Wednesday, March 22, 2017

(05:46 PM)

TOLERANCE: Man Wearing MAGA Hat Denied Service at New York Bar, Sues. “If only he’d ordered a cake for a gay wedding.”

(05:33 PM)

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Why Anne Frank Center Targeted Tim Allen.

(05:14 PM)

IF YOU PUT GOVERNMENT IN CHARGE OF THE SAHARA DESERT, IN FIVE YEARS THERE’D BE A SHORTAGE OF SAND: PepsiCo is pulling its products from Philly stores because of the city’s ‘soda tax’

Or maybe this was the endgame all along.

(04:47 PM)

HEALTH: 100-Year-Old Ohio Man Credits Vodka and Dancing for Longevity.

Pretty sure this is settled science.

(04:26 PM)

ANDREW MALCOLM: Say, why don’t we turn the Supreme Court into a reality TV show?

I thought that’s what the hearings were.

(04:13 PM)

WHY ARE DEMOCRAT-RUN CITIES SUCH CESSPITS OF CORRUPTION? Feds Indict Philly DA Seth Williams on Charges of Corruption, Stealing from His Mother: The two-term Democratic DA was previously the inspector general for Philadelphia.

(04:12 PM)

ANALYSIS… UNNECESSARY: Cosmopolitan Doesn’t Understand How The Constitution Works.

(04:06 PM)

LIFE EXTENSION: Will 90 Become The New 60? As our lifespans have increased, so too have our active years. Can that go on?

As I wrote in Forbes some time ago, that’ll give us a longevity dividend.

(03:00 PM)

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(02:53 PM)

VIDEO: New York Times Reporter Claims There’s a Tape of Trump’s Golden Showers Incident.

When do we get to see the Khalidi tape?

(02:42 PM)


Dealing in fake news is even easier when you actually don’t know the facts. For all the fainting over Mr. Trump’s budget reduction for CPB and its supposed fatal effect on Big Bird, few noticed “Sesame Street” is no longer a PBS property. HBO is now home to the bird and his friends. Investor’s Business Daily reported, “In 2015, it signed a five-year deal with HBO, which gets exclusive rights to air new episodes for nine months on its premium cable network. … At the time, ‘Sesame Street’ co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said that the changing media landscape meant that ‘in order to fund our nonprofit mission with a sustainable business model, Sesame Workshop must recognize these changes and adapt to the times.’”

What a concept. It’s also the smart business move.

But it won’t stop headlines such as this: “’But Elmo hasn’t been unemployed since the ’80s!’ Heartbreaking parody video depicts the Sesame Street character getting FIRED when ‘Donald Grump’ proposes PBS funding cuts.”

CTL-F and the letters HBO? Zero returns until the comments section.

(02:38 PM)

CAULDRON: US-led coalition air-drops SDF, US forces in Syria’s Raqqa.

(02:30 PM)

21ST CENTURY MATERIALS: This Self-Poofing Fabric Transforms From T-Shirt to Parka: Otherlab’s self-fluffing fabric changes its insulation in response to temperature. “What’s most exciting about Otherlab’s fabric is that it operates completely passively. There’s no power source, no wiring, and no controls—nothing but a combination of common synthetic fibers, each of which has different thermal expansion characteristics.”

(02:24 PM)

COURAGE: Apple omits (PRODUCT)RED branding for red iPhone in China, perhaps to avoid AIDS controversy.

Tim Cook said yesterday it was in celebration of ten years’ partnership with the charity, and the PRODUCT(RED) branding was prominent on the homepage of its websites around the world – except in China, that is …

As TechCrunch notes, Apple’s Chinese website omits all mention of the link to the charity. This isn’t a language thing – the Taiwanese site has the same PRODUCT(RED) branding as the rest of the world – but the site suggests this is instead a political decision by Apple. Its theory is that Apple doesn’t want to jeopardise its somewhat delicate relationship with the Chinese government by getting embroiled in what is a controversial topic in the country.

There is reason to support this theory. China has been criticized in many quarters for failing to adequately respond to a growing AIDS crisis in the country.

It’s a great-looking phone — my wife wants one now, even though our contracts don’t come up until this autumn when newer models are expected. But it sure would be nice if Tim Cook showed Beijing the same courage of his convictions as he does Washington.

(02:10 PM)

MICHAEL WALSH: A Year After Brussels Atrocity, Islam Strikes Again in London.

(02:08 PM)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: Lockheed CEO: Trump Accelerated F-35 Price Drop.

(02:00 PM)

GREAT, JUST WHEN THE CEREBELLUM WAS HOPING FOR A BIT OF REST: Neuroscientists Have Accidentally Discovered a Whole New Role for the Cerebellum.

(01:56 PM)

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE DON’T FEAR THE WEST ANYMORE: Turkish President: Europeans Will Not Walk Safely Unless Demands Are Met.

(01:52 PM)

CRACKING DOWN: New House Sanctions Introduced as North Korea Reportedly Tests More Missiles.

(01:49 PM)

RIGHT ON CUE: NBC Reporter Fears London Terror Will ‘Put Wind in the Sails’ of ‘Right-Wing Movement.’

