Saturday, May 19, 2018
In economic policy, Obama’s slow winnowing of the deficit even in times of sluggish growth has been completely reversed. We too easily forget that the biggest accomplishment of Trump’s term in office so far — a massive increase in debt in a time of robust economic growth — is the inverse of Obama’s studied sense of fiscal responsibility. Nothing in modern fiscal history can match Trump’s recklessness — neither Reagan’s leap of faith nor George W. Bush’s profligacy — and it’s telling that the Democrats and the liberal intelligentsia have accommodated so swiftly to it. Nothing is so unfashionable right now as worrying about debt.
Listen, I know the moments after a gunman opens fire in a school are hectic for you. You have to get your talking points together, you have to mentally prepare to debate a traumatized yet sensible child, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and practice saying that more guns would have made the situation less deadly. It’s a busy time! And since we are always either in the moments after or the moments before a mass shooting, you’re pretty much always busy, I have noticed!
Anyway, I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that I now actually do want to take your guns.
All of your guns.
What if I promise never to shoot up a school?
Ninety percent of wage earners around the country are already seeing increased take-home pay because of tax reform. Under the bill, a family of four with annual income of $73,000 will see a tax cut of more than $2,058, a 58 percent reduction in federal taxes. Similarly, a single parent with one child with annual income of $41,000 will see a tax cut of $1,304, a 73 percent reduction in federal taxes.
Friday, May 18, 2018
Writing in 2015, Malcolm Gladwell wrote what I think is still the best explanation for modern American mass shootings, and it’s easily the least comforting. At the risk of oversimplifying a complex argument, essentially he argues that each mass shooting lowers the threshold for the next. He argues, we are in the midst of a slow-motion “riot” of mass shootings, with the Columbine shooting in many ways the key triggering event. Relying on the work of Stanford sociologist Mark Granovetter, Gladwell notes that it’s a mistake to look at each incident independently:
Educated at Washington and Lee University and Yale, Wolfe held a doctorate in American studies and could reference Weber, Veblen, Durkheim, Nietzsche, and Darwin with the best of them. But he resisted membership in the "herd of independent minds," choosing instead to join the ranks of counter-intellectuals who problematized not middle-class society but its critics on campus, in media, and along the radical frontier of the Democratic Party. Wolfe is often overlooked as a counter-intellectual because his method was not polemic but devastating, irresistible satire. He was Jonathan Swift in a white suit.
Wolfe brought low those figures, institutions, and movements intellectuals hold in esteem, while elevating the factors in society that intellectuals typically condescend to or denigrate outright. Radical chic, the Community Action Plan, modern art and architecture, the New Yorker, literary fiction, the Victorian Gents of the press, well-meaning politicians, the modern university, and Noam Chomsky were his targets. The Good Old Boys, stock-car racers, naval aviators, astronauts, and Cuban-American cops with machismo were his heroes.
Tom Wolfe was a very good novelist and a great public intellectual. His novel A Man in Full was sometimes awkwardly written, but it told a compelling story or stories about people's moral and financial struggles in contemporary America. The Bonfire of the Vanities perfectly captured the 1980's in unforgettable detail. I will never forget some scenes in it, like the grizzled old judge hocking a lugie at the prisoners who were shouting abuse at him. He'll be missed.
One anonymous poster in The Robing Room -- a blog for lawyers to rate and review judges -- summed up a view of Ellis shared by two other attorneys who have appeared before the judge, writing, “When Friday motion day comes in his courtroom, it is obvious that Judge Ellis is the smartest man in the room. Unfortunately, he will frequently make it plain that he knows he's the smartest man in the room, and act accordingly. Few judges have his encyclopedic knowledge of case law, and fewer still will show his level of familiarity with the pleadings you submit to him -- so you can't usually slip a fast one by him. ... This is one judge you want to avoid angering, because his temper can sometimes be volcanic.”
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Four months ago, Pope Francis dug himself into the biggest hole of his papacy by strongly defending a Chilean bishop accused by sex abuse victims of witnessing and ignoring their abuse.
On Friday, he emerged from that debacle after strong-arming the entire Chilean bishops conference to resign for what he said were their “grave defects” in handling abuse cases. He accused them of destroying evidence of sex crimes, interfering with investigations and negligently placing children at risk of being raped by pedophiles.
By repenting for his original sin with what amounts to an ecclesial nuclear option, Francis has quite possibly ushered in the game-changer in the Catholic Church’s long-running sex abuse crisis.
The mass resignations marked the first time the Vatican has initiated decisive action to hold bishops accountable for covering up sex abuse by priests. And it forced complicit bishops to atone for their misdeeds in the most publicly humiliating way possible.
This is a big deal. The Lavender Mafia is not going to be happy.
