September 23, 2017

SCARY BEYOND ALL REASON:   Prehistoric ‘devil toads’ with Pac-Man mouths ate dinosaurs.

SO WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE SEXLESS, PAINTED ROBOTS?   The rise of genderless beauty.  I think this is once again a case of an industry — cosmetics — seeking a minuscule buying public in the name of social justice… or something.  Also, the left’s provincialism and historical ignorance strikes again.  I mean, seriously, what about using cosmetics means you’re gender fluid?  All the manly men of the Elizabethan age wore cosmetics.  I wouldn’t mind these self-proclaimed intellectual elites half as much if they weren’t ignorant nincompoops.

ONE PERSON’S HARMFUL IS ANOTHER PERSON’S REALISTIC:  10-year-old kids around the world already know harmful gender stereotypes.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO… AW HECK, JUST LOCK THIS COW AWAY:  Teacher allegedly slept with 4 teen students, 2 in same night.

THE MORE REPUGNANT PART OF THIS WOULD NOT BE THAT THEY’RE CORRUPT, BUT THAT THEY’RE STUPID:  The FBI Still Stonewalling.

AT LEAST SOME STUPIDITY IS NOT ETERNAL:  Obama’s “Dear Colleague” Demand for No-Due-Process Rape Courts Rescinded.

BUT… BUT MUH TRIGGERS:  Banana Peels and Cotton Bolls and Free Speech, Oh My!

MUELLER’S RABBIT HOLE:  Tapped Out: The Manafort Mess.

September 22, 2017

21st CENTURY (NON-) RELATIONSHIPS: Japan’s Lonely Single Men Are Settling For Virtual Reality “Wives Of The Future.”

One inventor who build a virtual-reality platform said he aims to create a virtual partner who brings greater satisfaction to Japanese men and women than a human companion would. That’s bad news for the Japanese economy, which, thanks to the looming demographic crunch as the population rapidly ages, will need to increasingly rely on the Bank of Japan’s “stimulus” to avoid a deflationary spiral.

I’d say, give them a few centuries, and a holographic/flesh and blood relationship could be surprisingly common — but then there’s that pesky demographic death spiral thing.

SO I’VE GOT A BUNCH OF RELATIVES: All blue-eyed people have a single ancestor in common.

FIRST THEY RUIN FOOTBALL, NOW THIS: Group of 45 men dressed like Magnum, P.I. kicked out of Detroit Tigers game. If they’re a distraction from the game, you need to play more amusingly.

JOHN HINDERAKER: The FBI, Still Stonewalling. “I can’t imagine why Speaker Ryan wouldn’t want to get to the bottom of the apparent misuse of the FBI by Barack Obama and his corrupt Department of Justice. But this is what I really don’t understand: the FBI is part of DOJ, which is run–in theory, at least–by the Attorney General. Why doesn’t Attorney General Jeff Sessions simply order the FBI to comply with the House Intelligence Committee’s subpoena, promptly?”

Why, indeed?

OPIATE OF THE MASSES: “When young people started mobilising online against Togo’s president, the state switched off the internet. In the week that followed, people talked more, worked harder and had less sex – all of which proved bad news for the government.”

WITHOUT CALLING HIM A FASCIST, GEORGE R.R. MARTIN REMEMBERS JERRY POURNELLE “Pournelle was fond of talking about all the help Robert A. Heinlein (whom he always called ‘Mr. Heinlein,’ at least in my hearing) gave him when he was starting out, and he was a passionate advocate of RAH’s ‘pay it forward’ philosophy, and did much to help the generations of writers who came after him. He served a term in the thankless job of SFWA President, and remained an active part of SFWA ever after, as part of the advisory board of Past Presidents and (even more crucially) on GriefCom, the Grievance Committee. Jerry could be loud and acrimonious, yes, and when you were on the opposite side of a fight from him that was not pleasant… ahh, but when you were on the SAME side, there was no one better to have in your foxhole. . . . His politics were not my politics. He was a rock-ribbed conservative/ libertarian, and I’m your classic bleeding-heart liberal… but we were both fans, and professional writers, and ardent members of SFWA, and we loved SF and fantasy and fandom, and that was enough. You don’t need to agree with someone on everything to be able to respect them.”

DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH: Little girls are being ‘cut on kitchen tables’ in Manhattan as FGM grows at alarming rate.

ANDREW KLAVAN ON JIMMY KIMMEL: THE LEFT IN A NUTSHELL. “Kimmel Step Number Two. You’re racist. You’re sexist. You’re a climate denier. And when that doesn’t work? Step Three. Violence and violent rhetoric in response to speech.”

