Saturday, January 2, 2016

Everyone Was Wrong In 2015

Was there a worse year for the Village punditry in recent memory than 2015?  They were wrong about virtually everything in politics last year, as Politico reminds us.

Forecasting political trends is almost an American pastime. So is getting those forecasts woefully wrong. Politico Magazine has published an annual worst political predictions list twice before, but we’ve never had quite the fodder that we did this year. In the 2016 presidential race, one presumed front-runner after another fell to the bottom of the polls; a reality TV star is currently as admired as the pope; and a socialist and a retired neurosurgeon gained massive followings. In Washington, a man who once wanted to give his “undivided attention” to the Ways and Means Committee is now speaker of the House; and a president about to enter his final year and facing a hostile Congress reached deals on climate change, Iran’s nuclear program and international trade. Of course, we can’t blame political pundits for being wrong in a year so full of surprises; but that won’t stop us from having some fun calling them out. Herewith, the political predictions gone wrong in 2015.

Among the stinkers: That Joe Biden, Liz Warren, and Mitt Romney would join the 2016 race, and that Trump would drop out, and that Scott Walker was going to win the nomination.  These were major predictions that pretty much all the big names in politics got wrong in 2015.

These same voices are telling us now that the GOP will come down to a Cruz-Rubio fight, and the victor will easily beat Hillary.

Oh, and let's not forget the dismal state of political polling in general in 2015, too.  The pollsters were so badly wrong here in Kentucky about Jack Conway's five point lead (that was only wrong by 14 points!) that they fired the polling outfit...the same one that predicted the 2014 Mitch McConnell-Alison Grimes race would be close instead of a 16-point blowout.

The one thing that remains constant is how terribly wrong the Beltway types are, and yet people continue to listen to them.

He's Got A Cannon For An Arm

"Durr hurr whatcha gonna do stoopid libturd?"

After all, Texas is now the among the gun-friendliest states in the nation.

Texas is so gun-friendly that it is easier to get into the Capitol in Austin with a firearm than without one — licensed, gun-carrying lawmakers and members of the public have their own no-wait security lane, and the unarmed masses have to stand in line and slog through the metal detectors.

But on Friday, gun rights throughout the state expanded still more, as a new law took effect that allows certain Texans to wear their handguns in holsters on their hips — or in shoulder holsters, Dirty Harry-style — openly displaying the fact that they are armed as they work, shop, dine and go about their day.

The so-called open-carry law has set off a long-simmering debate over the limits of the Texas gun culture and has given gun rights advocates a hard-fought victory after they pushed for the expansion for years. Members of the pro-gun group Open Carry Texas were to gather at noon Friday on the south steps of the Capitol for a gun-on-their-hips celebration before walking down Congress Avenue. Other groups plan to display their weaponry at events in Houston, Dallas and other cities.

“I think most people can expect Friday to be just like Thursday,” said C. J. Grisham, 41, a retired Army sergeant who formed Open Carry Texas in 2013. He says he plans to carry two semiautomatic pistols at the Capitol rally, and gave his 13-year-old daughter a pink .22-caliber rifle for her 12th birthday. “I think everybody is overreacting.”

 Right now that's 4% of Texas's population with open carry privileges.  No doubt the goal is more.

Well, more of certain people, anyway.

Open-carry supporters say more public weapons will help deter would-be criminals. Opponents say that police officers will have a hard time separating the good guys from the bad, and that there is no evidence that open-carry states are safer.

The change directly affects only a small fraction of Texans — 925,000 men and women with active state-issued licenses to carry a concealed firearm, close to 4 percent of the state’s 27.4 million residents. Only those with a concealed-handgun permit are allowed to open carry, and all of them must submit their fingerprints and pass a criminal background check.

Texans do not need a state license to buy a handgun but must meet the federal qualifications. If Texas gun owners want to carry their handguns outside their home, they must apply for a license through the Texas Department of Public Safety, be at least 21 and complete training courses and a written examination.

Cops may be concerned, but Texas makes 45 states with open handgun carry.  And yet for some reason that doesn't include large numbers of African-American or Latino folks.

Twenty years after the Brady Bill passed, America is awash in more guns than people.

That's all you need to know about the state of gun control in America.

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