Despite claims that the money the Obama Administration gave to Iran already belonged to Iran, this isn't true. The Iranian money previously seized by the Unites States had already been paid out as compensation to the victims of Iranian terror.

The most infamous payoff was the $1.7 billion in cash the administration shipped off to the IRGC on wooden pallets in exchange for U.S. citizens held hostage by the regime. The White House said that there was no "quid pro quo," that it was Iran's money to begin with--$400 million the pre-revolutionary government had deposited in 1979 to buy U.S. arms, plus interest. But the U.S. had already used the $400 million to compensate terror victims of the Islamic Republic. That was Iran's money. The $400 million the Obama administration used to "pay back" the Iranians belonged to the U.S. taxpayer.

The administration argued that the U.S. had to pay the ransom in cash because Tehran had been cut off from the financial system and there was no other way to transfer the funds. That was not true. The Obama administration had wired payments to Iran before and after the wooden pallets episode. The Iranians wanted cash so it would be harder to track their terror financing.


Of course everyone is wondering if Iran accidentally shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, but it's too early to say anything definitive. However, internet speculation is running rampant. Check out this snap from 0:24 in this video of the wreckage.

PS 752 fragmentation damage.jpg

PS 752 fragmentation damage b.jpg

The speculation is that the dark spots you can see there on the fuselage are holes that were caused by fragmentation from an anti-air missile. Time will tell.

Update:

Here's a higher-resolution image of the first fuselage section shown above. It looks like the "holes" may actually be rocks.

PS 752 fragmentation damage c.jpg


The VASCO team ("Vanishing & Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations") is investigating 150,000 candidate objects that have appeared or disappeared from the sky since the 1950s.

vasco.jpg

A project lead by an international team of researchers use publicly available data with images of the sky dating as far back as the 1950s to try to detect and analyse objects that have disappeared over time. In the project "Vanishing & Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations" (VASCO), they have particularly looked for objects that may have existed in old military sky catalogues from the 1950s, not to be found again in modern sky surveys. Among the physical indicators that they are looking for are stars that have vanished in the Milky Way.

"Finding an actually vanishing star--or a star that appears out of nowhere-- would be a precious discovery and certainly would include new astrophysics beyond the one we know of today," says project leader Beatriz Villarroel, Stockholm University and Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain.

When a star dies it either undergoes very slow changes and becomes a white dwarf or it dies with a sudden bright explosion i.e. supernova. A vanishing star can be an example of an "impossible phenomenon" that could be attributed either to new astrophysical phenomena or to extra-terrestrial activity. Indeed, the only non-ETI (extra-terrestrial intelligence) explanation for a vanishing star would be exceedingly rare events called "failed supernovae." A failed supernovae is theoretically predicted to occur when a very massive star collapses into a black hole without any visible explosion. Other physical indicators of ETI activity that the authors are looking for are signs of red interstellar communication lasers and Dyson spheres. A Dyson sphere is a hypothetical giant structure surrounding a star to harness its energy.

To be honest, it would be a lot more interesting if there were only a handful of examples -- 150,000 disappearing objects makes me think that it isn't aliens.


I'm on the phone for work every day, but apparently telephone calls died in 2007. I don't miss phone calls at all -- I never answer a call from an unknown number, and when I do have to call someone I generally feel bad for interrupting them. Texting has numerous advantages, not least of which is that it's less disruptive because it's asynchronous.

The phone call always was an invasive form of communication, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that as soon as a plausible substitute presented itself we grabbed it. What was the very first phone call, on March 10, 1876, if not an urgent human demand? "Mr. Watson," said Alexander Graham Bell, "come here--I want to see you." That Thomas Watson, situated in the next room, would comply was a given, because Bell was his employer. For the next hundred years, phones continued to boss people around. A loudly ringing telephone demanded its owner's immediate attention because you never knew who it might be. It could be the president! Or news that you'd inherited $1 million from a relative you'd never heard of! Or (God forbid) your teenager wrecked the car and was in the hospital! Octogenarians still tend to respond to a ringing landline with terrific urgency, risking hip fracture as they lunge to answer it. ...

