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December 27, 2014
CLAIRE MCCASKILL: Statistics? We don’t need no stinkin’ statistics!
Who needs facts and statistics when you have a good narrative?
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., during an interview reported by Chuck Raasch of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, indicated that she was not happy about disputing statistics regarding campus sexual assault.
“Frankly, it is irritating that anybody would be distracted by which statistics are accurate,” McCaskill said.
This coming from a senator who has rallied around the one-in-five statistic and featured it in her own report about campus sexual assault. Now that new evidence suggests the incidence of campus rape is closer to one in fifty women over four years than to one in five, statistics suddenly don’t matter.
Yes, there seems to be a pivot from the science is settled: there’s an overwhelming rape explosion! to even one woman’s rape constitutes a crisis!
PUSHING BACK AGAINST BIG GOVERNMENT: Bill aims to get inspectors out of home kitchens, after residents complain.
Virginians who try to sell homemade food from their kitchens are feeling the heat from state and local inspectors.
“I have to turn down my neighbors when they ask if they can buy pesto I make from my own basil plants,” says Bernadette Barber, a farmer in Lancaster, Va.
And this isn’t just a rural phenomenon.
In Arlington, government inspectors shut down a home-based soup maker, even though no customer complaints had been registered. Others have encountered similar fates, stripping them of needed income.
Legislation served up for the 2015 General Assembly would turn the tables.
HB 1290, sponsored by Delegate Rob Bell, R-Charlottesville, would end home-kitchen inspections on items produced for direct sale. The goods would bear a label stating that the products are not for resale and were processed without state inspection.
“If someone wants to buy food from someone, what business is that of the state?” asks Matthew French, a farmer in Bland, Va. “The state basically comes at you with a gun, and says you can only buy from state-approved supplier.”
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Rice ISD substitute teacher/aide charged with inappropriate relationship, sexual assault. “A Rice woman investigators say was a teacher’s aide or substitute teacher in the Rice Independent School District has been charged with sexual assault of a child and improper relationship between and educator and a student.”
FACTS ARE STUBBORN THINGS: Cathy Young: The Crusade Against “Rape Culture” Stumbles. “The Rolling Stone account of a horrific fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia, which many advocates saw as a possible ‘tipping point’—a shocking wake-up call demonstrating that even the most brutal sexual assaults on our college campuses are tacitly tolerated—has unraveled to the point where only a true believer would object to calling it a rape hoax. . . . It also looks like Jackie made up both ‘Haven”’ and the sexual assault he supposedly engineered in an attempt to get the romantic attention of Ryan Duffin, one of the friends she called for help that night. Tellingly, her lawyer has not commented on these revelations. . . . Will 2015 see a pushback against the anti-’rape culture’ movement on campus? If so, good. This is a movement that has capitalized on laudable sympathy for victims of sexual assault to promote gender warfare, misinformation and moral panic. It’s time for a reassessment.”
REMEMBERING the Christmas Truce of World War I. Had it lasted, Western Civilization would be in a very different place now.
MATTHEW CONTINETTI: Hollywood Barbarian: The Romantic Genius of John Milius. Excerpt: “I love this episode because it illustrates the mythic dimensions of Milius’ reputation in Hollywood, the way in which he came to resemble the charismatic and unpredictable and dangerous heroes he created for the screen. And Kael’s reluctance to confront the filmmaker whose art she did so much to degrade, her alternation between rhetorical ferocity and social cowardice, is characteristic of certain types of left-wing movie folk, as we see today in the studio reaction to threats made against The Interview.“
December 26, 2014
THE UGLY JUNCTURE OF ELITISM AND OIKOPHOBIA: Students Rally Around Peer With ‘No Sympathy’ For Dead Cops At $60,000-A-Year Brandeis.
IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN’T DO? Can beer boost brain power? “New research has shown that a chemical compound in beer may be able to improve cognitive function. The beverage once thought to obliterate brain cells when consumed in abundance may actually have the opposite effect and boost brain power.” As always, the good/bad effects are dose-dependent. . . .
FALLEN ANGELS LOOKING MORE AND MORE LIKE PROPHECY: Video: WH Science advisor says man made global warming saving us from another ice age.
