All Americans should be united in sympathy and prayer for our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico. We pray for safety and peace in the following weeks and months, and that federal and local leaders have wisdom and boldness to make the best decisions for the territory.

If Puerto Rico is really without power for months, the island will depopulate as residents flee.

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CNN late Wednesday night that it may take months to restore power to the entire island.

He said that as a result of the powerful Category 4 hurricane, no one on the island has power from utilities since the power grid is 'a little bit old, mishandled and weak'.

'It depends on the damage to the infrastructure,' Rosselló said. 'I'm afraid it's probably going to be severe. If it is ... we're looking at months as opposed to weeks or days.'

The sad truth is that the devastation on Puerto Rico is due not only to the power of Hurricane Maria, but also to decades of waste and mismanagement by the Puerto Rican government. Government incompetence and negligence created a fragile situation on the island, and the hurricane tipped them over the edge into disaster.


My youngest daughter has been obsessed with Moana for the past few months. She insists that I sing the entire soundtrack to her every night before bed, so I've become pretty familiar with the lyrics. In my opinion, the best line in the movie is in the song "We Know the Way".

We read the wind and the sky

When the sun is high

We sail the length of sea

On the ocean breeze

At night we name every star

We know where we are

We know who we are, who we are

The dominant theme of the movie is discovering who you really are, and it's powerful to me that Moana's ancestors knew -- both her grandmother, and the chieftain in the musical vision that her grandmother led her to. He knows who he is because he knows where he is: his ability to navigate the open ocean is what gives him the power to fulfill his purpose and comprehend his identity.

Later the demi-god Maui gives this power to Moana in a sequence that is critical to Moana's destiny without being overtly supernatural. At the end of the movie she returns to her island and her people, but it's impossible to think of Moana as a mere human anymore after having touched the gods.


It's fun to type the word "malfeasance", and yes, I was a little proud when it didn't earn a red underline from my browser because I spelled it right the first time. It's the little things in life.

But anyway, despite Hillary's humiliating electoral defeat, let's not forget how grossly negligent she and her aides were with classified information.

Judicial Watch today released 1,617 new pages of documents from the U.S. Department of State revealing numerous additional examples of classified information being transmitted through the unsecure, non-state.gov account of Huma Abedin, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's deputy chief of staff, as well as many instances of Hillary Clinton donors receiving special favors from the State Department.

The documents included 97 email exchanges with Clinton not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 627 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over, and further contradicting a statement by Clinton that, "as far as she knew," all of her government emails had been turned over to department.

Plus, of course, the pay-to-play relationship between the Clinton State Department and the Clinton "charity" foundation.

On July 16, 2009, Zachary Schwartz asked Band for help getting visas to travel to Cuba for a film production crew from Shangri La Entertainment. Band forwarded the request to Abedin, telling her, "Please call zach asap on this. [Redacted.] Important." Abedin responded, "I'll call zach when we land in India." Abedin concludes with "Enjoy. Cuba is complicated. Am sure you aren't surprised to hear that." Schwartz worked for Steve Bing, a mega-donor to the Clintons and owner of Shangri La Entertainment. Bing has reportedly donated $10-25 million to the Clinton Foundation and paid Bill Clinton personally $2.5 million a year to be an adviser to a green construction company Bing owned.

On September 11, 2009, Terrence Duffy, chairman of futures brokerage firm CME Group, a donor to the Clinton Foundation, asked Clinton to arrange "government appointments" for him in Singapore and Hong Kong. Clinton, using her HDR22@clintonmail.com address, forwarded the request to Abedin, "fyi." Abedin responded to Duffy's email, saying she would "follow up" with Duffy's secretary, Joyce. Duffy gave $4,600 to Hillary's 2008 presidential campaign; CME Group paid Hillary $225,000 for a speaking fee and has donated between $5,001 and 10,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

And lots more... obviously.

(HT: Instapundit and Townhall.)


I guess you can interpret this partnership for yourself: Planned Parenthood teams up with Satanists to abort more babies in Missouri.

