July 28, 2014

A PROBLEM FOR 2016? Hillary’s Domestic Violence Record.

THE SURVEILLANCE STATE is looking in the wrong direction.

IS CHOLESTEROL THEORY in “scientific free fall?”

WE HAVE A COUPLE OF THESE HEAVY METAL ROCKERS, which are made and sold by Helen’s psychologist-crony Hodge Golson. They’re awesome-looking, and also very comfortable.

WHY YOUR PHONE FREAKS OUT when you get off a plane. I can’t say I’ve experienced this, but then, I don’t have AT&T.

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“SMART DIPLOMACY” GETS EVEN SMARTER! The Obama administration threatens Israel over criticism of John Kerry.

DO WE REALLY WANT A KINDER, GENTLER SURGEON? “Surgery is a fundamentally messy and stressful activity. When being a few millimeters off target can be life-changing, a surgeon needs to possess fierce concentration, unrelenting perfectionism, and, above all, staunch self-assurance.”

ANDREW BREITBART SAID THAT SARAH PALIN SHOULD AVOID POLITICS IN FAVOR OF BECOMING THE “RED STATE OPRAH.” NOW: Sarah Palin launches her own online TV channel.

You can do worse than follow Andrew Breitbart’s media advice, even posthumously.

Andrew-Breitbartposterfinsmi

I still think someone should plaster D.C. with these posters, especially around the various Palace Guard Media offices.

THE WORLD IS SAVED: All systems “go” as control restored to beleaguered sex gecko satellite.

53 COLORIZED CLASSIC PHOTOS.

TEN THINGS you didn’t know your iPhone could do.

PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: Scott Walker’s ad about Mary Burke’s family’s company — Trek — gets the numbers right. Also, attacking Dems on hypocrisy that will hurt them with their base is an excellent turnout-reducing strategy. People bothered by these ads won’t vote for Walker, necessarily, but they’ll be less likely to show up at all. Same reason people should go after Democratic officeholders who pay women less than men.

LEAKED: Michelle Nunn’s Campaign Plan.

PROPOSING “SOLUTIONS” THAT WILL COMPOUND THE PROBLEM: Student Debt On The Campaign Trail. From the comments: “Student loan money goes into the general fund, which subsidizes excessive administrative spending and athletics. Put a cap on administration expenses that can be subsidized and pop the athletic bubble, then loans over a four-year period will be reduced by several thousand dollars.” Indeed.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 445.

SOMEHOW, I THINK THIS ROBERT HEINLEIN QUOTE IS WORTH REPEATING ONE MORE TIME:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

You know?

THE TYPICAL AMERICAN HOUSEHOLD has seen its net worth decline by a third.

But look how these members of Congress have done.

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TRAIN WRECK UPDATE: Plan to simplify 2015 health renewals may backfire.

MICKEY KAUS: Boehner’s Bad Coach. “A good football coach thinks several plays ahead. Rep. Salmon seems incapable of thinking one play ahead. By passing any immigration change now — even a desirable one — Republicans open themselves up to a protracted negotiation, perhaps into a lame duck session, with the massed forces of Obama, Haley Barbour, the Chamber of Commerce, (and Rupert Murdoch), all angling for one part of ‘comprehensive’ reform or another. That might be good for GOP fundraising — lobbyists can be generous when they really want something — but this isn’t a fundraising game (or a PR game, let alone a football game). What is at stake is the fundamental policy of the nation.”

I say revisit it in 2017. Until then, in Bob Dole’s memorable phrase, remember that sometimes a little gridlock can be a good thing.

And remember this from (immigrant!) Eugene Volokh:

I think, though, that the “Pilgrims = Illegal Aliens” equation illustrates the exact opposite. The whites immigrated to America — and took over the place. (I’m glad they did, but I can surely understand why the Indians might have disagreed.) Likewise, Jews immigrated to Palestine (adding vastly to the numbers already present), sometimes illegally — and eventually there were more Jews in some parts than Arabs, so Jews started running the place. Now Israelis are sensibly objecting to Palestinians’ asserted “right of return” to their and their parents’ homes, because if enough Palestinians are allowed to immigrate into Israel, they’ll start running the place.

