May 26, 2015

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: To Fix Higher Ed, Fire A Lot Of Administrators.

MOE LANE: The Fall Of Mozilla, Continued.

ASHE SCHOW: Memorializing Mattress Girl.

Now that her 15 minutes of fame are up, what is to become of “Mattress Girl,” the Columbia University student who became famous after accusing a man of rape?

Many have wondered whether she will be able to find work after her “performance” of carrying her mattress around campus is over. I have no doubt she will, even if she was a visual arts major.

Emma Sulkowicz’s parents were prominent New York psychiatrists, she attended the best schools growing up and gained worldwide attention in school. How could she not find a job?

She’s already been speaking with sexual assault awareness groups, even appearing in the film “The Hunting Ground.” Her degree is probably superfluous at this point.

Perhaps she’ll continue working with victim’s advocacy groups or become a professor at a university. Maybe she’ll make a living through art. Maybe she’ll even be able to live off of selling the mattress project.

It hardly matters — she’ll always be a hero to those who think we should believe every accusation of rape, even when the evidence suggests otherwise.

The feminist lynch mobs, in other words.

DAMN THE TORPEDOES?:  An oped in the WSJ today by former Navy Secretary John Lehman excoriates President Obama’s decision to nominate Admiral John Richardson to the post of chief of naval operations, thus moving him out of his current position as director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (NNPP):

Working with the bipartisan leadership of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, the Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the secretary of energy, we constructed  . . . a position having executive power to prevent meddling from the layers of bureaucracy that were creating chaos in most defense programs. Importantly, we gave the new incumbent [director of NNPP] complete control of the selection and training of personnel. To ensure that such a powerful executive stayed long enough to execute programs and ensure accountability, a nonrenewable term of eight years was established.

That successful effort was put into an executive order by President Reagan that has worked effectively for 34 years. . . . [The NNPP has] been protected from the 970,000 Pentagon bureaucrats whose paralyzing bloat has made a hash of most Army, Navy and Air Force weapon programs. The reason for Navy nuclear success is because there has always been one strong experienced person in charge and accountable, standing like a stone wall against the bureaucratic onslaught.

But by far the most important benefit from this unique arrangement is the fact that there hasn’t been a single nuclear accident in the seven decades that the U.S. Navy has operated hundreds of nuclear submarines, carriers and surface combatants.

President Obama’s nomination of a current director of the Navy’s nuclear program to be the next chief of Naval Operations puts this unique record at risk. If Adm. Richardson leaves the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, which he has headed for less than two years, all that was accomplished by the executive order will be swept aside. The job will become one more rung up the career ladder, a perch for ambitious admirals to use to interact with and please the politicians who have the power to elevate them to more glamorous positions.

Worst of all, if the job is seen as a steppingstone, a fraying of the zero-defects culture may begin and the possibility of a nuclear accident within the U.S. Navy may increase.

Yikes.

AMY ALKON: Women Now Demanding To Be Treated As Eggshells, Not Equals.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Security lapses draw heat on Capitol Police.

The Capitol Police are taking heavy fire from members of Congress over major security breaches that placed the lawmakers and their staffs at risk.

The law enforcement agency charged with securing the U.S. Capitol building is embroiled in controversy after a series of recent apparent security lapses.

Chief among them are a string of embarrassing cases involving Capitol Police officers who forgot their guns in public bathrooms.

Remember, only trained law enforcement officers can be trusted with firearms.

UNEXPECTEDLY! Sticker Shock for Some Obamacare Customers. “So the proposed 2016 Obamacare rates have been filed in many states, and in many states, the numbers are eye-popping. Market leaders are requesting double-digit increases in a lot of places. Some of the biggest are really double-digit: 51 percent in New Mexico, 36 percent in Tennessee, 30 percent in Maryland, 25 percent in Oregon. The reason? They say that with a full year of claims data under their belt for the first time since Obamacare went into effect, they’re finding the insurance pool was considerably older and sicker than expected.”

Gee, that’s bad luck.

WELL, WILSONIAN NATIONALISM ISN’T LOOKING SO HOT LATELY: Robert Kaplan: It’s Time to Bring Imperialism Back to the Middle East. Empire may have fallen out of fashion, but history shows that the only other option is the kind of chaos we see today. Of course, bringing imperialism back to the Middle East is precisely what Putin, and Iran, are trying to do.

FEEL THE EXCITEMENT: George Pataki to announce presidential bid Thursday.

VIRGINIA POSTREL: ‘CSI,’ R.I.P. “It was all a fantasy, of course. No police department has the resources of the ‘CSI’ crime lab, nor is real-world forensic analysis as quick, certain and without prejudice as the show’s glamorous version might have us believe.”

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BOB WOODWARD: Bush Didn’t Lie About WMD, And Obama Sure Screwed Up Iraq In 2011.

[Y]ou certainly can make a persuasive argument it was a mistake. But there is a time that line going along that Bush and the other people lied about this. I spent 18 months looking at how Bush decided to invade Iraq. And lots of mistakes, but it was Bush telling George Tenet, the CIA director, don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD. And he was the one who was skeptical. And if you try to summarize why we went into Iraq, it was momentum. The war plan kept getting better and easier, and finally at the end, people were saying, hey, look, it will only take a week or two. And early on it looked like it was going to take a year or 18 months. And so Bush pulled the trigger. A mistake certainly can be argued, and there is an abundance of evidence. But there was no lying in this that I could find.

Plus:

Woodward was also asked if it was a mistake to withdraw in 2011. Wallace points out that Obama has said that he tried to negotiate a status of forces agreement but did not succeed, but “A lot of people think he really didn’t want to keep any troops there.” Woodward agrees that Obama didn’t want to keep troops there and elaborates:

Look, Obama does not like war. But as you look back on this, the argument from the military was, let’s keep 10,000, 15,000 troops there as an insurance policy. And we all know insurance policies make sense. We have 30,000 troops or more in South Korea still 65 years or so after the war. When you are a superpower, you have to buy these insurance policies. And he didn’t in this case. I don’t think you can say everything is because of that decision, but clearly a factor.