Missouri's recent stroke of good fortune in the reproductive rights realm may have to do with intervention from the fiery underworld. On Monday, the Satanic Temple argued in a Missouri court that the state's abortion restrictions violate worshippers' rights to free religious practice. The organization is challenging two Missouri laws: one that requires patients to look at unscientific anti-abortion propaganda and another that forces them to wait 72 hours between their initial consultations and a second appointments for their abortions. Satanic Temple members argue that their religion prizes rational, independent thought and that forcing Satanists to read anti-abortion pamphlets and "consider a religious proposition with which they do not agree" during the 72-hour waiting period constitutes a violation of their beliefs.

I wonder how this "stroke of good fortune" will impact the most vulnerable and defenseless people among us?

(HT: Breitbart and Patheos.)


This year I didn't "forget" about 9/11, but I did lose track of the current date over the weekend. I knew 9/11 was coming, but yesterday I forgot that it was 9/10. I'm grateful to the men and women who work hard to keep my family's life so normal.

It's been 16 years since the 9/11 attacks... kids who were born that year have almost graduated high school. I remember watching the TV news coverage that morning and calling my pastor to tell him what had happened. I had just returned from Europe less than a week ago, and I was grateful to be home instead of stranded abroad.

Over the weekend I tried to explain the attacks to my oldest daughter without being too graphic, but it was hard to convey the enormity of the event. I considered showing her pictures or video of the Twin Towers, but decided not to. I think that was wise, considering her age and the fact that we fly pretty frequently.

The attacks were intended to change the world, and they did. Or did they merely reflect a change that was already in progress? Probably both. It's hard to imagine a counterfactual world in which the 9/11 attacks were unsuccessful, and therefore didn't motivate American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, with all the consequences therefrom. I'm pretty sure that would have been a better world... but maybe some other inciting incident would have happened anyway, and we'd be right where we are now with only minor differences.


I pray that God gives our leaders wisdom and courage, and that the men and women who protect our peaceful existence have strength, encouragement, and goodness.


Hurricane Irma is devastating the Caribbean on its way to Florida. I've been thinking about installing a metal roof on my house, and this picture is fascinating to me.

metal roofs.jpg

These roofs survived the hurricane in perfect condition... other than being torn off their buildings.


Since rogue AI is in the news recently, it's worth remembering that AI can be dangerous even if it isn't malevolent. Nick Bostrum's paperclip maximizer is the canonical example.

First described by Bostrom (2003), a paperclip maximizer is an artificial general intelligence (AGI) whose goal is to maximize the number of paperclips in its collection. If it has been constructed with a roughly human level of general intelligence, the AGI might collect paperclips, earn money to buy paperclips, or begin to manufacture paperclips.

Most importantly, however, it would undergo an intelligence explosion: It would work to improve its own intelligence, where "intelligence" is understood in the sense of optimization power, the ability to maximize a reward/utility function--in this case, the number of paperclips. The AGI would improve its intelligence, not because it values more intelligence in its own right, but because more intelligence would help it achieve its goal of accumulating paperclips. Having increased its intelligence, it would produce more paperclips, and also use its enhanced abilities to further self-improve. Continuing this process, it would undergo an intelligence explosion and reach far-above-human levels.

It would innovate better and better techniques to maximize the number of paperclips. At some point, it might convert most of the matter in the solar system into paperclips.


An Oklahoma woman who drove her three friends to a burglary has been charged with murder because the homeowner killed her accomplices in self-defense.

The woman who says she drove three teenagers to an Oklahoma home where they were fatally shot during a midday break-in told television reporters that she feels guilty, but not responsible for their deaths and that she has little compassion for the man who shot them.

Elizabeth Marie Rodriguez, 21, is jailed without bond on murder and burglary warrants in Wagoner County for the deaths of Maxwell Cook, Jacob Redfern and Jakob Woodruff at the home just outside the city limits of the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow. The Wagoner County sheriff's office says the three were between 15 and 19 years old.

