July 24, 2017

NEWS YOU CAN USE: 23 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Forget Russia. I’d fire Jeff Sessions over civil forfeiture. “Sessions is doing exactly the wrong thing by doubling down on asset seizure. The message it sends is that the feds see the rest of us as prey, not as citizens. The attorney general should be ashamed to take that position. And, really, he should just be gone.”

KURT SCHLICHTER: Trump Needs To Be Smart About How He Fires Mueller.

Trump must eventually fire Robert Mueller, a partisan tool carrying water for his Establishment pals as he oversees an utterly corrupt “investigation” where the only person we actually know committed any wrongdoing is his bestest buddy Jim Comey. But Trump can’t just lash out and do it, though it is well within his political and moral right to do so. No, he’s got to do it cleverly, with cunning, in a way that shows the American people exactly why Mueller’s witch hunt is a flaming dumpster fire of conflicts of interest and contempt for the right of normal Americans to have a say in their own governance.

Trump has to set the stage before he pulls the trigger and puts the coup de grace into the temple of this appalling fiasco. He has to do it so the American people will see and understand why ending this idiocy is so absolutely necessary to preserve our Republic despite the mainstream media’s best effort to hide the truth.

Trump needs to seize the initiative from Leaky Bob. You know, I keep hearing how Mueller was this squared-away Marine officer, but through these incessant leaks his organization demonstrates a complete lack of both integrity and discipline. Mueller seems unwilling or unable to exercise any kind of leadership over his team of Hillary donors, or to instill a culture of seriousness and impartiality. The continuing misconduct of his out-of-control, ever-expanding fiefdom demonstrates that he must be relieved of command. And here’s the letter the president should send to him to set the stage to do it.

More at the link.

HAVE YOU HUGGED A FRACKER TODAY? IEA: U.S. has unique role in oil, LNG. “The United States stands in a unique position in the energy market with a robust shale oil sector and prospects for liquefied natural gas, the IEA said. . . . ‘The United States stands today at the heart of a twin energy revolution — a booming shale oil and gas industry and also rising supplies of liquefied natural gas.'”

SWISS CHAINSAW RAMPAGE: A madman’s rampage that occurred in Switzerland.

The troubled suspect, described as a drifter, is accused of then assaulting at least three others before making off in a white VW Caddy.

One of the injured victims is being treated for serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Police confirmed that Wrousis is a schizophrenic who was a client of the health insurance firm he attacked.

He is of no fixed abode and, in between living in hotels and community lodgings, routinely camped out in woodlands living in his VW Caddy.

This is a real tragedy with real victims, not a cult movie about a fictional massacre in Texas. But the tragic reality doesn’t fit the stereotypical media narrative, does it?

STEVE JOBS WANTED TO BREAK UP THE EDUCATION MONOPOLY:

Steve Jobs said in a 1995 interview, “The unions are the worst thing that ever happened in education.”

Jobs spoke with Computerworld’s Daniel Morrow in a 1995 interview, which covered a wide range of topics, but frequently delved into Jobs’s views on the American education system. As he said, “I’d like the people teaching my kids to be good enough that they could get a job at the company I work for making $100,000 a year.”

But Jobs blamed teachers unions for getting in the way of good teachers getting better pay. “It’s not a meritocracy,” said Jobs. “It turns into a bureaucracy, which is exactly what’s happened. And teachers can’t teach, and administrators run the place, and nobody can be fired. It’s terrible.”

He noted that one solution is school choice: “I’ve been a very strong believer that what we need to do in education is go to the full voucher system.” Jobs explained that education in America had been taken over by a government monopoly, which was providing a poor quality education for children.

He wasn’t wrong. And the products he built provide one solution to the problem.

 

(Via NewsAlert.)

POLITICS AIN’T THERAPY. SO HE SAYS, ANYWAY: “Impeachment is an outlet for anger and frustration, which I share, but politics ain’t therapy. [The President] would much rather debate impeachment than….”

People have been calling for Trump’s impeachment literally since he was elected and before he was sworn in. It’s just more evidence that our political class is dumber and less sensible than the people it purports to rule.

DAILY SHOW STARS DISCUSS THE EVIL WORLD OF TRUMP, CLAIM SHOW IS THE ‘MOST FACTUALLY ACCURATE NEWS SOURCE:’

Desi Lydic is a field correspondent and Michele Wolf is a writer and on-screen contributor for the not-so-funny comedy show. Here are just a few comments made by the pair:

DESI LYDIC: How did you feel the day after the election?

MICHELLE WOLF: I was so sad. That’s when I cried on camera.

(…)

LYDIC: My husband and I, we looked at each other [On election night] and we were like, oh my god we just brought a child into this world. Maybe that’s dramatic, but it really felt like that.

* * * * * * * *

WOLF: We’re clearly a liberal leaning show, but I would argue we are the most factually accurate news source. Like we have a fact checker, and he won’t let anything slide by that’s not accurate.

In a Bizarro World sort of way, she’s on to something there — given the postmodern media overculture in which the DNC-MSM consists of seemingly nothing but fake news these days, why accept poor substitutes when you can watch a show that’s premised on being fake news?

To paraphrase Nigel Tufnel, it’s like, how much more fake could the Daily Show be? and the answer is none. None more fake.

(To which CNN would reply, “hold my beer.”)

THE REAL SOUTH CHINA SEA BULLY: The BBC reports China threatened to attack Vietnamese bases in the Spratly Islands if Hanoi continued to explore the area for oil.

The threat came a few days after a Spanish company working for Vietnam confirmed the discovery of a major natural gas field.

RELATED: The 2014 drilling clash between the Communist neighbors. As the column says, when it’s one on one, Vietnam has the weaker hand.

