August 29, 2016

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HMM: Rocky Mountain High: The Secret Ingredient In Colorado Law School’s ‘Remarkable Recent Popularity’? “For the record, the University of Colorado is #7 on Princeton Review’s ‘Reefer Madness’ ranking of the best colleges for students who love to smoke marijuana.”

ROGER SIMON: RIP JOE HICKS—GREAT MAN OF HIS TIMES. “Joe was one of the most interesting guys I had the pleasure of working with at PJ Media and PJTV, where he was the host of The Hicks File. He had a fascinating history. A man of his times, he had been a Black Panther in his youth, but shifted right as he grew older, suffering the brickbats you might expect from old comrades even though he served as Greater Los Angeles director of Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Council.”

I enjoyed The Hicks File immensely and featured its audio on PJM’s Sirius-XM radio show as often as possible; and later was very happy to have met Joe in person one or two times while visiting the PJM mothership in Los Angeles. RIP, Joe Hicks, 75.

WAR ON COLLEGE MEN: ‘Toxic environment’ for sons accused of campus sex offenses turns mothers into militants. “There’s a sense of powerlessness, and it’s an accurate sense of powerlessness particularly at private schools. People have no idea how few rights you have, especially at private universities. … And they think ‘they can really do this? They can ruin my child’s future and there’s nothing we can do about it.’ It’s extremely isolating.”

JUSTICE: Ohio raises alcohol limit for beer this week.

In three days, you’ll have more choices if you like to drink beer brewed locally. It’s good news for breweries like Hoppin’ Frog Brewery & Tasting Room here in Akron.

In May, the legislature lifted Ohio’s 12 percent cap on beer brewed here. And this Wednesday, breweries can begin serving it to the public.

Lawmakers say the move levels the playing field and makes Ohio even more attractive to smaller breweries.

Maybe I’ve been too hard on Governor John Kasich, who signed the bill into law last spring.

SO “STEM” IS BEING TURNED INTO “STEAM.” What does “STEAM” stand for? Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. What’s the difference between “Arts” and the others? “Arts” don’t require math. Science, Technology, Engineering and, of course, Math, all require math. This makes me suspicious.

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YOU’RE NOT AGAINST EVOLUTION, ARE YOU? The Anthropocene epoch could inaugurate even more marvellous eras of evolution.

CONTACT? Alien Hunters Spot Freaky Radio Signal Coming From Nearby Star.

Looking at the signal, the researchers say that if it came from a multi-directional, isotropic radio beacon, it would have to be produced by a Kardashev Type II civilization, i.e. an alien civilization that has tapped into nearly 100 percent of its host star’s energy potential. If the signal was targeted directly at our solar system, then it would be of a power available to a Kardashev Type I civilization, i.e. an alien civilization capable of exploiting nearly all of its home planet’s energy potential.

Another possibility, of course, is that the signal is a natural anomaly, such as background noise. French astronomer Jean Schneider is considering the possibility that HD164595 is amplifying a background radio source through a process known as gravitational microlensing.

To move forward, scientists will need to confirm the quality and integrity of this signal and rule out other possibilities.

I hope they’re not transmitting a cookbook.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Can American Colleges Be Fixed?

The number of full-time faculty in the California State University system increased slightly between 1975 and 2008, from 11,614 to 12,019, while the number of administrators nearly quadrupled during the same period, from 3,800 to 12,183.

In short, American colleges are suffering from administrative bloat, which increases every year at the hand of career managers who value standardization and procedures above all else, and who already put a great deal of trust in technology and market solutions. If the relative reduction in the number of full-time faculty per students over the past 30 years did not lead to a more efficient and affordable college education, it’s unclear how further reducing it could.

Do tell.

SORRY, INSUFFICIENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRAFT: Taiwan’s Social Safety Net Is the Street Market. “With a GDP per capita about half US levels — between Spain and Portugal — Taiwan has a tiny welfare state paired with regulations that are both light and lightly enforced. Result? An explosion in commerce, and apparently near-zero homelessness. Walk anywhere in a Taiwanese city and the streets are alive, all day and all night, with a rotating cast of pop-up businesses that employ mainly low-skill labor while making life a joy for consumers.”

Hey, if they’re not beggars, they’ll be harder to please.

PROGRESS? Cows the world over rejoice, pineapple leather is now a thing.

While in the Philippines, [Carmen Hijosa] discovered the traditional fabric Piña (meaning ‘pineapple’ in Spanish), made of stripped and woven pineapple leaves.

This inspired Hijosa to explore the possibilities of the natural product. After some experimentation, she discovered she could use the fibres from the leaves to create a non-woven textile, similar to the method of making felt, and developed Piñatex, a leather-like fibre created as a by-product of the pineapple harvest.

As far as a substitute for leather goes, Piñatex beats pleather by a country mile.

Based on tests by the International Standards Organisation, Piñatex meets international standards for strength, colour fastness, water, abrasion and cigarette-burn resistance, and flexibility.

