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UNEXPECTEDLY: Ebay Blocks ‘Draw Mohammed’ Winning Cartoon from Auction.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Study Finds Employers Are Hiring More Freelancers To Avoid Obamacare.

And building more robots to avoid minimum wage hikes. Who could have predicted such developments?!

THE ROAD TO SERFDOM, IN CARTOONS.

This was originally a pamphlet that was distributed immediately after WWII by General Motors, of all people. If only GM had paid attention to its own advice, it never would have transmogrified into first “a health-care provider that makes cars as an industrial by-product,” and then — unexpectedly! — Government Motors. But as Conquest’s Second Law of Politics warns,  “Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.”

(Via Insta-reader Dev Woolwine.)

TAR. FEATHERS. The Federal Speech Police Are At It Again.

In a 2013, the Office for Civil Rights in Education—a federal agency formally charged with protecting students from unlawful harassment, but which appears to have effectively gone rogue under new, far-left leadership over the last five years—declared that universities needed to investigate and possibly punish students for making comments that other students find “unwelcome,” even if those comments were protected by the First Amendment.

The OCR’s “blueprint” sparked outrage among civil liberties groups, and among some lawmakers, including Senator John McCain, who charged that the organization was exceeding its statutory authority by compelling universities to regulate speech on their campuses. The backlash was sufficiently intense that, after several months, the OCR backed off. But now, inexplicably, the organization has apparently reimposed the speech restrictions it abandoned under pressure three years ago. . . .

This brazen and unexpected move by the OCR comes only a few months after skeptical Senators held hearings scrutinizing the organization’s unilateral changes to campus disciplinary policies, and less than a month after the American Association of University Professors released an extensive report arguing that the growing campus sex bureaucracy is infringing on academic freedom.

The OCR bureaucrats seem to be girding for a fight, and it seems unlikely that they will retreat this time without being forced to do so. The prospects for a shift in OCR policy are grim under a Hillary Clinton administration, which will be eager to win over a lukewarm campus Left. And litigation against the OCR—currently in its early stages—will likely take years before reaching a final conclusion. It’s time for lawmakers to take this problem seriously, and consider passing legislation clarifying the limits of the OCR’s power, and affirming that Title IX does not supersede the First Amendment.

Maybe some students interested in free speech should take over the OCR offices.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Rebound in U.S. durable goods orders below expectations.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: I WANT MY MONEY BACK:

After more than seven years of “hope and change” not just the US but the world seems to have arrived at a strange and unexpected destination.  Peggy Noonan, who endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, asks her readers if they’ve looked around lately and noticed how strange the scenery is.

Have you had your 2016 Moment? I think you probably have, or will. … My Moment came a month ago. I’d recently told a friend my emotions felt too close to the surface—for months history had been going through me and I felt like a vibrating fork. …

Because my country is in trouble. Because I felt anguish at all the estrangements. Because some things that shouldn’t have changed have changed. Because too much is being lost. Because the great choice in a nation of 320 million may come down to Crazy Man versus Criminal. And yes, I know this is all personal, and not column-ish.

But that was my Moment.

You’ll feel better the next day, I promise, but you won’t be able to tell yourself that this is history as usual anymore. This is big, what we’re living through.

As Richard writes, “The significance of Peggy Noonan’s 2016 moment is not only that it so perfectly coincides with the end point of seven years of progress towards Hope and Change, but it marks the moment when the penny finally dropped for the American upper middle class.”

But even at this late date, Noonan still can’t see that already chose the Crazy Man once, back in the fall of 2008.

Despite being a speechwriter in the 1980s for a man who spent decades doing his homework to transition from Hollywood studio system actor to president, Noonan didn’t recognize in 2008 that the DNC-MSM myth machine had created a fictitious construct as thoroughly fake as an movie character. Given a choice between someone whose narrative was as entirely contrived as a cartoon superhero posing in front of Styrofoam Roman columns, versus an earnest war hero and then-Alaska governor, Noonan, like many elites, went with the cartoon superhero. She apparently forgot to heed David Mamet’s warning that “If you’re in the con game and you don’t know who the mark is … you’re the mark.”

And apparently having that moment, experiencing that epiphany, is still too painful for her.

UNEXPECTEDLY! UC Berkeley Touts $15 Minimum Wage Law Then Fires Hundreds Of Workers After It Passes.

UNEXPECTEDLY. Up in smoke: Alleged Whole Foods ‘hate cake’ hoaxer’s Twitter account has vanished.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Media Silent on the Clinton Mortgage Banking Scam.

Read the whole thing.

SHOCKER: Japan’s Negative-Rate Experiment Is Floundering.

Trading has withered in Japan’s money markets, where big banks and others usually park their excess cash hoping to receive some interest—despite predictions from the Bank of Japan that its latest easing of monetary policy would spark more activity. And there has been a rush in demand for Japanese government bonds even as many yields went below zero.

The unusual source: foreign investors, who in the past have largely stayed out of the low-yield market but have recently jumped in because of rising returns on Japanese-bond trades using cheaply-funded yen.

Such side effects have come as Japan’s currency, the yen, has also been on an unexpected tear, trading at around 18-month highs against the U.S. dollar in recent weeks. Lower interest rates normally lead a country’s currency to depreciate, helping its exporters—a key aim of so-called ‘Abenomics,’ the package of stimulus measures brought in by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

It’s almost as though central governments and central bankers can’t conjure up prosperity at will.

Or as though the Law of Unintended Consequences never gets the last laugh.

THE WORD “UNEXPECTEDLY” MAKES ITS EXPECTED APPEARANCE IN THIS STORY: Weak U.S. retail sales, inflation data reinforce Fed caution on rates.

U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell in March as households cut back on purchases of automobiles and other items, further evidence that economic growth stumbled in the first quarter.

Other data on Wednesday showed a surprise drop in producer prices last month as rising energy prices were offset by a decline in the cost of services.

The two reports suggested the Federal Reserve will probably not raise interest rates until later this year.

“The data solidifies the well-entrenched narrative of a very weak first quarter for the U.S. economy. For the Federal Reserve … it argues for continued caution,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York.

But maybe this is the year we finally get that Summer of Recovery.

THE HIGH COST OF INDULGING STUDENT PROTESTS: Mizzou closes two dorms due to lack of students.

Following a drop in students applying for housing, the University of Missouri will not be placing students in two dorms for the fall 2016 semester.

Mizzou will be closing the Respect and Excellence halls (ironic names, given the circumstances) in order to utilize dorm space “in the most efficient manner” to keep costs down.

In March, the university announced that it saw a sharp drop in admissions for the coming school year, and will have 1,500 fewer students. This will lead to a $32 million budget shortfall for the school, prompting the need to close the dorms in order to save money.

“Dear university community,” wrote interim chancellor Hank Foley in an email to the school back in March. “I am writing to you today to confirm that we project a very significant budget shortfall due to an unexpected sharp decline in first-year enrollments and student retention this coming fall. I wish I had better news.”

When bad behavior by lefties produces consequences, it’s always unexpected! Protesters may not care about such things, but administrators should. And so should trustees and legislators.

UNEXPECTEDLY:

● “Half of British Muslims want gay sex banned, says poll.”

No really, for some this news apparently was unexpected: “UK Equalities Chief Who Popularised The Term ‘Islamophobia’ Admits: ‘I Thought Muslims Would Blend into Britain… I Should Have Known Better.’”

Flashback: “Labour’s ‘secret plan’ to lure migrants — The Government has been accused of pursuing a secret policy of encouraging mass immigration for its own political ends.”

UNEXPECTEDLY: Michelle Obama To Give Commencement Address in School System Ripe With Anti-Semitism.

