CHARLOTTE ALLEN: Top 10 feminist fiascoes of 2014. The UVA “gang rape” hoax leads the list, unsurprisingly. But read the whole thing.

BYRON YORK: In Cuba deal, why did Obama back down on political prisoners?

Barack Obama has long believed United States Cuba policy should change; he so when he first ran for president in 2008. Back then, though, Sen. Obama stressed that the U.S. should hold Cuba to a number of stringent conditions before even beginning to normalize relations. The first of those conditions was freedom for Cuba’s political prisoners.

Obama laid out his proposal in a May 23, 2008 speech in Miami. Noting the “unanswered cries of the political prisoners heard from the jails of Havana,” Obama said his policy toward Cuba “will be guided by one word: libertad.”

“The road to freedom for all Cubans must begin with justice for Cuba’s political prisoners,” Obama said. The value of the U.S. embargo against Cuba, Obama went on to explain, is that it “provides us with the leverage to present the regime with a clear choice: If you take significant steps towards democracy, beginning with the freeing of all political prisoners, we will take steps to begin normalizing relations.”

Beginning with the freeing of all political prisoners. It was a pretty clear demand. Only after freedom was granted would Obama begin normalizing relations.

Fast forward six and a half years. In an address from the Cabinet Room Wednesday, President Obama announced that he would “begin to normalize relations” with Cuba through “the most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years.” But the president did not insist on freedom for all political prisoners, which had once been a requirement for even the first steps toward normalization.

I wish that Senator Obama fellow were President. He seemed fairly sensible. This President Obama guy, on the other hand, isn’t so into free speech.

BARACK OBAMA’S PRESSER PROBLEM — NOT THAT HE JUST TOOK QUESTIONS FROM WOMEN, but that he took so few questions at all.

VARIETY: How Obama Took Sony’s Crisis From Bad to Worse.

ANSWERING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: What Obama’s Cuba Deal Means for the Future of Cuban Cigars: Don’t stop hoarding those Cuban cigars just yet.

ROGER KIMBALL: Will Bill De Blasio Be Forced To Resign?

I submit that the mayor of New York cannot govern the city without the support of the police. Does Bill de Blasio have that support. Consider this exchange, overheard yesterday at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn:

De Blasio: “We’re all in this together.”
Unnamed police officer: “No we’re not.”

This was after police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, shot by a crazed black Muslim named Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had been pronounced dead but before the mayor and his entourage made their way through a hospital corridor jammed with police who turned their backs on the mayor, shunning him.

On December 3, in the aftermath of the death of Eric Garner, who died of a heart attack after resisting arrest, the mayor held a press conference and told the world that he worried that his biracial son Dante might be the victim of police brutality. “I’ve had to worry over the years,” de Blasio said, “Is Dante safe each night? And not just from some of the painful realities of crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods but safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors.”

Ten days later the mayor was back in front of the microphone praising the anti-cop protestors in New York for being peaceful. That was the protest at which one could hear this chanted refrain:

“What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!”

They got their wish.

It was during that pacific event that two police lieutenants were, as the New York Post reported, viciously attacked by a mob. The mayor described the attack as “an incident . . . in which a small group of protesters allegedly assaulted some members of the NYPD.”

“Allegedly.”

Rudy Giuliani, a nation turns its worried eyes to you.

December 21, 2014

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Behind RPI’s Highly Paid Chief, Tales of an Imperial Air and Cowed Staff: Shirley Ann Jackson of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute earned $7-million in 2012, tops among private-college leaders. It’s subscriber-only, but the headline says it all.

UPDATE: From the comments: “Sad – when I went to Rensselaer, the president of the University was the person who put a man on the moon. Now the president is a Clinton era moonbat.”

JAZZ SHAW: The Time Is Past For Bill de Blasio To Resign: “I’m not going to beat around the bush here. It is time for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to resign. Yesterday’s assassination of two of New York City’s finest was only the latest and most devastating brush stroke on a canvas which has been coming into focus for months. When you are the mayor of a city you have many responsibilities, but one of the most vital (in terms of maintaining a functional societal structure) is the mandate to enforce the laws and maintain social order. It is the same for mayors everywhere, as well as governors and presidents. But currently, the state of relations between City Hall and the New York Police Department has devolved to the point of complete dysfunction, and criminals are well aware of this state of affairs. The fault for the creation of this toxic atmosphere is essentially found solely at the feet of Mayor de Blasio.”

