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● Shot:

It’s not surprising that Buck v. Bell was decided in the Roaring Twenties, a decade even more culturally charged than the one we live in today. The Ku Klux Klan was riding a wave of anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic fervor, creationists were battling Darwinists over the teaching of evolution, and Prohibition was pitting rural Protestant values and prejudices against a looser, more diverse urban culture. In Washington, Congress was busily writing the most restrictive immigration law in our history, the National Origins Act, to protect the country from foreign contamination. In the words of The Saturday Evening Post: “If America doesn’t keep out the queer, alien, mongrelized people of Southern and Eastern Europe, her crop of citizens will eventually be dwarfed and mongrelized in turn.”

According to Thomas C. Leonard, who teaches at Princeton, the driving force behind this and other such laws came from progressives in the halls of academia — people who combined “extravagant faith in science and the state with an outsized confidence in their own expertise.” “Illiberal Reformers” is the perfect title* for this slim but vital account of the perils of intellectual arrogance in dealing with explosive social issues. Put simply, Leonard says, elite progressives gave respectable cover to the worst prejudices of the era — not to rabble-rouse, but because they believed them to be true. Science didn’t lie.

But barring undesirables was only half the battle; the herd also had to be culled from within. In 1907, Indiana became the first state to legalize forced sterilization, starting a landslide endorsed by progressive icons like Theodore Roosevelt and the birth control champion Margaret Sanger. And when eugenicists needed an ironclad case to bring before the Supreme Court, Virginia’s medical elite supplied it in the person of Carrie Buck.

‘Imbeciles’ and ‘Illiberal Reformers,’ the New York Times, March 14, 2016.

● Chaser: Having children is one of the most destructive things you can to do the environment, say researchers.

—Headline, the London Independent, July 12, 2017.

● Hangover (because hey, it’s the Independent): Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.

—Headline, the London Independent, March 20, 2000.

(Via Power Line.)

* No, there is another.  

IT’S JUST THIS CLIMATE CHANGE AND THAT LYING SON OF A BITCH TRUMP: Ocasio-Cortez responds to carbon footprint exposé: I’m just ‘living in the world.’

SHE’S JUST A GIRL IN THE WORLD: Ocasio-Cortez responds to carbon footprint exposé: I’m just ‘living in the world.’ What’s funny is to see the New York Post giving her the kind of treatment that she’d no doubt be getting from basically every other media outlet, if she were a Republican.

AVNER ZARMI: Why Trump’s ‘Style’ Matters.

There are a couple good points here about Reagan’s successes, but overall I think it’s an unfair piece. If Trump’s “style” — which is far less at odds with actual Washington norms than elites dare to admit — is the price for solid SCOTUS picks, tax reform, deregulation, and shrinking our footprint in the Middle East, then it’s a small price to pay.



David, obviously the president’s team sees a reelection opening.


Oh yeah. I mean, it’s wide and it’s huge. And it’s a real big pothole, I think, Chuck, for the Democrats. Look, we know the polls. We’ve seen them. 35 percent of this country is conservative. 35 percent or so is moderate. 26 percent or so liberal. But this is going in a far different direction. Even some of the polling shows that only I think it’s 19 percent– it’s an NBC poll actually, 19 percent think socialism is okay. These are Americans in this country. So the point is that Donald Trump sees this. He’s a master brander. And I believe this is a major, major pothole for Democrats coming, coming in 2020. Big time. Iceberg right ahead.


I’m not so sure about that. I mean, I think you have some, some real reporting out there from experts, not just analysts on television, but from actual experts, the U.N., from the, from Donald Trump’s own administration saying how dire this is. The U.N. said we have 12 years before complete disaster. You talk to the representative of the Marshall Islands, and he’s calling it what could amount to genocide if we allow things to go as they are. The reports aren’t just, “Hey, it’s going to get bad.” The reports are, “People will die. Millions and million, and millions of people will die.” And I think that there is an appetite among voters out there, especially Democratic voters and potentially swing voters, to say, “Hey, let’s do something about this now because it’s, it’s going to affect our future.”

Interesting, Tur’s use of the G-word. As Virginia Postrel once told C-Span’s Brian Lamb:

The Khmer Rouge sought to start over at year zero, and to sort of create the kind of society that very civilized, humane greens write about as though it were an ideal. I mean, people who would never consider genocide. But I argue that if you want to know what that would take, look at Cambodia–to empty the cities and turn everyone into peasants again. Even in a less developed country, let alone in someplace like the United States, that these sort of static utopian fantasies are just that.

Particularly when, as Kevin Williamson wrote today, “Field Marshal Sandy needs a great cause to which to attach herself, lest she return to being only Sandy, obscure and unhappy and of no consequence — or at least no consequence obvious enough for someone with her crippled understanding of what life is for.”

But if Tur actually believes that “The U.N. said we have 12 years before complete disaster,” will she help slow things down, even a little bit, by insisting that NBC drop its contracts with NASCAR and the NFL, and perhaps Hollywood itself to dramatically shrink its own massive carbon footprint? And if we really do only “have 12 years before complete disaster,” which decade is she referring to?


CNN special correspondent and far-left climate activist Bill “ignorant f***sticks” Weir joined afternoon CNN Newsroom host Brooke Baldwin Thursday for a criticism-free lovefest in honor of the Green New Deal. All told, the pair determined it was akin to NASA and a necessary step to save Earth without offering any questions or answers about how this move toward communism would be paid for.

If those things didn’t convince you that this four-minute-plus segment was a trainwreck, Baldwin sat in awe as Weir quipped that the Green New Deal was a love story for Earth, like A Star Is Born where Bradley Cooper could play Senator Ed Markey (D-NY) and Lady Gaga would be Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

Before her Website 404ed the specifics of her “Green New Deal” page yesterday afternoon, as Reason’s Joe Setyon wrote, “Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal Aims to Eliminate Air Travel:”

Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) today introduced a House resolution outlining her long-awaited Green New Deal. The resolution, as Reason‘s Ron Bailey reported earlier today, cites climate change concerns as justification for a plan that would remake the U.S. economy over the next 10 years.

The resolution’s aims include “overhauling transportation systems in the United States to eliminate pollution and 19 greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible.” According to an overview of the resolution, this will be accomplished, in part, by “build[ing] out highspeed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary.”

In other words, the Green New Deal wants to make commercial air travel obsolete. Is this in any way feasible? The short answer is no. “It’s actually probably even dumber than it seems,” says Baruch Feigenbaum, assistant director of transportation policy at the Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website.

But in the meantime, if CNN’s correspondents, like virtually all 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, are behind Ocasio-Cortez’s proposals, shouldn’t they help ratchet them forward by insisting upon the removal of CNN from all American airports? Perhaps spend a month reminding viewers throughout each day, via a combination of on-air announcements, and in the “ticker tape” graphic that runs under most CNN segments, that CNN will be departing the departure lounges shortly. It will reduce CNN’s own carbon footprint by that much, and remind travelers that they’ll soon be going “back to the future,” back to the trains. Let Fox News have the monopoly on those reactionaries who cling bitterly to their guns, their religion, and/or their Boeing 767s.

The establishment left moves “forward” through a combination of dramatic forceful moments (such as FDR’s New Deal and Great Society) and ceaseless, seemingly minor ongoing change. C’mon Time-Warner-CNN-HBO, show AOC you’re onboard with the GND.

FASCINATING:  Treasure Trove of Dinosaur Footprints Found.

NICK GILLESPIE: The World Is Not Ending Because of Donald Trump. In Fact, It’s Not Even Ending.

Trump is doing pretty much exactly what he promised he would do: Shrink our military footprint around the world, insist on a border wall, act impulsively and childlishly. Critics are right to chastise Trump for not following any sort of coherent process in arriving at or announcing his Syria decision, but it’s still the right decision. It’s always ugly and disturbing when the United States pulls out of occupied countries (remember Saigon?), but are we supposed to stay in Syria and Afghanistan forever?

In this case, Trump isn’t the problem. The problem is American foreign policy, which has been a virtually unmitigated disaster for the entire 21st century (and really, can we talk about Yemen at some point?).

The assumption that our prior Syria policy — or our prior foreign policy in general — was some sort of well-oiled high-performance machine that Trump is screwing up is hilarious. Who can look at the last two decades and think that?

Besides, you know, people who are paid to.

AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR: America’s war in Afghanistan is now Trump’s increasingly bloody problem. Is it time to declare defeat? “Thus far three U.S. presidents, six secretaries of defense and five chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have presided over a war in which no one has been able to define victory, let alone remotely succeed in winning. The Soviets tried the same decades ago, with equally catastrophic results.”

Comparing our endeavor to the Soviet’s is a bit silly — their Afghanistan war exposed the fragility of the Communist state and helped to bring it down. We’re in no such danger. But there’s nothing we can realistically hope to achieve there that we can’t do with a radically smaller footprint on the ground, following our anti-ISIS model in eastern Syria and western Iraq.


A United Nations panel has accused China of turning its far-flung western region of Xinjiang “into something that resembled a massive internment camp shrouded in secrecy, a ‘no rights zone’.” It estimates that there could be as many as one million Muslims who have been detained there.

Former detainees describe being tortured during interrogation, living in crowded cells and being subjected to a brutal daily regimen of Communist Party indoctrination that drove some people to suicide. Most of those who have been rounded up by the security forces are Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic minority that numbers some 10 million. Muslims from other ethnic groups, including Kazakhs, have also been detained.

China rejects the allegations that it has locked up large numbers of Muslims in re-education camps. The facilities, it says, are vocational training centers that emphasize “rehabilitation and redemption” and are part of its efforts to combat terrorism and religious extremism.

The crackdown includes tight control over information and access to the region. Xinjiang is now one of the most heavily policed areas in the world, according to academics and human rights groups. This follows the launching of a “people’s war on terror” in 2014 after a series of violent attacks in Xinjiang and other parts of China that authorities blamed on religious extremists.

While China says the Uighur camps are vocational training centers, they are heavily guarded. Researchers have resorted to using satellite imagery to view and track the expansion of these facilities.

Reuters worked with Earthrise Media, a non-profit group that analyzes satellite imagery, to plot the construction and expansion of 39 of these camps, which were initially identified using publicly available documents such as construction tenders. The building-by-building review of these facilities revealed that the footprint of the built-up area almost tripled in size in the 17 months between April 2017 and August 2018.

There’s more international outrage about the U.S. firing off some tear gas canisters at the border than there is about this.


Curiously though, the Times’ Helene Cooper isn’t “hysterical” enough to demand her bosses no longer charter lavish private tours for its readers to indulge in “omnipotent tourist syndrome” while visiting oppressed foreign lands such as Cuba and Iran, and around-the-world private jet tours with Times columnists:

The tour’s “exclusively chartered Boeing 757” ordinarily seats up to 295 passengers, of the pathetically non-“high-luxury” variety. So the carbon footprint of the Times’ 50 guests will be close to six times that of a commercial-jet traveler. If any of the guests feels a twinge of guilt over his greenhouse-gas emissions, he can chase it away by “enjoying a champagne toast inside an Icelandic ice funnel,” before learning “how climate change is affecting the land of fire and ice.” That’s after having been whisked to Easter Island to “learn how climate change is affecting” that location.

Among the New York Times’ “most noteworthy journalists” who will be joining the “privileged guests” is columnist Nicholas Kristof, who has criticized Trump for his climate-change skepticism and who rails against income inequality and a tax code that, among other things, provides tax breaks for buying private planes. The “privileged guests” who will pay $148,500 for single occupancy, $135,000 for double occupancy, in such properties as a “former Persian caravansary,” will no doubt nod appreciatively at Kristof’s hand-wringing about income disparities. Naturally, a port-of-call in Havana is planned, where “guests” will surely learn about the wonders of socialized medicine.

C’mon Helene – get hysterical and demand this sort of eco-madness at the Times come to an end.

JOEL KOTKIN: One Nation, Two Economies.

