Category: Opinion


Too much money is too good a problem for Dem hopefuls…

Record-breaking campaign hauls in House races across the country have left some nominees with an enviable conundrum: How can they possibly spend all the money?

At least 60 House Democratic candidates reportedly raised more than $1 million each in the third quarter of the campaign cycle that ended Sept. 30, eye-popping sums that defy even the most optimistic of projections. But with Nov. 6 less than a month away, some political observers have wondered publicly whether a candidate could have too much cash. 

That was the question from the Twitterverse when Roll Call reported last week that Democrat Amy McGrath had raised an astounding $3.65 million in the third quarter — one of the largest sums reported so far — in her bid against Republican Rep. Andy Barr in Kentucky’s 6th District. “How do you even spend that much money in KY-06?? Wow!” tweeted Alixandria Lapp, president of House Majority PAC, a super PAC tied to House Democratic leadership. 

One response came from Democratic campaign veteran Brandon Lorenz: “Yard signs?”

A joke, but seriously, Democratic strategists say the fundraising hauls could pose a real challenge to any campaign, especially in areas where the money goes a lot further. The way a campaign responds to the largesse could be a clear indication of how well — or how poorly — it is run.

Flashback: Democratic Candidates Raise Millions in Second Quarter Fundraising

Wheat from the chaff

Good campaign managers will know how to manage their money so they have an “arc of spending” throughout the campaign, said Ian Russell, who spent six years with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and now does congressional consulting for Beacon Media. 

“We would tell clients, ‘It’s not worth spending the money at a certain point.’ They might as well light a fire with it in the middle of the room,” he said. “Hopefully, they have a team that can start spending earlier.”

Mike Fraioli, whose firm Fraioli & Associates provides campaign consulting to Democrats, said campaigns rarely make it all the way through their wish lists for spending. 

“If you have that much more money, all your broadcast is covered, now you buy TV Land, the Hallmark Channel,” he said. “You just keep going down your list.”

He brushed aside concerns that candidates run the risk of “voter fatigue,” turning off potential supporters by bombarding them with too many advertisements and face-to-face appeals. 

“There is a long list of candidates who would like to have that problem,” he said. 

And complaints about having too much cash are hard to find.

Having worked on many campaigns, some that were well-funded and some that were under-funded, I was never at a point when I was like, ‘Oh, I have too much money,’” said Brian Smoot, a partner and founder of marketing agency 4C and a former political director at the DCCC. “That has never happened.”

McGrath’s $3.65 million, for context, is 69 times the $52,000 median household income in the district in the heart of Kentucky’s bluegrass country.

And that’s only half of the $6.65 million the Marine veteran’s campaign has raised since it launched in August of last year. She finished the third quarter with $1.7 million in the bank.

As to how she was going to spend the extra cash, her campaign is remaining tight-lipped. 

“I’m not especially inclined to tell a reporter (i.e. the public) how I’m spending my extra money late so that our opponent knows what to anticipate. So, I’ll have to politely decline comment for now,” McGrath campaign manager Mark Nickolas said in an email.

Barr’s campaign did not return a request for comment.

More Democratic dough

McGrath is among the top fundraisers this cycle, but other Democrats aren’t far behind. Thirty have raised more than $2 million each and eight have raised more than $3 million, DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico said at a Bloomberg News breakfast last week.

Luján declined to say which campaigns he was referring to, and candidates don’t have to report their third-quarter fundraising totals to the Federal Election Commission until Oct. 15.

Besides McGrath, more than 20 other candidates have reported third-quarter hauls of $1 million or more. Almost all of those are Democrats running for the House, where they have a better chance of taking majority control.

They include Josh Harder, who raised $3.5 million in California’s 10th District; Andrew Janz, who reported bringing in $4.3 million in California’s 22nd; and Elissa Slotkin, who raised $2.6 million in Michigan’s 8th, according to figures from Daily Kos Elections, which has been keeping a tally of third-quarter fundraising results over $1 million.

Much of that money is coming from small, individual donations, candidates have said.

