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Monday's Daily Shot from Ricochet
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Monday, Dec 08, 2014
 

Opening Shot

“Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment.” —Horace
 

And Then There Were 54

Back on Election Day, we told you about Nate Silver’s midterm predictions at FiveThirtyEight.com. At that time, Silver predicted only a 15.6% chance that the Republicans would end up with 54 Senate seats. With the midterms now definitively concluded, it turns out that 54 will indeed be the magic number. On Saturday, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu lost the runoff election in Louisiana to Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy. Landrieu went down in flames, losing by nearly 11 points. Aside from giving the Republicans a 54th seat, Landrieu’s defeat also marks the last gasp for Democrats in the Deep South, who have now lost their last Senate seat in the region.
 

Rolling Over

Last month, Rolling Stone published an article about a woman named Jackie, who claimed she was gang raped at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia. Investigations by other actual news organizations could not substantiate the facts of the case and Rolling Stone has now officially backed off the story.
The magazine’s backpedaling is calling attention to Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the reporter who filed the story and spent a fair amount of time hyping it in the media. It seems, by her own admission, that Erdely started with the premise and then found the story.  That works well for detective novels; not so much for journalism.  Now Erdely and Rolling Stone are catching hell from all angles, including from sexual assault victim advocates who think this mess might prevent women from coming forward to report actual rapes.
Maybe Rolling Stone should stick to their primary beat: covering music and pop culture. Then again, this is a magazine that panned the hell out of the first Led Zeppelin album. With that in mind, we recommend they burn their building to the ground and salt the earth.
 

To Dream the Impossible Dream

The Washington Post is very concerned about the possibility that the government might shut down — which it may, if Congress doesn’t pass funding to continue government operations by midnight on Thursday. The Post’s Philip Bump was so concerned that he asked what would happen if it shut down and never reopened. His take: in the event of a long shutdown, more and more federal expenditures would be paired back and then shuttered outright. Some programs, like Social Security, would keep functioning. Defense would be the last to go.
Their scenario is so nightmarish that if we told you the rest, you’d plotz (eventually, packs of feral dogs capture our major cities).  We don’t want that liability, especially if you’re reading this while you drive (which is very safe and which you should absolutely do).
It would take extraordinary, almost unimaginable circumstances for Bump’s nightmare to actually happen. Since the federal government reformed its budget process in 1976, there have been 18 funding gaps (read: far too few). On six of those occasions, the government didn’t even close. On the occasions where it did, the shutdowns usually only lasted a couple of days. Two of them lasted for five days.  The longest was in 1995-1996, when Uncle Sugar closed down for ... three weeks. Last year’s shutdown only went on for 16 glorious days.
And yet somehow people got along. The republic survived.  Despite that, the media will still freak out every time there’s a prospect that mommy government might furlough for an afternoon.  A permanent shutdown? Well ... we can dream, can’t we?
 

Yes, He’s a Pain In The Neck, But That’s Now How We Meant It

President Obama was hospitalized over the weekend. After complaining of a sore throat, the President was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to get checked out.  What happened next will shock you...
From the makers of the hit 1988 Commodore 64 game “The President Is Missing” comes the long awaited sequel: The President Has Acid Reflux!!!
We may not often agree with the man, but we wish him well.  (Note: We actually do not. The writer of The Daily Shot is a sociopath without the capacity for human empathy).  
 

If You See Something, Say Something

On Thursday, someone spotted a suspicious object in the courtyard of the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Courthouse in downtown San Diego.  The ominous object was aluminum and had a cord connecting it to a control mechanism.  The courtyard was evacuated.  Officials brought in the bomb squad, because there were concerns the suspicious unknown device could be a bomb.
It turned out to be ... a sex toy.  According to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Spokesman Lee Swanson, no one has come forward to claim the “bomb.”  Left unanswered is the question of what it was doing at a federal courthouse.

 


Meanwhile, at Ricochet...

Ricochet editor and Navy veteran Jon Gabriel recounts the story of another Navy man: Doris “Dorie” Miller, and how, during the attack on Pearl Harbor (73 years ago on Sunday), he went from being a “hash-slinger” to a Navy Cross winner.

Ricochet member John Walker continues his Saturday Night Science series, with a deep dive into the nature of genetic drift.

Ricochet editor-in-chief Troy Senik reminds us that the ostensible joy and kindness of Christmas music is just a mask for psychopathy and disfunction. This is why we can’t have nice things, Troy.
 

New Ricochet Podcasts...

This week on an awesome new Need to Know, Mona Charen and Jay Nordlinger are joined by Linda Chavez, Chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, who discusses her fight for equal opportunity and against racial quotas.
 

This Day in History...

On this day in 65 BC, the Roman poet and soldier Horace was born. He had a front row seat for the transition between from the late Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. Horace became a mouthpiece for the new regime after Augustus came to power. In that sense, he was kinda like Jay Carney — except he knew his head from his ass.

On this day in 1660, a woman (who was either Margaret Hughes or Anne Marshall) appeared on stage in public in England for the first time. She played Desdemona in a production of Othello.  So, in an indirect way, you have this woman to blame for Cher winning that Oscar.

Historically, this was a bad day to fly on an airplane:
In 1963, Pan Am Flight 214 was struck by lighting and crashed.
In 1972, United Airlines Flight 553 crashed after an aborted landing attempt.
In 1987, the Alianza Lima air disaster happened.
In 1988, a USAF A-10 crashed into an apartment complex.
In 2011, the author of The Daily Shot was subjected to an in-flight screening of Moonstruck. He indiscriminately cursed Margaret Hughes and Anna Marshall.
 

We Heartily Recommend...

Look, we’re not interested in starting a nerd fight here. This is what it is.  Star Trek is not everyone’s cup of tea.  But today, we are heartily recommending Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  Even if you’re not into Star Trek, this is the one worth watching.  If you’re a fan of the franchise, this is the standout.  (And if you quit it after the second season, you’re missing out, because it gets a hell of a lot better).

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