We had some woeful laughs about the insurance policies metaphor. Everyone knows they make sense, but it’s still hard to get people to buy them. They want to think things might just work out, so why pay for the insurance? It’s the old “young invincibles” problem that underlies Obamcare.

Obama blew it in Iraq, which is in chaos, and in Syria, which is in chaos, and in Libya, which is in chaos. A little history:


As late as 2010, things were going so well in Iraq that Obama and Biden were bragging. Now, after Obama’s politically-motivated pullout and disengagement, the whole thing’s fallen apart. This is near-criminal neglect and incompetence, and an awful lot of people will pay a steep price for the Obama Administration’s fecklessness.

Related: National Journal: The World Will Blame Obama If Iraq Falls.

Related: What Kind Of Iraq Did Obama Inherit?

Plus, I’m just going to keep running this video of what the Democrats, including Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, were saying on Iraq before the invasion:

Because I expect a lot of revisionist history over the next few months.

Plus: 2008 Flashback: Obama Says Preventing Genocide Not A Reason To Stay In Iraq. He was warned. He didn’t care.

And who can forget this?

Yes, I keep repeating this stuff. Because it bears repeating. In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in wars of choice without Congressional authorization, and proceeded to hand victories to the Islamists. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him. Whenever you see anyone in the media bringing up 2003, you will know that they are serving as palace guard, not as press.

ROGER SIMON: Jeb Should Withdraw to Save the Country from Hillary.

Jeb Bush should withdraw from the presidential contest of 2016. He should do so soon to become a true hero to our country that sorely needs one. And he should accompany his withdrawal with a detailed explanation of his reasons. It is not just because his mother Barbara Bush was correct in her original assessment that the United States does not any more Bushes or Clintons. It is far more.

The Democratic Party looks determined to nominate a woman for president that a majority of the country thinks a liar. A recent poll from NBC and the Wall Street Journal found a paltry 25% of Americans believe Hillary Clinton to be honest. And this is before Mrs. Clinton assumes office. Who knows what would happen thereafter when so many presidents find themselves in crisis situations demanding courage and integrity?

If Mrs. Clinton were to win the presidency, she would do so under a cloud of distrust unprecedented in any of our lifetimes. She would have no honeymoon period and would not deserve one. And this would be happening at a moment in history when the entire world is on a knife edge because of the rise of radical Islam and ISIS throughout the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, Latin America and, increasingly, Europe, not to mention having to monitor the controversial nuclear deal with Iran, if and when such a thing is signed.

More than ever, we would need a man or woman in the White House we could trust — yet so many of us wouldn’t. America would be split asunder at the beginning of a Hillary presidency as never before since the Civil War. No other Democratic candidate would create such a rift. If that sounds like an exaggeration, I assure you it is not.

Jeb Bush is eminently positioned to prevent this from happening. He can sacrifice his own presidential ambitions for the good of the country. In the process he would be free to detail his reasons, free to be specific about the lies and evasions surrounding Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, the erased emails and missing server, the Benghazi prevarications, the ill-conceived and disastrous war in Libya, the dizzying corruption of the Clinton Foundation and then the inability to face the truth when confronted by her own myriad dishonesties, the quasi-fascistic silence of her political campaign during which she avoids substantive questions whenever possible.

Read the whole thing. Especially if you’re Jeb. Or one of his donors.

May 25, 2015

UH HUH: Valdosta State Student Who Stomped US Flag Wants To Kill All White People.

And this remains evergreen, alas:

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 9.59.38 PM

THE WITCH HUNT ENDS, THE HYSTERIA MOVES ON, BUT THE HARM REMAINS: Couple convicted of child abuse during satanic childcare hysteria still not exonerated.

A MEMORIAL DAY PLUG FOR Hampton Sides’ Ghost Soldiers. It’s a great book.

FRONTIERS OF FEMINISM: Germaine Greer Thinks Elton John’s Adoption Degrades Motherhood. “Sir Elton John and his ‘wife’ David Furnish have entered on the birth certificate of their two sons that David Furnish is the mother. I’m sorry. That will give you an idea of how the concept of motherhood has emptied out. It’s gone. It’s been deconstructed.”

I DON’T THINK THAT PEOPLE WILL PAY ME $5000-$15000 FOR A”SPONSORED” INSTAGRAM POST. But if I’m wrong, let me know and I’ll set up an Instagram account posthaste. . . .

TIME: 5 Secret Amazon Prime Perks You Don’t Know About. Actually, most InstaPundit readers probably do. But you can try a 30-day free trial of Prime if you like, though I warn you, you probably won’t go back if you do.

DAMNED EITHER WAY:  Investor’s Business Daily:  Marco Rubio Buys a Refrigerator.  So apparently, to be acceptable to the liberal/progressive mainstream media, politicians cannot be too rich (just ask Mitt Romney), or too middle class, as Marco Rubio appears to be.  But there’s always the Clinton Exception, in which wealth is disregarded by mainstream media because it’s, you know, the product of good deeds, such as “helping” Haiti, battling global warming climate change, assisting individuals with AIDS, and so on.

BETWEEN THIS AND THE ESTROGENS IN WATER FROM BIRTH CONTROL PILLS, WOMEN’S PRODUCTS ARE DOING A LOT OF ENVIRONMENTAL HARM: Fighting Pollution From Microbeads Used in Soaps and Creams.

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TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE: Model’s rape claim falls apart after bogus pregnancy charge. DNA makes a difference.

The two chatted over champagne about a potential photo shoot and then went back to his condo in a nearby luxury high-rise.

About 45 minutes later, Riabenkova told a doorman she had been raped by the photographer and asked him to call 911, said his lawyer, Tom Kenniff.

Police arrested the lensman, and he spent a night behind bars. Prosecutors soon downgraded the charge to sexual misconduct because they found holes in her story and her rape kit tested inconclusive, Kenniff said.

Then, in January 2015, Riabenkova made a shocking claim — telling prosecutors she was impregnated during the alleged rape and wanted an abortion.

The DA’s Office told the clinic to preserve the biological material, and Kenniff immediately asked for a DNA test.

