May 3, 2015

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Science Confirms: The More Coffee You Drink, The Longer You Will Live. You don’t want to be a science-denier, do you?

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: A 3-D-Printed Implant Saves Lives.

COMPETITION IS GOOD: Report: Comcast plans YouTube-like online video service.

BANNING POLITICAL SPEECH:  It has come to this.  New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority has voted to ban all political, religious and opinion ads. The reason?  An April 21 decision by federal district judge John Koeltl to enjoin the Transit Authority from refusing to run an ad sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) that said, “Hamas MTV:  Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah.”  Underneath this caption, the ad said, “That’s His Jihad, What’s Yours?” Here’s a copy of the ad:

The ad was designed to be anti-Hamas and pro-Israel.  A similar, crowd-sourced ad campaign by AFDI was characterized as “Islamorealism.”

The Transit Authority cited “security” concerns in its decision to reject the ad, but Judge Koeltl responded:

While the Court is sensitive to the MTA’s security concerns, the defendants have not presented any objective evidence that the Killing Jews advertisement would be likely to incite imminent violence. Indeed, as the defendants knew when considering whether to run the ad, substantially the same advertisement ran in San Francisco and Chicago in 2013 without incident. The advertisement qualifies as protected speech, and the defendants have restricted it based on its content without a compelling interest or a response narrowly tailored to achieving any such interest. Accordingly, the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction is granted.

In an oped for Breitbart, Pamela Geller, co-founder of AFDI writes:

This is a classic case of the powerful trumping the rights of the common man so as to protect their little club. The political and media elites only allow the public discourse to fall within a certain political spectrum. My ads drove them crazy because they fell outside of that spectrum; I was vaulting over their controls and bringing truths to the public that they didn’t want known. They had to move to shut me down.

I’m siding with Geller on this one.  The NYC Transit Authority is banning all political/religious/opinion ads in an attempt to prevent its rejection of AFDI’s ads from being characterized as a “content-based” restriction on free speech, which is presumptively unconstitutional.  And while it’s true that the Transit Authority has now banned all such ads– not just AFDI’s–it’s a sad day when government opts to shut down all speech merely because some of it may be offensive.  The ad was not the functional equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater; it was controversial because it defies the liberal/progressive worldview of Hamas and the Palestinian effort as virtuous, and Israel as an apartheid state.

Free speech isn’t worth much if government can ban it whenever it offends.  As the Supreme Court said in its 1971 decision, Cohen v. California:

The constitutional right of free expression is powerful medicine in a society as diverse and populous as ours. It is designed and intended to remove governmental restraints from the arena of public discussion, putting the decision as to what views shall be voiced largely into the hands of each of us, in the hope that use of such freedom will ultimately produce a more capable citizenry and more perfect polity and in the belief that no other approach would comport with the premise of individual dignity and choice upon which our political system rests. To many, the immediate consequence of this freedom may often appear to be only verbal tumult, discord, and even offensive utterance. These are, however, within established limits, in truth necessary side effects of the broader enduring values which the process of open debate permits us to achieve. That the air may at times seem filled with verbal cacophony is, in this sense not a sign of weakness but of strength.

NY Transit Authority’s action shows that, from the leftist perspective, Americans can’t handle potentially “offensive” speech by averting their eyes, but need to be paternalistically protected from being exposed to it at all.  We aren’t producing “a more capable citizenry” anymore; quite the contrary.  NY Transit Authority’s decision is a sign of societal decay and weakness, not strength.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Cops Investigate Report of Two Seven Year Olds Kissing at School. “I’ve always thought homeschooling was a great idea. After hearing this story, I’m more convinced than ever before.”

GALLERY: 50 Years Of The Camaro, In Pictures.

SO AFTER I TWEETED THEM, NPR CORRECTED THE HEADLINE IN THIS AWFUL HIT PIECE ON TEXAS GOV. ABBOTT, BUT IT’S STILL WRONG.

As this WaPo article — from last week — explains, Abbott sent the State Guard (not the Texas National Guard, as the NRP story originally claimed) to observe (not “stave off,” as the NPR article still wrongly claims) federal military maneuvers (not a “takeover” as the NPR article still wrongly claims). The WaPo story also explains why, for safety reasons, it’s a good idea for state officials to know about these exercises. Compare the treatment by WaPo — hardly an Abbott-friendly organ — with the NPR piece by Wade Goodwyn, which seems designed to produce agitprop headlines for Dems to share with each other over social media. Now note which one is supported by your tax dollars.

THERE’S A CANNABIS LAW PROF BLOG.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 724.

