January 21, 2018

IN THE MAIL: Under the Eagle: A Tale of Military Adventure and Reckless Heroism with the Roman Legions.

Plus, fresh Gold Box and Lightning Deals. New deals every hour.

FASTER, PLEASE: House Republicans ‘Charting Path’ to Release Explosive FISA Memo.

I KNEW TRUMP WAS SWORN IN AS PRESIDENT A YEAR AGO, BUT I HAD NO IDEA HE BECAME AN AFRICAN AMERICAN MOM AND VETERAN LAST YEAR TOO, TOO: My take on Trump’s first year as an African-American mom and veteran. Is there anything he can’t do?

Headline aside, though, it’s a good piece.

STEPHEN L. CARTER: Amazon’s Utterly Predictable Game of Musical Chairs: The same cities that always get a seat are still in the competition for HQ2. Yawn.

Amazon released the list this week. And, like lots of people who’ve taken a look, I was left underwhelmed. Because what immediately struck me is how conventional it is. Amazon has pretty much picked the same finalists that any company with an eye toward building a new headquarters would pick.

I mean, seriously. New York. Duh. Boston. General Electric Co. (or what’s left of it) is already heading there. Washington and its environs. Like they need more jobs and pricey real estate. Atlanta, Dallas and Raleigh, North Carolina. Where everybody else is moving.

Utterly conventional. Yet we’re all talking about it. Writing about it. Arguing about it. Amazon has accomplished an enormous act of public relations. Companies move headquarters all the time. They choose where to invest. But usually it’s a semi-private process. They talk to the right city and state officials, presentations and offers are made, and then comes the announcement. The news is a two-day story, if that.

State tax abatements and other “incentives” should be treated as taxable income at the federal level. States should be encouraged to have low taxes for every company, not just the favored few.

SEXISM IN FASHION: Presenting Men As Pigs And Dogs. “I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry at this idiocy. On one hand, it demoralizes the models in the show even though it is the male models who have reported being victims of sexual harassment. Why would the male models agree to wear such humiliating outfits? It makes them look like the predators themselves. Is this really the image they are going for? On the other hand, the men as dogs and pigs is derogatory towards all men. What if they dressed Jews or women etc. in such outfits?”

Actually, in Paris, portraying Jews as pigs and dogs is becoming steadily more popular.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Students earned $11/hour to complain about Halloween costumes.

IT TAKES AN AUSTRALIAN TO EXPLAIN ANTI-TRUMP HYSTERIA:  The clearest, most sober and non-emotional essay on Trump and the backlash I’ve yet to read. Fair dinkum. Kicker of the Year:

Perhaps those who hysterically condemn Trump as a means of ­expressing their own virtue need to consider that if their aim is to portray themselves as more tolerant and urbane than the US President, they might be setting a pretty low bar.

As the Professor says: “Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Non-paywall link here.

THE REAL THING FROM NOVEMBER 2001: Original U.S. Army “Horse Soldiers” photo.

A DONALD TRUMP OPED IN THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: A Year of Real Change.

We are putting America first, making real change in Washington, and creating opportunities for all of our people. From coast to coast, there is a renewed spirit. Our country is roaring back more quickly than anyone could have predicted. The American Dream is real again.

Estimates predict the U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of more than 3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year – just like it did in the two quarters before that. The economy has created more than 2 million new jobs, and the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest rate in 17 years: 4.1 percent. We have achieved the lowest African-American unemployment rate on record, and the unemployment rate for Hispanic Americans has also hit historic lows. Chrysler has announced plans to bring jobs and production back to the U.S. from Mexico. And the stock market continues to set record high after record high.

Just before Christmas, we enacted massive tax cuts and tax reform for the American people. For the first time in 30 years, we reformed the tax code to make it simpler and fairer. We have lowered rates for both individuals and businesses, expanded 529 education savings accounts to be used for K-12 education, and doubled the child tax credit. These changes will not only allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money, but they will help make American workers and businesses competitive again. This sweeping reform also repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate – an unpopular, cruel, and burdensome tax that hit low- and middle-income Americans the hardest.

Over the year, as Americans have seen increases in their paychecks and retirement accounts, American companies in every sector have grown their business and created more jobs.

This is a real test of the “It’s the economy, stupid,” school of politics.

CHANGE: Tennessee Republican files bill aimed at ending private prison usage in state. I don’t care if it’s more efficient. I think it ought to be expensive to keep people in prison.

YEP, AND IT’S STARTING TO MOVE THE POLLS: Jeff Jacoby: That GOP ‘tax scam’ is putting money in millions of workers’ pockets.

t has been nearly a month since Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the most sweeping overhaul of the tax code since the 1980s. Of the 185-page bill’s many provisions, perhaps the most consequential is a reduction in the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Among the tax bill’s leading opponents was Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who was scathing in her denunciation of what she called the “GOP Tax Scam.” Shortly before the final vote, she delivered a blistering speech on the Senate floor.

