Friday, September 21, 2018

The Madness: Don't eat dogs, cats or ice cream

"Drinking contaminated drinking can lead to symptoms of arsenicosis, with negative impacts on mental health, household productivity, and wellbeing." ~ Shyamal Chowdhury, associate professor, University of Sydney

I told you there's something in the water!

Well, it's Friday, boys and girls, and that means we round up the latest evidence of madness among us. Enough with the preliminaries. Let's get going!

And this is bad because? Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are arguing that the serving of ice cream in facilities like dining halls makes Muslims, Jewish, and vegan students feel unwelcome on campus.

Your government at work. The government shuts down at the end of the month, and Democrats and Republicans seem unable to make a deal to keep it open. They are, however, united in trying to stop people from eating pets. The House passed a bill Wednesday by voice vote banning the slaughter, transportation, sale and possession of dogs and cats for consumption.

Aim for the chest next time. A sociology professor at the College of Southern Nevada shot himself in the arm with a .22 pistol in protest of President Donald Trump.

Hey Mister, can you spare a barcode? A scheme in Oxford called Greater Change wants to provide homeless people with barcodes, so members of the public can give them money using smartphones.

Wait ... don't give him a dime! A feminist professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada recently published a book chapter documenting the myriad ways homeless men allegedly perpetuate “hegemonic masculinity” while discussing their hardships.

There's hope for all of us. Newly-arrived migrants in Sweden will soon learn how to have sex with Swedish blondes thanks to a new government-funded program. The migrants will learn new techniques from a web site translated in Arabic, Somali, Dari, Tigrinian, Swedish and English which is funded in part by the government's five-million-crown investment into migrant sex courses.

Film at 11. American actress Jennifer Lawrence blamed the recent hurricanes on Donald Trump’s voters, because they don’t believe in man-made climate change. “It’s scary,” she responded. “You know, it’s this new language that’s forming, I don’t even recognize it.

Nice work if you can get it. Men pay $895 at 'Male Feminism Camp' to cope with their own toxicity. There was a helpful round of musical chairs sans music, in which the class was asked to rearrange a messy pile of chairs into a circle. The class barely made it.



Casual Friday: Born On the Bayou


"You might be a Cajun if ... watching "Wild Kingdom" inspires you to write a cookbook." ~ anon

There's nothing new under the sun

The blogger and law professor Ann Althouse came across this video.
I'm reading Edward R. Murrow: A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy/See it Now (CBS-TV, March 9, 1954) not because I was looking for old content that resonates with current troubles. I found it because I was looking for a recording of Edward R. Murrow's voice.
Well, I'm always glad to have old video that resonates with current troubles. Enjoy:



(American Digest)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Dianne Feinstein's hidden agenda

“I sometimes say that in my last life maybe I was Chinese.”—Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Her despicable ploy in the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh has the effect of clouding her scandalous relationship with China.
According to four former intelligence officials, in the 2000s, a staffer in Senator Dianne Feinstein’s San Francisco field office was reporting back to the MSS. While this person, who was a liaison to the local Chinese community, was fired, charges were never filed against him. (One former official reasoned this was because the staffer was providing political intelligence and not classified information—making prosecution far more difficult.) The suspected informant was “run” by officials based at China’s San Francisco Consulate, said another former intelligence official.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Feinstein’s hometown paper, this staffer, who had worked with Feinstein for almost 20 years, drove her around in San Francisco and “served as gofer in her San Francisco office and as a liaison to the Asian American community, even attending Chinese Consulate functions for the senator.”

Of course nothing has been done about it.

But there's more.
During the 1980s, as mayor of San Francisco, Feinstein developed a close friendship with Shanghai Mayor Jiang Zemin. This substantially enhanced Feinstein’s foreign policy profile, and created an important linkage to the U.S. government for China’s Communist Party (CCP).

Just as Feinstein rose to a prominent position in foreign affairs and national security in the U.S. Senate, first on the Foreign Relations Committee and later as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Jiang rose to the top of Chinese leadership, serving as chairman of the Central Military Commission, general secretary of the CCP, and president of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Under Jiang’s leadership, the PRC initiated a brutal crackdown against practitioners of Falun Gong, including mass imprisonments, beatings, torture, rape, organ harvesting, and murder, and engaging in alleged human rights atrocities against Tibetans. Feinstein never renounced her friendship with Jiang, in spite of these acts.
Feinstein and Jiang reportedly visited each other regularly in the 1980s, with Jiang once spending Thanksgiving in San Francisco with Feinstein and her husband. Jiang supposedly danced with Feinstein during one such visit, which surely must have been a propaganda coup for the CCP a la Ted Kennedy and the Soviets.

She wasn't doing this out of the goodness of her heart. Her husband's investment company was profiting handsomely -- millions of dollars --in business deals with China, even as the good senator was rising in congressional power and doing everything she could to promote trade with China. Read all the details here.

So you can imagine her consternation -- and her husband's -- when Trump started cracking down on China trade. This will cost them personally. And she has a chance to get back at Trump for his new tariffs on Chinese goods.

Ah, but this had nothing to do with sabotaging the Kavnaugh nomination. Nothing at all.

Do you really want to drive in the cloud?

Gone are the days of getting in the car and shutting yourself off from the world. We're now in the age of connected cars.
By 2018, automobiles with connected capabilities were almost 39% of the US market. By 2020, Gartner estimates that 250 million connected vehicles will be on the roadways, “making [them] a major element of the Internet of Things.”
By 2022, the market penetration is expected to reach over 80%. Much of this growth will start in premium cars and then the technology will filter down into the value segment.
By 2020, new model cars will have upwards of 200 sensors measuring data within the car and around its immediate environment. It’s estimated that these cars will be generating 4 terabytes of data per car per day.
What does this mean for you?
When vehicle systems relay sensor-generated data, drivers can receive alerts about road conditions and driving hazards, such as congested roads, highway debris, or potholes—all well in advance of encountering these problems. When vehicle systems are connected to the roadway infrastructure, sensor generated data can supply accurate, real-time traffic data allowing mapping programs to plot the most efficient route, so drivers save time and greenhouse gas emissions are minimized.
More:
Biometric sensor technology will be another, increasingly important area for innovation. Soon, face, ocular, voice, or ECG technology will enable cars to recognize their driver. Rather than using a key or pressing a keyless start button, the driver will simply grab the steering wheel and embedded biometric sensors will start the car. Piezo sensors embedded in the car seat will monitor heart rate while dashboard cameras will track head movements to see if a driver is getting drowsy.
Fine, as long as I can get my local rock and roll station.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The last nutrition guide you'll ever need

There's a lot of advice floating around out there, but we've sorted it out and nailed it down for you.

