March 28, 2017

WELL, THAT’S BECAUSE ANTIFA IS A BUNCH OF SORRY-ASS COMMIES: Antifa activists disrespect the Victims Of Communism Memorial. Also here.

TONIGHT IN IMMIGRATION NEWS: Father of Maryland rape suspect arrested for being in US illegally.

JOHN HINDERAKER: Leaked DHS Document Is Another Democratic Party Scandal. “So it appears that what happened here is that Democratic Party activists in the Department of Homeland Security either created a bogus document or dug up a poorly-researched draft document that had never been issued, and fed it to Democratic Party activists at the Associated Press. The Democratic Party activists at the AP published a story based on the anonymous document, which two Democratic Party activists on the bench used as a pretext for orders enjoining the president’s travel order. Those orders should be viewed as purely political acts that have no basis in any valid judicial reasoning or authority.”

The judges who are striking down Trump’s actions because they doubt his adherence to his oath of office are playing a dangerous and unwise game. Their oaths are no more unquestionable, and their branch has neither the sword nor the purse. Do they want to set Trump up to ignore them?

WELL, IT WAS STARTED BY ANTI-GUN ACTIVIST SHANNON WATTS, WHICH EXPLAINS A LOT: United’s Leggings Fiasco: The False Narrative Needs To Stop. False narratives are what she does.

Related: Flying the Undressed Skies: United Airlines defends standards—and doesn’t surrender to social-media bullying.

ALCOHOL AND HEART HEALTH: New study untangles the effects.

The researchers found that there were no heart conditions for which the never-drinkers had the lowest risk. This suggests that drinking is not necessarily bad for heart health.

They also found that, compared with people who never drank, moderate drinkers were less likely to be diagnosed with several conditions, including chest pain, heart failure, stroke and peripheral artery disease. So, score a few points for the idea that drinking does lower the risk of some heart problems.

For other conditions, there was no statistically significant differences between the groups, the study said.

Honestly, I don’t think this study did all that much untangling. Well, stay tuned.

SAD TO SEE THE NAVAL ACADEMY ALUMNI AS A BUNCH OF COLLEGE CRYBULLIES: Former Senator Jim Webb Declines to Accept Naval Academy Alumni Association’s Distinguished Graduate Award. “From conversations with the Alumni Association, including information passed down from top Navy leadership in the Pentagon, it is clear that those protesting my receipt of this award now threaten to disrupt the ceremonies surrounding its issuance. I am being told that my presence at the ceremony would likely mar the otherwise celebratory nature of that special day, and as a consequence I find it necessary to decline to accept the award.”

This is not helping the standing of Annapolis, or of its graduates. It’s childish and stupid. But I’ll say one thing for our current era: The people who have long posed as the responsible adults are rapidly revealing themselves as neither.

Meanwhile, Brendan O’Neill writes on Facebook:

What’s amazing is the patience and dignity of Brexit voters. For nine months the political elite raged against them, ridiculed them, demonised them; branded them racist, destructive, “low information”; dragged their democratic choice to the courts in the hope that some clever judge would declare it illegitimate; took to the streets to call them idiots and buffoons and unwitting slaves of demagoguery; held them responsible for economic downturn and a return of fascism; declared them unfit for serious public life, which is apparently best left to experts. And yet Brexit voters didn’t go mad or riot or crumble. They stuck to their principles (an amazing 96% say they’d vote for Brexit again) and patiently waited for their political choice to be acted upon. They kept their faith in democracy. They behaved liked the free-willed, autonomous adults that democracy needs in order to work and thrive.

It seems kinda related somehow.

REPUBLICANS IN DISARRAY — WAIT, WHAT? Embattled DNC Asks All Staffers For Resignation Letters.

Related: The Democrats’ Ditch Is Only Getting Deeper.

C’MON, LET’S GIVE HIM THIS ONE: No, Trump Didn’t Cost Colin Kaepernick a Job.

On the flip-side, American anger over Kaepernick’s sclerotic 1968-era radical shtick may very well have helped Trump at the ballot box last November.

THE U.S. ARMY AIR CORPS’ DIVE BOMBER: The Banshee. The Army’s WW2 version of the USN’s SBD-3 Dauntless dive bomber. (I’ll catch up on the photos I’ve missed in StrategyPage’s bomber series later this week.)

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Buying A Budget AR-15.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Ohio School Plans to Offer Course on Fake News and Critical Thinking.

THAT’S WHY GOD INVENTED SHOES AND ROLLED-UP MAGAZINES: Spiders could theoretically eat every human on Earth in one year. “There’s a good chance at least one spider is staring at you right now, sizing you up from a darkened corner of the room, eight eyes glistening in the shadows.”

