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LIFE IN THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF MADISON: “Having been shouted down and bullied at several meetings of the Madison School Board over the past several months … Blaska is uniquely qualified to expose the pusillanimous hand-wringing that passes for decision-making by those who shape educational policy in this city. He has seen firsthand how a small cadre of vocal extremists, called Freedom Inc., have cowed the current School Board with their unique brand of cop-hating venom.”

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SUDDEN BLINDING WHITEOUT IMPERILS NATION:

● Shot: CNN Election Analyst On Dems’ 2020 Race: “I am not sure it’s the time to nominate a white man.”

—Headline, Hot Air, yesterday.

● Chaser: The best shot for Democrats is Biden/Beto.

—Headline, Real Clear Politics, today.

THE ONLY CRIME HERE IS THE FIRST AMENDMENT VIOLATION BY THE UNIVERSITY: West Virginia University Student Investigated For Border Patrol Halloween Costume. The university even admits that he has a constitutional right to wear the costume. FIRE is on the case.

OPEN THREAD: Put your special stamp on it.

COURT: ObamaCare mandate unconstitutional.

UPDATE: More here.

IT WOULD TAKE A HEART OF STONE NOT TO LAUGH: Hero to Zero — The Rise and Fall of Michael Avenatti.

AND THEY’LL DO ANYTHING FOR A SMOKE: Former nicotine research monkeys now at primate sanctuary.

THE UNIVERSE IS NOT ONLY STRANGER THAN WE IMAGINE, IT IS STRANGER THAN WE CAN IMAGINE: Giant Black Hole Powers Cosmic Fountain.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: The Eight Best Christmas Songs You’ve Probably Never Heard.

STEPHANIE GUTMANN: Millennials, banning ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ won’t keep you warm at night. “In the modern, ‘affirmative consent’ version of this classic Christmas song, the man could not care less whether his girlfriend stays or goes. Hot!”

Now with correct link!

THIS WOULD BE SWELL, SO LONG AS YOU NEVER NEED SURGERY: Anti-opioid vaccine shows promise in mice.

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NEARLY 156 PEOPLE LEAVE CHICAGO DAILY: DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS.

Even migration is bigger in Texas. Dallas leads all U.S. cities as the largest net gainer with 246 people arriving daily, according to a Bloomberg analysis of 2017 Census data on migration to the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. In 2014, the crown belonged to Houston with 269 migrants per day.

Two things: First, as Austin said yesterday, to anyone thinking of fleeing to Texas, “please stay away. It’s absolutely terrible down here. We have hurricanes and tornadoes and sweltering summers and gazillions of feral hogs. The worst of it: increasingly terrible traffic thanks to tax migrants fleeing California.”

I’ve been telling people the exact same thing after I left California in 2016! And second, billionaire GOP contributors and libertarian-types like the Koch Brothers really need to get going on Glenn’s Welcome Wagon idea for new arrivals who fail to heed the warnings of us veteran Texans.

HIDE THE DECLINE: As French Protests Grow, Media’s Climate Focus Shrinks.

Putting this all together, as news coverage of the Paris protests has ramped up, discussion of the protests’ origins as a rejection of climate change taxes has rapidly faded. In part this may be due to the evolution of the protests into a broader rejection of the direction of French society and airing of grievances ranging from the economic divide to education reforms. At the same time, the timing of the rapid climate deemphasis as the protests have grown larger and more violent suggests media outlets are also not keen to draw negative scrutiny to environmental efforts. In the end, we are reminded that media outlets strongly shape our understanding of stories through the choices they make in framing them.

Classical reference in headline; as Jim Treacher would say:

I WAS PROMISED A NUCLEAR WINTER: Bad Bad Futures Which Didn’t Happen – I Expected An Earth-Shattering Kaboom!

ROBERT “BETO” O’ROURKE: ‘I DON’T KNOW’ IF I’M A PROGRESSIVE.

I think what he means is that he serves as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views, to coin a phrase spoken by an earlier hard left presidential candidate.

JOHN PODHORETZ: THE ‘MURDER’ OF THE WEEKLY STANDARD WASN’T ABOUT TRUMP.

Narrator voice: There is some evidence that being perpetually never-Trump may have played a factor. QED:

SOMETHING ELSE TO WORRY ABOUT: Could Medical Procedures Transmit Alzheimer’s?