The Truth About Saturated Fats
The villain is saturated fat. Saturated fat, which is present in meat and dairy, increases our total cholesterol and chance for heart disease and stroke.
Eating Cheese and Butter Every Day Linked to Living Longer
Eating three servings of dairy products a day could lower the risk of heart disease, a study suggests. 
Many Americans Slicing Meat From Their Diet
Americans are cutting back on the amount of red and processed meat they eat -- and even some poultry and fish -- because they're worried about their health.
Tip: Choose Steak Over Chicken
Most of the time, chicken is actually no better or worse for you than beef, and in some situations, beef is actually the healthier choice.
Consuming milk at breakfast lowers blood glucose throughout the day
A team of scientists found that milk consumed with breakfast cereal reduced postprandial blood glucose concentration compared with water.
Diabetes Experts Warn Milk and Cereal Will Not Help Your Blood Sugar
Experts said the suggestion that a breakfast of high-protein milk with cereal is actually beneficial to someone’s blood glucose levels is dangerous, manipulative, and blatantly disingenuous.
Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal. But Why?
Researchers say making breakfast your biggest meal of the day is a good way to lose weight
Sorry, There’s Nothing Magical About Breakfast
As with many other nutritional pieces of advice, our belief in the power of breakfast is based on misinterpreted research and biased studies.

Are we entering a new Dark Ages?

The ideals collectively known as "Western Civilization" are under vicious attack by The Left, which has taken over many of the institutions that were once charged with training new generations to protect our heritage.

Consider Boston University.
Students enrolled in the Kilachand Honors College at Boston University used to have a required class called “Modernity and its Discontents.”

The freshman seminar included readings by Friedrich Nietzsche, Virginia Woolf and Sigmund Freud, and stood as a prime example of an attempt by the honors college to offer students an education grounded in a classical liberal arts tradition.

But “Modernity and its Discontents” is gone, and so is a popular professor who used to co-teach it, Anna Katsnelson. In late May, she was abruptly dismissed from her post as assistant director of academic affairs for the honors college at the private university.
This is not an isolated case. Dennis Prager writes:
A few years ago, Stanford University students voted on a campus resolution that would have their college require a course on Western civilization, as it did until the 1980s.

Stanford students rejected the proposal 1,992 to 347. A columnist at the Stanford Daily explained why: Teaching Western civilization means “upholding white supremacy, capitalism and colonialism, and all other oppressive systems that flow from Western civilizations.”

The vote — and the column — encapsulated the left’s view: In Europe, Latin America and America, it loathes Western civilization.
Why is this an issue? Donald Kagan, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Classics and History at Yale University, explains:
The United States was never a nation in the sense of resting on common ancestry but one that depends on a set of beliefs and institutions deriving from Western traditions. The unity of our country and the defense of its political freedom and individual liberties required that its citizens have a good understanding of the ideas, history, and traditions that created them.  
There is a broad and deep ignorance of the historical process by which the very values that encourage current criticisms of the Western experience came into being, taking them for granted, without comprehending their Western roots and their fragility even within the Western tradition. It does not seem to be understood, for instance, that the very idea of a liberal education is uniquely a product of the Western experience, as is the institution of the university in which it has developed.
I doubt that Kagan alone can hold back the tide.

A new early test for pancreatic cancer

A dear friend died of pancreatic cancer a few years ago, because they can't detect this killer early enough to do much about it.

Although pancreatic cancer represents less than 3% of all cancer cases, more people die from it than from breast cancer. By 2030, pancreatic cancer is expected to be the second deadliest type of cancer in the world.

Now there is hope that we can reverse this. A new blood test can detect pancreatic cancer in the very earliest stages of the disease. 
"Our test can detect pancreatic cancer with 96% accuracy at stage I and II, while there is still the possibility of successful surgical intervention. There is currently no cure and few treatment options for advanced pancreatic cancer, which is the late stage when pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed," explains Carl Borrebaeck, professor at the department of Immunotechnology at Lund University.
The next step has already been initiated, which is a large US prospective study for high risk individuals.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Where Hillary and Bernie stand on abortion

This recently appeared on my Facebook timeline and I shared it:
A number of my friends called it fake news and urged me to check my sources, which I did. Here's what I found.

Bernie and Hillary were asked about late term abortions in the 2016 presidential campaign, so we have an up to date record of their opinions.

Bernie was the most forthright. As reported by CBS News:
Asked generally whether abortion should ever be illegal, Sen. Bernie Sanders said, "I happen to believe that it is wrong for the government to be telling a woman what to be doing with her own body."

Asked more specifically if he would support restrictions on abortions for pregnancies farther along than five months, Sanders simply responded, "I am very strongly pro-choice. That is a choice to be made between a woman, her physician and her family."
There's no ambiguity there.

Hillary was a bit more clever.
Clinton, by contrast, noted that she has gone on the record as in favor of some "late-pregnancy regulation that would have exceptions for the life and health of the mother."

However, Clinton stressed that she objects to the recent efforts in Congress to pass a federal law banning abortions after 20 weeks with no exceptions. "Under Roe v. Wade, it is appropriate to say in these circumstances" that abortion rights may be restricted, she said -- "so long as there's an exception for the life and health of the mother."

Clinton also stressed her more general support for abortion rights, and for Planned Parenthood.

"Under Roe v. Wade, women have this right to make this highly personal decision with their family," she said. "We've got to continue to stand up for a woman's right to make these decisions and to defend Planned Parenthood."
Let's explore her view some more. The Atlantic had this to say after one of the campaign debates. Here's the title and subhed:

Clinton’s Unapologetic Defense of Abortion Rights

Rarely have presidential nominees declared, without qualification, that it’s a woman’s right to choose.
And the writer, Adrienne LaFrance, editor of TheAtlantic.com., said this:
Implicit in many of these statements is the idea that abortion is not really the right choice—but that women should be allowed to make it anyway.