To be fair, most anything is an improvement over pleather.

JOIN FIRE IN SAYING “THANK YOU” TO UCHICAGO FOR TAKING A STAND FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM – As Glenn posted about last week, the University of Chicago (UChicago) recently made waves when it sent a back-to-school letter to incoming students telling them not to expect “intellectual ‘safe spaces’” when they arrive on campus.

We at FIRE agree with UChicago that higher education should first and foremost be a marketplace of ideas. If you agree, you can join FIRE in saying “Thank You” to UChicago for taking this important stand.

MICHAEL WALSH: Brace Yourself, Bridget: ‘Single-Payer’ Health Care Is On Its Way.

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I’M NOT SAYING THAT IT’S ALIENS. BUT IT’S ALIENS. ‘Strong signal’ stirs interest in hunt for alien life.

21ST CENTURY HEADLINES: UAV Blasted With .20 Gauge Shotgun.

The Faquier Times reports that shooter is Jennifer Youngman. One of her neighbors in the rural county near the nation’s capital is actor Robert Duvall, who bought the property next to Youngman’s several years ago.

Youngman told the paper that she had been sitting on the front porch of her home cleaning a .410 gauge and the .20 gauge shotguns in mid-June when she noticed a black Range Rover SUV pull up in front of Duvall’s property, set up a card table, and launch the aircraft. Youngman said the cows were being disturbed from the aircraft. Then, she said, the aircraft got going a little too fast, the wind caught it, and it “went over my airspace,” Youngman said. That’s when she brought the .20 gauge into play, and the drone did not win that contest.

She said the men yelled at her, but when she threatened to call police, they got back in their vehicle and left.

Youngman said her only regret is that there are still drone parts in her pasture that have caused two flat tires on her tractor.

Don’t try this at home — at least not with a .410.

THE INSTA-WIFE: Should I Check Non-Binary? There’s a hexadecimal joke in here somewhere, but I don’t have the heart to make it.

THIS YEAR JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER AND BETTER: RIP the great Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka, The Producers and Blazing Saddles star, who passes away at age 83.

THAT’S NOT CREEPY AT ALL: James Lileks videotapes and interviews a wannabe Bane at this year’s Minnesota State Fair.

MY PAPER ON MILITARY COUPS is getting more timely by leaps and bounds:

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Well, the military swears an oath to the Constitution, which justifies ignoring unconstitutional orders. But so long as a President meets the Constitution’s requirements for age, residency, etc. there’s no such thing as an unconstitutional President. Announcing — or even determining — that you wouldn’t follow orders from a particular person holding the office, rather than that you wouldn’t follow illegal or unconstitutional orders, really is a sort of coup. It’s certainly not a fulfillment of an oath to uphold the Constitution.

By the way, my coups paper is still #1 on SSRN, and I guess it’s easy to see why.

PRICE DISCRIMINATION ON STEROIDS: Maurice Stucke and Ariel Ezrachi: The Rise of Behavioural Discrimination.

I REMEMBER MINE: Everyone Remembers Their First Bike.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Mass evacuation at LAX caused by Zorro! Actor on way home from audition dressed as masked hero with plastic sword is arrested amid reports of an ‘active shooter’ grounding flights. “Video emerged Sunday night of the moment the he was approached by armed cops and can be heard shouting: ‘It’s a plastic sword’ as they surrounded him with their guns drawn.”

Here’s to being free and flying high — though not out of LAX:

GOSH, I HOPE SO!

One of the great advantages to working at home is never having to watch any actual workplace improvement videos.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Iowa Professor Fears Fuzzy Hawkeye Mascot Could ‘Traumatize’ Delicate Students.

If you can be “traumatized” by a man running around the sidelines of a football game in a stinky polypropylene mascot head, you’re not mentally well enough to be in college.

01 Jan. 2016: Iowa Hawkeyes mascot Harky on the field during the Rose Bowl game played against the Stanford Cardinal played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo By John Cordes/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Jan. 1 2016: Iowa Hawkeyes mascot Harky on the field during the Rose Bowl game played against the Stanford Cardinal played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo By John Cordes/Icon Sportswire, via AP Images.)

THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING, THEY’LL PROBABLY BE USED TO MAKE YOU LOVE BIG BROTHER: Mind-controlled nanobots could release drugs inside your brain.

THE TRUE STORY OF DR ZHIVAGO’S LARA.

IT’S ABOUT TIME: New smartphone batteries lasting twice as long will hit the market next year. Though the geniuses who design smartphones will probably just use this as an excuse to make the phones slightly thinner, but with the same inadequate battery life as now.

I’M SORRY DAVE, I CAN’T ALLOW YOU TO DO THAT: The Nature of Evil in Computer RPGs.

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THE FOUNDERS MEET Brand X.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: A Guide To Legal Lock-Picking.

NO. WAY. Tens of millions of dollars disguised as ‘consumer relief’ are going to liberal political groups.