Over the past few decades, the U.S. has developed essentially two economies. On the one side is the widely celebrated “post-industrial” economy: software, entertainment, media, and financial and business services. These sectors flourished as the stock market soared in the ultra-low interest-rate environment fostered by the Obama administration, whose recovery strategy was built around bailing out major banks, all headquartered in deep-blue cities. The winners under Obama included urban real estate, financial-service firms, and the tech oligarchs. These elements now constitute the Democratic Party’s burgeoning financial base, allowing it consistently to spend more than the GOP in key congressional races, while the GOP still gains support in energy and other less heralded “legacy” industries.

There’s a glitter gap between the parties, too. The Democrats now own the fashion, media, literary, and entertainment communities, in the process turning the putative party of the common man into the political vehicle of the leisure class. In contrast, during the depth of the recession, a much larger, more dispersed America struggled. As traditional industries like manufacturing, energy, agriculture, home construction, and basic business services declined, the progressive clerisy in forums like Slate crowed that these blue-collar jobs were never coming back. Unlike the tech oligarchy or the financial giants, these older sectors wielded little political influence under Obama and, in the case of energy, seemed destined for a radical downsizing.

These heritage industries and the people who work in them elected Trump. Despite repeated tales of how tariffs are destroying manufacturers, the industrial sector, after weakening at the end of Obama’s term, has been enjoying its best growth since the mid-1990s. Critically, incomes are up for the lower deciles of the labor force, including young workers. Nothing guarantees that this recovery will continue, but Trump can justifiably boast about accomplishing what Obama failed to deliver in eight years. Democrats might mutter that renewed growth has come from regulatory reforms and big corporate tax breaks, but that makes Trump’s point: a continuance of Obama-style economic and regulatory policy would have hurt most Americans outside of Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

Despite the media’s national obsession with gender and race, American politics continues to follow broad geographic and economic lines. The battle lines have changed over time, from a conflict between coastal merchants and southern farmers to splits over tariffs between western farmers and eastern financiers, and eventually to the battle between an ascendant Sunbelt and struggling older states in the northeast. Today we have a new divide, what might be described as the “tangible” sector versus the ephemeral; the French Marxist economist Thomas Piketty has aptly called it “the brahmin left against the merchant right.” One economy trades in digits, images, and financial transactions, the other in real goods such as cars, steel, oil, gas, and food. These economic sectors have often radically different imperatives.

The Bay Area economy, for example, depends on noncitizens for as much as 40 percent of its workforce, including relatively cheap, work-visa-shackled, latter-day indentured servants from Asia. This explains why Trump’s travel ban and other, often crude or insufficiently justified moves on immigration have helped transform Silicon Valley into a one-party political goldmine. This software-dominated economy, along with its cousins in Hollywood and finance, also is far less exposed to regulatory excesses than firms in manufacturing, home-building, or energy. Tech servers can be located in low-cost regions like the Pacific Northwest or the South, while manufacturing, highly sensitive to environmental regulation and electricity prices, has been relocated to places like Texas or the Midwest—or preferably to China—so that firms can produce gadgets without expanding their localized “carbon footprint.”

Any return to Obama’s energy policy—or the even more extreme one enacted in California—could set back the economic recovery in much of the country, most notably Appalachia, but also across the energy belt that extends from the Permian Basin and the Gulf to the Bakken fields in North Dakota. Even Democratic Texas senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, who in the past supported a $10 a barrel tax on oil, has a tough task justifying his position in oil-rich Texas.

The tangible and ephemeral economies create distinct political trajectories. In Texas or Tennessee, for example, working-class people can get decent jobs and aspire to homeownership and other aspects of middle-class life. Historically, Democrats and Republicans in these regions favored robust economic growth, battling mainly over how to achieve it. But today, a pro-growth bipartisan consensus is increasingly elusive, as Democrats adopt the environmental and lifestyle preferences of their often childless urban base. Superstar firebrands like Democratic congressional aspirant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can talk about going on a war footing to fight global warming because there’s not much industry left in her district in Queens and the Bronx.


CLIMATE CRUSADERS MOVING UP FROM PRIVATE PLANES TO PRIVATE ROCKETS: Clean energy crusader Jerry Brown’s plan to launch Calif. ‘climate satellite’ into orbit could hit a few eco snags.

I  don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Glenn Reynolds’ carbon footprint.

CHANGE: The Government May Want to Buy Your Dying Mall. “Local governments worry that dying malls will blight the landscape, so they are buying them up.”

While malls in wealthy neighborhoods continue to attract shoppers and tenants, growing government involvement with shopping centers in less affluent areas is another sign that private investors may be losing interest in the worst performing malls, even ones that can be had at cheap prices.

“It’s a new issue,” said Thomas Dobrowski, executive managing director of capital markets at real-estate services firm Newmark Knight Frank . “When a mall gets to a point of no return and when no private buyer is willing to reinvest in it, it comes down to the value of the dirt.”

Still, government takeovers face many challenges. Malls and department stores often have large, unwieldy footprints, making it tougher to propose another use for them.

“For big boxes in particular, there are limited uses of that space,” said Michele Wildman, executive director at Genesee County Land Bank.

The Genesee County Land Bank in Flint, Mich, currently has a list of 58 commercial properties for sale, including a 101,900-square-foot former Kmart store. But the lack of windows and the large floor plate makes it difficult for such properties to be converted to other uses such as housing.

Plans to reposition malls can also get bogged down if city council members and residents don’t agree to proposed new uses. Some could also be razed when structures are found to be unsound. It can also be complex and time-consuming to buy back malls if multiple parties own different portions of the real estate.

If you’ve never driven past one of these abandoned malls, they’re sad sights to see.

ANGELO CODEVILLA: Diplomacy 101 vs. Politics Writ Small.

The high professional quality of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s performance at their Monday press conference in Helsinki contrasts sharply with the obloquy by which the bipartisan U.S. ruling class showcases its willful incompetence.

Though I voted for Trump, I’ve never been a fan of his and I am not one now. But, having taught diplomacy for many years, I would choose the Trump-Putin press conference as an exemplar of how these things should be done. Both spoke with the frankness and specificity of serious business. This performance rates an A+.

Well. A performance depends on its intended audience. If the intended audience was the U.S. political class, then Trump gets an F. So who was Trump’s (and Putin’s) intended audience. Audiences?

Meanwhile, some lefties are warning about the anti-Trump hysteria: Steve Vladeck writes: Americans have forgotten what ‘treason’ actually means — and how it can be abused: We are willfully turning a blind eye to the sordid history of treason that led to its unique treatment in the U.S. Constitution. If you cheapen the definition of treason, you had better be ready to be called traitors, and perhaps treated as such.

Likewise, Jay Michaelson in The Daily Beast: Stop Saying Trump Committed ‘Treason.’ You’re Playing Into His Hands.

Treason is clearly defined in the Constitution, which states, in Article III, Section 3: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

This definition does not apply to Trump. He is not levying war against the United States, and to be an “enemy” requires that a state of war exists between the United States and the foreign nation in question.

That does not exist in the case of Russia. Congress has not declared war, and Russia’s alleged cyberattacks, while they may constitute acts of war in the abstract, have not been regarded as such by the United States. (Last year, the European Union announced it would begin regarding cyberattacks as acts of war.)

Even when Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of spying for the Soviet Union, they weren’t charged with treason, because the Cold War was undeclared, and not a formal “war.” Nor were other Russian spies such as Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen.

In fact, the only indictment of treason since World War II was of American-born al Qaeda supporter Adam Gadahn. Unlike Russia, al Qaeda is a formal “enemy” of the United States, because Congress authorized war against it. And in fitting with war, Gadahn was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2015.

Perhaps the domestic political class was Trump’s intended audience, and he intended them to go batshit crazy. In that case, A+.

Meanwhile, Roger Kimball writes: What Critics Missed About the Trump-Putin Summit.

As becomes more and more clear as the first Trump Administration evolves, this president is someone who is willing, nay eager, to challenge the bureaucratic status quo, on domestic issues as well as in foreign policy.

Trump inherited a world order on the international front that was constructed in the immediate aftermath of World War II and has subsequently amassed a thick, barnacle-like carapace of bureaucratic procedures. Perhaps those procedures and the institutions that deploy them continue to serve American interests. But what if they don’t?

As I’ve said, the best way to understand the Trump presidency is as the renegotiation of the post-World War II institutional structure. Naturally, the barnacles don’t like that. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong, but the intensity of their screaming indicates their emotional (and livelihood) investment, not who’s right.

Meanwhile, if the argument is that Trump is a Putin stooge, the arguers have to deal with the fact that Trump is clearly harder on Russia than Obama was, or than Hillary, by all appearances, would have been. Even NeverTrumper Eric Erickson writes: Remember, Trump’s Policies Against Russia Have Been Tougher Than Obama’s.

We’ve been killing Russian mercenaries in Syria. We have expanded and enhanced NATO’s footprint in Eastern Europe over Russian objections. We have sold military weaponry to Ukraine. We have been indicting Russians for interfering in our elections. We have imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs. We have imposed sanctions on Russia itself. We have actively been aiding Britain and other governments that have seen a Russian presence with targeted assassinations. “We” being the United States under Donald Trump. (See also this thread by James Kirchick)

The media and left would have you believe Donald Trump is captive to Russia. Lately, they’ve been pushing the idea that he may be some sort of sleeper cell Manchurian candidate who Putin owns and controls.

A fellow law prof (of the lefty variety) was even speculating the other day on social media that Melania was Trump’s KGB control agent.

As Walter Russell Mead wrote last year:

If Trump were the Manchurian candidate that people keep wanting to believe that he is, here are some of the things he’d be doing:

Limiting fracking as much as he possibly could
Blocking oil and gas pipelines
Opening negotiations for major nuclear arms reductions
Cutting U.S. military spending
Trying to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran

That Trump is planning to do precisely the opposite of these things may or may not be good policy for the United States, but anybody who thinks this is a Russia appeasement policy has been drinking way too much joy juice.

Obama actually did all of these things, and none of the liberal media now up in arms about Trump ever called Obama a Russian puppet; instead, they preferred to see a brave, farsighted and courageous statesman.

So I don’t know if Trump knows what he’s doing. (As proof that his remarks were dumb, he’s already walked them back.) American presidents have historically done badly in their first meetings with Russian leaders, from Kennedy at Vienna to George W. staring into Putin’s soul. And as a general rule, Presidents don’t criticize their own intelligence agencies while at meetings with foreign adversaries. But then, as a general rule, U.S. intelligence agencies aren’t supposed to be involved in domestic politics up to their elbows, as has clearly been the case here. And don’t get me started on John Brennan’s disgraceful comments, which Rand Paul correctly calls “completely unhinged.” Brennan, like his colleagues Comey and Clapper, has made clear the rot at the top of important intelligence agencies, and people like Peter Strzok suggest that the rot extends some ways down from the head. So maybe the general rules don’t apply any more, and Trump is more a symptom than a cause of that.

So maybe his approach to Putin is disastrous, maybe it’s smart. But the most important thing Trump can do is get a better class of people in charge of the institutions where the rot is worst. I don’t know if he can do that at all.


● Shot:

The NYPD used a $3 million counterterrorism plane to shuttle Mayor Bill de Blasio back and forth from his Canada vacation to the Big Apple for an event Thursday, The Post has learned.

Hizzoner, who is in Quebec on a weeklong respite, briefly flew back to the Bronx for a memorial for slain Detective Miosotis Familia.

“NYPD is transporting him in their plane,” de Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips told The Post.

“Their plane” is a Cessna 208 Caravan that cost roughly $3 million and was picked up by the department in 2017, sources said.

The high-tech aircraft is outfitted with special sensors that can detect at a distance radioactive material used to make “dirty bombs.”

Police sources questioned the use of a special plane for mayoral transportation.

“It is very unusual to go on an international flight to go pick up the mayor,” one source said.

De Blasio used a $3M counterterrorism plane to zip home from vacation, the New York Post, Thursday.

● Chaser:

A week after a brutal snowstorm froze New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered a one-two punch Wednesday in the name of climate change, announcing he will seek billions in damages from five major oil-and-gas companies while moving to divest from fossil fuels.

