March 2, 2015

ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS: Assyrian Christians Fight Back, Forming Militia to Hold Off ISIS.

Related: Christian militia fights its own battle against jihadists in Syria.

March 1, 2015

THIS KIND OF THING KEEPS HAPPENING: Deadly bacteria release sparks concern at Louisiana lab. “A dangerous, often deadly, type of bacteria that lives in soil and water has been released from a high-security laboratory at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana. Officials say there is no risk to the public. Yet despite weeks of investigation by multiple federal and state agencies, the cause of the release and the extent of the contamination remain unknown, according to interviews and records obtained by USA TODAY.” Remain calm. All is well. We have top men working on this. Top. Men.

IN CALIFORNIA, foreign workers hired to process Americans’ unemployment applications. A perfect metaphor for Obama’s America.

A TARGET-RICH ENVIRONMENT: Mark Levin Obliterates the Democratic Party, Obama and the GOP.

I DUNNO. WHY DO WOMEN PREFER TO DATE MEN WITH TWICE THEIR INCOME? Why are older men looking at women half their age? It’s disheartening that men in their 50s seem so focused on looks.

Of course, while British women are complaining that “no man I know has ever been told that his powers, his allure, his charm have faded, and that he has to face up to that redundancy,” those middle-aged British men are committing suicide at increasing rates.

JOEL ACHENBACH: Is There Life Beyond Earth? Do We Even Want To Know? “Brin, a signer of the petition protesting the campaign for active SETI, said we don’t know what’s out there and shouldn’t presume that aliens are benign. He said there are roughly 100 scenarios to explain why we haven’t heard from the aliens so far. About a dozen of those scenarios are unpleasant, he said.”

Plus, Frank Drake comments: “I think it’s a waste of time at the present. It’s like somebody trying to send an e-mail to somebody whose e-mail address they don’t know, and whose name they don’t know.”

I’ve seen several recent discussions of this topic that seem unaware that there were international agreements entered into over two decades ago on the subject of whether and how to communicate with extraterrestrial intelligences. I discuss them at some length in this piece from the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. They’re agreements, not treaties, and don’t have the force of law, but the press coverage seems entirely oblivious to their existence.

I also recommend Ben Bova’s book.

UPDATE: First link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!

JOEL KOTKIN: The Three Faces Of Populism. “The real target of Davos populists is not themselves, of course. Instead, the effort is to further burden Obama’s version of Josef Stalin’s harsh treatment of Kulaks, the early Soviet Union’s successful but hardly ultrarich peasant class. Megan McArdle aptly describes Obama’s proposal – abandoned this past week – to tax college savings accounts to pay for subsidized college as ‘a plan to redistribute money from the upper middle class to the lower middle class.’ . . . Not surprisingly, after six years of minimal income gains and numerous tax increases, the middle class – Americans making roughly $60,000 to $90,000 – remains far less sympathetic to Obama’s policies than either the rich or the poor. Yet none of this likely affects the Davos attendees, like billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene, who said, to fight climate change, Americans need to ‘live a smaller existence.’ This, coming from a man with five houses, including a Beverly Hills estate listed at $195 million, does not constitute an ideal populist program.”

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Quartering Spyware Troops In A Digital Age: Why Your Home Should Be Your Castle.

ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS: How Syria’s Christians stopped turning the other cheek. “For the last week, they have been fighting the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant across a major front in north-west Syria, in alliance with the YPG, the Kurdish defence forces. They have had mixed fortunes, but the battle has energised Middle East Christians worldwide – many of them exiles who fled the chaos of post-Saddam Iraq.”

Praise the lord, and pass the ammunition.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Video: What the State of Law Schools Can Teach the Rest of Higher Ed.

THE SURPRISING ORIGINS OF WONDER WOMAN: “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.”

Plus, her role in offsetting Batman and Superman’s “blood-curdling masculinity.” And: “Women enjoy submission—being bound.” Christian Grey, call DC Comics!

And: “Because Marston kept his true relationship with Olive Byrne a secret, he kept his family’s ties to Margaret Sanger a secret, too. Marston, Byrne and Holloway, and even Harry G. Peter, the artist who drew Wonder Woman, had all been powerfully influenced by the suffrage, feminism and birth control movements. And each of those movements had used chains as a centerpiece of its iconography.” Stacy McCain, call your office!

