HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: UMass Law School Gains Full ABA Accreditation, Needs To Double Enrollment (From 66 1Ls) To Be Financially Sustainable.

AT AMAZON, Shop Amazon’s Holiday Toy List – Collectibles.

TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY: December 8 is also December 7. (See the chart for the history and the explanation.)

Also, a terrible command decision still stirring rancor in the ranks:

1830 U.S. Army Adjutant General Order No. 72 ends the daily ration of one gill of whiskey to enlisted men, substituting an issue of coffee and sugar.

Yes, late in the day for this link, but better late than never.

RELATED: A gill.

MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN: In France, le Pen Opposes Public Education for Illegal Immigrant Kids.

THIS IS STUPID, BUT ALSO IRRESISTIBLE SINCE IT OFFERS BOTH A FACE-SAVING EXCUSE FOR HILLARY’S LOSS AND A BASIS FOR TRYING TO SILENCE POLITICAL OPPONENTS: In The Rush To Blame Facebook, Come The Calls To Suppress Ideas People Disagree With.

Of course, to the people pushing this — who include a lot of members of the press — suppressing ideas isn’t a bug, but a feature.

AT AMAZON, 12 Days of Deals — Today is Day 5!

Plus, Shop Amazon’s Holiday Toy List – Kid Picks.

CHANGE: US Steel wants to accelerate investments, bring back jobs, CEO says.

United States Steel would like to accelerate its investments and hire back laid-off employees now that Donald Trump will be occupying the Oval Office, CEO Mario Longhi told CNBC on Wednesday.

“We already structured to do some things, but when you see in the near future improvement to the tax laws, improvements to regulation, those two things by themselves may be a significant driver to what we’re going to do,” he said in an interview with CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

In addition, the belief that the U.S. economy can grow at least 3.5 percent also adds to what the company can do, Longhi noted.

Huh.

JUST NBC THE HACKWORK! Brian Williams, who fabricated stories, says fake news swayed the election.

Will Williams ever return to his old gig anchoring the nightly news at NBC after slumming it in network’s  bargain basement cable spinoff channel? Just ask him!

brian_williams_macarthur_returns_2-8-15-1

MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN: The Top Ten Reasons Andy Puzder Is a Great Pick for Labor Secretary.

From the home office in the third booth in the Ardmore, Oklahoma Carl’s Jr.

MAKING MEN OBSOLETE: AWESOME!

Making women obsolete: Problematic.

FORGET DRAINING THE SWAMP. MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Make D.C. a swamp again: Trump is scaring progressive hipsters away, he should send federal workers after them. “I propose that over the next several years, we transfer a lot of federal employees out of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, to parts of the country that aren’t doing so well economically. This would provide a boost to places like Buffalo, New York, or Quincy, Illinois, or Fresno, California, while getting federal bureaucrats out of the D.C. bubble.”

CRYING WOLF’S LAIR: TINA FEY CAN SEE THE REICHSTAG FROM HER HOUSE.

Shot: Tina Fey Warns: Prepare for Nazi America Under a Donald Trump Presidency.

— Kristine Marsh, NewsBusters, yesterday.

Chaser: No, This Isn’t Weimar or the 1930s.

— Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, yesterday.

By the way, Kellogg’s recently made some very public virtue signaling of eliminating Breitbart.com from the group of Websites on which they run Internet advertising, “on the grounds that Breitbart does not reflect the company’s ‘values,’” as Mark Steyn wrote last week. In December of 2010, Geico dropped Lee Ermey as a spokesman, after the star of Full Metal Jacket said Obama’s administration “was trying to ‘impose socialism’ on the American people and was “destroying the country,’” as TMZ reported. Will American Express continue to employ Fey as a pitch woman after her Godwinizing of Trump? Or do only conservatives receive pink slips when they publicly commit crimethink?

HILLARY BLASTS ‘EPIDEMIC’ OF FAKE NEWS.

Related: Hillary Clinton, dead broke after leaving the White House, rejected by the Marines, and by NASA, and named after Sir Edmund Hillary, despite his climbing Mount Everest six years after she was born, living on Tuzla time:

YEP:

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Fake news.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Valparaiso Law School Faces Two Bleak Choices — ‘Admit More Unprepared Students Or Face Reality And Close.’

FIRST CAME KANGAROO-PUNCHING, NOW THIS: French Farmers Strike Sultry Poses with Their Animals in This 2017 Calendar.

CHANGE: From Victims to Victimizers: The Left’s Long Journey.

Some of the shock of Trump’s victory is surely due to the bubble that exists in Hollywood and New York, the Pauline Kael–esque sense that nobody could have voted for Trump. But some of it also derives from celebrities’ self-assured belief that they have an outsized impact in the world of politics.