Read the whole thing.

21ST CENTURY NEWS: Not All Parents Are Moms.

AT AMAZON, save big on Wheels and Tires. Winter is coming.

Plus, bestsellers in Handbags and Shoes.

HE’S NOT WRONG: “Mel Brooks, one of Hollywood’s funniest film-makers, has told the BBC political correctness is ‘the death of comedy.’”

It’s kind of interesting though, reading an anti-PC article at the BBC, with no references as to how the BBC spread PC so virally in England. But then, BBC Labour Party activists with bylines no doubt have to protect their phony-baloney jobs…

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Arkansas teacher had sex with 4 students — 2 in same day, court document says. “Goline, 25, was arrested Wednesday on charges of first-degree sexual assault, Arkansas State Police said. . . . On one of the occasions between January and April 2016, Goline drove a student to her apartment, where they had sex before going back to school. Later that day, Goline brought another student to her apartment, where they had sex, Arkansas Online reported.”

21st CENTURY (NON-)RELATIONSHIPS: Why Can’t My Famous Gender Nonconforming Friends Get Laid?

To ask the question is to answer it.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Another Good Reason Not To Pee In The Pool.

BLUE FALCON: McCain blows up health care reform again, says he can’t support Graham-Cassidy “in good conscience.”

And as a result: John McCain wins over BIG fans in Cher, Rosie O, Cecile Richards, Jimmy Kimmel & MANY others.

Headline via Kurt Schlichter, who links to a 2016 campaign video promising that McCain “is leading the fight to repeal Obamacare.”

UPDATE: Matt Welch of Reason tweets,”MoveOn.org to hold rally praising [McCain], because 2017.”

HONEY, I SHRUNK THE PARTY! Collapse: Time Magazine’s Brutal Deep Dive Into The Ever Shrinking And Regional Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party is in shambles. Say what you will about the Republicans—they have problems too—but at least they’re a national party. For all his faults, Trump was able to virtually get the entire GOP base to vote for him in 2016. The GOP controls Congress, the presidency, two-thirds of the governorships, and 69/99 state legislatures. They’re at the apex of their power. As the GOP licked their wounds and learned from their 2008 and 2012 defeats, the Democrats, smug, content, and insufferable, felt they had advantage for the next generation. They would run the table on national elections due to demographic shifts. Then, Hillary Clinton torpedoed that whole narrative. Time magazine delved into the state of the party, its hit to the mouth after Trump’s win, and noted that things look grim for this regional, shrinking party. As many other, including here, have noted—the Democrats have no leader, no message, dismal fundraising, and seem to be on the brink of civil war over issues on what actually makes one a Democrat.

Time magazine featured Obama on 22 covers. I’m sure if it had been 23 covers, they wouldn’t have had to run this cover:

On the other hand, as Glenn would say, don’t get cocky, GOP — the media loves to write “Death of ____” stories and project a current crisis out to infinity. Business Week’s infamous “Death of Equities” cover story in 1979 is a classic example in hindsight, coming just before President Reagan and Paul Volcker jumpstarted the economy by cutting taxes and significantly reducing the Carter-era inflation that made stocks such a bad bet in the 1970s. And there have been past reports of the demise of parties and political worldviews — I collated several of them in a 2010 post titled,  Whatever Your Ideology, Your Opponents’ Worldview Is Officially Dead.

DRIVE-OFF: The Great Escape: 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C vs 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

STACY McCAIN ON SOCIALISM IN ONE LESSON. HOW FAR IS IT FROM PARADISE TO HELL? ABOUT A HALF-HOUR, BY AIR:

If heaven were a place on Earth, it might look like Curaçao. An island in the Lesser Antilles near the South American coast, Curaçao is about 170 square miles of palm trees, white sand beaches and warm tropical breezes, the temperature ranging from 88 °F in the day to 78 °F at night. Curaçao has prospered under Dutch colonial rule, and its 160,000 residents enjoy a high standard of living. Tourism is big business in Curaçao, with more than 600,000 visitors from cruise ships each year and 1.7 million arriving by air. The coastline boasts highly rated resort hotels, including the Royal Sea Aquarium Resort, the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino, the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort and the Hilton Curaçao.

