Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Not Qualified

Via The Hill:

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has told President-elect Donald Trump that he isn’t interested in serving as secretary of Health and Human Services, a Carson ally confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday.

Business manager and close friend Armstrong Williams said Carson won’t join the incoming Trump administration and would only serve as an unofficial adviser.

Oh, really?  Why is that?

“Dr. Carson was never offered a specific position, but everything was open to him,” Williams told The Hill in a phone call.

“Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.”

The dude ran for president and at one point was at the top of the polls and now he says he has no business working in government?

Well, at least he’s honest about it and admits it, unlike the folks who actually won the election.

Monday, November 7, 2016

FBI Director Comey: “Never Mind”

Via the Washington Post:

FBI Director James B. Comey said Sunday that the bureau had completed its examination of newly discovered emails connected to Hillary Clinton — an inquiry that had roiled the presidential race for nine days — and found nothing to alter its months-old decision not to seek charges against the former secretary of state for her use of a private email server.

In a letter to congressional committee chairmen, Comey said investigators had worked “around the clock” to review the emails. The investigators found that the emails were either duplicates of correspondence they had reviewed earlier or were personal emails that did not pertain to State Department business, government officials said.

So after nine days of hysterics from the Trump campaign and pundits and bed-wetting and hand-wringing by the usual suspects in the Democratic Party headquarters, it’s all for naught.  Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

The damage, however, has been done.  Millions of votes were cast between the announcement on Friday, October 28 and Sunday, November 6, and commercials cut by Trump and his supporters with dark grainy images of Hillary Clinton “UNDER ANOTHER FBI INVESTIGATION” were shown and are still running.  Even though the polls didn’t show movement away from Clinton in the last few days and the race did its natural tightening as all races do as the finish line approached, the only people who truly benefited from this clusterfuck were the folks at the cable networks who set the advertising rates for the breathless BREAKING NEWS segments.

The losers are both campaigns, the FBI, and in particular Director Comey who won’t be able to get a free lunch in Washington again for the rest of his term.  The Republicans won’t trust him because they think he caved to pressure from the White House and the Clinton campaign, the Democrats won’t trust him because he clearly made a hash of the whole investigation starting back in July when he held that press conference to announce the original findings — maybe he should have just sent an e-mail? — and he’s clearly influenced by the partisan factions in the agency who have it in for the Clintons.

The rest of us just think that for whatever he’s got going for him as a director, he’s completely tone deaf and unaware of the fact that the FBI has a long history going back to the days of J. Edgar Hoover of meddling in politics and his actions have just reinforced the impression he’s a hack.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Only Weapon They Have

There’s growing talk among Republicans in the Senate that they won’t consider judicial nominees from a President Hillary Clinton ever.

This all started when Antonin Scalia died last February and the GOP immediately announced that they would hold off consideration of a replacement until, to them, they got a real president in office.  But now that the likelihood is that the Democrats will once again win the White House, well, they won’t allow anyone to be considered.  So they’re going to uphold the Constitution by shitting on it.

Why are they being so confrontational?  Does it not occur to them that someday the tables could be turned and the Democrats would do the same thing to a Republican president?

I think there are a couple of reasons why they think they can do this.  First, they know that the Democrats wouldn’t be such assholes, and if they were, the Republicans would be all over them, screaming like banshees about “defying the will of the people” and weeping crocodile tears about how those meanies are stomping on “the rule of law.”  We saw this kind of sanctimony when the merry band of adulterers and whoremongers were impeaching Bill Clinton so we know they’re capable of it.  Nothing gets you on Fox News faster than righteous hypocrisy, and the more blatant the better.

Second, I think upyernoz at Rubber Hose makes a valid point: the Republicans know that it will be a while before there’s another Republican president.

Currently, the Republicans are at a real disadvantage whenever there is a high turnout election like presidential elections are, and the electoral map gives the Democrats an inherent advantage each presidential election (i.e. the Blue Wall) Those disadvantages are bound to get worse for the Republicans as demographic trends are decreasing their core voters’ share of the electorate while increasing the share of minorities who tend to vote Democratic. The Republicans could try to change the map and make a play for those minorities by catering to their concerns (as the Republican’s autopsy report for the 2012 election advised them to do), but this election has pretty clearly demonstrated that the Republican base won’t tolerate that. So what that leaves them with is a losing hand in every presidential election for the foreseeable future.