Clearly that view infused the Clinton campaign: Hillary trotted out Lena Dunham of Girls fame, she of the false rape accusations and gleeful admissions of sexually abusing her sister, on the campaign trail all year long; Clinton advocates such as Elizabeth Banks took time off from producing bad a cappella sequels to film ads; singers and actors all joined to make a difference by producing a glossy version of Rachel Platten’s maddening “Fight Song.”

And not only didn’t those things matter, they actually helped drive voters away from Clinton. They exacerbated the image of Clinton as an out-of-touch elitist who spent her free time hanging out with Katy Perry, even as Donald Trump, at a stadium in rural Ohio, took yet another boisterous swipe at elitism. But it wasn’t just because these celebrities were rich and out of touch that Americans were put off by them.

It’s because those celebrities were the people most likely to judge red-state Americans as rubes — nasties intent on targeting Muslims and gays and blacks and women. The unearned moral superiority of America’s celebrity class rests in their open condemnation of flyover Americans as brutish louts, and their self-parodying belief that they are civil-rights heroes.

We are patronized by our inferiors.

PROMISES, PROMISES: If You Like Your Longevity, You Can Keep Your Longevity.

WELL, THIS IS SAD: Mazda has no plans for an RX-9, despite ongoing rotary development.

THE TOP TEN SPORTS GRINCHES OF 2016.

In case you’re wondering, Kaepernick is merely number two.

2016, MAN: Boy claims he was fat-shamed by Santa Claus.

FORGET DRAINING THE SWAMP. MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Make D.C. a swamp again: Trump is scaring progressive hipsters away, he should send federal workers after them. “I propose that over the next several years, we transfer a lot of federal employees out of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, to parts of the country that aren’t doing so well economically. This would provide a boost to places like Buffalo, New York, or Quincy, Illinois, or Fresno, California, while getting federal bureaucrats out of the D.C. bubble.”

I PLAN TO SAY “I WISH I’D WORKED MORE HOURS,” so that from then on, when people say “nobody ever wishes on their deathbed that they’d worked more hours,” they’ll have to add, “well, except for Glenn Reynolds, actually.”

RIP: JOHN GLENN, FORMER ASTRONAUT AND US SENATOR, DIES AT 95.

CHINESE INTERNET CENSORSHIP SOFTWARE: Jim Dunnigan examines Beijing’s capabilities.

THE HILL: McCarthy’s ghost smiles as Dems point the finger at Russia.

YOU CAN, BUT IT’S NOT EASY: Can You Get Too Much Protein?

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Why you might want to think twice before shaving your pubic hair. I don’t think that this study shows that pubic hair protects against STI’s, but rather that people who have more sex partners are more likely to go bare.

DESIGNER CAROLINA HERRERA: ‘Of Course’ I Would Dress Melania Trump.

Good for her. The politicalization of everything up to and including fashion does nothing to hurt Trump — either Trump — and everything to reinforce Flyover Country’s suspicions of the coastal “elites.”

NEW FROM AUDRA COLDIRON: The Amishland Storyteller: Battling cancer with family, friends, and faith.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Controlling a Hand Exoskeleton with Your Mind. “Six quadriplegic individuals tested the device in everyday situations; they successfully picked up coffee cups, ate donuts, squeezed sponges, and signed documents, the researchers reported. The fact that the system functions outside the laboratory, in busy, unsupervised environments, is a dramatic improvement upon previous brain-controlled robotic limbs.”

PRIVACY: Baltimore’s aerial surveillance continues unchecked.

The Baltimore surveillance program broke new ground by bringing wide-area persistent surveillance—a technology that the military has been developing for a decade—to municipal law enforcement. The police department kept the program secret from the public, as well as from the city’s mayor and other local officials, until it was detailed in August by Bloomberg Businessweek. Privacy advocates, defense attorneys, and some local legislators called for the program to be suspended immediately, until the technology could be evaluated in public hearings.

But in the three months since the public discussion began, the police have continued to use the surveillance plane to monitor large events, such as the Baltimore Marathon, and essential questions remain unanswered. The police continue to classify the program as an ongoing trial, but the private company that operates it for the police—Persistent Surveillance Systems—doesn’t have a permanent contract and no specific regulations govern its operations.

Why are Democrat-run cities such cesspits of militarized police surveillance?

NEWS YOU CAN USE: The erotic carp calendar you never knew you needed is here in time for Christmas.

I THINK WE SHOULD RETURN TO THE PRE-KENNEDY RULE AGAINST UNIONIZATION FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES: Federal government workers union is ready to “fight back” against Trump.

