August 26, 2016

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MY LATEST NY OBSERVER ESSAY: The Clinton State-Foundation’s Global Bribery and Crony Access Scam. (bumped from yesterday).

THE DEBATE OVER THE WORLD’S LARGEST PYRAMID: A real pyramid, not a crooked scheme-type pyramid. The largest pyramid, in terms of the size of the pyramid’s base, is located just outside the city of Puebla, Mexico. Here’s more detailed information on The Great Pyramid of Cholula.

MORE TECHNOLOGY IS BETTER FOR THE PLANET THAN LESS, LUDDITES NOTWITHSTANDING: The human impact on the natural environment is actually slowing down.

21ST CENTURY HEADLINES: Robot Babies Not Effective Birth Control.

But real babies are.


Related: “The report, titled ‘Between Iron Man and Aqua Man: Exosuit Opportunities in Maritime Operations,’ notes that the potential value of exosuit technology ‘extends beyond the land environment,’ something that has been ‘largely neglected’ by existing programs and analyses. The authors predict that exosuits could ‘take up a meaningful role in maritime operations’ within the next five years…Conventional exosuit technology, of course, would ensure that Clinton does not require canine assistance to walk along a sandy shore. New maritime exosuits, as described in the CNAS report, could help Clinton expand her horizons and make that crucial leap from shore to sea.”

BACK TO THE FUTURE: No refrigerator? Try an evaporative cooler. They work well where it’s dry, not so well where it’s humid.


Shot: Dr Drew’s show [on CNN spinoff channel Headline News] is canceled after he speculated about Hillary Clinton’s ‘dangerous’ and ‘concerning’ health

—The London Daily Mail today.

Chaser: “CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, whom President-elect Barack Obama has reportedly asked to take an administration post as Surgeon General and top health policy adviser, last year thought it noteworthy that the release of John McCain’s medical records ignored the Senator’s ‘mental health,’ any ‘mention of post-traumatic stress disorder’ or of ‘substance abuse.’”

NewsBusters, January 7th, 2009.

Related: Nets Skeptical of McCain Health in 2008, Worried About Mental Fitness.


The world sided with Al Roker when he went in on Ryan Lochte after the Olympic swimmer’s elaborate lies about his Rio “robbery.”

“He lied to you, he lied to Matt Lauer, he lied to his mom,” Roker said to co-host Billy Bush on the “Today” show last week. “He left his teammates hanging while he skedaddled. There was no robbery, there was no pull over. He lied.”

Roker wasn’t wrong, but according to Page Six, “Today” show executives and on-air talent are unhappy with the way things went down.

Yes, you really don’t want to be discussing lying at a network that counts as its employees Brian Williams, Andrea Mitchell and Al Sharpton, and is tasked with helping shove Hillary’s military-grade exoskeleton over the finish line in November.

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I WAS JUST WATCHING AN EMPTY KAT BUS GO BY AND THINKING ABOUT THIS: Uber & Lyft As Extensions/Replacements For Public Transit.

FROM BRIANA ROSENBAUM: The RICO Trend in Class Action Warfare.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Back To Campus, Where Due Process Is a Myth. “As your kids head off to school, they should be aware that sexual assault isn’t the only situation where college officials now figure silly things like due process should be completely ignored.”

What could go wrong?

WHY ARE LEFTY INDUSTRIES SUCH CESSPITS OF RACISM? “Silicon Valley is hostile to diversity,” says Slack Director of Engineering Leslie Miley.

MINNEAPOLIS POLICE HELD BACK WHILE VIOLENT MOB ASSAULTED TRUMP FUNDRAISER ATTENDEES?  “Henry said the next day he went down to the First Precinct to file a report, and an officer there told him that they had been told to stand down. And the officer allegedly said that the order to not do anything ‘came from the top.’”

Well, that sounds very much like what happened when the San Jose police let the far left protestors at the Trump Rally in June run wild. Read the whole thing.

ALL-TOO-OPEN CARRY: Texas students fight new campus gun law with sex toys.

Let the hand-wringing begin:

To my European-born mind, the idea of putting guns into the hands of the immature, excitable and perhaps alcohol-addled borders on madness.

Imagine a professor who gives a student an F and is confronted by an irate individual who might be packing a pistol.

It seems not everyone in Texas is in favor of the idea.

On Wednesday, some students organized an imaginative protest by asking their fellow students to make love not war.

The campaign name is a touch imaginative: Cocks Not Glocks. As the campaign’s website explains, this is all about “Open (Dildo) Carry.”

The tagline is “Fighting Absurdity With Absurdity.” Might it also be, in quite an artistic thrust, a way of confronting America’s tight embrace of guns and tightly wound skittishness toward sex?

I’d guess the Venn overlap between people who embrace guns and those who are tightly wound about sex is slim indeed.