The administration’s multiyear campaign against the banking industry has quietly steered money to organizations and politicians who are working to ensure liberal policy and political victories at every level of government. The conduit for this funding is the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group, a coalition of federal and state regulators and prosecutors created in 2012 to “identify, investigate, and prosecute instances of wrongdoing” in the residential mortgage-backed securities market. In conjunction with the Justice Department, the RMBS Working Group has reached multibillion-dollar settlements with essentially every major bank in America.

The most recent came in April when the Justice Department announced a $5.1 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs. In February Morgan Stanley agreed to a $3.2 billion settlement. Previous targets were Citigroup ($7 billion), J.P. Morgan Chase ($13 billion), and Bank of America, which in 2014 reached the largest civil settlement in American history at $16.65 billion. Smaller deals with other banks have also been announced.

Combined, the banks must divert well over $11 billion into “consumer relief,” which is supposed to benefit homeowners harmed during the Great Recession. Yet it is unknown how much, if any, of the banks’ settlement money will find its way to individual homeowners. Instead, a substantial portion is allocated to private, nonprofit organizations drawn from a federally approved list. Some groups on the list—Catholic Charities, for instance—are relatively nonpolitical. Others—La Raza, the National Urban League, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and more—are anything but.

It’s almost as though the Obama Administration had turned the Federal government into a giant shakedown operation.

BREAKING: Anthony Weiner Is out as a Columnist for the Daily News.

He was ever in?

GOOD LORD: Illegal Immigrant Crashes Bus Full of Louisiana Flood Volunteers, Kills Two.

HAWAII, THE FINAL FRONTIER: Mock Mars Explorers Emerge from Habitat to End Year of Isolation in Hawaii.

The crew exited the domed habitat for the first time in 12 months without wearing space suits, and were greeted by family, friends, the mission scientists and team members who supported them through the year, and members of the media.

“There’s no place like Earth. It is a little bit like the tornado returning to Kansas,” said Sheyna E. Gifford, chief medical and safety office and crew journalist. “All of a sudden I click my heels three times and stepped several inches, and 100 million miles later [I’m back on Earth].”

Andrzej Stewart, chief engineering officer, said he felt “mixed emotions” about leaving the habitat.

“I’m a military brat, I grew up with my dad in the Air Force, and where you live becomes home after a while and I’m going to miss the place,” he said.

I’d be interviewing future candidates from the Navy’s submarine force. They’re trained to work complex equipment under adverse conditions in close quarters for months at a time.

REPORT: HUMILIATED HUMA FINALLY DUMPS SEXTING WEINER. Hillary’s top aide separates from her husband just hours after he sent an admirer a photo of his crotch while their four-year-old son slept beside him, according to the London Daily Mail.

Not surprisingly, Drudge is having plenty of fun linking to the story, depicting Hillary and Huma in matching togs and the headline, “SHE’S HAD ENOUGH WEINER. HUMA CHOOSES HILLARY.”

Heh, indeed.™

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1208.

SHOCK: KAEPERNICK ENDORSES TRUMP, DEMANDS REPUBLICAN MAYOR IN SAN FRANCISCO.

At least, that’s how I’m reading this AP headline: “Kaepernick Will Sit Through Anthem Until There’s Change,” given that Hillary is running as Obama’s third term, and San Francisco, which has recently been struck with allegations of racism in its police department, hasn’t had a Republican mayor since about the time the Beatles arrived in America. Otherwise he’s just engaging in kabuki, a sort of one-man version of Occupy Wall Street, which never raised much of a ruckus over President Goldman Sachs during their protests.

So, just how much change would you like, Mr. Kaepernick?

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IT WASN’T A FAILED COUP; IT’S A SUCCESSFUL PURGE: Erdogan Goes Full Autocrat, Press Freedom Extinct in Turkey.

BUT OF COURSE THEY DO. CNN attacks Associated Press report on Hillary’s Clinton Foundation meetings:

Keep in mind, Byers is blasting the AP for putting out a misleading tweet which didn’t give readers a clear understanding of what the story actually said. And yet here he is not giving his own readers a clear understanding of what the the Post’s Fact-Checker said. It’s the same mistake. Byers continues:

Vox’s Matthew Yglesias was more direct: “The AP’s big exposé on Hillary meeting with Clinton Foundation donors is a mess,” his headline read.

And that’s all the evidence Byers offers that the AP botched its report, one link to a progressive news site. Even the expert Byers quoted earlier in the piece says Yglesias is overplaying his hand:

Boardman argued that the story itself “was not nearly so flawed as Yglesias and others have charged.”

Byers deserves credit for including the quote undercutting Vox in his piece but, looking at the material he assembled for this story, the entire piece could just as easily have been framed as ‘the AP botched a tweet but not the underlying report.’ It’s what the journalism dean told him. It’s what the Post’s Fact-Checker seemed to say. I understand reporters often don’t write their own headlines but then they probably don’t write their own tweets either. The headline of Byers’ piece is every bit as bad as the AP tweet he is blasting for inaccuracy.