Once you assume that Republicans probably won’t recapture the White House, the premise behind compromising on Supreme Court and other judicial appointments evaporates. The growing Republican opposition to letting any Democratic nominees on the court is part of the realization of Republican weakness in the Presidential race.

In short, they don’t need the White House to get what they want.  They have called the tune for the last six years through government shut-down, blocking judicial appointments, gerrymandering the House into guaranteed safe districts, and then blaming the Democrats for nothing getting done, knowing their constituents will not only believe it, they’ll keep re-electing the same people while they chant “Throw the bums out!”  It’s always somebody else’s bum they want thrown out, though.

The Republicans all say it would be wonderful to have one of their own in the White House.  But that would mean they would have to actually get things done, like create jobs, repair the infrastructure, reform the tax code, fix the immigration system.  It’s a lot easier to sit in the cheap seats and piss and moan; why ruin a good thing?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Derangement Will Continue

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told a Philadelphia radio station that the Republican intransigence against anything a Democratic president does, including nominations to the Supreme Court, will continue if Hillary Clinton is elected.

“I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up,” McCain said on WPHT Philadelphia radio in an interview first flagged by CNN. “I promise you. This is where we need the majority.”

It didn’t take too long for Sen. McCain’s office to come out with “Well, he didn’t really mean that,” but there’s every reason to believe that he did.  Obstreperous obstruction has been the way of the GOP since January 20, 2009 and as far as they’re concerned, it’s worked just great: they managed to not only frustrate President Obama’s agenda as best they could, they blocked his judicial appointments, tried to repeal Obamacare nearly sixty times, and then turned to their base and blamed him for nothing getting done in Washington.

By the way, if things had worked out differently in 2008, we’d be looking at the last few weeks of the 2016 election pitting Hillary Clinton against Vice President Sarah Palin and her running mate, Ted Cruz.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Short Takes

R.I.P. Shimon Peres, one of the founding fathers of Israel and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The Senate’s attempt to pass a government spending bill was blocked.

Over 83 million tuned in to watch the Clinton-Trump debate.

Consumer confidence in September rose to its highest level in nine years.

The Houston shooter was a big fan of the Third Reich.

Elon Musk wants to launch a mission to Mars.

Tropical Update: Invest 97L is east of the Lesser Antilles and could head west.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

General Tech Support

Colin Powell sent Hillary Clinton an e-mail on how to get around the security apparatus for e-mails at the State Department.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, publicly released an email exchange in which former Secretary of State Colin Powell advised then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the use of personal email two days after she was sworn in as Secretary.

“This email exchange shows that Secretary Powell advised Secretary Clinton with a detailed blueprint on how to skirt security rules and bypass requirements to preserve federal records, although Secretary Clinton has made clear that she did not rely on this advice.

This email exchange also illustrates the longstanding problem that no Secretary of State ever used an official unclassified email account until the current Secretary of State.”

Full e-mail exchange between Powell and Clinton here.

Lock him up.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Short Takes

Senate Zika bill blocked by Planned Parenthood fight.

Trump denies any wrongdoing in donation to Bondi campaign.

ITT Tech shuts down after USDOE cuts off student loan support.

Gretchen Carlson gets $20 million and apology in Fox sexual harassment suit.

Giant pandas no longer on the endangered species list.

Tropical Update: Invest 92L isn’t moving yet.

The Tigers lost to the White Sox 2-0.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

No Dessert For You

The GOP House leadership is trying to come up with ways to punish Democrats for their sit-in over the leadership’s refusal to allow a vote on a gun control bill after the shootings in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

One option that’s been floated is a resolution broadly stating a sentiment that such tactics shouldn’t be allowed and will be sanctioned somehow going forward. Others are hoping Republicans will publicly rebuke certain Democrats they say “intimidated” nonpartisan House staff members during the late-June incident.

The latter response was used to admonish Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) after he yelled, “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during a 2009 joint session of Congress. But this situation involves multiple lawmakers, so the same tack may not work.

One Republican source familiar with the ongoing discussions said Republicans’ intent is to maintain decorum in the future and “protect the permanent employees of the House, who the Democrats treated with contempt.” GOP leaders want to make clear that such actions are “not acceptable” and won’t be tolerated.