WITH SO MANY OPPRESSED GROUPS, who’s left at Wesleyan to do the oppressing?

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THERE’S A SURPRISE: White House Releases Draft ‘Privacy’ Bill That’s Not Very Good.

ANDROID FOR THE PARANOID: BlackPhone maker Silent Circle announces $50 million in funding.

I DUNNO, SOME OF THEM ARE PRETTY HEAVILY ARMED: ISIS Is Now Threatening To Murder A COLLEGE PROFESSOR IN TENNESSEE.

UPDATE: I like this from the comments:

I hereby pledge my commitment to the Instapundit unilateral mutual defense alliance. Any harm that comes to Instapundit will be deemed a harm to me, and the responsible Jihadi will thereafter be subject to revenge.

X_________________________

That said, I’m not the Tennessee prof. they’re targeting.

HOPEFUL READING FOR BILL CLINTON: How To Restore Your Rusted Old Tools.

FORGET IT, JAZZ. It’s Capehart-town.

IN THE MAIL: Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 661.

ANOTHER BIG MERCHANT dumps American Express.

It’s fair to say that this has been a terrible month for American Express. It also lost a partnership with JetBlue and, even worse, an important court case. American Express cards are more expensive for merchants to take than other cards, so merchants would like to ask customers to use other cards — only they can’t, because American Express merchant agreements forbid this. They can refuse to take the cards in the first place, of course, but then they lose customers who don’t have a Visa or MasterCard.

American Express has taken a unique approach to a competitive field. Credit cards are what economists call a “two-sided market”: They need to get both customers to take their cards and merchants to accept them. Visa and MasterCard keep their fees relatively low in order to woo merchants; AmEx has kept the fees high and passed some of that money back to customers in the form of lower fees and higher rewards. Essentially, it gambled that merchants wouldn’t dare refuse its cards as long as enough customers preferred to use them.

That gamble looks to have been a bad bet. A federal judge just ruled that it cannot place those sort of restrictions on merchants, which means American Express will have to lower its fees or lose transactions as merchants ask customers to put that purchase on another card.

I try to use American Express for everything where I don’t pay cash. I don’t like being asked to use other cards. I have other cards, but I don’t like to use them.

NO DHS FUNDING? No Problem! An innovative solution that, sadly, is probably about as effective as what we have now.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: St. Louis judge tosses out gun case, citing newly-enacted Amendment 5. “St. Louis Circuit Judge Robert Dierker ruled that the Missouri law prohibiting felons from possessing guns is unconstitutional as applied in the case of Raymond Robinson, in part because it fails to differentiate between violent and non-violent felons.” Note that the beneficiary of this decision is African-American.

ANOTHER CASE OF RECORDING POLICE OFFICERS PAYING OFF. “But here’s my question: Why aren’t the seven witnesses to Dendinger’s nonexistent assault on Cassard already facing felony charges? Why are all but one of the cops who filed false reports still wearing badges and collecting paychecks? Why aren’t the attorneys who filed false reports facing disbarment? Dendinger’s prosecutors both filed false reports, then prosecuted Dendinger based on the reports they knew were false. They should be looking for new careers — after they get out of jail. If a group of regular citizens had pulled this on someone, they’d all likely be facing criminal conspiracy charges on top of the perjury and other charges. So why aren’t these cops and prosecutors? I could be wrong, but my guess is that they’ll all be let off due to ‘professional courtesy’ or some sort of exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”

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HAVE YOU NOTICED HOW ATTACKS ON WALKER SEEM TO REBOUND ON THE ATTACKER? Media tries to smear Walker on campus sex assault reporting, gets it horribly wrong.

Members of the media were quick to report that, included in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget, was a removal of the requirements that colleges report campus sexual assault statistics to the state.

The Daily Beast, Huffington Post and others all jumped on a report in Jezebel that tried to paint Walker as being unsympathetic to sexual assault victims. Daily Beast writer Brian Weidy went so far as to claim that Walker’s proposal was “just short of explicitly violating Title IX regulations” and possible even “crossing a legal line.”