Plus: “The world’s spiders consume somewhere between 400 million and 800 million tons of prey in any given year. That means that spiders eat at least as much meat as all 7 billion humans on the planet combined, who the authors note consume about 400 million tons of meat and fish each year. Or, for a slightly more disturbing comparison: The total biomass of all adult humans on Earth is estimated to be 287 million tons. Even if you tack on another 70 million-ish tons to account for the weight of kids, it’s still not equal to the total amount of food eaten by spiders in a given year, exceeding the total weight of humanity. In other words, spiders could eat all of us and still be hungry.”

CUE DICES? Forget potatoes: New Texas vodka uses black-eyed peas instead.

UPDATE: Bad link, fixed now — sorry!

IT’S NICE, BUT A BIT PRICEY FOR AN IMPECUNIOUS LAW-PROFESSOR TYPE: Fast doesn’t begin to describe it | 2017 Bugatti Chiron First Drive.

NEIGHBORS: Sixth-Grader Cited for Trespassing After Cutting Through Yards to Get to Bus Stop.

The winters I spent as a kid cross-country skiing through neighbors’ yards seem even longer ago than they actually were.

HMM: Border wall funding likely to be put on hold.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, announced at a leadership press conference that Trump’s supplemental funding request will wait until later in the year.

He said the Senate and House leadership are very close to negotiating a bill to fund government for the rest of 2017.

Adding a supplemental spending bill requested by Trump to pay for military activities and a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would complicate the talks and should be dealt with at a later date, Blunt added.
“We have the FY17 defense bill,” Blunt said, noting it is the top priority of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and could be used as a vehicle to pass bills funding other federal departments.

“All of the committees, the leaderships of the House and Senate, are working together to try to finalize the rest of the FY17 bill,” he added. “My guess is that comes together better without the supplemental.”

We’ll see.

AT AMAZON, Top Picks in Men’s Personal Care.

GOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! Iceland’s shocking win over England evidently led to a record-setting baby boom.

FUNNY, I REMEMBER WHEN JUST ABOUT EVERYONE KNEW THIS: How to Do a Burnout With a Manual Transmission.

WELL DONE: Dem Mayor Vetoes $15 Min Wage Bill.

The “Fight for $15” movement faced a setback Friday after Baltimore Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh vetoed legislation which would have raised the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Citing negative economic impact of the legislation, Pugh said that the city would wait with other municipalities on the state of Maryland to act. The decision was not shocking, as the Mayor’s office has signaled that it was wary of a $15 minimum wage increase.

The council meets April 3 and could overturn the Mayor’s veto with support from 12 of the 15 members. It is unlikely that the council will veto the Mayor’s decision, with the Baltimore Sun reporting that the coalition of supporter for the bill crumbled.

In 2016, former Democratic City Council President Bernard Young warned that any initiative to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour could cost new jobs.

If common sense can break out in one of America’s bluest cities…

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: ABA Places Arizona Summit Law School On Probation After 25% Bar Passage Rate.

Related: How To Con Black Law Students.

CHRISTIAN TOTO: 9 Sarah Silverman Tweets She Hopes You Forget.


DON’T KISS THE CHECKOUT GIRLS GOODBYE: Amazon Delays Opening of Cashierless Store to Work Out Kinks.

The store in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle uses cameras, sensors and algorithms to watch customers and track what they pick up, according to the people familiar with the matter. But Amazon has run into problems tracking more than about 20 people in the store at one time, as well as the difficulty of keeping tabs on an item if it has been moved from its specific spot on the shelf, according to the people familiar with the matter.

For now, the technology functions flawlessly only if there are a small number of customers present, or when their movements are slow, the people familiar with the matter said. The store will continue to need employees to help ensure the technology is accurately tracking purchases for the near future.

Some days you get the feeling we might just get flying cars before we get automated shopping or driving.

(Classical reference in the headline.)

SHOCKER: Prostate Cancer ‘Undertreated’ in 4 of 10 Men in England.

AT AMAZON, save on bestsellers in Camera and Photo.

Plus, deals in Handbags and Shoes.

THANATOPHILES: Medical Ethicists Think You Have A Duty To Die At 75.

As I’ve observed before, the entire Ethics Establishment is pretty much a fraud, but the “medical ethics” wing is possibly the worst. And, as I’ve also noted before, even modest reductions in aging could have huge economic benefits.

HEAVY, METAL: Did Rammstein’s Mega-Hit Portend a Weakened Germany?

DAVID HARSANYI: Devin Nunes Has Absolutely No Reason To Recuse Himself.

Ostensibly, demanding recusal is framed as an effort to save the impartiality and integrity of the committee. In reality, it’s meant to create the impression that Nunes’ has done something unethical or illegal to defend Trump. It meant to proactively poison any investigation. Schiff offers two reasons for his position: 1 – Nunes shared information with the White House. 2 – Schiff got his information from someone in the White House.

