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Greatest college QB ever? | Power Line

Before the start of the college championship football game on Monday night, a collection of all-time college great players was onstage at the New Orleans Superdome. Nearly all of them were running backs, including Archie Griffin, Barry Sanders, Herschel Walker, Earl Campbell, and Jim Brown. There were also descendants of Gale Sayers, Red Grange, and Jim Thorpe.

Missing, of course, was O.J. Simpson who may be the best college running back I’ve ever seen.

Roger Staubach was also onstage, so the question popped into my mind: Who is the best college quarterback I’ve ever seen?

Almost immediately I came up with an answer: The guy who was about to take the field for LSU, Joe Burrow.

Cross era comparisons for college quarterbacks may be a fool’s errand because the college passing game has changed so drastically over the years. Staubach’s passing stats don’t come close to matching Burrow’s (or that of any quality QB of today), but what numbers would Roger have posted in LSU’s high-powered offense? Or Joe Namath in last year’s Oklahoma spread offense behind that great offensive line?

Here are Burrow’s numbers from this year. 5,671 yards, 76.3 percent completion rate, 60 touchdown passes, 6 interceptions, 368 yards rushing.

Here are his numbers from the SEC championship game, the national semifinals, and the national championship game:

vs. Georgia: 28 for 38, 349 yards, 4 touchdown passes, 0 interceptions, 41 yards rushing
vs. Oklahoma: 29 for 39, 493 yards, 7 touchdown passes, 0 interceptions, 21 yards rushing
vs. Clemson: 31 for 49, 463 yards, 5 touchdown passes, 0 interceptions, 58 yards rushing

Burrow set the single season record for touchdown passes that had stood for 13 years. He received a record percentage of first place Heisman Trophy votes and broke O.J.’s record for Heisman margin of victory.

In addition, Burrow’s quarterback grade from Pro Football Focus was its highest ever. PFF has only been doing these ratings since 2014, but this covers much of the era during which the modern college passing exploded into major conferences.

Even with all of this, it’s impossible to say with confidence that Burrow is the best college quarterback ever. Other candidates among those I’ve seen play during the past 60 years include, but aren’t limited to, Staubach, Namath, Jim Plunkett, Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, Cam Newton, Vince Young, Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning, Sam Bradford, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, and Baker Mayfield.

But Burrow is my pick.

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Ilhan Omar, Dope | Power Line

I have commented more than once that Ilhan Omar, while a remarkably arrogant person, is also a woman of very limited intelligence. To be fair, you could say that about a lot of liberals. But this tweet, issued by Omar yesterday, illustrates the point:

The PolyMet project is a proposed copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota. This action by the Minnesota Court of Appeals is unfortunate, but it has nothing to do with fossil fuels. Nor will the court’s decision have any impact on the “planet.” It simply means that copper will be mined, at least for the time being, somewhere on the planet other than Minnesota–undoubtedly in a location with fewer environmental controls.

A group called Minnesota Miners couldn’t resist calling out Ms. Omar:

And this woman actually votes in Congress! Her constituents should be ashamed of themselves.

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“A little bit of money” revisited

The Democrats can’t wait to realign American policy on Iran consistent with the inclinations of the mullahcracy. It is a bloody disgrace. Lee Smith performs a great service reminding us of the essential elements of Obama’s policy in the Tablet column “Obama passed the buck.” I had forgotten some of the details. I strongly recommend Lee’s refresher course.

The cash and other financial resources made available to Iran in part as ransom and in part to secure the JCPOA aren’t the worst of it, but they have done great damage. Lee puts it this way (and I think he has it right):

There were several money streams the former White House poured into the regime. One was sanctions relief, worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Last month Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that in leaving the JCPOA and reimposing sanctions, Trump cost the regime $200 billion. The Obama administration provided another source of income by unlocking escrow accounts when the deal was implemented in January 2016, flooding the regime with some $100 billion in previously frozen oil receipts.

The most infamous payoff was the $1.7 billion in cash the administration shipped off to the IRGC on wooden pallets in exchange for U.S. citizens held hostage by the regime. The White House said that there was no “quid pro quo,” that it was Iran’s money to begin with—$400 million the pre-revolutionary government had deposited in 1979 to buy U.S. arms, plus interest. But the U.S. had already used the $400 million to compensate terror victims of the Islamic Republic. That was Iran’s money. The $400 million the Obama administration used to “pay back” the Iranians belonged to the U.S. taxpayer.

Of course, that’s not how Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry puts it. We have the spectacle of John Kerry defending Obama’s policy with an explanation like this one last week reported by the Washington Free Beacon: “Kerry on $1.7 Billion Payment to Iran: ‘We Gave Them a Little Bit of Money’”

Kerry appeared on the CBS Sunday morning gabfest and was pressed mildly on this point by host Margaret Brennan (transcript here). The clip below captures the exchange.

