ZipDialog Roundup for Wednesday, September 13

Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple

◆ Bad as Hurricane Irma was, it could have been even worse

Homeowners’ preparations and evacuations meant relatively few deaths.

As for the physical damage, it is huge but still smaller than feared. One way to see that is to look at insurance company stocks.

Today, they are UP. Chicago Tribune headline: Stocks jump as relieved investors buy banks, insurers, tech

Small insurers, especially ones that do a lot of business in Florida, climbed. … Larger insurers also rallied. … Travel-related companies rose as investors felt their businesses won’t take such a big hit.  –Associated Press via Chicago Tribune

The most immediate problem now: restoring electric power to millions of homes.

 Apple makes a big noise with its rollout. $1k for new phones. Market is unimpressed (Wall Street Journal, subscription)

Comment: Students at elite universities will use the new phones to send selfies at demonstrations against inequality.

 Study: Over 90% of MSM reports on Trump are negative, same as previous studies (Washington Times)

Comment: To be fair, they do actually hate him.

 Trump’s travel bans finally made it to the Supreme Court, which affirmed the President (Washington Times)

The ruling, which stays a decision from the 9th Circuit, keeps some 24,000 refugees from entering the US, at least temporarily.=

Good economic news: Middle-class incomes in US for 2016 were highest in history (in real terms)  (Washington Post)

These figures from the Census Bureau cover the final year of Pres. Obama’s tenure.

Median household income rose to $59,039 in 2016, a 3.2 percent increase from the previous year and the second consecutive year of healthy gains, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. The nation’s poverty rate fell to 12.7 percent, returning nearly to what it was in 2007 before a financial crisis and deep recession walloped workers in ways that were still felt years later. –Washington Post

Seattle Mayor, Ed Murray, resigns after fifth person comes forward accusing him of child-sex abuse (Seattle Times)

The latest accuser: Murray’s cousin. He had been a teenager, like the others.

The computer scandal engulfing House Democrats continues to widen. Latest news: the IT contractor used a secret server, tried to hide it, and then falsified what was on it (Daily Caller)

Imran Awan, the Pakistani IT aide who worked closely with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, also used Dropbox to back up data, which is illegal for Congressional data.

Awan had access to all emails and office computer files of 45 members of Congress who are listed below. Fear among members that Awan could release embarrassing information if they cooperated with prosecutors could explain why the Democrats have refused to acknowledge the cybersecurity breach publicly or criticize the suspects. –Daily Caller

Comment: This scandal receives almost no coverage. That’s a scandal, too.




ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Thursday, January 5

Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
Linked articles in bold purple

◆ Republicans pick their first deregulation targets. The story is here. (Fox News)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Republicans would roll back one rule reducing methane emissions and another meant to ease the environmental impact of coal mining on streams. McCarthy argued the regulations limit the nation’s energy production, and said the GOP-controlled Congress will seek to invalidate the rules starting at month’s end. –Fox News

◆ Turkey issues veiled threat to NATO. Back our fight against ISIS if you want to keep the major air base at Incirlik (New York Times)

◆ Iraqi forces gaining in Mosul. That’s what the US commander there says, adding that forces are coordinating better and fighting more effectively. (Reuters via Yahoo News)

◆ Trump may shake up US intel agencies, and could leave the relatively-new post of Director of National Intelligence vacant.  That’s what CBS News is reporting. The move could reflect Trump’s distrust of the agencies, concern about their politicization, and skepticism about their analysis, doubtless fueled by his incoming National Security Adviser, Gen. Flynn, himself an experienced hand in intelligence work.

◆ Supreme Court Showdown Before Trump Makes Nomination. Sen. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer promises to block anyone acceptable to Senate Republicans. (NY Post) Mitch McConnell says the American public won’t tolerate that. (Huffington Post) Meanwhile, pro-life groups are firing shots across Trump’s bow, saying some of  his potential nominees may not be strong backers of their position. Looks like everyone is gearing up for a knock-down fight.

◆ The depths of depravity, streaming live. To quote the Chicago Tribune headline:  “4 held in attack broadcast on Facebook that included anti-Trump profanities.”

Four people are in custody for allegedly being involved in the attack of a mentally disabled man broadcast on Facebook Live that included obscenities about Donald Trump, authorities said. –Chicago Tribune

◆ Beijing censorship. China’s government requires Apple to remove an app for the New York Times. (The Verge)  The NYT’s own report is here.



ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . .Tuesday, Dec. 19

Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
Linked articles in bold purple

◆”I’m more oppressed.” “No, I AM more oppressed.” Berkeley conference among victims groups turns into a nasty bidding contest about which one is more oppressed. Blacks wanted it all to be about their oppression. Muslims wanted it to be about their oppression. And so on. The conference breaks down in recriminations about which one is most oppressed. The article is here, at The College Fix.

⇒ Related Story: Hispanic student describes her mistake in telling other UCLA students that her family was “not here illegally.” Turns out you cannot use the word “illegal.” Jacqueline Alvarez in The Daily Bruin

◆ How Israel turned a toy into an invaluable, high-tech military tool. (Commentary Magazine)

◆ Overregulation Nation = Stagnation Nation. Bret Stephens lays out the grim details of how much worse regulatory burdens have gotten under Obama. (WSJ) One characteristic data point. When Obama came into office, it took 40 days to get a construction permit; now, thanks to smart regulation, it takes 81.  When Obama entered office, the US was third in the world in “ease of doing business.” Now, it’s eighth and declining.

