January 27, 2015

LAMB AND GUINNESS STEW: Reader Merrill Guice emails: “Decided this was a good week to try this recipe I’d saved. Just wow! I feel like I under seasoned, though. What rough measures did you use for the Rosemary, turmeric, paprika, red pepper, and garlic?”

You know, it’s just “to taste,” and it’s been a while since I’ve made it so I’m not sure the measures. My advice: When in doubt, more! Here’s the recipe. Good for a cold winter night.

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SPACE: Hoping to Set Sail on Sunlight. “The Planetary Society, a nonprofit that promotes space exploration, announced Monday that it would send the first of two small craft testing the technology of solar sails into orbit this May, tagging along with other small satellites on an Atlas 5 rocket. . . . When photons — particles of light — bounce off a shiny surface, they impart a tiny bit of momentum, an effect that comes directly from the equations of electromagnetism published by the physicist James Clerk Maxwell in the 1860s. In his 1865 novel, ‘From the Earth to the Moon,’ Jules Verne appears to have been the first to realize that this force could be harnessed for space travel. The bombardment of sunlight over a large area can gradually but continuously accelerate a spacecraft.”

WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS: A Turbo-Diesel Snow Blower. Well, maybe not everyone.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: 3-D Transistors Made with Molecular Self-Assembly.

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Also, markdowns on Athletic Shoes. Spring is coming.

LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: The DEA Is Spying on Millions of Cars All Over the U.S. “The primary goal of the license-plate tracking program, run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is to seize cars, cash and other assets to combat drug trafficking, according to one government document. But the database’s use has expanded to hunt for vehicles associated with numerous other potential crimes, from kidnappings to killings to rape suspects, say people familiar with the matter.” Also, one suspects, Tea Party members and law enforcement critics.

SPYING: Feds Spied On Wikileaks’ Journalists’ Emails.

WHY SHOULD POLICE, IN PUBLIC, HAVE A RIGHT OF PRIVACY WHEN CITIZENS DON’T? Cops decry Waze traffic app as a “police stalker.” “The app, used by some 50 million people in 200 countries, is a free service that provides real-time traffic data about accidents, congestion, traffic cameras, and weather among other information. It also allows Waze users to report a police presence, which then appears on a traffic map for others to see. The app provides no other data about the police’s public presence.”

MONEY FOR LAWYERS! YAY! Here come the settlements over lack of due process in campus sexual assault hearings.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Cutbacks Are Looming for Law School Income-Based Repayment Programs. I certainly would not borrow money for law school — or any education — in the expectation that the income-based repayment plans will be there later. They are likely to run out of other people’s money.

I’M NOT INSURING THEM: These Guys Drove A 2000 Horsepower Lamborghini Into A Lake.

HMM: Romney, ahead of 2016 run, now calls Utah home, talks openly about Mormon influence. Prediction: The presidential talk is a headfake, he’ll actually pivot and run against Mike Lee for Senate.

GOOD: Scott Walker forms committee in preparation for 2016 presidential bid.

WAIT, I THOUGHT AL QAEDA WAS ON THE RUN: General Tells Senators al-Qaeda Has ‘Grown Fourfold in Last Five Years.’

INDIANA HAS ALWAYS BEEN AT WAR WITH EASTASIA: Governor proposes his own media coverage. Though to be fair, “professional” journalism is so in-the-tank for its favored party that there’s not much difference.

RICHARD EPSTEIN: The Sad State Of The Union. Hopey-Changey!

IN THE MAIL: From Damon Root, Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 628.

PUSHBACK: Russia Threatens SWIFT.

It is important not to underestimate the amount of bluster and bluff in Russian talk about its friendship with China and its turn to the east. Repeated failures to build an effective Russia-China partnership date back to the era of the Soviet Union and Mao. But both countries, and they are not alone, are deeply and seriously concerned about what they see as the excessive power that the present day SWIFT system gives the U.S. and its Western allies; essentially, the ability to cut a country’s banks off from the global financial system. These are the sanctions that have been so effective against Iran. Russia and China, and a number of other countries, would like very much to break this weapon, something they see as one of the chief props of American world power.