Nunes has said this isn’t an inquiry into charges of Russian collusion, so what’s wrong with the House Intelligence Committee Chair sharing intelligence about the president with the president — and then letting the world know he’s done so? And, furthermore, why is it wrong for the House Intelligence Committee Chair to see classified information from a source at the White House? “If that’s where the information is, and the information is relevant, and it’s authentic, and it’s reliable, wouldn’t you go where the information was?” Nunes asked The Weekly Standard.

Even if we concede, for the sake of argument, that Nunes had been ethically compromised, does the information attained in the effort become less valid? Were the leaks that cost Mike Flynn his job any less persuasive because they were illegally obtained? Haven’t many Democrats been defending the need for whistleblowers to speak up in the name democracy? Schiff has no reason to give up the name of his source. If the NSA abused its power, and the evidence is legitimate, we should welcome the information. If not, Nunes’ credibility will be blown forever. Considering Nunes’ history, the media had no reason to assume the latter, which mirrors the concerns and goals of Democrats.

Nunes’ attitude all along has been an laudable “Apologize for what?”


Whiteclay, Nebraska is the putative home of the Nebraska Guitar Militia, but the song about Whiteclay itself, “The Town That Booze Built,” isn’t online. Though, like Margaritaville, it’s also a town that lives in a lot of people’s heads. And I really need to put all this stuff up in one place on Soundcloud or something.

Meanwhile, here’s “Ghost Town,” which isn’t bad. Like all the Militia songs, I mostly wrote the lyrics and my brother Jonathan mostly did the music, but there was a good deal of back-and-forth. Songwriting involved a guitar, a yellow legal pad, and copious amounts of beer.

IS THERE ANYTHING HE CAN’T DO? Julie Upton: Is Trump Making You Fat?

I’ve eaten an additional 16,625 calories since President Trump was sworn into office. At least, that’s what my calculations based on my recent (and unusual) 4.75-pound weight gain tell me.

I’m not alone: Many of my clients, friends and colleagues are complaining about POTUS pounds. They wake up each morning wondering which crazy tweet the president has fired off, which ally he’s offended, which latest conspiracy theory he’s peddling or which executive order he’ll sign next. Their increased anxiety triggers stress eating.

He’s living inside their heads — and, apparently, refrigerators — rent-free.

RESIST WE MUCH: Post-Trump Victory, Dems Finally Flip a State Legislature Seat…to Republicans.

TRY, TRY AGAIN? Affordable Care Act Repeal Is Back on the Agenda, Republicans Say.

Republican members of Congress said they hoped that revisiting the issue would lead this time to a solution and a vote in the House.

“I think everyone wants to get to yes and support President Trump,” said Representative Dave Brat, Republican of Virginia and a Freedom Caucus member. “There is a package in there that is a win-win.”

Representative Raúl Labrador of Idaho, another Freedom Caucus member, said he hoped the discussions would yield a compromise that brings the party together after a divisive debate that revealed deep fissures. “I think we will have a better, stronger product that will unify the conference,” Mr. Labrador said.

The House leadership needs to worry less about what might clear the Senate, and concentrate more on winning passage in the House.


THANK YOU FOR SHARING: Yes, Burglars Read Your Social Media to Learn When You’re Away.

THIS IS NOT MAKING ME THINK MORE OF NAVAL ACADEMY GRADS: Naval Academy grads ask alumni group to rescind honor for former Sen. Jim Webb. “Several Naval Academy alumni have asked the alumni association to rescind an award planned for former U.S. Sen. James Webb because of his decades-old essay questioning the decision to admit women into military service academies.”

OH: California School Faces Budget Cuts Because It Has Too Many White Students.

Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood is one of the schools expected to face budget cuts because the percentage of non-white students has fallen below 70 percent, the Los Angeles Daily News reported Monday. The cuts in funding could result in five teachers and one counselor being let go from the school, as well as the average class size increasing from 35 to 39 students.

The funding guideline comes from a 1978 Los Angeles Superior Court-ordered integration program, under which schools with a large minority student population receive additional funds. The funding model requires a school’s white-student population to be below 30 percent in order to receive the increase in funds.

For the past two years, the percentage of minority students at Walter Reed Middle School has fallen below 70 percent, according to a letter sent out to parents on March 22. The district has continued to give the school the additional funds, but in the coming school year, that will no longer be the case. The district will not categorize the school as being a predominantly minority one in the fall.

69% is a unique kind of minority.

CHARLIE MARTIN: Now That You’ve Mastered Freewriting, It’s Time to Try ‘Thinkwriting.’

