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UNEXPECTEDLY: Grand Rapids’ worker-run, no-tipping restaurant closes.

Not only was the menu unconventional, so was the business model. Bartertown was a collective, which meant there were no bosses, according to Cappelletti. The inspiration for the worker-owned restaurant was based on Cappelletti’s own restaurant experience.

“Because of our economy, people are working 12- to-15-hour shifts, servers take home $200 to $300 a night in tips, the cooks are making $10 an hour and the owner takes whatever he takes, ” Cappelletti told MLive in 2011. “We’re going to have equal pay and equal say across the board. Everyone working together.”

Employees would be expected to join the union, Industrial Workers of the World, he said.

In keeping with the worker empowerment theme, he commissioned a mural depicting Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong and other provocative leaders tackling restaurant duties.

In the end, the restaurant failed to achieve the employee business model it envisioned.

Do tell.

THIS JUST IN: ‘Secular’ Syrian Rebels Don’t Believe in Secularism.

Unexpectedly.

THE PROBLEM WITH LICENSING LAWS:

How might politicians address voter anger at vanishing economic opportunity for working people that helped push unexpected numbers of Americans to Donald Trump’s corner on election day? Immigration and trade have dominated the discussion thus far, but it’s important that policymakers don’t lose sight of more subtle ways the government has distorted the economy to favor the politically connected.

One example: Onerous occupational licensing laws that force people to undergo thousands of hours of often redundant and gratuitous training to perform jobs like auctioneering, tree trimming, and hair styling. . . .

Often, licensing laws are the result of higher-skilled professionals seeking to protect their market share at the consumers’ expense. For example, the New York Times reported over the summer on a state veterinary board that threatened an animal masseuse with a lawsuit unless she went to veterinary school. And Brookings has described the way that dentists lobbied to prevent qualified people from offering teeth-whitening services at a lower price.

Licensing regulations have grown steadily over the last few decades thanks to interest group pressure. This not just a minor concern for a few key industries; it is a weight dragging down the entire economy, raising prices while blocking access to less-skilled trades. The Obama administration has already recommended that states look at ways to loosen these requirements. If governors and legislators are interested in responding to voter anger over an economy tilted against ordinary people, this would be a good place to start.

I agree, and wrote this column a while back. And note that in Tennessee we’ve passed State Rep. Martin Daniel & State Sen. Mark Green’s “Right To Earn A Living Act,” which requires the various state boards and commissions to justify their rules. It’s a start.

TO BE FAIR, THEY’RE NOT READY FOR US, EITHER. Unexpected ‘Arrival’: Humanity’s Not Ready for Aliens.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Trump set to take sharp right turn on immigration.

RIDE THE LEFT’S TRUMP AS THE POLITICAL EQUIVALENT OF 9/11 RECURSION! One of the memes the left seems to have coalesced to explain how they feel (and it’s always about the feelz with the left) about Trump winning the presidential election is that Donald Trump heading the federal government is the political equivalent of September 11th, 2001, which according to lefty blogs back in 2007, 35 percent or more of Democrats believe was caused by the head of the federal government.

And yet, as Kathy Shaidle has memorably pointed out, if you really did believe that the president ordered 3,000 Americans killed by slamming planes into the World Trade Center, and Pentagon, and/or by “controlled demolitions” to gin up war in the Middle East, you’d want to get the hell out of the country at once, and/or you wouldn’t feel comfortable openly discussing your conspiracies at the local Starbucks. (See also: Brutal Nazi and Soviet crackdowns on those who questioned Hitler and Stalin’s actions.) Similarly, Democrats seem to not get the disparity between comparing Trump to Hitler, and yet nothing at all happening to them.

Oh, and speaking of 9/11, As Sean Davis of the Federalist tweets, Democrats are considering a 9/11 Truther to be the chairman of their party:

Freshman Congressman Keith Ellison was among friends Sunday — in this case, a gathering of atheists — so his support for a fistful of hot-button opinions, including the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, brought enthusiastic nods of approval and standing ovations.

As he was introduced to the eclectic gathering, which included one man wearing a black T-shirt that read “Investigate 9/11,” Ellison was told that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Muslims had joined atheists at the bottom of popular opinion polls.

“You’ll always find this Muslim standing up for your right to be atheists all you want,” Ellison, the first Muslim to serve in Congress, said in a speech to more than 100 atheists at the Southdale Library in Edina. As Minnesota’s first black member of the U.S. House ends his first six months in office, Ellison did not disappoint a crowd that seemed energized the more pointed he made his opinions.

On impeaching Cheney, which the Minneapolis DFLer supports: “[It is] beneath his dignity in order for him to answer any questions from the citizens of the United States. That is the very definition of totalitarianism, authoritarianism and dictatorship.”

* * * * * * * *

On comparing Sept. 11 to the burning of the Reichstag building in Nazi Germany: “It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that. After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it and it put the leader of that country [Hitler] in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted. The fact is that I’m not saying [Sept. 11] was a [U.S.] plan, or anything like that because, you know, that’s how they put you in the nut-ball box — dismiss you.”

To be fair though, Ellison’s crusade for the DNC chair seems to be enjoying “unexpectedly” wide support on both sides of the aisle.

BILL STERNBERG: How I missed the signs of a Trump win. “Anecdotal evidence? Absolutely. But, after this year’s unexpected outcome, who are you going to believe? Pollsters, or your own eyes?”

NEO-NEOCON ON THE OLD SWITCHEROO: “I know that this is the traditional honeymoon period for a president-elect. But whatever honeymoon aspects this has—and it most definitely has some—are further enhanced by the fact that this was a honeymoon that was unexpected and unplanned by most people. It’s as though we expected to spend some time in the hospital having a colonoscopy, and after doing all the nasty prep and getting to the point of lying in the hospital room with the IV about to be inserted, instead a brass band comes into the room and the drum majorette announces that we need to get up, because instead we’ve won a free trip to a luxury resort in Hawaii. Now, that resort might be a bit tawdry. It may not be the exactly perfect hotel we would have chosen it we’d had our druthers. But hey, it’s a whole lot better than that colonoscopy.”

Indeed it is. Yesterday, a few hours before Neo sent me a link to her new post, I was telling my wife that I left California in March firmly convinced that Hillary had the election in the bag, but Texas would be a bit behind the lines during the top-down culture war that was sure to come, along with Hillary packing the Supreme Court with far left socialists for a generation. Knowing those particular boulders have been dodged make the move now feel that much more fun. Going forward, lefties can and will continue to do considerable damage to the country (see also: the crazy propaganda the left disseminated during the Nixon administration), but at least the White House won’t be leading the charge for at least the next four years.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Separation of Powers Is En Vogue Again.

UNEXPECTEDLY! As Ratings Plummet, N.F.L. Considers Reducing Ads and Length of Games. As unexpected as Hillary losing.

Sing it: If you live in this world, you’re feeling the change of the guard.

IF NOTHING ELSE, LET THE RECORD SHOW THAT HISTORY DOESN’T COME WITH AN ARROW AND THAT PROGRESSIVE VICTORY IS NOT INEVITABLE.  IT IS ENOUGH FOR ME: History’s Unexpected Guest.