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NOW THAT’S CLASSY: President George W. Bush Plays Santa At Children’s Hospital In Dallas.

Plus: “Bush’s Secret Service dressed as elves.”

NARRATIVE UBER ALLES: Time: Right-Wing Militias Are The Real Threat To Cops.

THE PHYSICS OF PEOPLE: In crowds, human ‘particles’ follow laws of movement.

THE SCIENCE IS UNSETTLED: Too little Vitamin D may increase risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Plus: Vitamin D may prevent prostate tumor growth.

But: Highest serum levels of Vitamin D linked to increased prostate cancer risk.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: A Wave Crests: Silicon Valley, Postsecondary Education And A Half-Trillion Dollars.

BLUE ON BLUE: De Blasio Attacks NYPD Officers That Turned Their Backs on Him.

FROM SARAH HOYT: It Came Upon A Midnight Clear — Complete short story. Free on her site.

EBOLA: The Ebola Outbreak Keeps Spreading Like Wildfire In West Africa.

UNLESS YOU’RE STEPHEN GREEN, WHEN IT’S EVERY DAY: Poll Shows Drunkest Days of the Year.

A HEARTWARMING STORY: Home burglary suspect dies after homeowner shot him. “Neither the homeowner nor his fiance were hurt in the incident.”

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I HAD MY SHOTS, BUT NOW I GUESS I HAVE TO DEPEND ON THE VITAMIN D: Flu outbreak spreading rapidly in U.S. “Health experts say part of the problem is that this year’s vaccine doesn’t provide protection for H3N2, the strain of the influenza that’s currently making the rounds. This year’s vaccine does help protect against H1N1 and one or two strains of influenza B. Earlier this month the CDC issued a health advisory stating that only 48 percent of flu virus samples taken through last month were closely related to this year’s vaccine.”

JUSTICE: Even Small Towns Are Loading Up On Grenade Launchers.

TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY FOR two-day shipping in time for Christmas at Amazon.

A CONNECTION BETWEEN sleep apnea and dementia?

UPDATE: Sorry, said Alzheimer’s before. That was an error.

WELL, GOOD: LAPD Is Buying Body Cameras for its Cops.

TOM MAGUIRE: Hey, what about that cop-killing video the public defenders made? “Don’t be waiting for the NY Times coverage – two cops dead in their city following a ‘kill some cops’ video filmed in their city? Nothing to see here…”

“The end of the video even features a banner ad for The Bronx Defenders complete with the organization’s Web-site address and Twitter handle.”

Hey, it’s not like a Sarah Palin leaflet with target symbols or something.

IN THE MAIL: From Frank Portman, King Dork Approximately. Love Doktor Frank.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 591. Biggest news: The IRS has so far released only one percent of the documents relating to the targeting scandal.

A REPORT FROM ZOMBIE: Bill Maher Speech at UC Berkeley Unaffected by Small Protests.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Next Up in America: The Liberal Retreat.

As the United States staggers toward the seventh year of Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, a growing disquiet permeates the ranks of the American left. After six years of the most liberal President since Jimmy Carter, the nation doesn’t seem to be asking for a second helping. Even though the multiyear rollout of Obamacare was carefully crafted to put all the popular features up front, delaying less popular changes into the far future, the program remains unpopular. Trust in the fairness and competence of government is pushing toward new lows in the polls, even though the government is now in the hands of forward-looking, progressive Democrats rather than antediluvian Gopers.

For liberals, these are bleak times of hollow victories (Obamacare) and tipping points that don’t tip. For examples of the latter, think of Sandy Hook, the horrific massacre in Connecticut that Democrats and liberals everywhere believed would finally push the American public toward gun control. Two years later, polls show more Americans than ever before think it’s more important to protect gun access than to promote gun control.