Again for context, New Jersey Democrat Mikie Sherrill splashed headlines over the summer for raising $1.9 million in the second quarter ending June 30, which was more than what many Senate candidates raised during the same period. 

Some of the candidates who have reported the largest numbers have benefited from national profiles. McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot, filmed a campaign ad that went viral. Janz, a local prosecutor, has benefited from the progressive fury directed at his opponent, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, a Trump loyalist who has attempted to block the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 campaign. 

Democrats attribute the windfall to voters who have been riled up since President Donald Trump’s unexpected victory two years ago, and say it shows they will have more than enough momentum to net the 23 seats needed to retake the House.

New calculus

Being able to post such big numbers so late in the campaign season has been a complete game changer for Democrats, said Russell of Beacon Media. 

Republicans, meanwhile, are reporting numbers on par with what they raised in 2016, according to The Washington Post. 

The GOP’s national campaign committees were crushing their Democratic counterparts in fundraising at the beginning of the year and could have easily underestimated their opponents until late in the summer when the third quarter numbers started to trickle out, Russell said. In those cases, candidates might have thought they could easily “extinguish a lot of Democratic hopes early on” by saturating the airwaves.

“The thing they didn’t realize was that the Democrats had the money to fight back,” he said. “I guarantee you that was not in the plan.”

Russell’s schedule is a sign of the times.

“It’s one of the reasons why I’m doing a bunch of shoots this week,” he said during a layover while crisscrossing the country to file campaign ads. “These numbers are unbelievable. I’ve been in politics a long time, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

As for any leftovers, Fraioli had this pro tip: Throw a big party for everyone who helped.

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Right-wing march in London turns violent…

Right-wing march in London turns violent...

(Third column, 17th story, link)

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PAPER: Can our modern 'house divided' remain one nation?

Debating Stephen Douglas over slavery, Abraham Lincoln said a house divided cannot stand. In 2018, we also are a house divided and must ask whether the terrible biblical saying Lincoln quoted applies to us. Can we endure as a united country?

We thought our politics couldn’t get any crazier, but the political divide and the breakdown in trust became even deeper after the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. When Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, we were permitted to disagree about who was telling the truth. No longer. This time you’re “complicit with evil” if you don’t believe his accusers and oppose Kavanaugh, said Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Moral outrage has become the basic currency of political debate, with Hillary Clinton telling her supporters, “You cannot be civil,” and former Attorney General Eric Holder advising, “When they go low, we kick them.” So have we, as a story in The Washington Post says, hit rock bottom with no clear path up?

After Kavanaugh was confirmed, liberal columnist E.J. Dionne wrote that the Supreme Court’s legitimacy is in tatters. Kavanaugh was nominated by the president, as the Constitution requires, but many liberals think Trump an illegitimate president because more people voted for Clinton. As for the Senate, which confirmed Kavanaugh, it’s undemocratic because little North Dakota has the same number of senators as California.

This amounts to a claim that all three branches of government are illegitimate. To those making such claims, it’s the Constitution itself that is illegitimate.

Before the 2016 election, Trump said he might not accept its results. Clinton said this was horrifying and cast doubt on the legitimacy of our institutions. But after Trump won, it was Clinton who joined the “Resistance,” and what has followed is nothing more than the working out of that movement’s grim logic.

As legislators, you’d think Democratic congressmen would understand what it means to question a government’s legitimacy. Apparently not. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has called Trump an illegitimate president, but if that’s the case the military would be excused from obeying his orders as commander-in-chief.

Perhaps that’s just what Markey thought. His colleague in the House, Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), tweeted that the military should mount a coup, as they do from time to time in South America.

When our political leaders tell us the Constitution is illegitimate, that we’re a hair’s breath from fascism, that’s how a civil war begins. Is it impossible to imagine? When polled, 31 percent of likely voters think that there will be a second Civil War within the next five years. That’s made secession look attractive, and nearly two-fifths of Americans tell pollsters they want to secede.

We’ve not seen anything like this since the 1850s. As for what happens next, who knows?

Were the GOP to hold its majorities in Congress next month, the Democrats might possibly come to terms with their defeat and abandon their infantile protests. I don’t expect that to happen, mind you. The party is so invested in its hatreds that it’ll not give them up.