FASTER, PLEASE: Existing Drug May Prevent Foggy ‘Old Age’ Brain. “Researchers at The Rockefeller University and The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found they could stop normal, age-related memory loss in rats by treating them with riluzole. This treatment, they found, prompted changes known to improve connections, and as a result, communication, between certain neurons within the brain’s hippocampus.”
I’ve always felt that I think and remember more clearly when taking phosphatidylcholine supplements, though that’s not an age-related thing as I’ve been doing it for decades. These are what I’m taking now, though I’ve taken many brands without much noticeable difference.
MICHAEL WALSH: With Two Years Left, The Inflection Point Of The Obama Presidency. “This is not about Obama suddenly grabbing ahold of himself and remembering to dance with what brung him: this has been the end game of the entire Obama presidency from the start. The re-election of 2012 was crucial, for without it the entire scheme would have collapsed. They — campaign guru David Axelrod and the others who foisted Obama on the body politic — had to get him to this point in order for the plan of rule-by-fiat to be fully operational.”
UPDATE: From the comments: “The government is in open rebellion against its people.”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Chicago (22%), Philadelphia (35%) Law Schools Suffer Large Enrollment Declines.
IT’S COME TO THIS: Anti-DeBlasio Banner Flown Over New York City.
Rank and file New York City police officers dramatically escalated their feud with Mayor Bill De Blasio Friday. A group of them reportedly hired a plane to fly over the city while carrying a banner that said: “De Blasio Our Backs Have Turned To You.”
The plane reportedly flew five circles above the Hudson River before returning to a local airport.
Even Dinkins had nothing like this kind of hostility from the police department.
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Pennsylvania ‘cheer mom’ of 3 arrested for having sex with daughter’s 17-year-old classmate in parked car. “Gibney, a mother of three, was a volunteer cheer mom at Pottsgrove High School where her daughter is a member of the cheerleading squad, reports NBC Philadelphia. The victim also attends the high school.”
SCIENCE: A New Study Suggests That People Who Don’t Drink Alcohol Are More Likely To Die Young. “The tightly controlled study, which looked at individuals between ages 55 and 65, spanned a 20-year period and accounted for variables ranging from socioeconomic status to level of physical activity. Led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin, it found that mortality rates were highest for those who had never had a sip, lower for heavy drinkers, and lowest for moderate drinkers who enjoyed one to three drinks per day.”
You don’t want to be anti-science, do you?
PROTEST BLOWBACK: After NYC Deaths, a Surge of Support for Police. The thing is, though, that Sharpton, et al., aren’t trying to win over the public, they’re trying to consolidate a hard core of support.
IN THE MAIL: From Mercedes Lackey, Collision: Book Four of the Secret World Chronicle.
MEGAN MCARDLE: If Single-Payer Can’t Work In Vermont. . . .
“But Megan!” I hear you cry. “Single-payer systems are cheaper, not more expensive! Look at Europe!”
Alas, however, as I wrote at the time, there is nothing about single payer that will magically allow us to cut costs to European levels. People who believed otherwise were substituting a crude eyeballing of international statistics to substitute for reasoned analysis, in part because it told them what they wanted to be true: that they could have the universality and progressiveness of a single-payer system without having to ask the taxpayer for a giant heap of money to provide those benefits. They were, in the words of one of my favorite public-policy professors, “getting high on their own supply.”
Now, I know what you are preparing to say: I am allowing my ideological priors to blind me to the plain evidence in front of my nose. So let me explain. I concede that single-payer systems may well allow you to control the rate of health-care cost growth, thanks to government price controls on supplies and services, along with rationing or denial of expensive treatments. What it doesn’t allow you to do is easily cut the rate of health-care spending. None of the single-payer systems that are frequently held up as models for the U.S. have ever managed sustained cuts in health-care spending. All they’ve done is prevent it from growing so fast.
Also, I note that Vermont is small and fairly homogenous, yet still couldn’t pull it off.
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WHEN POLITICAL NARRATIVES MEET FACTS: Campus sexual assault under fresh scrutiny after new survey shows lower incidence.
When President Obama announced in September his “It’s On Us” initiative to combat college sexual assault, he declared that “an estimated 1 in 5 women has been sexually assaulted in her college years.”
“One in 5,” Obama repeated, to drive home the point.
But now, in the wake of a new federal Department of Justice report showing the incidence of rape and sexual assault on campus at far lower levels and trending down over the last decade, that statistic is being called into question.