Last night, on the national stage, Clinton rejected this implication. She did not hedge her support for Roe v. Wade. And she did not promote the idea that abortions should, or even can, be avoided. (To be clear, though, she has supported late-pregnancy restrictions on abortions with exceptions for the health of the mother and fetus.)

The message was loud and clear: A woman’s right to choose is a woman’s right to choose. Period.

“I will defend Roe v. Wade,” she said, “and I will defend women's rights to make their own healthcare decisions.”
Then there's this at Salon, written by Amanda Marcotte, a politics writer. You know where she's coming from by the title of her  new book, Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself.

Marcotte wants to clear up any confusion about Hillary's stand, since the above responses make Bernie look more liberal on abortion. Marcotte finds an article in The Hill to support her contention. Marcotte then writes:
Quoted at length, again, to prove there's no wiggle room here. Clinton's campaign officially stated that she supports legal abortion at 20 weeks in consultation with a doctor and stands by the Roe decision, which protects the legal right to such abortions.

Clinton should have been clearer, there is no doubt about that. But, under the circumstances, it's a stretch to take a mildly garbled comment and try to extrapolate that Clinton is more conservative than Sanders on the issue of choice.
The truth is that there's no real difference between Sanders and Clinton on abortion rights. Like Clinton, Sanders invokes Roe v Wade as "the law of the land", suggesting that he has the same support that Clinton has for Roe's allowance for restrictions in the third trimester. As excitingly contrarian as it might be to spitball the idea that Sanders is somehow more feminist than Clinton on this front, he's just not. They are the same. Neither will sign Republican anti-choice bills. Both will appoint pro-choice judges much like the ones Clinton's husband appointed, namely Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Any hope that there's some late-breaking evidence that they differ on this is just pissing in the wind.
Let's explore Hillary's position further. As a senator she voted against a ban on partial birth abortions. You can find that law's definition of the procedure here. A baby is delivered halfway and then killed.

When Hillary cites the "health of the mother" as a justification of late-term abortions she is being too clever by half. John McCain raised this issue in the 2008 election. Here's what Newsweek says:
In Roe v. Wade , the  court ruled that with postfetal viability--when the fetus's  critical organs can sustain independent life--the  state "may go so far as to proscribe abortion during that period, except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother." And in Doe v. Bolton , a companion case issued the same day as Roe , the court provided further guidance on what preserving the "health of the mother" entailed. "Medical judgment may be exercised in light of all factors--physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman's age--relevant to the wellbeing of the patient," the  court wrote. "All these factors may relate to health."
That's a loophole big enough to drive a truck loaded with aborted baby parts to market through.


Friday, September 14, 2018

Casual Friday: Goodbye Stranger

Just two working days til Monday!


"I’ve always been bad at spelling – not sure whether it’s nature or nurture." ~ Steven Wright 

Fake News: How many really died in Puerto Rico's hurricane?

On the ground in Puerto Rico after Maria.
Journalist Daniel Flynn gets behind the hype and politics of Hurricane Maria.
What is your death count?” Donald Trump asked Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló last October. “Sixteen, certified,” the governor answered.

By December, that figure quadrupled to 64. Last month, 64 became more than 1,400. Earlier this month, almost a year after Maria hit, the count rose to 2,975, according to George Washington University researchers commissioned by the governor of Puerto Rico to provide an estimate. In other words, the revised figure rose 186 times over the initial one in less than a year, with most of the deaths occurring long after the hurricane departed and dissipated.

Based on this rate of increase, The American Spectator can exclusively report that within two years the estimates of the number of Hurricane Maria deaths in Puerto Rico will reach 103,000,000, a figure roughly 30 times the population of the island commonwealth. Will Donald Trump still recalcitrantly stick to a death count in the double or triple digits when the number of victims exceeds the population of the Philippines?

It seems hard to believe that a tropical cyclone, initially blamed for dozens of deaths months after it hit on September 20, 2017, actually killed more human beings than any other hurricane that occurred in the 20th or 21st centuries. Did Hurricane Maria really kill two or three times as many people as Hurricane Katrina did? Why do people who stick to a number appear to impugn their credibility more than those whose estimates fluctuate wildly? And what explains the discrepancy between the modest initial figures and the massive subsequent ones?

Roberto Rivera and Wolfgang Rolke, two Puerto Rican experts on statistics, note, “Families are eligible for U.S. federal assistance for deaths attributed to a major disaster or emergency.” While the professors point this out to highlight the importance of getting the figure right — which they put at 822 from the moment Maria hit land until the end of October 2017 — it also shows the incentive in claiming that your mother’s death from diabetes really came as a result of a meteorological phenomenon.

The 2,975 number conflicts not just with the figures cited by Trump. It varies from other counts cited at various points as authoritative by journalists. Academics Alexis Santos and Jeffrey Howard say the hurricane caused 1,085 deaths. Three months ago, the New Republic held that Maria “killed at least 4,636.”

The New Republic figure came from a Harvard University study, which relied on “a representative stratified random sample of 3299 households,” not on official certificates or anything else indicating cause of death. The George Washington University study, like the estimates offered by Harvard and the two Puerto Rican professors, similarly relies heavily on comparing death rates in Puerto Rico in the months that followed Maria to rates in previous years, automatically assigning death-by-hurricane status to fatalities above the historical norm for the period.

Reasons may exist to adopt this model in calculating the impact of future natural disasters. But it comes at variance to the means of calibrating the human cost of past calamities. Put another way, people critical of Donald Trump’s response to the disaster judge his administration’s response by a new standard that inflates the body count beyond what the actual storm inflicted by including deaths that occurred months later for reasons tangentially, some not at all, related to Maria.

While not without worth, the methods employed by Harvard, GW, and others offer no precision, come as guesswork, and include deaths that no previous counts would attribute to a natural disaster. The Harvard University study admits, “In the United States, death certificates are the primary source of mortality statistics, and in most jurisdictions, death can be attributed to disasters only by medical examiners. Survey-based studies can therefore provide important complementary population-level metrics in the wake of natural disasters, despite inherent limitations associated with the nature of participant-reported data, recall bias, nonresponse bias, and survivor bias.”