HERE WE GO AGAIN:

As Glenn noted years ago, the mainstream media only makes an issue out of homelessness when a Republican is in the White House.

NEWS-READING GRIN: Pope Warns That ‘Fake News’ Is a ‘Sickness’ Comparable to Eating Excrement.

TRUMP, OBAMA, AND “GIRLY JOBS” FOR “MANLY MEN.”

FORTUNATELY, SHE ADDED, I HAVEN’T HAD ONE OF THOSE SINCE 1979: Valerie Jarrett: Trump’s Win Was ‘Soul-Crushing.’

SO THIS IS STARTING TO SOUND LIKE “RECKLESS DISREGARD:” Washington Post Appends “Russian Propaganda Fake News” Story, Admits It May Be Fake.

In the latest example why the “mainstream media” is facing a historic crisis of confidence among its readership, facing unprecedented blowback following Craig Timberg November 24 Washington Post story “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say”, on Wednesday a lengthy editor’s note appeared on top of the original article in which the editor not only distances the WaPo from the “experts” quoted in the original article whose “work” served as the basis for the entire article (and which became the most read WaPo story the day it was published) but also admits the Post could not “vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s finding regarding any individual media outlet”, in effect admitting the entire story may have been, drumroll “fake news” and conceding the Bezos-owned publication may have engaged in defamation by smearing numerous websites.

Here’s the note:

Editor’s Note: The Washington Post on Nov. 24 published a story on the work of four sets of researchers who have examined what they say are Russian propaganda efforts to undermine American democracy and interests. One of them was PropOrNot, a group that insists on public anonymity, which issued a report identifying more than 200 websites that, in its view, wittingly or unwittingly published or echoed Russian propaganda. A number of those sites have objected to being included on PropOrNot’s list, and some of the sites, as well as others not on the list, have publicly challenged the group’s methodology and conclusions. The Post, which did not name any of the sites, does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings regarding any individual media outlet, nor did the article purport to do so. Since publication of The Post’s story, PropOrNot has removed some sites from its list.

So in reliance on an un-checked list by an outside group that insists on anonymity, the WaPo designated a bunch of sites as Russian propaganda tools. And this is the “real news” outfit that is getting all uppity about “fake news.”

PAYBACK’S A… YOU KNOW: Republicans Explore Budget Maneuver to Chip Away at Dodd-Frank.

They are exploring use of a tactic known as reconciliation, a procedural shortcut tied to the budget, which would allow them to make legislative changes to the 2010 regulatory-overhaul law with just a simple majority in the Senate. Republicans are likely to hold 52 seats in the 100-seat chamber, meaning they could pass such changes with just GOP votes.

They would otherwise need 60 votes to get the legislation through the Senate, putting them in the difficult position of needing support from some Democrats, who generally oppose rolling back the landmark law.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) is leading the charge to use reconciliation to pare back pieces of the law, which President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly said he wanted to scale back or scrap.

“We need to make a number of really substantial reforms to Dodd-Frank,” Mr. Toomey said in an interview Wednesday. While he said he would prefer to make legislative changes with Democrats’ support, he is open to more partisan methods. “I am very much in favor of making sure we have all the tools to do this,” he said.

Republicans are weighing using the tool to chip away at two Dodd-Frank creations in particular: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of Financial Research.

The upcoming session of Congress promises at the least to be wildly entertaining.

THIS JUST IN — 2016 CONTINUES ITS SUCKAGE: Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer dies at age 69.

Keith Emerson died in March; what a brutal year this has been for pop culture.

MORGAN CHILDS FOR GQ: The Libertarian Utopia That’s Just a Bunch of White Guys on a Tiny Island.

This is the most sneering and hate-filled piece I recall seeing in a major publication.

IN THE MAIL: From D.G. Voda, State Slave.

Plus, today only at Amazon: Up to 50% Off Levi’s.

And, also today only: Up to 60% Off Cold-Weather Accessories. Hats, gloves, scarves, etc. Keep warm!

Plus: Memorex Sing Stand 3 MKSSS3 Home Karaoke System with Bluetooth, $49.99 (44% off).

And: “Mission Impossible:” The 5-Movie Collection, $18.99.

BRICK AND MORTAR BLUES: Sears Says It’s Likely to Close Many More Stores as Sales Slide Worsens.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1309.

JOHN ELLIS: The Best Albums of 2016.

Mostly solid picks, including a near-handful I’d missed. And I’d have put David Bowie’s Blackstar higher on the list.

