For the drinkers out there, do remember our overview of the science behind hangovers, and the prevention thereof.
And everyone - make good choices!
Obama takes unexpected fire on his left flank on his way out the door:
If Donald Trump Targets Journalists, Thank Obama
The author is the NY Times very own James Risen, who was one of a number of journalists caught in the crosshairs (Ooops - trigger alert!) of Obama's war on leaks.
And he does not make the point explicitly but Risen has blame to spread around:
In fact, before the George W. Bush administration, only one person was ever convicted under the Espionage Act for leaking — Samuel Morison, a Navy analyst arrested in 1984 for giving spy satellite photos of a Soviet aircraft carrier to Jane’s Defense Weekly. He was later pardoned by President Bill Clinton.
Things began to change in the Bush era, particularly after the Valerie Plame case. The 2003 outing of Ms. Plame as a covert C.I.A. operative led to a criminal leak investigation, which in turn led to a series of high-profile Washington journalists being subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury and name the officials who had told them about her identity. Judith Miller, then a New York Times reporter, went to jail for nearly three months before finally testifying in the case.
I think it is fair to say that much of the media hue and cry surrounding Ms. Plame had a partisan tinge, and that tinge was bluish, not red. And the Times had a special angle, alluded to above - they were intent on pretending that Judith Miller was in jail to protect the identity of her sources. In fact, one of her sources, Lewis Libby, had already testified to a grand jury about comversations with ms. Miller; the subpoena to Miller specifically named Libby as the topic of inquiry. (That said, there may have been a concern that the grand jury would ask questions beyond the scope of the subpoena and Ms. Miller, who would not have a lawyer present, would forget her legal briefing.)
That said, an anti-Cheney faction on the Republican side was happy to play along.
I have read all sorts of articles on the science of hangovers and the preventions thereof. This is the best I have seen and it includes some key action points that are somewhat easily implemented and can be life-changing, or at least, morning-after changing.
Everyone with a bit of drinking experience knows about dehydration and electrolytes, but this is less widely known:
3. Acetaldehyde Build-Up
When alcohol reaches your liver, an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase breaks it down into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is far more toxic than alcohol (by up to 30-fold!2).
So your body again attempts to break it down with the enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that is crucial for liver detoxification (glutathione contains high levels of cysteine, which is why taking this in supplement form may help prevent hangovers… more on this below).
Together, this powerful detox duo can break down the acetaldehyde into harmless acetate (which is similar to vinegar).
However, when you drink too much alcohol, your stores of glutathione become depleted, which allows acetaldehyde to build up in your body, causing the toxic hangover effect.
It should be noted that women have less acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and glutathione than men, which is why women may have a more severe reaction to drinking the same amount of alcohol as a man of similar weight.
Test subjects injected with acetaldehyde very quickly get the nausea and shakes associated with too much drinking, so helping the liver to process it is mission critical. And here's how:
1. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)
NAC is a form of the amino acid cysteine. It is known to help increase glutathione and reduce the acetaldehyde toxicity5 that causes many hangover symptoms. Try taking NAC (at least 200 milligrams) 30 minutes before you drink to help lessen the alcohol's toxic effects.
If you're wondering just how powerful NAC can be, consider that, like alcohol, one way that Tylenol causes damage to your liver is by depleting glutathione. If you keep your glutathione levels up, the damage from the acetaminophen may be largely preventable. This is why anyone who overdoses on Tylenol receives large doses of NAC in the emergency room -- to increase glutathione.
2. B Vitamins
NAC is thought to work even better when combined with thiamine, or vitamin B1.6 Vitamin B6 may also help to lessen hangover symptoms. Since alcohol depletes B vitamin in your body and they're required to help eliminate it from your body, a B-vitamin supplement taken beforehand, as well as the next day, may help.
3. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle contains silymarin and silybin, antioxidants that are known to help protect the liver from toxins, including the effects of alcohol. Not only has silymarin been found to increase glutathione, but it also may help to regenerate liver cells.7 A milk thistle supplement may be most useful when taken throughout the entire holiday season if you know you'll be having cocktails on more than one occasion.
4. Vitamin C
Alcohol may deplete your body of vitamin C, which is important for reducing alcohol-induced oxidative stress in your liver. Interestingly, one animal study showed that vitamin C was even more protective to the liver than silymarin (milk thistle) after exposure to alcohol.8 Just as with a dental anesthetic, vitamin C will also help detoxify alcohol, so make sure you're getting enough vitamin C, either via supplements or food, before indulging in alcoholic beverages.
You may not want to be at a party popping pills, so here is a simpler routine as a pre-game and again at the end of the evening:
NAC - at least 600 mg, but don't be shy. Oral NAC is administered in suspected Acetaminophen overdoses and the starting dose for a 110 pound person is 7 grams, with another 3.5 grams administered every four hours for three days. 600 mg is about 1/12 that amount, which is nowhere in sight of overdose territory. NAC probably won't be at your nearest CVS, sadly, but stores that specialize in supplements will stock it.
Emergen-C : great for the B vitamins, Vitamin C, other electrolytes, and water.
If you are a supplement nerd like me you won't pay up for the simplicity of Emergen-C but will just find the different components in your cupboard.
As to the milk thistle, I am sure it is a good idea and if you have it, great, but it does not seem to be critical to the efficacy of this protocol. (The sacrifices I make for science...).
Anyway - have a happy and responsible New Year. Prevention is still the best medicine, although often not the most exciting.
Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.
The diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year’s holidays with their families and friends. We will not create any problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays. Moreover, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.
It is regrettable that the Obama Administration is ending its term in this manner. Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family.
My season’s greetings also to President-elect Donald Trump and the American people.
I wish all of you happiness and prosperity.
As Andrew Sullivan used to say, "Meep meep". Although now Putin is the Roadrunner and Obama is Wile E. Coyote, complete with his Acme Deportation Order.
But as much as I may enjoy Obama's latest encounter with a banana peel, I am vigorously reminding myself of two points:
(1) Don't get comfortable rooting for the Russkies. Obama is an embarrassment, but for a few more weeks he is OUR embarrassment; and more worryingly
(2) This probably won't get better under Trump. My fear is that right now some snarky twenty-something Russian punk is reading Trump's many tweets and gearing up for four (or eight!?!) years of psy-ops aimed at The Donald. The result will be a public flame war between said punk and the Leader of the Free World, who really ought to find better uses for his time but has yet to see a Twitter feud he can let go.
Time will tell.
In assessing the debacles of the Obama administration, Glenn Reynolds has famously said for years that Jimmy Carter was a best case. Eerily prescient!
