March 23, 2017

NORTH KOREAN SPECIAL OPERATIONS TROOPS: Hmmm. There are indications they’re having morale problems.

CICADAPOCALYPSE: What you need to know.

TRUMP SHOULD GET BEHIND “RIGHT TO REPAIR” LEGISLATION: There’s a Thriving John Deere Black Market as Farmers Fight for “Right to Repair.” “A flourishing black market of John Deere parts exists online, connecting farmers in rural America with counterparts in Eastern Europe to buy unlocked firmware crucial to tractors. . . . Those who use the black market, documented in a report by Motherboard, claim they are driven to it by restrictive licensing agreement by Deere, one of the largest tractor companies in the world. Those restrictions would bar the tractors’ users from fixing its hardware or software themselves, but such rules are currently being challenged by so-called ‘right to repair’ legislation working its way various states at the moment, including farming-heavy Nebraska.”

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HEY, BIG SPENDER: Navy Needs As Much As $150B Extra to ‘Jump-Start’ Path to 355 Ships; Would Buy Mostly DDGs, SSNs, Carriers.

Threats shrink and grow, but the oceans never get any smaller.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: This Is The Easiest Way To Escape A Sinking Vehicle. Knowing HOW Might Save Your Life Some Day. Well, the best way is to escape before it submerges.

They seem to be using a Res-Q-Me tool in the window-breaking demonstration.

HMM: Nunes apologizes to House Intel Committee, member says.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes apologized to committee members Thursday, a Democrat on the panel told reporters, coming the day after Nunes told the public and the President that communications of him and associates may have been collected by intelligence agencies before telling Democratic members of the committee.

Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat , said Nunes apologized at their meeting Thursday morning. Nunes also promised to provide the same information he’s viewed to the committee members but did not offer a specific timeline.

“Apologize for what?” the wise man once asked.

I’D START PREPARING SOONER THAN THAT: In 3 days I’ll go to prison for a long time. What should I prepare?

BRIDGET JOHNSON: Black Caucus Gives Trump ‘We Have a Lot to Lose’ Policy Blueprint.

The White House said that during the closed-door meeting “the participants discussed various issues pertaining to the African American community, including the president’s commitment to improving conditions for distressed communities.”

“The president voiced his desire to work with the CBC to improve educational and economic opportunities, enhance public safety, reduce the cost of prescription drugs, and invest in infrastructure,” the readout added.

“Throughout my campaign I pledged to focus on improving conditions for African-American citizens, this means more to me than anybody can understand,” Trump said when the press pool was briefly allowed in the meeting room.

The CBC tweeted afterward that Richmond told Trump his comments about President Obama and inner cities were “hurtful” to the African-American community and that Carson, one of two Muslim members of Congress, told Trump “he is Muslim & Muslims shouldn’t be treated differently and #MuslimBan is not who we are.”

If that tweet is any indication, the CBC isn’t just unwilling to meet Trump halfway, they aren’t even much interested in honest negotiations.

JD TUCKER: Just repeal.

The net result of full repeal would be to allow the consumer-driven market to push competition and force insurance companies to compete. It amuses me when people say, “But repeal will only make the health insurance executives richer!” As Trump would say… “Wrong!” They love having millions of Americans who would never willingly purchase health insurance being forced to by it by their government overlords.

Get government out of health insurance and premiums will go down for a vast majority of Americans. Allow the free market economy and the crowdfunding power of 2017 (plus charities, family, and community) to help those who need it the most. Government’s only role should be as the absolute last resort. Just repeal it.

ObamaCare is a rickety structure that will eventually collapse under its own weight, but will collapse even sooner if you pull out a few of its support beams — which is what Paul Ryan’s AHCA does.

The former result would be the fault of Obama/Reid/Pelosi. The latter would be pinned, and rightly so, on Trump/McConnell/Ryan.

I DUNNO, WILL IT HELP MY DEADLIFT? Should 15,000 Steps a Day Be Our New Exercise Target?

EUNCERTAINTY: Italy’s buoyant 5-Star keeps options open on euro referendum.

The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, Italy’s most popular political party, said on Thursday a referendum on the euro was not its top priority and that it hoped Europe would reform before a ballot could be arranged.

Benefiting from a schism in the ruling Democratic Party, opinion polls suggest 5-Star is likely to win 2018 elections and its policies are coming under increasing scrutiny, especially a plan for a euro referendum which scares financial markets.

Lower house deputy Luigi Di Maio, 30, who is widely expected to be 5-Star’s candidate for prime minister, told foreign reporters the euro referendum would take time to organize, and tackling poverty in Italy was more urgent.

“In the meantime we hope that European institutions come to their senses,” he said at a news conference to present 5-Star’s policies on the European Union.

“It’s not true that 5-Star wants to take Italy out of the euro,” he said. “We want Italians to decide.”

It’s EU tradition to allow members states as many referenda as necessary to get the EU-desired result, so there’s no telling what 5-Star really means.

