January 17, 2017

FIT, SECURE, AND UNINDOCTRINATED IS NO WAY TO GO THROUGH LIFE, SON: Colleges Ramp Up Assault on Masculinity for Spring Semester.

BECAUSE NOT EVERY TRANSITION OF POWER CAN BE AS PEACEFUL AND PRO-FEMINIST AS THE IRANIAN REVOLUTION: “There’s an old joke about what happens when you cross a postmodernist academic and the Godfather: You get an offer you can’t understand,” Steve Hayward quips at Power Line:

To which might be added today, who needs Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, about to close after 146 years, when you’ve got liberals beclowning themselves nonstop for free. (I suspect there’s a connection between these two things.)

This comes to mind with today’s story about what is the most hilarious planned liberal protest against Trump on inauguration day. I’ll just let Inside Higher Ed tell you without embellishment:

Anthropologists and other scholars plan read-in of Michel Foucault to mark inauguration of Donald Trump

Because hey, not every transition of power can be as peaceful and pro-feminist as the 1979 Iranian revolution – which Foucault supported. Or as the lefties at Truth-out pondered in September, “Why Did Foucault Disregard Iranian Feminists in His Support for Khomeini?”

Afary and Anderson observe that, while many progressives and leftists — both in Iran and elsewhere — favored the Revolution against the Shah but could not countenance the notion of an Islamic Republic replacing such despotism, Foucault was less critical toward Khomeini and the possibility of clerical rule. The authors argue that Foucault’s attitude in this sense — rather than signify some aberration or lapse in judgment — indeed follows from his post-structuralist political theorizing, which rejects the Enlightenment and despairs at the historical possibility of emancipation. As such, Foucault and the Iranian Revolution serves as an important warning for Western radicals and intellectuals vis-à-vis revolutionary movements, anti-imperialism and political authoritarianism in the rest of the world. Moreover, it raises questions about the liberatory potential of post-structuralism, detailing how that tendency’s preeminent spokesperson so clearly betrayed Iran’s workers, women, LGBTQ citizens, dissidents and religious and ethnic minorities by romanticizing what French leftist Maxime Rodinson refers to as “a type of archaic fascism.”

Which neatly sums up what we could we expect on Friday from those on the left not organizing read-ins of postmodern philosophy, come to think of it.

FIGHTING CHANGE: New York driver groups push for a ban on autonomous cars.

AT AMAZON, New Year, New You — Deals In Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.

Plus, New Year’s Deals in Toys and Games.

THIS IS CNN: Does Trump’s diversity efforts consist of “mediocre Negroes”?

WHAT ABOUT BOB? Earlier today Glenn asked, “Is anybody keeping track of Robert Creamer, Jan Schakowsky’s (D-IL) husband, who ginned up violence at Trump rallies on behalf of Hillary’s campaign?”

The only thing I could find is a week-old Breitbart item headlined, “Disgraced Democrat Operative Robert Creamer in Front Row of Obama Farewell Speech.

So it’s a safe bet that, whatever he might be up to, it has the unofficial sanction of Barack Obama.

I THINK A LOT OF IT DEPENDS ON THE JOBS: Robots Will Devour Jobs More Slowly Than You Think.

LADY NOOR MACBETH: Orlando nightclub attacker’s wife helped him turn to terror, indictment shows.

Noor Salman, the wife of the Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen, deliberately helped her husband’s terror plans while trying to keep police and the FBI off their trail, according to the newly unsealed federal indictment which painted a much different picture from her claim that she was clueless about his intentions.

Salman, 30, “did knowingly aid and abet” her husband’s attempts to support the Islamic State terror group, the two-count indictment unsealed on Tuesday stated. It also charged her with obstruction of justice. The charges could send her to prison for the rest of her life if she’s convicted.

Salman was born in Afghanistan but was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A SPACEPORT RISES IN WACO.

MARK RIPPETOE: This Is Where You Should Start Your New Year’s Strength Training Resolution.

HEH: Ladies and Gentlemen…President Sinatra.

Better President Bennett Marko in the White House than the Red Queen.

SOCIAL JUSTICE MEDIA: Twitter Jumps on Rob Schneider for ‘Whitesplaining’ to John Lewis.

FASTER, PLEASE: Miniaturized Nuclear Power Plant? U.S. Reviewing Proposed Design.

“Miniature” in nuclear terms is still pretty big. The modules are small enough to fit on flat-bed trucks, but they would stand nearly nine stories tall. Moreover, a power plant would probably require several modules hooked together like giant batteries. Of course, they’d need to be operated by professional nuclear engineers.

But the design — a radical departure from other nuclear plants — would also have advantages.

Each module uses less uranium fuel, making a large-scale meltdown far less likely. The fuel would be housed in a special containment vessel that would be submerged in a pool of water, an added safety feature. And rather than using pumps of the sort that failed during the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the reactor would circulate the water using natural convection. The company maintains the design is simpler and safer than existing reactors.

I’m still waiting for those long-promised mini thorium reactors in every neighborhood.

READER BOOK PLUG: From reader T.J. Linzy, The Nez Perce War of 1877: A Concise History.

A BITTERSWEET NOBEL PEACE PRIZE MOMENT:

nobeldroney

PARENTING: Fancy Mommies Pay Strangers to Sleep Train Their Newborns While They Go to a Resort.

Both my boys were quick to learn to sleep through the night, so I’m in a bad position to judge this.

RICHARD COHEN: Trump’s presidency is doomed.

GOP presidents are failures before they’re sworn in, and Democrats are successes after eight years of failure.

