May 6, 2015

FREE SPEECH HERE? BUT THIS IS A UNIVERSITY! Charlie Hebdo censorship controversy at the University of Minnesota.

NEWS IN FEDERAL LAW-ENFORCEMENT ACCOUNTABILITY: Roll Call: GOP Leaders Not Briefed on Bodyguards’ Lost Guns.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., might never have known their bodyguards left guns in the bathroom without CQ Roll Call’s report, which has launched a Capitol Police investigation into the source of the leak.

Spokesmen for the two GOP leaders on Tuesday made their first comments on the security lapses that were revealed May 1, in a report featuring a photo of the Glock a member of McConnell’s detail allegedly left hanging out of a toilet seat cover dispenser in the Capitol Visitor Center’s Senate office space. A CVC worker found the gun on Jan. 29, resulting in a recommendation of six days of unpaid suspension for the officer.

“Leader McConnell learned about these incidents last week,” Michael Brumas said in an email to CQ Roll Call. “He takes these security breaches seriously and he awaits the results of a thorough review of the incidents by the Capitol Police Board.”

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel also confirmed his boss was not aware until last week of the March 24 incident, when a child visiting the Capitol with his parents allegedly found a loaded Glock lost by a dignitary protection officer in the bathroom of the Speaker’s Suite.

Remember, the Obama Administration — and Al Sharpton — think more federal control of police is a good idea.

THE HILL: Republicans pass a budget, flexing power of majority.

Congressional Republicans scored a major legislative victory on Tuesday as the Senate adopted the first bicameral GOP budget agreement in a decade.

The 51-48 vote capped weeks of work by Republican leaders in the House and Senate, who shepherded the blueprint through a messy debate over defense spending that at times threatened to split their conferences.

The blueprint passed the House last week, and will not require a signature from President Obama.

Passing a budget, which is always a heavy lift, was particularly important for Senate Republicans, who are seeking to demonstrate their ability to govern in a difficult 2016 election cycle — they are defending 24 seats.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had ripped Democrats for years over their failure to pass a budget, and said Tuesday’s vote shows his GOP majority is getting the Senate working again. . . . Democrats, who voted in unison against the budget in both chambers of Congress, said Republicans would come to regret calling for trillions of dollars in cuts to federal spending.

It’ll be interesting to see how Obama responds.

WELL, NOW THERE’S A REPUBLICAN SENATE. New Congress, New Round in Senate Fight Over Obama’s Judges. Given Harry Reid’s behavior when Dems were in the majority, I think I’d simply refuse to vote on any Obama nominees. But what do I know; I’m not a slick Washington operator like Mitch McConnell.

THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY’S GROWING EMBRACE OF ANTI-SEMITISM:

Last night at a public hearing on the budget in Prince George’s County, Maryland, a flyer with the following headline was circulated:

From Baltimore to Jerusalem It’s the Same Game. In 10 years Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin sent 1.2 billion dollars of Maryland Federal taxpayer money to the Apartheid state of Israel to build schools, roads and other infrastructure while saying Maryland doesn’t have the money to help develop our communities.

The flyer goes on to attack the “Israel lobby,” which allegedly is using Black politicians to split the African-American vote so as to “ensure that Blacks don’t get political power in the Senate.” It also accuses “apartheid” Israel of training U.S. cops in how to “set up paramilitary police armies in minority neighborhoods. . .all across the [United States].” And it accuses Israel of sending Black Jews to prison camps and suppressing the birth rate of Black Jews. . . .

Who circulated the flyer? Surely, it was supporters of Donna Edwards, the African-American congresswoman who is running against Van Hollen for the Senate. It would be interesting to hear what Edwards has to say about this attack on her rival and a sitting Democratic (Jewish) Senator.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 9.59.38 PM

When you elect a racist hatemonger, you get racist hatemongering.

May 5, 2015

REPUBLICAN, ERIC GARNER PROSECUTOR, wins in Staten Island special Congressional election.

IN A REYNOLDS ADMINISTRATION, THEY’D BE RAISED AS JANISSARIES: The Coming Summer Border Surge of Illegal Immigrant Children. Okay, actually that’s more like what a Schlichter Administration would do. I’d just bill Mexico for their care, via a brutal tax on remittances.

COWARDS AND CENSORS LOSE ONE: Charlie Hebdo Receives Free Speech Award, Standing Ovation at PEN Gala. But don’t forget who the cowards and censors were. They revealed themselves.

SPACE: SpaceX to test manned Dragon spacecraft May 6. “What makes SpaceX‘s Launch Abort system different is that it’s integrated directly into the walls of the spacecraft, instead of consisting of a separate rocket tower on top. Rather than becoming useless just a few minutes into ascent, as the rocket tower would, SpaceX’s new system protects the crew and spacecraft all the way into full orbit. Thanks to the use of the craft’s eight SuperDraco rocket engines, the system is powerful enough for 120,000 pounds of axial thrust in under one second, and can launch the Dragon craft over 300 feet in two seconds.”

More here: “The test window will open at 7 a.m. May 6 and extend until 2:30 p.m. EDT. NASA will provide updates about the test on our Commercial Crew Blog and air the test live on NASA Television.”

WHEN LEFTIES EAT THEIR OWN: Did feminists chase Joss Whedon off Twitter? “The going theory is that Whedon quit after heavy backlash from feminists about the portrayal of women in ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Among the complaints were Black Widow’s heart-wrenching monologue about not being able to have children and Laura Barton (Hawkeye’s wife) being pregnant in the kitchen.”