PHOTO: China’s Maritime Security Agency (coast guard) has muscle. This is an off-shore patrol vessel.

NEWS OF THE OBVIOUS: Study: Severe antisocial behavior differs for boys, girls.

THE EU: AUTHORITARIANISM THROUGH COMPLEXITY:

It’s not a bad maneuver, but it unravels at a certain point. The British team consists of well-educated and experienced civil servants. In claiming that this team is not up to the task of understanding the complexities of EU processes and regulations, the EU has made the strongest case possible against itself. If these people can’t readily grasp the principles binding Britain to the EU, then how can mere citizens understand them? And if the principles are beyond the grasp of the public, how can the public trust the institutions? We are not dealing here with the complex rules that allow France to violate rules on deficits but on the fundamental principles of the European Union and the rights and obligations – political, economic and moral – of citizens. If the EU operating system is too complex to be grasped by British negotiators, then who can grasp it?

As Ayn Rand wrote in Atlas Shrugged:

“Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against — then you’ll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted — and you create a nation of law-breakers — and then you cash in on guilt. Now, that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

Why, it’s as if European elites went from vanquishing both National Socialism and International Socialism, and had second thoughts, and decided that parts of them weren’t so bad after all – and that’s never happened before there!

CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Meet the lawyers who gave $$ to Hillary, now investigating team Trump.

MODIFIED LIMITED HANGOUT: Mohamed Noor’s attorney: Maybe Justine Damond was on sleeping meds?

As Ed Morrissey writes, “So what if Damond did take Ambien? Its side effects can include some odd behaviors, such as sleepwalking and night eating, but neither of those present a lethal danger to others, especially police who are presumed to be responsible enough to defuse odd situations. The speculation that Damond might have taken some widely used sleep medication created an angry backlash, especially in Damond’s native Australia.”

As well it should. Read the whole thing.

CERTAINLY NOT WITH INSTAPUNDIT READERS: Is Gwyneth Paltrow’s pseudoscience winning?

SHOT: Schumer’s Criticism of Hillary Is Worse Than It Seems.

—Roger Simon, today.

Chaser:

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CHARLIE MARTIN: The End of Charlie Gard’s Story.

THERE’S NOW A POLICE VERSION OF THE F-150 PICKUP.

AT AMAZON, deals galore at the Amazon Baby Store.

Plus, save in Industrial and Scientific

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Forget Russia. I’d fire Jeff Sessions over civil forfeiture. “Sessions is doing exactly the wrong thing by doubling down on asset seizure. The message it sends is that the feds see the rest of us as prey, not as citizens. The attorney general should be ashamed to take that position. And, really, he should just be gone.”

BUT WHO WOULD BELIEVE THEM? “Progressives must preach understanding, not shame, to be effective,” Andrew Redlawsk writes in USA Today. His bio describes him as “a Democratic organizer and activist and is currently pursuing his Masters in Political Management at George Washington University.” Embrace the smugness dripping from his article:

The other night, I had an amazing conversation with a friend who admitted he was a Donald Trump voter. Having known him for most of my life, I was shocked. But as a result, as a proud member of The Resistance, I’m even more certain that we progressives are largely responsible for the rise of Trump’s America.

Amazed that a lifelong friend was one of those people. Shocked that he’s part of the other, deplorable half of America. Whereas fortunately, Redlawsk declares himself a “proud member of The Resistance,” as if he’s in the French underground in WWII. More Redlawsk:

If we’re waiting for people who hold a different view to change their minds without being guided through that process, we’ll be waiting an awfully long time. I think progressives would all agree that time is not something we have to waste. It may not be fair, but progressives must be willing to put aside their anger and hate and take responsibility for creating the change they wish to see in the world. To vilify, shame and condemn only causes those who don’t understand to dig in their heels. If we are the ones who want change, the responsibility is ours to do what it takes to encourage it.

To summarize: Progressives, stop insulting, stop shaming, and stop condescending. Start listening. Start teaching.

Start “teaching.” Guide them through the process.

Yes, Middle Americans love to feel like they’re the left’s students – that always plays really well – particularly knowing that the lessons come with a fair amount of “anger and hate” behind them as Redlawsk admits.

And if the instructions from our would-be betters are rejected?  That dovetails quite well into another piece making the rounds concurrently with the above USA Today article: “Rolling Stone Confirms: Ultra-Rich Gay Activist Is Targeting ‘Wicked’ Christians,” Bre Payton writes at the Federalist:

Ah, so “the wicked’” whom [tech millionaire turned gay rights activist Tim Gill] says need to be “punished” are indeed Christians, as well as everyone who agrees with them. Anyone who stands up for a Christian’s right to live in accordance with his or her religious beliefs will also be targeted for harassment in public and the legal system. Further, he clearly defines “wickedness” as adhering to centuries-old Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) beliefs on human identity and sexuality. To Gill, orthodox Christian beliefs comprise “wickedness.” Thanks for clearing that up.

* * * * * * * *

Nevertheless, asking a judge to think twice before throwing the book at a Christian baker who doesn’t want to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding is a “wickedness” that ought to be stamped out, according to Gill.

This must be part of that “Better Deal” that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are promising us. As Erick Erickson likes to say, you will be made to care.

One way or another – we can do this the easy way, or the hard way, as they say in the Corleone family.

UPDATE: I think Steve’s phrase earlier today regarding another column by a lefty trying to make sense of what happened — “If this column is any indicator, even lefties who think they get it still haven’t gotten it” — might need to go into a macro for rapid and frequent deployment.

CHINESE JET INTERCEPTS U.S. RECON PLANE: Sure, happens all the time. But the USN says the interception was unsafe and in international airspace. The East China Sea, like the South China Sea, is a contested area.