MAYBE OUR PUBLIC-HEALTH PEOPLE NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME ON INFECTIOUS DISEASE, AND LESS ON TRENDY SOCIAL ISSUES: How the Response to Zika Failed Millions. See also Ebola.

THE VISIBLE HAND: Presidents Have Less Power Over the Economy Than You Might Think.

I’m old enough to remember when President Obama saved the U.S. economy from another Great Depression almost single-handedly, but eight years later we wouldn’t want to risk giving a Republican president too much credit.

SOME INAUGURAL PERFORMERS WHO HAVEN’T CHICKENED OUT: The Piano Guys. This campaign of threats and intimidation against people for daring to perform at a presidential inaugural is really a war on civil society.

THE UNRECOGNIZED ALLIANCE OF DEMOCRATS AND PUTIN. Reader Will Vine emails: “It’s the Democrats who are supporting Putin by supporting his efforts to delegitimize the American form of government by delegitimizing the election of Trump. Both the Democrats and Putin want to weaken the Trump administration; the former to improve their electability, the latter to weaken American influence around the world. Seems a win-win for them and dangerous for America.”

UPDATE: Piers Morgan: The people who are determined to delegitimize Donald Trump’s presidency before he even takes the oath aren’t just undermining him, they are undermining democracy and undermining America.

The sustained campaign right now to delegitimize Trump’s presidency before it’s even started is not just a disgraceful attack on Trump, who is quite capable of defending himself without my help.

It’s also a disgraceful attack on American democracy and freedom.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt said: ‘On each national day of inauguration since 1789, the people have renewed their sense of dedication to the United States.’

Friday should be a day when the country comes together, not a day when it splinters even further apart.

Trump, whether you voted for him or not, whether you love him or loathe him, is the democratically elected President of the United States.

If you refuse to accept it, then you flip the bird at democracy.

It’s only genuine democracy when they win.

MOTHER JONES: Trump’s education secretary pick has spent a lifetime working to end public education as we know it.

Too much of public education as we know it consists of featherbedding and indoctrination — or neglect.

That last item might explain this competing narrative: Black Leaders Praise Trump Education Pick Betsy DeVos.

CHUTZPAH: Obama names Iran deal salesman to Holocaust Memorial Council.

President Obama on Tuesday appointed deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, part of a slew of appointments given to high-profile staff and supporters in the final days of his presidency.

Rhodes, whose mother is Jewish, played a key role in shaping Obama’s foreign policy during his eight years in the White House.

He also came under fire from some U.S. Jewish groups for his role in selling the Iran nuclear deal and the administration’s decision to allow a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity to pass the U.N. Security Council.

It’s said that A-players hire other A-players, but B-players hire C- and D-players — and now we know who D-players appoint.

Somewhat more seriously, Obama has again chosen the petty and mean course of action just because that’s who he is.

RICHARD EPSTEIN: A Revolution In Administrative Law.

One of the most vital, but technical, items on the Republican agenda is not likely to get its fair share of public attention. On the first day of the new Congress, Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte of Virginia introduced two pieces of legislation that could fundamentally alter the structure of American administrative law for years to come.

The first bill, H.R. 26, the Regulations From the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, languished in three previous successive Congresses, but it has now cleared the House by a vote of 237-187. If enacted, this bill will give Congress a final say on regulations with an estimated cost over $100 million through a mandatory up-or-down vote before they go into effect. More importantly for the day-to-day operation of administrative law is Goodlatte’s other bill, H.R. 5, the Regulatory Accountability Act, which the congressman claims will “wipe out abusive regulation—freeing Americans to innovate and prosper once more.”

Let’s hope.

VOTING THEIR POCKETBOOK: Brazil firms shun Trump fears in busiest debt, stock window in years.

I suspect we’ll see a lot of these stories over the next few months.

MAD DUCK: In final days, Obama administration signs law enforcement pact with Cuba.

The agreement outlines U.S.-Cuban cooperation on a wide range of criminal and security-related issues, including terrorism, narcotics, cyber-security, immigration, money laundering, smuggling and human trafficking.

Fausta Wertz has the whole story, but the short version is that we’re now stools for Castro’s guards.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1349: Peggy Noonan On The Obama Presidency And The IRS Scandal.

UH-HUH: The Most Successful Democrat Since F.D.R.

Most of FDR’s legacy — Social Security, American military primacy, the U.N., the permanent expansion of Washington’s size and scope — is still with us, for good and ill. Truman conceived of and built the postwar order which is shaken but still standing. LBJ’s legacy of civil rights legislation, welfare statism, Vietnam syndrome (and the Left’s resulting loss of sanity) lingers after 50 years.

What do you wager will be left of Obama’s legislative or foreign policy legacy by, say, the end of this summer?

If Obama has any lasting legacy at all, it will consist of little more than a mountain of debt and the ridiculous-ization of the Progressive Left.

GERMAN PANZER GRENADIERS IN THE BULGE: The latest in StrategyPage’s Battle of the Bulge commemorative photo series. This one looks a bit like a propaganda photo, but perhaps not.

I was late in posting yesterday’s photo so I’ll bump it. Combat in the snow. As several commenters noted, it’s a particularly fine example of combat photography. Definitely not a staged photo.

10,000 NEW JOBS THIS YEAR: Wal-Mart Touts Plan to Create U.S. Jobs, in Nod to Trump; Quantifying its earlier plan, retailer says store openings, e-commerce will add 10,000 positions this year. “On Tuesday, Wal-Mart is expected to announce a round of grants to six universities working on textile innovations aimed at bringing back U.S. manufacturing in that sector.”