WHY DOES NBC’S CHRIS MATTHEWS HATE HIS A FORMER NBC EMPLOYEE SO MUCH? Chris Matthews Compares the Trump Family to Saddam Hussein’s.

I’m so old, I can remember when the left thought Saddam was just a warm fuzzy guy.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Constitutional carry legislation proposed in Wisconsin, likely to pass.

NATE COHN: Turnout Wasn’t the Driver of Clinton’s Defeat.

Ultimately, black turnout was roughly as we expected it. It looks as if black turnout was weak mostly in comparison with the stronger turnout among white and Hispanic voters.

This was part of a broader national pattern. Mr. Trump’s turnout edge was nonexistent or reversed in states with a large Hispanic population and a small black population, like Arizona. His turnout advantage was largest in states with a large black population and few Hispanic voters, like North Carolina.

What was consistent across most states, however, was higher-than-expected white turnout.

The increase in white turnout was broad, including among young voters, Democrats, Republicans, unaffiliated voters, urban, rural, and the likeliest supporters of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump. The greatest increases were among young and unaffiliated white voters.

For this reason alone, it’s hard to argue that turnout was responsible for the preponderance of Mr. Trump’s gains among white voters. The turnout among young and white Democratic voters was quite strong.

In other words, white working-class Democrats did turn out to vote — for Trump.

PROPS TO EINSTEIN: Relativity Just Passed a Major Test Involving the Most Accurate Clocks Ever.

SORRY, COMRADE, BUT YOUR FIREARMS QUOTA IS FILLED: Virginia’s McAuliffe Wants to Restore One-Gun-a-Month Policy.

AS A WISE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER ONCE SAID, ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES: Trump moves decisively to wipe out Obama’s climate-change record.

Faster, please. But hey, if anything goes wrong, we can still take Obama’s “Science” “Czar” up on his modest 2009 plan to shoot rockets full of pollution into the stratosphere, right?

(Classical reference in headline.)

‘FREE’ CAMILLE PAGLIA! Kathy Shaidle looks back on the initial impact of Paglia, as reflected in her new book, Free Women, Free Men, which Shaidle described as “a superb introduction to Paglia’s vision for the uninitiated, and a sobering, timely reminder to us old culture warriors that all apparent victories are only tomorrow’s battles, in drag:”

In one of many litanies devoted to her (now forgotten) feminist foes, Paglia blasts the “diarrhea prose” of one unfortunate, and calls another “Mrs. Fifties Tea Table.” (I spat laughing.) Rather than serving to settle old scores, in the great tradition of all aging polemicists, Free Women, Free Men seems calibrated to shaking them awake.

And why not? Contra Sayre’s law, the stakes of these particular academic feuds were, in fact, the highest imaginable: The minds of college students—future parents, citizens, bosses, leaders—were being poisoned. Paglia clearly saw her role as that of stomach pump, and still does.

But the same clarion quality that means every fresh Paglia piece is Drudge-worthy news to this day makes reading a compendium like Free Women enervating rather than energizing. As the dates at the bottom of these pages remind us, her earliest acidic denunciations of political correctness, campus speech codes, and “rape culture” are almost thirty years old. Any real-world impact they had was clearly fleeting.

Hence this recent headline at Minding the Campus: “How a Generation Lost Its Common Culture.” In his 1980 book, The Third Wave, Alvin Toffler coined the phrase “the demassified media,” to describe a media that had only just recently made the transition from three commercial broadcast television networks to a cable TV system that promised narrow-casted channels to every interest from 24-hour news to 24-hour rock music to 24 hour home and gardening tips – and interactive computer networks, which then consisted of CompuServe, The Source, and privately-owned bulletin boards. Contra its more elderly denizens such as Ted Koppel, a demassified media is quite a healthy and useful thing. A demassified, balkanized culture will soon find itself going to war over tribalism and politics, as the last three decades have shown. However meager her ultimate success, I’m glad Paglia is fighting the good fight from inside the barricades.

THIS DOESN’T GET MADE OFTEN ENOUGH: The Moral Case for Spending Restraint.

ALLAHPUNDIT: Pat Leahy says he’s not inclined to filibuster Gorsuch.

