Friday's HOT MIC

Here is your HOT MIC for the day.

YAWN...

The tedious, knee-jerk #MeToo era you-know-what covering by Abrams is annoying enough. What's really ridiculous, however, is that someone that successful is letting the critics get to him at all. All entertainment is subjective. I certainly don't expect every member of every audience I perform for to get my sense of humor or like me. If they don't, I certainly don't start looking for blanket accusations I can hurl at them. And I'm not paid millions like Abrams is.

Put on your big boy pants, Sparky, and take the criticism like a pro.

The Bee is beating up on Joel Osteen today.

Seems like a sound reason to agree to attempt hurtling headfirst at 80 mph:

From The Daily Star:

And he revealed he only took up the skeleton after being challenged during a night of boozing at Bath University.

The ex-400m runner went along to try out the sport with his friend after being invited to a trial by British slider Adam Pengilly when they were at a barbecue.

Dom said: “I was feeling the effects of too much fun the night before, so sat out the sprint tests to nurse my head and feel sorry for myself.

“After a quick crash course on how to push the sled my hangover was forgotten.”

You kids out there: drink hard enough and you too may achieve Olympic glory.

I believe that's the lesson here.

#TrueStory

I love any stories about baseball's real home run king. I remember Vin Scully telling one about how much pitchers would like to throw at Aaron back in the day. He'd get knocked down once or twice, get up, and get a hit anyway.

Oh, how I miss baseball.

Here's the full indictment from Deputy AG Rosenstein if you'd like to slog through it.

A few quick takeaways:

  • A grand jury has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for alleged interference in the 2016 election.
  • The goal of the Russians was "spreading distrust" about the 2016 candidates and about the American election system.
  • No alleged election tampering that altered the outcome of the presidential election.
  • Multiple instances of defendants falsifying identities to propagate their version of Operation Chaos.

PJM's Bridget Johnson will have more on this story today in the News and Politics section.

Internet Research Agency Indictment by PJ Media on Scribd

FEC war on Drudge, internet, goes 'underground'

This is a shocking revelation from outgoing FEC member Lee Goodman, via Washington Examiner:

“The debate has gone underground, it has not ceased,” said Lee Goodman, who fought off several attempts to stifle outlets like Fox, Drudge and conservative media including film makers.

“The desire to regulate Americans' political speech on the internet remains alive and well here at the commission and now even in Congress,” added Goodman, whose last day on the FEC is Friday.

While it's true that by law the 6-member FEC (appointed by the president) cannot have more than three members from the same party, there's no law requiring them to be committed fascists. Drain the freaking swamp already. 

File this under Annals of the Stock Market. Somewhere about an hour ago the market went into a tailspin on the breaking news that Mueller had indicted 13 Russians for monkeying with the 2016 US election. Now, all of a sudden, the market is back up again. Why? I'm no expert (in the slightest) but it might be they all realized this is a nothing burger. Besides, the said Russkies are all probably back in Novosibirsk by now and far away from the clutches of US law enforcement; their indictment has little or nothing to do with Trump or his people. It's just—dare we say it—a show trial. If that's all Mueller's got, it ain't much.

Also interesting is that the Russians involved in this scam worked both sides of the aisle, according to the indictment. After Trump won, they arranged demonstrations supporting and opposing Trump's presidency ON THE SAME DAY. Havoc was obviously their goal. Given the condition of our society, they may have achieved it. (Actually, no. We did that on our own, without Russian help.)

Trump backs 25-cent gas-tax boost for road repairs and infrastructure (maybe)

Speaking of gouging the middle class, Green Cars reports:

The federal gas tax, which was supposed to pay for repairs and expansion to roads maintained or funded by the national government, now does nothing of the kind.

Congress last raised the U.S. federal gas tax a quarter of a century ago in 1993, to the 18.5-cents-per-gallon level it remains at today. Diesel fuel is taxed at 24.4 cents per gallon.

Every state in the U.S. now receives more road funding from the federal government than it sends to D.C. in gasoline taxes, but the cumulative deficit in road-repair funds has risen to several hundred billion dollars.

Last month, the influential and conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce proposed a 25-cent-per-gallon increase in the federal gas tax to generate revenue that would help fund those needed repairs.

On Wednesday, that idea got a new backer: President Donald J. Trump.