THE NEW YORK TIMES ON WHY TRUMP’S ANTIWAR MESSAGE RESONATES WITH WHITE AMERICA.

That’s odd – Ctrl-F “Obama” brings back zero results.

Unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY? U.S. factory data signals further slowdown in economic growth.

New orders for U.S. factory goods fell in February and business spending on capital goods was much weaker than initially thought, the latest indications that economic growth slowed further in the first quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Monday new orders for manufactured goods declined 1.7 percent as demand fell broadly, reversing January’s downwardly revised 1.2 percent increase. Orders have declined in 14 of the last 19 months. They were previously reported to have increased 1.6 percent in January.

The department also said orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft fell by a steeper 2.5 percent in February instead of the 1.8 percent drop reported last month.

These dismal industrial numbers, plus continued weakness in consumer spending, just don’t seem to square with the official unemployment rate of 5%.

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN! Wall Street’s latest dirty word—stagflation:

A tightening labor market and rising inflation against a backdrop of slowing overall growth are painting an increasingly stagflationary picture for the U.S. economy.

Stagflation, or conditions in which costs are rising but growth is not, last was seen in the 1970s, before then-Fed Chair Paul Volcker had to push the economy into recession to slay the inflation dragon.

Now, with a variety of factors coming together to show inflationary-deflationary cross currents, Wall Street is bracing for another battle.

Welcome back Carter! Although as someone once warned, when it comes to foreign, domestic, and economic issues, “at this point a Carter rerun is probably a best-case scenario.”

(Incidentally, note that CTL-F “Carter” brings up zero returns in the above CNBC article. “Unexpectedly.”)

YOU DON’T SAY: North Korea to pursue nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea will pursue its nuclear and ballistic missile program in defiance of the United States and its allies, a top Pyongyang envoy said on Friday, adding that a state of “semi-war” now existed on the divided Korean peninsula.

So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, denounced the huge joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises taking place which he said were aimed at “decapitation of the supreme leadership of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)” and conquering Pyongyang.

However, help in dealing with the Hermit Kingdom might be coming from a long-awaited place:

North Korea is now facing an unexpected financial crises as China not only enforces the new sanctions but also the older ones it ignored and adds some new sanctions. Thus North Korea was shocked when on March 1 st Chinese border guards refused to let shipments of coal or ores enter. These mineral exports are a major source of foreign currency and were not covered by sanctions. China is believed to be making a point; that it is fed up with North Korea ignoring demands to halt its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs and turn its attention to the internal economic crises. So far North Korean leaders are ignoring this additional sanction and telling subordinates that it is only temporary. But the rumors in China are that the blocking of mineral exports will last for a long time, perhaps indefinitely until the North Korean leaderships shows more respect towards China and heeds the advice from its “big brother.”

Good.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Report: New Obamacare enrollees sicker and costlier.

“Correction: sicker and pricier than YOU expected,” Iowahawk responds to CNN’s coverage of the same report.

As a reminder, in the fall of 2009, CNN featured a choir of school kids harmonizing in service of our Glorious Leader and the Obamacare wonders to come.

MISTER, WE COULD USE A MAN LIKE GEORGE W. BUSH AGAIN: Obama will leave his successor more Middle East disasters than he inherited.

Unexpectedly.

APPLE VS THE FBI: “The issue probably has been deferred, not resolved.”

Less than 24 hours before a highly anticipated Tuesday court session where prosecutors and Apple lawyers would have squared off here in federal court, government attorneys suddenly got a judge to vacate that hearing and stay an unprecedented court order that would have forced Apple to aid investigators’ efforts to unlock and decrypt an iPhone linked to a 2015 terrorist attack. In a court filing Monday, federal authorities cited a newly discovered “unlocking method” that it hopes won’t require Apple’s help.

The sudden and unexpected postponement essentially means an immediate victory for Apple—the company doesn’t have to comply with the government’s demands to create a customized version of iOS. But the new government filing also raises more questions than it answers, such as the reach of the government’s decryption capabilities.

Or perhaps the FBI is looking for a way to back off gracefully from a test case where the law is clearly not on the Bureau’s side.

CHOCOLATE RATION INCREASED: Previously Owned U.S. Home Sales Decline More Than Forecast.

Closings on existing homes, which usually take place a month or two after a contract is signed, decreased 7.1 percent to a three-month low 5.08 million annual rate after a 5.47 million pace in January, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. Sales were weaker than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Faster growth in residential real estate is being hampered by a limited selection of available properties that has led to higher offering prices. While mortgage rates are attractive, affordability remains an issue for potential first-time and lower-income buyers whose participation would help broaden the market’s improvement.

“This number seems to suggest the trend may be a little weaker than we thought,” said David Sloan, senior economist at 4cast Inc. in New York. “Supply is fairly limited, so that is a restraint on sales.”

The Administration’s response to the popped real estate bubble was to blow the bubble back up, and now younger buyers are getting priced out of the market.

Unexpectedly.

“RECENT EVENTS,” AKA, “THIS IS KNOWN AS BAD LUCK:” Regarding “Earth Hour,” “Fads come and go,” Tim Blair writes. “This year was a little different. For a start, some Europeans cities decided against turning off their street lights due to what one official described as ‘recent events’. Explaining that ‘Earth Hour is a good and important arrangement’, Swedish politician AnnSofie Andersson nevertheless cancelled the usual lights-out ceremony in the city of Ostersund. ‘This year we chose to keep the streets lit because of the recent events.’”

By that, Andersson means a surge in sexual assaults and other crimes blamed — with good reason — on Sweden’s new and extremely numerous Middle Eastern refugee population.

“The police think it’s a very wise move and that the municipality made a good decision,” Chief Constable Stephen Jerand said of the city’s decision.

“Keeping the lights on creates security and is in line with our common efforts to increase security under current conditions. “Under current conditions” is Euro-talk for “during all of these Islamic rapes, attacks and robberies”.

They’ve got a very different way of expressing themselves over there.

Or as they say over here since January of 2009, whenever any bad news strikes that could impact our semi-retired president’s poll numbers, “Unexpectedly.”

(Classical reference in headline.)

YA THINK? Former UN ambassador: Putin is ‘up to something.’

Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled his military out of Syria for economic reasons, former U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson said during an interview with John Catsimatidis Sunday.

“I think he’s up to something again,” Richardson said. “It could be Syria is a big burden on Russia … The Russian economy is in trouble. I think he may feel overextended.”

Earlier this week Putin unexpectedly announced that Moscow’s objectives in the country had been “generally accomplished” and Russia would begin withdrawing from Syria.

But Richardson, the U.S. Ambassador to United Nations and Energy Secretary under the Clinton administration, questioned Putin’s intentions.

Keep your eye on Ukraine, and the Baltics.

I LIKE A STORY WITH A HAPPY ENDING: Antioch woman shot home intruder, police say. “A man who broke into a woman’s apartment in Antioch late Friday morning was met with an unexpected surprise when he walked into her bedroom and she shot him, according to Metro police. . . . Hartman was treated and released and is now charged with aggravated burglary, police said. His bond is set at $100,000. Hartman was free on $4,000 bond on a felony theft charge stemming from his arrest earlier this month in connection to stolen lottery tickets from a local convenience market.”

UNEXPECTEDLY! “New York City has seen a 20 percent increase in stabbings this year compared with last, and police say they don’t understand why it’s happening or what to do about it.”

Violent crime is up in New York under de Blasio? Other than pretty much everybody, who could have seen this coming?

WHAT WE NEED IS A DIALOGUE ON PUNISHING FALSE ACCUSERS AND THOSE WHO ENABLE THEM: The ‘it started a dialogue’ excuse for false accusations.