YAHOO: ‘Sunday Night Football’ ratings down again, continuing season-long trend.

CTRL-F “Kaepernick” and CTRL-F “National Anthem” brings up zero results until the comments section. Unexpectedly.

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Click to enlarge.

 

NEW YOU CAN USE: The Science Behind “Earworms,” aka Songs That Get Stuck In Your Head.

Pacing, the team found, is crucial. Many commonly cited earworms have upbeat, danceable tempos, but are still slow enough to easily track. Most earworms follow the melodic preferences of Western pop music, which in turn follows many of the melodic contour patterns in nursery rhymes. “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” for instance, has a rising pitch in the first phrase that falls in the second, a common trait of earworms. (Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” was specifically called out by the study for this.)

But childlike simplicity and a peppy tempo aren’t enough to make an earworm. A true earworm changes its game up with at least one unusual interval structure, defined by the study as “unexpected leaps,” repeated notes, or any other idiosyncratic tick in the song’s composition that makes it memorable, in addition to catchy. The opening riffs of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” and the Doobie Brothers’ “China Grove” are good examples of this.

Now how about we research for a cure?

UNEXPECTEDLY: Obama Leaves Israel With a Security Nightmare.

As Richard Fernandez noted in September, “The Era of Hope and Change has been one prolonged act of suicide. If anyone had said that Obama would manage to alienate Israel and the Philippines, lose Turkey, pay Iran a hundred billion dollars, preside over the loss of a won war in Afghanistan, lose billions of dollars in military equipment to ISIS, watch a consulate burn, restart the Cold War with Russia, cause Japan to re-arm and go the knife’s edge with China would you have believed it? If someone had told you in 2008 millions of refugees would be heading for Europe and that the UK would leave the EU after Obama went there to campaign for them to remain would you not have laughed? He promised ‘smart diplomacy’ and the restoration of American prestige in the world. How did it come to this?”

Of course, things could get even worse after Obama leaves office, but his legacy — a nuclear-armed Iran — continues steaming forward.

obama_iran_crossed_fingers_big_7-18-16-1

 

COMMUNIST RULE RETURNS TO COMMUNIST CHINA: China Ousts Finance Minister Lou Jiwei in Surprise Reshuffle.

Shortly before Lou Jiwei was appointed China’s finance minister in the spring of 2013, the outspoken Communist Party veteran expressed a wish to Premier Li Keqiang: to let him serve his full five-year term.

Mr. Lou’s pitch, according to people with knowledge of the matter, was that he had a plan to overhaul the country’s creaky fiscal system and tax code and needed time to carry it out. The chat with Mr. Li helped launch him as the highest-profile finance minister China has had in years and a voice for market-oriented changes in China.

On Monday, with nearly two more years to go before his term ends, the 65-year-old Mr. Lou was unexpectedly removed from his position and replaced by a relatively low-profile bureaucrat.

President Xi Jinping is apparently trying to make himself into China’s most powerful leader since Mao.

TIME-WARNER-CNN-HBO SPOKESMAN BILL MAHER PRETENDS TO APOLOGIZE FOR CRYING WOLF AT BUSH, McCAIN AND ROMNEY:


In response, Iowahawk adds:


But then, long before Trump came along, the previous president or GOP candidate, who received brickbats and worse from the left is magically rehabilitated to bash the current nominee. Rinse and repeat, going back to Eisenhower and Goldwater.

This past July, Jonah Goldberg explored “How the Media’s History of Smearing Republicans Now Helps Trump.”

Last night, responding to Maher, Stephen Kruiser wrote, “As he points out [in the above clip], Maher gave a cool million to the Obama campaign in 2012 to prevent Mitt Romney from being elected. In the last few weeks before the election, Democrats were portraying Romney (the man they now describe as honorable) as a sexist animal abuser who gave a woman cancer. Check back in four years to see if they’ve really learned anything about crying wolf.”

Similarly, file this prediction from Twitter user Chris Antenucci away for future reference: “Bill Maher and most liberals in 2020: ‘This year’s nominee, Rubio, is making Trump look like a moderate. He’s a radical on abortion.’”

That’s a remarkably safe bet. We’re seeing lots of mea culpas from the media and its critics about how badly it blew its reporting this year and how deeply it was in the tank for the Democratic nominee. But they could virtually be rewrites of the same faux apologies we’ve seen at the conclusion of every presidential election since at least 2004. And yet, “unexpectedly,” the MSM just never seems to learn from them, do they?

Just think of the media as Democrat operatives with bylines, and it all makes sense.

UNEXPECTEDLY: NYC millennials are crawling with STDs.

QUESTION ASKED: Has the US prepared for the day after a Mosul victory?

The US on Thursday reported that Iraqi troops, backed by US airpower and Special Forces, had stormed toward Mosul with unexpected speed. While that success is welcome, it is intensifying concerns that the US and its partners have not adequately prepared for the biggest challenge yet to come: finding a way to keep the peace in the city after two years of ISIS domination.

The battle is expected to lead to a major refugee exodus, a possible ISIS insurgency should fighters opt to blend in with the local population rather than flee or fight to the death, and power struggles among Mosul’s diverse ethnic, tribal and religious groups.

Some Western diplomats have privately voiced to CNN concern that not enough planning had been done in the run-up to the assault, even when it wasn’t ahead of schedule.

I wrote a couple weeks ago that “the eventual ‘peace’ between Kurdish, Turkish, and Iraqi forces could prove uglier” than the fight for Mosul — and that was before learning that Turkish President Recep Erdoğan was talking up a map showing Turkey in possession of the Kurdish areas of Iraq and Syria — including Mosul.

UNEXPECTEDLY! The NFL Was a Sure Thing for TV Networks. Until Now.

AND NOW FOR SOME COMIC RELIEF: Presenting…the Clinton IT Department!

“Unexpectedly,” not exactly a step-up from the Obama IT Department, and yet, these are the people who believe that they’re so omniscient, they should regulate every aspect of your life.

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NONSENSE, VOTING FRAUD IS A MYTH: State raids Delco offices, seeking evidence of voter registration fraud.

Pennsylvania state police have raided a Delaware County political field office seeking evidence of possible voter-registration fraud, according to court records.

In a warrant filed late last week in County Court, investigators said they were seeking documents, financial information, and lists of employees at the Norwood office of FieldWorks LLC, a national organization that often does street work for Democrats, records show.

The warrant did not specify the nature of the probe, but said agents also were looking for “templates . . . utilized to construct fraudulent voter registration forms” and “completed voter registration forms containing same or similar identifying information of individuals on multiple forms.”

Unexpectedly!

UNEXPECTEDLY! NFL Ratings Continue To Fall In Primetime, While Baseball And Basketball Are Up.

UNEXPECTEDLY: DOJ official ‘running’ Clinton email probe tried to get son a job with the Clinton campaign.

It’s cronyism and collusion all the way down.

CBS: Poll: National Anthem Protests Leading Cause For NFL Ratings Drop. “The NFL has long been one of the country’s most popular forms of escapist entertainment, and the injection of social and political issues into the broadcasts has turned a number of fans away.”

