October 7, 2015

PROGRESS: Four new Breakout Labs Startups funded by Peter Thiel.


“He’s got to shut up, Roger Waters, If you take a look over there — Roger, genius, Mr. Pink Floyd — there are so many Arab countries and so much land around Israel, if you threw a pin in a pool, that’s what Israel is.  Israel was created in the middle of a desert in a portion of the world no one wanted, until Jews showed up there.

Where do you want the Jews to go, Roger? You want them just to go back to the concentration camps? What is it you want, f**head?”

Well, possibly. Watching the movie version of The Wall, Waters’ bitterness over his father’s death at Anzio leaves the distinct impression that he wishes England had stayed out of WWII entirely. Waters’ isolationism and hatred of Israel really makes him seem like the Pat Buchanan of British rock, as I wrote a decade ago.

Related: “Leftie yahoos consumed by their hatred​,” British conservative Daniel Hannan writes:

Actually, anyone who has dipped a toe into politics will know that the hate comes disproportionately from one end of the spectrum. It’s difficult to gauge these things empirically, of course. One test would be to compare the number of people who boast of their hatred. Twitter Lefties often declare in their self-descriptions “hates capitalism” or “hates Tories”; but there are very few bios proclaiming “hates socialism”.

Read the whole thing.


Occasionally a member of the chattering classes writes something that is not just wrong, that is not just irritating, but that is genuinely dangerous. Matthew Yglesias’s latest essay at Vox is just such a piece. Writes Yglesias:

From her adventures in cattle trading to chairing a policymaking committee in her husband’s White House to running for Senate in a state she’d never lived in to her effort to use superdelegates to overturn 2008 primary results to her email servers, [Hillary] Clinton is clearly more comfortable than the average person with violating norms and operating in legal gray areas.

This is, for him, a point in her favor:

Committed Democrats and liberal-leaning interest groups are facing a reality in which any policy gains they achieve are going to come through the profligate use of executive authority, and Clinton is almost uniquely suited to deliver the goods. More than almost anyone else around, she knows where the levers of power lie, and she is comfortable pulling them, procedural niceties be damned.


She truly is the perfect leader for America’s moment of permanent constitutional crisis: a person who cares more about results than process, who cares more about winning the battle than being well-liked, and a person who believes in asking what she can get away with rather than what would look best.

So Hillary’s ethics — or the lack thereof — are Vox-approved; that’s good to know. Or to put it another way:


Earlier: Politico’s “Glenn Thrush calls Hillary’s homebrew email system ‘badass.’”

Lord Acton, call your office.

GOSH, WHO KNEW? “Would-be killers target gun-free zones,” John R. Lott Jr. writes in the otherwise bluer-than-blue Philadelphia Inquirer.

Related: “Next time your lefty friends start nattering on about ‘gun violence’ (as in the meme above, which went viral the other day), point them to this analysis by Eugene Volokh in the Washington Post,” Michael Walsh adds.

CHANGE: iPhone Malware Is Hitting China. Let’s Not Be Next.

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A TRAILER PARK CALLED CAMELOT: ‘My story about the collision is getting better all the time. Now I’ve got a Jew and a n****r…’ How John F. Kennedy revealed his father exploited the PT 109 incident to make his son a hero and pave the road to the White House.

SALON’S EMBARRASSING TRY AT REFUTING BEN CARSON AND SMEARING AMERICA, as spotted by Caleb Howe, who takes one for the team and reads Salon so that you don’t have to:

Salon ran an article over the weekend that is a supposed take-down of Dr. Carson’s recent comments about Islam and the Presidency. The article was written with the exactly precise amount of outrage and scorn liberal media requires at this point, and was tweeted with equal “in your FACE” churlishness. In that tweet a claim was made. I warn you, the claim is so monumentally, facially absurd that you will at first simply not believe it is a real tweet.

But it is real. It is really what a real website with a real brand really tweeted with their real Twitter account. I’m just trying to prepare you for the fact that the thing I am about to embed here in this post is an actual thing that was typed by human hands intentionally and then put onto the internet with aforethought. Put down your coffee, spit your chewing gum into your hand, and buckle up. This is going to be rough.

The tweet – and I just want to stress that this is a real thing that was done on purpose – is:

I don’t want to spoil it for you – click over and experience the astonishment for yourself. But I will add this as a preview:


Another big reason Republicans are angry is because they have a president who embraces a political strategy of deliberately and consistently enraging conservatives. Major Garrett detailed the White House’s calculated effort to be controversial and provocative in 2014:

This is the White House theory of “Stray Voltage.” It is the brainchild of former White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe, whose methods loom large long after his departure. The theory goes like this: Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness.

