Senator Mitch McConnell
Senator Mitch McConnell

Super Ego: And so it came to pass, Mitch McConnell, the senior senator from Kentucky, officially ascended to the position of his dreams: Senate Majority Leader. And on Wednesday, he gave his first speech as the man with the plan and it lifted a skeptical eyebrow or two, says The Huffington Post and MSNBC,

Here’s an excerpt:

“After so many years of sluggish growth, we’re finally starting to see some economic data that can provide a glimmer of hope. The uptick appears to coincide with the biggest political change of the Obama Administration’s long tenure in Washington: the expectation of a new Republican Congress.”

Wait—who did a what now?

The senator is likely referring to this report that says the U.S. economy grew by 5 percent in the third quarter of 2014, the likes of which we’ve not seen in years.

Rhetorical allowances aside, that claim isn’t just a little specious, it’s well, a lot specious. To believe that, one would have to assume Americans just started spending like it was the end of the world just on the prospects of a GOP takeover.

Wait. That might actually…

The Washington Post ran this headline:

“Mitch McConnell says improved economy is result of ‘the expectation of a new Republican Congress.’ Um, probably not.”

And they have a lot of charts and things to backup the “probably not.

PolitiFact combed through McConnell’s claim with far more care and diligence than I would have thought possible. They also have charts and graphs from the likes of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis and all kinds of, I don’t know, facts they considered. Their verdict: hooey and poppycock. Or something a touch more eloquent:

McConnell said a recent economic uptick appears to “coincide” with “the expectation of a new Republican Congress.” Even leaving aside the question of causation, key statistics show that the economic recovery was under way well before September, which is our best estimate for when the “expectation” of a GOP Senate solidified. We rate the statement False.

And according to The Hill, Mo Elleithee, communications director of the Democratic National Committee, had this to say in a statement:

 “Hahahahahahahahahahaha.”

That’s really in his statement. Follow the link over if you don’t believe me—that’s why they’re there. One of the reasons why they’re there anyway.

 "I Am Ali" documentary film trailer.Muhammad Ali. daughter

Sting Like a Bee: Muhammad Ali, boxing legend and the most famous person on the planet, was released from “an undisclosed hospital” Tuesday night, says ABC News (AP), BBC News, NBC News, Sports Illustrated and Reuters. The champ went into the hospital on Dec. 20 with what doctors thought to be pneumonia. Ali was instead suffering from a sever urinary tract infection.

Great part of being famous: You see the world, maybe you have a few dollars in the account and the people love you.

The bad news about being famous: People on the opposite side of the world know about your UTI.

Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown
Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown

Southern Pride: Southern Living compiled a list of “50 People Who Are Changing the South in 2015.” In at No. 5: Louisville’s own husband and wife super duo, Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson of 21c Museum Hotels. Badasses, the both of them.

And then there’s fellow badass Theo Edmonds of IDEAS 40203 in at No. 17. I talked to Theo way, way back in the fall of 2013, and like Ms. Brown and Mr. Wilson, he’s a mover out there getting things done.

Congratulations to all and congratulations to Louisville for having them.

Marianne Barnes | Photo by Steve Coomes
Marianne Barnes | Photo by Steve Coomes

Master Builder: Forbes released its huge “30 Under 30” list this week, and hey, what do you know? Twenty-eight-year-old Marianne Barnes is on the list in the category of “The Food & Drink Masters Changing American Consumption.” Our own Sara Havens talked about it on Wednesday.

That’s kind of an impressive feat, if we think about American consumption.

Marianne is the Master Taster for Woodford Reserve and in line to be the next Master Distiller. All very impressive, especially when you consider, as the write-up notes, Marianne’s degree is in chemical engineering and she has “no background in spirits of any kind.”

I don’t know. I knew quite a few people who developed their own spirits curriculum in college. Maybe more kegology 101 than spirits, per se.

Lawrence Martin

“Bigger, Stronger”: EXTRA, VH1, Newsday, People and Design & Trend report that Jennifer Lawrence and Coldplay’s Chris Martin are back together and better than ever.

Except I thought we proclaimed them back together back in November. I didn’t even know I was supposed to be worried about them again. Regardless, now they’re really back together.

An “insider” tells people that the last split—if there was a split—was to do with Martin’s ex-wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, with whom Martin has remained close for the benefit of the kids. Lawrence is reportedly now OK with all of that.

Here they are eating:

Martin Lawrence Sushi Tweet

There was also this People’s Choice Awards deal on Wednesday. ABC News reports your girl won both “Favorite Movie Actress” and “Favorite Action Movie Actress.” Because there’s a difference between regular acting and acting that involves running, I guess.

Betty White won “Favorite TV Icon.” ABC’s World News Now reporter T.J. Holmes said of White: “It’s great to see how…What is she…? Who knows how old she is now? Is she 90 yet?”

Sometimes, off-the-cuff banter is hard. Flight of the Conchords suggests banter is left to the professionals:

And to start off our year and end our week musically, here’s your People’s Choice Winner for “Song of the Year”:

Happy 2015, everybody. May it grace you with the stars.

See you next week.

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Kyle Ware
Kyle Ware is a Louisville-based actor, artist, educator and writer. His column, In Other News, appears at Insider Louisville every Friday.