New numbers out this morning from the Labor Department show that in April, payrolls rose by 164,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%. That’s the first time it’s fallen below 4% since 2000.
That puts another question mark behind the “blue wave” narrative, since a new Morning Consult poll found that Americans ranked the economy as the #1 issue affecting their vote in the upcoming Congressional election. It was followed by security issues, health care, senior’s issues and education. “Impeaching Trump” didn’t even make the list.
Here’s another clue that conservatives might want to fire up their DVRs in case November brings more tears from shocked talking heads covering the election, like the 2016 coverage that they like to savor again and again on YouTube. In key races where Democrats currently hold Senate seats (including Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia), the Republicans are now ahead on the generic preference ballot. Voters say they feel it’s “time for a change.” Now, it’s up to the Republicans to pick candidates voters will be comfortable changing to.
Below are the full results of the poll, if you like handicapping horse races before the horses have even been chosen.
Thursday was the National Day of Prayer, and during the observance at the White House, President Trump announced the creation of the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative. It’s a new office aimed at protecting Americans’ religious liberty. Trump said it “will help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, our communities and our great country.” Trump also issued an executive order that “It shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom.” It also instructs the IRS not to target churches or faith-based groups because they speak out on political or moral issues from a religious perspective. You can read more details at the link.
I continue to hear liberals questioning why Evangelicals back Trump when he does so many things of which they should disapprove: his sometimes blue language, his background as a playboy, etc. Part of it is our community believes in forgiveness and redemption, so we don’t necessary hold things that people did years ago against them today. We also don’t hold people to unreasonable standards of perfection because we realize there was only one perfect person among us, and that was 2,000 years ago. We tend to judge people more by their current actions, and there’s no question that Trump has been the best President at protecting religious liberties since…well, possibly ever. Many Presidents have paid lip service to protecting religious freedom but not taken much action. Trump didn’t just make campaign promises, he’s keeping and surpassing them
Maybe Trump has also seemed to be a godsend partly because he followed eight years of the most hostile administration to religious liberties since…definitely ever. During the Obama era, each new day seemed to bring a new assault on religious believers until the government was actually suing a charitable order of impoverished nuns in federal court to force them to pay for abortion drugs and contraceptives. If you’d made that part of the plot of a novel in 2007, critics would have dismissed it as the paranoid ravings of a right-wing conspiracy nut. So if some Christians view Trump as being like the answer to a prayer for an oasis after eight years in the desert, it’s really not that hard to understand.
We should acknowledge that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has at long last done the right thing by voting to expel Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from the Oscars organization. To show how far attitudes have shifted on tolerating sexual harassment and sexual assault in Hollywood, the vote to expel came less than a week after Cosby was found guilty on three charges of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004.
By contrast, the ejection of Polanski comes exactly 40 years after he pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, then fled to Europe to avoid punishment (that was a plea bargain charge; what he was actually accused of doing was drugging and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl.) It also comes 15 years after the Academy honored him with a Best Director Oscar and some of the same stars who recently gave themselves standing ovations for speaking up against sexual predators gave Polanski a standing ovation. They also patted themselves on the back for defiantly defending his artistic prowess against us intolerant conservatives who never believed that being talented at directing or acting was an excuse for raping anyone, let alone children (note to Polanski: let children alone!) It’s nice to see that it took only four decades for the celebrities who lecture us mere mortals on our inferior, unenlightened morals to agree with us on that point.
But while the “Me Too” movement has finally scored a major court victory against a Hollywood celebrity, shamed the Oscar people into ejecting rapists, and claimed a number of scalps in the acting and TV news realms, there’s one place you’d expect to be ultra-sensitive to mistreatment of women, yet the movement seems to have stalled there. That’s in the Democratic Party, which lionizes Bill Clinton and Ted “Cocktail Waitress sandwich” Kennedy.
For a brief period, there was a flurry of women coming forward to complain about sexual harassment or worse by Democratic political figures and the lack of outrage over it from a party that seems to have a bottomless supply of outrage. The movement claimed a couple of powerful liberal legislators in Al Franken and John Conyers. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand dared finally to address the donkey in the room by asking why the party had so long ignored and demeaned the many women who have made very disturbing allegations against Bill Clinton. But recently, all that seems to have quietened down and gone away. Sen. Gillibrand has even backed off, even though nothing has changed in terms of what Clinton’s accusers have to say about him. So what happened?
