December 12, 2017

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Generic forms of Viagra due to hit market today. When will they make it over-the-counter?

WELL, YES: Justice Ginsburg has some explaining to do.

This is Chapman University’s Ronald Rotunda for WaPo:

We already know what Ginsburg thinks of the president. She told us more than a year ago that she “can’t imagine what the country would be . . . with Donald Trump as our president.” Facing criticism for her apparent endorsement of Hillary Clinton and her attacks on Trump, Ginsburg doubled down, emphasizing in a CNN interview: “He is a faker.” She then went on “point by point, as if presenting a legal brief,” the CNN analyst said.

Her statements are particularly troubling in the context of the travel ban case, in which the crucial issue — at least, according to the lower courts and the plaintiffs — is the personal credibility of Trump and whether he delivered his executive order in good faith — in other words, whether he is faking it. It’s no wonder 58 House Republicans sent Ginsburg a letter calling for her recusal because of her comments before the election.

Given these facts, Ginsburg should heed her critics — either by recusing herself from the case or explaining to the public why she will not.

Ginsburg is the most nakedly partisan SCOTUS justice in my adult lifetime, and after nearly 25 years on the bench, no one should expect her to change one bit.

ON THE UPSIDE, THEIR GENDER-RELATIONS AND PRONOUN SKILLS ARE EXCELLENT: US Navy not ready for major war as they forgot to train sailors to sail and operate ships. 8 years of institutional rot will take a while to undo.

ANTISOCIAL MEDIA: Haters Turn on Bullied Boy after Confederate Flag Found on Mother’s Facebook Page.

I HAD BEEN ASSURED THERE WAS NO SHAME IN THAT: Did Elizabeth Warren just call her fellow senator a slut?

JEFF DUNETZ: So You Think You Know What Hanukkah Is All About? Think Again.

WEIRD HOW THIS ISN’T GETTING MUCH COVERAGE: Fewer Blacks, Hispanics Go Jobless Under Trump.

YOU DON’T SAY: Turkey’s Erdogan Was ‘No. 1’ in Corruption Probe, Witness Says.

Delivering fresh accusations against the Turkish leader through a court interpreter today, Korkmaz shared a personal story of exile, persecution, deliverance and globe-hopping escape worthy of a cross between a John Le Carre novel and a Homeric poem.

“I did not feel legally secure in any way for myself,” Kormaz told the jury about events that proceeded his dramatic escape from Turkey.

“During that time, the prosecutor had requested an order for arrest for myself based on a different investigation,” he continued. “I understood this time to be a time where rights to defend one’s own and freedoms of an individual and freedoms as a human were taken away. So I took my wife and my daughter, and I left the country that I dearly love.”

Korkmaz, who is barely 30 years old, told a New York jury that he graduated third in a class of roughly 360 students to rise through the ranks in the Istanbul police force, where he served as a ranking officer on the projects and public corruption desk.

In that capacity, Korkmaz said, his unit came across the case of gold trader Reza Zarrab, a former Erdogan ally whose testimony for the U.S. government last week rattled the highest echelons of the Turkish government.

Zarrab secretly pleaded guilty before trial to laundering billions of dollars to Iran through a complicated system of sham gold trades and spurious humanitarian food aid.

Read the whole thing.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS ON THE CHEESEHEAD STASI, AND LESSONS FOR THE MUELLER PROBE: Governmental accountability board? More like Wisconsin’s Secret Police.

UH-HUH: CAIR Director Outside White House: Trump ‘Empowering Christian Religious Extremism.’

FLASHBACK: Is CAIR a Terror Group?. Daniel Pipes wrote three years ago, “We who follow the Islamist movement fell off our collective chair on November 15, when the news came that the United Arab Emirates’ ministerial cabinet had listed the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as one of 83 proscribed terrorist organizations, up there with the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and ISIS.”

THE HARDCORE LEFTIES AT COUNTERPUNCH AREN’T IMPRESSED WITH “THE RESISTANCE:” The Year of the Headless Liberal Chicken.. “At this point, the amount of utterly baseless, contradictory propaganda, mass hysteria, and just flat out insanity the ruling classes have demanded they swallow is more than any human mind, no matter how medicated, could possibly handle. Is it any wonder so many of them of lost it and started seeing Nazis and Russians coming out of the woodwork? Just consider what the average liberal has been forced to try to cognitively reconcile since the tragic events of last November.”

YOU AND WHAT NAVY? China Threatens to Invade Taiwan If U.S. Navy Visits.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but one reason for a US Navy visit to Taiwan is to demonstrate the futility of trying to invade Taiwan.

CONSERVATIVE ICON SEES FOUR REASONS FOR A MOORE WIN: Dan Oliver has seen it all, heard it all. Former FTC Commissioner, chairman of the board for National Review during its golden Buckley era and much, much more.

In his Tuesday Washington Times column, Oliver lays out four imminently reasonable factors he thinks point to a Roy Moore win in today’s Alabama special election for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Here’s Oliver’s opening: “First, the Moore story was broken by The Washington Post, which has little or no credibility among Trump supporters, who also tend to be Roy Moore supporters. Having savaged Donald Trump relentlessly, The Post is seen as a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. Nevertheless, and ironically, The Post’s story on Mr. Moore may have been factually correct.”

Worth the click to get Oliver’s other three factors.

