Do government schools create grade inflation to hide deficiencies

NY Times:
Vouchers Found to Lower Test Scores in Washington Schools
An Education Department study found that students who switched to private schools under the system had lower results than their peers, but found their new schools safer by a large margin. I suspect the lower grades are caused by the inadequate education they were getting at their previous school.  As someone whose parents moved around a lot when I was in school, I sometimes found that the material in the new school was ahead of where it was in my previous school requiring me to catch up with the rest of the students.  The safer learning environment is also likely to lead to better results in the long run and less likelihood of dropping out.

Media's opposition to tax cuts misses the point

NY Times:
Trump Could Save Tens of Millions of Dollars Under His Proposed Tax Plan
President Trump would benefit from his proposed repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax and a reduction in other tax rates. This is absolutely meanless without context.  The top 10 percent of earners in the US pay 70 percent of all income taxes.   One could argue that they are paying more than their fair share.  But it is ridiculous to focus on the fact that those paying 70 percent of the income taxes benefit the most from tax cuts.

That is just left wing class hatred that has nothing to do with the economic benefit of allowing these earners to spend their money some way other than supporting Democrat vote buy schemes.  If they are allowed to buy yachts, that creates and saves jobs.  If they want to buy custom furniture, that also creates jobs and results in those who have those jobs paying taxes too.

If they want to invest in expanding their business that is also better for the economy than government s…

Combined arms operation now includes 'multi-domain' battles

Breaking Defense:
The brutal ground war in Iraq holds vital lessons for sophisticated future operations in the Pacific, Australian Maj. Gen. Roger Noble said today. Military pundits often draw a sharp distinction between what they consider low-tech warfare against irregular forces, as in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, and high-tech war against states like China and Russia. But when Noble went from a tour in Iraq last year to the Hawaii headquarters of US Army Pacific, he said, the cutting-edge concepts of Multi-Domain Battle that USARPAC is experimenting with forcefully reminded him of coalition operations against Daesh, the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

Multi-Domain Battle calls on the services to break out of their traditional comfort zones and extend their reach into each other’s domains so they can support each other and attack the enemy from multiple angles at once. That requires the military to develop not only new weapons — from cyber tools like Stuxnet to shore-based anti-s…

Left's response to trump's tax proposals validates his offering

Kimberley Strassel:
Here’s how to know a Republican president has scored big on a proposed tax reform: Read the New York Times —and chuckle.

The newspaper’s headline Wednesday lectured: “White House Proposes Slashing Tax Rates, Significantly Aiding Wealthy.” The story said that Donald Trump had offered a “radical reordering of the tax code,” though one that he “rushed” so as to “show progress before the 100-day mark of his presidency.” The proposal was but a “skeletal outline” and “less a plan than a wish list.” It contained “no explanation of how the plan would be financed.” And, oh, it would “richly benefit Mr. Trump” personally. This was a news article, by the way, not an editorial.

The president’s tax proposal—a big, swashbuckling vision for enacting pro-growth principles—offends many on the left by its very nature. Within a few minutes of its release, liberal economists, politicians and pundits were ripping it as a payoff to the wealthy, a deficit buster, regressive, unrealistic.…

Producers ramp up drilling in Texas's Eagle Ford

Fuel Fix:
As West Texas’ Permian Basin becomes more saturated with drilling activity, more rigs are returning to the Eagle Ford shale in southern Texas.

The U.S. added 13 rigs actively drilling for oil and gas this week and almost all of them came in Texas. The Lone Star state added 11 rigs, including five in the Eagle Ford. The booming Permian added two rigs, while the Haynesville Shale in East Texas tacked on one more rig, according weekly data compiled by the Baker Hughes services firm.

The only other state to add multiple rigs was Oklahoma with three. New Mexico, which includes part of the Permian, actually lost three rigs, and another three came offline in the Gulf of Mexico.

The total U.S. rig count is now at 870 rigs, up from an all-time low of 404 rigs in May, according to Baker Hughes. Of the total tally, 697 of them are primarily drilling for oil.
... In a little less than a year, the rig count in the US has more than doubled.   The Eagle Ford formation in South Texas was hi…

California is blatantly ignoring the US constitution

David French:
California Is Seceding from the Constitution

Forget the ludicrous #Calexit movement — why should a state bother seceding when it can simply nullify the portions of the Constitution it doesn’t like? A troubling trend is emerging: California is imposing its own vision of free speech, freedom of association, and freedom of the press on its citizens, and it’s daring the courts to stop it.
... And the Ninth Circuit appears to be in on the conspiracy to thwart the US Constitution.

Turkey may attack US allies in the war with ISIS

Institue for the Study of War:
Key Takeaway: Turkey’s President Erdogan is trying to coerce President Trump into shifting American support from Kurdish forces toward Turkey’s proxies in Syria, which include al Qaeda-linked elements. Erdogan may launch a new ground operation into Syria in order to create ground realities that could force the U.S. to reconsider his demands.

