January 31, 2023

OPEN THREAD: Only a few hours left until February.

JOHN PODHORETZ: Biden’s base: Why he won’t end the COVID ‘emergency’ for months.

Here’s the New York Times press release — sorry, “news report”: “Ending the emergency will prompt complex changes in the cost of Covid tests and treatments that Americans are accustomed to getting for free. Any charges they face will vary depending on whether they have private insurance, Medicare coverage, Medicaid coverage or no health insurance. What state they live in could also be a factor.”

Here’s the thing: People don’t need COVID tests and treatments in the way they did before. Know why? Because there’s way less COVID, and what does persist is vastly less dangerous.

This is all disingenuous hogwash anyway. What the Biden people are doing here is trying to provide a soft landing for their government-worker constituents, so many of them toiling from home, who have been the true beneficiaries of the changes in workplace rules since 2020 — not the people for whom they work, namely us.

Or maybe they’re all just trying to figure out what the hell the boss is actually trying to say, since Biden announced out of nowhere Tuesday, “The COVID emergency will end when the Supreme Court ends it.”

I’m not sure whether that statement fills out your “Biden is an idiot” or your “Biden is senile” square on your “There’s Something Wrong With Biden” bingo card, but you can certainly make an argument for either — or both!

Embrace the healing power of Trunalimunumaprzure “and.”

THE NEW SPACE RACE: ESA is no longer planning to send astronauts to China’s Tiangong space station.

NEW FRONTIERS IN CENSORSHIP AND PROPAGANDA: ChatGPT by @OpenAI now *expressively prohibits arguments for fossil fuels*. (It used to offer them.) Not only that, it excludes nuclear energy from its counter-suggestions.

COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW: The press versus the president, part one.

By July, Trump was poised to become the GOP nominee at the party’s convention in Cleveland. On July 18, the first day of the gathering, Josh Rogin, an opinion columnist for the Washington Post, wrote a piece about the party’s platform position on Ukraine under the headline “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russian stance on Ukraine.” The story would turn out to be an overreach. Subsequent investigations found that the original draft of the platform was actually strengthened by adding language on tightening sanctions on Russia for Ukraine-related actions, if warranted, and calling for “additional assistance” for Ukraine. What was rejected was a proposal to supply arms to Ukraine, something the Obama administration hadn’t done.

Rogin’s piece nevertheless caught the attention of other journalists. Within a few days, Paul Krugman, in his Times column, called Trump the “Siberian candidate,” citing the “watering down” of the platform. Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor of The Atlantic, labeled Trump a “de facto agent” of Putin. He cited the Rogin report and a recent interview Trump gave to the Times where he emphasized the importance of NATO members paying their bills and didn’t answer a question on whether nations in arrears could count on American support if Russia attacked them.

But other journalists saw the Rogin piece differently, introducing a level of skepticism that most of the press would ignore. Masha Gessen, a Russian-American journalist and harsh Putin critic, writing in the New York Review of Books that month, said labeling Trump a Putin agent was “deeply flawed.” Gessen, in articles then and a few months later, said the accounts of the platform revisions were “slightly misleading” because sanctions, something the “Russians had hoped to see gone,” remained, while the proposal for lethal aid to Ukraine was, at the time, a step too far for most experts and the Obama administration.

Matt Taibbi, who spent time as a journalist in Russia, also grew uneasy about the Trump-Russia coverage. Eventually, he would compare the media’s performance to its failures during the run-up to the Iraq War. “It was a career-changing moment for me,” he said in an interview. The “more neutral approach” to reporting “went completely out the window once Trump got elected. Saying anything publicly about the story that did not align with the narrative—the repercussions were huge for any of us that did not go there. That is crazy.”

Taibbi, as well as Glenn Greenwald, then at The Intercept, and Aaron Mate, then at The Nation, left their publications and continue to be widely followed, though they are now independent journalists. All were publicly critical of the press’s Trump-Russia narrative. (Taibbi, over the last month, surged back into the spotlight after Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, gave him access to the tech platform’s files.)

At the end of July, the DNC held its nominating convention in Philadelphia. In attendance were legions of journalists, as well as Simpson and Fritsch. On the eve of the events, the hacked emails from the DNC were dumped, angering supporters of Bernie Sanders, who saw confirmation in the messages of their fears that the committee had favored Hillary.

The disclosures, while not helpful to Clinton, energized the promotion of the Russia narrative to the media by her aides and Fusion investigators. On July 24, Robby Mook, Hillary’s campaign manager, told CNN and ABC that Trump himself had “changed the platform” to become “more pro-Russian” and that the hack and dump “was done by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump,” according to unnamed “experts.”

Yes, it’s your regularly scheduled DNC-MSM “we really screwed up coverage of the last Republican president, and we promise never to do it again” article. (Pay no attention to the 2024 battlefield prep we’re already doing: The Washington Post Botches the Florida Classroom-Library Controversy.)

