October 15, 2017

ANDREW KLAVAN ON HARVEY WEINSTEIN AND HOLLYWOOD’S MASCULINITY DEFICIT:

Being a man — a real man — is hard. Being a gentleman is hard. Men won’t do it if they don’t have  real women — real ladies — to do it for. And wherever ladies stop being ladies and men stop being men, it isn’t Equality World, believe me. It’s Harvey Weinstein all the way down.

Read the whole thing.

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ROGER SIMON: Why Did the Weinstein Scandal Happen Now?

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: Facebook takes down data and thousands of posts, obscuring reach of Russian disinformation.

Related: “Liberals deliberately designed Facebook to influence elections but it went off in Hillary’s inept hands.”

“Not upon us, oh, King! Not upon us!” (Bumped).

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU RAM THROUGH UNPOPULAR LEGISLATION ON A PARTY-LINE VOTE: Obamacare Was Built With the Flaws Trump Now Exploits: Executive orders allowed the past administration to keep the program alive. They allow this administration to destroy it.

Do I just hate the poor so much that I can’t stand to see them getting help paying for health care? Well, no. I have no particular objection to the payments as policy. Except for one small thing, which is that they seem to be sort of illegal.

But at this point, such arguments are moot. It might be more fruitful for Obamacare’s supporters to ask what role they themselves played in bringing us to this pass.

A few years ago, as we all stood gaping at the disastrously bungled launch of the Obamacare exchanges, I was invited by Intelligence Squared to participate in a debate: “Resolved: Obamacare Is Beyond Rescue.” Longtime readers know that my motto is “Predictions are hard, especially about the future.” I was thus reluctant to declare, without equivocation, that Obamacare was already dead, dead, dead. But I’m a huge fan of Intelligence Squared, so I accepted, and then I resorted to a time-honored debate-weasel: 2 I reframed the question.

Thus I chose not to argue that Obamacare was going to collapse and be repealed in its entirety, but rather, that Obamacare would not, and could not, be the program that had been promised or intended. It had already failed to deliver on key promises for coverage, affordability and of course, the infamous promise that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” It was also dangerously unstable, requiring steady executive intervention just to keep the program from collapsing. I argued that these executive interventions, enthusiastically supported by the law’s proponents, were setting a precedent that would eventually be used against it. Worried that health care was too hostage to the vicissitudes of the markets, Democrats had instead made it the prisoner of politics.

“Essentially they’ve made it so that Republicans can undo two-thirds of this law with a stroke of the presidential pen,” I said at the close of my opening statement. “Obamacare is now beyond rescue. The administration has destroyed their own law in order to save it.” Four years later, we are watching those dominos fall.

Indeed. But there’s a bright side: By Cutting Off Obamacare’s Insurer Subsidies, Trump Might Help More People Get Health Coverage: The president has finally brought the law into constitutional compliance.

THEN: THINK DIFFERENT. NOW? Apple VP Of Diversity Apologizes For Suggesting Diversity Of Thought Is Important.

As noted Korean War-era US Army diversity officer Frank Burns once said, “Individuality is fine as long as we all do it together.”

TRIGGER ME: The Five Most Triggering Halloween Costumes of 2017.

HERESY: UCLA law professor: Affirmative action hurts more minority students than it helps.

Sander said that while this seems like a topic that should receive more attention, academia tends to sweep the information under the rug or try to discredit it. He cited a situation stemming from his own campus as an example.

“Michael Schill (the former dean of the UCLA Law School) told me privately that he thought it was a breakthrough study,” Sander said. But after it was published, Sander said that Schill sent an email to the student body suggesting “there are those of us who seriously question the credibility of this research.”

Sander cited additional examples in which editors of peer-reviewed journals, including one at the University of Pennsylvania, told him privately they would publish his study, then later had to back out due to their financial backers’ dislike of the content of the study’s findings.

To survive, affirmative action requires a bodyguard of lies.

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MARSHA BLACKBURN, ROSE MCGOWAN, THE POWER OF TWITTER AND THE MEDIA: “Who would possibly have thought Tennessee Republican and Trump-supporting Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn — a candidate to succeed out-going Senator Bob Corker — would have anything in common with Rose McGowan, the hardworking film, television actress and LGBT activist? Two worlds, and worlds apart. Until it came to Twitter… But in both cases there is more than a whiff of a reminder that Twitter — along with Facebook, Google and You Tube — have now acquired massive power to decide what the American and global public will be allowed or not allowed to see.”