Erdogan may open a new front line in his campaign against America’s primary anti-ISIS partner in Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in coming days. Erdogan seeks to coerce President Trump into accepting Turkey and Turkish-backed opposition groups as alternative ground partners to the SDF in the fight against ISIS. The YPG dominates the SDF and is the Syrian branch of the Turkish Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which is waging an active insurgency against the Turkish state. Erdogan views the YPG’s ascendancy in northern Syria as his primary national security threat. Erdogan has signaled that he will launch a c…

The first 100 days of the losers of 2016 elections

Matthew Continetti:
The Democrats’ First 100 Days

Column: Disunity, obstruction, incoherence, obsession, obliviousness Continetti does a great job of the primary mission of the media--to put facts in perspective.  That is something that much of the mainstream media has failed at and it is the reason their credibility is shrinking.

New poll confirms that the political media is losing credibility

Morning Consult:
As political journalists prepare to gather at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday to celebrate their work, a new Morning Consult poll is likely to make many of them cringe.

In the new poll, roughly half (51 percent) of Americans said the national political media “is out of touch with everyday Americans,” compared with 28 percent who said it “understand the issues everyday Americans are facing.”

President Donald Trump, a frequent public antagonist of the press and the first president in 36 years to skip the confab, is also slightly more trusted than the national political media. Thirty-seven percent of Americans said they trusted Trump’s White House to tell the truth, while 29 percent opted for the media.

Only 38 percent said they have “a lot” or “some” trust in the media covering Trump’s White House fairly, compared with about half (52 percent) who said they didn’t have much or none at all. Almost half (48 percent) also said they thou…

Using Title IX to police sexual assaults on campus ignores the due process rights of the accused

Washington Post:
They were kicked out of college for sexual misconduct. Now they’re suing to clear their names.

The legal pushback from some men has emerged in response to a wave of campus activism in recent years and a shift in federal enforcement of Title IX. This use of Title IX is a gross violation of the due process rights of the accused.  As these cases wind their way up to the supreme Court they are likely to result in judgments against the schools and the Obama administration policies that pushed the star chamber like settings against the students.  When a sexual assault is alleged it should be dealt with by the criminal justice system where both the accused and the alleged victim's rights are more likely to be protected.

Liberals begin to notice Trump is not Hitler?

Huffington Post:
In 100 Days, Donald Trump Hasn't Done Much Except Show Off His Signature While this is probably meant to dispute his successes, it appears to also be an admission that many of the things they predicted about Trump have not happened.  And he has made a good start on his pledge of deregulation, signing 13 Congressional Review Act measures removing several regulations.  Deregulating is the opposite of the authoritarian conduct they projected.

Media acts like taxpayer money belongs to the government

NY Times:
Trump Tax Plan Would Shift Trillions From U.S. Coffers to the Richest
The vast majority of benefits would go to the highest earners and largest holders of wealth, analysts said, setting up a battle over the government’s strained resources. Well, it is not the government's money, to begin with.  It is not like the government is paying rich people, although this story would certainly give that impression with the headline alone.  The inefficiency of government redistribution of money from the rich to those pushing the dependency agenda misses the importance of allowing people who earn money to select how they will invest it or spend it.  Those expenditures actually create nongovernment jobs that also result in taxes to the treasury.

While Democrats may look down their noses at people who buy yachts or hire someone to make custom furniture, those purchases create real jobs and not government handouts.  If the money saved on taxes is invested in a business, it also has the po…

Pipeline paranoia still infects some in Nebraska

NY Times:
Risen From the Grave, Keystone XL Pipeline Again Divides Nebraska
Despite President Trump’s support of Keystone XL, state regulators still have say over the route. Some landowners see the pipeline as a threat to their water, farms and history. There is a pipeline across the road from my property and I probably drive over several more of them on my way to town.  So pipeline fear seems irrational to those of us close to several of them.  I occasionally see crews checking on the pipelines but this is just maintenance and standard safety checks.  I still think they are the safest and least expensive way to transport oil and gas.  If you want to drive a car or truck and stay warmer in the winter, you should favor pipelines.

The anti-energy left is behind many of these protests and they are the same people who were begging for "gas money" so they could go protest other pipelines.

China threatens additional sanctions against North Korea over nuke tests

Washington Times:
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said Thursday that China has threatened to impose sanctions on North Korea if it conducts further nuclear tests.

“We know that China is in communications with the regime in Pyongyang,” Mr. Tillerson said on Fox News Channel. “They confirmed to us that they had requested the regime conduct no further nuclear test.”

Mr. Tillerson said China also told the U.S. that it had informed North Korea “that if they did conduct further nuclear tests, China would be taking sanctions actions on their own.”

Earlier Thursday, the senior U.S. Navy officer overseeing military operations in the Pacific said the crisis with North Korea is at the worst point he’s ever seen, but he declined to compare the situation to the Cuban Missile Crisis decades ago.

