October 9, 2015

THE CAMP OF THE SAINTS IS JUST A NOVEL, RIGHT GUYS? RIGHT? GUYS? Refugee Charity Stops Aid To Calais Because 97% Are Men With ‘No Real Reason’ To Be There.

BRAVE SIR BARACK RAN AWAY: White House Is Weighing A Syria Retreat. Bravely ran away he did, brave, brave sir Barack.

ROLL CALL: Senate Clears NDAA with Veto-Proof Majority. “The White House has threatened to nix the measure over its inclusion of tens of billions of additional war funds to supplement the Pentagon’s everyday operating costs.”

Prediction: Whatever happens here, Obama will be back asking Congress for more war money within a year.

EDWARD LUTTWAK: Putin’s Great Crime: He Defends His Allies and Attacks His Enemies. “Conduct particularly reprehensible in the eyes of the Obama Administration, which does the exact opposite.”


Other than no Republican ever being elected president again, what could go wrong?

WELL, GOOD: New Cornell president ‘would never’ require trigger warnings.

“A university is about the fullest and freest expression of ideas and arguments,” she said. “There isn’t any idea that ought not to be tested and questioned. Because that’s how we get closer to the truth.”

It’s sad that it’s refreshing to hear this from an academic administrator, but, you know, it’s refreshing to hear this from an academic administrator.

HMM: Issa Considering Running For Speaker.

Related: GOP Pressures Reluctant Ryan.

Also: 7 Republicans Who Could Be Speakers.

Plus, it’s open season for pundits running with the — correct! — notion that you don’t have to be a member of Congress to be speaker. My own choice: Mike Rowe. It’s one of the few Dirty Jobs he hasn’t done.


Something that can’t go on forever won’t, to only slightly paraphrase Herb Stein.


FORGET THE GENDER GAP, THE REAL ISSUE IS THE FEDERAL PAY GAP: Federal Employees’ Wages Growing Faster Than Everybody Else’s. “Federal civilian workers had an average wage of $84,153 in 2014, compared to an average in the private sector of $56,350. The federal advantage in overall compensation (wages plus benefits) is even greater. Federal compensation averaged $119,934 in 2014, which was 78 percent higher than the private-sector average of $67,246.”

IT’S A SIGN.  THE SOLAR SYSTEM IS OURS:  (Hey, look, let’s just get off the rock, okay?) Pluto: NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reveals blue skies and red water ice


BEATS OBAMA’S MOTORCADE: Sight Of 400 War Elephants On Horizon Marks Hillary Clinton’s Arrival In Swing State. (And yes, it is a joke.)

STAND UP: The Real Benghazi Investigation.

EW:‘Buffy the Perv Slayer’? Sarah Michelle Gellar’s ‘just hanging’ with Bill Clinton [photo].

MUSH HEADED: Russian Scientists Build Monument To Honor Lab Rats. Is there a monument honoring the kulaks, sacrificed in an attempt to risk an impossible future?  Mush headed.

SHOCKED, SHOCKED:  Muslim Brotherhood official, former Clinton Foundation employee arrested in Cairo.


REVOLUTIONARY OR A FLUKE: Scientists Sequence First Ancient Human Genome From Africa.

THE REAL PROBLEM WITH A CULTURE OF VICTIM GLORIFICATION: The Real Problem With Susan Taffe Reed and Fake Indian Tribes.

October 8, 2015


THOUGHT: The Tea Party wing of the GOP has put paid first to Eric Cantor, and now to Boehner. What’s left of the GOP establishment is saying that the insurgency is stupid. But if the GOP establishment had done its job, there wouldn’t be an insurgency. So who’s stupid here?

As Ed Morrissey notes: “In 2010 and again in 2014, Republicans won back control of Capitol Hill by promising not just to stop Barack Obama’s agenda but reversing it, even though simple majority control in Congress isn’t sufficient to do so while Obama remains president. The GOP overpromised and under delivered–a classic set-up for discouragement and backlash.”

OBAMA DOES WHAT HE WANTS WITHOUT REGARD FOR THE LAW. WHY SHOULDN’T THE REST OF US DO THE SAME? Obama weighs expanding background checks through executive authority.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Report: U.S. Concedes Air Superiority Over Syria to Russia.


MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS ON TAXES AND MIGRATION: Are America’s tax migrants bringing California and New York’s high-tax views to sunny low-tax shores of Texas and Florida? “If I were one of those conservative billionaires (hello, Koch brothers! hi, Sheldon Adelson!) who are always donating tens of millions to support Republican candidates, I think I might try spending some of the money on something more useful: A sort of welcome wagon for blue state migrants to red states. Something that would explain to them why the place they’re moving to is doing better than the place they left, and suggesting that they might not want to vote for the same policies that are driving their old home states into bankruptcy.”

