December 10, 2016

BEST THING ABOUT A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT USED TO BE THAT THE MEDIA REMEMBERED TO DO THEIR JOB: Now I think they’ll just go crazier. Requiem for a Narrative.  Instead of the endless summer of recovery, we’ll have the endless winter of the media’s discontent.  And they don’t even realize that in the end, it’s their credibility they’re burying.

THIS PARTICULAR DUMB IS EVERYWHERE:  Dumbest Thing I’ve Seen on the Internet Today.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS WOULD TRY TO CENSOR JOURNALISTS:  Mika Brzezinski says Clinton camp tried to pull her off the air.  … And they were right.

December 9, 2016

TROUBLE IN FOXLAND? Staffers Hope to See the Last of Me-Again Kelly.

AT AMAZON, Secret Santa Gifts.

WELL, THAT’S GOOD BECAUSE AS WE LEARNED A FEW YEARS AGO, GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWNS ARE WORSE THAN TERRORISM: Shutdown averted as Manchin caves on spending bill.

#JOURNALISM: Fake News, Fake Boos, as bogus report that Trump crowd booed John Glenn has to be taken down.

Flashback: AP’s bogus 2004 story claiming that Bush crowd booed Bill Clinton on report of health problems is taken down.

While I was away over the weekend, the AP issued a retraction on their story about the Wisconsin Republicans booing George W. Bush’s well-wishes for Bill Clinton. It’s about time.

Still, the official retraction comes a bit late, and on the heels of a troubling attempt to whitewash the record. Also, with no explanation as to how the error was made, or which reporter made the mistake (remember, there were five reporters listed on the story), AP leaves itself open to charges of political bias so deep that it affects reporting and management decisions. I’d like to think better of America’s preeminent wire service–so why won’t they just come out and give a 500 word narrative of what happened?

Or, if the AP isn’t going to fess up by themselves, why are all the big media reporters silent?

More on that here. Maybe they’re not actually getting worse. Maybe they were always that bad, and they’re just getting caught more often.

UPDATE: “Fake News” and the Boston Globe’s fictionalized Trump-dystopia front page. “Is that ground-zero of the ‘fake news’ subject? Maybe all the later effort to point to pro-Trump things as fake was generated to cover up the embarrassing Boston Globe screwup.”

Related: NYT anti-Trump headlines are getting pretty funny.

IT’S GOING TO BE A LONG FOUR – OR EIGHT! – YEARS FOR THE MANIC-DEPRESSIVE LEFT. Jon Gabriel: Pace yourselves, Trump critics.

SHOCKER: “The cliché is real, folks. The homeless matter again.”

THE TANTRUMS ARE CONTINUING: Yes, this column is now a week old, but it’s still relevant. Jill Glam and Hillary Scam have their minions counting. Today Kellyanne Conway said she’s getting death threats. Apparently electors are still being harassed. Where’s the FBI?

2016, MAN: Robin Williams, Tupac arrested on drug charges near Payson, AZ.

IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN’T DO? Make Your Own Glow-in-the-Dark Beer With Fluorescent Yeast.

Josiah Zayner left his job in synthetic biology to start his own company, The Odin, which has a goal of increasing the accessibility of science and technology research, as Gizmodo reports. Zayner and The Odin produce kits for interested parties to conduct their own experiments, of sorts, and this bioluminescent beer kit is no different.

The fluorescent yeast kit uses a gene from a jellyfish and retails for $199. It requires about 10 hours of work over the span of two days before a user can get down to brewing.

“There is no impact on the flavor of the beer with the GFP engineering kit,” Zayner tells Eater. “You can literally add the engineered yeast to honey and water (or mash or wort) and the yeast will ferment and fluoresce.”

This is pretty much exactly the 21st Century I’ve come to expect.

WAIT, WHAT? Uber Says You Can’t Flirt In Its Cars.

KNOWING YOUR GEOGRAPHY CAN BE USEFUL: African migrants storm Ceuta. It’s a massive break-in. Ceuta is a Spanish enclave in Africa, so it’s Europe in Africa. It’s across the strait from Gibraltar. (According to some, Ceuta is the southern pillar — as in the Pillars of Hercules.)

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Leftist Students Shouted ‘F*ck You B*itch’ at the Gay Director of a Pro-Trans Movie, Boys Don’t Cry.

“Reed College, by the way charges, $50,000 a year for tuition. The opportunity to scream insults at a queer film director whose perspective is mildly different from today’s leftist students is certainly an expensive privilege.” Parents and students, spend your money wisely.

