September 23, 2017

BRIAN LEITER: USD Law Dean Stephen Ferruolo should either resign or issue a public apology.

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SO THIS IS KIND OF BIG: Clergy and Lay Scholars Issue Filial Correction of Pope Francis: The initiative, the first time such a mechanism has been used since the Middle Ages, accuses the Pope of “propagating heresies” and respectfully asks that he teach the truth of the Catholic faith in its integrity. “The filial correction, the first to be made of a reigning Pontiff since Pope John XXII was admonished in 1333, is divided into three main parts.”

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Middle school teacher arrested for having sex with student — again. “A former middle school gym teacher in Georgia was arrested for the second time this year for having sex with a student.”

SARAH HOYT: The Left Wants Supermen to Rule, But They Aren’t Even Giants.

There comes the time of the most despicable man, who can no longer despise himself. Lo! I show you the Last Man. (To coin a phrase.)

MICHAEL WALSH: Farewell to the NFL.

But if you ask this former fan, the rot runs deeper. Football, which is practically the state religion in Texas and across the South, used to be closely tied up with patriotism and love of country. The militaristic component of the sport, which was presented as akin to war, appealed especially to red-state dwellers. But sportscasters and sportswriters are overwhelmingly leftist in their outlook, and their eagerness to turn Kaepernick into a civil-rights icon has repelled a sizable section of football’s core audience — and one that, by the current evidence is growing.

Tomorrow is going to be fascinating. Choose wisely, Roger Goodell and team owners.

DYING IS EASY, COMEDY IS HARD: Jerry Seinfeld Breaks Down a Joke. For the Netflix special Jerry Before Seinfeld, the comedian opens his archives; Here he dissects what’s funny about cereal.

I watched it last night — it’s surprisingly apolitical, and not surprisingly very funny. This Wall Street Journal article explores just how much craftsmanship goes into what look like a spontaneous performance.

FASTER, PLEASE: New antibody attacks 99% of HIV strains.

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THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Science says: Yes, your dog really does love you.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Trump’s NFL Protest Comments are why Trump is President:

He takes a commonly held sentiment — most people don’t like the NFL protests — and states it in an inflammatory way guaranteed to get everyone’s attention and generate outrage among his critics. When those critics lash back at him, Trump is put in the position of getting attacked for a fairly commonsensical view.

Of course, NFL owners firing players on the spot for protesting isn’t necessarily common sense, but this is where “seriously, not literally” comes in.

There is another option, besides firing a player:

An odd controversy briefly dominated the sports pages in March 1996. A player in the National Basketball Association, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, refused to follow the league’s rule requiring that players stand in a “dignified posture” during the national anthem. Instead, since the beginning of the 1995-96 season, Abdul-Rauf had remained seated during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.

A black, 27-year-old former Baptist from Mississippi who had converted to Islam in 1991, he declared that as a Muslim, he could not pay homage to the American flag – which he called a “symbol of oppression, of tyranny.” He argued further that the flag directly contradicted his Islamic faith: “This country has a long history of [oppression]. I don’t think you can argue the facts. You can’t be for God and for oppression. It’s clear in the Koran. Islam is the only way.”

The NBA responded firmly, suspending Abdul-Rauf until he agreed to obey league rules. He missed one game, then capitulated. Two factors probably weighed most heavily on him: losing a cool $31,707 for each game missed, and facing wide opposition to his decision from other Muslims.

What’s prevented the NFL from doing the same? Instead, we get more mush from the wimp in response to Trump’s statement last night:

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fired back at President Trump on Saturday for encouraging league owners to remove players who take a knee during the national anthem, saying Trump’s “divisive comments” show “an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.”

“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture,” Goodell said in a statement. “There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month.”

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

Yes, if there’s one thing Trump doesn’t understand, it’s professional football. It’s not like he ever owned a pro sports team or anything.

FILE – In this March 8, 1984, file photo, Donald Trump shakes hands with Herschel Walker in New York after agreement on a 4-year contract with the New Jersey Generals USFL football team. The New Jersey Generals have been largely forgotten, but Trump’s ownership of the team was formative in his evolution as a public figure and peerless self-publicist. With money and swagger, he led a shaky and relatively low-budget spring football league, the USFL, into a showdown with the NFL. (AP Photo and caption.)

