February 22, 2017

TOO SOON? Democrats face fierce urgency of 2018.

“The 2018 races are central not only to the individual states, but also to the federal policies in the House of Representatives,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, vice chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said in an interview. “The key that unlocks the governors’ doors also unlocks the House of Representatives. And we’ve got to get the national team to understand that.”

As Republicans captured control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, Democrats have suffered deep losses at the state and local level in recent years.

Republicans control about 4,170 state legislative seats across the country, almost 1,000 more than they held in 2009 when Barack Obama was sworn in. Today, 33 governors are Republican; when Obama took office, just 21 governors were Republican.

“Their backs are against the wall,” said Matt Walter, who heads the Republican State Leadership Committee, a group that supports GOP candidates in state-level races. “In 2018, they’re in full panic mode about it, so we’re anticipating as a result of that, that they’re going to be throwing everything but the kitchen sink to try to restore the ground that they’ve lost.”

There is one bright spot for Democrats. The party holding the White House loses an average of 26 House seats in off-year elections — enough to turn control over to the Democrats in January, 2019.

Then again, Democrats are still actively avoiding the soul-searching their party has needed since 2010.

So who knows?

NO SURRENDER IN THE WAR ON COLLEGE MEN, APPARENTLY: Universities Face Pressure to Hold the Line on Title IX.

Advocates are starting a campaign to try to persuade colleges to maintain the Obama administration’s tough policies for protecting women on campuses from sexual assault, even if the Trump administration relaxes enforcement.

Many people expect the Trump administration to tilt the balance of federal guidance to make it harder to discipline the thousands of students, almost all of them men, who are accused of sexual violence against women each year.

Women’s groups are leading the push, along with an organization that represents the campus administrators responsible for enforcing federal sexual assault policy — a group whose numbers have grown into the thousands in just a few years.

The main goal of those involved in the effort is to convince college presidents that the Obama-era policies have positively transformed the lives of women on college campuses.

Note that they don’t care about what they’ve done to the lives of men. And do women really benefit if colleges become pink-collar institutions? Meanwhile, if Title IX is enforced evenhandedly, a lot of colleges will face serious grief for their mistreatment of male students.

DEMOCRACY DIES IN DARKNESS: WaPo: ‘Demonic activity was palpable’ at Trump’s rally, pastor says.

This is what journalism has come to:

And, of course, the inevitable reference.

FINALLY: Scientists in Boston have found a way to get every last drop of ketchup out of the bottle.

In its manufacture, the container must first be coated on the inside with a rough surface.

A very thin layer is then placed over this. And, finally, a liquid is added that fills in any troughs to form a very slippery surface – like an oily floor.

The ketchup hovers on top and just glides out of the bottle.

According to Prof Kripa Varanasi, who developed the slippery surface, the technology is completely safe.

“The cool thing about it is that because the coating is a composite of solid and liquid, it can be tailored to the product. So for food, we make the coating out of food-based materials and so you can actually eat it.”

The technology’s co-inventor Dr David Smith told me that it could also help reduce waste.

Pretty slick.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: No One Can Figure Out What’s Behind a Mysterious Radiation Spike Across Europe. “But what’s most disconcerting about the event isn’t the level of radiation that spread through Europe – it’s the fact that no one can say what actually happened.”

MORE ON SWEDEN’S MIGRANT CRIME WAVE: Robert Spencer Has the Facts and Figures.

TRUMP IS BEATING THE MEDIA AT ITS OWN GAME: “If he treats it as an opposition party, that’s because it is one. The fury of the media is the fury of exposed partisans, for whom ruling had once come so easy and now is too hard.”

Read the whole thing. Hopefully Trump won’t be the last Republican to play hardball with the DNC-MSM.

YOU DON’T SAY: Actually, Sweden is having big trouble with Mideast refugees.

Rich Lowry:

Sweden welcomed more than 160,000 asylum-seekers in 2015, and nearly 40,000 in October of that year alone. For a country of fewer than 10 million, this was almost equal to 2 percent of the population — in one year. The flow doubled the number of asylum-seekers at the height of the Balkans crisis in 1992.

The foreign-born proportion of the Swedish population was 18 percent in 2016, double that of 1990. As of 2015, the most common country of origin for the foreign-born was Finland, which makes sense as it’s a neighboring Scandinavian country. Next are Iraq and Syria.

Predictably, it isn’t easy to integrate people who don’t know the language, aren’t highly skilled and come from a foreign culture. Sweden’s economic polices don’t help. As a report of the Migration Policy Institute puts it politely, Sweden is “an interesting case” because “the state is committed to fostering large-scale immigration despite huge integration challenges in the labor market.”

There’s a stark gap in the labor-force-participation rate between the native-born (82 percent) and the foreign-born (57 percent). As the Migration Policy Institute points out, Sweden is an advanced economy with relatively few low-skills jobs to begin with.

