Search Results

INTERESTING: Studies Point To Big Drop In COVID-19 Death Rates.

Two new peer-reviewed studies are showing a sharp drop in mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The drop is seen in all groups, including older patients and those with underlying conditions, suggesting that physicians are getting better at helping patients survive their illness.

“We find that the death rate has gone down substantially,” says Leora Horwitz, a doctor who studies population health at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and an author on one of the studies, which looked at thousands of patients from March to August. . . . Mateen says drops are clear across ages, underlying conditions and racial groups.

I’m prepared to believe that some of it’s better treatments, but it also looks as if a smaller proportion of cases are being hospitalized, which suggests that there’s more going on.

Related: The CDC’s Latest Antibody Data Confirm Huge Interstate Differences in COVID-19 Fatality Rates: The findings suggest that people infected in Connecticut were 10 times as likely to die as people infected in Utah or Oregon. “The latest data from antibody studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) across the country confirm that the death rate among Americans infected by the COVID-19 virus varies very widely from one state to another. The CDC’s prevalence estimates for August, combined with contemporaneous death counts, suggest that the infection fatality rate (IFR) was at least 10 times higher in Connecticut than in Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon, Tennessee, or Utah, for example.” People I know who’ve tested positive here have all had either mild or no symptoms. That’s not everyone, of course, but it’s something people around here are noticing in general and commenting on.

One explanation missing from this article is Vitamin D. But with days shortening, people’s Vitamin D levels will start falling, and by midwinter will be much lower. So if that’s it, well, take Vitamin D, at least.

JEFFREY TOOBIN INSPIRES THE POETS OF SOCIAL MEDIA: Here, for no good reason other than schadenfreude, is a sampling of some of the Bards of Facebook reacting to the monkey business of CNN and The New Yorker’s superstar :

Toobin and Louis CK
Played pocket pool all the long day
When his neighbor they seen her
And they pulled out their wiener
Now both of them wished they were gay.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that...

CNN had a lame legal hack,
Who chose an odd time to jack,
Whipped out and seen by all,
Who said “my that’s awfully small”
Now both dicks won’t likely be back.

I dunno, I’m betting he’s back inside 6 months…

Toobin was working on Zoom,
And he booked a nice sex cam room,
He was spanking his monkey
And the cameras got funky
And now his job just went boom.

That’s on the theory he was sex-camming and mixed his cameras up. Here, I think is the best of the bunch:

A horny old journo named Toobin
Was giving his willie some lubin’
While beating his meat
His joy was complete
Until he recalled he was Zoomin’

Use Burma Shave.

 

SO USA TODAY DIDN’T WANT TO RUN MY HUNTER BIDEN COLUMN THIS WEEK. My regular editor is on vacation, and I guess everyone else was afraid to touch it. So I’m sending them another column next week, and just publishing this one here. Enjoy! This is as filed, with no editing from USAT.

_____

BIG TECH BURNED BY BIDEN BLUNDER

Glenn Harlan Reynolds

In my 2019 book, The Social Media Upheaval, I warned that the Big Tech companies — especially social media giants like Facebook and Twitter — had grown into powerful monopolists, who were using their power over the national conversation to not only sell ads, but also to promote a political agenda. That was pretty obvious last year, but it was even more obvious last week, when Facebook and Twitter tried to black out the New York Post’s blockbuster report about emails found on a laptop abandoned by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

The emails, some of which have been confirmed as genuine with their recipients, show substantial evidence that Hunter Biden used his position as Vice President Joe Biden’s son to extract substantial payments from “clients” in other countries. There are also photos of Hunter with a crack pipe, and engaging in various other unsavory activities. And they demolished the elder Biden’s claim that he never discussed business with his son.

That’s a big election-year news story. Some people doubted its genuineness, and of course it’s always fair to question a big election-year news story, especially one that comes out shortly before the election. (Remember CBS newsman Dan Rather’s promotion of what turned out to be forged memos about George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service?)

But the way you debate whether a story is accurate or not is by debating. (In the case of the Rather memos, it turned out the font was from Microsoft Word, which of course didn’t exist back during the Vietnam War era.) Big Tech could have tried an approach that fostered such a debate. But instead of debate, they went for a blackout: Both services actually blocked links to the New York Post story. That’s right: They blocked readers from discussing a major news story by a major paper, one so old that it was founded by none other than Alexander Hamilton.

I wasn’t advising them — they tend not to ask me for my opinion — but I would have advised against such a blackout. There’s a longstanding Internet term called “the Streisand effect,” going back to when Barbara Streisand demanded that people stop sharing pictures of her beach house. Unsurprisingly, the result was a massive increase in the number of people posting pictures of her beach house. The Big Tech Blackout produced the same result: Now even people who didn’t care so much about Hunter Biden’s racket nonetheless became angry, and started talking about the story.

As lefty journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote in The Intercept, Twitter and Facebook crossed a line far more dangerous than what they censored. Greenwald writes: “Just two hours after the story was online, Facebook intervened. The company dispatched a life-long Democratic Party operative who now works for Facebook — Andy Stone, previously a communications operative for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, among other D.C. Democratic jobs — to announce that Facebook was ‘reducing [the article’s] distribution on our platform’: in other words, tinkering with its own algorithms to suppress the ability of users to discuss or share the news article. The long-time Democratic Party official did not try to hide his contempt for the article, beginning his censorship announcement by snidely noting: ‘I will intentionally not link to the New York Post.’”

“Twitter’s suppression efforts went far beyond Facebook’s. They banned entirely all users’ ability to share the Post article — not just on their public timeline but even using the platform’s private Direct Messaging feature.”

“Early in the day, users who attempted to link to the New York Post story either publicly or privately received a cryptic message rejecting the attempt as an ‘error.’ Later in the afternoon, Twitter changed the message, advising users that they could not post that link because the company judged its contents to be ‘potentially harmful.’ Even more astonishing still, Twitter locked the account of the New York Post, banning the paper from posting any content all day and, evidently, into Thursday morning.”

This went badly. The heads Facebook and of Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, are now facing Senate subpoenas, the RNC has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, arguing that Twitter’s action in blacking out a damaging story constituted an illegal in-kind donation to the Biden Campaign, and most significantly, everyone is talking about the story now, with many understandably assuming that if the story were false, it would have been debunked rather than blacked out.

CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted: ”Congrats to Twitter on its Streisand Effect award!!!” Big Tech shot itself in the foot, and it didn’t stop the signal.

Regardless of who wins in November, it’s likely that there will be substantial efforts to rein in Big Tech. As Greenwald writes, “State censorship is not the only kind of censorship. Private-sector repression of speech and thought, particularly in the internet era, can be as dangerous and consequential. Imagine, for instance, if these two Silicon Valley giants united with Google to declare: henceforth we will ban all content that is critical of President Trump and/or the Republican Party, but will actively promote criticisms of Joe Biden and the Democrats.

“Would anyone encounter difficulty understanding why such a decree would constitute dangerous corporate censorship? Would Democrats respond to such a policy by simply shrugging it off on the radical libertarian ground that private corporations have the right to do whatever they want? To ask that question is to answer it.”

“To begin with, Twitter and particularly Facebook are no ordinary companies. Facebook, as the owner not just of its massive social media platform but also other key communication services it has gobbled up such as Instagram and WhatsApp, is one of the most powerful companies ever to exist, if not the most powerful.”

He’s right. And while this heavyhanded censorship effort failed, there’s no reason to assume that other such efforts won’t work in the future. Not many stories are as hard to squash as a major newspaper’s front page expose during an presidential election.

As I wrote in The Social Media Upheaval, the best solution is probably to apply antitrust law to break up these monopolies: Competing companies would police each other, and if they colluded could be prosecuted under antitrust law. There are also moves to strip them of their immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects them from being sued for things posted or linked on their sites on the theory that they are platforms, not publishers who make publication decisions. And Justice Clarence Thomas has recently called for the Supreme Court to revisit the lower courts’ interpretation of Section 230, which he argues has been overbroad. A decade ago there would have been much more resistance to such proposals, but Big Tech has tarnished its own image since then.

Had Facebook and Twitter approached this story neutrally, as they would have a decade ago, it would probably already be old news to a degree — as Greenwald notes, Hunter’s pay-for-play efforts were already well known, if not in such detail — but instead the story is still hot. More importantly, their heavy handed action has brought home just how much power they wield, and how crudely they’re willing to wield it. They shouldn’t be surprised at the consequences.

(Bumped).

UPDATE: Can’t stop the signal: It’s front-paged at PJM.

FILTER: Man denied German citizenship for refusing to shake woman’s hand. “A German court ruled on Friday that a Muslim man who refused to shake the hand of a woman should not receive German citizenship. The 40-year-old Lebanese doctor, who came to Germany in 2002, said he refuses to shake women’s hands for religious reasons. . . . The court found that anyone who refuses to shake hands on gender-specific grounds is in breach of the equality enshrined in the German constitution. In addition, the man’s refusal in this case had the effect of lending validity to a ‘Salafist perspective’ on the social ramifications of relations between men and women.”

I’m sensing a hardening of attitudes in Europe. I suspect this is fallout from Trump’s peace deal, which requires the Saudis, et al., to stop supporting hardline Islamists.

BLEG–WINDOWS MOVIEMAKER WON’T CONVERT FROM WLMP FORMAT [SOLVED!]: Windows MovieMaker is an old, discontinued, easy to use program to make videos and slideshows. I used it two years ago, it was glitchy, but I was familiar with it, so I used it again to create a montage, mostly pictures with a few short video clips, about 9 minutes long. It made the montage (with some captions and a musical background) just fine, but absolutely refuses to convert the project into a usable format. I’m posting the problem here because I couldn’t find a solution, and an answer would help me and others. I am using Windows 7. I tried loading a new copy of the program. I tried deleting the video clips in case MM was having trouble with the .mov format. I tried saving to .MP4. I tried saving to .WMV. I tried saving to Facebook and Youtube. The program just acts like it’s going to do something, but gets stuck at 0/100%.

I tried downloading converters that claim, falsely, that they accept WLMP format. I tried an online program that did convert the file to .MP4, but not in a way that will actually allow it to play.

At this point, I’ve spent more time trying to resolve this than it would take to create a new montage with a different program. But if anyone has a solution, let me and the rest of the world know in the comments. Thanks.

THE SOLUTION: For whatever reason, MM didn’t like the music files I had added to the montage. Having deleted those files, I was able to save the montage in .MP4, and now I can put the the music back in via another program. UPDATE: I converted my .MP3 files to .WAV, and that solved the problem entirely. So, if you are reading this and have the same problem, first thing to do is to see if you are have any .MP3 files in your video, MM apparently doens’t like them.

I’M SO OLD I REMEMBER WHEN PUTTING LARGE SUMS OF DARK MONEY INTO POLITICS WAS INHERENTLY CORRUPT: Liberal Donors Pass Millions in Secret Election Cash Through Sixteen Thirty Fund.

JAMES LILEKS: How to vote with absolute safety?

Vote from Home! The envelope said. It was my application for an absentee ballot. Absentee? I’m right here! Two blocks from the polling place.

When I read the letter, I was surprised how out-of-touch the government is. If I understand this correctly, I fill out the form, and then I have to mail it. Really? In this GrubHub/Postmates/Amazon world, they can’t send someone to get it? Maybe one of those Boston Dynamic robot dogs you see on the internet, trotting through the neighborhood with pouches full of ballots?

Sorry, no. The first time I voted it was in a church basement. The machine was old and clanky, and looked like something they used in 1956 to calculate nuclear missile trajectories. You stepped inside, pulled the curtains around you, made your selections and pulled a big metal lever: ca-clunk, like flushing a brick.

Someone in the church upstairs was practicing on the organ, big slabs of Bach chords festooned with treble filigrees, and as I pulled that lever I thought: “This is a glorious privilege. Also, I wish I knew more about those judge candidates.”

Now the voting booth is like a plastic TV dinner tray. But I still prefer it to voting by mail.

Indeed. Read the whole thing.™

CHINOOK SUNSET: A U.S. Army Chinook on a mission at sunset. Here’s some background on the CH-47F and CH-47D models. It includes this observation: “CH-47s will still be at work in the 2060s. The CH-47 will end up serving about 100 years.” Additional photo: A CH-47 in action with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan.

UPDATE: I’m told the StrategyPage certificate issue was fixed as of 12:15 pm CDT. It was not a hack. Thanks to the commenters who noted the problem.

JUST SO LONG AS THEY ARRIVE ABOUT THE TIME I’M TOO OLD TO DRIVE MYSELF. WHICH SHOULD GIVE THEM SEVERAL DECADES. Tesla’s new battery tech promises a road to a cheap self-driving electric car.

HOW DO YOU DO, FELLOW KIDS? Vice Presidential Nominee Kamala Harris Names 2Pac as the ‘Best Rapper Alive.’

People are once again asking: Does Kamala Harris actually know who 2Pac is?

During the NAACP’s virtual convention Friday, the vice presidential nominee was asked who she believed was the “best rapper alive.”

“2Pac,” Harris said. CNN commentator Angela Rye, who moderated the event, quickly corrected the California senator, reminding her Pac has been dead for over two decades. “He’s not alive! You said, ‘He lives on…,’ Rye responded.

“I keep doing that,” Harris said with laugh. “Listen, West Coast girls think 2Pac lives on. I’m with you,” Rye added. “So 2Pac, keep going.”