SPEED UP THE DESTRUCTION OF THE NFL: Dem calls for all NFL players to kneel during national anthem.

RISE OF THE MACHINES: A Chinese Robot Has Performed the World’s First Automated Dental Implant.

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YOU CAN MODEL THE EFFECTS OF A NUCLEAR DETONATION OF VARIOUS SIZES with the NukeMap tool.

Related: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

EXERCISE: Quality Trumps Quantity.

TIME TO SHUT DOWN THE NFL: Attorney: Tests show Aaron Hernandez had CTE.

STEPHEN KRUISER: What is a “Republican” anymore?

Good question, although I suspect you’d get a better answer in places like Texas, Utah, or Ohio than in Washington, D.C.

GLOBAL WARMING UPDATE: ‘It’s kind of a weather roller coaster’: On last day of summer, California hit by snow, hail. “The first snow of the season came just four months after Sugar Bowl’s last ski season ended with nearly 800 inches of snowfall. . . . The snow has come about a month earlier than usual.”

Note: This is just weather, not climate. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, though are definitely climate, not weather.

OH: Iran Tests New Ballistic Missile, State Media Reports.

It has enough range to reach Israel and enough payload for a nuke.

SEX, MEN AND POLITICS: The Insta-Wife with Andrew Klavan.

IF ONLY THERE WERE SOME WAY TO KILL MOSQUITOES CHEAPLY AND IN LARGE NUMBERS: ‘Super malaria’ spreads in South East Asia.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Left-Wing Causes, Like Frankenstein’s Monster, Have Escaped Their Chains.

Three strange incidents occurred in recent weeks. Nancy Pelosi was “shouted down by immigration activists for trying to strike Dreamers deal with Trump.” Hillary Clinton’s book received disappointing reviews from the left, and former FBI director James Comey was heckled at Howard University. “Go home Comey, you’re not our homey.” The audience was turning on its performers. All were signs the once reliable Blue Model is misfiring.

Time magazine … offer a brutal assessment concerning the direction of the Democratic Party. One rallying cry from the Left is that Clinton lost because she … wasn’t left wing enough. Every time the party has gone this way in national elections, they’ve lost in a landslide. … to win back the House, to redraw congressional maps favorable to the Left—you need to rebuild the party apparatuses in the rural areas, which have all but disintegrated.

In a classic case of the law of unintended consequences, identity politics is undermining globalism instead of being its tool.

Read the whole thing, in which Richard refrains from so much as a single, well-deserved “I told you so.”

WELL, YES: School choice is crucial for African-American students’ success.

Here’s what I need to say to them, to the people of this nation, to people of color — I am involved in the school choice movement because the future of my life and your life depends upon it. Starting the state’s first charter school was one of the most significant accomplishments of my life. Because of our willingness to look beyond traditional divisions and leave beyond our tendency to only work with those with whom we are comfortable, our children of color are closing the achievement gap. African-American students in charter schools are scoring 4% higher on reading tests than those in traditional public schools and Florida charter school students are more likely to attend college. Hispanic students do 12% better than their peers at traditional public schools. These are but two of the many indicators that point to increased success for students of color because their families were empowered to find schools that better met the needs of their children.

Far too many people and organizations, like the NAACP, refuse to acknowledge this. Their recent recommendations to curb charter schools, reduce their numbers and their independence, are wrong, and they expect falsely that all people of color should follow their lead because the color of your skin should dictate who you believe. I have worked a lifetime to change this misperception, to help people see that good policies for our kids do not have a color.

“They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.”

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HEH:

OH THANK GOODNESS: Graham Says Friendship with McCain Won’t be Hurt By ‘No’ Vote on Health Bill.

POLL: Why is Trump’s approval improving? I think Hillary’s book tour reminded people of the bullet we dodged.

VALERIE PLAME WILSON HAS A LOT OF ANTI-SEMITE COMPANY ON THE LEFT.

That tape of Obama at the party for former PLO advisor Rashid Khalidi that the L.A. Times has been sitting on since 2008 must be spectacular.  