20 YEARS AGO, ON INSTAPUNDIT: IT’S NOT ABOUT THE OOOIIILLL — IT’S ABOUT THE ALIENS!

It is allegedly said that the craft crashed during the Gulf War (1990-1991), or more recently (probably in December 1998). This became some kind of Iraq’s Rosewell. The USA is currently reverse-engineering the Rosewell craft and fears that Saddam’s scientists may become even more successful than Americans in this or that sphere. It was said that these researches may give Iraq a considerable advance and even make it a leading super power.

UFO Roungup’s Arab journalists failed either to confirm or to deny these rumors.

Silly me, I thought it was about the antigravity. I’ll see if I can “roungup” some more news on this subject.

TYLER O’NEIL: Missouri Schools Took Kids to a Drag Show Without Informing Parents. AG Bailey Is Working to Prevent It Happening Again.

“I want Missouri to be the safest state in the nation for children, which includes preventing school officials from taking schoolchildren to drag shows,” Andrew Bailey, the state’s attorney general, said in a statement on the letter, first provided to The Daily Signal. “That’s why I am asking the Missouri School Board Association to call on their members to adopt a resolution pledging to uphold Missouri law on what can be taught regarding human sexuality in schools.”

“My office will use every tool at our disposal to ensure Missouri children are educated, not indoctrinated, and that parents have a say in the process,” Bailey, a Republican, added.

Bailey’s letter points to Missouri state law on human sexuality instruction and states that “adherence to the law is particularly important in the wake of recent events in which Columbia Public Schools took a group of middle school students to an event that featured a drag show performance.”

“Drag shows are inherently sexualized performances,” Bailey argues. “they are an outward expression of a desired sexuality and sexual identity. They are intended to draw attention to human sexuality in a manner that appeals to prurient interests. Drag shows have no educational value and no place in our public schools.”

Much more like this, please.

WELL, THE MORONS IN CHARGE OF THE LAST ONE CERTAINLY DON’T SEEM TO HAVE LEARNED ANYTHING: We Are ‘Dangerously Unprepared’ For Future Pandemics, Experts Warn.

HOW CAN WE HAVE WHITE SUPREMACY IF NOBODY WANTS TO BE WHITE? Everyone wants to check a box that doesn’t say “white.”

I recommend reading David Bernstein’s Classified: The Untold Story of Racial Classification in America.

I THINK IT’S A GOOD IDEA: The NRC is taking comments on a proposed facility in Oak Ridge to make fuel for new commercial nuclear plants. How to submit a comment:

Visit http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID: NRC-2022-0201
Email [email protected]
Mail comments, with the subject line: Docket ID NRC-2022-0201, to Office of Administration, Mail Stop: TWFN-A60M, ATTN: Program Management, Announcements and Editing, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001

The deadline is February 14.

READER FAVORITE: Real Leather Bifold Wallet for Men. #CommissionEarned

NO, HE FAILED IN MANY, MANY DIFFERENT WAYS: Internal watchdog warns Fauci’s agency failed in one huge way.

It seems we get new evidence of the malpractice going on at Dr. Fauci’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) every week at this point. And all of that evidence continues to point to illegal and dangerous gain-of-function research gone awry in the Wuhan lab—research the American people were unknowingly paying for.

The Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just released a new bombshell report that specifically examined three grants the NIH made to the notorious nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance that they were using as a pass-through organization to cover their tracks. EcoHealth was given $8 million between 2014 and 2021, some of which went to the Wuhan lab.

Flashback: Unredacted Documents Reveal Fauci Tried to Shift the Narrative On the Covid-19 Lab Leak Theory.

FREDDIE DEBOER: Do You Want Cancel Culture to Exist?

What I find more interesting is that this argument requires the very thing that it laments. That is, in order to make this argument, you need to have figures like Louis CK who escape/survive the consequences of public shaming, but simultaneously to assert that this is a bad thing. The immediate question for someone who expresses this point of view should be, “so you would prefer cancel culture exist, yes?” Because if it did, by their own contention, then Louis CK would not be playing Madison Square Garden, nor would other publicly-shamed individuals escape the consequences. (An implied consequence of this tweet, and arguments like it, is that public shaming should be permanently career-ending, which many people would take as a decent gloss on cancel culture.) And once you’ve established that the argument suggests that cancel culture would be a good thing, we’re free to debate it as a preferred state of affairs if not a current reality – at which point the whole “cancel culture doesn’t exist” complaint becomes moot. By wishing for it you’re making it arguable.

I do think that things like Louis CK getting back some of his career are indicative of a loosening of the strict social culture that flourished in the past half-decade or so.

But as Jim Treacher pointed out yesterday, Louis CK is only able to “get back some of his career” because he can afford to self-fund his relaunch: “When he wins an award because his work is still excellent, everybody gets embarrassed and quickly moves on. The entertainment industry has turned their backs on him, and it’s nobody’s fault but his own. But he can still stand on a stage and say words. All he needs is a microphone, a room, an audience, and someone to record it all. So he just did it himself.3 His comeback4 has been completely self-financed. He pays out of his own pocket to produce all the comedy specials he’s made since his cancellation, and he distributes them himself. He’s the one taking all the risk. And if he starts being bad at comedy, he’s the one who takes a loss.”

