April 23, 2014

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HISTORY: The SS Doctor Who Converted to Islam and Escaped the Nazi Hunters. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t the only one.

Plus: “One thing that surprised me was how many real Inglourious Basterds stories there were. Groups with names like Vengeance and the Avengers tracked down and killed former SS and Gestapo members. . . . The SS captain known as the Hangman of Riga was found in a trunk in the bedroom of his beach house in Uruguay, executed for his part in the Holocaust.”

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Help! My Husband Won’t Love Our Child Without A Paternity Test. So give him one. What’s the big deal?

GALLERY: A Look Back on The Retro Playboy Bunny Costumes. Is it sad that I’m even nostalgic for BOAC?

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Also: TV Deal Of The Week: Up to 80% off on CSI on DVD. In all the various episodes and spin-offs.

JIM GERAGHTY: The American Dream Peddlers: Progressives’ vision of government requires it to be the gatekeeper to the good life.

Is it really in the country’s best interest to enable every aspiring college student to attend college? Right now the federal government is in the business of loaning money to young people to attend college, only to watch significant numbers — 600,000 or so last year — fail to pay the money back. College students are defaulting on federal loans at the highest rate in nearly two decades, with one in ten defaulting on their loans in the first two years. This is not merely one late check; to meet the Department of Education’s definition of default, a borrower’s loan must be delinquent for 270 days — nine months.

The college gets its money, the taxpayer loses theirs, and the deadbeat student can be left with all kinds of frustrating consequences — seized tax refunds, garnished paychecks or benefits, or a lawsuit. (Though the deadbeat student is often in this situation because their college education failed to prepare them to find a job in a mediocre-at-best economy and make a living, so there may not be much money in their wages to garnish.)

How many of those students really should go to college? If college is supposed to represent some sort of advanced or more demanding level of education, why has it become a national priority to send every kid to college? Wouldn’t the nation be better off if at some point it said to these young people, “you can go to college if you want, but we’re not paying for it”?


WELL, SANITATION, TO START WITH: O’Reilly To Bundy Supporter: What’s The Difference Between Bundy And Occupy Wall St?

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: More support for my “adjunct administrator” proposal:

I support the move toward “adjunct administrators.” It used to be widely understood that a college or university travels on the quality of its faculty, not its climbing walls, dining halls, or number of administrators. The University of Arkansas’ Jay Greene found that between 1993 and 2007, the number of administrators at research universities grew by 39 percent per 100 students while the number of employees directly involved in research and teaching grew by just 18 percent. More damning, spending on administration grew 50 percent faster than spending on instruction. Administrators don’t just add to the open-air prison climate on many campuses, they directly add to rising costs.


I USED TO LOVE WATCHING THIS SHOW AND DRINKING BEER WITH MY BROTHER. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Definitive Oral History of a TV Masterpiece.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Married Lesbian Threesome Expects Baby In July. “‘I had always wanted to get married and I guess Doll and Brynn indulged my wishes! I had a very traditional upbringing and marriage had always been an important symbol of commitment for me. We wanted to celebrate our love in a wedding like everyone else.’ . . . Doll, Kitten and Brynn are faithful to each other and say they don’t plan on adding anyone else to their throuple. They hope to show the world that polyfidelity is an acceptable choice of love.”

They plan to homeschool.

IF THEY REALLY DID THAT, WOULD THE U.S. GOVERNMENT BE PROMOTING THEM? US Promoting Mesh Networks; Reporters Misleadingly Think They Somehow Stop Digital Spying.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN is on campus administrators who abuse their power.

CONTEST: Can You Write A Better Bedtime Story Than The USDA?


Dr. Walter C. Willett, a Harvard epidemiologist who has spent many years studying cancer and nutrition, sounded almost rueful as he gave a status report. Whatever is true for other diseases, when it comes to cancer there was little evidence that fruits and vegetables are protective or that fatty foods are bad.