The beautiful dream of Curaçao, however, is just 40 miles away from one of the worst nightmares of the 21st century — Venezuela, where a corrupt socialist regime has wrecked the economy, plunging the nation into hunger and poverty. “Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, and it was once Latin America’s richest country,” as Nick Gillespie and Todd Krainin of Reason magazine explained. “Today, most grocery store shelves are empty, and Venezuelans are so hungry that they’re killing zoo animals for sustenance. Toilet paper, diapers, and toothpaste are luxury goods. Venezuelan hospitals have disintegrated, children are dying because they can’t get antibiotics, and the infant mortality rate is higher than Syria. The capital city of Caracas is the murder capital of the world . . . The real cause is the socialist economy. The government sets the price of staples such as rice, pasta, and flour, resulting in chronic shortages. Former President Hugo Chavez nationalized industries, confiscated property, and kicked out foreign companies. The government is trying to print its way out of the crisis, resulting in a 700 percent annual inflation rate. After a sham election, President Nicolas Maduro, the handpicked successor of Hugo Chavez, is rounding up his opponents and putting them in jail.”

That’s a lot of bad luck.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Education Department rescinds the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter that gutted due process on campus.

It’s a great day for due process on campus – but there is more work to be done. Rescinding this letter is a necessary, but not sufficient, step towards ending these abuses of Title IX on our nation’s campuses.

21ST CENTURY HEADLINES: Drone sets new record for transporting blood samples.

RASMUSSEN: 34% Are Less Likely to Follow NFL Because of Protests.

You don’t say.

21ST CENTURY DATING: I’m a Marxist-Feminist Slut—How Do I Find an Open Relationship?

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Fla. Teacher Tells 11-Year-Olds to Call ‘Them’ the Gender-Neutral Pronoun ‘Mx.’

These are Heinlein’s Crazy Years — we just live in them.

AT AMAZON, deals on Blu-Ray.

JIM GERAGHTY: The Unlearned Lessons of 2016.

Representative Maxine Waters calls the president and his allies “scumbags,” while DNC chair Tom Perez declares, “Republicans don’t give a s*** about people.” The outgoing California Democratic-party chairman leads a chant of “F*** Donald Trump!” Little-known Democratic lawmakers create national headlines by calling Trump the p-word, “ “fascist, loofa-faced, s***-gibbon,” and wishing for his assassination.

Russ Feingold, who came within 4 percent of winning back his old Senate seat in 2016, declared, “Let us finally, finally rip off the veneer that Trump’s affinity for white supremacy is distinct from the Republican agenda of voter suppression, renewed mass incarceration, and the expulsion of immigrants.” Enraged by the White House proposal to end DACA, Illinois Democratic representative Luis Gutierrez declared that White House chief of staff John Kelly is “a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear” who “should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists.” DNC vice chairman Keith Ellison recently compared the Dreamers, those who came to the United States illegally while children, to Jews in Nazi Germany — which make ICE comparable to the Gestapo.

It is as if Democrats concluded that the reason they lost in 2016 was that they just didn’t denounce Trump angrily enough.

Related: Divided Democratic Party Debates Its Future as 2020 Looms.

Like virtually all Democrats, Tim Ryan is no fan of Donald Trump. But as he speeds through his northeastern Ohio district in a silver Chevy Suburban, the eight-term Congressman sounds almost as frustrated with his own party. Popping fistfuls of almonds in the backseat, Ryan gripes about its fixation on divisive issues and its “demonization” of business owners. Ryan, 44, was briefly considered for the role of Hillary Clinton’s running mate last year. Now he sounds ready to brawl with his political kin. “We’re going to have a fight,” Ryan says. “There’s no question about it.”

Indeed. But so long as the Democratic Party remains all-in on “no enemies to the left,” then Democrats like Ryan will remain marginalized — and the Waters and Feingolds and Ellison’s will be empowered.

Nancy Pelosi has seen which way the wind is blowing, but even she is powerless to stop the party’s descent into madness, in no small part because she spent so many years helping to push it over the cliff.

RISE OF THE MACHINES: Smartphone Heart Monitor Beats Doctors at Diagnosing Atrial Fibrillation.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Adriana Cohen: Diversity, inclusiveness fraud in academia.

SOHRAB AHMARI: The Case for Kurdistan.

The Kurds have been a people without a state for centuries. Monday’s independence referendum in northern Iraq’s Kurdish zone is an important step toward rectifying this historic injustice, and I believe the U.S. is making a grave mistake by opposing the vote.

The Trump administration announced its displeasure in a September 15 statement, noting that the referendum “is distracting from the effort to defeat ISIS and stabilize the liberated areas.” It added: “Holding the referendum in disputed areas is particularly provocative and destabilizing.” The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the White House said, should work out its differences with Baghdad through dialogue.

