April 24, 2014

OBAMACARE BLOWBACK: Ed Driscoll: GE: We Bring Bad Karma to Life.

A LENGTHY ESSAY ON masculinity in the 21st century.

MORE GRASSROOTS PUSHBACK: Michelle Obama scraps graduation speech. “First lady Michelle Obama is scrapping her plans to deliver a graduation speech for high school seniors in Topeka, Kan., after hundreds signed a petition in protest. . . . More than 1,750 people had signed a petition protesting the first lady’s appearance at the graduation ceremony, angered that security concerns would limit the number of friends and family who could attend.”

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RULES ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: War On Women: Major Dem Donor Pleads Guilty To Beating Girlfriend, Gets Community Service.

EVERYONE SHOULD TEACH WRITING. That’s how we do it at UT Law, where writing is part of almost every course. And I can attest that the quality of student writing, overall, is much better than it was before we started doing this.

THE SCIENCE FICTION “COMMUNITY” HAS BEEN COMMUNITY-ORGANIZED, APPARENTLY: Larry Correia Nominated For Hugo Award, Immediately Subjected to Politically Motivated Character Assassination.

UPDATE: If you want to show your support, I suppose you could buy his books.

THE SEX PISTOLS WERE UNAVAILABLE FOR COMMENT: Teen Arrested With Loaded Gun In Vagina. Police quote: “It would seem to be a very dangerous place to carry a loaded firearm.” Ya think?

WHY CHOCOLATE IS GOOD FOR YOU: “The gut microbes that digested the cocoa were desirable probiotics like lactobacillus. Their numbers appeared to increase after the introduction of the cocoa, while less-salutary microbes like staphylococcus declined in number.”

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HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Telling Students to Earn Less: Obama now calls for reforming his bleeding college loan program.

The federal student loan program is becoming so costly to taxpayers that even President Obama is pretending to fix it. Readers will recall Mr. Obama as the man who has spent much of his Presidency expanding this program, creating new ways for borrowers to avoid repayment, and then campaigning about these dubious achievements on campuses nationwide.

Now Team Obama is acknowledging that his policies are turning out to be more expensive than he claimed. Participation in federal debt-forgiveness programs is surging. In a mere six months the number of borrowers who’ve signed up for such plans has increased to more than 1.3 million from less than a million, with total balances rising to $72 billion from $52 billion. Maybe the White House didn’t understand that when you give people an economic incentive not to repay a loan, more people won’t repay.

Plus this:

Pay As You Earn allows students under certain circumstances to borrow an unlimited amount and then cap monthly payments at 10% of their discretionary income. If they choose productive work in the private economy, the loans are forgiven after 20 years. But if they choose to work in government or for a nonprofit, Uncle Sugar forgives their loans after 10 years.

For aspiring community organizers who go to college and then grad school before moving into a job that the government defines as public service, the forgiven debt can be $150,000 or more, courtesy of the taxpayer. And unlike with some other federal programs, when the government forgives the debt of one of the exalted class of nonprofit or government workers, the do-gooder doesn’t have to report it as income to the IRS. Who wouldn’t want to pick up $150,000 tax-free?

Energized by Mr. Obama’s 2011 expansion, Pay As You Earn has been a slow-motion bailout for law schools, which saw diminishing applications in the wake of the financial crisis. Now the money is still rolling in thanks to more leveraged students. Upon graduation the median law school grad in 2012 was carrying more than $128,000 in grad-school debt, up from $77,000 in 2004.

But how much of it will ever be repaid? At least one creative school, Georgetown, last year offered to pay the students’ monthly bills under the Pay As You Earn program while simultaneously raising tuitions. This essentially makes taxpayers pay the entire cost and turns the loans into six-figure grants.

Next scam: Law schools start “nonprofit” law firms that hire their own graduates, thus boosting their U.S. News rankings by ensuring their grads have jobs while letting their students get out from under debt in half the time. Plus, faculty can have high-paying side jobs managing things at the “nonprofit.”

Actually, that doesn’t sound bad. Did I say “scam?” I meant, “public service opportunity.”