Unexpectedly!

NPR: “VENEZUELA HAS LOADS OF OIL. IT SHOULD BE RICH. YET VENEZUELANS CAN’T GET FOOD. HOSPITALS DON’T HAVE BASIC SUPPLIES.”

Gosh, whatever could explain this “unexpected” run of “bad luck?”

And speaking of “unexpected” bad luck, “CBS anchors on spiraling Obamacare premiums: Hey, what’s up with that?”

Heck, I can remember when CBS anchors read holiday poetry on the air in effort to beg for Obamacare’s passage. Other than half the country, who knew it would be such a debacle?

UNEXPECTEDLY: Offering Poor Value, Obamacare Exchanges Have Become Medicaid-like Ghettos. “To moderate premium spikes, insurers have done what Medicaid managed-care plans do: Narrow networks. Consultants at McKinsey note that three-quarters of exchange plans in 2017 will have no out-of-network coverage, except in emergency cases. And those provider networks themselves are incredibly narrow: one-third fewer specialists than the average employer plan, and hospital networks continuing to shrink. In short, exchange coverage looks nothing like the employer plans that more affluent Americans have come to know and like.”

2016, MAN: Corpses ‘Exploding’ In Decrepit Venezuelan Hospitals.

It was one of the more macabre stories to emerge out of socialist Venezuela — and served as a metaphor for the final days of the rotting regime.

In a hospital morgue, a bloated corpse exploded.

The morgue’s barely functioning cooling system was to blame – hardly a surprise in the oil-rich yet impoverished nation whose health-care system has collapsed under the socialist government. Decomposing for two days in the tropical heat, the corpse finally exploded in a spray of toxic fluids and gasses. The ghastly incident earlier this month necessitated the partial evacuation of the hospital, University Hospital Antonio Patricio de Alcalá, located in Cumaná — a city of 825,000 in eastern Venezuela. Patients in nearby rooms and corridors were sickened to their stomachs by the stench.

“It’s not the first time that a body exploded,” a hospital employee told a Venezuelan media outlet. “It has already occurred two times since the middle of September.”

Wow, Venezuela sure has been having a whole lot of “unexpected” “bad luck” these days.

NEWS FROM THE VENEZUELAN SOCIALIST WORKERS’ PARADISE: With hospitals suffering a catastrophic lack of supplies, the country’s babies are dying at a rate higher than Syria’s.

Infant mortality is rising fast here, at a time when it is falling in almost every other part of the world, in one of the most alarming signals that Venezuela’s social and state structures are unraveling.

“I think it represents a very serious social problem, where the basic functions of governance are breaking down,” said Janet Currie, an economist and expert on infant mortality at Princeton University.

Venezuela’s overall infant mortality rate—defined as deaths within the first year of life—is currently 18.6 per 1,000 live births, according to the most recent government statistics. That is well beyond the upper range of 15.4 Unicef estimates for war-torn Syria.

Lots of bad luck going around there — unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Hillary’s Never Asked by Media About Broaddrick.

RED MEAT FROM AN UNEXPECTED SOURCE: Mark Zuckerberg, hunting aficionado?

IN THE EMAIL, FROM JAGI LAMPLIGHTER WRIGHT: Rachel and the Many-Splendored Dreamland (The Books of Unexpected Enlightenment Book 3).

WILL AMERICANS EVER TRUST THEIR GOVERNMENT AGAIN?

It wasn’t always this way. In 1958, when the American National Election Study first asked Americans to gauge their trust in government, a healthy 73 percent said they could trust the government just about always or most of the time. The slide began under Lyndon Baines Johnson, hit a brief peak during the Ronald Reagan years, and has been falling ever since.

Simply put, we are in the Era of Mistrust, and there are no exit signs.

It’s an interesting paradox for the left – who see no limitations on the size of the government – and yet, as the above passage illustrates, the bigger and more powerful the scope of the government, the less it’s likely to be trusted. And as Salena Zito goes on to note, while the left launched Watergate to destroy Richard Nixon, the discovery by the American people that, as Victor Lasky accurately noted at the time in his book titled It Didn’t Start With Watergate, did much to make the distrust of government an “unexpectedly” bipartisan affair in the 1970s.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Hacked emails reveal MSNBC producer fawning over Hillary.

AN ILL WIND: As Drug Deaths Soar, a Silver Lining for Transplant Patients. “The surge in deaths from drug overdoses has become an unexpected lifeline for people waiting for organ transplants, turning tragedy for some into salvation for others. As more people die from overdoses than ever before, their organs — donated in advance by them or after the fact by their families — are saving lives of people who might otherwise die waiting for a transplant. . . . The impact has been striking, especially in a region like New England, which is in the grip of a heroin and opioid epidemic.”

UNEXPECTEDLY: Clinton Campaign Helped Script Steve Harvey Interview.

Flashback: Email Reveals Hillary Clinton Was Fed Questions Before Meet The Press Appearance. And a few additional examples of DNC-MSM collusion also in that post.

OH, THAT LIBERAL FASCISM: “Do not make yourself a target for the Clintons. This has been a rule for as long as we’ve known them. If you get in their sights, bad things happen to you. The latest case in point is Scott Adams, writer of the Dilbert comic strip who has turned his thoughts to blogging about the Trump phenomenon.”

To paraphrase Tom Wolfe, according to the media-academic complex, fascism is forever descending upon the American right, but it always seems to land rather far left of the target. (Unexpectedly.)

SHOCKER: Wall Street Big Winner In Chicago Schools Meltdown:

The catastrophic fiscal mismanagement of Chicago’s public schools is creating a windfall on Wall Street as the district borrows from big banks at ruinous rates. . . .

The seeds of the crisis in Chicago were planted long ago when powerful teachers’ unions negotiated implausible lifetime pension guarantees, and politicians, eager to win their favor, acceded. It turns out that Wall Street financiers are an unexpected beneficiary of this corrupt bargain.

Debt service is already eating up ten percent of the Chicago School District’s budget, and city’s deteriorating finances may cause creditors to jack up rates even further. If it doesn’t find a way to plug the holes in its fiscal ship, Chicago could well face the same fate as Puerto Rico and Detroit the next time a recession causes its tax base to contract.

Gotta squeeze every last bit out first.

MICHAEL WALSH: FBI Colluded with Democrats, Team Clinton on Email ‘Prosecution.’

Unexpectedly.

FINALLY: HOLLYWOOD TO MASHUP STARSHIP TROOPERS AND THE GWOT:

Fox has landed Operation Prince Of Freedom, a spec script package for a comedy that will be helmed by Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates director Jake Szymanski. Chernin Entertainment will produce with Gary Sanchez. The script is by Michael Kvamme and Jordan Dunn, and Gary Sanchez’s Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, Kevin Messick and Andrew Steele will produce with Chernin. Fox has had success with the hard R comedy in Deadpool and Kingsman: The Secret Service and this movie fits that ratings mold. The comedy follows a group of ragtag Marines who are attacked by a Taliban insurgency while escorting a politically incorrect C&W star across Afghanistan. Things take an unexpected turn when the Marines and Taliban alike are forced to unite against an invasion of alien bugs.