Since this disaster occurred on U.S. soil, why discard the way officials, by law, tabulated the numbers up until this point? The statisticians and journalists say Puerto Rican medical examiners lack proper training and cremated hundreds of people whom they improperly judged as killed by something other than the hurricane. Upon the pretext that the system heretofore used had broken in Puerto Rico, journalists, academics, and others offered a system more broken than the one it replaced.

Consider, for instance, that George Washington University’s estimate of 2,975 varies by Harvard University’s estimate of 4,636 deaths by roughly the same number as the figure Trump cities vis-à-vis the GW figure now taken as the true, dispute-at-your-own risk figure. And in both studies, the researchers admit that the number run with by the press represents the midpoint of a range of possible deaths.

The New York Times cited a number as high as 1,052 in December. But on Thursday it accused Donald Trump of “falsely” calling the 2,975 figure “inflated.” One way or another, the New York Times is wrong.

Not only do the president’s critics here come as the usual suspects, but their script seems familiar. The Bush Administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina damaged George W. Bush’s presidency, at least as far as public opinion, almost as much as Iraq and the financial crisis. With another Republican in office, the New York Times and others again seek to blame the Commander in Chief for the excesses of Mother Nature — the Washington Post editorial page already put partial blame on Trump policies for Hurricane Florence — and absolve local, often corrupt, governments by blaming the president. The Old Gray Lady may rely on inconsistent numbers. But the point of emphasizing those numbers, any numbers — to damage the president — remains consistent.

Given that the anniversary of Hurricane Maria takes place about a week from now and the George Washington University study came out several weeks ago, many wonder why this controversy erupted this week. With Hurricane Florence striking the Carolinas, journalists regarded it as good a time as ever to strike Donald Trump.

It always is.
It's not easy sorting things out in this atmosphere.

Let's get out there and scarf down some fiber

Right at this very moment, as you creep toward the inevitable, immune cells in your little brain known as microglia are becoming inflamed. 

In this state, they produce chemicals known to impair cognitive and motor function. That's why you can't do the crossword anymore and you forget your name.

However, according to a new study from the University of Illinois, there may be a remedy to delay the inevitable: dietary fiber.

In essence, if you eat an apple a day you will remember to eat your daily apple.
Dietary fiber promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut. When these bacteria digest fiber, they produce short-chain-fatty-acids (SCFAs), including butyrate, as byproducts.

"Butyrate is of interest because it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties on microglia and improve memory in mice when administered pharmacologically," says Rodney Johnson, professor and head of the Department of Animal Sciences at U of I, and corresponding author on the Frontiers in Immunology study.
You had no idea this was going on inside you, did you?

So let's say you believe all this, what's a mother to do?
Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — can help helping to maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
  • Whole-grain products
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans, peas and other legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
Mom was right after all. Bless her. Have an apple.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The media's anti-Donald crusade elicits a big yawn

Christian Whiton, author of Smart Power: Between Diplomacy and War, was a State Department senior advisor during the George W. Bush administration. He writes about machinations of The Left's Media:
My first reaction to the anonymous anti-Trump op-ed in the New York Times was perhaps unusual for a resident of the swamp, which has been so hyper this week: I chuckled, rolled my eyes, and didn’t even make it to the end of the article before losing interest.

It probably helps that I spent the week in Colorado and Utah, where seemingly no one cares. In the conversations in which I have participated or overheard, this subject has come up zero times. Muted televisions in airports and hotel lounges, which still carry CNN and its angry commentators out of habit, are blissfully ignored as life happens.

Most people outside the swamp either know what the media is up to or just don’t care anymore.

As someone who has held appointed positions in two Republican administrations including the incumbent one, I fall in the former category. I’m quite familiar with the methods the media uses to get unattributed disgruntled junior staff to convey the agenda it desires, which is what’s happening here.

I’m also familiar with the nature of an administration, in which many people who “work for the president” or “work in the White House” may have never met the man who sits in the Oval Office, and who certainly have never provided (or withheld) advice or information that matters to government policy.

Next to the White House sits the imposing Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Across Pennsylvania Avenue from that building is the ugly New Executive Office Building, which is neither new nor executive. It overlooks townhouses surrounding Lafayette Park that provide offices for still more officials. All of these people say they work for the White House, as all are administratively part of what is known as the Executive Office of the President. President Trump probably knows the names of about 3 to 4 percent of these people, tops. Fewer still provide him advice that matters.

Given Anonymous’s citation of foreign policy, veneration of John McCain, and repetition of the banal and disproved trope that Trump prefers dealing with autocrats like Vladimir Putin, I’d guess—and it is only a guess—that the disgruntled author comes from the mid-levels of an agency like the State Department or the ranks of staffers at the National Security Council.

The latter say they work for the president and could stretch the truth to being part of the population of “Trump appointees” cited in the op-ed, even though they are mostly career bureaucrats detailed temporarily to the NSC from agencies like the State Department, Department of Defense and the CIA. Most of these people are patriotic and diligent, although some inevitably pursue their own agenda, especially when a Republican sits atop the executive branch. Luckily, this cohort of staff matters less in the Trump administration than any other in modern time: Trump has pulled policymaking up to the level of his cabinet and himself.

This deprecated level of bureaucrats is the most likely source of the media’s move against Trump this week. Along with the anti-Trump Bob Woodward book, whose unattributed fictions have already been refuted by on-the-record statements from cabinet officials, the New York Times and yet-to-be uncovered middlemen trotted out this op-ed simultaneously—somewhat suspicious timing. It would have been easy to find a disgruntled appointee or detailee to write something like this, especially when provided anonymity. Any decent political campaign could orchestrate it—and the New York Times is a very decent political campaign.

The media’s objective was to get the Washington commentariat focused on how Trump, in their estimation, is unfit to be president, and to do so at the beginning of the traditional post-Labor Day home stretch of the campaign season.

They have largely succeeded in this goal, but in so doing, failed again to learn the lesson that was so easy to conclude from the 2016 election and Trump’s steady popularity levels since then. That lesson is that the media and the commentariat no longer determine public opinion.

