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FASTER, PLEASE: Checks on Trump’s Court Picks Fall Away.

Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) reined in a tradition that empowered senators to block federal appeals-court nominees from their home state. His decision came about four years after Democrats, citing Republican filibusters of President Barack Obama’s circuit-court nominees, eliminated a Senate rule that required the majority party to mount 60 votes to advance a nominee to a confirmation vote.

Together, the threat of a filibuster—or delaying tactic—and use of “blue slips”—so-named because senators indicate support or opposition to nominees on blue slips of paper—guarded against lifetime appointments for nominees deemed far outside the mainstream, court experts said. Getting rid of these checks could foment distrust in judges’ work if Mr. Trump and later presidents prioritize ideology over experience or legal talent, some of the experts said.

“When judges lose legitimacy in the public eye, they lose the ability to enforce unpopular decisions,” said Arthur Hellman, an expert on the federal judiciary and law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. “And that’s when you see an unraveling in the rule of law.”

Others said the changes were part of a natural progression away from Senate traditions that allowed the minority party to stall nominations for partisan reasons.

“If you’re not a fan of the Senate-wide filibuster, you’re probably not a fan of a filibuster by one senator,” said Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, referring to the practice of senators blocking nominees from their states.

Next up, abolish the Ninth?

FASTER, PLEASE: For The Good Of The Country, Roger Goodell Must Fail Against Jerry Jones.

Amazing how Goodell has made much-hated sports figures such as Jones and Tom Brady seem like good guys by comparison.

FASTER, PLEASE: FDA OKs new therapy for some hemophilia patients.

FASTER, PLEASE: Aging Reversal tests in dogs by 2019 and then in human tests by 2022 if that works.


Across high-tax jurisdictions, productive citizens aren’t necessarily waiting for the turnaround. This week a Journal editorial chronicled the stampede of residents headed to more favorable tax climes with faster-growing economies. Among the biggest blue-state losers was Illinois, which had to say goodbye to residents generating at least $3 billion in adjusted gross income in each of the years from 2012 to 2015.

Are politicians finally getting the message? Let’s not overstate the possibilities. But Illinois is now home to some local pols who, pressed by angry residents, are contemplating a few precious baby steps toward less expensive government. The editorial board of the Chicago Tribune explains how Cook County of all places—home to Chicago and a legion of public employees—became ground zero for a recent tax revolt.

More like this, please.

FASTER? PLEASE! Mach Effect Propulsion 2016 – it is proven, replicated and will scale to fast interstellar travel.

FASTER, PLEASE: A Helium-Resistant Material Could Finally Usher in The Age of Nuclear Fusion.

FASTER, PLEASE: Cancer Immunotherapy Uses Melanin Against Melanoma.

FASTER, PLEASE: Navy’s Ultimate Weapon: Sub-launched Hypersonic Missiles.

The test was announced by Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, the director of the Strategic Systems Program (SSP), at the Naval Submarine League’s annual symposium in Arlington, Virginia, on November 2. “I’m very proud to report that at 0300 on Monday night SSP flew from Hawaii [Pacific Missile Range Facility] . . . the first conventional prompt strike missile for the United States Navy in the form factor that would eventually, could eventually be utilized if leadership chooses to do so in an Ohio-class tube,” Benedict said, according U.S. Naval Institute News, which first reported his remarks. “It’s a monumental achievement.”

Benedict refused to provide any other details of the test, but a Pentagon spokesperson later gave additional information when contacted by U.S. Naval Institute News. “The Navy Strategic Systems Program (SSP), on behalf of the Department of Defense, conducted an Intermediate Range Conventional Prompt Strike Flight Experiment-1 (CPS FE-1) test on Oct. 30, 2017, from Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii,” said Cmdr. Patrick Evans, the Pentagon spokesperson. “The test collected data on hypersonic boost-glide technologies and test-range performance for long-range atmospheric flight. This data will be used by the Department of Defense to anchor ground testing, modeling, and simulation of hypersonic flight vehicle performance and is applicable to a range of possible Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) concepts.”