Falsely accusing someone of a crime is never okay and society should never excuse it. Sadly, today’s culture allows anyone to accuse someone of rape or racism and seek forgiveness by claiming the false accuser just wanted to “start a dialogue.”

In the recent race hoax at State University of New York at Albany, where three black women started a fight on a bus and accused a dozen white people of attacking them for being black, a professor at the school claimed they were justified because they started a conversation on race.

“My white students have said this has opened up conversations,” said Sami Schalk, an assistant professor in SUNY Albany’s English department. “Things that are inadvertent, small, but that these white students have no experience with, not being a person of color on this campus.”

The three women who claimed to be the victims of a racial attack are currently being charged with assault (as videos show one of them threw the first punch) and filing a false report.

Another recent hoax, this one involving a lesbian professor at Central Michigan University who claimed she was attacked for her sexuality by a man at a Tony Keith concert, also included the “starting a dialogue” excuse. Professor Mari Poindexter said she made up the story (and punched herself in the eye to fake evidence) “because she wanted to raise awareness about the social hardships of people in the LGBTQ+ community.”

After Rolling Stone’s article about an alleged gang-rape at the University of Virginia was proven to be a hoax, media outlets — including MTV — rushed to suggest that the article “may have unintentionally started a conversation that’s bigger than the controversy itself.”

Oddly, but not unexpectedly, that “conversation” was not about avoiding a rush to judgment when accusations check all the boxes in preferred narratives, but about accusers needing to be believed.

When they say “it started a dialogue,” what they really mean is “it enabled our monologue.”

CHICAGO: Emanuel thanks Chicago PD for keeping peace at Trump protest.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel commended the city’s police department Friday night for its commitment to protecting citizens during protests at a Chicago rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“I want to thank the men and women of the Chicago Police Department for their hard work tonight in unexpected circumstances, and their continued commitment to protecting people’s first amendment rights,” Emanuel said in a statement.

The embattled mayor has himself faced protests in the Windy City since October, when the city released video of an officer-involved shooting of a black man.

Residents have called for the mayor’s resignation, but he refused to step down in the wake of a Justice Department investigation into the city’s handling of multiple police shootings.

Perhaps some of the focus on Trump was displacement, by activists who haven’t been able to get rid of Rahm.

FALLACIES DO NOT CEASE TO BE FALLACIES BECAUSE THEY BECOME FASHIONS, as G.K. Chesterton said: “Now that the Oregon legislature has hiked the minimum wage, effective this July, colleges and universities in the state have a decision to make: hire fewer student employees, cut the school’s budget, or raise tuition.”

Too bad they no longer study Chesterton or Kipling there, as the Gods of the Copybook Headings wouldn’t be at all surprised at this “unexpected” development. (aka “Bad Luck,” as Heinlein would say. I doubt he’s read much there either, at least in class.) As Richard Samuelson notes on Twitter, “If students didn’t expect $15 minimum wage to hurt jobs, University should fire entire econ dept.”

Hey, the New York Times has a Nobel-winning economist (and former Enron consultant) on staff, and Bloomberg was started by a former general partner at one of Wall Street’s biggest bond trading houses, and since January of 2009, they’ve been constantly surprised by “unexpectedly” bad economic news; why should their junior wannabe counterparts in college be any different?

 

UNEXPECTEDLY: Walmart’s customers are too broke to shop. Fundamentally transformed!

Related: A Message From Trump’s America: Working-Class Whites Have Been Ignored By Both Parties And They’re Dying From Despair.

On the losing side of automation, globalization and the “rural brain drain” our community was powerless to stop furniture factories from closing down or Wal-Mart from coming in. And after decades of decline folks were too beaten down and disorganized to fight back when pharmaceutical companies flooded the area with OxyContin. As a result, Wilkes had the third highest overdose rate in America in 2007 and busted 50 meth labs in 2013. [Overdose rates dropped 69 percent by 2011 after North Carolina responded to the crisis.]

Now, I walk into the courtroom every week and see the faces of childhood friends in a town where 23 percent of the population lives in poverty and 25 percent never finished high school.

So if there are winners and losers in America, I know the losers. They lost jobs to China and Vietnam. And they’re dying younger, caught in an endless cycle of jail, drug charges and applying for disability to pay the child support bill.

They lost their influence, their dignity and their shot at the American Dream, and now they’re angry. They’re angry at Washington and Wall Street, at big corporations and big government. And they’re voting now for Donald Trump.

My Republican friends are for Trump. My state representative is for Trump. People who haven’t voted in years are for Trump. He’ll win the primary here on March 15 and he will carry this county in the general.

His supporters realize he’s a joke. They do not care. They know he’s authoritarian, nationalist, almost un-American, and they love him anyway, because he disrupts a broken political process and beats establishment candidates who’ve long ignored their interests.

Read the whole thing. At this point, a lot of Americans hate our political class more than they love America, and that’s not a good thing, but at this point, it’s also kind of understandable, no? I’ve been warning for a long time about the consequences of having a lousy political class.

Now other people are noticing. “The rise of Trump, love him or hate him, conveys an inescapable message: The United States’ political institutions are in decay, and voters are angry at a government that they perceive (correctly) to be broken.”

That’s true. The solution there isn’t very well thought out, nor is the anger at “tax cuts” (where’s mine?) but here’s a thought: When you have a society that can’t do things that need to be done because every change threatens somebody’s rice bowl or offers insufficient opportunities for graft, you’ve got a society that is due for a reset, not for incremental change.

The thing is, resets are often kind of ugly.

BEWARE THE UNEXPECTED “Beauty Parlor Stroke.” “Her doctors believe that when the mother-of-two’s neck was bent backward at the sink, it was overextended, causing her vertebrae to slice an artery and for a clot to form, soon causing a stroke.”

UNEXPECTEDLY: Palestinian Employees Lose Out After BDS Movement Targets SodaStream.

ART JUST BECAME COOLER:  The unexpected math behind Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.

EPIC WHINE BY CLUELESS MILLENNIAL GETS HER FIRED. As Rick Moran writes, former Yelp employee Talia Jane’s “first huge mistake was moving to San Francisco. It might be nice to live in your dream city where the weather is nice and you’re close to your dad, but seriously, how could anyone expect to work a minimum wage job in one of the most expensive cities in the world? It’s incomprehensible and shows a critical lack of understanding of the outside world.”

Don’t be too hard on her, Rick. Between a looming $15 minimum wage, public nudity, gun control, their “sanctuary city” policy on illegal immigration, and treating the homeless like they were an endangered species and then openly wondering why all these crazy homeless people keep flocking to the city, San Francisco’s elites spend their days in a world of magical thinking. We shouldn’t be too surprised when a young person there does so as well.

Related: Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman “admits the cost of living in San Francisco is ‘far too high’ as one of his employees complains she can barely afford to eat.”

But that’s just the way that San Francisco’s “Progressive” elites like it. In a 2014 article at Reason titled “How San Francisco’s Progressive Policies Are Hurting the Poor,” Scott Beyer noted, “Progressive economic policies—or at least the way they are applied in San Francisco, without apparent knowledge of government bureaucracy’s pitfalls—have…caused higher taxes and living costs, poor services, regulatory barriers to entry, and a loss of economic freedom. This creates a system that the rich can endure, and sometimes exploit to their benefit, but that poorer people cannot abide, helping to explain San Francisco’s further plunge into stark class division.”

Unexpectedly, as the house organ of a billionaire socialist technocrat would say.

QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED: “How can I survive in the Bay Area with $400k family income?”

The brutal, complete answer: don’t procreate. Sure, you may be the smart, thoughtful sort of person that humanity absolutely needs in its gene pool, but Silicon Valley doesn’t want you in its gene pool: you don’t make enough to own a house in a top school district. It’s sending you a clear economic signal. So, you have two options.

