Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

Did Charlie Geren Operative File a False CPS Report Against Primary Opponent?

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

This lawsuit alleges that an operative of Joe Straus ally Rep. Charlie Geren carried out one of the nastiest dirty campaign tricks of recent memory against primary opponent Bo French:

Today Bo and Sheridan French filed suit against Charlie’s campaign staffer and well known democrat, David Sorensen, in a story that is very disturbing and challenges our sense of decency.

On Friday February 26, 2016, 4 Days before the primary, CPS, along with a FTW police officer, showed up at the French residence with a complaint that their son had suffered a broken rib and allegations of physical abuse from Bo against the children. This was followed by repeat visits to the home on Saturday and Sunday. Oddly, once the election was over on that Tuesday, they never showed back up.

The Frenches have filed a civil suit against Sorensen, claiming he filed the report with CPS, with the intent to gain an unfair advantage for the Charlie Geren campaign in the final days of the primary. The suit claims: Defamation/Libel; Business Disparagement; Intrusion of Seclusion; Invasion of Privacy; and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.

According to the filing, Sorensen put his scheme into effect by supplying a false report to CPS claiming Mr. French’s youngest son had suffered broken ribs and that the son was not provided adequate medical care. It was further falsely reported that the police had responded to domestic abuse calls at the French residence in the past. CPS’s internal investigation found that the Frenches’ son never had any broken ribs and that the police had never at any time been called to the French residence. After nearly a year the CPS proceeding was closed without any further investigation of the Frenches, but not until after Mr. French lost to Sorensen’s employer in the primary election.

Geren vehemently denies the charges:

The Forth Worth Star-Telegram has more on the story, including that Sorensen worked for the political consulting firm Murphy Nasica.

Geren has also criticized a Facebook page French put up mocking former Dalworthington Gardens Police Chief Bill Waybourn.

French and Geren are fighting a rematch in this year’s District 99 Republican Primary.

Quick Impressions: Texas Fifth Congressional District Race

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

This is the seat Jeb Hensarling announced he was retiring from a couple of months ago, meaning most of the candidates have had to scramble to get campaigns off the ground. The Fifth Congressional District runs from southeast Dallas all the way down to Nacogdoches, and is so safely Republican that Democrats didn’t even bother to field candidates in 2014 and 2016. This race features both a former and a current State Representative, neither of which is likely to be the favorite.

Republican U.S.

  • Danny Campbell has a military background (a plus), but no evident political experience or a proven ability to self-fund.
  • Sam Deen is another veteran, and as a serial entrepreneur, he might be able to self-fund, but it’s unclear he has U.S. Congressional race money at his disposal.
  • Lance Gooden currently represents the 5th state House district. Gooden and Stuart Spitzer have spent turns knocked each other off the Republican primary, with Gooden winning in 2012 and 2016, and Spitzer winning in 2014. His Empower Texans ratings have been all over the map (29% in 2011, 89% in 2013, 42% in 2017), and they’re not fans. Irritatingly, Gooden’s webpage currently features a donation form you can’t bypass to find out such trivia as his stand on issues…
  • Charles Lingerfelt doesn’t have a web page, only a Facebook page, where he’s been endorsed by former Dallas Cowboys Lineman John Niland. Well, that’s something…
  • Bunni Pounds is Hensarling’s former fundraiser, and he’s endorsed her, so she should be a serious contender.
  • Kenneth Sheets is the former state rep in the race. Another impressive military resume, having served as a marine in Fallujah in 2007. He used to represent the 107 state congressional district, where he racked up a reasonably conservative record until he lost to Victoria Neave by less than 900 votes in 2016. A law partner, Sheets should be able to self-fund, and he got endorsed by Empower Texans in 2012.
  • There’s a candidate named David Williams…with no webpage. Sorry, got nothing.
  • Jason Wright was Ted Cruz’s eastern regional director and Cruz endorsed him. A serious contender.
  • Democrat

    The only Democrat running is Dan Wood, a former DA for Kaufman County and a former city councilmen for Terrell (population around 15,000). Wood has raised $27,737 so far in the election cycle, getting a jump on Republicans who came in after Hensarling’s announcement. Except a competent but losing campaign.

