You know, I used to trust places like the CBO or the BLS to be reasonably honest and non-political. I don’t anymore.
January 20, 2017
I just got done combing through a New York Times report titled, “Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year.” The number of relevant numbers in this article is: zero.
We are not told what the average global temperature was, how much higher this is than last year’s record or any previous records, or what the margin of error is supposed to be on those measurements. Instead, we get stuff like this.
Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016—trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row.
Note to the New York Times: “trouncing” and “blown past” are phrases appropriate to sports reporting, not science reporting. Except that no sports reporter would dare write an article in which he never bothers to give you the score of the big game.
Yet that’s what passes for “science reporting” on the issue of global warming, where asking for numbers and margins of errors apparently makes you an enemy of science. Instead, it’s all qualitative and comparative descriptions. It’s science without numbers.
It wasn’t just the New York Times. Try finding the relevant numbers ready at hand in the NASA/NOAA press release. You get numbers comparing 2016’s temperature with “the mid-20th century mean” or “the late 19th century.” But there’s nothing comparing it to last year or the year before except qualitative descriptions. So the government’s science bureaucracy is setting the trend, making reporters dig for the relevant numbers rather than presenting them up front.
It’s almost like they’re hiding something.
Almost! Read the whole thing to find out exactly what they’re hiding.
Many liberals, for instance, tell us that racism is one of the most pressing problems in America. And yet few things have hurt African Americans more over the past 40 years than the inner-city public school system. If President Obama is correct, and educational attainment is the key to breaking out of a lower economic strata, then no institution is driving inequality quite as effectively as public schools.
Actually, teachers unions are the only organizations in America that openly support segregated schools. In districts across the country — even ones in cities with some form of limited movement for kids — poor parents, most typically black or Hispanic, are forced to enroll their kids in underperforming schools when there are good ones nearby, sometimes just blocks away.
The National Education Association spent $23 million last cycle alone working to elect politicians to keep low-income Americans right where they are. Public service unions use tax dollars to fund politicians who then turn around and vote for more funding. The worse the schools perform, the more money they demand. In the real world we call this racketeering.
Yet according to Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, it is people like DeVos who are “a grave threat” to the public schools “that made America great.”
Well, for starters, studies consistently show that minority groups in America’s largest cities are lagging in proficiency in reading and math. Most of them are at the bottom 5 percent of schools in their own state. There is only so much an education secretary can accomplish, but being accused of being a “grave threat” to this system is a magnificent endorsement.
Three-way bulbs, which have two different filaments and thus three different brightnesses, are currently exempted. DOE just ruled that they now need to be covered. The Department’s reasoning: “DOE expects these sales will likely increase since these lamps could be used as replacements for other regulated lamp types.” In other words: People might start buying these bulbs because they want regular light bulbs rather than expensive LEDs or crappy fluorescents.
DOE also spiked the exemption for globe-shaped bulbs. Many manufacturers make, and many retailers sell, globe-shaped bulbs that met the standards, but consumers were left with the option to buy globe-shaped bulbs of the old type. That couldn’t stand.
This rule doesn’t go into effect for three years, but it could lead pretty quickly to domestic bulb makers ceasing production.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Charlotte Law School Fires Two-Thirds Of Faculty And Staff, Abandons Teach-Out Plan As Negotiations With Department Of Education Collapse; Classes Begin Jan. 23.
BERNIE SANDERS SAYS THAT WE’RE NOT A COMPASSIONATE SOCIETY.
What he means by that is that we don’t give enough money to grifters like Bernie Sanders so that they can redistribute it to their political allies. In fact, as the numbers make quite clear, Americans Are Far More Compassionate than “Socially Conscious” Europeans.
I JUST WANT TO REASSURE ALL OUR FRIENDS ON THE LEFT: Trump is not going to put you all in camps and install a Nazi state. He can’t, because George W. Bush already put you all in camps and installed a Nazi state. Oh, wait, he never got to do it, because we were already all dead in the nuclear war our cowboy president, Ronald Reagan, started by talking tough to the Russians. And that is when I got to the States. I’m sure people who’ve been here longer can explain to you how other republican administrations already destroyed everything, ALL THE THINGS WITH ALL THE DRAMA, in the most terrible way. Sorry guys the song has gone thin and only children believe the lyrics anymore. And honestly? That’s only because they haven’t seen the drama you guys create long enough to know better.
NOT MINE, BUT THEN I’VE KNOWN OTHER DORM-ROOM LEFTISTS: How President Obama Broke My Heart The Story of Two Farewell Addresses.