Earlier this spring, China announced that coal imports would cease for the rest of the year, pursuant to United Nations sanctions it had helped pass.

The North Korean capital is also being hit by an acut…

Trump having some success in slowing the regulatory state

Jared Meyers:
Trump’s hiring freeze will also help lower the rate of new regulations. As research from the Mercatus Center has shown, there is a high correlation between the number of employees at an agency and the number of regulations issued by that agency. President Trump has also taken advantage of the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress the power to overturn recently finalized regulations through a simple majority vote. So far, he has signed at least 13 such repeals. Previously, this tool had been successfully used only once in its 20-year history.
... There is more.

Meyers offers three additional things Trump can do to reduce regulations.  The media seems to be largely ignoring these successes but what I find interesting is the lack of much pushback from those who want to keep the regulations.  Perhaps they realize that many of them are indefensible.

Media hostility toward Trump is backfiring on liberals

Don Surber:
To the embarrassment of the media, their polls keep showing Trump supporters stick with President Trump because they do not believe the media's anti-Trump propaganda.

Not only that, the media's biggest fear is coming true.

People now regret not voting for Trump.

From Yahoo News:

Murray, the owner of a small business-finance company in California, admits he likes to be different — “to take the contrary position.” Yet even he is surprised to have reached his latest conclusion — that while he strongly supported Hillary Clinton during the campaign, and voted for her without reservation, he now wishes he had cast that vote for Donald Trump. “I like what he’s doing, and I wish I had voted for him,” he says. Not having supported Trump sooner, he says, makes him “feel like a coward.”

Ha ha ha.
... There is more.

With close to 90 percent negative coverage of the President the media is still flailing and failing.  It has gotten where one has to dig deep in the Washington Post…

Isolating the Ninth circuit problem to California

Susan Wright:
Ted Cruz: California Has Infested The 9th Circuit Court With A Corrosive, Left-Wing Influence

Out of 25 judges, 18 have been appointed by Democratic presidents, so you can get the sense of why that particular court is so bereft of commonsense. Allowing the other states within the circuit to secede would help some, but it would not fix the problem of liberal forum shopping within Califonia to thwart common sense.

What the next Korean war may look like

But the grim reality is that a pre-emptive strike, against North Korean missiles or nuclear facilities—or both—could well mean war. Should the day come when President Trump believes he needs to order a pre-emptive strike against targets in North Korea to eliminate a direct threat, the U.S will not be able to take out all of the North Korean artillery front loaded near the border. “Not,” says former National Security Council staffer Victor Cha, “without using tactical nuclear weapons,” which is not something the U.S. would consider, given that Seoul is right down the road. A U.S. strike, simply put, could well trigger the second Korean War.

What would another armed conflict on the peninsula look like? During the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, some 2.7 million Koreans died, along with 33,000 Americans and 800,000 Chinese. In any pre-emption scenario now, the U.S. would try keep the strike limited to the task at hand; at the same time Washington would signal in…

Healthcare is looking like a loser for all sides

Doesn’t really matter. This is a game of hot potato at this point. The Freedom Caucus took the blame, fairly or not, for tanking the original House health-care bill last month. Now they’ve hatched an amendment that makes the bill more palatable to conservatives, letting states waive the federal mandates for Essential Health Benefits and community rating subject to certain conditions, but which does little to make it more appealing to Republican moderates. The stuff that would make it more palatable to them, like rolling back planned cuts to Medicaid, isn’t in the new version and would only spook House conservatives all over again if it were. In fact, if anything, because it gives states the power to let insurers charge people with preexisting conditions higher premiums under some circumstances, the new bill is arguably a heavier lift for moderates than the original bill was. (And possibly will prove even less appealing to voters.) But from the conservative point of view, …

Texas House passes sanctuary city ban

Houston Chronicle:
The Texas House gave final approval Thursday to a wide-reaching 'sanctuary cities' ban that would grant sweeping new powers to police officers in the state by allowing them to question a person's immigration status if they have been stopped with reasonable suspicion.

The chamber passed Senate Bill 4, a priority item for Gov. Greg Abbott this session, on a party-line vote with 94 Republicans in support and 53 Democrats against. The legislation would force police to honor all federal requests to detain people suspected of being in the country illegally until federal authorities can investigate the person's status. It also would prohibit local jurisdictions from passing or enforcing an ordinance that prohibits police officers from inquiring about a detained person's immigration status, which would nullify the Houston Police Department's 1990 policy on the matter.
... There is much more.

Hopefully, this will improve the public safety and expedite…

Media has not been able to dampen enthusiasm of Trump supporters

LA Times:
To read the polls and hear the pundits, President Trump’s first 100 days have been an utter disaster, ranking among the worst in history. But that’s not how Karen Malady sees it.