The telephone's rule was absolute until the mid-1980s, when the rising popularity of answering machines and caller ID began to undermine it. Baby boomers wielded these tools against their telephones like a lion tamer's whip. If it was important, the caller could leave a message just as if they weren't there, a deception their World War II generation parents could never countenance. The advent around the same time of call waiting similarly made human agency a deciding factor in whether you were available to talk. Sometime around 2010, my then-teenage daughter was trying to call a friend. Something's wrong, she said. This phone has gone berserk. She handed it to me. I listened, then explained patiently what a busy signal was. She'd never heard one before.


Inspector General Michael Horowitz uncovered a lot of wrongdoing by FBI investigators but can't quite seem to put all the pieces together. Why were these corrupt investigators so eager to spy on the Trump campaign?

Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote in his report released this week that although there were a number of "errors and omissions" that occurred during the FBI's bizarre investigation, he found no evidence of "political bias" and that the investigation was otherwise legitimate and justified.

But "errors and omissions," a quote that was repeated over and over again in headlines, sounds like minor missteps that could have been taken care of with a little Wite-Out. It hardly covers the blatant wrongdoing that Horowitz described in his report -- corrupt law enforcement officers abusing their power.

Both in his report and during congressional testimony on Wednesday, Horowitz admitted that he didn't know why the FBI was so keen to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page, who was in fact not a Russian agent after all; that he didn't know why they continued to spy on Page, even after the FBI was informed by the CIA that Page had actually been working for them as an informant; and that he didn't know why, when the FBI continually sought to have its investigation reauthorized by the FISA court, it routinely withheld information from the court or straight-up misled about things that might have undermined the investigation.

In his report, Horowitz said he found seven times where FBI agents relied on "inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported" information in order to continually seek reauthorization for the surveillance of Page and others in the campaign.

Seems like quite a mystery! I guess we'll never know, but at least we can be confident that there was no evidence of "political bias". Ahem.


It would sure be nice if Trump and his allies didn't use Twitter to "attack" / mildly criticize children, but who decided to drag Greta Thunberg onto the global stage in the first place?

In case you aren't already familiar, here's a bit about Thunberg's original talk about global warming at the U.N. in September:

My message is: We'll be watching you [pause for laughs and applause]. This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school, on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to use young people for hope -- how dare you!

The lecture goes on in a similar vein, with poor Thunberg looking more and more disturbed as she continues. The Swedish teenager is not some science prodigy who graduated young from some Ivy League school with an advanced agree in physics or anything like that. Rather, the daughter (and granddaughter) of famous actors and opera singers suffers from Asperger's syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and selective mutism. I'm no medical professional, but these things might have been brought on when (according to public sources), starting at the age of eight, Thunberg was subjected to such a barrage of climate panic that she eventually became depressed and lethargic, and also developed an eating disorder.

Now Thunberg is paraded around the globe as the voice of sanity on climate change.

Thunberg considers her medical condition to be a "superpower" that gives her a unique perspective on global warming, and she was right to say: "I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school." The people who thrust her into the middle of a contentious global political issue should be ashamed.

As always, the Babylon Bee nails it: "Democrats Introduce Debate Strategy Of Holding Up Small Child Whenever Their Positions Are Challenged"


I may be delusional (or *too* sane) but my thinking leans towards Charlie Martin's articulation of why he still doesn't think Democrats will impeach Trump. The polls just don't show impeachment working out well for the Democrats, and they've worked so hard to obfuscate the House process that they must realize their case is weak. If impeachment goes to the Senate the Republicans will control the narrative throughout 2020.

Just a few days ago, I predicted that Trump won't be impeached. Of course, today we saw the announcement that Nancy Pelosi has directed the Judiciary Committee to start drafting Articles of Impeachment based on the hearing yesterday.

Now, that means a committee chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Moria) is supposed to start coming up with a list of charges. Apparently, this is supposed to include bribery, abuse of power, and damned if conspiracy and collusion with the Russians isn't back, Mueller investigation be damned.

You might think this would cause me to rethink my prediction, but it doesn't. ...

I still think the risks are too great for the Democrats. Instead, we'll see this "drafting of Articles of Impeachment" drag on, "vaster than Empires and more slow," because they get all the political benefits of keeping IMPEACHMENT IMPEACHMENT IMPEACHMENT in the news, with none of the risks. ...

Coincidentally, Monday is the day the ICIG report comes out.


Hong Kong protests are spreading to Guangdong in mainland China:

Slogans of Hong Kong's democratic movement have been reportedly heard at protests in a Chinese city 60 miles to the west.

