AT AMAZON: Beautiful things for men.
July 31, 2015
MSNBC AXES THREE PROGRAMS, INCLUDING THE ED SHOW:
MSNBC’s lineup is going to look different soon — the news(ish) network is cancelling “The Cycle,” “Now With Alex Wagner” and “The Ed Show.” Alex Wagner and “Cycle” host Ari Melber are sticking around in MSNBC in some capacity, but Ed Schultz and “Cycle” hosts Toure, Krystal Ball and Abby Huntsman will be leaving MSNBC.
“Somehow Al Sharpton remains,” Jim Geraghty deadpans.
It’s NBC and Comcast’s protection money.
RELAX — SOCIAL SECURITY IS BACKED BY THE PROMISES OF POLITICIANS WHO’LL BE OUT OF OFFICE BY THEN: Did You Ever Notice the Asterisk on Your Social Security Statement? “Clearly, in 2009, the government’s prediction — that Social Security would have to be cut to 78 percent of benefits come 2041 — was overly optimistic. Now, in 2015, they are projecting 2033, eight years earlier, with one percentage point less of my projected benefits. The projections have steadily worsened over the past few years, helped by a much weaker economy than the federal government expected. Does anyone really expect these numbers to get better?”
GOD & THE TWITTER MOB: “It seems to me that the Internet is taking the place of God for a lot of people,” Jonah Goldberg writes in his latest G-File:
The phrase “Character is what you do when no one is watching,” is really a way to get you to imagine that someone is watching you. We are relearning that someone is watching us, but we aren’t being taught that that someone is God.
We’ll see how that works out.
Read the whole thing. As with Jonah on the latest NR Cruise, pants are optional.
RELATED: “Marco Rubio Commits An Act Of Political Competence, Immediately Outpaces Most Republicans.” Rubio does a great job of spreading the word about the Planned Parenthood videos when caught in an ambush interview by TMZ.
It’s as easy to use Uber as it is not to. This is a priceless taste of transportation freedom formerly reserved for the oligarchs. As a non-driver, it’s almost enough to make me even like cars.
The chartering power, like the awesome functionality folks now command from their cell phones, enables the creation of new schools that are nimble, creative, and customized to the needs of students. And with a mission that isn’t bound by location and that doesn’t bow to the notion that some kids who live in the wrong borough or who have the wrong parents just won’t get a great education, they bring the same sort of “freedom” to the people that Uber does. In New York in particular, Uber and charter schools are opposite sides of the same disruptive, empowering coin.
If you like both of these things then Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent attacks on Uber at the behest of the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and its well-heeled, medallion-wielding financiers might look stunningly similar to his volleys against the city’s charter school sector.
The rhetoric is so similar that — short on time and desperate to support another protectionist monopoly — it’s like the mayor and his staff reused the same playbook. And the players all line up similarly as well. De Blasio and Governor Cuomo. The TLC and Uber. And, of course, the city’s charter sector and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).
Just compare the tactics.
When cronies defend cronies, it tends to look the same.
JIM GERAGHTY ON FLIGHT 370: “Reminder: This plane was almost certainly taken down deliberately. In fact, our government came to that conclusion a while ago but didn’t want to tell anyone.” “A preliminary assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies, produced in the wake of the MH370 disaster, suggested it was likely someone in the cockpit deliberately caused the aircraft’s movements to go off course before the Malaysian airliner disappeared. Two U.S. officials briefed on the matter said the assessment, which was not intended for public release, was prepared months ago and was solely based on available satellite and other evidence, and not based on more detailed findings by investigators. Another government official said the assessment is the most current view of U.S. officials based on what is known so far about the plane’s fate.”
THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Study: Beer Creates Jobs. “The Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association issued the report Tuesday during a congressional briefing. It claims that beer companies are responsible for 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product and more than $48.5 billion in taxes.” Well, there you have it. You don’t want to be anti-science, do you?
SIX THINGS THAT HAPPENED WHILE THE INTERNET WAS MELTING DOWN OVER A LION.
By the way, any thoughts on whose life the Internet outrage mob will destroy next week?
FLASHBACK: HERBERT HOOVER INCREASED GOVERNMENT SPENDING 67%, MAKING HIM THE FOUNDER OF THE NEW DEAL.
It’s also worth remembering that in 1932, FDR didn’t run on scaling up government even further. Instead, as Jesse Walker of Reason wrote in 2008, Roosevelt “accused Herbert Hoover of ‘reckless and extravagant spending,’ and he further denounced the Republican incumbent for believing ‘we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible.’ Even when he called for interventions in the economy, he generally couched his words in the old liberals’ language of equal treatment rather than the new liberals’ vision of enlightened central planning.”
As Walker noted, the Democratic platform of 1932 “is a remarkable document, considering the way the party’s candidate went on to govern. It isn’t a libertarian manifesto—it endorses several subsidies and regulations—but it hardly embraces the enormous expansion in federal power that FDR would achieve.”
RELATED: Speaking of FDR, “Social Security Isn’t,” Steve Green reminds us Vodkapundit.
SCLEROTIC ONE PERCENTER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE LAUGHS AT THE IDEA OF HER BEING A CHAMPION FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: Which is entirely par for the course, since in April, “Hillary admitted that she was ‘surprised’ to learn that the people who told her small businesses have struggled in recent years were actually correct,” as Joel Gehrke of NRO wrote:
Clinton noted that small business creation has “stalled out,” to her chagrin. “I was very surprised to see that when I began to dig into it,” she said while campaigning in New Hampshire. “Because people were telling me this as I traveled around the country the last two years, but I didn’t know what they were saying and it turns out that we are not producing as many small businesses as we use to.”
The struggles of small businesses during President Obama’s administration are hardly a new subject on the campaign trail. Mitt Romney raised the issue throughout the 2012 presidential election.
And Hillary’s disdain for small business is hardly a new subject. In 1999, the late Tony Snow wrote:
When told [in 1994, that Hillarycare, the prototype for Obamacare] could bankrupt small businesses, Mrs. Clinton sighed, “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized small business in America.” When a woman complained that she didn’t want to get shoved into a plan not of her choosing, the first lady lectured, “It’s time to put the common good, the national interest, ahead of individuals.”
