December 8, 2016

LIFE (AND DEATH) BEFORE THE FUNDAMENTAL TRANSFORMATION: Pearl Harbor vets ‘Never took a knee. Never failed to stand during national anthem.’ Colin Kaepernick zinged by Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr. at Pearl Harbor.

December 7, 2016

I’M GOING WITH GUN LAWS: Video: Which laws shouldn’t apply on campus?

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VOTING: Obama won lots of votes from racially prejudiced whites (and some of them supported Trump).

NEWS FROM THE STUDENT BODY AT HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE, PROBABLY:

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-9-45-54-pm

SORRY, JILL: Federal Judge Kills Recount Effort In Michigan.

DAVID BERNSTEIN: The Supreme Court oral argument that cost Democrats the presidency.

According to exit polls, Trump received 81 percent of the white evangelical Christian vote, and Hillary Clinton only 16 percent. Trump did significantly better than the overtly religious Mitt Romney and the overtly evangelical George W. Bush. He likely over-performed among other theologically conservative voters, such as traditionalist Catholics, as well. Not bad for a thrice-married adulterer of no discernible faith.

To what can we attribute Trump’s success? The most logical answer is that religious traditionalists felt that their religious liberty was under assault from liberals, and they therefore had to hold their noses and vote for Trump.

Let’s focus on one of these incidents, the time the solicitor general of the United States acknowledged that religious institutions that oppose as a matter of internal policy same-sex marriage may lose their tax exemptions. At oral argument in the Obergefell same-sex marriage case, there was the following colloquy:

Justice Samuel Alito: Well, in the Bob Jones case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax­exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same­ sex marriage?

Soliticitor General Verrilli: You know, I ­, I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. ­ I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is ­­it is going to be an issue.

With the mainstream media busy celebrating the Supreme Court’s ultimate recognition of a right to same-sex marriage, this didn’t get that much attention in mainstream news outlets. But in the course of researching my book, “Lawless,” I noticed that Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.’s answer was big news in both the conservative blogosphere and in publications catering to religiously traditionalist audiences. . . .

In short, many religious Christians of a traditionalist bent believed that liberals not only reduce their deeply held beliefs to bigotry, but want to run them out of their jobs, close down their stores and undermine their institutions. When I first posted about this on Facebook, I wrote that I hope liberals really enjoyed running Brendan Eich out of his job and closing down the Sweet Cakes bakery, because it cost them the Supreme Court. I’ll add now that I hope Verrilli enjoyed putting the fear of government into the God-fearing because it cost his party the election.

Well, that’s how things are supposed to work.

APPARENTLY, THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE PEOPLE WHO RUN THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS IS “SNITCHES GET STITCHES:” When a University Regent Tries to Blow the Whistle: The Wallace Hall Case.

It wasn’t long before he began to suspect corruption and mismanagement.

First, there was a scandal involving a large slush fund run by the dean of the law school, allowing him to hand out “forgivable loans” to select faculty members. The university’s president, William Powers, promised an investigation by an in-house lawyer, who dutifully produced a “nothing to see here” report. Hall argued that the matter required a more objective assessment, but his complaints were ignored.

Quoted in this piece, Hall said, “I was overruled. That’s when I first felt like, one, there’s a problem at UT, and, two, the system has set up a scheme that gives the opportunity for a less than robust investigation.”

But Hall kept pushing the Board to insist that the Texas attorney general’s office dig into the matter. It did, and then the truth finally came out that the dean of the law school was using the fund simply to hand out favors, including a $500,000 “loan” to himself. The AG’s report brought down the house of cards. The dean resigned and the scandal contributed to the pressure on president Powers to choose between resigning and being fired.

That fight was just a minor skirmish compared with the coming war over the secret, back-door admissions process at UT-Austin.

In 2013, Texas media began running articles such as this, suggesting that some students, despite their low scores and grades, were being admitted to UT as a favor to influential people.

In response, then-chancellor Francisco Cigarroa asked university general counsel Dan Sharphorn to investigate. The result was a mild report saying that the study had found “no evidence of overt pressure on Admissions Office staff to admit applicants based on the recommendations of persons of influence.” Sharphorn’s findings were accepted by president William Powers, who said that the report would be helpful.

Powers hoped that would be the end of the matter, but shortly afterward, Hall announced that he had found evidence in internal UT emails of blatant admissions favoritism at UT’s law school. That led to furious demands for his removal from office by Texans who didn’t like the way he kept turning over rocks. Several members of the legislature called for Hall’s impeachment and the Board of Regents formed a committee to see if there were legal grounds for doing so. When the lawyers it hired concluded that there was no ground for impeaching Hall, the committee voted to censure Hall for “disloyalty.”

We need more activist trustees at universities all over the country. There are a lot of rocks to turn over.

MATT RIDLEY: Global Warming vs. Global Greening.

HONESTLY, I’M WONDERING IF “FAKE NEWS” ISN’T AN IMPROVEMENT OVER THE “REAL” THING: NYT Reporter: Why Can’t We Assassinate Conservatives? “Cool down, Gardiner! You can’t kill American citizens who say things you don’t like with drones. You know you are in trouble when it takes Josh Earnest to explain the First Amendment to you. . . . I’m so old, I can remember when reporters not only had heard about the First Amendment, but were in favor of it. But I guess the ‘fake news’ crisis is so acute that the Left can’t let such niceties get in the way.”

