September 16, 2014

ONCE YOU’VE HAD EIGHTY, YOU’LL NEVER BE SATED. Er, or something. 88-year-old Grandfather Busted For Prostituting Himself To Young Women. “His johns were all young women. Twenties, thirties. Most quite beautiful. Never really seen anything like this dynamic, but strange things do happen.”

I DON’T FIND THIS SURPRISING AT ALL: Muscle Mass Predicts Longevity Better Than BMI.

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SNAKE OIL ALERT: Another Day, Another Quote Fabricated By Neil deGrasse Tyson.

We’ve already established that a newspaper headline touted for years by Tyson likely doesn’t exist. We’ve also established that the exact quote he uses to bash members of Congress as being stupid also doesn’t exist. And then we established that the details within one of Tyson’s favorite anecdotes — a story of how he bravely confronted a judge about his mathematical illiteracy while serving on jury duty — seem to change every time Tyson tells the story.

In addition to those two highly questionable quotes and one highly questionable story, we now have another blatantly false quote peddled by Tyson. He has peddled this quote for years (including at a presentation on Sunday night at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle).

According to Tyson, in the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bush uttered the phrase, “Our God is the God who named the stars.” According to Tyson, the president made that claim as a way of segregating radical Islam from religions like Christianity or Judaism. . . .

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s story has three central claims: 1) Bush uttered that precise phrase, 2) in the days immediately after 9/11, 3) in order to distance American religion from that practiced by radical Muslims.

As you have probably already guessed, every single claim is false. Every one! Then there’s Tyson’s aside that Bush’s quote was a “loose quote” of the book of Genesis. Yep, that’s false, too. Add embarrassing biblical illiteracy to Tyson’s list of accomplishments on his CV. . . .

Tyson’s falsehoods didn’t stop there, though. After deliberately slandering Bush by attributing to him a quote he never made, Tyson launched into another tirade about how he was selected, by Bush, mind you, to be on a committee to select recipients of the National Medals of Science and Technology. The point of that story? That Tyson is way smarter than Bush, who was too stupid to even read the citations of the awards. But if you watch the video of the event, you’ll notice that the reason he didn’t read the citations is because he was too busy personally awarding the medals and shaking the hands of the guests of honor. . . . At this point, I’m legitimately curious if any quotes or anecdotes peddled by Neil deGrasse Tyson are true. Over the last week, I’ve examined only four, and every single one appears to be garbage.

I’m beginning to think that this Tyson fellow may be a bit of a putz. And I used to just think he was a blowhard.

REMEDIES FOR FALSE ARREST: What are your options if falsely arrested? There are limited options for compensation.

Suppose a police officer finds an aspirin powder in your pocket and insists a presumptive test kit shows it is cocaine.

You are handcuffed and arrested. Maybe your neighbors or co-workers are watching, thoroughly embarrassing you and damaging your reputation. You are hauled off to jail, held for several hours and freed only after you post bail. Your mug shot is published online and in print in one of those “Just Busted” tabloids. You shell out money to get your vehicle out of the impound lot and hire a lawyer.

Then, weeks later, a test by a forensic chemist reveals that powder was exactly what you said it was — aspirin — and prosecutors drop the charge.

The officer was wrong. Your dignity, reputation and wallet paid the price for the officer’s mistake.

Lawsuit in the making, right?

Not under Tennessee’s Governmental Tort Liability Act.

If a citizen is wrongfully arrested, the tort liability law protects governments and their employees from legal action.

It’s that way most places. It shouldn’t be.

WELL, THAT’S ENCOURAGING: The Mathematics of Ebola Trigger Stark Warnings: Act Now or Regret It.

TEST-DRIVE: 2015 Mercedes Benz S550 Plug-In Hybrid. “The 114-hp electric motor is integrated inside the seven-speed automatic, and it is powerful enough to propel this S-class to 87 mph on electricity only. Using a light touch on the accelerator, it can go for 20 miles on a full charge before the direct-injected, twin-turbocharged 329-hp V-6 kicks in.”

