“HARBINGERS OF FAILURE:” Some people seem to have a knack for buying losing products. Wonder how this analysis would apply to political candidates.
July 30, 2015
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.
Plus, today only at Amazon: 50% Off a Rowenta Focus Steam Iron with 400-Hole Stainless Steel Soleplate.
And, also today only: $18.99 Timex Ironman Watches. I love my Timex Ironman.
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.
Plus, Kindle Daily Deals.
And, Today’s Featured Digital Deal. The deals are brand new every day, so browse and save!
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…”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: NPR: Should Law Schools Pay If Students Don’t Get Jobs?
NO BAYING OVER SPILLED MILK: For those of you who bought Sasquan (Worldcon) memberships, the deadline for voting is coming up fast. Don’t forget to vote.
July 29, 2015
MODERN ART IS DEAD: And I don’t feel so good myself. This is what happens when art becomes a racket at public expense. Or as Robert A. Heinlein said “A government supported artist is a whore — an incompetent one.”
HE DRINKS HIS OWN INK: Obama: ‘I’m a Pretty Good President’ And If I Ran For a Third Term, I Could Win.
MEANWHILE IN EUROPE: France deployed 120 riot police to Calais on Wednesday to bolster security after thousands of migrants tried to enter Britain through the Channel Tunnel in recent days, with the resulting chaos leading to at least one death. “British daily The Times reported Wednesday that up to 3,000 were involved in a closely coordinated plan to cross the English Channel into Britain on Monday night alone.”
Hmm. “A closely coordinated plan to cross the English Channel into Britain.” Sounds like an invasion.
EVERYTHING IS A LIE: “Leftists eternally reference per capita calculations in order to present Australia’s carbon dioxide output in the worst possible light. Yet they do not apply any per capita analysis to Australia’s refugee intake – and for the very same reason.”
KURT SCHLICHTER: Gun Rights Advocates Have A Devastating New Argument Against Gun Control. Here It Is. I think this argument may have broader application.
UNDER DEBLASIO, NEW YORK GOES BACKWARD: “Take a walk around the Grand Hyatt and neighboring Grand Central Terminal these days. It’s often like stepping out of H.G. Wells’s time machine straight back into the 1970s or 1980s. Vanderbilt Avenue, in particular, is becoming once again the urinal of the universe, with one block wall-to-wall ‘bum stands,’ as my son, with childhood inventiveness, used to call them: the stolen supermarket shopping cart, the garbage bag full of scavenged cans and bottles for redemption, the prone figure wrapped mummy-like in a filthy blanket. The heart sinks. It took so much effort by so many people to clear up the human wreckage that so many years of liberal ‘compassion’ had created in a dying New York. And to see it all—I can’t put it any better than the esteemed New York Post—’pissed away’ by a mayor not smart or perceptive enough to have learned one thing from the experience of the last 20 years, since his own personal demons have left him stuck in the politics of the 1950s and 1960s, is tragic. It is so hard to build; so easy to destroy.”
MAKE ‘EM PAY. U.Va. Grads Sue Rolling Stone Over Retracted Rape Article. “Court documents show that three University of Virginia graduates and members of a fraternity profiled in a debunked account of a gang rape in a retracted Rolling Stone magazine story are suing the publication and the article’s author. The three graduates filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York. They are also suing Rolling Stone’s publisher, Wenner Media. A lawyer for the men said they suffered ‘vicious and hurtful attacks’ because of the inaccuracies in the November 2014 article, which was written by journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely.”
The complaint is here. The Southern District of New York, where this was filed, tends to be especially friendly to libel defendants.
DRIP, DRIP: Hillary Clinton’s former spokesman turns over 20 boxes of emails. Hmm. Mysteriously appearing boxes of records? That sounds familiar. Plus: “Hackett also told the court that State couldn’t produce all of the documents requested by the AP at this time — including one related to Huma Abedin’s role as a ‘special government employee.’ He said the agency is still awaiting work-related emails from former agency officials Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills. Hackett did not say whether the documents being sought were from a personal account or State.gov account.”
