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Friday's HOT MIC

Welcome to HOT MIC, PJ Media's new daily liveblog. Join our editors and contributors for news updates and conversation throughout the day, and add your thoughts to the mix in our comments section at the bottom or by clicking on the comment bubbles on individual posts. Click here or scroll down to read Liz's Morning Update.

Be sure to bookmark this link so you can easily find HOT MIC every day.


Google Chromebook is still spying on grade school students.

This comes from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which does great work on issues like e-privacy.

Google still hasn't shed its "bad guy" clothes when it comes to the data it collects on underage students. In fact, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says the company continues to massively collect and store information on children without their consent or their parents'. Not even school administrators fully understand the extent of this operation, the EFF says.

This isn't the first time the EFF has had something to say against Google on this topic. In fact, two years ago, it even filed a federal complaint against the company, alleging that it was "collecting and data mining school children's personal information, including their Internet searches."

According to the latest status report from the EFF, Google is still up to no good, trying to eliminate students' privacy without their parent's notice or consent and "without a real choice to opt out." This, they say, is done via the Chromebooks Google is selling to schools across the United States.

"Educational technology services often collect far more information on kids than is necessary and store this information indefinitely," the EFF said.

I don't have any Google products in my home, car, or browser tabs, and I don't let my sons use them, either.

If you're still using Google, ask yourself why.

Somewhere my seventh-grade English teacher is weeping.

A post shared by Erick Erickson (@ewerickson) on

Because who hasn't dreamed of delivering a roundhouse kick to an airliner?

David French has an excellent piece at National Review on what he calls the "toxic conservative-celebrity culture." He writes:

[T]he fastest way to become the next conservative star is to “destroy” the Left, feeding the same kind of instinct that causes leftists to lap up content from John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and Stephen Colbert. Liberals use condescending mockery. Conservatives use righteous indignation. That’s not much of a difference. The cost has been a loss of integrity and, crucially, a loss of emphasis on ideas and, more important, ideals. There exists in some quarters an assumption that if you’re truly going to “fight,” then you have to be ready to get your hands dirty. You can’t be squeamish about details like truth or civility or decency. When searching for ideological gladiators, we emphasize their knifework, not their character or integrity.

French concludes:

O’Reilly’s fall can be an important act of public hygiene, but only if it represents the beginning of the end of a conservative culture that makes us behave like the cultural enemies we purport to despise. Otherwise conservatives will hand the Left more scalps, forfeit more public trust, and ultimately lose because of their single-minded quest to wins.

One of the most discouraging things for me over the course of this past election cycle was seeing friends who had spent most of the last decade denouncing the left's despicable Alinskyite tactics suddenly adopting them because...well...winning. They became what they said they hated. And even now, post-election, they're still on the #WARpath. Sure, this sort of victory will result in short-term electoral and policy wins. But if we adopt the left's values and become increasingly indistinguishable from them, who's really winning the war for the soul of our country? And what kind of moral legacy will we have bequeathed to our children?

The headline of the day goes to -- of all places! -- Vanity Fair for:


Like tribesmen laying out a sacrifice to placate King Kong, news outlets continue to make offerings to the Clinton gods. In The New York Times alone, Chelsea has starred in multiple features over the past few months: for her tweeting (it’s become “feisty”), for her upcoming book (to be titled She Persisted), and her reading habits (she says she has an “embarrassingly large” collection of books on her Kindle). With Chelsea’s 2015 book, It’s Your World, now out in paperback, the puff pieces in other outlets—Elle, People, etc.—are too numerous to count.

One wishes to calm these publications: You can stop this now. Haven’t you heard that the great Kong is no more? Nevertheless, they’ve persisted.


Tired of reading about terror attacks, the situation in North Korea, and endless dysfunction in the GOP House? Well, then have I got a story for you.

Taxpayer-Funded Duck Penis Researcher Now Studying Whale Penises.

So we've got that going for us. Which is nice.

Patricia Brennan, a visiting lecturer at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, worked on the duck penis study that received $384,949 from the National Science Foundation, a grant that was funded through the 2009 stimulus package. The study looked at the differences in the corkscrew-shaped penises of ducks.

A recent interview with New England Public Radio revealed that Brennan is still fascinated by genitalia of various marine animals, this time one from an orca whale that was just delivered from Sea World to her lab.

"Holy cow," Brennan said when the penis first arrived. "Oh wow. Oh my goodness. It's enormous!"

The story doesn't say exactly how many tax dollars were required to help Brennan determine that whale penises are indeed enormous, but I'm sure the sum was yuge.

Earlier this week the horrific "Facebook" murder of a Cleveland grandfather made national headlines, as did the multi-state manhunt for his killer, Steve Stephens. What didn't get a lot of coverage was the bravery of the Erie, Penn., McDonald's employees. From CBS Pittsburgh:

When Stephens went through the drive-thru, the employee at the first window recognized him. As he pulled up to the second window, the employee told her supervisor and restaurant owner.

The employee called state police as the manager and owner went to the window to give Stephens his chicken nuggets, but said his fries were going to be another minute. The stall tactic worked.

“Basically just told him it was gonna be a minute for his fries, which it wasn’t, really. We were just trying to make sure she could get in contact with state police,” restaurant owner Tom Ducharme said.

Responding troopers spotted Stephens leaving the restaurant in Erie and went after him, bumping his car to try to get it to stop, authorities said. He shot himself in the head after the car spun and came to a stop, police said.

The chase ended about 2 miles away.

Remember, Stephens had just two days earlier murdered a random victim on the street in cold blood and then posted the video on Facebook. The McDonald's employees likely had no way to protect themselves, but they made the courageous decision to delay his order while they waited for police to arrive. I hope McDonald's corporate does something extra special for these employees.

Jon Ossoff, Democrat golden boy and frontrunner in the Georgia 06 special election — who couldn't vote for himself because he's living with his girlfriend outside the district — didn't vote in the 2012 presidential election.

CNN has the story:

A review of Ossoff's voter file shows he voted in in the presidential primary and general elections in 2008, 2010, 2014, and 2016, but did note vote in the 2012 presidential election.

Ossoff commented on the 2012 election frequently, a review of his past tweets shows.

Ossoff could have voted by absentee ballot, as he did in 2016.

"Jon was working on his Master's degree at the London School of Economics during the 2012 election and as a result did not vote," a spokesperson for Ossoff said.

Ossoff left for London in September of 2012, his campaign said. Prior to that, he had been working as an aide to Rep. Hank Johnson.

Why didn't he vote in 2012? CNN reported that he voted by absentee ballot in 2016, and could have done so four years earlier.

Take that, California.

Red States Rank among Renewable Energy Leaders.

We lead in fracking, too -- which doesn't require a bunch of subsidies from Washington.

Gotta love this epic tweet from the president touting his administration's success at securing the release of Egyptian prisoner Aya Hijazi:

A brilliant way to cap off the week. Well done, Mr. President.