ZipDialog Roundup for Friday, March 31

Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple

 Michael Flynn’s lawyers float an idea: he’ll testify if House and Senate investigators give him immunity. At issue, Russia’s influence in the 2016 election and their contacts with the Trump campaign.

The Wall Street Journal broke the story.

Flynn’s lawyer confirmed it; and now everyone is reporting it.

According to the New York Times, Congressional investigators want to be further along in their inquiry before deciding how to handle Flynn.

Comment: The Senate will take the lead here, in cooperation with the FBI. The committee on the House side is tied up in controversy over ties between its chairman, Devin Nunes (R-CA), and the Trump White House.

 Trump begins trade-policy review “as he levels new threats at China”  (Washington Post)

  • The review will cover major products and major trade partners.
  • China’s leader, Xi Jinping, visits Trump next week.

 Historic first: SpaceX launches a satellite into orbit on a reused rocket booster.  A tremendous technical achievement for Elon Musk’s company, one that dramatically lowers costs. SpaceX is aiming to launch new payloads every 2-3 weeks. Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ firm, has also reused rockets but has done so on suborbital missions. (

 Opiates: Ohio officials, led by Gov. John Kasich, working to restrict painkiller prescriptions (Toledo Blade)

Calling the proposed rules a “done deal,” Gov. John Kasich said these actions, coupled with a crackdown on the law enforcement side, will eventually reverse Ohio’s distinction of ranking first in the nation in overdose deaths.

“We’re paying the price right now for a lot of the neglect that happened in the past,” he said.

In battling their patients’ acute pain, doctors and other health-care providers could prescribe no more than seven days’ worth of opioid dosages for adults and five days for minors. The potency could not exceed an average of 30 morphine equivalent doses per day.

Physicians could prescribe more than that only after they’ve justified it based on the patient’s medical records. Exceptions would be made for cancer, palliative care, end-of-life, and addiction treatment. –Toledo Blade

 Dumbest comment of the Day: EU top bureaucrat, Jean-Claude Juncker, says he will urge “Ohio and Austin, Texas” to secede from the US if Trump doesn’t stop praising Brexit Story here.

Comment: Looks like ole Jean-Claude’s been in the liquor cabinet again.



ZipDialog Roundup for Wednesday, March 29

Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple

 Russia Scandal: WaPo reports Trump White House tried to block Sally Yates from testifying before Congress Yates, a holdover from the Obama DOJ, was the acting Attorney General before Sessions. The Democrats see this as more White House obstruction of their inquiry, reinforcing their distrust of chairman Devin Nunes.

According to the letters [seen by the Post], the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers her possible testimony — including on the ouster of former national security adviser Michael Flynn for his contacts with the Russian ambassador — to be off-limits in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by attorney-client privilege or the presidential communication privilege. –Washington Post

Comment: It was Yates who supposedly warned the Trump White House that Flynn’s name had been unmasked. She was a holdover from Loretta Lynch’s department and, naturally, the Trump people don’t trust her. The fact that they let her serve as acting AG indicates how inexperienced they were and the price they paid because Senate Democrats slow-walked the Trump nominees, including Jeff Sessions at DOJ.

 Trump, surrounded by coal miners, signs orders overturning some Obama-era environmental regulations Fox Business speaks of coal miners “rejoicing.”

But industry executives warn that these regulatory changes “can’t bring jobs back.” ( Robert Murray, who founded and runs the largest private coal-mining company, explains:

Trump has consistently pledged to restore mining jobs, but many of those jobs were lost to technology rather than regulation and to competition from natural gas and renewables, which makes it unlikely that he can do much to significantly grow the number of jobs in the industry, said Murray.

“I suggested that he temper his expectations. Those are my exact words,” said Murray. “He can’t bring them back.” –

Britain set to formally begin exit from European Union (BBC). The technical term is “invoking Article 50”

The three main areas companies will be watching in the Brexit talks are: migration, customs, and tariffs. . . .

The prime minister [Theresa May] made it clear in January that her plan was for the UK to leave the EU single market and potentially the customs union.

Unless a new trade deal is put in its place, UK companies face tariffs on imports and exports with the EU, tighter customs checks and more controls on EU workers.

Firms need to know as soon as possible about the new trading relationship, says Steven Altmann-Richer, head of EU policy at business lobby group CBI.

