July 17, 2018

SETTING A BLOODY CENTURY IN MOTION: One hundred years ago, the Bolsheviks’ slaughter of the Romanovs prefigured seven decades of Communist tyranny.

Read the whole thing.

SEA STORY: USS Harry S. Truman Now Operating in Cold War Era Submarine Hot Spot.

A mere three months after deploying from Naval Station Norfolk, Va., a portion of the carrier strike group is now operating in the area of operations of U.S. Fleet Forces Command – which will soon be the territory of the reestablished U.S. 2nd Fleet – closer to Canada than to Europe. The region is where the Atlantic Ocean is its most deep and used to be a Cold War stalking ground for U.S. attack boats on the hunt for Soviet submarines.

U.S. Fleet Forces Command did not directly answer USNI News questions regarding Truman‘s activities so far west in the Atlantic, but the command did issue a statement late Monday.

“The National Defense Strategy directs us to be operationally unpredictable while remaining strategically predictable. As such, select units from the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) will return to Norfolk, Virginia, this week – a direct reflection of the dynamic force employment concept, and the inherent maneuverability and flexibility of the U.S. Navy,” commander of Fleet Forces Command Adm. Christopher Grady said in a statement.

The Navy had its size cut in less than half since 1989, in part on the dangerous assumption that no one would contest the Atlantic again.

CHANGE: U.K. Introduces New Fighter Jet: The Tempest.

OUCH: New Poll Suggests Dems Turn Against Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders for 2020. “73 percent want ‘a fresh face’.”

TYLER O’NEIL: Trump Attacked NATO Allies, Fist-Bumped Turkey’s Authoritarian Leader Erdoğan. “Leader of the free world says of authoritarian, ‘He does things the right way’.”

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TAMARA KEEL: What They Think Of You.

The thing is, the Senate Majority Project has received a couple million from Bloomberg, as well as at least $10M from Newsweb Corp, which is Chicago billionaire Fred Eychaner’s company.

So an ad complaining about out-of-state billionaires buying ads was paid for by out-of-state billionaires.

But they think you’re too dumb to know that. You know how I know this? Well, this ad was no doubt produced by some LA or NYC agency, and look at who they think will convince those on-the-fence blue collar union worker* Hoosiers who voted for both Obama and Trump, Lugar and Donnelly. They assembled this People of Walmart cast of Totally Not Actors to convince us confused hilljacks of flyover country that people just like us were standing up for Indiana Joe.

There’s a tiny chance I’d vote for Braun, because the dude’s SoCon mouth noises he made for the primary seemed about as convincing as the visual effects in the original Star Trek series, but I’m insulted enough by this ad to guarantee it’ll be a cold day in hell before I vote for Joe Donnelly.

Ouch.

PERHAPS HE CAN FIND NEW WAYS TO MOTIVATE THEM: Kim Jong Un ‘extremely enraged,’ berates North Korean officials for unfinished projects.

Flashback: Kim Jong-Il Looking at Things.

SOCIALIST “IT GIRL” PAYING UNEXPECTED DIVIDENDS: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the best thing to happen to the GOP all year.

Related: “Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs.”

SHOCKING NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SCIENCE: Pitt Study Finds “Beer Goggles” Are Real.

WHAT THE HELL? Day care worker who tried to kill toddler by hanging him avoids prison as judge cites ‘perfect storm’ of events.

Nataliia Karia avoided prison time despite pleading guilty to attempted murder, third-degree assault and criminal vehicular operation for hitting a pedestrian, a bicyclist and another driver as she fled from her home in November of 2016.

A father was dropping off his son at Karia’s home when he found a toddler hanging from a noose in the basement. He released the child, and the 16-month-old boy survived.

Karia fled in her vehicle, striking a bicyclist and dragging another motorist 10 blocks after striking his car, according to the Star Tribune. The bicyclist needed a rod inserted in his leg to avoid amputation, according to the newspaper.

She would also hit a vehicle driven by a pregnant woman. Karia threatened to jump off an overpass before she was taken into custody.

