MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Cashing In On The Final Frontier. You know, space development may turn out to be Obama’s main positive legacy.

PC RUINS EVERYTHING, EXAMPLE 9,327,263: A Pirelli calendar with NO nude models? Serena Williams, Patti Smith and Amy Schumer pose for iconic calendar as it abandons naked supermodels for, er, naked ‘women of achievement.’

Much like the NFL donning pink shoes in October, that should go over well with their core demographic.


● COP21: Obama on risk of ‘submerged countries, abandoned cities.’
—Headline, the BBC, today.

● “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
—Then-Sen. Obama, as transcribed on 11/05/2008 in “Obama’s Nomination Victory Speech In St. Paul” at the Huffington Post.

Related: “The Paris Climate Talks Will Emit 300,000 Tons of CO2, by Our Math. Hope It’s Worth It,”

Wired magazine, broadcasting from Condé Nast’s giant air-conditioned server farm, which apparently they haven’t yet voluntarily shuttered as an example for the rest of us as to how serious this all is.

BIRTH CONTROL: The IUD: Can Birth Control Be Too Good?

AT THE MOVIES WITH FRANÇOIS AND HITCH: The New York Times looks back at a landmark book on movie production:

Culled from six days of interviews that the French director François Truffaut conducted with his idol Alfred Hitchcock, the book “Hitchcock” immediately stood out from other books about movies when it was published in an English translation in 1967.

“There is not another instance of one practicing director paying homage to another in the entire history of books on cinema,” the critic Andrew Sarris, one of America’s earliest Hitchcock champions, wrote in a review in The Chicago Tribune in January 1968.

In The New York Times, Eliot Fremont-Smith called it “one of the most revealing and engrossing books on film art, technique and history ever put together.” And the critic Charles Champlin of The Los Angeles Times offered a suggestion: “It’s one book that would absolutely make a heck of a movie.”

Now it has. The documentary “Hitchcock/Truffaut,” which opens Wednesday, Dec. 2, and takes its name from the informal title of Truffaut’s book, is both a companion piece to the text and an extension of it. Directed by Kent Jones, the movie draws heavily on Hitchcock clips, the original interview audiotapes, stills taken of the encounter by the photographer Philippe Halsman and interviews with current filmmakers.

Plus this very droll moment:

To Whit Stillman, director of “Metropolitan,” the book was so readable in part because of the familiarity of the films but also because of the tome’s graphic design: “the high-water mark of sans serif lettering,” he said by Skype of the cover.

To be fair, it seemed like all books published during that period looked like that, as Helvetica seemed omnipresent. But few books contained the knowledge of a master showman telling the world how it was done. Read the whole thing.

NARRATIVE UBER ALLES: Ann Althouse: Chuck Todd was heavily pushing the politicization of the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting. The goal here is to discredit the videos — to be achieved, it seems, simply by calling them “discredited videos,” without doing any, you know, actual discrediting — and then rehabilitate Planned Parenthood and Hillary’s #waronwomen campaign theme.

HISTORY’S 7 Greatest Flying Aces.

SHUT UP AND PLAY YOUR COMPUTER: Product Review: Jam Origin’s MIDI Guitar 2 VST Plugin.

Apologies to Frank Zappa and his awesome “Shut Up and Play Your Guitar” albums for the above headline — but over at the PJ Lifestyle blog, I have a review of a pretty cool new computer music recording plugin for those who would like to get their electric guitars playing (reasonably) nicely with their software synthesizers.

MORE GOOD NEWS ABOUT SPACE: My USA Today column: Cashing In On The Final Frontier. You know, space development may turn out to be Obama’s main positive legacy.

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NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SCIENCE: Don’t Hire The Hot Nanny. On Twitter, somebody invoked Arnold Schwarzenegger as the counterexample, but I think the answer is that if you’re on enough testosterone, they’re all hot.

THE NATIONAL INTEREST: Political Correctness Goes To War on American History. “George Orwell once remarked that Stalin’s Soviet Union was a place yesterday’s weather could be changed by decree. America, it seems, is not wholly immune to this totalitarian impulse either.”

JOSH BLACKMAN SPANKS RICHARD POSNER: Posner: The 14th Amendment is “Old, Cryptic, or Vague.” But What About Article III? “At bottom, Posner candidly rejects any fidelity to the text of the Constitution. That invariably includes, of course, the parchment barrier that allows him to append the honorific ‘Judge’ to his name. Yes, Richard Posner’s powers derive not from his boundless intellect, but from the bounds of Article III.”

This has implications that go far beyond the judiciary. The only reason for not tarring and feathering any government official for effrontery when they tell us what to do is that their power to do so is somehow legitimate. But that legitimacy comes from the exercise of constitutional power. If the Constitution doesn’t mean anything, well, then, maybe it’s time to go long on pitchforks. Because without the Constitution the angry mob is just as legitimate as the perfumed princes of the state.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Charles Koch: Most Businessmen Don’t Support Free Market Capitalism.

Far more businessmen cease being capitalists and morph into corporatists, once their business reaches a large enough size.

