Both prices and demand for domestic natural gas have surged as people have started plugging in their space heaters. Gas consumption set a new record for daily use on January 1, surpassing the previous record set in January 2014 in the midst of the “Polar Vortex.” Energy prices in most of the country increased 20–30 percent to account for the strong demand before quickly returning to previous levels. But in parts of New England prices spiked more than 400 percent.
Why? New England — including Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island — is the only part of the country that has constrained supplies of natural gas. This constraint is largely self-induced by “above-ground” political issues. Local and state opposition have blocked a number of natural gas pipelines in recent years, with the result that the region hasn’t benefited from the gas production growth in the Marcellus shale formation in nearby Pennsylvania.
SWAMP-DRAINING LESSONS FROM 1787: A Trump adviser and speechwriter, F.H. Buckley, offers a sweeping perspective on the Washington swamp in his new book, The Republic of Virtue: How We Tried to Ban Corruption, Failed, and What We Can Do About It.Buckley, a professor at George Mason University School of Law, describes how the Founding Fathers sought to create a republic of disinterested public virtue. They admired the British constitution but wanted neither a monarchy nor British-style corruption. At crucial moments in the 1787 Constitutional Convention, when extreme nationalists such as Madison proposed a walk-out that might have split the country, it was the prospect of an anti-corruption constitution that kept things together. And that is how the document was drafted.
That was then. Now we’re stuck with a presidential regime that fosters corruption, the wrong kind of federalism and, in Buckley’s words, “the thickest network of patronage ever seen in any country, a crony capitalism in which business partners with government and transfers wealth from the poor to the rich.” Instead of criminalizing political speech, Buckley says, we should scrap nearly all our campaign finance laws, focus instead on reining in lobbyists, and recognize that a purely virtuous state is an impossible chimera.
After enjoying an enrollment surge in the first decade of the new century, many law schools have more recently struggled mightily amid a dearth of jobs for young lawyers, dwindling student interest, worries schools were encouraging students to take on high debts they would struggle to repay, and intense criticism that many schools had been admitting students who never had the academic chops necessary to become practicing lawyers. At the same time, the accreditation world has been grinding toward greater transparency, placing some institutions under an unwelcome harsh light.
Resulting developments epitomize the fallout from an admissions bubble. Some schools have resisted changes in the legal education market and regulatory world. Others have moved to shrink in size or exit the market entirely. Observers worry that the most vulnerable students and minority students, who have been taken advantage of in the past, are now being shut out of law schools as the market contracts.
It all comes together in a pressure cooker, because success in legal education and the legal field is so closely tied to students passing the bar examination.
THIS IS BASICALLY A SIGN OF A WORLD GROWING RICH THROUGH TECHNOLOGY: No One Wants Your Used Clothes Anymore. When it took 100 hours to make a suit of clothes, there was always a secondary market. Now that machines make things for next to nothing, there’s less of one.
DIAGNOSING AUTISM via barely perceptible fluctuations in movement. “The volunteers’ movements were captured using high-speed, high-resolution sensors to track fluctuations in movement invisible to the naked eye. The study also tracked changes in speed and position of the arm at every point in movement, as opposed to a single variable—the top movement of the arm’s velocity—examined in a previously published study from the team. The new motion data strengthens evidence for movement as a biomarker for autism.”
SHOULD JEFF FLAKE APPLY FOR A JOB AT CNN AFTER HE LEAVES THE SENATE? Well, at least one media veteran thinks the soon-to-be-former Arizona Republican would fit right in at CNN. But not just any job, thanks to Flake’s absurd comparison of Donald Trump to Joseph Stalin.
That’s according to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who said of Flakes Wednesday floor speech that “Stalin is the second most dangerous person in the 20th century. He killed more people than anyone except Mao Zedong. To compare him to an American president is such an absurdity that Senator Flake probably could get a job at CNN or somewhere else as a reporter.”
THEY SAID IF TRUMP WON, HE WOULD SLASH THE FEDERAL BUREAUCRACY: And OMG, look, he’s actually doing it! Congress changed the law to make it much easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary to fire poor performers at VA. And sure enough, VA Chief David Shulkin says he has gotten rid of “thousands of employees from VA’s roll and set a standard for accountability so that those employees that are continuing to do an excellent job in serving are surrounded by other employees that have the same commitment.”