Hypersonic missiles are defined as those traveling at speeds between Mach 5 and Mach 10. That is, between 3,106 and 15,534 miles per hour, or one to five miles per second.

Launching a hypersonic missile from intercontinental distances can still provide the intended defender with a few minutes’ warning. Launching from thousands of miles closer in, via stealthy submarine, reduces the warning time to virtually nil.

FASTER PLEASE:   A baby could be born on the moon in a few decades.

FASTER, PLEASE: Dems Fuming as Trump Remakes Federal Judiciary.

FASTER, PLEASE: Administration Has ‘No News to Share’ on Promise to Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

FASTER, PLEASE: Scientists rejuvenate old human cells, make them look and act younger. Interesting that they’re using resveratrol analogs.

FASTER, PLEASE: New colon cancer breakthrough may lead to prevention.

FASTER, PLEASE: Lifelong Protection Against Flu? New Vaccine Shows Promise.

FASTER, PLEASE: New System for Treating Colorectal Cancer Can Lead to Complete Cure.

FASTER, PLEASE: Syria says ISIS defeated in long fight for Deir el-Zour.

FASTER, PLEASE: French Regulators Approve Human Trial of a Bionic Eye.

TAXING WAIT: House Panel’s Talk of Phased-in Tax Cut Counters Trump’s Wishes.

House tax writers are discussing a gradual phase-in for President Donald Trump and Republican leaders’ proposed corporate tax-rate cut — on a schedule that would put the rate at 20 percent in 2022, according to a member of the chamber’s tax-writing committee and a person familiar with the discussions.

The phase-in plan is under discussion, but isn’t yet final, said a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Other members said they planned to discuss the proposal during a private meeting Monday afternoon.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady told reporters Monday that there hasn’t been a decision yet. When asked whether a phase in was being considered, he said only: “We want to get the growth up front.”

Faster, please.

THIS IS A FEATURE, NOT A BUG. Time: Trump’s Cabinet ‘Wrecking Crew’ Is ‘Dismantling Government As We Know It.’ 

Not surprisingly, just as they didn’t realize that comparing Obama to FDR and “The New, New Deal” in November of 2008 was in reality quite a damning statement, Time doesn’t understand that “dismantling government as we know it” is exactly what Trump was elected to do – and in Betsy DeVos’s case, it’s even Jerry Brown-approved.

Faster, please.


The New York-based reporter [Fox NFL writer Peter Schrager] left the Big Apple for an assignment in Indianapolis, Indiana, and when he got into a cab, the driver asked him why he was in town.

Schrager proudly spoke up and perhaps fatally over simplified his job, by saying that he worked in the NFL. But that was a major mistake because upon hearing that, the driver pulled over and told Schrager to get out of his cab.

The driver proceeded to tell the reporter that he did not appreciate the anti-American protests going on each week during the playing of the national anthem, and he didn’t feel the need to do business with anyone representing pro football.

“You can get out of the car,” Schrager said the driver told him. “The NFL is dead to me. The NFL, the fact that these guys take knees, I will never watch the NFL again,” the cabbie added according to the Fox reporter.

Amazing what news you can discover when you dare to leave The Bubble.

Related: Jerry Jones is trying to take out Roger Goodell.

Faster, please.


FASTER, PLEASE: Newly discovered molecule may hold promise in HIV vaccine.

FASTER, PLEASE: We Need an Investigation of the Entire Justice Department Now, Roger Simon writes.


FASTER, PLEASE: We Need an Investigation of the Entire Justice Department Now, Roger Simon writes.

FASTER, PLEASE: Five new malaria targets that could lead to an effective vaccine.

FASTER, PLEASE: People With Vertigo Find Relief Through Nerve-Stimulating Implant.

FASTER, PLEASE: New neural network restores diaphragm function after spinal cord injury.

FASTER, PLEASE, ON THAT UNIVERSAL FLU VACCINE: New H7N9 bird flu strain in China has pandemic potential: study.

PETER FERRARA: Economic Growth Is Not a Mystery, Yet It Eludes Democrats.