ICE, ICE BABY:   Stop. Collaborate and listen:  Ice is back, and apparently, it isn’t at risk of disappearing, as Steven Hayward explains.  Okay, it’s a bad reference to Vanilla Ice, but the horrific, imminent doom-and-gloom melting of the Earth’s ice caps–which Al Gore predicted would disappear completely by 2013– are doing quite well, thank you very much.  Indeed, satellite images show the Arctic ice cap has grown and thickened 43-63% since 2012.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) website still claims that the ice caps are the “canary in the coal mine” and “harbinger of things to come” for global warming climate change.  Back in 2009, global warming climate change soothsayer James Hansen of NASA warned the globe that President Obama only “has four years to save the earth.“  Of course, Hansen’s wild exaggerations and data manipulation have been debunked, but this doesn’t stop the leftists, since we all know global warming climate change isn’t really about climate at all, but about wealth redistribution.

President Obama was just down here in South Florida, giving a speech in the Everglades on the hazards of global warming climate change, where he did his best Al Gore imitation:

This is not a problem for another generation.  Not anymore.  This is a problem now.  It has serious implications for the way we live right now.  Stronger storms.  Deeper droughts.  Longer wildfire seasons.  The world’s top climate scientists are warning that a changing climate already affects the air that our children are breathing.  The Surgeon General and I recently met with doctors and nurses and parents who see patients and kids grappling with the health impacts.  The Pentagon says that climate change poses an increasing set of risks to our national security.

Huh– that’s weird:  How come Obama and the Surgeon General are seeing “patients and kids grappling with the health impacts” from the “air that our children are breathing,” when the EPA’s own data indicates that U.S. air quality has improved markedly since 1980? And it seems odd to conclude that “our national security” is at risk due to global warming climate change, when the Obama Administration’s massive Clean Power Plan will cause severe electricity reliability problems, which could cause a major breakdown of law-and-order if coal-fired plants are shut down without first identifying adequate electricity generation alternatives to meet citizens’ needs.

It’s almost like Obama and the global warming climate change alarmists are making this stuff up or something.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Obama’s Foreign Policy: Media Gives President a Pass Again.

Once again, be very glad we don’t have a Republican president right now. If we did, we would be treated to a merciless media pounding, night-and-day, on the series of strategic failures, mistakes and false starts that have characterized America’s war strategy in Afghanistan since 2009. We’d be getting constant reminders of how the President, who repeatedly said that this was a just war that America had to win, and who told us that we should vote for him because he wouldn’t let anything distract him from the vital task of winning said war, hasn’t managed to win it, or even end it, after six long years.

Fortunately for us, there is a Democrat in the White House who, by and large, the press likes and wants to succeed. Thus our newspapers and television screens are blessedly free from invective, derision and snark when it comes to news from Afghanistan.

President Obama has been permitted to fail in Afghanistan quietly and off center stage. We hear nothing anymore about the months of agonized reflection before choosing strategies that didn’t accomplish their goals. We never see mentions of his 2008 campaign rhetoric about Afghanistan—”the necessary war”—against which we might be asked to measure what has actually been achieved.

He’s an affirmative-action President. Nobody expects him to produce much.

HELL, THESE DAYS THE ONION’S NOT EVEN A PARODY: The Onion Is Not a Joke.

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INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Why Can’t White House Just Say ISIS Beheaded Christians? You can tell a lot about a politician’s goals by noticing who he wants to keep stirred-up and angry, and who he doesn’t.

TIM CAVANAUGH: Obama mum after May Day riot re-ruins Seattle.

The morning after hipster rioters turned a May Day demonstration into a replay of the 1999 Battle in Seattle, President Obama boarded Marine One and departed for an overnight retreat without commenting on unrest in U.S. cities that has spread to the Pacific coast.

The president stopped to fist bump with the child of an Associated Press staffer on a sunny Saturday before choppering out of the capital. But he made no comment on the Friday night rioting in Seattle, Wash.

Seattle rioters threw bottles and bricks at police; smashed and tagged property; and attacked reporters and other civilians in unrest that left three officers injured. Police Chief Chris Fowler declared Friday evening that the situation had “turned into a riot.”

Obama’s silence on the mayhem in one of North America’s most progressive cities contrasted with his loquacity earlier in the week, when the president as well as his staff spoke at length after Baltimore erupted in destructive but non-lethal rioting. . . .