MORE, PLEASE: Japanese company develops a solar cell with record-breaking 26%+ efficiency.

The silicon-based cells that make up a solar panel have a theoretical efficiency limit of 29 percent, but so far that number has proven elusive. Practical efficiency rates in the low-20-percent range have been considered very good for commercial solar panels. But researchers with Japanese chemical manufacturer Kaneka Corporation have built a solar cell with a photo conversion rate of 26.3 percent, breaking the previous record of 25.6 percent. Although it’s just a 2.7 percent increase in efficiency, improvements in commercially viable solar cell technology are increasingly hard-won.

Not only that, but the researchers noted in their paper that after they submitted their article to Nature Energy, they were able to further optimize their solar cell to achieve 26.6 percent efficiency. That result has been recognized by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).

The thought that the sun beams so much power to us for free, and that we’re able to collect so little of it, is a frustrating one.

SCIENCE: Researchers Need Your Help – What’s ‘Normal’ For You After Sex?

THERE ARE NONE SO BLIND… Five Days and Two ‘Known Wolf’ Terror Attacks, Yet No Apparent Concern from Western Governments.

BUT THE NARRATIVE! Trump Is 100% Vindicated On Wiretapping, and 7 Other Things You Should Know.

LAUGH THROUGH THE TEARS:

Don’t miss the fine print.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: How a lack of sex is making women ANGRY. “While Corrine’s mood swings may bear some resemblance to the symptoms of pre-menstrual tension or mild anxiety, they are completely unrelated to her hormones or mental state. Her crushingly low spirits are caused by something else altogether: when she last made love. Too long without sex, and she becomes miserable and fractious. . . . Dr Geoff Hackett, a leading expert in sexual medicine and former chairman of the British Society for Sexual Medicine, believes if we carry on like this, sex is in danger of being a lost art. ‘The domestic set-up in the Fifties, for example, seemed to positively encourage sex,’ he says. ‘But nowadays there’s not enough focus on it.'”

Hey, maintenance sex isn’t just for men.

And it reminds me of this from Caitlin Flanagan over a decade ago:

It turns out that the “traditional” marriage, which we’ve all been so happy to annihilate, had some pretty good provisions for many of today’s most stubborn marital problems, such as how to combine work and parenthood, and how to keep the springs of the marriage bed in good working order. . . .

Nowadays, American parents of a certain social class seem squeaky clean, high-achieving, flush with cash, relatively exhausted, obsessed with their children, and somehow—how to pinpoint this?—undersexed.

If I Don’t Know How She Does It, a book about a working woman who discovers deep joy and great sex by quitting her job and devoting herself to family life, had been written by a man, he would be the target of a lynch mob the proportions and fury of which would make Salman Rushdie feel like a lucky, lucky man. But of course it was written by a with-it female journalist, so it’s safe, even admired. Allison Pearson, we have been given to understand, is telling it like it is. And what she’s telling us, essentially, is that in several crucial aspects the women’s movement has been a bust, even for the social class that most ardently championed it.

Indeed. Hey, maintenance sex isn’t just for men.

21ST CENTURY PROBLEMS: The FBI is still struggling to employ hackers because they’re all smoking weed.

In its latest published report on the nation’s cyber security strategy (2015), the US department of justice found that 40 per cent of FBI cyber security positions were unfilled.

The report found that:

The FBI did not hire 52 of the 134 computer scientists for which it was authorised; and five of the 56 field offices did not have a computer scientist assigned to that office’s Cyber Task Force.

The gap between candidates and job postings is only likely to grow, given the predicted boom in cyber security jobs that consultants Frost and Sullivan claim will outstrip the number of qualified experts by 2020.

A draft of a new executive orders on cyber security was published in the Washington Post, ordering a review of ‘Workforce Development’ which focused on changes to the education curriculum and the department of Education.

Two things are clear: 1) Hackers don’t work in the field or need to carry weapons, and; 2) Marijuana doesn’t seem to be much of an impediment to hacking, given the huge Venn overlap between Successful Hackers and Pot Smokers.

But as a legal matter, this is something Congress will have to address.

TIME MAGAZINE DOES FOR TRUTH IN THE 21st CENTURY WHAT THEY DID FOR GOD IN THE 1960s: Time’s latest cover is an update of their infamous, Nietzsche-inspired 1966 cover, “Is God Dead?” That issue was published the year before Henry Luce, its then-recently-retired conservative founder, who was the son of Christian missionaries, died, and the magazine was well on its way to abandoning Luce’s original vision and readers. This week, Time asks, with the same portentous all-black background and giant red text, “Is Truth Dead?”

If the truth is dead, Time has certainly spent the last decade trying to strangle the life out of it:

A post today at Adweek quotes Michael Scherer, Time’s Washington bureau chief, boasting about how difficult it was to recreate the font of the 1966 cover, before claiming, “Trump has discovered something about epistemology in the 21st century. The truth may be real, but falsehood often works better.” As the above covers illustrate, only for a Time, if you’ll pardon the pun.

