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SARAH HOYT: America Has Built the Most Comfortable Civilization in the World.

No wonder the left wants to bring it all down.

Read the whole thing.

SARAH HOYT: The Left’s Long Post-Election Tantrum.

I started noticing some acts of truly bizarre public performance during the Bush years. It was as though, with Motor Voter and the ease of election falsification, they’d assumed no Republican candidate would ever displace theirs, and therefore they went utterly unhinged when Bush won. From trying to disqualify the election results, to bizarre displays including hanging him in effigy, they were off the reservation. On the other hand, I understand their public displays were always fairly unhinged, including the “marching around with giant papier-mache puppets.” But even then I thought that “women dancing around in vulva” (unlike them, I know anatomy) “costumes” was a step beyond.

Maybe those costumes and the silliness of them were around before, and it was only their being reported on new media that made them so completely insane.

In fact, I think what is happening is a combination of New Media plus their completely and totally losing their minds more and more every year, culminating in Trump’s election.

Trump’s election does seem to mark some kind of watershed, in that now they’re being definitely non-normal not just in street displays, but in their own channels and their own publications.

Read the whole thing.

Sarah’s observation dovetails with something I’ve noticed over the last few weeks or months. Opening Salon or Slate or various other lefty publications was almost guaranteed to generate something blog-worthy, even if only to rebut or to cringe. But if you’ve noticed far fewer links here to those sites, it’s because the material there has gone so far over-the-top that I won’t waste your time with it.

JUNK SCIENCE AND “IMPLICIT BIAS:” Are We All Unconscious Racists? No: there’s scant evidence to support the trendy implicit-bias theory.

Though proponents refer to IAT research as “science”—or, in Kang’s words, “remarkable,” “jaw-dropping” science—their claims about its social significance leapfrogged ahead of scientific validation. There is hardly an aspect of IAT doctrine that is not now under methodological challenge.

Any social-psychological instrument must pass two tests to be considered accurate: reliability and validity. A psychological instrument is reliable if the same test subject, taking the test at different times, achieves roughly the same score each time. But IAT bias scores have a lower rate of consistency than is deemed acceptable for use in the real world—a subject could be rated with a high degree of implicit bias on one taking of the IAT and a low or moderate degree the next time around. A recent estimate puts the reliability of the race IAT at half of what is considered usable. No evidence exists, in other words, that the IAT reliably measures anything stable in the test-taker.

But the fiercest disputes concern the IAT’s validity. A psychological instrument is deemed “valid” if it actually measures what it claims to be measuring—in this case, implicit bias and, by extension, discriminatory behavior. If the IAT were valid, a high implicit-bias score would predict discriminatory behavior, as Greenwald and Banaji asserted from the start. It turns out, however, that IAT scores have almost no connection to what ludicrously counts as “discriminatory behavior” in IAT research—trivial nuances of body language during a mock interview in a college psychology laboratory, say, or a hypothetical choice to donate to children in Colombian, rather than South African, slums.

Read the whole thing.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN, MICHAEL MOORE, AND THE END OF THE 1960s SEXUAL REVOLUTION.

Read the whole thing.

LAWYER: Obama DOJ Blocked FBI Informant from Talking about Uranium One Deal.

The corruption allegedly included bribery, kickbacks, extortion, money-laundering, and Russia getting 20% of our uranium against the better judgement of just about everybody.

D.C. Attorney Victoria Toensing, a former chief counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is representing the informant, an American businessman who worked for years undercover as an FBI confidential witness.

Toensing said that when he attempted to bring some of the allegations to light in a lawsuit last year, “the Obama Justice Department threatened him with loss of freedom. They said they would bring a criminal case against him for violating an NDA.”

“The coverup is worse than the crime,” the press used to say.

And do read the whole thing.

MARK MACKIE: Solving the Siege of Seoul.

As daunting as an evacuation of 10 million people may be, it is not unprecedented. About 14 million Chinese were evacuated from flooding in north China in 1998. In 1971, 18 million people moved from Bangladesh to India to escape Pakistan forces. In 2005, 3 million were evacuated in Texas and Louisiana due to Hurricane Rita.

Recently, the Russians appear to be evacuating 1,500 people from the northern North Korean border near Vladivostok. North Korea will wonder at a much larger companion action in the south letting the North Korean military know, even if the boss does not, that things have changed.

Seeing his hostage pool melt away may also concentrate the mind of the dictator himself. Simply an announcement of a planned evacuation may alter negotiating dynamics, and if implemented, the steady drip, drip drip of evacuees leaving Kim’s gunsights may get serious discussions for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula finally underway.

Read the whole thing.

US NAVAL INSTITUTE: The Clock is Ticking in China: The Decade of Concern Has Begun.

For too long in our hallowed halls of government, academia, and media we have been told, “Don’t worry. China takes the long view and would rather kick the can down the road than confront a dispute head on.” That belief has been the accepted conventional wisdom for the past 40 years, but the falseness of this view now is becoming incontrovertible.

Understanding this reality is critical for the U.S. military—and the U.S. Navy in particular—when it comes to how and when Taiwan will be attacked from the Chinese mainland. The question no longer is a theoretical, open-ended affair; President Xi’s words in Zhurihe do not stand alone as an empty proclamation. Instead, they are a reminder of the continuity of Chinese leaders’ devotion to the reunification of the motherland, and when it comes to reunification, Taiwan stands at the top of the list of unrestored territories.

One should not forget that in 2013, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense reported that China’s leaders had recommitted themselves to “continue the 2020 Plan,” whereby they would be able to “build and deploy a complete operational capability to use force against Taiwan by that year.” By implication, these leaders believe that by 2020, the PLA also will be able to fend off U.S. forces and thus be able to successfully invade Taiwan.

As such, President Xi’s Zhurihe speech can and should be interpreted as certifying that the PLA (all Chinese military forces) has achieved the capability to “safeguard China’s national sovereignty”—two years ahead of schedule.

So, what does this mean strategically?

Read the whole thing to find out, but I’d add that since China acts as though its OK for North Korea to have nukes, then perhaps Taiwan should have them, too.

SETH BARRETT TILLMAN: Good Lawyers & Good Books: My Personal Difficulties During the Recent Hamilton-Signatures Dispute.

In addition to family and some particularly loyal friends, bloggers, and New Reform Club co-bloggers, I was aided at every step by good lawyering and good advice from Professor Josh Blackman (South Texas College of Law) and from Robert W. Ray, Esq. (Thompson & Knight LLP). More recently, Carrie Severino, Esq. from the Judicial Education Project, joined my briefs, and team Tillman was additionally aided by Jan I. Berlage, Esq. (Gohn Hankey Stichel & Berlage LLP). Just imagine the difficulties they all overcame—a novel constitutional theory & having Seth Barrett Tillman as a client! Nothing would have happened without their diligent work in three different district courts.

There is another group deserving of my thanks. My 5 experts: Professor Kenneth R. Bowling, John P. Kaminski, Ph.D., Professor Stephen F. Knott, Professor Robert W.T. Martin, and Michael E. Newton. (Links to their declarations are here: http://joshblackman.com/blog/2017/09/20/new-filings-in-the-emoluments-clause-litigation/.)

These five experts did a very brave thing. They knowingly took on the cause of historical truth in spite of the fact that a social media mob had already descended on me, and in spite of the fact that they don’t (as far as I know) have any particular love for the administration. (Indeed, one of them loathes the President, but nevertheless took on this project because it was the right thing to do.) They have all written extensively on Hamilton, the Constitution, the Founding Era, and/or the Early Republic.

Read the whole thing, and maybe buy their books!

BEAUTIFUL GIRLS SCRIBE SCOTT ROSENBERG ON A COMPLICATED LEGACY WITH HARVEY WEINSTEIN:

So what if he was coming on a little strong to some young models who had moved mountains to get into one of his parties?
So what if he was exposing himself, in five-star hotel rooms, like a cartoon flasher out of “MAD MAGAZINE” (just swap robe for raincoat!)
Who were we to call foul?
Golden Geese don’t come along too often in one’s life.

Which goes back to my original point:
Everybody-fucking-knew.
But everybody was just having too good a time.
And doing remarkable work; making remarkable movies.

As the old joke goes:
We needed the eggs.

Read the whole thing. By the way, interesting callback in the last line quoted above.

YOUNG ADULT NOVEL ABOUT “MOB MENTALITIES” PUNISHED AFTER ONLINE MOB MENTALITY BACKLASH:

When Laura Moriarty decided she wanted to write a dystopian novel about a future America in which Muslims are forcefully corralled into detention centers, she was aware that she should tread carefully. Her protagonist is a white teenager, but one of her main characters, Sadaf, is a Muslim American immigrant from Iran, so Moriarty began by diving into Iranian books and films. Moriarty explained via email that she asked two Iranian immigrant friends to read an early draft and see if Sadaf seemed authentic to them, and whether the language and accent fit with their memories and experiences. A friend of Pakistani and American descent who is a practicing Muslim gave additional feedback. Moriarty asked a senior colleague at the University of Kansas, Giselle Anatol, who writes about Young Adult fiction and has been critical of racist narratives in literature, to read the book with a particular eye toward avoiding another narrative about a “white savior.” And after American Heart was purchased by Harper, the publisher provided several formal “sensitivity reads,” in which a member of a minority group is charged with spotting potentially problematic depictions in a manuscript.

So many, many problematics – why, it’s as if the SJW mob can just pull problematics out of the air at will!

As I noted here last week, the recent review of Mark Lilla’s The Once and Future Liberal at the L.A. Review of Books claimed that, “Despite his fondness for ridiculing the religious intensity of the ‘social justice warrior,’ Lilla fails to recognize that a rejection of one’s political expressivism could be experienced as a religious deconversion. For some, the remedy may well be worse than the disease.”

The former is certainly true. The latter is most certainly false, as the above documented freakout demonstrates in spades. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: “The ultimate endpoint of keeping out mitts off experience that doesn’t belong to us is that there is no fiction,” novelist Lionel Shriver warned last year in a speech at the Brisbane Writers Festival. She put on a sombrero during the speech to demonstrate that novelists were being warned by SJWs that “you’re not supposed to try on other people’s hats. Yet that’s what we’re paid to do, isn’t it? Step into other people’s shoes, and try on their hats.”

Naturally, she was crucified by the left for telling the truth.

HOW NOT TO MARGINALIZE THE ALT-RIGHT:

An old Jewish joke, full of the mordant humor of Judaism’s darkest hours, is typically told thus:

Rabbi Altmann and his secretary were sitting in a coffeehouse in Berlin in 1935. “Herr Altmann,” said his secretary, “I notice you’re reading Der Stürmer! I can’t understand why. A Nazi libel sheet! Are you some kind of masochist, or, God forbid, a self-hating Jew?”

“On the contrary, Frau Epstein. When I used to read the Jewish papers, all I learned about were pogroms, riots in Palestine, and assimilation in America. But now that I read Der Stürmer, I see so much more: that the Jews control all the banks, that we dominate in the arts, and that we’re on the verge of taking over the entire world. You know — it makes me feel a whole lot better!”

I thought of that joke upon reading Thomas Chatterton Williams’s brave New York Times column on the common threads connecting the racialism of Ta-Nehisi Coates and the racialism of Richard Spencer:

Read the whole thing.

SCIENCE ON THE MARCH, BACKWARDS: Standing on the Shoulders of Diversocrats. Now that identity politics rules the humanities, it’s time to conquer the sciences and engineering. The UCLA engineering school has its first “dean of diversity and inclusion” ready to rectify the “implicit bias” that so distorts engineers’ calculations. Heather Mac Donald in City Journal:

The only thing that the academic diversity racket achieves is to bid up the salaries of plausibly qualified candidates, and redistribute those candidates to universities that can muster the most resources for diversity poaching. The dean of UCLA Engineering, Jayathi Murthy, laments that of the 900 females admitted to the undergraduate engineering program in 2016, only about 240 accepted the offer. “There are (about) 660 women there that are going somewhere else and the question is . . . is there an opportunity for us to do something differently,” she told the Daily Bruin.  Presumably, those 660 non-matriculants are getting engineering degrees at other institutions. If the goal (a dubious one) is to increase the number of female engineers overall, then it doesn’t matter where they graduate from. But every college wants its own set of “diverse” students and faculty, though one institution’s gain is another’s presumed loss.

The pressure to take irrelevant characteristics like race and sex into account in academic science is dangerous enough. But Silicon Valley continues to remake itself in the image of the campus diversity bureaucracy. Dell Technologies announced in September a new “chief diversity and inclusion officer” position. Per the usual administrator shuffle, the occupant of this new position, Brian Reaves, previously served as head of diversity and inclusion for software company SAP. Reaves will engage the company’s “leaders” in “candid conversations about the role of gender and diversity in the workplace,” said Dell chief customer officer Karen Quintos in a press statement. “Candid” means:  you are free to confess your white cis-male privilege. “Candid” does not mean questioning Dell’s diversity assumptions, as this summer’s firing of computer engineer James Damore from Google made terrifyingly clear to any other potential heretics.