So not only is Walker a terrible person who hates victims, but he’s also maybe breaking the law. Or so they said. But for all their eagerness to pile on a leading GOP candidate for president (note the contrast to reporting on Obama in 2008), they were just plain wrong. The outlets involved had to retract the story, although a simple Google News search could have spared them the humiliation.

Walker had actually included these changes in his budget at the request of the University of Wisconsin. The school had requested that the governor remove the requirements because they were duplicative.

What I really liked was that, yet again, lots of folks on twitter — including plenty of right-leaning journos who used to hold themselves above the fray — got involved in directly challenging these journalists by name, in public. Name and shame. It’s the only way they’ll learn.

And it all started here.

Related: Daily Beast Retracts Scott Walker Story. “Another major media outlet has apologized after getting a story about Scott Walker wrong. Last week, it was the New York Times; now, it’s The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast has retracted an article from one of its college columnists that claimed that the Wisconsin governor’s budget would cut sexual assault reporting from the state’s universities.”

Plus: “The most impressive thing about Walker’s Throne of Skulls: every single skull beheaded itself.”

THE HILL: GOP urges Obama to sign college savings bill.

President Obama should get on board with House Republican legislation passed this week expanding college savings plans, Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) said in the weekly Republican address.

“Why would we make saving for college even harder? We talk all the time about rewarding people who work hard and play by the rules — well, that’s what 529 plans are,” said Renacci, who touted his upbringing in a working-class union family.

“They empower families to set up accounts for their children, right from when they’re born, and then down the line, they can use that money tax-free on books, fees, tuition and room-and-board,” he added.

This week, the House passed a bill 401-20 loosening restrictions on tax incentives and expanding the college savings plan program, after Obama scuttled a proposal to eliminate tax breaks for the plan in his annual budget.

If I were in Congress, I’d introduce legislation capping tuition at tax-exempt institutions to the equivalent of the average family income. To prevent profiteering.

FLASHBACK: Russian Money Suspected Behind Fracking Protests.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: John McGinnis: Those missing law school applicants? They aren’t coming back. “The most important cause of the decline in demand for legal services is technological shock. Technological change has reduced the demand for lawyers, at least at the price point law schools were delivering.”

I SUPPOSE MISCHIEVOUS REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS MIGHT AGREE AND AMPLIFY THESE SENTIMENTS, INTRODUCING ALL SORTS OF ABSURD LAWS GOVERNING SEX ON CAMPUS UNTIL HIGHER EDUCATION IS CRUSHED UNDER THE WEIGHT OF its own sexual paranoia. “It’s the fiction of the all-powerful professor embedded in the new campus codes that appalls me. And the kowtowing to the fiction—kowtowing wrapped in a vaguely feminist air of rectitude. If this is feminism, it’s feminism hijacked by melodrama. The melodramatic imagination’s obsession with helpless victims and powerful predators is what’s shaping the conversation of the moment, to the detriment of those whose interests are supposedly being protected, namely students. The result? Students’ sense of vulnerability is skyrocketing.”

February 28, 2015

NOW OUT FROM STACY MCCAIN: Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature.

ANTI-SEMITISM at UCLA. “In the video below, UCLA’s student council deliberates over the application of Rachel Beyda for a position on the university’s judicial board. Ms. Beyda is acknowledged to be ‘qualified, for sure’ and ‘a great candidate, obviously.’ Yet there is a problem. ‘I just worry about her affiliations.’ She is ‘a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community.’ The student council voted not to appoint Ms. Beyda to the judicial board.”

CARLY FIORINA ON SYRIAN REFUGEES: ‘Why Would We Think We Could Distinguish Good from Bad?’

SARAH HOYT ON LEONARD NIMOY: A Death In The Family.

MICHAEL WALSH: Why Do Democrats Hate Asian-Americans? Because They’re Smart And Successful.

FROM STEVE CALABRESI, some inside dirt on Supreme Court appointments.

JOHN HINDERAKER: The Obama Administration’s AR-15 Ammo Ban: What’s It All About? “Critics of the ban suggest that the Obama administration is trying to achieve a ban on AR-15 rifles through the back door. This ATF standard won’t achieve that result by itself, of course, as most AR-15 ammunition will remain legal. But the fear is not irrational; liberals have openly argued for attacks on ammunition as an indirect means of achieving gun control.”

