September 5, 2015

SECOND ANNUAL INDIE AUTHOR LABOR DAY SALE: Sabrina Chase’s The Long Way Home, 99c

SECOND ANNUAL INDIE AUTHOR LABOR DAY SALE: Peter Grant’s Take the Star Road at 99c.

WHOSE PROBLEM: Genocide, Islam and Weaponized Empathy.

NO FEAR: Fear is the Mindkiller.

WHOSE EDUCATION: Protecting the religious liberties of the city’s Jewish schools.

ADDED VALUE:Project Thor: Denmark’s first astronaut arrives at International Space Station with Lego.

UNEXPECTEDLY:Thousands of cancer patients to be denied treatment. Common drugs for breast, bowel, prostate, pancreatic and blood cancer will no longer be funded by the NHS following sweeping cutbacks. … BUT Great Britain had a pony and our progressives wanted one too. So they assured everyone that everything over there was running beautifully.

THE SMASHING TRUMPKINS: Billy Corgan applauds Trump for ‘f—ing’ up the political class.

September 4, 2015

SHE DIDN’T SCREAM MICRO-AGGRESSION:Brazilian mugger pleads for ‘daddy’ after trying to rob professional female MMA fighter.

AT AMAZON, it’s the September Baby Sale! (Note: No actual babies being sold.)

Plus, the new OnHub Wireless Router.

BELTWAY REPORTER DISCOVERS AMERICA: I called this place ‘America’s worst place to live.’ Then I went there.

POLL: Americans now see a war on police, and they know who to blame. “Rasmussen found that fully 58% of voters believe there is a war on police these days, while 27% disagree and 15% simply can’t decide. But here’s an interesting twist: Many might expect different views of this situation by various races. But not this time. White voters see the assault on law enforcement at a 60% rate. Blacks and other minorities say almost the same, 54% and 56% respectively.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Utah Law School Celebrates Opening Of New Building With Audacious Goal: 100% Bar Passage, 100% Professional Employment.

Setting goals is easy.

“RIDING A BIKE AROUND CAMPUS SUCKS.” Enterprising University of Texas student drives Barbie Jeep around campus after DWI. The Insta-Daughter had one of these when she was 3 and loved it, but I think top speed was only about 3 mph. I guess it beats walking. . . .

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Macroscopic mechanical manipulation controls molecular machine array.

UPDATE: Link fixed.

WELCOME TO THE 21ST CENTURY: Poison-Injecting Robot Submarine Assassinates Sea Stars to Save Coral Reefs. “Bring on the autonomous stabby poison-injecting robot submarines, please.”

WHEN BLACK MUSIC WAS CONSERVATIVE: At City Journal, Howard Husock has a lengthy read the whole thing article on the peak of black popular music in the ‘60s and ‘70s that’s been augmented with plenty of YouTube clips for your listening enjoyment as well:

Some black intellectuals have recognized how whites drive the commercial success and cultural acceptance of rap and hip-hop. Most prominent among them is critic Stanley Crouch, who has called the music “contemporary minstrelsy” and asserted that “no segment of our society has been more deformed and dehumanized than black American popular culture and whatever intellectual seriousness lays before it, from the sidewalk to the hallowed halls of higher education.” Crouch disdains white intellectuals who feel that they “learn something” from the allegedly authentic street culture depicted in rap and hip-hop. In a biting speech at a 2007 forum sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, Crouch recalled asking a white rap fan why he liked the rapper 50 Cent: “ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I feel like that when I put on his records I’m actually getting an experience.’ That’s just bunk, period.” One English rap admirer told Crouch that he enjoys the music because it’s “word-driven.” Crouch replied, “I don’t think that’s why people like you like it. As far as I know, there’s never been a small audience for any idiom that projects the Negro as inferior to the white man. You are not going to tell me that when you read those lyrics so-called, you think the person who wrote them is equal to you. I think that’s the point.” Crouch’s sentiments are echoed by some African-American academics—notably, Niagara University’s Raphael Heaggans, author of The 21st Century Hip-Hop Minstrel Show: Are We Continuing the Blackface Tradition?

Criticism of rap and hip-hop, at least in some black quarters, suggests the possibility that cultures don’t change completely and that the currents of optimism and uplift that characterized the classic soul period will resurface. Consider, for instance, the sign outside the legendary Marigold, Mississippi, “juke joint” called “Po’ Monkeys.” Outside what is little more than a shack in the Mississippi Delta—but one featuring traditional soul and blues—one finds a drawing that warns against entering with low-hanging pants, along with this printed admonition: “No Loud Music. No Dope Smoking. No Rap Music.”

Signs of hope can also be found in some wildly popular contemporary black music, such as 2000’s “Ms. Jackson,” the poignant Number One hit by Atlanta-based hip-hop duo OutKast. In it, the rappers appeal to the mother of the singer’s girlfriend, petitioning—almost the way one might ask a sweetheart’s parents for her hand—for acceptance. Having gotten his girlfriend pregnant, the singer pledges to be there for his child’s first day of school and graduation, even envisioning the possibility of a lifelong relationship. “Me and your daughter got a special thang going on. You say it’s puppy love, we say it’s full grown. Hope that we feel this way forever.” Even more notable is Beyoncé’s 2008 megahit “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” in which she tells an ex-boyfriend, jealous of her new relationships, that if “you liked it then, you should’ve put a ring on it.” Her husband, Jay-Z, took that advice.

Perhaps a generation marked by the persistence of a black underclass, inner-city crime, and family breakdown will eventually turn away from rap and hip-hop’s hedonism, outlaw ethos, and misogyny. If it does, black music may once again become a messenger for what America’s first black president famously called hope and change.

I wouldn’t hold my breath — as I noted last month, Motown and the Beatles were lucky to be creating their incredible music in the 1960s, when they were still the counterculture — the original popularizers of the American songbook, Bing and Frank and Ella and Nat and their songwriters and arrangers were all still alive and still making music. (And in instrumental jazz, Duke and Count and Miles and Gil and Brubeck.) Both rock and black music could survive another decade after the downfall of both institutions in the early 1970s — the breakup of the Beatles and Berry Gordy abandoning Detroit and his virtuoso house band, the Funk Brothers – because the shadows their work cast were so long. But by the mid-‘80s, both rock and black music were running on fumes. When black music in particular has lobotomized its craftsmanship by jettisoning melody and harmony, where can either form go now for what Tom Wolfe calls “The Great Relearning?”

Which brings us to John Podhoretz’s review of Straight Outta Compton in the latest edition of the Weekly Standard. After noting that Sinatra had his thug like moments – being friendly with the mob, and not so friendly with his myriad groupies, Podhoretz writes, “The difference, of course, was that Sinatra sought to make beauty, while NWA sought to embody, personify, and reflect the rage of its audience:”

And here, I guess, one has to suspend a certain kind of judgment and pay obeisance to the market. Sinatra was a voice of his time, and NWA was a voice of its time. And both have stood the test of time​—​so far.