The East China Sea, where Beijing is embroiled in a dispute with Tokyo over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, known in China as the Diaoyus, has seen an uptick in similar incidents — including dangerous encounters between Chinese military aircraft and Air Self-Defense Force fighter jets.

The U.S. Navy plane was an EP-3.

RELATED: Old history but worth remembering. The April 2001 collision between a Chinese fighter and a USN EP-3 ARIES recon plane. In 2014 Jim Dunnigan noticed that China’s “aggressive attitude” toward U.S. electronic recon aircraft had returned. The EP-3 is the elint version of the P-3 Orion (photo).

I’D RATHER NOT: Meet a Man Who WANTS Kids’ Lemonade Stands Shut Down.

IT’LL BE INTERESTING TO SEE IF THIS EFFECT HOLDS UP, AND IF IT HAS ANY OTHER ANTI-AGING IMPACT: Cancer Patients’ Gray Hair Darkened While on New Drugs.

Cancer patients’ gray hair unexpectedly turned youthfully dark while taking novel drugs, and it has doctors scratching their heads. The AP reports chemotherapy is notorious for making hair fall out, but the 14 patients involved were all being treated with new immunotherapy drugs that work differently and have different side effects. A Spanish study suggests that may include restoring hair pigment, at least in patients with lung cancer. With the first patient, “we thought it could be an isolated case,” said Dr. Noelia Rivera. But she said the research team found the same thing when they asked other patients for photos from before treatment.

Let’s hope this turns into something big.

ARMED AND FABULOUS: In Chicago, women worried about violence join gun club.

“My husband influenced me and we thought about it a long time. Maybe you need a gun these days, in your house at least,” said Crowder, who lives in a gated community with her retired banker husband.

A fellow retiree, Javondlynn Dunagan, came up with the idea of gun training classes geared toward women, and for the “Ladies of Steel” gun club — after successful training, the women gather twice a month to practice their skills.

Dunagan served as a parole officer for 25 years before finishing her career in January, but had rarely held a gun when dealing with convicts.

She said she started carrying one after divorcing her police officer husband.

“I was at home by myself with my daughter, and I was used to having a firearm in a home with my ex-husband,” she explained. “So, I wanted to make sure that we were safe.”

But Dunagan noticed something curious when she visited gun ranges around Chicago to practice.

“I noticed that I never saw two women at the range together or a group of ladies,” she recounted.

Welcome to the club.

SECURITY THEATER OF THE ABSURD: TSA Bans Comic Books in Checked Luggage for Comic-Con.

According to the report, United — surprise — seems to be the only airline actually enforcing the ban.

UPDATE: TSA denies.

WELL, THAT’S ONE WAY TO PUT IT: Ouch! “Twin Cities Police Easily Startled.”

UNLIKE MELANIA, Hillary So White.

From the comments: “Reading media has become as baroque as reading Pravda used to be: look at these photos, text and graphics, and attempt to divine, what’s to be the next Party line?”

AS FAR AS I CAN TELL, EVERYTHING IS A PLOT EITHER FOR OR AGAINST THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT NOWADAYS: Are Fidget Spinners A Plot Against The Russian Government?

MICHAEL LEDEEN: Who Gets Purged by Trump?

I don’t think the Trumps et al. have a solid grasp of Washington. I think that they believe the bureaucracy should salute whenever the president expresses a conviction, and immediately impose his will on the system. Maybe so (elections really do have consequences. Most always). Except Washington doesn’t work that way. The bureaucrats know they will outlast any president. He’ll be gone in four or eight years, but they will still be there. Moreover, it’s almost impossible to fire a civil servant; maybe you can move him down the hall, or even half way around the world, but he’ll still be active. Somewhere. And he may well have friends.

Not so with political appointees, who can be purged. You have no doubt seen the laments from the Trump loyalists about the Obama “holdovers” who continue to work and often participate in some very sensitive meetings. Many of them are now out, but there has been a surprising purge of Trump loyalists, especially in national security, including Mike Flynn, Adam Lovinger, and Robin Townley.

Read the whole thing.

JUST TEN MORE MINUTES, I SWEAR: Democrats snoozing through their wake-up call.

Gloria Johns:

Where do we start with all the Democrats have gotten wrong?

First, they did not anticipate the backlash from the party’s greatest achievement. The election of the first African-American president was the straw that broke the back of conservatives and middle-income white Americans who were quickly becoming the minority and not happy about it at all.

Democrats failed to notice their party’s freefall, as evidenced by the loss of about 900 legislative seats from 2008 to 2016. While it’s not untypical that a two-term presidency starts to lose a little luster during its waning years, these numbers definitely signal a shift in mood among the American people – a shift not quite away from civil rights, but definitely more focused on the right to prosper as an individual, the equivalent of the Republican’s siren song.

And not to diminish her exceptional public service over many decades, but Hillary Clinton was an entitlement candidate and an unimaginative one at that. If Trump represents a 1950s separatist, Clinton is a bit of a relic of the 1960s, when the Democrats’ whimsical party platform was, “… it is the creation of an enduring peace in which the universal values of human dignity, truth, and justice under law are finally secured for all men everywhere on earth.”

How do you turn all of that into action?

If this column is any indicator, even lefties who think they get it still haven’t gotten it.

UPDATE: Yes, even Chuck Schumer.

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THIS IS ESSENTIAL FOR A LOT OF DIFFERENT VARIETIES, AND NOT JUST THE SEXBOTS: Robots Learn To Speak Body Language.

JOEL KOTKIN: Why the Greens Lost, and Trump Won.