“Today is a terrible day,” she intoned. “A terrible day for the millions of working families in this country. . . . A terrible day for millions of people who just want to get on with their lives and not have Congress cost them even more money.” Reiterating a message she had pressed for weeks, Warren insisted angrily that what was about to be enacted was “a heist — a heist that steals from millions of middle-class families and hands that money over to the wealthy.”

The full text of Warren’s speech appears on her Senate website, in a press release she issued on Dec. 19. She warned in that speech that there would be “a reckoning” if the tax bill passes, and that members of Congress voting for it would be “held accountable for turning their backs on the American people.”

And now that’s turned out to be a lie, so there may be a different sort of reckoning.

THE HILL: Trump touts ‘unprecedented economic success’ in Women’s March tweet.

President Trump on Saturday acknowledged the thousands of people taking part in Women’s March demonstrations across the country, saying it was a “beautiful” day for people to “celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success” under his term.

In a tweet acknowledging the marches, which were planned for the one-year anniversary of Trump entering office and aimed primarily at protesting his rhetoric and policies, Trump urged people to focus on economic successes since he became president.

It was his best trolling yet, honestly.

January 20, 2018

AT AMAZON: CRKT M16-01KZ Folding Spear Point Straight Edge Knife.

WOMANSPIRATION: This Woman’s Sex Fantasy Is For Her Boyfriend To Pay Her Student Debt And Then Die.

“It’ll be like the ultimate roleplaying,” Keisha said. “He’ll be my white knight riding in on his noble steed to save the damsel in distress, and then he’ll be dead, which just ties up everything in a neat little package.”

Keisha also stressed that she really likes her boyfriend of six months, but she doesn’t necessarily see their relationship going anywhere serious.

“I definitely don’t see us lasting forever,” she says. “But when it comes to my student loans, there’s no end in sight. It would just be so sexy if Matt paid for them and then, you know, disappeared. Like he was dead? He doesn’t have to literally be dead.”

For a long time, Keisha kept her fantasy a secret. But she’s finally come clean in an effort to lead a more sex-positive life and to de-stigmatize unusual fetishes.

“There’s such a stigma around female sexuality,” she says. “Women aren’t taught how to communicate their sexual wants and needs. I decided it was time to be honest and admit to my partner that I want him to give me money. And then I want him to die.”

Yes, it’s a parody. And yet . . .

OPEN THREAD: Thread away.

MY OFFICE WAS FLOODED, BUT MY MOST VALUED WORK OF ART SURVIVED: It’s called Still Life with Dumpster Paintings, Schlitz and Grant Money, and yes, it’s an original Burge.

HEARTLAND DEMOCRATS TO WASHINGTON: You’re Killing Us!

QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED:

Shot: Why do Californians pay more state and local taxes than Texans?

—The San Jose Mercury, this past Sunday.

Chaser:

A pair of California lawmakers want to claw back some of steep tax cuts that corporations will receive under the federal tax overhaul signed last month by President Donald Trump.

Democratic Assemblymen Kevin McCarty of Sacramento and Phil Ting of San Francisco announced Thursday that they will pursue a constitutional amendment to add a surcharge on large companies that do business in California, potentially raising billions of dollars to expand social services for Californians.*

“We’ve seen enough billionaire justice from the presidency,” McCarty said in an interview. “It’s time for middle class tax justice.”

“‘Time for middle class tax justice’: California corporate tax bill offsets Trump cuts,” the Sacramento Bee, Thursday.

* What could go wrong?

ROGER SIMON: Washington, City of Hate.

MOVE ALONG, NOTHING TO SEE HERE: ‘Minnesota’ Woman Attacks Minnesota!

NO, THEY’RE PART OF THE EXPENDABLE SEX: Women have found their voices. Now it may be America’s boys who need our attention.

AT AMAZON, January deals in Wheels and Tires.

Plus, save on Herbs, Spices, and Seasonings.

THE DECENCY OF HARD WORK: After Denver hired homeless people to shovel mulch and perform other day labor, more than 100 landed regular jobs. Quoth one: “When you take a good person (who’s) down, broken, discouraged, and you give them an opportunity to be proud of their self — to stand up and do something for their self — that’s one of the greatest gifts anybody can give to anybody.”

RUTH MARCUS TRIES TO EXPLAIN WHY ANTI-TRUMP PEOPLE HATE TRUMP EVEN THOUGH HIS ACTIONS AREN’T ESPECIALLY EXCEPTIONABLE, AND COMES UP WITH THIS: “Trump does not reflect who we are.”