A not-so-crazy conspiracy theory for you: What if Schumer put Leahy up to this? No minority leader likes to see his authority undermined, but Schumer’s in a terrible bind here. If he doesn’t show the left that he’s willing to avenge Merrick Garland by using every obstructionist trick at his disposal, progressives will scapegoat him and turn him into a lightning rod for their anger over Trump. In fact, they already have. If, on the other hand, the caucus follows his lead and successfully filibusters Gorsuch, it’ll be a fiasco — McConnell will nuke it, Gorsuch will be confirmed anyway, and the left will have lost their last bit of procedural leverage over an eventual Trump nominee for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s or Stephen Breyer’s seat. A filibuster now would be the purest strategic idiocy and Schumer knows it. Solution, then: Endorse the filibuster in his role as minority leader while nudging Leahy, a Senate institution and Judiciary Committee veteran who almost certainly can’t be defeated in Vermont, to lead the rebellion instead. Now, when Manchin and Bennet and McCaskill et al. need to justify their votes in favor of cloture, they can point to Leahy and say, “Sen. Leahy’s judgment carries such heavy weight with me, especially in terms of getting politics out of judicial nominations, that I feel obliged to join him in this vote.” Leahy then becomes the lightning rod. But so what? He’s immune from this sort of political lightning.

That makes perfect sense, although is likely to change if the Democrats smell enough GOP blood in the water that it doesn’t look like they have 51 votes to nuke the filibuster.

UPDATE: Joe Manchin Opposes Filibuster of Neil Gorsuch.

Word may be trickling down, if Allahpundit has it right.

IT LOOKS HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS: The Secret, Off-Menu “Bowl of Doom” That’s Become Famous in Dallas CrossFit and Paleo Circles.

THIS SEEMS RIGHT: Byron York: Whatever Trump does next, it has to be about jobs and wages.

STEVE FORBES TO HOUSE REPUBLICANS: “You have just pulled off one of the most astonishing acts of political self-immolation in history.”

He’s too gentle.


IT’S COME TO THIS: Judge Approves Petition to Be Legally ‘Genderless’

WHY ARE LEFTY INSTITUTIONS SUCH CESSPITS OF RACISM AND MISOGYNY? SXSW Panelist Looking for the Bouncer Who He Says Shoved His Girlfriend. I was invited to speak at SXSW 10 or 15 years ago, and couldn’t go. I kind of wish I had, because I think it was a lot nicer back then.

LIVE BY THE PEN AND PHONE, DIE BY THE PEN AND PHONE: Trump takes biggest swing yet at Obama climate legacy.

Trump plans to order the EPA to rewrite tough rules that make it virtually impossible to build a new coal-fired power plant, and he will tell the Interior Department to end Obama’s moratorium on new coal mines on federal lands, among other steps, White House officials said.

Additionally, the president’s “energy independence” executive order also will repeal several Obama-era environmental directives aimed at reducing the federal government’s own carbon footprint, and it will direct agencies to ferret out any additional policies that “result in impediments” to U.S. energy production, a likely reference to restrictions on fracking and offshore drilling. The president also will tell federal regulators to stop using the “social cost of carbon,” which attempts to quantify the effects of climate change, in economic analyses of future rules.

“There is every reason to believe that the federal government will no longer seek to punish American consumers and businesses for using the energy resources that fuel our economy,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said in a statement welcoming the order.

Excellent. The key to energy independence, or close to it, is simply to follow John Galt’s polite request to “Get the hell out of my way!”


“Peak oil” decriers must be used to feeling foolish at this point, but their folly continues (and will continue) to be exposed by discoveries of new oil supplies. The latest example comes to us courtesy of the North Sea waters off the shore of the UK’s Shetland islands, where the oil exploration firm Hurricane Energy claims to have found the country’s biggest new offshore reserve of extractable oil in more than a dozen years. . . .

Many more wells will need to be drilled before we can get a reliably accurate estimate of how much oil Hurricane has discovered, but this is a very good start and comes as something of a lifeline for Britain’s offshore oil industry. North Sea oil supplies made the UK a net exporter of crude in the 1980s, but since then the region’s output has fallen considerably as fields have matured and new discoveries have failed to make up that difference. The collapse in crude prices over the past two years was especially hard on the industry, whose operating costs are among the highest in the world.

In the face of all of this, the UK has been using every tool in its possession to cajole investors to continue to scour its waters for reserves like the one Hurricane just found. And while the road ahead doesn’t exactly look promising, there is at least one reason for Brits to be hopeful: North Sea operating costs have fallen 45 percent in recent years. If that trend continues and exploration keeps yielding valuable new discoveries like this latest one, there might yet be life for Britain’s offshore oil and gas industry.

I also remember when Barack Obama said we couldn’t “drill our way out of” high gas and oil prices.

MEGAN MCARDLE: How Utah Keeps The American Dream Alive. “Once I got there, I found that it’s hard to even get a complete picture of how Utah combats poverty, because so much of the work is done by the Mormon Church, which does not compile neat stacks of government figures for the perusal of eager reporters.”