According to Hong Kong-based Apple Daily--a vocal supporter of the democracy campaign in Hong Kong--chants of "Liberate Maoming! Revolution of our times!" were heard during several days of protest in Maoming.

The chant is a take on the "Liberate Hong Kong" slogan commonly used during protests across the border, where anti-government demonstrations have raged since June.

Protestors also reportedly told Apple Daily reporters that their movement was "just like you [in] Hong Kong." Both cities share a common Cantonese language.

In confrontations that began last week, Maoming protesters pelted police with bricks and set off fireworks, forcing authorities to announce Sunday that they would not be building a crematorium on plot of unused land in the area. The long-running plan had infuriated residents, who had been promised an ecological park on the same site.

And Iran is in flames:

The Iranian regime faces the most serious popular challenge to its tyranny in 40 years. Sparked by a 50 percent hike in fuel prices last month, the uprising has spread to the whole country. Security forces have killed hundreds of protesters, and at one point they were even forced to shut down the internet -- a sign that the ayatollahs feared for the survival of their regime.

So it's worth asking: Did our ­experts see this coming?

Nope: Most were too busy blasting President Trump. The prestige press and Twitterati spent the last few years railing against the president for trashing the nuclear deal and ratcheting up sanctions -- actions that had supposedly sent the Iranian people rallying around the flag.

President Trump's approaches to China and Iran have been controversial, but they appear to be bearing fruit. Hopefully the United States will continue support the right of these protesters to express themselves freely and peacefully.


In an utter disgrace for our justice system, pro-life activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt have been found guilty and will be punished for their work uncovering Planned Parenthood's business of selling dismembered baby parts.

A jury in San Francisco district court has found pro-life activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, breach of contract, and trespass and violation of state and federal recording laws. Daleiden, Merritt, and their Center for Medical Progress obtained undercover footage of abortion-industry workers, including from Planned Parenthood, discussing arrangements to illegally profit from the fetal body parts of aborted babies.

One can easily imagine the outcry if undercover activists were similarly punished for exposing, say, the routine mistreatment of animals.

The videos -- the first of which CMP released in the summer of 2015 -- showed all sorts of horrifying things. Planned Parenthood medical directors haggling over prices for fetal body parts over a lunch of salad and wine, another joking about upping the cost for certain organs so she could afford a Lamborghini. Abortionists admitting to altering late-term abortion procedures (which is illegal) in order to improve their odds of obtaining intact, and thus more valuable, fetal body parts. Industry workers conceding they had contracts to sell fetal tissue and describing in graphic detail their efforts to conduct post-viability abortions without violating the ban on partial-birth abortion. A former clinic worker saying she had been tasked with harvesting organs from an infant whose heart was still beating.

Pray for an end to abortion.

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.


Jim Hanson explains what the deep state is.

The term "deep state" is now highly charged politically. The right takes it as a given, the left sometimes denies its existence. Here's my definition for the purposes of this discussion.

Deep State (noun): The permanent, professional bureaucracy of the U.S. government, specifically those who believe their judgment and continual service makes them better suited to run the country than elected officials or political appointees.

That's accurate, but to expand on why it matters, we should note the political contributions of federal employees in the last presidential election went 95 percent to Hillary Clinton. There is nothing illegal or nefarious about that, but it certainly points out the one-sided political nature of this cohort. While they may not openly organize into political action committees, their hold on federal levers of power dangerously skews government's actions and inactions toward the preferences of the political left.

Any mention of this is immediately discounted and attacked by the media because they have a symbiotic relationship with these folks. They are the sources for most of the leaks that are the lifeblood of the political press, and exposing that is in neither group's interest. They treat it as a conspiracy theory and continue to use it to serve their joint purpose of advancing a leftist agenda globally. They do this regardless of which party has political control of government, although their cooperation with Democrats and undermining of Republicans is the deepest problem.

Call it whatever you want, but it's foolish to think it's irrelevant that our bureaucratic class sends 95% of its political contributions in one political direction.


The whole Trump-Ukraine "outrage" is absurd. All the foreign aid we give comes with strings attached, and all presidents use those strings to help their political standing in America. Is this bad? It's probably not ideal, but what can we do about it? The only real solution I can think of is to just cancel all foreign aid to everyone.