Obama fundamentally transformed America by following the opposite of every Reagan pro-growth policy:

Raised the top tax rate of every major U.S. tax, except the corporate rate, which was already the highest in the developed world;

Imposed draconian regulation on health care, finance and most importantly energy, just when America was emerging with the resources for energy independence to lead the world in production of oil, natural gas and coal;

Raised federal spending, deficits and debt to highest in American history by far;

Supported the Fed in wildly destabilizing monetary policy, with near zero interest rates for nearly a decade, and a flood of money held back by the Fed for now, which only further discouraged global investment in America.

This is why the economy never recovered from the 2008-09 financial crisis, and why instead we got the worst economic recovery from a Recession since the Great Depression, with only 2 percent economic growth. America’s historical record is that the worse the recession is the stronger the recovery, as the economy grows faster than normal for a couple of years to catch up to where it should be on the long-term trendline. That is why we should have come out of the financial crisis in a long-term economic boom, potentially stronger than even Reagan’s.

But to this day, eight years later, that still has not yet happened. Instead, we are still $2 to $3 trillion below where we should be.

This is why Democrats lost the 2016 election. Trump promised to restore Reagan’s pro-growth policies. Hillary promised more of the same Obama failure.

Democrats have yet to catch up with the rest of the world in realizing that socialism does not work. That Bernie Sanders’ throwback silliness continues to spread throughout the Democratic Party is costing it big time.

The difference between 4 percent real growth and 2 percent after 50 years is the difference between America and Third World stagnation.

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

FASTER, PLEASE: Want To Live Longer? Life Extension Drugs On Horizon; How They Work.

FASTER, PLEASE: Researchers uncover new approach to suppress HIV production.

FASTER, PLEASE. DEEPER, TOO: Senate Judiciary Committee Launches Probe Into Uranium One Bribery Case, DOJ to Review.

FASTER, PLEASE: Viruses discovered a century ago may be our best defense against a threat that could kill 10 million people a year by 2050. “The treatments are made of bacteria-killing viruses called bacteriophages, or phages for short. Discovered in the early 1900s, bacteriophages have the potential to treat people with bacterial infections. They’re commonly used in parts of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union as another way to treat infections that could otherwise be treated by antibiotics. Because they are programmed to fight bacteria, phages don’t pose much of a threat to human safety on a larger scale.”

I’ve been hearing about phage therapy as a coming thing for most of my life. I wish it would happen.

FASTER, PLEASE: Brain Stimulation Partly Awakens Patient after 15 Years in Vegetative State.

MEGAN MCARDLE: The FDA Needs This Nudge to Speed Along New Drugs: The commissioner is gradually correcting a dangerously overcautious culture.

Drug researcher Derek Lowe has pointed out that in today’s cautious climate, aspirin — good not only for headaches, but for heart attacks — would have “died in the lab,” because it can cause severe gastrointestinal bleeding. Even penicillin, the modern miracle that ushered in an age of safer surgery, safer sex and longer lifespans, would give today’s researchers pause, because of the risk of allergic reactions.

That drug was developed in a different time. It was tested in a slapdash manner — and luckily, penicillin is so amazing that its benefits were obvious even without a rigorously designed trial. If the team that discovered it had tried to follow modern FDA-mandated clinical trial procedures for the drug, its introduction and dissemination would have been seriously delayed. Fewer men would have come home from World War II.

The potential delay of the next penicillin should worry regulators at least as much as the potential horrors of another Thalidomide. But human psychology being what it is, we view sins of omission more benevolently than sins of commission, even if the results are the same. So regulators are likely to worry more about approving a bad drug than about delaying a good one.

No one person, even an agency head, can single-handedly change that sort of tendency, especially when it’s rooted in institutional culture. But they can slowly make headway with decisions about who to advance within the agency.

Faster, please.

FASTER, PLEASE: Treatment causes cancer to self-destruct without affecting healthy cells.

OKAY, THIS IS MORE LIKE THE 21st CENTURY I WAS PROMISED: Researchers Develop ‘Smart’ Bandage That Can Speed Healing.

