March 15, 2018

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.

A FEATURE, NOT A BUG: Florida’s 2018 Legislature was the least productive in two decades.

They misspelled “least harmful.”


The Red Line shoe is now on the other foot. By issuing a warning against infringing his freedom of action Putin has drawn a Red Line and Haley just threatened to cross it in the most public possible way. Radio Free Europe writes “the United States has said it is ready to act in Syria to end chemical attacks and “inhuman suffering” if Russia, Iran, and Syria continue to allegedly ignore a 30-day cease-fire approved by the United Nations, prompting a warning from Moscow that it will strike back if the lives of its servicemen are threatened”.

What Russia will do when the clock counts down remains to be seen. The US threat is both asymmetric and strategically calculating. The US has power dominance over Russia in Syria. In almost any scenario except the use of nuclear weapons or nerve gas, Russia is likely to be badly worsted in Syria. Striking at Assad and Iran will be supported by Saudi Arabia and Israel.

It is dangerous but also profoundly psychological. Vladimir Putin has now been threatened twice by women, Theresa May and Nikki Haley, even as stands for election as the Macho Man. The Kremlin strongman can hardly back down now without immense loss of face, which is perhaps the point. Putin is in a tight spot. He can either eat crow or roll the dice. His first reaction in past situations has been not to yield but double down. This will make the next two weeks extraordinarily dangerous. It’s a big data point. The administration has taken the risk.

Wait, I thought Trump was Putin’s puppet.

THE SUICIDE OF THE WEST (CONT’D): German Court Orders Volkswagen Rehire Suspected ISIS Recruiter Who Told Coworkers They’d ‘All Die.’

SUZANNE VENKER: The Sad Plight Of Hillary Clinton.

Most elite feminists have one thing in common: They’re lonely. They’re very, very lonely. It’s hard to go to sleep alone at night and wake up to a failed marriage, and to so much disdain for the country in which one lives. When you’ve spent your life being resentful of men, marriage, and motherhood, what else can one expect?

Women like Clinton have spent their entire adult lives hating the society in which they live and wanting to change it. They’ve spent their entire adult lives trying to convince other women to hate the society in which they live and wanting to change it. How exhausting.

So, after all that time, after all those decades of trying to get women to think as feminists do, imagine what it was like for Clinton to be rejected by more than half of the women who look like her (white). Even worse, she lost them to a white alpha male who (wisely) rejects the feminist label and who represents everything feminists have fought against for decades?

It’s hard for Clinton. It’s painful to accept that most white women do, in fact, think for themselves — which is why they don’t buy what feminists are selling. But to accept that is difficult, so it’s easier to believe such women subordinate themselves to the men in their lives. After all, that’s the message Clinton and her allies have been selling for years. We can’t expect them to give up their life’s work and surrender their beliefs just because most people don’t share them.

Sad, but true.

March 14, 2018

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Also, shop the Pressure Washer Buying Guide.

YES, I THINK SO: Is Tennessee’s New Enhanced Posttenure Performance Review Policy An Attack On Tenure?

GOTCHER TRUMP 2020 VIDEO RIGHT HERE: Disgusting Video Emerges of Nashville-Area Students Ripping Down an American Flag, Brawling During ‘Protest’ Against Gun Violence.

I should note that Nashville Mayor David Briley (who replaced the disgraced Megan Barry) says he’s proud of the Nashville protesters. I asked him about these particular protesters on Twitter, but haven’t gotten a reply.

SO AMY WAX CRITICIZED PENN’S AFFIRMATIVE ACTION POLICY ON BLOGGINGHEADS WITH GLENN LOURY, and Penn has banned her from teaching 1Ls. Glenn Loury calls this bullshit, and he’s right.

UPDATE: For months, Penn Law has resisted calls to punish Amy Wax for her public comments on race. Yesterday, they caved. Maybe the Department of Education should look into this.

VICTORY GIRLS: Sacramento Bee: Trump “Isn’t Seeing the Real California” (And Neither Are We!).

The worst problem of all– way worse than soaring rents, the high cost of living, unreliable police, ridiculous taxes, less-than-optimal public transit, and laws that hamstring businesses and individuals in the name of liberal ideology– is the trifecta of homelessness, mental illness, and addiction that affects people who live on the streets.