It’s a comedy with our newfound buddies, those crazy, kooky limb-chopping Taliban! Shades of the line in Paul Schrader’s Auto Focus about Bob Crane landing the starring role on Hogan’s Heroes, the sitcom with “the funny Nazis.” I wonder if it will be set in the mid-2000s to allow for plenty of stale Bush-bashing riffs, just as Saturday Night Live was still making Nixon jokes six years after he left office.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

As I understand your use of this term, “the media” is essentially shorthand for anything you read, saw or heard today that you disagreed with or didn’t like. At any given moment, “the media” is biased against your candidate, your issue, your very way of life.

But, you know, the media isn’t really doing that. Some article, some news report, some guy spouting off on a CNN panel or at CrankyCrackpot.com might be. But none of those things singularly are really the media.

Fact is, there really is no such thing as “the media.” It’s an invention, a tool, an all-purpose smear by people who can’t be bothered to make distinctions.

“Dear readers: Please stop calling us ‘the media.’ There is no such thing,” Paul Farhi, the Washington Post, Friday.

Thousands of conservatives and even some moderates have complained during my more than three-year term that The Post is too liberal; many have stopped subscribing, including more than 900 in the past four weeks.

It pains me to see lost subscribers and revenue, especially when newspapers are shrinking. Conservative complaints can be wrong: The mainstream media were not to blame for John McCain’s loss; Barack Obama’s more effective campaign and the financial crisis were.

But some of the conservatives’ complaints about a liberal tilt are valid. Journalism naturally draws liberals; we like to change the world. I’ll bet that most Post journalists voted for Obama. I did. There are centrists at The Post as well. But the conservatives I know here feel so outnumbered that they don’t even want to be quoted by name in a memo.

—The late Deborah Howell, then the Post’s ombudswoman (a job the Post has since eliminated), November 16, 2008.

‘Yeah, I’m In The Media. Screw You.’

—Button worn by the late Ginny Carroll to the 1992 Republican convention. Carroll was a bureau chief for Newsweek, then owned by the Washington Post.

Incidentally, this isn’t the first time that Farhi has tried to play these semantic games: As Tim Graham of NewsBusters paraphrased a similar Farhi column in 2012, “WashPost Writes The Public Be Damned: They’re Biased If They Think We’re Biased.”

Perhaps Iowahawk has the best response to Farhi’s latest column, and its smug headline, “Dear readers: Please stop calling us ‘the media.’ There is no such thing.” “Okay, how about we just call you assholes,” he tweeted yesterday.

Or Democrat operatives with bylines. Often the two phrases are quite interchangeable. (Unexpectedly.)

All of which is why, as  Kurt Schlichter writes, “We’re Laughing at the Self-Destruction of the Media Gatekeepers.”

UNEXPECTEDLY:

“Why the Obama recovery was so weak.”

—Paul Mirengoff, Power Line, yesterday.

● “You and I have a rendezvous with scarcity.”

—Your humble narrator, February 25, 2009.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Craft Breweries Abound in States with Fewer Regulations.

Here’s to freedom – as Amnesty International used to say, before their own style of fundamental transformation.

UNEXPECTEDLY: NFL’s TV ratings still falling?

Whatever could be the reason?

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Click to enlarge.

OIL PRICES: NOT AS IMPORTANT AS WE THOUGHT?

As you can imagine, oil prices are thought to have a big effect on the economy. When prices rise, that tells us that oil is scarce relative to demand, and therefore that we can make and consume less stuff than we’d like to. When prices fall, we are lolling about in unexpected bounty. A new paper by economists Christiane Baumeister and Lutz Kilian attempts to estimate just how big an effect the recent sharp decline in oil prices has had on the gross domestic product of the U.S. Their answer is … none.

Um, what? Come again?

That’s right, none. There was a stimulative effect on the consumer side, but it was offset by the loss of investment in the oil sector. . . .

If you’re a consumer who felt the pain of high gas prices, and breathed a sigh of relief when they finally dropped, this may seem surprising. But on a larger scale, whether high oil prices are good or bad for your economy depends on whether it’s a net importer or a net exporter. No one finds it hard to believe that falling oil prices were bad for big oil producers like Venezuela (and they were!). Conversely, if you’re a country that uses a lot of oil, and doesn’t produce any, it’s pretty obvious that higher oil prices will hurt, and lower ones will be good. What’s interesting is that, thanks to the shale oil boom in the U.S., this paper finds those two forces roughly balancing out.

It’s also interesting to ask what this could tell us about the coming election.

You can often do a surprisingly good job at predicting the outcomes of presidential races knowing only a few simple things about the economy. And yet, the models don’t all agree. The oldest prediction model, which is based on economic as well as non-economic indicators, has Republicans taking the White House. A Moody’s economist, on the other hand, says that for its model, which shows Hillary Clinton taking 326 votes in the electoral college, “The tie-breaker as of today is really gasoline prices.”

Yet that should show up in the polls, and right now, the polls aren’t showing us a comfortably dominant Clinton lead. This Baumeister-Kilian paper might give us some clue as to why: When America was a net importer of oil, gas prices might have had a substantial effect on elections, but that changed in recent years. The shale oil boom meant that even back when a lot of households were feeling pinched by higher fuel prices, people working in the oil industry, and associated firms, were made much better off. So the effect on the economy became less clear, and so did the effect on elections.

That’s the problem with established models. They stay the same, while the world changes.

GOVERNOR CUOMO (D-NY) USES ENVIRONMENTALISM TO EXCUSE CRONY CORRUPTION.

How could he not? Environmentalism in the Obama era is the very definition of crony corruption.

“Unexpectedly” Related: Taxpayers are fleeing New York in droves.

AND NOW A WORD FROM AMERICA’S TROLL-IN-CHIEF. Obama: ‘Imagine What My Approval Rating Would Be’ if Media ‘Worked for Me.’

Yes, just imagine itit’s unexpectedly easy if you try.

AND NOW, SOME THOUGHTS FROM COLIN POWELL ON THE 2016 ELECTION:

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Related: “Unexpectedly,” the news division of CBS, run by Obama advisor Ben Rhodes’ brother, censors Powell’s accusation that Clinton is still ‘d***king bimbos,’ after editing Bill’s Monday admission that his wife “frequently” suffers from fainting spells. It’s like Dan Rather never left his old office.

 

 

UNEXPECTEDLY: Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low, Gallup reports, “with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year:”

Gallup began asking this question in 1972, and on a yearly basis since 1997. Over the history of the entire trend, Americans’ trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72%, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans’ trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.

Republicans Fuel Drop in Media Trust

While it is clear Americans’ trust in the media has been eroding over time, the election campaign may be the reason that it has fallen so sharply this year. With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more. It is also possible that Republicans think less of the media as a result of Trump’s sharp criticisms of the press. Republicans who say they have trust in the media has plummeted to 14% from 32% a year ago. This is easily the lowest confidence among Republicans in 20 years.

Why on earth would that be? Paul Krugman assures me his fellow DNC-MSM operatives with bylines are “objectively pro-Trump.”

(Classical reference “unexpectedly” in headline.)