As Tucker Carlson noted on his show last night, building roads is one of the two main functions of government dating back to ancient Rome. But instead of focusing on those imperatives, the federal government is pouring money down the black holes of diversity enforcement and unrestrained entitlements. The problem with a gas tax is that it disproportionately hits those of us who live in nether parts of the country where public transportation is lacking. Factory workers, farmers, small business owners, and suburban soccer moms will all see their monthly expenses go up, offsetting the gains they saw with the tax cut.

A "national conversation" also needs to be had about this:

 

Rhode Island83.1%$317,439,000$263,792,000
Wyoming67.3%$543,113,000$365,555,000
Montana64.4%$761,719,000$490,914,000
South Carolina59.0%$1,259,022,000$742,746,000
Vermont58.0%$501,722,000$291,115,000
Georgia56.6%$1,956,088,000$1,107,473,000
Missouri54.1%$1,470,145,000$795,329,000
Tennessee53.0%$1,572,450,000$833,626,000
South Dakota49.6%$605,572,000$300,170,000
Colorado49.5%$1,722,621,000$853,174,000
Idaho49.1%$710,207,000$349,034,000
Alabama47.1%$1,810,319,000$853,118,000
Indiana46.0%$2,581,632,000$1,187,701,000
Delaware45.6%$513,072,000$234,092,000
Nevada45.6%$620,668,000$283,110,000
Louisiana44.6%$1,611,669,000$718,029,000
Arizona43.7%$1,957,688,000$856,003,000
Alaska42.6%$1,271,514,000$541,080,000
Texas40.3%$8,445,801,000$3,407,201,000
Nebraska40.1%$800,388,000$321,027,000
Connecticut39.2%$1,247,190,000$488,401,000
California38.6%$10,529,860,000$4,060,307,000
New York38.3%$5,322,067,000$2,039,589,000
New Mexico38.0%$1,041,561,000$395,695,000
Mississippi37.8%$1,327,966,000$501,986,000
Utah37.5%$905,259,000$339,412,000
Arkansas36.7%$1,443,062,000$529,683,000
New Hampshire35.6%$505,452,000$180,010,000
Michigan35.2%$2,532,511,000$891,844,000
Maine34.7%$643,931,000$223,691,000
Hawaii34.6%$549,795,000$190,488,000
United States34.4%$120,940,700,000$41,642,979,000
Ohio33.4%$4,015,891,000$1,339,893,000
West Virginia32.9%$1,065,058,000$349,985,000
Wisconsin32.2%$2,509,882,000$807,946,000
Kansas32.1%$1,298,356,000$417,144,000
North Carolina30.2%$3,719,766,000$1,124,923,000
Washington29.9%$2,884,151,000$862,872,000
Oregon29.7%$1,360,696,000$404,611,000
Oklahoma28.6%$2,101,894,000$602,143,000
Florida28.5%$7,600,460,000$2,168,765,000
Kentucky26.8%$2,732,030,000$731,390,000
Maryland25.5%$2,521,117,000$643,040,000
Illinois25.3%$6,925,080,000$1,751,333,000
Pennsylvania24.0%$7,746,006,000$1,859,775,000
North Dakota23.7%$1,224,581,000$290,223,000
Iowa23.6%$2,076,439,000$491,007,000
Virginia23.6%$4,900,426,000$1,158,542,000
New Jersey22.7%$3,375,735,000$766,937,000
Massachusetts21.5%$2,827,045,000$606,698,000
Minnesota21.2%$2,974,584,000$630,357,000

The first column is the federal share of each state's transportation funds, the second is total expenditures, and the third is the amount of federal revenue.

I live in Ohio and fly out to L.A. several times a year and can attest that the roads in Cali look nothing like the ones in my home state. Here, they're rutted and crumbling, even though they're constantly under repair. Everywhere you drive in Ohio it looks like this:

Entire cars have been swallowed up by massive potholes because, unfortunately, the salt used to melt ice here in the winter also destroys the roads (and our cars, which is an added expense those of us in colder climates must deal with). I understand that California has twice as many miles of highway as Ohio (and a lot more people who "contribute" more to the federal coffers), but maybe the federal dollars ought to be sent where the need is greatest rather than doling out the money proportionally.

There are a LOT more questions that need to be asked before even think about hiking the federal gas tax.

 

One other thing this morning.  I note that a great deal is being made of libertarian tech genius Peter Thiel's decamping the paleo-progressive Silicon Valley for Los Angeles.  It's supposed to be a message fo the Valley and maybe it is.  But Los Angeles?  If you're looking for a "progressive heaven" these days it's L/A.  And Thiel will have to deal with a homeless crisis the like of which local residents have never seen.  Well, you pays your money you takes your choice. (And he's got a lot of money.)