I DON’T LIKE THE INTERNET OF THINGS: Another Lawsuit Highlights How Many ‘Smart’ Toys Violate Privacy, Aren’t Secure.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Graphene And Silly Putty Make Sensor That Can Detect Heart Rate, Spider Footsteps.

MORE CARTEL WAR CASUALTIES: Three federal policemen were murdered and their bodies burned in Mexico’s Guerrero state. Their killers claimed the cops were crooked. Who knows the truth? The Cartel War officially began in December 2006. Mexico was battling well-financed criminal organizations long before December 2006, but that’s the month former President Calderon decided to use military forces to fight the cartels. That means we’re looking at a sad tenth anniversary. Here’s the StrategyPage Mexico update from ten years ago (mid- to late December 2006). Note the Mexican Army begins its Michoacan state operation on December 11.

Here’s a column on the Cartel War written in early 2008 — at the 13-month mark. It’s still useful background. This column’s from June 2013 and looks at President Enrique Pena Nieto’s decision to send a military-led expedition into Michoacan state.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Obama’s Second Term Was a Complete Failure.

As the Professor warned in the middle of Obama’s first term, “Up to now, comparisons with Carter were a tool of Obama’s critics. From now on, they’re likely to be a tool of his defenders. Because as bad as Carter was, Obama is shaping up to be worse. Much worse.”

SPYING: The NSA Spied on Cell Phones on Airplanes in Mid-Flight.

YOU KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO NEED THEM: AmazonBasics AA Performance Alkaline Batteries (48-Pack), $11.02.

FORGET DRAINING THE SWAMP. MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Make D.C. a swamp again: Trump is scaring progressive hipsters away, he should send federal workers after them. “I propose that over the next several years, we transfer a lot of federal employees out of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, to parts of the country that aren’t doing so well economically. This would provide a boost to places like Buffalo, New York, or Quincy, Illinois, or Fresno, California, while getting federal bureaucrats out of the D.C. bubble.”

INFECTIOUS DISEASE: DNA From 17th Century Mummy Of A Child From Lithuania May Rewrite History Of Smallpox.

The researchers captured, sequenced, and completely reconstructed the smallpox DNA and then compared the strain to those from modern samples dating between 1940 and 1977, when the last known case of the disease occurred in Somalia.

The findings showed that the evolution of the smallpox virus happened more recently than previously believed and that the ancestor of all available smallpox viral strains were no older than 1580 albeit it is not yet clear what animal is the true reservoir of the pathogen and when the virus first jumped from animals to humans.

The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Current Biology on Dec. 8, also found that the evolution of the pathogen into two circulating strains, the variola major and minor, occurred after 1796, after scientist Edward Jenner came up with a vaccine.

“Our data clearly show that the VARV lineages eradicated during the 20th century had only been in existence for ∼200 years, at a time of rapidly expanding human movement and population size in the face of increasingly widespread inoculation and vaccination,” the researchers wrote in their study.

It’s a little unsettling that something so deadly and virulent could erupt so suddenly.

SPYING: Maker of Internet of Things-connected vibrator will settle privacy suit.

ZERO MEASURE OF DEVOTION: Vets group blasts ‘secret’ VA ratings system.

A veterans group has blasted the Department of Veterans Affairs over leaked internal documents showing dozens of medical facilities performing at below-average levels.

USA Today obtained the documents and published them Wednesday, revealing the secret system.

The VA had previously refused to make the ratings public, claiming the system is for internal use only. It rates each of the VA’s medical centers on a scale of one to five, with one being the worst.

Roughly 45 facilities — many in the Upper Midwest and the Northeast — performed at an above-average rating, the report said, while 40 were below average.

The worst performing centers are in Dallas and El Paso, Texas, and in Nashville, Memphis and Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The documents also show that some medical centers have not improved despite scandals and scrutiny from Congress. The Phoenix VA still sits at a one-star rating despite a 2014 scandal revealing veterans died while waiting for care and that staff manipulated wait-time data there and at other VA hospitals across the country.

The VA announced last October it plans to allocate $28 million to the Phoenix center in addition to its annual budget.

Abolish the VA and give vets vouchers for the private health coverage of their choice.

MAY BE? Keeping Too Many Documents Secret May be Wasting Billions of Dollars.

HEALTH: 1 Patient, 7 Tumors and 100 Billion Cells Equal 1 Striking Recovery. “The remarkable recovery of a woman with advanced colon cancer, after treatment with cells from her own immune system, may lead to new options for thousands of other patients with colon or pancreatic cancer, researchers are reporting. Her treatment was the first to successfully target a common cancer mutation that scientists have tried to attack for decades. Until now, that mutation has been bulletproof, so resistant to every attempt at treatment that scientists have described it as ‘undruggable.'”