PUBLIUS DECIUS MUS: Restatement on Flight 93. “Well, that was unexpected. Everything I said in “The Flight 93 Election’ was derivative of things I had already said, with (I thought) more vim and vigor, in a now-defunct blog. I assumed the new piece would interest a handful of that blog’s remaining fans and no one else. My predictive powers proved imperfect.”

UPDATE: Link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!

HEY, REMEMBER HIM? Barack Obama, the incredible shrinking president:

While presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump loom horrifyingly larger, can we spare a little horror as U.S. President Barack Obama looms ever smaller? No, I’m not sorry he’s leaving. I’m alarmed at a series of recent foreign policy humiliations showing just how badly the incredible shrinking president has damaged America’s standing in this turbulent world of ours.

First, emerging from the back door of Air Force One at the G20 in China after local functionaries literally denied him a red carpet. Second, begging Russian President Vladimir Putin for help on Syria and getting chlorine gas. Third, being told off by the president of Turkey over American support for Kurds in Syria. Fourth, being cussed out by the president of the Philippines.

It is literally impossible to imagine any of these things happening to former presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush or Richard Nixon. Jimmy Carter? Maybe one or two. But Obama managed all four. While he did cancel his meeting with the appalling Filipino president, he seemed to treat the rest as no big deal.

As Glenn noted, “When Jimmy Carter Is your best-case scenario, you’re in trouble.” That was written back in 2011, but alas, voters didn’t heed the warning. Which is why our semi-retired president’s last months in office aren’t exactly occurring “unexpectedly,” even to his most die-hard loyalists.

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BIRDS OF A FEATHER: The spark with South Korea is gone as China makes clear the North comes first.

The degree of warmth between Ms. Park and Mr. Xi was unexpected, given that South Korea is a staunch American ally and China is North Korea’s socialist bedfellow. But they had a mutual interest in cozying up.

Mr. Xi sought to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington. He also wanted to further poison Ms. Park on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who early in his tenure had enraged the two countries by visiting the Yasukuni war shrine, where Japanese war criminals are honored.

For her part, Ms. Park invested heavily in the relationship in hopes that it would encourage Beijing to do more to restrain Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.

She’s still waiting for the payoff. Judging by North Korea’s latest nuclear test, its fifth, it may never come.

The mistake Park made was forgetting that for dictatorial regimes, international commercial interests, no matter how lucrative, will inevitably take second place to domestic political exigencies, no matter how transitory.

WORLD TO END TOMORROW—WOMEN, MINORITIES HARDEST HIT:

Shot: Climate change is a racist crisis: that’s why Black Lives Matter closed an airport.

—The London Guardian*, Tuesday.

Chaser: Black Lives Matter Airport Protestors Were All White.

—James Delingpole, Breitbart London, yesterday.

* Funny how lefty Websites never volunteer to reduce global warming by turning off their air conditioned offices and server farms. Unexpectedly.

(Classical reference in headline.)

UNEXPECTEDLY. German Electoral Shocker: Merkel’s Party Finishes 3rd in Regional Election.

As Jim Geraghty quipped in December:

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Apparently, Merkel winning that Time magazine “Person of the Year” cover story last year wasn’t worth the massive upheaval it inflicted on her countrymen.

OBAMA DEFENDS KAEPERNICK’S NATIONAL ANTHEM PROTEST.

Unexpectedly.

Democratic Presidential candidates and U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) (L), Bill Richardson (C), Governor of New Mexico and U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) stand for the National Anthem during the 30th annual Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa, September 16, 2007. (Reuters/Joshua Lott.)

Democratic Presidential candidates and U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) (L), Bill Richardson (C), Governor of New Mexico and U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) stand for the National Anthem during the 30th annual Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa, September 16, 2007. (Reuters/Joshua Lott.)

UNEXPECTEDLY:  “‘CNN is so supportive of Clinton, network honchos acted like the Mafia when confronting [Dr. Drew Pinsky]’ a source told me. ‘First, they demanded he retract his comments, but he wouldn’t.’ What followed was a series of nasty phone calls and e-mails. ‘It was downright scary and creepy,’ a source close to Pinsky said.” Which is why “Dr. Drew loses show after discussing Hillary’s health,” the New York Post reports*.

Flashback: David Shuster suspended at MSNBC in early 2008 — a channel that was then at the height of its raucous Keith Olbermann slurring Bush nightly phase — for uttering the innocuous phrase, “Doesn’t it seem as if Chelsea is sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?” by the Clinton foundation. Chelsea was then 27 years old, and on her way to be being paid $600,000 by MSNBC’s parent network for filing less than two dozen stories, one of which was a hard-hitting take no prisoners interview with…the Geiko gecko.

Just think of the network executives as Democrat operatives with bylines – and in both cases, financial contributors to the Clintons’ slush fund – and it all makes sense.

OBAMA FINDS AN ALLY IN WAL-MART, WHOSE STORES HE ONCE SHUNNED, Bloomberg notes. And since it’s Bloomberg, it’s worth adding the “Unexpectedly!” — or as Scott Lincicome of the Cato Institute tweets, Bloomberg’s article is “A classic of the ‘corporatism, how does it work?’ genre:”

As a freshman senator with his eye on the presidency, Barack Obama said he’d never shop at a Wal-Mart and held the company up as an emblem of corporate greed.

Today, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is one of Obama’s most reliable corporate allies, a go-to partner that’s backed the White House on more than a dozen business initiatives, particularly Obamacare and climate change.

And speaking of “unexpectedly,” a flashback to 2011, when Wal-Mart went ‘Back to Basics’, which Richard Pollock, then with PJM dubbed “A Cautionary Tale for the Left:”

The failure, in large part, can be pinned to Leslie Dach: a well-known progressive and former senior aide to Vice President Al Gore. In July 2006, Dach was installed as the public relations chief for Wal-Mart. He drafted a number of other progressives into the company, seeking to change the company’s way of doing business: its culture, its politics, and most importantly its products.

Out went drab, inexpensive merchandise so dear to low-income Americans. In came upscale organic foods, “green” products, trendy jeans, and political correctness. In other words, Dach sought to expose poor working Americans to the “good life” of the wealthy, environmentally conscious Prius driver.

Dach’s failure should be a cautionary tale for President Obama: last week he scolded a blue collar man in Pennsylvania for driving an SUV, and he has previously admonished Americans to get out of their gas-guzzlers and into electric cars. Dach’s failure should also put Michelle Obama on notice; she has been pushing her White House organic vegetable garden as a model for working Americans.

Like other real-world experiments, the Wal-Mart story exposes the failure of progressivism in the marketplace, as the Dach strategy has been a fiasco: the merchandising turned off low-income (and largely Democratic-leaning) customers. Says former Wal-Mart executive Jimmy Wright:

The basic Wal-Mart customer didn’t leave Wal-Mart. What happened is that Wal-Mart left the customer.

First being in bed with Hillary, then Al Gore, then Obama. I’m not sure how those associations help Wal-Mart stay focused on its core business, but I guess it’s worth it for the cocktail parties and the protection from what Michael Walsh has described as a criminal organization masquerading as a political party.

ELECTION SNAPSHOT:

Shot: “Revealing a level of confidence Clinton’s inner circle has been eager to squash for weeks, outside advisers have now identified victories in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire as the path of least resistance, delivering for the Democratic nominee more than the 270 electoral votes needed to take the White House. And they are projecting increased confidence about her chances in Republican-leaning North Carolina, a state that could prove as critical as Ohio or Pennsylvania.”

“Clinton’s advisers tell her to prep for a landslide,” the Politico, today.

Chaser: “For someone who’s often been reputed to be such a campaign klutz, Donald Trump had a pretty good week. Yes, he wastefully campaigned in Washington and Connecticut, which he has no chance of winning, and in Mississippi, which he has no chance of losing. But when the president of Mexico invited Trump and what’s-her-name down for a visit, the real estate billionaire pounced on the opportunity like it was a prime midtown corner lot. That’s the sort of unpredictability that’s worried the risk-adverse Clinton crowd all along. Trump is like a scrambling quarterback. You set up all the usual defensive schemes to handle the most likely plays. But then your opponent does something totally unexpected, eludes defenders and pulls off a big play.”

“Clinton’s worst nightmare: The unpredictable Trump emerges,” Andrew Malcolm, Hot Air today.

Hangover: While Hillary Clinton touts 51 Florida field offices, Donald Trump still has just one.

—The Tampa Bay Times, yesterday.

Honest, I want to believe, but even the best scrambling quarterback still needs to surround himself with an excellent team — and back office operation — to win games in the fourth quarter. And that Tampa Bay headline, along with these, sound like very bad news for Trump.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Enrollment drop from Mizzou protests worse than feared.

Inconceivable, as legendary SJW Mr. Vizzini would say.

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THAT MEANS IT’S WORKING: Even Left-Leaning Econ Writers Are Impoverished by Obamacare.

We’re Hiring Economics Writers,” says the headline of a post at the web site FiveThirtyEight.

Good for them.

Then they write:

“This is a part-time staff position (up to 29 hours per week) and does not offer benefits.”

Any idea why they chose 29 hours?

Answer: Obamacare.

Unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY! I dumped my fiancé for a Jamaican lover but he fleeced me of £10k and turned out to be a love rat: Louise Chesney, 24, was set to marry her perfect man when a local hotel worker caught her eye on holiday. The “perfect man” dodged a bullet, I’d say, especially after seeing photos of her pale, tubby, and tattooed self. And I love the “I can’t believe this happened” bit, as if it was something that just happened, instead of something stupid that she did.

SCIENCE CONFIRMS: MILLENNIAL MEN HAVE PANSY HANDSHAKES. Gosh, that bit of news has arrived so “unexpectedly.”

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UNEXPECTEDLY! The U.S. Economy Isn’t Growing as Quickly as People Thought.

UNEXPECTEDLY! The Target boycott is costing more than anyone expected.

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS NO ONE IS ASKING:

—Headline, the Guardian, yesterday.

—Headline, the Guardian, May 10, 2013.

—Headline, the Guardian, January 16, 2012.

—Headline, the Guardian, January 1, 2011.

CRAZY THEORY: THIS YEAR THE RIGHT IS WINNING THE CULTURE WARS.

I think it’s more of a case of the cultural left being exhausted and having overreached on a variety of issues that have badly cheesed off the American public, but hey, even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers eventually turned the corner on their 0 and 26 record. But let’s check back in November before getting too excited on this one.

In the meantime though, note this item in Jim Geraghty’s post:

Enrollment at the University of Missouri is expected to decline by 2,600 students in the fall, aggravating a bad budget situation and making it likely the pain will extend for several years as the shrunken fall freshman class filters through to graduation.

Vice Chancellor of Finance Rhonda Gibler, in an interview ahead of a campus budget forum Wednesday, said campus divisions have been told to plan for 2 percent cuts to general fund budgets for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 in addition to 5 percent cuts ordered for the year that begins July 1…

The latest enrollment figures point to a decline of 1,400 first-time freshmen, to about 4,800, and 1,200 other students, Gibler said. For every 100 fewer Missouri undergraduate students who are on campus, the university loses $1 million in tuition revenue. That rises to $2.5 million for 100 fewer undergraduates from outside the state.

Unexpectedly.

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UNEXPECTEDLY: One in Five Manufacturers in NY Cutting Jobs Due to Obamacare.

Related: “New York is again the least free state in the country,” the Cato Institute reports in its annual survey of “Freedom in the 50 States,” adding, “Its huge, glaring weakness is fiscal policy. If New York were to adopt a fiscal regime closer to that of California, New Jersey, or Connecticut, its overall economic freedom score would be close to theirs. As it is, New York looks set to remain the least free state for many years to come.”

What’s the second least free state in the country? Let’s just say you can’t spell the phrase “Catch-22” without the letters CA.

UNEXPECTEDLY! U.K. Unemployment Falls After Brexit.

DISPATCHES FROM THE JUNIOR ANTI-SEX LEAGUE: The Anti-Sex Left And Its War On Free Expression.

That soulless leftwing monoculture that Mark Judge of Acculturated explored has certainly taken some genuinely unexpected turns, particularly given how radical feminism largely exhausted itself defending Bill Clinton’s droit du seigneur in the mid-1990s.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Black Lives Matter Accuses Israel of Genocide.

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UNEXPECTEDLY! Early Returns From Seattle’s Minimum Wage Experiment. “So what did they find? People are getting paid a higher wage — and yet, earnings didn’t rise much, because people are also working less.”

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

Shot: Why Did BuzzFeed & Co. Target Justine Sacco for Online Assassination?

—John Nolte, Big Journalism, December 21st, 2013.

Chaser: “A Honeypot For Assholes”: Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment.

— Charlie Warzel, BuzzFeed, yesterday.

As Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon tweeted yesterday, guess whose name is “unexpectedly” omitted from Warzel’s article.

JEFFREY SINGER: ObamaCare Gave Rise To The Healthcare Mergers Its Advocates Oppose.

“Irony is wasted on the stupid.” This quote, attributed to Oscar Wilde, seems fitting in light of the Obama administration’s new campaign to block two blockbuster mergers between the health insurers Aetna and Humana and Anthem and Cigna. (It is also fighting hospital consolidation in many states.) The administration is rightly worried that this will lead to higher health care costs through reduced competition, yet it ignores the fact that its signature law, the Affordable Care Act, was specifically designed to foment such consolidation.

The central planners behind the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – were convinced that consolidation in health care would lead to decreased health care spending by eliminating duplication, standardizing treatment protocols and incentivizing better utilization. As three of Obamacare’s primary authors wrote in The Annals of Internal Medicine in 2010, the law was designed to “unleash forces that favor integration across the continuum of care.” No part of health care was supposed to be spared – doctors, hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical companies and others were given regulatory and financial incentives to merge.

This prediction panned out. In the six years since Obamacare’s passage, there has been a surge in health care consolidation.

All together now: Unexpectedly!

UNEXPECTEDLY: Transgender model Gigi Gorgeous tried to enter Dubai and she’s the only one shocked by what happened next.

