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IN “THE SCIENCE OF INTELLECTUAL TRIBALISM”, Jonah Goldberg writes:

‘David Gelernter, fiercely anti-intellectual computer scientist, is being eyed for Trump’s science adviser.” — Washington Post, January 18

Um. Well, huh.

For those unfamiliar with David Gelernter, he essentially created parallel computing, which sounds like witchcraft to me, but I’m told it’s a really big deal. He was also one of the first people to see the Internet coming, in his 1991 book Mirror Worlds. Bill Joy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, described Gelernter as “one of the most brilliant and visionary computer scientists of our time.” Ted Kaczynski — aka “the Unabomber” — agreed, which is why he maimed Gelernter with a letter bomb in a 1993 assassination attempt.

Gelernter, who teaches computer science at Yale and has degrees in classical Hebrew, has written books and articles on history, culture, religion, artificial intelligence, and philosophy. His acclaimed paintings don’t do too much for me, but that’s probably because I’m a bit of Philistine about these things.

Regardless, saying that Gelernter is “fiercely anti-intellectual” is a bit like saying Tiger Woods is fiercely anti-golf.

So what on earth could the Washington Post mean with that headline?

This is how Tom Wolfe defined the term “intellectual” in his 2000 essay, “In the Land of the Rococo Marxists:”

The word “intellectual,” used as a noun referring to the “intellectual laborer” who assumes a political stance, did not exist until Georges Clemenceau used it in 1898 during the Dreyfus case, congratulating those “intellectuals,” such as Marcel Proust and Anatole France, who had joined Dreyfus’s great champion, Emile Zola. Zola was an entirely new form of political eminence, a popular novelist. His famous J’accuse was published on the front page of a daily newspaper, L’Aurore (“The Dawn”), which printed 300,000 copies and hired hundreds of extra newsboys who sold virtually every last one by midafternoon.

Zola and Clemenceau provided a wholly unexpected leg up in life for the ordinary worker ants of “pure intellectual labor” (Clemenceau’s term): your fiction writers, playwrights, poets, history and lit profs, that whole cottage industry of poor souls who scribble, scribble, scribble. Zola was an extraordinary reporter (or “documenter,” as he called himself) who had devoured the details of the Dreyfus case to the point where he knew as much about it as any judge, prosecutor, or law clerk. But that inconvenient detail of Zola’s biography was soon forgotten. The new hero, the intellectual, didn’t need to burden himself with the irksome toil of reporting or research. For that matter, he needed no particular education, no scholarly training, no philosophical grounding, no conceptual frameworks, no knowledge of academic or scientific developments other than the sort of stuff you might pick up in Section 9 of the Sunday newspaper. Indignation about the powers that be and the bourgeois fools who did their bidding-that was all you needed. Bango! You were an intellectual.

From the very outset the eminence of this new creature, the intellectual, who was to play such a tremendous role in the history of the twentieth century, was inseparable from his necessary indignation. It was his indignation that elevated him to a plateau of moral superiority. Once up there, he was in a position to look down at the rest of humanity. And it hadn’t cost him any effort, intellectual or otherwise. As Marshall McLuhan would put it years later: “Moral indignation is a technique used to endow the idiot with dignity.” Precisely which intellectuals of the twentieth century were or were not idiots is a debatable point, but it is hard to argue with the definition I once heard a French diplomat offer at a dinner party: “An intellectual is a person knowledgable in one field who speaks out only in others.”

If that’s how the Post’s Sarah Kaplan or her headline writer define the term “intellectual,” then defining Gelernter as “anti-intellectual” is very likely quite justified. But as Jonah goes on to write in his essay on Gelernter, it’s not: “What Kaplan really seems to be getting at is that Gelernter is one of the few major intellectuals out there today who is critical of the intellectual establishment, which acts as a class or guild…“It takes a lot of intellectual firepower and self-confidence to declare that the intellectual emperors have no clothes,” he adds, so it’s no surprise that Gelernter “has been accused of being excessively humble.”

