Wow, I love this euphemism! Government agencies don't break the law, they simply under-comply!

Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought is issuing new guidance to all agencies on complying with the Congressional Review Act, a 1996 law that requires "major" rules be submitted to Congress at least 60 days before they take effect.

A senior administration official told The Washington Times that the Trump administration has found, with Government Accountability Office reports, that "agencies sometimes under-comply with CRA."

"We decided that some additional guidance from OMB is necessary to the agencies to help them comply with the law," the official said in an exclusive interview. "Many agencies often don't know how the CRA works. Agencies often don't even know to ask."

I wonder how far a citizen would get with this approach? "Actually officer, I wasn't speeding, I was merely under-complying with the speed limit."

Anyway, good on President Trump for reining in these executive agencies.


Sometimes early Christianity is criticized for not explicitly condemning slavery or demanding its elimination, but instead "merely" recasting slaves as valuable to God and worthy of equal human dignity. I think this criticism is unfair for many reasons which I won't outline here. I want to highlight a verse that I recently discovered which does point to the inherent evil of slavery, surprisingly from the book of Revelation, chapter 18. The chapter is about the destruction of Babylon / Rome, and calls out all the evil people who are lamenting the loss of their nexus of sin. Skipping down to verse 11, we get to the merchants:

And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her [Babylon / Rome], since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.

The word "slave" there is sōma: "the body both of men or animals".

The word "soul" there is psychē: breath, life, soul, that in which there is life.

You can see the contrast. These vile merchants act as if they are trading mere bodies, without recognizing that the slaves are living souls created in the image of God. The cargoes that make up the majority of the paragraph are morally neutral: wood, metal, trinkets, treasures. Nothing inherently good or evil, until final words: you merchants buy and sell human souls.

The wealth of Rome was built on slavery, and the Bible identifies that evil and condemns it.


Mike Pence doesn't seem so paranoid anymore, does he?

On March 29, Democrat Lucy Flores accused former Vice President Joe Biden of acting inappropriately toward her in 2014 with an extended kiss on the back of her head. Biden, a probable candidate for the 2020 presidential election, has denied any wrongdoing, although he is known for treating women in an overly affectionate and sometimes downright creepy manner. At times, he steps over the line of decorum into the realm of the unwanted and awkward. This is common knowledge. ...

The vice president [Mike Pence] has very strict, personal standards concerning how he interacts with those of the opposite sex. Without a doubt, they leave no room for misconduct. By doing so, he respects women in general and most importantly, his wife, Karen. Despite the good that this personal code does, the media has run a campaign of ridicule that includes articles like How Pence's Dudely Dinners Hurt Women, Mike Pence poses biggest threat to women in a generation, say campaigners, Mike Pence's Marriage and the Beliefs That Keep Women from Power, and a piece from mid-March about a current Democratic candidate's feelings on the subject entitled Harris says it's 'outrageous' that Pence limits one-on-one meetings with women, just to name a few.

Apparently, respecting your wife and other women too much, enough to remove any past, present, or future doubts, is a bad, bad thing. In the #MeToo era, where there is a range of improper behavior on a scale of Biden to Weinstein, society at large could actually use more of Mike Pence's attitude. Shouldn't the absence of indecorous conduct be a thing to applaud?

I've written about Mike Pence and the Billy Graham rule before. It's important to always treat women (and men!) with respect, and it's also important to avoid the appearance of impropriety.


The CIA offers a sabotage guide for ordinary citizens who want to undermine their country in support of America. Here's a selection of tips from the link.

  1. Managers and Supervisors: To lower morale and production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.
  2. Employees: Work slowly. Think of ways to increase the number of movements needed to do your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one; try to make a small wrench do instead of a big one.
  3. Organizations and Conferences: When possible, refer all matters to committees, for "further study and consideration." Attempt to make the committees as large and bureaucratic as possible. Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.
  4. Telephone: At office, hotel and local telephone switchboards, delay putting calls through, give out wrong numbers, cut people off "accidentally," or forget to disconnect them so that the line cannot be used again.
  5. Transportation: Make train travel as inconvenient as possible for enemy personnel. Issue two tickets for the same seat on a train in order to set up an "interesting" argument.

You can download the whole 40-page guide here.


We're all shocked, shocked to learn that rich people cheat to get their kids into elite universities.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department revealed a massive effort by wealthy parents and a shady "admissions consultant" to bribe and cheat their way into getting kids into a slew of elite schools.