ARE YOU NOW, OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN, a member of the Federalist Society?

IT’S ON! Democrats Choose Stupidity: They Will Filibuster Neil Gorsuch Nomination.

Now we’ll see if Mitch McConnell has what it takes to go Full Harry Reid.

IN THE MAIL: by Johan Kalsi (Author), Vox Day (Editor), Corrosion.

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JON GABRIEL has thoughts on transgressive political “art.” “We should celebrate art that only requires the ability to cut and paste images from Google search. Not only that, taxpayers should fund billboards that mock their beliefs. That way, I won’t have to con some alternative art gallery into paying for my ad space. God knows I’m not going to use my own money. Because money is bad.”

I’M SORRY DAVE, BUT THE DEEP STATE CAN’T ALLOW YOU TO DO THAT: Time to Investigate Obama, not Just Trump, Roger Simon writes.

OBAMA DIDN’T STOP NORTH KOREA’S NUKES: Last week SecState Tillerson called North Korea an imminent threat.

CHAOS ON CAPITOL HILL: House Intel Chairman Gives Trump New Collection Revelations, Sparking Committee Feud.. “Nunes says reports show possibly legit but bothersome surveillance; Schiff calls Nunes’ move ‘a profound irregularity.'”

GEORGE NEUMAYR: The curious silences after London’s terror attack.

One scoured most of the British press in vain for any reporting on the identity or motivation of the attacker. The euphemisms for his motivation were a little better in other foreign outlets. The French press agency, among others, attributed the attack to assumed “Islamist-related terrorism,” citing British counterterrorism official Mark Rowley.

But almost nobody was playing that up. The average reader would have to work pretty hard to find even that comment. By almost the end of Wednesday, the New York Times hadn’t included it in its “what we know and don’t know” story. That story quotes Rowley but only to say that the “working assumption” is that the attacker was motivated by “international terrorism.” Is that really what he said? The French press agency had quoted him saying, “Islamist-related is our assumption.” Why didn’t that appear in the New York Times story?

When a normally garrulous and gossipy media turns taciturn, the explanation is usually political correctness. In this case, an extreme sensitivity to Islam has a chastening effect on reporters who would typically exert themselves for a scoop. Even many hours after the mayhem, few of their stories contained any descriptions of the attacker from witnesses.

Political correctness kills.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Europe Is Eroding from the South.

The insight here is that people looking at the elections in Netherlands and France and finding hope for the future are looking at things wrong. The erosion of the European project isn’t happening yet in the north, which by and large benefits from the euro; It is the south where the twin impacts of slow growth and feckless migration policy are corroding once rock-solid support for the EU.

Italians used to look to Europe as a kind of savior: the Italian state was corrupt and inept, but Brussels would set a higher standard, and by loyal support for the EU, Italy could rise above its own problems. These days, the EU looks more like an anchor than a lifejacket, as a recent Italian poll bears out. Not only is the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement Italy’s most popular party, but the combined support for Five-Star, Lega Nord, and Forza Italia—all hostile to varying degrees to the current euro project and to the German vision behind it—totals nearly 60%. That is significant by any measure, indicating a dramatic shift in perceptions that portends serious danger for the European project today.

Well, Europe’s political class is even worse than ours, and the EU structure gives it more power.

HMM: Reports of Deep Cuts to Russia’s Defense Budget Have Been Grossly Exaggerated.

If you read a recent report by IHS Jane’s that Russia is cutting its defense budget by over 25 percent—supposedly the “largest cut to military expenditure in the country since the early 1990s”—then you might be given the impression that Moscow’s military is finally succumbing to economic woes. But reports of the death of Russia’s defense budget have been grossly exaggerated. Simply put, it’s not true.

Not only did Jane’s get the story largely wrong about Russia’s defense budget, claiming that Russia’s defense budget would fall from 3.8 trillion rubles, or $65.4 billion, to 2.8 trillion, but deep reductions in spending are also unlikely for Russia’s next State Armament Program, known as GPV. At least for the foreseeable future, Russian armed forces will continue to expand in size, create new unit formations, and deploy new or modernized equipment.

NATO had best keep its powder dry — and keep lots of powder, as the wise man once said.

CLAIM: Customer Service Chatbots Are About to Become Frighteningly Realistic.

Soul Machines has already created an assistant avatar called Nadia for the Australian government. It’s voiced by actor Cate Blanchett and powered by IBM’s Watson software. It helps people get information about government services for the disabled. IBM has prototyped another avatar, Rachel, that helps with banking.

The movements of Soul Machines’s digital faces are produced by simulating the anatomy and mechanics of muscles and other tissues of the human face. The avatars can read the facial expressions of a person talking to them, using a device’s front-facing camera. Sagar says people talking to something that looks human are more likely to be open about their thoughts and be expressive with their own face, allowing a company to pick up information about what vexes or confuses customers.

The company’s avatars can also be programmed to react to a person’s facial expressions with their own simulated facial movements, in an attempt to create the illusion of empathy.