Faster, please.

FASTER, PLEASE: Zika vaccine shows promise in early human trial.

FASTER, PLEASE: Antibody cocktail ‘potentially feasible’ for Zika therapy.

FASTER, PLEASE: Light-Activated Nanoparticles Help Fight Drug-Resistant Superbugs.

FASTER, PLEASE: Time for Trump to Decertify the Iran Deal, Roger Simon writes.

FASTER, PLEASE: An End to Blindness? New technologies could save the eyesight of millions.

FASTER, PLEASE: Scientists develop broad-spectrum inhibitors of influenza virus. “A team of researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and Janssen Research & Development (Janssen) has devised artificial peptide molecules that neutralize a broad range of influenza virus strains. Peptides are short chains of amino acids – like proteins but with smaller, simpler structures. These designed molecules have the potential to be developed into medicines that target influenza, which causes up to 500,000 deaths worldwide each year and costs Americans billions of dollars in sick days and lost productivity. The developed peptides block the infectivity of most circulating strains of group 1 influenza A viruses, including H5N1, an avian flu strain that has caused hundreds of human infections and deaths in Asia, and the H1N1 swine flu strain that caused a global pandemic in 2009-10.”

FASTER, PLEASE: Sarah Hoyt on the Twilight of the Liberal Gods.

FASTER, PLEASE: Synthetic DNA coverts stem cells to heart muscle, is potential tissue regeneration treatment.

FASTER? PLEASE. Amid SR-72 Rumors, Skunk Works Ramps Up Hypersonics.

“Although I can’t go into specifics, let us just say the Skunk Works team in Palmdale, California, is doubling down on our commitment to speed,” says Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of aeronautics at Lockheed Martin, speaking at the SAE International Aerotech Congress and Exhibition here.

“Simply put, I believe the United States is on the verge of a hypersonics revolution,” he says.

Referencing ongoing development of the Darpa/U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Tactical Boost Glide weapon and Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept research program, the latter in competition with Raytheon, Carvalho says, “Over the last decade progress has been moving quickly, and hypersonic technology is clearly becoming apparent to everyone as a game changer. We continue to advance and test technology which will benefit hypersonic flight and are working on multiple programs, including two Darpa efforts. Speed matters, especially when it comes to national security.”

While making no specific mention of the SR-72, which the company is proposing as a hypersonic replacement for the long-retired high-supersonic SR-71 Blackbird, Carvalho’s positive remarks echo recent comments by Rob Weiss, executive vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs organization. Speaking to Aviation Week in June, Weiss hinted that progress towards an optionally piloted SR-72 precursor flight research vehicle (FRV) was proceeding on schedule.

What’s better than stealth? Flying at five to ten times the speed of sound.

FASTER, PLEASE: Heart failure could be treated using umbilical cord stem cells. “Using stem cells derived from the umbilical cord, researchers have improved the heart muscle and function of heart failure patients, paving the way for noninvasive therapies.”

AND FASTER, TOO, PLEASE: The U.S. Navy Needs to Build More Attack Submarines.

There is an absolute requirement to modernize both the SSBN and SSN fleets. The Los Angeles-class boats are reaching the end of their nominal 33-year service life although life extension of 5 – 10 years is possible. The oldest of the Los Angeles-class SSNs, the USS Bremerton, was commissioned in 1981 and the youngest, the USS Cheyenne, was commissioned in 1996. So even with the most optimistic predictions about the Los Angeles class’ service life, the remaining 36 boats will have to be decommissioned over the next two decades.

The problem for the submarine force is that the need for attack boats is rising precisely as the Los Angeles class is being retired. According to recent Congressional testimony, U.S. Pacific Command operates about half the number of SSNs it requires and this is in peacetime. At the same time, both China and Russia are building large numbers of advanced conventional and nuclear-powered attack and cruise missile submarines.

The Navy once believed that 48 SSNs as part of an overall force level of 308 ships would be enough into the middle of the century. The Navy’s new goal is to maintain a 355-ship fleet, of which 66 would be SSNs. Unfortunately, the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan does not build enough Virginias even to meet the prior, lower goal for the SSN force.

