Reportedly, the European Commission (“EC”) is planning to impose “digital tax” on Apple AAPL, Facebook FB, Alphabet GOOGL, Amazon AMZN and Netflix. Per MarketWatch, which quoted a report by FT, these companies will be taxed on their revenues instead of profit in order to put a check on large tax avoidance.

A tax of 3% will be levied on the company’s advertisement revenues, subscription revenues and revenues earned by selling digital data. Per FT, European Commission is estimated to raise Euro 5 billion annually by implementing this tax.

EU’s aim on extracting as much tax revenues from these U.S-based tech giants has already gained support from 10 member countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Portugal. Reportedly, Britain has also lent its support to this initiative.

How to pick a favorite between eurocrats and America’s pushiest tech giants?

To paraphrase Henry Kissinger, it’s a pity they can’t all lose.

YOU CAN’T SAY THAT! YOU MUST SAY THIS: The Supreme Court this term is hearing a potential landmark First Amendment case from (where else?) California. It poses the issue of whether California law can require pregnancy centers to provide information about the availability of abortion services. The Ninth Circuit upheld the law as a reasonable information requirement.

But Villanova University law professor Michael Moreland told LifeZette’s Brendan Kirby and other journalists on a conference call hosted by the Federalist Society that such a claim “is a very tough argument for the government to prevail on. So I think the plaintiffs have, I think, good reason to be optimistic that it might even be more than 5-4.” One might wonder why such a case would ever be anything less than 9-0, but moving right along …

WALTER OLSON: Yale admissions office responds to my WSJ piece.

Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions at Yale, has written a letter to the Wall Street Journal responding to my opinion piece last week. Countering a claim I never made, he asserts that civic activism in an applying student is not “the only attribute we look for.”

Interestingly, Quinlan does not distance his office from, seek to explain, or mention at all, the earlier Yale admissions blog post on which my piece was based, which had said of accepted students: “we expect them to be versed in issues of social justice.” Instead, he summarily dismisses my analysis as “false” and wrong.”

Meanwhile, in Quinlan’s reworking, what had been a call for applicants to be “versed in issues of social justice” has turned into a thing more anodyne: Yale will “expect its students to be engaged citizens.”

But even that fallback ought to be controversial, if intended as a requirement for applicants rather than a plus. So a high school senior has mastered a field of study or performance, shown mature character and wide-ranging mind, but never spoken out on a public issue, marched, campaigned or even perhaps taken the time to vote? That’s an automatic “no” for an admissions committee?

Ivy League admissions are a scam and a threat to equality. They should be forced to admit students at random, to promote social justice.

MICHAEL WALSH: Wolves in Lamb’s Clothing.

What ought to worry the GOP about the Lamb victory is not the victory itself—Lamb had been leading handsomely in the polls, running as a “conservative”—but the stealthiness of the campaign, which is all part of an emerging new Democrat strategy. As House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) noted, “the candidate who is going to win this race is the candidate who ran as a pro-life, pro-gun, anti-Nancy Pelosi, conservative.”

So behold the emerging Campaign ’18. For months now, Democrats have been recruiting youthful military vets, some of them anti-abortion, and committed to a generational change of the Democrats’ geriatric leadership. In an area like Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, which historically has been home to white, working-class, blue-collar cradle Democrats, this is a winning idea. In order to take back states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, Democrats finally are realizing that the Pelosi-Schumer-Clinton axis of evil no longer holds any appeal, but that clean-cut, all-American types like Conor Lamb very much do. A party that has never had any problem compromising its transient “moral” principles won’t hesitate to run right at conservative Democrat voters, even it means betraying their professed ideals in order to support the national party with votes in Congress when it matters. “By any means necessary” is the Democrats’ slogan for a reason, after all.

No matter how “conservative” these congressional Democrats run as candidates, once in office they can be counted on to vote Yea in favor of the leadership’s most extreme measures.