The results proved his client was not the father, and on May 15 the case was thrown out and sealed.

Riabenkova, 22, refused to talk to a Post reporter on Friday at her swanky Flatiron building, saying through a doorman that she was “sick.”

Well, that seems likely. I like it that the victim is thinking of suing her. He should.

PERHAPS, I SHOULD APPLY TO BE A VISITING PROFESSOR: UCCI gets international accreditation.

A LOOK AT THE 2017 Ford GT. “The 2017 GT is a hand-built carbon thundersled expected to cost $400,000. We can’t yet drive it, but Ford recently offered us time with a prototype and a camera.” It’s pretty.

BECAUSE WE JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND HER SENSE OF HUMOR:  Remember the Goldsmiths, University of London “diversity” officer, Bahar Mustafa, who held a meeting and requested white men not to attend?  I wrote about the incident here and here.  Now, a writer at Slate, Amanda Hess, attempts to excuse Ms. Mustafa’s reprehensible behavior as “ironic misandry“:

Mustafa is not the first to have her reputation raked across the Web on account of some lousy tweets. But she may be the first to crumble over a case of ironic misandry, a tongue-in-cheek form of discourse favored by the young feminist Internet natives. You may have spied them on Twitter or Tumblr, working on their “KILL ALL MEN” cross-stitch or sipping from a mug labeled “MALE TEARS.” Ironic misandrists say they’re poking fun at long-standing stereotypes about militant feminist man-haters. That seems to fit Mustafa’s tweets. In a statement to Goldsmiths students, she owned up to using the hashtags, calling them “in-jokes” between herself and other members of “the queer feminist community.” If some people failed to get the joke, well, that was kind of the point.

Oh, I get it now–ha ha!  That is soooooooo funny– calling to “kill all men” and reveling in “male tears”!  I assume, then, it’s equally okay for a university official to engage in “ironic misogyny” and joke about killing all women and reveling in their tears?  Ha ha, that would be soooooo funny, too!  I mean, after all, it would be an “inside” joke among male rights proponents, right?  And if some people–such as, for example, women–failed to “get the joke,” then that would be “kind of the point.”

And while we’re at it, how about that ever-funny “ironic racism,” where people talk about killing white “crackkkas” and other side-splitting comments, as a recent Valdosta State student did? After all, it’s just an “inside joke” about white oppression, right?

LMAO!  I’m glad to know these radical lefties have such a robust sense of humor– I was worried about them taking themselves too seriously for awhile.

WHEN HIGH TECH/HIGH TOUCH IS TOO MUCH: Thanks, OpenTable, But I Like Being an Anonymous Diner.

AT AMAZON, deals galore at the Memorial Day Savings Event.

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UPDATE: First link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!

PERSONALLY, I BLAME GLOBAL WARMING: 2015 Indianapolis 500: Why Have Cars Suddenly Started Going Airborne?

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Expert: U.S. Must End ‘Addiction’ to Bachelor’s Degrees.

ART GARFUNKEL ON PAUL SIMON. You know, Simon was the bigger talent, but — as with John Fogerty post CCR — none of his solo work compared to what he did with Garfunkel.

DAVID BARON, CALL YOUR OFFICE: 3-Year-Old Girl Attacked by Coyote While Walking With Parents in Irvine. “A 3-year-old girl was attacked by a coyote while walking with her parents in Silverado Park in Irvine on Friday evening. The incident occurred around 5:50 p.m. near the intersection of Equinox and Silverado in Irvine, according to Farrah Emami with the Irvine Police Department. Girl suffered superficial wounds, and was treated at a local hospital and released. Officials were still searching the neighborhood for the coyote.”

You know, a Ruger LCP will take care of those coyotes just fine. Ask Rick Perry. It’s a great little gun for pocket carry. I like the Crimson Trace laser sight with that, and I recommend you put a couple hundred rounds through it for break-in.

ROGER KIMBALL: Memorial Day Notes.

IN THE MAIL: From John Ringo, Hell’s Faire (Posleen War Series #3).

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 746.

HUH. I WAS EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: Boeing Unveils Amazing, Slightly Terrifying New Electromagnetic Pulse Weapon.

The weapon in question: Boeing’s “CHAMP,” short for Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project. It’s essentially the old nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapon that we used to worry so much about — but without the nuclear part. CHAMP carries a small generator that emits microwaves to fry electronics with pinpoint accuracy. It targets not nations or cities but individual buildings, blacking out their electronics rather than blowing up physical targets (or people).

What makes CHAMP even more interesting is that, unlike a nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapon, which fires once, blacking out entire nation-states, CHAMP can fire multiple times, pinpointing and blacking out only essential targets. This would permit, for example, taking down radar defenses in a hostile state, while saving the electrical grid that supports the civilian population. In a 2012 test flight in Utah, a single CHAMP was reported to have blacked out seven separate targets in succession, in one single mission.

We keep getting better at selective application of force, while our opponents keep getting less selective.

THEY SAID IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, I’D BE VOTING FOR INCREASED RACIAL TENSION, AND THEY WERE RIGHT!: Valdosta State Student Who Stomped on US Flag Wants to Kill All White People:

Eric Sheppard, the Valdosta State University student who was confronted last month by an Air Force veteran after he stomped on the American flag, has issued a violent 4,700-word anti-white rant in which he threatened to “annihilate those who come after me.”

Sheppard is wanted by police after they found a gun in his backpack days after the flag-stomping demonstration. In his lengthy letter, submitted to The Valdosta Daily Times this week, Sheppard said he will not surrender and will use violence if necessary. . . .

Quoting former Nation of Islam leader and New Black Panther Party chairman, Kallid Abdul Muhammad, Sheppard wrote of whites, “we give them 24 hours to get out of town by sundown.”

“I say, if they don’t get out of town, we kill the white men, we kill the white women, we kill the white children, we kill the white babies, we kill the blind whites, we kill the crippled whites, we kill the crazy whites, we kill the faggots, we kill the lesbians, I say god dammit we kill ’em all,” Sheppard continued.

“If they are white kill ‘em all.” . . .