Jon Gabriel’s Media Narrative Chart continues to be predictive, even during international stories:

(01:43 PM)

READER BOOK PLUG: From Paula Sadok, Leaving Egypt.

(01:41 PM)

WIRETAPPED: Trump team communications captured by intelligence community surveillance, Nunes says. “Members of the intelligence community collected ‘incidental’ communications of the Trump transition team during legal surveillance operations, producing ‘dozens’ of reports which eventually unmasked several individuals’ identities and which were ‘widely disseminated,’ a top lawmaker said Wednesday afternoon.”

It’s the “widely disseminated” part that may be felonious.

(01:39 PM)

DIGITAL TERROR: Hamas tried to get more accurate maps to aim rockets.. “Shin Bet security agency says terror group sought advanced mapping program from Turkish organization.”

The Shin Bet discovered after questioning Muhammad Murtaja, who was arrested last month on suspicion of working on behalf of Hamas, that over the past two years the terror terror organization had asked the Turkish IHH organization for advanced satellite mapping programs to improve the accuracy of its rockets, the Hebrew-language Ynet news site reported.

The Shin Bet investigation reportedly revealed that during its last war with Israel in 2014, Hamas used Google Maps in order to target locations in Israel, leading to most of the rockets missing their targets. Many of the other rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Murtaja, the manager of the Gaza branch of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), is accused of having taken advantage of his position in TIKA in order to direct funds and resources away from “meaningful humanitarian projects” and toward Hamas’s military wing.

One apparent scam detailed by the security service allowed “millions of shekels” to be given to Hamas members in food and cash.

Hamas is backed by Iran, whose finances were backed in violation of U.S. law by the previous Obama Administration.

(01:30 PM)

SPYING: Microsoft Windows 10 has a keylogger enabled by default – here’s how to disable it. Or just go back to Windows 7.

(01:23 PM)

SMALL-TIME CROOK: Former Colorado GOP chairman charged with voter fraud, forgery.

The former chairman of Colorado’s Republican Party has been charged with voter fraud and forgery. Steve Curtis, 57, is accused of filling out and mailing in his ex-wife’s ballot for the 2016 presidential election.

Curtis was the state’s GOP chairman from 1997 to 1999 and currently hosts a talk radio show on KLZ-560 AM.

He made his first court appearance Tuesday morning in Weld County to be advised of the charges against him.

“We’re not going to talk about this,” Curtis said when asked if he voted for his ex-wife in November.

This case demands a statewide investigation into voter fraud by both parties, due to the seriousness of the charge.

(01:17 PM)

FIFTH COLUMN: Obama Admin Loyalists, Government Insiders Sabotage Trump White House: Former admin planted series of landmines to subvert Trump team.

(01:16 PM)

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Emails to Rahm Emanuel raise questions about dozens of possible lobbying violations.

(01:09 PM)

PROCUREMENT: Army Still Testing Ripsaw, the ‘Luxury Super Tank’

A handful of the Ripsaw Extreme Vehicle 2, or EV2, products made by Howe and Howe Technologies Inc., based in Waterboro, Maine, are undergoing evaluations at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey to assess how they could be used in future combat operations. Indeed, on Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, head of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, rode in one of the vehicles with a driver as part of a demonstration.

The company describes the 750-horsepower, optionally manned vehicle — which is capable of reaching speeds of almost 100 miles per hour and costs roughly $250,000 — as a “handcrafted, limited-run, high-end, luxury super tank developed for the public and extreme off road recreation.”

The EV2 looks more than a little like the Batmobile from the Chris Nolan/Christian Bale movies, but unless it sports a 105mm cannon they really shouldn’t call it a tank.

120mm for the genuine luxury version.

(01:00 PM)


(12:56 PM)

YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! The Real Story About Neil Gorsuch and the TransAm ‘Frozen Trucker’

(12:45 PM)

DATA: Peter Ingemi looks at What CPAC attendees want from Trump.

(12:40 PM)

ALICE SALLES: How the Government Ruined U.S. Healthcare — and What We Can Actually Do About It.

(12:30 PM)

SO YOU CAN HEAR ME ON THE BUCK SEXTON SHOW LAST NIGHT, talking about my USA Today column on expertise and the lack thereof among our ruling class. (My part starts at about 1:39 on the timeline). On the advice of my brother, who’s become a total microphone geek, I upgraded my setup from the Blue Yeti and now I have an ElectroVoice RE-20 (left over from the old Glenn & Helen Show days), going through an inexpensive ART tube preamp/compressor and then a FocusRite Scarlett USB converter. The producer and tech on Buck’s show said it sounded like I was in the studio with them, which was the goal. Downside: You can hear my sinus infection. Should’ve taken a shot of Afrin. . .

I may add a Cloudlifter to the chain, as the RE-20 puts out kind of low, but it sounds okay and I haven’t had time to experiment. And don’t feel sad for the Blue Yeti — I took it to my office, so I can use it for Skype calls and interviews there. And it looks cool sitting on my desk.