FAKE-NEWS HYSTERIA IS WHY OUR ELITES AREN’T TRUSTED:

Jack Shafer of Politico has the best piece yet examining the post-election phenomenon of “fake news” panic—the idea, which spread rapidly among establishment figures in the wake of the election, that Americans were fooled en masse into voting for Donald Trump by nefarious propaganda, funded in part by the Russians. His key contribution is to highlight the elitism at the heart of this idea:

The shrillness of the propaganda debate reveals a deep distrust of citizens by the elites. The Ignatiuses and Stengels of media and government don’t worry about propaganda infecting them. Proud of their breeding and life experience, they seem confident they can decode fact from fiction. What they dread is propaganda’s effect on the non-elites, whom they paternalistically imagine believe everything they read or view. But they don’t. The idea that naïve and vulnerable audiences can be easily influenced by the injection of tiny but potent messages into their media feedbag was dismissed as bunk by social scientists as early as the 1930s and 1940s. According to what academics call the hypodermic needle theory (aka magic bullet theory, aka transmission-belt model), there is little evidence that the public was the defenseless prey of mini-doses of propagandists. Larger doses don’t seem to be very effective, either.

We noted earlier this week that elite media figures actually were fooled on a large scale by a fake story about fake news because it seemed to confirmed their pre-existing assumptions. Everyone is vulnerable to misinformation and spin—to suspend disbelief when it is convenient to do so. As Shafer says, the self-righteous conceit behind the sudden preoccupation with fake news is that this tendency is somehow more pronounced among Trump voters than everyone else—indeed, that many people could only have voted for him because they were misinformed. . . .

But the collapse in public trust in the mainstream press is also driven by politics and social divides. Much of the public believes that big city reporters do not understand them or their way of life, and hold their values in contempt. And the degree of hysteria that media elites are exhibiting about “fake news,” and the rubes who were supposedly taken in, will only reinforce this perception further.

Yep.

WHITTLE, OTT, GREEN: Man’s inhumanity to kangaroo.

Full disclosure: I’m Green.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Syria President Says Victory in Aleppo Won’t End the War.

Assad, in an interview published on Thursday in the state-owned newspaper al-Watan, said he will no longer consider truce offers, adding that such offers, particularly from Americans, often come when the rebels are in a “difficult spot.”

“That is why we hear wailing and screaming and pleas for truces as the only political discourse now,” Assad said. He described his forces’ fight in Aleppo as one “against terrorism and a conspiracy” to destroy and divide Syria, allegedly led by Turkey.

“Liberating Aleppo from the terrorists deals a blow to the whole foundation of this project,” he said. But he added, “to be realistic, it doesn’t mean the end of the war.”

With Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and former commercial heart, the capital of Damascus and Homs, the third largest city under his control, Assad says “terrorists” no longer hold any cards.

“Even if we finish in Aleppo, we will carry on with the war against them,” Assad added.

It doesn’t seem possible that any amount of force or any attainable political solution will ever make Syria whole again. Iraq either, for that matter.

VIETNAM COUNTERS CHINA IN SOUTH CHINA SEA: Get ready for more of this. At the moment it’s a war of barges and dredges slowly turning reefs into islands. But the game’s changing. Trump’s already told Beijing that America won’t play by Chinese rules.

COLLEGE STUDENTS NEED FREE-SPEECH ORIENTATION THESE DAYS, and Purdue’s program offers a good model. I have to say, Mitch Daniels is doing an excellent job there.

WELL, YES. AND TRUMP IS A MASTER AT ELICITING THOSE. Conservatives often win elections because of the hysterical, overblown reaction their common-sense plans receive from the left.

PERHAPS SARAH HOYT WILL LET ME BORROW HER SHOCKED FACE: OPEC expected to deliver only half of target production cut.

Most energy professionals expect OPEC output will decline to around 33.0 million barrels per day in January 2017, down from 33.6 million bpd in October but well above the deal’s target of 32.5 million bpd.

Most of the 260 respondents to the survey think the organisation will succeed in cutting output, but on average by only 600,000 bpd, or half its stated target of 1.2 million bpd.

Less than 8 percent thought OPEC would achieve its target in full. More than twice as many thought output would stay the same or rise.

HMM: Leonardo DiCaprio Just Met with Trump on Green Jobs.

DAMON LINKER IN THE WEEK: How conservatives out-intellectualized progressives.

Profitably read along with Freddie de Boer’s comments.

SALENA ZITO: Even anti-Trump working-class voters are having second thoughts.

What is astounding, post-election, is the total lack of contrition Democrats have displayed for ignoring the workingman and -woman bloc that has been the party’s horn of plenty. The only regret they display is that they lost the election, not the voters.