SEEMS LIKE AN UNLAWFUL PRIOR RESTRAINT. ALSO, AN ADMISSION OF SORTS: Restraining order issued against anti-abortion group’s video.
HONESTLY, I JUST AVOID BOTH: The Evidence Supports Artificial Sweeteners Over Sugar. This past year, the Insta-Daughter quit putting sugar in her coffee, following my advice: Just stop and after a couple of weeks you won’t miss it any more. That works for lots of things. And once you get used to that, the sugary stuff tastes icky-sweet.
INDICTED DEM REP. CHAKA FATTAH RODE ON AIR FORCE ONE TO PHILLY WITH OBAMA THIS MONTH FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM SPEECH.
And of course, the White House claims Obama “was not aware of Rep. Chaka Fattah’s pending indictment when they flew together recently on AF1.”
It’s a fair cop — our semi-retired president only discovers bad news after it’s been on TV.
RICHARD FERNANDEZ: An Affair Of The Mind.
The controversy surrounding the F-35 is fundamentally an extension of the debate over what a future fighter should be. Recently the aircraft made news when it was officially announced that the airframe couldn’t dogfight worth a damn. The standard riposte is that dogfighting as a form of aerial combat, stopped being relevant a long time ago.
Perhaps the best advocate for dogfighting-is-dead point of view isn’t a paper for the F-35 but a paper which argues that air combat is fundamentally changing. Perhaps the F-35 is not the best tool for coming era, but neither is the super-dogfighter many in the public seem to crave. In a PDF article titled Trends in Air-to-air Combat, John Stillion of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments argues that the era of pointing the airframe at moving point in space is over. It never really existed. Even during the age of gun kills, most victories arose from a dominant situational awareness and the ability to initiate the fight and disengage at will. The dominant importance of getting in first did not change in Vietnam.
Read the whole thing.
BECAUSE THEY HAVE CONTEMPT FOR ANYONE WHO TRIES TO STOP THEM: Obama Administration lawyers have (once again) been threatened with contempt. This time, it’s federal district judge Emmet Sullivan, who threatened today to hold the IRS Commissioner and DOJ attorneys in contempt because the the IRS has failed to produce status reports and newly recovered emails of Lois Lerner, as Sullivan had ordered on July 1, 2015.
According to Judicial Watch, the group initiating the lawsuit against the IRS for its failure to comply with a FOIA request:
During the a status hearing today, Sullivan warned that the failure to follow his order was serious and the IRS and Justice Department’s excuses for not following his July 1 order were “indefensible, ridiculous, and absurd.” He asked the IRS’ Justice Department lawyer Geoffrey Klimas, “Why didn’t the IRS comply” with his court order and “why shouldn’t the Court hold the Commissioner of the IRS in contempt.” Judge Sullivan referenced his contempt findings against Justice Department prosecutors in the prosecution of late Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and reminded the Justice Department attorney he had the ability to detain him for contempt. Warning he would tolerate no further disregard of his orders, Judge Sullivan said, “I will haul into court the IRS Commissioner to hold him personally into contempt.”
I don’t recall any prior Administration being threatened with contempt as often as the Obama Administration. It seems that, in multiple major cases, they are being threatened with contempt. DOJ lawyers are starting to get a bad reputation, when they used to be widely respected. DOJ lawyers in previous Administrations certainly did not so brazenly defy the orders of federal judges and Congress. The Obama Administration’s disrespect for the rule of law is permeating virtually everything it does.
MARK RIPPETOE WOULD APPROVE, PRESUAMBLY: Don’t Get in the Way of a Strong Man That Wants to Ride His Bike: Because he’ll lift the car out of the way.
While I’ve long ago left behind my knee-jerk opposition to all hunting, especially since I recognize that hunters do a great deal to preserve natural habitats in America, I don’t think I’d like to hunt, and I most certainly cannot come up with a rationale to justify big game hunting. Put another way, I’m not a fan of what the dentist did, even assuming it’s true he didn’t intend to contravene game preserve protections.