As Mark Steyn writes, pandering to pop culture has a tendency to backfire on leftists:

Tucker and I started with Joe Biden playing “Despacito” on his cellphone to an Hispanic audience and then mulled more generally the desperate relationship between politicians and pop stars over recent decades:

The incident Steyn called ‘the gold standard’ of pandering was a 1998 encounter between Gore and grunge artist Courtney Love in which the Tennessee Democrat claimed to be a ‘big fan’ of hers.

To her credit, Courtney, the founder and lead singer of Hole, was having none of it. “Yeah, right,” she sneered. “Name a song.”

As any campaign consultant can tell you, the Politician’s First Rule of Holes is: When you’re in one, stop digging. Al Gore introduced us to a Second Rule: When you’re with one, stop pretending to dig her.

Heh, indeed.™

I WOULDN’T JUDGE. FOR ALL I KNOW THEY ARE FINED THROUGH THE NOSE IF THEY DON’T WEAR THE D*MN THING:  Paladin’s AMERICAN GOMORRAH ™ “City of Sheep” Edition.

Here in Colorado, I can’t go shopping without one, and I’m never sure if some place will let me go in with the visor. I’ve also been told that the fact I become dangerously asthmatic after wearing a mask means I should stay home and “order in.”

Separate but equal. Apparently that whole ADA act, that forced stores and public establishments to install ramps and change their bathroom setups? Yeah. It doesn’t mean anything when democrats and their paid media want to get a good panic on.

I’M SO OLD I KNEW THE ’80S BEFORE THEY WERE HISTORY:  New ‘historical’ American Girl doll is from way back in the ‘80s.

SALENA ZITO: The forgotten counties will make their voices heard.

Miller did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016; he didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, either. He said he is a retired insurance manager and does not like what he sees coming from the party he has been a part of his adult life. “I just get tired of the game-playing that the Democrats are doing. Everything’s just so disgusting today. Something has to change. Well, something’s going to change,” he said.

“I’m afraid something’s going to break out here, and I’m pretty sure it will,” he said. He said he’s concerned what happened to patrons having dinner at an outside cafe in Pittsburgh when protesters swarmed them will find its way here and other bucolic settings across the country. “I am tired of what I am seeing.”

Miller is not alone. For the first time that anyone could remember, Cambria County is no longer dominated by Democratic voter registrations. They lost that dominance quietly on Labor Day weekend when Pennsylvania Department of State registration numbers showed Republicans having 37,951 registrations and Democrats holding 37,826.

Four years ago, Democrats still dominated by 12,000 registrations. Eight years ago, it was nearly double that. Despite the lead in registrations, both Trump and Mitt Romney prevailed over their Democratic rivals in this county.

Yet it was not that long ago that then-candidate Barack Obama won here over Republican John McCain and not that long ago that Democrats had a 30,000-voter registration advantage over Republicans.

Change.

HMM: China celebrates safe landing of secretive spacecraft as ‘important breakthrough.’

Very little is known about the spacecraft, including even its basic design. There are no picture or renders of the craft, but there have been rumors it is a spaceplane similar to the Air Force’s X-37B. A Chinese military source told the South China Morning Post they could not provide details on the mission but that “maybe you can take a look at the US X-37B.”

The X-37B is a spaceplane roughly a quarter the size of America’s Space Shuttle orbiters, a series of spaceplanes that were launched into orbit from rockets between 1981 and 2011, and were able to glide back to Earth and land on runways to be repaired and reused. The X37-B follows the same basic operation but is always uncrewed. The US Air Force describes the X37-B as an “experimental test program” that is being used to demonstrate reusable space technologies.

The relatively abrupt test of the mysterious Chinese craft may surprise some, but it tracks with the country’s ambitions to create reusable spaceplanes, says Andrew Jones, a freelance journalist who follows China’s space program. Jones told The Verge last week: “There’s lots of interest in China in spaceplanes.” He added: “They’ve said that they’re going to do this, and they seem to be doing it kind of somewhat on schedule.”

More to come, I’m sure.

I’M SURE WE’LL BE TOLD THAT LAST WEEK’S SOCIAL-JUSTICE MARCH HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS: UT football scrimmage canceled, 44 players unable to participate.

UPDATE: Confidence, college football and how to beat COVID-19.

I’M SURE THE RUGGERS FIND CRITICISM FROM “DOZENS OF ACADEMICS” HURTFUL, BUT HOPE THEY’LL SOLDIER ON IN SPITE OF THE PAIN: World Rugby criticised by dozens of academics for trans women ban.

YUGE: Trump Administration Brokers Serb-Kosovo Deal — With Normalized Israel Relations.

I’m so old I still remember when Trump was a foreign policy bumbler who was going to get us into a bunch of new foreign wars.

HOW THE SAUSAGE IS MADE: Clay Travis writes:

As soon as the Washington Post told me they wanted to do a story on Outkick I knew what was coming.

The usual far left wing smear job to try and make me — and Outkick — look awful.

Been there, done that.

In fact, all of you knew what was coming as well. As a prelude to the story I polled you guys on Twitter and asked if I’d be painted in a positive light.

[Tweet omitted from quote – Ed.]

30k of you voted in my Twitter poll and a whopping 94% of you said the story wouldn’t paint me — or Outkick — in a positive light. The public is not dumb, they know the sports media has picked a side and I’m not on the “right” side so I don’t get positive media coverage.

I know this too.

But the reason I agreed to participate in the story was because I thought you guys would enjoy a behind the scenes perspective to illuminate just how biased hit pieces like this are. So I decided to record every minute of my conversation with the Washington Post reporter and post the portions of our conversation he decided to use as quotes to demonstrate how fundamentally artificial and devoid of context those quotes truly were.

As the Insta-Professor has said, always record your interview.

Update (From Charlie): I’ve disabled the link for now — it’s apparently been hijacked.

The home page for outkick.com works, but the story link has the same problem. I’m trying to notify them.

IS THE NEW YORK TIMES A LIBERAL NEWSPAPER? OF COURSE IT IS:

I’m so old, I remember when the only thing that leftist journalists openly admitted not being objective about was global warming.

(Wait until Nikole Hannah-Jones discovers how one of her predecessors at the Times eschewed the daylights out of objectivity when it came to covering an actual dictator — and like Jones, copped a Pulitzer for his efforts.)

Flashback: News Pages, Editorial Pages — Who Can Tell the Difference Any More?

Related: 1619 Project author: ‘It would be an honor’ to call these the 1619 riots.

(Classical reference in headline.)

CHARLES LIPSON: Joe Biden’s Three Risky Choices. “That Biden was willing to leave home on short notice, fly to a swing state, and speak out about the rioting is the clearest indication yet that the election is tightening. Discussing the violence is one of three big, difficult decisions Biden faces as the campaign heats up. Each entails significant risks for a candidate who must hold together a fractious coalition and avoid major gaffes.”

Lipson has some sharp analysis, but I’m still left with one question: Big decisions?

Biden can barely read other people’s words off a teleprompter.

IVY LEAGUE? MEH, YEAH, BUT IT’S ONLY PENN: Penn profs push to probe Trump’s admission to Ivy League.

I’m so old I can remember when it was conspiracist — and racist! — to mention Obama’s never-seen college transcripts. But that’s different because #OrangeManBad.

I’VE BEEN IN THIS SITUATION BEFORE. IT WAS ANOTHER COUNTRY, I WAS YOUNGER. EVEN THEN IT’S PROBABLY A MIRACLE I’M ALIVE.  THIS HAPPENS TO ME? I’M NOT GOING TO LIFT ALOFT THE FIST THAT’S THE SYMBOL OF THE REGIMES THAT KILLED AT LEAST 100 MILLION HUMAN BEINGS. YES, THE FIST MEANS COMMUNISM. EVEN IF THEY TELL YOU IT’S BECAUSE THEY CARE SO MUCH ABOUT BLACK LIVES. TO ME IT IS THE EQUIVALENT OF BEING TOLD TO GIVE A NAZI SALUTE.  SO THIS HAPPENS TO ME, I DIE WITH BOTH MIDDLE FINGERS ALOFT:  DC BLM Mob Harasses White Diners, Demanding They Raise Fists In Solidarity.

Telling you the fist is black power or concern for black lives, is like telling you the nazi salute is because you want to pet kittens. I will not sully myself with either gesture.

WOMEN ARE UNLIKELY TO GET AN UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS PREFERENCE IF PROPOSITION 209 IS REPEALED:  I’m told that one of the arguments that polls best for the repeal effort in California is that it will help women get into college.  Perhaps I should point out that women aren’t having any difficulty getting into college.  They are “over-repressented” and a repeal of Proposition 209 will not result in general preferences for women at the undergraduate admissions level.  It may even result in a preference for men.

THEY’RE ALSO IRRESISTIBLE TO WOMEN, I’M TOLD: E-Bikes Are All the Rage. Should They Be?

Just the other day I sent one of my fitness-oriented colleagues — who hates E-Bikes — a link to one called “The Babymaker.” His reply: “Hahahahaha first of all that seat is the baby killer if you go by sperm count. Second there is little less sexy than an ebike.”

NEW CIVILITY WATCH: BLM Mob Beats Piñatas of Minneapolis Police Union Chief and His Wife Outside His Home.

I’m so old, I can remember when the media was absolutely obsessed with what they perceived to be violent political imagery. What changed?

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Late Night Propaganda: Noah, Fallon and Colbert Hail Harris. “Biden’s VP selection sparks fresh wave of Trump ‘jokes’ from the usual suspects.”

I’m so old I remember when comedy was funny.

On reflection, that has me feeling quite old right now.

REMEMBER WHEN THEY TOLD US THAT REPUBLICANS WERE A BUNCH OF PRUDES LIKE THAT PREACHER IN FOOTLOOSE? UMass Democrats Bar a 31-Year-Old Progressive Gay Candidate for Dating College Students: To the extent that the accusations against Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse get into specifics, they’re pretty dubious. “It’s impossible to fully parse the accusations, since the statement discusses them only in vague terms—which is itself a problem. But they appear to rest on the bizarre notion that 18- to 21-year-olds cannot consent to sex with someone who is a decade older and more established than they are.”

I’m fine with this if you also don’t let them vote.

Related, from Facebook:

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN JOE STILL POSED AS A MODERATE: Americans Reject Joe Biden’s Radical Suburbs-Crushing Housing Rule in a New Poll.

OLD AND BUSTED: ‘I’m Not A Witch,’ Republican Candidate Christine O’Donnell Tells Delaware Voters.

The New Hotness? ‘I’m not a communist:’ Potential Biden running mate Rep. Bass reassures Cuban American voters.

Bass may have her work cut out for her, particularly in Florida: Trump Ad Ties Biden to Fidel Castro as Dem Considers Former Castro Sympathizer for VP.

UPDATE: Karen Bass eulogized Communist Party USA leader.

Awesome vetting by team Biden.

(Updated and bumped.)

THE CENTER HOLDS: Focus Groups Show Midwest Swing Voters Solidly Behind Trump. “Pollsters are consistently telling us Democratic nominee Joe Biden is far ahead. I’m not looking to pick a fight, as their sample sizes are much larger than mine. That said, as a focus group moderator, I’m hearing strong support for President Donald Trump from a critical sliver of the electorate.”

As always, don’t get cocky.

MOST PEOPLE WANT A VACCINE BUT ONLY IF SOMEBODY ELSE TESTS IT FIRST:  Most people won’t take COVID-19 vaccine in first year.

Or the second. Or the third. Or the fourth. I’m very leery of a vaccine for the common cold, okay? Which is a coronavirus, just like this one.  And when you tell me the vaccine is made by China?  yeah. No.

VITAMIN D UPDATE: Vitamin D helps the body fight coronavirus, major Israeli study claims.

Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern of Bar Ilan University told The Times of Israel on Sunday that vitamin D is “like a steroid,” after publishing what she says is the world’s largest population-based study of its kind.

She embarked on the joint study with Leumit Health Services to probe whether there is a basis to suggestions — heard throughout the pandemic — that vitamin D may prove helpful.

Her team studied a 7,807-strong sample of Israelis who were tested for the coronavirus. It found that the average vitamin D level for people who screened negative was in the internationally-accepted “adequate” range, while the average for those who tested positive fell in the “inadequate” category.

Vitamin D levels of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood are considered inadequate.

Frenkel-Morgenstern said that people in her sample who tested negative were, on average, within the adequate range, showing a mean vitamin D count of 21 nanograms per milliliter. Those who tested positive were, on average, under the adequate level, with a mean vitamin D count of 19 nanograms per milliliter.

People who went on to be hospitalized after their test had a lower mean vitamin D count: 17 nanograms per milliliter.

Related: More evidence that lack of Vitamin D is linked to Covid 19 severity.

Also: Northwestern Univ.: Vitamin D appears to play role in COVID-19 mortality rates.

Plus: Patterns of COVID-19 Mortality and Vitamin D: An Indonesian Study. A Facebook friend’s succinct summary of the findings in this study: “Just under half (49.7%) of cases had normal vitamin D status, and only 4% of them died. Just over a quarter (27%) had insufficient vitamin D status, and most of them (88%) died. Just under a quarter (23%) had deficient vitamin D status, and almost all of them (99%) died.”

The study calls anything over 30 ng/ml as normal Vitamin D; my doctor prefers in the neighborhood of 60.

And, as the researcher says, this calls into question policies of closing beaches and parks and encouraging people to stay indoors. I’d suggest that President Trump recommend that people supplement vitamin D and spend time outdoors, but I’m sure if he did the press would tell us that it’s deadly poison, and that even a few minutes of direct sunlight will cause your body to spontaneously combust.