What Democrats, academics and pundits keep refusing to see is that the loss was never about Trump’s candidacy; it was all about how Democrats have increasingly lost touch with their voters outside of coastal America — until those voters finally hit their breaking point.

“The Democratic Party has become a coastal elitist club and if there is any decision or discussion made to broaden that within the ranks it is squashed,” said Dane Strother, a legendary Washington, DC-based Democratic strategist.

“We have completely lost touch with Middle America,” he admits, “How did we go from the party of the little man to the party of the elite?” Then he answers; “Yes, we rightfully should protect the rights of minorities, African-Americans, Hispanics, the LBGTQ communities and we always should — but we can’t forget the rest of the country along the way,” he said.

It isn’t that the Democrats forgot the rest of the country, it’s that they disdain the rest of the country.

THIS IS ALL ABOUT DELEGITIMIZING TRUMP: Dems push for panel to probe Russian interference in election.

Two Democratic House members on Wednesday announced legislation to create an independent commission to investigate efforts by Russia to interfere with the U.S. election.

The bill comes from Oversight Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee’s CIA subcommittee.

The structure of the nongovernmental panel would be modeled after the 9/11 Commission, and would include 12 bipartisan members.

Specifically, the commission will be charged with investigating Russian hacks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and former Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s personal email, as well as the scanning of electoral systems in some states and the dissemination of fake news and propaganda.

Republicans should probably encourage Democrats’ obsession with this stuff, though, as it will distract them from thinking about why they actually lost.

OBAMACARE: IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN’T RUIN? Drug price hikes put sex beyond reach.

Soaring prices for prescription medicines for impotence and other problems have put the remedies out of reach for some.

Without insurance coverage, Viagra and Cialis cost about $50 a pill, triple their 2010 list prices. The new “female Viagra,” a daily pill for low sex drive called Addyi, costs $800 per month. Older products for women also have seen huge price run-ups, Truven Health Analytics data show.

“Many of them don’t get past the pharmacy counter once they see the price,” says Sheryl Kingsberg, a University Hospitals-Cleveland Medical Center behavioral psychologist and researcher who counsels men and women.

What people actually pay out of pocket varies. Some insurance prescription plans, including Medicare, cover some of the medicines. Some plans don’t cover any, arguing they’re not medically necessary. Many require steep copayments or limit the number of impotence pills per prescription.

“Once you get to a certain price point, sex becomes a financial decision,” says Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a sexual dysfunction specialist at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital. “It takes a lot of the joy out of this.”

Indeed.

AT AMAZON, The Best Boots of the Season.

HONESTLY, I THINK SHE HAS A PRETTY STRONG CASE THIS TIME: Jill Stein Demands Recount Of “Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums Of 2016.”

PAYBACK’S A… YOU KNOW: The Most Potent Federal Regulatory Agency Will Answer Solely to Donald Trump.

The [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] was unaccountable to Congress and the president—but not the courts.

A federal appeals court ruling in October changed the fundamental structure of the CFPB and will allow future presidents to have direct control over the agency that has direct control over wide swaths of the country’s banking and financial sectors. Regulatory agencies headed by a single executive must be directly accountable to the president, the court observed, while independent agencies authorized by Congress—like the SEC and the FCC—must have a multi-member commission at the helm.

Practically, that means that Trump might be able to replace the director of the CFPB, Richard Cordray, before his term officially ends in 2018.

More importantly, it means Trump will be able to use the CFPB’s powers for his own ends, if he wants, because the person who gets to determine whether a banking practice is unfair, deceptive, or abusive will now serve at the whims of the president.

In other words, nothing changes on January 20.

Obligatory:

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NUCLEAR THRESHOLD FLASHBACK:

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WELL, YES: Comprehensive Terrorism Strategy Needed.

Bruce Hoffman, Director for Security Studies at Georgetown University:

Clearly during the eight years of the Obama Administration there was an effort to shift from the deployment of U.S. ground forces for prolonged periods overseas to using other forms of engaging terrorists, principally unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, as well as the increased deployment of Special Operations forces. Tactically, it was successful – it eliminated at least three-dozen senior al Qaeda commanders following the ramp up of drone strikes in 2009 – and it crystalized of course with the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011. These tactics served to disrupt terrorist operations and keep these groups off balance. Tactically, it was unquestionably successful.

But strategically, the U.S. faces the most parlous international security situation in terms of terrorism, at least since the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. According to the National Counterterrorism Center’s (NCTC), despite our ongoing efforts in Iraq and Syria over the past two years, ISIS has expanded geographically. The NCTC reported that in 2014, when the U.S.-backed campaign against ISIS began, the group had branches in seven countries. By 2015, they had branches in 13 countries, and by 2016, this number had increased again, now to 18. So clearly the Obama Administration’s strategy hasn’t stopped the spread of ISIS.

