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TRUNALIMUNUMAPRZURE! Biden Gets Vaccine, but Does He Understand It?

Yet despite his own vaccination experience, Mr. Biden is still talking as if there’s a huge problem he will be called upon to solve. According to a Bloomberg report on Washington’s latest massive goring of taxpayers, Mr. Biden seems to think there’s much more Covid spending to come:

Biden on Sunday said he applauds Congress’s bipartisan agreement, but he described the package as providing “temporary relief.”

“This action in the lame duck session is just the beginning. Our work is far from over,” Biden said in a statement including other actions his administration plans to take. “Immediately, starting in the new year, Congress will need to get to work on support for our COVID-19 plan, for support to struggling families, and investments in jobs and economic recovery.”The economy is awash in money; politicians just need to let people use it. Americans suffering economically are suffering from shutdowns, which never worked as intended, inflicted enormous collateral damage and are now becoming untenable with the arrival of vaccines. Washington’s work is over.

“Mr. Biden is still talking as if there’s a huge problem he will be called upon to solve,” is consistent with the attitude of Joe’s former boss. As Victor Davis Hanson wrote in 2014

Listen to the president and one would think that he was in office during the financial crisis that began on September 15, 2008. For the nth time, Obama reminded the nation on 60 Minutes of the financial meltdown he inherited. That is his usual way of suggesting to the American people that they could hardly hope for normal times after six years of his own governance. In truth, Obama entered office on January 20, 2009 — over four months after the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that precipitated a general financial meltdown.

* * * * * * * *

Obama might at least admit that when he entered office the panic had largely passed. The tools needed to deal with it that he embraced had months earlier been implemented by someone else. Indeed, Obama was president for just a few months before the recession that began in December 2007 ended in June 2009 — well before the effect of any of the policies, good or bad, could have taken effect.

VDH’s article was headlined, “Welcome to Fantasy Island.” Mr. Roarke’s white linen suit is being re-tailored even as we speak to be a perfect fit for Joe (and can always be taken in for Kamala if need be).

SUPER GAFFE-O-MATIC ’76: A Bad Day for the Biden Campaign.

If only the Democratic nominee could have remained cosseted in friendly media’s comforting embrace until November, but there are voters beyond the base to reach. And as the Biden campaign has begun to emerge from its cocoon and engage with more adversarial reporters, the results suggest this campaign and its candidate are more flatfooted than their image-makers would have you believe.

The first sign of distress came from the Fox News Channel. On Thursday, Biden campaign national press secretary TJ Ducklo sat down with anchor Brett Baier to discuss policy and respond to the Trump campaign’s criticisms. But the dyspeptic performance Ducklo turned in suggests the Biden campaign has bathed in soft coverage for so long that its political muscles have atrophied.

If Ducklo conveyed anything to Fox’s audience throughout his seven-minute appearance, it was his intention to avoid answering questions—none of which were particularly difficult.

Related: NYT: Here’s how Biden might already be blowing the 2020 election.

And this brings us back to the point about 2016. Hillary Clinton had a huuuge money advantage and the good fortune of running against a candidate who was easy to personally dislike. She blew those advantages by running a national-messaging campaign rather than doing the retail politicking necessary to generate turnout. Even then, Clinton had at least some parity, as Trump also disdained that kind of GOTV effort, preferring to do rallies to stoke enthusiasm and then use targeted ads to replace the ground game.

This time around, though, Trump and the RNC are investing heavily in that kind of retail politicking, while Biden isn’t investing at all in a ground game. He’s doing nothing but national messaging and occasional bungee visits to places where polling indicates trouble — which is why he’s heading to Minnesota next week, a state he should easily be carrying. If Russonello is correct about Biden’s strength in the suburbs, this state shouldn’t even be on Biden’s limited radar — and yet he’s breaking his bubble to appear here instead of, say, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, or Arizona.

Russonello’s right that Biden and Democrats should worry. He just is a little off on how much they should worry, and why it matters — and not just in the presidential election.

And one last item on Ducklo’s train wreck interview: No, Biden Didn’t Support Trump’s China Travel Ban. Biden spox falsely claims Biden favored travel restrictions.

MICHAEL BARONE: The most dishonest, biased news coverage of our lifetimes — and it’s about to get worse.

‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen such dishonest and biased coverage of any event.” That was Brit Hume, who has been covering events for more than 50 years for Fox News, ABC News and investigative reporter Jack Anderson.

The event was President Trump’s Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore.

The speech was, according to The New York Times, “dark and divisive,” designed to deliver a “divisive culture war message.” The Washington Post called it a “dystopian speech” and a “push to amplify racism.”

Absent from their stories were quotations supporting racism. Nor did Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth supply any quotations to support her claim that Trump “spent all his time talking about dead traitors.” Trump mentioned no Confederates but did quote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

The great bulk of Trump’s speech was a celebration of American history, American principles, American leaders. He spoke extensively of the four presidents whose visages were sculpted on the mountain above him and paid tribute more succinctly to others.

He said: “We are the country of Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant and Frederick Douglass. We are the land of Wild Bill Hickock and Buffalo Bill Cody. We are the nation that gave rise to the Wright brothers, the Tuskegee Airmen, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Jesse ­Owens, George Patton — Gen. ­George Patton — the great Louie Armstrong, Alan Shepard, Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali.”

Dark and divisive? Dystopian? Amplifying racism?

What really seems to have raised the press’ hackles was Trump’s dissent from their reverent attitudes toward Black Lives Matter and apparent indifference to those tearing down statues of Lincoln, Douglass, Grant, abolitionists and women’s-rights advocates.

Think of the press as a psychological warfare operation aimed at normal Americans and you won’t go far wrong.

BOB MCMANUS: What it’s going to take to reverse New York City’s crime spike.

You say you didn’t like stop-and-frisk? Well, how do you like duck-and-cover?

Stop-and-frisk was a front-line NYPD safe-streets policy for two decades. So was broken-windows policing. As were the flying squads of anti-crime cops. They’re all gone now. Perhaps you think New York is better off without them?

If so, you’re complicit in the calamity that descended on Gotham over the holiday weekend: at least 11 people shot dead and 45 injured, including two cops whose patrol car came under fire in The Bronx. And all of this on top of the bloodiest June since 1996.

Not impressed? Maybe you should go out and help hose the gore off the sidewalks, if not today, then next weekend, or the next. This isn’t going to stop soon.

This new darkness isn’t a random, natural malevolence — unpredictable, unavoidable and thus demanding no accountability. It’s the result of a deliberate unstitching of arguably the most sophisticated and successful anti-crime strategy ever implemented in this nation.

The left is always blaming its enemies for people’s deaths, but never takes responsibility for the people it kills.

FLASHBACK: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

WSJ EDITORIAL: A Real Attorney General: Bill Barr gets smeared for refusing to duck and cover like Loretta Lynch.

Washington pile-ons are never pretty, but this week’s political setup of Attorney General William Barr is disreputable even by Beltway standards. Democrats and the media are turning the AG into a villain for doing his duty and making the hard decisions that special counsel Robert Mueller abdicated.

Mr. Barr’s Wednesday testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee was preceded late Tuesday by the leak of a letter Mr. Mueller had sent the AG on March 27. Mr. Mueller griped in the letter that Mr. Barr’s four-page explanation to Congress of the principal conclusions of the Mueller report on March 24 “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the Mueller team’s “work and conclusions.” Only in Washington could this exercise in posterior covering be puffed into a mini-outrage.

Democrats leapt on the letter as proof that Mr. Barr was somehow covering for Donald Trump when he has covered up nothing. Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, the Democratic answer to Rep. Louie Gohmert, accused Mr. Barr of abusing his office and lying to Congress, and demanded that he resign. The only thing she lacked was evidence.

Well, that’s been their main weakness all along. Plus:

Contrast that to the abdication of Loretta Lynch, who failed as Barack Obama’s last Attorney General to make a prosecutorial judgment about Hillary Clinton’s misuse of classified information. Ms. Lynch cowered before the bullying of then FBI director James Comey, who absolved Mrs. Clinton of wrongdoing while publicly scolding her. That egregious break with Justice policy eventually led Mr. Comey to re-open the Clinton probe in late October 2016, which helped to elect Mr. Trump.

All of this shows again the risks of appointing special counsels. They lack the political accountability that the Founders built into the separation of powers. Mr. Mueller, in his March 27 letter, revealed again that like Mr. Comey at the FBI he viewed himself as accountable only to himself.

This trashing of Bill Barr shows how frustrated and angry Democrats continue to be that the special counsel came up empty in his Russia collusion probe. He was supposed to be their fast-track to impeachment. Now they’re left trying to gin up an obstruction tale, but the probe wasn’t obstructed and there was no underlying crime. So they’re shouting and pounding the table against Bill Barr for acting like a real Attorney General.

It’s as if all of this was just a hastily-concocted sham designed to distract attention from Obama Administration wrongdoing.

FLASHBACK: The Unexpected Return of ‘Duck and Cover.’