Read the whole thing.

IT’S GOOD TO BE THE KING: For Weinstein, a Brush With the Police, Then No Charges.

For decades the film producer Harvey Weinstein succeeded in hiding from public view complaint after complaint of sexual misconduct against him. But on the evening of March 28, 2015, at a rendezvous at the TriBeCa Grand, his longtime pattern of cover-ups was coming to a dramatic end.

Meeting with him at the hotel was Ambra Battilana, a 22-year-old model from Italy, who had reported to the police the night before that Mr. Weinstein had groped her during a business meeting. She was wearing a wire. As Ms. Battilana asked Mr. Weinstein why he had touched her breasts at his office, undercover police officers monitored the exchange, eager to capture his every word.

“Oh, please, I’m sorry, just come on in,” Mr. Weinstein said as he tried to usher her into his hotel room, his tone alternating between threatening and cajoling, according to the recording. “I’m used to that. Come on. Please.”

“You’re used to that?” she replied.

“Yes,” he said, adding, “I won’t do it again.”

Read the whole, belated thing.

ROGER KIMBALL: Yes, Trump Is Winning.

Trump is methodically pushing ahead with the agenda he campaigned on. That includes:

Nominating judges and justices who can be counted on to interpret and enforce the law but do not endeavor to use the law to promote their social agenda;
Addressing the problem of illegal immigration and securing the borders of the United States;
Developing America’s vast energy resources;
Rolling back the regulatory state, especially the administrative overreach of agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency;
Pursuing policies that put America, and American workers, first, not to the detriment of our relationships with our international partners but through a recognition that strength and sovereign independence make nations more reliable actors;
Restoring the combat readiness and morale of the United States military;
Simplifying the U.S. tax code, making it more competitive for U.S. businesses and more equitable for individuals;
Getting a handle on the unconstitutional and shockingly inefficient monstrosity ironically called the Affordable Care Act;
Putting a stop to the obscene violation of due process that Title IX fanatics brought to college campuses across the country.

And many other initiatives large and small.

In all of these areas, Trump is proceeding not as a wrecking ball but as a deliberate, if often voluble and sometimes exasperating, agent of change.

On the campaign trail, Trump promised that, if elected, the American people would start “winning” again. “You’ll have so much winning,” he said, “you’ll get bored with winning.”

Now, almost nine months into his first term, how is he doing? Real unemployment is on the wane. The stock market is at an historic high. So is consumer confidence. Illegal immigration is down nearly 70 percent. America is now a net exporter of energy. Just a few days ago, Trump declined to re-certify the malevolent nuclear deal that Obama made with Iran, winning from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu this commendation: “I congratulate President Trump for his courageous decision today. He boldly confronted Iran’s terrorist regime. . . . If the Iran deal is left unchanged, one thing is absolutely certain—in a few years’ time, the world’s foremost terrorist regime will have an arsenal of nuclear weapons and that’s a tremendous danger for our collective future.”

Just a couple of days ago, Trump, having been disappointed by a supine Republican Congress, issued an executive order that will make it easier for people to band together to obtain health insurance tailored to their needs (instead of being forced into federally defined, one-size-fits-all plans) while also ending the unconstitutional federal subsidies (unconstitutional because the money wasn’t appropriated by Congress) to big insurance companies, amounting to some $7 billion per year (the price of getting those companies on board with Obamacare in the first place).

In any normal world, these would be called significant accomplishments. But in the NeverTrump bubble, none of these victories can evade the protective refracting mirrors that intercept and distort the message.

Read the whole thing.

GOP CONGRESSMAN WARNS U.S. INSOLVENCY COULD ‘COST MILLIONS OF AMERICAN LIVES:’

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said any member of Congress who refuses to figure out ways to reduce federal spending and move closer to a balanced budget is “betraying their country and betraying the future of our kids and grandkids.”

The U.S. national debt recently surpassed $20 trillion.

“Everyone who refuses to examine this issue and come up with constructive ways to cut federal government spending so we can balance our budget and minimize our risk of insolvency and bankruptcy, everyone who refuses to do that is betraying their country and betraying the future of our kids and grandkids because they’re going to suffer enormously from the burden that we’re placing on those who have no right to vote because they’re not old enough or aren’t even alive yet,” Brooks said during an interview with PJM on Capitol Hill. “We’re talking about America’s future here.”

Read the whole thing.

FLASHBACK: HUGH HEFNER, GANGSTA RAP & THE EMERGING MORAL MAJORITY. “Moral concerns pop up one decade in right-wing clothes, and, in the next, change into another outfit,” Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote at the end of last month in NRO when Hef left the Playboy mansion for the last time. With Glenn asking “If people realize the system is exploitative and inhuman, will they still watch movies?”, in USA Today regarding Harvey Weinstein, it’s premise that is also worth re-exploring today:

But as angels sang Hugh Hefner toward his final reward, whatever that may be, I realized very few believe Hefner’s overall effect on the culture was positive. And the anger at him was especially strong on the left. Hef’s pushing of Quaaludes on his “girlfriends” was well-documented going back to the 1970s. (So was Bill Cosby’s. In some rumor mills, the Kennedy family’s use of “poppers” lives on.) But fresher reports about Hefner’s abusive behavior, ornamented with decidedly embarrassing and unsexy details, have circulated in recent years. And he got far more of the “Good Riddance” treatment than any social conservative could have expected ten or even 15 years ago.

If you look for it, you see signs everywhere. A recent, and largely well-done, HBO documentary on the parallel careers of music producer Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre was noticeably squeamish about the details of the early 1990s “gangsta rap” scene. Conservative moral figures such as Bill Bennett and Tipper Gore were trotted out and given a perfunctory whipping for their role in trying to suppress the free expression of artists. But the subjects of the documentary showed little hints of remorse, embarrassment, or shame at their treatment of women, their friends, and the law itself. In the one truly plaintive moment, Jimmy Iovine recalls that, amid the violence between East and West Coast rappers and after Snoop Dogg’s arrest in connection with a murder, he stopped to ask himself, “Am I standing up for free speech, or was I funding Hamas?”

Of course, none of the violence or misogyny troubled the gangsta rappers enough to give back all the money they made and dedicate their lives to moral improvement and uplift. Slowly, however, the elite of our culture seem to be drifting toward a new, far-more jaundiced and suspicious view of popular culture from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Read the whole thing. As I wrote yesterday, the emergence of Weinstein’s depravity casts the nihilism and moral relativism on display in some of his biggest films of the past 25 years in a new light. Or perhaps vice-versa: as with Woody Allen after Manhattan and Crimes and Misdemeanors, we shouldn’t be very surprised at the numerous allegations now facing Weinstein based on the messages in his films.

This Times column I linked to last month after French’s column also seems rather quaint today in its premise: “It’s a tough time to be a male feminist, especially in Hollywood.”

To coin an Insta-phrase, why is Democrat-dominated Hollywood such a cesspit of abuse and misogyny?

UPDATE: The Men You Meet Making Movies.

Would any of these stories be coming out with Bill Clinton back in the White House co-starring in the role of “First Gentleman?”

MORE: And speaking of the emerging new Moral Majority, this post-Weinstein column in The Week explores “The sexual predators everyone still worships:” “What do we do about predators we actually think are cool?…What is the point at which it becomes necessary for us to channel our inner Savonarolas and just start burning? Is one confirmed incident enough? How many Station to Stations or Physical Graffitis are worth the assault of a single woman or child? Are we affirming or materially contributing to their crimes when we watch films or listen to music made by abusers?”

LOTS OF MATERIAL TO READ BETWEEN THE LINES OF THIS BBC ARTICLE ON WOODY ALLEN’S RESPONSE: “Harvey Weinstein: Woody Allen ‘sad’ for producer over sexual assault allegations.”

“The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” he added. “Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that [his] life is so messed up.

“There’s no winners in that, it’s just very, very sad and tragic for those poor women that had to go through that.”

Allen said he hoped the revelations, which emerged after an investigation by the New York Times, would lead to “some amelioration”, but said: “You also don’t want it to lead to a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself. That’s not right either.

“But sure, you hope that something like this could be transformed into a benefit for people rather than just a sad or tragic situation.”

Among those who investigated Weinstein were Allen’s own son, Ronan Farrow, who spoke to 13 women who said the producer had sexually harassed or assaulted them.

Allen was apparently not asked about Farrow’s involvement by the BBC — “unexpectedly,” as they say in old media.

ANDREW KLAVAN ON HARVEY WEINSTEIN AND HOLLYWOOD’S MASCULINITY DEFICIT:

Being a man — a real man — is hard. Being a gentleman is hard. Men won’t do it if they don’t have  real women — real ladies — to do it for. And wherever ladies stop being ladies and men stop being men, it isn’t Equality World, believe me. It’s Harvey Weinstein all the way down.

Read the whole thing.

MARSHA BLACKBURN, ROSE MCGOWAN, THE POWER OF TWITTER AND THE MEDIA: “Who would possibly have thought Tennessee Republican and Trump-supporting Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn — a candidate to succeed out-going Senator Bob Corker — would have anything in common with Rose McGowan, the hardworking film, television actress and LGBT activist? Two worlds, and worlds apart. Until it came to Twitter… But in both cases there is more than a whiff of a reminder that Twitter — along with Facebook, Google and You Tube — have now acquired massive power to decide what the American and global public will be allowed or not allowed to see.”

Abandoning the Blogosphere and its diversified group of hosting sites for the ease of Twitter and Facebook was not a wise move.

Read the whole thing.

NASTY, BRUTISH, AND FAT: John Podhoretz on Hobbes and Harvey Weinstein.

Harvey Weinstein is an exceptionally clever man who spent decades standing above and outside the system, manipulating it and gaming it for his own ends. He’s no cog. Tina Brown once ran Weinstein’s magazine and book-publishing line. She wrote that “strange contracts pre-dating us would suddenly surface, book deals with no deadline attached authored by attractive or nearly famous women, one I recall was by the stewardess on a private plane.” Which means he didn’t get into book publishing, or magazine publishing, to oversee the production of books and articles. He did it because he needed entities through which he would pass through payoffs both to women he had harassed and molested and to journalists whose silence he bought through options and advances. His primary interest wasn’t in the creation of culture. It was the creation of conditions under which he could hunt.

Which may explain his choice of the entertainment industry in the first place. In how many industries is there a specific term for demanding sexual favors in exchange for employment? There’s a “casting couch”; there’s no “insurance-adjustor couch.” In how many industries do people conduct meetings in hotel rooms at off hours anyway? And in how many industries could that meeting in a hotel room end up with the dominant player telling a young woman she should feel comfortable getting naked in front of him because the job for which she is applying will require her to get naked in front of millions?

And then there’s the nihilism and moral inversions that run rampant in so many of his movies.

His 2002 biopic of Frida Kahlo starred Salma Hayek as the unibrowed unrepentant communist who covered all the bases – she had an affair with Trotsky, but one of her final paintings was titled “Self Portrait with Stalin.” As Nick Gillespie wrote at Reason last year, “That is some fucked-up art right there. Uncle Joe had died the year before and only the most deluded bitter-clingers were under any illusions about his reign of terror.”

2008’s The Reader is based on a bestselling, Oprah-approved German novel that attempts to wipe away German guilt for the Holocaust. It starred Kate Winslet as a sexy slimline version of Sgt. Schultz, who knew nothing – nothing! – while serving as a guard at a concentration camp, because she was illiterate (and apparently deaf as well). Regarding an earlier Weinstein WWII movie, as John Nolte wrote in 2010 at Big Hollywood, “For those of you who haven’t seen ‘The English Patient,’ just imagine what Satan would’ve done with ‘Casablanca:’”

This film’s appalling philosophy all comes together in the final act after Laszlo and Katharine’s wicked ways come home to roost and they find themselves stranded deep in the desert. He can walk the three days out but her ankle is broken. Having to leave her behind with only a few days’ supply of water and food, her mortality clock is ticking and after a series of complications back in civilization, our “hero” deliberately sells out the British — the West — to the Germans in order to secure the plane necessary to save Katharine. He gives the Nazis (the Nazis!) crucial maps. Afterwards, when he’s informed that this act likely caused the death of thousands of Allied soldiers and civilians, Laszlo’s reply is like something you would normally hear from a James Bond villain…

“Thousands of people die. They were just different people.”

….except that rather than be chilled and repulsed by this response, we’re supposed to put finger to chin and bask in the poetic profundity of it all.

His whole review is well worth your time to get a sense of the film’s nihilism and heads-is-tails morality. And then there’s pretty much the entire Tarantino oeuvre, which Weinstein produced, not least of which Pulp Fiction. While it’s admittedly loads of fun, the N-word is uttered endlessly throughout the film, including by Tarantino’s character himself — simply because the filmmakers could. (Incidentally, Tarantino now claims he knew nothing — nothing! — about Weinstein’s exploits during his 25 year career under his aegis.)

