News of the Week (January 14th, 2024)


News of the Week for January 14thth, 2024



Dobbs Decision


Republicans try to block Biden administration plan to cut money for anti-abortion counseling centers
In a new twist in the abortion access fight, congressional Republicans are trying to block a Biden administration spending rule that they say will cut off millions of dollars to anti-abortion counseling centers

Gun Rights


Increasing Defendant’s Sentence Based on Lawful Gun Possession Is Forbidden
From Nelson v. State, decided today by the Florida Court of Appeal, in an opinion by Judge Jordan Pratt, joined by Judges Eric Eisnaugle and John Harris

Ban on Guns in Post Offices Is Unconstitutional, US Judge Rules
A federal judge in Florida on Friday ruled that a U.S. law that bars people from possessing firearms in post offices is unconstitutional, citing a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling from 2022 that expanded gun rights.


Hide the Decline

Environment &“Green Energy”


Electric Vehicles: Bus Crisis in Oslo
At the time of the report, 4:30 p.m. local time, about 1,000 out of 13,000 bus departures had been canceled in Oslo and its surrounding area. Ruter, the company responsible for operating the buses, does not seem to have been adequately prepared (this is the first winter with an almost all-electric fleet). Who could possibly have expected that it might get very cold in Oslo in the winter?

UChicago to award more ‘Inclusive Climate Grants’ to advance DEI in physical sciences
Since at least 2021, the University of Chicago’s Physical Sciences Department (PSD) has reviewed applications for ‘Inclusive Climate Grants’ to advance DEI at the school.



Government in Healthcare


Overwhelming Evidence That Obamacare Caused Premiums To Increase Substantially
Two scholars at the renowned Brookings Institution, Loren Adler and Paul Ginsburg, have published an analysis finding that “average premiums in the individual market actually dropped significantly upon implementation of the ACA [Affordable Care Act].” This contrasts with a plethora of evidence, including a rigorous 2014 Brookings study, showing that the ACA significantly increased premiums. In this post, I discuss methodological concerns with the Adler and Ginsburg approach as well as evidence that leads most scholars to reach a very different conclusion.

War & Terror


The $10 Trillion Cost of a Taiwan War: Bloomberg
Ahead of Taiwan’s presidential election on Saturday, Bloomberg has a piece out today that assesses the global economic impact of a war over Taiwan at $10 trillion. The news outlet put together a model that estimated the Year One effects of an outright Chinese invasion and of a blockade of the country.

Israel Mulls Qatar Proposal: Gaza Pullout for Hostages — and Hamas Exile; Hamas Rejects
In theory, this sounds like a win for Israel in its war. In practice, though, it may just be another opportunity for Hamas to escape the IDF. According to reports this morning, Qatar has proposed what amounts to a capitulation from Hamas.

Houthis Still Attacking Ships in the Red Sea
Remember last week when the White House issued a joint statement that called for “the immediate end of these illegal attacks” in the Red Sea? The attacks are still happening.

Taiwanese Courage Is Legend — and a Lesson
This Saturday, Taiwan will elect its next president. Until then, the Chinese-government propaganda organs of political warfare are in overdrive to impact the outcome. No one is spared. This is personal.

U.N. Agency Teachers Cheered Hamas as October Attack Unfolded, Called for Execution of Jews in Group Chat
Teachers working for the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) cheered as Hamas terrorists raped and murdered Israelis on October 7, according to recently divulged transcripts of a UNRWA Gaza online group.

China Warns Taiwan’s Voters Not to Take the ‘Evil Path’ of Freedom in the Upcoming Election
Chinese communists really are cartoon villains. As I mentioned here, the presidential election in Taiwan takes place Saturday. China has been doing its best to discourage people from voting for William Lai, the current vice president and frontrunner in the race. Lai is a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which is the most pro-independence party in the race. Today, the head of China’s Taiwan Affairs office warned voters in Taiwan not to take the “evil path” toward continued freedom.

Iranian Navy Seizes Oil Tanker
Iran has claimed responsibility for an apparent hijacking of an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. The U.K. Maritime Trade Operations received a report around 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday of the tanker being boarded by four or five armed men “wearing military style black uniforms with black masks.” A few hours later, Iranian state TV said the country’s navy had carried out the attack.

Voltaire, call your office
In his Essay on General History and on the Manners and Spirit of Nations, Voltaire observed that the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire. To take a current analogue, think of the Southern Poverty Law Center or the International Court of Justice. This is the point Alan Dershowitz makes regarding the ICJ in the opening of his column “The International Court Of ‘Injustice’ Begins Its Blood Libel Trial Against Israel.”

U.S. Strikes Houthi Targets in Yemen After Numerous Red Sea Attacks
Biden: “These strikes are in direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea—including the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history.”