The success of Straight Outta Compton raises the surviving members of NWA (the depiction of Eazy-E’s death from AIDS in 1995 brings the movie to a close) to the level of cultural elder statesmen. It’s been 27 years since NWA released the album that gives Straight Outta Compton its name. Ice Cube, who shouted “F— tha Police,” will soon appear in the sequel to his hit 2014 movie Ride Along​—​in which he plays a hard-bitten cop. (His son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., plays him in Straight Outta Compton.) Dr. Dre sold his headphones company to Apple last year in a deal that made him $620 million in a day​—​and, as a good employee, released his first album in 16 years exclusively on his corporation’s horrendous new Apple Music platform.

Meanwhile, the pop form they helped pioneer is now so enshrined that a hip-hop biography of Alexander Hamilton on Broadway has made its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the most celebrated artistic figure in America. And as for the output of NWA itself? I still prefer beauty to rage, but rage is infectious and multigenerational. For as Philip Larkin also said, “Man passes on misery to man / It deepens like a coastal shelf.”

Which sadly, is the answer to the conclusion of Husock’s article at City Journal.

MEIN FÜHRER…I CAN WALK!!! Seven Movies About Nuclear Nightmares.

As Glenn noted last month in USA Today:

When the Cold War ended, people forgot about [stuff like duck and cover], to the point that when I teach Cold War material in my Constitutional Law or National Security Law courses, I find that my law students, except for a few military veterans or emergency-services types, know nothing about basic nuclear weapons facts that almost everyone knew as late as the 1980s. But now it may be time for that knowledge to come back.

Israel and India have the bomb, but they’re not threats. Russia and China have the bomb, and they’re not entirely friendly. Pakistan has the bomb, and it’s not so friendly. North Korea has nukes and issues periodic threats. And now Iran is on track to get the bomb, and the Iranians are still shouting “Death To America” at every opportunity. It’s just possible that they might mean it.

Nahh, lovely lads, those chaps. Mr. Obama and his cronies have announced that he’s delivering “Peace in Our Time”; I’m sure the mullahs share the same good wishes to all, right?

HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IS RUINING POLITICS: With a headline like that, you won’t be surprised to learn that Nicholas Carr, who in 2008 asked “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” in the Atlantic, the first draft of his 2010 book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, isn’t a fan of social media. At the Politico, he places it into context with the 20th century’s communication revolutions and their impact on national politics:

Twice before in the last hundred years a new medium has transformed elections. In the 1920s, radio disembodied candidates, reducing them to voices. It also made national campaigns far more intimate. Politicians, used to bellowing at fairgrounds and train depots, found themselves talking to families in their homes. The blustery rhetoric that stirred big, partisan crowds came off as shrill and off-putting when piped into a living room or a kitchen. Gathered around their wireless sets, the public wanted an avuncular statesman, not a firebrand. With Franklin Roosevelt, master of the soothing fireside chat, the new medium found its ideal messenger.

In the 1960s, television gave candidates their bodies back, at least in two dimensions. With its jumpy cuts and pitiless close-ups, TV placed a stress on sound bites, good teeth and an easy manner. Image became everything, as the line between politician and celebrity blurred. John Kennedy was the first successful candidate of the TV era, but it was Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton who perfected the form. Born actors, they could project a down-home demeanor while also seeming bigger than life.

Today, with the public looking to smartphones for news and entertainment, we seem to be at the start of the third big technological makeover of modern electioneering. The presidential campaign is becoming just another social-media stream, its swift and shallow current intertwining with all the other streams that flow through people’s devices. This shift is changing the way politicians communicate with voters, altering the tone and content of political speech. But it’s doing more than that. It’s changing what the country wants and expects from its would-be leaders.

What’s important now is not so much image as personality. But, as the Trump phenomenon reveals, it’s only a particular kind of personality that works—one that’s big enough to grab the attention of the perpetually distracted but small enough to fit neatly into a thousand tiny media containers. It might best be described as a Snapchat personality. It bursts into focus at regular intervals without ever demanding steady concentration.

Perhaps that explains why Trump has been the Teflon Don, cheerfully rebounding from endless gaffes and head-scratching statements that would bury other candidates. As Leon Wolf wrote last month at Red State, “Trump is the political equivalent of chaff:”

Watching Donald Trump speak and answer questions, though, is like watching a billion targets appear in the sky all at once, for a political opponent. Each thing he says is so bizarre, or ill informed, or demonstrably false, or un presidential in tone or character, that it becomes impossible to know which target to lock on to or focus on. And to the extent that he makes a policy statement, it is so hopelessly vague and ludicrous that it’s impossible to know where to begin, at least within the context of the 30-second soundbite that the modern political consumer requires (and chances are, he will say something diametrically opposed to it before the press conference is over anyway).

Donald Trump is the political equivalent of chaff, a billion shiny objects all floating through the sky at once, ephemeral, practically without substance, serving almost exclusively to distract from more important things – yet nonetheless completely impossible to ignore.

Which, to return to Carr’s theorem, sounds exactly like the nature of Twitter itself, doesn’t it?

Of course, at the start of 2004, plenty of left-leaning pundits were writing think pieces on how Howard Dean was the candidate who had mastered social media, only to see him spectacularly flameout with his infamous YEEEARRRRGH!!!! moment, causing the Democrats en masse to place their bets on a dull plonker like John Kerry. Given his disastrous performance yesterday talking foreign policy with Hugh Hewitt, Trump could similarly implode. (In the meantime, Trump has switched back into the thing he does best: Attack! Attack! Attack! at least when attack mode is aimed at Republicans.)

As for his Democrat opponent, a question: After narrowly losing the 1960 election in part because of Kennedy’s photogenic looks and his Democrat media operatives, Richard Nixon mastered the skill-set of that decade’s television, rebranded himself as “The New Nixon,” and went on to win the 1968 election. Starting in 2007, the Obama campaign skillfully used the Internet, social media, graphic design, and their friends in the MSM to end-run what Hillary Clinton had so clearly planned at the start of that year as her inevitable coronation. Clinton and her handlers have had years to study how they were broadsided, and adapt accordingly. Why do they seem so awful at stagecraft and packaging in the Internet era?

(H/T fellow Insta-contributor Virginia Postrel.)

IT’S THE 21ST CENTURY. EVERYTHING SHOULD HAVE LASERS. Laser Breakthrough Could Speed the Rise of Self-Driving Cars.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Trigger-Happy White House Staffer Resigns Amid Assault Charges.

SURFING IN HIGH HEELS requires exceptional coordination.

AT AMAZON, deals on Airsoft.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: 2 North Carolina teens hit with child porn charges after consensual sexting. They’re too young to consent to naked pictures, but not too young to have their lives ruined for doing so.

WAPO: Michael Gerson: The horrific results of Obama’s failure in Syria.

