May 28, 2015

MAYBE I SHOULD SPEND A SEMESTER AS A VISITING PROFESSOR IN AUSTRALIA: At least, reading this blog makes me think so.

SO MUCH FOR “MY BODY, MY CHOICE:” Report: NYC Cops Arrested Men for ‘Manspreading’ on the Subway.

I HOPE THEY READ, AND LISTEN:  Michael Doran: “A Letter to My Liberal Jewish Friends.”

On Friday, May 22, President Obama, calling himself “an honorary member of the tribe,” addressed you not just as the president of the United States but also as an explicit adherent of the “tikkun olam” tradition: a Jewish viewpoint for “repairing the world” that, in his reading, promotes universal progressive ideals like fighting bigotry and working for social justice everywhere. Thus, for him, the same “shared values” that underlay the civil-rights movement in the United States were what led him to identify himself with the cause of Israel—and also with the cause of Palestinian nationalism. . . .

Here’s my question. As Obama donned his yarmulke and embraced your community, did you also catch the hint of a warning? If you did, it was because the president was raising, very subtly, the specter of dual loyalty: the hoary allegation that Jews pursue their tribal interests to the detriment of the wider community or nation. . . .  And so the warning was faint, but unmistakable: if Jews wish to avoid being branded as bigots, then they—you—must line up with him against Netanyahu. . . .

On June 30, Obama will likely conclude a nuclear deal with Iran. This will spark a faceoff with Congress, which has already declared its opposition to the deal. Congress will inevitably pass a vote of disapproval, which Obama will inevitably veto. In order to defend that veto from a congressional override, however, he must line up 34 Senators—all Democrats. This calls in turn for a preemptive ideological campaign to foster liberal solidarity—for which your support is key. If the president can convince the liberal Jewish community, on the basis of “shared values,” to shun any suspicion of alignment with congressional Republicans or Benjamin Netanyahu, he will have an easier time batting down Congress’s opposition to the deal with Iran.

Progressive values have nothing to do with what is truly at stake in this moment of decision. Only one final question really matters: in your considered view, should the Islamic Republic of Iran be the dominant power in the Middle East, and should we be helping it to become that power? If your answer is yes, then, by all means, continue to applaud the president—loudly and enthusiastically—as he purports to repair the world.

Obama’s a master at making liberals feel guilty with insinuations of bigotry. The American Jewish community is being played.

 

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Single molecule pump concentrates small molecules.

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IN THE WORDS OF HAN SOLO, I CAN IMAGINE AN AWFUL LOT: Imagine A Drug That Improves Many Metabolic Measures. “I would call a drug great if it could take off weight, improve glucose tolerance, and reverse fatty liver disease.” Well, you know, exercise can do that.

ANOTHER BREATHTAKING EPA POWER GRAB:  First, it was the Obama Administration’s rewrite of the Clean Air Act.  Now, it’s rewriting the Clean Water Act.

The Clean Water Act limits the federal government to regulating the “navigable waters of the United States” like the Colorado River or Lake Michigan. In 1986 the EPA expanded that definition to seize jurisdiction over tributaries and adjacent wetlands. Now it is extending federal control over just about any creek, pond, prairie pothole or muddy farm field that EPA says has a “significant nexus” to a navigable waterway.

The agency defines waters as “significant” if they are “located in whole or in part within 100 feet of the ordinary high water mark,” or, alternatively, within the 100-year floodplain and 1,500 feet of the high water mark of waters already under the government’s jurisdiction. That’s already a lot of water, but there’s more.

The EPA acknowledges that the “science available today does not establish that waters beyond those defined as ‘adjacent’” to these “significant” waters should be regulated. But forget science. The agency says its “experience and expertise” show there are “many” other waters that could have a significant downstream effect. Thus the EPA establishes an additional standard for significance that covers just about anything that’s wet.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

BECAUSE #OPPORTUNITY, NOT #HANDOUTS: Joel Kotkin on “The Changing Geography of Racial Opportunity“:

In the aftermath of the Baltimore riots, there is increased concern with issues of race and opportunity. Yet most of the discussion focuses on such things as police brutality, perceptions of racism and other issues that are dear to the hearts of today’s progressive chattering classes. Together they are creating what talk show host Tavis Smiley, writing in Time, has labeled “an American catastrophe.”

Yet what has not been looked at nearly as much are the underlying conditions that either restrict or enhance upward mobility among racial minorities, including African-Americans, Latinos and Asians. In order to determine this, my colleague at Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism  Wendell Cox and I developed a ranking system that included four critical factors: migration patterns, home ownership, self-employment and income.

We found, for all three major minority groups, that the best places were neither the most liberal in their attitudes nor had the most generous welfare programs. Instead they were located primarily in regions that have experienced broad-based economic growth, have low housing costs, and limited regulation. In other words, no matter how much people like Bill de Blasio talk about the commitment to racial and class justice, the realities on the ground turn out to be quite different than he might imagine.

Even the Democratic base doesn’t want to live in deep blue territory, since progressive policies lead to higher costs, higher crime and reduced economic opportunity.

READER BOOK PLUG: From reader Greg Krehbiel, What God Has Bent. Free on Kindle for the next week.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, NATIONAL-SECURITY PARANOIA WOULD PREVAIL. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Arms control treaty could land security researchers like me in jail.