THE GOP COULD DO FAR WORSE — AND LIKELY WILL: Newt Gingrich Open to Returning to Speakership.

IS FACEBOOK REALLY A PLAYGROUND FOR NARCISSISTS? MAYBE NOT. “The results were fascinating: The more narcissistic the posters, the less social attention they received from Facebook. In particular, this trend was driven by individuals scoring high in exploitativeness and entitlement, two components of narcissism. Notably, exploitativeness (i.e., taking advantage of others) and entitlement (i.e., believing that one is the best) are some of the most noxious and insufferable facets of narcissism. Simply put: Facebook friends recognized these individuals and distanced themselves from them by ignoring them.”

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HOW DID THE DEMOCRATS BECOME FAVORITES OF THE RICH? John Podhoretz dubs this New York Times article “an important piece by Tom Edsell, which is not something I usually say:”

Democrats now depend as much on affluent voters as on low-income voters. Democrats represent a majority of the richest congressional districts, and the party’s elected officials are more responsive to the policy agenda of the well-to-do than to average voters. The party and its candidates have come to rely on the elite 0.01 percent of the voting age population for a quarter of their financial backing and on large donors for another quarter.

The gulf between the two parties on socially fraught issues like abortion, immigration, same-sex marriage and voting rights remains vast. On economic issues, however, the Democratic Party has inched closer to the policy positions of conservatives, stepping back from championing the needs of working men and women, of the unemployed and of the so-called underclass.

In this respect, the Democratic Party and its elected officials have come to resemble their Republican counterparts far more than the public focus on polarization would lead you to expect.

Well, speak for yourself, Tom. We’ve been writing about this trend since at least 11 years ago, when the Democrats nominated the second coming of Thurston Howell as their presidential nominee, a man who makes FDR seem positively plebeian. (As Mark Steyn asked around the same time, “Could Kerry slum it in the White House?”) As to the reason why, well, James Delingpole dubs it “The Drawbridge Effect” — “You’ve made your money. Now the very last thing you want is for all those trashy middle class people below you to have a fair shot at getting as rich as you are.”

This has its drawbacks — the left can’t preach what it practices, Charles Murray memorably wrote in Coming Apart. “That is certainly true,” William Tucker added at the American Spectator in his review of Murray’s 2012 book. “No one who has been through the American educational system can feel comfortable telling high school graduates that they should work hard, get married, and practice the virtues of thrift and honesty—even though they adhere to those values themselves.” Jonah Goldberg named this disparity “hypocrophobia,” noting that the wealthy have a far greater cushion in terms of both money and the protection it buys, when things go wrong:

What drives me crazy is when rich liberal single parents think they have legs to stand on when speaking on behalf of low-income single parents. I certainly understand the defensiveness, and no doubt they have some shared experiences. But the most infuriating problem with elite culture is its refusal to understand that it can afford its sins — or if you prefer something more secular, its mistakes.

People with lots of financial and social capital can afford to make bad choices that would be devastating for others. Rich single parents can afford nannies and tutors and play groups and summer camps. And parenting is only one aspect of it. The elite can afford rehab. If they get a DUI, they can afford a good lawyer. If they lose their license, they can take Uber. In terms of social capital, they get second and third chances from judges, schools, employers, landlords, et al.

But it’s good that the Times has finally noticed that the party for which they serve as house organ is the chief political party of the One Percent, as their (Gray Lady-approved) shock troops back during Occupy Wall Street would have dubbed their fellow Democrats.

HOUSE SPEAKER SELECTION DELAYED: Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has dropped out of the race for House Speaker. Boehner has delayed the GOP conference vote (slated for today) indefinitely.

It happened suddenly. A source close to McCarthy told National Review on Wednesday that the majority leader was confident that he had secured about 200 votes, and possibly gotten all the way to 218. At 1:00 P.M., just an hour after the scheduled meeting at which he withdrew from the race, came a statement from his office: “Over the last week it has become clear to me that our conference is deeply divided and needs to unite behind one leader. I have always put the conference ahead of myself. Therefore, I am withdrawing my candidacy for speaker of the House.”

Almost immediately, new names for the position began to float on Capitol Hill. Trey Gowdy (“If the Hillary hearing goes well, Trey Gowdy will get a tremendous amount of pressure,” says one House Republican, referring to the Benghazi committee’s scheduled interview with the former secretary of state, set to take place later this month. “I don’t know that he has the heart to do it.”) Peter Roskam. Jason Chaffetz. An interim speaker. Somebody, anybody.

In a phone call, McCarthy tells National Review he wants Ways and Means Committee chairman Paul Ryan to run, but Ryan issued a statement Thursday ruling out a bid. So right now, McCarthy says, the conference may be ungovernable. “I don’t know,” he says. “Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom.”