For what it’s worth, concealed carry has been permitted on all the campuses of all 37 Colorado state schools since 2003, with nary a single incident involving a licensed carrier.

FRENCH BURKINI BAN UPDATE: France’s top administrative court has overturned a lower court ruling that upheld banning burkinis. The report notes that the court decision addresses the ban in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet “but the binding decision is expected to set a legal precedent for all municipalities that have issued similar decrees.”

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Clinton Is Making Her Trust Problem Worse.

Bloomberg’s left-leaning Al Hunt:

Her inadequate response to the conflicts of interest inherent in the Clinton Foundation,” the influential liberal columnist Jonathan Chait wrote last week in New York magazine, shows she “has not fully grasped the severity of her reputational problem.” He added, “If the Clinton Foundation is not leveraging the Clinton name, it has no purpose.”

At the same time, I spoke with a prominent Clinton insider, a person of integrity and high ethical standards. He said shutting the Clinton Foundation would hurt millions of people around the world and would be giving in to right-wing critics who will find something else to seize on.

I agree that right-wingers like Representative Jason Chaffetz, Senator Tom Cotton or former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — who seemed to grant himself a medical degree last week when he ludicrously diagnosed Clinton with health problems — will find something. Much of it will be phony.

That is no reason to give them ammunition. Politifact and Jonathan Chait are not part of what Clinton once famously called the “vast right wing conspiracy.”

It’s a safe prediction that Clinton will continue to hand out ammunition.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1205.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Kurt Schlichter: Everything About Hollywood Is Terrible.

As the late Andrew Breitbart once reminded the other media wing of the Democrat party, “it’s not your business model that sucks – it’s you that sucks.”

THE GREAT WHITE HOUSE VACATION HYPOCRISY, as explored by Jonah Goldberg, who notes, “Hurricane Katrina was undoubtedly a huge story, and investigating the federal response to it was squarely in the fourth estate’s wheelhouse. But there’s simply no denying that the news media used that disaster as a partisan cudgel against a Republican president it detested. Worse, the media congratulated themselves endlessly for their Katrina coverage despite the fact that they collectively did a terrible job.”

That depends on how you define their job. Just think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines, and from the MSM’s point of view, their coverage of Katrina was a spectacular success, paying huge dividends in 2006 and 2008, ultimately giving Obama one party control of the House and Senate for his first two years, and allowing him to pass Obamacare. As one of the people who issued the media’s marching orders during that period said shortly before Obama took office, “You never want a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

WELL, YES: Health Care Is A Business, Not A Right:

“The health of Americans should not be a profit center. Health care is a right. Full stop.”

That comes from the Twitter feed of personal finance writer Helaine Olen. But it could have issued straight from the heart of any progressive in the land. Subjecting health care to the sordid whims of the marketplace strikes many people as simply immoral. Nor is this feeling confined to the left. Conservatives may be less enthusiastic about socialized medicine, but talk to one about the health care system, and there’s a good chance you’ll get a rant about greedy insurers nickel-and-diming hardworking consumers when they’re sick. Almost everyone feels that there is something fundamentally wrong about making money off of someone else’s illness.

Why do we feel this way? No, don’t sputter and tell me that it’s obvious, that people need health care. People need a lot of things. You’ll die without food long before you’ll die without health care, and yet few people say we need to “take the profit motive out of farming”. (There are some, to be sure, but this was never a widespread sentiment even when food was a lot scarcer and more expensive). Why is health care special?

Well, in part because politicians can make hay by pretending that it is. But the evolutionary psychology point that comes next is probably valid. But it’s just another one of those aspects of paleolithic-era tribal morality that don’t really work in a modern society — but that politicians eagerly exploit. And the denial can run deep:

Pointing out something the British health system can do that the American system can’t, and doing so in dryly factual tones, seemed like a good way to endear myself to the British audience.

The other guest, a British health official, interrupted to basically accuse me of lying; the British health system, he said, did no such thing.

Now I reiterate: I had not called NICE a death panel, or said that it was bad; I had simply described what NICE does, which is keep the NHS from blowing its budget on very expensive treatments that deliver relatively little value per pound spent. You can read NICE describing what NICE does on its website; the description is not significantly different from the one I gave. Being told that this was flat out wrong was surreal. Things got even more surreal when I began again to explain what NICE does, thinking that perhaps I had been unclear, and the host interrupted me and said something like “As you know, that’s false.”

Why such a strong emotional reaction to a boring factual statement? My conclusion, having read Hanson, was that people don’t want to think their health care system might let them die because it’s too expensive to keep them alive. They don’t like it any better when the government does it than when an insurer does — and so the government is at pains to suggest that cost is not a factor in their calculations.

But, you know, it is. Give Obama credit for some honesty saying that Grandma would just have to take a pain pill.

BEN SHAPIRO: The Left Wins because It Fights Politics on the Field of Morality.