APOLLO 17: On this day in 1972, at 5:55 p.m. EST, the lunar module carrying Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt noiselessly lifted off from the moon. It would later rejoin the Command Module piloted by Ron Evans.

No human being has since returned. Most Americans alive today were not yet born then.

THAT YOU LIKE BEER? Here’s What Ordering Your Favorite Lager Might Say About Your Personality.

WHAT A COVERUP LOOKS LIKE. Also this.

JUST A REMINDER: It’s Not A Carry Gun If You Don’t Carry It.

TWO INTERESTING POINTS:

“MIGRANTS”: Tijuana Official Provides Update On Spike In Crime. “There have been like 280 arrests. Before it was only for drug possession and being drunk in the streets. Now it’s for breaking and entering into the homes. People have made citizens arrests.”

UGH: Study: 15 percent of infants exposed to Zika develop abnormalities.

THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH “UNEXPECTEDLY!”S FOR THIS REPORT: Off-Schedule and Over-Budget, California’s Bullet Train Is Hurtling Towards Disaster.

HMM: Aerobic activities like jogging and interval training can make our cells biologically younger; weight training did not have the same effect. I do interval training, but lifting hard can boost your heart rate just as much.

CYBERSECURITY: The 25 worst passwords of 2018 based on 5 million leaked passwords on the internet.

Have we learned nothing from the numerous hacks and leaks in recent memory?

Apparently not.

Password-management company SplashData released its annual list of the 100 worst passwords of the year based on 5 million leaked passwords on the internet. The worst passwords continued to be “123456” and “password.”

Some of you have switched things up, as there are several new entries to this year’s list, like “donald” ranked at number 23, presumably inspired by President Donald Trump.

Password managers exist to generate strong passwords that you don’t have to remember, and some operating systems even have them baked in. But I also understand that many corporate IT departments have their own password rules, which actually result in less security, not more.

ICEBERG HIT: Weekly Standard, RIP.

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DESTRUCTION OF EVIDENCE, OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE: Mueller’s Office Scrubbed Strzok-Page Text Messages Before IG Could Review Them.

CHANGE: Verizon cuts 10,000 jobs and admits its Yahoo/AOL division is a failure.

A POWERFUL STATEMENT FROM IMPRISONED CHINESE PASTOR WANG YI: My Declaration of Faithful Disobedience.

IF YOU LIKE YOUR PLAN, YOU CAN KEEP YOUR PLAN: Barack Obama Slams Those ‘Making Up Whatever Facts They Want’ in RFK Human Rights Award Speech.

I HOPE SHE GETS IT, THOUGH I HAVE MY DOUBTS: It’s Juanita Broaddrick’s Birthday. Here’s What Her Birthday Wish Is.

SPACE DEBRIS: The Pentagon Is Declassifying Lots of Info About What’s in Orbit.

YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW: This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Instant Ramen.

FORMER DEMOCRATIC OHIO STATE SENATOR CAPRI CAFARO: Democrats won’t win in 2020 unless they remember that the road to the White House runs through Main Street.

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Is Lincoln bringing back a Continental with suicide doors?

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Russian Robot Turns Out to Be Fake, Just Like Everything Else.

JOHN HAWKINS: Christine Blasey Ford Is the Poster Girl for Fake Sexual Assault Allegations. “So why did Sports Illustrated choose Ford to hand out an award?”

Gotta maintain that narrative, John.

BABY, IT’S HOT IN HERE: The definitive, final word on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” — until next December.

COMING TO MIKE FLYNN’S DEFENSE: Ruth Bader Ginsburg!

Related: Crime Follies: Overcriminalization, Independent Prosecutors, and the Rule of Law.

NICE: Navy Achieves New F-35 Fighter Jet Milestone on USS Carl Vinson.

The Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 “Argonauts” completed carrier qualifications Wednesday, a final requirement for the commander of Joint Strike Fighter Wing (CJSFW) to endorse that the squadron has met its safe-for-flight operations certification, the Navy said in a release.

“The safe-for-flight operations certification (SFFOC) is the final step for VFA-147’s transition from the F/A-18E Super Hornet to the F-35C Lightning II,” the release said.

“This process ensures a squadron is manned with qualified personnel to implement maintenance and safety programs in support of fleet operations. All transitioning squadrons are required to complete this certification prior to independently conducting flight operations,” it said.

The Vinson is about to get some interesting new capabilities.