MARK JUDGE: All About the Narrative.

Of course, [former Washington Post executive editor Len Downie] spends a lot of time on Watergate, which turned the Post staff into movie stars and the Post from a small local paper to a rich international one. The reporting of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein drove Richard Nixon from office, an event that made journalism seem like a sexy and dangerous profession and that filled newsrooms with generations of elite liberals and hard-core leftists.

However, the person who comes off the worst in All About the Story is not Nixon, but Hillary Clinton. Downie’s dislike for Clinton is palpable. When in 1994 the paper began “pursuing significant questions about the relationship the Clintons had with the failed Madison Guarantee Savings and Loan Association in Little Rock, Arkansas, when Bill was governor,” Downie and the first lady had a tense meeting at the White House. Clinton was irritated that the Post was reporting on the federal investigation into the Clintons and their deals in Little Rock, yet she refused to turn over any documents related to the case. Downie would not back down. Clinton then switched the subject to the various women who were claiming to have had affairs with her husband—a kind of preemptive strike against their credibility. (She would also dispatch George Stephanopoulos to have lunch with Downie and try to kill the stories.) After the meeting, Clinton began to spread rumors that Downie was out to get them and that he was jealous of Ben Bradlee. Despite being criticized by other journalists and liberal activists, Downie defends his coverage: “I strongly believe that we did what we should have done in holding the Clintons accountable for their behavior. Even as I write this, I believe that there remain significant unresolved questions about the veracity of both Clintons.”

Well, not everything; its sister magazine Newsweek, then owned by the Post, couldn’t be bothered to break the story on Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. Or as Mark Steyn wrote in 2018: “It was twenty years ago today/Slick Willie taught the intern to play!”

The drama of January 1998 put certain words and phrases in the public discourse for the next two years, including “impeachment”, “vast right-wing conspiracy”, “the meaning of ‘is’”, and “completion”, which President Clinton was said by Monica in the Starr Report not to reach.

Yes, it was twenty years ago today/Slick Willie taught the intern to play! In a sense, the Clintons have never reached completion — which is why, two decades on, the news is full of Uranium One, Hillary-commissioned dirty dossiers and Huma’s emails — not to mention the exposure of Harvey Weinstein and other Clinton buddies for availing themselves of the same interns-with-benefits approach to the workplace. We may run some old pieces from the Dawning of the Age of Incompletion in the weeks ahead. But, if you’re wondering what we were talking about before Monica, the answer is Paula – who became near totally eclipsed by Miss Lewinsky.

The Age of Incompletion also kicked off the age of new media, beginning with a young man with a DIY Website named Matt Drudge, who published the Lewinsky story that then-Washington Post-owned Newsweek had spiked, because – say it with me:

The bill came due eventually, though — the Post sold Newsweek for a dollar in 2010, only for the Graham family to see its newspaper acquired three years later by Jeff Bezos, reportedly for about the same amount of money he paid for the first three seasons of his Grand Tour car TV series on Amazon Prime.

(As to what’s happened in the last few years to Matt Drudge, that’s an entirely different story, one that appears not to have a satisfactory answer. A year ago, Steve linked to an article headlined, “Matt Drudge confirms he still runs Drudge Report. As he wrote in response, “Could Have Fooled Me.”

BILL OTIS:  The morality of the death penalty.

HMM: Ford Is Slashing Mustang Mach-E Prices For 2023. “The California Route 1 and GT Extended Range models see the largest price reductions by far, with discounts of $5580 and $5900. The Premium Standard Range models in both RWD and AWD also come down a bit in price, with discounts of $3980 and $3690, respectively. All together, the price of a Mach-E averages out to about $4500 below where it stood in 2022.”

IF IT’S USEFUL OR JUST FUN, THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO HAVE IT: Now the Left Is Coming for Your Pickup Trucks, America — and Their ‘Logic’ Couldn’t Be More Ridiculous.

UPDATE NEWSPEAK DICTIONARIES ACCORDINGLY: From ‘defund the police’ to ‘reimagining’ policing.

Lacking a race card to play in the police beating death of Tyre Nichols, left-wing Democrats and their media allies have turned their attention not to the local government of Memphis, Tennessee, under a Democratic mayor and Democratic police commissioner, but toward the supposed entire system itself.

They now claim that policing, per se, is a racist institution that must be defunded and abolished. This time around, however, they are not stating this outright. They tried the “defund the police” argument two years ago and found it deeply unpopular. In turn, a new slogan, “reimagining policing,” has replaced the “defund” movement’s particular vernacular of choice. This reflects a pattern on the Left. When an idea is unpopular, it just changes the language and terminology around said idea (see “gender-affirming care,” for example). But the impact is the same.