EPA NEW-HIRE HITS BONUS JACKPOT: An unnamed EPA finance executive allegedly did such a fantastic job that she got two performance bonuses totaling $9,000 even though she’d been on the job for less than three months. The acting director of her office didn’t even know about the second bonus. The EPA’s inspector general said there are no rules that bar such quick bonuses but he could find no prior examples to match this one.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 935.

BRINGING NEW MEANING TO THE PHRASE, “RUN TO DAYLIGHT:” As it turns out, the NFL’s arrest streak is alive and well at 80 months.

After blogging quite a bit about the NFL during the early days of Ed in 2002-2003, I cut back greatly when I noticed that category was starting to resemble the police blotter far more than the sports page.

NO BLOW IS TOO LOW WHEN THE NARRATIVE IS AT STAKE: WaPo: Let’s hold free speech guilty for the acts of a lunatic, shall we? Ed Morrissey is uncharacteristically fierce:

So let’s get this straight. When a lunatic shoots up a Family Research Council office, it has nothing to do with its political opposition. When an abortionist runs loose because public officials are too intimidated to enforce the laws that do exist, it has nothing to do with political support for abortion. But when a lunatic shoots up an abortion clinic, it’s the fault of millions of Americans who oppose abortion, and who argue peacefully for limits on the practice and better oversight of those who operate in the industry?

Even when “police have not yet identified a clear motive for the shooting”?

The shootings in a clinic and the deaths of two people are horrific acts that everyone with a lick of sense and humanity abhors. But what the Washington Post and pro-abortion advocates are conducting in its wake is an attack on free speech and the political process, not to mention the unconscionable smearing of millions of Americans. It’s disgusting, manipulative, exploitative, and un-American. Shame on them, and shame on the Washington Post for its egregious bias.

Just think of them as Democratic Party operatives with bylines and you won’t go far wrong.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Getting To The Next American Dream:

It’s small businesses that revitalize neighborhoods, give poor people a chance to get ahead. And ultimately, it’s some of the small businesses of today that will become the innovative big firms of tomorrow.

But these aren’t normal times, and small business matters even more. We live in times when the old drivers of employment like big business, government, and the NGO sector are less and less effective at generating growth and prosperity. The collapse of employment in the manufacturing sector, and the steady pressure on white collar and clerical work driven by automation, means that established firms aren’t generating jobs as quickly. That’s driving wage stagnation and exacerbating inequality. And the new normal of slower job growth also means that many of the conventional career tracks in business and the professions aren’t as reliable a glide path to a comfortable middle class existence as they used to be.

Accelerating the formation of innovative new businesses is the only real way to address this problem in the long run. Millennials and their successors are going to have to create the jobs they want rather than hoping that corporate and government bureaucracies will provide them with lifelong careers.

This isn’t an impossible dream. Today labor costs are relatively low and information and communications technology are creating resources that smart and creative people can use to build new businesses. Harnessing the power of the internet and information technology to improve the lives of people around you is one of the greatest business opportunities of all time. But as a society, we are making it harder, not easier, for these creative new business ideas to emerge.

Free enterprise is great for growth, income mobility and self-actualization. But it produces insufficient opportunities for graft.

But if you’re a campaign policy maven or speechwriter and you want to do something about this, let me recommend Jim Bennett and Michael Lotus’s America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century: Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come. Read it. You’ll be glad you did.


Mayor de Blasio’s affordable-housing plan is in shambles. There’s traffic chaos in the streets. Sixty percent of New Yorkers say they see more homeless people around. And 48 percent of New Yorkers don’t want de Blasio to have a second term.

So what does the mayor do? He races back into the arms of the special interests who helped get him elected. That’s right — he’s re-embracing the nuts who want to ban the Central Park carriage horses.

Back in early 2011, when New York City was hip deep in a foot and a half or more of white powdery global warming and snow removal was spotty at best and nonexistent at worst, Victor Davis Hanson coined “The Bloomberg Syndrome:”

It is a human trait to focus on cheap and lofty rhetoric rather than costly, earthy reality. It is a bureaucratic characteristic to rail against the trifling misdemeanor rather than address the often-dangerous felony. And it is political habit to mask one’s own failures by lecturing others on their supposed shortcomings. Ambitious elected officials often manage to do all three.The result in these hard times is that our elected sheriffs, mayors, and governors are loudly weighing in on national and global challenges that are quite often out of their own jurisdiction, while ignoring or failing to solve the very problems that they were elected to address.

Quite simply, the next time your elected local or state official holds a press conference about global warming, the Middle East, or the national political climate, expect to experience poor county law enforcement, bad municipal services, or regional insolvency.

And in de Blasio’s case, the biggest political obsession with horses since Caligula.

THE FRAGILE FRENCH REPUBLIC: The country’s politics are beset by a unique anxiety that the entire system could collapse. Why? Because they’ve been living a fantasy for half a century.

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JOEL KOTKIN: Jerry Brown’s Insufferable Green Piety.

Outsiders think of California as a prosperous place that mints billionaires, but overall the state’s economic recovery has done little for many, if not most, state residents. Even with the boom in Silicon Valley, roughly one in three Californians live check to check, the state has [a] higher rate of poverty than Mississippi, as well as one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients. Among the emerging Latino majority, a prime Brown constituency, the state’s cost-adjusted poverty rate is more than 33 percent, compared to just 22.7 percent in Texas, a state often derided as unenlightened and cruel.