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THE RIDICULOUS HISTORY OF WIND CHILL.

WHY DO SO MANY MIDDLE-AGED MEN feel lost? You won’t be surprised to find that, according to Lucy Cavendish, it’s mostly their fault. Well, and that of “outdated masculinity.”

There may be some other answers. Me, I predict a return of “outdated masculinity” in one form or another.

JOHN FUND: Comrades for Net Neutrality: The powers behind the FCC’s muscling of the Internet. “Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism.”

BETTER LIVING THROUGH engineered nanomaterials.

FOUND: Biomarkers For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

IN THE MAIL: From Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 660.

WHAT I’M DOING THIS MORNING:

TLR3DAMDT

Little-known fact: The first law review article ever published on the Third Amendment, in 1949, appeared in the Tennessee Law Review.

YEAH, IT’S NEVER A GOOD SIGN WHEN THAT COMES UP: The Return Of The German Question:

At the euro’s launch in 2002, the world witnessed the unprecedented formation of a new currency without a state. But while the introduction of the euro centralized monetary policy, it left most fiscal policy in the hands of national governments. The rapid acceptance of the euro as a viable currency and the deeper financial integration of the Eurozone that followed were greeted as stepping-stones toward greater prosperity across the European Union. Observers viewed Europe’s emerging large current account deficits, particularly those of Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain (PIIGS) as a validation of the gains associated with capital flowing from the center of the EU to its periphery, and a strong counter to the arguments about the limited benefits of importing foreign savings as a means of financing domestic growth.

The honeymoon period for the euro ended in 2010, however, as the unfolding crisis revealed the dangers inherent in the monetary union. Germany’s persistent current account surplus was putting intolerable pressure on the Eurozone periphery and creating a standoff between EU creditor and debtor countries. Germany’s economic and political decisions were creating instability within the EU, much in the same way German military power once did.

This should hardly have been a surprise. Germany is the largest country in the EU by population, GDP, creditor capacity, and among net contributors to the EU budget (16 billion euros). In addition, while 60 percent of German exports go to the Eurozone, Germany’s international economic reach outstrips all other EU member states: 27 percent of all EU exports come from Germany, several times the amount of France, Italy, the United Kingdom (UK), the Netherlands, and Spain. Today Berlin accounts for about 25 percent of China’s total trade with Europe and is the most influential European player in China. A decade after its launch, the euro remains a currency without a state, but dominated by Germany.

This reality has become the subject of a lively debate across the EU and within Germany itself.

What could go wrong?

POLL: Voters: Ignore Obama vetoes, keep passing bills he doesn’t like. I agree. Make him veto stuff. He hates having to take an active role. And if Harry Reid tries to run interference even in the minority, then go nuclear. Harry already crossed the nuclear threshold — make them pay.

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VIRGINIA POSTREL: How Spock Became A Sex Symbol.

ASHE SCHOW: Mia Love discusses 2016 presidential field.

Utah Congresswoman Mia Love won’t say who she’s currently supporting for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, but she did say whoever it is should be “inspirational.”

When asked by the Washington Examiner how Republicans can combat the “war on women” narrative in 2016 against a possible Hillary Clinton candidacy, the freshman congresswoman said Republicans should be more focused on who they nominate than who they’ll be running against.

“We can’t think about — Hillary, as far as I’m concerned, is not even in the picture. I don’t even like mentioning the name,” Love told the Examiner after her Thursday panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “I think that we need to focus on who is going to be inspirational, who is going to talk about upward mobility and move Americans forward.” . . .

“Who is going to be the one that says ‘You know what? I don’t know it all, I trust the American people to make decisions. Give them the reins. Let them decide what healthcare they want. Let them control their lands. Let them educate their children. Let them be able to keep a little bit of their funds to take care of their families and their communities.’”

When asked if there was anyone she was currently leaning toward supported, Love punted.

It’s early yet.

HE WAS AT THE BLS FROM 2008-2012. Republicans Name Keith Hall CBO Director, Replacing Doug Elmendorf.

ROBERT MCDOWELL: Overturn The FCC’s Power Grab.