Mickey Kaus characterizes the approach as “gaslighting” — giving your opponent a legitimate reason to get angry, then turning around and pointing to their anger as evidence they’re unhinged, obsessed, incapable of governing responsibly, et cetera.

President Obama made clear he refuses to be a lame duck; instead, the passage of the 2014 midterms only liberated him from worrying about what the public thinks.

* * * * * * *

Many Republicans feel hated by their president, and they return the sentiment. Whether or not they believe in Obama’s Hawaiian birth, they increasingly agree with Rudy Giuliani’s sentiment, “[Obama] doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.” In Trump, these voters finally have a candidate who expresses that disdain as directly and passionately as they feel it.

Time will tell whether the Obama strategy of relentless provocation worked by driving the GOP to extreme antagonism that repelled a majority of the electorate — or whether he will have just riled up his opposition to the state of victorious determination.

Read the whole thing.


Researchers studied 3,342 adolescents starting in 1996, following them through 2009. At three points over the years, all reported their normal bedtimes, as well as information on fast food consumption, exercise and television time. The scientists calculated body mass index at each interview.

After controlling for age, sex, race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, the researchers found that each hour later bedtime during the school or workweek was associated with about a two-point increase in B.M.I.

The effect was apparent even among people who got a full eight hours of sleep, and neither TV time nor exercise contributed to the effect. But fast food consumption did.


LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Car Hackers Could Harness Dealerships to Spread Vehicle Malware.

SKYNET: Facebook’s Internet Drone Team Is Collaborating with Google’s Stratospheric Balloons Project.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: 5 Ways Self-Driving Cars Will Upend the Economy. The parasite sector based on traffic fines will be no loss.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 881.

MEGAN MCARDLE: The Gig Economy Is Piecework. But This Isn’t Dickens.

I confess, I’m not clear on what the problem is. Manual labor in the Victorian era was not primarily awful because it involved short-term contracts; it was awful because the jobs were grim, the pay was low, and injured workers frequently ended up destitute. Getting paid $25 an hour for doing something much more pleasant than scrubbing floors with caustic chemicals does not tug at my heartstrings in the same way.

I also find it hard to worry that Uber, or Amazon Flex, is going to develop dangerous dominance in the market for people driving stuff around in their cars. “People driving stuff around in their cars (including passengers)” is a market with very low barriers to entry, which is why taxi firms have invested so much in lobbying for laws, and powerful regulators, to protect them from competition. Network effects can, of course, create barriers to entry — but in a business where the only requirement is a personal vehicle and a skill that almost every American adult possesses, those effects are unlikely to be enough to allow any company to abuse either customers or workers for very long.

Network effects are most powerful where switching costs are very high. If I’ve paid $300 for a VCR, and a bunch more for VHS tapes, I’m unlikely to be interested in converting to your Betamax format. If I’ve paid several thousand for a PC and assorted software, and stored a lot of work in formats specialized to those programs, it’s going to be tough to convince me to go over to an entirely new system. By contrast, what’s the switching cost for an Uber user? I might sprain my thumb trying to open a new app? Even the switching costs for drivers are relatively minimal. Which means that no firm in this business is going to be able to enjoy substantial monopoly rents, because if they do, some bright entrepreneur with a modicum of capital at their disposal is going to dive in and compete them away.

The real concern, I think, is that these jobs will become substitutes for better jobs: more stable, better paid. This is obviously going to concern left-wing commentators, many of whom have already expressed worry that the “gig economy” is bad for American workers.

That may be. But that rests on the hidden, and so far unproven, assumption that the gig economy is in fact displacing workers by driving down the value of the work they do, rather than creating new economic activity that simply wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for these apps — and possibly in the process providing work for workers displaced from other industries, for reasons that have nothing to do with Uber or Instacart.

Read the whole thing.

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“Your salary is a way to quantify what you’re worth. If men are being paid a lot more for doing the same thing, it feels shitty.”

She also brought up the difference in wages between her and “Iron Man” co-star Robert Downey Jr.

“Look, nobody is worth the money that Robert Downey Jr. is worth,” she says. “But if I told you the disparity, you would probably be surprised.”

Wow, who knew that the Obama-voting Democrats who control Hollywood boardrooms were so sexist? (Of course, perhaps they’re simply taking their cue on this issue from Obama himself.)