The 59-year-old accountant was drawn to Trump’s unconventional candidacy from the start, unlike other Republicans who came around reluctantly. She saw him as an outsider and disrupter, and his first months in office proved her right, she said, about that and other things, too.

Like no matter how much he tries, some won’t ever give Trump a fair shake.

“He’s trying to build a foundation to protect this country, and they just pick apart the little things,” Malady said, as fading daylight slanted into the headquarters of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, a nonprofit charity. “‘This person was picked on, and, oh, by the way, this person is of that nationality, so that makes him a racist.’

“No,” she said with a small shake of her head, “they take that little they can and they dig with it.”

The anger and aggr…

Fog of war?--Russian warship collides with another ship and sinks in fog near Turkey

A Russian naval spy ship on Thursday sank in the Black Sea off Turkey's coast after hitting a Togo-flagged vessel packed with livestock but all of its 78 crew were rescued by Turkish coastguards.

The Russian military said the Liman -- a former research ship re-fitted as an intelligence vessel -- had a hole ripped out of its hull in the early afternoon incident.

The collision took place in fog outside the northwestern entrance to the Bosphorus Strait, one of the world's biggest shipping thoroughfares that passes through Istanbul into the Sea of Marmara.

The Turkish coastguard said in a statement that the collision involved the Togo-flagged vessel Youzarsif H which was carrying a cargo of livestock.

It said that of 78 Russian personnel on board the ship, 63 were rescued by the Turkish coastguard and the other 15 by the Youzarsif H itself.
... The ship carrying livestock suffered only minor damage and went on its way.  I suspect that this former research ship did not have th…

Comparing the shale revolution to wind and solar energy

Real Clear Energy:
... wind and solar together still supply less than 1.5% of America’s energy. Fast growth from a small number is like winning $100 in Vegas on a $10 bet. Nice, but not life-changing.

To find a “radical and pervasive” change in energy markets we have to look elsewhere. Over the same decade noted above, the amount of energy added to America from shale hydrocarbons was 2,000% greater than the additional supply from solar and wind combined. That actual revolution also happened because of the maturation of new technologies. But, notably, in this case it took place without the stimulus of special subsidies.

The scale and velocity of the shale revolution is underappreciated. It is the fastest and biggest addition to world energy supply -- not just hydrocarbons, but all forms of energy -- that has occurred in history. The only time something close to as dramatic has occurred was in the decade following the 1968 opening of Saudi Arabia’s giant Ghawar oil field.

This Ame…

Norks keep providing evidence to justify a US preemeptive attack against them

Washington Post:
North Korea releases video clip showing simulated attack on White House

The video comes at a particularly tense time in relations between North Korea and the United States, with the Trump administration sending warships to the region in a show of force against Kim Jong Un’s regime. The North Korean regime seems deeply frustrated by its inability to frighten the Trump administration into accepting their weird regime and its nukes.  All these videos will be used against them at the UN should the US decide to take out their nuclear program

Fighting back against liberal fascism on campus

NY Times:
Coulter’s Free Speech Fight and the Right’s Battle Cry
Conservatives like Ann Coulter are eagerly throwing themselves into volatile situations on college campuses, inspired by a backlash against political correctness. College campuses have become cesspools of liberalism.  The intolerant left does not want to hear opinions different from their own.

It is not like they are being made to attend and listen to contrary opinions the way conservatives are who have to listen to liberal professors.  No, they just do not want conservatives to be able to hear opinions of non-liberals.  They are treating education as a militant liberal indoctrination program.

Trump is changing Washington despite Democrat rear guard actions

Washington Examiner:
A CBS News poll released Wednesday found the majority of Americans believe President Trump is having an effect inside the Beltway and is not letting the political culture change him.

The April 21-24 survey found 54 percent of U.S. adults think Trump is changing Washington, while 30 percent said the district is changing him.

Among Republicans, more than two-thirds said he is the stronger in his relationship with Washington. Even 49 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of Independents said the Republican leader has taken control of the gridlocked city.
... This has to be disheartening to the Democrat operatives with bylines in the media who have virulently attacked everything Trump has done.  He seems to be succeeding on many fronts.

Judge who entered decision against Trump sanctuary City order has a history of bad decisions

Yesterday a federal judge in San Francisco issued a nationwide injunction against enforcement of President Trump’s executive order depriving jurisdictions that refuse to obey federal law from receiving federal grants. The judge is a guy named William Orrick III and he makes a great case for why the Congress should take up judicial impeachment as a lifestyle choice.

If you followed the saga of the Center for Medical Progress’s undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood you will recognize Orrick’s name. He is the federal judge who basically overruled the US Supreme Court’s Pentagon Papers decision and issued a restraining order forbidding CMP from releasing videos because it might hurt the business interests of the abortion industry....
... Instead of being a real judge he is a liberal Democrat operative with a robe.  He appears to be a go to guy for Democrat activists seeking to thwart the rule of law.

