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.


Says Senator Pat Toomy by way of explaining why Congressional Republicans are floundering.

No kidding. I too can report that, from June 16, 2015, to November 8, 2016, the feeling among the elected officials, party functionaries, consultants, strategists, and journalists in our nation's capital was that Donald J. Trump stood no chance of becoming president of the United States. And because the political elite held this view with such self-assurance, with all the egotism and snobbery and moral puffery and snarkiness that distinguishes itself as a class, it did not spend more than a second, if that, thinking through the possible consequences of a Trump victory.

Among those consequences: The expectation that Republicans might actually try to keep the promises they've made to voters over the last eight years.

Congress needs to get its act together fast or people will rightly conclude that Republicans aren't capable of governing.


In a bizarre turn of events, CNN has threatened to dox an anonymous internet GIF artist who made fun of the network.

CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski opted not to identify the user "because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again."

But Kaczynski then added that "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change," seemingly indicating that CNN would identify the user if he repeats his "ugly behavior" on social media. That sentence was widely interpreted as a threat.

CNN's meltdown continues.

Update:

Now CNN is claiming that their victim has assured them that he doesn't feel threatened. Do they not see how bad this looks? What else would the victim say, with CNN holding him hostage?

Kaczynski also said the Reddit user had been made aware of the ongoing Internet kerfuffle and had gotten in touch with him again.

"FYI 'HanA**holeSolo' just called me. 'I am in total agreement with your statement. I was not threatened in any way,'" Kaczynski wrote.

Kaczynski initially said the user "posted his apology before we *ever* spoke" to him, calling KFile afterwards to apologize again. But after further questions, Kaczynski said the initial apology didn't come until CNN had contacted the user and asked to talk to him.

And of course, now there are a million more GIFs mocking CNN.


Pictures of zip ties holding together a new R186 car are drawing outrage online, but to me the real scandal is the reliance on "specially designed brackets".

"The ties are a back-up way of securing a cable on the subway car. It's used in conjunction with other fasteners," said MTA spokeswoman Beth DeFalco. "It's 100 percent safe and only used on some cars on the #7 line. We have a specially designed bracket that is being engineered and is set to be installed in the next few weeks."

The need for a "specially designed bracket" to secure a cable undoubtedly contributes to the disastrous condition of the New York subway. It's extremely expensive to design unique parts for such simple applications, and the MTA would save some money if their suppliers could standardize more efficiently. Zip ties probably aren't the right answer (haha), but just think of the advantages they brings: they're cheap, and they can secure anything. Why "specially design" a custom bracket instead of creating a strong, permanent fastener with the versatility of a zip tie?

An MTA engineer will no doubt respond: "silly blogger, it's not that easy!" Sure, I'm simplifying, but there's no way that something as simple as securing a cable should require a custom fastener.


UK and European courts have decided that 10-month-old Charlie Gard will be removed from life support despite his parents' desire to take him to America for treatment.

The parents of terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard are 'utterly distraught' and facing fresh heartbreak after losing their final appeal in the European Court of Human Rights.

Chris Gard, 32, and Connie Yates, 31, wanted to take their 10-month-old son - who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage - to the US to undergo a therapy trial.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, where Charlie is being cared for, said they wanted him to be able to 'die with dignity'.

But the couple, from Bedfont, west London, raised almost £1.4million so they could take their son to America but a series of courts ruled in favour of the British doctors.

If this frightens and sickens you, blame the single payer system: whoever has the gold makes the rules.

What parent wouldn't gladly kill or die to protect their child?


Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corporation, laments the evisceration of his industry by cruel and calculating algorithms -- and the humans behind them.

Instead of making books appear, Amazon now also makes entire publishing houses disappear. I don't mean to speak well or fondly of competitors, given that HarperCollins is part of News Corporation, but one certainly felt much sympathy for Hachette, which was in dispute with Amazon over commissions, and so its books vanished from the site. It was Amazon's Hachette hatchet job. Shipment times were delayed, searches for Hachette authors were redirected to works of other publishers, etc., etc.

That is the wonder of an awesome, almighty algorithm - a tweak here and a tug there and you no longer exist, you are non-person or a non-company.

How can liberty flourish when the power over the algorithms that run our lives is concentrated in so few hands? Perhaps we should take steps to divide up that power before it's too late.


Fifty to a hundred shots fired at Congressional Republicans during baseball practice:

Five people including the House Majority Whip Steve Scalise were shot at a GOP baseball practice on Wednesday morning.

The gunman opened fire from the third base dugout at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, as the group practiced batting at 6.30am.

He fired between 50 and 100 rounds before being shot by Capitol Police who were accompanying Scalise. The shooter is now in custody and being treated at a local hospital.