Will Smith, hardest hit.

NURSE HAS LONG NAILS AND NO GLOVES? NO PROBLEM, SAYS UNION: So imagine you are the patient and your nurse comes in to change the dressing on your incision. You notice she’s not wearing latex gloves. And worse, she has long artificial fingernails, which are known to harbor potentially lethal germs. What do you do?

What you do is shut up and take it, according to the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents Federal Bureau of Prisons employees. When managers at the Rochester, Minn., facilities announced a rule banning employees with such fingernails from working with certain patients, the union balked.

After negotiations failed, the issue had to be resolved by federal arbiters. Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group reports the unexpected details of the arbiters’ decisions.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Scientist Predicts ‘Little Ice Age,’ Gets Icy Reception From Colleagues.

Shades of the story of Julian Simon versus the enviro-doomsday religious left. As Jay Nordlinger once wrote, “Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute tells a story about Julian Simon, the late and great economist. He was at some environmental forum, and he said, ‘How many people here believe that the earth is increasingly polluted and that our natural resources are being exhausted?’ Naturally, every hand shot up. He said, ‘Is there any evidence that could dissuade you?’ Nothing. Again: ‘Is there any evidence I could give you — anything at all — that would lead you to reconsider these assumptions?’ Not a stir. Simon then said, ‘Well, excuse me, I’m not dressed for church.’ I love that story, for what it says about the fixity of these beliefs, immune to evidence, reason, or anything else.”

UNEXPECTEDLY: BLS Just “Revised” Away Obama’s “Fastest” Wage Growth Since The Crisis.

PEASANTS AND PITCHFORKS: A Wake-Up Call For Western Elites.

It is easy to get caught in the tidal wave of pessimism that has gripped the West’s chattering classes and op-ed writers. The list of real problems confronting Europe and the United States is long, and getting longer still: slow growth, exploding jihadi terrorism, uncontrolled immigration, the hollowing out of NATO, and the weakening of the European Union. Region by region, the global security equation looks equally menacing, with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on fire amidst a Sunni-Shi‘a civil war, the fragmentation of Syria, Iraq, and Libya, and fighters flocking to the Islamic State intent on brushing aside the remnants of the Sykes-Picot system. The risk of armed conflict is growing in Asia and Europe, with China and Russia pressing their advantage, while Americans, weary of losses in what is now a 15-year War on Terror, look in vain for a viable strategy. Within the West itself events are approaching an inflection point; the liberal, globalist notions of the past two decades have suddenly (if only in hindsight not unexpectedly) run into a rapidly rising wall of popular resistance.

The forces that are reshaping the erstwhile globalist consensus are not, as critics would have it, simply “populism,” “racism,” or “lower class obscurantism,” but a 21st-century popular rebellion across the democratic West, which—warts and all—is readying itself to imprint the will of the modern demos onto what not so long ago many considered to be a progressively de-nationalized, postmodern consumer society. Steeped in resurgent nationalism, this public wave has crashed into the breach between the notional reality, which maintains that on balance Europe and America are still doing fine, and the perceived reality of high unemployment, high immigration rates, and segmented communities. It is amidst this sense of fragmentation and decline that latter-day peasants on both sides of the ocean are rising up, pitchforks in hand, against an increasingly denationalized aristocracy.

You can, by the way, purchase pitchforks from Amazon.com. With next-day delivery!

OBAMA IS LEAVING HIS SUCCESSOR A NATIONAL DEBT NIGHTMARE.

Not exactly “unexpectedly,” as this Reason TV video on federal government spending dates to April of 2009:

UNEXPECTEDLY: Federal Court Says IRS May Still be Targeting Conservatives.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Merkel’s approval rating plunges following attacks in Germany.

She’s plunged Europe into years of violence and chaos, but she’s always have that Time magazine “Person of the Year” award for 2015. I’m sure she thinks that’s a fair trade.

UNEXPECTEDLY! “College Students Protest, Alumni’s Fondness Fades and Checks Shrink,” the New York Times reports, with an actual sighting of the U-word:

Scott MacConnell cherishes the memory of his years at Amherst College, where he discovered his future métier as a theatrical designer. But protests on campus over cultural and racial sensitivities last year soured his feelings.

Now Mr. MacConnell, who graduated in 1960, is expressing his discontent through his wallet. In June, he cut the college out of his will.

“As an alumnus of the college, I feel that I have been lied to, patronized and basically dismissed as an old, white bigot who is insensitive to the needs and feelings of the current college community,” Mr. MacConnell, 77, wrote in a letter to the college’s alumni fund in December, when he first warned that he was reducing his support to the college to a token $5.

A backlash from alumni is an unexpected aftershock of the campus disruptions of the last academic year. Although fund-raisers are still gauging the extent of the effect on philanthropy, some colleges — particularly small, elite liberal arts institutions — have reported a decline in donations, accompanied by a laundry list of complaints.

Yes, who on earth could have seen this coming?

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HMM: Trump Wants To Repeal The Johnson Amendment And Make Churches The New Super PACs.

Why have some religious conservatives decided to support Donald Trump for United States president? Leaders have named their reasons: He’s promised toappoint pro-life Supreme Court justices; he’s allegedly good at business. But they have also consistently cited something else, perhaps more unexpected: the tax code.

Trump has promised to repeal the so-called Johnson Amendment, a 1954 provision that prohibits tax-exempt organizations from participating in political activities. Proposed by then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and later revised by Congress, it keeps churches and other non-profits from lobbying for specific causes, campaigning on behalf of politicians, and supporting or opposing candidates for office.

While opponents of the Johnson Amendment often frame their objections in terms of free speech, the provision’s primary impact may be financial. Right now, the IRS makes a clear distinction between non-profit groups—from charities and universities to certain private schools and houses of worship—and political organizations.

If the Johnson Amendment were repealed, pastors would be able to endorse candidates from the pulpit, which they’re currently not allowed to do by law. But it’s also true that a lot more money could possibly flow into politics via donations to churches and other religious organizations. That could mean religious groups would become much more powerful political forces in American politics—and it would almost certainly tee up future court battles.

Basically, it would give churches the kind of power that unions enjoy.

UNEXPECTEDLY: MEDIA FAILS TO REPORT GANG FIREBOMBING PARIS BUS WHILE YELLING ‘ALLAH AKBAR.’

As Jim Treacher would say, “Modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn’t know because they might reflect badly on Democrats” — and their Continental equivalent.

QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED: What’s the Matter With San Francisco?

We are watching the old San Francisco slip away before our eyes. Every time a housing unit becomes vacant, it goes on the market at a price so high that no organizer, writer, teacher, activist or artist could dream of affording it. Trying things that don’t have monetary potential just isn’t possible anymore.

How did we get here?

The Atlantic’s “City Lab” blog, in a 2005 article with an unintentionally hilarious “unexpected” dek: “The city’s devastating affordability crisis has an unlikely villain—its famed progressive politics.”

Which brings us to Fox Butterfield*, Progressive Urban Planner:

“You cannot lower the cost of housing by building more. Supply creates its own demand,” said Amit Ghosh, chief planner for The City.