Flashback: White Progressives Shocked to Learn Black and Latino Voters Don’t Share Their Radical ‘defund the Police’ Views.

GOVERNOR ABBOTT APPOINTS A RETIRED BORDER PATROL AGENT AS TEXAS BORDER CZAR:

The activists who advocate for no restrictions on immigration often refer to what Governor Abbott is doing as “stunts.” The White House does it, too. However, Abbott is doing what he can to make the southern border more secure. Texas bears the biggest burden during the Biden border crisis. Governor Abbott has written five letters to Biden with suggestions on how to better secure the border, yet Biden ignores the crisis he created. During their most recent interaction, Abbott handed a letter to Biden on the tarmac at the El Paso airport. It was later reported that Biden didn’t bother to read it. If he had, he would have seen several steps the governor recommends that DHS and the Biden administration do, in simple bullet point form. Abbott said he deliberately made the text concise and simple to read and understand. Still, Biden couldn’t be bothered.

Why would Biden want to change course?

● Jared Bernstein, member of Biden’s Council of Economic Advisors: “One thing we learned in the 1990s was that a surefire way to reconnect the fortunes of working people at all skill levels, immigrant and native-born alike, to the growing economy is to let the job market tighten up. A tight job market pressures employers to boost wage offers to get and keep the workers they need. One equally surefire way to sort-circuit this useful dynamic is to turn on the immigrant spigot every time some group’s wages go up.”

● Former Trump administration senior adviser Stephen Miller: Biden’s Immigration Plan Would “Erase America’s Nationhood.”

“Labour wanted mass immigration to make UK more multicultural, says former adviser. Labour threw open Britain’s borders to mass immigration to help socially engineer a ‘truly multicultural’ country, a former Government adviser has revealed.”

OCEANIA HAS NEVER BEEN AT WAR WITH GEORGIA: Democrats Do an About-Face on Georgia.

For much of 2021, every major Democrat, including President Biden, denounced the state of Georgia as a racist disgrace when its Republican-controlled state government enacted an election-reform law that they insisted was was a voter-suppression effort and “Jim Crow 2.0.” But 2022 brought record turnout in both the primaries and midterm elections, and the state’s African Americans reported great satisfaction with and trust in their voting experience. Now, Joe Biden wants Georgia to vote early in the presidential-primary process, and just about every major southern Democrat wants Atlanta to host the party’s next national convention. Somehow, in a very short period of time, Georgia went from too racist to host the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star game to deserving to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention.

Since at least 1941, the left has always been able to do a complete 180 at will, since they know the media won’t point out their hypocrisy du jour.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Now More Than Ever: Florida House Speaker Introduces Constitutional Carry Bill.

NEWS YOU CAN USE? These jobs are most likely to be replaced by chatbots like ChatGPT.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): I have some thoughts here.

SO TYPICAL: Steph Curry all about “equality” until it gets too close to his backyard. “NBA star Steph Curry issued an official opposition to the development of a row of affordable housing units that are slated to be built behind his multi-million dollar mansion. The Golden State Warriors star and his wife, Ayesha, sent a letter to the town of Atherton opposing the project, which would see up to 16 three-story townhouses spring up in the middle of his uber-wealthy California neighborhood.The Currys said the housing project would pose as a threat to ‘safety and privacy’ of them and their kids.”

Plus: “Would the Currys, if you asked them, be equally as strong advocates for your ‘safety and privacy’ if the city then tried to move this project to, say, your backyard? Right? ‘Tis to laugh. It would be your duty to suck it up yet again for equity, equality, and diversity.”

ANALYSIS: TRUE. The COVID-19 Pandemic Was a ‘Catastrophe for Human Freedom.’

READER FAVORITE: USB Wall Charger Surge Protector 5 Outlet Extender with 4 USB Charging Ports. #CommissionEarned

FASTER? PLEASE! DARPA nails latest US hypersonic missile test flight. “After deployment, the booster automatically fired, boosting the glider to supersonic speeds, after which a scramjet engine took over, accelerating the glider to over five times the speed of sound as it reached an altitude of over 60,000 ft (18,000 m).”

LINCOLN BROWN: Lightfoot Dances as Chicago Burns. “She does know that the mayoral election is closing in fast, right? And that she has nine challengers for her job? Maybe this was an ill-fated publicity stunt suggested by her P.R. people. Or maybe she is so clueless and entitled that at this point she really doesn’t care.”

MAYBE LOCKDOWNS AND PUBLIC PARK CLOSURES WERE A MISTAKE: Children and teens aren’t doing enough physical activity – new study sounds a health warning.

DECOUPLING: U.S. stops granting export licenses for China’s Huawei, sources say. “One person familiar with the matter said U.S. officials are creating a new formal policy of denial for shipping items to Huawei that would include items below the 5G level, including 4G items, Wi-Fi 6 and 7, artificial intelligence, and high-performance computing and cloud items.”

WHEN Q-A-L-Y SPELLS D-E-A-T-H: They’re called “Quality Adjusted Life Years” (QALYs) and they are the metric used by Medicare bureaucrats to decide whether to pay for certain potentially life-saving procedures needed by individuals who are mentally or physically disadvantaged or who suffer from chronic diseases.

Republicans, led by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, are moving to ban the use of QALYs anywhere in the federal government. An important hearing on the issue is convening tomorrow, details in my latest PJMedia column.

I REALLY DON’T: Still Need Proof of LGBT Grooming in Schools?

WE NEED FRESH ANTIBIOTICS. AND MAYBE PHAGES. Deadly tuberculosis strain resistant to approved antibiotics.

THE NEW SPACE RACE: Rolls-Royce teases small nuclear reactor for space travel and moon bases. “The Micro-Reactor will house uranium particles underneath multiple containment levels so they can withstand the intense conditions that accompany space travel. For years, Rolls-Royce has discussed the reactor as the center of its space-oriented ambitions.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Webster University in Missouri Faces Annual Losses of $25 Million.

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR WEEKLY INSANITY WRAP: We Need to Talk About That Trans Figure Skater. “Finland’s trans figure skater is a genuine victim… of the people claiming to promote diversity.”

Plus:

  • CNN viewers finally learn that Donald Trump is no longer POTUS.
  • WaPo dances on the grave of objective journalism.
  • It’s definitely too soon for this meme, but I’m publishing it anyway.

So much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

YES, ALL WE LACK IS ANTIMATTER, AND ENGINES THAT CAN USE IT: Could we use antimatter-based propulsion to visit alien worlds?

Here’s the actual paper.

FROM SARAH A. HOYT:  Darkship Revenge.

#CommissionEarned

Darkship Revenge (Darkship Thieves Book 5) by [Sarah A. Hoyt]

The World Can’t Be Made Safe….
But it doesn’t mean Athena Hera Sinistra isn’t ready to try. Flying back to Earth Orbit from her asteroid home, leaving behind unresolved questions and turmoil, Athena becomes a new mother in orbit.
As is perhaps fitting, her daughter is born during battle with an unknown foe.
A battle that ends with Kit – Athena’s husband – missing, and Athena’s ship damaged.
So Athena names her daughter Eris, and goes to war.
What follows is a non-stop fight by a very angry mother, who wishes to make the world(s) safe for her newborn daughter, and other children too.
When the adventure is over, it is just the start of another, where children will be rescued, old tyrants brought to justice, and freedom restored.
If it can be.

THE END OF AN ERA: The last 747.

On Tuesday, Boeing will wave a final goodbye to the 747 jumbo jet.

In the years after its launch, the 747 elevated the Puget Sound region to the world’s premier airplane manufacturing site and boosted Boeing to preeminence in aviation. It made international air travel routine.

A diverse cross-section of the Boeing workers who helped bring this transformative piece of engineering to life tell their stories below. They reflect upon their affection for the jumbo jet that changed their lives, and aviation.

Almost exactly 54 years after the first flight, thousands of current and former employees and guests will attend a bittersweet ceremony in Everett on Tuesday before cargo carrier Atlas Air flies away a 747 freighter model, the 1,574th and last “Queen of the Skies” ever built.

This is an excellent read.

KRUISER: Trump’s Creepy Obsession With DeSantis Is Eerily Familiar.

DEAL OF THE DAY: ThisWorx Car Vacuum Cleaner. #CommissionEarned

THIS IS A POOR — BUT INCREASINGLY NECESSARY — USE OF CALIFORNIA’S SCARCE WATER RESOURCES: California Firefighters Use 6,000 Gallons of Water to Put Out Tesla Fire on Highway 50.

WANT TO SEE A LIBERAL JOURNO BECOME A PRETZEL? Leave it to Issues & Insights to provide a vivid description of why and how some Washington Post reporters turned themselves into snack food (figuratively speaking, of course) in their explanation of why five Black Memphis police officers beating to death a young black man is a manifestation of … can you guess? … White Supremacy.

 

LIGHTNING DEAL: Power Strip – 10 FT Long Flat Plug Extension Cord. #CommissionEarned

THE LEFT’S WAR ON WOMEN: Female Inmate Reports Rape Occurred in California Women’s Prison. “Le says she was told by multiple inmates that the woman had been sexually assaulted by Jonathan Roberston, also known as Siyaah Skylit. Robertson was previously the subject of widespread trans activist campaigns attempting to relocate him from a male facility to the women’s institution he is now in.”

FOR WHATEVER REASON, HE SEEMS RELUCTANT TO STEP ONTO THE NATIONAL STAGE: Mitch Daniels opts against a run for the Senate. “It’s just not the job for me, not the town for me, and not the life I want to live at this point.”

Hypothesis: The reason the Club For Growth went after him was that they knew this would happen, but now they’ll claim they had something to do with it.

R.I.P. TO THE CUMBERLAND AVENUE STRIP IN KNOXVILLE: City planners and real estate developers partnered to ruin it.

KRUISER’S MORNING BRIEFING: The Biden/Garland Rogue FBI Takes One on the Chin. “After Roe v Wade was tossed into the Supreme Court dustbin last summer, the always frothing-at-the-mouth abortion ghouls wanted their pound of flesh.”

DON SURBER: Why conservatives oppose the war.

Related: The liberal push for an all-out war with Russia.

I’m in favor of bleeding Putin into helplessness, but not in favor of outright war.

LAUGHING WOLF: Iran, Russia, Oh My.

Moscow has extensive air and missile defenses. Even the Kremlin is rumored to have air defense. Yet, two Pantsir are placed where they can provide overlapping close-defense of the Kremlin. Why?

Ukraine has nothing on the books that can reach Moscow. Could they create a one-off or even several that could hit Moscow and the Kremlin? Yes. Outside of propaganda, why would they do it? I mean there is a serious risk that such a move could backfire on multiple levels. Keep in mind that the Kremlin is not a building. It is in fact several buildings and bunkers inside a brick fortress that houses them and rather extensive grounds. Pretty place, enjoyed the museum. To do significant damage would take large payloads and precision hits.

Unless.

What if your target wasn’t a building? What if it was an individual. One who regularly travels into the Kremlin via the vehicle gate at the intersection of Serafimo and Manezh.

The mysterious art of Kremlinology didn’t end with the Soviet Union.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): What if they’re there to protect the Kremlin not from Ukraine, but from other Russians?

IF EVERY INSTITUTION HAS BEEN CORRUPTED, CAN WE TRUST THE BLS? US lost 287,000 jobs while government was reporting +1 million in gains. “This is the second major report to come out showing significant job growth discrepancies in the second quarter. Last month, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank released a report saying it thought the government overestimated job growth by more than one million. The Philadelphia Fed calculated 10,500 net new jobs added versus the 1,047,000 revised estimate by the BLS. . . . BLS is releasing its latest national data revisions on Friday with the January jobs report.”

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Big win for gun owners as federal judge grants second TRO against New Jersey carry laws.

IT IS: Social media is a defective product, lawsuit contends. “If the case is allowed to proceed, it will test a novel legal theory, that social media algorithms are defective products that encourage addictive behavior and are governed by existing product liability law. That could have far-reaching consequences for how software is developed and regulated, and how the next generation of users experiences social media.”

SPREADING MISINFORMATION: Groups on Google Payroll Flood Supreme Court With Briefs Defending Google. “Dozens of groups that have financial ties to Google are filing amicus briefs to the Supreme Court as it deliberates whether the tech giant should be held liable for content posted on its platforms. They all just so happen to be advocating for a ruling that benefits Google.”

LAWS OF SUPPLY AND DEMAND:  The subminimum wage gives the severely disabled a chance to have a job and feel productive. Their parents and siblings know that.  That’s why they supported it so strongly when the issue was brought before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  It’s less clear who is behind its repeal.  But there is a whole lot of effort behind that repeal.  One thing is for certain, if you repeal it, a whole lot of Down syndrome adults with jobs will end up jobless.

EVERYTHING IS GOING SWIMMINGLY: The U.S. Consumer Is Starting to Freak Out.

The engine of the U.S. economy—consumer spending—is starting to sputter.

Retail purchases have fallen in three of the past four months. Spending on services, including rent, haircuts and the bulk of bills, was flat in December, after adjusting for inflation, the worst monthly reading in nearly a year. Sales of existing homes in the U.S. fell last year to their lowest level since 2014 as mortgage rates rose. The auto industry posted its worst sales year in more than a decade.

It’s a stark turnaround from the second half of 2020, when Americans lifted the economy out of a pandemic downturn, helping the U.S. avoid what many economists worried would be a prolonged slump. Consumers snapped up exercise bikes, televisions and laptop computers for schoolchildren during lockdowns. When restrictions were lifted, they rushed back to their favorite restaurants and travel destinations.

And they kept spending, helped by government stimulus, flush savings accounts and cheap credit, even as inflation picked up. Faced with four-decade-high inflation last year, Americans outspent it. Through most of 2022, consumer spending growth exceeded price increases by about 2 percentage points.

Now the forces that helped keep spending high are unwinding, while inflation remains elevated.

“If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

CDR SALAMANDER: “China is bulding at a wartime pace.”

WSJ: Rebellion Over U.S. News Rankings Seems Likely To Fail. “The reality is that what the schools themselves contribute to the rankings is relatively small: The data includes test scores, alumni giving, financial information and so on. But most of the data used to determine the rankings can be derived from publicly available information, or surveys conducted by U.S. News itself. Indeed, U.S. News has revised the survey over the years in response to criticism. There is a case to be made that the less the schools contribute, the more objective the rankings might become, in some respects.”

Well, it succeeds as performance art. Which is enough.