About all that can be said with any assurance is that controlling obesity is important, as it also is for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke and other threats to life. Avoiding an excess of alcohol has clear benefits. But unless a person is seriously malnourished, the influence of specific foods is so weak that the signal is easily swamped by noise. . . .

The hypothesis that fatty foods are a direct cause of cancer has also been crumbling, along with the case for eating more fiber. The idea that red meat causes colon cancer is shrouded in ambiguity. Two meta-analyses published in 2011 reached conflicting conclusions — one finding a small effect and the other no clear link at all. If hamburgers are carcinogenic, the effect appears to be mild. One study suggests that a 50-year-old man eating a hefty amount of red meat — about a third of a pound a day — raises his chance of getting colorectal cancer to 1.71 percent during the next decade, from 1.28 percent. Spread over a population of millions, that would have an impact. From the point of view of an individual, it barely seems to matter.

Yet all the nutritional commands — like the command to avoid sunlight — have been issued in the Voice Of Authority, with doubters and skeptics condemned as disrespecters of science. There’s even the suggestion that the war on tobacco caused people who quit smoking to gain weight, with more cancers resulting from obesity than from cigarettes. If that proves out, will the anti-smoking folks be targeted like the tobacco companies were?

HOW CANCER RESEARCH SHOULD BE GOVERNED. “The ethics review system, implemented by research ethics committees (in Commonwealth countries) or institutional review boards (in the United States), was immediately successful, promoting subject safety and snuffing out unethical research. It deserves credit for this achievement. This benefit, however, comes at a dear price. Unethical cancer research has been curbed, but ethically sound cancer research must work in handcuffs.”

VITAMIN D UPDATE: Low Vitamin D in Mothers Tied to Cavities in Babies. I’m not crazy about this study, but it won’t hurt to get a little bit of sun.

ROGER SIMON ON the Republicans’ failure to communicate. “Rather than dealing with these realities, both sides — establishment and Tea Party — spend their time aiming fusillades at each other. How infantile and suicidal.”

FRED PHELPS IS DEAD, but Jeremiah Wright is alive and speaking in Kansas City tonight. He’ll be delivering the “Cleaver Lecture on Religion and Public Life,” which “was established at the St. Paul School of Theology by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and others in 1999 to honor U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.”

Cleaver, of course, is up for re-election next year. He’s also having his Congressional salary garnisheed to pay for a bad small business loan. I doubt that Wright will discuss that. “Garnishing the wages of a sitting congressman appears to be rare.” Cleaver is a rare item himself.

SO DON’T DO THAT: Bug can cause deadly failures when anesthesia device is connected to cell phones.

ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: 10 Cool Mustangs From The Pony Car’s 50th Anniversary.

SCUBA DIVING in Brooklyn.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ & HARVEY SILVERGLATE: Ed Markey’s “Hate Speech” Proposal Threatens Internet Free Speech. Which is, of course, its purpose.

ORIN KERR: Six thoughts on Navarette v. California. “No one should be surprised when Justice Breyer votes for the government and Justice Scalia votes for the defense in Fourth Amendment cases.”

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Toss Out Abusive College Administrators.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 349.



I am not disputing that something unhappy is going on in the global economy. Nor am I disputing that this unhappiness is unequally distributed. But the proportion of this unhappiness due to income inequality is actually relatively small — and moreover, concentrated not among the poor, but among the upper middle class, which competes with the very rich for status goods and elite opportunities.

If we look at the middle three quintiles, very few of their worst problems come from the gap between their income and the incomes of some random Facebook squillionaire. Here, in a nutshell, are their biggest problems:

Finding a job that allows them to work at least 40 hours a week on a relatively consistent schedule and will not abruptly terminate them.
Finding a partner who is also able to work at least 40 hours a week on a relatively consistent schedule and will not be abruptly terminated.
Maintaining a satisfying relationship with that partner over a period of years.
Having children who are able to enjoy more stuff and economic security than they have.
Finding a community of friends, family and activities that will provide enjoyment and support over the decades.