And CNN’s young successor to Howard Kurtz is playing palace guard as well: Stelter Attacks AP for Exposing Clinton Foundation Donor Access to State Department.

As with creating “The Wright-Free Zone” to keep Obama afloat in 2008 and Candy Crowley sabotaging Mitt Romney during his debate with Obama four years later, this is simply what the propaganda wing of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO does for their party during every election year.

HMMM: Iran Arrests Person Linked to Negotiations on Nuclear Deal.

The disclosure, reported in the state news media, appeared to be the latest sign of the Iranian leadership’s frustration over the agreement, which has failed so far to yield the significant economic benefits for the country that its advocates had promised. Iranian officials have blamed the United States for that problem.

Despite the relaxations of many sanctions under the accord, which took effect in January, Iran faces enormous obstacles in attracting new investments and moving its own money through the global financial system.

It isn’t as though Iran’s mullahs regime was known for its economic prowess even before the nuclear sanctions were imposed.

WEALTH AND POVERTY:

Even if worried progressives are right that the poorest of the poor are doing worse since welfare reform, that doesn’t settle the question. A life of work offers cumulative benefits: You gain good work habits and experience, which enables you to earn more money in the future, and sets an example of self-reliance for your children to follow. The experience of welfare reform suggests that welfare was enabling people to make a rational short-term decision — welfare benefits are better than working an entry-level job — that was a disastrous long-term decision, because the longer you go without working, the harder it is to get your foot on the first rung of that vocational ladder, and the less time you have to enjoy any cumulative benefits.

A government policy that helps people with bad long-term decision-making was probably not “the greatest good for the greatest number.” On the other hand, making the badly off even worse off doesn’t sound like great policy either. Which problem you think is more important is a value judgment, not an empirical question.

But what if we don’t have to choose? Scott Winship of the Manhattan Institute has just released a paper arguing that “Children — in particular, those in single-mother families — are significantly less likely to be poor today than they were before welfare reform.” How can he come to such a radically different conclusion from other authors? Because official measures of poverty aren’t very good.

Well, to be fair, they aren’t meant to be, really.

RETIRED MARINE GENERAL JAMES MATTIS: US Influence ‘At Lowest In 40 Years’

Mattis offered the example of World War II to back his point. He noted that Americans watched Germany overrun France and bomb Britain, while Japan invaded China, yet they felt it was not a U.S. problem.

“The result was we were attacked [at Pearl Harbor],” said Mattis. “Then, like it or not, they had to get engaged.”

The general said winning the war was not the end of America’s role, pointing to the Marshall Plan and creation of the United Nations, which helped repair the diplomatic relations and broken economies of both allies and former enemies.

“That had never been done before,” Mattis said. “We created the Marshall Plan, three years after Nazis were burning Jews. We offered them locomotives, rail lines, anything to help get their economies going again. That’s the greatest generation. The point is, it’s more than just fighting battles.”

Like Europe in World War II, Mattis explained that issues in the Middle East cannot simply be “contained in the Middle East.”

“We know that intellectually, but there’s a tendency to want to put a pillow over our heads.”

America’s activist postwar foreign policy has hardly been perfect, but up until recent years it was a much smarter strategy than our near-isolationism during the interwar period.

WINSTON SMITH, CALL YOUR OFFICE: CNN, The Hill attempt to shield Hillary Clinton from her former KKK ‘mentor.’

Just think of them as Democrat operatives with bylines, and it all makes sense. CNN in particular can always be counted on dispatching a Democrat’s awkward allegiance with an openly racist longtime mentor into the memory hole during an election year.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Gun ownership rises to 44% of all homes.

It’s good to see so many Americans exercising their constitutionally protected rights.

ROGER SIMON: Will the Clinton Foundation Mark the Fall of Our Republic?

We’ve witnessed the decline. Is the fall of our constitutional republic next?

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LIKE BARACK OBAMA AND RACE, SHE’LL MAKE IT WORSE THAN IT’S BEEN IN 50 YEARS: Could a President Hillary Clinton erase sexism? Young Americans say no.

THE MASKIROVKA COMES OFF: Russia putting central bank and ministries go on war footing.

As part of Putin’s plan to check the readiness of the armed forces, the Central bank and the vital ministries of industry and trade, will switch to war-time operation, Radio Svoboda reports Aug. 29.

The readiness of the ministry of communications and military-industrial complex in the south of Russia to repair and supply weapons will also be checked.

It isn’t often appreciated, but banks and networking systems are just as much a part of modern war as armored vehicles and fighter jets.

LEADERSHIP: Hillary Clinton had the chance to make gay rights history. She refused.