21st CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Woman meets man who received her deceased brother’s face via transplant: “Wow, this is the face I grew up with.”

HARVARD CRIMSON: A Call To Arms: Law School professor Janet Halley is pushing back against Harvard and the government’s approach to Title IX. “When I read the University policy last July, I said to one of my colleagues at the Law School who works with me on these things, ‘You know we have to change the weather.’”

IF YOU LIKE, YOU CAN vote for Knoxville in this Bell Helmet-sponsored bike trail competition.

YES. NEXT QUESTION?: Peter Wehner at the NYT asks: Have Democrats Pulled Too Far to the Left?

AMONG liberals, it’s almost universally assumed that of the two major parties, it’s the Republicans who have become more extreme over the years. That’s a self-flattering but false narrative.

This is not to say the Republican Party hasn’t become a more conservative party. It has. But in the last two decades the Democratic Party has moved substantially further to the left than the Republican Party has shifted to the right. On most major issues the Republican Party hasn’t moved very much from where it was during the Gingrich era in the mid-1990s.

This is because today’s Democrats aren’t your father’s liberals, they’re progressives, which are more radical beasts.  And I’d argue that the Republican Party has shifted to the left, not further right, since the Gingrich era.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Feminists upset over statue of man and woman talking. “Note to future sculptors: When trying to show men and women talking as friends, don’t. There’s just no way you can do so without offending modern feminist sensibilities.”

THIS MAKES ME THINK OF STEVIE RAY VAUGHN: A Drone’s Eye View of the Devastating Flooding in Texas.

DON’T LET BILL BACK IN THE WHITE HOUSE: Paula Jones tells the Daily Mail Bill Clinton would cheat again if Hillary is elected President, and that Hillary knew all about his infidelities:

‘He is going to be telling her what to do,’ she said. ’It is a partnership. They have a political relationship, that is all it is.’

While countless books and articles have been written about the dynamics of the Clinton marriage, Jones is insistent that Hillary was fully aware of what her husband was like.

‘I believe she knew all about it. Theirs was a political relationship and not a normal relationship that a man and a wife have. They did not have a normal relationship.’

Yeah, I guess this is pretty obvious–a marriage in name only.  #waronwomen

NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE BANS DEATH PENALTY: The legislature overrode Governor Pete Ricketts’ veto, by a 30-19 vote.

The measure replaces lethal injection with a maximum punishment of life in prison. It will take effect in 90 days, which would be late August or early September depending upon when the Legislature adjourns. The law could be blocked temporarily, however, if opponents gather signatures from 10 percent of registered voters in a referendum effort in the next three months. Voters would then decide the fate of capital punishment.

Legal experts say the repeal erases the statutory means to carry out a death sentence in Nebraska, meaning the 10 men currently on death row will serve de facto life sentences.

It also means that the two men who are each charged with four Omaha murders — convicted killer Nikko Jenkins and accused killer Anthony Garcia — will no longer face the death penalty.

Nor will Roberto Martinez-Marinero, the 25-year-old man accused of killing his mother and throwing his 4-year-old brother, Josue, in the Elkhorn River.

Sounds like a proportional punishment: Kill your mother and 4 year-old brother, and get life in prison with free medical and room and board.

IN THE MAIL: From Michael Z. Williamson, A Long Time Until Now (Temporal Displacement).

Plus, today only at Amazon: “24: The Complete Series,” $67.49 (63% off).

And, also today only: Bosch 130-Feet Laser Measure, $59.00 (69% off).

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 749.

JUDGE ORDERS MONTHLY RELEASE OF CLINTON STATE DEP’T EMAILS:  A federal trial judge has established a timetable for State Department release of Clinton’s official emails. The order comes as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by a Vice News reporter, Jason Leopold.

After the State Department releases the first batch at the end of June, the department must make public the rest of the emails on a monthly basis ending Jan. 29, 2016, the order shows. The judge’s timetable means voters will have a chance to assess the contents of the emails before the first contest of the 2016 presidential race: the Iowa caucuses in February.

I know a lot of people criticize the effectiveness of litigation, but in many instances, lawsuits work far better at uncovering information about the executive branch than toothless congressional investigations.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Bill Clinton Formed His Shell Company Two Days After Hillary Was Picked As Top Diplomat.

More here.

IF YOU MISSED IT LAST NIGHT, here’s video of my segment on Kennedy, talking about higher education and what to do about it.

IN THE INTEREST OF FAIRNESS, THE IVY LEAGUE SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO ADMIT STUDENTS BY LOTTERY: Recruitment, Resumes, Interviews: How the Hiring Process Favors Elites.

In terms of the gatekeepers to these elite jobs, these are just people who are on the ground who are responsible for deciding who is in and who is out, who gains access to professional jobs in management consulting, investment banking, etc. The decisions they make have huge consequences for students, in terms of not only their immediate post-graduate opportunities, the salaries they make, but also opportunities for future and career growth and development.

Commonalities of all of these individuals: They tend to be a very elite group, they tend to come from a fairly prestigious set of institutions, and they tend to come from some of the most highly educated and affluent backgrounds as well. This is pretty standard across the industries. . . .

