August 30, 2016

NEARLY 5000 DOWNLOADS for my paper on coups and the Constitution, which is still #1 on SSRN.

PROTESTERS SHOULD HAVE A CONTINGENCY PLAN FOR SUCH ARRESTS, AND IT SHOULD INVOLVE KILLING MID-LEVEL SECURITY OFFICIALS AND THEIR FAMILIES: Venezuela Prepares for Massive Protests By Arresting Activists.

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YEAH, I DON’T TRUST THEM: Homeland Security eyes special declaration to take charge of elections. Jeh Johnson considers this a bug: “There’s no one federal election system. There are some 9,000 jurisdictions involved in the election process.”

Given how federal cyber-security has gone, I consider it a feature. We really need to strengthen electoral security, but giving it over to the feds creates a single point of failure, a major source of distrust, and a temptation to misbehavior. If you want to make Trump’s claim that the election is being rigged seem prophetic instead of crazy, just go ahead with this.

I’M NOT READY TO TRY IT YET, BUT THE EVIDENCE KEEPS MOUNTING: Brief rapamycin therapy in middle-aged mice extends lives. And, of course, the real benefit is probably the insights this can provide into fundamental mechanisms of aging, which can lead to much better treatments. But faster, please. I’m not getting any younger here. And neither are the rest of you!

TRUMP MAY MEET WITH MEXICAN PRESIDENT PENA: Donald Trump and President Enrique Pena Nieto may be able to do one another a favor. We’ll have to see if this actually pans out and then mull the photo ops and soundbites. However, this could be an example of the kind of rabbit-out-of-the-hat electioneering magic Democrats fear Donald Trump can pull. So, here’s the background to this wild scenario. Pena is currently under a heckuva lot of political pressure. The Iguala Massacre (September 2014) marked a political sea change in Mexico. StrategyPage.com has been covering Pena’s political slide ever since. (This update summarizes the cumulative effects. But other updates in the Mexico section back it up with sad details.) The Iguala Massacre became “a national example of ‘impunity’ — which means the government and political elites ability to escape responsibility and punishment for crimes, corruption, criminal neglect of duty and gross mismanagement.” If this sounds like Hillary Clinton escaping punishment for her criminal mishandling of classified information, well, I report, you decide. Pena’s own ethical failures haunt him. Oh, he doesn’t think he has ethical failures, but a lot of Mexican citizens certainly do. The Bottom Political Line For This Still Hypothetical Political Encounter That May Or May Not Come Off: Meeting Donald Trump gives President Pena the opportunity to look like he’s standing up for Mexico and going man to man with a mouthy Yankee tough guy. As for Mr. Trump — he gets to make the case he isn’t anti-anyone. He’s for legal immigration. He’ll talk and deal with anyone, straight up. Art of the Deal, y’know. As for HIllary? Hillary can stuff the KKK and all the standard issue Democrat racism accusations up her Benghazi.

SHUT UP JOHN KERRY SAID: Here’s Sec State John Kerry’s quote from Bangladesh: “…perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover it (terrorism) quite as much.” Will lib media do his bidding? This career Democrat mediocrity really thinks Media Privilege is his due.

SO WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT WHAT THEY DO TO KIDS THE REST OF THE TIME? Docs Say iPads Work Like Sedatives for Kids Pre-Surgery.

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PRAGER UNIVERSITY: The Speech Every High School Principal Should Give.

WELL, THEY’RE DEMOCRATIC DONORS: Treasury Publishes White Paper Defending Brazen Tax Avoidance By Apple, Other U.S. Multinational Corporations.

YES, I THINK THAT PRETTY MUCH COVERS IT: Women Drink Because of Sexism—or Not.

Related: No, ladies, it’s not men ‘making’ us drink.

CHANGE: Rethinking the Use of Hormones to Ease Menopause Symptoms. “Ever since the large government study called the Women’s Health Initiative found a number of risks associated with menopause hormones, millions of women who are in or near menopause have been weathering hot flashes and other symptoms on their own. But now, new research suggests that the benefits of short-term hormone treatment to control life-disrupting menopausal symptoms outweigh the risks — as long as the treatment is started at or near menopause.”

Huh. I thought the science was settled.

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Is Your Son’s Penis Too Small or Is He Just Overweight?

What will the New York Times have us fretting about next?

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Everything You Need To Know About Car Titles.

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NEWS FROM OUR NEWEST, BESTEST ALLIES: Iran: ‘We Welcome War With the U.S.’

Why? Hasn’t Barack Chamberlain unilaterally surrendered already?