Turns out it wasn’t an accident or a natural fading of interest. As Daniel Greenfield of Front Page Magazine reports, the squelching of the “Me Too” movement within the Democratic Party was the result of a concerted, ruthless counter-attack plan involving pressure from donors, threats to careers and counter-accusations against the accusers. Like moderate Democrats who speak out against Nancy Pelosi then somehow end up voting for her, they faced a Hobson’s choice: shut up and get back in line or get out of politics. You can read the sordid details at the link.
Does it make you furious? Me, too.
This week, a federal judge in New York ruled that Iran must pay about $6 billion in damages to the families of 9/11 victims for its part in providing assistance, including training, to the 9/11 hijackers. The case was made possible by the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which allowed nations accused of terrorism to be held liable. Congress passed it in 2016, after overriding President Obama’s veto.
The victory is considered largely symbolic, since Iran never responded to the lawsuit and isn’t likely ever to pay. Of course, we could have taken some of the damages out of the $1.7 billion Obama sent to Iran, but that’s already been sent to Iran. Too bad there was no way to override that decision.
A recent poll found that while young voters still lean heavily toward the Democrats (nice work, peer pressure, biased media and leftist professors!), there is a noticeable erosion and more support for Republican Congressional candidates, especially among white Millennials. And I wouldn't be surprised to see rising erosion among black Millennials as well.
If the GOP wants to keep Congress, then they should trumpet this story far and wide. Remind young voters that during the Obama years that they were repeatedly told were the coolest time ever, there were long lines of people competing for every job and it looked as if they’d spend the rest of their lives sleeping on mom’s couch and trying to pay off staggering college loan debt with their tips from Starbucks. Now, after just over a year of a GOP House and Senate with Trump in the White House, unemployment is so low and business expansion is so strong that employers are competing for workers.
And here’s the news that should be in every Republican ad aimed at Millennials: employers nationwide are so desperate for help, they’re dropping marijuana from the required employee drug tests. As the head of drug testing practices at a major law firm said, "I have heard from lots of clients things like, 'I can't staff the third shift and test for marijuana.'"
I find it hard to believe that the vaunted “blue wave” is inevitable if the Democrats can no longer depend on the full support of pot smokers who work the night shift.
It’s often said that “old white guys” are the only group that it’s okay to discriminate against. Well, I’m happy to report that it’s no longer okay, at least in the eyes of the law.
The Orlando-based Seasons 52 restaurant chain (part of the group that owns Olive Garden) agreed to pay nearly $3 million to settle a class action suit for disproportionately rejecting applicants over 40. The discrimination was age-based, not gender-based, since old white gals apparently weren’t welcome, either. Job applicants at 35 locations nationwide complained that they were told by managers that “Seasons 52 girls are younger and fresher,” “Most of the workers are younger,” and “Seasons 52 hires young people” (this was even for jobs in the back where customers never saw you.) One manager even told the EEOC that “old white guys” are not employable there. Not a smart comment to make to federal employment regulators. In addition to the monetary settlement, the chain agreed to change its hiring policies and employ a compliance monitor to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
It’s easy to make light of this story, but there’s nothing funny about age discrimination, one of the most pernicious forms of discrimination, and one that can eventually victimize everyone, regardless of race, gender or any other factor. With many Americans lacking the savings needed for retirement and employers needing more workers, you can expect to see a lot more older people in the workplace. Maybe that trend will teach employers that they were harming themselves by screening out people who were brought up in a time when young people were expected to get summer and after-school jobs and earn their keep instead of today, when many kids expect a trophy just for showing up. Note that I didn’t say “all kids today.” That would be age discrimination against the young!
Seattle is following the lead of San Francisco, New York City and L.A. in becoming so far left that even liberals can’t stand to live there anymore. A lot of people talk about the big issues and broader trends. But in a recent Seattle Times column, a long-time resident describes his infuriating dealings with city leaders who are too busy virtue-signaling to fill a pothole and call anyone who asks them to show common sense a Nazi. He illustrates the problem on a personal, human level. Multiply his experiences times a few million and you’ll see why so many blue-staters are heading for red states that U-Haul can barely keep with the demand for moving trucks.
Word to the Wise: If you have a Twitter account, change the password right away. Not a breach, thankfully, but a bug that needs to be squashed. Explanation here:
Prayers today for the people of Hawaii, as a state of emergency has been declared for some areas due to the eruption of the Kilauea Volcano. About 1500 people have been evacuated as steam and lava came pouring out of a crack near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island. So far, there have been no reports of injuries. Let’s hope it stays that way and that Kilauea is just letting off a little steam, not blowing its top.
Thanks for reading!