I awoke to the unsurprising news that Donald Trump had an affair with a Playmate.  As a Trump supporter, it didn't make me feel good.  It's not enough to say "Well, Clinton did it." Or any of a hundred others, for that matter.  We have to examine who we are. In other words, are we French?  I can remember some years ago standing on the balcony of a French movie producer (female) that overlooked the Elysee Palace.  We were all having cocktails before dinner.  Suddenly a large state helicopter arose from the palace.  "What's that?" I asked my host.  "It is Mitterand going to his mistress," she said, completely casually.  "Every day at this time." It was part of the culture.  The French completely separated public and private life and mocked Americans for being so bourgeois as to connect them.  But do we?  The stock market, on a march to recovery, barely burped this morning at the latest Trump news.  (I'm sure it would have been the other way if the tax plan were rescinded.) Nevertheless, it's a problem.  Actually, we're hypocrites -- on a ton of levels.  For the moment, however, I'm more concerned with the suborning of the FBI for political purposes than I am with anybody's affairs.  That's ultimately more dangerous, by yards.  Still, this is disturbing.

Scoop from Axios:

Commerce recommends major tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The broad details:

Aluminum: 7.7% tariff on all aluminum exports from all countries. 23.5% on all products from China, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam. A quota on imports from all countries to a maximum of 86.7% of their 2017 exports to the U.S.

Steel: Global tariff of 24% on all imports. Tariff of 53% (at least) on steel imports from Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam. A quota of 63% of 2017 exports for the countries listed in the prior sentence. All other countries can export at 100% of 2017 levels, but above that face tariffs.

Oh good. I was worried I'd been paying too little for anything containing steel or aluminum.

I never get over the shock of seeing teachers going red and celebrating May Day. Is it any wonder public schools are basically just leftist factories that churn out fellow travelers year after year? If you were held captive in a classroom for six hours a day and forced to listen to leftist propaganda, what do you think would happen to your brain?

Berliner, some sort of "educational psychologist," wrote:

It is way past time. Between now and May 1st teachers have to agree on the gun legislation they want. They can consult with Giffords and Kelly, and others who have suffered, such as the parents who have already lost children to this horrible characteristic of our culture. If by May 1st they have not received assurance that their legislation for sanity in gun ownership will be acted on soon, they need to walk out of our schools. It would be May Day, when workers should exert their strength.

This is straight out of the teacher's union playbook, and teachers who buy into their radical revolutionary propaganda—otherwise decent human beings—turn into rage-fueled lunatics.

Thank goodness not all teachers are like this. One recently retired kindergarten teacher I know wrote this on Facebook:

 Our leaders need courage. What do they need courage to do? They need to stand up to the state regulations and say enough is enough. No more excessive testing. Give us back our classrooms so we have time to see the hurting students ~ so a teacher has time to pull a chair up alongside a student and say "How can I help?" If you won't take back the testing, then give teachers help!! Give them tutors who can be their eyes and ears along with them. Your teachers are asked to educate children that are so very damaged and they need help in doing it. They need your prayers ~ prayers for wisdom, prayers to see the heart and mind of each student, prayers for the time and ability to make a difference.

She's right. State and federal regulations have turned our nation's classrooms into testing labs, forcing teachers to become proctors rather than mentors. We have a generation of broken kids—broken boys, especially. The family as an American institution is in its death throes and teachers are left scrambling to stand in the gap. Many—likely most—are willing to take on that burden, but they can't if they have to spend most of their classroom time focused on testing and bureaucratic functions. The unions would better serve the teachers they represent by pushing for bureaucracy control rather than gun control.

SHOT:

CHASER:

"They all knew," indeed. The outrage you read from the MSM about Weinstein and the rest of the Hollywood Rape Club isn't because it happened, but because they got caught.

As Glenn Reynolds has been saying for a while, we have the worst political class in American history. And that extends to journalists and infotainment companies as well.

Set your coffee down before reading this one.

Charity sex scandal: UN staff ‘responsible for 60,000 rapes in a decade’

Good lord.

Andrew MacLeod, who was chief of operations at the UN’s Emergency Co-ordination Centre, said that “predatory” abusers used development jobs to get to vulnerable women and children.