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DON’T CLICK THROUGH IF YOU’RE EASILY GROSSED OUT BY WORM PICS: Coming Soon To A Grocery Store Shelf Near You: Mealworm Oil.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Driverless taxi firm eyes operations in 10 cities by 2020.

ONLY ONE DAY LEFT in the Amazon Summer Sale.

PAY ATTENTION: Tesla’s Autopilot Will Lock Out Lackadaisical Drivers.

ALL I’VE GOT’S THIS SUNNY AFTERNOON: Apple Ordered by EU to Repay $14.5 Billion in Irish Tax Breaks.

CEO Tim Cook says he’s “confident that the Commission’s order will be reversed.

SHOT:

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Chaser:

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WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: F-35 to Control Armed Attack Drones.

In the future, drones may be fully operated from the cockpit of advanced fighter jets such as the Joint Strike Fighter or F-22, Air Force Chief Scientist Greg Zacharias told Scout Warrior in an interview.

“The more autonomy and intelligence you can put on these vehicles, the more useful they will become,” he said.

This development could greatly enhance mission scope, flexibility and effectiveness by enabling a fighter jet to conduct a mission with more weapons, sensors, targeting technology and cargo, Zacharias explained.

Another neat trick would be if a drone could be piloted to run interference on incoming anti-aircraft missiles, acting as a sort of a kamikaze countermeasure.

HOW MANY OF THESE LIES WORKED, BEFORE THE INVENTION OF VIDEO CAMERAS? Millionaire Accused of Abuse Releases Video Footage of Ex-Fiance ‘Beating Herself Up.’

WHAT’S GOING TO BE BETTER THAN NIXON APPEARING ON LAUGH-IN? THIS:

Good luck, Governor.

COLIN KAEPERNICK’S IGNORANCE OF RACISM IN CASTRO’S CUBA: The 49ers QB wore a shirt commemorating Fidel’s meeting with Malcolm X, Mark Hemingway notes at the Weekly Standard:

One can revisit the great civil rights debate over using violence as a means to an end; suffice to say, America’s better off that Martin Luther King, Jr. and his commitment to nonviolence, not Malcolm X and his “by any means necessary” approach, won the day. And this divide is only highlighted by Castro’s harboring of a bunch of American cop killers, such as Assata Shakur and Eldridge Cleaver, who claim their unconscionable and murderous actions were done in the name of “racial justice”.

The biggest problem here is that Kaepernick is seemingly unaware of Castro’s legacy. Aside from Castro dragooning and executing Christians and gays, Castro’s record on racial justice is decidedly not “woke”, as the Internet likes to say. While Cuba’s legacy of racism predates Castro, it’s safe to say overt racism against individuals of African ancestry there remains far more pronounced than it is in the United States. In fact, racism is kind of an unstated official policy: “State-posts, government jobs, or positions in the tourism industry are often allocated on the basis of skin color. Take a look at the top office holders in Cuba. See any black faces there? No,” Mediaite’s AJ Delgado wrote.

You really only need the first three words of Mark’s headline for the past weekend to make sense.

UPDATE: San Francisco Police Union To Kaepernick: What About Black-On-Black Crime?

SPEED BUMP ON THE ROAD TO A DEMOCRATIC SENATE: Signs of Trouble in Ohio As Dems Delay Senate Ad Buys.

A Democratic outside group is canceling the first two weeks of its advertising in the Ohio Senate race, a sign that national Democrats are increasingly pessimistic about Gov. Ted Strickland’s campaign against Republican incumbent Sen. Rob Portman.

Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC with ties to Democratic Leader Harry Reid that is Democrats’ main outside spending group for Senate races, is delaying its initial fall advertising in the race, according to two ad buying sources who requested anonymity. The group was slated to begin fall advertising on September 6, but is now delaying its reservations through September 19.

The news comes the day after the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee delayed its advertising in the race from September 13 until September 22, according to The Washington Post, though the DSCC is still spending to help fund an ad run by Strickland’s campaign.

Trump’s poll numbers in Ohio seem to have halted their free fall, too.

SPENGLER SPOTS GENE WILDER’S BEST JOKE. Just click.

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THE JAYVEE IS PLAYING MORE LIKE KOBE EVERY DAY: IS Gaining Foothold in Yemen.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1209. It’s sad to see so many tax professors defending Koskinen, and telling that the defense they muster is so mealy-mouthed.

HILLARY AND HUMA PORTRAYING THEMSELVES AS BATTLERS FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS? C’MON. Roger Simon: The Huma-Weiner Scandal Is More Than Just Casual ‘Sext.’