MEANWHILE, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE: Democrats Plan Fight to Save Obamacare.

The emerging strategy is centered around highlighting people who have benefited from the law and who would lose insurance coverage or key consumer protections if it goes away. “We have to lead with them and their stories,” said Jeremy Bird, a Democratic strategist who served in senior roles for both President Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012 and Hillary Clinton’s campaign this year. “This is about what Trump and the Republicans want to take away from working families across the country, and we have to make that very clear this is what we’re talking about.”

Organizers say they’ll announce details about the coalition on Friday, but the efforts could include rallies both in Washington and in the states and districts of Republican members of Congress. It might also involve television advertising, although Bird said the most important part of the drive would be mobilizing constituents—including Trump voters who would be negatively affected by repeal—on the ground across the country. “I think that’s more important than some barrage of national ads,” Bird said. “That strategy is not going to work anymore in the future. It’s got to be about grassroots organizing. It’s got to be about real people who are constituents of these folks making it known.”

This sounds all-too nice. Because it is.

If you — or GOP lawmakers — aren’t mentally prepared for the howls, the accusations of racism/sexism/etc, the tales of woe, and the panic-mongering, then you don’t understand how Democrats play this game.

The ugliness hasn’t even begun to begin.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Babson College “Hate Crime” Investigator Who Went After Trump-Supporting Student Was A Hillary Clinton Backer. “The chief Babson College official investigating two students accused of hurling racist and homophobic slurs after President-elect Donald Trump’s victory declared her avid support of Hillary Clinton on Twitter the day before the incident. Jaclyn Calovine, Babson’s associate director of community standards, is the official complainant against the students on behalf of the college, charging them with harassment and disorderly conduct.”

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Novel Nanomaterial Enables Rewritable Optical Circuits.

JUSTICE? OSU Activists Complain Terrorist Was Wrongly Shot By Police.

An Ohio State University (OSU) student who attempted to go on a stabbing spree last month before being gunned down by a nearby officer has been added to a protest list of non-whites “wrongly” shot and killed by a police.

The OSU Coalition for Black Liberation is a campus protest group on OSU’s main campus in Columbus. The group held a rally Wednesday to protest the death of young black men at the hands of police, and read off a list of non-white men who had been killed by police in the last two months. Among the names read off was that of Abdul Razak Ali Artan.

Artan, of course, is the man who attempted to kill his classmates last week by attacking them with his car and then going on a stabbing spree. He was gunned down by OSU policeman Alan Horujko, who arrived on the scene just minutes after the rampage began and swiftly neutralized Artan.

If there is ever a time for the police to use deadly force, this would have to be it.

But to some, political correctness and race-baiting are more important than protecting innocent lives.

BAD SPORTS: More than 1,000 Russian athletes involved in doping, McLaren report says.

The findings come in the second part of an investigation by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, who announced the results of his inquiry in London on Friday.

His second report – which comes after WADA extended his mandate in July – confirmed the findings of the first report while revealing more about a system of covering up tests that was refined over time.

“The results of the forensic and laboratory analysis initiated by my team established the conspiracy that was perpetrated between 2011 and 2015,” McLaren said. “It is impossible to know how deep and how far back a conspiracy goes. For years, international sports competitions have unknowingly been hijacked by the Russians. Coaches and athletes have been playing on an uneven field. Sports fans and spectators have been deceived.”

Most notably, he said more than 1,000 Russian Olympians and Paralympians – in summer and winter sports – were identified “as being involved in or benefiting from manipulation to conceal positive doping tests.”

Mixing sports and politics never works out very well for sports.

HOLIDAY NEWS YOU CAN USE: How to Host a Toddler-Friendly Holiday Party for Grown-Ups.

Good advice, but I’ve never done anything more than make sure there’s plenty of Duplo for the kiddos and plenty of cocktails for the grownups.

HOW THE I-BEAM Got Its Iconic Shape.

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: “Does the US Air Force or America’s intelligence agencies have a secret hypersonic aircraft capable of a Mach 6 performance?”

I would certainly hope so.

FAKE NEWS: Newsweek Writer Kurt Eichenwald Falsely Reports That Trump Supporters Booed John Glenn.

It was a tweet, since deleted, but the mainstream media would be wise to keep its reporters off of Twitter during work hours.

THE SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW EXPECTATIONS: Obama hails Obama for his anti-terror work.

“He gave himself an A,” reports Andrew Malcolm — well of course he did.

More:

Obama has struggled to seem relevant in these waning 43 days of his lame-duckness. As Americans’ eyes turn hopefully toward a new presidential administration under construction in New York City, simple static shots of a Trump Tower elevator overwhelmed once must-see images of Obama greeting leaders and reviewing troops in foreign capitals.

