1.) Washington’s Funniest Celebrity tries new routine on ‘This Week’ — White House economic advisor and stand-up comic Austan Goolsbee told some really bad jokes yesterday on “This Week,” alleges David Frum. “I don’t see why anybody’s talking about playing chicken with the…with the debt ceiling.” Goolsbee said yesterday. Also: “If we hit the debt ceiling, that’s…essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history” and that it would “be the first default in history caused purely by insanity.” While the aforementioned superlative is debatable, the rest of Goolsbee’s claim is not. As David Frum points out, Goolsbee is jousting with windmills: Two weeks after the election, Rep. John Boehner said, “Whether we like it or not, the federal government has obligations and we have obligations on our part.” More likely, writes Frum, is that Obama is playing chicken not with debt, but with Americans’ confidence. That’s not funny at all.
2.) Two years after Heller, D.C. posts lowest murder rate in half-century — In fact, two years after District residents had their right to keep and bear arms restored by the Supreme Court, the homicide rate for Washington, D.C., was the lowest it’s been in half a century. “The District finished 2010 with 131 homicides — a 9 percent reduction from 2009 and the lowest number of killings in the nation’s capital since 1963,” reports the Washington Times. “The drop, from 143 killings, was the second straight decline and the seventh time in the last 10 years that the city once referred to as the ‘murder capital’ of the U.S. recorded fewer than 200 homicides.” Does correlation imply causation? Not always, especially considering that the bureaucratic iron maiden engineered by Mayor Fenty and MPD Chief Cathy Lanier has made it quite difficult for law-abiding citizens to own guns. But it helps to remember the position taken by the Brady Center the day the Heller decision was announced: “After the Heller ruling, as before, approximately 80 Americans will continue to die from guns every day.” Perhaps: But fewer of those deaths are occurring in a city that once saw 482 murders in a year. That’s progress!
3.) Incoming governors bemoan State Budgetocalypse 2.0 — Incoming governors in Michigan, New York and New Mexico are doing their best to stamp out the distinctly American misconception that 2011 is going to be a great year just because it is not 2010 anymore. “This election…was the point where we understood that the old ways don’t work,” said Michigan’s Rick Snyder. “We won’t take more of your money from you or grow the deficit because we are not willing to make the same tough decisions you have had to make,” said New Mexico’s Susana Martinez. Even a Democrat got in on the austerity, with New York’s Andrew Cuomo keeping his own swearing in simple. “I don’t think a grand ceremony … would be appropriate,” Cuomo said.
4.) Will airport ads deliver incoming Republicans from fiscal temptation? — It’s easy to lose your bearings once you get to Washington. Other than Las Vegas, it is the only city in the U.S. run by sentient tapeworms. You come here expecting to change the world, and the next thing you know, you’re spending all day eating lunch with people who wear perfectly dimpled neck ties but you never feel full. The deficit hawks have a strategy for keeping their people on a single track: “Signs asking freshman members of Congress to keep their promises to cut spending are among the first things newly elected reps will see at Reagan National Airport as they make their way to Washington to start the 112th Congress,” reports John Rossomando for The Daily Caller. The signs will greet the new members as they arrive in Parasite City, and as they fly back to their earnest and threadbare constituents. The signs read as follows: “Congratulations on your election victory. Now cut some spending.”; “Dear new member of Congress, we know you just got here, but have you cut some spending yet?”; and “Remember your campaign promise to cut spending? We do. Keep your promise.”
5.) America has failed to bring Wet ‘n’ Wild to Iraq — “In the spring of 2008, Gen. David H. Petraeus decided he had spent enough time gazing from his helicopter at an empty and desolate lake on the banks of the Tigris River. He ordered the lake refilled and turned into a water park for all of Baghdad to enjoy,” reports the Washington Post. “[T]oday the Baghdad park is nearly waterless, more than two years after a U.S. military inauguration ceremony that included a marching band and water-scooter rides. Much of the compound is in ruins, swing sets have become piles of twisted steel, and the personal watercraft’s engines have been gutted for spare parts.” There is a universal truth about the human condition in that anecdote, but none dare speak its name.
6.) New York sanitation workers boozed through snow disaster — “A group of on-duty Sanitation supervisors is under investigation for allegedly buying booze and chilling in their cozy department car for hours Monday night after the blizzard stranded a bus and three snowplows blocks away,” reports the New York post. “The city Department of Investigation is probing the incident after witnesses said four snow blowers blew off their duties to get blitzed, buying two six-packs of beer from a Brooklyn bodega. The workers then walked five blocks to their car, which was in 20 inches of snow in the middle of 18th at McDonald avenues near the F train entrance, passing the stuck bus and idle plows on 18th Avenue between Third and Fourth streets.” And sanitation workers thought they had it rough before they decided to sabotage the city’s cleanup efforts!