IS THIS WHAT THE DONALD WANTED?: German leaders seek to forge ties with Team Trump. Source is the BBC.

The US president-elect has condemned Angela Merkel’s decision to let in 890,000 migrants as a “catastrophic mistake” and dismissed the European Union as “basically a vehicle for Germany”.

Trump has a knack for creating a favorable negotiating position. He’s demonstrated that in business. The New York Times and its echo chamber etceteras fail to understand this.

WHAT OTHER KIND IS THERE? A Defense of Obama That Cherry-Picks the Facts.

Peter Berkowitz:

Chait’s case for Obama largely ignores the case against. It is one thing to defend the utility of deficit spending in a recession; it is quite another to blink away doubling American debt in eight years to a staggering $20 trillion and growing. It is appropriate to credit Obama for expanding access to health care, but it is deceptive to gloss over his repeated deceptions concerning insurance cost, keeping one’s doctor, and keeping one’s insurance. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is good, but no excuse for undermining constitutional government by extravagant exploitation of executive orders to skirt the people’s representatives in the legislative branch. And while the Middle East was unstable and dangerous before Obama, it is negligent to overlook how his determination to circumscribe America’s international role has emancipated the forces of chaos and destruction in the region.

Overreach and underperformance have consequences. Not the least part of Obama’s legacy is a shrunken and enfeebled Democratic Party in the states, a successor in the White House he tried hard to derail, and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress who are determined to overturn his signature domestic and foreign policy achievements.

Obama’s real legacy will be sworn into office on Friday.

THE REAL PROBLEM IS PAJAMA-BOY LEADERSHIP: Geography, Not Gerrymandering: Why Democrats Struggle in the States.

Throughout the latter half of the Obama era, many Democrats have pointed to GOP-led gerrymandering to explain their party’s weakness in state legislatures and the House of Representatives. And not without reason: Because Republicans won big in 2010, the decennial redistricting produced lines that favored Republican candidates in some states.

But the most important stumbling block to Democratic legislative power is geography, not gerrymandering. In Governing magazine, Alan Greenblatt takes a look at Iowa, a state where Democrats have been wiped out despite a “scrupulously nonpartisan” redistricting process. . . .

As Greenblatt notes, 1990s-era Democrats still had a strong presence in rural areas. But as the party moved to accommodate a more urban and liberal electoral base, its support outside of major metropolitan areas faded, especially during the Obama years.

Territorial representation penalizes parties for failing to build geographically broad political coalitions. So matter how lopsided a majority the Democrats can build in places like Des Moines, they will always be hamstrung if they can’t win compete less-densely populated areas as well.

While Democrats are right to demand fair redistricting procedures, the case of Iowa is a reminder that their problems go much deeper. The path out of the wilderness doesn’t just involve fighting gerrymandering; it also involves winning back voters who are not sold on the kind of liberal cosmopolitanism that is popular in big cities and university towns.

When gerrymandering helped Democrats, it was generally treated the way voter fraud is now — as a minor problem at best, and mostly a humorous reflection of the kinds of hijinks politicians engage in. But of course if it hurts Democrats’ chances it suddenly becomes a Major National Crisis.

CHANGE: Russia’s Lavrov Wants Trump Administration at Syria Peace Talks.

Mr. Lavrov said he hoped the talks, which will take place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, would be more productive under Mr. Trump than they have been under President Barack Obama.

“It is totally possible to breathe new life into these [peace talk] mechanisms, considering that the new U.S. administration says it aims to fight terrorism in earnest, unlike [the administration] before it,” he told reporters.

The peace process stalled in recent months, as U.S. officials found themselves sidelined by an emboldened Russia, which helped the Syrian forces of President Bashar al-Assad recapture the key city of Aleppo.

It’s nice to be noticed again.

TYLER COWEN: A bit of context on Trump, NATO, and Germany.

BREXIT: Britain will leave EU single market, May says.

“I want to be clear: What I am proposing cannot mean membership of the single market,” May told an audience of foreign diplomats and Britain’s own Brexit negotiating team at a mansion house in London.

“Instead we seek the greatest possible access to it though a new comprehensive, bold and ambitious free trade agreement. That agreement may take in elements of current single market arrangements in certain areas,” May said.

Her announcement that she will put the final Brexit deal to a vote in both houses of parliament comes ahead of a court decision on whether she has the power to start the process of withdrawing without parliamentary approval.

Brexit isn’t about ending free trade; it’s about restoring powers to Parliament, ceded to and usurped by Brussels.

VIRGINIA POSTREL AND KATHERINE MANGU-WARD talk about the future of Reason.

SO IT’S COME TO THIS: Bruce Springsteen Cover Band Drops Out of Trump Inauguration Party.

Will Forte, the group’s 63-year-old keyboardist, manager, agent and publicist, among other roles, was telling the band about the “thousands of emails from both sides” he had received after news broke that the group would be playing the Garden State Presidential Inaugural Gala on January 19th as part of Donald Trump’s inauguration. “We’re standing out in the storm right here,” he told the band. “We gotta get out of the storm.”

In the past few days, they had started to feel isolated because, as Forte says, “the story was so distorted.” “There were misleading headlines like, ‘Trump Hires B-Street Band,'” he says. “We felt like we were out on our own on an island.”

The Left has gone so insane that they’re even driving cover bands out of work.

WHY ARE DEMOCRATS SO VIOLENT AND UN-AMERICAN? Unprecedented threats drive Secret Service inauguration security. I’m so old, I can remember when accepting election results was the sine qua non of citizenship.