Plus: “David Sims, a Brigham Young economist who has done work on income mobility, suggests that the secret to Utah’s especially good mobility is not that it’s especially good at building effective public institutions. What it’s especially good at is a sort of middle classness that’s so broad it’s almost infectious.” Weirdly, the intelligentsia in the rest of America have been waging war against the very idea of “middle classness” for 50 years — and at the same time, social dysfunction among the poor and working classes has gotten worse. Go figure.


That sounds an awful lot like “Repeal is dead.”

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Scientists turn mammalian cells into complex biocomputers.

FAKE NEWS: CNN Aired a ‘Live’ Interview With a Congresswoman That Wasn’t ‘Live.’ To be fair, they’re also constantly touting “breaking news” that’s neither breaking, nor news.

WAIT… WHAT? Women’s March Convicted Terrorist Agrees to Be Deported in Exchange for No Jail Time. “But not before she is a featured speaker at an upcoming Jewish conference.”


RECYCLING: SpaceX Aims for Historic Rocket Launch With Reused Booster.

Relying on the Falcon 9’s repurposed lower stage—including nine refurbished main engines intended to propel a European commercial satellite into Earth’s orbit—the blastoff slated for Thursday from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center will mark the culmination of years of intense planning, testing and public advocacy by the company.

The aim for Mr. Musk and his team is to demonstrate the viability of such “flight-proven” hardware, which they argue eventually will help usher in an unprecedented era of frequent, inexpensive flights to orbit and beyond. Ultimately, they and other space entrepreneurs, including Inc. Chairman Jeff Bezos, see re-flying rockets as the Holy Grail of exploring the solar system.

“Full reusability is a game changer,” said Mr. Bezos, whose Blue Origin LLC also has signed up commercial customers willing to put expensive satellites on top of reusable rockets.

Regardless of the outcome of Thursday’s long-awaited, first-of-its-kind mission, industry and government experts say ambitious projections of huge cost savings and other operational gains won’t be evident for at least several years, and likely much longer.

The question isn’t just “Can it be done?” The larger question is “Can it be done at a cost savings big enough to compensate for the increased risk?”

ABOLISH THE FILIBUSTER ENTIRELY, THEN RAM ALL THE NEW BILLS THROUGH: Democrats push McConnell toward nuclear option on Gorsuch.

Senate Democrats are beginning to line up against Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, increasing the chances the Senate will enact a “nuclear option” that would thwart the minority filibuster for high court picks.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the minority leader, announced he would vote against Gorsuch, an expected move, but one that could set the tone for rank-and-file Democrats on the fence about his nomination.

Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Tom Carper, D-Del., also announced opposition to Gorsuch, and the list is likely to grow significantly.

At least eight Democrats are needed to end a filibuster party lawmakers have announced against Gorsuch, who is now serving as a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

So far, not one Senate Democrat has pledged to vote in favor of him, although some red-state Democrats up for re-election in 2018 may have a difficult time rejecting him.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has sent a warning to Democrats that he’ll ensure Gorsuch is seated on the Supreme Court no matter how they vote, signaling he’s willing to change Senate rules that would lower the threshold for his confirmation from 60 votes to 51 votes. Such a move would completely bypass the Democrats, who control 48 votes.

Go full “Reid Option” and nuke the filibuster. Because the last several years we were told repeatedly how outdated and undemocratic the filibuster is.

HAVE YOU HUGGED A FRACKER TODAY? OPEC Be Warned: Russia Prepares for Oil at $40.

Policy makers in Moscow said on Friday they see Urals at an average of $50 a barrel this year, but falling to $40 at end-2017 and then staying near that level in 2018-2019. As the central bank honed its forecasts, it also gingerly resumed monetary easing, pointing to the “uncertainty” in the oil market as a factor for its “conservative” forecasts.

Russia’s Finance Ministry similarly highlighted the $40 level in January when it announced that the central bank will start buying foreign currency on its behalf when crude exceeds that level in order to insulate the exchange rate from oil volatility. The price of $40 is additionally being used to calculate the country’s budget in 2017-2019.

An increasing number of American shale oil fields are profitable at $40 or under.

LOSING IT: Schumer goes off on Trump supporter at NYC restaurant, witness says.

“They are a highly respected couple, and Schumer made a scene, yelling, ‘She voted for Trump!’ The Califanos left the restaurant, but Schumer followed them outside.” On the sidewalk, Schumer carried on with his fantastical filibuster: “ ‘How could you vote for Trump? He’s a liar!’ He kept repeating, ‘He’s a liar!’ ”

Hilary confirmed the confrontation, telling Page Six, “Sen. Schumer was really rude . . . He’s our senator, and I don’t really like him. Yes, I voted for Trump. Schumer joined us outside and he told me Trump was a liar. I should have told him that Hillary Clinton was a liar, but I was so surprised I didn’t say anything.”