    I expect this race to come down to come down to Pounds and Wright, with the two state reps on the outside looking in, though if I were to pick one of them to edge into the runoff, it would be Sheets.

    Tax Cut Passes, Millions Not Dead

    Thursday, December 21st, 2017

    So tax cut bill finally passed the House and the Senate and is headed to President Donald Trump’s desk to sign.

    Not a single Democrat voted for the bill, House or Senate.

    It’s not a perfect bill, but there are a lot of good features:

  • “Lower Individual Tax Rates. The framework lowers rates for almost every tax bracket. The current seven brackets remain, but with new, generally higher income thresholds and lower rates.” Here’s a table from Business Insider:

  • Larger Standard Deduction. The standard deduction is almost doubled, consolidating the additional standard deduction and personal exemptions into one larger deduction. For married joint filers, the deduction will be $24,000; for single filers, it will be $12,000. The expanded deduction simplifies tax filing by cutting the percentage of tax filers who will need to itemize their deductions in half. Approximately nine of 10 taxpayers will simply claim the new standard deduction.”
  • Lowered corporate tax rate to 21% down from a highest-in-the-world 35%.
  • Short-term business expensing incentives:

    Temporary Expensing. The bill expands the current-law 50 percent bonus depreciation for new short-lived capital investments to 100 percent or “full expensing” for five years and then phases out over the subsequent five years. Expensing allows companies to deduct the cost of investments immediately and removes a current tax bias against investment.

    The bill also expands expensing for small businesses under Section 179 by raising the cap on eligible investment from $500,000 to $1 million. The phaseout increases from a $2 million cap to a $2.5 million cap on total equipment purchases. In 2022, businesses will no longer be able expense their research and development costs; this is a step in the wrong direction toward longer write-off schedules rather than toward expensing.

  • “For a vast majority of Americans, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will lower their federal tax bill in 2018. This is accomplished through lower tax rates, a larger standard deduction, and an expanded child tax credit. Most of the individual tax changes revert to current law before 2025 to meet political constraints and Senate budget rules. Although temporary tax policy is never ideal, the expirations give Congress an incentive to revisit the tax code in the coming years to provide more far-reaching and permanent reform.”
  • The hated ObamaCare mandate has been eliminated.
  • The not-great part:

    Many Special-Interest Subsidies Remain. A large subsidy for domestic manufacturing is eliminated, but most other credits and deductions marked for repeal in the original House bill remain in the conference report. Among the surviving subsidies are tax credits for electric vehicles, wind-energy production, energy-efficient buildings, historic rehabilitation, orphan drugs, new market investments, and employer-provided child care. The conference report also adds a new tax credit for employers who provide paid family and medical leave.

    The tax foundation estimates that taxes will go down for almost every household.

    The reaction from various businesses was swift: AT&T, Comcast, Wells Fargo and Boeing all announced they’ll be handing out raises and bonuses in the wake of the bill’s passage.

    Despite predictions to the contrary, America still seems to be intact and millions have not been slain in the wake of its passage.

    Blake Farenthold Withdraws From Primary

    Thursday, December 14th, 2017

    Breaking news:

    U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, under fire over a sexual harassment lawsuit, will withdraw from the March 6 Republican primary.

    Mike Bergsma, chairman of the Nueces County Republican Party, told the Caller-Times he was told this morning by Farenthold’s campaign team he will not seek re-election next year.

    “It’s a damn shame,” he said. “He’s been an excellent congressman, and I’m sorry this has happened.

    “One wonders whether anyone could have survived scrutiny that intense.”