Krauthammer’s Law defines the left’s Manichean worldview thusly: “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil,” Charles Krauthammer wrote in 2002. And viewing someone of a differing ideology as being evil is a very different stance than viewing him as simply uninformed or otherwise somehow misguided.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Damn the Foreign Policy Specificity—Trump, Full Speed Ahead!

MEANWHILE, OVER AT VODKAPUNDIT: Trump vs Clinton — The Race of the Cripples.

FIVE DECADES OF WAR IN COLOMBIA: The Economist looks at the August 24th peace deal and calls it “a somewhat just peace.” StrategyPage examined the deal earlier in the month (August 8). As The Economist notes, the date for the referendum has now been set: October 2.

UPDATE: Spelling corrected.

TRIAGE: Whose Lives Should Be Saved? Researchers Ask the Public.

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It’s also important to keep in mind the perspective of scale. Barack Obama’s rallies filled whole stadiums in 2008, but he still won a smaller share of the vote than George H.W. Bush in 1988 and even Warren G. Harding in 1920. Approximately 130 million Americans will participate in the November election—a number that dwarfs even the largest political rally, a thousand of times over. Using crowd sizes to gauge general election support is like using a twelve-inch ruler to measure the height of the Empire State building; it’s a bad tool.

Read the whole thing.

IT WOULD HAVE HELPED HIM IN THE GOP PRIMARIES IF HE’D DONE THIS LAST YEAR: Chris Christie proposes making N.J. a “shall issue” state in latest gun control veto. Quoth Christie: ”I continue to oppose the relentless campaign by the Democratic legislature to make New Jersey as inhospitable as possible to lawful gun ownership and sales. Instead of remaining an outlier with overly burdensome restrictions of questionable constitutionality, New Jersey should follow the lead of the vast majority of states across the country and simplify, not complicate, the ability of responsible citizens, dealers and retailers, to buy, sell and possess firearms as protected by the Second Amendment.”

Say, maybe we can get national carry even under Hillary, if the NRA just makes a big donation to the Clinton Foundation. . . .

WHY JUDGES MATTER: Big Labor Tries To Eliminate Right-To-Work By Lawsuit.

MEANWHILE, IN MY HOMETOWN: Maryville chief: Officer shot, killed after responding to domestic call.

Related: Residents, agencies show support for Maryville Police after officer killed. For some reason they haven’t released the name yet, though it’s all over social media. I’m not repeating it in case the posts are wrong.

FOX BUTTERFIELD FILES FROM FRANCE: “Burkini Sales Go Up 200 Percent Since French Ban: ‘No Man Can Tell Us What to Wear,’” writes Time magazine headline writer, oblivious to irony.

(Classical allusion in headline.)

SPRING FASCISM PREVIEW: Clintons Already Planning Next Stage of Corruption.

(Classical reference in headline.)

ROLL CALL: Biden’s ‘Expectation’ Is Obama Will Close Gitmo Prison.

PUSHBACK: Poll: Vast Majority Of Germans In Favor Of Burqa Ban.

COMING SOON: FREXIT? French support for the EU project is crumbling on the Left and Right.

BIRDS DO IT, BEES DO IT, EVEN OLD-FASHIONED CISGENDERED FLEAS DO IT: Zoos Are Polluting Our Children’s Minds With Dangerous Gender Stereotypes (Study).

POLL: Majority of voters want Johnson on debate stage.

The majority of American voters want to see Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson participate in the presidential debates, a new poll released Thursday shows.

The Quinnipiac University poll shows 62 percent of likely voters nationally say Johnson should be included in the debates this year.

Republicans and Democrats feel similarly about the issue, the poll indicates, with 60 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of Republicans saying Johnson should be allowed to debate Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Among independent voters, 69 percent think Johnson should be allowed to participate in the presidential debates.

As Trump and Clinton experience record low favorability numbers among the electorate, Johnson hopes more voters will flock to third-party candidates and help him claim a spot on the debate stage to increase his national exposure.

I’m as lukewarm on Johnson as he is on libertarianism. But I’d like to see him on the stage.

TORONTO STAR WRITER WANTS AIR SHOW ABOLISHED BECAUSE IT “TRAUMATIZES” REFUGEES: “He complains that it is too loud, but more importantly, that many of ‘our neighbours’ who have fled war torn lands might be ‘traumatized’ by this ‘antiquated’ display of military might. I guess Smith doesn’t realize that many of the ‘neighbours’ Smith pretends to care about were liberated by good guys flying jets just like the ones Torontonians will flock to watch on the weekend.”

Well, that’s one way to land a cushy gig with CNN or AP.

CHICKENS, ROOST: Obamacare sticker shock hits key Senate races.

Senate Democrats might yet snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

AREN’T THEY ALL THIS YEAR? It’s Official: Gary Johnson Is A Left-Wing Candidate — Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson just came out in favor of a big new carbon tax. What the heck is going on here?