The bottom line is that for all the good that immigration can do (and I’m an immigrant to the U.S., who is very glad that America let me in, and who generally supports immigration), unregulated immigration can dramatically change the nature of the target society. It makes a lot of sense for those who live there to think hard about how those changes can be managed, and in some situations to restrict the flow of immigrants — who, after all, will soon be entitled to affect their new countrymen’s rights and lives, through the vote if not through force.

I sometimes pose for my liberal friends a stylized thought experiment. Say that they live in a country of 3 million people (the size of New Zealand) where 55% of the citizens are pro-choice and 45% are pro-life (1.65 million vs. 1.35 million). Now the country is facing an influx of 1 million devoutly Catholic immigrants, who are 90% pro-life. If these immigrants are let in and become citizens, the balance will flip to 2.25 million pro-life to 1.75 million pro-choice (56% to 44% pro-choice); and what my friends might see as their fundamental human right to abortion may well vanish, perfectly peacefully and democratically.

It’s unlikely that any constitutional protection will stand in the way: Even constitutions can be amended, and new judges can be appointed. Nor can one rely on “education” or “assimilation” — what if the immigrants simply conclude that their views on abortion are just better than the domestic majority’s? I think many of the current residents may rightly say “We have nothing against Catholics; but we don’t want our rights changed by the arrival of people who have a different perspective on the world than we do.”

Letting in immigrants means letting in your future rulers.

If today’s immigrant wave were likely to vote Republican, all right-thinking people would be demanding deportations and a mile-wide belt of barbed wire and minefields along the border.

CATHY YOUNG: Stop Fem-Splaining: What ‘Women Against Feminism’ Gets Right. “The charge that feminism stereotypes men as predators while reducing women to helpless victims certainly doesn’t apply to all feminists—but it’s a reasonably fair description of a large, influential, highly visible segment of modern feminism.”

COLOR ME SKEPTICAL: WaPo: Here’s what the IRS told a federal court about Lois Lerner’s hard drive.

EXCEPT THEY LOOK DOWN ON THOSE BLUE-COLLAR PEOPLE: Joel Kotkin: To Fight Inequality, Blue States Need To Shift Focus To Blue-Collar Jobs.

Conservatives may not have the answers but it’s clear that a progressive regime has not worked either.

The net worth of blacks and Hispanics has declined relative to whites. The black poverty rate stood at 27.2% in 2012, and for Hispanics, 25.6%. At the same time as poor kids are flocking here from Central America, child poverty among Latinos has risen sharply, from 27.5% in 2007 to 33.7% percent in 2012.

One would think these statistics would make someone question at least somewhat boilerplate progressive polices, which certainly have not worked better than standard brand conservatism. But often the common answer to these trends has been a call for more “progressive” social policies that would seek to redistribute wealth and to enforce racial equity in everything from housing to university admission. Given Republican control of the House, these racial and class politics are increasingly most keenly felt in the states and cities.

There are numerous signs of this, including Seattle’s $15 an hour minimum wage and similar proposals in other cities. The thrust of New York Mayor Bill De Blasio’s administration seems to be to provide ever more succor to the city’s large, heavily minority, poor and working-class population through early childhood education and more subsidized housing.

As an old Democrat, I am sympathetic to the concerns. But it’s dubious the deep blue cities have found a solution. Let’s start with the gap between rich and poor. For the most part the regions and states with the widest gap between the classes are overwhelmingly dominated by modern progressivism.

The capital of blue America, New York City, has easily the worst levels of inequality in the country, with an income distribution that approaches that of South Africa under apartheid, notes demographer Wendell Cox.

But New York is hardly the only progressive stronghold with searing inequality. A recent Brookings report found that of the regions with the greatest income disparity only one, Atlanta, is located in a red-leaning state. These include San Francisco, Miami, Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, Oakland, Chicago and Los Angeles. The lowest degree of inequality was found generally historically more conservative cities like Ft. Worth, Texas; Oklahoma City; Raleigh, N.C.; and Mesa, Ariz. Income inequality has risen most rapidly in the probably the most left-leaning big American city of luxury progressivism, San Francisco, where the wages of the poorest 20% of all households have actually declined amid the dot-com billions.