To give you an idea: this past Monday, I was walking down the entrance stairway to the Civic Center BART station, and on my way down, I walked in between two homeless men as one passed a crack pipe to the other. They made zero effort to conceal the pipe because it’s just normal in that area of town to do hard drugs out in the open. And several days ago, when my husband and I went to the public library downtown, we saw several plastic pieces that had come off of hypodermic needles laying around. My husband has seen people shooting up before. He once saw someone defecating in the street. I’ve seen someone smoking a pipe in the street. I’ve seen a pregnant woman smoking cigarettes on the street. One time, I saw someone pee on the side of a building downtown, and their bag was laying in the middle of their pee stream as it ran into the street, so when they finished doing their business and picked up their bag, it was dripping urine as they walked away.

Kamala Harris says California is America’s future. And it is, if America winds up being run by Democrats.

HERE’S YOUR OPEN THREAD: Make it your best yet.

THE HITS KEEP COMING: United Flies Passenger’s Dog To Japan By Mistake.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO COMMIT SEXUAL ASSAULT: Man Katy Perry Kissed on American Idol Says He Didn’t Like It.

Benjamin Glaze spoke to The New York Times about what he described as the “uncomfortable” kiss ― which happened to be his first kiss ever ― broadcast Sunday on the season premiere of the recently rebooted show. Glaze didn’t consent to the kiss and said he would’ve refused it if Perry had asked permission.

“I wanted to save it for my first relationship. I wanted it to be special,” Glaze, now 20, told the Times.

We need to put an end to our pervasive culture of female sexual entitlement.

FROM BAUHAUS TO THE OUTHOUSE: Five Women Accuse the Architect Richard Meier of Sexual Harassment. As a result, “Sotheby’s has closed an exhibition of collages and silk-screens by Mr. Meier at its S2 Gallery in New York.”

WELL. FBI disciplinary office recommends firing former deputy director Andrew McCabe. “The FBI office that handles employee discipline has recommended firing the bureau’s former deputy director over allegations that he authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to a reporter and misled investigators when asked about it, leaving Attorney General Jeff Sessions to decide whether he should fire the veteran official just four days before his expected retirement date, people familiar with the matter said. The recommendation from the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility is likely to add fuel to the political fire surrounding former deputy director Andrew McCabe, who abruptly stepped down from his post earlier this year but technically remained an FBI employee.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, QUIT LIT EDITION: “A few years ago I quit my Ph.D. program. It was the second best decision I’ve ever made.”


To be honest, I’ve found the for-profit world to be far more supportive of me as a person than academe ever was. Rather than being soul-crushing, working for “the man” has been liberating and allowed me to be who I want to be in the world. Plus, my parents aren’t terrified anymore, which is a nice perk.

Yes, academia portrays the outside world as harsh, cruel, and exploitative, but in fact it’s usually the reverse, because in the outside world few people exercise so much unchecked discretionary power over others’ careers as they do in academia.

And note this from the comments:

I’m a professor in an engineering discipline, and it’s a familiar canard that STEM Ph.Ds easily get jobs. They don’t, and we’re overproducing as well. Further, we’re sacrificing the quality of undergraduate education by channeling money to support these students, which are often from a very small handful of countries, with minimal potential to contribute to ours, or the world’s economy, because our professors need their slave labor, and realize their positions are tenuous without continued research productivity. It’s a very sick system, it’s justified all different ways to Sunday, and it is going to break.



Trump is a man who intuitively seeks and finds leverage in business negotiations…Since his election in November 2016, that skill is now applied to two entwined problems from Hell that for six decades have boggled U.S. foreign policy officials and the vain goblins at the Council on Foreign Relations: ending The Korean War and halting nuclear proliferation.

It’s my latest essay for The New York Observer.


Read the whole thing.

Related: Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is still #1 most read at Amazon.

MEGAN MCARDLE: What Larry Kudlow’s Appointment Means:

There are roughly three schools of thought on the announcement that Larry Kudlow will replace the departing Gary Cohn as the head of the National Economic Council. The first, most common among liberals, is a dismissive sneer. Kudlow, they say, is an ideologue, a supply-sider zealot, a mere television personality who doesn’t even have a PhD. (Neither did Jeff Zients, Cohn’s predecessor in the Obama administration, who came out of the management consulting world. I do not recall many on the left worrying about his lack of credentials).

The second reaction, most common among establishment conservatives, is relief. Kudlow’s a supply sider! They exclaim. He has experience in government and the private sector! He believes in free trade and liberal immigration policies! What a terrific moderating influence to counteract the protectionists and immigration restrictionists in the administration!

The third view, which I share, is best summed up by the hashtag #LOLNothingMatters.

In truth, these kinds of appointments generally matter much less than DC types think they do.

WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING: New Jersey’s New Budget Aims to Raise Taxes on Almost Everything.

I GOTCHER “COLLUSION” RIGHT HERE: Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn just nuked himself on Russia.

SHE’S STILL NOT READY FOR HER CLOSE-UP: Jonah Goldberg on Hillary’s Other America.

For years, I’ve been writing that the great myth about Hillary Clinton is the notion she shared even a fraction of her husband’s political skills. There is no transitive property to marriage. If Bill Clinton could play the xylophone, Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have gained the skill when she said, “I do.” So it goes with politics. Bill Clinton would never dream of saying anything like this. Having risen in Arkansas politics — not an over-performing state GDP-wise — he understood how to talk to working-class voters in ways Hillary never learned in 40 years of standing next to him sagely nodding.

So, what’s wrong with what she said? Well, nearly everything, starting with the fact that she probably believes all of it. It shows that she really doesn’t like large swathes of the country. She has a Manichaean view that says people who voted against her are backward, racist, sexist, and kind of dumb. I didn’t love the slogan “Make America Great Again,” and Lord knows I didn’t like Trump’s campaign style. But for millions of decent Americans, Trump’s program was optimistic. “We’re gonna make America great again” may sound unequivocally racist to the race-obsessed, but that’s not how everyone who liked it heard it. How easy and comfortable it must be to think that anyone who voted against you is against “black people getting rights.”

At Ricochet, this week’s GLoP (short for Goldberg, Rob Long and John Podhoretz) podcast is titled “A Cheeseburger of Schadenfreude,” because Hillary’s Deplorables on Steroids speech vindicates what conservatives have been saying about her for decades. Near the end of the podcast, the guys riff on her Norma Desmond-ish tone and joke that somebody should make an “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille” parody video of her. But someone already did; Obama-supporting comedienne Lisa Nova – back in 2008. It speaks volumes about where the left was in 2016 that someone who they had rhetorically beaten like a bongo eight years prior in the rush to nominate The One ended up being their nominee. (Well that, and arguably rigging the race to avoid Bernie getting the nomination.)

Click to watch.

THE 21st CENTURY ISN’T WORKING OUT THE WAY I HAD HOPED: 24 Pets Died Flying With U.S. Carriers Last Year. 18 Were On United.

UPDATE: And the p.r. hits keep on coming: United flies dog to Japan by mistake.


BREAKING: Famous Actor Got Paid More Than Less-Famous Actor in ‘The Crown.’

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Professor notes men are taller than women on average, SJWs storm out angrily.

The speaker you’ll see here is biology professor Heather Heying, wife of professor Bret Weinstein. Both Heying and Weinstein left Evergreen State College as part of a settlement deal last year. Heying was making a point about physiological differences between men and women. “Are men taller than women on average?” Heying asked rhetorically. She added, “Does anyone take offense at that fact?”

It seems someone in the audience did because Dr. Peter Boghossian (seated on the right) turned toward the back of the room and Professor Heying chuckled.

“So I would say you could be irritated by it,” Heying said. She continued, “You could be irritated by the fact that women have to be the ones that gestate and lactate. You could be irritated by a lot of truths but taking offense is a response that is a rejection of reality.”

But before she had even finished her statement, a group of students got up and walked out of the room. As Heying continued to talk about physiological differences between men and women, there was a loud commotion in the back of the room. One of the protesters apparently damaged the sound system on the way out.

Then the Weimar Republic called the kids and told them to dial back the unreality (and the vandalism) a notch or ten.

WHEN KNIVES SAVE LIVES: NZ Midwife performs tracheotomy on choking beau. “I find it slightly ironic that this is being reported in a UK paper, where the only ones carrying knives are the criminals. A person could die while people are trying to find a knife in polite company.”


But why do people call it a bro-diet? “Bro” became a condescending way to label those whose fitness advice was based more on experience than science. Since many lifters’ approach to training and eating wasn’t completely dependent on research, it was called “bro-science” and deemed unreliable.

Though the terminology stuck, it’s not really an insult anymore. You see, “bros” often know what they’re talking about because they’ve been doing their own research through decades of trial and error.

Like “mansplaining,” it’s often criticized, but also often right.

BUT OF COURSE: ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Director Ava DuVernay Uses Racism to Explain Away Bad Reviews.

I’d been waiting for this movie since the third grade; what a shame they made such a hash of it.

YOU HARDLY EVER SEE THIS HAPPEN ANYMORE: Man Dressed As Elsa From ‘Frozen’ Pushes Police Wagon Out Of Snow.