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FOUR HARSH TRUTHS about dating and mating.

DISAPPOINTING, BUT NOT ENTIRELY SURPRISING: NASA asteroid defense program falls short: audit.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE (CONT’D): New Jersey High School Teacher Charged With Having Sex With Student. “She is charged with aggravated sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual assault.”

I WAS EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: US Military’s Meteor Explosion Data Can Help Scientists Protect Earth. “The data contain a ‘potential goldmine of information,’ particularly regarding meteorite-producing fireballs and their pre-atmospheric orbits, as well as information that helps address the general question of meteorite-asteroid linkages.”

CHANGE: White House Yanks Debo Adegbile Nomination. “The Debo Adegbile story has ended. The White House yesterday pulled his nomination to head the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division after it was defeated on a procedural vote in the Senate in March. PJ Media was the first to report on the radical background of Adegbile within hours of the nomination being made. After Adegbile was defeated in a procedural vote, left wing groups held out hope that another vote would be scheduled in the Senate and Democrats who opposed Adegbile would suddenly support him. That didn’t happen.”

WHY WE SHOULD encrypt everyone’s email.

FEWER SUICIDES where the natural levels of lithium in the water is higher?

ELIANA JOHNSON: Jindal’s Gamble: Can a wonk win the nomination? If he’s planning on running in 2016, I recommend he consult with Mark Rippetoe now.

NOT A SITCOM: My Favorite Millennial.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 495.

TRANSPARENTLY BAD: U.S. Whistleblowers Feel Blowback. We need to enact the kinds of protections I describe in this piece.

SHOCKER: Fracking Not at Fault in Water Contamination.

This makes sense—fracking generally occurs thousands of feet underground, far, far below aquifers being tapped for drinking water. The water tables and the shale rock being hydraulically fractured are separated by impermeable layers of rock—that’s how these aquifers formed in the first place. It stands to reason, then, that contamination of drinking water would have to occur in the vertical parts of these wells that travel through these underground water reservoirs.

Water pollution is a serious issue, and one that certainly deserves ongoing scrutiny. But it seems as if the drinking water contamination issues that greens have pointed to as reasons to stop the shale boom have occurred due to well failures (often because of poorly poured cement casings), rather than due to fracking itself. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for improvement here, but it does suggest this is a manageable risk, rather than an indelible feature of the drilling process.

Sounds right to me.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: How ‘Consensual’ Sex Got A Freshman Kicked Out Of College And Started A Huge Debate.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Applications Decline at All Five Georgia Law Schools.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN FOR TODAY: Mining In The Last Frontier.

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THE WSJ SAYS IT’S BOEING OVER SPACEX: Boeing Takes Lead to Build Space Taxi: Aerospace Giant Poised to Beat SpaceX for U.S. Contract to Ferry Astronauts. “Boeing Co.appears positioned to beat out two smaller rivals for the bulk of a multibillion-dollar NASA contract to ferry astronauts to and from orbit, according to government and aerospace-industry officials. An award to Boeing would represent a victory over the newer Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, which had been considered a favorite in many quarters because of its lower costs and nimbler approach. The decision on the development of space taxis will be a milestone for commercial space endeavors, locking in unparalleled authority for contractors to develop and operate vehicles with limited federal oversight. An announcement is expected as early as Tuesday. . . . If Boeing ends up with the largest share of the commercial-crew program’s future dollars, the Chicago company could buttress its position as a leading force in U.S. manned space efforts for generations.”

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Report – emails reveal ‘collusion’ with green activist groups over EPA climate agenda.

IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: Why Focus On Ray Rice Instead Of Lois Lerner? The focus on Ray Rice is to avoid talking about things like Lois Lerner.

ON THE OTHER HAND, OUR SYSTEM OFFERS MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRAFT: U.S. Ranks 32nd (out of 34 OECD Countries) in International Tax Competitiveness.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Politically Connected: Ties Link Embattled Government Bank, Well-Heeled Consultants.