The oceans aren’t getting any smaller, and the Virginia-class attack boats have been a rare procurement success story for the US Navy — now coming in ahead of schedule and under budget.

FASTER, PLEASE: New synthetic molecule could trigger tissue regeneration.

FASTER, PLEASE: New process opens drug development for new steroid class.

FASTER, PLEASE: Cancer pen could help surgeons detect tumors in seconds.

FASTER, PLEASE: World Health Officials Describe Progress Against Tetanus, H.I.V. and Malaria.

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

FASTER, PLEASE: Robots and machine learning can save lives. If the regulators allow it, of course.

FASTER, PLEASE: Immune-focused drug may be new weapon against advanced melanoma.

NOW PAIR IT WITH ONE THAT KILLS CANCER IN SECONDS: New device accurately identifies cancer in seconds. Faster, please.

FASTER, PLEASE: New class of drugs targets aging to help keep you healthy.

Taking moderately-high doses of quercetin will kill senescent cells too, apparently. I take that myself, though not in the 4g or so per day that will do that. I keep meaning to try the higher dose.

FASTER, PLEASE: Lilium raises $90 Million for flying electric taxi that is targeting commercial operation in 2025.

FASTER, PLEASE: Researchers build first functional vascularized lung scaffold.

FASTER, PLEASE: SpaceX tests first stage of ‘world’s most powerful rocket.’

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Nanomachines that drill into cancer cells killing them in just 60 seconds developed by scientists. Faster, please.

FASTER, PLEASE: FDA Approves First Gene Therapy For Leukemia.

FASTER, PLEASE: ‘Safer’ thorium reactor trials could salvage nuclear power.

If it’s so safe and reliable why hasn’t thorium been used all along? Because (unlike uranium) it’s much harder to weaponize. As a result, it’s historically been sidelined by nations in search of both energy and a potential source of weapons-grade plutonium. The downside is that thorium is only slightly radioactive, making it harder to prepare than uranium. That’s where NRG’s next-gen reactor comes in.

You see, molten salt reactors melt down salts for fuel and then use that molten liquid to initiate the reaction that creates power. As part of its Salt Irrigation Experimentation (SALIENT), the NRG team will melt a sample of thorium fuel and batter it with neutrons to convert it into fissionable uranium. Future trials will involve temperature-resistant metal alloys and other materials that can sustain the heat inside the reactor. Ultimately, the researchers will have to figure out how to dispose of the waste created by thorium — which is substantially less toxic than that produced by a nuclear reactor.

With the fear of nuclear disasters (and nuclear war) on the rise, a switch to safer nuclear power couldn’t come at a better time.

This is not news to Instapundit readers.

FASTER, PLEASE: German Students Hit 201 MPH in SpaceX Hyperloop Contest.

FASTER, PLEASE: Here Is the Safety Trick That Will Help SpaceX Fly You to the Moon.

FASTER, PLEASE: Metformin could be the first FDA approved antiaging drug.

FASTER, PLEASE: Longevity fund companies target breakthrough antiaging.

FASTER, PLEASE: A Thorium-Salt Reactor Has Fired Up for the First Time in Four Decades.

FASTER PLEASE: Eye scan could spot Alzheimer’s decades before symptoms emerge.

FASTER, PLEASE: Genetic Enhancement In Adults Will Be Many Times More Powerful Than Steroids.

See, I enjoy the Niven Man-Kzin war stories, but I’ve always wondered why the Kzinti’s tiger-like physical power remains such a big deal in a highly advanced future. Surely humans could (and if dealing with Kzinti, would) be enhanced to be equally strong and fast. But I guess that wouldn’t fit the storyline.

FASTER, PLEASE: New treatment approved for deadly blood cancer.

FASTER? PLEASE! Propelled by an electrical current and traveling at speeds up to Mach 7.5, the US Navy’s Hyper Velocity Projectile can shoot out of a rail gun to destroy enemy ships, vehicles.

The Office of Naval Research is now bringing the electromagnetic rail gun out of the laboratory and into field demonstrations at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division’s new rail gun Rep-Rate Test Site at Terminal Range.

“Initial rep-rate fires (repetition rate of fires) of multi-shot salvos already have been successfully conducted at low muzzle energy. The next test sequence calls for safely increasing launch energy, firing rates and salvo size,” a statement from ONR says.

Railgun rep-rate testing will be at 20 megajoules by the end of the summer and at 32 megajoules by next year. To put this in perspective; one megajoule is the equivalent of a one-ton vehicle moving at 160 miles per hour, ONR information states.

That’s enough energy to give even a small projectile enough kinetic energy to ruin anyone’s whole day.

FASTER, PLEASE: Navy Hybrid Path to 355-Ship Fleet Could Only Take 10 to 15 Years.

The Navy could reach a 355-ship fleet by 2030 if it both extended the service life of most of its current ships and built more than two dozen new ships beyond current shipbuilding plans, two admirals said this week.

Neither approach is sufficient on its own – service life extension programs (SLEPs) help get the Navy there faster, and accelerating shipbuilding is needed to then keep the fleet at that larger size. But, speaking at the American Society of Naval Engineers’ annual Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) commander Vice Adm. Tom Moore and NAVSEA Deputy Commander for Surface Warfare (SEA 21)/Commander of Navy Regional Maintenance Centers Rear Adm. Jim Downey said the Navy is embracing a hybrid approach that would get the service to a 355-ship fleet in 10 to 15 years, compared to a 30-year timeline with new construction alone.

Thirty years is too long.

FASTER, PLEASE: Trump Still Hasn’t Drained Obama’s IRS Swamp.

Kimberly Strassel:

Voters put a Republican in the White House in part to impose some belated accountability on the scandal-laden Obama administration. And the supreme scandal was the IRS’s assault on tea-party groups—a campaign inspired by congressional Democrats, perpetrated by partisan bureaucrats like Lois Lerner, and covered up by Mr. Obama’s political appointees. This abuse stripped the right to political speech from thousands of Americans over two election cycles. To this day, no one has answered for it.

The groups targeted are still doggedly trying to obtain justice through lawsuits that have dragged on for years. They believed Mr. Trump’s election would bring an end to the government obstruction. It hasn’t. “The posture of the DOJ and the IRS under the Trump administration is identical to the posture under the Obama administration,” Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Sound Governance, tells me. “Nothing has changed.”

Mr. Meckler was one of the founders of Tea Party Patriots. His current organization is funding a class-action suit in Ohio federal court on behalf of groups targeted by the IRS. So far the effort has cost $3 million.

That money is now going to fight Mr. Trump’s administration.

Heads need to roll, and lots of them. If that means the IRS can’t fulfill all of its nasty functions for a while — well, tough.

FASTER, PLEASE: This Insane Nanochip Device Can Heal Tissue Just by Touching The Skin Once.

FASTER, PLEASE: Constructing full earth like conditions in Space with technology proven in the sixties. The sixties were a good decade for space technology.

FASTER, PLEASE: NASA funds $18.8 million to create and test fuel for nuclear thermal propulsion.

FASTER, PLEASE: Trump isn’t letting Obamacare die; he’s trying to kill it.

This is Salon, so they’re saying that like it’s a bad thing.

FASTER, PLEASE: Scientists produce robust catalyst to split water into hydrogen, oxygen.

FASTER, PLEASE: Oil and Gas Innovation Goes Well Beyond Fracking.

Linking the oil and gas industry with innovation these past few years isn’t controversial. The pairing of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal well drilling was a novel idea that set off an energy revolution over the past decade, remaking American energy fortunes and ushering in a new global oil reality (and increasingly a new global natural gas reality, as well). But innovation’s impacts on global energy security extend beyond the novelty of fracking. As David G. Victor and Kassia Yanosek write for Foreign Affairs, oil and gas companies are leveraging some of the same trends that are spurring on the information economy to extract hydrocarbons more profitably. . . .

