TheDC Morning: This guy is actually in Congress

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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1.) This guy is actually in Congress — Sadly, this could be a multi-part series. In any case, Tuesday night’s “Hannity” featured a doozy of a showdown between Sean Hannity and Rep. Keith Ellison. TheDC’s Jeff Poor reports:

“Live on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Channel show on Tuesday night, Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison ripped into Hannity for airing a video of President Barack Obama’s remarks on the sequester to the tune of the ‘Carmina Burana’ overture “O Fortuna” by Carl Orff. HANNITY: ‘Congressman, welcome back, sir.’ ELLISON: ‘You bet.’ HANNITY: ‘I guess that’s what we can describe as staying on message, something the Democratic Party I would argue is very good at.’ ELLISON: ‘You’re pretty good at it, too.’ HANNITY:  ‘Thank you.’ ELLISON: ‘Quite frankly you are the worst excuse for a journalist I have ever seen.'”

Watch the video. It’s entertaining in a train-wreck sort of way. But watch it again and ignore the fireworks and bluster. Listen to Ellison’s plan to solve our long-term debt problem. He mentions closing tax loopholes and ending certain deductions for large corporations, citing specifically tax breaks for oil companies and special tax deductions for corporate jets. If Congress took Ellison’s advice on these two proposals, America’s deficit would decrease, at the very most, much less than $5 billion dollars a year. Our deficit last year was over $1 trillion. Our total debt is over $16 trillion. Our unfunded liabilities are in the tens of trillions of dollars. Even if you closed every so-called corporate tax loophole, the amount of money it would bring in would be negligible in the scheme of our overall budget problems. By all means, debate the merits of closing such loopholes. But don’t pretend it goes a long way to solve our long-term debt problem. At best, Ellison is ignorant and/or an idiot.

2.) Welcome to the Wormit Kingdom — The Worm is in the Hermit Kingdom. Seriously. TheDC’s Taylor Bigler reports:

“Former NBA star/’Celebrity Apprentice’ contestant and current insane person Dennis Rodman is in North Korea filming an HBO docu-series, because why not?  According to the Associated Press, ‘The American known as The Worm is set to arrive Tuesday in Pyongyang, becoming an unlikely ambassador for sports diplomacy at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.’ Rodman is on the trip with VICE media company for the TV series that will air on the cable network in April.”

Some reports suggest that Rodman may even have a meeting with Kim Jong Un, who was purportedly a huge basketball fan when he was a teenager. That should be fun! Maybe if Rodman has time, he could ask the leader of the world’s most oppressive regime about his country’s concentration camps. Of course, only if he has time.

3.) Another great idea from Congress! — It all depends on how you define great, really. TheDC’s Caroline May reports:

“California Democratic Rep.  has introduced legislation to create a federal Department of Peacebuilding that would cultivate peace and take on the causes of violence and conflict. Lee’s legislation H.R. 808 “Department of Peacebuilding Act of 2013″ also would create a Cabinet-level Secretary of Peacebuilding focused on creating peace and preventing violence. ‘This culture of violence that we live in is unacceptable,’ Lee said in a statement her office distributed earlier this month. ‘On our streets and across the globe, the pervasive presence of violence has infected the lives of millions, and it is far past time we address it as a nation. We invest hundreds of billions each year in the Pentagon, in war colleges, military academies, and our national defense universities all to develop war tactics and strategies.'”

This is basically an old Dennis Kucinich idea, which in traditional Kucinich fashion is a bad one. That’s because we already have a Department of Peace. It’s called the Department of Defense.

4.) The Democrats are messin’ with Texas — This could be bad for the GOP. TheDC’s Christopher Bedford writes:

“On Tuesday morning, the Democrats launched an independent group called Battleground Texas that is capable of making the Lone Star state a battleground by 2016, and a lean-Democrat state by 2024, effectively breaking the back of the national GOP and blocking a Republican path to the White House. Yes — that Texas: The state that has not elected a single statewide Democratic official in ten years, with Republicans going 100-0; the state that has had an entirely Republican government since 2002, with current super majorities in the legislature; and the state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic president since Jimmy Carter in 1976. History aside, if neither party lifts a finger to change current trends, the demographic changes taking place in Texas will — by themselves — seal it as blue by around 2040. The Democrats, however, plan to lift more than a finger; and if they play their cards right, they could speed the process up by 25 years, putting Texas in play much sooner.”

5.) Tweet of Yesterday daveweigel: We focus too much on Ashley Judd and not enough on the 300 million odd other Americans who will also never be senators.

6.) Today in North Korean News — BREAKING: “Kim Jong Il Praised by Syrian Personage”

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Jamie Weinstein