Not being a big fan, though, is not the same as being a crazed, hysterical murderer — and that’s precisely what Cecil’s fans are looking for.
The real story is not that poor Cecil was tragically shot. It’s that western civilization, specifically the younger generations, have lost their collective minds and do not have the mental faculties to be adults, let alone adults in the free world. They are effectively zombies. And there is no reasoning with them.
Read the whole thing.
THOUGHTS ON TRUMP, from Roger Kimball:
I don’t think Donald Trump will be the GOP candidate in 2016, and I don’t think he would win if he were. But he has raised some issues that the high and mighty dispensers of conventional wisdom would do well to ponder. Moreover, he has done it in a way that, though terribly, terribly vulgar, is catapulting Trump to first place in the polls. What does that tell us? That the people are stupid and need to be guided by the suits in Washington? If you believe that, I submit, you are going to be profoundly disappointed come November 2016.
Though does anyone think Trump will be a laissez-faire kind of president if he actually won? To borrow from the Spy magazine gag line on Trump that Roger quoted in his post, wouldn’t President Trump likely be a “short-fingered vulgarian” clone of Michael Bloomberg or Jimmy Carter? Perhaps not in terms of specific policies (such as Bloomberg’s obsession with bike lanes), but in terms of wanting to micromanage everything? Generally, that’s been a recipe for failure in the White House, whether it’s LBJ or Obama personally choosing bombing runs to Carter’s legendary micromanagement of the White House tennis court. It’s only a matter of time before someone like that thinks he knows what’s better for the American people than the people themselves.
WHY DO GOVERNMENT SERVICES SO OFTEN SUCK SO BADLY, Charlie Martin asks:
With the IRS, we can imagine lots of reasons that the number of calls answered is so low. (I personally like the theory that the IRS is pissed about being caught in the IRS scandals, but I don’t actually know.)
Look at the situation, however, and we can see this: the IRS doesn’t get any particular rewards from answering calls; after all, they’re just doing their job. But the IRS commissioner can go in front of Congress and insist that they can only answer more calls if they receive a massive budget increase — which has always worked before, after all.
So what I’ve done here is proposed a theory: people tend to do what they find rewarding, and what people are doing now is what’s been rewarding in the past. Readers can evaluate this for themselves — just think about where you get good service and bad service, government or private, and see if what you consider good service is being rewarded. (For an interesting thought experiment, ask yourself why McDonalds drive-through orders are wrong so much more often than orders at the counter.)
If you find this theory plausible, then ask yourself one more question: do we reward government, and government workers, for when they are giving us good service?
If you have a puppy that always wants to chew a sock, it probably means that chewing the sock got it attention in the past.
Read the whole thing.
MARK RIPPETOE: Big Brother Is Watching You Squat: State Licensure — What Coaches And Trainers Need To Know. Punch back twice as hard.
NETS COVERED CECIL THE LION MORE IN ONE DAY THAN PLANNED PARENTHOOD VIDEOS IN TWO WEEKS: Why, it’s as if Cecil was a useful distraction for the media to temporarily sandbag a developing story they want absolutely nothing to do with. In other words, Gosnell redux. As Jim Treacher noted last year, “Modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn’t know because they might reflect badly on Democrats.”
Fattah’s office confirmed he has agreed to give up his leadership post on the Appropriations Committee, where he is the top Democrat overseeing criminal justice and science spending. He will be replaced by Mike Honda, D-Calif., who is currently the subject of an ethics probe.
At Front Page, Daniel Greenfield adds:
Fattah had garnered attention for demanding that Congress expunge the impeachment proceedings of Bill Clinton… and impeach Bush.
Chaka Fattah had joined Jesse Jackson Jr. on H. Res 635 to impeach Bush. Jackson was busted and went to prison. Now Chucklehead Fattah looks likely to join him. The bill was put forward by John Conyers whose wife went to jail for bribery.