Sandy Hook isn’t the only example. There was the latest 2014 IPCC report on climate change that was going to end the debate once and for all. The chances for legislative action on climate change in the new Congress: zero or less. There was Ferguson and the Garner videotape showing the fatal chokehold, both of which set off a wave of protests but seem unlikely to change public attitudes about the police. There was the Senate Intelligence Committee “torture report” that was going to settle the issue of treatment of detainees. Again, the polls are rolling in suggesting that the public remains exactly where it was: supportive of “torture” under certain circumstances. And of course there was the blockbuster Rolling Stone article on campus rape at UVA, the story that, before it abruptly collapsed, was going to cement public support for the Obama administration’s aggressive attempt to federalize the treatment of sexual harassment on campuses around the country. . . .

Shell-shocked liberals are beginning to grasp some inconvenient truths. No gun massacre is horrible enough to change Americans’ ideas about gun control. No UN Climate Report will get a climate treaty through the U.S. Senate. No combination of anecdotal and statistical evidence will persuade Americans to end their longtime practice of giving police officers extremely wide discretion in the use of force. No “name and shame” report, however graphic, from the Senate Intelligence Committee staff will change the minds of the consistent majority of Americans who tell pollsters that they believe that torture is justifiable under at least some circumstances. No feminist campaign will convince enough voters that the presumption of innocence should not apply to those accused of rape.

It’s like Americans insist on remaining Americans.

OBAMA’S ENTIRE PRESIDENCY HAS BEEN ABOUT REVENGE: Politico: Operation Revenge: President Obama is back in his campaign comfort zone: Smiting his political enemies.

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ILLEGAL POLITICAL LAWFARE FROM WISCONSIN’S DEEP STATE: Government Accountability Board staff participated in John Doe probe without OK from GAB judges.

The state Government Accountability Board’s top officials proceeded with a secret probe into coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative political groups for months without authorization from the six retired judges who run the board, court records unsealed Friday allege.

The documents filed by a target of the investigation also allege that the board voted to end its involvement in the probe in July but that staff continued to work on it.

The records add ammunition to Republicans in the state Legislature seeking to overhaul or abolish Wisconsin’s elections and ethics watchdog agency.

GAB spokesman Reid Magney referred questions about the unsealed records to the board’s attorney. A message left with Paul Schwarzenbart, the Madison attorney hired to defend the board, was not returned.

Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Lee Dreyfus Jr. ordered most of the complaint filed by Wisconsin Club for Growth and one of its directors, Eric O’Keefe, unsealed Friday at the group’s request. The previously redacted parts of the lawsuit include snippets of internal GAB memos and minutes of meetings in which the secret John Doe investigation was discussed. . . .

It alleges that GAB chief counsel Kevin Kennedy and Jonathan Becker, administrator of the agency’s ethics and accountability division, “unilaterally admitted the GAB to John Doe II without the knowledge or approval of the GAB Board.” . . .

The lawsuit claims investigators examined “hundreds of thousands of documents” during the 2½-year investigation and GAB has hired four investigators and devoted significant additional staff time to conduct the probe.

Citing internal GAB records, the lawsuit alleges the John Doe has issued at least 30 subpoenas and five search warrants and that other subpoenas and warrants were planned including for “media figures such as Charlie Sykes and Sean Hannity.”

Estimated expenditures listed in the lawsuit remain redacted.

The main thrust of the Club for Growth lawsuit claims that the agency has no legal authority to conduct a criminal investigation, that it can only investigate and act on civil matters and that it has violated the procedures laid out in state law for GAB investigations.

Bankrupt some people and put some people in jail as an example to the others.

More: ‘Outside the … law’: Lawmakers call for investigation of GAB.

Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, is calling for a legislative panel to investigate the state Government Accountability Board following documents made public Friday that show GAB staff members appear to have flouted the law and continued to pursue a politically charged John Doe investigation even after the board’s presiding judges voted to shut it down.

“We want to get to the bottom of this,” said Tiffany, who along with state Rep. David Craig, R-Town of Vernon, has been among the most vocal proponents of reforming the GAB, which regulates Wisconsin campaign finance law, ethics, and elections.

Even with Friday’s disclosures, Tiffany said, “I’m not sure we are to the bottom of this.”. . .