On top of this, high minimum wages and stringent labor protections make it harder for marginal workers to find employment, while social assistance discourages the unemployed from getting work.

None of this is a formula for assimilation or social tranquility. In a piece for the London Spectator, Swedish journalist Tove Lifvendahl writes, “A parallel society is emerging where the state’s monopoly on law and order is being challenged.”

For some, that last item is a feature, not a bug.

THINGS THAT DON’T SUCK: I got this knife sharpener the other day. The suction cup holds it securely to the counter, and it sharpened my knives quickly and easily.

SO THE WAPO IS POSTING ITS MISSION STATEMENT RIGHT ON THE FRONT PAGE NOW?

HMM: More than just a new GT, the 2018 Lexus LC 500 is a marker for the future. “History will look on the LC chiefly as the first time Lexus’ current design lexicon—dominated by that massive grille—actually works visually.” Yeah, I don’t like the new Lexus look, and the interiors look like they escaped from the 1980s.

PROCUREMENT BLUES: Fixing the Navy’s Carrier Gap.

AMAZON GOT A RECORD SCORE OF 86.27 ON THE HARRIS CORPORATE REPUTATION RANKINGS, and they’re celebrating by taking $8.62 off your Prime orders over $50 today. Just use the promo code at the link.

ABOLISH THE ATF: Man Gets Three Years In Prison for Selling CNC Milled Gun Parts.

JOURNALISM:

To be fair, neither did she.

Related: April Ryan Defends Accusing President Trump of Racist Language He Never Actually Used.

“Fake news.”

TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME: Howie Carr: It’s the desperate Democrats who are truly deranged.

They’re losing it, folks. All of Madonna’s F-bombs failed to overturn the election results. The temper tantrums on TV, the insane tweets, the disruptions of the town halls — for people who used to sometimes refer to themselves as “the reality-based community,” they seem strangely disconnected from reality.

It’s true. I’ve never seen such an extended display of unhinged political hysteria as what’s been going on since November.

THE GOP HAS DONE WORSE, AND WILL AGAIN: Kid Rock’s Name Floated as GOP Senate Candidate.

Six or seven years ago, Bill Whittle said, “I don’t know who the next President is going to be, but they’ll come from the pop culture.” That was spot-on, so why not Kid Rock in the Senate?

PAUL MIRENGOFF: How Congress can promote freedom of speech on college campuses.

THE INTERNET IS CHOKING ON ITSELF, EXHIBIT #1,000,006: Not Even IMDb Is Safe From Trolls.

The message boards on IMDb long served as a home for film geeks. For popular movies — even ones that were decades old, like 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope — it wasn’t uncommon for a half-dozen or more threads to be active at once, with users swapping theories and debating possible plot holes or filming errors. The boards, a de facto comment section for films, TV shows, actors, directors, producers, and Unnamed Man With Mole at the Bars, was where songs from trailers were tracked down in the pre-Shazam era, where a Q&A from a Teen Mom cameraman gone rogue was preserved and a Brittany Murphy conspiracy theory was invented. It was, enthused a New York Times commenter in 2008, a great place for “messing with Harry Potter fans … by purposely getting key facts wrong and then arguing as if they are right.”

They could also be much more than that: Many of the site’s avid users had been posting for years; IMDb’s database actually predates the internet, and its online message boards first came about in the ancient-web days of 2001. Deep in threads of subgenre arcana, users met friends and spouses and sometimes people who sounded like they might be trivia items on their own IMDb pages: “I met the guy I lost my virginity to thanks to IMDb’s message board almost a decade ago,” wrote one user recently.

On Monday, that message board closed.

Read the whole thing.

ENDORSED: Law professor who slammed kangaroo courts could lead Trump’s education civil rights office. Gail Heriot would be a great choice.

MILO YIANNOPOULOS RELEASES A Tape Of George Takei Joking About Child Molestation. That’s different because shut up.

SCOTT JOHNSON: American attitudes to Jews.

It is somehow reported as big news that President Trump denounced anti-Semitism yesterday. Was his attitude seriously in doubt? He is a proud supporter of Israel and vocal friend of Benjamin Netanyahu. His appointed ambassador to the United Nations is Nikki Haley, who is trying to right wrongs against Israel committed by the United Nations and, ahem, the Obama administration. His daughter converted to Judaism. He has Jewish grandchildren. In the Clintonian world of as-if, he may be the first Jewish President. To those who found President Obama’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime indicative of nothing important, I can only put it this way for public consumption: Give me a break.

Incidentally, the Jewish Community Center to which I belong in St. Paul was one of the 11 subjected to bomb threats on Monday. Even if those threats were empty, the vandalism perpetrated at the Jewish cemetery in University City, Missouri is real. And there seems to be something going on at main campus of the University of Minnesota as well.