TICK, TICK TICK, THE COUNTDOWN TO NOON CONTINUES: Doesn’t look like Obama has any interest in pardoning Hillary. (You mean there’s something to pardon? I’m shocked, shocked, shocked.)
PROTESTING THE PRESIDENT ELECT’S “LACK OF RESPECT” FOR THE CONSTITUTION: Which we presume this person intuited from the voices in his head or the lies of the MSM, since he has no actions to base this on yet. (BTW does it never occur to them all these hysterics ahead of his having any power mean no one will take them seriously if/when he does trespass?) Protester attempts to light himself on fire outside Trump hotel.
BUT BUT BUT OBAMA PARDONED HIM! HOW CAN YOU IMPLY OBAMA IS WRONG? STOP calling Bradley Manning a hero!
“TRUMP IS LIKELY TO FACE A WALL OF OPPOSITION FROM DEMOCRATS AND THE UNIONS” — SO, SAME OLD, SAME OLD (AND THEY FORGOT THE MEDIA.): Boom: Trump eyes 10% spending cuts, 20% slash of federal workers.
ABOUT THAT TRANSITION TEAM CHAOS: Trump nominee prep: 30 mock hearings, 70 hours, 2,600 questions. And about that “chaos” read this. Trump is taking office with his entire Cabinet named and a slew of other positions announced. This is actually not normal. Other presidents have been way slower. Also, note that Democrats are afraid that Trump’s nominees will usher in the apocalypse, then complain about a dearth of apocalypse bringers. You just can’t please some people: A Close Look at Donald Trump’s Cabinet.
INCOHERENT LEFTISTS? THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE: The (very) mixed messages of the Women’s March against Trump.
MSNBC journalists on Thursday whined about the treatment they were getting from Americans visiting Washington D.C. for Donald Trump’s inauguration. Cal Perry reported live from the inaugural concert. He complained, “…There is a pervasive, sort of, heckling that goes on towards the media that we’ve seen today, consistently not just from the crowds but also the volunteers.”
After walking around the crowd, Perry lamented, “This is certainly a divided nation and this idea that the Trump supporters have seems to be that, if you are not with Trump, you are dead-set against him. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.”
To paraphrase the infamous anti-drug PSA, they learned it from watching you, MSNBC! The Comcast-owned network thought nothing of heckling half the country, saying it sucked, seemingly every night. And now the network’s spokesmen pretend to be shocked! shocked! to be on the other end of the same treatment.
January 19, 2017
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: 4 Recent Examples Show Why No One Trusts Media Coverage Of Trump. “One may have hoped that the media would respond to their 2016 failures and resulting lack of credibility by reforming. Instead, it seems that many in political media are quadrupling down on the mistakes that served them and their readers and viewers so poorly in the lead-up to Donald Trump’s surprise victory in November.”
STEVEN HAYWARD: What Trump Is Up Against. Reagan fought the Deep State, too, and often as not it won.
Related: “That bureaucratic government is the partisan instrument of the Democratic Party is the most obvious, yet least remarked upon, trait of our time.” Well, given that the civil service laws have failed to produce honest, nonpartisan government employees, perhaps we should repeal them.
THE GORE EFFECT LIVES!
Park City is bracing for a slew of snow at Sundance Film Festival.The festival locale sank to below-freezing temperatures ahead of Thursday’s opening-night film An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Al Gore’s climate-change follow-up to 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth.
Sporadic snowfall is expected throughout the duration of the fest, while temperatures may dip as low as 11 degrees Fahrenheit during the Utah event’s first few days, according to the National Weather Service.
No doubt temperatures there would have been even colder if Al hadn’t exacerbated global warming by selling out to the biggest of Big Oil at the beginning of 2013.
SO THE OTHER DAY I mentioned that I’d gotten this Azio mechanical keyboard and that I liked it a lot. But then somebody in the comments said that what I really wanted was this Unicomp mechanical keyboard. So since I hadn’t reviewed anything in a while, I ordered the Unicomp for a comparison.
Bottom line: The Azio is great, but the Unicomp is awesome. The Azio is better-looking, and I like the backlighting, and it’s got a good mechanical feel. The Unicomp, on the other hand, isn’t very good-looking (basically, it’s straight out of 1987) and it’s heavy. But it totally has that great old IBM AT feel. I even like it that the tops of the keys — which on the Azio have a rough-plastic texture — are kind of glossy-satin like the old AT keys. I find typing on it a genuine physical pleasure. Both of them are loud (though the Unicomp is louder). The Azio has a volume wheel and mute button, while the Unicomp has those only via function keys. I don’t think you’ll go wrong with either one, but for old-school touch-typing joy, I’d put the Unicomp about a half-notch ahead.