ARE SHARING SERVICES LIKE AIRBNB AND LYFT rebuilding social trust?

ACTUALLY, I THINK FACEBOOK WAS JUST A FRONT FOR AN NSA PROJECT TO DEVELOP THIS: An Algorithm That Recognizes Faces Better Than People Do.

THINGS WE CAN LEARN FROM looking at the blood of a healthy centenarian.

MONEY IN POLITICS: John Hinderaker Talks About Tom Steyer.

SO I GUESS THIS CHOICE OF METAPHOR INDICATES HE’S REALLY SERIOUS: Obama: Sanctions Against Russia Are “Teed Up.”

UPDATE: Related: Russia Threatens Invasion Unless Ukraine Stops Stopping Separatists.

FROM KEVIN WILLIAMSON: Red-Pill Economics.

SHIKHA DALMIA: Progressives Need To Prepare For A Post-Affirmative Action America.

HOW NICE. A BLENDER: How to Make Graphene in Your Kitchen Blender.

MICHAEL BELFIORE ON SpaceX’s Reusable-Launch Success.

HAVE I MENTIONED THAT Bill Quick has a new book out?

And so does Sarah Hoyt.

PATCH DELAY: Apple users left exposed to serious threats for weeks, former employee says. Is it just me, or has Apple seemed less together since Steve Jobs died?

GALLERY: Creepy Abandoned Military Sites From Around the World.

VIDEO: Andrew Klavan celebrates International Men’s Day. Recognizing an underappreciated minority: “Because whether you’re looking at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or watching a Shakespeare play or utilizing the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, you’re enjoying the work of someone male.”

IN THE MAIL: From Robert Spencer, Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We’re In.

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REPORT: How Democrats Skirt The Law To Coordinate Messages.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 350.

CAMILLE PAGLIA: Repeal The 21-year-old Drinking Age.

Learning how to drink responsibly is a basic lesson in growing up — as it is in wine-drinking France or in Germany, with its family-oriented beer gardens and festivals. Wine was built into my own Italian-American upbringing, where children were given sips of my grandfather’s home-made wine. This civilized practice descends from antiquity. Beer was a nourishing food in Egypt and Mesopotamia, and wine was identified with the life force in Greece and Rome: In vino veritas (in wine, truth). Wine as a sacred symbol of unity and regeneration remains in the Christian Communion service. Virginia Woolf wrote that wine with a fine meal lights a “subtle and subterranean glow, which is the rich yellow flame of rational intercourse.”

What this cruel 1984 law did is deprive young people of safe spaces where they could happily drink cheap beer, socialize, chat, and flirt in a free but controlled public environment. Hence in the 1980s we immediately got the scourge of crude binge drinking at campus fraternity keg parties, cut off from the adult world. Women in that boorish free-for-all were suddenly fighting off date rape. Club drugs — Ecstasy, methamphetamine, ketamine (a veterinary tranquilizer) — surged at raves for teenagers and on the gay male circuit scene.

Lowering the drinking age is the right thing to do. It would also be a very smart political move for Republicans.

THIS COULD BE DEADLY: Due to license plate reader error, cop approaches innocent man, weapon in hand.

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HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Wealthiest Americans Outpace World as Middle Class Lags Behind. They told me if I voted for Mitt Romney the richest would get richer while everyone else suffered. And they were right!

JAMES TARANTO: ‘A Lot of Misinformation:’ Defending ObamaCare, Sen. Shaheen gets defensive. Well, wouldn’t you?

Jeanne Shaheen, the senior senator from New Hampshire, won her seat by defeating a Republican incumbent in 2008. She was thought to have a safe seat this year, and most polls and observers still give her an edge, if a tenuous one, over likely GOP challenger Scott Brown.

But she has a problem. Like every other Democrat who was in the Senate in 2009, she cast the deciding vote that caused the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to become law. The Granite State is nobody’s idea of an ObamaCare success story. It is one of only two states (with West Virginia) in which only one insurance company sells medical policies on the ObamaCare exchange.