LET IT BURN, SOUTH OF THE BORDER EDITION: Venezuela’s Ruling Socialists Sweep Mayoral Races Amid Opposition Boycott.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON LAYS OUT WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR ABOUT CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND MISCONDUCT: “Something has gone terribly wrong with the Mueller investigation.”

Related: FBI’s McCabe ‘has an Ohr problem,’ will not testify on Tuesday, source says.

SIXTH CIRCUIT: Appeals judge grills university that told Title IX hearing panel ‘future of 1000 girls’ was at stake. “This ‘1000 girls’ comment, had it been a Black Lives Matter defendant who assaulted a white male, and [the panel] said we have to take the safety of our 1000 white students into account, we [judges] would lose our minds here. If you were up here trying to defend that comment, we would lose our minds.”

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS ON THE CHEESEHEAD STASI, AND LESSONS FOR THE MUELLER PROBE: Governmental accountability board? More like Wisconsin’s Secret Police.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Alabama Election Day, Fusion GPS, NYC Terror Attack and Much, Much More.

CRASH DRILL ON THE NIMITZ: Dig the motto stenciled on the crane: “No air support without ground support.” That’s direct and effective. On the Nimitz “flight deck support” might be more accurate but no doubt the crane crew’s sending a message to plane crews every where.

WHY ARE LEFTY-DOMINATED INSTITUTIONS SUCH CESSPITS OF SEXUAL ABUSE? Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Sexual Harassment At The NFL Network?

THE BOTTOM LINE: Apple aims to block climate, rights proposals with quick use of SEC guidance.

While companies routinely seek permission to skip shareholder proposals, Apple’s application of the new SEC guidance shows how it could be used to ignore many investor proposals by claiming boards routinely review those areas, said Sanford Lewis, a Massachusetts attorney representing Apple shareholders who had filed two of the resolutions.

Were the SEC to side with Apple, “this would be an incredibly dangerous precedent that would essentially say a great many proposals could be omitted,” Lewis said.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment beyond its letters to the SEC.

An SEC spokeswoman declined to comment. Officials had previously said the new guidelines were only meant to improve the resolution process.

Often seen as distractions in the past, shareholder measures have taken on new significance as big asset managers increasingly back those on areas like climate change or board diversity.

This might appear to go against Apple’s corporate grain, but I can’t imagine it isn’t good for shareholders in at least some small way.

SPENGLER ON HOW TRUMP HAS CONFOUNDED HIS OPPONENTS. “Economic growth is accelerating, stock prices are rising, and consumer confidence is soaring. The only distressed asset in the US market is conventional wisdom, which dismissed the former real-estate developer and reality TV star as a blundering amateur. On the contrary, Trump evinces a shrewdness about American voters better than that of any politician of his generation. Even more importantly, he has the nerve to take risks in order to draw his opponents into battles that he thinks he can win. I can think of no politician with his combination of courage and cunning since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to whom I compared the then president-elect in a December 2016 essay for Standpoint.”

BYRON YORK: Former top spy rethinks: Maybe we shouldn’t have attacked a new president.

“Let’s put ourselves in Donald Trump’s shoes,” Morell said to Glasser. “So what does he see? Right? He sees a former director of CIA and a former director of NSA, Mike Hayden … criticizing him and his policies. Right? And he would rightfully have said, ‘Huh, what’s going on with the intelligence guys?'”

“And then he sees a former acting director and deputy director of CIA criticizing him and endorsing his opponent,” Morell continued. “And then he gets his first intelligence briefing, after becoming the Republican nominee, and within 24 to 48 hours, there are leaks out of that that are critical of him and his then-national security adviser Mike Flynn.”

“And so, this stuff starts to build, right? And he must have said to himself, ‘What is it with these intelligence guys? Are they political?'”

The answer to that was simple: Yes, they were political. But the astonishing part of the Morell interview is his admission that at the time he did not stop to consider what was happening from Trump’s perspective, even as the leaks continued when Trump took office. “He must have thought, ‘Who are these guys?'” Morell said. “Are these guys out to get me? Is this a political organization?”

That this obviously foreseeable consequence wasn’t foreseen demonstrates that these “intelligence” guys aren’t very good at what they’re supposed to be good at. And it explains why their work product hasn’t been very good with regard to other countries, when they couldn’t even foresee an obvious result in their own.

HMM: Beijing Develops Plan to Counter Trump Tax Overhaul.

Under the plan, the people say, the People’s Bank of China stands ready to deploy a combination of tools—higher interest rates, tighter capital controls and more-frequent currency intervention—to keep money at home and support the yuan.

An official involved in Beijing’s deliberations called Washington’s tax plan a “gray rhino,” an obvious danger in China’s economy that shouldn’t be ignored. “We’ll likely have some tough battles in the first quarter,” the official said.

Central to officials’ fear is the yuan, which has just regained its footing after enormous government efforts to prop it up. Should the yuan lose steam again, the thinking goes, it could further exacerbate capital outflows in a vicious cycle.

And:

While the tax overhaul isn’t directly aimed at Beijing, it is another way China will be squeezed.

Under the tax plan now going through the U.S. legislative process, America’s corporate levy could drop to about 20% from 35%. Over the next few years, economists say, that could spur manufacturers—whether American or Chinese—to opt to set up plants in the U.S. rather than China, where total tax burdens on companies are among the highest of major economies.