UPDATE: Sorry, had the link for the Buck Sexton interview wrong. Fixed now! (Bumped).

(12:28 PM)

MORE ON THE PARLIAMENT ATTACK: Bridget Johnson has a video tweet from Westminster Bridge.

(12:27 PM)


(12:12 PM)

LIFE SUPPORT: AFP Key Voting Against GOP Healthcare Plan.

Today Americans for Prosperity, the nation’s largest and most aggressive advocate for healthcare freedom, reaffirmed the organization’s deep concerns with core elements of the GOP healthcare bill. The group said that as currently written, it was unable to support the legislation, and would key vote against it unless significant changes were made.

Chief Government Affairs Officer Brent Gardner had this to say:

“Republicans in Congress promised a full repeal of Obamacare, but the current plan falls far short. It leaves intact some of the most harmful aspects of the law, including burdensome regulations that send insurance costs spiking and federal subsidies rebranded as tax credits. We simply cannot support this bill, and commit to standing with champions in the House who also oppose the continuation of Obamacare.”

That’s a solid no, and here’s another one from Mike Lee:

Lee doesn’t seem like the kind of senator who could have his vote budged by a tweet, and Rand Paul says there are at least 35 GOP “No!” votes just in the House.

(12:03 PM)

BREAKING: Terror Attack at U.K. Parliament.

About a dozen injured, two dead, after being “mowed down” by a car on Westminster Bridge. Assailant stabbed cop, then was shot to death.

More to come.

(11:00 AM)

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(10:55 AM)

EXPLAINER: 5 Myths About Originalism, Neil Gorsuch’s Judicial Philosophy.

(10:45 AM)

IT SURE LOOKS THAT WAY TO ME: Did Neil Gorsuch roll his eyes at Al Franken?

As my friend and colleague Scott Ott said during yesterday’s Right Angle taping, “Franken used to be a comedian but now he’s just someone people laugh at.”

(10:31 AM)


(10:30 AM)

MEGAN MCARDLE: Better Health Care for Less Money? It’s Not Easy.

“America spends more on health care than other rich nations, but has lower life expectancy.” If I had a nickel for every time I have been informed this by an email, seen it in a headline, heard it in conversation, or watched it scroll across my social media feed, I would be able to personally fund a single-payer health-care system.

As with many political memes, its usefulness to policy wonks is inversely proportional to the weight that its casual proponents place on it. As stated, this meme is true enough: America does have higher health-care costs than anywhere else, and we do indeed have shorter life expectancies than some nations. But of course people are not introducing these facts as a fun bit of trivia, like “Babe Ruth used to wear a cabbage leaf under his baseball cap to keep cool.” What they are actually interested in communicating is the implication that America could switch to a single-payer health-care system and thereby enjoy longer life expectancies at lower cost. And that implication is considerably more dubious.

Some of the disparity may indeed be attributable to the fragmented nature of our health-care system. But most of it probably isn’t — which means it can’t be fixed by changing the form of our health care system, either.

Start with mortality. A recent survey concluded that “regardless of cross-national differences in access to quality medical care, the fact remains that the overwhelming contributors to the incidence of disease (e.g. poor health behaviors) operate largely outside the influence of medical care.” Americans seem to be sicker than people in other countries, and while people often attribute this to lack of preventive care, on some metrics that ought to improve our life-expectancy — such as screening tests — America actually does more than other places. Other contributing conditions, such as obesity, have shown little response to the things that primary care physicians can do, such as tell you that you should lose weight.

We’re also at greater risk for fatal injuries than people in other countries. We have a higher homicide rate, in part because Americans seem to be more violent and in part because we have greater access to guns. And we drive more, so more of us die in auto accidents. No matter what you think of America’s car-driven development policy, or its gun-control regime, you can’t think that altering our health-care system is going to keep Americans from driving to their suburban homes, or shooting each other.

Skeptical? Let’s look at what happened when the U.S. greatly expanded the government’s funding of health care: Between 2014 and 2015, age-adjusted mortality rose for the first time in decades.

Making it better and cheaper is hard. Making it worse and more expensive is as close as your nearest politician.

(10:27 AM)

RETAIL BLUES: Sears warns of ‘going concern’ doubts.

“Our historical operating results indicate substantial doubt exists related to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” Sears said in the annual report for the fiscal year ended Jan. 28. (

The company said an inability to generate additional liquidity might limit its access to new merchandise or its ability to procure services. Continued operating losses also could restrict access to new funds under its domestic credit agreement, according to the filing.

The warning comes less than six weeks after the company announced what it called the “next phase of its strategic transformation,” in which it hoped this year to reduce costs by $1 billion and cut its debt and pension obligations by at least $1.5 billion. Sears also is considering selling some of its businesses, such as the Kenmore appliances and DieHard car battery brands.

Sears has already sold off its most precious crown jewel, the Craftsman brand.

(10:04 AM)

SARRAH LE MARQUAND: It should be illegal to be a stay-at-home mum.

Yes, the role played by parents in the early months and years following the birth of a child is vital and irreplaceable. It also stands to reason that for many (but certainly not all) families, it is the mother who opts to take time off work during this period to solely focus on caring for her baby.

Once again, there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, that time at home should be a privilege afforded to more new mums, which is why a few years back I was a lone voice in supporting Tony Abbott’s grossly misunderstood and thus ill-fated paid parental leave scheme, which proposed all female employees receive their normal salary for six months.

So it’s not as simple as suggesting that the OECD’s rallying call to utilise the potential of stay-at-home mums is an insult to mothers — on the contrary, it is the desperately needed voice of reason that Australians cannot afford to ignore.

Rather than wail about the supposed liberation in a woman’s right to choose to shun paid employment, we should make it a legal requirement that all parents of children of school-age or older are gainfully employed.

Feminism has gone from pursuing legal equality to encouraging forced labor in just three generations.

(10:03 AM)

IT’S A TOUGH YEAR FOR DEANS: Dean Of ‘Beleaguered’ Charlotte Law School Steps Down; Interim Dean Named.

(10:02 AM)

A DUMB ARGUMENT THAT SHOULD BE IGNORED: Chuck ‘The Obstructor’ Schumer’s Latest: Delay Gorsuch Vote Till After FBI Russia Probe.

(10:00 AM)

IT AIN’T ME, IT AIN’T ME. I AIN’T NO PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER. Chelsea Clinton Gets Lifetime Achievement Award for Doing Nothing.

(09:00 AM)

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(08:58 AM)

MORE UPROAR: Cincinnati Law School Dean Says Small Cabal Of Tenured Faculty Seeking Her Ouster Is Upset At Budget Cuts. Hmm. 9 out of 36 isn’t a “small cabal,” it’s a fourth of the faculty. And the provost is involved, which I doubt would happen if it were just faculty in a snit over travel paperwork.

If a quarter of the faculty is unhappy enough to go public with unhappiness about a dean, it’s usually something pretty serious, but I have no idea what’s going on here from these accounts.

(08:54 AM)

DEMOGRAPHICS IS DESTINY: ISIS Shows French Jihadist Raising 9 Young Kids in Terror Group.

(08:35 AM)

GOOD RIDDANCE: Manafort had plan to benefit Putin government.

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse. Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work.

“We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote in the 2005 memo to Deripaska. The effort, Manafort wrote, “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”

Manafort’s plans were laid out in documents obtained by the AP that included strategy memoranda and records showing international wire transfers for millions of dollars. How much work Manafort performed under the contract was unclear.

Getting rid of Manafort may have been Trump’s smartest “You’re fired!” moment ever.

Meanwhile, the Clintons and John Podesta and his Russian “investors” seem to be as close as ever.

(08:23 AM)

“SUPER-PRECEDENT” DIDN’T EVEN MAKE THE LIST? 4 Worst Moments For The Democrats From The Gorsuch Hearing.

(08:19 AM)

“HACKED”: Podesta Was Board Member Of Firm Linked To Russian ‘Investors’

Podesta — best known as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman and former President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff — first made contact with the Russian firm in 2011, when he joined the boards and executive committees of three related entities: Boston-based Joule Unlimited; Rotterdam-based Joule Global Holdings; Joule Global Stichting, the company’s controlling interest. All are high-tech renewable energy enterprises.

Three months after Podesta’s arrival, Joule Unlimited accepted a 1 billion ruble investment from Rusnano, amounting to $35 million in U.S. currency. The firm also awarded a Joule board seat in February 2012 to Anatoly Chubais, Rusnano’s CEO, who has been depicted as a corrupt figure.

Podesta has attempted to downplay his relationship with Joule and Rusnano, but it could come to haunt him.

One potential legal problem for him relates to the time he joined former President Barack Obama’s White House staff in 2014 as a senior counselor and failed to reveal his 2011 Joule stock vesting agreement in his government financial disclosure form.

Further, he failed to disclose 75,000 common shares of Joule stock he received, as disclosed in a WikiLeaks email.

After Podesta began working at the White House, his lawyer indicated in a Jan. 6, 2014 email that he had not yet finished the legal work on the private transfer of the stock to a family-owned entity called Leonido Holdings, LLC.

Read the whole thing.

(08:14 AM)

NOT REALLY A SURPRISE: The Best And Worst States For Business: 90% Of The Top 10 Voted For Trump; 80% Of The Bottom 10 Voted For Clinton.

(08:12 AM)

ANOTHER FAKE HATE CRIME: Police: Man spray-painted swastikas on his own home.

(08:09 AM)

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Teacher accused of sexual contact with student smiles pretty for her mugshot. “Fowlkes turned herself in to police in Lockhart, Texas, about 35 miles from Austin, where authorities charged her with having an improper relationship with a student at Lockhart High, a second-degree felony.”

(08:05 AM)

PROCUREMENT: Navy Builds Ramjet Missile with Model Rocket Engines and a Credit Card.

U.S. Navy engineers at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division recently designed and flew a prototype ramjet missile in just six months. The engineers not only met their deadline, they flew the missile using off-the-shelf equipment, items so inexpensive they were paid for with a credit card. The result is a missile that could join the fleet in 3-4 years.

The United States military is currently in the midst of a major strategic shift. The post 9/11 era has seen the armed services concentrate on fighting insurgencies and anti-terrorism operations. While American involvement in such conflicts will persist for the foreseeable future like it or not, the U.S. must also contend with an increasingly aggressive Russia and China. Deterring conflict with such “near peer” competitors will require smart, fast, highly responsive weapons capable of striking targets at great distances.

Well done.

(08:00 AM)

ROLL CALL: Are Trump and McConnell Preparing the Next SCOTUS Pick?

Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing is still underway, but President Donald Trump may have laid the groundwork for his next Supreme Court pick Monday night in the Bluegrass State.

As Trump was on stage for a campaign-style rally at Freedom Hall, members of the Kentucky press corps were reporting that the president intends to nominate Judge Amul Thapar to fill an appellate seat for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The White House made it official on Tuesday.

Thapar is currently a federal district judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky, based in Lexington, and is a favorite of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Confirmed toward the end of the George W. Bush administration, he was the first district judge of South Asian descent.

“Throughout his already impressive career of public service, Amul has shown an incredible intellect and an unshakable dedication to the law. He has earned the respect of his colleagues, and I know that he will bring to the 6th Circuit the same wisdom, fairness, and ability that he has shown on the District Court,” McConnell said in a statement. “President Trump made an outstanding choice and I look forward to the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Thapar.”

The 47-year-old Thapar is a former federal prosecutor who served in D.C., Ohio and Kentucky. He was the U.S. attorney for Kentucky’s Eastern District before becoming a federal judge there.

A nomination to a higher court would be no surprise. He appeared on the short list of 21 judges that the Trump campaign finalized in September as potential replacements for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump ultimately selected Gorsuch, who also appeared on the list.

Thapar was identified by the National Law Journal as a potential Trump Supreme Court choice who could bring greater diversity to the high court.

Why would the Democrats oppose the first Asian Supreme Court Justice? Do they hate Asian-Americans that much?

(07:51 AM)

BYE-BYE BIBI? Netanyahu Provokes Political Crisis That Could Trigger ‘No Confidence’ Vote.

(07:42 AM)

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: In anti-intellectual email, Wellesley profs call engaging with controversial arguments an imposition on students.

While paying lip service to free speech, the email is remarkable in its contempt for free and open dialogue on campus. Asserting that controversial speakers “impose on the liberty of students, staff, and faculty at Wellesley,” the committee members lament the fact that such speakers negatively impact students by forcing them to “invest time and energy in rebutting the speakers’ arguments.”

And here we thought learning to effectively challenge views with which one disagreed was an important part of the educational process!

They don’t do education at Wellesley. They do indoctrination

Cost of being indoctrinated at Wellesley: $63,390 per year.

(07:37 AM)

I HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS: Ezekiel Emanuel, an ACA architect, is now advising Trump as GOP works to level the law.

With the administration and GOP leaders in Congress working to rewrite the landmark 2010 law – and Democrats displaying little appetite for negotiating with them – Emanuel appears to be one of the only members of his party with a seat at the table.

Monday’s meeting was Emanuel’s third in-person conversation on health policy with Trump since the November election. According to one person familiar with the session, who spoke on condition of anonymity about the private discussion, it took place in the Oval Office and lasted about 40 minutes. Among the others also attending were Vice President Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and the White House National Economic Council director, Gary Cohn.

Details of the conversation were not immediately available. But White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed the meeting took place – only days before Ryan hopes to bring the bill to a House vote.


AND: RATIONING: In Top Journal, Obamacare Boosters Push ‘Global Spending Target.’

(07:30 AM)

THE HILL: Key conservative: GOP doesn’t have votes on healthcare repeal.

Maybe they should offer a better bill, one that actually fulfills all their campaign promises. Just a thought.

(07:23 AM)

GOOD: Failed North Korean missile exploded ‘within seconds,’ US says.

US officials confirmed North Korea had attempted to launch a missile near Kalma, on the country’s east coast, but early reports suggest it failed.

“South Korea and the US are aware of the missile launch and to their knowledge North Korea’s missile was not successfully launched,” South Korea’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Neither the US nor South Korea have released information on what type of missile was fired, or why it failed. The US Pacific Command said it was working with partners to assess it further.

Given North Korea’s geography, it wouldn’t be difficult for the US Navy to enforce a “missile launch quarantine” on Pyongyang.

(07:06 AM)

MURKY BATTLELINES: The Race to Raqqa Could Cost Trump Turkey.

You can barely keep track of the players even with a scorecard, but here’s the gist:

“The situation has gotten very complicated, and we’re on the verge of a fierce war,” said Ilham Ahmed, the co-chair of the SDF’s [Syrian Democratic Forces, which includes the U.S.-supported YPG Syrian Kurdish fighters] political wing. “We are still getting support from the Americans, but if the Turkish attacks continue, we won’t be able to focus our efforts on Raqqa.”

The Kurdish-led forces’ fight with Turkey has also led them to pursue a tentative rapprochement with Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad. Earlier this month, these groups invited the Syrian government to take control of several villages near the front line with Turkey – apparently seeing the Syrian government presence as a potential buffer against a Turkish advance.

“We believe that the use of terms such as opposition or regime supporters, despite its importance, it has to be put on the back burner,” said Sihanouk Dibo, a senior presidential advisor to the PYD.

On the other side of Syria’s battle lines, Abu Waleed, a commander with the Turkish-backed Sultan Mourad brigades, is preparing for the coming war with the Kurdish forces. He speaks warmly of the “historic stance” Turkey took in favor of the Syrian uprising, saying that it is the “only one that is standing with the Free Syrian Army.”

Got that? Turkey supports one group of rebels which includes terrorists. We support another group of rebels which includes Kurds which the Turks claim, apparently with some justification, includes terrorists. Turkey’s rebels are spoiling for a fight with “our” rebels who are cozying up to the Assad regime they’re rebelling against. Everybody is racing to take Raqqa away from ISIS, but nobody wants anyone else to take it first.

Raqqa isn’t so much a powder keg as it is a whirlpool, filled with knives, sucking everyone in.

(07:05 AM)

GUNS JUST KEEP GETTING SAFER: Gun safety best ever, accidental deaths at new low, 0.3% of all in 2015.

(07:00 AM)

WELL, THE LEFT IS THE CENTER OF ANTI-SEMITISM TODAY: Leftist Anti-Semitic Fliers Appear on College Campus.

While the Left bends over backward to conflate Republicans, conservatives, and Trump supporters with Nazis, they might want to take a look in their own backyard.

A number of fliers have appeared on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago bearing viciously anti-Semitic comments equating so-called “white privilege” with so-called “Jewish privilege”. . . .

Other fliers appeared in the above post’s comments, including one making the monstrous analogy that the terrorist-run Gaza is actually an Israeli-run Auschwitz.

Another flier argues that Jews make up a disproportionate number of students enrolled at various well-respected schools such as Harvard and Columbia due to special privileges rather than objectively qualified accomplishments. One flier took issue with a university that dismissed an employee due a tweet regarding the “genocide in Palestine,” and another flier argued in favor of Holocaust denial.

Notably, many of the posts are tagged with #BlackLivesMatter and #WeAreAllMuslim.

Charming, but not surprising.

(05:00 AM)

THAT’S IT.  WE’RE LIVING IN A PULP UNIVERSE:Massive ‘anomaly’ lurks beneath ice in Antarctica.

(04:27 AM)


(04:00 AM)

NIGHTMARE INDUCING: My new vagina almost ruined my partner’s penis.

(03:30 AM)

HAUNTED BY NON-EXISTENT RESTAURANTS?  IT’S NOT SCIENCE FICTION: That awesome delivery restaurant you love doesn’t actually exist.

(03:00 AM)


(02:27 AM)

FOR EVERYTHING TURN, TURN, TURN: The Work of the Weavers.

(02:07 AM)

TRY #7 ARM, MANNY: This climber lost his legs, so he built robotic replacements.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

(11:06 PM)

OUT: FAKE NEWS. IN: FAKE TWEETS. Pressure Grows on Twitter CEO Dorsey Amid Bot Scandal. A recent report estimated that 15% of Twitter’s users were robots. Honestly, that’s lower than I would have guessed. . . .

(11:00 PM)

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(10:41 PM)

IS THERE ANYTHING TRUMP CAN’T DO? He’s got the New York Times and the LA Times calling for sanctions on employers who hire illegal aliens.

Based on the Knoxville experience, where just one well-publicized employer arrest produced a huge change in the local employment scene, that works.

(10:37 PM)

TONY KATZ ON TOMI LAHREN. Okay, two thoughts of mine: (1) There are both pro-life and pro-choice libertarians. Libertarianism doesn’t answer the question. (2) When you announce you’re pro-choice on The View, it’s probably because you’re planning on moving out of right-leaning media and into legacy media, which comes across as opportunistic.

(10:03 PM)

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: Secret Service had removed alarm sensors from fence intruder scaled.

The fence-jumper who wandered around the White House complex for 17 minutes was able to elude the Secret Service in part because the agency has taken down alarm sensors along an area of one fence that he scaled, according to two sources familiar with details of the incident.

The intruder, identified as Jonathan Tran, was able to jump over three different fences, including at least one between the Treasury Department and the east area of the White House complex shortly before midnight March 10.

Tran was able to scale that particular area of the fence without setting off alarms because they had been removed, leading to confusion among officers about his whereabouts and whether an intruder was inside the White House complex, the sources told the Examiner.

Trump still has his private security, right?

(09:05 PM)

HARVARD: Professors Sign Freedom Of Expression Statement.

(08:30 PM)

DEMOCRATS IN 2017: Susan Rice, who went on all the Sunday shows peddling the Benghazi YouTube lie, now has an oped in the Washington Post titled When the White House twists the truth, we are all less safe. Pathetic of WaPo to run this.

And speaking of less safe, “The troika made up of Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Hillary Clinton was perhaps the most disastrous foreign policy crew in American history.”

UPDATE: Trump’s credibility is shot, says . . . Jen Psaki? Really, CNN? That’s what you’ve got?

Of course, if legacy media banned Obama officials who lied to the public, they wouldn’t be able to have many Obama officials on. . . .

(08:06 PM)

21ST CENTURY HEADLINES: Europe’s first sex robot brothel FORCED OUT of base as prostitutes complain of competition. “Lumidolls – a pun on a Spanish slang term for prostitute – is believed to be the first such brothel to open in Europe after similar venues in places like Japan and China were hugely popular.”

(07:00 PM)

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Plus, Spring Savings Galore in Home and Garden.

(06:35 PM)

POINT: Live-Action ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Is Magnificent.

COUNTERPOINT: The New ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Adds Way Too Much.

PJM reports. You decide.

(06:32 PM)

BRAIDS AREN’T FOR WHITE GIRLS: Student Allegedly Attacked Female Basketball Player Because Her Hairstyle Was ‘Cultural Appropriation.’ “Authorities charged a Hampshire College student with assaulting a member of Central Maine Community College’s basketball team over a dispute about cultural appropriation. Really. The Hampshire student, 20-year-old Carmen Figueroa, allegedly started a fight because the basketball player had braided her hair in a manner that upset Figueroa. She walked up to the visiting player—during a basketball game—and demanded that the player remove the braids from her hair, according to”

She should be expelled. And then laughed at, for endorsing something as patently stupid as “cultural appropriation.”

(06:15 PM)

NO. Thick Mint Stout Is Your Unofficial Girl Scout Cookie Beer.

(06:00 PM)

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: How Do Unschoolers Turn Out?

Peter Gray has studied how learning happens without any academic requirements at a democratic school. The Boston College research professor also wrote about the long history and benefits of age-mixed, self-directed education in his book Free to Learn. Over the years, as he encountered more and more families who had adopted this approach at home (these so-called “unschoolers” are estimated to represent about 10 percent of the more than two million homeschooled children), he began to wonder about its outcomes in that setting. Finding no academic studies that adequately answered his question, he decided to conduct his own.

In 2011, he and colleague Gina Riley surveyed 232 parents who unschool their children, which they defined as not following any curriculum, instead letting the children take charge of their own education. The respondents were overwhelmingly positive about their unschooling experience, saying it improved their children’s general well-being as well as their learning, and also enhanced family harmony. Their challenges primarily stemmed from feeling a need to defend their practices to family and friends, and overcoming their own deeply ingrained ways of thinking about education. (The results are discussed at length here.)

This led Gray to wonder how unschooled children themselves felt about the experience, and what impact it may have had on their ability to pursue higher education and find gainful and satisfying employment. . . .

Overall, 83 percent of the respondents had gone on to pursue some form of higher education. Almost half of those had either completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, or were currently enrolled in such a program; they attended (or had graduated from) a wide range of colleges, from Ivy League universities to state universities and smaller liberal-arts colleges.

Several themes emerged: Getting into college was typically a fairly smooth process for this group; they adjusted to the academics fairly easily, quickly picking up skills such as class note-taking or essay composition; and most felt at a distinct advantage due to their high self-motivation and capacity for self-direction. “The most frequent complaints,” Gray notes on his blog, “were about the lack of motivation and intellectual curiosity among their college classmates, the constricted social life of college, and, in a few cases, constraints imposed by the curriculum or grading system.”

Most of those who went on to college did so without either a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED), and without taking the SAT or ACT. Several credited interviews and portfolios for their acceptance to college, but by far the most common route to a four-year college was to start at a community college (typically begun at age 16, but sometimes even younger).

The takeaway here is that people who didn’t go to school at all did as well as or better than people who did. Considering the huge amounts of money, and other social resources, that we invest in K-12 education, that’s kind of a big deal. Of course, you’d want to do a bigger study before taking this too seriously on a policy level, but it ought to spark at least a bit of rethinking.

(05:48 PM)

IMPRESSIVE… MOST IMPRESSIVE: This Dad Figured out the Coolest Way to Announce the Sex of His Baby!

(05:32 PM)

BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Anti-Israel Activist Linda Sarsour Tweets Out That Bernie Sanders ‘Changed Her Life’

(05:15 PM)

THE HORSE HAS LEFT THE BARN: Google Promises Closer Policing of Websites After YouTube Ad Flap in Britain.

Google has found itself at the center of a British storm in recent days after major companies from supermarkets to banks and consumer groups pulled their adverts from its YouTube site after they appeared alongside videos carrying homophobic and anti-Semitic messages.

Alphabet’s Google launched a review of the problem on Friday, apologized on Monday and said on Tuesday it had revamped its policies to give advertisers more control.

The company, which had said it struggled to monitor the 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, said it would hire significantly more staff and speed up the process of removing ads from hateful and offensive content that attacks people based on their race, religion or gender.

“We believe the combination of these new policies and controls will significantly strengthen our ability to help advertisers reach audiences at scale, while respecting their values,” Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, said in a blog.

Why do progressive companies like Google create such cesspits of homophobic and anti-Semitic messaging in the first place?

(05:07 PM)

CATHY YOUNG: Rebecca Solnit, Who Helped Popularize ‘Mansplaining,’ Is the Queen of Fakery. Imagine that.

(04:53 PM)

EVERY TIME I THINK I’M OUT THEY PULL ME BACK IN: Iraqi PM Says Trump Administration ‘Wants to be More Engaged’ in Region.

We’ll almost certainly need to be, with Iran uncaged and the longterm decline in oil prices both promising fresh chaos.

(04:39 PM)

YOUR GOVERNMENT AT WORK: Idaho boy sprayed by cyanide planted by US Department of Agriculture, dog killed.

“I hurried home, and the first thing I did was try to resuscitate the dog,” Mark Mansfield said. “Unfortunately I exposed myself to cyanide and had no idea.”

It took hours after emergency crews arrived and help from multiple agencies to learn Casey had died from exposure to an M-44.

M-44s are spring-activated devices that release cyanide when they are activated through upward pressure or pulling. The US Department of Agriculture uses the devices to control coyotes and other predators.

“We didn’t know anything about it. No neighborhood notifications and our local authorities didn’t know anything about them,” Mark said. “The sheriff deputies who went up there didn’t even know what a cyanide bomb was.”

The Mansfields have lived in their home nearly 10 years and have never seen M-44s in their neighborhood. They say the one triggered Thursday was planted on the borderline of their property.

“We weren’t aware, and nobody told us,” Theresa said. “There was nothing posted up on the hill saying to beware or be careful.”

Cyanide bombs seem like the kind of thing people should be made aware of.

(04:22 PM)

SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP: UK flight ban on devices to be announced.

The UK is due to announce a cabin baggage ban on laptops, tablets and DVD players on certain passenger flights, after a similar US move.

It is understood the UK restrictions may differ from the US Department of Homeland Security’s ban, although details have not yet been released.

Flights from 10 airports in eight Muslim majority countries are subject to the US announcement.
US officials said bombs could be hidden in a series of devices.

The UK’s Department for Transport refused to comment on reports of the ban.

But BBC home affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford said the expected move was “obviously part of coordinated action with the US”.

I hope this is a sign that US/UK relations are still improving, despite the recent flap.

(04:09 PM)

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Wonder Woman Absolutely Should Not Have Armpit Hair, Sorry. “After all, a woman who has not once in more than 70 years gone out without perfectly curled hair is definitely not a woman who would ever wear something sleeveless without shaving her pits.”


(04:01 PM)

WHEN CARS ARE LIKE POLITICIANS: The Subaru WRX STi Is a Hype Machine that Will Always End in Disappointment.

(02:52 PM)

FIRE THEM: U.S. Women’s Hockey Boycotting Championships Over Equal Pay.

(02:49 PM)

DRONE LAWS HAMPERING JOURNALISTS AND CITIZENS: What You Need to Conquer to be a Drone Journalist in Texas: An Airman’s Test, Privacy Laws and Gravity.

(02:44 PM)

BEN DOMENECH: How Trump Can Fix Health Care.

Mr. Trump won the presidency in part because of some big promises, including a vow to break from conservative orthodoxy on entitlements. If Congress fails to deliver on that promise, Mr. Trump could correct it by going boldly in a direction anathema to many on the right but potentially acceptable to some Democrats: universal coverage for catastrophic care.

Many Americans’ greatest fear is that their health care costs will bankrupt them. The quality of care we receive is high — I experienced this myself this month after a cardiac incident left me reading the Republican plan in an emergency room — but the expense is opaque, and Americans are not wrong to worry about these costs.

By providing catastrophic care for all, President Trump could ensure that everyone has an ultimate backstop against medical bankruptcy, while freeing the states to experiment with options for reform. It would also enable the private sector to offer new insurance products to supplement the basic catastrophic care coverage.

This idea has some support among conservatives. In 2012 Kip Hagopian and Dana Goldman estimated in National Affairs that to insure all 209 million Americans not already covered by public insurance programs would cost about $2,000 per person, or $7,200 per family per year — about half the projected $1.7 trillion cost of Obamacare over the coming decade. Individuals and families could then purchase additional coverage given their particular health needs, but would not be bankrupted by severe illness or accident.

Something along these lines might be the least-bad, politically feasible outcome.

(02:30 PM)

A STORY OF ADULT MUMPS AND MALE INFERTILITY. “To accurately describe the effect of mumps on that most delicate area for a young man would involve numerous fruit analogies, more akin to grapefruit than grapes.”

Get your shots.

(02:29 PM)

SVERIGE GETTING SERIOUS: Sweden preparing nuclear fallout bunkers across the country amid fear of Russian war.

A system of 65,000 bunkers was established in the Cold War to protect the population from nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

According to MSB, the bunkers currently protect against blast and radiation as well as chemical or germ warfare.

With a distinctive logo, they can easily be located by civilians seeking shelter.

But with fears growing over threat posed by Vladimir Putin and his resurgent Russia they are being reviewed to make sure they are ready.

I’m old enough to remember when Sweden took its policy of armed neutrality seriously all the time.