October 8, 2015

I’VE SEEN SOMETHING SIMILAR FROM A DIFFERENT COMPANY DEMOED: A High-End Camera in a Small Package: Startup Light says its L16 will replace a fancy camera and lenses for a third the cost and fit easily into your bag, too.

REMINDER: Amazon carries shooting supplies.

BECAUSE IT WORKS: Why Does DNC Media Keep Endlessly Repeating Already Debunked Talking Points? They’ll keep it up until it stops working, or at least becomes painful.

BOY, THERE REALLY ARE A LOT OF constitutionally illiterate pieces on the Second Amendment from academics lately. Here’s a hint: There’s a huge literature on this stuff. The Second Amendment wasn’t badly drafted or unclear, it was drafted by smart men who knew exactly what they were trying to say; you just don’t want to hear that. Your cocktail-party “insights” on the Second Amendment are neither interesting nor correct. This is Dunning-Krueger scholarship at its worst.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: “Maybe World War III has started already.”

IN THE MAIL: From Mercedes Lackey,et al., Collision: Book Four in the Secret World Chronicle.

Plus, today only at Amazon: 70% or More Off Women’s & Men’s Coats & Jackets. Winter is coming!

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WHY DID CNN CUT THE LENGTH OF THE DEMOCRATIC DEBATE FROM THREE HOURS TO TWO? “Bernie and Hillary are too old to stand for 3 hours.”

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 882.

DEMS’ CLAIMS THAT THERE’S NO THERE THERE GET WEAKER WITH EACH NEW REVELATION: Clinton e-mails were vulnerable to hackers, tech firm warned.

ED MORRISSEY: The Coming Danger of a ‘Throw the Bums Out’ Election.

LONDON TIMES FRONT PAGE: “Millions of migrants in new flight to Europe.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.50.07 PM

UNEXPECTEDLY! Bern Notice: Socialist Venezuela Has World’s Worst Economic Forecast.

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Talk about rooting for injuries. But then, one man’s Web hacker is another man’s freedom fighter bound and determined to keep rockin’ even when facing 25 years of funemployment behind bars. Or something like that.

HMM. MY MONEY’S ON OPTION #2. Russia’s Syria intervention may force choice on Obama: Act or yield.


A political humorist named Mark Dice took a camera to the streets of San Diego and decided to interview Hillary Clinton supporters, acting as if he was one of them.

He told them that Clinton planned on instituting a “white privilege” tax.

In other words, she planned on taking money from each and every Caucasian and distributing it among the other races.

Guess what? They not only bought it, they agreed with it.


WHEN NOT HAVING ENOUGH ACTUAL RAPES IS PROBLEMATIC: Sex assault activists upset reality doesn’t conform to their beliefs.

Activists on at least two college campuses are upset that their universities aren’t showing the “epidemic” levels of sexual assault the activists believe exist.

At the University of Albany, the director of the school’s Advocacy Center for Sexual Assault, Carol Stenger, bemoaned the idea of schools wanting zero reports of sexual assault. Shouldn’t schools want zero reports? At least if it means there weren’t any sexual assaults? Well, that’s not what Stenger wants.

“But how could we have a zero? There are 17,000 students here. We know the national statistics. It’s happening everywhere,” Stenger said. “If we increase that reporting, that means more people are getting assistance. And assistance is the fastest way to healing.”

On one level I can see Stenger’s point: More reports could mean more people feel comfortable coming forward.

And there weren’t zero reports at Albany in the previous school year. There weren’t the thousands of reports that Stenger seems to want in order to fall in line with debunked national statistics (the claim that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted while in college), either.

In the past year, Albany had 28 reports of sexual assault, twice as many as it had before Stenger opened her advocacy center. To get the number in line with the national statistics Stenger mentions that there would need to be more than 1,700 reports (population of 17,280, about half being women, and a fifth of them allegedly being sexually assaulted). Oh, and all 1,700 of those reports would have to be true.

For the record, those 28 reports don’t break down to what alarmist national statistics say they should.

“Nine of them were from students who asked the university not to take action. Six resulted in disciplinary proceedings that led to two student expulsions and one persona non grata order against a nonstudent,” the Times Union reported. “Six were from third parties (when reached, the alleged victims either denied any violence occurred or declined to speak). Four involved assailants whose identities were unknown. Three were outside the university’s jurisdiction.”

What’s missing here is police involvement in what are, last time I checked, still crimes.

Remember, this is all about shaming men and empowering campus activists and educrats. It has nothing to do with actually protecting students:

A more alarming issue going on at Albany beyond the school’s desire for more reports is that the person responsible for carrying out an allegedly fair adjudication process, Title IX coordinator Chantelle Cleary, is also an advocate for accusers.