Among other roles, Albright Stonebridge Group helps clients with government relations and crafts messaging plans for businesses. It is not, however, a registered lobbying firm, according to records at the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit that tracks how money and lobbying affect politics.

Still, many of ASG’s top officials share a history with the Export-Import Bank and worked with the government agency in a variety of capacities.

The close ties with the Ex-Im Bank paid off for three clients that, collectively, benefited from more than $6.3 billion in financing from the bank between 2009 and 2013: Siemens AG, First Solar and Dow Chemical Co.

During that same period, Albright’s daughter, Alice Albright, was Ex-Im’s chief operating officer and executive vice president.

Sounds like another argument for my revolving door surtax.

OH, GOODY: Byron York: Mike Huckabee gears up for 2016 run. Well, that should give worried Democrats some hope.

Mike Huckabee is leading the Republican presidential race in Iowa. And not by just a point or two: in a new CNN survey, the former Arkansas governor, winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses, is at 21 percent, with his closest GOP pursuer, Rep. Paul Ryan, nine points behind. Rand Paul is 14 points back, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush 15 behind.

Few frontrunners choose not to run. And when Huckabee, not yet a candidate and officially undecided, invited a group of reporters to meet with him at a hotel outside Washington Monday, he certainly looked like a man preparing to jump into the race.

One obvious sign is that Huckabee is talking about world affairs. Back in 2007, when he first ran for the GOP nomination, he became frustrated when debates focused on the war in Iraq. “Do you realize that in four debates we never had a single question on education?” he once complained.

On Monday, though, Huckabee opened his discussion with foreign policy. He has just returned from a trip to Israel — his third this year. Huckabee, who is perhaps the walking personification of American evangelical support for Israel, says he has lost count of the times he has been there since his first visit in 1973. What he is sure of is that President Obama has taken the wrong approach to Israel’s latest conflict.

Well, that’s plucking the low-hanging fruit.

BOOTIES ON THE GROUND: U.S. military will lead $750 million fight against Ebola in West Africa. “President Obama will announce Tuesday that the U.S. military will take the lead in overseeing what has been a chaotic and widely criticized response to the worst Ebola outbreak in history, dispatching up to 3,000 military personnel to West Africa in an effort that could cost up to $750 million over the next six months, according to senior administration officials.”

Whether or not you favor this, it does underscore something I’ve been pointing out — that officialdom seems pretty worried about this outbreak compared to those in the past.

WELL, BUT SO IS OUR COMMANDER IN CHIEF: WaPo Editorial: The U.S. strategy to defeat the Islamic State is underpowered.

“DJANGO UNCHAINED” ACTRESS’S CLAIM OF POLICE OVERREACH SEEMS TO HAVE FALLEN APART. “Anyway, let’s go to the video and you can judge for yourself. From what I can tell, any investigation into this is going nowhere. The officer was completely within his rights to ask Watts for her ID and she flipped out on him. He conducted himself in a calm manner, in the view of many, knowing he was being filmed. This sounds more and more like somebody who wants to be a big shot and attract the spotlight.” Just another reason all of these interactions should be recorded.

FIRE: Due Process Advocates Take Critical Look at How Colleges Are Dealing with Sexual Assault Allegations.

Sexual partners, of course, do not always agree on why they are having sex. Should that really negate otherwise valid consent? How clearly must each partner communicate their reasons for engaging in sexual activity? Is “yes, because” the new “yes”? That OSU has set forth this absurd standard is a stark illustration of how the movement to better protect students from sexual assault has led some institutions astray.

As we move away from a definition limited to what Susan Estrich once critically described as “real rape” — forcible sex by a stranger — into the newer, more ambiguous definitions, a fair system would be charging more women with rape, and finding them guilty. But while the “real rape” definition made rape something mostly done by males, and the new system is far more gender-neutral and encompasses all sorts of suasion and ambiguity as rape, the point of all these programs still seems to be to find and punish male students. That, in itself, is a Title IX violation, and the more that ambiguous, non-violent conduct gets included in the definition of rape, the more women will be included, and the more the disparity in prosecution/punishment will stand out.

