Mid-Day Digest

Apr. 5, 2019


“When Men are employ’d they are best contented. For on the Days they work’d they were good-natur’d and chearful; and with the consciousness of having done a good Days work they spent the Evenings jollily; but on the idle Days they were mutinous and quarrelsome, finding fault with their Pork, the Bread, and in continual ill-humour.” —Benjamin Franklin (1771)

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March Jobs Numbers Bounce Back Bigly

Following February’s lackluster jobs report, many economists surmised that it was merely a minor blip on an otherwise booming economy. Given the March jobs numbers, it appears that assessment was accurate, as the U.S. economy added a healthy 196,000 jobs last month. This marks the 102nd consecutive month of job gains, which have ramped up precipitously following President Donald Trump’s election. The current headline unemployment rate held steady at 3.8%, as did the fuller measure at 7.3%. The average hourly earnings rate is 3.2% higher than a year ago, and wage growth has now more than doubled the annual inflation rate.

The nation’s future economic outlook is bright. The New York Times reports, “The number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time has declined to lows not seen in decades, and recent surveys of the construction and manufacturing industries did not suggest that employers were pulling back.”

All this economic news it good for Americans, and it’s good for Trump as well. But good economic news is usually bad for Democrats. Assuming the economy doesn’t take an unforeseen dramatic downturn prior to the 2020 election (and we do have a long way to go), Trump will be difficult to defeat for any Democrat challenger. Since 1933, only three presidents have lost their reelection bids — Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush. What did all those presidents have in common? Well, as James Carville famously opined, it’s “the economy, stupid.” They all faced significant economic downturns on their watch.

As for Trump? The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein notes that he “can boast of having presided over the lowest recorded average unemployment rate of any of his predecessors at this point in their presidencies.”

So, while the current polling numbers show Trump seemingly underwater with an approval rating hovering in the low 40s, history shows that in a good economy voters almost always opt for staying the course rather than seeking change. That’s good news for Trump and bad news for Democrats.

It appears that many in the current field of Democrat presidential candidates have recognized this reality, which explains why they’re busy spinning the good economy as somehow bad. The problem is the economy is doing so well that even The Washington Post refuses to go to bat for them and instead has called out several Democrats for their “flat-out falsehood.” Here’s hoping the good economy keeps on chugging along.

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Time to Turn Off the TV?

America is the most prosperous nation in the history of the world, and with that prosperity comes a lot of benefits like leisure time. What do Americans do with that time? A lot of us are spending several hours a day watching television.

Verizon released a study this week revealing the states that watch the most TV, as well as what kinds of shows folks in those states are watching.

First, the numbers. The top 10 states for most hours spent with eyes glued to the boob tube were West Virginia, Delaware, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Nevada, North Dakota, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas. West Virginia led that pack with an astounding 4.5 hours per day — that’s 45 minutes more than Delaware, over an hour longer than Arkansas, and more than two hours ahead of the states watching the least. Those states are led by Utah at only 2.25 hours, followed by Maine, Vermont, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Washington, Montana, and California (at two hours 39 minutes).

What were people watching? In opioid-ravaged West Virginia, as well as Louisiana, Mississippi, #11 South Carolina, and others, it’s soap operas. In Delaware, Nevada, and Georgia, it’s “reality” TV. Nationwide, it’s sitcoms. In the states watching the least television, news programming dominates.

We’ll leave commentary on the quality of that programming for another day (other than to say this: Really — soap operas?). But some other things stand out. As The Resurgent’s Jess Fields notes, “An interesting correlation appears here. The states that watch the least television also, on average, tend to be more active states. These states, on average, tend to participate more in outdoor recreation, enjoyment of nature, and physical fitness.” Relatedly, of the first seven states in Gallup’s most recent Wellbeing Index, six are on the list of those watching TV the least. Correlation or causation?

Conversely, the 10 states watching the most TV are also among the most obese in America. Eight of the states with the heaviest people are among the top 13 in hours of TV per day, including West Virginia leading both lists.

Something else, however, is greatly puzzling. Eight of the top 10 TV-watching states voted for Donald Trump in 2016, while seven of the 10 states watching the least voted for Hillary Clinton. Why is it that red-state folks are watching so much entertainment from leftist Hollywood? Some twisted form of Stockholm syndrome? Or is it simply that Democrat voters in those states are driving the numbers in their desperate attempt at some connection with their ideological brethren?

In any case, Americans watch a lot of TV. That has consequences worth addressing.

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For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.