Abandoning the Blogosphere and its diversified group of hosting sites for the ease of Twitter and Facebook was not a wise move.

Read the whole thing.

SO IF YOU’RE FEELING BAD ABOUT YOUR DAY, THIS SHOULD CHEER YOU UP: A “Terrified” Paul Krugman Wakes Each Morning in a “State of Existential Dread.” Given Krugman’s track record, it’s when he feels good about things that we should be worried.

A PITIFUL VICTORY: Lies, Damned Lies, and UNC.

MICHAEL BARONE ON TECH OLIGARCHS: Today’s Turn-of-the-Century Problems.

Is America in a new Gilded Age? That’s the contention of Republican political consultant Bruce Mehlman, and in a series of 35 slides he makes a strong case.

In many ways, problems facing America today resemble those facing what we still call “turn-of-the-century” America from the 1890s to the 1910s. Just as employment shifted from farms to factories a century ago, it has been moving from manufacturing to services recently.

Financial crashes are another point of resemblance, coming precisely one hundred years apart. The panic of 1907 was resolved when J. P. Morgan locked his fellow financiers in his library and required them to pony up funds to save failing banks. Something similar happened in 2007, this time with Ben Bernanke in the bowels of the Federal Reserve.

Technological advances providing new products, and threatening incumbent businesses, is a feature of both epochs: huge steel mills and automobile factories then, tiny smartphones and mouse clicks today. Monopoly power also reared its ugly head then and now. Railroads and steel and oil muscling potential regulators then, retail-dominating Amazon and political communication censors Google and Twitter now.

Income inequality was greater in the 1920s (and probably earlier, but the statistics are incommensurate) than today. Immigration as a percentage of pre-existing population was three times as high in peak year 1907 than in peak year 2007.

In all these respects, the problems—or perceived problems—of Americans today more closely resemble those facing the Americans of 100 years ago than the problems of the era that is generally taken as a benchmark, especially by commentators of a certain age (including me), the two postwar decades after World War II.

But Mehlman’s list is not exhaustive. And the items omitted are perhaps even more troubling than those already mentioned.

The Gilded Age yielded Teddy Roosevelt’s trustbusting. Will we see something similar from President Trump?

BOB ZUBRIN: What Do We Need? Missile Defense. When do we need it? Now.

The U.S. military has a fairly robust antimissile defense arsenal, including Patriot missiles, Aegis warships, Iron Dome technology, and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems. But these systems are designed to deal with short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. They are not capable of countering ICBMs, which come in much faster. So the missile defenses the United States now possesses are suitable for regional defenses, which is why we can share our defensive capabilities with South Korea, Japan, and Israel—allies who have adversaries or face potential threats from short- or intermediate-range missiles—but lack national coverage here at home.

Indeed, the American homeland is nearly defenseless against ICBMs. The one deployed system theoretically capable of countering ICBMs is the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD), which uses Raytheon SM-3 rockets to take out targeted warheads by direct impact. The GMD system, though, is much too small. There are currently only 44 GMD interceptors, with 40 located at Fort Greeley in Alaska and the remaining 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. There have been just 18 intercept tests of this system, of which only 10 achieved the goal of hitting their targets in flight, for a batting average of 0.556. Stats like that would be great for baseball, but not for national defense; they’d mean that if you’re facing incoming ballistic missiles and want a better than 90 percent chance of shooting them down, you’d need four anti-missiles in your battery for every incoming missile.

While Alaska is ideally situated for intercepting West Coast-bound North Korean missiles, the North Koreans could, with only modest improvements to their technology, bypass the Alaska-based system by firing directly over the North Pole, striking targets anywhere in the continental United States.

There are plans on the drawing boards for improvements to the GMD system—starting with the deployment of a “redesigned kill vehicle”—but those plans are years from becoming reality. And in the meantime, the number of GMD interceptors is expected to fall below the current number of 44 as today’s stockpile is used in planned tests or undergoes anticipatable retirement. Why, in the light of the present threat, is more not being done?

Why indeed? Though more should have been done 5-10 years ago.

VIDEO: COURTNEY LOVE WARNED ACTRESSES IN 2005 STAY CLEAR OF HARVEY WEINSTEIN – and was banned by her agency for her trouble.

I suspect this Washington Post video, uploaded on Thursday on Hollywood’s inside jokes about Weinstein, will need to be updated more than a few times.

ALSO, MUCH OF THE REST OF THE TIME: Maureen Dowd Sounds Like An Idiot When She Smears Clarence Thomas.