Authorities have said the three were shot Monday by the homeowner's 23-year-old son, who has not been arrested, and that each was found masked, dressed in black and wearing gloves. A knife and brass knuckles were recovered at the scene.

"I understand he (the son) protected his home," Rodriguez told television station KOTV. "He had his rights."

But she said he could have shot the three in the legs. "He's at the bottom of my list to be compassionate for," she said.

Apparently Rodriguez was unaware of the felony murder rule which generally states that if someone is killed while you are committing a dangerous felony you are guilty of murder -- even if you had no intent to kill, you intentionally created a dangerous, illegal situation that resulted in death.


I can only imagine how horrible it would be to be imprisoned on an airplane for 15 hours, especially for anyone traveling with children. The passengers on Air Transat 157 called 911, but to no avail.

"There's a citizen that called it in saying that there's approximately 100 people in the plane, generally unwell. [There are] complaints of severe pain, cold sweats, coughing."

The call came in roughly 4½ hours after Air Transat Flight 157 from Brussels to Montreal landed in Ottawa at 5 p.m. ET. It had been scheduled to arrive in Montreal at 3:15 p.m., but was diverted due to bad weather.

The Canadian Transportation Agency has now given Air Transat until 5 p.m. ET Friday to provide an explanation as to why passengers on flight 157 and a second plane were stranded inside those aircraft for hours, without being allowed off the plane. ...

According to that tariff, in the case of an on-board delay more than 90 minutes, Air Transat promises to offer passengers the option of getting off the plane.

"Stranded" is a distracting euphamism -- these people were imprisoned and endangered because the airline didn't want to spend the money to properly take care of them.

The airport authority said there was both a gate and air stairs available, and they were prepared to bring supplies beyond just bottled water to the stranded passengers -- but never received clearance from Air Transat.


Leftist Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounces people who enter Canada illegally.

"Canada is an opening and welcoming society, but let me be clear. We are also a country of laws," Trudeau said in remarks after a meeting in Montreal with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

"Entering Canada irregularly is not an advantage," the prime minister doubled down. "There are rigorous immigration and customs rules that will be followed. Make no mistake."


Kurt Schlichter argues that tribalism breeds tribalism in a vicious cycle that is and will be bad for America. It is sad and worrisome to see tribalism growing on the Right in response to the Left's tribalism, but I don't really see how to de-escalate the situation. Tribalism seems to be a stable equilibrium in most of the world, so maybe we're doomed to it.

Now, the old rule for us conservatives was that businesses could do pretty much whatever they pleased, with minimal regulation, if they focused on maximizing profit and thereby rained benefits down upon society in the form of wealth and job creation. It was a good system, but, like all systems, to get benefits you have to meet certain obligations. For businesses, one obligation was to generally stay out of the cultural and political octagon. ...

See, what leftists do not get is that principles are part of systems. Principles do not stand alone; they are nested within a system and together they make it function smoothly. Our system isn't some cultural cafeteria where you load up your plate with the principles you like and hard pass on the principles you don't. If you decide you don't want to play your part in the system, you shouldn't be shocked when the other participants make the same decision. "Free enterprise" means "enterprise generally free of government control," and it's stunning that the Silicon Valley people we hear are so smart don't foresee that when their "enterprise" morphs into a partisan political campaign the people on the other side of the spectrum are going to leverage their own political power in response.


Megan McArdle connects the obvious dots: slow wage growth is due to slow productivity growth.

A lot of sectors don't have room to raise wages. There's a common pattern in internet commentary: Some article is published, full of manufacturers complaining that they can't find workers for good old-fashioned jobs, and the left half of the commentariat lowers their spectacles, looks down the bridge of their nose, and inquires "I say, old chap, did you try offering them more money?" The problem is that in many cases these employers can't offer more money, because at current wages they are just barely competitive with China (or some other country).

There are other factors, but slowing productivity growth is the critical bit. The key factor that McArdle doesn't mention is that as more humans are replaced by machines, replacing each additional human costs more and produces a proportionally smaller gain in productivity. The low-hanging fruit is quickly being picked, or has already been eaten. Mmmmm, fruit.