I CERTAINLY HOPE NOT: Warning Signs Indicate a Great Depression May Be Coming.

FROM NATHAN BRINDLE: The Tale of the Crane Princess.

#CommissionEarned

The Tale of the Crane Princess (Timelines Universe Book 6) by [Nathan C. Brindle]

Ordinary, everyday shopkeeper Horiuchi Tsurue is running a little general store and mini-café on a small island in Japan’s inland sea, two centuries after mankind was nearly wiped out by a virus.
One day, Yamaguchi Yukiko, the kamaitachi of legend (The Cross-Time Kamaitachi), and her daughter Mikoko, appear in front of Tsurue’s shop, and she invites them in for tea.
That’s when Tsurue discovers she is anything but ordinary. And in the end, the island she is sworn to protect will depend upon it.

SOHRAB AMARI: Race was invented by liberals.

The notion that capitalism created terrible inequality, however, seems to me ahistorical. Inequality under feudal aristocracy was pretty damn pronounced too.

WE’RE ALL BETTER OFF FOR A LITTLE ENGINEER BRAIN:  Toasters.

NEWS YOU CAN’T USE BUT ARE KIND OF COOL:  What Exactly is Happening at the Earth’s Core?

WELL… IT’S AN EXPERIMENT:  Disposable Culture.

SURE SHE DIDN’T:  Ilhan Claims She Didn’t Know About Tropes of Money And Jews.

THIS THIS THIS:  Tyre Nichols Isn’t the Only Victim Entitled to the Truth.

ALL THEIR INSTITUTIONS ARE IN A PANIC. THAT’S WHY THEY’RE MAKING EVERYTHING SO CRAZY:  Woke Salon at Stage II over “Grooming”.

I’VE WONDERED IF THIS WHY SO MANY WOMEN ARE ON ANTI-DEPRESSANTS:  More young women abandoning the pill because of mental health concerns.

WHO THE HECK WOULD THINK IT WAS?  HBO’s ‘The Last Of Us’ Is Wrong. Assisted Suicide Is Not ‘Incredibly Romantic’.

THE DINNERS AREN’T WHAT FOLKS WONDER ABOUT, BILL:  Bill Gates: ‘For the 100th time I shouldn’t have had dinner’ with Epstein.

It’s more what you had for dessert….

THIS IS AN INSULT TO DUMPSTER FIRES:  Elon Musk gives inside look at ‘flaming dumpster’ Twitter HQ.

LOSING THE RESPECT OF SOME FOLKS COUNTS AS A VICTORY:  J.K. Rowling on ex-fans’ criticism: I’ll file it ‘where I keep my missing f—s’.

BEING AS BAD AS THE ORIGINAL WOULD BE A CHALLENGE:  Jane Fonda: I ‘worry’ about ‘Barbarella’ remake with Sydney Sweeney.

Note I based my take on the original French comics.

SHOCKED, SHOCKED, SHOCKED:  Migrants Won’t Leave Hell’s Kitchen Hotel for Brooklyn Cruise Terminal Shelter.

“IT’S JUST PROPERTY CRIME, INSURANCE WILL COVER IT”:  Major insurers plan to drop coverage of some Kia and Hyundai models due to thefts.

IT’S A LONG WAY DOWN: From Jaime Escalante to Prof. Gutierrez.

WHEN OUR OWN GOVERNMENT IS ORCHESTRATING OUR INVASION, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?  Border Patrol Apprehended More Migrants at Northern Border Than ‘Previous Two Years Combined’.

SO SOME GOOD NEWS:  Newsom smacked and FDA irrelevance.

January 30, 2023

FIGHT THE POWER: Musk to take on PayPal as Twitter prepares to launch online payments.

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? China’s Baidu to launch ChatGPT-style bot in March.

Chinese internet search major Baidu Inc is planning to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot service similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT in March, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The technology firm plans to launch the service as a standalone application and gradually merge it into its search engine, said the person, who declined to be identified as the information is confidential.

ChatGPT’s technology works by learning from vast amounts of data how to answer prompts by users in a human-like manner, offering information like a search engine or even prose like an aspiring novelist.

Chatbots in China currently focus on social interaction whereas ChatGPT performs better at more professional tasks, such as programming and essay writing.

Chat CCP’s responses to questions about Communist China’s dark history would be fascinating to read. But, ala 1984’s two-way telescreens, I wonder if Chat CCP is programmed to report doubleplus ungood crimethink for reeducation purposes?

UPDATE: China Boasts of ‘Mind-reading’ Artificial Intelligence that Supports ‘AI-tocracy.’ “An artificial intelligence (AI) institute in Hefei, in China’s Anhui province, says it has developed software that can gauge the loyalty of Communist Party members – something that, if true, would be considered a breakthrough, but has sparked public outcry. Analysts said China has improved its AI-powered surveillance, using big data, machine learning, facial recognition and AI to ‘get into the brains and minds of its people,’ building what many call a draconian digital dictatorship.”