The believers at times seem more concerned in demonstrating their faith than in passing laws, winning elections or demonstrating results. So with Republicans controlling the federal government, greens are cheering Democratic state attorney generals’ long-shot legal cases against oil companies. The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman has talked about dismissing the disorder of democracy as not suited to meeting the environmental challenges we face, and replacing it with rulers like the “reasonably enlightened group of people” who run the Chinese dictatorship.

After Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, China was praised, bizarrely, as the great green hope. The Middle Kingdom, though, is the world’s biggest and fastest grower emitter, generating coal energy at record levels. It won’t, under Paris, need to cut its emissions till 2030. Largely ignored is the fact that America, due largely to natural gas replacing coal, has been leading the world in GHG reductions.

Among many greens, and their supports, performance seems to mean less than proper genuflecting; the Paris accords, so beloved by the green establishment, will make little impact on the actual climate, as both rational skeptics like Bjorn Lomborg and true believers like NASA’s James Hanson agree. In this context, support for Paris represents the ultimate in “virtue signaling.” Ave Maria, Gaia.

They get the virtue, we get the tab.

PEER REVIEW: Predatory Journals Hit By ‘Star Wars’ Sting.

“SOMETIMES?” Dem Congressman: Democratic Party ‘Sometimes Slips Into Intolerance.’ And note this:

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) criticized his own party for “intolerance” of Democrats with points of view that differ from the majority of the party’s members.

“The problem is, and we saw a little of it in the recent House race in Georgia, where our candidate was told, ‘you didn’t pass the litmus test on certain things,’ you know, it’s absolutely crazy. We have to get to the point where we understand that Democrats will not get into the majority unless we have Blue Dogs,” Cleaver said, referring to the fiscally conservative caucus, during a discussion called, “Diverse Democrats: What It Takes To Win” hosted by the nonprofit organization Third Way.

They weren’t in the slightest fiscally conservative – they voted in lockstep for Obamacare as “Nancy Pelosi’s crash test dummies” – on the way to becoming cannon fodder in the 2010 midterms.

FIVE NUTRITION LIES THAT ARE RUINING YOUR HEALTH. Well, not my health, and probably not that of most InstaPundit readers.

JACK DUNPHY: Was Policeman Mohammed Noor Justified in Shooting Justine Damond?

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

The best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions: don’t be rich.

—Headline, young adult Website* Vox.com, July 14, 2017.

EXPLAINED: Why Vox Dot Com Is a Smart Investment for General Electric.

—The Washington Free Beacon, May 1st, 2014.

● “Matt Yglesias bought a $1.2 million three-bedroom condo in Washington, D.C., and a bunch of conservatives are pretty appalled that a liberal would have the gall to be rich.”

—The Atlantic, March 22, 2013.

It’s the hypocrisy, Atlantic. Not to mention the sophistry:

I’d start to take global warming seriously when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis themselves – oh and, I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Glenn Reynolds’ carbon footprint again.

* Classical reference.

UPDATE: “Left: We’re going to ensure ‘better jobs, better wages, better future.’ Also the Left: Stop making money:” “Vox’s indictment of both Hollywood and the music industry is rather harsh here.”

Heh, indeed.™

ASTRONOMY: The Next Step In The Search For Aliens Is A Huge Telescope And A Ton Of Math.

Astronomers hoping to find extraterrestrial life are looking largely for exoplanets (planets outside Earth’s solar system) in the so-called “Goldilocks zone” around each star: a distance range in which a planet is not too hot and not too cold, making it possible for liquid water to exist on the surface. But after studying our own world and many other planetary systems, scientists have come to believe that many factors other than distance are key to the development of life. These include the mix of gases in the atmosphere, the age of the planet and host star, whether the host star often puts out harmful radiation, and how fast the planet rotates — some planets rotate at a rate that leaves the same side always facing their star, so one hemisphere is stuck in perpetual night while the other is locked into scorching day. This makes it a complex problem that scientists can start to tackle with powerful computers, data and statistics. These tools — and new telescope technology — could make the discovery of life beyond Earth more likely.

Two teams of astronomers are proposing different methods of tackling these questions. One argues that we should try to identify trends in the data generated by surveys of thousands of planets, while the other favors focusing on a handful of individual planets to assess where they’d lie on a scale from uninhabitable to probably populated.

If there’s anybody out there, I’d rather we found them before they find us.

SINGLE PAYER, SINGLE DECIDER: Charlie Gard’s Parents Drop Legal Battle Over Experimental Treatment.

The parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard dropped their legal bid Monday to send him to the United States for an experimental treatment after new medical tests showed that the window of opportunity to help him had closed.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates wept as they withdrew their appeal during a London High Court hearing, signaling the end of a legal saga that had stretched for months. The couple’s attorney, Grant Armstrong, said recent medical tests on 11-month-old Charlie showed the baby has irreversible muscular damage, and the new treatment wouldn’t help.

“It’s too late for Charlie,” Armstrong said. “The damage has been done.”

Medically, there may have been no hope for Charlie even at an earlier date. Politically, the process the Gards were subjected to was a crude power play of the state against the individual, and the state won.

Britons should have no doubt about their place in a single payer system.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: What happens when you leave a tetherball in the forest? (Video.)

IN THE MAIL: From Hans G. Schantz, A Rambling Wreck. This book looks interesting as it is set at Georgia Tech, and a struggle against SJW types is involved.

Plus, fresh Gold Box and Lightning Deals. Get them while they’re hot!

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Forget Russia. I’d fire Jeff Sessions over civil forfeiture.

NICHOLAS BALLASY: Democrats: Despite Trump Victory, Americans Still Want Action on Climate Change.

THE OIL WARS: OPEC/Saudi ‘Promises’ Fail To Ignite Momentum in WTI Crude Prices.