In recent years, the GAB has become notorious for its eagerness to use the John Doe law to investigate conservative officials political candidates, activists and even journalists who might seem supportive of Gov. Scott Walker. Walker is the author of Act 10, the 2011 law that reformed public sector collective bargaining in the state. GAB staff and district attorney investigators are asked to pay more toward their health insurance and pensions under the law.

Punch back twice as hard, or this will happen again.

THE HILL: Sony hack reveals threat of ‘psychological’ cyber warfare.

When U.S. policymakers discuss the threat of cyberattacks, the focus is often on their destructive potential — overheating a nuclear power plant’s core reactor, or eliminating essential financial records.

But the apparent success of the Sony hit has exposed the effectiveness of psychological cyber attacks. The attack prompted the studio to pull the movie, costing millions of dollars, damaging Sony’s reputation and reportedly leaving its top executives on the ropes.

“Where cyber can probably be successful is in these psychological operations,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which monitors critical infrastructure attacks. “Cyber is not necessarily extremely useful in conducting physically destructive attacks.”

That raises the question: Has the U.S. been miscalculating a major looming cyber threat?

“I don’t think anybody, and I include the Department of Defense in this, does a good job of thinking about what future kinds of cyber conflicts look like,” said Jason Healey, a director at the Atlantic Council who has worked on cyber defenses at the White House and for Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong.

We used to be better at that sort of thing.

TOM MAGUIRE: Obama’s Senior Moment.

HOW TO REPORT ON BAD BEHAVIOR IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM: “The DA involved is Ft. Bend County District Attorney John Heal, the police were from Missouri City, Sugar Land, Stafford and the Ft. Bend County Sheriff’s Department, the judge was Gray H Miller.” Though including the officers’ names too would have been good.

ANOTHER LEFTY SOCIAL-MEDIA CAMPAIGN TURNS OUT TO BE A FRAUD: #illridewithyou Was Even More Fraudulent Than I Thought.

When an Islamic terrorist took hostages in a Sydney, Australia cafe this week, the first thing our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters did — before the siege was even over, before two of the hostages were killed — was change the subject.

The real victims weren’t the hostages. The real victims were Muslims who were too scared to use public transportation because of the imminent anti-Muslim violence that never happened. To combat this nonexistent threat, some genius proposed the Twitter hashtag #illridewithyou, which was supposed to somehow show solidarity with the “victims.” And of course, it went viral among journalists and other people who don’t care about the truth.

As it turns out, #illridewithyou was an even emptier gesture than I first thought. The incident that so inspired all those smug leftists worldwide didn’t actually happen.

But it was successful in portraying Muslims to whom nothing had happened as the real victims in the immediate aftermath of the Sydney jihad-murders, and that was the point.

Jim Treacher observes:

The only bigotry here is among people who assumed the worst about their fellow man. People who went along with the idea that innocent Muslims were in danger, and damn the evidence or lack thereof. People who couldn’t face facts.

Finding no ready target for their confused rage at the unwelcome intrusion of reality into their carefully constructed fantasy world, these people did what they always do:

They lied.

No wonder Obama thought it was great.

Notice that the lefties spend a lot of time trying to keep part of the populace riled up, and the rest of the populace embarrassed and apathetic. I wonder what would happen if the balance-of-anger were reversed? Their fear and hatred of the Tea Party suggests that they’d find that catastrophic.

GOOD NEWS FOR THOSE WITH ACHES AND PAINS: Ibuprofen use leads to extended lifespan in several species, study shows. “This study was a proof of principle to show that common, relatively safe drugs in humans can extend the lifespan of very diverse organisms. Therefore, it should be possible to find others like ibuprofen with even better ability to extend lifespan, with the aim of adding healthy years of life in people.” Faster, please.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Tutor facing decade or more in prison for having sex with her 15-year-old student REJECTED plea deal that would have given her just a few months behind bars. She probably didn’t believe a judge would sentence a woman to serious time. And based on history, that was a fair — though in this case losing — bet.

TWEET OF THE YEAR: My favorite part about the Obama era is all the racial healing.