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Brian Mast speaks — silence ensues

Rep. Brian Mast is a double amputee courtesy of the munitions disseminated by Qassem Soleimani in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. (Rep. Mast himself sustained his injuries in Afghanistan.) We posted Rep. Mast’s remarks condemning his Democratic colleagues on the floor of the House last week in “Brian Mast speaks.”

Rep. Mast followed up his remarks on the House floor in the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing yesterday (video below, C-SPAN video here). This time around, Brian Mast speaks and silence ensues.

Via Virginia Kruta/Daily Caller and Streiff/RedState (h/t reader Lee Stokes).

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Flynn seeks to withdraw guilty plea

With sentencing scheduled on January 28 and the government asking for imposition of a sentence from 0 to six months, Michael Flynn has filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea (motion embedded below). Politico’s Josh Gerstein has a good story/a> and pulls this quote: “The government’s stunning and vindictive reversal of its earlier representations to this Court are incredible, vindictive, in bad faith, and breach the plea agreement.”

This withdrawal motion follows General Flynn’s unsuccessful motion to dismiss the case on account of government misconduct. As I have noted on Power Line in this context, Judge Sullivan had previously all but invited Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea when he took over the case from Judge Contreras following Contreras’s mysterious recusal.

Gerstein himself recalls Judge Sullivan’s invitation at the conclusion of his article: “At an initial sentencing hearing for Flynn in December 2018, the judge said he wasn’t inclined to go forward if Flynn was protesting his innocence.” Gerstein quotes Judge Sullivan speaking at that hearing: “I cannot recall any incident in which the court has ever accepted a plea of guilty from someone who maintained that he was not guilty, and I don’t intend to start today.” I nevertheless think that the motion represents a high-stakes gamble (as Gerstein points out) and that the odds against General Flynn obtaining relief from anyone but President Trump at this point remain long.

Download by Scott Johnson on Scribd

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Warren doesn’t shake Sanders’s hand

I watched most of tonight’s Democratic debate. It was a pretty dull affair.

To the extent there were fireworks, they occurred after the debate, albeit in the form of something that didn’t happen — a non-handshake.

During the debate, as expected, there was an exchange between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren about the latter’s allegation that the former told her a woman couldn’t defeat President Trump. The exchange was civil on its face. Neither party seemed angry about it at the time.

But right after the debate, Sanders extended his hand towards Warren, who did not shake it. The two then exchanged words. Neither seemed at all pleased.

In the long term, this dust up probably isn’t good news for either candidate or for the left. I think Van Jones spoke for many intelligent leftists when he described the evening as “dispiriting.”

For those who didn’t watch much of the debate (a group that likely includes many of our readers), here’s what happened between Sanders and Warren regarding the “he said, she said” dispute.

One of the questioners — someone called Brianne Pfannenstiel — asked Sanders about his comment to Warren that a woman couldn’t defeat Trump. The questioner, in effect, assumed a fact not in evidence — or at least proven.

Sanders denied making the statement and presented good arguments for why it’s implausible to believe that he made it. The idiot questioner, ignoring Sanders’s answer, then asked Warren what she said when Sanders told her that a woman couldn’t defeat Trump.

Warren said she disagreed and then launched into a spiel about how a woman could, in fact, defeat Trump. Her big applause line was that the men on stage have lost a large number of elections, but the women are undefeated. In addition, she said that no man on the stage has defeated an incumbent in 30 years. (Warren was off by a year. As Sanders responded, he defeated an incumbent in November 1990.)

In making her boast, Warren was riding the coattails of Amy Klobuchar who has an outstanding election track record. Warren herself has won only two races, both in Massachusetts where Democrats almost always win and where her margins have been unimpressive. She’s no electoral juggernaut.

But I’m pretty sure that Warren’s misleading rant played well with lefty feminists. And at the caucuses, it may help her pick up Klobuchar supporters in precincts (and there will probably be many) where the Minnesotan fails to reach 15 percent support, so that her people will have to caucus for another candidate.

Based on this exchange, it’s difficult to understand why Warren didn’t shake Sanders’s hand. The explanation must lie in what happened earlier — the conflicting stories about what Sanders said and maybe the anti-Warren script his supporters came up with.

If the script is used in the future, perhaps the option of saying “I like Elizabeth Warren” will be eliminated.

What are my general impressions of the way the candidates performed tonight? They are similar to my impressions of how they have performed in previous debates.

Biden wasn’t sharp, but he committed no gaffes during the 90 minutes (or so) that I watched. And he wasn’t really attacked by anyone.

