Links for 1-27-2017

  • Alexandra DeSanctis wrote a good account of the March for Life in Washington, D.C., including Mike Pence’s speech.

  • Donald Trump signed an executive order limiting immigration and refugees from Muslim countries with terrorism issues. The order also gives priority to Christian refugees from Syria.

  • Mitch McConnell indicated he’s not willing to invoke the nuclear option to get Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee approved.

  • GDP growth in 4Q16 slowed to 1.9%. For the full year, the economic growth rate was only 1.9%. The U.S. hasn’t seen a 3% annual economic growth rate since 2005.

  • People who support California’s secession are now collecting signatures to get a proposition on the ballot in 2019. The proposition, if approved, would remove clauses from the state’s constitution that declare California to be an inseparable part of the United States.

  • Robert Tracinski takes a New York Times science journalist to task for failing to even try to explain the math behind global warming temperature data:

    [Times reporter Justin] Gillis is right. There are a lot of different sets of data, and the issue is complex. So why didn’t he explain any of that complexity to readers of the New York Times? Because complexity leaves room for doubt, and on this issue, doubt cannot be permitted.

    Speaking of which, you’ll notice that I just quoted Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen, and Judith Curry. Who are these people, just some crazy bloggers? Enemies of science? Dr. Spencer is a former NASA climatologist and now a principal research scientist at UAH. Dr. Lindzen is emeritus Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at MIT, and Judith Curry was, until her retirement just a few weeks ago, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

    A science journalist interested in an accurate, balanced assessment of the temperature data might talk to and quote people like this. The New York Times and other big mainstream media organizations long ago adopted an explicit policy of blacklisting these dissidents.

  • A federal district court judge blocked a Texas regulation requiring health care providers to bury or cremate babies:

    During two public hearings, department leaders heard stories of abortions, miscarriages, and general grief over losing a baby. While anti-abortion groups argued that the rule was a means to bring human dignity to the fetuses, reproductive rights advocates said the rule was another way for Texas to punish women who chose an abortion, saying the cost of the burials would be passed on to patients, making abortions harder to obtain for low-income Texans.

    During multi-day court hearings earlier this month, state attorneys said the rule was designed to provide aborted or miscarried fetuses a better resting place than a landfill. They also argued that there would be no cost for patients to worry about and only miniscule costs for providers. The state also said that there were multiple groups willing to help with costs.

    But Center for Reproductive Rights lawyers argued the rule had no public health merits and no clear directions on how it would work for providers. Providers who testified noted it was unclear if they would be on the hook for fines and disciplinary action from Texas if the nonprofit groups mishandled the fetuses. They also said separating fetuses away from other medical waste would likely mean an uptick in costs for transportation and new disposal procedures.

  • The Texas Supreme Court ruled that University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall can’t sue UT System Chancellor Willliam McRaven to obtain records. That ends Hall’s investigation of corruption at UT, particularly since Governor Greg Abbott declined to nominate Hall to another term.

  • A cybersecurity specialist who works for Russia’s Federal Security Service, Sergei Mikhailov, was arrested and charged with leaking information to U.S. intelligence. Three other people have been charged in the case, including an employee at Kaspersky Labs, an antivirus and internet security software vendor.

Links for 11-16-2016

Links for 6-5-2016

Links for 1-21-2016

  • New York voting records show that Donald Trump has never voted in a Republican presidential primary election. Trump did, however, contribute more than $60,000 to a super PAC that worked to re-elect Mitch McConnell to the U.S. Senate in 2014. McConnell was facing a primary opponent who campaigned to his right, Matt Bevin (who is now Kentucky’s governor).

  • The new issue of National Review features essays from conservatives arguing that fellow conservatives should not support Donald Trump.

  • Mario Loyola writes that we’re on the road to serfdom, thanks to a federal government that’s by and for special interests:

    So why would a majority of the people lose faith in a system of government that elevates the tyranny of the majority above all else? Because once the protections that the Constitution affords passive citizens are lost, the tyranny of the majority systematically elevates politically organized special interests above the public interest. Nowadays, federal law abounds with examples where special interests extract egregious benefits at the expense of common Americans, without Americans’ ever knowing it. It’s poverty by a thousand little frauds. As Milton Friedman once put it, “Each of us…has more concern with our role as a producer of one product than we have as a consumer of 1,001 products.”

    Hence the powerful practical significance of the argument Michael Greve makes in The Upside-Down Constitution: The progressive transformation that began with the New Deal has left us with a constitutional order that no free people would or could chose in a moment of real constitutional choice. No people would very consciously choose a system of government that empowers political elites and special interests to systematically extract rents and other benefits from society as a whole.

    Later:

    If you’re part of the U.S. government at all, at any level, you do not serve the American people, try as you might. You serve special interests. You hold office according to elections created by the original Constitution, but the authority you wield is not the authority of that original Constitution as envisioned by the Framers. It is the far greater authority of the New Deal Constitution: government of special interests, by special interests, for special interests. As Richard Epstein has written, the purpose of the progressive’s rewriting of the Constitution was to “make the world safe for cartels.” Now it is those cartels we serve, whatever our oaths of office.

  • Joy Pullmann writes on the Project Veritas Common Core videos:

    These Project Veritas videos help illuminate the well-known and long-standing reality of the U.S. education system that its guardians willfully ignored when telling us all about the magical fairy goodness land Common Core would bring American children and industry. It is that centrally planned education cannot fail but impose leftist ideology on American children, thereby helping morph a unique country founded on self-government into a sclerotic, quasi-socialist welfare state like all the others in the world, where inhabitants are slaves to swarms of regulators and their own passions rather than free citizens.

    The third Project Veritas video features a former Pearson executive (she now works for National Geographic) spouting the liberal ideology Pullmann describes:

  • A recently published theory posits that the Earth was due for an ice age by the 1800s, but human-caused global warming prevented it. Some global warming advocates believe this is horrible news – apparently it would have been better for millions of people to die.

  • Breitbart writer and editor Milo Yiannopoulos created the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant, “a scholarship exclusively available to white men who wish to pursue their post-secondary education on equal footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority classmates.”

  • The Obama administration released two more Club Gitmo residents. One of them went to Bosnia, the other to Montenegro. A third was supposed to be released today but he refused to leave – he didn’t want to be released to a country where he has no relatives.

  • The Taliban claimed responsibility for the car bomb attack in Kabul that killed seven journalists for Tolo News, and warned other media organizations “not to promote immorality and foreign cultures” lest they suffer a similar fate.

Links for 9-28-2015

  • Ben Domenech writes that John Boehner quit because he was going to be fired:

    Let’s be clear about one thing: John Boehner quit because he was going to get fired. It’s all fine and dandy to describe the Speaker as an “institutionalist” – a word we have not heard so frequently used since the Beltwaysplaining of Chief John Roberts – but if Boehner is, he was an institutionalist about to be rejected by the institution (or by the slimmest of chances, sustained as Speaker only by the good graces of the opposing party). Under Boehner’s leadership, the institutional standing of the Republican Congress has crumbled to record lows. He departs as the least popular Speaker in three decades. The idea that this approach was one designed to appeal to some higher purpose is simply laughable. One does not fall on a sword when your head is already in the guillotine.

    Mitch McConnell is worse than Boehner:

    So whose fault is it that Boehner is out? The obvious culprits are the meddlesome Tea Party or the pro-lifers or those members actually pushing the motion to vacate. There is a more subtle case to be made that it’s the weak sisters in the Republican conference who, even on an issue as core to the party’s existence as life, remained dead-set against using the Constitutional power of the purse to eliminate a few hundred million in taxpayer funding for an organization engaged in profiting from death. But the person to blame for Boehner stepping down ought to be absolutely clear – the actual target of far more conservative frustration than John Boehner: Mitch McConnell.

    Later:

    To understand the missed opportunity here, consider what could have happened if McConnell was not so dedicated to keeping the Senate “open for business” and working with the president on other priorities. Imagine instead what would have happened if McConnell saw the opportunity to break Reid and isolate the president on spending. He could have canceled all other Senate business, canceled the recesses, and forced the Democrats to block the Defense appropriations bill every 72 hours until September 30th. No weekends off, no holidays, keeping 75 year old men up all night for days, allowing no personal comforts until the filibuster is broken. In stark comparison to the media’s willingness to hide the ball on Planned Parenthood, Republicans would have been gifted with three months of messaging on “Democrats are so angry at the American people for taking away their majority, they are refusing to pay the troops.”

  • Bill Hemmer of Fox News pressed Rand Paul about his support for Mitch McConnell as majority leader:

    After host Bill Hemmer followed up on whether he supports McConnell, Rand answered, “There isn’t really a battle or an election going on, or any other choices. There aren’t. There is no other choice for leader.”

    Hemmer then asked, “So you are behind him for now unless someone else emerges?” Rand responded, “Well, there is no election. There is no battle going on. What I support is the position that we should take the power of the purse, and we should actually use it. So, I will oppose Senator McConnell when he brings forward the continuing resolution. But it isn’t about opposing a person. It’s about a position, and it’s about us using the power of the purse.”

    In 2013 Rand Paul endorsed Mitch McConnell for re-election. Who’s the moron here?

  • The U.S. Senate passed a continuing resolution that funds the federal government through December 11. Ted Cruz offered an amendment to the continuing resolution that defunded Planned Parenthood, but no Republicans in the chamber offered to second his motion to amend. The Republicans in the chamber at the time included Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn, so you know where they stand.

  • Retired U.S. Army Colonel Kurt Schlichter explains why the U.S. military looks the other way as Afghans rape children:

    The revelation that our generals expect Americans solders to allow screaming young boys to be sodomized and not stop it is simply the latest manifestation of the utter moral bankruptcy infecting the senior ranks of the U.S. military.

    The problems with America’s military—which has now failed to win three wars in a row against backward fanatics whom the nineteenth-century Brits would have handily dispatched to hell in time for tea—are not merely budgetary. You can’t buy real leaders, leaders with strategic competence and moral courage. Aging equipment, while a problem, is nothing compared to the incompetence and moral cowardice of our military’s senior leaders.

    Later:

    Without a doubt, the commander in Afghanistan could evaluate the situation, determine that we are not going to tolerate the rape of children, and instruct our troops to fire two warning shots into the sternum of anyone found doing so. In fact, in the spirit of decentralization that is the mark of a winning military, the commander could further emphasize that he is not putting a ceiling on the number of shots that could be fired—if the soldier on the ground thinks he needs to fire more rounds into the sternum of the pederast, that’s just good combat leader initiative.

    Sure, this may temporarily make some of our allies less willing to support us, but it is the morally right thing to do and, in the long run, it would send a powerful message that locals need to start appreciating the cultural norms of the people who traveled halfway around the world to save their sorry excuse for a country.

  • Shell drilled a duster in the Chukchi Sea and won’t be back for the foreseeable future. Shell will take a third quarter write-down on its Alaska operations.

  • Russia conducted another test of a ground-launched cruise missile that violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

  • The Taliban breached the defenses of the city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan. They appear to have gained control over most – if not all – of the city.

Links for 9-24-2015

Links for 9-10-2015