Related: We need to teach women not to rape.

SHARYL ATKISSON: Hillary Cronies Sanitized Benghazi Files Before Accountability Review Board Got Documents. “As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to ‘separate’ damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story. At the time, Maxwell was a leader in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, which was charged with collecting emails and documents relevant to the Benghazi probe.”

We used to call it “vacuuming” the files back in the day.

Related: Hillary’s “Plumbers” Hid Benghazi Docs.

MICHAEL BARONE: Obama forced by events to reverse course — and disillusion base.

One of his chief advantages over Hillary Clinton in 2008 was her vote for the Iraq war resolution in 2002 and Obama’s opposition to it, albeit as a state senator from an overwhelmingly Democratic district.

In the late 1960s Democrats switched from being the more hawkish of our two parties, more likely to support military interventions and commitments, to being the more dovish. Visceral opposition to military action, and suspicion that even the most limited such action will lead to massive war, is deeply implanted in many Democratic voters.

You can expect, therefore, a skittish reaction to Obama’s announcement of a military escalation from senatorial and congressional candidates in states with dovish Democratic electorates like Colorado and Iowa. We also may also see depressed turnout of Democratic doves all over the country in November.

It is apparent that Obama’s decision to take military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, however limited, came despite his deep-seated feelings and was forced on him by events. American voters do not take kindly to videotaped beheadings of Americans. It unleashes a Jacksonian impulse to wipe the people who do these things off the face of the earth.

Obama, like his predecessor, likes to depict Islam as a religion of peace. An unhappily large number of Muslims, however, have other ideas. Their aggression and immunity to appeasement have forced the president to take actions that he, like many of his fellow Democrats, abhors.

Yeah, that keeps happening.

THE HILL: Administration threatens to cut off ObamaCare subsidies to 360,000.

The Obama administration announced Monday it will cut off tax subsidies to about 360,000 people if they do not offer proof of their income in the next two weeks.

Officials will send final notices this week to individuals who signed up for ObamaCare with income levels that didn’t match government records. The announcement marks the administration’s first move to tackle the politically charged issue of income verification, which has remained a key GOP argument against the healthcare reform law.

Those who don’t confirm their income levels could lose their tax credit and face higher premiums and higher deductibles.

Nearly 90 percent of the 8 million people who signed up for ObamaCare have received government subsidies. The average consumer pays $82 per month for a $346 plan, receiving an average subsidy of $264.

The administration had already warned that it would end coverage for the 966,000 individuals whose immigration status could not be confirmed by the government.

So by the rules of discourse arrived at during the ObamaCare debate, this means the Obama Administration hates sick people and wants them to die, right?

ROLL CALL: The Republican Brand’s Recovery Tour, Sort Of.

There was a time, a little less than a year ago, when Democrats salivated at the thought of running against the GOP brand and demonizing Republican candidates by attacking them and their party for “shutting down the government.”

But the Republican brand has largely recovered from its low point in late October, and even former Virginia Republican Rep. Tom Davis might now have to revise and extend his one-time comment that if the Republican Party “were a dog food, they would take us off the shelf.”

The turnaround in the Republican Party brand — and changes in the brands of the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama — is another reason why Democrats find themselves on the defensive in this year’s elections.

Instead of trying to make the midterms a referendum on the government shutdown and the Republican Party, Democratic strategists are trying to discredit individual Republican nominees.

I think it should be a referendum on Obama.

Related: Democrats Sound The Alarm On Southern California Race. “Democrats are sending warning signals on a previously sleepy southern California House race — a tangible sign of an increasingly tough midterm for the party. Freshman Rep. Julia Brownley is one of three House Democrats receiving extra and early help from the national party. A year ago, her district was barely on the party’s radar of competitive races, after President Barack Obama carried it by 10 points last cycle.”

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Teacher group: Math is ‘the domain of old, white men.’

CHANGE: In Immigration Debate, Polls Show Tide Turns For GOP.