Hennepin County District Judge Jay Quam sentenced her to 10-years probation on Monday after agreeing with doctors that she was a “low risk” to commit more crimes. Judge Quam said her actions were “the perfect storm of factors unlikely to ever be repeated,” according to the Star Tribune.

What’s the risk of her hanging any more toddlers from prison?

RELIEF: Oil Prices Plunge as Saudi Arabia Prepares Record Output.

IN THE MAIL: From S.M. Stirling, Black Chamber (A Novel of an Alternate World War).

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ROGER SIMON: Putin Summit May Prove to Be Trump’s Finest Hour.

Read the whole thing.

BAKE THE CAKE, HATER: Uber Driver Boots Group of NC Young Republicans From Vehicle, Dumps Them at Gas Station. “Welcome to the resistance.”

EVERGREEN HEADLINE: Rand Paul: “Trump Derangement Syndrome” Has Gone Over The Top And People Have Lost The Big Picture. Yep. People can’t just make a legit criticism and stop. They have to “bury it in crazy” talking about Trump being a Russian agent and assorted other BS. You saw some of this crazy on the right under Obama, but it got a lot less media support and amplification for obvious reasons.

UPDATE: Also evergreen:

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WAS IT OVER WHEN THE GERMANS HACKED OUR WEB SERVERS ON PEARL HARBOR? Politico: Russian election meddling in 2016 is ‘our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11.’

“We’re old enough to still consider 9/11 our 9/11,” Twitchy responds. And as Twitter user Jason Beale wrote yesterday, “all they have to do is not be insane. This Pearl Harbor, 9/11, ‘attack’ and ‘war’ stuff is nuts — Trump opened himself up to legit criticism today, and they can’t help but to bury it in crazy.”

HEALTH: Weight loss surgery may affect the risk of cancer.

This national population-based cohort study used data from the Hospital Episode Statistics database in England collected between 1997 and 2012. A total of 8794 obese patients who underwent gastric bypass, gastric banding, or sleeve gastrectomy were matched with 8794 obese individuals who did not have surgery.

Patients who underwent surgery had a 77% decreased risk of developing hormone-related cancer (breast, endometrial or prostate cancer) when compared with patients who did not have surgery.

Gastric bypass resulted in the largest risk reduction (84%) for hormone-related cancer but was associated with a greater than twofold increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Hmm.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Public school enrollment is plummeting in North Carolina because of school choice.

If you want to see how parents act when the government stops forcing an educational monopoly on them, look to North Carolina.

Nearly 20 percent of students are attending something other than a traditional public school, where attendance is falling “rapidly,” according to The News & Observer.

The rush toward charter, private and even home schools is largely due to the Republican takeover of the Legislature in 2010.

Lawmakers have since removed the 100-school cap on charter schools (it’s up to 185 as of this fall), created a $4,200 voucher for low-income families and two programs for special-needs kids to get out of public schools (where they are often treated poorly), and even made it easier for non-parent adults to teach homeschoolers.

Charter schools have grown by twice as many students as public schools have lost since the 2014-15 school year, The News & Observer reports.

All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

GREAT NAME: U.K. Introduces New Fighter Jet: The Tempest.

The British government says the fighter should be ready for service by 2035.

U.K. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson introduced a full-sized model of the new Tempest multi-role fighter today at the Farnborough Air Show. The Tempest incorporates a host of new technologies that would surpass what’s in the F-35, meaning the British plane would join the growing group of “sixth-generation” fighters now on the drawing board.

One of Tempest’s most important technologies is optional manning, meaning it will be able to fly with a human pilot or without one. Tempest also would be able to direct a group swarming drones, complicating the enemy’s defense and enhancing the plane’s survivability.

It’s been a long time since the storied British aircraft industry produced a world-leading plane, but they’re certainly aiming high with this one.