Nothing to see here. Just more Democrats being Democrats.
Or as my friend Michael Walsh likes to say, “Think of the Democratic Party as what it really is: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party.”
AT AMAZON, deals galore at the Men’s Denim Store.
And please remember: InstaPundit is an Amazon affiliate. When you do your shopping through the Amazon links on this page, including the “Shop Amazon” tab at the top or the searchbox in the right sidebar, you support this blog at no cost to yourself. Just click on the Amazon link, then shop as usual. I very much appreciate it when you do.
NTSB: Mistimed Maneuver Doomed Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo. “A mistimed feathering maneuver resulted in the fatal crash of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo last October, an accident which killed one, critically injured another, and set back the company’s space tourism ambitions. Feathering is the maneuver in which part of the wings change position to increase drag and slow re-entry. But the feathering system was unlocked too early, compromising the craft and shearing off the wings.”
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): “A 41-year-old woman accused last week of inappropriate sexual conduct with a 15-year-old male via Facebook was back in front of a judge Monday facing an additional charge in the case. Kathi Linn Pederson was charged with attempted witness tampering for calling the boy’s home at about 3 a.m. Friday, less than 24 hours after her first court appearance.”
It doesn’t take a big-shot music executive or a statistician to see that the music industry is in a major period of upheaval.
Sales of recorded music are at or near all-time lows, digital downloads and concert revenues aren’t doing enough to stop the bleeding, and technology has made recording and sharing music easier than ever, driving up competition in an already traditionally competitive industry.
Rock musicians vowed to smash capitalism and to “imagine no possessions.” What’s the problem here?
MAKING WIRELESS POWER TRANSMISSION more efficient. Personally, I’d like to do it losslessly via quantum entanglement.
SPACE: ‘Trillion-Dollar Asteroid’ Zooms by Earth as Scientists Watch. “The near-Earth asteroid is an intriguing candidate for mining, said representatives of the company Planetary Resources, which is hoping to begin these activities in the coming decades. . . . Previous studies by Planetary Resources estimated that 2011 UW158 contains about $5.4 trillion worth of platinum, an element that is rare on Earth.”
WELL, YES: Jon Stewart’s secret Obama meetings reveal he’s a partisan hack. “It turns out Jon Stewart isn’t our Edward R. Murrow or our Mark Twain. He’s more like our . . . Jay Carney. Don’t count on future generations knowing Stewart’s name any more than they will know Carney’s. Remember when, under a Republican president, it was the duty of all comedians to be the loyal opposition, to speak truth to power? Stewart does the opposite. He’s more like a referee who sneaks into the Patriots’ locker room to ask Tom Brady how much he wants his footballs deflated.”
As I said yesterday, our current pop culture is Potemkin Culture, coordinated at every level to advance a preferred narrative. This is just an especially egregious example.
IN THE MAIL: From Mark Levin, Plunder and Deceit. Two words that describe our era, and a must-read.
Plus, today only at Amazon: Philips Sonicare Easy Clean 2 Pack, $99.99 (50% off).
And, also today only: Skylanders Trap Team Tablet Starter Pack, $19.99 (67% off).
BERNIE SANDERS ON IMMIGRATION: “Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal. . . . It would make everybody in America poorer —you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that.”
If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.
You know what youth unemployment is in the United States of America today? If you’re a white high school graduate, it’s 33 percent, Hispanic 36 percent, African American 51 percent. You think we should open the borders and bring in a lot of low-wage workers, or do you think maybe we should try to get jobs for those kids?
I think from a moral responsibility we’ve got to work with the rest of the industrialized world to address the problems of international poverty, but you don’t do that by making people in this country even poorer.
So it’s okay to have socialism, but it can’t be international socialism, it has to be socialism in one nation. A sort of national socialism, I guess.
FLEEING NEW JERSEY, AND ITS CRUSHING TAXES, FOR A BETTER LIFE:
That guy in this story happens to be my dad, and he’s an American refugee. I say “refugee” because the definition of the word in Merriam-Webster reads as follows: “someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious reasons or political reasons.”