FAT CHANCE: On Climate Change, Please Address the Science, Not the Politics. “Once and for all, stop poisoning the debate.”

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: False Confessions, Mistaken Witnesses, Corrupt Investigators: Why 139 Innocent People Went to Jail.

The criminal justice system is just another government-run enterprise.

HISTORY IS ALL AROUND:  Names on the Landscape.

WELL, YOU KNOW HOW THEY SAY “GET WOKE, GO BROKE”:  Disney: Woke Is In, ‘Wrinkle’s’ Christianity? Not So Much.

SHE’S RIGHT, YOU KNOW:  Prediction about the 2018 election.


THE CLOWNS ARE HERE:  Andrew Cuomo’s Corruption Circus Rolls On.



THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THEM:  School Walkout – Raising Good Little Fascists.

NEWS YOU’LL HOPEFULLY NEVER USE:  How to survive an active shooter situation in the workplace.

MORE FOR SOME, LESS FOR OTHERS:  How AI could make the internet a safer, more civil place.

DON’T PUT LIPSTICK ON THE DOG:  Your makeup could be killing your dog.

March 15, 2018

LOVE TRUMPS HATE: Student carrying Trump flag assaulted during school walkout.

More like the Ministry of Love.


But they banned Stephen Crowder, so their new moderation scheme is going swimmingly.

UPDATE: According to the comments, it was a hack, and they fixed it shortly after I posted this.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Facebook ‘Very Sorry’ For Child Abuse Search Suggestions.

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FOR BLOG SWEEPS WEEK, a heartwarming tribute to the bikini. Also to help remove the image of Hillary Clinton in a bathtub from your brain.

RIGHT AFTER HER FALL ON THE STAIRS: Hillary Clinton Fractures Wrist After Slipping In Bathtub.

Remember during the campaign when anyone who raised questions about her health was a Russian bot or something?

THERE IS ONLY A WAR BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE UNITED STATES: Radio Free Europe at its ever loving best.

A quote attributed to a Russian merc in Syria:

There is a bigger motivation, the mercenary claimed. “If you are fighting under a Russian flag, with a Russian weapon, even if you are eating moldy food and are 10,000 kilometers from home, you are nonetheless fighting for Russia,” he said.

“There is no Syrian war,” he added. “There is no Ukrainian war. There is only a war between the Russian Federation and the United States.”


The first Russian mercenaries were sent to Syria by an organization called Slavic Corps in 2013 — 267 men, according to an investigation by the St. Petersburg website Fontanka.ru. Their official mission was to guard oil facilities and pipelines, but they were soon caught up in the country’s civil war and suffered heavy losses. When the survivors returned to Moscow in October 2013, their leaders were arrested and sentenced to three years in prison for illegal mercenary activity.


A “private military contracting firm called ChVK Vagner” hires these mercs.

“Vagner is a cruel fellow,” one of the Vagner commanders told RFE/RL. “He’s no fool.” The man added that Vagner has a swastika tattooed on his shoulder, wears a helmet with horns, and practices a form of paganism, a description that RFE/RL could not confirm.

“Vagner” shows up in most Western press commentary as “Wagner.” The RFE description is right out of “Flight of the Valkyries” (Walkürenritt”). Read the whole thing…and welcome to the 21st century.

OPEN THREAD: Because we care.

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MAXIMUM VERIFICATION: It’s the “deadly fine print” in any denuclearization deal with North Korea.

Assuring denuclearization will require a very intrusive, long term, take your shorts off, take your shoes off, spread your glutes, check your hair for lice, open every cave, every bunker, every laboratory, every crevice verification regimen.

Call it maximum verification.

If North Korea balks at maximum verification, what happens next?

Well, Trump said his administration would “go hard in either direction.” War takes maximum pressure to a new level. It’s all in my latest Observer essay.