PROFILES IN COURAGE: Kavanaugh Fight Has Red State Dems Ducking for Cover.

Republicans and an array of conservative groups have zeroed in on the red-state Democrats, calling on them to address their colleagues’ behavior. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has issued challenges to Manchin and Heitkamp demanding to know if they agree with their fellow senators’ tactics. The NRSC released a series emails and online posts aimed at each red-state Democrat, tying them to Schumer and the organized protests that took place inside the hearing room. One such post reads: “Does Joe Manchin agree with his Democrat colleagues’ tactics of throwing tantrums and attempting to drag an incredibly qualified nominee through the mud? Or will he finally speak out and give his support to Judge Kavanaugh?”

In Indiana, Republican challenger Mike Braun’s campaign called on Donnelly to address the “chaos” at the hearings. “Donnelly’s silence is a reminder that the least effective senator in Washington can’t even advocate for a fair Supreme Court hearing for President Trump’s highly qualified nominee,” said spokesman Josh Kelley.

In North Dakota, the GOP sent out an email following the first day of the hearings: “Heidi Heitkamp may be in more trouble than ever before,” it stated. “Senate Judiciary Democrats and 2020 presidential contenders have decided their own national ambitions matter more than saving Heidi Heitkamp’s failing campaign.”

You’d need a heart of stone not to laugh.

THIS POLITICO STORY ON NUCLEAR WAR PREPAREDNESS is basically a reboot of my Unexpected Return of ‘Duck and Cover’ piece.

So it’s good. Though in all modesty, I think my treatment was better.

JOE PAPPALARDO: Hollywood Has No Idea How Nukes Work.

Related: The Unexpected Return of ‘Duck and Cover.’

GOOD LORD: Police shot at a man 20 times in his own yard, thinking he had a gun. It was an iPhone.

Video released by the Sacramento Police Department depicts a frantic foot pursuit through darkened streets pierced by white slivers of police flashlight.

The officers spot Clark approaching a house and shout: “Show me your hands! Stop! Stop!”

Clark is seen running, and the two officers round the corner of the house and find him under a covered patio.

An infrared camera on an overhead helicopter briefly loses sight of Clark at this moment.

“Show me your hands! Gun!” an officer shouts and ducks behind the wall in a fraction of a second.

The helicopter footage shows one of the officers appearing to grab his partner to pull him to cover.

Clark steps toward the officers. Behind the wall, one of the officers issues another command. “Show me your hands!” And then: “Gun, gun, gun!”

Both officers open fire. Sparks from the bullets light up the helicopter’s infrared camera in sharp white pops.

The sequence, from the first glimpse of Clark on the patio to the first gunshot, unfolds in about six seconds.

The officers are never heard identifying themselves as police before fatally shooting Clark.

What a mess.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: What To Do In A Nuclear Attack. Honestly, this is not a very good piece, as it conflates thermal radiation with ionizing radiation.

Related: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

THE L.A. TIMES: Mankind Peoplekind Humanity will need to make some drastic changes if it wants to keep the ‘good life’ going.

 In theory, wealthy nations could cut way back on their resource use while maintaining their achievements on the social front. Some straightforward first steps include “switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, producing products with longer lifetimes, reducing unnecessary waste, shifting from animal to crop products, and investing in new technologies,” the researchers wrote.

And in a future world “with very different social arrangements or technologies,” there could be a different equation for converting natural resources into human well-being that allows everyone to enjoy all aspects of the good life, O’Neill said.

“Is this realistic?” he said. “I hope so, because the alternative could be environmental catastrophe.”

Funny how these articles never end with “and that’s why we’re shuttering our publication and its office buildings and air conditioned server farm for the future of humanity,” and/or “that’s why recommend our company town’s chief industry, the entertainment business, to close.”

Meanwhile, back in reality, also in the Los Angeles this week:

L.A.’s Keystone Kops rollout of a new trash recycling program, which has featured a dramatic service reduction at a huge price increase for thousands of customers.

It’s so bad, even the people who supported the plan are ducking for cover, pointing fingers or throwing everyone else under the bus.

Not everyone who spoke at Tuesday’s Los Angeles City Council committee hearing lashed out at council members Nury Martinez, Paul Koretz, Paul Krekorian, Gil Cedillo and Mitch O’Farrell.

Some praised RecycLA or offered hope that the kinks will be worked out to accomplish the city’s admirable goal of diverting trash from landfills and reducing the number of crisscrossing trucks spewing pollution.

But cleaning up the mess may not be easy, given how badly the city screwed up the deal. City officials signed a 10-year contract with seven companies, some of which dispute allegations of overcharging and say they’re just doing what the contract allows them to do.

As The Times has reported, customers are getting dinged for added fees if the hauler has to move a trash bin a certain distance or use a remote device to open a gate. I’m still getting bombarded with calls and emails from landlords who say their bills have multiplied three, four, five and six times.

So it’s the Obamacare of trash pickup. Take a bow, L.A., this is where virtue signaling on top of virtue signaling invariably ends up.



Related: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

STILL RELEVANT: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover. Honestly, I think this was one of my best magazine pieces. And certainly it had legs. . .

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How Do You Survive Nuclear War? The CDC Is About to Tell You.

Related: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

CHRISTOPHER HARPER: Dictionaries as Propaganda Tools.

In a year when Trumpism, fake news, and myriad conservative terms held sway throughout the world, I am trying not to sound conspiratorial. But the dictionaries chose some liberal words to proclaim as the words of 2017. Merriam-Webster chose “feminism.” went with “complicit,” while the Cambridge Dictionary anointed “populism.” These choices seem troubling, but Oxford Dictionaries went with something else worse: “youthquake.”

I am happy to say I have never heard someone use youthquake, which is defined as a “significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.”

Former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland apparently coined “youthquake” in the 1960s to describe the youth culture of London back then. The word fell out of favor until this year when its use increased dramatically, according to an analysis of the Oxford English Corpus, which collects roughly 150 million words of spoken and written English from various sources.

The use of the word surged first in coverage of the British parliamentary elections in June before spreading to political commentary to the United States and elsewhere.

Youthquake triumphed over a politically leftist list that included “Antifa,” “broflake,” “kompromat,” “white fragility,” and “Milkshake Duck.”

You may not be interested in the Gleichschaltung, but the Gleichschaltung is interested in you.

THE 21ST CENTURY ISN’T TURNING OUT AS I’D HOPED: Chinese Newspaper Near North Korea Offers Advice on Surviving Nukes.

Related: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

20 YEARS OF NORTH KOREA CAN-KICKING LED TO THIS: ‘The threat is very real’: Millions in Tokyo to take part in North Korean nuclear attack exercise.

Related: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

FLASHBACK: How Democrats Left Us Vulnerable To North Korea’s Nukes.

With last weekend’s surprise nuclear test, North Korea has reached final stage of its crash course to develop thermonuclear weapons that can reach and destroy U.S. cities. So why are we not on a crash course to protect our cities from North Korean nuclear missiles?

Answer: Because for more than three decades, Democrats have done everything in their power to prevent, obstruct or delay the deployment of ballistic missile defense.

Opposition to missile defense has been an article of faith for Democrats since President Ronald Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983. Sen. Edward M.Kennedy led the early opposition to what Democrats derisively labeled “Star Wars,” denouncing missile defense as a “mirage” and “a certain prescription for an arms race in outer space.” Running against Reagan in 1984, Walter Mondale called it a “dangerously destabilizing” and unworkable “hoax.” . . .

If we had continued the Bush program over the past eight years, we would now have a robust array of defenses against any North Korean ICBM. We would be able to target a North Korean missile in the boost phase, and if that failed we would have 44 ground-based interceptors armed with hundreds of warheads that could be fired to take it out in mid-course.

But we did not continue the Bush program. President Barack Obama slashed funding for ballistic missile defense by 25 percent. As part of his failed “reset” with Russia, he scrapped Bush’s agreement with Poland and the Czech Republic. He reduced Bush’s plan from 44 ground-based interceptors to just 30. (He belatedly changed course in 2012 after North Korea tested the Taepodong missile, but the United States still has not recovered from the delay.) And he cancelled the Airborne Laser, Kinetic Energy Interceptor and Multiple Kill Vehicle programs. As a result, North Korean now has eight minutes of unchallenged flight during which their missiles are most vulnerable, and we have dramatically reduced the chances of hitting a North Korean missile as it descends on a U.S. city.

Thanks, Democrats.

Related: The Unexpected Return of ‘Duck and Cover.’


Related: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

IN LIGHT OF NORTH KOREA’S LATEST: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

STILL RELEVANT WITH ALL THE NORTH KOREA STUFF: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

BEYOND DUCK-AND-COVER: Surviving a Nuclear Attack.

This piece by Lt. Colonel Dr. Eisenkraft (Ret.) covers the medical angle, which makes it a nice addition to articles linked here about surviving a general social-political collapse.