A congressional staffer and two Capitol Police officers were shot. Senator Rand Paul, who was at the scene but was not injured, said it was a 'killing field'.

The shooter asked the group if they were Republicans or Democrats before opening fire from the third base dugout as the men practiced batting.

We pray for the health and recovery of Rep. Scalise and the police who were shot, and for the safety of all our leaders.

1 Timothy 2:1-4, "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We'll have to see who this shooter is and why he committed this atrocity. Prominent people have been fomenting anger and violence for months now, and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that this attack is a result of that incitement.


Near the end of his "so what?" post about Russia influencing America's presidential election, Scott Adams notes:

But something much larger than government-on-government influence is happening, and I'd like to call that out in this post. We keep talking about physical border security, but what about influence security? Any country with widespread Internet access is susceptible to the same kind of fake news and other social media influence that we suspect Russia of doing. And every citizen can play this game. For example, if I were highly motivated to influence an election in Great Britain, I'm sure I could move a few thousand votes in any direction I chose. Could it be said in that case that America is trying to manipulate a foreign election? Yes, unambiguously so. And I believe it is totally legal, even if I use fake news as my persuasion.

From 2017 onward, the democratic process in any country is open to "voting" by the entire world. The foreign "votes" will come in the form of social media influence on the local voters. There is no practical way to stop any of that from happening. And that means political power will migrate from the traditional triumvirate of politicians, rich people, and the media, to individual persuaders who are good at it. In 2017 and beyond, the best persuaders in the world will be influencing democratic elections in every country. And those persuaders will be from anywhere on the globe. Borders can't stop persuasion.

The cross-border application of persuasion is an effect of a larger trend: global cultural convergence. It will still probably take a few more centuries (or just decades??), but in the long run cultures will be more defined by geography and industry than by lines on a map.


Oren Cass explains that the Paris Agreement is pointless, whether America participates or not. This fact isn't based on right-wing antipathy for the environment, but on the details of the agreement itself.

Even before President Trump had completed his announcement that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Accord on climate change, howls of disbelief and outrage went up from proponents of the agreement. But the critical dynamic underlying the 2015 Accord, willfully ignored by its advocates, is that major developing countries offered "commitments" for emissions reduction that only mirrored their economies' existing trajectories. Thus, for instance, China committed to reaching peak emissions by 2030--in line with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's prior analysis. India committed to improving its emissions per unit of GDP--at a rate slower than that metric was already improving. President Obama, meanwhile, pledged America to concrete and aggressive emissions cuts that would require genuine and costly change. ...

The giveaway for the Paris charade is the refusal to set baselines. If nations are to hold one another accountable for progress on greenhouse-gas emissions, surely they must agree on a starting point from which to progress. Yet the framework for Paris pointedly omitted this requirement. Countries could calculate their own baselines however they chose, or provide none at all. Now, per Chait, the pledges have themselves become baselines, and each country receives applause or condemnation in inverse proportion to its seriousness.


Giant corporations are leveraging their widespread popularity and public trust to pressure President Trump to stay in the Paris Agreement.

Major U.S. corporations and leading business figures are raising an eleventh-hour appeal to President Donald Trump, urging him to not pull the country out of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. ...

Oil giants ExxonMobil (XOM, +0.01%) and ConocoPhillips (COP, +0.31%) were among companies that reiterated their support for the accord ahead of Trump's announcement, reports Bloomberg. ...

It's also reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook called the White House Tuesday to argue the case in favor of staying, while Dow Chemical's Andrew Liveris backed an open letter by more than 30 top corporate executives. And a TV commercial urging the administration to stay and renegotiate the agreement's terms featured the names of CEOs like Musk, JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon and General Electric's Jeff Immelt.

It's hard to imagine a less convincing group of interlocutors than these big corporations who stand to make billions of dollars researching "green energy".


John Hinderaker writes that the leaks from the White House and the breathless stories in the media have had only one significant effect.

The Democrats desperately hope that someone on Trump's campaign team may have conspired with the Russians to phish the DNC's email server, as well as the RNC's. (Not sure how that works, but liberal conspiracy theories don't have to make sense.) But we know there is no such evidence. If there were, Democrats in the intelligence agencies, who, it now appears, were violating the law to a massive extent in search of dirt on Donald Trump, would have leaked it before the election.

Absent evidence of collusion, the Left's hysteria over Russia is going to fizzle out. In the end, it will look silly. Meanwhile, everyone knows that the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, the Associated Press, etc., are using anonymous leaks in an effort to bring down the Trump administration on behalf of their party, the Democrats. I doubt that ten percent of the population could deny that proposition, and pass a lie detector test. So if nothing else, we have achieved clarity.

Information like this is good, because it helps people make decisions in the market of ideas. Citizens can observe the chaos in Washington and decide how to vote locally and in the midterm elections in 2018.

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