Thursday marked the largest government intervention into the Internet ecosphere in American history. By equating the dynamic 21st century Internet to the telephone system of 1934, the Federal Communications Commission has thrust powerful but antiquated utility-style regulations onto the U.S. tech economy. . . .

The FCC’s power grab discards the bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework laid out during the Clinton administration. That hands-off approach made the Net the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.

History teaches us that utility-style regulation raises costs to consumers, reduces investment and innovation, and creates uncertainty due to the politics-driven nature of “mother may I innovate” government mandates. Regulation only grows. Now the Internet cannot escape that fate.

The ultimate result of more government encroachment will be something akin to the sagging European Internet market, where investment in broadband infrastructure is only one-fourth of America’s due to heavy-handed regulations. Even worse, this new power grab could trigger expanded intergovernmental powers over the Web through existing telecom treaties, jeopardizing Internet freedom.

What many in Silicon Valley don’t understand is that, according to the Supreme Court’s 2005 Brand X decision, nearly any “tech” company that builds a telecom-style network to deliver its content and apps has the potential to be captured by the FCC’s new rules. If the agency tries to exempt some companies but not others, it will be choosing the politically favored over everyone else.

Well, that’s the whole point of this exercise, one suspects. I mean, isn’t it always?

BLUE COLLAPSE: Chicago nears fiscal free fall with latest downgrade. “Chicago drew closer to a fiscal free fall on Friday with a rating downgrade from Moody’s Investors Service that could trigger the immediate termination of four interest-rate swap agreements, costing the city about $58 million and raising the prospect of more broken swaps contracts. The downgrade to Baa2, just two steps above junk, and a warning the rating could fall further still, means the third-biggest U.S. city could face even higher costs in the future.”

And remember, it’s run by one of Obama’s more-competent former minions. . . .

MEH. THEY ONLY GOT IN BEFORE VIA COMPLICIT DEMOCRATIC STAFFERS: Code Pink Feeling Stifled by Capitol Police Crackdown.

Forced into handcuffs before and after congressional hearings over the past two days, protesters organizing with Code Pink are fuming about the beefed-up presence of Capitol Police when contentious, high-profile officials testify on Capitol Hill.

On Thursday, officers arrested Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, when he rose from his seat to challenge Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. after the conclusion of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on worldwide threats.

And a right-leaning group would never get the degree of forbearance that Code Pink has enjoyed for over a decade.

THE HILL: NRA chief presses Congress on concealed-carry bill.

The head of the nation’s biggest gun rights group urged Congress Friday to pass legislation to allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

During the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference, Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre said it’s time for Congress to act and pass the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.

“It’s time for Congress to pass national right-to-carry reciprocity for the entire United States,” LaPierre declared to cheers from the crowd of thousands of conservatives gathered at the Maryland event.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is the chief sponsor of the concealed-carry bill in the upper chamber, while Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) is spearheading the push in the House.

Supporters of the legislation — expected to be a top priority for gun rights activists in the current Congress, — believe they can secure enough Democratic votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster and get the legislation to President Obama’s desk.

Good.

February 27, 2015

NANCY PELOSI: Congress Is Living Paycheck To Paycheck. “So you think you’ve got it bad? Try being in Congress. Those poor bastards are practically homeless. . . . Hell, Pelosi is so down on her luck these days, she had to burn the Constitution just to keep warm. Also, because she hates it.”

MARCH MADNESS IN NIGERIA. “President Goodluck Jonathan does now admit that he underestimated Boko Haram and implied that there will be nothing but successful actions against the Islamic terrorists between now and election day (March 28). Boko Haram has announced their intention to disrupt the elections, at least in the three northeastern states where they have thousands of gunmen. All Boko Haram has to do is inflict some major defeats that the government and army cannot hide to wreck Jonathan’s plan. This looks to be a particularly grim form of March Madness.”

WELL, IT’S CERTAINLY TIME FOR ONE: Gen. Jim Mattis: A New American Grand Strategy.

SCIENCE: Athletes May Benefit From A High-Fat Diet. “Early humans, the hunter-gatherers, who were quite physically active, primarily ate fat. It’s been the main fuel for active humans far longer than carbohydrates have been.”