  • On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced, “We’re going to give [Mexico] a one-year warning and if the drugs don’t stop or largely stop, we’re going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular cars. And if that doesn’t stop the drugs, we close the border.” This negates, for now, the economic impact of an immediate shutdown while giving the U.S. time to evaluate Mexico’s willingness to take effective measures.
  • According to testimony by former Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan: “Today, 60 to 65 percent of those illegally crossing are family units and minors, and because of our broken laws and policies, those individuals are allowed into the country. So let’s do the math. One million this year anticipated. That’s means we’re going to release 650,000 individuals into this country that are going to remain here indefinitely. This makes the current crisis in my opinion the worst we’ve ever experienced.”
  • Democrats are trying hard now to incriminate Attorney General William Barr, a ploy to which the Justice Department responded: “Given the extraordinary public interest in the matter, the Attorney General decided to release the [Robert Mueller] report’s bottom-line findings and his conclusions immediately — without attempting to summarize the report — with the understanding that the report itself would be released after the redactions process. The Department continues to work with the Special Counsel on appropriate redactions to the report so that it can be released to Congress and the public.”
  • The Washington Post says, “The White House could attempt to block the release of President Trump’s tax returns to Democrats,” which is perfectly understandable given the Democrats’ persistent witch hunt.
  • Unsurprisingly, Jussie Smollett has ignored Chicago’s reimbursement deadline related to its investigation of Smollett’s hate-hoax, which prompted the city yesterday to begin initiating a lawsuit to recoup investigatory expenditures. Meanwhile, other reports suggest Smollett will get his “Empire” job back.
  • Reuters reports that “Trump plans to nominate former pizza chain executive and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, where he will help set interest rates for the world’s biggest economy.” Assuming all goes according to plan, Cain will sit alongside Stephen Moore, who is also being nominated by Trump to join the board.
  • The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact has procured another member. The New Mexico governor this week signed off on a bill that circumvents the Electoral College by utilizing the popular vote. “States that have passed similar legislation … now represent 189 electoral votes,” according to The Daily Caller. “The compact could become official when that number hits 270, enough votes to elect the president of the United States.”
  • Welfare reform: “More than 750,000 people, many among the nation’s poorest, would likely lose their food stamps this year under a new rule proposed by the Trump administration. The proposed rule aims to make more able-bodied adults work for government aid by placing limitations on a state’s ability to waive the current employment requirement for recipients.” (The Hill)
  • “Rejecting a plank of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, the House on Thursday invoked never-before-used powers to demand that his administration withdraw support from the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The Senate passed the same resolution in March with bipartisan support. Trump is expected to issue a veto of the measure, his second as president, and Congress does not have the votes to override him.” (Associated Press)
  • Humor: The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything endorse Bernie Sanders (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: Why China’s intellectual-property theft is a concern for national security (The Daily Signal)
  • Policy:The implications of closing the U.S.-Mexico border (American Action Forum)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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David Harsanyi: “In a recent op-ed, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg implored the state to get more involved in governing the internet. … Zuckerberg wants to institute these plans in ‘common global framework.’ Well, Vladimir Putin recently signed a bill that makes it a crime to ‘disrespect’ the state and spread ‘fake news.’ France, who Zuckerberg says is already working with Facebook, has passed hate-speech laws that allow the banning of political content. The same is true for many other nations. And let’s not forget fully authoritarian nations like China. Are those the countries that Zuckerberg trusts to assist the United States in instituting a framework for acceptable internet speech? … In the end, having an occasional amateurish fake news piece drop into your social media feed is far preferable to having a censor deciding what constitutes appropriate news.”


Upright: “If the central transgender assertion is a lie … then God forgive us if we utter a word in its favor. … What is at stake … is the irreplaceable right to say of one thing, ‘true,’ and of another, ‘false’ — to define the basic realities from which our politics proceed. A man is a man. A woman is a woman. Let us not pretend otherwise.” —Graham Hillard

Friendly fire: “This is not the time for milquetoast incrementalism. It just isn’t. But with that being said, nothing about what I just said would provide a justification for a massive socialist economic-policy platform. [It’s] just not needed. There’s no need to lie to voters right now.” —Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) on the Green New Deal

Friendly fire II: “Should [Democrats] continue to look at things through a 2019 lens, from 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago? Otherwise who would want to run for president? No one is perfect. If Democrats keep like this, good luck. Hashtag Trump 2020.” —CNN’s Don Lemon

The BIG Lie: “When anti-choice politicians limit access to reproductive care, women die.” —Hillary Clinton (You know what does get people killed? Abortions. And refusing to protect government officials before and during a terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate.)

Sore loser: “We had this little election back in 2018. And despite the final tally and the inauguration and the situation we find ourselves in, I do have one very affirmative statement to make: We won.” —failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams

Braying Jenny: “While there’s [sic] still those that think [Trump will] never be impeached, you never know. So, let me leave you with this: Despite the fact that we haven’t gotten the [Mueller] report yet, and we’re going after it, and it may be subpoenaed, that it is being worked on, I’m still saying impeach 45.” —Rep. Maxine Waters

Braying Jackass: “Repeat after me: the NRA is not America. They are just noise. A noise that doesn’t even echo what their members believe. I do not fear them. And we will soon defeat them.” —Rep. Eric Swalwell

Alpha Jackass: “God does not love this world. God never sent Jesus to die for this world. Jesus died because he was 2,000 years too soon to bring about the end of the civilization of the Jews. He never was on no cross. There was no Calvary for that Jesus. … I represent the Messiah. I represent the Jesus and I am that Jesus.” —Louis Farrakhan

And last… “If we killed criminals on death row using the same methods we use to kill babies in the womb it would be considered cruel and unusual punishment.” —Allie Beth Stuckey

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.



For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

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