February 16, 2017

GAIA IS THE WORST POLLUTER OF ALL: A massive lake of molten carbon the size of Mexico is discovered under the US, and it could cause climate CHAOS.

Known as the upper mantle, this section of the Earth’s interior is known for by its high temperatures where solid carbonates melt, creating distinctive seismic patterns.

What they found was a vast buried deposit of molten carbon, which produces carbon dioxide and other gases, situated under the Western US, 217 miles (350km) beneath the Earth’s surface.

As a result of this study, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, scientists now believe the amount of CO2 in the Earth’s upper mantle may be up to 100 trillion metric tons.

In comparison, the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates the global carbon emission in 2011 was nearly 10 billion metric tons – a tiny amount in comparison.

Unless I dropped a zero somewhere along the way, that’s 10,000 to 1.

OH, THAT’S DEPLORABLE: Donald Trump is freezing out the mainstream media. That should terrify you.

Quoted by Ace of Spades, who also has plenty of thoughts on the above headline, that’s from Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, an institution that used to allow its employees to wear buttons that said “Yeah, I’m In The Media. Screw You,” so you’ll pardon me if I feel less than terrified. But perhaps therapy is in order for the DNC-MSM, now that the folie à deux is over.

INCENTIVES MATTER: Google’s self-driving unit lost execs by overpaying them. I wish somebody would lose me that way.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Adjunct Serfs: Trump Should Target Worker Exploitation at American Universities. “After all, Trump has spoken out on behalf of American workers victimized by outsourcing and abusive H1B ‘guest worker’ visas. Universities’ move to replace full-time faculty jobs with poorly paid part-timers is something similar, and offers an opportunity for Trump to stand up on behalf of exploited workers in this important sector of the American economy. . . . It needs to be done. In the name of economic fairness!”

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Single iPhone Users Don’t Want To Date An Android User.

SO SHE’S SAYING… I HAVE A CHANCE? Scarlett Johansson to Playboy: ‘I Don’t Think It’s Natural to be Monogamous’

AN AUTONOMOUS PASSENGER DRONE SOUNDS LIKE A TERRIBLE IDEA: “As far as I know, there is no way of surviving a total (or perhaps even partial) motor or software failure on a drone like this. With an airplane or a helicopter, even if absolutely everything dies on you, you still have a reasonable chance (if you know what you’re doing) of landing the aircraft so that you’ll live, and maybe even walk away. With this drone, there’s simply nothing you could do—even if you were an experienced drone pilot, which most passengers won’t be.”


ANALYSIS: TRUE. Jim VanDeHei & Mike Allen: The Media Is The Opposition Party. Likewise, they were the Obama Support Party for the previous eight years. Any efforts to defend their role now must also take that into account.

But it’s just more evidence that if you want checks and balances, you need a white, male Republican in the White House.

UPDATE: From the comments: “I thought, given the wailing I have heard the last few days, that some brilliant questions were going to be asked of Trump by the ‘real’ journalists. Where were they hiding?”

IT’S DIFFERENT WHEN THEY DO IT: Dear Bad Upper East Side Moms Who Targeted President Trump’s 4-Year-Old Grandson.

GOOD: Schools in the US Are Beginning to Push Back Their Start Times. “The changes are bolstered by a mountain of sleep science research that says pre-teens and teenagers are some of society’s most sleep-deprived people and would actually do better in school with more rest. . . . A new study involving 30,000 high-school students across 29 schools in seven states found that graduation rates and attendance rates both went up in the two years after schools pushed start times to at least 8:30am.”

FLYING SOLO: Drone Flying Cars Will Soar Over Dubai This Summer.

The craft can carry a passenger weighing up to 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and a small suitcase. After buckling into its race-car-style seat, the craft’s sole passenger selects a destination on a touch-screen pad in front of the seat and the drone flies there automatically.

The drone, which has a battery allowing for a half-hour flight time and a range of up to 50 kilometers (31 miles), will be monitored remotely by a control room on the ground. It has a top speed of 160 kph (100 mph), but authorities say it will be operated typically at 100 kph (62 mph).

Al-Tayer said the drone would begin regular operations in July. He did not elaborate.

The Road and Transportation Agency later issued a statement saying the drone had been examined by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and was controlled through 4G mobile internet. The agency did not immediately respond to further questions from The Associated Press.

Just how secure is 4G mobile internet?

PROJECT VERITAS: Two More Anarchists Arrested in #DisruptJ20 Plot.