Not now, go away, in other words. The statement reflected the sort of rigid adherence to Washington dogma that too often prevents America from seizing the opportunities presented by the tectonic shifts in the Middle East. The Trump administration failed even to nod at Kurdish aspirations, or offer an alternative timeline if the current moment is too inconvenient. This was unnecessary slap when there are compelling moral and strategic reasons for creating a Kurdish state in northern Iraq sooner than later.

The Kurds will almost certainly win their independence from at least Iraq and probably Syria. The question is whether we want to keep Independent Kurdistan as a friend and an ally.

I FIND THIS HIGHLY PLAUSIBLE: Forget getting rich – sex and sleep are the real keys to happiness.

STEPHEN KRUISER: NFL Players Double Down, Lobby for an ‘Activism Awareness Month.’

What’s the big deal? Baseball is about to enter the postseason, and the NHL’s 2017 season begins in two weeks.

SILLY RABBIT: Original Trix With Artificial Colors Is Back After Customers Revolt. “Using radishes and turmeric instead of Red 40 and Yellow 6 didn’t work for children and adults alike.”

You don’t say:

“Change it back!!” wrote Denver-area mother and photographer, Ashley Carara, on Facebook shortly after the new recipe hit shelves.She said in an interview Thursday she likes the way the artificial colors and high-fructose corn syrup look and taste. The new recipe—not so much. “My kids find the color of the new Trix cereal quite depressing,” she said.So change it back is what the company did. General Mills has decided to reintroduce the original, more-vibrant Trix, artificial flavorings and all, and will start selling it on supermarket shelves alongside the more wholesome version in October.The reintroduction of Classic Trix is a reversal of General Mills’ pledge two years ago to remove artificial colors and flavors from all its cereal brands. It said the seven reformulated, all-natural cereals boosted sales by 6% in early 2016. At the same time, natural-ingredient haters flooded the company with calls, emails and social-media posts, according to Mike Siemienas, a spokesman.It turns out consumers “don’t all want one thing,” he said.

The reformulated stuff looks almost as sad as a bowl of brightly colored Kaboom.

HAVE YOU HUGGED A FRACKER TODAY? U.S. shale oil output expected to rise by 79,000 barrels a day in October.

That translates to a small savings for you at the pump, or fewer pennies in some oilgarch™’s bank account — or a little of both.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Why a team of 8-year-old football players decided to kneel for national anthem.

In my experience, this is not the kind of thing eight-year-olds decide to do on their own.

IN THE MAIL: The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt.

Plus, fresh Gold Box and Lightning Deals There are new deals popping up constantly, so get them while they last!

PROCUREMENT: Xbox Marks the Spot.

Remember all those gritty WWII submarine movies where the skipper brings the boat up to periscope depth, drapes his arms around the handles of the scope, and scans the surface for targets? Well, that was then. According to the Virginian Pilot newspaper – the Navy is replacing the helicopter-like stick that has been used to adjust the periscopes on more modern subs – with Xbox 360 controllers. Nowadays, there is no long tube that only one sailor can look through at a time – but rather video screens, so it is somehow appropriate going forward the display will be controlled by the same device that is used for video games ashore. In addition to being more user friendly than the joystick that had been in play in recent years, you also can’t beat the price. The joysticks costs about $38,000…but the Navy can get Xbox controllers for less than $30 a pop.

You have to wonder if the Navy endured a Playstation vs Xbox flame war as part of the purchase decision.

IT’S ALL SMOKE AND MIRRORS: Germany Will Miss Another Green Goal.

Berlin’s grand green energy transition is falling short of the lofty targets that inspired it. Earlier this month, the think tank Agora Energiewende released a report that projected Germany would fall well short of its goal to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—far shorter than was previously believed. Berlin had committed to cutting 40 percent of its GHG emissions by 2020 as compared to 1990 levels, but as that year looms large, the country has achieved a reduction of “just” 28 percent (a remarkable decrease, though nowhere close to the target), and it’s expected to only shave off another 2 or 3 percent over the next few years. Now, a new study from the BEE renewable energy group suggests that the country is going to fall short of its Brussels-set target of sourcing 18 percent of its energy production from renewables by 2020.

Related: Pruitt blasts Europe, Merkel for ‘hypocrisy’ on climate. “Pruitt mentioned Merkel by name, urging the public to press her on the issue. If reducing carbon dioxide emissions ‘is so important to you, Madam Chancellor, why are you getting rid of nuclear? Because last time I checked, it’s pretty clean on CO2,’ he said.”