Obama’s got one long Air Force One voyage left: An 18-hour round-trip vacation junket to Hawaii next week at $209,000 per flight hour. But before then, he flew down to Tampa to tell Special Ops troops what they’ve been doing these last long eight years under his command.

As usual, Obama’s report had a strong emphasis on Obama. “On January 20th,” he said, “I will become the first President of the United States to serve two full terms during a time of war.” An unexpected boast from a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

You may recall Obama has told the military the biggest threat to national security is global warming. You may also remember he’s often said that defeating ISIS is his No. 1 priority. Your choice.

It’s nice to have choices.

VOTE AS THOUGH YOUR LIFE DEPENDS UPON IT: Trump over performed the most in counties with the highest drug, alcohol and suicide mortality rates.

The president-elect performed better than Mitt Romney in many places, but he fared best compared to the Republican nominee four years ago in the counties with the highest drug, alcohol and suicide mortality rates.

Shannon M. Monnat, an assistant professor of rural sociology and demography, created a data set with numbers from 3,106 counties. She found this trend to be true nationally but especially so in two regions: In the industrial Midwest, which is how academics refer to the Rust Belt, Trump ran ahead of Romney by an average of 16.7 percent in the quarter of counties with the highest mortality, compared to 8.1 percent in the lowest quartile. In New England, Trump did worse than Romney by an average of 3.1 percent in the lowest mortality counties but better than the former Massachusetts governor by an average of 10 percent in the highest mortality counties.

Overdoses, alcoholism and suicide are known by experts collectively as “the diseases of despair.” People often (but not always) turn to pills, syringes, the bottle and other self-destructive behaviors when they lose hope, when they don’t have the means to live comfortably or when they don’t get the dignity that comes from work.

These findings could be taken as an indictment of Trump voters, but I don’t see it that way. This massive outbreak of “diseases of despair” — and the resulting turnaround in voter patterns — is instead a stunning rebuke by those left furthest behind by eight years of hopenchange.

RELATED: My previous lunch hour item.

AND THUS ENDETH THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE:

Take Chicago’s skyrocketing homicides off of the chart and it wouldn’t even be close.

THEY’RE NOT TAKING THIS WELL: Watch: Hillary Clinton greeted by sobbing women on Capitol Hill.

HMM:

FORGET DRAINING THE SWAMP. MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Make D.C. a swamp again: Trump is scaring progressive hipsters away, he should send federal workers after them. “I propose that over the next several years, we transfer a lot of federal employees out of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, to parts of the country that aren’t doing so well economically. This would provide a boost to places like Buffalo, New York, or Quincy, Illinois, or Fresno, California, while getting federal bureaucrats out of the D.C. bubble.”

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1310.

GORGEOUS: This telltale tail shows dinosaur feathers in ‘exquisite detail’ after 99 million years.

The amber hunters who dug up the segment in Burma (Myanmar) assumed the encased remains were vegetation, making the amber valuable when carved into jewelry. It probably did not occur to them that their discovery could be a dinosaur tail with secrets to tell. But a Chinese paleontologist named Xing Lida, perusing a Burmese amber market in 2015 for objects of scientific interest, recognized the amber’s true value.

“With the new specimen from Myanmar, we finally get that association between identifiable bones and feathers preserved in exquisite detail,” said Ryan McKellar of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada, a paleontologist and an author of the study, in an email to The Washington Post. Lida, McKellar and their Chinese and Canadian colleagues published an analysis of the tail on Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

This was not the first time that paleontologists examined feathers trapped in Cretaceous amber. But without underlying body parts, doubt remained that the plumage once sprouted from dinosaurs. This amber held eight vertebral segments as well as soft tissues. Beneath the feathers were, McKellar and his co-authors wrote, “presumably muscles, ligaments, and skin” — rarities in a discipline historically reliant on fossilized bones. (Chemical analysis even found traces of iron oxides in the tail, suggesting dino blood contained hemoglobin.)

This is a stunning find — photos at the link.

UPDATE: More from Kruiser.

ED MORRISSEY: Trump’s Cabinet: A Conservative About Face Toward Growth and Change. “Trump seems intent on creating the most conservative and business-oriented Cabinet in decades.” Personnel is policy.

BLUE MODEL BLUES: Desperate Chicago School System Looks to Shield Debt from Potential Bankruptcy.

Facing junk-bond status as it drowns in underfunded pension obligations, the Chicago public school system is trying to induce investors to buy its debt through an accounting scheme that will (theoretically) allow the bonds to keep paying interest even if the system goes belly-up. . . .