If they’re realistic enough, you won’t know to be frightened.

WHY IS IT THAT NOBODY EVER RECOMMENDS REDISTRIBUTING CHAIRED PROFESSORSHIPS? Psychology Professors: If babies were randomly allocated to families would racism end?

PC IS A DISEASE, AND SHOULD BE ERADICATED RUTHLESSLY: Publicly-Funded War Memorial Gets PC Treatment, Causing Fury Among Veterans.

SHOCKINGLY, NOT AN ALT-RIGHT TRUMP SUPPORTER FROM MISSISSIPPI: Hoaxer behind Jewish Community Center threats arrested: 18-year-old U.S./Israeli dual citizen.

But, of course, the media won’t walk back all the hysteria because the hysteria was useful to the narrative.

UPDATE: John Nolte on Twitter: “Trump was right about Obama wiretapping him. Trump was right about these false flags.”

TRUMP VERSUS NORTH KOREA’S NUKES: Strategic patience is over. Pyongyang better get ready.

RIGHT VS RIGHT: Where Conservative Groups Stand on TrumpCare.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Enough Of The Precocious Conservakids. “This is not a criticism of young people; it’s a criticism of us grown-ups, and a recognition of reality that keeps biting us on the Jeb. We need to dispense with the cute kid conservative novelty acts and understand that our ideology – unlike liberalism – is not based on feelings and preferences but is instead drawn from a wisdom and understanding of human nature that comes only from hard-won life experience.”

“Biting us on the Jeb.” Heh.

MACLEAN’S: The chilling effect of a McGill University tweet on its scholars. “By thinking like a crisis management team instead of a university, however, McGill lost sight of the core principles by which it ought to be governed.”

ANOTHER DEAN BITES THE DUST: Provost Removes Cincinnati Law School Dean Less Than Two Years Into Her Five-Year Term. This supports my theory that there was more going on than a few faculty in a snit over travel paperwork, though I don’t know exactly what.

I CERTAINLY HOPE NOT: Are the F-15 Eagle’s days numbered? Top generals say maybe.

Between the F-15 2040C “Advanced Eagle” and the F-15SE “Silent Eagle” the USAF already has two excellent prototypes for keeping the F-15 around as the new low-end of a 21st Century “high-low mix.”

I FIGURE THE ANSWER IS YES, AND THAT’S WHY DEMS ARE DOUBLING DOWN ON THE TRUMP/RUSSIA THING AS DISTRACTION: Lawsuit: Did Hillary’s secret email ‘damage national security?’

A government watchdog group Tuesday demanded that the nation’s intelligence czar and State Department determine if former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s secret email server damaged national security.

In a lawsuit against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and State, Judicial Watch demanded that they conduct an assessment of the damage and report it to the public.

“The Obama administration conspired with Hillary Clinton regarding her emails, so it is no surprise that Obama officials wouldn’t want to hold her to account for her mishandling of classified materials,” charged Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This lawsuit is an opportunity for the Trump administration to get back to basics on the Clinton email scandal and find out what damage was done to our national security as a result of her illicit email practices.”

The suit cited a 2014 rule requiring a damage assessment if there is a suspicion that classified information was compromised and damaged national security.

Judicial Watch cited FBI Director James Comey’s statement on July 5, 2016, that Clinton’s unsecure email system contained classified information.

The people have a right to know, and a charge this serious demands an investigation.

DEPLORABLE: Death Rates Rise for Wide Swath of White Adults, Study Finds.

Mortality has been rising since the turn of this century for an even broader swath of white adults, starting at age 25, the researchers found, driven by troubles in a hard-hit working class. Death rates for white non-Hispanics with a high-school education or less now exceed those of blacks overall, the pair said—and they’re 30% higher for whites age 50 to 54 than for blacks overall of that age.

Blacks have long had a much higher death rate than whites, but that rate has dropped steeply since the beginning of this century, while the rate for whites has crept up.

Driving the uptick are increases in “deaths of despair”—from drugs, alcohol-related liver diseases and suicide, as well as a slowdown in progress against death in middle age from heart disease and cancer, the nation’s biggest killers, wrote Anne Case and Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton, her husband. The pair examined more than 15 data sets, including government health statistics, death certificates and various economic indicators.

The analysis paints a portrait of a gradual “collapse of the white, high-school-educated working class after its heyday in the early 1970s,” whose health, mental well-being, and attachment to the labor force have become successively worse for people born after 1945, they said.

What changed for high school graduates starting in the mid-’60s?

ROGER SIMON: Time To Investigate Obama, Not Just Trump.

The facts are what they are.

What appears at this writing is that Trump transition team members and possibly Trump himself had their identities revealed, were “unmasked” in the parlance, while foreign diplomats were being surveilled. The identities of American citizens were not sufficiently “minimized,” as they are required to be by law. This is a crime one would assume would put the perpetrators in prison. So far it hasn’t. More than that, such behavior is a grave threat to a free society, to all of us.