OBAMA, YOU’LL REMEMBER, INSISTED ON KEEPING HIS BLACKBERRY DESPITE ADVICE THAT IT WAS INSECURE: Report: Trump has given up personal cellphone. “Trump apparently told a friend on Thursday that he has given up the phone on the advice of security agencies.”
VIRGINIA POSTREL: Now’s the Time for Big-Box Stores to Embrace the 19th Century. “Department stores weren’t always dull places to buy things less efficiently than you can online. In the early days, their wonders included elegant tearooms, suitable for ladies who’d never frequent saloons. Stores held concerts and fashion shows. They provided playgrounds and nurseries. They gave all sorts of lessons, from bicycle riding in the 1890s to bridge and mah-jongg decades later. They displayed original artworks. In many and varied ways, they wrapped their goods, many of them themselves new and exotic, in experiences.”
THAT THIS HAPPENED — AND THAT OBAMA DIDN’T CHASTISE ANYONE FOR IT — WAS A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME: Will Obama Be Booed Like His Supporters Booed Bush In 2009? And I hope it doesn’t happen this time, though if it does, well, that’s what happens when you break down traditions of civility.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: 94 Law School Deans Ask ABA To Postpone Proposed 75% Bar Passage Requirement.
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Female, 17, charged with knife-point rape of 19-year-old man. “Lestina Marie Smith was arraigned Tuesday morning, Jan. 17, on two felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Each charge carries a maximum punishment of life in prison.”
Yes, that headline appears to send up dangerous smoke signals, but I urge you to read the whole thing, Kemosabi…
AS ALWAYS, LIFE IN THE 21st CENTURY IMITATES MONTY PYTHON: Watch Monty Python Eviscerate The Women’s March 38 Years Before It Happened.
The Judean Popular People’s Front could not be reached for comment.
DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Prestigious Swarthmore College Offers Class Asking ‘Is God a White Supremacist?’
CRYING WOLF PART DEUX: “Comedian” DL Hughley Comedian to Trump: ‘F—k You Now And F—k You Forever:’
Earlier in the video, the comedian disparaged Trump’s recent attempts to connect with black people by meeting with celebrities such as Kanye West and Steve Harvey.
“You know why you have a comedian, a rapper and a football player out to talk about the concerns of the community?” Hughley questioned. “’Cause that’s the position you’re used to seeing us in… You’d rather see us run the ball than run the country.”
And yet, in 2009, when Hughley was briefly a CNN host, he interviewed Michael Steele, then the chairman of the Republican Party, and said, “‘The tenets of the Republican Party are amazing and they seem warm and welcome. But when I watch it be applied — like you didn’t have to go much further than the Republican National Convention….It literally look[s] like Nazi Germany.’ He went on to say that blacks weren’t welcome in the party: ‘It just does not seem — like not only are we not welcome — not only are we not welcome, but they don’t even care what we think.’”
Hughley either forgot that he was interviewing a fellow African-American when he uttered the above words, or more likely didn’t care, and simply fired off the same ancient boilerplate smears against the GOP that date as far back as President Roosevelt. And note that the rank and file GOP – of numerous races and religions – were gathered in Saint Paul, Minnesota in early September of 2008 to nominate former war hero John McCain to be their presidential nominee, a man left permanently crippled after being tortured while a captive of real life national socialists in North Vietnam.
And the left still is shaking their head pondering how Trump became president.
ACE OF SPADES: On the eve of Trump’s inauguration, in their feverish efforts to derail Trump’s cabinet, the DNC-MSM has “chosen the form of their Destructor, and the form they have chosen is they themselves.”
CRYING WOLF: Garrison Keillor ponders quitting Christianity over Trump in a column the Washington Post saw fit to publish (link safe; goes to Hot Air):
And so the Boy President heads for Washington to be sworn into office, pumping his fist, mooning the media, giving the stinky finger to whomever irks him, doing his end-zone dance, promising to build the wall, cut taxes, create jobs, provide great health insurance for EVERYONE and send his son-in-law to the Middle East to solve that little problem, and the rest of us will sit in a barn and keep ourselves warm and hide our heads under our wings, poor things. Discouraging.
So I’ve been shopping around for a new religion to see me through the next four years. Too many of my fellow Christians voted for selfishness and for degradation of the beautiful world God created. I guess they figured that by the time the planet was a smoky wasteland, they’d be nice and comfy in heaven, so wotthehell. Anyhow, I’m looking around for other options.