SHOCKER: Progressive Cities: Home Of The Worst Housing Inequality.

America’s most highly regulated housing markets are also reliably the most progressive in their political attitudes. Yet in terms of gaining an opportunity to own a house, the price impacts of the tough regulation mean profound inequality for the most disadvantaged large ethnicities, African-Americans and Hispanics. . . .

African-Americans have the largest housing affordability inequality gap. And these gaps are most evident in some of the nation’s most progressive cities. The largest gap is in San Francisco, where the median income African-American household faces median house prices that are 9.3 years of income more than the average. In nearby San Jose ranks the second worst, where the gap is 6.2 years. Overall, the San Francisco Bay Area suffers by far the area of least housing affordability for African-Americans compared to the average household.

Portland, long the darling of the international urban planning community, ranks third worst, where the median income African-American household to purchase the median priced house. Milwaukee and Minneapolis – St. Paul ranked fourth and fifth worst followed by Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Chicago (Figure 2).

I think Ben Carson should order the Department of Housing and Urban Development to investigate this obvious institutionalized racism.

WELL DONE MR. PRESIDENT:  Trump’s great call on UNESCO.

STUPID WAY TO GO ABOUT IT:  Green Beret who told Kaepernick to kneel, wants America to heal.

EMBRACE THE POWER OF YES:  Joshua Boyle: Moron or Terrorist Sympathizer? Take Your Pick .

ALL OF IT, ALL THE TIME:  The Weinstein octopus: what did they know and when did they know it?

THE CULTURE IS SEXIST AND RACIST, JUST NOT HOW YOU EXPECT:  Pop Culture, Commercials, and White Guys.

THIS MIGHT BE A BIT OF AN OVER-REACTION:  I’ve gotten death threats over my hairy legs: model.

VERY INTERESTING:  NASA finds possible ‘crater of life’ on Mars.

INTERESTING:  Science proves that ‘baby talk’ is a universal language.

October 14, 2017

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NEW YORK TIMES: Why Can’t Boys Be More Like Girls?

UPDATE: From the comments: “Why can’t the New York Times be more like a newspaper?” I know, right?

WEIRD, BECAUSE ALL I HEAR IS WHAT A THREAT TO FREE SPEECH TRUMP IS: Democratic Congress members threaten Twitter with regulation if it doesn’t suppress ‘racially divisive communications’ and ‘anti-American sentiments.’

FLASHBACK: Who Can You Trust?

THIS STORY IS STRANGE: Union rep for hero Las Vegas security guard addresses ‘highly unusual’ disappearance.

FORGIVENESS IS CHEAP IF YOUR POLITICS ARE RIGHT: Man Who Drove Ex-Wife to Attempt Suicide Now a Liberal Darling After ‘Destroying’ Trump.

HE CHOSE…POORLY: George Lopez booed off stage after Trump jokes flop at Denver gala.

An attendee at the event — where tables sold from $5,000 to $100,000 to benefit the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes — commented on a YouTube video that “George was asked nicely to stop making Trump jokes by a man in front row [Maffei] who just donated $250K.” But “George doesn’t, continues. Gets booed.”

We’re told that Lopez responded to Maffei, “Thank you for changing my opinion on old white men, but it doesn’t change the way I feel about orange men.”

Trying to recover and sensing the audience turn, Lopez said, “Listen, it’s about the kids . . . I apologize for bringing politics to an event. This is America — it still is. So I apologize to your white privilege.”

We’re told Lopez also told a joke about Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico, saying, “I guess you can get some Mexicans to do it cheaper and they wouldn’t crush the tunnels ­underneath.”

When the audience did not respond well, he quipped, “Are you El Chapo people?” in reference to the drug kingpin who has used tunnels to evade authorities.

Lopez then announced a video segment — but he did not return to the stage, and a local newscaster took over the hosting duties.

Classy stuff.

CALIFORNIA: Noisome Pestilence, Etc.

GREAT MOMENTS IN CIVILIZATION: “In 1973, I invented a ‘girly drink’ called Baileys. We got £3,000 all-in for the creation of the world’s most successful cream liqueur.”

WHY ARE MORE AMERICAN TEENAGERS THAN EVER suffering from anxiety?

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THIS IS AWFUL: Northern California fires- 100,000 evacuated, 5700 buildings destroyed.

AS KURT SCHLICHTER SAYS, THEY’RE GOING TO HATE THE NEW RULES: George Lopez booed off stage after Trump jokes flop at gala.

UPDATE: From the comments: “It’s like these guys are falling over themselves to help get Trump re-elected.”