Exit quote from Podhoretz’s article:

“You know what? It’s good that I’m the fucking sheriff of this fucking lawless piece-of-shit town.” Weinstein said that to Andrew Goldman, then a reporter for the New York Observer, when he took him out of a party in a headlock last November after there was a tussle for Goldman’s tape recorder and someone got knocked in the head.

Sadly, he was a law unto himself in Hollywood as well. Weinstein of course didn’t bring what Paul Johnson dubbed moral relativism to Hollywood. The 20 year gulf between the 1948 Alfred Hitchcock film Rope, a post-WWII attack on the Nietzschean uberman, to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which yearns for his arrival, illustrates how radically the industry’s moral underpinnings had shifted in the postwar era, a collapse accelerated by the scrapping of the Hays Code. But by the 1990s, Hollywood product meant two things: mindless “blowed up real good” CGI summer action movies and the Oscar-bait Weinstein specialized in. The latter are beautifully photographed movies cast with beautiful women — who no doubt did, witnessed, or at the very least heard stories of unspeakable things with Harvey to land their roles. And in many cases, these films are a clear insight into Harvey’s abhorrent worldview. He was the sheriff of that lawless town indeed.

UPDATE: “Harvey Weinstein has been expelled by the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Science in an unprecedented condemnation of decades of sexual harassment.”

As Stephen Miller sardonically tweets, “That’ll fix everything.”

A PROBLEM: Weinstein scandal has Democrats in a bind – can they afford to cut their celebrity messengers loose?

Last year at the 89th Annual Academy Awards, then-Vice President Joe Biden walked on stage to a standing ovation to introduce Lady Gaga. He gave a passionate speech on the topic of campus sexual assault, about the need to speak up and “intervene in situations when consent has not or cannot be given.”

In 2013, Michelle Obama appeared at the Oscars via satellite from the White House decked in full evening gown and flanked by U.S. military service members to announce the winner of the best picture Oscar, which just so happened to go to director Ben Affleck’s “Argo.”

These are just two of the most prominent examples of how closely the Obama administration – and with it, the Democratic Party – has been tied to Hollywood, using them as messengers to push their agenda out to the mass public. . . .

The late night hosts who only last week were happy to help Chuck Schumer push the Democrats’ gun control message are suddenly mute when it comes to Weinstein. And this is exactly where the Democrats find themselves in a bind. The party has depended on celebrity messaging for the better part of eight years, and were clearly planning to depend on it heading into the 2018 and 2020 elections (remember Maxine Waters appearing to raucous applause as a voice of The Resistance™ at the MTV Movie Awards?).

But the days of happy backslapping with Ben Affleck and George Clooney are coming to an end for a party that now has to distance itself from celebrity-spokespeople who were content to lecture the rest of the country about their religion, their guns or their politics – but who couldn’t seem to bring themselves to clean up their own house by calling out one of their closest friends and business colleagues for preying upon vulnerable young women – for years.

Read the whole thing.

ASSAULT IS EASY; COMEDY IS HARD: Seth Meyers on Slow Walking the Weinstein Story.

So where are the late night hot takes?

Not since Bill played cigar aficionado with Monica in the Oval Office has there been a subject so ripe for comedic plucking—and yet the after-hours comedy set has been sluggish to take up the subject. Stephen Colbert, who once gleefully called the president Vladimir Putin’s c*ck holster, has had little to say about where Harvey has been sticking his. Lorne Michaels, meanwhile, made a lame excuse for SNL, saying that it was “a New York thing” that nobody else would care about—as if they ever cared how a skit played in Peoria.

Seth Meyers, whose show Late Night was also late to the party, offered his own take on why the late night comedy establishment dragged its feet when it came to Weinstein. The former “Weekend Update” anchor explained to The Hollywood Reporter that it was discretion, rather than squamishness, that dictated the decision

You can read the whole thing, but I doubt you’ll be buying Meyers’ excuse.

I SENSE A GRAVE DISTURBANCE IN THE CULTURE WARS:

“Middle America has always suspected the movie industry of being a den of perverts, cutthroats, and sociopaths. Now here’s Weinstein apparently proving it’s worse than everyone thought. And as more comes out on others, it may get worse still,” Allahpundit writes.

Read the whole thing.

SIGNS LIBERALISM’S SLOW SUICIDE IS FINALLY COMPLETE:

The old “liberals” wanted to dispense with individual rights so they could pursue the fantasy of setting themselves up as benevolent, all-seeing planners who would protect us from harm and order our lives to achieve the “greatest good for the greatest number.” But they wanted to do this while still thinking of themselves as the good guys, as fighters against oppression, as defenders of liberty. That is the pretense being torn down today in the suicide of liberalism.

Read the whole thing.

Related: Yes, the Democratic Party’s Polarization Helps Explain Trump’s Rise: “Clearly, ours is a polarized age, with tribal consolidation happening at a breakneck pace.”

Or as John Podhoretz tweeted in January, as quoted in Glenn’s recent post on “How Ta-Nehisi Coates Gives Whiteness Power,” “Liberals spent 40 years disaggregating [the] U.S., until finally the largest cohort in the country chose to vote as though it were an ethnic group.”

Unexpectedly.

SINGLE PAYER, SINGLE DECIDER: VA conceals shoddy care and health workers’ mistakes.

Medical experts from the Department of Veterans Affairs blamed one botched surgery after another on a lone podiatrist.

They said Thomas Franchini drilled the wrong screw into the bone of one veteran. He severed a critical tendon in another. He cut into patients who didn’t need surgeries at all. Twice, he failed to properly fuse the ankle of a woman, who chose to have her leg amputated rather than endure the pain.

In 88 cases, the VA concluded, Franchini made mistakes that harmed veterans at the Togus hospital in Maine. The findings reached the highest levels of the agency.

“We found that he was a dangerous surgeon,” former hospital surgery chief Robert Sampson said during a deposition in an ongoing federal lawsuit against the VA.

Agency officials didn’t fire Franchini or report him to a national database that tracks problem doctors.

They let him quietly resign and move on to private practice, then failed for years to disclose his past to his patients and state regulators who licensed him.

He now works as a podiatrist in New York City.

A USA TODAY investigation found the VA — the nation’s largest employer of health care workers — has for years concealed mistakes and misdeeds by staff members entrusted with the care of veterans.

If you can stomach it, read the whole thing.

MICHELLE MALKIN: Obama Lied. My FOURTH Health Plan Died.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I received yet another cancellation notice for our private, individual health insurance coverage. It’s our fourth Obamacare-induced obituary in four years. Our first death notice, from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, arrived in the fall of 2013. The insurer informed us that because of “changes from health care reform (also called the Affordable Care Act or ACA),” our plan no longer met the federal government’s requirements.

Never mind our needs and desires as consumers who were quite satisfied with a high-deductible PPO that included a wide network of doctors for ourselves and our two children.

Read the whole thing.

RON RADOSH ON PBS’S VIETNAM WAR DOCUMENTARY: How Burns and Novick Fail to Portray Ho Chi Minh Accurately.

Despite their claims, some of which you will hear in the documentary, Ho Chi Minh had not the slightest interest in the Declaration of Independence. His only concern was to use it as a tool to help neutralize the United States and to keep them out of his way in attaining his goal of a unified Communist nation.

Read the whole thing.

KURT SCHLICHTER: HOLLYWOOD IS AMERICA’S CONSCIENCE OR SOMETHING. “The hell with Hollywood. It’s all lies, it’s all a pose, it’s all a scam, and we aren’t falling for it. But at least for the first time in a long time, Kimmel and his Tinseltown pals have us laughing again. Just not why they’d hoped.”

Read the whole thing.

PAUL RAHE ON PRAVDA-ON-THE-HUDSON VS. HARVEY WEINSTEIN:

When I first read of the supposed antics of Harvey Weinstein, I found myself in the position once assumed by Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca. Just as he was “shocked … shocked” to discover that there was gambling going on in Rick’s Café Américain, so I was completely taken aback at the suggestion that a Hollywood movie mogul, whom Meryl Streep once celebrated as a god, should have taken advantage of his position to bed a host of would-be starlets. Who, I asked myself, could have imagined such a thing?

* * * * * * * *

There is, I would suggest, more to the attack on Harvey Weinstein than meets the eye. There is a civil war going on today in the Democratic Party, and both Barack Obama and the Clintons are being denounced by the hard left, which may well take over the party. Pravda has now taken sides in that war. To attack Weinstein is to attack the wing of the party that he so long supported. At best, they suppose, he was a “useful idiot,” and he can now be dispensed with.

Weinstein’s expendability at a time when it appeared his company’s gravy train could be winding down is something other deep-pocket Democrat fund raisers should keep in mind.

UPDATE: Why did it take so long for Weinstein to fall? Blame Bill Clinton, Dan McLaughlin writes at the NRO Corner:

The Clinton machine had nationalized the methods of destroying the credibility of women, even liberal women in good standing, who dared to speak out against The Big He. It’s no accident that, in this climate, many of Weinstein’s potential accusers got the message Clinton sent, and that Traister describes – that giving in to such men was a romantic devotion to The Cause (claim your free copy of Leaves of Grass here!) and that the liberal world of Hollywood would consider you a prude if you spoke out.

But now, while the mores of Hollywood may not have changed, the partisan climate had. Stories about Fox and Trump make it fashionable again for liberals to be against this sort of thing. In that sense, Weinstein isn’t totally wrong that right-wingers are behind his downfall, but not the way he thinks. There is finally a bigger target to whom he can be sacrificed.

Well worth your time to read the whole thing.

JOHN PODHORETZ: Democrats’ best hope for 2020: Oprah.

There’s a lot of truth to this. Bernie will be too old. The Weinstein debacle may make fossilized Hillary too toxic for a third try at the piñata. As Podhoretz writes, “If you think that Trump can be beaten by a two-term governor of a Midwestern state with really good ideas about health care, or by a senator who really attracts young people, think again.” The left in general, Instapundit guest blogger Elizabeth Price Foley wrote here in 2015, “are increasingly looking like a political Island of Misfit Toys, where nothing is ‘quite right,’ and everyone is just a little ‘off.’

But Oprah has protected her brand pretty well. Yes, she politicized it by putting Obama on the map — which won’t do her any harm on the left. As the meta-tag of an August 2016 NPR article presciently warned, “Black Voters Who Were Fired Up About Obama Aren’t As Motivated By Clinton.” Think they wouldn’t rally around the woman who was Obama’s first celebrity champion?

An article in Oprah (and Obama’s) hometown newspaper notes that “Donald Trump is on track to win again in 2020.”

But his victory opened the floodgate to a celebrity opponent, and as Podhoretz writes, Oprah seems well-positioned to capitalize on it – if she wants to.

Read the whole thing.

A SAVAGE COLUMN FROM KURT SCHLICHTER: Hollywood is America’s Conscience or Something.

I am one conservative who is thankful for Hollywood’s collective inability not to say stupid things because I’m a columnist and these idiots are the gift that keeps on giving. Tired of writing about failing, fussy Fredocons and goose-stepping libs with a beef against the Bill of Rights? Well, like clockwork some genius will take to Twitter leveraging his GED and his supporting role as the sassy sidekick in a CW teen vampire dramedy to offer his super-insightful political/cultural insights to us normals and … BOOM! I have the launching pad for another sensational column.

And this week has been exceptional, truly exceptional, as Hollywood has attained peak fail. Much like how Washington, D.C., is Hollywood for ugly people, with notable exceptions, Hollywood is Washington, D.C., for stupid people.

And wow, have these Tinseltown twerps ever been stupid.

Read the whole thing. But here’s a sample:

Hillary donor Harvey Weinstein is now promising his liberal pals to redeem himself by taking on the NRA. Better make sure whoever tends the plants at the NRA’s offices is ready for a biohazard.

The revelations of Hillary donor Harvey Weinstein are only revelations to us normals; everyone in Hollywood knew about Hillary donor Harvey Weinstein’s perversions. But then, they knew about Blue Dress Bill Clinton’s perversions too – apparently all these big name liberals share both a contempt for women and incredibly bad aim.

Heh.

‘HARVEY WEINSTEIN’S MEDIA ENABLERS’? THE NEW YORK TIMES IS ONE OF THEM: Don’t miss the detail in this article by a former Timeswoman on how Matt Damon and Russell Crowe called her directly to tamp down an explosive story that would have severely compromised Weinstein’s reputation over a decade ago.

In 2004, I was still a fairly new reporter at The New York Times when I got the green light to look into oft-repeated allegations of sexual misconduct by Weinstein. It was believed that many occurred in Europe during festivals and other business trips there.

I traveled to Rome and tracked down the man who held the plum position of running Miramax Italy. According to multiple accounts, he had no film experience and his real job was to take care of Weinstein’s women needs, among other things.

