Just listen to those crickets. A conspicuous hush is emanating from the NFL office on the subject of those soft footballs the New York Giants retrieved from the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. Where was the outrage, the treating of ball-inflation and pounds-per-square-inch as more serious than a hijacking? Compare the screams of scandal NFL executives emitted toward Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to this smothered, pillow-over-the-face reaction.Remember how Goodell and the League treated the report of deflated Patriots' footballs? Well, this time, when it wasn't the hated Patriots, their reaction was basically a yawn.
It’s a guilty silence, and it leaves NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell beached and exposed. Goodell has always struggled with the demands of speech, but his wordlessness in this instance has nothing to do with competence but rather dishonesty. Any serious examination of those footballs from the Giants-Steelers game might well show that Goodell owes the Patriots and Brady an apology and material recompense. Which is exactly why the league is shutting the matter down and shutting it down now.
When the Giants tested air pressure on two footballs they captured against the Steelers and reported them to be below the permissible range of 12.5 PSI, league officials should have leaped into action. They should have told Steelers officials, “You’re in big f------ trouble” and then leaked erroneous amateur-hour data that poisoned the public understanding. They should have triggered a massive multimillion-dollar investigation, complete with footnoted junk science, that tarred a future Hall of Famer and resulted in fines, a forfeited draft pick and a four-game suspension. They should have invoked the words “scheme” and “tamper” and “cheating” and “competitive integrity,” even compared the offense to “performance-enhancing drugs.”Actually, as Jenkins notes, the Giants had tested the balls and reported to the NFL authorities that they were low.
Instead? Nothing. NFL execs were neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed by the report of soft footballs. They weren’t whelmed at all. Instead there was this throbbing stillness. Followed by an attempt at denial and misdirection. After Jay Glazer of Fox Sports broke the news that the Giants had gone to the league with measurements showing loss of air pressure, the NFL replied with a stiff-necked yet ducking statement: “The officiating game ball procedures were followed and there were no chain of command issues. All footballs were in compliance and no formal complaint was filed by the Giants with our office.”
Ahhhhh. No “formal” complaint. As opposed to that by-the-book complaint lodged against the Patriots during the 2015 AFC championship game, when Indianapolis Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson stuck his head into the NFL suite and bawled, “We’re playing with a small ball.” Which set off the most infamously ludicrous investigation in league history.
Now, there are two things to take from this. The first is obvious. You don’t need a legion of scientists and lawyers to know what anyone with a car knows: Cold weather causes air pressure to drop in footballs, the same as it does in your tires. The only people who don’t know that are hermetically sealed in Park Avenue offices and only travel by soft shoe and NFL limo. If Steelers footballs were underinflated, the most likely explanation is not that someone deflated them by hand but that the game was played in temperatures in the low 40s, with a wind chill of 28. Just as natural deflation is the most likely explanation for what happened in the AFC title game, when the Patriots’ balls measured an average of 11.3 in wet, even colder weather.Anyone who has truly followed this story knows, as Jenkins reports, that there was actually no scandal with the Patriots' balls. Physicists like MIT professor John Leonard have been debunking the the NFL's theory on youtube for a year. But the NFL is just marinating in their own hypocrisy and dishonesty. Sadly, they'll get away with it because that's what they do. But all those people determined to pile this nothingburger of a scandal onto their reasons to hate Brady and the Patriots should read Sally Jenkins and edit that list.
The second point is less obvious: Somebody from the New York Giants stuck a needle into two footballs during a game last week to measure them. Which tells you that the NFL’s ball-security procedures are not being followed, even now.
But the NFL doesn’t want to get into that. If it admits it received info from the Giants about low PSI, then it has to admit that maybe weather affected the inflation of footballs in other games, too.
It has to admit that league officials lacked command of seventh-grade science and that Goodell raced to judgment. It has to admit that a few whiffs of PSI aren’t a game-altering factor, much less worth serious penalties. It has to admit that Goodell is not willing to pursue Dan Rooney and Ben Roethlisberger over the air in a couple of footballs with the same energy.