BRING BACK DDT: High-End Vacationers Cancel Caribbean Trips Because of Chikungunya.

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FRUITS OF THE POISONOUS TREE: Two NY City Police Officers Shot Dead in Brooklyn.

Now, if I were to analyze this incident the same way that liberals analyze similar incidents where they think they can blame conservatives, I would blame the shootings of these two officers on liberal websites fanning the flames of rage against the police. I would blame the murders on Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the Black Caucus, the parents of Michael Brown — all the race hustlers who have been exploiting the situation for their own benefit.

I’d blame Eric Holder and Barack Obama for pandering to black anger. I’d blame the climate of cop hatred that has been created by so-called activists and has sprung up and infected black communities across the country.

But I’m not a liberal so I am going to withhold judgment until we find out why the perpetrator committed this horrific act.

Well, it looks like it was payback for Eric Garner.

UPDATE: Gunman kills self after 2 NYPD cops fatally shot ‘execution style’ as ‘revenge’ for Garner.

The two officers were pronounced dead at Woodhull Hospital, where their colleagues and family members huddled tearfully.

City Council President Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill de Blasio were less than welcome guests at the poignant gathering.

“We’re all in this together,” the mayor told grieving cops, according to a cop who was there.

“No we’re not,” one officer said tersely in response.

Just last week cops began signing a “Don’t Insult My Sacrifice” waiver, distributed by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, that warned the mayor and speaker to stay away from funerals of cops killed in the line of duty.

It’s going to get ugly in New York, I expect.

JOURNALISM:

Last Thursday morning, Boston.com staff were called into a meeting to discuss what they thought was the worst mistake they would have to deal with that day. The previous evening, the site had posted a story accusing Harvard Business School Professor Ben Edelman of sending a racist email to a Sichuan Garden employee—only to retract the story a short time later, as it became clear that Edelman didn’t actually send the email, a key fact they hadn’t verified before going live with their version of events.

In the meeting, Corey Gottlieb, executive director of digital strategy and operations at Boston Globe Media Partners, assured the team that, this incident notwithstanding, Boston.com’s values and processes are solid. “There’s a reason this doesn’t happen every other week,” Gottlieb said. “This feels more like an exception.”

What Gottlieb probably didn’t know at the time was that the next act was unfolding right in front of him. The morning meeting was being secretly recorded, and the leaked audio would later land in the hands of a couple of media outlets around town, prompting rumors of disciplinary action of two staffers. And Hilary Sargent, the top editor in the room, would be handed a weeklong suspension after a “joke” she made online landed with a thud.

Layers of editors and fact-checkers. Plus, stonewalling media inquiries about the debacle: “When it comes to answering journalists’ difficult questions, the Globe’s policy is Do as we say, not as we do.”

YOU CAN’T WIN ‘EM ALL: My first loss in the Texas Supreme Court. I think my position was right, though, and so does the dissent by Justice Don Willett, himself a social-media household name.

HARVEY MANSFIELD: Contradiction Rules Feminism.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: In 2014, only 39.1 percent of students who had entered community colleges six years before had completed a degree or certificate. And it’s not for lack of trying: “Despite many efforts and investment to boost college degree attainment, community colleges – which educate about 44 percent of the nation’s low-income students – have yet to make a dent in national graduation rates.”

Part of the problem, of course, is that these students come out of a broken K-12 system.

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FASTER, PLEASE: Scientists accidentally stop skin aging in mice.

FASTER, PLEASE: Bio Bigwigs Go after Drugs for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and ALS.

SO WHEN NICK MCCALL WAS ON BOOK TV PLUGGING HIS BOOK THE OTHER DAY, there was also another guy on plugging his book. It was James Scott’s The War Below, which followed three submarines through World War Two. I got it, read it, and found it quite enjoyable.

SEAFOOD: Wild vs. Farmed.

SO WHERE ARE THEY? Why Superintelligent Machines Are Probably the Dominant Lifeforms in the Universe.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 590.

JIM TREACHER: Reminder: Hillary Clinton Has Directly Contributed To Rape Culture. “Many of the same people who make such a convincing ‘rape culture’ argument will also argue that you should vote for Hillary. Many of the same people who assumed the UVA Phi Psi house was guilty of gang rape, who say things like ‘I believe women’ when presented with evidence that a rape accusation is false, will defend Hillary because she was just doing her job.”