Perhaps a good talking-to will work.  I’m sure that Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who led the protest and who has scars from beatings he received while leading civil rights marches in the 1960’s, will give in under the pressure and humbly beg pardon.  Yeah?  No.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Taking Them With Him

As Donald Trump’s fortunes continue to sink, he’s also dragging down the Republicans’ chances of keeping the Senate.

Via Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight:

Six of the eight Republican candidates for Senate are polling worse than they were before the conventions. Nothing has changed in Florida, according to the polls. And Sen. Rob Portman in Ohio is the only Republican whose fortunes have improved. (That may be partially because he has a massive fundraising edge over his Democratic opponent, Ted Strickland.) The biggest shifts have been in Illinois, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, and in the latter two, the leader flipped.

Among the eight states, the most precipitous drop for both Trump and the GOP Senate candidate happened in New Hampshire, where Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte had led in most polls before the conventions. Since then, she has trailed in all fourpolls of the state that have been released. MassINC pollster Steve Koczela, who conducted one of the surveys in the New Hampshire average, had told me that Ayotte’s troubles are at least partially because of “how closely tied the Ayotte and Trump vote are” and that he saw that “as evidence that Trump is hurting her.”

Republicans have also seen their prospects worsen in Pennsylvania. Trump is now down 10 percentage points in the state, a headwind that may be too much for Republican Sen. Pat Toomey to overcome. Toomey, like Ayotte, had been leading in most polls before the conventions. But he has trailed in four of the five polls conducted since the conventions. Toomey’s slide, in particular, should worry Republicans. He has made it clear that he is not a Trump fan and has avoided appearing with Trump when he visits the Keystone State. And yet, their fates still seem tied. It may be that down-ballot Republicans can only do so much to keep themselves from getting swept up in an anti-Trump tide.

It’s too much to hope that the Democrats could pick up the House; the fix has been in since the Republicans gerrymandered all those safe districts after the 2010 census and they picked up all those state legislatures.  But the Senate is a different matter.  The Senate alone confirms cabinet appointments and Supreme Court judges, ratifies treaties, and basically keeps the House in check from doing crazy things like repealing Obamacare for the sixtieth time.

I’d love to have a clean sweep in November: The White House, the Senate, and the House all in Democratic hands, but two out of three ain’t bad.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Short Takes

Multiple deaths reported in suicide attack at Istanbul airport.

Deadly train crash in Texas.

Senate Democrats block G.O.P Zika “poison pill” bill.

Trump promises to confront China over trade pacts.

NASA’s Juno probe approaches Jupiter.

R.I.P. Pat Summitt, winningest coach in Division 1 basketball.

The Tigers beat the Marlins 7-5.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

There Goes $7 Million

The Republicans carry on about “government waste, fraud, and abuse.”  And to prove it, they throw $7 million down the shitter.

Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.

The 800-page report, however, included some new details about the night of the attacks, and the context in which it occurred, and it delivered a broad rebuke of government agencies like the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department — and the officials who led them — for failing to grasp the acute security risks in the Libyan city, and especially for maintaining outposts in Benghazi that they could not protect.

The committee, led by Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, also harshly criticized an internal State Department investigation that it said had allowed officials like Mrs. Clinton, then the secretary of state, to effectively choose who would investigate their actions. In addition, it reiterated Republicans’ complaints that the Obama administration had sought to thwart the investigation by withholding witnesses and evidence.

Maybe they should send the bill to Fox News and the RNC.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Short Takes

House Democrats sit-in for a vote on gun control.

North Korea fires off two ballistic missiles.

Bernie Sanders: “It doesn’t appear I’ll be the nominee.”

Colombia and rebels agree to a cease-fire in 50-year conflict.

Michigan A.G. sues two companies over Flint water crisis.

The Tigers beat the Mariners 5-1.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Brave Soldiers

All hail the brave soldiers of the United States Senate who bravely withstood the will of 92% of the people and voted down not one but four attempts to keep assault rifles out of the hands of murderers.

A divided Senate blocked rival election-year plans to curb guns Monday, eight days after the horror of Orlando’s mass shooting intensified pressure on lawmakers to act but knotted them in gridlock anyway — even over restricting firearms for terrorists.