As Bloomberg reports, OPEC and partners meet in St. Petersburg where the Saudi energy minister says he expects deep cut in nation’s August exports.

OPEC/non-OPEC meeting:

•Saudi Arabia’s Al-Falih says inventory draw-down to accelerate, demand picking up; Saudis to cap exports at 6.6m b/d in August, y/y decline of 1m b/d

•Joint ministerial committee said to discuss monitoring oil exports along with production figures; Al-Falih says exports have become key metric for financial markets

•OPEC may need to discuss in November extending cuts: U.A.E.

•Nigeria to limit output to 1.8m b/d if it can reach that level: Oman

•Russia’s Novak sees ‘‘big potential’’ for oil markets in 3Q; not opposed to monitoring exports

And this is the result… a quick spike above $46… then fall back.

Have you hugged a fracker today?

HAVE YOU HUGGED A FRACKER TODAY? Cheap Crude Is Hell for Oil’s Old Guard.

We live in a new oil reality. Production is surging around the world, and supplies are coming from a number of new places (read: from outside of the oil cartel OPEC). Crucially, the price of a barrel of oil today is less than half of what it was three years ago, and $50 seems to be the new market equilibrium for crude. North America, and in particular the United States, has emerged as the biggest winner in this global transition, but this new reality has produced a large number of losers, too. Petrostates—countries whose regimes have grown fat on oil revenues—have adapted poorly to changing market conditions, and as Bloomberg reports the future looks dim for this category of producers. . . .

The collapse of crude prices hurt everyone in the business of supplying oil, but it was especially painful for petrostates, whose national budgets require a strong oil price to stay in the black. In an attempt to prod prices in the upward direction, OPEC and its ilk cobbled together a weak consensus in order to collectively reduce supplies, but that strategy has been wholly ineffective thus far. Prices remain stubbornly low, while petrostates are ceding valuable market share to upstate producers like America’s frackers. Meanwhile, OPEC members are openly bucking their commitments to cutting production. The cartel’s ability to influence the global market has never looked weaker.

I’m so old, I can remember when anyone who dissented from “Peak Oil” dogma was called a shill for Exxon, and when our own President Obama mocked Sarah Palin for thinking that we could “drill our way out of” our energy problems.

SOCIAL JUSTICE: Man ordered to pay $65K in child support for kid who isn’t his.

In 2003, a child support court in Texas ruled that Gabriel Cornejo, 45, had to pay child support to his ex-girlfriend who had recently given birth because she vowed that there was no way he wasn’t the rightful dad.

Cornejo, who is currently raising three children of his own and two nephews, claimed that he was not made aware of this and only found out about the child support payments last year when a deputy served him court papers claiming that the state of Texas lists him as having another child. He soon met the minor for the first and only time – describing her as a “wonderful girl” – but after taking a DNA test, learned she was not his after all.

Only Cornejo’s ex-girlfriend and the state still want the $65,000 in back payments.

“I never thought in my whole life I would have to defend myself of something that I am innocent of,” he said.

Under current legal thinking, he’s male, so he must be guilty of something.

Plus this: “Texas’ family code, chapter 161, states that even if one is not the biological father, they still owe support payments that accrued before the paternity test proves otherwise.”

SCIENCE, UNSETTLED: How a Guy From a Montana Trailer Park Overturned 150 Years of Biology.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Forget Russia. I’d fire Jeff Sessions over civil forfeiture.

THAAD INTERCEPTION TEST: A photo of the July 11 test launch from the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska. The THAAD anti-missile missile intercepted an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) target.

RON RADOSH: Brit Hume’s Strange and Heartless Prescription for Health Care.

GRID THREATS REQUIRE IMAGINING THE UNIMAGINABLE:

The U.S. electric power network is poorly equipped to restore electricity service to large areas blacked out by natural disasters or hostile attacks, a National Academy of Sciences panel warned yesterday in a report that looks into dark future scenarios that it says the nation and the public have not fully faced up to.

“The electricity system, and associated supporting infrastructure, is susceptible to widespread uncontrolled cascading failure, based on the interconnected and interdependent nature of the networks,” the panel concluded in a 297-page report ordered by Congress and funded by the Department of Energy. “Despite all best efforts, it is impossible to avoid occasional, potentially large outages caused by natural disasters or pernicious physical or cyber attacks.”

Seven or eight years ago I gave a talk to a local business group on this subject. During Q&A an audience member said he thought the threat of a cyber attack on the electrical grid was exaggerated. A moment later another audience member identified himself as having worked on control and security issues for a utility company. He said nope, the threat to the grid is real and, in an extensive network, spotting all the vulnerabilities is difficult.

DON SURBER: The Day the Press Lost Its Power.

KAROL MARKOWICZ: Now the speech police are going after small talk.

“What do you do?” is now considered impolite. The Huffington Post has called it a “conversation killer” and the Boston Globe’s Robin Abrahams called it “the lamest party question.”

Abrahams writes: “I’ve had people tell me straight up that they find the question rude. Many folks perceive it as a prestige contest — and when it’s preceded by, say, ‘I’m a spinal surgeon and run a private-equity fund in my spare time,’ it’s easy to feel that way.”

But why does everything have to be a competition? If you come across a spinal surgeon who runs a private-equity fund that should be the best conversation of your life. Why would anyone refuse to take the opportunity to learn something from someone so accomplished?

Also, if you’re hearing that answer, that means you’re the one who asked the question. If you don’t feel great about your professional life, small talk makes it easy to steer away from the topic or change the subject once it’s introduced. That’s the thing about small talk: It can go anywhere you’d like.

In the last few years, my go-to question — “Where are you from?” — has also become unacceptable. Apparently it’s racist or anti-immigrant or any number of problematics to ask someone where they grew up.

