Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Donald Trump, Jr., says he, Paul Manafort, and other campaign aides met with a Russian lawyer. The New York Times (here) and Washington Post (here) both play this as big news, but they don’t explain why. The Russian lawyer is connected to Putin’s circle, though it is not clear if Jr. or others knew. It was a brief meeting (20 minutes) and mostly raised the issue of resuming US adoptions in Russia.
Comment: There are two reasons the meeting could be significant.
First, Trump’s people had earlier denied any meetings at all. There was at least this one brief meeting. Were there more? Did they go anywhere?
Second, there is speculation (at the Daily Beast) the meeting was surreptitiously set up by a Democratic group, the Fusion GPS people. These are the fine folks who produced the dicey dossier on Trump. We don’t know a lot about Fusion GPS, including which Democrats paid for their services and why they were hired, but they seem to be part of an opposition research program. If that speculation pans out, then it looks like the Democrats were leading Trump’s people into a trap–not because anything really happened at the meeting but because the mere fact of a meeting with Russians looks bad in this increasingly anti-Russian environment.
So far, a lotta would-a, could-a. Not much did-a, so far.
◆ ISIS, its “caliphate” in ruins, its capital of Raqqa about to fall, still inspires jihadis globally (New York Times)
In Iraq, the group still controls Tal Afar, Hawija, other towns and much of Anbar Province. In Syria, most of its top operatives have fled Raqqa in the past six months for other towns still under ISIS control in the Euphrates River valley . . . .
Many have relocated to Mayadeen, a town 110 miles southeast of Raqqa near oil facilities and with supply lines through the surrounding desert. They have taken with them the group’s most important recruiting, financing, propaganda and external operations functions, American officials said. Other leaders have been spirited out of Raqqa by a trusted network of aides. –New York Times
Comment: About 18% of the ISIS-inspired attacks in Europe and North America involved fighters who returned from the battlefield. The other 82% were terrorists who had not been on the battlefield but were “inspired” by ISIS propaganda and radical imams, either in-person on online.
Since these are typically low-tech attacks on soft targets, such as pedestrians on sidewalks, they are very hard to stop.
◆ The latest in aggie tech: farms inside shipping containers, using precise LEDs (Washington Post)
Local Roots, a California company, has created an indoor farm that can turn any produce into local produce, anywhere. They grow fruits and vegetables in shipping containers that are stacked in old warehouses or parking lots, which can either be connected to the grid or, eventually, powered by solar energy. Local Roots has designed the custom growing technology and hardware, and it owns and operates the farms, selling its produce to restaurants and food distributors under its own brand. The fact that the company is vertically integrated differentiates it from other container farming systems. . . .
Local Roots has figured out how to make the farm efficient enough that it can sell produce at a comparable cost to conventionally-grown fruits and veggies.
◆ Parental vetoes? Reports they are increasingly concerned about children attending universities with little tolerance for different ideas, little protection for free speech, and a uniform, “progressive” ideology (Inside Higher Ed)
Comment: The parents are absolutely right. But the impact of the “parental veto” is probably exaggerated.
There is no evidence that top schools like Brown are pinched–or intend to change. They still get the cream-of-the-SAT-crop and teach them to march in lock-step ideologically.
◆ Corrupt Illinois totters along: Passed the first budget in two years, huge tax increases, ZERO reforms As the Chicago Tribune reports:
Illinois’ bruising two-year run without a state budget is over, but business leaders are left feeling they got the short end of the stick: higher taxes with virtually none of the regulatory and political changes they sought.
The $36.1 billion budget plan increases the corporate income tax rate to 7 percent from 5.25 percent and the personal rate to 4.95 percent from 3.75 percent. –Chicago Tribune
Comment: The Democrats delivered for the public-sector unions and shafted taxpayers, once again.
◆ This is real. I swear.
Comment: It sounds eerily like the scene at the Star Wars bar.
♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Ed Vidal for the article on parental vetoes of elite colleges
◆ Christina Sommers for VIDA survey