HMM. PAST A CERTAIN POINT, YOU DO NEED CLEAR REGULATION FOR SELF-DRIVING CARS, but honestly given the nonstop hacking I’m deeply skeptical that vehicle-to-vehicle communications is a good thing.

BEYOND JOLT: Travelers warned about meth-laced soda in Mexico.

LIKE THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI, THEIR APPEAL HAS BECOME MORE SELECTIVE, AND FOR GOOD REASON. What the heck happened to the Democrats’ fundraising?

OBAMA’S WATERGATE: Six months later, CNN confirms what was widely reported — and ignored on the left — last March. “Vladimir Putin did not hack the election. Barack Obama did. . . . The all-smoke-no-fire Russia investigation looks increasingly like a smoke screen aimed to put out a very different fire. Rather than an investigation into malfeasance by the Trump campaign, does the Robert Mueller inquiry serve as a clean-up operation to justify Obama administration malfeasance? The bugging of the opposition party’s presidential campaign, at least when done by Republicans, ranks not only as criminal but as the biggest political scandal in American history. . . . The Obama administration using the considerable powers of the federal government to spy on a hated critic’s campaign sets a dangerous precedent. It provides future administrations a means to infiltrate the innermost circle of the opposition party’s presidential campaign. This merely requires the pretext of wrongdoing to engage in wrongdoing.”

ANDREW MCCARTHY: Mueller Scorches The Earth: His pre-dawn raid was meant to intimidate Manafort, not just to collect evidence.

Though that doesn’t seem to have worked. Mueller should be fired. His operation is staffed with Dem partisans and leaks like a sieve. It’s a disgrace.

ASHE SCHOW: DeVos Ditches Obama-Era Campus Assault Rules, But Problems Lie Ahead. “Even with the new guidance, some college presidents and states have declared they will continue to follow the Obama-era guidelines. In January, a panel of college presidents agreed with the parts of the Obama-era guidance that have become so controversial. John Jasinski, president of Northwest Missouri State University, said his school would continue to use the Obama-era guidance regardless of what DeVos did. Just last week, the California legislature passed a bill that would codify the Obama-era guidance for the state. Gov. Jerry Brown will likely sign.”

Yes, it’s a war on male college students out there. Which perhaps explains declining male enrollment. And getting rid of a bad policy is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for change. DeVos will have to force fairness, not merely permit it.

MICHAEL BARONE: A split in the party, a return to normal.

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the president seems out of alignment, on policy and political goals, with his party in Congress. This strikes many as an anomalous, even alarming situation. But if you look back in history, it’s more like the norm, even if Donald Trump isn’t.

The current presidential/congressional alignment began in January 1998, when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke into the news. For several years before that, President Clinton engaged in what was called triangulation, positioning himself on issues between his party’s liberal congressional leaders and the conservatism of Speaker Newt Gingrich.

His collaborations with Gingrich resulted in serious bipartisan legislation — welfare reform, a child’s healthcare and Medicare package, and balanced federal budgets. In the process, Clinton pointedly ignored House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt. That ended when Clinton needed solid Democratic support on impeachment for lying under oath about his Lewinsky affair.

A lot ended then.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Astonishingly, the 2016 Clinton campaign conducted no state polls in the final three weeks of the general election and relied primarily on data analytics to project turnout and the state vote. They paid little attention to qualitative focus groups or feedback from the field, and their brief daily analytics poll didn’t measure which candidate was defining the election or getting people engaged.

The models from the data analytics team led by Elan Kriegel got the Iowa and Michigan primaries badly wrong, with huge consequences for the race. Why were they not then fired? Campaign manager Robbie Mook and the analytics team argued, according to Shattered, that the Sanders vote grew “organically”—turnout was unexpectedly high and new registrants broke against Clinton. Why was that a surprise?

Campaign chair John Podesta wanted to fire Mook, but Clinton stood by him. She rightly admired previous campaigns in which big data and technology were big winners, yet in 2008 it was the candidate and his appeal more than the technical wizardry that pushed Obama over the top. David Axelrod told me that analytics adds a “great field-goal kicker”—no substitute for a strategy and compelling message.