In effect, Trump was wiretapped — if not in the corny, old sense of the word, something very close. Technologically, he was wiretapped, as were several (actually many) others.

A fair amount of this happened not long before Barack Obama suddenly changed the rules regarding raw intelligence, for the first time ever allowing the NSA to share its data with 16 other intelligence agencies, thus making the dissemination of said data (i. e. leaking) many times more likely. That was done on January 12, 2017, just three scant days before Trump’s inauguration. Why did the then president finally decide to make that particular change at that extremely late date, rather than on one of the previous seven years and three hundred fifty-three days of his presidency? You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes or Watson to smell a rat.

Read the whole thing.

REPORT: Koch Network Is Spending Millions to Stop GOP Health Care Bill.

I’m so old I can remember when the Koch brothers were heading up a shady network of rich women-hating racists to deny Hillary Clinton the White House.

REMEMBER WHEN PEOPLE SAID COMMUNISM WAS BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT THAN CAPITALISM? Exposed: Soviet cover-up of nuclear fallout worse than Chernobyl. I do remember people blaming Bhopal on capitalism, but there was much more accountability there.

I’D FORGOTTEN THERE WAS ONE: Boycott of N.C. Over Bathroom Bill Dies With a Whimper.

FINGERS CROSSED! Turkey’s Referendum Could Backfire on Erdogan.

Only one campaign is in sight less than a month before the April 16 referendum that would give Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vast new powers.

Building-size billboards feature a giant likeness of Mr. Erdogan urging the nation to vote “Yes.” On TV networks, government officials brand those opposing this executive presidency plan as traitors or supporters of terrorism. Finding any evidence of the “No” campaign can be mission impossible.

And yet, despite such a charged environment, a referendum victory for Mr. Erdogan looks surprisingly uncertain. Opinion polls keep showing a nation starkly divided along the middle—with a significant part of Mr. Erdogan’s own Justice and Development Party, or AKP, electorate balking at the idea of scrapping Turkey’s tradition of parliamentary democracy.

“This is a huge problem for them: they were thinking they will easily get 60%,” says Etyen Mahcupyan, a political consultant who served as adviser to former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, a leading figure in AKP. “And if we have a surprise on election day, it will be to the benefit of the ‘No’ vote. The government has created a ‘Yes’ atmosphere and many people are afraid of admitting that they will vote ‘No,’ and are not telling the truth to the pollsters.”

The referendum is the last chance for Turkish voters to turn back from the abyss, but fortunately this has been a time of electoral surprises.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Stanford researchers show we’re sending many children to school way too early.

Parents wondering whether to wait a year to send their kids to kindergarten, take note: A new study from Stanford University shows that Danish kids who postponed kindergarten for up to one year showed dramatically higher levels of self-control.

“We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73% for an average child at age 11,” Thomas Dee, one of the co-authors and a Stanford Graduate School of Education professor, said in a release.

Dee did his research with Hans Henrik Sievertsen of the Danish National Centre for Social Research, who told Quartz that the impact was strong and lasted a long time: “We were a bit surprised at how persistent the effect was.” The effect of delaying school on hyperactivity and inattention didn’t diminish over time, as they expected, but increased: in fact, waiting one year virtually eliminated the chance that an average kid at age 11 would have higher-than-normal scores on those measures.

Start kids later, start school later in the morning. . . . .

FASTER, PLEASE: Trump Lays Plans to Reverse Obama’s Climate Change Legacy.

The moves are intended to send an unmistakable signal to the nation and the world that Mr. Trump intends to follow through on his campaign vows to rip apart every element of what the president has called Mr. Obama’s “stupid” policies to address climate change. The timing and exact form of the announcement remain unsettled, however.

The executive actions will follow the White House’s release last week of a proposed budget that would eliminate climate change research and prevention programs across the federal government and slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent, more than any other agency. Mr. Trump also announced last week that he had ordered Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, to revise the agency’s stringent standards on planet-warming tailpipe pollution from vehicles, another of Mr. Obama’s key climate change policies.

While the White House is not expected to explicitly say the United States is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, and people familiar with the White House deliberations say Mr. Trump has not decided whether to do so, the policy reversals would make it virtually impossible to meet the emissions reduction goals set by the Obama administration under the international agreement.

That’s from the NYT writeup, so of course they say that like it’s a bad thing, but even James Hansen — “the father of climate change awareness” — says Paris is a fraud.

DAVID HARSANYI: Democrats Shouldn’t Dismiss Nunes’ Spying Claims So Quickly.

But if we’re to believe Nunes, the names of Trump and/or associates were “unmasked,” and details “with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in an intelligence community report.” CNN is reporting that some of the communications picked up were Trump transition officials talking about the president’s family. What possible need was there for those details to be passed around in an intelligence report? Who ordered the unmasking of the people involved? Was the information properly minimized? If the investigation wasn’t aimed at collusion with the Russians, what investigation ensnared the president-elect and his transition team?

