would be the only one voting at that time! That would bring a three-ring circus and total chaos to Georgia.


Isn’t this where we came in?

Moreover, Brian Kemp is expected to clear the 50% hurdle in the gubernatorial election, so all the media focus would be on the senatorial contest. If that happens, it would mean another annoying month of political bullshit for everyone. Of course it won’t be anywhere near as annoying for us as it will be for Georgia residents, who will be bombarded with every possible form of Walker and Warnock advertising for another month. That should fill the coffers of all the media companies in Georgia. With so much at stake, the major parties will be competing to buy up every TV spot, every radio spot, every billboard, basically every bit of available advertising.

That’s a funny headline from the Onion, but the ancient Iowan seems safe for re-election to an eighth six-year term …

… assuming he lives one more week until election day, which is probably an even-money bet.

Grassley is 89 years old and will probably be the president pro tempore of the Senate if the GOP wins. It is an honor usually accorded the senior senator of the majority party, and a position Grassley previously held. That’s largely an honorary position, but we often forget that it stands third in line to assume the Presidency behind the VP and the Speaker of the House. The current order of succession is Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Patrick Leahy. If the GOP takes control of both houses, the order of succession would likely be Kamala Harris, Kevin McCarthy, Chuck Grassley. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s not really our all-star team.

Grassley would not be an automatic selection and there are no constitutional mandates to guide the selection. The choice of the senior senator of the majority party as pro tem is merely a tradition, not a requirement. The constitution does not even require the position to be filled by a member of that chamber. As notes, “Although the Constitution does not specify who can serve as president pro tempore, the Senate has always elected one of its members to serve in this position.”

The same is true of the Speaker of the House. The members can vote for absolutely anyone. To make a radical example, a GOP-controlled House could elect Donald Trump as Speaker, which would give him a tremendous amount of power over investigations of himself and his enemies, as well as great power over the government’s purse strings. (Despite the fact that we have lionized and even apotheosized the Founding Fathers, they could not possibly have foreseen every possible pitfall of democracy.)

Speaking of ancient politicians, why did we start to elect these old geezers?

Joe Biden is the oldest man ever to sit in the oval office, and he assumed that title on the day he took office. Biden was already older at the beginning of his term than Reagan was at the end of his.

At 78 years and 61 days, he was by far the oldest man ever inaugurated, breaking the previous record by 7 1/2 years.

but …

Should Donald Trump get elected in 2024, he will break the record for oldest inaugurated, and should he live through that term he will then break the record for oldest ever to hold the office!

(And of course Biden would also break his own records should he run again and win.)

There are not many up-and-coming young political superstars. Ron DeSantis is 44, Buttigieg is 40. Behind them the ranks are thin.

It was a bad day for Trump. It was a far worse day for Judge Cannon in Florida. The appeals court ruled that every element of Judge Cannon’s ruling was incorrect, and totally agreed with the DoJ in every particular.

Trump’s declassification argument was ruled (1) unproved; and (2) even if it had been proved, irrelevant. It is irrelevant for two reasons: (1) declassification does not impact the content of the documents, and none of the cited criminal statutes are affected by whether any documents are classified; (2) even if everything was declassified, the documents would still belong to the United States, not to Trump, and the government agents therefore had the right, and obligation, to seize them.

The appeal was reviewed by a three-judge panel, two of whom were Trump appointees.

There is another issue with declassification that nobody has mentioned but (surprisingly) Bill Barr. If Trump did in fact declassify some documents that include material that needs to be secret for the security of the United States, thus making them accessible to anyone through the freedom of information act, that would be an act of recklessness more dangerous than anything else Trump has ever done.

To make an extreme example, suppose some documents showed that Al-Qaeda was developing a nuclear weapon, based on a tip by our spy within Al Qaeda. If declassification allowed Al-Qaeda to find out about the spy and to move their base of operations, and thus to continue the operation while eliminating our eyes on it, that would be providing aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States.

Declassifying that kind of information would meet the precise constitutional definition of treason. If I were in his shoes, I’d be less concerned with a charge of mishandling some papers than a charge of treason. I think it would be wise of him to drop that “I declassified everything” argument.

But then again, when has he ever been wise?

Note: The fact that somebody has the POWER to do something does not automatically make it legal. A President of the United States has pretty much unlimited power to grant federal pardons, but if he offered to grant pardons for ten million dollars each, it would still be corrupt and would be prosecuted (after the President left office) under the RICO and other statutes.

Similarly, the Vice-President has the POWER to break a tie in the Senate, but if she were to do so in return for a massive kickback from the Pharma companies, it would be criminal.

The same logic applies to declassification. If the Presidential declassification of a necessarily secret document provides aid and comfort to America’s enemies … well, he has the POWER to do that, but it could be an act of treason.

(Those are hypothetical arguments. I have no idea what is actually in the secret papers because … well, mainly because if a schmuck like me knew, they wouldn’t be very secret, would they?)

HUMOROUS SIDEBAR: I assume that back in his school days, Trump’s excuse for not having his homework was that he did it in his head. Today he said there is no documentation of declassification because he did it in his head!

“If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified.’ Even by thinking about it.”

He also speculated that the FBI may have been looking in his desk for the missing Hilary Clinton e-mails, a speculation which is utterly demented even by his own lofty standards.