The first is to leave Silicon Valley. It’s expensive, exclusive, obsessed with power and success with no concern for how they are achieved, and an utterly terrible place to raise children– unless you want your kids to be the sort who bawl when you give them, as a 16th birthday present, a car that’s “only” $35,000, because the doors “open like this instead of this”. Unless you have no hope of getting a comparable income (say, $250,000 or up, considering cost of living) in Boulder, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, Boston, or New York… (ok, New York probably requires more than $300k to raise a family) I don’t know why you would stay there. The Bay Area’s fine when you’re 22 and need to establish yourself, because the benefits of being in Corporate HQ if you work at, say, Google or Apple, are pretty massive. If you haven’t made fuck-you money (so you can say “fuck you” to all the insufferable people in Silicon Valley, and even if they have more power and wealth than you, it doesn’t matter because you have enough) by child-raising age, I don’t know why you’re still there. It’s not a mark of failure to leave Silicon Valley. (Hey, I know plenty of really smart people and, statistically, most of them will never get anywhere close to $400,000.) It’s a mark of good judgment. San Francisco is just OK, and the rest of the Valley is an overrated, unattractive suburban tract. Sure, the Bay Area has an incredible 3-hour-drive radius… Napa Valley, Big Sur, Yosemite… but, let’s be honest, it takes a vacation to really enjoy a place like that and, if you lived elsewhere, the money saved on not paying Bay Area housing costs would easily cover airfare and hotels, anywhere you want to go.

And note this: “The economic signal that our society sends is that it doesn’t need or want more children.” Well, that’s certainly the signal that the Bay Area sends. It’s not a coincidence that for years, San Francisco has had the lowest percentage of children of any major US city.

“Unexpectedly,” as Bloomberg News might say, though not by anyone who’s perused the (NSFW!) back catalog of the Bay Area blogger known as Zombie.

HEH: Obama Compiles Shortlist Of Gay, Transsexual Abortion Doctors To Replace Scalia.

Moving quickly to begin the process of filling the unexpected vacancy on the Supreme Court bench, President Obama spent much of the weekend compiling a shortlist of gay, transsexual abortion doctors to replace the late Antonin Scalia, White House sources confirmed Monday. “These are all exemplary candidates with strong homosexual values and proven records of performing partial-birth abortions, but am I missing anyone?” Obama reportedly asked himself while reviewing his list of queer, gender-nonconforming, feminist Planned Parenthood employees, all of whom were also said to be black immigrants. “I definitely have enough post-op transsexuals on the list, but it is a little light on pre-op candidates. And I should probably add a cop killer or two on here just to round out my options.” Sources later confirmed that Obama was attempting to rapidly narrow the list down to the single best nominee to submit to the Senate in hopes of wrapping up confirmation hearings before his choice had to leave to attend the Hajj pilgrimage.

Future historians will read The Onion and be unable to tell it from the actual news.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Ex-NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer being investigated for assaulting woman.

Curiously, at least in the initial version of the Daily News’ article, Spitzer’s party goes “unexpectedly” unmentioned.

THE ESTABLISHMENT WANTS TO PAINT HIM AS THE CANDIDATE OF LOSERS, BUT INSTEAD HE’S THE CANDIDATE OF PEOPLE WHO LOOK AT THE NEWS AND SAY “WHAT THE HELL?” The Unexpected Breadth of Donald Trump’s Appeal: In New Hampshire, he won working class men without college diplomas—and most every other demographic group.

NBC NEWS: VICTIMS NOT TOLD OF ‘SWEETHEART DEAL’ FOR JEFFREY EPSTEIN.

That’s so odd — CTL-F “Clinton” brings zero returns in the article text. Unexpectedly!

(Via John Nolte.)

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: John Schindler: Mounting Evidence Putin Will Ignite WWIII. By letting Putin get away with whatever he likes in Syria, Obama has created a deeply dangerous situation.

Relations between Russia and Turkey have been dismal since late November, when a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian bomber on the border with Syria, killing its pilot. That began a war of words between Moscow and Ankara that ought to concern everyone, since the former has several thousand nuclear weapons and the latter is a member of NATO.

Kremlin propaganda against Ankara has increased of late, setting the stage for further confrontation. As I explained here last week, Russian media outlets initially blamed the Sinai crash of Metrojet 9268 last autumn on the Islamic State, an atrocity which killed 224 innocents, nearly all of them Russians—a quite plausible claim. However, the Kremlin has abruptly shifted course and now blames the mass murder on Turkish ultranationalist terrorists, without any evidence provided to support that explosive assertion.

Where things may be going between Russia and Turkey, ancient enemies who have warred many times over the centuries, was evidenced this week, when the Kremlin announced large-scale surprise military exercises in the regions of the country that are close to Turkey. Troops were moved to full combat readiness, the last stage before a shooting war, with Sergei Shoygu, the Russian defense minister, announcing on TV: “We began our surprise check of the military preparedness in the Southwest strategic direction.”

That would be the direction of Turkey. These snap exercises involve the Southern Military District and the navy’s Black Sea Fleet, which are deeply involved in Russia’s not-so-secret secret war in eastern Ukraine. However, they also involve the navy’s Caspian Sea flotilla, which is nowhere near Ukraine.

Well, we’ve got John Kerry and Barack Obama standing between us and World War III, so . . . Duck and Cover!

OBNOXIOUS VULGARIAN IN ILL-FITTING SUIT MADE WEALTHY BY ‘80s ZEITGEIST SEIZES UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITY TO RETURN TO WORLD STAGE IN 2016.

ROLL CALL: Bernie Sanders as GOP Tool: Their Plan to Use Him Against Democrats.

Sen. Bernard Sanders’ surprisingly strong candidacy for president has laid bare a sharp division within the Democratic coalition, pitting its activist base against the moderate-minded establishment.

It’s a split Republicans — especially the ones focused on winning down-ballot races this fall — are now racing to exploit.

The GOP is betting that the ideological fight at the top of the Democratic ticket will filter down the ballot, exposing incumbents and establishment-favored candidates to thorny questions about their support — or lack thereof — of the self-described socialist and his polarizing agenda. The idea: Either candidates disavow support for the Vermont senator and alienate supposed progressive allies, or they embrace Sanders and suffer the consequences in November when Republicans tie them to politically problematic issues such as single-payer health care. In effect, it mirrors the approach Democrats have taken in recent presidential elections, when they have successfully tied Republican candidates to the sometimes damaging positions of their party’s standard-bearer.

The strategy has special resonance now, after Sanders’s unexpectedly strong second-place showing in the Iowa caucuses. And for a party whose candidates have been relentlessly pressed for months about Donald Trump, there’s a palpable sense of relief and delight in giving Democrats a presidential headache of their own — one they hope lasts beyond even Sanders’s White House bid.

The Democrats’ problems have been underplayed.

SHAKEUP AT CAMP CLINTON: “Having learned apparently nothing from her top-heavy, expensive, and ultimately doomed 2008 campaign, Hillary Clinton is set for a shakeup just like the one following her first unexpectedly bad Iowa result eight years ago,” Steve Green writes in his PJM Column.

And when Hillary’s lost Politico’s sycophantic Glenn “Badass” Thrush, you know she’s hit an iceberg.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Aetna Joins Growing Chorus Warning About ObamaCare Failing.

NEARLY TEN PERCENT OF COUNTRY UNEMPLOYED UNDER OBAMA, BERNIE SANDERS CLAIMS:

“There’s another government statistic that comes out at the same time that does not often get reported, which looks at unemployment not only for those who don’t have jobs, but those who are working part-time when they want to work full-time,” Sanders said at an event in Manchester, N.H.