Yields on ordinary debt from CPS have reached nine percent in recent months. The latest effort to market its debt reflects a new level of desperation on the part of the district, which has failed for years to put enough money aside to fund teacher pensions even though residents of the state of Illinois and the Windy City pay above-average tax burdens.

The presence of the term “hypothetical bankruptcy” in the bond prospectus also highlights the fact that the district’s policymakers have given more than idle thought to the possibility that the school system may be forced into Title IX proceedings. (There have also been rumblings about bankruptcy for the entire city).

A handful of local governments have been forced into bankruptcy in the wake of the financial downturn, including Detroit and San Bernardino. But if pension debt keeps accumulating unchecked, the next wave of bankruptcy might extend beyond post-industrial regions in persistent decline and sweep up our mightiest urban centers as well.

When it happens, the price for help should include an end to public-employee unions, and other political reforms.

WELL, GOOD: Donald Trump’s Cabinet Selections Signal Deregulation Moves Are Coming.

Business leaders are predicting a dramatic unraveling of regulations on everything from overtime pay to power-plant emission rules as Donald Trump seeks to fill his cabinet with determined adversaries of the agencies they will lead.

The president-elect’s pick Thursday to head the Labor Department, fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, is an outspoken critic of the worker-pay policies advanced by the Obama administration. Mr. Trump’s choice for the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is a primary architect of legal challenges on President Barack Obama’s environmental regulations.

Other cabinet nominees critical of regulations advanced under Mr. Obama include Rep. Tom Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, financier Wilbur Ross Jr. at the Commerce Department and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. All will require Senate confirmation.

Those picks suggest the Trump administration, backed by a Republican Congress, is determined to advance labor, environmental and financial regulatory policies more favorable to many American corporations, though not all will back his proposals.

President Obama engineered the largest increase in federal regulation in at least 40 years, when that progressive and self-described Keynesian, Richard Nixon, held office. There’s no reason to consider the results of just two years of Democratic legislative action and Obama’s “pen and phone” to be a new normal.

TO BE FAIR, EUROPE’S NEVER BEEN BIG ON FREE SPEECH: Geert Wilders is convicted of saying unpopular things. Actually, the things he’s saying are pretty popular with voters, and that’s the real worry for the Netherlands’ current rulers.

MICHAEL BARONE: The Global Collapse of the Political Left.

FORGET DRAINING THE SWAMP. MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Make D.C. a swamp again: Trump is scaring progressive hipsters away, he should send federal workers after them. “I propose that over the next several years, we transfer a lot of federal employees out of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, to parts of the country that aren’t doing so well economically. This would provide a boost to places like Buffalo, New York, or Quincy, Illinois, or Fresno, California, while getting federal bureaucrats out of the D.C. bubble.”

HISTORY: My hunting trip with Yeltsin killed off the Soviet Union.

The Belavezha Accords, which were signed in Belarus on 8 December 1991, broke up the Soviet Union and launched its constituent republics on the path to statehood.

But Stanislav Shushkevich, then chairman of the Belarus supreme soviet, had no plans “to bring up the question about what the Soviet Union is and how it should exist” as he went to meet Russia’s Boris Yeltsin and President Leonid Kravchuk of Ukraine at a state resort in the Belavezha forest, he told the Guardian.

He had invited Yeltsin to a hunting trip there to try to secure Russian oil and gas supplies for Belarus during the impending winter. In the end, both the hunting and the energy talks gave way to more serious matters.

As the delegations gathered, they realised the political crisis would have to be solved first. After the August 1991 hardliner coup against Mikhail Gorbachev’s attempts at reform, the Soviet Union had become “essentially ungoverned”, Shushkevich said.

The agreement they signed started the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose alliance of 11 of 15 former Soviet republics. But its greatest achievement was dissolving the USSR after 70 years without large-scale violence, Shushkevich said. Western leaders had feared that a Soviet breakup would lead to civil war in the nuclear power.

Russian President Vladimir Putin once said that the fall of the USSR “was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” But in fact, the Soviet Union was a “prison house of nations,” and its peaceful dissolution was a modern miracle.

WHATEVER THE GOP IS PAYING JILL STEIN, THEY SHOULD DOUBLE IT: Thanks, Jill: Michigan House passes voter-ID bill after vote-fraud hyperbole.

OUT: RUSSIAN ELECTION HACKING. IN: U.S. GOVERNMENT ELECTION HACKING. State of Georgia allegedly accusing Homeland Security of attempted hack.