Prosecutors say William Singer, the ringleader, sold two forms of services. For tens of thousands of dollars, parents could pay to have a proctor correct their kids' incorrect answers as they took the SAT. Or they could pay hundreds of thousands to bribe coaches at elite schools to designate applicants as desired athletes, thus circumventing the minimum requirements for grades and test scores.

One California family allegedly paid $1.2 million to Singer, who in turn allegedly paid Rudy Meredith, the women's soccer coach at Yale, $400,000 to claim that the family's daughter was a coveted recruit even though she didn't play at all.

If you think this is about one shady "consultant" at a few schools then I've got a bridge to sell you. Higher education has always been a bit of a racket -- ever since aristocrats started sending their second, third, and fourth sons off to University. In order to be sustainable a grift can't be too obvious, and it needs to provide some value to its marks while it skims a little off the top for itself. Higher education has abandoned that social contract, and it's in for a reckoning.

In his book "The Case Against Education," George Mason economics professor Bryan Caplan makes a compelling case that most of the value in diplomas from elite colleges isn't in the education they allegedly represent but in the cultural or social "signaling" they convey.

Imagine you're deposited on a desert island, forced to fend for yourself. Would you rather have the knowledge that comes with taking a survival training course, or just the piece of paper that says you took the course? Obviously, you'd rather know how to identify poisonous plants and sources of water than have a diploma that says you know how to do things you can't do. Now, ask yourself: Would you rather have the Yale education without the diploma, or the diploma without the education?

From an economic perspective, the piece of paper is vastly more valuable than the education, particularly in the humanities (and Caplan runs through the numbers to demonstrate this). The paper opens doors and gets you callbacks from employers and entrée into elite social circles where whom you know matters more than what you know. The education might make you a better person, but the parchment is the ticket to opportunity. It's no guarantee of success, but it's a profound hedge against failure.

Parents know this, and parents without special advantages (wealth, fame, connections) resent it.

"Elite" education -- and to a lesser extent, higher education more generally -- has become a scheme for inter-generational power transfer disguised as meritocracy.

Do you think I'm exaggerating by calling higher education a grift? Here's how America's young people are being robbed blind by our universities.

If you're wondering why the majority of Americans under 30 say they prefer socialism, debt is a major reason. Student loans are killing them, and they never go away. Thanks to extensive lobbying efforts here in Washington, student loans, unlike other forms of debt, cannot be erased by bankruptcy.

The student loan crisis is a modern problem. Just 13 years ago, the average new college graduate owed $20,000 in student loans. Today, that number has jumped to $37,000. Student debt is rising far faster than the earnings of American workers, the very earnings that are supposed to justify student loans in the first place. ...

In 1990, a quarter of American adults lived with their parents. Today, the number has risen to 35 percent. The home ownership rate for millennials dropped eight points from the generation before. Unable to afford homes, millennials are getting married later and less often. They're also having fewer kids. It's not because they don't want children. According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who want children has not changed in 25 years. And yet fewer children are being born, thanks in part to rising debt levels, America's middle class cannot replace itself. ...

A hundred schools now have endowments over a billion dollars. They are hedge funds with schools attached. What have colleges done with this money? Well, they've hired massive staffs of like-minded people for one thing. From 1987 to 2012, the number of administrators on college campuses more than doubled. That's far bigger than the increase of actual students going to college. College administrators routinely make six-figure salaries. What exactly do they do for that money? Not a single thing that makes this a better country.

College presidents often get seven-figure salaries. Their pay is probably the only thing in America rising as fast as tuition costs. Academic publishers are getting rich from all of this, too -- from the debt boom. Prices of textbooks have tripled in the past 20 years. Printing hasn't gotten more expensive; non-academic books are cheaper now than they were two decades ago. But students are a captive market, and they are being exploited ruthlessly. Nobody says a word about it.

Parasitical universities are killing their hosts, and destroying our cultural and intellectual inheritance in the process.


Did you know that Jeff Bezos writes product reviews on Amazon? Or at least he used to -- his most recent review is from 2006 for... milk.

Jeff Bezos reviewed a product · Aug 9, 2006

5 out of five stars

Long Time Fan

I love milk so much that I've been drinking it since the day I was born.

Unfortunately many of the products he recommends are no longer available.


According to Jeff Carlson at the Epoch Times, the DOJ ruled out charging Hillary Clinton with gross negligence for her mishandling of classified materials. This article is supposedly based on unreleased transcripts of Congressional testimony that the author got access to.

Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who served as special counsel to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe during the time of the Clinton investigation, noted during her testimony in July 2018, that the DOJ was intimately involved in the investigation.