India flexes maritime muscles by boosting Arabian Sea force
Dramatic drone footage showing Indian commandos hunting pirates after an attack in the Arabian Sea illustrates New Delhi’s “significant” expansion of a muscular maritime force reflecting global ambitions, analysts say.

China Complains that the U.S. has ‘Weaponized’ Chip Export Controls
The Dutch government recently partially revoked an export license of some lithography systems, after consultation with U.S. officials.




Gavin Escuela
California Gov. Gavin Newsom attended Santa Clara University on a “partial baseball scholarship,” and as he told Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal in 2019, “the only reason I am governor of California, the only reason you are talking to me right now, is because of baseball.” That same year, veteran California commentator Dan Walters advanced other reasons Gavin Newsom might be governor of California.

Systemically Neutral Law Enforcement
The dogma that American law enforcement is “systemically”: racist is one of the chief pillars of what passes for liberal thought. In truth, that theory has been perhaps the most damaging of all leftist shibboleths.

Epstein accuser claims pedophile had sex tapes of Trump, Clinton, Prince Andrew and Richard Branson: new docs
A Jeffrey Epstein accuser claimed former President Donald Trump allegedly had “sexual relations” with one of her unnamed friends at the late pedophile’s New York home “on regular occasions,” according to another trove of court documents unsealed Monday.

Inside Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘superhumans’ plot behind wild Stephen Hawking ‘orgies’ claim
Dead paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein is said to have had Stephen Hawking over to a scientific conference, which took place on St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands

Epstein Victim Claimed Trump Had Sex at Pedophile’s Mansion, Clinton Caught on Tape. Then She Recanted Everything
‘Only bad things will happen as a consequence of me going public and I know this to be true,’ the victim said when she recanted claims

Bizarre brain chip implanted into monkeys to ‘stop them taking risks’
The study incorporated flashes of light on different parts of the brain and is hoped to be the starting point of a better understanding of gambling addiction in humans

Biden Admin Wants to ‘Rehabilitate’ Philadelphia Park by Removing William Penn Statue
“The Penn statue and Slate Roof house model will be removed and not reinstalled.”

Saving the Panama Canal will take years and cost billions, if it’s even possible
The vestiges of an ancient forest tell the story of just how bad things are at the drought-stricken Panama Canal.

Academics called breastfeeding ‘ethically problematic’ because it endorses ‘gender roles.’ Their view is gaining traction.
U.S. academics wrote in study published in 2016 that the promotion of breastfeeding as the “natural” way to feed infants is “ethically problematic.”

Moral Corruption at Community Colleges
In North Carolina and elsewhere, DEI orthodoxies have reached junior-college campuses.

California Democrats Pushing for Legalized Racial Discrimination on Ballot – AGAIN
Could ACA 7 run afoul of the June Supreme Court ruling that banned affirmative action in higher education?

US president could have a rival assassinated and not be criminally prosecuted, Trump’s lawyer argues
Former president Donald Trump’s lawyer argued that presidential immunity would cover the U.S. president ordering political rivals to be assassinated by SEAL Team Six.

House GOP faces sudden flood of retirements after holiday break
In an election cycle marked by an unusually high number of congressional retirements, House Republicans are facing a burst of new retirement announcements as they return from the holiday recess.

Ahead of Iowa Caucuses, Big 2024 Election Changes Are Baffling Voters
Allies of Biden and Trump helped revamp nominating contests to aid the two front-runners

NASA adds funding to Blue Origin and Voyager Space commercial space station agreements
NASA has added milestones and funding to agreements with two companies working on commercial space station concepts using money from a third agreement that ended last year.

Suddenly, Breastfeeding Is ‘Problematic’
I suppose this was inevitable given the current state of craziness in the world, so perhaps we should have seen it coming. From the origins of our species up until the invention and broad distribution of commercial baby formula in the late 1800s, it was understood that mothers nourished their infants by breastfeeding them. It was literally the most natural thing in the world, and the health benefits to both babies and mothers have been well understood. But we’re living in the 2020s now and everything that used to be taken as common sense is suddenly “problematic.” That includes breastfeeding. At PJ Media, Matt Margolis reports that some of our academic betters have concluded that promoting or praising breastfeeding as “the ‘natural’ way to feed infants” is ethically problematic. As you’ve likely already guessed, that’s because it might make the transgender lobby “uncomfortable.”

Chris Christie Drops Out of GOP Presidential Race, Rips Nikki Haley on Hot Mic ahead of Town Hall
Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie dropped out of the 2024 Republican presidential primary Wednesday evening, ending his low-polling Granite State-based campaign ahead of the first nominating contests this month.