It isn’t easy to build an alternative, and countries like China which depend on large flows of both investment and trade with the rest of the world, and whose financial systems are pointed toward greater rather than less integration with the global system are somewhat less eager about building an alternative than countries like Russia. Furthermore, lots of ne’er-do-wells like Venezuela, Argentina, or perhaps a Syriza-led Greece would love to join an alternative system thinking that it offers them new chances to stiff a new set of creditors.

Still, the more powerful the sanctions weapon becomes, and the more we try to use it, the greater the incentive we create for other people to challenge it. This should at the least cause the West to think twice before slamming sanctions down when somebody jaywalks; this is a tool that should be reserved for great dangers, not pesky annoyances. Yet there’s a longstanding tendency in the West to use sanctions as a substitute for military action—public opinion demands action, politicians don’t want to send troops (and think the public demand for action will cool rapidly when the body bags start coming home), so sanctions become the way to look tough while staying cool.

Which calls for courage and self-discipline among politicians, both, alas, in short supply these days.

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Obama’s 529 Tax Plan Is Just The Beginning.

HISTORY: Remembering Auschwitz: 70 Years After Liberation. Fortunately, it’s impossible to imagine that kind of murderous antisemitism in Europe today.

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CHANGE: S&P cuts Russia’s credit rating to junk.

ON PJTV, I TALK WITH BILL WHITTLE AND DAVE SWINDLE: What If Everything Were Cheap? A Post-Singularity Look.

U.S. ANTI-FRACKING INTERESTS: SHILLS FOR RUSSIAN OIL. Foreign Firm Funding U.S. Green Groups Tied to State-Owned Russian Oil Company. “A shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. . . . No one knows where that firm’s money comes from. Its only publicly documented activities have been transfers of $23 million to U.S. environmentalist groups that push policies that would hamstring surging American oil and gas production, which has hurt Russia’s energy-reliant economy.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: U.C. Berkeley Students Complain About Having To Read Aristotle, Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault. In course on classic social theory. And if that makes it hard for you to focus on the course material, cupcakes, you don’t belong in college.

THOUGH, APPARENTLY, WITHOUT ENOUGH GAME TO PULL IT OFF: Russians charged with plotting to recruit NYC co-eds as spies. But an excuse to run pics of the sexy Anna Chapman, who has nothing to do with this story!

WAPO: Drone incident at White House highlights long-studied, still-unsolved security gap. “The intrusion by a recreational drone early Monday onto the White House lawn exposed a security gap at the compound that the Secret Service has spent years studying but has so far been unable to fix, according to several officials familiar with the concern.”

Meanwhile, InstaPundit’s crack investigative team has produced this photo of the incident as it happened:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 8.34.25 AM

ASHE SCHOW: The Left is still looking for a modern ‘rape culture’ poster child.

The term “rape culture” entered the English lexicon in the mid-1970s, but has never really found a poster child, a name that could be pointed to as an example of this supposed epidemic of sexual violence toward women on college campuses.

Liz Seccuro should be the best example of this, although hers was a gang rape by a stranger who (20 years later) would go to prison for his act of violence. Since rape culture has come to more generally refer to a new, blurry definition of rape that involves he-said/she-said situations, non-strangers and usually alcohol, Seccuro’s case does not fit.

But today’s activists have needed someone that proves police and school officials still don’t do anything about sexual assault accusations, even after decades of information campaigns. Even better if the alleged rape was perpetrated by white athletes or fraternity members who came from wealthy families.

And they have so far failed to find their poster child.

If there were really a problem, you’d think they could find a victim who wasn’t, you know, made up. Meanwhile:

As activists search for the perfect victim, due process advocates already have several. One doesn’t need to know the names of the Duke lacrosse men charged with rape to know their story and remind people of what mob justice can do to innocent lives. And thanks to Jackie, members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity have also become victims of false allegations and political pressure.

And if one needs actual names, look no further than Patrick Witt or Brian Banks. Witt was a star athlete and potential Rhodes Scholar who was smeared as a rapist and struggled for years to create a new future for himself outside of the opportunities taken from him due to a false accusation.

Banks, another star athlete, spent more than five years in prison for an accusation that was later recanted. He did have a brief stint as an inside linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons, though he was cut several months after signing.