Plus, new promotional video for the EU energy/climate policy:

You gotta admit, it’s a rockin’ tune.

LONDON JUST BECAME A FAR WORSE PLACE TO VISIT: Transport for London bans Uber on spurious “elfnsafety” grounds. To paraphrase Pitt the Younger, “health and safety” is the plea for every infringement of human freedom in Britain today – it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. The Freedom Association responds here. International visitors to London who use Uber regularly, like I do, might want to speak up too.

PIERS MORGAN: Don’t get angry about a bunch of white girls singing n***as, blame Kanye and the rap industry for putting it in their songs in the first place.

The chorus to ‘Gold Digger’ includes this line:

‘Now I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger,

But she ain’t messing with no broke niggas,

Now I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger,

But she ain’t messing with no broke niggas.’

I’ve spelled out the word ‘niggas’ exactly as it was written in the song’s lyrics because it’s important and relevant to do so for the purposes of this column.

Of course, by doing so, I will inevitably provoke outrage from certain quarters, but that outrage is also an important and relevant factor for the purposes of this column.

On Tuesday, an Instagram story video was posted showing female members of the Alpha Phi Sorority at University of New Hampshire singing and dancing to the song at a party.

Oh, sure — blame the victim: Poor Kanye who had his work culturally appropriated by privileged white female college students.

WELL, TO BE FAIR, HE ALSO SPREAD THEM ABOUT HIS OWN HEALTH CARE BILL: Obama spreads untruths about the Graham-Cassidy health bill.

THE ACADAMY’S SELF-MARGINALIZATION CONTINUES: More Law Prof Reactions To The Wax & Alexander Op-Ed On The Breakdown Of The ‘Bourgeois Culture.’

MAXINE WATERS: “Impeachment is about whatever Congress says it is.”

COUNTER-TERROR WARFARE IN MALI AND NIGER: France arms its Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with Hellfires.

France began using the Reaper UAV in Africa in 2014 but they were unarmed. The Reapers are built to handle hot and dusty conditions and have about twice the readiness and over five times the endurance of the Tigers. The French Reapers would often find Islamic terrorists in Mali but by the time a Tiger helicopter, a fixed wing warplane (equipped with smart bombs) or ground troops could arrive the Islamic terrorists were often no longer vulnerable to attack. Meanwhile the Americans had been using Hellfire armed Reapers and smaller Predators throughout Africa and the Middle East regularly for nearly two decades.

Finding them is good, finishing them quickly is better.

Here’s a photo of a Reaper taking off on a night mission in Afghanistan.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: How Not To Recover From A Crisis, Mizzou Edition.

The University of Missouri, where I teach and which I dearly love, is in crisis. Freshman enrollment at the university’s Columbia campus (Mizzou) is down by a whopping 35% from two years ago. Missouri’s governor and legislature slashed Mizzou’s state appropriation by $22 million this year.

Administrators have responded by cutting Mizzou’s operating budget by 12% and laying off 307 employees (474 across the entire University of Missouri system). They’ve also closed seven dormitories to students, instead renting out the rooms for football games and special events like the recent solar eclipse.

Suffice it to say, morale on campus is low.

The primary culprit, of course, is Mizzou’s reaction to the student protests of 2015. In November of that year, a group of students, justifiably angered by three racist incidents on the 35,000-student Columbia campus, presented administrators with a number of unreasonable demands. Among other things, they insisted that the president of the 77,000-student University of Missouri system publicly acknowledge his “white male privilege” and resign his post and that the university adopt patently unconstitutional racial quotas for faculty and staff.

Instead of leading like compassionate, wise adults—joining the protestors’ rightful condemnation of racist conduct but working to convince them that their demands were unreasonable—many Mizzou officials either succumbed to or actively perpetuated the frenzy.

Mizzou’s football coach publicly supported a player boycott by the members of his team. The chancellor encouraged the protestors by allowing them to erect a tent city on a university quad and providing them with electricity generators. One administrator bullied a student reporter and attempted to prevent him from documenting the protests. A professor actually battered a reporter and famously called for “some muscle” to remove him from the protestors’ camp.

Watching Mizzou’s leadership abdicate to the loudest voices from the radical left, most Missourians were aghast. Many decided that their children, donations, and tax dollars should go elsewhere. Hence, Mizzou’s current situation.