Actually, and I think this is actually what goes to the horror of the political class, Trump reflects exactly who you are. Everything they hate about him, from the nonstop concern with what the press is saying, to the willingness to override traditions to do what he wants, is a characteristic that our political class has had for decades. He just does it with insufficiently-creased pants.

If our media and political class weren’t horrible, Trump would have stayed in the hotel and TV business, and the people who hate him now would have happily attended his parties and taken pictures with him. But he is forcing them to acknowledge, at least unconsciously, just how horrible they are and they can’t deal with that.

Likewise, note this overall surprisingly Trump-friendly column from Bret Stephens, which ends like this:

Donald Trump is a profoundly defective person who nearly every morning does grave political self-harm with no assistance from his opponents. But he is also president, and normal Americans — that is, those who hold the outcome of the next election in their hands — do not want him to fail. They want statesmanship, not schadenfreude.

Wouldn’t it be smart of all of Trump’s opponents to show they are superior to him in the former? And wouldn’t a good way of doing that be to abjure the latter, even if it sometimes means giving him some credit?

The thing is, they’re not superior to him, as the 15-month ragefest since the 2016 election demonstrates. And, what really burns is, the voters don’t think they’re superior to him. And when a sense of superiority is all you’ve got (and cultivated self-superiority is the core of the current leftist project), realizing that others don’t share it is a narcissistic wound from which there is no recovery. That’s what’s wrong with much of our political class, and it’s ugly and destructive — because much of our political class, at core, is ugly and destructive.

HOLLYWOOD ENDING: “The Hollywood Tide Turns on Woody Allen — Years after his daughter reiterated her allegation that the director sexually abused her, more actors are voicing their regret for collaborating with him.”

Woody Allen won an Academy Award, the fourth of his career, just six years ago for writing Midnight in Paris. He was nominated again two years later for Blue Jasmine, a film that won Cate Blanchett a Best Actress Oscar. The last year that Allen didn’t release a movie in theaters that he wrote and directed was 1981. Despite the controversy that has dogged him since the early 1990s—when he was revealed to be having an affair with his girlfriend’s daughter and was subsequently accused of molesting his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow—Allen has continued to make movies with the same once-a-year regularity as always, and usually with major stars. He has long denied that he abused his daughter.

But the film industry’s willingness to turn a blind eye to the allegations against Allen seems to be coming to an end. More and more actors who have worked with him in the past are announcing that they regret the collaboration, and it appears the sheen of Oscar-winning prestige he has relied on to attract big names to his projects is fading. Allen, who released Wonder Wheel last month and is set to come out with A Rainy Day in New York this year, may try to helm more movies. But with Hollywood finally beginning to grapple with his enduring presence as an artist, could that be enough to destroy his career?

Allen is 82 years old; this Atlantic article feels very much like Michelle Goldberg piece in the New York Times at the height of the #MeToo Weinsteinmania when she wrote “I Believe Juanita [Broaddrick].” Both Woody and Bill continued in the public eye, and were eagerly defended by the backers during the 1990s and right up until this fall. (Bill Clinton was fundraising for Democrats as recently as mid-December, at Andrew Cuomo’s birthday party; he doesn’t look to be going away quietly anytime soon.)

As Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon tweets, “there’s something grotesque (and, yes, totalitarian) about Hollywood collectively turning a blind eye to the allegations against Allen and now collectively ganging up on him because it’s the politic thing to do,” adding, “You f***ers knew all about this sh*t for decades, spare me your self-righteousness now.”

TAMARA KEEL ON WHY, EVEN THOUGH SHE’S A GIRL, SHE DOESN’T HAVE A LOT OF HELPFUL ADVICE ON HOW YOUR WIFE OR GIRLFRIEND CAN CONCEALED-CARRY:

I’m 5’12” tall, I work from home, and I dress like a hobo. I’m currently wearing jeans a size too big, a nylon web instructor-type belt, and an untucked and unbuttoned overshirt that I like not only for its gun burka properties but also because it has cavernous “document pockets” that will swallow small notebooks and an Olympus Pen E-PL1 and the other things I use in my day-to-day work.

Is this how your Significant Other dresses every day?

Having known her for something like 20 years, I can attest that she cleans up nice, but on a day-to-day basis she’s not rocking a derringer in a thigh holster under a miniskirt.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Knife Rights: Trio of knife law reform bills introduced in state legislatures.

CHANGE: Gutierrez ready to give in on wall.

YOU’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BLOG: Samantha Power Regrets.

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TROLL LEVEL: TROLLER-IN-CHIEF:

TEST DRIVE: 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman S Manual.

REASON TV: Government-Approved Workouts? The Fight Against Fitness Licensing. With an appearance by Mark Rippetoe.