BETWEEN NORTH KOREA AND IRAN, THAT’S A GOOD THING: This new drug could help the U.S. survive a nuclear meltdown.. “An injection being developed by the Israeli company Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. appears to help the body rebound from radiation injuries.”

Related: The Unexpected Return of ‘Duck and Cover.’

WITH NORTH KOREA’S ICBM TEST, I suppose it’s time to reprise my The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

And it’s never a bad time to prepare.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Dress Rehearsal for Armageddon: How Cities Plan for a Nuclear Attack. And how you can, too.

So I guess it’s “Duck and Cover” all over again. Who could have seen this coming?

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Duck And Cover, All Over Again? Our failed Iran and North Korea policies mean it’s probably time.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Duck And Cover, All Over Again? Our failed Iran and North Korea policies mean it’s probably time.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Duck And Cover, All Over Again? Our failed Iran and North Korea policies mean it’s probably time.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Dusting off “Duck and Cover” Training in Response to North Korean Nukes.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Duck And Cover, All Over Again? Our failed Iran and North Korea policies mean it’s probably time.

FROM THE BBC: North Korea promises to test missiles on a weekly basis.


Its aim is to be able to put a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach targets around the world, including the US.

By George the Beeb has got it!

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Related: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

20+ YEARS OF FECKLESS NORTH KOREA POLICY, AND NOW: North Korea tensions have Hawaii pols revisiting emergency attack plans. “The plans were last revisited in the 1980s. But the Hawaii House Public Safety Committee on Thursday formally called for the state’s defense agency to repair their hundreds of Cold War-era fallout shelters and restock them with medical supplies, food and water.”

Coming soon to LA and SF. And then to everywhere else!

Related: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

STILL RELEVANT: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

THE HILL: Supreme Court enters new era, raising conservative hopes.

The ascension of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is expected to usher in a new conservative majority that could become part of President Trump’s legacy.

Gorsuch, who was confirmed by the Senate on Friday, is widely expected to shift the ideological balance of the court to the right, with his views seen as mostly in line with the man he is replacing: the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

But some court watchers say Gorsuch may be even more conservative than Scalia, his mentor and a fellow adherent to the originalist view of the Constitution.

“I think it’s interesting he’s cast as either a follower of Scalia or a more temperate version of Scalia, but in fact it seems that he may be quite to the right of Scalia in certain areas,” said Caroline Fredrickson, president of the left-leaning American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.

Like Scalia, Gorsuch was part of a majority ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby stores. His 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that that the Affordable Care Act could not compel certain companies to provide health coverage for contraception if it violated their religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court upheld that ruling in 2014.

While Gorsuch ducked questions at his confirmation hearings about his views on equal protections for LGBTQ Americans, liberal groups expect him to give heavy weight to religious freedom in decisions about civil rights.

Don’t get too excited, guys, until Trump has replaced at least one left-leaning judge with a conservative. This was fundamentally just a holding action.

DUCK AND COVER: An asteroid twice as close as most satellites slips by Earth.

Asteroid 2017 GM was discovered late Monday by the Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona and then made its closest pass a few hours later at a distance of around 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers or 0.04 of the distance to the moon). For reference, most of our communications satellites orbit at an altitude of more than 20,000 miles.

“It is among the 10 known asteroids making the closest approach ever,” Italian astrophysicist Gianluca Masi wrote in a blog post Tuesday. Masi co-founded the Virtual Telescope Project, which helped to determine the asteroid’s orbit.

This one was only the size of a car, so it wasn’t exactly a planet-killer.

DUCK AND COVER: Here’s How the Senate Gorsuch Debate Might Play Out. “Timeline sets up for nuclear option standoff on Thursday.”



Although, with all due modesty, I think my piece for The Atlantic is better.

AFTER EIGHT YEARS OF “SMART DIPLOMACY,” AN IMPORTANT EXPLAINER: What’s the actual difference between a hydrogen bomb and an atomic bomb?

Related: The Unexpected Return Of ‘Duck And Cover.’

IT’S AN IMPORTANT QUESTION AFTER EIGHT YEARS OF “SMART DIPLOMACY:” How far away would you need to be to survive a nuclear blast?

Related: The Unexpected Return of “Duck and Cover.”

MAD DUCK: With midnight regulation, Obama Energy Department just outlawed your three-way bulb.

Three-way bulbs, which have two different filaments and thus three different brightnesses, are currently exempted. DOE just ruled that they now need to be covered. The Department’s reasoning: “DOE expects these sales will likely increase since these lamps could be used as replacements for other regulated lamp types.” In other words: People might start buying these bulbs because they want regular light bulbs rather than expensive LEDs or crappy fluorescents.

DOE also spiked the exemption for globe-shaped bulbs. Many manufacturers make, and many retailers sell, globe-shaped bulbs that met the standards, but consumers were left with the option to buy globe-shaped bulbs of the old type. That couldn’t stand.

This rule doesn’t go into effect for three years, but it could lead pretty quickly to domestic bulb makers ceasing production.

It’s Friday.

Duck Hunter Blasts Drone In Utah.

Aerial cinematographer James Allred wanted to get some beauty shots of steam rising from the surface of a lake hear his Utah home on January 6th, but instead, his brand-new DJI Inspire 2 drone was damaged by shots fired by a duck hunter upset about his activities.

The hunter now faces criminal mischief charges, and possibly more.

The website Digital Circuit reports that the temperature was -18 when Allred started flying the drone. He thought it was behaving erratically, so he landed the aircraft and waited for things to warm up a bit. The drone is only rated down to -4 fahrenheit. When he resumed flight … still below that threshold, the link between the aircraft and the controller was lost, he said.

It stopped over the duck hunter, who got annoyed and opened fire on the aircraft. He took three shots, and hit the drone up to 28 times.

Somehow the aircraft continued to fly. Allred recovered his drone, and called the sheriff.

It seems to me the only thing the hunter is guilty of is meting out a little rough justice to a negligent drone pilot.

RIGGED: Michigan’s electoral integrity problems weren’t in Trump country. “Detailed reports from the office of Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett show optical scanners at 248 of the city’s 662 precincts, or 37 percent, tabulated more ballots than the number of voters tallied by workers in the poll books. Voting irregularities in Detroit have spurred plans for an audit by Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office, Elections Director Chris Thomas said Monday.”

Related: Election Fraud in Detroit Looks ‘Organized, and Government Involved.’

Plus: “Last week it was also discovered (thanks to Jill Stein’s recount effort) that over 18,000 voters in Michigan cast ballots without identification last month, prompting the state House of Representatives to pass a voter ID bill during its lame duck session.”

It would be nice if one side effect of this election was stronger anti-fraud laws both with regard to voting, and vote-counting.

Plus: Electors are being harassed, threatened in bid to stop Trump.

JAMES TARANTO: A Crisis of Authority—II: The people have spoken. Obama is speaking back.

It’s true that Obama has not melted down in public the way many on the liberal left have. But Lederman overstates the case. On that foreign trip, as well as in a lengthy series of interviews, both pre- and postelection, with the New Yorker’s David Remnick, Obama has been quite fretful—torn, as at that press conference, between his duty as a lame-duck president to respect the office and the man who will soon hold it, and his anguish at what amounts to a repudiation of authority.

Here we mean not Obama’s authority as president, which he will continue to exercise until Trump is sworn in at noon on Jan. 20. Rather, what the voters repudiated was the authority of what Obama stands for. . . .

Remnick himself described the Obama presidency as “two terms long on dignity and short on scandal.” The IRS? The State Department scandal that arguably sank Mrs. Clinton’s campaign? Again, the memory hole.

In Lima on Sunday the president himself declared: “I am extremely proud of the fact that over eight years we have not had the kinds of scandals that have plagued other administrations.” That’s either delusional or very carefully worded: To our knowledge no other administration has used the IRS to punish ordinary citizens for dissent, nor faced FBI findings that the secretary of state treated classified information in an “extremely careless” fashion. . . .

Meanwhile, the Times’s new public editor, Liz Spayd, faults “the media” for “turning [Trump’s] remarks into a grim caricature that it applied to those who backed him. What struck me is how many liberal voters I spoke with felt so, too. They were Clinton backers, but, they want a news source that fairly covers people across the spectrum.”

If you’d told us in 2013, when we identified the problem of liberal-left authoritarianism, that Donald Trump would be the solution, we’d have laughed along with everyone else. But he was probably a necessary corrective. The left has waged asymmetric political warfare, routinely traducing the same norms it was demanding its opponents respect. Trump beat them at their own game, and that might have been the only way it could be done.

Choose the form of your Destructor!

DUCK AND COVER: Russians Conduct Nuclear-Bomb Survival Drills as Cold War Heats Up.

At the Kremlin’s Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Cold War is back.

The country recently held its biggest civil defense drills since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., with what officials said were 40 million people rehearsing a response to chemical and nuclear threats.

Videos of emergency workers deployed in hazmat suits or checking the ventilation in bomb shelters were prominently aired on television when the four days of drills were held across the country. Students tried on gas masks and placed dummies on stretchers in school auditoriums.