TAKE A NORTH POLE CRUISE ON AN ICEBREAKER: Well, you can’t make the voyage until 2021, when the luxury icebreaker is launched.

Ponant’s ship will stock 16 Zodiacs (motor powered inflatable vessels specially designed for Polar waters) and two helicopters, all deployed for remote excursions from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea. Passengers will also board helicopters and, potentially, touch down on the uninhabited, volcanic Peter I Island—one of the most remote on the planet—a breeding ground for various Arctic birds, and, if reports are true, the occasional Chinstrap Penguin or seal.

Voyages to Antarctica are also on the itinerary.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Don’t Let Leftists Win By Making You Care. “Perhaps we fail to meet the moral standards of people who already call us racist, sexist, greedy, stupid, and all sorts of other stuff. You heard what Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit said about us. Hell, we are murdering children by sticking up for the Constitution, remember? But gee, it seems that this time we have really disappointed them. This time it’s totally serious. We’ve really done it now. Now our enemies are going to think really, really badly of us. Whatev.”

BIG STORM BREWING IN CALIFORNIA FOR CLINTON FOUNDATION: It may be Weird Central but California happens to have some tough charity rules. And telling California one thing about your foreign government grants and something else to Uncle Sam isn’t smart, according to Charles Ortel in this morning’s LifeZette.

SOUNDS HIGHLY CREDIBLE: Mueller witness is convicted pedophile with shadowy past.

DERP STATE: Politico, House Democrats Unintentionally Launch the Dismantling of the ‘Deep State.’

The Democratic Party and Politico just went to bat for a rubber-roomed “whistleblower.”

They really did just try to make hay with: “Trump Demotes — But Can’t Fire — Employee Who Calls Him ‘Dangerous'”.

If the Republican Party has a smidge of the media instincts of Schachtel and Ceren, then this coming Monday should open with a House Oversight Committee hearing on civil service employment law reform.

They don’t, of course.

But Trump does. And winning over America with Civil Service Reform is a six-inch putt for him.

Faster, please.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Here’s how you access the super creepy data Facebook has on you.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Hate Speech Isn’t Free Speech. And Guess Who Decides What Is and Isn’t Hate Speech?

BRIDGE THAT COLLAPSED IN MIAMI was environmentally friendly and self-cleaning. “The university said the modular construction method reduces potential risks to workers, commuters and pedestrians and minimizes traffic interruptions. The bridge is also made of self-cleaning concrete. When exposed to sunlight, titanium dioxide in the concrete traps pollutants and turns them a bright white, the university said.”

THE LEFT IS ALWAYS THE SAME: “Ironically, the demonstrations in favor of school safety featured, in some instances, attacks on non-conforming students.” Plus: “I’m thinking: This is a campaign finance violation!”

WELL, GOOD: Three-in-one pill shows promise in beating high blood pressure.

JOHN HAWKINS: The 7 Lies That Will Keep You from Ever Reaching Your Potential.

INSURRECTION: Undocumented immigrant appointed to state post in California.

Lizbeth Mateo, a 33-year-old attorney and immigrant rights activist, will serve on the California Student Opportunity and Access Program Project Grant Advisory Committee. The committee advises the California Student Aid Commission on efforts to increase college access for California students from low-income or underserved communities.

“While Donald Trump fixates on walls, California will continue to concentrate on opportunities,” de León said in a news release. “Ms. Mateo is a courageous, determined and intelligent young woman who at great personal risk has dedicated herself to fight for those seeking their rightful place in this country.”

If Mateo is here illegally, her rightful place is at the back of the legal immigration line.

Given California’s official lawlessness, a case could be made for Congress to act under the Guarantee Clause.

FRACK THAT: Crisis-hit Venezuela could soon tip the oil market ‘decisively into deficit,’ IEA says.

“Within the OPEC countries, the biggest risk factor is, and will likely remain, Venezuela,” the IEA said in its closely-watched report published Thursday.