I’M NOT SAYING THAT IT’S ALIENS. BUT IT’S ALIENS. The X-37 spaceplane has spent more than six hundred days in orbit. What it’s doing up there is still a mystery.


SANCTUARY CHURCHES? Colorado Church Offers Immigrant Sanctuary From Deportation.

[Jeanette] Vizguerra pleaded guilty to using a fake ID in order to work in 2009. ICE officials say they’ve already granted her six stays of removal, and declined to issue another. That’s when Vizguerra sought refuge in the church rather than face deportation to Mexico.

“It is our position as a people of faith that this is sacred, and faithful work,” said the Rev. Mike Morran during the news conference at his church. “We know Jeanette. We know her to be an honorable human being.”

But critics say the church is violating law.

“It is illegal for anyone to deliberately and knowingly shield an illegal alien from detection by federal authorities,” says Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies, a nonprofit organization that favors less immigration.

“Potentially these church leaders could be placing their parish at risk for prosecution and fines,” Vaughan says. “I hope it won’t come to that.”

Some people are hoping it comes to exactly that for propaganda purposes.

OCEANIA HAS NEVER BEEN AT WAR WITH HILLARY CLINTON: “See Hillary Clinton Get A Standing Ovation Before ‘Sunset Boulevard’ On Broadway, the Huffington Post breathlessly reports:

At a showing of Broadway’s “Sunset Boulevard” Wednesday night, the former Democratic presidential candidate prompted applause and cheers from audience members as she took her seat among them.

Several Twitter users and reporters in the theater took note of the enthusiastic response.

She’s finally ready for her close-up. You young citizens of Oceania may not believe me, but honest, I swear, I can remember vague flashbacks to that hazy year called 2008, when the Huffington Post trashed Hillary’s Democrat supporters (concurrent with Obama’s infamous Bitter Clingers slur against them) and Obama-supporting video makers created Hillary as Norma Desmond parodies. Like Norma herself, all down the Memory Hole:

Click to watch.

MISSED IT BY THAT MUCH: The tale of how the USSR almost invented the internet.

Many of today’s digital utopians draw inspiration from a real world attempt to implement electronic socialism: Salvador Allende’s abortive 1970s programme that sought to rationalise and democratise the planning of the Chilean economy through a nationwide network of telex machines. “Project Cybersyn” was cut short by Pinochet’s coup, but, helped by the surviving images of its iconic retro-futurist central operations room, the episode continues to symbolise radical aspirations to harness technology to break through to an alternative economic system.

Cybersyn was conceived during the same era as a still more ambitious but less well documented project: a well-resourced programme to digitise the planning of the Soviet Union’s vast command economy. The labyrinthine story of the “Soviet internet” is told in detail in a new book by Tulsa University professor Benjamin Peters, who, venturing into Moscow archives “lit by a single flickering light bulb”, pieces together the tale of plans to supercharge the USSR’s stuttering economy through the installation and networking of a constellation of mainframe computers at major production points from Leningrad to Siberia. The project was one of the most spectacular manifestations of the restless Soviet ambition to lever technology to create the material conditions for “full communism”.

This is like arguing that another socialistic utopian, Gene Roddenberry, almost invented the teleporter.

REPORT: Alexander Acosta to be Labor Secretary nominee. For InstaPundit readers, he’s currently dean at the law school where InstaPundit co-blogger Elizabeth Price Foley teaches. He was previously an NLRB member, and held several important Justice Department posts.

UPDATE: More here.

CHARLIE MARTIN: General Flynn and Colonel Mustard: Let’s Piece Together Clues About the Leak.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Adjunct Serfs: Trump Should Target Worker Exploitation at American Universities.

RASMUSSEN: Trump Approval Pops Up To 55%. That’s got to be wrong, because I’ve been following the news, which assures me that no one likes him.

RICHARD POLLOCK: How The Nation’s Spooks Played The Game ‘Kill Mike Flynn’

The talk within the tight-knit community of retired intelligence officers was that Flynn’s sacking was a result of intelligence insiders at the CIA, NSA and National Security Council using a sophisticated “disinformation campaign” to create a crisis atmosphere. The former intel officers say the tactics hurled against Flynn over the last few months were the type of high profile hard-ball accusations previously reserved for top figures in enemy states, not for White House officials.

“This was a hit job,” charged retired Col. James Williamson, a 32-year Special Forces veteran who coordinated his operations with the intelligence community.