If that’s where we are now, picture what it might be like in a future America, where Trump has won re-election and both houses of Congress remain in Republican hands.

Suppose further that Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer have left the Supreme Court, and Trump fills both seats with conservatives. From prominent Democrats, there are daily calls for resistance in the streets, and our restaurants and theaters have turned into no-go zones for people of the wrong political party.

Were that to happen, Lincoln’s “house divided” would have new meaning, and we’d begin to wonder whether we all belong in the same country. “Some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America,” said Clinton, about the millions of “deplorables.” Yet if they’re not Americans, they might reasonably ask themselves to what country they belong or should belong.

Maybe we should stare the possibility of a breakup in its face, if we’re ever to regain our old civility and affection for fellow Americans. Before criminalizing honest policy differences, before the online shaming, the Twitter mobs and the no-platforming, before doxing ideological enemies, let’s recall that those enemies just might have exit options.

F.H. Buckley wrote “The Republican Workers Party: How the Trump Victory Drove Everyone Crazy, and Why It Was Just What We Needed.”

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Schwarzenegger Apologizes for Using Phrase 'Girlie Men'…

Schwarzenegger Apologizes for Using Phrase 'Girlie Men'...

(Third column, 17th story, link)

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Witches to Hex Kavanaugh in Occult Ritual…

(Screenshot, Facebook)

( — Witches plan to place a public hex on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh through an occult ritual on Oct. 20 in New York City, an event sponsored by Catland Books, which describes itself as “Brooklyn’s premiere occult bookshop & spiritual community space.” The planned ritual has been advertised on Facebook. 

“Please join us for a public hex on Brett Kavanaugh, upon all rapists and the patriarchy at large which emboldens, rewards and protects them,” reads the description for the event, “Ritual to Hex Brett Kavanaugh.”

“We are embracing witchcraft’s true roots as the magik of the poor, the downtrodden and disenfranchised and it’s history as often the only weapon, the only means of exacting justice available to those of us who have been wronged by men just like him,” reads the description. 

“He will be the focal point, but by no means the only target, so bring your rage and and all of the axes you’ve got to grind,” states Catland. 

(Screenshot, Facebook)

“There will also be a second ritual afterward — “The Rites of the Scorned One” — which seeks to validate, affirm, uphold and support those of us who have been wronged and who refuse to be silent any longer,” reads the description.

It further states that 50% of the event proceeds will go to charity: 25% to the Ali Forney Center and 25% to Planned Parenthood.

The Ali Forney Center is a homeless shelter and help center for LGBTQ youth. Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider. It received $543.7 million in taxpayer funding for the year ending June 30, 2017, reads its latest annual report. 

Tickets cost $10.00.  

As this story was posted, the Facebook page for the ritual hex said that 931 people would be attending and that 10,000 were “interested” in attending.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, to hex, as a verb, means to “cast a spell on; bewitch.” As a noun, hex means “a magic spell; a curse.”

Some of the other events occuring at Catland Books this month include “Demonology,” “Magic Spells with the Tarot,” “Witchcraft 101,” and an “All Hallows Seance.” 

(Getty Images North America.) 

In its “About,” section online, Catland says that it aims “to serve the local community of Occultists, Yogis, Pagans, Mystics, Thelemites, Witches, Chaotes, and anyone interested in the enhancement of their spiritual self.”

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Lena Dunham, HBO Face Rare Failure as New Series Gets Critical Roasting…

Home Television Lena Dunham, HBO Face Rare Failure as New Series “Camping” Gets a…

I guess now we know why Lena Dunham and creative partner Jenni Konner went there separate ways a few months ago.

The pair knew that they had a turkey on their hands. “Camping,” their new series at HBO– based on a British comedy– is apparently a dud.

read today’s headlines click here


Only 6 reviews have shown up so far on Rotten Tomatoes, and they are all negative. The show currently has a zero rating. Its limited run starts Sunday on HBO.

Over on Metacritic, the rating is 48, ranging from an 80 down to a 25. The Washington Post said the show was “wickedly funny.” But TV Line wrote: “It’s a colossal waste of everyone’s time and talent. Cringe humor without the humor is just cringing.”

Dunham, of course, had a huge success at HBO with “Girls.” HBO almost never has a failure, with shows like “Veep,” “Silicon Valley,” and “Barry” all booming comedies. Fans of Sarah Jessica Parker’s “Divorce” are even waiting for new episodes. HBO also had a massive dramatic hit this summer with Amy Adams in “Sharper Objects.”

But “Camping” sounds like it pitched its tent in the wrong place. At worst, HBO can just play off the episodes and move on to better things.



Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News. He writes for Parade magazine and has written for Details, Vogue, the New York Times, Post, and Daily News and many other publications. He is the writer and co-producer of “Only the Strong Survive,” a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals.

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Plan to Police 'Tone'…

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HOUSE OF FILTH: 71 beagles crammed in small home…

This still taken from a Facebook video shows rescued beagles at the Lehigh County Humane Society 

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Animal welfare workers say 71 beagles have been removed from “deplorable conditions” in a Pennsylvania home.

Barbara Morgan, an officer with the Lehigh County Humane Society, tells the Morning Call she expects to file charges against the owner of the home near Allentown where the dogs were discovered.

Many of the dogs were sickly and underweight. Two were found dead.

Staffers were called to the home over noise complaints.

Morgan tells WFMZ-TV she’d never seen so many dogs squeezed into such a small space.

The Lehigh County Humane Society says in a Facebook posting the dogs are being evaluated and information on adoption will be available in coming days. Until then, they are in need of donations to help care for them, including wet food, towels, sheets and leashes.

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Columbus Day no longer holiday for namesake Ohio capital…

Columbus city government will be open Monday, the federal holiday that celebrates the city’s namesake.

The move represents a major change for city government, which up through last year has traditionally shut down operations on Columbus Day. But the city issued a brief,  three-sentence news release Thursday afternoon stating the nation’s largest city named after Columbus will be open Monday on the federal holiday. Instead, it will close for Veterans Day, which because the Nov. 11 holiday falls on Sunday this year, will be observed nationally on Monday, Nov. 12.

Some Native Americans and other groups have criticized the federal holiday honoring Columbus, whose credit for being first to discover the Americas has been questioned by some historians and because of the deaths of indigenous people that ultimately resulted after Europeans arrived here.

Robin Davis, a spokeswoman for Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, said that was not part of the city’s decision.

“We wanted to be able to honor our veterans. We thought that was something that was important,” Davis said.

Columbus Day was first designated a federal holiday in 1937, in part as a way of recognizing Italian-American heritage. In 1971, it was moved from Oct. 12 to the second Monday in October. However, Columbus Day is not celebrated widely across the U.S., with just under half of the 50 states treating it as a paid holiday for their employees, according to the Council of State Governments. At least a handful of states and some local governments have chosen different names for the federal holiday, such as as Indigenous People’s Day.

In South Dakota, Monday will be celebrated as Native American Day as it has been since 1990. Berkley, California, is believed to have become the first city to rename the holiday as Indigenous People’s Day in 1992, and some other cities and states have followed suit.

Oberlin in northeast Ohio became the state’s first city to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day in 2017. Akron considered a similar change last year but voted 8-5 to retain Columbus Day as a recognized holiday.

Tennessee and some other states and public bodies continue to celebrate Columbus Day, but observe the holiday on the Friday after the Thanksgiving Day holiday. Ohio State University campuses are open Monday, and the university celebrates Columbus Day the Friday after Thanksgiving.

The city of Columbus announced in its release that trash collection, parking enforcement and other city functions will operate on their regular schedules next week. In addition, Columbus Metropolitan Library branches will be open Monday and Central Ohio Transit Authority offices will be open and buses will run on a regular schedule.

But because of the Columbus Day holiday Monday:

• All federal, state and county offices will be closed.

• Post offices will be closed and there will be no regular mail delivery.

• Banks and bond markets that trade in U.S. government debt will be closed, but the stock markets will be open.


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