TRIGGER DISCIPLINE: Seaside High teacher accidentally fires gun in class, students injured.

Dennis Alexander was teaching a course about gun safety for his Administration of Justice class when his gun went off at 1:20 p.m.

Alexander was pointing his gun at the ceiling when it fired. Pieces of the ceiling fell to the ground.

A news release from the Seaside Police Department said no one suffered “serious injuries.” One 17-year-old boy suffered moderate injuries when fragments from the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling and lodged into his neck, the student’s father, Fermin Gonzales, told KSBW.

The teacher had just told the class that he wanted to make sure his gun wasn’t loaded, when the gun fired, according to Gonzales.

Every gun is loaded.

A PROFESSOR, A COMEDIAN, AND FORGED TWEETS: Prof smears conservative comedian as ‘alt-right Neo-Nazi.’ “The professor has since deleted his original post, but has pledged to continue his activism despite the backlash.”


I’m goofing on Jon Gabriel’s post today: “Trump Hires Ricochet Contributor as Top Economic Advisor.” Given that “The road to the White House goes through Ricochet,” Gabriel quips that he better “spruce up my LinkedIn profile.”

The road to the White House also apparently runs through my adopted hometown in Texas: “Glen Rose native taking advisor post in White House,” the nearby Stephenville Empire-Tribune reports:

Brooke Rollins, 45, the CEO and president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, is taking a job in the White House Office of American Innovation, led by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor.

Rollins has led the Austin-based conservative think tank for 15 years.

“Brooke is an exceptional and visionary leader who has had a tremendous impact on Texas and the direction of this nation,” TPPF executive vice president Kevin Roberts said in a statement. “We are enormously proud to have her serve the president in the White House Office of American Innovation. In no uncertain terms, she is the right person for the job.”

The Washington Post reported that Rollins will replace Reed Cordish, who is stepping down as assistant to the president in the Office of American Innovation.

On Feb. 16, Rollins was the guest speaker at the Somervell County Republican Club’s annual Reagan Dinner at the Citizens Center in Glen Rose.

The county’s Republican Party chair, Deedee Jones, was a teacher at Glen Rose High School for 14 years, and had Rollins in one of her U.S. history classes.

I attended that dinner, and can confirm that Rollins is an exceptional public speaker and it’s a very safe bet we’ll be hearing much more about her.

REVIEW: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe.

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Plus, Introducing Education Supplies for Teachers & Homeschooler.

BUT DID ANYONE NOTICE? MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central Suspend Programming in Support of Anti-Gun National Walkout.

If going dark is Viacom’s way of pandering to its core audience, I say: Pander away!

DUE TO “HORRIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES” IN SOUTH AFRICA, Australia considers fast-track visas for white South African farmers.

NEWS YOU CAN USE? The Nine Types of Craft Beer Drinkers Who Will Drive You Nuts.

Say what you will about certain craft devotees, but we’re living in a Golden Age of beer.

I’LL BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT Bruce Wayne is a Yale Law alumnus.

PITY THE KURDS: Turkish forces surround Kurdish town in northern Syria.

Turkey launched its assault on the border enclave on Jan. 20 to drive out Syrian Kurdish forces that it views as “terrorists” linked to Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey. The Turkish military said the siege of Afrin, the main town in the enclave of the same name, began Monday after the military took control of “critical areas.”

A passage out of Afrin remained partially open, and thousands of people have reportedly fled the town, heading toward nearby areas controlled by the Syrian government. Syria’s Al-Ikhbariya TV showed cars, trucks and tractors loaded with civilians driving out of the town.

Panic was spreading in the town as the Turkish forces approached, and some civilians came under fire when they tried to leave, according to residents and Syrian Kurdish officials.

That’s a war crime, and if true provides evidence that Ankara is conducting ethnic cleansing rather than anti-terror operations.

Related: The Missed Kurdish Moment.

DOESN’T FIT THE NARRATIVE: Florida Teen Radicalized by Islam Goes on Fatal Stabbing Spree; Nets Silent.

NOT GOOD: Ford is recalling nearly 1.4 million midsize cars in North America because the steering wheel can detach from the steering column and drivers could lose control.

Intermittent steering is not a frequently sought-after option.

BEING SYMPATHETIC IS NOT ENOUGH: ABC reports that the family of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, who was killed in 2016, has filed a lawsuit against Fox News and others, citing in their complaint “Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress” (among other tort claims).