Read the whole interview.

ROGER SIMON: The Stock Market vs. The Media: Who Do You Trust?

Today, as the Dow approaches 20,000, the Washington Post is moaning about the president-elect’s choosing too many generals for important positions, as if all military minds automatically think alike. The Post certainly wouldn’t say that about, say, Muslims. Nor would anybody who’d actually read a history book.

But never mind. Look at it this way. Whom would you trust — people who put their money where their mouths are (i.e. investors) or people who put their mouths where their mouths are? (Notice I didn’t pick another notable orifice. This is a family column and tries to set an example.)

Now, as well all know, past performance is not a… etc., etc., but things are looking remarkably good for the moment, which is upsetting our liberal media friends all the more. How’re they going to react if U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi actually does bring back 10,000 jobs, as he indicated on CNBC he might under the new Trump tax program? Oh, the vapors… the vapors. Lena Dunham may have to move to Canada after all.

Trump elected President, Canadians hardest hit.

WHICH BRINGS US TO THE END OF THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: U.S. life expectancy declines for the first time since 1993.

Rising fatalities from heart disease and stroke, diabetes, drug overdoses, accidents and other conditions caused the lower life expectancy revealed in a report released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics. In all, death rates rose for eight of the top 10 leading causes of death.

“I think we should be very concerned,” said Princeton economist Anne Case, who called for thorough research on the increase in deaths from heart disease, the No. 1 killer in the United States. “This is singular. This doesn’t happen.”

A year ago, research by Case and Angus Deaton, also an economist at Princeton, brought worldwide attention to the unexpected jump in mortality rates among white middle-aged Americans. That trend was blamed on what are sometimes called diseases of despair: overdoses, alcoholism and suicide. The new report raises the possibility that major illnesses may be eroding prospects for an even wider group of Americans.

This report will probably become bigger news after January 20.

CHANGE: Poll: Trump now viewed more favorably than unfavorably, 50/43.

I’M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER WHEN SHUTTING DOWN THE GOVERNMENT WAS TREATED AS “TERRORISM:” Senate Dems hold out on spending deal, risking shutdown.

LEGAL TRADE ASSOCIATION DECLARES WAR ON LEGALLY MEANINGLESS TERM: American Bar Association Pledges To Fight “Hate Speech.” Legal Blogger Scott Greenfield is not impressed, and announces the ABA’s self-inflicted demise via its president, Linda Klein:

The ABA hasn’t aged well. It’s been taken over by the fragile, the intellectually weak, the dishonest, who have subverted the organization to their fantasy of social justice at the expense of the Constitution. And now. under the “leadership” of Klein, it has publicly announced that it will fight against the First Amendment to the Constitution, the defense of free speech, and forsaken any claim to defend liberty or support the rule of law.

To the extent anyone thought the American Bar Association could survive, Linda Klein’s announcement of its death, a brutal, painful death, ends any hope. The American Bar Association committed suicide in a disgraceful demonstration of cowardice and intellectual dishonesty. It will not be missed.

It’s been largely dominated by social-justice types for years. Back in the mid-1990s I wrote a positive review of Joyce Malcolm’s excellent To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right for the ABA Journal, and I heard later that the editor who commissioned the review got in big trouble because I suggested that the Second Amendment protected an individual right.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Enough With The West’s Imaginary Threats.

GLENN LOURY: Black Lives Matter — And Maybe Trump Is The Answer: “The discourse about race, violence, and the value of human life has been held hostage to partisanship — Black Lives Matter vs. Blue Lives Matter. We can do better than that. The election is over. And, the body count mounts. I’m interested now in SOLUTIONS and, frankly, I don’t give a damn where they come from. Obama ignored this catastrophe unfolding in his adopted home town for nearly a decade. At the moment, I’m inclined to #GiveTrumpAChance to ‘fix it.’ Anybody with a better idea? Speak now.”

HONESTLY, WHO’S SURPRISED BY THIS? Obama’s Outgoing Attitude on War and Terrorism: Do as He Says, Not as He Did; A speech on respecting rule of law and transparency from an administration that did neither.

It looks like President Barack Obama will be leaving office the same way he arrived: overestimating his actual commitment to rule of law and government transparency.

That’s one takeaway from the president’s counterterrorism speech at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Florida, yesterday. As is typical of an Obama speech, particularly one coming as his administration winds down, it’s heavy on summarizing his successes and calling on actions from Congress, yet flat out either refuses to acknowledge or is quick to justify his misuses of power. . . .

