Interesting Bits

09/24/2017 7:12

You Gio, Guys

Several NASCAR team owners said Sunday they would not condone racers protesting during the national anthem, amid protests by sports players at football and baseball games. 

There were no protests reported during “The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in New Hampshire, according to The Associated Press.

Former NASCAR champion Richard Petty told the AP that any member of his team would be fired if they chose to protest the national anthem. Petty now owns Richard Petty Motorsports.

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09/24/2017 7:34

Farewell to the NFL

Players like Kaepernick and Hernandez give the league a bad name, so it's hardly surprising that the NFL's ratings are down again this season. Explanations and excuses offered include the weather (hurricanes!), low quality of play and shortening attention spans -- although who actually watches an NFL broadcast intently between trips to the fridge and visits to the john?

 

CBS has suffered early. Per Anthony Crupi of  Ad Age, through the first two weeks of the season, CBS's Sunday NFL windows had averaged 13.9 million viewers, down 10% versus 15.2 million last year. Sports Media Watch said CBS’s 8.4 rating for its Week 2 single header lineup was the lowest for a Week 2 single-header since at least 1998.

 

NBC had a particularly ugly night with the Packers-Falcons. The game drew 20.2 million, well down from last year’s Week 2 game (Packers-Vikings, 22.8 million) and the Seahawks-Packers in 2015 (26.4 million). It was the least-watched Week 2 Sunday Night Football game since 2008. Crupi reported NBC’s three primetime games so far had averaged 22.1 million viewers, down 7% from 2016.

 

But if you ask this former fan, the rot runs deeper. Football, which is practically the state religion in Texas and across the South, used to be closely tied up with patriotism and love of country. The militaristic component of the sport, which was presented as akin to war, appealed especially to red-state dwellers. But sportscasters and sportswriters are overwhelmingly leftist in their outlook, and their eagerness to turn Kaepernick into a civil-rights icon has repelled a sizable section of football's core audience -- and one that, by the current evidence, is growing.

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09/23/2017 4:05

Trump's NFLComments Explain Why He Is President

He takes a commonly held sentiment — most people don’t like the NFL protests — and states it in an inflammatory way guaranteed to get everyone’s attention and generate outrage among his critics. When those critics lash back at him, Trump is put in the position of getting attacked for a fairly commonsensical view.

Of course, NFL owners firing players on the spot for protesting isn’t necessarily common sense, but this is where “seriously, not literally” comes in. Since everyone knows that owners aren’t going to do this, Trump’s statement registers for his supporters merely as forceful opposition to the protests, not as a specific plan of action.

His advocacy for a Mexico-funded border wall and for the Muslim ban played in a roughly similar way (although The Wall was taken more literally, hence Trump’s exertions to make a colorable case that it is being built). Finally, when Trump is criticized and doesn’t back down it is taken by his supporters as a sign of strength. If a political consultant came up with this strategy, he’d deserve a huge raise. But it’s just Trump himself operating on instinct.

(He is, as he did with  his UN speech, standing up and advocating for the average, American taxpayer)


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09/23/2017 10:27

Putin Didn't Hack the Election, Obama Did

The all-smoke-no-fire Russia investigation looks increasingly like a smoke screen aimed to put out a very different fire. Rather than an investigation into malfeasance by the Trump campaign, does the Robert Mueller inquiry serve as a clean-up operation to justify Obama administration malfeasance? The bugging of the opposition party’s presidential campaign, at least when done by Republicans, ranks not only as criminal but as the biggest political scandal in American history.

Richard Nixon’s henchmen wore surgical gloves to avoid leaving clues for law enforcement. Barack Obama’s henchmen were law enforcement. This makes Obama worse, not better, than Nixon. At least Nixon’s plumbers possessed the decency to leave their skullduggery to lock pickers and burglars. Obama used law enforcement for opposition research. In Banana Republics, the cops double as the criminals. The unprecedented use of the Justice Department to commit injustice marks a sad moment for the republic. It is Watergate on steroids.

Accusations that hit the mark, rather wild ones wide of the target, provoke fierce denunciations, outcry, and Joe Welch, have-you-no-sense-of-decency moralizing. The category-5 storm that engulfed the president after he tweeted about government surveillance on his campaign indicated that he uncovered an inconvenient truth, not that he told an ignoble lie. No one flips out when a critic makes a fool of himself with his own words. People do so when the words threaten to make a fool of them.