Noting the Obama administration first tried to silence Flynn in 2014 when the former president fired him as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Williamson called Monday’s resignation, “stage Two of ‘Kill Mike Flynn.”

Former intelligence officials who understand spy craft say Flynn’s resignation had everything to do with a “disinformation campaign” and little to do with the December phone conversation he had with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

They charge officials from America’s top spy counsels leaked classified government intercepts of Flynn and President Trump’s conversations with world leaders and had “cutouts” — friendly civilians not associated with the agency — to distribute them to reporters in a coordinated fashion.

Read the whole thing.

IN THE MAIL: From David Schoenbrod, DC Confidential: Inside the Five Tricks of Washington.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Adjunct Serfs: Trump Should Target Worker Exploitation at American Universities. “Today universities have a two-tier class system: Tenured professors and administrators on top, with generous pay and benefits and job security, while many (in some places most) required courses are being taught by the equivalent of serfs, with low pay, no job security, and little in the way of status. This is happening even as tuitions are skyrocketing and the numbers of (much better paid) university administrators are mushrooming.”

BECAUSE IT’S EASIER THAN FACING REJECTION: Why More Democrats Are Now Embracing Conspiracy Theories.

Saved you a click.


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: State Legislators Go After Tenure:

The anti-tenure crusaders have some of the right impulses, but they seem to be approaching the problem with a meat ax rather than a scalpel. Here are some thoughts on a more productive way to proceed.

First, the best place to trim higher education budgets is administration. Administrative bloat, much of it driven by federal regulations, represents a loss to both taxpayers and students; this is an area where savings could be procured with less political backlash. For example, the average state university today is an unwieldy mix of institutions and activities that maybe don’t all need to be under one roof. Legislators should think about ways to disaggregate them and promote competition. Do colleges need to run dormitory systems? Health clinics? Dining halls?

Second, policymakers should develop a comprehensive vision for higher education reform, rather than conducting piecemeal attacks on this or that activity. While there is a lot wrong with the modern American state university, they are complicated systems, and strong ones are an important economic asset for states and cities. The goal of reform shouldn’t be to punish professors perceived as radical or lazy. The goal of reform should be to build a stronger, smarter, more productive higher education system that does a better job for kids at a sustainable cost both to students and taxpayers.

Third, policymakers could draw sharper distinctions between disciplines and between teaching and research. Not all disciplines are equal, though many would like to pretend that they are. ‘Research’ is a much more important component of the natural sciences than in the humanities. It is not clear that the best teachers of the humanities are engaged in cutting edge research, nor is it clear that taxpayers are well served by funding ‘research’ into various postmodern critical theories (if you doubt this, see the Twitter account New Real Peer Review for real-life examples of the type of humanities work that is supported by public funds).

In the social sciences and the humanities, there may need to be a change in the expectation (which already in reality is being left behind) that every professor ultimately achieves tenure and that research plays a major role in getting there. Universities should improve the status of career teaching professors so that the current class of hyper-exploited adjuncts becomes a thing of the past.

If it weren’t for tenure, I probably wouldn’t have a job, and the same goes for pretty much any other non-leftist professor. And administration is, in fact, both the biggest source of expense bloat and the biggest source of lefty activism on campuses.

Related: Universities, Facing Budget Cuts, Target Tenure. If tenure were important to the apparatchiks who run the higher education complex, they wouldn’t be targeting it. It was useful when it provided an excuse for not firing communists, but now it’s a barrier to complete control. Plus: “In 1975, 45% of faculty at public and private schools was tenured or tenure-track; the 2014 figure is 29%. The balance of the jobs are now filled by part-time adjunct professors who make, on average, less than half the salary of tenured professors, enjoying few of their benefits, and are excused from much of the administrative work. While the average salary of a full professor is $142,141, according to the American Association of University Professors, adjuncts are typically paid between $1,500 and $5,000 a course.”

AS STIMULUS CHIEF JOE BIDEN SAID, “CORRUPTION IS JUST ANOTHER FORM OF TYRANNY.” Obama Stimulus Funds Went to California Dam in ‘Good Shape,’ But Not Oroville.

Despite more than a decade of warnings about Oroville, there is no public record of the country’s tallest dam receiving any of the more than $34 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act sent to California for infrastructure projects.

Over $22 million in stimulus funds did go toward safety improvements to the Folsom Dam, which was described as in “good shape” at the time the grant was awarded in 2009.

“The dam is in good shape but is starting to show its age,” a Bureau of Reclamation spokesperson said of the Folsom Dam at the time.