⇒ Comment: IMO, the decline is partly due to a government of European-style social democrats, partly to an administration entirely composed of lawyers who have never run a two-car funeral. (Charles Lipson)

◆ Apple uses its Irish domicile to minimize EU taxes. The EU hates that and has fined Apple billions for what appears to be perfectly sensible tax planning. Now, Apple is fighting back. Here’s the essence of the Wall Street Journal report:

[Apple’s legal] filings highlight sharp disagreements between the EU commission on one side and Ireland and Apple on the other, presaging a years-long battle in the EU’s top courts that will determine the extent of the bloc’s powers to rein in alleged tax avoidance by multinational companies doing business in Europe. –WSJ

◆ Noam Chomsky has now decided that the worst organization in human history, surpassing the Nazis, Stalin, Mao, the Khmer Rouge is . . . wait for it . . the Republican party. (Independent, UK)

◆ I confess, I love it when live TV goes wrong. Here, our morning anchor shares her Christmas-time artichoke dip. Not a tasty treat, it turns out.


zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Ed Vidal and Thomas Lifson
 for the Berkeley Olympics of oppression article.
◆ Kate Hardiman for the article in the College Fix and the link to one in the Daily Bruin.

◆ Tom Elia for Noam Chomsky’s insights


ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Sunday, Dec. 4

Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
Linked articles in bold purple

◆ Can Trump simply cancel Obama’s Executive Actions? It’s harder and slower than it sounds, says Andrew Rudalevige in the Washington Post.

The items in [President-elect Trump’s] list range from things clearly within the president’s unilateral authority to those that will require a fair bit of cooperation from others.

For instance, rolling back federal regulations may be slow going because of legal requirements.regulations-labeled-200px-no-margins

Repealing an existing regulation requires a rulemaking process of its own, subject to the Administrative Procedure Act — this can take months or years. The Supreme Court has held that a rule can’t be rescinded simply to reduce regulation; there has to be “a reasoned basis for the agency’s action.” . . .

More important, the issuance of regulations is often required by law — and the power to write those regulations is normally vested in a given department or agency, not in the White House. Presidents cannot unilaterally veto a regulation that an agency is determined to issue, or repeal one an agency is determined to keep. –Andrew Rudalevige in the Washington Post

◆ Jonah Goldberg on what Trump’s intervention at Carrier portends (National Review Online) Goldberg reiterates his previous stance that Trump’s populism is not traditional conservative.trump-carrier-200px

The more traction Trump got, the weaker the grip traditional conservative ideology had on quite a few famous ideologues. [Goldberg is not apologizing.] It would be weird for me to apologize for telling the truth as I see it about Trump — and then continuing to do it.

But this Carrier decision shows that the damage will not be nearly so surgical. The rot is already setting in. … the White House is going to pick winners and losers, that it can be rolled, that industrial policy is back, that Trump cares more about seeming like a savior than sticking to clear and universal rules, and that there is now no major political party in America that rejects crony capitalism as a matter of principle. –Jonah Goldberg at NRO

Actual CNN op-ed: “Why sex is about to get a lot less fun” under Donald Trump.

Comment: The double-entendre is just too rich.

◆ Striking economic comparison:
California [Russia + Saudi + Iran + South Africa].

California’s economy is $2.5 trillion (International Spectator)

◆ Tweets of Note



◆ Apple gives a strong hint it is working on a self-driving car (The Verge)

◆ Yet another troubling dimension of the Syrian tragedy: Russian soldiers pal around with Hezbollah (Liveuamap)



zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Tom Elia
 for story about sex being “less fun” under Trump
◆ Blake Fleisher for the Hezbollah-Russian story



◆ Send interesting stories to
Charles (dot) Lipson at Gmail (dot) com



ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Wed., Nov. 23

Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
Linked articles in bold purple

◆ As Chinese belligerence and North Korean bellicosity rise, the historic enemies of South Korea and Japan sign a history agreement to share military intelligence (CNN)

syria-201px-no-margin◆ Rebel groups in Aleppo, Syria, are preventing refugees from fleeing, despite heavy bombing by Russian-backed government forces (NYT)

CommentThe savagery is disgusting, and it is coming from all quarters in this unending conflict. The Times estimates more than 300,000 have now been killed.

◆ Two-day hearing completed on whether Dylann Roof is competent to stand trial for killing 9 African-Americans at a South Carolina church in 2015. The federal district judge will rule soon on whether the trial can continue. (Washington Post)

china-facebook-200px◆ The NY Times is reporting “Facebook Said to Create Censorship Tool to Get Back into China”  It has done the same to stay in Pakistan, Russia, and Turkey, and so have other US internet companies.

Facebook does not intend to suppress the posts itself. Instead, it would offer the software to enable a third party — in this case, most likely a partner Chinese company — to monitor popular stories and topics that bubble up as users share them across the social network, the people said. Facebook’s partner would then have full control to decide whether those posts should show up in users’ feeds. –New York Times

samsung-logo◆ Samsung headquarters in Seoul raided as the corruption scandal involving South Korean president Park Geun-hye continues to widen. (Wall Street Journal)

◆ Today in Irony: Warren Buffett, one of Hillary Clinton’s top backers, has made $11 billion in the stock-market boom following Trump’s election. (CNBC)

◆ Buying a new, high-end TV: ZDNet has some thoughts. They really like OLEDs (everyone does) and thinks the prices are becoming more reasonable. Their favorite?

LG OLED65B6P: CNET says the “LG B6 outperforms every other TV we’ve tested.” It’s the best I’ve ever seen as well. At a Black Friday week price of $2,796, the 65-inch is still expensive. If you have the money, it’s worth it. The 55-inch OLED55B6P, at a Black Friday price of about $1,800, is also tempting. –ZDNet

◆ Techno-optimism: Quartz reports that “Mobile innovation will help 2 billion more people get access to healthcare and education” (Quartz)

apple-logo◆ Techno-pessimism: Apple under Tim Cook–overpromising and under-delivering (Forbes)