It’s worth your time to sit down and read the whole thing. The authors embark on a brisk tour of the changing (and changed) energy industry in the 21st century. Big data, automation, and systems management aren’t just a hallmark of companies like Amazon—they’re also helping the bottom line of energy producers, and that’s good news for the global economy.

It’s also worth noting that new technologies don’t come with ideologies. When imagining how the international community might meet the climate targets set out in Paris in late 2015, many greens include the optimistic hope that technological breakthroughs will (in time) make clean energy options like wind and solar the only obvious choices. While it’s true that the cost of renewables has dropped significantly just in the past couple of years, it’s also true that breakeven costs for many fossil fuel operators has also come down over that same period of time. There’s no reason to think that innovation will favor one specific energy source over another—there exists the potential for breakthroughs in every corner of the industry, and that’s a tremendously exciting thought.

Well, unless you’re a green Command Economy enthusiast.

FASTER, PLEASE:The flu vaccine is about to get cheaper and more effective.

FASTER, PLEASE: A handful of North American advanced nuclear reactor projects have made substantial progress.

FASTER, PLEASE: Vaccines promoted as key to stamping out drug-resistant microbes.

FASTER, PLEASE: US and Australia finish a key round of hypersonic missile tests. “One step closer to a weapon that can strike anywhere within minutes.”

Both the US and Australia have confirmed that they recently completed a series of mysterious hypersonic missile tests. All the countries will say is that the flights were successful, and that they represented “significant milestones” in testing everything from the design assembly to the control mechanisms. They won’t even say which vehicles were used or how quickly they traveled, although past tests have usually relied on Terrier Orion rockets (above) and have reached speeds as high as Mach 8.

The tests are part of the long-running HIFiRE (Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation) program, whose first launch took place way back in 2009. They should help bring hypersonic flight to a “range of applications,” according to HIFiRE partner BAE. That could easily include ultra-fast aircraft, but it’s widely believed the focus here is on missiles and similar unmanned weapons. A hypersonic missile would fulfill the US military’s goal of building a conventional weapon that can strike anywhere within an hour, and it would be virtually impossible to stop using existing missile defenses.

Well, this is the 21st Century, you know.

FASTER, PLEASE: Why CAR T-cell immunotherapy is such a big deal for cancer treatment.

FASTER, PLEASE: ‘Living Drug’ That Fights Cancer By Harnessing The Immune System Clears Key Hurdle.

FASTER, PLEASE: New Heart Imaging Method May Predict Heart Attacks.

FASTER, PLEASE: Cancer vaccines help patients get tumor-free in 2 studies.

FASTER, PLEASE: Obamacare’s Basket Of Insurance Mandates Should Be The First Thing To Go.

Repeal of the mandates in this session, preferably in 2017, is a bottom line. If the mandates are not repealed, it would be a serious betrayal of voters, and grounds for mounting primary challenges to incumbents. DC politicians don’t seem to grasp that the mandates, as originally conceived, are fascistic. Justice John Roberts seemed to understand that in NFIB v. Sebelius when he wrote that the Commerce Clause doesn’t allow Congress to command Americans to buy things. But then he concluded that the command (i.e., mandate) was really an option, and that the penalty was really a tax, thus saving Obamacare (while creating a whole new chapter in American jurisprudential incoherence).

If the mandates are repealed, many young folks will opt to go without health insurance. But that can be a rational decision. A young person wishing to amass funds to buy a house, or start a family or a business might decide that taking the risk of having no health insurance is worth it. Maybe youngsters would decide differently if health insurance weren’t so damned expensive.

And maybe, just maybe, they should be allowed to make that decision for themselves without coercion.

DRAIN THAT SWAMP: Hundreds of VA officials fired since Trump’s inauguration.

Faster — and more, much more — please.

FASTER, PLEASE: USAF asks industry for air-launched hypersonic missile concepts.

I hope “Faster, please,” doesn’t sound too presumptuous when the subject is hypersonic missiles.

WELL, WELL: Congress joins Trump war on regs, cuts a year’s worth in one week.