YOUR 21ST CENTURY DYSTOPIAN HEADLINE OF THE DAY: A College Apparently Tried To Reject A Student Because Of China’s “Social Credit System.” But here’s the bright spot: “People in China are criticizing the college, saying that it was unfairly punishing a high school student over his father’s actions.”

IT’S COME TO THIS: Prof claims Trump ‘making microaggressions worse’ on campus.

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CHRIS DAVIS IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST: The True Power Of Trump’s Tweets: This is how the president’s tweets will go down in history. “A statement by the president, on Twitter or otherwise, must carry with it the authority and legitimacy of the Office of the President.” This is certainly timely.

DARPA AND AMERICA’S ELECTRONICS RESURGENCE INITIATIVE: Well worth reading.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: The Red Scare Heats Up and Much, Much More. “Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, also countered Trump: ‘The role of the Intelligence Community is to provide the best information and fact-based assessments possible for the President and policymakers,’ Coats said in a statement. ‘We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security’.”

OUR GOVERNMENT IS IN THE BEST OF HANDS: Plutonium Stolen From the Parking Lot of the Marriott San Antonio Northwest

They left the materials in the back seat of their rented Ford Expedition and went to bed. The plutonium and cesium were stolen out of the Marriott parking lot…. The group that lost the nuclear material is the Off-Site Radioactive Source Recovery Program which is based at New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory — is the team charged with recovering plutonium and enriched uranium that has been loaned out by the military. Let that sink in for a moment.

 

AN A-10 DRESSED FOR LATVIA: A Michigan Air National Guard A-10 lands at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia.

RICHARD EPSTEIN: Progressives Come After Brett Kavanagh. In a rather self-serving approach, one law professor yesterday seemed to be arguing on Twitter that after Trump’s Helsinki press conference, true conservatives should withdraw their support for Kavanagh. As a matter of high principle, this is kinda . . . convenient.

SUBTEXT: Ukrainian troops keep Russia on their minds as they train with US Marines.

Exercise Sea Breeze, which launched July 9 and brings together 19 nations, is a lot like many other annual drills at the operational level, and it brought with it the standard messages from U.S. officials about European partnership and cooperation.

But in this case, Ukrainians are going to use what they learn to fight separatists backed by Russia, which took the Crimean Peninsula from them in 2014 and whose leader, Vladimir Putin, is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump on Monday in Helsinki.

Diplomacy is the art of saying “Nice doggie” until you can find a rock.

PAUL BEDARD: Pollsters: Trump knows ‘how to win,’ would beat 2020 liberal ‘decisively.’

Democratic pollster John Zogby doesn’t care much for many of President Trump’s policies and thinks the man is rude, but he’s also coming to the conclusion that the Republican has something very big going for him.

“Some people just know how to win,” said Zogby, who didn’t think Trump would make it out of the Republican primaries in 2016.

After two years of polling on Trump, Zogby said that the president is emerging as an unusual non-politician who has confounded his critics and even his own party leaders by succeeding on an aggressive agenda that has pleased his supporters.

He compares Trump to three former presidents, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, who entered office to shock from the ruling elite. “With all three there was sense by the elites that this was the end of the world,” said Zogby.

But like them, Trump has connected with many in the country by battling the ruling powers. In his latest John Zogby Strategies poll, 54 percent view Trump as one “who is fighting the Washington, D.C. establishment,” compared to 26 percent who view him as an insider. He revealed the results in his Forbes Magazine column.

It is part of what Trump campaign pollster John McLaughlin called the president’s profile as the “blue collar billionaire,” a leader standing up to Washington, and last week NATO, for taxpayers and workers.

“If you are a working class person, it feels to you that he is fighting for you,” McLaughlin said. “He’s their president.”

New polling from Zogby’s son Jonathan, who conducts the trademarked Zogby Poll, revealed that feeling is true even among some Hispanics and African Americans. His polling shows that a sizable portion of minorities feel positive about their lives and future finances under Trump, something that his father John Zogby said could “lessen the fervor to say, ‘We’re going to Hell, I’ve got to get this guy out of there.’ ”

While Trump’s critics suggest that there has never been such a threatening president, Zogby said that the same charges were filed against Jackson, Lincoln and Roosevelt, and they won reelection. “They don’t remember that we’ve been here before. There is precedent,” he said.