While the answers might not vindicate Trump, they are legitimate questions.

If it turns out intel wasn’t properly minimized, this is the kind of abuse that civil libertarians have long warned could undermine Americans’ privacy, a Fourth Amendment right. Many Democrats (and a few Republicans) have been warning about exploitation of 702 for years. Only last year, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken admitted that “information that we get through 702 can be misused.” The American Civil Liberties Union also opposes it (“We Must Rein in President Trump’s Spying Powers,” says a headline. Right.)

Well, it’s different when Democrats do it.

And Nunes says: FBI IS NOT COOPERATING WITH OUR INVESTIGATION INTO TRUMP CAMP SURVEILLANCE.

“We don’t actually know yet officially what happened to General Flynn,” Nunes said of how communications from Gen. Flynn’s calls were leaked to the press. “We just know that his name leaked out but we don’t know how it was picked up yet. That was one of the things that we asked for in the March 15th letter, was for the NSA, CIA, and FBI to get us all the unmasking that was done.”

“And I’ll tell you, NSA is being cooperative,” Nunes continued, “but so far the FBI has not told us whether or not they’re going to respond to our March 15th letter, which is now a couple of weeks old.”

Casts doubts on those claims that “There Is No ‘Deep State.'”

DAVID BERNSTEIN: Sorry, but the Irish were always ‘white’ (and so were Italians, Jews and so on).

“Whiteness studies” is all the rage these days. My friends who teach U.S. history have told me that this perspective has “completely taken over” studies of American ethnic history. I can’t vouch for that, but I do know that I constantly see people assert, as a matter of “fact,” that Irish, Italian, Jewish and other “ethnic” white American were not considered to be “white” until sometime in the mid-to-late 20th century, vouching for the fact that this understanding of American history has spread widely.

The relevant scholarly literature seems to have started with Noel Ignatiev’s book “How the Irish Became White,” and taken off from there. But what the relevant authors mean by white is ahistorical. They are referring to a stylized, sociological or anthropological understanding of “whiteness,” which means either “fully socially accepted as the equals of Americans of Anglo-Saxon and Germanic stock,” or, in the more politicized version, “an accepted part of the dominant ruling class in the United States.”

Those may be interesting sociological and anthropological angles to pursue, but it has nothing to do with whether the relevant groups were considered to be white.

Here are some objective tests as to whether a group was historically considered “white” in the United States: Were members of the group allowed to go to “whites-only” schools in the South, or otherwise partake of the advantages that accrued to whites under Jim Crow? Were they ever segregated in schools by law, anywhere in the United States, such that “whites” went to one school, and the group in question was relegated to another? When laws banned interracial marriage in many states (not just in the South), if a white Anglo-Saxon wanted to marry a member of the group, would that have been against the law? Some labor unions restricted their membership to whites. Did such unions exclude members of the group in question? Were members of the group ever entirely excluded from being able to immigrate to the United States, or face special bans or restrictions in becoming citizens?

If you use such objective tests, you find that Irish, Jews, Italians and other white ethnics were indeed considered white by law and by custom (as in the case of labor unions). . . .

When I’ve pointed this out to people, they often rejoin that people in the late 19th and early 20th centuries often referred to the “Irish race,” the “Italian race,” the “Jewish race.” That’s true, but they also referred to the “Anglo-Saxon race,” and the “Teutonic race,” the latter two generally considered to be superior. The racist pseudo-science of the day divided Europeans into various races by nationality or perceived nationality, and often created a hierarchy among those groups. But that was a racist hierarchy within the white group, not evidence that these groups weren’t considered to be white. This point is often obscured by the whiteness studies crowd, because racism within a white hierarchy conflicts with their understanding of American racism solely being about “whiteness.”

I’m deeply suspicious of the “whiteness studies” movement.

THE PROBLEM OF BUILDING SELF-CENTERED WORLDS:What Fake Hate Crimes Reveal About the Left’s Bubble.

THE SNIPE HUNT GOES ON: Lots of smoke but no fire yet in U.S.-Russia investigation.

I DON’T BLAME THEM: And if our feminists weren’t a wholly owned subsidiary of zombie Soviet Agit Prop, they would be protesting the conditions they’re escaping nonstop, instead of demonstrating against Trump for… has anyone figured out why they’re protesting, yet? Other than his having been elected over a corrupt, crooked party apparatchik who happens to have a vagina?  Some Saudi women are secretly deserting their country.

LIVE BY PROCEDURAL TRICKS, DIE BY PROCEDURAL TRICKS: Surprise: House ready to change health-care bill after learning Senate reconciliation rules might let them repeal more of ObamaCare

FORTUNATELY THEY’RE STILL ONLY AS COMPETENT AS OTHER TOTALITARIAN REGIMES: North Korea Has Doubled Size of Uranium-Enrichment Facility, IAEA Chief Says.

