May 29, 2015

NJ JETTISONS COMMON CORE: Potential GOP presidential contender New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced yesterday that NJ will pull out of Common Core.

IN THE MAIL: From Robert Conroy, 1882: Custer in Chains..

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 750.

GOOD QUESTION & THE ANSWER IS “NO ONE”: Byron York asks, If Hillary becomes president, who will make her obey the law?

Last year, before Hillary Clinton’s secret email system became publicly known, Congress passed a law to keep presidents from trying the same trick. If Clinton wins the White House, the law could well be put to the test.

The statute is the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014. It recognizes that government officials sometimes (or in Clinton’s case, all the time) want to use private email accounts — in the words of the law, “non-official electronic messaging accounts” — to conduct government business. Such communications are still federal records, Congress declared, and must be preserved in accordance with existing laws requiring not just the president but all federal officials to preserve their documents. . . .

Ultimately, the Presidential Records Act depends on the honesty of the president. That’s not Clinton’s strong suit. Recent polls have shown substantial numbers of Americans do not believe she is honest and trustworthy. After the State Department experience, they would have good reason to be suspicious of her in the White House.


THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Four U.S. lab workers treated for anthrax exposure. “More than two dozen lab workers, including four in the U.S., are now being treated for anthrax exposure.”

HEY, HE BRIBED ‘EM FAIR AND SQUARE: Putin Fumes over FIFA Arrests.

Vladimir Putin is loudly railing against the dramatic U.S. arrest of FIFA’s top officials in Zurich for massive corruption, using his favorite rhetorical tricks of reversing the narrative and demonizing America. . . .

One of the reasons Putin may be so exercised is that the whole affair could call the location of the 2018 tournament into question. Putin is a man who loves sports, and and it was a huge point of pride for him when he secured the rights to host last year’s Winter Olympics in, of all places, Sochi, the seaside southern resort town where he likes to summer. The games cost a record-smashing $51 billion dollars (with some critics estimating that embezzlement accounts for more than half of that figure). That victory was multiplied when Russia’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup in 13 cities, including Sochi, won out. The Russian Sports Minister told state media that Russia’s right to host the Cup was not in danger, but given the investigation into how the decisions to award the tournament to South Africa, Russia, and Qatar were made, there are good reasons to doubt that. . . .

There’s a second reason Putin might care about the FIFA arrests. His claim that the U.S. doesn’t have rightful jurisdiction because none of the alleged criminal activity is related to America is complete bunk and almost certainly an intentional misreading of how international criminal jurisdiction works (and that’s not to mention that the Russian president hasn’t exactly been leading by example on the issue of maintaining great respect for other countries’ inviolable territorial sovereignty). Recently, he trotted out the same invalid objection about the U.S. securing an extradition order for a Russian citizen accused of industrial espionage in Sweden. A world with more prosecution of corruption is a world that’s harder for Putin to operate in.

Yeah, you’d think he and Obama — and Hillary — would be on the same page there.

TOM MAGUIRE: So What Did Hastert Do? “So, my current guess – Hastert is guilty of trying to do the right thing by supporting an illicit child and then was a damn idiot who lied to the FBI about it. The rest is politicized, Chicagoland, Obamaland BS.” Well, stay tuned.

Plus, from the comments: “Hastert should have started a charity and hired this person on at a Blumenthalian pay level.”

CULTURE OF ENTITLEMENT: Bill Clinton: Sure, you can give me an award — but first give $500,000 to my slush fund foundation. “The Clinton Foundation had rejected the Happy Hearts Fund invitation more than once, until there was a thinly veiled solicitation and then the offer of an honorarium.”

Plus: “It is extremely rare for honorees, or their foundations, to be paid from a gala’s proceeds, charity experts said — as it is for the proceeds to be diverted to a different cause.”


Outside Cipriani, about 100 protesters, mostly Haitian-Americans expressing frustration with the earthquake reconstruction effort, stood behind barricades holding protest signs.

“Clinton, where is the money?” they chanted. “In whose pockets?”

This should happen everywhere Bill or Hillary appear.

DOJ OFFICIAL LINKS BAD POLICING TO JIM CROW LAWS:  The Washington Times reports that Ronald Davis, the Community Oriented Policing Services director at DOJ, asserts that Jim Crow laws are at least partially to blame for excessive policing and force:

“We’re still operating on some system that was used to enforce Jim Crow laws, that were used to oppress people,” Ronald Davis, Community Oriented Policing Services director for the Department of Justice, said at an event at the Center for American Progress. “These are operational systems and policies and practices that exist today.”

. . .

Mr. Davis told The Washington Times that he is concerned that the tensions tied to the Jim Crow era still have an impact on “anything from how we incarcerate to how we sentence to why we police and how we police.”

As a result, good officers are sometimes put in positions where they produce bad outcomes simply because the system ” is disparate to incarceration of young men of color,” Mr. Davis said. Mass incarceration and statistical drops in crime “cannot be the priority of public safety or law enforcement,” he said.

