Short Takes

April 17, 2014 - 3:28 AM

Three or four short items on my mind today.

First Topic:

Kathleen Sebelius, recently resigned Secretary of Health and Human Services and, by most accounts, guilty - by action or inaction - of the dreadful roll-out of Obamacare, has made it known she is thinking about running for U.S. Senate from Kansas.

This year.

If Sebelius had been at the head of a publicly traded company she would have been carried out of the executive suite on a rail, with her goods in cardboard boxes thrown behind her.

That is, if she weren't under federal indictment for lying to her shareholders about the status of her company's largest undertaking.

Bernie Madoff? Meet your new roommate, former Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius. You two kids behave!

Sebelius was a two-term Governor of Kansas but six-ish years as a member of the Obama Administration has stripped away any reasonable semblance of a chance of beating the incumbent Republican Senator, Pat Roberts.

Public Policy Polling - a Democratic polling firm - has Sebelius' approval/disapproval numbers at 38-55 even worse than President Obama's numbers (44-52 according to RealClearPolitics.com's average).

I hope she does run and run on Obamacare. That would nationalize the Senate race in Kansas and give every other Republican candidate in the country - including those running for City Council in Marietta, Ohio 45750 - a pivot point with their voters.

Second topic.

Wendy Davis is the Texas state senator who made national news when she filibustered a law that would restrict abortions in the Lone Star State.

She became an instant national hero (heroine? Am I allowed to type that?) among Liberals and got talked into running for Governor against the sitting Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Bad choice.

That same Democratic polling firm, Public Policy Polling, released numbers that show Abbott beating Davis by a pretty firm 51-37.

That's not the bad news for Davis. The bad news is that Abbott is beating her among women in Texas 49-41.

Which, once again, proves that oft-cited rule: Texas ain't the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Third topic.

Sunday is April 20. 4/20. Between now and Sunday you will hear, see, and read a lot about the number 420.

Why? Because 420 has become code for Marijuana. It seems to have begun in Marin County (across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco) and nurtured by the Grateful Dead.

I am telling you this because even though you are probably much more culturally aware than I am (a Jurassic-era fossil is more culturally aware than I) you might have been wondering about this 420 business.

I am here to serve.

Final topic.

I am not always in agreement with the senior Senator from Arizona, John McCain. However, on a trip to Eastern Europe he took the European Union to task over its tepid reaction to Russia's continuing efforts in Ukraine.

He called the EU sanctions "almost a joke." According to FoxNews.com: "McCain said the EU's sanctions against a handful of Russian individuals and one financial institution were 'minimal.'"

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One today that "We're prepared to impose new sanctions" but didn't offer any guidance on what they might be.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "a U.S. official said that barring a dramatic escalation in Ukraine, the sanctions won't target key sectors of the Russian economy."

What, then, would the new sanctions involve? And if they don't "target key sectors of the Russian economy" then why would Putin care?

I believe that the seeds of the Russia-Ukraine crisis were sown when President Obama ceded (see what I did there? ) control over the imaginary Red Line in Syria to Putin after President Assad used chemical weapons on his own citizens last summer.

Putin realized Obama was an empty threat clothed in an empty suit and he could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, wherever he wanted.

Bonus topic.

I am reading Michael Lewis' new book "Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt."

It contains what may be the best footnote of all time.

It seems that to get around the high frequency traders who were rigging the game, a group of very smart guys wanted to start their own stock exchange. But, that's not the point.

The point is they wanted to call their operation the "Investors' Exchange" but had to shorten the title to IEX.

Why? Because the URL of the Investor's Exchange website would have been: investorsexchange.com

I live for this stuff.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the WaPo's look at Sebelius' run for Senate; to Townhall.com's coverage of the Texas Governor's race; to the history of 420 from the HuffingtonPost.com; to FoxNews.com's glance at Sen. John McCain and to Amazon.com for a link to the Michael Lewis book. Also, a pretty funny Mullfoto that may make your head hurt.