As head of Miramax Italy in 2003 and 2004, Fabrizio Lombardo was paid $400,000 for less than a year of employment. He was on the payroll of Miramax and thus the Walt Disney Company, which had bought the indie studio in 1993.

I had people on the record telling me Lombardo knew nothing about film, and others citing evenings he organized with Russian escorts.

* * * * * * * *

After intense pressure from Weinstein, which included having Matt Damon and Russell Crowe call me directly to vouch for Lombardo and unknown discussions well above my head at the Times, the story was gutted.

I was told at the time that Weinstein had visited the newsroom in person to make his displeasure known. I knew he was a major advertiser in the Times, and that he was a powerful person overall.

But I had the facts, and this was the Times. Right?

Wrong.

Read the whole thing.

As Jake Tapper tweets in response to Weinstein being fired, “so the Miramax partners had NO idea this had been going on for decades? And Weinstein paid all those settlements out of his own personal $$?” Author Laurie Stark adds, “Remember: The Weinstein Company didn’t fire Harvey because they found out he was a sexual predator. They fired him because WE found out.” And Glenn has an excellent suggestion: “Clearly we need Congressional hearings on sexual harassment in Hollywood. Make all the studio heads testify.”

Indeed. Although it would probably go something like this:

UPDATE: “New York magazine had the Harvey Weinstein story — or nearly had it — a year ago but didn’t run anything after the movie mogul and his team of lawyers and p.r. consultants intervened.”

CBS WALKS BACK REPORT THAT KAEPERNICK WILL STAND FOR THE ANTHEM IF HIRED.  Great journalisming from CBS: Jason La Canfora, the CBS sports journalist who interviewed Kaepernick is now tweeting, “Standing for Anthem wasn’t something that I spoke to Colin about sat. I relayed what had been reported about him standing in the future…” (ellipses in original).

As John Sexton writes at Hot Air,Frankly, this doesn’t make any sense:”

If this reporter spent several hours talking to Kaepernick it’s hard to believe the elephant in the room wasn’t discussed. LaCanfora seemed pretty clear when he said “He’s not planning on kneeling” and “he’s planning on standing.” If they never talked about that.

I haven’t seen video of LaCanfora’s explanation yet, but this is a pretty big screw up, if it is one. It seems more likely to me that he was actually told those things by Kaepernick or his agent or someone but was asked not to report it. I’m guessing he got a call after his segment (above) aired.

In any case, Colin Kaepernick is a political extremist. He’s already made clear once that politics is more important to him than football. Even if he did make such a promise behind the scenes, why would a team take his word? Even if he does drop the anthem protest, there are lots of other ways he could continue to politicize his job (though probably few as counter-productive). Maybe some team wants his drama but it’s hard to see how the NFL as a whole benefits from it.

Nessa Diab, Kaepernick’s girlfriend, is also denying the report. Diab is currently a New York radio host who reportedly radicalized the former 49ers QB while DJing in San Francisco. During this past offseason, she issued a tweet that compared Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to a slave owner and superstar former Raven Ray Lewis as his Uncle Tom. As Clay Travis of the Outkick the Coverage sportsblog writes in response to Diab’s tweet, “This is why Kaepernick is unsigned. Who needs this mess for a mediocre QB?”

UPDATE: Pass the popcorn — “Colin Kaepernick Camp Accuses Jason La Canfora and CBS of Fake News,” reports USA Today’s sports blog.

After La Canfora’s report, Kaepernick retweeted this entry from TV/radio personality Charlamagne Tha God, which said that Kaepernick “never spoke to CBS,” but that he “bumped into” La Canfora in a hotel lobby:

And currently on Kaepernick’s Twitter account is this bon mot:

Besides reports that Churchill likely never said that, the uber-woke Kaepernick is quoting the same infamous colonialist oppressor whose bust Obama banished from the White House? Now who’s being naive, Kap?

ANDREW KLAVAN ON AMERICAN HEROES, UNIVERSAL EVIL:

Like most conservatives, I was sickened by the way the left rushed to manipulate the nation’s grief and anger in an attempt to strip us of our right to defend life and liberty, a right also known as the right to bear arms. Then Mollie Hemingway said something on the Special Report panel that was so compassionate and illuminating, it cooled my outrage. “We’re pretending we’re having a debate about gun control,” Mollie said, “but we’re really having a debate about the nature of evil and whether a big enough government can contain it.” It was an observation so womanly wise that a mere news discussion couldn’t address it. The rest of the panel ignored her and the talk immediately turned to the utterly meaningless effort to ban bump stocks.

But of course, she was right: that’s exactly what we’re really talking about. The left sneers at conservatives for “doing nothing,” but conservatism understands the tragedy of the fallen world: we can only choose between freedom with evil and slavery with evil, because no government is large enough to make evil go away.

Read the whole thing.

FROM THE LATE MICHAEL KELLY, Ted Kennedy on the Rocks:

Of odd and reckless behavior, there are many examples, including Kennedy’s photographed 1982 nude promenade on the public sands of Palm Beach, reportedly in the presence of several old ladies. The columnist Taki, chronicler of Europe’s idle rich, still calls Kennedy “a boorish and uncivilized philistine” because of an incident in the mid-Seventies. At the time, Taki was a UPI reporter in Athens and a well-known playboy. One day, he got a call from Kennedy’s staffers, who asked him to “round up two dates, American girls preferably,” for the senator and his nephew Joe during their brief visit to the Greek capital. Taki says he showed up at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, where the Kennedys were staying, with his girlfriend and dates for the Kennedys. “Teddy was…pretty much drunk,” says Taki. “In fact, he was really out of it.” Taki says he and the others left the senator and his date, a proper young Connecticut woman who was “very, very impressed with the Kennedys,” at the hotel while they went nightclubbing. Back home later than night, Taki was awakened by Kennedy’s hysterical date. Taki says the drink-befuddled young woman became frightened when she “saw Ted Kennedy coming naked at her,” and adds, “that would scare me too, and I would like to say I am a pretty brave man.”

To be fair, Harvey Weinstein, to be best of our knowledge, never killed a woman with his car, so he’s got that going for him, at least.

The whole thing is a great read, a 9,000-word GQ column from 1990 written by the last great Atlantic editor.

JACK DUNPHY: Las Vegas Shooting Reminds Us That Sheepdogs Have to Keep the Wolves at Bay.

Read the whole thing.

TRUMP SHOULD SHOW IRS COMMISSIONER KOSKINEN NO MERCY:

From The Hill:

It’s so far beyond time for President Trump to fire Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen that it’s truly unbelievable he’s still there.

What other reasonable conclusion can be drawn from the revelation this week that his agency — already under fire for allowing 700,000 taxpayer files to be hacked two years ago — last Friday decided to award a sole-source, no-bid contract to Equifax, the credit bureau titan that recently revealed it had failed to protect the security of the credit files it holds on 145.5 million Americans?

Read the whole thing.

THE WALKING DEEP STATE DEAD: The rotting corpse of Wisconsin’s John Doe investigation still stinks.

You may recall the two John Doe investigations of Scott Walker, his supporters and almost the entire Wisconsin conservative movement. It was a nasty, vicious investigation which saw military-style raids in the middle of the night.

There was John Doe No. 1, investigating Scott Walker’s time as Milwaukee County Executive. They never came up with any wrongdoing by him.

Then there was John Doe No. 2, regarding Walker’s alleged unlawful collusion with conservative groups during the recall election. It is John Doe No. 2 that has generated litigation over several years. In the end, every court that ruled on the issue found that the entire prosecution legal theory was legally unfounded — that even if these conservative groups did what they were alleged to have done, it was constitutionally protected speech and not illegal.

Lives were ruined over an attempt to punish constitutionally protected speech by conservatives.

Read the whole thing.

JAMES LILEKS FISKS AN ARTICLE ON THE EXISTENTIAL DREAD OF MEAL KITS SUCH AS BLUE APRON and concludes: “All these paralyzed, damaged people, convinced of the righteousness of rejecting The Horrible Previous Way, unsure what should replace it, and perversely drawn to the old tropes because something in their heart tugs them in the ‘wrong’ direction.”

Read the whole thing.

21st CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Cops: Wisconsin Duo Refused To Cease Car Sex.

Read the whole thing – the quotes from the couple are just awesome, the textual equivalent of NSFW (which is why I’m not quoting them here). Also, a potential motive emerges: “You’re a man. You should understand. It’s Oktoberfest weekend.”

THE DAWN OF THE SPACE AGE: “The world changed profoundly sixty years ago today. On October 4th, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I into a low earth orbit, and the space age began. It was a huge propaganda coup for the USSR. Indeed it was nothing but a propaganda coup as Sputnik did no science at all. Its radio merely beeped about once a second, a signal specifically designed to be picked up by any ham radio operator. Still millions went out at night to watch it pass overhead during its brief life. Its radio ran out of battery power after three weeks, and it burned up on January 4th, 1958…But, along with the microprocessor, it created the world in which we now live.”

Read the whole thing.

SICK BURN: Ann Althouse takes apart Jeffrey Toobin and, in the process, Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Toobin calls that a “civics lecture”? I think what he means is that the demand for a text is so basic that to talk about it is to sound as though we are back in high school, and that’s either an insult to the old folks on the Court who should be presumed to already know such things or it’s an implicit criticism of them for failing to live up to the standards that of course Gorsuch knows they know.

Here’s the transcript of the oral argument, where you can see that Gorsuch followed the “civics lecture” with one more question: “Aren’t those all textual indications in the Constitution itself that maybe we ought to be cautious about stepping in here?” Gorsuch was suggesting that the particularity of the constitutional text about voting rights with respect to race, sex, and age — in the Fifteenth, and Nineteenth, and Twenty-sixth Amendments — means that a more particular text is needed to find a right to be free from political gerrymandering. . . .

And Gorsuch wasn’t silenced: He was the next Justice to ask a question. But speaking of feeling as though you’re back in high school, Toobin sounds like a schoolboy muttering “oh, burn.”

And yet, Ginsburg, like Gorsuch, only asked a question. It’s a question that resonates with the old Edwin Meese distinction: She doesn’t need to go back to the constitutional text because she’s already moved on to constitutional law. “One person, one vote” isn’t in the Constitution. It’s judge-written text from old cases, so if Gorsuch wants to know the connection to the text, he can just consult the old cases and stop wasting the adults’ time. . . .

Toobin is so dismissive of the idea of going back to the constitutional text that he didn’t even bother to check to see if Reynolds v. Sims and Baker v. Carr were based on “the First and Fourteenth Amendments.” But neither of those cases even mentions the First Amendment.* Those cases are based on the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Period.

Read the whole thing, which makes plain that you’re better off reading Althouse’s blog than the New Yorker.

VIRGINIA POSTREL ON HOW TO BREAK THE PLASTIC SURGERY TABOO:

Jane Fonda took offense last week when Megyn Kelly asked her why the actress had said she “wasn’t proud” that she’d had plastic surgery. “We really want to talk about that now?” the annoyed star shot back, giving Kelly a disdainful look that quickly became an internet meme.

* * * * * * * *

Contrary to the critics, Kelly’s mistake wasn’t that she introduced a trivial question into a serious discussion. It’s that she naively assumed she could hijack what amounted to a video press release with a legitimate reportorial inquiry. Kelly didn’t stick to the Hollywood script.

Read the whole thing.

DANIEL PAYNE: Dear Jimmy Kimmel: Stay Out Of The Gun Debate If You Can’t Be Honest.

Mr. Kimmel, you clearly do not like the NRA, for whatever reason. You’re certainly entitled to your political opinion But that does not allow you to make things up to further your own political ends. For instance, you claim that “In June of last year, the NRA fought to make sure people on the no-fly list can buy guns.” This is a lie, plain and simple.

What the NRA was fighting against last summer was not a provision barring people on the no-fly list from buying guns; it was a provision barring innocent Americans who had been placed on the terror watch list from buying guns. And they were right to stand against such a measure! The terror watch list is an overly broad, slapdash document that has regularly encompassed innocent American men and women who are guilty of no terrorist activity whatsoever.

Maybe you’re okay with innocent Americans losing their constitutional rights because they’ve been placed on an accountable secret government list for no reason. Most people aren’t, however; even the American Civil Liberties Union agreed with the NRA on this. You owe it to your audience to tell the truth about the matter.

Mr. Kimmel, you also level an incredible charge at President Trump, claiming that “in February, he…signed a bill that made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally.” This is a gross and intellectually shameless distortion of what that bill actually accomplished.

Read the whole thing.

HUH, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? Monday Night Football Falls Double-Digits In Viewers & Demo: “The ESPN broadcast was then followed by the national anthem that saw all of the DC team linking arms while Chiefs players Marcus Peters and Ukeme Eligwe sat on the bench.”

And Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston knelt with his back to the flag. Somewhere, the ghost of Pete Rozelle is not happy.