My dad didn’t leave his country, but he left his home state. And he left because leaders there treated its residents like an ATM for several decades running, passing local and state tax increases that priced him out of his own home. And out of his home state.
Indeed, New Jersey led all 50 states in one tragic category: creating refugees. Last year, the Garden State lost more residents as a percentage of its overall population than any other state in the country, according to a 2014 National Movers Study commissioned by United Van Lines of St. Louis.
Read the whole thing. As for refugees from California, Iowahawk, my fellow emigre to Texas, is fond of posting this factoid on Twitter:
LAURENCE TRIBE AND THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. “What a fascinating insight into how administration politics work.”
Plus, Kindle Daily Deals.
And, Today’s Featured Digital Deal. The deals are brand new every day, so browse and save!
JOURNALIST LAMENTS: WE ‘WON’T BE FORCING THE FAITHFUL INTO STRAIGHTJACKETS ANY TIME SOON:’
The Atlantic writer Jeffrey Tayler is annoyed at the “educated elite” in our country. Why have they not risen to the occasion and labeled passionate religious belief a mental illness?
The writer’s disappointment followed the release of an article on The News Nerd entitled “American Psychological Association to Classify Belief in God as a Mental Illness.” In the story, Psychologist Dr. Lillian Andrews had stated: “The time for evolving into a modern society and classifying these archaic beliefs as a mental disorder has been long overdue.”
Yet the article, it turned out, was a hoax.
Alas for Mr. Tayler. Indeed, the journalist had already treated religion as a mental illness before this study had seemed to confirm it. Yet, “the hour was not nigh,” he wrote sadly. “Psychologists were not yet ready to diagnose firm belief in God as what it is: an unhealthy delusion.”
It’s probably for the best that Tayler’s article ran in Salon, as the Atlantic can be extremely favorably inclined towards organized religion – if the price is right.
Colleges don’t need any more sexual assault laws or policies, says Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA — Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
I would only disagree in that legislation might be needed to guarantee basic due process rights to students who are accused — sadly, the current campus culture ignores such constitutional rights.
Kruger, in an op-ed for the Washington Post, has taken issue with the notion that colleges were not previously taking campus sexual assault seriously.
“Advancing half-truths and twisting statistics for political gain does nothing to prevent incidents of sexual assault, help victims or make campuses stronger,” Kruger wrote. “Public and private college and university administrators, advocates and other experts are working together proactively and students are safer now than they have ever been.” . . .
Kruger added that multiple laws on the books for campus sexual assault are creating confusion. New York, which recently passed a “yes means yes” consent policy, now has three different definitions of consent.
That alone is a due process violation. Related: How an Influential Campus Rape Study Skewed the Debate: Widely cited study relies on surveys that don’t actually have anything to do with on-campus sexual assaults.
President Obama’s January 2014 memo announcing the creation of a White House task force to address campus sexual assault repeatedly cites Lisak. His research provides evidence of the notion that “campus rapists are often serial predators” who perpetrate a “cycle of violence” unless stopped, according to the memo.
The 2002 Lisak study that supposedly makes that case—”Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists”—is fundamental to the activist campaign to reduce campus rape. But despite the study’s prominence, its assertions about the serial nature of campus rapists are dubiously sourced, according to a thorough investigation conducted by Reason contributor Linda LeFauve.
The study pooled data from four separate surveys of interpersonal violence that were conducted at the University of Massachusetts-Boston during the ‘90s, at which time Lisak was employed as an associate professor. Lisak’s study had a total sample size of 1,882 men, 120 of whom gave responses in the surveys indicating that they were predators. Of the 120 rapists, 76 were judged to be repeat offenders, leading to the oft-cited claim that the majority of campus sexual assault is the work of serial predators who remain “undetected,” i.e., are never convicted for their crimes.