Obama imports a lot of antisemites. Incidents of antisemitism rise. And it’s Trump’s fault because, well, what isn’t?

BYRON YORK ON THE HARVARD LUNCH CLUB PODCAST: On enforcing immigration laws: “It’s one of those things Trump can do on his own. His radical agenda was to enforce the existing immigration laws; not in a draconian way, but going after people who, in addition to being in the country illegally, have committed or have been accused of committing crimes – and sometimes quite serious ones…It’s something he can do on the basis of his executive authority just as Obama used his executive authority to choose not to enforce those laws.”

PROGRESS: Amazon plans to sell beer and wine at its new high-tech convenience store.

The e-commerce giant confirmed to Recode on Monday that it plans to sell beer and wine from the Seattle store. The confirmation came after I inquired about a flyer I spotted on the store’s window that mentioned its application for a liquor license.

“When we start offering beer and wine, there will be an associate checking identification,” an Amazon spokesperson wrote in an email.

Dubbed Amazon Go, the store concept allows shoppers to grab prepared food and drinks off of shelves and automatically be billed without stopping to pay on the way out. Amazon accomplishes this feat by making shoppers scan an app on the way in, and then uses a mix of sensors, cameras and computer vision to track the items that each customer takes. When the computers can’t figure it out, humans step in.

When the business histories of the early 21st Century are written, it may turn out that Amazon had to destroy retail in order to save it.

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE — UNDERSTANDING THE MILO PHENOMENON: “Those on the receiving end of group polarization experience a wall of ignorance and intolerance. Spend much time on an elite campus, and you’ll be amazed at the sheer paucity of conservative voices. Entire faculty departments don’t include a single conservative voice. The result is a community that often can’t conceive of a single, non-bigoted reason for classical conservative social views. There is no good answer to this group polarization, but conservatives have generally tried three different approaches: Reason with the machine, replace the machine, or rage against the machine.”

Read the whole thing.

BECAUSE HE’S SMART? AND PAYS ATTENTION? Why Judge Gorsuch Is A Regulatory Skeptic.

MEGAN MCARDLE: Tragedy of the Public Good: Why the U.S. Shouldn’t Quit NATO.

The latest news is that Defense Secretary James Mattis has told NATO allies that if they don’t start carrying their weight, the U.S. is going to “moderate its commitment” to the region. Now, as an abstract matter of principle, I’m firmly behind this. Only five NATO countries actually hit their targets, and three of them are a lot poorer than the sponging grifters that have cut their militaries back … while enjoying the safety of the U.S. security umbrella.

The freeloading countries don’t even send a fruit basket to Washington to say thanks. In fact, as a rightish American who’s spent a bit of time abroad, I can personally attest that many of those NATO members’ citizens feel free to disparage our massive military budget, as if their smaller budgets were some sort of moral sacrifice rather than an unearned benefit paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

There, I got that off my chest. I hope we all feel better.

Nonetheless, even for me, Mattis’s statement is a sort of “gulp” moment. The Europeans aren’t the only people who benefit from the American security umbrella. The fact that the world’s biggest rich economy is willing to spend so much of its GDP on the military doesn’t just mean that other countries don’t have to; it also means that other countries don’t bother, because they can’t possibly catch up.

Like dealing with slobbish roommates, it may make sense to keep cleaning the toilet yourself, but a credible threat to leave may encourage them to do a bit less free-riding.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: Facing death chants and hate crimes, Sweden’s Jews live in a climate of fear.

ALL THE BETTER TO FRIGHTEN YOU WITH, MY DEAR: Climate Models Are Warming Earth Two Times Faster Than Reality.

“So far in the 21st century, the GCMs are warming, on average, about a factor of 2 faster than the observed temperature increase,” Dr. Judith Curry, a former Georgia Tech climate scientist who now runs her own climate forecasting company, wrote in a report for the U.K.-based Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Curry has been one of the foremost critics of climate models, arguing that while they can be useful, there are too many uncertainties and issues to rely on models for public policy decisions.

Curry’s report gives a detailed rundown of why models can be useful for modeling complex climate systems, but also points out that GCMs fail to capture natural variability in the climate.

“The reason for the discrepancy between observations and model simulations in the early 21st century appears to be caused by a combination of inadequate simulations of natural internal variability and oversensitivity of the models to increasing carbon dioxide,” wrote Curry.

Read the whole thing.

Reality must be made to better conform to the models, which are of course correct.

ANN ALTHOUSE: Trump haters: Please do these 2 thought experiments.

THESE ARE THE CRAZY YEARS: The Latest Sex Trend: Spraying Vaporized Liquid Nitrogen on Your Genitals. No, thank you.