Related: “It has become a sort of reflex to object to the National Football League’s players’ bended knee/sitting through the National Anthem—while also conceding that their complaints have merit,” Victor Davis Hanson writes. “But do they?”

Read the whole thing.

SPENGLER: The bells of Barcelona toll for Europe.

I tried to find the perfect excerpt, but you really need to read the whole thing.

HMM: As fight enters second month, FBI still withholding dossier documents.

It has now been more than a month since a House Intelligence Committee subpoena set a September 1 deadline for the FBI and the Justice Department to turn over documents related to the Trump dossier.

Not a single document has been produced. The first deadline was extended once, then again, then again, and is now on some sort of hold. But no documents have been handed over.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with committee chairman Devin Nunes last Thursday — the committee can perhaps take comfort in the fact that it is being put off by progressively higher-ranking officials — but it is not clear if the committee is any closer to receiving the documents than when it first issued its subpoena on August 24.

Read the whole thing.

I still have the small plaque from Dad’s office wall which reads, “When you’re up to you ass in alligators, it’s difficult to remember your initial objective was to drain the swamp.”

NO SYMPATHY FOR THE REPUBLICAN DEVILS. “A top legal executive at CBS, Hayley Geftman-Gold, said she ‘is not even sympathetic’ for the victims of the shooting at a country music festival at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas Sunday night,” Neo-Neocon writes. “But why did Geftman-Gold allow herself to write this on Facebook? Did she think it wouldn’t come back to bite her?”

[Note added 4:45 PM: See ADDENDUM below; CBS has fired her.]

But whatever happens, I would wager that what prompted Geftman-Golds to feel quite safe in expressing her sentiments is the fact that she most likely lives in a liberal bubble that has allowed and even at times encouraged such thoughts. I’ve lived in liberal bubbles, and I still operate in smaller liberal bubbles at times, and although I’ve never personally heard anything quite approaching the viciousness of Geftman-Golds’ remarks, I hear plenty of hatred and contempt expressed for Republicans in general.

It’s pretty standard, and after a while it becomes a sort of expected background noise to those who frequent such circles continually, and whatever shock value it might have had (if it had any in the first place) probably starts wearing off. If everyone considers expressions of hatred for members of a political party standard and worth hardly a yawn, after a while those expressions might start to escalate.

Read the whole thing.

Related: ‘I want every Trump supporter dead’: J.R. Salzman exposes today’s compassionate liberals.

SARAH HOYT: THE LAS VEGAS SHOOTING AND THE ATTACK OF THE CARRION CROWS.

[T]he carrion crows viewing this as a chance to advance their agenda, should get down on their knees and beg whatever God they believe in to forgive them and turn them into real humans, with real human feelings.

And that’s not counting the people saying it’s okay because those people were likely Trump Voters.  Those people have willfully cut themselves from the human race and made themselves a species of hyena far more repulsive than real hyenas — who are after all only animals who can’t help their behavior.

Read the whole thing.

HIS SPEECHES: Antonin Scalia’s Less Well-Known Legacy.

Among Christopher’s favorite speeches is one called The Arts, delivered at The Julliard School in 2005. Appearing on a panel with historian David McCullough, opera singer Renee Fleming and composer Steven Sondheim, the justice opened this way: “Today’s program reads like some sort of weird IQ test: Which of the following is out of place? Diva, author, composer, lawyer?”

The crowd roared, even as Scalia acknowledged that when speaking of lawyers, or judges, “It is certainly true that the main business of the lawyer is to take the imagination, the mystery, the romance, the ambiguity, out of everything that he touches.”

Read the whole thing, and kudos to Nina Totenberg for a lovely writeup.

ROGER SIMON: Puerto Rico Enters the ‘Great American Victim Derby.’

Read the whole thing.

BENNET OMALU, CONCUSSIONS, AND THE NFL: HOW ONE DOCTOR CHANGED FOOTBALL FOREVER.

On a foggy, steel gray Saturday in September 2002, Bennet Omalu arrived at the Allegheny County coroner’s office and got his assignment for the day: Perform an autopsy on the body of Mike Webster, a professional football player. Omalu did not, unlike most 34-year-old men living in a place like Pittsburgh, have an appreciation for American football. He was born in the jungles of Biafra during a Nigerian air raid, and certain aspects of American life puzzled him. From what he could tell, football was rather a pointless game, a lot of big fat guys bashing into each other. In fact, had he not been watching the news that morning, he may not have suspected anything unusual at all about the body on the slab.

The coverage that week had been bracing and disturbing and exciting. Dead at 50. Mike Webster! Nine-time Pro Bowler. Hall of Famer. “Iron Mike,” legendary Steelers center for fifteen seasons. His life after football had been mysterious and tragic, and on the news they were going on and on about it. What had happened to him? How does a guy go from four Super Bowl rings to…pissing in his own oven and squirting Super Glue on his rotting teeth? Mike Webster bought himself a Taser gun, used that on himself to treat his back pain, would zap himself into unconsciousness just to get some sleep. Mike Webster lost all his money, or maybe gave it away. He forgot. A lot of lawsuits. Mike Webster forgot how to eat, too. Soon Mike Webster was homeless, living in a truck, one of its windows replaced with a garbage bag and tape.

I say this exceedingly rarely about anything in GQ, but read the whole thing.

I found the above 2008 article last night after Glenn linked to the article by Webster’s son on his dad’s phenomenally tough training regimen.  I knew Webster’s life ended badly, but had no idea how nightmarish his last days truly were. But it is fascinating to see the DNC-MSM pivot from “OMG, we must disband the NFL right now – if it saves one player’s life, it’s worth it,” to “OMG, look at how brave the athletes are and what a wonderful platform the NFL provides them to speak out for social justice,” thanks to one speech from Trump. Or as Howie Carr wrote last Sunday in the Boston Herald, The Liberal Media Hated the NFL – Until Yesterday.

The GQ piece explicitly compares the NFL to the tobacco industry during the ‘60s and ‘70s, and as Michael Walsh wrote last week in a piece titled “Farewell to the NFL,” “Football, which is practically the state religion in Texas and across the South, used to be closely tied up with patriotism and love of country. The militaristic component of the sport, which was presented as akin to war, appealed especially to red-state dwellers. But sportscasters and sportswriters are overwhelmingly leftist in their outlook, and their eagerness to turn Kaepernick into a civil-rights icon has repelled a sizable section of football’s core audience — and one that, by the current evidence is growing.”

And Roger Goodell played along from the start — in an era when he’ll need as much support as possible from fans to keep his sport alive moving forward.

SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND’S QUEST FOR FREEZE DRIED PLASMA (FDP): FDP is an emergency dehydrated version of blood plasma. Plasma requires refrigeration. FDP doesn’t. It’s easy to see why SOCOM was interested. But when it came to obtaining FDP for U.S. soldiers, the enemy was the Food and Drug Administration.

“…SOCOM has been using French FDP, which the French military has been producing and using since 1994. After 2001 SOCOM became aware of allied special operations troops using it and in 2010 sought to get it for American troops. No American firm produced FDP because earlier (late 1940s) efforts were abandoned because of seemingly insoluble contamination problems.

The French military solved those contamination problems and produced it for use by French troops operating in distant parts of the world. By 2010 SOCOM was still trying to find an American supplier of FDP. The problem was that in the United States the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) needed an American firm to produce FDP that they could put through their testing and approval process.

Read the whole thing.

HUGH HEFNER, GANGSTA RAP & THE EMERGING MORAL MAJORITY. “Moral concerns pop up one decade in right-wing clothes, and, in the next, change into another outfit:”

But as angels sang Hugh Hefner toward his final reward, whatever that may be, I realized very few believe Hefner’s overall effect on the culture was positive. And the anger at him was especially strong on the left. Hef’s pushing of Quaaludes on his “girlfriends” was well-documented going back to the 1970s. (So was Bill Cosby’s. In some rumor mills, the Kennedy family’s use of “poppers” lives on.) But fresher reports about Hefner’s abusive behavior, ornamented with decidedly embarrassing and unsexy details, have circulated in recent years. And he got far more of the “Good Riddance” treatment than any social conservative could have expected ten or even 15 years ago.

If you look for it, you see signs everywhere. A recent, and largely well-done, HBO documentary on the parallel careers of music producer Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre was noticeably squeamish about the details of the early 1990s “gangsta rap” scene. Conservative moral figures such as Bill Bennett and Tipper Gore were trotted out and given a perfunctory whipping for their role in trying to suppress the free expression of artists. But the subjects of the documentary showed little hints of remorse, embarrassment, or shame at their treatment of women, their friends, and the law itself. In the one truly plaintive moment, Jimmy Iovine recalls that, amid the violence between East and West Coast rappers and after Snoop Dogg’s arrest in connection with a murder, he stopped to ask himself, “Am I standing up for free speech, or was I funding Hamas?”

Of course, none of the violence or misogyny troubled the gangsta rappers enough to give back all the money they made and dedicate their lives to moral improvement and uplift. Slowly, however, the elite of our culture seem to be drifting toward a new, far-more jaundiced and suspicious view of popular culture from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Read the whole thing.

Related: “It’s a tough time to be a male feminist, especially in Hollywood.”

WHAT COULD GO WRONG*? Christopher Caldwell: The Germans Turn Right.

The migration crisis turned Merkel’s behavior into something more than a political-science question. As Berthold Kohler of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung put it, “The fundamental trust of many middle-class Germans was shaken.”

Some Americans will recognize in the uprising against Merkel an element of their boiling fury towards Barack Obama at the end of his presidency. The AfD’s advertising campaign capitalized on that. It was the brainchild of Thor Kunkel, a Petry friend and madcap author educated in San Francisco. Kunkel enlisted Austin, Texas-based Harris Media, which has run ad campaigns for Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, and Likud. Kunkel’s own literary taste runs to Thomas Pynchon, and his Endstufe, or Final Stage, is a historical novel about a little-known pornographic film studio that operated under the Nazis.

In 2013 Merkel had campaigned under the slogan “Ihr kennt mich” (“You know me”), and now she was traveling around the country saying the invitation to migrants “must not be repeated,” as if someone else had done it. Some in the AfD went so far as to call her criminal. Her invitation to immigrants required ignoring the EU’s Dublin agreements on refugees. Weidel announced after the elections that she hoped to investigate Merkel for “all the breaches of the law that lady has committed.” For better or for worse, Merkel was not the person the press presented her as. She was not “steady.” She was not a mother figure. She was impulsive, unpredictable, dangerous. “The Oath-Breaker” was the headline on one of Kunkel’s online ads.

The AfD’s distrust of the press is absolute. Today, the party’s activists complain, the press does little more than collude in Merkel’s project of shaming those who disagree with her. Merkel’s justice minister, the Social Democrat Heiko Maas, worked assiduously to limit negative comments about the wave of migrants, both on newspaper comment pages and on social media. So worried was the government about his unpopularity that 250 policemen accompanied him when he went to Dresden to give a talk in July.

Trust in all institutions in Germany has plummeted​—​and with it trust in the “European values” that Merkel invoked two summers ago. Earlier this year, two posthumous books by the historian Rolf Peter Sieferle were published by small presses, and one​—​a collection of notes called Finis Germania​—​made it to the top of the bestseller list. Many of its entries questioned Germany’s culture of Holocaust memory. Now, Germans have broken the taboo against voting for conservative parties. But one should hesitate before assuming that Germany is traveling back down the road to fascism. The sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn points out that, even if it wished to, Germany would not have the demographic resources for it. At the point in the 20th century when Western countries began wreaking havoc, the United States, Canada, and Europe accounted worldwide for 44 percent of fighting-age men (15-29 years old). Today they account for 11 percent. Heinsohn is not saying fascism cannot arise. But he makes a convincing case that Germany will not be the place where it happens.

Read the whole thing. As Glenn has insta-quipped, “We have the worst political class in our history. The Germans, at least, can say that’s not true for them. . . .”

* I know, I know. And Caldwell does, too. But both of our headlines were too good not to use.

THREE MYTHS ABOUT CATALONIA’S INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT: Read the whole thing.

RELATED: My Creators Syndicate column this week discussed Kurdish and Catalan separatism.

ANDREW KLAVAN: Trump is 100 Percent Right About the NFL.

Trump caught them out and exposed them and exposed that they were wrong.

Don’t tell me he shouldn’t have done it. Every day, we hear our news media insult the people and push the leftist narrative. Every night, we hear one comedian after another insult the people and push the leftist narrative. In movie theaters, in pop songs, at award shows, in college classes, the same thing, every day. Donald Trump has the only voice loud and bold enough to override that ceaseless sneering propaganda. Donald Trump, that is, and the people.

I love the NFL. I love football. But I love America infinitely more. If they keep disrespecting our flag, I will never watch them again. Trump is utterly right about this and they are utterly wrong.

Read the whole thing.

Related: If Donald Trump Said Don’t Jump Off a F****** Bridge, Would You Do the Opposite?

Roger Goodell had the chance this past weekend to make the statement that the NFL was an elite institution above mere politics. He chose…poorly.