CONDESCENDING, CERTAIN, AND INCOHERENT:

What gets to me, and what made this minor argument indicative of something far broader, was that the internal contradictions and lack of clear theoretical footing were packaged with the aggressive presumption that the conclusions were obvious.

This is a constant condition for me: interacting with liberals and leftists who affect a stance of bored impatience, who insist that the answers to moral and political questions are so obvious that every reasonable person already agrees, who then lack the ability to explain the thinking underlying their answers to those questions in a remotely compelling way. Everything is obvious; all the hard work is done; only an idiot couldn’t see what the right thing to do is. And then you poke a little bit at the foundation and it just collapses. I suppose the condescension and the fragility are related conditions, the bluster a product of the insecurity at the heart of it all. You act like everything is obvious precisely because you can’t articulate your position.

Plus:

I’ve been asking my friends on the academic left what rights conservative students have, in an era of a university culture obsessed with trauma. Two things are broadly true: one, they think that it’s ridiculous to suggest that there’s any reason to worry about what conservative students can and can’t say – there’s no questions here, no conflicts, nothing even to discuss. Two, despite the mutuality of this dismissal, no two of them have the same idea about what answers are stunningly obvious, only that they are. I am told that of course students can support Trump and say so, but that “Make America Great Again” is hate speech, despite simply being the slogan of the campaign that they just said students have the right to support.

Bear in mind that this is from Freddie de Boer, a lefty.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Students Name the Most Insanely PC College Courses in America. These 5 Are Truly Absurd…

SHOULD A PORK LOVER GO VEGAN: Heaven forbid, but there is bacon-flavored seaweed.

WHY ARE DEMOCRAT-DOMINATED MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS SO RACIST? Black employees file class-action lawsuit against CNN, Turner.

THE SOURCE IS UNIMPEACHABLE: Incredible aerial timelapse reveals how the mysterious Area 51 has expanded over the last 30 years. But, you know, we have to get ready for the alien invasion.

CHANGE: Trump taps Oklahoma attorney general to lead EPA. “President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate Scott Pruitt, the Republican attorney general of Oklahoma and a frequent legal adversary to President Obama, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a transition official told The Hill. If confirmed by the Senate to oversee the 15,000-employee agency, Pruitt would take the lead on dismantling the EPA regulations that Trump targeted throughout his campaign as job killers that restrict economic growth.”

TRANSPARENCY: Exclusive: Internal documents detail secret VA quality ratings.

TALK ABOUT BURYING THE LEDE. WaPo: Trump Was Right About Overwhelmingly Negative Press Coverage.

Well yes. Real story here though: The WaPo actually gets one right for a change.

ARSON: Two juveniles charged in Smokies wildfire investigation. “Authorities have charged two juveniles in connection with the fires that started last month in the Chimney Tops area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and swept through Sevier County, killing 14 and injuring more than 130. The juveniles were charged with aggravated arson, but could face additional charges later.”

BLACK DEMOCRAT ALABAMA STATE SENATE LEADER ENDORSES JEFF SESSIONS FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL. “We’ve spoken about everything from Civil Rights to race relations and we agree that as Christian men our hearts and minds are focused on doing right by all people.”

Say, what if a lot of black Christians start thinking of themselves more significantly as Christians than as black Democrats? Could that happen?

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Who Is To Blame For UC-Hastings ‘Horrific’ 51% Bar Pass Rate?

THEY’RE VERY FATTENING, THOUGH: A Handful of Nuts Is Good for Your Health.

A handful of nuts a day may be enough to reduce the risk for death from heart disease and other ills.

In a review combining data from 20 prospective studies, researchers found that compared with people who ate the least nuts, those who ate the most reduced the risk for coronary heart disease by 29 percent, for cardiovascular disease by 21 percent and for cancer by 15 percent.

There was also a 52 percent reduced risk for respiratory disease, 39 percent for diabetes and 75 percent reduced risk for infectious disease in those who ate the most nuts.

Most of the risk reduction was achieved by eating an average of about one ounce of nuts a day, the amount in about two dozen almonds or 15 pecan halves. There was little decrease in risk with greater consumption.

I love almonds.

THERE’S A REASON SNOW TIRES EXIST: Watch as a Bunch of Trucks and Buses Slide Into Each Other In the Snow.

THAT WOULD EXPLAIN… EVERYTHING: Earth’s days getting longer, slower.

Over the past 27 centuries, the average day has lengthened at a rate of about +1.8 milliseconds (ms) per century, a British research team concluded in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

This was “significantly less”, they said, than the rate of 2.3 ms per century previously estimated — requiring a mere 2.6 million years to add one minute..

Oh. So it is just 2016 then.

IT’S AMAZING: Give the Gift of Amazon Prime.

WELL, WHAT’S THERE TO CLAP ABOUT, REALLY? Video: Few troops clap for Obama during final national security speech.