I HANG MY HEAD IN DESPAIR FOR MY PROFESSION: So I’m reading along in Roll Call reporter Jennifer Shutt’s story today on House passage of four spending bills that have little or no chance of passage in the Senate. It’s all the usual legislative blah-blah about billions in this bill, more billions in that one, amendments accepted, amendments defeated, growing concerns, etc. etc.

Then I read the last sentence: “There’s also broad frustration about the Trump administration’s decision to send federal officers, dressed in military-style uniforms, to Portland and Chicago to confront mostly peaceful protestors.” (Emphasis added).

How does such a falsehood make it into a news report presented as a credible, factual account of events on Capitol Hill? Perhaps (and it’s so faint a possibility as to be nearly invisible) Shutt has been too busy to watch any of the countless videos of sustained, organized and increasingly lethal Antifa/BLM violence directed against federal officers and property in Portland and Chicago.

But why didn’t one of her editors catch that glaring error? Has nobody on Roll Call’s copy desk seen the violence? It’s hard not to conclude that this is a disgusting illustration of left-wing narrative presented as credible news journalism. Worst of all, it’s likely the approach she learned in j-school.

I’m old enough to remember when writing a falsehood like that in a story draft more than once would get you canned because every news organization realized its most precious asset was its credibility with readers.

HISTORY DOESN’T REPEAT ITSELF, BUT IT OFTEN RHYMES:  ON Friday, the rioters went after the Columbus statue in Chicago’s Grant Park.  They didn’t succeed.  But I’m a Chicago girl, so I’m livid.

A number of people keep comparing our present situation to the Weimar Republic.  Since I am not exactly the world’s leading expert on the Weimar Republic, I asked my go-to guy for absurdly detailed knowledge of “commies and nazis”–my friend and colleague Maimon Schwarzschild–how apt the analogy is.  Here is his detailed answer:

Germany’s Weimar Republic (1919-1933) was a deeply troubled state throughout much of its 14 year existence. It came into being with defeat in World War I; it was seen by many Germans, especially those on the political Right, as an illegitimate creature of the Versailles Treaty. It endured hyperinflation in the early 1920s, demilitarisation and some loss of territory, persistent unemployment, and an especially harsh experience of the world economic depression after 1929. It was plagued with violence and political street fighting, carried on by what amounted to private armies associated with the political parties in Germany.

There were at least four such private armies: the Communist force (“Rotfront” or Red Front); the Social-Democrats’ Reichsbanner; the “Stahlhelm” or Steel Helmet – a right-wing but originally non-Nazi armed veterans’ troop; and the Nazi SA (“Sturmabteilung” or Storm Troops).

These private armies – and other similar but more ephemeral forces – fought street battles with each other at various times during the 1920s and early ‘30s. There were short-lived take-overs of cities and towns, and attempted coups like the right-wing Kapp Putsch in 1920 and the Nazi Beer-Hall Putsch in 1923. There were local Communist takeovers after the War and in the early 1920s, usually suppressed by right-wing “Freikorps” – unofficial right-wing brigades. (My grandfather Fritz Schwarzschild was a member of the Soviet which ruled Strassburg for about ten days, until chased off by the French Army which recaptured the city after World War I.)

Continue reading ‘HISTORY DOESN’T REPEAT ITSELF, BUT IT OFTEN RHYMES:  ON Friday, the rioters went after the Columbus…’ »

SO I HAD A FLAT TIRE YESTERDAY. I hit a pothole and it literally tore the sidewall. Naturally I had to change it on the hottest day of the year, and although it took only about 15 minutes, I was roasting since the pavement must have been 120 degrees. (Happily, I had thought to put a large rubber mallet in with the spare tire, as even after the lug nuts were off it took a bit of “persuasion” to remove the wheel.)

This is my second flat tire in over 20 years, and my last one was about a year ago. Both were from normal road hazards — the one last year was literaly from a sharp rock. My tires are Continental Sport Contact SUV tires and they handle well in all conditions, but I’m thinking they’re a bit fragile.

Because of the heat, I was tempted to leave it to AAA, but when I called them I had to sit through — literally* — five minutes of recorded announcements, mostly on coronavirus precautions, before I got to the part where they told me that due to a high volume of calls (really?) it would be 20 minutes before anyone could answer, so I gave up. Kind of disappointing, but it wasn’t really any trouble to do it myself, except for feeling like a stoker on an old-fashioned steamship by the time I was done. I think having given blood on Thursday made me feel the heat more. Anyway, lesson: Keep a “persuasion tool” in the trunk.

*In the comments I am accused of the unpardonable sin of using the word “literally” figuratively. In fact, it was literally five minutes, by the call timer on my phone. It just went on and on, though to be fair I cursed loudly at one point, which may have reset something.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Longtime columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan resigns from New York magazine.

Columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan is leaving New York magazine, his professional home since 2016, he announced Tuesday.

“This will be my last week at New York Magazine,” Sullivan tweeted. “I’m sad because the editors I worked with there are among the finest in the country, and I am immensely grateful to them for vastly improving my work. I’m also proud of the essays and columns I wrote at NYM – some of which will be published in a collection of my writing scheduled for next year.”

Sullivan did not directly state his reason for leaving but said on Twitter that it was “pretty self-evident” and the “broader questions involved” would be discussed in his last column on Friday.

New York editor in chief David Haskell confirmed Sullivan’s resignation in a memo to staff obtained by CNN Business.

* * * * * * * *

“I am trying hard to create in this magazine a civil, respectful, intellectually honest space for political debate,” Haskell said. “I believe there is a way to write from a conservative* perspective about some of the most politically charged subjects of American life while still upholding our values. I also think that our magazine in particular has an opportunity to be a place where the liberal project is hashed out, which is to say not only championed but also interrogated.”

Or as Seth Mandel of the Washington Examiner tweets, “Translation: I want to challenge our reader base but I don’t know how to do that without challenging our reader base,” adding, “that feeling when you thought you were publishing far-right-wing ideas because you hired Jon Chait.”

* If Obama and Kerry supporting faux-conservative Andrew Sullivan can’t make it at the former home of Tom Wolfe, I’m not holding my breath for Sullivan to be replaced by an actual conservative anytime soon.

PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO HOLD THE MORAL HIGH GROUND ABUSE A GRIEVING DAUGHTER: Teenage daughter of one of two Texas cops shot dead in ambush deletes emotional tribute to her ‘hero’ father after backlash for using #bluelivesmatter in the post.

The teenage daughter of a Texas cop killed in an ambush over the weekend was slammed by critics online after posting a moving tribute to her father that included the hashtag #bluelivesmatter.

Savannah Chavez, the grieving daughter of Officer Ismael Chavez, 39 – one of two cops fatally gunned down in McAllen on Saturday – uploaded the post just hours after her father’s death.

‘Words cannot describe the pain I’m in, but I’m glad my dad is at peace. You were an amazing man and anyone who ever came across you knew that,’ Savannah had written. ‘I’m going to miss you so much. You died doing what you loved most, you died a hero. I love you daddy, see you soon. #bluelivesmatter’

But within minutes, the 18-year-old began receiving messages of contempt from people online criticizing her for using a ‘racist’ hashtag – causing her to delete the post all together.

‘Being a cop is a choice. Lmao and last time I checked, blue people don’t exist. Maybe educate yourself?’ one person replied.

‘Blue lives matter was literally created in response to and to undermine black lives matter. There’s no other connotation unfortunately,’ added another.

A third person wrote to Savannah insisting, ‘Blue lives matter was literally created in response to and to undermine black lives matter. There’s no other connotation unfortunately.’

‘I am so sorry for your loss but you didn’t have to use a racist hashtag,’ added another, who later identified herself as a high school student.

Others even tweeted Savannah the names of people killed by police officers in other areas of the country.

Don’t worry folks, your fame isn’t over. Donald Trump will be quoting your tweets between now and the election. When he mentions your names, you’ll complain about being “bullied.” But you bullied a teenager with a murdered dad, and no amount of sloganeering will change that.

Flashback: “At the beginning, pretty much the whole country was united in horror at what happened to Floyd, and a desire to do something about it. Then the Red Guard came in and started rioting, attacking and dividing people. If people do things that keep us from coming together as a nation and solving our problems, maybe it’s because they don’t want us to do that.”

WELL, GOOD: COVID-19 blood test may predict patient ventilator need. I’m so old I can remember when ventilators were all we talked about, before it turned out that there was no shortage, and that most people on them died anyway.

“THAT’S A COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS STATEMENT!” SHOULD BE THE DEFAULT RESPONSE TO PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING FREDO SAYS. CNN’s Cuomo vs. St. Louis Home Defender: You Are The Face Of “White Resistance” To Black Lives Matter.

“How do you feel about becoming the face of political resistance to the Black Lives Matter movement?” was Cuomo’s first question.

“First of all, that’s a completely ridiculous statement,” McCloskey responded. “I’m not the face of anything opposing to Black Lives Matters movement. I was a person scared for my life who was protecting my wife, my home, my hearth, my livelihood. I was a victim of a mob that came through the gate. I didn’t care what color they were. I didn’t care what their motivation was. I was frightened. I was assaulted and I was in imminent fear that they would run me over, kill me, burn my house.”

McCloskey continued, “To give you context, on June 2nd, I watched the city burn, I watched the 7-11 get smashed in, looted and burned for 40 minutes on live television with nobody showing up to do anything. I realized at that time, we’re on our own, when bad things happen, they unpredictably turn really bad, really fast. That same night, retired St. Louis Police Captain David Dorn was murdered. These things get very bad very quickly. And when those people came through the gate, when it was a mob, I didn’t take the time to see their birth certificates or anything else, I was defending my life, my house, my wife and what I spent 32 years building there.”

Throughout the interview, Cuomo continually doubted McCloskey’s fear that his and his wife’s lives were at risk and attempted to poke holes in how much of a security threat the protesters actually posed. He told Cuomo the reason why the protesters weren’t able to get the steps of his home is not because they weren’t going to loot it, it is because he and his wife brandished their weapons. . . .

Cuomo attempted to portray the mob that broke a private gate to gain entrance as peaceful demonstrators on their way to protest St. Louis mayor Lyda Krewson that happened upon McCloskey’s property. McCloskey said the mayor lives more than a half a mile away and the mob was in a gated community that did not provide access to the mayor’s house.

Luckily for the Democrats, elections are seldom decided by suburban voters.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: I’m leaving Seattle for Texas so my employees can be free: Billion dollar business owner.

Say, when is Texas going to get serious about Glenn’s welcome wagon proposal?

SOME PEOPLE SAY THAT THAT STRATEGY — PROTECTING THE OLD AND OTHERWISE VULNERABLE — SHOULD HAVE BEEN OUR FOCUS ALL ALONG. I’m beginning to think they were right.

Also the mass protests, and all the gatherings, shared vehicles, etc., leading up to them and afterward — though I’m assured by the “public health experts” that Magic Diversity Science makes those things harmless.

NO, SHE’S MERELY EXPOSING IT. Media fret: Kayleigh McEnany undermining journalism ‘credibility.’

In the Columbia Journalism Review, Bill Grueskin rapped McEnany for her tactics…His top complaint seems to be McEnany’s criticism of the media, a tactic he said she uses to pivot from questions she doesn’t like.

“Gamblers would call such an episode ‘the tell.’ McEnany demonstrated that her goal isn’t to respond directly to these questions, or even to engage in a dialogue about journalistic ethics. It is to throw up so much chaff into the media’s radar that even the most basic critique is deprived of meaning,” huffed the professor.

I’m so old, I can remember when leftists approved of deconstructionism.

THERE’S NO IQ TEST TO BE A COLLEGE PRESIDENT: Public university president retracts statement that ‘hate speech’ is punishable ‘by law’ – sort of.

Nicholls State University President Jay Clune warned the community earlier this month that the taxpayer-funded institution would punish those who commit “hate speech” with the “swiftest, harshest action allowed by law.”

He went even further, implying it was illegal for any member of the community to speak or act “in a manner that does not support our values.” Not just violate those values – failure to support them.

Clune got a warning last week from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for promising to violate the First Amendment rights of the entire community. The civil liberties group said he could “expose the university to needless civil liability” if NSU tried to enforce his sweeping directive.

Without admitting he was wrong, Clune told local newspaper Houma Today that he wasn’t speaking in legal terms when he made the unconstitutional threat and falsely claimed the public university could take legal action against students for nonthreatening speech.

I’m tired of taxpayer-funded apparatchiks claiming authority to say what “our values” are and demanding that everyone abide by them.

Plus: “Clune’s sort-of walkback makes no sense, according to a FIRE blog post Tuesday. ‘After all, it was his own email to students on June 6 that promised the swiftest and harshest action allowed ‘by law’ for offensive speech,’ wrote Bill Rickards, communications coordinator.”

I’M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER LAST MONTH WHEN HE WAS A SEX SYMBOL, BUT YOU’RE NOT SEEING MUCH OF HIM NOW: What If I Trust Science and Don’t Trust Dr. Fauci? Neither Fauci, nor our Health Experts™ in general, have covered themselves with glory.

DEMOCRACY DIES IN DOXXING: The Washington Post’s Halloween Costume Hit Job Is a New Low for Cancel Culture.

