August 27, 2016

IF YOU ARE A SCIENCE FICTION FAN, CONSIDER REGISTERING TO VOTE IN THE DRAGON AWARDS: It’s free and you have till Sunday to register.  Register here.

MY FRIEND STEPHANIE OSBORN WON THE SILVER FALCHION AWARD: This is the book she did it with.  And today she has a post at my blog, too, about space weather which is one of her specialties.

IT IS NEEDED: Teaching American Government.


HOW WE’VE COME SO FAR, SO FAST: The Mote in Gernsback’s Eye.

OF COURSE IT DOES: Clinton campaign finds legal loophole to collect big donations.

MORE OF HAVING ILL-FITTING BRAS:Men at bra company forced to feel the pain of having boobs.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMING AMERICA: Howard Johnson’s restaurant to close in Maine, leaving only 1 more.

I DON’T THINK THERE IS ENOUGH HAY TO HIDE THAT ELEPHANT: Covering up the $1.3 billion payoff to Iran.

OF COURSE SHE DOES: Hillary’s worst scandal is that she really thinks she’s clean.

August 26, 2016

MERKEL’S DEBACLE: ‘We’re not a MIGRANT WAITING ROOM’ Austria blasts Merkel and demands ‘deportation summit.’

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NEWS YOU CAN USE: A Reminder For Clueless Jerks: Don’t Drive Slow In the Left Lane. Though InstaPundit readers, who aren’t clueless jerks, will mostly use it by passing it on to people who need it. . . .

JOHN SCHINDLER: The Truth About Trump.

I knew from the moment Mitt Romney lost an election in 2012 that he shouldn’t have that the Republican Party would take all the wrong lessons from that needless defeat. As I predicted, rather than refocus to win more votes from demographics that felt unloved by Romney — especially working class whites — the GOP establishment would jump through great intellectual hoops to reach any other conclusion. And so they did.

Right-leaning pundits and the GOP’s donor class, which between them pretty much call the shots on what’s acceptable Republican discourse, wanted nothing to do with any outreach to downmarket whites, whom they despise. So it’s safe to say we wouldn’t be talking about out of control illegal immigration or job losses to China if it weren’t for Trump, who sashayed and tweeted his way into the campaign and shifted the GOP’s Overton window in a stunning fashion.

There will be much for future historians to ponder in this year’s remarkable Republican primary race, which left the party’s “stars” gasping for breath, not sure exactly what hit them when the vaunted Trump train barreled through their ranks. Like pretty much every other pundit in America, I got it wrong when I said last summer that Trump stood no chance of getting the Republican nomination, much less winding up in the White House. Otherwise I stick by most of what I said about Trump and his candidacy when this strange saga kicked off.

That said, I always had doubts about Trump, enormous ones. How not? This, after all, is a reality TV star whose all-over-the-map business dealings can charitably be called dodgy. In a field like national politics that attracts narcissists like schoolyards beckon pedophiles, Trump is a standout for his rank, tacky self-absorption. His inability to admit ever being wrong, his incessant need to double, then triple-down on any issue, however small, was impossible to miss. Warning signs were large and neon-lit for anyone caring to see.

Nevertheless, I had hopes that, eventually, professional handlers would get a hold of Trump and moderate his rough edges. Once he secured the GOP nomination a more focused Trump — one not needing to respond to every imagined slight with an incendiary tweet — had to arrive. Surely if he expected to be competitive in the general election, Trump knew he would have to refocus, stop pandering to his narrow but fervent base, and start talking like, well….a president.

Alas, I was wrong. Wise friends of mine like Tom Nichols and Rick Wilson were right all along. There is no better Trump. There is no responsible Trump. There is no balanced Trump. There is no presidential Trump. There is only Trump.

Well, 70-year-old men don’t change much. And it’s worked pretty well for him so far.

DIVIDER-IN-CHIEF: Who Made America Hate Again?

SO ALL BLUE-EYED PEOPLE share a common ancestor? Of course, brown-eyed people with a recessive blue-eye gene do too, it just doesn’t show.

UNEXPECTEDLY! The Target boycott is costing more than anyone expected.

IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN’T DO? Beer-testing Lab Helps Students Learn Chemistry.

UM, NO. NO, THEY CAN’T. Men Can Now Be Body-Positive in Briefs From Aerie.

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WHEN NANNY-STATE INTERVENTIONS FAIL: Digital baby dolls encouraged teen pregnancy.

Digital baby dolls that wake up crying in the middle of the night and need feeding, rocking and nappy changes are supposed to deter teenagers from falling pregnant.

But in an ironic twist, researchers have found they have the opposite effect.

The findings of a 10-year program and study involving more than 1250 girls and costing more than $1.5 million has found the dolls are actually more likely to encourage motherhood.

The study’s author, Sally Brinkman, from the Telethon Kids Institute, said the program to give babies mimicking the behaviours of a six-week-old to more than 1250 girls aged 14 and 15 had turned popular thinking on its head by proving they encouraged teenagers to fall pregnant.

“The most alarming figure is girls are 1.36 times more likely to have pregnancies if they were exposed to the babies,” Dr Brinkman said.

Oops. I thought the behavioral science was settled.

JEFF CARTER ON the University of Chicago and free speech.

YEAH, SHUT UP YOU STUPID WHITE PEOPLE. This Funny And Awkward Video Reminds Self-Righteous White Allies To Watch Their Hypocritical Asses.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: A Guide to Help Pregnant Women Reduce Their Zika Risk.

GREAT MOMENTS IN SOCIALIZED MEDICINE: Canadian Health Care System Forcing Couple Married 62 Years to Live Apart.

SO WE TAX SODA TO DISCOURAGE SODA-DRINKING. And we tax earnings to. . . . ?

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

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

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

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

But real babies are.


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

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


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

—The London Daily Mail today.

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

NewsBusters, January 7th, 2009.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What could go wrong?

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

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

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

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

Let the hand-wringing begin:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bloomberg’s left-leaning Al Hunt:

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

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

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

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

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

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1205.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE: Spelling corrected.

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

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

Read the whole thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Classical allusion in headline.)

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

(Classical reference in headline.)

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

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

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

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

POLL: Majority of voters want Johnson on debate stage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

August 25, 2016

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, regulation is an important source of graft.

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

Get this:

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smoke, meet fire.

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

Anyway, read the whole, sordid thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Plus, deals on Coffee, Tea & Beverages.

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


—Headline, the Guardian, yesterday.

—Headline, the Guardian, May 10, 2013.

—Headline, the Guardian, January 16, 2012.

—Headline, the Guardian, January 1, 2011.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Hat tip, Glenn!)

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