The Seattle riot also participates in a long history. The city was attacked by vandals, thieves and looters in 1999, under the pretext of protest against the World Trade Organization. Friday’s violence erupted during a celebration of May Day, which honors traditions of revolutionary destruction designed to raise worker solidarity, expose the contradictions of late capitalism, and usher in a fundamental transformation of economic reality.

Obama beguiled readers of his exquisitely wrought memoir Dreams From My Father with tales of his youthful friendships among Marxist poets and punk rockers. The self-declared communist Van Jones briefly served as the Obama administration’s “green jobs czar.”

But the president has been less eager to attach himself publicly to historic economic-justice movements, or to their extensive legacies of violence. He is presently lobbying Congress for a bill that would give more power to the executive branch in order to conclude a Pacific Rim trade treaty — an agreement strongly opposed by his own party’s left wing.

Seattle police responded decisively to Friday’s criminal frenzy, and by Saturday civil order had been restored in the city. Unlike Baltimore, Seattle is not governed entirely by members of the president’s Democratic party. One Seattle city council member belongs to the Socialist Alternative party.

Well, okay then.

MICHAEL WALSH: GoFundMe: Leftist Tool.

DOING THE JOBS AMERICAN JOURNALISTS WON’T DO: #AskHillary hashtag provides plenty of material for stumped, starstruck reporters.

OVERSIGHT: GOP rep introduces bill to gut EPA.

A House Republican wants to cut 13 programs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including all of its grants and its ability to regulate ground-level ozone and carbon dioxide.

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) introduced a bill, the Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act, which he said is a money-saving measure, citing a Heritage Foundation forecast that it would save $7.5 billion over 10 years.

“As a fiscal conservative, I believe Washington should be respectful of taxpayers’ dollars and live within its means,” Johnson said in a Thursday statement.

Can we do that with the rest of the federal government?

CHAOS UMPIRE SITS: Joan Walsh Says Dangerous Things About Race That Help Perpetuate Police Brutality: Perhaps her white privilege is showing and she should take her ideological fellow travelers’ advice on it.

Since the news came out that three of the officers involved in Freddie Gray’s death were black—this fact is mostly pretty irrelevant to the case. A person isn’t any more or less violated depending on his race or the race of his violator. But it means a lot when some have vigorously pushed the narrative of “black men killed by white cops” as if it were only those instances of state-sponsored violence that were problematic. That narrative helps dangerous myths flourish—like the myth that black cops might be less brutal than white cops. Here’s Joan Walsh arguing that there was “no debate” black cops “absorb” the attitudes of their colleagues. It’s a bizarre idea that’s totally unnecessary if you live in the world but becomes a must-have when your understanding of the problem is based on the fantasy constructed in your head. And it’s a more than slightly racist one because it seeks to diminish the agency of the black adults who make up the black police population.

It gets worse. Walsh also argued that the indictment of the three black cops shows that “black leadership doesn’t protect wrongdoers like white leaders too often do,” this based on just the one Freddie Gray case. This is not only easily disprovable, it too helps perpetuate a dangerous myth. If the black leadership in Baltimore (and how much can be said about “black leadership” or “white leadership” before you’re just resorting to intuitions drawn from racial stereotypes?) were more interested in rooting out police brutality in the police department, why did it take Freddie Gray’s death for Baltimore’s black leadership to say it’ll invite the Department of Justice to probe the Baltimore Police Department for a pattern and practice of police abuse? Stephanie Rawlings Blake has been mayor for four years and Anthony Batts has been police commissioner since 2012. The problem of police brutality in Baltimore, and as any black (or really, any) leader in Baltimore should know (right?), didn’t start with Freddie Gray.

Why are Democrat-dominated cities such havens of racism and police brutality?

May 2, 2015

SO, I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT GARY TAUBES AND MARK RIPPETOE in terms of diet and fitness. If you’ve tried either, or both, please report your experience in the comments. Thanks!

UPDATE: A lot of nice stories from folks. Glad you’re doing well!

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Free Speech on Campus: ‘F*ck Masculinity’, ‘Fight the Straightness.’

SO HOW CAN YOU SIMULTANEOUSLY BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION AND FIND THIS SURPRISING? What It’s Like to Hit a Man. I tried boxing. It was scary how good it felt.

WELL, THAT’S THEIR JOB: Police union pushes back on Freddie Gray findings.

WELL, WELL: ‘Hacktivists’ from around the world take to social media to stir Baltimore unrest. “The company’s specialty is rooting out cyber criminals lurking on social media. And when West Baltimore erupted in rioting Monday, its employees felt compelled to apply their skills. ZeroFox worked into the night tracing tweets and Facebook accounts that shared photos of looting and violence. What they found was that much of the activity was coming from well outside of Baltimore, in some cases from Russia, China, India and the Middle East.”