On the campaign trail right now, both Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are promising to suspend foreign aid to Israel if the Jewish nation doesn't change their policies toward Gaza.

Sanders, in a speech said, "I would use the leverage, $3.8 billion is a lot of money, and we cannot give it carte blanche to the Israeli government or for that matter to any government at all."

You can disagree with Bernie Sanders' approach to the specific policy on trying to force Israel to soften up on Gaza - many, many do. But the idea that an American President can use foreign aid to spur policy changes or specific actions in the receiving nation is not new or illegal.

Do Warren and Sanders have a political calculation here? Obviously. But I imagine that they also think their "strings" would be good for America's interests. I assume Trump feels similarly with regards to Ukraine and the Bidens.

United States taxpayers provided almost $50 billion in economic and military foreign aid in 2018 alone. That's enough to give every retired worker in America about a $1,200 per year increase in their social security.

How can we not expect that our foreign aid will come with expectations, even demands, for some things to get done? ...

So if we are going to criminalize a President attaching strings to foreign aid, just cancel all foreign aid tomorrow and give America's social security recipients a nice monthly increase - they deserve it more than those third-world dictators anyway.

We send a lot of money to foreign countries, and the feigned belief that it's an impeachable offense to expect something in return is completely absurd. Hopefully the President's political intersts align with America's interests, but there's no objective method for ensuring that. If we aren't satisfied with how politics affects foreign aid, then let's just cancel it all -- at least until we get a balanced budget and aren't borrowing money to give away.


Two weeks ago I linked to an opinion that went against the conventional wisdom on Trump's withdrawal of American forces from Syria -- it argued that our partnership with the Kurds wasn't in America's interest anymore, and that we had gotten too emotionally involved with the Kurds at the expense of our long-time allies. Suffice to say, that opinion was not widely shared among Middle East experts.

Now Trump is claiming that the successful elimination of ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi is a vindication of his strategy. Just last year the Washington Post taunted Trump with his till-then failure to get Al-Baghdadi. Now that the vicious terrorist leader is dead, Trump's single-minded domestic enemies are quick rob him of any credit.

Al-Baghdadi Raid Was a Victory Built on Factors Trump Derides

The president cast the death of the ISIS leader as validation of his disengagement strategy. But it required intelligence agencies and allies he has spurned.

I think you have to be pretty blind not to connect the dots between Trump's strategic shake-up and the death of Al-Baghdadi two weeks later.

This blindness seems to be pretty common for Trump's enemies: every time he has a success they think it's in spite of his actions. Yet Trump keeps acting the same way, and he keeps racking up successes as he defines them. His enemies would probably more effective at achieving their goals if they weren't constantly underestimating Trump.


The headline seems bizarre, but it's true -- Mexico is facing a serious insurgency and the central government no longer maintains a monopoly on the use of force.

Last Thursday in the city of Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, a battle erupted between government forces and drug cartel gunmen after the Mexican military captured two sons of jailed drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. The elder son, Ivan, was quickly freed by his men, who overpowered government forces and secured his release. Ivan then launched an all-out siege of the entire city in an effort to free his younger brother, Ovidio.

The ensuing scene could have been mistaken for Syria or Yemen. Footage posted on social media Thursday showed burning vehicles spewing black smoke, heavily armed gunmen blocking roads, dead bodies strewn in the streets, and residents fleeing for cover amid high-caliber gunfire.

Armed with military-grade weapons and driving custom-built armored vehicles, cartel henchmen targeted security forces throughout Culiacan, launching more than one dozen separate attacks on Mexican security forces. They captured and held hostage eight soldiers, then kidnapped their families. Amid the fighting, an unknown number of inmates escaped from a nearby prison. At least eight people were killed and more than a dozen were injured.

The eight-hour battle ended when government forces, outgunned and surrounded, without reinforcements or a way to retreat, received an order directly from Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to release their prisoner and surrender. Lopez Obrador later defended this decision, insisting that his security strategy is working and saying, "Many people were at risk and it was decided to protect people's lives. I agreed with that, because we don't do massacres, that's over."

If the government isn't willing to fight and win decisive battles against the drug cartels -- and the people aren't willing to support and contribute to victory -- then the Mexican state has already collapsed for all intents and purposes. This will get worse before it gets better.