Sanders commanded the stage early on and did an outstanding job of articulating (demgoguing might be the better word) far left positions on foreign policy. He didn’t have an answer to the question of how much his “Medicare for All” program would cost, and he took fire for that. However, it’s likely that 30 percent or more of Democrats who will vote in primaries or will attend caucuses don’t care what the answer is.

Warren was a little slow out of the blocks, I thought. However, after her rehearsed spiel about woman winning elections, she picked up plenty of steam. She might have gained a little bit of female support tonight.

Buttigieg, as usual, gave the most intelligent answers tonight. I doubt that he lit any fires, though.

Klobuchar, as has been the case since the few sensible candidates dropped out, gave the most sensible answers tonight. I doubt that she lit any fires, though.

Tom Steyer made no impression. He was a waste of time and space.

Did this debate change the shape of the race, either in Iowa or nationally? I doubt it. Certainly not for voters who have been paying attention.

For people tuning in for their first debate, who knows? The most likely scenario is that their views will, on aggregate, be similar to the views people who have been watching all along have formulated.

I suspect that Warren may have helped herself with female voters and Sanders with hard left male voters. But only marginally.

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He said, she said: Bernie and Liz edition

Elizabeth Warren claims that in December 2018, she told Bernie Sanders that a woman could win the presidency in 2020, and that Sanders disagreed. Sanders denies this. According to his version of the meeting, Sanders said only that Trump would attempt to undermine a female opponent by using scorched earth tactics.

According to the Washington Post, two people “with knowledge” of the conversation support Sanders’s version. The Post doesn’t say whether these two people have first-hand knowledge or whether they are in the Sanders camp. I assume (1) they don’t and (2) they are.

Meanwhile, the New York Times says that “people familiar with the meeting” back up Warren’s version. In their account, Sanders said not just that Trump would “weaponize” gender to thwart a female candidate, but also that he would succeed.

However, the Times acknowledges that its sources weren’t at the meeting. Rather, they were briefed soon afterwards.

I don’t believe Warren’s account. For one thing, we know she’s dishonest. Ramesh Ponnuru reminds us that Warren denied her children went to private school when one of them did; she misrepresented her ancestry; and she said, ludicrously, that Democrats had warned her that no Dem could win a Senate race in Massachusetts.

For another thing, it’s implausible that Sanders would advance the claim that a woman couldn’t beat Trump, given that Hillary Clinton came close to doing so. Trump’s margins in the states that put him over the top were razor thin.

Don’t forget that in December 2018, the Democrats were giddy about their victories in the mid-term election just one month earlier. Female candidates had helped lead the charge. Thus, I doubt that Sanders would have thought he could sell Warren the proposition that a female couldn’t defeat Trump. And if he didn’t think he could sell it, he would have to have been an idiot to state it.

It’s possible that this is how Warren interpreted Sanders’s statement. It’s also possible that she’s misrepresenting what Sanders said in the hope of gaining an advantage over her rival for votes among women.

On balance, I consider the second possibility to be more likely than the first. The possibility that Sanders actually said a woman couldn’t defeat Trump runs a distant third to the two scenarios set forth in the paragraph just above.

By the way, it was vintage Warren to claim that Sanders said a woman couldn’t beat Trump and, in the very next sentence, say she has “no interest in discussing this private meeting any further because Bernie and I have more in common than our differences in punditry.” Feminists will regard the alleged difference about a woman’s chance of defeating Trump as more than a pundit’s dispute. Which, of course, is why Warren accused Sanders of making the statement.

In addition to a “difference in punditry,” there is now this difference between Sanders and Warren — one is telling the truth about their December conversation; the other isn’t, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Even allowing for the soft ball nature of many of the questions CNN interrogators tend to pose at Democratic debates, there’s a pretty good chance that Warren will be called on to discuss her private meeting with Sanders. Similarly, there’s a pretty good chance that Sanders will be called on to discuss the anti-Warren script his campaign used against the Massachusetts Senator.

The gloves are off, as they should be this close to the Iowa caucuses.

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Remembering James Hodgkinson | Power Line

As I noted earlier, James O’Keefe released a series of videos today that feature a Bernie Sanders campaign worker named Kyle Jurek. They are in the usual undercover format used by Project Veritas. Jurek says many shocking things. He promises that Milwaukee will “burn” if Sanders doesn’t get the Democratic nomination, and vows to attack police officers. He endorses the Soviet Gulag in particular, and Communist re-education camps in general. He talks about “revolution” and suggests that anyone who opposes the Bernie Sanders revolution will be shot. He comes out against free speech. Jurek advocates sentencing billionaires to hard labor “breaking rocks” and approves of Antifa. His language is vulgar and threats of violence are interspersed through his conversation.