The stimulus was intended to “shore up the nation’s aging infrastructure,” said former representative Mike Thompson, a Democrat who served California’s 1st District where the Oroville dam is located before being redistricted to the 5th.

Thompson lauded numerous stimulus projects, which included $2.2 million for “more attractive” sidewalks and $2.5 million for a 205-acre “zero net energy” community on the University of California Davis campus to put a greater “emphasis on walking” and bicycling.

We have far more government than we need, but a hell of a lot less than we pay for.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO ASSASSINATE: AFP reports North Korea prefers female assassins.

North Korean female assassins, armed with good looks and poison tools, are now the weapon of choice for a ruthless regime stalking its opponents, a high-profile defector told AFP on Thursday, after the latest apparent assassination.

Hardy male agents wielding guns or knives have been ditched in favour of their female counterparts, who strike fear into the hearts of enemies, said An Chan-Il, a North Korean defector and renowned critic of Pyongyang’s one-man rule.

“We are always mindful of young women accosting us for possible revenge killings,” An said.


South Korean intelligence chiefs believe Kim Jong-Nam had toxins sprayed in his face as he walked through Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Two women have been arrested over the murder.


“They can easily hide mini poison injectors made of plastic, either in lipsticks, cosmetics or under their clothes,” he said, adding that such plastic tools go undetected by airport security.

…”Good looks are essential but this is different from any beauty contest. A girl with a curvy body is not considered ideal to become an assassin who has to engage in physical contact with targets”, he said.

Wow. Sexism, lookism and Communism!

HER WRITING CAREER IS LIKE HER TV CAREER, THEN: Nobody is Talking about Chelsea Clinton’s New Book, Including Chelsea Clinton.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Adjunct Serfs: Trump Should Target Worker Exploitation at American Universities. “Academics seem to think that the business world is a feudal environment characterized by huge status differentials and abusive treatment of underlings. They think that because, to be honest, that’s a pretty good characterization of . . . the modern university, where serfs in the form of adjunct professors toil in the vineyards.”

TNR EDITOR: Trump ‘Turned the GOP Into the Party of Eugenics,’ Which It Always Was.

In case you are not yet convinced that Trump is eager to push a program of government-sponsored genetic improvement, [TNR social media editor, Sarah] Jones adds that anonymous sources interviewed by The New York Times said Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, “occasionally talked about the genetic superiority of some people and once mused about the desirability of limiting the vote to property owners.” Jeff Sessions, the new attorney general, “praised the Immigration Act of 1924 in a 2015 interview with Bannon,” and Trump adviser Michael Anton has written (under a pseudonym) that Charles Lindbergh’s America First Committee was “unfairly maligned.”

That’s pretty much it, which is why Jones ends up switching her focus from Trump to the Republican Party and from eugenics to “the party’s agenda,” which “in many ways channels the spirit of eugenics, even if it does not accept the theory in a literal sense.” Hence the article’s subhead, which contradicts the headline by suggesting that eugenics was not introduced to the GOP by Trump but has “always been embedded in the Republican platform.”

How so? Republicans oppose Obamacare, like capitalism, talk about welfare reform, and support school choice, which according to Jones makes them eugenicists in spirit.

Jones should familiarize herself with the works of Democrat icon Margaret Sanger.

RETURN OF THE CVL?: Why the USN may build a few light aircraft carriers (CVLs).

MEGAN MCARDLE: A Rough 24 Hours For ObamaCare.

THE GOP’S NEXT WEAPON: Elizabeth Warren.

In Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Republicans see a next-generation liberal bogeyman they can use to trip up vulnerable Democrats running for re-election in red states.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might not have consciously elevated the Massachusetts firebrand’s national profile when he abruptly cut off her floor remarks during the heated debate over the confirmation of Jeff Sessions to serve as U.S. attorney general. But while some commentators said the Kentucky Republican erred in giving her a newly raised platform, he and other senior Republicans preparing for 2018 were pleased if that was the result.

Nearly 10 incumbent Democrats are up in states won by President Trump in November. And, Republicans view Warren — her politics and her personality — as a weapon they can use against those Democrats in the midterms.

Well, with her vinegary partisan manner, racial dishonesty, and air of unearned privilege, she’s a perfect cartoon liberal already.

THE OTHER SIDE OF OBAMACARE: Millions Excluded from Obamacare Aid, Pass on Coverage.