“It’s time for them to start paying for the damage they have done,” Mr. de Blasio said at a press conference at the Manhattan Youth Center. “It’s time for Big Oil to take responsibility for the devastation they have wrought.”

The two-front attack was promptly pilloried by industry groups as a cynical political stunt, even as it put New York City at the forefront of the environmental movement’s campaign to recruit local governments as allies in the climate change fight.

Flanked by municipal leaders and top climate activists, the Democratic mayor said his goal is to divest the $189 billion public-pension funds from fossil fuels by 2022, which he said would make New York the first major U.S. city to do so.

Mr. de Blasio also announced that the city has filed a lawsuit against five top energy producers, blaming the companies for greenhouse-gas emissions that he said have produced disasters such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“I remember those days after Sandy in the Lower East Side. I remember how desperate it was. I remember how much fear and confusion there was,” said Mr. de Blasio. “And this was a tragedy that was wrought by the actions of the fossil-fuel companies. Let’s be clear: That’s where it came from.”

New York City mayor seeks billions from oil companies, blames them for climate change, the Washington Times, January 10.

● Hangover: NYC will pay you big bucks for ratting out idling trucks, buses.

—The New York Post, yesterday.

If he actually believed global warming is that existential a crisis, shouldn’t at the very least De Blasio fly commercial, as well as keeping the amount of his personal transportation down to a bare minimum? I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Glenn Reynolds’ carbon footprint ever again.

I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER GODDAMN WORD ABOUT GLENN REYNOLDS’ CARBON FOOTPRINT: Claire McCaskill’s Private Plane Used on Campaign’s RV Tour Through Missouri.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) said her campaign was “hitting the road” in an RV to tour the state, but public flight information indicates that travel also occurred on her million-dollar private plane.

The RV, named BigBlue by the campaign, was unveiled late last month by McCaskill, who said she was “very excited to hit the road” in it for an upcoming “Veterans for Claire” tour. The campaign kept a live blog of its three-day RV trip from May 29 to May 31, posting updates of its whereabouts.

Unmentioned on the blog is the role McCaskill’s private plane played on the trip. The aircraft is a single-engine turboprop valued on her financial disclosure forms at more than $1 million dollars.

Flashback to 2011, when Missouri’s unemployment rate was at 9.4 percent, and McCaskill was caught on camera cheering on bad economic news because it benefited the environment:

“Well, the good news is, our [carbon] emissions are way down because of the recession. I mean, really, if you want to find a silver lining in the cloud, the number that we were looking for [with cap and trade legislation] … we are well, well [ahead of our goal]…because we have had such a real drop in manufacturing output.”

Last week in the Wall Street Journal, Power Line’s Steve Hayward wrote “Climate Change Has Run Its Course,” because as, Glenn added in response, it became “blindingly obvious that the people who kept telling us it was a crisis weren’t acting like a crisis. They kept their big houses, SUVs full of bodyguards, and private jets. They’re like fervent abolitionists who never got around to freeing their own slaves.”

(Classical reference in headline.)

WINNING: The US again has the world’s most powerful supercomputer. “The US just grabbed back the crown from China with the AI-focused Summit.”

The Department of Energy pulled back the curtain on the world’s most powerful supercomputer Friday. When Summit is operating at max capacity, it can run at 200 petaflops — that’s 200 quadrillion calculations per second. That smokes the previous record holder, China’s Sunway TaihuLight (which has a 93 petaflop capacity). Summit is also about seven times faster than Titan, the previous US record holder which is housed at the same Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee. For perspective, in one hour, Summit can solve a problem that it would take a desktop computer 30 years to crack.

Summit’s 4,608 servers, which take up the size of two tennis courts, house more than 9,000 22-core IBM Power9 processors and more than 27,000 NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. Cooling the system takes 4,000 gallons of water a minute and Summit uses enough power to run 8,100 homes.

DOE will use it in part to study your carbon footprint.

J.E. DYER: When The Obama Administration Became The Deep State.

In early January 2017, then-President Barack Obama, SHMOTUS Joe Biden, and a small sub-group of the national security team began their transition to what’s commonly called the “Deep State.” Based on the footprints they left behind we can tell that they took time from their real jobs of running the country, this proto-deep state planned, coordinated, and leaked a timed media burst of articles about Trump and Russia. Each of the stories was leaked to different outlets. Each story was published between the 10th and 12th of January. This was the turning point when the Obama Administration became the deep state.

At NRO on Tuesday, Andrew McCarthy came to an important conclusion about the Trump-Russia investigation. It has been increasingly clear that the investigation – to the extent we may call it that – started quite a while before 31 July 2016, the date long given for its formal launch. McCarthy suggests it began in the early spring, probably around the end of March.

Read the whole thing.

I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER GODDAM THING ABOUT MY CARBON FOOTPRINT: JetBlue will seriously deliver NYC pizza to Los Angeles for less than $20.

OCEANIA HAS NEVER BEEN AT WAR WITH THE NEW YORK METROPOLITAN OPERA: James Levine wiped off Sirius-XM’s Met Opera Radio channel. 

This means the 40 years of broadcasts while Levine was music director has been silenced.

The Levine operas have been replaced with full-length broadcast recordings from the 1930s, 1940s, and especially 1950s with often dubious technical quality despite great singers.

Now everyone knows that Levine and the Met are only speaking through lawyers these day, but this vindictive editing of institutional history is reminiscent of Stalin at his worst, when Trotsky and other undesirables were whited out of party pictures.

The Met fired Levine last month, the L.A. Times reported, “after finding ‘credible evidence that Mr. Levine had engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct.’”

By that standard, a whole lot of Hollywood’s back catalog of both movies and TV shows will soon be tossed down the Memory Hole, no matter how big the resulting bonfire’s carbon footprint will be.

(Via Terry Teachout.)

IT’S BEEN A VERY LONG DAY AND I THOUGHT FOR A SECOND I’D BEEN DRINKING TOO MUCH: But no, Science Magazine is doing its job. North American human-giant ground sloth interactions in the terminal Pleistocene. Remarkable footprints found in White Sand National Monument.


…we present the first well-documented co-association of unshod human tracks with those of extinct Pleistocene ground sloth in the Americas, and we infer behavioral implications from these contemporaneous tracks.


We argue that the tracks evidence temporal and spatial associations of sloths and humans and infer that humans actively stalked and/or harassed sloths, if not hunted them. The absence of a carcass is not surprising for several reasons. The vast majority of hunts by modern hunter-gatherers are unsuccessful (for example, 94% for Hadza) (22). Sloths are so densely muscled that an outright kill is unlikely. Even if the hunt had been successful and the animal had died in the study area, the wetting and drying cycles and high pH rapidly degrade bones; thus, preservation of bones in the terminal Pleistocene therefore remains improbable. In terms of alternative explanations, it is possible that the human trackmaker was simply stepping in the sloth footsteps to follow a preexisting path in soft terrain. We dismiss this interpretation because the step length results in a long and uncomfortable human stride. The estimated stature of the human trackmaker (1.4 m; Tracks TE-A-44, -45, and -46; table S2) yields a stride of 0.6 m, contrasted with the sloth stride of 0.8 to 1.1 m. It is possible that the behavior was playful, but human interactions with sloths are probably better interpreted in the context of stalking and/or hunting. Sloths would have been formidable prey. Their strong arms and sharp claws gave them a lethal reach and clear advantage in close-quarter encounters.

American hunters stalking very slow but dangerous game. Cool.

SMALL WARS JOURNAL: China’s Territorial Stratagem – Extending Military Range & Influence through Reclamation & Occupation of the Spratly Waters, South China Sea.

The South China Seas are strategically important, 30% of the worlds shipping trade filter through the region and there are 5 other countries (Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines & Brunei) that have claims to the area. (Vox, 2017)

The South China Sea is rich in natural resources. There are an estimated 11 billion barrels of oil, 109 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 10% of the world’s fisheries. (Vox, 2017)

Establishing territorial claims in the South China Sea will allow China to project political, economic and military power, influence freedom of navigation and harvest rich natural resources.

Taiwan first occupied an island in the Spratlys after World War II, and the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia followed suit, and all have built outposts and airstrips on their claimed territory. (CNN, 2016)

China has denied it would militarize the islands it has built, claiming use is for; navigational aids and weather stations. China has since turned the islands into navel and air force bases with hardened infrastructure.

China has looked at the farthest ranges of aircraft and communications equipment. From a strategic standpoint this allows China to reach beyond those limits and extend the range of their power and influence. In 2012, China claimed Scarborough shoal, located in the north of the South China Sea. If China manages to turn Scarborough shoal into a militarized island, it will assert influence over the entire South China Sea. (newsweek.com, 2017)

According to assistant professor, Richard Haydarian of De La Salle University in Manila; China is aiming to expand its military footprint which creates irreversible facts on the ground placing China in a position to use military force to defend its new territorial claims. Essentially China is telling everybody it is here to stay and not leaving.

China seems to have won this round without firing a shot.

NEWS YOU CAN ABUSE: The 10 dumbest Earth Day tweets for your entertainment.


I’d reply “You go first,” but to be fair, Newsweek’s assorted owners have done a tremendous job from 2009 until the present reducing its carbon footprint — by systematically reducing any obligation to actually read the legacy brand.

I GUESS IT REDUCES THE CARBON FOOTPRINT:   Freeze-drying dead bodies could be the future of cremation.



The tour, if it sold out, would bring in $6.75 million.

In 2013, the Times ran a “news analysis” piece entitled, “Your Biggest Carbon Sin May Be Air Travel,” which reported, “For many people reading this, air travel is their most serious environmental sin. One round-trip flight from New York to Europe or to San Francisco creates a warming effect equivalent to 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person.”

The size of the “carbon footprint” for the Times tour is not known, but some estimates place private jet flights at 10 times that of a commercial flight.

As for the Times trip, Kristof will not be making the entire journey with the group. He is only going to Easter Island, Samoa and Australia. Other Times writers are taking different legs of the 26-day journey. That, presumably, means each will be meeting the group on their appointed leg of the tour and flying back to wherever they call home, adding to the carbon footprint of the tour.

Today, the ever-scolding Gray Lady tweeted, “It’s harder to enjoy your burger when you think of the greenhouse gas emitted in producing it.”

To normal Americans, it makes it all the more enjoyable knowing that leftwing urban puritans are diving for fainting couches. Though presumably, those eating burgers while on Kristoff’s $135,000 a ticket private jet tour are absolved of any such guilt.

INCIRLIK BLUES: U.S. Pares Back Use of Turkish Base Amid Strains With Ankara.

The base was the centerpiece of the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State for several years, but conflicting aims in Syria have driven a wedge between the U.S. and Turkey. The drawdown is among the strongest consequences yet of those fraying ties.

A squadron of American A-10 ground attack jets was moved from Incirlik to Afghanistan in January, leaving only refueling aircraft currently at the Turkish base. At the time, the Pentagon said it was stepping up operations in Afghanistan.

At the same time, the U.S. military has gradually reduced the number of military family members living on the base, shrinking its footprint in Turkey.

U.S. officials maintain that the U.S. remains committed to Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, and that there are no immediate plans for a further drawdown of forces and aircraft. The A-10s, officials said, could return to the base at any time.

According to an older report, the US military began moving its nuclear weapons stockpile out of Incirlik two years ago, just weeks after Recep Erdoğan began his nationwide crackdown.

TRUTH EVENTUALLY WINS OUT: As far back as 2009, moral deity, overall supergenius and carbon footprint monster Paul Krugman told us lesser mortals that:

“In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.

Really? Says a victim of the NHS in one “scare story” from the Socialist-leaning Guardian:

“I was expecting to get the treatment, but they gave me a form requesting a British passport, so that was the end of that,” he said. Thompson has never had a British passport, and was not aware he needed one. The Jamaican passport he arrived with was lost many years ago…The lady wasn’t at all polite. She said you have to produce it or pay £54,000. I said: ‘Oh my god, I don’t have 54 pence, let alone £54,000.’”

Krugman uses the word “false.” I do not think it means what he thinks it means.


