Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cruising the Web

Buzzfeed reports that individual Democratic House members like Trey Gowdy; it's just the whole select committee on Benghazi idea that they can't stand. So they're trying to warn Gowdy that he'll have to buck his party's leadership as he leads the committee.
Whatever personal respect some Democrats have for Gowdy, a few in the caucus are in a “wait-and-see” mode with to see how he’ll handle the chairmanship.

“I like Trey Gowdy, we’ve come to get to know each other and like each other. We’ve jousted, but I think he’s an honorable person and I think this is a real moment of truth for him,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly. “It’s a real existential moment. You have two choices here: You can rise to this occasion and make your mark and prove that you are willing to buck your party for the sake of truth and fairness or you can just feed the beast and be remembered as a partisan hack.”
Gee. Turn those words around and ask Representative Connolly if he's willing to buck his "party for the sake of truth and fairness" in answering questions about what happened in Benghazi and why and how the administration reacted or if he just wants to be "remembered as a partisan hack." Do they even realize that the shoe fits both parties?

The question that Democrats will be asking themselves for the next few elections: can they win when Barack Obama isn't on the ballot?

Amazon has struck a blow for freedom of discourse on the internet by standing up for those who write negative reviews of products on their site.

William Tucker draws the connection between polygamy and the story of the kidnapped Nigerian girls.
The conventional explanation is that this is a form of Islamic terrorism driven by lack of respect for women. Now, it is undeniable that Boko Haram is a jihadist organization engaged in terrorism and warfare. And it is also undeniable that Islam severely limits women’s freedom, veils and sequesters them, and generally excludes them from public life. But the simple explanation that kidnapping women is an inevitable extension of jihad terrorism leaves several obvious questions unanswered:

1) Why is it that kidnapping young women is unknown among Islamic terrorist groups within the Islamic world?

2) Why do non-Islamic terrorist groups operating in other parts of the globe almost never kidnap women? Latin American guerrillas, for example, probably have little more respect for women than African Islamists, but you never hear of them kidnapping girls in large numbers.

3) Why is it that rebel armies and other dissident groups in Africa almost routinely kidnap women as sex slaves even though they are not practicing Islam?

The answer goes deeper than Islam and religious conviction. It goes right to the heart of what differentiates Africa from most of the rest of the world and creates a continent-wide culture that precludes both political and social stability. The core of the problem is the widespread practice of polygamy.

Nate Silver thinks that these midterm elections are the "least important in years" even if the Republicans retake the Senate. I would think that any time one house of Congress changes hands, it is important. Jim Geraghty responds to Silver.
By some measures, Obama is already a lame duck; he’s extremely unlikely to get any major bills passed with a GOP-controlled House and the press increasingly more interested in Hillary Clinton and the potential GOP contenders. But another GOP wave election would accelerate the sense that Obama’s just running out the clock.

Another drubbing of the Democrats in the midterms would cement Obama’s reputation as a rather overrated political force; while he effectively sold himself in two presidential campaigns, he couldn’t sell his agenda or his allies when he wasn’t on the ballot. Historians who aren’t already in the tank for Obama may conclude that he soared because of his personal charisma and inspiring life story, not a broadly popular agenda or vision.

Beyond that, winning begets winning. Silver writes near the end “this year’s federal elections are mostly in how they’ll set up 2016” – and that sure as heck is important! Republicans are largely persuaded that if they lose in 2016, the American Republic is doomed. If the Democratic nominee loses in 2016, the party may be forced to reevaluate their confidence that demographic changes represent an ever-stronger wind at their back.