The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Short Takes

Rich Galen

Thursday April 17, 2014


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  • 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'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
    "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:

  • I live for this stuff.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the WaPo's look at Sebelius' run for Senate; to's coverage of the Texas Governor's race; to the history of 420 from the; to's glance at Sen. John McCain and to for a link to the Michael Lewis book.

    Also, a pretty funny Mullfoto that may make your head hurt.

    -- END --

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