February 17, 2018


POPULAR MECHANICS: The Twelve Best Multitools.

I like my Leatherman Skeletool, though in an earlier post a reader made a strong case for the Leatherman Juice, on the ground that it includes a corkscrew. Hard to argue! And for the more traditionally minded, there’s always this.

OPEN THREAD: Continue with the rarefied discussion for which InstaPundit comments are known.

WELL, DRASTIC COST REDUCTIONS WILL DO THAT: Elon Musk and SpaceX are ‘adding energy to the space market,’ Boeing CEO says.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: 5 Practical Uses for Elon Musk’s Impractical Flamethrower.

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ANDREW KLAVAN: The Left Is Reaping the Whirlwind of the Culture They Made.

I am a First Amendment purist and don’t want to see expression censored in any way. And I don’t argue that there’s a straight line between any specific cultural creation and bad acts. But surely, a culture in which those in authority approve of and argue for things like gangsta rap and GTA — and indeed for the use of violence to silence speech that offends them — well, such a culture becomes a machine for transforming madness into murder.

It reminds me of some wisdom from another two sheriffs, the fictional sheriffs from the Coen Brothers movie of Cormac McCarthy’s novel No Country for Old Men discussing the mindless violence that has taken over society.

“Once you stop hearing ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ the rest is soon to follow,” says one.
“It’s the tide, the dismal tide,” says the other. “It’s not the one thing.”

The left wants to defend gangstas and “transgressive” art and antifa thugs — but when the shooting starts, they blame the guns.

The left wants to get rid of feminine modesty and masculine protectiveness and social restrictions on sex — but when the abuse and rape and harassment rise to the surface, they start whining about toxic manhood. Perhaps they should have listened to the Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton, who wrote about the difference between reforming society and deforming it — a passage that was neatly paraphrased by John F. Kennedy: “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.”

At a more amusing level, they can’t figure out why they can’t get traction against Trump with scandals that would have worked three decades ago. Whatever could have happened in the interim?

NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER MCMASTER CALLS FOR “CYBER DIALOGUE WHEN RUSSIA IS SINCERE” ABOUT CURTAILING CYBER ESPIONAGE: When I first heard McMaster’s comments mentioned on the radio I thought “when Russia is sincere” had to be the punch line to a joke.

In responding to a question from a Russian politician about the U.S. and Russia potentially working together on cyber security, McMaster seemed to dismiss the notion.

“I’m surprised there are any Russian cyber experts available, based on how active most of them have been in undermining our democracies in the West,” he said to chuckles from the audience. He added, “we would love to have a cyber dialogue when Russia is sincere about curtailing its sophisticated form of espionage.”

Well, it was almost a punch line.

LINK: Fixed.

PLEASE DO THIS: Why You Must Stay Home When You Have The Flu. Judging by the long wait times on the billboards for a couple of local emergency rooms, the epidemic is still in full swing.

FASTER, PLEASE: NASA’s ‘Quiet Supersonic’ Plane Could Change Airports Forever.

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MICHAEL WALSH: With DACA, Put the Federal Judiciary Back In Its Constitutional Box.

Read the whole thing.

Q-SHIP: The Original Infiniti Q45 Was the Best Q45.

AN ENGINEERING TRIUMPH: Solar-powered rover approaching 5,000th Martian dawn.

INSERT HILLARY CHARDONNAY JOKE HERE: This Alzheimer’s Drug Repairs Alcohol-Induced Brain Damage in Rats.

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HURRAY FOR GREENHOUSE-FRIENDLY POWER! India approves construction of 12 more nuclear reactors.

THINGS YOU RUN ACROSS DOING RESEARCH: I’m working on a few essays (more about that soon) and wanted to pull together a list of US efforts to influence or “meddle” (the non-legal legal word du jour) in foreign elections. Of course, anyone with a sense of 20th Century history ought to know this, but obviously our intellectual betters discussing the Mueller indictments seem to conveniently forget this episode of American history.

That said, I thought I would share this little nugget from 2016 — long before Trump allegedly “colluded” with anyone but a porn star: “In unearthed 2006 audio, Clinton appears to suggest rigging the Palestine election.” According to The Week, the Most Qualified Candidate Ever said, regarding Palestinian elections:

“And if we were going to push for an election,” Clinton went on, “then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.”

I suppose it always depends on whose Gore is being oxed.

IN THE MAIL: Unraveled: Obamacare, Religious Liberty, and Executive Power.

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SPACEX: Californians Could See Awe-Inspiring Show Sunday.

TRUMP COULD MAKE MEXICO PAY FOR THE WALL WITH A MODEST — SAY, 5% — TAX ON REMITTANCES: Mexican-Americans Sent Home Record $28.1 Billion in 2017. “Perhaps comically, remittances were actually Mexico’s biggest source of foreign income after auto exports, far surpassing the $20 billion that Mexico earned from oil exports and the $19 billion from tourism in 2017.”


…refers to something nonsensical or to someone who isn’t making any sense. Comes from the sound emitted by a “secure communications terminal” that isn’t synchronized with other secure terminals.

Read the whole thing at EMBRACE THE SUCK.

FIRST, THAT THEY’RE STILL GOING ON: What to know about the hijab protests happening in Iran.

STEPHEN L. CARTER: Lying to Investigators Shouldn’t Be a Crime: Everyone from President Trump to a petty thief is at the same disadvantage when talking to prosecutors.

If you lie to the government it’s a crime. If they lie to you, it’s just business as usual.

ROGER SIMON: What Do We Do about the Biased and Incompetent FBI?


You went full eugenicist; never go full eugenicist.

WHEN SECONDS COUNT, THE POLICE ARE ONLY MINUTES AWAY: 911 in the digital age: Seconds matter, as do emergency system upgrades.

EVERGREEN HEADLINE: Fox Butterfield, is that you?

CORNELL PROFESSOR: The American Dream Is a ‘Hallucination.’

The cost of pursuing the American Dream at Cornell this academic year is $70,321 for non-residents.

WELL, TO BE FAIR, THAT MISSION SEEMS TO BE CENSORSHIP AND LEFTY POLITICAL INDOCTRINATION: DePaul University is refusing to allow a conservative student group to host commentator and comedian Steven Crowder, saying Crowder’s approach doesn’t “align” with the school’s mission.

Related: Is Depaul America’s Worst School for Free Speech? It’s become something of a joke.

Cost of attending DePaul University: $57,034 per year. So basically, something like a quarter million dollars for 4 years of these clowns.

“RONALD REAGAN, WE MISS YOU. WHAT’S HAPPENED TO YOUR STATE?” 10 tweets that explain why conservatives don’t want to be governed by a Californian.

As Kate of Canada’s Small Dead Animals blog titles her recurring posts on California craziness, “O, Sweet Saint Of San Andreas, Hear My Prayer.”

BLUE STATE BLUES: Wondering Which States Americans Hate to Live In? Ask U-Haul.

Here are some examples (all data is taken from the U-Haul website; prices are for March 1, 2018, for a favorite 20-foot van.)

Renting a truck from New York to Orlando costs $2,214 and back $1,557 (the difference is $657, a 42% surcharge.)

Renting a truck from New York to Dallas costs $2,442 and back $1,962 (the difference is $480, a 24% surcharge.)

Renting a truck from San Francisco to Orlando costs $3,308 and back $1,988 (the difference is $1,510, an 84% surcharge.)

Renting a truck from San Francisco to Dallas costs $3,206 and back $1,128 (the difference is $2,078, a 184% surcharge.)

For comparison, renting the same truck from New York to San Francisco costs $3,409, and back $3,058 (the difference is $351, a surcharge of 11%).

Money well spent, as I learned 25 years ago when I had to pay a hefty moving van rental fee to escape from San Francisco to Colorado Springs.

YEAH, MORE PEOPLE ARE SELLING THIS CRAP THAN WANT TO BUY IT: UCLA hosted campus talk on ‘toxic masculinity.’ 10 students showed up.

SO THIS IS BASICALLY AN ADMISSION OF CORRUPTION: AL Sheriffs & DAs: No Incentive to Enforce the Law if We Can’t Keep the Funds.


In particular, the European Union’s foreign policy posture and the continent’s domestic policies would benefit from a dose of ruthlessness in the pursuit of power and economic dynamism.

Whether Europeans admit it or not, the Western-dominated international order is at its end. The reasons are manifold, including the declining willingness of Americans to play the role of a global policeman, stepping in to fix all the world’s problems. And notwithstanding the signals provided by both Barack Obama’s and Trump’s presidencies, Europe, with its atrophied defense budgets, sluggish economies, and a lack of strategic focus, shows few signs of being able to take effective care of itself.

Instead of a laser-sharp focus on the pursuit of interests shared by Europe’s democracies, with all the tools that are necessary, the European Union’s engagement with its neighborhood has been reduced to lukewarm efforts to export its own rules. The Eastern Partnership agenda and Brussels’s work in the Western Balkans, for instance, revolve around the idea that European countries outside of the European Union are aspiring to become just like the West. If that is the case, then all that is needed for Brussels to do is to help them ingest a heavy dose of acquis communautaire.

Looking at the world as if it were aching to become like us adds up to a retro, 1990s-style foreign policy.

And it didn’t work very well in the 1990s.

February 16, 2018


THIS HAS BEEN OBVIOUS FOR A WHILE: Mueller Confirms: Russia Used Anti-Trump Resistance To Stoke Division.

NEW WOKE THOUGHT: Straight Women Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Use The Word “Girlfriend.”

From the comments: “So it’s wrong to assume someone’s gender or sexual preference, but we should change words we use to make it easier to do so.”

OPEN THREAD: Bask in the prestige and exclusivity of the InstaPundit comment section.




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WITH EASE, IF NOT OUTRIGHT COOPERATION: How white nationalists fooled the media about Florida shooter: ABC, AP and others ran with false information on shooter’s ties to extremist groups.

They want it to be true so much that they don’t actually care if it’s true.

BIPARTISAN SENTIMENT: NO NEW GUN LAWS NEEDED. Democrat Conor Lamb says new gun laws not needed to prevent violence.

REPUBLICANS CAN WIN A LOT OF THINGS THIS WAY. AND YET . . . Analysis: Trump’s Hawks Won Senate Immigration Debate (By Not Losing).

SARAH HOYT ON ROBERT MUELLER: Crazy, or Russian? “Since his only conceivable purpose is to help Russian psi-ops, he should immediately register as a foreign agent.  And if he won’t, then he should have himself committed, because his actions can’t have any other possible purpose.”

Heh, indeed. Read the whole thing.™

I QUITE ENJOYED THE FIRST BOOK IN THIS SERIES: Now out: Jackal and the Fifth Reich.

MARK RIPPETOE: The Olympic Games: Time to Stop. “The Olympics has turned from a celebration of human physical performance that once transcended global politics and popular culture into a propaganda event for the dominant interpretation of global politics and popular culture. It is no longer about athletics and who wins the athletic competition – it is now concerned with shaping our perceptions of what it means to compete with each other, and why we probably shouldn’t celebrate winning at all. It has become an embarrassing mess for the entire human race, and it’s time to stop wasting resources, time, and attention span on it.”

Then there’s the mind-boggling corruption.

HONESTLY, THAT’S BETTER THAN I EXPECTED: CDC: Flu Vaccine Only 36 Percent Effective This Year.

QUESTION ASKED: What Were the Russians Up To?

HE’S A SPACE COWBOY — BET YOU WEREN’T READY FOR THAT: William Shatner signs with country music label.

(Classical reference in headline.)

A SANE APPROACH TO VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS: H.R. 34, the “Safe Students Act.” Everyone should be asking members of Congress if they support this common sense gun law.

HOW WE GOT HERE: From the Family Parlor to the Back Seat to #MeToo.

Read the whole thing.

FASTER, PLEASE: Brazil yellow fever vaccine campaign struggling to meet goal.

DA TECH GUY: Reading the Mueller indictment. Where’s the beef?

WILL CORY GARDINER HAND SENATE CONTROL TO SCHUMER AND DURBIN? That’s a question heard with increasing frequency among D.C.’s campaign obsessives. Not a good sign, according to LifeZette’s Jim Stinson.

UH-HUH: Florida Man Blames Stuck Gas Pedal for 95 MPH Highway Dash.

Another from the Annals of Great Excuses: “I wanted to go straight, officer, but the sign said ‘No, you turn’.”

I GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY COMRADES: Politico: Sanders silent on claim that Russians backed him in 2016.

BEER — IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN’T DO? Leave it to a beer company to save the Jamaican Olympic bobsled team.

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THE LEFT IS REAPING THE WHIRLWIND OF THE CULTURE THEY MADE, Andrew Klavan writes. “The left wants to defend gangstas and ‘transgressive’ art and antifa thugs — but when the shooting starts, they blame the guns.”

Read the whole thing.

DEMOCRACY DIES IN DARKNESS OR WHATEVER: The Media Stopped Reporting The Russia Collusion Story Because They Helped Create It.

AND THAT’S THE END OF THE TRUMP-RUSSIA COLLUSION NONSENSE: So says former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova, speaking to LifeZette.

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RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Hybrid Warfare is Dangerous.

Alternatively Putin may have come to regard Washington as so divided he could send hybrid forces into Syria and overrun an objective before anyone could react. The Washington Post editorial board believes the Kremlin is feeling its oats. In an article titled “Russia is betting it can push the U.S. out of Syria”, the WaPo warned Putin may be embarked on yet another attempt at “bold duplicity”:

Russian forces are backing the Assad regime’s offensives, and they, along with Iran, may have supported the attack on America’s Kurdish allies east of the Euphrates River. Russian ruler Vladi­mir Putin gave Turkey a green light to launch its offensive against the Kurds, and his phone call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday put a stop to hostilities between Israel, Syria and Iran.

Mr. Putin is seeking to establish Russia as the dominant power in Syria and, by extension, a major player in the Middle East — all at the expense of the United States. His attempt to stage a conference supplanting the U.N.-sponsored peace process for Syria largely flopped last month. But he has established Russia as the arbiter of Syria’s multiple conflicts, capable of fueling them or shutting them down.

The headlines out of Washington delegitimizing the current administration certainly might have contributed to a feeling of invincibility in the Kremlin. Unfortunately for Russia Trump’s much criticized delegation of authority back to the military may have decoupled its tactical response from Washington’s political paralysis.

As I wrote earlier today, “When a state actor gives the go-ahead and dozens of your mercenaries get blown up, you can’t exactly get in a big diplomatic (or military) huff about it.”

Anyway, it’s Richard Fernandez so do read the whole thing.

THE TRUTH HURTS: CNN’s Chris Cillizza offended by Fox News’ totally accurate chyron.

Related: Hate Fatigue: CNN Viewership Collapses 30%.

Get woke, go broke.

ROD ROSENSTEIN: NO AMERICAN COLLUSION. “During a press briefing early Friday, the deputy attorney general said those being charged tried to undermine democracy and spread distrust of the U.S. political system. He said no Americans were knowing participants in the scheme, and there is no evidence it effected the outcome of the election.”

THE AL CAPONE’S VAULT OF AMERICAN HISTORY: “When people embarrass themselves, I tend to cringe and look away. I turn off talk radio when callers make a stupid point. I feel queasy when a colleague misspeaks in a public forum. And when reading Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains, which was one of five finalists for the National Book Award for nonfiction, I felt nauseated. I was embarrassed for the author, embarrassed for Duke University and MacLean’s colleagues in its history department, embarrassed for the liberal reviewers who lauded such obviously shoddy and dishonest work, and most of all embarrassed for the prestigious National Book Award for having given it their imprimatur…. Throughout Democracy in Chains I kept waiting for the big reveal that would show the secret details of Buchanan and Koch’s far right takeover—and was left disappointed. The book is the historian’s equivalent of Geraldo Rivera opening Al Capone’s vault.”

JAZZ SHAW AND THE LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: ICE Is Demonstrating The Fruits Of “Sanctuary” Policies In Los Angeles.

If you happened to be in or around Los Angeles this week you may have seen some new visitors in town wearing ICE/Police body armor. They’ve been paying visits to a number of businesses and residences, rounding up illegal aliens and scheduling them for deportation hearings. Their primary targets are those with known criminal records, but since they have to go out into the community to locate these criminals (rather than picking them up from local law enforcement when they get picked up for other crimes), they’re encountering and arresting some with little or no criminal records as well.

That’s quite some sanctuary California has provided.

AMERICAN TROOPS IN EUROPE MUST ADJUST TO “THE CHANGING CHARACTER OF WAR”: I’m not sure war’s fundamental “character” has changed much in the last 30,000 years, but I believe General Scaparrotti is referring to innovative technologies and new tactical and operational wrinkles. He’s also preparing for full-spectrum combat (to include mechanized combat) against a near-peer adversary. And in eastern Europe who might that near peer be?

A new cyber center, intended to bolster defenses against Russian intrusions and misinformation campaigns, also will be formed at Scaparrotti’s NATO headquarters in Mons, Belgium.

The moves coincide with a push by the U.S. to rejuvenate EUCOM into a warfighting headquarters capable of commanding troops in a crisis. Military officials have said such high-end command and control skills languished during the post-Cold War era, but EUCOM has sought to bring them back.

EUCOM war games now focus on confronting a “peer competitors” and sophisticated military threats that weren’t a priority during the previous 15 years, when military attention was on counterinsurgency campaigns in the Middle East.

“We had to reorganize some of our staff to be able to work in this environment,” Scaparrotti said. “We’ve done that. We’ve tested ourselves.”

In Russia, Scaparrotti said he sees a military that also is evolving. Moscow’s interventions in Ukraine and Syria have been a “testing ground” for regular Russian forces. Meanwhile, Russia’s military buildup in Kaliningrad, a fortified enclave with sophisticated Iskander missiles, also is an area of concern, Scaparrotti said.

Article’s worth the read.

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THEY’VE BEEN WORKING HARD AND SMART AT THIS: China will soon have air power rivalling the West’s.

GOOD NEWS FOR MICE: Another cancer vaccine shows promise in mice.

WE’LL HAVE PLENTY MORE DIFFERENCES IN THE FUTURE: Turkey and the U.S. agree to move forward, not dwell on past differences.

WHY PAPER CUTS hurt so damn much.

WHITE HOUSE: Russia’s Cyber-Attack on Ukraine Most ‘Destructive and Costly’ in History.

The Office of the Press Secretary’s statement echoes the conclusion of British intelligence, as the U.K. earlier on Thursday declared Russia responsible for the attack, the BBC reported. The 2017 attack was known as “NotPetya” and targeted companies conducting business with Ukraine, a country with which Russia has been in conflict since its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

“In June 2017, the Russian military launched the most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history,” the White House statement reads.

The statement goes on to say that the economic damage—which resulted from attacks on shipping giant FedEx, drugmaker Merck, and others—has reached billions of dollars. The White House maintains the attack was part of the Kremlin’s campaign against Ukraine.

“The attack, dubbed ‘NotPetya,’ quickly spread worldwide, causing billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia, and the Americas,” the statement reads. “It was part of the Kremlin’s ongoing effort to destabilize Ukraine and demonstrates ever more clearly Russia’s involvement in the ongoing conflict.”

It might be worth revealing some of the West’s methods if we turned off the lights in Moscow for 24 hours — and put an end to this Kremlin BS.

THE HILL: Mueller indicts 13 Russians for interfering in US election. “Special counsel Robert Mueller has brought charges against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups for interfering with the 2016 U.S. elections, the Department of Justice announced Friday. The charges allege that the Russians posed as U.S. people, created false U.S. personas and stole the identities of real U.S. people.”

FLASHBACK: I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

21ST CENTURY PROBLEMS: How to Stop Your Browser From Secretly Mining Cryptocurrency.

WHEN THEY GO LOW… THEY GO VERY LOW: Gun Control Advocates Bully Shooting Victim’s Father Because He’s a Trump Supporter.


As I’ve told my sons on more than one occasion, money can’t buy you happiness, but it can forestall an awful lot of misery.

WORLD WAR III BEGAN WHEN ALBERT SHANKER GOT HOLD OF A NUCLEAR WARHEAD: Terrorist Plot Involving Bomb Making Teacher Foiled In New York City.

(Classical reference in headline.)

THEY MUST HAVE STUDIED LAW UNDER PROFESSOR CHRIS CUOMO: “CIA Argues The Public Can’t See Classified Information It Has Already Given To Favored Reporters.” The Daily Caller reports that:

In a motion filed in New York federal court, the CIA claimed that limited disclosures to reporters do not waive national security exemptions to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies frequently deny records requests on the basis of protecting sensitive national security information, one of nine exemptions written into the federal FOIA law…“In this case, CIA voluntarily disclosed to outsiders information that it had a perfect right to keep private,” [the Judge] wrote. “There is absolutely no statutory provision that authorizes limited disclosure of otherwise classified information to anyone, including ‘trusted reporters,’ for any purpose, including the protection of CIA sources and methods that might otherwise be outed.”

Here’s Chris Cuomo’s “legal reasoning” via Prof. Volokh. (Cuomo: “remember, it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents. It’s different for the media. So everything you learn about this, you’re learning from us.”).
EXTRA IRONY BONUS: CNN — that same defender of transparency and the public’s “right to know” — forced YouTube to remove the video clip of Cuomo’s inanity.

WILL IT BE WIRED WITH SCHRÖDINGER’S CAT 6? The quantum internet has arrived (and it hasn’t).

This is a deep read, but fascinating stuff.

FLASHBACK: There’s a Way to Stop Mass Shootings, and You Won’t Like It.

You’re not going to like it because it’s going to require you to do something personally, as opposed to shouting for the government, or anyone to “do something!”

You ready? Here it is:

“Notice those around you who seem isolated, and engage them.”

If every one of us did this we’d have a culture that was deeply committed to ensuring no one was left lonely. And make no mistake, as I’ve written before loneliness is what causes these shooters to lash out. People with solid connections to other people don’t indiscriminately fire guns at strangers.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s never going to work because no one is going to make the effort to connect with the strange kid sitting by himself at lunch each day. No one is going to reach out to the gawky, awkward guy at work and ask him about his weekend.

You’re probably right and that’s an absolute shame.


THE RUSSIANS DID IT: CNN viewership collapses 23%, 30% in primetime.

IN THE MAIL: The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify.

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AVNER ZARMI: The Netanyahu Recommendations: What Happened, What’s Next.