This is where things are breaking down — where things have actually, and fairly indisputably, gotten worse since the 1970s. Crime is better, lifespans are longer, our material conditions have greatly improved — yes, even among the lower middle class. What hasn’t improved is the sense that you can plan for a decent life filled with love and joy and friendship, then send your children on to a life at least as secure and well-provisioned as your own.

Well, here in America, part of the problem is that the middle class is being targeted for destruction by a coalition of the very rich and the poor.

“RACE-SENSITIVE ADMISSIONS POLICIES:” Sonia Sotomayor Picks New Euphemism For Affirmative Action. If you really want balance in college admissions, there need to be quotas for white women, who are hugely overrepresented.

UPDATE: Asian-Americans, affirmative action, and the “political restructuring” doctrine: Does the doctrine work when there are minority groups on both sides of the issue? Interestingly, Asian-Americans weren’t mentioned at all in any of the opinions. In an older America, with a big white majority, a black minority, and not a lot of other diversity, the notion of affirmative action preferences for blacks as a benign gift — near-reparations — from whites to blacks had some traction. Now, however, preferences for blacks disadvantage other minorities.

TIM CARNEY: K Street battles Tea Party in GOP primaries.

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Plus, Mother’s Day gifts galore.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Toss Out Abusive College Administrators.

IN THE NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR’S RACE, a Dem with a Weather Underground connection.

JAMES TARANTO: First Among Equals: An Orwellian dissent from a muddled ruling.

Justice Stephen Breyer concurred in the judgment on much narrower grounds. He was part of the Grutter majority in 2003 and still thinks racial preferences are constitutionally permissible. He ducked the question of whether the political-process doctrine applied to the substance of the Michigan amendment by saying it didn’t apply to the process. Because racial preferences were imposed by unelected university administrators, he argued, the process change isn’t a “political” one at all. It appears to be a way of evading the central questions of the case, but it does have the virtue of being relatively simple.

Then there’s the Sotomayor dissent, which begins as follows: “We are fortunate to live in a democratic society. But . . .” An empty piety, followed by an equivocation, followed by a total of 58 pages–you know this is going to be a tough slog.

The most quoted part of Sotomayor’s opinion is this: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.” This is a rejoinder to Chief Justice John Roberts’s assertion, in Parents Involved v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1 (2007), that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” (Roberts in turn rebutted Sotomayor in a separate concurrence to today’s decision, which we’re leaving out of our ranking by clarity.)

Robert’s statement was trivially true, which means that Sotomayor’s defies logic. Her argument amounts to an assertion that a ban on racial discrimination is a form of racial discrimination–that everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others. Also Orwellian is her claim that she wants “to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race.” Such an assertion is almost always disingenuous. After all, the way to speak openly and candidly is to speak openly and candidly. Declaring one’s intention to do so is at best superfluous throat clearing.

And while Sotomayor may be open, she isn’t candid. She presents a potted history of race in America in which there is a straight line from Jim Crow segregation through literacy tests to the Michigan amendment, which “involves this last chapter of discrimination”–even though it bans discrimination, and even though Sotomayor acknowledges that its substance is perfectly constitutional.

She also repeats the phrase “race matters” a lot. But then, it does. It’s how she got her job.

UPDATE: words matter.

CALIFORNIA: Gov. Brown’s legal strategy to prop up bullet train faltering.

FLORIDA: Tea Party Claims First Victory of 2014.

WHILE ALL EYES ARE ON UKRAINE: China Challenges Obama’s Asia Pivot With Rapid Military Buildup.

Related: A rising China shadows Obama’s Asia trip. “China is on the move, backed up by a very real military buildup. President Obama is on the move, too, traveling to Asia to breathe life into a strategic ‘pivot’ that is being undermined by his own proposed cuts to the Pentagon budget.”

ROGER KIMBALL: The Supreme Court Deals A Body Blow To Racial Discrimination.

The original effort to redress legitimate grievances—grievances embodied, for instance, in the discriminatory practices of Jim Crow—have mutated into new forms of discrimination. In 1940, Franklin Roosevelt established the Fair Employment Practices Committee because blacks were openly barred from war factory jobs.