**Link fixed**

NOAH ROTHMAN: The Death Rattle of Obama’s Foreign Policy Record:

The members of Barack Obama’s administration in exile have become conspicuously noisy of late—even more so than usual. Former CIA Director John Brennan accused Donald Trump and his administration of engaging in “outrageous,” “narcissistic” behavior typical of “vengeful autocrats” by threatening proportionate retaliation against countries that voted to condemn the United States in the United Nations, as though that were unprecedented. It is not. James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, all but alleged that the president is a Russian “asset.” Perhaps the most acerbic and incendiary series of accusations from the former Democratic president’s foreign-policy professionals were placed in the New York Times by Obama’s national security advisor, Susan Rice. In her estimation, America has abdicated its role as a “force for good.”

It’s no coincidence that these overheated condemnations accompany abundant evidence that the Trump administration is finding its legs. As the last administration’s undeserved reputation as sober-minded foreign policy rationalists is dismantled one retrospective report at a time, its jilted members are lashing out. . . .

Barack Obama was inarguably the least Atlanticist president since the end of World War II. Within a year of Russia’s brazen invasion and dismemberment of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, Obama scrapped George W. Bush-era agreements to move radar and missile interceptor installations to Central Europe. In 2013, the last of America’s armored combat units left Europe, ending a 69-year footprint on the Continent. By 2014, there were just two U.S. Army brigades stationed in Europe. The folly of this demobilization became abundantly clear when Vladimir Putin became the first Russian leader since Stalin to invade and annex territory in neighboring Ukraine.

A year later, Putin intervened militarily in Syria, where U.S. forces were already operating, resulting in the most dangerous escalation of tensions between the two nuclear powers since the end of the Cold War. Putin’s move in Syria should not have come as a surprise; Barack Obama outsourced the resolution of the Syrian conflict to Moscow in 2013, if only to avoid making good on his self-set “red line” for intervention in that conflict despite the norm-shattering use of WMDs on civilians. Even Rice’s chief complaint about Trump, his failure to condemn Putin’s brazen intervention in the 2016 election, didn’t elicit a reaction from Barack Obama until the final month of his presidency.

By contrast, and to the surprise of just about everyone, the Trump administration has been tough on Russia. Trump has ordered harsh sanctions on Moscow’s Iranian allies for violating United Nations resolutions—a course the Obama administration declined to take even if it allowed Hezbollah terrorists with direct links to Putin to operate with impunity.

Read the whole thing. Plus: “Even as early as March of 2017, it was clear that the Obama administration’s foreign-policy professionals were quite insecure about how posterity would remember their stewardship of American interests abroad. They had every reason to be.”


John Flannery, the leader of General Electric Co. for just 2½ months, has already begun dismantling the legacy of his predecessor, including the planes.

For much of Jeff Immelt’s 16-year run atop one of the world’s largest conglomerates, an empty business jet followed his GE-owned plane on some trips to destinations around the world, according to people familiar with the matter. The two jets sometimes parked far apart so they wouldn’t attract attention, and flight crews were told to not openly discuss the empty plane, the people said.

The second plane was a spare in case Mr. Immelt’s jet had mechanical problems. A GE spokeswoman said that “two planes were used on limited occasions for business-critical or security purposes.” Mr. Immelt didn’t respond to requests for comment.

If this was indeed “For much of Jeff Immelt’s 16-year run” at GE, then it would have included the period that ended in 2013, when GE still owned MSNBC and NBC, which frequently hectored (and still does so) its viewers on global warming — including this infamous moment in 2007:

So while NBC was urging its viewers to turn off its (GE-manufactured) light bulbs, its CEO was flying around with an empty emergency backup private plane. I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Glenn Reynolds’ carbon footprint ever again.

SOMEBODY SKIPPED THEIR CIVICS CLASSES: Late-night “comedy” writer Bess Kalb of the Jimmy Kimmel Show deleted this tweet, but stupidity leaves a digital footprint. It explains a lot, really…

LARGELY TRUE: Consumers Don’t Really Care About Fuel Mileage, So Why Should Standards Get Stricter? “There is, simply put, a misalignment between the increasing stringency of the standards and the decreasing consumer demand for fuel efficiency.” I think it’s mostly about carbon footprints, but I doubt consumers want to be lectured by jet-setting politicians about their carbon footprints.

WASHINGTON POST: Why the debate over gun suppressors isn’t really relevant to what happened in Las Vegas.

The effect of having a silencer probably would have been negligible. Clinton and others appear to be assuming that silencers — or “suppressors,” as they’re known in the industry — work the way that they do in the movies. Screw a little barrel on the end of your pistol, and you can run through enemy headquarters picking off bad guys with no more audio footprint than a little zip.

In reality, trying to suppress an automatic weapon sounds like this.

The gunfire is clearly audible, as our Washington Post fact-checkers noted in March.

The video above features a weapon from Asymmetric Solutions, a firearm training firm based in Missouri. Thomas Satterly, the company’s director of development, spoke by phone with The Post to explain why a suppressor wouldn’t have silenced the noise of the gunfire in the way Clinton assumed. Satterly is a veteran who served in Somalia in 1993. When we spoke, he was with several friends who served in law enforcement and who contributed their thoughts, as well.

“A suppressor wouldn’t have stopped anyone from doing what they did” in Las Vegas, Satterly said, “and definitely wouldn’t have hidden the noise of the gunfire.”

Indeed. What’s most interesting about this report is that even WaPo staffers felt the need to correct Hillary Clinton twice in one day.


Like state dinners and presidential vacations, private-jet travel comes at an expense that might be shocking to ordinary taxpaying Americans but really amounts to approximately nothing in the greater scheme of federal spending, which is dominated by Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and national defense. All of the corporate-jet travel undertaken by all federal officials, including the president, doesn’t add up to a day’s spending on Social Security.

But it does offend some Americans’ sense of propriety, and Americans aren’t entirely wrong to be offended. From the success of Mark Leibovich’s This Town and Angelo Codevilla’s The Ruling Class to the election of Donald J. Trump as president of these United States, there is a sense that what really is sticking in the great American craw is not so much a dispute over policy differences — you don’t go to Donald Trump for policy insights — but resentment over the entitlement and arrogance of something Americans long told ourselves we did not have: our ruling class.


UPDATE: From the comments:

Milton Friedman explains:

“I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.”

Firing Price helped to change the political climate of opinion.


AT LEAST HE’S NOT LECTURING US ON OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT: EPA’s Pruitt took charter, military flights that cost taxpayers more than $58,000. Since these flights were approved through channels, this doesn’t seem like such a big story, especially as there’s no climate-change hypocrisy involved.

GOOD: EPA chief Scott Pruitt calls out Germany’s Angela Merkel as climate hypocrite.

“You know, our [carbon dioxide] footprint dropped by over 18 percent from 2000 to 2014. How? Because of government mandate? No, because of innovation called hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling,” Pruitt said.

He then poked at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, suggesting she is a hypocrite for turning her back on emissions-free nuclear power while prodding the U.S. to do more to reduce greenhouse gases.

“If Chancellor Merkel … really cares about reducing CO2 in this world, why is she going away from nuclear?” Pruitt asked. “It’s so hypocritical for countries to look at the United States and say, ‘You need to do more.’ Really? So, we’ve reduced our pollutants under the Clean Air Act [criteria pollutants and CO2].”

Germany turned away from nuclear power in 2011 after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima, Japan, after a tsunami caused an international outcry against nuclear power. Germany gets 40 percent of it electricity from coal and is highly dependent on energy imports to sustain its economy, according to the nuclear industry.

Merkel has been a leading critic of the Trump administration for deciding to leave the Paris climate change agreement, which seeks to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.

“The environmental Left has truly created this mindset that somehow environmental protection is ‘do not touch.’ Really? When we are called to feed the world, really? When we are called to power the world. When we do it better than anyone in the world already,” Pruitt said.

More of this, please.

WELL, THAT’S WHAT HE WAS ELECTED TO DO: The Trump administration just disbanded a federal advisory committee on climate change.

Related: Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel sold $163 worth of tickets per screen last night.

Which makes sense — why increase your carbon footprint to drive to the movies?

AND NEITHER DOES YOURS: Al Gore’s Carbon Footprint Doesn’t Matter.

Emily Atkin:

Gore is hardly the only climate advocate whose personal energy use has been attacked by the right. It’s a familiar, longstanding tactic among conservatives [actually, it’s Alinsky’s fourth rule. -Steve] who don’t accept the truth about climate change. Republican pollster and consultant Frank Luntz told me he thinks Rush Limbaugh “started the argument that the Hollywood Left flew their private jets to global warming conferences.” The first reference I could find was in 2006, when the conservative Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Debra Saunders, then writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, bemoaned what she called “Learjet liberals who burn beaucoup fossil fuels in the sky as they soar around the planet fighting global warming.” Fox News host Sean Hannity picked up “Learjet liberals” soon after, using it in numerous segments in 2007 and 2008 and as recently as January.

“Learjet liberals” isn’t as prolific as it used to be, but the underlying argument is. Leonardo DiCaprio has been a frequent target for his use of private jets and yachts. Elon Musk was called out in June for flying in a private jet. Conservative outlets attacked former President Barack Obama in May for attending a climate change conference in a private jet and a 14-car convoy. Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s segment on this, featuring Ann Coulter, was an orgy of incredulous outrage.

Leading by example is for the rubes, apparently.

I’LL BELIEVE IT’S A CRISIS WHEN THE PEOPLE WHO KEEP TELLING ME IT’S A CRISIS START ACTING LIKE IT’S A CRISIS: Al Gore’s Home Devours 34 Times More Electricity Than Average U.S. Household. “Last September alone, Gore devoured 30,993 kWh of electricity. That’s enough to power 34 average American homes for a month. Over the last 12 months, Gore used more electricity just heating his outdoor swimming pool than six typical homes use in a year.”

I don’t want to hear another goddamn thing about my carbon footprint.


The best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions: don’t be rich.

—Headline, young adult Website* Vox.com, July 14, 2017.

EXPLAINED: Why Vox Dot Com Is a Smart Investment for General Electric.

—The Washington Free Beacon, May 1st, 2014.

● “Matt Yglesias bought a $1.2 million three-bedroom condo in Washington, D.C., and a bunch of conservatives are pretty appalled that a liberal would have the gall to be rich.”

—The Atlantic, March 22, 2013.

It’s the hypocrisy, Atlantic. Not to mention the sophistry:

I’d start to take global warming seriously when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis themselves – oh and, I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Glenn Reynolds’ carbon footprint again.

* Classical reference.

UPDATE: “Left: We’re going to ensure ‘better jobs, better wages, better future.’ Also the Left: Stop making money:” “Vox’s indictment of both Hollywood and the music industry is rather harsh here.”

Heh, indeed.™

FLASHBACK: Ban AC for DC: If our rulers think global warming is a crisis, let them be a good example for the rest of us..

This makes sense to me. We’re constantly told by the administration that “climate change” is a bigger threat than terrorism. And as even President Obama has noted, there’s a great power in setting an example: “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.”

Likewise, it’s hard to expect Americans to accept changes to their own lifestyles when the very people who are telling them that it’s a crisis aren’t acting like it’s a crisis. So I have a few suggestions to help bring home the importance of reduced carbon footprints at home and abroad.

Read the whole thing.


Shot: New Jersey Transit Train Derails at Penn Station in New York.

—The New York Times tonight. The train reportedly had almost 200 people onboard, with no serious injuries claimed.

Chaser: “It’s obvious why Team de Blasio didn’t want you to see the numbers: They show 3,892 people living on the streets, up 40 percent from last year and the highest rate since 2005….the homeless shelter population is also at a high under de Blasio, having crossed the 60,000 mark last October.”

—The New York Post, yesterday.

Hangover: De Blasio Makes Sudden Trip to Trump Protests at G-20 Summit.

—The New York Times today.

It’s the banned-in-New York supersized economy version of Victor Davis Hanson’s Bloomberg syndrome:

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg used to offer all sorts of cosmic advice on the evils of smoking and the dangers of fatty foods and sugary soft drinks. Bloomberg also frequently pontificated on abortion and global warming, earning him a progressive audience that transcended the boroughs of New York.