FIGHT AGAINST “FAKE NEWS” FRAUGHT WITH FAKERY: Our intellectual betters in the EU, including France, Ireland, Germany and England have been passing or flirting with all sorts of laws criminalizing “fake news.” Industry giants Facebook, Twitter and Google have consistently failed at sorting out “fake news” and more often than not, simply add an ideological filter skewed against conservative-leaning speech as if that would fix the problem. I, for one, think the “problem” is greatly exaggerated.

But to heck with what I think. As free-speech advocacy group Article 19 points out, “neither states nor business are getting it right on ‘fake news’ and free expression”:

“The notion of ‘fake news’ is too vague to prevent subjective and arbitrary interpretation, whether in legislation or the rules of online platforms. “Fake news” laws can be (and frequently are under some regimes) used to suppress media freedom and jail journalists, but it would not be much reassurance to have private entities like the tech giants making these assessments instead. Such efforts can lead to undue censorship as a result of flawed algorithms and ill-thought out assessments of what can be considered “true” – not to mention that these businesses may be subject to the influence of non-democratic governments in certain countries where they operate.”

Just last week the Committee to Protect Journalists reported that two Jordanian journalists were arrested for violating that nation’s Press Law, which criminalizes “false information.” In the US, as in Jordan, there is a reflexive impulse of government actors to decry news they don’t like or that may be factually incorrect without proof of malicious motive as “fake” or “false.”

The proof of the problem with these kinds of laws is concrete. In early January, pressured by the new German “fake news” law, Twitter blocked the account of German satirical magazine Titanic after it posted tweets that parodied a far-right politician.  The German Federation of Journalists, which has criticized the law since it was first proposed last year, told CNN said that the suspension of Titanic was exactly the kind of censorship the group has warned about for months. Eurocrats countered by saying that “rules covering hate speech and illegal content on digital platforms [are] in line with those already imposed on print media.” Justice minister Heiko Maas said that “freedom of expression is not a license to commit crimes.” When a bureaucrat can’t tell the difference between “hate speech” and humor that actually lampoons “hate speech,” you know trouble is inevitable. (Not that the Germans are famous for their sense of humor anyway).

Worse yet, even The New York Times has admitted that the impact of the fake news propagated in social media may have been wildly exaggerated. While “fake news” is on the never-ending and always evolving list of reasons that Ms. Clinton lost an election she had thought was sewn up, it is emerging that these fake news stories and memes didn’t change votes, but rather reinforced the bubbles and bias of those who had already made up their minds.

Here’s a crazy idea: how about treating the polity as capable of thinking for themselves and embracing the “marketplace of ideas“? In the words of the great Nat Hentoff: “Let the asses bray.”

**Shameless Self-Promotion: I’ll be speaking on the keynote panel “Fake News Eats the World: Protecting Speech, Evaluating Truth & Validating our Decisions” at the Legaltech 2018 Conference in New York City on Thursday, January 31, 2018

 

LAWYERS I KNOW WHO DO DUI DEFENSE SAY THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME: Dashcam Recording Instantly Undercuts Officers’ Concocted Reason For A Traffic Stop.

THIS IS CRAZY: Playboy is suing Boing Boing – but linking is not copyright infringement.

ANDREW SULLIVAN: #MeToo and the Taboo Topic of Nature.

But it is strikingly obvious that for today’s progressives, humans are the sole species on this planet where gender differentiation has no clear basis in nature, science, evolution, or biology. This is where they are as hostile to Darwin as any creationist.

And this is stupid. The alternative explanation — that these core natural differences between men and women have been supplemented by centuries of conscious oppression — is staring us in the face. The fascinating conundrum is where one ends and the other begins. How much of this difference is natural and how much is social? That is the question. And the answer is a tricky one. Is the fact that the vast majority of construction workers are male and the huge majority of nurses are female a function of sexism or nature? Is male sexual aggression and horniness a function of patriarchy or testosterone? Is the fact that women now outnumber men among college graduates a function of reverse sexism or nature?

My suspicion is that it’s more about nature than about society, and one reason I believe this (apart from all the data) is I because I’m gay. I live in a sexual and romantic world without women, where no patriarchy could definitionally exist, a subculture with hookups and relationships and marriages and every conceivable form of sexual desire that straight men and women experience as well. And you know what you find? That men behave no differently in sexual matters when there are no women involved at all. In fact, remove women, and you see male sexuality unleashed more fully, as men would naturally express it, if they could get away with it.

All I know is that it becomes increasingly easy to make an argument for restoring the patriarchy, using nothing but what millennial feminists say about the irrationality and fragility of women.

JOE PAPPALARDO: 3 Things You Need to Know About Trump’s New National Defense Strategy.

IS ANYBODY SURPRISED BY THIS? Report: United Nations Rife With Sexual Harassment And Assault.

IN THE MAIL: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

Plus, fresh Gold Box and Lightning Deals. New deals every hour.