"Everybody talks about this as if this was the FBI investigation, and the truth of the matter is there was not a single step, other than the July 5th statement, there was not a single investigative step that we did not do in consultation with or at the direction of the Justice Department," Page told congressional investigators on July 13, 2018.

Comey had also hinted at the influence exerted by the DOJ over the Clinton investigation in his July recommendation, stating that "there are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent."

Intent is a requirement of several statutes the FBI was looking into. But intent is specifically not a factor under the charge of gross negligence--contained within 18 U.S. Code § 793(f)--a fact that was brought up by Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) during Page's testimony:

Rep. Ratcliffe: Okay. And that's -- I think, when you talk about intent, that's certainly true under part of 18 793(f), but it sounds like you all just blew over gross negligence.

Ms. Page: We did not blow over gross negligence. We, in fact -- and, in fact, the Director -- because on its face, it did seem like, well, maybe there's a potential here for this to be the charge. And we had multiple conversations, multiple conversations with the Justice Department about charging gross negligence.

Page made clear during her testimony that the DOJ had decided that due to "constitutional vagueness" a charge of gross negligence would not be supported without accompanying proof of intent--a seemingly oxymoronic position:

Rep. Ratcliffe: Okay. So let me if I can, I know I'm testing your memory, but when you say advice you got from the Department, you're making it sound like it was the Department that told you: You're not going to charge gross negligence because we're the prosecutors and we're telling you we're not going to --

Ms. Page: That is correct.

Rep. Ratcliffe: -- bring a case based on that.


I'm sure the irony is lost on the Leftist barbarians who are threatening to murder supporters of the Second Amendment in Washington State.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said he refused to enforce Washington State's latest gun control law, I-1639. According to the Sheriff's office, a person called into Crime Stoppers to report a threat made on Facebook.

"Sheriff Knezovich is going to get a bullet in his skull," the post allegedly read. The caller also said he'd shoot anyone who disagrees with I-1639.

When investigators looked into the person's Facebook account, the user also commented on a news story about Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones refusing to enforce the new law. The person commented on the news story saying, "I am going to kill every single one of them," referring to Republicans.

I can't imagine why anyone feels the need to own and carry a gun for self-defense.


I sometimes have the opportunity to mentor younger professionals, and they often laugh when I suggest that their number one career goal should be to simply stay employed in a hard-to-automate job. The trends are sobering.

The forecast of an America where robots do all the work while humans live off some yet-to-be-invented welfare program may be a Silicon Valley pipe dream. But automation is changing the nature of work, flushing workers without a college degree out of productive industries, like manufacturing and high-tech services, and into tasks with meager wages and no prospect for advancement.

Automation is splitting the American labor force into two worlds. There is a small island of highly educated professionals making good wages at corporations like Intel or Boeing, which reap hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit per employee. That island sits in the middle of a sea of less educated workers who are stuck at businesses like hotels, restaurants and nursing homes that generate much smaller profits per employee and stay viable primarily by keeping wages low. ...

"Until a few years ago, I didn't think this was a very complicated subject; The Luddites were wrong and the believers in technology and technological progress were right," Lawrence Summers, a former Treasury secretary and presidential economic adviser, said in a lecture at the National Bureau of Economic Research five years ago. "I'm not so completely certain now."

The threat isn't just to jobs that don't require a college degree, that's a vast oversimplification. Here's a graphic by McKinsey from 2016.

And note that the "managing others" category is hard to automate, but also becomes less necessary when there aren't many humans left to manage.


I haven't written about the recent state-level abortion laws because the horror of it all is almost too much to bear. The devastation wrought on precious human lives by the evil of abortion is an abominable weight on our country and civilization.

Genesis 4:9-10

Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"

"I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

The Lord said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground.

God hears the silent cries of the children we have sacrificed on the modern altar of Molech. A million deaths every year isn't just a statistic, it's a million individuals, each loved by God.

Psalm 139:13-18

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
   and knit me together in my mother's womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
   Your workmanship is marvelous--how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
   as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
   Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
   before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
   They cannot be numbered!
I can't even count them;
   they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
   you are still with me!

God forgive us for the evil of abortion, for the intentional suffering we inflict on mothers and children, the most vulnerable among us.

God forgive me for doing little more than writing and praying.

God deliver our nation from this horror. Teach us to value every human life you lovingly create.


"The military attaché at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, Col. José Luis Silva, broke with the Nicolás Maduro regime Saturday and urged other armed forces members to recognize Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim president of the South American nation."