But in the near-record December 2010 blizzard, Bloomberg proved utterly incompetent in the elemental tasks for which he was elected: ensuring that New Yorkers were not trapped in their homes by snowdrifts in their streets that went unplowed for days.

The Bloomberg syndrome is a characteristic of contemporary government officials. When they are unwilling or unable to address pre-modern problems in their jurisdictions — crime, crumbling infrastructure, inadequate transportation — they compensate by posing as philosopher kings who cheaply lecture on existential challenges over which they have no control.

Meanwhile on the west coast, “Schwarzenegger’s successor, Jerry Brown, warned of climate change and permanent drought and did not authorize the construction of a single reservoir. Now, California is experiencing near-record rain and snowfall. Had the state simply completed its half-century-old water master plan, dozens of new reservoirs would now be storing the runoff, ensuring that the state could be drought-proof for years…Governors who cannot build a reservoir have little business fantasizing about 200-mph super trains.”

Amtrak’s Acela trains can at least get over 130 mph on the Northeast Corridor — if only they had a functioning train station in Manhattan for them to pull into.

And note this item in the Times’ report today:

He has vowed that the city will resist efforts to deport more immigrants, and he has said the city will push ahead with a commitment to meet or exceed the goals of the Paris climate accord, which Mr. Trump plans to set aside.

But Mr. de Blasio appears to again be feeling the need to travel.

Recently he met with the mayor of Seattle, and in June he flew to Miami where he spoke about health care and climate change at a meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors.

What’s the carbon footprint on all that air travel for de Blasio and his entourage?

SMALLER, PLEASE: Carbon Nanotubes Reduce Transistor Footprint to Forty Nanometers.

YOU CAN HAVE MY BLT WHEN YOU PRY IT FROM MY COLD, DEAD, BACON-SCENTED FINGERS. Why It’s Hilariously Hypocritical For Food And Wine To Lecture About The BLT’s Carbon Footprint: “That’s somewhat rich coming from a magazine, a publication that no doubt produces its own rather large carbon footprint, made even more awkward by the fact that this product is made of dead trees. Perhaps Food and Wine can ask Adam Cole to do a video on the carbon footprint of producing a monthly magazine.”


Chief Executive Jeff Immelt will give up control of General Electric Co. later this year. His colleagues were relieved to learn that he will also relinquish command of the office thermostat.

Mr. Immelt, who said this week he will end his 16-year captaincy of the conglomerate, is famous for preferring refrigerator-like temperatures in GE offices and meeting rooms. “He keeps it very cold,” one person who has regularly endured the chill says. “It’s part of the Immelt lore.”

As Scott Johnson of Power Line notes in a post titled “Immelt on Ice,” “Immelt holds the preferred elite view on global warming. I wondered if he might be concerned about the possible contribution of air conditioning. You can’t be too careful to avoid the apocalypse.”

Note that Immelt’s office was freezing while GE controlled NBC until late 2009; fully divesting themselves of the network in 2013. So he was CEO when this infamous edition of Sunday Night Football ran in 2007 as battlefield preparation for the upcoming election year:

As Ann Coulter quipped that same year, when Al Gore refused to take his own pledge to limit his similarly ManBearPig-sized carbon footprint, “I kind of respect him more, it shows he is not stupid enough to believe all this global warming nonsense. He’s trying to get us to believe. Okay, fine, he may be a hypocrite but at least he’s not a moron.”

But keep the above passage regarding Immelt’s icy offices in mind the next time anyone at NBC or its sister networks goes on a global warming lecture. If you couldn’t convince your own boss to dial the temperature back; if you couldn’t convince your network not to acquire the broadcasting rights to NASCAR, don’t hector the rest of us.


Ailes and Fox News would never have had the footprint they had, or been able to command the audience that they did, were it not for Ailes’ other lightbulb-above-the-head moment. Ailes realized from inside the media bubble that during the entire heyday of Fox News, the “mainstream” media (very much including the broadcast Fox Network) had been deliberately throwing Fox News’ target audience into the demographic trashcan.

Over the past 25 or 30 years, American pop culture diversified itself to a previously almost-unimaginable degree, with gangsta rap and hip-hop, banda and mariachi and “press 2 for Spanish”, Japanese and Korean-made cars and home appliances, out-and-proud LGBTs, and hijab-wearing Muslims. The Obama era delivered a bumper crop of films and TV shows specifically dedicated to the African-American experience, with Moonlight, Chi-Raq, Twelve Years a Slave, Django Unchained, The Butler, The Help, Precious, For Colored Girls, Loving, Hidden Figures, Talk To Me, Miles Ahead, The Birth of a Nation, and Fences joining top TV shows like Empire, Scandal, Blackish, and How to Get Away With Murder. Empowered LGBT millennials likewise insisted on seeing themselves represented in the media—and not just as token sidekicks or victims, but as sexualized, three-dimensional characters in movies and TV shows like Milk, Brokeback Mountain, Six Feet Under, Queer as Folk, The L Word, Will & Grace, and Shondaland Thursdays. People from once-marginalized racial and sexual minorities spent the entire Fox News era bursting with pride, and celebrating how long-overdue and nice it was that they could finally “see people who look like me!” reflected in the magic mirror of the media.

For better or worse, it was almost natural that the rural and Rust Belt lower-middle and working classes would react with shock and awe to seeing their once-dominant pop culture (not to mention political) “white privilege” get revoked.  Suddenly, it seemed to many of them as though everybody else had a platform in the media, while they – the older and whiter, the outsourced and downsized and early-retired, the ones who didn’t live in a hip Chelsea flat or Silicon Valley split-level with a bunch of sexy, glammy 30-year-old Friends to hang out (and have Sex in the City) with, had just as suddenly disappeared. Where could they “see people who looked like me” in modern pop media?

But Fox News would never have been as successful as it was during Ailes’ reign if it wasn’t for his innate sense of showmanship; in his obit Thursday, Andrew Ferguson dubbed him “The Ziegfeld of Political Theater:”

One of the few extended conversations I had with him came many years later, not long after he had conceived of and then launched the Fox show The Five. He needed a program to fill the time slot left by Glenn Beck, who had quit Fox in a blaze of controversy and bad feeling. Ailes couldn’t replace Beck’s hourlong gasworks with another show built around a single performer. “No matter who it was,” he told me, “the comparisons with Beck would kill ’em.”

And so, like a theatrical producer, he put together an ensemble show. He made it clear he didn’t care much about its political content, which would be the usual Fox palaver. What he worried over was its look, its “dynamic,” he said. It would air at 5 p.m. Eastern Time and would have five stars and would be called The Five. But the key was the set of types that would make up the ensemble.

“Go around the table,” he told me, delighting in his own ingenuity. “Over on this end, we’ve got the bombshell in a skirt, drop-dead gorgeous.” He raised a chubby finger: “But smart! She’s got to be smart or it doesn’t work.” Next, he said, “we have a gruff longshoreman type, salty but not too salty for TV. In the middle there’s the handsome matinee idol. Next to him we have the Salvation Army girl, cute and innocent—but you get the idea she might be a lotta fun after a few pops. On the end, we need a wiseguy, the cut-up.”

He sat back in triumph.

In addition to his showmanship and casting decisions, populism, not his conservatism, is what made his channel work, Jonah Goldberg adds:

“My first qualification” for running Fox News, Ailes once said, “is I didn’t go to Columbia Journalism School.” Dramaturgically, Ailes’s vision for Fox News was predicated on the belief that America is a decent country — particularly in the vast middle where coastal elites do not dominate — and that there is no inherent contradiction between good reporting and the sort of patriotism common to journalists such as Walter Cronkite and Ernie Pyle.

As Mark Steyn writes, “It’s not often that a man builds a 24/7 television channel in his own image, and keeps it that way for two decades.”

AETNA CEO: Obamacare Will Continue to Deteriorate If Nothing Happens.

Aetna, one of the largest insurers in the United States, announced last week that it planned to exit the Obamacare exchanges in Iowa and Virginia, citing major losses.

“Looking beyond 2017, we continue to evaluate our footprint with a view towards significantly reducing our exposure to individual commercial products in 2018,” said Shawn Guertin, Aetna’s chief financial officer. “We have already disclosed our planned 2018 exit from one of our 2017 state-based exchanges and intend to communicate other 2018 footprint decisions when appropriate.”

Bertolini mentioned that Medica, another health care insurer, notified Iowa last week that it was also pulling out of the exchanges which means there will be no one in Iowa with coverage.

I’m so old I can remember when ObamaCare was touted as the salvation for private health coverage.

HELPING JERRY BROWN TO REDUCE CALIFORNIA’S CARBON FOOTPRINT: Kubota Tractor Moves Headquarters To Texas From California.

LIVE BY THE PEN AND PHONE, DIE BY THE PEN AND PHONE: Trump takes biggest swing yet at Obama climate legacy.

Trump plans to order the EPA to rewrite tough rules that make it virtually impossible to build a new coal-fired power plant, and he will tell the Interior Department to end Obama’s moratorium on new coal mines on federal lands, among other steps, White House officials said.

Additionally, the president’s “energy independence” executive order also will repeal several Obama-era environmental directives aimed at reducing the federal government’s own carbon footprint, and it will direct agencies to ferret out any additional policies that “result in impediments” to U.S. energy production, a likely reference to restrictions on fracking and offshore drilling. The president also will tell federal regulators to stop using the “social cost of carbon,” which attempts to quantify the effects of climate change, in economic analyses of future rules.

“There is every reason to believe that the federal government will no longer seek to punish American consumers and businesses for using the energy resources that fuel our economy,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said in a statement welcoming the order.

Excellent. The key to energy independence, or close to it, is simply to follow John Galt’s polite request to “Get the hell out of my way!”


Q: So what’s the big news in this particular leak?

There’s three things, I think.

The CIA has built a capability to hack pretty much anything, anywhere. It turns out that they, potentially, have more ability to intrude into servers, computers, smartphones and electronic communications than even the NSA.
This capability is now in the hands of people other than the CIA.
All the things you’ve read, that seem like science fiction movie plots, are really true. Other people can listen to you via your smart TV, can read your email, turn on the webcam on your laptop, without you ever knowing.

Q: The leak itself is a sign of problems, but what do we know about how the CIA is using this stuff?

According to what we know, the CIA’s capabilities and tools were not actually classified, because that would mean that CIA employees and contractors would break the law as they moved the tools, and information gleaned with the tools, across various networks and computer systems. Apparently, the tools, data, etc were freely shared within the CIA hacking teams. Which is what led to the Wikileaks leak, but also, apparently, has led to this entire capability being acquired by people outside the CIA. I’m sure that further details will come out in the near future on this topic.

Q: Is there an upside to these leaks?

This is a tough one to answer. I’m torn, honestly. There is good and bad in this. We know that some of the Manning leaks had impacts on military operations. That was part of Manning’s trial. I also found it interesting that Wikileaks alleges that the US Intelligence Community has a problem keeping its cyberwar tools off the blackmarket. And if the CIA, NSA, etc can’t keep these things under control, that is something that citizens should know.

Eric side note — this goes back to your “don’t fear the leaker” talk at ISSA. I am … mostly … in agreement with you.

Some final comments from Eric:

The Wikileaks disclosure also makes clear that the CIA (and undoubtedly every other government agency) built tools that would make it look like they were some other intelligence agency. For example, there is a tool in this called “Stolen Goods 2.0” that uses Russian techniques and footprints. This means that it becomes very difficult for investigators to have any idea who actually conducted the cyber attack. It might have been the Chinese, but it might actually have been the British using tools that made it look like the Chinese were the bad actors. Just because someone publicly attributes the attack, does not mean anything. As security professionals say to each other all the time, “attribution is hard, bro.”

So for all we know, “Russian hacks” might actually be by the CIA, or by the Iranians, or by Indian mobsters. Great.

And here’s my Don’t Fear The Leaker paper that came from that talk.

WELL, GOOD: A Fit U.S. Shale Industry Challenges OPEC Once Again.