It has to admit that Deflategate was not a fair process but just a ginned-up excuse to punish the Patriots in order to satisfy owner envy and internal politics. It has to admit that it has been covering up PSI data in order to save the last rags of Goodell’s shredded reputation. It has to admit that the NFL under this commissioner has zero credibility left.
Dan Wetzel piles on.
That means given the chance to do deflate-gate all over again – the initial situation with the New England Patriots scandal is nearly identical (even considering whatever happened in the Foxborough bathroom, which we’ll get to below) – the NFL chose to do nearly the exact opposite.Yeah, that's not happening. Goodell is all about his own power, not the truth.
In action, if not words, the league is acknowledging it got it all wrong the first time. So now it’s incumbent upon NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to do the right thing and verbalize it with a simple but noble act.
He should apologize to Tom Brady.
If you don't know by now how porous the NFL's story on Deflategate was, read the details that Wetzel summarizes. As he concludes,
The NFL never proved the footballs were deflated that night because the footballs were never deflated. They ran a murder case when no one was killed.
Text messages, cries over a smashed cell phone and Goodell citing Brady testimony that is 100 percent the opposite of what the transcript revealed was his actual testimony were desperate attempts to save face.
The science is the science. It’s been that way since 1834, when Ideal Gas Law was proven. So, welcome to the 19th Century.
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Rich Lowry ridicules the idea that Donald Trump is assembly a military junta within his cabinet because he's nominating people with military backgrounds.
Trump didn’t seize the government by force; he himself is not a general (although he went to the New York Military Academy for high school); and the three generals he has tapped for top posts are all retired and therefore civilians. (Michael Flynn will be national-security adviser, and Trump has nominated James Mattis as defense secretary, and John Kelly as homeland-security secretary.)Given how the military is the institution that Americans have the most confidence in with 73% of those polled by Gallup saying that have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the military compared to 6% support for Congress, and 20 or 21% confidence in TV news or newspapers respectively, perhaps the media and Democratic politicians should just hush up with their worries about a few people from the military serving in Trump's administration.
The Trump cabinet, in other words, bears about as much resemblance to a junta as the Supreme Court does to the College of Cardinals because it has five justices who are Catholic and wear robes. To call the connection superficial is to understate how absurdly inapposite it is.
If the presence of three retired military leaders is enough to tip an otherwise duly-elected, civilian-led government into quasi-military rule, we already experienced it at the outset of the Obama administration. As the Washington Examiner pointed out, President Barack Obama had three military leaders as part of his initial team, a retired Marine general (Jim Jones as national-security adviser), an Army general (Eric Shinseki at Veterans Affairs) and a Navy admiral (Dennis Blair as director of national intelligence). The republic survived.
Worse, the United States has repeatedly had retired generals not merely as cabinet secretaries, but as commanders in chief — from George Washington, to Andrew Jackson, to U.S. Grant, to Dwight Eisenhower. No one seriously considered their presidencies affronts to the principle of civilian rule.
None of this will dissuade the journalists and analysts who have been throwing around the “junta” charge, though. Much of the Left and the press has taken Trump’s election as a license to suspend rational thought. They like the delegitimizing sound of the word “junta,” and that’s enough for them to use it, never mind that it renders the term meaningless.
The fact is that Trump is a civilian leader who is impressed by people who once served at the top levels of the military. This is understandable, given how the stereotype of the general as the thoughtless, buzz-cut warmonger is — if it ever applied — less relevant than ever. The best generals are worldly, capable, and tend to be realistic about the limits of military power.
Bill Gertz recommends that, while we're reviewing the Russian cyber attacks connected to the election, we should also look into the Obama administration's policies on cyber security for the past eight years.
Any intelligence review should coincide with a companion investigation by Congress into why the president and his White House advisers for the past eight years rejected numerous calls from military, intelligence, and national security advisers to take aggressive action against states like Russia and China—action that could have prevented the kind of covert cyber warfare now being linked to Moscow.Obama's response is basically to downplay the cyber attacks and try to reassure the country while not doing much that is apparent. All we can do is hope that there is a whole lot going on behind the scenes.
Obama repeatedly downplayed the nature and scope of cyber attacks against the United States during his administration, dismissing attacks like North Korea’s hack against Sony Pictures Entertainment as cyber vandalism.
The president also ignored the massive Chinese cyber attacks on the Office of Personnel Management. Those attacks pilfered some 22 million records on federal workers, including personal information on workers in highly sensitive military and intelligence positions.
Obama downplayed the attacks as a “significant vulnerability” and suggested they would “accelerate as time goes by, both in systems within government and within the private sector.”
The president also never invoked a presidential directive calling for economic sanctions on state sponsors of cyber attacks.
But the president made clear he was afraid to take retaliatory cyber action over concerns it would trigger a wider cyber war. “What we cannot do is have a situation where this becomes the wild, wild West, where countries that have significant cyber capacity start engaging in unhealthy competition or conflict through these means,” he said.
What the president failed to understand is that the cyber landscape already is the wild, wild West as countries steal American secrets on a grand scale and now are moving to influence the political system. The United States under Obama has been disarmed against Russian, Chinese, and other nations’ cyber gunslingers, who are conducting asymmetric warfare with little or no penalty. The weakness of the U.S. government response will continue to provoke more and increasingly damaging cyber attacks unless there is a change in policy that imposes costs—either by carrying out counter-cyber attacks or other asymmetric warfare means to confront the dangers.
Cyber attacks are becoming ubiquitous. In addition to political hacking, cyber attacks range from constant cyber attacks on banks and financial institutions, to penetrations of critical infrastructure networks like the electric grid, to the theft of defense technology from contractor networks.
A U.S. intelligence official told me that over a period of months beginning in August 2011 several major interagency meeting were held to discuss the escalating danger of cyber attacks against the United States.
The president and his top aides were presented with “tens” of options to counter and deter cyber attacks by the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, and Iranians.
“Most of them were shelved, sent to what was called ‘the parking lot,'” said the official. “They were considered too aggressive and Obama responded that he would not engage in those types of activities.”
....The options were discussed in meetings of the White House Interagency Policy Committee, a working group directly supporting the National Security Council. Seated at the conference table were senior officials from the Pentagon, State Department, intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies, and Homeland Security Department.
The options ranged from diplomatic talks—favored by the Obama administration—to economic sanctions, legal actions, and cyber operations. Several different plans for counter-cyber attacks were discussed. All were rejected by the president.
“Obama was not willing to take aggressive offensive cyber actions to prevent adversaries from doing harm to us,” said the official. “He failed to act, and he prevented others from taking action.
After centralizing the power to conduct cyber attacks within the presidency, Obama made sure to define down all cyber events by declaring them anything but cyber attacks. Large-scale penetrations and theft of data from both U.S. government and private sector networks were falsely labeled “cyber espionage,” “cyber vandalism,” “cyber penetrations,” and other terms by the president. As long as the incidents were not labeled attacks, Obama ensured there would be no requirement for retaliation by the military or intelligence community.
This policy has resulted in an increase in cyber attacks with no apparent end in sight.
This is the dumbest excuse for how Podesta's emails got hacked.
The hack and eventual release of a decade’s worth of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails may have been caused by a typo, The New York Times reported Tuesday in an in-depth piece on Russian cyberattacks.Podesta AND his IT guy fell for a pretty simplistic-sounding phishing fraud. And the IT guy now wants to cover his rear end by claiming that he was going to write "illegitimate," but just forgot those two letters "i-l" and then proceeded to tell him to click on it. It's hard to sell your services as an IT specialist if you made a "typo" that led your client to have years of his emails released to the public. So telling everyone that you weren't fooled, but just made a typo is his only defense. Friends, that isn't a typo; it's a mistake and no amount of rear-covering will hide that it was a very big one.
Last March, Podesta received an email purportedly from Google saying hackers had tried to infiltrate his Gmail account. When an aide emailed the campaign’s IT staff to ask if the notice was real, Clinton campaign aide Charles Delavan replied that it was “a legitimate email" and that Podesta should “change his password immediately.”
Instead of telling the aide that the email was a threat and that a good response would be to change his password directly through Google’s website, he had inadvertently told the aide to click on the fraudulent email and give the attackers access to the account.
Delavan told the Times he had intended to type "illegitimate,” a typo he still has not forgiven himself for making.
The email was a phishing scam that ultimately revealed Podesta’s password to hackers. Soon after, WikiLeaks began releasing 10 years of his emails.
In late October the firm SecureWorks identified a Bit.ly account and WikiLeaks-released email that appeared to have been used to attack Podesta’s account.
The Bit.ly service shortens web addresses, which can make them easier to share — and less likely to set off malicious website alarms.
President Obama, who has spent his second term bragging about how he had a pen and a phone and would tackle his policy concerns with executive actions if Congress wouldn't pass the laws he wanted, is now suddenly voicing a new concern about a future executive (hmmm. I wonder whom he could be thinking of?) taking action while circumventing the constitutional series of checks and balances.
Despite his fondness for executive actions in the White House, President Obama recently said he was worried about the American people becoming “impatient with the slowness of democracy.”
“I have not changed Washington the way I wanted to change it,” Obama said in an interview last week with VICE. “And what I worry about in our politics is people getting impatient with the slowness of democracy, and the less effective Congress works, the more likely people are to start giving up on the core values and basic institutions that have helped us to weather a lot of storms.”
Obama made the remarks a month after Donald Trump won the White House.
Obama did not have such patience in 2014, when he declared multiple times, “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone,” suggesting he could use the pen to sign executive orders and use his phone to rally people to his cause when Congress did not act to his liking.
“We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need,” he said on January 14, 2014. “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone.”
Some delicate snowflakes who still don't seem to have emerged from the fetal position they metaphorically assumed after Trump's election are taking their distress even further. Stephanie Land wrote last week in the Washington Post that she can no longer search for a mature and supportive partner because of Donald Trump.
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.”Honestly? Just get over yourself. Felicia Wilson at The Federalist has some fun ridiculing Land's whole confession of such deep despair at the election of Trump.
The piece is nonsensical. It’s a purge of bizarre, immature, incoherent non-sequiturs that reads like the diary of a 14-year-old girl. It is illustrative of the Left’s fanatical view on politics: it is their religion. Hillary Clinton was their god. Donald Trump was Beelzebub. In their minds Satan has assumed leadership of the country, resulting in their utter devastation and despair.I can't conceive an election's result affecting decisions I'd make about personal relationships.
If Clinton had won, I would have been disappointed, but I would not pen a piece proclaiming that all hope is lost, so I might as well drink a bottle of Drano. That’s because we on the Right, here in reality, do not pin our hope on a fallible human being. We do not define our relationships and future by the occupant of the White House. We do not believe one man or woman gives meaning to our lives.
So the true travesty is that The Washington Post published it. By doing so, it applauds and heralds a woe-is-me attitude of flowery jibberish aimed at giving credence to the hysteria of the Left. The editors found value in this woman presenting herself as a beleaguered heroine claiming, “That urge to cling to my family while keeping our foundation strong didn’t mesh well with continuing to date the man I’d been seeing… my focus had to be on my community of friends that are my family.” Oh, the strength. Oh, the perseverance.Noemie Emery writes on the same theme about the self-indulgent despair that some Hillary supporters are still luxuriating in.
Oh the malarkey. To forsake an endeavor that could immensely improve her life is the antithesis of strong. It’s whiny. It’s weak. It’s “I am woman, hear me cry.” Land believed a female president would prove that strength, ambition, and leadership are equal-opportunity qualities, yet she paints herself as faint and feeble flower incapable of handling disappointment.
Not only do they brag of the length and intensity of their bouts of sobbing —"crying as if someone died" was a common description — but, as New York magazine reported days later, professional women all over the country are making a brave stand to protest Trump's election by doing hideous things to their hair. Because "the election results felt like an attack on minorities, women, and marginalized people in general," a "vegan chef" cut her hair off to send Trump a "message." Others like her got buzz cuts, flat tops or tossed out their extensions, and went platinum, or black.As Emery points out, the Democrats went through the same sort of weepy behavior after the 2004 victory of Bush over Kerry.
Unfortunately, there was not a chance in the world that this message would reach Trump, or that he would care if he got it, but somehow the logic of making themselves ugly in the interests of spiting a well-know connoisseur of feminine pulchritude just seemed the right thing to do.
"Democrats Shellshocked by Bush Win Over Kerry," ran the piece in World News Daily on November 11, 2004. "The Florida-based American Health Association has released symptoms of what it calls 'post-election selection trauma' or PEST, which include: feelings of withdrawal ... isolation ... anger and bitterness, loss of appetite, sleeplessness ... moodiness [and] endless sulking,' though no mentions yet about hair. "Manhattan psychologist Bonnie Maslin said many of her patients cried about the lost election," Newsday reported days earlier.
"They talked about hopelessness ... the level of devastation is enormous. Patients are saying they feel that the things they cherish and value are under siege." Republicans felt the same things 2008 and 2012, but they went on ticking. Never change, Democrats, we need you, if just as examples of what not to do when things go against you: Grace under pressure, indeed.
Steven Hayward links to this ridiculous story about a college English department that has endorsed the students removing a portrait of William Shakespeare.
Penn English professor and Department Chair Jed Esty was surprised to find a large portrait of William Shakespeare waiting in his office.If Shakespeare is no longer acceptable for an English Department, parents and alumni donors should start to wonder if they want their money to go to pay for what one junior English major approvingly called "a cool example of culture jamming." Perhaps these students could benefit from learning some Shakespearean insults to characterize their behavior. Some suggestions:
A group of students removed the iconic portrait from the walls of Fisher- Bennett Hall and delivered it to Esty’s office after an English Department town hall meeting discussing the election, which took place on Thursday December 1. They replaced it with a photo of Audre Lorde, a black female writer.
The portrait has resided over the main staircase of Fisher-Bennett — home to Penn’s English Department — for years. The English Department voted to relocate and replace the portrait a few years ago in order to represent a more diverse range of writers, according to an emailed statement from Esty, who declined to be interviewed.
However, despite the vote, the portrait was left in the entranceway until recent events.
“Students removed the Shakespeare portrait and delivered it to my office as a way of affirming their commitment to a more inclusive mission for the English department,” Esty wrote in the email. He added that the image of Lorde will remain until the department reaches a decision about what to do with the space.
Henry IV Part 2
“You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I’ll tickle your catastrophe!”
Henry IV Part 1
“Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch!”
As You Like It
“Your brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after voyage.”
You abilities are too infant-like for doing much alone.
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I know that the Democrats won't care, but Michael Barone has some good advice for them if they want to recover their former position in the Midwest.
The first thing Democrats need to do is to end the alibi game. Yes, it’s a shattering experience to lose a presidential election that, until the 9 o’clock hour on election night, you seemed sure to win.As Barone and a lot of others have pointed out, the Democrats are cratering in the heartland.
But alibis don’t help you win next time. Don’t blame “fake news” when your candidate had lots more money to spend delivering her message. Don’t blame the FBI director when your candidate violated criminal laws and the attorney general had to disqualify herself after the revelation of her secret meeting with the candidate’s husband.
Don’t blame the “racism” of an electorate that twice elected the first black president. Don’t blame the Electoral College when everyone knew beforehand that you need 270 electoral votes, not a popular vote plurality, to win.
Blame instead the Clinton campaign’s “ascendant America” strategy — to reassemble the 2012 Obama coalition of nonwhites and Millennials, on the assumption that the attitudes of other voters, notably white non-college graduates who cast critical Obama votes in the Midwest, would remain static.
Democrats are even weaker in heartland down-ballot elections. In races for the House of Representatives, Republicans won more than 200 seats there, compared with only 90 for Democrats. Democrats could win half of the Republicans’ 35 U.S. House seats in coastal America and still fall short of a House majority. In state legislatures, heartland Republicans outnumber Democrats by nearly a two-to-one ratio.When I cover the advantages of federalism in my classes, I point out that our system allows parties to recover when they've suffered major losses in national elections. When some of my students were so depressed after this year's election, I encouraged them to get active in local elections because that is how the Democrats can build back their former dominance in the nation's capital. It takes time, but the time to start for them is now.
My advice to Democrats is the advice Justice Louis Brandeis gave to young New Dealers in the 1930s. “Get out of Washington,” he said. “Go home, back to the states.” Leave the latte-soaked coastal cocoons. Return to your hometown or set down new roots, and run for office in the heartland — and not in university towns but in real America.
Harry Enten points out at 538 that the Midwest was trending more Republican even before the election.
[T]here’s also reason to think that Clinton’s weak position in the Electoral College was not solely the result of her own campaign and that, instead, the Democratic Party has a problem....
Obama’s approval rating relative to the nation dropped in all the Midwestern states that were key to the 2016 election, including Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. It also fell off in Pennsylvania. The movements in some of these states were not that large, but they didn’t need to be: A number of the states that made up the mythic “blue wall” were never that much bluer than the country as a whole. Pennsylvania, for instance, was less than 2 percentage points more Democratic than the nation in 2012.
The shift in Obama’s relative approval rating isn’t a perfect predictor.6 Obama’s rating was better in Nevada compared to the nation in 2015 than it was in 2012. Yet, Clinton did worse there. Obama’s rating was actually far worse in New Hampshire in 2015 relative to the nation than it was in 2012, and yet Clinton did only somewhat worse than Obama in the Granite State. (She still narrowly won the state.)
Overall, though, the changes in Obama’s approval ratings and Clinton’s performance mostly went hand-in-hand.
William McGurn writes that we should worry less about Trump's purported authoritarianism and start worrying about the authoritarianism of the administrative state.
What’s striking here is that the same folks who see in Mr. Trump a Mussolini in waiting are blind to the soft despotism that has already taken root in our government. This is the unelected and increasingly assertive class that populates our federal bureaucracies and substitutes rule by regulation for the rule of law. The result? Over the Obama years, the Competitive Enterprise Institute reckons, Washington has averaged 35 regulations for every law.Liberals are outraged that Trump is nominating people to head cabinet departments who don't believe in the conventional wisdom that the only way to help the country is to issue mandates and directives that wouldn't make it through the legislative process.
The next best news, however, is that Mr. Pruitt, Dr. Carson, Mr. Puzder and Mrs. DeVos are not beholden to the orthodoxies that drive the rules and mandates these bureaucracies impose.Perhaps with Trump as the head of the executive branch, liberals might suddenly welcome a trimming of the powers of the administrative state.
Mrs. DeVos, for example, has spent her life promoting school choice, and her husband founded a charter school. It is difficult to imagine an Education Department under Secretary DeVos ever sending out a “Dear Colleague” letter to bully universities into expanding the definition of sexual harassment and then encouraging them to handle allegations in a way that has turned many campus tribunals into Star Chambers. Not to mention making a federal case about bathrooms.
Ditto for HUD. Under President Obama, HUD bureaucrats, under the banner of “fair housing,” have taken it upon themselves to decide what the right mix of race, income and education is for your town—and will impose fines and punishments for communities that resist. Anyone remember the people’s elected representatives directing HUD to impose its ideas of social engineering on the rest of America?
Or take the EPA. Whether it’s some Ordinary Joe running afoul of wetlands laws or the department’s deliberate attempt to destroy the market for coal, the EPA needs more than good science. It also needs some honest cost-benefit analysis about the prescriptions it pushes.
And then there’s Labor. Under Obama Secretary Tom Perez, the department has so overstepped the authority Congress gave it (for example, on its overtime rule) that federal judges have stepped in to block it, notwithstanding the courts’ traditional deference. As an employer himself, Mr. Puzder appreciates the fundamental reality of labor: which is that you don’t help workers by making them too expensive to hire.
The good news is that Mr. Trump does not have to fight government by regulatory fiat alone. House Speaker Paul Ryan has a raft of legislation that would reassert the authority of the people’s elected representatives over an unaccountable bureaucracy—including a regulatory budget that would limit the costs an agency can impose each year.
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