During this “boom,” most California blue-collar workers in farming, fishing, and forestry have experienced actual average wage decreases. Employment in fields such as construction and manufacturing remain well below their 2007 levels. Much of this has to do with environmental regulation, which has raised energy costs almost twice those of nearby competitors and also helped raise housing prices to an unsustainable level.

Once the beacon of opportunity, California is becoming a graveyard of middle-class aspiration, particularly for the young. In a recent survey of states where “the middle class is dying,” based on earning trajectories for middle-income cohorts, Business Insider ranked California first, with shrinking middle-class earnings and the third-highest proportion of wealth concentrated in the top 20 percent.

Most hurt, though, are the poor. California is home to a remarkable 77 of the country’s 297 most “economically challenged,” cities based on levels of poverty and employment, according to a recent USC study; altogether these cities have a population of more than 12 million. Some stressed cities exist cheek-to-jowl with the state’s uber-rich—Oakland, Los Angeles, as well as Coachella, near Palm Springs. Most others are in the poorer, more heavily Latino interior, places like Riverside, Stockton, and Vallejo. Journalists who come to California to praise the governor may think it’s still “California Dreamin’” but for all too many, particularly away from the coast (PDF), it’s more like The Grapes of Wrath.

Of course, there’s a long history of such bifurcated society, where people tend to stay in their class and the poor depend largely on handouts from their spiritual “betters.” It’s called feudalism.

And that’s what our “betters” want for all of us.

ANDREW KLAVAN: Narrative Wrestling After Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooting Dishonors the Dead:

In moments like this, it is always wise to remember Klavan’s First Rule of Mainstream Media Reporting: Whenever the prejudices and illusions of left-wingers are confirmed by an individual incident, the incident is treated as representative; when those prejudices and illusions are contradicted, the incident is considered an aberration — and treating it as representative is deemed hateful.

Read the whole thing.


Over 200 people were arrested earlier today in Paris when protesters on hand for the COP21 global warming talks turned violent and trashed a memorial at the Place de la Republique for the victims of the terror attacks earlier this month.

Huh — when headlines last year proclaimed that “Democrats say climate change a bigger threat than ISIS,” who knew this was what they had in mind?


One common denominator characterizes almost all unrest on college campuses: the demands to create more “-studies” courses (black, Latino, feminist, gay, etc.) and thus to hire more -studies professors.

An empiricist from Mars might observe that the chief beneficiaries of the protests are -studies academics. They alone will win more jobs and classes, which otherwise few students wish to attend and from which fewer gain any factual knowledge, written and oral speaking skills, or improvement in inductive thinking.

A good leftist would cite conflict of interest: the more -studies professors egg on students to protest for more -studies professors, the more their friends, students, and mentors profit. Or is it more insidious: students also want more -studies courses to ensure more gut classes with easy As to inflate GPAs and free up more time to hit the gym and the local protest? So far there are few demands to make the physics department more diverse or to hire more engineering professors.

If some right-wing nut wished to harm leftist students and wanted to ensure that they stay indebted, leave college poorly prepared, and do not impress future employers, then he would likely advocate for the curtailment of traditional history, language, science, math courses and their faculty, and the expansion of more -studies courses and professors.

Go forth and read the whole thing!



THEY’LL DO FOR IT WHAT THEY’VE DONE FOR HEALTHCARE, IF THEY’RE ALLOWED: Congressional Q&A: Feds finding ways to grab control of Internet.

Since the Federal Communications Commission passed Title II regulations reclassifying Internet service providers as common utility companies in February, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., has been at the forefront of the fight to reverse them. Critics say the rule change represents an overreach by the FCC, erodes consumer protection and curtails free speech rights.

If a federal court takes action, there may be no need for a congressional solution. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is set to hear oral arguments against the rules on Dec. 4. Blackburn has led a coalition of 22 lawmakers in filing an amicus brief supporting appellants in the case, arguing that Congress never granted the FCC the statutory authority to reclassify an industry on its own.

This should play out like MCI v. AT&T, but the courts have been AWOL a lot on administrative overreach.

AGE OF OFFENSE REACHES NEW LOW, Christine M. Flowers writes in the Philadelphia Daily News:

The reason? Well, they tried to dress it up in language that did not seem as if Tina Fey had written it for a Saturday Night Live sketch, but the truth was fairly obvious: “Yoga has been under a lot of controversy lately due to how it is being practiced and what practices from what cultures . . . they are being taken from. Many of these cultures are cultures that have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy, and we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves and while practicing yoga.”

The day that yoga becomes culturally offensive is the day that Mr. Rogers becomes a metrosexual icon. In other words, anyone who has a problem with Westerners (or rather, 21st-century colonialists) teaching yoga classes to disabled students — for free! — is a real pain in the asana.