WHAT IS WITH DEMOCRATS AND MEANINGLESS AWARDS?Good news: Chelsea Clinton to receive “Power of Women” award.  Apparently the power of women is to be born to politically connected crooks and utterly fail at the jobs they get you.  Good to know.

EMBRACE THE POWER OF AND: A Hot Bath Might Be As Good For You As Exercise.

IT’S ALL FOR SHOW AND POWER: Competitive Morality

The middleman gets all the credit, of course. Lesser Progressives must bow to his superior morality, that he managed to steal more from one to bribe another to do his political bidding. The taxpayer is insulted for not giving more of his wealth to the government. There is no gratitude. The media is most moral, and the guy living in the sticks least moral, for no matter what he might do for the poor, no one is there to see it, therefore it isn’t moral.

WELL, THEY SHOULD KNOW, SINCE THEY WERE WIRETAPPING HIM:Dems Claim Trump Team Not Wiretapped While Wiretapped.

ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN, AND THIS ONE HAS EARNED HER SPOT: Abused dog saves naked, abused toddler

THIS IS MY SHOCKED FACE! While IRS Made Conservative Groups Wait, Satanic Club Granted Tax-Exempt Status in 10 Days.

IF THIS IS TRUE, I PREDICT HOLLYWOOD WILL GROSSLY MISUSE IT:Brain scans can predict how much money movies will make.

THIS AMOUNTS TO SELLING OUT FOR A PACK OF SPEARMINT GUM: Al  Jazeera Paid Georgia Democrat Over $5,000 in Past 15 Months

March 22, 2017

JOHN HINDERAKER: So, Were Trump’s Tweets Right After All?

BUT FEMINISTS DON’T WANT WOMEN TO BE FREE: Camille Paglia: Women Aren’t Free Until Speech Is.

I mean, if women were free, who would listen to feminists?

IT’S LIKE OUR WHOLE POLITICAL/GOVERNING CLASS IS PATHETIC AND DESERVES TO BE FIRED: “There’s nothing worse for the credibility of all of Washington than an intel ‘leak off’ — entering a potentially destructive phase.”

You people are all horrible and should be cleaning toilets at a Motel 6 in Ely, Nevada. Except that I’ve been to the Motel 6 in Ely, Nevada and I don’t hate it that much.

ARE YOU REALLY SURPRISED TO LEARN THIS? Today’s American men are weaker than their dads. And this is sad: “But today, older millennial men and women are roughly equal when it comes to grip strength.”

I’m stronger than my dad ever was — he didn’t lift — but less otherwise athletic, since he went to college on a basketball scholarship, and my hoop skills are, well, pathetic. (I can shoot pretty well, but I’m not very good as a dribbler.) But I’m not a millennial. And my grip strength is way, way better than the Insta-wife’s. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

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THE DOGS BARK BUT THE CARAVAN MOVES ON: Richard Miniter: Shrugging Off The Liberal “Resistance.” “American tourists in foreign countries once had the reputation of believing that if they shouted loud enough the dumb foreigner standing there with a puzzled look on his face would somehow understand what they were saying. A stereotype that Liberals are now mindlessly acting out with the American people with their 24/7 rabid denunciations of President Trump.”

YEAH, PRETTY MUCH: The Alt-Right Is What Happens When Society Marginalizes Men.

IN OTHER BREAKING NEWS, I WON’T BE STARRING IN IT, EITHER. Exclusive: Jenna Jameson Denies Role in Anti-Trump Porn Film: ‘Fake News.’

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): I won’t be starring in it, either. It’s at least six figures to bring “InstaPundit Junior” out for the cameras, and they wouldn’t go that high.

EVERGREEN ANALYSIS: Four easy ways to fix Social Security? Allow Dave Barry to explain (and then retire).

Barry’s take on salvaging Social Security was written in 1997, and remains largely spot-on today.

THIS IS INCREASINGLY RELEVANT AFTER OBAMA’S IRAN DEAL: Where to Hide If a Nuclear Bomb Goes Off In Your Area.

Although, with all due modesty, I think my piece for The Atlantic is better.

CHARLIE MARTIN SORTS IT OUT: Dems Claim Trump Team Not Wiretapped While Wiretapped. “So, this is getting even more interesting now. It appears now that a number of Trump insiders were intercepted, and no, I’m not buying the argument that Trump saying ‘wiretapped’ was wrong, especially since that’s exactly what was reported. And it appears now that people trying to maintain that Trump was ‘lying’ about being wiretapped are being driven to the interesting defense that it was a lie because the U.S. wasn’t actually wiretapping Trump people when the U.S. was wiretapping Trump people. Which is, at least, good for a laugh.”

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YES, THE PRESS HAS NEVER WRITTEN CRITICALLY ABOUT GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS BEFORE: Federal staffers panicked by conservative media attacks: A spate of stories in Breitbart and other outlets have singled out individual career employees, questioning their loyalty to Trump.

A free press is about keeping government accountable. That includes the Permanent Government.