At least when it comes to politicians, Newsweek wasn’t kidding in 2009, were they?


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Richmond Welcomes 112 1Ls, Down 36% From Last Year’s 175.

August 25, 2016

I THINK THIS IS RIGHT: Democrats Have Cried Wolf On Racism So Often That This Won’t Help Them Much.

Hillary led off her speech calling Trump a racist and a race-baiter with the same sort of hackneyed misinterpretation Americans have come to expect from Democrats. Joe Biden once said that eminently non-racist, classy Mitt Romney wanted to put people back in chains; it doesn’t go very far when Hillary calls Trump racist for telling black people that they live in poverty and without proper education and home ownership – particularly when Democrats tell black Americans the same thing routinely. Hearing Hillary talk up the “vibrancy of black-owned businesses…or the strength of the black church” is ridiculous, since we know that if Trump said the exact same thing, she’d label him – wait for it – an out-of-touch racist. Trump pointed this out before the speech, and he’s right, at least in that respect.


Hillary doesn’t get to say this. She and her husband destroyed Bob Dole as a human being. She routinely savaged George W. Bush. Her party ripped apart John McCain. And this year, Hillary declared Republicans her enemies. The only good Republicans are the ones in her memory.

Yep. Every four years the GOP nominee is literally Hitler, only to be resurrected as one of the “good Republicans” later in contrast to the new guy who’s literally Hitler.

SORRY, NOT FOR ME: The Joy Of Working At 4 AM. Honestly, if I had my druthers I’d keep my student hours, staying up until 3 and sleeping to 11 am. My most productive hours were always between 11 pm and 2 am. Sadly, that’s not conducive to a good domestic life, especially when you’re married to a morning person.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Stop What You’re Doing and Update Your iPhone Right Now.

ACTUALLY, SHE’S JUST HOPING NO PICTURES OF BILL COME OUT BEFORE THE ELECTION: Hillary Clinton Talking About Revenge Porn Is So Important For The Battle Against Online Harassment.

NO: Whiskey’s Next Wave Is Lighter, Mellower, Made for Millennials.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: My latest New York Observer “War On Honesty” column examines a national disgrace, the Clinton State-Foundation.

YA THINK? The Economic Stimulus Perplex: Could Regulation Be the Problem? Progressives and the failure of massive government spending to boost jobs and economic growth.

n his column, Samuelson asks, “What ails the private sector? Can we do anything about it? Those are the crucial questions.”

Perhaps the answer to what ails the private sector is excessive regulation. A recent study by the conservative American Action Forum estimates that the Obama administration is on track to adopt over 600 major regulations (those costing more than $100 million each) by the end of the president’s term. The total cost of complying with all of the new regulations will add up to $813 billion. The libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute calculates that extent and cost of Washington’s rules and mandates is $1.8 trillion annually, amounting to about $15,000 per household each year. Even the New York Times on Sunday called President Obama, the regulator-in-chief whose new rules have “imposed billions of dollars in new costs on businesses and consumers.”

I have reported earlier analyses that found that regulatory drag has made the U.S. economy $4 trillion smaller than it would otherwise have been. That amounts to a lot of foregone jobs and consumption. I would like to suggest that hugely escalating regulatory costs under the Obama administration have mostly offset whatever the benefits that orthodox Keynesians would expect from economic stimulus. In other words, President Obama has been trying to use Keynesian stimulation to rev the economy while simultaneously jamming down hard on the regulatory brakes.

Well, regulation is an important source of graft.

THEY’LL BE RELEASED SEPTEMBER 13: A federal court has ordered the State Department to hand over another batch of Clinton emails by September 13. Given the way the State Department and the Obama Administration obstruct justice we may see them September 13, 2033, if ever.

Get this:

Judicial Watch said the department has admitted in a court filing that some of the emails that Clinton had deleted included some “Benghazi-related documents.” That case involves emails between Clinton and the White House in the week after the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans.

Weren’t these supposed to be personal emails? Didn’t Hillary tell us they were about Chelsea’s wedding and yoga classes?

THE DAMAGE DONE BY COMMUNISM IS LONG-LASTING AND EXPENSIVE: Germany: Former East to lag behind West for years to come.



The two big questions about them encapsulate their ambiguous status—on the boundaries of races and territories, and between suffering and hope, imagination and fact. Where did the Melungeons come from? And do they still exist?


Interest in soft robots has taken off in recent years, as engineers look beyond rigid Terminator-type machines to designs that can squeeze into tight spaces, mould to their surroundings, or handle delicate objects safely. But engineering soft versions of key parts has challenged researchers. “The brains, the electronics, the batteries—those components were all hard,” says roboticist Daniela Rus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “This work is new and really exciting.”