COMRADE, IT IS TIME TO UPDATE YOUR NEWSPEAK DICTIONARY ONCE AGAIN. AP Lingo Police: Use ‘Gender Confirmation’ Surgery for Transgenders.

NO WONDER DEMOCRATS ARE SO UPSET: Behind Trump’s latest moves: A return to constitutional government.

Obama kept the Affordable Care Act looking healthy via an extra-constitutional grant of $1 trillion to health-insurance companies. That required congressional approval, and Obama’s decision to bypass Congress was held unconstitutional by a federal court. President Trump’s decision Thursday to halt the bailout makes the litigation moot and represents a return to constitutional government.

The same can be said of Trump’s Friday decision to throw the Iran deal back to Congress, by refusing to certify that Iran is in compliance with the deal.

Recall that this was a treaty that should never have been adopted without two-thirds approval in the Senate, as required by the Constitution. That didn’t happen — because a compliant Republican Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which provided that the president certify to Congress every 90 days that the suspension of sanctions against the regime is “appropriate and proportionate” with respect to its illicit nuclear program.

And that’s what Trump didn’t do. He didn’t tear up the treaty, or even decertify anything. Rather, he failed to certify, and simply told the truth. Iran isn’t permitting the nuclear inspections the treaty contemplates, and the Revolutionary Guard, which controls much of the government, is a terrorist organization.

The regime is building missiles that threaten us and our allies, and its infractions don’t justify our continued suspension of sanctions.

Now it’s Congress that has to act. Or dodge its duty, as it did when it passed INARA in 2015.

No wonder Republicans are so upset.

SUZANNE VENKER: Are you weak if you make your man a sandwich? This is why real men don’t marry feminists. “The feminist worldview is antithetical to love because its focus is solely on women: their needs, their wants, their desires, and their rights. Love can’t possibly be sustained with an attitude like that.”

NOT A GOOD LOOK FOR HER: Chelsea Clinton runs from questions about handing back Harvey Weinstein’s tainted $250,000 donations — and her father deploys security to keep the Press away.

Weinstein reportedly donated a total of $1,492,673.45 to Hillary over the last two decades.

Besides also taking his money, has anyone asked Barack or Michele what on earth they were thinking letting their daughter intern for him earlier this year?  Did anyone warn them of his lecherous nature? As far left New York magazine journalist/Veep producer Frank Rich tweeted last week, “Biggest mystery of @nytimes Weinstein story: How exemplary parents like Obamas let their daughter work there. The stories were out there.”

THIS SHOULD SURPRISE PRECISELY NO ONE: A Condom-Maker’s Discovery: Size Matters. “Men have long complained about how condoms fit. Now a manufacturer is selling condoms in 60 sizes, in combinations of 10 lengths and nine circumferences.”

STAY TUNED: Anti-‘Immigrant’ Parties Likely to Win Tomorrow in Austria. “Meanwhile, in Germany, they’re just saying no to Islamic ‘holidays.'”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Tourniquets, once out of favor, helped save lives in Vegas shootings.

THEIR TEARS ARE LIKE FINE WINE: ‘New York Times’ Despairs of Iowa’s Turn to the Right. “The explanation, according to the Times, is that Iowa simply isn’t retaining enough of its college graduates. The state’s industrial base has cratered, forcing the smart kids to seek their fortunes elsewhere, and leaving the dumb ones without degrees at home to vote Republican. No — seriously.”

Their egos are too fragile to withstand the self-examination necessary to arrive at the correct answer.

NASTY, BRUTISH, AND FAT: John Podhoretz on Hobbes and Harvey Weinstein.

Harvey Weinstein is an exceptionally clever man who spent decades standing above and outside the system, manipulating it and gaming it for his own ends. He’s no cog. Tina Brown once ran Weinstein’s magazine and book-publishing line. She wrote that “strange contracts pre-dating us would suddenly surface, book deals with no deadline attached authored by attractive or nearly famous women, one I recall was by the stewardess on a private plane.” Which means he didn’t get into book publishing, or magazine publishing, to oversee the production of books and articles. He did it because he needed entities through which he would pass through payoffs both to women he had harassed and molested and to journalists whose silence he bought through options and advances. His primary interest wasn’t in the creation of culture. It was the creation of conditions under which he could hunt.

Which may explain his choice of the entertainment industry in the first place. In how many industries is there a specific term for demanding sexual favors in exchange for employment? There’s a “casting couch”; there’s no “insurance-adjustor couch.” In how many industries do people conduct meetings in hotel rooms at off hours anyway? And in how many industries could that meeting in a hotel room end up with the dominant player telling a young woman she should feel comfortable getting naked in front of him because the job for which she is applying will require her to get naked in front of millions?