    A statement from Farenthold’s camp was expected later this morning.

    News of Farenthold’s decision comes as two prominent Texas Republicans, one a sitting member of Congress and the other a former congressman and presidential hopeful, are supporting challengers to Farenthold in the primary.

    Former Congressman Ron Paul, who retired after seeking the 2012 presidential nomination, said he is backing longtime Victoria Republican activist Michael Cloud.

    “I know him to be a man of his word, principled, trustworthy and hardworking,” Paul said in a statement distributed by the Cloud campaign. “I hope my former supporters will get behind him because our country desperately needs leaders with integrity, courage and moral character. Michael Cloud is that kind of leader.”

    U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, meanwhile, announced his support for Bech Bruun, the Corpus Christi native who last week resigned as chairman of the Texas Water Development Board to challenge Farenthold. Williams is the first member of the Texas GOP delegation in Washington to publicly break with the incumbent.

    “Bech is exactly the kind of person I would be proud to call a colleague in the United States Congress,” Williams, R-Weatherford, said in a news release distributed by Bruun. “Bech knows what it means to be a good steward of your hard-earned tax dollars.”

    Farenthold, who is seeking a fifth term representing the Coastal Bend, has been under intense fire since it was disclosed that he settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former aide with $84,000 in taxpayers’ money. He has said the settlement was a strategic decision to put the matter to rest even though he insists the charges are untrue.

    It would have been better had Farenthold resigned ahead of the primary filing deadline, but since there were already six Republicans and three Democrats gunning for his seat, voters will not lack for choices…

    Quick Impressions: Texas U.S. Second Congressional District Race

    Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

    I was going to do one big roundup of competitive Texas U.S. Congressional races, but the more I started digging in, the more I thought each race deserved its own entry. So let’s start with the Second Congressional District.

    Republican

    This is the retiring Ted Poe’s seat in northern Harris County. It looks like an interesting race, because there appear to be several potentially credible candidates:

  • Houston businessman David Balat looks like he has the money to compete (he’s already raised $155,965) and has been lining up endorsements.
  • Ex-Navy SEAL Daniel Crenshaw is drawing some attention in his first race with a compelling personal story. Losing his right eye to an IED in Afghanistan, Crenshaw also has that Moshe Dyan visage thing going for him:

  • Another U.S. veteran is Jonny Havens, who’s also a lawyer, formerly with Baker Botts, one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in Texas. He might have enough money and pull to run a competitive race,
  • State representative Kevin Roberts has experience and name recognition. (Empower Texans is not impressed with his legislative record.)
  • Kingwood businessman Rick Walker. I actually received an email from his social media team touting his candidacy, so he has more campaign infrastructure than many candidates at this point.
  • Kathaleen Wall doesn’t seem to have a website up yet, but she’s well-heeled and well-connected, always a good combination, and was active into trying to take down Joe Straus lieutenant Charlies Geren. Plus I suspect 2018 will be a pretty good year for women running for office.
  • Just missing the cut: Justin Lurie. Venture capital background, so he could potentially raise the money necessary, but he’s a bit young and has more issues than endorsements or events at this stage.

    Not a leading candidates: the guy who thinks he’s already running for President

    Democrats

    The clear Democratic favorite here is Todd Litton, because as a lawyer whose worked in investments he can scrape up the money for a competitive race, to which end he’s already raised over $200,000.

    The candidate that ran against Poe in 2016 was Pat Bryan. He raised a whopping $4,465 in 2016. (Way to support your candidate, Democrats!)

    It’s a heavily Republican district and none of the Democrats running look capable of flipping it. Keep in mind that the early fundraising totals may be misleading, since Poe only announced his retirement November 7. We won’t get a real bead on race finances until Q4 results are released in January 2018.