The octobot is made of silicone rubber. Its ‘brain’ is a flexible microfluidic circuit that directs the flow of liquid fuel through channels using pressure-activated valves and switches. “It’s an analogy of what would be an electrical circuit normally,” says engineer Robert Wood at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of the study’s leaders. “Instead of passing electrons around, we’re passing liquids and gases.”

The prototype in the video doesn’t do much, or do it quickly. But it’s a fascinating proof-of-concept.

IF TRUMP IS SUCH A HORRIBLE RACIST, WHY DID HILLARY ATTEND HIS WEDDING? OH, RIGHT, SHE WAS PAID TO. Clinton links Trump to racists, declares him unfit for office. Standing up to racism boldly — unless someone offers you money!

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Can porn star-turned-Bollywood actress Sunny Leone teach India to be cool about sex?

WELCOME NATIONAL COMPANY OF THE WIZ, SPINAL TAP AND HILLARY CLINTON: Hillary’s ‘Kimmel’ Appearance Beaten in Ratings by ‘Teen Mom’ and ‘Friends’ Reruns.

JOHN SCHINDLER: Hillary’s Secret Kremlin Connection Is Quickly Unraveling.

As part of the reset, Hillary encouraged and enabled American and European investment in Russia, particularly in high-tech firms. A key role was played by the Skolkovo Innovation Center, a sprawling complex in Moscow’s western suburbs that was established in 2009 as Russia’s answer to Silicon Valley. With encouragement from the State Department, American companies jumped aboard. Cisco pledged $1 billion of investment in Skolkovo in 2010, and Google and Intel quickly joined the bandwagon. All three “just happened” to be major investors in the Clinton Foundation too.

This was the consistent pattern. As Schweizer explained, “Of the 28 U.S., European and Russian companies that participated in Skolkovo, 17 of them were Clinton Foundation donors” or had hired former President Clinton to give speeches. How much money these Skolkovo benefactors gave to Clinton, Inc. cannot yet be determined, but Schweizer concluded that it’s somewhere between $6.5 million and $23.5 million, with the proviso that since the Clinton Foundation has yet to reveal all its donors, the true figure could be much higher.

Then there’s the matter of what Skolkovo actually is. In truth, it’s nothing like Silicon Valley except in outward appearance. It’s a fully state-driven enterprise—funded largely by the Kremlin and acting on its orders. It does the bidding of the Russian government, and President Putin has taken intense interest in his high-tech complex, understanding its value to the country’s defense and security sector.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that Western intelligence considers Skolkovo to be an extension of Russia’s military-industrial complex—and its intelligence services.

Smoke, meet fire.

Just earlier today, Ruth Marcus had the gall to write that “Obliging a Donor Is Not Necessarily Criminal” in her latest gambit to help circle the wagons for Clinton.

Anyway, read the whole, sordid thing.

HERE’S VIDEO of the sunken U.S.S. Independence aircraft carrier.

FEDS TOLD TO FIND THE FUGITIVE FELONS LIVING IN PUBLIC HOUSING AND EVICT THEM: Does good old fashioned shoe-leather reporting still make a difference? Consider Ethan Barton of the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group. His work exposed the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s failure to enforce the law barring fugitive felons from living in public housing.

And now, as Barton reports today, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley is telling the HUD Inspector General to stop playing games about a previously unpublished 2012 report. That document estimated that 1,300 fugitive felons were living in public housing in just one HUD region. Grassley thinks it’s time for government officials to get serious about finding such fugitives and removing them, as required by federal law.

“’It is troubling that the full number of wanted fugitive felons living in public housing remains unknown, unexplained, undocumented and unjustified,’ the Iowa Republican wrote in a letter to HUD Inspector General (IG) David Montoya Wednesday. ‘Tenants deserve to know if a wanted fugitive felon is living in the same housing project.’

“So, Grassley wants the HUD IG to do ‘a thorough, nationwide investigation into the number of wanted fugitive felons living in public housing and the adequacy of controls in place to prevent that from occurring. The American people need assurance that HUD is enforcing the law and ensuring the safety and security of public housing tenants.’”

Grassley’s directive culminated a process that began several weeks ago when Barton first reported the 2012 document. When he asked the IG what was done about the 1,300 fugitive felons, he got the run-around and a claim the report was never published because it was based on faulty data. But what made the data faulty was never explained, to Barton or to Grassley.

It will take a while but ultimately Grassley’s directive should result in hundreds of dangerous criminals being removed from public housing and brought to justice. No telling how many murders and rapes will never happen now because a persistent journalist refused to go away.



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A STREET CAR NAMED STATE DEPARTMENT: “I have always depended on the kindness of donors.”


—Headline, the Guardian, yesterday.

—Headline, the Guardian, May 10, 2013.

—Headline, the Guardian, January 16, 2012.

—Headline, the Guardian, January 1, 2011.


JOEL KOTKIN on why Blue cities are such cesspits of inequality.