DAVID SOLWAY ON THE SCOURGE OF MULTICULTURALISM.

Read the whole thing.

ILLINOIS: Full, unedited, original FBI wiretaps of JB Pritzker and Rod Blagojevich.

‘IT WAS AN UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT:’ Tom Petty’s family reveal he died of an overdose from a huge cocktail of pain medication — including Fentanyl and oxycodone — that he was taking for a broken hip.

But will we ever be given an explanation for the other tragedy that also dominated the news cycle that awful first Monday in October? Investigators still don’t know the motive behind the Las Vegas shooting.

WHEN AN EARTHQUAKE HITS NEXT DOOR.

Most days, it’s easy to forget that coastal California sits at the boundary of two tectonic plates—the Pacific and North American—which are slowly sliding by each other, creating the San Andreas complex of faults. It’s easy to forget that one strand, the Hayward Fault, runs the whole length of the East Bay, cutting under Berkeley and Oakland, just a mile from my house, and that there is a one-in-three chance that it will produce a devastating earthquake before I’m a senior citizen.

But then there are days like January 4, when a magnitude 4.4 quake struck. It hit in the evening, a couple hours after my wife and I had put the kids to bed. It was strong enough to make us wonder, for a few seconds, if this was the big one.

After it passed, we resolved to get another flashlight. My wife ordered MREs from a prepper site. A few days later, she sent me a map from the U.S. Geological Survey showing the epicenter of the earthquake. It was two blocks from our house.

Read the whole thing.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

● Old and Busted: “A Big Lie: Newsweek Claims On Cover ‘We Are All Socialists Now.’”

● The New Hotness: Newsweek probe looking at alleged money laundering.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Police have to protect Trump supporters from mob at USC. Sadly, these days it’s cause for celebration when the police don’t just stand back and let the mob have its way.

OF SHITHOLES AND SECOND THOUGHTS: A former Peace Corps volunteer says based on her experience, Trump was right.

Earlier: After “Fire and Fury” and the “shithole” smear, Trump isn’t any less popular than before.

“CLEARLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL:” University of Alabama Student Expelled for Racist Instagram Rant.

CHUCK SCHUMER ON GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWNS: “It’s a politics of idiocy.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Court denies college’s request to dismiss free speech case.

On Wednesday, California District Court rejected a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against Los Angeles Pierce College and the Los Angeles Community College District on the grounds of First Amendment violations.

Pierce College is a part of the largest community college district in the United States, the Los Angeles Community College District, yet it provides only .003 percent of its 426-acre campus to exercise free expression. In November 2016, Pierce College student and Young Americans for Liberty member Kevin Shaw was handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution when he was approached by a campus administrator and told he could not distribute literature outside of the free speech zone, a space of approximately 616 square feet. Shaw filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles Community College District with the help of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and co-counsel Arthur Willner, a partner at Leader & Berkon LLP, on March 28, 2017.

LA Pierce asked the court to dismiss the case on the grounds of their campus policy, but the court ruled that open spaces on LA Pierce’s campus are public forums, “regardless of Pierce’s regulations.” Thus, the policy regarding the free speech zone is moot.

The purpose of a university is to encourage free and open discourse and a healthy exchange of ideas. In a press release, FIRE Director of Litigation Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon said, “The campus is a college student’s public square. It’s their space to be engaged citizens. The public recognizes this. So do courts across the country. Now it’s time for LACCD to follow suit.”

Since the motion to dismiss was pre-discovery and was rejected, now the case will move into discovery and proceed forward.

Schools keep losing these cases. I think it’s clear enough now that officials shouldn’t enjoy qualified immunity.

WORKING FOR THE CLAMPDOWN: Blogger Working Against Iranian Dissidents Awarded Harvard Fellowship.

NOW THAT NEW JERSEY HAS A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR, IT’S OKAY BECAUSE HE’LL BE REPLACED BY A DEMOCRAT: Justice Dept intends to re-try Menendez in corruption case.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANY SATIRIST TO COMPETE WITH REAL LIFE FOR ITS PURE ABSURDITY: Former FBI Director James Comey to teach ethical leadership class.

We have the worst elites in American history, to coin an Insta-phrase.

(Classical allusion in headline.)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Employee Lawsuit Reveals Google as Intolerant Race Cult.

Just like Jim Crow of yesteryear, Google “formed opinions about and then treated Plaintiffs not based on their individual merits, but rather memberships in groups with assumed characteristics,” the complaint reads.

The complaint alleges that Google hires on the basis of race and sex, and punishes (and even fires) employees if they articulate political views that are not Leftist views. Worse, the complaint says that Google created company sanctioned blacklists, harassment committees, and even encouraged open vocal attacks on white males at company events.

Do you trust them with the Internet?