MIKE HUCKABEE: The Anti-Libertarian.

Yeah, Helen and I talked with him a while back, and he was pretty anti-libertarian then, too. Bonus — watch Helen’s facial expressions. Extra bonus: Huckabee’s reference to how he looks in a teddy. Extra-extra bonus: Huckabee doesn’t actually appear in a teddy.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE: Woman faces jail after admitting making a false rape claim.

Seems like we hear more stories like this from Britain. Is it because they prosecute more false rape charges, or because British papers are more likely to report it when they do?

PAUL RAHE: Taxing Time. “This is, you see, a stealth election – deliberately scheduled at a time when next to no one is paying any attention – and its aim is to raise the sales tax rate throughout the state. If this were the work of the Democrats, I would not much mind. I do not expect better of them. They are the party of high taxation, of well-funded public-sector unions, and of poor service. Raising taxes and redistributing the fruits of our labors to free-loaders is their raison d’être. What burns me is that this dirty trick is the work of our Republican Governor Rick Snyder and of the go-along-to-get-along Republicans we elected as state representatives and state senators in 2010 and 2014.”

REPAIRING MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS DAMAGE with existing drugs.

BECAUSE DIVERSITY!:  An MSNBC pundit, Michelle Bernard, says GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson “probably went to Yale and University of Michigan for medical school because of affirmative action” and says he “drank the Kool-aid” because of his conservative views. This is becoming so ubiquitous among progressives it’s almost laughable–may as well have called him an Oreo.  I hope Dr. Carson punches back twice as hard.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: An Uber For Doctor Housecalls. “Heal is a smartphone app similar to the on-demand car service Uber, but instead of a car, a doctor shows up at your door. Users download the app and then type in a few details such as address and the reason for the visit. After adding a credit card and a request for a family doctor or a pediatrician, the physician arrives in 20 to 60 minutes for a flat fee of $99. Heal began in Los Angeles in February, recently expanded to San Francisco and is set to roll out in another 15 major cities this year.”

RISE OF THE MACHINES: First they get Harry Reid, now this: Dave Goldberg’s death points to rise and risks of treadmills in era of smartphones.

SHOULD DENSE URBAN AREAS “force their will” on entire states? “All of us who live in coastal Washington—Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative—have more in common with each other, economically, than we have with people living on Mercer Island or Queen Anne Hill. Urban voters know it. And they’re eating our lunch, in terms of development and growth.”

PEOPLE ALWAYS HAVE FEWER KIDS UNDER SOCIALISM: Bad news for older folks: Millennials are having fewer babies. “Johnson estimates that roughly 500,000 fewer babies are now being born per year than would have been the case had the higher fertility rates of the mid-2000s continued.”

EPIC FAIL:  Only 18 percent of 8th graders are proficient in U.S. history according to the new Nation’s Report Card. Asians score highest at 33%; whites at 26%; Hispanics at 8%; blacks at 6%.  The gap between public and private schoolers is large:  17% proficiency for public school students, versus 31% for private.

If you don’t know U.S. history, you simply cannot appreciate the exceptional nature of our country, which explains a lot.

WILLIAM FORSTCHEN, CALL YOUR OFFICE: Military eyeing former Cold War mountain bunker as ‘shield’ against EMP attack? Even if a bunch of electronics inside the mountain survive, how useful would it be if everything else was fried?

A while back I had a post on the missing bicycles in apocalyptic fiction. They do make an appearance in Bill Quick’s Lightning Fall, and I have to say that this one looks like it would fill the bill nicely, and leave room in your trunk. Of course, for the immediate aftermath of pretty much any apocalyptic event, you’ll want one of these.

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THOMAS SOWELL:  The inconvenient truth about ghetto communities’ social breakdown.

The “legacy of slavery” argument is not just an excuse for inexcusable behavior in the ghettos. In a larger sense, it is an evasion of responsibility for the disastrous consequences of the prevailing social vision of our times, and the political policies based on that vision, over the past half century. Anyone who is serious about evidence need only compare black communities as they evolved in the first 100 years after slavery with black communities as they evolved in the first 50 years after the explosive growth of the welfare state, beginning in the 1960s.

Yep.  Progressivism is all about keeping groups angry, alienated and feeling powerless for political profit.

THIS IS PRETTY COOL: Amazing Photo Shows SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Just Before Crash.

MAYBE, BUT IT’S A PRETTY SERIOUSLY DANGEROUS ACT: Appeals court: Man who fired laser at plane didn’t deserve 30-month sentence. “In other words, the government didn’t prove that Gardenhire knew that firing the laser at an airplane from the ground was dangerous—meaning the government didn’t demonstrate his actions were reckless. Therefore, he did not deserve the harsher sentence, the San Francisco-based appeals court wrote.”

I WAS GOING TO GO WITH “LEAVE IT IN THE BOX,” BUT I GUESS THAT’S MEAN: How to Set Up Your Apple Watch the Right Way.

Related: The Apple Watch’s Hidden Port Could Be Its Best Feature.

OBAMA LAWYERS LIE TO THE COURT:  Department of Justice lawyers have restated their apology to federal judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.  The DOJ admits that it checked with the White House before issuing the apology, suggesting that DOJ lawyers understood the magnitude of their misrepresentation to the court.

The apology comes in the context of the Texas-led 26-State lawsuit against the Obama Administration, challenging the second and third of the President’s three unilateral executive orders on immigration: the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+).