There are definitely over-criminalization issues, and yes, the criminal justice system does prosecute a large number of minorities arrested for crimes. But the inflammatory “Jim Crow” label is just a dog-whistle for the same old tired racism charge that permeates everything DOJ does under the Obama Administration. Can we please just address the real issues without resorting to the overplayed racism accusation? Liberals/progressives hurl “racism” so often now, it just sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher, and I tune it out.


FREE SPEECH UPDATE: Texas student sues after college bans gun rights sign.

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(Hat tip.)

SET YOUR DVRs: I’ll be on John Stossel’s show tonight in the 9 pm hour talking about higher education. Don’t miss it!

ED MORRISSEY: How Hillary And Bill Have Democrats Legally Conned.

UNEXPECTEDLY! U.S. economy shrinks .7 percent in first quarter. “The numbers released Friday were a revision of earlier figures that had showed GDP growing in the first quarter at 0.2 percent. The contraction was the U.S.’s third in the aftermath of the Great Recession.” Maybe we’re not really in an “aftermath.”

HOUSE WAYS & MEANS ASKS DOJ TO INVESTIGATE IRS TARGETING:  All Republicans on the House Ways & Means Committee, chaired by Paul Ryan, sent a letter Thursday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking her to answer the committee’s 2014 request for criminal prosecution of IRS officials involved in the targeting of conservative groups.  Writes Kimberley Strassel:

It’s now been two full years since a little-known IRS bureaucrat named Lois Lerner admitted that her agency systematically collected the names of conservative groups, harassed them, and denied their right to participate in elections. It’s been two full years since the Justice Department opened an investigation. And it’s been two full years of crickets. . . .

Specifically, the committee provided documents that show three acts by Ms. Lerner that may have violated criminal statutes. One, she helped to target only conservative organizations, thereby robbing them of equal protection and due process. Two, she may have impeded the Treasury inspector general’s investigation of the matter by giving misleading statements. Three, she risked exposing (and may have exposed) confidential taxpayer information by using her personal email address to conduct official business.

And that’s only what we know so far. Congress’s problem is that the IRS has stonewalled it at every turn. The Treasury inspector general, J. Russell George, has become tentative after all the Democratic criticism of his probe. It seems the Justice Department is the only body with the powers to shake loose some answers about what happened.

The Ryan letter asks Ms. Lynch to tell him the status of that referral, and Speaker Boehner chimed in with a statement calling for the new attorney general to prove to Americans that “justice will be served.”

I won’t hold my breath for “justice” coming out of Obama’s DOJ, even now that Eric Holder has departed.  But at least the Republicans in the House are following up.

ROGER SIMON: A Mad Voter Looks at the May 28 Presidential Poll.

MICHAEL BARONE: Colleges and universities have grown bloated and dysfunctional.

American colleges and universities, long thought to be the glory of the nation, are in more than a little trouble. I’ve written before of their shameful practices — the racial quotas and preferences at selective schools (Harvard is being sued by Asian-American organizations), the kangaroo courts that try students accused of rape and sexual assault without legal representation or presumption of innocence, and speech codes that make campuses the least rather than the most free venues in American society.

In following these policies, the burgeoning phalanxes of university and college administrators must systematically lie, insisting against all the evidence that they are racially nondiscriminatory, devoted to due process and upholders of free speech. The resulting intellectual corruption would have been understood by George Orwell.

Some people appear to be using Orwell’s work as a handbook.

IT’S ALWAYS NICE to make Twitchy.

SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF HYPOCRISY: The Ironic Tie Between Elizabeth Warren’s Hypocritical Home Flipping and Mitt Romney.

Warren’s public face is contradicted by her private actions – actions that we will soon see are similar in nature to those that made Romney a millionaire.

Warren, like Romney, profited by buying assets at low prices and through either improving said assets or waiting for the market to strengthen, selling them at higher prices.

As Jillian Kay Melchior and Eliana Johnson lay out in a recent National Review exposé, Warren “bought and sold at least five [residential] properties for profit,” generating at least $240,500 before accounting for remodeling costs.

Several of the homes Warren purchased and then flipped had been foreclosed upon.

The focus of the piece is the rank hypocrisy that Warren would execute such profit-seeking transactions, given that she has called the idea of buying and selling properties quickly for profit a “myth” that contributed to our economic woes, and decried the banks that foreclosed on the homes of working class Americans. . . .

What Romney did at the macro level in investing in businesses worth hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, Warren did at the micro level in investing in homes worth thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The difference however is that Romney’s investing in many cases led to the creation of ever-better goods and services at ever-lower prices, with the benefits accruing to not only Romney, Bain’s investors, and the employees of the strengthened companies, but all consumers – that is, you and me.

Certainly Warren’s investments in home remodeling may have created work for construction companies and home suppliers, but those benefits pale in size and scope to the benefits to the public of successful private equity investments.

But, but, Mitt’s garage had an elevator!

REVIEW: I Got My Friends to Try Female Condoms. Here’s What They Thought. “Overall, both testers said that the female condom performed its job perfectly well: insertion was far easier than they’d expected, and they had no problems using it or removing it. But neither of them could see any obvious advantage over a male condom.”

ACE HAS SOME THOUGHTS ON Bernie Sanders’ Rape Fantasies.

Charles C.W. Cooke says that we should not unduly persecute Bernie Sanders for his sexual heresies. . . .