As The Wall Street Journal reported in February, premiums tend to be higher in jurisdictions–a total of 515 counties in 15 of the 36 states on the federal exchange–with a lone insurer. As we noted in January, the absence of alternatives in New Hampshire means that some policyholders in some parts of the state have to drive long distances to get to a hospital that is on the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield coverage network.

Not surprisingly, Shaheen–whose first name is pronounced “gene,” not “genie”–is facing hard questions from constituents suffering under the new health-care regime. Her approach to answering them seems an unpromising one. It is to suggest that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Yeah, that’s especially weak coming from a Senator. And even weaker coming from one who voted for ObamaCare. Plus:

It is true that there’s been a lot of deliberate misinformation about ObamaCare. Example: “If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you’ve got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor.” That was Barack Obama in July 2009.

Here’s another example:

My understanding . . . is that–and I know this is true of the bill that has come out of the committee in the Senate–if you have health coverage that you like you can keep it. As I said, you may have missed my remarks at the beginning of the call, but one of the things I that I said as a requirement that I have for supporting a bill is that if you have health coverage that you like you should be able to keep that. . . . Under ever [sic] scenario that I’ve seen, if you have health coverage that you like, you get to keep it.

A lot of misinformation indeed. That was Jeanne Shaheen in August 2009, responding to a constituent named Emil in another telephone town hall. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York noted it (along with similar comments from 26 other then or future Senate Democrats) in November, and via a Google search we found it on Shaheen’s official Senate website.

So Shaheen was an active participant, if perhaps an unwitting one, in a massive consumer fraud at the expense of many of her own constituents. No wonder she’s so defensive.

If we lie to the government, it’s a felony. If the government lies to us, it’s politics as usual.

FROM AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY, a new ad targeting Jeanne Shaheen.

OF COURSE HE DOES: Eric Holder says Sotomayor’s affirmative action dissent was ‘courageous.’

It was brave, but in the same sense as “A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he’s not afraid of anything.” Damn straight.

PRESSURE: NRSC challenges red-state Democrats to Obamacare townhall debates.

They don’t want to talk about ObamaCare. They don’t even want to talk about the “recovery.”

April 23, 2014

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HISTORY: The SS Doctor Who Converted to Islam and Escaped the Nazi Hunters. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t the only one.

Plus: “One thing that surprised me was how many real Inglourious Basterds stories there were. Groups with names like Vengeance and the Avengers tracked down and killed former SS and Gestapo members. . . . The SS captain known as the Hangman of Riga was found in a trunk in the bedroom of his beach house in Uruguay, executed for his part in the Holocaust.”

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Help! My Husband Won’t Love Our Child Without A Paternity Test. So give him one. What’s the big deal?

GALLERY: A Look Back on The Retro Playboy Bunny Costumes. Is it sad that I’m even nostalgic for BOAC?

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Plus, deals on 2014 Golf Pro Gear.

Also: TV Deal Of The Week: Up to 80% off on CSI on DVD. In all the various episodes and spin-offs.

JIM GERAGHTY: The American Dream Peddlers: Progressives’ vision of government requires it to be the gatekeeper to the good life.

Is it really in the country’s best interest to enable every aspiring college student to attend college? Right now the federal government is in the business of loaning money to young people to attend college, only to watch significant numbers — 600,000 or so last year — fail to pay the money back. College students are defaulting on federal loans at the highest rate in nearly two decades, with one in ten defaulting on their loans in the first two years. This is not merely one late check; to meet the Department of Education’s definition of default, a borrower’s loan must be delinquent for 270 days — nine months.

The college gets its money, the taxpayer loses theirs, and the deadbeat student can be left with all kinds of frustrating consequences — seized tax refunds, garnished paychecks or benefits, or a lawsuit. (Though the deadbeat student is often in this situation because their college education failed to prepare them to find a job in a mediocre-at-best economy and make a living, so there may not be much money in their wages to garnish.)

How many of those students really should go to college? If college is supposed to represent some sort of advanced or more demanding level of education, why has it become a national priority to send every kid to college? Wouldn’t the nation be better off if at some point it said to these young people, “you can go to college if you want, but we’re not paying for it”?