“It’s hard to tell people who don’t see health care needs in the year ahead that they should be paying premiums and higher deductibles to make the system work for everyone else,” says JoAnn Volk, a senior research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. “But the going-in idea is that you’ll need health insurance at some point.”

To 42-year-old Tiffany, one of several people U.S. News spoke with whose last names are being withheld to protect their privacy, the costs of coverage to her and her husband this year were overwhelming: $1,221.20 per month, with an $11,700 deductible. If they were to divorce, they realized, they would qualify for cheaper coverage. Alternatively, Tiffany’s husband, who is self-employed, would need to make an extra $20,000 a year to make up the difference once medication and doctor visits are factored in.

Though the option of ending their 17-year marriage wasn’t truly on the table, to them it accentuated the lack of options they faced this year. The Columbus, Ohio-area residents already had been unhappy with the plan they bought the previous year, finding that it covered few of the services they needed. Their regular medical needs include providing medication for a daughter with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and another with mild asthma.

As a family of five making between $115,000 and $125,000 a year, they did not qualify for subsidies. And doctors in the plans available were far away.

“This year, I just cried,” Tiffany says of the moment she saw how much insurance was going to cost them. “I’m not an emotional person. I was just floored. I completely shut down because there were no options.”

Somebody needs to tell JoAnn Volk that the choice between going broke now for certain, or taking a chance on going broke later, is no choice at all.

Anyway, ObamaCare sticks it to the middle and upper-middle class because, as Willie Sutton is supposed to have said, that’s where the money is.

DEBUNKING FAKE NEWS, TEXAS EDITION: But from a supposed “Mythbuster.”

A MAJOR FAIL FOR ORGANIZED LABOR: Boeing: Union vote fails, 74 percent vote against joining IAM.

CHANGE: IRS Guts Enforcement of Obamacare Individual Mandate.

It’s a tax!

JOHN HINDERAKER: Obama’s Secret Communications with Mullahs Undermined American Foreign Policy.


In recent weeks, the corrosion of the meaning of fascism that Weissman and Orwell worried about has intensified to a shocking degree. We seem to be witnessing the falling apart of historical categories; the unhinging of political language from reason; a profound break between historical experience and political expression. That people can openly talk about a return of the 1930s — as if that decade were some kind of free-floating thing, an attitude, rather than a specific, grounded moment in history — shows how meaningless the idea of fascism has become. That people feel haunted by the 1930s — we’re being bruised by ‘deeply disturbing echoes of [those] dark days’, says Prince Charles — is a testament more to their own moral destabilisation, to their own experience of political disarray, than it is to any return of fascism.

This is most pronounced among the political class. It is their sensation of being under assault, of the ebbing away of their technocratic, judicial, evidence-based authority over society following the decidedly political jolts of Brexit and Trump, that has led them to resuscitate the fascism frenzy. The omnipresence of that word tells us little about a return of fascist terror, but a great deal about the political class’s own feeling of terror at recent political events. . . .

It is a fantasy to claim fascism has made a comeback. And it’s a revealing fantasy. When the political and media elites speak of fascism today, what they’re really expressing is fear. Fear of the primal, unpredictable mass of society. Fear of unchecked popular opinion. Fear of what they view as the authoritarian impulses of those outside their social, bureaucratic sphere. Fear of the latent fascism, as they see it, of the ordinary inhabitants of Nazi-darkened Europe or of Middle America, who apparently lack the moral and intellectual resources to resist demagoguery. As one columnist put it, today’s ‘fascistic style’ of politics is a creation not so much of wicked leaders, as of the dangerous masses. ‘Compulsive liars shouldn’t frighten you’, he says. ‘Compulsive believers, on the other hand: they should terrify you.’ In short, not leaders but the led; not the state but the people. This, precisely, is who terrifies them. This, precisely, is what they mean when they say ‘fascism’. They mean you, me, ordinary people; people who have dared to say that they want to influence politics again after years of being frozen out. When they say fascism, they mean democracy.


BUSTED: 2 More Arrested in Killing of Kim Jong-un’s Half Brother, Malaysia Says.

The Indonesian, identified as Siti Aishah, 25, is the second woman arrested in the case. Her appearance matches the image of a woman captured in airport surveillance videos, said a statement from Khalid Abu Bakar, the inspector general of police. The police later said in a statement that Ms. Siti’s boyfriend, a 26-year-old Malaysian, had been arrested “to assist in investigations.” He was identified as Muhammad Farid Bin Jalaluddin.