“Without any compensatory change from other producers it is possible that the Latin American country could be the final element that tips the market decisively into deficit,” the Paris-based organization added.

While Venezuela boasts the world’s largest proven oil reserves, crude production in the state has been steadily declining in recent years. The South American country continues to slog through an economic crisis precipitated by years of government mismanagement and exacerbated by a prolonged oil price slump.

Following years of sharp output losses, Venezuela’s crude output is projected to tumble to 1.38 million barrels per day (mb/d) by the end of 2018, according to the IEA. That would represent the oil-dependent state’s lowest level of output in approximately 70 years — with the exception of the 2002-2003 strike.

Oil has been holding steady slightly above the $60 ceiling I expected frackers to impose on the market — but that’s because of production cuts which OPEC and Russia have actually adhered to for once. However, that also means there’s plenty of slack on the production side for when the worst comes to Venezuela. Prices might go up again, but a ’70s-style oil shock seems unlikely at worst.

REALCLEARINVESTIGATIONS: The Bigger Battle Behind McCabe’s Secret, Potential $1.9M FBI Pension.

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has left the bureau under a cloud, but for him there’s a silver lining: his federal pension, which could provide him a lifetime payout of $1.9 million.

Yet taxpayers will never know for certain how big a pension McCabe gets, nor can they learn about pensions due any other federal employee, including members of Congress. The Office of Personnel Management keeps that information secret, exempting it even from freedom of information requests.

Adam Andrzejewski, president of the watchdog group Open the Books, said opening pension records to public scrutiny is “the next phase of the transparency revolution.”

“Citizens should not have to have a search warrant to see how their money is being spent,” Andrzejewski said. Besides, he added, “You can’t reform what you can’t see.”

Various organizations have tried for decades to force the personnel office to cough up the numbers. The National Taxpayers Union sought access to congressional pension data in 1993. In both 2013 and 2016, Andrzejewski tried again to get the pension data. The OPM declined, citing a 1989 federal appeals court ruling that releasing the names and addresses of federal annuitants “would result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy.”

Government watchdogs say this secrecy is troubling for many reasons.

If they don’t want you to know, it’s because they don’t think you’d be happy if you did.

WHY TOYOTA ADDED A FIRST GEAR TO ITS CVT: Continuously variable transmissions are great for efficiency, but for accelerating from a stop, its a solid gear you want.

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Plus, deals on Musical Instruments and Gear.

FRACK THAT: Cold snap could trigger gas supply emergency in UK if Putin orders Russian gas giants turn off taps due to spy scandal.

The European Left — up to and including former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder — has worked long and hard at ensuring energy dependence on Russia.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN:) Richard Fernandez observes:

JOE PAPPALARDO: Why Would We Need a U.S. Space Force, Anyway? An expert discussion about a new military branch becomes a master class on why things need to change.

The Air Force, which runs most of America’s space-related defense activities, is strongly opposed to the Space Force. And there are plenty of hurdles to clear, political and otherwise, before the United States comes close to realizing a real Space Force.

What’s more interesting is why America needs a space force in the first place. The answers to that question emerged from a House or Representatives meeting in the wake of Trump’s announcement, in which space war experts tore into the issue before the House Armed Services Committee. . . .

One reason that superiority may erode is that disparate space-related efforts are scattered across the Army, Air Force, and Navy, not to mention intelligence officers, National Reconnaissance Office and Space and Missile Systems Center. Doug Loverro, a former DoD Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, noted that fighting in space is different than fighting anywhere else, in the same way that the Navy prepares for unique combat at sea. “We lack that focus for space, one of our five main warfighting domains,” he said.

Read the whole thing.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: Media Can’t Figure Out if Tillerson Proves Or Disproves Their Russia Conspiracy Theory.

Owning the Narrative is a powerful thing, but occasionally the power resides in purely opportunistic flexibility.