The state of Georgia is accusing the Department of Homeland Security of trying to hack its voter registration database, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal says it has seen a copy of a letter to DHS making those allegations, wherein Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp writes “At no time has my office agreed to or permitted DHS to conduct penetration testing or security scans of our network. Moreover, your department has not contacted my office since this unsuccessful incident to alert us of any security event that would require testing or scanning of our network.”

Prediction: Now that there will be a Republican in the White House, calls to declare U.S. voting equipment “critical infrastructure” under Homeland Security supervision will dry up.

MICHAEL WARREN: GOP’s game plan for undoing Obamacare.

It didn’t take long for Republican leadership in both houses of Congress to get over the shock of winning the election last month and start gaming out a repeal plan. The details remain under discussion, but House speaker Paul Ryan, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, and Vice President-elect Mike Pence (who is working closely with Ryan and McConnell on repeal) are already coalescing around a rough legislative framework. The plan might be summed up as: repeal, delay, replace. More precisely, Republicans plan to repeal most of the law, delay the implementation of most of that repeal for at least two years—and figure out what to replace it with in the interim.

It’s a legislative strategy adopted largely from the Heritage Foundation’s recommendations. The think tank’s health care experts Nina Owcharenko and Edmund F. Haislmaier authored a brief in November that advocated a four-step process that begins: “Maximize the reconciliation process for repeal.” According to Mitch McConnell, this will come in the form of an “Obamacare repeal resolution” on January 3, the first day of the new Congress.

Why start here and not a straightforward repeal bill? While such a repeal could pass the House of Representatives with a party-line vote, the small majority Republicans hold in the Senate (likely 52 to the Democrats’ 48) means there’s no supermajority of 60 to override an almost-certain Democratic filibuster. So the GOP plans to repeal Obamacare the same way Democrats passed it: through budget reconciliation, because Senate rules limit debate (and thereby avoid the filibuster threat) on budget legislation.

This process, however, also limits what Republicans can repeal.

Read the whole thing, although it did leave me with one nagging question: ObamaCare was passed in its entirety via reconciliation, so I don’t understand why it can’t be repealed in its entirety via reconciliation.

CAMPUS TRUMP SUPPORTERS PUNCHING BACK AGAINST BIAS AND DOUBLE STANDARDS:

Conservative students who voted for Mr. Trump say that even though their candidate won, their views are not respected. Some are adopting the language of the left, saying they need a “safe space” to express their opinions — a twist resented by left-leaning protesters.

Administrators are struggling to maintain a balance between political factions. But some college presidents have entered the fray with statements that seem more sympathetic to the left, in some cases provoking a backlash. . . .

For conservative students like Ms. Deletka, the messages from university officials, seemingly assuming that everyone on campus was upset about the election result, were particularly offensive. . . .

Ms. Delekta described how she had been offended when a classmate wondered why as a “white female,” she had not voted for Hillary Clinton. She resented what she saw as identity politics on campus.

“My identity is so much more than my race and my gender,” Ms. Delekta said. “We’re all so much more similar than we think.”

She was able to separate Mr. Trump’s policies from his personal attitudes toward women, she said later. “I’m not electing a grandpa or a babysitter,” Ms. Delekta said.

Ibtihal Makki, a self-confident senior in a pink hijab who is studying biopsychology and neuroscience and is chairwoman of a student government diversity committee, objected to conservatives on campus saying they needed safe spaces to express their views.

Of course she did. And it looks like I was ahead of the curve here. And Pres. Mark Schlissel’s really blown it at Michigan.

And students should be punching back. Despite all the talk about “diversity” and “inclusion,” many campuses — Michigan clearly among them — are marginalizing and “othering” Trump supporters and conservative/libertarian students in general.

But conservative/libertarian students are members of the “university community” too and deserve to be treated with respect, and to have their political views treated as legitimate. Students should demand this from administrators, and alumni, parents, and legislators should demand it from universities.

LOUISE MENSCH: Saudi Arabia is just “Isis with an embassy.”

Also, thanks to fracking we don’t need their oil anymore.

JAYVEE: ISIS has flooded Europe with 1,500 highly-trained terrorists ‘ready to launch attacks’, chilling EU report claims.

An estimated 5,000 European ISIS fanatics went to Syria and Iraq and 15 to 20 per cent of them died on the battlefield.

Around 30 to 35 per cent have returned with “specific missions”, while the other half remained in the battle theatre – which amounted to between 2,000 and 2,500 Europeans.

This means as many as 1,750 may have returned, based on the percentages listed in the report which EU counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove will present to EU interior ministers on Friday.

The report said there were two types of ‘foreign terrorist fighters’ returning.

It warned: “It is important to share information on returnees who are already back in Europe, those that are in transit and … (those) still in the conflict zone.”