In Jakarta, an official from Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry said that Ms. Siti was an Indonesian citizen. The Indonesian government has asked for access to her so that its embassy employees in Kuala Lumpur can provide legal assistance.

The arrests brought the number of people detained in the case to three. A woman arrested Wednesday was carrying a Vietnamese passport, but it remained unclear whether she was from Vietnam.

The news media in Malaysia reported that the police were looking for four male suspects, suggesting that the plot was more involved than initially indicated. It was unclear whether the Malaysian man arrested Thursday was one of the four.

Was Kim Jong-nam’s assassination so sloppily executed that it allowed half the perpetrators to be caught within days? Or was Kim’s assassination sloppily executed on purpose, in order to enhance Kim Jong-un’s reputation for being crazy-dangerous?


A swarm of trucks and helicopters dumped 1,200 tons of material per hour onto the eroded hillside that formed the dam’s emergency spillway. One quarry worked around the clock to mine boulders as heavy as 6 tons. An army of workers mixed concrete slurry to help seal the rocks in place.

“This is an aggressive, proactive attack to address the erosion,” said Bill Croyle, acting director of the state Department of Water Resources. “There’s a lot of people, a lot of equipment, a lot of materials moving around, from the ground and from the air.”

At the main spillway, a different and riskier operation was underway: Despite a large hole in the concrete chute, officials have been sending a massive amount of the swollen reservoir’s water down the chute to the Feather River in a desperate attempt to reduce the lake’s level.

The structure continued to hold Tuesday without sustaining more significant damage, officials said.

The idea is to get the reservoir’s water level low enough that it can take in rain from an upcoming series of storms without reaching capacity. If the reservoir filled up again, water would automatically flow down the emergency spillway, which on Sunday appeared to be nearing collapse, forcing the evacuation of more than 100,000 people downstream.

I don’t think “proactive” means what acting Department of Water Resources director Bill Croyle thinks it means. A proactive effort would have fixed the damaged spillway during the drought, when the water level was far below the danger zone.


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Proposed ABA Accreditation Rule Sets Process To Determine Validity Of GRE, Other LSAT Alternatives In Law School Admissions.

WHO’S THE BOSS? Spies Keep Intelligence From Donald Trump on Leak Concerns.

The officials’ decision to keep information from Mr. Trump underscores the deep mistrust that has developed between the intelligence community and the president over his team’s contacts with the Russian government, as well as the enmity he has shown toward U.S. spy agencies. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump accused the agencies of leaking information to undermine him.

In some of these cases of withheld information, officials have decided not to show Mr. Trump the sources and methods that the intelligence agencies use to collect information, the current and former officials said. Those sources and methods could include, for instance, the means that an agency uses to spy on a foreign government.

A White House official said: “There is nothing that leads us to believe that this is an accurate account of what is actually happening.”

A spokesman for the Office of Director of National Intelligence said: “Any suggestion that the U.S. intelligence community is withholding information and not providing the best possible intelligence to the president and his national security team is not true.”

Stay tuned.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: California Law Deans Take Bar Exam Complaints To Lawmakers; State Bar Director Admits There Is ‘No Good Answer’ For High MBE Pass Score.

SHOOTING THE MESSENGER: Calif. Student Suspended for Taping Prof’s Anti-Trump ‘Act of Terrorism’ Rant.

I WAS ONE OF THEIR LOYAL READERS: Back when I wasn’t out of the political closet, I read them assiduously.  Now Connie du Toit  is gone, and due to the nature of her final illness, Kim du Toit  is left with a mountain of bills and a life to rebuild… without the love or his life.  Bloggers don’t have insurance.  We just have each other, and our readers. Surviving Life Without Connie

END PRIVILEGE SHAMING: The Return of the Privilege Police.


MEH. YOUR MILLEAGE MAY VARY:Why Thomas Hardy, Not Jane Austen, Is a Better Guide to Love.

REFUTING THE NARRATIVE: Poll: Hispanics back Trump deportations, ending ‘sanctuary cities’.

TOO LATE! THE STATE DEPARTMENT IS ALREADY REVOLTING: How Rex Tillerson can head off a revolt at State.


AND SOME MORE SANITY: Climate Change Denial Denial.



February 15, 2017

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PAUL KRUGMAN ON ELECTION NIGHT: “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”

MarketWatch, tonight: The stock market is doing so much winning, Wall Street is thinking Nasdaq 6,000. “Indeed, the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.64% closed at a record for a seventh straight session Wednesday, its longest such streak since Dec. 27, 1999, closing up 0.6% at 5,819. The Dow DJIA, +0.52% the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.50% and the small-cap focused Russell 2000 RUT, +0.54% also recorded all-time highs at the same time amid their own historic streaks.”