There’s little argument that inequality, and the depressed prospects for the middle class, will be a dominant issue in this year’s election, and beyond. Yet the class divide is not monolithic in its nature, causes, or geography. To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, some places are more unequal than others.

Housing represents a central, if not dominant, factor in the rise of inequality. Although the cost of food, fuel, electricity, and tax burdens vary, the largest variation tends to be in terms of housing prices. Even adjusted for income, the price differentials for houses in places like the San Francisco Bay Area or Los Angeles are commonly two to three times as much as in most of the country, including the prosperous cities of Texas, the mid-south and the Intermountain West.

These housing differences also apply to rents, which follow the trajectory of home prices. In many markets, particularly along the coast, upwards of 40% of renters and new buyers spend close to half their income on housing. This has a particularly powerful impact on the poor, the working class, younger people, and middle class families, all of whom find their upward trajectory blocked by steadily rising housing costs.

In response to higher prices, many Americans, now including educated Millennials, are heading to parts of the country where housing is more affordable. Jobs too have been moving to such places, particularly in Texas, the southeast and the Intermountain West. As middle income people head for more affordable places, the high-priced coastal areas are becoming ever more sharply bifurcated, between a well-educated, older, and affluent population and a growing rank of people with little chance to ever buy a house or move solidly into the middle class.

Ironically, these divergences are taking place precisely in those places where political rhetoric over inequality is often most heated and strident. Progressive attempts, such as raising minimum wages, attempt to address the problem, but often other policies, notably strict land-use regulation, exacerbate inequality.

The other major divide is not so much between regions but within them. Even in expensive regions, middle class families tend to cluster in suburban and exurban areas, which are once again growing faster than areas closer to the core. Progressive policies in some states, such as Oregon and California, have been calculated to slow suburban growth and force density onto often unwilling communities. By shutting down the production of family-friendly housing, these areas are driving prices up and, to some extent, driving middle and working class people out of whole regions.

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

HE’D NEVER DO THAT WITH ISLAM: University of Texas prof mocks NRA, Christianity with satirical prayers.

VIDEO DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Prager University’s Conservative Student’s Survival Guide:

THAT WAS FAST: Trump-Pence now on the Minnesota ballot.

Ryan Furlong, a spokesman for Minnesota’s secretary of State’s office, said that Trump’s filing is completed and the GOP ticket will appear on the office’s website listing those on the ballot soon.

He noted that major party candidates have until Monday to file for ballot access.

Minutes after The Hill spoke to Furlong, Trump and running mate Mike Pence’s names were on the secretary of State’s website.

NBC affiliate KARE11 in Minneapolis reported earlier in the day that the state’s Republican Party hadn’t filed paperwork for Trump to get on the ballot.

I wonder what happened to the state GOP’s legal requirement to “officially elect alternate electors” outlined last night by Michael Brodkorb.

(Hat tip, Glenn!)

SAINT ATILLA RAISED RAISED THE HAND GRENADE UP ON HIGH: Crusader-era hand grenade surprises archaeologists.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Here’s everything scientists know about how to avoid ageing.


To hear liberal pundits such as Robert Reich, Bernie Sanders and Michael Moore tell it, the 1950s were the golden age of the American middle class, when unionized factory workers took home good wages from jobs “making things”, when a 91 percent top marginal tax rate kept “the rich” in check, and when proceeds from those taxes funded wonderful programs that helped us all, such as the Interstate Highway Program and the G.I. Bill.  Budgets were balanced and people were happy.

Things worked then, they tell us, so why don’t we go back to the policies (and, in particular, the tax rates) that led to such prosperity?  We don’t need 91 percent rates again (as Senator Sanders and others will concede) just much higher rates on the rich, enough to pay for the kind of social programs that, presumably, will magically transform the U.S. into a larger version of Denmark.

This is lunacy, of course, but it is lunacy eagerly embraced by those too young to remember the 1950s, by those too historically ignorant to know anything about the 1950s and by those too intellectually dishonest (such as Professor Reich) to present an objective view of what the 1950s were really like – for workers, for the U.S. government, and for the general population.

Read the whole thing.

I’m old enough to remember when the left viewed the 1950s as an era of bland ideological conformity and paranoid red baiting. It’s certainly good that the left wouldn’t allow the pitfalls of that decade to occur today.

AN ALTERNATE THEORY: Berkeley’s Soda Sin Tax Seems to Be Working, But Probably Just Because It’s Berkeley.

Makes sense to me.

WHY ARE DEMOCRAT-RUN CITIES SUCH CESSPITS OF SURVEILLANCE? Baltimore police respond to report they secretly spied on city with aerial surveillance tech from Iraq War.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE:  The War Intensifies, Michael Ledeen writes. “The enemy knows that Obama’s leaving in 5 months, so it’s best to grab while the grabbing’s easy. Bad times indeed.”