Joe Califano was my boss back at Dewey Ballantine. I’m glad to hear he’s doing well, though the Joe I remember probably wouldn’t have let some punk Senator yell at his wife. And good for Hilary.

But this is pretty much proof that Trump is living rent-free in the heads of the Democratic leadership. His victory really did cause a party-wide nervous breakdown.

UPDATE: From the comments: “Clearly this shows that the Senator from New York may be losing his ability to direct the affairs of state!”

Plus: “People who are confident do not do that in public.” True.

HOSTILE EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT: Male Students Told To Confess Their Sins At ‘Masculinity Confession Booth.’ Plus, dumb stereotypes: “The group’s introductory video criticizes the stereotypical view of men as macho and unemotional, linking this to spousal abuse by asserting that men have violent outbursts as a result of pent-up emotions.”

But then, I’ve been accused of “hypermasculinity” myself. It’s a fair cop.


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: California College Alleged to Be Hiding Hate Crime Against Conservative Student. “The situation was not classified formally as a hate crime, which is part of what has Recalde-Martinez speaking out.”

JOHN ELLIS: Paul Ryan’s Catastrophic Lack of Political Skill and Judgment.

Everyone knows that a competent lawyer never asks a question in court to which he doesn’t already know the answer. And likewise, a competent political leader never puts a piece of legislation up for a vote without having a good idea of what the vote will be. But when Paul Ryan released his American Health Care Act he evidently had no idea what its reception would be. Whole sections of his own party were angered, and it was obvious that his bill had no chance of passage without truly major changes.

Why didn’t Ryan know all of that before he published the bill? A skilled leader sounds out the major opinion centers in his party to get a sense of what it will take to get them all on board, so that by the time the bill is published he knows where everyone stands and how they will vote. By going public with his bill before ascertaining the lay of the land, Ryan has created an ugly rift within his party, delayed and endangered the forward movement of the Trump administration, and further alienated a GOP base which has long been exasperated by the ineffectiveness of its congressional leaders. But Paul Ryan’s political incompetence is by now a very old story.

Yet there doesn’t seem to be anyone willing or able to replace him, which is remarkable given that the GOP has been in the majority for six years and should have a deep bench filled with plenty of ambitious congressmen.

HIGHER EDUCATION HAS CHOSEN SIDES: Conservatives notably absent at Ivy League commencements.

KORI SCHAKE: Trump Has a Strategy for Destroying the Islamic State — and It’s Working.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Russian Farce. “Remember when Obama and Hillary cozied up to Putin? And recall when the media rejoiced at surveillance leaks about Team Trump?”


The Obama administration came up with a reset–soft-glove approach to Vladimir’s Russia, characterized by Secretary Hillary Clinton’s heralded pushing of the red plastic button on March 6, 2009, in Geneva. Reset was couched in overt criticism of George W. Bush, who had supposedly alienated Putin by reacting too harshly (like a typical cowboy) to Russia’s aggression in Georgia.

Over the next few years, the reset policy consisted of, among other things, backtracking on previously agreed-on missile-defense plans in Eastern Europe. In the second presidential debate of 2012, Obama portrayed Romney as being too tough on Russia, to the point of delusion:

A few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not al-Qaeda. You said Russia. In the 1980s, they’re now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.

The Obama administration invited Russia into the Middle East for the first time in nearly a half-century to help Obama back off from his own redline threats to attack Syria if evidence of WMD usage appeared. Moreover, after the Crimea and eastern Ukraine aggressions, the perception in most of the Western world was that the U.S. was not sufficiently tough with Putin, largely because of its commitment to a prior (though failed) outreach.

So what ended this one-sided reset in 2016?

The estrangement certainly did not coincide entirely with Putin’s aggressions on Russia’s borders. Nor were Democrats inordinately angry with Putin when he bombed non-al-Qaeda Syrian resistance fighters.

Rather, Democrats’ split with Putin grew from the perception that hackers had easily entered the porous e-mail account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign guru John Podesta and released his messages to WikiLeaks. This led to general embarrassment for Hillary and the Democrats — and they floated the theory that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange were taking orders from Putin or at least operating with the encouragement of the Kremlin’s intelligence services.

Read the whole thing.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How Not To Die From Loneliness.

Isolation is deadly. So why aren’t we doing anything about it?

For starters, there’s a stigma against admitting loneliness, especially for men, and there’s a whole other taboo against openly wanting to make new friends.

We celebrate lifelong friendships and treat the friends we make earlier in life as more legitimate than the ones who come later. The early friendships are filled with inside jokes, funny stories of crazy nights and that thing that happened that one time that still no one can believe. We know all the background stories, each other’s full biographies. It’s deep, there’s no doubt about it.