Hey, that last sentence sounds even better in the original German: “Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz.”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: About 85 percent of law students at California’s unaccredited schools drop out. Which is smart: “Only 20 percent of those who do graduate manage to pass the state bar.”
HOLDING COLLEGE CENSORS ACCOUNTABLE: George Leef from the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy has an excellent piece in Forbes about FIRE’s recent victory in the Hayden Barnes case and the importance of holding college administrators accountable for violating student and faculty rights. Check out Leef’s article here.
IT’S MORE THAN JUST A SPOT: Ruth Wisse in the Wall Street Journal on “Obama’s Racial Blind Spot” and how the Iran deal will fuel racism toward Jews:
Barack Obama’s election to the presidency represented to many Americans this country’s final triumph over racism. Reversing the record of slavery and institutionalized discrimination, his victory was hailed as a redemptive moment for America and potentially for humankind. How grotesque that the president should now douse that hope by fueling racism on a global scale.
Iranian regime is currently the world’s leading exponent of anti-Jewish racism. . . . Whereas Adolf Hitler and Reinhard Heydrich had to plot the “Final Solution” in secrecy, using euphemisms for their intended annihilation of the Jews of Europe, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweets that Israel “has no cure but to be annihilated.” Iran’s leaders, relishing how small Israel is, call it a “one bomb state,” and until the time arrives to deliver that bomb, they sponsor anti-Israel terrorism through Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militias. . . .
Perhaps Mr. Obama is oblivious to what the scholar Robert Wistrich (who died in May) called “the longest hatred” because it has been so much a part of his world as he moved through life. Muslim Indonesia, where he lived from age 6 to 10, trails only Pakistan and Iran in its hostility to Jews. An animus against Jews and Israel was a hallmark of the Rev.Jeremiah Wright’s church in Chicago that Mr. Obama attended for two decades. And before he ran for office, Mr. Obama carried the standard of the international left that invented the stigma of Zionism-as-imperialism. As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama felt obliged to repudiate his pastor (who had famously cursed America from the pulpit), and muted his far-left credentials. Mr. Obama was voted into office by an electorate enamored of the idea that he would oppose all forms of racism. He has not met that expectation.
Some Jewish critics of Mr. Obama may be tempted to put his derelictions in a line of neglect by other presidents, but there is a difference. Thus one may argue that President Roosevelt should have bombed the approach routes to Auschwitz or allowed the Jewish-refugee ship St. Louis to dock in the U.S. during World War II, but those were at worst sins of omission. In sharpest contrast, President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran is an act of commission. This is the first time the U.S. will have deliberately entered into a pact with a country committed to annihilating another people—a pact that doesn’t even require formal repudiation of the country’s genocidal aims.
Exactly. Why most American Jews are standing silently by, like sheeple, in the face of these facts is a utter mystery to me. Why did American Jews not demand, at a minimum, Iran’s repudiation of its genocidal aims against Israel? Admittedly, such a repudiation would not have changed the hearts and minds of the Iranians, but it would have at least forced the Administration to publicly recognize and discuss Iran’s genocidal intentions.
As it stands, however, the genocidal aims of Iran toward Israel have been swept under the rug, not even worthy of discussion, which is exactly what the Obama Administration wanted. The Administration’s failure to even discuss the inhumanity of Iran’s racist/ethnic hatred is both shameful and telling, particularly given that Obama is our first black president whose entire presidency has focused incessantly on issues of race and ethnicity. The Obama Administration’s indifference to Iran’s hatred of Jews will further fan the flames such hatred across the globe.
The only explanation I can fathom for American Jews’ acquiescence to the Iran deal is that most are liberals/progressives first, Jews second. How tragic that this attitude has emerged only one generation removed from the Holocaust.
IF YOU STRIKE ME DOWN… Ex–Top Gear Trio Will Make a Car Show for Amazon Prime:
Alongside fellow ex–Top Gear hosts James May and Richard Hammond, the irascible [Jeremy Clarkson, formerly of the BBC's Top Gear series, aka "The Anti-Scold"] has signed on to host a new automotive series on Amazon Prime, which will start streaming sometime next year. It’s a savvy move, contractually: The non-compete clause in the trio’s old BBC contract apparently only forbade them from signing with a competing British channel for two years, and said absolutely nothing about working with the content-producing arm of an American logistics company.
I wonder if any BBC subscribers will weigh what they’re getting for their mandatory license fees versus what’s included for voluntarily signing up with Amazon Prime or Netflix?
IN THE MAIL: From Jim C. Hines, Fable: Blood of Heroes.
Plus, today only at Amazon: 61% Off “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Collection.”
And, also today only: Surefire P3X Fury LED Flashlight, $144.99 (42% off).
If military capacity were all that mattered, Iran would never have dared to build the full-scale uranium enrichment capacity that it now possesses. Intentions matter as well, however, and here the Iranian leaders have calculated—correctly—that the American government would not use its military trump card to halt Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons. As President, Barack Obama repeatedly asserted that, where that program was concerned “all options”—including, by inference, the use of force—were on the table, but the mullahs rightly surmised that this was a bluff and, by continuing to build the enrichment program that Obama had vowed not to tolerate, they called it. This is the sense in which the Obama Administration’s description of the deal as the best one available is correct. Given that it was negotiating from a position of self-imposed weakness, it is difficult to see how it could have obtained more favorable terms than the ones embedded in the July 14 agreement. . . .
All of this is to say that, at this very late date, keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, with all the catastrophic consequences that that would have, depends on a credible threat to use American military force. This is true even in the highly unlikely event that the process of inspections works as the Obama Administration claims it will. For if and when inspections in these circumstances detect violations, or the Iranian regime simply decides to withdraw from the agreement, as its thirty-sixth paragraph permits, what will the United States do? Nuclear nonproliferation in the Middle East ultimately depends, that is, not on the details of the Vienna agreement but on the familiar Cold-War policy of deterrence.