Our current corporate tax code — a black hole of time-sucking, innovation-throttling cronyism — is perhaps the most enormous own-goal in modern economics.

THE HILL: White House calls for immigration reform after NYC terror attack.

PAUL KRUGMAN HARDEST HIT: Former UK Defense Official: Military May Not Be Adequately Prepared for Alien Invasion.

(Classical allusion in the headline.)

FEEL THE BURN:

Ouch.

WHEN TAXPAYERS GET TIRED OF FUNDING THIS KIND OF THING, WE’LL HEAR THAT IT’S BECAUSE OF “ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM:” Prof: Academic rigor reinforces ‘power and privilege.’ Worse yet, she’s in engineering. At Purdue.

THIS IS CNN: CNN Walks Back Jeff Sessions-Russia Bombshell.

In May, CNN reported that Sessions had failed to disclose meetings he had with the Russian ambassador when he was a senator. Justice Department officials told CNN that Sessions had not listed those meetings on a security clearance form, even though the form says to list “any contact” with the “foreign government” or its “representatives” in the past seven years.

CNN framed the non-disclosures as more evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump team, writing, “He has come under withering criticism from Democrats following revelations that he did not disclose the same contacts with Kislyak during his Senate confirmation hearings earlier this year.”

At the time, Sessions said he was told by the FBI not to list meetings “connected with his Senate activities,” but CNN’s legal expert denied those claims.

“A legal expert who regularly assists officials in filling out the form disagrees with the Justice Department’s explanation, suggesting that Sessions should have disclosed the meetings,” CNN asserted.

The CNN report led to breathless coverage by the rest of the legacy media, who painted the non-disclosures as a Trump official trying to hide problematic meetings with the Russians.

However, CNN admitted early Monday that FBI emails prove that Sessions’ explanation for the non-disclosures is accurate.

We’re going to need a new 24-hour news network just to keep up with CNN’s botched reporting.

STEALTH IS HARD; CLEAN CORPORATE CULTURE IS HARDER: Russia’s Su-57 Stealth Fighter Is Doomed to Fail.

Westerns analysts have concluded that Russia’s fifth-generation Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter is unlikely to enter operational service before 2027. Postponements, cost-overruns and research and development-related problems mar the project.

This should come as no surprise. The Su-57 program was never really viable.

Back in early 2006, Russian president Vladimir Putin integrated all of Russia’s aviation companies into a single, state-owned holding — the United Aircraft-building Corporation.

Despite bombastic reports in the Russian media, UAC turned out to be a lame duck. The conglomerate proved capable of re-launching production of types designed back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Otherwise, UAC is incapable of innovation and adaptation.

The main reason is that most of UAC’s directors are hand-picked yes-sayers — people more than happy to discuss planning, strategies and new projects, but lacking the ability to make hard decisions.

The writing was on the wall when Moscow cut its order to a purely ceremonial number of jets. Even India, which has plenty of experience getting adequate results out of a corrupt procurement system, wants to pull out as Russia’s Su-57 development partner.

SO DON’T BLOW IT, GUYS: Manufacturing CEO survey shows record high optimism on prospect of tax reform.

APPARENTLY, ROY MOORE IS MARRIED TO ARCHIE BUNKER: Roy Moore’s wife fights anti-Semitic tag: ‘One of our attorneys is a Jew’.

By any chance, is his name Rabinowitz?

UPDATE: This is more funny than offensive, because it’s so completely tone deaf, like praising a black person for being “articulate,” or saying “some of my best friends are black” in response to a charge of racism. In all cases, it doesn’t mean you are hostile to the group, but you aren’t doing yourself any favors.

December 11, 2017

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS ON THE CHEESEHEAD STASI, AND LESSONS FOR THE MUELLER PROBE: Governmental accountability board? More like Wisconsin’s Secret Police.

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NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: Five refugee settlements are being setup in China in case of a North Korea emergency.

ESPECIALLY FOR YOU: Another open thread. Talk about what you want.

JOHN HAWKINS ON BEING DEPLORABLE.

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WHEN THE WEAPONIZED-FEMINISM TORPEDOES CIRCLE BACK AROUND: Don’t let the alt-right hijack #MeToo for their agenda: Feminism is now being weaponized for right-wing agendas. We must not allow that to happen.

JOHN WATERS’ CHRISTMAS CURSE: Soften a Conservative Relative By Licking Their Chair.

The [Washington Post] asked if the show is a bit of a “takedown” of Christmas, and Waters replied it’s “not a takedown, but it is self-help for people that hate it.”

The headline in the “Weekend Pass” section of the Express was “Did this man just lick your chair?” That’s because Waters joked that he believes in a “Christmas curse” on the conservative relatives. When they leave the room, you lick their chair:

POST: What advice do you have for people who are visiting conservative relatives for Christmas?

JOHN WATERS: If you want to change someone’s politics, there is a Christmas curse I believe in. The way it works is, when a relative leaves the room, you run over and lick their chair. And then when they come in and sit back down, they might soften politically. You just can’t get caught doing it.

What’s with the licking? It sounds a little like gay leftist Dan Savage hating Gary Bauer so much when Bauer ran for president in 1999 that he licked the doorknob to his hotel room when he had a cold, hoping he would infect Bauer.

Related:

And it is here a vitally important lesson all libertarians, republicans, conservatives and other “simply not leftists” need to learn.  For if we don’t realize this very important lesson we will let the leftists we know ruin our lives by forcing us to steep and stew in the erroneous belief that leftists somehow live blissful lives, completely unaffected and unaccountable for their erroneous beliefs and horrible mistakes derived from those beliefs.