I think if you were to ask someone at first glance, they would say “oh anyone can work at my firm” and they could probably point to one or two people who didn’t attend elite schools. But if you look at how these firms’ recruiting processes actually work in practice now, the chances of getting into one of these firms from what’s called a non-targeted school is extremely low. And this is because these firms starting around the 1980s shifted from a hiring system in which people were hired in a one-off fashion through informal networks to really really focusing on on-campus recruitment where firms hire directly out of the graduating classes and oftentimes earlier from elite universities.

They talk about equality and diversity, then they hire people who look just like them.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: “Robotic rump” helps med students avoid being pains in patients’ butts.

Called “Patrick,” scientists say the pseudo backside is helping proctology students gain an upper hand in carrying out what have typically been uncomfortable examinations for millions of men, KQED TV & Radio reported.

Fitted with four sensors, the equipment will tell a student whether they are applying the right amount of pressure and whether they are properly covering the prostate.

Patrick? LOL.

SORRY, RAND, BUT YOU CROSSED THE LINE ON THIS ONE: Rand Paul says GOP hawks “created” ISIS.

The freshman senator from Kentucky said Wednesday that the GOP’s foreign policy hawks “created these people.” . . .  “ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately,” Paul said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He continued: “They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved – they loved Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. They just wanted more of it.”

This has triggered understandable backlash, including the Wall Street Journal editorial board today:

Citing Iraq, Syria and Libya, Mr. Paul added that “everything that they’ve talked about in foreign policy, they’ve been wrong about for 20 years, and yet they have somehow the gall to keep saying and pointing fingers otherwise.”

Speaking of gall, and a word of political advice, an aide might want to remind Senator Paul which party’s nomination he is seeking. Republicans who begin their campaigns assailing other Republicans rarely succeed—especially when the accusation is culpability for a would-be caliphate that uses executions, slavery, extortion, rape and general terror to enforce oppression in the Middle East and North Africa, and whose ideology inspires jihadists world-wide.

More to the point, even President Obama now largely refrains from blaming George W. Bush for all the world’s ills, albeit with an exception here and there for old time’s sake. Maybe even he recognizes that the statute of limitations has expired for Republicans who haven’t run the executive branch for seven years and have had no perceptible influence on Administration policy. . . .

Mr. Paul seems to think he can win the GOP nomination on an anti-interventionist platform, though we think he’d be better off focusing on his domestic agenda. But if he wants to run as an Obama Republican on foreign policy, he shouldn’t also adopt the Obama trick of rewriting history. It reflects poorly on his judgment as a potential Commander in Chief.

It’s a critical error for Paul, who has exhibited a vulnerability to foot-in-mouth disease.

INSERT GOLF COURSE WATER HAZARD JOKE HERE: President Obama asserts power over small waterways.

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SOMEBODY NEEDS TO ASK HILLARY IF AMERICA HAS TOO MANY KINDS OF DEODORANT. BUT, OF COURSE, FIRST SHE’D HAVE TO BE TAKING QUESTIONS. Reason TV: Introducing The Bernie Sanders Save the Children Fund.

MORE ON science fraud.

ROGER SIMON: Rand Paul Reveals His True Colors and Destroys Himself.

IT’S CALLED JOURNALISM:  Politico’s Bill Scher seems truly baffled by Fox News’ hosts/reporters who ask tough questions of GOP presidential candidates: “Fox News Eats Its Own.’  Yes, that’s what actual journalists do: They ask tough questions, and they don’t “play favorites.”  Shocking, I know, to a liberal/progressive mainstream media that hires hacks parading as hosts, such as George Stephanopoulos, Dan Rather, Candy Crowley and Keith Olbermann.

ASHE SCHOW: Carly Fiorina is moving the crowds, but not the polls.

It seems that everywhere former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina goes, the crowds go wild.

Two weeks ago, the 2016 presidential candidate was in Iowa to speak at the state GOP’s Lincoln Dinner. She wasn’t the only 2016 candidate who spoke, but she was the only one for whom, when her mic was cut off after her 10 minutes of allotted speaking time were up, the crowd was noticeably upset.

“She was like a fireball,” dinner guest Tanya Manatt, told the Des Moines Register. “She had a lot of energy, and she’s not intimidated.”

“She left us wanting more,” said another.

“She was very confident, probably one of the strongest speakers,” guest Rick Haas told Politico.

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post said on Twitter that Fiorina received the “loudest applause of the night.”

A similar story unfolded at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference last week. Republican Chase Condrey tweeted about Fiorina: “just watched the SRLC and you have definitely sparked my interest in your candidacy. The Young GOP wants leaders like you.”

Another attendee, Richard Morgan, said Fiorina had the “best speech” of the conference. Fiorina ended her speech to a standing ovation, according to numerous other conference-goers.

Fiorina is also gaining fans from her clever media appearances, where she trolls her hosts and takes on tough questions with poise.

But despite wowing crowds and television viewers over the past month, Fiorina’s poll numbers aren’t budging.

I like her. She fights.

UPDATE: Wrong link before. Fixed now. Sorry!

WELL, OBAMA IS IN THE PROCESS OF FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMING AMERICA INTO THE KIND OF COUNTRY PEOPLE EMIGRATE FROM, INSTEAD OF IMMIGRATE TO: Fewer immigrants are entering the U.S. illegally.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Millennials Weighed Down By Student Loan Debt.