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WITH HIS MIGHTY PHONE AND PEN: Obama Will Sign Climate Accord Without Congressional Approval.

Father knows best.

BLUE STATE BLUES: Why California Can’t Build More Housing.

The State of California (and the San Francisco Bay Area in particular) has become ground zero for the housing affordability crisis besetting major metropolitan areas across the country, eating up incomes, driving up inequality, and slowing economic growth. Governor Jerry Brown, who seems to recognize the threat that a dwindling housing stock poses to his state’s ongoing vitality, proposed a bold piece of legislation that would streamline the development process and sidestep onerous local stumbling blocks to new construction and in the process slow the meteoric rise in rents.

But now Brown’s bill seems to be dead in the water, due in large part to resistance from an unlikely interest group. . . .

This episode is a tragically characteristic of the blue model’s tendency toward self-contradiction—in this case, pitting unions against the poor and middle-class. The most sustainable way to make housing affordable to low and modest-income people is to relax rent-seeking regulations that block new construction for the sake of protecting the real estate values of property owners. But labor unions—which ostensibly stand for working class interests—will not stand for new construction unless it is accompanied by carve-outs and cronyist regulations that artificially boost their compensation.

So despite the best of intentions, the California blue coalition has proven once again unable to deliver smart, broadly appealing, pro-middle class policy, forced instead of concede to one of the many powerful special interests that makes up its vast and increasingly incoherent political base.

I’m not sure the intentions are all that great.

WELL, GOOD: Egypt Cracks Down On Female Genital Mutilation.

Awful as Egypt’s military junta can be, it’s still a huge step up from the Muslim Brotherhood, which offered to mutilate girls for a “nominal fee as part of their community services.”

QUESTION ASKED: How Can You Love Guns Knowing They Kill So Many People?

ANTISOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook Purges Journalists, Immediately Promotes a Fake Story for 8 Hours.

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HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: San Diego Welcomes 192 1Ls, Down 26% From Last Year’s 261 (42% From 2010’s 330).

If only there had been some sort of warning given.

WELL, THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG FOR AN ANSWER.

Shot: What would media say about naked Hillary statues?

—The Hill, August 19th, 2016.

Chaser: “Nearly Naked Hillary Clinton Portrayed as the ‘Beast’ in Hollywood Street Art,” the Hollywood Reporter, err, reports:

About 20 posters featuring an unflattering image of the Democratic nominee for president were hung Monday morning in the area by Sabo, a conservative street artist known for creating fake ads and traffic signs and affixing them illegally to bus stops and light poles in the dead of night.

His latest work is largely an anti-abortion statement, though it touches on feminism and alleged scandals involving the Clinton Foundation. And, with the number “6-6-6” tattooed around her neck, the rendering insinuates she may be Satan, or at least a devil worshipper.

An image of Saul Alinsky, the writer of Rules for Radicals who was allegedly a mentor of Clinton’s, is tattooed on one arm and $100 bills are on the other. There’s also a skeletal fetus about to be cut by scissors, a wire hanger, a vulture and the slogan “no bras, no masters.” (See the images below; the black bars were added by The Hollywood Reporter.)

I love the “alleged” and “allegedly” – that’s ever-so adorable, THR. The queen must be protected!

Here’s a safe for work image of the illustration Sabo created; click over if you’d like to see Hillary in all her tattooed glory, with the military-grade exoskeleton temporarily removed.

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HE WHO CONTROLS THE PAST CONTROLS THE FUTURE: Turkey sets conditions for German access to Incirlik.

Turkey says German MPs can visit the airbase if the Berlin government stops trying to distort Turkish history. German politicians have been blocked from touring the facility, where their own military is stationed.

Turkish Foreign Minster Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the Ankara government would allow a German delegation to visit the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey “if Germany takes the necessary steps.”

But his comments, following a meeting with his Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders in Ankara Monday, didn’t specify what concrete steps Turkey would want taken.

Cavusoglu added that those who try to “manipulate” Turkish history “in an unfair manner,” would not receive permission to visit the facility, where German troops, six German surveillance jets, and a refueling tanker are part of the US-led coalition fighting “Islamic State” (IS) militants.

Ankara is trying to force Germany to whitewash the 1915 Armenian Genocide from its history books.

HILLARY CLINTON HAS BEEN ‘FINDING HER VOICE’ SINCE 1993.

Not her socialist ideology, which has been largely fixed in place for most of her adult life, but how to best sell it. (Read: lie about it.)