In February, Judge Hanen issued a preliminary injunction halting the DAPA and DACA+ programs–finding that the plaintiff-States had proven both irreparable harm and a “likelihood of success” on the merits of their legal claims.  Hanen’s issuance of an injunction should have stopped both DAPA and DACA+ from being implemented at all, but in early March, DOJ admitted that it had begun to implement DACA+, and in fact had already issued work permits and expanded deportation protection to over 100,000 additional illegals.

Hanen is currently considering whether/how to further sanction the DOJ for its transgression, though he has already ruled out striking the government’s pleadings and entering judgment for plaintiff-States.

DOJ has appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, asking that court to issue a stay of Judge Hanen’s preliminary injunction.  My guess is that the Fifth Circuit won’t interfere with Hanen’s ruling.  And Hanen ought to hold the DOJ lawyers in contempt (though I doubt he will).  Maybe he should have them write “I will not lie to the court” 1,000 times on a blackboard or walk around in front of the courthouse with a sandwich board sign.

TEST DRIVE: 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS400 4MATIC. I love what counts as “slow” these days: “As you’d expect, a 3.0-liter turbo six doesn’t accelerate—or sound—like the forced-induction V-8. At the track, this example hit 60 mph from a standstill in 5.1 seconds, nearly a second slower than that comparison-test CLS550 but, crucially, equal to the Audi in that matchup.” I remember when a 5-ish zero-to-sixty time was unbelievably fast. Now it’s considered kind of slow — in a four-door car.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Science and technology roadmaps for nanotechnology.

STUCK IN THE 1990S: What The Clintons Haven’t Learned. “The Clintons just don’t seem prepared for the modern media world and its tendency to relentlessly pry away at the smallest details. In the end, this may be a bigger problem for the Clinton campaign than whatever Schweizer’s book reveals. . . . The Clintons clearly understood that there was a threat, which is why one presumes that Hillary’s e-mails were shielded from FOIA requests. But that also looks like a tacit confession that the Clintons didn’t really understand what they were dealing with.”

RICHARD EPSTEIN: The Real Problem With Baltimore’s Police: The Unions. “One of the major problems with the police is that they are heavily unionized. That began in January of 1962, when President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10988, which ushered in a broad expansion of public unionized workers, who had not received collective bargaining rights under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. The 1935 act confined collective bargaining rights to private sector industrial unions. . . . Public unions are, on average, more dangerous than private ones. . . . In Baltimore, like in Washington D.C., the government is confronted with a choice between two constituencies: unions and people in need. The tragedy of the modern progressive movement is that it prioritizes the former at the expense of the latter. The people of Baltimore deserve better. They deserve a decent education and a safe place to live.”

WE HAVE A TERRIBLE RULING CLASS. THEY ARE CORRUPT MORALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY AS WELL AS POLITICALLY AND FINANCIALLY: America’s Literary Elite Takes a Bold Stand Against Dead Journalists. “One can’t help but get the sense that Charlie critics won’t stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the newspaper not because it is undeserving—it’s tough to make the case that its journalists lacked courage—but because they can’t muster much sympathy for those who knowingly antagonize Muslims. And those who do should know the consequences.” This is either due to racist condescenscion — Garry Trudeau’s “punching down” — or fear, or a shared antipathy for Western civilization that makes angry Muslims seem like fellow travelers. All these explanations are contemptible.

IN THE MAIL: A History of Strategy: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 726.

YEAH, THAT SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT: Hillary’s Biggest Problem Isn’t That She’s Old, It’s That She’s Corrupt And Incompetent.

Well, when you “gotta pay the bills,” you’re going to cut corners. As an aside, what’s wrong with Bill in this picture? He looks like he’s getting the Al Sharpton Lollipop physique.

UPDATE: Hillary’s Honesty Numbers Nosedive. “The bad news for Democrats is that the chinks in Clinton’s armor are growing wider. A year ago, only 29 percent of voters gave her a “very poor” grade in being honest and straightforward. Now that has risen to 43 percent in the wake of her e-mail and Clinton Foundation scandals. Only 42 percent of voters overall view her positively, and that number falls to 34 percent among independents. . . . What is remarkable about Team Clinton’s efforts to contain the e-mail and fundraising controversies is that they have until recently relied on a string of old-time loyalists such as James Carville and Lanny Davis to defend their position on television. When that didn’t work, they wheeled out Bill Clinton, the master communicator. But he apparently isn’t easily coached and was much less convincing than Team Clinton hoped.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Red Higher Ed Reforms Put Pressure on Carolina Blue.

A right-leaning public policy foundation is making waves in North Carolina’s public university system. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on how the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy is getting traction among the state’s Republican political leadership. The Center, the Chronicle tells us, aims to “[make] public colleges more accountable to the public, by holding them to their ‘chief goals of scholarly inquiry and responsible teaching’” and many believe its stances have influenced legislative proposals as well as the Board of Governors of the state’s university system, largely appointed by the GOP. . . .

The Center’s work and influence can be seen as part of a trend: red states are beginning to lean forward on their skis in dealing with universities—institutions that have historically been bastions of Democratic and left-wing ideas. With higher ed costs rising inexorably, many conservative state representatives are likely wondering just why the state is offering tenured professorships in Transgressive Gender Studies with lots of time for ‘research’, and they are becoming more aggressive in trying to shake-up the higher ed system.