AMERICAN CARTEL: Here Are The Politicians That Took Opioid Tycoons’ ‘Dirty, Bloody Money.’

OxyContin’s manufacturer and its billionaire owners gave millions of dollars to political candidates — who often held powerful positions — and organizations, but the opioid profiteers’ tentacles of influence reach much farther, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has found.

The Sackler family and Purdue Pharma, which is widely blamed for playing an essential role in starting the opioid epidemic, have given more than $1.3 million to U.S. candidates and another $1 million to political organizations since OxyContin’s creation, according to Center for Responsive Politics data, but that’s just the surface of how deep the pharmaceutical titans’ influence runs.

“It’s blood money, literally,” Public Citizen’s Health Research Group founder and senior adviser Sidney Wolfe told TheDCNF. “It’s money earned off people’s lives being spent. This is dirty, bloody money.”

It’s difficult to tell exactly how far Purdue’s influence reaches, because the pharmaceutical industry pays front organizations to do most of its lobbying and that often occurs at the state level.

Dig deep into this one — it’s worth your time.

This is the seventh article in Ethan Barton’s ongoing series, and yet you get the feeling that he’s just scratched the surface.

Much more to come, I’m sure.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG? China now controls 10% of European port capacity.

UH-HUH: Mexican Ambassador to U.S. Says Mexico Doesn’t Have a Border Patrol.

Well, somebody in Mexico is arresting all those illegal immigrants heading north from Guatemala.

ED MORRISSEY: Settle down, Democrats.

Democrat Conor Lamb appears to have narrowly edged out Republican Rick Saccone in a district that went for Trump by 20 points, which certainly gives Republicans a headache they didn’t need and Democrats a reason to brag.

Does that translate to a blue wave in November, though? Almost certainly not. (Although that doesn’t mean a blue wave isn’t coming in November, either.) Using special elections as a harbinger for regularly scheduled contests ignores significant differences between the two, and the singular nature of most special elections.

Here are three key reasons to resist the urge to either pop champagne for Democrats or declare the GOP dead — at least on the basis of PA-18.

Read the whole thing.

VOX DROPS THE MASK: We’ll Have to Confiscate Guns To Reach Those Low ‘European Levels Of Violence.’

SAUDI CROWN PRINCE BIN SALMAN: If Iran Gets Nukes, We’re Next.

And it’s a safe bet, bordering on an open secret, that Saudi financial support for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program came with a few strings attached.

UH-OH, JEFF SESSIONS MAY BE TRAPPED ON THE HORNS OF A FRIDAY DILEMMA: He’s got to decide by tomorrow whether to fire a key figure in the FBI scandal and deprive him of a lucrative federal pension. But wait, there’s more, so very much more. Did I mention there’s still yet more to this one?

STATE OFFICIALS IN MANY PLACES returning to paper ballots.

I’ve been proposing this for over 15 years.

NIKKI HALEY: UN Security Council ‘Will Not Survive’ if Russia Not Held Accountable for UK Poison Attack.

It’s more collusion, I tell you.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Teacher on Leave After Questioning Whether School Would Let Pro-Life Students Walk Out, Too.

SARAH HOYT’S SHOCKED FACE COULD NOT BE REACHED FOR COMMENT: Turkey Approves Election Law Seen Boosting Erdogan.

“QUIETLY”: South Korea quietly orders 90 more Taurus bunker-busting missiles.

The contract for the missile system, made by German company Taurus Systems GmbH, was signed late February, said Kang Hwan-seok, spokesman for the DAPA.

The latest contract for the Taurus missile is the second of its kind since 2013, when the DAPA ordered 170 Taurus missiles to arm the fleet of F-15K fighter aircraft. Each missile costs about $1.8 million.

The missile is a core asset of South Korea’s “Kill Chain” pre-emptive strike systems against North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs upon imminent threat.

The precision-guided missile has a range of 500 kilometers and is said to be able to destroy North Korea’s major underground facilities, including Kim’s hideouts, with pinpoint accuracy.