Now, you’d have to be a pretty cold-blooded monster to not feel sorry for any family who loses a son to violence. And playing amateur psychologist for a moment, it’s equally plausible that in an unsolved murder, the grieving parents would seek to hold someone responsible for something.

In light of the Supreme Court’s Snyder v. Phelps ruling, though, I don’t see how this case has much change to get out of the starting gate as a matter of law. In that case, a family who lost a son in combat were mortified at the Westboro Baptist Church holding odious and offensive protests at the funeral, including holding signs that read “Thank God for dead soldiers” and “Fag troops.” Pretty ugly stuff. I’d be offended too.

That said, the Supremes got it right:

“Given that Westboro’s speech was at a public place on a matter of public concern, that speech is entitled to “special protection” under the First Amendment. Such speech cannot be restricted simply because it is upsetting or arouses contempt. “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

As sympathetic and truly victimized as the family is, allowing this kind of tort claim to apply to news reports opens the floodgates for every snowflake on the left or puritanical prude on the right to sue media for merely “offensive” speech, even if it is incorrect.

*Disclosure: I was on the team of media lawyers who filed an amici brief in the Supreme Court urging the rejection of such claims.*

CHANGE: Permitted 3D printed home made in less than 24 hours for less than $4000.

WAIT, CROWDER? Twitter Suspends Conservative Comedian Steven Crowder.

PAULA BOLYARD: Some solid parental responses to the school walkout.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Colorful Fabric Loses Magical Outrage Powers.

I’M GUESSING THIS IS NOT AN UNCOMMON CONCLUSION: I Don’t Buy Joy Behar’s Apology To Christians.

Behar didn’t seem to move on the issue, however, until another interesting piece of news popped up.

Oprah Winfrey, arguably the most powerful woman in America and number one on the Democrats presidential wish list, also believes in God, and practices her faith in much the same way Pence does.

Suddenly, Behar couldn’t apologize for her myopic mouth fast enough. I’ll let Kira Davis give you the details of her apology, as she covered them here, but the summary is that she apologized to Pence personally, then took his advice and apologized to Christians on The View.

I want to believe Behar’s apology is truthful and sincere, but I just can’t. For one, she didn’t seem concerned about Pence or Christian attitudes until Oprah counted herself among their ranks. Suddenly Behar is all about Christians.

In fact, she revealed she is one herself!

This sudden acceptance is a stark break from her in the past, as not only was she venomous toward Christians when striking out at Pence, she previously compared Christians to the Taliban for being pro-life.

Behar was never a great actress, and clearly “devout” and “contrite” are outside her range.

IT’S ACTUALLY AN ARTIFACT OF THE ALIENS’ DIMENSIONAL PORTAL: Strange Gamma Rays From The Centre of Our Galaxy Are Not What Astronomers Thought.

SPACE: A super-Earth around a red star could be wet and wild. “Astronomers have spotted a potentially habitable exoplanet around a bright dwarf star. Odds are good we’ll hear more about K2-155d in the future.”

WELL, GOOD: The Navy’s Virginia-Class Attack Subs Just Became More Lethal. “The Virginia-class Block V submarines will be longer than previously built Virginia-class subs, to accommodate four Virginia Payload Module tubes, which will each contain seven Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs).”

The Block V boats are meant to replace the striking power the Navy is losing as its aging fleet of four Ohio-class SSGNs are retired.

NOT AGAIN: A raft of flaws in AMD chips makes bad hacks much, much worse. “AMD says its Secure Processor is impenetrable. Instead, it can harbor malware.”

IN THE MAIL: How I Escaped Political Correctness And You Can Too.

Plus, fresh Gold Box and Lightning Deals. New deals every hour. Your patronage is always appreciated!

THAT’S A LOT OF KIDS: UCLA Hecklers Accuse Treasury Sec. Mnuchin of Sentencing ‘9 Billion Children’ to Death.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Colorado Senate passes bill approving concealed carry without permit.

The bill seems doomed in the Democrat-controlled House, however.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Florida lets students sue colleges for stifling their speech under new law. We need federal free speech protections, too.


“When The Donald calls aspiring apprentices into the boardroom to determine which one to fire, I’m always hoping for a miracle. I want him to can ALL of them.” Thus spake Robert Farago nearly thirteen years ago when he started the General Motors Death Watch. Just fifty-one months later, General Motors filed for Chapter 11. Our august founder got his wish. Or most of it, anyway. The weak-sister brands were sold off — although, looking at the stunning resale value of Hummer H2s on the West Coast, one wonders if perhaps that nameplate should have been retained; it would certainly play well in an era where $100,000 is the new normal for a loaded full-size SUV. (One also has to admire Farago’s Muad’Dib-style prescience regarding Donald Trump’s relevance in the future, but that’s slightly besides the point.)