The problem rape culture activists have in finding a perfect victim is the trouble with defining rape in he-said/she-said situations, when the lines are blurred and there’s rarely any evidence for either side. That is a tough situation in which to find a sympathetic character.

But the narrative demands it.

CHANGE: Saudi Succession Hints at Shift in Foreign Role. “Analysts and diplomats who know him say Prince Mohammed embodies Saudi Arabia’s shift to a more assertive foreign policy, propping up allies and dismantling perceived foes. Inside the kingdom, he has been a driving force in defeating extremist networks and in stifling and punishing political dissent.” That last doesn’t seem like much of a change.

PRAGER UNIVERSITY: How Dark Were The Dark Ages?

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): California mom busted for having sex with teen daughter’s ex-boyfriend.


PROFILES IN HYPOCRISY: Obama Films Anti-Oil-Drilling Video . . . From A Jet With A 53,000 Gallon Fuel Tank. “On Saturday, Obama flew Air Force One over 8,000+ miles to India to discuss global warming and other issues.”

January 26, 2015

NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SPORT: NFL wife launches obscene diatribe against ‘greedy,’ women-hating NFL. You know, I have no sympathy for these PC-addled losers.

LARRY CORREIA HAS A SCHEME, and you’re invited.

ROGER SIMON: PLAY REVIEW: Barton Disconnects.

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IT’S COME TO THIS: Semi-retired president gonna enjoy his gum during major photo op with important ally. “Two points. One: Is it Nicorette he’s chewing? That would explain, at least, why he couldn’t refrain from smacking away despite knowing he’d be on camera for hours with India’s PM during a formal state parade. How bad is this guy’s smoking habit, though, if he couldn’t make it through an afternoon without a hit of nicotine? Remember, this isn’t the first time recently that he’s been criticized overseas for chewing gum at an international summit. Indian media obviously noticed his ‘ungainly’ display, as you’ll see below. Either he was jonesing awfully hard for a smoke or today’s the day he moved officially from the YOLO phase of his presidency to the WGAF phase.”

DANIEL HANNAN: What’s the Eurocrats’ real fear? Greece quits and thrives.

Meanwhile, Jim Bennett emails: “Just thinking…if I were the newly-elected leader of Greece, and I were considering taking Greece out of the Euro, I would be talking exactly like Tsirpas. That is to say, I would be categorically denying that I was even considering doing such a thing. First, because I would try taking a run at the European leaders and see whether I could get forgiveness on the debts (fat chance), and second, because if you switch currencies you want to give absolutely no advance warning of it, to prevent bank runs and capital flights. You do it Friday evening after bank closing time, and after the capital control decrees have been drafted and are ready to implement.”

ED DRISCOLL: American Sniper Finally Breaks Hollywood’s Anti-Military Omertà.

IF IT’S ONLY VIABLE WHEN SUBSIDIZED, YOUR TECHNOLOGY ISN’T REALLY VIABLE: Worry for Solar Projects After End of Tax Credits. “Ken Johnson, chief spokesman for the Solar Energy Industries Association, the main solar trade group, said that his group planned to lobby Congress to extend the credit beyond 2016. ‘That’s our top priority for this session of Congress,’ he said, adding that developers across the solar industry were ‘trying to do as much as possible before it drops to 10 percent in 2017.’”

WHY EXPERTS ARE WORRIED about a measles outbreak. “‘It is one of the most contagious infectious diseases we know of,’ Shust says. ‘If you’re not immune, you have about a nine in 10 chance of getting it through close contact.’ This might mean sneezing, coughing, or even from germs on a surface.”

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Belen High School employee arrested, accused of rape.

An Educational Assistant at Belen High School has been arrested on multiple charges including criminal sexual penetration.

New Mexico State Police say agents from the NMSP Investigations Bureau arrested Victoria Baker, 34, Friday after allegedly being sexually invovled with a student. . . .

According to the Valencia County Detention Center, Baker is charged with two counts of child neglect, six counts of criminal sexual penetration, eight counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one count with tampering with evidence.

Remember, one reason there are so few male teachers is that people are afraid they might be sexual predators.