This is up there with women on campus carrying around mattresses because they want the world to take their complaints about sexual abuse seriously (right, toting a Serta through the cafeteria line is exactly the way to avoid ridicule). This is up there with complaining about red Starbucks cups at Christmas. This is up there with Ivy League students being told what Halloween costumes they can wear so as not to offend indigenous zombies. This is right up there with a white guy going on a hunger strike until the University of Kansas instituted “mandatory, intense” racial re-education workshops for students (bro, look in the mirror). And yes, this is up there with allowing a same-sex couple to throw a legally compensated hissy fit because one particular baker out of the hundreds of thousands of millions in the world would not serve up a wedding cake.

Heh. Unless things have changed dramatically from when I last regularly read the Philadelphia Daily News 20 years ago, given the Bletchley Park-level sensitivities to offense of that paper’s readers, I’m surprised this article didn’t come with a giant red “TRIGGER WARNING” atop it.

Related: There Is No Bigger Threat to Millennials Than Liberalism.

GREAT MOMENTS IN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: Firewoman allowed to graduate NYC Fire Academy despite flunking physical injured 10 days into job.

(Headline via Power Line.)

WASHINGTON POST: Hillary Clinton panders to middle-class voters with unrealistic tax promises.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT OVER THE WEEKEND: Walter Olson Highlights Demands Of Campus Activists.

JOHN LEWIS: Black Lives Matter Movement ‘Must Understand’ the Way of Peace.

I appreciate the sentiment — and I also remember Lewis’ role in racially demagoguing and playing the race card against an actual peaceful protest from the right.

SNOWFALLS ARE NOW JUST A THING OF THE PAST. Or, two London Independents in one!

● “Paris climate change talks: What the different groups attending expect from these crucial meetings.”

—Headline, London Independent, yesterday.

“Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.”

—Headline, London Independent, March 20, 2000.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Marco Rubio Vows to Restore Intelligence Programs Restricted by Obama.

From Roger Simon; article illustration by yours truly.


NEW YORK CITY BANS THE HOVERBOARD: The nanny state stands athwart the future, yelling stop.

New York’s punitive leftists are second only to Sacramento’s in starting each day thinking “What are we going to ban today?”

Related: “Rip Them Out.”

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ALLUM BOKHARI: Everything The World Has Culturally Appropriated From The West.

Cultural appropriation is the idea that adopting elements of a foreign culture, from dressing up as Mariachis to wearing dreadlocks if you’re not black, is oppressive. Ein volk, ein culture. Naturally, the concept was invented by campus progressives.

The consequence of this regressive, segregationist view of culture is the rise of racial identity politics on campus. But that’s not what this article is about. In my research on cultural appropriation, I’ve uncovered a shocking truth, a great, unspoken crime against humanity, hidden in plain sight. It is the greatest, longest-running, and most heinous act of appropriation in global history.

The appropriation of Western Civilisation.

This diabolical act of appropriation has been hidden in plain sight. For centuries, nation after nation brutally, viciously, mercilessly appropriated western culture. Just as they did Rwanda, an uncaring world averted its eyes, and this act of global racism has gone unacknowledged. Until now.

Half-Pakistani in descent, I feel a personal sense of guilt at how non-western countries have unapologetically oppressed their fellow nations. I’ve therefore taken it upon myself to compile a list of all the things the world has culturally appropriated from the west, in hope that this injustice might one day be corrected.

Read the whole thing. (Sorry, attribution was wrong at first.)


An outspoken and polarizing New York celebrity, who’s a bestselling author and familiar TV presence, decides to run for office even though he has no previous political experience. He’s famously contemptuous of political insiders, a seemingly contradictory stance considering he has an elite education and hails from a wealthy and well-connected family. His campaign ends up having significant impact on the national political conversation, in spite of the fact both the Republican and Democratic establishments are in agreement that his politics are too reactionary for him to actually win.

Sound familiar?

Read the whole thing — and don’t miss the spot-on comparison of Barack Obama to John Lindsay, and the same type of obsequious court stenographers that enabled both men.

THE NEW CAMPUS DISSENTERS: Not everyone is cowed by political intimidation at universities.

Even at the remove of several weeks, it is remarkable to recall that the disturbance at Yale University was over “offensive” Halloween costumes. But amid the protests, some important principles are now at risk, notably free speech. We asked at the time where the adults were on campus—either school presidents or boards of trustees? The answer, so far, is that most have caved like wet cardboard. The most hopeful adult response has come from 18- to 22-year olds—the students themselves.

At Claremont McKenna, where a dean was driven from office over a supposedly objectionable email, the student editors of the Claremont Independent published “We Dissent.”

The editors took themselves to task for not speaking out earlier. But no more. Their editorial ended: “We are not immoral because we don’t buy the flawed rhetoric of a spiteful movement. We are not evil because we don’t want this movement to tear across our campuses completely unchecked. We are no longer afraid to be voices of dissent.”

This political courage may be catching on. At Princeton last week, students under the banner of the Open Campus Coalition sent President Eisgruber their own strong statement of dissent. It describes a student body intimidated to silence by the likelihood of being vilified, in public or on social media. It ends: “Princeton undergraduates opposed to the curtailment of academic freedom refuse to remain silent out of fear of being slandered.” They signed their names and class years, and we hope their professors don’t dock their grades for thinking for themselves.