THE COST OF ADMINISTRATIVE OVERHEAD: The Decline of the Indy Doctor, the Rise of Costs.

When doctors become employees, things start to get ugly. In City Journal, Dr. Joel M. Zinberg argues that independent practices are becoming increasingly uncommon as newly-minted doctors rush to become employees of hospitals. MDs, says Zinberg, are driven into the open arms of hospital administrators by the expensive and time-consuming overhead of operating their own practices—overhead that the ACA has only increased. . . .

When hospitals acquire doctors and independent practices, the cost of care actually goes up. It really, really does. Big hospitals with few independent practices means a more expensive system, not one that prioritizes cost-efficiency over patient welfare. In a time at which medical debt may be rising, that is reason enough to worry.

Yep.

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AS OPPOSED TO THE USUAL EUNUCHS, I GUESS: Obama takes questions only from female reporters. But this is just sad: “Considering what turned out to be a poor ending for the year in women’s issues — namely campus sexual assault — Obama needed to bring attention back on women. Obama tried in April to spearhead a movement this year and continue the momentum of the ‘war on women’ narrative, but it suffered a number of setbacks: Due process supporters piped up, a major story about campus rape was exposed as a hoax, Republicans defeated candidates who overdid the ‘war on women’ theme. To put it briefly, the president needed a win, and this is what he came up with.”

SHOCKER: Texas job growth outpaces rest of U.S. combined.

Since the recession began in December 2007, 1.2 million net jobs have been created in Texas. Only 700,000 net jobs have been created in the other 49 states combined.

The remarkable employment growth in Texas looks even bigger considering its size relative to the rest of the U.S. Total non-farm employment has grown by 11.5 percent in Texas since December 2007. Employment in the rest of the United States has grown only 0.6 percent. Until September 2014, total employment growth in the rest of the United States since December 2007 was still negative.

Only North Dakota has outpaced Texas on percent job growth, thanks to jobs created by the fracking revolution. California, Texas’ biggest economic rival, has created 985,600 fewer net jobs during the same period. California’s 1.5 percent job growth is ten percentage points lower than Texas’ percent job growth.

I wish America as a whole were a lot more like Texas. Of course, it would be if it werent’ for the media. UCLA Professor: Without Media Bias the Average US State Would Vote Like Texas or Tennessee.

UPDATE: Jim Bennett emails: “Hell, without media bias England would vote like Texas. From the time they suspended the death sentence through today, a majority of English polled have consistently been in favor of the death penalty.”

This is why lefties are so determined to control the media and the terms of debate.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: New Treasury procurement chief steered contracts to friends while at VA.

HMM: House chairman urges sanctions on North Korea.

HEH: An Exclusive Look at Sony’s Revised Cut of The Interview.

ROGER SIMON: The Real Fallout From Sony Is Nuclear.

December 19, 2014

UVA RAPE HOAXER “JACKIE” plagiarized love emails from Scrubs, Dawson’s Creek.

JUSTICE: Silk Road prosecutors want to ban Ross Ulbricht’s libertarian politics in court. “Prosecutors in the case against alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht want the court to prohibit Ulbricht from saying almost anything political at all, according to a motion filed last week by the government. They’re worried that the jury might end up sympathizing with Ulbricht’s politics.”

FASTER, PLEASE: For First Time, Treatment Helps Patients With Worst Kind of Stroke, Study Says. “After three decades of failure, researchers have found a treatment that greatly improves the prognosis for people having the most severe and disabling strokes. By directly removing large blood clots blocking blood vessels in the brain, they can save brain tissue that would have otherwise died, enabling many to return to an independent life.”

TEST-DRIVING THE 2015 Volkswagen Touareg.

IT MIGHT WORK: How PayPal’s Founder Plans to Live to 120: Peter Thiel is taking human growth hormone daily, follows paleo diet. I like Peter Thiel, and I hope this works, though I’m not sold on HGH therapy. I fully endorse the red wine, though.