Shulkin was the highest ranking Obama appointee Trump kept around and then promoted him to run the department that was literally letting veterans die as they waited months on end for basic health care services they were guaranteed in return for serving the country in the military. LifeZette’s Brendan Kirby has more.
SMALL BUSINESSES ARE ALREADY INVESTING DUE TO TAX CUT: That’s the word from Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Linda McMahon, who, according to LifeZette’s Brenda Kirby, hears that message from entrepreneurs and small business owners all the time.
“Well, what they’re saying with the new tax reform package passed is that they are going to take the proceeds from any tax savings that they have and reinvest them in their business,” McMahon said during an interview Thursday on Laura Ingraham’s Talk Radio show. “So, you know, they complained about taxes. They wanted to see regulatory reform. And under President Trump, they are seeing both of those issues addressed. And they’re very enthusiastic about it.”
That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that McMahon wants “to see more loans because that means more businesses are taking advantage of this access to capital. And they’ll either use it to grow, or they’ll use it to start a new business, or they’ll use it to add an employee.” All true but wouldn’t it be better if those guarantees and loans came from the private sector rather than the taxpayers via SBA?
Friends has arrived on Netflix and people who apparently never saw it before are going nuts over how offensive it is.
* * * * * * * *
For this show to be declared problematic then is itself problematic. . . There is a hunger today to find the flaw, to be the one who says “that thing you think is fine is not fine, and I am a better person than you for noticing it”. You aren’t. You’re a prig and bore. Yes, maybe there’s a mote in my eye. Some eyes have those. No need to gouge them out.
—Hugo Rifkind in the London Times, as spotted by Steve Hayward of Power Line, who adds, “Just wait till they get a load of All in the Family re-runs.”
Not everyone is online all the time. This is why it was only several weeks after the “Shitty Media Men” list first appeared, and disappeared, and engendered a frenzy of coverage that my husband found himself discussing the list with an older colleague.
Well, she said (as he recounted the conversation to me). Women have been scared of men for a long time. Maybe men will be scared of women for a while now.
He recounted this as a calm statement of fact, which interested me; it seemed accurate, and it also seemed like a stark contrast to the way I’d seen similar assessments delivered elsewhere. In general, in the weeks following the Times’ and The New Yorker’s reports on Harvey Weinstein, the prospect of men being newly scared of women tended to loom as a sort of horrifying, unnatural worst-case scenario. What if men were now too scared to take meetings with women? Too scared to professionally mentor women? Too scared to be friendly? Too scared to flirt? The price of any misstep: a life “ruined” (although what, exactly, it meant to “ruin” a life tended to pass without scrutiny).
Implied in these scenarios was less a fear of women’s power than a fear of their irrationality, their suggestibility, and their failures of understanding. The subtext seemed to be: So are women just going to get upset about whatever now? Are they going to start reporting men for “misconduct” willy-nilly, ignoring all subtleties and good intentions in favor of freaking out?
So far there are plenty of indicators pointing to Yes.
ACE: Trump’s Basic Instincts About the Political War Are Essentially Right, and The Establishment’s Sense of It Is Essentially Wrong. “The right attempts political persuasion. The left, on the other hand, attempts social persuasion — basically seizing the commanding heights of culture-making institutions and then deciding that espousing some political claims (being pro-gay-marriage) increase social status and that espousing other political claims (being against gay marriage) decrease social status and, indeed, make one a social pariah, fit for ostracism, mass mockery, and internal exile. The left’s method works much better than the right’s.”
Yes, the tax bill is unpopular. Then again, I’m not sure you’ve noticed, everything Washington tries to do is unpopular. Nothing polls well. Not the president. Not congress. Not Democrats. Not legislation. Not even erstwhile popular-vote winning candidates. Certainly a bill being bombarded with hysterical end-of-world claims rarely debunked by the political media is not going to be popular. Republicans won’t pass anything if they wait around for it to be popular. But, funnily enough, they can be somewhat content knowing that voters will probably like it once they find out what’s in it.
Why do so many Americans believe that middle class is getting a tax hike? Because those they trust are constantly lying to them. Both in framing and content, the coverage of the tax cuts has been impressively dishonest. “One-Third of Middle Class Families Could End Up Paying More Under the GOP Tax Plan” writes CNN (They won’t). The Associated Press says, “BREAKING: House passes first rewrite of nation’s tax laws in three decades, providing steep tax cuts for businesses, the wealthy.” And so on.