    Deadline Filing Passes: Quick Impressions on Texas Statewide Races

    Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

    Monday was the deadline to file for the 2018 Texas primaries. You have to give credit to whoever in the Texas Democratic Party was in charge of candidate recruitment: unlike many previous years, “Democrats put up candidates for every statewide elected post, except one open seat on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, an initial tally of filings showed Monday night.”

    Here are my quick impressions of some of the more competitive statewide primary races to be fought between now and March 6.

    Democratic Governor’s Race

    See this post. The press is going to cover this as an Andrew White vs. Lupe Valdez race. I think there’s a 50% chance Grady Yarborough makes the runoff.

    Republican Agricultural Commissioner’s Race

    This race has already turned nasty, with incumbent Sid Miller and challenger Trey Blocker launching nasty Facebook attack ads at each other. One of Blocker’s consultants is Matt Mackowiak, who was just elected to a 2018-2020 term as Travis County GOP chairman unopposed, and whose Twitter feed I follow.

    Republican Land Commissioner’s Race

    Former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has filed to run against incumbent George P. Bush. Patterson is going to have a real uphill fight to unseat Bush, since Patterson lost badly in his last race for Lt. Governor, coming in fourth in a four man race, and the Bush family machine has a legendary fundraising network, having raised more than $3 million in a down-ballot race in 2014. But various Alamo controversies and the fact that Bush has never run in even a slightly competitive race might give Patterson a chance to make the race close. Even so, Bush is still the heavy favorite.

    Tomorrow (hopefully): A look at competitive U.S. congressional district races.

    LinkSwarm for December 8, 2017

    Friday, December 8th, 2017

    Last night mother nature dumped a bunch of snow on Austin…very little of which stayed on the ground through this morning. Which is just fine for those of us who have jobs.

    I’ll still sorting out the latest DOJ/FBI revelations to have them all filed in the next Clinton Corruption update, which should be ginormous.

  • California is on fire.
  • “Traffic through central Mordor is slow but steady.”

  • The Wisconsin Witch Hunt was even worse than even conservatives feared:

    Wisconsin’s infamous John Doe investigation was more sinister and politically driven than originally reported.

    A Wisconsin Attorney General report on the year-long investigation into leaks of sealed John Doe court documents to a liberal British publication in September 2016 finds a rogue agency of partisan bureaucrats bent on a mission “to bring down the (Gov. Scott) Walker campaign and the Governor himself.”

    The AG report, released Wednesday, details an expanded John Doe probe into a “broad range of Wisconsin Republicans,” a “John Doe III,” according to Attorney General Brad Schimel, that widened the scope of the so-called John Doe II investigation into dozens of right-of-center groups and scores of conservatives. Republican lawmakers, conservative talk show hosts, a former employee from the MacIver Institute, average citizens, even churches, were secretly monitored by the dark John Doe.

    State Department of Justice investigators found hundreds of thousands of John Doe documents in the possession of the GAB long after they were ordered to be turned over to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    The Government Accountability Board, the state’s former “nonpartisan” speech cop, proved to be more partisan than originally suspected, the state Department of Justice report found. For reasons that “perhaps may never be fully explained,” GAB held onto thousands of private emails from Wisconsin conservatives in several folders on their servers marked “Opposition Research.” The report’s findings validate what conservatives have long contended was nothing more than a witch-hunt into limited government groups and the governor who was turning conservative ideas into public policy.

    “Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information,” the report states.

    Snip.

