December 1, 2015

DARWIN AWARD NOMINEE: Burglar stuck in chimney dies after homeowner lights fire.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Our sons’ $189,000 student debt is delaying our retirement.

JONAH GOLDBERG: Planned Parenthood And Those Villainous Christians: If we can’t condemn Islam for Muslim terrorists, why do we condemn Christians? Because it’s politically useful, of course.

RICHARD EPSTEIN: Does Woodrow Wilson Belong At Princeton?

RICHARD COHEN: “The presidency has changed Barack Obama. His hair has gone gray, which is to be expected, and he looks older, which is also to be expected, but his eloquence has been replaced by petulance and he has lost the power to persuade, which is something of a surprise. You can speculate that if the Obama of today and not Winston Churchill had led Britain in World War II, the Old Vic theater would now be doing ‘Hamlet’ in German.”

To be fair, some of us suspected that in 2008, while others admired his pants-crease.

MICKEY KAUS: Why Doesn’t The GOP Elite Give Up On Amnesty? “If the Republican establishment is so panicked about Donald Trump — a wild, proto-fascist egomaniac with his finger on the button, in their telling — you’d think it would do the one thing that would almost certainly stop him: Surrender. By ‘surrender’ I mean abandon their decades long dream of winning Latino votes through a magic pill called ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ (known to its opponents as amnesty). . . . Anger over elite ‘more immigration’ plans is the molten core of the Trump eruption. Is there any doubt that if ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ went away for good, Trumpism would wither? So why don’t Haley Barbour and Karl Rove call a big K Street meeting where they say, ‘Boys, we have to throw the damn yahoos this bone. We’re giving up on amnesty.’ . . . I used to think the answer to the mystery was that it was all about Jeb — i.e., the push for amnesty was specifically designed to promote a Bush candidacy in 2016. Yet the Bush campaign is dying and the elite’s still clinging to amnesty. So that can’t be it.” It’s a mystery.

HUD IS A $50 BILLION FEDERAL DEPARTMENT AND IT’S BOOKS ARE WORTHLESS? The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group’s Ethan Barton reports that’s essentially the conclusion of the department’s inspector general in an audit report that details nine “material weaknesses,” and “eight significant deficiencies in internal controls and six instances of noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations.” This is what happens when congressional oversight becomes an after-thought in the age of the imperial presidency. The IGs are essential points of the legislative branch’s oversight spears, but Congress has to do the shoving to make sure targets are hit and things get fixed.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 936.

ILYA SOMIN: Judge Posner’s troubling explanation for his shift on same-sex marriage. “In 1997, Judge Richard Posner argued that it would be wrong for courts to strike down laws banning same-sex marriage. In 2014, he authored a judicial opinion invalidating such laws. While Posner was right to change his position, the justification he offers for the shift is a deeply troubling one.”


To an extent unrealized before this year, the role of the press in presidential campaigns relied on shared assumptions within the political class and election industry about what the rules were and what the penalty would be for violating them. This was the basis for familiar rituals like “the gaffe,” which in turn relied on assumptions about how a third party, the voters, would react once they found out about the violation. These assumptions were rarely tested because the risk seemed too high, and because risk-adverse professionals — strategists, they’re called — were in charge of the campaigns.

The whole system rested on shared beliefs about what would happen if candidates went beyond the system as it stood cycle to cycle. Those beliefs have now collapsed because Trump “tested” and violated most of them— and he is still leading in the polls. (Rob Ford in Canada was there before Trump.) There has been a cascading effect as conventions that depended an one another give way. The political press is pretty stunned by these developments. It keeps asking: when will the “laws of political gravity” will be restored, or have they simply vanished?

“The question now is whether Candidate Trump is immune from the laws of political gravity or soon will be isolated and regarded as an object of scorn or curiosity rather than of presidential seriousness,” wrote the Washington Post’s Dan Balz back in July. (Other uses of that phrase here, here and here.) But what the press describes as “laws” were never really that. They were at best conventions among the political class, in which I include most Washington journalists— though they would not include themselves.

This is much like Obama’s strategy of governance, in which he has ignored many of the unwritten rules of American politics, trampling on custom and tradition. And mostly gotten away with it, leaving politicians (mostly GOP politicians) as mystified as Dem pundits are by Trump. You can get away with a lot, if you don’t care what people who don’t like you think, only if they can stop you. Whether it’s a good formula for the country over the longer term, of course, is a separate question entirely.

ALAN KEYES: “The next crisis could be the end of the republic: Why we must impeach President Obama.”

There are those who will say that, with less than a year left in his occupancy of the Oval Office, it’s too late to hold him accountable. I have no doubt that among them are some of the same people who rejected the need to turn the 2014 election into a referendum on the issue of impeaching and removing him from office. They reflect the general mentality, suspiciously prevalent in this era of elitist faction domination, which seems never ready to hold elected officials to account for the damage they inflict upon the sovereignty and constitution of the people of the United States. . . .

Given the dictatorial bent Obama’s tenure has more than amply demonstrated in service to their agenda, it’s excusable to suspect that the neglect of accountability intentionally serves the larger agenda of overturning the U.S. Constitution, an agenda now more and more openly avowed.

It’s never too late for the U.S. Congress to use its Constitutional power to thwart this agenda, but it will be too late if and when the U.S. is hit by a crisis damaging enough to encourage Obama, or the next elitist faction tool, to declare that circumstances have suspended the Constitution’s implementation until further notice. Say if you like that it could never happen here. That was true in the days when Americans still had the confidence to stand on the rights the Constitution guarantees, and the courage to defend their stand. Thanks to the triumph of partisan passivity and subservience, that stalwart character is now in doubt. If it were not, the GOP majorities in both Houses of Congress would have already been moved to do what the Constitution requires.

Sadly, the GOPe has repeatedly proven that it thinks it’s more important to win the White House in 2016–at all cost– than to defend constitutional principles. Its elevation of “Republican” over “republic” makes it complicit in the country’s precipitous decline. Yet the GOPe still scratches its head, wondering why its own political base prefers outsider candidates such as Trump, Carson, Cruz and Fiorina.