Sleep tight, Li’l Kim.

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SCENES FROM WEIMAR AMERICA: Antifa Radical Charged with Hateful Vandalism Raises Over $80k Thanks to L.A. Times Article. Ismael Chamu allegedly spray-painted people’s cars and fences with “F— White People” and other epithets.”

KIM’S YUGE NEGOTIATIONS CONCESSION: Trump told Tim Russert in 1999 he’d negotiate with North Korea but the negotiations would be serious. (My latest New York Observer essay.)

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Inside the shady private equity firm run by Kerry and Biden’s kids.

THE 21st CENTURY ISN’T WORKING OUT THE WAY I HAD HOPED: German Court Orders Volkswagen to Rehire Suspected ISIS Recruiter Who Told Coworkers They’d ‘All Die.’

VOX: A gun control plan that has any hope of getting us down to European levels of violence is going to mean taking a huge number of guns away from a huge number of gun owners.

They have no intention of taking anyone’s guns, except that’s exactly what they intend to do.

Molon labe.

PARTISAN MIRRORING AND DIFFICULT CHOICES: Not all is looking rosy for Democrats ahead of what could be a wave election this fall.

There is nothing new about “left and lefter” tensions within the Democratic Party ranks, but they have become more complex due to broader changes in the political ecosystem. In the immediate post-WW II era, the professional operatives uniformly preferred winning over ideology while the grassroots amateurs favored principles over electoral expediency. The difference between the professionals and the amateurs has lessened. The battle over the DNC Chair revealed that even the official party ranks are ideologically divided.

Also, with the proliferation of public polls and social media forums, the professionals no longer have a distinct advantage over the grassroots in information and data. The districts in serious play are common knowledge thanks to sites like Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball and other online resources. As a consequence, there are more amateurs at the district level and in the political nonprofit world playing the targeting and mobilizing game at a sophisticated level. Meanwhile many professionals from the TV ad era struggle like amateurs as social media, interactive software, and big data have transformed what consultants do. It is simply not clear who knows best in the party, even when everyone agrees that winning is paramount in the Trump era.

Nobody knows anything.

U.K. NERVE AGENT ATTACK UPDATE: Britain’s allies condemn the “first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War” and describe it as an assault on UK sovereignty.

RELATED: My latest Creators Syndicate column.

…the use of an illegal chemical weapon that could be employed on a battlefield makes the March 4 crime qualitatively different. The assassins used Novichok -A-230, an “enhanced” nerve agent dispersible as a liquid or powder. Reports claim it is eight times more toxic than VX liquid nerve agent.

Tsar Vlad the Bad loves “gray zone warfare.” But the March 4 incident left the gray zone

BILL GERTZ: Shadowy Terrorist Group Emerges in Iraq.

White Flag is an armed group operating in areas of northwestern and central Iraq since late last year and appears to be a union of Kurdish terrorists and former ISIS fighters, according to U.S. defense and military officials.

“It’s kind of a hodge-podge of people and a white flag with a lion on it is their emblem,” said a military official familiar with the region.

Little is known about the new organization and some reports from the region say White Flag has adopted the Islamic State jihadist ideology.

But so far the group has not conducted suicide bombing attacks, a key ISIS terror tactic, and the lack of such attacks is raising suspicions White Flag may be a front group for Iraqi factions vying for power.

The military official said intelligence on the group is sketchy but preliminary indications are it poses a threat to the areas of Iraq where it has operated. White Flag, however, does not currently have capabilities for conducting terror attacks outside the country.

Then the time to start killing them is now, rather than blithely dismissing them as they “jayvee” and allowing the group to metastasize.

NEGOTIATION DEMONSTRATIONS: This “show of force” photo of a B-1B and South Korean F-15Ks was taken in September 2017, when North Korea threatened to shoot down U.S. aircraft in international airspace and launch a nuclear attack.