If a trade deal isn’t possible in the next two years, interim arrangements are essential, he adds. –BBC

Comment: Further complicating this already-vexing negotiation is Scotland’s renewed demand to vote on whether to remain within the United Kingdom. (Report on that here at the Washington Post)

 Study shows sluggish US growth since 2008 almost entirely attributable to housing slump  (CNBC)

Feeble U.S. economic growth since the Great Recession is due almost entirely to a plunge in homeownership to more-than-50-year lows, according to new data released Monday.

A return to more normal homeownership levels could have added more than $300 billion, or an additional 1.8 percent in growth, to the economy last year, a Rosen Consulting Group study found. –CNBC

Comment: The longer-term question is whether the generation now in its 30s and 40s will resume buying houses, as their parents and grandparents did, or continue renting.

 Facebook plans to strengthen “users’ stories” on its platform, following Snapchat’s lead  (TechCrunch)

Starting today, all users will soon have access to the new Facebook Camera feature that lets them overlay special effects on photos and videos. They can then share this content to a Snapchat clone called Facebook Stories that appears above News Feed on mobile and works similarly to Instagram’s 24-hour ephemeral slideshows. Users also may share these posts to News Feed, individual friends through the new Facebook Direct private visual messages that disappear once digested or any combination thereof. –TechCrunch



ZipDialog Roundup for Tuesday, March 21

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

 The top three stories all involve public testimony by FBI Director James Comey

  1. Comey confirms his agency is conducting a counter-intelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election, including any possible contacts with Trump campaign officials. He said no one was excluded from the investigation, but said little beyond that. (Washington Post report here.) 
  2. Comey said no US Government agency authorized any wiretaps or surveillance of Trump Tower. He added that no foreign agencies have been discovered doing such surveillance. Democrats focused on stories #1 and #2. (New York Times report on take-aways from the hearing here.)
    • Comment: Comey’s testimony directly contradict’s Pres. Trump’s tweet. So do the comments of senior members of Congressional Intelligence committees, who have been briefed on the matter. The White House is refusing to back down from its allegations and says it will present evidence later. Perhaps. But no one outside the White House is convinced.
    • Sidenote: Fox News judicial analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, asserted last week that British intelligence had done the surveillance and had done so at the request of the Obama White House. That has been vigorously rejected by the British and has not been confirmed by another else. For that reason, Fox News has temporarily taken him off the air, according to the New York Times.
  3. Comey said that a major criminal investigation is being conducted into the “unmasking” of Gen. Michael Flynn’s name from an intercepted phone call with a Russian diplomat.  Republicans focused on this crime, led (as they are so often) by Rep. Trey Gowdy’s skilled prosecutorial questioning. (Los Angeles Times story here.)
    • Comment:
      • The release of Flynn’s name is a felony. US intelligence agencies charged with surveillance of foreign countries sometimes capture their conversations with US citizens. By law, the names of those citizens are supposed to be “masked,” that is, kept secret since they were captured without an appropriate court warrant.
      • VERY few people in the intelligence community, White House, and Department of Justice have access to these “unmasked names.” Professionals say it is probably less that two dozen, all senior political appointees of the Obama Administration, such as National Security Adviser Susan Rice, her number 2, Ben Rhodes, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director James Brennan, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, as well as the President.
      • One of those senior people leaked Flynn’s name to selected reporters, leading to a bombshell story in the Washington Post (link here), and then to Flynn’s resignation. It is possible, but less likely, that another senior administration official learned the information and then leaked it. But the crucial point is that the information itself was tightly held.
      • The FBI is now under enormous pressure to solve this.
    • My Advice: Once the groundwork has been laid, the Department of Justice should convene a Grand Jury and take testimony, under oath. Every official who had access to Flynn’s unmasked name should be questioned.

 Healthcare Bill: House Republicans unveil changes to bill, on which they expect to vote this Thursday. According to the Washington Post,

The tweaks addressed numerous GOP concerns about the legislation, ranging from the flexibility it would give states to administer their Medicaid programs to the amount of aid it would offer older Americans to buy insurance. They are the product of two weeks of negotiations that stretched from the Capitol to the White House to President Trump’s Florida resort.