“Her duties include compliance, prevention and education around sexual assault, but her biggest task is investigating reports of assault and completing reports that help the university make a finding of responsibility,” wrote the Times Union. (Emphasis added.)

So, her job is to find students responsible? Not find the truth? Even the Education Department thinks that’s a conflict of interest. She’s supposed to investigate, not advocate. If this is the way she operates, then accused students at Albany should immediately hire a lawyer, because they probably aren’t getting a fair investigation or hearing.

That’s my advice to any accused student at any school. But doesn’t a pervasive system of male-targeting and denials of due process constitute a hostile educational environment based on sex? I think that it does.

TO BE FAIR, IT’S JUST MEANT TO BE A CAMPAIGN TALKING POINT: Obama administration has doubts that key Hillary gun proposal can work.

Current law requires those who are “engaged in the business” of selling firearms to get a federal firearms license — and to conduct background checks on buyers. Private sellers don’t need to conduct such checks. Gun control advocates have argued that administrative rules defining what that phrase means are too vague, allowing many private sellers who are actually selling guns as a quasi-business to do so without running checks on buyers. They argue that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms could tighten this up with a rule that narrows the definition of who is “engaged in the business.”

The Obama administration looked at this idea, officials tell me, studying whether “engaged in the business” could be defined with, say, a threshold number of guns sold — say, 50 or 100 per year. If this were done, those who identify as private sellers (and sell without background checks) but sell that many guns could no longer do so without getting a license and performing background checks.

But the idea quickly presented complications. One former administration official involved in these discussions tells me that some officials worried it would present new and unforeseen enforcement problems. One senior administration official says some worried internally that defining a commercial seller through a hard sales threshold — as opposed to, say, leaving it to the discretion of law enforcement to determine who is a commercial seller — could be subject to legal challenge and could end up sweeping in people selling guns who clearly were not engaged in it as a long term business. This could create untold logistical — not to say political — difficulties.

“It was very clear that it was way more complicated than the other stuff being looked at,” the senior administration official tells me.

It’s less complicated if you don’t really care about the results.

REASON TV: How to Create a Gun-Free America in 5 Easy Steps.

BEAN-COUNTING IN AN INFERNO — New York’s mostly male FDNY begins a “diversity” initiative, Matthew Hennessey warns at City Journal:

If diversity training is a dead end, why is Mayor de Blasio insisting upon it? Because, like most progressives, his idea of social justice involves the “fundamental transformation” of society—and that project must necessarily begin in the city agencies that are within his sphere of control. There are limits to what a mayor can do, even one with a lapdog city council cheering him on. This mayor thinks tilting policy in favor of certain personnel is the fastest route to fundamental transformation.

How else to explain the decision earlier this year to allow 33-year-old Rebecca Wax to graduate from the Fire Academy despite having failed the Functional Skills Test five times? The FST was designed to mimic the conditions of an actual fire. Probationary firefighters are required to complete a grueling six-floor obstacle course while hauling 50 pounds of gear and breathing through an oxygen tank. Wax succeeded in completing the course on her sixth try but took nearly four minutes longer to do so than is typically permitted. Nevertheless, she was allowed to graduate and was assigned to Engine 259 in Sunnyside, Queens. FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro admitted at a city council hearing in December that the department had lowered the fitness bar to allow more women to pass the test.

Read the whole thing.


If you look up “whole milk” in the government’s official Dietary Guidelines, it states pretty definitively that people should only drink skim or 1% milk. “If you currently drink whole milk,” it says, “gradually switch to lower fat versions.”

This is the same advice the government has been issuing for many years. And it’s wrong.

Research published in recent years shows that people “might have been better off had they stuck with whole milk,” according to a front-page story in the Washington Post on Wednesday. “People who consumed more milk fat had lower incidence of heart disease.”

The story goes on to note that the government’s push for Americans to eat a high-carb diet “provokes a number of heart disease risk factors.”

As the Harvard School of Public Health’s Walter Willett put it, the “campaign to reduce fat in the diet has had some pretty disastrous consequences.”

The Post goes on to note that this “has raised questions about the scientific foundations of the government’s diet advice.”

It should.

Based on flimsy evidence, the USDA first started urging people to eat low-fat diets in 1977. As evidence grew that this advice was misguided — at best — it steadfastly refused to change course.

Who am I kidding? The government isn’t accountable. That’s for the little people.

THIS ISN’T THE 21st CENTURY I WAS ONCE PROMISED: Necessity in a progressive-run city? Vox’s Matt Yglesias maps out San Francisco sidewalk obstacles: “A comprehensive map of human poop on San Francisco sidewalks.”