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ANDREW KLAVAN: Good News, Beheaded Christians! “Well, about that whole ‘Never Again’ thing: Remember ‘Hope And Change?’ That’s what changed.”

THE LIMITS OF SCIENCE: “We don’t know whether being married causes you to have more sex or having more sex causes you to stay married longer.” I say, why take chances?

JEZEBEL ISN’T EXACTLY RELIABLE: Boy, Blowing Up A DNC Media Hit Job On Scott Walker In Realtime Sure Is Fun! The Latest Attempt To Launch A New Walker Smear Crashes & Burns On The Launch Pad. “As it so happens, this Jezebel writer, Natasha Vargas-Cooper, either didn’t do any research at all on this piece or she deliberately left out the whole story.”

IT’LL BE RULED A SUICIDE: Russian Opposition Leader Boris Nemtsov Shot Dead In Moscow.

SEEMS LIKE AN EVOLUTIONARY DEAD END: Study: Richest women have the most sex, most abortions, lowest births.

SEXY OR NOT, HIS SUPERPOWER IS, BASICALLY, TALKING TO FISH: Khal Drogo Gives Aquaman Sex Appeal.

It’s not easy to be Aquaman. Hey, even the Elongated Man gets more dates. Though I suppose that’s understandable.

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HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: The First Two Law Schools to Drop the LSAT Could Be Just the Beginning. Maybe I’m cynical, but I wonder if this isn’t somehow aimed at manipulating the U.S. News rankings.

CATHOLIC PAGAN: 10 Questions For Camille Paglia. “I have very little contact with American academics, who are pitifully trapped in a sterile career system that has become paralyzed by political correctness. University faculties nationwide have lost power to an ever-expanding bureaucracy of administrators, whose primary concern is the institution’s contractual relationship with tuition-paying parents. You can cut the demoralized faculty atmosphere with a knife when you step foot on any elite campus.” Huh. Somebody should look into that.

DRIVING THE BMW I8 on the Angeles Crest Highway.

MICHAEL TOTTEN: Isis’ Next Target.

WHY DID WE GET A SECRET INTERNET REGULATION PLAN VIA AN UNELECTED FEDERAL AGENCY? 61% Oppose Federal Regulation of the Internet. “Americans really like the online service they currently have and strongly oppose so-called ‘net neutrality’ efforts that would allow the federal government to regulate the Internet. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 26% of American Adults agree the Federal Communications Commission should regulate the Internet like it does radio and television. Sixty-one percent (61%) disagree and think the Internet should remain open without regulation and censorship. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.”

Plus: “Americans remain suspicious of the motives of those who want government regulation of the Internet.” Good call.

Related: Hillary Calls for Regulating Internet: ‘It’s a Foot in the Door:’ Supports net neutrality.

SEE HOW THE OTHER HALF — BY WHICH I MEAN HILLARY’S ARAB DONORS — LIVES! Check out a VIP Boeing 747-8.

HE LIVED LONG, AND PROSPERED: Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ dead at 83.

As TV’s Andy Levy reminds us on Twitter, sooner or later we’re all redshirts.

IN THE MAIL: From Iver Pl. Cooper, 1636: Seas of Fortune (The Ring of Fire).

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 569.

SO WHY DID HILLARY, AND SUSAN RICE, AND EVERYBODY ELSE, KEEP LYING ABOUT A VIDEO AND GET THE FILMMAKER THROWN IN JAIL? Hillary Clinton’s Top Aides Knew from First Minutes that Benghazi Was a Terrorist Attack, E-mails Disclose.

MEGAN MCARDLE: The Church Of Wal-Mart.

I got a lot of responses to my post last week on Wal-Mart’s decision to raise the minimum wage many of its employees earn to $10 an hour next year. One variety of response stood out: the folks who said “Wal-Mart is doing this because it’s good for its business.”

It stood out because it is almost right, but not quite. The correct statement is that “Wal-Mart is doing this because it thinks it’s good for its business.” Never ignore the possibility that Wal-Mart could be completely wrong.

I remark on this because some of the arguments I saw verged upon what I’ve come to think of as “corporation theology”: the belief that if a corporation is doing something, that thing must be incredibly profitable. This is no less of a faith-based statement than the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Yet it is surprisingly popular among commentators, not just on the right, but also on the left. . . .