There’s nothing committed busybodies can’t ruin for everybody else.

THE INSTA-WIFE: Beets Are The New Kale.

K.C. JOHNSON: Campus kangaroo courts: How Betsy DeVos could take action with regard to Title IX.

Last week, Department of Education secretary Betsy DeVos did something extraordinary: after meeting with students who said that they were sexually assaulted in college, she spoke with seven others who claimed that their institutions had found them guilty of sexual assaults that they did not commit. She also met with a group of lawyers and education administrators, including two attorneys who have represented students accused of sexual assault in subsequent lawsuits against their colleges.

Hearing both sides of a controversial issue would seem routine for any policymaker, but that hasn’t been the case for campus sexual assault. Catherine Lhamon, who headed the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the Obama administration, refused to meet with groups advocating on behalf of accused students. She even initially declined, in writing, to confer with representatives from FIRE, the nation’s preeminent campus civil-liberties organization. Lhamon’s approach reflected the Obama administration’s strategy of redefining Title IX—the federal law banning sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funds—without soliciting public feedback. The administration made two important policy changes—one in 2011, the other in 2014—not as regulations, which require public notice and comment, but as “guidance” documents. Then, when asked whether the Education Department expected colleges to follow blindly the documents’ demands as if they were regulations, Lhamon said yes. . . .

George Mason University law professor David Bernstein recently noted that, despite the Obama administration’s reading of the statute, “Title IX itself doesn’t actually speak to specific procedural protections.” More broadly, according to Bernstein, it requires an “aggressive interpretation of Title IX to think it speaks to student-on-student sexual assault at all.” (The interpretation, which made sexual assaults the only felonies that colleges are legally required to adjudicate, dates from a Clinton-era OCR regulation.) But it has become an article of faith among accusers’-rights organizations—joined by Democratic and even some Republican legislators—that any shift in the Obama policies would suggest tolerance of campus rape.

House members who purport to worry about civil liberties in all other contexts fault DeVos for talking not only to advocates of campus accusers but also to advocates for the accused.

To a lot of these people, 1984 wasn’t a cautionary tale, but an instruction manual.

A CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION MASQUERADING AS A POLITICAL PARTY. Report: FBI Seized Smashed Hard Drives From Debbie Wasserman Schultz IT Aide’s Home:

FBI agents seized smashed computer hard drives from the home of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s information technology (IT) administrator, according to an individual who was interviewed by Bureau investigators in the case and a high level congressional source.

Pakistani-born Imran Awan, long-time right-hand IT aide to the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman, has since desperately tried to get the hard drives back, the individual told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.

Earlier: Shocking video shows former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz threatening the Chief of Capitol Police to ‘expect consequences’ if he didn’t return a laptop taken during a criminal investigation:

The laptop was taken by police following a report into data breaches inside congressional offices in Washington. Politico first reported that one staffer under investigation for the theft had worked for multiple Democrats in Washington, but had been fired after the alleged IT breaches. . . . The Capitol Police and other agencies are investigating Imran Awan, who has run technology for Wasserman Schultz since 2005. He was banned from the House network in February on suspicion of data breaches and theft. Wasserman Schultz’s representatives denied the lawmaker was using her position on the committee that sets the police force’s budget to press its chief on the matter of the laptop.

As Glenn noted at time, “Well, that was clearly a lie. The Democrats really don’t seem to want people investigating this hacking case for some reason.”

(Classical reference in headline.)

(Bumped, by Glenn).

OH: North Korea is Able to Launch a ‘Limited Missile Attack,’ Warns Top U.S. General.

At dinner last night I was speaking to someone deeply involved in our missile defense program, and half-jokingly suggested we place North Korea under a “missile quarantine” by stationing an Aegis-equipped destroyer or two in international waters — with instructions to shoot down anything that goes up.

His response was, “The crews would love that.”

UPDATE: Credit where it’s due, before I forget again.

RELOCATING ELEPHANTS IN MALAWI: Check out the video — the technical requirements are immense.

PROGRESS? Female Athletes Are Closing The Gender Gap When It Comes To Concussions.

“We classically have always known the male response to brain injury,” says Mark Burns, at Georgetown University. But there have been remarkably few studies of females. The bias runs throughout the scientific literature, even in studies of mice.

“Male mice have been used historically in research and not really been compared to female mice,” he says.

That’s changing now. The National Institutes of Health recently began to require scientists to include female animals.

Burns’ lab has begun using both sexes in research on head injuries. And they’re finding some differences. This summer, Burns published a study in the journal Glia that looked at mice with severe brain injuries. He says the brains of male mice showed a massive immune response within a day, but the female response was much slower — up to seven days.

Given traditional roles, unlike men there was probably little evolutionary advantage for women to rapidly heal from concussions.

ANGELO CODEVILLA: Restoring The Republic Means Reimposing “Regular Order.”

The Republican congressional leadership’s failure to repeal Obamacare has led to suggestions that, perhaps, they should have approached their task through “regular order.” Since Congress has not operated under “regular order” at all since 2006, and with decreasing frequency in the decades before that, younger readers, especially, may be excused for not knowing what these procedures are. Far from being arcane ephemera, they are the indispensable catalyst that makes American government responsible to the people. Casting aside “regular order” was essential to the rise of the unaccountable administrative state and the near-sovereignty of party leaders, lobbyists, and bureaucrats.

Indeed.

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BYRON YORK: If Trump’s in trouble, why are Republicans trouncing Democrats in fundraising?

The numbers are striking. In June, the RNC raised $13.5 million to the DNC’s $5.5 million.

For 2017 so far, the RNC has raised $75.4 million to the DNC’s $38.2 million.