Everyone is up-in-arms over President Trump's decision to stop supporting the Kurds on the border between Turkey and Syria. On the face, it seems both morally wrong and a geopolitical mistake. However, John Robinson points out that the Kurds are our partners, not allies, and we've been playing fast and loose in the region for a long time.

We partnered with the enemy-of-my-enemy in Syria to fight the son-of-a-son and we made some friends. We confused that partnership with an alliance and that partnership grew to be as strong as an alliance.

But the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs reminded everyone on Thursday that our actual ally, Turkey, had been a NATO ally for the past 70 years. On Sunday, the new secretary of defense gently corrected his Sunday news show host, when she casually referred to our YPG partners as allies. "The Kurds have been very good partners," the secretary affirmed. There's a difference between a 70-year ally and a regional partner, no matter how distasteful you find your ally's actions to be or how loyal you believe your partner to be.

In 2001, the commander in chief declared, "You are either with us, or with the terrorists." NATO invoked Article 5, which states that an attack on one member of NATO is an attack on all of its members, for the first time, in response to the 9/11 attacks. NATO allies, including Turkey, aided the coalition effort in Afghanistan.

What if Turkey should invoke Article 5 now, in response to what it sees as a terrorist threat? US forces are withdrawing from areas of combat in northeastern Syria now, but can we see ourselves obligated to a fight on the sides of the allied Turks, against partner Kurds?

Rather than threatening sanctions, Congress should update an AUMF they've been dithering on for 16 years. Better still, let Congress declare war on Turkey, on behalf of the Kurds, as Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution authorizes them to do.

I'm not expert enough in these matters to offer my own opinion, but I think Robinson's is worth sharing because it goes against the conventional wisdom.


Disney and the NBA sacrifice liberty for profit after employees voice support for Hong Kong protesters.

"Now to trouble brewing for the NBA this morning. The general manager of the Houston Rockets upsetting China with his tweet supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Now Chinese businesses are pulling support for the team," announced GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts Monday morning. ...

After sharing Morey's ridiculous apology to the repressive Chinese government, she shared NBA's public apology. "And the NBA putting out a statement this morning saying, 'Morey's comments have deeply offended our fans in China which is regrettable,'" she read. ...

It's easy to understand why ABC would side with China. With the arrival of Disney+ in November, they're likely unwilling to anger the government which controls internet access for billions. As The Hollywood Reporter published back in April, "[Disney CEO] Bob Iger has been building relationships in the Middle Kingdom for years (...) but cracking the world's second-largest VOD market could require big concessions."

Meanwhile Democrat and Republican politicians seem united behind free speech in this instance.

Meanwhile, CBS and NBC noted the groundswell of bipartisan, American condemnation of the NBA for cowering to the Chinese dictatorship. On the CBS Evening News, correspondent Jim Axelrod quipped that the situation made "strange bed fellows" out of Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) and former Congressman Beto O'Rourke (D). "Normally you can't even get those two to agree on what color the sky is," he joked.

"It's un-American to gag people when they're speaking out on behalf of freedom," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a soundbite on NBC Nightly News.

Blizzard has eliminated a competitor named Blitzchung for supporting Hong Kong and fired two sportscasters who let him speak.


Climate activists are advancing an argument that is incoherent for a leftist: we have to save the climate for the benefit of future generations -- future generations we are free to kill in the womb if we so choose.

Can a court find that the government's climate policies have violated the constitutional rights of "future generations" when, to legalize abortion, our courts already have explicitly denied that unborn human beings possess those rights at all?

Consider, too, that most climate activists are concerned with what they call an overpopulation crisis, suggesting that people ought to have fewer children to conserve environmental resources. Some even say that abortion might be a necessary means of curbing population growth: Asked about overpopulation and "climate catastrophe" at last month's climate-change town hall, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders said the U.S. ought to provide funding for abortion and contraception "in poor countries." His comment was hardly the first time someone has suggested such a policy.

Once again, we are faced with the incoherence of the modern progressive movement, which advocates both more stringent climate regulations for the sake of the children and the unlimited right to abortion throughout pregnancy, both consideration for the rights of future generations and a willingness to kill the unborn to enable a cleaner future.

If unborn children have no rights, then what rights can rationally be had by "future generations" whose members haven't even been conceived yet? This incoherence illustrates the fundamental logical failing of group-based morality. You can't claim that a group has rights as a whole while denying the same exact rights to individuals of the group.


The title is my prediction for the next year.