Corporations do dumb stuff all the time — for decades, even.

Yep. There’s a lot of Dilbert even in the best organizations.

TOUGH TALK FROM STENY HOYER, CONSIDERING THAT NANCY PELOSI KEEPS HIS BALLS IN A JAR UNDER THE SINK: Watch a top Dem call the House majority leader a ‘coward.’

MOLLY BALL: Does Hillary Clinton Have Anything To Say? “Everywhere Hillary Clinton goes, a thousand cameras follow. Then she opens her mouth, and nothing happens.”

Why do you think her campaign revolves around having a vagina?

IT’S “CRIMINAL ACTIVITY” ALL THE WAY DOWN: Investigators probing for criminal activity with Lois Lerner’s missing emails. So did Koskinen perjure himself?

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CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Reince Priebus: How can Hillary take a 3 a.m. phone call from a country that gave her millions?

n a Q&A session Thursday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus pointed out a potential conflict raised by the Clinton Foundation’s acceptance of millions in donations from foreign governments.

“I don’t know how Hillary Clinton’s going to take a 3 a.m. [call] from a leader in Yemen or Algeria or Saudi Arabia when she was willing to have her foundation take potentially millions of dollars from those governments,” said Priebus, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Priebus raises a valid point. It will be difficult for Clinton to tell the American people that she will be tough on terrorism or fight for women’s rights when her foundation took money from countries with abysmal records on those issues and others.

Related: Carly Fiorina to Hillary Clinton: ‘Name an accomplishment.’

What has Hillary Clinton actually accomplished? She’s held many titles — first lady, senator, secretary of state — but what has she actually accomplished in any of those roles?

That’s what former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a prospective 2016 presidential candidate, wants to know.

“Mrs. Clinton, name an accomplishment,” Fiorina said while addressing attendees at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

Fiorina, who is considered a long-shot for the Republican nomination, has tried to break out from pack in early speeches by projecting the image of a strong and accomplished woman who can take the fight to Hillary Clinton.

“And in the meantime, please explain why we should accept that the millions and millions of dollars that have flowed into the Clinton Global Initiative from foreign governments doesn’t represent a conflict of interest,” she added.

Fiorina was referring to the recent revelations that the Clinton Foundation accepted millions in donations from foreign governments, including while Hillary was the secretary of state.

Fiorina then turned her attention toward Clinton’s own role in the supposed war on women.

“She tweets about women’s rights in this country and takes money from governments that deny women the most basic human rights,” Fiorina said. “She tweets about equal pay for women but won’t answer basic questions about her own offices’ pay standards — and neither will our president.”

Earlier this week, a report in the Washington Free Beacon revealed that while Clinton was a senator, the median earnings for women in her office was 72 cents to the dollar for men’s median earnings.

It’s begun.

THE HILL: House GOP floats three-week funding bill to stave off shutdown.

The House will try to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security this week by passing a stopgap bill that funds the agency for three weeks.

The measure is meant to buy time for Republicans to figure out how to fight President Obama’s immigration policies, GOP leaders told members on Thursday.

The three-week measure would stave off a shutdown at the agency slated for 12:01 a.m. Saturday, but it’s only a temporary fix. Republicans say it would give them a chance to pursue a longer-term solution and iron out differences between House and Senate funding bills.

The House last month passed a bill funding Homeland Security through September but attached GOP amendments aimed at gutting Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The Senate is poised to pass a so-called “clean” funding bill as soon as Friday that is free of those same GOP immigration provisions.

House Republicans want a House-Senate conference committee to try to find common ground between the two measures. But Senate Democrats are continuing to insist that they’ll only back a clean funding bill, and could vote to block the Senate from going to conference.

“Clean” in this case means a bill that gives them what they want.

WHATEVER YOU DO, IT’S NEVER ENOUGH, AND YOU’RE STILL THE BAD GUY BECAUSE YOU HAVE A Y CHROMOSOME: Vivek Wadhwa: Why I am stepping out of the debate on women in technology. “I have little doubt that we will see a significant shift in the culture of the technology industry towards greater acceptance and inclusion of diversity. But achieving this will only be possible if moderate and constructive voices lead the debate. My worry is that personal agendas, fringe groups, and the media will make the discussion toxic.” Yeah, well, for the activists, that’s not a bug, but a feature. After all, if the problems get solved and everybody’s happy, they’re out of a job.