Long a world leader in multi-billion dollar oil developments that take years to build and even longer to profit, Exxon is diverting about one-third of its drilling budget this year to shale fields that will deliver cash flow in as little as three years, Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods said this week. In January, Exxon agreed to pay as much as $6.6 billion in an acquisition designed to more than double the company’s footprint in the Permian basin of west Texas and New Mexico, the most fertile U.S. shale field.

Add to the mix the election of President Donald Trump, carrying the promise of fewer regulations, added pipelines and energy independence, and you see why the mood at CERAWeek, the conference that every year gathers oil executives, bankers and investors in Houston, will be far brighter next week than in 2016.

“North American oil companies are going to increase their spending by 25 percent in 2017 compared to last year,” said Daniel Yergin, the oil historian-cum-consultant who hosts the CERAWeek. “The increase reflects the magnetism of U.S. shale.”

A fitter U.S. shale industry enjoying a lower breakeven point and increasing its spending by 25% in just one year has got to be causing some sleepless nights in Moscow and around OPEC.

Have you hugged a fracker today?

I’M SURE GLENN DOESN’T WANT TO HEAR ONE MORE GODDAMN WORD ABOUT HIS CARBON FOOTPRINT: Leonardo DiCaprio flew eyebrow artist 7,500 miles to do his brows for the Oscars.

ASK D.D. HARRIMAN: How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years–This Time to Stay.

It’s a way to get to the Moon and to stay there permanently. A way to begin this process immediately and to achieve moon landings in less than four years.


Turn to private industry. Turn to two companies in particular—Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Robert Bigelow’s Bigelow Aerospace. Why? Because the approach that NASA’s acting administrator Robert Lightfoot is pushing won’t allow a Moon landing.

Lightfoot’s problem lies in the two pieces of NASA equipment he wants to work with: a rocket that’s too expensive to fly and is years from completion—the Space Launch System; and a capsule that’s far from ready to carry humans—the Orion. Neither the SLS nor the Orion are able to land on the Moon. Let me repeat that. Once these pieces of super-expensive equipment reach the moon’s vicinity, they cannot land.

Who is able to land on the lunar surface? Elon Musk and Robert Bigelow. Musk’s rockets—the Falcon and the soon-to-be-launched Falcon Heavy—are built to take off and land. So far their landing capabilities have been used to ease them down on earth. But the same technology, with a few tweaks, gives them the ability to land payloads on the surface of the Moon. Including humans. What’s more, SpaceX’s upcoming seven-passenger Dragon 2 capsule has already demonstrated its ability to gentle itself down to earth’s surface. In other words, with a few modifications and equipment additions, Falcon rockets and Dragon capsules could be made Moon-ready.

There’s more. Within the space community, there is a wide disenchantment with “flags and footprints” missions. Flags and footprints missions are those like the Apollo landings in which astronauts land, plant a flag, hit a golf ball, then disappear for 45 years. Major segments of the space community want every future landing to add to a permanent infrastructure in the sky. And that’s within our grasp thanks to Robert Bigelow.

In 2000, Bigelow purchased a technology that Congress had ordered NASA to abandon: inflatable habitats. For the last sixteen years Bigelow and his company, Bigelow Aerospace, have been advancing inflatable habitat technology. Inflatable technology lets you squeeze a housing unit into a small package, carry it by rocket to a space destination, then blow it up like a balloon. Since the spring of 2016, Bigelow, a real estate developer and founder of the Budget Suites of America hotel chain, has had an inflatable habitat acting as a spare room at the International Space Station 220 miles above your head and mine. And Bigelow’s been developing something far more ambitious—an inflatable Moon Base, that would use three of his 330-cubic-meter B330 modules. What’s more, Bigelow has been developing a landing vehicle to bring his modules gently down to the Moon’s surface.

Then there’s a wild card—Jeff Bezos. Bezos’ Blue Origin rockets already have a well-tested capacity to take off, land, then take off again. Which means that in the next few years Bezos’ rockets, too, could land cargoes and passengers on the Moon.

Let’s do it.

BUT WHAT ABOUT ITS CARBON FOOTPRINT? Woolly mammoth on the verge of resurrection, scientists say.

And if we want to prevent them from going extinct a second time, open a chain of MammothBurger fast casual restaurants.



Chaser: Back to reality! The Obamas take off in Richard Branson’s private jet from their ten day island getaway—after taking a helicopter to the airport.

Related: Joe Biden and Colin Powell drag race their ’67 and 2015 Corvettes.

I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Glenn Reynolds’ carbon footprint.


The unclassified version of the Intelligence Community assessment has been published, and as widely predicted, it contains no bombshells. Part of that has to do with the IC protecting its sources, and part of that has to do with the fact that one could have reached most of the conclusions merely by closely following the news and being aware of recent history.

One quick observation: If Putin thought helping Trump win the election would give him the weakest possible opponent, he would not be alone in his assessment: Hillary Clinton thought the exact same thing. Team Clinton tried to help Trump win the GOP nomination race because they thought he would be the weakest possible opponent in the general.

There are lots of people in the United States that underestimated Donald Trump who now have Trump’s footprints all over their faces. Just maybe, the trend will continue. . .



Shot: The electoral college is thwarting our ability to battle global warming.

—Headline, Washington Post opinion column, December 19th.

Chaser: Amazon starts flexing muscle in new space: air cargo.

—Headline, Reuters, yesterday.

If you’re writing for the Washington Post, and you believe that global warming is so severe that the electoral college serves as a hindrance because at least half the American public disagrees with your secular religion, getting the paper’s boss to terminate his giant empire would make a pretty good dent in and of itself in reducing America’s carbon footprint. If you can convince Jeff Bezos to go along, then we’ll talk again about the electoral college. (Pro tip: Convincing him to shut down the Post’s giant air-conditioned server farms would be an excellent first step.)

In the meantime, I still don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Glenn Reynolds’ carbon footprint.

TRUMP’S GENERALS: Mike Flynn vs. Al-Qaeda.

At the DIA, Flynn’s perception of the growing threat posed by Islamist extremists put him at odds with the triumphalist narrative coming out of the White House. With the death of Osama bin Laden and many of his top lieutenants in 2011, the Obama administration argued that Al Qaeda “core” was “decimated,” and the threat from terrorism rapidly diminishing. In 2012, the National Intelligence Council had even crafted a draft National Intelligence Estimate — a document supposed to represent the consensus view of the US intelligence community — which reportedly concluded that Al Qaeda was no longer a threat to the United States.

Flynn and a number of other senior intelligence officials had successfully pushed back hard against that conclusion as premature. Flynn had DIA analysts distill that intelligence into a PowerPoint slide that showed that the number of radical Islamist terrorist groups had nearly doubled between 2004 and 2013, and that they occupied a far larger global footprint than before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Flynn believes that his disagreement with the White House over the nature of the terrorist threat is a major reason he was forced out a year early as head of the DIA. “The intelligence I saw as director of the DIA made it very clear that Al Qaeda and its affiliates were not on the run, but were in fact rapidly expanding,” Flynn said in our recent interview. “The number of terrorist attacks were on the rise, and Iraq was starting to burn again. So that was Obama’s big lie: that the enemy was on the run, and we were beating these guys.”

Read the whole thing.

Well, that’s encouraging — but what about his carbon footprint?


When, in the mid-1990s, the world wide web transformed the internet from a geek playground into a global marketplace, I once had an image of seeing two elderly gentlemen dancing delightedly in that part of heaven reserved for political philosophers. Their names: Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek.

Why were they celebrating? Because they saw in the internet a technology that would validate their most treasured beliefs. Smith saw vigorous competition as the benevolent “invisible hand” that ensured individuals’ efforts to pursue their own interests could benefit society more than if they were actually trying to achieve that end. Hayek foresaw the potential of the internet to turn almost any set of transactions into a marketplace as a way of corroborating his belief that price signals communicated via open markets were the optimum way for individuals to co-ordinate their activities. . . .

Spool forward two decades and the only thing that hasn’t changed is the evangelical rhetoric of the tech industry. The online economy has been utterly transformed. It’s dominated by huge companies that vacuum up the digital footprints of all their customers and feed them into algorithms that determine prices, respond instantly to competitors’ prices and decide what should be offered to each customer. But the rhetoric of perfect competition, sovereign consumer, free markets and the dangers of government regulation remains locked in the era of Hayek, if not of Smith.

Enter Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stucke, two distinguished scholars specialising in competition law, who decided to ask if the online emperor has any clothes. Is the veneer of competitiveness provided by the vigour and diversity of our online marketplaces just an illusion?

Stucke is my colleague at UT Law, and the book under review is Virtual Competition: The Promise and Perils of the Algorithm-Driven Economy. Donald Trump has promised more antitrust scrutiny of big tech companies; this would be a good place to start.


“Mayor de Blasio Commits to 80 Percent Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050,” said the Sunday news release, outlining what would be a truly impressive feat if he actually were able to make good on that promise. But there is not going to be any 89-year-old, 10-term mayor named de Blasio declaring a local victory in the battle to save the planet. This is a long march to a distant goal. The commitment Mr. de Blasio made over the weekend — an excellent and necessary one — was to do his part now to keep the city moving in the right direction: Promised Land, that way.

“Mayor de Blasio Takes On Climate Change,” the New York Times, September 22, 2014

The de Blasio administration is trying to limit the number of food trucks in the city by claiming that each hot-dog and kabob cart causes more pollution than a truck ride to Los Angeles.

Deputy Health Commissioner Corinne Schiff made the claim at a City Council hearing Wednesday, in an apparent effort to sink a bill that would nearly double the number of food-vendor permits in the city by 2023.

“Meat grilling is a significant source of air pollution in the city,” Schiff said. “One additional vendor grilling meat emits an amount of particle pollution in one day equivalent to what a diesel truck emits driving 3,500 miles.”

—“De Blasio administration finds a way to ruin food trucks,” the New York Post, October 27.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported exclusively, documents obtained by CBS2 show the mayor has dramatically increased helicopter travel around the city.

On Oct. 14 near dinnertime, an NYPD helicopter landed near the baseball field in Prospect Park. At the time, police were coy, saying they were transporting “a dignitary.”

That dignitary turned out to be Mayor de Blasio, who after hanging around his old Park Slope neighborhood, wanted to avoid traffic on a seven-mile trip to Queens.

Suddenly, there were questions. What was the man who bragged that riding helicopters was “not my thing” doing? And he had apparently suddenly decided that avoiding the city’s epic traffic jams was the way to go.

CBS2 filed a Freedom of Information of Act request, discovering that yes, Mayor de Blasio is now subscribing to the joys of flying.

“CBS2 Exclusive: Documents Show Mayor De Blasio’s Helicopter Flights Have Dramatically Increased,” Wednesday.

I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Glenn Reynolds’ carbon footprint ever again.

HUH. I THOUGHT THE STUFF WAS AS DANGEROUS AS ISIS*: On Antarctic Trip, Kerry Producing As Much CO2 as Average American Does in One Year.

* No really, that’s what he said, just a few months ago. I say, I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Glenn Reynolds’ carbon footprint. (Though the timing of Kerry’s trip — exiling himself to Siberia the same week Trump wins — was an unintentionally brilliant metaphor by the Botoxed Brahman, and just added to the joy that was Happy Fun Victory Week.™)

TRAIN WRECK UPDATE: Anthem Threat Highlights Obamacare’s Big Test.

Anthem Inc. is threatening to leave the Obamacare exchanges.

“If we do not see clear evidence of an improving environment and a path towards sustainability in the marketplace, we will likely modify our strategy in 2018,” Anthem Chief Executive Officer Joseph Swedish said on a call Wednesday discussing his company’s third-quarter results. “Clearly, 2017 is a critical year as we continue to assess the long-term viability of our exchange footprint.”

But in fact, this is huge news, because Anthem runs the Blue Cross/Blue Shield organizations in 14 states. And though Anthem doesn’t appear to be the sole company offering exchange coverage in any of those states, the Blues are generally the backbone of the exchanges. Where others have quailed, the Blues have by and large stuck with Obamacare. If they pull out, then it’s likely that we’ll see more counties, and possibly entire states, with no Obamacare policies on offer.