September 15, 2014

A FAILURE OF CONFIDENCE: Poll: Americans don’t believe Obama will defeat ISIS; Now what? “Sowing distrust and discord among Americans has served Barack Obama well politically during his 68 months in office. But now as the former community organizer faces ISIS and the worst foreign policy crisis of his ineffective presidential tenure, that distrust and division has circled around to bite its master. After his nationally-televised address Wednesday and a tepid Friday fundraiser talk justifying his belated actions, a new poll reveals that a large majority of Americans says it lacks confidence he can accomplish his stated goals of beating the brutal new terror group that released a video of its beheading of a British citizen over the weekend.”

Weak horse.

IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, The Great Unraveling. Rodger Cohen also looks at cultural decay, dimly senses cause — even quotes Kipling — but doesn’t quite take it to the hoop.

Meanwhile, Ed Driscoll looks at who’s to blame.

HMM: Did Neil deGrasse Tyson Just Try To Justify Blatant Quote Fabrication?

GAMERGATE: Angry Feminists, Unethical Journalists Are the Ones Not Welcome in the Gaming Community. “To the feminist campaigners trying to ruin video games for everyone and a press that refuses to reform itself despite clear evidence of professional failure, gamers have responded with all the heroic defiance of Will Smith delivering a nuke into the mothership — and with just as much style. Through a series of fundraisers and lobbying efforts, as well as polite but firm advocacy on Twitter, they have begun to formulate a coherent intellectual and activist response to those who mystifyingly claim that their games and their culture are both somehow ugly, bigoted and evil. . . . #GamerGate has exposed both the feminist campaigners and even some gaming journalists as completely out of touch with the very reasons people play games. . . . The only group that genuinely isn’t welcome is that small but noisy battalion of social justice warriors, who bring nothing but gloom and despair, and their loyal band of incompetent, unethical bloggers, who are so desperate to advertise their upstanding moral virtue to the sisterhood that they have forgotten to check their consciences. We should resist this new tyranny.”

RAPE CULTURE: Woman Charged With Breaking Into Home, Raping Man In Seattle. “The unidentified, 31-year-old man said he awoke at 2 a.m. on June 17, 2013 to Gilman straddling him and having sexual intercourse with him. Police say he told the 240-pound suspect to get off, but she allegedly refused and told him to be quiet. He was able to break free from underneath her and said he pushed her out of the apartment.”

We need to teach women not to rape.

FROM VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: World War II — A Six Lecture Series.

WITH ALL THE DIET-AND-FITNESS BLOGGING LATELY, I thought some people might be interested in this interview of Paleo diet expert Nell Stephenson.

Her blog is Paleoista.

THE EURO-MODEL OF POST COLD WAR INTERNATIONAL ORDERING IS COLLAPSING EVERYWHERE: A Court’s Collapse: The International Criminal Court gives up on its prosecution of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS UP: Mining In The Last Frontier.


FASTER, PLEASE: Scientists unveil magnetic cure to clean up blood. “Scientists said Sunday they had invented a device that uses a magnet to extract bacteria, fungi and toxins from blood, potentially throwing a lifeline to patients with sepsis and other infections. The external gadget, tested so far in rats but not yet humans, could be adapted one day for stripping Ebola and other viruses from blood. Acting rather like a spleen, the invention uses magnetic nanobeads coated with a genetically-engineered human blood protein called MBL. The MBL binds to pathogens and toxins, which can then be ‘pulled out’ with a magnet, the developers wrote in the journal Nature Medicine.”

Since I lack a spleen, I’m particularly interested.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS UP: Mining In The Last Frontier.


UPDATE: Krauthammer: “Obama is clearly a narcissist. The man lives in a cocoon surrounded by sycophants.”

I CREDIT THE MARK RIPPETOE WORKOUTS: I’m the hottest guy in New Media, according to Politichicks.

AND THEN SHE SAID, THAT’S FUNNY, I HAD TWO WHEN I CAME IN HERE: Women, It’s Time to Reclaim Our Breasts.