One might think, then, that the university’s administration would be doing all it can to get back in the good graces of the people of Missouri.

Not so much. As I keep saying, if some evil genius of the right wanted to destroy the reputation of the academy, xe couldn’t do better than the academy is doing to itself.

WELL, HE CERTAINLY SEEMS LOADS OF FUN TO WORK FOR: Was Lawrence O’Donnell’s meltdown video leaked on purpose?

Nice symmetry though: Socialist stooge Pete Seeger in 1949: “If I Had a Hammer.”* Socialist stooge Lawrence O’Donnell in 2017: “Stop the f***king hammering!!!!”

* As James Lileks once quipped, “‘If I Had A Hammer’? Well, what’s stopping you? Go to the hardware store; they’re about a buck-ninety, tops.”

THE LEFT IS INSANE AND VIOLENT, WORLDWIDE: Former Australian PM Head-Butted By Same-Sex Marriage Supporter.

ANY WEAPON TO HAND: The Left catapulted Valerie Plame to stardom without figuring out what she thinks.

The left-wing darling just tweeted an article accusing Jews of starting American wars. After the predictable blowback, Plame first encouraged her audience “to put aside your biases” and read the article before admitting that she “didn’t do my homework on the platform.”

An especially embarrassing gaffe for a veteran intelligence analyst, the UNZ.com article in question asserted, among other things, that Jews “own the media,” that Jewish people should wear labels while on national television, and that their beliefs are as dangerous as “a bottle of rat poison.”

One doesn’t need training in espionage though to recognize the bigotry of the piece. One also doesn’t need to be some sort of covert agent to recognize the flimsiness of her excuse. . . .

Of course, Plame is entitled to her opinions and her excuses. Everyone else is also entitled to mercilessly mock the very people who have promoted her for so long, because her story provided something politically useful to them.

There’s a lot to mock.

VOX: How Venezuela went from a rich democracy to a dictatorship on the brink of collapse.

As New York University historian Greg Grandin has pointed out, Chávez “submitted himself and his agenda to 14 national votes, winning 13 of them by large margins, in polling deemed by Jimmy Carter to be ‘best in the world.’”

“Chávez was always careful to maintain electoral legitimacy,” Francisco Toro, editor of Caracas Chronicles, an opposition-friendly news and analysis site, told me. Toro says that Chávez had big advantages with friendly media and his tendency to use state money on his campaigns, but that he didn’t “steal or cancel elections blatantly.” Chávez even allowed his opposition to run a recall referendum against him in 2004 just two years after surviving a coup attempt. He won the referendum by a huge margin.

When Chávez picked Maduro to succeed him, it was because he expected Maduro to be an effective champion for his ideas after his death. But while Maduro shared a great deal with Chávez ideologically, he has not been able to repeat his political or economic success. Instead, he’s overseen Venezuela’s descent into economic catastrophe, lost swaths of Chávez’s committed political base, and become one of Latin America’s newest autocrats.

Just last month I wrote on this page, “It’s an easy prediction to make, that the Left will portray Maduro as they eventually portrayed Stalin — the brute who betrayed the revolution of his noble predecessor.”

And, well, here you go.

TRUMP HITS THE RIGHT NOTES ON CUBA AND VENEZUELA:

From The Miami Herald:

“The socialist dictatorship” of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro “is completely unacceptable,” Trump told the General Assembly. He added that “we cannot stand by and watch,” and that the international community’s goal should be to “recover freedom, restore the country, return to democracy.”

On Cuba, Trump called the Cuban regime “corrupt” and “destabilizing” and said he will not lift U.S. sanctions on the Cuban government until Cuba enacts “fundamental reforms.”

Indeed.

PETER ROBINSON: Trump Through a Pinhole.

Congress may have thwarted the administration’s effort to replace Obamacare, but wherever the administration has been able to take action on its own it has done just that, demonstrating not incompetence but considerable effectiveness.

Consider ISIS. When Trump gave him a free hand in dealing with the terrorist organization, Defense Secretary James Mattis announced that the United States and its allies would no longer permit ISIS to recapture territory after staging merely tactical retreats. Instead we would encircle ISIS forces—and destroy them. Since then, the territory that ISIS controls has fallen by roughly one half. Or look at illegal immigration. After three decades in which administrations of both parties have failed to enforce immigration laws that were already on the books, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has begun to do so. Illegal immigration has dropped by some 70 percent.