With campus administrators and faculty cowed by political correctness run amok, these students are shaping a movement of principled, civilized dissent. Let’s hope it grows.




STOP LAUGHING: Their “socialist program” will create “a sustainable reduction in deficits and debt.”  Because, you know, cheese and also radioactive penguins — which are as likely to cause a sustainable reduction in deficits as socialism is. In Portugal, being a socialist is never having to say you’re sorry.

NOT AGAIN: King Tut’s Tomb: Secret Chamber Search Is On.

THEY’RE COATING THEM IN POLITICIANS: Totally repellent: Quick and easy coating process makes surfaces omniphobic.

OKAY THEN: A threesome may explain behaviour of galaxy’s most bizarre star.

THEY’RE JUST MESSENGER BOYS PHOTONS: Physicists set quantum record by using photons to carry messages from electrons almost 2 kilometers apart.

SHUT UP, YOU’RE INTERRUPTING THE NARRATIVE: Media Rushes to Call Colorado Shooter ‘Right-Wing Activist.’ Here’s the Evidence For That Claim.  They probably know it’s not true, but if they can taint you by association they can make you shut up.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FLAN: Avis Should Try Harder, In Order to Avoid Breaking the Law.


IT’S COME TO THIS: Craft brewers say new FDA mandate will limit beer selection.

STOP SCARING ME: Polling the refugees: getting to know you.

November 29, 2015

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Marco Rubio Vows to Restore Intelligence Programs Restricted by Obama.

68 YEARS AGO TODAY THE U.N. CREATED A JEWISH STATE — They’ve Been Trying To Destroy It Ever Since.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: At UNC, abdicating the obligations of leadership in scandal.

WHY ARE DEMOCRAT-RUN CITIES SUCH HELLHOLES OF CORRUPTION, RACISM, AND VIOLENCE? The Corrupt System That Killed Laquan McDonald. “Until it is reformed, more Chicagoans will die needlessly at the hands of police. The failures are especially inexcusable in the aftermath of both a relatively recent police torture scandal and an off-the-books holding facility scandal where rights to an attorney were willfully denied. Each scandal illustrated the importance of sunlight in the Chicago police department. City leaders kept blocking it anyway.”

JOEL KOTKIN: Climate Hysteria Fostering A Climate Of Intolerance.

The Paris Climate Conference, convening this week, takes place in the very place where, arguably, the most dangerous exemplar of hysteria, the Islamic jihadi movement, has left its bloody mark. Yet the think tank mavens, academics, corporate shills and endless processions of bureaucrats gather in the City of Light not to confront the immediate deadly threat, but to ramp up their own grisly scenarios and Draconian solutions.

Welcome to the age of hysteria, where friends and foes, and even those who blissfully talk past each other, whip themselves into an emotional frenzy that bears no discussion, debate or nuance. Rather than entering a technological age of reason, we seem to lurching towards a high-tech middle ages, where warring bands – greens, jihadis, libertarians, social conservatives, nationalists – immerse themselves not in intellectual competition but, inflating their own individual outrage. In this environment, exaggeration and hysteria are weapons of recruitment, while opposition is met with demeaning attacks, potential imprisonment and, at the worst, vicious acts of violence.

Rather than address possible shortcomings in their models, climate change activists increasingly tend to discredit critics as dishonest and tools of the oil companies. There is even a move to subject skeptics to criminal prosecution for deceiving the public.

How much this does for our understanding of the complexities of climate seems questionable, but the incessant campaign on the issue clearly is having an effect on the society’s rationality. Canadian psychologists have already found elevated levels of anxiety among young people, who, after all, have been told that their world could be coming to an end, no matter what we do.

My solution: Tax the Blue Zones! Also, ban government funded travel for bureaucrats and academics. We have Skype now, and the planet is at risk!!!!

ODDLY ENOUGH, NOT AN ARTICLE ABOUT SMOD: Another danger of climate change: Giant flying boulders?


It was one of those stunning live-TV moments revealing the seamier side of TV news.  Pat Brown is a criminal profiler who has taken a principled stand on media appearances about mass murderers. She will not discuss individual criminals, their motives, etc., believing that to do so only increases the number of mass murders.

But when Brown appeared on CNN’s New Day this morning, co-host Christi Paul immediately tried to engage her in a discussion of Colorado Springs shooter Robert Dear’s possible “anti-government” views. Retorted Brown: “I’m a little disturbed because I made an agreement with CNN to appear this morning only under the condition that we do not talk about the particular shooter, use his name, or show his face.” Undeterred, Paul tried to lure Brown into a discussion of the shooting investigation, but again Brown rebuffed it There the interview ended, but co-host Victor Blackwell came on to claim that the agreement had been honored because neither Dear’s photo nor name had been used. Didn’t use Dear’s name? Really? Have a look at the screencap, Mr. Blackwell.

This is CNN.