ROGER SIMON: The New New New New Anti-Semitism.

Prostitution may be the world’s oldest profession, but anti-Semitism is probably the world’s oldest bigotry. It’s come and gone and come and gone and then come and gone again since the days of the pharaohs.

Well, maybe it was never really gone, but, like cancer, it was in remission. Born at the end of World War II, I was one of those lucky Jews to be born in a period of remission as never before seen, particularly in the United States.

It’s over. And how it’s over. You don’t need a poll to tell you that, but a new one just conducted by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law tells us that 54 percent of self-identified Jewish students in 55 college across the country experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism during the 2013-2014 school year. Whoa! Welcome to the University of Berlin.

At the same time, the David Horowitz Freedom Center has published a “Top 10″ academic institutions for Jew hatred with two Ivies — Columbia and Cornell — at the top. Representatives of Columbia are already crying foul, but with Rashid Khalidi director of their Middle East studies department, what do they expect? He’s not exactly an impartial academic, more like Mahmoud Abbas with better credentials. (Abbas got his PhD in Moscow for a thesis denying the Holocaust.)

I can understand why the university would be concerned, however. A lot of parents, not to mention alumni and donors, are probably a bit perturbed to see the institution at the top of such a list. More importantly, how about prospective students? If I were a young person, I wouldn’t want to apply at this point. The idea of Columbia with a judenrein student body, given the overwhelming contribution of Jews to the university’s past, is as tragic as it is hard to fathom.

But then, as we all know, American academia is just part of the global zeitgeist, albeit a shameful and especially dangerous part.

Indeed.

February 26, 2015

NATIONAL REVIEW: Walker Thrills a Packed House at CPAC.

FCC COMMISSIONER MIKE O’RIELLY ON THE “NET NEUTRALITY” RULES: “When you see this document, it’s worse than you imagine.”

I dunno, I can imagine an awful lot. But we know it’s awful because they kept it secret before they enacted it. More:

The historic vote was cheered by internet activists, President Barack Obama and many in the tech community. However, few people have seen the actual orders. On Friday the FCC was finalising its documentation for publication – it it is not expected to release the orders until next week at the very earliest.

Pai said the new rules would mean “permission-less innovation is a thing of the past”. The new rules will ban broadband providers from creating fast lanes for some or slowing the traffic of others for commercial reasons. They will also give the FCC the power to police conduct by broadband providers on a case-by-case basis.

Internet service providers will not be allowed to “unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage” consumers’ access to content and services.

O’Rielly said this would mean that any company looking to start a new service would have to seek permission ahead of time. He said anybody looking for new business opportunities in the document would be best off becoming a “telecoms lawyer.”

So at least there’s an upside!

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IN MY OWN OBSERVATION, SUPPORT FOR SOCIALISM SEEMS TO BE CLOSELY LINKED WITH A WILLINGNESS TO CHEAT ON TAXES: Greece Struggles to Get Citizens to Pay Their Taxes.

During the country’s centurieslong occupation by the Ottomans, avoiding taxes was a sign of patriotism. Today, that distrust is focused on the government, which many Greeks see as corrupt, inefficient and unreliable.

“Greeks consider taxes as theft,” said Aristides Hatzis, an associate professor of law and economics at the University of Athens. “Normally taxes are considered the price you have to pay for a just state, but this is not accepted by the Greek mentality.” . . . Alleged corruption among politicians only strengthens Greeks’ conviction that evading taxes in their own everyday lives isn’t a serious crime, and little stigma is attached to getting caught, unlike in other European countries or even the U.S.

That said, this is consistent with my own warning from 2009.

THE U.S. PRESIDENTS, ranked by hotness. “I look at Rutherford B. Hayes, and all I see is beard. So I just tried to rank him based on his beard. (His beard is great!)”

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S crackdown on prostitution. They told me if I voted for Mitt Romney. . . oh, hell, you know the rest.

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