He estimated that 60,000 rapes had been carried out by UN staff in the past decade, with 3,300 paedophiles working in the organisation and its agencies.

“There are tens of thousands of aid workers around the world with paedophile tendencies, but if you wear a Unicef T-shirt nobody will ask what you’re up to,” he told The Sun.

“You have the impunity to do whatever you want. It is endemic across the aid industry across the world.

The US can't disband the UN. But we can leave it, withdraw our funding, kick them out of New York -- and then begin again with a much more exclusive organization called The League of Decent Nations Who Don't Do That Crap.

And other than the name, I'm not kidding.

Mitt Romney running for Senate.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney announced his candidacy for Utah's Senate seat today, after delaying his announcement by one day following the Parkland, Fla. shooting.

On a hilarious note, a full 13 percent of Americans say Romney is secretary of State, according to Pew.

I literally burst out laughing, and people were looking at me like I was insane...

Ronan Farrow's latest for the New Yorker:

Donald Trump, a Playboy Model, and a System for Concealing Infidelity.

The teaser reads, "One woman’s account of clandestine meetings, financial transactions, and legal pacts designed to hide an extramarital affair."

Some details:

In June, 2006, Donald Trump taped an episode of his reality-television show, “The Apprentice,” at the Playboy Mansion, in Los Angeles. Hugh Hefner, Playboy’s publisher, threw a pool party for the show’s contestants with dozens of current and former Playmates, including Karen McDougal, a slim brunette who had been named Playmate of the Year, eight years earlier. In 2001, the magazine’s readers voted her runner-up for “Playmate of the ’90s,” behind Pamela Anderson. At the time of the party, Trump had been married to the Slovenian model Melania Knauss for less than two years; their son, Barron, was a few months old. Trump seemed uninhibited by his new family obligations. McDougal later wrote that Trump “immediately took a liking to me, kept talking to me - telling me how beautiful I was, etc. It was so obvious that a Playmate Promotions exec said, ‘Wow, he was all over you - I think you could be his next wife.’ ”

Trump and McDougal began an affair, which McDougal later memorialized in an eight-page, handwritten document provided to The New Yorker by John Crawford, a friend of McDougal’s. When I showed McDougal the document, she expressed surprise that I had obtained it but confirmed that the handwriting was her own.

Which led to this:

Her account provides a detailed look at how Trump and his allies used clandestine hotel-room meetings, payoffs, and complex legal agreements to keep affairs—sometimes multiple affairs he carried out simultaneously—out of the press.

On November 4, 2016, four days before the election, the Wall Street Journal reported that American Media, Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, had paid a hundred and fifty thousand dollars for exclusive rights to McDougal’s story, which it never ran. Purchasing a story in order to bury it is a practice that many in the tabloid industry call “catch and kill.” This is a favorite tactic of the C.E.O. and chairman of A.M.I., David Pecker, who describes the President as “a personal friend.” As part of the agreement, A.M.I. consented to publish a regular aging-and-fitness column by McDougal. After Trump won the Presidency, however, A.M.I.’s promises largely went unfulfilled, according to McDougal. Last month, the Journal reported that Trump’s personal lawyer had negotiated a separate agreement just before the election with an adult-film actress named Stephanie Clifford, whose screen name is Stormy Daniels, which barred her from discussing her own affair with Trump. Since then, A.M.I. has repeatedly approached McDougal about extending her contract.

McDougal, in her first on-the-record comments about A.M.I.’s handling of her story, declined to discuss the details of her relationship with Trump, for fear of violating the agreement she reached with the company. She did say, however, that she regretted signing the contract. “It took my rights away,” McDougal told me.

Sordid stuff, and Farrow's reporting is just as solid here as it was in his blockbuster pieces from last year -- I encourage you to read the whole thing. The details confirm what we've known for decades about Trump, and have always suspected about the rich & powerful in general.

I'd just add another reminder that "McDougal describes their affair as entirely consensual," so we aren't talking Harvey Weinstein or even Matt Lauer here.

But it's still sordid.

A real hero.

Aaron Feis, a security guard and assistant football coach, reportedly threw himself in front of students during the Parkland shooting this week. From Relevant Magazine:

Feis, who was also a security guard at the school, threw himself in front of students to shield them from the oncoming bullets. After being wounded, he was rushed to the hospital where he died.

Willis May, head football coach at the school, told the Sun Sentinel that a student said Feis jumped between her and the gunman while pushing her out of the way. May had heard the gunfire over the walkie-talkie and asked Feis if it was the sound of firecrackers. “No. That is not firecrackers,” Feis responded. That was the last May heard of him.