U.S. Census Bureau data shows that the number of 25- to 34-year-olds living in their parents’ homes jumped 17.5% from 2007-2010. This is similar to Pew Research, which found that 57% of 18- to 24-year-olds lived with their parents in 2012. By way of comparison, in 1960, three out of four women and two out of three men had finished school, left home, were financially independent, had married and had children by age 30.

Meanwhile, the number of 30-year-olds who own their own homes is now roughly equal to those who live with their parents–a sharp contrast to 2003, when a 30-year-old American was twice as likely to own a home as he or she was to live with parents, according to the New York Federal Reserve (24). There’s also a clear correlation between growth in student debt and the rate at which adult offspring live with their parents. For every $10,000 increase in a state’s student debt per graduate, there’s a corresponding 2.9 percentage-point rise in 25-year-olds living with parents (25).

All of this comes as the dollar amount of student loans outstanding in the U.S. has tripled in the past decade, reaching a record $1.2 trillion last year. (See “Growing U.S. Student Debt Could Have Long-Term Credit Implications,” published Aug. 26, 2014.) In fact, student debt was the only type of household borrowing that continued to grow during the recent recession and recovery.

Ouch.

PLEASE DO! Roger Simon: Should I Run For President? Election 2016 As “The Voice.” On the Democratic side, meanwhile, it’s more like Lawrence Welk.

A BAD WEEK FOR SOCIAL SCIENCE (CONT’D): Michael LaCour Made Up a Teaching Award, Too.

Yesterday, Science of Us reported that Michael LaCour, the graduate student who is alleged to have faked data for a highly publicized and celebrated Science article on same-sex marriage, had made up the largest funding source listed on “Original Grants & Data” section of his curriculum vitae. It appears the fabrication extends to another part of his CV, too: the “Awards & Fellowships” section.

Falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus?

NONSENSE. PRESIDENT OBAMA APPROVED IT, AND HE’S THE ENVIRONMENTAL PRESIDENT: Oil Drilling In Alaska Is A Disaster.

But if you really believe that, then you support fracking as an alternative, right?

May 27, 2015

AT ANY RATE, BUDDHISM ISN’T AS NONVIOLENT AS MANY WESTERNERS SUPPOSE: “You can be full of kindness and love, but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog. I am proud to be called a radical Buddhist.”

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SCOTT OTT: The 7 Reasons Scott Walker Should Get the Republican Nomination for President.

HEH:  The Charlie Charlie challenge.  A modern-day Ouija board, only weirder.

SOUNDS REASONABLE TO ME:  Islamic televangelist rants: men who masturbate “will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife.”  So be sure to use condoms, gents.

TOP COMMENT AT THE NEW YORK TIMES:

Non-Muslims who work in the Middle East, are forced to wear ‘respectable’ clothing by their employers, or face disciplinary measures.

The Arab Muslims say that this demand is quite acceptable; and that this is to ensure that people adhere to local traditions and customs of the host country. So, with this same philosophy, why can’t Europeans set a similar standard for migrants?

If I owned shares in multiculturalism, I’d sell now.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Study: Women buying more sex than ever before.

NO, WE’RE WAY OVER THE EDGE:  Marco Rubio tells CNN:  ”[W]e are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech.”

SOCCER ORGANIZATION COMMITTING A “WORLD CUP OF FRAUD”?:  That’s what the IRS head of criminal investigation claims, as the U.S. initiates a 47-count indictment in federal court charging 14 FIFA officials with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.  The charges stem from an alleged $150 million in bribes received by FIFA officials, as well as accepting kickbacks in return for granting lucrative media and marketing rights.

The most serious are the racketeering charges, which allege that the officials turned soccer “into a criminal enterprise,” according to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who spoke to reporters in New York. A conviction could command a sentence of up to 20 years.

“The idea of being shocked about bribery and racketeering at FIFA is like being shocked about jumping into a pool and finding yourself wet,” said Dave Zirin, sports editor at The Nation magazine.

“What makes this particularly different is the fact that this time it looks like the charges have real teeth. I mean, coming from the U.S. Department of Justice, that’s a first. That’s never happened before,” he said.

Well, I don’t know much about soccer, but ouch.

THE LINK BETWEEN antibiotic overuse and c. dificile infection.

YEP, IT’S A RACKET ALRIGHT: Freedom Watch files racketeering (RICO) lawsuit against the Clinton Foundation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.  The lawsuit includes a request to seize and conduct a forensics evaluation of the Clinton’s private email server. I really admire the chutzpah of Freedom Watch and Larry Klayman. They know how to fight.

I LIKE HER. SHE FIGHTS. Fiorina v. Clinton in South Carolina: Fiorina Launches #AskHillary.

GOOD FOR HIM-CONGRESS NEEDS TO ASSERT ITS MUSCLE MORE:  Ted Cruz, chair of the Senate Judiciary Oversight subcommittee, is threatening to subpoena Treasury officials to testify about their rulemaking process for Obamacare subsidies. Obama Administration officials have balked at testifying, citing the ongoing Supreme Court litigation in King v. Burwell, but Cruz (aptly) is having none of it.

Congress needs to issue more subpoenas to perform its oversight function appropriately.  And equally important, Congress needs to be prepared to enforce such subpoenas, including civil enforcement, criminal contempt, or even arrest and detention by the Sergeant-at-Arms (which hasn’t been used in years, but is still possible).