Well, don’t get cocky, kids.

I THOUGHT THE (SOCIAL) SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: How Social Science Might Be Misunderstanding Conservatives

CHANGE: Federal Appeals Court Finds FHFA Unconstitutional as Separation of Powers Violation. Full opinion is here.

ALLIES: Congress Wants Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights.

The House’s National Security Subcommittee, led by chairman Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) will hold a hearing Tuesday to examine how recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the territory could bolster U.S. national security efforts to stem the flow of terrorists in the Jewish state and elsewhere in the region by giving the Jewish state unilateral control over the Syrian territory, where Iranian-backed fighters and other jihadists have been spotted since the start of a bloody civil war.

The push to have the Trump administration formally recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territory comes following a Monday afternoon press conference between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladamir Putin, where the two leaders discussed efforts to decrease tension in Syria.

When DeSantis and other Republicans pushed a congressional resolution recognizing Israeli control over the Golan Heights in May, it was nixed by GOP leadership who were seeking to prevent such a vote on the heels of the Trump administration’s successful effort to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The resolution had won support from Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and others.

The Heights have been in Israeli possession since 1967 and Syria hasn’t seriously contested that since 1973.

WHITE MAN’S BURDEN: How Venezuela Became China’s Money Pit. “Beijing is reportedly throwing good money after bad to the Latin American producer, but it has its reasons.”

The CSIS tallies $55 billion in energy-related loans alone that it has extended. Unable to come up with hard currency to service them, Venezuela has been paying in discounted barrels of oil but struggled even to do that after prices collapsed in 2014. China offered a “grace period” on some loans.

At one point when prices were higher and its oil industry less decrepit, Venezuela was sending China 600,000 barrels a day, according to Russ Dallen, the chief executive of Caracas Capital Markets, who has done extensive work untangling Venezuela’s opaque finances. He estimated that has brought the balance down to about $20 to $23 billion, plus another $3 billion to $4 billion owed to Russian oil company Rosneft.

The cash drain from these enormous debts may have exacerbated the decline in output, and there is scant chance that China’s latest infusion will do much to arrest the fall. Hence the market’s shrug at the news. But why does cash keep flowing in?

Part of it is the potential equity value of that bad debt.

They’ll pick the bones of Venezuela’s corpse, then expect us to take care of the humanitarian cleanup.

MY COLLEAGUE JOAN HEMINWAY POSTS A REMEMBRANCE OF OUR LATE COLLEAGUE JONATHAN ROHR.

UNEXPECTEDLY: The $15 Minimum Wage Is Wreaking Havoc On New York City Dining.

This minimum wage spike has forced several New York City businesses to shutter their doors and will claim many more victims soon. Businesses must meet the $15 wage by the end of 2018, the culmination of mandatory increment increases that began in 2016. Restaurants where staff earn tips are subject to a $5 per hour tip credit, but must pay $10 per hour. That is nearly double the 2014 minimum wage of $8 with a $3 tip credit.

For many businesses, this egregious law is not just an inconvenience, it is simply unaffordable. The most recent victim is long-time staple, The Coffee Shop, a tremendously popular Union Square bar and café favored by many celebrities.

In explaining his decision to close following 28 years of high-volume business, owner Charles Milite told the New York Post, “The times have changed in our industry. The rents are very high and now the minimum wage is going up and we have a huge number of employees.”

If only there were some kind of predictable relationship between price and demand which politicians could look to before passing laws like this one.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

● Shot: Trump embraces deep state conspiracy theory.

—Headline, CNN.com, November 29, 2017.

● Chaser: CNN’s Philip Mudd Calls for ‘Shadow Government’ to Rise Up, Oppose Trump.

NewsBusters, yesterday.