HOW PUBLIC UNIONS ENTHRALLED THE U.S.: Even labor-friendly Paris uses fewer workers than New York City, and for a fraction of the cost. American public unions pervert the process:

A new paper from Michael Lovenheim and Alexander Willen finds that “Using data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we demonstrate that collective bargaining law exposure leads to reductions in measured cognitive and non-cognitive skills among young adults, and these effects are larger for men.” In other words: If your teachers could collectively bargain, you got a worse education, and had worse life outcomes.

There are a number of mechanisms along which this could work. Unions might maximize wages at the expense of headcount, leading to too few teachers; they might bargain for work rules that eroded the quality of the teaching; they might protect ill-performing teachers; or they might inflate payrolls so much that other parts of the budget, such as textbooks, had to be cut back.

Of course, it’s only one study. But it is something we need to think about when we talk about the modern labor movement. The only thriving part of that movement right now is the government workforce. And they may be thriving at the expense of the rest of us.

May?

TRUMPING THE ADMINISTRATIVE STATE: For Deregulators, It Was A Very Good Year.

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE? Luis Gutiérrez and Jorge Ramos, or The Associated Press and the US Army? In every interview when asked why the opposition to the wall, they say “it won’t work.” Really?

“Recent assaults by tactical teams on prototypes of President Donald Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico indicate their imposing heights should stop border crossers, a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the rigorous assessment told The Associated Press….Military special forces based in Florida and U.S. Customs and Border Protection special units spent three weeks trying to breach and scale the eight models in San Diego, using jackhammers, saws, torches and other tools and climbing devices…”

Ramos last night again on Tucker Carlson’s show trotted out the exact same “the wall is useless” line he’s been pushing for months. No sale.

January 19, 2018

IN THE WASHINGTON POST: I wasn’t a Trump supporter. I am now. “This may seem like an odd moment for saying so, but a year into the presidency of Donald Trump, I’m elated. Trump was not my first or even second choice for president, but a full two years ago I predicted he would win. I also predicted he’d be a progressive president, which explained why I was not among his supporters and why I am so pleased now.”

AT AMAZON, January Savings in Winter Sports.

WHAT FEMINISM HAS DONE TO RELATIONSHIPS, IN A NUTSHELL: “Couple this with the fact that as women get on average more educated there are fewer hypergamically-eligible males at every SES, and you have the jaws of a vicious vise. It’s especially hard on high-status women and low-status men. The main beneficiaries are high-status men, who often behave like entitled assholes because the new rules tilt the playing field in their favor even more than the old ones did. . . . I don’t have a fix for this problem. As you imply, if women were able to coordinate a retreat to withholding early sex they would regain some of their lost bargaining power, but I don’t see any realistic possibility of this today. The problem is that the refuseniks from such an agreement trying to form, and the defectors after it formed, would be rewarded with more sex with high-status men, which is exactly what every player on the female side is instinctively wired to want.”

I know I linked to this essay by Eric S. Raymond last night, but it was worth breaking this out.

HERE’S TONIGHT’S OPEN THREAD: Enjoy each other’s company.

IT’S LIKE 100% MEDIA NEGATIVITY IS ALREADY PRICED-IN: After “Fire and Fury” and the “shithole” smear, Trump isn’t any less popular than before. “He seems to be even a little more popular.”

As people see that they were lied to about the tax bill “only helping the rich,” he’s likely to gain traction against the press.

AT AMAZON, AmazonBasics AAA Rechargeable Batteries (12-Pack).

“GANG VIOLENCE.” Swedish PM does not rule out use of army to end gang violence. “Sweden will do whatever it takes, including sending in the army, to end a wave of gang violence that has seen a string of deadly shootings, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in Wednesday. Sweden’s murder rate is relatively low in international terms, but gang violence has surged in recent years and Swedes are worried that the police are unable to cope.”

Weird that Sweden never had this problem until recently.

HISTORY: Fightin’ Iron: The Krag-Jørgensen Rifle.

NEW CIVILITY WATCH: Andrea Mitchell: Dems Must Get Deal ‘Written in Blood’ to Avoid Shutdown.

Earlier today: “CBS This Morning co-host John Dickerson on Friday touted Democratic talking points regarding a government shutdown. Talking to Senator Cory Gardner, Dickerson tried to explain away demanding a DACA fix in return for keeping the government open. He lectured the Republican: ‘Nothing focuses the mind like a hanging.’”

Earlier:

As Steve says, come and see the violence inherent in the leftism.

HE’S A MARINE, THEY KNOW HOW TO LEG IT: Mattis Was Late For A Speech, His Solution Will Make All Service Members Cheer. And somehow Mattis manages to look more badass in civvies than all those younger guys in uniform.

DISPATCHES FROM THE INTERSECTION OF THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE AND THE BATHROOM WARS: Oregon Parents Sue School District Over Transgender Bathrooms, Claiming Civil Rights Violations.