The capital’s civil-defense plans are also being upgraded, said Andrey Mishchenko, deputy head of the ministry.

“An inventory was taken in Moscow of the city’s underground spaces, in order to allow us to plan for sheltering 100% of the city’s population,” he said, as reported by state news agency RIA Novosti.

In parallel, commentators on state-dominated airwaves issued some of the shrillest anti-American rhetoric in years. “Russia is sick of America’s arrogant lies,” influential commentator Dmitry Kiselyov said this month after a Syrian peace plan collapsed.

“Just” 88 days until the next president is sworn in.


Shot: “Outside the EU, Britain can fly to new heights as a global trading power,” the London Telegraph predicts.

Chaser: “Defiant Obama tells Britain it WILL be at the back of the queue for a US trade deal after Brexit as world leaders gather at G20,” the London Daily Mail reports.

To be fair, the punitive lame duck president is always looking for new wreckers and hoarders to throw into the back of the bus — or under it.

I WAS EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: Five Men Agree To Stand Directly Under An Exploding Nuclear Bomb.

I would have done this. It wasn’t really dangerous at all, and as you can see, most of theme lived to a ripe old age. Meanwhile, here’s my The Unexpected Return Of Duck And Cover piece.

JAMES TARANTO: Donald And The Duck: A weak week for President Obama.

With his presidency nearly 93% over, Barack Obama isn’t technically a lame duck. (That cutoff is approximately 97.5%.) But although he may not quack like a duck, he looked awfully lame last week.

It started, as we noted Monday and Tuesday, with the attempt to transform the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 into a domestic kulturkampf. First the Justice Department scrubbed the attacker’s declarations of allegiance to the Islamic State from a publicly released 911 transcript—a decision consistent with the president’s policy of denying Islamic terror is Islamic, but one executed so ham-handedly that the department was forced to back down within hours.

Then came another futile set of Senate votes on measures to constrain the rights of Americans under the Second and Fifth amendments. Whereupon House Democrats made their Senate counterparts look almost dignified by comparison.

“Using sit-in demonstrations inspired by civil rights protests,” as a Wall Street Journal news story put it, a group of Democrats hijacked the House chamber. Actually, they might have been inspired by House Republicans, who attempted the same thing in 2008. . . .

This time, however, majority Republicans left the lights on, and one of the sitting-in Democrats used his phone to stream video to a social-media site, which C-Span eventually picked up. Thus everyone was able to watch the ridiculous spectacle.

To be sure, it seemed very serious to people who sympathized with the sitters’ authoritarian aims—including most of the reporters covering it. Almost every news organization took to describing the spectacle as “historic,” as if in response to a memo from the Ministry of Truth. And that may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. notes that Pelosi, now the minority leader, “openly thanked people in the news media for creating an ‘echo chamber’.”

It’s the Media Party, to steal a term from Ezra Levant. Plus:

All of Obama’s difficulties last week can be seen as examples of his being eclipsed by Donald Trump, who despite trailing in the polls has become the most dominant figure in American politics.

Trump had put the president (and Hillary Clinton) on the defensive for downplaying radical Islam after Orlando, and he has changed the immigration debate by putting more-restrictive policies at the center of his campaign. The credit for bottling up Garland’s nomination goes to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans, but Trump was quick to endorse that effort: “I think it’s up to Mitch McConnell, and everybody else to stop it,” the future presumptive nominee said at a debate Feb. 13, hours after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. “It’s called delay, delay, delay.”

Say what you will about Trump, he’s been going after Hillary, Obama, and Elizabeth Warren like Mitt Romney and John McCain never did.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Hillary Clinton is not the only Democrat facing legal problems this cycle.

Hillary Clinton’s email probe and Donald Trump’s university trial might be getting more coverage, but another candidate faces her own legal problems this election cycle.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., will face a civil trial during the campaign season for allegedly retaliating against whistleblowers during her service as head of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. A judge just set a tentative trial date for August.

Duckworth’s campaign has called the lawsuit “politically motivated,” but the case is actually seven years old, and was originally brought by a state civil servant with more than two decades on the job at a time when Duckworth was not running for office. State attorneys representing Duckworth and the agency have argued that Duckworth fired Christine Butler, who had worked for the state for 22 years, because of “insubordination,” and not as punishment for complaining about a supervisor who was violating procedure. Duckworth was told she needed to follow disciplinary procedures in order to fire someone, so she reprimanded Butler and suspended her with pay.

Human resources secretary Denise Goins, who is also part of the lawsuit, said her complaints about the same supervisor were brushed aside. Duckworth allegedly told Goins to “do your job and keep your mouth shut.”

Dems are always telling people to shut up.


One obvious sign liberal journalists are already missing Obama? Celebrating him as a comedian. Washington Post gossip Emily Heil is a big fan of his comedic stylings, as the headlines proved:

  • For presidential humor, Obama will be a hard act to follow” (Style section)
  • HE’S A REAL STAND-UP GUY: As he prepares for his final White House correspondents dinner, Obama has already demonstrated his knack for edgy, self-aware humor.” (Cover of the Express, the free Post commuter tabloid)
  • Our first comedian-in-chief: Sly and self-aware, Obama raises the bar for presidential humor.” (Express story inside)
  • “Barack Obama, the first alt-comedy president” (online headline)

So thanks to his joke writers, as Heil eventually admits, Obama is the presidential equivalent of Jon Stewart, the nation’s Troll In Chief. The Post can’t say it wasn’t warned; back in June of 2008, Karl Rove was quoted as saying, “Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.”

Naturally, during the summer of the Styrofoam columns, the Huffington Post blew its dog whistle at Rove’s comment.

And yet once again, as Mark Steyn wrote in March of 2009 after Christopher Buckley, David Brooks and the Economist all were forced to admit how badly they misread Obama (read: mislead potential voters), “The nuancey boys were wrong on Obama, and the knuckledragging morons were right.”

So right that Obama went from being “standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God” as then-Newsweek editor Evan Thomas orgiastically described him and “the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar,” as Rocco Landesman, Obama’s then-NEA president gushed, to being reduced to “Our first comedian-in-chief” – which apparently is meant to be a compliment.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: John Schindler: Mounting Evidence Putin Will Ignite WWIII. By letting Putin get away with whatever he likes in Syria, Obama has created a deeply dangerous situation.

Relations between Russia and Turkey have been dismal since late November, when a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian bomber on the border with Syria, killing its pilot. That began a war of words between Moscow and Ankara that ought to concern everyone, since the former has several thousand nuclear weapons and the latter is a member of NATO.

Kremlin propaganda against Ankara has increased of late, setting the stage for further confrontation. As I explained here last week, Russian media outlets initially blamed the Sinai crash of Metrojet 9268 last autumn on the Islamic State, an atrocity which killed 224 innocents, nearly all of them Russians—a quite plausible claim. However, the Kremlin has abruptly shifted course and now blames the mass murder on Turkish ultranationalist terrorists, without any evidence provided to support that explosive assertion.

Where things may be going between Russia and Turkey, ancient enemies who have warred many times over the centuries, was evidenced this week, when the Kremlin announced large-scale surprise military exercises in the regions of the country that are close to Turkey. Troops were moved to full combat readiness, the last stage before a shooting war, with Sergei Shoygu, the Russian defense minister, announcing on TV: “We began our surprise check of the military preparedness in the Southwest strategic direction.”

That would be the direction of Turkey. These snap exercises involve the Southern Military District and the navy’s Black Sea Fleet, which are deeply involved in Russia’s not-so-secret secret war in eastern Ukraine. However, they also involve the navy’s Caspian Sea flotilla, which is nowhere near Ukraine.

Well, we’ve got John Kerry and Barack Obama standing between us and World War III, so . . . Duck and Cover!

LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: “The American public doesn’t talk enough about nuclear war.”

Related: The Unexpected Return of “Duck and Cover.”

A TRUMP-LED TRIUMVIRATE?: Well, not exactly, but it’s not far off the mark. Huckabee and Santorum to join Trump at his fundraising event for veterans following their GOP undercard debate.

Huckabee tweeted that he will participate in an earlier debate of lower polling candidates and then head off to nearby Drake University, where Trump is holding his event after bolting from the debate after a war of words with Fox News and Megyn Kelly, who is set to co-moderate the event.

Huckabee’s announcement is part of a last ditch effort for the 2008 Iowa victor to boost his standing with caucus-goers before Monday and stick it to Sen. Ted Cruz, who he has been harshly attacking on the campaign trail. By early Thursday afternoon, Santorum representatives confirmed to the Washington Examiner, as well as multiple media outlets, that he, too, would attend the event. Santorum won the caucus in 2012. . . .

More than anything, Huckabee and Santorum’s appearance at the event helps provide cover from criticism being launched at Trump by Cruz for ducking the debate and plays into Trump’s image as a candidate who doesn’t play by the normal rules of politics.