Not at all — just more and more “peace in our time,” as Obama promised would be forthcoming at the start of his second term.


WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: The world’s first network of fully self-driving taxis is up and running.

NuTonomy, a self-driving company that spun out of MIT and is based in Singapore and Cambridge, Mass., has just launched the first-ever public test of a commercial fleet of fully self-driving cars.

The company, which will be testing its ride-hail service in a Singaporean business district called 1 North, has been testing its self-driving technology in the area since April and was chosen to be the Singapore government’s official partner in the development of this technology earlier this month. NuTonomy plans to deploy a full fleet of vehicles — at least 1,000 — in Singapore by 2018.

Through the test, a select number of people will be able to hail one of six nuTonomy cars — either a Renault Zoe or a Mitsubishi i-MiEV that the company has retrofitted with sensory and self-driving technology — using the company’s proprietary ride-hail app. A nuTonomy engineer will remain on board to ensure the system is working properly and to take over if needed.

The real test will be if passengers are still willing to enter cabs without a nuTonomy engineer.

I’M SURE FEMINISTS WOULD DISAGREE, but I think it’s admirable to work to stay attractive for your spouse.


Meanwhile, increasing chatter about Hillary’s admitted medical condition, hypothyroidism.

By the way, the media is of course in Circle the Wagons mode around Hillary.

CNN’s very liberal media critic (would they hire any other kind?) calls Sean Hannity’s questions about Hillary’s health “reckless.”

And yet his colleague at CNN, Sanjay Gupta, has penned an article asking if Trump is at high risk for heart disease.

Will Stetler mention this? Of course not; the Guild knows its own and the Guild protects its own.

In May of 2008, Gupta also strongly questioned then 71 year old John McCain’s health — including his mental health as a former POW — during an interview with Katie Couric, in order to help CBS and Time-Warner-CNN-HBO’s preferred candidate to cross the finish line. ABC’s Charles Gibson also asked that same month if McCain had sustained any “psychological damage,” as NewsBusters notes in a post today headlined “Nets Skeptical of McCain Health in 2008, Worried About Mental Fitness.”

UNSETTLED: Supposed ‘Ground Breaking’ Study Only Proves Warming Proponents Have Jumped The Shark.

They called it a “ground breaking study,” I call it rubbish. This new study claims that global warming began in 1830 just when the industrial revolution began to pick up steam (no pun intended). What they didn’t take into account was just around the same time the Earth was coming out of an unusually cold 40-year period caused by low sunspot activity called the Dalton Minimum (no relation to Timothy Dalton).

Read the whole thing.

AT THIS POINT, PROBABLY: Is Doomsday Inevitable For Venezuela?

The problems could grow worse. Several oil service companies suspended or slowed operations in Venezuela this year due to difficulties in obtaining payment from the state-run oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). Contractors have cut back on drilling in Venezuela amid rising unpaid debt, which threatens to take Venezuela’s output down even further.

On June 28th 2016, Baker Hughes reported that the number of oil rigs in Venezuela dropped from 69 to 59 in May of this year. The CEO of the Italian oil and gas contractor Saipem SpA said that in April the company had suspended 89 percent of its operation rigs in Venezuela (25 of its 28 rigs). Other companies as Schlumberger or Halliburton Co are reducing their activities in Venezuela because of unpaid services bills. Venezuela’s active rig count, a good indication of future production, fell from 71 to 49 in July according to Baker Hughes, the lowest since the end of 2011.

That’s some bad luck, eh?

The author adds, “Even if oil prices increase, the situation is very complicated for Venezuela’s economy.” Those “complications” can be reduced to just three words: Chavez, Maduro, and socialism — but you won’t find those words anywhere in this report.

SECOND EARTH DISCOVERED, ACCORDING TO THE LONDON SUN. They’re not saying it’s aliens – but it’s aliens.


MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Hillary Clinton’s Cash-For-Access Diplomacy.

UM: Trump, Pence not yet on MN ballot.

Tuesday was the deadline for non-major party candidates for President and Vice President to file the necessary paperwork to be on the ballot in Minnesota. There is no filing fee for presidential candidates, but non-major party candidates must submit a 2,000-signature petition.

According to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, these are the candidates who have filed to be on the ballot…

The list doesn’t include Donald Trump or Mike Pence.

The deadline for major party candidates to file isn’t until August 29, but there’s a hitch.

It isn’t as though Trump has a serious shot at Minnesota, but this doesn’t look good for the state GOP.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Trump’s on the ballot now.

WHY OBAMA LET IRAN’S GREEN REVOLUTION FAIL: Eli Lake at Bloomberg News discusses a new book by The Wall Street Journal‘s Jay Solomon, The Iran Wars.