On November 29, 1995, President Clinton grudgingly signed a highway bill repealing the much-hated National Maximum Speed Limit. In 1973, President Nixon signed the NMSL into law in an effort to force people to save gas. This law allowed the federal government to withhold federal highway money from states that didn’t drop their speed limit to 55 mph. Real-world fuel savings were negligible. Safety activists proclaimed that it saved a lot of lives, and would bring out charts showing that the highway fatality rate had dropped since the law was enacted. The starting point for said charts was when the law was enacted, and sure enough, the fatality rate decreased in the years after. Had they shown a chart going back decades, you would have seen that the fatality rate had been declining since the late 1940s.

Since she’s simultaneously running on nostalgia for the post-Cold War pre-GWOT go-go happy fun time 1990s and yet against so many of President Clinton’s policies, do we know what Hillary thinks about her husband signing this into law?

RAHM EMANUEL HOLDS OTHERS ACCOUNTABLE ON POLICE SHOOTING VIDEO, NOT HIMSELF: “If the video had come out during the election campaign, Rahm Emanuel would not be mayor today.”

Related: “Producer of anti-Islam film arrested, ordered held without bail.”

Also: “For violating a minor election law, Dinesh D’Souza was punished heavily. Even his liberal lawyer has realized his conviction was politically motivated.”

What is it with Obama and his associates such as Rahm (Obama’s former White House Chief of Staff) and Hillary (his Secretary of State) being complicit in suppressing videos and video makers?

ENVIRONMENTALISM HAS ALWAYS BEEN A RELIGION OF THE ELITES: Germans reluctant to go green, survey finds.

In fact, the modern environmental movement has its roots in efforts by rich landowners to block the (environmentally friendly!) Storm King pumped storage facility because they were afraid it would hurt their views. Not much has changed in 50 years.


Fans of state intervention in the economy — call them government creationists — insist on giving as much power as possible to an all-wise, all-powerful daddy figure whom they elect to, for instance, “fix” climate change or health care with a top-down agenda restricting innovation and imposing ever-more regulations. Their enemy is experimentation, incremental change — evolution.

Their intelligent designs turn out to be incredibly stupid in practice, and for their failures the central planners expect to be rewarded with more and more power. As British politician Douglas Carswell says in “The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy,” planners “consistently underrate the importance of spontaneous, organic arrangements and fail to recognize that the best plan is often not to have one.”*

Plus this:

The Internet is a similar story; Al Gore and Barack Obama brag that the government created it. The truth is that it wasn’t until government got out of the way that what was once the Arpanet, a Pentagon creation, evolved into the Internet. “If you really want to see the Arpanet as the origin of the Internet,” Ridley asks, “please explain why the government sat on it for 30 years and did almost nothing with it until it was effectively privatized in the 1990s, with explosive results.”

Until 1989, the government actually prohibited Arpanet from being used for private or commercial ends. Ridley quotes a handbook distributed to MIT users of the Arpanet that read, in the 1980s, “sending electronic messages over the Arpanet for commercial profit or political purposes is both antisocial and illegal.”

Read the whole thing.

* So the benefits of dynamism over stasim, to coin a phrase.

AP BLOCKED REPORT THAT PALESTINIANS REJECTED ISRAELI STATEHOOD OFFER. In 2009, “a long-time Jerusalem reporter learned of an Israeli offer that would give a majority of the West Bank and all of Gaza—including a corridor between them—to the Palestinians. But his scoop was blocked,” as former AP man Mark Lavie writes in his article at Tablet:

In March 2009, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was interviewed in Arabic on Al-Jazeera. When I saw the MEMRI translation I immediately understood its significance: Erekat disclosed that Abbas had turned down an offer that would have given the Palestinians a state in almost all of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and parts of Jerusalem. Then I found out about the map. No one else had the story.

Excited about this scoop, I raced into my bureau chief’s office at the AP in Jerusalem. Imagine my shock when I was told it’s not a story—and I was banned from writing about it. It just couldn’t be a legitimate story, in line with the new definition of journalism.

The profession I joined in the 1960s wasn’t about helping anyone. It was about reporting and explaining the news. This new definition of journalism, apparently requires choosing sides. This became clear to me as long ago as 1988, at the beginning of the First Intifada, when I saw a reporter jump out of her car in the middle of a Gaza riot and shout at the Palestinians throwing rocks at the vehicle: “Why are you doing this? I’m trying to help you!” Like most Western media sources, she wanted to frame the uprising—the Palestinians as people—as helpless victims, to pillory the Israelis as the cruel oppressors. Stories that didn’t fit that framework had a hard time seeing the light of day. Even a peace offer.

So, naturally, despite the fact that Israel offered the Palestinians a state twice—in 2000 and 2008—the world saw Israel as the intransigent side. The 2008 proposal was largely unreported in world media.


DON’T DISTURB THE LEFT’S NARRATIVE WITH REALITY: Top Political Donors: SEIU #1, Koch Brothers #49.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: If Billionaires are an Indicator, Going to a Top College Doesn’t Really Matter.

DANIELE STRUPPA: Beware The Slippery Slope Of Censorship. “Academia, once so fiercely supportive of free speech and against any form of censorship, is now beginning to question its value. Some, in fact, are proposing to put explicit limits on it.” A cynic might say that academia became fiercely supportive of free speech when such a stance was useful to protect leftists within its ranks, and lost interest in free speech once the leftists took control.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Four Tough Things Universities Should Do To Rein In Costs.