But, inspired by the UN abstention allowing a condemnation of Israel and Kerry's planned "They weren't listening then but can you hear me now" speech laying out his vision of a Mid East settlement, let's open some new categories.
First, is Obama now the worst Lame Duck ever? Offhand, I can remember Bush 41's pre-Christmas coal to Bill Clinton in the form of the UN sponsored intervention in Somalia. OK, the initial relief effort all went to Hades due to mission creep, the Bushies later explained, and it did have UN backing, but still... (Given the eventual impact, this topic should have "Help Me Rwanda" as its soundtrack. Or "Toot Toot Tutsi Goodbye". Either way.)
And its early, but is Obama likely to be the worst Former President ever? Again, his big competition is Jimmy Peanut, but Obama has shown strong form so far and I see no reason to believe that his love of his own voice, not to say cameras and microphones, will diminish.
Here's one for the STFU ASAP file:
John Kerry to Give Speech Wednesday on Middle East Peace Process
Speech will to lay out administration’s vision for resolving conflict between Israel and the Palestinians
After eight years of achieving nothing other than the dissipation of US credibility in the Middle East this clown wants to lay out the "vision" of Barack Obama to be pursued by Donald Trump? I have a better idea - why not replay some of the visions of Barackulous Past? This could be a Greatest Hits collection - my favorite vision from NostraObamus is still this Oct 2015 classic presser in which he explained that Putin was entering a quagmire in Syria and would soon enough discover the impotence of Russian power. Strike "Russian impotence", substitute "American impotence", et voila - Obama was exactly right about what Putin would discover.
And of course, that presser also had the bonus "half-baked" response about calls for a no-fly zone. Well, Republican advocates of a no-fly zone were engaging in "half-baked" "mumbo jumbo", prompting this priceless follow-up:
Q: ...And lastly, just to clarify, to what degree did Hillary Clinton’s endorsement just yesterday of a no-fly zone put her in a category of embracing a half-baked answer on Syria that borders on mumbo jumbo?
THE PRESIDENT: On the latter issue, on the last question that you asked, Hillary Clinton is not half-baked in terms of her approach to these problems. She was obviously my Secretary of State. But I also think that there’s a difference between running for President and being President, and the decisions that are being made and the discussions that I’m having with the Joint Chiefs become much more specific and require, I think, a different kind of judgment. And that’s what I’ll continue to apply as long as I’m here. And if and when she’s President, then she’ll make those judgments. And she’s been there enough that she knows that these are tough calls but that --
Q -- that she should know better?
THE PRESIDENT: No, that’s not what I said. That’s perhaps what you said.
Awkward! But whatev. Kerry and Obama can not shut up and sit down fast enough.
THUNDER ON THE RIGHT: If you had "Erick Erickson will support Obama and Kerry on this" in the office pool - YOU LOSE!
OK, I am thinking of those Super Bowl pools where you buy a square and get randomly assigned a result. Obviously no regular reader here (by "here" I mean, lefty, righty or heavily medicated within this Solar System) guessed wrong on Erickson's view.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah, although the First Petulant may have dimmed that a bit.
The WaPo editors criticize Obama and implicitly endorse Trump, who tweeted in support of Israel. The NY Times editors take a pass on this topic, presumably because they are still puzzling out what truth to speak to which power.
The Times coverage by Somini Sengupta and Rick Gkladstone (B-teamers?) is amusingly schizophrenic. The lead is all "Go, Barry!":
UNITED NATIONS — Defying extraordinary pressure from President-elect Donald J. Trump and furious lobbying by Israel, the Obama administration on Friday allowed the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution that condemned Israeli settlement construction.
The administration’s decision not to veto the measure reflected its accumulated frustration over Israeli settlements. The American abstention on the vote also broke a longstanding policy of shielding Israel from action at the United Nations that described the settlements as illegal.
Oh, how can we not admire a guy who defies "extraordinary pressure" from Evil Donald? And who among us supports "furious lobbying"? Stand up to that as well!
Much later, down in paragraph fifteen, we learn there is a bipartisan consensus here:
A range of senators and congressmen from both parties also denounced the resolution, a reflection of the deep loyalty to Israel shared by Democrats and Republicans. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said, “It is extremely frustrating, disappointing and confounding that the administration has failed to veto this resolution.”
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who oversees a subcommittee that oversees United Nations funding by the United States, threatened to take steps that could “suspend or significantly reduce” that financing.
Reaction to the resolution also illustrated fissures among American Jews regarding Israeli policy. Some, like the World Jewish Congress and American Jewish Committee, called the resolution a one-sided measure that would not help the peace process. Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said in a statement: “It is also disconcerting and unfortunate that the United States, Israel’s greatest ally, chose to abstain rather than veto this counterproductive text.”
Other groups that have grown increasingly critical of the Israeli government’s approach to the peace process applauded the resolution and the Obama administration’s decision not to block it.
J Street, a Washington-based organization that advocates a two-state solution, said the resolution “conveys the overwhelming support of the international community, including Israel’s closest friends and allies, for the two-state solution, and their deep concern over the deteriorating status quo between Israelis and Palestinians and the lack of meaningful progress toward peace.”
The Times editors will no doubt pick a side in due course.
Ivanka Trump and family tried to take a commercial flight from NYC to Palm Springs, but unfortunately, other New Yorkers were involved. From the NY Daily News:
JetBlue passenger criticizes Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, gets booted from flight: 'Your father is ruining the country'
A Hunter College professor learned a hard lesson after his husband blasted first daughter Ivanka Trump aboard an airplane at JFK Airport.
Matt Lasner and his spouse Dan Goldstein were bounced from the Thursday morning Jet Blue plane to Hawaii after the pre-takeoff confrontation.
“Oh my God, this is a nightmare,” a witness quoted Goldstein as saying after spying Ivanka. “They ruin the country and now they ruin our flight.”
According to TMZ.com, Goldstein upped the ante by screaming, “Your father is ruining the country. Why is she on our flight? She should be flying private.”
Witness Marc Scheff said Ivanka never lost her cool during the uncomfortable confrontation.
“I overheard Ivanka say to (plane staff) ‘I don’t want to make this a thing,’” Scheff wrote on Facebook. “My assessment is she was happy to let the man take his seat.
“She handled the situation calmly and with class. Security made the call to dismiss the man. And for good reason.”
Hey, a source! Witness Marc Scheff posted his account on Instagram:
Unusually non art post but this is too surreal.