Yes.

WELL, SANITATION, TO START WITH: O’Reilly To Bundy Supporter: What’s The Difference Between Bundy And Occupy Wall St?

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: More support for my “adjunct administrator” proposal:

I support the move toward “adjunct administrators.” It used to be widely understood that a college or university travels on the quality of its faculty, not its climbing walls, dining halls, or number of administrators. The University of Arkansas’ Jay Greene found that between 1993 and 2007, the number of administrators at research universities grew by 39 percent per 100 students while the number of employees directly involved in research and teaching grew by just 18 percent. More damning, spending on administration grew 50 percent faster than spending on instruction. Administrators don’t just add to the open-air prison climate on many campuses, they directly add to rising costs.

Indeed.

I USED TO LOVE WATCHING THIS SHOW AND DRINKING BEER WITH MY BROTHER. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Definitive Oral History of a TV Masterpiece.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Married Lesbian Threesome Expects Baby In July. “‘I had always wanted to get married and I guess Doll and Brynn indulged my wishes! I had a very traditional upbringing and marriage had always been an important symbol of commitment for me. We wanted to celebrate our love in a wedding like everyone else.’ . . . Doll, Kitten and Brynn are faithful to each other and say they don’t plan on adding anyone else to their throuple. They hope to show the world that polyfidelity is an acceptable choice of love.”

They plan to homeschool.

IF THEY REALLY DID THAT, WOULD THE U.S. GOVERNMENT BE PROMOTING THEM? US Promoting Mesh Networks; Reporters Misleadingly Think They Somehow Stop Digital Spying.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN is on campus administrators who abuse their power.

CONTEST: Can You Write A Better Bedtime Story Than The USDA?

HEY, WAIT, I THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED! Nutritional Folklore:

Dr. Walter C. Willett, a Harvard epidemiologist who has spent many years studying cancer and nutrition, sounded almost rueful as he gave a status report. Whatever is true for other diseases, when it comes to cancer there was little evidence that fruits and vegetables are protective or that fatty foods are bad.

About all that can be said with any assurance is that controlling obesity is important, as it also is for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke and other threats to life. Avoiding an excess of alcohol has clear benefits. But unless a person is seriously malnourished, the influence of specific foods is so weak that the signal is easily swamped by noise. . . .

The hypothesis that fatty foods are a direct cause of cancer has also been crumbling, along with the case for eating more fiber. The idea that red meat causes colon cancer is shrouded in ambiguity. Two meta-analyses published in 2011 reached conflicting conclusions — one finding a small effect and the other no clear link at all. If hamburgers are carcinogenic, the effect appears to be mild. One study suggests that a 50-year-old man eating a hefty amount of red meat — about a third of a pound a day — raises his chance of getting colorectal cancer to 1.71 percent during the next decade, from 1.28 percent. Spread over a population of millions, that would have an impact. From the point of view of an individual, it barely seems to matter.

Yet all the nutritional commands — like the command to avoid sunlight — have been issued in the Voice Of Authority, with doubters and skeptics condemned as disrespecters of science. There’s even the suggestion that the war on tobacco caused people who quit smoking to gain weight, with more cancers resulting from obesity than from cigarettes. If that proves out, will the anti-smoking folks be targeted like the tobacco companies were?

HOW CANCER RESEARCH SHOULD BE GOVERNED. “The ethics review system, implemented by research ethics committees (in Commonwealth countries) or institutional review boards (in the United States), was immediately successful, promoting subject safety and snuffing out unethical research. It deserves credit for this achievement. This benefit, however, comes at a dear price. Unethical cancer research has been curbed, but ethically sound cancer research must work in handcuffs.”

VITAMIN D UPDATE: Low Vitamin D in Mothers Tied to Cavities in Babies. I’m not crazy about this study, but it won’t hurt to get a little bit of sun.

ROGER SIMON ON the Republicans’ failure to communicate. “Rather than dealing with these realities, both sides — establishment and Tea Party — spend their time aiming fusillades at each other. How infantile and suicidal.”

FRED PHELPS IS DEAD, but Jeremiah Wright is alive and speaking in Kansas City tonight. He’ll be delivering the “Cleaver Lecture on Religion and Public Life,” which “was established at the St. Paul School of Theology by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and others in 1999 to honor U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.”

Cleaver, of course, is up for re-election next year. He’s also having his Congressional salary garnisheed to pay for a bad small business loan. I doubt that Wright will discuss that. “Garnishing the wages of a sitting congressman appears to be rare.” Cleaver is a rare item himself.

SO DON’T DO THAT: Bug can cause deadly failures when anesthesia device is connected to cell phones.

ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: 10 Cool Mustangs From The Pony Car’s 50th Anniversary.

SCUBA DIVING in Brooklyn.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ & HARVEY SILVERGLATE: Ed Markey’s “Hate Speech” Proposal Threatens Internet Free Speech. Which is, of course, its purpose.

ORIN KERR: Six thoughts on Navarette v. California. “No one should be surprised when Justice Breyer votes for the government and Justice Scalia votes for the defense in Fourth Amendment cases.”

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Toss Out Abusive College Administrators.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 349.

A PRETTY MAJOR SOCIAL MEDIA FAIL, for the NYPD.

NOPE, BUT IT WOULD EMPOWER THE POLITICAL CLASS, WHICH IS ITS REAL PURPOSE. Piketty’s Tax Hikes Won’t Help the Middle Class.

I am not disputing that something unhappy is going on in the global economy. Nor am I disputing that this unhappiness is unequally distributed. But the proportion of this unhappiness due to income inequality is actually relatively small — and moreover, concentrated not among the poor, but among the upper middle class, which competes with the very rich for status goods and elite opportunities.

If we look at the middle three quintiles, very few of their worst problems come from the gap between their income and the incomes of some random Facebook squillionaire. Here, in a nutshell, are their biggest problems:

Finding a job that allows them to work at least 40 hours a week on a relatively consistent schedule and will not abruptly terminate them.
Finding a partner who is also able to work at least 40 hours a week on a relatively consistent schedule and will not be abruptly terminated.
Maintaining a satisfying relationship with that partner over a period of years.
Having children who are able to enjoy more stuff and economic security than they have.
Finding a community of friends, family and activities that will provide enjoyment and support over the decades.

This is where things are breaking down — where things have actually, and fairly indisputably, gotten worse since the 1970s. Crime is better, lifespans are longer, our material conditions have greatly improved — yes, even among the lower middle class. What hasn’t improved is the sense that you can plan for a decent life filled with love and joy and friendship, then send your children on to a life at least as secure and well-provisioned as your own.

Well, here in America, part of the problem is that the middle class is being targeted for destruction by a coalition of the very rich and the poor.

“RACE-SENSITIVE ADMISSIONS POLICIES:” Sonia Sotomayor Picks New Euphemism For Affirmative Action. If you really want balance in college admissions, there need to be quotas for white women, who are hugely overrepresented.

UPDATE: Asian-Americans, affirmative action, and the “political restructuring” doctrine: Does the doctrine work when there are minority groups on both sides of the issue? Interestingly, Asian-Americans weren’t mentioned at all in any of the opinions. In an older America, with a big white majority, a black minority, and not a lot of other diversity, the notion of affirmative action preferences for blacks as a benign gift — near-reparations — from whites to blacks had some traction. Now, however, preferences for blacks disadvantage other minorities.

TIM CARNEY: K Street battles Tea Party in GOP primaries.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Toss Out Abusive College Administrators.

IN THE NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR’S RACE, a Dem with a Weather Underground connection.

JAMES TARANTO: First Among Equals: An Orwellian dissent from a muddled ruling.

Justice Stephen Breyer concurred in the judgment on much narrower grounds. He was part of the Grutter majority in 2003 and still thinks racial preferences are constitutionally permissible. He ducked the question of whether the political-process doctrine applied to the substance of the Michigan amendment by saying it didn’t apply to the process. Because racial preferences were imposed by unelected university administrators, he argued, the process change isn’t a “political” one at all. It appears to be a way of evading the central questions of the case, but it does have the virtue of being relatively simple.

Then there’s the Sotomayor dissent, which begins as follows: “We are fortunate to live in a democratic society. But . . .” An empty piety, followed by an equivocation, followed by a total of 58 pages–you know this is going to be a tough slog.

The most quoted part of Sotomayor’s opinion is this: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.” This is a rejoinder to Chief Justice John Roberts’s assertion, in Parents Involved v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1 (2007), that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” (Roberts in turn rebutted Sotomayor in a separate concurrence to today’s decision, which we’re leaving out of our ranking by clarity.)

Robert’s statement was trivially true, which means that Sotomayor’s defies logic. Her argument amounts to an assertion that a ban on racial discrimination is a form of racial discrimination–that everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others. Also Orwellian is her claim that she wants “to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race.” Such an assertion is almost always disingenuous. After all, the way to speak openly and candidly is to speak openly and candidly. Declaring one’s intention to do so is at best superfluous throat clearing.

And while Sotomayor may be open, she isn’t candid. She presents a potted history of race in America in which there is a straight line from Jim Crow segregation through literacy tests to the Michigan amendment, which “involves this last chapter of discrimination”–even though it bans discrimination, and even though Sotomayor acknowledges that its substance is perfectly constitutional.

She also repeats the phrase “race matters” a lot. But then, it does. It’s how she got her job.

UPDATE: words matter.

CALIFORNIA: Gov. Brown’s legal strategy to prop up bullet train faltering.

FLORIDA: Tea Party Claims First Victory of 2014.

WHILE ALL EYES ARE ON UKRAINE: China Challenges Obama’s Asia Pivot With Rapid Military Buildup.

Related: A rising China shadows Obama’s Asia trip. “China is on the move, backed up by a very real military buildup. President Obama is on the move, too, traveling to Asia to breathe life into a strategic ‘pivot’ that is being undermined by his own proposed cuts to the Pentagon budget.”

ROGER KIMBALL: The Supreme Court Deals A Body Blow To Racial Discrimination.

The original effort to redress legitimate grievances—grievances embodied, for instance, in the discriminatory practices of Jim Crow—have mutated into new forms of discrimination. In 1940, Franklin Roosevelt established the Fair Employment Practices Committee because blacks were openly barred from war factory jobs.

But what began as a Presidential Executive Order in 1961 directing government contractors to take “affirmative action” to assure that people be hired “without regard” for sex, race, creed, color, etc., has resulted in the creation of vast bureaucracies dedicated to discovering, hiring, and advancing people chiefly on the basis of those qualities. White is black, freedom is slavery, “without regard” comes to mean “with regard for nothing else.”

Yeah, pretty much. And with an enormous helping of sanctimony and self-regard.

POLL: GOP Primary Wide Open in Alabama Race. “A new internal poll shows the crowded primary in Alabama’s open 6th District is wide open less than two months before the primary, according to information provided first to CQ Roll Call. The poll, conducted for GOP surgeon Chad Mathis’ campaign, found two of the six candidates in a statistical dead heat, with the third- and fourth-place contenders not far behind, and a large portion of respondents remain undecided.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Four Law Schools’ Debt Classified as ‘Junk Bonds.’

DETROIT WOULD BE MOST FITTING: 15 cities to submit bids for 2016 DNC convention. “The cities chosen by the DNC for inclusion in the process were Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.”

CURMUDGEON VS. THOUGHT POLICE: Ed Driscoll Interviews Charles Murray.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: WSJ: Skyrocketing Graduate Student Debt Threatens Income-Based Repayment Programs.

Who could have seen this coming?

RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE: MSNBC host pens radical ‘climate justice’ manifesto.

Hayes, a former Nation writer who remains an editor-at-large at the publication, compares the Southern economy based on slavery — worth trillions in today’s dollars to the slaveholders — to the economy based on carbon fuels. Energy companies, and energy-producing nations, have ever-increasing stores of recoverable oil and gas that are almost unimaginably valuable in today’s economy. And with today’s rate of exploration and technological advances, those reserves are increasing by the minute. But burning all that fuel, Hayes argues, citing various influential environmental writers, would destroy the planet. The oil and gas must stay in the ground if human civilization is to survive.

“It’s a bit tricky to put an exact price tag on how much money all that unexcavated carbon would be worth, but one financial analyst puts the price at somewhere in the ballpark of $20 trillion,” Hayes writes. “So in order to preserve a roughly habitable planet, we somehow need to convince or coerce the world’s most profitable corporations and the nations that partner with them to walk away from $20 trillion of wealth.”

Note the phrase: “convince or coerce.” If persuasion were to fail, coercion — presumably by the federal government or some very, very powerful entity — could be pretty rough. Certainly by writing that the “climate justice movement” should be known as the “new abolitionism,” Hayes makes an uneasy comparison to a 19th century conflict over slavery that was settled only by a huge and costly war — a real war, not a metaphorical one. Is that how environmentalists plan to save the planet from warming?

By any means necessary, so long as they are in the driver’s seat.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Merger Plans Collapse For Struggling Virginia College.

April 22, 2014

TEXAS TO BLM: Molon Labe.

TAXES ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: IRS agents who didn’t pay their taxes get $1 million in bonuses.

CHARLTON HESTON tried to warn us.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Toss Out Abusive College Administrators.

THE CURRENCY OF HEROISM IS BEING DEBASED: The U.S.S. Gabby Giffords. Coming soon: The U.S.S. Trayvon Martin.

WAR ON MEN: Laid-off Male Workers Lose 1.0 to 1.5 Years In Life Expectancy.

CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL STAR WARS DAY with deals on Star Wars items. Hey, as holidays go, it’s not any faker than Cinco de Mayo.

Plus, up to 50% off on Women’s Dresses.

HANNA ROSIN DEMONSTRATES what feminist “rape culture” looks like. What do you mean, “victim?” He got attention from “pretty girls!”

DAVE KOPEL ON Second Amendment Symposia at the Tennessee Law Review, past and future.

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

THIS WILL CERTAINLY ENHANCE NYU’S ABILITY TO RECRUIT STUDENTS AND FACULTY: Law School Trustee’s Company Chills Critical Speech With Subpoena For Students’ Personal Emails. I’m pretty sure that I’d side with him vs. the SEIU, but this seems rather extreme.

ISN’T THIS, YOU KNOW, ILLEGAL? Viagra-Laced Ice Cream. “Created by self-proclaimed “edible inventor” Charlie Harry Francis, ‘arousal,’ a new blue-colored ice cream, might mean you never have to pop those little blue pills again. Francis was asked to create a Viagra-laced ice cream for a party for one of his A-list celebrity clients, according to his aptly named blog, ‘Lick Me I’m Delicious.’ Each scoop of the champagne-flavored ice cream contains 25 mg of the well-known male enhancement drug — the same amount in the lowest dose of the drug.”

Oh, who am I kidding? Laws are for the little people, not for celebrities and their chefs.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Krugman’s CUNY Sinecure.

Whether or not Krugman’s scholarship and teaching ability warrant such a superior salary is certainly worthy of debate, but the real issue for most commentators is not how much CUNY will pay Krugman, but how little they are asking him to do. CUNY is essentially offering him what used to be called a sinecure. Like ecclesiastical appointments “without the care of souls,” the terms of Krugman’s contract require him to do almost nothing his first year and then teach just one graduate seminar each year for as long as he would like to stay at CUNY. This required teaching in the second year is less than half of the usual course load for most distinguished professors at the Graduate Center, some of whom teach three classes per year and advise several dissertations at a time. Whether Krugman will advise or sit on any dissertation committees remains to be seen.

It is clear from his acceptance email however, that he is interested in doing as little work as possible.

So, kind of like his columns, then.

SOLAR POWER SATELLITES: A Visual Introduction. With solar power satellites and a hydrogen economy driven by electrolyzed seawater, you’d have a very environmentally friendly energy setup. That’s why so many environmentalists are loudly supporting space-based solar, I guess. . . .