Robert was wrong about one thing: while General Motors did die in the the legal sense, most of what normies consider “GM” is still very much present and accounted for. I recently sat down with a senior “New GM” person who told me, “We used the bankruptcy to keep the good people and make some much-needed changes,” by which he meant “cutting the dead wood.” I think that much of the current product line reflects that rejuvenation. The Corvette is the world’s finest sporting automobile, at least on the value-for-money scale. The Equinox has been a bright spot for more than half a decade now. The Denali line is a license to print money, and justifiably so. I’m no longer much of a skeptic when it comes to the General. Last year, I did something I’d never done before: I spent nearly 60,000 of my favorite dollars on a brand new GM product. While there are certainly criticisms to be made regarding America’s largest-by-a-whisker automaker, I believe it is now safe to say that the company is on solid footing everywhere from 755-horsepower supercars to electric-dreams city commuters.

Except, of course, for Buick. That’s got to go, and nobody’s going to miss it.

When I first started noticing cars a kid in the ’70s, Buick still held some small cachet, but that was a long time ago.

HMM: Tillerson Fired Over Rogue Bid to Save Iran Nuke Deal.

In the weeks leading up to Tillerson’s departure, he had been spearheading efforts to convince European allies to agree to a range of fixes to the nuclear deal that would address Iran’s ongoing ballistic missile program and continued nuclear research.

While Trump had prescribed a range of fixes that he viewed as tightening the deal’s flaws, Tillerson recently caved to European pressure to walk back these demands and appease Tehran while preserving the deal, according to these sources. The Free Beacon first disclosed this tension last week in a wide-ranging report.

White House allies warned Tillerson’s senior staff for weeks that efforts to save the nuclear deal and balk on Trump’s key demands regarding the deal could cost Tillerson his job, a warning that became reality Tuesday when Trump fired Tillerson by tweet.

Tillerson will be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a former member of Congress who established a record as being tough on Iran and echoing many of the policies called for by Trump. Insiders expect Pompeo to take a much harder line on the nuclear deal and pursue many of the fixes advocated by Trump, such as outlawing Iran’s ballistic missile program and instating fierce repercussions for any future breach.

Meanwhile, Laurence Tribe’s descent into madness continues:

Tillerson’s replacement, Mike Pompeo, was described in a New Yorker fright-piece as an “über-hawk” with “positions identical to — and in some instances tougher than — the President’s on four pivotal issues: Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Jerusalem.”

ADULT SUPERVISION: Michigan lawmakers fed up with inaction on campus free speech.

R.I.P. STEPHEN HAWKING, who died on Pi Day, fittingly enough.

MAXIMUM PRESSURE: How Team Trump got North Korea to the negotiating table. 1999 to 2018. Yes, 1999. My latest New York Observer essay.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: PA-18 Undecided, New Boss Lady at CIA and Much, Much More. “For the GOP, lots of freakouts or suggested freakouts by the smart set, but the Democrats aren’t running candidates like Conor Lamb in their races around America, they are running Chelsea Mannings so we will see how that plays out in November.”

SUBMARINE ICEBREAKER: The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) and the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) break through Arctic ice, March 10, 2018

SPECIAL ELECTIONS ARE GENERALLY MEANINGLESS, BUT THIS WAS A VERY TRUMPY DISTRICT: Democrat Conor Lamb clings to lead in too-close-to-call Pennsylvania House race. On the other hand, Conor Lamb is a conservative former Marine who ran, basically, as the kind of conservative Democrat Pennsylvania used to elect routinely. If this is Dems’ formula for taking back the House, it might work, but it will mean abandoning the party’s activist base.

But my takeaway is that sitting presidents usually lose seats in midterms, and Trump’s charisma wasn’t enough to overcome that here — just as Obama’s wasn’t enough in 2010. What Trump needs is a better economy and other accomplishments than Obama had. But remember that Reagan lost a lot of seats in 1982.

WINNING: Tax Revamp Drives Corporate CEOs’ Economic Outlook to 15-Year High.

The Business Roundtable survey is the first the group has conducted since the U.S. tax changes were adopted in December. The law included many provisions the Business Roundtable supported, such as a much lower corporate tax rate and lighter taxes on many U.S. companies’ foreign earnings.

James Dimon, chairman of the Business Roundtable and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., said the survey results are likely to translate into more jobs for Americans.