Universities in the United States are the best in the world, but the cost of attending them is rising faster than the cost of almost anything else. Professors blame administrative bloat, administrators blame a decline in state funding, politicians blame unproductive faculties who’ve become too set in their ways.

Yet while students are paying more, they are getting less, at least as measured by learning outcomes, intellectual engagement, time with professors and graduation rates. And although students are working more hours at outside jobs and receiving more tuition assistance, student debt now exceeds credit card debt and has become something of a national obsession.

So you would expect universities to have embarked on the fundamental restructuring that nearly every other sector has done to reduce costs and improve quality. They haven’t. Oh, yes, pay and hiring have been frozen, travel budgets cut, secretaries eliminated and class sizes increased, even as cheaper graduate students and adjunct professors have been hired to teach more. Everything has been done that can be done — except changing the traditions, rhythms and prerogatives of academic life.

“There is a cultural aversion to thinking about cost,” explains Carol Twigg, president of the National Center for Academic Transformation, who for more than 15 years has run successful pilot projects in course redesign that have significantly cut instructional costs while improving student outcomes at scores of universities.

Do tell.

Related: Michael Barone: Republicans need to think about cutting public sector jobs and universities’ administrative bloat.

Also: The shame of the campuses: Lying administrators.

IT TURNS OUT THAT CAR DEALERS aren’t all that enthusiastic about selling electric cars. “Industry insiders and those who follow the business closely say that dealers may also be worrying about their bottom lines. They assert that electric vehicles do not offer dealers the same profits as gas-powered cars. They take more time to sell because of the explaining required, which hurts overall sales and commissions. Electric vehicles also may require less maintenance, undermining the biggest source of dealer profits — their service departments.”


A TIMELY REMINDER: Amazon Carries Shooting Supplies.

IT’S NICE TO BE MENTIONED IN ARS TECHNICA: Could The Third Amendment Be Used To Fight The Surveillance State?

The article links one of my USA Today columns, but I have a more extensive treatment in this piece from the Tennessee Law Review’s Third Amendment symposium.


THEY TOLD ME IF WE RE-ELECTED BARACK OBAMA, SHARIA LAW WOULD GOVERN AMERICA’S HEARTLAND. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Univ. of Missouri prof arrested for dragging hijab-less teenage girl by the hair. “Youssif Zaghwani Omar, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri, was arrested on suspicion of child abuse this past week for ‘allegedly grabbing a 14-year-old female relative by the hair and dragging her into a car after he noticed she wasn’t wearing a hijab.’ Omar was at a local high school when he saw the girl without the Muslim headscarf.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: “Gaming Out The Holidays, and Why You Should Think Hard Before Doing It:”

So, you want to run a holiday-themed adventure for your tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) campaign.  Let’s skip ahead: yes, you really want to run one. No, you don’t care that they’re usually contrived and heavy-handed attempts to run a joke into the ground. Alas, you don’t have any other ideas right now — or, worse, you have this one killer idea, and you’re all agog to make your vision a reality.  Have I summed it up properly?

OK, So… this is going to happen, then.  Well, let’s see if we can mitigate the damage:

From Moe Lane at PJ Lifestyle blog. And yes, given the headline, I had fun putting together the Photoshop to accompany it:


IN THE MAIL: From Lois McMaster Bujold, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen.

Plus, today only at Amazon: iRobot Roomba 780 Vacuum Cleaning Robot for Pets and Allergies, $369 (38% off).

And, also today only: 75% or More Off Winter Coats & Jackets.

Plus: Amazon Echo: Only $149.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 934.


As the administrative state distorts the United States’ constitutional architecture, Clarence Thomas becomes America’s indispensable constitutionalist. Now in his 25th year on the Supreme Court, he is urging the judicial branch to limit the legislative branch’s practice of delegating its power to the executive branch.

In four opinions in 112 days between March 9 and June 29, Thomas indicted the increasing incoherence of the court’s separation of powers jurisprudence. This subject is central to today’s argument between constitutionalists and progressives. The former favor and the latter oppose holding Congress to its responsibilities and restricting executive discretion.

“The Constitution,” Thomas notes in Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads, “does not vest the federal government with an undifferentiated ‘governmental power.’ ” It vests three distinguishable types of power in three different branches. The court, Thomas says, has the “judicial duty” to enforce the vesting clauses as absolute and exclusive by policing the branches’ boundaries.

Particularly, it should prevent Congress from delegating to executive agencies the essentially legislative power of formulating “generally applicable rules of private conduct.” Such delegation, Thomas says, erases the distinction between “the making of law, and putting it into effect.” This occurs when Congress — hyperactive, overextended and too busy for specificity — delegates “policy determinations” that “effectively permit the President to define some or all of the content” of a rule of conduct.

Today, if Congress provides “a minimal degree of specificity” in the instructions it gives to the executive, the court, Thomas says, abandons “all pretense of enforcing a qualitative distinction between legislative and executive power.” As a result, the court has “overseen and sanctioned the growth of an administrative system that concentrates the power to make laws and the power to enforce them in the hands of a vast and unaccountable administrative apparatus that finds no comfortable home in our constitutional structure.”