President Donald Trump Defunds Planned Parenthood, Will Cut Almost $60 Million in Taxpayer Funding | LifeNews.com
The Trump administration is announcing new regulations today to partially defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses of tens of millions of tax dollars. This is the second time Trump has taken steps to revoke taxpayer funding for the nation’s biggest abortion business — after yanking taxpayer from from International Planned Parenthood during his first week in office.
Snippets of dialogue, descriptions of pacing, pleading and crying. Followed by the adulation of the unhinged crowds. All that’s missing from this description is…everything. This is a description of a rock concert written by someone who hates rock music. The entire experience becomes inexplicable and weird once you remove the music, i.e. the ideas. And that’s obviously what Nellie Bowles is trying to do, make it ridiculous. This will no doubt be applauded by many on the left, but it’s the laziest kind of hit piece imaginable.
The Jordan Peterson thing is intriguing. In the 1970s he would have been a well regarded academic at a Canadian university. But circumstances have thrust upon him the role of super-star and cultural prophet. Most of what he preaches (as far as I can tell from watching him on youtube -- I haven't read any of his books) strikes me as pretty commonsensical, until he gets to the Jungian stuff, which I don't buy particularly. Perhaps the SJW left hates him so much because he responds thoughtfully to their mostly infantile criticisms.
SANTA FE, Texas – At least 9 people died Friday morning in gunfire at Santa Fe High School, law enforcement officials confirmed, while area hospitals reported at least a dozen others were injured.
Police arrested a student suspect and detained a second person, Santa Fe school officials confirmed.
The dead are expected to include students and staff, according to a senior law enforcement official who was not authorized to speak about the investigation.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes appeared on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday, where he provided a potentially explosive hint at what’s driving his demand to see documents related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Trump-Russia probe. “If the campaign was somehow set up,” he told the hosts, “I think that would be a problem.”
Thursday, May 17, 2018
This is a stunning admission for those Americans worried that federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies might use their powers to surveil, leak against, and target Americans simply for their political views or affiliations. As Sean Davis wrote, “The most amazing aspect about this article is how blasé it is about the fact that the Obama admin was actively spying on four affiliates of a rival political campaign weeks before an election.”
Monday, May 14, 2018
A team successfully transplanted memories by transferring a form of genetic information called RNA from one snail into another.
The snails were trained to develop a defensive reaction.
When the RNA was inserted into snails that had not undergone this process, they behaved just as if they had been sensitised.
Rush Limbaugh lays out why he believes the Russia probe is full of entrapment (of George Papadopoulos) and was a setup from the very beginning using a dossier that existed solely for the purpose of media consumption on the Monday edition of his radio program.
While many American Jews may not remember or even know who Elghanian was, to my community of Iranian Jews, he was a remarkable leader whose execution sparked a mass exodus of Jews from Iran. Elghanian’s brutal execution has left a painful scar in the hearts and minds of countless Jews who fled Iran after the current Islamic regime came to power. After more than 2,500 years of living in Iran, we Jews were suddenly and violently uprooted in massive numbers.
I didn't know about this.
The Supreme Court agreed to consider the state’s constitutional challenge to PASPA, and today the court reversed. In a decision by Justice Samuel Alito, the court began by explaining that the “anticommandeering doctrine may sound arcane, but it is simply the expression of a fundamental structural decision incorporated into the Constitution” – “the decision to withhold from Congress the power to issue orders directly to the States.” And that, the majority continued, is exactly the problem with the provision of PASPA that the state challenged, which bars states from authorizing sports gambling: It “unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may and may not do.” “It is as if,” the majority suggested, “federal officers were installed in state legislative chambers and were armed with the authority to stop legislators from voting on any offending proposals. A more direct affront to state sovereignty,” Alito concluded, “is not easy to imagine.”
Exclusive: Tehran will challenge the US by restarting nuclear fuel enrichment and ramp up its military confrontation with Israel. The Iranian leadership reached these decisions on Thursday, May 10, after Israeli warplanes smashed its military assets in the Damascus area that morning, DEBKAfile’s exclusive intelligence sources report. These steps follow the strategic plans Tehran had drawn up for the eventuality of the US quitting the 2015 nuclear pact. In the coming weeks, therefore, Tehran will choose its moment to abandon the nuclear deal and restart high level uranium enrichment, in the face of President Donald Trump’s warning that this action would meet with “very severe consequences.” In light of Iran’s strategy, the US, after quitting the nuclear deal, Thursday asked the nuclear watchdog IAEA to continue inspections of the Iranian nuclear program. Washington intends to keep independent monitors accessing Iran’s nuclear activities for as long as they are permitted.
This might be true.
Hovey works in one of the least known, most dangerous, and, frankly, most bizarre professions on Earth. He is a saturation diver—one of the men (just about all have been men*) who do construction and demolition work at depths up to 1,000 feet or more below the surface of the ocean.