"As the Venezuelan defense attaché in the United States, I do not recognize Mr. Nicolás Maduro as president of Venezuela," Silva told el Nuevo Herald in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C.

"My message to all armed forces members, to everyone who carries a gun, is to please let's not attack the people. We are also part of the people, and we've had enough of supporting a government that has betrayed the most basic principles and sold itself to other countries," he added.

1 Timothy 2:1-4

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people -- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.


Has the shutdown caused you any inconvenience yet? Chances are that unless you work for the federal government the answer is "no". However, the surging disruption to airport operations is an excellent example of why federal control of almost everything should be minimized.

The federal government has been partially shut down now for 32 days, and nowhere is feeling the strain quite like the nation's airports, where tens of thousands of essential federal employees are required to show up to work regardless of whether they're getting paid.

On Monday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported that 10 percent of its agents were absent from their posts, up from three percent in the same time period last year. Agents are reportedly playing hooky to work jobs that actually pay them.

The result has been longer wait times, closed security checkpoints, and collapsing morale among those still on the job. Headlines are filled with stories of TSA agents relying on donations of free food or playing explicit, uncensored rap music at checkpoints.

Holding it together only slightly better are the nation's air traffic controllers, some 10,500 of whom have been working without pay and without the aid the 3,000 "non-essential" support staff during the shutdown.

The federal government would be less dysfunctional -- and the inevitable dysfunction would be less damaging -- if the federal government didn't have so much power and involvement in every-day life.


The best thing for America will be if one side or the other decisively wins the government shutdown. Politicians and journalists are shocked and confused that Trump is pushing for a victory instead of yet another indecisive compromise, which is how our elites are used to doing business.

The standstill also underscored the dysfunction that has gripped Washington since divided government began this month. Overtures to Trump's core voters have dominated the White House's strategy as Democrats have looked on in confusion, after the last round of talks between Trump and congressional leaders collapsed last week when Trump walked out.

No matter what Democrats and independents think about the shutdown Trump simply can't win reelection without his core voters, and his core voters will reject him if he caves on the wall. It doesn't matter how low his approval rating goes with anyone else. This is the same equation that Democrats face on, e.g., abortion, where they have no political room to compromise.

A group led by Graham worked last week to stitch together a bipartisan immigration deal that would trade wall funding for protections for unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children. But the group disbanded after Vice President Mike Pence announced that Trump wasn't interested in such a deal.

Graham, speaking later on "Fox News Sunday," urged Trump to "open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks before he pulls the plug, see if we can get a deal" on the wall.

This is the kind of compromise that our elites love to make because both sides can "claim victory" without anything actually being decided. The can gets kicked down the road for a few weeks, a few years, a few terms, whatever. Voters on both sides get further entrenched, and politicians leverage their own failure to win to rile up their base for the next election.

"We do need to have a Plan B," said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. "It looks like both sides are pretty well dug in. I don't like the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., so I'm trying to alleviate that dysfunction."

Johnson is one of many GOP senators straining to balance their alliance with Trump with their desire to end the impasse. His plan involves "opening up the essential parts of government and making sure that people who are working are being paid," while keeping some agencies shut down.

Senator Johnson is eager for an indecisive stalemate. The pain of the shutdown is what could eventually force the two political armies into a decisive battle, instead of just endless maneuvering. If you remove the pain, there's no motivation for a conclusive resolution. Maybe Republicans are cowards and/or don't believe they can win a battle -- but who can tell before you actually fight? They'd have had a better chance if they had forced this conflict to a resolution 15 years ago, but now they're stuck in the present with a weaker hand.

No matter who wins, it will be better for America if we can reach a decisive conclusion instead of prolonging the agony for another few decades.


Despite being opposed to Obamacare and other federal schemes for universal health care coverage, I'm excited to see smaller units of government (e.g., cities and states) experiment with such systems. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a city-paid comprehensive coverage plan and I'm excited to see how it goes:

New York City will begin guaranteeing comprehensive health care to every single resident regardless of someone's ability to pay or immigration status, an unprecedented plan that will protect the more than half a million New Yorkers currently using the ER as a primary provider, Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday.

It's not health insurance, his spokesman clarified after the surprise announcement on MSNBC.

"This is the city paying for direct comprehensive care (not just ERs) for people who can't afford it, or can't get comprehensive Medicaid -- including 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers," spokesman Eric Phillips tweeted.

New York City is one of the richest places in the history of mankind, so there's no reason this system should fail unless it's mismanaged. I hope the results are positive, and that we all learn a lot about how to successfully run such an ambitious health care program.