TAKING SIDES: New ‘Network of Concerned Academics’ rallies against the ‘right-wing.’ They’re against “outside agitators” who come around to stir things up. Well that stance has a long history in Democratic Party politics.

WELL, GOOD: I’m a gay conservative and I refuse to ‘shut the f–k up,’ Deadspin.

Many progressives are truly beginning to believe that gay men who hold conservative or libertarian views are not just wrong, but traitorous. Living on a liberal college campus in Massachusetts, I’ve personally encountered this attitude many times. It is sick, sad, and fundamentally regressive.

This particular Deadspin article serves as a case study of how identity politics is an assault on individualism. Thiesen dismisses a gay Barstool writer as a “traitorous queer,” and laughs off the Trump-supporting Silicon Valley tycoon Peter Thiel as just some rich gay cashing in on the Republican Party’s supposed bigotry.

Basically, Thiesen is saying that gay men have to think with their genitalia, and that their sexual preferences strip them of the same right to reason we afford everyone else. This is ignorant, and frankly, blatantly homophobic.

It isn’t homophobia/sexism/racism/assault/rape/lawbreaking when lefties do it.

WHY ARE LEFTY-DOMINATED INSTITUTIONS SUCH CESSPITS? CBS Paid Eliza Dushku $9.5 Million To Settle Harassment Claim On Bull. 

Earlier: CBS’ Leslie Moonves sex scandal: Portrait emerges of a culture of fear, entitlement — and little accountability.

And still earlier: Don Hewitt, “who created [CBS’s 60 Minutes] in 1968 and produced the show for 36 years, [was] a journalistic legend. But investigators revealed that CBS continues to pay out a settlement to a woman who claimed that Mr. Hewitt sexually assaulted her on repeated occasions and destroyed her career. The settlement, reached in the 1990s, has been amended multiple times, including this year. In total, CBS has agreed to pay the former employee more than $5 million.”

STEPHANIE GUTMANN: Millennials, banning ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ won’t keep you warm at night. “In the modern, ‘affirmative consent’ version of this classic Christmas song, the man could not care less whether his girlfriend stays or goes. Hot!”

UPDATE: Link was wrong before. Fixed now. Sorry!

WE FINALLY FOUND THAT COLLUSION: Financial Bounty Hunters Testify: Clinton Foundation Operated As Foreign Agent.

The Clinton Foundation “began acting as an agent of foreign governments ‘early in its life’ and throughout its existence. As such, the foundation should’ve registered under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act),” he said. “Ultimately, the Foundation and its auditors conceded in formal submissions that it did operate as a (foreign) agent, therefore the foundation is not entitled to its 501c3 tax-exempt privileges as outlined in IRS 170 (c)2.”

Doyle, who was also outlining a litany of violations by the foundation, noted that currently there are approximately 1.75 million nonprofits in the United States that annually generate nearly 2 trillion dollars, which is 9 percent of the U.S. GDP.

“Who’s minding the store, looking out for the donors and minding the rule of law,” said Doyle.

“On that note, we followed the money so we made extensive spreadsheets of their revenues and expenses, we analyzed their income statements and we did a macro-review of all the donors, which is a very (jumbled) sort of foundation,” said Doyle. “Less than 1/10th of one percent of the donors gave 80 percent of the money. So we follow the money.”

Read the whole, damning thing.

I’M SURE THE STUDENTS WILL BE CRUSHED: UNC faculty threaten not to teach over Confed statue. “University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill faculty members are threatening not to teach during the first week of the spring semester if the school approves a proposal to house in a new $5 million building a Confederate statue torn down by protesters.”

Lefties are so desperate to recapture the moral high ground of the 1960s civil rights era, but with so little to work with they risk looking ridiculous. And by “risk looking ridiculous,” I mean, they definitely look ridiculous.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Wiped, Like With a Cloth and Much, Much More. “Wow. Is anyone at the federal agencies concerned about the RUSSIAN money that flowed into the Clinton Foundation prior to the Uranium One sale? Anyone? Bueller?”

WE DON’T HAVE A REVENUE PROBLEM, WE HAVE AN OVERSPENDING PROBLEM: Feds Collect Record Taxes Through November; Still Run $305.4B Deficit.

MARK PULLIAM: Kavanaugh: Too Soon to Be Reading Tea Leaves.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Maxine Waters’ Campaign Debt to Daughter Jumps $90,000.