Speaking of emperors with no clothes, here’s what Obama’s “science” “czar” was proposing around this time in 2009:

That wasn’t the zaniest idea that Holdren ever floated. As the anonymous Bay Area blogger Zombie noted with quotes from his 1977 book, Holdren believed that forced abortions and mass sterilization were needed to save the planet from overpopulation. Those ideas that were all the rage among the scientific caste back in the ‘70s, who drank gallons of Paul Ehrlich’s “Population Bomb” Kool-Aid at the dawn of the Nixon era.

I don’t recall anyone on the left in 2009 speaking out and proclaiming Holdren as daft for wanting to fire rockets filled with pollution into the sky. Someone in the Trump administration should propose that as well, just for kicks and gins when he’s attacked as a lunatic by the media.

UNEXPECTEDLY: The Mainstream Media Was in Rare Form During Trump’s Inauguration.

YOU WENT FULL JOHN LEWIS, NBC. NEVER GO FULL JOHN LEWIS:

● Shot: Chuck Todd: Trump Needs to ‘Erase the Asterisk’ of His Election.

● Chaser: MSNBC Panel: Bush Gave Warm Greeting to SCOTUS Justices Because They Got Him Elected.

(Classical reference in headline.)

UPDATE: Not surprisingly, today was quite the dumpster fire at NBC and its subsidiary networks. Chris Matthews “unexpectedly” dialed the Godwin meter up to 11 and then some — throwing in Mussolini murdering his own son to boot:

“But I’m thinking when he said today ‘America First’ it was not just the racial, I mean the, um, I shouldn’t say racial, the Hitlerian background to it. But it was the message I kept thinking, what is Theresa May thinking this morning, when she picks up the papers and goes ‘My God, what did he just say, he said America first, what happened to the special relationship,’” Matthews complained.

* * * * * * * *

MATTHEWS: [B]ut Mussolini had a great solution to that. He had him executed. So, it’s —

MADDOW: Jesus, Chris!

MATTHEWS: So, if I were Jared, I’d be a little careful.

MADDOW: Well, all the people who are waiting for the reference to Mussolini have just started drinking.

And for others keeping score at home, Chris has now compared Republicans as diverse as Trump, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul to Hitler. And in 2012, when faced with the patrician Mitt Romney as the GOP’s presidential candidate, declared words such as “golf” and “Chicago” to be racial dog whistles.

But if Trump is Hitler, why didn’t Matthews warn the NBC brass while the 45th president was still on their payroll?

(Bumped.)

ADRIANA COHEN ON THE DEMOCRATS’ ELECTION-DENIAL:

Since Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, Democrats have been trying to delegitimize his historic upset.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who sent shock waves through the media echo chamber this weekend when he said in an NBC interview, “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president. I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.” Former Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon went on CNN Friday to chime in as well. . . .

I’ll tell you real reasons Clinton lost. In addition to failing to campaign in key battleground states, she lacked an inspiring message. Hillary thought she could win by (A) riding Obama’s coattails and (B) attacking Trump.

Never mind that she alienated voters with her “Pay to Play” family foundation, her Wall Street ties or her failure to maintain national security by insisting on doing government business on a private email server — all to dodge public scrutiny. After the lies she told from “I didn’t send or receive any classified emails,” to blaming a video for the terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, voters got skittish.

Add to it skyrocketing Obamacare premiums and her goose was cooked — quite apart from any alleged hacking.

Remember, Vladimir Putin didn’t announce Obamacare costs were going up double digits on average in 2017 — the Health and Human Services Department did — right before the election.

But no matter, Dems are still trying to delegitimize Trump’s victory. Can you imagine if GOP members of Congress called Obama’s presidency in 2008 or 2012 illegitimate? They would’ve been called racist. If Clinton won this election and Republicans said her presidency wasn’t legitimate, they’d be called sexist. It would be the War on Women all over again.