And then there’s the nihilism and moral inversions that run rampant in so many of his movies.

His 2002 biopic of Frida Kahlo starred Salma Hayek as the unibrowed unrepentant communist who covered all the bases – she had an affair with Trotsky, but one of her final paintings was titled “Self Portrait with Stalin.” As Nick Gillespie wrote at Reason last year, “That is some fucked-up art right there. Uncle Joe had died the year before and only the most deluded bitter-clingers were under any illusions about his reign of terror.”

2008’s The Reader is based on a bestselling, Oprah-approved German novel that attempts to wipe away German guilt for the Holocaust. It starred Kate Winslet as a sexy slimline version of Sgt. Schultz, who knew nothing – nothing! – while serving as a guard at a concentration camp, because she was illiterate (and apparently deaf as well). Regarding an earlier Weinstein WWII movie, as John Nolte wrote in 2010 at Big Hollywood, “For those of you who haven’t seen ‘The English Patient,’ just imagine what Satan would’ve done with ‘Casablanca:’”

This film’s appalling philosophy all comes together in the final act after Laszlo and Katharine’s wicked ways come home to roost and they find themselves stranded deep in the desert. He can walk the three days out but her ankle is broken. Having to leave her behind with only a few days’ supply of water and food, her mortality clock is ticking and after a series of complications back in civilization, our “hero” deliberately sells out the British — the West — to the Germans in order to secure the plane necessary to save Katharine. He gives the Nazis (the Nazis!) crucial maps. Afterwards, when he’s informed that this act likely caused the death of thousands of Allied soldiers and civilians, Laszlo’s reply is like something you would normally hear from a James Bond villain…

“Thousands of people die. They were just different people.”

….except that rather than be chilled and repulsed by this response, we’re supposed to put finger to chin and bask in the poetic profundity of it all.

His whole review is well worth your time to get a sense of the film’s nihilism and heads-is-tails morality. And then there’s pretty much the entire Tarantino oeuvre, which Weinstein produced, not least of which Pulp Fiction. While it’s admittedly loads of fun, the N-word is uttered endlessly throughout the film, including by Tarantino’s character himself — simply because the filmmakers could. (Incidentally, Tarantino now claims he knew nothing — nothing! — about Weinstein’s exploits during his 25 year career under his aegis.)

Exit quote from Podhoretz’s article:

“You know what? It’s good that I’m the fucking sheriff of this fucking lawless piece-of-shit town.” Weinstein said that to Andrew Goldman, then a reporter for the New York Observer, when he took him out of a party in a headlock last November after there was a tussle for Goldman’s tape recorder and someone got knocked in the head.

Sadly, he was a law unto himself in Hollywood as well. Weinstein of course didn’t bring what Paul Johnson dubbed moral relativism to Hollywood. The 20 year gulf between the 1948 Alfred Hitchcock film Rope, a post-WWII attack on the Nietzschean uberman, to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which yearns for his arrival, illustrates how radically the industry’s moral underpinnings had shifted in the postwar era, a collapse accelerated by the scrapping of the Hays Code. But by the 1990s, Hollywood product meant two things: mindless “blowed up real good” CGI summer action movies and the Oscar-bait Weinstein specialized in. The latter are beautifully photographed movies cast with beautiful women — who no doubt did, witnessed, or at the very least heard stories of unspeakable things with Harvey to land their roles. And in many cases, these films are a clear insight into Harvey’s abhorrent worldview. He was the sheriff of that lawless town indeed.

UPDATE: “Harvey Weinstein has been expelled by the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Science in an unprecedented condemnation of decades of sexual harassment.”

As Stephen Miller sardonically tweets, “That’ll fix everything.”

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UMM, ISN’T THAT ITS GOAL? Mississippi School district pulls To Kill A Mockingbird from reading list; ‘makes people uncomfortable.’

Related Insta-flashback to 2014: ASHE SCHOW: Atticus Finch: American literature’s most celebrated rape apologist. “If ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ were taught in women’s studies classes today, Finch would have to be labeled the villain of the book for not accepting at face value an accuser’s tale of rape and for posing difficult, painful questions to her on the witness stand.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Why Adding Fat To Your Food Can Actually Make It Better For You.

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HMM: Low Serum Calcium Linked to Sudden Cardiac Arrest Risk.