Yes, the judicial abdication has been stunning.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Walter Olson: Some Highlights Of The Student Campus Demands.

AT AMAZON, deals galore in the Holiday Gift Guide.

And there are fresh “lightning deals” every hour, so keep checking!

HOW’S THAT WHOLE “ARAB SPRING” WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? Ross Douthat compares Syria with Spain in the 1930s.

PETER THIEL: If You’re Serious About The Environment, You Need To Back Nuclear Power.

The single most important action we can take is thawing a nuclear energy policy that keeps our technology frozen in time. If we are serious about replacing fossil fuels, we are going to need nuclear power, so the choice is stark: We can keep on merely talking about a carbon-free world, or we can go ahead and create one.

We already know that today’s energy sources cannot sustain a future we want to live in. This is most obvious in poor countries, where billions dream of living like Americans. The easiest way to satisfy this demand for a better life has been to burn more coal: In the past decade alone, China added more coal-burning capacity than America has ever had. But even though average Indians and Chinese use less than 30 percent as much electricity as Americans, the air they breathe is far worse. They deserve a third option besides dire poverty or dirty skies. . . .

What’s especially strange about the failed push for renewables is that we already had a practical plan back in the 1960s to become fully carbon-free without any need of wind or solar: nuclear power. But after years of cost overruns, technical challenges and the bizarre coincidence of an accident at Three Mile Island and the 1979 release of the Hollywood horror movie “The China Syndrome,” about a hundred proposed reactors were canceled. If we had kept building, our power grid could have been carbon-free years ago.

The anti-nuclear movement was put together by Tom Hayden et al. in the 1970s as a means of keeping the Vietnam-protest infrastructure alive. It was a very expensive choice for America, but what did they care? They were externalizing costs and internalizing benefits, just like the polluters they purported to despise.

JAZZ SHAW: What to Do About Guns and the Mentally Ill?

LOVING BIG BROTHER: Occidental Professors Voting to Give Students Power to Report Them for Microaggressions.

ON CAMPUS, A CLIMATE OF FEAR: Student publication Mocks ‘Safe Spaces’ And Gets Targeted for Defunding.


Don’t worry, I’m sure they don’t mean it — and “unexpectedly,” neither does AP.

NOBODY TELL NOTORIOUS ROBOPHOBE MATT YGLESIAS: The ‘world’s sexiest robot’ revealed: Eerily life-like female android turns heads in China.

RATHERGATE: Hollywood Trying to Rewrite History Again.

DAN MCLAUGHLIN: The Myth of “4 Million Conservative Voters Stayed Home in 2012.″

To the extent that any of these analyses are based on the proposition that Romney got millions fewer votes than McCain, they are provably wrong. What happened is pretty simple: some states and localities take longer to count the votes than others – some big cities are notorious for this, some count absentee ballots slowly, California traditionally counts very slowly, and some of the jurisdictions hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 were understandably slow getting finalized. But the final numbers are not what was originally available in the immediate aftermath of the election:

In 2004, George W. Bush got 62,039,572 votes vs 59,027,115 for John Kerry.

In 2008, John McCain got 59,950,323 votes vs 69,499,428 for Barack Obama – in other words, McCain lost about 2 million votes from what Bush had received, while Obama gained over 10 million vs Kerry’s total.

In 2012, Mitt Romney got 60,934,407 votes vs 65,918,507 for Obama – a million more votes for Romney than McCain, and 3.5 million fewer for Obama (but still up around 6 million compared to Kerry).

Presumably, some of Bush’s voters in 2004 stayed home in 2008 and 2012, while others switched to Obama or one of many minor third party candidates. But even if we compare Romney to Bush, he’s off by only a little over a million votes, not such an enormous number in an electorate of around 130 million people. And exit polling doesn’t really support the notion that self-identified conservatives were noticeably missing. . . .

So, the cavalry isn’t coming. The number of people who voted for a past Republican presidential candidate and not for Mitt Romney likely isn’t be much above the 1 million to 1.5 million range, not enough by itself to cover the distance between Romney and Obama, and the missing stay-at-home voters did not appreciably cut into the proportion of voters who think of themselves as “conservatives.”

But this doesn’t mean the electorate really is static, or that there’s no opportunity to improve on it. What it means is that the missing potential Republican voters are mostly people who have not been regular voters in the recent past, and many of them may not be politically engaged people who think of themselves as conservatives, whether or not their actual beliefs are.

Read the whole thing.

MY FRIEND BLAKE POWERS IS HAVING A BLACK FRIDAY SALE: Flight of the Fantasy is 99c; Slaughterhouse is free; and A Different View, with an introduction by yours truly is also 99c

PROBABLY A COMET: Alien megastructure? Nothing to see around formerly weird star, scientists say.  Yes, Yes, I know.
awiensHappy now?

IT’S MY BACKUP IF SMOD FAILS US AGAIN: CERN’s Large Hadron Collider hits 1-PeV milestone with heavy ions (and re-ignites doomsday talk).

BUT WHAT SOUND DOES GRASS MAKE AS IT GROWS: A Graphene Microphone Could Pick Up Sounds Far Beyond the Limits of Human Hearing.