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BLAME THE MESSENGER: A large, longitudinal, randomized, controlled study recently found that Tennessee’s pre-kindergarten program for low-income children had modestly NEGATIVE effects on academic achievement once the children were in the third grade. The program participants also had more disciplinary problems than non-participants, most of whom had stayed at home that year rather than participating in some other program. This is, of course, disappointing, especially since the study had found positive effects when measured at the end of the pre-kindergarten year. But those effects faded over time and turned negative.

There are several different, plausible explanations for these results. I will leave it to you to read the study or its summary for that. Instead, I want to draw your attention to yet another case of bullying researchers who get politically incorrect results. Authors Dale Farran and Mark Lipsey commented on the vitriol to which they have been subjected:

[Our] findings were not welcome.  So much so that it has been difficult to get the results published.  Our first attempt was reviewed by pre-k advocates who had disparaged our findings when they first came out in a working paper – we know that because their reviews repeated word-for-word criticisms made in their prior blogs and commentary.  We are grateful for an open-minded editor who allowed our recent paper summarizing the results of this study to be published (after, we should note, a very thorough peer review and 17 single-spaced pages of responses to questions raised by reviewers).  We are also appreciative of the objective assessment and attention to detail represented in the Straight Talk review.

It is, of course, understandable that people are skeptical of results that do not confirm the prevailing wisdom, but the vitriol with which our work has been greeted is beyond mere scientific concern.  Social science research can only be helpful to policy makers if it presents findings openly and objectively, even when unwelcome.

We share with our colleagues a commitment to the goal of providing a better life for poor children.  Blind commitment to one avenue for attaining that goal, however, is unnecessarily limiting.  If pre-k is not working as hoped and intended, we need to roll up our sleeves and figure out what will work, with solid research to guide that effort.

Here’s a question worth knowing the answer to: How much of the vitriol was coming from individuals with a financial stake in the continuation of government-subsidized pre-kindergarten programs for low-income children?  As always, the more that gets spent on any government program, the harder it is to turn the spigot off.

By the way, as one might guess, there is similar vitriol aimed at researchers—like UCLA’s Richard Sander—who question the effectiveness of race-preferential admissions at increasing the number of minority professionals.  Some of it comes from people whose jobs depend on maintaining the status quo.

THIS MIGHT BE ONE OF THOSE SIGNS OF THE APOCALYPSE.  OR AT LEAST THE ADUCKALYPSE:  A Charlemagne what?!?

I THINK MANY HAVE HAD SIMILAR EXPERIENCES WITH SCIENCE FICTION, PARTICULARLY MAGAZINES:  Fizzle….

THEY CAN’T HELP THEMSELVES: Bobcat Goldthwait Swings, Misses with Trump Attack.

WHEN ART BECOMES A LONG CON, SOMEONE WILL PLAY IT:  Jeff Koons and the Establishment Art World’s Condescending Cult.

DUH:  Why the ‘Resistance’ in the State Department is a Gift to Trump.

ROLL LEFT AND DIE:  A New Low In Corporate Virtue-Signaling.

SHE USUALLY IS:  Go home, Hillary. You’re drunk.

THIS IS MY SHOCKED FACE:  Ocasio-Cortez Repeats Anti-Israel Script, Knows Nothing.

OF COURSE THEY ARE! THE NYT IS THE VOICE OF THE LEFT AND THE LEFT PROJECTS MORE THAN AN IMAX:  The NY Times is homophobic.

IT’S NOT LIKE TRUMP GAVE PUTIN 20% OF OUR URANIUM… OR SAID HE’D HAVE MORE FLEXIBILITY LATER, SPEAKING OF PUPPETS:  Trump and Putin and the fear-mongering MSM.

July 16, 2018

HUH – HOW DID HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF “BAD LUCK” START TO END? Ocasio-Cortez Credits Prosperity Under Capitalism to ‘Course of Human Evolution.’

She granted that capitalism was temporarily the “most efficient and best” system, but that it must change “as we evolve.”