Indeed. It’s one thing to be told (by Democrats) that you’ll pay substantially less for health insurance while keeping your plan and your doctor, only to find that you’re paying substantially more for health insurance while losing your plan and your doctor. It’s quite another thing to be told (again by Democrats) that you’ll pay more in taxes, only to find that your taxes have been cut — and maybe even a tax-cut financed $1,000 bonus coming your way.
TWITTER JUST ISN’T A HAPPY PLACE FOR SAMANTHA POWER, AS HER TWEETS KEEP BLOWING UP IN HER FACE LIKE THIS ONE DID:
But give the old girl credit, she keeps plugging away.
Take, for example, “Grace,” an anonymous woman who went on a rotten date with comedian Aziz Ansari. According to Grace, Ansari treated her abominably: He took her to dinner, gave her white wine instead of red, pushed her to come to his apartment and then engaged in a vigorous round of sexual activities to which she apparently consented. She eventually said no — and when she did, he stopped. Later, she suggested that Ansari hadn’t obeyed her “non-verbal cues” — nonverbal cues that reportedly included undressing and then voluntarily servicing Ansari.
In the aftermath, Grace felt used. So she texted Ansari, explaining to him that she felt terrible about the date. “I want to make sure you’re aware so maybe the next girl doesn’t have to cry on the ride home,” she said.
This is feministsplaining sex. Here’s the problem: The condescension isn’t earned. From Grace’s story, it seems she was less than clear in her nonverbal communications but she wanted Ansari to read her mind — and that when he didn’t, she therefore had leeway to lecture him about his sins and, more broadly, those of all men.
It’s not just Grace. Rachel Thompson of Mashable explained: “The responses to the woman’s story are peppered with the word ‘should.’ She should have said no … For many women, uttering an explicit ‘no’ is not as easy or straightforward as you might think.” Well, as it turns out, reading minds is not quite as easy or straightforward as feminists might think. It was feminists who boiled down sexual relations to the issue of consent. Traditionalists always argued that physical intimacy and emotional intimacy ought to be linked. But they were accused of removing female agency with such linkage and condemned for “mansplaining.”
How about this: no feministsplaining and no mansplaining when it comes to sex? How about we instead focus on communication between men and women?
Because that doesn’t present enough opportunities for emotional corruption and cultural graft.
It’s the trifecta: a site I can’t stand, talking about an artist I don’t care about, written by an academic who knows you can’t get any accolades these days unless you sprinkle the words Whiteness and Privilege all over your par-baked pan of doughy prose.
tldr: a singer’s new album seems to suggest he’s going all Country-style on us, and we need to acknowledge the problems here.
So. It’s a BuzzFeed piece called “Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, And The Western Rehab For White Masculinity.” Apparently Timberlake did a video teaser for his new album, and it was set on his ranch. This is as problematic as you can imagine.
So, so problematic. So read the whole thing, already.
HAS TRUMP CHANGED HIS POSITION ON A BORDER WALL? NOT SO MUCH. Byron York: 7 times Trump said wall not needed on all 2,000 miles of border. “Trump said on many times and in many different settings that he was not proposing a wall along the entire 1,954-mile border. That he would say so again today is not new.” He repeatedly says that we have enough natural barriers that we don’t need more than 1,000 miles of actual wall.
He could pay for the wall — at Mexico’s expense — by taxing remittances sent home by Mexicans here. Surprised he hasn’t mentioned that.
Was it only a year ago that Margaret Atwood was the avatar for feminist resistance? That’s when the TV adaptation of her “Handmaid’s Tale” was widely praised for being “unexpectedly timely” (and I poked gentle fun at the notion).
But oh, how time does fly these days. Suddenly Atwood is defending herself from the charge of being a “bad feminist” because she suggested that railroading the accused out of their jobs without any semblance of due process was not, in the end, apt to be a net social improvement.
There is something odd happening to feminism these days, a stark split between its older and its younger practitioners. Daphne Merkin hinted at it in her recent New York Times op-ed on women’s misgivings about the #MeToo movement. Caitlin Flanagan came right out and said it after the comic actor Aziz Ansari was the subject of a humiliating tell-all about a recent date: “Sexual mores in the West have changed so rapidly over the past 100 years that by the time you reach 50, intimate accounts of commonplace sexual events of the young seem like science fiction,” she writes. “You understand the vocabulary and the sentence structure, but all of the events take place in outer space. You’re just too old.”