Even under Bush, it seemed as if the Iranians had more leverage than was visible. I can speculate on where that leverage came from, but that’s all it would be.
WHAT’S DRIVING THE OUTRAGE OVER CECIL THE LION? “It seems clear that Palmer has become a symbol of [fill in the blank] privilege. As such, he must be destroyed in protest of such privilege. Something tells me we wouldn’t be talking about this story but for the fact that it involves a man of Palmer’s status. It’s about him and the class of people he represents, not the lion,” Walter Hudson writes.
Spot on. And for the celebrities who doxxed him, it’s about guilt for having obtained an even higher level of wealth and privilege.
WHEN YOUR “CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS” FIRM DOESN’T WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH YOU. . . . Public Relations Firm SKDKnickerbocker Scrubs Website Of Tie To Planned Parenthood.
JACKIE CALMES HAS A PIECE FOR HARVARD’S SHORENSTEIN CENTER ARGUING THAT CONSERVATIVE MEDIA DRAG THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO THE RIGHT. This may be true, but it’s dwarfed by the extent to which the rest of media drag the entire nation to the left. As Prof. Tim Groseclose noted in his Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind, without media bias America as a whole would have the politics of Texas or Tennessee. That’s why I keep telling GOP donors that they need to occupy the media space — not just the conservative media space — to win. Otherwise it’s like fighting a battle without air superiority.
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PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: “James Woods is suing a Twitter troll for $10 million after the Ray Donovan star was called a ‘cocaine addict’ by the user @AbeList. List has since deleted his Twitter account. According to the suit, Woods wants $10 million because he feels like he was defamed by the troll. Here’s what you need to know.”
DON’T WORRY, I’M SURE EVERYTHING’S FINE: IAEA Refuses to Brief Senators on Iran Deal, Even in Classified Setting.
WAPO DISCOVERS THAT there are libertarians on both sides of the abortion debate. Though, naturally, most oppose government funding.
UPDATE: Well, most.
DUE PROCESS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS IS BAD, DUE PROCESS FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES IS ESSENTIAL: Obama Threatens to Veto VA Accountability Act: Says the bill would violate VA employees’ due process rights.
President Obama threatened to veto the Veterans Affairs Accountability Act in a statement on Wednesday.
The President called the bill “counterproductive” and said it would create “a disparity in the treatment of one group of career civil servants.” President Obama’s statement also said the bill would “have a significant impact on VA’s ability to retain and recruit qualified professionals and may result in a loss of qualified and capable staff to other government agencies or the private sector.”
“These provisions remove important rights, protections, and incentives which are available to the vast majority of federal employees in other agencies across the government and are essential to ensure that federal employees are afforded due process,” the statement said.
The bill would expand the VA’s ability to fire incompetent or corrupt employees. It is a follow-up to the 2014 Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, which extended that ability to top executives at the agency. The new bill would go beyond just executives to lower level employees.
Public servants, or public masters?
IN LOUISIANA, THE WORD OF OFFICER CLAY HIGGINS IS LAW: “By tomorrow, a hundred thousand people will have watched you commit a felony. You WILL be recognized. And the people that know you don’t really like ya, anyway. So when it comes down to a choice between you and a thousand dollars — they’ll take the cash.”
By the way, I love the Internet; I’m watching Officer Higgins’ Crime Stoppers report on a Weblog in Australia where the second blog comment is from someone named “Tex Lovera,” who writes, “That is one Louisianan that is welcome in Texas anytime!”
So say we all! (Y’all.)
DOES IT CAUSE BRAIN DAMAGE? BECAUSE THAT WOULD EXPLAIN A LOT: Congressional Couches Test Positive for Toxic Retardant.
As Congress considers an overhaul of toxic chemical regulations, a new analysis has brought the issue close to home — perhaps a little too close for comfort.
The Environmental Defense Fund recently analyzed six couches from each of the congressional office buildings and found three contained a toxic flame-retardant chemical known as TDCPP. The chemical can be found on the California Environmental Protection Agency’s list of carcinogens.
The analysis could cause some concern around the Capitol — particularly among members of the “Couch Caucus,” who sleep in their offices. Advocates working to overhaul chemical safety regulations hope it pushes lawmakers to act.
“It’s crazy to think that there are toxic chemicals in the very furniture we’re sitting on while working to update America’s chemical safety law,” Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said in a statement. A couch from his office in the Hart Senate Office Building tested positive for TDCPP, along with couches from the Rayburn and Cannon House Office Buildings.
The EDF-secured nickel-sized samples of foam from the couch cushions of six individual offices. The samples were then sent to Duke University’s Superfund Research Center, which conducts free analyses of furniture foam, and three of the six samples tested positive for TDCPP.
The couches in the study are a small sample size for the hundreds of offices on Capitol Hill. But the EDF noted in a statement about the analysis that congressional furniture “remains in use for many years” and “the varying results may be due to differing ages of the furniture.”
TDCPP, also known as chlorinated tris, was used in children’s pajamas in the 1970s, but manufacturers stopped using the chemical when consumers became concerned about its harmful effects.
I mean, there must be some explanation.
HERBERT CROLY COORDINATE! HERBERT CROLY COORDINATE! Video: Chris Matthews stumps talking point-obsessed DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Tell Me The Difference Between You And A Socialist.”
NY POST COLUMNIST OUTRAGED SUPERMODEL GISELE BUNDCHEN “INSULTED” ISLAM BY WEARING BURQA TO HIDE HER IDENTITY: “LIKE THE RACHEL DOLEZAL OF ISLAM.”
Nonsense! Former Al Gore advisor Naomi Wolf assured us all that the burqa is the “ultimate feminist choice,” as my former PJM colleague Phyllis Chesler noted in 2009:
Wolf recently traveled to Morocco, Jordan, and Eygpt where she found the women “as interested in allure, seduction, and pleasure as women anywhere in the world.” Whew! What a relief. She writes:
“Many Muslim women I spoke with did not feel at all subjugated by the chador or the headscarf. On the contrary, they felt liberated from what they experienced as the intrusive, commodifying, basely sexualizing Western gaze….Many women said something like this: …’how tiring it can be to be on display all the time. When I wear my headscarf or chador, people relate to me as an individual, not an object; I feel respected.’ This may not be expressed in a traditional Western feminist set of images, but it is a recognizably Western feminist set of feelings.”