Brace yourself before diving in, because this is one of the worst newspaper articles of all time. Between the elite media navel-gazing, the smug sanctimony of the cancelers, the absurd one-sidedness of the narrative structure, the spirit of revenge taken to an odious extreme, it’s hard not to come away feeling nauseated. Unfortunately, it’s so emblematic of the rising dual trends of activist journalism and unforgiving progressivism that I’m going to go into some detail here.

The article is titled “Blackface incident at Post cartoonist’s 2018 Halloween party resurfaces amid protests.” Resurfaced? How? Did it surface once, and is now surfacing again? Already we’re shifting responsibility because the only reason this incident is “surfacing” at all is that the Post lacked the courage to tell the two women pictured in the article’s photo that this particular story was not newsworthy.

These two are Lexie Gruber and Lyric Prince. Gruber is a 27-year-old management consultant, and Prince is a 36-year-old artist. The Post photographed them for the story in Washington D.C.’s Malcom X park, where they appear as bold truth-tellers. Their truth is that they are still mad at an older white woman who didn’t understand that her costume wasn’t funny, and they want revenge.

 And getting a great photo out of their revenge, which is what really counts.

Related: The WaPo editor behind the Megyn Kelly blackface story has a history of outing random people.

CLASS WAR: Consider this passage:

The class war in our country is business class vs. first class; in automotive terms, it’s E-Class vs. S-Class. Everybody’s comfortable. And that produces some odd outcomes: Nobody’s going to do one goddamned thing about how they conduct business in Philadelphia or Chicago or any other corrupt, Democrat-dominated city, but there are going to be some “new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility,” and we are going to be treated to — joy of joys! — a deep national discussion on whether some Broadway stars don’t have it quite as good as other Broadway stars. The bloody-snouted hyenas have looked up from the kill just long enough to announce the creation of the Goldman Sachs Fund for Racial Equity.

It’s always the same thing: Our newspapers are full of intense interest in Harvard’s admissions standards but have very little to say about New York City’s dropout rate. People can’t help being fascinated with themselves and their peers. If you want to know what is on the minds of the leaders of the American ruling class, it’s no secret. They’ll tell you, if you ask — and if you don’t.

George Floyd is still dead. Jacob Frey is still mayor of Minneapolis. Medaria Arradondo is still the chief of police. More than a third of black students will drop out of high school in Milwaukee. But Forbes has announced a change in its in-house stylebook and will henceforth honor the woke convention of uppercase Black vs. lowercase white. And George Floyd is still dead. Jacob Frey is still mayor of Minneapolis. Medaria Arradondo is still the chief of police.

Oh, but they got James Bennet, the opinion editor at the New York Times. And surely that is something? It is, indeed, a very useful illustration of the E-Class vs. S-Class divide. Bennet was fired after purportedly endangering the lives of black Times staffers — a charge no mentally normal adult actually takes seriously — by publishing a guest column about the riots and the Insurrection Act by Senator Tom Cotton. The campaign to end Bennet did not come from America’s poor black communities as the workers of the world looked up, stunned, from page A24 of the New York Times — the venom came straight and undiluted from 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y., with Bennet’s underlings and juniors more or less putting him on an ice floe and pushing him out to sea.

Bennet was pushed out on behalf of marginalized black Americans, which necessitated that Bennet immediately be replaced by . . . a well-off white woman who went to Georgetown and Columbia and won a Pulitzer Prize for writing about that great loathsome theater of American middle-class anxiety: restaurants.

I’m reminded of what Kenneth Anderson said about the Occupy movement:

In social theory, OWS is best understood not as a populist movement against the bankers, but instead as the breakdown of the New Class into its two increasingly disconnected parts. The upper tier, the bankers-government bankers-super credentialed elites. But also the lower tier, those who saw themselves entitled to a white collar job in the Virtue Industries of government and non-profits – the helping professions, the culture industry, the virtueocracies, the industries of therapeutic social control, as Christopher Lasch pointed out in his final book, The Revolt of the Elites.

The two tiers of the New Class have always had different sources of rents, however. For the upper tier, since 1990, it has come through its ability to take the benefits of generations of US social investment in education and sell that expertise across global markets – leveraging expertise and access to capital and technological markets in the 1990s to places in Asia and the former communist world in desperate need of it. As Lasch said, the revolt and flight of the elites, to marketize themselves globally as free agents – to take the social capital derived over many generations by American society, and to go live in the jet stream and extract returns on a global scale for that expertise. But that expertise is now largely commodified – to paraphrase David Swenson on financial engineering, that kind of universal expertise is commodified, cheaply available, and no longer commands much premium. As those returns have come under pressure, the Global New Class has come home, looking to command premiums through privileged access to the public-private divide – access most visible at the moment as virtuous new technology projects that turn out to be mere crony capitalism.

The lower tier is in a different situation and always has been. It is characterized by status-income disequilibrium, to borrow from David Brooks; it cultivates the sensibilities of the upper tier New Class, but does not have the ability to globalize its rent extraction. The helping professions, the professions of therapeutic authoritarianism (the social workers as well as the public safety workers), the virtuecrats, the regulatory class, etc., have a problem – they mostly service and manage individuals, the client-consumers of the welfare state. Their rents are not leveraged very much, certainly not globally, and are limited to what amounts to an hourly wage. The method of ramping up wages, however, is through public employee unions and their own special ability to access the public-private divide. But, as everyone understands, that model no longer works, because it has overreached and overleveraged, to the point that even the system’s most sympathetic politicians understand that it cannot pay up.

The upper tier is still doing pretty well. But the lower tier of the New Class – the machine by which universities trained young people to become minor regulators and then delivered them into white collar positions on the basis of credentials in history, political science, literature, ethnic and women’s studies – with or without the benefit of law school – has broken down. The supply is uninterrupted, but the demand has dried up. The agony of the students getting dumped at the far end of the supply chain is in large part the OWS. As Above the Law points out, here is “John,” who got out of undergrad, spent a year unemployed and living at home, and is now apparently at University of Vermont law school, with its top ranked environmental law program – John wants to work at a “nonprofit.”

Indeed. Plus, just a reminder: In America, class war is disguised as cultural warfare, and cultural warfare is usually cloaked in talk of race.

Related: A New Class Problem.

SO I FINISHED JERRY POURNELLE’S MAMELUKES THE OTHER NIGHT, and it was very enjoyable. I felt it matched the standards of the earlier books in the series, and brought things to a satisfying conclusion that nonetheless left the possibility of a sequel open, just in case.

I’m now reading Taylor Anderson’s latest Destroyermen novel, and it’s holding up well, too. The series has sprawled so much that sometimes the story trees get lost in the plot forest, but he’s doing a good job here of keeping things focused on the viewpoint characters.

JOEL KOTKIN: The Rebellion of America’s New Underclass:

Like so many before them, our recent disorders have been rooted in issues of race. But in the longer run, the underlying causes of our growing civic breakdown go beyond the brutal police killing of George Floyd. Particularly in our core cities, our dysfunction is a result of our increasingly large, and increasingly multi-racial, class of neo-serfs.

Like its Medieval counterpart, today’s serf class consists of the permanently marginalized—like the peasants of feudal times, these people are unlikely to move to a higher station. This does not only apply to the residents of our ghettos and barrios. Many of our young people, white and otherwise, appear to have little or no hope of attaining the usual milestones of entry into the middle class—gaining a useful and marketable skill, starting a small business, or buying a home or other property.

Throughout much of the 20th century, this aspiration was very much alive as more and more people, including racial minorities and immigrants, entered the middle ranks. Now, in contrast, the doors are slamming shut for millions of Americans.

This trend has been made worse by the lockdowns surrounding the pandemic. Almost 40% of those Americans making under $40,000 a year have lost their jobs. The unemployment rate of those with less than a high-school diploma jumped from 6.8% on the month to 21.2%. For college graduates, it rose from 2.5% to 8.4%. Salaried workers have been laid off at roughly half the rate of hourly workers.

The biggest drops in hiring have been concentrated in recreation and travel, largely “personal contact” jobs that employ many low-wage workers. Employment in this sector has dropped 70% while remaining remarkably stable throughout the public sector and in such fields as computer networking.

Many young people, including college graduates, are now often employed in these low-wage industries. They are suffering the largest share of our job losses for any age group. In a new report, Data for Progress found that a staggering 52% of people under the age of 45 have lost a job, been put on leave, or had their hours reduced due to the pandemic.

This class of underemployed and unemployed youths appears to be represented among the rioters and looters that took advantage of peaceful and legitimate protests. Particularly telling has been the role played by predominately white radicals—whom Mike Lind hilariously labels “riot ninjas.” Although often emerging from largely privileged backgrounds, radicals—whether part of anti-fa or just freelance—can be seen as putting into action the political indoctrination they imbibed in college and, increasingly, even earlier.

The agenda of the new activists is nothing less than a total assault on the bourgeoisie. . . .

The most distinctive element of these disorders has been the intelligentsia’s almost wholly unqualified embrace of what urban historian Fred Siegel calls “the riot ideology.” This ideology holds that arson, looting, and even assault are legitimate and justifiable activities. Leftist outlets such as Slate, Vox, and Mother Jones excuse such violence “a reasonable reaction” to outrage over the Floyd murder. They imply that anyone who labels these disturbances as “riots” is clearly racist.

It has been still more amazing to see riot ideology embraced by top law enforcement officials such as Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and echoed by remarkably inept Mayors like Minneapolis’s Jacob Frey. Generally, the progressives have been unwilling to confront the role of largely white, anarchist groups, like Antifa, whose mostly youthful members can be seen on videos egging on violence—even against the objections of African-American protestors.

As a millennial friend observed, the people in her circle who are most into activism seem to be those whose careers are going badly. The activism gives them a feeling of importance, and a kind of respectability.

I’m reminded of what Kenneth Anderson said about the Occupy movement:

In social theory, OWS is best understood not as a populist movement against the bankers, but instead as the breakdown of the New Class into its two increasingly disconnected parts. The upper tier, the bankers-government bankers-super credentialed elites. But also the lower tier, those who saw themselves entitled to a white collar job in the Virtue Industries of government and non-profits – the helping professions, the culture industry, the virtueocracies, the industries of therapeutic social control, as Christopher Lasch pointed out in his final book, The Revolt of the Elites.

The two tiers of the New Class have always had different sources of rents, however. For the upper tier, since 1990, it has come through its ability to take the benefits of generations of US social investment in education and sell that expertise across global markets – leveraging expertise and access to capital and technological markets in the 1990s to places in Asia and the former communist world in desperate need of it. As Lasch said, the revolt and flight of the elites, to marketize themselves globally as free agents – to take the social capital derived over many generations by American society, and to go live in the jet stream and extract returns on a global scale for that expertise. But that expertise is now largely commodified – to paraphrase David Swenson on financial engineering, that kind of universal expertise is commodified, cheaply available, and no longer commands much premium. As those returns have come under pressure, the Global New Class has come home, looking to command premiums through privileged access to the public-private divide – access most visible at the moment as virtuous new technology projects that turn out to be mere crony capitalism.

The lower tier is in a different situation and always has been. It is characterized by status-income disequilibrium, to borrow from David Brooks; it cultivates the sensibilities of the upper tier New Class, but does not have the ability to globalize its rent extraction. The helping professions, the professions of therapeutic authoritarianism (the social workers as well as the public safety workers), the virtuecrats, the regulatory class, etc., have a problem – they mostly service and manage individuals, the client-consumers of the welfare state. Their rents are not leveraged very much, certainly not globally, and are limited to what amounts to an hourly wage. The method of ramping up wages, however, is through public employee unions and their own special ability to access the public-private divide. But, as everyone understands, that model no longer works, because it has overreached and overleveraged, to the point that even the system’s most sympathetic politicians understand that it cannot pay up.

The upper tier is still doing pretty well. But the lower tier of the New Class – the machine by which universities trained young people to become minor regulators and then delivered them into white collar positions on the basis of credentials in history, political science, literature, ethnic and women’s studies – with or without the benefit of law school – has broken down. The supply is uninterrupted, but the demand has dried up. The agony of the students getting dumped at the far end of the supply chain is in large part the OWS. As Above the Law points out, here is “John,” who got out of undergrad, spent a year unemployed and living at home, and is now apparently at University of Vermont law school, with its top ranked environmental law program – John wants to work at a “nonprofit.”

Indeed. Plus, just a reminder: In America, class war is disguised as cultural warfare, and cultural warfare is usually cloaked in talk of race.

Related: A New Class Problem.

WELL, SHE IS 80: Nancy Pelosi Knelt in Deference to Black Lives Matter. Then … Oops.

I’m so old I can still remember when it was “Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights.”

This whole bending the knee thing is so much like kowtowing to authority that I’d almost swear it’s another import from China.

CRYBULLIES CLAIM ANOTHER SCALP: NY Times editorial page editor James Bennet resigns amid staff fury over Tom Cotton op-ed.

The New York Times announced Sunday that Editorial Page Editor James Bennet is resigning — amid reports of anger inside the company over the publication of an op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton about the George Floyd unrest last week.

Bennet had apologized late last week after previously defending the piece, titled, “Send in the Troops.” Cotton, R-Ark., called for the government to deploy troops to help quell riots and looting that emerged amid the anger over Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody last month.

“The journalism of Times Opinion has never mattered more than in this time of crisis at home and around the world, and I’ve been honored to be part of it,” Bennet said in a statement. “I’m so proud of the work my colleagues and I have done to focus attention on injustice and threats to freedom and to enrich debate about the right path forward by bringing new voices and ideas to Times readers.”