I have now had dozens of conversations about #MeToo with women my age or older, all of which are some variant on “What the hey?” It’s not that we’re opposed to #MeToo; we are overjoyed to see slime like Harvey Weinstein flushed out of the woodwork, and the studio system. But we see sharp distinctions between Weinstein and guys who press aggressively — embarrassingly, adulterously — for sex. To women in their 20s, it seems that distinction is invisible, and the social punishments demanded for the latter are scarcely less than those meted out for forcible rape.
There’s something else we notice, something that seems deeply connected to these demands for justice: These women express a feeling of overwhelming powerlessness, even though they are not being threatened, either physically or economically. How has the most empowered generation of women in all of human history come to feel less control over their bodies than their grandmothers did?
You could write a pretty strong argument for restoring patriarchy, just by quoting millennial feminists talking about how weak and fragile women are.
Sidney Blumenthal, a former journalist and a close friend of Clinton, was interviewed by the FBI in 2016 regarding the dossier that alleged Trump colluded with Russia, the sources stated. Department of Justice officials, however, declined to comment on Blumenthal or the dossier.
FBI officials declined to comment.
Blumenthal did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Blumenthal worked as a White House aide for Bill Clinton, and later worked with the Clinton Foundation after being denied a role by Obama Administration officials with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to reports. According to Politico he was being paid $10,000 a month by the Clinton Foundation.
The FBI has been leaking like a sieve with a hole in it; curious that we’re just finding out about this now.
IF ONLY CONGRESS COULD AGREE TO ZERO FUNDING FOR AGENCIES: One of the bizarre features of the CFPB’s unconstitutional structure is that the Bureau gets no funding from Congress. Instead, the Director simply writes to the Fed requesting funds, which the Fed has to grant up to a certain variable limit. Acting Director Mick Mulvaney has just put in his first such request – for $0.
Politico Pro reports:
In a letter to Fed chair Janet Yellen obtained by POLITICO, Mulvaney wrote that the bureau already has $177 million in the bank, enough to cover the $145 million the bureau has budgeted for its second quarter. Cordray had maintained a “reserve fund” in case of overruns or emergencies, but Mulvaney said he didn’t see any reason for it, since the Fed has always given the bureau the money it needs. Mulvaney, who is also Trump’s budget director, noted that instead of advancing the funds to the bureau, the Fed could return them to the Treasury and reduce the deficit.
“While this approximately $145 million may not make much of a dent in the deficit, the men and women at the Bureau are proud to do their part to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Mulvaney wrote.
I can’t stop smiling.
ETA: More from the excellent Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner here.
“These nuclear systems are increasingly reliant on cyber-enabled components. The adversary has advanced its capability to threaten those nuclear weapon systems, including that cyber and supply chain. The demand for the capability to certify this advanced number … of new systems that will be coming online and be able to protect them in this new type of threat environment …there certainly were resource constraints that might limit their ability to certify that number of upcoming systems,” Chow told reporters.
When asked if more digital interlinks among weapons made it harder to certify and secure them, Chow took a diplomatic evasion. Difficult was not the right word. “It’s more complicated,” he said. “The proliferation of those sorts of technologies, its a fact of life of on our weapons systems. There are new tools to provide cyber resilience to reduce your risk… the study found we need to consider those and come up with metrics that can help the decision maker.” Resilience in the context of digital and computer program functioning generally means ensuring that programs or systems continue to function as designed even when under cyber attack.
When our own NSA is using Russian antivirus software, this whole effort should give you pause.
Writing for the Jewish News Service, Sarah Stern offered a staunch defense of Marcus’ record. In her Tuesday article, Stern reported that a senior Democratic Senate committee staffer made a bizarre statement while they were discussing Marcus’ nomination. From Stern’s account:
…while I was recently talking about Marcus with a senior policy adviser to the Democratic ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the adviser interrupted me with the response, ‘We do not care about anti-Semitism in this office.’
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is the ranking Democrat on the upper chamber’s HELP committee. That one of her senior policy advisers would flatly tell a pro-Israel advocate the office does not care about anti-Semitism seems almost unbelievably absurd.
Production fell 216,000 barrels a day to 1.6 million in a month to December, the 15th consecutive monthly decline, according to data reported by Venezuelan government to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries released Thursday. During 2017 as a whole, Venezuelan output fell 649,000 barrels a day, a decline of 29%.
This ranks among the deepest declines in the industry’s recent history. Russia’s output slid 23% during the fall of the Soviet Union, and Iraq’s output dropped by the same share after the 2003 U.S. invasion, according to data from OPEC and BP Statistical Review.
The decline has been caused by a deep economic crisis and widespread corruption and mismanagement, compounded by a purge of state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA by President Nicolás Maduro that has paralyzed the oil giant. U.S. sanctions have scared off some of the last remaining investors.
“In Venezuela there is no war, nor strike, but what’s left of the oil industry is crumbling on its own,” said Evanán Romero, a former PdVSA director.
Since the country exports little else, Venezuela’s centrally planned economy relies on oil exports for 95% of its hard currency, according to the latest official data. That means the output decline will add more pressure to the government, which has drastically cut back on imports of everything from machinery to food and medicines to make ends meet. The economy has shrunk an estimated 40% in the past four years.
And yet I had been assured just last week that Venezuela’s oil production was in full recovery, and as recently as yesterday that Venezuela was suffering a mere recession due entirely to low oil prices.
And then, at that exact dispirited moment when there seemed no one at all willing to play the proletariat, along came the women’s movement, and the invention of women as a “class.” One could not help admiring the radical simplicity of this instant transfiguration. The notion that, in the absence of a cooperative proletariat, a revolutionary class might simply be invented, made up, “named” and so brought into existence, seemed at once so pragmatic and so visionary, so precisely Emersonian, that it took the breath away, exactly confirmed one’s idea of where 19th-century transcendental instincts crossed with a late reading of Engels and Marx might lead. To read the theorists of the women’s movement was to think not of Mary Wollstonecraft but of Margaret Fuller at her most high-minded, of rushing position papers off to mimeo and drinking tea from paper cups in lieu of eating lunch; of thin raincoats on bitter nights. If the family was the last fortress of capitalism, then let us abolish the family. If the necessity for conventional reproduction of the species seemed unfair to women, then let us transcend, via technology, “the very organization of nature,” the oppression, as Shulamith Firestone saw it, “that goes back through recorded history to the animal kingdom itself.” I accept the universe, Margaret Fuller had finally allowed: Shulamith Firestone did not. . . .
They totted up the pans scoured, the towels picked off the bathroom floor, the loads of laundry done in a lifetime. Cooking a meal could only be “dogwork,” and to claim any pleasure from it was evidence of craven acquiescence in one’s own forced labor. Small children could only be odious mechanisms for the spilling and digesting of food, for robbing women of their “freedom.” It was a long way from Simone de Beauvoir’s grave and awesome recognition of woman’s role as “the Other” to the notion that the first step in changing that role was Alix Kates Shulman’s marriage contract (“wife strips beds, husband remakes them”) reproduced in Ms; but it was toward just such trivialization that the women’s movement seemed to be heading. . . .
But of course something other than an objection to being “discriminated against” was at work here, something other than an aversion to being “stereotyped” in one’s sex role. Increasingly it seemed that the aversion was to adult sexual life itself: how much cleaner to stay forever children. One is constantly struck, in the accounts of lesbian relationships which appear from time to time in the movement literature, by the emphasis on the superior “tenderness” of the relationship, the “gentleness” of the sexual connection, as if the participants were wounded birds. The derogation of assertiveness as “machismo” has achieved such currency that one imagines several million women to delicate to deal with a man more overtly sexual than, say, David Cassidy. Just as one had gotten the unintended but inescapable suggestion, when told about the “terror and revulsion” experienced by women in the vicinity of construction sites, of creatures too “tender” for the abrasiveness of daily life, too fragile for the streets, so now one was getting, in the later literature of the movement, the impression of women too “sensitive” for the difficulties and ambiguities of adult life, women unequipped for reality and grasping at the movement as a rationale for denying that reality.
Looking back on his famous battle with feminists, Norman Mailer once said, “I was chosen as the sexist pig mainly because I was the most available target. The women saying, ‘Let’s have a revolution,’ were having a revolution, but the revolution was taking place in New York. They weren’t going down to Texas, Mississippi, and Arkansas, and saying to the men down there, ‘Let’s free the women down here.’ They were freeing the women in New York who were already free. They were occupying powerful jobs in New York. They were a strong element in the publishing houses. So, in other words, it was a false revolution to a certain degree.”
The headline from Apple is that it will make a $350 billion “contribution” to the U.S. economy over the next five years, although it’s unclear exactly how the company came to that number.