But what began as a Presidential Executive Order in 1961 directing government contractors to take “affirmative action” to assure that people be hired “without regard” for sex, race, creed, color, etc., has resulted in the creation of vast bureaucracies dedicated to discovering, hiring, and advancing people chiefly on the basis of those qualities. White is black, freedom is slavery, “without regard” comes to mean “with regard for nothing else.”

Yeah, pretty much. And with an enormous helping of sanctimony and self-regard.

POLL: GOP Primary Wide Open in Alabama Race. “A new internal poll shows the crowded primary in Alabama’s open 6th District is wide open less than two months before the primary, according to information provided first to CQ Roll Call. The poll, conducted for GOP surgeon Chad Mathis’ campaign, found two of the six candidates in a statistical dead heat, with the third- and fourth-place contenders not far behind, and a large portion of respondents remain undecided.”


DETROIT WOULD BE MOST FITTING: 15 cities to submit bids for 2016 DNC convention. “The cities chosen by the DNC for inclusion in the process were Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.”

CURMUDGEON VS. THOUGHT POLICE: Ed Driscoll Interviews Charles Murray.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: WSJ: Skyrocketing Graduate Student Debt Threatens Income-Based Repayment Programs.

Who could have seen this coming?

RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE: MSNBC host pens radical ‘climate justice’ manifesto.

Hayes, a former Nation writer who remains an editor-at-large at the publication, compares the Southern economy based on slavery — worth trillions in today’s dollars to the slaveholders — to the economy based on carbon fuels. Energy companies, and energy-producing nations, have ever-increasing stores of recoverable oil and gas that are almost unimaginably valuable in today’s economy. And with today’s rate of exploration and technological advances, those reserves are increasing by the minute. But burning all that fuel, Hayes argues, citing various influential environmental writers, would destroy the planet. The oil and gas must stay in the ground if human civilization is to survive.

“It’s a bit tricky to put an exact price tag on how much money all that unexcavated carbon would be worth, but one financial analyst puts the price at somewhere in the ballpark of $20 trillion,” Hayes writes. “So in order to preserve a roughly habitable planet, we somehow need to convince or coerce the world’s most profitable corporations and the nations that partner with them to walk away from $20 trillion of wealth.”

Note the phrase: “convince or coerce.” If persuasion were to fail, coercion — presumably by the federal government or some very, very powerful entity — could be pretty rough. Certainly by writing that the “climate justice movement” should be known as the “new abolitionism,” Hayes makes an uneasy comparison to a 19th century conflict over slavery that was settled only by a huge and costly war — a real war, not a metaphorical one. Is that how environmentalists plan to save the planet from warming?

By any means necessary, so long as they are in the driver’s seat.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Merger Plans Collapse For Struggling Virginia College.

April 22, 2014

TEXAS TO BLM: Molon Labe.

TAXES ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: IRS agents who didn’t pay their taxes get $1 million in bonuses.

CHARLTON HESTON tried to warn us.

AT AMAZON, Top Deals on Jewelry.

Also, up to 70% off on Men’s Shoes.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Toss Out Abusive College Administrators.

THE CURRENCY OF HEROISM IS BEING DEBASED: The U.S.S. Gabby Giffords. Coming soon: The U.S.S. Trayvon Martin.

WAR ON MEN: Laid-off Male Workers Lose 1.0 to 1.5 Years In Life Expectancy.

CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL STAR WARS DAY with deals on Star Wars items. Hey, as holidays go, it’s not any faker than Cinco de Mayo.

Plus, up to 50% off on Women’s Dresses.

HANNA ROSIN DEMONSTRATES what feminist “rape culture” looks like. What do you mean, “victim?” He got attention from “pretty girls!”

DAVE KOPEL ON Second Amendment Symposia at the Tennessee Law Review, past and future.

UPDATE: Link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!

THIS WILL CERTAINLY ENHANCE NYU’S ABILITY TO RECRUIT STUDENTS AND FACULTY: Law School Trustee’s Company Chills Critical Speech With Subpoena For Students’ Personal Emails. I’m pretty sure that I’d side with him vs. the SEIU, but this seems rather extreme.