Santorum and Huckabee are angling to steer attention and votes away from other candidates–particularly Cruz– so their appearance at the Trump-led event isn’t any sort of endorsement. But still, their attendance illustrates how Trump is undeniably a flame to the media moths.

RELATED:  Ted Cruz Mega-Donors Holding Veterans’ Charities Hostage for Donald Trump Debate.

In response to Senator Ted Cruz’s challenge of a one-on-one debate, the principal donors of the Keep the Promise I and II super PACs are offering presidential candidate Donald Trump a truly fantastic deal, pledging to donate $1.5 million to charities committed to helping veterans if Mr. Trump agrees to debate Senator Cruz in Iowa.

That’s right, a group of Ted Cruz mega-donors have offered the princely sum of $1.5 million, but only if Trump agrees to debate Cruz. Otherwise, tough luck, heroes! This is sick, even by the stunt-charity standard being set by Trump, who, along with his own sketchy history of exploiting veterans, is apparently only raising money for them tonight because Fox News pissed him off. But at least he’s raising the funds, not withholding them as a political ransom.

Apparently, Carly Fiorina has offered her own $1.5 million contribution to veterans’ groups if she can join any Cruz-Trump debate.

Meanwhile, one veterans’ group has said it would decline any such donations, from Trump or any other GOP candidate participating in the event, calling it a “political stunt.”  Of course it’s a political stunt–it’s being organized by politicians, for goodness sake. But it seems odd–and itself perhaps political– that the head of a veterans’ organization would turn down a charitable gift for this reason.

PREDICTION: SOMEONE WITH POLITICAL CONNECTIONS WILL MAKE A LOT OF MONEY OUT OF THIS. One of D.C.’s Most Contentious Pieces of Real Estate is 25 Feet Underground.

In the upscale Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Dupont Circle, where galleries, bars, and bookshops jostle for room, a 75,000-square-foot expanse in the heart of the quarter has been almost untouched for 20 years. That’s because in order to access it, you have to grab a flashlight and descend 25 feet below ground, into the vast, abandoned streetcar tunnels that flank Connecticut Avenue.

For the past 60 years, the city and its residents have wondered what to do with this vast subterranean space, whose history features a long list of failed attempts to repurpose it, including plans to make it into a gym, a greenmarket, and a storage facility for funeral urns.

Well, the way things are going it should probably be stocked as a fallout shelter.

DUCK AND COVER: Claudia Rosett: The Next Failure of Imagination: Nuclear Terrorism?

As with so many Democrat presidential candidates before him, Obama was sold in 2007 and 2008 as the latest iteration of “the next JFK” – be careful what you wish for.

NEWS FROM THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: How to Cope With Anxiety During Terror Threats.

Was talking recently to a friend, a fairly typical academic liberal from DC who pays little attention to the news. But she’s suddenly pretty worried about DC getting atom-bombed. I think the mood in the country has shifted quite a lot, recently. . . .

Related: The Unexpected Return Of Duck And Cover.

LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: Reviving America’s Nuclear Culture.

At 8:15 a.m., most of downtown Hiroshima disappeared in a searing flash of light and a crushing blast of superheated air. At least 70,000 Japanese (including around 20,000 soldiers) were killed by the firestorm that incinerated the city’s wooden houses and buildings. Three days later, on August 9, the city of Nagasaki was similarly destroyed, this time with the immediate death of around 40,000 civilians. Tens of thousands more would die in coming weeks and years from burns and radiation sickness.

For 70 years since those August mornings, the world has been spared another nuclear bombing. Even as the United States and the Soviet Union built enormous stockpiles of nuclear warheads, reaching a maximum combined total of 64,500 in 1986, neither they nor the other official nuclear powers ever detonated a nuclear weapon during a conflict. Since the end of the Cold War, in particular, the threat of nuclear war has appeared to recede, and the massive nuclear arsenals relegated in importance to the backwaters of national strategy.

Today, though, a quarter-century after the fall of the Soviet Union, nuclear weapons are back, proliferation is increasing, and the world faces a new and unsettling nuclear future. To prepare for the return of a nuclear world, the United States above all must revitalize its once-dominant nuclear culture, relearn the language of deterrence, and reincorporate nuclear strategy into all levels of security policymaking.

Duck and cover!

MEIN FÜHRER…I CAN WALK!!! Seven Movies About Nuclear Nightmares.

As Glenn noted last month in USA Today:

When the Cold War ended, people forgot about [stuff like duck and cover], to the point that when I teach Cold War material in my Constitutional Law or National Security Law courses, I find that my law students, except for a few military veterans or emergency-services types, know nothing about basic nuclear weapons facts that almost everyone knew as late as the 1980s. But now it may be time for that knowledge to come back.

Israel and India have the bomb, but they’re not threats. Russia and China have the bomb, and they’re not entirely friendly. Pakistan has the bomb, and it’s not so friendly. North Korea has nukes and issues periodic threats. And now Iran is on track to get the bomb, and the Iranians are still shouting “Death To America” at every opportunity. It’s just possible that they might mean it.

Nahh, lovely lads, those chaps. Mr. Obama and his cronies have announced that he’s delivering “Peace in Our Time”; I’m sure the mullahs share the same good wishes to all, right?

WALL STREET JOURNAL: The Off-Grid Administration: The Many Ways Obama Officials Have Ducked Public Accountability.

Since the 1960s the government has been subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), giving citizens the right to view those records. In 2009 the National Archives issued rules requiring agencies to preserve employee work on nonofficial accounts in a government record-keeping system.

Then came the Obama Administration, whose modus operandi has been to hide from this legal regime. This year the world learned that Hillary Clinton conducted most of her correspondence as Secretary of State on a private, homemade email system that she failed to disclose and kept away from the federal government.

We have since learned that at least one of her aides, Huma Abedin, also had an account on that private system. When the press exposed the system, Mrs. Clinton deemed herself the arbiter of what she would allow the American people to see. Mrs. Abedin still hasn’t bothered to deliver her government records to State. In late July another Clinton aide, Philippe Reines, gave State 20 boxes of work-related emails, taken in part from his private email account.

In August the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a motion in court to gain access to the private email account of White House science czar John Holdren, who may have used it for government work. Some years ago CEI helped bring to light that then-EPA Chief Lisa Jackson used a secret alias, “ Richard Windsor,” when emailing on the EPA system. This seemed designed to thwart FOIA requests for her conversations, since “Lisa Jackson” appeared nowhere on her emails.

In 2013 an Associated Press report revealed the practice was rampant among Administration officials, including the Secretaries of Agriculture, Labor, and Health & Human Services. All had secret government email accounts that neither Congress nor the public knew about.

Last Monday the IRS was forced to acknowledge to a federal court that it recently discovered that Lois Lerner (of political targeting fame) used a second, private email to conduct government work. The account was set up under the name “ Toby Miles,” and the IRS still can’t account for its contents.

It has been two years since Congress first subpoenaed Ms. Lerner’s emails. In 2013 when Mrs. Lerner was still directing the IRS’s Exempt Organizations unit, she cautioned colleagues to be careful what they said on email; then she inquired whether the agency’s instant-messaging system was archived. Told it wasn’t, she responded by email: “Perfect.”

Last week a federal court subpoenaed former EPA official Phillip North after a complaint by a mining concern called the Pebble Partnership. Mr. North worked from inside the EPA with outside activists to scuttle Pebble’s proposed Alaskan mining project, and he did so on private email.

Think of this administration as an ongoing criminal enterprise and you won’t be far wrong.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: With the Iran deal in the works, it’s time to revisit “Duck and Cover.”

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: With the Iran deal in the works, it’s time to revisit “Duck and Cover.”

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: With the Iran deal in the works, it’s time to revisit “Duck and Cover.”

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: With the Iran deal in the works, it’s time to revisit “Duck and Cover.”

SERVICE JOURNALISM: In light of Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, it’s time to rerun my The Unexpected Return Of Duck And Cover. And here’s the accompanying video.

Some are saying Obama sees this deal as his “legacy.” Well, there are all kinds of legacies. Just remember what to do if you see a sudden, bright flash of light. . . .

SERVICE JOURNALISM: In light of Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, it’s time to rerun my The Unexpected Return Of Duck And Cover. And here’s the accompanying video.

Some are saying Obama sees this deal as his “legacy.” Well, there are all kinds of legacies. Just remember what to do if you see a sudden, bright flash of light. . . .

PRESS ROPED IN BY AIDES AT HILLARY EVENT: I’m not sure what the usage rights are to the photos in Daniel Halper’s post at the Weekly Standard, which is also currently atop Drudge, so I don’t want to embed any of them here, but if you haven’t seen them yet, by all means click over. I’ll wait.

OK, back? That the press went along with this with such docility tells you everything you need to know about which party they support — they are, as Glenn likes to say, Democratic operatives with bylines. If they were real journalists, or if this technique was employed a GOP presidential campaign, their first thought would be: I’m cutting the rope. Even if I don’t have a knife. I’ll start sawing away with car keys — or simply duck under it, just to see what happens next.