(Updated and bumped.)

LET’S NOT RUSH INTO ANYTHING HERE: Biden tells Congress he’ll end COVID-19 emergencies on May 11.

AND YET THEY WILL GO DOWN FURTHER: Biden poll numbers are more abysmal than you think.

ELIZABETH SCALIA: A terrible unity: Tyre Nichols cries out and the nation hears. I would note that the police were quickly charged and universally condemned once the video came out.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Jerry Garcia’s Grateful Dead cannabis brand is leaving California.

Jerry Garcia is one of the most iconic pot smokers in California history. Born in San Francisco, Garcia led the Grateful Dead for 30 years as the city became an international beacon of counterculture, and he did it all while casually and openly smoking weed. His pot pipe is considered an artifact of California cannabis history.

But even the iconic Jerry Garcia name couldn’t survive California’s turbulent legal pot market.

The Garcia Hand Picked brand, launched by the deceased musician’s family in 2020, has pulled out of the state, a spokesperson confirmed to SFGATE. Garcia’s exit comes as cannabis insiders predict a “mass extinction event” for California’s pot industry, with thousands of companies expected to go out of business this year.

* * * * * * * *

California’s cannabis industry has faced huge economic hurdles in its first four years of legal sales. The state’s complicated cannabis regulations and high taxes add costs to legal operators, while widespread illegal farms and retailers undercuts legitimate companies. Limited access to banking means these companies pay exorbitant fees for simple banking services and have almost no access to loans. Federal law blocks pot companies from deducting most business taxes from their federal taxes, making pot businesses pay an effective federal tax rate as high as 80%.

These factors have come together to make California a painful place to run a legal pot business. The majority of small legacy cannabis farms are on their way out of business and even the country’s biggest cannabis companies are leaving the state.

Back in 2019, Vice warned: Regulations Are Choking Out California’s Legal Weed Industry.

Earlier we asked if Californians can become Germans. An even more difficult question they have to ponder: Can stoner Californians become libertarians?

RIP, GERARD VANDERLEUN: Neo on When death comes for bloggers.

OPEN THREAD: Let’s lock the world out.

GOODER AND HARDER, SAN FRAN: Where Have All the Chairs Gone? This Is Why Many Downtown SF Starbucks Locations Are Seatless.

Where have all the chairs gone? That was the question posed by a Standard staffer during a recent morning editorial meeting. She was referring to the Starbucks at the corner of Stockton and Sutter streets, just off of Union Square.

Populated by a lonely hightop table and a slim bar without stools, the place appeared to be offering grab-and-go service only—even though the cafe’s floor was clearly large enough to accommodate tables and chairs.

She wasn’t the only one in our newsroom to have encountered a seatless Starbucks in the city. A few months ago, I came across a very similar scene at 1390 Market St., where I popped in for a hot chocolate one day to find nary a place a place to sit and sip it.

Being that we journalists can be quite cynical, we wondered if removing chairs from these locations was a corporate strategy for deterring unhoused people from hanging out in the cafes. Or perhaps it was a monetary decision aimed at moving more caffeine addicts and their dollars through stores at a faster clip.

The “unhoused people” line employed by the reporter at the San Francisco Standard is a classic — as Thomas Sowell wrote almost 20 years ago, “Politically Correct Terms Replace Honest Words.” (Also available here under a different headline if the article is paywalled):

Another word that the left has virtually banished from the language is “bum.” Centuries of experience with idlers who refused to work and who hung around on the streets making a nuisance — and sometimes a menace — of themselves were erased from our memories as the left verbally transformed those same people into a sacred icon, “the homeless.”

As with swamps, what was once messy and smelly was now turned into something we had to protect. It was our duty to support people who refused to support themselves.

And now apparently the euphemism for “bum” is considered a hot (vegan) potato.

RIP: Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley actress, dead at 75.

OLD AND BUSTED: Can Greeks Become Germans?

The New Hotness? Can Californians Become Germans?! They fire, we hire’ — Germany seizes on Silicon Valley’s woes.

Faced with a tight labour market and a shortage of workers with key software engineering skills, some German companies are looking at thousands of layoffs in Silicon Valley as an opportunity to recruit top talent.

The U.S. West Coast has always been the main destination for ambitious software engineers looking to work in the best-paid, most elite corner of their profession, but the mass redundancies have created a pool of jobseekers that Germany is eager to tap.

“They fire, we hire,” said Rainer Zugehoer, Chief People Officer at Cariad, the software subsidiary of automaker Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE). “We have several hundred open positions in the U.S., in Europe and in China.”

Spooked by inflation and the prospect of recession, Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL.O), Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Facebook owner Meta (META.O) have announced a combined almost 40,000 job cuts.

Other than the minor language issue, most uber-leftist denizens of Silicon Valley would consider transitioning to Germany to be a lateral move.

HEH:

CHANGE: Schiff Still Lying About Russia Hoax–CNN Calls Out His Lie.

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