It’s also nearly impossible to maintain. The group of friends who hung out until sunrise most weekends in their early 20s will have a hard time keeping it going into their 30s and 40s.

Most friendships end up getting relegated to social media. We like each other’s pictures as a way of staying in touch, but don’t actually make an effort to get together. We fight off screen time inside our families but don’t realize we have friends whose lives we only learn about on Facebook.

Read the whole thing.

March 27, 2017

AT AMAZON, save in Toys and Games.

Plus, deals on bestsellers in Sports and Outdoors.


AS WITH KERMIT GOSNELL, IT’S STRICTLY A LOCAL NEWS STORY, RIGHT? CNN’s Brian Stelter Hammers Fox News for Covering Rockville Rape Case:

Just when you thought CNN host Brian Stelter couldn’t become any more of a “ridiculous figure” he found a new level of low to crawl to, during Sunday’s Reliable Sources. As had been extensively covered by the MRC, the liberal networks have been blacking out the rape of a girl on school ground by illegal immigrants in Rockville, Maryland, with Fox News being the only TV news outlet covering it in detail. But according to Stelter, that’s apparently a problem for Fox.

“Rapes and assaults and murders are local news stories on a daily basis. But when do they break through to become national news and when do they not?” he wondered at the top of the segment and before taking it to Fox.

Related: “Father of 18yo Rockville High School rape suspect arrested. ICE says Adolfo Sanchez-Reyes, 43, of Guatemala, was in U.S. illegally,” Kevin Lewis of ABC’s DC affiliate tweets tonight.

(Classical allusion in headline.)

UPDATE: Seriously?! CNN Complains About the Deportation of Drunk Driving DREAMer. “If CNN was trying to make the case that innocent people were being swept up by immigration officials, then they obviously chose the wrong guy. It would be interesting to know how Mothers Against Drunk Driving would feel about Matadamas’ deportation knowing he was being held on a drunk driving charge, including evading arrest.”


Just think of NBC News as Democrat operatives with bylines, and it all makes sense.

THE USUAL “FAKE NEWS” EXCUSE — A “CONVERSATION:” D.C.’s Missing Teens: A False Number That Spurred A Real Conversation On Race.

Well, the main thing about the PizzaGate scandal is that it’s spurred a real conversation on child abuse, right?

TRAINING YOUR BRAIN so you don’t need reading glasses.

AT AMAZON, deals on Washers and Dryers.

Plus, spring deals in Patio Lawn and Garden.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO MASS-MURDER: Maryland teen caught with shotgun and bomb-making materials for school shooting plot. “An 18-year-old student meticulously planned a mass shooting at her high school in which she intended to die, authorities in Maryland said Monday. A shotgun, ammunition and bomb-making materials including nails and fireworks were found at Nichole Cevario’s home in Thurmont on Thursday, Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins said at a news conference.”

A STORY WITH A HAPPY ENDING: Homeowner’s son shoots, kills three would-be burglars. With an AR-15.

STUDY AUTHORS FACE RISK OF LA LECHE LEAGUE DISPLEASURE: Study shows no long-term cognitive benefit to breastfeeding.

U.S. SECRETLY DEPLOYING STRATEGIC ASSETS TO KOREA TO MAXIMIZE FEAR IN THE NORTH: Anyone who is surprised didn’t read this. Strategic patience is over.

VERY MUCH RELATED: Good chance this is an action photo of one of the B1-Bs mentioned in the Daily Caller article. Note the South Korean escorts. Yes, yet another cool bomber photo, this one taken March 21, 2017. Of course the B1-B’s flight was not really a secret. The photo is confirmation that the flight occurred.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: The Most Bingeable New Shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime in 2017.

YEAH, THAT’S HEROIC AND GROUNDBREAKING: News Anchor Quits Pretending Not To Be Lefty Tool, Embraces Full-On Tooldom. “Scott sees himself in the Murrow and Cronkite tradition.”

Well, given that Cronkite was a lefty tool who pretended an avuncular neutrality before eventually pulling off the mask, I’d say he’s half-right, anyway.

REBOOT: Uber resumes self-driving program in Tempe, Pittsburgh after crash.

TOPLESS: First Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible.

THE SPLC IS A DISHONEST HATE GROUP: Charles Murray’s SPLC Page, As Edited By Charles Murray. Does the SPLC’s treatment of Murray here demonstrate actual malice?

CHARLIE MARTIN: NeverTrumpers, Trumpkins Need to Reconnect With Reality.

ALSO, HE WORKS FOR THE RUSSIANS: EXCLUSIVE: John Podesta May Have Violated Federal Law By Not Disclosing 75,000 Stock Shares.

NBC NEWS: Seven Ways the Trump Administration Could Make Obamacare ‘Explode’

They left out the eighth way: Enforce it as written.