Democrats’ Biggest Problem: They’re So F*cking Boring

So old, so white. (AP)

After getting blown out in this year’s midterm elections, the Democratic Party appears to be in genuine disarray.

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Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

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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.

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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?

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SHOCKING: Hillary Clinton Could Be the Youngest Democrat Running in 2016

Party of the future.

Grandmother Hillary Clinton, 67, is vying to become one of the oldest world leaders in history. In order to achieve that goal, however, she may have to defeat a slate of Democratic challengers who are even older than she is.

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South Sudan, Samantha Power, and the Failure of Liberal Internationalism

Samantha Power at a U.N. Security Council Meeting on South Sudan

Last month in Juba, the capital of the relatively new nation of South Sudan, a small motorcade carrying the U.S. ambassador got entangled with a larger convoy ferrying a senior government official. Frustrated with the delay, a soldier in the South Sudanese convoy got out of his truck, fired two shots into the bulletproof glass of one of the embassy vehicles, and rejoined his own motorcade, which drove away.

So it goes in Juba. Since last December, when an coup allegedly perpetrated against the country’s Dinka president by his Nuer vice president led to Dinka troops going house-to-house in Juba, murdering men, women and children and trucking their bodies out to the bush, a civil war has been underway. The fighting calmed through much of the middle of 2014, but the dry season has arrived. Traditionally in South Sudan, negotiating is for the wet season, and the fighting renews at its conclusion.

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Kate Upton Loves War

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America’s most celebrated celebrity has a passion for war—the game, that is. Kate Upton is urging her Twitter followers to “check her out” by downloading “Game of War—Fire Age,” a new game app available on iTunes.

Why You’re a Terrible Screenwriter, Explained

Image by Flickr user Matt-Richards

There’s a really interesting* piece over at FiveThirtyEight looking at the ways in which amateur screenwriters fail. Using data collated from The Black List, a site to which writers submit their work in the hopes of winning the attention of Hollywood studios, Walt Hickey helps would-be screenwriters determine what types of scripts are most likely to fail and what problems most commonly plague their efforts.

Turns out, most amateur screenwriters are good at neither creating believable characters nor writing believable dialogue. Shocking, I’m sure. Here’s Hickey:

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Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

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My must read of the day is “Landrieu says she has Keystone votes,” in CNN.

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New York Times Wants Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants, Unless They’re Cuban Doctors Fleeing Communism

Communists. (AP)

The New York Times editorial board supports comprehensive immigration reform that would give millions of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. In the meantime, the Times’ editors want President Obama to take “big and bold” action on his own that would effectively legalize millions of unauthorized immigrants.

But while the Times does not appear to have a problem with illegal immigration, its editors have found at least one form of legal immigration they want to stop. In an editorial published on Sunday, the board lamented the “Cuban brain drain” brought on by U.S. immigration policy. Specifically, they want to do away with a program allowing highly trained Cuban doctors to defect to the United States while serving on medical missions abroad:

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FLASHBACK: Why Conservatives Should Stop Complaining About Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration

AP

Time for a reality check. Conservatives are up in arms about Obama’s proposal to effectively legalize millions of illegal immigrants through executive action, despite his party’s overwhelming losses in this year’s midterms. However, a quick search of the New York Times archives has exposed them for the hypocrites they are. Reprinted with permission.

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Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

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My must read of the day is “Obamacare’s second season opens with minor enrollment snags,” Politico.

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‘The Dudleys’ Was the Best SNL Skit All Season

SNL The Dudleys

I know, I know. Saturday Night Live used to be better! Specifically, SNL was at its best when you were between the ages of 15 and 20 and started watching it for the first time. You’ll never forget that magical era when Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan (OR Mike Myers and Dana Carvey OR Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo OR Bill Murray and Gilda Radner) were anchoring the action. And, eventually, when you hear your kids in 10 years talking about how the Kate McKinnon and Beck Bennett era was the real golden age of SNL, you’ll sadly chuckle and tell them about the magic of the Night at the Roxbury guys (OR Wayne’s World OR Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood OR Nick the Lounge Singer).

Because everything new is terrible and everything was better when you were younger.

That being said, sometimes SNL captures some of that old magic, deftly skewering some absurd grotesquerie of modern culture for the entertainment of all. For instance, this week the show perfectly captured the idiocy of Twitter outrage culture and the silly smallness of identity politics. Check it:

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Pretty Much Everyone Supports Building the Keystone Pipeline, Except Liberal Democrats

AP

President Obama is preparing to take executive action on immigration on the grounds that the American people are generally on his side and “can’t wait” for Congress to act. He is sorely mistaken.

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GREEN MENACE: Wind Turbines Deemed a ‘Human Health Hazard’

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For years, President Obama has exploited public concern over “climate change” in order to wage a brutal campaign of genocide against our nation’s birds. Wind turbines have been turned into highly efficient killing machines, mowing down bald eagles in grisly fashion, dozens at a time. A new finding by science suggests that humans may be next.

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‘Interstellar’s’ Rejection of Climate Change Hysteria

America's sweetheart saves humanity

Spoilers for Interstellar below.

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