EVERYTHING IS SEEMINGLY SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL: Remarkable New Theory Says There’s No Gravity, No Dark Matter, and Einstein Was Wrong.

Professor Erik Verlinde, an expert in string theory from the University of Amsterdam and the Delta Institute of Theoretical Physics, thinks that gravity is not a fundamental force of nature because it’s not always there. Instead it’s “emergent” – coming into existence from changes in microscopic bits of information in the structure of spacetime.

Verlinde first articulated this groundbreaking theory in his 2010 paper, which took on the laws of Newton and argued that gravity is “an entropic force caused by changes in the information associated with the positions of material bodies”. He famously stated then that “gravity is an illusion,” elaborating further that:

“Well, of course gravity is not an illusion in the sense that we know that things fall. Most people, certainly in physics, think we can describe gravity perfectly adequately using Einstein’s General Relativity. But it now seems that we can also start from a microscopic formulation where there is no gravity to begin with, but you can derive it. This is called ‘emergence’.”

What’s more, the Dutch professor now published an elaboration of his previous work in “Emergent Gravity and the Dark Universe”, which argues there’s no “dark matter” – a mysterious kind of matter that along with dark energy theoretically makes up 95% of the universe, but has not really been discovered yet.

“Dark matter” always felt like a rationalization to cover up a serious flaw in our understanding of the universe, but the idea that gravity doesn’t exist until it emerges locally is too bizarre for this non-physicist to comprehend.

As usual, Douglas Adams might have nailed it decades ago:

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

Indeed.

WHEN “SEXUAL HARASSMENT” POLICIES INTERFERE WITH “FREEDOM OF INTIMATE ASSOCIATION:” Professor’s Right to Seek Affair With Student Constitutionally Protected: “Freedom of Association” Includes “Exercising His Right to Freely Associate With Other Persons” Even For Sexual Activities.

I’ve said for a while that many intrusive college sex rules are unconstitutional under Lawrence v. Texas. Next step: Rights for Dionysexuals.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: How Lasers and a Goggle-Wearing Parrot Could Aid Flying Robot Designs.

THE ARTS WORLD: Rivalry, Drama, Betrayal—and the Opera Hasn’t Even Started Yet: Feuding Maltese houses live to upstage each other; ‘let us enjoy squabbling.’

The tiny island of Gozo, population about 37,000, has one hospital and one McDonald’s. But it has two opera houses.

Astra and Aurora are owned by rival band clubs that both trace their founding to 1863. For over a century they have been one-upping each other in everything from musical performances to feast-day celebrations. Once, when Aurora heard rumors that Astra planned to bring a horse onstage during a performance of “Aida,” the competing house—which was presenting its own “Aida”—secretly cast two horses.

Some locals on the island compare the rivalry to an arms race.

“We don’t fight with nuclear weapons,” said Matthew Sultana, an Aurora Theater organizer. “We fight with opera and saints.”

Well, that’s for the best.

MAKE APPLE GREAT AGAIN: Apple Supplier Foxconn Plans Expansion in U.S.

Foxconn Technology Group, which manufactures Apple Inc.’s iPhone and other products, said it is in talks to expand in the U.S. The statement comes amid President-elect Donald Trump’s push for a return of manufacturing to the U.S.

Foxconn said the size and scope of its potential U.S. investment hasn’t been determined. . . .

Foxconn’s statement came a day after Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. Chief Executive Masayoshi Son met with Mr. Trump in New York and pledged to invest $50 billion in the U.S. Foxconn’s logo appeared beside SoftBank’s on the piece of paper that Mr. Son held while speaking to reporters.

Mr. Son and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou are longtime friends. SoftBank and Foxconn have collaborated on several investments, including on a joint venture last year with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to sell the Japanese company’s humanoid robot, Pepper.

Well, this doesn’t fulfill my Taiwan-call-based prediction, yet. But . . .

YOU CAN’T LEGISLATE LOVE: Denzel Washington on Race Relations.

WHY ARE UNIVERSITIES SUCH CESSPITS OF INTOLERANCE? Adam Carolla Off to a Rocky Start Filming Movie About Political Correctness at Universities. The celeb is accusing California State University, Northridge of refusing to allow him to co-host a program with radio host Dennis Prager because of their politics. “Comedian Adam Carolla and radio host Dennis Prager are touring the nation’s universities while making their documentary film, No Safe Spaces, and their first stop, scheduled at CSUN, was canceled, according to lawyers, because the content of a talk they were to give was deemed politically incorrect.”

But they’re not taking it lying down. They’ve brought in a pit-bull lawyer:

“It appears your institution may have caused damage by committing unlawful content-based discrimination against my client and others,” wrote Kurt Schlichter of Schlichter & Shonack on behalf of Moral Compass, the limited partnership set up by the filmmakers.

The letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday is dated Dec. 2 and addressed to CSUN president Dianne Harrison.

The filmmakers say they also were told that the appearance of Prager and Carolla might cause some students to protest, and in a letter informing them that they weren’t able to use the venue, a CSUN a representative wrote: “The scope and logistics around the event is just not feasible.”

The college has in the past hosted President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Louis Farrakhan, poet Maya Angelou and other dignitaries at various places on campus.

Cal State Northridge locked horns with James Taranto when he was an undergraduate and lost. I doubt they’ll do better this time. . . .

A BIG CHANGE FROM JEH JOHNSON: Retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly picked to head Department of Homeland Security. “In the end, people familiar with the transition said, the choice came down to Kelly and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. McCaul was considered an early favorite, but his chances were hurt by opposition from some conservatives who found him insufficiently tough on border security, the people said.”

TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME: Person of the Year: Donald Trump, President of the Divided States of America.

Time magazine’s latest cover story. As Ed Morrissey writes in response, “Had Hillary Clinton managed to win Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan in the way that Trump did, there’s no doubt that Time would have bestowed this honor on her. Would they have subtitled her ‘President of the Divided States of America’? Almost certainly not, even though it would have applied just as well to Hillary; they would have probably used a ‘glass ceiling’ reference instead.”

TRANSPARENCY: Obama’s Pentagon Suppresses Study Finding $125 Billion in Wasteful Spending.

That’s $125 billion annually.

President Barack Obama’s Pentagon discredited and suppressed an internal probe that uncovered $125 billion in wasteful spending on the enormous administrative operations primarily ran by civilians and contractors.

The money could have been reinvested in payment for troops, weapons, and renovating the aging nuclear arsenal, the Washington Post (WaPo) has learned.

The Defense Business Board produced the study in January 2015 by a federal advisory panel of corporate executives, in coordination with consultants from McKinsey and Company.

More:

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) leaders – namely Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work, the Pentagon’s second-highest-ranking official, and Frank Kendall III, the Pentagon’s chief weapons-buyer – reportedly buried the report by discrediting and suppressing its findings after the study discovered far more wasteful spending than the department expected.

According to the study, DoD is spending about 23 percent ($134 billion) of its $580 billion on back-office business operations, namely accounting, human resources and logistics and property management.

If we had as much military power as we actually pay for, we’d be the United States of Earth and Neighboring Satellites and Planets by now.

TRUMP COMBINES ART OF THE DEAL AND ART OF WAR

WELL, GOOD: British parliament set to back PM May’s Brexit timetable.

TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY: Pearl Harbor Day. And more.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1308.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Mainstream media is the chief culprit behind ‘fake news’

Ashe Schow:

There are several additional, high profile examples of the media promoting the spread of fake news, though these examples thankfully have not resulted in physical harm. (Emotional harm is debatable.)

The first: Andrea Mitchell’s claim Juanita Broaddrick’s accusations against Bill Clinton were discredited.

Mitchell said in a May segment for MSNBC that Broaddrick’s claim against Clinton had been “discredited and long-denied.” NBC News later edited out the “discredited” line because Broaddrick’s accusation has never been discredited. But saying as much certainly helps a narrative that continued to keep Bill popular with Democrats (and Mitchell was referencing Broaddrick in an effort to smear Trump during the election).

The second: Trump’s “grab them by the p—y’” comment.

Make no mistake, these words were really said by our president-elect, and they are disgusting. But the media began to claim that Trump was admitting to sexual assault when he uttered those words. The full context revealed Trump saying that when someone is as rich and famous as he is, women would let him do whatever he wanted. After these decade-old remarks were revealed, women began coming out of the woodwork to claim they never consented to Trump’s advances. Now that the election is over, we aren’t hearing much from these women.

The third: Trump “fact checks” conducted by media outlets.

Read the whole thing.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: The Left Sees the Rise of a Rival Consciousness and is Becoming Afraid.

Tony Blair, for one, has stopped regarding what the press terms the “populist revolt” as a mere aberration and come to see it as a actual, threatening historical development. Little by little the Left is starting to realize that a global reaction to it is not a freak confluence of rogue waves but driven by systemic factors — and an awareness that it has not been seen for a long time.

It is that self-awareness that is so frightening to the Left. It does not mind fighting foes that have no mind. What was formerly described as conservativism was as a nuisance but never a real a threat to the left because it had no counterprogram beyond caution. They were regarded as frightened rabbits who never reached for the steering wheel of history only pleaded on occasion for a touch of the brakes to still their shattered nerves.

They were therefore safe because despite the occasional setback the Left held the Western monopoly on ideological direction-giving, and were never seriously challenged. . . .

What is emerging, if anything is, may not be the Left’s foe in the way the Left would be its own foe. But it is conscious and therefore they are afraid: because they know what the Left would do and they do not want done to them what they would do to others.

Well, yes. Flashback: When rulers despise the ruled.

PASS THE POPCORN: Lame Duck Obama Seeing Power of Presidency Slip Away.

PROCUREMENT: Boeing Said to Offer Talks on Air Force One After Trump Tweets.

The Pentagon already is budgeting $3.2 billion for research and development, military construction and acquisition of two of the Air Force One planes through fiscal 2021, said Kevin Brancato, the lead government contracts analyst for Bloomberg Government. More money is anticipated in the two years after that. Boeing 747-8 planes average about $225 million each, he said, which means most of the expenses will go to outfitting the planes for presidential use.