Is anybody keeping track of Robert Creamer, Jan Schakowsky’s (D-IL) husband, who ginned up violence at Trump rallies on behalf of Hillary’s campaign? Because what’s going on now isn’t some sort of spontaneous upwelling. It’s organized, which means that there are organizers.

PROTESTOR BEWARE: North Dakota lawmaker’s bill protects drivers who negligently hit someone obstructing traffic.

The Star Tribune reported Monday that the legislation is a response to protests at Standing Rock Indian Reservation, and sponsored by state Rep. Keith Kempenich, R-Bowman.

“If you stay off the roadway, this would never be an issue,” he told the paper. “Those motorists are going about the lawful, legal exercise of their right to drive down the road….Those people didn’t ask to be in this.”

Kempenich told the paper that the law’s intent is to shift the blame from the driver to the person who was in the road who should not have legally been there. According to the report, Kempenich said he was concerned about panicked drivers who see a mob of protesters coming in their direction and hit the gas instead of the brake.

“You can protest all you want, but you can’t protest up on a roadway. It’s dangerous for everybody,” he told the paper.

You have the right to “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Not to block traffic and make yourself a nuisance or a danger to people trying to get on with their lives.

A FAILED PRESIDENCY: After eight years, Obama leaves a legacy of a wider racial rift.

JAYVEE: ISIS Is Dropping Bombs with Drones in Iraq.

“It’s not as if it is a large, armed UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] that is dropping munitions from the wings—but literally, a very small quadcopter that drops a small munition in a somewhat imprecise manner,” [Col. Brett] Sylvia, commander of an American military advising mission in Iraq, told Military Times. “They are very short-range, targeting those front-line troops from the Iraqis.”

Because the drones used are commercial models, it likely means that anti-drone weapons already on hand with the American advisors are sufficient to stop them. The Battelle Drone Defender, spotted in Iraq last summer, is a gun-shaped jamming tool that can send some models of drone crashing to the ground. It’s part of a growing field of anti-drone countermeasures, many of which focus on radio-frequency jamming to disable the flying machines.

It’s worth noting that the bomb-dropping drones are just a small part of how ISIS uses the cheap, unmanned flying machines. Other applications include scouts and explosive decoys, as well as one-use weapons. ISIS is also likely not the first group to figure out how to drop grenades from small drones; it’s a growing field of research and development among many violent, nonstate actors and insurgent groups. Despite the relative novelty, it’s also likely not the deadliest thing insurgents can do with drones.

Techniques like these aren’t very effective against soldiers, but they’re cheap, easy to “export,” and perhaps deadlier against softer targets.

INAUGURATION: Day 1 of Trump: A hard-changing 24 hours is forecast.

For the first two hours after President-elect Trump takes the oath of office on Jan. 20, he will toast his inauguration with a lavish lunch and celebratory parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. But President Trump will probably fill the rest of his first 24 hours in office beginning to demolish his predecessor’s legacy, which he has promised to reverse almost completely once he is sworn in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Trump has already signaled that Day One of his presidency will be activistic in its agenda and energetic in its execution. The president-elect has cut short the time he will spend watching the customary parade and pared down the number of inaugural balls he will attend with his wife, Melania, who will then be first lady.

His transition team says that while Trump is happy to observe many of the historic traditions surrounding presidential inaugurations, he also wants a rapid start on his promise to “Make America Great Again.”

He seems to be a fairly energetic fellow.

JOHN KASS: That violent Chicago police culture that shocks Loretta Lynch and Rahm Emanuel? It came from Chicago’s corrupt Democratic machine:

The Department of Justice report criticized the CPD for excessive force, lousy training and lax discipline.

At the downtown news conference, many fine and earnest things were said by the politicos, and many flowery words were spoken about police trust and police responsibility, and the need for police to be respected by the community.

But the politicians — meaning Lynch and Emanuel and others — protected themselves by ignoring the most important aspect of Chicago police culture.

It wasn’t the Chicago cops who shaped the police culture. The political corruption and cynicism of politicians over decades in a one-party Democratic machine town shaped the culture.

Police are just part of that culture. They’re the part with guns. . . .

The police didn’t order the hiring and promotion of top Outfit-controlled boss cops to run things for decades, cementing a cynicism that oozes to this day. It wasn’t the police who didn’t want better training for officers.

It wasn’t the police that sat on the video of Laquan McDonald, the black kid shot 16 times by a white cop until dead. It wasn’t police that refused to release the video until Emanuel was safe and had won a tough re-election.

City Hall sat on that video.

And for all the talk of “police accountability” there was nothing said by Lynch or Emanuel or U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon about investigating how the political types squelched the video until after the mayor’s politics were covered.

What isn’t said is often the most important part of the story.

Certainly in today’s journalism.

Note, too, that amid all the violence on Chicago’s streets, Chicago’s Democratic politicians are in bed with the gangs.

COFFEE — IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN’T DO? Cup of Joe Could Fight Age-Related Inflammation.

Next, researchers investigated why some older adults showed lower activation of the genes that encode IL-1-beta, and found an interesting correlation: The older participants who reported that they consumed more caffeinated beverages generally showed a lower activation of these inflammation-causing genes.

When researchers looked again at the blood samples of the older participants, they found that those whose blood had higher levels of caffeine and its breakdown products showed lower activation of these genes than participants whose blood had lower levels of caffeine and its breakdown products.

Researchers then turned to the laboratory again to confirm a cause-effect relationship. This time, they added caffeine into human immune cells growing in lab dishes, along with compounds that would trigger inflammation. Results showed that caffeine actually prevented these compounds from causing inflammation in cells. [10 Things You Need to Know About Coffee]

This finding may “explain why caffeine consumption correlates with lower blood pressure,” Davis told Live Science.

