- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 8, 2018

In keeping with an old tradition, former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have returned to their customary summer retreat. The couple are visiting Martha’s Vineyard and have been quietly enjoying themselves on the low-key and picturesque island — likely to stay until the end of August according to the Martha’s Vineyard Times. The local news organization has much to cover.

“Golfing, bicycling, and visiting some of the Island’s restaurants are among the president’s August pastimes on-island. On Sunday he reportedly dined at the Red Cat in Oak Bluffs. Monday night, Barack and Michelle Obama went to The Cardboard Box — Ben DeForest’s new Oak Bluffs eatery. They emerged from the restaurant to a screaming throng outside on Circuit Ave. and waved to well-wishers before getting into a waiting SUV,” The Times reported.


The restaurant itself is a doozy, featuring everything from pan-roasted monk fish loin with chorizo sausage ($46) to a 42-ounce rib-eye steak ($100) and lamb loin chops chimichurri ($58). Translated, that means the chops are topped with a tasty sauce of chopped parsley, garlic, olive oil, red-wine vinegar and some other stuff. Yes, there’s fresh lobster of course.

Moving beyond the menu prices, craft cocktails include “The Midnight Swim,” which features rum, pineapple, raspberry liqueur and a complimentary rubber ducky; “The Sandman’s Kryptonite” — essentially an espresso-jolted martini; and “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” a jalapeno margarita.

And as long as we’re at it, the desserts include key lime trifle, chocolate ganache tart with toasted almond crust, and a hot sticky bun served in an iron skillet with vanilla ice cream, brown sugar apple filling and homemade caramel sauce.

The aforementioned restaurant owner Mr. DeForest, meanwhile, shared a video of the former first couple exiting his eatery with a police escort, as frenzied bystanders shouted terms of endearment and chanted “Obama! Obama! Obama!” according to MassLive.com, which tracks local news.

Mr. DeForest reported that it was the “craziest scene” he’s seen in decades.

“It was like The Beatles,” he told MassLive.


“Protect the House.”

A catchy name, but it’s actually a joint fundraising committee “helmed by Vice President Mike Pence and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy that distributes money to Republican House candidates,” according to the White House pool report Wednesday.

Interesting dynamic: This political action committee also counts billionaire tech/space entrepreneur Elon Musk as a donor; he gave $33,900 to the cause earlier this year.

According to the PAC’s most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission, it has raised $13,787,136 — and 25 cents — so far this election cycle.


Along with addressing global strategy, the defeat of ISIS and the creation of a new U.S. space force, Secretary of Defense James Mattis also has his eye on the polling booth in a practical sort of way.

Does the Defense Department play a role in bolstering election security for the mid-terms and other elections? That was one question during a Pentagon press briefing Tuesday.

“We all saw what happened in 2016 when the Russians and possibly others, but the Russians for certain, tried to both influence operations and actually get in and corrupt some of the election process. What we’ve done is taken a look at all of those things so that we know what to look for,” Mr. Mattis replied.

“We are engaged in support of the Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement in order to maintain the integrity of the election. I prefer not to say what those specifics are, because in that case, our adversary would know. And the adversaries may be more than just Russia. We are not focused solely on one country. We are focused on protecting the elections themselves,” he continued.

“We’re looking at both this influence peddling and the corrupting — the violating the integrity of the elections. And those activities are in direct support of law enforcement and Department of Homeland Security.”


We learned from Gallup that the level of optimism among small business owners rose to its highest level in 15 years. Now there’s evidence of some very healthy state economies.

“States across the country are thriving under President Trump by adding jobs and reducing unemployment, no thanks to their Democrat Senators. Democrats looking to win Senate races in these states this cycle have voted against and made false claims about the GOP tax cuts, and have repeatedly sought to undermine and undercut President Trump’s pro-growth agenda,” reports a new study from the Republican National Committee.

Their findings are based on data from Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Economic Policy Institute, statements and information released by lawmakers, and voting records supplied by Roll Call.

“Despite Senate Democrats’ false claim of economic armageddon, many of these states have seen a massive acceleration in job growth over the same period in the previous year in the wake of the GOP tax cuts,” the RNC report states.

It found that since Republicans tax cuts were passed, job growth has accelerated by 76 percent in Wisconsin, 132 percent in Ohio, 262 percent in North Dakota, and 200 percent in West Virginia.

And a few employment numbers: Florida gained 99,400 jobs since Mr. Trump took office, Pennsylvania gained 93,800 jobs; Nevada 45,900; Arizona 45,900; Indiana 31,300; Michigan 32,400; Missouri 22,900; and Montana. In each state, The unemployment rate has dropped significantly, the research found.


70 percent of U.S. voters call “political rhetoric” a serious issue; 67 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of independents and 76 percent of Democrats agree.

62 percent overall call that issue “widespread”; 63 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats agree.

47 percent overall say political rhetoric has not had much impact on their daily personal life; 56 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats agree

38 percent say the rhetoric has had an impact on their life; 31 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of independents and 47 percent of Democrats agree.

14 percent overall are undecided about the impact; 12 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats agree

Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,994 registered U.S. voters, conducted Aug. 2-6.

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