I’LL WAIT FOR VERSION 2.0: Startup Offers ‘100 Percent Fatal’ Procedure To Upload Your Brain.

Nectome, a startup founded by two MIT graduates who studied artificial intelligence, says they have created a method of perfectly preserving the human brain using a high-tech embalming process. “Our mission is to preserve your brain well enough to keep all its memories intact: from that great chapter of your favorite book to the feeling of cold winter air, baking an apple pie, or having dinner with your friends and family,” the company writes on their website.

Nectome adds that it believes science will create technology that will be able to digitally “recreate your consciousness” within the next 100 years and their service is the first step in making sure your mind is ready for that breakthrough. The unnerving twist to this digital immortality is that the company reportedly needs your brain to be alive and active when the embalming starts.

According to MIT Technology Review, Nectome says their plan is to focus on people suffering from terminal illnesses.

All kidding aside, if you’re dying and can afford the procedure — why not?

And I’d wager that in 100 years’ time, that either the putting old memories into new bodies will be commonplace, or Skynet will have forbidden it.

Not that I expect to be around that long, unless they’ve developed a bionic liver by, say, 2040.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, PARTY OF SCIENCE EDITION: ‘Feminist Health’ course suggests disease is ‘subjective.’

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Forced Antigun March, RUSSIA, PA-18 and Much, Much More.

LAWPROF STEPHEN PRESSER: The Irrelevance Of Stormy Daniels.

THE TRUTH ABOUT CARS: Buick responds to Jack Baruth’s inaugural “Buick Death Watch” column.


MICHAEL BARONE: Democrats can take the House, if they just pick Conor Lamb over Hillary Clinton.

The pattern of Lamb’s narrow victory was similar to results in other special congressional and state legislative elections over the past year. Democratic turnout was robust, particularly in relatively upscale Pittsburgh suburbs. Republican turnout lagged, and some non-college whites who voted for Trump and Romney voted Democratic this time.

Evidently, downscale whites, whose trend toward Republicans started in the 1990s and was augmented with the Trump candidacy, are less firmly attached to one party than Trump-haters are to the other. This is in line with the skeptical response to any new policy change by either party, as evidenced by the negative responses to Obamacare when Barack Obama was in office and the negative response to Republicans’ “repeal and replace” once Trump became president.

Some observers argued that Saccone, like other Republican nominees in special elections, was a weak candidate. A better observation is that Lamb was a strong one. Nominated by party leaders, not in a primary, he has a family political pedigree (his uncle is Pittsburgh city controller) in a long-settled metro area where such ties are important.

And he took moderate positions on multiple issues. A former Marine, he ran an ad showing him shooting an AR-15 and said, “new gun laws aren’t the answer to preventing more mass shootings like the one at a Florida high school.” Early on, he pledged not to vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker (an issue which won’t come up until at least January 2019). While many Democrats are baying for impeachment, Lamb said, “We need the office of the presidency to succeed if we’re going to make any progress on these issues.”

Alternate take:

JOSH KRAUSHAAR: Democrats in Commanding Position to Win House.

At this point, there have been enough off-year elections, polling data, and candidate-recruiting successes to render a clear verdict: Democrats are solid favorites to retake the House this year. Conor Lamb’s performance in a conservative, blue-collar Pennsylvania congressional district is simply the latest evidence that the makings of a perfect political storm are in play for 2018: energized Democratic turnout, apathetic Republican engagement, and suburban independents (particularly women) running away from the GOP.

The race-by-race tally also suggests the potential of a significant Democratic wave. There are now a whopping 47 Republican-held House seats that are rated as vulnerable by The Cook Political Report; Democrats need to win only around half of them (24) to take back the majority. Pennsylvania’s new congressional map could easily net Democrats five or six seats in the state. Without a competitive gubernatorial and Senate race in California, seven GOP-held seats in the state are at risk of flipping. Those two states alone get Democrats halfway back to power.