The list goes on. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has begun rolling back regulations, notably on clean water, that the EPA had used to usurp the legislative function of Congress. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney has announced that for every new regulation any federal agency promulgates it must eliminate two. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has overturned the sexual harassment rules that the Obama administration had forced on universities. The White House has followed the nomination of Neal Gorsuch to the Supreme Court with the nominations of more than 30 others to the federal bench—and each of those nominees is, like Gorsuch, a thoroughly vetted originalist.

Still only eight months old, the Trump administration has demonstrated the ability to absorb new information and adjust to circumstances—that is, to learn in real time. It has displayed seriousness. It has gotten things done.

This — and the media’s Pavlovian response to them — is why Trump tweets.

Anyway, do read the whole thing.

FLASHBACK: Joe Biden 2012: If Romney Wins, We’ll Go To War In Syria.

THE HILL: Moderate Blue Dogs see new influence over Dem recruitment.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: The Dotard Edition.

BEYOND EQUIFAX: Top SEC Officials Only Recently Learned of 2016 Company-Database Hack.

Mr. Piwowar, who led the agency from late January until early May, said he was “recently informed for the first time” about the hack into the SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval System, known as Edgar.

Former SEC Chairman Mary Jo White, who led the agency in 2016, declined to comment when asked about the hack.

The agency appeared not to have followed the typical protocols for public companies, where cybersecurity issues are overseen by the board of directors, said Thomas Sporkin, a former SEC enforcement official.

“You would have expected the commission to have been informed of a breach to an SEC database that houses information critical to investors,” said Mr. Sporkin, now a partner at law firm Buckley Sandler LLP.

Mr. Clayton’s statement described other SEC vulnerabilities to hackers, but provided few details about intrusion, possible trading or which companies might have been affected. The SEC hasn’t responded to requests for additional details.

The country’s in the very best of hands.

ALLIES: Free Speech Activists Brawl with Supporters of Turkish President Erdoğan in Times Square.

Yashar Ali tweets that “Erdogan’s security detail beats up American protesters. It appears he has given the orders directly.”. And the link goes to several videos, at least one of which seems to show Erdogan doing just that.

Meanwhile: Trump Lauds Close ‘Friend of Mine’ Erdoğan as ‘Getting Very High Marks.’

Developing, as they say.

HIGH SPEED TRAIN TO NOWHERE? NAFTA Talks Moving at ‘Warp Speed,’ Progress Unclear.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Does the president have the right to expect loyalty from his attorney general? Democratic presidents seem to get the unswerving variety, whether it’s Janet Reno, Eric Holder, or Loretta Lynch.

September 21, 2017

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Plus, deals on Vitamins and Dietary Supplements.

A SURPRISINGLY GOOD TAKE FROM OLIVER WILLIS:

TRUE: Defending the Electoral College, and federalism, is crucial to our republic.

I can remember when, based on expectations just before the 2000 elections, Dem outlets featured pieces on the vital importance of the Electoral College, only to do a 180 the following week.

THIS WILL GO WELL: NFL Players Want League To Make November A Month to Protest Police.

THE NFL’S APPEAL IS BECOMING MORE SELECTIVE:

Related: 49ers-Rams tickets reselling for the price of two stadium pretzels.

WHY ARE DEMOCRATIC PARTY HEROES SUCH HYPOCRITICAL PEDDLERS OF ANTISEMITIC TROPES?

Plus:

MODERATION IN ALL THINGS: High, low levels of magnesium linked to dementia risk. “In a study of more than 9,500 men and women, the highest or lowest levels of magnesium appeared to increase the chances for dementia by as much as 30 percent.”

FIREFLY AT 15: How a Canceled Show Became a Cult Favorite.

NONSENSE. WHAT COULD GO WRONG? NFL Players Ask League to Ruin Football With Social Justice Activism, and Activism Awareness Month.

I TALK WITH ANDREW KLAVAN ABOUT THE “SEXUAL CRISIS” WITH TEENS, men on strike and politics on his Daily Wire podcast. You can listen to the discussion here (21 minutes in).

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Substitute teacher and former girls soccer coach is arrested for having sex with one of her students in Michigan after sending naked photos of herself. “Allyson Brittany Moran, 26, was arrested Thursday in Illinois, Michigan State Police said. She would face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. She faces three felony counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a student and one misdemeanor count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a student.”

KURT SCHLICHTER: Unleashing The Power Of Mockery On Annoying Social Justice Warriors.