…Obama wasn’t just reluctant to show solidarity in 2009, he feared the demonstrations would sabotage his secret outreach to Iran…Behind the scenes, Obama overruled advisers who wanted to do what America had done at similar transitions from dictatorship to democracy, and signal America’s support.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1204.

ISLAMIC JIHAD’S MOST EFFECTIVE WEAPONS: Ignorance and complacency are the west’s undoing, David Solway writes.

Read the whole thing.


ED MORRISSEY: Hillary Lied, Withheld Evidence, Traded Power for Money, and Could Be President: Have Americans buried their moral compass and settled for “transactional politics?”

One thing I’ve learned about the power of “mainstream” media is that while they can no longer keep stories out of the public eye, their power to gin up, or quash, public outrage remains enormous.

UPDATE: So true:

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 11.01.14 AM

KEVIN D. WILLIAMSON: The real scandal of EpiPen pricing.

Bernie Sanders doesn’t have the first clue how an EpiPen works or what went into developing it, but he’s sure he knows what one should cost, and he’s sure who should decide — him. You know what Bernie Sanders is? He’s a bum. He was damn near 40 years old before he ever found his way into a full-time job, and that was in elected office; before that, he collected benefits, sold his creepy rape fantasies for left-wing newspapers at $50 a pop, and never lifted a finger toward any genuinely productive enterprise. He’s been suckling greedily at the public teat since way back when he could remember where his car keys are. Funny thing, though: Now he’s a bum with a third home on the waterfront of a Vermont island worth the better part of a million dollars. Every good apparatchik eventually gets his dacha.

Mrs. Clinton is a bum and a crook who used the State Department as a funnel to guide the money of favor-seeking business interests at home and abroad into the Clinton Foundation, a sham charity that exists to pay six-figure salaries to Clintons (Chelsea is full-time executive there) and their courtiers.

These people are parasites. They make: nothing. They create: nothing. They produce: nothing. But they feel perfectly justified — they positively glow with moral frisson — standing between the people who create and build and the people who benefit from those creations.

Besides, the money to pay for ObamaCare’s medical device tax has to come from somewhere.

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: “Safe Spaces” Are For Losers.

Academics around the country are embracing the relatively new trend of using trigger warnings to shield students from ideas that might be discomforting or trauma-inducing. These ideas often include topics that touch on “racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression.”

Though there is some debate surrounding how widespread the use of trigger warnings actually is, a survey conducted last year by the National Coalition Against Censorship found that a majority of educators had used trigger warnings at one time or another.

Similarly, many universities are creating “safe spaces” where students can relax free from ideas that might be stressful or anxiety-inducing. Among these is Brown University, which last year created a room “with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies” because a debate on sexual assault was taking place on campus.

Other universities have canceled “controversial” speakers—Condoleezza Rice, George Will, Jason Riley, and Michelle Malkin, among them—under pressure from faculty or students.

Apparently not all universities are on board with this trend. The University of Chicago recently made it clear to its crop of incoming students that academic freedom and inquiry remain pillars at the institution, and that the university does not support “so-called” trigger warnings or offer safe spaces that allow students “to retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own. Here is how the university welcomed its incoming class of 2020:

Welcome and congratulations on your acceptance to the college at the University of Chicago. Earning a place in our community of scholars is no small achievement and we are delighted that you selected Chicago to continue your intellectual journey.

Once here you will discover that one of the University of Chicago’s defining characteristics is our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression. … Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn, without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others. You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.

And then, the coup de grace:

Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.

This is how a university should act.

COULTER TURNS ON TRUMP: Woman Who Wrote ‘In Trump We Trust’ Goes on Tweetstorm About Why We Can’t Trust Trump.

She’s also threatened to cancel her book tour.

AMERICAN BREXIT? NIGEL FARAGE JOINS TRUMP IN JACKSON, MS: Farage’s Brexit surprised all the pollsters. Could Trump do the same here?, asks Roger Simon, who’s on the road, camera in hand, at Trump’s latest rally.

Nigel Farage, ex-leader of the British UKIP party, speaks as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, listens, at Trump's campaign rally in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert.)

Nigel Farage, ex-leader of the British UKIP party, speaks as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, listens, at Trump’s campaign rally in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert.)

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: U.S. Army Fears Major War Likely Within Five Years — But Lacks The Money To Prepare.

Senior Army officials are circumspect about discussing the danger in open forums — they don’t want to advertise U.S. vulnerabilities — but it seems clear that the Obama administration’s “pivot to the Pacific” announced in 2012 has created a geopolitical vacuum stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Persian Gulf that Russia and Iran are trying to fill. Meanwhile, the unpredictable government of North Korea continues its bellicose behavior toward the South, which the U.S. is pledged to defend.

The “pivot” hasn’t amounted to much, but the vacuum left in Europe and the Mediterranean is quite real.

ADVICE: Make Babies, and Don’t Let the Greens Guilt Trip You about It.

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