I wouldn’t say that the Democrats’ position is “commanding,” but I have been saying for over a year now that I wish the GOP majority would legislate like there’s no tomorrow — because there might not be one.

Also, doing so would give skeptical GOP voters the enthusiasm to turn out in enough numbers to keep the House.

FROM WALTER OLSON AT OVERLAWYERED, a higher education roundup.

DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS: Federal Court Upholds Gov. Abbott’s Sanctuary City Ban.

ELECTRIC LEMONS: Tesla employees say automaker is churning out a high volume of flawed parts requiring costly rework.

Tesla’s future as a mass-market carmaker hinges on efficient, automated production of the Model 3, which more than 400,000 people have already reserved, paying $1,000 refundable fees to do so. Musk said in July 2017 that Tesla would probably be making 20,000 Model 3s per month by December.

The company then later downgraded those expectations. It currently says it will make 2,500 per week by the end of this month and 5,000 per week by the end of June.

One current Tesla engineer estimated that 40 percent of the parts made or received at its Fremont factory require rework. The need for reviews of parts coming off the line, and rework, has contributed to Model 3 delays, the engineer said.

Another current employee from Tesla’s Fremont factory said the company’s defect rate is so high that it’s hard to hit production targets. Inability to hit the numbers is in turn hurting employee morale.

Not good — especially given that established automakers with centuries of cumulative experience in mass manufacturing are getting serious about electric vehicles.

LAWS ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE, OR THE UNPOPULAR: Clapper And Flynn: Is The Justice Department Adhering To A Double Standard On Perjury? Yes, yes it is.

PROCUREMENT: Lockheed F-35 Cost Stabilizes at $406 Billion, Pentagon Says.

The Pentagon’s estimated cost to develop and purchase Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 jet, the costliest U.S. weapons program, has stabilized for now, according to a new report to Congress.

The total acquisition cost for the advanced fighter is projected at $406.1 billion, virtually unchanged from the $406.5 billion estimated last year, according to the Defense Department’s latest Selected Acquisition Report, which will be sent to Congress this week. The projections were obtained in advance by Bloomberg News.

Within the total — which includes research, development and initial support such as spare parts and military construction — the estimated cost to procure 2,456 U.S. aircraft has ticked down to $345.4 billion from $346.1 billion, or a 0.2 percent decline.

A billion dollars here and a billion dollars there, and pretty soon you’re talking real savings.

BILL WHITTLE: “The problem with California is Californians.”

SOMEONE SHOULD ASK NASHVILLE’S ACTING MAYOR DAVID BRILEY IF HE’S PROUD OF THEM: Tennessee students tear down American flag, jump on cop car during walkout.

THOMAS PAINE GOT IT RIGHT: My weekly column at the Daily Caller is up, and it explains why we need a Federal Anti-SLAPP law to protect citizens speaking out against government actors and powerful interests. Because when you think about it, free speech is a core conservative value.

No less a figure than George Washington proclaimed in 1783 that “The freedom of Speech may be taken away—and, dumb & silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.”

As Glenn says: “Read the whole thing.”™

WELL, UNLESS IT WAS USEFUL FOR THE DEMOCRATS’ NARRATIVE: No one would accept, in any other national discussion, the level of ignorance seen in the gun debate.

No one would cheer if a pundit said it’s easier to get a late-term abortion than Sudafed. His audience would ask to see his homework. No one would shrug it off if a legislator incorrectly referred to a “trimester” as a “semester.” No one would ignore it if a pro-life senatorial candidate explained his position on abortions in cases of rape and incest with a response that included something about the human body rejecting “legitimate rape.”

Hell, no one would accept this level of ignorance from a traffic report. If a journalist referred to a pickup truck as an “auto-style speedbox,” he would rightly be laughed off the air.

Well, unless it was useful for the Democrats’ narrative.