Congressional lawmakers have gone all in on President Trump’s bid to slash Obama-era regulations, targeting $19 billion in rules and the elimination of enough red tape to free up 5,200 federal workers, according to a new analysis.

The cuts proposed by the House Appropriations Committee this week amount to a year’s worth of regulations under the Obama administration, said the report from American Action Forum.

Analyst Sam Batkins wrote, “The suite of appropriations bills released this week goes further, curtailing more than $19 billion in total regulatory costs and eliminating 10.4 million hours of paperwork, the equivalent of eliminating all regulations from 2006 and freeing 5,200 employees from paperwork compliance.”

His report, provided to Secrets in advance of its release today, said that the committee’s funding bills target regulations in the areas of financial services, agriculture and energy. The biggest ticket item: “Repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill’s Volcker rule, which originally estimated $4.3 billion in costs and 2.3 million new paperwork burden hours.”

Batkins, AAF’s director of regulatory policy, explained that Congress can be very slow in cutting regulations, but added that appropriators are moving with unusual speed at the same time Trump’s team is also targeting rules within federal agencies for elimination.

Faster, please. Related: Could Trump Really Be Draining The Swamp? The water appears to be receding at key Beltway bureaucracies.

The Senate still hasn’t voted on ObamaCare reform, U.S. workers are still waiting for tax cuts to drive economic growth and President of the United States Donald Trump is trading insults with the co-hosts of an MSNBC talk show. Yet Mr. Trump appears to be making progress in what might have seemed the most difficult task given to him by voters in 2016: reducing the power of Washington’s permanent bureaucracy.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wasn’t exactly dying to move to Washington to run a federal department, but he seems to have warmed to the task. Max Bergmann, a former Obama Administration official now at the leftist Center for American Progress, writes in Politico that the “deconstruction of the State Department is well underway.” Discounting for the usual Beltway hyperbole, this probably isn’t as good as it sounds.

All kidding aside, the State Department is one federal agency that was actually contemplated by America’s founders. Conducting foreign policy is an important and necessary task for our central government. But like so much of the Beltway bureaucracy State has been overfunded and undermanaged for years. Now, despite what you may have read about untouchable bureaucrats unaccountable to the public they are supposed to serve, Mr. Tillerson has found ways to clean house. . . .

The former Obama appointee is apparently so unnerved by the Trump-Tillerson era at State that he lets slip the fact that the career staff didn’t think much of the previous management either, and that the conservative critique of the department is at least partly true.

More, please.

FASTER PLEASE: Alzheimer’s breakthrough could lead to new treatment.

FASTER, PLEASE: NASA’S First Asteroid Deflection Mission Enters Next Design Phase.

“A binary asteroid is the perfect natural laboratory for this test,” said Tom Statler, program scientist for DART at NASA Headquarters. “The fact that Didymos B is in orbit around Didymos A makes it easier to see the results of the impact, and ensures that the experiment doesn’t change the orbit of the pair around the sun.”

After launch, DART would fly to Didymos, and use an on-board autonomous targeting system to aim itself at Didymos B. Then the refrigerator-sized spacecraft would strike the smaller body at a speed about nine times faster than a bullet, approximately 3.7 miles per second (6 kilometers per second). Earth-based observatories would be able to see the impact and the resulting change in the orbit of Didymos B around Didymos A, allowing scientists to better determine the capabilities of kinetic impact as an asteroid mitigation strategy. The kinetic impact technique works by changing the speed of a threatening asteroid by a small fraction of its total velocity, but by doing it well before the predicted impact so that this small nudge will add up over time to a big shift of the asteroid’s path away from Earth.

“DART is a critical step in demonstrating we can protect our planet from a future asteroid impact,” said Andy Cheng of The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, the DART investigation co-lead. “Since we don’t know that much about their internal structure or composition, we need to perform this experiment on a real asteroid. With DART, we can show how to protect Earth from an asteroid strike with a kinetic impactor by knocking the hazardous object into a different flight path that would not threaten the planet.”

The clock is ticking.