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MARK RIPPETOE: Bodyfat and Age: Just How Important Is Thin?

STABBING WITH SYRINGE raises new fears of Ebola as a weapon. New?

THE DEATH OF ADULTHOOD IN AMERICAN CULTURE. Interesting to see the writer dimly grasping the reality of cultural decay, but unable to face the badthink thoughts needed to understand what’s going on.

LIFE IN MULTICULTURAL BRITAIN: Security guard bars Jewish schoolboys from entering sports shop. Want to bet he was “Asian?”

WHAT WE’RE AFRAID TO SAY about Ebola. “The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air. You can now get Ebola only through direct contact with bodily fluids. But viruses like Ebola are notoriously sloppy in replicating, meaning the virus entering one person may be genetically different from the virus entering the next. The current Ebola virus’s hyper-evolution is unprecedented; there has been more human-to-human transmission in the past four months than most likely occurred in the last 500 to 1,000 years. Each new infection represents trillions of throws of the genetic dice.”

Better check my stock of N95 masks. . . .

YOUR CHILDREN DO NOT BELONG TO THE STATE: Florida mom lets her kids try booze in controlled setting, gets arrested and charged with child neglect. And have you noticed that the “Child Protection” people always have time for cases like this, but are seldom to be found when there’s actual abuse? Tar. Feathers.

IN THE MAIL: From David Limbaugh, Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 494.

DEMOCRACY, OPEN IMMIGRATION, MULTICULTURALISM: PICK ANY TWO. The England That Is Forever Pakistan: Multiculturalism and Rape in Rotherham.

What has gone wrong in Rotherham, and what is wrong with its Pakistani community, are questions much asked in recent weeks: How could this small, run-down town in northern England have been the center of sexual abuse of children on such an epic and horrifying scale?

According to the official report published in August, there were an estimated 1,400 victims. And they were, in the main, poor and vulnerable white girls, while the great majority of perpetrators were men, mainly young men, from the town’s Pakistani community. Shaun Wright, the police commissioner who was responsible for children’s services in Rotherham, appeared before Parliament after his refusal to resign over the scandal. The scandal has cost both the chief executive and the leader of the council their jobs, and four Labour Party town councilors have been suspended.

A popular explanation for what Home Secretary Theresa May has described as “a complete dereliction of duty” by Rotherham’s public officials is that the Labour-controlled council was, for reasons of political expediency and ideology, unwilling to confront the fact that the abusers were of Pakistani heritage. Proper investigation, it is said, was obstructed by political correctness — or, in the words of a former local M.P., a culture of “not wanting to rock the multicultural boat.” . . .

The Pakistani community in Rotherham, and elsewhere in Britain, has not followed the usual immigrant narrative arc of intermarriage and integration. The custom of first-cousin marriages to spouses from back home in Pakistan meant that the patriarchal village mentality was continually refreshed.

The results are so ugly that even the New York Times is noticing.

Related: Rotherham child-sex victim confronts her alleged abuser in the street… but SHE is arrested by a van load of police. Yeah, it’s pretty clear what side the police are on here.

USA TODAY EXPOSES the Senate’s secret book of rules.

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THE LIBERAL GILDED AGE: Jay Cost reviews Joel Kotkin’s The New Class Conflict. Exerpt:

Kotkin asserts that a new ruling class has emerged from the upper echelon of society, one that is starting to rival the oligarchs of the late 19th century. In the Gilded Age, it was the railroad barons, oil magnates, and sundry industrial tycoons who had in their pockets machine politicians. Today, our incipient rulers come from the technology sector, which sprung up in California and Seattle in the wake of the computer and Internet revolutions. Joining them is a new “clerisy” of elites from academia, government, think tanks, and media.

The two camps are united around the concept of so-called “gentry liberalism,” which is defined by postwar ideals such as environmentalism, consumer rights, and cultural leftism. This differentiates the new oligarchs from the old ones in important ways. The so-called Robber Barons had an interest in economic growth and, ultimately, a vibrant middle class that could afford to purchase the goods they made. Today’s would-be oligarchs lack such an incentive. As Kotkin notes, one need not be middle class to afford a smartphone. And the new oligarch’s ideological commitment to environmentalism usually means stifling development for the sake of “sustainability.”