“We’re starting to see that the people who create value in society are not experiencing any portion of the value that they are creating. So I do think that, absolutely, capitalism was the most efficient and best economy, perhaps, for the time that it was at, perhaps. But as we evolve, as automation begins to take out extremely large industries, we have to say that we aren’t going to throw those people away,” she said.

On whether democratic socialism calls for an end to capitalism, the candidate expressed openness to the idea.

“Ultimately we are marching towards progress on this issue. I do think that we are going to see an evolution in our economic system of an unprecedented degree. And it’s hard to say what direction that that takes,” she said.

Hoover pressed on whether she though capitalism would be the dominant system in the future, and Ocasio-Cortez said, “it’s absolutely a question.”

Jonah Goldberg didn’t intend for the title of his new book, Suicide of the West, to be misunderstood as a how-to guide.

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OPEN THREAD: Bring Monday to a rousing close.

“TURNING?” Forget those other countries. It’s San Francisco that’s turning into a s***hole.

Related: Life after the Bay Area: Fleeing residents feel heartbreak, joy.

GOP donors really need to get going on Glenn’s “welcome wagon” idea.

HMM: U.S. Army to introduce new physical fitness test. “The new test, announced this week, changes the name from the Army Physical Fitness Test to the Army Combat Fitness Test and is planned to become gender and age neutral. It will include a series of physical events, while the APFT was a series of pushups, situps and a 2-mile run. The new standards call for deadlift tests, throwing ten-pound balls for distance backwards, and hand-relaese pushups that require hands to be taken off the ground for greater muscle tension. It also includes sled drags to simulate casualties, sprints with 40-pound kettle bells, hanging from a pull-up bar with legs up and the standard 2-mile run.” The “gender neutral” bit worries me, but this doesn’t sound bad.

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WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Democrats Dump Moderates, Move Far Left.

I NOTICE A LOT OF FOLKS IN THE PRESS HAVE TROUBLE REMEMBERING EVENTS FROM 2009-2016: CDC: 1 in 9 U.S. adults over 45 reports memory problems.

HMM: Nunes: Mueller indictment tracks House Intel report.

JACK WELCH SUCCESSOR DESTROYED GE HE INHERITED:

Within Welch’s GE, there was an accepted belief that GE Capital, the company’s highly successful financial arm, should never exceed 40 percent of GE’s profits or revenues. This was thought to be a delicate balance, the ideal level to enhance the industrial businesses and to retain the company’s once pristine Triple-A credit rating. Undaunted, Immelt grew it to 55 percent of the company’s portfolio, just at the onset of the Great Recession, ignoring this long-held belief. It didn’t work all that well.

[Jeff] Immelt was more of an outside CEO, eager to play public statesman in Washington, advising President Barack Obama, giving speeches and collecting awards, and not enough like Jack Welch, who was a roll-up-your-sleeves CEO who reveled in operational details, asked the hard questions, cultivated deep engagement with his leadership team, and never suffered fools gladly.

Get woke, go broke.

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SO AFTER OBAMA WON IN 2012, WE WERE TOLD THAT THE DEMOCRATS’ MASTERY OF DATA AND SOCIAL MEDIA LEFT THE REPUBLICANS IN AN IMPOSSIBLY DEEP HOLE. But now: “Tech for Campaigns has focused on a particularly challenging assignment: dragging Democratic campaigns into the digital age, before it is too late.”

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K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: First space, then auto—now Elon Musk quietly tinkers with education.

In a corner of SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, a small, secretive group called Ad Astra is hard at work. These are not the company’s usual rocket scientists. At the direction of Elon Musk, they are tackling ambitious projects involving flamethrowers, robots, nuclear politics, and defeating evil AIs.

Those at Ad Astra still find time for a quick game of dodgeball at lunch, however, because the average age within this group is just 10 years old.

Ad Astra encompasses students, not employees. For the past four years, this experimental non-profit school has been quietly educating Musk’s sons, the children of select SpaceX employees, and a few high-achievers from nearby Los Angeles. It started back in 2014, when Musk pulled his five young sons out of one of Los Angeles’ most prestigious private schools for gifted children. Hiring one of his sons’ teachers, the CEO founded Ad Astra to “exceed traditional school metrics on all relevant subject matter through unique project-based learning experiences,” according to a previously unreported document filed with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“I just didn’t see that the regular schools were doing the things that I thought should be done,” he told a Chinese TV station in 2015. “So I thought, well let’s see what we can do. Maybe creating a school will be better.”

Hmm.

NO ONE HAS EVER ACCUSED SPENGLER OF NOT BEING A CONTRARIAN BEFORE: Once Again, President Trump is Magnificently Right — This Time About Russia.

ARE THESE THE 5 BEST NATURAL ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD: Ok, believers and skeptics, go for it on HillFaith! (But be nice to each other, please). And if you have one or more better arguments, please provide links. Ditto if you think you know five for the negative proposition.

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THIS IS FROM A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, BUT IT’S CIRCULATING AGAIN ON FACEBOOK FOR SOME REASON AND IT’S WORTH REPEATING: Enforcing The Law Is Inherently Violent.

Law professors and lawyers instinctively shy away from considering the problem of law’s violence. Every law is violent. We try not to think about this, but we should. On the first day of law school, I tell my Contracts students never to argue for invoking the power of law except in a cause for which they are willing to kill. They are suitably astonished, and often annoyed. But I point out that even a breach of contract requires a judicial remedy; and if the breacher will not pay damages, the sheriff will sequester his house and goods; and if he resists the forced sale of his property, the sheriff might have to shoot him.

This is by no means an argument against having laws.

It is an argument for a degree of humility as we choose which of the many things we may not like to make illegal. Behind every exercise of law stands the sheriff – or the SWAT team – or if necessary the National Guard. Is this an exaggeration? Ask the family of Eric Garner, who died as a result of a decision to crack down on the sale of untaxed cigarettes. That’s the crime for which he was being arrested. Yes, yes, the police were the proximate cause of his death, but the crackdown was a political decree.

Law is force. If you don’t like people being subjected to government force, you should desire a minimum of law.

HATE YOUNG PEOPLE? TRY A MINIMUM WAGE: More evidence of the harm minimum wages are doing to young people trying to gain job skills, this time from Minnesota:

Following the minimum wage increases limited service restaurant employment fell by 4% in Minnesota relative to Wisconsin. Further, youth employment fell by 9% in Minnesota following the minimum wage increases, while it increased by 10.6% in Wisconsin over the same time period.

Oh, and restaurant food prices started increasing after they’d been falling for years.

CARL KOZLOWSKI: Meet the Other Side of Movie Star Dennis Quaid. “The veteran actor finds his inner rock star and shares why you won’t hear him getting political anytime soon.”

MAKING A DOG’S BREAKFAST OF BREXIT: Last week, Teresa May’s government released a paper explaining how it would approach negotiations over Brexit with the European Union. The strategy appears to be to give away the shop. My reaction is here, and those with an eye for the detail can read Brexit expert Lee Rotherham’s in-depth discussion here. As I note, the negotiating stance will likely make a UK-US free trade deal impossible, but that’s not even the silliest thing in the paper. As Lee notes,

For some reason, the Conservative Government is endorsing the Social Chapter [on labor and employment rules] as a core part of future economic policy, and a baseline of its negotiating strategy. This is beyond not wise.

Indeed.

The good news is that the howl of betrayed Brexit voters over the weekend appears to have been heard, and May has backed down on some key parts of the strategy that are up for a vote in Parliament this week.

For any other Prime Minister, this would probably be fatal. Teresa May, however, appears to have no intention of resigning.

NARRATOR: IT’S A CHRISTMAS MOVIE. Bruce Willis officially declares that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: “I asked a question so he would look at me.”