TRANSPARENCY: Is James O’Keefe About To Smoke CNN? Tells Hannity He’s Set To Release “Hundreds of Hours” Of Newsroom Footage “Wikileaks Style.” Why should journalists be immune from investigative journalism?

Well, when you have people like Mika Brzezinski saying that it’s “our job” to “control what people think,” a little transparency is in order.

Related: MTV News reporter admits joining anti-Trump protests.

HILLSDALE PROF TO NY TIMES: ‘I Am Proud’ We Don’t Promote ‘Social Justice.’

He should be — there’s no justice in “social justice,” which also happens to be anti-social. Other than that, it’s a fine term.

NORTH KOREA’S CRIMINAL REALITY IS INTOLERABLE: Spy novel assassination, whodunnit missile proliferation. Kim Jong Un’s regime is criminal and dangerous.

CHANGE: These Republicans didn’t like Trump at first. They do now.

“Trump’s a buffoon,” David Searles said before casting a vote for Marco Rubio in the New Hampshire primary.

“He scares me,” Rebecca Meyer said before settling on Ben Carson in South Carolina’s primary.

“He’s not presidential,” Gail Francioli said after backing Ohio Gov. John Kasich in that state’s primary.

Yet like nearly nine out of 10 Republicans nationwide, Searles, Meyer and Francioli supported Trump in the general election. And like the vast majority of Republicans, they support him still.

In fact, these one-time-skeptics are part of the bulwark that is bolstering a President whose first month in office roiled the nation.

Hilary Clinton and the prospect of two or three Supreme Court vacancies was enough to seal the deal for me, but Trump himself had me at “Gorsuch.”

SO-CALLED FERAL HOG APOCALYPSE IN TEXAS: Apocalypse overstates the case. But there are a lot of’em. The article discusses an option the state is considering: poisoning the feral hogs.That doesn’t strike me as appropriate. Go with the 7.62 mm solution.

I THOUGHT THE RIGHT WAS DONE WITH THE CIRCULAR FIRING SQUAD: It was a beautiful dream. If They Take Milo down, You’re Next.

ENERGY IN THE EXECUTIVE: Trump readies slew of new orders targeting EPA.

President Trump is planning to issue executive orders this week to begin rolling back the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate change agenda with several other regulations.

Trump is expected to soon issue the orders targeting regulations put into place by the Environmental Protection Agency, including the Clean Power Plan, which directs states to cut greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.

The EPA climate plan was halted a year ago by the Supreme Court until the courts can rule on litigation by 28 state attorneys general, the coal industry and hundreds of individual companies and industry groups.

The order is expected to direct the agency to redo the climate change rule, which would be different from asking the agency to rescind the regulation altogether. Ultimately, direction on what to do about the greenhouse gas rule will have to come from the courts.

But Trump isn’t planning on stopping there. The president also will issue a separate order targeting the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. Rule, which greatly expanded the agency’s jurisdiction over waterways to include everything from major waterways to drainage ponds on private lands. Both the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the U.S. Rule have been long-time targets of the Republican Party.

Reports also say to expect a third Trump action to end the Department of Interior’s moratorium on new coal mining leases put in place by the Obama administration.

He has a pen and a phone.

WHEN YOU’RE A LOW-KEY GUY LIKE ME, YOU’RE USED TO BEING OVERLOOKED: “The big oversight is that Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit isn’t listed.”

THE INSTAWIFE: Trump: The Sweet Smell of Success.

CHANGE: DHS issues sweeping rules for immigration crackdown.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Tuesday released details on how it will prosecute undocumented immigrants and criminal immigrants under President Trump.

The two memos from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly expand immigration raids and the definition of criminal aliens, while diminishing sanctuary areas and enlisting local law enforcement to execute federal immigration policy.

Under the rules, federal officers will no longer consider any category of “removable alien” as exempt from removal, except for those protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program started under President Obama.

In a call to explain the policy changes, officials from DHS insisted that they are not seeking to begin a program of mass deportations in the United States.

“We do not have the personnel, time or resources to go into communities and round up people and do all kinds of mass throwing folks on buses. That’s entirely a figment of folks’ imagination,” said DHS official on a press call, according to the Washington Post.

“This is not intended to produce mass roundups, mass deportations.”

Yet the memos appear designed to set the stage for an aggressive crackdown on illegal immigration, with law enforcement officials granted new powers to carry out deportations.

I wonder if Trump will deport as many people as Obama did?

RICK MORAN: DHS Orders Breathtaking Crackdown on Illegal Immigration.

SOLID ADVICE: Stop Chuck Todd Before He Tweets Again.

Well and good to mock the unfiltered 3 a.m. Trump tweets. But what of the many thousands of tweets by those who cover the president, all launched into the vast Twitterverse without benefit of an editor’s skeptical eye? Often these tweets reveal more about the tweeter than Mr. Trump.