But then, as even the San Francisco Chronicle was recently forced to admit, “People come here thinking of this as the center of innovation and entrepreneurship, and they see a street scene that looks like something out of a Third World country.”

WELL, AFTER ALL, OBAMA’S NO BLACKER THAN THE OCC SHOOTER, WHO’S WHITE: Rupert Murdoch: Carson could be ‘a real black president.’ And, joking aside, it’s fair to say that Obama, with his white parents and tony Hawaii prep-school background, never had the connection with authentic black experience that, say, Ben Carson or Clarence Thomas had.

THAT’S THE CHICAGO (AND CALIFORNIA) WAY: Mark Steyn and Sean Hannity discuss, ‘The more illegal immigrants you have in your state, the greater the votes you have in the Electoral College’ (video).

A HILLARY DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND! Hillary Clinton: I Totally Oppose The Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement I Negotiated In 2012, even though “In her 2014 memoir, Hillary Clinton listed the negotiation of TPP as one of her key accomplishments as Sec. of State.”  As Twitchy asks, “Did TPP flip-flopper Hillary even READ her book before sending it to GOP candidates?”

The Washington Free Beacon video supercut rounds up 24 Times Hillary Clinton Championed the Trans-Pacific Partnership While Secretary of State:

Jack Tapper of CNN notes that the number is nearly double: “45 times Secretary Clinton pushed the trade bill she now opposes.”

And don’t get her started on NAFTA, either, which further demonstrates the paradox of Hillary’s campaign. It’s entirely based on the good time nostalgia of the 1990s, even though she has repudiated seemingly every aspect of her husband’s post-Reagan centrism that helped to create it, as part of her increasingly quixotic efforts to lock down her party’s radical socialist base.

Speaking of which, at Hot Air, Allahpundit writes, “the Hillarybot has decided that it’s in her interest to move left to protect herself against Sanders. Bad idea. Because not only will she irritate centrist Dems and Obama-worshipping liberals by crossing him on this, but hardly a single Sanders voter will reconsider her based on this position given how transparently politically calculated it is. As Gabe Malor says, ‘Clinton will get a 5 point bump from this. In the ‘not honest or trustworthy’ polls.’ In fact, if you were searching for a reason to watch next week’s debate, now you’ve got one: It should be high comedy watching Sanders feed Hillary tons of sh*t for her sudden pandering reversal on TPP. Can’t wait.”

Related: Plenty of room on Hillary’s server for a little Journolist-style action as well.

‘INTERRUPTING WHITENESS’: NATIONAL EDUCATION CONFERENCE TO BLAME WHITE TEACHERS AND STUDENTS FOR SCHOOL WOES: Obama wanted “a national conversation on race.” This conference is what he meant: “interrupting whiteness” in American schools, “challenging white supremacy,” and eliminating the “white privilege” of Caucasian students.

Plus the real buried lede — it’s the long awaited return of the legendary Zombie to blogging.

WHY IS ESQUIRE’S CHARLES PIERCE so hostile to minority men’s genitalia? “Sexualized violence… it’s funny because…? Exactly why is it funny to you Charles?” Take the survey at the link. Is Charles threatened by minority males’ sexuality?

THE JAYVEE SOUNDS MORE THAN READY TO TURN PRO: ISIS executes three Assyrian Christians, threatens more executions.

NONSENSE! SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS: Clinton ‘SNL’ Cameo Could Entitle Challengers to Free Air Time.

PRECIOUS SNOWFLAKES ARE MELTING OUT THERE: Notable & Quotable: Fragility on Campus.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Once the Biggest Buyer, China Starts Dumping U.S. Government Debt.

BECAUSE THEY’RE HUMANS, NOT AUTOMATONS? Why bans on roughhousing are bad for kids.

THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE TILL MORALE IMPROVES: How New York politicians make Florida look great.

NO MATTER HOW MUCH THE SOCIALISTS PRAISE IT, ENVY IS STILL NOT A VIRTUE: Gwenyth Paltrow’s latest gripe: Iron Man out-earns his girlfriend.

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG: Should We Try to Stop Our Biological Clocks?

GIRL PRIVILEGE: Michelle Obama’s misguided girl power agenda.

EXPAND, LITTLE PROBE, EXPAND: FBI probe of Clinton e-mail expands to second data company.

SHOCKED, SHOCKED. AT RICK’S? GAMBLING? SHOCKED: Former U.N. General Assembly president charged with bribery.

October 7, 2015

“THEY GONNA PUT Y’ALL BACK IN SOMBREROS!” Biden: Republicans ‘beating’ on Hispanics.