The bill’s proponents also appeared to overcome a major obstacle Monday after a key group of hard-line conservatives declined to take a formal position against the bill, known as the American Health Care Act. –Washington Post

Comment: With these changes, the bill should pass the House. It will likely require significant changes to gain 50 votes in the Senate (the number needed for a Reconciliation Budget Bill, with VP Pence breaking the tie). The bill will then go to a conference committee to produce a single joint bill, repealing and replacing Obamacare. That bill will then have to pass both Houses before Pres. Trump can sign it.

Comment: If this process seems unfamiliar, it is only because Pres. Obama never used “regular order,” even when he controlled both Houses. Until then, it had been the normal way to pass legislation (which, in turn, is the normal way the US passes its laws, not via bureaucratic rule-making).

 Neil Gorsuch hearings for Supreme Court  The NYT lists six highlights. Actually, there were zero.

Comment: Gorsuch made a calm opening presentation, following by Republicans preening (accurately saying he is supremely well qualified) and Democrats complaining (accurately saying they would not be sitting here if Pres. Obama’s nominee had been given a hearing and a vote).

That’s why Republicans are secretly so grateful to Mitch McConnell, who saved this seat for them. 

 Kudos to the University of Chicago:

Free tuition for any children of Chicago Public School employees admitted to the University.

The parents can be children of teacher, nurse, janitors, counselors–anyone employed by CPS, and do not have to be graduates of Chicago Public Schools. (WBEZ)



ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Tuesday, February 14, Valentine’s Day

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

 What a Mess: Mike Flynn, National Security Adviser, “resigns”  Obviously, he was forced out. My hunch is that the problem was not talking with the Russians, despite the legal problems that raised and the DOJ’s suggestion, leaked to the WaPo, that it could leave Flynn open to blackmail. Nope, the real problem was lying about it to VP Mike Pence, who (in good faith) repeated the lie. Mike Flynn just learned you cannot do that and survive in this White House.

Now, the Trump White House must right this ship quickly because there is considerable pressure from America’s adversaries and hard policy choices to make–and make soon.

Flynn’s interim replacement is his number two, Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Jr. (age 72). It is unclear if Trump considers him a possible long-term replacement.

Comment: My hunch is that Trump will turn to Mattis, Coats, and Corker, all experienced Washington hands, for advice on this choice. All are reliable, experienced hands in foreign policy who know the potential candidates and the policy issues they will face. James Mattis is Sec. of Defense; Dan Coats, a former Senator, is Director of National Intelligence, and Bob Corker is current head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Normally the Sec. of State would be involved, but Rex Tillerson is new to Washington and not yet familiar with all the candidates. Mattis, Coats, and Corker not only know the players, they know how the National Security Council should run. Trump would also be wise to turn to former Sec. of Defense Bob Gates and former Sec. of State (and NSC Adviser) Condi Rice for guidance.

The first name they will have to decide on is Gen. David Petraeus, the most effective military leader in America’s unconventional wars and then head of the CIA.  The question is whether his enormous expertise offsets his baggage from mishandling of classified documents.  Note that the National Security Adviser does not require Senate approval.

Second CommentThe talking heads will all say, “This is a huge mess this is for the new Trump Administration.” That’s right, and I have already said so myself. But the mess is only half the story. Trump has also shown that he is willing to cut his losses and make hard choices clearly, decisively, and quickly. He did it during the campaign, when he fired two successive campaign leaders who were falling short and finally got the team he wanted. He didn’t let this issue linger, either. That sends a strong message to all his senior appointments: “I hold you accountable. Produce results at the standards I expect or I will fire you.”

 One of the main security challenges for any administration is cyber. David Benson, an expert in the subject, gives a very positive review to Martin Libicki’s new book, Cyberspace in Peace and War  

Cyberspace in Peace and War is a very good book. While the disordered state of cyber-strategy makes it impossible to write the “final” work on the subject, Libicki imposes order upon an incredibly wide ranging topic. –David Benson, writing at “The Bridge”

The book treats both technical and strategic issues, but, as Benson makes clear, its focus is on international strategy.

 Dutch professor Ruud Koopmans gives the EU a deeply troubling report on Muslim views  (Daily Mail)

Koopmans said that of the 1 billion adult Muslims in the world, ‘half of them are attached to an arch-conservative Islam which places little worth on the rights of women, homosexuals, and people of other faiths’. –Ruud Koopmans in the Daily Mail

Koopmans estimates that at least 50 million are “willing to sanction violence” and thinks that is likely an underestimate.

In several Islamic countries, 14 per cent of local Muslims think suicide attacks against innocents are ‘sometimes’ or ‘often’ justified to defend Islam, said Koopmans, citing a study by the US-based Pew Research Center. –Daily Mail

Koopmans, from the Netherlands, leads a major university center for migration research in Berlin.

Comment: Western governments have focused, understandably, on the problem of violent immigrants, but Koopmans is highlighting a second grave problem: large numbers of Muslims who seek to live in the West but reject its basic norms and values. The same hostile views are often held by the second and third generation of these migrants.

 True: America’s top fortune cookie writer has “writer’s block” and is stepping down after three decades (Fox News)

For 30 years, Donald Lau has been the “Chief Fortune Writer” at Wonton Foods, a manufacturer that touts itself to be one of the world’s largest producers of fortune cookies.

But now,Lau is leaving his position following a long bout of writer’s block.

According to Good Food, 4.5 million cookies are produced by Wonton Foods each day. –Fox News

Comment: No one saw it coming.

 After senseless delaying tactics by Senate Democrats, the body finally approves Steven Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary  (New York Times)

Comment: Yeah, like the country actually needs a Treasury Secretary.

I am not arguing the merits of Mnuchin’s candidacy here. I am saying that once the Democrats had produced no information to sink the nomination and it was clear he would win Senate confirmation, dragging it out for weeks with delaying tactics is harmful to the country.  Blame Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren.




ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Monday, February 13

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

 China says it is futile for US to pressure North Korea without addressing Pyongyang’s “concerns” (Fox)

Translation: Beijing is not going to help Washington deal with North Korea, at least not without getting something in return.

Comment: This is the Trump Administration’s first test and North Korea did it deliberately to poke a finger in the eye of the US and Japan while Japan’s Prime Minister was visiting Trump. My expectation is that the Trump Administration will ramp up support for Japanese defense and add whatever sanctions it can to North Korea. The more the US supports South Korea and Japan, the worse things are for China’s security. That may cause Beijing to recalculate, but likely not.

 Michael Flynn, National Security Adviser, in deep trouble; White House declines to defend him publicly (Time)

A top White House aide sidestepped repeated chances Sunday to publicly defend embattled national security adviser Michael Flynn following reports that he engaged in conversations with a Russian diplomat about U.S. sanctions before Trump’s inauguration.

The move, or lack thereof, added uncertainty as Trump dealt with North Korea’s apparent first missile launch of the year and his presidency. The president was also welcoming the leaders of Israel and Canada this week. –Time

Comment: WHere’s my guess: Trump will cut you some slack when you are talking to the public, but the reports are that Flynn lied to VP Mike Pence, who went out and repeated Flynn’s story to the public. So, Pence is now embarrassed, through no fault of his own.

Why not bring in Petraeus? It would be an upgrade.

 Angela Merkel, the most stable political figure in a shaky Europe, is now being squeezed by left and right (New York Times)

She is considered the indispensable European, yet one of the biggest questions looming over the Continent’s crucial elections this year is whether Germany still regards Angela Merkel as indispensable, too.

Seven months before national elections in Germany, the prevailing wisdom has held that Ms. Merkel, now seeking a fourth four-year term as chancellor, is most vulnerable to the rising popularity of the country’s far right, just as other populist, far-right parties are gaining in coming elections in the Netherlands and France.

Yet suddenly, Germany’s left has unexpectedly resurged, prompting Der Spiegel magazine this weekend to pose a question on its cover: “Will She Fall?” –New York Times

Comment: Her disastrously bad idea, as far as the German electorate is concerned: letting 1 million Middle-East immigrants into the country over the citizens’ vocal objections.

 Media Jerks attack Betsy DeVos for Tweet that misspells “W.E.B. Du Bois” name

Typical is Esquire headline: “Our New Department of Education Can’t Spell Good”

Comment: Turns out the Tweet was written by a career employee at the  Department of Education. In any case, the employee was trying to do something decent–unlike the execrable Esquire writer, Peter Wade, who was merely showing his contempt for lesser mortals.

 “McConnell’s remark boosts Warren’s profile as Democrats look for new leader” (Washington Times)

With President Obama out of the picture, Democrats are in the market for a new leader, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren has catapulted to the top of the list of contenders for many progressive Democrats, courtesy of Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Last week’s high-profile dust-up with Mr. McConnell on the Senate floor — the Massachusetts Democrat was silenced after Republicans found her in violation of a little-used rule against insulting other senators — has bolstered Ms. Warren’s image in the eyes of voters who range from die-hard party activists to Republicans searching for a new allegiance after the presidential election of Donald Trump.

“I think that there was something kind of galvanizing about that moment — having an old white guy shut up a woman,” said Kristen Corcoran, a 37-year-old Indiana native who lives in the District of Columbia. “As a woman, it is like, ‘Yeah, we have all been there,’ and I think that is going to strike a chord with people.” –Washington Times

Comment: It is hard to know whether McConnell’s motive was to

  1. restore some level of comity on the Senate floor or
  2. promote Elizabeth Warren and help her become the face of the Democratic Party

But if his goal was to raise Warren’s profile and put at the forefront of the national Democratic Party. . . he is very, very smart. She can carry the college towns and wealthy suburbs. Period.

◆ Speaking of education working, or not working


zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Michael Lipson for the education poster


ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Tuesday, Dec. 6

Hand-picked and farm-fresh–

Linked articles in bold purple

◆ Comment on Trump’s intervention to save jobs at Carrier’s Indiana plant. Trump’s successful action has divided Republicans.

Pro: Blue-collar voters and economic nationalists like it. It helps the “little guy,” they say, and it helps the American economy by keeping good manufacturing jobs here. It shows he means to continue the economic populism he advocated on the campaign trail.

Con: Business elites hate it. So do small-government, constitutional conservatives who think it’s none of the government’s damned business to tell trump-carrier-200pxcompanies where to locate. Nor is it President’s job to pick winners and loser, hand out special tax incentives, and intervene on a micro-basis. The government’s job, they say, is to establish a clear framework for private decisions–and let businesses and individuals make them without coercion.

◆ A silver lining from a terrible event: Lady Gaga says she has post-traumatic stress disorder after being raped at 19 (BBC)

lady-gaga-labeled-200px-no-margins“I suffer from a mental illness – I suffer from PTSD,” she told the Today Show on a visit to a homeless shelter for young gay people in New York.
“I’ve never told anyone that before,” the star, now 30, added.
“The kindness that’s been shown to me, by doctors as well as my family and my friends, it’s really saved my life,” the singer said. –Lady Gaga

Her decision to share her story may encourage others to report sexual violence and seek help.

◆ The lost structures of civility. Distinguished scholar Hadley Arkes writes about the social structures America once had that promoted civic decency. (City Journal)

But now, the tumults and convulsions in the current scene, the sense of things coming apart in Baltimore, St. Louis, Chicago, and other cities may move us to look anew at the things that have gone largely unnoticed. For we are naturally drawn to the question of why things were so different for some of us who grew up in another time or place—in my case, in the cities of the 1940s and 1950s. Reflection brings awareness of those structures that have since come undone, along with the ethic that once sustained a life of civic decency, even among such a diversity of ethnic tribes who peopled the city as we knew it then. –Hadley Arkes in City Journal

One crucial point in Arkes reminiscences: There was always an attentive, supportive community of adults around to supervise children as they played in the neighborhood.

◆ Trump’s election stole my desire to look for a partner” That’s the Washington Post headline for this smack-your-head-against-a-wall story.

◊ This young single woman not only decided that the election of Donald Trump was so catastrophic, she cannot date anyone.

◊ She also decided it would be a great idea to write an article in the Washington Post about it.

◊ And the WaPo, instead of telling her “get a life and get some professional help,” decided it would be a perfect story for its target demographic.

I’ve lost the desire to attempt the courtship phase. The future is uncertain. I am not the optimistic person I was on the morning of Nov. 8, wearing a T-shirt with “Nasty Woman” written inside a red heart. It makes me want to cry thinking of that.

There is no room for dating in this place of grief. Dating means hope. I’ve lost that hope in seeing the words “President-elect Trump.” –Stephanie Land in the Washington Post

Comment: For a while, at least, there will be no Land-lubbers.

madonna-labeled-200px-no-margins◆ In related news: Madonna is not happy about the election, either. As she eloquently put it in an interview with Billboard:

Billboard interviewer: Were you surprised?
Madonna: Of course. I was devastated, surprised, in shock. I haven’t really had a good night’s sleep since he has been elected. We’re f—ed. –Madonna in Billboard

Comment: She cannot get a good night’s sleep because “we’re f–ed”??

Curious. I thought that was how she got a good night’s sleep.

◆ Man convicted of plotting to attack US Capitol during Pres. Obama’s State of the Union address to show support for the Islamic State.

Christopher Lee Cornell told the court that he had renounced jihad and was remorseful, but the Federal judge didn’t believe him. She was right. After Cornell was sentenced to 30 years, he started yelling the court system was rigged and “Allah is in control, not this judge!”

seiu-logo-200px-no-margins◆ Texas SEIU files for bankruptcy after being hit with a $5.3 million jury verdict for smearing a local employer, Professional Janitorial Service. (Houston Chronicle). The verdict is now over $7 million with interest.

SEIU had targeted the company as part of its “Justice for Janitors” organizing campaign and wrongly claimed Professional Janitorial Service had violated wage, overtime and other labor laws, the jury found. The $5.3 million verdict represented damages the janitorial company faced when it lost clients, it said. –Chronicle

◆ Misreporting in the age of Twitter
Media Falsely Report Michael Flynn Spread Conspiracy Theory That Led to Pizzeria Attack (Media-ite)

mike-flynn-labeled-300px-no-marginsComment: The conspiracy theory itself is baseless and disgusting. With no evidence, it associates Hillary Clinton with an alleged child-sex ring at a Washington pizzeria (which was then threatened by a man with a rifle). The Twitter-verse blew up with a false story that General Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser, was behind the conspiracy theory, along with other Trump advisers. None of this was true, but it was tweeted by major media figures such as Josh Marshall and David Corn. The Washington post falsely said that Gen. Flynn had “shared the (conspiracy) stories.”

What was true was that Gen. Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn, Jr., defended the conspiracy theory. That’s terrible, but that’s a different matter entirely from the prospective National Security Adviser himself spreading false, crazed rumors.


zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Tom Elia
 for “The Lost Structures of Civility” and “Trump’s election stole my desire to look for a partner”


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



ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Friday, Nov. 18

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

mike-flynn-labeled-300px-no-margins◆ Retired 3-star general Michael Flynn will be Trump’s National Security Advisor
. (Washington Post) He headed the Defense Intelligence Agency under Pres. Obama but left the administration and became a sharp critic.

◆ “We’re going to move an agenda,” VP-elect Mike Pence told House Republicans. Working with Congress, the new administration intends to pass a lot of legislation, Pence told the closed-door meeting. (Bloomberg)

Comment: That’s not an idle promise. It’s not just Trump’s ambitious agenda. It’s Capitol Hill under continuing Republican control. Over the last few years, the Republicans have passed lots of bills that died on Pres. Obama’s desk. The same leaders are in place in the House and Senate. They know these issues, have already written bills on the big issues, and will be ready to push legislation early in 2017.


◆ “An Anti-Israel Brigade with Ties to Hamas Finds a Home in San Francisco State University,” writes Cinnamon Stillwell (Independent Journal Review) Oppose the people doing this at SFSU, and guess what they call you? That’s right, you would be an Islamophobe, McCarthyist, hatemonger and–worst of all–a Zionist. The deal is an official tie between SFSU and a Hamas-dominated university, An-Najah University, located in the West Bank.

⇒ Related story: Palestinian group is demanding that Kent State University remove an incredibly offensive object: a picture of the late Israeli leader, Golda Meir. The simple photograph hurts their feelings because, well, you can guess. (Abraham Miller in The Observer)

◆ One of the makers of the modern world, Jay Forrester, has died at 98. Forrester, an MIT professor raised on a Nebraska cattle ranch, developed the field of computer modeling complex systems. He is also one of the men who invented magnetic core memory for computers. His obituary is here. (New York Times)

◆ The Washington Post thinks this is newsworthy: “Trump terrifies me. Should I rent my house to his supporters for the inauguration?” by Cari Shane. It perfectly captures the Post’s view and the Beltway Zeitgeist.

kris-bryant-labeled◆ Go, Cubs, Go. Their second-year star, Kris Bryant, is the nearly unanimous choice as National League MVP. (Chicago Tribune)

◆ Chicago’s Skyline To Be Sold as Lego Set. The set will be smaller than the original, according to the Chicago Tribune.

◆ I love it: A startup says it has created a robot that cuts grass and shovels show. (CNN)