JOEL KOTKIN: How the Middle Class Lost the Election. “Middle-class rage has dominated this election, but ultimately 2016 seems destined to produce not a populist victory but the triumph of oligarchy. . . . Middle-class revulsion with the political mainstream has been driven by slow economic growth, stagnant wages, a dysfunctional education system, and, for smaller businesses, a tightening regulatory regime. Homeownership is now at a nearly half-century low. New business start-ups, for the first time in three decades, are not keeping up with the number of deaths. Both stats reveal a real decline in aspiration. Most Americans, in a stunning reversal of past trends, see a worse future for their offspring than themselves. Who can blame them? Middle-class breadwinners and working-class wage-earners now suffer from deteriorating health and shorter lifespans.”

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BYRON YORK: Obamacare is failing. Why isn’t Donald Trump talking about it?

THAT MEANS IT’S WORKING: Even Left-Leaning Econ Writers Are Impoverished by Obamacare.

We’re Hiring Economics Writers,” says the headline of a post at the web site FiveThirtyEight.

Good for them.

Then they write:

“This is a part-time staff position (up to 29 hours per week) and does not offer benefits.”

Any idea why they chose 29 hours?

Answer: Obamacare.

Unexpectedly.

GREAT MOMENTS IN PROJECTION AND CHUTZPAH: Former Obama campaign manager diagnoses Trump on air as ‘psychopath:’

David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and later served as a senior adviser in his administration, on Sunday diagnosed Donald Trump during an NBC interview as “a psychopath running for president.”

The assessment prompted a startled response from Chuck Todd, the host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” who questioned Plouffe’s qualifications to make a psychiatric diagnosis of a major-party presidential nominee on television.

Plouffe defended his opinion by pointing to what he said are the hallmark symptoms of psychosis.

“Well, listen, grandiose notion of self-worth, pathological lying, lack of empathy and remorse,” he said.

Says the man whose candidate in 2008 preened in front of styrofoam Roman columns, uttered such portentous phrases as “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal” – merely because he had won the Democratic nomination in June – and “My job this morning is to be so persuasive . . . that a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany, and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote for Barack.”

And once in office promised over 36 times, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” and during his political career flipped, flopped, and flipped again on gay marriage.

And then there’s Obama and the Middle East.

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WAGES OF “SMART DIPLOMACY:” Legendary General James Mattis Warns US Influence ‘At Lowest In 40 Years.’

WELL, OBAMA SUCCESSFULLY TARRED BILL AND HILLARY AS RACIST DURING THE 2008 PRIMARY, SO NOW IT’S HER TURN TO PLAY THAT CARD: Mike Pence: Clinton’s ‘racial attacks’ an ‘act of desperation.’

HE’S LIKE BILL CLINTON’S MINI-ME: Anthony Weiner Caught Sexting Again.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: DNC Chair Completely Dodges Questions About State Department Links to Clinton Foundation.

“Based on what I’ve seen, I understand that there’s a new round of fresh eyes looking at more emails that might be released,” Brazile said on ABC This Week. “I’ve been dealing with another situation involving emails that were leaked. Private information that has been put out—”

“Let’s stick with the foundation,” host Martha Raddatz said.

“Well, I’ve got to stick with what I know,” Brazile said, laughing. “I’m not an official at the State Department.”

“I know, but answer that question,” Raddatz said. “Do you have a problem with that co-mingling?”

Co-mingling is a feature, not a bug.

YEMEN REBELS FIRE BALLISTIC MISSILES AT SAUDI ARABIA: The missiles are battlefield missiles the rebels captured from Yemen government stocks.

Excerpt:

The Saudis know they are vulnerable to one of those rebel ballistic missiles hitting a major oil facility. That would be a major blow to Arab resolve because this is the threat Iran has long posed. The American and Israeli firms that supply anti-missile systems have told senior Arab leaders that there is always a small chance a missile will get through. During the current campaign Saudi Patriot anti-missile systems have intercepted all rebel ballistic missiles aimed at important (lots of people or oil facilities) targets.

Also:

Two years of fighting between Shia rebels and the elected Yemeni government is believed to have cost Yemen over $14 billion in economic losses, over 6,500 dead and driven nearly three million people from their homes.

Read the whole thing.

UH OH: FBI says foreign hackers penetrated state election systems. Remember, you don’t have to swing an election. You can do more damage by undermining confidence in the results in key precincts and states, then letting partisans fight about it.

Happily, there’s a solution. But is there time to implement it?

BLUE STATE UPDATE: Massachusetts AG Maura Healey shoots Dems 
in foot with gun grab.

In July, Healey announced a ban on so-called “copycat” assault weapon models. The so-called “Massachusetts legal” guns were modified to comply with the state assault weapons ban — with no collapsible stocks, high-capacity magazines or other banned features — but they still look like the AR-15 and AK-47, and Healey said that is impermissible. Other semi-automatic rifles that perform the same, but don’t have a military appearance, are still legally sold in Massachusetts gun shops.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle blasted Healey’s move as a confusing overreach meant to pump up Healey’s political profile.

Related: Rolling rally protests AG Maura Healey’s ‘abuse of authority’ on 2nd Amendment. Punch back twice as hard, as a famous man says.

I’M NOT SAYING IT WAS COMMUNISTS, BUT IT WAS COMMUNISTS: The secret history of the EU, written on an Italian prison island, reveals why the project is doomed.