According to The Daily Times, Brian Childress, the Valdosta chief of police, believes that Sheppard’s video is a publicity stunt. Nevertheless, he contacted federal authorities about the threats.

Oh, good — I feel better now — the federal authorities have been alerted.  I’m sure they’re on it, you know, since they’ve been so steadfast in prosecuting lawless acts of intimidation by Black Panthers and so even-handed in their application of civil rights laws to all races and religions.

SPYING: County sheriff has used stingray over 300 times with no warrant.

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BECAUSE IF WE AREN’T GOOD AT IT, WE SHOULD BAN IT FOR EVERYONE!: That’s the “solution” to the “problem” of the gender gap in pay, according to this silly Washington Post oped by a business school professor.  The author asserts:

When it comes to playing hardball, women are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Training them to be tough negotiators won’t overcome the cultural rules rigged against them in the workplace. And it’s galling to think that women might need to employ a “Mad Men”-era strategy of flirtation to get a fair shake. Given that salary negotiations ignite the gender pay gap at the starting gate,a gap fueled by small gender biases over time, negotiation-free workplaces are women’s best option for getting the salaries they deserve.

Maybe so, but favoring women (or protecting them, which is the implication of this oped) isn’t the answer.  There’s a little thing called “liberty,” you see, and it’s really an empowering thing–even for women.  In fact, it’s central to the entire field of contract law, which presupposes that competent adults are, well, competent, to negotiate in their own best interests.  I hardly think the answer is assuming that women are incompetent at negotiating, ergo we should stop salary negotiations altogether.  How insulting, and how horrific for individual liberty. These liberals/progressives really should take a long, hard look at the prejudicial assumptions underlying their inane “solutions” to “problems.”

Talk about a #waronwomen.

ANNALS OF INEQUALITY: Doing Their Fair Share? The Harvards of the world are awash in public funds for low-income students. Why aren’t they doing more to enroll them?

The 10 wealthiest private colleges hold cash and endowments that, combined, total nearly $180 billion. A median 16 percent of their 2012–13 enrollees received Pell Grants, a form of federal aid only available to low-income students, according to an analysis of federal data.

Yale University and the University of Notre Dame have $25.4 billion and $9.5 billion in cash and investments, respectively, but had the lowest portion of Pell recipients among this group, at 12 percent. Columbia University, with cash and investments of $9.9 billion, enrolled the highest number of Pell recipients, at 30 percent. Harvard, with its $43 billion in wealth, trailed behind at 19 percent.

Meanwhile, 36 percent of undergraduates in the U.S. received Pell Grants that year.

The Century Foundation found in 2013 that for every 14 wealthy students at the most elite and selective colleges, there was one low-income student. In short, the wealth gap not only creates inequities among universities, but also among the students they serve.

If you care about inequality, the solution is obvious: Affirmative action for poor students. In fact, now that I think about it, it’s time that schools’ student income distribution should have to match that of the population at large. Because equality!

ROLL CALL: Moderate Democrats Get Leadership’s Ear on 2016 Messaging. “Fundamentally, what we come down to is this: In order to win, you have to get people to vote for you who haven’t voted for you, and the only way to do that is with a message that resonates across a broad swath of voters.” So ixnay on the arxismay for now!

THIS SEEMS LIKE POOR STRATEGY: GOP turns to Tea Party to win trade powers for Obama.

House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and GOP leaders have turned to some unlikely allies to rally support for a key trade bill: Tea-Party conservatives, including some prominent names from the raucous House Freedom Caucus.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) recently tapped Rep. Tom McClintock to give the weekly GOP address, in which the conservative Californian declared: “Trade means prosperity.”

At the monthly “Conversations with Conservatives” event, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) informed his colleagues he’s an unequivocal “yes” on granting President Obama so-called “fast-track” trade powers.

And both McClintock and Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) huddled with reporters in a leadership office last week to talk up the virtues of legislation to help pass Obama’s trade agenda.

Salmon, typically a source of heartburn for leadership, denounced some of the conservative “Pat Buchananites” he runs with as “protectionists.” Those who warn Obama can’t be trusted on trade are making a weak argument, he said, because Congress has given Republican presidents the same authority.

Finally, Salmon pointedly challenged critics who’ve complained about the secrecy of the process to head down to a classified briefing room in the Capitol’s basement to read details of a major 12-nation trade deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Lots of Tea Party types are free-trade in general. Almost none of them trust Obama or the GOP leadership. Getting Tea Party senators to back the deal will just weaken those senators with their Tea Party supporters.

Related: President Obama’s toughest fight on trade still lies ahead.

The White House and Republican leaders have a lot of work to do to push fast-track trade authority through the House.

The Senate approved a fast-track bill just before leaving for the Memorial Day recess, with supporters beating back Democratic efforts to delay the bill or undercut it through amendments.

But while the Senate managed to work out its procedural knots, the House outcome remains in doubt with proponents and opponents each claiming they can win the toughest legislative battle of the year.

The issue has made surprising allies of the president and GOP leaders, who back trade promotion authority (TPA) against progressives who worry about the effect on jobs and conservatives opposed to ceding more power to Obama.

So far, the best outcome is that it made a mockery of Doonesbury’s Republicans-Block-Everything-Obama-Tries cartoon this weekend. But, given that nobody reads Doonesbury anymore, that’s not much.

And I’ll repeate: The reason why Obama and the GOP leadership are having problems is that nobody trusts them. Perhaps if they tried being more trustworthy. . . .

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JOY PULLMANN: The Civil Disobedience Charles Murray Wants Has Already Arrived.

The federal do-gooders who framed No Child Left Behind back in 2001 never envisioned that parents would take exception to their mandate that every child in grades three through eight (and once in high school) face annual math and reading tests. So the law is entirely silent on what happens if, as is happening now for the first time, thousands of parents across the country pull their kids in protest.

It’s hard to convey just how extraordinary this is. So here are a few snippets from just the past week’s news. In Germantown, Wisconsin, 62 percent of public-school students are sitting out tests. The district has been a hotbed of Common Core opposition, with a local school board among one of the handful nationwide to reject Common Core and decide to run with its own, higher-quality, curriculum. In Maine, “Cape Elizabeth saw 32 percent of its eighth-graders, 18 percent of its seventh-graders and 64 percent of its high school juniors opt out. There are many examples of high opt out rates across the state, but a reliable statewide tally isn’t yet available.” A bill to secure parents’ right to excuse their kids from mandatory tests recently passed the Delaware House 36 to 3 after a blaze of opt-outs left local schools scrambling. “A wide-ranging bill that would eliminate [national Common Core] tests in Ohio and limit state achievement tests to three hours per year passed the House 92-1 on Wednesday,” reported the Columbus Dispatch.

This is nowhere near a set of isolated incidents. In Washington state, every single junior at Nathan Hale High School (natch) refused state tests this spring. Somewhere around 200,000 children refused tests this spring in New York and, contrary to race-baiting from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, substantial numbers of these defiant parents were not white rich people. FairTest, a lefty organization not keen on rigorous data, nevertheless keeps compiling an impressive number of similar news stories each week.

What does this mean? Does it matter? While the opt-out numbers are unprecedented in American history, they still represent a very small proportion of U.S. schoolkids. I think they do matter, and that they signal many Americans are ready for Murray’s civil disobedience project. Here’s why.

So should I buy tar, feathers, and pitchfork futures? Sounds hopeful!

Meanwhile, I had barely paid attention to this story, but it seems relevant: Oath Keepers standing down from Sugar Pine Mine, awaiting appeal decision. “Armed members of the Oath Keepers in Josephine county are standing down from the Sugar Pine Mine in Galice tonight. Last night the Interior Board of Land Appeals announced that they will grant the mine owner’s request to place BLM enforcement on hold. The stay will last until a decision is made whether or not the BLM holds surface rights to the mine, or decides whether those rights were grandfathered-in to the mine’s owners. The Oath Keepers tell NBC 5 News they’re happy the BLM is taking the right steps and they’re in the process of moving their security people away from the mine and down to the staging area.”

The Feds, apparently, really don’t want another Bundy Ranch confrontation, which is understandable since they lost that one.

ED DRISCOLL: Escaping The Shaming Spiral. “The first time one encounters the Internet outrage mob, the pressure can feel overwhelming. But when the virtual mob is perpetual, such tactics begin to lose their force.”

May 24, 2015

ELIZABETH SCALIA: 85 Years Ago, Chesterton nailed the Boomers.

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YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: State Dept. Staffer Accused Of Running ‘Massive Sextortion Scam.’

BREAKING: Bomb Squad Detonates Suspicious Device at U.S. Capitol. It was a pressure cooker. But not a pressure cooker bomb.

SPACE: India Ends Russian Space Partnership and Will Land On the Moon Alone.

VIDEO: Bob Woodward: Bush Didn’t Lie About Iraq & Obama Blew It.

SPACE: The House just passed a bill about space mining. The future is here.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: I could be paying my student loans until I’m 77.

Related: Half of college graduates expect to be supported by their families.

BECAUSE #TOLERANCE!:  Charles C.W. Cooke on the Intolerant Jeweler Who Harbored an Impure Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage. Oh, the irony is deep on this one.  A Canadian jeweler who opposed same-sex marriage nonetheless makes wedding bands for a lesbian couple.  The lesbian couple then demanded their money back, claiming the jeweler’s thoughts tainted their rings.

Geez, either you do or you don’t want service.  You cannot, however, demand agreement, even in Canada.

MICHELLE MALKIN: Entrepreneurs Are Not “Lottery Winners.”

For radical progressives, life is a Powerball drawing. Success is random. Economic achievement is something to be rectified and redistributed to assuage guilt. Only those who take money, not those who make it by offering goods and services people want and need, act in the public interest. Those who seek financial enrichment for the fruits of their labor are cast as rapacious hoarders in Obama World — and so are the private investors who support them.

Wealth-shaming is a recurrent leitmotif in the Obama administration’s gospel of government dependency.

In 2010, the president proclaimed, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

Maybe he was thinking of Hillary. Plus:

The progressives’ government-built-that ethos is anathema to our Founding Fathers’ first principles. They understood that the ability of brilliant, ambitious individuals to reap private rewards for inventions and improvements benefited the public good. This revolutionary idea is a hallmark of American exceptionalism and entrepreneurship. Alexis de Tocqueville observed that the doctrine of enlightened “self-interest rightly understood” was a part of America’s DNA from its founding. “You may trace it at the bottom of all their actions, you will remark it in all they say. It is as often asserted by the poor man as by the rich,” de Tocqueville wrote.

Francis Grund, a contemporary of de Tocqueville’s, also noted firsthand America’s insatiable willingness to work. “Active occupation is not only the principal source of their happiness, and the foundation of their natural greatness, but they are absolutely wretched without it. …Business is the very soul of an American,” he wrote.

Here is the marvel Obama and his command-and-control cronies fail to comprehend: From the Industrial Age to the Internet Age, the concentric circles of American innovation in the free marketplace are infinite. This miracle repeats itself millions of times a day through the voluntary interactions, exchanges and business partnerships of creative Americans and their clients, consumers and investors. No federal Department of Innovation or Ten-Point White House Action Plan for Progress can lay claim to the boundless synergies of these profit-earning capitalists.

No, but those government programs produce superior opportunities for graft.

IT’S MUCH BETTER TO SEE CHANGE HAPPEN THIS WAY THAN BY JUDICIAL FIAT. WE SHOULD TRY IT. Ireland Legalizes Gay Marriage in Landslide Vote.

LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: ISIS rises, the economy falters, and Obama’s legacy falls apart.

Perhaps things haven’t come all that far from the early days of hope and change, when this iconic photo captured the national mood.

I USED TO LOVE MY ‘BERRY:  The Inside Story of How the iPhone Crippled BlackBerry.

If the iPhone gained traction, RIM’s senior executives believed, it would be with consumers who cared more about YouTube and other Internet escapes than efficiency and security. RIM’s core business customers valued BlackBerry’s secure and efficient communication systems. Offering mobile access to broader Internet content, says Mr. Conlee, “was not a space where we parked our business.”

The iPhone’s popularity with consumers was illogical to rivals such as RIM, Nokia Corp. and Motorola Inc. The phone’s battery lasted less than eight hours, it operated on an older, slower second-generation network, and, as Mr. Lazaridis predicted, music, video and other downloads strained AT&T’s network. RIM now faced an adversary it didn’t understand.

“By all rights the product should have failed, but it did not,” said David Yach, RIM’s chief technology officer. To Mr. Yach and other senior RIM executives, Apple changed the competitive landscape by shifting the raison d’être of smartphones from something that was functional to a product that was beautiful.

“I learned that beauty matters….RIM was caught incredulous that people wanted to buy this thing,” Mr. Yach says.

For me, moving to the iPhone wasn’t about aesthetics at all.  I loved my ‘Berry’s actual keyboard and its battery, which lasted a full 24 hours. Heck, I even loved my old trackball. But every time I wanted to quickly look something up on the internet, I felt like I was swimming in molasses, it was so freaking slow. So I converted to iPhone, and I’ve never looked back, because BlackBerry has never been able to offer fast, seamless internet access.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Everybody Needs To Stop Freaking Out About Laundry Pods.

BECAUSE MARXISM HAS GLOBAL SUPPORT: This is the answer to the question Steven Hayward over at Power Line asks: “How is Liberation Theology Still a Thing?”  Liberation theology is a Marxist version of Catholic teaching, which views poverty through the lens of capitalist oppression, much like Black Liberation theology–of which President Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is an adherent–views black poverty as a consequence of white, wealthy capitalist oppression of blacks.  As Hayward observes, yesterday’s front page New York Times story about Pope Francis’s actions to bring liberation theology out of the shadows, a subject I’ve I’ve written about before.  But in typical NYT fashion, the reporter fails to even seriously consider the deep Marxist undertones of liberation theology, much less what the Pope’s embrace of it might portend. The only mention of Marxism comes in this brief passage:

“With the end of the Cold War, he [Francis] began to see that liberation theology was not synonymous with Marxism, as many conservatives had claimed,” said Paul Vallely, author of “Pope Francis: Untying the Knots.” Argentina’s financial crisis in the early years of the 21st century also shaped his views, as he “began to see that economic systems, not just individuals, could be sinful,” Mr. Vallely added.

Since becoming pope, Francis has expressed strong criticism of capitalism, acknowledging that globalization has lifted many people from poverty but saying it has also created great disparities and “condemned many others to hunger.” He has warned, “Without a solution to the problems of the poor, we cannot resolve the problems of the world.”

Notice that liberation theology’s linkage to Marxism is dismissed offhand as a “conservative[] . . . claim.”  Yet in the next breath, the NYT reporter concedes that Pope Francis “has expressed strong criticism of capitalism.”  Hayward is right to ask why liberation theology is “still a thing,” but the answer is that it never stopped being a thing, because the Marxist ideology is alive and well, with powerful apologists or allies (even if not full-fledged adherents) in the Vatican, White House and beyond.

SCIENCE FRAUD: How A Gay-Marriage Study Went Wrong.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Teacher says she shouldn’t be fired for having sex with student. “A Brooklyn public-school teacher whines in a new lawsuit that she was unfairly fired from her job for bedding her 12-year-old student — even though DNA, videotape, text and financial records pin her to the dirty deed.”

SCIENCE: This Artificial Intelligence Pioneer Has a Few Concerns.

SHOULD YOU DRINK WATER AFTER GETTING A MASSAGE? The New York Times Is On It!

THE SCOURGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE: “Back-to-back winters of historic ice coverage have reversed a 15-year trend of diminishing ice cover on the Great Lakes. The epic ice coverage of the winters of 2013-14 and 2014-15 led to difficult and extended ice-out seasons that hurt the shipping industry and led to a drumbeat for more icebreaking resources. . . . The drumbeat for another heavy icebreaker like the 240-foot Mackinaw started during the winter of 2013-14, when the Great Lakes were as much as 92.6 percent covered in ice. Ice out that year on Lake Superior wasn’t declared until June 6.”

Related: Lake Superior Ice Amazes This Year. “Lake Superior, the largest of the great lakes, froze almost completely this winter, for the first time in years. It was so unexpected 18 ships were trapped in the ice.”

Also: It’s nearly Memorial Day, it snowed in Wisconsin and there’s ice on Lake Superior.

Fallen Angels is just a science-fiction novel, right? Hey, an ice age is “climate change,” too, but I don’t think restricting carbon output is the right response.

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TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Greeley Teacher Katerina Bardos accused of long sexual relationship with middle school pupil. “The Greeley Police Department said the former Brentwood Middle School teacher allegedly had sex with a 13-year-old boy whom she taught in her sixth grade classroom in 2014. Police believe the sexual relationship continued over the course of a year. The teacher is also accused of providing the student with pot.”

CLARK AT POPEHAT, ON THE KEN WHITE VS. VOX DAY SLAPFIGHT: “Anyway: I respect both of these guys, and I wish they wouldn’t be dicks.”

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 745.

JOHN HINDERAKER: Hillary’s Real Libya Problem.

In my opinion, Hillary’s biggest problem isn’t Benghazi per se, it is the broader issue of Libya. Why were Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans murdered? Because by September 2012, Libya was a terrorist playground. Since then, things have only gotten worse. Libya has become a failed state, a 21st century source of boat people, as refugees from ubiquitous violence stream across the Mediterranean. Libya is now a haven for ISIS and other terrorist groups; it was on the Libyan coast that ISIS beheaded 30 Christians. Some of the “refugees” now making their way into Europe are, in fact, ISIS agents. In short, Libya is a disaster.

Whose disaster? Hillary Clinton’s. It was Hillary who, more than anyone else, pushed to overthrow Moammar Qaddafi. Why? No compelling reason. Qaddafi had been tame ever since the Iraq war, which he interpreted as a threat to his rule. Almost incredibly, Clinton and her cohorts in NATO overthrew Qaddafi (who was subsequently murdered by a mob) without having a plan for what would come next.

Who says Hillary Clinton is responsible for the Libya fiasco? She does. In fact, at one point she was poised to claim Libya as the notable accomplishment of her term as Secretary of State.

And, in fact, it was. . . .

MARY KATHARINE HAM: Mindy Lahiri And The Dumb Loves of Real, Smart Women.

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THE NEEDLE AND THE DAMAGE DONE: Woman who helped launch the current uproar over sexism in tech is sorry.

In 2013, Elissa Shevinsky wrote an article titled “That’s it, I’m finished defending sexism in tech.” The article was based on her concerns that a major tech expo would open with a presentation with an app called “Titstare,” which, as the name implied, allowed users to take photos of themselves staring at women’s breasts.

Shevinsky had been in the tech industry for a decade at that point, and said she had put up with sexism all the time. She concluded her article by writing that one of the solutions to the problem was to get more women in tech.

Her article received 40,000 views and was shared around the web, helping to spark a debate about the lack of women in the tech industry, a debate with the notable accomplishment of making a grown man — a comet scientist — cry on live TV because the shirt he was wearing offended some.

Because of the movement she helped create, Shevinsky has been described as a “social justice warrior” — a usually derogatory term applied to those who engage in hostile arguments in the name of righting a perceived social injustice.

Shevinsky is now sorry for whatever role she played in creating all of this outrage and silliness. She’s sorry, she writes in her new book, Lean Out, and she adds that her initial position was “flawed.”

“I’m glad to come out in ‘Lean Out’ and say that my original essay — the one that has been the foundation for people assuming that I am [a social justice warrior] — was deeply flawed,” Shevinsky told the Washington Examiner. “I do see sexism and gender issues, a culture war, in Silicon Valley, but the knee-jerk responses (recruit more women! attack the men!) are not the answer.”

Do tell.

Related: Why the Left Waged the #WaronNerds: They’re Losing the Oppression Olympics.

There is no obvious answer. Indeed, the obvious facts seem to fly in the face of explanatory power, in just the same way it does when one sees an unrepentantly patriarchal religion with more than a few troubling inclinations toward medievalism being defended by the Left. Feminists, for instance, have spearheaded much of the sneering and hysterical censoriousness where popular nerd pastimes like comic books and video games are concerned. All this despite the fact that most nerds are hardly the obvious examples of “rapey” masculinity that, say, UVA frat boys might be (though the author takes pains to note, similar accusations are slander in their case as well).

In fact, as the ever excellent liberal author Scott Alexander notes, nerds are the absolute psychological polar opposites of rapists. That a movement designed to protect women from the most ungallant members of society would start with a group about whom the stereotype is that they run around talking and acting like unshaven medieval knights is odd, to say the least. True, there is a degree to which this species of man can be found in the sphere of pickup artistry as well (yet another feminist bette noir), but there, too, it’s not immediately obvious why they’d start here. Say what you like about pickup artistry, but at least it’s about winning enthusiastic sexual consent from its targets, which presupposes the necessity of consent in the first place. Not exactly something you’d expect from unapologetic rapists.

Dig beneath the surface, however, and you find two very compelling explanations for the #WaronNerds. The short version is that it is simply a manifestation of cynical, bullying cowardice combined with emotivist, envious resentment. The long version? Well, read on for the first part.

In the visceral and terrifying musical Parade, written about the Leo Frank lynching, a yellow journalist enthusiastically describes how he will play on the fears of his audience to drum up readership by attacking Frank, or the “little Jew from Brooklyn with a college education.”

“So give him fangs, give him horns
Give him scaly, hairy paws
Have him drooling out the corner of his mouth
He’s a master of disguise
Check those bugged out creepy eyes
Hell, that fella’s here to rape the whole damn South!”

Sam Biddle, know thyself.

The comparison between today’s feminist rape lynch mobs and those of the Jim Crow era has been made before, and is apt.

Also: The Media Is Losing The War On Nerds.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Legislating AP credit: Higher Education bubble sign or . . . The Insta-Daughter, who took just about every AP credit she could feasibly take, thinks AP is a scam. AP calculus is worth about the first 3 weeks of calculus at Georgia Tech. . .

TERRORISM ISN’T A PRODUCT OF POVERTY. IT’S A PRODUCT OF LOW-FUNCTIONING INTELLECTUALS WITH DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR: Osama bin Laden, perpetual impoverished grad student. “If you think of Osama bin Laden as a thrifty, frustrated, nth-year graduate student, this all makes sense.”

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PRESCIENT: Camille Paglia on feminism from 1995. “I began to realize this in the Seventies when I thought women could do it on their own. But then something would go wrong with my car and I’d have to go to the men. Men would stop, men would lift up the hood, more men would come with a truck and take the car to a place where there were other men who would call other men who would arrive with parts. I saw how feminism was completely removed from this reality. I also learned something from the men at the garage. At Bennington, I would go to a faculty meeting and be aware that everyone hated me. The men were appalled by a strong, loud woman. But I went to this auto shop and the men there thought I was cute. ‘Oh, there’s that Professor Paglia from the college.’ The real men, men who work on cars, find me cute. They are not frightened by me, no matter how loud I am. But the men at the college were terrified because they are eunuchs, and I threatened every goddamned one of them.”

Plus: “[You can't have] the Stalinist situation we have in America right now, where any neurotic woman can make any stupid charge and destroy a man’s reputation. If there is evidence of false accusation, the accuser should be expelled. Similarly, a woman who falsely accuses a man of rape should be sent to jail. My definition of sexual harassment is specific. It is only sexual harassment–by a man or a woman–if it is quid pro quo. That is, if someone says, “You must do this or I’m going to do that”–for instance, fire you. And whereas touching is sexual harassment, speech is not. I am militant on this. Words must remain free. The solution to speech is that women must signal the level of their tolerance–women are all different. Some are very bawdy.”

May 23, 2015

TUNKU VARADARAJAN: Reverse Swing: Look East, India.

REPORT: Riots In Cleveland. “Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell ruled on Saturday that white Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo is not guilty of two charges of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting deaths of two black individuals after a police chase in November of 2012.”