“And that’s a lot of people in this country. And those people in high unemployment areas who have given up looking for work,” he added. “When you add all that together, you’ve got 9.9 percent unemployment, which is a serious problem.”

And speaking of “All the President’s Stenographers,” naturally The Hill soft-pedals Sanders’ claim under the milquetoast headline, “Sanders lukewarm on jobs report.”

Unexpectedly — as Obama’s stenographers at Bloomberg have been saying since early 2009 whenever there’s bad economic news.

Related: What jobs? Bureau of Labor Statistics says 665,000 job LOSSES.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Clinton struggles again among younger voters.

UNEXPECTEDLY: “Hiring at restaurants, hotels and other leisure and hospitality sector venues slowed markedly last year in metro areas that saw big minimum-wage hikes, new Labor Department data show. Wherever cities implemented big minimum-wage hikes to $10 an hour or more last year, the latest data through December show that job creation downshifted to the slowest pace in at least five years.”

On the plus side, it’s likely doing wonders for the robotics and automation industries.

china_robot_waitresses_1-6-16-1

UNEXPECTEDLY: Bernie “living wage” Sanders pays his interns only $12 an hour.

THEY’RE VAST AND THICK: The Unexpectedly Chronicles So much for GOP hating Blacks & Hispanics.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Venezuela is on the brink of a complete economic collapse.

TOYOTA WANTS ITS CARS to expect the unexpected.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Fourth quarter growth was anemic.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Veterans Affairs to reinstate official who stole $130,000 from agency.

LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: “The American public doesn’t talk enough about nuclear war.”

Related: The Unexpected Return of “Duck and Cover.”

UNEXPECTEDLY: Nets Waste Nearly 10 Mins on Trump; Barely Preview Actual GOP Debate.

UNEXPECTEDLY: The murder capital of Britain is revealed to be a sleepy Lincolnshire town – which is also home to the highest increase of migrants in the country.

WHERE’S THE WORLD’S SMALLEST VIOLIN WHEN YOU NEED IT? The sky is falling on print newspapers faster than you think:

Nearly everyone in publishing with whom I shared the 2015 paid figures found them surprisingly low. There is no question that they are dramatically lower than the widely available 2013 numbers.

Unexpectedly!

Yet another reminder, that as Reason’s Matt Welch noted in 2012, when it comes to the first draft of history, it’s largely being written by the losers.

NEW YORK TIMES: America’s Best Days May Be Behind It.

Curiously though, CTL-F+”Obama” equals zero results. Unexpectedly!

UNEXPECTEDLY: CNN announces sudden Democratic town hall debate on a Monday during prime time!

UNEXPECTEDLY: Lookit my shocked face! Obama’s prisoner swap will help Iran arm Assad, Hezbollah.

INTERESTING: NASA’s Dawn mission to Ceres has provided an unexpected picture of asteroid formation.

LESSONS UNLEARNED:

Shot: “When South Vietnam fell…the North captured a treasure trove of American tanks, trucks and other equipment sitting in warehouses.”

“Lessons of Vietnam — How to avoid a repeat, and why it’s crucial to do so,” Brendan Miniter, the Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2007

Chaser: “According to Reuters, the U.S.-made weaponry that fell into enemy hands including 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles, at least 40 M1A1 main battle tanks, 74,000 machine guns, and as many as 52 M198 howitzer mobile gun systems, plus small arms and ammunition.”

“U.S. Shoots Itself In the Foot By Accidentally Arming ISIS,” the Fiscal Times, June 4th, 2015.

To be fair, “accidentally” is a perfectly cromulent substitute for the adverb “unexpectedly.”

 

PREDICTION: SOMEONE WITH POLITICAL CONNECTIONS WILL MAKE A LOT OF MONEY OUT OF THIS. One of D.C.’s Most Contentious Pieces of Real Estate is 25 Feet Underground.

In the upscale Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Dupont Circle, where galleries, bars, and bookshops jostle for room, a 75,000-square-foot expanse in the heart of the quarter has been almost untouched for 20 years. That’s because in order to access it, you have to grab a flashlight and descend 25 feet below ground, into the vast, abandoned streetcar tunnels that flank Connecticut Avenue.

For the past 60 years, the city and its residents have wondered what to do with this vast subterranean space, whose history features a long list of failed attempts to repurpose it, including plans to make it into a gym, a greenmarket, and a storage facility for funeral urns.

Well, the way things are going it should probably be stocked as a fallout shelter.

A FORETASTE OF SELF-DRIVING CARS? Department of Transportation: Pilots Are Forgetting How to Fly Manually. “Relying too heavily on automation systems may hinder a pilot’s ability to manually fly the aircraft during unexpected events.”

THINKING ABOUT FLYING SOMEWHERE SOON? Might want to think about this – Improving technology is almost always a blessing but there are occasional exceptions in unintended or unexpected consequences. Take those automatic pilots on commercial airliners. A new report from the Department of Transportation Inspector General says pilots’ manual skills are declining as computers increasingly take over the bulk of flight direction.

“While airlines have long used automation safely to improve efficiency and reduce pilot workload, several recent accidents, including the July 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214, have shown that pilots who typically fly with automation can make errors when confronted with an unexpected event or transitioning to manual flying,” the IG said, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s Ethan Barton. So the question is, what are the airlines and FAA doing about this development? Not much, the IG says.

ELDERLY WHITE DEMOCRAT CANDIDATES PARTICIPATE IN FORUM ON MINORITY ISSUES.

Which happened to run alongside the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff title game, to ensure that no one would see it, much like the DNC’s presidential “debates” this year.

(Unexpectedly.)

FROM THE PEOPLE WHO BROUGHT YOU HASHTAG DIPLOMACY:

The administration’s memo acknowledged the effectiveness of the terrorists’ propaganda and asked for help from the tech companies because, it said, “there is a shortage of compelling credible alternative content.”

“Obama Seeks Silicon Valley Help in Fight Against Terrorism,” Bloomberg, yesterday.

If you’re wondering why Bloomberg, home of the invariably “unexpected” bad economic news since January of 2009 is carrying water for the administration, instead of roaring their heads off laughing at the above premise, you need only read this tweet, promoting another of their articles:

bloomberg_bias_1-9-16-2

As T. Becket Adams of the Washington Examiner responds, “This is a great headline. Just solid work all around.”

Related: If you really want to see focused social media in action, check out “The Story Behind the Worst Movie on IMDb,” in which a run of the mill 2014 Bollywood movie received a pitiful 1.4 out of ten rating — worse then even Battlefield Earth! — thanks to some major pressure from a Bangladeshi nationalist movement:

But the film made a misstep that has doomed it to the bottom of the IMDb pile. “Gunday” offended a huge, sensitive, organized and social-media-savvy group of people who were encouraged to mobilize to protest the movie by giving it the lowest rating possible on IMDb. Of “Gunday’s” ratings, 36,000 came from outside the U.S., and 91 percent of all reviewers gave it one star. The next lowest-rated movie on IMDb — 1.8 stars overall — has a more even distribution of ratings, with only 71 percent of reviewers giving it one star. The evidence suggests the push to down-vote “Gunday” was successful, and that shows just how vulnerable data can be, especially when it’s crowdsourced.

* * * * * * * *

On Twitter, activists used the hashtag #GundayHumiliatedHistoryOfBangladesh to get the word out about the protests and to ask supporters to bury the film on IMDb. (By using a quarter of their character allotment on the hashtag alone, though, there wasn’t much room for the activists to elaborate.) Facebook groups were formed specifically to encourage irate Bangladeshis and others to down-vote the movie. (A sample call to action: “If you’re a Bangladeshi and care enough to not let some Indian crappy movie distort our history of independence, let’s unite and boycott this movie!!!”)