I once sat next to a saturation diver some 30 years ago flying from Scotland to Seattle. He was very enthusiastic about his job. His father and brothers were all saturation divers. He said if anything went wrong he would just shut of the heating in his suit and would pass out in a few minutes from the cold. Then he could be revived much later, perhaps much, much later, or else not-- a relatively painless death.
The knights ate in pairs and were told to “study the other more closely” to make sure that neither was eating more than his share—and were also eating enough. They only ate meat three times a week and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, the knights ate vegetable-filled meals and bread. They some ate a thick soup made of oats or vegetables and they grew fruits in their gardens. On Fridays, they ate no eggs, milk or animal products. They were allowed to drink wine, but not much, and it was diluted.
Identity politics has engulfed the humanities and social sciences on American campuses; now it is taking over the hard sciences. The STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math—are under attack for being insufficiently “diverse.” The pressure to increase the representation of females, blacks, and Hispanics comes from the federal government, university administrators, and scientific societies themselves. That pressure is changing how science is taught and how scientific qualifications are evaluated. The results will be disastrous for scientific innovation and for American competitiveness.
SAN FRANCISCO – The unwanted were turned away from cafeteria tables. Fistfights broke out at karaoke. Dances became breeding grounds for gossip and cruelty.
It became clear this place had a bullying problem on its hands. What many found surprising was that the perpetrators and victims alike were all senior citizens.
The South China Sea China has the potential to become a cauldron of conflict, and China is stoking the fire. By claiming perhaps as much as 90% of the South China Sea, Beijing is trampling on the rights of other nations in the region, nations whose Exclusion Economic Zones (EEZs) and national waters are being violated.
Is this public relations by a sector feeling the heat? Is it a chance for Google and Facebook to look good following accusations that social media and the internet generally have been manipulated around the world to undermine democracy? Is Ireland being used to make a point?
Without Firing a Shot — Review: 'Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire' by Bret Baier and Catherine Whitney
Reagan the anticommunist activist was born in a battle with Hollywood Communists while head of the Screen Actors Guild in 1946. Here he learned about Communist duplicity and terror tactics (during this period Reagan slept with a pistol near his bed). Their goal was to take over the tinsel-town unions, but Reagan prevailed by opening the floor to a membership vote as to determine the ideological complexion of the union.
A year later Reagan extended using democracy to fight communism to the nation at large in testimony before Congress in its investigation into communist influence in Hollywood. In contrast to other anticommunist witnesses who wanted to ban the Communist Party, Reagan disagreed and asserted that the best way to expose communism was to present all the facts to the American people.
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Your Stories Investigation: Garage door openers in Rancho San Di - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8
NRA-ILA | The NRA Sues New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State Department of Financial Services Over Alleged Attack on First Amendment Rights
NEW YORK CITY—The National Rifle Association of America (“NRA”) today announced that it filed a lawsuit against the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and DFS Superintendent Maria T. Vullo alleging violations of the NRA’s First Amendment rights.
It’s been interesting to watch and read the many critics of Bari Weiss’s instantly controversial piece on the leaders of the so-called Intellectual Dark Web. Rarely have more people more contemptuously missed the point. Rarely have more people inadvertently confirmed the need for a movement of intellectual free-thinkers.
Friday, May 11, 2018
President Obama’s legacy is rapidly vanishing. The decision by President Trump to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran is the biggest blow, but it’s only the latest. The elimination of the individual mandate and canceling the yearly bailout of insurance companies have left Obamacare in a precarious condition. Young immigrants whose parents brought them to the United States unlawfully—so-called dreamers—are losing their legal status.
This is historic. Presidents often vow to wipe out big chunks of their predecessor’s legacies. President Eisenhower was going to take on the New Deal. Ronald Reagan targeted the Great Society. Both backed down. Trump, working with congressional Republicans, hasn’t. He’s eager to deflate Obama’s standing and inflate his own.
Swarms of insects or populations of microbes can produce surprisingly coordinated phenomena, even though each individual operates with very simple rules. Hamid Kellay of the University of Bordeaux in France and his colleagues have demonstrated similar behavior in roach-like, battery-powered robots that skitter around randomly inside a corral. Previous researchers have also observed self-propelled swarmers in enclosed regions, but Kellay's team documented new forms of collective motion using movable corrals. The ultimate aim of this body of research is to produce small, simple robots that team up for a variety of tasks, such as self-assembly or exploration.
Amid dueling claims of extortion and obstruction as well as a threat of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein, a potentially different origin story has emerged, Kimberly Strassel reports for the Wall Street Journal. The DoJ has been keeping a lid on a top-secret source at the center of this probe, and Strassel believes it’s a confidential informant placed by the FBI and/or the CIA within the Trump campaign.