Democrats still defending Obama's bad deal with Iran

The bombshell story which indicates that Iranian who were being prosecuted for illegal activity in the US were released does not seem to phase this Democrat.  It was also largely ignored by the mainstream media which is still carrying water for Obama and his bad deal.

A union boondoggle that is employing people not to help veterans

Washington Examiner:
Veterans Affairs has 346 workers who do only union work These people should either be fired are put to work directly helping veterans.  If they were fired the money could better be used helping veterans down on their luck.

Evidence that UN control freaks want to dictate US policy

Jay Caruso:
What business does the United Nations have, getting involved with United States domestic policy decisions? When I read about the UN and what they said about the repeal of Obamacare, I nearly lost it.

There are nations around the world where citizens live in squalor. The kind of poverty most in the United States couldn’t begin to fathom. People regularly die from illnesses most can cure in the United States with over-the-counter medicines.

So to see that the pinheads at the United Nations are warning the United States a repeal of Obamacare might be a violation of the Geneva Conventions, I nearly laughed....
... If the UN wants to ensure that it falls into deeper disregard in the US, pushing this kind of junk is one way to do it.  Only a liberal opinion writer at the increasingly marginal Washington Post could take this seriously.

ISIS's defeat may strengthen al Qaeda initially

Washington Times:
It’s the terrorist marriage made in hell.

The Islamic State group and al Qaeda, long rivals for supremacy in the jihadi struggle, are feeling more pressure to combine as the Islamic State loses its territorial base in Syria and Iraq and the still-potent terrorist network founded by Osama bin Laden prepares to welcome legions of foreign fighters fleeing the advancing U.S.-backed coalition, analysts and officials in the region say.

“The discussion [on combining forces] has started now,” Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi warned this month in an interview with the Reuters news agency.

Born out of al Qaeda’s Iraqi faction that battled U.S. and coalition forces during the bloody years of the American combat mission, the jihadis famously broke with the Pakistani-based terrorist group in 2012 to form the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Two years later, the group would declare a “caliphate,” rename itself the Islamic State and…

Trump administration may declare Paris climate deal a treaty and send it to Senate to kill it

Washington Times:
As President Trump’s top advisers prepare to hash out a final policy on the Paris climate agreement dumped onto their laps by President Obama, another option has hit the table: Declare the deal a treaty and send it to the Senate to be killed.

The treaty option could emerge as the middle ground in the increasingly tense battle between “remainers” on the one hand, who say the president should abide by Mr. Obama’s global warming deal, and the Paris agreement’s detractors, who say Mr. Trump would be breaking a key campaign promise if he doesn’t withdraw from the pact.

Mr. Trump’s principal advisers are slated to meet Thursday to hash out a final set of recommendations for the president, with several deadlines looming next month.

At an initial meeting of top staffers Tuesday, several memos and letters that were circulated laid out the options, including the treaty proposal put forth by Christopher C. Horner and Marlo Lewis Jr., senior fellows at the Competitive Enterprise In…

Russia increases propagand efforts in Eastern Europe in response to NATO build up

Bill Gertz:
Russia is increasing disinformation operations aimed at undermining government and public support for American military forces in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. officials.

The stepped-up disinformation includes creating and circulating recent news stories falsely claiming American soldiers were engaged in sexual misconduct in Poland and were exposed to mustard gas in Latvia.

A more recent example involved a Russian broadcaster falsely attributing a statement on Russian electronic warfare to a retired U.S. general.

A U.S. official in Europe said the military's European Command and the State Department cannot say for sure whether Russia is behind the fake news stories. But the spreading of disinformation is increasing, he said.

"There have been a number of fake news stories, propaganda, lies, whatever you want to call it, over the past two weeks," the official said. "Specifically, in Poland, Estonia, and Ukraine, just to name a few."

The European c…

US LNG replacing Russian gas in Poland

Fuel Fix:
The U.S. is set to ship its first shale gas to a member of the former Soviet bloc as Europe seeks to cut its dependence on fuel from Russia.

Poland’s state-owned PGNiG SA bought a spot liquefied natural gas cargo from Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass plant for delivery in June to the nation’s Baltic Sea import terminal, the first such contract for Central and Eastern Europe, it said Thursday. No LNG has been shipped to northern Europe since Sabine Pass started exports more than a year ago.

Poland may offer a new outlet for Cheniere, which said it’s targeting emerging markets as new production facilities from Australia to the U.S. lead to a glut of the fuel. Poland’s Law & Justice government has sought to cut the nation’s dependence on Russia’s Gazprom PJSC for more than two-thirds of gas supplies, stating it has no plan to extend a long-term supply contract beyond 2022 and plans new infrastructure including a pipeline to Norway.
... I have long argued that US LNG was t…

Can kids carry nuclear bombs?