In largely party-line votes, senators rejected one proposal from each side to keep extremists from acquiring guns and a second shoring up the government’s system of required background checks for many firearms purchases.

With the chamber’s visitors’ galleries unusually crowded for a Monday evening — including relatives of victims of past mass shootings and people wearing orange T-shirts saying #ENOUGH gun violence — each measure fell short of the 60 votes needed to progress. Democrats called the GOP proposals unacceptably weak while Republicans said the Democratic plans were too restrictive.

The stalemate underscored the pressure on each party to stand firm on the emotional gun issue going into November’s presidential and congressional elections. It also highlighted the potency of the National Rifle Association, which urged its huge and fiercely loyal membership to lobby senators to oppose the Democratic bills.

“Republicans say, ‘Hey look, we tried,'” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “And all the time, their cheerleaders, the bosses at the NRA, are cheering them.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Orlando shootings — in which the FBI says the American-born gunman swore allegiance to a Islamic State group leader — show the best way to prevent extremists’ attacks here is to defeat them overseas.

“No one wants terrorists to be able to buy guns,” McConnell said. He suggested that Democrats used the day’s votes “to push a partisan agenda or craft the next 30-second campaign ad.”

Well, Mitch, it’s about damn time we made it a partisan issue because the NRA has been doing that for the last forty years, and it won’t be just one 30-second campaign ad; this is going to be plastered all over: THE REPUBLICANS WANT TERRORISTS TO BUY GUNS THE WAY YOU BUY CHEWING GUM with your reptilian smirk underneath it all.

General LaPierre and his ranks are very proud of you, though.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Short Takes

American special forces along with Syrian and Kurdish fighters are moving closer to Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold.

House rejected $37 billion defense bill because it included LGBT protection.

Baylor University fired their football coach and demoted President Kenneth Starr over sexual assault scandal.

Gas prices hit eleven-year low just in time for the holiday weekend.

Tropical Update: Invest 91L looks like it’s getting stronger.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

Tell Us Something We Don’t Know, John

The New York Times is oh so amused that former Speaker John Boehner is calling them like he sees them now.

John A. Boehner never minced words as House speaker, but he usually leveled his insults behind closed doors. Now a private citizen, Mr. Boehner is going public, and the results can be spectacular.

On Wednesday, the former speaker gleefully unloaded on Senator Ted Cruz before a crowd at Stanford University, colorfully describing the Republican presidential contender from Texas as “Lucifer in the flesh.”

“I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,” said Mr. Boehner, who has made previous disparaging remarks about Mr. Cruz in both public and private, though without comparing him directly to Satan.

[…]

To anyone who knew Mr. Boehner in Washington, the comments, first reported by The Stanford Daily, were no surprise. With a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other, Mr. Boehner would often hold forth, offering his rather spirited views of individuals and ideas, though not always for publication. And when he was in exile from the leadership from 1998 to 2006, he was a go-to quote for commentary on the poor conduct of those who were in charge.

But when he took over as speaker, Mr. Boehner clammed up a bit, so the surprise is how freely flowing the comments are these days.

Yes, and that’s exactly what we need in this campaign now; more name-calling and chortle-inducing epithets because up to now it’s been a model of decorum and restraint.

No, I’m not some prude who faints at the utterance of an F-bomb.  I enjoy a good insult as much as the next guy, but in the case of Boehner v. Cruz, it’s not exactly news that nobody likes the junior senator from Texas.  As he himself noted, it’s why he’s running in the first place; being an obnoxious and self-aggrandizing jerk is a feature, not a bug.

What would really be news — and would really torpedo the Cruz campaign — is if John Boehner came out and praised Ted Cruz as the most accommodating and and obsequious brown-noser on Capitol Hill and that this son-of-a-bitch persona was all an act.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Reading

One Of The Greats — Jim Nelson in GQ on the legacy of Barack Obama.

Something is dawning on us—it’s almost too soon for us to admit, but it’s there, a half-considered thought only now blooming in our brains. Maybe we dismiss it with one of those quick cognitive fly swats. Nah, too early to say or I hate that guy. But the truth is coming, and it sounds like this: Barack Obama will be inducted into the league of Great Presidents.