Because what happens next is a headline. One that will quickly become what former AP man Joseph Campbell calls a classic media myth that feeds upon itself: HILLARY’S GOONS HARASS JOURNALIST. JOURNALIST HAULED AWAY BY CLINTON SECURITY.  I BROKE HILLARY’S PRESS BLOCKADE! A real journalist would dine out on the headline for months.

And if this was an opportunity to employ the same headlines but with Bush, Trump, Perry, Cruz or Rubio, the press would be chomping at the bits to write such a story. As Cruz told Glenn Beck on Thursday, “Nothing would make [a journalist] happier than to take your life and filet [a GOP candidate or his operatives] on the front pages.”

But why go out of the way to cause bad press for one of your own?

And for the furious reaction from Twitter users from the photos of the “press lapdogs herded like sheep,” Twitchy has you covered.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Chicago Tribune: Concealed carry enters second year in the Southland.

Hayes, who previously opposed the law, also said he noticed suburbanites who now have concealed carry licenses seem to be less fearful of crime and more confident in community safety.

“Law enforcement has two goals: reduce crime and reduce fear of crime,” Hayes said. “This seems to have an impact on law-abiding citizens adjusting to their fear level by confidence and knowledge.”

Lutger said he liked having a gun on him because police don’t always arrive on time.

“It’s a great equalizer if you’re attacked or if you have a bunch of thugs that rob you or want to kill you,” Lutger said. “This is strictly for self protection of myself and my family.”

Well, yes. Plus:

In the year of concealed carry permits in Illinois, there have only been a couple incidents involving legal gun owners that have created headlines. In July, a concealed-carry permit holder in Crestwood tried shooting at a fleeing armed robber, hurting no one but forcing a police officer to duck for cover. In Chicago a member of the military who had a concealed carry permit shot and wounded an armed man who fired into a crowd on Chicago’s Far South Side.

Nevertheless, Hayes said he stopped opposing the concealed carry law when he realized that the past year has not resulted in the level of violence some anticipated.

Yeah, funny: The antigun folks always predict that the streets will run red with blood, and somehow they’re always wrong. But they never change their story.

IN LIGHT OF OBAMA’S NUCLEAR POLICIES, I think it’s time to rerun my “Duck and Cover” piece again.

GIVEN OBAMA’S IRAN PLANS, THIS IS WORTH A RE-MENTION: The Unexpected Return Of Duck And Cover. And here’s the accompanying video.

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Barack Obama Had a Really Terrible Year: ISIS, Ferguson, the Senate, Ukraine, Ebola, border kids. Really, this was a pretty awful sixth year for the president. Not that he’s acting like it.

You can make a compelling case that 2014 was the worst year for President Obama since, well, the year before. And, in fact, the president spent much of this year trying to recover from some body blows he took in the final months of 2013, when, in short order, Congress rebuffed him on Syria and the federal health care exchange imploded.

Those setbacks ate away at Obama’s public support. According to Gallup, the president began 2014 with a 41 percent approval rating, and he’s ending it a tick or two higher. He’s also ending the year as a certified lame duck, facing two final years with a hostile Congress and the political conversation centering around the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul.

Losing the Senate punctuated a year when Obama again saw more bad moments than good, and largely garnered more criticism than praise, especially from fellow Democrats, who were quick to blame him as the party’s political fortunes declined. More that that, though, it was a year of stomach-churning uncertainty, with one airliner disappearing over the Pacific and another being shot down over Europe, a savage terrorist threat on the march in Iraq, continued civil war in Syria, and Ebola raging through Africa and touching the U.S.

Paradoxically, the midterm walloping seemed to liberate Obama. As if now resigned to the reality that he has fewer partners to work with than ever, he is freer to pursue his own agenda.

You can’t really say whether it was a terrible year for Obama unless you can say what his agenda is. But it certainly wasn’t a good year for America. But I predict that it will turn out to be average: Worse than 2013, better than 2015.

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: Obama’s Post-Presidency Has Already Begun.

According to Politico, Obama’s Italian dinner party illustrates the paradox of his second term. “Stymied at home and abroad, Obama recognizes that he is less in control of the Washington agenda than ever in his presidency,” write Budoff Brown and Epstein. “Yet his newfound realism has also given him a palpable sense of liberation.” I find nothing paradoxical about Obama’s recent pattern of behavior, nothing mysterious about the golfing, partying, traveling. It is quite obvious: Obama has given up.

He knows that his agenda is now limited to executive orders and bureaucratic regulation, and that even these measures are likely to be in the courts for years. He knows that his foreign policy agenda of engagement with the enemies of America will prove controversial and unpopular. He knows his staff has been ducking-and-covering ever since Lois Lerner announced the IRS had targeted Tea Party groups, and that they have been playing defense through Edward Snowden and Syria and and Crimea and the VA and now Bowe Bergdahl. He knows there is a chance that the Republicans will control Congress next January, and he has said, according to Politico, that this “would make his last two years in office unbearable.”

Obama, Politico says, is “giving more thought to his post-presidency than his aides like to suggest.” But there is nothing really for Obama to think about. His ambitions in this office, just like his ambitions at Harvard, in New York, in Chicago, and in the Senate, are now exhausted. America has disappointed him, and it is time to look to the next challenge worthy of Barack Obama. His post-presidency has already begun.

It’s sad that we haven’t lived up to his rosy expectations of 2008.

MICKEY KAUS: Gaslighting The GOPs? “If you’re a top White House political aide, things look bleak for the 2014 mid-terms: slow recovery, stagnant wages, Obamacare distress, serial foreign policy humiliations and a sense that social change is maybe proceeding a bit too rapidly for universal voter comfort would seem to give Republicans an advantage in a relatively low-turnout election in which enthusiasm matters. A Republican Senate and lame-duckness looms. What to do? Answer: Look back to the last Democratic president who faced this bleak prospect, Bill Clinton. . . . I’m not suggesting the White House is intentionally provoking Republicans over Benghazi, the better to produce counterproductive overreach. OK, sorry. I’m totally suggesting the White House is intentionally provoking Republicans over Benghazi.”


“Everyone’s ducking for cover,” Paul Petersen, a former child actor and child actors’ advocate, told Entertainment Weekly in 1997. “It’s a complete and total breakdown of the protections Hollywood pretends it accords children.”

The same industry that sanctimoniously convenes anti-bullying summits with the Obama White House and falsely accuses conservatives of waging a “war on women” has allowed countless children to be stalked, groomed, beaten, molested and raped on casting couches, in movie trailers, and at drug- and alcohol-drenched parties by Tinseltown predators. The alleged child rape scandal exposed by Egan does not exist in a vacuum[.]

Yet another reason to repeal the Hollywood tax cuts.

J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: The IRS Scandal: One-Way Civility In Academia. “Conservatives are ruthlessly attacked in the most vicious of ways, so many tend to shut up and hide. You don’t get many calls for civility when the left’s war machine has sprung to life and targeted a conservative for an Alinsky-style onslaught. Even many conservatives duck and cover. Rarely does a liberal defend a conservative under attack. Usually, they are the ones launching it. This imbalance is particularly acute inside the Beltway.”

HEADLINES FOR THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: Marc Ambinder: If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?

Well, the ground he’s treading has been treaded on by me before. See also this video.

But isn’t it funny that this is happening under a President who recently mocked Mitt Romney for a 1980s approach?

NEWS YOU CAN USE: why you should run away from a nuclear blast.

I’m not sure I agree with this advice. The last thing you want to be is stuck in traffic when the fallout starts to come down. I might be willing to go a short distance — say to a nearby building — to find better shelter, but that’s about it. Here’s a piece I wrote for The Atlantic a while back on this topic. Also, this video.

USA TODAY: A&E fowls up ‘Duck’ flap: The ‘tolerance’ society demands from Christians really is silent compliance. My own view is that everyone gets to state an opinion, but nobody has to listen to the opinions stated. That is a view, however, that is inconsistent with gleichschaltung.

UPDATE: From the comments: “I suspect this is an attempt to get Obamacare off the front pages and I suspect that we are all falling for it.” I’m still covering ObamaCare, but I think that’s probably right.

TRYING TO APPLY FOR OBAMACARE BY PHONE, OR WITH PEN AND PAPER? Good Luck With That. “With the supposedly state-of-the-art $600 million portal malfunctioning, President Barack Obama is urging Americans to go ahead and try to get health coverage by mailing in a paper application, calling the helpline or seeking help from one of the trained ‘assisters.’ But the truth is those applications — on paper or by phone — have to get entered into the same lousy website that is causing the problems in the first place. And the people processing the paper and calls don’t have any cyber secret passage to duck around that.”

UPDATE: It’s come to this: Video: ObamaCare meltdown raises serious questions about being unmanageable, says … David Gregory. Plus: “The incompetence turns into dishonesty and opacity, which frustrates ACA supporter Josh Barro at Business Insider. Barro participated in a CMS conference call yesterday, and came away with more questions and worry than when he started.”

THAT’S NOT FAIR: Shelter In Place: This Generation’s Duck-And-Cover? Duck and cover made sense.