There is a lot of anti-intellectualism mixed up in all of this, in addition to some good old fashioned score settling. But there’s also a lot that’s right. Costs really are rising unsustainably, and many administrative bureaucracies have lost touch with common sense—to say nothing of being economically useless administrative make work bailiwicks. Moreover, a number of disciplines are so dominated by one political point of view that they look more like PACs and NGOs than like assemblies of disputatious scholars.

Which is why complaints that reforms are politically motivated are so transparently self-serving. And why all is proceeding as I have foreseen.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Urban school closures help students academically. “Shutting down poorly-performing urban charter and traditional schools in Ohio helped students, according to a new study published by the Fordham Institute. School closures are often denounced as hurting public education. The results from Ohio give reason to question this conventional wisdom. The disproportionately black, economically disadvantaged, or low-achieving students affected may actually be fortunate their low-performing schools closed.”

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GOVERNMENT IS JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR THE THINGS WE CHOOSE TO DO TOGETHER: Who Pays When The DEA Destroys Your Vehicle And Kills Your Employee During A Botched Sting? Hint: Not The DEA.

Yet another reason why governmental immunity should be abolished.

ORWELLIAN DOUBLETHINK, RAPE EDITION: “Inspired by the recent performance of The Vagina Monologues” on the Claremont-McKenna College campus, student Jordan Bosiljevac has penned an exegesis of the progressive view of sexual relationships, titled, “Why Yes Can Mean No.”  Ms. Bosiljevac explains:

In discussing this experience with friends, we coined the term “raped by rape culture” to describe what it was like to say yes, coerced by the culture that had raised us and the systems of power that worked on us, and to still want ‘no.’ Sometimes, for me, there was obligation from already having gone back to someone’s room, not wanting to ruin a good friendship, loneliness, worry that no one else would ever be interested, a fear that if I did say no, they might not stop, the influence of alcohol, and an understanding that hookups are “supposed” to be fun.

For me, and many others like me, consent isn’t easy. Yes doesn’t always mean yes, and we misplaced ‘no’ several years ago. This experience isn’t random, but disproportionately affects oppressed communities. Consent is a privilege, and it was built for wealthy, heterosexual, cis, white, western, able-bodied masculinity. When society has taught some of us to take up as little space as possible, to take all attention as flattery, and to be truly grateful that anyone at all could want our bodies or love, it isn’t always our choice to say yes.

. . . . When you’re poor, disabled, queer, non-white, trans, or feminine, ‘no’ isn’t for you. I don’t mean to insist that every person oppressed in these systems of power can’t have empowering consensual experiences, and I know many who do. What I do mean to say is that for me, finding ‘no’ is a process, consent is elusive, and sometimes, even when people don’t mean to—they hurt me.

It should be sufficient to point out that consent is the basis of much of law, and if “yes” doesn’t mean “yes,” then there will be no objectively fair principles upon which to judge human interactions, whether one is “wealthy, cis, white, wester, able-bodied” or otherwise.  Ms. Bosiljevac may not yet understand it, but the presumption that individuals– other than minors or those non compos mentis– are capable of giving consent to transactions evinces a deep respect for individualism, and indeed is the embodiment of equal treatment under law that progressives such as she purport to support.  It is also a fundamental basis for the legitimacy of any government–progressive or otherwise. In the words of the Declaration of Independence,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed 

Perhaps Ms. Bosiljevac should brush up on her liberal political theory.  She should have a lot of time, since I rather suspect she won’t be getting any dates anytime soon.

GIVEN THAT TWO HEAVILY ARMED JIHADIS WERE DISPATCHED BY ONE TEXAS COP WITH A PISTOL, WHAT’S THERE TO TAKE CREDIT FOR? Islamic State claims responsibility for Texas attack outside Muhammad cartoon show.

One does not simply “shoot up” a Texas art show.

TRUE: Carly Fiorina: Hillary Clinton ‘clearly is not trustworthy.’

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is officially running for president, and she’s quite explicitly framing herself as the Hillary Clinton antidote.

Hillary Clinton “clearly is not trustworthy,” Fiorina told ABC Host George Stephanopoulos on Monday. “She peddled a fiction about [Benghazi, Libya] for a month, she hasn’t been transparent about her server and her emails and now we see now all of these foreign government donations to the Clinton Global Initiative.” . . .

At least part of Fiorina’s appeal is her ability and willingness to combat the Left’s “war on women” narrative — in particular her ability to counteract Clinton’s strategy of collecting votes just for being a woman.

I like her. She fights.

USUALLY, YOU WAIT UNTIL YOU’RE ELECTED TO START STONEWALLING: Clinton refuses GOP request to testify twice on Benghazi. Alternate headline: Subpoenas are for the little people!

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE: Scott Ott reviews Charles Murray’s new book, By The People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: What Didn’t Happen Next.

A couple of ISIS wannabes tried to shoot up an exhibition of cartoons in Garland, Texas, and the police put them down before the civilians could get to them: a triumph for duty and marksmanship. What didn’t happen next?

There is a mosque in Garland, Texas. It was there yesterday, it’s there today, and it will be there tomorrow. After two radical Muslims attempted to massacre some infidels down the road a bit, there was no angry mob of Texans storming the place with F-350s and rifles. If any vehicle full of armed men rushed to the Muslims’ place of worship, you can be sure that it was the local police exercising an abundance of caution and nothing more.

It’s easy to be snarky–”Oh, yay for us! No massacre, give Texas a cookie!” But only those parochial minds with the narrowest of experience could fail to appreciate how unusual that is in the world.