Wait. One of the Greatest? you ask, your thumb emoticon poised to turn up or down on me. The guy haters love to hate with their very best hate game? Like 20-Dollar Bill great? Like Mount Rushmore great?

Yep. (We just won’t build Mount Rushmores anymore.) In so many ways, Obama was better than we imagined, better than the body politic deserved, and far, far better than his enemies will ever concede, but the great thing about being great is that the verdict of enemies doesn’t matter.

In fact, and I say this as a Bill Clinton fan, I now feel certain that, in the coming decades, Obama’s star will rise higher than Clinton’s, and he’ll replace Bill in the public mind as the Greatest Democrat since FDR.

This has to do with the nature of Obama’s leadership, which is to play to legacy (and Clinton’s impulse, which is to play to the room). Bill Clinton will long be revered because he’s charismatic, presided over an economic revival, and changed and elevated the view of the Democratic Party. Barack Obama will long be revered because he’s charismatic, presided over an economic revival, and changed and elevated the view of the presidency. He’s simply bigger than Bill.

More to the point, Obama’s legacy is the sort that gets canonized. Because the first rule of Hall of Fame-dom: The times have to suck for the president not to. Civil wars, World Wars, depressions and recessions. You got to have ’em if you wanna be great. That’s why we rate the Washingtons, Lincolns, and Roosevelts over That Fat Guy with the Walrus Mustache. Like Obama, these Great Men were dealt sucky hands, won big, and left the country better off than it was before.

But it’s also why we downgrade the Jimmy Carters and Herbert Hoovers. Were they as bad in real time as we remember them in history? Probably not. But they were dealt sucky hands, only played one round, and left the country feeling worse off. Legacy Game over. (Hoover reminds me more and more of Donald Trump! Elected with little political experience, Hoover was a rich bastard whose central theme was that government was wasteful. His answer to the Great Depression was to start a trade war and build a massive project called the Hoover Dam. The dam turned out to be a giant wall that did not stop or solve larger problems. Déjà vu, thy name is Trump Wall!)

Obama has a few other edges in the long haul of history, beyond specific hurrah moments like Obamacare, rescuing the economy, and making America way more bi-curious. Being the first black president of course secures a certain legacy. But what now feels distinctly possible is that, just as Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed, over time he may be judged less for the color of his skin than for the content of his character. That character came across every time haters or Trumpers or birthers tried to pull him down into the mud or question his American-ness. He just flew above it all. And, luckily, he took most of us with him. He was the Leader not only of our country but of our mood and disposition, which is harder to rule. At a time when we became more polarized, our discourse pettier and more poisoned, Obama always came across as the Adult in the Room, the one we wanted to be and follow.

Ironically, one of the lock-ins to his Hall of Fame Greatness was originally supposed to be his Achilles’ heel, the shallow thing critics loved to smear him with: his eloquence, his “reliance” on speeches and teleprompters (Sarah Palin once famously screeched, “Mr. President…step away from the teleprompter and do your job!” while herself reading from a teleprompter), as if addressing the country as a whole, trying to unify or inspire people, were a superficial thing. But pivotal words at pivotal moments are not only how we come to admire great leaders, it’s the primary way we remember them. The first thing most people can recall about Lincoln? The Gettysburg Address. FDR? Fireside chats. George Washington? His amazing Snapchats. (George was first with everything.)

With Obama, each thoughtful step of the way, from his soaring acceptance speech (“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep…”) to his epic speeches on race and religion, his responses to the shootings in Tucson and Newtown, the killing of Osama bin Laden, the opening of Cuba (“Todos somos Americanos!”), and countless other momentous occasions, he knew how to speak to our better angels at a time when it was hard to locate any angels.

Lastly, there’s the arc of history, bound to bend downward. As our unity becomes more frayed, more tenuous, and the ability for any politician to get anything done more unlikely, the job of president will become less LBJ tactical and less FDR big-dealer. The job will largely be to preside. To unify where and however we can. In this way, too, Obama pointed the way forward.

It may be hard to imagine now, but in the face of rising chaos, we’ll crave unity all the more, and in future years whoever can speak most convincingly of unity will rise to the top. (It’s also hard to imagine many beating Obama at the game.) This year’s carnival election, with Trump as a kind of debauched circus barker, only makes the distinction clearer. The absurdity and car-crash spectacle of it all have already lent Obama an out-of-time quality, as if he were a creature from another, loftier century. Whatever happens next, I feel this in my bones: We’ll look back at history, hopefully when we’re zooming down the Barack Obama Hyperloop Transport System, and think: That man was rare. And we were damn lucky to have him.