Fahmidul Haq, an associate professor of mass communication and journalism at the University of Dhaka, said that getting angry at Bollywood for over-representing India’s role in the 1971 war is something that even Gonojagoron Moncho’s opposition can agree on. “Pro-religious, pro-Pakistan and anti-Indian online users are very active in the cyberspace,” he told me. “For the IMDb case, I guess both groups gave lower ranking to ‘Gunday.’”

Marie Harf has nothing on this crowd when it comes to the bitter hashtag wars of the early 21st century.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Toyota Wants Its Cars To Expect Its Unexpected. I love my car, but if I were to buy a new one it would be for some of the fancier semi-autonomous electronics. But not yet.

THE HANGOVER FROM 2009 CONTINUES: Washington Post admits that, no: electric cars were NOT worth it.

Unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Bay Area Job Growth Slows After Minimum-Wage Hikes:

The pace of hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector fell to a five-year low for the Bay Area last month, Labor Department data show. Job gains have slowed to less than half the rate that preceded Oakland’s and San Francisco’s adoption last spring of the highest citywide minimum wage in country.

After rising close to 5% a year, hiring at restaurants, hotels and other leisure sector venues rose just 2.2% from a year ago in November. Meanwhile, in the rest of California, where the minimum wage is generally $3.25 below the $12.25-an-hour level set in Oakland and San Francisco, leisure and hospitality employment rose 4.9%.

The data suggest potential employment headwinds from the higher minimum wage, which jumped 36% in Oakland and 14% in San Francisco. On top of that, Oakland’s minimum wage is set to rise to $12.55 in January while San Francisco’s will jump to $13 in July.

Also in news of fresh disaster from the formerly Golden State, What Price Will Californians Pay for Decent Roads?

Of course, all that deferred maintenance on some of the worst roads in the nation now also helps Jerry Brown sell his party-like-its-1899 fantasy of “high speed rail” to connect the state, the ultimate “desire named streetcar,” given all of its potential for graft and eminent domain abuse:

(Via Betsy Newmark.)

THESE MISCONCEPTIONS JUST KEEP HAPPENING TO HIM SO “UNEXPECTEDLY” DON’T THEY? Obama dubbed “Muslim of the Year” by Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman.

Curiously, those grinding their teeth the loudest at Klayman’s article probably retweeted the largest number of “We Are All Muslim” hashtags last week.

FINALLY: THE BEATLES JOINED STREAMING MUSIC SERVICES SPOTIFY, APPLE MUSIC, AND AMAZON PRIME ON CHRISTMAS EVE.

Earlier this year, I read Geoff Emerick’s autobiography Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles on the Kindle, which, as the title implies, focuses on his career engineering the Beatles’ albums from Revolver to Abbey Road (with a timeout when he quit working with the group after he was fed up being their whipping boy during the tension-filled “White Album”). While the book is obviously aimed towards recording anoraks, Emerick gives a real sense of the internal politics of the group. It’s obvious that by the end of the Beatles, Harrison and Lennon chafed at essentially being sidemen for Paul McCartney. Yet, as Emerick writes, when manager Brian Epstein unexpectedly died at age 32 in 1967, it was McCartney who held the group together for their final years, with Lennon too drug-addled and dissipated to exert leadership – instead, making Yoko a near permanent fixture in Abbey Road Studios was his passive-aggressive way of pushing back at McCartney.

And while the public’s perception after the Beatles broke up is that Ringo was the least-talented member of the band, in part thanks to his goofy hangdog persona created for A Hard Day’s Night, he was — and is — an extremely competent four to the bar drummer, and worked tirelessly in the studio for the many, many takes the Beatles took to perfect their backing tracks. In reality, as Emerick wrote, it was really George Harrison who was looked down upon as the weakest member of the group, particularly by both McCartney and producer George Martin, both in terms of his songwriting and his lead guitar playing. It was so bad for Harrison that Martin ultimately had McCartney play lead guitar on Harrison’s 1966 song “Taxman.” Granted — it’s an awesome solo (so good, that as Emerick writes, it was pasted into the fade out of the song as well), but it must have stung for Harrison to not play lead on his own song. One of the great subplots of the Beatles’ history is Harrison’s growth, by the end of the Beatles’ run as a group into a musician and songwriter on par with Lennon and McCartney — you can make a pretty strong case for his 1970 triple-album All Things Must Pass as being the best of the Beatles’ solo albums.

No wonder that when the surviving Beatles reunited for their 1995 Anthology video series, Harrison demanded Jeff Lynne to be producer on the two John Lennon demos they overdubbed new parts onto, rather than McCartney ally Martin.

And speaking of Beatles videos — will we ever see Let It Be on Blu-Ray? I’d love to finally retire my early ’80s VHS cassette copy, which I copied onto DVD-R a decade ago.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Coal Downturn Hammers Budgets in West Virginia and Wyoming.  It’s not like someone made it his business to bankrupt coal plants, is it?

YEAH, NICE WEATHER CAN REALLY MESS UP YOUR SHOPPING EXPERIENCE. AP Blames Warm Weather For Slow Christmas Season Sales: “This morning, Anne D’Innocenzio at the Associated Press actually told readers that this year’s relatively warm Christmas season weather is what’s hurting Christmas shopping season sales. It couldn’t possibly be the ‘slowdown reality’ USA Today cited in headlining Friday’s second straight steep stock market drop, could it, Anne? Most other Americans participating in the real world have recognized the existence of a ‘slowdown reality’ for at least the past few months…Maybe, just maybe — no, make that probably — this ‘strategic buying’ behavior, which the press would likely consider alarming if it were occurring during a Republican or conservative presidential administration, is occurring because people don’t have a lot of discretionary money to spend because of the pathetic economy of the past seven years.”

Unexpectedly.

NOT THE ONION: Obama Ends Press Conference So He Can Go Watch Star Wars (Video).

Semi-retired President Chauncey Gardiner certainly is a voracious consumer of pop culture escapism, isn’t he? No wonder his handlers likely demanded that the Times expunge its reference on Thursday night that “Mr. Obama indicated that he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.”

Related: Networks Censor NYT Deleting Obama Quote Saying He Didn’t ‘Appreciate the Anxiety’ Post-Terror Attacks.

(Say it with me — unexpectedly.)

BLOOMBERG: Why This Year’s Christmas Season Is So Angry:

Yup, it’s an angry Christmas, and it’s worth thinking about why. Something has changed to create such a shift in the public’s leanings, from taking a chance on Obama’s audacity of hope to delighting in Trump’s straight-up audacity. Fear of Islamic terrorism has something to do with it. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that achieved approximately nothing* and the stunning rise of China as a rival power have also left many Americans feeling confused and vulnerable. But the most potent fuel for Trumpism is undoubtedly the sick economy. A long stretch of underperformance** has seeded mistrust in the American Dream among millions of would-be breadwinners, especially people without college educations.

Related: ‘Go To Hell’: Chris Matthews Curses MRCTV for Asking If His Leg Is Still Thrilled for Obama.

* Nice use of passive voice there, champ.

** Unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Obama Administration nixed probe into Southern California jihadists.

REPORT: REVIEW FINDS THAT HILLARY CLINTON RECEIVED ‘TOP SECRET’ EMAILS DESPITE STATE DEPARTMENT CHALLENGE.

Unexpectedly! Or as they say around the Politico’s water cooler, “Badass.”

UNEXPECTEDLY: Released Gitmo Detainee Now an Al Qaeda Leader in Yemen.

UNEXPECTEDLY! CBO projects 2 million fewer jobs under ObamaCare. Remember, if you predicted this back when the bill was under debate, media “fact checkers” would ask the White House if that was going to happen, then give you four Pinocchios when the White House said no. And then call you racist.