Daily Mail:

The chilling message from the Central Committee of the Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League warns that 'the Earth will break' if it launches an attack. It promised to destroy the US and its South Korean neighbours if either shows 'a slight provocation,' as international tension reaches breaking point. The warning came as South Korea announced on a high-altitude rocket system to be built on its own soil, giving allies the US powerful weaponry on the peninsula. North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency reported a spokesman saying the youths were 'keeping themselves fully combat ready to mercilessly wipe out with five million nuclear bombs the group of devils who are trying to bring a nuclear disaster to the inviolable country.' Somehow these bomb carrying kids did not show up in the recent military pa…

Will liberals gripe because those who do not pay taxes do not get a cut?

Daily Mail:
Yes, I am sure the liberals will start griping about "tax cuts for the rich."  Hopefully, there will be some incentive for corporations who have been hoarding profits overseas to avoid the US confiscatory tax rates to bring that money home and invest it in growing their business in the US.

If Democrats oppose these cuts, they will deserve to be defeated.

Trying to bring North Korea to its senses?


The top US commander in the Pacific has said an advanced missile defence system in South Korea aims to bring the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "to his senses, not to his knees".

Adm Harry Harris said the US would be ready "with the best technology" to defeat any missile threat.

The White House has taken the rare step of calling senators to a classified briefing on North Korea.

Democrat Chris Coons said afterwards that it had been "sobering".

While unusual, the step to hold the meeting does not necessarily mean a crisis is imminent.

The US has deployed warships and a submarine to the Korean peninsula as well as its Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) missile defence system.

China argues the deployment of Thaad will destabilise security and there have been protests in South Korea itself, where three people were injured in clashes with police as the system was being delivered to a former golf course on Wednesday.
... The North Korea photo of a …

Nork artillery attack on Seoul would not be that easy

Kyle Mizokami:
While the sheer number of artillery tubes could theoretically kill a large number of civilians, operational issues complicate matters and push the number of civilian casualties greatly downward. Despite the thousands of artillery pieces, only 700 heavier guns and rocket launchers, plus the newer 300-millimeter MRLs, have the range to strike Seoul. Only a third would normally be fired at once, and notional rates of fire would be slowed tremendously by the need to withdraw guns into their hardened artillery sites (HARTS) to shelter them from counter battery fire.

Other factors reduce the projected loss of life in the greater Seoul metropolitan area. The city has extensive air raid shelters for civilians that will quickly reduce the exposed population density. The North will struggle to keep these heavy artillery units supplied with shells, particularly with its aging supply system. Finally, U.S. and ROK forces will quickly begin hunting down units participating in the…

Driving while high surpasses drunk driving?

Washington Post:
Drugged driving eclipses drunken driving in tests of motorists killed in crashes

Forty-three percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes in 2015 had used a legal or illegal drug, eclipsing the 37 percent who tested above the legal limit for alcohol, according to a new report. I assume that "legal" drugs refers to prescription medication.  If that is the case, most of those drugs come with warnings against using them while driving.  I think they tend to make people drowsy and less alert.  It is not clear whether using legally available marijuana was also a part of this group.

There have been numerous pictures in news stories of people using opioids and passing out but most of those involve doing so while the car is not moving and the pictures also tend to feature it happening with kids in the car.

Trump drops support for a border tax

NY Times:
Trump Is Said to Abandon Contentious Border Tax on Imports
The proposal was to be part of changes in tax law, but was scuttled, people briefed on the matter said, after complaints by big businesses like Walmart and Toyota. I have been saying this was a bad idea since it was first raised and I am no Walmart of Toyota.  In fact, neither of these companies would actually be paying the taxes, they would only be collecting them from customers like me. It is a tax that would lower most people's standard of living by something close to 20 percent.  Where these companies would be hurt by the tax is that they would have fewer customers for their goods because of the tax.

Trump to make more federal controlled sites available for energy production

NY Times:
President Plans to Unleash a Wave of Oil and Gas Drilling
President Trump is expected to sign two orders to expand offshore drilling and roll back conservation on public lands. As a candidate, he promised to create jobs in energy. This is another example of Trump overturning Obama policies that favored Russia and OPEC.  By making the sites available for energy exploration trump is living up to his commitment to make the US energy independent.

However, the success of the US in exploring for shale oil and gas has reduced the price of oil to a point that producers will have to analyze whether production in the areas opened by Trump will be economically viable.  At least the market will be driving the decision and not the arbitrary machinations of control freak Democrats.

What is clear is that Obama and the Democrats were dead wrong when they said the US could not drill its way to cheaper oil.  I think he used this misleading statement as an excuse to push for less efficient alte…

New York city is still not underwater

NY Times:
Rising Seas Are Putting Historic Sites at Risk
Eroding shorelines have damaged Port Arthur, the famous prison in Tasmania that housed the British Empire’s toughest convicts in the 19th century. It is but one example of a global problem. The ocean has ebbed and flowed throughout history and it is not an indicator of climate change.  Recall that Al Gore claimed the ocean would rise and flood lower Manhattan, and then tried to claim that Hurricane Sandy proved his prediction correct, even though he said it would happen because of a sea level rise from melting ice, which has clearly not happened.  He also predicted that the Arctic would be ice free.