McCarthy’s move followed something of a political rock bottom of his own that stretched over two brutal weeks. Even before he announced his bid, he faced resistance from conservatives who viewed him as too closely tied to Boehner, the outgoing Speaker. All week, the Tea Party Patriots had been circulating T-shirts on Capitol Hill with the term “McBoehner” emblazoned across the front, along with an orange, wine-swilling, cigarette-smoking amalgam of Boehner and McCarthy.

Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL)–a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives–is now emerging as a more likely contender, obtaining the official endorsement of the House Freedom Caucus. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is still in the race, but appears to have fewer votes lined up than Webster.

Chaffetz was expected to finish third in the GOP caucus vote after McCarthy and Rep. Daniel Webster, a Florida Republican who on Wednesday nabbed the endorsement of the 40-something-strong House Freedom Caucus.

Rep. Steve King, one of the House’s more conservative members, said that he saw Webster with up to 70 votes in the race so far and that he was far ahead of Chaffetz.

“What I saw was Webster’s numbers growing,” King said. “I didn’t see that Chaffetz’s numbers were growing and they may have shrunk, I don’t know.”

King said McCarthy’s withdrawal was an opening for Webster, not Chaffetz.

Asked whether Chaffetz now had a better shot, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., was abrupt.

“No,” said the former chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee that Chaffetz now heads.

Boehner has not scheduled a new date for the GOP conference to vote on his replacement. Rumors are flying that Boehner is maneuvering to stay on as Speaker until a clear GOP consensus emerges. I have even heard rumors that Boehner is considering staying on as Speaker after his term of office expires (he has also announced that he will not seek reelection), as the Speaker of the House does not have to be an elected member of the House.

If Boehner stays on as Speaker much longer, it will be horrific for the GOP, further deepening the anger of the base and dividing the members of the House. It’s long past time for him to go, and his feeble attempts to stay on any longer is only harming, not helping, the GOP.

The GOP conference needs to pick a replacement as soon as possible. Once the GOP conference has picked its candidate, it will be incumbent upon all members of the GOP to unite and support that candidate, regardless of which “side” the candidate is on. To do otherwise would be to allow the Democrats to pick the next Speaker.

BUT ACKNOWLEDGING THIS DOESN’T FEED HILLARY-FRIENDLY “WAR ON WOMEN” THEMES: Barbara Kay: Don’t sell fathers short: They are as crucial to a child’s well being as a mother.

BUT IF THERE’S NO CRISIS, WHAT WILL THE CONSULTANTS DO? Brian Hall: There Is No Diversity Crisis In Tech.


favor cuts in defense spending—I favor cuts in spending almost everywhere—but thinking about President Eisenhower earlier today (I do that a lot) made me want to put contemporary military spending into perspective. In 1957, the nation was more or less at peace, the budget ran a small surplus, and we spent 9.8 percent of GDP on national defense. That was down sharply from the years immediately before (winding down of Korean War expenses, I guess) but quite a bit higher than it was in 1950 and 1951. In 1950, we spent only 4.9 percent of GDP on national defense, half that 1957 number. This year, we’re going to spend about 3.3 percent of GDP on national defense. That’s less than we spent during the first Clinton administration, a fairly peaceable time. It’s less than we’ve spent since before the budgetary beginning of the post-9/11 era, by which I mean, since 2002. Looking at 1957 from the other side of the ledger, tax receipts were 17.2 percent of GDP. This year, taxes are expected to come in at 17.7 percent of GDP, a little bit more. . . .

The real lesson of 1957 is that you could—if you were so inclined—spend three times what we spend on the military in GDP terms, produce a small budget surplus, and reduce total taxes. You could do that if you were willing to do the work on the rest of the budget. I wasn’t around at the time, but I’ve heard that 1957 was not a time of stateless Mad Max anarchy and wanton savagery in the United States.

Politicians found better ways to buy votes, so money spent on, you know, actually doing things the Constitution assigns to the national government is squeezed.

WOLF BLITZER SKEPTICAL IN BEN CARSON INTERVIEW THAT ARMED JEWS WOULD’VE FARED BETTER THAN UNARMED JEWS AGAINST NAZIS (VIDEO): “Blitzer is so invested in liberal talking points about guns that he can’t grasp the value of an armed populace in the face of evil tyranny.”

But of course – considering the network’s history of coddling up to every dictator willing to smile in front of a minicam with a CNN sticker on it, why would any of their employees view tyranny as evil? (If Carson had really wanted to make Blitzer sympathetic, he might have compared European Jews in WWII to the protestors in Ferguson, considering how much CNN invested in setting that uprising alight.)

Related: Racism straight up, courtesy of Condé Nast.


What do the acolytes of the State want to ban this week? Which bootlace eyelet will they lubricate with eager spittle? Oh, the usual stuff. Fun. Your fun. Vox writer Dylan Matthews twittered his demands, and they’re quite ordinary — except for one new requirement. See if you can spot it.