Of course, as the proprietor of the Celebslam gossip blog snarks:

Gwyneth, contrast these two sentences:

“I saw Iron Man because of Robert Downey Jr.”

“I saw Iron Man despite Gwyenth Paltrow.”

Who should be paid more? If you want the same amount of money as Robert Downey Jr., you should have threatened to pull out of the fil–annnnnnnnd you’re replaced. See how easy that was? Robert Downey Jr. makes a shitload more than you because he puts asses in the seats, while you’re just a tiny interchangeable part. STFU.

No — let her scream as much as possible. Gwyenth’s rant is a reminder that the reason why so many Hollywood lefties have a particularly skewed view of capitalism is largely a result of the economic distortions and rapaciousness inherent in their own highly idiosyncratic profession.


Wait’ll Slate discovers his boss’s mixed record on this topic; which they’ll likely get to sometime in late January of 2017.

(As Ron Fournier tweets, “These David Brock oppo dumps just might bait @VP into the race.” By the way, will Biden surrending his @VP address in January of 2017?)

SO ANOTHER OBAMA PRONOUNCEMENT TURNS OUT TO BE CRAP: Zero correlation between state homicide rate and state gun laws. Correlation isn’t causation — but here there’s not even correlation.



If the earth is warming, it’s largely due to the steam emerging from Mair’s ears. After he exhausts his boilerplate talking points, Mair is reduced to acting like he’s ready to scream,  “Goracle Coordinate! Goracle Coordinate! Goracle Coordinate!”, by the end of the clip.

DRIP, DRIP: FBI probe of Clinton e-mail expands to second data company. “The additional data, provided by Connecticut-based Datto Inc., could open a new avenue for investigators interested in recovering e-mails deleted by the former secretary of state — now the Democratic presidential front-runner.” Read the whole story to see how the WaPo’s Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman spin this as Republicans vs. Hillary rather than Hillary vs. Justice.


This Changes Everything, the movie version of Naomi Klein’s bestselling book by that title, is a moment of astonishing candor on the environmentalist left. For decades, conservatives have argued that environmentalism is a cover for centrally managed economies, wealth redistribution, and intrusive government regulations. Klein comes out and says that indeed, environmentalism is exactly that. Conservative critics, she says in so many words, “are right.” Climate change is an opportunity to write “a new story.”

Jettisoning millennia of accumulated knowledge and “Starting From Zero,” to coin a phrase — hey, it’s sure to work this time.

Related: “It’s becoming springtime for dictators,” Joel Kotkin warns in the Orange County Register, referring to Jerry Brown, Barack Obama and other leftists who love radical environmentalism as a useful mechanism to end-run the checks and balances of democracy.

LIFE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: “CEOs who cannot cap a leaky oil well or who sell noxious peanut products go to jail; EPA functionaries who turn white-water rivers into toxic yellow mush melt back into the coils of the bureaucracy.” Accountability is for the little people.

MILO YIANNOPOULOS: Feminists Call The Cops When I Show Up. Here’s Why.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Bill Lifting Crude Oil Export Ban Contains $500 Million Earmark for Labor Unions.

DEFINING AMBIGUOUS SEX AS RAPE, as explored by Ashe Schow at the Washington Examiner:

And yet, colleges and universities across the country are being told to determine whether such a “dance of ambiguity” — as Tavris quotes from social psychologist Deborah Davis — is indeed rape. And they are being incentivized by the federal government to find that it is.

But Tavris also reminds readers that accusations born of such ambiguity may not represent malice on the part of the accuser. In these situations, both accuser and accused are providing “honest false testimony” and both believe they are telling the truth, even though their memories and interpretations may be wrong.

“When trying to reduce sexual assault, labeling all forms of sexual misconduct, including unwanted touches and sloppy kisses, as rape is alarmist and unhelpful,” Tavris concludes. “We need to draw distinctions between behavior that is criminal, behavior that is stupid and behavior that results from the dance of ambiguity.”

In response, Stacy McCain asks the most important question left unanswered by Schow: “So, what is this ‘ambiguous sex’ kids are having at college nowadays?”

To paraphrase Monty Python, I’ve heard of ambiguous sex, but I’ve never had it.

SPELUNKING IN THE MEMORY HOLE: Jesse Walker: Why Was There a 12-Year Gap in the Gun Debate? What happened to gun control from 2000 to 2012? Funny you should ask…

When Hillary Clinton unveiled her plans for new gun controls yesterday, she sounded a nostalgic note for her husband’s years in the White House. “There are a lot of ways for us to have constitutional, legal gun restrictions,” she said. “My husband did. He passed the Brady bill, and he eliminated assault weapons for 10 years. So we’re gonna take them on. We took them on in the ’90s. We’re gonna take them on again.”

Some voters, listening to this, might wonder whether anyone was taking “them” on after the ’90s ended. The short answer is: not really. Oh, the anti-gun lobby was still around, and they would occasionally send me lonely-sounding press releases. And some fights still flared up over local laws, with two of those battles making it to the Supreme Court. But as far as national politics were concerned, there was a great gap in the gun debate: a period of more than a decade when Washington did not see a significant push for new restrictions on the right to bear arms.

As with any historical period, we can argue about when exactly this started and stopped. But if precise dating is your thing, you can say it began on November 7, 2000, and ended on December 14, 2012. The first is the day Al Gore failed to carry his home state of Tennessee, a loss many observers blamed—along with his losses in several other swing states—on his support for stricter gun laws. The second is the day of the Sandy Hook massacre.

Well, 2012 is also the year the Democrats basically wrote off the possibility of recapturing the South, and decided instead to focus on minority voters. Plus:

Pleasing as this may sound to some parts of the Democratic coalition, other activists on the left have been wary. Bill Clinton’s gun controls were tightly linked to his tough-on-crime posturing; indeed, by driving Republicans to oppose what was presented as law’n'order legislation, they were a classic case of Clintonian triangulation. His assault weapons ban, a law generally regarded as having no notable impact on crime rates, was embedded in the crime bill of 1994, a law that did so much to amp up incarceration that the former president eventually apologized for its effects. His Gun-Free Schools Act, also passed in 1994, helped launch the era of zero tolerance and the school-to-prison pipeline. Basically, the Clinton-era anti-gun rhetoric that this year’s candidates have been reviving overlapped heavily with the Clinton-era carceral policies that the candidates have made a big deal of rejecting. And the more the party’s leaders flirt with ideas like an Australian-style confiscation of weapons, with all the intrusive policing that would require in a gun-loving culture like America’s, the more that tension will look like a full-fledged contradiction.


THE CHEWBACCA DEFENSE COMES TO POLITICS:John Kasich: Medicaid Expansion Is Type of Policy that Could Reduce Mass Shootings.

Related: “John Kasich renews push for strict ‘green energy’ mandates.”

Between Trump and Kasich, I’m happy that there are more Democrats in the race to offset the far left rantings of Bernie and Hillary. But when will they join the other party and make it official?

YEAH, PRETTY MUCH: The Authoritarian Left Is Getting Comically Desperate. “The answer is simple: identity politics is in crisis. At the popular level, it is being rejected by an increasingly overwhelming majority of the population. Meanwhile, at the academic level, the old 1960s theories that long sustained left-wing radicalism are on their last legs.”

NEW CIVILITY WATCH: Unhinged Alabama Democrat ASSAULTS Reporter – TWICE – During Questioning (VIDEO).

THE POWER OF THE MEDIA: Supreme Court Justices Get More Liberal As They Get Older.

SETTLED SCIENCE, BABY: For decades, the government steered millions away from whole milk. Was that wrong?

COMMON SENSE: Zero correlation between state homicide rate and state gun laws.

MODERN OR NOT: Manhood: A Brief Reflection.

THE FIRST THING THE MODERN WOMAN SHOULD DO: Is ignore advice on how to be a modern woman.


WELL, DUH: The Results Are In: Obama Never Intended to Enforce Immigration Laws.

IMAGINE TOUGHNESS: Coddle U vs. Strengthen U: What a Great University Should Be.

ACCENT PRIVILEGE.  IT JUST HAPPENED: How a New York Accent Can Help You Get Ahead.

YES, VIOLATING RULES IS EXACTLY WHAT WE WANT IN A PRESIDENT:  No, actually it’s not.  But it might very well be for Vox editors.  As long as she only violates the RIGHT kind of rules.

IT CATCHES UP TO YOU: Israel-bashing just came back to haunt the State Department.

THE FRUITS OF RENT CONTROL: (You know, you’d think they’d catch on this always happens.) Berlin’s Housing Problems Boil Over.

AND THE FAD GOES ON:  Yeah, after the “female Thor” this is shocking, shocking I–  yawn. Stephenie Meyer Swaps Genders in New ‘Twilight’.

FATALISM VERSUS DETERMINISM:  I’m almost sure he’s using “determinism” wrong, but a worthwhile read nonetheless. Fatalism vs. Determinism.


First, you censorious Guardians of Feels on the Left: if you thought that the norms you created wouldn’t be used against your “own side,” you’re fools. It is apparently your theory that the law is sexist, racist, and every other -ist, driven by privilege and wealth, and that free speech norms serve to protect rich white guys — yet somehow exceptions to free speech norm will be imposed in an egalitarian, progressive way. That is almost indescribably moronic. Go sit in the corner and think about what you have done.

This Royal Throne of Feels, This Sheltered Isle, This England.

October 6, 2015

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: AP Reporter Exposes Obama Admin Hypocrisy Regarding Israel in Wake of Afghan Bombing.

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ANDREW KLAVAN: FORGET WHERE’S WALDO — WHO’S HILLARY? “But the real question is not whether she’s corrupt. Duh. The question is: Who the hell is she when she’s at home? What does she believe, aside from appeasing this portion of the base or that? What’s her vision, aside from herself in the Oval Office? What’s her pitch to America, aside from the fact she’s female? Really. I can choose between the Republicans on the basis of their policies and their characters. But when it comes to Hillary….  Who the hell is she?”

Want a serious answer? The last half-dozen chapters of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism — written during the period when it was assumed that Hillary had the Democrat nomination for 2008 in the bag, and not some unknown junior Midwest rookie senator named, as Teddy Kennedy would have said at the time, Osama or Obama, or whatever it was, give an excellent insight into her worldview and its sources.

DAVID BROCK, EZRA KLEIN, CALL YOUR OFFICES: Man Kicked Out of Rubio Event After Asking Bizarre Questions and Accusing Him of Adultery.

MARK RIPPETOE: ‘Hypermasculinity’ and You: The Problem with Your Biceps.


We’re reminded of when the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s IT people (a more useless bunch of Massholes can only be found in the state’s welfare offices, on either side of the counter, but we digress) loaded up C 1/20th SF’s computers with context-sensitive (and we do mean sensitive) filters. Want to go to Safariland and order holsters? Barrett to get some spare mags and firing pins? You can’t do that.

This site is prohibited. Reason: weapons/violence.

So we called the oxygen thieves at the state HQ (which had just, grandly, renamed itself Joint Forces HQ because it was a nest of otherwise useless Air National Guard desk jockeys along with the Army National Guard drones), and asked them to kindly remove their hindranceware from our computers. It quickly emerged that they didn’t really know how to operate the filters, and they weren’t very interested in learning, and anyway, they told us:

It’s part of the Adjutant General’s fivety-leven point plan to end workplace violence.

We had a ready reply:

Honey, we are a special forces company. We are all about workplace violence!

But no, that didn’t make an impression. Some bureaucrat from the 90% of the Army that’s flat cold terrified of firearms was going to continue to stand in the way of the 1% that actually gets an enormous kick out of using them. So, like the fabled Internet, we routed around the damage by using private computers and a wireless/cellular internet connection.

Welcome to the combat arms! This is a violence-free workplace. Lord love a duck.

Heh, indeed.™

(Via Ace of Spades.)

I HAVEN’T SIGNED UP FOR THIS, BUT I HAVE A NUMBER OF FRIENDS WHO HAVE: Brain Freeze: Those looking to cheat death turn to cryonics — being frozen in liquid nitrogen — to one day live again.

THE HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE IN ONE SENTENCE: “Deans of students, who care not a whit about free speech, happily rush in to protect them.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Let Your Freak Flag Die.

Related: What was this “punk rock” genre we once heard about many decades ago?

Just a reminder, the ’60s and ’70s are to us what the ’20s and ’30s were to the ’70s. Other than my dad, I didn’t hear a whole lot of people playing Rudy Vallée and Nick Lucas records in 1977. But as he could have warned me (and I think in his own way did):

FIRST PIZZA RAT, AND NOW THIS: To lure millennials, Chuck E Cheese turns to alcohol.

Because “Nothing says classy like a Moscato and skee-ball.”

SHOCKING NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SCIENCE: Your Facial Bone Structure Has a Big Influence on How People See You. “Taken together the findings suggest facial expressions strongly influence perception of traits such as trustworthiness, friendliness or warmth, but not ability (strength, in these experiments). Conversely, facial structure influences the perception of physical ability but not intentions (such as friendliness and trustworthiness, in this instance). In addition, decisions that involve guessing at the possible intentions of a person such as to whom you would entrust your money management are more strongly influenced by facial expression, whereas those based on physical ability such as whom you would bet on in a sporting event are more strongly influenced by facial structure.”

TRIGGER WARNING — IT’S “TRIGGER WARNING WEEK!” “Direct 2 Drive, an online games retailer, has adopted the PR strategy of the moment: relentless mockery of hand-wringing social justice warriors on the web. D2D recently launched a tongue-in-cheek ‘Trigger Warning Week,’ a limited offer of 50 – 80% discounts off gaming’s ‘most inclusive, diverse, and empowering titles.’”

Meanwhile, automaker Kia mocks another facet of PC culture: the “everybody’s a winner” trophy for mere “participation” in sports.

ONLINE BUYING OFFERS INSUFFICIENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRAFT: Why Are We Still Buying Cars at Dealerships? Shouldn’t we be able to buy cars online by now?

MSM HAPPENS: Ryan Lizza’s Deceptive Edit Of Jeb Bush Shows How Awful Media Are At Covering Conservatives.

Update: “Media: ‘@PPact videos are HIGHLY EDITED, but our totally-out-of-context-Jeb-Bush-quote is totes legit.’”

BULLETS & BOURBON UPDATE: Ed Morrissey will be talking Bullets & Bourbon with event organizer Nina Yablok on The Ed Morissey Show at the top of the hour.

WHERE WILL KEITH BE FIRED FROM NEXT? Exclusive: NBC’s Andy Lack to Meet with Keith Olbermann on Possible MSNBC Return.

Surveying the pathetic state of the US Senate, P.J. O’Rourke once quipped that “The founding fathers, in their wisdom, devised a method by which our republic can take one hundred of its most prominent numbskulls and keep them out of the private sector where they might do actual harm.”

Similarly, if the above news does come to pass, it will be awfully convenient of NBC-MSNBC-Comcast to bundle Olbermann, Brian Williams, Al Sharpton, and Chris Matthews together all on the same network as an entire Star Wars cantina-style channel full of “must flee TV.”

Related: Watch Mika Brzezinski explain how AR 15s can “blow up animals.”



Contrast SNL producer-creator Lorne Michael’s kid glove treatment of Hillary with how Gerald Ford’s press secretary Ron Nessen was demolished when he stupidly volunteered to host the show in its first season. Michaels’ then-wife (and a writer on the show) admitted afterwards, the goal of the show’s writers was “The President’s watching. Let’s make him cringe and squirm” — and he certainly did.

A big difference though: despite many of them being Democrats, NBC’s elite old guard upper management were genuinely shocked by the tone of Michael’s then-new show; for that same reason, Johnny Carson would have little to do with them, despite sharing virtually all of their politics.

These days, Lorne Michaels, as the producer of both SNL and the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is NBC’s upper management, and the tone he instilled via SNL is the tone of NBC-MSNBC-Comcast.

But then, as original Saturday Night Live writer Anne Beatts liked to quip, “you can only be avant-garde for so long, before you become garde.” Or palace guard, in the case of Michaels, who last year was accused by one of his writers of giving Mr. Obama veto power over SNL jokes. Wouldn’t want the president cringing and squirming or anything.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Ivy League prof. calls Ben Carson a ‘coon:’

  • U Penn Prof Anthea Butler tweeted “If only there was a ‘coon of the year’ award” in response to Ben Carson’s claim that people have the right to display Confederate flags on private property.
  • In the past, Butler has tweeted that God is a “white racist” and Michael Brown’s death was a “blood sacrifice.”
  • Butler has tenure status and has boasted “I can’t get fired” after previous criticism for her tweets.

But if she does, she can always receive tenure at MSNBC.

HAD ONE TOO MANY? These Breathalyzers will tell you.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Flight attendant reportedly made almost $1 Million having sex with passengers.

Q: WERE THE DINOSAURS KILLED OFF BY AN ASTEROID IMPACT, OR BY VOLCANOES? A: YES. Study Finds Asteroid Ahead of Dinosaur Extinction Accelerated Volcanoes. “For decades, researchers have debated whether a major asteroid strike or enormous volcanic eruptions led to the demise of dinosaurs almost 66 million years ago. According to a new study, the answer might be somewhere in between: The asteroid impact accelerated the eruptions of volcanoes, and together, these catastrophes led to the mass extinction.” Hey, when you have an earth-shattering kaboom, the earth shatters.

CAN WE JUST SKIP FALL, THEN? ALSO WINTER. No, You’re Not Imagining It — The Fall Weather Really Can Trigger Migraines.