PROTECTING AGAINST frozen and stuck car doors.

AT AMAZON, save on Bestselling Game Downloads.

Plus, new offerings in Amazon Instant Video. Why be bored?

RAND PAUL’S ATTACKER PLEADS GUILTY TO FELONY. I’m not so sure I believe that it was lawncare related, but a felony plea is a felony plea.

ANNALS OF FEMINIST AUTOPHAGY: Neo-Neocon on Margaret Atwood: feminist vs. feminist.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Link was broken; should be working now.

ROLL LEFT AND DIE: NFL Playoffs Ratings Plunge by 23 Million. As Ace writes in response:

This year may be the first year I completely blow off the Super Bowl. Even if the Dreamy Tom Brady does start in it.

Maybe I also blew off last year’s game; I forget. I know one recent year I didn’t watch the first half, but tuned in for most of the second after I got the impression from social media and blog comments that it was a competitive game.

Anyway, not really feeling I’m missing anything. Looks like 23 million other people are not really missing anything along with me.

What about you guys? If you’ve stopped watching, what phase are you in? Are you in the phase I was in two years ago (watched some clips and recaps), last year (checked the paper occasionally, watched an occasional game digest on YouTube), or this year (only saw one football play by accident on Neil Cavuto)?

I click through the Super 70s Sports Twitter account and wonder how the NFL weathered a decade as tumultuous as that without a single anthem kneel. Why, it’s as if Pete Rozelle understood the average sports viewer just slightly better than Roger Goodell. Or as Iowahawk wrote:

Let us know your phase of NFL withdrawal (if any) in the comments.

THAT’S ALWAYS BEEN MY SUSPICION AS TO ITS TRUE PURPOSE: Could a Chinese Space Junk Laser Double as a Weapon?

CESSPITS OF MISOGYNY (CONT’D): Committee Calls for GAO Probe on ‘Pernicious Problem’ of Sexual Harassment in Science Community.

HOW REGULATIONS MADE CALIFORNIA’S FIRES WORSE:

After raging through almost all of December, the so-called Thomas fire, California’s largest wildfire ever recorded, was finally contained on January 12.  While the worst is behind us (for now), the fact that last year’s wildfires so violently spun out of control puts the spotlight on the Golden State’s government and its lack of fire prevention measures.

The fires across the state caused unprecedented damage and loss of life.  Unsurprisingly, California governor Jerry Brown was quick to pin the blame on climate change for the forest fires’ ferocity and extraordinary longevity this season.  Whatever truth there may be to this, it would be a mistake to gloss over how misguided policies and regulations have hurt California’s ability to prevent and respond to fires.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), shrubs and live and dead vegetation are the most important factor in forest fires, being an easily ignitable fuel source that helps spread the flames quickly over vast distances.  For a dry and warm state prone to fires, regular clearing measures removing this vegetation should be common sense.  However, California has enacted several laws that heavily restrict such vital fire-preventing measures as logging, removal of dead trees, and clearing of dry underbrush.

As Jonah Goldberg noted today in his column titled “Does the California Model Really Work?”

Wealthy liberal Californians can be quite smug about how they can afford their strict land-use policies, draconian environmental regulations, and high taxes. And wealthy Californians can afford them — but poor Californians are paying the price.

Californians of all income levels had their lives disrupted, some tragically so, by December’s fires, but given that Jerry Brown has blamed them on the global warming boogieman, I doubt lefty Californians will be rethinking the destruction caused by their religious environmental beliefs. It’s tempting to quip sometimes you have to fry a few eggs to make an omelet, but to paraphrase Orwell, when does to California get to see the omelet?

(Via Small Dead Animals.)

NEW CIVILITY WATCH:

CBS This Morning co-host John Dickerson on Friday touted Democratic talking points regarding a government shutdown. Talking to Senator Cory Gardner, Dickerson tried to explain away demanding a DACA fix in return for keeping the government open. He lectured the Republican: “Nothing focuses the mind like a hanging.”

Yes, Dickerson is paraphrasing Samuel Johnson, but murdering Republicans seems to be a recurring fantasy for the CBS anchorman:

Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.

Headline, John Dickerson’s column at Slate, January 18, 2013.

Earlier:

NBC’S RACHEL MADDOW SHOW SPARKED FBI INVESTIGATION INTO DEATH THREATS AGAINST MCCONNELL, PRUITT.

● Rand Paul: Recovery after attack ‘was a living hell.’

Bernie Bro James T. Hodgkinson, Attempted Assassin Of Steve Scalise, Already Being Erased From History.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai canceled his appearance at CES because of death threats.

Terry McAuliffe says he’d punch Trump: ‘You’d have to pick him up off the floor.’

As Steve says, come and see the violence inherent in the leftism.

I THINK TRUMP’S STRATEGY IS TO LET THE SHUTDOWN LAST FOR A MONTH, THEN LAY OFF ALL THE “NONESSENTIAL PERSONNEL” WHO WEREN’T MISSED: Kurt Schlichter: Please Don‘t Shut Down The Government, Democrats, Because That Would Be Awful (Not).

Please do it.

Here’s the thing – most of Trump supporters aren’t takers – they’re makers. They’re the people the government flunkies come to with their palms up whenever some bureaucrat wants to spend a zillion bucks studying LGBT issues among Antarctic penguins or funding the NPR’s X-rated reenactments of the Nativity. How sad are Trump’s supporters going to be if the deal is, “We don’t hand over citizenship to a bunch of people who shouldn’t be here and everyone they’re related to down to their 29th cousin three times removed, and in return, we make the government stop spending money.”

There is literally no Trump voter who will say, “Why, that’s a terrible deal! If that happens, we don’t give amnesty and we don’t spend money!”

Not one.

To the extent that a shut-down hurts some of the government’s few useful employees, like the members of our military, I eagerly look forward to Chuck n’ Nancy and the other circus freaks who make up the Democrat Capitol Crew explaining to the American people why they chose to make our men and women in uniform suffer so the Democrats can import some new ballot stuffers. “Support the troops unless we need to screw them over so we can ship in foreigners to vote for future Maryland Senator Chelsea Manning” seems like a flawed message, which is why I heartily encourage the Dems to try it out.

Kurt has a way of putting things.

Meanwhile Jim Treacher is panicking: A Government Shutdown Could Take Away Our Panda Cams!

OH, CANADA: Bonuses, performance pay for government executives rose in Trudeau’s 1st year.

Spending on bonuses and other performance pay for top federal government executives increased by more than double the rate of inflation in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first year in office, CBC News has learned.

The 3.2 per cent increase in spending for 2015-16, the most recent year available, was also more than twice the 1.25 per cent pay increases the government has negotiated with many of its public sector unions.

Spending on performance pay for top executives increased to $75 million from $72.6 million the year before with wide fluctuations in the percentage increases — or decreases — in many departments.

Trickle-up economics.

JONATHAN TURLEY: James Clapper’s perjury, and why DC made men don’t get charged for lying to Congress. In DC, perjury is not simply tolerated, it is rewarded. In a city of made men and women, nothing says loyalty quite as much as lying under oath.

“The problem is not that the perjury statute is never enforced. Rather it is enforced against people without allies in government.” (Bumped).

J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: Employee Lawsuit Reveals Google As Intolerant Race Cult.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Horsepower Versus Torque: An Explainer.

WAR ON WOMEN UPDATE: Andrew Klavan: Democrats Play Women for Fools.

BLUE STATE BLUES: That New York Condo Just Got a Lot More Expensive. “Apartment buyers in New York are pausing to figure out how the new tax law will affect ownership costs.”

After four consecutive months of increases, the number of contracts signed in December declined both for new condo buildings and older co-ops and condos.

Overall the number of contracts signed in December, the month the tax overhaul was finalized, declined 12% from the same month in 2016, according to real-estate listing and data site UrbanDigs.com.

Brokers said it was too soon to tell whether the pullback is temporary or may be the beginning of a reassessment of the value of homeownership in light of higher after-tax ownership costs.

If New York is genuinely interested in affordable housing, they could start cutting taxes and regulations.

ENFORCING THE LAW WILL BE NOT BE TOLERATED: ‘We will prosecute’ employers who help immigration sweeps, California AG says.

YES, PROVIDED YOU’RE ALREADY WELL-OFF: Does the California Model Really Work?

There’s a new data point to inform the debate that hopefully will be more difficult to ignore: California is the poverty capital of America.

The Census Bureau has come up with a new and better way to measure poverty. The standard model doesn’t take into account all sorts of factors that matter in the real world — the overall cost of living, including food, housing prices, utilities, medical care, and taxes.

This is just common sense. The median household income in Mississippi is about $41,000 per year. In California it’s about $65,000. Does anyone doubt that $41,000 goes a lot further in Biloxi than in Los Angeles?

According to the standard poverty measure, Mississippi ranks first in the nation with a rate of 20.8 percent. California ranks 16th. The Census Bureau’s “Supplemental Poverty Measure” places California first in the nation with a poverty rate of 20.4, and Mississippi falls to fifth.

Wealthy liberal Californians can be quite smug about how they can afford their strict land-use policies, draconian environmental regulations, and high taxes. And wealthy Californians can afford them — but poor Californians are paying the price.

Trickle-up economics.

FAITH MOORE: The Lie of Modern Feminism Is Beginning to Bite Feminists in the Butt.