Related: Sex ed teacher admits to having sex with student in teacher’s lounge. “Daresa Deann Poe, 32, is charged with second-degree rape. . . . Poe teaches seventh grade and high school classes on marriage, child care and family, and consumer sciences, school officials said. She’s also the district’s student advisor for Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, and a married mother of two.”

FASTER, PLEASE: Nanotechnology May Provide More Effective Cancer Treatment.


CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Law Firm at Center of Silver Scandal Donated Huge Sums to Dems. “The plaintiffs law firm Weitz and Luxenberg, which employed Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, is said to have provided Mr. Silver with $5.3 million in referral fees, despite his having ‘never performed any legal work whatsoever,’ according to the prosecutors. If millions of cash for no work sounds like a generous arrangement, it’s not the first time the firm has shown its generosity.”

DON SURBER: Charles Curtis, the Indian who became vice president.

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THE DEATH OF MUSIC SALES: If CDs are “dead,” so is iTunes.



READER BOOK PLUG: From Francis Owen Drewrey, Mascots.

DISPLAYING ADAPTABILITY: Reverse Flows Shore Up Ukrainian Gas Supplies. “After the gas crisis of 2008 to 2009, during which Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine for nearly two weeks, Europe resolved to beef up its energy infrastructure to help prevent such an event in the future. By building out so-called ‘reverse flow’ capabilities, European countries could increase their ability to supply one another in the case of crisis. Now, as Reuters reports, Europe’s reverse flow capacity looks set to jump nearly 27 percent this weekend.”

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Global Home Cleaning Robots Markets Worth $9 billion by 2020.

FAMILIES ADVOCATING FOR CAMPUS EQUALITY: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Should Apologize To Student She Smeared.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama Goes Where The Money Is: Middle Class Savings Like Blood In The Water.

DREW CURTIS OF FARK.COM: So I’m running for Governor of Kentucky in 2015. Kentucky could do worse — and probably will, unless he’s elected.

IN THE MAIL: From Mike Ritland, Team Dog: How to Train Your Dog–the Navy SEAL Way.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 627.

BLUE-ON-BLUE: Andrew Cuomo Rebukes Teachers Unions: ‘Don’t Say You Represent the Students.’ “The fact that this fiery anti-union tirade passed the lips of a blue state Democrat tells you everything you need to know about just how thoroughly teachers union have alienated many of their natural political allies. And this isn’t merely some quirk of New York politics, as the same thing has happened on a local scale in numerous cities such as Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles. Democratic politicians everywhere are more willing to take on teachers unions than ever before.”

It’s as if there’s some sort of K-12 Implosion going on or something.

JAKUB GRYGIEL: Know Thy Enemy: The modern Western penchant for trusting in the equal rationality of all is strategic folly. Aeschylus understood this well.

Good strategy requires a sound understanding of one’s rivals. A rival in any walk of life is, in a sense, an interlocutor. To engage him effectively in debate one must understand his speech and reasoning patterns. Without that knowledge, conversation is at best pointless, at worst self-defeating. So it is in strategy. It is futile to engage in competition with a rival power without having at least an inkling about his thoughts, fears, and desires.

The modern Western penchant for trusting in the equal rationality of all suggests otherwise. According to this conceit, there is no reason to plumb the nature of an enemy’s thinking because it is no different in essence from one’s own. But this is wrong. A rival’s response to one’s strategy is not predictable as a simply rational and universal reaction that can be generalized and grasped with relative ease. Rival states or groups respond to similar actions in different ways based on their culture, worldview, history, and the proclivities of their leaders. Good strategy, as Bernard Brodie once put it, “presupposes good anthropology and good sociology.”

Despite their superficial attachment to multiculturalism, our elites don’t really want to think of other cultures as, you know, thinking differently, for fear that it might somehow be racist to take that into account.

MARK HEMINGWAY: The American Sniper Freakout: Why The Left Can’t Tolerate This Movie. “The film is primarily about the heroism of soldiers who, thrust into battle by larger forces, do their best to protect each other and innocent Iraqis. Clint Eastwood, often described as one of the few prominent right-wingers in Hollywood, opposed the invasion of Iraq and questioned the invasion of Afghanistan. Even so, the film’s lack of left-wing politics has been treated in some quarters as an unpardonable sin.” Gleichschaltung!