THINGS THAT DON’T SUCK: So I upgraded to an iPhone 6 a while back, and it’s a nice phone, but honestly the biggest improvement, I think, is the screen protector. I got one of these Tech-Armor screen protectors (they have ‘em for most phones), which is actually a stick-on sheet of tempered glass. Unlike the plastic ones I had before, this one is perfectly clear, and feels like the natural iPhone screen instead of like plastic. I really like it.

UPDATE: Link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!

WE SHOULD MAKE THEM SEPARATE, BUT STILL, YOU KNOW, EQUAL. Higher Education: Ethnic Minorities Deserve Safe Spaces Without White People.

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LIFE AMONG THE CHURCHIANS: “My problem is that no church I know makes it clear what the wife’s obligation to her husband is.” In contemporary society, men have obligations. Women have entitlements.

DO WE LIVE IN A “RAPE CULTURE?” OR IN A “BREATHLESS HYSTERIA ABOUT RAPE CULTURE?” Sexual Assault Case Against Venice High Schoolers Collapses. “A high-profile LAPD raid on Venice High School that made international headlines after 15 male students were arrested on charges of sexual assault has resulted in prosecutors’ decision not to prosecute anyone in the case. The large number of students arrested in mid-March and the high number of law enforcement personnel that descended on the school’s campus and led students away in handcuffs drew widespread attention on the case. But now, over two months later, prosecutors with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office cited ‘insufficient evidence’ as the reason that no charges would be pursued, the Los Angeles Times reported.”

SO IF THIS REPORT IS TRUE, ISIS IS “BLOWBACK” FOR OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SUPPORT FOR ANTI-ASSAD REBELS: Secret Pentagon report reveals West saw ISIS as strategic asset. Well, you know, when the Germans put Lenin on that train to Moscow, they saw him as a strategic asset, too.

So far, media reporting has focused on the evidence that the Obama administration knew of arms supplies from a Libyan terrorist stronghold to rebels in Syria.

Some outlets have reported the US intelligence community’s internal prediction of the rise of ISIS. Yet none have accurately acknowledged the disturbing details exposing how the West knowingly fostered a sectarian, al-Qaeda-driven rebellion in Syria. . . . The newly declassified DIA document from 2012 confirms that the main component of the anti-Assad rebel forces by this time comprised Islamist insurgents affiliated to groups that would lead to the emergence of ISIS. Despite this, these groups were to continue receiving support from Western militaries and their regional allies. . . . The establishment of such a “Salafist Principality” in eastern Syria, the DIA document asserts, is “exactly” what the “supporting powers to the [Syrian] opposition want.” Earlier on, the document repeatedly describes those “supporting powers” as “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey.”

Further on, the document reveals that Pentagon analysts were acutely aware of the dire risks of this strategy, yet ploughed ahead anyway.

That would make Obama’s Iraq failure even bigger than previously assumed, on a par with his (and Hillary’s) Libya failure.

UPDATE: From the comments: “His Egypt failure is more epic than anything in Libya.” You can’t tell all the failures without a scorecard.

BYRON YORK: Clinton emails silent on deadly danger facing Americans in Benghazi.

The newly released Hillary Clinton Benghazi emails do not contain any communications relating to security from the critical last month before the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Libya. During that period, Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who along with three other Americans would die in the attack, warned Clinton and other State Department officials of a growing danger, indeed a security emergency, in Libya. Stevens specifically noted that the possibility of an attack on Americans was growing, and, if such an attack occurred, the U.S. contingent did not have the strength to repel it. But to judge from the emails made public Friday, Clinton gave not a thought to the matter.

Go back to August 2012. On the 15th of that month, U.S. security officers in Libya held an “emergency” meeting to address the very real possibility that growing violence in the area could soon target Americans. The next day, Aug. 16, Stevens sent a cable to Clinton concluding that the Americans in Libya could not defend U.S. facilities “in the event of a coordinated attack, due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound.”

It was a clear call for help, one that, judging by the newly-public emails, went entirely unheard at the highest level of the State Department. Apart from some hugger-mugger analyses of Libyan politics by Clinton’s friend Sidney Blumenthal, there is nothing at all in the emails concerning Benghazi from the month before the attack. . . .

The period leading up to the Benghazi attacks is the most critical time in the entire tragic episode. What did Clinton know about the danger to American officials there, and what did she do about it? That is the key question of Benghazi. What happened afterward — the blame-the-video spin — can be interpreted as an attempt to cover up Clinton’s inaction before the attack. Yes, the spin campaign was dishonest. But the more serious offense was allowing the conditions that led to the deaths of Stevens and three other Americans. The crime is worse than the cover-up. And if Republicans thought they would receive any new information in the Clinton-edited version of the emails released Friday, they will surely be disappointed.

Contrast Hillary’s earlier “We came, we saw, he died.”

Related: Pew: Hillary’s ‘favorability’ plummets 17 points, lowest in 7 years.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Lisa Loeb: If You Want Children, Do It Sooner Rather Than Later. “I hate to say it because I want women to be able to do anything whenever they want, but if you want to have your own child, it’s something that you really do need to focus on — the sooner, the better.”

SPACE: New POV video from SpaceX takes you for a ride on Crew Dragon’s first flight. “The two-minute video shows the Dragon capsule blasting off from its Florida launchpad, separating from its trunk and reaching a maximum velocity of 345 mph, according to SpaceX. The Crew Dragon flew about 5,000 feet into the air before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean under its parachutes.”

SO IN THE EXPECTATION OF MORE HILLARY-BOOSTING “WAR ON WOMEN” RHETORIC, I’m just going to rerun this post:

PROF. MARK PERRY: My Top Ten Gender Charts For The Year 2014.

A couple of highlights:

gender1

gender4

Oh, and what the hell, one more:

whitehouse

#WARONWOMEN: Islamic State burned a woman alive for not engaging in an ‘extreme’ sex act, U.N. official says. Nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

MILO YIANNOPOULOS: Game Of Thrones Is Relentlessly Sexist… But Not Against Women.

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