Conservatives in Academia “have been purged not so much by firing, but by not hiring”
“It took decades to get to where we are now. If you look back 30 years ago, it was not this skewed. Conservatives have essentially been purged from academia, and they have been purged not so much by firing, but by not hiring. There has been almost no hiring of open conservatives in academia, certainly at elite academia, in 20 to 30 years.”

Cornell’s first application post affirmative action still asks identity-based question
Applicants are asked to “Explain how your life experiences will help inform your contributions to a learning community devoted to ‘… any person … any study.'”

Rep. Roy Won’t Rule Out Supporting a Motion to Remove Mike Johnson From Speaker Role Over Spending Deal
“I’m leaving it on the table…I think the speaker needs to know that we’re angry about it. He needs to know that we need to sit down at the table and try to solve this.”

Skull and Bones and Equity and Inclusion
One evening in 2019, in a windowless building known as the “tomb” in the center of Yale’s campus, the members of Skull and Bones snapped. There they were, having been granted membership to the most elite secret society at one of the most elite universities in the world—part of a rare group that for generations included individuals from the most powerful families on the planet. Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Buckleys have all been in Skull and Bones. Three Bonesmen would go on to become president of the United States. Their traditions (including oaths of secrecy upon admission) and antics (stealing the gravestone of Yale’s founder), and the rumors about them (that the Bones tomb contains several human skulls), are legendary—and an intense source of campus gossip.

Arizona Fiasco: A Story of American Collectivism
It’s always worth reading Amity Shlaes’s examination of some of the forgotten (or overlooked) corners of American history. And those corners will often be featured in Amity’s fortnightly column for Capital Matters, The Forgotten Book.

A Black Professor Trapped in Anti-Racist Hell
On the sunny first day of seminar, I sat at the end of a pair of picnic tables with nervous, excited 17-year-olds. Twelve high-school students had been chosen by the Telluride Association through a rigorous application process—the acceptance rate is reportedly around 3 percent—to spend six weeks together taking a college-level course, all expenses paid.

Trump Ally: Deep State Using Weather Control to Rig Iowa Caucuses
Dear God. I sincerely hope that this is true. It would prove that scientists have finally figured out how to control the weather.

Only ‘students of color’ are elligible for new USC and Compton College ‘Faculty Prep Academy’
Compton College and the University of Southern California announced they will run a “Faculty Prep Academy” for “students of color.”

Hardy Iowans Brace for Subzero Caucus Night: ‘We’re so used to this’
Jim said it first — it’s freezing in the Hawkeye State! I’m talking icicles hanging from cars, howling winds, and skidding-through-intersections kind of conditions.

The Reality of Slim Margins
I support limited government because I am a Christian. I believe we are all sinners. I want as few in charge of me as possible. In Congress, conservatives are agitating against a $1.7 trillion spending package negotiated by Speaker Mike Johnson. Johnson is unquestionably a conservative, but the Speaker of the House of Representatives has greater obligations than just to cater to the conservative movement.

Federal Court Upholds Biological-Sex-Based Access Rule for School Restrooms
Federal courts continue to be split on this question.

Short Circuit: A Roundup of Recent Federal Court Decisions
Dishwashers, Nazi-looted art, and an ag-gag mixed bag.

Malaise About 2024 Election Persists, Even in First-In-The-Nation Iowa
Des Moines—Most Americans are already feeling apprehensive about a 2024 rematch between President Joe Biden and GOP frontrunner rival Donald Trump. Iowans are no different.

Kids Taught Word “Straight” Is Offensive
First, deviants demanded tolerance. Then equality. Now we are up to special favoritism (a.k.a. “LGBT rights”). At this point, it is the normal people who are tolerated — until they aren’t, as in Seattle Public Schools

Most Americans Would Just As Soon See Trump Barred
This ABC/Ipsos poll is troubling. It is a survey of 2,228 Americans who answered the phone, not likely voters. But what it finds is that 56% think that the Supreme Court should either bar Donald Trump from running for the presidency, or else let each state decide. Consistent with that finding, 49% support the decisions by Colorado and Maine to bar Trump from the ballot, while only 46% oppose those decisions. And, finally, 56% support the bringing of federal and state criminal charges against Trump.


Economy & Taxes


Wealth tax in California to get its first hearing amid big state budget problem
As California lawmakers brace for a major budget deficit, state lawmakers in a key committee this week are expected to consider a new tax on the richest of the rich.

Seventy Percent of Mercedes Workers in Alabama Have Not Signed UAW Representation Cards
Opening line of a Washington Post story today: “The United Auto Workers pressed forward in its effort to unionize auto factories in the South by announcing that 30 percent of Mercedes workers at an Alabama factory have signed cards endorsing unionization.”