Fired for publishing an op-ed written by a Republican senator espousing an opinion held by the majority of the American public, or to put it another way, doubleplus ungood crimethink:

In a 2018, review of Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s The Coddling of the American Mind, Quillette contributor Matthew Lesh asked, “Is Safetyism Destroying a Generation?

Yes, and they’re now collecting plenty of scalps from the older generation as well along the way.

UPDATE: Heh, indeed:

Meanwhile, over in the “news” division of the Gray Lady: “Journalism is dead. That fact was made abundantly clear by New York Times staff writer and founder of the factually-inaccurate 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones in an appearance on the CNN’s so-called ‘Reliable Sources’ Sunday, where she argued that the media couldn’t legitimately treat the Republican Party fairly because they were a ‘rogue’ organization and being fair would be ‘picking sides.’”

The New York Times morphed so slowly into the Daily Kos, I hardly even noticed.

I’M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER WHEN ALL CARS DID THAT: 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo Demands Driver Involvement.

LOOK, I’M BEING REASONABLE HERE. I’M WILLING TO NEGOTIATE. YOU TOOK AWAY PLUTO. YOU HAVE TO GIVE US SOMETHING! OTHERWISE ALL THAT OLD PULP WITH THE FEDERATION OF NINE PLANETS STARTS TO LOOK MIGHTY FUNNY:  Many Astronomers Now Think Planet Nine Might Not Exist After All, Here’s Why.

SO I HAVE A NEW STORY UP. KIND OF. THIS CALLS FOR A STORY ON THE STORY, SO PULL UP A ROCK: Twenty two years ago, my husband had a traveling job, five days a week.  I was home with a six year old and a tthree and a half year old, six days a week. I was going slightly insane, cleaning, cooking and trying to break into publishing.
So, of course, I needed a hobby. Something I could do after the kids were in bed.
…  I know. Writing! But this time without the “will they accept me?” pressure.  I decided to go for fanfic, but since I rarely watch TV, I had trouble finding fanfic where I knew the original work.  Until I found various Jane Austen fanfic sites.

Over the next three? four? years I made some friendships that last to this day, and also learned more about writing than I learned in any workshop.  If you’re observant, you see from comments what is hitting, what is going over the readers’ heads, and what makes a big impact.

About three months ago, I realized I could now sell fanfic (this is proof I’m slow. I mean, I read a lot of JA fanfic when stressed, so I should know) and had a couple of stories finished and a few near-finished at a free site.  So I contacted the admin and asked her to remove them from site so I could publish.

Okay, back on:
THIS IS THE FIRST JANE AUSTEN FANFIC I EVER WROTE.  ALSO, I WASN’T ON ANY KIND OF DRUG, AND WASN’T EVEN DRINKING WHEN I WROTE IT.  YES, THIS ASSURANCE IS NECESSARY.What if He Were to Pick Me: A Pride And Prejudice Variation With A Dash of Insanity.

What if Mr. Darcy, trying to avoid the appearance of being lofty and proud, so far mistook himself as to be charmed by Lydia Bennet?
How long could the fair strumpet lady hold his interest? How would Elizabeth Bennet feel about it?
As all the Bennet sisters fall into the strangest of relationships, you’ll fear you lost your mind. But you haven’t. Just grab your sweetie and a whip – in case of unruly pillows – and hire a Bennet coach to Gretna Green. They have the best carriages, and guarantee no one will catch you.
Then hold on to your hat. You’re in for the ride of your life.

 

JAMES BOVARD ASKS AN EVERGREEN QUESTION: Will the Political Class Be Held Liable For What They’ve Done?

And the evergreen answer: When has it ever been? “Shutting down entire states, including vast uninfected rural swaths, is the economic equivalent of burning witches or sacrificing virgins to appease angry viral gods. Because politicians have no liability for the economic damage they inflict, they have no incentive to minimize the disruptions they decree. . . . Even New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who callously compelled nursing homes to accept COVID patients, will have no legal culpability for a policy that contributed to more than 5,000 nursing home deaths in his state. Pennsylvania Health Czar Rachel Levine issued a similar order, contributing to thousands of nursing home deaths, and then removed her own 95-year-old mother from a nursing home to keep her safe.”

I’m willing to cut people a lot of slack in dealing with something unprecedented on limited information. But so many of the actions were taken with so much asserted certainty about things that turned out to be wrong, because “science.”

SPACE: Elon Musk responds to claim he needs 10,000 missiles to terraform Mars. “The SpaceX CEO is not too concerned about reports that the firm would need a huge amount of missiles.”

If they mean warheads rather than missiles — the report is badly written enough to use the two interchangeably — then 10,000 is only about one-seventh as many as the US and USSR built during the Cold War.

Whatever the number is, I’m kind of looking forward to the day that Musk announces he’s a nuclear power, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were to happen soon.

YEARS AGO — THE YEAR OF THE FIVE HOUSE MOVES — OLDER SON AND I STOPPED BY THE GROCERY STORE.  WHILE I WAS RUNNING AROUND GATHERING ENOUGH TO MAKE DINNER, THEY DID THE ANNOUNCEMENT “IT’S TIME OF THE TOP OF THE HOUR WALK.”

SOMETHING MADE ME LOOK AT SON. HE WAS DOING THE ENTIRE MINISTRY OF SILLY WALKS, WITH ADDITIONAL SILLINESS. NOW EVERY TIME I HEAR THAT  ANNOUNCEMENT I LAUGH, EVEN IF I’M SHOPPING BY MYSELF:  Hilarious footage shows people performing their best silly walks in Monty Python inspired joke.

KRUISER’S MORNING BRIEF: ACLU Sues Due Process Champion DeVos. “This is the American Civil Liberties Union almost gleefully taking a legal stand against due process. DeVos’s revisions strengthened protections for the accused where none existed. Males on college campuses merely had to be accused to have their lives completely upended. In reality, the ACLU should have gotten involved earlier.”

I’m so old, I can remember when the ACLU was actually a civil liberties organization… which makes me older than I’d like to admit.

MICHAEL BARONE CALLED IT “GANGSTER GOVERNMENT” FOR A REASON: How Obama Administration shattered rule of law.

This week, former President Obama re-emerged from hibernation to lecture Americans about the threat to rule of law posed by the Trump administration. After Attorney General Bill Barr announced that the Department of Justice would be dropping its case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pled guilty to one count of lying to the FBI, Obama told his former aides, “our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk.” He explained, “There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free. … And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places.”

In reality, of course, Flynn was never charged with perjury. He was charged with lying to the FBI in the course of an investigation, a separate and far lesser offense, particularly given the fact that his alleged lie was immaterial to any underlying crime. In fact, as America found out over the past two weeks, Flynn wasn’t supposed to be the subject of any investigation at all: The FBI had decided to close an investigation into Flynn in January 2017, even after supposedly nefarious calls between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok — the same man who pledged to lover and former FBI attorney Lisa Page that Donald Trump would never be president and suggested an “insurance policy” against that possibility — then intervened to keep the investigation open.

The next day, during an Oval Office meeting, President Obama himself asked then-FBI Director James Comey about the Flynn-Kislyak communications. Next, Comey upped the ante: He avoided following normal FBI-White House protocols in order to interview Flynn, and Comey’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, avoided informing Flynn of his rights. Nonetheless, the FBI agents who conducted the interview suggested that they did not think Flynn was lying during that interview. As it turns out, notes between top FBI officials at the time said, “What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” Flynn would later plead guilty to one count of lying to the FBI — at least in part because the FBI was threatening his son with prosecution.

This should be a massive scandal. It should be a massive scandal because, at the very least, it demonstrates the nation’s chief law enforcement agencies, prompted by political actors at the very top of the government, racing to bend the rules in order to pursue a case they were convinced they would make: the case that the Trump campaign had conspired with the Russian government. From the purposefully botched Carter Page Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to the absurdly conjured prosecution of Flynn, the most powerful institutions in American life violated the protocols meant to restrict abuse, firmly secure in their own feelings of moral rectitude.

That’s the best-case scenario.

The worst-case scenario is far darker: that by early January, with no evidence of Russian collusion, leaders of the nation’s political and law enforcement agencies decided that guilt was irrelevant, and that the Trump administration had to be strangled in the crib.

Yeah, I’m not buying the best case.

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN JOE BIDEN WAS PORTRAYED BY THE MEDIA AS THE MODERATE DEMOCRAT IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE: Biden Taps AOC to Chair Campaign’s Climate Change Task Force.

After the Democratic presidential candidates’ apocalyptic-themed “climate change” town hall on CNN last year, PJM’s Bryan Preston wrote, “If you like Venezuela, voting for any of them will bring you a whole lot of Venezuela. Thank you, CNN, just for letting these people talk. Do it again next week? Please?”

I’M SENDING COVID-19 PATIENTS TO NURSING HOMES, BUT ALSO I’M PULLING MY MOM OUT:

This month a consortium of Mid-Atlantic newspapers under the USA Today Network detailed the policy in Pennsylvania and other states that’s ordering nursing homes to admit medically stable residents infected with the coronavirus.

Spotlight PA, a partnership between the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Harrisburg’s PennLive, also found evidence the Pennsylvania Department of Health drafted a quick strike plan to protect nursing homes in March, but never fully implemented it.

In the meantime, some facilities have become death traps. . . .

Levine was asked by a reporter Tuesday about her mother being moved out of a long-term care facility, Levine said she was allowing the wishes of her 95-year-old mother to move from a personal care home to a hotel.

Death is for the little people, and their parents.

IT WAS LEG DAY, so I squatted again. Stopped at 275, which killed me last week. This time it’s left me a bit sore, but not jelly like last time, when climbing the three steps from my garage to my house was a killer. The gym (Gold’s) was busier than last week, but still pretty empty. I’m getting used to working out in a mask, but lifting in one leaves me blown as if I’d had a cardio workout. As a result, I’m taking things easy. One of my doc friends said that since he’s worn a mask for hours in the OR, he thought people complaining about working out in one were just whining until he tried it. Nope! Totally different thing when you’re exerting yourself hard.

I’M SURE HIS SCHOLARLY WORK IN EPIDEMIOLOGY IS CAUTIOUS AND CORRECT: Yale prof promotes ‘Trump death clock,’ says COVID-19 ‘getting awfully close to genocide.’

Notice he’s not interested in Bill “take the subway to a theater” De Blasio. But when taxpayers tire of supporting this sort of thing, we’ll be told it’s because of “anti-intellectualism.”

I’M SURE CNN WILL EXPLAIN TO US WHY KILLING OLD PEOPLE IS GOOD: This nursing home disaster is on you, Gov. Cuomo.

Two weeks ago, Gov. ­Andrew Cuomo was first asked about his policy that forced nursing homes to admit ­patients infected with the coronavirus.

“That’s a good question, I don’t know,” the governor answered, turning to an aide.

On Tuesday, Cuomo was asked about a report from the Associated Press that his team had added more than 1,700 deaths to the count of those who died in nursing homes, bringing the total to at least 4,813.

“I don’t know the details, frankly,” the governor answered, turning to an aide.

Sgt. Schultz reporting for duty!

Cuomo is legendary for micromanaging and has been praised for his detailed daily briefings during the pandemic. He has closed schools, religious services and businesses because each human life is “priceless.”

So with known nursing home deaths representing 25 percent of all deaths in the state, it beggars belief that the governor didn’t know anything about his office’s fatal policy two weeks ago or the new death totals now.

As I said earlier, Trump has ruined the prospects of a whole cohort of Democratic governors simply by letting them govern.

OLD AND BUSTED: #believeallwomen.

The New Hotness? ‘I don’t want justice:’ Politico and Hill co-founder says he doesn’t want investigation allegations against Biden.

Martin Tolchin responded to a New York Times editorial board piece from Friday that urged the Democratic National Committee to investigate the allegations that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee sexually assaulted a former Senate aide, Tara Reade, in 1993.

The New York Times’s editorial board called on the DNC to “investigate the matter swiftly and thoroughly.” And noted, “As is so often the case in such situations, it is all but impossible to be certain of the truth. But the stakes are too high to let the matter fester — or leave it to be investigated by and adjudicated in the media. Mr. Biden is seeking the nation’s highest office.”

Tolchin, who also worked for the New York Times for 40 years, issued a letter to the outlet published Monday that said an investigation into Reade’s allegations would only hurt Biden’s chances of beating Trump in November.

“I totally disagree with this editorial. I don’t want an investigation. I want a coronation of Joe Biden,” Tolchin, 91, wrote. “I don’t want justice, whatever that may be. I want a win, the removal of Donald Trump from office, and Mr. Biden is our best chance.”

“At least he’s honest in his demand that journalists shouldn’t do their jobs,” Curtis Houck of NewsBusters adds.

If this was what a classic D.C. elite journalist was willing to publicly opine about Biden and Reade, imagine what his former colleagues still in the news business think. If it’s anything close to the hardened, willful corruption, then perhaps our media are irreparably broken.

Don’t worry though — I’m sure Tolchin was totally objective and non-biased back when he was at his desk as a journalist.

OLD AND BUSTED: Believe All Women.

The New Hotness? Pelosi On Difference Between Kavanaugh and Biden Allegations: ‘Joe Biden Is Joe Biden:’

“Well, let me just say I respect your question and I don’t need a lecture or a speech,” Pelosi said.

“Here’s the thing. I have complete respect for whole #Metoo movement, I have four daughters and one son. And there’s a lot of excitement around the idea that women will be heard and be listened to.

“There is also due process and the fact that Joe Biden is Joe Biden,” Pelosi said.

“Gotta love Pelosi chalking up these accusations as ‘Joe Biden is Joe Biden.’ you know, ‘DC’s favorite loveable groper everyone knows!’”, Stephen Miller tweets.

Related:

Biden Refuses to Release Senate Records that Could Shed Light on Sex Assault Claims, But His Operatives Were Sent to Look Through Them.
Why Won’t TV News Book Tara Reade?.
Joe Biden (Still) Hasn’t Faced A Single Question on Sexual Assault Allegations.

That could change tomorrow: “Biden will be on Morning Joe tomorrow, expected to be asked about Tara Reade, I’m told,” Ben Smith of the New York Times tweets. Since Morning Joe read a “correction” on-air emailed to the show by the Obama administration in 2009, I’m assuming Biden is getting the questions he’ll be asked and his talking points well lined up in advance. And can then proceed to the Obama-esque “this is old news” phase of spinning. (QED: The Anatomy of an Obama Scandal, in Six Easy Steps.)

Earlier: Joe Biden Exposes #MeToo Movement as Total BS.

I’M SORRY, BUT THE FDA DOESN’T HAVE THE POWER TO REGULATE BACKPACKS, just because they have a “stealth pocket” to hold E-cigarettes and might be used by teens. This is absurd overreach.

JUST IN CASE YOU WONDER WHY FREEZERS AND DRIED FOOD ARE SOLD OUT:  In their panic, the idiots in our government are creating a famine.

I’m hearing these stories from all over. It’s time to stop this panic or people will actually die. In the millions. Perhaps even in the US.

SCIENCE: Coronavirus Infections May Not Be Uncommon, Tests Suggest. “Two new studies using antibody tests to assess how many people have been infected with the coronavirus have turned up numbers higher than some experts had expected. Both studies were performed in California: one among residents of Santa Clara County, south of San Francisco, and the other among residents of Los Angeles County. In both cases, the estimates of the number of people infected in those counties were far higher than the number of confirmed cases.”

I hope this is true, and it’s consistent with some findings from Boston, but since I hope it’s true I’m going to withhold judgment until there’s more data.

I’M TOLD TENNESSEE’S “SAFER AT HOME” ORDER WILL EXPIRE ON APRIL 30.

UPDATE: Here’s a story. “Monday, Governor Bill Lee announced the order for Tennesseans to remain at home will expire April 30, with the majority of businesses in 89 counties allowed to re-open May 1. The commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health says there are now more recovered COVID-19 cases than active cases, plus additional (new) testing sites are coming soon.” Some businesses will open sooner. But social distancing protocols will remain.

The six bigger counties are working on a reopening plan that will be staged based on conditions there. Here in Knox things are good; not so good yet in Davidson (Nashville) or Shelby (Memphis) or a few others.

UCLA LAW DEAN JENNIFER MNOOKIN SHOULD RESIGN, AS SHE’S UNFIT TO HOLD HER JOB: UCLA Law apologizes for First Amendment scholar quoting n-word in class: Why does the dean have such a low view of her black students?

And students too fragile to hear the word “nigger” in a class about cases in which people use the word are too fragile to practice law. I’m happy that Eugene Volokh isn’t backing down, and he’s also right to criticize Wake Forest Law Dean Jane Aiken for attacking a professor who simply quoted Brandenburg v. Ohio.

Deans are supposed to support their faculty in challenging their students, not side with censorious pecksniffs. Those who don’t understand this shouldn’t be deans.

RELATED: Randall Kennedy: How a Dispute Over the N-Word Became a Dispiriting Farce: Since when is reading James Baldwin out loud in class an academic crime? Note that Kennedy mostly uses the polite term “the n-word,” which is what I started to do above, but also spells it out in full, as I also did, to illustrate what’s being said. I presume that he felt, as I did, that it would undermine the point to euphemize throughout.

NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR EXCUSES PAPER’S SLOW TARA READE COVERAGE: ‘Kavanaugh Was a Running, Hot Story.’ Evidently, the current presidential race doesn’t count:

This is deeply unpersuasive. The accusations against Kavanaugh were a “running, hot story” in part because the media covered them aggressively from the outset. Reade’s story might well be running and hot if the Times treated her as it treated Christine Blasey Ford.

Case in point: In the midst of the Kavanaugh cycle, Times columnist Michelle Goldberg thanked Ford for her heroism. Here was how Goldberg described Ford’s retelling of the incident with Kavanaugh: “Her soft voice cracked as she spoke. She smiled a lot; her attempts to make everyone see how agreeable and reasonable she is were heart-rending. But she was also poised and precise, occasionally speaking as an expert—she’s a psychology professor—as well as a victim. Watching her push through her evident terror was profoundly inspiring.” The column was titled “Christine Blasey Ford’s Sacrifice.”

Goldberg has now weighed in on Reade’s allegation. The words “hero” and “sacrifice” do not appear in this column, which is titled “What To Do With Tara Reade’s Allegation Against Joe Biden?” The tone makes clear that Goldberg views Reade as an inconvenience who must be dealt with. And the villain of this story is not Biden but “those using this strange, sad story to hector feminists into pretending to a certainty they have no reason to feel.” Goldberg asserts that they are “trolling the #MeToo movement” and acting in bad faith.

I’m not so sure. Is it trolling to hold feminist activists, for whom “believe all women” is an important slogan, to their convictions? Perhaps feminist organizations—recall that Planned Parenthood and NARAL both tweeted “We still believe Julie Swetnick #BelieveSurvivors” weeks after her allegation fell apart—should have anticipated being called out for this obvious double standard.

Better call Saul: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules,” as one of Obama and Hillary’s key influences wrote.

IS THE NEW YORK TIMES A LIBERAL NEWSPAPER? OF COURSE IT IS: Times editor Dean Baquet admits that his paper is staffed by Democratic Party operatives with bylines — and airbrushes:  In a column headlined, “The Times Took 19 Days to Report an Accusation Against Biden. Here’s Why,” former BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith asks Baquet:

I want to ask about some edits that were made after publication, the deletion of the second half of the sentence: “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.” Why did you do that? 

Baquet replied:

Even though a lot of us, including me, had looked at it before the story went into the paper, I think that the campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct. And that’s not what the sentence was intended to say.

I’m pretty sure the 2020 Trump campaign won’t have the same veto power on Times articles.

It’s always nice to see major legacy media figures drop the mask of objectivity, usually inadvertently. Baquet’s admission today is reminiscent of CBS’s Scott Pelley’s 2017 interview with blogger and prolific tweeter Mike Cernovich, where to paraphrase Breitbart.com’s Ezra Dulis, Pelley lost a fight rigged in his favor:

Scott Pelley: How would you describe what you do?

Mike Cernovich: I’m a lawyer, author, documenter, filmmaker, and journalist.

Scott Pelley: And how would you describe your website?

Mike Cernovich: Edgy, controversial content that goes against the dominant narrative.

Scott Pelley: What’s the dominant narrative?

Mike Cernovich: The dominant narrative is that there are good guys and there are bad guys. The good guys are liberals. Everybody on the right is a bad guy. Let’s find a way to make everybody look bad. Let’s tie marginal figures who have no actual influence to anybody we cannot overwrite. That’s the narrative.

Scott Pelley: That’s not a narrative I’m familiar with. Who’s narrative is that?

In 2008, Pelley compared global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers. Ben Rhodes, who until January was Obama’s deputy national security advisor, is the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes. John Dickerson, the host of Face the Nation and the “political director” for CBS, wrote an article for Slate in 2013 charmingly titled “Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.” Katie Couric, whom Pelley succeeded as Evening News host, read a poem on her broadcast to shill for the passing of Obamacare, and after leaving CBS had a Rathergate-like moment of her own, attempting to marginalize gun owners.

But back to the transcript of Pelley and Cernovich, where eventually, the hunter is captured by his prey:

Scott Pelley: You wrote in August a story about Hillary Clinton’s medical condition the headlines said, “Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s disease. Position confirms.” That’s quite a headline.

Mike Cernovich: Yeah, Dr. Ted Noel had se-sent a story to me anonymously, that I checked out, analyzing her medical condition. And –

Scott Pelley: It isn’t true.

Mike Cernovich: How do you know?

Scott Pelley: Well, she doesn’t seem to have any signs of Parkinson’s disease.

Mike Cernovich: She had a seizure and froze up walking into her motorcade that day caught by a citizen journalist.

Scott Pelley: Did you, well, she had pneumonia. I mean –

Mike Cernovich: How do you know?

Scott Pelley: Well, because that’s what was reported.

Mike Cernovich: By whom? Who told you that?

Scott Pelley: Well, the campaign told us that.

Mike Cernovich: Why would you trust a campaign?

To ask the question is to answer it. In a post headlined “‘Shamefully Stupid’: CBS’s Scott Pelley Loses a Fight Rigged in His Favor,” Breitbart.com’s Ezra Dulis adds in response, “Pelley has no answer for those six words — ‘Why would you trust the campaign’ — as his entire profession goes berserk with literal-minded fact checks for every tweet from President Trump. Pelley also seems to forget the fakery that Clinton World attempted hours before its pneumonia statement — with the candidate smiling and waving outside her daughter’s apartment, greeting a little girl, and assuring reporters everything was a-okay.”

UPDATE: NY Times Editor Admits Editing Article on Biden Sexual Assault Allegation After Campaign Complained:

Baquet failed to muster a coherent response beyond noting that the standard for reporting on such allegations is “very subjective.” He explained that the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings in 2018, which included testimony from a woman, Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of sexually assaulting her in high school, constituted a “hot story” that required a “different news judgement.”

Kavanaugh vehemently denied Ford’s allegation, and the Times did not interview anyone who recalled Ford telling them about the alleged incident at the time. Baquet, in the interview with Smith, cited the importance of “contemporaneous” conversations in determining the credibility and newsworthiness of sexual assault allegations. Like he said, the standard is “very subjective.”

Baquet also defended the Times‘s decision to immediately publish Julie Swetnick’s allegations against Kavanaugh. Swetnick, a client of former attorney and convicted felon Michael Avenatti, accused Kavanaugh of gang rape at frat parties. She turned out to be about as credible as her attorney. But the Times chose not to spend two weeks investigating her claims, Baquet said, because Kavanaugh “was already in a public forum in a large way” and had become “the biggest political story in the country.” Apparently the same can not be said of Joe Biden or the 2020 presidential election.

As Matt Whitlock of the National Republican Senatorial Committee tweets, Baquet’s admission today “should be a major media scandal, but many of the major media watch dogs have ignored it entirely because it didn’t happen on Fox News.”

(Classical reference in headline.)

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Harsh, but fair.

Will you still have a song to sing, when the Razor Boy comes and takes your fancy narrative away?

UNDOUBTEDLY: If Biden Were President Our Coronavirus Economic Problems Would Be Worse.

We don’t have to speculate as to what Biden would have done differently in response to the pandemic — the former vice president has already told us.

First and foremost, Biden would not have implemented life-saving travel restrictions on China in the early days of the outbreak, as President Trump has been praised for doing by the nation’s top public health experts. At the time, Biden argued that the White House was overreacting to the novel coronavirus threat, even calling the President’s response “xenophobic,” but he now acts as though he supported travel restrictions all along.

The rest of Biden’s comments over the course of this crisis have been equally disjointed and nonsensical, making it painfully clear that he’s completely out of his depth on this issue. The country is fortunate that Biden isn’t responsible for safeguarding our prosperity at this critical juncture.

Even after the economy fully reopens, though, a Biden administration would be more than our recovering economy could bear. His plans to “get rid of fossil fuels,” for instance, would needlessly sacrifice hundreds of thousands of American jobs while raising the cost of living for working families all over the country. Meanwhile, his plan to raise taxes by over $4 trillion would undo the long-term benefits of the recent coronavirus relief measures, saddling families with an unnecessary financial burden at a time when many of them can least afford it.

Also, I’m pretty sure the stress of the job might kill him.

BACK AND TO THE LEFT: Kathy Shaidle on Oliver Stone’s JFK. 

My complaints begin with the title:

It should have been called Garrison, after the film’s “hero.” A New Orleans D.A., Jim Garrison tried and failed, in 1967, to convict some admittedly sleazy-seeming locals of being part of the “conspiracy” to assassinate Kennedy, which he theorized had been — and I can’t believe I’m forced to type this — a “homosexual thrill killing.”

Stone, and actor Kevin Costner, portray Jim Garrison as a real-life Atticus Finch, when, in reality, “[o]n the job, he was accused of using truth serums, bribing witnesses, and making promises for reduced sentences,” and “was not present at much of the trial.”

These are just my beefs with the title and the main character, and the damn thing is three and a half hours long. This fellow has compiled an extensive list of Stone’s JFK prestidigitations; while it isn’t as well sourced as I’d like, I must share my favorite:

In the film, the rifle of one of the “grassy knoll” shooters emits a cloud of smoke, but, “Stone could find no gun that emitted that much smoke, [so he] had [a] special effects man blow smoke from bellows.”

The author adds:

“Many consider this an appropriate metaphor for the entire movie.”

Indeed. If viewed as a leftwing political paranoia thriller, it’s (almost) on par with John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate. But as history, JFK is as reliable as Stone’s later Showtime series, The Untold History of the United States.

Flashback: “Trapped In Camelot:” my interview with James Pierson, the author of Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism.

THE REPORTING IS ALWAYS QUESTIONABLE, BUT IT’S LOOKING AS IF WASHINGTON STATE IS ON THE BACKSIDE OF THE CURVE. Here’s the “confirmed cases” graph:

And here’s the chart for deaths, which are usually a lagging indicator.

Either social distancing has worked, or it’s burning out on its own. Sadly, I’m pretty sure it’s the former. Why are deaths improving faster than number of cases here? I’m guessing, but probably because the disease started with retirement homes, where the death rate was huge, and has now moved to a more general population. And perhaps treatment is better. But that’s just my guess.

A friend on Facebook raises a good point, though: “What I would like to see from these ‘deep thinkers’ is what would constitute success? Hold them to it.”

Related: Seattle’s Army-built field hospital is coming down without treating a single patient. “Even as some questions remain about the extent of the outbreak in Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday announced he would return to the federal government the field hospital recently assembled in Seattle’s CenturyLink Field Event Center to help the health care system cope with the new coronavirus. With the USNS Comfort still stationed in New York, and the USNS Mercy in Los Angeles, Inslee’s decision could mark the first return of hospital beds to the federal government during the pandemic from anywhere in the nation.”

COLD WAR II: GOP sounds alarm after ‘quasi-official’ Chinese outlet gains access to coronavirus press briefing, promotes Beijing.

“Only last week, there were multiple flights coming from China full of medical supplies,” the reporter from Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV began during Monday’s briefing. “Companies like Huawei and Alibaba have been donating to the United States, like 1.5 million N95 masks and also a lot of medical gloves, and much more medical supplies.”

“Sounds like a statement more than a question,” Trump interjected.

The reporter then asked if Trump was willing to work “directly” with China; Trump responded that China should honor its trade deals with the United States.

“Are you cooperating with China?” she pressed. “Who are you working for, China?” Trump responded. “Who are you with?”

The reporter smiled. “Um, no, I’m working for — Hong Kong Phoenix TV.”

“Who owns that? China?” Trump asked.

“It’s based in Hong Kong. … It’s a privately owned company.”

But it turns out that Phoenix TV, which has aggressively sought to expand in the United States, has closer ties to the Chinese government than the reporter let on.

While we were enjoying our cheap consumer goods, Beijing was busy figuring out all-new attack vectors for Cold War II.

I’M NOT AN EPIDEMIOLOGIST, BUT: Following up on yesterday’s post on the low level of Covid-19 infections in Australia… Hawaii, population 1.5 million, has only 351 confirmed Covid-19 cases, and three deaths, despite Honolulu being a densely-packed urban area and tons of tourist traffic from Asia in December and January. Puerto Rico, population 3.2 million, has only 452 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 18 deaths, despite a huge amount of traffic between the New York area and the island, and San Juan being a densely-packed city. Like I said, I’m not an epidemiologist, but I’d love to know if someone who is has provided an explanation for these statistics beyond sunshine, humidity, and hot weather. (Note: New Orleans has been consistently hot since March 10, and if that doesn’t slow the spread of the virus, it would definitely throw a monkey wrench into the weather theory, though not necessarily into the “protective nature of Vitamin D” theory, as I suspect residents of San Juan and Honolulu get a lot more sun in the Winter than do residents of New Orleans. P.S. I’m aware that Mardis Gras was likely a “super spreader event,” but if hot weather is protective, the rate of spread in March and April should be slower than in colder climates).

UPDATE: Yes, I know that Guayaquil, Ecuador, right on the equator, has been hard-hit. But conditions in a Third-World country (per capita GPD $6,000) are quite different than the U.S. and Australia, and it’s doubtful in any event that we can get useful data out of their public health system.

SO IF THIS DISEASE DOESN’T KILL ME, I’LL COME OUT OF QUARANTINE IN THE BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE. The gyms are closed, but I’m working out more, for lack of anywhere else to go. I got a chinup bar — mine’s from Iron Gym and is now sold out, but it looks exactly like this one — and a set of Bowflex adjustable dumbbells. Yesterday I did 100 pushups, 4 sets of 8 full-length pullups (having to hold my legs up to do that in a doorway makes it a major ab exercise, too), walked/ran for an hour (I do intervals), then swam. I’m also doing bodyweight leg exercises like calf raises on the stairs, one-legged split squats, hamstring bridges, etc.

To be honest, I’d rather things were normal and I were just going to the gym, but this does make a nice break in my routine. Helen’s workout routine is somewhat similar, though no pullups and adding online Barre and yoga classes.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Social Distancing: Hold the Line. ‘This virus is unforgiving to unwise choices.’ “You should perceive your entire family to function as a single individual unit: If one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the unit is at risk. Seemingly small social chains get large and complex with alarming speed. If your son visits his girlfriend, and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbor, your neighbor is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with. This sounds silly, it’s not. This is not a joke or hypothetical. We as epidemiologists see it borne out in the data time and time again. Conversely, any break in that chain breaks disease transmission along that chain.”

I’ll just add that I see people acting as if this is graded on a curve: “At least I’m doing better than X.” The disease doesn’t care if you’re doing better, and you don’t get extra credit for trying. You either avoid it or you don’t.

TENNESSEE: Doctors ask every Tennessee mayor to order shelter-in-place: If Governor won’t do it, mayors can, letter argues. It’s true that mayors can. It’s also true that the ones that will, probably already have.

In Knox County, interestingly, we have 33 cases now, an increase of three from yesterday and five from two days ago. Meanwhile, we now have 14 recovered, up from 6 two days ago. So we’re currently subtracting cases (via recovery) faster than new cases are being discovered, even though we’re testing more. This may not mean anything — and we’ll certainly want to see if the trend holds up — but I think it means that our local lockdown, now a week old, is doing some good.

The situation in Nashville, meanwhile, is grim. I’m hearing ugly things from doc friends.

BATHROOM WARS: I’m still waiting for the case of Grimm v. Gloucester County Board to be decided by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This is the same case that was before the Supreme Court a few years ago. Back then it was called Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. But then the Trump Administration withdrew the Obama-Era guidance that told schools that they must assign transgender students to the bathrooms and showers they psychologically identify with rather than the ones suited to their anatomy.  The Supreme Court therefore sent the case back to the lower courts for reconsideration in light of guidance’s withdrawal.  The trial court at least continued to adhere to the Obama Administration’s position.

Will the case find its way back to the Supreme Court? That’s entirely possible. If it does, I plan to file a revised version of my amicus curiae brief.

Of course, it is possible that won’t be necessary. But I’m a born always-be-prepared-for-worst pessimist. The upside of that characteristic is that I had plenty of food in my pantry when the pandemic hit.

I’M OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER WHEN HE WAS LITERALLY HITLER: Trump Is an Authoritarian Weakman. “Coronavirus would be the perfect opportunity for an autocrat. Trump isn’t taking it.”

Are you kidding me with this, John F. Harris?

The notion of Trump as authoritarian strongman, however, has been cast in an odd light in this pandemic. Would-be tyrants use crisis to consolidate power. Trump, by contrast, has been pilloried from many quarters, including many liberals, for not asserting authority and responsibility more forcefully to combat Covid-19. Rather than seizing on a genuine emergency, Trump was slow to issue an emergency declaration, moved gingerly in employing the Defense Production Act to help overburdened local health systems, and even now seems eager to emphasize that many subjects—closure of schools and businesses, obtaining sufficient ventilators—are primarily problems for state governors to deal with.

Trump’s apparent personal affinity with Putin, and other dictators, has caused foes to conclude that he has an aesthetic attraction to leaders who don’t let procedural niceties of democracy or law get in their way. But he has shown passivity in what by all rights would be a dream scenario for an authoritarian strongman.

Perhaps the way to think of Trump is as an authoritarian weakman.

I guess the argument here is that we’ve been cursed with a dictator who won’t dictate.

Our chattering class has collectively lost its damn minds.

SOMETHING THAT INSTAPUNDIT COMMENTER BART HALL POSTED ON FACEBOOK:

Truckers are saying “fuck the log rules, I’m hauling” and they’re getting supplies to the stores. People are stocking the shelves all night and letting old people shop first. Folks are buying meals for truckers, who (obviously) can’t go through the drive-ups. Asking ’em what they want, then buying it for them.

Carnival Cruise Line has told Trump “We can match those big Navy Hospital ships with some fully staffed cruise ships”.

GM and Ford have said “hold our cars and watch this — we can make ventilators where we were just making car parts, starting next week” — by re-engineering seat ventilators which their engineers hacked together for a new purpose. In under a week.

In a project with which I’m loosely associated, a very-effective agricultural disease-control agent was re-purposed and re-labeled specifically for Corona-virus control by the FDA and EPA in under ten days, from initial request to distribution.

Restaurants and schools have said, “we’ve got kitchens and staff; we can feed the poor kids who used have school lunch.”

NBA basketball players have said, “Hold our basketballs while we write checks to pay the arena staff.”

Construction companies are saying, “Here are some high-end masks for medical staff and doctors”.

Distilleries are making sanitizer out of distilling “heads and tails” which are normally discarded. Nasty shit to drink, but effective sanitizer.

People are tipping grocery check-out clerks and thanking them for taking the risk.

Local, state, and county governments are taking control of everything the feds cannot do. Some are doing it wrong, but for the first time in decades … they’re doing it. Federalism is re-emerging, and the smallest unit of government is the individual and the family. This, too, is re-emerging after decades of dormancy.

As Japanese Admiral Isokuru Yamamoto said, after Pearl Harbor … “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

I sense this has just happened. We have a wonderful country, the greatest single force for good in all human history. We have closed our borders, with good reason, yet we have top medical people now assisting North Korea in their response to the virus.

Many things have been re-set, and will never be the same.

By microbiological accident, we are living in profoundly transformative historical times.

Indeed we are.

AS I KEEP SAYING — AND ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT THEY’RE A MUCH OLDER POPULATION ON AVERAGE — PLEASE REMEMBER THAT ITALY IS NOT THE US:  Critical care beds: this may be part of what’s wrong in Italy.

Yes, I know. I KNOW. All sorts of people have assured you that Italy’s health care is better than ours. What they’re not telling you is that part of their parameter for “better” is a robust component of government financed and run health care.

And by the way if one more communist democrat tells me that this Xi-Flu means we need single-payer healthcare, I’m going to lose whatever little cool I have left.  The only thing government-run health does better than the free market is kill people. In fact, that’s the one thing government does better than the free market always. The more power you give government the more chances of mass graves. They might be filled with grandma’s triaged out of existence, or with political opponents, or with yes, but the more powerful the government the greater chance they exist.

TRUMP’S 2020 WINNING STRATEGY FLIPS THE SCRIPT ON RONALD REAGAN: “Trump has learned that the more personal the criticism the more questions are raised in people’s minds. For the president, there are no boundaries anymore — especially after his opponents have spread scurrilous rumors and lies about his personal life. The basic message is a winner, especially for presidents running for a second term: You’re taking a chance in voting for my opponent. Stick with me because I’m the safe choice.”

Read the whole thing.

SO, I’M STILL FIGHTING POST-VIRAL SYNDROME (HAVING BEEN SICK MORE OR LESS SINCE NEW YEAR’S, WITH UPS AND DOWNS) WHICH IS WHY I’VE BEEN SOMEWHAT IRREGULAR ON MY SHIFT HERE.  THERE HAVE BEEN OTHER THINGS HAPPENING IN THE HOUSEHOLD THAT THIS MORNING PROMPTED MY HUSBAND TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT A RAIN OF FROGS OVER THE BREAKFAST TABLE. UNFORTUNATELY I HEARD RAIN OF FROG. AND IN MY PRE-COFFEE STATE, THINGS HAPPENED IN MY HEAD:  The Rain of Frog.

HAVING READ EXTENSIVELY ON THE BLACK PLAGUE, I’M CONVINCED WITHOUT IT EUROPEAN SOCIETY WOULD HAVE OSSIFIED INTO ITS PRE-PLAGUE PATTERN AND BECOME AKIN TO THE SOCIETIES OF CHINA OR JAPAN IN ITS REVERENCE FOR TRADITION:  Disease and Cold Drive History.

HOW AUSTRALIA DEFIED THE WHO ON ITS TRAVEL BAN.

Why were the Australians ahead of the world? For a very simple reason. They don’t trust the WHO. The information from multiple international sources is that the WHO is under intense pressure from the Chinese government, and succumbing to it.

The Australian Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, told the NSC that it was medically inexplicable that the WHO hadn’t already declared a global pandemic. It’s politics, in other words.

That’s why Australia had earlier forged ahead of the WHO in declaring the China travel ban, on February 1. It was, again, on the unanimous advice of the AHPPC.

The travel ban was decided immediately after the US made the same call. Beijing instantly lashed both the US and Australia on that occasion – the Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, People’s Daily, calling it “racist”.

But, of course, that decision now looks very wise, more so with each passing day.

Plus:

“With the ongoing China travel ban, I’m very sympathetic about the impact on tourism and farmers, but I’m much less so with the universities,” he began. “Because they have been warned for years that they are over-reliant on the Chinese market, and for years they’ve reassured us that it was all fine, and that if anything happened they’d be able to withstand it. They rode the cycle up, now they can ride the cycle down.”

The universities receive $17 billion a year in federal cash already. Paterson said they should be given this opportunity to show they could indeed withstand the lost income. Addressing Scott Morrison, Paterson concluded: “We shouldn’t relax the travel ban, and there should be no financial bail-out for the universities.”

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE:

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN JOE WAS DESCRIBED AS THE “MODERATE CANDIDATE:” Joe Biden Essentially Calls For Banning Nearly All Firearms.

SUPER GAFFE-O-MATIC ’76! Biden issues new campaign ad saying “We don’t feel no ways tired:”

Joe Biden’s apparent penchant for pandering to minority voters as a political tactic is insulting, and some of his remarks while campaigning in the South are “disgusting,” according to National Review Online’s Deroy Murdock.

On “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the host played a clip of Biden’s latest campaign ad, which is running in South Carolina. The former Vice President appears to adopt a slight southern drawl and borrows a famous gospel lyric from the Rev. James Cleveland.

“We don’t feel no ways tired — We’ve come too far from where we started from. Nobody told us the road would be easy,” Biden says over a montage of images and video clips, before closing the ad by saying: “Let’s take back this country now.”

* * * * * * * *

Murdock focused on Biden’s comments and ones he has made in the past, saying that black voters will not receive the statements as the ex-vice president intends.

“I’m fascinated by this idea that when Democrats run to the south they have to adopt southern accents,” he said, adding that Hillary Clinton has done the same thing.

Murdock then recalled what he considered an especially “disgusting” comment by Biden when the then-vice president was stumping for President Obama’s reelection in 2012. At a speech in Danville, Va., Biden claimed to an audience that included many African-Americans that if Mitt Romney and the Republicans won the election, they would “put y’all back in chains” by loosening restrictions on financial institutions.

“It’s like outtakes from ‘Gone With the Wind’ — very odd, very inappropriate and very stupid,” said Murdock.

Indeed it is; and as Murdock alluded to above, Hillary didn’t feel no ways tired in 2007 either, as this classic Hot Air “Vent” clip from back then featuring Bryan Preston and Michelle Malkin reminds us:

I’M SHOCKED — SHOCKED! — TO DISCOVER THAT GASLIGHTING IS GOING ON AT THE GRAY LADY: Hilarity Ensues After Paul Krugman Claims Admitted Socialist Bernie Sanders… Is Not a Socialist.

Related: Believe Bernie, he’s a socialist.

THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA, AND I’M EMBARRASSED THAT IT’S EVEN BEING INTRODUCED IN THE TENNESSEE LEGISLATURE: No more paper or plastic! Proposed law would ban TN stores from giving throw-away bags to customers.

This does nothing for plastic contamination of the oceans — most of which comes from China anyway — and bans on disposable bags are associated with increased ER visits for foodborne illness. Plus, lots of people reuse old grocery bags as garbage bags, etc. This will just lead to their replacement with plastic. It’s a dumb feelgood law for people who just want to boss other people around. Worse yet, it’s introduced by a Republican who should know better. I even supported him.

UPDATE: Oh, sure, the grocery stores will probably get behind this if they can start charging people for the bags they used to give away for free. That’s not a plus in my view.

UGH: Man cleared of murder walks free after 28 years in prison.

Wilson was exonerated a month after his co-defendant, Christopher Williams, was cleared of the three 1989 killings. Wilson was a teenager when he was accused of participating in the slayings of Otis Reynolds and brothers Kevin and Gavin Anderson in north Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia district attorney’s office called the case a “perfect storm” of injustice, writing in a court filing that the case was marred by serious misconduct by the prosecution, an ineffective defense and a witness who supplied false testimony.

The witness who testified against Wilson and Williams recanted, saying he had provided false testimony in exchange for a deal to escape the death penalty and in hopes of eventual release. At a 2013 hearing, forensic specialists testified that physical evidence contradicted his earlier account of events.

Williams remains imprisoned on a life sentence in a fourth murder, a 1989 slaying in which he and another man were convicted but in which both have maintained their innocence.

Wilson is the 12th person exonerated by the prosecutor’s Conviction Integrity Unit.

More to come, I’m sure.

ARE YOU NOW OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN A MEMBER OF THE FEDERALIST SOCIETY?: The Wall Street Journal reports that the Judicial Conference is thinking of prohibiting judges from being members of the Federalist Society. It’s too political—or so the Judicial Conference believes.

If the Judicial Conference does ban judges from being members of the Federalist Society, it will need to do the same for the ABA. Unlike the Federalist Society, which takes no stand on any legal or political issue, the ABA weighs in on countless issues, always taking the leftward leaning side of things. The ABA files amicus curiae briefs before the Supreme Court, again with a consistent slant to the left. The long march through the institutions infiltrated the ABA long ago.

Similarly, membership in “affinity bar associations” like the National Hispanic Bar Association and the National Bar Association (which is for African American lawyers), and the National Association of Women Lawyers will need to be prohibited. Those left-leaning organizations routinely take stands on controversial issues and file amicus briefs. The Federalist Society never does and never will.

I can’t tell you how proud I am to be a member of the Federalist Society. It’s true that its members are overwhelmingly conservative or libertarian. But to say that it is not monolithic understates it. Lawyers actually engage in civil debate at the Federalist Society. It always attempts to present all sides of legal and public policy debates at its functions (including different strands of conservatism and libertarianism as well as left-of-center views). That does not happen at law schools these days. There is far less ideological diversity on campuses than you routinely find at the Federal Society’s Annual Lawyers Conference.

Two personal anecdotes are worth mentioning here.

  1. In 1996, I co-chaired the Yes on Proposition 209 Campaign here in California. That measure, which passed with a strong majority, prohibited the State of California (including its universities) from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to any individual or group based or race, color, sex or ethnicity in the operation of public education, public employment or public contacting. Needless to say, the Left hated it.

At the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools in January of 1997, a panel with OVER TWENTY speakers was presented. All of them opposed Proposition 209. Despite being both a law professor present at the conference and the second ranking person in the 209 campaign, I was not invited to speak. (That’s okay.  I’m not exactly Cicero, so maybe the AALS didn’t think I was a good enough speaker.) But there were at least three other law professors who had worked on the campaign who were also ignored

Meanwhile, the Federalist Society put on its own Proposition 209 panel at a nearby hotel to which all law professors were invited. If I remember correctly, the panel had five speakers. Three of them opposed Proposition 209 and two supported it (including me). Yet the Federalist Society is the organization that that Judicial Conference thinks is too political.

  1. A few years later, I was on a panel at the Federalist Society’s Annual Lawyers’ Convention. The topic was again affirmative action. The staff had worked to get speakers on both sides of the issue. But for some reason the left-of-center speaker did not show up. Much to the Federalist Society’s embarrassment, all it had was an empty chair. To remedy the problem, after I and the other panelists had given our prepared remarks, I stood up again and argued the other side of the issue the best I could. (I’m a lawyer. That’s what lawyers are supposed to be able to do.) The crowd appreciated it. I was later told that I was persuasive to at least one person in the audience.

The Judicial Conference tries to sound evenhanded by putting the American Constitutional Society in the same category as the Federalist Society. I should point out that the American Constitutional Society is (so far) a pale imitation of what the Left imagines the Federalist Society to be. It has far fewer active members and (weirdly) is far more political than the Federalist Society. But membership in the ACS shouldn’t be prohibited either—not unless membership in organizations like the ABA are prohibited too.

The Judicial Conference can argue that it isn’t preventing judges from being members of the Federalist Society prior to becoming judges. Nor is it preventing judges from attending Federalist Society events. But invariably a prohibition on membership will be taken as a sign that the Federalist Society is something bad … something that lawyers with a judicial temperament will avoid.  The truth is more like the opposite. Lawyers who are interested in hearing all sides of an issue gravitate towards the Federalist Society, not away from it.   The Judicial Conference should be pleased that to have judges who are members.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): For perspective, what’s going on here is that the left expects the right to dominate the judiciary in the near future, and on its way out wants to change the “ethical” rules to block the right from behaving the way the left did when it had hegemony. A standard move and, of course, utterly unprincipled.

THIS IS EXCELLENT, AS IT WILL REDUCE PRIVILEGE AND INEQUALITY IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION: Harvard Law Students Avoid Applying For Clerkships With Trump-Appointed Judges. More openings for state-school Federalist Society members. Did I mention that I’m the Federalist Society advisor at UT Law?

From the comments: “A federal judge without a Harvard Law School graduate clerk is likely a better judge. When they are ready to take off their diapers and leave mom’s basement, they should apply.”

Related: To Reduce Inequality, Abolish The Ivy League.

#SILENCING: The New York Public Library opts to cancel un-PC feminists. I’m so old, I can remember when librarians opposed censorship. Of course, they were brave when they stood up to the right, but it’s different when censorship is coming from the left because reasons.

BOLSHIE BERNIE: Just came across an interview with Bernie Sanders from The Progressive in 1988, in which he suggests that Castro’s Cuba has a superior economic system to the U.S.:

Q: But apart from the Soviet Union, it seems that in more democratic countries—France, Spain, Italy—socialist parties in power are almost indistinguishable from conservative administrations. Socialism doesn’t seem to be working in those countries either.
Sanders: Fair enough. But take small countries like Norway or Sweden. Give them credit for creating decent health-care systems, decent housing for their citizens. good educational opportunities. media that are of an appreciably higher quality than our own. That may not fit some definitions of socialism, but it’s a significant improvement over what exists in the United States, isn’t it?
And what about Cuba? It’s not a perfect society. I grant, but there aren’t children there going hungry. It’s been more successful than almost any other developing country in providing health care for its people. And the Cuban revolution is only thirty years old. It may get even better.

But don’t get him wrong: “I’m not a communist, so no one has ever heard me defend the Soviet Union, for example, as any kind of model for other countries. I suppose that those people who did see the Soviet Union in that way are having some big problems these days.”

SICK: STEPHEN KING, DON WINSLOW OFFER $200K TO ST. JUDE IF WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY HOLDS A BRIEFING.

Long before his fall from grace, Woody Allen made a very good movie called Annie Hall. And at the beginning of the movie, he told this joke: “Two elderly women are at a Catskill Mountains resort, and one of them says, ‘Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.’ The other one says, ‘Yeah, I know. And such small portions!'” I’m reminded of this joke whenever a lib complains that the Trump administration isn’t holding enough press briefings. They hate Trump and everything he does… and such small portions!

And now these sad, broken people are even turning this obsession into a creepy emotional-blackmail scheme.

* * * * * * * *

Using sick children as leverage? “Hold a press briefing or the kids get it!” They’ve lost their minds. How about just donating to charity if you want to donate to charity, instead of turning it into some sort of twisted coercion gambit?

It’s yet another way to create, as Thomas Sowell would say, mascots of the anointed.

CLOWN SHOW EXPERT:

More:

Susan Hennessey is Executive Editor of the Lawfare Blog, a Brookings Senior Fellow, and a CNN National Security Legal Analyst and former Intelligence Community lawyer. She’s also, as you can see, a dishonest idiot. These are the “experts” Trump is supposed to have deferred to. Disgraceful, and a pretty good explanation of why our foreign policy has been a dumpster fire for the last three decades.

Related: The Suicide of Expertise.

Plus:

Yet the more we learn — about the deliberations preceding the strike, about the chain of events leading to it, about the prior and subsequent moves by CENTCOM to harden the American position in the region — the more it seems that the President acted with deliberate aforethought, that he does in fact have a plan, and therefore likely is capable of envisioning and handling what happens next. That much is only fair, whether or not one agrees with the decision as such.

What nearly the entire DC / academia / journo natsec/forpol commentariat actually means by its critique, though, is that they weren’t included in any of this. Ben Rhodes took the time to rally them together, get their talking points aligned, illuminate a pathway to social and professional advancement: that’s their preferred template for Iran-related policymaking.

Donald Trump’s template for Iran-related policymaking is the smoking wreckage of a terror mastermind’s vehicle. The courtiers see it, and want to know what’s in it for them.

Americans see it, and they know.

What the foreign policy apparatchiks fear isn’t that Trump might fail — they pray for that. What they fear is that he is likely to succeed.

UPDATE:

Well, I’m doing my part on the mockery front. Feel free to join me.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Student at Center of ‘Napping While Black’ Furor Lashes Out at Yale Officials and ‘Woke Intersectional Feminists.’

The student whose complaint to the Yale Police Department ignited the 2018 “napping while black” controversy tore into administrators, the campus police, and fellow graduate students in an essay published late last month on the social-media website Medium. Sarah Braasch wrote that she had been “vilified on a global scale as something akin to a genocidal villain” as a result of the incident.

In the early hours of May 8, 2018, Braasch, a philosophy graduate student, called the campus police after finding Lolade Siyonbola, a black graduate student in African studies, asleep in a dormitory common room. The incident, which received national media attention after the black student posted viral videos of the women’s encounters, prompted the university to hold listening sessions and reaffirm its commitment to inclusivity.

Backlash from the episode has essentially ruined Braasch’s career prospects, she writes in the Medium essay. Her lawyers filed a legal brief on Friday asking the police department to release body-camera footage of the incident, which, she writes, “exposes them as liars.”

Braasch filed a request for the release of the footage last summer. The police department initially denied her request, claiming that the video includes uncorroborated allegations. Braasch then filed a Freedom of Information Act request, which led to a review by Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission. That body plans to decide by July whether the police must release the footage, the Yale Daily News reported.

Braasch wrote the essay in response to a widely read Medium piece by James Hatch, 52-year-old Yale freshman and U.S. Navy veteran. While he arrived at the university expecting to find liberal “snowflakes,” Hatch wrote in the December 21 essay, he instead discovered curious, tolerant classmates.

In contrast, Braasch refers her Yale peers as “woke intersectional feminists” who “tried to destroy me.”

I’m sure there are both kinds of students, but I know which variety feels safe in attacking others, knowing it will be supported by Yale’s terrible administration.