Good enough for Naomi, good enough for Gisele.
GOVERNMENT IS JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR THE THINGS WE CHOOSE TO DO TOGETHER: Did the EPA Cover Up a ‘Predator Who Was Fed a Steady Diet of Interns?’
UPDATE: Link was bad. Fixed now. Sorry!
A MUTED HALLELUJAH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: The Gray Lady doesn’t get all of her facts correct, Dexter Van Zile of CAMERA writes, but “By running a 5,000-plus word piece about the murder and enslavement of Christians by ISIS, the New York Times Magazine has given bien pensants in the United States permission to think seriously about the human rights catastrophe of our time. It might even encourage them to do something.”
Alternate headline: New York Times discovers with amazement powerful force more eager to destroy Christianity than themselves.
MILO YIANNOPOULOS: Donald Trump Would Be The Real First Black President.
We’re constantly told that there’s more to blackness than just being born African. Liberal theory has held for decades that race is a “social construct” with no “biological basis.” Hogwash, obviously, but apologists for “trans-black” wacko Rachel Dolezal are always reminding us that black identity is complex and about more than just skin colour.
You know what guys? I finally agree. And the proof is Donald Trump, who is, culturally speaking, a terrific fit for black America. Black writer Sonnie Johnson has noted as much in these pages. Blacks seem to identify with Trump’s swagger: they put him in enough rap songs, after all. He’s got hip-hop cred and defiant charisma the dreary Obama could never hope to match.
And black families would be far better off if his immigration policies were put in place. It seems to me that if the black community is as dissatisfied with Barack Obama as it claims, voters could do a lot worse than vote for Trump.
There is a minority war brewing between blacks and Latinos in America, fuelled by the policies and attitudes of a white Left that has forgotten about the civil rights struggle, and Trump is one of the very few, on either side of the political divide, who appears to at least understand the black side of the argument.
Someone should ask Trump what he thinks of this.
TRUE: Lion Murderer Walt Palmer Has Done More For Conservation Than You Have. “In fact, trophy hunters like him are a large part of the reason we still have animals like lions at all. Hunting is one of those things that, if you don’t do it, probably flies in the face of your carefully curated 21st century morals. Everyone likes animals, so killing them is wrong, right? The fact is that there’s far more nuance to the argument than that.”
PATHWAY TO CODSWALLOP: “Trump is full of it, too,” Mark Steyn writes. “But at least he’s full of it in English rather than bullsh*t:”
Which is what you’re speaking when you talk about “pathways to citizenship” and “comprehensive immigration reform”. They’re Democrat evasions, and the Republican base is entitled at the very minimum to demand Republican candidates who come up with some weaselly duplicitous evasions of their own. A significant section of the GOP base is sick of dialing Republican headquarters and hearing “Press 1 for Spanish, press 2 for consultant-approved claptrap, press 3 for artful straddle, press 4 for all disavowals of last year’s positions, press 5 for endless looped replays of John McCain’s amusing primary-season-only super-butch ‘Build the danged fence!’ commercial, press 6 for live audio feed of John McCain teaching Lindsey Graham how to say ‘Danged!’, press 7 if you know the Spanish for ‘Danged!’, press 8 to hear Jeb Bush say ‘No amnesty, not on my watch, no sirree!’, press 9 to hear Jeb Bush say ‘Viva la danged amnistía!‘ If you wish someone to speak to you in non-forked-tongue English, please stay on the line and wait for an operator.”
After years in touch-tone hell for GOP voters, the operator has now shown up. Donald Trump is a slicker operator than some of us would like, but his observations on immigration were a rare intrusion of reality into an other-worldly public discourse.
Read the whole thing.
I LOVE COLORADO, BUT TENNESSEE SOUNDS GOOD: In TN it’s apparently now a slur to call government by its name.
UPDATE (From Glenn): The lawyer in question, Drew Justice, is one of my former students. Nice work.
OR NOT. AFTER ALL, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? The movie Hillary Clinton should be very, very worried about. Weirdly, a movie might make more difference than the actual event. Strange times we live in.
CORRUPTION ALL THE WAY DOWN:After Hillary Clinton helped settle tax case, UBS increased foundation support. If we elect Hillary Clinton we owe Al Capone a posthumous pardon and an apology.
July 30, 2015
LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Ky. man arrested after shooting down $1800 drone hovering over sunbathing daughter.
CAMILLE PAGLIA: “Wherever I go to speak, whether it’s Brazil or Italy or Norway, I find that upper-middle-class professional women are very unhappy. This is a global problem! And it’s coming from the fact that women are expecting men to provide them with the same kind of emotional and conversational support and intimacy that they get from their women friends. And when they don’t get it, they’re full of resentment and bitterness. It’s tragic! Women are blaming men for a genuine problem that I say is systemic. . . . Now we’re working side-by-side in offices at the same job. Women want to leave at the end of the day and have a happy marriage at home, but then they put all this pressure on men because they expect them to be exactly like their female friends. If they feel restlessness or misery or malaise, they automatically blame it on men. Men are not doing enough; men aren’t sharing enough. But it’s not the fault of men that we have this crazy and rather neurotic system where women are now functioning like men in the workplace, with all its material rewards.”
SUSANNAH BRESLIN VISITS A “GUNTRY CLUB:”
A couple weeks ago, I walked into The Alamo in Naples, Florida, a state-of-the-art, self-described “shooting destination.” The newly-constructed, 26,000-square-foot facility into which its owner has invested over $10M is bright, airy, and modern. It was built from the ground up on what was once a dirt lot; it opened in early May. Kevin Creighton, The Alamo’s marketing manager, describes the opening as more of a “squishy” launch than a soft launch because this is the area’s off season; “snowbirds” from the East Coast and the Midwest will flock down here en masse come winter.