It’s not only for nuclear war.

When large meteor exploded above Russian city few months ago quick thinking teacher remembering civil defense training had her students get under desks and stay there until shock wave hit:

She was badly cut by flying glass, but none of her students was injured…..

At School No. 37 in Chel­yabinsk, a quick-thinking substitute teacher, Yulia Karbysheva, got all 44 of her fourth-graders out of harm’s way as the meteor lighted up the sky, the Interfax news agency reported. After the intense bright flash of its explosion, the children rushed to the windows, but before the shock wave could hit, she commanded them to get under their desks.

Karbysheva was showered with glass and debris, but the children were unharmed. With a cut to a tendon in her left hand and a gash on her left thigh, she led her class to safety outdoors. The doctor treating her Saturday at Hospital No. 9 told Interfax she would recover.

Yes, whenever you see any unexplained bright flash, ducking and covering is likely to prove wise.


The story about the Wisconsin family that discovered a fallout shelter in their backyard shows just how far we’ve come from the days when death by nuclear fallout seemed a very present risk to many American families. That’s a good thing. But the author’s tone, which suggests that such worries were quaint and misguided, reveals a typically modern lack of historical perspective. The various ICBM fields to the west of Wisconsin would have been the focus of massive nuclear attacks in an all-out exchange. Attempting to protect one’s family from the inevitable downwind fallout might have meant accepting long odds, but it certainly wasn’t paranoid or irrational.

Here’s another thing too many people today have forgotten: Those ICBM fields are still there, manned by dedicated airmen of the US Air Force’s Global Strike Command. Two years ago, Joe Pappalardo spent time in one of these bunkers—65 feet underground, in an installation near Great Falls Montana—for a story in Popular Mechanics. It is both sobering and inspiring to realize that US servicemen continue to man a weapons system that everyone in the chain of command profoundly hopes will never be used. To some, deterrence might seem like an outdated concept. But it has worked so far.

Excellent point.

UPDATE: Reader Jon Marr writes:

Regarding the writer’s apparent ignorance of the very real dangers of the time and place when the shelter was built, I’ve always felt the same about how progressives ridicule the pointlessness of ‘duck and cover’. It’s as if they assume everyone is at ground zero rather than living miles away from the blast zone where quickly finding cover and avoiding looking at the blast would save thousands of lives and help hundreds of thousands from being rendered instantly blind. Indeed, fools mock.

Well, yes.

LIKE A TIME CAPSULE: Wisconsin family discovers fully-stocked fallout shelter in their back yard 50 years after it was installed at the height of the Cold War. “Everything remained remarkably well-preserved, thanks to the airtight containers the supplies were kept in.”

Plus this bit of post-Cold War journalistic ignorance: “The idea of a fallout shelter was not to protect from a nuclear blast, but rather from the radiation that would likely contaminate the surrounding area. It’s unknown what fallout the late Dr Pansch was expecting in Neenah. The small Wisconsin city is 100 miles from Milwaukee and nearly 200 from Chicago – the population centers that might have been targeted by the Soviets.” Had those targets been hit — or missile fields farther west — there would have been plenty of fallout.

UPDATE: Reader Gerald Hanner emails:

I spent seven years serving in the SAC Airborne Command Post System, aka the Post Attack Command Control System. Even now my recollections of that time are clear.

Somebody in Neenah Wisconsin definitely wouldn’t have been worried about the blast effects of a nuclear weapon. The town is on the northern end of Lake Winnebago, and there is a regional airport northwest of the town, near Appleton, that might once have been a base for air defense interceptors. I doubt the Soviets would have gone to the trouble to take out a runway as small as Outagamie Regional Airport. However, based on what we knew of their political thinking, we expected them to hit every state capital because in the minds of the Soviet planners that is where all the command and control would be. As far as missile fields further west, yes, there were some. Grand Forks and Minot, both in North Dakota, had 150 Minuteman missiles each, as did Ellsworth near the Black Hills of South Dakota. F. E. Warren, near Cheyenne, had 150 Minuteman missiles, and Malmstrom, near Great Falls Montana had 200 Minuteman missiles. Everybody expected some or all of the launch control centers to be hit. It was even deemed possible that the Soviets might be inclined to hit the silos themselves. Fortunately we never got to find out.

As insurance against the Soviets successfully attacking the Minuteman launch control centers, there was a backup system known as the Airborne Launch Control System (ALCS). We in the SAC ABNCP System had the capability of commanding Minuteman missile launches from our ABNCP aircraft. I served as a deputy missile launch officer for part of my time the SAC ABNCP. The ALCS remains operational.

It’s amazing how much people have forgotten in the twenty years or so since the Cold War ended. Though there are still plenty of nuclear weapons around. Also, read this. Also, here’s a video.

UPDATE: Reader Matt Kreutzmann writes:

Regarding the fallout shelter in Neenah, WI, there was plenty of risk of fallout. As you and other readers have noted, the major cities WI and the missile silos in the Dakotas could have brought fallout to Neenah.

Much closer, there were ELF stations in the Chequamagon National Forest and the Escanaba River State Forest that were used to communicate with submerged submarines. They were likely pretty soft targets, but still strategic. It’s an energy intensive and SLOW way to communicate, but it worked. They were decomissioned in 2004, I believe. The Cold War was much more pervasive than people tend to recall.

That would have been the old Sanguine system, I believe. Or, rather, its successors.


I think we’re all agreed the president is fading—failing to lead, to break through, to show he’s not at the mercy of events but, to some degree at least, in command of them. He couldn’t get a win on gun control with 90% public support. When he speaks on immigration reform you get the sense he’s setting it back. He’s floundering on Syria. The looming crisis on implementation of ObamaCare has begun to fill the news. Even his allies are using the term “train wreck.” ObamaCare is not only the most slovenly written major law in modern American history, it is full of sneaked-in surprises people are just discovering. The Democrats of Washington took advantage of the country’s now-habitual distractedness: The country, now seeing what’s coming in terms of taxes and fees, will not be amused. Mr. Obama’s brilliant sequester strategy—scare the American public into supporting me—flopped. Congress is about to hold hearings on Boston and how the brothers Tsarnaev slipped through our huge law-enforcement and immigration systems. Benghazi and what appear to be its coverups drags on and will not go away; press secretary Jay Carney was reduced to saying it happened “a long time ago.” It happened in September. The economy is stuck in low-growth, employment in no-growth. The president has about a month to gather himself together on the budget, tax reform and an immigration deal before Congress goes into recess. What are the odds?

I’d like to see us learn the lesson of ObamaCare — and of the gun debate. No more “gangs,” no more hurry-up votes on incredibly long bills that no one has read. Normal order: Committee hearings in both houses, markups, votes without special closed rules, conference committees to resolve differences. In other words, a deliberative process. If Obama hadn’t been trying so hard for a “win,” he wouldn’t have abandoned that approach for basically his entire presidency. He still didn’t win much — except for ObamaCare, and the bills for that “win” are coming due.

UPDATE: Prof. Stephen Clark writes that he’s quacking like a Chavista:

You write, that If Obama hadn’t been trying so hard for a “win,” he wouldn’t have abandoned that approach for basically his entire presidency. He still didn’t win much — except for ObamaCare, and the bills for that “win” are coming due.

Whatever his motives, and there have been many proposed over the years, one can no longer doubt his disdain for normal order in the legislative process. His repeated attempts, with allied factionalists in the legislature, to circumvent when possible, and bulldoze when necessary, normal order set this administration apart. Others have done so in the past, but none without a clear electoral mandate. Obama and his administration have repeatedly proven themselves more of a kind, in aspiration and action, with the Chavistas’ thuggish majoritarianism than with legislative majorities, and their actions, assembled by FDR or LBJ.

Yes, that’s right. It’s a classic New Left disregard for institutions.

SO WITH ALL THE NORTH KOREA MISSILE TALK, maybe it’s time to remind people to Duck And Cover upon seeing a bright flash of light. . . .

RUSSIAN METEORITE INJURY TOLL over 1100. Mostly flying glass. Remember — if you see an unexplained bright light, duck and cover!

WITH ALL THE BROKEN-GLASS INJURIES FROM THAT RUSSIAN METEORITE — 950 people according to this report — maybe it’s time to remind people to Duck And Cover upon seeing a bright flash of light. . . .

Related: Protecting Earth from Killer Asteroids.

DUCK AND COVER: Researchers study costs of ‘dirty bomb’ attack in L.A.

I guess it’s a good time to link my “Duck and Cover” piece for The Atlantic again.

Also this video.

I WAS EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: D.C. Nuclear Blast Wouldn’t Destroy City, Report Says. “This is what the U.S. government imagines would happen if terrorists set off a nuclear bomb just blocks away from the White House: The explosion would destroy everything in every direction within one-half mile. An intense flash would blind drivers on the Beltway miles away. A radioactive cloud would drift toward Baltimore. But the surprising conclusion? Just a bit farther from the epicenter of the blast, such a nuclear explosion would be pretty survivable.”