* * * * * * * *

So this Christmas, and for the rest of your life, do not let leftists or the fact they’re “getting free money” or “vote against freedom” or “vote to increase your taxes” lessen your finite time on this planet.  Though they’ll never admit it, they are getting punished ENOUGH.

—“The Left Punishes Itself…Mercilessly and Horribly,” Aaron Clarey, at his Captain Capitalism blog today.

 

(Via SDA)

WANT MORE JOBS? FIGHT OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS ON THE CHEESEHEAD STASI, AND LESSONS FOR THE MUELLER PROBE: Governmental accountability board? More like Wisconsin’s Secret Police.

PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE SENATE EXCLUDING OR EXPELLING ROY MOORE IF HE’S ELECTED. Under Powell v. McCormack, Congress’s only role in seating members is to ensure that they meet the Constitutional requirements of age and residence. On expelling members, here’s what it says:

Nor is the distinction between exclusion and expulsion merely one of form. The misconduct for which Powell was charged occurred prior to the convening of the 90th Congress. On several occasions, the House has debated whether a member can be expelled for actions taken during a prior Congress, and the House’s own manual of procedure applicable in the 90th Congress states that “both Houses have distrusted their power to punish in such cases.” Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R.Doc. No. 529, 89th Cong., 2d Sess., 25 (1967); [p509] see G. Galloway, History of the House of Representatives 32 (1961). The House rules manual reflects positions taken by prior Congress. For example, the report of the Select Committee appointed to consider the expulsion of John W. Langley states unequivocally that the House will not expel a member for misconduct committed during an earlier Congress:

[I]t must be said that with practical uniformity the precedents in such cases are to the effect that the House will not expel a Member for reprehensible action prior to his election as a Member, not even for conviction for an offense. On May 23, 1884, Speaker Carlisle decided that the House had no right to punish a Member for any offense alleged to have been committed previous to the time when he was elected a Member, and added, “That has been so frequently decided in the House that it is no longer a matter of dispute.”

I assume the same would apply to the Senate. I’m not sure if this is dictum or not, since the Court was (sort of) deciding whether Powell’s exclusion could also be interpreted as an expulsion, but it’s pretty on-point.

UPDATE: This piece takes a contrary view.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Woke Conservatives And The Awesome Power Of Not Caring.

THIS WHOLE MUELLER PROBE IS DISGRACEFULLY PARTISAN AND INCESTUOUS: Wife of demoted DOJ official worked for firm behind anti-Trump dossier. “A senior Justice Department official demoted last week for concealing his meetings with the men behind the anti-Trump ‘dossier’ had even closer ties to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for the incendiary document, than have been disclosed, Fox News has confirmed: The official’s wife worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election.”

Related: ‘Journalism for rent’: Inside the secretive firm behind the Trump dossier.. “The small firm has been under intense public scrutiny for producing the 35-page document known as the Trump dossier. Senior executives summoned to testify before Congress in October invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and the firm is resisting a congressional subpoena for bank records that would reveal who has paid for its services.” The records would also reveal what journalists it was paying.

But wait, there’s more:

The firm has played an unseen role in stories that dominated headlines in recent years.

In the years before it produced the dossier, records show, Fusion worked to blunt aggressive reporting on the medical-device company Theranos, which was later found to have problems with its novel blood-testing technology. It was also hired to ward off scrutiny of the nutritional supplement company Herbalife, which ultimately paid $200 million to distributors to settle claims by regulators.

In another case, the firm sought to expose what it called “slimy dealings” by a competitor of a San Francisco museum proposed by filmmaker and “Star Wars” director George Lucas. And it dug up information about domestic disputes involving a former mayor of Beverly Hills, Calif., as part of an investigation into a proposed real estate development that the mayor supported. . . .

“I call it journalism for rent,” Simpson, 53, said in August of last year at the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival and Symposium in the District, where he described Fusion’s work on a panel titled, “Investigations With an Agenda.” . . .

Fusion insists that the firm does not engage in public relations work or advertise its media connections to prospective clients. But Fusion executives have interceded with former colleagues in media when their clients came under scrutiny, records and interviews show. . . . He was candid about the money involved. Explaining why he left journalism, he joked: “We don’t use the word ‘sold out.’ We use the word ‘cashed in.’ ”

I’m sure there’s nothing slimy going on here at all.

ROGER L. SIMON: “I guess it’s clear that were I an Alabaman, I’d be sitting this one out.”

BRIDGET JOHNSON: New Times Square Threat: ISIS Backers ‘Recognize Explosives as the Capital’ of U.S.

Meanwhile, Bridget’s unexplained and unacknowledged Twitter banishment remains unexplained and unacknowledged by Twitter management.

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MEDIA BOOKS BOMB AS TINA BROWN’S VANITY FAIR DIARIES, JANN WENNER UNAUTHORIZED BIO DISAPPOINT:

The big surprise is Tina Brown’s “Vanity Fair Diaries.” Released a month ago, the Diaries have failed to attract much interest from anyone other than maybe Tina’s former assistants. Total sales according to Book Scan as of December 3rd are a miserable 6,200.