Reminder: This is a president who has developed a complex system by which he executes suspected terrorists in countries where America is not legally involved in a war through the use of drone strikes in a system that is both deliberately secretive but also not subject to review by the judicial branch. The Department of Justice under Obama has, in fact, used claims of national security to try to keep judges from even being able to hear cases connected to the constitutionality of some of its practices.

Furthermore, this is a president who oversaw military intervention in Libya without authorization by Congress. And in this very speech he calls on Congress to use its authority to determine whether to allow for military force, an absurd incongruity Tim Carney makes note of in the Washington Examiner.

Obama calls for an updated Authorized Use of Force (the Congressional authorization for warmaking) but stubbornly clings to an insistence that everything he’s been doing is already authorized. It’s a muddled argument. Either the president’s military actions have been legal and a new authorization isn’t needed, or the president’s military actions have not been legal (in which case he should stop). He even recently added, via executive declaration, a terrorist group in Somalia that didn’t even exist at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks to the list of authorized targets.

Honestly, we’re just lucky he didn’t add the Tea Party to the list. But then, for them he has the IRS.

IF ONLY SOMEONE HAD ISSUED A WARNING ABOUT THIS AGENCY: The Most Potent Federal Regulatory Agency Will Answer Solely to Donald Trump: And the potential for Trump to abuse the power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is huuge.

And this never gets old:

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LIFE (AND DEATH) BEFORE THE FUNDAMENTAL TRANSFORMATION: Pearl Harbor vets ‘Never took a knee. Never failed to stand during national anthem.’ Colin Kaepernick zinged by Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr. at Pearl Harbor.

December 7, 2016

I’M GOING WITH GUN LAWS: Video: Which laws shouldn’t apply on campus?

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NEWS FROM THE STUDENT BODY AT HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE, PROBABLY:

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SORRY, JILL: Federal Judge Kills Recount Effort In Michigan.

DAVID BERNSTEIN: The Supreme Court oral argument that cost Democrats the presidency.

According to exit polls, Trump received 81 percent of the white evangelical Christian vote, and Hillary Clinton only 16 percent. Trump did significantly better than the overtly religious Mitt Romney and the overtly evangelical George W. Bush. He likely over-performed among other theologically conservative voters, such as traditionalist Catholics, as well. Not bad for a thrice-married adulterer of no discernible faith.

To what can we attribute Trump’s success? The most logical answer is that religious traditionalists felt that their religious liberty was under assault from liberals, and they therefore had to hold their noses and vote for Trump.

Let’s focus on one of these incidents, the time the solicitor general of the United States acknowledged that religious institutions that oppose as a matter of internal policy same-sex marriage may lose their tax exemptions. At oral argument in the Obergefell same-sex marriage case, there was the following colloquy:

Justice Samuel Alito: Well, in the Bob Jones case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax­exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same­ sex marriage?

Soliticitor General Verrilli: You know, I ­, I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. ­ I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is ­­it is going to be an issue.

With the mainstream media busy celebrating the Supreme Court’s ultimate recognition of a right to same-sex marriage, this didn’t get that much attention in mainstream news outlets. But in the course of researching my book, “Lawless,” I noticed that Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.’s answer was big news in both the conservative blogosphere and in publications catering to religiously traditionalist audiences. . . .

In short, many religious Christians of a traditionalist bent believed that liberals not only reduce their deeply held beliefs to bigotry, but want to run them out of their jobs, close down their stores and undermine their institutions. When I first posted about this on Facebook, I wrote that I hope liberals really enjoyed running Brendan Eich out of his job and closing down the Sweet Cakes bakery, because it cost them the Supreme Court. I’ll add now that I hope Verrilli enjoyed putting the fear of government into the God-fearing because it cost his party the election.

Well, that’s how things are supposed to work.

APPARENTLY, THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE PEOPLE WHO RUN THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS IS “SNITCHES GET STITCHES:” When a University Regent Tries to Blow the Whistle: The Wallace Hall Case.

It wasn’t long before he began to suspect corruption and mismanagement.

First, there was a scandal involving a large slush fund run by the dean of the law school, allowing him to hand out “forgivable loans” to select faculty members. The university’s president, William Powers, promised an investigation by an in-house lawyer, who dutifully produced a “nothing to see here” report. Hall argued that the matter required a more objective assessment, but his complaints were ignored.

Quoted in this piece, Hall said, “I was overruled. That’s when I first felt like, one, there’s a problem at UT, and, two, the system has set up a scheme that gives the opportunity for a less than robust investigation.”