Lower serum calcium levels, even within the normal range, may increase risk for sudden cardiac arrest, new research suggests[1].

After examining laboratory test results taken within 90 days prior to a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), researchers found cases had lower corrected calcium levels than matched controls, 80% of whom had a diagnosis of CAD (9.18 mg/dL vs 9.27 mg/dL, P=0.03).

In multivariable analysis, a 1-unit decrease in calcium levels was associated with a 1.6-fold increase in SCA risk (odds ratio [OR] 1.63, 95% CI 1.06–2.51), according to the study, published October 5, 2017 in Mayo Clinical Proceedings.

I await further studies.

I SUSPECT A LOT OF THIS SOFTWARE COULD BE REPURPOSED FOR SEXBOTS: Robotic masseuse treating patients in Singapore: Emma measures muscle and tendon stiffness, calculating the optimal massage a patient requires, developers say.

HE CHOSE…POORLY: NFL Commissioner Caves to Players, Will Not Require Standing for Anthem.

THE THIRD-WORLDING OF CALIFORNIA: California declares state of emergency over deadly hepatitis A outbreak. “California’s outbreak, however, is spreading from person to person, mostly among the homeless community. Unsanitary conditions make the virus more likely to infect more people because it’s also transmitted through contact with feces.”

Flashback: “Last week, ironic juxtaposition came to San Diego. University of San Diego Law Dean Stephen Ferruolo issued a statement critical of one of his faculty, Larry Alexander, who had committed the sin of coauthoring an oped with Amy Wax of Penn Law School. The two professors praised the ‘bourgeois virtues.’ Also in San Diego that week, crews began hosing things down with bleach solution in an effort to halt a hepatitis A outbreak spread by people pooping in the street.”

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KIMBERLY STRASSEL: Scalias All the Way Down: While the press goes wild over tweets, Trump is remaking the federal judiciary.

The media remains so caught up with the president’s tweets that it has missed Mr. Trump’s project to transform the rest of the federal judiciary. The president is stocking the courts with a class of brilliant young textualists bearing little relation to even their Reagan or Bush predecessors. Mr. Trump’s nastygrams to Bob Corker will be a distant memory next week. Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett’s influence on the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could still be going strong 40 years from now.

Mr. Trump has now nominated nearly 60 judges, filling more vacancies than Barack Obama did in his entire first year. There are another 160 court openings, allowing Mr. Trump to flip or further consolidate conservative majorities on the circuit courts that have the final say on 99% of federal legal disputes.

This project is the work of Mr. Trump, White House Counsel Don McGahn and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Every new president cares about the judiciary, but no administration in memory has approached appointments with more purpose than this team.

Mr. Trump makes the decisions, though he’s taking cues from Mr. McGahn and his team. The Bushies preferred a committee approach: Dozens of advisers hunted for the least controversial nominee with the smallest paper trail. That helped get picks past a Senate filibuster, but it led to bland choices, or to ideological surprises like retired Justice David Souter.

Harry Reid’s 2013 decision to blow up the filibuster for judicial nominees has freed the Trump White House from having to worry about a Democratic veto during confirmation. Mr. McGahn’s team (loaded with former Clarence Thomas clerks) has carte blanche to work with outside groups like the Federalist Society to tap the most conservative judges.

Mr. McGahn has long been obsessed with constitutional law and the risks of an all-powerful administrative state. His crew isn’t subjecting candidates to 1980s-style litmus tests on issues like abortion. Instead the focus is on promoting jurists who understand the unique challenges of our big-government times. Can the prospective nominee read a statute? Does he or she defer to the government’s view of its own authority? The result has been a band of young rock stars and Scalia-style textualists like Ms. Barrett, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice David Stras.

And so far, the Senate has kept it together.

STEPHEN KRUISER: Twitter Founder Announces Strict New Thought Police Rule.

STILL ALIVE AND WELL: Voice of America shows the world that the American Dream combined with common sense values and hard work can still be the envy of the world. Immigrant puts his shoulder to the wheel, works two jobs — one as a dishwasher at the Hilton Hotel, earning $5.65 an hour –and earns his way up to owning a successful transportation company. The kicker says it all:

“When a person is free, you can do anything,” he said. “So appreciate what you have, work so very hard, and get rid of the wrong pride we have back home that if you have a college degree you have to be in a professional line [of work] and you can’t dig the potatoes or do the dishes. Work is work and go out there and do what is available. Be proud of it.”

Try that in France or Spain. Not. Going. To. Happen.