Yep. And I don’t think this is playing very well, but I also don’t think it’s so much a planned strategy as something they just can’t help. But Joe Manchin understands that this is playing badly with swing voters:

Georgia Rep. John Lewis’ comments about President-elect Trump were “uncalled for,” Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Sunday.

“I’ve got the utmost respect for Congressman Lewis. He’s an icon, if you will,” Manchin told CBS’ John Dickerson. “I just think that was uncalled for. I just wish that rhetoric would tone down from both back and forth.”

Lewis had said last week he doesn’t view Trump as a “legitimate” president, nor does he look forward to working with the president-elect once he enters office.

The “bickering going on back and forth” between Lewis and Trump makes the U.S. look weaker to its allies, Manchin said.

Related: Don Surber: When Atlanta’s High Crime Rate Is Acceptable To The Journal-Constitution. When treating it as a problem might help Trump, of course.

Plus: The Left Hates Trump Because His Victory Was A Cultural One, Not Just A Political One:

The left is used to losing political battles. They scream and cry over these but they don’t truly panic, because they know that as long as they maintain their hammerlock on the culture, Republicans can’t really change anything.

Blue Team Progressivism is a church, offering you moral superiority and a path to spiritual enlightenment. As a church it’s got a lot going for it. It runs religious programming on television, all day every day. Every modern primetime program is like a left-wing Andy Griffith show, reinforcing lessons of inclusion, tolerance, feminism, and anti-racism.

Watching a 90-pound Sci-Fi heroine beat up a room full of giant evil men is as satisfying to the left as John Wayne westerns were for the right.

The Blue Church controls the HR department, so even if you don’t go to church, you have to act like a loyal churchgoer in every way that matters while you’re on the clock. And off the clock, on any kind of public social media platform.

Jon Stewart and John Oliver are basically TV preachers. Watching them gives the same sense of quiet superiority your grandma gets from watching The 700 Club. The messages are constantly reinforced, providing that lovely dopamine hit, like an angel’s voice whispering, “You’re right, you’re better, you’re winning.”

Hollywood award shows are like church talent shows – the skits and jokes aren’t really funny, but it’s fun to look at the pretty girls, and you’re all on the same team. . . .

For the first time in decades, voters explicitly rejected the Blue Church, defying hours of daily cultural programming, years of indoctrination from the schools, and dozens of explicit warnings from HR.

We’ve been trained since childhood to obey the pretty people on TV, but for the first time in decades, that didn’t work.

Donald Trump won because flyover America wants their culture back, and Blue Team has not been rejected like that before.

The younger ones have grown up in an environment where Blue Faith assumptions cannot even be questioned, except anonymously by the bad kids on Twitter.

But now the bad kids are getting bolder, posting funny memes that make you laugh even though John Oliver would not approve, like passing crude dirty pictures under the table in Sunday School.

Meryl Streep is panicking because for the first time voters have rejected HER, and everything her faith has taught her to believe.

I think there’s a lot to that.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Your next home security system could deploy patrol drones.

Alarm has developed a machine learning algorithm, called the Insights Engine, that continually monitors sensors placed around your property to learn how things are normally run and to quickly identify unexpected events — say, a break-in or a water leak — when they occur. If the system does spot something out of the ordinary, it will deploy a swarm of autonomous UAVs built on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Flight drone platform to investigate. These little fliers will swarm over the event site and provide live video feeds to your phone. You can also opt in to share that video data with either Alarm.com’s central monitoring facility or directly with emergency responders.

There’s a sitcom scene yet to be written with a sneaky teenager barely making their way back into the house late at night, pursued by security drones.

NOTHING POLITICAL ABOUT THE TIMING HERE: Justice, FBI to be investigated over Clinton probes.

The Justice Department inspector general on Thursday announced that it will launch an investigation into the FBI’s conduct leading up to the 2016 elections.

The probe, which comes in response to requests from numerous chairmen and ranking members of congressional oversight committees, will look into allegations that Director James Comey broke bureau policy with his various public disclosures regarding the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

The FBI’s role in Clinton’s unexpected defeat in November has remained a subject of fierce debate — with Comey himself in the middle of the controversy. Clinton’s campaign has blamed Comey and the FBI for her loss to President-elect Donald Trump.

Well, Trump could always fire the Inspector General, the way that Obama did with Gerald Walpin. The usual “ethics watchdogs” were awfully quiet about that, but I’m sure they’d rouse for Trump.

IS THERE ANYTHING HE CAN’T DO? America was the unexpected theme at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show thanks to Trump.

UNEXPECTEDLY: ABC, NBC Skip White Chicago Man Being Tortured Live on Facebook by Four African-Americans, while shouting “fuck Trump” and “fuck white people.” Equally unexpectedly, CBS’s coverage left out those last two details:

With ABC and NBC choosing to keep their audiences in the dark on this (at least until Thursday morning), the CBS Evening News was the lone network left to cover it. However, fill-in anchor Josh Elliott could only muster a 27-second news brief that only vaguely described the situation.

“Well, Chicago, which just had one of its most violent years ever, was the scene of another horrifying attack this week. A young man, described as law enforcement sources as developmentally challenged, was beaten, kicked, and tormented for half an hour,” Elliott explained.

He concluded by alluding to the assault being broadcasted on Facebook and how the victim “had been reported missing from his home in the suburbs” but “is now in the hospital and four suspects are in custody.”

CBS’s blackout on the details of this story, and their competitors’ embargo of the story itself, dovetails perfectly with Iowahawk’s observation that “Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving,” and Jim Treacher’s line that in the 21st century, the profession “is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn’t know because they might reflect badly on Democrats.”

Related: “The Left’s insane hatred of Donald Trump has spun out of control, and there have been far too many instances of this sort of depraved violence,” John Hinderaker writes at Power Line. “I don’t want to hear another damn word about ‘hate crimes’ against minorities supposedly inspired by Donald Trump’s campaign or election, not unless they equal this level of depravity.”

 

HUH: States that legalized marijuana saw a drop in traffic deaths.

“Instead of seeing an increase in fatalities, we saw a reduction, which was totally unexpected,” said Julian Santaella-Tenorio, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

Since 1996, 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical use.

Deaths dropped 11 percent on average in states that legalized medical marijuana, researchers discovered after analyzing 1.2 million traffic fatalities nationwide from 1985 through 2014.

The decrease in traffic fatalities was particularly striking – 12 percent – in 25- to 44-year-olds, an age group with a large percentage of registered medical marijuana users, the authors report in the American Journal of Public Health.

Though Santaella-Tenorio was surprised by the drop in traffic deaths, the results mirror the findings of another study of data from 19 states published in 2013 in The Journal of Law and Economics. It showed an 8 to 11 percent decrease in traffic fatalities during the first full year after legalization of medical marijuana.

Correlation is not causation, of course, and the story also notes that after an big initial drop, fatalities in some states began to rise again. But concerns about stoned drivers making the roads radically more dangerous haven’t materialized, which ought to (but probably won’t) put a stop to some of the Reefer Madness-level panicmongering over legalization.

WHY THE NEW YORK TIMES’ RESOLUTION FOR MORE ACCURATE REPORTING IS DOOMED:

The problem with these mea culpas and modified, limited hang-outs is that anyone familiar with the history of The New York Times has seen this movie before. Baquet may think putting people out on the road is the answer, but the paper has been there and done that in 2004. David Kirkpatrick spent a year in the field, covering mostly the socially conservative tribes of Jesusland. Yet here is the NYT, right back where it started.

The pre-election lack of balance Spayd identified continues in the paper’s current coverage. The NYT has visited flyover country from time to time after the election and occasionally included comments from Trump supporters in other pieces. But as before, such stories are drowned about by the flood tide of Times coverage serving progressives’ parochial appetites.

Immediately after every presidential election, the MSM promises to improve their coverage, even in November of 2008, when the DNC-MSM went all-in to successfully elect Obama.”Unexpectedly” though, it only gets worse during each successive presidential election. You almost wish they’d run an Onion-style headline instead: DON’T WORRY COCOONED READERS, WE’LL STILL BE TOTALLY IN THE TANK FOR THE NEXT DEM CANDIDATE AND WE’LL STILL HALF-ASS IT IN 2020. At least they’d get points for being honest Democrat operatives with bylines for a change.

KERRY ON ISRAEL: An Alternate Universe.

Amir Cohen:

Kerry’s speech was already going to be drowned out by the global din around United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which passed in recent days after the U.S. abstained, and which among other things lumped Judaism’s holiest sites in East Jerusalem together with the West Bank and declared all of them occupied Palestinian territory. It has been criticized first, as a diplomatic gambit that detonated the peace process and second, as an abandonment of Israel contrary to decades of U.S. diplomacy aimed at blocking international assaults on the Jewish state.

The resolution presented another rhetorical problem for Kerry: to even get to the parameters he was going to have to get past those two criticisms. He needed to paint a world in which the UNSCR built on the peace process rather than detonated it, and boosted Israel rather than abandoning it.

He did exactly that, but at the cost of whatever relevance the speech might have had left, because the world he painted has very little in common with the one we live in. He couldn’t even craft a single version where everything fell into place, but had to leap from one alternate reality to another. Those who work on the Middle East as it actually exists don’t have anything in the speech for them.

This is perhaps not unexpected from the man who invented huge swaths of his Vietnam service record, then gained domestic fame by comparing his fellow U.S. troops there to Ghenghis Khan.

MICHAEL WALSH: In the Wake of Trump’s Election, Consumer Confidence Soars.

Unexpectedly!, as Obama’s hagiographiers at Bloomberg would say. Around this time in 2008, Time magazine and other leftists were busy describing BHO as the next FDR, but as Amity Shlaes, the historian of the Depression that FDR prolonged by eight years warned, business and consumer uncertainty during a regulatory-obsessed socialist regime is a great way to keep a stagnant economy from catching fire.

“She Betrayed Our Country” – Afghan “Top Gun” Pilot Seeks US Asylum, Sparks Domestic Outrage.

It all started when Niloofar Rahmani, a 25-year-old pilot described widely domestically as the “Afghan Top Gun”, was scheduled to return to Afghanistan last week after a 15-month training course with the US air force. But on the eve of her departure, she announced she will not be returning according to AFP, citing fears for her safety, triggering a storm of criticism in Afghanistan for “betraying” her nation but also garnering support from activists.

For a country whose love-hate relationship with the US in the past two decades has mostly gravitated to the latter, the defection was a huge blow: “What she said in the US was irresponsible and unexpected. She was meant to be a role model for other young Afghans,” defense ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanesh said on Monday. “She has betrayed her country. It is a shame.”

Rahmani had emerged as a symbol of hope for Afghan women when she surfaced in the press in 2013 after becoming Afghanistan’s first woman pilot since the Taliban era, dressed in tan combat boots, khaki overalls and aviator glasses. The once-unimaginable feat last year won her the US State Department’s “Women of Courage Award”.

But with fame came death threats from insurgents and she routinely faced contempt from her male colleagues in a conservative nation where many still believe that a woman does not belong outside the home. In an interview in Kabul last year, Rahmani said she always carried a pistol for her protection and though she has grown accustomed to the ogling eyes of men, she never left her airbase in uniform, lest it make her a target.

We would be lucky to keep her.

UNEXPECTEDLY: CA Gun Sales Surge Ahead of ‘Assault Rifle’ Ban.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Berlin Christmas market attack suspect a refugee, security sources say.

The man suspected of deliberately ramming a large truck into a Christmas market in Berlin is a refugee from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, two German intelligence officials and a police official told CNN.

The sources said the suspect in Monday evening’s attack, which killed 12 people and injured dozens more, arrived in Passau, a city on Germany’s border with Austria, on December 31, 2015, after traveling through the Balkans.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a press conference on Tuesday saying it would be “especially disgusting” if the suspect turned out to have been given asylum in Germany.

Indeed.

UPDATE: Berlin police – “We have the wrong man”

Welt via Google Translate:

The allegations of the alleged perpetrator had been examined and considered to be correct. “We have the wrong man,” says the Berlin police. “And thus a new situation. For the real culprit is still armed at large and can cause new damage. “The capital’s preparedness police and the special forces were informed.

Earlier Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (CDU) had informed that the arrested suspect denies a complicity . According to him, he comes from Pakistan. He was submitted to Germany on 31 December 2015 and registered, said the minister. His asylum procedure has not yet been concluded after several attempts at a hearing have not taken place.

In the cab of the truck was found according to information of the news agency dpa blood-smeared clothes. In the case of the suspect who was later arrested at some distance from the crime scene, on the other hand, no clothing stained with blood was found, according to security circles.

According to de Maizière, “there is no longer any doubt that the terrible event last night was an attack.” The semitrailer was consciously controlled in the human population. “We are dealing with a brutal assassination attempt,” said the minister. An official confession of a terrorist group does not yet exist, but indirect assurances.

Did they simply arrest the wrong man, or was he acting as a decoy?

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: New and improved: Syphilis makes comeback with unexpected drug resistance.

UNEXPECTEDLY: New York Times Hires Reporter Who Sent Stories To Hillary Staffers For Approval.

Fortunately for the Times, unlike his pose during the previous eight years, I doubt Glenn Thrush will be feigning much boredom during the Trump administration. (Perhaps a little ignorance of history, though.) And I doubt he’ll dub their worst decisions as “badass.”

Just think of him as a Democrat operative with a byline, and you’ll rarely go far wrong.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Trump’s Popularity Rising Post-Election.

THE SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW EXPECTATIONS: Obama hails Obama for his anti-terror work.

“He gave himself an A,” reports Andrew Malcolm — well of course he did.

More:

Obama has struggled to seem relevant in these waning 43 days of his lame-duckness. As Americans’ eyes turn hopefully toward a new presidential administration under construction in New York City, simple static shots of a Trump Tower elevator overwhelmed once must-see images of Obama greeting leaders and reviewing troops in foreign capitals.

Obama’s got one long Air Force One voyage left: An 18-hour round-trip vacation junket to Hawaii next week at $209,000 per flight hour. But before then, he flew down to Tampa to tell Special Ops troops what they’ve been doing these last long eight years under his command.

As usual, Obama’s report had a strong emphasis on Obama. “On January 20th,” he said, “I will become the first President of the United States to serve two full terms during a time of war.” An unexpected boast from a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

You may recall Obama has told the military the biggest threat to national security is global warming. You may also remember he’s often said that defeating ISIS is his No. 1 priority. Your choice.

It’s nice to have choices.

WHICH BRINGS US TO THE END OF THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: U.S. life expectancy declines for the first time since 1993.

Rising fatalities from heart disease and stroke, diabetes, drug overdoses, accidents and other conditions caused the lower life expectancy revealed in a report released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics. In all, death rates rose for eight of the top 10 leading causes of death.

“I think we should be very concerned,” said Princeton economist Anne Case, who called for thorough research on the increase in deaths from heart disease, the No. 1 killer in the United States. “This is singular. This doesn’t happen.”

A year ago, research by Case and Angus Deaton, also an economist at Princeton, brought worldwide attention to the unexpected jump in mortality rates among white middle-aged Americans. That trend was blamed on what are sometimes called diseases of despair: overdoses, alcoholism and suicide. The new report raises the possibility that major illnesses may be eroding prospects for an even wider group of Americans.

This report will probably become bigger news after January 20.

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.

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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.

sebelius_web_sites_for_dummies_11-1-13

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:

dont_sugarcoat_it_colin_powell_9-14-16-1

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:

geraghty_merkel_12-9-15-1

 

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.

black_lives_matter_palestinian_israel_banner_8-11-16-1

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: