IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO SHOP Cyber Monday Deals Week Deals in Toys and Games at Amazon.
WELL, THEY GELDED THEMSELVES, REALLY: How Trump Turned the National Media Into Impotent Hecklers.
SARAH HOYT: I AM ALIVE. “Apparently my life was getting boring so this morning, in the shower, it seemed a good idea to have a cardiac episode.”
Hit her PayPal button if you’re so inclined.
WE MAY NEVER KNOW THEIR MOTIVATION: One year after the San Bernardino attack, police offer a possible motive as questions still linger. “Before the couple got married and Malik came to the United States, the two exchanged messages online ‘showing signs in their communication of their joint commitment to jihad and to martyrdom,’ FBI Director James B. Comey said last year.”
It’s an enigma.
Plus: “One person working in the neighborhood told a local outlet he had seen numerous Middle Eastern men in the area but did not report anything to avoid racial profiling. Another man told a local broadcast station that an unspecified person saw purported suspicious activity — including the couple getting numerous deliveries and working in the garage at odd times — but, again, did not want to be seen as involved in racial profiling.”
STRANGE NEW RESPECT IN 3, 2. 1. . . Sarah Palin: Trump’s Carrier deal is ‘crony capitalism.’
ON FACEBOOK, CHARLES GLASSER CALLS THIS “he most grown-up, intelligent interview I’ve seen in 2016.” Tucker Carlson Interviews Ny Times Public Editor Liz Spayd On Biased Trump Stories.
NOBODY TELL NOTORIOUS ROBOPHOBE MATTHEW YGLESIAS: SILICONCUBINES Sex robots will let kinky couples enjoy raunchy threesomes WITHOUT getting jealous.
Plus: “Sex therapist Ari Tuckman said robots will be a welcome relief for people who have mental or physical disabilities impeding their chances of finding a partner.”
Just be sure you have robot insurance.
ONLY IN 2016 DO YOU SURRENDER BY HAULING YOUR FLAG UP: Hampshire College returns US flag to full staff; president denies playing politics.
UPDATE: Thoughts from Mike Rowe. “Tuition at Hampshire College is about $60,000 a year. That’s not a problem because it’s expensive – it’s a problem because 85% of Hampshire students qualify for some form of federal financial aid. http://bit.ly/2gsZxnk. That means that We the People are enabling schools like Hampshire to sell a liberal arts degree for approximately $250,000.”
It’s like there’s some sort of Higher Education Bubble or something.
THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT: Chia Donald Trump.
I’LL HAVE WHAT THE GENTLEMAN ON THE FLOOR IS READING: Columbia Room Has a Cocktail Literally Made With Old Books.
Columbia Room has played around with plenty of unusual ingredients, like fig leaf milk and potato water, in its cocktails. But “In Search of Time Past” — the third drink on its current tasting menu—is the most Portlandia yet.
That’s because it includes a tincture made of old books. Literally. Really literally.
Owner Derek Brown got the idea after visiting El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, where he encountered candied page fragments on the avant-garde tasting menu.
“He was morbidly fascinated by it,” says head bartender JP Fetherston. So, the team began working on a cocktail that would replicate the sensation of opening an old book or walking into an old library.
That old book smell is so delightful, I once bought a 19th Century geography primer in terrible condition, just because it smelled more like old books than any of my other old books did.
Plus, today only at Amazon: Save 25% on Dyson V6 Absolute Cord-Free Vacuum (Certified Refurbished).
And, also today only: Up to 35% off select littleBits kits.
MARK STEYN: Make Kellogg’s Gr-rr-rr-rr-rreat Again. “America is a split nation politically. If the likes of Kellogg’s and Anheuser-Busch want to extend that split to beer and corn flakes, there won’t be a lot left. The damage is not just to their brand but to the kind of civil society that produces companies like theirs. If the left really cannot handle losing an election, why don’t they just cut to the chase and demand full-out civil war?” Give ’em until February.
WHEN EVEN SALON WON’T BUY YOUR SMEARS: Calling Jeff Sessions “racist” conveniently ignores the work he’s done for Alabama’s black community.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: An Infidel’s Quick Guide to Islamic Sects.
HE SWIMS THROUGH THE POPULACE LIKE A FISH THROUGH WATER: Donald Trump’s Guerilla War Against the Liberal Media.
JILL GLAM, HILLARY SCAM: They’re both ridiculous Tramtrumettes, but hey — it’s 2016!
CHANGE: Trump makes history with phone call to Taiwan leader. “Trump’s transition team confirmed late Friday that the president-elect had spoken by phone on Friday with Taiwan’s president, the first conversation between a U.S. president or president-elect with Taiwan’s leader since 1979, when the two countries severed diplomatic ties. . . . The phone call will almost certainly infuriate Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province. Jimmy Carter formally declared Beijing the sole government of China in 1979, which ended formal U.S. diplomatic relations with Taiwan.”
PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: Shot: Emory Reviews ‘Sanctuary Campus’ Petition; Assesses Options. “In Georgia, local officials are required by law to prove their compliance with federal detention requests — no city in the state can be designated a sanctuary city, including Atlanta.”
A powerful Republican lawmaker aims to cut off state funding to Emory University and any other higher education institution that declares it will defy President-elect Donald Trump if he tries to deport immigrants who are illegally in the U.S.
State Rep. Earl Ehrhart plans to introduce legislation to block colleges from receiving state funds if they aren’t complying with state and federal law in response to the report last week that Emory was weighing whether to declare the school a “sanctuary campus.”
“Private institutions can do what they want, but there are consequences to actions. And it can’t be an option to choose not to follow state and federal laws,” said Ehrhart of Powder Springs, who is chairman of the House’s higher education financing subcommittee.
“There’s a raft of state taxpayer dollars for private institutions,” he said, “and I’m very sanguine about being able to pass a piece of legislation that says if you’re picking and choosing which laws you’re going to follow, state dollars aren’t going to follow.”
Emory University President Claire Sterk wrote in a letter to students last week that administrators are reviewing their request “for a sanctuary campus and ways to protect all members of the Emory community” and said the school would continue to support students, known as “Dreamers,” who were granted a temporary reprieve from the threat of deportation by an executive order from President Barack Obama.
I suppose there’s nothing stopping states from lifting state tax-exempt status from institutions that defy the law.
Look for state legislators to start providing more adult supervision for higher education institutions, both public and private. Those institutions used to be shielded by prestige, but there’s a lot less of that now.
I’M WITH SHAQ: Shaquille O’Neal says Donald Trump won “fair and square,” so forget calls for a recount and get over it.
SO JUST LIKE CNN STAFF, THEN: Gitmo Prisoners ‘Thought It Was the End of the World’ on Election Night, Asked for Tranquilizers.
JOURNALISM: Cillizza, other journos whine when Trump RAMS them at rally. Delicious schooling came next. Naming and shaming is supposed to be their turf.
WE SEEM TO BE ENCOUNTERING A LOT OF NEW THINGS IN PHYSICS LATELY: Scientists Catch “Virtual Particles” Hopping In and Out of Existence. The quantum effect known as vacuum birefringence was predicted in the 1930s, but this is the first observational evidence of the phenomenon in action. “Quantum electrodynamics (QED) describes the relationships between particles of light, or photons, and electrically charged particles such as electrons and protons. The theories of QED suggest that the universe is full of “virtual particles,” which are not really particles at all. They are fluctuations in quantum fields that have most of the same properties as particles, except they appear and vanish all the time. Scientists predicted the existence of virtual particles some 80 years ago, but we have never had experimental evidence of this process until now.”
WHATEVER WE’RE PAYING JILL STEIN, WE SHOULD DOUBLE IT: Day One of Wisconsin Recount as Farcical as Expected. “So this recount, the first presidential recount in Wisconsin history, is being conducted with no practical political goal. Ironically, Jill Stein raised $7M purportedly to be spent on these recount efforts — approximately twice as much as she raised during her actual presidential campaign. Pennsylvania’s secretary of State announced that Stein missed the deadline for filing in that much larger state, which hasn’t stopped Stein from filing a suit attempting to force a recount. And there now appear to be irregularities in the recount petition filed in Michigan, which are likely to prevent a recount from happening.”
APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION: Guns N’ Roses Called Audience Members Up on Stage to Beat Up a Trump Piñata.
Video at the link.
PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:
“Mayor de Blasio Commits to 80 Percent Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050,” said the Sunday news release, outlining what would be a truly impressive feat if he actually were able to make good on that promise. But there is not going to be any 89-year-old, 10-term mayor named de Blasio declaring a local victory in the battle to save the planet. This is a long march to a distant goal. The commitment Mr. de Blasio made over the weekend — an excellent and necessary one — was to do his part now to keep the city moving in the right direction: Promised Land, that way.
—“Mayor de Blasio Takes On Climate Change,” the New York Times, September 22, 2014
The de Blasio administration is trying to limit the number of food trucks in the city by claiming that each hot-dog and kabob cart causes more pollution than a truck ride to Los Angeles.
Deputy Health Commissioner Corinne Schiff made the claim at a City Council hearing Wednesday, in an apparent effort to sink a bill that would nearly double the number of food-vendor permits in the city by 2023.
“Meat grilling is a significant source of air pollution in the city,” Schiff said. “One additional vendor grilling meat emits an amount of particle pollution in one day equivalent to what a diesel truck emits driving 3,500 miles.”
—“De Blasio administration finds a way to ruin food trucks,” the New York Post, October 27.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported exclusively, documents obtained by CBS2 show the mayor has dramatically increased helicopter travel around the city.
On Oct. 14 near dinnertime, an NYPD helicopter landed near the baseball field in Prospect Park. At the time, police were coy, saying they were transporting “a dignitary.”
That dignitary turned out to be Mayor de Blasio, who after hanging around his old Park Slope neighborhood, wanted to avoid traffic on a seven-mile trip to Queens.
Suddenly, there were questions. What was the man who bragged that riding helicopters was “not my thing” doing? And he had apparently suddenly decided that avoiding the city’s epic traffic jams was the way to go.
CBS2 filed a Freedom of Information of Act request, discovering that yes, Mayor de Blasio is now subscribing to the joys of flying.
I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Glenn Reynolds’ carbon footprint ever again.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration wants to boldly go beyond the adult diaper. The agency is seeking a system to manage fecal, menstrual and urine waste for six days — “a continuous duration of up to 144 hours,” as NASA wrote on its website. The technology, integrated into a spacesuit, would be needed for extended tasks in space as well as “contingency scenarios.” Even during space emergencies, after all, you’ve still gotta go.
How NASA solves this problem in part depends upon you. The agency tapped crowdfunding platform HeroX to source a system that can collect up to 75 grams of fecal matter and 1 liter of urine per day, for six days. It must be hands-free, operate in microgravity and prevent leaking precious oxygen. The reward is up to a $30,000 bounty, plus the knowledge that the fruits of your mind may one day gird an astronaut’s loins.
Space travel appears much more glamorous in the movies.
WE’RE FROM THE U.N. AND WE’RE HERE TO HELP: U.N. Apologizes for Role in Haiti’s 2010 Cholera Outbreak. “The mea culpa, which Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered before the General Assembly, avoided any mention of who brought cholera to Haiti, even though the disease was not present in the country until United Nations peacekeepers arrived from Nepal, where an outbreak was underway. The peacekeepers lived on a base that often leaked waste into a river, and the first cholera cases in the country appeared in Haitians who lived nearby. Numerous scientists have long argued that the base was the source of the outbreak, but for years United Nations officials refused to accept responsibility.”
POST-ELECTION VANDALISM, INTIMIDATION, PROTESTS AND RECOUNT: Seems a competent FBI would ask if there are connections…
PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS: “Kristin Davis rocked a ‘Love Trumps Hate’ button on Election Day. The ‘Sex and the City’ star hasn’t exactly lived up to that sentiment since then:”
The star shared another side of her post-election grief recently. And the whole “Love Trumps Hate” meme didn’t quite describe it. Here’s part of her conversation with WNYC’s Rebecca Carroll about her reaction to Donald Trump’s Election Day victor.
“Right now I want to be in the bubble. I don’t want to talk to any Trump people…My initial thoughts [after the election] was that I wanted to move to the woods and learn to shoot a gun. The fear of what is happening and how am I going to make sure that no one hurts my child, even in a subtle way, which was already a fear I had honestly, but it just became so, so heightened.”
You went full Pauline Kael, Kristin. Never go full Pauline Kael.
Having worked a millennia ago just out of college on a few live remote video crews for local TV stations, I know firsthand they can be a black-humored bunch. Snaking cables and setting up cameras, tripods, and mic feeds is a tough job, and I’m not losing much sleep over their joke, the Trump-era equivalent of President Reagan’s “the bombing begins in five minutes” quip when he thought his mic wasn’t live. But it is a reminder that CNN’s on-air crew – on a network that made its bones with a long-running shouting match of a series called Crossfire — attempted to lecture all of us back in January in 2011 to eat our veggies, be better people, and not use evil nasty words words like “crosshairs,” back when Sarah Palin’s clip art was being held responsible by the magical-thinking left for an attack on a Democratic senator and other victims in Tucson:
On Tuesday’s John King USA, CNN’s John King issued a prompt on-air apology minutes after a guest on his program used the term “crosshairs” during a segment: “We’re trying to get away from using that kind of language.”
Huh — curiously, CNN’s management evidently never sent that memo to their crews.
EVEN AIDS VICTIMS SUFFER FROM WHITE PRIVILEGE: “A healthcare stereotype threat is when individuals with stigmatized identities – be it about race, socioeconomic status, gender, age, sexual orientation and even weight or maternal age – worry about being judged by, or confirming, a widely believed stereotype in healthcare settings, causing even greater anxiety than is commonly experienced in medical settings, affecting their experiences with healthcare providers.”
WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: December shaping up to be a busy month for rocket flights.
RELATED? United Launch Alliance’s Rocket Builder lets you configure your own Atlas V launch to any available orbit. Prices start at just $109 million.
IN “LITERARY REPRESSION IN A LIBERAL CULTURE,” DAVID SOLWAY PENS THE OBITUARY FOR HIGH CULTURE AT THE DAWN OF THE MILLENNIUM:*
True poets will have to find other means of advancing their work in a decadent milieu, perhaps circulating their manuscripts privately as did the 17th Century Metaphysicals, or even self-publishing. All in all, we seem to have fallen on samizdat times.
Read the whole thing.
* If you’ll pardon such hate speech.
THAT’S NICE: Full House Creator Buys Full House House.
A MARINE OF VISION: I Served With James Mattis. Here’s What I Learned From Him.
I checked into Third Battalion, Seventh Marines in Twentynine Palms, California in 1994. It was 125 degrees in July in the high desert; everyone was in the field. This was a hard place, for hard men training for the hardest of jobs.
Then-Colonel Mattis, the Seventh Marines regimental commander, called for me to come see him. I was not only just a brand-new captain, but an aviator in an infantry regiment. I was a minor light in the Seventh Marines firmament: I was not in any measure a key player.
I arrived early, as a captain does when reporting to a colonel, and waited in his anteroom. There, I convinced myself what this would be: a quick handshake, a stern few sentences on what I was to do while there, and then a slap on the back with a “Go get ‘em, Tiger!” as he turned to the next task at hand. This was a busy guy. Five minutes, tops.
Colonel Mattis called for me. He stood to greet me, and offered to get coffee for me. He put a hand on my shoulder; gave me, over my protestations, his own seat behind his desk; and pulled up a chair to the side. He actually took his phone off the hook—something I had thought was just a figure of speech—closed his office door, and spent more than an hour knee-to-knee with me.
Mattis laid out his warfighting philosophy, vision, goals, and expectations. He told me how he saw us fighting and where, and how he was getting us ready to do just that. He laid out history, culture, religion, and politics, and he saw very clearly not only where we would fight, but how Seventh Marines, a desert battalion, fit into that fight.
Many years later, when Seventh Marines got into that fight, he was proven precisely right. It would not be the last time.
Read the whole thing.
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MORE GREAT MAD DOG QUOTES: General Mattis has a way with words.
HMM: This Is Why Your Balance Gets Worse After 40. “The researchers found that the vestibular threshold in the people studied was increasingly higher after the age of 40. These thresholds increased up to 83 percent per decade after that age, the researchers said.”
Maybe so, but I think it also has to do with practice. When you’re a kid, you do a lot of things that keep your balance system trained up. As an adult, not so much — and as you get older and more worried about falling, you give it steadily less training. My own experience is that if you work on balance, you get better fast, and you can practically feel those neural networks warming up after just a few times.
Trump's margin/Jill Stein's tally in the three decisive states, latest count:
PA: 46,765/ 49,678
— Alec MacGillis (@AlecMacGillis) December 1, 2016
Have you considered giving a couple of bucks to Jill Stein and the Green Party?
They’re stunningly effective.
MICHAEL TOTTEN: Almost Everyone Got The Arab Spring Wrong. “How did so many journalists, diplomats, academics, and analysts get Egypt so wrong? It was partly the result of hope and naiveté. But the Muslim Brotherhood also waged a brilliantly effective campaign of deception at home and abroad, hoping to convince as many people as possible that it was a politically moderate organization with a broad and diverse base of support. It wanted to earn the trust of Egyptians who weren’t yearning for an Islamist theocracy, and it feared a hostile reaction from the West, so it mounted a full-court press in the Egyptian, European, and American media. The Washington Post even published an op-ed from one of its leaders, Abdel Moneim Abouel, who wrote that the Brotherhood ’embraced diversity and democratic values.'”
Plus: “Washington gave the Brotherhood one pass after another, and a bewildered Morsi eventually felt that he was free to do and say whatever he wanted without being challenged. The Obama administration, for its part, seemed blissfully unaware that its well-meaning diplomatic outreach looked to Egyptians like an alliance with the Islamists against secularists.”
I think that’s what they call “smart diplomacy” in this Administration. Related: Former Nobel committee secretary regrets awarding the peace prize to Obama.
MICHAEL MCCONNELL: Brexit: A Question of Prerogative.
This is a treasure trove for cartography buffs.
ROBERT SHIBLEY IS FEATURED IN THIS. IF I HAD MY WAY ON OCR HE’D BE IN CHARGE OF IT: What Is the Future of the Office for Civil Rights? Experts with varying opinions weigh in on what the arm of the Department of Education could look like under Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos. Just compare Shibley’s measured and sensible take with the alarmist shrieks from Dan Losen, the director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA’s Civil Rights Project.
MR. MAUNDER, CALL YOUR OFFICE: The Sun is eerily quiet right now. “NASA has released images showing a strangely spotless Sun this month, with hardly a mark on its surface. It’s the lowest level of solar activity we’ve seen since 2011, even though the Sun is only halfway through its 11-year cycle, and five years off its solar minimum. But for some reason, it seems to have gone quiet a lot earlier than usual.”
Fallen Angels is just a science fiction novel, right guys? Right? Guys?
STATEHOOD: The Kurds Are Nearly There.
The situation in Syria, at least on the surface, offers more grounds for hope. The outbreak of the civil war in 2011 led to the weakening of government control over the Kurdish regions in the country’s northeast corner, and the Kurds there were quick to seize their chance. Over the past five years the Syrian Kurds have steadily built up formidable institutions of self-rule. In contrast to Iraq’s Kurdish region, however, the regions currently controlled by their Syrian counterparts contain large populations of Arabs and other minority groups, and their presence might well complicate an aggressive push for independence.
Even so, it is hard to overestimate the degree of international goodwill that the Syrian Kurdish forces have managed to acquire thanks to their muscular prosecution of the war against the Islamic State. Since the Assad government doesn’t seem especially keen on confronting the caliphate, the Kurdish-dominated forces have been supplying most of the fighters on the Syrian front of the war against ISIS. It is precisely for this reason that the Obama administration has recently begun directly supplying the Syrian Kurds with weapons. This would amount to an extraordinary departure from past practice, since providing arms would implicitly bolster the Kurds’ control over their part of Syria, and potentially bring them closer to independence—a prospect of which Washington policymakers have long been leery, since it would entail a fundamental redrawing of the borders of the Middle East.
Such caution is understandable. Yet US policy toward the Kurds will face a crucial test in the next few years—and it will almost certainly come from the Kurds of Iraq, who believe that their twenty-five-year experiment in self-government is approaching its logical culmination. The leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government, based in Erbil, have explicitly declared that they have independence in their sights. Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish Region of Iraq, has announced plans to conduct a referendum on statehood once the threat from ISIS has abated. Washington, meanwhile, doggedly maintains that nothing can be allowed to compromise Iraq’s territorial integrity, periodically warning its Kurdish allies not to test its resolve. In view of the long history of thwarted Kurdish aspirations, one has to wonder: When the day finally comes, will the Kurds really be willing to wait for permission?
Our Founders didn’t ask for independence; they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor — and declared our independence.
You get the feeling the Kurds are at least as gutsy.
I’LL HAVE A HALF DOUBLE DECAFFEINATED HALF-CAF WITH A TWIST OF LEMON: Howard Schultz Stepping Down as Starbucks CEO to Focus on Higher-End Shops.
Howard Schultz is stepping down as chief executive of Starbucks Corp. to lead an effort at the company to build high-end coffee shops that will charge as much as $12 a cup, his next attempt to revolutionize the way Americans consume coffee.
Mr. Schultz, 63 years old, is handing over the CEO role to Chief Operating Officer Kevin Johnson, who served as a director of the company for seven years before joining its executive team two years ago. Mr. Schultz, who is credited with taking the company from small beginnings to an international behemoth, began handing over daily oversight of the company to Mr. Johnson a few months ago.
Starbucks’s move toward high-end coffee, a project referred to internally as “Siren Works”—after the mythological creature in the coffee chain’s logo—is aimed at refreshing its brand, which has been facing increasing competition from specialty roasters such as Stumptown and Intelligentsia, as well as from mass coffee purveyors like Dunkin’ Donuts, which has been introducing more drinks such as cold-brewed coffee.
While it’s not for me, it is wonderful living in a country where $12 coffee is an option.
NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL FEMINISM: Escape From the Life of Julia.
FEWER BEATINGS AND ARRESTS? What Castro’s passing means for a rising generation of Cuban artists.
Plus, today only at Amazon: Save on “The Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” trilogies.
And, also today only: Up to 35% off select littleBits kits.
THE CHICAGO WAY: North Side beer bar drops MillerCoors over Trump.
Melani Domingues, owner of The Green Lady on North Lincoln Avenue, announced Wednesday on Facebook that she would sell off her last five cases of Miller Lite and Miller High Life for an inflated cost of $6 per bottle, donate all profits to Planned Parenthood in the name of Vice President-elect Mike Pence and then stop patronizing the company.
Domingues said she only recently became aware of the July fundraiser co-hosted by Pete Coors — who sits on the board of Molson Coors, the parent company of MillerCoors — and it struck her as an outlet to take a stand on Trump’s surprising win and what she feels has been an avalanche of negative discourse coming from the Republican Party.
“I’m not trying to judge anyone for what they do, but as a publican and a citizen, this is how I can stand up and be counted and model behavior for my 5-year-old girl,” Domingues said Thursday morning. “I’ve been struggling over the last few weeks with what to say to her when she asks how can so many people vote for someone so mean. I say that a lot of people are trying to figure that out.”
Domingues overcharging for bland beer then giving the profits to Planned Parenthood using the name of someone who opposes abortion in order promote “model behavior” to her young daughter hardly strikes me as nice.
TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1303.
Retired Navy Lt. Jim Downing joked with the kids at Lewis-Palmer Middle School about the fragility that comes with being a 103-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor. He asked one girl to help him stand from his powered scooter. She pulled, and came away with a rubber hand.
But Downing, who will spend Wednesday in Hawaii and plans to give a speech at Pearl Harbor, had a more serious lesson for the students. Preventing the next Pearl Harbor, he said, is their responsibility.
“Keep America so strong that no tyrant will ever be tempted to attack us,” said Downing, who is believed to be the oldest living survivor of the attack that plunged America into World War II.
Read the whole thing.
ROGER SIMON: ‘Panic in Progressive Park’ — What If Trump Is Actually Good? “Reason for the panic — the dawning realization, repressed and often unrecognized though it may be, that Donald Trump may even a be a good president, possibly a great one. Then what?” He certainly seems to be off to a strong start. And the Mattis pick is inspired.
And I was briefly in DC this week, and noticed a palpable reduction in smugness among its denizens compared to the last time (pre-election) I was there. . . .
BOY THE DEMOCRATS SURE DID GIVE PRESIDENT TRUMP A LOT OF POWER (CONT’D): Starting January 20, Donald Trump Can Send Unblockable Mass Text Messages to the Entire Nation.
To be honest, I’d pay money to see this text go out: “Loser Senate Democrats still won’t confirm great man Peter Thiel to Supreme Court. Sad!”
And, once again:
— Ed Henry (@edhenry) December 2, 2016
KIMBERLY STRASSEL: Democrats Send Their Regrets.
Cue Sinatra and “My Way.” That’s how former Senate leader Harry Reid, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and President Obama ruled for eight years. They planned each charted course, each careful step. Now, they’re not finding it so amusing.
Mr. Coons is regretting giving up his tool to stop Donald Trump’s march of reformers. It’s a cabinet parade of charter-school-lovers, and law-and-order prosecutors and tax-cutters and ObamaCare-slayers, of the sort to give a good Delaware liberal night sweats. There was a day when not one of these nominees could have hoped to squeeze past a Senate filibuster. But Mr. Reid did it his way, and Mr. Trump keeps tweeting.
Former veep candidate Tim Kaine in October threatened that Republicans would be really, really sorry if they tried use what filibuster tools were left against a Hillary Clinton Supreme Court nominee. If Republicans “stonewall,” then a “Democratic Senate majority will say we’re not going to let you thwart the law,” he declared in October. Incoming Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is now regretting that belligerence, and insisting that the Supreme Court filibuster is inviolate, and that his party never did kill it, you know, and that should count for something, and . . . blah, blah, regrets.
It would be hard to stall the confirmation process, at least after Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s regretful September news conference, the one where she stood tall and hit Republicans for refusing to confirm Mr. Obama’s end-of-the-road nominee, Merrick Garland. “This is not just some TV show [like] ‘Eight is Enough.’ Eight is not enough on the United States Supreme Court,” she railed. She’s joined in regret by the activists behind those trendy Twitter campaigns: #weneednine. #doyourjob. Bring on Mr. Trump’s own Tweetbomb: #likeyousaid.
They have a lot to regret. They’ll have much more.
(You might find a way past WSJ’s paywall here.)
THEY TOLD ME IF DONALD TRUMP WERE ELECTED, WE’D FACE AN EXPLOSION OF SEXISM WORLDWIDE. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Canadian Students Push for Daily Man Ban at Campus Gym.
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ABOUT THAT JOBS REPORT… Labor force participation ticks down.
It remains stuck at levels not seen since 1978, when Jimmy Carter was President.
Of course, even during Carter’s Administration the trend for labor participation was upward.
If only someone had warned us that Obama would prove to be worse than Carter.
The European police force says more foreign fighters will try to come back to Europe, and “several dozen” capable of attacks could already be there.
Their tactics could include car bombs, kidnappings and extortion, it said.
But the report plays down the likelihood of attacks on critical infrastructure, such as nuclear sites.
It says that IS militants now prefer soft targets, and there is now a greater emphasis on “lone actors” such as the perpetrator of the lorry attack in Nice in July.
It warns that some Syrian refugees in Europe may be vulnerable to recruitment by extremists who infiltrate refugee camps.
While Barack Obama stayed focused on his “necessary war” in Afghanistan, the action had moved to the desert where Iraq and Syria meet.
THE REST OF OBAMA’S LIFE WILL BE SPENT TRYING TO SHIFT BLAME FOR HIS FAILED PRESIDENCY: Obama Tries to Pin His Syria Policy on Trump: But the current humanitarian and geopolitical disaster under Assad is the result of specific decisions in the last six years.
But despite the unending string of foreign policy debacles, my memories of the Obama era will always be summed up by this iconic photo from the very earliest days of Hope & Change:
French President François Hollande said on Thursday he would not seek re-election next year, bowing to historically low approval ratings after a troubled term in power.
The withdrawal means the 62-year-old Socialist leader is the first president of France’s fifth republic, founded in 1958, to step aside after only one term.
“I have decided that I will not be a candidate,” a stony-faced Hollande said in a solemn televised statement from the Élysée Palace in Paris during which he defended his record.
He conceded that he was unable to unite his deeply divided Socialist Party behind his candidacy ahead of the presidential election in April and May next year.
Socialism will be more popular next time, with the right people in charge.
The man responsible for publishing one of the greatest media hoaxes in recent memory thinks it might be a good idea if the government provided the press with subsidies to help it fight fake news.
Jann S. Wenner is the co-founder and publisher of Rolling Stone magazine, which published a story on Nov. 19, 2014, alleging that “Jackie,” a student at the University of Virginia, had been gang-raped as part of a fraternity initiation.
The report was proven to be totally false, however, and “Jackie” a wild fabulist, but not before UVA suspended the fraternity and the university itself suffered a major blow to its reputation.
Wenner defended the since-retracted story and its author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, right up to the bitter end.
In an interview published this week, Wenner wondered aloud in a conversation with President Obama whether the federal government should provide media with subsidies to help them combat the rising tide of fake news stories on social media.
The Rolling Stone publisher asked, “So how do you think we go about stitching the country back together?”
Well, for starters you could quit lying, Jann.
Imagine having this debate over which places you could speak freely in, and in which other places you had better watch yourself.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: 10 to 15 Law Schools Could Close If Enrollment Keeps Shrinking, Higher-Ed Market Analyst Says.
AT AMAZON, (for those boycotting Levi’s), Wrangler Men’s Authentics Classic Regular Fit Jeans for $19.99.
THEY’LL GET CLEAN AFTER JUST ONE LAST FIX: Saudis Wager On Higher Oil Prices to Drive Economic Diversification.
In its thrust toward diversification, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ de-facto leader needs to monetize massive reserves of crude oil. That means building up targeted noncrude sectors such as refined petroleum products, petrochemicals and minerals mining. From there, the kingdom would help finance a push into other sectors, such as tourism, manufacturing and financial services.
That goal helped to drive the Saudis toward pushing for substantial output restraints at the cartel’s meeting in Vienna this week. It was a step the kingdom has for decades avoided, as it pursued market share at the expense of prices.
A trip on Tuesday by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to a coastal industrial town helps illustrate the country’s commitment to its recently mapped economic path. The king made his first visit as monarch to the oil-rich Eastern Province this week to attend events marking a string of multibillion-dollar investments by local and foreign companies in petrochemical and mining projects.
Petrochemicals and mining? That isn’t a whole lot of diversity.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CLUE, VAN? Van Jones: Dems ‘have a problem with elitism.’ “Liberals and Democrats, we see ourselves as champions of the poor and downtrodden. . . . But we have somehow let a little camp of elitist-sounding, snobby people come into the party, and it’s obnoxious. They talk down to people, and everybody hates it.”
He means the Clintonites, here, and this is really just a round in the intra-Democrat civil war. Not that it isn’t still true.
FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: One in three babies born in UK last year had foreign parent – as sky-high immigration fuels population boom: The figures showed nine in ten London newborns had at least one parent from overseas.
Remember, this didn’t happen because the British electorate asked for it to happen, it happened because the Labour Party thought that Britain was too British and it’s electorate insufficiently tractable, and decided to make it more diverse. This is the result. More on that here.
PRECIOUS SNOWFLAKES: Virginia schools ban ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ ‘Huckleberry Finn’ for racial slurs.
The decision to remove “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain and “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee came after a parent filed a complaint, WCMH-TV reported. The parent cited excessive racial slurs as the reason for wanting the books banned, Superintendent Warren Holland told the news station.
The parent, whose son is biracial, said that her concerns are “not even just a black and white thing.”
“I keep hearing, ‘This is a classic, This is a classic,’ … I understand this is a literature classic. But at some point, I feel that children will not — or do not — truly get the classic part — the literature part, which I’m not disputing,” she said at a Nov. 15 school board meeting. “This is great literature. But there (are so many) racial slurs in there and offensive wording that you can’t get past that.”
No, you can’t get past that.
PROCUREMENT BLUES: The US’s military edge over Russia and China has come down to one plane.
Only one US airframe remains head-and-shoulders above any and all competition: the F-22 Raptor.
The F-22 was the first fifth-generation fighter jet, and it is like nothing else on earth. The plane can execute mind-bending aerial maneuvers, sense incoming threats at incredible distances, and fly undetected by legacy aircraft.
The coming F-35 Lightning II, a stealthy technological marvel in its own right, has an impressive radar cross section approximately the size of a basketball. The F-22, however, blows it out of the water with a cross section about the size of a marble.
For this reason, the F-22 Raptor remains the US’s only hope for breaching the most heavily protected airspace. Even so, an expert on Russian air defenses told Business Insider that F-22 pilots would have to be “operationally, tactically brilliant” to survive strikes against Russian-defended targets.
And we built fewer than 200 of them.
THE DEMOCRATS SURE DID GIVE PRESIDENT TRUMP A LOT OF POWER: Broad Expansion of FBI’s Hacking Authority Begins Today: One warrant and one judge can lead to untold numbers of system intrusions.
And this never gets old:
CUE THE WORLD’S SMALLEST VIOLIN: Clinton donors feel like they torched their cash.
The frustrations from the Election Day defeat are causing a lot of problems for the Democratic National Committee, which is already working to rebuild its dilapidated image and gear up for the 2018 midterm elections. In addition, many progressive activists are worried about money as they prepare to go to war with Trump, who has vowed to undo much of President Barack Obama’s legacy.
“They’re tired,” one DNC official told The Hill regarding top Democratic donors. “They’re upset about the election, and there was significant trauma surrounding the Russians. They’re upset and they’re tired.”
On top of the defeat, donors are angry over the WikiLeaks revelations (which included leaks of their information) and the fact that the DNC will be without any sort of leadership until more than a month into the Trump administration.
The GOP was pulled out of its post-2008 doldrums by the spontaneous formation of the Tea Party just weeks after Barack Obama’s inauguration. Democrats seem unlikely (for now, anyway) to enjoy a similar grassroots boon.
WHY IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY SUCH A CESSPIT OF ANTI-SEMITISM? ADL: Newly uncovered remarks by Keith Ellison are ‘disturbing and disqualifying.’
GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE: Wisconsin VA Hospital May Have Infected 600 Veterans With HIV Or Hepatitis.
From October 2015 to October 2016, a dentist at the Tomah VA exposed 592 veterans to infectious diseases by reusing his own dental equipment and “cleaning” it instead of using the sterile and disposable equipment provided by the VA, said Acting Medical Center Director Victoria Brahm, according to WEAU News.
“It was purposeful that he was violating VA regulations,” Brahm said. “During all of the orientation, he used all of our equipment. He used it appropriately, so it was very purposeful from what we found in our investigation that he knew exactly what he was doing, and preferred to use his own equipment against procedure.”
Someone who was filling in for the dentist’s assistant noticed what he was doing and reported it.
The dentist, who has yet to be identified, hasn’t been fired after carelessly exposing hundreds of veterans to infectious diseases.
Abolish the VA and give veterans vouchers for the private health coverage of their choice.
ED MORRISSEY: Obamacare RIP: Republicans Finally Have a Plan.
THE LEFT SPENT DECADES GIVING US A REALITY-TV CULTURE, AND NOW IT’S UNHAPPY WE ELECTED A REALITY-TV PRESIDENT: Donald Trump: The Showman President.
With the announcement of Trump’s triumphant (Trumphant?) Carrier deal, the word that occurs to me—not for the first time—is “showman.”
That’s not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, by the way. But it’s not something we’ve seen a lot of in recent years.
It’s not that previous presidents haven’t tried. Reagan was good at the speeches, as well as some sweeping gestures (“tear down this wall,” and the firing of the air controllers). Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and George Bush were abysmal; Clinton only so-so (playing the sax on TV comes to mind).
Obama tried and sometimes succeeded, particularly during his first campaign. Remember the Greek columns? . . .
But this is the water in which Trump swims. This is his most comfortable place to be: the showman, in the spotlight. He’s been doing it for his entire life.
That’s one of the reasons Trump preferred enormous rallies, and was relaxed when giving lengthy speeches without a teleprompter and ad-libbing extensively. He likes the spectacle of it all and realizes the important of the gesture and the symbol. And despite his more “presidential” demeanor since his election, I doubt this aspect of his personality will fade during his presidency; au contraire. And he understands the elements of surprise, of timing.
It does look that way.
KRUGMAN SAID TRUMP WOULD KILL STOCKS, BUT THE BIG ACTION IS OVERSEAS: Italy’s referendum has the potential to set off a global landslide. Of course, they said that about Brexit, too.
Plus, save in Generators and Portable Power. Winter is coming.
Donald Trump’s claim that illegal voting may have cost him a popular-vote majority has touched off outrage. Widespread voter fraud, the media consensus suggests, isn’t possible. But there is a real chance that significant numbers of noncitizens and others are indeed voting illegally, perhaps enough to make up the margin in some elections.
There’s no way of knowing for sure. The voter-registration process in almost all states runs on the honor system. The Obama administration has done everything it can to keep the status quo in place. The Obama Justice Department has refused to file a single lawsuit to enforce the requirement of the National Voter Registration Act that states maintain the accuracy of their voter-registration lists. This despite a 2012 study from the Pew Center on the States estimating that one out of every eight voter registrations is inaccurate, out-of-date or duplicate. About 2.8 million people are registered in more than one state, according to the study, and 1.8 million registered voters are dead. In most places it’s easy to vote under the names of such people with little risk of detection.
An undercover video released in October by the citizen-journalist group Project Veritas shows a Democratic election commissioner in New York City saying at a party, “I think there is a lot of voter fraud.” A second video shows two Democratic operatives mulling how it would be possible to get away with voter fraud. . . .
How common is this? If only we knew. Political correctness has squelched probes of noncitizen voting, so most cases are discovered accidentally instead of through a systematic review of election records.
The danger looms large in states such as California, which provides driver’s licenses to noncitizens, including those here illegally, and which also does nothing to verify citizenship during voter registration. In a 1996 House race, then-challenger Loretta Sanchez defeated incumbent Rep. Bob Dornan by under 1,000 votes. An investigation by a House committee found 624 invalid votes by noncitizens, nearly enough to overturn the result.
How big is this problem nationally? One district-court administrator estimated in 2005 that up to 3% of the 30,000 people called for jury duty from voter-registration rolls over a two-year period were not U.S. citizens. A September report from the Public Interest Legal Foundation found more than 1,000 noncitizens who had been removed from the voter rolls in eight Virginia counties. Many of them had cast ballots in previous elections, but none was referred for possible prosecution.
Of course not. They vote for Democrats.
WAITING FOR THE BIG BUZZFEED COVERAGE: DNC Chair Candidate Rep. Keith Ellison’s Imam: Homosexuality Is ‘Not What God Intended.’
But I think it’s still okay to be homophobic so long as you’re sufficiently diverse.
THE DALLAS OBSERVER HAS A PIECE ON THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE and a defense from its builder. A reader emails: “It’s the clearest defense of the pipeline construction process I think I’ve seen.”
Folk singers are threatening to boycott a music festival he sponsors. But why would anyone mind a boycott by folk singers? What’s next, a boycott by accordion-playing mimes?
Plus, a flashback on why “folk” singing is a crock. “The entire ‘folk’ movement was Stalinist through and through (including Woody Guthrie, who was a Communist Party hanger-on and probably a member. How do I know this? My late mother was Arlo’s nursery-school teacher in the Red Brooklyn of the 1940s). Of course, it was all a put-on. Woody Guthrie was a middle-class lawyer’s son. Pete Seeger was the privileged child of classical musicians who decamped to Greenwich Village. The authenticity of the folk movement stank of greasepaint. But a generation of middle-class kids who, like Holden Caulfield, thought their parents ‘phony’ gravitated to the folk movement.”
TRUMP’S FIRST “THANK YOU TOUR” RALLY. Full video here.
Trump called for the country to unify and denounced the bigotry that he said keeps America divided. Trump has been under fire for appealing to fringe elements on the right, including white nationalists.
“We condemn bigotry and prejudice in all of its forms,” Trump said. “We denounce all of the hatred and we forcefully reject the language of exclusion and separation. We have no choice. We have to, and it’s better.”
“We spend too much time focusing on what divides us,” he continued. “Now it’s time to embrace the one thing that united us: it’s America, because when America is unified, nothing is beyond our reach.” . . .
Trump used his message of unification to underscore the “America first” mindset that he trumpeted throughout his campaign. He pointed to the newly struck deal with Indiana-based Carrier to keep manufacturing jobs in America as indicative of the economic success to come under his presidency.
He stopped in Indianapolis earlier on Thursday to celebrate his deal with the heating and air conditioning company to keep more than 1,000 factory jobs in the state. Some 800 were slated to move to Mexico with 300 transferring to North Carolina, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Trump quipped that while “globalism is wonderful,” America needs to “focus on our national community.”
Plus: Flashback: Obama Mocks Trump for Promising to Keep Carrier Plant in U.S. You know, I don’t know how Trump will turn out as President, but I’m really enjoying him as President-Elect.
Here’s the real story. You need a business filter to see it clearly. In my corporate life I watched lots of new leaders replace old leaders. And there is one trick the good leaders do that bad leaders don’t: They make some IMMEDIATE improvement that everyone can see. It has to be visible, relatively simple, and fast.
Because humans are not rational. Our first impressions rule our emotions forever. Trump has a second chance to make a first impression because his performance as President is fresh ground. Trump is attacking the job like a seasoned CEO, not like a politician. He knows that his entire four-year term will be judged by what happens before it even starts. What he does today will determine how much support and political capital he has for his entire term.
So what does a Master Persuader do when he needs to create a good first impression to last for years? He looks around for any opportunity that is visible, memorable, newsworthy, true to his brand, and easy to change.
Trump and Pence recognized these openings and took them. Political writers will interpret this situation as routine credit-grabbing and exaggerated claims. But business writers will recognize Trump’s strategy as what I will call the “new CEO Move.” Smart CEOs try to create visible victories within days of taking the job, to set the tone. It’s all about the psychology.
If you are looking at Trump’s claims of success with Ford and Carrier in terms of technical accuracy and impact on the economy, you will be underwhelmed. But if you view it through a business filter and understand that psychology is the point of the exercise, you’re seeing one of the best new CEO moves you will ever see.
I’ll say this again because it’s important. We’re all watching closely to see if President Elect Trump has the skill to be president. And while you watch, Trump and Pence are pulling off one of the most skillfully executed new CEO plays you will ever see.
Read the whole thing.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Ohio State Knife Attacker Abdul Artan Was Taking a Class About Microaggressions. His group project was due later this week.
Not from The Onion.
MEGAN MCARDLE: Questioning Legitimacy of Election Risks Civil War and Secession. “If elections lack legitimacy, then our officials, and the laws they make, are always up for contest. No one can make plans, because they don’t know how long the current regime will last. Worse still, the opponents of that regime will have few qualms about resorting to violence to hasten that end — nor will the regime hesitate to use terror and extralegal tactics to hold on to power. We’ve had such incidents in the U.S., but rarely, and so we have come to view the legitimacy of the democratic order as a sort of natural law that can be taken as a given. It isn’t so.”
We’re still suffering damage from Al Gore’s foolish decision to “un-concede” in 2000.
WOULD WEST VIRGINIA’S DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR, JIM JUSTICE, BE ABLE TO FILL THE VACANCY? Joe Manchin may be Trump’s energy secretary.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: It’s Never Too Late To Stop Smoking.
PAUL KRUGMAN ON ELECTION NIGHT: “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”
Headline today: Dow Sees Highest Close on Record.
EUROPOL VERSUS CYBER CRIME SYNDICATE: Report via VOA.
Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said Thursday it has arrested five people in an online criminal enterprise and seized 39 computer servers following a four-year-long international investigation.
Police agencies spanning the globe and representing 30 countries participated in the effort, which closed down a criminal group that has caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage through online cyberattacks, according to a written statement released by Europol.
The cops employed a technique called sinkholing.
Sinkholing refers to a technique used by police that redirects internet traffic coming from criminals to servers controlled by law enforcement. When fully implemented, the tactic stops criminals from gaining access to infected computers of their victims.
Congrats to Europol.
MORE BAD NEWS FROM A DEMOCRAT-RUN CITY: Youth homelessness in Baltimore higher than previously thought.
When Belgium’s beer culture was nominated for UNESCO recognition and protection back in 2014, beer expert Erik Verdonck explained the reasoning to NPR’s Rachel Martin:
“Well, I think, thanks to the fact that we still have 150 breweries and many of these are still family owned. So it’s not only a lot of more industrial type of beer tradition, we also keep to our typical traditions like sour beers, for instance, lambic beers close to Brussels and of course, the famous Trappist and abbey beers. This is all part of our liquid heritage, if you want.”
In its note recognizing Belgium’s beer scene, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) wrote that while the country drinks a wide variety of beer, it’s also famous for cooking with it — making everything form flavorful sauces to beer-washed cheese.
I never thought I’d say this, but if UNSECO thinks Belgium’s beer culture is special, they should come visit Colorado sometime.