 

NO. NEXT QUESTION? Can we trust government to correct our cognitive biases? The ones who aren’t idiots are usually thieves, so. . . .

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CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: FBI Forced to Admit It Has 30 Pages of Clinton-Lynch Tarmac Meeting Documents.

FALLOUT FROM THE HOLLYWOOD SCANDALS? “Because movies are shot through with human exploitation, we should withhold our patronage.”

Motion pictures: The “conflict diamonds” of the entertainment world.

BUT OF COURSE: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Keep $60,000 in Donations from Harvey Weinstein.

WHY IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY SUCH A CESSPIT OF BIGOTRY AND HATE? Texas Democrats Hesitant to Embrace Gay Candidate for Governor. Come on, this is 2017!

WOW: Alphabet’s Waymo demanded $1 billion in settlement talks with Uber.

Waymo’s tough negotiating stance, which has not been previously reported, reflects the company’s confidence in its legal position after months of pretrial victories in a case which may help to determine who emerges in the forefront of the fast-growing field of self-driving cars.

The aggressive settlement demands also suggest that Waymo is not in a hurry to resolve the lawsuit, in part because of its value as a distraction for Uber leadership, said Elizabeth Rowe, a trade secret expert at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

Waymo recently persuaded a San Francisco federal judge to delay a trial to decide the dispute from October to early December, citing the need to investigate evidence Uber had not disclosed earlier.

Waymo is also demanding a public apology.

CHARLES SCHUMER WANTS TO HOLD THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO HOSTAGE TO THE FINANCIAL WELLBEING OF HUGE INSURANCE COMPANIES: Dems float putting ObamaCare money in funding deal. See, that’s the kind of headline he’d get if he were a Republican.

THERE’S NOTHING TOXIC ABOUT IT: Masculinity Is the Solution to Weinstein-Like Scandals in Hollywood.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Can grad students’ conversation about how gays could be executed in Muslim countries lead to discipline at a U.S. university?

Sooner or later, taxpayers are going to wonder why they’re funding places like this.

GREAT AGAIN: Consumers’ view of U.S. economy at highest level in 13 years.

THE INSTA-WIFE: Is Marriage Bad For Men’s Health? The scientific consensus was that it’s good, but, shockingly, there are some caveats.

October 13, 2017

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CREATIVE DESTRUCTION: Layoffs Hit ABC As Rumors About The Network’s Future Swirl.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “The latest issue of a magazine run by Ohio State University students features a flow-chart designed to help students determine whether their Halloween costume is racist.”

THE SIGN SAID “FRESHEST SUSHI IN TOWN,” BUT THIS IS RIDICULOUS: Man Nearly Dies After Live Fish Jumps Down His Throat.

CHANGE: America’s Obesity Epidemic Reaches Record High, New Report Says.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Hecklers shout down California attorney general, assembly majority leader at Whittier College.

Last week, Whittier College — my alma mater — hosted California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, in a question-and-answer session organized by Ian Calderon, the Majority Leader of the California State Assembly.

They tried to, anyway.

The event ended early after pro-Trump hecklers, upset about Becerra’s lawsuit against the Trump administration over DACA, continuously shouted slogans and insults at Becerra and Calderon. A group affiliated with the hecklers later boasted that the speakers were “SHOUTED DOWN BY FED-UP CALIFORNIANS” and that the “meeting became so raucous that it ended about a half hour early.”

The event, held in Whittier College’s Shannon Center theater, was free and open to members of the community, and featured introductions from both Whittier’s president and student body president. Becerra and Calderon were to have an hour-long question-and-answer session using audience questions randomly selected from a basket. As soon as they began the discussion, however, hecklers decked in “Make America Great Again” hats began a continuous and persistent chorus of boos, slogans, and insults.

On the one hand, I think that all campus speakers should be free to speak without interruption. On the other hand, I can’t help but note that in California, that rule hasn’t been observed equally, and quite a few left-leaning government and university officials have taken sides with lefty disruptors. So I have to hope that this sort of thing — a sort of mutual assured destruction — will cause them to rethink their positions and endorse free speech for all. Sometimes people need help learning:

There’s an old joke about a boy who complains to his mother that his little sister keeps pulling his hair.

“Oh,” responds the mother, “she doesn’t know that it hurts.”

A few minutes later, the mother hears the girl scream and runs into the other room. “She knows now,” the boy explains.