Brown, who edited Vanity Fair from 1983 to 1992, is thought to have received at least a $200,000 advance. It’s notable that her book was published by Henry Holt and not Random House or Knopf. But still…Holt, part of McMillan, will wind up eating whatever was advanced. Brown’s publisher told the NY Post back in October that they were pumping out 100,000 first printing, so that could mean 94,000 copies are heading to the Strand Book Store soon.

The other book that got a lot of attention but failed to drum up business was Joe Hagan’s well reviewed biography of Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner. “Sticky Fingers,” released October 1st, has sold just 13,200 copies according to BookScan. While Hagan’s reporting was praised, it may be that Mr. and Mrs. America wasn’t so interested in Wenner’s escapades screwing over rock stars. Plus, he’d already been given the bio treatment years ago– when Rolling Stone was still popular– by Robert Draper. I didn’t understand why this was done again.

I’m surprised to see disappointing sales for Sticky Fingers given the hype the book received, the readability of the finished project, and how influential Wenner has been to rock & roll. While Wenner wrote comparatively few of the actual reviews in his magazine, the vast majority of them over the magazine’s 50 year history reflect his tastes (for better, and often for worse). For all intents and purposes, Wenner is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee, in case you’re wondering why your favorite veteran act still hasn’t gotten in. Rolling Stone the magazine is definitely Wenner, in the same sense that Fox News was Roger Ailes. That and the timing of the publication of the Wenner bio to coincide with the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the concurrent “pervnado” (a fortuitous bit of synchronicity) makes Hagan’s book a really fascinating read to understand how pop culture and the media arrived at this point in time, as I wrote over the weekend in my lengthy review at Ed Driscoll.com.

NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER: Ex-Gawker Employees Launch Crowdfunding Drive to Buy Website.

The campaign was launched Monday on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter and seeks to raise at least $500,000. Gawker ceased publication in August 2016 after losing a lawsuit brought by Hulk Hogan.

“This is a testing of the waters,” said James Del, a former vice president of programming at Gawker Media LLC who is organizing the crowdfunding drive. Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers is also advising, while other former employees are providing input on the project.

If successful in acquiring Gawker, Mr. Del said the blog would be operated by a nonprofit foundation. If they reach their funding target but someone else purchases the blog in bankruptcy, Mr. Del, 30, said they plan to launch a new publication intended to capture the “Gawker ethos” which he described as publishing unbiased and unfiltered gossip, news articles and writing.

Given that the company was put out of business for publishing revenge porn, I’d hesitate before using “Gawker” and “ethos” in the same sentence.

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR KNIVES.

CHANGE: Trump orders NASA to send American astronauts to the Moon, Mars.

STILL TURNED UP TO 11: DNC unity commission blasts GOP ‘atrocities’ while touting changes for primaries.

FASTER, PLEASE: ‘Unheard of’ responses to bluebird CAR-T therapy seen in myeloma study.. “More than half of patients with advanced multiple myeloma who had run out of therapeutic options remained in complete remission after receiving bluebird bio Inc’s experimental gene-modifying immunotherapy in a small, early stage study, according to updated data released on Sunday. Of 18 patients who received a therapeutic dose of bb2121, all but one responded to the treatment, a 94 percent response rate, while 56 percent remained in remission with a median follow-up of 40 weeks after treatment. . . . bb2121 belongs to a potentially revolutionary new type of one-time treatment called CAR-T therapy that involves genetic manipulation of a patient’s immune system. A patient’s own disease-fighting T-cells are harvested and genetically reengineered to target specific proteins on cancer cells before being replaced so they can circulate seeking out and attacking the cancer, possibly for years.”

State Drops Case Against Lucian Wintrich, White House Correspondent For Gateway Pundit, In UConn Tussle“: A moment of clarity in Connecticut, where reporter and public speaker Lucian Wintrich was attacked by Catherine Gregory, a local community college employee who stole his speaking material. Incredibly, when Wintrich tried to take his notes back, UConn police charged *him* with disorderly conduct. Says Wintrich’s lawyer:

“Free speech matters, it’s OK to be white, black, brown or anything in between,” he said. “My client came to Connecticut and was treated like a criminal for no reason. He sought to obtain his notes back when they were stolen by reasonable means, the prosecution saw that.”

Several days later, police contacted Wintrich and asked him to press larceny charges against her, and he did. Good for him. Punch back twice as hard.

**DISCLOSURE** I have represented Gateway Pundit in unrelated media law matters.

CHECK, PLEASE: 10 Things Every Intersectional Feminist Should Ask On a First Date.

Anyone who isn’t heading towards the door after the third question — “How do you work to dismantle sexism and misogyny in your life?” — deserves whatever comes next.

UPSIDE IS, BETTER PROTECTION FROM DEADLY PANDEMIC FLU! Flu vaccine may be only 10 percent effective this year, experts say. Got my shot, but I don’t think I’d have bothered if I’d known this.

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SALENA ZITO: For once, the joke is on Al Franken.

For a man who was courted by everyone in the Democratic Party to headline their fundraisers — both for their re-elections as well as their state party’s coffers — fawned over for his Hollywood pedigree, and admired by progressives for his notorious grilling of Republicans appointed to Cabinet positions in the Trump administration, the mere thought of being reduced to zero status in American politics was a bridge too far for the egocentric Minnesotan.

In truth, it likely repulsed him.

He is a man used to being center stage, needed, wanted, catered to, fawned over, and courted.