Arrayed against the oligarchs is a group Kotkin calls the yeoman class, a phrase that harkens back to the small, independent farmers idealized by the Jeffersonian Republicans of the early 19th century. Today’s yeomanry is not on the farm, but is composed of small businessmen and property holders. Often aligned with them are the old industries—oil, natural gas, coal, and other extracted-resource concerns—that share the yeoman’s priority for broad-based economic growth.

The heart of Kotkin’s work is in chapters two through four, where he describes the nature of each of these classes. His best work is really in the discussion of the tech oligarchy, which he dissects. He peels away its inflated self-conception to reveal a hypocritical, self-interested class of billionaires whose interests run contrary to the revolutionary and egalitarian rhetoric they espouse.

Read the whole thing. I think that Kotkin’s book is a very important one, and wrote about it here.

WOMEN AND MINORITIES HARDEST HIT: Obama push to hire veterans into federal jobs spurs resentment. “Those who did not serve in the military bristle at times at the preferential hiring of veterans and accuse them of a blind deference to authority. The veterans chafe at what they say is a condescending view of their skills and experience and accuse many non-veterans of lacking a work ethic and sense of mission.”

This bit seems revealing: “In her first week on the job as a management analyst in HUD’s human resources office, Gwen Colvin, a former master sergeant in the Air Force, started to move the boxes she had brought with her so she could unpack them and hang her military commendations and other memorabilia on her office wall. Her colleagues told her to wait for the maintenance staff to do those things because that was the protocol. Colvin said she was dumbfounded. In her view, she needed something done, so she did what she did in the military: She got it done.”

DAN MITCHELL ON dumb things people say about libertarians.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Bombshell Emails: White House Coordinated With Department of Labor To Hide Illegal Obama Fundraiser Hilda Solis’ Schedule. I’m sure the Justice Department will be right on that.

ROGER SIMON: Barack Obama’s Biggest Lie. It’s not the one about keeping your health plan.

FAKE WAR HERO TOM HARKIN: Hillary’s More Liberal Than People Think.

Here’s the Harkin fake war hero story, which doesn’t really have much to do with Hillary but which bears repeating.

THE HILL: Ex-CIA director predicts 5,000 US personnel on ground by December. If we’re going to send 5,000, we should be sending 50,000. 5,000 isn’t enough to win, it’s just enough to make a defeat look serious. But then waging war halfheartedly, on the cheap, and by committee has been Obama’s hallmark.

GERARD VANDERLEUN: A winning strategy for the air war against ISIS.

HEY, THIS SOUNDS LIKE WHAT OBAMA AIDES ARE SAYING TODAY! Flashback: Bush Aides Say Iraq War Needs No Hill Vote; Some See Such Support As Politically Helpful. “Lawyers for President Bush have concluded he can launch an attack on Iraq without new approval from Congress, in part because they say permission remains in force from the 1991 resolution giving Bush’s father authority to wage war in the Persian Gulf, according to administration officials. At the same time, some administration officials are arguing internally that the president should seek lawmakers’ backing anyway to build public support and to avoid souring congressional relations. If Bush took that course, he still would be likely to assert that congressional consent was not legally necessary, the officials said.”

Bush was smart to get Congress on board — even though by 2006, many, including Hillary, were pretending they’d never voted for the war — and Obama would be smart to do the same now.



I love this slam at Glenn Beck, too: “Despite his pariah status, Beck still has enough loyal disciples to launch a book, Oprah-style, to the top of the charts. In addition to his 6.75 million radio listeners, 400,000 subscribers fork over $99.95 a year to watch his TV channel.”

Some pariah.

JACK CASHILL: 5 lies that have shaped the Obama presidency.

If past presidents are remembered for their signature achievements, Obama will be remembered for his signature lie: “If you like your health care plan blah, blah, blah.” The reader knows the rest. Although the most consequential of Obama’s lies — it got him reelected — it’s far from his only prevarication.

I’ve counted 75 significant lies since his campaign for president began, but that doesn’t begin to tally the casual fibs and hyperbole he spouts seemingly every day. Here are five that illustrate just how much Obama’s presidency is built on falsehoods.

Read the whole thing.

BARACK OBAMA IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: My Plan For Iraq. How’s that workin’ out for you, champ?

And note the irony here.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: There Are Too Many Lawyers. What’s One Law School Dean to Do?

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Myron vs. Attila. “There is an unfortunate tendency to regard organizations like ISIS, Hamas or Hezbollah as a rag-tag agglomeration of mindless fanatics. However, as the Marine Corps Association’s recollection of the Second Fallujah attests, Jihadi outfits are anything but hopelessly incompetent. After all, they fight only the best: the USMC, the IDF, the Special Forces. It is inevitable that they should learn.” It’s like antibiotics and bacteria: Best to kill them all before they up their resistance.

“IRON DISCIPLINE:” Politico gives soft-soap treatment to Hillary backup Elizabeth Warren. The more puff pieces like this you see, the more likely it is that Hillary won’t run.

September 14, 2014

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: The Democrats’ Push To Criminalize Dissent. Everything within the party, nothing outside the party, nothing against the party. “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Dissent is the lowest form of crime. If you are a drone in the hive of the Left, it is possible — easy, in fact — to believe both of those things at the same time.”


After similar scandals in Oxford and Rochdale, as well as the Jimmy Saville case, the Rotherham scandal has stirred up huge controversy in the United Kingdom. Not only had abuse of the worst kind taken place, but the police and the Rotherham Council ignored the victims’ pleas for help, thus victimising them further.

Self-styled community leaders who claim to represent all the Pakistani Muslims living in Rotherham encouraged police and council high-ups to ignore the abuse, in order to preserve the superficial ‘honour’ of the community. The officials went along with this to preserve their jobs. The result: children doubly failed by the system, by their elders and by their authority figures, and left to the mercy of men who drove up in taxis, plied these children, some as young as 11, and mostly white, with drugs, and assaulted them. They threatened to burn them alive if they told anyone what happened to them. . . .

We carry prejudices against white women and their ‘availability’ with us when we immigrate, and they become even more amplified when we feel threatened by the pervading culture of the place we have settled in, and we want to draw in and protect ourselves from change and assimilation. If white women are ‘easy’, then vulnerable white girls, who are in care homes or runaways, are the ‘easiest’ of all.

Read the whole thing.

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Also, Mowers & Outdoor Power Tools.

Plus, check out the Kindle Daily Deal.

THEY DON’T WANT TO VOTE YES OR NO. THE GOP SHOULD MAKE THEM: Obama war request puts congressional Democrats in a tight spot.

HERE’S A HINT: The people with “astonishing fecundity” tend to grow in numbers and influence.

CAN WE HAVE ONE OF THOSE, PLEASE? Interview: Nigel Farage: An Emerging Leader Unafraid To Take His Country Back.

SULTAN KNISH: The Headchopper Next Door. People who were told all their lives that the West is the source of all evil in the world — and who were credulous enough to believe that — are poor choices to lead the West, particularly now. But that’s what we’ve got.

WHEN I MENTIONED PRESIDENT OBAMA’S DECLARATION OF NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH A WHILE BACK, A READER COMMENTED: “I need to put together a full on prep kit. I’ve got some essentials, but nothing for a long period. But looking at that Amazon page makes my head spin.”

Well, M.D. Creekmore has advice for easy disaster prep. And, as with exercise, something is better than nothing. If you’re prepared to hold out for two weeks without outside help, you’re in much, much better shape than most. If you’re prepared for a month, then you’re way ahead of the game, and, in fact, able to make it through pretty much anything that’s hit the North American continent since the last time Yellowstone let go.

Plus, was I ahead of the curve or what?