The Obama administration using the considerable powers of the federal government to spy on a hated critic’s campaign sets a dangerous precedent. It provides future administrations a means to infiltrate the innermost circle of the opposition party’s presidential campaign. This merely requires the pretext of wrongdoing to engage in wrongdoing.

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09/23/2017 8:57

Trump’s Job Approval Rises To Highest Level In Four Months

He hadn’t seen 41.1 percent in the RCP poll average since May 14th. That’s not … ideal as a four-month polling high, shall we say, but it’s in the right direction. And most of the latest polls tracked by RCP have him a few points north of that. YouGov, Rasmussen, and NBC all put him at 43 percent now and Monmouth has him just six points underwater at 42/48.

...Modest gains, but gains are gains. Wisely, he’s going to try to keep the good nonpartisan vibes going by visiting Puerto Rico soon to see the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. I don’t know that his polling rise is due solely to storm management, though. This number from the new NBC/WSJ poll jumps out, not just because it’s so lopsided but because it’s the only issue of 11 that were mentioned of which a majority approves of how he handled it:

(Still low but gains are gains. And we are spared those MSNBC stories about poll ratings being the lowest in human history)

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09/23/2017 8:07

Time For The Partisan Mueller To Go

Robert Mueller’s sprawling special-counsel investigation is playing hardball. It was not enough to get a search warrant to ransack the Virginia home of Paul Manafort, even as the former Trump campaign chairman was cooperating with congressional investigators. Mueller’s bad-asses persuaded a judge to give them permission to pick the door lock. That way, they could break into the premises in the wee hours, while Manafort and his wife were in bed sleeping. They proceeded to secure the premises — of a man they are reportedly investigating for tax and financial crimes, not gang murders and Mafia hits — by drawing their guns on the stunned couple, apparently to check their pajamas for weapons.

Mueller’s probe more resembles an empire, with 17 prosecutors retained on the public dime. So . . . what exactly is the crime of the century that requires five times the number of lawyers the Justice Department customarily assigns to crimes of the century? No one can say. The growing firm is clearly scorching the earth, scrutinizing over a decade of Manafort’s shady business dealings, determined to pluck out some white-collar felony or another that they can use to squeeze him.

....Why is this worth pointing out? Because someday, maybe, we’ll get around to asking: What would have happened if Hillary Clinton’s very real email scandal — with its mountainous evidence of felony mishandling of classified information and destruction of government records — had been investigated with the no-holds-barred vigor Mueller and his band of Hillary donors are applying to the surmise of Trump collusion in Russian espionage?




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09/22/2017 7:21

Dogs Aren't Faking. They really do love you.

And what did Berns discover? Something that almost every dog owner in the world could have told you: Dogs aren’t faking it when they act like they love you. Because it’s not an act.

Berns and his team confirmed this through a host of tests that looked at different centers of the doggie brain and how they responded to different stimuli. In one test they alternated between giving the pooches hot dogs (the food, not Dachshunds) and offering them praise. Looking at the pleasure centers of the dogs’ brains, the researchers found that nearly all the dogs responded to “Who’s a good boy?! You are!” (or whatever they actually said) with at least as much pleasure as when they got a Hebrew National. A fifth of the dogs actually preferred praise to food. Berns concluded that dogs derive as much pleasure from love as from food. As a somewhat obsessed dog guy, I’m the first to concede that a central tenet of doggie philosophy is to reject the whole love-vs.-food paradigm as a false choice. Dogs are committed to the idea that there is no such thing as too much of a good thing.

But as almost anyone who has come home to their dog after an extended absence will tell you, dogs don’t go bonkers for missing loved ones solely because they think there’s a meal in it for them.



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09/22/2017 7:10

Miami Herald: Cheers for UN Speechk

President Donald Trump deserves credit for talking extensively about the repressive regimes of Venezuela and Cuba in his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly, even if his overall address was music to the ears of dictators around the world.

Unlike former President Barack Obama, who didn’t mention the word “Venezuela” in his last two annual addresses to the U.N. General Assembly, and only mentioned Cuba to refer to opening diplomatic ties with the island, Trump lashed out against the curtailment of basic freedoms in the two Latin American countries during his speech to the U.N. on Tuesday.