My son and I made the news today. That's us in the photo. I am sitting in the next row up from Ivanka and surrounded by her extended family, lots of Kushners. A man got ejected and the news is making it sound like the guy was hulking Out. The whole incident happened literally 15 inches from me. The article is sensationalizing this a little. Here is what happened.
He didn't accost her directly. When he got on and saw her, sitting behind me, he said "oh my god. This is a nightmare" and was visibly shaking. He said "they ruin the country now they ruin our flight!" (Context: Boarding and therefore the flight was delayed because they needed to get on first through some other way).
He did not yell. He was also not what I would describe as calm. Agitated maybe. His husband behind him was very calm. His son is adorable and sharply dressed. [Mr. Scheff's son isn't taking a backseat in the "adorable" category either, although sharply dressed ? More 'travelin' cool'.]
When the JetBlue staff went back to speak to the man I overheard Ivanka say to them "I don't want to make this a thing." My assessment is that she was happy to let the man take his seat. Security made a different call.
And for good reason. The man's calm husband had tweeted earlier that his husband was "chasing them down to harass them." I did not witness his actual removal some rows back. If he screamed, I didn't hear it.
My politics aside... Honestly, if I was her security I would have made the same call. I don't _think_ the man was capable of violence, sure. But I would worry that he would leave his seat or cause a scene in some way. And his husband had tweeted that he planned on doing that. So, again you know my politics, but I would have made the same call here.
Interesting. As are the comments at progressive redoubt Talking Points Memo. Some conspiracy theorists see crafty news management by the Evil Trumpsters (Ivanka in coach - such a woman of the people!) but, for a bit of Holiday cheer, there seems to be a large faction denouncing this as deplorable manners. Dare we say there is a bipartisan consensus against screaming at moms in front of their kids? Nearly!
John Eligon of the NY Times follows up their Memorial Day coverage of violence in Chicago by spending time with some Chicago gang members:
Bored, Broke and Armed: Clues to Chicago’s Gang Violence
Boredom is, indeed, a big part of gang life.
But boredom mixed with desperation can turn menacing.
And that was where several of Kaos’s gang allies found themselves on a chilly night in late October as they slipped on clear Guy Fawkes masks and set upon a man they saw walking by himself along King Drive. They were broke, and this is what they were going to do about it.
As darkness fell, Kaos said he peeked out of the window and saw about 10 gang allies slipping on the Guy Fawkes masks.
A few minutes later, one knocked on his door, Kaos said. He and some of the younger gang members had tried to rob a man, he told Kaos. But the man pulled a pistol, shot one of them in the leg and ran off.
An ambulance carted away the wounded man. His friends lingered in the courtyard, laughing about the fiasco.
Inside, Kaos shook his head.
“I don’t know what they were thinking,” he said, injecting a curse word.
He later lamented, “It only takes one to push a crowd.”
Yeah, it only takes one to push a crowd but sometimes it helps if that one is armed.
This is weird reporting, since only recently the Times editors explained that effective armed self-defense was a "fantasy":
To Be Fair, let me continue to ride down the tracks of the Times logical train:
Research refutes this idea [of standing up to gunmen]; it is far more likely that guns are used to harm the owners or other innocent people than to stop a crime.
So incidents with undesirable outcomes are more likely than incidents of effective self-defense, and therefore the notion of effective self-defense is a "fantasy"? Geez, let me try this Timesian analysis: some whingers complain that cars are unsafe and drone on about roughly 30,000 automobile related deaths per year, but that is a fantasy because studies show that, per passenger mile driven, almost everybody will Arrive Alive.
Not convinced? Me, neither.
Jim Newell of Slate writer finds the graveyard humor in the Democrats 2016:
You Played Yourself, Democrats. Again.
How fitting for the 2016 election to end with the dashed hopes and incompetence of liberals.
Few people in the galaxy aren’t in need of a nice, long holiday after the deaths, the elections, and the deaths by election that have characterized 2016. These past 12 months have been taxing. The group that really needs to be put on mandatory vacation—starting now, and through New Year’s weekend, with no obligations other than daily meditation—is what remains of the Democratic Party. Democrats need to close the books on 2016 without somehow losing a thumb in the process. Monday’s Electoral College oopsie-daisy was the last straw, and mandatory restraint from further calendar-year Democratic beclownment is duly ordered.
This was the Year of Democratic Self-Owns. You know the pattern. It is marked by some hoped-for development that in theory would crush Republicans but, at the moment of action, embarrasses Democrats in ways that should have been foreseeable. Obviously we are speaking here of Democrats’ hope that the Republican Party would nominate Donald J. Trump for president. The Republican Party did its part and gave the Democrats a nominee who could not win. In response, the Democrats nominated one of their own. The stoppable force met the movable object and won on an electoral coin flip...
He goes on to recount some memorable Dem whoopsies and concludes with this:
Immediately trying to impeach Donald Trump, on the other hand, would be a “bad” investment of time and mental energy. It is not going to happen. Not one person in this country should build up the expectation that this is something that will happen when Congress returns. Maybe discussing it delegitimizes him; more likely it’s a waste of time. Liberals’ track record in 2016 tells me that if they were to engage with the possibility of impeaching Trump, anyway, Democratic members would somehow find themselves all voting for their own expulsion from Congress, in the unlikely event that they didn’t all simultaneously slip on banana peels while walking to the chamber for the vote.
What's the saying? No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the Democratic leadership?
The quiet pre-Christmas week theory has taken a hit. A second Russian diplomat shot in Turkey?, Or, "dead of gunshot wounds" since maybe this was a suicide? Hard to square that with this detail:
A gun was also reportedly discovered under the sink in the bathroom.
He shot himself in the head, then hid the gun? OK, maybe not impossible, since people sometimes survive head wounds.
In Berlin, the investigation continues with a terror orientation but the original man arrested has been released.
And China has returned our underwater drone, prompting this utterly opaque analysis:
“I see the snatched drone as a calculated act of coercive diplomacy approved at the top,” Patrick M. Cronin, the senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, said in an email.
“I believe Beijing accelerated plans to create an early test for the new administration because Trump publicly called into question the One China policy and because China judged it safer to provoke Obama than an unpredictable Trump,” Mr. Cronin said.
The Chinese leadership wanted to test Trump but figured testing Obama was safer? OK, who wouldn't, but that isn't really much of a test now, is it? More to look forward to next January? Or, if they do not test Trump because (like the rest of us) they have no idea what might happen, is that yet another win for us to get bored with?