More accurately, the Waters campaign steered an additional $90,000 to her daughter.

THEY REALLY AREN’T BRINGING MUCH TO THE TABLE: Michael Barone: Parties need to up their game.

Two weeks ago in this space, I asked what was to blame for the weakness of the heads of government here and in Western Europe. Institutional failure, voter fecklessness, leaders’ personal weaknesses, or some combination of all three?

This week, let’s look at one of those institutions — political parties. How have they contributed to current woes? How can they perform better?

There are those who would ask, what would you expect from parties? They’re nasty, grubby institutions, selfish, and inward-looking, in which intellectual dishonesty is the norm. Why not be done with them, and have a virtuous nonpartisan democracy?

One quick reply: When and where has anyone had an electoral democracy like that? The framers of the Constitution loathed parties and were wholly unpersuaded by the case Edmund Burke was making for them on the other side of the Atlantic.

But in the 1790s, they quickly formed parties because of disagreements over serious issues like how to finance the federal government and whether to back Britain or France in their world war.

Political parties do provide a certain stability to politics, and they have also have incentives to respond to evolving events and emerging issues. But they have been doing a rotten job of both recently in many prominent democracies.

For parties to work, they have to be run by people with self-discipline and a sense of the national interest. Those people are harder to find than they used to be, and they were never easy to find.

ZUCK ON IT: ‘They threw us under the bus at every opportunity’: Facebook fact-checkers say its mission to weed out fake news was a PR stunt. To be fair, the whole “fake news on Facebook swung the election” claim was also a PR stunt, to distract from what a miserable candidate Hillary was.

“WHAT ARE YOU REBELLING AGAINST?” “HOW MUCH MONEY HAVE YOU GOT?” Far-left extremists are raising money on Patreon to “inspire insurrection.”

Far Left Watch has done a good job of collating what violence-inspiring lefties are getting away with on Patreon, so you’ll want to click over. But first, this:

Patreon is back in the news following another round of what appears to be an ideological purge from their platform. In the last few days the accounts for Milo Yiannopoulos, Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad), and James Allsup were all terminated. These individuals all have different belief systems and principals and have been vocal critics of each other but their common denominator is a very vocal and effective critique of the far-left and their creeping authoritarianism.

Following the termination of these accounts, many people speculated that Patreon was selectively enforcing their Community Guidelines in order to target right-of-center influencers.

But of course.

IF TRUMP WERE A DEMOCRAT, WE’D BE SEEING COMPARISONS TO JFK NOW: Russia Pulls Nuclear Bombers from Venezuela After Pressure from U.S.

CNN ELECTION ANALYST ON DEMS’ 2020 RACE: “I am not sure it’s the time to nominate a white man.”

I’m not sure I understand – everyone says that Robert O’Rourke is the early Democratic frontrunner.

YEAH, PRETTY MUCH: Harrington: Flynn’s ‘Only Crime’ Was ‘Going to Work for a Republican President.’ It’s a case of “show me the man and I will find you the crime.”

WELL, IT’S A GOOD THING SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO FACE THE VOTERS UNTIL… EVER: Melania Trump’s poll numbers plummet.

OH: German journalist Billy Six ‘charged with espionage’ in Venezuela.

Venezuelan rights group Espacio Público says Mr Six, who writes for right-wing newspaper Junge Freiheit, has been charged with espionage and rebellion.

Relatives say he was arrested more than three weeks ago while reporting on Venezuela’s economic crisis and the mass migration it has triggered.

Diplomatic officials have reportedly not been allowed to see him.

Six did not make Time magazine’s Person of the Year list, despite being a journalist imprisoned by a brutal regime on questionable charges.

CHANGE: Number of Streaming Shows Overtakes Basic Cable, Broadcast for First Time.

Streaming services snatched their biggest piece of the TV pie ever in 2018.

According to FX’s annual report on the number of scripted originals on TV, the number of streaming shows has surpassed the number of basic cable and broadcast shows for the first time ever. Out of 495 scripted originals that aired in 2018, 160 of them did so on a streaming platform. That is compared to 146 on broadcast and 144 on basic cable. Pay cable accounted for the remaining 45 shows.

Streaming shows also saw the biggest increase year-to-year, growing from 117 last year. Broadcast dipped slightly, dropping from 153 in 2017. Basic cable saw a more sharp decline, compared to the 175 shows that aired on basic cable the previous year. Pay cable was up slightly from 42.

