Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

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My must read of the day is “Mandatory House Ethics Training? Some Incoming Freshmen Don’t See the Point,” in Roll Call.

A Liberal Explains Why Obama Is an Imperial President

Seat of power. (AP)

President Obama is under fire from conservatives over his proposed executive action on immigration reform, which is scheduled to be unveiled Thursday evening. By acting unilaterally on such a controversial issue, they argue, Obama would be continuing a disturbing trend with respect to the abuse of executive power.

It wasn’t long ago that liberals were the ones complaining about executive overreach. Yet, after denouncing President George W. Bush for abusing our democracy for the better part of a decade, liberals have spent the Obama administration defending the president from similar charges.

Looking back on some of the left-wing criticisms of the Bush administration, it is fairly easy to use the exact same arguments to make the case that the Obama administration has been “the least democratic in the history of the modern presidency.”

That last line, for example, was taken a 2004 cover story for the New Republic by Jonathan Chait (who, in fairness, has been somewhat critical of Obama’s executive action proposal). Chait’s points about the Bush administration’s abuse of power can be easily applied to the current administration. The following has been appropriated, more or less verbatim, from Chait’s piece, titled “Power from the People.”

America Deserves Better Than CNN

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A cable news network defines itself by how well it covers a breaking news story. That’s why it’s instructive to evaluate CNN’s performance during Tuesday morning’s developing story of the bloody terror attacks in Jerusalem.

#TBT: Jim Webb’s Video Team

omg when will it end

Jim Webb has, it seems, decided that the Democratic Party is aching for a middle aged white guy to be their standard bearer in 2016. Good for him! I wish him all the best.

But if he truly wants to enter the Oval Office, he’s got to hire a better video team. Just look at this … thing.

Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

Ellison 5

My must read of the day, “GOP Hawks Sink Libertarian Bid to Lead Key House Conservative Bloc,” by Lachlan Markay, in the Washington Free Beacon.

Studios Spend a Ton on Ads Because You People Have No Idea What You Want

'Casablanca'? Is that the one with Marky Mark? No, I bet it's the new Denzel. (Image via Flickr user daniel)

Movies are really, really expensive to make. Just look at the budgets* of a few flicks released this year: Transformers: Age of Extinction, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 all had a production budget of $200 million or more; Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Maleficent, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Edge of Tomorrow had budgets between $170 and $180 million; and Interstellar and Godzilla were relative bargains, at $165 and $160 million, respectively.

Common sense would suggest that movie studios tying up so much capital in so few products is an extremely risky proposition. The films above represent some $1.8 billion in production costs. For just 10 movies. “Diversify!” I can hear you yelling at your smartphone. “Spread out the risk!”

And, of course, the studios do make some more modestly budgeted flicks, comedies like Neighbors, dramas like Gone Girl, etc. But as Ross Douthat and plenty of others have argued, the mid-budget film aimed at adults is something of a dying breed. Studios are investing in micro-budgeted flicks and giant tentpoles and not a ton in the middle. But why?