    The Department of Justice, however, recommends the John Doe judge initiate contempt proceedings against former GAB officials and the John Doe probe’s special prosecutor for “grossly” mishandling secret evidence. Schimel also recommends that Shane Falk, who served as lead staff attorney in the John Doe probes, be referred for discipline to the Wisconsin Court System’s Office of Lawyer Regulation. Falk took a job with a private law firm in August 2014, just as allegations of investigative abuse began to surround the political investigation.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Perspective: Nancy Pelosi seems to think the GOP tax bill is worse than the Fugitive Slave Act
  • Another sexual harassment followup on Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen: “Hey, Nancy Pelosi knew all about my sexual harassment charges last year, and threw money at me anyway. So why’s she getting her knickers in a knot now?”
  • “Eye Doctor Tied to Bob Menendez Case Convicted in $100 Million Fraud Scheme.” And Democrat Menendez is still, as of this writing, a Senator.
  • Months after the Las Vegas shooting, and there are still dozens of unanswered questions about what actually happened.
  • 92 percent of illegal aliens arrested this year had ‘criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, were an immigration fugitive, or were an illegal reentrant.'” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Man Deported 20 Times Sentenced to 35 Years for Sexual Assault.” So when is San Francisco throwing him his parade?
  • “Swedish Government to Ban Websites that List Ethnic Origin of Criminal Suspects.”
  • Related: “Swedish lawyer Elisabeth Fritz claims that in the majority of rape cases she has had to work on the suspects have been individuals from migrant backgrounds.”
  • “Swedish Chief Prosecutor: No-Go Zone Rinkeby Is Like a ‘War Zone.'”
  • “You know who doesn’t have a refugee problem? Japan.” This year Japan has taken in three refugees. Last year it was 28.
  • Hmmmm: “A federal judge in Argentina indicted former President Cristina Fernandez for treason and asked for her arrest for allegedly covering up Iran’s possible role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people, a court ruling said.”
  • Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks to resign over asking staffers to consider being a surrogate mother for him and his wife? Franks, unlike Al Franken, has actually resigned, not merely promised to resign at some unspecified date in the future.
  • More on how Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to revitalize the kingdom:

    Last Sunday premiered the newly formed Islamic anti-terrorism coalition, putting together leaders from Sunni Arab nations to denounce and combat fundamentalist terrorism throughout the Middle East and the world. It was another bold initiative towards the West of the young and energetic Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, coming on the heels of other bold moves that have looked to consolidate political and religious power in the Kingdom.

    Together, all of these initiatives couldn’t be more transparent. They represent a movement of the most economically powerful nation in OPEC towards social, cultural and economic change, the realization of the Saudi “Vision 2030”. It is a top-down Arab Spring movement that likely has a better chance of success than the populist movements that resulted in more chaos than change in 2010.

    However, the ultimate success for Vision 2030 will rely upon achieving the main economic goal of this revolution – the divestiture of Saudi Arabia from the singularity of oil revenues. Because we know that ultimately money – and lots of it – will be needed to drive the engines for change, we get a far better picture of just how important these latest production extensions agreed to in Vienna were for the young Prince.

    And here we’re brought back to the upcoming IPO of Saudi Aramco, still on tap for 2018.

    Even the planned 5 percent offering of the Saudi state oil assets could yield an instantaneous $100 billion dollars, if the $2 trillion-dollar valuation of Saudi Aramco is accurate. That’s a lot of capital to start the process of rebuilding a Saudi economy from one that is now virtually completely reliant upon the State. 75 percent of the Saudi public is under 35 years old, and they are starving for a new economic infrastructure that will bring job opportunities, cultural diversity, music, education – global access of all kinds – the kind of freedoms that the 2010 Arab Spring uprisings were supposed to deliver. Only this time, the push for change is coming from the top down, not as a populist movement from the people upwards.

  • “Tesla – which lost $619 million in Q3 – delivered only 3,590 vehicles in November in the US, down 18% from a year ago.”
  • In a rare moment of sanity for Sports Illustrated, they named J. J. Watt and the Houston Astro’s Jose Altuve as co-sportsmen of the year. Next week I’m sure they’ll get back to their usual Social Justicing…
  • Texas writer Bill Crider enters hospice care. Bill’s not particularly political, but he is a friend of mine, and I have frequently stolen some of the lighter LinkSwarm items from his blog. He’s a prince among men and he will be missed…
  • You’ve got to admire the designers of http://www.theworldsworstwebsiteever.com for having the courage of their convictions.
  • “Opossum breaks into liquor store and gets drunk as a skunk.”
  • Hell to the no
  • A tweet that tells you all you need to know to evaluate forthcoming legislation:

  • A shot of yuletide Archer cheer:

  • Texas Republicans Behaving Badly

    Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

    Republican congressmen have not been immune to the sexual harassment revelations sweeping the nation. There’s one that has been swept up, and there’s one that really hasn’t, but who’s been swept up into the “sexual misconduct” category anyway, and who’s retiring, so I’m going to talk about both here.