If more market rate dwellings are built, Ghosh predicted, “rich people living outside would want to come to San Francisco to fill them. And how does that relieve our supply problem?”

—The San Francisco Chronicle, “Highrises called cure for city housing crunch,” March 8th, 1999. Ghosh was the chief of the San Francisco planning department from 1992 to 2008.

* Classical reference.

RECOVERY SUMMER: Construction spending falls to one-year low in June.

Construction spending declined 0.6 percent to its lowest level since June 2015 after an upwardly revised 0.1 percent dip in May, the Commerce Department said on Monday. Construction outlays were up 0.3 percent from a year ago.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast construction spending rising 0.5 percent in June after a previously reported 0.8 percent drop in May. Their June estimates were largely based on the government’s assumptions for private residential and nonresidential construction spending in the advance GDP report.

The anticipated downward revision will come unexpectedly.

TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED: U.S. Economy Grew Less-Than-Forecast 1.2% in Second Quarter.

So much for “Morning in America.” As Jim Hofted noted in April, Obama will be the only president never to have seen a year of three percent or more economic growth during his administration.*

Of course some radical environmentalists, such as John Kerry and Claire McCaskill consider that to be good news.

* No wonder Paul Krugman longs for “the miracle of the 1940s,” his euphemism for that minor bit of unpleasantness the rest of us call World War II.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Hillary Obstructed Boko Haram’s Terror Designation as Her Donors Cashed In.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Media-Proclaimed ‘Devout Catholic’ Kaine Now Favors Taxpayer-Funded Abortions.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Obama Talked More About Himself Than Hillary.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Draft Dem platform doesn’t even mention nuclear power.

As Glenn has noted on numerous occasions, if you don’t support nuclear power, you don’t care about carbon emissions.

Related: Done saving the planet, Leo? Di Caprio hops from his helicopter into a gas-guzzling private jet as he leaves Saint Tropez just hours after his celebrity eco fundraiser.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: “Fewer People Are Starting Their Own Businesses,” Money, sister publication to Time, who anointed Obama the next FDR in November of 2008 notes.

In other words — c’mon, say it with me!“Unexpectedly.”

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN: Papa John’s upgraded on belief civil unrest is encouraging more pizza delivery:

Papa John’s International Inc. was upgraded to overweight from sector weight at KeyBanc Capital Markets with analysts expressing the surprising* view that diners, concerned about political and civil unrest, are choosing to stay home for pizza delivery rather than head out for a meal.

Papa John’s price target is $80, or about 16% above its current trading level.

“After speaking with several large operators and industry contacts, we believe the recent decline in casual dining restaurant segment fundamentals—traffic down 3% to 5% the past several weeks—may be the result of consumers eating more at home amid the current political/social backdrop, which we believe could last through the November election,” KeyBanc analysts wrote in a note published Tuesday.

Shades of Faith Popcorn’s “Cocooning” thesis from her much-hyped 1991 book, The Popcorn Report, written, not at all coincidentally, at the perigee of the Dinkins era in New York. Cocooning as a trend seemed to go a bit by the wayside after Rudy Giuliani began revitalizing New York law enforcement, and crime in general began to fall in the US during the Contract with America mid-1990s. I wonder if the post-Obama era will experience as quick a turnaround?

* AKA, Unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY: The Obama administration’s new overtime regulation seems to be hurting the very workers it aimed to help.

What we need is a law against unintended consequences.

GOSH, IT’S ALL HAPPENING SO UNEXPECTEDLY: “A document obtained by The Associated Press shows that key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will ease in slightly more than a decade, halving the time Tehran would need to build a bomb.

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UNEXPECTEDLY: Venezuela’s inflation is set to top 1,600% next year.

A shortage of medical supplies means infants and other sick patients are dying of treatable illnesses. Soldiers guard empty grocery store shelves. Inflation is so bad, the government has had to order bolivars by the planeload.

As Caracas extends its declared state of economic emergency, it’s no wonder many economists say the nation will soon have to ask the IMF for a bailout. It’s gotten so bad, the government this week handed over control of food stocks to the military, ceding even more power to the armed forces.

And:

Thursday. My day of the week to buy staples. I head over to the local supermarket just after 10 a.m. Sixty people or so are waiting outside. They’ve come from all over the city, especially the poorer neighborhoods where food is scarcest, to stand in line. No one knows anything: what time the regulated goods will be put up for sale; which items, if any, will be offered; nothing. They just wait, doggedly, under the blistering Caribbean sun.

“This is the line of hope,” one woman says to me. “We are hoping they have something to sell us.” Nice. A little bit of gallows humor. I laugh. A couple hours later, though, with the line still at a standstill, I’m out of hope. I abandon my spot and walk away.

Socialism is about caring.

SCRATCH A GREEN.

(Unexpectedly.)

STACY McCAIN: Make America Hate Again — Liberals surrender to fear as polls show Hillary losing ground:

“Anyone who supports Donald Trump is a traitor to the American idea,” Charles Pierce, the left-wing political blogger for Esquire declared Thursday, calling the upcoming GOP convention “a four-day celebration of the ritual suicide of American democracy.”

That’s pretty rich coming from Pierce, the same journalist who “won” the quote of the year at the Media Research Center’s annual Dishonors awards for 2003 after writing in the Boston Globe, “If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.”

More from McCain:

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow told an interviewer she is preparing for a possible Trump presidency by “reading a lot about what it was like when Hitler first became chancellor.”

Note what enflames those employed by MSNBC: A middle-aged New York real estate tycoon and media gadfly (a former employee of NBC, their parent company, to boot) is Hitler, but Islamic jihad in Nice is merely a “Deadly Truck Crash.”

Back to Stacy:

No sooner had media outlets reported that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence would be Trump’s vice-presidential pick than the socialist magazine Mother Jones rushed out an online report with the headline: “Mike Pence Has Led a Crusade Against Abortion Access and LGBT Rights.”

Eight years after Obama ran on a slogan of “Hope and Change,” Democrats now seem prepared to campaign on a theme of Hate and Fear. With the eager assistance of the liberal media, Team Clinton is trying to convince voters that Republicans are “un-American,” and that Trump is Hitler. The fearmongering attack on Pence was evidently intended to make gullible liberals imagine that the Republican governor has turned Indiana into a Taliban-like regime of fundamentalist repression. However, despite his avowed social-conservative leanings — Pence calls himself “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order” — his governorship has been more defined by Pence’s budget-hawk fiscal conservatism. It’s true that conservative Republicans have tried to defend the state’s wholesome Midwest values against gay-rights radicalism, and it’s also true that Pence is solidly pro-life. So what? The GOP platform has been opposed to abortion for more than 40 years, and recent controversies involving “LGBT Rights” have raised legitimate concerns about religious liberty. Any other Republican who had been picked as Trump’s running mate would have been demonized the same way Pence is being demonized. This is simply what the media do — promote whatever message Democrats want them to promote and call it “objective journalism.”

Thirty years of “Objective” journalism and the largely Democrat-controlled media overculture is what created Trump. It will be fascinating to watch how it continues to feed his “unexpected” rise – possibly even to November and beyond.