Holy Moses, what a time to be alive

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On the roster: Holy Moses, what a time to be alive - Manchin leads Morrisey in latest West Virginia poll - Poll: 49 percent back impeachment - Kavanaugh hearing begins next week, witness list grows - In-not-out burglar

HOLY MOSES, WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE
The biblical story of the children of Israel is one of forgetfulness.

When the Israelites forget the God of Abraham who made them and protects them still, they suffer the consequences at the hands of a succession of sufferings in a cruel and fallen world. Sometimes it is in Egypt, sometimes it is in Babylon and sometimes it is in an occupation of their own promised land. 

In their pain they cry out to their maker for release and relief, and they are delivered. But even before Moses can return to them with the law, Aaron and the others are already forgetting themselves and the great Jehovah who rescued them. Their leader finds them already worshiping at the feet of the golden calf. 

It is the story of the ancient Hebrews, but it is also very much the story of Americans. When we forget the suffering brought on by our failings we are sure to fail again. 

Americans are watching today as generation passes on in poignant fashion. The split-screen remembrances of Aretha Franklin and John McCain are meaningful and moving on their own. Two extraordinary lives of achievements that can never be equaled. 

No matter your language, faith, color or creed, to listen to Franklin sing “How I Got Over” would make any person at least consider the possibility that God is real and His spirit is in our midst. 

No matter your politics or preferred policies, McCain’s sacrifice for the country he served would give even the most cold-hearted cynic reason to think that there is something truly exceptional about our nation. 

But there is something instructive about what is happening to their generation and to our country in this moment. 

Baby Boomers’ ascendance changed the world. What was, at the time, the largest age cohort in American history essentially invented the concept of adolescence, bent the titans of industry to their whims of taste in culture and commerce and reinvented our politics. 

The generation’s arrival into adult life was marked with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In the 15 years that followed our country endured an era of disruption and upheaval marred by profound corruption in the government, America’s first defeat at war, domestic insurrections in our largest cities and a crisis in confidence about the American experiment. 

Franklin knew well the wrenching pain that surrounded the struggle for the descendants of slaves to know real equality in the nation that had denied it to them and their forbearers.

McCain knew well the consequences when our government lies about the conduct of war and demands the sacrifices of its people in pursuit of unclear objectives. 

But we are forgetting their lessons.

We live in an era where issues of race are recklessly exploited for narrow political advantages. We also live in an era where the very definitions of truth and accountability are in doubt. 

Part of the reason we are so careless in playing with matters so potent is that those individuals who lived through the consequences of our past forgetfulness are leaving our presence. We are losing our collective memory as we lose those who paid the price when we had lost our way before. 

We join our prayers with those in mourning but we pray also that we will not have to suffer so much as the generation before in order to learn the same lesson of the Israelites. 

THE RULEBOOK: REASON, PRECEDENT AND DECORUM 
“Controversies between the nation and its members or citizens, can only be properly referred to the national tribunals. Any other plan would be contrary to reason, to precedent, and to decorum.” – Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 80

TIME OUT: BE GRATEFUL AND KIND
Time: “Research has shown time and time again that being grateful is good for your health, mood and general well-being. In fact, it’s one of the easiest things you can do to increase your mental health. … The research, published recently in Psychological Science, says people chronically underestimate the power of expressing gratitude and overestimate how awkward it will be, which may keep them from engaging in the simple but impactful practice. … Amit Kumar[’s], an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business … research involved a series of experiments. Each one differed slightly, but the general concept remained the same: People were asked to send a letter to someone in their life, expressing gratitude. Before sending the letters, the writers were asked about how they expected the recipient to react. Then, the researchers polled the recipients about their actual reactions.”

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SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval:
 41.6 percent
Average disapproval: 55 percent
Net Score: -13.4 points
Change from one week ago: down 3.8 points
[Average includes: ABC News/WaPo: 38% approve - 60% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk: 40% approve - 56% disapprove - NBC/WSJ: 44% approve - 52% disapprove; Gallup: 41% approve - 54% disapprove; Fox News: 45% approve - 53% disapprove.]

Control of House
Republican average: 
41.2 percent
Democratic average: 50 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 8.8 points
Change from one week ago: Democratic advantage up 0.2 points
[Average includes: NBC/WSJ: 50% Dems - 42% GOP; Fox News: 49% Dems - 38% GOP; Monmouth University: 48% Dems - 43% GOP; Quinnipiac University: 51% Dems - 42% GOP; CNN: 52% Dems - 41% GOP.]

MANCHIN LEADS MORRISEY IN LATEST WEST VIRGINIA POLL
W. Va. Metro News: “If the November election were staged today, incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin would defeat his challenger, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, according to the latest MetroNews Dominion Post West Virginia Poll. The poll that was released Friday showed Manchin, the Democrat who has served in the Senate since 2010, with a 46 percent to 38 percent edge on the Republican Morrisey. Another 16 percent of likely voters said they still aren’t sure. ‘Morrisey is behind by about 8 percentage points, but if you look at the voters most interested in the election, that lead shrinks,’ said pollster Rex Repass, who constructed the questions for the West Virginia Poll. ‘Morrisey could have more of an advantage in the intensity factor or the enthusiasm factor.’ The West Virginia Poll surveyed 404 people likely registered voters from all 55 counties.”