One little boy in a red T-shirt, lying face down, drowned, on a Turkish beach, is a tragedy. More than 200,000 dead in Syria, 4 million fleeing refugees and 7.6 million displaced from their homes are statistics. But they represent a collective failure of massive proportions.

For four years, the Obama administration has engaged in what Frederic Hof, former special adviser for transition in Syria, calls a “pantomime of outrage.” Four years of strongly worded protests, and urgent meetings and calls for negotiation — the whole drama a sickening substitute for useful action. People talking and talking to drown out the voice of their own conscience. And blaming. In 2013, President Obama lectured the U.N. Security Council for having “demonstrated no inclination to act at all.” Psychological projection on a global stage. . . .

This was not some humanitarian problem distant from the center of U.S. interests. It was a crisis at the heart of the Middle East that produced a vacuum of sovereignty that has attracted and empowered some of the worst people in the world. Inaction was a conscious, determined choice on the part of the Obama White House.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and CIA Director David Petraeus advocated arming favorable proxies. Sunni friends and allies in the region asked, then begged, for U.S. leadership. All were overruled or ignored.

In the process, Syria has become the graveyard of U.S. credibility.

Worst President ever.

SPYING: FBI, DEA and others will now have to get a warrant to use stingrays.

POPULAR MECHANICS: Russia Plans To Return To The Moon: Luna 25 is a test-bed for the real thing: a south pole moon base.

SETH MANDEL: Inside Hillary’s Tinfoil-Hat Brigade. “Set aside the questions about Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server and her mishandling of classified information: The content of her mail exposes the fact that the advice Hillary seeks out from her most trusted confidants is often just plain weird.”

JOSH BLACKMAN & RANDY BARNETT: The Next Justices: A guide for GOP candidates on how to fill Court vacancies. A must read.

BECAUSE IT’S BEING REGULATED TO DEATH: “America’s Once Magical–Now Mundane–Love Affair With Cars.” This Washington Post piece is a classic lamestream media outcome-oriented approach to an issue. The writer, Marc Fisher, starts with his thesis–that Americans aren’t passionate about cars anymore–and then proceeds to prove his thesis with some data showing driver’s license decline, professors with silly theories, and anecdotal stories. He gives only passing consideration to the possibility that “it’s the regulation, stupid.”

“The automobile just isn’t that important to people’s lives anymore,” says Mike Berger, a historian who studies the social effect of the car. “The automobile provided the means for teenagers to live their own lives. Social media blows any limits out of the water. You don’t need the car to go find friends.”

Much of the emotional meaning of the car, especially to young adults, has transferred to the smartphone, says Mark Lizewskie, executive director of the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey, Pa. “Instead of Ford versus Chevy, it’s Apple versus Android, and instead of customizing their ride, they customize their phones with covers and apps,” he says. “You express yourself through your phone, whereas lately, cars have become more like appliances, with 100,000-mile warranties.” . . .

The number of vehicles on American roads soared every year until the recession hit in 2008. Then the number plummeted. Recently, it’s crept back up. Similarly, the number of drivers has leveled off.

“In the near future, cars will control the driver instead of the other way around,” says John Heitmann, a historian at the University of Dayton who studies Americans’ relationship with automobiles. (He also is restoring a 1971 Porsche 911T Targa.) “And the way we live now, especially on the coasts, it’s a bother to own a car. For young people, and not just the urban elite, there’s not even a desire to drive.”

Americans drive fewer miles per year — down about 9 percent over the past two decades. The percentage of 19-year-olds with driver’s licenses has dropped from 87 percent two decades ago to 70 percent last year. Most teens now do not get licensed within a year of becoming eligible, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. . . .

The return of young people to city centers brings a permanent pivot in how people think about getting around, says Gabe Klein, a Zipcar founder who went on to run the city transportation departments in Chicago and Washington.

Klein, 44, says cars have become a burden, a symbol of a model of living gone sour. “We were sold a bill of goods by the government,” he says, “by real estate developers who wanted to sell tract housing far from the city, by car companies who sold us this new lifestyle of living in the suburbs and commuting in.”

That suburban model is not something to rebuild from the ravages of recession, but rather a lifestyle that technology will let Americans discard, Klein argues. “Car culture is really a brief 50- or 60-year blip in history,” he says.

None of this is wrong, exactly, as it’s mostly just the opinion of some liberals/progressives, combined with some data showing that there has been small decline in the number of young people obtaining driver’s licenses.

But the overall thesis of the piece–that Americans are no longer passionate about cars–is, at best premature, and likely wrong. The rate of driver’s licenses for young people is declining because of the incredible regulatory hoops they now have to jump through in order to get a license. It is virtually impossible in many States to get your driver’s license on your 16th birthday, as I (and probably many readers) did. Here in Florida, for example, youngsters must hold their learner’s permit for a full 12 months before applying for a driver’s license, and the learner’s permit requires passing a difficult written test and a substance abuse course. Few public schools here offer a driver’s ed course, so the burden of teaching young adults how to drive falls solely on the parents, or the parents must spring for expensive private lessons. 

I’m not complaining about these rules, per se. Ensuring that young people know the rules of the road before getting behind the wheel is a good thing overall, but it does impact whether and how quickly they begin to drive. The high cost of gasoline, insurance, and cars themselves are further deterrents to young people. Today’s cars are highly regulated, complex machines and consequently very expensive. And once one saves up the money to afford today’s cars, one cannot simply change the oil and filters by one’s self. Heck, my car has a giant cover over the entire engine that must be removed before one could even figure out where the oil stick is. Jumping the battery requires a Ph.D.

It seems to me that all of the costs and regulations are sapping the passion to drive, not mobile phones or a love of public transportation. If you regulate any activity (other than items for which there is inelastic demand, and driving is not one of those), the activity will decline commensurate with the level of regulation/cost increase.

IN THE MAIL: From Todd Moss, Minute Zero.

Plus, today only at Amazon: 55% Off Mizuno Men’s and Women’s Running Shoes.

And, also today only: Up to 60% Off Panasonic Arc 5 Electric Razors.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 848.

SELF-DESTRUCTIVE ECONOMICS: Minimum Wage Hike Would Hit Manufacturing Hardest.

There is no shortage of reasons to be skeptical of the intensifying push, now formally endorsed by the Democratic Party, to raise the national minimum wage to $15 per hour. This magnitude of such a hike is unprecedented; city-level $15 minimums have not exactly been roaring successes; restaurants could respond to a wage hike by automating more jobs; and the minimum wage movement, as currently constituted, is facilitating outrageous union malfeasance. And, of course, trying to set one national minimum wage is foolish policy when cost of living varies from place to place.

But if one more were needed, Adam Ozimek offers yet another compelling reason for concern in a piece at Moody’s: a $15 dollar minimum wage would be especially damaging to U.S. manufacturing, an industry that has recently started to make a small and fragile comeback.