The Air Force and Boeing are still conducting work to reduce the program’s technical risks before the company is awarded an advanced development contract, Captain Michael Hertzog, a spokesman for the service branch, said in an e-mail. Budgeted spending can be expected “to change as the program matures with the completion of the risk reduction activities,” he said.

“This is what an Air Force One costs,” Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at Teal Group, said of Trump’s tweet. “There have been no cost overruns. The ability to fly the president during a war is fundamentally expensive.”

The Boeing executives who contacted Trump officials suggested that the price of the new planes could be reduced if the Air Force and Secret Service revise their specifications for the aircraft, the people familiar with the discussions said.

The US military already flies four “doomsday planes,” capable of staying airborne while commanding any conflict up to and including a full-scale nuclear war. Militarized 747s with “what is likely the most complete and sophisticated spectrum of communications equipment ever flown,” all four E-4 Advanced Airborne Command Posts together cost a little less than one billion in 1998 dollars.

But today we can’t build a pair Air Force one jets for less than $3.2 billion?

Something doesn’t seem right.

SO IT’S BEEN ALMOST A MONTH, HAS ANYBODY DONE THIS? Time to Play Catch-Up on Hillary. “Donald Trump’s candidacy represented such a unique threat to democratic norms that the Fourth Estate decided it had an obligation to overcome its supposed objectivity in 2016. . . . The question now for reporters and editors, programmers and producers, is how do they respond after Hillary Clinton’s foe is vanquished? Reporters will have quite a bit of catching up to do when it comes to holding Hillary Clinton to account for what Americans discovered over the course of this campaign.”

DAVID RIVKIN & ELIZABETH PRICE FOLEY: Can Trump Cut Off Funding For Sanctuary Cities? The Constitution Says Yes.

PARTY OF SNOWFLAKES: Trump traumatizes Democrats.

The left is comfortable with the status quo, but nothing about Trump suggests that he will be content with going along to get along. Trump’s measures suggest that he is willing to be aggressive, think creatively and take some risks. The United States needs all of these traits to make up for the lethargic demeanor of the Obama years and the lawyerly approach that resulted in inaction more than it produced fresh initiatives.

The past month has given us some insight into how Trump will operate as president. His campaign and some of his personnel selections so far have been associated with clusters of tweets and some drama, but it’s clear that Trump and his team will be able to get some things done. You can argue about whether he is right or wrong on this or that issue, but there is no doubt that Trump is going to be bold.

Boldness and safe spaces don’t mix.

OBAMA’S LEGACY: Worst GDP in 50 years, stagnant wages, poorer health. “Now they tell us. A new report on the economy finds that productivity growth is at a 50-year low and that much of the positive talk about the nation’s financial situation in the last election, much of it coming from the administration, was a lie.”

SETH BARRETT TILLMAN: Response to a Liberal Journalist’s Inquiries.

It was nicer than this one.

TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME: Time: 65 Million Americans Should Threaten to Not Pay Taxes. “Until democracy is restored.”

AN INTERVIEW WITH A 92-YEAR-OLD PEARL HARBOR VETERAN.

I’M NOT SAYING IT’S MICROWAVES… BUT IT’S MICROWAVES: Move over, fracking. There’s a new technology in town.

As strange as it sounds, producers are experimenting with ways to zap previously unextractable oil resources with microwaves, which has the potential to kick-start an even bigger energy revolution than fracking — and appease environmentalists while they’re at it. This is potentially “a whole shift in the paradigm,” says Peter Kearl, co-founder and CTO of Qmast, a Colorado-based company pioneering the use of the microwave tech. Some marquee names are betting on the play: Oil giants BP and ConocoPhillips are pouring resources into developing similar extraction techniques, which can be far less water- and energy-intensive than fracking.

If producers can find a way to microwave oil shales in the Green River Formation, which sprawls across Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, the nation’s recoverable reserves could soar and energy independence could become more than an election slogan. Even with existing methods — strip-mining the shale and then cooking it, or injecting steam to cook the rock underground (hydraulic fracturing is useless here) — the formation contains enough oil to last the U.S. 165 years at current rates of consumption. Microwave extraction could goose those numbers even higher.

Peak oil would seem to still be some ways off.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Report: Student journalists face administrative backlash.

Student journalists at college and university newspapers are facing consequences for reporting on concerns that show their schools in a negative light, according to a report from the American Association of University Professors.

The report, endorsed by the College Media Association, the National Coalition Against Censorship and the Student Press Law Center, focused-in on two examples of students facing backlash after doing their jobs.

At the University of Missouri, a student journalist and videographer were threatened with “muscle” by an assistant professor as they tried to cover protests at the university. At Wesleyan University, a student who wrote an opinion piece critical of the Black Lives Matter movement was harassed, and the student government slashed the paper’s funding for publishing the piece.

These two incidents were not isolated, the AAUP report found.

Why are universities such cesspits of censorship and intimidation?

HUFFPO EDITOR: The FBI Is Investigating Me Because I Tweeted A Joke About Fake News.