READER BOOK PLUG: From Lisa McElroy, Called On, the book that some people are calling this generation’s One L.

BUT AREN’T PEOPLE STILL GETTING FATTER? The drop in soda consumption represents the single largest change in the American diet in the last decade.

WELL, I AM AWFULLY SEXY: In the End, People May Really Just Want to Date Themselves. “The data reveals a clear pattern: People are interested in people like themselves. Women on eHarmony favor men who are similar not just in obvious ways — age, attractiveness, education, income — but also in less apparent ones, such as creativity. Even when eHarmony includes a quirky data point — like how many pictures are included in a user’s profile — women are more likely to message men similar to themselves. In fact, of the 102 traits in the data set, there was not one for which women were more likely to contact men with opposite traits. Men were a little more open-minded.” We usually are.

CRAZY UNCLE JOE–YEAH, CRAZY AS A FOX: Biden himself leaked word of his son’s dying wish.

Joe Biden has been making his 2016 deliberations all about his late son since August.

Aug. 1, to be exact — the day renowned Hillary Clinton-critic Maureen Dowd published a column that marked a turning point in the presidential speculation.

According to multiple sources, it was Biden himself who talked to her, painting a tragic portrait of a dying son, Beau’s face partially paralyzed, sitting his father down and trying to make him promise to run for president because “the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.”

It was no coincidence that the preliminary pieces around a prospective campaign started moving right after that column. People read Dowd and started reaching out, those around the vice president would say by way of defensive explanation. He was just answering the phone and listening.

But in truth, Biden had effectively placed an ad in The New York Times, asking them to call.

Before that moment and since, Biden has told the Beau story to others. Sometimes details change — the setting, the exact words. The version he gave Dowd delivered the strongest punch to the gut, making the clearest swipe at Clinton by enshrining the idea of a campaign against her in the words of a son so beloved nationally that his advice is now beyond politics. This campaign wouldn’t be about her or her email controversy, the story suggests, but connected to righteousness on some higher plane.

Biden’s “Uncle Joe” schtick is designed to camouflage the career politician inside who has no qualms about lying to further his own ambitions. You know, the man who plagiarized his law review comment and falsely claims that he played college football, graduated in the top half of his law school class (he was 76 out of 85), had a blue collar upbringing, that his first wife and daughter were killed by a drunk driver (there is no evidence the driver was drunk), and that he was a skeptic of the Iran nuclear deal.

Biden has displayed, over a long period of time, a near-pathological propensity to lie in order to aggrandize himself. That he would “embellish” the story of his dying son’s last words–and plant the story himself with the New York Times–is just another example of this pattern.

Run, Joe, run!

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: How Hillary Clinton kept her wealthy friends close while at State Department.

IS THE POPE CATHOLIC? An LA Times oped today by a former chief of staff to Israeli PM Netanyahu answers itself, “Are Islamic State terrorists sneaking into the West?”

Not since World War II has Europe seen such a stark population shift. Germany is preparing to house a staggering 800,000 refugees from Syria and elsewhere this year, a decision that will surely alter the country’s very character. Other nations have also pledged refuge for significant numbers, and they will also inevitably face enormous integration challenges.

Meanwhile, Hungary and Slovakia have been vilified by many for rebelling against taking in thousands of refugees. Not only have they rejected European Union-imposed quotas, but both countries have made it clear that a mass Muslim migration would pose unacceptable demographic and cultural challenges. Their concerns are well founded, not only over integration but especially from a security perspective.

Lebanon’s education minister, Elias Bousaab, warned recently that two in every 100 Syrian migrants arriving in Europe are Islamic State fighters, sent to infiltrate a continent distracted by sympathy. If Bousaab’s conservative calculation proves accurate, it would mean that among the 10,000 Syrian refugees that Secretary of State John F. Kerry has pledged to allow into the United States in 2016, there could be 200 committed terrorists. . . .

Many in the West would prefer to open their arms to waves of refugees — terrorists among them — rather than take up arms to deal with the root of the problem. Of course, those who require refuge must be aided. But the West can best help them by flexing its considerable military muscle. Refusal to do so is likely to hand the likes of Islamic State a double victory, as it entrenches its positions in Syria and Iraq while also establishing a foothold in Europe. 

A war weary America, led by an impuissant and anti-American President, is dangerous for the globe.

IN THE MAIL: A Call to Arms (Manticore Ascendant).

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 880.

AN ARMY OF MCCLELLANS: The Syria Mess and the Pentagon’s Serial Failures.

The U.S. is running a vast, multi-country war effort that has become unhinged from any serious strategic vision, and we have a military system in which the commanders who see the futility and try to do something about it (and there are plenty) are sidelined. Go along to get along is the way things work in Obama’s Pentagon, and both the White House and the Congress are more interested in making the military look pretty on the parade ground than making it perform effectively in the combat zone.

The President and the political overseers in Congress have made their priorities clear: You can persist with strategies that don’t work for years and still get steadily promoted up the ladder as long as you jump through hoops about integrating women and gays into more military roles. There’s nothing wrong with those goals. Integrating the armed services racially was once attacked by traditionalists as a step that would destroy military cohesion, but it’s made both the U.S. and our armed services much stronger over time. But the essence of military leadership (and effective civilian oversight) is to get the combat missions done with the lowest possible cost and loss of life.

Perhaps choosing between successful military operations and reshaping the makeup of the military doesn’t have to be either/or, but under President Obama we have opted for the latter and tanked the former.

It’s almost as if a strong America isn’t a priority for him.

YES IT IS, AND THE ENDGAME ISN’T LIKELY TO BE PRETTY: Turkey Is In Serious Trouble. “The source of Turkey’s dangerous polarization is Erdogan himself. Erdogan has won successive elections since 2002, and built a cult of personality, as a kind of authoritarian underdog, portraying himself as a victim who is forced to crack down harshly on those whose ‘conspiracies’ undermine his authority. On this basis, he has successfully targeted and politically brutalized the secular Turkish military, businesses, liberals, the media, Jews, left-wing voters, Alevis, and now the Kurds.”

Fortunately, America would never elect anyone like that to high office.

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If this keeps up, people may start to wonder if Springsteen’s whole leather jacketed everyday working man pose (and more recently a dilettantish affair with Occupy Wall Street) is merely a brilliant disguise, to coin a phrase.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE: Report: 1 in 5 campus rape reports are false.

It turns out the “one-in-five number” is correct, but it’s not the one-in-five the media are reporting. Harvard University released its sexual assault statistics as part of federal regulations, and it turns out 18.1 percent of reported rapes on campus are “unfounded,” defined by Harvard police as “any report of a crime that is found to be false or baseless.”

If this number is reported anywhere in the media that’s so eager to report every faulty survey purporting to show 20 percent of women are sexually assaulted in college, you can bet they will add in all the caveats they leave out in reporting incidences of sexual assault.

They’ll say it’s “heavily edited.”

Related: One in 375 Women May Be Victims of Campus Rape at Harvard. Nearly one in five Harvard rape reports determined to be unfounded.


This trigger-happy senator in particular seems particularly shifty:

I’d invite Harry Reid to Bullets & Bourbon in December, but he doesn’t seem like he’d enjoy it as much these days. Plus it’s a family-friendly venue, and he’s never responded to all those rumors

WELL, GOOD. IT SEEMS LIKE MORE CORPORATIST CRONYISM: Obama’s Trade Deal Under Fire From Right And Left.


NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: U.S. military struggles to explain how it wound up bombing Doctors Without Borders hospital. Note that it’s a “military” error, not one attributed to President Obama. I don’t remember President Bush being treated quite the same way.


Hey, from the Obama administration’s perspective, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter — and sadly, from Reuter’s perspective as well.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Chaffetz: ‘Gig Economy’ Is ‘Flowing’ Because Government Is Not Involved.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, expressed concern that the federal government might try to intervene in the “gig economy” and over-regulate companies such as Uber.

“One of the reasons I think this economy is flowing and this sector is flowing is because government hasn’t been involved. It has been the Wild Wild West. It has been tapping into that entrepreneurial spirit,” he said at a POLITICO discussion called “Generation Next: The Future of Work.”

“It’s been tapping into young people’s idealism that says you can make money. You can be an entrepreneur and you can do something without having to wear a tie. You can do it in your bathroom, if you would like, and you can do it at your own pace and your own creativity,” he added.

Chaffetz said he is “deeply concerned” the federal government is going to interfere and attempt to suddenly “save people from themselves.”

“I’m worried about that. I like the Wild West. I like the idea that entrepreneurs can thrive,” he said. “I worry that the government will come in and over-regulate it and create more barriers and slow people down.”

He also said there is a “generational” problem in Congress that could ultimately hurt the state of the gig economy, which is based on independent contract work.

The political system is scurrying to find ways to shut the gig economy down, or to extract graft from it. Because, you know, extracting graft is mostly what they’re about.