No matter how many outraged opinion pieces or news articles (but I repeat myself) the New York Times produces, no matter how many smarter-than-thou analysts with non-prescription eyeglasses mope about sadly on CNN, no matter how many Obama fan boys and girls left in the White House press corps shriek at the president whenever in earshot, it just doesn’t matter anymore.

The economy hums. Trump keeps us out of foreign entanglements. Wages increase. America’s traditional meritocracy replaces the Democrats’ grievance-based society. Life happens.

And while the New York Times op-ed was a nice try by the media, they must on some level, deep down, grasp the new reality: no one hears their screams.
Anonymous, you entertained us for a day. Thanks!

Hey, let's talk about the weather!

Andrea weathers the hurricane.
From Instapundit:

● Shot:
As Hurricane Florence approaches, American politics is put on pause.
—Headline, NBC.com, 7:52 AM ET today. 
Chaser:
MSNBC: How Can ‘Climate Change Deniers’ Respond to Hurricane?
Andrea Mitchell Hammered as She Tries to Politicize Disaster Relief.
—Headlines, NewsBusters, tonight.

What a storm surge looks like

The following two videos explain what a storm surge is: It's a lot more than waves.


This one is dramatic:


Mark Twain: peers

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Help! I'm practicing tak chi and I didn't fall!

I've studied tai chi for several years but recently decided to discontinue my twice-weekly classes. Of course as soon as I did so, I discovered two articles about the benefits of this ancient art.

The practice of tai chi may beat strength training and aerobics for preventing falls among seniors, a new trial shows.
A modified senior-centered tai chi program reduced falls nearly a third better in a head-to-head comparison with an exercise regimen that combined aerobics, strength training and balance drills, the researchers reported.
Not surprising, since tai chi is all about balance and weight distribution.

Jane Brody, the personal health editor at The New York Times, adds:
Tai chi provided superior benefits to other fall-reduction approaches like physical therapy, balance exercises, stretching, yoga or resistance training. Tai chi, in effect, combines the benefits of most of these: It strengthens the lower body, improves posture, promotes flexibility, increases a person’s awareness of where the body is in space and improves one’s ability to navigate obstacles while walking.

Furthermore, if you should trip, tai chi can enhance your ability to catch yourself before you fall. It has also been shown to counter the fear of falling, which discourages people from being physically active and further increases their likelihood of falling and being injured.
Among the many benefits of tai chi she notes, there is this: "Good research — and there’s been a fair amount of it by now — doesn’t lie. If you’re not ready or not able to tackle strength-training with weights, resistance bands or machines, tai chi may just be the activity that can help to increase your stamina and diminish your risk of injury that accompanies weak muscles and bones."

The resistance does appear to be all out (hot) war

"If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” ~ Barack Hussein Obama

"“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them!" ~ Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Ca

"That Scott down there that's running for governor of Florida. Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him." ~ Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa

These are the morning headlines at The Drudge Report:

SUSPECT TRIES STABBING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE WITH SWITCHBLADE
 
CAMPAIGN SIGN USED TO FEND OFF

 
COPS: CURSED PRESIDENT BEFORE VIOLENCE

 
MASS SHOOTING TWEET THREATENS TRUMP HOTEL EVENT

 
Secret Service probes actress calling for assassination

 
WYOMING GOP OFFICE SET ON FIRE

 
Conservative Columnist Goes Into Hiding After Rape, Death Threats

 
SCALISE WARNS: LEFT INCITING 


I'm reminded of a little article I came across recently: "17 Affordable Concealed-Carry Guns Under $300."

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

In the main tent: The resistance clown show

The ever-eloquent Victor Davis Hanson, an American military historian, columnist, former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare, reprises the resistance circus.
The resistance to Donald Trump was warring on all fronts last week.

Democratic senators vied with pop-up protestors in the U.S. Senate gallery to disrupt and, if possible, to derail the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) played Spartacus, but could not even get the script right as he claimed to be bravely releasing classified information that was already declassified. I cannot remember another example of a senator who wanted to break the law but could not figure out how to do it.

Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), former Harvard Law Professor who still insists she is of Native American heritage, called for the president to be removed by invoking the 25th Amendment. Apparently fabricating an ethnic identity is sane, and getting out of the Iran deal or the Paris Climate Accord is insanity and grounds for removal.

Barack Obama decided that ex-presidents should attack current presidents, and thereby reminded the country why Trump was elected. The author of the Russian “reset” and the hot-mic collusionary offer criticized Trump for being soft on Putin. The president who never achieved annualized 3 percent GDP growth (and is the first president since 1933 who can claim this “distinction”) also claimed Trump’s roaring economy was due to Obama-era policies (e.g., raising taxes, Obamacare, more regulations, and “you didn’t build that” commentaries). Fresh from trashing his successor in a funeral speech, the ever audacious Obama called for more decorum.

Bruce Ohr, once number four at the Department of Justice, and whose wife was working with Christopher Steele on the Fusion GPS file (a fact he has never disclosed willingly), now more or less has made a mockery of the FBI narrative of when, why, and how it began surveilling American citizens and infiltrating the Trump campaign. Ohr apparently has testified that well before the election, and well before the application of FISA warrants, he was working with the FBI, the already discredited Christopher Steele, and a Russian oligarch either to smear candidate Trump, or to facilitate the entry into the United States of a once barred and questionable Russian grandee, or both.

Nike hired NFL renegade Colin Kaepernick to peddle its sports products. For all its billion-dollar market research, it apparently did not know what Donald Trump’s animal cunning had almost immediately surmised: a majority of Americans do not appreciate the pampered multimillionaire Kaepernick sanctioning violence against the police by wearing “pig” socks, or mocking the National Anthem by taking a knee. Nike could just as well have hired Bowe Bergdahl to push its sneakers.

The Deep State Emerges
Then we come to an insurrectionary “resistance” op-ed in the New York Times, an insider scoop about a collective “undercover” effort to nullify the current presidency.

Contrary to popular opinion, there was nothing “newsworthy” about the recent anonymous op-ed, written by an unnamed “senior official” about the supposed pathologies of President Trump.

Or rather to the extent the op-ed was significant, it confirmed what heretofore had been written off as a “right-wing” conspiracy theory of a “deep state.” The anonymous author confessed to being part of a group that is trying to use subterranean methods to thwart an elected president, not because his record is wanting (indeed, the author admits it is often impressive) but because he finds Trump unorthodox and antithetical to the establishment norms of governance and comportment.

To cut to the quick, the op-ed was published to coincide with the latest Bob Woodward “according-to-an-unnamed-source” exposé, Fear. The intent of anonymous and the New York Times was to create a force multiplying effect of a collapsing presidency—in need of the Times’ sober and judicious handlers, NeverTrump professionals, and “bipartisan” Democrats of the sort we saw during the Kavanaugh hearing to “step in” and apparently stage an intervention to save the country.

Had the Woodward book not been in the news, neither would be the anonymous op-ed. And of course, the Times, in times before 2017, would never have published a insurrectionary letter from an unnamed worried Obama aide that the president was detached and listless—playing spades during the Bin Laden raid, outsourcing to Eric Holder the electronic surveillance of Associated Press journalists, letting Lois Lerner weaponize the IRS, and allowing his FBI, CIA, and Justice Department to conspire to destroy Hillary Clinton’s 2016 opponent.

Woodward’s book is a more refined and establishment version of Michael Wolff’s and Omarosa’s volumes I and II in the ongoing “inside Trump” saga. The game is either to talk off the record to Woodward about one’s own brilliant (but unappreciated) efforts to avoid catastrophe, or else one will get talked about for causing catastrophe by someone else who talked off the record to Woodward to avoid being talked about by someone else. So Woodward is a Washington ventriloquist who keeps straight the strings of the talking puppets.

More Beltway Fantasies
The op-ed is the latest cartoon of Trump, the Road Runner, finally, at last, and for sure driven off the cliff by the Resistance as Wile E. Coyote—infuriated by yet another Road Runner beep-beep. There were earlier and serial Looney Tunes efforts to nullify the Electoral College, to sue about election machines, to boycott the Inauguration, to introduce articles of impeachment, to invoke the 25th Amendment, to try out the Emoluments Clause and the Logan Act, to sue by cherry picking liberal federal judges, to harass officials in public places and restaurants, to warp the FISA courts, to fund a foreign spy to do opposition research, and to weaponize even further the FBI, NSA, and Justice Department—along with the now-boring celebrity assassination chic rhetoric of blowing up, stabbing, shooting, burning, hanging, smashing, and decapitating Donald J. Trump.

After the latest hysteria dies down, this chapter in the ongoing psychodrama will be revealed for what it is: a fantasy of a wannabe coup that is not going to happen. The commentariat’s silly claim that the op-ed was “extraordinary” and “newsworthy” is laughable. There are hundreds of “senior officials” all throughout every presidency, no doubt more so in the outsider Trump’s, who are disgruntled. On any given day, any newspaper could root out a “senior official” to write anonymously anything it wished to fit a preconceived narrative. What is extraordinary is not an op-ed from some sort of a mad David Stockman taken to the woodshed or defrocked Don Regan losing a war with Nancy Reagan, but that the New York Times hunted down someone of #theResistance to create a hysteria that an unhinged Trump must be removed.

By the scale of past White House melodramas, this is no big deal. It is not as if an off-the radar, rogue band in the White House was caught selling arms to Iran and using the profits to fund resistance to Daniel Ortega’s Marxist regime in Nicaragua. The gossip about Trump’s mental processes are no more dramatic than the rumors were about a doddering Reagan in his second term, which later were trafficked by his own son, Ron Jr. (“Father had Alzheimer’s in office”). Trump is not, in Woodrow Wilson fashion, near comatose and locked up in a White House bedroom, while Melania takes over the country. His aides are not covering up the fact that Trump’s blood pressure is peaking at 250 over 150, or that some mornings he cannot get out of bed—as was true of FDR as he campaigned for a fourth term in 1944.

We are not witnessing a sitcom in which the president has serial, and often perverse sex with a White House intern in the Oval Office bathroom. Nor we are being treated to an interview by a senior Ben Rhodes-like official who brags how the Trump Administration deliberately fed a cadre of rookie idiot reporters all sorts of “echo chamber” narratives necessary to pass a dangerous deal with Iran that sidestepped the Senate’s constitutional obligations. Nor is Melania confessing that the presidential calendar of speeches and trips is calibrated to an astrologer’s chart of lucky and unlucky days. No one is suggesting that Ivanka leads séances (“imaginary chats” or “brainstorming exercises”) in the East Room to call down the spirits of Calvin Coolidge and Ayn Rand for imaginary conversations and pep talks.

The writer’s chief complaint is that Trump “is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision.” Flesh that out. That would imply something along the lines that Trump ignores advice from New York Times op-ed writers and instead thrashes about and cancels the Iran deal. Or he dangerously and rashly gets out of the Paris Climate Accord. Or he stupidly insists that the U.S. embassy be moved to Jerusalem in helter-skelter fashion. Or he insanely demands massive deregulation, tax cuts, and new oil exploration without following any overarching principles in achieving 4 percent quarterly GDP growth or a record high stock market. Worst of all, madman Trump screams, yells, and ends the sacred idea that after 70 years the Palestinians are still refugees.

Trump’s One Principle

Certainly, there are principles behind such Trump moves, but they are not always those of the Washington establishment, whose agendas the writer reflects. Trump’s initiatives are often long overdue moves that would never have happened in either a “sober and judicious” Democratic or Republican administration, however much they might have been polled and discussed.

Trump has mostly one principle: he was elected to pursue a conservative populist agenda without too much worry what the Washington establishment said or did, whose record on the economic front since 2008 and in foreign policy was not especially stellar. In that sense, he is far more principled in carrying out his promises than many past presidents whose stump speeches on taxes, illegal immigration, trade, educational reform and a host of other issues were either never reified or flat out broken.

So far, for all the crudity and Twitter antics, we have not had a “read my lips” or “you can keep your doctor” moment in the sense of a deliberate effort to break a campaign promise.

Anonymous huffs: “In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the ‘enemy of the people,’ President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.” Again, Trump has said repeatedly he would prefer no tariffs if trade was just reciprocal. On trade issues, he has made progress with the EU and Mexico and likely soon Canada and China, all of whom enjoy trade surpluses which Trump throughout his campaign claimed were harmful to the United States and would diminish under his presidency.

As for as Trump’s loud anti-media tweets, worry not about what he now says, but when he orders his attorney general to start monitoring on the sly the communications of Associated Press reporters or the private emails of a Fox correspondent, or when his Justice Department and FBI hierarchy deludes a FISA court in order to spy on American citizens.

As far as “anti-democratic” and a Russian-appeasing Trump, he has not yet claimed that Putin was trustworthy and genuine based on a soul-gazing stare into his eyes. Nor has he been caught on a hot mic promising to give up U.S. missile defense programs in Eastern Europe, if Vladimir would just give him “space” during his reelection bid. Trump has said silly things about Putin, but so far his actual record is certainly not of the reset sort that greenlighted Russian entrance into the Middle East, Ukraine, and Crimea.

Somehow it’s “news” that a senior, unnamed official claims all the bad stuff that we don’t know happened, or actually never quite happened, was due to Trump alone. And, of course, all the good stuff that we do know happened was only because of noble, smart, patriotic, and visionary officials like the writer and his friends.

Anonymous finishes with an encomium to John McCain, whose politicized and unfortunate funeral we have just witnessed, and the likes of which we have not seen since the travesty of Paul Wellstone’s own hijacked services 16 years ago. Tragically, the McCain funeral speeches most certainly should not serve as model of how to honor a distinguished U.S. senator in the future.

McCain’s final deification by his erstwhile critics and enemies was mostly a result of his own bitter feud with Donald Trump that in his 11th hour sanctified him to those who had earlier smeared him as a libertine and reckless in 2000—and vilified him in 2008 as a near-demented racist. In sum, in death McCain was transmogrified into angelic status by the very architects who in life were responsible for his demonization.

The recent op-ed is yet another episode in an endless resistance cartoon, another pathetic effort of self-important grandees to undo by fiat what the voters did by voting in 2016.
We no longer need Ringling Brothers.

Takayuki Ikkaku: Confidence

"You always second guess yourself. Just think of all the time you'd save if you just trusted yourself."

Monday, September 10, 2018

What do you learn from this chart?

This chart is the creation of Mark J. Perry, a scholar at American Enterprise Institute and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan's Flint campus.

(Instapundit)

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Scripture: Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead

From The Lectionary:

James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17
 
2:1 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?

2:2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in,

2:3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, "Have a seat here, please," while to the one who is poor you say, "Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet,"

2:4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

2:5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?

2:6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court?

2:7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

2:8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

2:9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

2:11 For the one who said, "You shall not commit adultery," also said, "You shall not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

2:12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.

2:13 For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

2:14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?

2:15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food,

2:16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?

2:17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

Sir Winston Churchill: duty

"It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required."

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Vespers: O bone Jesu


Capella Nova sings "O bone Jesu" by Robert Carter.

Cappella Nova is a chamber choir of around 30 experienced singers, committed to singing for pleasure and for the enjoyment of others. Founded in 2001, the choir sings a wide-ranging and eclectic mix of sacred and secular music under  conductor and musical director Tony Shield. The group regularly performa in venues throughout Bath, Somerset and North Wiltshire.

Robert Carver (1485 – 1570) was a Scottish Canon regular and composer of Christian sacred music during the Renaissance.
Carver's work, noted for the gradual build-up of ideas towards a resolution in the final passages, is still performed and recorded today. Carver was influenced by composers in continental Europe, and his surviving music differs greatly from that produced by many of his contemporaries in Scotland or England at the time. Highly ornate in style, it resembles most closely the richly decorated music of the Eton Choirbook.

Carver spent much of his life at Scone Abbey. A recently rediscovered charter book for the abbey, with upwards of 50 examples of Carver's signature, suggests that he spent the whole of his long life as a canon there, having entered the community in 1508 and living there until the establishment was destroyed by Protestant reformers in 1559. 

Friday, September 07, 2018

Casual Friday: Locomotion

Just two working days til Monday!


"Ticket takers ,,, you’ve got to hand it to them." ~ anon

Our totally inept government is putting you at risk

I've done a good bit of research and writing about corporations and their dysfunctions, particularly in the way the mismanage -- or don't manage at all -- their computer technology.

So it was no surprise to me to come across the following article about a branch of the federal government that is supposed to be protecting us from another 9/11. This is from the Corruption Chronicles Blog at Judicial Watch, a conservative legal organization in Washington.

Here is the piece:
Though it claims the 9/11 attacks “reenergized” its mission, the State Department branch responsible for spotting visa and passport fraud fails to practice basic security protocols, leaving the nation extremely vulnerable to foreign threats.
To keep potential terrorists from entering the United States, the monstrous agency with a $37 billion annual budget uses outdated machines that are poorly monitored and fails to protect data and perform basic security scans, according to a distressing federal audit
The report documents the alarming inefficiencies in a decades-old system—Bureau of Consular Affairs Fraud Prevention Program (CA/FPP)—used by the State Department to determine if foreigners seeking U.S. visas are being candid about their identity and where they have traveled. The goal is to oversee and coordinate the integrity of U.S. visa and citizenship processes by stopping fraud in the visa and passport system, a crucial tool to protect national security.

It turns out that the State Department’s security team is a bit of a joke, according to the incredible lapses documented in the report, which was made public recently by the agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). The team doesn’t even bother to patch the system, scan it for computer viruses or audit for evidence of breaches or compromises by hackers. 
In short, the State Department consular division ignores basic information security practices in this essential program used to screen potential threats. Nearly two decades after the worst terrorist attack on American soil, this is incredibly disturbing. In fact, the report states that “the events of September 11, 2001, reenergized CA/FPP’s mission.” Not enough, apparently. “OIG found deficiencies that included shared passwords and lack of access control lists or visitor logs,” the watchdog writes in its report. In addition, the flawed system’s “security officer did not perform regular patch management or anti-virus scanning on the network or regular audit and accountability reviews to identify data loss or potential intruder activities.”

It gets better, or rather, more enraging. The OIG found that no one monitors the server and the State Department doesn’t keep adequate logs of who accesses the information on the database. In fact, a SharePoint site established by the agency a decade ago to track “possible consular malfeasance” has never even been examined. Auditors found that management was not even aware that the system had never undergone an assessment to determine whether it contained information that exceeded SharePoint’s security categorization. 
“Without applying appropriate controls, the case management system and its information are vulnerable to unauthorized access or compromise,” the report states. This indicates that breaches could very well have occurred, but we’ll never know for sure thanks to the government’s incompetence. This may seem inconceivable to most Americans as the nation faces serious threats from radical elements.

OIG investigators gathered mountains of evidence in the course of their probe, which considered interviews with hundreds of State Department personnel and contractors as well as observations of daily operations and written questionnaires. This includes 178 interviews and 224 questionnaires completed by consular officers in the field as well as 54 filled out by agency employees and contractors domestically. The watchdog makes a multitude of recommendations to fix this laughable “security” system, but this very basic one sticks out: “The Bureau of Consular Affairs should implement a website content management process for the Office of Fraud Prevention Programs that includes a dedicated team responsible for the regular updating of website content.” 
Another simple recommendation is that the State Department’s Office of Fraud Prevention Programs implement required security controls in accordance with federal standards. It’s troubling that the agency watchdog has to suggest these elementary, common-sense approaches to a program that is so imperative to national security.

Then again, this is the same agency that allowed Hillary Clinton to traffic highly classified information on an unsecure, personal email server. It is also the agency run by high-level officials that knew weak security at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide could result in a tragedy like Benghazi long before Islamic jihadists raided the Special Mission, killing four Americans.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Heroes: The Boise Black Knights

Never underestimate teenager.

Alan and Margaret Hardman, both 65, of Winnemucca, Nevada, were driving in Oregon when high winds flipped their car.

At that moment, a team of teen-aged football players, mostly 13 and 14 years old, were passing by, heading home to Idaho after winning a middle school championship in California.

They spotted the overturned car, and coach Rudy Jackson told the team: "Stop and become heroes.” They jumped from their vans and pulled the husband out of the truck, then managed to lift the vehicle off the ground just high enough to pull his wife out from underneath.

You won't be able to stop watching:



 The couple suffered some broken bones, cuts and scrapes.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

The Passing Parade: Auctioning mangoes and one blue dress

Lean on your favorite lamppost and enjoy the show.

The blue dress.
Never wear an ugly dress to a protest. Several doctors from Texas attended the hearing today and told interviewer Adam Schindler that they witnessed organized activists with a literal bag of cash paying the rent-a-mob protesters.

As long as they get $15 an hour I fine with it.

I'm not even going there. On Tuesday, Gwyneth Paltrow’s company, Goop, settled a lawsuit brought by the Santa Clara County District Attorney and nine other state prosecutors, which had claimed that the company’s questionable products—including vagina eggs—"were not supported by competent and reliable science."

Santa Clara County, I mean.

I'm in for five bucks. Chaos broke out for a few minutes during Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's testimony Wednesday in the House Energy and Commerce Committee when a woman in the gallery began shouting. The committee's chair, Rep. Greg Walden, ordered Loomer to sit down or be removed from the room. Loomer continued, and Rep. Billy Long began talking over her shouts with the calls of an auctioneer.

Did she tweet her selfie?

I'm stepping outside for a sip. Straws probably will be banned before they’re relegated to Designated Sipping Areas. And then what? How will you get fluids from cup to maw? Don’t worry. Canny entrepreneurs are already selling permanent straws. The top-quality ones are segmented, jointed metal tubes that fold up for storage and presumably have to be hand-washed with spring water, their hinges oiled with bee sweat or something equally artisanal. All they need now is a fancy name — let’s say Personal Liquid Elevation Devices, or PLEDs.

Don't you love free enterprise?

Get paid to not use a straw? Stockton, California, Mayor Michael Tubbs, 27, wants to identify the people most likely to shoot someone and pay them $1,000 a month not to. 

I thought they were supposed to hold you up to get $1,000. 

That's a lot of mangoes. Even those who follow government closely may not know that the United States has a National Mango Board with a multi-million-dollar budget to help increase consumption of the juicy tropical fruit. This is a serious matter that is handled at the presidential cabinet level. The Mango board is a type of panel that was authorized by Congress decades ago and has 18 members who are appointed by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It operates under a USDA oversight body known as the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

Let me get this straight: The NMB reports to the AMS, which reports to the USDA, which reports to POTUS. It's The Don's fault.

Where the germs lurk in an airport

Hijackers may not be your biggest worry.

The highest levels of respiratory viruses at airports are on the plastic trays used at security checkpoints, a new study finds. 
The highest virus levels were found on plastic trays used at the hand luggage X-ray checkpoint, but viruses were also detected on shop payment terminals, staircase rails, passport checking counters, children's play areas and in the air.
No respiratory viruses were found on toilet surfaces.
There's a message in there for all of us, but I'm not going to look for it.

Perhaps we should all carry some of that antibacterial hand goop. The TSA will let you take 3.4 ounces on board. Do you have any idea how much 3.4 ounces is? I don't. I'm still trying to remember how many quarts are in a gallon.

Who's to blame? You. "Your hands harbor 10,000 to 10 million bacteria at this very moment." Note that the writer says "your" not mine.

After you've figured out what 3.4 ounces is -- I'd estimate it's something less than what would fill an oatmeal box -- why are oatmeal boxes cyndrical? -- so many mysteries, so little time -- okay then you need to pick a hand sanitizer.
The active ingredient in hand sanitizer is usually an alcohol. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control recommend ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol or a combination of both in concentrations ranging from 60 to 95 percent. Alcohol is an antimicrobial that kills bacteria. Benzalkonium chloride is another FDA-approved active ingredient in some hand sanitzers. Although it is not an alcohol, benzalkonium chloride also works to kill bacteria and some viruses on the hands.
Actually, the Centers for Disease Control says washing your hands is better, but you have to do it right and you have to do it for a certain length of time. About 3.4 ounces. No, just kidding.

The CDC says sing Happy Birthday twice all the way through. This is going to make airports a lot more fun. All those people singing.

This reminds me of a little song.