If you have any doubt to the validity of this argument, consider his exit speech on the floor of the Senate when he announced he will resign his seat last Thursday; he never once admitted doing anything wrong. He also never said he was sorry.

“I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” Franken said.

In the end, he was defiant, blamed others, and was without the grace to show remorse.

But other than that, how did you enjoy his non-resignation speech, Salena?

DON’T THEY ALWAYS: The Next Flu Pandemic Will Appear When You Least Expect It.

If a new flu pandemic emerges, it may be easy to spot. The epidemic is most likely to appear in spring or summer, researchers have found — not in the midwinter depths of the flu season.

Normally flu strikes in winter, when children are crowded into classrooms and the air is cold and dry — ideal for transmitting the influenza virus. But historically, that has not been true of the great flu epidemics.

A half-dozen flu pandemics — including those of 1889, 1918 (the Spanish Flu) and 2009 (the swine flu) — were all first detected between late March and late July, according to a study published recently in PLOS Computational Biology by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and the Institute for Disease Modeling in Bellevue, Wash.

A person infected with the flu appears to be protected briefly against infection with any other flu virus, even genetically different ones, said Spencer J. Fox, a graduate student in infectious disease modeling at the University of Texas at Austin and an author of the paper.

That protection lasts about six weeks, Mr. Fox said. Even a highly infectious flu virus would be temporarily stymied in winter if the seasonal flu had already infected much of the population.

So maybe if a nasty flu pandemic is coming, we should deliberately infect ourselves with ordinary flu.

ENVY: A Socially Transmitted Disease.

More on this here.

PASTA PERVNADO: Mario Batali is stepping away from his eatery empire, as well as ABC’s “The Chew,” following several allegations of sexual misconduct:

Four women have accused Batali, 57, of sexual harassment and assault spanning nearly 20 years, Eater reported Monday.

A female chef alleged that an intoxicated Batali offered her a job, then groped her breasts. Two of Batali’s female former employees accused him of grabbing and groping them, with one accusing the celebrated chef of ordering her to straddle him. A third former employee claimed that Batali groped her breasts at a party, though she noted the incident allegedly occurred when she was no longer working for him.

To the left of the New York Post’s story today is this related headline from late October, a few weeks in which the first Weinstein stories dropped, which now looks very different in light of today’s news: “Mario Batali’s ‘fanciest’ restaurant has an all-female kitchen:”

“I think back in the stone ages — say the beginning or the middle of the 20th century — it was perceived as physically difficult for a woman to do the job and that was back when cooking was still iron and fire and Cro-Magnon man, and it has changed a lot since the ’60s and ’70s,” the chef, 57, said at the Fast Company Innovation Festival this week.

In fact, Batali’s “fanciest restaurant,” Del Posto, has an “all-women” kitchen, including the executive chef, pastry chef, service director and sommelier. “It’s not because they have a vagina,” he said. “It’s because they’re the smartest people for the job.”

Batali said he hates it when a member of the media wants to to run a story on one of his employees as a “great woman chef.”

“Why don’t you f–king do a piece about her being a great chef and we’ll talk about her sexuality later?” he suggested.

The Weinstein-esque faux-macho F-bomb is a nice touch.

RALPH PETERS: Why the ‘Arab street’ didn’t just explode.

In the wake of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week, the “experts” crowding the media predicted strategic calamity: Vast, violent protests and a wave of terror would sweep the Muslim world in the coming days.

Instead, the largest demonstration anywhere this weekend was the funeral procession for Johnny Hallyday, the “French Elvis.” Nothing in the Middle East came close.

We have witnessed, yet again, the carefully phrased anti-Semitism of the pristinely educated; the global left’s fanatical pro-Palestinian bias; and the media’s yearning for career-making disasters.

Rather than waves of protest, the waiting world got tepid statements of disapproval from otherwise-occupied Arab governments; demonstrations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that, combined, barely put a thousand activists in the streets; and yes, four deaths: two demonstrators and two Hamas terrorists hit by an Israeli airstrike.

I wrote at Hot Mic the other day:

The most important two Arab states are Egypt (population) and Saudi Arabia (wealth), and neither seems likely to retaliate beyond a pro forma protest. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman can’t afford to derail his modernization effort by emboldening a bunch of reactionary hotheads, and Egypt can’t afford to do much that isn’t bankrolled by the Saudis.

Erdogan would probably love to stir up a mess for Israel, but the Turks aren’t exactly loved in the Arab world. And Iran was going to continue arming Hezbollah whether Trump recognized Jerusalem or not.

Trump’s move ought to have been seen for the low-risk no-brainer it was, but those kind of things always seem to shock Washington.

REALLY MAKES YOU THINK:

ANDREW MCCARTHY: Forget Collusion. Can Mueller Even Prove Russia Committed Cyberespionage?. “We have paid too much attention to the so-called collusion component of the probe — speculation about Trump-campaign coordination in Russia’s perfidy. There appears to be no proof of that sort of collusion. Because it has been our focus, though, Mueller has gotten a free pass on a defect that would be fatal to any related prosecution theory: He cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Russia is guilty of hacking the Democratic National Committee and prominent Democrats.”

MY DATA, MY CHOICE: Congressman Says Google, Facebook, Amazon Should Pay Consumers for their Harvested Data.