Inside, the sunlight streams through high windows. The employees are friendly. The 6,000-square-foot showroom is squeaky clean and equipped with video screens. There are no stuffed bears posed in the attack position, jaws agape. Every Monday, starting at 4PM, women don’t pay a dollar for their range time. In the back, you can have lunch at one of the high-top tables or pay to shoot holes in targets on any of the 19 lanes downstairs.
The Alamo is one of three firearms stores and gun ranges (two in Florida, one in Kentucky) owned by Robert Marcum’s Lotus Gunworks. What he’s selling at The Alamo: Gun Culture 2.0. Once upon a time, Gun Culture 1.0 was about shooting ducks with your dad. Today, a new generation of firearm owners is more diverse than homogeneous, more interested in self-defense than hunting deer, more likely to be a tattooed urban-dweller than an “Elmer Fudd.” As Creighton sees it, we’re living in an era focused on “personal empowerment,” and guns are one way people are choosing to empower themselves. Think: the Apple store — with bullets. For Gun Owners 2.0, “It’s no longer about food,” he says. “It’s about protecting what matters to me.”
This is what it looks like when you win a culture war.
TRAIN WRECK: AP: Audit finds 22 of 23 taxpayer-backed ObamaCare co-ops lost money in 2014. “As recently as the spring, the White House touted co-ops as an accomplishment.”
THE ACE OF SPADES CONJECTURE: “Most of tribal signaling — genuflecting to Ta-Nehisi Coates, for example — is not a form of politics, but is properly understood as a form of religion. You’re not supposed to ask about the parts of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ claims that don’t make sense, in the same way you’re not really supposed to ask how Noah fit all those animals on the ark. These are not political arguments, he asserts, but ‘sermons.’”
Well, yes. But then, the entire 19th and 20th century efforts of the “Progressive” movement and its offshoots “in a hurry” (Communism and Fascism) were attempts to first destroy God and then to build a replacement religion.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: UC paid former president Mark Yudof $546,000 in the year after he resigned. “Another episode of embarrassment in terms of executive compensation.”
DONALD TRUMP: POSTER CHILD OF AMERICAN DECLINE: “We respond to his PC-bashing, but that’s exactly what he went silent on when the subject was drawing Muhammad,” Robert Spencer writes.
DNC-MSM REVOLVING DOOR REVOLVES: Sam Kass, former White House chef and husband of MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, joins NBC as well:
On Wednesday, the hosts of NBC’s Today cheered the network’s decision to hire former White House chef — and husband of left-wing MSNBC host Alex Wagner — Sam Kass. Co-host Savannah Guthrie gushed: “…we’ve got an exciting announcement. You guys remember Sam Kass, of course he’s the former assistant White House chef, executive director of the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign, and nutrition advisor to the President….He is becoming an NBC News senior food analyst.”
Obama attended Kass’s wedding to Wagner; in last year’s “Love in the Time of Obama,” Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon explored just how interconnected Kass and Wagner are with Big Money, Big Government, and Big Journalism, and how they used nepotism to leapfrog into “the new aristocracy,” as Continetti dubbed the Washington-NY power structure. But then, the entire MSM really does seem like one big happy mafia family of Democratic operatives with bylines, doesn’t it?
THE ABOLITION OF AMERICA: In “Cecil the Lion and America’s Broken Outrage Meter” at Real Clear Politics, Heather Wilhelm writes, “One of the joys of the digital age, at least to many, is the thrill of discovering a new World’s Most Despicable Person:”
You know the drill: First, some poor sap says or does something dumb or politically incorrect. Next, mobs of wild-eyed, unhinged keyboard cops swoop in to judge, shame, excoriate, and issue over-the-top condemnations. Finally, if they’re lucky, the Mean Typing League might even manage to destroy a life or a reputation or a business or two, not to mention everyone’s general faith in humanity.
After performing this ritual cleansing, one assumes, those involved feel slightly better about themselves. This sense of inner peace and superiority has not yet been scientifically measured, but it lasts, alas, for only a few fleeting days. That’s when it’s time to find a new World’s Most Despicable Person.
This week, that person is Dr. Walter James Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota with the unfortunate habit of paying copious amounts of money to kill large, exotic animals around the globe. Earlier in July, as the world discovered this week, Palmer messed with the wrong large, exotic animal: Cecil the Lion, one of Africa’s most beloved and famous lions, a favorite of wildlife researchers, and the “star attraction” of Zimbabwe’s Hwagne National Park.
I, like most of humanity, had never heard of Cecil the Lion until this week—thanks to the Internet, he now has approximately five million devoted new best friends, who had also, oddly, never heard of him until now—but there are several videos of him circulating online.
Read the whole thing. In his UK best-selling 1999 book The Abolition of Britain, Peter Hitchens, the Tory brother of the late Christopher Hitchens, reflected upon a moment when England seemed to have permanently lost its collective national mind, and a once sane, sober country had vanished forever. As Hitchens told CSPAN’s Brian Lamb on Booknotes:
LAMB: One of the things in your book, you have as a subtitle, “From Winston Churchill to Princess Di”–or Princess Diana. Why did you bracket this book between Winston Churchill’s death and Princess Di’s death?
Mr. HITCHENS: The crucial chapter and really the point around which the whole book revolves is the one which compares the two funerals of Winston Churchill in 1965 and Princess Diana. And the difference between them seems to me to sum up very eloquently the way in which the country has changed, the self-discipline of the people and their attitudes, the way in which the way in which the two things were …..It’s obviously two very different kinds of people, but here were two funerals in London of revered and much-loved figures. And they were utterly different, as if they’d taken place in different countries, and, in fact, they had taken place in different countries. The Britain of Princess Diana was an utterly foreign place to the Britain of Winston Churchill. And it seemed to me to be a good starting point.