People who say it’s okay — or at least “understandable” — to go after others who are “provocative” need to remember that a lot of people are exercising more self-restraint than that now.

GOVERNMENT IS JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR THE THINGS WE CHOOSE TO DO TOGETHER: Like Digging Through Whistleblowers’ Medical Records To Retaliate Against Them.

USA TODAY EDITORIALIZES: Only the Clintons seem blind to foundation’s conflicts: Our view.

As it is, the foundation is a mess. With Hillary Clinton running for president twice and serving as secretary of State in between, it was bound to be viewed as a way for foreign donors to get close to the Clintons — a danger the foundation appears to have discounted.

Much like the Clintons themselves, the foundation has seemed intent on playing by its own rules, and is highly defensive when confronted on its errors.

Its efforts at limiting influence-seekers have been, at best, weak. Earlier this year, the foundation admitted that it had accepted $500,000 from the government of Algeria, violating an agreement struck with the Obama administration to accept gifts only from governments that had a record of giving before Clinton’s tenure at the State Department.

More recently, the foundation admitted errors in not listing thousands of contributions on tax forms. One came from Canadian mining magnate Frank Giustra, who has many issues before the U.S. government and has given the foundation millions.

In 2005, Giustra won a lucrative mining concession in Kazakhstan shortly after visiting there with Bill Clinton. Then, in 2013, he won approval from the U.S. government to sell his company to the Russian government, giving Vladimir Putin vast uranium resources around the world, including 20% of U.S output.

There is no evidence of a quid pro quo for the Giustra contributions, or from any other source. And Hillary Clinton was not involved in the decision to allow the Russian purchase.

Even so, the appearance of impropriety is hard to avoid.

Yeah, it’s more than just an appearance.

CIVIL WAR: Alan Grayson rips into national Democratic Party ‘bosses.’ I love Grayson’s slam on “out-of-touch party bosses sipping cognac in a smoke-filled room in Washington, DC.”

May 4, 2015

FIGHT THE POWER: TN Gov. Signs Bill Prohibiting State Cooperation with Fed Gun Control Laws. “Sponsored by Senator Richard Briggs (R-Dist. 7), SB 1110 ‘prohibits the use of any public funds, personnel, or property to enforce any federal law or regulation that regulates the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearms accessories.’ SB 1110 passed the house by a margin of 74 to 20 and the senate by a margin of 24 to 1.”

UPDATE: Michael Walsh emails: “Interesting to note historical parallel — this is exactly how some states responded to fed Prohibition law: by ignoring it and refusing to enforce. Certainly was true in NY state which, partly due to gangland influence, simply stopped cooperating with the feds on booze raids. In one famous case, as I learned when writing my Owney Madden novel, the NYPD tipped off Madden that the feds were going to raid his brewery on 10th ave. So he cleaned it up (it was the Phoenix Cereal Company) and had his crew take up all the parking spaces within blocks, so that when the feds got there they had to double-park. Then the NYPD came and ticketed and towed their illegally parked cars.”

Heh.

JUST $2.99 ON KINDLE: Sarah Hoyt’s Witchfinder. She’s got a sequel coming out soon.

THE INSTA-WIFE: Is Pam Geller the Bravest Woman in the U.S.? “Love her or hate her, you have to admit that what she is doing is brave. How many women in this country (or men for that matter) would fight the good fight for free speech and do it at the risk of his or her life? How many Americans anymore really believe Patrick Henry’s famous words: ‘Give me liberty or give me death?’ Ms. Geller has shown by her words and actions that she believes these words and believes in her freedom and that of her fellow Americans.”

CHARLES C.W. COOKE: LIVING ON BORROWED WISDOM.

If it sometimes feels as if the Bill of Rights is the only thing standing between the little guy and majoritarian tyranny, that’s possibly because it is. Americans may be freer than most, but it is often thanks to Supreme Court decisions and not to public opinion that America remains an outlier. It is because judges have stepped in that it is legal to burn the American flag in protest; that the Westboro Baptist Church may stage its execrable funeral demonstrations without fear of tort liability; that seditious speech may not be punished by the government; that disgusting videos may not be banned; that conservative Christians have been spared the indignities of the Obama administration’s contraception mandate; that collections of citizens may engage in political criticism; that parents caring for their children may not be forced by the state to join a union; that the residents of Washington, D.C., Chicago, and other “blue” cities may buy and own handguns for their protection; that the government is prohibited from searching cell phones without a warrant; and so on and so forth. Looking around the country — and examining the attitudes that prevail in Washington, D.C., on our college campuses, and in our hopelessly excitable media — can we honestly conclude that three-fourths of We the People would vote today to so restrain ourselves? We are living on borrowed wisdom.

Borrowed wisdom, indeed. That reminds me of this from Neal Stephenson’s In The Beginning Was The Command Line:

But more importantly, it comes out of the fact that, during this century, intellectualism failed, and everyone knows it. In places like Russia and Germany, the common people agreed to loosen their grip on traditional folkways, mores, and religion, and let the intellectuals run with the ball, and they screwed everything up and turned the century into an abbatoir. Those wordy intellectuals used to be merely tedious; now they seem kind of dangerous as well.

We Americans are the only ones who didn’t get creamed at some point during all of this. We are free and prosperous because we have inherited political and values systems fabricated by a particular set of eighteenth-century intellectuals who happened to get it right. But we have lost touch with those intellectuals, and with anything like intellectualism, even to the point of not reading books any more, though we are literate. We seem much more comfortable with propagating those values to future generations nonverbally, through a process of being steeped in media.

Given the quality of our media, that’s probably a mistake.

WHEN FEMINISM IS HATE: Cathy Young: Bomb Threat Targets GamerGate Meetup (Hear From Somebody Who Was There). “If I had any doubts about defending GamerGate from its detractors, #GGinDC put them to rest. The men I saw were not creeps, and the women I saw were definitely not doormats. And while the bomb threat was fake, the meetup was a blast.”

Related: “Sadly for Chu and his supporters, Local 16 declined to eject the lesbians, blacks, transsexuals, gays and feminist professors who met up to share their love of video games and to advocate for higher standards in games journalism and a rejection of loony left-wing feminist criticism. . . . Contrary to the uniformly straight white middle-class conferences at which social justice warriors bang on about ‘structural oppression,’ the GamerGate meetup was packed to the rafters with ethnic and sexual minorities who came together to share their love of video games. ‎Between 200 and 300 people showed up in the end. . . . It doesn’t surprise me that when an NPR reporter got in touch with me about the event and I told him to come down and have his prejudices challenged, he suddenly lost interest in the story. GamerGate is winning in spite of the headlines and prejudiced reporting. It’s incredible.”

HOW LOW CAN THEY GO? NBC Anchor: Geller Caused Texas Shooting Herself, by Setting Muslim ‘Mousetrap.’ Well, if NBC wants to risk charges of racism by calling Muslims vermin. . . .

WHY DIETS DON’T WORK:  Actually, I think this is true, at least long-term.  Everyone has a “set weight” that one shouldn’t fight against, but simply accept.  But I’m a exercise junkie who doesn’t own a scale, eats junk food regularly, and have been blessed with apparently good “weight genes.”  I think exercise is the key–finding what you love to do, and doing it habitually.

UPDATE:  Fixed broken link!

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The Students Universities ‘Cannot Afford to Fail.’ “A recent investigative news program combined with a report from a governmental anticorruption commission have stirred up a debate in Australia about the prevalence of fraud in international student recruitment and the alleged slippage of academic standards as the country’s universities have grown increasingly dependent on the tuition these students bring. The debate in Australia — where international students account for more than a fifth of university enrollments, compared to just about 4 percent in the U.S. — arguably has implications for American universities as they seek to grow international student enrollments and increasingly embrace the use of commissioned agents in recruiting, a practice widely accepted in Australia.” Some American universities are already quite financially dependent on foreign students, and I’m sure it’s already affecting their behavior.

JUDICIAL IDENTITY DISORDER: Ed Whelan over at National Review labels a metastasizing legal disorder. “Unfortunately, no effective treatment for the condition is currently available.”  But at least we can identify the environmental cause:  long-term exposure to progressive ideology.

ATTEMPTS TO STRIKE DOWN PROF. MIKE ADAMS have only made him more powerful.

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NOW SHIPPING FROM MICHAEL Z. WILLIAMSON: A Long Time Until Now (Temporal Displacement).

ROGER SIMON: Carly & Ben’s Excellent Adventure. “A Big Tent indeed: a pediatric neurosurgeon and former CEO (the anti-Hillary) simultaneously enter the GOP presidential race.”

If the GOP field were the Democratic field, and vice versa, we’d be hearing a lot from the press about diversity and dynamism opposed to old, white establishment faces.

JONAH GOLDBERG: Speak Power To Narrative: ‘Charlie Hebdo’ critics bend or ignore the reality of facts when facts challenge story lines.

This obsession with the idea that the heinous acts of the “powerless” are somehow justified runs through vast swaths of literary and journalistic cultures. (How many commentators rush to defend rioters on account of their sense of “powerlessness”?)

Many journalists recite Finley Peter Dunne’s credo that the press must “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” as if it is their 11th commandment. The mantra of countless intellectuals is that they must “speak truth to power.”

The problem is that they define the powerful and powerless based upon their own preferred narratives. When the truth interferes with the narrative, the truth must be bent or jettisoned.

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat notes that while it is true “power flows from pre-existing privilege, it also grows from the barrel of a gun, and the willingness to deal out violence changes power dynamics.” Terrorists may rationalize their violence in terms that make Western intellectuals swoon, but that doesn’t mean they are powerless. They have enormous power — because they have the ability and the will to use violence to kill.

Meanwhile, Trudeau and the PEN dissidents have a very funny definition of courage. Trudeau has won awards and wealth by taking at best droll and more often clichéd potshots at Republicans at no personal risk to himself whatsoever. But he thinks it is cowardly to openly defy those who are eager to murder the mockers.

Yeah, he’s a putz.

EMILY ESFAHANI SMITH: On Fraternities And Manliness.

HEH:  Note to Jihadists: In America, we shoot back.  “It turned out those practicing their First Amendment rights were protected by those practicing their Second Amendment rights.”

PAUL MIRENGOFF: Vigilant police officer shot; vigilant policing under assault.

THE GREAT AMERICAN Kidney Swap.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: WaPo: The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor.

THE UPSIDE OF OWNING an old, crappy car.

To motorheads of this variety, let me echo the advice of the great Peter Egan: No matter how many “project” cars you own, be sure you have One Good Car — one that will always start on demand and get you where you need to go.

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GOOD NEWS, BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH: Speedy Drug Approvals Have Become the Rule, Not the Exception.

CAR AND DRIVER: Every Compact Crossover SUV, Ranked From Worst To Best.

THE WORLD, IN BLACK AND WHITE:  Normally a voice of semi-reason, Juan Williams has a race-baiting oped in The Hill today, titled “The Republicans and Racial Resentment,” in which he insinuates that the loss of white Southern Democrats (and concomitant shift of white, male voters to the GOP)– what Williams not so subtly calls the “former Confederacy”– is due to racist opposition to President Obama, and “has prompted alarm.”  In true passive-aggressive fashion, Williams then goes on to quote other liberal mainstream media commentators, who do Williams’ dirty work more directly, such as the New York Times editorial board and Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson.

What Williams– and these other liberal/progressive pundits–fail to appreciate is that “white flight” away from the Democrats has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with issues, as I’ve written about before.  In almost every major issue, blacks and whites have wildly different positions, with polling gaps exceeding 10 percentage points.  Obamacare?  83% of blacks support; 34% of whites support.  Obama’s handling of foreign policy?  68% of blacks approve; 29% of whites approve.   The Iran deal?  62% of blacks approve; 25% of whites approve.  Global warming Climate change?  17% of blacks believe there is no solid evidence the earth is getting warmer; 31% of whites think that.  Gun control?  34% of blacks think it’s more important to protect the right to own guns than to control gun ownership; 61% of whites think that gun ownership is more important than gun control.   Support for RFRA laws that allow business owners to refuse to provide services to same-sex weddings?  36% of blacks support such religious protections for business owners; 52% of whites support them. Same-sex marriage?  42% of blacks support; 53% of whites.

With such fundamental differences in how blacks and whites view various important policy issues, it is base to suggest (as Williams does) that white males are abandoning the Democrats due to race. Given the broad black-white gap on important issues, the demographic data from the 2012 presidential election–which shows that 39% of whites supported Obama while only 6% of blacks supported Romney (93% supported Obama)–frankly indicates that it is blacks, not whites, who are voting based solely on race.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Gold nanotubes engineered for diagnosis and therapy.

ED KRAYEWSKI: From the Drug War and Asset Forfeiture to Police Militarization, Why Does the Left Still Support Federal Control of Local Policing? Because they care more about power than about consequences.

SHE SHOULDN’T HAVE WORN THAT SHORT DRESS: Noah Rothman on the toxic implication that Pamela Geller had last night’s terror attack in Texas coming.

FLIP OR FLOP: Jacob Sullum: Hillary Clinton Is Suddenly Interested In Criminal Justice Reform. “For critics who have long argued that our criminal justice system puts too many people behind bars for too long, Clinton’s words of outrage were welcome. But they were also hard to take seriously given her history on this issue. While condemning overincarceration, she glided over her own role in promoting it and exaggerated her efforts to correct it.” History is patriarchal, and a concern with past behavior is misogynist.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS ON AL SHARPTON’S LATEST LOUSY IDEA: Want a lawless police force? Federalize it. Accountability comes from having law enforcement under multiple umbrellas.

IN THE MAIL: From Robert Conroy, 1920: America’s Great War.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 725.

PATRIOT ACT SHOWDOWN:  Several key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire June 1, including Section 215, which allows collection of so-called “metadata” business records, such as the timing, length and call logs of cell phone records.  The Obama Administration unilaterally modified the section 215 metadata program in early 2014, to restrict somewhat the collection of telephone metadata in response to public outcry.

If Congress fails to reauthorize section 215, the Obama Administration has said it will end the collection of telephone metadata entirely.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) have introduced a bill that would extend section 215, unchanged, through 2020. They have invoked a procedural maneuver that allows their bill to bypass normal committee consideration, and go straight to the Senate floor.

Last Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee, by contrast, passed the USA Freedom Act in a bipartisan effort, 25-2, which would end the section 215 telephone metadata program entirely.

The McConnell-Burr clean reauthorization bill has sparked strong opposition by libertarian-leaning groups, who have urged the Senate to follow the House lead and end section 215 telephone metadata collection. The National Security Council and FBI have stated that a lack of reauthorization of section 215 could hamper its efforts at tracking terror suspects, and it is speculated that other provisions of law could be invoked to continue surveillance of such suspects (without bulk collection of telephone metadata).

With all of the other horrendous events going on in the world, the Patriot Act reauthorization seems to have slipped off the radar of most Americans.

COOKING SIMPLY IS NOT CHEAP:

I don’t need to tell you that food has fashions. Remember when every restaurant with any ambition had a spinach salad with pecans, goat cheese and some sort of onion shaving? That’s now passé even in its last refuge, the twee cafes of Rust Belt suburbs. Or when truffles seemed to sprout from menus like, er, mushrooms, only to disappear almost as quickly, presumably off to hibernate in some subterranean darkness?

We are currently living through what I like to call the salted caramel inquisition, with every perfectly law-abiding caramelized dish in the land, however perfect in its simple sweetness, assaulted and forcibly converted to its more aggressive modern version.

For the last 5 to 10 years, the most notable fashion has been for the complex, spicy and exotic. Foodies exchange worried tips for storing the “basic” spices now grown too numerous for any sort of conventional cupboard. Bitter supertasters exchange angry polemics on the snobs who don’t seem to realize that those of us with less blunted palates might not want every alcoholic beverage well fortified with hops, Campari and an extra-strong helping of Angosturas. Those whose sensitive or aging gastrointestinal tracts cannot cope with all that glorious capsaicin sigh, and order the roasted chicken. Again.

History is reaction and counterreaction. The pendulum is swinging back, as gravity says it must, and I detect a new movement afoot: KISS. Which means, yes: Keep it simple, stupid. And I have to say, I like it.

But women and minorities will be hardest hit.

GARLAND UPDATE: Another “Known Wolf” Attack.

Related: Richard Fernandez: Obama’s Legacy: No One Is Safe.

ANOTHER DEMOCRATIC PARTY PROSECUTOR ABUSING HIS POWER AGAINST A REPUBLICAN: Lawsuit spells out ‘nightmare’ for California man accused without evidence.

MICHAEL TOTTTEN: The Iranian Leader’s Bizarre Twitter Feed.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN IS ON AL SHARPTON’S LATEST LOUSY IDEA: Want a lawless police force? Federalize it. Accountability comes from having law enforcement under multiple umbrellas.

NICK GILLESPIE: Free Speech: Never Give In To The Thug’s Veto. “The future must belong to those who recognize a categorical difference between free expression and violent reprisals. The future must belong to those who affirm speech over silence and freedom over fear, regardless of who is speaking and who is offended.”

Meanwhile, Stephen Green notes that the New York Times’ Liam Stack tries to make it sound like Pam Geller is the crazy one — not the Muslim terrorists who wanted to shoot up her art show. Or course, as someone noted last night, it’s Texas, so even the art shows will probably have you outgunned.

IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: IRS Approved Clinton Foundation And Scientology, But Targeted Tea Party. “Will there be an IRS investigation of the Clinton Foundation? Even suggesting it sounds laughable, for few can stand up to the Clintons, let alone to a Democratic administration. Besides, the IRS Exempt Organizations Division used to be run by Lois Lerner, and it isn’t clear how much has changed.”

SALENA ZITO: A Disturbing Intersection for America.

The economic and political turbulence of the past decade is jarringly similar to the Panic of 1893 and the unsettling elections of 1884 to 1896. Those were eras when extraordinary wealth was created for the elites, and when ferociously competitive elections and ineffectual, corrupt government collided with an agitated, cynical electorate.

Progressives of that previous era — very different from our modern liberal brand — were born of economic dislocation that pressured the establishment, not unlike what is happening today.

In each era, both parties promised reform but didn’t deliver.

Consider Baltimore, ruled by Democrat machine politics for decades. What does the city have to show for that?

A jarring 37 percent unemployment rate for black men ages 20 to 24, a statistic that should be completely unacceptable in any American city.

Disruption and energy should be felt in Baltimore’s ballot boxes, not on its streets as a matter of violent protest and thuggery. Its communities should not allow themselves to be used to keep a political machine in power but then to be promptly forgotten when it comes to governing. . . .

It used to be that both blue-collar and white-collar workers held stable jobs, and living standards for all social classes steadily rose. That model has buckled and bowed until it no longer exists, and people are getting left behind at a staggering rate.

The gap between all things big (government, business, banks), the American people, and their political leaders is greater today than at any time since our little quarrel with England in the 1770s.

We are over-regulated, forgotten and over-taxed by a national capital that has become the Versailles of its time — the seat of not only political power but of unprecedented wealth, with a desire to emulate Hollywood rather than the regular people who have carried the burden of building and protecting that pretentious city.

Nothing brought that image into perspective better than watching a week ago as the cable-news networks covered their own press staffers attending the White House Correspondents Dinner with President Obama, the cream of Hollywood and selected members of Congress — while rioting young men stormed the city of Baltimore.

It was an unsightly, disturbing intersection for America.

We have the worst political class in American history.

JOEL KOTKIN: America’s Cities Mirror Baltimore’s Woes.

Certainly Sandtown-Winchester—where Freddie Gray, whose death sparked the riots, grew up—fits this mode. As the liberal Think Progress website explains, more than half of that neighborhood’s people between the ages of 16 and 64 are out of work and the unemployment rate is double that for the rest of the city. Median income is below the poverty line for a family of four, and nearly a third of families live in poverty. About a quarter to a third of the buildings are vacant, compared to 5 percent in the city as a whole.

Yet the people in these neighborhoods do not represent the majority of black America. Besides the gap between blacks and whites, there is also a growing one among African-Americans themselves. This is painfully obvious in the Baltimore region which, extending to the Washington, D.C., suburbs, has some of the highest black wages and homeownership rates of any of the county, and ranks among the best places for African-Americans in a new study I co-authored for the Center for Opportunity Urbanism.

In fact, five of the ten wealthiest black communities in America are in Maryland. Needless to say, residents in those towns are not rioting. There is an increasingly enormous gap between entrenched poor communities, such as those in Baltimore, and a rapidly expanding black suburban population. Barely half of the 775,000 African-Americans in the Baltimore metropolitan region live in the city, and those outside do far better than inside the city limits. In the last decade, suburban Baltimore County added160,000 blacks, far more than moved into the city (PDF). The black suburbanites not only make more money than their urban counterparts but their life expectancy (PDF) is at least eight years longer.

These trends can be seen nationwide.

Flee to the suburbs for the same reason white people did — to escape entrenched, corrupt urban political machines.

WELL, I GUESS IT’S TOO LATE NOW. MIGHT AS WELL BUY THAT SUV I’VE HAD MY EYE ON: Eight Years Ago Today: UN Scientists Say We Have Only Eight Years Left To Stop Global Warming.

On the other hand, maybe we managed to bring things under control just in time: Seven years after former US Vice-President Al Gore’s warning, Arctic ice cap has expanded for second year in row.

Related: Ed Driscoll: Snowfalls Are Now Just a Thing of the Past.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Washington Post: The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor.