Monday, March 1, 2021

The Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Conor McGregor – Quillette

Notwithstanding prevailing mainstream misconceptions of MMA as a barbaric relic of an ugly past, dignified moments like these are more the rule than the exception. Martial arts are primarily about self-improvement, refining our strengths and weaknesses, and learning to cope with discomfort and danger. At a time when unbridled expressions of masculinity are broadly discouraged and even disparaged, there’s something cathartic about watching two individuals give everything they have in a pure form of physical competition and then treat one another with respect in its bloody aftermath. MMA represents a meeting of cultures and individuals that transcend identity, class, and geography while integrating art and philosophy with sport—a healthy pressure valve in the modern world.


March 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Newsom pushes Californians to the brink

“If we get back to normal, everyone’s gonna have to go to therapy for a few f---ing years, because we’re all depressed and going insane,” a prominent Latino Democratic strategist who’s worked with scores of state politicians told the Washington Examiner. In the hopes of controlling the narrative, Newsom has traversed the state under the guise of coronavirus management, hamming it up for the camera in convenient photo-ops with close party allies as a show of confidence in his stature.


I predict Newsome's goin' down, all the way downtown. It will be a pleasure to watch.

March 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

After Leading School Closures, Berkeley Teachers' Union President Spotted Dropping Daughter Off at In-Person Preschool | KQED

Parent groups are crying "hypocrisy" after a video surfaced showing the president of the Berkeley teachers union dropping off his two-year-old daughter at an in-person preschool.

Matt Meyer, president of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, has fought for what he called the "gold standard" for the teachers he represents — saying Berkeley schools should only reopen to in-person learning when educators are vaccinated, among other criteria.

A tentative plan between the Berkeley Unified School District and Berkeley Federation of Teachers in mid-February would see preschoolers through second grade returning to class at the end of March and other grades staggering back to in-person learning through April, according to Berkeleyside.

But some Berkeley parents have claimed that the union is moving too slow and are pushing for earlier school reopenings. They have long argued — and the Center For Disease Control and Prevention has agreed — that schools are safe to reopen without vaccinations for all teachers.

Looking to prove a double-standard by the Berkeley Federation of Teachers union president, they followed Meyer and his 2-year-old daughter to her preschool, camera in hand. The footage they captured has ignited the ire of parents groups fighting teachers unions — and Meyer in particular.


Too perfect.

March 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tiger Woods may have fallen asleep at wheel, experts suggest

Tiger Woods appeared to not be paying attention in the moments before his devastating crash – and may have fallen asleep at the wheel of the luxury SUV he was driving, according to a report citing forensic car accident experts.

The 45-year-old links legend was driving a 2021 Genesis GV80 alone when he veered across the median on Hawthorne Boulevard in Rancho Palos Verdes, went off the road and struck a tree — causing the car to roll over.

Woods broke several bones in his lower right leg, which indicates he was applying the brake at the time of impact, experts told USA Today, adding that the evidence indicates he braked late into the collision sequence.

“To me, this is like a classic case of falling asleep behind the wheel, because the road curves and his vehicle goes straight,” Jonathan Cherney, a consultant who serves as an expert witness in court cases, told the news outlet.


March 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Gov. Cuomo is on the verge of being done for good

Andrew’s in the soup, that’s for sure.

Wrap your head around this: The New York Times is reporting that Gov. Cuomo took time out from coronavirus hot-dogging last June to offer tattoo-placement advice to a just-turned-25-year-old female aide of no particular expertise during a private, closed-door sit-down in the state Capitol.

Cuomo suggested “she should put the tattoo on her buttocks, so people would not see it when she wore a dress,” the paper says.

That was probably sound tattoo strategy — except that 23 years after Monica Lewinsky became a household name it’s pretty astonishing to learn that powerful elected leaders are still maneuvering women of a tender age into private offices and hitting on them.

Or, as Cuomo conceded to the Times, “mentoring” them.

And maybe more to the point, doing that and expecting to get away with it. Too bad for Cuomo that this time the young lady wasn’t having any.


Time wounds all heels. But what I really suspect is happening is that there's a new generation of wokesters wishing for power in NY state and Cuomo is in the way.

March 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Byron York's Daily Memo: Reassessing Trump and Covid

REASSESSING TRUMP AND COVID: It's hard to exaggerate the anger, criticism, and vitriol directed toward then-President Trump last year for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. If for some reason you need a reminder, just search for "Trump" and "blood on his hands."
But now something interesting is happening. In the last few days, among some commentators following the COVID crisis, we're seeing the beginning of a sense of perspective about the way the Trump administration battled the virus. The bottom line is: Of course the crisis was awful, but on balance, overall, the United States handled it as well or better than many of the world's most advanced countries.


The campaign is over for the time being, evidently.

March 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Facebook, Amazon and Others Restrict Online Sales of Masks - The New York Times

It was the Facebook ad for a mask doubling as a hair scrunchie that pushed Dan Castle to despair.

His company, CastleGrade, makes a reusable, high-filtration face mask that has been popular among dentists, teachers and those who work in proximity to others — and willing to pay $44.99.

But he has been unable to sell his wares on Facebook since August, when the company abruptly blocked his ads, citing a policy aimed at ensuring medical-grade masks are reserved for health care workers. Since then, he said, sales have plummeted to $5,000 a day from $40,000. And yet, he sees ads for nonmedical grade masks all of the time.

“These companies have such a monopoly that you really can’t be in business without them,” he said. “The policy just doesn’t make sense.”


Bust those f***ers up. It would be good for shareholders, among other things. It might save civilization, among other things.

March 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Opinion | The Secret Life of a Coronavirus - The New York Times

Last spring, coyotes strolled down the streets of San Francisco in broad daylight. Pods of rarely seen pink dolphins cavorted in the waters around Hong Kong. In Tel Aviv, jackals wandered a city park, a herd of mountain goats took over a town in Wales, and porcupines ambled through Rome’s ancient ruins. As the canals in Venice turned strangely clear, cormorants started diving for fish, and Canada geese escorted their goslings down the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard, passing empty shops displaying Montblanc pens and Fendi handbags.

Nature was expanding as billions of people were retreating from the Covid-19 pandemic. The change was so swift, so striking that scientists needed a new name for it: the anthropause.

But the anthropause did more than reconfigure the animal kingdom. It also altered the planet’s chemistry. As factories grew quiet and traffic dropped, ozone levels fell by 7 percent across the Northern Hemisphere. As air pollution across India dropped by a third, mountain snowpacks in the Indus Basin grew brighter. With less haze in the atmosphere, the sky let more sunlight through. The planet’s temperature temporarily jumped between a fifth and half of a degree.

At the same time, the pandemic etched a scar across humanity that will endure for decades. More than 2.4 million people have died so far from Covid-19, and millions more have suffered severe illness. In the United States,


March 1, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, February 28, 2021

China charges Hong Kong democracy advocates with subversion

China’s totalitarian hold on Hong Kong is getting even tighter after prosecutors charged almost 50 democracy advocates with subversion. The 47 ‘criminals’ include famed Demosisto co-founder Joshua Wong and fired University of Hong Kong Associate Law Professor Benny Tai. Ousted HK Legislative Council members Claudia Mo and Jeremy Tam are also among the group as is sitting Eastern District Councilor Andrew Chiu. The latter’s charging is a day after his political party, Power for Democracy, decided to cease organized activities and vowed to follow Basic Law and the National Security Law. Not enough to settle the Beijing puppets running Hong Kong.

The claims against the democracy advocates are simple: they attempted to win seats on the Legislative Council in last year’s scuttled primaries. South China Morning Post obtained charging documents accusing the group of violating the National Security Law “by organising, planning, committing or participating by force or threat of force or other unlawful means” and subverting the power of the state government. It’s harder for Beijing to ram its agenda down Hong Kong’s throat if the democrats hold a majority in the Legislative Council, after all.


February 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Student Group Sues Yale for Discrimination, Revives Trump-Era Case - Washington Free Beacon

A student group filed suit against Yale University on the grounds that the school discriminated against Asian-American and white applicants, pressuring federal judges to pick up a similar case the Biden administration recently abandoned.


February 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rooster kills Indian man during banned cockfight

HYDERABAD, India (AP) — A man was killed by a rooster with a blade tied to its leg during an illegal cockfight in southern India, police said, bringing focus on a practice that continues in some Indian states despite a decades-old ban.

The rooster, with a 3-inch knife tied to its leg, fluttered in panic and slashed its owner, 45-year-old Thangulla Satish, in his groin last week, police inspector B. Jeevan said Sunday.


That will be the last rooster that fellow ties his knife to, I reckon.

February 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dogs, children are 'in sync,' study shows -

"They are responsive to them and, in many cases, behaving in synchrony with them, indicators of positive affiliation and a foundation for building strong bonds," said Udell, an animal behaviorist and associate professor at Oregon State University.

Indeed, dogs may even help children with social development, increasing physical activity, managing anxiety or providing attachment as family structures change, the researchers said.


This is known.

February 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Opinion | Cuomo and the Twilight of the Anti-Trump Idols - The New York Times

Throughout the Trump presidency and especially in the Covid era, there was a quest for figures that could be held up as embodiments of everything that Trump’s opposition wanted to restore: reason, technical competence, idealism. Over time these figures took on the character of familiar dramatic archetypes — the Good Republican, the Heroic Whistleblower, the Beleaguered Expert, the Tough Blue State Governor, the Wise and Sophisticated Europeans.

The first month of the Biden era has been a hard time for these characters. A few have come through more burnished than before: If Mitt Romney was a Good Republican before, now he’s pretty much the Best. But elsewhere we’re seeing archetypes of anti-Trumpism exposed as idols, not just fallible but failing, not just imperfect but corrupt.

You may have noticed, for instance, the long-overdue collapse of the heroic story around Andrew Cuomo, the Tough Blue State Governor par excellence, whose pandemic news conferences inspired such fawning media coverage — from late-night hosts who declared themselves admiring “cuomosexuals,” from his own CNN-host brother — that the governor wrote a book about “leadership lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic” while the pandemic was still going on.

For the sake of the heroic story, the fact that Cuomo and Bill de Blasio jointly botched New York’s initial response to the coronavirus was airbrushed out of the televised hagiography. The fact that the governor shipped potentially contagious patients back to nursing homes was reported on but didn’t dent Cuomo’s reputation, becoming a cause célèbre mostly in the right-wing press. And the bullying, berating side of Cuomo that’s suddenly front-and-center in stories about his alleged cover-up of nursing-home death numbers — well, that was portrayed as the seriousness a reeling country needed.


Continue reading the main story

Only now is the more complete Cuomo story taking hold. Meanwhile, a similar deglamorization has arrived for the Good Republicans at the Lincoln Project, the collection of Republican strategists dedicated to using their skills to bring down Donald Trump. They started


Ross Douthat

February 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

First migrants walk across the border from Mexico after Biden administration relaxed asylum rules | Daily Mail Online

'We've just received news that tomorrow we're leaving!' said Honduran asylum seeker Josue Cornejo in a video recorded inside the camp on Friday evening, which also shows his wife and daughters wiping away tears.


February 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Her too: Second woman accuses Cuomo of sexual harassment

He’s been governor for 10 years and was state attorney general for four before that, which made it exceedingly unlikely that Lindsey Boylan was the only woman he’s ever used his power to harass. Either Cuomo was innocent and Boylan was smearing him for reasons known only to her or there would be other accusers. Last night the other shoe dropped at the Times: There’s another accuser.

It’s on-brand for America 2021 that grossly mismanaging a pandemic that’s killed tens of thousands of people in his state wasn’t sufficient in itself to end Cuomo’s career, but whatever. If this is what ends up bringing his reign of terror and error to an end, so much the better.

This makes three governors in a row in New York who’ve had scandals of a sexual nature, by the way.


February 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Dr. Jill" to the rescue - bails out Joe during Univision interview in Houston

Rep. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, who happens to be my district’s congresswoman, goes by Fletcher, not Pannill, so Biden botched her name even more than Sheila Jackson-Lee’s. He can’t blame cold temperatures for his brain freeze, as the temperatures are well back into the 70s now. Biden seems incapable of delivering the most basic of remarks. Is this why his wife travels with him? Is she tasked with articulating Biden’s message? It sure looks that way.


O dear.

February 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The ‘World’s Largest Bookstore’ Gets Into the Censorship Business

What happened? Was it an accident? A little digging showed that, like the Earl of Strafford, Amazon’s motto was “Thorough.” It was not just that a book that had been listed and sold by Amazon for the last three years was “out of stock” or “unavailable.” It had disappeared without a trace, more or less like Nikolai Yezhov standing next to Josef Stalin in that notorious photo by the Moscow Canal. One day he is seen smiling next to the great leader. The next day he is gone, airbrushed from history.

RIA-Novosti Moscow/AFP via Getty Images

So it was with When Harry Became Sally. Amazon had pushed it into the oubliette; the book was gone, “canceled” by the wardens of wokeness at Amazon. Further inquiries show that it was also gone from the Kindle store and from Audible, the audiobooks emporium that is owned by Amazon. As of this writing, the book is still available at Barnes and Noble and other emporia, including at the Encounter Books website.


Those darn Stalinists.

February 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Washington Appeals Court Unanimously Strikes Down Local Gun-Control Law

A Washington appeals court struck down an onerous local gun storage ordinance in a victory for Second Amendment activists, who pushed a state law designed to stop strict gun laws from popping up in liberal localities. 

The Court of Appeals for the State of Washington unanimously ruled Edmonds, Washington, violated state law when it instituted rules for how people must store firearms inside their own homes. The ordinance conflicts with a law that blocks localities from making their own gun regulations. Second Amendment activists advanced so-called state preemption laws to protect gun owners from having to navigate a patchwork of local regulations. Gun-control activists have objected to such laws as being too restrictive on local authority.


February 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Los Angeles elite still jumping the line for vaccinations

Los Angeles County is still having a hard time hitting its targets for vaccinations among minorities and in low-income communities. With that in mind, the county government came up with a plan. In addition to outreach programs designed to convince the hesitant that the vaccine is safe and effective, they set up special pods (Points of Distribution) in those communities. Residents were supposed to be able to access a special code online to obtain one of a limited number of appointments for residents over the age of 65 and healthcare workers. The codes were only made available one day before the pods opened for business. But when people started showing up for their appointments, a curious sight caught the eye of the County Commissioner. Wealthy people from Hollywood and Beverly Hills were standing in line with valid appointments. Needless to say, this didn’t go over very well.


February 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mars Is a Hellhole - The Atlantic

Mars has a very thin atmosphere; it has no magnetic field to help protect its surface from radiation from the sun or galactic cosmic rays; it has no breathable air and the average surface temperature is a deadly 80 degrees below zero. Musk thinks that Mars is like Earth? For humans to live there in any capacity they would need to build tunnels and live underground, and what is not enticing about living in a tunnel lined with SAD lamps and trying to grow lettuce with UV lights? So long to deep breaths outside and walks without the security of a bulky spacesuit, knowing that if you’re out on an extravehicular activity and something happens, you’ve got an excruciatingly painful 60-second death waiting for you. Granted, walking around on Mars would be a life-changing, amazing, profound experience. But visiting as a proof of technology or to expand the frontier of human possibility is very different from living there. It is not in the realm of hospitable to humans. Mars will kill you.

Musk is not from Mars, but he and Sagan do seem to come from different worlds. Like Sagan, Musk exhibits a religious-like devotion to space, a fervent desire to go there, but their purposes are entirely divergent. Sagan inspired generations of writers, scientists, and engineers who felt compelled to chase the awe that he dug up from the depths of their heart. Everyone who references Sagan as a reason they are in their field connects to the wonder of being human, and marvels at the luck of having grown up and evolved on such a beautiful, rare planet.

The influence Musk is having on a generation of people could not be more different. Musk has used the medium of dreaming and exploration to wrap up a package of entitlement, greed, and ego. He has no longing for scientific discovery, no desire to understand what makes Earth so different from Mars, how we all fit together and relate. Musk is no explorer; he is a flag planter. He seems to have missed one of the other lines from Pale Blue Dot: “There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.”


Hit piece on Elon, but he's right about Mars.

February 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 27, 2021

The political effort to limit free speech attacks our own values | TheHill

Those seeking free-speech limits often speak of speech like it is a swimming pool that must be monitored and carefully controlled for purity and safety. I view speech more as a rolling ocean, dangerous but also majestic and inspiring, its immense size allowing for a natural balance. Free speech allows false ideas to be challenged in the open, rather than forcing dissenting viewpoints beneath the surface.

I do not believe today’s activists will succeed in removing the most-watched cable news channel in 2020 from the airways. But, then again, I did not think social media sites — given legal immunity in exchange for being content-neutral — would ever censor viewpoints. The measures being discussed in Congress have the potential to defeat us all. It is surprisingly easy to convince a free people to give up their freedoms, and exceedingly difficult to regain those freedoms once they are lost.


February 27, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden begins releasing illegal migrants into border states, builds tent cities to accommodate the surge

President Biden is reopening detention centers to accommodate the surge of illegal migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Biden pledged to undo the immigration policies of the Trump administration but what he is doing sure looks a whole lot like the actions of the previous administration. Reality is biting Joe Biden hard.


None of this would be happening if we had built not just a wall, as PDT promised and never did, but a Super Wall, very like that featured in the Game of Thrones, complete with its own order of border watchers, preferably with supernormal powers. Alas.

February 27, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pressure mounts on Beijing in the South China Sea - Asia Times

In the latest sign of continuity in US policy in Asia, the newly-inaugurated Biden administration is toughening its stance on Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea.  


See my thoughtful comment below.

February 27, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Vietnam, Philippines fortify South China Sea bases - Asia Times

The Joe Biden administration’s increasingly tough stance against China, including multiple naval deployments to the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait in recent weeks, has emboldened smaller regional powers to stand up to the Asian powerhouse. 

China’s two main rivals in the South China Sea, the Philippines and Vietnam, have vowed to fortify their positions in the disputed waters, including through expanded naval patrols as well as tighter security cooperation with the United States and like-minded powers. 


Normally, I would not cheer this sort of thing. An anti-imperialist I am. But when you have a nasty, virus-exporting, social credit score implementing, gul dern communist empire on the march, what are you supposed to do?

February 27, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, February 26, 2021

When Amazon Erased My Book | Ryan T. Anderson | First Things

My book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment was released exactly three years ago. It was attacked twice on the New York Times op-ed page. The Washington Post ran a hit piece on it that was riddled with errors. It was obvious the critics hadn’t read the book. But they were threatened by it and wanted to discredit it lest anyone pick it up and learn from it.

Now, three years after publication, in the same week that the House of Representatives plans to ram through the Equality Act—a radical transgender bill amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964—Amazon has erased my book opposing gender ideology from its cyber shelves.


February 26, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)


Omaha, Nebraska. September 11th, 2001. CEOs and celebrities from across the land have gathered early in the morning for an annual charity golf tournament hosted by Warren Buffett, the famed investor and, at this time, the world’s second richest person. (The richest of all is his close friend, Bill Gates.) My source is among the guests out on the course, there to network and hobnob with the gentry. He’s an assertive, blunt, straightforward fellow, but today he’s feeling shy. He’s hiding something. He’s hiding his cell phone, which is in his golf bag. He’s doing this because Buffett has a rule forbidding cell phones on the links, and his guests know better than to defy him. They may need his great pools of capital someday. Some of them may even need them soon. Their problem is that they also head major companies, so golfing without their phones handy is risky. Something important might come up. 

As the players assemble, something important comes up. An airliner strikes a New York City skyscraper. The tower catches fire and implodes. This happens again. A third plane strikes the Pentagon.  A fourth plane, thought to be heading toward the White House after being hijacked by terrorists, crashes in a Pennsylvania field. 

Sometime in the midst of this upheaval – at the beginning, I presume – the hidden phones start to vibrate across the golf course. The CEOs and their caddies decline to answer them, reluctant to be the first guest to give offense. But the buzzing persists, becoming a concern, and soon most every phone is buzzing at once. The titans start to sneak away, out of sight of their prickly overlord, and one by one they receive the grim reports. The few who’ve obeyed Buffett’s rule and have no phones get the news, via whispers, from their fellows. Horror spreads across the green. But it is secret horror, not open horror; horror frozen inside submissiveness.  Struggling to conceal their true emotions, the magnates carry on as best they can, waiting for “The Oracle of Omaha” to hear the apocalyptic word himself. This takes a bit, according to my source. Not long, but long enough. Meaning forever.

“That’s crazy,” I said to the banker at the picnic. “How did it feel?”

“How did what feel?”

“All of it. Everything. Being there,” I said.

“It felt like the world had turned to total bullshit.”


February 26, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Equality Act and the End of 'Females' | Opinion

But under the Equality Act, females (and males) are no more. To be a "woman" is to be a "Genderbread Person," a jumble of parts, feelings, desires and stereotypes. But not to "be" female.


Proponents of the Equality Act say it simply extends the logic of the Supreme Court's decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which held that Title VII's prohibition of discrimination "because" also prohibits discrimination because of sexual orientation and transgender status. That's a deceptive argument. The Bostock Court's premise in interpreting Title VII was that "'sex'...refer[s] only to biological distinctions between male and female" and, "but for" the "sex" of each plaintiff, there would have been no discrimination.

Unlike the Bostock decision, the Equality Act redefines "sex" with no reference to "biological distinctions between male and female." Indeed, by defining "sex" to include "gender identity"—in turn defined by characteristics "regardless"—the Equality Act cements into the law the ideological belief that who we are is self-defined and has nothing to do with our bodies' biology. Sex does not matter.

It's ironic. For decades, our laws worked to ensure equal treatment of men and women by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of "sex," recognizing the equal dignity of males and females as well as the biological differences inherent in sexed bodies. Laws against sex discrimination played an invaluable role in women's advancement, ensuring that females could be full participants in society while taking into account biological needs and differences.


February 26, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Former Clinton Adviser: US Becoming a 'Totalitarian State' Under Biden

The creeping shadow of totalitarianism is falling across America, according to feminist author Naomi Wolf.

Wolf, who served as an adviser to former President Bill Clinton during his 1996 re-election campaign, appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Monday, declaring that emergency orders are violating the rights of Americans, according to Fox News.

Wolf said Americans must see “the terrible crisis that we’re in, that we have to recognize — under the guise of a real medical pandemic, we’re really moving into a coup situation, a police state situation.”

“That’s not a partisan thing,” Wolf told Carlson. “That transcends everything you and I might agree or disagree on. That should bring together left and right to protect our Constitution.”

“We’re absolutely moving into what I call step 10,” she said, referencing the book she wrote about totalitarianism and how tyrants consolidate power, “The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot.”


I never thought I would agree with Naomi Wolf about anything, but there it is. I hope it's not as bad as she says.

February 26, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Founder Of Chinese Front Group Spoke At CIA Nominee’s Think Tank Amid Beijing Propaganda Push | The Daily Caller

The founder of a front group for the Chinese Communist Party appeared at an event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in May 2016, where he pushed a pro-Beijing argument regarding a decades-long stalemate over control of the South China Sea.

The speech, by Tung Chee-hwa, the founding chairman of the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), was held more than 14 months after William Burns, President Joe Biden’s nominee for CIA director, took over as president of the Carnegie Endowment.

The timing of Tung’s visit to Carnegie would appear to conflict with Burns’ testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that he cut ties between Carnegie and CUSEF “not long after” he took over as president of Carnegie in March 2015.

Tung, a billionaire who was formerly chief executive of Hong Kong, gave a speech at Carnegie’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. on May 11, 2016. The Daily Caller News Foundation has reported that CUSEF donated between $200,000 and $500,000 to Carnegie between 2015 and 2017.


No bueno.

February 26, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

In Final Days, Trump Gave Up on Forcing Release of Russiagate Files, Nunes Prober Says | RealClearInvestigations

After four years of railing against “deep state” actors who, he said, tried to undermine his presidency, Donald Trump relented to U.S. intelligence leaders in his final days in office, allowing them to block the release of critical material in the Russia investigation, according to a former senior congressional investigator who later joined the Trump administration.


It's gotten to the point that I don't like the FBI and CIA anymore.

February 26, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

'Equality Act' Viciously Attacks Christians, Freedom, Society, Sex, And You

“Have you been following this ‘Equality Act?'” a Catholic priest I know asked me as I passed on the icy sidewalk early Sunday afternoon.

“A bit,” I answered. “You can be sure anything that comes out of D.C. does the opposite of its name.”

Check it out today,” he replied. “It could pass as early as this week, and it’s very, very troubling.”

The two of us went our ways, carefully navigating the icy bricks back to the safety of our homes. The monsignor was right, of course: If the Equality Act passes, he won’t be safe in his home much longer, nor will women be safe in their sports, their restrooms and locker rooms, the nail salons they work in, nor even shelters from homelessness and abuse.

The act, which the House is expected to pass for the second time in nine months on Thursday before sending it to a now-Democratic Senate, opens up swinging on Christian (as well as most religions’) concepts of morality in marriage, sex, and identity. It would strike biological sex from the 1964 Civil Rights Act, replacing it with “sexual orientation and gender identity.” Belief in traditional marriage, the act would legislate, is a specific example of illegal discrimination.

If the bill passes the Senate, our church parishes will become soft targets. While weak-kneed men like David French confidently celebrated the migration of drag queens from rowdy, seedy city bars to children’s library story hours as “blessings of liberty,” it will be curious to see what he thinks when parish halls are subjected to those same blessings.

It’s all made possible by massively expanding the government’s definition of bigotry, as well as the definition of public gathering places to include any place that “provides exhibition, entertainment, recreation, exercise, amusement, public gathering or public display.” When you add the above to “any establishment that provides a good, service, or program,” you’ve put nearly the entirety of American civic life under the thumb of radical activists.


February 26, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Coverage of Tiger Woods' car crash ignores reality

This time, despite official reports that he was speeding as he crossed the center median, leaving no skid marks to indicate that he applied his brakes, then rolled up an embankment, has already been determined “an accident,” the media again portrayed Woods an innocent victim of fate to which he claimed no memory.

The truth, thus far, is that he crashed his vehicle. A civil court judge once explained to me the difference between a crash and an accident. Big difference. The preliminary evidence shows it wasn’t an accident, as caused by unlucky fate as the New York Times reported, but this was the result of his flagrantly reckless driving — even if no drugs were involved this time.


Dude should lose his license.

February 26, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Many Heartland States Outperforming Coastal Hubs in Covid Fight

On the day that New York governor Andrew Cuomo won his Emmy, the governor of West Virginia announced a plan to vaccinate his state. Since then, Governor Jim Justice’s state has boasted one of the nation’s highest vaccination rates, striking a critical blow to Covid-19 and displaying a distinct heartland model of leadership. While leaders in coastal hubs drew headlines for their press conferences and top-down leadership styles, a number of heartland governors paired efficient government with trust in their communities and people—both to vaccinate and to educate.


February 26, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Stanford study into “Zoom Fatigue” explains why video chats are so tiring

The first cause for Zoom Fatigue suggested by Bailenson is the state of stressed hyper-arousal generated by excessive stretches of close-up eye contact. Unlike an in-person meeting, where participants will shift from looking at a speaker to other activities, such as note taking, on Zoom everyone is always staring at everyone.

The anxiety generated by a number of faces staring at you can be likened to the stresses of public speaking but amplified to a degree regardless of who is talking. Bailenson explains, from a perceptual standpoint, Zoom turns every participant on a call into a constant speaker smothered with eye gaze.

Another factor at play compounding the stress of constant eye gaze can be the size of faces on your monitor. Landmark research from cultural anthropologist Edward Hall in the 1960s suggested interpersonal distance fundamentally influences emotion and behavior.

Summarizing Hall’s work for the digital age, Bailenson says a person’s intimate space spans a radius of about 60 cm (23 in). Interactions inside this space are generally reserved for family or intimate friends, but depending on your monitor size and Zoom settings, large faces of strangers can often be presented in close proximity.

“In general, for most setups, if it’s a one-on-one conversation when you’re with coworkers or even strangers on video, you’re seeing their face at a size which simulates a personal space that you normally experience when you’re with somebody intimately,” say Bailenson.

The short-term solutions to mitigate these issues are to reduce the size of your videoconferencing window, and try to move away from your computer monitor. The goal, Bailenson notes, is to increase the personal space between yourself and other Zoom participant’s faces.


It's indubitably a thing.

February 26, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Student Loan Horror: When You Think You Qualify For Debt Relief, Check Again. And Again - TK News by Matt Taibbi

The romance of Robin and Kevin sounds like the stuff of old ballads. She was quiet and an introvert, he was the extrovert with an elaborate social life, and on the tree-covered campus of Columbia Community College near Sonora, California, they fell in love, while barely young enough to drive.

“Our first date was a walk with friends through the forest behind our dorms,” recalls Kevin. “Our album to sit and listen to was Van Morrison’s Moondance. Robin was my very own Brown Eyed Girl.”

“He knew my weird sense of humor that nobody else would ever get, especially from someone who's quiet,” recalls Robin, who was seventeen when they met. “And I'd come up with something off the wall and think, ‘Okay that didn’t fly.’ But it would. And it was like, ‘Oh, you understand me.’"

The couple met in 1990, and married four years later. They were not rich people.



February 26, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Asteroid dust found in crater closes case of dinosaur extinction

"The circle is now finally complete," said Steven Goderis, a geochemistry professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, who led the study published in Science Advances on Feb. 24.


February 25, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Crack-Up Boom Definition

A crack-up boom is an economic crisis of that involves a recession in the real economy and a collapse of the monetary system due to continual credit expansion and resulting unsustainable, rapid price increases. This concept of a crack-up boom was developed by Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises as a part of Austrian business cycle theory (ABCT). The crack-up boom is characterized by two key features: 1) excessively expansionary monetary policy that, in addition to the normal consequences described in ABCT, leads to out-of-control inflation expectations and 2) a resulting bout of hyperinflation which ends in the abandonment of the currency by market participants and a simultaneous recession or depression.


Just sayin'.

February 25, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Doubts about Biden’s mental acuity aren’t the only reason to limit prez’s nuke power

Should it be harder for presidents to push the nuclear button? That’s what some lawmakers are asking, with three dozen congressional Democrats recently urging President Biden to give up his sole authority. Although that has led to cruel jokes about the new commander-in-chief’s mental prowess, it’s actually a pretty good question.

Since the dawn of the Cold War, the United States has held itself ready to respond to a massive nuclear attack from an adversary — the Soviet Union originally, now Russia or China — by launching its own missiles and bombers while the attacking missiles were still in flight, a strategy known as “Launch on Warning.”


Glenn Reynolds.

February 25, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Opinion | School Closures Have Failed America’s Children - The New York Times

Flags are flying at half-staff across the United States to commemorate the half-million American lives lost to the coronavirus.

But there’s another tragedy we haven’t adequately confronted: Millions of American schoolchildren will soon have missed a year of in-person instruction, and we may have inflicted permanent damage on some of them, and on our country.

The reluctance of many Republicans to wear masks and practice social distancing is one reason so many Americans are dead. But the educational losses are disproportionately the fault of Democratic governors and mayors who too often let schools stay closed even as bars opened.

The blunt fact is that it is Democrats — including those who run the West Coast, from California through Oregon to Washington State — who have presided over one of the worst blows to the education of disadvantaged Americans in history. The result: more dropouts, less literacy and numeracy, widening race gaps, and long-term harm to some of our most marginalized youth.


Continue reading the main story

The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank this month estimated that educational disruptions during this pandemic may increase the number of high school dropouts over 10 years by 3.8 percent, while also reducing the number of college-educated workers in the labor force. This will shrink the incomes of Americans for 70 years, until the last of today’s students leave the work force, the bank said.


The response of our schools to this whole pandemic mess, especially those in California and San Diego in particular, has been so appalling it doesn't bear thinking about. I don't know what the ultimate effect on my own learning-challenged son will be. He's at a Catholic H.S., but its policies have roughly followed those of the State and County at large. I can't imagine it will be good.

February 25, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Paul to deputy HHS nominee: If we condemn genital mutilation of minors, why do you support transgender therapies for children?

The Washington Post offers a much more balanced — and accurate — headline: “Sen. Paul criticizes Biden nominee, a transgender woman, over her support for gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy for minors.” Dan Diamond gave a straightforward account of the exchange:

In his questions at Levine’s confirmation hearing, Paul tried to draw a connection between genital mutilation — a practice condemned by public health experts as a human rights violation — and surgery and medication for children who are transitioning genders. Paul also complained about Levine’s support for children who make the decision to take hormone-blocking medications despite the concerns of their parents.

“For most of our history, we have believed that minors don’t have full rights and that parents need to be involved,” Paul said. “We should be outraged that someone’s talking to a 3-year-old about changing their sex.”

Levine — who is bidding to be the highest-ranking out transgender official in federal government history — sidestepped Paul’s specific points and responded in general terms.

“Transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field with robust research and standards of care that have been developed,” Levine said, promising to discuss the issue further with Paul if confirmed.


February 25, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Another revealing school board hot mic moment: Returning to school is like...slavery?

The latest school board hot mic moment happened in southern California in the La Mesa-Spring Valley district which is east of San Diego. The board was meeting Tuesday to discuss a date for reopening but the board’s Vice President, Chardá Bell-Fontenot, got into a disagreement with most of the rest of the board, comparing asking teachers to return to classrooms to slavery. What seems to have kicked off the argument was one school board member said, “We have to give the teachers, we have to give the students, the parents a date.”

See Also: China: Sorry we accidentally performed anal swabs on U.S. diplomats

“We don’t have to give anybody any date,” Bell-Fontenot replied. She added, “I don’t know where you’re getting information or who is telling you that we have to make a decision today, but that is not how this works.”

After a jump cut in the video school board member Sarah Rhiley said “70 to 80 percent” of parents have indicated they are ready to have kids return to school. Bell-Fontenot replied, “The 70 and 80%, who are they? I would like to know geographically from which school sites, which language group, and how they conducted this feedback.” She said without that information she could not make a decision about reopening: “I can’t make one and I will not make one.”

“You’re welcome to abstain I believe, right?” Rhiley responded.

“There’s no reason to be nasty to me,” Bell-Fontenot said, though at this point she’s the only one who sounds worked up in this conversation.

After another jump cut board clerk Megan Epperson said the issue could be presented for a vote and “if you wish to vote no, you are more than welcome to.”

Bell-Fontenot interjected that she knew what she could do but she said what the board was doing was “wrong.” After another cut in the video, Bell-Fontenot said the plan seemed like white supremacist ideology to her: “So how are we forcing what seems like a very white supremacist ideology to force people to comply with, you know, and conform…So I don’t want to be a part of forcing anybody to do anything they don’t want to do. That’s what slavery is. I’m not going to be a part of it.”


East county San Diego! In the news!

February 25, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

POLITICO AI Summit: An AI-Powered World - POLITICO

Artificial intelligence is changing the world we live in and how we live. The coronavirus pandemic has served as a testing ground for AI’s potential with scientists incorporating AI into certain aspects of the public health response to the global crisis. But, while the spread of Covid-19 is providing more opportunities to experiment with AI, ongoing challenges remain around AI governance at the global level and how it is regulated at the federal and city levels in the U.S., its implications for the future of work, the economy, policing and law enforcement, and continued questions around data quality, privacy, ethics and racial equality.

On Thursday, October 15, join POLITICO as it virtually convenes its 3rd AI Summit in the U.S., bringing together policymakers, federal officials, technologists, private-sector executives, scientists and advocates to explore the future of AI as the world tries to recover from the pandemic and as the U.S. also deals with social unrest and a presidential election.


February 25, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

California Bill Would Give $1,000 Fines to Retailers With Separate ‘Girls’ and ‘Boys’ Toy Sections –

Retail stores in most of California are only allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity. A new bill in the state legislature would ensure that whatever part of their shop is allowed to be open is as inclusive as possible.

Last week, Assembly Members Evan Low (D–Cupertino) and Cristina Garcia (D–Los Angeles) introduced a bill that would require retailers to offer their toys and childcare products in a gender-neutral format.

Brick-and-mortar shops would have to display the majority of their products and clothing aimed at children in one undivided, unisex area on the sales floor. They'd also be barred from putting up signage that would indicate whether a product was intended for a boy or girl.

California-based retailers that sell children's products online would also have to have a page on their website that offers these products in a general neutral fashion. The bill would allow retailers to title that section of their website "kids," "unisex," or "gender neutral."



February 25, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"That was a complete nonsense answer": Sasse grills Becerra on lawsuit to force nuns to cover contraception

Neera Tanden’s gotten most of the attention this week among Biden’s nominees but that should end, as Becerra’s a more radical and sinister figure who used his power as California AG to target various social conservative causes. It’d be one thing if he were an ace health-care bureaucrat well-qualified to manage the pandemic; in that case we’d have a debate about whether he might do more good via his managerial skills than harm via his ideology. But he’s not well qualified. He’s a newbie being asked to take the helm of HHS in the middle of a health-care crisis unlike any we’ve seen in a century.


February 25, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

NY Times covers the real story of false accusations and identity politics at Smith College

This is the story that the national media jumped all over it as an example of pervasive discrimination. In fact, it’s instructive to look back at how the Times covered this in 2018. The story was titled, “All I Did Was Be Black’: Police Are Called on College Student Eating Lunch.” There is literally not a word of doubt in the piece that this is anything other than a clear example of someone being unfairly targeted because of their race.

When the 35-page report on the incident finally came out, no apologies were made to the staffers.

“We were gobsmacked — four people’s lives wrecked, two were employees of more than 35 years and no apology,” said Tracey Putnam Culver, a Smith graduate who recently retired from the college’s facilities management department. “How do you rationalize that?”

The incident may have been a bogus example of racism but the impact on the school was real enough. Anyone who refuses to toe the identity politics party line is viewed as evil according to one conservative professor of economics:

“My perception is that if you’re on the wrong side of issues of identity politics, you’re not just mistaken, you’re evil,” said James Miller, an economics professor at Smith College and a conservative.

The Times deserves credit for writing this belated but accurate account of what happened at Smith College. It’s a shame someone didn’t do that in the first place.


February 25, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wuhan Lab Eligible To Receive US Taxpayer Funding Through 2024, NIH Confirms | The Daily Caller

The Wuhan Institute of Virology is authorized to receive taxpayer funding for animal research until January 2024, the National Institute of Health told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The WIV is at the center of widespread speculation that COVID-19 could have entered the human population in China due to an accidental lab leak. Researchers at the lab were studying bat-based coronaviruses prior to the outbreak, a project partially backed by $600,000 in U.S. taxpayer funds routed to the lab through the nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance.

The president of EcoHealth Alliance, Peter Daszak, was the sole U.S. member of the World Health Organization delegation that investigated the origins of the pandemic on the ground in China in January and February. While the WHO delegation has yet to release a report on their findings, Daszak said the White House should blindly accept their conclusion that it’s highly unlikely the virus could have leaked from the WIV.


Hello Covid-22.

February 25, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Tucker Carlson Tonight highlights KUSI's question about San Diego's slow reopening process -

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego County is getting national attention for our extremely slow reopening process compared to the rest of the country.

When KUSI’s Tommy Sablan asked why we are so behind, Supervisor Fletcher told us to ask the other states.

That interaction continues to get attention, and was aired Tuesday on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, the most watched cable news show in the country.

Carlson then interviewed Attorney Michael Curran, a frequent guest on KUSI News, about the more than 600 businesses he is representing that have reopened as part of a constitutionally protected right to peacefully protest.


San Diego! In the news!

February 24, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

9 Reasons to Believe the Worst of the Pandemic Is Over

The horrifying surge of coronavirus cases that began last fall has now abated. Two months after the first two COVID vaccines began going into American arms, studies continue to emphasize how remarkably effective they are. And after a haphazard start, the country’s mass-vaccination effort is continuing to ramp up. Suddenly, the latest wave of the pandemic is one of cautious optimism regarding the near future.

Last week at the Atlantic, James Hamblin went so far as to wonder whether or not the country might be able to reach a much happier normal by this summer:

[M]any aspects of pre-pandemic life will return even before summer is upon us. Because case numbers guide local policies, much of the country could soon have reason to lift many or even most restrictions on distancing, gathering, and masking. Pre-pandemic norms could return to schools, churches, and restaurants. Sports, theater, and cultural events could resume. People could travel and dance indoors and hug grandparents, their own or others’. In most of the U.S., the summer could feel … “normal.” … In short, the summer could feel revelatory. The dramatic change in the trajectory and tenor of the news could give a sense that the pandemic is over.

On Sunday, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb — who has been one of the pandemic’s most prescient commentators — said that he too was feeling optimistic about the coming months.


It's a wonder what electing a Democrat can do. If Trump had won the election, I have no doubt the news would be much grimmer.

February 24, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rabies Could Mutate into "Zombie Virus" Says New Study - The Debrief

A new Italian study cautions that the rabies virus could mutate, either naturally or artificially, into an “apocalyptic” disease that turns humans into hyper-aggressive “zombies.”

Admittedly, the paper approaches the theoretical idea that, since the rise of COVID-19, the world must begin “to think-out-of-the-box” when it comes to large-scale epidemics. While rabies will not cause a severe zombie apocalypse today, the paper argues that “it would be theoretically possible by either natural or artificial virus engineering” to produce a viral strain of rabies that could transmit human to human. It is possible that the virus could be tweaked to incubate faster, have “enhanced neuro-toxicity,” and “a predisposition towards developing highly aggressive behaviors.”


I know! Let's provide lots of taxpayer money so the boffins can research gain of function by the rabies virus! Maybe could discover if it is possible to turn it into an everything destroying, end of civilization virus. If it is, maybe they can get a few papers out of it. Don't worry, they would never let it escape and if they did, they could semi-plausibly deny it.

February 24, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sheryl Sandberg and Top Facebook Execs Silenced an Enemy of Turkey to Prevent a Hit to the Company’s Business — ProPublica

As Turkey launched a military offensive against Kurdish minorities in neighboring Syria in early 2018, Facebook’s top executives faced a political dilemma.

Turkey was demanding the social media giant block Facebook posts from the People’s Protection Units, a mostly Kurdish militia group the Turkish government had targeted. Should Facebook ignore the request, as it has done elsewhere, and risk losing access to tens of millions of users in Turkey? Or should it silence the group, known as the YPG, even if doing so added to the perception that the company too often bends to the wishes of authoritarian governments?



February 24, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)