Anthem doesn’t run all the Blue Cross organizations. But it’s still a bellwether for what may be happening in other markets. Whether the Blues pull back — and how far — will tell us a lot about how Obamacare is going to go.

One of my friends on Facebook was lamenting yesterday that her family’s health insurance premiums just increased by 60% even as the deductibles climbed high. This is happening all over the country, despite the lies that premiums would go down, and people could keep their doctors. If Trump wins, it’ll be a big reason.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Jeffrey Toobin Doesn’t Know The First Thing About Clarence Thomas’s Legal Legacy.

As someone who had the privilege of clerking for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, I am more familiar with his opinions than most people are. I read them one after another as I nervously prepared to interview for the position.

With each opinion, I became less confident that I could even carry on a conversation with the man who had written so thoughtfully and prolifically about the original meaning of the Constitution, let alone help him with his work. But one does not have to have read the Thomas canon to know that Jeffrey Toobin’s recent article in The New Yorker, “Clarence Thomas’s Twenty-Five Years Without Footprints,” is nonsense.

Read the whole thing.



For many people reading this, air travel is their most serious environmental sin. One round-trip flight from New York to Europe or to San Francisco creates a warming effect equivalent to 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person. The average American generates about 19 tons of carbon dioxide a year; the average European, 10.

So if you take five long flights a year, they may well account for three-quarters of the emissions you create. “For many people in New York City, who don’t drive much and live in apartments, this is probably going to be by far the largest part of their carbon footprint,” says Anja Kollmuss, a Zurich-based environmental consultant.

It is for me. And for people like Al Gore or Richard Branson who crisscross the world, often by private jet, proclaiming their devotion to the environment.

Though air travel emissions now account for only about 5 percent of warming, that fraction is projected to rise significantly, since the volume of air travel is increasing much faster than gains in flight fuel efficiency. (Also, emissions from most other sectors are falling.)

Your Biggest Carbon Sin May Be Air Travel, the New York Times, January 26, 2013.


The New York Times, a newspaper that is nominally and editorially aggrieved about income inequality in America and human-rights violations abroad, is offering its elite, ultra-wealthy readers a chance to see some of the world’s most despotic destinations in a private jet for just $135,000 per person.

“Circle the globe on an inspiring and informative journey by private jet, created by The New York Times in collaboration with luxury travel pioneers Abercrombie & Kent,” reads the promotional material for this exclusive voyage of a lifetime. “This 26-day itinerary takes you beneath the surface of some of the world’s most compelling destinations, illuminating them through the expertise of veteran Times journalists.”

Sound like fun? The private Boeing 757, which can hold up to 50 passengers in “first-class, fully lie-flat seats,” is departing in February 2018, so be sure to reserve your seats now. Travelers can fork over $135,000 for the full trip, or a stunningly cheap $13,500 to partake in a single segment of the trip.

New York Times Offering Luxury Jet Tours for the 1% – Iran, Cuba, Morocco and More!, Heat Street, yesterday.

As Glenn would say, I’d be more inclined to believe global warming is a crisis if and when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis themselves. In the meantime, I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about my carbon footprint.

OK, BUT DOESN’T SMOD HAVE THE LOWEST CARBON FOOTPRINT OF ALL THE CANDIDATES? Four Conservative Reasons to Vote for the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

I BLAME GLOBAL WARMING: Early humans were plagued by Supervolcanoes: Huge eruptions closed off migration routes for our ancestors.

I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Fred Flintstone’s carbon footprint.

I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER GODDAMNED WORD ABOUT MY CARBON FOOTPRINT: This Boeing 787 Was Converted Into a Luxurious Private Jet.

MODERN POLITICKING: Trump’s Ground Game Footprint Remains Small.

Jeremy Baker, a field director for AFP in central Pennsylvania, estimates he has knocked on 30,000 doors with his team. “Trump has a campaign office nearby, but I don’t see them out knocking on doors,” Baker said. “I’ve never seen a door hanger, I haven’t seen people walking around.”

Even in more populous areas of the state, like southeast Pennsylvania, Trump’s ground game has been invisible.

“They’ve started to see campaign people down there,” said Beth Anne Mumford, the Pennsylvania state director for AFP, who joined the canvassers that day. “But we haven’t seen presidential anywhere.”

This would be panic-inducing to see in a normal campaign, but Trump’s isn’t a normal campaign.

I suppose we’ll find out on November 8.


TRADECRAFT: New Tricks Make ISIS, Once Easily Tracked, a Sophisticated Opponent.

Weeks before Islamic State militant Abdelhamid Abaaoud led the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris, French authorities thought he was holed up in northern Syria. Western Intelligence agencies pursuing Abaaoud had tracked him there using cell-phone location data and other electronic footprints.

The Paris attacks, which killed 130 people, showed how badly they were fooled. Abaaoud had slipped past the dragnet and entered the city unnoticed.

Drawing from a growing bag of tricks, Islamic State accomplices located in Syria likely used phones and WhatsApp accounts belonging to Abaaoud and other attackers to mask the group’s travel to Europe, said a Western security official: “We relied too much on technology. And we lost track.”

SIGINT is important, but almost nothing beats HUMINT. We’ve always been better at the former than the latter, but our HUMINT has been hurt by years of malign neglect under President Obama.

MORE ON NORTH KOREA’S LATEST NUCLEAR TEST: How powerful was the nuke? “…more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to some estimates.” The seismic footprint indicated the device produced a 20 kiloton to 30 kiloton blast. The NorKs intend to build a standardized and miniaturized nuclear weapon. Then they’ll mount them on ballistic missiles. Then what? Well, they routinely threaten South Korea, the US and Japan with nuclear attack. Have a nice day.


Michele Baker is fed up with being ignored by Albany.

“We need to know who polluted our water, why it was polluted, and moreover why Governor Cuomo let us continue to drink contaminated water for 18 months,” Baker told Time Warner Cable News.

Baker wants to find out if New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) knew she and her family in Hoosick Falls, N.Y., were drinking water at home that was polluted with the PFOA chemical, and how long his administration might have covered up the answer.

Andrew Cuomo doesn’t have time to worry about one tiny town with a population of 3500 or so in upstate New York – he’s busy saving the entire planet singlehandedly: “Hey New York – You Do Realize It’s Global Warming, Right?”, Seton Motley asks at Red State:

“Since the energy mandate was approved, (New York Governor Andrew) Cuomo’s energy regulators have been dismissive of any cost concerns. PSC chair Audrey Zibelman has told members of the press that the energy mandate will actually benefit consumers. But how so, if no one denies that consumer prices will rise?”

Consumer prices rising — in the name of keeping global temperatures from rising. When global temperatures — aren’t rising. New York spending tens (hundreds?) of billions of additional dollars — and voluntarily, dramatically contracting its economy. To stop something from happening — that isn’t happening.

And let’s put New York’s exorbitantly expensive, destructive move — in its proper, global perspective. This is allegedly GLOBAL warming, after all.

The planet is home to some 7.4 billion people — who generated in 2014 a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $77.6 trillion. New York State’s population is 19.7 million — and their 2015 GDP was $1.4 trillion.

So New York’s GDP — is 0.02% of the world’s. Which means its global carbon footprint — is microscopic. If everyone in New York stopped doing any and everything — the impact on the world’s climate would be, for all intents and purposes, NIL.

Yet Governor Cuomo has consigned New York to commit this economic suicide. In order to have zero impact — on a problem that doesn’t exist.

I’m no politician — but that’s pretty terrible policy.

But it’s a textbook definition of what Victor Davis Hanson once dubbed “The Bloomberg Syndrome.” As VDH wrote in early 2011 when then-New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg failed to adequately remove a foot and half or so of global warming from his city streets:

It is a human trait to focus on cheap and lofty rhetoric rather than costly, earthy reality. It is a bureaucratic characteristic to rail against the trifling misdemeanor rather than address the often-dangerous felony. And it is political habit to mask one’s own failures by lecturing others on their supposed shortcomings. Ambitious elected officials often manage to do all three.

The result in these hard times is that our elected sheriffs, mayors, and governors are loudly weighing in on national and global challenges that are quite often out of their own jurisdiction, while ignoring or failing to solve the very problems that they were elected to address.

Quite simply, the next time your elected local or state official holds a press conference about global warming, the Middle East, or the national political climate, expect to experience poor county law enforcement, bad municipal services, or regional insolvency.

And quite possibly, a fair amount of “bad luck” to strike as well.


Mother Jones’ carbon footprint is much larger than mine. When they shutter their office doors and turn off their air conditioned server farm, I’ll take their warnings a bit more seriously.


I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Glenn Reynolds’ carbon footprint – or about the dangers of “binge flying” from Hillary’s biggest corporate supporters.

THAT MEANS IT’S WORKING: Aetna to cut back 70 pct on Obamacare plans in 2017.

“As a strong supporter of public exchanges as a means to meet the needs of the uninsured, we regret having to make this decision,” Marc Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

The insurance giant says it will offer ACA exchange plans in Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia, slashing its Obamacare footprint by 70 percent next year. It will offer ACA plans in just 242 counties, nationally, down from nearly 780 this year.

Aetna’s announcement comes two weeks after the company booked $200 million in ACA-related pre-tax losses in its Q2 earnings report and nearly one month after the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division sued to block the health insurer’s acquisition of rival Humana.

Humana has also announced it will cut back sharply from the exchanges. Their pullback, in the wake of UnitedHealth’s departure from all but a handful of exchanges, means that hundreds of thousands of Obamacare plan members will no longer have access to plans from the nation’s three major insurers in 2017.

Customers “taxed” into buying insurance they can’t afford to use from insurers who can’t afford to sell it is a recipe for government-mandated failure.

Free markets will take the blame.

THINK OF HOW MUCH IT WILL REDUCE THEIR CARBON FOOTPRINTS! The Time Has Come For Law Reviews (Led By Harvard, Yale & Stanford) To Only Publish Online.

BETTER CALL SAUL! GOP Lawmaker Pushes Bill BANNING EPA Officials From Airline Travel:

The amendment is likely an effort to get EPA officials to practice what they preach. Republicans have criticized top EPA officials for logging thousands of air travel miles while issuing regulations on how much carbon dioxide can be emitted by power plants, cars and other sources.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and the head of EPA’s clean air office Janet McCabe both said they travel home from Washington, D.C. on weekends to visit their families. McCarthy regularly goes to Boston, Massachusetts, and McCabe heads out to Indianapolis, Indiana on weekends.

McCabe has also spent a lot of time travelling around the country promoting the agency’s so-called Clean Power Plan — a set of rules aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith has sent two letters to EPA in the last few months, asking about McCabe’s travel.

“In light of President Obama’s 2015 Executive Order, as well as McCabe’s role as the EPA’s chief proponent of the Clean Power Plan, McCabe’s routine travel raises significant questions as to her commitment toward furthering the reduction of carbon emissions that she promotes in her official capacity on the taxpayer’s dime,” Smith wrote.

In 2014, the EPA released a photo album titled “A Day In The Life of the EPA Administrator” that shows what McCarthy does on a typical day, including the fact that she flies home nearly every weekend to spend time with her family.

As Obama and Hillary’s mentor would say, “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules…You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.”

(Found via Kate at Small Dead Animals, who likes to say “Not Showing Up To Riot Is A Failed Conservative Policy.”)

I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER GODDAMN WORD ABOUT GLENN REYNOLDS’ CARBON FOOTPRINT: Guests Will Fly Halfway Around the World for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Climate Change Speech.

If only there was a method to view and listen to his speech remotely. Surely there must be top men working in DiCaprio’s industry to invent such a device, no?

I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER GODDAMN WORD ABOUT GLENN REYNOLDS’ CARBON FOOTPRINT: Leonardo DiCaprio Flew 8,000 Miles on Private Jet to Accept Environmental Award.


● “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen,” Obama added.

—Agence France-Presse, May 18th, 2008.

“Obama brings two fuel-guzzling planes to serve as Air Force One in Argentina.”

—The Washington Times, today.

I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about my carbon footprint, to coin an Insta-phrase.