The more they talk about equality, the more they push policies that make insiders richer and everyone else poorer.

WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP: Why Is the World Becoming Such a Nasty Place? Poor Obama. So much bad luck.

WHY ABSOLUTE JUDICIAL IMMUNITY SHOULD BE ABOLISHED: 6th Circuit Court: Ex-Judge Wade McCree’s conduct ‘reprehensible’ but immune from lawsuit.

Disgraced former Wayne County Circuit Judge Wade McCree, who had an affair with a woman while presiding over her child custody case, got some good news from a federal appeals court this week: He can’t be sued by the child’s father.

That’s what the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in a 24-page decision Monday, stating that while McCree’s actions were “often reprehensible,” he is immune from lawsuits under the long-held doctrine of judicial immunity.

The ruling rubbed one attorney the wrong way: Joel Sklar, who is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court for help in loosening up the doctrine that says judges can’t be sued for decisions they make on the bench.

“There should be no immunity for what happened here,” said Sklar, who said he believes McCree improperly used the judicial immunity doctrine “as a shield for self interest” so that he could have a sexual relationship with a woman who appeared before him in a child custody case.

Sklar represents the child’s father, Robert King, who is fighting for the right to sue McCree, alleging he denied him access to a fair and impartial judge: McCree was having an affair with his child’s mother, sexted her from the bench and gave her thousands of dollars.

At the very least, if judges are to enjoy absolute immunity from lawsuits over misconduct, that immunity should come from the legislature. Right now, it’s a judicially-created doctrine, which is self-serving in the extreme.

This case isn’t the worst misconduct shielded by judicial immunity, but it’s pretty bad.

And speaking of self-dealing, this doesn’t look good: “McCree is the son of the late Wade Hampton McCree Jr., who was the first black person appointed to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and the second black solicitor general in U.S. history.” Though the doctrine is so absolute that it doesn’t really matter. And did I mention that this rule of absolute immunity for judges, no matter how serious their misconduct, was created by . . . judges?

CHANGE: House, Senate Negotiators Reach Deal On Veterans Bill.

THE GENERAL CRISIS OF THE 21ST CENTURY: Michael Barone: Fighting parasitic bureaucracies and crony capitalism.

BUT THE LEFTY REVISIONISM NEVER STOPS: Ex-’60 Minutes’ Producer Is No Hollywood Hero.

CNN POLL: Americans really wish they had elected Mitt Romney instead of Obama.

Americans are so down on President Obama at the moment that, if they could do the 2012 election all over again, they’d overwhelmingly back the former Massachusetts governor’s bid. That’s just one finding in a brutal CNN poll, released Sunday, which shows Romney topping Obama in a re-election rematch by a whopping nine-point margin, 53 percent to 44 percent. That’s an even larger spread than CNN found in November, when a survey had Romney winning a redo 49 percent to 45 percent.

Two years ago, Obama won re-election with about 51 percent of the vote.

Well, I mean, look around.

BYRON YORK: The Democrats’ Impeachment-Themed Fundraising Extravaganza. The GOP won’t impeach Obama. Nobody wants a President Biden. And even if you could Agnew Biden out of the way, you’d just get . . . President Boehner. Nobody wants that, either. . . .

Related: Rep. Scalise Calls Out Obama: ‘First White House In History Trying To Start Narrative Of Own Impeachment.’ ““Look, the White House will do anything they can to change the topic away from the president’s failed agenda. . . . People are paying higher costs for food, for healthcare, for gas at the pump. And the president isn’t solving those problems. So he wants to try to change the subject.”

THAT’S OKAY, WE’VE GOT “SMART DIPLOMACY” ON THE JOB: Scotland’s bid for independence puts White House in awkward diplomatic spot.

IN ILLINOIS, progress at building a Republican ground game?

July 27, 2014

NOT SURE I BUY THIS DIAGNOSIS OF HILLARY’S PROBLEMS IN 2008: “They did not let Hillary be Hillary.”

KURT SCHLICHTER: Conservatism Is The New Punk Rock. Actually, that’s more libertarianism. But:

Look at ancient Hillary Clinton, that improbable Millennial heroine. She’s the Bachman Turner Overdrive of American politics, out there literally taking care of business – especially the businesses who take care of her by paying her hundreds of thousands a pop to come talk to them.

There’s no energy left in liberalism, no excitement, just more rules, more controls, everything the punks hated. You can’t say this, you can’t think that, everybody read the memo – today we’re scheduled to be angry at people don’t want to subsidize our birth control! Oh, and make sure you obtain a videotaped, notarized consent form before you kiss your cisgender hook-up.

Yeah. The Dems are looking like that crazy preacher in Footloose.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Out: “All But Dissertation.” In: “Certificate of Doctoral Completion.” “Dysfunctional graduate departments, toxic faculty, and the Navy Seal-like brutality of the Ph.D. process all contribute to the burnout experienced by the estimated 50-plus percent of Ph.D. students who fail to earn their doctorates.”

BILL QUICK WONDERS IF THIS IMMIGRATION CRISIS is backfiring on Obama.

DAVID GOLDMAN: Maybe This Time They’ll Kill Us Twice. You know what should come after Hamas? Nothing.

BETTER MAKE SOME DONATIONS TO ORGANIZING FOR AMERICA, STAT! Former Vanguard Tax Lawyer Files Whistleblower Suit Alleging Mutual Fund Giant Became Low-Cost Leader by Evading $1 Billion in Taxes.

LAYERS OF EDITORS AND FACT-CHECKERS: “That parody story about Michele Bachmann proposing to set up labor camps for illegal immigrant children, which took in our dear friends at Think Progress, has taken in the New York Times as well: Brazil bureau chief Simon Romero is tweeting the fake story as though it were real.”

UPDATE: Hey, though, this may actually do more than anything to shrink the flow of immigrants. Idea for anti-illegal-immigration groups: Buy ads in Central America, looking pretty official, denying that the U.S. Government puts illegals into forced-labor camps. Say that what the New York Times and ThinkProgress are reporting is false! Pay no attention to these absurd claims!

2014: GOP Counting on ‘Motivated Base,’ Courting ‘Low-Propensity Voters’ to Win This Fall. They’ll do better if the Republican apparat — I’m looking at you, NRSC — doesn’t piss off the base with racial attacks on Tea Party candidates. You know?

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HILLARY CLINTON: Hey, you know who was a great President? George W. Bush. “George W. Bush is very popular in Sub-Saharan Africa. Why? Because of the president emergency program for AIDS relief whether you agree or disagree with a lot of what else he did — and I disagree with a lot of it — I am proud to be an American when I go to Sub-Saharan Africa and people say, ‘I want to thank President Bush and the United States for helping us fight HIV/AIDS.’”

EUROPE’S AMAZING ANTI-ISRAEL WAYS.

I’ve lived in Europe the past dozen years—in Berlin, Prague, and London. When it comes to Israel, Europe’s ways seldom cease to amaze. . . .

Bias against Israel, and Jews, is hardly a rarity across the EU. This is not just about Gaza and it can pop up anywhere.

In late 1990s, the venerable Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung slipped in a story about then British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind. The prestigious German paper reported that “the Jew Rifkind” had ended a Bonn speech by quoting the founder of the Reformation, Martin Luther: “Here I stand. I can do no other.” Huh? “Der Jude Rifkind”? The author of the story explained in defense that readers should know that the Foreign Secretary was quoting a Protestant, even though he was not one. Sigh.

A few years later France’s ambassador to the Court of St. James’s slipped. In an unguarded moment at a London dinner party he referred to the Jewish state as “that shitty little country Israel.” The Qua d’Orsay envoy did not deny making the remark, but did say he found it outrageous that a private observation would find its way into the media. A French Embassy spokesman said at the time the ambassador had “no intention of apologizing.”

A few years later still, when I was head of the Aspen Institute in Berlin, a German foreign ministry official sitting in my office out at the Wannsee—the site, incidentally where the Nazis planned the “Final Solution”—asked me why I, as a non-Jew, would be pro-Israel. More awkwardly, a senior executive at the American Chamber of Commerce in Frankfurt told me in the run up to the Iraq war that it was the Jews who were behind the campaign. Sound nutty? The Berlin daily Tagespiegel ran a major story on Iraq around the same time with a large photo of George W. Bush in the Oval Office, meeting with a delegation of Orthodox Jews from Israel. Mind you, the photo and White House visit had absolutely nothing to do with Iraq but, well, you get the picture.

There are a few things going on here. First, there’s guilt-displacement: If Israel is bad, then the Holocaust seems a bit less so. Second, opposing Israel and Jews gives Europe diplomatic leverage in the Middle East, to the point that one European Parliament member has called it a “proxy war” on America:

European Union Parliament member Ilka Schroeder delivered an address entitled, “The European Union, Israel, and Palestinian Terrorism” at the Center for German Studies of Ben Gurion University on Monday.

“The Europeans,” explained MP Schroeder, “supported the Palestinian Authority with the aim of becoming its main sponsor, and through this, challenge the U.S. and present themselves as the future global power. Therefore, the Al-Aksa Intifada should be understood as a proxy war between Europe and the United States.”

“It is an open secret within the European Parliament that EU aid to the Palestinian Authority has not been spent correctly,” MP Schroeder said during a recent address in New York. “The European Parliament does not intend to verify whether European taxpayers’ money could have been used to finance anti-Semitic murderous attacks. Unfortunately, this fits well with European policy in this area.”

MP Schroeder, a twenty-five-year-old former member of the German Green Party, began her political career protesting the war in Kosovo and denouncing globalization. A year ago, MP Schroeder set her sights on an issue long avoided by members of the radical Left – the diverting of some of the 250 million in annual aid for the Arabs of Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) to corrupt officials and terrorist groups bent on Israel’s destruction.

This doesn’t happen by accident. Related item here. And, of course, here. Then, of course, there’s Europe’s shameful record of anti-semitism over centuries, backstopping everything else.

THE RISE OF “WOMEN AGAINST FEMINISM.”

Well, this feminist stuff really has gotten out of hand.

LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: Eleanor Holmes Norton says ‘you don’t have a right to know’ what’s going on in government.

“SMART DIPLOMACY” BEARS ITS FRUIT: Madeleine Albright: ‘The world is a mess.’

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: CHICKS DIG JERKS. Study Finds That Men Like Nice Women, But Not the Other Way Around. “The researchers found that men who perceived possible female partners as responsive found them to be ‘more feminine and more attractive.’ Past research suggests that physical cues of femininity stimulate sexual attraction because they suggest higher estrogen levels, better overall mate quality and solid reproductive health. On the other hand, women didn’t necessarily perceive a responsive man as less masculine, but they also did not find a responsive man more attractive. What’s more, when women perceived their male partner to be responsive, they were less attracted to the man. In other words, it appeared that in an initial encounter men liked nice ladies; women thought nice guys were kind of lame.”

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SIMULATION: Volunteers Emerge from Mock Mars Base in Hawaii. “Six volunteers are enjoying their first weekend of freedom after spending four months inside a mock Mars base atop a Hawaiian volcano, all in the name of science. . . . Since late March, the HI-SEAS 2 crew lived in a two-story, 36-foot-wide (11 meters), solar-powered dome situated on the slopes of the shield volcano Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii. The team only left the habitat during simulated ‘Marswalks’ and wore mock spacesuits to explore the Marslike environment of Mauna Loa about 8,000 feet above sea level.”

See the simulated-Areonauts talk about their experience here.

UGH: Two Teen Girls Arrested After Posting Video of Themselves Torturing Tortoise. “Burn baby, burn baby. Now you’re scared of us, huh?”

JAMES JAY CARAFANO: Bill Gates’ Summer Reading List Is So Lame. These 6 Books Are Much Better.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Robots could take half of jobs in Germany. It’s probably the Jews’ fault, somehow.

MYTHS VS. FACTS About Bakken Crude And Oil By Rail. I’d still rather see a pipeline built.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 444.

BECOMING? Walter Russell Mead: As Libya Implodes, “Smart Diplomacy” Becoming a Punch Line.

Throw in the resulting civil war in Mali and the scattering of insurgents and weapons to the four winds, and you have a classic exhibition of reckless incompetence—of American arrogance, ignorance, carelessness and moralism combining in a toxic stew to sink a fragile country we never understood.

Luckily for America’s self-esteem, it was liberal Democrats that produced this particular shambles. If Republicans had done this, the media would be on the administration non-stop, perhaps comparing Samantha Power to Paul Wolfowitz—a well-meaning humanitarian way over her head who wrecked a country out of misguided ideology. There might also be some pointed questions for future presidential candidates who supported this fiasco. But since both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have their fingerprints all over Libya, there isn’t a lot of press hunger for a detailed, unsparing autopsy into this stinking corpse of policy flub.

If Obama were a Republican, the press and the weekly news shows would be ringing with hyperbolic, apocalyptic denunciations of the clueless incumbent who had failed to learn the most basic lessons of Iraq. Indeed, the MSM right now would be howling that Obama was stupider than Bush. Bush, our Journolist friends would now be saying ad nauseam, at least had the excuse that he didn’t know what happens when you overthrow a paranoid, genocidal, economically incompetent Arab tyrant in an artificial post-colonial state. But Obama did—or, the press would nastily say, he would have done if he’d been doing his job instead of hitting the golf course or yakking it up with his glitzy pals at late night bull sessions. The ad hominem attacks would never stop, and all the tangled threads of incompetence and failure would be endlessly and expertly picked at in long New Yorker articles, NYT thumbsuckers, and chin-strokings on all the Sabbath gasbag shows.

Why, the ever-admirable tribunes of a free and unbiased press would be asking non-stop, didn’t this poor excuse for a President learn from what happened in Iraq? When you upend an insane and murderous dictator who has crushed his people for decades under an incompetent and quirky regime, you’d better realize that there is no effective state or civil society under the hard shell of dictatorial rule. Remove the dictator and you get chaos and anarchy. Wasn’t this President paying attention during the last ten years?

Some of the criticism would be exaggerated and unfair; the Monday morning quarterbacks never really understand just how complicated and tragic this poor world really is, not to mention how hard it is to make life and death decisions in real time in the center of the non-stop political firestorm that is Washington today. And the MSM attracts more than its share of deeply inexperienced but entitled, self-regarding blowhards who love to pontificate about how stupid all those poor fools who have actual jobs and responsibilities actually are.

But luckily for Team Obama, the mainstream press would rather die than subject liberal Democrats to the critiques it reserves for the GOP.

This is why, if you want accountable government, you should always vote Republican.

EVEN IN BLUE MASSACHUSETTS: Boston ‘Teeming With Protesters’ in Giant Rally Against Housing Illegal Immigrants in the State. Well, when the median American household is poorer than it was in 2007, bringing in more labor competition is a tough sell.

JIM TREACHER UNIMPRESSED WITH JAN SCHAKOWSKY’S #LIVETHEWAGE STUNT: “Rep. Schakowsky has proven the exact opposite of what she intended. America is the best-fed country in the history of the world. As she’s shown, food is plentiful and cheap. That’s despite the best efforts of leftists, not because of them.”

Plus: “Wondering how Jan usually eats? So is everybody else.”

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AMERICA IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: The Typical Household, Now Worth a Third Less. “Economic inequality in the United States has been receiving a lot of attention. But it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.”

Just “bad luck,” I guess.

DO TELL: Lawmakers complain Obama too aloof with Congress.

President Barack Obama’s request for billions of dollars to deal with migrant children streaming across the border set off Democrats and Republicans. Lawmakers in both parties complained that the White House – six years in – still doesn’t get it when it comes to working with Congress.

Top GOP leaders got no notice of the $3.7 billion emergency request. The administration sent contradictory messages about what it wanted to deal with the border crisis. And as the proposal drew fierce criticism, the White House made few overtures to lawmakers in either party to rally support.

