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UNEXPECTEDLY: Democrats hated John Bolton until Trump fired him.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Washington Post stands by bogus report claiming North Carolina GOP held vote while Democrats were at 9/11 ceremony. “You may want to sit down for this one: A major newsroom published a bogus story this week casting Republicans as villains and Democrats as noble victims. Big, I know.”

UNEXPECTEDLY: AlienStock/Storm Area 51 Has Officially Been Cancelled.

UNEXPECTEDLY? China’s exports fall unexpectedly in August, as trade war continues to slam industrial economy.

Furthermore, the much-reported 3.8 per cent depreciation of the yuan in August failed to stop the decline in exports – despite Washington’s fears that it was being used to give China’s exporters an unfair advantage.

It is a far cry from the double-digit expansion that characterised the export machine that powered the Chinese economy for more than two decades.

The weak export figures will put further pressure on China’s already slowing economy. The central bank on Friday said it would cut the amount of cash banks must hold as reserves to the lowest level since 2007 in a bid to inject liquidity into the economy and stimulate demand.

And that’s with American businesses front-loading their orders from China in the weeks before the new tariffs kicked in.

I’d also add that the consumer-driven economy China needs to develop to replace slowing export growth requires a kind of consumer-driven country which Communists have a hard time delivering — and over the long run, an impossible time accommodating.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Bill De Blasio among legislators who honored African tyrant Robert Mugabe.

(Via Jim Geraghty.)

UNEXPECTEDLY: Biden’s Bloody Eye on CNN Somehow Spiked by Everyone But Fox.

Shades of how the media treated Hillary’s collapse on September 11th, 2016.

BLOOMBERG “REPORTER” (FOR NOW) BEN PENN: Hey, Don’t Overlook The Fact That I Took Out an Official Pushing Deregulation. As Ace of Spades writes:

Virtually a confession that he ran this garbage as a political hit.

Lost in all of this is that Olson was part of a team of political appointees tasked with the heavy lift of drafting wage-hour regulations that are high priorities for Trump White House, business community. They’re now down one adviser.

How can you read that as anything other than saying, “You should support me, even if I lied, because I got a scalp for the left”?

And Michael Bloomberg’s namesake media empire does! Statement From Bloomberg: ‘We stand behind’ Ben Penn’s despicable smear job on Leif Olson.

“Unexpectedly,” as they used to say at Bloomberg, whenever bad economic news happened on Obama’s watch.

REALITY IS NOT BIDEN’S STRONG SUIT: ‘Ignoring reality’: Biden got it wrong on Iraq, Mattis says. “‘He was past the point where he was willing to entertain a ‘good idea.’ He didn’t want to hear more; he wanted our forces out of Iraq. Whatever path led there fastest, he favored. He exuded the confidence of a man whose mind was made up, perhaps even indifferent to considering the consequences were he judging the situation incorrectly.'”

Mattis winds up basically blaming Biden for the rise of ISIS, adding, “It would take many years and tens of thousands of casualties, plus untold misery for millions of innocents, to break ISIS’s geographic hold. All of this was predicted — and preventable.”

Related item here.

Plus: “Joe Biden’s Iraq Decisions Haunt Him in 2020,” DNC house organ the Atlantic claims:

The criticism tends to focus on Biden’s Senate vote for a resolution authorizing military force in Iraq, which George W. Bush used to justify his invasion. But his time leading Iraq policy during Barack Obama’s first term is more relevant to the present moment. Whoever wins the presidency in 2020 likely will confront a similar dilemma to the one Biden then faced: a lingering U.S. troop presence, a war-weary U.S. public, and an enemy that is down but not yet defeated.

This story begins in early 2009, after Obama swept into office promising to end the deeply unpopular war in Iraq. There were still 150,000 American soldiers in the country. The newly inaugurated president turned to his vice president and told him to bring the troops home. “We were sitting in the Oval Office one day and talking about [the troop presence], and Obama looked at Biden and said, ‘Joe, I think you should do this. We need sustained focus from the White House. You know Iraq better than anyone,’” Antony Blinken, Biden’s national security adviser, told me. “It was as simple as that.”

The gravity of that mission for a man who’d played a part in starting the war was apparent. Seventy-six senators, including 28 Democrats, had joined Biden in the fateful 2002 vote, but he bore special responsibility as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. (He claimed at the time that the authorization would avert war by pushing Saddam Hussein to let weapons inspectors into the country, and later argued that Bush had misused it.) In the years since the invasion, he’d traveled often to Iraq, building relationships with the war’s key players.

Biden threw himself into the mission. He chaired meetings and oversaw negotiations. By the end of 2011, the war was over, and the American troops had left. “He is the guy who oversaw the drawdown, in effect, on the political side, of U.S. forces from 150,000 to virtually zero,” Blinken told me.

Then it all went horribly wrong.

Unexpectedly.

ANDREW KLAVAN: ‘Watergate’ Doesn’t Mean What the Press Thinks It Means.

Recently, reading Mark Levin’s Unfreedom of the Press, I was reminded that, before reporters went on their great crusade against Richard Nixon, they had overlooked a whole lot of corruption in the Democrat presidents who preceded him.

Levin tells how John F. Kennedy, with the knowledge of his brother and Attorney General Robert, nudged the IRS into auditing conservative groups. With Kennedy approval, the FBI was also employed to investigate those the administration disliked, including Martin Luther King Jr. Lyndon Baines Johnson would later increase the politically motivated auditing and spying. None of this was uncovered until later on.

Ben Bradlee — the editor of the Washington Post, where Woodward and Bernstein broke the Watergate story — was well aware of his pal Kennedy’s misuse of the tax and investigative agencies. Not only did he not report it, he allowed himself and his paper to be manipulated by information JFK had wrongly obtained.

This totally changes the Watergate narrative. Nixon’s dirty tricks and enemy lists may have been creepy and wrong, but the press exposure of these misdemeanors came after years of ignoring similar and worse malfeasance by Democrat administrations.

That changes what Watergate means. That transforms it from a heroic crusade into a political hit job, Democrat hackery masquerading as nobility. The press turned a blind eye to the corruption of JFK and LBJ, then raced to overturn the election of a man they despised—despised in part because he battled the Communism many of them had espoused.

What is it Karl Marx said: History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce?

Read the whole thing. While the left launched Watergate to destroy Nixon, the discovery by the American people that It Didn’t Start With Watergate, as Victor Lasky accurately titled his 1977 book did much to make the distrust of government an “unexpectedly” bipartisan affair in the 1970s. Or as David Frum puts it in his 2000 book How We Got Here: The 70s The Decade That Brought You Modern Life — For Better Or Worse: 

Some blame Watergate for this abrupt collapse of trust in institutions, but not very convincingly. For one thing, the decline in trust begins to appear in the polls as early as 1966, almost a decade before the Watergate was known as anything more than a big hole in the ground alongside the Potomac River. For another, the nation had managed unconcernedly to shrug off Watergate-style events before. Somebody bugged Barry Goldwater’s apartment during the 1964 election without it triggering a national trauma. The Johnson administration tapped the phones of Nixon supporters in 1968, and again nothing happened. John F. Kennedy regaled reporters with intimate details from the tax returns of wealthy Republican donors, and none of the reporters saw anything amiss. FDR used the Federal Bureau of Investigation to spy on opponents of intervention into World War II—and his targets howled without result. If Watergate could so transform the nation’s sense of itself, why did those previous abuses, which were equally well known to the press, not do so? Americans did not lose their faith in institutions because of the Watergate scandal; Watergate became a scandal because Americans were losing faith in their institutions.

Which brings us back to Andrew Klavan’s article above, in which he writes, “History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce…Like the Nixon takedown, the attacks on Trump come after years of turning a blind eye to the corruption of a Democrat. Obama’s IRS campaign against the Tea Party? His lies about Benghazi? His Fast and Furious fiasco? His shutdown of a massive drug investigation to appease Iran? No big deal. Obama was, as almost every mainstream outlet has declared, ‘scandal free.’”

Read the whole thing.

GREEN NUDE EEL SNEAK PREVIEW: The world’s first solar road has turned out to be a colossal failure that’s falling apart and doesn’t generate enough energy, according to a report.

Unexpectedly.

Related! Apparently earth’s CO2 levels are as high as they were 800,000 years ago and inquiring minds want to know who was responsible back then.

No doubt Fred and Barney lighting up their Winstons at the quarry contributed mightily to prehistoric global warming.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Automakers Need to Start Worrying About the Batteries Lurking in Older EVs. “A number of electric vehicles in the United States are about to celebrate their 10th birthday. A bunch of them are Nissan Leafs, the first mainstream BEV made widely available in the U.S. market.”

More:

“A refurb program is needed to help owners who were affected by Gen 1 vehicles,” Kan-ade said. “I believe that these early battery failures are part of a learning curve that was passed on to the consumer. Nissan offered a battery replacement program for $5,500, but unfortunately they quietly raised the price to $8,500.”

Despite Nissan being among the first automakers to confront these issues, it is not the only one that has to confront them. Other automakers are facing similar problems stemming from hybrid cars, and we’re just a few years away from a glut of all-electric Teslas coping with an identical plight — followed swiftly by every other automaker that decided to build BEVs at scale.

Among the biggest concerns is resale value. With no refurb solution, owners will essentially be forced to throw a car onto the secondhand market needing thousands in repairs. Sure, they could foot the bill themselves, but why bother replacing the most expensive component in your vehicle just to sell it? Likewise, why would the average used-car buyer choose to spend the cash when they’re already in search of a bargain?

These are questions a lot of us have been asking for a long time, because once battery capacity is diminished far enough, what’s left of an EV is basically disposable.

My modest proposal: A recycling fee in excess of whatever tax incentives EV owners might have received.

UNEXPECTEDLY: New York City Businesses Struggle to Keep Up After Minimum Wage Increase. “Business owners and leaders say labor costs have forced cuts in jobs and work shifts.”

Many business owners said these changes were unintended consequences of the new minimum wage, which took effect at the beginning of the year.

Susannah Koteen, owner of Lido Restaurant in Harlem, said she worries about the impact raising wages could have on her restaurant, where she employs nearly 40 people. She hasn’t had to lay off anyone, but the increase has forced her to cut back on shifts and be more stringent about overtime. She said she changes her menu offerings seasonally and raises prices more often since the wage boost.

“What it really forces you to do is make sure that nobody works more than 40 hours,” Ms. Koteen said. “You can only cut back so many people before the service starts to suffer.”

Ms. Koteen said she shelved plans to move her restaurant to a larger location. That would require her to hire more staff, and she isn’t willing to take the risk with the unpredictability of her business. “You would just have no choice but to cut people at the bottom,” she said.

Plus: “Thomas Grech, president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said he has seen an uptick in small-business closures during the past six to nine months, and he attributed it to the minimum-wage legislation.”

If only there were some sort of predictable relationship between price and demand, perhaps one you could plot on an easy-to-understand curve, then politicians wouldn’t keep making this mistake.

HONG KONG: It’s Now A Revolution. “In Hong Kong, revolution is in the air. What started out as an unexpectedly large demonstration in late April against a piece of legislation—an extradition bill—has become a call for democracy in the territory as well as independence from China and the end of communism on Chinese soil.”

Plus: “Some of the protest messages were impossible to miss. In Wanchai’s Golden Bauhinia Square, a magnet for tourists from other parts of China, kids spray-painted a statue with provocative statements such as ‘The Heavens will destroy the Communist Party’ and ‘Liberate Hong Kong.'”

THE CORBYNIZATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONTINUES APACE: Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) Tells Jake Tapper, Israel “exists” to the “detriment” of Palestinians.

It’s an “unexpectedly” popular sentiment of CNN staffers as well.

 

 

TIME FOR CNN TO EITHER DOXX ITSELF OR GIVE AN EDITOR A PROMOTION: CNN Photo Editor Posted Vicious Anti-Semitic Tweets on Deaths of ‘Jewish Pigs.’

Mohammed Elshamy has now locked his account (unexpectedly), but he’s far from the first CNN employee who has expressed anti-Semitic sentiments. A week ago, Jewish Insider reported that “Former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill claimed that news outlets like NBC and ABC were ‘Zionist organizations’ that produced ‘Zionist content,’ during a panel on Friday at the annual Netroots Nation summit held by progressive activists in Philadelphia…Hill’s comments came less than a year after he lost his CNN perch after calling for a ‘free Palestine from the river to the sea,’ during an appearance at the U.N. The statement was interpreted by many as a call for the elimination of Israel, something Hill denied.”

In 2014, the Washington Free Beacon reported that “CNN International correspondent Diana Magnay referred to a group of Israelis as ‘scum’ after she claimed that they were standing on a hill near the town of Sderot cheering as bombs landed in Gaza, according to a screen-shot of the comment captured by National Review.”

When CNN’s senior editor of Mideast affairs Octavia Nasr was fired in 2010, for tweeting, “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot,” Cal Thomas opined, “The dirty little secret here is that she was simply expressing viewpoints that is widespread not only in the American media but much of the Euro media.  If you watch the BBC, for example, as I frequently do when I’m over there, coverage of the Middle East, it is virtually all one-sided, pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel.  Christiane Amanpour holds many of these views as well, I would daresay, but she is smart enough and sophisticated enough not to stick them on a Tweet.”

UPDATE: Elshamy walks the plank; CNN is describing it as a voluntary “resignation:”

CNN Digital Worldwide & Great Big Story Communications Vice President Matt Dornic said in a statement to the Journal, “The network has accepted the resignation of a photo editor, who joined CNN earlier this year, after anti-Semitic statements he’d made in 2011 came to light. CNN is committed to maintaining a workplace in which every employee feels safe, secure and free from discrimination regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.”

Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Journal in a phone interview that he didn’t think CNN’s statement on Elshamy was good enough.

“They owe the Jewish community and the victims of terrorism an apology,” Cooper said.

Note that CNN’s laundry list above doesn’t include political worldview, which is why the network has no problem doxxing conservatives.

MORE: Another CNN Personality’s Antisemitic Tweets Unearthed: ‘I Love You Hitler.’

(Updated and bumped.)

ANDREA MITCHELL MESSES UP AGAIN, AND COINCIDENTALLY, IT’S IN DEFENSE OF DEMOCRATS:

The story is not simply that NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent is so often wrong about so many things. The story is that she always seems to favor Democrats.

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell marveled this week that anyone would use the word “socialist” to refer to the freshmen Democratic women, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley.

“First of all, none of these members of Congress are socialists,” Mitchell said during a discussion regarding House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s defense of President Trump’s rally this week in North Carolina, “but that is the way the Republican leadership wants to frame this election. They don’t have a Democrat to run against, they’re not running against Bernie Sanders per se yet.”

* * * * * * * *

As it turns out, both Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib are members of a group called the Democratic Socialists of America, which claims to be the “largest socialist organization in the United States.” Ocasio-Cortez herself once said in an interview, “Call me a socialist. I don’t give a damn.” Further, as the Washington Free Beacon notes, an Omar staffer told a DSA representative in 2018 that “[Omar] is proud to call herself a democratic socialist, she’s very excited about this. So I hope you guys endorse us, too.”

For someone who has held herself out as a political journalist for over 50 years, Mitchell has an “unexpectedly” great difficulty in determining the ideology of those she reports on, those who work with her, and even her own. Such as this example from 2007, when interviewed by Bill O’Reilly:

Mitchell on Chris Matthews: “I don’t think he’s a liberal thinker.”

And later: “I don’t feel there is bias in what we do at NBC News. And I don’t think there’s bias in CBS or ABC.”

In 2012, when she attempted to play the race card on GOP opposition to Obama flack Susan Rice, Mitchell responded to the push back that she has no idea what her own politics are!

This POLITICO post as well as the Fox & Friends comment is so out of context I honestly don’t know how to respond to it. It ignores my reporting on all of the political ramifications as well as the sources I cite. I categorically reject Dylan Byers conclusion that over a 40-year career I am associated with any point of view and stand on my reputation.

It must take a serious effort to report on the news without having any bearings whatsoever, but if anybody can, it’s Andrea Mitchell.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Commentary: The unexpected effectiveness of US President Donald Trump. “It is dry stuff, this, but it matters. Mr Trump has been a trooper for the anti-government right. It is a particular effort to keep up with the environmental rules he has either scrapped or loosened. Even if he had pulled off none of these domestic ruptures, his foreign policy would be enough to mark him out as a consequential leader. To harden the US line on China is no feat by itself. . . . Political, diplomatic and corporate elites now countenance a lasting struggle with China. This was not just unforeseeable in 2016. It was unforeseeable at the start of 2018. And its implications include nothing less than the gumming up of the globalisation that Mr Trump defines himself against. . . . To say this is not to credit the president with a bureaucratic guile that is somehow lost on other observers. What he does have is an obsession with a few priorities — which is strategic behaviour of a kind — and a personal force that is difficult to thwart. . . Better President Trump than President Mike Pence, Democrats used to say, reasoning that the vice-president would chase rightwing aims more successfully. You hear less of that now. It is not clear that a more seasoned politician would have achieved a great deal more.”

We’re now squarely in Scott Adams Stage Three.

UNEXPECTEDLY: California doesn’t have enough doctors.

COLD WAR II: China To Sanction American Defense Contractors Who Sell Arms To Taiwan.

No, trade wars aren’t easy to win, and they can be unexpectedly expensive. That doesn’t mean they aren’t sometimes necessary.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: If You’re a Misogynist, the New Terminator Movie Will ‘Scare the F*** Out of You.

This is a brave stance, considering how notoriously misogynistic sci-fi fans are. They’ve avoided the Terminator series, the Alien franchise, the Star Wars movies, every single one of the Hunger Games, Mad Max: Fury Road… If it’s got a girl in it, genre fans don’t want to see it!

Well, too bad, woman-haters. Women get to be in movies now, and there’s nothing you can do about it except stay home.

Remember: If you don’t pay to see a movie with a woman in it, that means you hate women. And if you pay to see a movie with a woman in it and you give it anything less than effusive praise, that means you hate women. And if you disagree that these things mean you hate women, you definitely hate women.

Now go see this movie and like it, you stupid pigs!

Heh. That strategy paid continually decreasing returns for Disney’s reboot of the Star Wars franchise — unexpectedly.

BUT DO THEY, REALLY? “Joe Biden’s Iraq Decisions Haunt Him in 2020,” DNC house organ the Atlantic claims:

The criticism tends to focus on Biden’s Senate vote for a resolution authorizing military force in Iraq, which George W. Bush used to justify his invasion. But his time leading Iraq policy during Barack Obama’s first term is more relevant to the present moment. Whoever wins the presidency in 2020 likely will confront a similar dilemma to the one Biden then faced: a lingering U.S. troop presence, a war-weary U.S. public, and an enemy that is down but not yet defeated.

This story begins in early 2009, after Obama swept into office promising to end the deeply unpopular war in Iraq. There were still 150,000 American soldiers in the country. The newly inaugurated president turned to his vice president and told him to bring the troops home. “We were sitting in the Oval Office one day and talking about [the troop presence], and Obama looked at Biden and said, ‘Joe, I think you should do this. We need sustained focus from the White House. You know Iraq better than anyone,’” Antony Blinken, Biden’s national security adviser, told me. “It was as simple as that.”

The gravity of that mission for a man who’d played a part in starting the war was apparent. Seventy-six senators, including 28 Democrats, had joined Biden in the fateful 2002 vote, but he bore special responsibility as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. (He claimed at the time that the authorization would avert war by pushing Saddam Hussein to let weapons inspectors into the country, and later argued that Bush had misused it.) In the years since the invasion, he’d traveled often to Iraq, building relationships with the war’s key players.

Biden threw himself into the mission. He chaired meetings and oversaw negotiations. By the end of 2011, the war was over, and the American troops had left. “He is the guy who oversaw the drawdown, in effect, on the political side, of U.S. forces from 150,000 to virtually zero,” Blinken told me.

Then it all went horribly wrong.

Unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY:  Ilhan Omar agrees with AOC on America running “concentration camps.”

As Glenn has noted, “getting Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Omar elected was Roger Stone’s finest dirty trick.”

AND THE ANSWER IS NONE. NONE MORE WOKE: Emma Thompson’s Woke Late Night Grabs Gold In Victimhood Olympics.

UPDATE: “Unexpectedly,” Late Night didn’t grab the gold at the box office this weekend, either — despite Amazon spending nearly $50 million promoting the film:

Amazon’s Late Night, another misfire in the indie female cinema space with $4.7M after the studio spent $13M for the pic at Sundance, and from what we hear, another $35M in marketing. Poor results for a film with good exits of a B+ CinemaScore and an 80% on PostTrak from the core female 25+ audience, who showed up at 52%. Amazon observed weeks ago that Late Night was going to tank on tracking, with a $4M-$5M opening. They attempted to shift at the last minute by bowing the film in NY and LA last weekend, and notched the best specialty release theater average opening of $61.5k to date this year. Even though Amazon largely respects theatrical windows (that’s going to change with its awards season push for another Sundance pick-up,  The Report, this fall),  if you think about it, Late Night is an advertisement for Amazon Prime, because that’s the end game for this Mindy Kaling Working Girl comedy. It may also be one of the key reasons why people aren’t rushing out to it.

No, as Christian Toto notes in above, there are all sorts of reasons why people aren’t rushing out to see it.

BUT WHY IS GUATEMALA HUNGRY? The Answer Eludes Nicolas Kristof:

Kristof, who has been feeling a little literary of late, interposes snippets of high-end conspicuous consumption with his tale of Guatemalan woe. The headline reads: “The World’s Malnourished Kids Don’t Need a $295 Burger.”

Ah, but they do. That is exactly what they need.

Guatemala has many hungry children. “In another world,” Kristof writes, “on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the restaurant Serendipity 3 offers a $295 hamburger. Alternatively, it sells a $214 grilled cheese sandwich and a $1,000 sundae.”

(I am not sure about the word “alternatively” in that sentence; I believe the word he is looking for is “also.” These are And People we’re talking about, not Or People.)

* * * * * * * *

The economic arrangements that produce the $295 hamburger also produce the abundance that ensures practically no one in the United States is starving to death for purely economic reasons. Hunger, like genuine homelessness — sleeping-on-the-street homelessness, not living-in-cramped-quarters-with-people-I-would-rather-not-live-with “homelessness” — is in the United States a phenomenon that has little to do with economic exchange (much less insufficient production) but is instead mainly the product of addiction, mental illness, and — worse — the terrible condition of being a child dependent upon someone who is an addict, mentally ill, or indifferent.

* * * * * * * *

What Guatemala needs is capitalism. But what capitalism needs are physical security, property rights, an independent judiciary, political stability, the rule of law, and a functioning civil society. Guatemala does not have these.

But it does have an abundance of “bad luck.” Unexpectedly, of course.

WHERE WERE YOU THE DAY THE INTERNET DIED?

Brilliant thread filled with dire predictions which somehow, completely unexpectedly, never came to pass.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Bipartisan Senate Effort Predictably Kills Rand Paul’s Plan to Balance the Federal Budget. “Paul’s proposal called for cutting 2 percent from all federal line items for each of the next five years and would reduce federal spending by about $11 trillion over the next decade—even though spending would rise after the first five years.”

UNEXPECTEDLY! Why the UK Suddenly Is Suffering from a Physician Shortage.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Trump Has Become The Democrats’ Great White Whale.

One way of envisioning the Democratic obsessions with Donald Trump is as an addiction. We have seen the initial impeachment efforts; the attempt to get him under the emoluments clause, the Logan Act, and the 25th Amendment; the Russian collusion hoax; the Mueller investigation; the demand for his tax returns; and the psychodramas involving Michael Avenatti, Michael Cohen, and Stormy Daniels. Relentless progressives have needed a new Get Trump fix about every two months.

More practically, their fixation also substitutes for a collective poverty of ideas. The Democratic party has no plan to secure the borders other than to be against whatever Trump is for. They would not build a wall, deport illegal entrants, end sanctuary cities, fine employers, or do much of anything but allow almost anyone to enter the U.S.

The homeless crisis is reaching epidemic proportions in our cities, almost all of them run by progressive mayors and city councils. None have any workable plan to clean the sidewalks of needles and human excrement. None know what to do with the hundreds of thousands who have camped out in public spaces, endangering their own health and that of everyone around them due to drug addiction and inadequate sanitation and waste removal.

On abortion, the new Democratic position seems to be that the unborn can be aborted at any time the mother chooses, up to and including the moment of birth.

The Green New Deal has been endorsed by most of the current Democratic-primary candidates, even though they privately know its utopian fantasies would shut down the U.S. economy and destroy the present prosperity fueled by record energy production, deregulation, and tax reform and reduction. . . .

For now, no one has much of an idea what Democratic candidates would actually do, much less how they would do it. . . .

The Democratic establishment has become something like novelist Herman Melville’s phobic Captain Ahab, who became fatally absorbed with chasing his nemesis, the albino whale Moby Dick. The great white whale once ate part of Ahab’s leg, and he demands revenge — even if such a never-ending neurosis leads to the destruction of his ship and crew.

Democrats can never forgive Trump for unexpectedly defeating supposed sure winner Hillary Clinton in 2016 and then systematically — and loudly — undoing the eight-year agenda of Obama.

So far, Trump seems to have escaped all of their efforts to spear and remove him before the 2020 election. Trump, like Moby Dick, seems a weird force of nature whose wounds from constant attacks only seem to make him more indestructible and his attackers even more obsessed with their prey.

So true.

HEH: Vox Media has shifted its hiring toward part-timers and contract workers since its staff unionized. Unexpectedly!

WHAT HATH MERKEL WROUGHT? German Jews warned not to wear kippas after rise in anti-Semitism. Import a bunch of violent anti-semites, get a lot more anti-semitic violence. Unexpectedly!

UNEXPECTEDLY: Who Gets Extra Time on the SAT? The Affluent.

LET ME HAVE AN “UNEXPECTEDLY!”: Wealthy people think they’re better than others, even when they’re not.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Philadelphia’s soda tax bombed as predicted. “Sales in local retail outlets have plunged by more than 50% and mysteriously people are still drinking soda.”

UNEXPECTEDLY! Australia’s conservative coalition secures outright parliamentary majority. The left, which ran on global warming and wokeness, is having a nervous breakdown.

UPDATE: Australian stock market surges to 11-year high off the back of the Coalition’s shock election win.

FRUITS OF #METOO: Sad survey: 60% of male managers are “uncomfortable” working around women.

LeanIn.org and SurveyMonkey just released the results of a survey on the state of men and women interacting in the workplace in the age of #MeToo. The results are frustrating. The data reveals that 60% of male managers say they are uncomfortable performing common workplace activities such as mentoring, working one on one, or socializing with a woman. That’s a 32% increase over last year.

To add insult to insult, senior-level men who were surveyed are now far more hesitant to spend time with junior female colleagues than junior male ones, across a range of basic work activities. The men were 12 times more likely to hesitate to have one-on-one meetings, nine times more likely to hesitate to travel with a junior woman for work, and six times more likely to hesitate to have a work dinner with a junior woman.

Unexpectedly! More here:

But the steady stream of stories of harassment over the past few years seems to be confusing workers about how often harassment really happens. Equal numbers say that the frequency of harassment is increasing (22%) and decreasing (21%), and even more workers don’t know which way it’s going (24%).

On top of that, women feel less safe at work than they did before. Only 85% said they feel safe on the job, down from 91% last year. Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don’t seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable.

Also unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Journos from Prominent News Publications Found to Have Working Relationships With Antifa.

And to think, a decade ago, Iowahawk’s “Media Violence Project: Journo-politico Violence: Deadly Threat or Menacing Trend?” was originally satire.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Australian election is closer than polls indicated; conservative party could hold on.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Research Ties Marijuana Legalization to Car Accidents, Injuries.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Disney’s ‘Tolkien’ Movie Cuts Out the Christian Faith That Inspired His Life and Work.

CHANGE IT BACK: Pornhub wants to buy Tumblr and restore site to former porn-filled glory. “Tumblr owner Verizon seeks buyer months after banning adult content.”

Unexpectedly?

UNEXPECTEDLY! Higher minimum wage means restaurants raise prices and fewer employee hours, survey finds.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Once Again, Trump’s Economy Beats the ‘Experts.’

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

Shot: No one is too old to be president.

—Headline, the Washington Post, yesterday.

Chaser: McCain’s Brain — How might the senator’s mind deteriorate over the next eight years? John McCain is old and, as several news outlets have reported, he’s only getting older.

—Headline, subhead and lede, Slate, then-owned by the Washington Post, June 11, 2008.

Hangover: “The big question he bumps into wherever he goes is his age. Reagan will be 69 in 1980 a year older than William Henry Harrison the country’s oldest president who died a month after his inauguration in 1841.”

—The Washington Post, September 24, 1978.

Typing “John McCain is too old to be president” into Google and setting the date range to cut off at January 1, 2009 brings up just about every major DNC-MSM news site grousing about McCain’s age when the 2008 DNC candidate was the much younger Barack Obama. Now that their leading candidates include Biden, Bernie, and Warren, the media aren’t interested in exploring that topic. Unexpectedly.

OUCH: Tesla Posts $700 Million First-Quarter Loss as CEO Elon Musk Says It Will Offer Insurance.

Analysts expected that Tesla would lose in the neighborhood of 69 cents per share in the first quarter, but Tesla’s real numbers, released today, were much, much worse than that. Tesla lost $2.90 a share, or $702.1 million in the quarter, according to CNBC, almost as much as they lost in the same quarter last year, mostly because of falling demand. Things still aren’t looking up.

The falling demand, much more than the financial loss, is what will worry Tesla the most. That’s because Tesla always positioned the Model 3 to be the mass-market car that would drive profit at the company. But the $7,500 federal tax credit for Tesla started phasing out on January 1, and while the company still sold 63,000 cars this quarter, that was also below analysts’ expectations.

Tesla doesn’t have much time to waste in its effort to grow from boutique carmaker to mass producer, as the bigs here and overseas move big into electric over the next two to five years.

UNEXPECTEDLY! New York state tax revenues plummet by $3.7 billion. In the midst of an economic boom. Well, we know where New York is on the Laffer Curve now.

UNEXPECTEDLY:BuzzFeed collusion ‘bombshell’ not looking so good following release of Mueller report.

DISEASE IS ANTI-VAX, TOO: Measles cases now reach 465 in the U.S., mostly in kids. “CDC reports the second-largest number of cases in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.”

The numbers are preliminary. The 2019 tally is already the most since 2014, when 667 were reported. The most before that was 963 cases in 1994.

Cases have been confirmed in 19 states, up from 15 states the week prior. Outbreaks have hit several states, including California, Michigan and New Jersey. New York City accounted for about two-thirds of the U.S. cases reported last week.

Outbreaks have been linked to U.S. communities with pockets of unvaccinated people and travelers who get measles abroad.

Unexpectedly.

“UNEXPECTEDLY,” NOW IN STEREO: “’New York Times’ Journalist Describes An ‘Almost Unimaginable’ Crisis In Venezuela,” NPR reports.

CTL-F “Socialism” yields zero returns. And the photo atop the article, of an elderly woman dramatically holding a candle in a dark room, is particularly rich coming less than a week after the left’s annual “Earth Hour” blackout stunt, and blanket coverage of AOC’s Green New Deal fantasies.

MEANWHILE, OVER AT VODKAPUNDIT: Surprise! NYC Losing Restaurant Jobs to $15 Minimum Wage.

Some people stockpile food and ammo. My basement has a freezer filled with Sarah Hoyt Shocked Faces, and several crates of Unexpectedlys.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Dick’s Sporting Goods Loses $150 million On Gun Control Crusade.

Now Bloomberg’s own media outlet, Bloomberg.com, is reporting that Dick’s itself estimates the price of its anti-gun advocacy at $150 million in lost sales in 2018, or almost 2% of the company’s annual revenue.

And while anti-gunners insisted they would reward Dick’s with increases in their own business, the same article mentions a new Stanford University study that casts doubt on that premise. According to that research, “Respondents said they were more likely to buy a product to support a CEO’s political stance than they were to boycott in disagreement, but their actions revealed the opposite.” The article continued, “When asked for specific examples, 69 percent could name a product they’d stopped buying, and only 21 percent could recall a product they started buying.”

So it seems, unsurprisingly, that being boastfully anti-gun is a dumb idea for a gun store, as is counting on the professed loyalty and support of anti-gunners (who, let’s face it, probably aren’t likely to be the most athletically inclined people and to need the other types of wares that Dick’s sells anyway).

Nevertheless, Stack remains defiant. “It was worth it,” the article quotes him as saying.

Shareholders ought to sue.

THE 21st CENTURY IS NOT WORKING OUT AS I HAD HOPED: “I Broke Up With Her Because She’s White,” notes a columnist in the New York Times’ “Modern Love” section:

But the real reason I think I can no longer date white women isn’t any of that. It’s because in today’s hashtag-woke society, there is mad pressure to be hashtag-woke. To be aware of the implications of whom you’re attracted to and why. Which means that in the eyes of others, the color of the women I date is a big deal. Like I’m the problem. Like I’m betraying my people if I date white women.

But I was taught that we were all one people!*

I see people watching me with a stink eye, noses turned up, as if they think black and brown people would somehow be better off if I dumped my white girlfriend. It’s a lot of pressure. Along with each watchful eye, the whispers of, “Pick a side, Chris, pick a side,” fill my already noisy mind.

I started reading James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and other black and brown authors looking for guidance, a road map, help on what it means to be a brown man in the world. Like: Yes, our bodies have been colonized. Yes, I am a child of blackness. Yes, the black body has done more for society than it has gotten in return. Yes, society seems to want to embrace a lot of things associated with blackness without actually being black.

How did we get here? If everyone is so woke, why are things so terrible?

Found via Allahpundit, who tweets, “It would take a heart of stone not to laugh at this [last] line.”

“Unexpectedly,” the institutional left is once again acting like the mirror image of the alt-right.

* Not reading the New York Times since the early 1990s, you weren’t.

 

YOUR DAILY HOURLY TREACHER: United Airlines Goes Gender-Neutral or Whatever. In over a century of manned airflight, there’s one nagging problem that has never been addressed: misgendering. That ends today:

 

What could go wrong?

In recent years, United has had a slew of bad publicity, including at least one passenger dragged off a flight, and another who was a 63 year old attorney, teacher, and human rights advocate forced to give up her first class seat for far left Rep Sheila Jackson Lee, only to be dubbed a racist (unexpectedly!) by Lee because she complained. The airline cast off a wide swatch of conservatives when it virtue signaled to the left that it was removing travel discounts for NRA members. Here’s a way for United to get the uber-woke crowd off their backs — at least for a little while.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Gavin Newsom’s death-row betrayal.

As a gubernatorial candidate, Newsom solemnly pledged to abide by the voters’ death-penalty decisions, despite disagreeing with them. He promised to be “accountable to the will of the voters” and not let his “personal opinions” interfere with “the public’s right to make a determination” about capital punishment. His spokesman last year told the San Francisco Chronicle that Newsom “recognizes that California voters have spoken on the issue and [would] respect the will of the electorate.” In editorial-board meetings, Newsom agreed that “it would be an affront for a governor to say ‘Here’s what I’m going to do by fiat.'”

His word was not to be trusted.

Why would Californians have ever trusted his word? Newsom has long enjoyed instituting his vision by fiat, something voters of the formerly Golden State evidently didn’t mind when they elected him.

THE 21ST CENTURY IS NOT TURNING OUT AS I’D HOPED, ESPECIALLY IN DE BLASIO’S NEW YORK: Cuomo, NYPD chief call to ban repeat masturbators from NYC subway.

Related (from Ed): “Unexpectedly,” De Blasio can’t make the sale as a presidential candidate: De Blasio’s sad road show.

UNEXPECTEDLY!!!!  Murders up 30 percent in New York City this year.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Omar’s words sting at home, threatening to strain ties of Jewish and Somali Minnesotans, notes the Washington Post, in a column published by the San Francisco Chronicle, and linked to by Matt Drudge.

If only Minneapolis had its own local newspaper that could have warned Minnesotan voters of Omar’s radicalism in 2018…

FUNNY HOW THIS KEEPS HAPPENING. Ilhan Omar backtracks, claims media distorted Obama remarks.

“Exhibit A of how reporters distort words. I’m an Obama fan! I was saying how [President] Trump is different from Obama, and why we should focus on policy not politics,” she tweeted, referring to an interview published earlier in the day by Politico Magazine.

She included a nearly two-minute recording of her interview. But the audio clip essentially confirmed that her quotes, though edited, were accurate.

Unexpectedly. That pesky “different experience in the use of words” just keeps tripping her up for some strange reason.

UNEXPECTEDLY!  Marijuana legalization has boosted snack food sales, study reveals.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Good News: Opioid Prescribing Fell. The Bad? Pain Patients Suffer, Doctors Say.

HUH: Newsrooms that rushed to report tax refunds were smaller this year go silent on IRS data showing refunds have increased.

To be more specific, the average tax refund has increased to $3,143 from $3,103 last February, according to cumulative statistics comparing the 2018 and 2019 filing seasons.

Oddly enough, certain newsrooms have responded to this development with total silence. I say “odd,” because it was just a few weeks ago that these same newsrooms rushed to report that tax refunds were smaller this year, suggesting either implicitly or explicitly that the decrease was tied to the Republican Party’s tax reform bill.

“Millions of Americans could be stunned as their tax refunds shrink,” read a headline published on Feb. 10 by the Washington Post. The story reported, “Many Americans may confuse their meager refunds as a sign that they paid more in taxes as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Generally, that is not true.” On Feb. 14, the Post ran a story titled, “IRS says average tax refund is down nearly 9 percent so far this year.”

That story included a line that reads, “Many early filers are still upset about getting a smaller refund or unexpectedly owing money, even if they did pay lower taxes overall as a result of the Republican tax bill that passed in December 2017.”

As of March 2, the Post has published nothing showing the average refund is now greater than it was at this point in 2018.

To be fair, the Washington Post is a terrible newspaper.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Study finds evidence that mainstream economic news is biased in favor of Democrats.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Network that employs Al Sharpton really struggling to admit that Ilhan Omar’s just an anti-Semite.

The socialism of fools, indeed: Why is the left (both in America and abroad) such a cesspit of anti-Semitism?

UNEXPECTEDLY: America’s Cities Are Running on Software From the ’80s.

The only place in San Francisco still pricing real estate like it’s the 1980s is the city assessor’s office. Its property tax system dates back to the dawn of the floppy disk. City employees appraising the market work with software that runs on a dead programming language and can’t be used with a mouse. Assessors are prone to make mistakes when using the vintage software because it can’t display all the basic information for a given property on one screen. The staffers have to open and exit several menus to input stuff as simple as addresses. To put it mildly, the setup “doesn’t reflect business needs now,” says the city’s assessor, Carmen Chu.

San Francisco rarely conjures images of creaky, decades-old technology*, but that’s what’s running a key swath of its government, as well as those of cities across the U.S.

Shades of the New Yorker cover from 2013, which showed Obama with Gordon Gekko’s brick-sized cell phone and Kathleen Sebelius crossing her fingers while Jay Carney nervously inserted a five-inch floppy disk into the TRS-80-era Obamacare server. Not to mention the speeches that Newt Gingrich was giving during the heady Contract With America days of 1994 and 1995, when he would hold up in one hand a vacuum tube, and in the other a microchip. As he explained, vacuum tubes were still in use in some FAA-regulated Air Traffic Control towers in America.

As Kevin Williamson wrote during the disastrous Obamacare rollout, “We choose not between Marx and Adam Smith but between the DMV and the Apple store:”

I can walk out of the Apple store on Fifth Avenue in New York, which sees more visitors per day than any DMV office, with a couple thousand dollars’ worth of electronics without ever having to stand in line, much less fill out paperwork. When I found myself in need of an unexpectedly large sum of cash while out of the country a couple of years ago, one telephone call to American Express, lasting less than ten minutes, was all it took. Services such as Seamless and OpenTable have greatly simplified all sorts of commercial transactions, and services such as Uber have begun to disrupt longstanding cartels and monopolies on taxi services and other conveniences. Some services even make dealing with the government easier, such as the concealed-carry apps that use GPS to let you know whether you’re legally packing.

And Leviathan is not happy about that.

Fortunately, beginning in 2016, Democratic operatives with bylines advised out of work coalminers to learn to code, before receiving similar advice from former readers in more recent times. Hopefully all of the efforts of these nascent software engineers will eventually begin to pay off to bring urban governmental software into the 1990s.

* Now who’s being naive, Kay? When I lived in Silicon Valley, the numerous power outages were a reminder that the businesses trying to bring you the 21st century were reliant upon a power grid that, thanks to the NIMBY nature of Bay Area leftists, hadn’t been upgraded since the 1960s heyday of Pat Brown, Jerry’s dad.

MAINSTREAM MEDIA BLACKS OUT THE DEMOCRATS’ INFANTICIDE VOTE: There’s no good way to spin the Democrats’ vote. So many in the MSM simply ignored it.

Unexpectedly:

Though Iowahawk’s related quip is, sadly, far too close to the mark to be satire:

NASHVILLE: Teacher Town Hall: MNPS discipline policies spark ‘chaos.’

More than any other issue, these veteran Metro Schools educators said that student discipline — or the lack of it — has become a huge concern under Dr. Shawn Joseph, as the schools director tries to dramatically reduce the number of students being suspended.

Elementary school guidance counselor Constance Wade recounted the stories that teachers tell.

“Students are in school and they are disruptive and they are running through the halls and they are using profanity and hurting other students,” she said.

While the teachers acknowledged that Joseph’s push to keep children in school — especially children of color — is a good idea, that hasn’t stopped students from taking advantage of those good intentions.

“You reduce discipline because we cannot suspend students,” Wade said.

“But by the same token, you’ve kind of opened up a Pandora’s box because students aren’t always feeling like they get consequences so they continue.”

Retired middle school teacher Karen Gordon said, “Students walk in and out of classes. They walk out and when they come back, they are laughing and it’s more disruptive because they know they can do it. ”

“It’s like a domino effect,” said middle school teacher Sonji Collins.

Unexpectedly! I mean, who could have foreseen this happening, just because the same thing has happened everywhere else it’s tried?

UNEXPECTEDLY:  Transgender males finish first and second in CT girls state high school track championships.

But other than biology, what could have told us this would happen???

OUCH: The Obama Presidential Library That Isn’t.

I say “ouch” because believe it or not this is from the New York Times:

The four-building, 19-acre “working center for citizenship,” set to be built in a public park on the South Side of Chicago, will include a 235-foot-high “museum tower,” a two-story event space, an athletic center, a recording studio, a winter garden, even a sledding hill.

But the center, which will cost an estimated $500 million, will also differ from the complexes built by Barack Obama’s predecessors in another way: It won’t actually be a presidential library.

In a break with precedent, there will be no research library on site, and none of Mr. Obama’s official presidential records. Instead, the Obama Foundation will pay to digitize the roughly 30 million pages of unclassified paper records from the administration so they can be made available online.

And the entire complex, including the museum chronicling Mr. Obama’s presidency, will be run by the foundation, a private nonprofit entity, rather than by the National Archives and Records Administration, the federal agency that administers the libraries and museums for all presidents going back to Herbert Hoover.

The plan was revealed, with little fanfare, in May 2017. Few details of the digitization were made public until Tuesday, when the foundation and the archives unexpectedly released a legal agreement outlining procedures for creating what is being billed as “first digital archives for the first digital president,” which they say will democratize access.

But as awareness of the plan has spread, some historians see a threat to future scholarship on the Obama administration.

Call me a cynic, but I’d wager that’s a feature not a bug.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Australia’s Obsession With Hopelessly Intermittent Wind & Solar Wrecking Entire Power Grid.

Australians once enjoyed affordable power, reliably delivered: the chaotic delivery of wind and solar changed all that. Australian power prices have rocketed out-of-control: its wind and solar power capital, South Australia pays the highest electricity prices, in the world.

Mass power cuts (aka load shedding and demand management) and mass blackouts are the new normal. And yet, the lunatics responsible are hell-bent on doubling down to deliver the final and fatal blow to Australia’s Eastern Grid (geographically, the largest interconnected power grid on the planet).

As Jo Nova explains, electricity generation and delivery is a finely balanced thing; and the sudden massive surges and collapses that are part and parcel of wind and solar generation are taking their toll, with much worse to come.

Ayn Rand didn’t write The Return of The Primitive as a how-to guide.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Americans continue their march to low-tax states.

Once again, Texas and Florida were the big winners in overall population gains, with the Lone Star State gaining more than 379,000 residents from 2017-18 and the Sunshine State posting a gain of more than 322,000.

The big net losers from the report were New York, which lost a total of 48,510 residents, and Illinois, which lost 45,116.

These state-by-state population numbers will alter the makeup of seats in the United States House of Representative during the once-a-decade reapportionment and redistricting process that will commence after the 2020 census.

The redistricting battle is gonna be as lit as ever, making this an excellent time for another pitch for Glenn’s welcome wagon idea.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Panera Bread’s Socialist ‘Pay What You Want’ Experiment Fails Miserably.

UNEXPECTEDLY: The Twin Cities’ ‘affordable housing’ shortage was caused by their politicians.

Seeing this problem, many people then demand that the government ‘do something’ about it. Typically, that ‘something’ involves spending more money or issuing a new raft of regulations. Thus, the $40 million Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has earmarked in his 2019 budget for affordable housing and the $71 million, three-year housing initiative which Saint Paul’s Mayor, Melvin Carter, has announced.

But before rushing in to spend and regulate away the lack of ‘affordable housing’, shouldn’t they take some time to ask how it arose?

When, in 2017, the Pioneer Press surveyed 60 government officials, builders, Realtors, housing and energy lobbyists, and home buyers on the causes of high housing costs in the Twin Cities they found that “…regulations, including energy-saving rules and safety codes, are tougher and costlier than in surrounding states…The cost of metro-area land is elevated by centralized planning, larger mandated lot sizes and a public resistance to development [and] An increasing use of city fees, tucked into the price of a new house, can add tens of thousands of dollars.”

As Thomas Sowell wrote about the Bay Area’s own “affordable housing shortage,” it’s “The Housing Price of Liberalism.”

In this part of California, liberalism reigns supreme and “open space” is virtually a religion. What that lovely phrase means is that there are vast amounts of empty land where the law forbids anybody from building anything.

Anyone who has taken Economics 101 knows that preventing the supply from rising to meet the demand means that prices are going to rise. Housing is no exception.

Yet when my wife wrote in a local Palo Alto newspaper, many years ago, that preventing the building of housing would cause existing housing to become far too expensive for most people to afford it, she was deluged with more outraged letters than I get from readers of a nationally syndicated column.

What she said was treated as blasphemy against the religion of “open space” — and open space is just one of the wonderful things about the world envisioned by liberals that is ruinously expensive in the mundane world where the rest of us live.

As Sowell writes, “Much as many liberals like to put guilt trips on other people, they seldom seek out, much less acknowledge and take responsibility for, the bad consequences of their own actions.”

UNEXPECTEDLY: Linda Sarsour Defends Rep. Ilhan Omar Amid Anti-Semitic Controversy.

Meanwhile, sorry, not sorry: Rep. Omar: I Am Sorry That I Hurt Jews, But AIPAC Is Still A Problem.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Zaxby’s Super Bowl Ad Mocked Chick-fil-A for Closing Sundays and it Backfired.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Another Side of #MeToo: Male Managers Fearful of Mentoring Women.

“The business case for women had been made,” Ms. Milligan said. “We were rocking it. And then #MeToo happened.”

Big deal. All men have to do is not be rapists, right? Uh, no:

One challenge is to assess the risk of sexual harassment in a company and to identify men who make women uncomfortable — or worse, harass them.

Uncomfortable. See it’s not men’s actions, but women’s feelings, that are in the driver’s seat. Shocking that men would want to limit their risk by limiting their exposure.

THE NOT-SO-FAMOUS ALBERT GALLATIN WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1761: On the south side of the Treasury Department Building in Washington stands a statue of the first Secretary of the Treasury—Alexander Hamilton. No surprise there: Hamilton has been viewed as an important figure for a long time, and these days he’s a sexy Broadway star too. At the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance, stands a likeness of the fourth Secretary—Albert Gallatin—a man who has been mostly forgotten. On more than one occasion, I’ve noticed tourists peering at the statue from the street and asking something like, “Who’s that? Why isn’t that Hamilton?” Poor Gallatin.

The two Secretaries had a lot in common—both were foreign born (Gallatin was Swiss, Hamilton was born in Nevis), both were orphaned at a young age, and both were financial whizzes at a time when financial sophistication was rare in the US.

When Jefferson became President he was convinced that Hamilton and his successors had been up to no good while in charge of the treasury and that Gallatin was the only man with the financial acumen needed to expose their wickedness. To Gallatin’s credit, after a thorough examination of the records, he explained to Jefferson that it wasn’t corruption that was the problem.

To Gallatin—who has been described by a biographer as having “a small-shopkeeper’s sense of integrity”—the real problem was the $83 million national debt still left over from the Revolution. He wanted to pay it down, but without imposing onerous internal taxes. During the Whiskey Rebellion, his sympathies had been with the western farmers, who were being taxed heavily.  On the other hand, he knew when debt was appropriate and worked hard to provide the financing for the Louisiana Purchase when opportunity unexpectedly knocked.  By 1812, he had whittled the debt down to $45 million, which was a significant accomplishment, especially considering that he’d nixed the whiskey and other direct, internal taxes. (Alas, it ballooned again on account of the War of 1812. War is like that).

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Thanks to taking an, um, more sympathetic role in the Whiskey Rebellion, Gallatin produced a much freer United States in L. Neil Smith’s alt-history novel The Probability Broach.

UNEXPECTEDLY: People Keep Injuring Themselves on Electric Scooters, Study Finds. When we were in California at New Year’s, the people we saw on them looked to be having fun. Some of them also looked to be intoxicated.

UNEXPECTEDLY: “A new government program was supposed to prevent certain Medicare recipients from cycling in and out of hospitals. Now experts worry some older patients are being denied necessary care.”

UPDATE (FROM STEVE): “New” in the NYT headline obscures the fact that this is 2012 program authorized by ObamaCare.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Democrats Immediately Reject Trump’s Offer to End Shutdown.

ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER:

● Shot: George Will: Today’s Germany is the best Germany the world has seen.

—The Virginian-Pilot, Tuesday.

● Chaser: Germany looks set to enter a recession after Europe’s financial giant sees unexpected collapse in industrial production.

—The London Daily Mail, Thursday.

● Hangover: Meet Europe’s Left Nationalists.

—The Nation, Thursday.

A movement in Germany that combines nationalism and socialism? What could go wrong?

(Via Small Dead Animals.)

INEXPLICABLY IS THE NEW UNEXPECTEDLY:

But you can be sure that these “inexplicable” errors will all point in one direction.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Facebook still hasn’t launched a big privacy feature that Mark Zuckerberg promised more than seven months ago. “It’s taking longer than we initially had thought.”

The product, called “Clear History,” got a lot of attention. Not only is browsing data important — Facebook uses it to target people with advertising — but CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Clear History himself during Facebook’s annual developer conference. Clear History was an olive branch meant to show everyone how serious Facebook is about privacy. […]

As it turns out, clearing your browser history was harder to implement than Facebook expected. It’s been more than seven months since Zuckerberg’s announcement and Facebook hasn’t mentioned Clear History since.

Tech blogger John Gruber adds, “I don’t think it was hard, per se, but that the entire announcement was bullshit intended to distract people from the biggest privacy scandal in company history — and Facebook is a company riddled with privacy scandals.”

Zuckerberg’s Everything is great! New Year’s message reads like a smokescreen covering a smokescreen.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Trump’s Trade War Comes With an Unexpected Bonus: More Trade.

THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK: De Blasio’s plan to safely dispose of used needles is failing.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to have junkies toss their used syringes into special receptacles has failed to clean up drug-infested parks, and the bins are serving more as suggestion boxes — spreading the message that the city is OK with them shooting up there.

Unexpectedly.

(Classical reference in headline.)

UNEXPECTEDLY: Oil output goes AWOL in Venezuela as soldiers run PDVSA.

In a little-noted reversal of the Socialist government’s two-decade drive to nationalize the industry, the lack of expertise among military managers is leading PDVSA to hire outsiders to keep afloat even basic operations, like drilling and pumping oil. To the dismay of many familiar with Venezuela’s oil industry, some of the contracts are going to small, little-known firms with no experience in the sector.

Combined, industry veterans say, the steps leave Venezuela’s most important company – which accounts for over 90 percent of export revenue – with even fewer means to rebuild the nation’s coffers, pay its many creditors and regain self-sufficiency as an oil producer.

“What we are witnessing is a policy of destroying the oil industry,” said Jose Bodas, general secretary of the Oil Workers Federation, a national labor union. “The military officials don’t listen to workers. They want to give orders, but they don’t understand this complicated work.”

How can this be, when the officers in charge were all such good Socialists and Chavistas?

LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM: Gasoline Shortages Grip Venezuela’s Capital Ahead of Christmas.

Caracas awoke to shuttered service stations and long lines of vehicles as motorists tried to fill up their tanks before Venezuela’s extended-Christmas vacation kicks off. For the second consecutive day, honking messes of cars crawled along many of the city’s main arteries as residents thronged few remaining operational stations.

“I should be buying presents or helping to plan my sister’s wedding, but here I am stuck trying to gas-up since yesterday,” said Greiska Velasquez, a 23-year-old dentistry student, as her Chevrolet Aveo inched along a row of vehicles that stretched two blocks. “Nothing works here anymore, not even the gasoline.”

Sitting atop even more oil than Saudi Arabia, Venezuela has long sold the world’s cheapest gasoline, costing less than penny to fill up a tank.

The Chavistas bought votes by selling gasoline at below cost, and then ran out of gasoline — unexpectedly.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Venezuelans Regret Gun Ban. “Guns would have served as a vital pillar to remaining a free people, or at least able to put up a fight.”

As Kurt Schlichter is fond of saying, an armed person is a citizen but a disarmed person is a serf.

Eventually, anyway.

RELATED: NY Bill Would Require Gun Owners to Carry $1M Insurance Policies.

Since illegal gun owners and criminals won’t carry insurance, let’s call this bill what it really is: A payoff to Big Insurance and an infringement on the right to keep and bear arms.

UNEXPECTEDLY: ‘Many’ of Amazon’s Green Initiatives Will Fail, Company Executive Says.

THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH “UNEXPECTEDLY!”S FOR THIS REPORT: Off-Schedule and Over-Budget, California’s Bullet Train Is Hurtling Towards Disaster.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Cops and schools blundered in Parkland shooting, commission concludes.

LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM: The Price of a Cup of Coffee in Venezuela Is Up 285,614% in a Year.

Instead of celebrating minimum wage hikes in hyperinflation-pummeled Venezuela, consumers now run as fast as they can to buy goods before the inevitable price increases.

In other words, higher wages are as much bad news as good news as they simply mean the printing press will run faster at the central bank and businesses will react accordingly.

So after President Nicolas Maduro raised wages by a staggering 150 percent last week — the sixth minimum wage increase in 2018 alone — perhaps it comes as no surprise that a cup of coffee in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas doubled from the week earlier to 400 sovereign bolivars or about ($0.76).

Unexpectedly.

JOE PAPPALARDO: This Is The Golden Age Of Space Exploration.

Although our robotic explorers are working millions of miles apart, together they’re pursuing the same central mystery: how did the solar system form? Each probe is providing new hard, forensic evidence for planetary scientists, geologists, and astronomers to form a unified view of Earth’s origins, and how other planets could be home to its abundance of life.

“We’ve had missions all across the solar system…it’s been pretty spectacular,” says Tim Linn, senior space engineer at Lockheed Martin who’s division is running seven missions from its facilities in Colorado.

Talk to the NASA scientists and contractors who built these spacecraft and it becomes clear that it’s a great time to be in the space exploration game.

“If you look back through the history of planetary science, there were a few big missions every so often that did spectacular things, but there were long gaps in between the missions,” says Linn. “There was a pretty big push for the early Mars missions and some Venus missions, and then there was the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft, but there was not a lot happening in the late 60’s and through the 70’s. Not very much happened in the 80’s, and then not too much happened in the 90’s either.”

But concentrating scientific minds (and government budgets) toward Mars changed everything.

Unexpectedly!

UNEXPECTEDLY: Tumblr’s anti-porn algorithm is flagging basically everything as NSFW.

This porn ban is already being implemented, with Tumblr flagging everything it deems to be explicit material. On a purely conceptual level, this was already bad news for many Tumblr users. An NSFW content ban will hurt the livelihoods of artists and sex workers on the site, and potentially lead to a mass exodus of bloggers who want to retain their creative freedom. However, it looks like the problems go even further because Tumblr’s content flagging algorithm is hopelessly incompetent. As soon as Tumblr started highlighting “explicit” content on Dec. 3, users reported having totally innocuous posts flagged on their accounts.

Tumblr and Twitter are already full of screencaps showing random posts mislabeled as explicit material. In some cases, you can kind of see how the mistake happened (for instance, art with partial but non-sexual nudity, or images that a bot might mistake for a human body), but there’s also a ton of content that appears to have been flagged at random.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Taxpayers Will Pay $1 Million to Tear Down $18 Million Baseball Stadium That Predictably Failed to Rejuvenate Camden. “The stadium never turned a profit and the team skipped town when local officials decided to start charging rent.”