ISN’T THIS, YOU KNOW, ILLEGAL? Viagra-Laced Ice Cream. “Created by self-proclaimed “edible inventor” Charlie Harry Francis, ‘arousal,’ a new blue-colored ice cream, might mean you never have to pop those little blue pills again. Francis was asked to create a Viagra-laced ice cream for a party for one of his A-list celebrity clients, according to his aptly named blog, ‘Lick Me I’m Delicious.’ Each scoop of the champagne-flavored ice cream contains 25 mg of the well-known male enhancement drug — the same amount in the lowest dose of the drug.”

Oh, who am I kidding? Laws are for the little people, not for celebrities and their chefs.


Whether or not Krugman’s scholarship and teaching ability warrant such a superior salary is certainly worthy of debate, but the real issue for most commentators is not how much CUNY will pay Krugman, but how little they are asking him to do. CUNY is essentially offering him what used to be called a sinecure. Like ecclesiastical appointments “without the care of souls,” the terms of Krugman’s contract require him to do almost nothing his first year and then teach just one graduate seminar each year for as long as he would like to stay at CUNY. This required teaching in the second year is less than half of the usual course load for most distinguished professors at the Graduate Center, some of whom teach three classes per year and advise several dissertations at a time. Whether Krugman will advise or sit on any dissertation committees remains to be seen.

It is clear from his acceptance email however, that he is interested in doing as little work as possible.

So, kind of like his columns, then.

SOLAR POWER SATELLITES: A Visual Introduction. With solar power satellites and a hydrogen economy driven by electrolyzed seawater, you’d have a very environmentally friendly energy setup. That’s why so many environmentalists are loudly supporting space-based solar, I guess. . . .

OVER AT LARRY CORREIA’S MONSTER HUNTER NATION, a charitable event to help out an SF writer in trouble.

BIG DATA, and the limits of social engineering.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Toss Out Abusive College Administrators.

MARK RIPPETOE: Why You Should Not Be Running: Long, slow, distance exercise has no business being the standard advice for better health. I do intervals running stairs, but that’s not what he’s talking about. That said, when I was doing a lot of cardio (for me) ten years ago — 45 minutes with heart rate above 140 — my resting pulse was 51. It’s now around 60.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: If you cosign your kid’s student loan, it may go into default when you die, even if it’s paid-up.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Physicists suppress ‘stiction’ force that bedevils microscale machinery.

IN RELATED NEWS, U.S. FACEBOOK SITE UNDER COMPLETE CONTROL OF OBAMA ALLIES: Russian Facebook site under ‘complete control’ of Putin allies, says ex-CEO.

WHAT IT TELLS ME IS THAT WE’RE NOT READY FOR ELECTRONIC VOTING, OR THE “INTERNET OF THINGS” JUST YET: How Heartbleed transformed HTTPS security into the stuff of absurdist theater.

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): The American Middle Class Is No Longer The World’s Richest.

It’s as if it’s been targeted by a coalition of the richest and the poorest.

GREEN-CAR ENTHUSIASTS WORRY: Is Tesla Motors becoming a Republican darling?

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Virginia Postrel: “Free Speech Zones,” And Other College Lies. My USA Today column, which will be out later today, sounds a similar note.



21ST CENTURY DOMESTICITY: I Automated My Apartment—And It Kind of Creeped Me Out. “Last summer a hacker used a blackout command to successfully break in to a set of Hue bulbs. The consequences were hardly catastrophic—the lights shut off. But the possibilities are disturbing. One night I forgot to set my app to Good Night mode, which would have cut my security camera, before I went to sleep. I awoke to 17 texts: “There is motion in the Bedroom and photos have been taken at Alexis’s Apartment.” I scrolled through shots of myself in bed, sleeping.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Professor: Republicans are ‘Racist, Misogynist, Money-Grubbing People.’ . . . If GOP Wins Universities Will Close.

Well, they’ll close either way, actually. But clowns like this are accelerating the decline by undermining their value. A six-figure cost to attend a center of left-wing agitprop and not much else is a poor deal.

A TRIUMPH OF ENVIRONMENTALISM OVER ENVIRONMENTALISTS: The Pacific’s Salmon Are Back — Thank Human Ingenuity. “This year, the number of salmon caught in the northeast Pacific more than quadrupled, going from 50 million to 226 million. In the Fraser River, which only once before in history had a salmon run greater than 25 million fish (about 45 million in 2010), the number of salmon increased to 72 million.”

You’d think that environmentalists would be happy, unless you’d read Bob Zubrin’s book.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: How the revolving door lets Hollywood shape Obama’s trade agenda. “The revolving door between industry groups and the Obama administration’s trade shop has been busy lately. Earlier this month, we learned that assistant US Trade Representative Stan McCoy has accepted a new job with the Motion Picture Association of Europe, Middle East, and Africa, a Hollywood lobbying group. The announcement came a few weeks after the Obama administration announced it was naming a former software industry lobbyist to be deputy U.S. trade representative.” Yet another argument for imposing my Revolving-Door Surtax.

JESSE WALKER: Four Great Myths Of The McCarthy Era.

The great radical myth of the Red Scare is that it was nothing but a scare—that the Americans accused of being Russian agents were virtually all innocent. (It’s hard to maintain that position now that the Venona files have been released and some of the left’s biggest causes célèbres have come crumbling down—at this point even Julius Rosenberg’s children have acknowledged that he was a spy—but some folks still hold onto the dream.) The great conservative myth of the period, meanwhile, is that the espionage justified the witch-hunts. People like Ann Coulter and M. Stanton Evans have taken to declaring that McCarthy was right without acknowledging that the bulk of his accusations were false, and that this was true of many other red-hunters too. And then there’s the great liberal myth of the period: the idea that the libs of the day managed to plot a course between the Soviet apologists and the paranoid hysterics, striking a delicate balance between protecting the country’s liberties and protecting its security. In fact, the Red Scare, like the Cold War itself, had liberal fingerprints all over it. . . . Speaking of Kennedy: His brother Bobby, later a liberal heartthrob, was a counsel for the McCarthy committee, and McCarthy was godfather to Bobby’s first child.

If you don’t like the history you’ve got, just rewrite it!

RICHARD EPSTEIN: Obamacare: Debate Over? High enrollments offer no assurance that this plan will work. A lot of those “enrollments” — in Georgia, half of them — remain unpaid.

IN THE MAIL: From Lynne Cheney, James Madison: A Life Reconsidered.

Also, today only at Amazon: Titanfall, $36.99 (38% off).

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: UNC Fake-Classes Whistleblower Resigns After Meeting With Chancellor. “Willingham confirmed her imminent departure after an hour-long meeting with Carol Folt, the university’s chancellor. UNC described the encounter as ‘productive,’ but Willingham indicated it had been acrimonious.” From the Chancellor’s perspective, she got rid of a troublemaker. That’s productive enough to be worth a little acrimony.

HEY, KIDS: TRY GOING TO A REAL COLLEGE WITH A REAL PRESIDENT NEXT TIME. An open letter to the students of Azusa Pacific University. “Azusa Pacific’s administration wants to protect you from earnest and nerdy old guys who have opinions that some of your faculty do not share. Ask if this is why you’re getting a college education.”

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 348.

SUPREME COURT upholds state power to ban affirmative action.


Via Outside the Beltway, I see that Men’s Journal has a lengthy article on what it takes to be a male movie star these days. The short answer: 3 to 4 percent body fat, an incredibly carved six-pack and lovingly sculpted musculature. Because that combination does not normally occur in nature, the long answer involves nutritionists, traveling weight trainers, and more-than-occasional injections of testosterone and human growth hormone.

In other words, a Hollywood star is not so much an actor, or a body. It is a nearly starving body that has been stripped of almost all its naturally occurring subcutaneous fat, then artificially bolstered with various supplements and medical technology to make it look like a statue rather than a famine victim.

Nanotechnology will take care of that, eventually, at which point, not being difficult and rare, the look will go out of style. Meanwhile, I’m reminded of this article from back when Salon didn’t suck.

“NEOLIBERALISM WORKS:” Mickey Kaus reminds us that Welfare Reform succeeded.

HEH: Man’s White Male Privilege Squandered On Job At Best Buy.

AT AMAZON, IT’S the Kindle Daily Deals.

Also, 50% off on Office Supplies.

DANIEL SHUCHMAN: Thomas Piketty Revives Marx for the 21st Century: An 80% tax rate on incomes above $500,000 is not meant to bring in money for education or benefits, but ‘to put an end to such incomes.’ As Megan McArdle noted a while back, the threshold for “earning too much” is just above what a two-earner journalist or academic couple can plausibly make.

AT SCOTUSBLOG, a preview of the Aereo case.

Meanwhile, it’s very lame that the Supreme Court has lifted ScotusBlog’s press credentials. It’s the first place I go for Supreme Court news. I mean, Linda Greenhouse got credentials, for goodness’ sake.

IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: IRS revokes group’s tax exemption over anti-Clinton statements. More battlespace preparation. Somebody should round up statements from OFA and Media Matters and send them to the IRS. . . .

JAMES TARANTO: Purdy Grievances: Scenes from the class struggle in the faculty lounge.

In an essay for the Daily Beast, Purdy, now a law professor at Duke, brings us up to date on his life: “Born and raised in West Virginia, way out in the country, I tested and wrote my way into elite schools, and now I teach at one. I’m surrounded by very smart people who work very hard, and get rewarded.”

That doesn’t sound so bad. But he writes to inform us that America is still in Trouble. His piece is titled “We Need More Class Traitors: Solving America’s Meritocracy Problem.”

Purdy endorses French economist Thomas Piketty’s argument “that Americans are intoxicated by ‘meritocratic extremism’–an impulse to pick ‘winners’ and reward them enormously.” Piketty is the author of a new book, “Capital in the 21st Century,” that has drawn rave reviews from left-liberal scholars and commentators fixated on “income inequality” as the ultimate social ill.

The most revealing aspect of Purdy’s analysis is his classification of meritocracy into two different “generations.” “First-generation meritocracy pivoted on tests like the SAT,” he explains. “It channeled high scorers into elite schools and positions. . . . The iconic beneficiary of this meritocracy was the Iowa farm kid or child of segregated Charlotte who was plucked up and admitted to Harvard.”

Purdy disapproves much more strongly of “second-generation meritocracy, which has been accelerating since the 1980s.” This is the meritocracy of the commercial marketplace. “The idea is that money follows quality, so those who attract money must be the best: they must deserve it. Any other test looks spurious: if you’re smart, why aren’t you rich?”

Well, “rich” is a relative term. If you’re a successful first-generation meritocrat like Purdy, chances are you enjoy a solidly upper-middle-class income and lifestyle. He acknowledges as much: “I’m grateful for the way first-generation meritocracy put me in a place to be writing this essay.”

Yet that question “if you’re smart, why aren’t you rich?” seems to carry quite a sting.

All the talk about inequality is basically journalists and academics wondering why they don’t make as much money as the lawyers and investment bankers they went to school with.

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGE STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Moving in with parents becomes more common for the middle-aged: The number of Californians 50 to 64 who live in their parents’ homes has surged in recent years, reflecting the grim economic aftermath of the Great Recession. Wait, I thought we were in the sunny uplands of the Obama Recovery. . . .

ASHE SCHOW: The ‘Twitter gap’ is one Democrats don’t want to talk about. “Democrats are supposed to be the party that all the young, hip people are crazy about. But when it comes to Twitter, Democrats have actually fallen behind Republicans in several important metrics.”

HIGHER EDUCATION UPDATE: U. of Colorado Violated Faculty Rights in Philosophy Dept. Scandal, AAUP Says.