OF COURSE THEY ARE:  The Taliban 5– released from Gitmo in exchange for deserter Bowe Bergdahl–will be free to travel as soon as Monday. The US agreement with host country Qatar restricting their movement expires June 1.  Great move, Sparky Obama!

I’LL BE ON FOX BUSINESS’S KENNEDY NATION TONIGHT IN THE 10PM ET SLOT, talking about higher education costs and administrative bloat.

FIRST LISA LOEB, NOW THIS: I Was a Proud Non-Breeder. Then I Changed My Mind. “It’s embarrassing to be such a cliché, to give so many people a chance to say, ‘I told you so.’ (And some people, I’ve learned, will say those actual words.) I fear I’ve let down other women who disavow children and who, because of my example, might face an extra smidge of condescending doubt. Worse, if I’m honest, when I hear younger women confidently describe how they’ll feel when they’re older, sometimes I feel a pinch of such condescension myself. Not because I think they’ll all necessarily want kids, or that they should have them, but because one tricky thing about your 20s is the need to make decisions for a future self whose desires are unknowable.” Actually it’s not entirely unknowable, or people wouldn’t be saying “I told you so.”

CHIMPANZEES GET THEIR DAY IN COURT: Two research chimps at Stony Brook University got a hearing in a NY State court today, where their lawyers (for the Nonhuman Rights Project) argued that they are entitled to habeas corpus.  I’ve written about this case before.

Its lawyers said that personhood rights have already been applied to corporations, rivers and ships. If chimps are also eligible, they are then eligible for the writ of habeas corpus, which gives those who believe they are unlawfully detained or imprisoned the right to appear in court.

During the hearing, Nonhuman Rights Project’s president and animal-rights lawyerSteven Wise drew parallels to past court cases over the rights of slaves, prisoners and Native Americans.

Assistant Attorney General Christopher Coulston said these cases didn’t apply.

“There is simply no precedent anywhere of a nonhuman animal receiving the kinds of rights they’re talking about,” Mr. Coulston said.

But there is an understanding that law evolves, said New York Supreme Court JusticeBarbara Jaffe, based on scientific discoveries and social mores.

“Witness marital rights,” she said. “Isn’t it incumbent upon the judiciary to at least consider whether a class of beings may be granted a right or something short of a right, under the habeas statute?”

In a brief filed Friday, the attorney general’s office wrote that current animal-rights laws are sufficient, and to grant chimps additional rights was a slippery slope.

To extend the writ of habeas corpus “could set a precedent for the release of other animals held in captivity, whether housed at a zoo, in an educational institution, on a farm, or owned as a domesticated pet,” the brief reads.

It’s a slippery slope indeed, but that’s not the primary reason why this argument needs to be summarily rejected.  Humans are humans, and the law of  humans does not apply to nonhumans.  Period.  Any other approach leads to unprincipled line drawing among different animal species.  Why chimps but not dolphins or elephants?  What about cows, dogs, ants or roaches?  If humans wish to confer special statutory protections to certain animals–such as domesticated pets–that is perfectly appropriate.  But to apply a law that protects human beings–such as habeas corpus–to animals is the height of lunacy.

CHRIS CILIZZA: The Clintons’ Finances Are Way Too Complex For The Average Person To Understand.

The AP reported late Monday that Bill Clinton has a limited liability corporation — called WJC, LLC — that serves as a “pass through” entity designed to “channel payments to the former president.”

If you have no idea what the heck the sentence above means, you are not alone. And therein lies the problem for Hillary Clinton as she seeks to sell herself as the voice of everyday Americans in her bid for the White House in 2016. . . .

But, whether or not she is Romney 2.0, the reality is that the amount of money coming into the Clinton coffers ($25 million from speaking fees alone since the start of 2014) coupled with this WJC, LLC — not to mention the regularly revised donor policies of the Clinton Foundation — badly complicate Hillary’s pitch that she is able to understand regular folks.

Selling Clinton as in touch with “everyday Americans” was always going to be next-to-impossible. And revelations like this one about a “pass through” company to handle money being paid to her husband prove why. No family with a former president and a future presidential nominee in it are “regular” — in their life experiences, resumes or personal finances. No family with an income in the 10s of millions of dollars and setup like the one Bill Clinton has at WJC, LLC, are just like the rest of us. They just aren’t.

The more that idea gets reinforced to the casual voter — and stories like WJC, LLC, do just that — the harder it will be for Clinton to shake the image that what she says publicly doesn’t jibe with how she and her husband conduct their own business.

Yeah, they’re also crooks. This reinforces that, too.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Pentagon: Live anthrax inadvertently distributed by Army laboratory.

LIST: 25 Forthcoming Cars Worth Waiting For, 2016-2019.

ITS’ A VERY DANGEROUS WAR, AND IT’S REAL:  Michael Grunwald:  Inside the War on Coal.  It’s a long, annoyingly pro-”green” piece, but the very end is telling:

There will be no formal surrender in the war on coal, no battleship treaty to mark the end. But Beyond Coal’s leaders believe they can finish most of their work setting the U.S. electric sector on a greener path over the next five years. The next phase of the war on carbon would be to try to electrify everything else—cars and trains that use oil-derived gasoline and diesel, as well as homes and businesses that rely on natural gas and heating oil. Nilles hopes power companies like OG&E and DTE that Beyond Coal has spent the last decade fighting with—but then cutting deals with—can become allies in Phase Two. And allies will be vital, because if King Coal seems like a rich and powerful enemy, it’s a pushover compared to Big Oil.

“Once we’ve taken out coal, we’ll need to take on oil, and who better to help than our new friends in the utility sector who can make money from electrification?” Nilles says with a grin. “It’s a long fight. This is how we win.”

Yep–oil is next. They won’t be happy until we all drive Priuses.

I ASSUME SO:  Could hackers bring down an airplane?

The officials from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) were not at all happy about what they were hearing. An unshaven 32-year-old from Spain, his hair pulled back in a ponytail, was talking about cockpit computers and their weaknesses and security loopholes. Specifically, he was telling the EASA officials how he had managed to buy original parts from aviation suppliers on Ebay for just a few hundred dollars. His goal was to simulate the data exchange between current passenger-jet models and air-traffic controllers on the ground in order to search for possible backdoors. His search was successful. Very successful.

The salient question is:  What are airlines doing to reduce this vulnerability?

GOOD: Mobile Call Quality Gets a Long-Overdue Upgrade: Wireless companies and a few ambitious startups are racing to make your cell-phone calls better.

Why, exactly, do cell-phone calls often sound crappy? Jerry Gibson, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who studies wireless networks, says that at the network level there are a number of reasons. You simply might not have good signal reception, and even if you do, the base station closest to you is probably considering all kinds of factors—the load on the cell site, the time of day, and network use projections—in order to decide how to allocate bandwidth for your call.

To improve sound quality, wireless carriers have been upgrading their networks to support technologies often referred to as HD voice or wideband audio. While old telephone and cell-phone networks cut out some of the high and low frequencies in voice calls, wideband audio includes a wider range of frequencies to make calls sound better, letting you hear more high and low tones. In the United States, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile use VoLTE, or voice over LTE, to send audio atop their fast LTE networks. Sprint currently offers advanced voice service over its 3G network, though Ron Marquardt, Sprint’s vice president of technology innovation and architecture, says a move to VoLTE is inevitable.

Faster, please.

THE DEBLASIO EFFECT: You’re 45 percent more likely to be murdered in deBlasio’s Manhattan.

“City Hall better wake up soon,” a police source said. “When murders and shootings go up in Manhattan, everyone is affected,’’ he said, pointing out that crime impacts business, tourism and the city’s economy as a whole.

He said there are a variety of reasons, from the plummeting number of “stop-and-frisks’’ to the fact that the city needs more officers. “The cops’ hands are tied,’’ he said.

It’s regressing back to the Ed Koch/David Dinkins days.

TALK TALK: Here’s how badly we’re getting ripped off by our mobile phone providers.

AUSTIN BAY: Counter ISIL’s Truck Bombs with Real Close Air Support.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: 8 Essential Tips To Keep Your Phone’s Battery Healthy.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Angry Faculty Savage New York University. “A real estate development/management business with a predatory higher-education side venture.”

Ouch.

MICHELLE OBAMA TO GRADUATES:  At Oberlin College’s commencement, she advises graduates to “shape the revolutions of your times.” She also told them:

Here at Oberlin, most of the time you’re probably surrounded by folks who share your beliefs. But out in the real world, there are plenty of people who think very differently than you do, and they hold their opinions just as passionately. So if you want to change their minds, if you want to work with them to move this country forward, you can’t just shut them out. You have to persuade them, and you have to compromise with them.

Mrs. Obama’s disconcerting reference to “revolutions” aside, the sentiment she articulates of surrounding oneself with those who think differently is laudable, as is “compromis[ing] with them.”  But notice that her focus is on “chang[ing] their minds” and “persuad[ing] them” so that you can “work with them to move this country forward.”  The problem she and her husband have had over the last 6+ years is that they don’t seem to grasp the value of actual compromise– as in, you win some, you lose some.  Their idea of “compromise” is persuading, cajoling or pressuring others to change their minds.  Newsflash: that isn’t compromise.

FIRST THAT BOGUS GAY-MARRIAGE STUDY, now this Alice Goffman beat-down by Steven Lubet, in which he both suggests that her research is fraudulent and notes that she — seemingly without realizing it — admits to committing a felony in the course of conducting it.

I do not know if Goffman’s editors and dissertation committee held her to a journalist’s standard of fact checking. There is no footnote for the hospital incident in On the Run, and her dissertation is not available from the Princeton library. Alas, it is now too late to obtain any additional documentation, because Goffman shredded all of her field notes and disposed of her hard drive.

Who does she think she is? Hillary? But the felony part is worse — it’s conspiracy to commit murder.

A few days after the funeral, “the hunt was on to find the man who had killed Chuck,” whom the 6th Street Boys believed they could identify. Guns in hand, they drove around the city, looking for revenge. This time, Goffman did not merely take notes – on several nights, she volunteered to do the driving. . . .

Taking Goffman’s narrative at face value, one would have to conclude that her actions – driving around with an armed man, looking for somebody to kill – constituted conspiracy to commit murder under Pennsylvania law. In the language of the applicable statute, she agreed to aid another person “in the planning or commission” of a crime – in this case, murder. As with other “inchoate” crimes, the offense of conspiracy is completed simply by the agreement itself and the subsequent commission of a single “overt act” in furtherance of the crime, such as voluntarily driving the getaway car.

I sent the relevant paragraphs from On the Run to four current or former prosecutors with experience in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. Their unanimous opinion was that Goffman had committed a felony. A former prosecutor from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office was typical of the group. “She’s flat out confessed to conspiring to commit murder and could be charged and convicted based on this account right now,” he said.

This seems a rather serious professional breach. Related: “The professor and the thug, entirely different lives, separated by the thinnest of margins.”

It’s a bad week for social science.

IN THE MAIL: From Michelle Malkin, Who Built That: Awe-Inspiring Stories of American Tinkerpreneurs.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 748.

WHITER THAN A VOX EDITORIAL BOARD MEETING. WHITER THAN A NATION FUNDRAISING CRUISE. WHITER THAN AN MSNBC ANCHORS’ MEETING. WHITER THAN A HOWARD DEAN MEETUP. Analysis: Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Events Are Nearly All-White…

ASHE SCHOW: Colleges between a rock and a hard place on campus sexual assault.

College campuses have it rough these days. It’s easy to blame them for the current state of lawsuits stemming from sexual assault complaints, but a lot of the blame should be placed on the federal government.

It was the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights that published the “Dear Colleague” letter that has been used by colleges to institute pseudo-court systems designed to make it easy to expel accused students. For their part, the colleges aren’t exactly happy about this new world.

“A university is not a court of law and the same rules that apply in criminal cases do not apply to student conduct proceedings,” said a spokesman for James Madison University. “No matter how the proceedings are handled, at least one of the parties will likely be unhappy with the results and may choose to go to federal court.” . . .

The universities are being forced into this untenable position. Nancy Gertner, a feminist and former federal judge, summed up the current culture surrounding campus sexual assault thusly: “If you find for the man, you’re bound to be criticized. If you find for the woman, you are not.”

Josh Engel, an attorney in Ohio who has been taking on cases from accused students, described this sentiment last year.

“All the incentives for the school are lined up at the moment to encourage them to throw kids out. Schools do not get any credit from the Department of Education because they provide adequate or more-than-adequate due process,” Engel told the Washington Examiner. “All the Department seems to be concerned about these days is results, which is, ‘how many kids have you disciplined?’”

And as far as the Department of Education goes, what is considered acceptable behavior and what constitutes a university response are constantly changing.

What’s sad is the unwillingness of universities to file suit and oppose the Department of Education here. The higher education establishment has made clear that it cares more about money than about fairness.

WALKER SUGGESTS HE’LL SKIP FLORIDA GOP PRIMARY:   ”If we chose to get in, I don’t think there’s a state out there we wouldn’t play in, other than maybe Florida, where Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, in some of the polls, are essentially tied,” Walker told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham.  It is an incredibly expensive State, but sitting out a race entirely seems wimpy to me.

YOU SPELLED “COURT JESTER” WRONG: Why Joe Biden Is (Almost) King Of The Internet.

I THINK IT’S A SMART GOP MOVE:  A half-dozen GOP Senators have signed onto a bill sponsored by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) that would require drug companies that sell contraceptives to file an OTC (over-the-counter) request with the FDA.  It’s a smart move to battle the inane #waronwomen accusation incessantly hurled at the GOP.  But guess who opposes this move?

The Colorado Republican’s push to make birth control available over-the-counter is not winning him more allies among women’s reproductive health groups, however.

Groups like Planned Parenthood have opposed the idea, which they argue could drive up contraception prices.

The group has pointed to ObamaCare’s contraception mandate — requiring insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved forms of birth control — and said that insurers may no longer cover the medication if it’s not prescribed by a doctor.

So let me get this straight: A coalition of GOP Senators is trying to make contraceptives more readily available to women by making them OTC, but liberal/progressive groups like Planned Parenthood oppose the idea, simply because women might actually have to pay for their contraceptives rather than get them free?  Besides, I’m not convinced that merely making contraceptives OTC would alter Obamacare’s mandate that they be provided for free.  Seems to me Planned Parenthood’s opposition is purely ideological: They can’t stand the idea that their #waronwomen narrative against Republicans could be proven patently false. Plus, far fewer women (especially young women) will need to go to Planned Parenthood if they can just go to the local drugstore and obtain contraceptives.  That would leave Planned Parenthood mostly in the business of STD testing, pregnancy testing and abortions.

KIRSTEN POWERS: Stop Dropping The “Bigot Bomb.”

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THE ANSWER IS THAT COLLEGE ISN’T FOR EVERYONE:  A part-time English instructor at the University of Nevada, Brittany Bronson, has an oped in the New York Times lamenting the problem of “underemployment” of her students (and herself).

Much ink has been spilled over how choosing the right major is crucial to avoiding underemployment. Talk to sociology majors graduating this month; I doubt they’re expecting to go straight into high-paying jobs. And it’s no secret that graduates of elite universities, whether they studied astrophysics or English, have better career trajectories than those from lower-tier schools.

But when it comes to students like mine, pursuing a humanities degree or maxing out student loans for the best available education are not options. They don’t always have the luxury to prioritize the intellectual experiences offered on a college campus over the monetary ones that demand their attention away from it. Their choices are shaped by immediate economic concerns more than their hoped-for, dreamed-of careers. . . .

For today’s college graduates, the path to underemployment begins early, and those with certain levels of financial privilege will have an easier time avoiding it. Despite my students’ practical choices of less expensive educational paths, they are still some of the most likely to struggle. As you learn quickly here in Vegas, the game isn’t rigged, but the odds don’t work in your favor.