Stronger, please.

THE RETURN OF THE LEFTOVER LEFT: “The leftist groups seeking to disrupt the inauguration have formed a front under the name DisruptJ20 (January 20), of which the DC Antifascist Coalition seems to be a constituent. James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has released the first of a series of undercover videos (below) that features planning to disrupt one event. Stink bombs figure prominently, but that ‘DC Antifascist Coalition’ moniker is a stink bomb all by itself. It harks back to the days of the Communist Party’s Popular Front in the days before World War II. The Popular Front survived as a supposed antiwar movement until the day the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union.”

JAY COST: Republicans Should Make Hay While They Can. Yep. The GOP squandered its opportunity in 2000 and 2004. If it does that again, there might not be another one.

JOHN FUND AND HANS VAN SPAKOVSKY: Obama’s ‘Scandal-Free Administration’ Is a Myth.

In reality, Mr. Obama has presided over some of the worst scandals of any president in recent decades. Here’s a partial list:

• State Department email. In an effort to evade federal open-records laws, Mr. Obama’s first secretary of state set up a private server, which she used exclusively to conduct official business, including communications with the president and the transmission of classified material. A federal criminal investigation produced no charges, but FBI Director James Comey reported that the secretary and her colleagues “were extremely careless” in handling national secrets.

• Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama Justice Department lost track of thousands of guns it had allowed to pass into the hands of suspected smugglers, in the hope of tracing them to Mexican drug cartels. One of the guns was used in the fatal 2010 shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Congress held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt when he refused to turn over documents about the operation.

• IRS abuses. Mr. Obama’s Internal Revenue Service did something Richard Nixon only dreamed of doing: It successfully targeted political opponents. The Justice Department then refused to enforce Congress’s contempt citation against the IRS’s Lois Lerner, who refused to answer questions about her agency’s misconduct.

• Benghazi. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed in the attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya. With less than two months to go before the 2012 election, the State Department falsely claimed the attack was not a terrorist attack but a reaction to an anti-Muslim film. Emails from the secretary later showed that she knew the attack was terrorism. Justice Department prosecutors even convinced a magistrate judge to jail the filmmaker.

• Hacking. Mr. Obama presided over the biggest data breach in the federal government’s history, at the Office of Personnel Management. The hack exposed the personnel files of millions of federal employees and may end up being used for everything from identity theft to blackmail and espionage. OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, the president’s former political director, had been warned repeatedly about security deficiencies but took no steps to fix them.

• Veterans Affairs. At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at a Phoenix VA facility, many of whom had been on a secret waiting list—part of an effort to conceal that between 1,400 and 1,600 veterans were forced to wait months for appointments. A 2014 internal VA audit found “57,436 newly enrolled veterans facing a minimum 90-day wait for medical care; 63,869 veterans who enrolled over the past decade requesting an appointment that never happened.” Even Mr. Obama admitted, in a November 2016 press conference, that “it was scandalous what happened”—though minutes earlier he boasted that “we will—knock on wood—leave this administration without significant scandal.”

All of these scandals were accompanied by a lack of transparency so severe that 47 of Mr. Obama’s 73 inspectors general signed an open letter in 2014 decrying the administration’s stonewalling of their investigations.

One reason for Mr. Obama’s penchant for secrecy is his habit of breaking rules—from not informing Congress of the dubious prisoner swap involving Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and the Taliban, to violating restrictions on cash transfers to Iran as part of a hostage-release deal.

The president’s journalistic allies are happily echoing the “scandal-free” myth.

Well, they figure if they don’t talk about it, it’s not really a scandal.

I THOUGHT THAT ONLY HAPPENED IN OLD MOVIES: Guns Found in Violin Case at Fletcher’s Cove in NW DC. Some people are wondering if this is related to some sort of plot against the inaugural, which seems unlikely to me. But I could be wrong.

D. C. MCALLISTER: ‘PussyHats’ and the Real War on Women.

WHY ARE DEMOCRAT-RUN CITIES SUCH CESSPITS OF RACISM? Race relations still a thorny issue for Boston.

THEN THEY GET ALL OFFENDED WHEN PEOPLE CALL THEM THE OPPOSITION:

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THE ATATURK REPUBLIC’S DEATH RATTLE: Bill to cement Erdoğan’s power passes first vote in Turkey.

QUESTION ASKED: Will Japan Stand in Splendid Isolation?

A man of the right, Abe has always stated that his mission was to make Japan a full-fledged sovereign state, free of the vestiges of wartime defeat, like Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, which banned war as an instrument of Japanese foreign policy. Moving away from the U.S. alliance was not, however, one of his priorities. Rather, his strategy has been to use the alliance with the United States to rearm Japan and enable its military to play a greater regional role in containing China, which is the key aim of Japan’s grand strategy.

Now, suddenly, owing to the unpredictable nature of democratic politics in its key allies, Abe and the Japanese elite are being forced to confront fundamental issues that had long been decided by Washington: Tokyo’s relationships with China, Korea, Russia, and Southeast Asia.

For Japan’s elite, it was humiliating to be a semi-sovereign state. But it had its benefits. Among them was Japan’s being able to become an economic superpower in the four decades since the end of the war, partly because it invested very little in defense. And it was comfortable. When things went right, like the U.S.-China rapprochement in the 1970s, Japan could share in the benefits. When things went wrong, like the war in Vietnam, Washington was there to blame, even as Japanese businesses made money from the war.

The Japanese are beginning to realize that being fully sovereign means dealing with headaches for which someone else had to take prime responsibility for over 70 years.

A while back, when asked what the future might hold for aging Japan, I joked, “Picture a giant nursing home, guarded by those Sentinel robots from The Matrix.”

That might end up being more true than amusing.

CHANGE: Mass. Democrats talk up ‘peaceful transfer of power’ at MLK breakfast.

Rep. John Lewis, meanwhile, seems to think that all Republicans are illegitimate:

johnlewis2001

Related: Stuart Browning: John Lewis’s District Is Rather Sad.

Consider:

-Atlanta, which comprises a large portion of the 5th District, ranks as the 19th most dangerous large city (population 250,000+) in the nation. It has 1,119 violent crimes per 100,000. The national average is about 373.

-In 2016, Atlanta’s high school graduation rate was 71.5 percent. Nationally the rate is 82 percent.

–According to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, about “1 in 6 families in the district lived in poverty in the previous year. The same dataset estimated the national rate to be about 1 family in 9.”

Lewis has been in Congress for 30 years, yet what do the voters of the 5th District have to show for it?

I wonder if Trump will visit the district and raise that question?

ANDREW MORAN: Obama wasn’t weak on foreign policy – he was just wise enough to realise that Asia, not America, is the future.

We heard a lot of similar talk in the years and even months before mighty Japan, Inc stumbled. Japan is now in its third “Lost Decade.” India (like Brazil) is so mired in corruption that (also like Brazil) it seems doomed as “the superpower of the future — and always will be.” And China? Who knows. If Mark Steyn had it right, then China will grow old before it gets rich.

The bright future, in other words, is always descending in Asia and yet lands only in America.

REMEMBER, LEFTIES WILL ALWAYS TURN ON YOU: Liz Warren once vouched for school vouchers. “Top Trump critic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who’s expected to grill Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos tomorrow — once advocated school choice much like the woman she is likely to grandstand against. . . . The Harvard Law professor proposed giving students vouchers to attend any public school they wanted in an attempt to eliminate the current system that often necessitates that students live in a pricey community to attend a good public school. ‘The whole concept of “the Beverly Hills schools” or “Newton schools” would die out,’ she wrote of the vouchers.”

Related: Is Cory Booker Turning Opportunist? If he opposes Betsy Devos, his former ally on school choice, he’ll reveal himself as a garden-variety partisan. “Almost every politician, by definition, is ambitious and seeks a larger stage. But if Cory Booker comes out against Betsy DeVos, he will not only have given the school-choice movement he has championed a slap in the face; he will also have called into question the reputation he had of being a liberal problem-solver.”

Pretty much every time I’ve been told that some promising young urban politician is different, pragmatic, not in the pocket of the usual special interests, etc., it’s turned out to be wrong. I mean, look what happened with Obama.

UPDATE: Oops, Liz Warren link was wrong before. Fixed now. Sorry!

WHITE PAPER: The Southeast Has Emerged as the Driving Force in Automotive Manufacturing in the United States, and Tennessee Is its Engine.

Low taxes, light regulation, and right to work — Michigan should pay attention to Tennessee, because Washington isn’t their problem.

THE NEW YORK TIMES IS INCREASINGLY OUT OF TOUCH EVEN WITH ITS OWN READERS: The 18 highest ranked comments on the NYT article “Chelsea Manning Describes Bleak Life in a Men’s Prison.” Here’s the top-ranked:

As a physician who has worked with prisoners, what bothers me is how many medical amenities Chelsea is getting compared to the average prisoner. Prisoners show up with horrific late stage disseminated cancers because of staff apathy. If a patient shows up struggling to breathe or talk because there’s a laryngeal mass in their hypopharynx closing off their airway and they had to wait 2 years to be seen, why should Chelsea Manning get speech therapy? The system is struggling to have life threatening conditions treated, it is not justified to spend resources on elective therapy.

Manning is getting speech therapy for voice “feminization.” Well, prison health care is government-controlled, and under government-controlled health care, resources get allocated politically. Manning is a political star, and thus gets speech therapy. If you’re in horrible pain from advanced cancer, but you’re a nobody, well, tough. Everything government distributes is allocated politically, and there’s no political constituency that cares about you.

But that’s not news. What’s news is that the NYT has drifted so far left of its own upper-West Side demographic that it’s getting roasted in its own comment sections with increasing frequency.

January 16, 2017

KURT SCHLICHTER PUTS THE BOOT IN: Obama Fades, As Trump Laughs. “The last two months have been hysterically funny as President Faily McWorsethancarter desperately tried to remain relevant. He’s taken leading from behind to a whole new level – he’s actually now behind behind. No one is listening to him. No one cares. While Obama wanders the halls of power, looking for people to pat him on the back, Trump is out there leading. Carrier – saved. Appointments – heading to confirmation. CNN – dissed n’ dismissed. One tweet from Trump and he resets the paradigm like a boss. Ask L.L. Bean. It’s getting hard to handle all this #winning. . . . Nothing will stick to him, nothing will stop him. There’s your tribute, America’s Elite. There’s your legacy, Mainstream Media. Nothing you say matters anymore.”

Thanks to Trump, we may have avoided the fate otherwise ordained for us.

HEH:

screen-shot-2017-01-16-at-10-11-40-pm

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WE’VE COME A LONG WAY FROM EMMETT TILL: University Hosts MLK Day Teach-In on ‘Oppressive Fashion Trends.’ “This, ladies and gentlemen, is the epitome of a ‘First World problem.'”

THEY CHOSE . . . POORLY: They signed a NeverTrump manifesto. Now, they want a job in the new administration. Or, well, they’re opportunistic, unprincipled, two-faced weenies. Your choice.

I mean, when you sign a “Never Trump” letter, aren’t you blacklisting yourself? Or is the attitude now that that was just pre-election posturing in expectation of Hillary winning, just business and not, you know, personal?

WHY AREN’T MORE AMERICANS MOVING? People used to chase economic opportunity across the country. Then the government got in the way.

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TURKISH POLICE ARREST ISTANBUL NIGHTCLUB ATTACKER:

Turkish police have arrested the main suspect in the New Year’s Eve attack on an exclusive nightclub in Istanbul after a huge manhunt.

Abdulkadir Masharipov is believed to have mounted the assault on the Reina club which left 39 people dead.

The Uzbek national is said to have been caught in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district.

Citizens of Israel, France, Tunisia, Lebanon, India, Belgium, Jordan and Saudi Arabia were among the victims, and dozens of people were injured.

The report includes a summary of the terror attack’s details, a sketch of the investigation and personal information about the terrorist.

DISPATCHES FROM THE MEMORY HOLE: “Newspapers continue to cite the boycott as an unprecedented act….But this isn’t the first time [John] Lewis [D-GA] has boycotted a presidential inauguration. According to a Washington Post article written on January 21, 2001, Lewis and other members of the Black Caucus boycotted George W. Bush’s inauguration because they didn’t ‘believe Bush is the true elected president.’ Lewis spent the day in his Atlanta district.”

UPDATE: “On NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’ Lewis said the inauguration Friday [of Trump] ’will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in Congress.’”

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Maryland School District Employee Fired for Correcting Student’s Spelling.

JOURNALISM:

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GUNFIRE IN TEHRAN AS DRONE BUZZES IRAN’S CAPITAL:

Sustained gunfire rang out over central Tehran on Monday afternoon as anti-aircraft guns targeted what officials said was a drone flying over the Iranian capital.

Many residents ran to rooftops and craned their necks to see what was happening. Others sought shelter as bursts of machine gun fire echoed through the streets.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Tehran Governor Isa Farhadi as saying that the gunfire targeted a drone near restricted airspace in the capital.

It still isn’t clear who owned the drone.

The ayatollahs are nervous. They deserve to be.

RELATED: Don’t dismiss a “simultaneous strategic bombing strike” as “shock and awe.” The ayatollahs don’t dismiss it. A “simultaneous strategic bombing strike” is the kind of operation an unnamed nation with strategic bombers and missile systems might conduct with the goal of severely damaging an unnamed rogue nation’s nuclear weapons program.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Is a college degree the new high school diploma? “Patterns indicate that the factors propelling earlier increases in the returns to higher education have dissipated.”

If only there had been some sort of warning.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

Shot:

In 1993, novelist Michael Crichton riled the news business with a Wired magazine essay titled “Mediasaurus,” in which he prophesied the death of the mass media—specifically the New York Times and the commercial networks. “Vanished, without a trace,” he wrote.

The mediasaurs had about a decade to live, he wrote, before technological advances—”artificial intelligence agents roaming the databases, downloading stuff I am interested in, and assembling for me a front page”—swept them under. Shedding no tears, Crichton wrote that the shoddy mass media deserved its deadly fate.

“[T]he American media produce a product of very poor quality,” he lectured. “Its information is not reliable, it has too much chrome and glitz, its doors rattle, it breaks down almost immediately, and it’s sold without warranty. It’s flashy but it’s basically junk.”

* * * * * * * * *

As we pass his prediction’s 15-year anniversary, I’ve got to declare advantage Crichton. Rot afflicts the newspaper industry, which is shedding staff, circulation, and revenues. It’s gotten so bad in newspaperville that some people want Google to buy the Times and run it as a charity! Evening news viewership continues to evaporate, and while the mass media aren’t going extinct tomorrow, Crichton’s original observations about the media future now ring more true than false. Ask any journalist.

“Michael Crichton, Vindicated, His 1993 prediction of mass-media extinction now looks on target,” Jack Shafer, Slate, May 29, 2008.

Chaser:

In his own way, Trump has set us free. Reporters must treat Inauguration Day as a kind of Liberation Day to explore news outside the usual Washington circles. He has been explicit in his disdain for the press and his dislike for press conferences, prickly to the nth degree about being challenged and known for his vindictive way with those who cross him. So, forget about the White House press room. It’s time to circle behind enemy lines.

Washington reporting has long depended on a transactional relationship between sources and journalists. Journalists groom sources, but sources also groom journalists. There’s nothing inherently unethical about the back-scratching. When a reporter calls an administration source to confirm an embarrassing item, the source may agree to confirm as long as the reporter at the very least agrees to listen sympathetically to the administration’s context. But Trump’s hostile attitude toward the press, his dismissal of CNN for attempting to ask a question at the last conference, and his underhanded ploy at the last conference where he loaded the audience with cheerleaders has muted that mutualism. It’s easy to predict that instead of negotiating with reporters as equals, his administration will advance its agenda by feeding more pliant reporters material the way a trainer rewards circus animals.

“Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again,” Jack Shafer, the Politico, today.

Related: “OUCH! IowaHawk burns media, aka ‘the opposition party’, with their OWN words and stats:”

iowahawk_trump_msm_1-16-17-1

Just think of the MSM as Democrat operatives, and it all makes sense – not least of which, their extended hibernation between November of 2008 and November of 2016.