So writes Larry Elder, detailing three brilliant men who should be an inspiration to every American. The writings of Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell in particular have had a big influence on my thinking.

Clarence Thomas, one of nine members of the Supreme Court and the second black to ever join the Court, is not in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Asked to explain Thomas' absence, the chief spokeswoman for the Smithsonian said, "The museum's exhibitions are based on themes, not individuals."

Yet the museum plans to add a popular local D.C. television news broadcaster. ...

As for Sowell, he's only an economist and writer whom playwright David Mamet once called "our greatest contemporary philosopher." Sowell, who never knew his father, was raised by a great-aunt and her two grown daughters. They lived in Harlem, where he was the first in his family to make it past the sixth grade. He left home at 17, served as a Marine in the Korean War, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, earned a master's degree at Columbia University the next year, followed by a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Chicago.

Sowell, at 87, authored some four dozen books (not counting revised editions) and wrote hundreds of scholarly articles and essays in periodicals and thousands of newspaper columns. In 2015, Forbes magazine said: "It's a scandal that economist Thomas Sowell has not been awarded the Nobel Prize. No one alive has turned out so many insightful, richly researched books." Yet, thanks in part to the Ebony shutout, many blacks have never heard of him.


Charlie Gard has died just a few days short of his first birthday. The parents believed that some experimental treatment could have helped Charlie months ago, but the UK government forbade it. "Choice" advocates would have been rioting in the streets if the government had stopped the parents from killing Charlie instead of stopping them from treating him. Sad story all around.


For the past seven years we've been hearing promises from Republicans that if we'd just elect them they'd roll back the leftist takeover of America. First we put them in the House, then the Senate, and finally the Presidency (not to mention 33 governors and numerous state legislatures), but even with total control of the government Republicans are apparently powerless.

A Republican Senate could not muster even 50 votes for the full repeal of Obamacare's taxes and spending. Six Republican senators who had voted for repeal in 2015, when the party was merely pretending it was possible, flipped on Wednesday rather than deliver.

Five of the six represent states President Trump won in November. The sixth hails from a state Trump lost by less than 3 points.

An argument can be made that repealing these parts of Obamacare while leaving its regulatory structure largely in place is a bad idea. But we are discussing a law that Republicans spent seven years campaigning against. Every GOP senator except one either voted for repeal in the past or campaigned on it in a recent election cycle. Their leader was said to have a "secret plan" to repeal Obamacare "root and branch."

There was ample time for a contingency plan or even a better approach to replacing the healthcare law.

No amount of time ever seems to be enough.

They reason they were voting on such a poor repeal plan is because it was the best they could almost agree on. They were too incompetent to write a good plan, and too bumbling to even pass an incremental half-measure.

Humiliating.


Says Joe Biden about Hillary Clinton. But Mrs. Clinton's upcoming book will set the record straight on who's to blame for her loss to Donald Trump.

While the book will zero in on Russia and Comey -- which Clinton believes are the two biggest contributing factors to her loss -- it will also examine other factors she blames for a role in her defeat, including sexism and misogyny. ...

At a Recode tech conference in May, Clinton said, "I take responsibility for every decision I make -- but that's not why I lost" -- a sentiment she has also told allies.

Everyone got it? She takes responsibility for her decisions, but the buck stops with Russia, Comey, sexism, and misogyny.


I love that the TSA is communicating with United Airlines via Twitter.

Backstory: United blames TSA for banning comic books in checked luggage for travelers returning from Comic Con.


Robert Maranto describes a scenario wherein a grad school applicant is mocked for her Christian beliefs and observes that such mockery would be unacceptable if targeted at a racial or religious minority.

Compared to racial and gender discrimination, this kind of religious discrimination gets little attention from researchers. Professors do not find the topic interesting, which itself is telling. Yet the extant research findings are concerning.