Cooke is arguing for what he conceives of as free speech absolutism — one does not demagogue speech to whip up feeding frenzies of angry lynch mobbers about something merely said.

I agree with this, naturally, except that I don’t. As a tactical matter, there is no way to get the left to stop with its incessant Censorship Crusades except to visit equal pain upon them.

The greatest ethical precept in the world is the do-unto-others-test, which I usually think of as the shoe on the other foot test.

One can discover a lot of moral and ethical rules — and separate out actual rules of good behavior from self-serving rationalizations designed to punish one’s enemies — by always asking, “Would I support this rule if I were forced to live under it?”

The trouble is, of course, the left is almost never asked to wear the shoe on their own foot.

They think censorship, Speechcraft Trials, and mob justice for Thought Heretics is just awesome.

And why shouldn’t they?

These things are almost never visited upon they themselves– they have only the upside of a dark, censorious, paranoid regime. Almost all of the downside falls upon their enemies– just where they’d want it. . . . People don’t like the Tit For Tat regime because it sounds simple-minded, punitive, and awful. Well, it is these things.

It is also, as Steven den Beste persuasively argued, very effective for bringing about a more ethical environment. Meaning that while it may be crude in method, it is enlightened in outcome.

Read the whole thing.

STEPHEN L. CARTER: Hillary Clinton and the New Litmus Test.

You might have missed the news that John Paul Stevens, the retired U.S. Supreme Court justice, criticized Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton last week for her announcement that she would nominate to the court only individuals committed to overturning the 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. Stevens doesn’t like the decision any more than she does — his dissent ran to 90 pages — but he likes litmus tests even less.

At a house party in Mason City, Iowa, a few days after offering her promise, Clinton doubled down: “I will do everything I can do to appoint Supreme Court justices who will protect the right to vote and not the right of billionaires to buy elections,” she said.

Stevens, in remarks last week at George Washington University, was unimpressed: “I’m not really sure that that’s wise either for the court or for a presidential candidate to make a litmus test on one particular decision. … I’m surprised at her statement.” The former justice added: “If I were running for president, I don’t think I would make such a litmus test, even though I think the case ought to be overruled.”

Stevens is right. I won’t trouble here to go into the reasons for my own longstanding opposition to litmus tests, other than to note that there is something decidedly peculiar about promising to place on the Supreme Court individuals who have already decided the cases to come before them.

Read the whole thing.

JUSTICE: You’re All Out: A defense attorney uncovers a brazen scheme to manipulate evidence, and prosecutors and police finally get caught.

Prosecutorial and police misconduct are often dismissed as just a few bad apples doing a few bad apple-ish things. But what happens when it’s entrenched and systemic and goes unchecked for years? That looks to be the case in Orange County, California, where the situation got so completely out of hand this spring that Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals issued an order disqualifying the entire Orange County District Attorney’s Office (that’s all 250 prosecutors) from continuing to prosecute a major death penalty case. . . .

Revelations of misconduct in the Dekraai case have raised questions about patterns of obstruction and deception that have unraveled various other murder cases in the county, which has a population larger than that of 20 different states. Other cases involving informants who were eliciting illegal confessions have emerged, entire cases have collapsed, and more may follow. The story goes way back to the 1980s, as R. Scott Moxley explains at length in the OC Weekly, to a prosecutorial scandal that ended in the execution of one defendant and a lengthy sentence for his alleged co-conspirator. Their convictions were based on the testimony of various jailhouse informants even though they told conflicting stories. That scandal rocked the area then, and this new one shows eerie parallels. All this is happening right up the road from Los Angeles, home of one of the most massive jailhouse informant scandals in history.

End official immunity.

May 28, 2015


Or maybe we’re living in a John Ringo scenario. That’s never good. . . .

SOON, MY PRETTY. SOON! When Will Self-Driving Trucks Destroy America? Well, maybe not that soon.

ANNALS OF WISHFUL THINKING: Would Tenure Have Saved Blockbuster? No. Next question?

IT’S NOT JUST SCARY, IT’S GROSS:  A female Liverpool University student proudly touts not shaving. Her motto: “Being hairy isn’t scary.” I beg to differ.

WENT TO A BOOK PARTY for Andy McCarthy’s new book, Islam and Free Speech. Saw James Taranto, Roger Kimball, Greg Lukianoff, and a host of others.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The road to a ‘genius grant’ often starts at lesser-known colleges.

You can find genius almost anywhere.

That might seem obvious. But the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, known for bestowing six-figure grants on exceptionally creative people, provided evidence Thursday that standout talent is nurtured at a stunning variety of colleges and universities.

Since 1981, the foundation has chosen 918 people to receive fellowships in recognition of their creative capacity in artistic, intellectual and professional endeavors. They attended 315 colleges and universities for their undergraduate education, the foundation said in its first comprehensive analysis of the educational backgrounds of MacArthur fellows. Some attended no college at all, or dropped out without earning a degree.

Cecilia A. Conrad, a vice president of the foundation who oversees the fellowship program, said the list of schools reflects “a huge variety of educational backgrounds.” Many students and families are obsessed with gaining admission to elite colleges, but Conrad said is it more important what the students do when they get to college: “That’s just a really important point that sometimes gets lost.”


FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER HASTERT INDICTED:  Dennis Hastert was a Republican Speaker of the House from 1999-2006.

Hastert was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges related to bank withdrawals of large sums of money that he allegedly paid to keep someone quiet about “prior misconduct.”

Mr. Hastert is charged with intentionally withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in increments of less than $10,000 to avoid federal reporting requirements designed to prevent money laundering. The Republican also is charged with lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the withdrawals, telling agents he was taking the money out because he didn’t feel safe using the banking system.

The indictment alleges the money was going to someone identified only as “Individual A,” who had known Mr. Hastert for most of the person’s life. In 2010, Mr. Hastert agreed to pay this person $3.5 million “to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A,” the indictment said.

That’s potentially salacious.

BELIEVE ME, I WOULDN’T:  From Gateway Pundit: Detroit Police Chief: I wouldn’t gas up in the city late at night unless I had to.  Yeah, Detroit is truly a model of progressive governing.

GALLERY: Courtesans and samurai: Beautiful photos depicting life in 19th century Japan are some of earliest colour images ever taken.

Update: Link and formatting issues fixed.

HOUSE LAWSUIT VS. OBAMA GETS HEARING:  Federal district judge Rosemary Collyer appeared skeptical about the Obama Administration’s arguments urging dismissal of the House lawsuit against the executive branch, challenging its rewriting of Obamacare’s employer mandate and its spending of funds not appropriated by Congress.

Despite initial liberal/progressive dismissal of the lawsuit as “frivolous,” attorney David Rivkin and I have long argued that legal precedent suggests otherwise, and the serious separation of powers arguments deserve consideration on the merits.  Judge Collyer appears to understand this. Stay tuned.

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ASHE SCHOW: We still haven’t recovered from the last moral panic over sexual assault.

America is in the midst of another media-hyped moral panic. Sexual assault on college campuses, we’re told, is rampant, with women being targeted at every turn by the very men they call their friends. To stop this epidemic, we’re further told, colleges and universities must create their own justice systems and hold more accused students accountable. This, naturally, results in witch hunts based not on facts, but on feelings.

This moral panic comes nearly 30 years after the last one, in which men and women were accused of sexually abusing children after those children were coached into “remembering” the abuse by child therapists using now-discredited techniques. Among the more bizarre claims were that children were sexually abused in underground tunnels and that they were forced to watch ritual animal sacrifice and drink blood-laced Kool-Aid.

And the media of the era uncritically bought in to the accusations.

The press is more often leading the lynch mob than defusing it, despite its pretensions.

IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN’T DO? Coffee Protects Against Erectile Dysfunction. “The researchers theorized that caffeine’s effect on the body includes relaxing the helicine arteries of the penis, which in turn improves blood flow, which is how erections are formed.”

MAYBE I SHOULD SPEND A SEMESTER AS A VISITING PROFESSOR IN AUSTRALIA: At least, reading this blog makes me think so.

SO MUCH FOR “MY BODY, MY CHOICE:” Report: NYC Cops Arrested Men for ‘Manspreading’ on the Subway.

I HOPE THEY READ, AND LISTEN:  Michael Doran: “A Letter to My Liberal Jewish Friends.”

On Friday, May 22, President Obama, calling himself “an honorary member of the tribe,” addressed you not just as the president of the United States but also as an explicit adherent of the “tikkun olam” tradition: a Jewish viewpoint for “repairing the world” that, in his reading, promotes universal progressive ideals like fighting bigotry and working for social justice everywhere. Thus, for him, the same “shared values” that underlay the civil-rights movement in the United States were what led him to identify himself with the cause of Israel—and also with the cause of Palestinian nationalism. . . .

Here’s my question. As Obama donned his yarmulke and embraced your community, did you also catch the hint of a warning? If you did, it was because the president was raising, very subtly, the specter of dual loyalty: the hoary allegation that Jews pursue their tribal interests to the detriment of the wider community or nation. . . .  And so the warning was faint, but unmistakable: if Jews wish to avoid being branded as bigots, then they—you—must line up with him against Netanyahu. . . .

On June 30, Obama will likely conclude a nuclear deal with Iran. This will spark a faceoff with Congress, which has already declared its opposition to the deal. Congress will inevitably pass a vote of disapproval, which Obama will inevitably veto. In order to defend that veto from a congressional override, however, he must line up 34 Senators—all Democrats. This calls in turn for a preemptive ideological campaign to foster liberal solidarity—for which your support is key. If the president can convince the liberal Jewish community, on the basis of “shared values,” to shun any suspicion of alignment with congressional Republicans or Benjamin Netanyahu, he will have an easier time batting down Congress’s opposition to the deal with Iran.

Progressive values have nothing to do with what is truly at stake in this moment of decision. Only one final question really matters: in your considered view, should the Islamic Republic of Iran be the dominant power in the Middle East, and should we be helping it to become that power? If your answer is yes, then, by all means, continue to applaud the president—loudly and enthusiastically—as he purports to repair the world.

Obama’s a master at making liberals feel guilty with insinuations of bigotry. The American Jewish community is being played.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Single molecule pump concentrates small molecules.