Without repeating his disastrous mistake of Aug. 11, when he casually stated that the United States was considering a “military option” in Venezuela and caused many countries to distance themselves from U.S. diplomatic efforts to isolate the Venezuelan regime, Trump said he will pursue “calibrated sanctions on the socialist regime in Venezuela.”

Translation: He threatened to escalate gradual financial sanctions against members of Venezuela’s corrupt “revolutionary” elite and government institutions, and asked other countries to do the same. It was a tacit call for multilateral pressure on the Venezuelan regime, rather than U.S. unilateral actions.

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09/22/2017 7:03

Politically correct society is the death of comedy',

Society's "stupidly politically correct" sensibilities will lead to the "death of comedy", the veteran Hollywood comedian Mel Brooks has warned.

Brooks, known for his plethora of acclaimed comedy movies, said political correctness was becoming a stranglehold on comedians.

"It's not good for comedy. Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks," he said.

"Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering in the king's ear, always telling the truth about human behaviour."

The producer and director said that his iconic western parody Blazing Saddles could not be made in today's political climate.

Brooks said it was the racial prejudice portrayed within the film that was the mechanism behind its cultural significance. 

"Without that the movie would not have had nearly the significance, the force, the dynamism and the stakes that were contained in it,” he said.

(Politically correct society wants to kill comedy, free speech and a lot of other things too)

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09/22/2017 6:55

Mizzou's Continuing Decline

The University of Missouri, where I teach and which I dearly love, is in crisis. Freshman enrollment at the university’s Columbia campus (Mizzou) is down by a whopping 35%from two years ago. Missouri’s governor and legislature slashed Mizzou’s state appropriation by $22 million this year.

Administrators have responded by cutting Mizzou’s operating budget by 12% and laying off 307employees (474 across the entire University of Missouri system). They’ve also closed seven dormitories to students, instead renting out the rooms for football games and special events like the recent solar eclipse.

Suffice it to say, morale on campus is low.

The primary culprit, of course, is Mizzou’s reaction to the student protests of 2015. In November of that year, a group of students, justifiably angered by three racist incidents on the 35,000-student Columbia campus, presented administrators with a number of unreasonable demands. Among other things, they insisted that the president of the 77,000-student University of Missouri system publicly acknowledge his “white male privilege” and resign his post and that the university adopt patently unconstitutional racial quotas for faculty and staff.

Instead of leading like compassionate, wise adults—joining the protestors’ rightful condemnation of racist conduct but working to convince them that their demands were unreasonable—many Mizzou officials either succumbed to or actively perpetuated the frenzy

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09/21/2017 12:42

Guess they Don't Like Diversity

Leaders of the student newspaper at Princeton University have disbanded the publication’s independent editorial board, a move that comes after the group put forth a string of right-leaning opinions, including denouncing the women’s center for its radical feminist agenda and arguing in favor of due process.

“The top editors of the Prince have no involvement in what we write,” said Jack Whelan, a member of the dissolved editorial board, in an interview with The College Fix. “The reason why were we were destroyed is the opinions we published on a regular basis were more conservative than the opinions published on a daily basis in the Princetonian as a whole.”

While most campus newspapers’ editorial boards consist of top editors, the Princetonian had a unique set-up in which its editorial board was made of students representing a wide and diverse swath of campus life, as well as students who leaned left, right and center.

The decision upset members of the disbanded board, who have gone rogue, launching their own website to continue to publish opinions and combat what they call the Princetonian’s “anti-pluralism.”

In their debut editorial Sept. 14, they also called current leaders of the Princetonianout for bias, noting the “catalyst for the change in the Editorial Board’s structure was a series of editorials that did not align with the personal political convictions of the Editor-in-Chief and other senior editors.


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09/21/2017 10:43

Our Fascist Snowflakes Will Never Quit

Well what about Francis Crick? Should we destroy his bust, revoke his Nobel Prize, rename the Francis Crick Institute, and tarnish his many honors?  And should we do the same for Jim Watson, already in disgrace for some racist comments he made a few years back, and now totally demonized to the point that he’s deplatformed if he tries to speak about anything? (I’m not aware of Watson being a “proponent of eugenics”, but I may have missed something.)

I don’t think so. In the net, the contributions of these two men were positive, despite Watson’s continuing emission of unsavory comments (not just about races, but about women). Remember, too, that Crick’s comments were in private letters. There is no evidence I’m aware of that he spoke or wrote publicly about eugenics, despite the fact that he had a ready platform to do so.

Further, Crick did more than just discover the double-helical structure of DNA with Watson (and with data from Wilkins and Franklin; see below): as Matthew wrote the other day, he formulated the “Central Dogma,” suggested the existence of transfer RNA, helped work out the genetic code, and was the first to suggest that protein sequences (and by implication DNA sequences) could be used to deduce evolutionary relationships of species. Both Matthew and I have written other posts about Crick’s remarkable brain and its accomplishments—see herehere, and here, for example.

It is fatuous to suggest that we should demonize Crick and “revisit” his monuments because of a few remarks he made in private letters, remarks whose context isn’t given. Even if Crick thought there might be a genetic IQ gap between blacks and whites, or suggested some form of voluntary sterilization, those were never public remarks. If you want to argue that those private statements in letters are sufficiently bad that they outweigh the good that Crick did, well, you’re welcome to, but you’ll be on shaky ground, accusing him of Thoughtcrime.

And then you’ll have to start in on people like Darwin (as A. N. Wilson just has) for his few remarks about “savages” and their substandard mentality. Darwin was a man of his time, and did have bigoted views, but he was also an ardent abolitionist—not the usual viewpoint of his contemporaries. Because of those views, should we dig the bugger up from Westminster Abbey and turf him into an anonymous grave? Should we tear down the Darwin statues or put them in inconspicuous places, as Wilson appears to suggest? I don’t think so. If you start down the road that tries to remove Darwin and his accomplishments from history—and Wilson has done just that in his new biography—then you’re on the road to perdition.

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09/21/2017 9:02

Prof: ‘Excessive immigration’ is hurting American citizens

“Benjamin Zuckerman, professor of Astronomy and president of Californians for Population Stabilization, argued in an essay for The Daily Bruin that immigration, both legal and illegal, has a negative impact on native-born Americans.

“The importance of a prompt stabilization of the U.S. population is not a newfound concept.”

“For many years the United States has admitted a million legal immigrants a year. This, combined with illegal immigration, has had a significant impact on low-income American workers, who are disproportionately persons of color,” Zuckerman contends.

Of course the snowflakes and totalitarians call him a racist for pointing out these facts—facts to a socialist are inconvenient and must never be mentioned.  Why are campuses on fire?  Dishonesty and immaturity among faculty, administrators and the students see that as a role model.  We have grown a generation of college students unwilling to discuss or accept facts.

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09/21/2017 8:01

DACA denial rate doubles under Trump administration

The Homeland Security Department has doubled the rate of denials of Dreamers’ amnesty applications, according to numbers released Wednesday that suggest the administration had been taking a harder line even before President Trump’s announcement this month that he would phase out the DACA program altogether.

Some 32 percent applications for DACA status that were decided from April to June were rejected. That is twice the 16 percent rate of the last months of the Obama administration and far more than the 1 percent denial rate in the early days of the program.

Analysts said the increase is evidence that Mr. Trump’s get-tough approach is having an effect at all levels of Homeland Security, including the officers at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services who rule on applications for legal immigration benefits such as green cards, citizenship and DACA, the Obama-era deportation amnesty.

“I think the pro-enforcement message from the Trump administration is finally trickling down to the field supervisors and line employees at USCIS,” said Matthew J. O’Brien, a former official at the agency, who is now research director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “That would account for a portion of the higher rate of denials.”

He said the big change wasn’t a rise in the sheer number of denials, which have remained steady, but rather a drop in the total number of applications approved. Those fell from about 17,000 in the first three months of the calendar year to about 5,900 in the second quarter, which helped boost the denial rate.

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09/21/2017 7:27

One Trump Promise Fulfilled

How did Trump do? "While there have been some hiccups, overall the Trump administration is on track to finish the first phase (of his regulatory reform program) with $645 million in net annual regulatory savings."

That might not sound like much in a federal budget usually denominated in the trillions of dollars. But consider this: During President Obama's years in office, more than  22,700 regulations were imposed on Americans at an astounding cost to American consumers, businesses and workers of "more than $120 billion each and every year," wrote Heritage Foundation Fellow Diane Katz earlier this year.

"The actual costs are far greater," writes Katz, "both because the impacts have not been fully quantified for a significant number of rules, and because many of the worst effects — the loss of freedom and opportunity — are incalculable."

We're not singling out Obama here, although he was particularly bad by whatever gauge you might care to use. Even so, Democrats and Republicans alike have pledged to reduce the regulatory burden, but very little ever got done. Somehow, it was just another dead promise, to be buried alongside the others.

That's why AAF analyst Dan Goldbeck was prompted to write, "From almost any perspective, President Trump's Executive Order 13,771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs, marked one of the most significant developments in regulatory policy in decades," adding that it was the "first time in United States history that the executive branch has established a regulatory budget."

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09/21/2017 7:05

More Vileness From Democrats

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09/21/2017 6:52

He Wiretapped and Lied

Many in the media are diving deeply into minutiae in order to discredit any notion that President Trump might have been onto something in March when he fired off a series of tweets claiming President Obama had “tapped” “wires” in Trump Tower just before the election.

According to media reports this week, the FBI did indeed “wiretap” the former head of Trump’s campaign, Paul Manafort, both before and after Trump was elected. If Trump officials — or Trump himself — communicated with Manafort during the wiretaps, they would have been recorded, too.

But we’re missing the bigger story.

If these reports are accurate, it means U.S. intelligence agencies secretly surveilled at least a half dozen Trump associates. And those are just the ones we know about.

 Besides Manafort, the officials include former Trump advisers Carter Page and Michael Flynn. Last week, we discovered multiple Trump “transition officials” were “incidentally” captured during government surveillance of a foreign official. We know this because former Obama adviser Susan Rice reportedly admitted “unmasking,” or asking to know the identities of, the officials. Spying on U.S. citizens is considered so sensitive, their names are supposed to be hidden or “masked,” even inside the government, to protect their privacy.

In May, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates acknowledged they, too, reviewed communications of political figures, secretly collected under President Obama.

Then, as now, instead of getting the bigger story, some in the news media and quasi-news media published false and misleading narratives pushed by government interests. They implied the computer intrusions were the stuff of vivid imagination, conveniently dismissed forensic evidence from three independent examinations that they didn’t review. All seemed happy enough to let news of the government’s alleged unlawful behavior fade away, rather than get to the bottom of it.


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09/20/2017 9:09

I'd Like To Know Why

Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was 'unmasking' at such a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016 – and even sought information in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration, multiple sources close to the matter told Fox News. 

Two sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, said the requests to identify Americans whose names surfaced in foreign intelligence reporting, known as unmasking, exceeded 260 last year. One source indicated this occurred in the final days of the Obama White House.

The details emerged ahead of an expected appearance by Power next month on Capitol Hill. She is one of several Obama administration officials facing congressional scrutiny for their role in seeking the identities of Trump associates in intelligence reports – but the interest in her actions is particularly high. 

In a July 27 letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said the committee had learned "that one official, whose position had no apparent intelligence-related function, made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama Administration." 

The "official" is widely reported to be Power.

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09/20/2017 8:50

Extremely Disturbing

Astonishingly, half said that snuffing out upsetting speech — rather than, presumably, rebutting or even ignoring it — would be appropriate. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to find this response acceptable (62 percent to 39 percent), and men were more likely than women (57 percent to 47 percent). Even so, sizable shares of all groups agreed.

It gets even worse.

Respondents were also asked if it would be acceptable for a student group to use violence to prevent that same controversial speaker from talking. Here, 19 percent said yes.


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09/20/2017 8:38

Professors For Bullies

About 50 University of Nebraska-Lincoln professors and students protested Monday for 40 minutes in support of a lecturer who bullied a conservative student over her political views.

The university relieved Courtney Lawton, a graduate student instructor, from her teaching duties after she flipped off and bullied the president of the school’s Turning Point USA chapter, Katie Mullen, while she was recruiting on campus.

An administrator even insisted that Mullen had to leave the premises until campus police showed up and affirmed her right to stay. Later, after the bullying became too much and Mullen was harassed to the point of tears, the officers escorted her to safety.

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