QUOTE OF THE MOMENT: “There are no great men, just great challenges which ordinary men, out of necessity, are forced by circumstances to meet.”

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Why Women Won’t Date You If You’re Not Into Premarital Nookie.

WATER SHORTAGES LEADING TO greater interest in desalination.

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OBAMA: Sony Made A “Mistake,” And We Need More Controls On The Internet.

BUT JOBS FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ARE UP, SO WE’VE GOT THAT: Fewer US-Born Americans Have Jobs Now Than in 2007.

IT’S POTEMKIN FAMILIES ALL THE WAY DOWN: NY Health Commissioner says he wouldn’t want his kids growing near fracking site, but doesn’t have children.

Zucker’s remarks appeared to make an impression on Gov. Cuomo. On Thursday, Cuomo said Zucker’s comments were “very sobering,” and helped to convince him that banning fracking was the right thing to do.

“Frankly, that’s enough for me,” Cuomo said, “because if the state health commissioner doesn’t want his kids living there, I don’t want my kids living there and I don’t want any New Yorkers’ kids living there.”

But questioned by the Daily News, Health Department spokesman Peter Constantakes on Thursday said Zucker was not married and had no children.

Standard for our political discourse these days: People without kids banning stuff “for the children.”

ANDREW MALCOLM: The Rolling Stone Story Is Part of a Broader Hoax.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Large, open protein cages designed and built.

I PREFER THE TERM “SELF-BECLOWNING,” BUT “AUTO-HUMILIATION” WORKS TOO: Tom Maguire: Let Me Highlight Charles Blow’s Auto-Humiliation. “We can find some answers to Mr. Blow’s questions in Mrs. Obama’s description of the same incident to David Letterman in 2012.”

EXACTLY AS EVOLUTIONARY THEORY WOULD PREDICT: Heterosexual men more upset by infidelity than women, gays, lesbians. Only heterosexual men risk being stuck raising someone else’s kid.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: World First: Man Controls Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind; Doctors wired them right into his nerves.

USING BLIMPS for missile defense.

SEXUAL ASSAULT IS SUCH A SERIOUS CRIME THAT INNOCENCE IS NO DEFENSE: Ashe Schow Tries To Find Out How To Prove Consent Under “Yes Means Yes,” Discovers That Nobody, Even The Sponsor, Has Any Idea.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: News Worsens for Law Schools: Fall 2015 Applicants Are Down 9.1%.

K.C. JOHNSON: UVA’s Troubled Campus Culture. “The actions of President Teresa Sullivan’s administration—joined by an array of professors and, most disturbingly, by the student newspaper—have provided an almost textbook example ofa campus culture gone awry, with a massive rush to judgment compounded by an inability to admit error. Close followers of higher education doubtless will recall the last time that Sullivan was in the news—in 2012, when the Virginian Board of Visitors unsuccessfully attempted to remove her as president. Based on what we’ve seen over the past month, the Board’s initial judgment regarding Sullivan was absolutely correct.”

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 589.

THE PR GETS MORE SHAMELESS AS THE NUMBER WHO BELIEVE IT SHRINKS: David Harsanyi: Let’s Talk About Obama’s Imaginary ‘Winning Streak.’ “There are two ways to explain this phenomenon: Some folks are engaged in a lot of wishful thinking or we’ve severely downgraded the meaning of winning. Then again, maybe it’s a little of both.”

MEGAN MCARDLE: Russia’s Problems Are Everyone’s Problems.

“Cyprus with nukes.” That’s how someone, maybe me, referred to Russia in an IM conversation this morning. It’s not really a fair comparison; Russia is a vast country loaded with natural resources, not a tiny island banking haven. But it does express a very real fear: that the world is about to experience a major financial crisis in a country that seems to deal with its internal troubles by slicing off bits of neighboring countries.

The ruble is plunging, for reasons that have roots in the falling price of oil. Yet the trouble now runs deeper than that, so the ruble’s problems will continue even when the price of oil recovers a bit. As our own Leonid Bershidsky explains, markets are no longer just worried about oil prices, but also about the Russian Central Bank’s apparent decision to bail out a suffering oil company by printing money.

Luckily, our government would never do that.