BECAUSE IT WAS DISHONEST, POLITICIZED, SCAM “SCIENCE.” Why Congress stopped gun control activism at the CDC.

Background here.

HILLARY’S PROMISE FOR BLACK PEOPLE — HOW CAN IT MISS? “If Bill Clinton gave black America bad policy and Obama gave black America no policy, then Hillary Clinton is left only with good policy. She must achieve what her predecessors only promised.” It’s a sure thing! A sure thing!

IT’S NOT TOO LATE: Cyber Monday Deals are here all week.

OBAMA’S CHIEF POSITIVE LEGACY: SPACE? My USA Today column: Cashing In On The Final Frontier.

WHEN LAW PROFESSORS FIGHT: Phil Hamburger responds to Adrian Vermeule’s critique of his book, Is Administrative Law Unlawful?


President Barack Obama may warn that carbon dioxide is causing global warming, but his flight to Paris to join other world leaders at the United Nations climate summit emitted more CO2 than driving 72 cars for a year.

Obama’s Paris jaunt will send more CO2 into the atmosphere than 31 American homes‘ energy usage for an entire year. The president’s trip is equivalent to burning 368,331 pounds of coal or 797 barrels of oil, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon footprint calculator.

Just one leg of the president’s Sunday trip to Paris emitted 189 tons of CO2 after travelling 3,855 miles and burning 19,275 gallons of jet fuel, according to Daily Caller News Foundation calculations based on past presidential flights. Obama’s return flight to Washington, D.C., would double the amount of CO2 burned to 378 tons — more than 72 cars driving for a year.

Which is seemingly the size of the typical Obama motorcade when he’s off on a fundraiser, golf game, one of his many vacations, or a jaunt that combines all of the above.


President Obama’s  ultra-high-carbon endless motorcade leaves the Blue Heron Farm en-route to the Bunch of Grapes Book Store where the President and his daughters shopped at Martha’s Vineyard, August 19th, 2011. (Rex Features via AP Images)



A longtime Hillary Clinton aide reached out to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) after the former secretary of State sustained a head injury in late 2012.

“[S]peaking of your cracked head, I reached out to both the Nfl commish (I remembered that his dad held your Senate seat) and Bill Frist,” longtime aide Philippe Reines told Clinton in an email on Christmas Eve of 2012.

As always, real life trumps satire. At least, I think these Washington Free Beacon articles on Hillary’s rather shaky health are satire…

Related: “Emails show Clinton staff asked NFL for help spinning her concussion, the State Department blacked out its list of Hillary’s ‘achievements’ and Madame Secretary couldn’t find ‘Homeland’ on her TV” — all you can do when faced with a dowager train wreck like that is to simply Roll On Laugh Flooring

RAHM EMANUEL’S GANGSTER GOVERNMENT: Cover-up In Chicago. “The city’s leaders have now brought charges against a police officer, Jason Van Dyke, for the first-degree murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. But for more than a year, Chicago officials delayed the criminal process, and might well have postponed prosecution indefinitely, had it not been for a state court forcing their hand. They prevented the public from viewing crucial incriminating evidence — first one police car’s dashboard camera video; now, we learn, five such videos in total. And these senior officials turned a blind eye to the fact that 86 minutes of other video surveillance footage of the crime scene was unaccountably missing.”

JAMES TARANTO: A Rhetorical Question: Why Conciliate Muslims But Not Pro-Lifers?

Post hoc ergo propter hoc: On Friday a man started shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo. By the time the suspect, Robert Dear, was in custody, he had allegedly killed a policeman and two civilians.

“Why is it the same knee-jerk Republicans freaking out about ISIS are fostering terrorism in the homeland? Recruiting and influencing loonies to do their dirty work to eliminate the evil scourge known as abortion?” rants Bob Lefsetz, “a music industry analyst and critic,” in New York’s Daily News, a tabloid that of late has degenerated into a slightly more high-toned version of Salon.

We’ve heard this before. And at least this time there is evidence, albeit far from conclusive, of a political motive: An anonymous “senior law enforcement official” tells the New York Times “that after Mr. Dear was arrested, he had said ‘no more baby parts’ in a rambling interview with the authorities.” But also: “The official said that Mr. Dear ‘said a lot of things’ during his interview, making it difficult for the authorities to pinpoint a specific motivation.”

President Obama rushed to politicize the crime. But interestingly, not only did he frame it solely as part of his lame-duck effort to combat “gun violence” by restricting the lawful purchase of firearms; he pooh-poohed the suggestion that it was political in nature: “We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was.”

Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper was a bit less circumspect. He told CNN: “Certainly it’s a form of terrorism, and maybe in some way it’s a function of the inflammatory rhetoric we see on all—so many issues now, there are bloggers and talk shows where they really focus on trying to get people to that point of boiling over. Just intense anger. Maybe it’s time to look at how do we tone down that rhetoric.”

While disavowing any effort to “limit free speech,” the governor said “the United States of America ought to begin a discussion” on how to “begin to tone back the inflammatory rhetoric.”

Such a conversation, it seems safe to surmise, would quickly degenerate into a shouting match. Planned Parenthood itself responded to the shooting with harsh denunciations of its critics, as the Washington Times reports. . . .

National Review’s Jim Geraghty notes that the left is rather selective in blaming political rhetoric for acts of violence—for example, insisting there is no connection between Black Lives Matter protesters’ foul antipolice rhetoric and actual attacks on cops. On the other hand, Colorado Springs isn’t the first time the left has blamed a terroristic act on a video.

But there’s an additional problem with the video-made-him-do-it theory of the case. The CMP videos, at least the parts of them we’ve seen, can’t be called “hate speech” by any stretch. They are not harsh denunciations of Planned Parenthood; they are exposés. The words and actions that horrify abortion foes—as well as decent people with more permissive views on abortion—are uttered and described by current and former Planned Parenthood employees and business associates.

We were struck by the contrast between the left’s responses to the Paris and Colorado Springs attacks. The former brought out a display of empathy toward Muslims; the latter, of antipathy toward pro-life Americans.

Hillary Clinton: “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” It would be at least as true to say that pro-life Americans are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism—but instead Mrs. Clinton responded to Colorado Springs with this false choice: “We should be supporting Planned Parenthood—not attacking it.”

“I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate [over accepting Syrian refugees],” President Obama said Nov. 17. “ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West.”

Why wouldn’t a similar logic apply to the demonization of pro-life Americans in the aftermath of Colorado Springs? That’s not a rhetorical question: The logic doesn’t apply because the attacks were very different. The ones in Paris were carried out by an organization that unmistakably has religious motives and political goals. By all accounts the Colorado Springs killer was a lone nut. There is no antiabortion terrorist organization to which to recruit anyone.

Whatever the merits of his refugee policy, the president is right to reject “the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West,” although it would be fatuous to deny that that is how Islamic supremacists see the matter. To judge by the reactions to Colorado Springs, though, many on the left really do regard Americans who oppose abortion—almost all of whom do so peaceably—as their enemy.

To be fair, the left regards everyone who disagrees with them as their enemy.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Bloomberg: Sweden Anti-Immigration Party Surges in Poll Amid Refugee Crisis.


Shot: “Lanny Davis suck-up email [from 2012] comparing Hillary to ‘Atticus Finch,’ noting ‘how great a SoS -and person – you are.’”

—Tweet last night by Joshua Green of Bloomberg and the Boston Globe.

Chaser: “Atticus Finch: American literature’s most celebrated rape apologist.”

—Ashe Schow, the Washington Examiner, December 14, 2014.

Hangover: “Rape victim claims Hillary Clinton smeared her, lied in court documents.”

—Ed Morrissey, Hot Air, June 20, 2014.


President Obama on Monday promoted an official to be his top adviser in the fight against the Islamic State, one he fired from his presidential campaign in 2008 for talking to Hamas.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Rob Malley, now a senior director at the National Security Council, would be his senior adviser for the counter-Islamic State program. Malley, a Clinton administration alumni, will work closely with Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter the Islamic State, Earnest said.

Malley was fired from then-Sen. Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008 for meeting with Hamas officials when he was an informal adviser to the campaign. Obama at the time was downplaying the idea he would negotiate with groups opposed to Israel.

Why it’s as if every campaign promise of Barack Obama came with an expiration date or something.

DANIEL DREZNER: Four tough things columnists should do before writing about universities. I think Drezner’s way too sanguine about the state of higher education, but this is worth a read.

JOHN HINDERAKER: DO HILLARY’S EMAILS CONFIRM CLINTON-OBAMA ENMITY? “Blumenthal’s emails display an open contempt for the president and his closest advisers.”

TRUMP RECEIVES COVETED TWISTED SISTER ENDORSEMENT: Dee Snider gives thumbs up to use his song, “We’re not gonna take it” during campaign events, Jazz Shaw writes at Hot Air.

Perhaps Al and Tipper Gore shouldn’t have pissed him off all those years ago.


Shot: $450,000 Federal Grant Went to Make Climate-Change Video Game.

—Bridget Johnson, PJ Media, yesterday.

Chaser: Black Friday warning: video games waste energy and contribute to global warming.

Scientific American, November 28, 2008.

Also in Bridget’s article:

The Waste Report highlighted the 1980s prediction of President Obama’s science advisor, John Holdren, that a billion people would die of global warming by 2020 through famine induced by carbon dioxide emissions.

In the decade before that “prediction,” Holdren considered population reduction quite a desirable goal.

ROGER SIMON: Climate Change: Last Year’s Fad Goes to Paris:

In the immortal words of H. L. Mencken, “When somebody says it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.”

I saw this up close and personal myself while covering COP-15 in Copenhagen for these digital pages back in 2009.  Even then there was something more than vaguely dubious about the enterprise and it seemed appropriate that the conference was taking place in a blinding snow storm, a winter wonderland of global warming.  And what a boondoggle it was! Half the U.S. Congress seemed to be there, all arriving on a chartered jet in Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen. When I ran into Cong. Charlie Rangel in the gift shop of the Marriott, where he was perusing some elegant Scandinavian jewelry, and asked him if he believed in man-made global warming, he stared at me in astonishment.  How could I ask anything so preposterous, he seemed to be saying, questioning the received wisdom of the ages, and turned to the clerk, gesturing toward some silver cufflinks.

Earlier that day I had asked the same question of a delegate sitting beside me at one of the interminable panel discussions.  By chance he came from one of the Pacific Islands said to be in danger of disappearing from the rising ocean level.  His response to my question was much more forthcoming than Rangel’s.  He laughed and shook his head.  Then why are you here, I asked?  ”For the money,” he said, still grinning.  And then he punched my shoulder playfully.

Even beyond the Gleichschaltung and crony corporatism (but I repeat myself) aspects of COP-21, it’s tailor-made for a president whose bespoke clothes contain no one within them: As Charles Krauthammer noted last night, Mr. Obama “Lives in His Own ‘Idealistic and Deluded, Undergrad Imagination.’”


Hillary Clinton calls for more ground troops as part of hawkish Isis strategy.

—The London Guardian, November 19th.

Clinton can’t “conceive” any condition for combat troops in Iraq, Syria.

—CBS, yesterday.

Unless she’s quietly added extra reinforcements to the exoskeleton, a Hillary divided against itself cannot stand!

Related: Huma vindicated! In just released emails, Hillary Clinton confirms being ‘very confused.’



“It’s not Politico’s policy to offer interview subjects the questions in advance but I did it anyway. Nevertheless, I will pay no price at Politico or from our so-called competitors in the DC Media because when it comes to electing Democrats, we all do it, we all know we do it, and if anyone comes after me I will expose them. In short, Democrats sure got it good.”

Related: “A July 2009 email to [Hillary] reads, ‘I just heard from a friend who is wired at Meet the Press that David Gregory is going to ask you about…’”

More: Tammy Bruce on the chairwoman of the DNC: “’Myzled?’ Listen to this clip, it’s unbelievable. How do you mispronounce a word you’re not reading? Unless, of course, MSNBC has a script for her in the teleprompter.”


One of the frequently cited quips in the halls of Congress is that politics makes for strange bedfellows, meaning that some alliances between Democrats and Republicans, especially given today’s toxic environment in Washington, are hard to fathom.  However, perhaps even more difficult to understand is the strange affinity that has developed over the past two decades between Islamists – radical Muslims – and the American progressive movement, or what Michael Walsh has termed the “unholy left.”

At first glance, the two entities seem utterly different – one proceeding from the darker recesses of Islamic culture, and the other a seemingly quintessential product of American idealism.  In fact, however, what we find between the two political movements is a confluence of interests and perspectives on a variety of matters.  Indeed, often the affinity of these two outlooks is frightening.

Both agencies have rather heavily invested in the business of “Fundamental Transformation,” so naturally they would seek allegiances and share tactics when expedient.

(Via SDA.)

WHAT’S A CAMPUS RAPE ACTIVIST? Someone Who’s Disappointed That They Don’t See Enough Campus Rapes.

Most mainstream news publications publish, you know, news. Except when it’s about “rape culture” on campus, when no news is also considered news. Case in point: following a winter survey they initiated last year on campus sexual assault, CBC News this fall conducted a survey of 87 post-secondary institutions to investigate the reporting of sexual assaults in 2014 on and off their campuses.

Since the received activist wisdom on the subject assures us that one in four (or five, depending on the polemicist) women on campus will be sexually assaulted during her college tenure, the researchers were chagrined to find that the actual number of reports came to 700 – averaging out to 1.85 per 10,000 students – a figure that jibes with rates of sexual assault in the general population. In 16 schools – seven in Quebec and nine in western Canada – not a single sexual assault has been reported in the last six years.

To feminists, there can be only one explanation for the dearth of reports, and certainly not the explanation that sexual assaults are either rare or considered not worth reporting by those involved. “It’s undercounting” is the immediate conclusion leapt to by University of Ottawa criminology professor and domestic violence researcher Holly Johnson. “It’s not counting what is the true experience of students, because there is no campus in which this doesn’t exist.”

Well, if campus rapes are that uncommon, a whole grifters’ empire will collapse. And what else are you going to do with a Gender Studies degree?

MISSING LINK NECK: How did giraffes get their long necks?

CROSS-DRESSING IN DEATH: Was King Tutankhamun’s famous burial mask originally intended for his stepmother Nefertiti?

THEY DO REALIZE ONE OF THESE GUYS WAS FICTIONAL, RIGHT: What James Bond and Steve Jobs Have in Common: Absent Fathers.

CAN I GET A “DUH”: No, America Doesn’t Have a Christian Terrorism Problem.

THE TIMES WE LIVE IN: Short takes on the drifting wreckage.

ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND FIREARMS SHOULD BE A CONVENIENCE STORE: Untouchable: The tradition continues for the ATF and not like in the movies.

WHAT IF WE STOPPED BOWING AND SCRAPING: What if… (Language warning.)


MOMMAS DON’T LET YOUR BABIES GROW UP IN THE IVIES: Ivy Leaguers need to stop with the PC obsession.

THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT YOUR FRIEND: Unless he’s your drunk friend who throws up in your new car and steals your girlfriend. How Uncle Sam chases away US jobs.

ALL WE ARE SAYING IS GIVE BOMBS A CHANCE: Bombing alone won’t destroy ISIS — but it’s a good start.

SOME FRIENDS ARE WORTH HAVING: Israel More Reliable Ally than the US for India.

EVER VIGILANT: Watchdogs are on the lookout for Obama appointees ‘burrowing in”.

NO MORE DANGEROUS FRIEND; NO LESS THREATENING FOE: On Ukraine’s front lines, U.S.-supplied equipment is falling apart.

November 30, 2015

OBAMA’S CHIEF POSITIVE LEGACY: SPACE? My USA Today column: Cashing In On The Final Frontier.

UNEXPECTEDLY: The Hill Deliberately Lies About Ted Cruz Comments Regarding Colorado Shooter.

They’re probably still bitter that their efforts to draft John Cougar Mellencamp for the Senate never caught fire.

PAUL MIRENGOFF: Behind the left’s selective treatment of tragic violence.

WEIRD SIDENOTE TO MY EARLIER PITCHFORKS POST: When you search for pitchforks on Amazon, the search results come back “excluding Adult items.” No, I don’t know what that leaves out, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to.


Related: Law Prof Accuses Associate Dean Of Retaliation For His Lawsuit Seeking Access To Admissions Data.


BULLETS & BOURBON UPDATE: Not only is the weather expected to be pretty darn awesome for Bullets and Bourbon coming up this weekend, our wonderful Venue, Rough Creek Lodge has freed up an additional room, so there is still time to join the festivities. Please call 770-952-1959 or 800-707-1634 and ask to speak with Cindy.

THREAT THAT SHUT DOWN UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO was threat to shoot white people, cops.

But now they’ve arrested the threatener, though his race is unreported. His name is Jabari Dean.

UPDATE: The FBI Just Arrested a Black College Student After What He Said He’d do to 16 White Men.

PARODY? THESE DAYS, WHO CAN TELL? Before we set up colonies on Mars, we need to discuss renaming its moons: Keeping Phobos and Deimos, which means ‘fear’ and ‘terror’, implies it’s totally cool to demonize our neighbor in the sky.

The naming of celestial bodies is currently highly regulated, overseen by the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature, a branch of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). But back before the IAU there was a wild and wooly era of naming essentially by whim, the whim of whoever was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.

In the case of Mars, that was Asaph Hall, the American astronomer who discovered the moons, cracked open a bottle of Champagne and decided on a pair of deities who embody panic/fear (Phobos) and terror/dread (Deimos).

These names strike very dark chords. Anyone at all familiar with epic poetry (the kind written here on Earth), knows what I mean. The words behind the names of the deities – phobos and deos (deimos is a poetic form of deos) – crop up hundreds of times in Homer’s Iliad, usually in depictions of brutal combat, explicit and grotesquely violent depictions in which, for example, a spear takes out an eye, the eye falls to the ground, the warrior topples onto his own eye. Whoa.

The words essentially form the infrastructure for the barbaric violence in the Iliad. And names matter. Is it really possible that we haven’t complained about the names? That no petitions are circulating demanding a softening of the names? We are basically implying, by doing nothing, that panic and terror are perfectly acceptable as appellations for our next-door neighbors in the sky.

If nothing else, we should be thinking of the children who will someday grow up to be Mars colonists. No one currently bats an eye when an adult leads a child out into the backyard to admire a planet orbited by panic and terror.

Most amusingly, the piece never mentions that Mars is named after, well, Mars.


This is where progressive urban governance leads: The combination of over-promising and under-delivering, corruption, institutional ineffectiveness, and clientelist politics ruptures the relationship between so-called public servants and the public they purport to serve. Chicago isn’t Detroit or Cleveland: It isn’t some lost city that has in effect been left to weed over. But employing the same kinds of institutional approaches with the same values and the same assumptions will produce — surprise — the same results. The Jesse Jacksons of the world instinctively respond by threatening to immiserate the functional parts of Chicago. But Jackson et al. shouldn’t be leading a march on the high-end retail district — they should be leading a march on the Democratic-party headquarters, which is the actual locus of malice in this sorry affair.

Republicans for the moment are pleased to be a non-factor. But that eventually is going to have to change. There is no city in the United States larger than San Diego with a Republican mayor. A Republican and a pseudo-Republican were, for a time, able to thrive politically in New York owing to the unusual character of Rudy Giuliani and the fact that the millionaire residents of an economically resurgent Manhattan wanted to be able to travel from a Broadway theater to a Soho restaurant without passing through Beirut. (New Yorkers, alas, have short memories, and thus have turned the city over to Bill de Blasio, with predictable results.) Conservatives as such are not players in the real-world politics of our largest cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia. They are a relatively minor factor in some large metropolitan aggregates such as greater Houston and the DFW metroplex, but as for the cities themselves — not really. Consider that even in conservative Texas, the big urban political fight this season was whether Houston’s crusading lesbian mayor could subpoena church sermons as part of her campaign to pass a city law guaranteeing certain toilet privileges to men who pretend to be women. That bespeaks a certain battiness, to be sure, but it also suggests an operative political model that should not be that hard to beat: Houston, which is largely working-class and overwhelmingly non-white, rejected that ordinance by a wide margin.

Obviously, it’s long past time for a change:


But if the GOP wishes to seriously get in the game in those cities, as Scott Walker, Rick Perry and Lois Lerner’s victims have all discovered, Republican mayoral candidates are going to have to be prepared to go to war against “the Deep State,” which will maintain the left’s entrenched power and free-flowing graft “by any means necessary,” to coin a phrase.

OBAMACARE CRUMBLING? PALACE GUARD TO THE RESCUE! “President Obama’s signature health care overhaul is crumbling, and his lead from behind foreign policy is paying ominous dividends. Good thing he has his unofficial Hollywood SuperPAC to lend him a hand.”

As Christian Toto notes, “Funny or Die” will likely be pivoting towards Hillary’s defense next year, as the DNC’s Hollywood SuperPAC rolls on.

21ST CENTURY PROBLEMS: There Aren’t Enough Specialists To Treat Our Growing Obese Population.

FASTER, PLEASE: “British technology company to ‘transform’ air and space travel with pioneering new engine design. Reaction Engines says its invention will allow airliners to fly at five times the speed of sound.”

Good luck to them; I fear though that they’ll be added to the next update of the story that Glenn linked to last week: “11 Outlandish Attempts To Build The Next Concorde.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: What happens if you actually go along with the person on the other end of the “Windows Technical Support” scam calls?

(Answer: “cancel your credit cards and talk to the credit card company to arrange a refund as the money has been paid fraudulently. You should also take to Facebook, and let as many of your contacts, friends and family in the local area, know that the scam is targeting your region.”)

We get these calls about once a week, sometimes more frequently. Since they claim they can “see” my computer has been “infected,” I simply ask them which version of Windows I’m using, how much RAM I’ve installed, etc.; they hang up pretty quickly.

THE SELECTIVE ARGUMENT THAT POLITICAL RHETORIC LEADS TO VIOLENCE: Jim Geraghty lists “The On-Again, Off-Again Arguments About ‘Dangerous Rhetoric’ Leading to Violence,” before concluding:

Do I have all that right? And does that make sense to anyone?

Wouldn’t Occam’s Razor suggest that those already driven by a desire or compulsion to kill other people are going to do so, and will merely latch on to whatever “reason”, justification or excuse is at hand or is most convenient? Isn’t it ridiculous to expect sane people to watch what they say and restrict what thoughts they express in order to prevent a rampage by someone with an inherently illogical, literally unreasonable, not-sane thinking process?

Isn’t “don’t say what you think, because it might set off a crazy person” the most insidious form of censorship, because none of us can really know what prompts a crazy person to go on a violent rampage?

Ace of Spades adds:

The Colorado governor says that the Planned Parenthood shooting is due to the rhetoric of “talk radio” and “bloggers.”

Ed Morrissey catches the Washington Post saying the same thing.

He notes an example where the left does not find its own hot rhetoric linked to a murderer’s rampage — the Family Research Council shooter. I can name another one — the Discover Channel Shooter, a shooter the left seized upon initially because they assumed he was rightwing, then discarded quickly when his manifesto indicated that he was so left-wing on climate change he thought the Discovery Channel was too soft in its climate change propaganda.

Gabriel Malor has documented the left’s “incurable” disease of blaming shootings on right-wing speech.

But never, ever on leftwing speech — obviously! Leftwing speech never inspires violence. Except when it does. And there’s an interesting argument to explain why, and that argument is complete media silence.

I find this part of the left’s broader mission of shutting down any thought of which they don’t approve. The left routinely — reflexively — links any sort of political thought they don’t like into a dire real-world consequence or crime.

If you deny the fake 1-in-5 claim, you’re encouraging rape.

If you publicize the fact that baby organs are in fact being harvested at Planned Parenthood, you’re encouraging shooting.

If you call a woman “bossy,” you’re both fostering an anti-woman “atmosphere” and encouraging violent crimes against women.

And so on. As I say, the left’s own hot rhetoric — that we need to reduce the human population to save us from global warming; that anyone who disagrees with this is a “denier” like a Holocaust denier; etc., etc. — is never, apparently, linked to any violence.

Well, that doesn’t help advance the DNC-MSM narrative; when it comes to their coverage of the other side of the aisle, as Andrew Klavan noted in 2009, all of their memes can be boiled down to two words:

Related: “These are some astounding facts about violence this year in Chicago,” Betsy Newmark notes:

As of November 23, there had been 2703 shootings which resulted in 440 deaths year-to date in heavily gun-controlled Chicago.

That is an increase of approximately 400 shootings over the same time last year.

And remember that Chicago has some of the most stringent gun control measures in the nation in a city that has been under totally Democratic control for decades.

Doesn’t fit the narrative; makes Obama and Rahm look bad. Thus memory holed in order to continue “defining deviancy downward,” to coin a phrase.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Namaste, Bitches is the Girls of Yoga.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Cashing In On The Final Frontier. You know, space development may turn out to be Obama’s main positive legacy.

PC RUINS EVERYTHING, EXAMPLE 9,327,263: A Pirelli calendar with NO nude models? Serena Williams, Patti Smith and Amy Schumer pose for iconic calendar as it abandons naked supermodels for, er, naked ‘women of achievement.’

Much like the NFL donning pink shoes in October, that should go over well with their core demographic.


● COP21: Obama on risk of ‘submerged countries, abandoned cities.’
—Headline, the BBC, today.

● “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
—Then-Sen. Obama, as transcribed on 11/05/2008 in “Obama’s Nomination Victory Speech In St. Paul” at the Huffington Post.

Related: “The Paris Climate Talks Will Emit 300,000 Tons of CO2, by Our Math. Hope It’s Worth It,”

Wired magazine, broadcasting from Condé Nast’s giant air-conditioned server farm, which apparently they haven’t yet voluntarily shuttered as an example for the rest of us as to how serious this all is.

BIRTH CONTROL: The IUD: Can Birth Control Be Too Good?

AT THE MOVIES WITH FRANÇOIS AND HITCH: The New York Times looks back at a landmark book on movie production:

Culled from six days of interviews that the French director François Truffaut conducted with his idol Alfred Hitchcock, the book “Hitchcock” immediately stood out from other books about movies when it was published in an English translation in 1967.

“There is not another instance of one practicing director paying homage to another in the entire history of books on cinema,” the critic Andrew Sarris, one of America’s earliest Hitchcock champions, wrote in a review in The Chicago Tribune in January 1968.

In The New York Times, Eliot Fremont-Smith called it “one of the most revealing and engrossing books on film art, technique and history ever put together.” And the critic Charles Champlin of The Los Angeles Times offered a suggestion: “It’s one book that would absolutely make a heck of a movie.”

Now it has. The documentary “Hitchcock/Truffaut,” which opens Wednesday, Dec. 2, and takes its name from the informal title of Truffaut’s book, is both a companion piece to the text and an extension of it. Directed by Kent Jones, the movie draws heavily on Hitchcock clips, the original interview audiotapes, stills taken of the encounter by the photographer Philippe Halsman and interviews with current filmmakers.

Plus this very droll moment:

To Whit Stillman, director of “Metropolitan,” the book was so readable in part because of the familiarity of the films but also because of the tome’s graphic design: “the high-water mark of sans serif lettering,” he said by Skype of the cover.

To be fair, it seemed like all books published during that period looked like that, as Helvetica seemed omnipresent. But few books contained the knowledge of a master showman telling the world how it was done. Read the whole thing.

NARRATIVE UBER ALLES: Ann Althouse: Chuck Todd was heavily pushing the politicization of the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting. The goal here is to discredit the videos — to be achieved, it seems, simply by calling them “discredited videos,” without doing any, you know, actual discrediting — and then rehabilitate Planned Parenthood and Hillary’s #waronwomen campaign theme.

HISTORY’S 7 Greatest Flying Aces.

SHUT UP AND PLAY YOUR COMPUTER: Product Review: Jam Origin’s MIDI Guitar 2 VST Plugin.

Apologies to Frank Zappa and his awesome “Shut Up and Play Your Guitar” albums for the above headline — but over at the PJ Lifestyle blog, I have a review of a pretty cool new computer music recording plugin for those who would like to get their electric guitars playing (reasonably) nicely with their software synthesizers.

MORE GOOD NEWS ABOUT SPACE: My USA Today column: Cashing In On The Final Frontier. You know, space development may turn out to be Obama’s main positive legacy.

AT AMAZON, deals on Dremel tools.

NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SCIENCE: Don’t Hire The Hot Nanny. On Twitter, somebody invoked Arnold Schwarzenegger as the counterexample, but I think the answer is that if you’re on enough testosterone, they’re all hot.

THE NATIONAL INTEREST: Political Correctness Goes To War on American History. “George Orwell once remarked that Stalin’s Soviet Union was a place yesterday’s weather could be changed by decree. America, it seems, is not wholly immune to this totalitarian impulse either.”

JOSH BLACKMAN SPANKS RICHARD POSNER: Posner: The 14th Amendment is “Old, Cryptic, or Vague.” But What About Article III? “At bottom, Posner candidly rejects any fidelity to the text of the Constitution. That invariably includes, of course, the parchment barrier that allows him to append the honorific ‘Judge’ to his name. Yes, Richard Posner’s powers derive not from his boundless intellect, but from the bounds of Article III.”

This has implications that go far beyond the judiciary. The only reason for not tarring and feathering any government official for effrontery when they tell us what to do is that their power to do so is somehow legitimate. But that legitimacy comes from the exercise of constitutional power. If the Constitution doesn’t mean anything, well, then, maybe it’s time to go long on pitchforks. Because without the Constitution the angry mob is just as legitimate as the perfumed princes of the state.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Charles Koch: Most Businessmen Don’t Support Free Market Capitalism.

Far more businessmen cease being capitalists and morph into corporatists, once their business reaches a large enough size.

EPA NEW-HIRE HITS BONUS JACKPOT: An unnamed EPA finance executive allegedly did such a fantastic job that she got two performance bonuses totaling $9,000 even though she’d been on the job for less than three months. The acting director of her office didn’t even know about the second bonus. The EPA’s inspector general said there are no rules that bar such quick bonuses but he could find no prior examples to match this one.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 935.

BRINGING NEW MEANING TO THE PHRASE, “RUN TO DAYLIGHT:” As it turns out, the NFL’s arrest streak is alive and well at 80 months.

After blogging quite a bit about the NFL during the early days of Ed in 2002-2003, I cut back greatly when I noticed that category was starting to resemble the police blotter far more than the sports page.

NO BLOW IS TOO LOW WHEN THE NARRATIVE IS AT STAKE: WaPo: Let’s hold free speech guilty for the acts of a lunatic, shall we? Ed Morrissey is uncharacteristically fierce:

So let’s get this straight. When a lunatic shoots up a Family Research Council office, it has nothing to do with its political opposition. When an abortionist runs loose because public officials are too intimidated to enforce the laws that do exist, it has nothing to do with political support for abortion. But when a lunatic shoots up an abortion clinic, it’s the fault of millions of Americans who oppose abortion, and who argue peacefully for limits on the practice and better oversight of those who operate in the industry?

Even when “police have not yet identified a clear motive for the shooting”?

The shootings in a clinic and the deaths of two people are horrific acts that everyone with a lick of sense and humanity abhors. But what the Washington Post and pro-abortion advocates are conducting in its wake is an attack on free speech and the political process, not to mention the unconscionable smearing of millions of Americans. It’s disgusting, manipulative, exploitative, and un-American. Shame on them, and shame on the Washington Post for its egregious bias.

Just think of them as Democratic Party operatives with bylines and you won’t go far wrong.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Getting To The Next American Dream:

It’s small businesses that revitalize neighborhoods, give poor people a chance to get ahead. And ultimately, it’s some of the small businesses of today that will become the innovative big firms of tomorrow.

But these aren’t normal times, and small business matters even more. We live in times when the old drivers of employment like big business, government, and the NGO sector are less and less effective at generating growth and prosperity. The collapse of employment in the manufacturing sector, and the steady pressure on white collar and clerical work driven by automation, means that established firms aren’t generating jobs as quickly. That’s driving wage stagnation and exacerbating inequality. And the new normal of slower job growth also means that many of the conventional career tracks in business and the professions aren’t as reliable a glide path to a comfortable middle class existence as they used to be.

Accelerating the formation of innovative new businesses is the only real way to address this problem in the long run. Millennials and their successors are going to have to create the jobs they want rather than hoping that corporate and government bureaucracies will provide them with lifelong careers.

This isn’t an impossible dream. Today labor costs are relatively low and information and communications technology are creating resources that smart and creative people can use to build new businesses. Harnessing the power of the internet and information technology to improve the lives of people around you is one of the greatest business opportunities of all time. But as a society, we are making it harder, not easier, for these creative new business ideas to emerge.

Free enterprise is great for growth, income mobility and self-actualization. But it produces insufficient opportunities for graft.

But if you’re a campaign policy maven or speechwriter and you want to do something about this, let me recommend Jim Bennett and Michael Lotus’s America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century: Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come. Read it. You’ll be glad you did.


Mayor de Blasio’s affordable-housing plan is in shambles. There’s traffic chaos in the streets. Sixty percent of New Yorkers say they see more homeless people around. And 48 percent of New Yorkers don’t want de Blasio to have a second term.

So what does the mayor do? He races back into the arms of the special interests who helped get him elected. That’s right — he’s re-embracing the nuts who want to ban the Central Park carriage horses.

Back in early 2011, when New York City was hip deep in a foot and a half or more of white powdery global warming and snow removal was spotty at best and nonexistent at worst, Victor Davis Hanson coined “The Bloomberg Syndrome:”

It is a human trait to focus on cheap and lofty rhetoric rather than costly, earthy reality. It is a bureaucratic characteristic to rail against the trifling misdemeanor rather than address the often-dangerous felony. And it is political habit to mask one’s own failures by lecturing others on their supposed shortcomings. Ambitious elected officials often manage to do all three.The result in these hard times is that our elected sheriffs, mayors, and governors are loudly weighing in on national and global challenges that are quite often out of their own jurisdiction, while ignoring or failing to solve the very problems that they were elected to address.

Quite simply, the next time your elected local or state official holds a press conference about global warming, the Middle East, or the national political climate, expect to experience poor county law enforcement, bad municipal services, or regional insolvency.

And in de Blasio’s case, the biggest political obsession with horses since Caligula.

THE FRAGILE FRENCH REPUBLIC: The country’s politics are beset by a unique anxiety that the entire system could collapse. Why? Because they’ve been living a fantasy for half a century.

AT AMAZON, Cyber Monday Deals Galore!

Including special Cyber Monday Deals in Clothing And Fashion.

JOEL KOTKIN: Jerry Brown’s Insufferable Green Piety.

Outsiders think of California as a prosperous place that mints billionaires, but overall the state’s economic recovery has done little for many, if not most, state residents. Even with the boom in Silicon Valley, roughly one in three Californians live check to check, the state has [a] higher rate of poverty than Mississippi, as well as one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients. Among the emerging Latino majority, a prime Brown constituency, the state’s cost-adjusted poverty rate is more than 33 percent, compared to just 22.7 percent in Texas, a state often derided as unenlightened and cruel.

During this “boom,” most California blue-collar workers in farming, fishing, and forestry have experienced actual average wage decreases. Employment in fields such as construction and manufacturing remain well below their 2007 levels. Much of this has to do with environmental regulation, which has raised energy costs almost twice those of nearby competitors and also helped raise housing prices to an unsustainable level.

Once the beacon of opportunity, California is becoming a graveyard of middle-class aspiration, particularly for the young. In a recent survey of states where “the middle class is dying,” based on earning trajectories for middle-income cohorts, Business Insider ranked California first, with shrinking middle-class earnings and the third-highest proportion of wealth concentrated in the top 20 percent.

Most hurt, though, are the poor. California is home to a remarkable 77 of the country’s 297 most “economically challenged,” cities based on levels of poverty and employment, according to a recent USC study; altogether these cities have a population of more than 12 million. Some stressed cities exist cheek-to-jowl with the state’s uber-rich—Oakland, Los Angeles, as well as Coachella, near Palm Springs. Most others are in the poorer, more heavily Latino interior, places like Riverside, Stockton, and Vallejo. Journalists who come to California to praise the governor may think it’s still “California Dreamin’” but for all too many, particularly away from the coast (PDF), it’s more like The Grapes of Wrath.

Of course, there’s a long history of such bifurcated society, where people tend to stay in their class and the poor depend largely on handouts from their spiritual “betters.” It’s called feudalism.

And that’s what our “betters” want for all of us.

ANDREW KLAVAN: Narrative Wrestling After Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooting Dishonors the Dead:

In moments like this, it is always wise to remember Klavan’s First Rule of Mainstream Media Reporting: Whenever the prejudices and illusions of left-wingers are confirmed by an individual incident, the incident is treated as representative; when those prejudices and illusions are contradicted, the incident is considered an aberration — and treating it as representative is deemed hateful.

Read the whole thing.


Over 200 people were arrested earlier today in Paris when protesters on hand for the COP21 global warming talks turned violent and trashed a memorial at the Place de la Republique for the victims of the terror attacks earlier this month.

Huh — when headlines last year proclaimed that “Democrats say climate change a bigger threat than ISIS,” who knew this was what they had in mind?


One common denominator characterizes almost all unrest on college campuses: the demands to create more “-studies” courses (black, Latino, feminist, gay, etc.) and thus to hire more -studies professors.

An empiricist from Mars might observe that the chief beneficiaries of the protests are -studies academics. They alone will win more jobs and classes, which otherwise few students wish to attend and from which fewer gain any factual knowledge, written and oral speaking skills, or improvement in inductive thinking.

A good leftist would cite conflict of interest: the more -studies professors egg on students to protest for more -studies professors, the more their friends, students, and mentors profit. Or is it more insidious: students also want more -studies courses to ensure more gut classes with easy As to inflate GPAs and free up more time to hit the gym and the local protest? So far there are few demands to make the physics department more diverse or to hire more engineering professors.

If some right-wing nut wished to harm leftist students and wanted to ensure that they stay indebted, leave college poorly prepared, and do not impress future employers, then he would likely advocate for the curtailment of traditional history, language, science, math courses and their faculty, and the expansion of more -studies courses and professors.

Go forth and read the whole thing!



THEY’LL DO FOR IT WHAT THEY’VE DONE FOR HEALTHCARE, IF THEY’RE ALLOWED: Congressional Q&A: Feds finding ways to grab control of Internet.

Since the Federal Communications Commission passed Title II regulations reclassifying Internet service providers as common utility companies in February, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., has been at the forefront of the fight to reverse them. Critics say the rule change represents an overreach by the FCC, erodes consumer protection and curtails free speech rights.

If a federal court takes action, there may be no need for a congressional solution. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is set to hear oral arguments against the rules on Dec. 4. Blackburn has led a coalition of 22 lawmakers in filing an amicus brief supporting appellants in the case, arguing that Congress never granted the FCC the statutory authority to reclassify an industry on its own.

This should play out like MCI v. AT&T, but the courts have been AWOL a lot on administrative overreach.

AGE OF OFFENSE REACHES NEW LOW, Christine M. Flowers writes in the Philadelphia Daily News:

The reason? Well, they tried to dress it up in language that did not seem as if Tina Fey had written it for a Saturday Night Live sketch, but the truth was fairly obvious: “Yoga has been under a lot of controversy lately due to how it is being practiced and what practices from what cultures . . . they are being taken from. Many of these cultures are cultures that have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy, and we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves and while practicing yoga.”

The day that yoga becomes culturally offensive is the day that Mr. Rogers becomes a metrosexual icon. In other words, anyone who has a problem with Westerners (or rather, 21st-century colonialists) teaching yoga classes to disabled students — for free! — is a real pain in the asana.

This is up there with women on campus carrying around mattresses because they want the world to take their complaints about sexual abuse seriously (right, toting a Serta through the cafeteria line is exactly the way to avoid ridicule). This is up there with complaining about red Starbucks cups at Christmas. This is up there with Ivy League students being told what Halloween costumes they can wear so as not to offend indigenous zombies. This is right up there with a white guy going on a hunger strike until the University of Kansas instituted “mandatory, intense” racial re-education workshops for students (bro, look in the mirror). And yes, this is up there with allowing a same-sex couple to throw a legally compensated hissy fit because one particular baker out of the hundreds of thousands of millions in the world would not serve up a wedding cake.

Heh. Unless things have changed dramatically from when I last regularly read the Philadelphia Daily News 20 years ago, given the Bletchley Park-level sensitivities to offense of that paper’s readers, I’m surprised this article didn’t come with a giant red “TRIGGER WARNING” atop it.

Related: There Is No Bigger Threat to Millennials Than Liberalism.

GREAT MOMENTS IN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: Firewoman allowed to graduate NYC Fire Academy despite flunking physical injured 10 days into job.

(Headline via Power Line.)

WASHINGTON POST: Hillary Clinton panders to middle-class voters with unrealistic tax promises.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT OVER THE WEEKEND: Walter Olson Highlights Demands Of Campus Activists.

JOHN LEWIS: Black Lives Matter Movement ‘Must Understand’ the Way of Peace.

I appreciate the sentiment — and I also remember Lewis’ role in racially demagoguing and playing the race card against an actual peaceful protest from the right.

SNOWFALLS ARE NOW JUST A THING OF THE PAST. Or, two London Independents in one!

● “Paris climate change talks: What the different groups attending expect from these crucial meetings.”

—Headline, London Independent, yesterday.

“Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.”

—Headline, London Independent, March 20, 2000.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Marco Rubio Vows to Restore Intelligence Programs Restricted by Obama.

From Roger Simon; article illustration by yours truly.


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