Democrats are already in damage control mode on Twitter. You can see the Project Veritas videos as well as some of the Democrats’ responses on O’Keefe’s Twitter feed. Democrats describe Jurek as a volunteer, which he isn’t. He is a paid staffer in Iowa (or was until today). He was described as a “top-tier organizer” by Sanders’ senior campaign officials in Iowa, who have now closed down their social media accounts.

One Democrat on Twitter described Jurek as “a random, drunk, low-level organizer for Bernie.” That’s really the question: how typical of the Bernie movement is this thoroughly disgusting creature? O’Keefe says the Jurek videos are only the beginning, and he hints that there are more videos coming, featuring more Sanders employees and volunteers. We will see.

Meanwhile, there is one thing we can say for sure. To paraphrase John Lennon, Kyle Jurek may be a violent Communist dreamer, but he’s not the only one. James Hodgkinson, another Bernie Bro, has already done some of the worst things that Jurek threatens. The liberal press has tried to bury the fact that Hodgkinson, a Sanders volunteer and hard-core labor unionist, shot up a group of Republican Congressmen, and would have succeeded in murdering the House Majority Whip, but for the miracles of modern medicine. In that case, Sanders was quick to condemn political violence. If asked, I suppose he would distance himself from Jurek, too. But how many more are there where Hodgkinson and Jurek came from? How extreme is the Bernie Sanders movement, really?

Many are asking whether during tonight’s debate, a reporter will ask Sanders about Jurek, Sanders’ Iowa operation, the closing down of his Iowa social media accounts, the threats to attack police officers and “burn” Milwaukee, or his followers’ propensity toward violence. I can answer that question: No. No liberal reporter wants to remind voters of the deeply-buried story of James Hodgkinson, or connect Democratic presidential candidates with Antifa. (What is Sanders’ opinion of the fascist street violence carried out by Antifa? I don’t know, someone should ask him. But don’t hold your breath.) No reporter will ask Sanders about the fact that he spent his honeymoon in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics either, or his absurd paean to food lines as a sign of socialist superiority.

But maybe it is time to ask: how radical are Bernie Sanders and his supporters, anyway?

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We now know: FISA court must go (WSJ edition)

Today’s Wall Street Journal carries an unsigned editorial (I’m sure by Kim Strassel) under the headline “Another FISA fiasco.” The editorial covers the same ground and arrives at the same destination as my previous posts on the FISA court’s appointment of one David Kris to serve as amicus curiae in the wake of the Department of Justice Inspector General report and the Department of Justice’s pathetic response thereto. The editorial observes:

Say you’re a secret federal court that signed off on wiretaps of a Trump campaign official based on Russian disinformation financed by the Clinton campaign and midwifed through anti-Trump partisans at the FBI. The court did nothing about this deception for three years despite accumulating evidence presented to it. Once this is all publicly exposed, would your response be to hire a former Obama official and media apologist for the FBI to restore the court’s credibility?

Yet that is exactly what the FISA court has done in appointing David Kris to review changes proposed by the FBI to the court’s surveillance application process. Mr. Kris criticized the Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretaps on suspected terrorists in 2006 and later worked in the Obama Justice Department. Then he defended the FBI’s unjustified 2016 surveillance of Trump adviser Carter Page.

At the Lawfare blog on March 1, 2018, Mr. Kris attacked as “dishonest” the memo produced by Devin Nunes’s House Intelligence Committee Republicans reporting that the FBI had misled the FISA court about the Christopher Steele dossier. That was the James Comey-Adam Schiff party line at the time.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz has since confirmed that Mr. Nunes was right and the FBI had deceived the court. Mr. Kris contributed to public confusion by lending his supposed authority as a legal intelligence expert to justify the FBI’s actions.

Mr. Nunes, President Trump and others have criticized Mr. Kris’s appointment, which proves our point. If the court’s goal is to restore its public standing, the last person to appoint is someone who apologized for the very abuses he is now supposed to fix and will have no credibility with half the country.

Federal Judge James Boasberg, an Obama appointee for the District of Columbia, became presiding FISA judge on Jan. 1. That he would act in such an obtuse fashion is another argument for the FISA court’s abolition.

I don’t think “fiasco” and stupidity (“obtuseness”) do justice to what is going on with the court’s appointment of David Kris. We now know beyond any reasonable doubt that the FISA court has been compromised. It is going through the motions to mitigate the revelation of its own fault now that we know it too is among the institutions corrupted in the Russia hoax.

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Bernie Sanders, Pro-Gulag? | Power Line

I don’t know whether Bernie Sanders advocates for the Soviet Gulags, but one of his field organizers does, as documented by Project Veritas in this shocking video clip. Apparently there is more to come, as James O’Keefe has advertised a broader release within the next few minutes:

Stay tuned!