Well, that’s because it’s bogus. Which doesn’t stop Sen. Claire McCaskill, (D-Mo): “Frankly, it is irritating that anybody would be distracted by which statistics are accurate.”
Old narrative: The statistical proof of our argument is overwhelming!
New narrative: Our argument is too important to be undermined by mere statistics!
I’M PRETTY SURE THIS MEANS AMANDA MARCOTTE IS TRANSPHOBIC OR SOMETHING. Actually, I guess it would be “trans-insensitive.”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Belt Tightening 101: Mitch Daniels has helped Purdue keep costs down for students.
Prior to his arrival in 2012, tuition at Purdue had gone up every year for 36 years, with annual hikes averaging close to 6 percent in the previous decade. Daniels has frozen tuition for three straight years and slashed room and board costs by 10 percent. “Instead of asking our students and their families to accommodate their budgets to our spending,” he says, “let’s see if we can’t adjust our spending to their budgets.” Purdue’s class of 2016 may graduate without ever having seen a tuition hike.
Erica Smith, a recent communications graduate from Michigan City, says that the tuition freeze was long overdue. She financed her education with loans she’ll be repaying for at least 25 years. “I feel hopeless almost,” she says. “But most of my friends have as much debt as I do. We joke about paying it till we die.” Smith says that cost hikes while she was a student added between $4,000 and $6,000 to her overall debt. “If tuition continues to rise, Purdue will be out of reach for middle-class people, like my niece,” whom she hopes will one day follow her to West Lafayette.
Daniels achieved the tuition freeze in part by postponing raises for some administrators, and some faculty members volunteered to forgo raises as well. Information-technology consolidation, bulk purchasing, eliminating off-campus storage, disposing of surplus property, and improving cash management also contributed—all techniques from Daniels’s playbook as governor. The former Indiana governor’s efforts to control costs have attracted national attention.
As they should. There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit, because universities haven’t really tried much to control costs. That will have to change.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Why weight training is better for your waistline than running.
Actually, I suspect that most InstaPundit readers have heard this before.
December 25, 2014
PUT MY SEAT IN THE NON-GRINCHING SECTION, PLEASE: Passenger tossed after flipping out over staff’s ‘Merry Christmas.’
IN THE MAIL: From William D. Gairdner, The Great Divide: Why Liberals and Conservatives Will Never, Ever Agree.
IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO SEND AN AMAZON GIFT CARD.
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IT’S ALWAYS NICE TO MAKE TWITCHY, but it’s especially nice to make it while slamming Nancy Pelosi for hypocrisy on Charlie Rangel’s tax dodging.
THE HORROR: Christmas is filled with one patriarchal construct after another. “Even the secular Christmas songs are ubiquitous in their praise of male characters: ‘Frosty the Snowman,’ ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’ and of course, Santa Claus. Santa Claus, a white male who, by the way, gets all the credit for labour overwhelmingly done by women.”
Imagine the author in your mind’s eye. Now click through and look at the photo. You were right, weren’t you? And even without this tip at the bottom: “Latham Hunter is a writer and professor of communications and cultural studies.”
Update: Original link is now a 404, but the article and the author’s photo are still online here.
YOUR YULE LOG VIDEO:
SMART: JetBlue offering free flights to cops to attend slain NYPD officers’ funerals. “The New York-based airline is also working with its partners to have family members of one of the slain officers, Wenjian Liu, flown in from overseas.”
December 24, 2014
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: U.S. offering $5 million reward for Al Qaeda capo … who was released from Gitmo in 2006.
IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO SEND AN AMAZON GIFT CARD.
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HMM: Off duty, black cops in New York feel threat from fellow police. But there’s also this:
“It makes good headlines to say this is occurring, but I don’t think you can validate it until you look into the circumstances they were stopped in,” said Bernard Parks, the former chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, who is African American.
“Now if you want to get into the essence of why certain groups are stopped more than others, then you only need to go to the crime reports and see which ethnic groups are listed more as suspects. That’s the crime data the officers are living with.”
Blacks made up 73 percent of the shooting perpetrators in New York in 2011 and were 23 percent of the population.
I’d be interested in hearing whether the non-black minority members of the NYPD have this experience, too, or if it’s just the black cops.
OH GOODY: CDC reports potential Ebola exposure in Atlanta lab. “As many as a dozen scientists may have been exposed to the Ebola virus at a lab of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, agency officials said Wednesday. The potential exposure took place Monday when scientists conducting research on the virus at a high-security lab mistakenly put a sample containing the potentially infectious virus in a place where it was transferred for processing to another CDC lab, also in Atlanta on the CDC campus. The accident comes after a series of incidents earlier this summer involving the mishandling of dangerous pathogens at the nation’s labs, including one in June at a CDC lab that potentially exposed dozens of employees to live anthrax because employees failed to properly inactivate the anthrax when transferring samples.”
This is not a confidence-builder.
CHANGE: F.D.A. Lifting Lifetime Ban on Gay Blood Donors. “The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it would scrap a decades-old lifetime prohibition on blood donation by gay and bisexual men, a major stride toward ending what many had seen as a national policy of discrimination. However, the agency will continue to ban men who have been sexually active in the last year, saying that the barrier is necessary to keep the blood supply safe, a move that frustrated rights groups that were pushing for the ban to be removed entirely.”
HOWIE CARR: LIBERALS LIED, COPS DIED.
Of course no one is supposed to call out any of the protected classes on their irresponsible rhetoric — isn’t that right, Rev. Al?
“The blame game,” Sharpton now says, “will only lead to further kinds of venom and further division.”
Ironic words from the tax deadbeat who invented Tawana Brawley and who has spent a lifetime denouncing “white interlopers,” “diamond merchants” and “fags.” None dares call it hate speech.
Have you ever noticed that when these hate-mongers say, “Stop the finger-pointing,” they’re talking about you accusing them? When they accuse you — of anything — they’re speaking truth to power, and don’t you ever forget it.
Donna Brazile tweeted: “Stop the politics.”
So I guess it wasn’t politics when Barack Obama said the protests/riots were necessary because the “country’s conscience has to be triggered by some inconvenience.”
Eric Holder, Obama’s attorney general, touted the riots as “momentum to a necessary conversation.”
Holder’s idea of a conversation is himself harshly lecturing other groups of Americans on behalf of “my people,” as he describes blacks. I guess the two murdered NYPD officers are not his people.
Then there’s the mayor of New York, Warren Wilhelm, I mean, William de Blasio. (What is it with these leftist pols and their multiple names?)
This is the bum who was ranting two weeks ago about the “scourge” of alleged police violence. After last week’s brutal assault on two cops (a thug SEIU organizer and Ivy League grad students have been charged) he pooh-poohed one cop’s broken nose as an “alleged attack.”
On Monday, though, Hizzoner takes the last refuge of a scoundrel. He blames the press for the violence.
“Are you going to keep dividing us?” the city’s Divider in Chief asked a reporter.
It gets worse with this bum de Blasio. Two weeks ago, he had the gall to say that he was worried about the safety of his half-black son, Dante.
Read the whole, hurtful, thing. I suspect that this “climate of hate” thing is pinching a bit now that the shoe is on the other foot.
FIRST VERMONT, NOW THIS: “CoOportunity Health, a fledgling Iowa health-insurance company set up under the Affordable Care Act, is being taken over by the state health-insurance division because of a financial crunch. CoOportunity Health is an insurance cooperative set up to give consumers and small businesses an alternative in a market with few choices. The company relied on tens of millions of dollars in federal loan guarantees provided under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. It began selling policies in 2013.” It appears that they ran out of other people’s money.
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Furries Say They Aren’t A Fetish, They’re A Community, And They’re Ready To Be Taken Seriously.
As I have noted here on several occasions, the militarization of the police in the US is a minatory development that should be scrutinized and reversed. American police should not be swaggering about town in armored vehicles and accoutered like a Navy SEAL en route to bin Laden’s Pakastani retreat. In America, the default posture of the police should be like something out of Mayberry, province of sheriff Andy Taylor, protector of the peace on The Andy Griffith Show. Deep down, of course, it is not Andy but the townspeople of Mayberry who are responsible for maintaining order. . . .
Sharpton, no doubt recalling the palmy days when he was peddling lies about Tawana Brawley, Sharpton has done everything he could to stoke the fires of racial hatred and social unrest. Really, though, Sharpton, ridiculous figure though he be, is yesterday’s news. The real news about these protests emanates from the more sinister sources.
This brings me to the core piece of deception that is operating in the protests against supposed police brutality. It is a textbook case of the radical left using and abusing democratic freedoms in order to destroy those freedoms. On the one hand, you have the contention that the protests are simply a healthy expression of peaceful democratic protest. You’re not against free expression of political differences are you? Thus we have “progressive” Mayor de Blasio defending the protests: “Do we tell people they’re not allowed to raise their voice? Do we tell people they’re not allowed to march?”
Then there is the other hand, e.g. the protests Saturday, December 13, when the operative chant was “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!” And listen to the voice from Ferguson gleefully chanting “Pigs in a blanket” the night the two NY police officers were murdered by a black Muslim. That is the voice not of democratic protest but of anti-democratic savagery. It is barbarism battling against civilization.
Well, there are commies behind it, working with Al Sharpton, so what else would it be?
UPDATE: Seen on Facebook:
Note, of course — as I suspect the author of this image knew — that “murdering” and “killing” are not identical.
CLIMATE OF HATE: CUNY Newspaper Editorial Calls For Violent Protests. “A disturbing editorial in a CUNY grad-student newspaper calls for rioters protesting the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown to arm themselves and wage violent war with cops. ‘The time for peace has passed,’ says a revolutionary editorial titled ‘In Support of Violence’ that was penned by editor-in-chief Gordon Barnes in the Dec. 3 issue of The Advocate.”
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Obama’s popularity falls to record low among US troops. Why?
Obama’s sinking popularity among the troops can be traced to a number of factors: budget cuts, falling troop morale, frustrations over the Obama administration’s foreign policy, gay and gender equity initiatives within the military, and US political leaders in general.
According to the Military Times’ poll, troops are more unhappy under Obama than they were under previous commanders-in-chief. Some 91 percent of active duty service members were satisfied with their quality of life in 2009. This year, that figure dropped to 56 percent. . . .
Events in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the rise of the Islamic State, have also led some in the military to challenge Obama’s foreign policy.
His decision to remove all troops from Iraq in 2011 helped lead to the rise of the militant group ISIS, according to some military experts, who see Obama as a weak leader in foreign policy. The rise of ISIS forced Obama to return US troops to the region, another unpopular decision among troops. When asked whether the US should send a large force of combat troops back to Iraq to fight Islamic State militants, 70 percent of survey respondents said, ‘No.’
Similarly, the report found troops were unhappy with the outcome of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for which they blame their commander-in-chief.
Well, all things considered he’s been an even worse commander-in-chief than he has been a President.
SHOCKER: Emails Show UVA Coordinator Hoped To Put ‘Positive People’ In Touch With Rolling Stone Reporter. “The emails, obtained by The Daily Caller through a Freedom of Information request, show UVA campus sexual assault awareness project coordinator Emily Renda informing the university’s PR department about her communications with Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the Rolling Stone reporter.” Yeah, it’s seemed likely for a while that Renda was the key inside mover.
REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS SHOULD OFFER A BILL ON POLICE VIOLENCE NEXT MONTH, AND THE CENTERPIECE SHOULD BE OUTLAWING POLICE UNIONS: Affidavit Shows Cop Union Targeting Foes. There’s a window of opportunity here if the GOP is smart enough to take it. Never let a crisis go to waste!
The Obama administration, according to Katharine Stevens in the Wall Street Journal, is paving the way for more regulation of child care. This seems like a great place for conservatives to fight for the interests of the poor and working class, against overbearing government.
In other words, it’s an opportunity for free-market populism.
The administration is pushing guidelines for who can get federal grants, but Stevens — who is a fellow research fellow of mine at the American Enterprise Institute — worries that these grant guidelines are a “Trojan horse bearing counterproductive requirements,” on early-childhood educators and daycare providers.
These aren’t rules governing basic health and safety standards, like drinking water, cleanliness or broken glass. Some are micromanaging: “cot placement” for daycare. Others are about requiring credentialing — such as requiring preschool teachers to have bachelor’s degrees. . . .
Excessive regulation of daycare and preschool mostly hurts the poor and working class. For one thing, it makes daycare rarer and more expensive.
Some on the Left will respond and say, “well, let’s just subsidize them more.” That doesn’t address the other problem: curbing work opportunities for women.
More importantly, unnecessary regulation and credentialing requirements take away from many women the best way they could make money: at-home daycare.
The Dems don’t want them to be self-sufficient. They want them to be unionized government employees.