Minimum wage debates typically focus on the service, hospitality, or retail industries, and it’s easy to see why: The majority of workers making under $8 per hour work in one of these sectors. An increase to, say, $9 dollars per hour probably would have the biggest impact on service and retail. But Ozimek argues that an increase of the magnitude currently being considered would also have a strong impact on the manufacturing sector. He crunches the numbers and finds that 35 percent of manufacturing workers—5.3 million people—are currently earning less than $15 per hour. “Lifting the minimum wage to $15 an hour”, he notes, “would not just be quantitatively larger than previous U.S. experience, but qualitatively different in that it would affect a different set of workers and industries.”

Moreover, mandated wage increases in the manufacturing industry could imperil more American jobs than wage increases in the fast food industry because manufacturing is more mobile, and more subject to the forces of global economic competition.

If I had a factory, I’d be looking to relocate.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: More On Law School Tuition Discounting. “What you see is not what you get when it comes to law school tuition. In fact, the average law school discounts its published tuition price by an estimated 25 percent through grants and scholarships, according to a detailed analysis by preLaw magazine.”

AT AMAZON, fresh deals on bestselling products, updated every hour.

Also, coupons galore in Grocery & Gourmet Food.

Plus, Kindle Daily Deals.

And, Today’s Featured Digital Deal. The deals are brand new every day, so browse and save!

A SCHOOL’S RATIONALE FOR BANNING SUPERHERO LUNCHBOXES COULDN’T BE MORE MORALLY CONFUSED, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If you know anything about superheroes, the underlying morality is pretty much everything. Supervillains use their powers for evil ends. Superheroes use theirs to protect the vulnerable and uphold the good. Teaching kids that there’s no difference between the two is the very opposite of moral education.

It reminds me of William F. Buckley’s famous retort to those who claimed there was no moral distinction between the United States and the Soviet Union. If you have one man who pushes old ladies in front of oncoming buses, Buckley explained, and you have another man who pushes old ladies out of the way of oncoming buses, it simply will not do to describe them both as the sorts of men who push old ladies around.

A country, and a civilization, that actively chooses to render such distinctions meaningless has lost the confidence to sustain itself.

There’s an added irony here. Around the time little Laura’s school was cracking down on Wonder Woman lunchboxes, two women, Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver, passed the Army Ranger training course for the first time. The news was hailed across the country as a huge step forward for women.

Are these women role models or not? Are they heroes? Or should they be condemned for their willingness to use violence when necessary? Maybe Laura should get a Griest and Haver lunchbox and find out.

If there’s an upside, today’s kids are learning vital lessons in how political correctness works, and how it enables the Outer Party members serving in the Educational-Industrial Complex to toil without thinking. (Gentlemen, you can’t think independently here, this is a school system!) If today’s trends continue, little Laura will really have her eyes open when she arrives for freshman* orientation in college.

*If colleges of the future still use that highly problematic word, of course…

THOUGHTS ON FREEDOM, AND RESPECT FOR THE DIFFERENT, AND LARRY McMURTRY HAVING BEEN RIGHT ALL ALONG: Ace of Spades writes, “It has only been in the past couple of years, watching the full force of government melded, fascistically, with the social power of the elite class that I’ve begun remembering: ‘Hey, didn’t that old Larry McMurtry article [in TNR in response to the Clinton Administration’s assault on Waco] talk about the American habit of spitefulness and naked anger towards Weirdos who are Different…?’

About 50 times in the past two years, I’ve thought to myself: “Yup, Larry McMurtry was right, and I didn’t listen.”

Today was another Larry McMurtry day for me, as I witnessed, yet again, the pure glee of vindictively enforcing rules against persons considered different and offensive.

Well, I looked up the article. I was shocked to see it’s actually still available online.

So if you want to read it, it’s here.

I recommend it.

Larry McMurtry was right. People are far too quick to become emotionally angry towards, and leap to violent means of coercion, against the Strange, against the Outcast, against the Different.

And we shouldn’t be doing that in America. This is not Germany; we have rules because we need rules. We do not have rules just because we love the rules themselves, and we love inflicting them on people.

Well, maybe a lot of the time we do.

But we shouldn’t.

Read the whole thing.

LIES ABOUT RAPE: Study includes ‘remarks about physical appearance’ to trump up sexual violence numbers. So if someone calls you ugly, you’re a “victim of sexual violence.”

One of the best tactics so-called researchers have used to conclude that fully one-fifth of college women will be sexually assaulted is to vastly expand the definition of what it is.

A new study, conducted at Rutgers University, relies heavily on this tactic to stoke fear and encourage witch hunts of college men across the country.

Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown dissects the study, noting the definition of “sexual assault” and “sexual violence” included everything from “remarks about physical appearance” and “persistent sexual advances that are undesired by the recipient” to “threats of force to get someone to engage in sexual behavior, as well as unwanted touching and unwanted oral, anal, or vaginal penetration or attempted penetration.”

There’s an ocean of difference between someone saying you look good today and someone physically pinning you down against your will. To include both under the category of “sexual assault” is just ludicrous, and certainly not a serious way of studying the issue.

It’s a naked power grab. Related: Ashe Schow: My warning to incoming and returning college students.

POLITICAL COVER: Top House Dems: Drop Planned Parenthood investigations.

The top Democrats on two committees investigating Planned Parenthood are calling on Republicans to drop the investigations, saying there is no evidence the organization has broken the law.

Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.) wrote a letter to the chairmen of the Judiciary and Oversight committees on Thursday calling on them to call off the investigations, or at least expand it to include an inquiry into the anti-abortion-rights group behind the recent undercover videos.

Of course.

ZIONISM—WHAT IS IT? WHY IS IT GETTING TRASHED? “In Europe, by now, anti-Zionism has spread from the elites to general populations—where, no doubt, it resonated considerably with traditional antisemitism,” P. David Hornik writes. “In America, the ‘elites’ haven’t yet succeeded—through the schools and universities, through the media—to spread anti-Zionism; but they’re trying.”

Read the whole thing.

MY WARNING TO INCOMING AND RETURNING COLLEGE STUDENTS: “As classes begin at colleges and universities across the country, incoming and returning students need to be keenly aware of the current culture surrounding sex on and off campus,” Ashe Schow writes at the Washington Examiner:

First and foremost, students can assume that they have no constitutional due process rights on their college campus, even in public institutions. One might think that they do, as those rights are guaranteed under the Constitution, but the truth today is that when you step foot on that campus you live by their rules.

That is because college campuses are now responsible for their own criminal justice system, thanks to an interpretation of a federal law. While colleges would never be expected to adjudicate a murder, they are now expected to adjudicate accusations of sexual assault. And the marching orders from Washington suggest that the goal of such adjudications should be to punish accused students, truth be damned.

And these campuses are not bound by the presumption of innocence or the rules of evidence or any other basic legal concepts. These days, an accusation almost ensures a finding of guilt and an expulsion. And the evidence used to justify the expulsion is becoming flimsier and flimsier.