    First, the not-a-sexual-harasser-but-retiring-anyway is Rep. Joe Barton. Barton decided to retire after nude photos of him surfaced on the Internet. It turns out that those photos were taken during consensual sex after Barton had separated from his wife. A definite lapse in judgement, but by the current standards pretty small potatoes, and arguably Barton is the victim of revenge porn rather than the victimizer. But now comes reports that Barton’s ex-wife has accused him of being a serial adulterer, so, yeah, retirement is probably in order.

    More serious are the problems of Rep. Blake Farenthold, who was fingered as the accused in a sexual harassment suit that lead to an $84,000 payout from the secret congressional slush fund we’ve been hearing so much about.

    Lauren Greene, the Texas Republican’s former communications director, sued her boss in December 2014 over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.

    Greene said another Farenthold aide told her the lawmaker said he had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about Greene. She also claimed that Farenthold “regularly drank to excess” and told her in February 2014 that he was “estranged from his wife and had not had sex with her in years.”

    When she complained about comments Farenthold and a male staffer made to her, Greene said the congressman improperly fired her. She filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, but the case was later dropped after both parties reached a private settlement.

    Wasting $84,000 of taxpayer money because you couldn’t keep from sharing your perv fantasies with a staffer is a pretty bad look for a Republican who brags about their budget cutting. Vowing to repay the money isn’t enough. Farenthold should follow Barton’s lead and announce he’s retiring at the end of his term.

    (I should note that I should know Farenthold, since we were both active in the Austin BBS community at the same time. (Kids, go ask your parents what a “BBS” was.) But I don’t remember him, and we may have just managed not to bump into each other.)

    Dear Jason Villalba: Enjoy This Festive Holiday Primary Challenge

    Monday, November 27th, 2017

    With the retirements of Joe Straus and Byron Cook, Jason Villalba might be the least popular Republican in the Texas House. Which explains why Santa (in this case Texas conservatives) delivered a primary challenge as an early Christmas present.

    With a disastrous record in the Texas House and recent calls for gun control, Texans won’t be surprised to learn that State Rep. Jason Villalba (R—Dallas) could face a tough reelection.

    On Monday, Dallas business owner Lisa Luby Ryan, who operates an interior design firm and the antique home furnishings store Vintage Living in Dallas, validated earlier rumors she was considering a run and announced her campaign against Villalba in the Republican primary.

    “I’m simply overwhelmed at the initial support we have already earned and grateful for the caliber of individuals joining this campaign,” said Ryan in a news release. “Today’s announcement sends a loud and clear message that this district believes that we can do better than our current representation. I am running to provide voters a clear choice, and with this great support I intend to win.”

    In her campaign announcement, Ryan also released an impressive list of supporters who are already endorsing her campaign. The list includes a bevy of conservative mainstays and a substantial number of prominent community business owners including Brint Ryan (no relation), a prominent tax consultant and chairman of the University of North Texas Board of Regents, who will serve as Lisa Luby Ryan’s campaign treasurer.

    While Ryan’s background certainly plays into the amount of support she’s receiving in the district, and it’s also true that Villalba’s record has declined even further this session compared to his last, it’s likely that the donor community is supporting his opponent because Villalba has exhausted his usefulness.

    While Villalba was, admittedly, a clownish and useless member of House Speaker Joe Straus’ team, he was a part of the team. But now, that team won’t be taking the field.