Accompanying that fascistic cri de cœur to Ban All The Things is a sneak peak of one of their future replacements — the photos illustrating Lileks’ article featuring Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt and Anthony Foxx, Mr. Obama’s transportation secretary, and a self-driving car that looks like a Weeblemobile.

Lileks ponders how that concept will play in Peoria:

Would the ban be for cities only, or for everyone? Would rural North Dakotans have to trade in their pick-ups for dinky bugs, or be required to retrofit their old trusty Chevys for self-driving units? Oh, what a madcap movie someone could make about the gubmint man who has to go to Elk Groin, Mont., and tell the lads down at the garage that they can’t drive their trucks anymore. Let me give you a web address with information about the new laws, fellas, and you can see how it’s just win-win for everybody. Amused at first, the locals decide to humor the fellow, and show him all the quirky joys of small-town life, and he becomes enchanted by a free-spirited woman who raises horses and drives big trucks, and takes him for a wild midnight ride where speeds exceed the legal limit. He goes back to the regional office, a changed man, his heart full of newfound admiration for the ways of these independent people and their curious, outmoded, backwards attachment to “shifting” and “steering” and all those old folkways. He starts to write a report about how the ban shouldn’t be applied to these people, but then shrugs and realizes he has a job review coming up, so he sends the IRS a memo: “You might want to audit all these people.”

You might think that’s a lot to get out of a tweet, but it reminded me of something I saw in a BuzzFeed article about self-driving cars, and why they’re awesome. The author, Mat Honan, made a good case, and I was right with him until the end, when the mask slipped and the Angry Man — whose excess of certainties is balanced by his deficit of wisdom — came snarling out.

Cars are giant, inefficient, planet-and-people-killing death machines. Self-driving cars — especially if they are operated as fleets and you only use one when you need it, summoning it Uber-style — would mean we could have fewer vehicles per person, less traffic congestion, less pollution, far fewer vehicles produced per year (thus lowering the environmental impact of production), and, best of all, safer streets. The blind, people with epilepsy, quadriplegics, and all manner of others who today have difficulty ferrying themselves around as they go through the mundanities of an average day will be liberated. Eliminating the automobile’s need for a human pilot will be a positive thing for society.

So go f*** a tailpipe if you love cars so much. Your love for cars doesn’t supersede the lives of 1.2 million people who die in automobile accidents every year. It’s not more important than the energy savings we’ll get from not manufacturing 60 million or so vehicles every year that spend most of their time idle. Turned off. Parked.

Well, at least he waited until the end of piece before dropping the mask. That puts him one up on the author of the notorious 2007 Time magazine article on “The 50 Worst Cars in America,” who began by railing against Henry Ford’s original sin of perfecting the notion of the mass-produced automobile in the first place, leading inexorably to every woe of the past 100 years, including the Iraq War and worse.

IT’S AS IF THEY JUST DOWNLOADED THE PLANS FROM OUR COMPUTERS OR SOMETHING: The Uncanny Resemblance Between Chinese and American Weapons.


Two in five of 1,789 vegetarians questioned owned up to treating themselves to a sneaky kebab after a few drinks.

And one in three said they indulged in meat every time they went out drinking.

Twenty-seven per cent of the lapsing veggies said they ate bacon, while 19 per cent opted for fried chicken and 14 per cent confessed to munching on sausages.

George Orwell, who railed against his fellow socialists’ obsession with vegetarianism in 1937’s The Road to Wigan Pier, noting with anger that “One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England,” wouldn’t be much surprised by their hypocrisy after knocking back a few.  Plus ça change.


And while leftists don’t have much sense of humor about themselves, they fully understand the power of ridicule. When they hear a vigorous claim that, “You can’t take away my guns because the Constitution guarantees my right to them,” they are apt to snicker, “Yeah, because you just might have to shoot at the invading U.S. army when the government declares a police state, right?”

Few people are willing to answer that mocking question with, “Well, yes, that’s right.” People who frame government as the perilous threat rather than the admirable “public servant” are lampooned as nutters by the media and many of their fellow citizens.*

Whether they should or shouldn’t be is beside the point. What matters is that you cannot make a compelling constitutional claim about gun rights unless you believe in the Constitution’s rationale for those rights. By and large, the public lacks that conviction … and that is why our debate is about struggling to limit the Left’s antigun agenda rather than asserting our own gun rights.

Read the whole thing.

* At least a third of whom believe that government murdered 3000 people on 9/11.

TEXAS TAQIYYA: Clock-Boy’s Father Pushes 9/11 Conspiracy Theories on Facebook:

Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas ninth-grader who was arrested and briefly detained for bringing what looked like a bomb to school, is in the news again thanks to his father.