Journalists benefit from special protections because the Justice Department doesn’t want to embarrass itself by picking a fight with people who buy server space by the terabyte. Non-journalists in my position have fewer ways to fight back — and lots of reasons to worry. They don’t have easy access to millions of readers. Many companies are more likely to fire an employee for causing trouble than to provide legal counsel. Many people feel compelled to talk to the bureau even though saying the wrong thing can lead to a felony charge for lying to the FBI.

The FBI has limited resources and must choose its targets carefully. As fake-news websites grow in influence, and people on the president-elect’s transition team spread ludicrous and dangerous claims — like the idea that a pizza place in Washington, D.C., is the site of a Clinton child-sex dungeon — it’s crucially important that the agency charged with investigating terrorism be able to tell the difference between what is a joke and what’s not. An agency that is using people’s tweets — and retweets — as evidence in terror trials should probably understand how Twitter works. The bureau needs a bullshit meter.

This episode has not inspired confidence.

Enjoy Obama’s weaponized FBI before Trump gets hold of it.

THE SIEGE OF ALEPPO: Syria rebels ‘withdraw from old city’

Activist monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the pull-back in Syria’s second city came after days of heavy fighting.

State media confirmed the military had taken over the whole of the old city.

Government forces now control about 75% of eastern Aleppo, held by the rebels for the past four years.

The rebels, who had been left with just a spit of land north-east of the citadel after recent government advances, abandoned it by Wednesday morning, retreating to territory they still hold further south.

The SOHR said remaining rebel-held areas in the south-east of the city came under heavy artillery fire overnight.

The only thing as ugly as the Syrian Civil War will be the reprisals once it’s over.

YEAH, HOW ABOUT THAT? Obama Warns the Country About How Much Power He’s About to Hand Trump.

And this never gets old:

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-6-35-32-pm

And yet the press never learns, as it’s now asking the White House to censor “fake news.” Is that really the direction they want to go in?

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Hudson Proposes National Concealed Carry Bill.

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-North Carolina, says he is preparing legislation that would allow those with concealed carry permits in their state to cross state lines.

According to the Daily Caller, Hudson’s legislation would allow people with a state-issued concealed carry license to carry a handgun to any other state that allows concealed carry if the person is not banned from possessing or transporting a firearm by federal law.

Hudson said he planned on introducing the legislation, called the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, during the next Congress. He introduced a similar bill in 2015.

I think any such bill also needs a provision limiting the maximum penalty a state can assess against a gun-carrier who is entitled to possess firearms under federal law to some relatively small fine, like $250. That will prevent the sort of injustices we’ve seen in places like New Jersey and New York.

And that’s all we know at this early hour.

BUT OF COURSE: Clinton to throw thank-you party for millionaire donors.

The party at the Plaza Hotel’s Grand Ballroom on Dec. 15 is expected to feature fashion icon Anna Wintour, investor Alan Patricof, hedge fund manager Marc Lasry and more, according to the New York Post’s Page Six.

“Hopefully there’s no balconies so nobody can jump,” an insider told Page Six.

Clinton raised far more money than President-elect Donald Trump — as much as $1.3 billion, according to the The Washington Post, compared to Trump’s $795 million. But despite her edge in fundraising and in the popular vote, Trump won last month’s election via the Electoral College.

As though winning “via the Electoral College” was some sneaky new thing Clinton was unaware of?

MY SECRET POLICE FRIEND CAYLA: These talking toys can tell a defense contractor everything your kid says.

The problem with these toys, the complaint alleges, is that their terms of service allow them to record everything they hear and then send that information back to Nuance Communications, a voice recognition software company that supplies the underlying technology behind the toys, but that also does work as a defense contractor.

In particular, the groups are crying foul over the fact both toys are covered by Nuance’s general privacy policy, which states that they “may use the information that we collect for our internal purposes to develop, tune, enhance, and improve our products and services, and for advertising and marketing.”

On the plus side, Nuance Communications is probably less likely to consider you to be a terrorist than Obama’s Homeland Security Department might.

THE HILL: Trump announces $50B investment by SoftBank.

Japanese tech company SoftBank will invest $50 billion in the U.S. and introduce 50,000 new jobs in the country, President-elect Donald Trump said Tuesday.

Trump announced the deal after meeting with SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son at Trump Tower in New York.

“Masa (SoftBank) of Japan has agreed to invest $50 billion in the U.S. toward businesses and 50,000 new jobs,” Trump tweeted. “Masa said he would never do this had we (Trump) not won the election!”

Hmm.

I ALREADY HAVE: Start Worrying About Long-Term Care.

The only good thing that can be said about aging is that it’s better than the alternative. It’s also more expensive, and as society ages, we’re going to have to figure out how we pay for it.

Most Americans will not end up lingering on in a nursing home for years. But for those who do, the costs will be astronomical. That’s largely not a problem for the bottom half of the income distribution, because Medicaid will pay the bill if you’re destitute. But middle-class people who have been carefully hoarding resources for years in the hopes of passing something down to their children can instead see their entire legacy handed over to the nursing home; an affluent couple with a spouse still living in the community can see that spouse forced into a sharp reduction of both savings and income.