* * * * * * *

 

Clinton and the campaign acted as if “demographics is destiny” and that a “rainbow coalition” was bound to govern. Yes, there is a growing “Rising American Electorate,” but Page Gardner and I wrote at the outset of this election, you must give people a compelling reason to vote and I have demonstrated for my entire career that a candidate must target white working-class voters too.

I’m sure if the campaign had gone with the “Because It’s Her Turn” slogan that would totally sold the deal.

THE HILL: Poll: Trump’s approval rating rebounds. “President Trump’s job approval rating has rebounded off its lows, as voters approve of the government’s response to a series of devastating hurricanes and the White House’s efforts to work with Democrats.”

I think the UN speech is a plus for him, too, though it was too late for this poll, I think.

IT’S ALWAYS NICE TO MAKE TWITCHY.

ERIC S. RAYMOND: “The South revolted to defend the indefensible of chattel slavery, and deserved its defeat. But once the war was won, the victors (both Northern and Southern Unionists) had to win the peace as well. It was not a given that the South would be reconciled to the Union; there was lots of precedent for the statesmen and the people of the era to look back on that suggested otherwise. The South could have become a running sore, a cauldron of low-level insurrection and guerilla warfare that blighted the next century of U.S. history. Instead, it is now the most patriotic region of the U.S. – as measured, for example, by regional origins of U.S. military personnel. How did this happen?”

WHY ARE DEMOCRAT MONOPOLY STATES SUCH CESSPITS OF RACISM? California’s Sexual Assault Law Will Hurt Black Kids.

USA TODAY’S FRONT PAGE WENT CRAZY OVER TRUMP’S SPEECH YESTERDAY, but Peggy Noonan sees it differently: Trump Gets Blunt at the United Nations Will bracing clarity make things better or worse? We’ll know soon enough. But he said things the world needed to hear.

It has been charged that Mr. Trump virtually ignored Russia, mentioning it only once, in thanks for supporting sanctions against North Korea. But he also said: “We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea.” That is not ignoring Russia. “We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture,” he said. “We must work together and confront together those who threaten us with chaos, turmoil, and terror.”

The most publicized section of the speech was on North Korea. He characterized its regime as “depraved,” “twisted,” a “band of criminals.” True enough. North Korea’s “reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles” cannot be allowed to continue. In the speech’s most famous flourish: “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” The U.S. “has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

Is this too hot, or helpful, or both? During the Cold War colorful candor produced a great deal. When Ronald Reagan was drop-dead blunt about the nature of the Soviet Union, foreign affairs was a high-stakes chess game between two superpowers. The context now is a less clearly demarcated world in which anyone with a weapon of mass destruction is, for the moment, a “superpower.” It’s hard to know if blunt talk will excite nuts into greater activity, or if bracing clarity about the risks they’re taking will slow them down, make them question their ambitions and intentions.

But the U.N. needed to hear clearly and unequivocally the gravity with which the American president views North Korea. Ultimately, as Mr. Trump noted, confronting this question is “what the United Nations is for.”

A great line—because it spoke a great truth—was this: “The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.” Mr. Trump then paused and looked at the audience. It struck some as a “please clap” moment. It struck me as a stare-down: I’m saying something a lot of you need to hear. You’re not going to like it, and I’m going to watch you not like it.

Two final points: One is that Mr. Trump is on a roll, a sustained one the past few weeks, and this is new. All levels of government performed well in the hurricanes. Mr. Trump showed competence, focus and warmth. His bipartisan outreach, however it ends, went over well with core supporters and others. He had a strong speech at the U.N., in fact a successful U.N. week, beginning to end. His poll numbers are inching toward 40%.

Which gets us to point two: This is a very important moment for him. History suggests he will ruin it any minute with intemperate statements, wiggy decisions or crazy tweets.

Is that what history suggests?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why, indeed?

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

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

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

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

Read the whole thing.

21ST CENTURY NEWS: Not All Parents Are Moms.

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

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

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

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

To ask the question is to answer it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s a lot of bad luck.

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

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

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

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

You don’t say.

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

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

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

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JIM GERAGHTY: The Unlearned Lessons of 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOHRAB AHMARI: The Case for Kurdistan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You don’t say:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PROCUREMENT: Xbox Marks the Spot.

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

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