De Blasio said the plan will provide primary and specialty care, from pediatrics to OBGYN, geriatric, mental health and other services, to the city's roughly 600,000 uninsured. ... The program is estimated to cost about $100 million, Politico said. The mayor said there will be no tax hikes to fund it.

That estimate seems... optimistic. I'm very interested to see how they provide health care at the annual cost of only $167 per person.


I'm not a huge fan of Elon Musk -- he has fascinating ideas, but his successes are highly dependent on government subsidies. He's right about at least one thing however: traffic sucks. Smith Henderson writes:

Musk tells us later that it all came to him fuming in L.A. traffic. Truth. You can feel yourself dying in L.A. traffic. My tactic is to stay home, stay in my 'hood. I got my coffee places, my Trader Joe's. I will not do Los Angeles things simply because of what havoc traffic does to my mood. I feel Musk's pain.

The problem isn't just the traffic, but how we've conceived it. We live in three dimensions, but we travel in two. It's stupid. And our flying-car fetish has been a bogus panacea all along--every crash would be an air disaster. The mythic draw of flight was maybe too dazzling for us to appreciate another direction: underground. Well, until now.

Traffic is one of the main reasons I left my native land of Los Angeles. Traffic drains your soul.

I'm just not confident that tunnels are the way to go. There's no doubt that cheaper, better tunnels will be fantastic for some applications, but "flying cars" will require much less infrastructure and be far more flexible. There's no reason we can't have both... and I'm not sure that tunnels will win out in earthquake-prone Los Angeles.

I also think Henderson's and my approaches will be parts of the solution to traffic: thanks to telecommunication, people will travel less in cities and be more free to leave them altogether without splitting from the modern information economy.


Copyright terms haven't been extended to protect Mickey Mouse like they were in 1998, but it's hard to celebrate this passive victory for the public domain when the duration is set to 95 years!

As the ball dropped over Times Square last night, all copyrighted works published in 1923 fell into the public domain (with a few exceptions). Everyone now has the right to republish them or adapt them for use in new works.

It's the first time this has happened in 21 years.

In 1998, works published in 1922 or earlier were in the public domain, with 1923 works scheduled to expire at the beginning of 1999. But then Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. It added 20 years to the terms of older works, keeping 1923 works locked up until 2019.

Many people--including me--expected another fight over copyright extension in 2018. But it never happened. Congress left the existing law in place, and so those 1923 copyrights expired on schedule this morning.

And assuming Congress doesn't interfere, more works will fall into the public domain each January from now on.

That's better than nothing, I guess. Personally, I think a term of 20 or 30 years would be far more reasonable than 95.


French writer Michel Houellebecq offers a hilarious and non-political view of Trump and America. Implied but unsaid is the truth that politics isn't the only, best, or most useful lens through which to view the world.

President Trump was elected to safeguard the interests of American workers; he's safeguarding the interests of American workers. During the past fifty years in France, one would have wished to come upon this sort of attitude more often.

President Trump doesn't like the European Union; he thinks we don't have a lot in common, especially not "values"; and I call this fortunate, because, what values? "Human rights"? Seriously? He'd rather negotiate directly with individual countries, and I believe this would actually be preferable; I don't think that strength necessarily proceeds from union. It's my belief that we in Europe have neither a common language, nor common values, nor common interests, that, in a word, Europe doesn't exist, and that it will never constitute a people or support a possible democracy (see the etymology of the term), simply because it doesn't want to constitute a people. In short, Europe is just a dumb idea that has gradually turned into a bad dream, from which we shall eventually wake up. And in his hopes for a "United States of Europe," an obvious reference to the United States, Victor Hugo only gave further proof of his grandiloquence and his stupidity; it always does me a bit of good to criticize Victor Hugo.

Logically enough, President Trump was pleased about Brexit. Logically enough, so was I; my sole regret was that the British had once again shown themselves to be more courageous than us in the face of empire. The British get on my nerves, but their courage cannot be denied.

An so forth. Go read the whole thing.


Michael Cohen seems like a "rat" but former chairman of the Federal Election Commission Bradley A. Smith says that what Cohen plead guilty to isn't even a crime.