“The historic tax-reform law is already prompting more investment, jobs, high wages and more benefits for workers all here in the United States of America,” Mr. Dimon said.

Executives also boosted their projection for growth this year in gross domestic product, predicting a 2.8% rate, above their earlier estimate of 2.5%.

I had been assured by some very smart people, right around the time Barack Obama was sworn into office, that business climate was a myth.

GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE: Audit: VA incorrectly recorded hundreds of patient waiting times.

MICHAEL DORAN: The Real Collusion Story.

While the establishment press was singing in harmony with the Clinton campaign, a cacophonous debate erupted inside government. At the end of July, James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, said at a public forum that the intelligence community was not “ready yet to make a call on attribution” — not ready, that is, to attribute the DNC hack to Putin. Clapper was also unready to say that the intention of the hackers was to get Trump elected. The goal, he said, may simply have been “to stir up trouble.” When combined with similar comments by other intelligence officials, Clapper’s statements undercut Hillary Clinton’s efforts to brand Trump as Putin’s active accomplice.

Enter John Brennan. In early August, Brennan launched a personal campaign to force a consensus in support of Clinton’s propaganda. Before long, Clapper became his partner in this effort. They would succeed, however, only after the election — and then only by establishing an ad hoc and highly unorthodox intelligence-assessment team. To man the team, Brennan and Clapper handpicked a small number of analysts, tasking them with reaching a consensus before the inauguration of Donald Trump. The team, no surprise, did not disappoint. In January 2017, it produced the “consensus” that Brennan had been trying to orchestrate for the previous five months. By then, it was still useful as a propaganda tool against President Donald Trump, though it had arrived far too late to help Hillary Clinton win the election.

Of course, Brennan has never admitted his political motives. On the contrary, according to an in-depth Washington Post investigation (based on interviews with either Brennan himself or people very close to him), the CIA director claimed to be in possession of eye-popping intelligence reports about the DNC hack. These reports supposedly “captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.” Yet even if this intelligence trove actually did exist and truly did convince the CIA director, it obviously did not have the same persuasive impact on his colleagues, as evidenced by Brennan’s failure to deliver a consensus assessment of Putin’s motives.

This is a lengthy piece, and with a little effort I think Doran could (and should!) make it book-length.

But you should still read the whole thing.

BYRON YORK: House GOP delivers blow to Trump-Russia collusion story. Will others follow?

It has long been the key question of the Trump-Russia affair: Did Donald Trump’s presidential campaign collude with Russia to influence the 2016 election? Now, we have the first official, albeit partisan, answer.

“We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” said Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee Monday as they released findings from a 14-month Trump-Russia investigation.

GOP Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, who formally oversaw the committee probe, said, “We found perhaps bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment in taking meetings.” But no collusion.

Committee investigators looked at the events often cited as evidence of collusion. They looked at the June 9, 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Donald Trump Jr. and other top campaign officials talked to a group of Russians who promised, but did not deliver, damaging information on Hillary Clinton. They looked at the activities of peripheral Trump advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. They looked at the allegations in the Trump dossier. They looked at all that, and they could not find a thread connecting events into a narrative of collusion.

“Only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take this series of inadvertent contacts with each other, or meetings, whatever, and weave that into a some sort of fictional page-turner spy thriller,” Conaway said. “But we’re not dealing with fiction, we’re dealing with facts. And we found no evidence of any collusion, of anything that people were actually doing, other than taking a meeting they shouldn’t have taken or inadvertently being in the same building.”

The collusion question is the most contentious of the Trump-Russia investigation. Some Democrats have long said we know enough now to prove collusion. Indeed, just last month, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said, “There is already, in my view, ample evidence in the public domain on the issue of collusion if you’re willing to see it.”

When Republicans released their findings, though, Schiff did not mention collusion. . . .

Would-be believers in collusion could suffer another disappointment later this year when the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee releases its report. Shortly after the House findings were made public, the chairman of that committee, Sen. Richard Burr, told CNN he has not seen evidence of collusion in the more than a year his committee has been looking for it.

It’s as if the whole thing was invented out of whole cloth, to keep the Democrats’ troops riled up after Hillary’s unexpected and humiliating defeat.

BUT IT WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR HILLARY: Breaking glass ceiling doesn’t give Gina Haspel a pass.

YOU REALLY MUST SEE THIS: A “global advocacy” group’s campaign for gun-control includes littering Capitol Hill with “shoes for the dead.” Once you see it, you won’t be surprised to then learn Chelsea Handler and Bette Midler are among the project’s most prominent supporters.

YES: The Right Needs To Learn From The Left’s Astroturfing Of The Parkland Survivors.

Ashe Schow:

In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, something amazing happened. Unlike other mass shootings, which cause a flurry of calls for gun control that usually fizzle out in a week or so, this one resulted in a sustained conversation and some sort-of tangible damage to the NRA.

The change came because many of the Stoneman Douglas High School students who survived the shooting became organized — attending rallies, tweeting, and appearing on major networks — to call for gun control. Or so we thought.

About two weeks after what was reported as a movement by the students, forensic science specialist David Hines discovered that the whole “movement” was actually a coordinated plan from the Left. Within two days of the shooting, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., was helping the kids; teacher’s unions, groups associated with Michael Bloomberg, and people connected to the Women’s March were all assisting in securing funding and promotion. Planned Parenthood, George Clooney, and Oprah Winfrey all donated money to the effort.

There’s more. Tweets referring to the NRA’s Carry Guard insurance as “Murder Insurance” went from being largely ignored during prior pushes to getting certain Center for American Progress-related accounts hundreds of retweets. Those tweets were being pushed and circulated in a way they hadn’t been before.

Basically, the left had money and infrastructure ready to go for an all-out assault on guns and the NRA, they just needed the right moment — the right victims.

And the shamelessness to carry it out.

Anyway, do read the whole thing — the Right has aways tended to get lapped on this kind of stuff, while the Left is getting even better at it.

NOW OUT FROM JOHN KANG: Oliver Wendell Holmes and Fixations of Manliness. Holmes’ support for free speech, Kang argues, was based on Holmes’ views of physical courage.

WELL, GOOD: Study shows market-based strategies for ecosystem conservation are surging.

Malaysia provides one example of how payment for ecosystem services programs work, Salzman said. The state of Sabah worked with private parties to restore and maintain 131 square miles of rainforest, home to one of the world’s highest concentrations of orangutans. The program sells “biodiversity conservation certificates,” each representing 100 square meters of forest restoration and protection for at least 50 years.

Little more than an idea a few years ago, payments for ecosystem services has grown into a large and expanding market, according to the study, which found that more than 550 programs active worldwide, in both developed and developing countries, with more than $36 billion in annual transactions.

“There has been enormous interest around the globe in payments for ecosystem services, fueled by promising case studies and exciting transactions, but until now we’ve never had a firm grasp on just how large they have really become,” Salzman said. “Payments for ecosystem services is a market-based approach that places a value on the many benefits that nature provides to people—clean water, flood control and wildlife habitat. Done right, trees can be worth more standing than cut down.”

Incentivizing works better than bureaucratizing.

STAFFING: Trump ‘Looking at Larry Kudlow Very Strongly’ to be Top Economic Aide. “We don’t agree on everything, but in this case I think that’s good. I want to have a divergent opinion. We agree on most. He now has come around to believing in tariffs.”

COLLUSION: Obama’s Campaign Paid $972,000 To Law Firm That Secretly Paid Fusion GPS In 2016. “Former president Barack Obama’s official campaign organization has directed nearly a million dollars to the same law firm that funneled money to Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous Steele dossier. Since April of 2016, Obama For America (OFA) has paid over $972,000 to Perkins Coie, records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show.”

Related: REVEALED: Obama Campaign Hired Fusion GPS To Investigate Romney.

STILL NOT QUITE SURE WHAT THIS ERUPTION DID:  Supervolcano eruption somehow spared Stone Age people.

IDIOT IS AS IDIOT DOES:  Former GOP Donor To Form Gun Control Group.

DEMONS ARE WAY SMARTER:  Please Welcome Demonized Maxine Waters,’ Says Waters at D.C. Event.

I’M SHOCKED, SHOCKED:   Book: The FBI-Steele Partnership Was Started by, Plot Twist, an Obama Aide.

PARTICULARLY THE DNA TEST:  Elizabeth Warren Nixes 2020 Run. And that DNA Test, Too.


SERIOUSLY?  How a hot bath can burn as many calories as a brisk walk.

STRANGER THINGS UNDER HEAVEN:  Doctors stunned to find massive ‘air pocket’ where man’s brain should be.

GEE, WHAT COULD THEY HAVE DONE TO SO TARNISH THEIR BRANDS?  IT’S A MYSTERY:  Apple and Google’s corporate reputations have plunged.

GOOD, THE DINOSAURS DIDN’T, AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM:  NASA designs ‘hammer’ to prevent an asteroid armageddon.

March 13, 2018

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