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IN THE WORDS OF HAN SOLO, I CAN IMAGINE AN AWFUL LOT: Imagine A Drug That Improves Many Metabolic Measures. “I would call a drug great if it could take off weight, improve glucose tolerance, and reverse fatty liver disease.” Well, you know, exercise can do that.

ANOTHER BREATHTAKING EPA POWER GRAB:  First, it was the Obama Administration’s rewrite of the Clean Air Act.  Now, it’s rewriting the Clean Water Act.

The Clean Water Act limits the federal government to regulating the “navigable waters of the United States” like the Colorado River or Lake Michigan. In 1986 the EPA expanded that definition to seize jurisdiction over tributaries and adjacent wetlands. Now it is extending federal control over just about any creek, pond, prairie pothole or muddy farm field that EPA says has a “significant nexus” to a navigable waterway.

The agency defines waters as “significant” if they are “located in whole or in part within 100 feet of the ordinary high water mark,” or, alternatively, within the 100-year floodplain and 1,500 feet of the high water mark of waters already under the government’s jurisdiction. That’s already a lot of water, but there’s more.

The EPA acknowledges that the “science available today does not establish that waters beyond those defined as ‘adjacent’” to these “significant” waters should be regulated. But forget science. The agency says its “experience and expertise” show there are “many” other waters that could have a significant downstream effect. Thus the EPA establishes an additional standard for significance that covers just about anything that’s wet.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

BECAUSE #OPPORTUNITY, NOT #HANDOUTS: Joel Kotkin on “The Changing Geography of Racial Opportunity“:

In the aftermath of the Baltimore riots, there is increased concern with issues of race and opportunity. Yet most of the discussion focuses on such things as police brutality, perceptions of racism and other issues that are dear to the hearts of today’s progressive chattering classes. Together they are creating what talk show host Tavis Smiley, writing in Time, has labeled “an American catastrophe.”

Yet what has not been looked at nearly as much are the underlying conditions that either restrict or enhance upward mobility among racial minorities, including African-Americans, Latinos and Asians. In order to determine this, my colleague at Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism  Wendell Cox and I developed a ranking system that included four critical factors: migration patterns, home ownership, self-employment and income.

We found, for all three major minority groups, that the best places were neither the most liberal in their attitudes nor had the most generous welfare programs. Instead they were located primarily in regions that have experienced broad-based economic growth, have low housing costs, and limited regulation. In other words, no matter how much people like Bill de Blasio talk about the commitment to racial and class justice, the realities on the ground turn out to be quite different than he might imagine.

Even the Democratic base doesn’t want to live in deep blue territory, since progressive policies lead to higher costs, higher crime and reduced economic opportunity.

READER BOOK PLUG: From reader Greg Krehbiel, What God Has Bent. Free on Kindle for the next week.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, NATIONAL-SECURITY PARANOIA WOULD PREVAIL. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Arms control treaty could land security researchers like me in jail.

21st CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Woman meets man who received her deceased brother’s face via transplant: “Wow, this is the face I grew up with.”

HARVARD CRIMSON: A Call To Arms: Law School professor Janet Halley is pushing back against Harvard and the government’s approach to Title IX. “When I read the University policy last July, I said to one of my colleagues at the Law School who works with me on these things, ‘You know we have to change the weather.’”

IF YOU LIKE, YOU CAN vote for Knoxville in this Bell Helmet-sponsored bike trail competition.

YES. NEXT QUESTION?: Peter Wehner at the NYT asks: Have Democrats Pulled Too Far to the Left?

AMONG liberals, it’s almost universally assumed that of the two major parties, it’s the Republicans who have become more extreme over the years. That’s a self-flattering but false narrative.

This is not to say the Republican Party hasn’t become a more conservative party. It has. But in the last two decades the Democratic Party has moved substantially further to the left than the Republican Party has shifted to the right. On most major issues the Republican Party hasn’t moved very much from where it was during the Gingrich era in the mid-1990s.

This is because today’s Democrats aren’t your father’s liberals, they’re progressives, which are more radical beasts.  And I’d argue that the Republican Party has shifted to the left, not further right, since the Gingrich era.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Feminists upset over statue of man and woman talking. “Note to future sculptors: When trying to show men and women talking as friends, don’t. There’s just no way you can do so without offending modern feminist sensibilities.”

THIS MAKES ME THINK OF STEVIE RAY VAUGHN: A Drone’s Eye View of the Devastating Flooding in Texas.

DON’T LET BILL BACK IN THE WHITE HOUSE: Paula Jones tells the Daily Mail Bill Clinton would cheat again if Hillary is elected President, and that Hillary knew all about his infidelities:

‘He is going to be telling her what to do,’ she said. ’It is a partnership. They have a political relationship, that is all it is.’

While countless books and articles have been written about the dynamics of the Clinton marriage, Jones is insistent that Hillary was fully aware of what her husband was like.

‘I believe she knew all about it. Theirs was a political relationship and not a normal relationship that a man and a wife have. They did not have a normal relationship.’

Yeah, I guess this is pretty obvious–a marriage in name only.  #waronwomen

NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE BANS DEATH PENALTY: The legislature overrode Governor Pete Ricketts’ veto, by a 30-19 vote.

The measure replaces lethal injection with a maximum punishment of life in prison. It will take effect in 90 days, which would be late August or early September depending upon when the Legislature adjourns. The law could be blocked temporarily, however, if opponents gather signatures from 10 percent of registered voters in a referendum effort in the next three months. Voters would then decide the fate of capital punishment.

Legal experts say the repeal erases the statutory means to carry out a death sentence in Nebraska, meaning the 10 men currently on death row will serve de facto life sentences.

It also means that the two men who are each charged with four Omaha murders — convicted killer Nikko Jenkins and accused killer Anthony Garcia — will no longer face the death penalty.

Nor will Roberto Martinez-Marinero, the 25-year-old man accused of killing his mother and throwing his 4-year-old brother, Josue, in the Elkhorn River.

Sounds like a proportional punishment: Kill your mother and 4 year-old brother, and get life in prison with free medical and room and board.

IN THE MAIL: From Michael Z. Williamson, A Long Time Until Now (Temporal Displacement).

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 749.

JUDGE ORDERS MONTHLY RELEASE OF CLINTON STATE DEP’T EMAILS:  A federal trial judge has established a timetable for State Department release of Clinton’s official emails. The order comes as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by a Vice News reporter, Jason Leopold.

After the State Department releases the first batch at the end of June, the department must make public the rest of the emails on a monthly basis ending Jan. 29, 2016, the order shows. The judge’s timetable means voters will have a chance to assess the contents of the emails before the first contest of the 2016 presidential race: the Iowa caucuses in February.

I know a lot of people criticize the effectiveness of litigation, but in many instances, lawsuits work far better at uncovering information about the executive branch than toothless congressional investigations.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Bill Clinton Formed His Shell Company Two Days After Hillary Was Picked As Top Diplomat.

More here.

IF YOU MISSED IT LAST NIGHT, here’s video of my segment on Kennedy, talking about higher education and what to do about it.


In terms of the gatekeepers to these elite jobs, these are just people who are on the ground who are responsible for deciding who is in and who is out, who gains access to professional jobs in management consulting, investment banking, etc. The decisions they make have huge consequences for students, in terms of not only their immediate post-graduate opportunities, the salaries they make, but also opportunities for future and career growth and development.

Commonalities of all of these individuals: They tend to be a very elite group, they tend to come from a fairly prestigious set of institutions, and they tend to come from some of the most highly educated and affluent backgrounds as well. This is pretty standard across the industries. . . .

I think if you were to ask someone at first glance, they would say “oh anyone can work at my firm” and they could probably point to one or two people who didn’t attend elite schools. But if you look at how these firms’ recruiting processes actually work in practice now, the chances of getting into one of these firms from what’s called a non-targeted school is extremely low. And this is because these firms starting around the 1980s shifted from a hiring system in which people were hired in a one-off fashion through informal networks to really really focusing on on-campus recruitment where firms hire directly out of the graduating classes and oftentimes earlier from elite universities.

They talk about equality and diversity, then they hire people who look just like them.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: “Robotic rump” helps med students avoid being pains in patients’ butts.

Called “Patrick,” scientists say the pseudo backside is helping proctology students gain an upper hand in carrying out what have typically been uncomfortable examinations for millions of men, KQED TV & Radio reported.

Fitted with four sensors, the equipment will tell a student whether they are applying the right amount of pressure and whether they are properly covering the prostate.

Patrick? LOL.


The freshman senator from Kentucky said Wednesday that the GOP’s foreign policy hawks “created these people.” . . .  “ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately,” Paul said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He continued: “They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved – they loved Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. They just wanted more of it.”

This has triggered understandable backlash, including the Wall Street Journal editorial board today:

Citing Iraq, Syria and Libya, Mr. Paul added that “everything that they’ve talked about in foreign policy, they’ve been wrong about for 20 years, and yet they have somehow the gall to keep saying and pointing fingers otherwise.”

Speaking of gall, and a word of political advice, an aide might want to remind Senator Paul which party’s nomination he is seeking. Republicans who begin their campaigns assailing other Republicans rarely succeed—especially when the accusation is culpability for a would-be caliphate that uses executions, slavery, extortion, rape and general terror to enforce oppression in the Middle East and North Africa, and whose ideology inspires jihadists world-wide.

More to the point, even President Obama now largely refrains from blaming George W. Bush for all the world’s ills, albeit with an exception here and there for old time’s sake. Maybe even he recognizes that the statute of limitations has expired for Republicans who haven’t run the executive branch for seven years and have had no perceptible influence on Administration policy. . . .

Mr. Paul seems to think he can win the GOP nomination on an anti-interventionist platform, though we think he’d be better off focusing on his domestic agenda. But if he wants to run as an Obama Republican on foreign policy, he shouldn’t also adopt the Obama trick of rewriting history. It reflects poorly on his judgment as a potential Commander in Chief.

It’s a critical error for Paul, who has exhibited a vulnerability to foot-in-mouth disease.

INSERT GOLF COURSE WATER HAZARD JOKE HERE: President Obama asserts power over small waterways.

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MORE ON science fraud.

ROGER SIMON: Rand Paul Reveals His True Colors and Destroys Himself.

IT’S CALLED JOURNALISM:  Politico’s Bill Scher seems truly baffled by Fox News’ hosts/reporters who ask tough questions of GOP presidential candidates: “Fox News Eats Its Own.’  Yes, that’s what actual journalists do: They ask tough questions, and they don’t “play favorites.”  Shocking, I know, to a liberal/progressive mainstream media that hires hacks parading as hosts, such as George Stephanopoulos, Dan Rather, Candy Crowley and Keith Olbermann.

ASHE SCHOW: Carly Fiorina is moving the crowds, but not the polls.

It seems that everywhere former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina goes, the crowds go wild.

Two weeks ago, the 2016 presidential candidate was in Iowa to speak at the state GOP’s Lincoln Dinner. She wasn’t the only 2016 candidate who spoke, but she was the only one for whom, when her mic was cut off after her 10 minutes of allotted speaking time were up, the crowd was noticeably upset.

“She was like a fireball,” dinner guest Tanya Manatt, told the Des Moines Register. “She had a lot of energy, and she’s not intimidated.”

“She left us wanting more,” said another.

“She was very confident, probably one of the strongest speakers,” guest Rick Haas told Politico.

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post said on Twitter that Fiorina received the “loudest applause of the night.”

A similar story unfolded at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference last week. Republican Chase Condrey tweeted about Fiorina: “just watched the SRLC and you have definitely sparked my interest in your candidacy. The Young GOP wants leaders like you.”

Another attendee, Richard Morgan, said Fiorina had the “best speech” of the conference. Fiorina ended her speech to a standing ovation, according to numerous other conference-goers.

Fiorina is also gaining fans from her clever media appearances, where she trolls her hosts and takes on tough questions with poise.

But despite wowing crowds and television viewers over the past month, Fiorina’s poll numbers aren’t budging.

I like her. She fights.

UPDATE: Wrong link before. Fixed now. Sorry!


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Millennials Weighed Down By Student Loan Debt.

U.S. Census Bureau data shows that the number of 25- to 34-year-olds living in their parents’ homes jumped 17.5% from 2007-2010. This is similar to Pew Research, which found that 57% of 18- to 24-year-olds lived with their parents in 2012. By way of comparison, in 1960, three out of four women and two out of three men had finished school, left home, were financially independent, had married and had children by age 30.

Meanwhile, the number of 30-year-olds who own their own homes is now roughly equal to those who live with their parents–a sharp contrast to 2003, when a 30-year-old American was twice as likely to own a home as he or she was to live with parents, according to the New York Federal Reserve (24). There’s also a clear correlation between growth in student debt and the rate at which adult offspring live with their parents. For every $10,000 increase in a state’s student debt per graduate, there’s a corresponding 2.9 percentage-point rise in 25-year-olds living with parents (25).

All of this comes as the dollar amount of student loans outstanding in the U.S. has tripled in the past decade, reaching a record $1.2 trillion last year. (See “Growing U.S. Student Debt Could Have Long-Term Credit Implications,” published Aug. 26, 2014.) In fact, student debt was the only type of household borrowing that continued to grow during the recent recession and recovery.


PLEASE DO! Roger Simon: Should I Run For President? Election 2016 As “The Voice.” On the Democratic side, meanwhile, it’s more like Lawrence Welk.

A BAD WEEK FOR SOCIAL SCIENCE (CONT’D): Michael LaCour Made Up a Teaching Award, Too.

Yesterday, Science of Us reported that Michael LaCour, the graduate student who is alleged to have faked data for a highly publicized and celebrated Science article on same-sex marriage, had made up the largest funding source listed on “Original Grants & Data” section of his curriculum vitae. It appears the fabrication extends to another part of his CV, too: the “Awards & Fellowships” section.

Falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus?


But if you really believe that, then you support fracking as an alternative, right?

May 27, 2015

AT ANY RATE, BUDDHISM ISN’T AS NONVIOLENT AS MANY WESTERNERS SUPPOSE: “You can be full of kindness and love, but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog. I am proud to be called a radical Buddhist.”

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SCOTT OTT: The 7 Reasons Scott Walker Should Get the Republican Nomination for President.

HEH:  The Charlie Charlie challenge.  A modern-day Ouija board, only weirder.

SOUNDS REASONABLE TO ME:  Islamic televangelist rants: men who masturbate “will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife.”  So be sure to use condoms, gents.


Non-Muslims who work in the Middle East, are forced to wear ‘respectable’ clothing by their employers, or face disciplinary measures.

The Arab Muslims say that this demand is quite acceptable; and that this is to ensure that people adhere to local traditions and customs of the host country. So, with this same philosophy, why can’t Europeans set a similar standard for migrants?

If I owned shares in multiculturalism, I’d sell now.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Study: Women buying more sex than ever before.

NO, WE’RE WAY OVER THE EDGE:  Marco Rubio tells CNN:  ”[W]e are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech.”

SOCCER ORGANIZATION COMMITTING A “WORLD CUP OF FRAUD”?:  That’s what the IRS head of criminal investigation claims, as the U.S. initiates a 47-count indictment in federal court charging 14 FIFA officials with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.  The charges stem from an alleged $150 million in bribes received by FIFA officials, as well as accepting kickbacks in return for granting lucrative media and marketing rights.

The most serious are the racketeering charges, which allege that the officials turned soccer “into a criminal enterprise,” according to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who spoke to reporters in New York. A conviction could command a sentence of up to 20 years.

“The idea of being shocked about bribery and racketeering at FIFA is like being shocked about jumping into a pool and finding yourself wet,” said Dave Zirin, sports editor at The Nation magazine.

“What makes this particularly different is the fact that this time it looks like the charges have real teeth. I mean, coming from the U.S. Department of Justice, that’s a first. That’s never happened before,” he said.

Well, I don’t know much about soccer, but ouch.

THE LINK BETWEEN antibiotic overuse and c. dificile infection.

YEP, IT’S A RACKET ALRIGHT: Freedom Watch files racketeering (RICO) lawsuit against the Clinton Foundation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.  The lawsuit includes a request to seize and conduct a forensics evaluation of the Clinton’s private email server. I really admire the chutzpah of Freedom Watch and Larry Klayman. They know how to fight.

I LIKE HER. SHE FIGHTS. Fiorina v. Clinton in South Carolina: Fiorina Launches #AskHillary.

GOOD FOR HIM-CONGRESS NEEDS TO ASSERT ITS MUSCLE MORE:  Ted Cruz, chair of the Senate Judiciary Oversight subcommittee, is threatening to subpoena Treasury officials to testify about their rulemaking process for Obamacare subsidies. Obama Administration officials have balked at testifying, citing the ongoing Supreme Court litigation in King v. Burwell, but Cruz (aptly) is having none of it.

Congress needs to issue more subpoenas to perform its oversight function appropriately.  And equally important, Congress needs to be prepared to enforce such subpoenas, including civil enforcement, criminal contempt, or even arrest and detention by the Sergeant-at-Arms (which hasn’t been used in years, but is still possible).

OF COURSE THEY ARE:  The Taliban 5– released from Gitmo in exchange for deserter Bowe Bergdahl–will be free to travel as soon as Monday. The US agreement with host country Qatar restricting their movement expires June 1.  Great move, Sparky Obama!

I’LL BE ON FOX BUSINESS’S KENNEDY NATION TONIGHT IN THE 10PM ET SLOT, talking about higher education costs and administrative bloat.

FIRST LISA LOEB, NOW THIS: I Was a Proud Non-Breeder. Then I Changed My Mind. “It’s embarrassing to be such a cliché, to give so many people a chance to say, ‘I told you so.’ (And some people, I’ve learned, will say those actual words.) I fear I’ve let down other women who disavow children and who, because of my example, might face an extra smidge of condescending doubt. Worse, if I’m honest, when I hear younger women confidently describe how they’ll feel when they’re older, sometimes I feel a pinch of such condescension myself. Not because I think they’ll all necessarily want kids, or that they should have them, but because one tricky thing about your 20s is the need to make decisions for a future self whose desires are unknowable.” Actually it’s not entirely unknowable, or people wouldn’t be saying “I told you so.”

CHIMPANZEES GET THEIR DAY IN COURT: Two research chimps at Stony Brook University got a hearing in a NY State court today, where their lawyers (for the Nonhuman Rights Project) argued that they are entitled to habeas corpus.  I’ve written about this case before.

Its lawyers said that personhood rights have already been applied to corporations, rivers and ships. If chimps are also eligible, they are then eligible for the writ of habeas corpus, which gives those who believe they are unlawfully detained or imprisoned the right to appear in court.

During the hearing, Nonhuman Rights Project’s president and animal-rights lawyerSteven Wise drew parallels to past court cases over the rights of slaves, prisoners and Native Americans.

Assistant Attorney General Christopher Coulston said these cases didn’t apply.

“There is simply no precedent anywhere of a nonhuman animal receiving the kinds of rights they’re talking about,” Mr. Coulston said.

But there is an understanding that law evolves, said New York Supreme Court JusticeBarbara Jaffe, based on scientific discoveries and social mores.

“Witness marital rights,” she said. “Isn’t it incumbent upon the judiciary to at least consider whether a class of beings may be granted a right or something short of a right, under the habeas statute?”

In a brief filed Friday, the attorney general’s office wrote that current animal-rights laws are sufficient, and to grant chimps additional rights was a slippery slope.

To extend the writ of habeas corpus “could set a precedent for the release of other animals held in captivity, whether housed at a zoo, in an educational institution, on a farm, or owned as a domesticated pet,” the brief reads.

It’s a slippery slope indeed, but that’s not the primary reason why this argument needs to be summarily rejected.  Humans are humans, and the law of  humans does not apply to nonhumans.  Period.  Any other approach leads to unprincipled line drawing among different animal species.  Why chimps but not dolphins or elephants?  What about cows, dogs, ants or roaches?  If humans wish to confer special statutory protections to certain animals–such as domesticated pets–that is perfectly appropriate.  But to apply a law that protects human beings–such as habeas corpus–to animals is the height of lunacy.