The RNC started the year with $25.3 million in cash-on-hand. Now it has $44.7 million. The DNC started the year with $10.5 in cash-on-hand. Now, that has fallen to $7.5 million.

As of June 30, the RNC reported $0 in debt. The DNC reported $3.3 million in debt.

A look inside the numbers is even worse for the DNC. Looking at collections from small donors — that is, those who contributed less than $200 — the RNC raised $10.5 million in the months of May and June. The DNC raised $5.3 million from small donors in the same time period.

The RNC’s money total is a record — more than was raised in any previous non-presidential election year. That is true for June, and for all of 2017 as well. The $75.4 million raised this year compares to $55.4 million for the same period in 2015; to $51.2 for the same period in 2014; to $41.1 million for the same period in 2013, and so on going back.

“It’s definitely a reflection of support for President Trump,” said RNC spokesman Ryan Mahoney. “Our small-dollar donors are giving at a record pace because they believe the RNC is supporting President Trump, and they like that.”

Well, and the Dems have a lot of bad blood over the way Hillary rigged the primaries.

DONALD TRUMP’S PLAN to save Western Civilization.

SCARAMUCCI’S SUNDAY TOUR, PELOSI’S REBRANDING, AND KUSHNER’S GOING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: All that and more in Liz Sheld’s morning brief.

REPORT: De Blasio Ordered Police to Clear Homeless Out of Subways Before His Ride.

New York Mayor Bill De Blasio reportedly ordered the police to clear out homeless people from two subway stations ahead of his four-stop press event on Sunday so that the stations “looked nice.”

Law enforcement sources told the New York Post that the police had until 11 A.M. on Sunday to eject those who were “hanging out” at the Fourth Avenue/Ninth Street and Jay Street/MetroTech F train stations.

Another source put it this way: de Blasio’s office let the police know ahead of time about his schedule “with the expectation that the subway stations would be free and clear of homeless people.”

#Caring.

RISE OF THE MACHINES: Professionals and Managers: You’re Next. Automation may replace skilled workers sooner than you expect. “Here’s the dirty little secret about automation: it’s easier to build a robot to replace a junior attorney than to replace a journeyman electrician.”

Prediction: With members of the professional classes at risk, automation will suddenly become much more problematic. You know, kind of like how gerrymandering went from “amusing political shenanigans” to “threat to the Republic” when it stopped helping Democrats and started helping Republicans instead.

LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM: Violinist symbolic of Venezuela protest bloodied.

A young violinist who became a symbol of anti-government protest in Venezuela has apparently been injured at a demonstration.

Images broadcast on local television show emergency response workers tending to Wuilly Arteaga as he bleeds from his nose. His shirt and baseball cap with the colors of the Venezuelan flag are also stained with blood.

Arteaga posted a brief video of himself Saturday on Twitter with a swollen lip and bandaged face, vowing to be back on the streets tomorrow.

It was not immediately clear what happened to him.

Arteaga has been a fixture at demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro, playing the national anthem on his violin as authorities launch tear gas in his direction.

Maduro’s opposition is calling for a two-day general strike to protest his July 30 vote to “elect a new national assembly and rewrite the constitution” in order to bypass the existing, opposition-held assembly. Because socialism will work this time, if they just put the right people in charge.

TEACH THE CHILDREN WELL: Wisconsin Lawmakers Introduce Firearm Education Curriculum Bill for Schools.

CHANGE IS COMING: Freedom of movement in Europe will end. But will it be orderly or chaotic? Merkel wrecked things. The longer Europe waits to start repairs, the worse it will be.

THE WHEELS TURN SLOWLY: Third suspect in Dan Markel murder to face jury in 2018.

THAT ALL THE PANTY-TWISTING HYSTERIA WAS JUST PANTY-TWISTING HYSTERIA: Campus carry: No problems so far at UT-Austin. What does that prove?

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Forget Russia. I’d fire Jeff Sessions over civil forfeiture.

THE “DEEP STATE” ISN’T THE “ESPECIALLY BRIGHT STATE,” AS THIS LATEST DEVELOPMENT PROVES:

People who want to undermine Trump should try looking more sober and responsible than he is. So far, they’ve done the opposite.

July 23, 2017

A NICE FOOD BLOG: For Love Of The Table.

SAVE A TRIP TO THE STORE: Bounty Paper Towels, Prints, Big Roll, 6 Count.

WORST MOM IN THE WORLD DOUBLES DOWN: Jody Allard: Why I write about my kids.

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DIESEL DEBACLE UPDATE: Automakers agree to clean up diesels to avoid ban in German cities.

KA-BOOM: New Poll Has Kid Rock Up By 4 Over Debbie Stabenow.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, I-TOLD-YOU-SO EDITION: In Reversal, Colleges Rein In Tuition: Prices of higher education are rising in line with inflation as enrollment stagnates.

U.S. college tuition is growing at the slowest pace in decades, following a nearly 400% rise over the past three decades that fueled middle class anxieties and a surge in student debt.

Tuition at college and graduate school—after scholarships and grants are factored in—rose 1.9% in the year through June, broadly in line with overall inflation, Labor Department figures show. By contrast from 1990 through last year, tuition grew an average 6% a year, more than double the rate of inflation. In that time, the average annual cost for a four-year private college, including living expenses, rose 161% to about $27,500, according to the College Board.

Some schools are offering more discounts and cutting prices.

Abundant supply is running up against demand constraints. The number of two-year and four-year colleges increased 33% between 1990 and 2012 to 4,726, Education Department data show. But college enrollment is down more than 4% from a peak in 2010, partly because a healthy job market means fewer people are going back to school to learn new skills.