We were coyly told that the little island of Ventotene off Naples was where, in 1941, a prisoner of Mussolini’s had written the visionary manifesto that looked forward to building, after the war, a “United States of Europe”. What somehow got omitted was that Altiero Spinelli was a Communist (the Today programme merely described him on air as a “Fascist prisoner”, although, lest this be misunderstood, that was edited out of their online report).

We were not told that Spinelli’s Ventotene Manifesto proposed that his future government of Europe should be quietly assembled by its supporters over many years; and that only when all its pieces were in place would those supporters summon a convention to draw up a “Constitution for Europe”, which would finally reveal to the European people just what they had been up to.

What we were also not told – and this is seemingly one of the best-kept secrets of the whole story – is that many years later, when Spinelli was elected as a Communist MEP in 1979, he became the second most influential person, after Jean Monnet, in shaping “Europe” as we know it today.

Read the whole thing.

DNC CHAIR ON WIKILEAKS: WE’RE ‘VICTIMS OF A CYBER CRIME LED BY THUGS’ [VIDEO].

Who exposed that in reality, we’re a criminal organization masquerading as a political party, as Michael Walsh would say.

Besides, I’m old enough to remember when the left positively loved it when sensitive political secrets were leaked. Not to mention as Daniel Flynn wrote last month, “Democrats liked secret-stealing Russians so much better when they called themselves Communists.”

FOUR STATES WITH MASSIVE OBAMACARE COST INCREASES: The article discusses four states (Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky and Georgia) where approximately one in four people “covered with Obamacare plans or other individual market plans will see sizable price increases.” Get this: “More Obamacare rate increases will trickle out over the next few weeks, with the healthcare law’s fourth enrollment season set to begin Nov. 1.” This is an election issue — or it should be. A loud election issue. “If you like your doctor you can keep your…well, never mind.”

ANALYSIS: TRUE. David Plouffe: There are ‘legitimate questions’ about the Clinton Foundation.

Here’s the answer to those questions: It’s a money-laundry and an influence-peddling operation.

CARLOS DANGER STRIKES AGAIN: Anthony Weiner sexted busty brunette while his son was in bed with him, a story that’s catnip to the New York Post, which of course ran the front page headline “Pop Goes the Weiner.”

Reminder: Bill Clinton presided over the wedding of Weiner and Huma Abedin; Hillary Clinton has been quoted as saying, “I have one daughter. But if I had a second daughter, it would be Huma.”

THESE THINGS KEEP HAPPENING TO PUTIN’S CRITICS: Russian journalist critical of Vladimir Putin found dead on his birthday with gunshot wound to head.

Officials have speculated that his death was caused by suicide, after a gun was found near his body along with spent cartridges, and the door to his apartment was said to be locked.

Local news source Kyiv Operatyvni reported: “Alexander was sitting on a chair, with a gunshot wound to his head, the gun was lying under the chair. According to credible sources, the case has been classified as suicide, as Alexander sent an email to one of his loved ones where he said he wanted to kill himself.”

I’m skeptical.

“BAD LUCK” STRIKES AGAIN: Is Doomsday Inevitable For Venezuela?

Venezuela is facing the worst economic and humanitarian crisis in its history. Venezuela has been hit by the 24 months collapse in oil prices. Its economy is expected to shrink 10 percent at the end of 2016, the biggest contraction in the last 13 years, while inflation has reached more than 700 percent according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Other analysts say that inflation has already reach 1,000 percent.

Venezuelans are living day-by-day facing a very complicated situation with rising crime and corruption rates, daily electricity blackout, medicines and food shortage (more than 80 percent). Venezuelans can’t get even the most basic lifesaving medical supplies as antibiotics.

On Monday 22th August 2016 Brent oil traded around $49 a barrel, but two years before Brent was $102 a barrel, and even then Venezuela was already having economic problems. Even with a recovery in crude, higher prices are unlikely to solve the economic, humanitarian and political crisis.

As long as you have socialism, “bad luck” is inevitable. Flashback: Joseph Stiglitz, in Caracas, Praises Venezuela’s Economic Policies.

WELL, GOOD: GOP presidential nominee Trump plans major ad buy Monday.

The campaign is expects the ads to air as soon as Monday in nine swing states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida, where the campaign has already been on the air, along with New Hampshire, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada. 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney lost eight of those nine states.

Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has so far been badly outspent by his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, and groups supporting her. Since clinching her party’s nomination in early June, Clinton has spent more than $77 million on television and radio advertising, largely targeting voters in battleground states, according to Kantar Media’s political ad tracker.

We’ll see if this is enough to get Clinton to start running ads again in Colorado and Virginia, which her campaign called off a week ago.

ELSEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE EAST: ISIS claims deadly attack on U.S.-backed forces in Yemen.

A suicide attacker set off a massive car bomb in Yemen’s southern city of Aden on Monday, killing at least 45 pro-government troops who had been preparing to travel to Saudi Arabia to fight Houthi rebels in Yemen’s north, officials said.