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama Goes Where The Money Is: Middle Class Savings Like Blood In The Water.

WAR ON MEN: Amherst College settles suit filed after diploma withheld over rape allegation.

A lawsuit filed by an Amherst College student who argued the school unfairly held up his academic career over an old, unproven allegation of an on-campus rape has quietly settled. . . .

Doe filed the lawsuit last year after the college decided to revive a 2009 allegation a week before he was set to earn his diploma in 2014 – and after the college had disciplined him for excessive drinking and acting out sexually. His accuser, identified only as “Student A” in court records, said he complained to school officials at the time of his alleged encounter with Doe but never filed a formal complaint.

The original demand was for $2 million. Expect to see more lawsuits, as universities are terrible at handling these kinds of cases and — as with this case, it seems — are often more concerned with looking tough to their PC critics than with being fair to individual students.

UPDATE: Sunday Morning, When Facts Don’t Matter.

I admit it: I’m a sucker for a well-played French horn. And I’ve been a fan of CBS’ Sunday Morning since Charles Kuralt held the reins. That his fellow Charles, the Osgood one, wears a bow tie is a bit dated, but still, the French horn intro is magnificent. It’s very hard to blow a good French horn.

But a segment yesterday morning was shockingly bad. Not because it took an ideological position with which I disagree, but because it was factually vapid. The website write-up began with the discredited “According to the U.S. Justice Department, one in five college women will experience some kind of sexual assault while in school.” Would it be too much to expect that a news organization like CBS be aware that these numbers, which don’t come from the DoJ, have been so thoroughly and utterly debunked that not even the most radical feminist organization will use them anymore?

Apparently not.

It’s all about boosting Kirsten Gillibrand, and the “war on women” theme. Facts are optional.

Related: How To Lie And Mislead With Rape Statistics: Part 1. Zerlina Maxwell is mentioned.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A vital correction from reader Bob Strauss: “Sorry to email you at your academy, but the Sunday Morning fanfare is trumpet. Wikipedia has a whole explanation of the piece and who plays it (Wynton Marsalis, currently).”


According to an analysis by Jerome Organ, a professor at the University of St. Thomas, 33 percent of law school entrants had median LSAT scores of 160 or higher in 2013, compared with 40.8 percent in 2010 (the LSAT is scored on a scale between 120 and 180). Conversely, first-year students with scores of 149 or lower rose from 14.2 percent to 22.5 percent.

“Not all law schools are lowering admission standards,” wrote Wendy Margolis of the Law School Admissions Council in an email. “If some of them are, you would need to ask them about their individual reasons. …

In recent years, some law schools have cut the number of people they admit and the ranks of faculty that teach them. Given the economics, experts expect some of the nation’s law schools to close and the quality of students to keep slipping.

It’s a shakeout.

MICKEY KAUS: How Romney Can Come Back . . . Using This One Weird Trick!

JOEL KOTKIN: U.S. Economy Needs Hardhats Not Nerds.

One consistent theme of blue-state pundits, such as Richard Florida, is that blue states and cities “are pioneering the new economic order that will determine our future.” In this assessment, the red states depend on an economy based on energy extraction, agriculture and suburban sprawl. By this logic, growing food for mass market consumers, building houses for the middle class, making cars, drilling for oil and gas—all things that occur in the red state backwaters—are intrinsically less important than the ideas of nerds of Silicon Valley, the financial engineers of Wall Street, and their scattered offspring around the country.

But here’s a little problem: these industries do not provide anything like the benefits that more traditional industries—manufacturing, energy, housing—give to the middle and working classes. In fact, since 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the information and technology sectors have lost more than 337,000 jobs, in part as traditional media jobs get swallowed by the Internet. Even last year, which may well prove the height of the current boom, the information and technology industry created a net 2,000 jobs. And while social and on-line media may be expanding, having added 5,000 jobs over the last decade, traditional media lost ten times as many positions, according to Pew.

In contrast, energy has been a consistent job-gainer, adding more than 200,000 jobs during the same decade. And while manufacturing lost net jobs since 2007, it has been on a roll, last year adding more than 170,000 new positions. Construction, another sector hard hit in the recession, added 213,000 positions last year. The recovery of these industries has been critical to reducing unemployment and bringing the first glimmer of hope to many, particularly in the long suffering Great Lakes region.

These tangible industries seem to be largely irrelevant to deep blue economies. A prospective decline of energy jobs, for example, does not hurt places like California or New York, which depend heavily on other regions to do the dirty work. Overall, for example, California, despite its massive energy reserves, created merely 15,000 jobs since 2007, barely one-tenth as many as in Texas. Energy employment in key blue cities such as New York and San Francisco has remained stagnant, and actually declined in Boston. . . .

The new ephemera-based economy thrills those who celebrate a brave new world led by intrepid tech oligarchs and Wall Street money-men. The oligarchs in these industries have gotten much, much richer during the current recovery, not only through stocks and IPOs, but also from ultra-inflated real estate in select regional areas, particularly New York City and coastal California. As economist George Stiglitz has noted, such inflation on land costs has been as pervasive an effect of Fed policy as anything else.

Even in Houston, some academics hail the impending “collapse of the oil industrial economy,” even as they urge city leaders to compete with places like San Francisco for the much ballyhooed “creative class.” Yet University of Houston economist Bill Gilmer notes that low energy prices are driving tens of billions of new investment at the port and on the industrial east side of the city. This growth, he suggests, may help offset some of the inevitable losses in the more white collar side of the energy complex.

The emergence of a new ephemera-led economy bodes very poorly for most Americans, and not just Texans or residents of North Dakota. The deindustrialized ephemera-dominated economy of Brooklyn, for example, has made some rich, but overall incomes have dropped over the last decade; roughly one in four Brooklynites, overwhelmingly black and Hispanic, lives in poverty. Similar patterns of increased racial segregation and middle class flight can be found in other post-industrial cities, including one-time powerhouse Chicago, where areas of concentrated poverty have expanded in recent years.

Nowhere is this clearer than in ephemera central: California.

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class gets squeezed. Hope and change!

POLITICO: Where Was Obama When The Middle Class Needed Him?

The past six years have seen a series of hits to middle-class economic security in the form of radical changes in healthcare; decreased pension guarantees from companies; less job security; and volatility in financial markets that has made retirement planning challenging. Cap that off with the massive hit to financial net worth because of the bursting of the housing bubble and you have a recipe for roiling discontent. Washington, meanwhile, anchored by the Obama administration, is widely seen as having done precious little other than shore up the financial system and the banks in 2009.

When it comes to the economy, in fact, Obama arguably has spent most of his presidency focused either on the needs of the very poor (the uninsured) or the very rich (Wall Street’s banks, which were nursed back to health).

Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

OBAMAVILLES: More homeless camps are appearing beyond downtown L.A.’s skid row. They told me if I voted for Mitt Romney, oligarchs would grow fabulously wealthy even as poverty worsened. And they were right!

January 25, 2015

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: ASU offers course in “The Problem with Whiteness.”

SULTAN KNISH: The Hollywood Jihad Against American Sniper.

American Sniper broke box office records that had been set by blockbusters like Avatar, Passion and Hangover Part II by refusing to demonize American soldiers or to spin conspiracy tales about the war. Instead of pandering to coastal progressives, it aimed at the patriotic heartland.

In a sentence you no longer expected to hear from a Hollywood exec, the Warner Brothers distribution chief said, “This is about patriotism and all the things people say the country is lacking these days.”

The backlash to that patriotism and the things the country is lacking these days didn’t take very long to form and it goes a lot deeper than snide tweets from Michael Moore and Seth Rogen. Academy members were reportedly passing around an article from the New Republic, whose author had not actually seen the movie, but still denounced it for not showing Chris Kyle as a bigoted murderer.

Hollywood progressives are both threatened and angered by American Sniper. And with good reason.

There’s a real opportunity for a new studio that focuses on making films like this. Will some rich guy put some money into that instead of funding some lame Karl Rove initiative? It would do more good. . . .

SO OVER ON TWITTER, INEZ FELTSCHER IS ARGUING THAT Congress’s abortion bill is unconstitutional because it’s outside Congress’s enumerated powers. I think that’s probably right, and in fact argued just that in a law review article written with Dave Kopel over a decade ago. That said, however, under Sebelius Congress could presumably place a stiff federal tax on abortion. And given that the ObamaCare penalty/tax wasn’t excessive, a similar tax on abortion presumably wouldn’t be either. . . .