LAME DUCK IS A DISH BEST SERVED COLD: Queen refuses to return to London to meet President Obama. “Instead, accompanied by his security circus, he’ll trundle to Windsor in his bomb-proof, seven-ton limo* for lunch…‘he’d be well advised not to give a pro-EU sermon over lunch after the row about the Queen supporting Brexit,’ says my source.”

* “Obama’s Carbon Admission: ‘I Have the World’s Largest Carbon Footprint.’”


Shot: EPA Spends $295,507 to Track Energy and Water Use of Office Workers.

Chaser: Obama’s Carbon Admission: ‘I Have the World’s Largest Carbon Footprint.’

SHOT: Attorney General Loretta Lynch: Sure, we’ve “discussed” taking legal action against climate deniers.

Chaser: Obama’s Carbon Admission: ‘I Have the World’s Largest Carbon Footprint’

Hangover: Obama on the campaign stump in 2008: “‘We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK,’ Obama said. ‘That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen,’ he added.” As Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle that year, “Under my plan. . . electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket.”

Which brings us to…

The DTs:

“I leave my Christmas lights on for two hours—tops,” said the waitress, flitting between regulars with a pot of off-brand coffee.

“An hour for me,” said the local cop. The farmer at the next table nodded his head, “That’s about all I can afford, too.”

In Washington and New York, people celebrate economic numbers. In Michigan, people number the minutes they can afford Christmas lights.

To coin an Insta-phrase, I don’t want to hear another goddamned word about my carbon footprint.

Related: “Loretta Lynch: Well, We Wouldn’t Have to Charge Clinton Just Because the FBI Made a Criminal Referral…”


KEEPING AMERICA SAFE, OBAMA EDITION: Pentagon Orders Commanders to Prioritize Climate Change in All Military Actions.

The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies. . . .

The directive, “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience,” is in line with President Obama’s view that global warming is the country’s foremost national security threat, or close to it.

. . .

Climate change must be integrated in:

• Weapons buying and testing “across the life cycle of weapons systems, platforms and equipment.”

• Training ranges and capabilities.

• Defense intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance.

• Defense education and training.

• Combatant commander joint training with allies to “assess the risks to U.S. security interests posed by climate change.”

• Joint Chiefs of Staff collaboration “with allies and partners to optimize joint exercises and war games including factors contributing to geopolitical and socioeconomic instability.”

Yes, this makes sense. I can see why the President of the United States would direct our military to prioritize climate change, since all those military exercises, training, weapons tests, humvees and other military vehicles–not to mention actual weapons use–add to our carbon footprint, maybe as much as Air Force One or Obama’s limousine-and-SUV motorcade.

I mean, really, since climate change is a bigger threat than radical Islamic terrorism, we probably ought to just eliminate the military entirely. And the President should use a bicycle or sailboat to travel. The safety of the planet depends on it!

isis climate change cartoon

NO JUSTICE, NO FOOTBALL: “Here come the shutdown demonstrators to this Sunday’s Super Bowl,” Debra J. Saunders writes at the American Spectator. “Social media and news organizations report chatter of a big protest a-brewing. San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Kevin Fagan — master of the protest beat — told me, ‘Chances are very good that a major disruption will be attempted at least.’”

Beyond the potential for sabotage and screaming Bay Area protesters that will keep the Super Bowl’s massive security presence on their toes, I’m sort of amused at the schizophrenia of the local politicians and their supporters:

TYPICAL BLUE WEENIE, LAST WEEK: Climate change is the single biggest issue facing humankind. We only have five years to save the earth. The situation is so bad, we must discourage jet travel, ban plastic bags, slap solar panels onto everything, start designing self-driving cars and do everything we can to punish automobile owners.

TYPICAL BLUE WEENIE, THIS WEEK: Isn’t this great – everybody’s flying in to SFO and San Jose Airport! We’re hosting the sporting event with the single biggest carbon footprint on the planet!


Finally, we’re closing in on the root of the problem. There aren’t enough airports for the volume of air traffic the American market demands. Few airports means few slots, which means few airlines able to compete.

So why don’t we build more airports?

Because airports need to be built near the cities they serve. The cities they serve are controlled by leftists who make construction a Sisyphean nightmare. Take our own New York City. JFK is the worst airport in the country. It would like to refurbish itself, improve and expand, but it’s surrounded on three sides by neighborhoods that wouldn’t tolerate the Concorde; that barely tolerate JFK as it is now and will brook no expansion. On its fourth side, JFK is bounded by federally protected wetlands, so that’s a non-starter too. New construction has to be on JFK’s existing footprint, and that new construction has to abide by New York’s absurdly onerous labor and environmental laws. Nonetheless, Governor Cuomo insists that JFK’s rebuilding will happen. According to Forbes, Cuomo’s plan for JFK will address New York’s passenger needs from 2050 forward.

To put that in perspective, if the Wright Brothers’ first flight were this year, Cuomo would be talking about fixing JFK in time for the invention of the jet.

Now imagine that JFK were being started from scratch.

Read the whole thing, which explores a topic far beyond just airplanes and airports.

BUT HE’LL PROBABLY BE LECTURING ME ABOUT MY CARBON FOOTPRINT SOON: Microsoft cofounder’s yacht allegedly destroyed a coral reef. These are sites I’ve dived many times. Sorry to see them wrecked.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. The GOP Needs Conservative Insurgents. “If conservative policies are to become a reality, insiders must think not just about the short-term but also the long-term conflict with the Left, and outsiders must participate in the grueling day-to-day. This dynamic is inherently more challenging for those of us on the Right, who have good reason to believe that politicians’ incentives to placate various factional constituencies are so often at odds with the long-term effort to rein in the federal footprint. While political parties can exist as factions rather than ideological entities, conservatism cannot succeed as a factional constituency to a political party.”

Well, I have some recommended reading.

COOLNESS: Sauropod footprint find makes Skye Scotland’s largest dinosaur site.

SEVEN STUPID MOVIES ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE – you won’t believe the horrible product that Hollywood generates with their enormous carbon footprint, including:

#2. Snowpiercer (2013) Scientists try to reverse global warming by seeding the atmosphere. Works too well. The world freezes to death, except for the survivors on a train that endlessly circles the globe. I so wanted to like this film based on a best-selling graphic novel, but it is just too ridiculous. At the end of the movie, the last two survivors are cheered by seeing a polar bear, a sign that life goes on. They were probably eaten by the bear after the credits roll.

You don’t even want to know what the bear would be doing to them if they had made that film today.


President Barack Obama may warn that carbon dioxide is causing global warming, but his flight to Paris to join other world leaders at the United Nations climate summit emitted more CO2 than driving 72 cars for a year.

Obama’s Paris jaunt will send more CO2 into the atmosphere than 31 American homes‘ energy usage for an entire year. The president’s trip is equivalent to burning 368,331 pounds of coal or 797 barrels of oil, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon footprint calculator.

Just one leg of the president’s Sunday trip to Paris emitted 189 tons of CO2 after travelling 3,855 miles and burning 19,275 gallons of jet fuel, according to Daily Caller News Foundation calculations based on past presidential flights. Obama’s return flight to Washington, D.C., would double the amount of CO2 burned to 378 tons — more than 72 cars driving for a year.

Which is seemingly the size of the typical Obama motorcade when he’s off on a fundraiser, golf game, one of his many vacations, or a jaunt that combines all of the above.


President Obama’s  ultra-high-carbon endless motorcade leaves the Blue Heron Farm en-route to the Bunch of Grapes Book Store where the President and his daughters shopped at Martha’s Vineyard, August 19th, 2011. (Rex Features via AP Images)



Paris (AFP) – A long list of seemingly harmless everyday actions contribute to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other climate-altering greenhouse gases.

Driving a car and flipping a light switch have a clear “carbon footprint” — much less obvious is the harm caused by sending a simple text message or opening a bottle of water.

* * * * * * *

Sending even a short email is estimated to add about four grammes (0.14 ounces) of CO2 equivalent (gCO2e) to the atmosphere.

To put this into perspective, the carbon output of hitting “send” on 65 mails is on par with driving an average-sized car a kilometre (0.6 of a mile).

The culprits are greenhouse gases produced in running the computer, server and routers but also those emitted when the equipment was manufactured.

It gets worse when you send an email with a large attachment, which puts about 50 gCO2e into the air. Five such messages are like burning about 120 grammes (0.27 pounds) of coal.

So imagine how much carbon a giant electronic news gathering operation connected to a large server farm such as AFP emits. Since they’ve demonstrated that they believe their own efforts are hurting the environment so badly, they must take the lead and voluntarily shutter their doors to send the correct message to the rest of us, to prove that they take all of what they’ve written above seriously.

After all, as Glenn likes to say, I’ll believe global warming is a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis themselves.

Speaking of which, note the dateline on the above article. Aren’t there other, more pressing stories going on in Paris these days for AFP to reporting on? (Or is their article a retreat to their ideological “safe space” while under siege?)

HOW ISIS RELIES ON EDWARD SNOWDEN’S LEAKS TO OUTSMART WESTERN INTELLIGENCE: Terrorists “now use encrypted channels and couriers to avoid detection.”

And concurrently, as Glenn noted last week, summing up Richard Fernandez’s recent article, “Western Pacifism Has Driven Warfare Underground, At Some Cost.

Richard wrote, “The infrastructure to support the secret wars has been growing over the years. The rise of foreign and domestic surveillance deserves an essay all to itself. But today, a network of secret bases, landing strips, agents in place, spotters and communications networks has been laid over the length and breadth of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Fleets of unmarked planes, swarms low visibility drones and secret warriors make up a ghostly army that is endlessly engaged.”

But with seemingly very little show for it. As James Delingpole quipped last night, “Candle-lit vigils; hashtags; tricolor Facebook profiles: the West strikes back.”

France’s attack on ISIS in Raqqa, Syria yesterday doesn’t sound like that much more, in the scope of things: 20 bombs were dropped from a dozen aircraft, ten of which were fighters.*

After 9/11, George Bush famously contrasted his approach to removing Saddam Hussein with his predecessor’s preferred style. “When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.”

That action worked, as Joe Biden and Barack Obama grudgingly admitted in 2010 and 2011, until, as the New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins documented, Obama chose to remove the American military from Iraq. When, in an interview with Filkins last year, Hugh Hewitt said, “America leaving [Iraq] in 2011 may have been the worst strategic decision of many bad strategic decisions over the last ten years.” the Iraq War critic replied, “It’s hard to conclude otherwise.”

Once he leaves office, perhaps the American military can finally take Mr. Obama’s motto to heart: “Punch back twice as hard,” rather than the current minimal footprint approach.

* Give them credit for the right idea, though. As one person joked on Twitter, “Weird how Jordan & France go bomb the shit out of ISIS Terrorists after attacks & Obama arrests a YouTube director.”

NOAH ROTHMAN: War Is Interested In You. “No one wants perpetual war, but that is precisely what the West has invited with its displays of faltering resolution and its commitment to conduct a war with the smallest possible footprint. Meanwhile, Western values are slowly eroded as we grow more comfortable with soldiers on the streets, metadata retention programs, and theatrical displays like TSA airport screenings.”

Related: Brendan O’Neill: After Paris. “That’s enough cultural appeasement; let’s fight for the Enlightenment.”

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: America’s Fading Footprint in the Middle East. “From shepherding Israel toward peace with its Arab neighbors to rolling back Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait and halting the contagion of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, the U.S. has long been at the core of the Middle East’s security system. Its military might secured critical trade routes and the bulk of the world’s oil supply. Today, the void created by U.S. withdrawal is being filled by the very powers that American policy has long sought to contain.” Well, you know, now Obama has more flexibility.


Gaia can’t be doing all that badly, can she? After all, Branson hasn’t voluntarily grounded his fleet of airliners, and Al Gore effectively declared “Mission Accomplished” for the radical environmentalism movement when he sold his TV network to the Biggest of Big Oil, the nation of Qatar.

But perhaps to be on the safe side, you can help Branson reduce his own carbon footprint by choosing a different airline when flying.