This actually came to me during the bizarre weeks after Princess Diana’s death, when voicing any kind of criticism of the hysteria was pretty much taboo. And I did the sort of thing that Chinese dissidents used to do in the days of Mao Tse-tung. If they wanted to write about a political controversy, they’d actually write about one that had taken place in some dynasty 3,000 or 4,000 years before which they felt paralleled it. And I wrote about Winston Churchill’s funeral to make the points that it had been so different. And everybody got the message.
LAMB: What were the differences?
Mr. HITCHENS: The differences are in — first of all in the open showing of emotion. Now some people might say let it all hang out, show exactly what you feel. The trouble is that, in the case of British people, if they let it all hang out, quite a lot of what they let hang out isn’t very nice. We are a pretty bloodthirsty and violent lot, especially when we get outside out own borders and start misbehaving. And we need to restrain ourselves. And one of the reasons we’ve been so peaceful for so long is that we have. That was very much in evidence at the Churchill funeral and very much less in evidence at the Diana funeral when people applauded, for heaven’s sake, at a funeral, which is completely un-English, whereas in Churchill’s time, people queuing up to file past his coffin might occasionally dash a tear away from an eye and consider that to be slightly embarrassing. That’s one difference.
And the other differences were really in the whole shape and face of the country. Britain in 1965 was still a serious country, still scarred by what was seen by most people as a recent war, still very much a country living in the afterglow of imperial greatness, also quite a lot poorer and, in some ways, the better for it in that the self-indulgence which comes with affluence hadn’t really begun to take hold. And this whole feeling of a country self-disciplined for a serious purpose as opposed to a frivolous country weeping and wailing about a princess who was really a glorified film star with a crown on her head.
Will we look back on the outrage mob devouring* a dentist with penchant for Teddy Roosevelt-style big game hunting while simultaneously ignoring or shrugging while reading about the grizzly Planned Parenthood story as a similar inflection point in America’s history?
I BELIEVE THIS IS CALLED “MANSPLAINING” NOWADAYS AND HENCE IS DISMISSABLE: “Since the penis and testicles were mine and no one else’s, then my opinion must surely have some meaning.”
“HARBINGERS OF FAILURE:” Some people seem to have a knack for buying losing products. Wonder how this analysis would apply to political candidates.
WHY AUTOMATED CARS need new traffic laws.
When Delphi took its prototype Audi robocar from San Francisco to New York in April, the car obeyed every traffic law, hewing to the speed limit even if that meant impeding the flow of traffic.
“You can imagine the reaction of the drivers around us,” Michael Pozsar, director of electronic controls at Delphi, said at a conference in Michigan last week, according to Automotive News. “Oh, boy. It’s a good thing engineers have thick skin. All kinds of indecent hand gestures were made to our drivers.”
And that indicates that a problem is brewing, argues Prof Alain Kornhauser, who directs the transportation program at Princeton University. “The shame of the driving laws is that they all sort of have a ‘wink’ associated with them,” he says. “It says 55 miles per hour, but everyone knows that you can do 9 over. If that’s the situation, why isn’t it written that way—with a speed limit at 64?”
People know when to disregard a law, but it isn’t easy to reduce such implicit knowledge to an algorithm. Even if you could, there are some laws that robots should never have to observe.
“A stop sign—rather than a ‘yield’ sign—is there to make sure people have the opportunity to look both ways and see nobody is coming,” Kornhauser says. “But with 360-degree camera coverage, lidars and radars, those automated cars know in a 20th of a second whether something is coming. Why should we require them to come to a complete stop?”
In fact, if all cars were autonomous and connected to each other wirelessly, they wouldn’t need stop signs even at the intersections of multilane highways, as shown in this video simulation by Kurt Dresner and Peter Stone of the University of Texas at Austin.
THE POLLING ON THIS MUST BE TRULY AWFUL: White House Won’t Commit to Veto of Bill Defunding Planned Parenthood.
UPDATE: Hillary Throws Planned Parenthood Under The Bus. Like I said, the polling on this must be truly awful.
CHANGE: Michigan’s Union Boomerang. “This is great news for self-government, empowering an elected legislature over courts and an unelected bureaucracy. But it’s even better news for state employees, who will now be able to decide if they want to pay the fees that finance an organization whose purpose and practices they may not support. Union membership has plummeted in Wisconsin and Indiana since similar worker freedom was allowed. The largest state teachers union in Wisconsin has lost more than half of its 40,000 members in four years. Meanwhile, the UAW faces another watershed when its auto contracts expire later this year, meaning auto workers will be eligible for right-to-work protections for the first time.”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Cuts in Adjuncts’ Pay and Raises for All Others. The reason so many academics think capitalism is about the weak being exploited by the strong? Because that’s how academia works. . . .
BROTHER BOOK PLUG: My brother Jonathan recommends this book by his former student Russell Zimmerman: Shadowrun: Shaken (No Job Too Small).
The best reason for rejecting the agreement is to rebuke Obama’s long record of aggressive disdain for Congress — recess appointments when the Senate was not in recess, rewriting and circumventing statutes, etc. Obama’s intellectual pedigree runs to Woodrow Wilson, the first presidential disparager of the separation of powers. Like Wilson, Obama ignores the constitutional etiquette of respecting even rivalrous institutions.
The Iran agreement should be a treaty; it should not have been submitted first to the U.N. as a studied insult to Congress. Wilson said that rejecting the Versailles Treaty would “break the heart of the world.” The Senate, no member of which had been invited to accompany Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference, proceeded to break his heart. Obama deserves a lesson in the cost of Wilsonian arrogance. Knowing little history, Obama makes bad history.
Obama’s legacy is his palpable distaste for the other branches of government, particularly Congress. While Obama’s other actions disregarding Congress have been frustrating, annoying, and worrisome, his disregard of Congress–and hence, the American people–on the Iran nuclear deal is dangerously meglomaniacal.
RELATED: Nicholas Kristof summons the energy to defend the Iran deal in the New York Times. His only real point comes at the very end:
If the U.S. rejects this landmark deal, then we get the worst of both worlds: an erosion of sanctions and also an immediate revival of the Iran nuclear program.