Fox News has reported that Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed runs two Facebook pages – a pro-American Facebook page that is designed for the American public’s consumption, and an Arabic-language Facebook page that has a very different tone.*

The latter page is Mohamed’s National Reform Party page, and according to Fox News’ Trace Gallagher, it is much more active, and recently shared a disturbing 9/11 conspiracy video:

That account has shared a 14-minute conspiracy theory video on the 9/11 attacks and a post that shows the smoking Twin Towers, describing it as a U.S.-sponsored hoax to launch a worldwide war against Islam.

* * * * * * *

The president has invited Ahmed to the White House for Astronomy Night on Oct. 19.

* Yassir Arafat could not be reached for his stereo comments.

CHRIS PETERSON ON the future of the human lifespan.

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BBC ADMITS FAKING DRAMATIC VOLCANO ERUPTION SCENE ON NATURAL HISTORY SHOW: Footage of a ‘dirty thunderstorm’ in Chile on the BBC’s Patagonia programme was faked by splicing together two different volcano eruptions four years apart.

Michael Crichton, call your office.

(Via SDA.)

THE TWILIGHT OF FRENCH JEWRY, THE TWILIGHT OF FRANCE: French Jews are emigrating to Israel by the tens of thousands. Their departure isn’t just about them; it’s about the end of the French idea.

Earlier, Glenn noted that the London Times’ front page headline was “Millions of migrants in new flight to Europe,” as Europe continues to rearrange the deck chairs.

SPACE: The Google Lunar XPrize Race Is Officially On. Faster, please.

REMINDER: Amazon carries shooting supplies.

BECAUSE IT WORKS: Why Does DNC Media Keep Endlessly Repeating Already Debunked Talking Points? They’ll keep it up until it stops working, or at least becomes painful.

BOY, THERE REALLY ARE A LOT OF constitutionally illiterate pieces on the Second Amendment from academics lately. Here’s a hint: There’s a huge literature on this stuff. The Second Amendment wasn’t badly drafted or unclear, it was drafted by smart men who knew exactly what they were trying to say; you just don’t want to hear that. Your cocktail-party “insights” on the Second Amendment are neither interesting nor correct. This is Dunning-Krueger scholarship at its worst.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: “Maybe World War III has started already.”

IN THE MAIL: From Mercedes Lackey,et al., Collision: Book Four in the Secret World Chronicle.

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WHY DID CNN CUT THE LENGTH OF THE DEMOCRATIC DEBATE FROM THREE HOURS TO TWO? “Bernie and Hillary are too old to stand for 3 hours.”

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 882.

DEMS’ CLAIMS THAT THERE’S NO THERE THERE GET WEAKER WITH EACH NEW REVELATION: Clinton e-mails were vulnerable to hackers, tech firm warned.

ED MORRISSEY: The Coming Danger of a ‘Throw the Bums Out’ Election.

LONDON TIMES FRONT PAGE: “Millions of migrants in new flight to Europe.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.50.07 PM

UNEXPECTEDLY! Bern Notice: Socialist Venezuela Has World’s Worst Economic Forecast.

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Talk about rooting for injuries. But then, one man’s Web hacker is another man’s freedom fighter bound and determined to keep rockin’ even when facing 25 years of funemployment behind bars. Or something like that.

HMM. MY MONEY’S ON OPTION #2. Russia’s Syria intervention may force choice on Obama: Act or yield.


A political humorist named Mark Dice took a camera to the streets of San Diego and decided to interview Hillary Clinton supporters, acting as if he was one of them.

He told them that Clinton planned on instituting a “white privilege” tax.

In other words, she planned on taking money from each and every Caucasian and distributing it among the other races.

Guess what? They not only bought it, they agreed with it.


WHEN NOT HAVING ENOUGH ACTUAL RAPES IS PROBLEMATIC: Sex assault activists upset reality doesn’t conform to their beliefs.

Activists on at least two college campuses are upset that their universities aren’t showing the “epidemic” levels of sexual assault the activists believe exist.

At the University of Albany, the director of the school’s Advocacy Center for Sexual Assault, Carol Stenger, bemoaned the idea of schools wanting zero reports of sexual assault. Shouldn’t schools want zero reports? At least if it means there weren’t any sexual assaults? Well, that’s not what Stenger wants.

“But how could we have a zero? There are 17,000 students here. We know the national statistics. It’s happening everywhere,” Stenger said. “If we increase that reporting, that means more people are getting assistance. And assistance is the fastest way to healing.”

On one level I can see Stenger’s point: More reports could mean more people feel comfortable coming forward.

And there weren’t zero reports at Albany in the previous school year. There weren’t the thousands of reports that Stenger seems to want in order to fall in line with debunked national statistics (the claim that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted while in college), either.

In the past year, Albany had 28 reports of sexual assault, twice as many as it had before Stenger opened her advocacy center. To get the number in line with the national statistics Stenger mentions that there would need to be more than 1,700 reports (population of 17,280, about half being women, and a fifth of them allegedly being sexually assaulted). Oh, and all 1,700 of those reports would have to be true.