I hope this is not just me trapped in my Times-bashing bubble, but... Jim Rutenberg delivers this piece on Trump saving the news business without any irony or self-awareness that I can detect:
By Attacking the Press, Donald Trump May Be Doing It a Favor
The answer to all the troubling new questions about the future of the news business — how to make money, stop the spread of fake news and reassert a uniform view of reality — appeared last week in a plate of “flaccid, gray Szechuan dumplings.”
That was how the Vanity Fair writer Tina Nguyen described her appetizer at the Trump Grill in a review that said the joint — the flagship eatery of White House North (Trump Tower) — could be “The Worst Restaurant in America.” [link]
Vanity Fair posted the piece late Wednesday. Early Thursday, Donald J. Trump did what he so often does when a news organization or private business makes him mad. He attacked its leadership and impugned its fiscal health, on Twitter.
“Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine,” the incoming president of the United States wrote. “Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!”
Actually, the magazine reports that its circulation, its revenue and its Web traffic are all up this year over last. And Mr. Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair and one of the best magazine editors in the country, is in no more danger of losing his job than he was a year ago, when Mr. Trump wondered aloud whether he was on his way out.
But Mr. Carter seized the moment with a red home page banner calling Vanity Fair “The Magazine Donald Trump Doesn’t Want You to Read” and imploring visitors, “Subscribe Now!”
Lo and behold, subscriptions spiked a hundredfold over their daily average, the magazine said, bringing Vanity Fair’s parent company, Condé Nast, the biggest number of new daily sign-ups in its 116-year history. (The tally had hit 42,000 by Sunday.)
As Mr. Trump tries to burn the media village down, he may just be saving it.
You can only imagine my relief upon hearing this good news about the state of Vanity Fair. But after this somewhat extensive lead in illustrating the salvation of the "news" business, let me ask a question - does Mr. Rutenberg sincerely believe that the Trump Grill in question really is a candidate for "worst" restaurant in America, does he suspect it may be the worst restaurant in America for Trump-loathers, or does he not even care as long as readers lap it up?
Every media outlet, even the Times, faces a perennial problem posed by their readership - people generally want affirmation, not information. To pick an example seemingly at random, the Times pre-election coverage rarely challenged their progressive readership with the notion that all was not honey and cream throughout Obama's America.
After the election's rug-pull the "what went wrong" coverage expanded. We learned that white employment has actually fallen during the Obama "recovery", which just might (along with declining working class white life expectancy) have been a straw in the wind suggesting that Hillary's commitment to continuing the current regime might have fallen on unhappy ears in the heartland. But who wanted to know that these unreconstructed racist homophobes had arguably real economic concerns? No one at the Times.
Nor, I suspect, do Vanity Fair readers want to read positive reviews of Trump properties right now. Any Trump bashing, on the other hand, guarantees clicks from the large (but melting down!) progressive community. I am confident that there are people who will happily subscribe right now to a guaranteed year of "This Is How Hard Trump Sucks" coverage, based on Mr. Rutenberg's lead anecdote.
But is this really the salvation of the news industry?
Mr. Rutenberg is apparently unable to connect his lede to his theme, or maybe doesn't see the gap:
But in the weeks since the election, magazines like The New Yorker, The Atlantic and Vanity Fair; newspapers including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post; and nonprofits like NPR and ProPublica have been reporting big boosts in subscription rates or donations.
It’s as if Mr. Trump’s media attacks have combined with the heightened attention on the perils of fake news to create one big fat advertisement for the value of basic journalism.
“The fake news business is going to be great for journalism in the long run,” Mr. Carter told me Friday, referring to Mr. Trump as “the Fake Newser in Chief.” “Proper news organizations should thrive under this.”
"Proper news" such as calm, objective analysis declaring a Trump restaurant the "worst in America"? Please. And with the exception of the WSJ, those are all left-leaning outlets. What, people didn't value their coverage under Obama?
No. In the twilight struggle between affirmation and information, the Vanity Fair example shows that affirmation has won.
I HAVE TO ADD: I didn't read the Vanity Fair article to the end so I can't say definitively that the author, Tina Nguyen, declared the grill to be dreadful because of the high risk of seeing tourists dining there who also shop at WalMart. But she might have!
SINCE YOU ASK: Yelp reviews for the Trump Grill can be sorted by date, including oldest first. Believe it or not, a lot of the reviews in the post-election period are negative!
I would say the early reviews (2008-2012 appear on the first page) are mixed to negative. But Worst?
I love this guy. Obama used his final Presidential press conference to preview some of his material as he tries to pull together his five minutes for a stand-up comedy routine.
This howler will be hard to top:
And almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago.
After your laughter dies down, give credit for his use of the word "almost". Possible exceptions to the "more respect" meme would include Putin's Russia, which packed our bags and handed them to us in Syria, then hacked our elections as Obama headed out the door. More on that from the First Ditherer turned First Stand-Up:
What I was concerned about in particular was making sure that that wasn't compounded by potential hacking that could hamper vote counting, affect the actual election process itself.
And so in early September when I saw President Putin in China, I felt that the most effective way to ensure that that did not happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out, there were going to be some serious consequences if he did not.
And in fact, we did not see further tampering of the election process. But the leaks through Wikileaks had already occurred.
He and DNC Chair Donna Brazile need to coordinate their laugh lines since she said the DNC saw attempted hacking activity right up to the election.
Well, maybe Obama was talking about something else and the rest of us are not able to keep up with his subtle thinking and subtler phrasing. Not the first time.
For other possible exceptions to Obama's declaration of New Respect, we can turn our eyes to the Pacific. The Chinese have such great respect that they sailed up to a US Navy vessel in what even they agree is international waters and stole an underwater drone. Worrisome? Only for the countries out there! The Times:
Muted U.S. Response to China’s Seizure of Drone Worries Asian Allies
In the eyes of America’s friends in Asia, the brazen maneuver to launch an operation against an American Navy vessel in international waters in the South China Sea about 50 miles from the Philippines, another close American ally, has raised questions about one of the admiral’s crucial words. It was also seen by some as a taunt to President-elect Donald J. Trump, who has challenged the One China policy on Taiwan and has vowed to deal forcefully with Beijing in trade and other issues.
They are taunting Trump? I really don't have the heart to tell them, either.
Across Asia, diplomats and analysts said they were perplexed at the inability of the Obama administration to devise a strong response to China’s challenge. It did not even dispatch an American destroyer to the spot near Subic Bay, a former American Navy base that is still frequented by American ships, some noted.
After discussions at the National Security Council on how to deal with the issue, the Obama administration demanded the return of the drone. On Saturday, China said it would comply with the request but did not indicate when or how the equipment would be sent back.
The end result, analysts said, is that China will be emboldened by having carried out an act that amounted to hybrid warfare, falling just short of provoking conflict, and suffering few noticeable consequences.
“Allies and observers will find it hard not to conclude this represents another diminishment of American authority in the region,” said Douglas H. Paal, the vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
But there is New Respect for the US other than in Russia and China. And probably Syria, where Assad must go but hasn't yet gone. And maybe not in some other Middle Eastern countries, too, but probably only the ones that happened to notice that we backed down on Assad, dropped the ball on ISIS and empowered the Iranians. Everyone else loves us there. In fact, they want more Obama like they want more sand.
It's a puzzle. I can't pin this rumor down, but... it may be that before the New Respect material got into his remarks Obama meant to riff on Rodney Dangerfield and explain that today the US gets No Respect. Maybe!
The time for hand-wringing about Russian interference in our election is over, or so says the First Ditherer:
Obama Says U.S. Will Retaliate for Russia’s Election Meddling
WASHINGTON — President Obama said on Thursday that the United States would retaliate for Russia’s efforts to influence the presidential election, asserting that “we need to take action,” and “we will.”
The comments, in an interview with NPR, indicate that Mr. Obama, in his remaining weeks in office, will pursue either economic sanctions against Russia or perhaps some kind of response in cyberspace.
Well, many of us are thinking about New Year's Resolutions. Hit the gym more often, maybe lose a few pounds, put a beat-down on Putin - nice to see that Barry's list is coming together.
But really, sanctions or cyberspace? I deplore these false choices! Why can't Obama get creative and hark back to his glory days with Assad? I think a firm statement that "Putin must go" followed by a pronouncement along the lines of "We want to male it clear that interfering with a US election crosses a Red Square in our nation's capital" should create an Obama-esque level of awe and befuddlement.
Which is to say, none at all.
I guess the Times needs eyeballs and clicks to justify their Holiday season ad rates. How else to explain this op-ed laugher by two Harvard profs blasting away from The Bubble?
Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?
By STEVEN LEVITSKY and DANIEL ZIBLATT
Donald J. Trump’s election has raised a question that few Americans ever imagined asking: Is our democracy in danger?
Administration using war on terror to consolidate power, he says
Sunday, November 9, 2003
Former Vice President Al Gore accused the Bush administration Sunday of using the war on terrorism "to consolidate its power and escape any accountability for its use."
Gore said that though the threat of terrorism and the potential use of weapons of mass destruction required speedy action by the executive branch, "President Bush has stretched this new practical imperative way beyond what is healthy for our democracy."
Gore said the Bush administration has sought "to rule by secrecy and unquestioned authority," and he accused Republicans in Congress of aiding the White House by threatening to shut down investigations over political disputes.
"They have taken us much farther down the road toward an intrusive, Big Brother-style government -- toward the dangers prophesied by George Orwell in his book '1984' -- than anyone ever thought would be possible in the United States of America," Gore said.
Well, it's only Al, who I guess is being dismissed by these Harvard savants as a raving crank even before the Bush surveillance state stuff came out, and go figure.
Of course, more recently we had a President who let the IRS stifle Tea Party opposition and promised that Congress could be circumvented since he had a pen and a phone. Did anyone consider that a threat to our democracy? No one these guys talk too, I suspect. Was Crony Capitalist Hillary with access and justice for sale, a threat to our democracy? Don't ask Bernie's supporters!
Well. Much as I hate to pick a favorite, I love this paragraph:
Mr. Trump tests positive [as an anti-democratic politician]. In the campaign, he encouraged violence among supporters; pledged to prosecute Hillary Clinton; threatened legal action against unfriendly media; and suggested that he might not accept the election results.
Oh, boo Trump! Of course, back in the day Obama and his people talked about punching back twice as hard and bringing a gun to a knife fight, but whatever. As to encouraging violence among supporters, the Obama Waltz with Black Lives Matters protestors, rioters and assassins.
As to the worry that Trump "suggested that he might not accept the election results", do these guys even read the papers?
But let me switch Ivory Towers! Down in Princeton, we hear from the Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium, the 99 Per Center who insisted that Hillary had the election in the bag. Among his tips for saving democracy:
3. Keep the media on task. A free press is one of our remaining defenses.
Well, as per Glenn's advice, to get a watchdog media we need to elect a white male Republican (I'll add "hetero"), so we can already check the "Wake up the media" box.
But Prof. Wang provides an example of our watchdog press, and don'cha know? Banana peel!
Here’s an example of a success.
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) December 15, 2016
Hmm, well, kinda yes, but no. Here is the Times story which emerges from their archives after searching for "F-word":
Obama Says U.S. Will Retaliate for Russia’s Election Meddling
And the search:
Or, Google News:
Oh dear - the glorious headline has been changed, although it Lives On in the Intertubes. But why might it have been changed?
Well, maybe because it was Fake News. This looks like a version of the original story someone else extensively 'fair-used', so bear with me; the Big Reveal is in paragraph five, although it is foreshadowed in the lede:
Trump Falsely Says U.S. Claim of Russian Hacking Came After Election
22:45 15 december 2016
Source: The New York Times
U.S. Republican President-elect Donald Trump on Monday renewed his questions about U.S. intelligence reports that Russia intervened in the presidential election by targeting his rival. In two posts on Twitter, Trump also suggested that politics played a role in the news reports on the Russian hacking that emerged late last week."Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!" he wrote.A second tweet said, "Unless you catch 'hackers' in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking.
“Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?” Mr. Trump asked, ignoring the fact that the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., formally blamed Russia on Oct. 7 — a full month before Election Day — for the cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee and other organizations. In September, meeting privately in China with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Mr. Obama not only complained, the White House says, but warned him of consequences if the Russian activity did not halt.
“If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act?” Mr. Trump wrote.
Wait! Not to be all Clintonian, but did Trump's tweet criticize the US Government as a whole, the administration, or the White House? As has been widely remarked, Obama took to the bully pulpit himself to denounce the South Korean hack on Sony, but left it to the ODNI and DHS to engage in pre-election complaining. Of course, a headline that read "Trump Falsely Accuses Obama Of Saying Nothing Publicly About Russian Hacking Before Election" wouldn't quite be accurate, would it? Hence, the extensive re-write.
That said, USA Today is not so circumspect:
For the Record: Trump falsely claims W.H. didn't mention Russia before his win
Another day, another Trump Twitter tirade. Thursday morning's edition hit on Vanity Fair and journalists in general before the president-elect spouted a particularly bold falsehood. "If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act?" Trump tweeted. "Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?"
Of course, they didn't. The same Internet that gives Trump a platform also leaves his statements vulnerable to fact checks: Both the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence formally accused Russia of using hacking to influence the election on Oct. 7, a month before Election Day.
So now the ODNI and the DHS are "the White House"? And if their quote of his tweet is accurate, Trump's first point was that the White House did not "act", which as best we know is still true. That said, he added "Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?", when "they" writ large had complained in October.
Well. As to what Trump actually thinks about this topic or any other, who the hell knows? He may well be in denial on the question of Russian involvement or (more defensibly) agnostic on the question of Russian motivation. But if he wants to criticize Obama for pre-election dithering, well, so do plenty of lefties. As to using Fake News as a cure for Trumpism, the Times seems to have backed away from that approach, today at least.
Here is an interesting conversation starter, with only a mild risk of running off a political cliff - what are the ten most important historical events of your lifetime?
This poll has some odd results. Probably a big part of the oddity is that respondents were "adults" but limited to their own lifetime. That means, for example, that the eligible respondent pool for "Pearl Harbor" was actually quite small. And twenty-somethings were ordering off a very limited menu, since few of them were born before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Empire.
Anyway, the list:
Number 10, the Orlando shooting, is explained as a generational blip and obviously won't make a similar list twenty or fifty years from now.
But what else is missing? Offhand, I would have said that the Bill Clinton impeachment and the Florida recount were Very Big Deals when they happened, although of course they were eclipsed by 9/11.
And what about Hurricane Katrina? How did Watergate avoid this list (I smell a cover-up!). JFK is on the list but why are Bobby and MLK off it? And for all the talk about Roe v. Wade, it is not here, although gay marriage is. Meaning what?
The article includes the surveys broken out by generation, which is also interesting. The Great Depression might have appeared on the Silent Generation survey (older than Boomers, so I infer they were born pre-1945), but it doesn't. And the Great Recession comes in low on the Millennial survey and nowhere else.
It is Fun With Headlines Day at the Times (yeah, yeah, like every day is Children's Day). Here we go:
Abortion Is Found to Have Little Effect on Women’s Mental Health
I know what you're thinking, if you're thinking like me - an alternative and more honest headline would be:
Abortion Is Found By Pro-Choice Researchers to Have Little Effect on Women’s Mental Health
Hey, part of the price Dems pay for their takeover of the social sciences is their loss of credibility. On rare occasions I am wrong but my preferred starting point for studies like this is to assume that they were designed by lefties and peer-reviewed by lefties.
However! Careful readers will discern an interesting point that the Times buries in literally the last paragraph. From the intro:
Some states require women seeking abortions to be counseled that they might develop mental health problems. Now a new study, considered to be the most rigorous to look at the question in the United States, undermines that claim. Researchers followed nearly 1,000 women who sought abortions nationwide for five years and found that those who had the procedure did not experience more depression, anxiety, low self-esteem or dissatisfaction with life than those who were denied it.
There is an obvious problem the Times alludes to later - this study is looking at women who considered abortion to be a sensible choice and comparing the mental health impact of allowing or denying that choice. But what about women who never contemplated abortion?
But set that aside for a moment. Here is the Times final paragraph, although you have probably beaten me to the subtle point:
Dr. Biggs said the study suggested that “expanding access to abortion care is more likely to protect women’s mental health than restricting women’s access to abortion care,” but she also noted some results that “might not be very pro-choicy.” Those included that none of the groups differed in experiencing depression, and that women denied abortions did not have “more long-term negative mental health consequences.”
Hmm, so the Times editors carefully considered this headline - "Abortion Restrictions Are Found to Have Little Effect on Women’s Mental Health" before going the other way. LOL.
LOOSE ENDS: So what about the alternative group of women who never considered abortion to be an option? From the Times:
Other studies compared women who had abortions with women who chose to give birth, two groups considered so different that many experts said little could be learned from comparing them.
Well, yeah. These aren't controlled experiments where we force earnest Mormon girls to have abortions and require young women from the Upper West Side to carry their babies to term (sorry, fetuses, or whatever the politically correct phrase is).
The NY Times has an unnerving story about the 'zombies' in Brooklyn last summer:
Drug 85 Times as Potent as Marijuana Caused a ‘Zombielike’ State in Brooklyn
By Marc Santora Dec 15, 2016
When emergency medical technicians were called to a mass casualty event in Brooklyn last summer, dispatchers used a word more associated with apocalyptic Hollywood movies than medical emergencies: zombies.
Emergency workers reported multiple people at the scene, near a subway station on Myrtle Avenue and Broadway, on the border of Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, “all of whom had a degree of altered mental status that was described by bystanders as ‘zombielike,’” according to a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In fact, they had overdosed on a designer drug — one that would raise alarms both in the medical community and drug enforcement circles and could, possibly, be a precursor of more potent and dangerous drugs still to come.
The gist - designer drug labs, often based in China, piggy-back off of legitimate drug research.
The report, based on blood and urine samples drawn from eight of the 18 men taken to area hospitals that day, offers the first detailed look at a powerful drug that has caused dozens of people to overdose. It identifies the drug as a synthetic cannabinoid called AMB-FUBINACA that was originally developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
These chemical compounds, often created in labs in China based on research conducted at western universities and pharmaceutical companies, are not regulated when they appear on the market and are hard to detect.
“And if you are someone who is regularly drug tested, it will not show up,” adding to the drugs’ appeal, Mr. Gerona said.
He traced the history of synthetic drugs back to Clemson University and a researcher, John W. Huffman, who was looking for ways to create a drug in the lab that could enhance the medicinal aspects of THC while eliminating the psychotropic effects.
In the course of his work, Mr. Huffman synthesized more than 300 compounds, and his work was published in academic literature.
Not long after, in about 2008, a synthetic compound began appearing on the street, called K2 in America and Spice in Europe. The main chemical agent, known as JWH-18, was named after the Clemson researcher.
Soon JWH-18 was showing up around the country and was eventually scheduled as a Class 1 narcotic.
The drug makers would have to evolve to stay one step ahead of law enforcement.
In the case of the drug in the Brooklyn outbreak, Pfizer established a patent for a synthetic cannabinoid it called AB-FUBINACA in 2009. The drug seems to have been abandoned by the company and was never tested on humans.
But the patent is public, and Mr. Gerona said that drug labs in China and other foreign nations scour patents for information that can be useful in creating the next generation of drugs.
These drugs move straight from the lab to the street, so the first trials of their effects are conducted on buyers.
Troubling - publishing research and getting patents are somewhat basic to moving science forward. And there are certainly reasons to hope that cannabinoids have useful medicinal properties.
Of course, synthetic opioids are also coming out of labs:
And if the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids have researchers concerned, the risks of designer opioids are perhaps even greater.
Just last month, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration issued an alert for a new designer drug called Pink, which had been responsible for 46 deaths, including 31 in New York and 10 in North Carolina.
“Pink belongs to a family of deadly synthetic opioids far more potent than morphine,” according to the agency. “It is usually imported to the United States, mainly from illicit labs in China.”
Mr. Gerona said that while it is not in the interest of dealers to kill their clients, as these synthetic compounds become increasingly potent, the risks will continue to grow.
When heroin starts looking like the safe, prudent product our War on Drugs has reached a sorry state.
A very interesting economic analysis explains the Trump electoral success. The gist - job growth in the Obama "recovery" was concentrated in urban areas. That favored ethnic groups that are over-represented in our cities and hurt rural whites who are over-represented in the lagging outlands.
Where Were Trump’s Votes? Where the Jobs Weren’t
Eduardo Porter of the Times leads with an anecdote about Obama's obliviousness, which seems both unkind and redundant at this point:
Did the white working class vote its economic interests?
The day after the presidential election — in a long and brooding interview with Rolling Stone magazine — President Obama offered his take on why blue-collar whites flocked so decidedly to Donald J. Trump.
“This is not simply an economic issue,” Mr. Obama concluded. “This is a cultural issue. And a communications issue.” From family leave and overtime rules to Obamacare, he noted, his administration offered a steady stream of policies to help working-class communities. But “whatever policy prescriptions that we’ve been proposing don’t reach, are not heard, by the folks in these communities.”
This view fits a common narrative among liberal analysts of American politics, most prominently conveyed in “What’s the Matter With Kansas,” the 2004 best-selling book by Thomas Frank: Republicans use cultural issues like abortion, guns and gay marriage to gain the votes of struggling workers who nonetheless stand to lose the most from the Republicans’ small-government agenda.
But it largely misses the mark. Yes, the economy has added millions of jobs since President Obama took office. Even manufacturing employment has recovered some of its losses. Still, less-educated white voters had a solid economic rationale for voting against the status quo — nearly all the gains from the economic recovery have passed them by.
As to the distribution of gains, the numbers tell an unsurprising story:
There are almost nine million more jobs than there were at the previous peak in November 2007, just before the economy tumbled into recession. But the gains have not been evenly distributed.
Despite accounting for less than 15 percent of the labor force, Hispanics got more than half of the net additional jobs. Blacks and Asians also gained millions more jobs than they lost. But whites, who account for 78 percent of the labor force, lost more than 700,000 net jobs over the nine years.
The racial and ethnic divide is starker among workers in their prime. Whites ages 25 to 54 lost some 6.5 million jobs more than they gained over the period. Hispanics in their prime, by contrast, gained some three million jobs net, Asians 1.5 million and blacks one million.
“In every age group,” wrote Lakshman Achuthan of the Economic Cycle Research Institute in a penetrating analysis, “blacks, Hispanics and Asians have more jobs now than they did at the November 2007 high-water mark.”
Wow. Overlay that with declining life expectancy in the white working class and one might hope that even Democrats intent on overthrowing the white patriarchy would take pause.
And as mentioned, the explanation is that, in the twilight struggle of slicks versus hicks, the cityfolk are winning:
Non-Hispanic whites account for 62 percent of the population. But they make up some 78 percent of the population of nonmetropolitan areas and 71 percent of that of small cities, according to the demographer William H. Frey from Brookings. By contrast, they account for only 56 percent of the population of the 100 largest urban areas in the country.
Problem is, many of the jobs created since the economy started recovering from recession were in service industries, located primarily in large metropolitan areas — not in small towns and rural areas where the factories that once provided steady good jobs were either shuttered or were retooled to replace workers with machines.
Even as the typical American household experienced the fastest income growth on record last year, median household income outside of metropolitan areas fell 2 percent, according to the Census Bureau. By last summer employment in nonmetropolitan areas was still 2 percent lower than in the first quarter of 2008.
What's surprising is that this is surprising, since we have been talking about a phantom recovery for eight years.
Cindy Stowell, Jeopardy contestant and cancer victim:
Cindy Stowell is an upcoming Jeopardy! contestant who will appear on the show Tuesday, December 13. She competed on Jeopardy! with a singular goal in mind: to donate her prize money to cancer-related organizations.
“When Cindy Stowell taped her appearance on Jeopardy!, she had Stage 4 cancer. Competing on Jeopardy! was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we’re glad she was able to do so. Sadly, Cindy died on December 5. Our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.” – Alex Trebek
Spoiler alert - she won on Tuesday so she will be back on Wednesday.
Apparently only Alex Trebek and few top Jeopardy staffers were aware of her condition, so the audience and her fellow contestants were in the dark. Crazy stuff.
And Jim Geraghty of NRO was a personal friend, so the six degrees of separation are cut down considerably.
The NY Times has a long piece about how the Russians apparently hacked the DNC and then John Podesta. There are several Keystone Kops moments (some lowlights by AllahP at Hot Air), but this has captured my attention:
Hundreds of similar phishing emails were being sent to American political targets, including an identical email sent on March 19 to Mr. Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign. Given how many emails Mr. Podesta received through this personal email account, several aides also had access to it, and one of them noticed the warning email, sending it to a computer technician to make sure it was legitimate before anyone clicked on the “change password” button.
“This is a legitimate email,” Charles Delavan, a Clinton campaign aide, replied to another of Mr. Podesta’s aides, who had noticed the alert. “John needs to change his password immediately.”
With another click, a decade of emails that Mr. Podesta maintained in his Gmail account — a total of about 60,000 — were unlocked for the Russian hackers. Mr. Delavan, in an interview, said that his bad advice was a result of a typo: He knew this was a phishing attack, as the campaign was getting dozens of them. He said he had meant to type that it was an “illegitimate” email, an error that he said has plagued him ever since.
The Times links to the relevant Wikileaked email, which reads as follows:
This is a legitimate email. John needs to change his password immediately, and ensure that two-factor authentication is turned on his account...
Now, call in the forensic team, because we have an "a" / "an" problem. These two phrases are grammatically correct:
(1) This is a legitimate email, or
(2) This is an illegitimate email.
But that is a heck of a typo if he truly intended to write "This is a illegimate email". What are kids being taught in school these days?
But To Be Fair, the grammatically challenged techie continued with good advice in the fateful email:
He can go to this link: https://myaccount.google.com/security to do both.