  • Trump will be impeached. Now that Pelosi has given an inch to her caucus, they'll take a mile. It's virtually impossible to conceive of a sequence of events that doesn't see Trump impeached by the House. Probably along a part-line vote -- there may be some GOP defections, but the Republican base will be deeply hostile to any defectors.
  • Trump will remain in office. It's virtually impossible to conceive of a sequence of events in which Senate Republicans will vote to convict Trump. Another party-line vote, except maybe for a Romney defection.
  • Trump will win re-election. The impeachment will drag on -- McConnell won't be able to force a quick vote because Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts will preside over the trial. Both sides will call a zillion witnesses, but none of it will matter for electoral purposes. Impeachment will dominate the year, and voters will punish Democrats for it. Democrat voters will be discouraged and demoralized by the foregone conclusion, and Republican voters will be motivated and angry over the debacle. Biden is a dead man walking, and Elizabeth Warren couldn't be Trump even in a normal election year.

We'll see how these predictions play out!


Some physicists are speculating that "Planet 9" might be a small black hole. I sure hope so.

For nearly 5 years, growing numbers of scientists have blamed the weird orbits of distant solar system objects on the gravitational effects of an as-yet-undiscovered "Planet Nine" that lies in the icy realm far beyond Neptune. But a pair of physicists is now floating an intriguing idea that could offer a new way to search for the object: What if that supposed planet is actually a small black hole? ...

But if the object is a planet-mass black hole, the physicists say, it would likely be surrounded by a halo of dark matter that could stretch up to 1 billion kilometers on every side. And interactions between dark matter particles in that halo--especially collisions between dark matter and dark antimatter--could release a flash of gamma rays that would betray the object's presence, the researchers propose in a forthcoming paper posted on the preprint server arXiv.

It would be absolutely amazing for humanity to have physical access to a black hole! Just imagine all the science we could do with it.


This video has been floating around the blogosphere for months, but apparently the mainstream media wasn't aware that Vice President Joe Biden bragged about using American leverage to force Ukraine to fire the prosecutor who was investigating his son.

From Hot Air:

Note well that Biden leaves out the context of what the prosecutor was investigating at the time of Biden's insistence on getting him fired. He was quarterbacking a corruption probe targeting Burisma, which was paying Hunter Biden a fortune ($50,000 a month at the time). In fact, it seems a little weird without that context as to why foreign aid to Ukraine depended on the person filling a state prosecutor's office at all. What foreign-policy interest would the identity of a state prosecutor -- an internal affair -- have involved that would derail a billion-dollar aid package to an ally in desperate need of the cash?

And yet, here was Biden bragging last year that "son of a bitch, he got fired" -- after Biden explicitly used the authority of his office and the president's to get rid of the man looking into his son's employer. Even if one assumes Donald Trump attempted to pressure Volodymyr Zelenskiy into reopening the Burisma probe, it can't be any worse that the explicit quid pro quo demanded by Biden ... in his own words.

I don't know what Trump said on the phone to Ukraine's leadership, but I'm pretty confident that Joe Biden used his authority as Vice President to protect his son Hunter Biden.


Tom Hanks is portraying Fred "Mr. Rogers" Rogers in a new movie and says:

"We never make fun of Fred. We slow down to listen to him," Hanks said following the film's screening. "It was always going to be, I think, deconstructing the myth of it to show he was a regular guy who went out for Chinese food. At the same time, there is this mystery. What's his motivation?"

"One of the most wonderful things, too, is he was actually an ordained minister who never mentioned God on his show," Hanks said.

There are so many ways to interpret Hanks' sentiment. I will channel my inner Ann Althouse and share a few possibilities. What do you think?

1. It's wonderful that Rogers was able to share the love of God without turning unbelievers off by mentioning God.

2. Some people look down on Christianity, but those people should recognize that Christianity inspires wonderful goodness even though Rogers didn't go out of his way to mention it.

3. It's wonderful that Rogers kept his beliefs to himself so we didn't have to hear about them.

4. It's wonderful that I, Tom Hanks, don't have to portray an active Christian whose accomplishments and beloved-ness are directly tied to acting out his faith.

5. It's wonderful that Rogers' legacy isn't tarnished by explicit references to his faith, which would be unpalatable in the modern era.

I'm sure there are more possible interpretations. I'm sure Hanks chose his words carefully.

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