Hail New Columbia — Clare Foran in The Atlantic looks at the case for Washington, D.C. statehood.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is working to breathe life into a longstanding, but controversial, effort to convert the nation’s capital into America’s 51st state.

The mayor ​doubled down on the fight for D.C. statehood on Friday, pledging on Twitter to introduce legislation that would put statehood on the ballot in November 2016. Bowser also called for a citywide vote on the matter at a gathering of Democratic and civil rights leaders and D.C. residents, The Washington Post reports, an event that took place at around the same time that protesters were descending on D.C. to rally for statehood.

It’s practically an official District of Columbia past time to lament the fact that residents of the nation’s capital pay taxes but lack full voting representation in Congress. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s delegate to Congress, is barred from voting on final passage of legislation. The somewhat odd state of affairs is a sore subject. License plates in the District defiantly read “Taxation Without Representation.”Advocates for statehood have been kicking around ideas to achieve their aim for years. Supporters have even proposed naming the 51st state, if it ever comes into existence, “New Columbia.”

The statehood fight highlights some of the disparities and apparent contradictions of the nation’s capital. D.C. plays host to the country’s powerful political elite. It is also a city where many residents live in abject poverty, and where the divide between the haves and the have-nots is stark, and often overlooked by the political class. For statehood supporters, the fact that D.C. residents lack a voice in Congress on par with residents of states across the country is an egregious embodiment of that disparity. Nevertheless, the renewed push for D.C. statehood will undoubtedly be an uphill battle, and one that likely puts the Democratic mayor on a collision course with Republican congressional leaders.

Congressional Republicans tend to bristle at the notion that the District of Columbia should become the 51st state. Conservative critics often invoke the Constitution to make their claim. “Voting Representation for the District of Columbia: Violating the Framers’ Vision and Constitutional Commands,” reads the title of a legal memorandum published in 2009 by the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation. Since D.C. is a liberal stronghold, if it were to achieve statehood that could also help Democrats consolidate power in Congress.

Aides for Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not immediately return requests for comment.

The mayor appears to be setting an ambitious statehood agenda, championing a plan to achieve greater fiscal independence from Congress for the nation’s capital as well. The wonky fiscal plan would, the Post writes, amount to a “declaration of independence by the District of Columbia” and stand as a “clear challenge to the ‘absolute supremacy’ that Congress has wielded over the District since it was created in 1790.”

The future of the fight is unclear, and it could fail to gain much traction. But the mayor’s efforts are sure to raise the profile of the issue even if they ultimately fall short of transforming D.C. into the 51st state . The campaign might also endear Bowser to D.C. residents who seem to be increasingly in favor of statehood. A Post poll released last year found that: “Nearly 3 in 4 residents say they are upset that the District has no voting representation in Congress, and about half describe themselves as ‘very upset’ over the absence.” For now, the more immediate question is how far the mayor is willing to take the fight, and how forceful the pushback will be.

Remember Ben Carson? — Andy Borowitz in The New Yorker.

WEST PALM BEACH (Satire from The Borowitz Report)—Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, stirred controversy on Thursday by saying in a televised interview that he had no recollection of running for President of the United States.

Appearing on the Fox News Channel, Dr. Carson responded to host Sean Hannity’s question about his ten-month-long candidacy by saying, “I do not recall any of that occurring.”

“I’ve been told that I did it, but I find it impossible to believe,” he said. “I don’t think I’d forget a thing like that.”

Dr. Carson said he had seen photographs and videos of him campaigning for the Republican nomination but called them “the work of an evil person who is really good at PhotoShop and whatnot.”

He said he did not know who would create such an elaborate hoax to convince him that he had run for President “when I clearly did not,” but he speculated about the person’s motives.

“Someone is trying to mess with my mind,” he said. “And when I find out who is doing that I will make them pay dearly.”

While Carson insisted that “there is no way I ran for President,” he did not rule out running for the Republican nomination in the future.

“I think I’d be really good at it,” he said.

Doonesbury — “Words, words, mere words.”