STEPHEN L. CARTER: Star Wars’ Gross Galactic Product Problem: Something to ponder during “The Last Jedi”: Why did this technologically advanced society have such poverty and slavery?. Because it was dreamed up by Hollywood folks, who are feudalists at heart?

THIS IS CNN: 40 Minutes After NYC Terror Attack, CNN Obsesses Over Trump’s Diet Coke Habits.

All the more reason, as Roger Simon wrote last night, it’s “Time to Get CNN Out of the Airports, etc.”

JAY CARUSO: CNN’s Reliable Sources Segment On Media Distrust Swings And Misses.

Frum’s argument is a straw man in which he suggests the news consumer demands 100 percent accuracy from the media. He also suggests the dogged determination by reporters to deal with an administration so hell-bent on lying makes it understandable they would overshoot in an attempt to get at the truth.

Investigative reporters and political reporters are well-versed in the culture of lying that exists in Washington. They know the game, and they know how it works. To suggest they screw up because they take on such a burden dealing with an administration that lies like none other does a disservice to their work.

So what should the media do to earn back some of the trust they’ve lost knowing they will still make mistakes from time to time?

First, members of the press have to stop being baited by President Trump.

I never got to the second step, and suspect neither will the Washington press corps.

WOULD YOU TELL HIM HE CAN’T? North Korea’s newest claim: Kim Jong Un can control the weather.

HISTORY: The U.S. Army Had a Special ‘Suicide Squad’ Ready to Strike Russian Forces.

Had the Cold War turned hot, there would have been no escape for the U.S. garrison in West Berlin. Marooned in a city more than 100 miles inside Communist East Germany, the U.S. Berlin Brigade—and the British and French garrisons as well—would certainly have been overwhelmed by Soviet and East German troops. Their presence helped keep half of Berlin free from Communist rule. But it was no secret that theirs was a suicide mission.

Yet there was a unique American unit with an even more hazardous mission: a small Special Forces detachment whose job it would during wartime to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Soviets and their puppet armies. That sentence bears repeating: Deep inside East Germany, in the midst of a vast Soviet military and secret police apparatus, a small group of U.S. commandos would attempt to blow up Russian supply depots and lead local resistance groups.

The phrase “suicide mission” doesn’t even apply.

The unit had many names over the Cold War. But as James Stejskal, a veteran of the detachment, describes in his book Special Forces Berlin: Clandestine Cold War Operations of the US Army’s Elite 1956-1990, they always knew what they were getting into. “They were aware of the odds against them and the threat posed by the Warsaw Pact forces stationed just kilometers away. Despite that, no one wavered in their commitment to face and deter the Soviet war machine.”

Fascinating stuff, if you have even the slightest interest in this sort of thing.

IN THE MAIL: From Amy Alkon, Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence.

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QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES: Granted, Fox is the pot calling the kettle black, but I’ve been harping on the failure of news organizations to conduct and publish serious and genuinely independent autopsies for quite a while. And I must be right, because Prof. Jacobson and I are in are agreement:

Cornell University law professor and Legal Insurrection founder William Jacobson said [NBC President] Lack had no business overseeing the investigation. “It’s hard to see how an internal investigation that reports to senior executives would be viewed as complete and transparent when the conduct or lack of conduct of senior executives, such as Andrew Lack, necessarily should an issue,” Jacobson told Fox News.

Jacobson continues:

“Anything other than an independent outside investigation that reports to the NBC Universal Board of Directors would raise questions as to whether responsibility is being pushed down to lower corporate levels.”

And going a step further, not only is a secret investigation in-house insufficient, it seems to me that media organizations — who live and die on readership trust — should not allow their usual outside law firms to do this, because they have a vested interest in client relations.

FASTER, PLEASE: Time to Get CNN Out of the Airports, etc., Roger Simon writes.

SO FAR: Four Times Liberal Hollywood Declared War Against GOP Women.

BREAKING: NYC Bomber ID’d.

Twenty-seven-year-old Akayed Ullah is in police custody. Officials say he sustained burns to his abdomen and hands and cuts after the crude pipe bomb exploded.

Law enforcement officials say Ullah was inspired by the Islamic State, but apparently had no direct contact with the terrorist group. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the suspect or incident.

Dog bites man.

PRIVACY: Ireland risks shooting itself in the foot in crucial Microsoft email case.

The case involves emails held at Microsoft’s Dublin data centre. A federal judge in a drug case in New York state demanded that Microsoft’s US office produce the emails. Microsoft refused, saying that the appropriate approach was to use the well-established route of mutual legal assistance treaties, by which countries authorise the gathering and exchanging of information for such cases.

Microsoft rightly argued that to allow courts or law enforcement in one country to have direct access to data held in another violates fundamental privacy guarantees that make modern business possible.

International data exchange and storage are the basis for the multibillion-euro cloud-computing model, which brings efficiency and scale to businesses large and small. Instead of every company having to invest in costly hardware and software, they instead can use applications and storage made available online – “in the cloud” – from companies such as Microsoft and Oracle, which are among the dozens that now have enormous data centres in Ireland for this purpose.

Crucially, the only reason a US judge can even try to directly demand access to electronic data is because a vague US communications law from the 1980s fails to indicate whether electronic data has the same protection as information on a piece of paper.

Well, it certainly should have the same protection — but remember that no one’s life, liberty, property, or data are safe while the legislature is in session.