The company also promised to create 20,000 new jobs and open a new campus.
It said it expects to pay about $38 billion in taxes for the horde of cash it plans to bring back to the United States. This implies it will repatriate virtually all of its $250 billion in overseas cash.
That’s quite the windfall, for Washington, for American consumers, and for the economy as a whole. And it doesn’t remind me at all of the heady days of the early Obama Administration, when we were told that “business climate” was just a myth.
SO IN THE ONGOING #METOO DISCUSSION, IS THERE ANY ROOM TO TALK ABOUT BAD THINGS THAT WOMEN DO? Like “Deceptive Conception?” “If men did this to women, it would be considered a species of rape.”
Consider a few Title IX cases where young men suffered severe consequences for engaging in behavior quite similar to Ansari’s, or even less obviously bad.
At Occidental College, a male student, “John Doe,” had sex with a female student, “Jane Roe.” Jane had every intention of sleeping with John—she had asked him to keep a condom handy. Later, she felt badly about the experience, and was persuaded by a sociology professor that because she was impaired by alcohol during the encounter, she couldn’t have given consent. John was eventually expelled.
At Amherst College, two intoxicated students, “John Doe,” and “Jane Roe,” retired to a dorm room, where Jane performed oral sex on John. John would later claim he blacked out while this was happening, and had little memory of it. Amherst administrators deemed his story “credible,” but noted that drunkenness was never an excuse for engaging in nonconsensual sex—which is what Jane accused John of, two years later. He was expelled.
Two Michigan State University students, “Nathan” and “Melanie” agreed to meet up for sex in the summer of 2014. According to Bridge, Melanie was interested in an emotional, romantic relationship, while Nathan just wanted casual sex with a friend. They were interrupted during their sexual encounter—they were doing it in a car—which made Melanie extremely upset, and called to mind a traumatic experience from her past. Nathan, according to Melanie, did a bad job of comforting her, and then tried to resume the encounter by reaching under Melanie’s shirt and touching her bra. She said no, and he stopped—and that was the end of their relationship. A year later, Melanie underwent surgery to transition to a man. Afraid of running into Nathan in the men’s restroom at MSU, she filed a Title IX complaint alleging that he had violated the university’s sexual misconduct policy during the rendezvous in the car. Nathan was found responsible.
There’s more at the link, unfortunately.
JUST NBC THE SLANDER: Joy Reid attacks NRO’s David French with fabricated quote. “This is like a game of telephone where everyone involved is a progressive and an idiot. First of all, the bit that Joy Reid puts in quotes is not taken from David French’s story or even from the Newsweek story. She just made that up. Shouldn’t someone who does this for a living have some idea of how quotes work?”
That’s the BuzzFeed headline for what is actually a useful article on preparations, or lack thereof, for a high-yield ballistic nuclear attack of the kind North Korea might soon be able to launch.
The headline writer seems to forget (or perhaps is to ignorant to have known) that the North suckered the Clinton Administration into a useless nuclear deal 20 years ago, became a nuclear power late in the second Bush Administration, and that Barack Obama kicked the can down the road for eight years while the North tested bigger bombs and longer-ranged missiles.
But our “anxiety” is somehow a “hallmark of the Trump Era.”
Some positive trends can be traced to the Obama years, but there’s clearly been a shift in trajectory and direction of the economy. As President Obama once noted, “elections have consequences.” Under Obama, federal policies—the “stimulus,” non-regulation of tech giants, ultra-low interest rates— benefited urban core, blue-state bastions that now constitute the unshakeable base of the Democratic Party. Under Trump, most working- and middle-class workers benefit from higher standard tax deductions and energy deregulation, while the affluent in high-tax states like California, New York, and Illinois are likely not to do as well.
Today, the often-disdained red states have the wind at their back, while in blue America, the economy seems to be slowing, as industries and people move to lower-cost, lower-regulation states. Seven of the top 10 states in terms of population growth last year were deep red; overall, the South has become home to the better part of economic dynamism in the country, with Texas and Florida alone accounting for one-third of all U.S. growth since 2010. Some analysts suggest that the new tax law, which works against high-income earners in high-tax states, will accelerate these trends further.