The men were at a staging area near two schools and a mosque where they were registering to join the expedition. The Saudis hope to train up to 5,000 fighters and deploy them to the Saudi cities of Najran and Jizan, near the border, Yemeni security officials said. Over 60 wounded were being taken to three area hospitals, they added.

Yemen is shaping up to become as big of a humanitarian disaster as Syria, with 3 million of its population of 25 million displaced in fighting since March of last year.

WHAT TRUMP HAS TAUGHT US ON IMMIGRATION: “The contretemps over Trump and immigration has been a useful reminder of how much this issue revolves around trust. For many conservatives, it goes back to 1986.”

VIDEO: THE FAILURE OF AFRICAN SOCIALISM IN THE 20th CENTURY.

That’s quite a lot of bad luck.

YOUR SCARY-ASS CHART OF THE DAY: How Obamacare Destroyed The Middle Class In One Chart.

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

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Turkey’s campaign against Kurds muddles war on ISIL.

Turkey claimed it had “neutralized” 25 Kurdish fighters in airstrikes across the Syrian border Sunday, the latest attack in Turkey’s stepped-up campaign to retake towns from Kurdish rebels.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, citing the Turkish military, said the attack was carried out against “terrorists groups” that had attacked Turkish troops supporting a Free Syrian Army operation targeting Islamic State militants. Five buildings used by the Kurdish rebels also were destroyed, the military said.

The Turkish military said it took “all necessary measures” to protect the local civilian population. The BBC, however, said the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 35 civilian casualties.

The attacks reflect the increasingly complex, uneasy military alliances in the region.

The report also says that the U.S. “has pressed Turkey to show restraint against the Kurds,” but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan isn’t exactly making headlines these days for his restraint.

I wrote here five days ago: “ISIS was Putin’s excuse for pounding his real enemy in Syria: anti-Assad rebels. There’s real danger here of Turkey using the same excuse to pound the Kurds.”

That didn’t take long.

WE’VE HEARD A LOT ABOUT THE ALT-RIGHT. What About The Alt-Left?

Remember, people on the right have “hate.” For people on the left, it’s “passion.” Plus:

It’s not our intention to suggest that there are never grounds for grievance against the police or that the police are always right. Neither is it our intention to suggest that Mrs. Clinton is herself a racist (even if, during the 2008 campaign, there were suggestions that the Clintons were using racist tactics in the Carolinas). It is our intention to suggest that Mrs. Clinton is no more high-minded than Mr. Trump. She still, insofar as we’re aware, hasn’t broken with President Obama’s outrageous claim that the Iranian regime could be rational about its economy even if it was anti-Semitic.

The Democratic Party alt-left agitators protesting against Mr. Trump’s rallies in this campaign have illuminated nothing so much as the fact that the alt-right has no quarter on violence, bigotry, and thuggery. Ironically, Mrs. Clinton was the first to make the ad hominem attack the central feature of her strategy against her general election opponent. She has refused to engage the GOP nominee on the issues — and, indeed, has swung in behind him on certain big issues, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. On immigration, one issue where she is playing the race card against him, she vows to pursue Mr. Obama’s strategy.

That consists of acting without Congress, which is one of the things that has so inflamed the issue in the past eight years. Another is the strategy of trying to boost employment with easy money rather than economic growth. It’s a combination that may have delivered what is ostensibly a low unemployment number but has also given us the lowest labor participation rate in decades. This has enabled Mr. Trump to make the argument that, despite the efforts to tar him as a racist, he has the better strategy for striving minorities. We look forward to at least the possibility of the presidential debates getting into all this.

There’s a possibility.

AIRCRAFT RESTORATION: The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum restores a World War 2 German “flying wing.” The US Army captured the Horten Ho 229 V3 jet prototype in April 1945. The restoration process included an analysis of the airplane’s potential stealth capabilities.

THAT ABEDIN CENTIPEDE KEEPS DROPPING SHOES: Huma Abedin’s mom linked to shocking anti-women book.

IT HELPS IF YOU HAVE THE REFEREES ON YOUR SIDE: Elections are a game — and Clinton plays it better.

ONE PSYCHIATRIST? ONE? BEFORE DOING SOMETHING LIKE THIS ONE SHOULD REQUIRE A PANEL OF A DOZEN PSYCHIATRISTS OR MORE: Children’s minds are plastic.  They are influenced by their parents, their peers, the media.  We wouldn’t allow them to drink, but we want to rush them into this? Team Obama’s new low in the name of ‘trans rights’.  If the change is legitimate, it can always be done later.  BUT once done it’s irreversible.  Wouldn’t this be a case for caution in creating irrevocable modifications?

OH, IS IT LEBENSUNWERTES LEBEN TIME AGAIN? Killing the Mentally Ill in Netherlands.