Back in the 1980s, J.D. Gartner found Christianity reduced the chances of admission to psychology doctoral programs. Using 1999 data, "The Still Divided Academy" by Stanley Rothman, April Kelly-Woessner, and Matthew Woessner offered strong statistical evidence that (typically religious) socially conservative professors must publish more to get the same academic posts.

More recently, George Yancey's "Compromising Scholarship" showed that in many academic fields, significant numbers of professors, more than enough to blackball hiring decisions, express reluctance to hire evangelical and fundamentalist Christians.

None of this makes secular professors bad people. As psychologists William O'Donohue and Richard E. Redding argue, people generally express willingness to discriminate against those of other political or religious ideals. The danger comes when individual institutions lack ideological diversity, enabling an arrogant tendency to dismiss dissenters as unacceptable people with unacceptable opinions.

It's easy to lose sight of the fact that, other than Jews, Christians have been the most persecuted people on the planet for 2,000 years.


I gotta say, I not only love all these examples of retro 90s-style web design, but many of them are easier to navigate than modern "optimized" sites. Click all the links.

To navigate the website for Arcade Fire's coming album, "Everything Now," users need to click through a cluttered cascade of Windows 98-style pop-ups.

Balenciaga's new website looks as stripped down as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, with plain black boxes and no-frills Arial font.

And the D.I.Y.-looking home page for Solange resembles the desktop of a candy-colored iMac, complete with QuickTime windows and rows of blue folders. ...

One way is to create a website the old-fashioned way: by enlisting a friend who knows basic HTML. That is what Billy Silverman, 40, a restaurateur, did in the harried final days before opening Salazar, his acclaimed Sonoran barbecue restaurant in Los Angeles.

He tapped his buddy Zack McTee, who runs a small production company in New York, to slap together something quick. The two decided that, if they didn't have the time or money to make the website good, they would at least make it fun.


My opinion on the Trump Jr.-Russia thing is that everyone does it, but the Trump campaign wasn't shrewd enough to keep it at arms length. I don't think this is good or right, but I also don't believe the shocked, shocked responses I'm reading in the media.

Regarding the use of opposition research obtained in distasteful ways:

For his part, Carney, writing via email, offered ways a campaign might have handled such a situation, had it arisen. "If the emails did show up, most serious campaigns would not touch them directly -- legalities and all. But friends of the campaign would strongly encourage the turncoat to dump them to reporters. Easier not to have fingerprints on questionable documents."

"Foreign governments would always use high-level U.S. third parties, not any direct campaign contacts, and most likely they would end up in the media," Carney continued. "So YES -- campaigns would seek the emails, but not directly if they were not legally available or the sources were questionable."

Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was unseemly, but does it better serve America for campaigns to perform such distasteful activities through deniable intermediaries?

This discussion of the ethics of opposition research is very high-minded, but I believe the crux is here:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Right, but even if -- Christina, even if the campaign says, we're not going to do this, there are other tabloids and others out there who may be engaging in this kind of research.

CHRISTINA REYNOLDS: Sure.

"Everyone in politics would have taken that meeting," says Jeff Berkowitz, a veteran Republican opposition researcher, but:

the task instead should have fallen to a lower-level campaign researcher or paid consultant, rather than the candidate's son. Berkowitz, a former White House official who worked as research director for the Republican National Committee and Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign, said the revelations about the younger Trump's meeting with the Russian also serve to underscore the bare-bones nature of his father's unorthodox political operation.

The senior Trump, a novice to politics, defied convention by running his 2016 presidential campaign aided by a core group of family members and a few dozen staffers and consultants, compared to the hundreds on Clinton's campaign workforce.

"You didn't have gatekeepers to handle these things and decide whether it was something useful," Berkowitz said of advance vetting of the Veselnitskaya meeting.

"Everyone in politics would have taken that meeting. This is the nature of politics," he said. But, he added: "It just should have been someone other than Donald Jr."

It seems to me that Trump Jr.'s primary offense was failing to sufficiently distance himself and his candidate from the Russian source.

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