In a culture where humorless leftists scolds seek to impose their rule upon us normals by sucking every drop of joy out of life, it is the conservative smartass who is the true subversive. Don’t look to Hollywood’s allegedly edgy comics to zing the zeitgeist – hacky proggy stand-ups and interchangeable liberal late-night hosts are the opposite of rebels, with their dreadfully generic opinions and lockstep jokes designed to get the herd of trained seals that makes up their fish-breathed audience beating their flippers. No, if you want someone who snarks truth to power instead of speaking consensus coastal truth to the powerless, you gotta step to the right.

And Lisa de Pasquale is one of these conserva-revolutionaries, a young woman who is in equal parts funny and fearless. She has a new book dropping, The Social Justice Warrior Handbook: A Practical Survival Guide for Snowflakes, Millennials, and Generation Z, and it does exactly what today’s embattled conservatives need to do – it goes full bull in the progressive china shop.

Good. Plus:

SJWs deserve nothing but contempt and the merciless ridicule that goes with it. Yet, sadly, we Americans are usually reflexively too polite to deliver the verbal beatdowns these dorks deserve. Because we are genuinely nice people, we generally assume that other people are acting in good faith even when what they are saying is manifestly idiotic. We tend to think, “Hmmmm, that sounds really insane, but I should give this person the benefit of the doubt and react in a polite manner when she bursts into tears because, she says, my not accepting that men can menstruate is a hate crime.”

What we should think, and say, is “You’re stupid, so stop talking and finish filling my latte order, weirdo.”

SJWs prey on that default presumption of good faith, knowing that normals will assume SJWs sincerely mean whatever idiocy they spew. But the truth is that all this nonsense about microaggressions and such is just a way to impose their fussy control over us. The remedy, as these Millennial morons might say, is for us normals to “get woke” to the SJW okie-doke, and to recognize that their whole deal is to silence us by socially criminalizing anything we say, do, and believe.

Yes.

NOT-SO-SHOCKING NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SCIENCE: Study: US women report diverse preferences related to sexual pleasure.

AND THE HITS JUST KEEP COMING FOR THE NFL: Aaron Hernandez Had CTE and His Family Is Suing the NFL.

UPDATE: That Aaron Hernandez had CTE is devastating news for the NFL.

VALERIE PLAME: HEY, CHECK OUT THIS THOUGHT-PROVOKING ARTICLE ABOUT JEWS DRIVING AMERICA’S WARS.

As Allahpundit quips:

In fairness, it’d be easy to miss the “gross undercurrents” in a piece titled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars” if all you’d done is skimmed it. The lesson here, I guess, is to always read items about Jews instigating wars carefully before tweeting out the link.

Minor problem for Special Agent Heinrich, though: She has a Twitter archive and people have begun combing through it.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Former CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson offers epic apology after tweeting anti-Semitic story: ‘One should not tweet while moving.’

Valerie Plame Wilson offered another apology Thursday hours after tweeting an anti-Semitic article titled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars,” telling Business Insider that she had been multitasking when she posted the story on her account.

“I made a mistake and should not have retweeted that article,” Wilson said in an email. “I sincerely apologized. I was just so focused on the neocons lust for war: ‘If you liked the Iraq war, you’ll love an Iranian one.'”

Neocons. As Twitchy notes, Plame just can’t stop digging.

REMINDER FOR THE NEW ACADEMIC YEAR: Bros Are People, Too. Colleges need to fix the toxic environments they have created for male students.

BUT OF COURSE: London Tube Bomber Was Part of ‘Deradicalization’ Program.

PARLIAMENT OF HOS: For California, It’s Leftward Ho — and No End in Sight.

FEDS SPEND $187,704 TO IMPROVE OLDER WOMEN’S SEX LIVES.

Presumably, the money the feds spend on cowboy poetry are an important first step.

DON’T BE WEEVILS: Google May be Guilty of Gender Discrimination But Is Definitely Guilty of Bad Data Analysis.

Google employees seem to be up on their applied math, since they put together an analysis so that they could make the following statement:

Based upon its own analysis from January, Google said female employees make 99.7 cents for every dollar a man makes, accounting for factors like location, tenure, job role, level and performance.

On the surface, this seems to suggest that significant gender discrimination just doesn’t show up in the data. BUT…and this is important…this example highlights the difference between doing math and doing data analysis (or, more charitably, data science)- while this conclusion may be mathematically correct, it’s basically a “garbage in, garbage out” use of econometric tools. Simply put, if you’re trying to isolate gender discrimination, you can’t just blindly control for things that themselves are likely the result of gender discrimination!

Why are progressive corporations such cesspits of misogyny?