Three Things You Need to Know – February 9, 2018

The Senate Circus Show

Last night might have been one of the weirdest and silliest nights our government has seen in quite a while. You easily could have watched CSPAN last night and actually been entertained. If last night’s theatrics had a musical score it would have been somewhere in between circus music and the Benny Hill theme.

The Senate agreed two days ago on a long-term bipartisan budget deal that is the equivalent of a massive raging dumpster fire. This set the tone for last night’s silliness when Rand Paul stood up in front of Senate Republicans and called them out on their hypocrisy. Paul didn’t pull any punches. He - straight up - called them all hypocrites and warned that quote “a day of reckoning is coming.”

Rand Paul’s right and every Republican in that very room agreed with him back in 2011 when they all fought Democrats to install debt caps. This new budget obliterates those debt caps AND sets the precedent for this to get even worse in the years to come. Did Republicans suddenly have a change of heart or did they never really believe in fiscal responsibility to begin with. Spoiler alert… it’s the latter. The truth is that they just wanted to win in 2011 by imposing debt caps, and they just want to win now by erasing them.

So BRAVO to Rand Paul for actually saying out loud what some on the Senate floor were probably thinking and feeling. Paul kept his criticism going long enough to delay the vote which actually caused the government to shut down a little after midnight. In the end, it was a valiant but losing effort. The Senate voted 71-28 to pass the deal. It then shot over to the House for a quick vote to try and avoid the shutdown extending into Friday.

Over at the House, Nancy Pelosi urged her colleagues not to show their hand until they knew how many Republicans would vote YES. As the pressure mounted she finally declared that she wouldn’t vote, because of DACA of course, but that she wouldn’t hold anyone else back from voting. One by one Democrat YES votes started flooding in. Is Pelosi auditioning for an acting gig? Neither her theatrics last night nor her 8 plus hour long DACA speech, had any value beyond pure theater.

I’m telling you, last night was kind of entertaining. If you were bored and nerdy enough to watch CSPAN at 2 am (don’t judge) you were either laughing, crying or downright pissed off. What else beyond a good movie or a BAD ineffective government can deliver on all that in one night?

The Dow Drop Part Deux

After nine years of stock market growth, the smooth sailing is finally getting choppy.

Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped another 1,032 points. It’s the second day this week that the Dow has lost over a thousand points. Monday’s point loss was the largest single-day drop on record. Yesterday’s was the second-largest.

The next two biggest single-day point drops on record happened in 2008.

The Dow has now dropped into “correction” territory, which means it is down 10% from its highest point of over 26,000 on January 26. The Dow hasn’t been in a Correction since February 2016. It would have to drop another 10% to be considered a Bear market.

When the market is in a “Correction,” it often indicates that investors are turning pessimistic about the markets. However, a Correction doesn’t mean the market is unraveling. Since 1998, there have only been 10 Corrections (including yesterday’s). Only two of those corrections continued the decline into Bear markets.

Everyone is scrambling for an explanation for this week’s shaky market. No one knows whether this volatility will last days or weeks. Investors seem to be nervous about inflation, and that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates faster than originally thought. The fear about inflation is driven by the increase in wages, which are rising at the fastest rate since 2009.

While the market is definitely acting weird this week, it seems more out of place than usual, simply because the Dow has risen to unprecedented levels in the last year. We’re not used to volatility, so any shakiness at all seems more disconcerting than it might in a more average year. Many analysts think this volatility is long overdue and nothing more than a healthy correction.

If nothing else, this week has been an interesting test case in the psychology of investors. The market has been doing so well for so long, people are in panic mode that it can’t possibly continue.

Racially Motivated Olympic Coin Toss?

A coin toss is causing controversy today.

You heard me. A coin toss.

Here’s what happened.

Two athletes were nominated by the United States Olympic team to be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony.

Shani Davis, an African American male five-time Olympian and Erin Hamlin, a white female four-time Olympian were tied for the position.

Both received the same number of votes from the representatives.

So, how do you handle a tie like this in the most objective and pragmatic way possible?

You flip a coin.

Erin Hamlin won and Shani Davis played the race card on Twitter writing:

“TeamUSA dishonorably tossed a coin to decide its 2018 flag bearer. No problem. I can wait until 2022. #BlackHistoryMonth2018”

Excuse me?

How can Davis possibly think that a coin toss was racially motivated?

What is the answer here? Should the Team USA have given Davis the position just because he is black? No. Did they give it to Erin just because she is a white female? No.

Should we start banning coin tosses in sports?

It’s the luck of the draw. It is the most non-biased and objective way you can pick something.

Davis was obviously still upset about not being flag bearer because he skipped the Opening Ceremony this morning.

What a sore loser. I’m glad he didn’t represent America at the Olympics today. He’s got a bad attitude—something even four shiny Olympic medals can’t hide.

MORE 3 THINGS

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.