Other failed predictions of doom:
New York City underwater? Gas over $9 a gallon? A carton of milk costs almost $13? Welcome to June 12, 2015. Or at least that was the wildly-inaccurate version of 2015 predicted by ABC News exactly seven years ago. Appearing on Good Morning America in 2008, Bob Woodruff hyped Earth 2100, a special tha…

DOJ still pushing Obama contraception mandate

Tim Carney:
Nearly 100 days into the Trump administration, the official position of the federal government is still that Uncle Sam can force private employers, against their conscience and their religious beliefs, to provide insurance coverage for all forms of contraception, including sterilization and morning-after drugs that can act as abortifacients.

On Monday, the Department of Justice — under the control of Attorney General Jeff Sessions — effectively asked federal courts to keep alive its defense of the Obama position that Christian colleges must provide such coverage. This is irreconcilable with President Trump's professed opposition to the mandate and its trampling of religious liberty.

Conservative lawyers disagree on how quickly or easily the new administration can undo Obama's assault on religious liberty. But this is clear: the Trump administration is not where it should be in rolling back its predecessor's contraceptive offensive.
... I suspect that some of th…

Insider says Obama administration cooked the books on global warming data

Daily Caller:
A former member of the Obama administration claims Washington D.C. often uses “misleading” news releases about climate data to influence public opinion.

Former Energy Department Undersecretary Steven Koonin told The Wall Street Journal Monday that bureaucrats within former President Barack Obama’s administration spun scientific data to manipulate public opinion.

“What you saw coming out of the press releases about climate data, climate analysis, was, I’d say, misleading, sometimes just wrong,” Koonin said, referring to elements within the Obama administration he said were responsible for manipulating climate data.

He pointed to a National Climate Assessment in 2014 showing hurricane activity has increased from 1980 as an illustration of how federal agencies fudged climate data. Koonin said the NCA’s assessment was technically incorrect.

“What they forgot to tell you, and you don’t know until you read all the way into the fine print is that it actually decreased in the de…

Author of dirty dossier admits it was unverified

Washington Times:
Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the infamous anti-Donald Trump dossier, acknowledges that a sensational charge his sources made about a tech company CEO and Democratic Party hacking is unverified.

In a court filing, Mr. Steele also says his accusations against the president and his aides about a supposed Russian hacking conspiracy were never supposed to be made public, much less posted in full on a website for the world to see on Jan. 10.

He defends himself by saying he was betrayed by his client and that he followed proper internal channels by giving the dossier to Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, to alert the U.S. government.

Barristers for Mr. Steele and his Orbis Business Intelligence firm filed their first defense against a defamation lawsuit brought by Aleksej Gubarev, chief executive of the network solutions firm XBT Holdings.

Mr. Steele acknowledges that the part of the 35-page dossier that identified Mr. Gubarev as a rogue hacker cam…

Houston buys into solar power feel goodism

Fuel Fix:
A West Texas solar farm financed in part by the city of Houston started generating power last week and has secured Houston’s position as the largest municipal purchaser of renewable energy in the country.

French energy company Engie developed and runs the SolaireHolman solar farm in Alpine. The farm has more than 200,000 solar panels that stretch across 360 acres, according to a news release from Engie.

The city will pay 4.486 cents per kilowatt hour for solar energy through a power purchase agreement, which requires monthly payments over 20 years for the value of the solar power and does not require the city to own the solar equipment.
While the electric grid cannot deliver pure solar power to Houston, the city is effectively investing in renewable energy by helping finance the project. Reliant is the city’s retail electric provider, and brings electricity to city-run enterprises, like the Hermann Park Zoo, a public works building, wastewater treatment plants and some of…

Ted Cruz proposes bill to have money seized from cartels used to pay for border wall

Daily Wire:
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has put forth a clever new plan for funding President Donald Trump’s expensive wall stretching across America’s southern border with Mexico.

Aptly named "Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order," Cruz’s bill would take seized assets from billionaire drug lords, like the notorious Mexican kingpin El Chapo, and use them to fund the wall project.

Currently, "U.S. prosecutors are seeking $14 billion in drug profits and other assets from El Chapo," according to Axios. "They also routinely seize the assets of other drug dealers and traffickers."
... I am glad to see Sen. Cruz embrace the idea I proposed in this post.  I have also proposed using the money withheld from sanctuary cities to fund the payment of the wall.  Once built the wall will provide further dividends in reduced benefit payments to illegal aliens.

Here is what Cruz had to say about his proposal:

East Coast refiners in US using more Texas crude

U.S. East Coast refiners are looking to buy increasing volumes of domestic crude oil from the Gulf Coast, two sources said, the latest twist in a trade flow upheaval in the wake of the opening of the Dakota Access pipeline.