Also because the craziness on campus has damaged higher ed’s brand. If only someone had warned them.

IN LIGHT OF THE FLORIDA DROWNING STORY, THIS BY DAVID HYMAN: Rescue Without Law: An Empirical Perspective on the Duty to Rescue.

PUSHBACK: Dear sanctuary cities: ICE is “open for business.” If I lived in a “sanctuary city,” I’d buy an ICE cap and wear it around just to spread consternation. . . .

ELIZABETH NOLAN BROWN SPEAKS TRUTH TO POWER: “You can’t rape a robot you grievance-mongering whackos.”

Flashback: Sexbots: Why Women Should Panic.

WHY ARE DEMOCRAT-MONOPOLY INSTITUTIONS SUCH CESSPITS OF PURITANICAL COMSTOCKERY? Cosmopolitan on “16 Nonsexual Things That Are 100 Times Hotter Than Sex:”

When it comes to sex, the internet has pretty much all the porn any woman could ever ask for. But if you’re like me, you may be looking for something to get your rocks off in a totally nonsexual way. Thus, I have created a comprehensive list of things that are probably way likelier to give you an orgasm than sex.

  1. Rachel Maddow telling me everything is going to be OK. I need a Rhodes scholar in a blazer to calm me down from the world’s insanity, and Rachel’s just the intersectional feminist to fit the bill.

I’m so old, I can remember when Cosmo was still actually pro-sex.

Found via Alex Griswold of the Washington Free Beacon, who tweets, “My favorite song from Sweeney Todd is the one where he realizes we all deserve a violent death.”

Earlier: Cosmo on “Why Guys Get Turned on When You Orgasm — and Why That’s a Bad Thing.” As Steve noted in March, “It’s official now — there’s nothing that a determined Third Wave feminist can’t ruin.”

IN “SEE NO EVIL?”, ORIGINAL CITY JOURNAL EDITOR MYRON MAGNET WRITES:

I went into the Thalia theater with those rosy hopes as unquestioned bedrock assumptions. I came out with such certitude shattered. If so advanced a society as Germany’s—with so glorious a past in music and philosophy, such mighty achievements in science and industry—could do this in modern times, all talk of moral progress was just wind.

* * * * * * * *

But who can deny that there are some truths that history has taught—the Copybook Headings, Rudyard Kipling calls them—that we ignore at our peril? Has not history’s recurring tale been, as Kipling cautions, that “a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome?” So beware of UN-style promises of perpetual peace through disarmament, which you’ll find will have “sold us and delivered us bound to our foe.” Beware of a sexual freedom that will end when “our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith.” Don’t believe that you can achieve “abundance for all,/ By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul,” because the eternal truth is, “If you don’t work you die.” And the truth that history teaches is that when

the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Man is a believing animal. We live by some of those beliefs, made plausible by the labors of the good and the great to embody them, and of the wise to explain how they have created a freer, more prosperous, more just, and more fulfilling life for mankind. But other beliefs, the stock-in-trade of the world’s deluded or power-hungry demagogues and charlatans, will kill us. Our nation’s fate depends on relearning the difference.

Read the whole thing.

IGNORING THE REAL PROBLEM, FOCUSING ON DISTRACTIONS: Mail-delivery of knives to be banned under proposed UK knife law.

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HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: ABA Censures Texas Southern Law School Following Gender Discrimination Complaint By Associate Dean.

Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law was publicly censured and must pay $15,000 for not complying with an American Bar Association standard that prohibits schools from discriminating against faculty members. . . .

James Douglas, interim dean of Thurgood Marshall Law, denied that there is sex discrimination or sexual harassment happening at the school.

“There were people who said, ‘I think that there is sexual discrimination in the law school.’ But no one has been able to find that to be a fact. The allegation and what the ABA is critical of is that that is what some of the females believe, and because some of the females believe it, we have an obligation to deal with it,” Douglas said. “They did not find that there was any truthfulness to the allegation, just the fact that the allegations existed and we didn’t respond in a manner they though the law school should have responded.”

Sorry, fella. Once there’s a complaint of sex discrimination, you’re presumed guilty.

CULTURE DIFFERENCES ON PUTTING UP WITH THE UNSATISFACTORY:

European journalist Jessica Furseth published a smart and thoughtful piece on Curbed describing the cultural differences uncovered when she and her American partner moved into a London apartment together and found their attitudes toward domestic appliances were worlds apart.

“He went through a rite of passage that every U.S. expat must endure: an encounter with the typical British combo washer-dryer,” Furseth writes. “It appears to be a stroke of genius until you realize that the dryer part doesn’t really work—and everyone who lives here knows this.”

This last sentence encapsulates what is, to me, a fundamental difference in the British and American psyches. The frustration an American feels upon removing a poorly washed, barely-dried load from his or her UK appliance isn’t really about the laundry at all. It’s about the tension between how each culture sees the world.

Indeed.

THERE ARE LOTS OF REASONS TO AVOID THEM, IN MY OPINION: Artificial Sweeteners May Cause Weight Gain.

FLASHBACK: What if the moon landings had continued past Apollo 17? Space stations and moon bases in the 1970s and people on Mars in the 1980s. We wasted many times what that would have cost on social programs of dubious provenance and still more dubious benefits, as it turned out.

Related (From Ed): “The decision to end hardware production was made by Congress in 1967,” Rand Simberg tweeted on Thursday, adding that John M. Logsdon “recently wrote definitive history,” with his 2015 book, After Apollo? Richard Nixon and the American Space Program. “Nixon canceled 18 & 19 (latter was to free up a Saturn for Skylab), but they feared crew loss was inevitable if they continued long past 13,” Rand noted in a follow-up tweet.

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