UNEXPECTEDLY!   Obamacare Has Driven Health Spending Up, While Covering Fewer Than Expected.

UNEXPECTEDLY: France’s far-right National Front on course for massive gains in regional elections after seizing on fears over the refugee crisis and Paris terror attacks.

All it would have taken to keep this from happening was for the people who were in power to take these issues seriously all along.

BLOOMBERG BUSINESS: Wal-Mart Sues Puerto Rico Over ‘Astonishing’ Tax Increases.

I started to ask, “is ‘astonishing’ the new “unexpectedly?”, and then realized the story was in Bloomberg Business, where bad economic news has been invariably appearing “unexpectedly” since oh, about January of 2009.

Unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY: “Officials say San Bernardino shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS during attack,” Ed Morrissey writes, adding:

“Having a good amount of ammo doesn’t mean you’re planning an attack.” Interestingly, I discussed this with another attendee at the Bullets & Bourbon event I’m at this weekend, and we agree. It’s not uncommon to have a significant number of rounds in hand in order to have enough to train at a range on short notice. One person noted that he has a few thousand rounds in his house at the moment, and he’s certainly not planning an attack. However, I’m pretty sure the number of pipe bombs in his house is, oh … zero. That’s not the case with Farook and Malik, as the Washington Post noted prior to the revelation this morning about the pledge to ISIS:

Read the whole thing.

 

HEY, REMEMBER WHEN BILL CLINTON CLAIMED “WE’RE EISENHOWER REPUBLICANS HERE?” New Email: Podesta Rips Axelrod For ‘Totally Caving in to Right Wing Economics.’

If only that was true — both Obama and the nation would be doing better.

Speaking of which, Citibank warns of US recession next year:

As the U.S. economy enters its seventh year of expansion following the 2008-09 crisis, the probability of recession will reach 65 percent, Citi’s rates strategists wrote in their 2016 outlook published late on Tuesday. A rapid flattening of the bond yield curve towards inversion would be an key warning sign.

“The cumulative probability of U.S. recession reaches 65 percent next year,” Citi’s rates strategists wrote in their 2016 outlook published late on Tuesday. “Curve inversion will likely come more quickly than the consensus thinks.”

Unexpectedly, in other words. But have the last six years felt like a real economic recovery — “Morning in America,” to a coin a phrase — to you?

UNEXPECTEDLY: Bloomberg: Sweden Anti-Immigration Party Surges in Poll Amid Refugee Crisis.

UNEXPECTEDLY: The Hill Deliberately Lies About Ted Cruz Comments Regarding Colorado Shooter.

They’re probably still bitter that their efforts to draft John Cougar Mellencamp for the Senate never caught fire.

AP BLOCKED REPORT THAT PALESTINIANS REJECTED ISRAELI STATEHOOD OFFER. In 2009, “a long-time Jerusalem reporter learned of an Israeli offer that would give a majority of the West Bank and all of Gaza—including a corridor between them—to the Palestinians. But his scoop was blocked,” as former AP man Mark Lavie writes in his article at Tablet:

In March 2009, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was interviewed in Arabic on Al-Jazeera. When I saw the MEMRI translation I immediately understood its significance: Erekat disclosed that Abbas had turned down an offer that would have given the Palestinians a state in almost all of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and parts of Jerusalem. Then I found out about the map. No one else had the story.

Excited about this scoop, I raced into my bureau chief’s office at the AP in Jerusalem. Imagine my shock when I was told it’s not a story—and I was banned from writing about it. It just couldn’t be a legitimate story, in line with the new definition of journalism.

The profession I joined in the 1960s wasn’t about helping anyone. It was about reporting and explaining the news. This new definition of journalism, apparently requires choosing sides. This became clear to me as long ago as 1988, at the beginning of the First Intifada, when I saw a reporter jump out of her car in the middle of a Gaza riot and shout at the Palestinians throwing rocks at the vehicle: “Why are you doing this? I’m trying to help you!” Like most Western media sources, she wanted to frame the uprising—the Palestinians as people—as helpless victims, to pillory the Israelis as the cruel oppressors. Stories that didn’t fit that framework had a hard time seeing the light of day. Even a peace offer.

So, naturally, despite the fact that Israel offered the Palestinians a state twice—in 2000 and 2008—the world saw Israel as the intransigent side. The 2008 proposal was largely unreported in world media.

Unexpectedly.

WITH ALL EYES ON ISIS, IRAN ‘DRILLS’ ISRAEL’S DESTRUCTION.

Don’t worry, I’m sure they don’t mean it — and “unexpectedly,” neither does AP.

DEAR LIBERALS, STOP DEFENDING RACIST PROGRESSIVE WOODROW WILSON: “Surprisingly, the 28th president still has his defenders on the left,” Damon Root writes at Reason, although much like the MSM’s constant stream of “unexpectedly” bad economic news post-January of 2009, I’m not sure what’s “surprising” about Wilson’s sclerotic “Progressive” defenders:

Not everyone is quite so eager to see Wilson knocked off his pedestal, however. Writing at Politico Magazine this week, left-wing New York University professor Jonathan Zimmerman attempted to defend the beleaguered 28th president by reminding the ungrateful student activists about Wilson’s pioneering progressive agenda. Sure, Wilson may have been a racist, Zimmerman admitted, but “the Progressive doctrines espoused by Wilson” ushered in a new era of activist government that was ultimately “reflected” and enshrined in Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Wilson was a founding father of modern liberalism, Zimmerman insisted, and therefore “deserves a good deal of credit” for improving the lives of “America’s poor and dispossessed, including minorities.”

I never cease to be amazed when I encounter this sort of liberal apologia for Woodrow Wilson. This is the same Woodrow Wilson, after all, who imposed Jim Crow on the federal government, praised segregation, glorified the Ku Klux Klan, spied on innocent Americans, censored the mail, trashed the Bill of Rights, and imprisoned multiple critics for the “crimes” of giving speeches, writing editorials, and distributing pamphlets. As H.L. Mencken once remarked about the ugly record of another unlikely liberal hero, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., “If this is Liberalism, then all I can say is that Liberalism is not what it was when I was young.”

Well, it’s not – Mencken wrote that sentence around 1930; as Fred Siegel wrote in his 2014 book, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class, in order to put a fresh PR spin on their ideology after the horrors of the Wilson administration, the self-described “Progressives” of the 20th century’s early years began to call themselves “liberals” instead during the previous decade — a huge stolen base, considering that there’s a vast difference between the traditional laissez-faire meaning of classical liberalism and the racism, eugenics, and “moral equivalent of war” obsessions of “Progressivism.”

Apparently Hillary thought all of that baggage was forgotten by 2007, when she decided that due to the L-word’s own accumulated history from 1933 to the present, she rebranded herself as “a proud modern American progressive, and I think that’s the kind of philosophy and practice that we need to bring back to American politics.”

Mission accomplished, and then some, Hillary — a racist like Woodrow Wilson would be astonished that a black man was president, but he’d find much to admire in Mr. Obama’s own racialism, corporatism, foreign policy utopianism, and the chaos and riots that he’s sewn since 2009.

WEAK, CONFUSED AND ‘UNABLE TO GRASP:’ “Many bad things happen when a leader is weak, confused and forever in search of a credible reason to do nothing,” Wes Pruden writes:

For all his softness on Islam, Barack Obama has little insight into the men who send out mobs to cry “death to America.” He can’t imagine that men can listen to the call to evening Muslim prayer, which so captivated him as a boy growing up in Indonesia — “the prettiest sound on Earth” — and be inspired to dream of bringing down death on America.