Yeah, life sucks sometimes.  Wealthy kids have more options than poor kids.  And it’s hard to get a job, particularly in a crappy economy, when your major is art history.  But does Ms. Bronson ever consider that either she or her students would have been better served by going to a trade school for high-demand, relatively high paying jobs such as plumber, electrician or carpenter? Apparently not.  College isn’t for everyone, and most of today’s college students–and society as a whole–would be better served if they stopped pretending to be interested in college and pursued a needed trade.

ELIZABETH WARREN’S HOUSE-FLIPPING PAST: Before the crash that she blamed on speculators, Senator Elizabeth Warren made a bundle by flipping houses. Senator Hypocrisy.

ANNALS OF OUR RULING CLASS: The Great 2014 Cashout: Landrieu lands at oil-rich lobbying firm.

Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu was a centrist Democratic senator, and so of course she is now working at a lobbying firm. She was also very friendly to the oil industry, and so it’s unsurprising she cashed out to Van Ness Feldman, a firm heavy in the oil and gas industry. . . .

Like Dicks, Landrieu was an appropriator. Landrieu was also chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Van Ness Feldman’s client list includes energy companies American Electric Power, Warren Buffett’s Pacificorp, Danaher, the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. and utility Puget Equico, among others. . . .

Through the revolving door, Landrieu follows her classmates Saxby Chambliss (DLA Piper), Mark Pryor (Venable), Carl Levin (Hongman) and Mark Begich (Brownstein Hyatt). Did I miss anyone?

More arguments for my revolving door surtax. This would be a good campaign issue for an enterprising Presidential candidate.

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HOPE AND CHANGE: Roll Call on Obama’s Desperation To Save The Patriot Act. “President Barack Obama reupped his push Tuesday for the Senate to pass the USA Freedom Act by 12 a.m. Monday to avoid the Patriot Act’s surveillance authorities from going dark. There’s just one problem with that. Doing so will almost certainly require the unanimous consent of all 100 senators.”

Huh. I’m old enough to remember when the Patriot Act was a nefarious scheme foisted on the nation by Evil Republicans, that we needed a Democratic President to overturn.

BECAUSE THEY’RE SMART:  Naomi Schaeffer Riley on “Why Powerful Men Now Hide Behind Open Doors.

But this idea that it doesn’t look right for a male boss to be alone with a female employee sounds like it comes straight out of Victorian England. And it’s probably just an excuse.

More likely the congressmen, like the professors I’ve spoken to, don’t want to leave themselves open to claims of sexual harassment and the lawsuits that might result.

Feminists have managed to create an employment atmosphere where men walk around on pins and needles wondering when something they say might be taken out of context or when a woman might decide to ruin a man’s career with a false accusation.

Surely there are plenty of male bosses guilty of boorish behavior. But there are also plenty of women who believe that a sexist joke or even a compliment on one’s outfit is enough to create a “hostile work environment.”

And so rather than engaging in a “he-said, she-said” deposition, many bosses would rather make sure they have witnesses to every interaction.

She’s absolutely right.  When I worked on the Hill back in the late 80s/early 90s, I would spend hours alone, doors closed, with the male Congressmen for whom I worked, sometimes on weekends. I learned a tremendous amount during those hours, and I hate to think that young women these days cannot get the same one-on-one interaction with male bosses/professors because of concerns over sexual harassment claims. But I certainly understand the concern and if I were male, I would probably avoid one-on-one, closed door interaction with all female colleagues except for my most senior and trusted aides.  #waronwomen

THE HILL: Washington is ready to spend.

Washington wants to spend more.

Just four years ago, the nation’s rapidly expanding debt was seen as Washington’s No. 1 crisis.

When House Republicans took the majority in 2011, they made it their overarching mission to rein in spending. Together with the White House, they agreed to limit spending for the next decade by the use of budget caps.

Now those spending ceilings are unpopular with members of both parties.

Pressure to break them is coming from all sides, and building.

“We’re living with just really low numbers without any wiggle room, any flexibility,” Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), one appropriations subcommittee chairwoman, told The Hill.

You know, I’m unpersuaded.

JEFF JACOBY: Let millionaire ex-presidents pay for themselves. “For all their poor-mouthing about being ‘dead broke’ and needing to ‘pay our bills,’ the Clintons’ income puts them well within the top one-tenth of 1 percent of all Americans. So why, pray, should taxpayers be giving Bill Clinton an allowance that amounts to another million dollars a year? Indeed, considering that every living past president is a multimillionaire, why should taxpayers have to fund an allowance for any of them?”

WELL, YES: The reclassification of ‘poverty’ was a con-trick by the Left: Of course some people are in genuine need, but it is nothing compared to previous generations – who would kill to be poor in today’s society.

The word “poverty” is bandied about as never before. Labour politicians, columnists for The Guardian and The Independent, representatives of charities such as Oxfam, use the term repeatedly, suggesting that poverty in Britain is a major and even a growing problem. Very rarely does anyone on radio or television dare challenge this idea. But what do we mean by the word “poverty” today? And how does our idea of poverty compare with that of the past?

Not at all, is the answer.

May 26, 2015

ROGER KIMBALL: Kierkegaard and Trigger Warnings.