NEXT YOU’LL BE TELLING ME IT WAS JUST A NOW-DISCARDED CAMPAIGN TALKING POINT: Let Them Drink Lead: So whatever happened to Hillary’s primary season Flint Initiative?

WAR ON COLLEGE MEN: School found accuser’s claims ‘meritless,’ still punishes the accused.

The University of Chicago may have won some points by refusing to adopt “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” for incoming freshmen, but its foray into social-justice activism still needs some work. Namely, its treatment of those accused of sexual assault.

A male student, identified in court documents as John Doe, is suing UC after it found an accuser’s claims “meritless,” yet continued to punish and investigate him. Doe says in his lawsuit that UC removed him from a physics lab where he worked with his accuser even after her complaint was found meritless.

The school also rejected Doe’s Title IX complaint claiming his accuser’s friend retaliated against him, in violation of school policy. The school also adjudicated a second complaint from the accuser, even though she had already proven herself to be untrustworthy, and failed to acknowledge how her second complaint was also in violation of the anti-retaliation policy.

The lawsuit alleges that the original accusations against Doe from his accuser were proven false through her “own public writings, which UC possesses.”

UC appeared to be, for some reason, hell bent on punishing Doe, to the point that when adjudicating the accuser’s second complaint, it used its 2015 student manual to hold Doe accountable for conduct that occurred in 2013.

“It was impossible for John Doe to know whether his consensual physical encounters with Jane Doe in 2013 might violate subsequently created stringent mandates in UC’s 2015 Manual,” Doe’s lawsuit said.

Doe believes the school is using the updated manual “because it contains provisions less favorable to male students.”

Cost for your son to attend the University of Chicago for one year: $66,765.

It’s amazing how much higher education is accelerating its own decline.

PRESIDENT ASH CARTER: Turkey and Syrian Kurdish forces ‘should stop fighting’

“We have called upon Turkey … to stay focused on the fight against ISIL and not to engage Syrian Defence Forces (SDF), and we have had a number of contacts over the last several days,” Carter said.

“We have called on both sides to not fight with one another, to continue to focus the fight on ISIL … That is the basis of our cooperation with both of them – specifically not to engage.”

The SDF is a group of fighters formed to fight against ISIL and is led by the YPG.

Turkey said on Monday it would continue to target the YPG if it failed to retreat east of the Euphrates River.

ISIS is a problem for Ankara, but the Kurds are the enemy.

HUMA ABEDIN DOES WHAT HILLARY NEVER COULD.

THIS LOCAL NEWS ANCHOR FROM INDIA DEFINITELY SHOULD’VE CHECKED HER T-SHIRT BEFORE GOING ON AIR: “Maybe we’re just being old fashioned, but ‘shut the f*** up’ is probably not the kind of message you want to send to the viewers at home.”

No worse than Newsweek bureau chief Ginny Carroll (and thus an employee of the Washington Post) wearing a “YEAH, I’M IN THE MEDIA — SCREW YOU” button to the 1992 Republican convention and then defending it shortly thereafter on C-SPAN.

Apparently, old media telling their audiences to shut the f*** up is a sentiment that transcends all languages.

(Via Maggie’s Farm.)

THE HILL: White House defends vetting process for Syrian refugees.

The White House on Monday defended the Obama administration’s decision and vetting process for admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States.

“This administration did succeed in meeting this goal: a significant ramping up of the number of Syrian refugees to the United States. And we were able to do all of that without cutting any corners when it comes to security,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.

“And significant screening was put in place to ensure that these individuals don’t pose an undue threat to our national security.”

The Obama administration will hit its goal of bringing in 10,000 Syrian refugees on Monday, clearing the self-imposed benchmark more than a month before its deadline.

The milestone comes amid heightened opposition to allowing Syrian refugees into the country from congressional Republicans and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Earnest defended the administration’s vetting process on Monday when asked how the administration would reassure people concerned that a potentially radicalized person could get into the country. The reporter who asked the question used the term “extreme vetting.”

“I think that was a term that might have been used by somebody who doesn’t currently work in the U.S. government,” Earnest responded.

“I’ll stop there.”

In an Aug. 15 speech, Trump proposed creating a system of “extreme vetting” to ensure that the country allows in only “those who share our values and respect our people.”

On Monday, Earnest said the vetting process typically takes “quite a bit of time.”

They take longer to “vet” documents for FOIA requests.

BYE-BYE CHARLES! THE WORST OF OSGOOD’S OUTBURSTS.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Clinton’s Economic Plan Will Lead Us Over a Cliff.