The international order so carefully put together, and guarded so faithfully, by American presidents, Democrats and Republicans, after the Cold War was won, has unraveled under this president to the consternation of America’s most faithful allies and to the unexpected delight of the nation’s considerable enemies. The anarchy that will follow this unraveling will be the legacy he leaves behind him.

Read the whole thing.

UNEXPECTEDLY: LePen Leads First Presidential Poll After Paris Killings. And note this:

Europe’s far-Right will gain a lot of strength after the Paris attacks—and for that, you can largely blame the centrists.
Not surprisingly, figures like Marine Le Pen are making hay. Just after the attacks, Le Pen called for the “immediate halt” of the admission of refugees. Hungarian President Viktor Orban crowed that he was right all along. But in doing this, the far-Right is essentially doing what it’s always done. And what gives it oxygen is also the same thing as ever: The centrists declare any discussion of immigration (other than “it’s wonderful!”) off-limits, and so drive concerned voters to where they otherwise would not go.

Even in the wake of Paris, Euro-centrists couldn’t seem to stop preening, impugning their own citizenry, and generally insisting that all must go on as before. Less than a day after the attacks, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker declared that, “there is no need for an overall review of the European policy on refugees.” And while President Hollande has taken an admirably tough line on foreign policy and European matters, on November 18 he declared that France would increase its refugee intake over the next two years, to 30,000, in a speech whose upshot was that “France should remain as it is. Our duty is to carry on our lives.” Everything can go on the same as before, at the very least.

There may be both strategic and humanitarian arguments in favor of continuing to admit refugees, but the rhetorical tone on display from several of Europe’s highest-profile centrists, before and after the attacks, has seemed almost designed to alienate concerned citizens.

Hope is not a plan, and virtue-signalling is not a policy. American political elites have enabled the rise of Trump in much the same fashion.

SWEET HOME, CHICAGO:

…And here we go:

“Video: The shooting of Laquan McDonald.”

—Allahpundit, at Hot Air.

● “Did Corrupt Rahm Emanuel Wait to After Election to Release Video?

—Steve Bartin, Newsalert. (And a reminder to a suddenly and “unexpectedly” incurious MSM: “This ‘Mayor of Chicago’ who suppressed Laquan McDonald tape was Obama’s WH Chief of Staff, Chairman of House Dem Caucus, & Chairman of DCCC.”

“CHICAGO ERUPTS! Laquan McDonald Protesters ATTACK POLICE, Toss BOTTLES, Steal Police Bikes (Video).”

—Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit.

“Chicago Releases Video of Police Shooting of Suspect; City Braces for Violence That Some Predict Could Be Described as ‘Tuesday’”

—Ace of Spades.

And finally, good advice from John Nolte, as the media gets ready to whip up a hot fresh riot in time for Thanksgiving (and in honor of the one year anniversary of last year’s holiday season riots): “Praying for my many family members in Chicago. Told them if they see any CNN trucks, they need to run.”

Indeed. ™

UNEXPECTEDLY: Ancient DNA shows Stone Age humans evolved quickly as they took up farming.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Clock Kid Ahmed Mohamed Wants $15 Million in Damages.

Iowahawk suggests that the city of Irving, Texas “Pay him in 50% off Radio Shack coupons.”

Texas Muslim Student Clock

 

LIBERAL STUDENTS, FACULTY MOST LIKELY TO SILENCE SPEAKERS: A Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education of efforts to dis-invite speakers on U.S. college campuses between 2000 and 2014 comes up with a surprise. One hundred and sixty student and faculty groups from the Left sought to silence somebody. That’s not a surprise. What is unexpected is the fact 96 such groups from the Right did the same thing. Whoa!

“Conservative students and faculty were most likely to protest invited speakers with criminal histories and those with contrary views on abortion and Israeli-Palestinian confrontation, while liberals were most likely to protest speakers’ views on sexual orientation, immigration and Islam,” the DCNF’s Kathryn Watson reported.

Previously, Watson reported that among the Ivy League schools, only the University of Pennsylvania gets a green rating from FIRE. Yale and Dartmouth got yellow, while Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Columbia and Cornell just stomped all over the First Amendment.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Colbert Drops to 3rd Place Behind Kimmel as New Poll Shows CBS Host Alienating Audiences:

Most importantly for Colbert, he’s found a niche in offering what the Jimmys can’t really offer (particularly Fallon): consistent political satire and more substantive interviews with big political guests (his interview with Joe Biden as the vice president openly displayed his inner conflict on running for for president was widely-praised in this space and pretty much everywhere else). But therein lies the rub: most sit-downs with politicians don’t exactly result in riveting television (outliers like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to a lesser extent notwithstanding). And Colbert has shown almost no willingness to hit both sides of the aisle even close to equally… it’s simply not in his DNA.

Consequently, according to a Hollywood Reporter poll just released, Colbert has successfully alienated self-described Republicans who see what’s being offered on a nightly basis and exploring or staying with other options. And with the country as polarized as it is, the host is thereby saying goodbye to half his potential audience, which can’t be a sound business model.

Per The Hollywood Reporter‘s survey of 1000 late-night viewers aged 18-65, only 17 percent of those identified themselves as Republican watch Colbert, while attracting 47 percent of those who identify as Democrats, a 30-point gap. But more liberals watch late-night TV than stuffy, old conservatives, right? Guess again. In Kimmel’s case, the split is 34 percent Democrats, 33 percent Republicans. In Fallon’s case, it’s 36-31 Democrats.

Why so even-keeled? Because Kimmel and Fallon go through great lengths to be apolitical. To equally mock or simply find other props and topics to use for comedy outside of political humor and (oftentimes in Colbert’s case) commentary on how stupid/awful/inept Republicans are. It’s a smart approach if the goal is to reach as broad as audience as possible, something Colbert never cared to achieve going back to his Comedy Central days and The Colbert Report. In character, out of character… Colbert is Colbert. And that’s fine on Comedy Central, even downright expected. But network TV? Not so much…

The ratings result of said approach is now beginning to come to fruition as the bloom comes off the rose ten weeks since his debut.

Who could have seen this coming? Err, lots of people — including me. As I wrote a year and half ago when Colbert was first announced as Letterman’s successor, CBS forgot the lessons of the 1996 HBO movie The Late Shift, based on the best-selling book by the New York Times’ Bill Carter on how NBC forced Johnny Carson’s hand and pushed the increasingly isolated and emotionally brittle king of late night TV into retirement, and chose Jay Leno, rather than Carson’s hand-picked successor David Letterman to replace him:

What particularly makes The Late Shift such an interesting film is that when it was originally shot, it looked like CBS got the better of the deal, with Letterman dominating the ratings. As it turns out, according to the Internet Database:

Subsequent airings after the initial release have added an additional epilogue on how the Hugh Grant interview boosted Jay Leno’s ratings past David Letterman’s.

Thus Littlefield and Agoglia [the NBC executives who chose cheerful lovable Jay Leno over the cranky neurotic David Letterman to replace Carson], despite being portrayed as Machiavellian manipulators on massive scale, end up looking like rather smart guys, in spite of themselves.

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Letterman’s retirement would be the perfect time for CBS to find a host to replace who connects with Middle America, the massive audience that Letterman and CBS’s late night division chose to abandon. Instead, by going with Colbert, CBS chose to continue to alienate this large group of viewers. Or worse, “CBS Declares War on Heartland of America,” as Rush Limbaugh said yesterday. “Why would CBS hire such a divisive host who is already failing in Late Night?”, John Nolte pondered yesterday. “All about the left holding on to the culture.”

As I wrote last year, “The early-1990s CBS executives portrayed in The Late Shift left the former ‘Tiffany’ network shortly after hiring Letterman. Too bad their successors seemed determined to live out their predecessor’s mistakes, in a seemingly unending ideological loop.”

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