EMILY YOFFE IN POLITICO: Why the #MeToo Moment Should Be Ready for a Backlash: As a much-needed reckoning happens in the workplace, look to college campuses for a note of caution.

Much of the Obama administration’s policy was at the initiative of Biden, for whom the issue of violence against women was career-defining. In 1994, as a senator, he oversaw the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, what he calls his “proudest legislative accomplishment.” When he became vice president, a new position was created under his aegis, White House adviser on violence against women, and he appointed Lynn Rosenthal, a national leader on domestic abuse, to fill it. The administration then decided to focus its efforts on what it said was an epidemic of sexual violence against female students by their male classmates. In 2011, the Department of Education sent a bombshell letter with the bland greeting, “Dear Colleague” to the country’s 4,600 institutions of higher education laying out new rules for how campuses were to root out and punish sexual assault.

It was the beginning of a concerted effort that radically remade how students could interact sexually, with severe penalties for violating increasingly stringent codes of conduct. Title IX is the federal law that prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of sex. Under the Obama pronouncements, college Title IX offices became vast bureaucracies, and students were encouraged to report any perceived violation. The Dear Colleague letter forbade “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” To stay on the right side of federal regulators, many school codes expanded to turn even unwanted flirtation or sexual jokes between students into actionable offenses. New rules known as “affirmative consent” were put in place on many campuses, requiring that partners engaging in any sexual contact get explicit permission, preferably verbal, for each touch, each time. (Affirmative consent on campus has become law in California, Connecticut and New York.)

Weird that Creepy Uncle Joe was behind this. Or maybe not.

CHANGE: Saudi Arabia to allow movie theaters after decades of ban.

It’s the latest stark reversal in a county where movie theaters were shut down in the 1980’s during a wave of ultraconservatism in the country. Many of Saudi Arabia’s clerics view Western movies and even Arabic films made in Egypt and Lebanon as sinful.

Despite decades of ultraconservative dogma, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sought to ram through a number of major social reforms with support from his father, King Salman.

The crown prince is behind measures such as lifting a ban on women driving next year and bringing back concerts and other forms of entertainment to satiate the desires of the country’s majority young population.

The 32-year-old heir to the throne’s social push is part of his so-called Vision 2030, a blueprint for the country that aims to boost local spending and create jobs amid sustained lower oil prices.

King Faisal was assassinated in 1975 following similar reforms, including allowing television.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Rutgers University labor rights group blamed for ‘xenophobic’ graffiti.

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LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Alabama Senate Race, RUSSIA Update and Much, Much More.

REASON: FBI Handling of Michael Flynn Case Is Disturbing: Why didn’t the FBI charge Flynn with an underlying crime? It might be because there was none.

You could eliminate most special counsel abuses by requiring that “process” charges, like False Statements Act violations, be referred to the regular DOJ for prosecution rather than falling within the special counsel’s bailiwick.

OF COURSE: Turkey’s Erdogan calls Israel a ‘child-murderer’ state.

BUT: Netanyahu Says Israel Will Not Be Lectured to by the Likes of Erdogan.

AND: Erdogan will cut ties with Israel if the US Embassy moves.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the de facto Turko-Israeli alliance was one of the few bright spots in Middle East geopolitics. These days, it’s the de facto Saudi-Israeli alliance.

And it’s no coincidence that the Saudi Arabia under Crown Prince bin Salman is attempting to modernize, while Turkey under Erdogan is regressing into pre-Kemalist thuggery.

THIS IS AWFUL: The Police Murder of Daniel Shaver. “I have seen soldiers deal with al Qaeda terrorists with more professionalism and poise. . . . I know that police have a dangerous job, but they’re not at war. As I noted above, it’s infuriating to see civilian police exercise less discipline than I’ve seen from soldiers in infinitely more dangerous situations. Not one of the men I deployed with would have handled a terrorist detention the way these officers treated American citizens.”

Well, soldiers face the likelihood of discipline if they act badly. This case has gotten some attention, but nothing like the amount it would get if there were a racial angle. But Shaver is just as dead.

CLAIM: After Jerusalem, the US Can No Longer Pretend to Be an Honest Broker of Peace.

Trump has, in effect, adopted wholesale the Israeli position that all of Jerusalem belongs exclusively to Israel, and that all of it—including areas extending far north, south, and east of the city—is Israel’s capital, denying the Palestinians any national or political rights there. He has thereby nailed the United States flag to a position that antagonizes virtually every Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim, and the overwhelming majority of peoples and governments around the world.

There can be—and there should be—no going back to the old formula in place for decades, whereby the United States colluded privately with Israel and the two powers thereafter imposed their will on the Palestinians. That was never the way to achieve a just and lasting peace; it served only to oblige the weaker party to bow to the will of the stronger, which in turn exacerbated and prolonged the conflict.

Even if Rashid Khalidi’s ruthlessly dishonest argument had any merit, it would still matter only if the Palestinian leadership was honestly desiring of peace.

IN NEW YORK, an explosion at Port Authority. Not much else is known, except that there are multiple ambulances.

UPDATE: “Possible pipe bomb.”

MORE: Several Injured As Device Explodes At Port Authority.

STILL MORE: Suspected Bomber In Custody.

MORE STILL: Roundup here including possible surveillance video.

BECAUSE REPUBLICANS LITERALLY MURDER ALL ANIMALS TO DEATH: Newsweek Demands to Know Why ‘Mike Pence’s Animals Won’t Stop Dying.’