Many of which were the same people that Keillor denigrated in 2004 thusly:
The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk.
That doesn’t sound like a very Christian attitude toward your fellow man. On the other hand, as Christopher Caldwell memorably put it that same year: “At some point, Democrats became the party of small-town people who think they’re too big for their small towns…For these people, liberalism is not a belief at all. No, it’s something more important: a badge of certain social aspirations. That is why the laments of the small-town leftists get voiced with such intemperance and desperation. As if those who voice them are fighting off the nagging thought: If the Republicans aren’t particularly evil, then maybe I’m not particularly special.”
QUIN HILLYER: Saul Alinsky Leaves the White House.
Obama and company also waged bureaucratic war against independent inspectors general; tried their hardest (even illegally) to hobble fossil fuels industries; evaded Congress’s intent by sending cash and uranium to a near-nuclear-ready Iran; fumbled and stumbled while veterans suffered virtually criminal neglect; wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on projects that were not “shovel-ready” and did not create many jobs; oversaw an economy in which the workforce participation rate dropped to historically low levels while real median household income also fell and personal debt rose, and in which food stamp rolls grew to a number larger than the population of Spain; horrendously politicized the Justice Department; and saw race relations worsen for the first time in decades.
In what should have been treated by the media as major scandals (or more major than the media represented them), the Obama administration encouraged illegal gun-running to Mexican cartels, with untold numbers of resultant deaths; failed to provide adequate security before or rescue during the Benghazi tragedy; provided tax subsidies in return for campaign cash from useless “green energy” companies; spied on journalists; freed five killers in return for a deserter; failed to police or protect email use at the State Department; polluted a river through the ineptitude of the Gold King Mine Disaster; illegally (arguably) granted, to political allies only, numerous “waivers” from Obamacare; and of course committed the actions I related in the first paragraph of this piece, including the dismissal of the New Black Panther case and the IRS targeting of conservative groups.
And in almost every case, they covered up and/or lied about these actions, often egregiously and sometimes, quite arguably, criminally.
And those are only the major scandals and embarrassments.
Read the whole thing.
WELL, HILLARY SCHEMED TO HELP HIM GET THE GOP NOMINATION. HOW DID THAT WORK OUT FOR HER? Russia Fears That Trump Won’t Be Such a Great Deal After All.
READER BOOK PLUG: From Donald Crankshaw, et al., Mysterion: Rediscovering the Mysteries of the Christian Faith.
“My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking,” Perry said at his confirmation hearing Thursday to be secretary of Energy.
“In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.”
It would have been better if he’d have stuck to his guns, if only to keep the Fear of God flowing through an entire cabinet-level department.
ROGER KIMBALL: Is The Left Dangerous? “It’s not just that the country is divided as it hasn’t since, oh, since 1860, but also that the Left, for a whole host of reasons, is weaponized in a way it hasn’t been since — well, I was going to say since the late 1960s, but the truth is that what Trump is facing is a union of Left-wing animus and bureaucratized establishment spinelessness and accommodation that is probably unique.”
FINAL (?) NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: U.S. Bombers Hit Islamic State in Libya.
American B-2 bombers struck at multiple sites in Libya on Wednesday evening, hitting an Islamic State training camp and other locations and killing dozens of Islamic State fighters, according to Pentagon officials, in what represents a broadening of the U.S. war against the extremist group in northern Africa.
The Pentagon and coalition members in the fight against Islamic State in Libya were still assessing the impact of the strikes, but as many as 90 Islamic State fighters may have been killed, according to military officials.
The strikes occurred in the desert outside Sirte, Libya, a city where the Pentagon last month concluded an intense airstrike campaign against Islamic State. But even after Sirte had been judged to be clear of Islamic State fighters, some militants had escaped the coastal city to outlying areas.
It’s always nice to kill ISIS fighters, but sending high-value B-2 stealth bombers into a low-risk area seems like overkill.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, GENETIC DECLINE EDITION: Natural selection is causing a decline in human ‘education genes’, say scientists.
A study involving more than 100,000 people in Iceland found that those who carry the genes for longer education time were less likely to have a big family, which means the smartest people in the room were actually contributing less to the Icelandic gene pool. . . .
Once that polygenetic score was correlated with factors like educational attainment, fertility, and birth years, the researchers found that those with a higher genetic propensity towards more education tended to have fewer children.
They also found that the average polygenetic score has been declining at a small, but significant rate on an evolutionary timescale.
As Ian Sample reports for The Guardian, the team found a drop in IQ of about 0.04 points per decade, but if all the genetic factors that could be linked to education were taken into account, that figure would increase to 0.3 points per decade.
Interestingly, the link between a higher propensity towards more education and having fewer children wasn’t because going to university is hard, and eats into your family-raising time – the team suggests that the genes involved in education can also affect human fertility on a biological level.
Because even those who carried the genes for longer education time, but who did not actually get more education, still had fewer offspring on average than those without the genetic factor.
This may explain why humanity hasn’t gotten steadily smarter.
Sounds fun, but what did they hope to accomplish?
UPDATE: Word on Twitter is that the event only lasted half an hour, which officially makes this the worst-ever gay dance party at any location.
ANOTHER UPDATE (From Glenn): Don Surber in the comments for the win: “I always said gay people would be dancing in the streets with the election of President Trump. And I was right!”
FAKE NEWS: That New York Times hit piece on Perry was unsubstantiated garbage. “Despite the story’s obviously thin sourcing, members of the press were quick to spread the article on social media, each apparently trying to one-up the other in terms [of] alarmism.” Plus:
First, the article’s lone source, Michael McKenna, was booted from the Trump transition team in November 2016. Perry was appointed to the role in December 2016.
Second, the quote attributed to McKenna is pure speculation. It’s him theorizing about what the former governor may be thinking now compared to what he thought back in December when he was first offered the job.
How the Times took that single quote and presented the headline and opening paragraphs as solid fact is anyone’s guess.
Third, according McKenna, the quote isn’t even accurate. He told the Daily Caller Wednesday evening that his already bland remarks were badly misinterpreted by the Times. He said the report “[doesn’t] really reflect what I said,” adding that Perry “of course” understood the job when he accepted it.
Fourth, Amarillo, Texas, serves as the primary location for the assembly and disassembly of the nation’s nuclear weapons. Nearly two-thirds of the Department of Energy’s budget goes to maintaining those stockpiles. As a reminder, Perry, a former member of the United States Air Force, served as governor of Texas for 15 years. He is not unaware of those projects.
No, but most of the “journalists” mocking him as ignorant probably are.
Every President since Bill Clinton promised to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, but none delivered for fear of offending Arab sensibilities.
THE CLASSIEST, MOST LUXURIOUS AXE: Trump team prepares dramatic cuts.
The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.
Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.
A trillion here and a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real cuts.
Plus, today only at Amazon, Save Up To 40% on Turbo Tax.
The administration discovered accounting mistakes last fall, but it did not notify lawmakers until the administration included adjustments to make up for the errors in Brown’s budget proposal last week. The Democratic governor called for more than $3 billion in cuts because of a projected deficit he pegged at $1.6 billion.
“There’s no other way to describe this other than a straight up error in accounting, which we deeply regret,” said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the Department of Finance.
The agency followed its normal practice by waiting to report the errors in the governor’s next budget, he said.
Brown’s deficit projection was driven by more than just the accounting error, Palmer said, noting that California tax collections came in below expectations for most of the first half of the fiscal year.
The massive hole in the Medi-Cal budget surprised state lawmakers.
It always does.
UH HUH: Survey: 1/3 of federal workers still “considering” quitting after tomorrow. Has anyone actually quit?
CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: 7th Circuit strikes ban on target practice by minors, and near-ban on firing ranges.
More here from Eugene Volokh.
Clinton made her own luck, and Clift’s column reads like “Why didn’t she win by 50 points?”
THIS WAS ELIZABETH WARREN’S BOGUS RESEARCH: The Myth of the Medical Bankruptcy.
Did medical bills single-handedly account for more bankruptcies than anything else? No. This is an exaggerated half-remembering of a series of studies, authored by (among others) Elizabeth Warren, that were themselves exorbitant exaggerations.
I went into detail on the problems with the work seven years ago, but the highlight reel is that these authors have an aggressive tendency to employ any technique that ratchets the count of “medical bankruptcy” upward, while not using similar techniques that would tend to ratchet up other categories and diminish the number of bankruptcies counted as medical, and to present their results in misleading ways — so as to obscure, for example, the fact that by their own accounting, the number of medical bankruptcies actually fell by hundreds of thousands between 2001 and 2007. Which is why their study tended to be presented in the media as “growing problem” rather than “shrinking threat.”
To be clear: I don’t believe that medical bankruptcies fell by hundreds of thousands between 2001 and 2007. I think this conclusion further suggests just how problematic their methodology is. So does the fact that in 2011, two of Warren’s co-authors issued a new study finding that medical bankruptcy hadn’t fallen in Massachusetts after the passage of Romneycare. These two co-authors are the co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Care Program, an advocacy group that supports single-payer in America, and they have a noticeable tendency to find that — quelle surprise — America has enormous problems with medical bills that can be solved only by a single-payer health-care system. They have a lot of latitude to get that answer, because it’s surprisingly hard to know exactly which bankruptcies are medical. Someone who bought three new cars, and also had a hernia, is probably going to blame the hernia.
It’s almost like anything that comes from Elizabeth Warren is suspect.
SCENES FROM SCOTT WALKER’S WISCONSIN: Wisconsin’s budget picture gets $714 million brighter.
Fiscal bureau director Bob Lang reported tax revenues are expected to be $455 million higher than what the Department of Administration projected in November. Also, spending in the current fiscal year that ends June 30 is expected to be $226 million lower — largely due to lower-than-expected Medicaid enrollment — and other revenues are expected to be $33 million higher.
That turns what was thought to be a $693 million deficit for the upcoming budget into a $21 million surplus, including all departmental budget requests.
It also adds more cushion to the state’s bottom line as it closes out the 2015-2017 budget cycle. Previously the net balance was about $40 million. The latest estimate has the state closing out the year with a $362.2 million ending balance.
The additional revenue helps explain why Gov. Scott Walker has been able to promise several additional spending proposals in his upcoming 2017-2019 budget proposal, such as a “significant increase” for K-12 schools, a University of Wisconsin tuition cut back-filled with state taxpayer dollars and $100 million more for local roads and rural broadband.
Wisconsin Democrats, to borrow a phrase, should be thanking him.
The meltdown comes to a crescendo on Friday, when more than 60 Democrats in Congress will boycott Trump’s inauguration, and on Saturday when millions are expected to gather at a Women’s March on Washington.
Snit fits about every little thing are not an effective way to oppose a President’s agenda.
Party leaders and activists don’t look defiant, resolved and unified; they look alarmingly insecure, weak and spastic.
In the immortal words of America’s poet — Miranda Lambert — “Run an’ hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.”
But it isn’t about policy. It’s about virtue signaling and the infantile joy of throwing a public tantrum.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Student debt now affects a staggering number of elderly Americans.
If only there had been some kind of warning.
WELCOME TO THE PARTY, PAL: Liberals Prepare for President Trump with Gun Purchases, ‘Prepping’
It’s possible to applaud them for exercising their constitutional rights, while also bemoaning the fact that ammo and firearms prices might not be coming down any time soon after all.
RICH LOWRY: The Shameful War On Betsy DeVos. “The controversy over the nomination of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education has been, if nothing else, clarifying. We now know that working to give poor kids more educational opportunities is considered a disqualifying offense for the Left.”
NFL IMPLOSION UPDATE: Roger Goodell Afraid To Visit Patriots Stadium:
There are plenty of names Patriots fans are fond of calling NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. None is very pleasant, and with good reason.
Some of the cleaner ones with regard to his latest transgression? Roger the dodger. Roger the coward. Roger the chicken.
Given his record, why isn’t he afraid to go to every NFL stadium?
The populist leader of the National Front had between 25 percent and 26 percent support compared with 23 percent to 25 percent for Republican candidate Francois Fillon, according to an Ipsos Sopra Steria poll for Cevipof and Le Monde. In mid December, Fillon led with about 28 percent and Le Pen around 25 percent.
Since the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president on Nov. 8, the French race has been closely-watched as another crucial battle between populist and establishment forces. Under the French electoral system, the two leading candidates face each other in a run-off vote on May 7, presenting a significant hurdle to Le Pen. The poll didn’t include data for the second-round vote.
European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, a French Socialist, said in Davos Thursday that there’s little chance of Le Pen securing the broad support needed for victory.
“I’m not worried about Madame Le Pen being president,” Moscovici said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “I don’t want Madame Le Pen in power. Never, ever in my country.”
Le Pen has pledged to take France out of the euro if she wins.
After betting the country on an inept Socialist the last time around, don’t be too surprised if French voters make an abrupt volte-face.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Student group sues after members arrested for handing out copies of Constitution.
JONATHAN TURLEY: Stop Whining: Trump’s Our Legitimate President:
It is of course immaterial that Trump lost the popular vote in a system based on electoral, not popular voting. (For the record, I have long been a critic of the Electoral College.) Moreover, while references to the “Russian hacking of the election” have become common shorthand, the Russians did not hack the election. Emails were hacked and those emails were not faked or tampered with, as repeatedly claimed by DNC chair Donna Brazile. As recently confirmed by the intelligence report, they were real emails showing incredibly dishonest and corrupt practices. Although there is no question that the leak appears selective in targeting Democrats, Washington seems most aggrieved by the fact that the public was given a true insight into the false and duplicitous behavior that defines the establishment. However, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, the spin is not taking: almost 60% of voters do not believe the hacking determined the outcome of the election.
In the end, the protests are not about legitimacy. Trump is by any measure our duly elected and legitimate president. It is about a refusal to accept legitimate results. Even the title of “The Women’s March” is dubious.
While Bill Clinton insisted that his wife lost because Trump figured out “how to get angry, white men to vote for him,” the fact is that it was the Democratic leadership that secured the election for Trump. Despite long-standing polls showing that voters did not want an establishment figure, the establishment pre-selected Clinton, who is not only one of the most recognized establishment figures but someone carrying more luggage than Greyhound. She is also someone who had even higher negative polling on character and truthfulness than Trump.
More importantly, it is a well-maintained myth that Clinton was the candidate of women who overwhelmingly rejected Trump. Clinton pulled basically the same percentage of female votes as Obama did four years earlier. Indeed, Clinton actually did slightly worse this election than Obama did in the prior two presidential elections with women.
Women don’t particularly like her. But, to be fair, neither do men.
MELTDOWN: Florida man charged with threatening to kill President-elect Trump at his inauguration on Twitter was a close family friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton. “The man arrested by Miami Beach police Tuesday for allegedly threatening President-elect Donald Trump online is a member of a prominent northeast family close to Bill and Hillary Clinton. He once gave $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee, DailyMail.com has learned. . . . Puopolo reportedly admitted to posting a video to Twitter, saying: ‘This is the 16th of January 2017, I will be at the review/ inauguration and I will kill President Trump, President elect Trump today.'”
If the parties were reversed, this would be a big story, with lots of chin-pulling about “inflammatory rhetoric.”
WHO NEEDS KEITH ELLISON: Caitlyn Jenner to attend Trump inauguration. “Caitlyn has been a Republican all her life.”
GOT MEDIA SKILLS? LOOKING FOR A JOB? The University of Tennessee College of Law invites applications for the position of Director of Communications.
TILTING THE PLAYING FIELD: Google Uses Its Search Engine to Hawk Its Products.
A Wall Street Journal analysis found that ads for products sold by Google and its sister companies appeared in the most prominent spot in 91% of 25,000 recent searches related to such items; and 43% of the time, the top two ads both were for Google-related products.
The analysis, run by search-ad-data firm SEMrush, examined 1,000 searches each on 25 terms, from “laptops” to “speakers” to “carbon monoxide detectors.” SEMrush ran the searches Dec. 1 on a desktop computer, blocking past web-surfing history that could influence results.
The results show how Google uses its dominant search engine to boost other parts of its business and give it an edge over competitors, which include some of its biggest advertising customers.
A Google spokesman said the company has “consciously and carefully designed” its marketing programs not to affect other advertisers.
The Journal’s analysis highlights a rarely discussed apparent conflict of interest in the $187 billion digital-advertising industry: The leading sellers of online ad space, including Google, Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp., also compete with their customers for that space.
Google searches for “phones” virtually always began with three consecutive ads for Google’s Pixel phones. All 1,000 searches for “laptops” started with a Chromebook ad. “Watches” began with an Android smartwatch ad 98% of the time. And “smoke detector” led with back-to-back ads for internet-connected alarms made by Nest, a company owned by Google parent Alphabet. In all instances, the stores these ads pointed to were also owned by Alphabet.
There’s nothing wrong with a company hyping its own products and services, but smart shoppers might want to shop around for different search engines, too.
CHELSEA MANNING COMMUTATION REVEALS OBAMA’S DOUBLE STANDARD: Espionage against the USA for causes Obama seems to favor is just fine, but embarrassing his party is not.
CHANGE: Ballotpedia Analysis: President-Elect Trump to Inherit 108 Life-Term Federal Judicial Vacancies. You know, given how overworked the federal courts are, I think Congress should consider adding at least 5 or 10 new judges per circuit, too.
A CHANGE OF THE GUARD? Trump’s threat to the liberal ‘deep state’
There’s one last way in which Trump’s inauguration represents a return to politics, and that’s as a repudiation of the ideal of a politically neutral administrative state, run by a government of experts whose rules anonymous bureaucrats faithfully follow.
There were echoes of that in Andrew Jackson’s victory, for the unruly mob that had descended on Washington in 1829 was composed of office-seekers who had been promised patronage jobs in the new administration. And many of them got what they wanted, for Jackson introduced the “spoils system” in which career civil servants were replaced by political appointees.
Civil-service reform, beginning with the 1883 Pendleton Act, was supposed to protect us from Jacksonian politics, creating a merit system that tied the president’s hands in patronage appointments. That was meant to give us an efficient government, free of corruption, with rule by scientific experts.
Instead, we got rule by stale ideologues. Today, when the “deep state” of federal workers is so wholly opposed to Trump, and is so partisan in its opposition, when they’ll do whatever they can to frustrate Trump’s policies, there’s an argument to be made for a return to politics and an abandonment of our faith in rule by politically neutral experts.
The patronage system was corrupt to be sure, but it did bring in a new group of thieves with each new administration.
FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Student group sues after members arrested for handing out copies of Constitution.
Come to think of it, “freedom’s charter” probably is a subversive document.
The last major decision of President Barack Obama was to commute the sentence of a traitor whose most recent accomplishment since giving battlefield secrets to Osama bin Laden was undergoing a taxpayer-funded sex change transition. It was a fitting end to a failed presidency that leaves President-elect Donald Trump mess after mess to clean up on the world stage. . . .
Manning helped our enemies by leaking sensitive information to a foreign organization. Period. He was arrested, confessed, and subsequently sentenced to 35 years in a military prison. His actions put America at risk and endangered the lives of “foreigners in dangerous countries who were identified as having helped American troops or diplomats,” according to The New York Times.
Afghans, Syrians, and Iraqis — brave people who continue to live in treacherous places — were put in extreme danger by Manning. These people helped America with the understanding that their actions would be kept secret. Because of Manning, their lives and the lives of their families are forever in peril. In future battles, when our military is looking for allies among local populations, who will trust that America can keep their secrets or can guarantee their safety?
Somewhere along the way, his days of trying to destroy America safely behind him, Brad decided he was Chelsea and demanded the government pay for his conversion from man to woman. And we did, as taxpayers ponied up $50,000 for a traitor to receive everything from “counseling to hormone therapy, and…gender reassignment surgery”.
Fast forward to Tuesday, when Manning’s strange tale ended with Obama commuting his sentence over the objection of Defense Secretary Ash Carter. A “former intelligence official described being ‘shocked’ to learn of Obama’s decision, adding that the ‘entire intelligence community is deflated by this inexplicable use of executive power.’ The official said the move was ‘deeply hypocritical given Obama’s denunciation of WikiLeaks’ role in the hacking of the (Democratic National Committee),’” a CNN report said.
He came in like a messiah, he’s leaving like a bum.
ACCORDING TO THE PRESS CONSENSUS, TRUMP IS AN IMPULSIVE GOOFBALL, but he came up with “Make America Great Again” after observing Romney’s defeat in 2012:
It happened on Nov. 7, 2012, the day after Mitt Romney lost what had been presumed to be a winnable race against President Obama. Republicans were spiraling into an identity crisis, one that had some wondering whether a GOP president would ever sit in the Oval Office again.
But on the 26th floor of a golden Manhattan tower that bears his name, Trump was coming to the conclusion that his own moment was at hand.
And in typical fashion, the first thing he thought about was how to brand it.
One after another, phrases popped into his head. “We Will Make America Great.” That one did not have the right ring. Then, “Make America Great.” But that sounded like a slight to the country.
And then, it hit him: “Make America Great Again.”
“I said, ‘That is so good.’ I wrote it down,” Trump recalled in an interview. “I went to my lawyers. I have a lot of lawyers in-house. We have many lawyers. I have got guys that handle this stuff. I said, ‘See if you can have this registered and trademarked.’ ”
Five days later, Trump signed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in which he asked for exclusive rights to use “Make America Great Again” for “political action committee services, namely, promoting public awareness of political issues and fundraising in the field of politics.” He enclosed a $325 registration fee.
His was a vision that ran against the conventional wisdom of the time — in fact, it was “much the opposite,” Trump said.
To save itself, the Republican establishment was convinced, the GOP would have to sand off its edges, become kinder and more inclusive. “Make America Great Again” was divisive and backward-looking. It made no nod to diversity or civility or progress.
It sounded like a death wish.
But Trump had seen something different in the country, and in the daily lives of its struggling citizens.
This doesn’t sound like the behavior of an impulsive goofball.