Fox News chief meteorologist Rick Reichmuth tracks the storm’s path on ‘Your World.’
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On the roster: Nuts about flakes – I’ll Tell You What: Manage your expectations – Definitely maybe: Congress closes in on deals – Biden picks hardliners on energy, climate – Oh, hey, sorry, eh
NUTS ABOUT FLAKES
What they say is really true – there are two Americas. But it’s not red or blue, rich or poor, guns or no guns. It’s people who love snow and people who hate it.
This is a note of considerable pro-snow proclivities (just look at our daily meeting today), but we certainly understand the no-snow caucus. You all are not Mr. Heat Miser for wanting to not have dangerous and difficult conditions for getting where you need to be.
But here’s the good news: There’s no place to go! We certainly wish well all those doctors, nurses, letter carriers, peace officers, etc. who live in the snow belt, but for everybody else, there’s no reason not to celebrate what is for most of us is the first snow of the year. And with the rest of us at home, we hope the essential folks have an easier time slushing and mushing.
As we bask in this new, albeit temporary, truce between the snow and anti-snow tribes and wait for the jibber jabberers in Congress to shoot their bolt, how about some fresh nuggets to float in your cocoa?
– It’s like, whatevs. The urban legend was that Playboy eventually stopped listing West Virginia University in its party school rankings because it was unfair to rate professionals against amateurs. Similarly, it may be time for Marist College Institute for Public Opinion to retire the jersey of "whatever" in its annual survey of American’s most annoying words and phrases. From Poughkeepsie: "For the twelfth consecutive year, Americans consider whatever (47%) to be the most annoying word or phrase used in conversation. Whatever outpaces like (19%) by more than two-to-one followed by in my opinion with 13%. In this era of virtual meetings, you’re on mute receives 9%. Another 9% select actually." Gotta say, though, that "actually" is quickly rising on our charts. In the ongoing Dunning-Kruger test that is life in our high-data, low-information age, "acktualllly" is like a mating call for sanctimonious imbeciles.
– Sigh. President Trump is claiming today that he won the election because he got more votes than he did in 2016. Which would also mean that Thomas Dewey won in 1948 because he got more votes than he did in 1944? Gotcha. Since no sentient adult could be so dense as to believe such a thing, we assume this is just part of Trump’s overall effort to micturate in the nation’s cornflakes. Election results cannot be both massively fraudulent and reliable evidence of fraud. But there is some really interesting stuff around these goofy claims, though. Trump got about 11.2 million more votes than he did in 2016, but Joe Biden beat the Democratic nominee’s 2016 number by 15.4 million votes. Not only did the 2020 election set the record for voter turnout in the era of universal suffrage, but the 8-point increase from 2016 (59 percent) to 2020 (67 percent) was the single largest cycle-to-cycle increase since 1948-1952 when Dewey did not defeat Truman.
– Toot, toot. In accepting the nomination today to be Transportation Secretary, former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg explained that he "had a love for transportation, even from childhood." While we don’t think you need to have direct experience in the transportation sector to succeed in leading this oft-forgotten agency, we do wonder what liking things that good "choo-choo" and "vroom" has to do with anything. Would liking to play Army have something to do with running the Pentagon? We have no doubt that the extremely earnest Indianan will bring that energy to the agency. Employees will probably feel like they’re working at a cross between McKinsey and "Parks and Recreation." But that line was pure "Veep."
– Howdy, youse guys – The professional networking platform LinkedIndoes more than just send you emails to tell you that the guy you worked with four jobs ago has been promoted to assistant regional salesforce development facilitator, Manitoba territory. LinkedIn tracked users’ relocations from April to October to see where folks were moving during the pandemic. The findings were no surprise to anyone who has been watching the demographic changes in America. The top five losing cities were Hartford, Conn., New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Cleveland. The five largest gains were in Austin, Phoenix, Nashville, Tampa and Jacksonville. As has long been the case, Americans are abandoning north for south (maybe it’s the snow). Perhaps the pandemic has accelerated the relocations, but the trend is unchanged. We’ll have to wait for Census data to see whether the story about people trading city life for small-town or rural living in the pandemic really holds up. Whatever the case, this ongoing great migration is continuing to remake our politics. Who’s ready for a Democratic south and a Republican north?
– Sloppy. If you want to know why Congress has become like a bad existentialist play, check out this little slice of farce passing as news today. The alleged story is that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thinks the Democratic Party needs new leadership in Congress. This is a fact that would be evident to a sheepdog and probably several species of mollusks. But in the interview that was harvested for the story, Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged the failures in the left wing to offer viable alternatives and that the actual chances for a mutiny are essentially nil. But what you get is a headline that reads "Ocasio-Cortez takes direct shot at Pelosi and Schumer," which she didn’t. In fact, what Ocasio-Cortez was doing was explaining why an effort to unseat Nancy Pelosi, who has already been re-elected as Democratic leader, when the new Congress convenes would be a mistake. The lesson is that even when attention hogs in either party turn away from the trough of sensationalistic clickbait, the political press will be there to serve up the same old slop.
THE RULEBOOK: STAY TRUE
"The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust." – Alexander Hamilton or James Madison, Federalist No. 57
TIME OUT: SORRY FOR THE DELAY, LUD
Smithsonian: "On April 10, 1805, in honor of the Christian Holy Week, a German immigrant and conductor named Jacob Eckhard organized a special concert for the gentry of Charleston, South Carolina. The performance opened with a ‘grand overture’ by Ludwig van Beethoven… ‘[Beethoven] wasn’t the famous composer that we think of now. He was young and upcoming, an upstart kind of person,’ says Michael Broyles, a professor of musicology at Florida State University and author of the 2011 book Beethoven in America. Such obscurity might seem unimaginable today as the world commemorates the 250th anniversary of his birth. In truth, fervor around his music wouldn’t fully take off in the United States until after Beethoven died in 1827, and it would take major nationwide shifts in how music was consumed, and in technology and demography—not to mention the effusive praise of a few key admirers—to boost the composer’s profile in the young, rapidly growing country."
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
GOT A WILD PITCH? READY TO THROW A FASTBALL?
We’ve brought "From the Bleachers" to video on demand thanks to Fox Nation. Each Wednesday and Friday, Producer Brianna McClelland will put Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt to the test with your questions on everything about politics, government and American history – plus whatever else is on your mind. Sign up for the Fox Nation streaming service here and send your best questions to HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM.
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS
As the United States makes progress on distributing a COVID-19 vaccine, Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt reflect on all of the comforts and advantages we have in 2020 as compared to our forebearers. They discuss the importance of passing COVID stimulus, the runoff elections in Georgia, and the Russian hack of federal agencies. Plus, Dana shares how listeners can give her new book "Everything Will Be Okay" as a gift for the holidays, and Chris takes on Billboard #1, Presidential trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
DEFINITELY MAYBE: CONGRESS CLOSES IN ON DEALS
WSJ: "Congressional leaders were closing in on a roughly $900 billion coronavirus relief deal expected to include another round of direct payments to households feeling the pain of the pandemic’s battering of the global economy, according to people familiar with the negotiations. The package under discussion on Wednesday was expected to exclude the two thorniest issues: funding for state and local governments and liability protections for businesses and other entities operating during the pandemic, according to people familiar with the talks. But congressional leaders were expected to add direct checks, potentially of a smaller size than the initial round, which provided $1,200 to individuals and $500 per dependent. Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R., S.D.) told reporters Wednesday he expected the checks would be in the $600 to $700 range per individual. The package was also expected to include enhanced unemployment insurance, likely the $300 a week that a bipartisan group had proposed…"
BIDEN PICKS HARDLINERS ON ENERGY, CLIMATE
WSJ: "President-elect Joe Biden is planning to tap former Obama administration Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy as national climate adviser and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as Energy secretary, according to people familiar with the matter. In Ms. McCarthy’s role, she will lead a newly formed White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy. Ali Zaidi, New York’s deputy secretary for energy and environment, will serve as Ms. McCarthy’s deputy, people familiar with the matter said. … Mr. Biden’s top advisers also have expressed increased interest in picking Rep. Deb Haaland (D., N.M.) to lead the Interior Department. But House Democrats have pushed back, telling transition officials that they can’t afford to lose another lawmaker to the administration because of the party’s slim majority, people familiar with the discussions said."
A Republican pick on deck – Axios: "President-elect Joe Biden is considering some well-known Republicans — think Meg Whitman types — for Commerce secretary as a way to signal to red-state Americans he understands their concerns and plans to address them. Biden's team is debating the political upside of an across-the-aisle pick, and it's still very possible the president-elect will settle on an all-Democratic Cabinet, according to people familiar with the matter. For Commerce, he also could select a mostly apolitical CEO, like former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, as a neutral way to reach out to the business community. The Commerce secretary is considered an administration's ambassador to the business world."
JOHNSON SAYS ELECTION ‘LEGITIMATE,’ BUT WILL PROBE ANYWAY
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "One day after the Electoral College affirmed Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, said in an interview that he acknowledged Biden as the president-elect and believed the election was legitimate. At the same time, Johnson plans to hold a Senate hearing Wednesday on election ‘irregularities,’ saying there are ‘legitimate questions’ about the way the election was administrated in Wisconsin and other states. ‘All I’m trying to do is hold a very upfront, straightforward hearing talking about what controls there are in place, what fraud does occur, what can we do to prevent fraud in the future,’ said Johnson in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Johnson contended there are unanswered questions about the election process. … In that vein, he said he had no plans currently to object next month when Congress meets to tabulate the Electoral College votes."
Former police officer charged for attack on man he believed was ballot thief – Texas Tribune: "A former Houston police captain was arrested after allegedly running a man off the road and threatening him at gunpoint — what prosecutors say was part of an elaborate attempt to find evidence for a false conspiracy theory of widespread voter fraud in Harris County. Mark Aguirre was working on behalf of a powerful Republican megadonor’s group to investigate unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud when, in October, he allegedly pulled a gun on a man described by the Harris County district attorney’s office as an ‘innocent and ordinary’ air conditioner repairman. Aguirre was arrested Tuesday, according to the Harris County district attorney’s office."
Trump considering special prosecutor for Hunter Biden – AP: "President Donald Trump is considering pushing to have a special counsel appointed to advance a federal tax investigation into the son of President-elect Joe Biden, setting up a potential showdown with incoming acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen. Trump — angry that out-going Attorney General William Barr didn’t publicly announce the ongoing, two-year investigation into Hunter Biden — has consulted on the matter with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and outside allies. That’s according to several Trump administration officials and Republicans close to the White House who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss private matters."
‘We want them infected’: Trump official pushed plan to expose Americans to coronavirus – Politico
Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett’s replacement for federal appeals court– AP
Census finds the U.S. population has grown 8% in the past decade – WSJ
Meet Biden’s ‘Congress whisperer’ – Politico
AUDIBLE: JUST LIKE ZEKE FROM CABIN CREEK
"I heard a sports broadcaster once say a basketball player would be much better if he quit trying so hard and let the game come to him. And I think that's what I’ll try to do in January." – Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who is retiring, talking to National Journal.
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
OH, HEY, SORRY, EH
Blackburn News: "Sarnia [Ontario, Canada] police say two suspects apologized and offered to pay for damages after breaking into the wrong home in the 700 block of Kipling Street Friday night. Police said the homeowners were watching TV downstairs at around 7:15 p.m. when they heard a loud bang from a door being smashed open. The residents were confronted by two men, one holding a hammer who demanded money that was supposedly owed to him. Police said the intruders realized they were in the wrong home, and left without further incident. A short time later, two 27-year-old men, one from Sarnia and the other from Keswick were arrested. They’re each charged with break and enter, mischief under [$3,919.25], and possession of a dangerous weapon."
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
"This episode and others have brought me to the highly self-serving conclusion that nothing parents do alters a child’s character anyway, so there is no need to fret that some misdirected pedagogy or slip of the tongue will forever ruin him." – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing about "Moments of Truth" with his son Daniel in the Washington Post on Feb. 23, 1990.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.