The Beltway is in a bother. The swamp is simmering. The elites are not elated. You get the idea.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Retaliation: Israel pounds "most of" Iran's military assets in Syria after attack; Bahrain, US support
The lack of “proportionality” sends its own message. Israel isn’t interested in proportionality when it comes to attacks on their country. They see it rightly as an act of war, and they also rightly see that war doesn’t require “proportionality.” It requires a forceful enough response to end the war as soon as possible. The only way to deal with an aggressor is to bloody him up enough to take the aggression out of him. “If we get rain,” one Israeli official told CBS’ Seth Doane, “they’ll get a flood.”
“Civilization begins with distillation,” said William Faulkner, a writer and drinker. Although our thirst for alcohol dates back to the Stone Age, nobody has figured out a good way to deal with the ensuing hangover after getting drunk.
For Democrats, the Don Blankenship dream is over. The coal-mining baron and ex-con was a pleasant diversion—the prospect of yet another train-wreck Republican candidate was exactly the kind of opponent that Sen. Joe Manchin needed in his dicey reelection campaign in West Virginia—but now it’s back to the reality of a merciless map that offers little hope for Chuck Schumer’s dream of becoming majority leader.
It’s strange that a president who had such a transformative effect on our national discourse will leave such a negligible policy legacy. But Barack Obama, whose imperial term changed the way Americans interact and in some ways paved the way for the Trump presidency, is now watching his much-celebrated and mythologized two-term legacy be systematically demolished. This, in many ways, tells us that American governance still works.
Now, now gentlemen, no snickering or cheering, please.
And this is the problem with the whole “game-changer” argument when it comes to “new and amazing” weapons: They actually rarely tip the balance in war. They may be new and they may be amazing, but in the end they are just one tool in a rather large toolbox comprising the whole operational art of war fighting.
Well, it was hardly surprising when the news came out: Beijing has based – permanently, perhaps – offensive weapons on the artificial islands it has painstakingly constructed in the South China Sea. These deployments cap a series of deceptions, increasingly belligerent military actions, and various illegal activities that have surrounded Chinese goings-on in the region for nearly a decade.
The recently announced departure of New York City-based Alliance Bernstein for Nashville, taking more than 1,000 jobs with it, suggests a potential loosening of New York’s iron grip on the financial-services industry. Yet the move reflects a longer evolution that has seen financial firms leave not only New York but also other traditional centers—what one historian calls the “Yankee Empire”—that for two centuries dominated banking, insurance, and investment capital.
The legal standard for the British court that ordered that Alfie be unplugged from his ventilator was provided for the court by the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health. That standard is the “best interests of the child,” but it is nowhere defined or elaborated upon in the court’s written decision. Justice Hayden, the author of the decision on February 20, 2018, attempts to state when medical treatment is no longer in the child’s best interests by referring to life that “is limited in quality” or “lacks the ability to benefit.” But the obvious problem with those phrases is that they are not definitive; they are just circular restatements of the same general concept of what may be said to be “best.”
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
They were prepared to improve — or expand — the deal. They were, though, desperate for Mr. Trump to stay in the confounded compact, lest we irk the Iranians.
The Europeans expressed “regret and concern.” The ink was barely dry on Trump’s memorandum when The New York Times started carrying on about how there’s no “Plan B.”
That’s just what the Times did when Reagan — in a move that caught even his own staff flat-footed — stood up and walked out of Reykjavik. “What happens next?” the Times asked.
Reagan and Thatcher admired Hayek, but he always insisted that he was a liberal in the classical sense, not a conservative. The last chapter of “The Constitution of Liberty” was titled “Why I Am Not a Conservative.” He pointed out that the conservative “has no political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own for a political order in which both can obey their convictions. It is the recognition of such principles that permits the coexistence of different sets of values that makes it possible to build a peaceful society with a minimum of force. The acceptance of such principles means that we agree to tolerate much that we dislike.” He wanted to be part of “the party of life, the party that favors free growth and spontaneous evolution.” I recall an interview in a French magazine in the 1980s in which he was asked if he was part of the “new right,” and he quipped, “Je suis agnostique et divorcé.” (“I am agnostic and divorced.”)
President Trump has won confirmation of 15 circuit court judges, but he still has a long way to go in reshaping the courts because most of those picks have replaced retiring Republicans rather than adding to the party’s overall numbers.
So far, Mr. Trump has not dramatically altered the makeup of any of the 12 circuit courts of appeals.
But with a dozen circuit court nominees pending, that could soon change. In several circuits, the number of Democrat-appointed judges is slightly higher than the number of Republican-appointed judges.
Mr. Trump also could make a major dent in the 9th Circuit, long the country’s most liberal federal appeals court, where Democrat appointees hold a 16-6 advantage among active judges. The court has eight vacancies for Mr. Trump to fill.