But Hall kept pushing the Board to insist that the Texas attorney general’s office dig into the matter. It did, and then the truth finally came out that the dean of the law school was using the fund simply to hand out favors, including a $500,000 “loan” to himself. The AG’s report brought down the house of cards. The dean resigned and the scandal contributed to the pressure on president Powers to choose between resigning and being fired.

That fight was just a minor skirmish compared with the coming war over the secret, back-door admissions process at UT-Austin.

In 2013, Texas media began running articles such as this, suggesting that some students, despite their low scores and grades, were being admitted to UT as a favor to influential people.

In response, then-chancellor Francisco Cigarroa asked university general counsel Dan Sharphorn to investigate. The result was a mild report saying that the study had found “no evidence of overt pressure on Admissions Office staff to admit applicants based on the recommendations of persons of influence.” Sharphorn’s findings were accepted by president William Powers, who said that the report would be helpful.

Powers hoped that would be the end of the matter, but shortly afterward, Hall announced that he had found evidence in internal UT emails of blatant admissions favoritism at UT’s law school. That led to furious demands for his removal from office by Texans who didn’t like the way he kept turning over rocks. Several members of the legislature called for Hall’s impeachment and the Board of Regents formed a committee to see if there were legal grounds for doing so. When the lawyers it hired concluded that there was no ground for impeaching Hall, the committee voted to censure Hall for “disloyalty.”

We need more activist trustees at universities all over the country. There are a lot of rocks to turn over.

MATT RIDLEY: Global Warming vs. Global Greening.

HONESTLY, I’M WONDERING IF “FAKE NEWS” ISN’T AN IMPROVEMENT OVER THE “REAL” THING: NYT Reporter: Why Can’t We Assassinate Conservatives? “Cool down, Gardiner! You can’t kill American citizens who say things you don’t like with drones. You know you are in trouble when it takes Josh Earnest to explain the First Amendment to you. . . . I’m so old, I can remember when reporters not only had heard about the First Amendment, but were in favor of it. But I guess the ‘fake news’ crisis is so acute that the Left can’t let such niceties get in the way.”

CONDESCENDING, CERTAIN, AND INCOHERENT:

What gets to me, and what made this minor argument indicative of something far broader, was that the internal contradictions and lack of clear theoretical footing were packaged with the aggressive presumption that the conclusions were obvious.

This is a constant condition for me: interacting with liberals and leftists who affect a stance of bored impatience, who insist that the answers to moral and political questions are so obvious that every reasonable person already agrees, who then lack the ability to explain the thinking underlying their answers to those questions in a remotely compelling way. Everything is obvious; all the hard work is done; only an idiot couldn’t see what the right thing to do is. And then you poke a little bit at the foundation and it just collapses. I suppose the condescension and the fragility are related conditions, the bluster a product of the insecurity at the heart of it all. You act like everything is obvious precisely because you can’t articulate your position.

Plus:

I’ve been asking my friends on the academic left what rights conservative students have, in an era of a university culture obsessed with trauma. Two things are broadly true: one, they think that it’s ridiculous to suggest that there’s any reason to worry about what conservative students can and can’t say – there’s no questions here, no conflicts, nothing even to discuss. Two, despite the mutuality of this dismissal, no two of them have the same idea about what answers are stunningly obvious, only that they are. I am told that of course students can support Trump and say so, but that “Make America Great Again” is hate speech, despite simply being the slogan of the campaign that they just said students have the right to support.

Bear in mind that this is from Freddie de Boer, a lefty.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Students Name the Most Insanely PC College Courses in America. These 5 Are Truly Absurd…

SHOULD A PORK LOVER GO VEGAN: Heaven forbid, but there is bacon-flavored seaweed.

WHY ARE DEMOCRAT-DOMINATED MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS SO RACIST? Black employees file class-action lawsuit against CNN, Turner.

THE SOURCE IS UNIMPEACHABLE: Incredible aerial timelapse reveals how the mysterious Area 51 has expanded over the last 30 years. But, you know, we have to get ready for the alien invasion.

CHANGE: Trump taps Oklahoma attorney general to lead EPA. “President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate Scott Pruitt, the Republican attorney general of Oklahoma and a frequent legal adversary to President Obama, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a transition official told The Hill. If confirmed by the Senate to oversee the 15,000-employee agency, Pruitt would take the lead on dismantling the EPA regulations that Trump targeted throughout his campaign as job killers that restrict economic growth.”

TRANSPARENCY: Exclusive: Internal documents detail secret VA quality ratings.

TALK ABOUT BURYING THE LEDE. WaPo: Trump Was Right About Overwhelmingly Negative Press Coverage.

Well yes. Real story here though: The WaPo actually gets one right for a change.