WELL, I DON’T THINK I EVER POSTED A VIDEO WHERE PEOPLE DIDN’T MAKE FUN OF MY HAIR: Women Making Science Videos on YouTube Face Hostile Comments.

Two points: (1) Never read the comments; (2) They were just jealous bald guys.

But the headline exaggerates the downsides: “There were some positives for women as well. Female on-camera hosts elicited more comments, likes and subscribers per view than the other categories. They even received a slightly higher percentage of positive comments compared to male hosts.”

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Worldwide Elites Still Don’t Understand Why They Keep Losing. “Yet so far the liberal world order has made no serious intellectual effort to understand the Wave, leaving the task to late-night comedians. They have preferred to depict it as the product of subhuman, bigoted minds whose feeble arguments can be contemptuously dismissed by symbolically floating rubber blimps over London; or by falling back on explanations such as Nazism, despite the fact we are in the wrong century, without a recent world war, in the middle of an economic boom and the beneficiaries of too many decades of politically correct instruction for that thesis to be easily accepted.”

Read the whole thing.

HUH: Study: Same-sex marriage legalization may not have improved health. “The researchers said they were surprised to find that legalization of same-sex marriage did not lead to higher rates of health insurance and improved access to health care for lesbians, and they want to take a closer look at that.”

WHY DID TRUMP TOSS THAT SERVER WRENCH INTO MUELLER’S INDICTMENT MACHINE? Journalists, Never-Trumpers and Obama partisans are going absolutely ape-you-know-what over President Donald Trump’s Helsinki questions about what happened to the Democratic National Committee’s server and those 33,000 destroyed Hillary Clinton emails. It is Trump Derangement Syndrome at its most virulent since election night 2016.

But Trump is posing the very questions his critics don’t dare ask because they fear the answers will finally and definitively explain who actually colluded with Russian interests in 2016. I won’t say the name but how much you want to bet it’s spelled C-L-I-N-T-O-N?

BLUE ON BLUE: Rhode Island Progressive Democrats Threaten to Topple Party Leadership. “Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo faces a tight race in November against GOP challenger Allan Fung, but first faces a party insurgency.”

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21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Snyder’s rule of thumb for men: Try to get more orgasms in bed with your wives than in front of the computer. Reynolds’ rule of thumb for women: Work to make sure this happens.

THE 21ST CENTURY IS NOT TURNING OUT AS I’D HOPED: The Strange And Curious Case Of The Deadly Superbug Yeast.

HOMOPHOBIA TO OWN THE CONS! NYT’s Trump/Putin ‘cartoon’ one of the vilest things you’ll see today:

Ever notice when the Left wants to make a dig at someone they disagree with they often times fall back on making a gay joke or slur? And here we thought they were the party of tolerance …

Homophobic much, New York Times?

Why are Democratic-monopoly institutions such cesspits of homophobia?

ASHE SCHOW: Henry Cavill Caves, Apologizes For #MeToo Comments.

GARY TAUBES, CALL YOUR OFFICE: New research could banish guilty feeling for consuming whole dairy products. “Our findings not only support, but also significantly strengthen, the growing body of evidence which suggests that dairy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults. In addition to not contributing to death, the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke.”

TONI AIRAKSINEN: Gym Profs Shun ‘Team Sports’ to Promote Social Justice.

IT’S NOT JUST FEINSTEIN:  Democrats are dumping moderates.

SOCIALIST “IT GIRL” STUMBLES: The future of the Democratic Party has no idea what “occupation of Palestine” means, but certainly likes using it.

That puts Democrats who are rushing to get behind [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez in a bind, however. Will the news media start asking them about the “occupation of Palestine” in places like Indiana, West Virginia, and Ohio? Or how about even in New York, where Kirsten Gillibrand practically sprained an ankle attempting to embrace Democratic Socialism after Ocasio-Cortez’ surprise win? Does the Akin Rule apply to anyone else other than Republicans?

Just think of the media as Democratic operatives with bylines, and you’ll know the answer is, “No. Next question?”