DO BEAR IN MIND THAT IT’S ALSO OKAY TO PUNCH BACK TWICE AS HARD, IN OBAMA’S MEMORABLE FORMULATION: Now It’s Okay to Punch Nazis and White Male Libertarians. That Escalated Quickly. “So how’s that for goal-post shifting? First, we decide it’s okay to attack Nazis. Then we decide it’s okay to punch people who aren’t Nazis but are awful and sort of remind us of Nazis. Then it becomes okay to punch the people who say Nazis and Milo are bad but we shouldn’t punch them. You know those slippery-slope arguments people are always rolling their eyes at? Well, there’s the slippery slope for you. And we’ll be normalizing a whole lot of violence as we slide.”

You don’t want to normalize violence, lefties. You won’t like it when violence is normalized.

Related: Daily Californian: Conservative Speech Will Not Be Stifled By Violence.


Forty-five percent (45%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending February 9.

That’s down a point from the previous week and down two points from the week before that which was the highest level of optimism in over 12 years of regular surveying. By comparison, the weekly finding was in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016.

Huh. You wouldn’t know it from the news.

IT’S LIKE MIDDLE SCHOOL. I HATE HIM! WHY IS HE IGNORING ME? After Likening Trump to Hitler, Journalists Upset They’re Not Getting Called on for Questions.

UPDATE: Related:


COOL: Cooling Caps Help Chemo Patients Keep Hair.

HEADLINES FROM 1963 and 2001: Why More Democrats Are Now Embracing Conspiracy Theories.

When did they ever stop? Or as I asked a decade ago at Tech Central Station, “What happens to a nation when a world-changing event occurs of such tremendous magnitude that half the population can’t process who caused it?”

HEH: After Likening Trump to Hitler, Journalists Upset They’re Not Getting Called on for Questions.

Hey, I think the headline writer spelled “Democrat operatives with bylines” incorrectly.

REPORT: Shortlist for Puzder replacements: “Potential candidates, according to a White House official, are former National Labor Relations Board members Peter Kirsanow and R. Alexander Acosta; Joseph Guzman, an assistant professor at Michigan State University; and Catherine Templeton, former head of the South Carolina labor department.”

WTF HAS HAPPENED TO JAPAN? Half of Japan’s Married Couples Aren’t Having Sex.

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JEFFREY SINGER: Let’s Make Health Insurance Legal Again.

LET THEM EAT SOY: California Schools Cut Meat, Cheese From Lunches To Fight Global Warming.

Stunt their growth, and as adults they’ll consumer fewer resources.

MICHAEL WALSH: Surprise: At the End, Obama Administration Gave NSA Broad New Powers.

A REMINDER FROM THE B612 FOUNDATION: Today marks the four-year anniversary of the Chelyabinsk asteroid airburst.

STUDY: Older Children Are Smarter Than Younger Siblings.

And only children are the smartest of all, or so we were led to think.

CHANGE: Trump’s New Approach on Israel-Palestine Just Might Work, Roger Simon writes.

At least judging by the photo atop Roger’s article, Netanyahu certainly seemed much happier to be back at the White House than he has for the last eight years.

‘KARMA’S A BITCH, ISN’T IT?’ Sneering DNC-MSM loses it when Trump calls on CBN and Townhall’s Katie Pavlich.

Because only the MSM has the proper skill and training to ask the president hard-hitting questions such as this “enchanting” example courtesy of Jeff Zeleny, then with the New York Times, now with CNN:

I WANT TO BELIEVE: Churchill essay on the possibility of alien life discovered in US college.

The 11-page article was probably intended for the now defunct Sunday newspaper the News of the World, but for reasons unknown the essay remained with his publisher and only recently resurfaced at the US National Churchill Museum at Westminster College in Missouri.

In the essay, Churchill ponders the conditions that make for a habitable world, and on considering the vast number of stars perhaps circled by alien planets, comes to the conclusion that the answer to the essay’s title question, Are We Alone in the Universe?, was surely a resounding “no”.

“The first time I saw it, I thought the combination of Churchill and such a big question had to be a fascinating read, and that proved to be right,” Timothy Riley, the museum’s director, told the Guardian. “It is completely fitting that Churchill would ask such a question. He was keenly interested in science and technological advancement and supported it throughout his long career.” Riley said the museum hopes to make the essay public as soon as it can.