The New York Post recently fired a sportswriter for a tweet likening Mr. Trump’s inauguration to the Pearl Harbor and 9/11 attacks. Before that a Politico contributing writer tweeted out a suggestion the president might be having an incestuous relationship with his daughter Ivanka.

As over-the-top as these may be, they are less damaging than the steady stream of self-indulgence emanating from the Twitter feeds of those covering Mr. Trump. The defining characteristics of such tweets are two: near uniformity on substance and a tone of moral superiority. Even the New York Times public editor admitted certain tweets by her paper’s reporters were “outrageous” and deserving of “some kind of consequence.”

Jake Tapper and Salena Zito’s Twitter feeds are well worth following, but they’re exceptions to the rule.

THAT SEEMS TO BE HOW INSTAPUNDIT READERS SEE IT: Trump’s ‘Warrior-Scholar’ Praised as ‘Fantastic Choice.’

A roundup of reactions:

Politico describes McMaster, author of a 1997 book on America’s mishandling of the Vietnam war, as “one of the military’s leading warrior-scholars” and predicts that he will help Trump build bridges with GOP defense hawks like John McCain, who praised McMaster on Monday as “a man of genuine intellect, character, and ability.”

Retired Lt. Gen. David Barno tells the Washington Post that he knows McMaster well and he believes the general will excel at coordinating policy. “I don’t see HR as director of an orchestra; I see him as someone who is getting all the instruments to play together,” Barno says.

Cosmopolitan rounds up eight things to know about McMaster, including the fact that he “is known for standing up for his beliefs” and was chosen as one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2014.

National Review reports that Charles Krauthammer, one of Trump’s fiercest conservative critics, described the choice as encouraging, noting that McMaster’s willingness to go against prevailing opinion of the time when planning the Iraq troop surge shows “this is a guy who will say what he thinks and promote what he wants.”

At Business Insider, Paul Szoldra praises McMaster as a “fantastic choice,” not least for the great deal of respect he commands from the troops

The AP notes that McMaster has a “reputation for being willing to speak truth to power”—and he “appears to hold a much dimmer view than Trump of Moscow’s military and political objectives in Europe.”

Cosmopolitan? Really? What’s next, Teen Vogue? Oh, right. . . .

WELL, OK THEN: There Is No American ‘Deep State’

Be wary of any article beginning with “Experts on…”

INSTAPUNDIT READERS HAVE BEEN AWARE OF THIS FOR A WHILE: The Next Financial Crisis Might Be in Your Driveway.

Lured by low interest rates, low gas prices, and a crop of seductive vehicles that are faster, smarter, and more efficient than ever before, American drivers are increasingly riding in style. Don’t be fooled by the curb appeal, though—those swanky machines are heavily leveraged.

The country’s auto debt hit a record in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, when a rush of year-end car shopping pushed vehicle loans to a dubious peak of $1.16 trillion. The combination of new car smell and new credit woes stretches from Subarus in Maine to Teslas in San Francisco.

It’s an alarming number, big enough to incite talk of a bubble. In fact, the pile of debt would cover the cost of 43.4 million Ford F-150 pickups, one for every eight or so people in the country.

Another way to look at: Every licensed driver in the U.S., on average, owes about $6,100 in car payments.

The self-inflicted problem which nearly killed GM and Chrysler a decade ago was a combination of two factors: Relying on subprime borrowers to goose sales, and “channel stuffing” unsold (and often unsalable) inventory. When Detroit ran out of customers and was sitting on top of months worth of inventory, the proverbial stuff hit the fan.

A downturn on lean inventory would hurt, but no worse than any typical recession. A downturn on stuffed channels would be like 2007-08 all over again.

I’ve seen reports that GM may have returned to its bad old habits. IWB reported in December that GM had fleetwide average of 87 days worth of inventory on hand (60 days is the industrywide standard/goal), but with four-to-six months worth of certain Chevy, Buick, and Cadillac models left unsold.

The best thing for GM might be for a recession to come too soon for them to build up much more inventory.

EIGHT YEARS AGO, ON INSTAPUNDIT:

SEEKING ALPHA: Santelli’s Chicago Tea Party: The Quest for Our Nation’s Soul.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

I attended a brunch in the Oakland Hills this morning and, other than me and the children under the age of five, there was not a single person who had not voted for President Obama. Someone asked me what folks thought of the mortgage bailout and while my answer was predictable, the level of distaste for it was enormous. This included a couple (each a state worker) I know to be underwater on their mortgage. “We’re paying our mortgage because we agreed to do it. But maybe we should stop.” was what that couple said and most seemed to agree. A crowd of state workers, college professors, practicing psychologists and the like in up-rent, deep blue Oakland (the precinct went 254-37 Obama over McCain) – and they all thought it was crap.

I think a lot of people feel this way.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Joshua Dixon writes:

I had my “something in the air” moment this weekend.

My father-in-law, a life-long Minnesota Democrat, visited our house for the first time since the election. When he walked into the kitchen he looked sick. After greeting the family, he hesitated and said, “The Democrats are doing everything they can to ruin this country. My grandchildren won’t live long enough to pay off that stimulus bill. I may as well become a Republican, because there’s not going to be another Democrat elected to national office while I’m alive.”

It’s one thing to read blogs or watch videos about a supposed rebellion building among the population. It’s something else to see an old man you’ve known and respected for years be heartsick and broken from the actions of a party he’s supported his whole life.

Well, heartsick, maybe. But instead of “broken,” suggest he try “determined to fix things.” And, you know, it wouldn’t take a lot of Congressional Democrats changing their minds to make a difference.

MORE: Reader Kurtis Fechtmeyer writes:

I can certainly attest to your earlier email report from Oakland Hills, which is where I also live.

The Oakland Hills is the heartland of affluent support for the Obama brand, and yet no one is interested in the least in defending his mortgage plan (or any of his economic policies for that matter).

The problem for the next generation of Republicans if they are to take advantage of this disaffection is: (a) developing simple, yet intelligent, counter-solutions and (b) getting those solutions heard through the left-liberal media fog.

Indeed. But even the Boston Globe is noting the problem.

File under how the Dems blew their chance at a long-term realignment.

INTERESTING: The Problem With Calling Something “Interesting”.  Or maybe “Fascinating.”

FROM KIM DUTOIT: A Reason To Live.
And he’s still trying to recover financially, too.

MEL BROOKS LEAST FUNNY MOVIE: How the inner pain of a circus freak became a surprise hit.

I’VE ALWAYS SAID THIS: Terrific Idea.

AND SPEAKING OF COMMITTEES: Sense and Sensitivity.

IN THE EMAIL FROM JOSEPH CALDARA: Bob and the Cyber-Llama.

HE HAS A POINT: Though honestly, I’ve had my pms marked as spam while talking about my cats’ antics.  It’s faceplant.  BUT if they’re following twitter and empowering a committee of the perpetually offended to control content… maybe it’s time we looked elsewhere.  Sinking ships and all that. Big Tech Is Not Your Friend.

AND I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO SEES THE DANGER: The Media Strikes Back: Milo, Lies, and Videotape.

February 21, 2017

ONE NIGHT IN STOCKHOLM: Overnight Riots In Predominantly Immigrant Stockholm Suburb.

Ann Althouse asks: “What if Trump’s TV is some freaky Twilight-Zone thing and he can see the future?”

Plus, from a friend on Facebook:

One day in Sweden makes the press corps grumble
They thought that Trump was caught in fantasy
One day in Sweden and the migrants rumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I see Stockholm Syndrome sliding next to me.

Really, quite good. Right up there with One Night In Buckhead.

AT AMAZON, big savings on DVDs. Or, if you can’t wait, Amazon Instant Video.

Plus, save in Arts, Crafts, and Sewing.

WAIT, EVEN WITH PRIME MINISTER ZOOLANDER? Poll: Majority of Canadians distrust government.

NOW UP TO #5 ON AMAZON: H.R. McMaster’s Dereliction Of Duty.

CHANGE: As They Dig Deeper Into Parenting, Fathers Seek Community, Support. It’s been a while, but when the Insta-Daughter was little, as a hands-on dad I felt a degree of . . . well, not quite hostility, but certainly not support from all the moms at playgrounds, dance class, etc.

AT AMAZON, save on bestsellers in Automotive.

Plus, spring deals in Home and Garden.

HMM: Many Physicians, Nurses Want Pain Removed as Fifth Vital Sign. So physicians were undertreating pain, the government and insurance companies got involved, now there’s concern that they’re overtreating pain.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How to pair beer with Girl Scout cookies.

HUGH HEWITT: Fire Obama’s ‘Deep State’ Sleeper Cells Yesterday.

Faster than yesterday, please.

YES. WHY SUBSIDIZE AMERICA’S OBESITY AND DIABETES EPIDEMICS? Food stamps and sweets: Should they be kept apart?

The debate aligns two sides that may not appear to have much in common: critics on the right of government overspending and public health advocates. Debate about how food-stamp benefits are spent was sparked by a November report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which found that households receiving SNAP benefits used 20 cents of every dollar to buy soda, candy, desserts and other unhealthy foods.

“Almost half of added sugars consumed by the U.S. population come from sweetened beverages,” said Angela Rachidi, research fellow in poverty studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, during testimony at the House committee hearing. “This is why it is so alarming that such a notable percentage of food/beverage purchases in American households are for sweetened beverages.”