We have a glimpse of what might happen. In 2003, Iran seemingly offered a comprehensive “grand bargain” to resolve relations with the United States, but George W. Bush’s administration dismissed it. Since then, Iran has gone from a tiny number of centrifuges to 19,000, getting within two months of “breakout” to a nuclear weapon. The point: Fulmination is not a substitute for policy, and a multilateral international agreement achieves far more protection than finger-wagging.
Diplomacy is rarely about optimal outcomes; it is about muddling along in the dark, dodging bullets, struggling to defer war and catastrophe for the time being, nurturing opportunities for a better tomorrow. By that standard, the Iran deal succeeds. Sure, it is flawed, and yes, it makes us safer.
Translation: If we back out of the Iran deal now–after Obama has already diplomatically agreed to it, without seeking congressional approval–the other nations will still lift sanctions, but Iran won’t honor its agreement, and will indeed ramp up its nuclear efforts. Why Kristof assumes the former (that there will be an “erosion of sanctions,” in his words) if the US backs out, he never explains. Likewise, Kristof never addresses the key question that is troubling most of America: How can Iran be trusted to hold up its end of this “bargain” anyway, when it has not agreed to “anytime, anywhere” inspections (and in fact, the U.S. never sought them) and there are at least two secret “side deals” with the IAEA?
Yet somehow, in a biblical leap of faith, Kristof concludes that the Iran deal will make us safer, because we are muddling along in the dark, dodging bullets and struggling to defer war and catastrophe. In other words, the very most Kristof can muster in support of the Iran deal is that it might keep us ignorant about Iran’s nuclear ambitions a little longer and allow the Obama Administration to kick this apocalyptic can down the road to a future (likely Republican) Administration. And of course that is darn-near perfect, isn’t it?
HONESTLY, I THINK THE MEDIA ARE OFTEN AS COMPLICIT AS MISLED: Ed Morrissey: How the Media and You Are Misled by False Data.
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SO GUY CHARGED WITH MULTIPLE FINANCIAL FELONIES ALSO RAN BLACK CAUCUS’S CHARITY ORGANIZATION: Fattah Steps Aside at Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. “The Pennsylvania Democrat’s exit from the prominent spot with the education and policy nonprofit closely linked to the Congressional Black Caucus on Capitol Hill comes less than 24 hours after Fattah was charged in a 29-count indictment.” Might want to look into that entity, too. . . .
WELL, AT THIS POINT YOU’RE EVEN SEEING THIS IN THE WAPO, SO YEAH: Hillary Clinton Pours Salt in Planned Parenthood’s Open Wound.
MEGAN MCARDLE ON those bogus campus rape studies:
Back then, the assumption was that most campus rape was caused by a bad culture — that men were committing rape because they’d been raised to understand that women who placed themselves in certain situations were “asking for it.” In the years since then, however, that assumption has been shifting. Now the focus is on serial predators, men who may be enabled by a culture that shames victims of sexual violence, and fails to do enough to protect them, but are very different from the majority of men who realize that rape is not really all right if she showed up at your fraternity party in a short skirt.
One of the major foundations of this shift in focus is a 2002 study by David Lisak, which has been widely cited in support of the emerging model of campus rape as a crime committed by serial predators who will perpetuate a cycle of violence unless stopped. This has major consequences for how you address the problem. If the issue is that most boys don’t understand a woman’s right to say no right up until the end, then what you need is a lot of education, combined with punishment of those who don’t get the message. If the problem is a small number of repeat offenders, then what you need is not so much education as much as better methods to identify and neutralize them.
Unfortunately, a new article in Reason magazine suggests that this foundation is much shakier than most people working on this issue — myself included — may have assumed. . . .
In short, Lisak’s 2002 study is not a systematic survey of rape on campus; it is pooled data from surveys of people who happen to have been near a commuter campus on days when the surveys were being collected.
Before I go any further, let me note that I’m not saying that what these men did was not bad, or does not deserve to be punished. But if LeFauve is right, this study is basically worthless for shaping campus policies designed to stop rape.
Nope. But it provided an excuse for people who want to turn college campuses into man-hating sexual police states. And that was the goal.
NONSENSE: VOTER FRAUD IS JUST A REPUBLICAN MYTH. Dead and Registered: Clarke County, MS, Sued for Having More Voters Than Live Citizens.
MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT: Right-to-Work Laws Apply To State Employees, Mean They Can’t Be Forced To Contribute To Union.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR HOUSING MOVES FORWARD: Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart reports on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, the Obama Administration’s latest affirmative action pet project that will withhold federal funds to localities that fail to have an as-yet-undefined acceptable percentage of minority residents:
The AFFH rule “gives the federal government a lever to re-engineer nearly every American neighborhood — imposing a preferred racial and ethnic composition, densifying housing, transportation, and business development in suburb and city alike, and weakening or casting aside the authority of local governments over core responsibilities, from zoning to transportation to education,” as National Review’s Stanley Kurtz put it last week.
When then-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan first proposed the AFFH rule in 2013, Paul Compton, a housing law expert and partner at the law firm Bradly Arant Boult Cummings told the Weekly Standard it is “a real shift in emphasis from ensuring that the private sector and participants in federal programs don’t unlawfully discriminate to defining the existence of racially and ethnically ‘segregated’ neighborhoods to be in themselves a violation of fair housing.”
Under this new rule, Compton said, “if a neighborhood is not integrated in some vaguely defined ratio, then that in itself is a fair housing issue.”
The Supreme Court has long recognized an important distinction between de jure (by law) versus de facto (by fact) racial segregation, with the former being forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause and the latter being, well, just the result of private conduct and human nature/preferences, and thus beyond the reach of the Fourteenth Amendment (which limits only “state”–government–action). Congress, however, has increasingly endorsed, via statutes–including the Fair Housing Act–that the notion that mere statistical differences in racial representation in private activities such as housing, mortgages, and employment, can constitute “racial discrimination” due to a theory called “disparate impact.”