“There are largely two categories of returnees: those in the majority who will drift back and those who will be sent back on specific missions, which are of most concern.”

Add this to today’s report of 100-200 ISIS jihadis in Trinidad , and the next couple of years look to be all-too interesting.

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HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, TRUMP DERANGEMENT EDITION: Lawyer: Students were caught up in Babson College ‘witch hunt’ following Donald Trump win; Attorney says college report clears students of using racist, homophobic slurs. But Babson is still pursuing a double-secret investigation, apparently. Plus:

“(Babson) cannot properly punish Parker for celebrating an election, however unwelcome that celebration or how people ‘experienced’ it. We are talking about fundamental First Amendment rights here; a college should be the very last place that indulges, let alone actively promotes, a witch hunt against students for celebrating the election of a President who disappointed groups demanding retribution regard as abhorrent.

“During that discussion, one of you said that you understood my point because you ‘wrote my thesis on the right of Nazis to march in Skokie.’ Respectfully, that is not what we are talking about here, and that such a comparison could be drawn by a Babson official indicates that something is severely out of control at Babson, and elsewhere, when it comes to this matter,” Robbins wrote.

Alumni, parents, and students need to push back against this sort of behavior — as does the Department of Education once the Trump Administration is in place.

Annual cost of attending Babson College: $58,692.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Second Amendment challenge to New York state stun gun ban.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Washington Post now relying on Badger Pundit to fact-check its articles.

GOING… GOING… South Korea President Park Geun-hye, country’s first female leader, impeached in stunning fall.

Once formal documents are handed over to the presidential Blue House later Friday, Park will be stripped of her power and her No. 2, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, will assume leadership until the country’s Constitutional Court rules on whether Park must permanently step down.

Park did not immediately comment, but she convened a Cabinet meeting for later Friday where she was expected to speak publicly. The hand-over of power prompted the prime minister to order South Korea’s defense minister to put the military on a state of heightened readiness to brace for any potential provocation by North Korea. No suspicious movements by the North were reported, however.

The Constitutional Court has up to 180 days to decide on Park’s fate. She will be formally removed from office if at least six of the court’s nine justices support her impeachment, and the country would then hold a presidential election within 60 days.

JAYVEE: ISIS in the Caribbean. Trinidad has the highest rate of Islamic State recruitment in the Western hemisphere. How did this happen?

In a recent paper in the journal Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, John McCoy and W. Andy Knight posit that between 89-125 Trinidadians—or Trinis, to use the standard T&T idiom—have joined ISIS. Roodal Moonilal, an opposition Member of Parliament in T&T, insists that the total number is considerably higher, claiming that, according to a leaked security document passed on to him, over 400 have left since 2013. Even the figure of 125 would easily place Trinidad, with a population of 1.3 million, including 104,000 Muslims, top of the list of Western countries with the highest rates of foreign-fighter radicalization; it’s by far the largest recruitment hub in the Western Hemisphere, about a four and a half hour flight from the U.S. capital.

How did this happen?

I’m guessing that dismissing the terror group as “jayvee” for a couple of years and then taking our own sweet time on a half-assed effort at rooting them out didn’t help.

SELECTED NOT ELECTED II: Clinton blasts ‘epidemic’ of fake news.

Hillary Clinton on Thursday decried the spread of fake news online, calling it an “epidemic” that Congress should take action against.

“The epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year — it’s now clear the so-called fake news can have real-world consequences,” Clinton said during a speech on Capitol Hill.

Some Democrats have argued the spread of anti-Clinton fake news online contributed to her electoral loss to Donald Trump.

Emphasis added.

This is all about discrediting Donald Trump, and the First Amendment be damned. Besides, it isn’t like Democrats haven’t tried at least once in recent years to repeal free speech.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Trump should troll the Democrats by taking this seriously, then announcing he’s going to act against fake news, then listing all the bogus stories about him from the New York Times. . . . Or maybe the GOP Congress should invite Hillary to testify on the subject. How long before she smells the trap? I mean, normally when one has lost the Executive and Legislative branches to the other party is not the time to call for government censorship of political speech on vague and mutable grounds.

PARTY OF OLD WHITE PEOPLE: Dems attend Harry Reid’s portrait unveil and this hilarious photo happened. Spot anything?

NOT THE ONION: It Wasn’t Me: Obama Blames ISIS On Bush, Climate Change and the 2nd Amendment.

SOMETHING I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT JOHN GLENN: “Glenn flew 149 combat missions in World War II and Korea, where his wingman and eventual lifelong friend was baseball legend Ted Williams.”