The claim suffers when scrutinized. For reasons left unclear, the four surveys that contributed data are never actually identified in the study. In fact, Lisak struggled to recall which ones he used when asked about them during the course of a telephone interview with LeFauve. When LeFauve suggested to him that the data in question came from his doctoral students’ dissertations and masters’ theses, he agreed that this was “probably” the case.
I spoke with James Hopper, one of Lisak’s former students at UMass-Boston, who confirmed that the survey data he conducted for his own dissertation was included in the 2002 study. He also identified several other students as near-certain contributors via their masters’ theses and dissertations.
What’s remarkable about these surveys is that they don’t actually have anything to do with campus sexual assault (aside from the location where they were conducted). . . . This is quite the revelation: The canonical text of the campus sexual assault crisis is filled with data repurposed from academic papers that never intended to survey campus violence in the first place.
Sounds bogus to me. But Kirsten Gillibrand et al. are happy to use it to ruin lives.
REMEMBER WHEN PLANNED PARENTHOOD WAS COOL WITH SECRETLY RECORDED VIDEO? WE DO! Shades of the late Andrew Breitbart’s drip-drip-drip rollout of James O’Keefe’s hidden camera ACORN videos in 2009, which the left howled like mad over, despite spending the last half century praising those same tactics when employed against largely right-leaning targets by CBS’s 60 Minutes.
When former Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller passed on a bid in the Silver State’s 3rd District last week, it sent Democrats back to the drawing board again to find a nominee for this Tossup seat in 2016.
Miller’s decision to sit the race out was a disappointment for national Democrats, who thought his profile would make him a strong candidate for this highly competitive seat. But it’s indicative of a larger issue Democrats face this cycle: Recruiting House candidates in 2016 hasn’t been as easy as many predicted two years ago.
More than a year from Election Day, Democrats are without top-tier recruits in five of the 11 races rated Tossups by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call. Democrats are also searching for strong recruits in at least five more of the 15 other districts rated as competitive in 2016.
The holes in the roster contrast with the message former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel pushed last cycle. In a June 2013 interview with BuzzFeed, Israel said he spoke to a number of candidates in the early days of the 2014 cycle who were reluctant to run in a daunting midterm environment. Israel said candidates wanted to wait to run until 2016 — when presidential turnout and the promise of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the top of the ticket would make for a better Democratic year.
“Whoever has the job of recruiting for the DCCC after I leave will not have a difficult job for as long as people believe Hillary Clinton is gonna be on the ballot,” Israel told BuzzFeed at the time.
Well, . . .
VOX EXPLAINS LIBERALS: “Vox has written an insightful explainer on why buying a certain brand of shoe doesn’t necessarily make you a good person. The piece also, perhaps unintentionally, explains a lot about the young liberal hipsters who read Vox.”
Liberals are more upset over the death of a freaking lion than Planned Parenthood running a baby chop shop and more outraged over Tom Brady destroying his phone than Hillary Clinton destroying thousands of emails and continually lying out of her liar hole about it.
Opposite world. We live in opposite world.
From Hannah Bleau of the Young Conservatives Website.
DEMOCRATS IN DISARRAY: The Hill: $15 Minimum Wage Divides Democrats.
Democrats are divided on how much to lift the nation’s minimum wage, an issue that has long united the party.
Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is pushing to raise the federal wage from its current $7.25 an hour to $15. But budget experts warn such a hike could eliminate millions of U.S. jobs.
What’s the problem? Eliminate jobs, create new welfare-dependent Democratic voters! But wait, there’s more:
Many liberals on and off Capitol Hill have embraced the $15 figure, seeing it as an important remedy for addressing the nation’s growing income disparity. Democratic leaders, however, have been reluctant to back it, rallying instead around smaller increases.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) want to push the minimum wage to $12 per hour. President Obama has edged his support to higher levels in recent years, from $9 to $10.10 and now $12. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, backed $15 per hour for New York fast-food workers on Friday but hasn’t specified a wage floor for the nation.
The various positions underscore the tightrope party leaders are walking on the minimum wage increase, a concept highly popular among voters.
Unlike prior battles with Democrats on the issue, Republicans have significant ammunition in this fight. They point out that raising the minimum wage would mean lost jobs.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Congress’s official score-keeper, issued a report last year estimating that, while an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 would hike incomes for roughly 16.5 million workers, it would leave another 500,000 unemployed.
A former CBO director said this week that a hike to $15 per hour would eliminate “many more jobs … because it would cut much further into the distribution of wages.”
“The effect is not linear, it rises much faster,” said the ex-CBO chief, who requested anonymity.
Pandering to low-information voters is hard to resist. Then blame the consequences on greedy Republicans.
THE DAILY TRUMP! “Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the first issue of your new web home for All Things Trump because, as we say in our slogan, ‘If Donald’s Not In It, It Never Happened!’ (Sort of like that tree falling in the wilderness thing.) We follow the Trump news, so you don’t have to. So if you’re ever feeling a deficit in All Things Trump, you’ll know where to find us. (Also on Twitter, Facebook, and all the ships at sea — especially yachts.)”
Read all about it! From Roger Simon at his new “Diary of a Mad Voter” site.
MILO YIANNOPOULOS: Does Feminism Make Women Ugly? “Everyone knows that becoming a feminist makes a woman less marriageable, more crass and generally just unpleasant to be around. But does it also make them uglier? Readers have been asking, so I delved into the science to find out. . . . There’s a persuasive line of reasoning that suggests women who are physically unattractive are more likely to have progressive politics, give up on blokes and retreat into feminism in the first place. (The rule doesn’t hold for men.) Even liberal bloggers like West admit that conservative girls are hotter, and, crucially, that liberal women tend to have more masculine features.”
July 28, 2015
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: This NYC law firm refuses to hire Ivy League grads.
THE ATTEMPTED COUP BEGINS: Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) files a motion to oust House Speaker John Boehner.
Mr. Meadows, North Carolina Republican, filed a motion to “vacate the chair,” which could force a no-confidence vote by the full chamber and result in the removal of Mr. Boehner as speaker.
In the resolution, Mr. Meadows says Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, “has endeavored to consolidate power and centralize decision-making, bypassing the majority of the 435 Members of Congress and the people they represent.”
He also says the speaker has limited debate, pushed legislation to the brink to compel votes in a state of crisis and moved to “punish Members who vote according to their conscience” instead of how he wants.
Meadows, however, didn’t go as far as he could have. A motion to vacate the chair — last attempted roughly a century ago — is typically considered a privileged resolution. In that format, the House would hold a vote within two legislative days. Meadows, however, chose not to offer it in that form, which he said was a sign that he wanted a discussion. . . .
“It’s really more about trying to have a conversation about making this place work,” Meadows said.
Meadows and the House Freedom Caucus he co-founded has been at loggerheads with House leadership over numerous issues for months now. The GOP leadership has never been very welcoming of the party’s tea party members, preferring instead to vilify them and treat them as enemies. The question going forward is rather simple: Does the GOP leadership prefer to play in insider’s political game of D.C. business-as-usual (with a few skirmishes for show), or is it willing to listen to the outside-the-beltway voters, who are demanding bolder, genuine change? Has the GOP leadership heard, and does it even respect, its own base anymore?
WHO’S AFRAID OF UBER?
Journalists may be tempted to over-identify with anxious workers when Uber pops up in their cities, noticeably disrupting an old-fashioned industry. So we get a spate of media attention on worker dissatisfaction with the “gig economy” from people who were never previously moved to write about taxi driver complaints about, say, the very high crime rate faced by cabbies or their problems with the taxi commission — two problems that Uber has at least partially alleviated.
In other words, while Uber’s disruption of an existing labor market is not particularly important to the national economy, it ends up looking important to a particular class of people. And that class of people happens to be the one that writes all the news articles. Which is why we keep reading about the gig economy, even though much of the country would hardly have noticed it without those reports.
Anything that happens to journalists or their friends is by definition a hot national trend.