Do Tell.

FRANK MUNGER: If you still have nightmares of the Cold War nuclear threat, these photos won’t help.

But are we returning to the era of Duck & Cover?

COVERING ALL THE BASES: Video at the Tatler: Newt Gingrich Slams ‘Saul Alinsky Radical’ President Obama. But meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh comments, Newt using language of the left targeting Bain makes me uncomfortable.

Romney isn’t immune, either. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell tells’s Larry O’Connor, “Romney is the one they don’t want. They know they can beat anybody else. Romney, they think they can beat, but it’s a harder road.” But as Michael Walsh notes in the New York Post, “Lost in the weekend’s back-to-back debates in New Hampshire was this illuminating remark by Democratic strategist Donna Brazile after Saturday night’s soporific contest in Manchester…’we believe that the weakest candidate is the candidate that the Republicans are not attacking. And that’s Mitt Romney.'”

DUCK AND COVER: FOX & Friends Showdown: Wasserman Schultz Avoids Hoffa Question. Plus, a lame tu quoque.

POPULAR MECHANICS: How To Turn Your Living Room Into A Fallout Shelter. “In the event of a nuclear attack, the best thing to do is to take shelter underground. But if you’re stuck aboveground, the next-best thing to do is to build a DIY ‘expedient shelter.’ We show you how.”

It’s the next step beyond duck and cover!

Meanwhile, if this interests you, you may want to check out Bill Quick’s disaster-prep discussion forum.

And here’s a list of disaster-survival gear.


Lying on his family room floor with assault weapons trained on him, shouts of “pedophile!” and “pornographer!” stinging like his fresh cuts and bruises, the Buffalo homeowner didn’t need long to figure out the reason for the early morning wake-up call from a swarm of federal agents.

That new wireless router. He’d gotten fed up trying to set a password. Someone must have used his Internet connection, he thought.

“We know who you are! You downloaded thousands of images at 11:30 last night,” the man’s lawyer, Barry Covert, recounted the agents saying. They referred to a screen name, “Doldrum.”

“No, I didn’t,” he insisted. “Somebody else could have but I didn’t do anything like that.”

“You’re a creep … just admit it,” they said.

Law enforcement officials say the case is a cautionary tale. Their advice: Password-protect your wireless router.

I think it should be a cautionary tale for law enforcement officials, too: Don’t go off half-cocked, then try to blame technology for your own sloppiness. Think they’ll learn it? Only if somebody gets fired. And how likely is that?

It didn’t happen here: “The homeowner later got an apology from U.S. Attorney William Hochul and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Lev Kubiak.”

An apology is nice, and merited. But I’m not sure it’s enough. It certainly won’t be enough if it happens again. And why is the Department of Homeland Security involved in this investigation? Not enough terrorists to catch? More evidence that too much tax money is going to law enforcement, I guess.

UPDATE: A reader sends this contrary advice:

No. Never, EVER set a password on your Wi-Fi router.

Background : 30 years in IT. I have many clients who are defense lawyers, and this is the advice they are giving me based on ‘water cooler’ chat going on in the profession. Long story made short, passwords = you did it, at least in the eyes of less-than-tech savvy juries. The only way to establish reasonable doubt is to NOT have a password. Read on for more of the why.

You are correct : the cops did not have their ducks in a row. Everything – EVERYTHING – that hooks up to a network has what is called a MAC address, and in theory it is unique. It has nothing to do with Apple, Inc.; it stands for M edia A ccess C ontrol. The bad news : like most everything else in computing, that unique address can be “spoofed”; that is to say it can be faked. As part of the investigation the investigators SHOULD have pulled the MAC addresses as well as the IP addresses, et cetera. That they did not is, in my eyes, serious negligence. If the MAC addresses did not match, they should have exercised caution or at the very least obtained a search warrant for the computer, and not stormed the place in a raid.

So in my professional judgment the cops were lazy and put on a show to justify their budgets.

But none of this is being raised in court, according to my clients. The juries are deciding guilt the instant they learn ANY security was enabled, and especially if there was a password. The logic, faulty though it may be, is going like this : if there was a password, then it was impossible for anyone else to have done it. They listen to nothing else during the trial. The problem is simply that no wireless network is secure. They can all be defeated with enough resources and time. Then your network can be used by whoever, all the time looking like you, and they can commit whatever crimes they wish.

In other words, enable that password protection and you just became someone’s built-in patsy. And to prosecutors you will have a big, juicy bullseye on you, and most importantly the color is not red, but EASY.

I’ve heard this theory before, but I’m not sure it’s correct. But yes, no network is completely secure, and wi-fi encryption is quite breakable.

CLOSE: Huge Asteroid To Pass Near Earth In November. “It’s the case of asteroid 2005 YU55, a round mini-world that is about 1,300 feet (400 meters) in diameter. In early November, this asteroid will approach Earth within a scant 0.85 lunar distances. Due the object’s size and whisking by so close to Earth, an extensive campaign of radar, visual and infrared observations are being planned. Asteroid 2005 YU55 was discovered by Spacewatch at the University of Arizona, Tucson’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory on Dec. 28, 2005. En route and headed our way, the cosmic wanderer is another reminder about life here on our sitting duck of a planet.”

UPDATE: Reader Ross James emails:

Do you remember in Lucifer’s Hammer, when Dr. Sharps is on the Tonight Show, he talks about the bounty of space, specifically the asteroids. He says, “It’s raining soup and we don’t even have a bowl”. I don’t know the composition of this asteroid, but it is passing right by us, we don’t even have to go to the Belt to get it. I know we can’t do anything about it yet, but maybe in the future one of the private companies can capture one of these things and mine it in Earth’s orbit.

That would be nice, though I guess if I owned mines on earth I’d object, and try to find ways to block it. . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails: “FYI the ‘2005’ in 2005 YU55 means that’s when a human first spotted this 400-meter object due to stage a near-Earth flyby just 6 years later. Good thing it wasn’t aimed at us. What on Earth would we do then? Theoretically we could shoot it. Better hope you break it into small enough bits so you don’t get hit with a shotgun blast. Or nudge it, provided we have a space program geared up for that sort of thing.”

Yes, “Spacewatch” is about noticing this kind of thing. Doing something about it is someone else’s problem, alas. Maybe once the Falcon Heavy is flying . . . .

SURVIVALISM: Empty Store Shelves As Japanese Hoard. “You know all that advice you hear about stocking up before a disaster? Events in Japan demonstrate the wisdom of advanced preparation. Even in Tokyo Japanese shoppers are cleaning out grocery stores by buying everything. . . . This is highly advanced, affluent, and civilized Japan. People in Tokyo fear a full reactor meltdown followed by winds blowing radioactivity into the city. They want to have supplies if the stores stop getting deliveries.” Everybody should be prepared to go at least a week or two without having to shop for supplies.

All that Duck And Cover / “shelter in place” stuff may not require a nuclear attack to be relevant. . . .

UPDATE: Hoarding not so bad, according to this report. But Peter Payne is farther away. (Thanks to Steven Den Beste for the tip.)

DUCK AND COVER (CONT’D): A Legal Manual For An Apocalyptic New York.

Major disasters like terrorist attacks and mass epidemics raise confounding issues for rescuers, doctors and government officials. They also pose bewildering legal questions, including some that may be painful to consider, like how the courts would decide who gets life-saving medicine if there are more victims than supplies. But courts, like fire departments and homicide detectives, exist in part for gruesome what-ifs. So this month, an official state legal manual was published in New York to serve as a guide for judges and lawyers who could face grim questions in another terrorist attack, a major radiological or chemical contamination or a widespread epidemic.

Hmm. I’m all for preparedness, but I do wonder what’s spurring this flowering of interest among the authorities. If there were a Republican in the White House it would all be put down to paranoia. So if it’s not paranoia, then what is it?

UPDATE: Reader Roland Mar emails:

Dr. Reynolds:

I am not totally out of the loop on matters of defense and terrorism. I am a retired Peace Officer who has had a sideline as a writer in the field, both in print and online under a pseudonym. This manual is another of many signs that disturb me. Consider:

1) the interview with the Deputy Director of the Port of San Diego who apparently admits that WMD [or Weapons of Mass Effect, the latest PC iteration of the concept] have been caught entering the country.

2) Obama’s statement that we could ride out a WMD attack.

3) Obama’s statement that if we are hit with a WMD strike, we would go to the UN first, and not retaliate.

4) The large numbers of Other Than Mexican/Central Americans caught crossing the border [and the knowledge that we only catch a small fraction of the illegals who make it in].

5) Now public planning for the imposition of Emergency Powers. I don’t deny the need for such powers, or consider them intrinsically evil. But they are coming to the fore in an interesting context; including an administration that demonstrates fecklessness and utter incompetence at a time of international turmoil.

I would add some knowledge of the subject gained during my career.

Something bad is about to happen. I am quite glad I live in a small town in the mountains.

Well, that’s encouraging.