Enter the idea of long-term care insurance. Buy a policy when you’re still relatively young and healthy, pay the premiums every year, and if you do end up needing intensive support services, you can go to a nursing home secure in the knowledge that your spouse and your legacy are protected. Personal-finance columnists have been solemnly recommending long-term care insurance for years, though in my experience, this advice is often just as solemnly ignored.

That’s because the policies are now quite pricey. When long-term care policies were introduced a few decades ago, they seemed like an attractive deal. As it turns out, that’s because they were underpricing the insurance.

The problem is, the risk is high, and the costs are high.

AND IT MIGHT HELP US CONQUER SPACE: The Secret is Out: Scientists Figured Out How Tardigrades Became Immune to Radiation.

SUFFICIENTLY ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Way Up High.

LET’S MAKE GENDER STUDIES MAJORS CRY SOME MORE: Since some demon possessed Tom Knighton to put his book The Essence of Man: A Real Guide To Masculinity In The 21st Century under Gender Studies on Amazon, and since you guys made him dominate that category last night, I figure we should have some near-suicidal feminists by now.  I say you can’t have too much of a good thing.  Let’s push that baby higher.

SALAD IS MURDER: Do plants learn like humans? Smart seedlings can be taught to adapt to their environment.

AND PROMPTLY WON SEVERAL INTERNATIONAL COMEDY PRIZES: Georgetown Installs Work of Art Honoring Hillary Clinton as ‘Beacon of Dignity and Guiding Light’.  I remember when Democrats were saner or at least less bombastic and merely named a water treatment plant after Al Gore.  (Or was it John Kerry?  Democrats all run together in my memory after a while.)

YOU CAN’T PAY FOR THIS KIND OF ENDORSEMENT:Guy Who Wrote Book Arguing U.S. Should ‘Talk to’ Terrorists Really Doesn’t Like Jim Mattis.

 

DON’T BE RIDICULOUS. IT IS WELL KNOWN WHEN WE LEAVE THE DEMOCRAT RESERVATION THEY CONFISCATE OUR VAGINAS: Kellyanne Conway Would Be A Feminist Hero If She Were A Democrat.

MEANWHILE IN THE CULTURE WARS: Cracks Appear Here and There.

2016, MAN: Sofía Vergara sued by her own embryos.

THEIR PRINCIPAL CHARACTERISTIC IS SURPRISE: Suppose It is a Black Swan?

THE ONLY WAY TO WIN IS TO REFUSE TO PLAY: Virtue Signalling: Game Theory’s Cheat Code.

December 6, 2016

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

Sting: Obama Isn’t Doing Enough To Fight Climate Change.

CNSnews.com, September 22, 2014.

Sting to headline NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards in Las Vegas.

— NASCAR.com, November 10, 2016.

As the Professor is wont to say, I’ll believe global warming is a crisis, when the people who say it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis themselves. Sting getting a huge payout from NASCAR would be almost as bad as Al Gore getting a huge payout from Big Oil.

Oh wait

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO TORTURE, MURDER: Woman arrested in boy’s death was convicted in torture case.

HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT PEOPLE ARE PUSHING BACK AGAINST LEFTIST IDIOCY A LOT HARDER LATELY? Mike Rowe is firing back after a critic said the American flag was nothing but “a mere symbol.”

A 40-FOOT FALL, A SEVERED SPINE, and a recovery via strength training.

SO THE WASHINGTON POST’S PETULA DVORAK WRITES ON “FAKE NEWS” AND COMMITS . . . FAKE NEWS:

Five years ago, it wasn’t fake news but an equally careless use of words that helped incite an equally terrible burst of violence.

Supporters of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin put out a map with crosshairs targeting the districts of 20 House Democrats and urging folks: “Don’t Retreat, Instead — RELOAD!”

Then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was on that map and criticized it as soon as it was posted online and her office was vandalized.

“We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is that the way she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district,” Giffords told MSNBC at the time. “When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.”

On Jan. 8, 2011, the consequences were chilling: Jared Loughner showed up with a gun outside a Tucson supermarket where Giffords was greeting constituents and killed six people and injured 20 more, including Giffords.

Still, as the funerals were being held and Giffords was in intensive care, Palin’s supporters insisted that crosshairs were never a reference to guns.

Words matter.

So do blood libels by established “mainstream” journalists pretending to write about “fake news.” This is a disgrace. Using the term “consequences” suggests that there was an actual connection between the events, that Jared Loughner was inspired to shoot by Palin’s map. As I wrote at the time in the Wall Street Journal:

The critics were a bit short on particulars as to what that meant. Mrs. Palin has used some martial metaphors—”lock and load”—and talked about “targeting” opponents. But as media writer Howard Kurtz noted in The Daily Beast, such metaphors are common in politics. Palin critic Markos Moulitsas, on his Daily Kos blog, had even included Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s district on a list of congressional districts “bullseyed” for primary challenges. When Democrats use language like this—or even harsher language like Mr. Obama’s famous remark, in Philadelphia during the 2008 campaign, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”—it’s just evidence of high spirits, apparently. But if Republicans do it, it somehow creates a climate of hate.