WELL, THAT’S NOT HER STRONGEST SUIT: If Joe Biden runs, it’ll be a “character campaign” against Hillary.

DON’T MAKE FUN OF HIM: Man Calls 911 Because His Girlfriend Won’t Have Sex With Him.

But according to the University of Michigan, withholding sex is “sexual violence.” You people shouldn’t be shaming a victim of sexual violence, you know.

FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF READING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO THOUGHT THE MARTIAN WAS BASED ON A TRUE STORY: Well, presumably it will be eventually, so perhaps they’re simply jumping the gun. (Cue the “I know it’s just a TV show.” “Stop for a second — it’s real.” “I knew it!” scene from Galaxy Quest.) But I wonder what the crossover is between those who simultaneously think we never landed on the moon and think The Martian was based on a true story.

IT’S KURT SCHLICHTER ON CNN, arguing guns with Marc Lamont Hill. I know which one I’d rather have at my back in a tight situation.

THIS CASS SUNSTEIN PIECE ON THE SECOND AMENDMENT is just embarrassing. When you rely on a retired Warren Burger — whom liberals considered a dim bulb when he was actually Chief Justice — recycling an argument he originally made in Parade Magazine, you don’t have much. But the notion that the post-Heller Second Amendment caselaw represents some sort of “right wing reinterpretation” of previously settled law is ridiculous. It will persuade no one who doesn’t already agree with Sunstein, and it diminishes his reputation with anyone who is at all familiar with the actual law.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Only 38% of recent college grads think college was worth the cost.

All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

MEDIA HAPPENS: Obama Gives His Marching Orders On Guns. And the press happily submits. “Before anything was known about the shooter, the guns or the victims, Barack Obama was once again yelling at everyone in the country not responsible for the crime. This was an angry, petulant, lecturing leftist straight out of the Occidental teacher’s lounge. It was also the first time this country saw the real Barack Obama. It was, if anything, refreshing. He is who we thought he was. . . . Media personalities and journalists have in years past usually fallen back on ‘Ha ha, don’t be so paranoid, silly gun nut! Nobody’s coming for your guns!’ It’s the same cliche response they’ve always whipped out when forced to defend their positions as credible reporters and not progressive activists. Except this time, because of Obama’s own words and actions, they now feel Narratively Empowered.”

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THIS SOUNDS LIKE A BIG BANG THEORY PLOT: Antarctic scientists face breathalyser tests due to alcohol-fuelled fighting and ‘indecent exposure:’

Breathalysers could be used to curb alcohol abuse among scientists at US bases in Antarctica following “unpredictable behaviour” caused by excess drinking, including fights and indecent exposure.

Officials from the National Science Foundation told an audit of healthy and safety at the two US-run bases — McMurdo Station and the South Pole — that drinking has led to “unpredictable behaviour that has led to fights, indecent exposure, and employees arriving to work under the influence”, according to a report in Wired.

The agency is reportedly considering shipping several breathalysers to the isolated stations, which together house up to about 1,150 people, including scientists and support staff.

But such a move could potentially pose legal and administrative problems, as Antarctica is not US territory and it is not clear who would conduct the tests and what rights of appeal would be available.

Complicating matters further, the South Pole station is at a high altitude which could reportedly prevent the breathalyser tests from working properly.

The agency insisted that drinking was not out of control but it wanted to prevent alcohol-related problems.

Only one man could restore discipline to these out of control sub-zero scientific wastrels. Clearly, Capt. Stillman was shipped to the wrong edge of the world when the EM-50 urban assault vehicle project went pear-shaped.


POLITICS: Green Ideals Trump Science in Europe. “Maybe this was predictable: 19 of the EU’s 28 member nations have so far asked to “opt out” of scientist-approved genetically modified crops, exercising an option afforded to them by a compromise made by the European Commission earlier this spring. Under that deal, EU scientists are tasked with evaluating the safety of GMOs before their import into the trading bloc, but members are still given the option to eschew that expert analysis and reject GM crops on a case-by-case basis. Since then, the number of countries opting out has steadily risen, and a spokesperson confirmed earlier this week that the European Commission has received 19 such requests.”

NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SCIENCE: Why Frequent Sex Increases a Woman’s Pregnancy Odds.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole thing.


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

Lord Acton, call your office.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

* * * * * * *

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

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

Read the whole thing.


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

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

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


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

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

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 881.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole thing.

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

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

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

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

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

Gwyneth, contrast these two sentences:

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

“I saw Iron Man despite Gwyenth Paltrow.”

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

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


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

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

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



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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MODERN OR NOT: Manhood: A Brief Reflection.

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


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

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

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

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

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