On a percentage basis, streaming shows now account for approximately one third of all scripted originals, with approximately 32%. Broadcast made up 30% and basic cable 29%, with pay cable making up 9%.

Bad news for the networks.

UGH: Fentanyl now America’s deadliest drug, federal health officials say.

It’s the first time the synthetic opioid has been the nation’s deadliest drug. From 2012 to 2015, heroin topped the list.

On average, in each year from 2013 to 2016, the rate of overdose deaths from Fentanyl increased by about 113 percent a year. The report said fentanyl was responsible for 29 percent of all overdose deaths in 2016, up from just 4 percent in 2011.

Overall, more than 63,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2016, according to the report, which was prepared by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s an average of 174 deaths a day.

Whatever happened to just quietly drinking your troubles away?

MATT MARGOLIS: Why Allegations of Campaign Finance Violations Won’t Bring Down Trump. “Obama is guilty of worse, and nothing happened to him.”

Double standards, Matt. Double. Standards.

2018: A Surfeit of Empathy and an Absence of Compassion.

DOWNLOAD IT WHILE IT’S HOT: Constitutional Hardball Yes, Asymmetric Not so Much. In which I demur from the academic consensus that the Republicans have been shattering constitutional norms while the innocent Democrats have been quiescent.

ADVENTURES IN SELF-DELUSION: “Amy Schumer: I’m Not Going To Look ‘Super-F***able’ Anymore.”

Maybe she is confusing “super-f***able” with looking “easy.”

(Eyebleach sold separately).

December 13, 2018

DAVID HOGG HARDEST HIT: Panel Investigating Parkland Fla. HS. Shooting Says Teachers Need Guns.

BEST THESIS ADVISOR EVER. Okay, I don’t advise people on their theses, but I also don’t know who to call to hire mercenaries, though I suppose I know some people who do.

MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN: KFC is now selling a log that smells like fried chicken.

OPEN THREAD: It’s a gas, gas, gas.

MARK STEYN: Sapphic Sharia Same-Sex Slavers in Secaucus!

RACISM IS EVERYWHERE: Mexico Is Closing Its Border . . . With Guatemala.

THE POLICE WILL PROTECT YOU: Known Wolf: ‘Allahu Akbar’ Killer in France Had 27 Criminal Convictions.

$500 EVERYDAY FEMINISM SEMINAR OFFERS TO HEAL ‘INTERNALIZED WHITENESS.’

It is also hard to see how this approach to “healing whiteness” can address the racial issues facing our society, or how white people are going to be convinced to go in for treatment. Is it possible that some white people being told they are sick might take offense and become targets of extreme groups who tell them they are healthy? The bottom line is that conservatives have to get more engaged in anti-racism efforts. Too much ground is being ceded and, left unchecked, progressive approaches are becoming more radical.

It is not enough to laugh at this stuff. It’s out there, it’s pervasive, and almost nobody is offering an alternative. This is in part because progressives sometimes try to shut down speech that challenges their orthodoxies on race issues, but also because conservatives are too willing to turn a blind eye to racism to avoid the fray.

When we roll our eyes and laugh at this stuff, we are also ignoring it. We do that at our own peril. What we have to do is understand it, question it, and offer solutions that we think are better.

The mainstream left not acting as the mirror image of the alt-right would be a good first step. Or as Sean Davis of the Federalist tweets, “If you think skin color is a disease that requires a cure, you’re a racist.”

TALKING ABOUT CHINA: The Challenge And The Threat.

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FLASHBACK: Castro, Chavez, and ‘bad luck.’ “Under capitalism, the rich grow powerful. Under socialism, the powerful grow rich — and everyone else grows poor.”

BRAD SMITH KNOWS A BOATLOAD ABOUT ELECTION LAW:  “Michael Cohen Pled Guilty to Something That is Not a Crime.”

(Bumped).

p.s. I am at Newark Airport being being bombarded by CNN.  They are laughing at Trump for having said that this was not a criminal proceeding.  Perhaps what Trump said was that the election law charge against Cohen was for actions that, even if true, do not constitute a crime.

VIRGIN GALACTIC’S SPACESHIP TWO reaches edge of space. “The firm’s SpaceShipTwo passenger rocket ship reached a height of 82.7km, beyond the altitude at which US agencies have awarded astronaut wings.”