Ducey faces a tough test picking McCain successor -
 LAT: “Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey might as well be looking for a unicorn. As he chooses a temporary successor for Sen. John McCain, the Republican governor will have to thread a needle that respects McCain’s legacy as a GOP iconoclast, but also recognizes the popularity of McCain’s political nemesis, President Trump. The pressure couldn’t be higher. McCain’s successor will likely be in place to cast a high-profile vote on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh. And Arizona voters will get an opportunity to weigh in — indirectly — on Ducey’s decision when he asks them on election day this fall for another term in office. ‘These are extraordinary circumstances in an extraordinary political moment,’ said Stan Barnes, a Republican political consultant in Arizona. ‘It’s got national implications, important Arizona implications and personal political implications for a governor.’”

House Republicans start triage - 
Politico: “With a massive field of vulnerable House incumbents to defend and limited resources to go around, Republicans are readying for a painful round of political triage — deciding which lawmakers are worth trying to rescue, and which ones need to be cut loose to fend for themselves in November. GOP officials say as many as 45 Republican-held seats are at serious risk, making it impossible to salvage each one in the costly scramble to protect the party’s 23-seat majority— especially those members who have waged sluggish campaigns and posted lackluster fundraising totals. … Behind the scenes, senior party strategists have begun polling to determine which incumbents may be beyond saving. Among those most in jeopardy of getting cut off, they say, are Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock, Pennsylvania Rep. Keith Rothfus, and Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, all of whom are precariously positioned in their districts.”

Gillum raised more than $1 million one day after primary win -
Axios: “Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, who won the Democratic primary for Florida governor, raised more than $1 million the day following his historic Tuesday night victory, per The Hill. The details: Gillum, 39, is the first African American to win a major party nomination for Florida governor. The cash flow to his campaign comes after Gillum’s Republican opponent, Rep. Ron DeSantis, said a ‘socialist agenda’ in Florida would ‘monkey this up’ referencing progress under GOP leadership in Florida. The remark, which many viewed as a racist dog whistle, prompted widespread backlash.”

POLL: 49 PERCENT BACK IMPEACHMENT 
WaPo: “President Trump’s disapproval rating has hit a high point of 60 percent, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that also finds that clear majorities of Americans support the special counsel’s Russia investigation and say the president should not fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions. At the dawn of the fall campaign sprint to the midterm elections, which will determine whether Democrats retake control of Congress, the poll finds a majority of the public has turned against Trump and is on guard against his efforts to influence the Justice Department and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s wide-ranging probe. Nearly half of Americans, 49 percent, say Congress should begin impeachment proceedings that could lead to Trump being removed from office, while 46 percent say Congress should not. And a narrow majority — 53 percent — say they think Trump has tried to interfere with Mueller’s investigation in a way that amounts to obstruction of justice; 35 percent say they do not think the president has tried to interfere.”

KAVANAUGH HEARING BEGINS NEXT WEEK, WITNESS LIST GROWS
AP: “The Senate Judiciary Committee has added former Solicitor General Theodore Olson and former White House counsel John Dean to the list of witnesses who will testify next week in the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court. Olson served as solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration. He’s one of the country’s best-known lawyers, having argued the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case that stopped Al Gore’s recount in the 2000 presidential election. He’ll offer backing to a former colleague in the Bush White House. Kavanaugh served as legal counsel and later as staff secretary for Bush. Dean ultimately cooperated with prosecutors and helped bring down Richard Nixon’s presidency, though he served a prison term for obstruction of justice. He has been a harsh critic of President Donald Trump and is listed as a Democratic witness. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Dean will ‘speak about the abuse of executive power.’”

And the White House has been busy prepping - 
Politico: “The White House is making last-minute preparations for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearings next week, holding final prep sessions and setting up a pair of rapid-response war rooms. Kavanaugh … has called on his vast network to help him get ready for the hearings. His former clerks, lawyers from the conservative Federalist Society and even Republican senators have participated in nearly a dozen practice sessions designed to mimic the conditions of the often grueling hearings, according to a White House official. … The White House is organizing a war room in the Senate near the committee room that will be staffed by administration officials, Senate leadership aides and Judiciary Committee staff. A second war room is being set up in Vice President Mike Pence’s Senate office. Staffers will be ready ‘in case there’s a surprise,’ the White House official said.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Trump will sign executive order boosting retirement savings in Charlotte Friday - Politico 

Trump cancels January pay raise to federal employees -  US News

Pentagon faces October fiscal cliff 
Roll Call

AUDIBLE: A MAN CAN BE DESTROYED BUT NOT DEFEATED
Hemingway once wrote, ‘The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.’ No one—no one was stronger at the broken places than John McCain. The brokenness was his ballast.” – Speaker Paul Ryan speaking at the memorial service for Sen. John McCain on Friday at the U.S. Capitol. 

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY

This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.  
 
#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.

Share your color commentary: Email us at 
HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

IN-NOT-OUT BURGLAR 

UPI: “Los Angeles police said a burglary suspect was arrested after needing to be rescued from his position between a wall and a building. The Los Angeles Police Department said a homeowner checking their security camera footage about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night saw a person wandering the property. The homeowner decided to check the property Thursday to see if anything had been disturbed and they found the man was wedged between a wall and the home's garage. The Los Angeles Fire Department responded about 8:10 a.m. and it took more than an hour to free the man, who had sustained minor injuries from his ordeal. It was unclear how long he had been wedged. LAPD Officer Rosario Herrera said the man was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and police suspect he may have been involved in a nearby burglary earlier Wednesday evening.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Never had an egg substitute in my life. I figured trans fats were just another fad waiting to be revoked and renounced.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Dec. 24, 2015.  

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C.