As Iowahawk likes to say, “College: an oasis of totalitarianism in a desert of freedom.”

CHANGE: ‘Who needs this?’ Police recruits abandon dream amid anti-cop climate.

Police departments face a recruiting shortage amid a growing anti-cop mood that some fear has taken the pride out of peacekeeping and put targets on the backs of the men and women in blue.

Open calls for the killing of police have been followed by assassinations, including last week’s murder in Texas of a Harris County sheriff’s deputy. Instead of dialing back the incendiary rhetoric, groups including “Black Lives Matter” have instead doubled down at demonstrations with chants of “Pigs in a blanket, fry em like bacon.” Public safety officials fear the net effect has been to demonize police, and diminish the job.

“It’s a lot harder to sell now,” Jeff Roorda, business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association and former state representative, told FoxNews.com. “This is a very real phenomenon.”

Roorda’s colleagues witnessed the fierce, anti-police rioting that followed the police shooting last year of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, Missouri. Even though a grand jury and a federal Justice Department inquiry did not fault Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, debunked claims that the cop killed Brown as he held his hands up and begged for his life have animated the Black Lives Matter movement as it spread around the nation.

Roorda, who spoke in defense of police in the aftermath of the Ferguson shooting, said protesters took to Twitter to promote a #KillRoorda hashtag.

“You no longer just have to worry about your life while in uniform,” he said. “Now you have to be worried about the well-being of your family,” he said.

Who could have seen this coming?

CNN: GO AHEAD, ADMIT YOU’RE A RACIST.

Nice move there CNN editors, joining the New York Times and the Atlantic by insulting your entire audience. So how’s that strategy working out for you?

● Step One: Declare Your Audience Racist.

● Step Two: ?

● Step Three: Ratings Gold!

Or perhaps not.

NEWS FROM TENNESSEE: Senators to review gender neutral pronouns.

I’d rather they held hearings on the university’s sexual assault policy, which it chose to adopt even though at least two courts have found it “ridiculous.”

September 3, 2015

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DAVID BARON, CALL YOUR OFFICE: French farmers kidnap Alps park chiefs, demanding protection from wolf attacks. “French farmers have kidnapped the head of a national park in the Alps, demanding stronger measures against wolves that are attacking their flocks. France’s rising wolf population is causing concern for many sheep farmers, mainly from Provence to the Hautes Alpes area. The number of wolf attacks nationwide has doubled in the past five years and the population – now at around 300 – has tripled since 2005.”

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: SAT scores at lowest level in 10 years, fueling worries about high schools. “Kids don’t make a whole lot of gains once they’re in high school. It certainly should raise an alarm.”

It certainly should.

NATIONAL REVIEW COLUMNIST APPROVES GWEN IFILL’S “TAKE THAT BIBI” ADMISSION. At the Corner, Jay Nordlinger writes:

I’ve said it a million times: The anchorman of CBS News should attend Democratic fundraisers (as happened). The Supreme Court reporter of the New York Times, a.k.a. the paper of record, should march in abortion-rights rallies (as happened). And PBS news figures should be open partisans.

Yesterday, when Senator Barbara Mikulski declared for the Iran deal, meaning that this deal could not be blocked by the Senate, Gwen Ifill spiked the football. “Take that, Bibi,” she tweeted. Aha! Good one, Gwen!

The PBS ombudsman has written about this matter disapprovingly. I’m not sure I disapprove. What I disapprove of is pretending — the pretending that these news organizations are neutral and dispassionate, instead of on the left.

Nomsayin? Know what I’m saying? It seems so . . . elementary. Let your true colors fly, and we’ll have a good ol’ democratic debate.

Exactly. There’s no such thing as “objectivity,” and news consumers should know about the worldview of journalists and/or Democratic operatives with bylines such Ifill, in order to make informed choices. (Particularly in the case of PBS and NPR, as we’re legally required to partially foot the bill for these networks.) The MSM’s cry of “objectivity” dates back to the 1920s through the end of the 1970s, when limits in technology created a mass American media consisting of just three national radio networks, the forerunners to the three national commercial TV networks, a handful of wire services, and for most large cities, only a couple of newspapers. That media world hasn’t existed for decades.

I thought self-styled “Progressives” didn’t want to live in the 1950s anymore — why rely on an Eisenhower-era trope to dodge responsibility for your statements?

LOOK AROUND AT OBAMA AND HILLARY DEFYING THE LAW WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE, and then, even if you read it when it first came out, reread The Coming Middle Class Anarchy. “What’s really important is that law-abiding middle-class citizens are deciding that playing by the rules is nothing but a sucker’s game. . . . When the backbone of a country starts thinking that laws and rules are not worth following, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to anarchy. TV has given us the illusion that anarchy is people rioting in the streets, smashing car windows and looting every store in sight. But there’s also the polite, quiet, far deadlier anarchy of the core citizenry — the upright citizenry — throwing in the towel and deciding it’s just not worth it anymore.”

Nobody likes to feel like a sucker.

SWEDEN: Secret anti-immigration blogger’s name exposed.

‘Julia Caesar’, an anonymous right-wing blogger who has blasted Swedish journalists for writing an “epoch of lies” about the benefits of immigration, is herself a former reporter for Sweden’s biggest broadsheet, Dagens Nyheter, according to a Swedish tabloid.

The controversial writer, who has sought to keep her identity secret, has been causing a huge stir on social media since 2010. Her blog posts lay into mainstream politicians and what she describes as “the corrupt media” for promoting what she argues is an “epoch of lies” about immigration. They also praise the rise of the nationalist Sweden Democrat Party.

“It simply isn’t possible to lie about the blessings of multiculturalism or mass immigration forever when citizens clearly see with their own eyes how their country is being dismantled in front of them,” reads one of her recent posts, which has also been translated into English on a separate blog by one of her supporters.

On Wednesday, Sweden’s Expressen tabloid revealed that the blogger – who has also published three books – is herself a former journalist for Dagens Nyheter (DN), a Swedish newspaper. . . .

“It is clear that it is not an obvious decision to publish the name of somebody who wants to remain anonymous,” wrote Expressen’s Head of Culture and Deputy Managing Editor at Expressen, Karin Olsson as the newspaper exposed Barbro Jöberger as being behind the far-right blog.

“But given her great influence and role in alternative debates online, we have decided that her name should be made available so that we are able to have an open debate.”

“It is reasonable that such an influential opinion maker should be made accountable,” she said.

Uh huh.

ANDREW CUOMO’S WAR ON TATTOOS:

Full disclosure: I’m not inked, and I have no intention of ever getting inked. But I can follow along on the tattoo artists’ arguments. Basically, in the quest to end the virulent outbreak of Hepatitis C among the population Andrew Cuomo signed a law mandating that all tattoo ink must come in prepackaged, single-use ‘ink shots.’ This stopped New York tattoo artists dead in their tracks, apparently because this is roughly equivalent to handing a professional portraitist a set of kindergarten crayons and telling him to go make a living, using only that. Not to mention the fact that there’s not actually a virulent outbreak of Hepatitis C going on right now. At least, not more of one than usual.

Two more points on this story. First off, the tattoo artists allege that state legislators neglected to talk to people actually in the industry before they passed this law (the legislators said that they did, for what it’s worth). Given that said legislators are acting genuinely surprised at the uproar that they caused, I suspect that there was, as they say, a failure to communicate.

I know tattoos are now a bipartisan phenomenon, but given the state the law was issued in and its largest city, reading Moe Lane’s post, I’m having distinct flashbacks to this Libertarian Party ad that ran during the Left’s Occupy Wall Street phase in 2012:

libertarian_ows_ad_7-23-12

HOPEY-CHANGEY: China, India, Japan, US and Europe have weakening or underperforming GDP growth.

KENTUCKY CLERK WHO REFUSED TO ISSUE MARRIAGE LICENSES AFTER SCOTUS RULING SENT TO JAIL FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT.

To borrow from Glenn’s tweet earlier today, alternate headline: Yet another Democrat official arrested for violating the law. (And thus, gay marriage comes full circle, with California Democrats breaking the law before Obergefell, and a Kentucky Democrat afterwards.)

RELATED: On Twitter today, Dan McLaughlin of Red State places Kim Davis’ arrest into context with the rise of Sanders and Trump:

Continue reading ‘KENTUCKY CLERK WHO REFUSED TO ISSUE MARRIAGE LICENSES AFTER SCOTUS RULING SENT TO JAIL FOR CONTEMPT …’ »

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Despite Demagogy By Leaders, Ordinary Americans lead the way on racial healing.

PEACE IN OUR TIME: Iran Commander: We’re Getting Prepared to Overthrow Israel:

“The US officials make boastful remarks and imagine that they can impose anything on the Iranian nation because they lack a proper knowledge of the Iranian nation.”

Also today, a senior commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said they have work to do.

The IRGC’s top commander in Tehran province, Brigadier General Mohsen Kazzemeini, told operating units undergoing drills in the capital that “they (the US and the Zionists) should know that the Islamic Revolution will continue enhancing its preparedness until it overthrows Israel and liberates Palestine,” according to Fars.

“And we will continue defending not just our own country, but also all the oppressed people of the world, specially those countries that are standing on the forefront of confrontation with the Zionists,” Kazzemeini said.

Headline via Chamberlain at Munich, Barack Obama at the start of his second term, and most recently, Democrat Rep. Patrick Murphy, Florida man.

TRUMP V. CARSON: WHAT THE LATEST POLL TELLS US: “Are we looking  at a Trump/Carson ticket…. or even the other way around?,” Roger Simon asks, adding parenthetically that it’s “(Hard to see Trump playing second fiddle to anyone.)  But the doctor should be very attractive to Trump. He anesthetizes Donald against myriad accusations.”

ARE ROBOTS EXPERIENCING a Cambrian Explosion? “About half a billion years ago, life on earth experienced a short period of very rapid diversification called the ‘Cambrian Explosion.’ Many theories have been proposed for the cause of the Cambrian Explosion, with one of the most provocative being the evolution of vision, which allowed animals to dramatically increase their ability to hunt and find mates (for discussion, see Parker 2003). Today, technological developments on several fronts are fomenting a similar explosion in the diversification and applicability of robotics. Many of the base hardware technologies on which robots depend—particularly computing, data storage, and communications—have been improving at exponential growth rates.”

CLINTON AIDE WILL TAKE 5TH AMENDMENT OVER PRIVATE SERVER: The former Clinton presidential campaign and State Department aide, Bryan Pagliano, has been subpoenaed to testify before the House Benghazi Committee but has already indicated he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. Pagliano set up Clinton’s private email server in her New York home in 2009.

“While we understand that Mr. Pagliano’s response to this subpoena may be controversial in the current political environment, we hope that the members of the Select Committee will respect our client’s right to invoke the protections of the Constitution,” his attorney, Mark MacDougall, wrote.

Two other Senate committees have contacted Pagliano in the past week, according to a copy of the letter, which was obtained by The Washington Post. The requests came from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Homeland Security Committee, according to people familiar with the requests.

The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed Wednesday that it sought to ask Pagliano about his work for Clinton.

“In response to questions . . . Mr. Pagliano’s legal counsel told the committee yesterday that he would plead the Fifth to any and all questions if he were compelled to testify,” a spokesperson for committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chairman of the House Benghazi committee, had subpoenaed the computer staffer Aug. 11 and ordered that he appear for questioning before the committee Sept. 10. Gowdy also demanded that Pagliano provide documents related to the servers or systems controlled or owned by Clinton from 2009 to 2013.

Pagliano, who worked in the State Department’s information-technology department from May 2009 until February 2013, left the agency when Clinton departed as secretary. He now works for a technology contractor that provides some services to the State Department.

But hey, there’s nothing criminal here–move along–because according to Media Matters, there is no evidence that Clinton “knew” that she was mishandling classified information. This shows utter ignorance of what the “knowing” scienter standard means in criminal law. According to the Model Penal Code, “knowingly” means:

(b) Knowingly.

A person acts knowingly with respect to a material element of an offense when:

(i) if the element involves the nature of his conduct or the attendant circumstances, he is aware that his conduct is of that nature or that such circumstances exist; and

(ii) if the element involves a result of his conduct, he is aware that it is practically certain that his conduct will cause such a result.

So Clinton (and/or her aides) had to be “aware that [her] conduct [of using a private server to send and receive classified information] is of a “nature” that such mishandling could exist, or alternatively had to be “aware that it [was] practically certain that [her] conduct” would cause such a mishandling of classified information.  Under either approach, the use of a private server while Secretary of State, alone, indicates such culpable awareness.

Nice try.

RELATED: Another 57 Clinton email threads contain foreign government’s (and thus likely classified) information.

YEAH, BUT TO BE FAIR, WHO DOESN’T? DARPA Wants Swarms of Cheap “Gremlin” Drones.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Robots Lay Three Times as Many Bricks as Construction Workers.

SO AFTER THE CHATTANOOGA SHOOTING, WE HAD ARMED CITIZENS PROTECTING RECRUITING CENTERS. Now with all the cop shootings, I’m seeing stuff like this:

armedcitizenry

Perhaps, instead of a growing middle-class anarchy, we’re seeing the reverse.

VIKINGS ON THE MISSISSIPPI.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Despite Demagogy By Leaders, Ordinary Americans lead the way on racial healing.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 847.

TRUE! Yes, Computers Have Improved. No, Communism Hasn’t.

At the New Republic, Malcolm Harris asks an interesting question: Was the Soviet Union’s problem that Communism can never work? Or did the Soviets just need a lot more MacBook Airs?

Actually, Harris is channeling Paul Mason, the author of the book he is reviewing, and unfortunately, he doesn’t really try to answer the question. Instead he makes the stridently timid argument that this won’t happen because the capitalists won’t let it, at least without a healthy dose of revolutionary action.

I’ll swing for the fences and argue that no, even with better computers, Communism isn’t going to work. Nor some gauzy vision of post-capitalism that looks like Communism, but with YouTube videos.

In retrospect, Communism seems wildly stupid, or at least, incredibly naive. Did the people who dreamed up this system not understand the enormous incentive problems they were creating? As Ayn Rand dramatized the problem in “Atlas Shrugged”: “It’s miseries, not work, that had become the coin of the realm — so it turned into a contest among six thousand panhandlers, each claiming that his need was worse than his brother’s. How else could it be done?” The incentives of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” drive toward falling production, which means there won’t be enough to cover the needs.

Or as a former colleague who fled Communist Poland once told me, “They pretended to pay us, and we pretended to work.” There is a reason that basically all the Communist and Socialist regimes ended in some degree of authoritarianism.

To most people espousing communism, the authoritarianism isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. All the talk about “sharing” and “compassion” is just to fool the rubes. People espousing communism should be treated as if they are on the same moral plane as people espousing Nazism, because they are.

THAT’S BECAUSE OUR RULING CLASS IS MADE UP OF AUTHORITARIAN BOZOS: Laws meant to protect young people from sexual predators are instead being used to charge them as felons and put them on sex-offender registries for life. And our courts are unwilling to apply common-sense due process protections.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Despite Demagogy By Leaders, Ordinary Americans lead the way on racial healing.

SILLY MEGYN. THE LEFT DOESN’T HAVE RULES, IT HAS SLOGANS: Megyn Kelly gets angry: Why don’t the left’s “civility” rules apply to Black Lives Matter protesters? “In fact, incredible as it may seem, at about two-thirds of the way in here the guy debating Katie Pavlich (and Kelly) actually repeats the lefty smear that Loughner was a tea partier. Pavlich tries to call him on it but he doesn’t miss a beat. Even here, with Kelly demanding accountability from the left for its double standard on incendiary rhetoric, the lie that the tea party somehow bears responsibility for Giffords’s near-murder slides easily into the conversation. And you know what? I bet Fowler really believes it. I don’t think he was knowingly lying in repeating the long-ago debunked theory that Loughner was some sort of right-wing crazy instead of a regular ol’ crazy. I think left-wing opinion makers built that narrative so quickly and solidly after the shooting that even now, four years later, it remains an article of faith among some Democrats that Loughner was moved by conservative rhetoric to try to kill Giffords. We’re never going to get Stalinists to apologize for this game. They invented it and they’re better at it than we’ll ever be.”

They’ll do it as long as it works. Make it painful and they’ll stop.

EUROPE’S IMMIGRATION CRISIS: Hungary’s leader to migrants: ‘Please don’t come.’

A HOSTILE EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FOR MALE STUDENTS: University lifts suspension on accused student — months after charges dropped.

The San Diego district attorney’s office declined to bring charges against a student accused of sexual assault, but that didn’t stop his university from keeping his suspension in place for months afterward.

Francisco Paiva Sousa was arrested for alleged sexual assault on Dec. 9, 2014, but posted bail. Charges were dismissed on Jan. 28. The district attorney declined to give a reason for dropping the charges.

Despite the dropped charges, the school Sousa attended, San Diego State University, kept his suspension in place while it continued its own investigation into the matter. When Sousa was first arrested, the school sent out a campus-wide email about the arrest. But it didn’t send a follow-up email announcing that the charges had been dropped or that the suspension had been lifted after finding the allegations to be unsubstantiated.

Sousa, a transfer student from Portugal, sued the university to try and learn the evidence against him and the specific accusation. Sousa’s attorney says he will now sue SDSU for his legal fees, which are estimated to be roughly $100,000.

I’d add a couple of zeroes there. Related: NYC commissioner: ‘Validate the experience’ of sex assault accusers. What if they’re lying, like “mattress girl” Emma Sulkowicz, New York’s most famous accuser?

DEMOCRATS IN DISARRAY: O’Malley urges protest at DNC HQ over debate schedule.

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley is urging supporters to join a protest outside of the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters over the decision to hold only six debates.

In an email to supporters with the subject line “Time to protest,” the O’Malley campaign said “it’s time to take it up a notch” and pressure the DNC to expand the number of debates by joining the protest of another group, #AllowDebate, that is planning a Sept. 16 rally outside the committee’s headquarters in Washington.

“It’s important that we bring our call for more debates directly to the group that is restricting candidates’ ability to debate,” the email says. “It’s, frankly, undemocratic. Enough tweeting. Let’s take action.” The email asks recipients to RSVP using a link that takes them to O’Malley’s website.

In recent weeks, O’Malley has been singularly focused on pressuring the DNC to expand the debate scheduled.

The former Maryland governor has struggled to gain traction in the polls, having been squeezed on the left by the rise of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. He has just 2 percent support in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls in the Democratic race. Vice President Biden, who has not said whether he will run, has 14 percent.

O’Malley needs as much exposure as he can get, and the debates present the best opportunity for him to make his case.

True.

JUST YESTERDAY I WAS WARNING ABOUT THIS KIND OF THING: Livid over crime, some Venezuelans resort to mob justice.

When a man they believed to be a thief sneaked into their parking lot in the Venezuelan city of Valencia, angry residents caught him, stripped him and beat him with fists, sticks and stones.

They tied him up and doused him in gasoline, according to witnesses, in one of what rights groups and media reports say are an increasing number of mob beatings and lynchings in a country ravaged by crime.

That August night, as locals say is common, three people had sneaked into Valencia’s Kerdell residential block. In past such break-ins, thieves have made off with car tires, batteries and radios.

But this time, one resident spotted the trespassers and alerted other neighbors, according to the witnesses.

“‘Kill him, give it to him,’ they shouted,” recounted Trina Castro, 82, in this once middle-class and peaceful area that is now plagued with garbage and graffiti. One reads: “Get ready, thief, here we burn you. Regards, Kerdell.”

“I tried to stop the mob but the level of violence endangered anyone who opposed them,” said another witness, asking to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

The unconscious man, who was not torched, was evacuated and is now in the local hospital’s trauma ward, according to witnesses and Valencia’s police. The police said they had no further details and did not identify the man.

A source at the Interior Ministry, who asked to remain anonymous because the minister is the only person authorized to speak on the record, said it does not usually comment on cases under investigation. Venezuela’s state prosecutor’s office said it had not issued a statement on the incident.

When civil society breaks down, and people no longer believe in the rule of law, this is the kind of thing that happens.

TOKYO’S ABANDONED HOMES “are the most visible sign of human retreat in a country where the population peaked a half-decade ago and is forecast to fall by a third over the next 50 years:”

The demographic pressure has weighed on the Japanese economy, as a smaller workforce struggles to support a growing proportion of the old, and has prompted intense debate over long-term proposals to boost immigration or encourage women to have more children.

For now, though, after decades during which it struggled with overcrowding, Japan is confronting the opposite problem: When a society shrinks, what should be done with the buildings it no longer needs?

Many of Japan’s vacant houses have been inherited by people who have no use for them and yet are unable to sell because of a shortage of interested buyers. But demolishing them involves tactful questions about property rights, and about who should pay the costs. The government passed a law this year to promote demolition of the most dilapidated homes, but experts say the tide of newly emptied ones will be hard to stop.

“Tokyo could end up being surrounded by Detroits,” said Tomohiko Makino, a real estate expert who has studied the vacant-house phenomenon. Once limited mostly to remote rural communities, it is now spreading through regional cities and the suburbs of major metropolises. Even in the bustling capital, the ratio of unoccupied houses is rising.

RELATED: Back in 2011, Glenn Beck contrasted the fates of 21st century Detroit and Hiroshima: “Motor City, Mon Amour.”

(Via SDA.)

ONCE THE REACTION TO FERGUSON BECAME VIOLENT, AND THE #BLACKLIVESMATTER MOVEMENT GOT STARTED, IT WAS PRETTY MUCH OVER: Violent Crime Wave Could Swamp Prison Reform.

EVERYTHING HE TOUCHES: After renaming, Obama officials cut Denali’s elevation by 10 feet.

Federal geologists on Wednesday reduced the estimated height of the mountain Denali by 10 feet, just days after President Obama made the controversial decision to drop the name Mount McKinley.

Using modern Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) found that Denali is 20,310 feet high, not the 20,320 feet that was previously measured in the 1950s.

Denali is still comfortably the tallest mountain in North America, 759 feet taller than Canada’s Mount Logan, the runner-up. Mount Saint Elias, on Alaska’s border with Canada, is a distant second to both Denali and Logan, at 18,008 feet. . . . The new elevation reading took place three days after the president renamed the Alaska mountain Denali, from Mount McKinley.

Cutting America down to size since January 20, 2009. . . .

WOULD HILLARY’S ELECTION CAUSE AN AMERICAN CIVIL WAR? That’s what Roger Simon is pondering at his Diary of a Mad Voter blog:

Almost no one who voted against her would be giving her the benefit of the doubt. Why should they? They would be looking for ways to reject her presidency.  Tax avoidance would be endemic.  Why give money to a country where the president abjures the rule of law?  (Yes, that’s already happened but this would, after a political campaign, be a force multiplier.)  With the national treasury under threat, all sorts of results could occur — a stock market meltdown beyond what we are experiencing now, full scale depression like the 1930s, urban riots that make Baltimore and Ferguson look like Kiddyland, nonstop demonstrations of all sorts from all sides, millions of people opting out á la John Galt (most without knowing who he is), an American decline beyond recognition (if you think things are bad now, you haven’t seen anything), little border control with giant Islamic spillover from Europe, terror attacks routine, and, yes, remote a possibility as it may be, a violent civil war between between sides in a hugely split society.

Who would believe a President Hillary Clinton — already a documented liar — to prevent or ameliorate all this?

Is this a screenwriters fantasy or the reality of, say, 2018?  You decide.

Call it “The Coming Middle Class Anarchy,” to coin a phrase.

hillary_faded_poster_dmv_9-2-15-1

JERRY BROWN FLOUTED GAY MARRIAGE LAW. WHY NOT KENTUCKY CLERK KIM DAVIS? As did Brown and Davis’ fellow Democrat, then-mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom in 2004.

 

MARK RIPPETOE: Government Exercise: See the NIH’s Embarrassing Fitness Recommendations. “If ‘exercises’ less strenuous than your daily activity actually worked, you’d already be fit.”

It’s like he wrote a book on this stuff or something.

IF IT’S NOT LUCHA LIBRE I’M NOT INTERESTED: Exclusive audio of Putin’s workout. (Why?  Just… WHY?)

DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION: How Airbnb actually makes NYC affordable.

READ IT BEFORE IT VANISHES: Treason of the Professors.

ANTI GAMERGATER, ANTI SAD PUPPIES, PRO WHAT: Smells like… Pedo Bear.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Russian troops ‘fighting alongside Assad’s army against Syrian rebels’.

FINE, YOU WEAR THE BURKA: Women should dress modestly or expect to ‘entice a rapist’ – claims singer Chrissie Hynde.  (Though I’m all in favor of not being drunk and stupid.) Isn’t it curious that this is from the Telegraph?  Well, curious or sad.  You decide.

September 2, 2015

ONCE YOU GO METAL YOU NEVER BACK PEDAL: 15 per cent of British men (and a few women) would have sex with a robot.

A MASTER OF THE FORCE WEIGHS EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTS TO: I Used Physics to Calculate How Much Yoda Weighs.

VIDEO: University of Tennessee Students React To New Gender-Neutral Pronouns.

FROM JASON PYE, A HEARTFELT PLEA: Please, for the love of everything, don’t call it “emo.” For the record, Avril Lavigne isn’t emo, though she’s actually not bad — though her best work was when she was being produced by The Matrix.

JONAH GOLDBERG: What Other GOP Candidates Can Learn From Trump. “It is true, however, that there is something refreshing about the way Trump talks. It’s not actually candor, though lots of people mistake it for that. Rather, he’s unfiltered. The one thing you can be sure of is that he hasn’t consulted with a political consultant about how to talk. He doesn’t worry what the liberal editors at the New York Times or the Washington Post — or, for that matter, the conservative editors at National Review — think of him. . . . There are many reasons the non-politicians — Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina — are doing so well, but near the top is the fact that they haven’t internalized the language of political consultants and pundits. They understand something the politicians have forgotten: Politics is about sales.”

Yep. And selling only seems easy to you if you’ve never done it.

WELL, WELL: Staffer who worked on Clinton’s private e-mail server faces subpoena, will take the Fifth. “A former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server tried this week to fend off a subpoena to testify before Congress, saying he would assert his constitutional right not to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself. The move by Bryan Pagliano, who had worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009, came in a Monday letter from his lawyer to the House panel investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.”

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: The Politics Of Symbolism. “The Obama administration might have failed at everything it tried, but it has achieved a whole series of ‘firsts’. We have the First Latina to head OPM, the first trangender official in the White House, the first renamed peak in Alaska, etc. . . . But not everyone is aware of the absurdity of the situation. Many people actually live in this fantastic world; laughing on cue, clapping with the laughtrack and buying into the narrative. They don’t realize they’re living in a political Matrix. One would think that living in a lie for any extent of time is impossible. In fact, it is quite possible to live inside an unchallenged fantasy for a long time unless we deliberately challenge it.”

DOPPELTRUMPER: Yet more proof that Trump 2016 is the Bizarro World doppelganger of the Obama 2008 campaign:

obama_trump_logos_8-2-15-1