J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: Trump Court Nominee Upheld Rights of Police Against Holder DOJ Misconduct.

Trump nominated Engelhardt to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a district that covers the area from Alabama to the Rio Grande. Engelhardt already serves as a United States District Court judge in New Orleans.

Engelhardt will be familiar to PJ Media readers.

He is the judge who wrote a scathing 129-page order blistering the misconduct of lawyers at the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the local New Orleans U.S. Attorney’s Office in a prosecution of New Orleans police officers. His order offers a look behind the curtain of some of the worst ideological misconduct that occurred at the Obama DOJ.

Misconduct may be an inadequate word to describe the behavior of DOJ lawyers, and Engelhardt saw it all up close.

Read the whole thing.

BUT THE GOVERNMENT-APPROVED SCIENCE! Emails Show How An Ivy League Prof Tried To Do Damage Control For His Bogus Food Science.

The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement, a $22 million federally funded program that pushes healthy-eating strategies in almost 30,000 schools, is partly based on studies that contained flawed — or even missing — data.

The main scientist behind the work, Cornell University professor Brian Wansink, has made headlines for his research into the psychology of eating. His experiments have found, for example, that women who put cereal on their kitchen counters weigh more than those who don’t, and that people will pour more wine if they’re holding the glass than if it’s sitting on a table. Over the past two decades he’s written two popular books and more than 100 research papers, and enjoyed widespread media coverage (including on BuzzFeed).

Yet over the past year, Wansink and his “Food and Brand Lab” have come under fire from scientists and statisticians who’ve spotted all sorts of red flags — including data inconsistencies, mathematical impossibilities, errors, duplications, exaggerations, eyebrow-raising interpretations, and instances of self-plagiarism — in 50 of his studies.

Read the whole thing — and don’t forget to say, “Thanks, (Michelle) Obama.”

SPENGLER: Washington’s despicable hypocrisy towards the Kurds.

Since September 11, 2001, we’ve been told that America has to ally with moderate Muslims against “extremism.” There are in fact moderate Muslims in the world. The Kurds are “moderate Muslims.” The Kurds do not persecute nonbelievers. They don’t hate Jews and Christians. They don’t forbid women to leave the house without a male relative; in fact, their militias are the only effective fighting force in the world that includes women in front-line combat units. They protect Iraqi Christians against ISIS, and Iraq’s Christians in turn support Kurdish independence. They have excellent and long-standing relations with the State of Israel. Jewish life is flourishing in the Kurdish Autonomous Region in the north of Iraq.

Most of all, Kurdish fighters are the spearhead of American-backed ground forces fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. They do not only act the way we say we want Muslims to act, protecting Christians and Jews and promoting the equality of women. They shed blood for what they believe in.

The Kurds are everything that George W. Bush and Barack Obama told us we should find in the Islamic world, and more. They want nothing but friendship with the United States of America. And we have thrown them under the bus. There isn’t an Appalachian outhouse that stinks worse than our foreign policy Establishment.

It’s difficult to decide which our foreign policy establishment lacks most: Backbone or imagination.

And do read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Kneeling for a Self-Deceiving Lie.

Read the whole thing.

LUKE ROSIAK: Awan Funneling ‘Massive’ Data Off Congressional Server, Dems Claim It’s Child’s HOMEWORK.

Democratic congressional aides made unauthorized access to a House server 5,400 times and funneled “massive” amounts of data off of it. But there’s nothing to see here, Democrats told The Washington Post: They were just storing and then re-downloading homework assignments for Imran Awan’s elementary-school aged kids and family pictures.

A congressional source with direct knowledge of the incident contradicted the Post’s account, saying that now-indicted IT aide Imran Awan and his associates “were moving terabytes off-site so they could quote ‘work on the files’” and that they desperately tried to hide what was on the server when caught, providing police with what law enforcement immediately recognized as falsified evidence and an indication of criminal intent.

The Post described the amount of data improperly flowing out of the congressional network as “massive.” One congressional source told Circa it was “terabits.”

Read the whole thing.

MISTY SCATTERED WORD PICTURES: “Look, we live in strange times.  It seems that every time I turn around I hear of another science fiction magazine being in trouble, and yet, wouldn’t you know it, the Puffington Host has decided to publish some and picked Barbra Streisand to write it.”

Hey, it’s 2017 — of course Barbra Streisand is writing about politics. Fortunately, Sarah Hoyt is fisking up a storm in response; read the whole thing.

IS MERKEL SAFE?: That’s now a QTWTAIN, according to John O’Sullivan. He concludes:

Not only is Merkel seriously wounded today, therefore, but the sense that Germany is the solid reliable rock on which European unity can rest securely is shaken, too. As Cas Mudde pointed out yesterday in a superb analysis of the results in the Guardian, the election has reversed the impact of Macron’s presidential success. Where Macron’s victory was hailed (by, among others, Jean-Claude Junker) as the defeat of populism, the German results show that populism has now spread to regions thought immune to the virus. Though the populist parties in both countries are very far from winning office, they are still around and their rise is shaping (or reflecting) massive changes in political structures and party loyalties. And it’s not over.

Read the whole thing.

SALENA ZITO: NFL anthem protests leave Pittsburgh fans conflicted about game they love.

Read the whole thing.

 

BRUCE BAWER: Misrepresenting Germany in the New York Times.

Case in point: a 14-minute “Times documentary” entitled “Seeking Asylum in Germany – and Finding Hatred.” Credited to Ainara Tiefenthäler, Shane O’Neill, and Andrew Michael Ellis, and posted front and center on the Times website last Thursday, it’s about Abode, a tall, lanky 22-year-old Libyan refugee who, at the beginning of the film, has been living in the Saxon town of Bautzen (pop. 41,000) for over two years.

From the outset, Abode is presented as an innocent victim of racist hatred. We see him in his room at the Bautzen asylum center, talking softly, his large brown eyes oozing sensitivity. We see a cell-phone video in which a young white woman half his size kicks and hits him, apparently without provocation. We see him rehearsing for a hip-hop stage adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in which he plays Mercutio; the theater director, a middle-aged woman, speaks of him glowingly.

Providing contrast to this peaceable young man, we see a ragtag neo-Nazi group in Bautzen’s town square, waving flags and praising Donald Trump. And we see close-ups of racist online comments (in German) about refugees.

Abode says that when he used to see pictures of Europe on TV, he thought it looked wonderful. But now he hates it. “Libya is the land of good,” he says. Germany, by contrast, is a land of Nazis.

“Nazi” is a word he uses a lot. He says he’s had “problems with Nazis and the police” ever since his arrival in Germany. Eventually we discover that he’s been described in the local media as the head of a gang of refugees who engage in rioting and violence. We see a newspaper front page featuring a picture of him aiming a machine gun.

Read the whole thing.

VALERIE PLAME’S REAL BLUNDER:

Last week, Valerie Plame Wilson got into trouble for retweeting a vile anti-Semitic screed accusing American Jews of being dual loyalist war mongers. The problem wasn’t what she was saying—similar accusations have been made by everyone from Barack Obama on down for years. The problem was how she was saying it: Unlike her allies in the progressive camp, Plame was foolish enough to implicate all Jews in advocating war with Iran, instead of simply identifying a few convenient culprits for calumny.

* * * * * * * * *

The mess Plame created for herself is an illustration of what happens when you go “too far” in what’s now the acceptable pursuit of Jew-baiting, which was mainstreamed by the anti-Iraq war “netroots,” further perfected by Obama administration sycophants in selling the Iran Deal and then, in different form, enthusiastically endorsed and used by Steve Bannon and Trump during last year’s presidential campaign. Herewith is a chronological collection of comments from elected officials, commentators and former military officers along this theme:

— In October 2002, an Illinois State Senator named Barack Obama delivered a speech in Chicago opposing war with Iraq. “What I am opposed to is a dumb war,” Obama declared. “What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.” Few of the people listening to the speech that day could have known whom the future president was talking about. Presaging Giraldi’s condemnation of “chairborne warriors,” Obama set his sights not on the Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisor, House Speaker, Senate Majority Leader, or Senate Minority Leader–all of whom had far more influential roles in the decision-making process leading up to war, and all gentiles – but on two Jewish individuals, one of whom, Perle, did not even serve in the Bush administration but sat on a nondescript advisory committee to the Defense Department, and who would otherwise have remained obscure had not their ethnic background taken on totemic importance in the fevered imaginations of conspiracy theorists.

Read the whole thing.

THE STORY BEHIND DEVO’S ICONIC COVER OF THE ROLLING STONES’ “SATISFACTION:”

One afternoon in 1978, Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale—the two prime architects of the band Devo—were fidgeting in Peter Rudge’s office, near the Warwick Hotel, in Manhattan, with Mick Jagger. Rudge was the Rolling Stones’ manager, and Devo had recorded an odd cover of the band’s hit “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”—so odd that their label said they needed Jagger’s blessing to release it. Mothersbaugh put the tape in a boom box and pressed Play.

Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL LEDEEN: The North Koreans couldn’t have developed their nuclear weapons all by themselves.

It’s now two weeks since we learned that British intelligence has concluded that the North Koreans couldn’t have developed their nuclear weapons all by themselves. According to the Telegraph, “North Korean scientists are people of some ability, but clearly they’re not doing it entirely in a vacuum,” said one government minister. The two main suspects, according to the Brits, are the Iranians and the Russians.

This is not exactly breaking news. For years, I have written about the Nork/Iranian joint nuclear venture, and a long version of the story written by Gordon Chang appeared in 2015, suggesting that Iran had outsourced part of its nuclear program to Pyongyang.

Read the whole thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole thing.

PETER ROBINSON: Trump Through a Pinhole.

Congress may have thwarted the administration’s effort to replace Obamacare, but wherever the administration has been able to take action on its own it has done just that, demonstrating not incompetence but considerable effectiveness.

Consider ISIS. When Trump gave him a free hand in dealing with the terrorist organization, Defense Secretary James Mattis announced that the United States and its allies would no longer permit ISIS to recapture territory after staging merely tactical retreats. Instead we would encircle ISIS forces—and destroy them. Since then, the territory that ISIS controls has fallen by roughly one half. Or look at illegal immigration. After three decades in which administrations of both parties have failed to enforce immigration laws that were already on the books, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has begun to do so. Illegal immigration has dropped by some 70 percent.

The list goes on. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has begun rolling back regulations, notably on clean water, that the EPA had used to usurp the legislative function of Congress. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney has announced that for every new regulation any federal agency promulgates it must eliminate two. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has overturned the sexual harassment rules that the Obama administration had forced on universities. The White House has followed the nomination of Neal Gorsuch to the Supreme Court with the nominations of more than 30 others to the federal bench—and each of those nominees is, like Gorsuch, a thoroughly vetted originalist.

Still only eight months old, the Trump administration has demonstrated the ability to absorb new information and adjust to circumstances—that is, to learn in real time. It has displayed seriousness. It has gotten things done.

This — and the media’s Pavlovian response to them — is why Trump tweets.

Anyway, do read the whole thing.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Unleashing The Power Of Mockery On Annoying Social Justice Warriors.

In a culture where humorless leftists scolds seek to impose their rule upon us normals by sucking every drop of joy out of life, it is the conservative smartass who is the true subversive. Don’t look to Hollywood’s allegedly edgy comics to zing the zeitgeist – hacky proggy stand-ups and interchangeable liberal late-night hosts are the opposite of rebels, with their dreadfully generic opinions and lockstep jokes designed to get the herd of trained seals that makes up their fish-breathed audience beating their flippers. No, if you want someone who snarks truth to power instead of speaking consensus coastal truth to the powerless, you gotta step to the right.

And Lisa de Pasquale is one of these conserva-revolutionaries, a young woman who is in equal parts funny and fearless. She has a new book dropping, The Social Justice Warrior Handbook: A Practical Survival Guide for Snowflakes, Millennials, and Generation Z, and it does exactly what today’s embattled conservatives need to do – it goes full bull in the progressive china shop.

Good. Plus:

SJWs deserve nothing but contempt and the merciless ridicule that goes with it. Yet, sadly, we Americans are usually reflexively too polite to deliver the verbal beatdowns these dorks deserve. Because we are genuinely nice people, we generally assume that other people are acting in good faith even when what they are saying is manifestly idiotic. We tend to think, “Hmmmm, that sounds really insane, but I should give this person the benefit of the doubt and react in a polite manner when she bursts into tears because, she says, my not accepting that men can menstruate is a hate crime.”

What we should think, and say, is “You’re stupid, so stop talking and finish filling my latte order, weirdo.”

SJWs prey on that default presumption of good faith, knowing that normals will assume SJWs sincerely mean whatever idiocy they spew. But the truth is that all this nonsense about microaggressions and such is just a way to impose their fussy control over us. The remedy, as these Millennial morons might say, is for us normals to “get woke” to the SJW okie-doke, and to recognize that their whole deal is to silence us by socially criminalizing anything we say, do, and believe.

Yes.

VALERIE PLAME: HEY, CHECK OUT THIS THOUGHT-PROVOKING ARTICLE ABOUT JEWS DRIVING AMERICA’S WARS.

As Allahpundit quips:

In fairness, it’d be easy to miss the “gross undercurrents” in a piece titled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars” if all you’d done is skimmed it. The lesson here, I guess, is to always read items about Jews instigating wars carefully before tweeting out the link.

Minor problem for Special Agent Heinrich, though: She has a Twitter archive and people have begun combing through it.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Former CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson offers epic apology after tweeting anti-Semitic story: ‘One should not tweet while moving.’

Valerie Plame Wilson offered another apology Thursday hours after tweeting an anti-Semitic article titled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars,” telling Business Insider that she had been multitasking when she posted the story on her account.

“I made a mistake and should not have retweeted that article,” Wilson said in an email. “I sincerely apologized. I was just so focused on the neocons lust for war: ‘If you liked the Iraq war, you’ll love an Iranian one.'”

Neocons. As Twitchy notes, Plame just can’t stop digging.

JASON RILEY: Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Politics of Contempt: The polemicist attributes Trump’s election to ‘white supremacy,’ and liberals can’t get enough.

The great jazz musician Miles Davis was known for his boorishness, especially toward his white fan base. Davis would play his trumpet with his back to the audience and curse at people between sets. “If somebody told me I only had one hour to live, I’d spend it choking a white man,” he once told a newspaper reporter. “I’d do it nice and slow.” His admirers ate it up.

Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new essay on Donald Trump in the Atlantic magazine brought Davis to mind. Mr. Coates, who couldn’t be more highly regarded among the left-liberal intelligentsia, doesn’t have anything especially new or interesting to add to the never-ending debate on the left about how Mr. Trump got elected. As ESPN anchor Jemele Hill and countless other liberals have done for the past 10 months, he blames white racism.

If you don’t have time to read Mr. Coates’s lengthy article, just browse Ms. Hill’s controversial tweets from last week, in which she insisted that the president is “a white supremacist” and that his “rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period.” Ms. Hill’s argument is no different and no less sophisticated than Mr. Coates’s, and she demonstrates a better economy of words.

His schtick is tired, but it’s paid off for him. And there’s always been a place for race-baiting in the Democratic Party. Plus:

But what’s most striking about Mr. Coates’s article, and the reason it recalled Miles Davis, is the borderline contempt he displays for his admirers and fellow travelers on the political left. The author’s primary targets are the “white pundits and thought leaders” whom he deems insufficiently anti-Trump. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, along with journalists and academics who sport impeccable left-wing credentials, are taken to task for indulging alternative explanations for Mr. Trump’s win. In Mr. Coates’s telling, there is no acceptable way to view the Trump phenomenon other than through a racial prism.

Not everyone is letting Mr. Coates get away with this bullying. One of his victims, George Packer, who writes for the New Yorker magazine and who will never be mistaken for George Will, pushed back (gently) in a reply that was published on the Atlantic’s website. Mr. Packer was gobsmacked by the suggestion that he was playing down racism in a pre-election New Yorker essay about the economic anxieties of working-class whites. “I didn’t excuse or extend comfort to anyone,” Mr. Packer writes in his response. “Analysis isn’t justification—unless you think, as Coates does, that the entire subject is illegitimate for scrutiny because it’s an evasion of the truth about white supremacy.”

Mr. Packer almost certainly gives Mr. Coates too much credit. Mr. Coates has little use for analytical reasoning and even less interest in changing anyone’s mind on racial matters.

Well, actual racial reconciliation would threaten the whole feedlot.

THE FIRST RULE OF TITLE IX IS DON’T TALK ABOUT TITLE IX: TheFire.org summarizes a New Yorker piece today that shows college bureaucrats think  “1984” is a manual, not a warning:

In May 2015, Laura Kipnis was famously the subject of a Title IX investigation by Northwestern University for an essay she wrote suggesting there are too many Title IX investigations. Today, Jeannie Suk Gersen reports for The New Yorker that Kipnis was the subject of yet another Northwestern Title IX investigation earlier this year — this time for writing “Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus,” a book about being investigated for saying there are too many Title IX investigations.

Read the whole thing and donate a few bucks to The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education here.

ROGER SIMON ON THE BACK TO BACK CONTRAST OF TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME AT THE EMMYS AND TRUMP HIMSELF AT THE UN.

Read the whole thing.

(Something tells me Scott Adams’ next blog post has just written itself as well.)

ROGER KIMBALL: WHY TRUMP’S UN SPEECH WAS A TRIUMPH.

Donald Trump on Tuesday confirmed yet again why he is the most robust president since Ronald Reagan. Following up on his brilliant speeches before a joint session of Congress in February, his speech about combating Islamic terrorism before Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia, and his splendid defense of Western civilizational values in Warsaw a few months ago, Trump addressed the United Nations and articulated for the 150 delegates at that ostentatiously corrupt institution the signal lesson of successful international relations: that freedom within nations, and comity among them, is best served not by the effacement or attenuation of national sovereignty but its frank and manly embrace. . . .

The United Nations has in recent decades become a poster child for bureaucratic despond: corrupt, wasteful, and inefficient. It has also evolved into a megaphone for anti-American, left-wing sentiment, often hiding behind utopian world-government rhetoric.

This development, Trump reminded his listeners, is a blunt betrayal of the noble aspirations that formed the United Nations in the aftermath of World War II. Trump quoted Harry Truman, who stressed that the success of the United Nations depended on the “independent strength of its members.” The United Nations was not created to subvert national sovereignty but to help guarantee it.

One of the most refreshing things about Trump’s address—it is characteristic of his speeches—was his frankness. At the U.N., this had a positive as well as a critical side. On the positive side, I found it a breath of fresh air to hear an American president celebrate the achievements of America.

Read the whole thing. The text of Trump’s speech is here.

CLAUDIA ROSETT: TRUMP HITS HOME RUN FOR AMERICA IN UN SPEECH.

President Trump gave his first official speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday morning, and was immediately berated by the New York Times (Trump’s “characteristically confrontational message”) and the Washington Post (“Trump’s menacing United Nations speech, annotated”). Sen. Dianne Feinstein lambasted him for words that  “greatly escalated the danger” from Iran and North Korea. And the foreign minister of Venezuela’s socialist dictatorship, Jorge Arreaza — apparently trying to formulate some sort of supreme insult — compared Trump in 2017 to President Ronald Reagan in 1982.

With that kind of reaction, you might just start to suspect that Trump did something right.

Heh. Read the whole thing.™

WOW, THIS REALLY DOESN’T FIT THE NARRATIVE: Black Lives Matter group takes the stage at pro-Trump rally — what happens next is amazing.

Though the speaker declared that BLM is “not anti-cop,”  the pro-Trump crowd’s reaction showed they didn’t believe it. But things began to turn around when the man clarified that the group was “anti-bad cop” and shouted that the group didn’t want any handouts, and didn’t want anything that didn’t rightfully belong to them.

“We want our God-given right to freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!” the group’s leader shouted, and the crowd began to applaud and cheer once more.

The BLM leader added, “All lives matter, right? … If we really want to make America great, we do it together.”

Huh – I was told repeatedly by the DNC-MSM last year that saying “all lives matter” was the height of racism. Read the whole thing.

MARK STEYN: When Opposite World Moves In Next Door.

There are currently two views of cultural evolution in the west. On the one hand, we live in a magnificent age of sexual self-expression: a man can marry a man; a man can be a woman; a woman can be a pregnant man; a transwoman can be a Navy Seal; a policeman can ride around in a transgendered cruiser …”because it’s 2017,” as Brooke Baldwin and Justin Trudeau would say. These are impressive victories, overturning not just age-old societal assumptions but basic human biology — and hollowing out with effortless ease institutions hitherto seen as bastions of convention, like the Lancashire Police and the diversity-crazed US military.

On the other hand, Islam thinks it too has been racking up the big wins: first toppling local secularist rulers like the Shah of Iran, then chasing the godless Commies out of Afghanistan, next reducing to dust the glittering towers of the remaining superpower in New York and Washington …and, far more quietly, embedding itself throughout Christendom — or post-Christendom — and subtly insinuating itself into the heart of almost every western nation except Japan. Some of the changes it has wrought are small but telling…

Read the whole thing.

THEY ALREADY ARE: Are Conservatives Prepared to be Censored?

What images should appear when you Google “white couple”? Probably two people of European descent. If you search those words today, though, you’ll find almost exclusively black couples. The results are similarly skewed for “white man & white woman” and “white couple with children”. Try it. Strange, a bit annoying, and vaguely political – just imagine the reaction if a query for “black couple” turned up only whites. I suspect that wouldn’t fly at Google.

What results would you expect when Googling “American inventors”? Likely a mix of great innovators from our past and present, from a variety of backgrounds. Instead, Google tells us they’re almost all black. No Benjamin Franklin, no Samuel Morse, no Bill Gates. Without disrespecting Dr. Patricia Bath and her cataracts-surgery machine, the telegraph and personal computer merit a higher placement.

Somebody at Google is skewing the queries, in this case a form of digital affirmative action: conceivably another point scored in an endless matchup against “white supremacy,” whose presence at all turns is the greatest of progressive obsessions. The implication is that anything related to whiteness – even the telegraph – shouldn’t be searched for at all, and takes up “space” from the accomplishments of marginalized people. In both of the above examples, we receive a political indoctrination in lieu of sought after information. In the second one, we actually learn an altered version of history.

Read the whole thing.

Google made its name by doing what no one before them could: Produce meaningful search results of the web’s nearly unlimited and completely un-curated information. Their results were, by far, the best — and it made the company untold billions.

Clearly that’s no longer true — so use a different search engine, refuse to part with your personal data in exchange for their “free” services, and take away their billions.

A PHOTO TAKEN TODAY, SEPTEMBER 18, OVER THE KOREAN PENINSULA: A USAF B-1B strategic bomber in formation with South Korean fighter-bombers and USMC F-35Bs.

RELATED: Escalation is a two-way street.

Senior North Korean officials who have gotten out in the last few years all agree that Kim Jong Un is considered a failure by more and more North Koreans and that his days are numbered, even if China does not step in and take over beforehand. Yet these senior officials report that Kim Jong Un could keep his police state going into the late 2020s. But time is not on his side and the signs backing that up are increasingly obvious. Kim Jong Un has triggered a trend that will destroy him and nothing he does seems to fix the problem. He believes having workable nukes and a reliable delivery system (ballistic missiles) will enable him to extort the neighbors for enough goodies to bail him out. That is a high-risk strategy.

Read the whole thing.

NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY, THEY WILL SCREAM AT YOU: “‘For many protesters, the specifics of what the opposition says is not the point. ‘It doesn’t matter what the guy’s going to say,’ said Michael Heaney, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies the sociology of protest movements. ‘He could talk about the joys of apple-picking. What matters is that the counter-movement is trying to use the energy of the (event) to grow. This is an opportunity for them — and they are likely to seize upon it.’”

In addition to ginning up the protesting faithful and getting new converts, for the left in general, it’s also an issue of control. As Ace of Spades noted on Friday when CNN’s Brooke Baldwin went into Margret Dumont mode to hyperventilate over Clay Travis saying “boob” on a network that every year had Kathy Griffin flashing hers on New Year’s Eve, “ever get the feeling that the actual issue isn’t any particular word, but simply exerting control over you?”, adding, “This is like living in an asylum, where you have to worry that any word you say might provoke an outburst from a lunatic.”

Kurt Schlichter writes, “The Fake Outrage Over Breastgate Shows Why We Must Not Play Liberals’ New Rules Game:”

Part of the strategy behind the new rules is to not actually have any firm rules, to make you so uncertain and timid that you’re unwilling to take any action because anything you do, at any time, can be a violation of a rule that didn’t exist 30 seconds before. If you do talk about female body parts, you’re wrong because you’re insulting womyn, and if you don’t talk about female body parts, you’re wrong because you are invisibling womyn. Basically, if you don’t have any female body parts, you’re just wrong all of the time. Unless you have fake female body parts and betrayed your country; then you are America’s greatest hero and a martyr to Harvard’s infamous legacy of transphobia. Or something.

Read the whole thing — as Kurt writes, “Since they are establishing new rules, there’s nothing wrong with applying them to our advantage.”

(Headline via Small Dead Animals.)

OH MY: PRELIM RATINGS FOR EMMYS PREDICT NEW RECORD … LOW.

By the Obama era, television news had become closed-circuit TV for the ruling class. TV’s entertainment wing has followed suit. It’s fascinating that for an industry allegedly obsessed with profit, by alienating half the country, the media’s ideology sure leaves a lot of money on the table.

UPDATE: The Great Tune-Out:

Though adjustments may change the preliminary verdict, this year’s Emmys are set to underperform even last year’s all-time low ratings. Maybe the politics on display were irrelevant; maybe the rise of streaming services has made traditional broadcast television a dying product. Maybe. But the Emmys misfortunes are of a familiar sort. This tune out is starting to feel like a trend…Movies, cable and broadcast television, music; this tune out isn’t entirely about cord cutting. This is something broader.

Read the whole thing.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Ideology unbound.

Imprisoned by their own imperatives they arrive at policy positions — such as limits on free speech — which they regard as “settled” even though hundreds of millions may not even know what they are talking about. This insidious process of begging the question is typical of totalitarian propaganda which made abundant use of expressions like “undeniably”, “unquestionably” or as “everyone knows” or their more modern equivalents like as “all decent people agree …”, “the science is settled” or “this is not who we are” to assume what must otherwise be proved. But it nevertheless compels obedience like a herd driving itself along.

This has the effect of positing a consensus which in fact may not exist. The inevitable outcome of a “national conversation” is conflict declared upon a population that may never have heard of the casus belli before. But it does more than that. In many cases it also creates its own anti-universe. The paradox Ben Shapiro represents is that he as an entity should not exist but inexplicably does. Yet he exists because he must. Many of most of the monstrous figures that make progressives physically sick have their origin stories in the framing of the narrative itself.

One of the most unsettling effects of the Left’s inward journeys is how it can instantly redefine everyone else. A population, for example, can go to uneventful sleep and awaken the next day to find the papers proclaiming they’ve been afflicted with cisnormativity or some other disorder, in a process not unlike how Kafka’s Gregor Samsa became a giant cockroach. Overnight there are suddenly 71 genders.

Read the whole thing.

MIKE GONZALEZ: Getting Rid Of La Raza.

Ever heard of La Raza? Probably not, but you and other taxpayers are funding it.

We shouldn’t be. Along with public broadcasters, environmental organizations, and other entities that use taxpayer money to keep insider networks in power, ethnic identity groups should be taken off public support. These movements have for decades lived off the government only to keep enlarging it, maintaining power in the hands of a self-dealing bureaucratic elite increasingly unaccountable and disconnected from outside society.

La Raza—recently renamed UnidosUS—is a case in point. Set up in 1968 with a grant from the Ford Foundation (which also helped create other movements), La Raza has always been more boardroom than barrio. It depends for its survival not on grassroots, but on government contracts and kickbacks, and grants from foundations and the corporations it can shake down.

This corporate and government coziness doesn’t mean that La Raza hasn’t been a divisive force in society. On the contrary, it’s been so from the beginning, and the balkanization it has caused has benefited elites.

No less a liberal lion than U.S. Representative Henry Gonzalez of Texas took to the floor of the House on April 22, 1969, to decry the Ford Foundation’s creation of “a very grave problem” in his district. “I cannot accept the belief that racism in reverse is the answer for racism and discrimination,” he said. It is worth quoting Gonzalez at some length, as the dysfunctions he identified remained a fixture of the group.

Read the whole thing.

TRUCK DRIVER: ‘Overregulation’ Means Government Literally Deciding When I Work, Eat, And Sleep.

Unless you own a business, when you hear pundits and politicians drone on about “overregulation,” the notion probably goes in one ear and out the other. But being a truck driver is similar to owning your own business. So next time you hear your Senator or your favorite radio show host decry government regulation and oversight, let me give you an idea of what “overregulation” looks like on the ground.

For starters, let’s talk “logs” and “hours of service.” While you’re only fighting one clock on your morning commute, a truck driver is fighting five clocks. Like you, he’s fighting real time. You have to be at work by 9:00 a.m., and he has a 9 o’clock appointment at the local distribution center. It’s 8:45 and I-40 is a parking lot. In addition to this, he has four other clocks to worry about: the “eight-hour break” clock, his “14-hour on-duty, not driving” clock, the “11-hour on-duty, driving” clock, and the “70-hour weekly on-duty” clock. For simplicity, I will call each of these the “eight,” the “14,” the “11,” and the “70.”

Now I’ll explain what’s known in the transportation industry as the “Hours of Service” regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCA) requires drivers to log everything they do, where they did it, the duration of the task, and when the specific tasks were done. The biggest principle to keep in mind is that when any one of the “clocks” runs out, you can no longer drive legally. Once you start the clock by going on-duty, you have eight hours before you must stop driving and take a 30-minute break.

Also, once you start your clock, you have now started a nonstop 14-hour window in which you must get all the driving done you need to for that day. If you get stuck at a shipper for three hours, you now have only 10 hours to drive. Which brings us to your “11”: In any given 14-hour on-duty period, you are only allowed to drive legally for 11 hours within that 14-hour period. In addition, in any eight-day period, you are only allowed to be on-duty (not driving and driving) for a total of 70 hours. Hence, your “70.” (This week, I made it back home with only one hour on my 70… I was cutting it close.)

Read the whole thing — and keep it in mind the next time somebody bemoans or brags about Jimmy Carter deregulating the trucking industry.

SALENO ZITO ON THE DAY THAT DESTROYED THE WORKING CLASS AND SOWED THE SEEDS OF TRUMP.

Read the whole thing.

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: What Would an iPhone X Have Cost in 1957?

Consider the 256 GB memory iPhone X: Implemented in vacuum tubes in 1957, the transistors in an iPhoneX alone would have:

• cost 150 trillion of today’s dollars: one and a half times today’s global annual product
• taken up a hundred-story square building 300 meters high, and 3 kilometers long and wide
• drawn 150 terawatts of power—30 times the world’s current generating capacity

Read the whole thing.

POWER OF THE PURSE: A Chicago Judge Amazingly Rules That Grant Money Can Be Mandatory.

The scrapping over JAG money (Justice Assistance Grants) for sanctuary cities reached the next level this week. A federal judge in Chicago somehow issued an injunction preventing the Justice Department from not issuing grant money to non-compliant cities. As the Associated Press reports, it was Chicago bringing the challenge, but the judge extended his ruling to cover the entire country.

So what is Judge Leinenweber basing this ruling on? I’m not going to jump to any conclusions about bias in the case, particularly since he was a Reagan appointee and a Republican member of the state legislature before that. But the arguments he’s putting forth in the ruling seem to be indicating that not only do cities have some sort of inherent right to JAG money, but that they could suffer “irreparable harm” if they didn’t get it.

Read the whole thing.

The entitlement mentality isn’t limited to welfare recipients. In fact, the higher up you go, the worse it gets, whether it’s giant insurance companies or overbearing tech companies.

A REVIEW OF KEN BURN’S VIETNAM PBS SERIES: “To me, in order to determine who won and who lost the war, one needs to answer three fundamental questions: (1) what was the goals of the involved parties. (2) What price did they have to pay? (3) The overall assessment of the war.”

Read the whole thing.

Related: Victor Davis Hanson at Prager U on Why Did America Fight the Vietnam War?

ANDREW KLAVAN ON THE SURREAL BLESSINGS OF DONALD TRUMP: “When Trump was elected, I predicted his would be a mediocre moderate Democrat presidency. Right now, he’s on track to achieve exactly that and it’s so much better than what went before and what might have come after, that it really does seem a strange little basket of blessings.”

Read the whole thing.

JONATHAN TURLEY IN THE HILL: Whistleblower or wrongdoer? White House correct on Comey violations.

This week’s press conference has caused a media frenzy after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested that former FBI director James Comey committed federal violations in his leaking of memos related to the Russia investigation. The press and various politicians were aghast at the very suggestion that Comey could have violated the law. As I have previously observed, it is a serious mistake for the president and his staff continue these ad hoc comments about the investigation and its key figures. However, Comey has taken on an inviolate image in the media that ignores glaring questions over his own misconduct, an important story that has been largely ignored in most of the coverage.

At the heart of the alleged violations are a series of “memos to file” about Comey’s meetings with President Trump. Comey now admits that he gave at least one of the memos to a friend to leak the information to the media. He insists that he was merely trying to disclose material information to the public. However, when he was fired, it was clear that Comey would be asked to speak to congressional investigators in addition to FBI investigators. Moreover, many of us were already calling for the appointment of a special counsel, which seemed all but certain. In other words, Comey knew that both congressional and federal investigators would be obtaining the memos in short order.

There was, however, an obvious personal benefit to releasing the information. Before he was fired, both Democratic and Republican leaders, as well as former FBI officials, denounced Comey’s prior conduct as director. In addition, Rod Rosenstein, the respected and nonpartisan deputy attorney general, had already concluded that Comey should be fired due to his record at the FBI. That is not the narrative that Comey relished after being fired by President Trump. So he changed the narrative.

Read the whole thing.

READ MY LIPS: SCHUMER IS PLAYING YOU FOR A FOOL, MR. PRESIDENT, KURT SCHLICHTER WRITES. “Remember Little Marco Rubio? He got in bed with Chuck Schumer on immigration and in the morning he found that Chuck had left and that his car keys, wallet and political future were gone too.”

Read the whole thing.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Liberals Surrender to the Awesome Power of Conservative Sexiness.

It’s pretty obvious to anyone paying attention that the future belongs to conservatives – after all, it’s we conservatives who are reproducing. And the liberals? Well, just look at them. They make the gang at The Weekly Standard look butch.

Nearly buried beneath all the stupidity of the last week was a delightful admission by a young progressive woman that if you’re lookin’ for lovin’ you shouldn’t bother looking to your left. In Glamour magazine, which apparently still exists for some reason, lib scribbler Korey Lane, if that is her real name, confessed that “ I Can’t Stop Hooking Up With Trump Supporters.” Of course she can’t – once you go red, you won’t stop ‘til you’re dead.

Um, it’s #science. You don’t hate #science, do you?

Look, it’s pretty clear that women naturally respond to men whose idea of initiating a romantic encounter doesn’t involve crying or abject, craven apologies for bearing the biological hallmarks of manhood. But that’s what liberal women have sculpted out of the already soft clay of liberal males. Their coastal elitist mommies and daddies, or other mommies, plop them down in some leftist college where the pierced and piercing fascist feminists get to work on them. These shrill harridans, aided and abetted by university administrators who have volunteered to go full Theon, then commence to mercilessly nag the poor femboys about toxic masculinity and accuse them of imposing patriarchy – as if these weenies could ever impose any kind of –archy on anyone. Pretty soon, these broken-spirited biomales have renounced their manly heritage and are sipping Chuck Shaw chardonnay spritzers and adopting cats.

The only way to save these lost souls is a massive infusion of guns and Guinness and V8 engines, stat.

Read the whole thing.

UNEXPECTEDLY: The NFL Is Seriously Concerned With Empty Stadiums.

Here’s the thing, the NFL’s plans for relocating teams have been hilariously ham-fisted. Moving the 49ers to Santa Clara, 45 minutes from San Francisco was a moronic decision. Levi’s Stadium is also positioned so roughly 70 percent of the stadium bakes in the sun with no chance of shade.

Meanwhile, the Rams might actually have decent attendance once they move into their new stadium, but that’s a huge gamble. Until then, they’ll likely be dealing with sparse crowds at the Coliseum for the next three seasons. It’s terrible optics for the NFL to have empty stadiums and absolutely no atmosphere for games.

And we haven’t even gotten to the Los Angeles Chargers…

Read the whole thing.

(Via NewsAlert.)

UPDATE: ‘Tough start’ for NFL season — ratings down 13% in Week 1.

GOVERNMENT ALMOST KILLED THE COCKTAIL: 80 years after Prohibition, the Dark Ages of drinking are finally coming to an end.

“When you get to 1934,” says Simonson, “it’s just, bam! The old fashioned is this fruited thing. And that’s the way it is everywhere.” The new drink—and it was, essentially, a different drink—had become “a glass of punch. It didn’t look like it had before Prohibition.”

Although no one knows the precise reasons the drink changed the way it did, Simonson speculates that in the chaos following Prohibition, the recipe may have been confused with another drink, or that bartenders piled on fruit and soda in order to conceal the low quality of the liquor that was available at the time. Whatever the reason, the change was sudden and universal.

It wasn’t just the old fashioned that emerged degraded and destroyed. It was the whole of pre-Prohibition cocktail culture—the knowledge, skills, craft, and supply that for decades had informed one of America’s original culinary arts, and even the essential idea of the cocktail itself. In the space of a generation, the entire country went from inventing the cocktail as we know it to forgetting how to make a decent drink.

Read the whole thing.

REMEMBRANCE: While Hillary Used Her Book Tour to Spread the Blame, Here’s What the CIA Was Up To.

No one was safe from the finger-pointing — everyone from former FBI Director James Comey and Joe Biden to the Russians and the angry women who didn’t start marching early enough got a taste of the blame.

And after the book’s release on Tuesday, September 12, she continued to promote it — and push her alternate theories of responsibility.

Meanwhile, the CIA embarked on a very different mission: to honor two of the men many blame Clinton for deserting six years ago in Benghazi.

Read the whole thing.