🇺🇸 Debate Deux

Plus, extra terrestrial samples.

The Flag


Good morning, and happy Friday. Dolphins are thriving, at least in Monterey Bay. Check out the footage of thousands of dolphins forming a “mega pod.” 

Plus, in huge spacefaring news, NASA has its hands on a capsule containing about half a pound of material taken from a large asteroid called Bennu.

Also, affordable, comprehensive pet insurance for Fido.


Right: GOP Must Unite Around a Candidate, Have Unity Party Victor Davis Hanson, Fox News

Right: Google's Political Search-and-Destroy Agenda Miranda Devine, New York Post

Right: Biden Brazenly Lied During 2020 Presidential Debate Evita Duffy-Alfonso, The Federalist


Inquiry Begins, Dress Code Reinstated, Italian Migrant Crisis

US: Republicans open Biden impeachment inquiry with focus on son's business dealings (Reuters)

US: Senate unanimously passes resolution to reinstate formal dress code after Sen. John Fetterman controversy (FOX News)

US: Tensions erupt between McCarthy and Gaetz at closed-door House GOP meeting as shutdown nears (CNN)

US: Three million children set to lose child care with the expiration of federal funding (FOX News)

World: On Lampedusa, there's sympathy for migrants — as long as they don't stay (NPR)

World: China's Evergrande chairman put under police surveillance (BBC)


Wag, Wag, Wag More

Wolf Dog Deal With It GIF by Old Spice

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Debate Deux

On Wednesday, candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination took the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential library—with the notable exception of the former president, Donald Trump.

Reporting from the Right: Winners and losers in the second GOP presidential debate (The Washington Times)

Reporting from the Left: Takeaways from the second Republican presidential debate (CNN)

From The Flag: Many agreed that former President Donald Trump was a winner even though he was not on the debate stage. Of those on stage, many agreed that Nikki Haley was a winner for appearing experienced and strong. Here’s what both sides have to say about the second GOP presidential debate.


Trump’s Absence was Palpable

  • Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy’s breakout was a key target after his breakout performance in the first debate, though he attempted a more “conciliatory” approach this time around.

  • “There was fighting at the second Republican debate, there were jabs at an absent Donald Trump and there was one clear winner when it was all over”

  • Try as they might to make their presence and positions known in a crowded field, the GOP candidates were unable to outshine Trump.

GOP Field Trains Fire on Vivek in Second Primary Debate as Anti-Woke Entrepreneur Tries to Make Nice Ryan Mills, National Review: “One month after he accused his fellow Republican presidential candidates of all being ‘bought and paid for,’ entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy attempted a more conciliatory approach during Wednesday night’s GOP debate but found himself at the center of the attacks. … South Carolina Senator Tim Scott first took aim at Ramaswamy, accusing him of once being ‘in business with the Chinese Communist Party and the same people that funded Hunter Biden.’ Ramaswamy called it ‘nonsense.’ … Nikki Haley… blasted Ramaswamy for joining TikTok, which has ties to the Chinese government, calling it ‘infuriating,’ and telling Ramaswamy that ‘every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber.’ Ramaswamy, in an about-face from his breakout and sometimes smarmy performance at the first Republican debate last month, attempted to brush it off, claiming he wanted to focus on policy, and commended his fellow candidates. ‘These are good people on this stage,’ he said.

Second Republican debate: Here's the biggest winner and the biggest loser Liz Peek, FOX News: “The winner of the evening was Gov. Ron DeSantis, for whom expectations were low. The audience was reminded of his achievements and why the Florida governor is running second in the GOP primary polls. Nikki Haley, from whom much was expected, failed to live up to her performance in the first debate, but held her own. Vivek Ramaswamy was not as annoying as in the first debate, but he has yet to show he is ready to be president. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott was more combative, as expected, but probably did not move the needle on his chances. As for everybody else – with respect, it is time for Mike Pence, Chris Christie (seriously), and Doug Burgum to drop out of the race. Fewer contestants would mean less fighting for air time and less bickering; that would be a relief.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: GOP Presidential Candidates Fail to Outshine Trump at Second Debate Eliza Collins and Alex Leary, The Wall Street Journal


The Republican Party Is Lost

  • There seems to be little value in hosting these debates when Trump is the clear frontrunner and is also refusing to attend the events.

  • This debate had virtually no substance, and instead of going after the frontrunner, Trump, they only mainly squabbled over one another.

  • “The candidates repeatedly talked over and interrupted one another on a chaotic stage as each struggled to notch a breakout moment.”

It’s not a debate — Republicans want Trump vs. Biden in an apocalyptic battle Scott Jennings, Los Angeles Times: “The real question entering the debate was whether these exercises are now academic, with former President Trump leading the field by such a wide margin nationally and in the early-voting states (albeit by slightly smaller margins in Iowa and New Hampshire than the national samples). Can any other candidate’s words or one-liners make up the difference? It’s obvious the Republican zeitgeist has shifted. No longer is electability a question that resonates for GOP voters. They have clearly decided that Trump is the most electable Republican running. In poll after poll, Trump scores the highest when Republicans are asked who they believe is most likely to defeat President Biden. For months, the theory was that though they might love Trump, eventually their desire to defeat Biden would lead them to a more electable candidate.

GOP is no longer a political party. The Republican debate marked its soul leaving its body. Rex Huppke, USA Today: “The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library – site of Wednesday night’s second GOP presidential primary – was an apropos place for the Republican Party’s soul to leave its body. It was about time, if we’re being honest. And it happened early, as biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, two people who will never be president, began bickering and babbling over each other while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tried, and failed, to scold them for not talking about ‘issues.’ Like the party they represent, that moment and much of the debate that followed was chaotic, unintelligible, irrelevant and frustrating. …the candidates were busily failing to convince anyone they have what it takes to overtake Trump’s bizarrely commanding lead. … Their main opponent is a guy sitting atop a veritable mountain of alleged illegality, and except for a few barbs here and there, the best they can muster is loose bickering, lame insults and rehashed tough-on-immigration, tough-on-crime, back-the-blue lines.”

One more opinion piece from the Left: 2nd Debate a Frenzy of Attacks as Non-Trump Rivals Try to Shake Up Race Jonathan Weisman and Lisa Lerer, The New York Times


Trump Still Frontrunner, but Runner-ups Emerge

Before the debate, a joint poll between FiveThirtyEight, The Washington Post, and Ipsos found that nearly 66% of likely Republican primary voters would consider voting for former President Donald Trump.

Governor Ron DeSantis, came in second at approximately 49% of Republican voters giving him consideration, and former ambassador Nikki Haley had 31% considering her (FiveThirtyEight).

If you plan to vote in the Republican Primary, would you consider voting for someone other than Donald Trump?

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André Sentenced, Remote Escapes, Sun Sneezing

The Capture of John André, 1845 lithograph

On This Day in 1780: British spy John André is court-martialed, found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging on September 29, 1780. André, an accomplice of Benedict Arnold, had been captured by Patriots John Paulding, David Williams and Isaac Van Wart six days earlier on September 23, after they found incriminating papers stashed in his boot.

Today I learned that between 15% and 30% of people have the photic sneeze reflex, which causes those afflicted to sneeze at the sun.

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