To this intuitively obvious fact -- very few people would think paying hush money is a legitimate campaign expenditure -- those eager to hang a charge on Mr. Trump typically respond that he made the payments when he did because of the looming election. That may be true, but note that the same is true of the entrepreneur, who instructs his counsel to settle the lawsuits pending against him. Further, note that in both cases, while the candidate has no legal obligation to pay at all, the events that give rise to the claim against him are unrelated to the campaign for office. Paying them may help the campaign, but the obligations exist "irrespective" of the run for office. Mr. Trump's alleged decade-old affairs occurred long before he became a candidate for president and were not caused by his run for president.

Further clinching the case, in writing its implementing regulations for the statute, the Federal Election Commission specifically rejected a proposal that an expense could be considered a campaign expenditure if it were merely "primarily related to the candidate's campaign." This was done specifically to prevent candidates from claiming that things that benefitted them personally were done because they would also benefit the campaign. And with that in mind, it is worth noting Mr. Cohen's sentencing statement, in which he writes that he "felt obligated to assist [Trump], on [Trump's] instruction, to attempt to prevent Woman-1 and Woman-2 from disseminating narratives that would adversely affect the Campaign and cause personal embarrassment to Client-1 and his family." (Emphasis in original.)

Do you think Trump's critics would have been satisfied if he had used declared campaign money to pay off his mistresses? I don't.

John Hinderaker suggests that under this new theory there are many more illegal campaign contributions yet to be found.

If we are going to start prosecuting illegal campaign contributions-sadly, too late to go after Barack Obama's two scofflaw campaigns-maybe we should begin by charging Google and its executives with federal crimes. Earlier today, Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on, among other things, Google's apparent attempt to help Hillary Clinton win the 2016 presidential election. Tyler O'Neil at PJ Media reports:
On Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai struggled to respond to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)'s persistent questions about an email from Google's former head of multicultural marketing, Eliana Murillo, reporting that the company attempted to push out the Latino vote "in key states" during the 2016 election. Murillo's email, reported by Fox News's Tucker Carlson, essentially admitted that Google had given Hillary Clinton an in-kind donation during that key election.

I look forward to all the upcoming prosecutions that this new interpretation of the law will lead to -- finally one sure way to get money out of politics!


The Australian government has made a monumentally stupid decision to essentially ban encryption.

The new law, which has been pushed for since at least 2017, requires that companies provide a way to get at encrypted communications and data via a warrant process. It also imposes fines of up to A$10 million for companies that do not comply and A$50,000 for individuals who do not comply. In short, the law thwarts (or at least tries to thwart) strong encryption.

"Strong encryption" is just encryption -- weak encryption is no better than nothing.

Apple has the right take:

Silicon Valley has largely decried Canberra's new law. In particular, Apple, which famously resisted American efforts to break its own encryption during a 2015 terrorism investigation, previously told Australian lawmakers that what they are legislating is impossible.

"Some suggest that exceptions can be made, and access to encrypted data could be created just for only those sworn to uphold the public good," Apple continued. "That is a false premise. Encryption is simply math. Any process that weakens the mathematical models that protect user data for anyone will, by extension, weaken the protections for everyone. It would be wrong to weaken security for millions of law-abiding customers in order to investigate the very few who pose a threat."

Great way to undermine every Australian industry that depends on encryption... which is all of them.


This analysis of the 4th National Climate Assessment is a great explanation of my general views on climate change. My thoughts are:

  • Earth's climate is changing, and it has never been static
  • Human activity isn't contributing much to the change
  • A general warming trend would be good for humanity
  • Therefore, we shouldn't disrupt our energy production and economy in an attempt to manipulate earth's climate

I highly recommend reading the whole analysis.

Due to the considerable doubt about the magnitude of the human contribution to climate change it would seem foolish to destroy the fossil fuel industry, throwing millions out of work and crushing the world's economy with higher energy prices. Anything this foolish and destructive should certainly wait until (and if) the climate models used to create the projections used in NCA4 volume two are validated and produce a much tighter set of projections than seen in Figure 1. However, the chapter on adaptation is still valid. If some climate changes are harmful in some areas, these ideas are useful. Regardless of how much climate change is man-made, communities should adapt by improving their infrastructure to resist climate-related threats. Coastal areas should improve storm-surge and flood barriers, the western U.S. should improve their forest management to make fighting forest fires easier, every part of the U.S. should improve their surface water drainage, etc. Adaptation is an obvious thing to do, the benefits of mitigation (reducing fossil fuel use) are far more speculative and much less likely to be effective (May 2018). Bjorn Lomborg has also written extensively about this in his book Cool It and in articles such as this one. NCA4 reports that construction of adaptation infrastructure in the U.S. has increased since 2014, which is a good thing (page 53, Report-in-Brief).

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