The AFFH rule is the Obama Administration’s radical vision of how to implement disparate impact theory under the Fair Housing Act. Congress could stop it immediately, if it so desired, by an explicit amendment to the Fair Housing Act that disapproves of the AFFH rule. But as is all too common these days, Congress seems unable to exercise its constitutional authority, instead preferring to roll over and show its beta belly in response to President Obama’s extreme transformation of the country.
I hope the moderators of the upcoming GOP presidential debates will be sure to ask all the candidates whether they will make it a priority to reverse the AFFH and similar disparate impact rules enacted by the Obama Administration.
WELL, THAT’S BECAUSE THE WHITE HOUSE HASN’T ISSUED STEWART’S TALKING POINTS YET: During the multi-country press tour for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, not even Jon Stewart has dared ask Tom Cruise about Scientology.
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MORE LIBERAL INTOLERANCE OR JUST PLAIN HYPOCRISY? Hans Wyss, the Swiss billionaire and funder of Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings project to empower women, doesn’t want one woman – Jackie Long – empowered. He’s asked a Pennsylvania court to put her in jail because she told the Daily Caller News Foundation about allegations of how he sexually abused her. And Wyss threatened the DCNF with litigation after it published those allegations.
KOCHS BUILDING NEW POLITICAL NETWORK: “One of the prime objectives could have a direct impact on Election Day 2016: to create a permanent ground force powered by a vast trove of data, replicating the kind of infrastructure that helped President Obama win reelection. . . . The libertarian-oriented network serves both as a valuable GOP ally and a rival power center to the Republican National Committee.”
My advice for the Kochs — put some money into media.
WASHINGTON POST: For Democrats, there’s no right answer on Planned Parenthood.
The surprise of today’s Republican press conference on Planned Parenthood came when one of the freshman class’s stars praised Hillary Clinton. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa.) described how undercover videos had found the family planning group’s executives coldly discussing the sale of fetal body parts, and said that even Democrats were recoiling.
“The American people, Republicans and Democrats alike, are horrified by the utter lack of compassion showed by Planned Parenthood for these women and their babies,” said Ernst. “In fact, now, Hillary Clinton is calling these Planned Parenthood images disturbing, and I agree.”
That line had the intended effect. It rattled abortion rights supporters, reminding them that the Democratic frontrunner for president had hedged on their issue. The fight to defund Planned Parenthood is only the latest in a series of conservative attempts to shift the conversation on abortion, from one that bedevils Republicans to one that flummoxes Democrats.
Bernie Sanders is hedging, too.
There was little discussion of due process rights in campus adjudications during a Wednesday hearing on campus sexual assault.
As expected, the one-sided hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee focused on how to make reporting easier for sexual assault accusers — which is very important — but failed to address the very real problem of false accusations. Typical statements from senators and other panelists consisted of long discussions about providing help for accusers, with a passing statement about ensuring a fair process tacked on at the end.
Most of the senators present — including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Claire McCaskill and Patty Murray – continually referred to accusers as “victims” or “survivors” and the accused as “accused,” “alleged perpetrator” or “rapist.” This, like the language of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, imposes a clear bias.
Gillibrand and McCaskill also mentioned having spoken to accused students and their families, making it seem as though their concerns were included in the bill. They were not. The senators may have listened, but they certainly didn’t hear.
You’d think that the GOP would stop the Senate from promoting these efforts to turn colleges into man-hating sexual police states, but you’d be wrong.
Related: Campus serial rapist survey debunked. It’s as if every lefty social crusade is based on bogus “social science” or something.
MOE LANE: The ’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi’ trailer. “It looks… a bit more serious than the stuff that Michael Bay usually does.” Plus: “I don’t… think that Hillary Clinton is stupid enough to seriously try to get the movie suppressed. But she must be tempted. Ach, well, she should have made better life choices.”
Called before Congress for an oversight hearing after a tumultuous few weeks of reports of loaded service weapons left in problematic places around the Capitol and an ongoing hunt for employees who may have leaked internal information, Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine promised the acts would be dealt with “firmly and effectively.”
But 10 weeks after that hearing, and six months after the first incident, only one of the officers who left a weapon unattended has been disciplined. The agent assigned to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security detail who left his Glock and magazine stuffed in the toilet seat cover holder of a Capitol Visitor Center bathroom stall served a six-day suspension without pay. He remains on assignment with the Kentucky Republican.
Disciplinary action is pending for a member of Speaker John A. Boehner’s security detail who left her loaded service weapon in the bathroom of the speaker’s suite 18 weeks ago, where a child discovered it. The case is open for a third officer whose service weapon was found on April 16 by a janitor cleaning the Capitol Police headquarters building on D Street Northeast. She remains in her position in the Mission Assurance Bureau.
Asked Tuesday if the situation concerned him, Boehner said he didn’t think the premise of the question was accurate. “I think these cases have been dealt with and decisions have been made in regards to sanctions on those individuals,” the Ohio Republican said in response to CQ Roll Call’s question during his weekly news conference.
The department has declined to publicly comment on the cases, except in front of Congress, citing a policy of not discussing disciplinary action.
Remember, only trained law enforcement officers can be trusted with firearms. Because they’re accountable!
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Ivy Honors And The Justices: “The differential treatment of justices on the right and left of the Court provides more evidence of the high double standards of higher education. It also offers some indirect evidence that professors on the right likely suffer discrimination in the elite legal academy. After all, the faculty and the administration of the law schools likely have some influence on who gets honorary degrees. And no doubt there is likely to be a similar message in many classrooms about which justices are worthy of emulation.”
OHIO DEM STATE REP: ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ CROWD SHOULD PROTEST PLANNED PARENTHOOD:
“Five thousand, four hundred and ninety-nine abortions are in Cuyahoga County, which I happen to represent,” Patmon said in a speech Tuesday. “And 63 percent of them are black women.”
Video at link. As Moe Lane adds, African-Americans have serious moral issues with abortion. It doesn’t stop African-Americans from voting for Democrats, obviously – but their personal attitudes on abortion still remain. So the Democrats are playing with some serious fire, here. Because you may have noticed that the crowd was firmly in agreement with state Representative Patmon on all of this…”