Fascinating find. Fascinating man.

PATRICK POOLE: The Latest Rundown on the Mike Flynn Deep State Hit Job.


TRUMP’S LABOR DEPARTMENT NOMINEE, ANDY PUZDER, WITHDRAWS. Puzder’s ex-wife: ‘I have become the victim of the media’s malice.’

And apparently, so has Puzder.

WHERE THE LEAKS ARE COMING FROM? Surprise: At the End, Obama Administration Gave NSA Broad New Powers.

RATS ON THE WEST SIDE, BEDBUGS UPTOWN: Rare disease carried by rats leaves 1 dead, 2 clinging to life. “The three cases of leptospirosis were identified in a one block radius of the Concourse section of the Bronx over the past two months, the Health Department said.”


THE WAR ON MEN: Sex Offenders Are Still Locked up After Serving Their Time. Why?  Richard Bernstein in Real Clear Investigations reports on the troubling trend:

Some 20 states have civil commitment programs for people deemed sexually violent predators. Records show that more than 5,000 Americans are being held this way nationwide. Those numbers have roughly doubled over the previous decade or so, as judges, governors and state legislators have reacted to public concern about violent sexual crimes.

Civil confinement lies at the fraught intersection of crime, sex, and politics, in which sexual crimes, and just the possibility of sexual crimes, are treated differently from other offenses. Murderers, armed robbers, drunken hit-and-run drivers, insider traders, and other criminals are released when their prison sentences have been served.

States operating these programs defend them as necessary to protect the public, especially children, against dangerous sexual predators. The Supreme Court has upheld them, ruling that as long as they are narrowly tailored, with their “clients” subject to regular reviews, they serve a legitimate public interest in keeping potential dangerous offenders off the streets.

But critics of civil commitment argue that men are being locked away (and almost all of the detainees are men), often effectively for life, on the basis of subjective predictions of what a former sex offender might do in the future. They assert that this is a flagrant violation of the 14th Amendment’s requirement that no person shall be deprived of his freedom without “due process of law.”

Recidivism rates for sex offenders are typically lower than for people who commit other types of felonies. But statistics don’t matter when politicians and judges are trying to mollify the mob.

BRAVE NEW WORLDS: Astronomers discover 60 new planets including ‘super Earth’.

One planet in particular, Gliese 411b, has been generating plenty of attention. Described as a “hot super Earth with a rocky surface,” Gliese 411b is located in the fourth-nearest star system to the Sun, making it the third-nearest planetary system to the Sun, according to the U.K.’s University of Hertfordshire, which participated in the research. Gliese 411b (also known as GJ 411b or Lalande 21185) orbits the star Gliese 411 (or GJ 411).

Despite the “super Earth” label, Dr. Mikko Tuomi from University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Astrophysics told Fox News that Gliese 411b is too hot for life to exist on its surface.

Gliese 411b doesn’t actually appear to be all that super.

BIRD FLU SAVAGES FOIE GRAS BUSINESS IN FRANCE: The H5N8 avian flu virus has forced French duck and foie gras producers to kill over three million poultry. Duck and goose liver pate is a gourmet food. It’s also a steady business. Almost 20 years ago I wrote a long column on disease threats to U.S. agriculture. There are a lot of them. Hoof and mouth disease (foot and mouth disease) worries U.S. cattle raisers, and for good reason.

I’M NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS: Study: Zika’s Persistence in Body Fluids Surprisingly Long; Prolonged time to clearance may influence diagnosis, prevention. “The medians and 95th percentiles for the time until the loss of detectable Zika virus RNA detection were 14 days (95% CI 11-17) and 54 days (95% CI 43-64), respectively.”

PRINCE POTEMKIN WOULD APPROVE: Jim Dunnigan analyzes Russian aircraft carrier operations off Syria. He has numbers, including accident rates. War isn’t funny. Aircraft accidents aren’t funny. But if U.S. Navy carrier sailors want to snicker, as the world’s best they’ve earned the right.

RELATED: India’s having issues with its carrier aircraft. This analysis gets into the weeds, but it also involves Russian aircraft that don’t perform. It also mentions one of India’s major military problems: corruption in its procurement bureaucracy.

YOU CAN’T SAY THAT ON TELEVISION: Former ESPN Commentator Sues After Being Terminated for Venus Williams ‘Gorilla’ Remark.

Guerrilla, gorilla, potayto, patahto.