It is absolutely imperative that this is done ASAP. If you or he has any questions, please reach out to me at 410.562.9762
He did NOT advise them to click on the link in the suspect email, but instead directed them to the known Google website. He was very probably thinking "This is a legitimate problem" and presented a sensible solution.
Had he been a bit more verbal, or the recipient a bit more tech-savvy, history would have changed! Oh, well - as PT Barnum nearly said, no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of DNC staffers.
My advice for anyone pondering an email and wondering whether it is a phishing attempt comes from the classic Ronin, delivered by Robert DeNiro: "Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt."
The risk-return of experimenting with a dubious email link is hopelessly unfavorable. If the underlying message seems plausible, make your own way to the appropriate website, ignoring any seemingly-helpful links provided in the email.
Make America's Emails Great Again!
2016 can't end soon enough and Obama's term can't end soon enough. "Assad must go", indeed.
NO PROBLEM TOO LARGE FOR A BIT OF SCOTCH... Upon deeper reflection, "Assad must go" looks a lot like "Asshat must go", which is in fact happening.
Did Putin deliberately try to tip the election towards Trump? Has the CIA become a political pawn of the Obama Administration?
The answers could be yes, and yes. Or - brace yourself for a Brave Insight - it may be more complicated.
Just for example, the end source for most of the leaks was Wikileaks, run by Julian Assange. Mr. Assange was certainly perceived as a foe of Hillary Clinton. That was based merely on his history and interviews, so maybe his denial of personal animus merits a grain of salt.
Assange also denied having any Trump documents. Plausible? Well, Assange was looking for news. The 'revelation' that the DNC was pushing Hillary and quashing Bernie certainly roiled that party, and even the NY Times pretended (during the Bernie Spring) that they wanted a look at her Goldman Sachs speeches. Would a similar revelation that the RNC was working hard for "Anybody But Trump" surprise or upset anyone? Sure, the post-primary Republican fellowship and good feeling would look even phonier, but so what?
So maybe the Russians gave a trove of RNC and DNC documents to a middleman with his own agenda and news judgment and Assange never thought the RNC stuff met his standards or agenda.
Or maybe Putin really did favor Trump. Set aside their apparent bromance - a major concern about a Trump Presidency is that he would disrupt the current world order with his unique conception of "diplomacy". Chaos and opportunity are related, as Putin well knows. Putin would like to re-shuffle a deck he believes is stacked in favor of the US; Trump seems to prefer 52 Pick Up. Either way, Putin might figure this will give him lots of room to maneuver.
As to why the FBI and the ODNI can't get on board with the CIA assessment, well, let me ask this - if the CIA is a Democratic stronghold, how are they still holding the fort with Obama a lame duck and Hillary not riding to the rescue? But let me close with a longshot "Obama is an Underated Genius" suggestion: by getting Trump on record as doubting the CIA now, Trump will be undermined when the CIA eventually concludes that Iran is cheating left, right and center on Obama's Iran deal. Yeah! That's it!
Of course, that imputes foresight to Obama and consistency to Trump, so really, this speculation is a three legged stool missing at least two legs. Hmm, call it a stool sample...
Report Shows Vast Reach of Russian Doping: 1,000 Athletes, 30 Sports, 1 Election
Well. If they can follow up by rigging the Super Bowl, it's Bombs Away! And I'm not talking about Tom Brady or Dak Prescott.
But seriously, let me first set aside the notion that the intelligence community can be pressured towards a desired outcome. However, I do think that if different analysts have different views, it may not be so hard for special weight to be given to those whose viewpoint (honestly reached!) dovetails with the favored view of the political overlords.
And I can see why, last September or October with Hillary leading in the polls, the overlords might prefer to favor a conclusion sympathetic to Hillary. But this is December, so why now? Unless the higher-ups are confident of being chased out under the new administration and want to leave the Trumpeters a farewell gift, one might think they would aim their analysis for the middle of the fairway.
I guess between the GRU and the FBI Hillary had no chance. Poor thing.
PILING ON: No Sale from Ann Althouse and oh, yeah, a message for Obama and his Sick Burn acolytes - 2012 is calling and they want their number one geopolitical threat back.
His athletic ability, steady hand and excellent eyesight made him a very good pilot. In fact, he was good enough to set the Marine gunnery record at Jacksonville, Fla. Williams once again was having an outstanding "rookie" season.
John Glenn and Ted Williams in one place is a staggering confluence of greatness. Throw in JOMer Cecil Turner and those Marine aviators have strong roster.
WRONG EULOGY, BUT: This fellow takes on one of the great baseball FAQs: What sort of career numbers would Williams have put up if he had not served in two wars?
In all, Williams missed about seven seasons serving his country and parts of others dealing with nagging injuries relating to his time at war. But he never complained and when asked which was the best team he had ever played for, he responded without hesitation, “The United States Marine Corps.” He recounted his time in the service as some of his best years, saying, “It’s a funny thing, but as years go by, I think you appreciate more and more what a great thing it was to be a marine…I am a U.S. Marine and I’ll be one until I die.”
So when someone asks the seemingly impossible question, “How much greater would Ted Williams have been had he not missed so much time due to World War II and the Korean war?”, it is actually very simple to answer.
A piece blasting our dismal economic performance over the Bush-Obama years includes this headscratcher,my emphasis:
For decades, the nation's income, measured as GDP, has barely grown overall; on a per capita basis, median household income peaked in 1999;
Say what? "Per capita" is per person; "household income" combines the income of everyone in the household, such as working husbands, wives and teenagers.
And if median household income is stagnant, part of the explanation may lie with social issues, rather than direct economic performance. A guy making $30k marries a woman (ooops, or another guy; sooo cis-normative of me) also making $30k and voila - they become a household earning $60k, thereby providing a slight boost to median household income. If they subsequently divorce (or never marry in the first place) that boost to median household income will be lost.
But are marriage and divorce rates really within the purview of the President's Council of Economic Advisers? Well, a little bit - parts of the tax code can make marriage a poor economic decision.
The Times editors are happy with the notion of General Mattis as Secretary of Defense:
An Experienced Choice for the Pentagon
If confirmed, General Mattis could bring a voice of reason to a White House that will be led by a dangerously ignorant president...
When the Administration's "voice of reason" is nicknamed "Mad Dog", well, look out.
I lost a day here, but... this article on Trump being Trumpy while drunk-dialing and butt-dialing foreign leaders is, well, Trumpalicious.
YEAH, YEAH: Trump doesn't drink; it's the rest of us. And for a brief What Does It Mean moment, our last three Administrations have had a President (Bush), and VP (Biden) and now a President who abstain.