GEEK, YOU IZ DOING IT WRONG.  OR PERHAPS STOP CULTURALLY APPROPRIATING MY (SF/F) PEOPLE: Congress faces physicists’ ‘multiverse’ of issues including IRS, Zika upon impending return.

YOU MEAN THE LAYERS AND LAYERS OF EDITORS AND THE PROCESS OF PEER REVIEW DON’T CATCH THOSE?  THIS IS MY SHOCKED FACE. Turns out that scientific papers are full of computer-created mistakes.  Take for instance:

You see, genes are often referred to in scientific literature by symbols — essentially shortened versions of full gene names. The gene “Septin 2” is typically shortened as SEPT2. “Membrane-Associated Ring Finger (C3HC4) 1, E3 Ubiquitin Protein Ligase” gets mercifully shortened to MARCH1.

But when you type these shortened gene names into Excel, the program automatically assumes they refer to dates — Sept. 2 and March 1, respectively. If you type SEPT2 into a default Excel cell, it magically becomes “2-Sep.” It’s stored by the program as the date 9/2/2016.

Even worse, there’s no easy way to undo this automatic formatting once it has happened.

 

Read The Whole Thing: An alarming number of scientific papers contain Excel errors.

GEE, WHAT COULD THEY BE THINKING? Amazon is piloting teams with a 30-hour workweek.  Oh, wait, the key is that more “diverse” thing.  Of course.  Making jobs for married women.

NPR JOURNOLIST SUFFERS KINSLEY-GAFFE SYNDROME, ACCURATELY DESCRIBES THE CLINTON FOUNDATION: Clinton Global Initiative Moderator Describes Group’s Events As ‘Creepy,’ ‘Disgusting,’ ‘Gross.’

August 28, 2016

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

It’s time to repeal the Hollywood Tax Cuts.

SHOCKER: Yes, Students Do Learn More From Attractive Teachers.

How to help students do better in school? Maybe we should try hiring better-looking teachers. Or subsidize gym memberships and makeovers for the teachers we already have.

Those, at least, are the implications of a new study from researchers at the University of Nevada, who designed a simple but revealing experiment using college students to see whether a lecturer’s attractiveness has any impact on how much of the lecture students retain. If you guessed that the answer is yes, go to the head of the class. Extra credit if you intuited that teacher attractiveness had other effects as well.

More surprising: The researchers don’t think that sexual interest explains the results, which held up whether the teacher and students were of the same sex or not. This suggests, they write, that the improved student performance was “driven by processes independent from human sexual attraction, such as attention and motivation.” Or, as one of them put it, it’s just human nature.

We’re superficial creatures.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Anaphylactic Political Shock: Sorry, Hillary. The feds are to blame for Mylan’s EpiPen monopoly.

EpiPen should be open to generic competition, which cuts prices dramatically for most other old medicines. Competitors have been trying for years to challenge Mylan’s EpiPen franchise with low-cost alternatives—only to become entangled in the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory afflatus.

Approving a generic copy that is biologically equivalent to a branded drug is simple, but the FDA maintains no clear and consistent principles for generic drug-delivery devices like auto injectors or asthma inhalers. How does a company prove that a generic device is the same as the original product if there are notional differences, even if the differences don’t matter to the end result? In this case, that means immediately injecting a kid in anaphylactic shock with epinephrine—which is not complex medical engineering.

But no company has been able to do so to the FDA’s satisfaction. Last year Sanofi withdrew an EpiPen rival called Auvi-Q that was introduced in 2013, after merely 26 cases in which the device malfunctioned and delivered an inaccurate dose. Though the recall was voluntary and the FDA process is not transparent, such extraordinary actions are never done without agency involvement. This suggests a regulatory motive other than patient safety.

Then in February the FDA rejected Teva’s generic EpiPen application. In June the FDA required a San Diego-based company called Adamis to expand patient trials and reliability studies for still another auto-injector rival.

Mrs. Clinton claims the EpiPen price hikes show the need for price controls, and she says she’ll require drug makers to “prove that any additional costs are linked to additional patient benefits and better value.” Somebody in Congress should require the FDA to justify how its delays are advancing the same goals.

Requiring bureaucrats to justify their actions is anathema.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Rational improvement of DNA nanodevice function.

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ANNALS OF “BAD LUCK:” ‘No One Is Safe’: Zimbabwe Threatens to Seize Farms of Party Defectors.

Hey, it was over a decade ago when Nick Kristof reported that Zimbabweans were nostalgic for the days of white rule:

An elderly peasant in another village, Makupila Muzamba, said that hunger today is worse than ever before in his seven decades or so, and said: “I want the white man’s government to come back. Even if whites were oppressing us, we could get jobs and things were cheap compared to today.”

His wife, Mugombo Mudenda, remembered that as a younger woman she used to eat meat, drink tea, use sugar and buy soap. But now she cannot even afford corn gruel. “I miss the days of white rule,” she said.

And things have only gotten worse since. But they’re right to be nostalgic: International opinion would never stand for a white government that treated blacks so badly. For Mugabe, though, it just yawns.