For the record, those 28 reports don’t break down to what alarmist national statistics say they should.

“Nine of them were from students who asked the university not to take action. Six resulted in disciplinary proceedings that led to two student expulsions and one persona non grata order against a nonstudent,” the Times Union reported. “Six were from third parties (when reached, the alleged victims either denied any violence occurred or declined to speak). Four involved assailants whose identities were unknown. Three were outside the university’s jurisdiction.”

What’s missing here is police involvement in what are, last time I checked, still crimes.

Remember, this is all about shaming men and empowering campus activists and educrats. It has nothing to do with actually protecting students:

A more alarming issue going on at Albany beyond the school’s desire for more reports is that the person responsible for carrying out an allegedly fair adjudication process, Title IX coordinator Chantelle Cleary, is also an advocate for accusers.

“Her duties include compliance, prevention and education around sexual assault, but her biggest task is investigating reports of assault and completing reports that help the university make a finding of responsibility,” wrote the Times Union. (Emphasis added.)

So, her job is to find students responsible? Not find the truth? Even the Education Department thinks that’s a conflict of interest. She’s supposed to investigate, not advocate. If this is the way she operates, then accused students at Albany should immediately hire a lawyer, because they probably aren’t getting a fair investigation or hearing.

That’s my advice to any accused student at any school. But doesn’t a pervasive system of male-targeting and denials of due process constitute a hostile educational environment based on sex? I think that it does.

TO BE FAIR, IT’S JUST MEANT TO BE A CAMPAIGN TALKING POINT: Obama administration has doubts that key Hillary gun proposal can work.

Current law requires those who are “engaged in the business” of selling firearms to get a federal firearms license — and to conduct background checks on buyers. Private sellers don’t need to conduct such checks. Gun control advocates have argued that administrative rules defining what that phrase means are too vague, allowing many private sellers who are actually selling guns as a quasi-business to do so without running checks on buyers. They argue that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms could tighten this up with a rule that narrows the definition of who is “engaged in the business.”

The Obama administration looked at this idea, officials tell me, studying whether “engaged in the business” could be defined with, say, a threshold number of guns sold — say, 50 or 100 per year. If this were done, those who identify as private sellers (and sell without background checks) but sell that many guns could no longer do so without getting a license and performing background checks.

But the idea quickly presented complications. One former administration official involved in these discussions tells me that some officials worried it would present new and unforeseen enforcement problems. One senior administration official says some worried internally that defining a commercial seller through a hard sales threshold — as opposed to, say, leaving it to the discretion of law enforcement to determine who is a commercial seller — could be subject to legal challenge and could end up sweeping in people selling guns who clearly were not engaged in it as a long term business. This could create untold logistical — not to say political — difficulties.

“It was very clear that it was way more complicated than the other stuff being looked at,” the senior administration official tells me.

It’s less complicated if you don’t really care about the results.

REASON TV: How to Create a Gun-Free America in 5 Easy Steps.

BEAN-COUNTING IN AN INFERNO — New York’s mostly male FDNY begins a “diversity” initiative, Matthew Hennessey warns at City Journal:

If diversity training is a dead end, why is Mayor de Blasio insisting upon it? Because, like most progressives, his idea of social justice involves the “fundamental transformation” of society—and that project must necessarily begin in the city agencies that are within his sphere of control. There are limits to what a mayor can do, even one with a lapdog city council cheering him on. This mayor thinks tilting policy in favor of certain personnel is the fastest route to fundamental transformation.

How else to explain the decision earlier this year to allow 33-year-old Rebecca Wax to graduate from the Fire Academy despite having failed the Functional Skills Test five times? The FST was designed to mimic the conditions of an actual fire. Probationary firefighters are required to complete a grueling six-floor obstacle course while hauling 50 pounds of gear and breathing through an oxygen tank. Wax succeeded in completing the course on her sixth try but took nearly four minutes longer to do so than is typically permitted. Nevertheless, she was allowed to graduate and was assigned to Engine 259 in Sunnyside, Queens. FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro admitted at a city council hearing in December that the department had lowered the fitness bar to allow more women to pass the test.

Read the whole thing.


If you look up “whole milk” in the government’s official Dietary Guidelines, it states pretty definitively that people should only drink skim or 1% milk. “If you currently drink whole milk,” it says, “gradually switch to lower fat versions.”

This is the same advice the government has been issuing for many years. And it’s wrong.

Research published in recent years shows that people “might have been better off had they stuck with whole milk,” according to a front-page story in the Washington Post on Wednesday. “People who consumed more milk fat had lower incidence of heart disease.”

The story goes on to note that the government’s push for Americans to eat a high-carb diet “provokes a number of heart disease risk factors.”

As the Harvard School of Public Health’s Walter Willett put it, the “campaign to reduce fat in the diet has had some pretty disastrous consequences.”

The Post goes on to note that this “has raised questions about the scientific foundations of the government’s diet advice.”

It should.

Based on flimsy evidence, the USDA first started urging people to eat low-fat diets in 1977. As evidence grew that this advice was misguided — at best — it steadfastly refused to change course.

Who am I kidding? The government isn’t accountable. That’s for the little people.

THIS ISN’T THE 21st CENTURY I WAS ONCE PROMISED: Necessity in a progressive-run city? Vox’s Matt Yglesias maps out San Francisco sidewalk obstacles: “A comprehensive map of human poop on San Francisco sidewalks.”

But then, as even the San Francisco Chronicle was recently forced to admit, “People come here thinking of this as the center of innovation and entrepreneurship, and they see a street scene that looks like something out of a Third World country.”

WELL, AFTER ALL, OBAMA’S NO BLACKER THAN THE OCC SHOOTER, WHO’S WHITE: Rupert Murdoch: Carson could be ‘a real black president.’ And, joking aside, it’s fair to say that Obama, with his white parents and tony Hawaii prep-school background, never had the connection with authentic black experience that, say, Ben Carson or Clarence Thomas had.

THAT’S THE CHICAGO (AND CALIFORNIA) WAY: Mark Steyn and Sean Hannity discuss, ‘The more illegal immigrants you have in your state, the greater the votes you have in the Electoral College’ (video).

A HILLARY DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND! Hillary Clinton: I Totally Oppose The Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement I Negotiated In 2012, even though “In her 2014 memoir, Hillary Clinton listed the negotiation of TPP as one of her key accomplishments as Sec. of State.”  As Twitchy asks, “Did TPP flip-flopper Hillary even READ her book before sending it to GOP candidates?”

The Washington Free Beacon video supercut rounds up 24 Times Hillary Clinton Championed the Trans-Pacific Partnership While Secretary of State:

Jack Tapper of CNN notes that the number is nearly double: “45 times Secretary Clinton pushed the trade bill she now opposes.”

And don’t get her started on NAFTA, either, which further demonstrates the paradox of Hillary’s campaign. It’s entirely based on the good time nostalgia of the 1990s, even though she has repudiated seemingly every aspect of her husband’s post-Reagan centrism that helped to create it, as part of her increasingly quixotic efforts to lock down her party’s radical socialist base.

Speaking of which, at Hot Air, Allahpundit writes, “the Hillarybot has decided that it’s in her interest to move left to protect herself against Sanders. Bad idea. Because not only will she irritate centrist Dems and Obama-worshipping liberals by crossing him on this, but hardly a single Sanders voter will reconsider her based on this position given how transparently politically calculated it is. As Gabe Malor says, ‘Clinton will get a 5 point bump from this. In the ‘not honest or trustworthy’ polls.’ In fact, if you were searching for a reason to watch next week’s debate, now you’ve got one: It should be high comedy watching Sanders feed Hillary tons of sh*t for her sudden pandering reversal on TPP. Can’t wait.”

Related: Plenty of room on Hillary’s server for a little Journolist-style action as well.

‘INTERRUPTING WHITENESS’: NATIONAL EDUCATION CONFERENCE TO BLAME WHITE TEACHERS AND STUDENTS FOR SCHOOL WOES: Obama wanted “a national conversation on race.” This conference is what he meant: “interrupting whiteness” in American schools, “challenging white supremacy,” and eliminating the “white privilege” of Caucasian students.

Plus the real buried lede — it’s the long awaited return of the legendary Zombie to blogging.

WHY IS ESQUIRE’S CHARLES PIERCE so hostile to minority men’s genitalia? “Sexualized violence… it’s funny because…? Exactly why is it funny to you Charles?” Take the survey at the link. Is Charles threatened by minority males’ sexuality?

THE JAYVEE SOUNDS MORE THAN READY TO TURN PRO: ISIS executes three Assyrian Christians, threatens more executions.

NONSENSE! SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS: Clinton ‘SNL’ Cameo Could Entitle Challengers to Free Air Time.

PRECIOUS SNOWFLAKES ARE MELTING OUT THERE: Notable & Quotable: Fragility on Campus.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Once the Biggest Buyer, China Starts Dumping U.S. Government Debt.

BECAUSE THEY’RE HUMANS, NOT AUTOMATONS? Why bans on roughhousing are bad for kids.

THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE TILL MORALE IMPROVES: How New York politicians make Florida look great.

NO MATTER HOW MUCH THE SOCIALISTS PRAISE IT, ENVY IS STILL NOT A VIRTUE: Gwenyth Paltrow’s latest gripe: Iron Man out-earns his girlfriend.

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG: Should We Try to Stop Our Biological Clocks?

GIRL PRIVILEGE: Michelle Obama’s misguided girl power agenda.

EXPAND, LITTLE PROBE, EXPAND: FBI probe of Clinton e-mail expands to second data company.

SHOCKED, SHOCKED. AT RICK’S? GAMBLING? SHOCKED: Former U.N. General Assembly president charged with bribery.

October 7, 2015

“THEY GONNA PUT Y’ALL BACK IN SOMBREROS!” Biden: Republicans ‘beating’ on Hispanics.

WELL, THAT’S NOT HER STRONGEST SUIT: If Joe Biden runs, it’ll be a “character campaign” against Hillary.

DON’T MAKE FUN OF HIM: Man Calls 911 Because His Girlfriend Won’t Have Sex With Him.

But according to the University of Michigan, withholding sex is “sexual violence.” You people shouldn’t be shaming a victim of sexual violence, you know.

FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF READING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO THOUGHT THE MARTIAN WAS BASED ON A TRUE STORY: Well, presumably it will be eventually, so perhaps they’re simply jumping the gun. (Cue the “I know it’s just a TV show.” “Stop for a second — it’s real.” “I knew it!” scene from Galaxy Quest.) But I wonder what the crossover is between those who simultaneously think we never landed on the moon and think The Martian was based on a true story.

IT’S KURT SCHLICHTER ON CNN, arguing guns with Marc Lamont Hill. I know which one I’d rather have at my back in a tight situation.

THIS CASS SUNSTEIN PIECE ON THE SECOND AMENDMENT is just embarrassing. When you rely on a retired Warren Burger — whom liberals considered a dim bulb when he was actually Chief Justice — recycling an argument he originally made in Parade Magazine, you don’t have much. But the notion that the post-Heller Second Amendment caselaw represents some sort of “right wing reinterpretation” of previously settled law is ridiculous. It will persuade no one who doesn’t already agree with Sunstein, and it diminishes his reputation with anyone who is at all familiar with the actual law.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Only 38% of recent college grads think college was worth the cost.

All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

MEDIA HAPPENS: Obama Gives His Marching Orders On Guns. And the press happily submits. “Before anything was known about the shooter, the guns or the victims, Barack Obama was once again yelling at everyone in the country not responsible for the crime. This was an angry, petulant, lecturing leftist straight out of the Occidental teacher’s lounge. It was also the first time this country saw the real Barack Obama. It was, if anything, refreshing. He is who we thought he was. . . . Media personalities and journalists have in years past usually fallen back on ‘Ha ha, don’t be so paranoid, silly gun nut! Nobody’s coming for your guns!’ It’s the same cliche response they’ve always whipped out when forced to defend their positions as credible reporters and not progressive activists. Except this time, because of Obama’s own words and actions, they now feel Narratively Empowered.”

AT AMAZON, Men’s Outdoor Clothing.

THIS SOUNDS LIKE A BIG BANG THEORY PLOT: Antarctic scientists face breathalyser tests due to alcohol-fuelled fighting and ‘indecent exposure:’

Breathalysers could be used to curb alcohol abuse among scientists at US bases in Antarctica following “unpredictable behaviour” caused by excess drinking, including fights and indecent exposure.

Officials from the National Science Foundation told an audit of healthy and safety at the two US-run bases — McMurdo Station and the South Pole — that drinking has led to “unpredictable behaviour that has led to fights, indecent exposure, and employees arriving to work under the influence”, according to a report in Wired.

The agency is reportedly considering shipping several breathalysers to the isolated stations, which together house up to about 1,150 people, including scientists and support staff.

But such a move could potentially pose legal and administrative problems, as Antarctica is not US territory and it is not clear who would conduct the tests and what rights of appeal would be available.

Complicating matters further, the South Pole station is at a high altitude which could reportedly prevent the breathalyser tests from working properly.

The agency insisted that drinking was not out of control but it wanted to prevent alcohol-related problems.

Only one man could restore discipline to these out of control sub-zero scientific wastrels. Clearly, Capt. Stillman was shipped to the wrong edge of the world when the EM-50 urban assault vehicle project went pear-shaped.


POLITICS: Green Ideals Trump Science in Europe. “Maybe this was predictable: 19 of the EU’s 28 member nations have so far asked to “opt out” of scientist-approved genetically modified crops, exercising an option afforded to them by a compromise made by the European Commission earlier this spring. Under that deal, EU scientists are tasked with evaluating the safety of GMOs before their import into the trading bloc, but members are still given the option to eschew that expert analysis and reject GM crops on a case-by-case basis. Since then, the number of countries opting out has steadily risen, and a spokesperson confirmed earlier this week that the European Commission has received 19 such requests.”

NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SCIENCE: Why Frequent Sex Increases a Woman’s Pregnancy Odds.

PROGRESS: Four new Breakout Labs Startups funded by Peter Thiel.