House and Senate lawmakers in both parties plus several senior congressional aides said this past week that the handling of the proposal by Obama and the White House is emblematic of the administration’s rocky relationship with Congress: an ad hoc approach that shuns appeals to opponents and doesn’t reward allies. . . . Congressional frustration with the administration is not limited to the White House.

Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly implored the State Department last month to weigh in on a bipartisan resolution calling on Turkey to return confiscated Christian property before a House panel voted on the measure. The Virginia lawmaker complained the resolution included “gratuitous Turkey-bashing” and wanted State Department officials to help persuade lawmakers to support a toned-down version.

None of his House colleagues heard from department’s legislative liaisons.

“The State Department was missing in action,” Connolly said in an interview. “They have to professionalize their operation.”

He’s a cold fish who doesn’t care about much of anything outside his own narrow priorities.

PUTIN’S PAL: Stephen Cohen was once considered a top Russia historian. Now he publishes odd defenses of Vladimir Putin. Shockingly, The Nation is taking a pro-Russian line.

ANOTHER PRESS RELEASE ON CAMPUS KANGAROO COURTS FROM PROF. JOHN BANZHAF:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 22, 2014): A female student – whose complaint that Swarthmore violated Title IX by ignoring her report about rape triggered major changes in how the school handles date-rape cases – has now come out in strong support of a male student whose law suit is challenging those very procedures as unfair, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

Banzhaf has been studying a new legal movement in which males found guilty of date rape are then successfully suing their colleges, sometimes under the same Title IX which triggered the problem.

Moreover, even those who are sympathetic to the problem of campus date rape, and are in charge of the campus adjudication process, are now recognizing that it can be unfair if not illegal.

For example, the director of the Association of Title IX Administrators bluntly warned that some male students may have been improperly penalized.

“Some boards and panels still can’t tell the difference between drunk sex and a policy violation,” he wrote. “We are making Title IX plaintiffs out of these men.”

In the Swarthmore case, “John Doe” and “Jane Row” had two sexual encounters in 2011 which did not involve intercourse. Subsequently, the male and female had intercourse, which the woman agrees was consensual.

But, 19 months after the fact, she suddenly claimed that the two earlier episodes had been coerced. The school originally thoroughly investigated and then cleared the man in January 2013 without even filing disciplinary charges.

However, sometime thereafter, the student newspaper published articles charging that women who reported rape felt revictimized by the college’s failure to take their complaints seriously, and Mia Ferguson’s highly publicized Title IX complaint against Swarthmore went public. Less than two weeks later, Swarthmore told the male, a law student, that they had reopened a complaint filed against him a year earlier.

Then, after an emotional hearing before a panel made up of faculty, staff, and students, he was expelled. His attorney charges that the inference is clear. “To correct one wrong – its past unresponsiveness to female complaints – [Swarthmore] committed another wrong against John based on his gender . . . He was a male accused of sexual misconduct at the wrong time and in the wrong place.” Mia agrees.

Swarthmore has subsequently changed its adjudication procedures, and now has such cases heard before and decided by a retired judge; a tacit admission, suggests Banzhaf, that its former procedure had serious problems.

Male students have already used legal action successfully at Brown (2X), Central College, Denison, Duke (2X) , George Washington, Holy Cross, Occidental, Saint Joseph, University of the South, and Xavier.

Meanwhile, law suits filed by male students convicted by their universities of rape and/or sexual assault are pending against Bucknell, Cincinnati, Columbia, Delaware State, Depauw, Drew, Kenyon, U of Michigan, Philadelphia U, Swarthmore, Vassar, Williams, and perhaps others.

“When even rape victims and Title IX administrators admit that men are being convicted unfairly, it’s long past time to consider changing the procedures,” argues Banzhaf.

Indeed.

TYLER COWEN: The Real Import Of The Gruber Fracas. I like this from the comments: “All I can say is, if you’re going to pass a law with zero bipartisan support, you should be very careful in the drafting, since they aren’t likely to help you out if you muck it up. In this case, haste and arrogance is biting them in the ass.”

GIVEN THAT HAMAS IS A BUNCH OF LYING LIARS, YES: “The media has engaged in journalistic malpractice by reporting casualty figures for civilians coming from Gaza as gospel. The figures come from the Gazan Ministry of Health, which is controlled by Hamas.”

Personally, I’d go all Curtis LeMay on ‘em, but Bibi is more merciful.

July 26, 2014

“SMART DIPLOMACY” BEARS ITS USUAL FRUIT: U.S. evacuates Libya embassy after ‘free-wheeling militia violence.’

Meanwhile, Obama went golfing today.

EVERYTHING OBAMA TOUCHES: Taliban Making Military Gains in Afghanistan.

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LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: Anti-Semitism on the march: Europe braces for violence.

SO THE STANDING WITH IDF FACEBOOK PAGE THAT I LINKED TO EARLIER IS GONE NOW. Clicking on the link just takes you to the main Facebook page. The I Hate Israel page is still up, though. Nice job, Zuckerberg, you putz.

UPDATE: Check out the I Love IDF page.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, EH? This makes me wonder how much overlap there is between the happiest places in America and the drunkest. Though I imagine they drink plenty in Scranton, and it’s not doing so well. . . .

SOCIAL MEDIA: What I Instagrammed Vs. What Was Really Happening, Or My Entire Life Is A Lie.

ELIZABETH PRICE FOLEY IN THE WASHINGTON POST: Federal courts need to stop Obama from flouting the Constitution. “The Constitution states that it’s Congress’s job to make the laws and the president’s to faithfully execute them. It does not permit a president to suspend a law or grant special dispensations from its requirements. But President Obama has done just these things on numerous occasions, and only the federal courts can preserve the constitutionally mandated separation of powers by definitively rebuffing his illegal actions.”

THE SUPREME COURT IS BECOMING MORE ELITE, AND MORE OUT-OF-TOUCH WITH AMERICA. “As most readers know, in the past a lot of Justices were politicians, statesmen, and advisors to Presidents. The modern trend is for Justices to be former appellate judges who graduated from elite law schools. Amar suggests that it would be better to have Justices with more diverse backgrounds. . . . It’s interesting that discussions of the Justices’ backgrounds tend to ignore the recent Supreme Court nomination of a Justice who did not fit the modern trend: Bush 43 nominee Harriet Miers. Miers fit the traditional pattern of the Presidential confidante who had not been a judge and did not attend an elite law school.”

CHANGE: Rand Paul introduces bill to reform civil asset forfeiture.

THERE’S A NEW EDITION OF Randy Barnett’s The Structure of Liberty. Here’s a nice review.

SORRY, I HAD THE WRONG LINK BELOW SOMEHOW. Here’s the link to Best Books of the Year so far.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: DC Gun Carry Ban Struck Down. “In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.”

STRANGELY, NOT SO MUCH FOR HAMAS: A New Facebook Page Dedicated to the IDF Is Being Flooded With Sexy Selfies. Here’s the page. “This tunnel made in Israel.” Heh.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: The App I Used to Break Into My Neighbor’s Home.

AT AMAZON, discounts on The Best Books of 2014 So Far.

Also, rent eTextbooks for 80% off.

UPDATE: Sorry, first link was wrong before. Fixed now.

MH17: The Good News And The Bad News About Anti-Aircraft Missiles.

SARAH HOYT’S WITCHFINDER is on sale for $2.99 in the Kindle edition. Snap it up before the price rises.

ED KLEIN ON THE WAGES OF “SMART DIPLOMACY:” How Our World Fell Apart. These people are constantly telling us how smart they are, but from diplomatic disasters to “speak-o” incidents, the evidence suggests otherwise.

WELL, THEY WERE LARGELY WRITTEN BY HOSPITAL LOBBYISTS: When Federal Privacy Laws Protect Hospitals Instead Of Patients.

CHIVALRY, IT TURNS OUT, isn’t entirely dead.

IN THE MAIL: Back Channel: A novel.

Also, today only: $1.99 Mysteries & Thrillers on Kindle.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 443.