THEY TOLD ME IF TRUMP WERE ELECTED, WE’D SEE A RETURN OF MCCARTHYIST PARANOIA. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! WSJ: Leakgate Finds Its Joe McCarthy: On Trump-Russia links, Rep. Adam Schiff tries to fool the public with randomness. “Again, who really benefits from his relentless campaign of disparagement against Mr. Trump? The answer is obviously Mr. Schiff — but also Mr. Putin.” Why is Adam Schiff doing Putin’s dirty work?!??!?

AS LONG AS IT’S ONLY WORN BY WOMEN LIKE THE ONE IN THE PICTURE, I DON’T SEE THE PROBLEM: Urban Outfitters Has a Very Tiny Shirt (?) For You.

TOLERANCE: Man Wearing MAGA Hat Denied Service at New York Bar, Sues. “If only he’d ordered a cake for a gay wedding.”

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Why Anne Frank Center Targeted Tim Allen.

IF YOU PUT GOVERNMENT IN CHARGE OF THE SAHARA DESERT, IN FIVE YEARS THERE’D BE A SHORTAGE OF SAND: PepsiCo is pulling its products from Philly stores because of the city’s ‘soda tax’

Or maybe this was the endgame all along.

HEALTH: 100-Year-Old Ohio Man Credits Vodka and Dancing for Longevity.

Pretty sure this is settled science.

ANDREW MALCOLM: Say, why don’t we turn the Supreme Court into a reality TV show?

I thought that’s what the hearings were.

ANALYSIS… UNNECESSARY: Cosmopolitan Doesn’t Understand How The Constitution Works.

LIFE EXTENSION: Will 90 Become The New 60? As our lifespans have increased, so too have our active years. Can that go on?

As I wrote in Forbes some time ago, that’ll give us a longevity dividend.

VIDEO: New York Times Reporter Claims There’s a Tape of Trump’s Golden Showers Incident.

When do we get to see the Khalidi tape?

TAMMY BRUCE ON THE TRUMP BUDGET AND BIG BIRD:

Dealing in fake news is even easier when you actually don’t know the facts. For all the fainting over Mr. Trump’s budget reduction for CPB and its supposed fatal effect on Big Bird, few noticed “Sesame Street” is no longer a PBS property. HBO is now home to the bird and his friends. Investor’s Business Daily reported, “In 2015, it signed a five-year deal with HBO, which gets exclusive rights to air new episodes for nine months on its premium cable network. … At the time, ‘Sesame Street’ co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said that the changing media landscape meant that ‘in order to fund our nonprofit mission with a sustainable business model, Sesame Workshop must recognize these changes and adapt to the times.’”

What a concept. It’s also the smart business move.

But it won’t stop headlines such as this: “’But Elmo hasn’t been unemployed since the ’80s!’ Heartbreaking parody video depicts the Sesame Street character getting FIRED when ‘Donald Grump’ proposes PBS funding cuts.”

CTL-F and the letters HBO? Zero returns until the comments section.

CAULDRON: US-led coalition air-drops SDF, US forces in Syria’s Raqqa.

21ST CENTURY MATERIALS: This Self-Poofing Fabric Transforms From T-Shirt to Parka: Otherlab’s self-fluffing fabric changes its insulation in response to temperature. “What’s most exciting about Otherlab’s fabric is that it operates completely passively. There’s no power source, no wiring, and no controls—nothing but a combination of common synthetic fibers, each of which has different thermal expansion characteristics.”

COURAGE: Apple omits (PRODUCT)RED branding for red iPhone in China, perhaps to avoid AIDS controversy.

Tim Cook said yesterday it was in celebration of ten years’ partnership with the charity, and the PRODUCT(RED) branding was prominent on the homepage of its websites around the world – except in China, that is …

As TechCrunch notes, Apple’s Chinese website omits all mention of the link to the charity. This isn’t a language thing – the Taiwanese site has the same PRODUCT(RED) branding as the rest of the world – but the site suggests this is instead a political decision by Apple. Its theory is that Apple doesn’t want to jeopardise its somewhat delicate relationship with the Chinese government by getting embroiled in what is a controversial topic in the country.

There is reason to support this theory. China has been criticized in many quarters for failing to adequately respond to a growing AIDS crisis in the country.

It’s a great-looking phone — my wife wants one now, even though our contracts don’t come up until this autumn when newer models are expected. But it sure would be nice if Tim Cook showed Beijing the same courage of his convictions as he does Washington.

MICHAEL WALSH: A Year After Brussels Atrocity, Islam Strikes Again in London.

THE ART OF THE DEAL: Lockheed CEO: Trump Accelerated F-35 Price Drop.

GREAT, JUST WHEN THE CEREBELLUM WAS HOPING FOR A BIT OF REST: Neuroscientists Have Accidentally Discovered a Whole New Role for the Cerebellum.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE DON’T FEAR THE WEST ANYMORE: Turkish President: Europeans Will Not Walk Safely Unless Demands Are Met.

CRACKING DOWN: New House Sanctions Introduced as North Korea Reportedly Tests More Missiles.