The most recent employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirm these trends. Texas, as it has for the last few decades, is generating jobs at a higher rate than more populous California, lauded by the mainstream media as the premier anti-Trump economy. In November, the largest job increases—around 0.4 percent—occurred in three pro-Trump states: Iowa, South Carolina, and Texas. At the same time, the biggest drops in unemployment have occurred in the South, led by Alabama, where the rate fell by over 2.5 percent, followed by Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia. The BEA reports that the GDP of Texas, the linchpin of red America, over the past year is growing almost three times as fast as California and five times as fast as New York. Utah, Michigan, and Wisconsin also grew faster than California.
This marks a meaningful change in the geography of American economic vitality.
Trump should be using his bully pulpit to stress this sort of thing.
“By 8.23am, traffic was a massive -77 per cent below that of a typical Saturday. As residents were notified around 8.45 that the initial warning was sent in error, traffic began to return to normal and Hawaiians collectively breathed a sigh of relief.
“Those seeking further relief, headed back to PornHub where pageviews surged +48 per cent above typical levels at 9.01am.”
BBC: Hey, Trump Hasn’t Actually Made The World More Dangerous. “President Trump may have stoked fears and churned up chaos with his erratic and volatile Twitter feed. But he has not torpedoed the alliances he has questioned. He hasn’t started any new wars and, by and large, he’s followed the script of his predecessor, Barack Obama, for the old ones. So, while he may have shaken things up, he hasn’t blown anything up.”
WEIRD HOW THAT’S SUDDENLY HAPPENING NOW: It looks like Apple is bringing back home nearly all of its $250 billion in foreign cash. “Using the new 15.5 percent repatriation tax rate, the $38 billion tax payment disclosed by Apple means they are planning a $245 billion repatriation. The tax overhaul, which President Donald Trump signed into law last month, also lowered the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent. After the repatriation tax payment, the company will have $207 billion left over from the move it can use for investments, acquisitions, stock buybacks or larger dividends. Apple said it plans more than $30 billion in capital expenditures in the U.S. during the next five years.”
JUST BECAUSE COLIN KAEPERNICK IS A POSTURING FOOL DOESN’T MEAN THERE ISN’T A PROBLEM WITH POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY: “Cleveland police officer: I shot suspect, killing him, after he declined to get out of car, reached for gun. Witnesses: The suspect was kneeling on the ground with his hands up when the officer shot him in the back of the head. Jury: Excessive force. District court: Pay $4 mil. Sixth Circuit: Affirmed. (The officer is still on the force.)”
THE VICTORY GIRLS: #MeToo playing as Revenge of the Disappointed. “Here’s a large clue-bat, if you don’t want sex on the first date, don’t go back to the guy’s apartment, get naked, and engage in fellatio. Grace should type that out and put it on her refrigerator for the next time she starts ‘catch[ing] eyes every now and then’ with a celebrity across the party room.”
I want to believe this one-off appearance for the Olympics is the last time we’ll see Couric, but that would make little sense. To me, this feels like more of a trial run to see how well she’s received by the public. I refuse to believe they couldn’t find anyone else to report on the Olympics. Someone with a much cleaner record.
Either way, it would appear journalistic integrity means little to the mainstream media. If you touch a woman inappropriately you’re gone — at least that’s how it is now that it’s a hot issue — but flat out lie about innocent people in order to push your agenda, and you’re still camera-worthy.
Just think of the media as Democratic party operatives with bylines, and it all makes sense.
This might assure marketers that their ads are less likely to run on random, fly-by-night channels, but as Google’s Paul Muret writes, “Of course, size alone is not enough to determine whether a channel is suitable for advertising.”
So in addition, he said:
We will closely monitor signals like community strikes, spam, and other abuse flags to ensure they comply with our policies. Both new and existing YPP channels will be automatically evaluated under this strict criteria and if we find a channel repeatedly or egregiously violates our community guidelines, we will remove that channel from YPP. As always, if the account has been issued three community guidelines strikes, we will remove that user’s accounts and channels from YouTube.
Muret also described changes planned for the more exclusive Google Preferred program, which is supposed to be limited to the best and most popular content. Vlogger Logan Paul was part of Google Preferred until the controversy over his “suicide forest” video got him kicked out last week — a story that suggests some of the limitations to Google’s approach.
Moving forward, Muret said the program will offer “not only … the most popular content on YouTube, but also the most vetted.”
And the video in the post at Twitchy of ten speed-bicyclists in full spandex Lance Armstrong Tour de France gear and GoPro-equipped helmets videotaping themselves riding past an endless row of homeless tents is California in a single video: