August 14, 2022

JOE CHONCHA: Biden frontrunner for ‘Lie of the Year’ award as many in media look the other way.

“I just want to say a number: zero. Today, we received news that our economy had zero inflation in the month of July. Zero percent. Here’s what that means: While the price of some things go up — went up last month, the price of other things went down by the same amount. The result? Zero inflation last month.”

That was President Biden speaking to the country last Wednesday. His administration has attempted to redefine what infrastructure means (it’s not only about improving roads, bridges and power grids, but also about paid family leave and child care) and what a recession means (it’s not two straight quarters of negative GDP growth anymore). But it just moved into the lead to win the “Lie of the Year” award with the claim that the U.S. economy is experiencing zero inflation.

The facts: Inflation still stands near a 40-year high and came in at 8.5 percent in July.

“Prices have risen across a wide range of goods and services, leaving most Americans worse off,” the AP reported this week. “Average paychecks are rising faster than they have in decades — but not fast enough to keep up with accelerating costs for such items as food, rent, autos and medical services.”

In other words, the money coming into the average household still isn’t keeping up with the cost of everyday items. But the president and this administration decided to turn the most basic economic norms on their head for cheap political gain by arguing that since the inflation rate fell by six-tenths of a percentage point to 8.5 percent in July compared to the same month of last year, that somehow means zero percent.

To be fair, as an Obama administration retread, Joe’s in good company for the Lie of the Year Award:

READER FAVORITE: Apple AirPods Pro Wireless Earbuds with MagSafe Charging Case. #CommissionEarned

ITS ORIGIN AND PURPOSE, STILL A TOTAL MYSTERY: Salman Rushdie Stabbing Suspect ‘Had Contact With Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.’ “Intel officials told VICE World News Hadi Matar had been in contact with members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. There’s no evidence Iran was involved in organising the attack.”

As always, life imitates Monty Python. “May I take this opportunity of emphasizing that there is no cannibalism in the British Navy. Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit, but all new ratings are warned that if they wake up in the morning and find any toothmarks at all anywhere on their bodies, they’re to tell me immediately so that I can immediately take every measure to hush the whole thing up.”

TWO ENGLANDS IN ONE!

Shot: Appalled at attack on Salman Rushdie: British PM Boris Johnson.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his shock at author Salman Rushdie being stabbed by a man at an event in New York on Friday and condemned the attack on his freedom of expression.

“Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend,” Johnson said in a tweet. “Right now, my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay,” he said.

Former chancellor and the contender to succeed Johnson as the new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, also took to Twitter to express his shock. “Shocked to hear of the attack on Salman Rushdie in New York. A champion of free speech and artistic freedom. He’s in our thoughts tonight,” Sunak said.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the other finalist in the Conservative Party leadership election, said: “Disgraceful attack on Sir Salman Rushdie. People must be able to speak freely and freedom of speech must be defended. “My thoughts are with him, his family and loved ones.” “My thoughts are with him, his family and loved ones.”

Chaser: UK Man Arrested For ‘Malicious Communications’ After Posting Meme Mocking the Transgender Flag.

Hardly a day goes by without some viral international incident reminding us why we’re so lucky to have the First Amendment. The latest such lunacy comes courtesy of the United Kingdom, where police just arrested a man for posting an allegedly offensive tweet.

Yes, seriously.

As shown in a viral video, Hampshire officers on Thursday confronted and arrested a UK man. One of the officers says, “Someone has been caused anxiety based on your social media post. And that is why you’re being arrested.”

—Foundation for Economic Education, August 2nd.

 

SO EARLIER THIS WEEK, I EXPERIMENTED WITH SHOOTING THE 5.7 X 28 CARTRIDGE: My first impression was how small and light a box of 50 cartridges was. I first shot through a Ruger 57, which was very unsatisfactory as the trigger safety was hinky. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

I switched to an FN57 and it was better, though it stovepiped on the first shot. After that things were smooth, and the gun was certainly low-recoil and accurate. I doubt it’s the cartridge’s fault, and those were rental guns at the range, which have probably seen a lot of use. Still, not the most auspicious introduction to this new caliber.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Inside the Massive Effort to Change the Way Kids Are Taught to Read.

As a teacher in Oakland, Calif., Kareem Weaver helped struggling fourth- and fifth-grade kids learn to read by using a very structured, phonics-based reading curriculum called Open Court. It worked for the students, but not so much for the teachers. “For seven years in a row, Oakland was the fastest-gaining urban district in California for reading,” recalls Weaver. “And we hated it.”

The teachers felt like curriculum robots—and pushed back. “This seems dehumanizing, this is colonizing, this is the man telling us what to do,” says Weaver, describing their response to the approach. “So we fought tooth and nail as a teacher group to throw that out.” It was replaced in 2015 by a curriculum that emphasized rich literary experiences. “Those who wanted to fight for social justice, they figured that this new progressive way of teaching reading was the way,” he says.

Now Weaver is heading up a campaign to get his old school district to reinstate many of the methods that teachers resisted so strongly: specifically, systematic and consistent instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics. “In Oakland, when you have 19% of Black kids reading—that can’t be maintained in the society,” says Weaver, who received an early and vivid lesson in the value of literacy in 1984 after his cousin got out of prison and told him the other inmates stopped harassing him when they realized he could read their mail to them. “It has been an unmitigated disaster.” In January 2021, the local branch of the NAACP filed an administrative petition with the Oakland unified school district (OUSD) to ask it to include “explicit instruction for phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension” in its curriculum.

Exit quote: “We abandoned what worked because we didn’t like how it felt to us as adults, when actually, the social-justice thing to do is to teach them explicitly how to read.”

It’s an idea so crazy, it just might work.

AT THIS POINT, I’D SAY THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Doctors from USC, UCLA say mask mandates for COVID-19 not effective, as debate goes on.

GAME CHANGER:

Related: Hageman Campaign Creates ‘Cheney For Virginia’ Website:

Congressional candidate Harriet Hageman has doubled down on her claims that her Republican primary opponent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney is not a true Wyomingite by creating a spoof website called “Liz Cheney for Virginia.”

The website LizCheneyForVa.com portrays Cheney as a Virginia resident who is working for the priorities of that state.

Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler did not immediately return Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Monday.

In an ad posted on her YouTube channel, also titled “Cheney for Virginia,” Hageman continued to question Cheney’s commitment to representing Wyoming, a topic she has frequently addressed in her campaign.

“Liz Cheney clearly doesn’t know what being a representative means,” Hageman said. “She’s not representing us. She’s not representing Wyoming. She’s not representing our values. Let’s send her home … to Virginia.”

The spoof website invites visitors to get to know Cheney’s hometown in Fairfax County, Virginia and links to a tourism website all about the attractions in the area. It also claims she bases her family in northern Virginia.

It’s a great piece of trolling.

Earlier: Why Wait? Here’s Liz Cheney’s Concession Speech in Advance.

UPDATE: Twitter reacts: Did Al Franken MEAN to put the final nail in Liz Cheney’s campaign’s coffin because YUP we’re pretty sure he just did (and we can’t stop laughing).

(Updated and bumped.)

THE USSR WAS AN ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER, BUT WE ALWAYS HEAR THAT CAPITALISM IS DESTROYING THE PLANET: The Soviet Union once hunted endangered whales to the brink of extinction.

NEO: More reflections on the Mar-A-Lago raid: Trump as an illegitimate president.

On this blog, commenter “Greg Hlatky” remarked:

You are watching the Ruling Class lose its collective mind over a man who has not been in office for more than a year and a half, didn’t take his salary when President and likely isn’t drawing a pension. Unless Trump is just a MacGuffin.

Trump isn’t just a MacGuffin, but he is at least partly a symbol. Sarah Palin was a similar symbol before him, but because she never was elected VP, the focus on her faded. Trump would have faded, too, if he had lost the 2016 election. His winning and becoming president was the outrage that cannot be forgiven, ever. They could not believe it happened, and they think he must be prevented from ever winning again or ever taking a position of any kind of political power.

Not just Trump, though; any Republican who isn’t part of the genteel NeverTrumper club must never take power. Any Republican who might really be serious about stopping them and especially about draining the so-called swamp cannot have any power. It is a deadly serious game and they are determined to win.

Trump himself said, and he was correct: “They’re not after me, they’re after you – I’m just in the way.”

Read the whole thing.

Related: The ‘cabal’ that bragged of foisting Joe Biden on us must answer for his failed presidency.

FASTER, PLEASE: Researchers discover new approach to healing skin infections and wounds.

CBS GOES OUT ON A LIMB: One thing the Inflation Reduction Act may not do: Lower inflation.

The Inflation Reduction Act is aimed at tackling a host of problems, from climate change to catching tax cheats, but there’s one issue it may not solve: reducing inflation.

That’s the conclusion of the Penn Wharton Budget Model, a group of economists and data scientists at University of Pennsylvania who analyze public policies to predict their economic and fiscal impacts. Its analysis, published Friday, comes as inflation remains near a 40-year high, crimping the budgets of consumers and businesses alike.

The Inflation Reduction Act would invest nearly $400 billion in energy security and climate change proposals, aimed at reducing carbon emissions by approximately 40% by 2030. It also would allow Medicare to negotiate with drugmakers on prescription prices, and would limit out-of-pocket drug expenses for seniors to $2,000 annually. The bill also directs $80 billion in funding to the IRS, aimed at helping the underfunded agency hire more auditors and beef up its customer service and technology.

But the impact on inflation “is statistically indistinguishable from zero,” the Penn Wharton Budget Model said on Friday.

As the man promised voters in 2020, “Milton Friedman isn’t running the show anymore.”

Related: About That ‘Inflation Reduction Act…’

Even the House of Stephanopoulos isn’t buying the Biden administration’s spin:

HOW ABOUT BUILD SOME NICE NUCLEAR-POWERED DESALINATION PLANTS INSTEAD: California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveils water conservation plan to meet drought challenges.

ROGER KIMBALL: David Brooks is very worried the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago helps Trump.

It’s things like pursuing policies that make America energy-independent, enforcing immigration laws so successfully that illegal immigration is slowed to a trickle. It’s pursuing economic policies—slashing taxes, sharply reducing regulations that are merely burdensome—that lead to the lowest unemployment rates in decades or in history for minority workers, who also saw real wages rise at their quickest rate ever. It’s defanging “corrupt,” “malevolent,” “partisan” diktats like Title IX rules in colleges and “woke” ideology in the military. It’s insisting that our NATO allies act like allies and pay their agreed-upon fees to support the organization. It’s also making symbolic gestures like moving our Israeli embassy to Jerusalem where it belongs, and formulating the Abraham Accords, a world-historical foreign policy achievement in the Middle East.

I could go on. But I don’t want to stand in the way of David Brooks’ main point, which is to lament that Trump’s narrative, such as it is, has suddenly been goosed by the FBI, which, acting on a wide-ranging warrant that Merrick Garland personally approved, raided Mar-a-Lago, rummaged through Melania’s personal wardrobe, and carted off some 11 boxes of documents that have been variously described as classified presidential documents (just think of Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 emails, some of Barack Obama’s papers, etc.) and “nuclear secrets.” (One wag wondered whether there was a video of Trump peeing on nuclear codes with Russian prostitutes, but that probably came from Christopher Steele.)

The entire episode has put David Brooks in a bind. On the one hand, he would love to see Donald Trump taken away in handcuffs and indicted. On the other, the FBI’s actions have galvanized conservative, and even Republican, support for Trump. It has also got people thinking that America’s premier law enforcement agency is, well, “corrupt,” “malevolent,” “partisan,” and “acting in bad faith.”

Overnight, support for Trump, already strong, surged. Brooks quoted a reporter for Politico: The FBI’s action “completely handed him a lifeline,” he said. “It put everybody in the wagon for Trump again. It’s just taken the wind out of everybody’s sails.” Imagine that. Organize a “corrupt,” “malevolent,” “partisan,” and “acting in bad faith” raid by the secret police against a political opponent and people don’t like it! What is the world coming to?

Why, it’s as if: David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

TWENTY MINUTES INTO THE FUTURE: Yes, They’re Going to Arrest Donald Trump. Deal With It.

GOODER AND HARDER, SAN FRANCISCO: San Francisco’s $20K trash cans. “This is yet another scene that could have been taken straight out of the movie Idiocracy. The prototypes are being placed out on the streets and they cost up to $20,000 each. But don’t worry. Whichever model is eventually selected will only cost $3,000 each when they go into mass production. The city is looking to replace 3,000 existing trash cans, so it shouldn’t run much more than nine million dollars. For trash cans. The city is also looking at some off-the-shelf models that range in cost from $630 to $2,800.”

ITS ORIGIN AND PURPOSE, STILL A TOTAL MYSTERY: Investigators Hunt for Motivation and Movements of Man Accused in Rushdie Attack.

Entirely unrelated: Iranian media outlets praise Salman Rushdie stabbing.

Iranian news outlets celebrated the stabbing of author Salman Rushdie as the hospitalized writer fights for his life.

Rushdie, who was stabbed in the neck, is unable to speak and on a ventilator. The man accused of attacking Rushdie has been charged with attempted murder in the second degree along with second degree assault, prosecutors said Saturday.

While there has been no official response from the Iranian government, media outlets in the country rejoiced at the attempted assassination.

Mister, we could use a man like Christopher Hitchens again:

 

 

WELL, LARRY TRIBE: “Tribe’s link goes to the latest Maureen Dowd column. It’s kind of funny to be railing against Trump for making lemonade out of the lemons his enemies foisted on him.”

Larry Tribe linking to Maureen Dowd is a formula for dispassionate, even-tempered, fact-based analysis.

DEAL OF THE DAY: Folding Utility Knife. #CommissionEarned

SAN FRANCISCO DJ BIG RICK STUART: Toy Camera Black and White Photography.

Lots of people took up new hobbies during Covid. I decided to expand my photography skills (and gear) to explore both digital and film. It has been fun and I have had to learn a lot of new vocabulary coming from a Point and Shoot Olympus TG-4 to a Sony a6400.

I also got an old Olympus OM-1 film camera out of the garage and bought a small plastic toy 35mm camera – the RETO Project Ultra Wide & Slim. It is just $30, easy to use, and easy to carry around. Buy it in the US at B&H Photo here.

These are some shots from the Black Stallion Winery in Napa. I was on a bicycle ride so I took the Ultra Wide & Slim loaded with Derev Pan 100 B&W film from the Film Photography Project. They describe it as Hand-rolled into 36 exposure cartridges, Film Photography Project’s new and spectacular panchromatic BW film line DEREV is named after the forests of Ukraine, it’s country of origin as a scientific aerial photographic film.

A panchromatic mylar-based BW film with good exposure latitude and extremely sharp fine grain.

The photos look great — but personally, as with the reemergence in record players, having spent many hours in the darkroom, I have no desire to go back to the future.

SOUNDS LIKE THE UNIVERSITY IS CREATING A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT BASED ON SEX: Campus ‘bro culture’ is racist, according to university’s ‘Self-Education’ webpage.

Related: Bros are people too.

IT’S TRIGGERING TO TYRANTS, A CATEGORY THAT INCLUDES A LOT OF UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATORS: Professor blocked for tweeting ‘all men are created equal’ files First Amendment lawsuit.

ROGER KIMBALL: A Token of the Managerial Age Bewails Trump’s Surge: David Brooks is very worried the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago helps Trump.

The reason, by the way, my friend’s words about Merrick Garland were “delighted” was because of the huge, if inadvertent, boost the attorney general has just given to Donald Trump’s political prospects.

Monday’s FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach residence, was probably the single biggest boon to his stature among voters since he left office in January 2021, bigger even than the partisan witch hunt over which future CNN hostess, Liz Cheney, has been presiding with such ostentatious zeal.

This is obviously a concern among the beautiful, well-pressed people with white collars and clean fingernails who hate Trump. Employing a ju-ju they recognize but do not understand, Trump has time and again demonstrated an uncanny ability to goad his would-be attackers into contortions of self-immolation.

Is that happening now? Maybe. My friend thinks so, hence his buoyant mood and affectionate feelings about the attorney general.

A lot of other people think so, too, though for many the apparently rising fortunes of Donald Trump are not something to celebrate but something to abominate. A good example of the latter was just provided by David Brooks, successfully housebroken faux-conservative columnist for our former paper of record, the New York Times.

Related: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

OUT ON A LIMB: Calling B.S. on White House Claims of No Increase in Audits for Middle Class.

THAT’S HOW IT USUALLY GOES: White House Report Card: Was Biden’s ‘great week’ lousy for the rest of us?

HOW IT STARTED: “Why Won’t Trump Release the Warrant!!!!”

How it’s going: President Trump and Breitbart.com Accused of “Doxxing” FBI Agents Who Signed a Public Document.

JUST NBC THE ANGER! MSNBC’s Ali Velshi Blasts Florida For Not Giving ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ To Minors.

DEAL OF THE DAY: ACEBEAM Pokelit AA Rechargeable Mini Flashlight with Clip. #CommissionEarned

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Top progressive activist says student debt cancelation isn’t up for debate.

Turner has no obligation to debate me. Maybe she thinks I’m not worth her time. She does have far more followers than I do, to be fair.

But as it turns out, she’s actually unwilling to debate anyone on this subject.

That’s simply unhinged.

Student debt cancelation means spending trillions of the American people’s tax money to pay off the bills of a relatively affluent slice of society. One study even found it would benefit the top 20% six times more than the bottom 20%. It’s a regressive taxpayer bailout.

So, it’s little wonder that this proposal is unpopular with voters. Full student debt cancelation—Turner’s position—is supported by just 37% of the public, NPR polling finds.

That’s right: More than 6 in 10 Americans disagree with Turner’s proposal. But she nonetheless thinks it’s beyond debate, because it’s a question of “human rights” and “people shouldn’t profit from knowledge.”

It’s particularly funny to see Turner claim that there’s no place for profit in education. She is a professor, according to her Twitter bio. I wonder: Does she take a salary or any form of compensation? Or does she just teach as a form of charity?

Anyway, Nina Turner certainly doesn’t have to debate me on this issue. But that one of the most prominent progressive advocates for student debt cancelation is unwilling to debate anyone on the subject suggests that she knows how empty and hypocritical her talking points truly are.

The “it’s not a debate” stance is a standard pose by leftists when they know they’re likely to lose the debate. As Victor Davis Hanson wrote in 2018:  “Twenty years ago, there was honest debate over global warming. Ten years ago, there was still honest debate over the effects of human-induced climate change. Five years ago, there was still honest debate over the cost-benefit analysis of dealing with the problem. Not now. Anyone who doubts that there is an existential man-caused threat to the planet — requiring the radical and costly reconstruction of the global economy and society — is considered a ‘denier,’ deserving of professional ostracism or worse.”

HOWIE CARR KNOWS WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED: Howie Carr: FBI Mar-a-Lago raid an example of corruption pace long ago set by Boston division.

Sometimes it seems like the Boston office of the FBI — dumpster fire of breathtaking corruption and incompetence that it is — serves as a field laboratory for the Democrat briefers in D.C. whose mission it is to crush any opposition to the Deep State.

All week long, since the FBI’s Stasi-style raid on Mar-a-Lago, it’s been deja vu all over again for anyone who’s been paying attention to the decades of multiple messes that our local on-the-take G-men have been diving headfirst into.

Everything corrupt, illegal or unethical that the FBI does nationally, they did a dry run here first — just to see just how much they could get away with.

The answer is: Plenty, especially now in Brandon’s Banana Republic.

Remember how this week the D.C. Gestapo told us the raid was a matter of national security? Trump left office in January 2021, almost 19 months ago. Yet the jackbooted wokesters only now figured there’s a “national security” problem?

It’s foot-dragging reminiscent of the feds’ hunt for Whitey Bulger, the serial-killing brother of the most powerful Democrat politician in the state.

Whitey took it on the lam in December 1994, with his gal pal Theresa Stanley. She couldn’t take the fugitive life, so she came back to Boston. The feds didn’t get around to interviewing her about Whitey’s aliases until the summer of 1996.

By then he’d been stopped at least twice by local cops — in Wyoming and Mississippi — for minor traffic infractions. But the cops didn’t know that they were dealing with a mass murdering cocaine-dealing registered Democrat, because the feds couldn’t be bothered debriefing his moll.

It’s in the FBI handbook. Wherever investigating a fellow Democrat, a G-man must leave no stone unturned — except the one that the comrade, in this case Whitey, is hiding under (for 17 years).

The FBI went after Whitey almost as hard as they’ve since gone after Hunter Biden, or Hillary Clinton, or antifa, or BLM, or … Democrats.

Then there was the timing of the Mar-a-Lago warrant. The feds got it on Aug. 5, a Friday, but it was so damn imperative that they get into Melania’s wardrobe that they took the weekend off before commencing the raid at dawn Monday morning, Aug. 8.

Anyone remember Gary Lee Sampson, a bank robber from Abington? Back in 2001, he wanted to turn himself in to the FBI. It was, again, a summer Friday afternoon. He called the Boston office and told them who he was, where he was, and that he wished to surrender. The feds hung up on him — it was Friday, Date Night Number One. Who could be bothered driving to Abington?

Sampson waited around for a couple of hours, but no FBI appeared to make the collar. So he went on a murder spree that weekend.

After he was arrested for the three killings, Sampson told local cops he’d called the FBI office. But everyone in the Boston office denied that Sampson had called — they lied, in other words, just like they did on those FISA warrants on Carter Page in 2016.

Boston’s also long been setting the pace for payoffs. Whitey Bulger’s partner, Stevie Flemmi, said their mob had six local FBI agents on the payroll. Six!

But hey, during one of the rare internal investigations of fed corruption back in 2017, the inspector general reported that in D.C., they’d discovered 50 agents were taking “gratuities” — also known as bribes — from assorted bad actors.

The FBI — Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity. And free lunch. And free booze.

The Boston office was just setting the pace for other corrupt American KGB-types to follow. There was John “Vino” Morris, a very special agent, who was paid off with $7,000 in cash and cases of wine by Whitey and Stevie. They got him so drunk one night they had to drive him home. That evening, in his drunkenness, he left behind one of the feds’ bugging tapes from Mafia headquarters on Prince Street.

Long before corrupt agent Peter Strzok (another Boston alum) was chasing Lisa Page around the Xerox machine on the seventh floor, Vino Morris was doing his secretary. Whitey and Stevie gave him a grand so she could visit Vino at a Georgia “training” session for some closed-door dictation.

Of course, with inflation, it’s gotten much more expensive to buy a G-man. Take Andrew McCabe — the disgraced ex-director who like all the rest lied under oath. When he was running the Hillary Clinton espionage “probe,” Clinton operatives funneled $700,000 to his wife’s state Senate campaign. . . .

Maybe someday we’ll find out just what went down last week at Mar-a-Lago. But I doubt it. “Mr. White” made his call to Vino back in 1995. Earlier this year, the feds coughed up to this newspaper the 302 report that was filed after Bulger called his fed hireling.

It’s part of the historical record. The call has been discussed in federal court, books, documentaries, etc.

So we finally get the official FBI report and it begins with words to the effect of: “What follows is a transcript of the conversation:

And then there’s nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just a blank page.

Because … FBI. Because … Democrats. It’s the Boston way.

FBI – Famous but Incompetent.

Oh, they’re competent at some things. But the Bureau used to care about its reputation. Now I guess it’s decided that it doesn’t have to care, anymore.

AS SCHOOL STARTS, COLLEGES WARN STUDENTS ABOUT MONKEYPOX RISK: “One of the most sensitive issues colleges face is how to communicate about an outbreak that so far in the United States has spread mainly among men who have sex with other men. ‘We don’t want to stigmatize sexual behavior,’ said Lynn R. Goldman, dean of public health at GWU.”

They had the same “everybody is at risk” approach to AIDS, which spread unnecessary fear among a generation of straight people while leaving gays at increased risk.

Also, note the concern with “public health fatigue” post-Covid. Well, when you spread unfounded hysteria, and get most of the big issues wrong, people will listen to you less.

August 13, 2022

LOYALTY OATHS: University of California Requires Faculty Candidates to Swear Allegiance to Diversity, Equity. and Inclusion.

WELL, THEY PIMPED THE RUSSIAN COLLUSION THEORY WHEN THEY KNEW IT WAS FALSE: Did the Justice Department Already Know That No Classified Docs Were at Mar-a-Lago?

OPEN THREAD: Make this space your own.

CHICAGO: 54 People Shot Over Weekend – New Policy Stifles Cops’ Ability to Chase Criminals.

Chicago police data released last week show that murder is down 16% compared to 2021, but up 30% compared to 2019. Overall violent crime is up in Chicago by 35% this year compared to 2021, with theft up 66% and motor vehicle percent up 51%.

Superintendent Brown faced criticism earlier this summer, when his department released a new policy that limits when police officers are allowed to engage in foot pursuits. The new policy requires that the chase only be done “if they believe a person is committing or is about to commit a felony, a Class A misdemeanor such as domestic battery, or a serious traffic offense that could risk injuring others, such as drunken driving or street racing.”

This policy was enacted a year after two Chicago police chases ended in the deaths of a 13-year-old suspect and a 22-year-old, both of whom were fleeing from police and were armed.

Chicago police are still keeping busy focusing on the important issues vexing the city, though: Chicago police will divert some cops from neighborhoods to protect movie sets: report.

THE NEW SPACE RACE: See the huge solar wings of China’s space station in motion above Earth.

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR PROPOSES $1.4 BILLION LOAN TO KEEP NUCLEAR PLANT OPEN:

California Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing to give PG&E Corp (PCG.N) a $1.4 billion government loan to extend the life of a nuclear power plant it runs by as much as a decade as the state seeks to shore up electric reliability while moving away from fossil fuels, his office said on Friday.

The proposal, which would have to be introduced as a bill in the state legislature, is the latest in a series of steps California has made this year to reconsider its 2016 decision to retire the Diablo Canyon power plant by 2025.

California wants to produce all of its electricity from clean sources by 2045, but has faced challenges with that transition, such as rolling blackouts during a heatwave in 2020.

Strict Covid lockdowns and rolling blackouts? Californians sure got it good and hard in 2020. And yet Larry Elder was a reach too far for the state’s voters.

THINGS ARE GOING SWIMMINGLY ON THE PUBLIC HEALTH FRONT: First U.S. polio case in years sparks alarms from New York to California.

The polio patient is a 20-year-old unvaccinated man who traveled to Hungary and Poland earlier this year and was hospitalized in June, the Washington Post reported, citing a public health official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The New York Times reported that the patient is a member of the Orthodox Jewish community.

Genetic analysis of a polio virus sample from the patient indicates that it was picked up from a person who had received the oral polio vaccine, which has not been used in the U.S. since 2000, health officials said.

The oral vaccine contains a weakened live polio virus.

The spread of “wild” virus to unvaccinated people was once considered a feature, rather than a bug, since even people who didn’t get the live-virus vaccine could be “vaccinated” by exposure to people who did. It was, however, controversial at the time.

Meanwhile, of course, the unsatisfactory Covid vaccine experience has probably reinforced vaccine skepticism in general.

FASTER, PLEASE: Researchers discover new approach to healing skin infections and wounds.

READER FAVORITE: Alpha Grillers Instant Read Meat Thermometer. #CommissionEarned

DOES ANYBODY EVEN CARE ANYMORE? FDA: 3 at-home COVID-19 tests needed to confirm negative result.

HOW IT STARTED: Starbucks barista arrested for spitting in police officers’ beverages.

How it’s going: Crime Driving Chain Businesses Out of Cities.

Starbucks has announced that it is closing many stores over crime concerns, often in cities led by progressive prosecutors. This development could be fodder for a joke about progressive hipsters whose voting inclinations wind up costing them their venti frappucinos. But these closures risk leaving citizens in the most troubled areas with ever-dwindling opportunities to buy basic necessities for their families.

Starbucks was an early and loud adopter of every progressive whim. The coffee chain demanded implicit-bias training for all employees. After police in Philadelphia removed two black men—who refused to buy anything—from a store at an employee’s request, Starbucks apologized and opened its stores to anyone and everyone.

But the rising tide of crime in progressive cities has proved too much even for the coffee behemoth. Citing safety issues, Starbucks is closing stores in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, and its hometown of Seattle. Each of these cities has a radical prosecutor dedicated to non-prosecution of even serious crimes, such as George Gascon in L.A. and Larry Krasner in Philly. The next time you can’t get a good cup of coffee in one of these cities, consider whom you voted for in the district attorney’s race.

Speaking of which: ‘Woke’ NYC Starbucks now a haven for junkies and homeless. “‘Starbucks got too woke too fast,’ said java joint regular Constantine Dobryakov. ‘Now some customers are too scared to go in because you’ve got a bunch of homeless people sleeping in there. They got to be ready to kick people out and not give everyone a free cup of coffee. You give them a finger and they’ll take a hand.’”

BUT HE DIDN’T GET ELECTED, DID HE? Roy Moore wins defamation case against Democratic PAC, jury awards him $8.2M.

ITS ORIGIN AND PURPOSE, STILL A TOTAL MYSTERY: NPR: Salman Rushdie hospitalized as police seek motive in stabbing.

Police identified the suspect as Hadi Matar, 24. He was arrested after the attack at the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit education and retreat center where Rushdie was scheduled to speak.

Matar, of Fairview, New Jersey, was born in the United States to Lebanese parents who emigrated from Yaroun, a border village in southern Lebanon, Mayor Ali Tehfe told The Associated Press.

Rushdie’s novel “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats after it was published in 1988. It was viewed as blasphemous by many Muslims who saw a character as an insult to the Prophet Muhammad, among other objections. The book was banned in Iran where the late leader Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a 1989 fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death.

Police said the motive for the Friday attack was unclear.

Related: Iran media hails stabbing of ‘apostate’ Salman Rushdie, praises assailant.

FASTER, PLEASE: Breakthrough: Ignition confirmed at California fusion reactor.

IS THE NEW YORK TIMES A LIBERAL NEWSPAPER? OF COURSE IT IS: Source Backs Bari Weiss Account That the New York Times Wanted to Run Tim Scott Op-Ed By Schumer.

The New York Times has repeatedly denied the explosive account from former Times journalist Bari Weiss that a senior opinion-page editor instructed a colleague to “check with” Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) before running an op-ed from Senator Tim Scott (R., S.C.). But a second source with direct knowledge of the matter has backed up Weiss’s story to National Review. The source also quoted a message sent by a senior editor at the time insisting that the Times check with Schumer — even providing the email address of Schumer press representative Justin Goodman.

The second source also revealed that Scott’s op-ed, which focused on the Republican senator’s police-reform package, was initially solicited by the Times — as opposed to having been pitched to the newspaper — a detail that was not clear from the original account.

New York Times owner Tom Cotton really has a lot to answer for here.

(Classical reference in headline.)

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Why Aren’t Electric Vehicles Becoming More Affordable?

AMERICA’S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD: ‘The FBI Raid On Melania’s Closet Was Justified,’ Says Merrick Garland Wearing Gorgeous New Evening Gown And Sun Hat.

To be fair, he really looks fabulous in that rig:

SPYWARE PROTECTION: Hands-on with Lockdown Mode in IOS 16.

THE BANNINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES: Twitter Suspended Paul Sperry, but He’s Still Reporting Some Troubling Things About FBI Raid.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Making oxygen with magnets could help astronauts breathe easy.

BIDEN VOTERS POSTING THEIR L’S ONLINE: David Brooks: Did the FBI just reelect Donald Trump?

According to a Trafalgar Group/Convention of States Action survey, 83% of likely Republican voters said the FBI search made them more motivated to vote in the 2022 elections. More than 75% of likely Republican voters believed Trump’s political enemies were behind the search rather than the impartial justice system, as did 48% of likely general election voters overall.

In a normal society, when politicians get investigated or charged, it hurts them politically. But that no longer applies to the GOP. The judicial system may be colliding with the political system in an unprecedented way.

What happens if a prosecutor charges Trump and he is convicted just as he is cruising to the GOP nomination or maybe even the presidency? What happens if the legal system, using its criteria, decides Trump should go to prison at the very moment that the electoral system, using its criteria, decides he should go to the White House?

I presume in those circumstances Trump would be arrested and imprisoned. I also presume we would see widespread political violence from incensed Trump voters who would conclude that the Regime has stolen the country. In my view, this is the most likely path to a complete democratic breakdown.

In theory, justice is blind, and obviously no person can be above the law. But as Damon Linker wrote in a Substack post, “This is a polity, not a graduate seminar in Kantian ethics.” We live in a specific real-world situation, and we all have to take responsibility for the real-world effects of our actions.

America absolutely needs to punish those who commit crimes. On the other hand, America absolutely needs to make sure that Trump does not get another term as president. What do we do if the former makes the latter more likely? I have no clue how to get out of this potential conflict between our legal and political realities.

We’re living in a crisis of legitimacy, during which distrust of established power is so virulent that actions by elite actors tend to backfire, no matter how well founded they are.

My impression is that the FBI had legitimate reasons to do what it did. My guess is it will find some damning documents that will do nothing to weaken Trump’s support. I’m also convinced that, at least for now, it has unintentionally improved Trump’s reelection chances. It has unintentionally made life harder for Trump’s potential primary challengers and motivated his base.

Flashback: How David Brooks created Donald Trump.

JUST LIKE PEOPLE: For older dogs, risk of dementia rises with hearing loss.

THE ATTACK ON SALMAN RUSHDIE IS AN ATTACK ON US ALL:

The thought of it turns the stomach. A man stabbed for writing a book. And not just any man, but Salman Rushdie. The author with the price on his head. The author of the The Satanic Verses, the novel burned by Islamists around the world. The author whose act of ‘blasphemy’ at the tailend of the 20th century showed us just how deep the problem of Islamist intolerance is – and just how deep Western liberal cowardice is in the face of this most violent and unhinged variant of cancel culture.

We are all praying for Salman Rushdie today, even us godless types. He was airlifted to hospital yesterday after being stabbed multiple times in the neck and abdomen on stage at an event in New York. Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, says he is on a ventilator and unable to speak. ‘Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged’, he says. Those who believe in freedom the world over are willing him to pull through.

We are not yet sure why the suspect – 24-year-old Hadi Matar from New Jersey – rushed on stage and stabbed Rushdie in reportedly crazed fashion. But we can make an educated guess. For more than 30 years Rushdie has lived under an execution order. On 14 February 1989, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him and anyone involved in publishing his ‘blasphemous’ fourth novel. He went into hiding for nine years. The book’s Japanese translator was stabbed to death in 1991. Its Turkish translator narrowly escaped an Islamist arson attack in 1993, which claimed the lives of 37 others.

Read the whole thing.

EVERYTHING IS GOING SWIMMINGLY: Polio found in sewage in NYC; health officials urge vaccination.

ROGER SIMON: Can a GOP Congress Stop the New IRS Gestapo?

Naturally, conservatives are alarmed, even terrified, that the IRS could be so politicized. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been rushed into the fray to reassure us, through a “directive”:

“Specifically, I direct that any additional resources—including any new personnel or auditors that are hired—shall not be used to increase the share of small business or households below the $400,000 threshold that are audited relative to historical levels,” she said.

Would Yellen, the woman who told us inflation was transitory and that there was no recession, lie to you? Or if she has issued such a “directive,” does it have legal force? And what are these historical levels anyway? What part of history is she referring to?

I have a two-word of rebuttal to Ms. Yellen: Lois Lerner.

From the Daily Mail:

“After nearly two years of jockeying with Congress over the IRS’s history of discriminating against conservative nonprofit groups, former official Lois Lerner won’t be charged with a crime for defying a congressional subpoena and refusing to answer questions.

“U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, on his last day in office, told House Speaker John Boehner in a seven-page letter that Lerner could wrap herself in the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, even though she offered a self-serving opening statement before clamming up during a May 22, 2013, hearing.”

With 87,000 new employees, almost all avid statists—who else would join the agency—we are headed for déjà vu all over again, i.e., Lerner’s “historical level,” only worse in a yet more divided time. (As someone once said, “Personnel is policy.”)

So to Republicans in the House and Senate, speechify all you wish, but start really acting now, being concrete, even before you might have majorities. Get with the smartest conservative tax lawyers you can find and figure out some way to put a halt to as much of this as possible. Throw a wrench in the machine.

Keep America free. It’s barely hanging on.

As Mark Steyn has written, maybe it would be easier to list which federal agency doesn’t have its own personal SWAT team?

COLOR ME UNSURPRISED: Restaurant scraps plant-based dishes after becoming fed up with “holier than thou” vegans.

An award-winning cafe has at hit out at “holier-than-thou” vegan customers saying they shouldn’t have to adapt their menu to “suit” customers who don’t eat animal products.

The Kitchen at London House on the Isle of Wight went online to defend itself against “nasty” and “bullying” vegans who were outraged at their decision to refuse to cater to their diets.

Addressing its critics, it said: “If you want vegan food, go to a vegan restaurant.”

The popular high street restaurant in Ventnor said that though it used to serve some vegan food, they decided to stop because of a “militant minority” that spoilt it for the majority.

Me, I go to vegan restaurants and demand beef to support my carnivore diet, then call them bigots if they refuse.

THE POWER LINE WEEK IN PICTURES: Great Raid Edition.

HEH: AOC Says It’s Dumb For Republicans To Call U.S. A Banana Republic Since It’s More Like A Forever 21. “When fellow U.S. representatives and journalists attempted to explain that a ‘banana republic’ refers to a politically unstable country dependent on the export of natural resources she accused them of mansplaining.”

THE ODDS THAT EVEN ONE PERSON ACTUALLY SAID THIS TO LIZ WARREN ARE NO BETTER THAN 1/1024:

SKIP THE GPS: Rand McNally 2023 Road Atlas. #CommissionEarned

NO COMMENT IS OFTEN A BIG COMMENT:  According to NPR, Salman Rushdie is on a ventilator. Of course, few of the MSM papers dare to offend Linda Sarsour and other Islamic militants, though the LA Times deserves kudos for doing a story on what is likely at the heart of this:

“That death sentence — a fatwa — had immediate effects on Rushdie’s life, spurring him into hiding for the better part of 10 years and dogging him and others around him who were related to the publication of the book. But what exactly is a fatwa? And how might it be a factor in Friday’s stabbing, which took place in front of a 2,500-person audience?”

Most telling of all is that CAIR (sort of the ADL for Muslims but without self-restraint) has not uttered a word of condemnation. They’ll condemn flyers at collage campuses, politicians and pundits who raise legitimate questions about terrorism financing and so on, but a man under a ten-year old death sentence issued by their religion’s highest leader? Not a peep. And our media is stuffed with incurious, unenterprising reporters who fail to ask or even explore this most important of questions.

I suppose that’s what happens when you fire the experienced journalists and replace them with uninformed wokist garbage babies. Ben Rhodes was correct:

“Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

LET’S HOPE THEY BRING AN END TO RACE DISCRIMINATION IN HIGHER ED: Supreme Court sets date for UNC, Harvard affirmative action cases.

THE ATTACK ON SALMAN RUSHDIE IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU EQUATE WORDS WITH PHYSICAL VIOLENCE. Too many Americans, especially younger ones, think it’s clever to equate offensive speech with physical violence as a way of shutting their opponents down, or justifying violent tactics to silence them. Yesterday we saw what that looks like in horrifying fashion: a 24-year-old man repeatedly stabbing a 75-year-old in the eye and the liver and severing the nerves in his arm, all for the non-crime of writing a book some people didn’t like. It’s way past time for the “speech is violence” people who infest every cultural institution in this country to grapple with the reality that what happened to Rushdie is exactly what they say they want for all of us.

SEGREGATION NOW, SEGREGATION TOMORROW, SEGREGATION FOREVER! University of Utah investigated over doctoral program only open to black students.

THERE’S ALWAYS A JEFFREY EPSTEIN ANGLE:

AS I KEEP SAYING, IT’S NEWS THAT THIS HAS BECOME ROUTINE: SpaceX launches 46 Starlink satellites, lands rocket on drone ship.

WHO DOESN’T BELIEVE BIDEN, HILL DEMS? Well, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for one, at least when it comes to promises those 87K new IRS agents will only be going after taxpayers making $400,000 or more annually, according to Robert Schmad of the Washington Free Beacon. Seems the CBO reported to Hill Republicans that the Inflation Reduction Act will generate at least $20 billion in new revenue from taxpayers in lower brackets.

THERE ARE MORE GUNS THAN THAT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD: IRS starting point: 4,600 guns, 5 million rounds of ammunition, ‘hitman suits.’ What’s a “hitman suit?” Sorry, “no explanation was provided.”

UPDATE: From the comments:

From the article:

Today the agency is deeply engaged in fraud, tax evasion, terrorist financing, and narcotics trafficking.

They should also add that the IRS will also occasionally investigate criminal behavior involving such, when that behavior is conducted by political opponents of the ruling regime.

Heh.

EVERY INSTITUTION HAS BEEN CORRUPTED: Union Refuses To Aid Teacher Who Faced Termination for Criticism of Woke Training.

MARTIN GURRI: The Elite Panic of 2022: From the end of Covid restrictions to Elon Musk’s Twitter bid to the Dobbs ruling, startling developments threaten progressives’ grip on power.

They constantly pretend to be the bearers of calm, sane expertise even as they lurch from one hysteria to another, usually getting things comically, or tragically, wrong. And always, always, reeking of unfounded entitlement.

Plus: “Honesty is a rare quality in the exercise of the will to power. For at least a generation, our elites haven’t valued anyone’s freedom but their own: but it was fascinating to hear them say it.”

MADE IN THE USA: Chef’sChoice 130 Professional Electric Knife Sharpening Station. #CommissionEarned

THEY’VE BEEN OFF FOR A WHILE ON ONE SIDE: ‘Now, the Gloves Are Off’: Christina Pushaw Resigns as DeSantis’ Press Secretary. “Don’t fret, because Pushaw isn’t going too far. She’ll be joining Ron DeSantis’s reelection campaign to serve as director of Rapid Response.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: University professors are afraid. Florida’s crackdown on ‘woke’ academia is already working.

Universities have been rejecting academic freedom and free speech for decades, while talking about the need to use government power to “change society.” Well.

ISSUES & INSIGHTS: Defund The FBI! “No, that headline’s not a joke. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, once so popular it had its own TV show solely dedicated to its heroics, has become a hyper-politicized, jackbooted bully that no longer serves the American people or the U.S. Constitution, which its employees are sworn to protect. It has become, instead, the intelligence arm and domestic enforcer of the far left. Did we say defund? Yes. But we don’t mean simply to cut its funding, as leftists have disastrously proposed for police forces across the country. We mean tear down the entire rotting edifice of the FBI and replacing it with a new agency that respects the Constitution and holds itself accountable to all Americans.”

August 12, 2022

READER BOOK PLUG: Now out from Mitzi Perdue: Relentless: Mark Victor Hansen: The Wisdom Behind the Incomparable “Chicken Soup for the Soul” Series.

Lots of useful lessons about life, career, and everything.

I’M POSTING LIVE UPDATES AS THEY COME IN: Salman Rushdie Stabbed on Stage in New York.

(Bumped)

OPEN THREAD: Keep it clean. Well, relatively.

SALMAN RUSHDIE ON A VENTILATOR, LIKELY TO LOSE AN EYE AFTER ON-STAGE ATTACK:

“The news is not good,” the 75-year-old writer’s agent, Andrew Wylie, told The New York Times.

“Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged,” said Wylie.

Rushdie, who is still unable to speak, was attacked by a lone man while speaking at an event at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY, about 75 miles south of Buffalo.

Related: The best response to Salman Rushdie’s stabbing. What happened in New York today cannot be allowed to win. The illiterate cannot be allowed to dictate the rules of literature.

I IMAGINE THERE WAS AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: New study of moon rocks finds they contain gases from Earth. “A new study of six moon rocks has discovered proof that the moon includes chemical elements from Earth’s interior — a finding that supports the theory that the moon was created when something smashed into Earth.”

THE TIK TOK KIDS AREN’T IMPRESSED WITH BIDEN’S ORATORY:

@therealcoachjosiah

ONE WORD 😂

♬ original sound – Josiah T Alipate

BEWARE OF MUCUNA PRURIENS: Study: Dangerous levels of levodopa found in certain botanical supplements.

THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF LEFTIST BITCHING ABOUT BIG TRUCKS, calling them “Three Tons of Fascism.”

But why are pickup trucks so big? “In brief, Obama-era fuel regulations incentivized automakers to build bigger trucks.”

But of course.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: The Rise of Lonely, Single Men.

A couple of points: First, in my own observation, there seem to be a lot more lonely single women. But that’s just anecdotage.

Second, one of the takeaways here is that men need to raise their game. This may in fact be true, but if the article were about lonely single women, the takeaway would be that . . . men need to raise their game. Because rule number one in articles about dating and relationships is that men are always the problem.

BREAKING: Search Warrant and Property Receipt From Mar-a-Lago Raid Released.

FLORIDA MAN FRIDAY: He’s Got an Appetite for Destruction. “This week we have a joyriding construction equipment thief, the quickest case of recidivism ever, and Utah Man’s stolen raccoon.”

It’s VIP, so don’t forget that VODKAPUNDIT promo code if you’ve been thinking of joining us.

BACK WHEN I WAS A SOUND ENGINEER I COULD DO THIS KIND OF THING; MY EARS AREN’T AS SHARPLY TUNED NOW: Human echolocation is real—and you might be able to do it.

MATT MARGOLIS: Another Huge Red Flag in the Trump Raid Story.

RIP: Actress Anne Heche dead at 53 after horror car crash. “Though the actress is legally dead, her heart is still beating and she remains on life support in order to donate her organs, her rep said.”

MAKING WAR ON AMERICANS: Biden’s War on Guns: A Multi-Generation Florida Family Gun Business is the Latest Casualty.

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