She added, “Supporting such purchases, especially at levels suggested in the data, directly contradicts the stated goals of the program,” which say the money should be used for “improved levels of nutrition among low-income households.”

I’ve been reading Gary Taubes’ The Case Against Sugar, and, well, he makes a pretty strong case. And if nanny-staters want to ban Big Gulps for people who are spending their own money, I don’t see how you can oppose limits on what people buy with taxpayers’ money.

CHARLIE MARTIN: We’re Doomed! More Awful Media Coverage of a Radiation Incident.

SPEED KILLS, AND SO DOES INEXPERIENCE: That “Supercar Experience” Could Be More Dangerous than You Think.

FAITH: Ultra-Orthodox Israelis Struggle Against New Draft Law.

MISTER, WE COULD USE A MAN LIKE HERBERT MCMASTER: Trump’s pick is known for saying superiors “want criticism”

Want it or not, they always need it.

QUESTION ASKED: Was ‘Weird Al’ the real star all along?

Yankovic has sold millions of albums, played 1,616 shows and outlasted so many of the stars he once spoofed. His most recent album, 2014’s “Mandatory Fun,” featured parodies of Iggy Azalea, Lorde and Pharrell Williams, a polka medley and his usual smattering of original songs. The album hit No. 1. At 57, he’s now readying a complete set of his 14 studio recordings, plus an album of bonus tracks. “Squeeze Box,” on sale through a PledgeMusic drive until the end of February, will naturally come in an accordion-shaped box. “Comedy recording and funny songs go back to the earliest days of the record industry,” says Barry Hansen, better known as Dr. Demento, the radio host who introduced Yankovic to the public 40 years ago. “But Al is unique. There’s nothing like him in the history of funny music.”

For Chris Hardwick — the comedian who created the Nerdist empire and hosts two game shows, [email protected] and “The Wall” — Yankovic is more than a musical success story. He’s a triumph for all the oddballs and outsiders.

I still remember all the words to “I Lost On Jeopardy,” but couldn’t tell you anything about the original Greg Kihn song other than the name.

MY INVITATION MUST HAVE BEEN LOST IN THE MAIL: Mercedes-Benz is letting 20 customers drive an electric semi truck for a year. Then again, who wants to clutter up the gently-curved drives of Stately InstaPundit Manor with a semi truck?

CHILDHOOD’S END: These Dolls Were Classified as ‘Hidden Espionage Devices’ in One Country. “Regulators in Germany have decided that when it comes to devices that can be used for spying, especially on children and their parents, that being “connected” is not a good thing. My Friend Cayla is a doll that recently became popular, but those who have purchased it are being asked to destroy it.”

REMAIN CALM! ALL IS WELL! Rioting erupts in immigrant-dominated Swedish suburb.

STAGES OF ELECTRONICS: Cellphones as a fifth-order elaboration of Maxwell’s theory. “As I pass the zombielike figures on the street, oblivious to anything but their cellphone screens, I wonder how many of them know that the most fundamental advances enabling their addictions came not from Nokia, Apple, Google, Samsung, or LG. These companies’ innovations are certainly admirable, but they amount only to adding a few fancy upper floors to a magnificent edifice whose foundations were laid by Maxwell 152 years ago and whose structure depends on decades-old advances that made it possible to build electronics devices ever smaller.”

LET’S GET ON THAT: Endless nuclear power can be found in the seas.

The best way to get uranium out of salt water is to dip plastic fibers coated with an organic chemical called amidoxime into seawater. The uranyl ions stick to the amidoxime, and can later be extracted and refined into uranium fuel. The key to its practicality is how quickly ions can be capture, how much sticks and how often the fibers can be reused.

The Stanford team came up with a conductive hybrid carbon and amidoxime fiber prototype that’s better in all three of those areas. By sending electric pulses down the fiber, it was able to absorb up to nine times as much uranyl as previous fibers without becoming saturated. Over an 11-hour test at Half Moon Bay, the team captured three times as much uranium and the fibers had thrice the lifespan of standard amidoxime.

In 2012, a Japanese team estimated that their seawater extraction technique, using previous tech, could be developed for about $300 per kilogram. That was about three times the commercial price at that point, but right now, the price is around half of that. “We have a lot of work to do still, but these are big steps toward practicality,” said the paper’s co-author, Li Cui. “For much of this century, some fraction of our electricity will need to come from sources that we can turn on and off. I believe nuclear power should be part of that mix.”

Anyone serious about cutting carbon emissions has to be serious about nuclear power.

WAIT, AZTECS ATE AT CHIPOTLE? New Evidence Links the Collapse of Aztec Society to a Deadly Salmonella Outbreak.

ALTERNATE HISTORY:

It’s a little funny and a lot sad.

(Hat tip, Paul Barbehenn.)

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE:  College Writing Center Declares American Grammar A ‘Racist,’ ‘Unjust Language Structure.’

In-state tuition to the University of Washington, Tacoma is 11k. Out of state tuition is 33k. Parents and students, choose where to spend your money wisely.

WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS: Canned Bacon Grease. (Bumped. Because bacon.)

YA THINK? Former Clinton Adviser: Democratic Party’s ‘Technocratic Speak’ Turning Off Voters

Technocratic speak — talking down to the proles — is one way the Left maintains the proper pecking order. Giving that up won’t be easy, or sincere.

IT’S A STOPGAP UNTIL THE SOMA COMES OUT: When Retirement Comes With A Daily Dose Of Cannabis.

SAITH THE MAN-GOD: ‘EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED.’ “Ross Douthat is correct: if you don’t like the Christian Right, wait till you see the Post-Christian Right. To that I would add: look at the Post-Christian Left. You cannot deny the God-Man and replace him with the Man-God with impunity,” Rod Dreher writes.

Read the whole thing.

WELL, YES: Trump isn’t really campaigning earlier than other recent presidents. He’s just more upfront about it.

The “permanent campaign” was invented by (or maybe “for”) Bill Clinton a quarter century ago, and for better or worse it’s now a permanent part of our political landscape.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Everything You Need To Know About Fuel.

MARK ELLIS: Build the Wall, But Realize That We’ll Still Need Seasonal Agricultural Workers.

True, but an official guest-worker program would be much more orderly than today’s mess — and considering the 21st Century’s issues with terror and infectious disease, probably a bit safer as well.

AND THE LEFT HAS BEEN WALLOWING IN RADICAL CHIC EVER SINCE: Fifty Years of Bonnie and Clyde.

WHAT’S FUNNY IS, YALE’S BIG SELLING POINT IS . . . EXCLUSIVITY AND PRIVILEGE: Yale Bans Secret Society From Meeting Space Over ‘Exclusivity’ and ‘Privilege.’

But let’s run with this. I think we need legislation requiring the Ivy League to admit students by lottery, in the name of abolishing exclusivity and privilege. Or maybe we should just abolish the Ivy League. Because inequality!

FLY THE OVERLY FRIENDLY SKIES: Pilot Removed From United Airlines Flight, Had Boarded The Plane Out Of Uniform.

The Associated Press reports that the female pilot, who was not named, was not in uniform when boarding the plane recently, according to a spokesman for the airline. The spokesman said that another pilot was brought in to complete the flight, which was delayed for almost two hours.

The spokesman confirmed that the pilot was shown in videos posted to several social media sites talking to passengers over the aircraft intercom. Persons identifying themselves as passengers on the flight said that the woman appeared to be unstable, and was talking about the election, divorce and other matters.

Clearly not the right time for her to be piloting an airplane, or much of anything else.

BELIEVE IT WHEN YOU SEE IT: Russia’s Rostec to co-develop 5th-gen fighter with UAE.

Russia defense heavyweight Rostec will partner with the UAE Ministry of Defence to co-develop a fifth-generation light combat fighter, company CEO Sergey Chemezov said at IDEX in Abu Dhabi Monday.

Development, which is based upon its MiG-29 twin-engine fighter aircraft, will kick off in 2018, and will take an estimated seven to eight years, Chemezov said during a media briefing with journalists. He elaborated in an exclusive one-on-one interview with Defense News.

“That’s not fast, because it takes quite a long period of time to develop,” he said speaking through a translator. “We anticipate local production here in the Arab Emirates, for the needs of Emirates. And of course [we expect development to support the needs of] the neighboring countries.”

The prospect of building a fully modern, fifth-generation jet on top of a fourth-generation platform which first flew in 1977 seems dubious at best. Russia’s current effort at building a stealth fighter, Sukhoi’s PAK-FA, has proven so troublesome that Russia’s partners in India nearly dropped out of the program, and Russia herself now plans to field only a few of the jets.

DUDE, WHERE’S MY TWEET? Twitter Is Now ‘Ghost’ Deleting Offensive Tweets.

Last week we discovered Twitter was punishing accounts for using “offensive” language by removing account features for 12 hours. Now it appears they are “ghost” deleting Tweets they deem offensive.

When a Tweet is ghost deleted, the person who wrote the Tweet still sees it and does not know it is technically deleted. But everyone else trying to find the Tweet cannot see it, and even if you manually enter the Tweet’s URL, it will bring you to a page that says it was deleted.

This was first discovered by John Sweeney at SuperNerdLand whose offensive tweet was ghost deleted by Twitter.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey owes it to his shareholders to explain how ghost-deleting is going to bring back user growth.