The Secretive French Agency Blindsiding Global Investors
“Choose France,” President Emmanuel Macron tells the investors he gathers each year to the Palace of Versailles. So last year Flowserve Corp. was surprised to find its investment plans blocked by the French state itself.

The Silent Death by a Thousand Cuts in Manufacturing
By July of this year, the last man on the job here at the Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation will, in all likelihood, turn around as he reaches the threshold of the same front door hundreds of thousands of workers have passed through since the 1890s. For the last time, he will look out over the 300,000-square-foot plant that has provided this country with so much technology and innovation for nearly 140 years, and he will think about the men and women who went before, and then turn out the lights for the last time.

Executives Say They’re Still Committed to DEI Policies Despite Rising Backlash
“57% of 322 U.S. execs surveyed in November 2023 by the employment law firm Littler said their organizations have expanded their DEI programs over the past year”




Drug Gangs Take Over TV Station, Prisons in Ecuador
I saw videos on X showing some of the chaos happening in Ecuador today. It really looks like something out of a movie. We’ll get to the video in a moment but first here’s the backstory. Sunday, one of Ecuador’s most notorious gang leaders escaped from prison. That led Ecuador’s president to declare a state of emergency and a massive manhunt was underway Monday.

‘State Sanctioned Sexual Assault’
Imagine, if you will, a police officer performing an intimate bodily search on your wife or daughter.

Nearly a Thousand People Were Convicted of Stealing Over Decades. It Was a Computer Glitch.
U.K. government to pass a law exonerating hundreds of people who were found guilty

Poland: Police Raid Presidential Palace to Arrest Conservative MPs
Poland’s political power struggle intensified on Tuesday as police stormed the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, arresting two former Law and Justice (PiS) ministers amid new claims of rising authoritarianism from the recently installed Donald Tusk administration.

Bioethicist Pushes Human Extinction in Prestigious Journal
The fear of suffering (or deprivation of personal desires) is causing untold moral harm in the West — from ever-expanding euthanasia laws to the march of increasingly radical reproductive technologies, to transitioning children with gender dysphoria with harmful puberty blockers and mastectomies on teenage girls, to transhumanistic advocacy that threatens to unleash new eugenics, etc.

Scotland Considers Utterly Deranged ‘Conversion Therapy’ Legislation
The Scottish government is proposing legislation to ban so-called “conversion therapy,” which could imprison parents for up to seven years and/or fine them an unlimited amount should they oppose their child’s newly adopted “gender identity” or sexual practices.

Archeologists uncover ‘lost valley of cities’ built 2,500 years ago in Ecuador
Archeologists have uncovered a cluster of lost cities in the Amazon rainforest that was home to at least 10,000 farmers around 2,000 years ago.

Earth’s ‘last cannibal tribe’ butcher people ‘possessed by demons’ then eat them
Hunter-gatherers from Papua, Indonesia, who first encountered Western civilisation less than 50 years ago, still live a stone-age lifestyle marked by ritual cannibalism




Government-Funding Deal Shows the Problem with Losing Elections
Speaker Mike Johnson’s hardline critics want the legislative victories that flow from electoral successes in the absence of those electoral successes.

A Brief Glimpse of Seriousness in Unserious Times
Don’t get used to last night’s sudden focus on a Republican candidate’s tax-policy preferences.

Republican Voters Can — and Should — Rethink Nominating Trump
To say Donald Trump is the front-runner for the Republican nomination is an understatement. He is above 60 percent in national polling averages and leads by roughly 30 points in Iowa. His lead is much narrower in New Hampshire, although the state, where Democrats and independents can vote in the GOP primary, is not necessarily predictive.

Is Haley’s Problem That Too Many Degree-Holders Like Her?
Politico’s Jonathan Martin has identified the fatal flaw in Nikki Haley’s already long-shot bid to displace Donald Trump from his perch at the top of the polls.

Prediction: 2024 Will See Deadly Political Violence in the Streets
And there’s still time left in 2023, the way things are going lately in New York.

Why Hold an Election If Neither Side Will Accept the Result If They Lose?
A national survey released last fall by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) in partnership with the Brookings Institution found that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe democracy is “at risk” in the upcoming presidential election. And about 25% of those surveyed said they think that “American patriots may have to resort to violence to save the country.”

Against Implicit Threats of Political Violence
As Noah Rothman notes, Americans are right to be worried that we live in an age of escalating political violence and declining political will to name, shame, and punish it when it is perpetrated by one’s own allies. There’s another worrisome trend: the tendency to use warnings of violence as an implicit constraint on legal and political decision-making. That’s not how our system is supposed to operate — indeed, it’s a significant part of why we have a federal capital city.

Why the religious right forgives Trump’s sins
America’s evangelical Christians grow up with the language of domination and submission. Of course they want their president back.

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