Major U.S. East Coast refiners profited from railing hundreds of thousands of barrels of discounted Bakken crude to their plants daily from 2013 until 2015. But as more and more pipelines were built in North Dakota, the discount began to disappear, and so did the rail cars.

Now, at least two East Coast refiners, Phillips 66 and Delta Air Lines Inc's subsidiary Monroe Energy, are looking to move more crude by ship from Texas into the Philadelphia area. The Dakota Access pipeline starts up in May, giving the Gulf access to the Bakken shale play, and will likely sap any lingering economic incentive for Bakken-by-rail, which is more expensive.
Brokers interviewed said bringing U.S. oil via tanker to the East Coast gives refiners access to a variety of …

Turks would rather fight Kurds than genocidal ISIS

Washington Post:
Turkey expands strikes against Kurdish militants in Syria and Iraq, threatening to complicate ISIS fight

The strikes, which killed as many as 20 fighters, targeted a group that has played a key role in turning back Islamic State militants and is a component of U.S.-backed forces preparing for an assault on Raqqa. The Turks under Erdogan appear to be cementing their role as NATO's worst ally.  They would rather fight the people who are fighting ISIS than fight the monstrosity that is ISIS.  I think Erdogan is making the case for Kurdish independence from his Islamist regime.

Ranchers in Texas think border wall will block access to water for livestock

Washington Post:
Meet one of the critics of Trump’s wall. He’s a Republican. In Texas.

As Democrats try for an anti-Trump wave in next year’s midterm elections, break-the-mold Republican Will Hurd is fighting to hold a vast, politically volatile district along the U.S.-Mexico border with a battle plan that includes being one of the harshest GOP critics of the president’s push to build a wall along that border. I think Will Hurd is a good guy.  If the concern is about access to water for cattle, he needs to work on an accommodation for that problem if a wall is constructed.  I do not think their opposition and that of Hurd is because they want more illegal aliens coming in.  No one really wants illegals trespassing on their property or using it as an invasion route into the US.

North Korea could begin mass producing nuclear bombs

NY Times:
Dwindling Time for U.S. Action as North Korea Hoards Bombs
Behind the Trump administration’s sudden urgency on North Korea lies a stark calculus: that the country is capable of making a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks. This could explain one of the reasons for the invitation to all the Senators to come to the White House for a briefing.  It also explains the anxiety in the region including in China.

Sanctions against North Korea have not been effective

Bill Gertz:
As the US ratchets up pressure on China to do more to help rein in North Korea, a UN report shows how Pyongyang uses technology smugglers and financial institutions to develop missiles and nuclear weapons. China figures prominently in the report.

UN members have imposed an array of trade sanctions on North Korea after it violated UN Security Council rulings to halt its testing of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

However, an eight-member UN panel said North Korea is intensifying such tests and that UN member states are not doing enough to enforce the sanctions.

North Korea “is flouting sanctions through trade in prohibited goods, with evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope and sophistication,” the panel’s report dated Feb. 28 says.

The report cites Chinese components and European parts acquired through China that were recovered from the debris of a North Korean missile launch. They included what the report described as an electromagnetic interference…

Port of Corpus Christi in a growth spurt as Houston becomes crowded

Fuel Fix:
New pipeline investments in Corpus Christi are surging and could make it a popular export alternative to Houston, where congestion is crowding out midstream companies, according to a report released last week by Morningstar, a Chicago-based research firm.

Corpus Christi already has three refineries, 10 pipelines that deliver crude from the Eagle Ford and one pipeline from the Permian. But as production rises in the both basins, Corpus Christi is becoming a crude export hub, where there is more real estate for marine docks and storage infrastructure and space for larger crude tankers, according to the Morningstar report.

Corpus Christi’s role in the midstream market depends on high oil production in the Permian. Two new pipeline projects have been proposed to bring crude from the Permian to Corpus, and if approved and completed on schedule, they would add a capacity of one million barrels a day by the end of 2019.
... Corpus Christ is an attractive city sitting on the shores …

Democrats are anti-science on the issue of sex

Ashley McGuire:
Feminists in the 1960s and 70s argued that men and women are not inherently different. The many apparent differences between the sexes — beyond the undeniable anatomical ones — are simply the result of gender roles people are taught to fulfill, not of their natures as men or women. This was the era when parents were told that their daughters would be just as happy playing with toy trucks as with dolls and that making the switch would help end sexism and liberate girls for a better future. Women sought to detach themselves from the aspects of womanhood they found limiting, especially their fertility.

For decades, gender theory gained steam, seeking the complete abolition of gender distinctions in any way tied to the two biological sexes.

In 1992, family therapist John Gray published Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. The book's premise was simple: men and women are different, and understanding those differences, not living in denial of them, is the key to rela…