YEAH, WELL, SO WHAT? Group says ‘American Sniper’ film spurs threats against Muslims. Maybe you guys need to start work on your image at home before you engage in media critiques and warning of the anti-Muslim “backlash” that somehow exists only in the media.

And when you complain about “threats,” a few Twitter posts that aren’t even actually, you know, threats don’t count.

SO THE INSTA-DAUGHTER COOKS MOST OF HER OWN FOOD AT COLLEGE, and one of the things she likes is this spiralizer, which she got for Christmas. She wrote that last night she used it to make this recipe and that it turned out really well. She also used this cast-iron skillet, which my sister gave her for Christmas. She’s becoming quite the foodie.

SO THERE’S HOPE FOR AMERICA, POST-OBAMA, AFTER ALL: Scientists Figure Out How to Unboil an Egg.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN FOR TOMORROW: Obama Goes Where The Money Is: Middle Class Savings Like Blood In The Water.


African Americans for decades flocked to Prince George’s County to be part of a phenomenon that has been rare in American history: a community that grew more upscale as it became more black.

The county became a national symbol of the American Dream with a black twist. Families moved into expansive new homes, with rolling lawns, nearby golf courses and, most of all, neighbors who looked like them. In the early 2000s, home prices soared — some well beyond $1 million — allowing many African Americans to build the kind of wealth their elders could only imagine.

But today, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county stands out for a different reason — its residents have lost far more wealth than families in neighboring, majority-white suburbs. And while every one of these surrounding counties is enjoying a strong rebound in housing prices and their economies, Prince George’s is lagging far behind, and local economists say a full recovery appears unlikely anytime soon.

The same reversal of fortune is playing out across the country as black families who worked painstakingly to climb into the middle class are seeing their financial foundation for future generations collapse. Although African Americans have made once-unthinkable political and social gains since the civil rights era, the severe and continuing damage wrought by the downturn — an entire generation of wealth was wiped out — has raised a vexing question: Why don’t black middle-class families enjoy the same level of economic security as their white counterparts?


DARWIN AWARD, HONORABLE MENTION: Woman injured while trying to pet black bear.

YEAH, WE’RE PRETTY MUCH LIVING IN THE END TIMES NOW: YouTube’s Highest Paid Star Is A Mysterious Woman Who Unwraps Disney Presents.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN FOR TOMORROW: Obama Goes Where The Money Is: Middle Class Savings Like Blood In The Water.

ED DRISCOLL: Is the Britain—or America—of 2015 Capable of Producing Another Churchill?

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100 YEARS AGO TODAY: The First Transcontinental Call.

FLASHBACK: My thoughts on blackout preparedness. How are we doing? Well, I put in a generator earlier this year. . . .


IN THE MAIL: From Jeb Kinnison, Red Queen: The Substrate Wars.

Plus, today only at Amazon: Shark Rotator NV500 Lift-Away 3-in-1 Vacuum Cleaner, $119.99 (68% off).

And, also today only: Fall in Love with the Sullivans Series, $1.99 or Less Each.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 626.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: Davos’s Destructive Elites. “The stories add up: Jeff Greene brings multiple nannies on his private jet to Davos, and the rest of the guys gathered to talk past each other about the plight of the working man scarf down couture hot-dogs that cost forty bucks. Bill Clinton makes the case for wealth-redistribution while sporting a $60,000 platinum Rolex.”

Related: Flying Around on Private Jets to Save the Planet. America has the worst political class in history, but the rest of the world isn’t doing a whole lot better.

UPDATE: Davos Is A Corporatist Racket. “All right, you say, but surely it’s useful for powerful people to exchange ideas and learn from each other’s mistakes. Well, yes; but this lot rarely seem to learn. Whatever the problem, their preferred solution is always to establish a global bureaucracy staffed by people like themselves. Obviously, they don’t put it like that. . . . If only these men really were as clever as they thought. Or, to be more precise, if only their cleverness translated into making good decisions. In fact, Davos Man consistently gets the big calls wrong.”