    Given Straus’ announcement that he will not seek re-election and conservative efforts to amend the Republican caucus bylaws to ensure a more conservative Speaker is elected, Villalba is likely to be left on the outside looking in regardless of who is elected to be the next Speaker of the Texas House.

    And it’s not just Dallas donors who have made that observation.

    Indeed, at a recent lobby meeting hosted by Straus’ chief strategist, Gordon Johnson, Villalba didn’t even make the list of lawmakers that the group would try to “protect” in the upcoming Republican primary elections.

    Given that Straus’ allies in the lobby were forced to spend more than $500,000 to protect Villalba in the 2016 primary, Villalba will be in serious trouble if the Austin political establishment hangs him out to dry.

    Or if his constituents take a look at his record.

    You may remember Villalba from such hits as I’m A Thin-Skinned Twitter Blockhead, Let’s Make It illegal For Gun Owners and Bloggers To Photograph the Police and I Have A Whole Lot of Stupid Ideas.

    Let’s hope Lisa Luby Ryan succeeds in retiring him in 2018.

    LinkSwarm for November 17, 2017

    Friday, November 17th, 2017

    I ate German food Saturday, and ever since it’s like the Wehrmacht has been conducting field maneuvers in my lower intestine. Enjoy a short pre-Thanksgiving LinkSwarm:

  • The United States House of Representatives has paid out $15 million to secretly settle sexual harassment claims from a secret slush fund. 435 Harvey Weinsteins.
  • Kurt Schlichter is scathing in his assessment of the GOP congress’ apparent inability to do, well, anything:

    My first priority, and yours, was always to give amnesty and citizenship to millions of illegal aliens, and the GOP caucus is chomping at the bit to do that. Apparently Dreamers’ dreams of taking advantage of violating our laws and eventually become loyal Democrat voters are much more important than our own conservative voters’ dreams of their mandatory crummy health insurance rates not doubling.

    Snip.

    What a mess. The Republican Party seems to have no interest in addressing its electile dysfunction. The Democrats are preparing for battle; the Professional Republicans are sulking because their voters won’t obey. They seem not just unable but unwilling to pass the agenda they promised the base. And whenever there’s a narrative damaging to the party to be hopped on, despite reasonable grounds for skepticism, hop on they do. If the GOP establishment wanted to lose, what would it do differently?

  • Funny how every Democratic Presidential candidate of the last quarter-century had connectons to pedophiles.
  • Playboy model says Al Franken groped her. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • More Donna Brazile revelation: Obama drained the DNC of money spending millions on popularity polling. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s moves are not “bold experiments,” they’re desperately needed reforms for a country facing multiple existential threats.
  • Back Donald Trump’s plan or resign, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tells Palestine.” In other news: Trump has a plan for Palestine? If so, the press doesn’t seem to have covered it…
  • 267 MS-13 gang members arrested nationwide. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Obama’s illegal alien “dreamers” have one-quarter the college graduation rates of Americans. (Hat tip: Mickey Kaus.)
  • “Harvard: A Tax-Free Hedge Fund That Happens To Have A University.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Duke professor: You stinking college newspaper reporters aren’t worthy of my course!
  • Why is DHS giving Muslim-only tours of Minneapolis airport security?
  • Jaron Lanier frets about social media manipulation. “We’re living in this time of total opacity where you don’t know why you see the news you see. You don’t know if it’s the same news that someone else sees. You don’t know who made it be that way. You don’t know who’s paid to change what you see. Everything is totally obscure in a profound way that it never was before.” He has a point, but missing from this frame is the fact that before the Internet, the number of media outlets that could control your reality filter (including The New York Times, which published this profile and in whose pre-Trump reality bubble Lanier obviously wishes to dwell) was vastly smaller than it is now…. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • The NFL’s Roger Goodell has actually done a pretty crappy job.