Colton Haab, a junior football player who had a close bond with Feis, told CNN: “[He] made sure everyone else’s needs were met before his own. He was a hard worker. He worked after school, on the weekends, mowing lawns, just helping as many people as possible.”

"He died a hero." Amen.

This is the kind of life a true Christian is to live. In Philippians 2, St. Paul wrote that Christians should "do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others more significant than yourselves." Feis demonstrated what that means in extreme circumstances, but it is the daily act of serving others that truly reveals who we truly are.

THIS is CNN:

But let's give that a little perspective.

Dead network walking?

If so, the constant barrage of RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA is what's killing them.

Good Friday Morning!

Thank God it's Friday, but don't forget to pray for the families of the 17 dead and many wounded victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Wednesday. Which brings us to...

18 school shootings in 2018?

Many media outlets pushed the statistic that there have been no fewer than 18 school shootings in America this year. Politico, TIME, CNBC, ABC NewsWUSA9, the New York Daily News, and HuffPost all reported the statistic.

Many activists also shared the stat, including the president of the LGBT group the Human Rights Campaign.

And Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.):

And MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell:

The statistic came from the gun control activist group Everytown For Gun Safety. By Friday morning, the group had actually removed one of the entries from its website, because the building where the shooting took place was no longer being used as a school.

Everytown took a rather liberal view on what constitutes a school shooting. Eight of the shootings could be summarized as "Gun fired but no one injured." Two (including the one that was later removed) involved "attempted or completed suicide, with no intent to injure other person." One involved a gun being fired unintentionally, wounding two students.

Only seven of the 18 shootings involved an "attack on other person resulting in injury or death." Even that number proved misleading, however. Three of these incidents involved only one person being wounded by a gun, one of them involved one student being wounded, but not by a gun.

One of these shootings took place at a sorority party, two more in parking lots. One person was fatally wounded in a parking lot fight.

Three could be considered school mass shootings, in a broad sense. On January 22, a student in Italy, Texas, opened fire in the high school cafeteria, wounding one student and firing at another student, but missing. On January 23, a student opened fire at Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky., killing two students and injuring more than a dozen others.

In total, all "seventeen" of Everytown's shootings before the Parkland shooting resulted in a grand total of 5 deaths, two from suicide, one from a fight in a parking lot, and two from a true mass shooting.

Three mass shootings is still too many for a year this young, but it is nothing like the 18 falsely reported. To their credit, PolitiFact and The Washington Post joined conservative outlets such as the Daily Wire, National Review, and The Washington Examiner in correcting the statistic.

A Congressional fail on immigration.

Senators failed to pass a bipartisan bill to resolve the future of Dreamers and dedicate $25 billion to border security and some other measures. The bill failed to get the 60 votes necessary for a full floor vote. The vote was 54-45. Another plan, supported by President Trump, also failed, 39-60, CNN reported.

Transgender custody battle.

A 17-year-old girl has been removed from her parents' custody after they refused to give her trans-sex hormones, suggesting they would be bad for her. The girl's doctors say she will commit suicide if she cannot take the hormones and identify as a male. The judge is expected to rule on the case today.

If the parents lose, this could become an explosive case, perhaps going all the way up to the Supreme Court. Stay tuned. In the meantime, read more about the case here.

Other morsels:

WaPo: I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

No, It's Not Cowardly to Be Conservative on Gun Rights

'LOVE TRUMPS HATE': Leftists Attack Trump Supporter Whose Daughter Was Killed In Shooting

Media Swallows Militia Leader's Claim School Shooter Was Connected to White Supremacists

What Kind Of Society Condemns People For Praying After A School Shooting?

A Heretical Bioengineer Asks: What Do the Darwinists Have to Hide?

Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real Problems?

What Did Comey Tell President Trump about the Steele Dossier?

Piers Morgan Goes Off His Rocker With Nikolas Cruz 'White Supremacist' 'MUSLIM' Tweet

Black Panther Delivers

Flashback 30 Years: Guns Were in Schools ... and Nothing Happened

The Religion Of The Democratic Party Is Abortion And Brunch

THERE’S A WAY TO STOP MASS SHOOTINGS, AND YOU WON’T LIKE IT.

Steven Pinker: Identity Politics Is 'An Enemy of Reason and Enlightenment Values'

Read more...