MEMORIES PIZZA: WHERE THE TRUMP REVOLUTION BEGAN? “I don’t know that I ever would have recommended watching a Milo video, but this one is genuinely informative, even moving. The interview with owners Kevin O’Connor and his daughter Crystal doesn’t start until the nine-minute mark, so fast-forward. They are gentle, kind, normal, small-town people. This interview really amplifies the horror of what the Social Justice Warrior mob did to them. It’s a relief to see that their business still thrives. Milo points out in the interview that the O’Connors have no problem serving gay clientele — they served him, after all. He also says in the interview that he believes the liberal mob descending on their heads is one of the events that shocked a lot of Americans into voting for Donald Trump. Trump was not a candidate at that point, of course; what he means is that seeing what the left can and will do to the little guy, all in the name of #LoveWins™, helped radicalize a lot of middle-American people towards Trump.”

Related: “Actually, ‘Love Wins’ Wants Hate to Win — It’s just another attempt to equate ‘good’ with ‘left.’”

December 8, 2016

BEN STEIN: They’ve Gone Insane: And hating Trump hasn’t made them any nicer either. “The media powerhouses and the morons on college campuses cannot accept that someone with views different from theirs will be president. They riot. They burn Old Glory. They stop speaking to me. This is exactly the opposite of how a free country should be run. . . . The real problem is not Trump. The problem is the big, spoiled, sulking babies of the left who cannot believe that America made up its own mind instead of following their orders. They are the control freaks, not Trump.”

Related: I accidentally slept with a Donald Trump supporter. Naturally, he was, well. . . : “He showed up at the bar, and he was super handsome. Like, really tall—six-foot-four or something absurd. We were wearing matching leather jackets. His Triumph Bonneville was parked outside. This guy looked badass.”

AN OPEN APOLOGY to Dolly Parton.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: UMass Law School Gains Full ABA Accreditation, Needs To Double Enrollment (From 66 1Ls) To Be Financially Sustainable.

AT AMAZON, Shop Amazon’s Holiday Toy List – Collectibles.

TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY: December 8 is also December 7. (See the chart for the history and the explanation.)

Also, a terrible command decision still stirring rancor in the ranks:

1830 U.S. Army Adjutant General Order No. 72 ends the daily ration of one gill of whiskey to enlisted men, substituting an issue of coffee and sugar.

Yes, late in the day for this link, but better late than never.

RELATED: A gill.

MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN: In France, le Pen Opposes Public Education for Illegal Immigrant Kids.

THIS IS STUPID, BUT ALSO IRRESISTIBLE SINCE IT OFFERS BOTH A FACE-SAVING EXCUSE FOR HILLARY’S LOSS AND A BASIS FOR TRYING TO SILENCE POLITICAL OPPONENTS: In The Rush To Blame Facebook, Come The Calls To Suppress Ideas People Disagree With.

Of course, to the people pushing this — who include a lot of members of the press — suppressing ideas isn’t a bug, but a feature.

AT AMAZON, 12 Days of Deals — Today is Day 5!

Plus, Shop Amazon’s Holiday Toy List – Kid Picks.

CHANGE: US Steel wants to accelerate investments, bring back jobs, CEO says.

United States Steel would like to accelerate its investments and hire back laid-off employees now that Donald Trump will be occupying the Oval Office, CEO Mario Longhi told CNBC on Wednesday.

“We already structured to do some things, but when you see in the near future improvement to the tax laws, improvements to regulation, those two things by themselves may be a significant driver to what we’re going to do,” he said in an interview with CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

In addition, the belief that the U.S. economy can grow at least 3.5 percent also adds to what the company can do, Longhi noted.

Huh.

JUST NBC THE HACKWORK! Brian Williams, who fabricated stories, says fake news swayed the election.

Will Williams ever return to his old gig anchoring the nightly news at NBC after slumming it in network’s  bargain basement cable spinoff channel? Just ask him!

brian_williams_macarthur_returns_2-8-15-1

MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN: The Top Ten Reasons Andy Puzder Is a Great Pick for Labor Secretary.

From the home office in the third booth in the Ardmore, Oklahoma Carl’s Jr.

MAKING MEN OBSOLETE: AWESOME!

Making women obsolete: Problematic.

FORGET DRAINING THE SWAMP. MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Make D.C. a swamp again: Trump is scaring progressive hipsters away, he should send federal workers after them. “I propose that over the next several years, we transfer a lot of federal employees out of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, to parts of the country that aren’t doing so well economically. This would provide a boost to places like Buffalo, New York, or Quincy, Illinois, or Fresno, California, while getting federal bureaucrats out of the D.C. bubble.”