One of the dumbest statements in modern times was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s declaration that “the best way to stimulate the economy” is through food stamps and unemployment insurance.

This economic mumbo jumbo defies basic common sense and helps explain why we still have more than 40 million Americans on food stamps — evidently, the more that get free food, the more prosperous we become. This is the crux of the continuing curse of Keynesian economics, which says that the more the government spends, the more the economy grows. A dollar of government spending leads to as much as two dollars of additional economic output, according to Professor Pelosi.

Hillary Clinton is apparently one of Mrs. Pelosi’s A students. The entire Clinton recovery agenda is to spend $1 trillion more on government public works programs, free day care and college education, and expanded entitlements. She would raise investment and personal income tax rates (paid by many small businesses) to finance all of this.

Hillary has been parading around a study by economist Mark Zandi of Moodys, which claims that this fairy dust will mean happy days are here again. He claims millions of new jobs and billions in added output. But Mr. Zandi has been one of the wrongest economists in America for the past decade.

If we could spend our way to prosperity, then the last 16 years — when the federal debt nearly quadrupled — would be looked back on much more fondly.

ATHLETES AND CONCUSSIONS: Keep playing or come out? This article discusses a comparative study of the recovery times of high school football players who suffered concussions in contact sports.

High school athletes who kept playing in the minutes after a concussion took nearly twice as long to recover as those who left the game immediately after the head trauma, a new study shows…The sample included 35 athletes who were removed from games right after getting a concussion and compared their symptoms and recovery to 34 athletes who kept playing in the game or match after taking a hit. The study found that players who stayed in the game after head trauma took an average of 44 days to recover. By comparison, athletes who left a game immediately after signs of concussion took only an average of 22 days to recover. While there were no meaningful differences in recovery time among girls or boys, and no differences by sport, that may be because of the size of the study. Researchers say that while the sample size was small and involved just one clinic, the results clearly highlight the importance of physical and cognitive rest promptly following concussion.

Additional point: “The study authors acknowledged that their data did not show whether the athletes who kept playing following concussion suffered additional head impacts or simply continued physical exertion.”

THAT MEANS IT’S WORKING: ObamaCare coverage options disappearing across country, report finds.

The Kaiser Family Foundation study found that overall, 31 percent of counties will have just a single insurance option within the Affordable Care Act exchanges. That’s up from 7 percent this year — and underscores a problem many analysts have been warning about for years.

Further, about six in 10 counties could have two or fewer marketplace insurers in 2017, with the “bulk of the increase in single-insurer counties” the result of UnitedHealth Group’s exit, the study, released Sunday, reveals.

Indeed, six years after ObamaCare was signed into law, America’s major medical insurers, concerned about their own bottom line, have started to pull the plug on a variety of services and options available to consumers. Citing major losses, the top five insurers – Humana, Anthem, Aetna, UnitedHealth Group, and Blue Cross Blue Shield – have threatened to pull out of the exchanges and have selectively started to do so in many counties.

In other words, by next year nearly a third of American counties will already be on virtual single-payer.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Hillary Clinton’s use of BleachBit avoided ‘money trail’ in email destruction.

GANGSTER GOVERNMENT: Union Admits ‘Blacklist’ Rule Gives Them New ‘Leverage’ Against Companies.

When President Barack Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order it was couched as promoting “safe, healthy, fair, and effective workplaces.”

Under the order, and the new final regulations and guidance issued August 25, federal contractors must disclose mere allegations of federal labor violations, potentially locking them out of federal contracts without giving them a chance to challenge the charges.

But improving workplace safety or insuring compliance with the 14 laws and executive orders wasn’t the real motivation for the E.O.

If you pull back the curtain it is clear the order has nothing to do with improving federal contracting and everything to do with giving unions more tools for them to use against employers.

One of the key objections the U.S. Chamber has made all along about the president’s Executive Order is that it would hand the administration’s friends in the organized labor movement a powerful new tool for harassing and pressuring employers into rolling over to their demands.

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

August 29, 2016

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

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

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

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

JUSTICE: Ohio raises alcohol limit for beer this week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope they’re not transmitting a cookbook.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Can American Colleges Be Fixed?

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

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

Do tell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I REMEMBER MINE: Everyone Remembers Their First Bike.

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

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

GOSH, I HOPE SO!

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE TRUE STORY OF DR ZHIVAGO’S LARA.

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

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

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THE FOUNDERS MEET Brand X.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was ever in?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heh, indeed.™