Principles that apply only part of the time aren’t principles at all, and tit-for-tat is a robust strategy for encouraging cooperative behavior, as Axelrod & Johnson have found. I’ve warned the left for years of the incentives their unprincipled behavior was creating; perhaps now that people are starting to react to those incentives, they’ll finally listen, instead of denouncing civil society and free expression as obsolete bourgeois values. Because I’d like to live in a world where everyone can be heard, but I don’t think you get to that world by giving free rein to (government-supported) bullies who want to shut down the “wrong” people.

And the folks at FIRE are entirely right that the protesters here are liable to prosecution (and correctly so) for shutting down the debate, and if such prosecutions became the trend, I’d welcome that. But, really, it’s easier for everyone to have a climate where everyone is free to speak without being shut down. But that climate has — intentionally — been allowed to slip away, and no one should be surprised to see people on the right take up tactics that seem to work, with impunity, for the left. We could have avoided this situation, if only the folks in charge had wanted to. As I’ve said before, “The thing is, you don’t get Hitler because of Hitler — there are always potential Hitlers out there. You get Hitler because of Weimar, and you get Weimar because the liberals are too corrupt and incompetent to maintain a liberal polity.” If something like this is all it takes to get them to do their jobs, we’ll have done better than, frankly, I expect.

21st CENTURY HEADLINES: ISIS Punk Rocker, Sally Jones, Reportedly Dead.

Years before committing herself to radical jihadism, Sally Jones’s name recognition derived from her stint with Krunch, an all-female punk band that had found success during the ’90s. Jones converted to Islam and migrated to Syria in 2013, following her husband’s conversion and subsequent pledge to jihadism. He was killed by a U.S. drone two years later in 2015. Since 2013, she had maintained an active presence on social media aggressively propagandizing on behalf of ISIS. Her primary objectives involved attracting female ISIS recruits, encouraging radicalized Brits to relocate to Syria and providing instructions on how to assemble homemade bombs and wage terror on British soil. Presumably to rally inspiration, posts were frequently accompanied by photos of Jones herself posing with weaponry.

The 21st isn’t working out the way I had hoped.™

AT AMAZON, on sale, DEWALT DC970K-2 18-Volt Compact Drill/Driver Kit.

ROGER AILES’ EVIL-GENIUS PLAN TO SINK THE COMPETITION BEARS FRUIT: Celebrity Publicists Don’t Want Their Clients Appearing On Megyn Kelly Today. “One publicist said they didn’t want their client to schmooze with Kelly, because her brand is too alienating, as a result of her association to the conservative news network. ‘I don’t even know if it’s as much her as it is Fox News,’ the publicist said. ‘Because she came from Fox News, she was set up for failure because the industry is so polarized now and no one wants to touch anything associated with Trump.’”

Despite her constant feuds with Trump. Or as Ace warned in June, “That said, to hell with MeAgain Kelly. She thought she would be accepted by the liberals; like Bret Stephens, she’s finding that the liberals only cheered her when she was a saboteur operating behind enemy lines. But they damn sure don’t want Bret Stephens or MeAgain behind their own linesYou know, Benedict Arnold expected to be treated like a hero by the British he gave West Point to. Instead, he lived miserably thereafter, shunned by the people he expected to embrace him. No one ever really trusts a turncoat. Even the people the turncoat turns coat to be amongst.”

(Classical reference in headline.)

MUCH LIKE BERLIN IN THE SPRING OF 1945: Chicago named among safest cities in the world.

THIS IS STARTING TO SMELL FISHY: Las Vegas police shift timeline again in concert massacre.

21ST CENTURY HEADLINES: Scientists Have Devised A Way To Clean Up Space Trash.

DC MCALLISTER: UNC Off the Hook for Academic Fraud.

THE 21ST CENTURY ISN’T TURNING OUT AS I’D HOPED: The Black Death is killing people: Why is Madagascar facing its worst plague outbreak in years?

IN HOLLYWOOD, YOU’RE NOBODY TILL SOMEBODY GROPES YOU: A former Playboy model has accused famed director Oliver Stone of groping her. The claim from Carrie Stevens came after Stone defended Harvey Weinstein to reporters, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Of course, uber-liberal, feminist icon and fashion millionaire Donna Karan had this to say:

“You look at everything all over the world today and how women are dressing and what they are asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.”

They told me that if I voted for…oh, hell, you know the rest.
**Stevens link slightly NSFW**

SURE HE DOES: Jerry Brown Hastens Death of the Internal Combustion Engine.

KARL DENNINGER ON what happened in Las Vegas.

TAKE A PASS: These Oreo Beer Shakes Are Taking Over the Texas Fair.