UPDATE: And speaking of that extended hibernation, Michael Ramirez illustrates it as only he can: “Rip Van Reporter.”

THE BATTLE OVER OBAMACARE: The Christian Science Monitor says for many folks the problems with ObamaCare are personal, not political. Well, of course. This article attempts to give pro and con positions a fair shake, but dances around the fact the government forced many citizens to buy a product they didn’t want.

SNOW FIGHT: Soldiers from the 75th Infantry Division fighting in new fallen snow. Today’s StrategyPage Battle of the Bulge photo. The photo was probably taken on December 24 or 25, 1944. As the caption says, the 75th Infantry Division’s 290th Infantry Regiment landed in France on December 14. (Yes, this is an excellent photo — grim and gripping.)

TRAGIC: Eugene Cernan, Last Man To Walk On The Moon, Dead At 82. I’m sure he expected to see us return there before he died.

WELL, IT WAS THE MIOCENE EPOCH, YOU KNOW: Fossils from ancient extinct giant flightless goose suggests it was a fighter.

NATIONAL CARRY RECIPROCITY: Why Not?

YET ANOTHER REASON WHY “OPEN OFFICES” SUCK: It’s not just loud and sniffly, open offices are actually hurting our brains.

JEFFREY TUCKER: My Lyft Ride with a Black Trump Supporter on MLK Day.

“Here it is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I’m supposed to be all upset that Trump attacked John Lewis, but Trump is right. Lewis said he is not a legitimate president, so yeah Trump got upset. What exactly is Lewis doing to improve the lives of the poor in this town? Nothing. At least Trump has some ideas. He seems to care.”

Ok, now I’m listening.

“I’m glad Lewis marched in the protests so long ago,” she continued, “but you have to do more than march. That’s all these people do is march. Meanwhile, there are sections of Atlanta I’m afraid to drive in. And I say that as a black woman! It’s not even about race. Many blacks in this town live better than white people anywhere in the world. But there’s whole communities that have been forgotten. They are paid off with welfare checks but they don’t have skills or jobs, and they fear for their lives on their own streets.”

She was just getting going, so I wondered how far I could push this. What about Obamacare?

Explosion.

“Don’t get me started. My premiums are through the roof. I can’t afford it. Because I drive all day and night making money, I’m not poor enough to get any subsidies. So this year I’m going to have to pay $750 on my tax return because I can’t afford to buy insurance. But I can’t afford the health care either! And have you seen those deductibles? If anything should happen to you, you go bankrupt. I’ll tell you who benefitted from Obamacare. Not the poor. It’s the insurance companies and the government.”

Sea change you can believe in.

WHAT’S SAD IS THAT THIS IS NEWSWORTHY: Court Says Tossing A Flashbang Grenade Into A Room With A Toddler Is ‘Unreasonable’ Police Behavior.

WE CERTAINLY CAN’T HAVE THAT: Parents Furious Over ‘Misogynist’ Dating Assignment That Encouraged Girls to Be ‘Lady-Like’

GIANT FLARES WIDER THAN EARTH: We can now watch solar storms in real time, and it’s going to be epic.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE:

loesch

No.

I WONDER IF THEY’LL BE ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE “WOMEN’S MARCH:” Women Who Voted For Trump, In Their Own Words. There were rather a lot of them, you know.

MISSING NO MORE: FBI arrests wife of Orlando nightclub killer Omar Mateen.

The charges against his wife, Noor Salman, included aiding and abetting his attempts to support ISIS, as well as obstruction of justice.

FBI agents from the bureau’s San Francisco field office picked up Salman outside her home in Rodeo, Calif., law enforcement sources said.

Salman is set to make her initial appearance in federal court Tuesday in San Francisco. She had moved to Contra Costa County after the shooting.

The charges were filed in the Middle District of Florida – the jurisdiction in which the nightclub massacre took place. Following her initial appearance, the plan is to fly Salman back to the Middle District of Florida where she will continue through the judicial process.

HMM: Noor Salman, Wife of Orlando Shooter Omar Mateen, Arrested. Why now, all of a sudden?

WELL, GOOD: Conservative Professors at Wake Forest Speak Out.

COULD THIS BE MOTHER NATURE COMING UP WITH HER OWN SOLUTION TO AMERICA’S OBESITY PROBLEM? Salmon with large tapeworms arrive in the U.S.

SPRING FASCISM PREVIEW: University Hosts MLK Day Teach-In on ‘Oppressive Fashion Trends.’

(Classical reference in headline.)

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK: Air Force Academy cadets marching in Trump inaugural parade must commit to the left.

“Turn your head all the way to the left,” Master Sgt. Nicole Haun told the formation of cadets during practice. “Snap it.”

Haun is the school’s top expert in military drills and ceremony.

“We’ve been practicing this whole week,” she said. “I don’t think anything will go wrong.”

Still, a few cadets did an involuntary head shake at the left-turn order. In all the marches they’ve been on they’ve learned to respond to the command “eyes right” – the usual location for military reviewing stands where cadets turn to honor their superiors.

“Eyes left is no different from eyes right,” Haun said. “It’s just in reverse.”

Hubbard and his classmates were too excited at the prospect of greeting the new commander in chief to fret over the neck turn.

“It’s pretty cool,” Hubbard said.

Indeed.

WITH DNC IN MIND, CITY BANS CARRYING URINE, FECES: Martin Shkreli Pelted with Feces at Canceled Milo Yiannapoulos Event at UC Davis.

Cost of California resident students living on UC Davis campus is $35,000 a year. Parents and students, choose where to spend your money wisely.

(Classical reference in headline.)