There’s a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn’t derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source. . . .

So as the usual talking heads begin their “have you no decency?” routine aimed at talk radio and Republican politicians, perhaps we should turn the question around. Where is the decency in blood libel?

To paraphrase Justice Cardozo (“proof of negligence in the air, so to speak, will not do”), there is no such thing as responsibility in the air. Those who try to connect Sarah Palin and other political figures with whom they disagree to the shootings in Arizona use attacks on “rhetoric” and a “climate of hate” to obscure their own dishonesty in trying to imply responsibility where none exists. But the dishonesty remains.

To be clear, if you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either: (a) asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

And with her outrageous smear, Ms. Dvorak illustrates why the traditional media no longer have the moral authority, and resulting trust, to police the debate as she’d like them to. They’ve pulled this kind of dishonest stunt too many times. Though with WaPo already facing lawsuits you’d think they’d be a bit more careful.

UPDATE: So this seems to be some sort of organized media campaign: Earnest Forced To Cite First Amendment FOUR TIMES, As Press Corps Insists White House Censor News.

And journalists wonder why they’re not trusted or respected anymore . . . .

HEALTH: A Mimosa a Day Might Save Your Life Because Guess What: Scurvy Is Back.

For what it’s worth, there hasn’t been a single case of scurvy reported at the Green family residence since we instituted Margarita Fridays back in 2011.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Homeless shelter employee arrested on accusation of having sex with teen. “Danielle Adams, 28, was arrested Wednesday, Nov. 23, on charges of second-degree sex abuse and furnishing alcohol to a minor after she allegedly had sex in the shelter with an at-risk teen under her care. According to the Hillsboro Police Department spokesman Lt. Mike Rouches, Adams was an employee at Safe Place, a Hillsboro homeless shelter that caters to homeless youth. Adams worked a graveyard shift at the shelter. The shelter, located at 454 S.E. Washington St., in Hillsboro, serves teens between age 12 and 19 who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.”

HILLARY’S SUPPORT COMES FROM “THE LOSER STATES:” The Blue State Depression:

When I say the blue states are in a depression, I don’t mean the collective funk they are in because they lost the election to Donald Trump.

I’m talking about an economic depression in the blue states that went for Hillary. Here is an amazing statistic. Of the 10 blue states that Hillary Clinton won by the largest percentage margins — California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut — every single one of them lost domestic migration (excluding immigration) over the last 10 years (2004-14). Nearly 2.75 million more Americans left California and New York than entered these states.

They are the loser states. They are all progressive. High taxes rates. High welfare benefits. Heavy regulation. Environmental extremism. Super minimum wages. Most outlaw energy drilling. The whole left-wing playbook is on display in the Hillary states. And people are leaving in droves. Day after day, they are being bled to death. So much for liberalism creating a worker’s paradise.

Now let’s look at the 10 states that had the largest percentage vote for Donald Trump. Everyone of them — Wyoming, West Virginia, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Dakota, and Idaho — was a net population gainer.

This is part and parcel of one of the greatest internal migration waves in American history as blue states especially in the northeast are getting clobbered by their low tax, smaller government rivals in the south, southeast and mountain regions.

By the way, pretty much the same pattern holds true for jobs. The job gains in the red states carried by the widest margins by Mr. Trump had about twice the job creation rate as the bluest states carried by Hillary.

Read the whole thing.

2016, MAN: Trailcam photos of naked, tripping man who thought he was a tiger.

RED LINE: Syrian rebels in talks with U.S. about surrender in Aleppo, evacuation.

The lesson our Nobel Peace Prize-winning President taught the world is that using chemical weapons pays.

FLASHBACK: My 2010 Nashville Interview With Andrew Breitbart. Note his discussion about the “contempt” that people in media and politics have for middle America. And note his comments on charges of “racism” at 12:31. Plus the later discussion of a European “Tea Party” movement.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Lab-grown meat may be meal of the future.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: University Student Demands We Shouldn’t Take Finals Because Trump’s Election Has Been Stressful.

Trump? You kids don’t know what real worry is like – when I was in school, our final exams were taken in the shadow of atomic war, nuclear winter, disco, and Fred Silverman’s NBC programming. Not to mention what was on the other channels:

POST-TRUTH MEDIA SHOULD LOOK IN THE MIRROR: Fine post by Steven Hayward at Powerline.

To the contrary, speaking of “fake news,” I recall a certain prominent journalist—I’d rather not repeat his name—who trafficked in a wholly fake news story about a president, and whose forged documents were defended as “fake, but accurate.” So the media doesn’t have a lot of standing to complain about “fake news” just now, let alone a “post-truth” world they helped create.

Read the whole thing. A month ago I wrote a column that argued our biased media is America’s most grave strategic weakness. Points made in that column dovetail with Hayward’s post.

NEW FRONTIERS IN EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION: Blacks vs. Mexicans.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Here’s What Happens After Guy Fieri Visits A Restaurant.

HEH.

CURRENTLY $1.99 ON KINDLE: Amity Shlaes’ The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression.

ASKING THE QUESTIONS NOBODY CARES ABOUT: Is craft beer still too white?