Why would people in those countries want to stir up unrest in the United States? . . .

ONLY TRAINED LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS CAN BE TRUSTED WITH FIREARMS: Capitol Police Left Guns in Bathrooms.

SO, BASICALLY, VICE IS TELLING US THAT THE 19TH AMENDMENT WAS A MISTAKE? Female Hormones Can Make a Bloody Mess of Your Mental Health. Well, no: “As a woman who cries, cuts all her hair off and then realizes two days later as her gusset fills with blood that it was that pesky progesterone all along, I am extremely wary of painting women as somehow weaker as a result of our hormones.” Okay, then.

VOTER FRAUD IS REAL:  There is growing evidence non-citizens are voting.  And of course this is precisely why leftists keep challenging voter ID laws, while simultaneously taking executive action to undermine existing immigration law and grant legal permission for illegals to remain in the country.  Since when is asking for ID discriminatory?  I think I’m going to sue my public library.  And maybe the police department, the next time they pull me over.

AS MARK STEYN SAYS, THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO SHOW UP: The Childless Millennial: A new report finds that today’s twentysomethings have a lower birthrate than any previous generation. Of course, birthrates always plunge under socialism. . . .

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THE MORAL IMPERATIVE OF CAR CONTROL!:   Motor vehicle accidents killed 35,369 Americans in 2013.  So I’m sure the Democrats will be calling for “car control” soon.  Right?  We need to take these dangerous instruments out of peoples’ hands!  Too many people are dying because of cars!

The accidental discharge of guns, btw, was involved in only 505 deaths.  And of course there’s that pesky Second Amendment that impedes progressives’ gun-free nirvana.

HEY, BLOOMBERG PAYS HIM TO SPOUT THAT CRAP, NOT TO DEFEND IT: Michael Bloomberg gun group’s research director refuses on-air debate with longtime researcher. “The research director for Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control advocacy group co-founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, recently refused to appear for an on-air debate with longtime gun law researcher John Lott on C-SPAN’s’“Washington Journal.’”

It’s an astroturf group with talking-point “research.” Dialogue is not their friend, and they know it.

AT AMAZON, Spring Deals in the Sports & Fitness Outlet Sale.

Plus, Mother’s Day Gifts in Home & Kitchen.

WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? When Minimum-Wage Hikes Hit a San Francisco Comic-Book Store. “I’m hearing from a lot of customers, ‘I voted for that, and I didn’t realize it would affect you.’”

Plus: “My jaw dropped. Eighty-thousand a year! I didn’t know that. I thought we were talking a small amount of money, something I could absorb.” Progressives don’t do the math. If they did, they wouldn’t be progressives.

WELL, IT’LL BE EASIER ONCE WE GET THOSE REACTIONLESS THRUSTERS UP TO SPEED: Europe’s Next Space Chief Wants a Moon Colony on the Lunar Far Side.

I DON’T KNOW, THEY’RE A POOR REPLACEMENT FOR MY GENERATOR: Tesla Home Battery Packs. Though the generator is for occasional outages, and these would be for power-rate arbitrage, buying at off-peak hours for a lower price to supply power at peak hours when prices are higher. Such batteries would also add resilience to the grid, which would be good.

FASTER, PLEASE: New test can predict cancer up to 13 years before disease develops: People who develop cancer have shorter telomeres, the caps at the end of chromosomes which protect the DNA. People have previously feared that artificially lengthening telomeres — which would tend to retard aging — might make cancer more likely. This suggests not.

IMMIGRATION: Disney Fires IT Staff En Masse, Replaces Them With H1-B Immigrants:

For the sponsoring company, what could be better? Management gets the compliant, lower-cost foreign labor often associated with outsourcing without having to deal with the hassles of unreliable remote monitoring or the overhead of having to open a satellite office in Bangalore.

But for foreign workers, there’s a catch: the employee is tied to the company that sponsors the visa. She cannot switch jobs, quit to found a startup, or indeed leave in protest of lower pay or dissatisfaction without forfeiting her immigration status. Moreover, upon termination, she is required to leave the country (unless, as is unlikely, she is able to find a second, established employer here in the U.S. to sponsor her directly).

A healthy U.S. immigration policy, as opposed to what we currently have, would encourage responsible levels of legal immigration, ideally adjustable to prevailing economic conditions, and have a high priority for skilled workers. It would also keep illegal immigration as low as is possible.

In addition, what a healthy immigration policy must not do—at either the low- or high-skilled level—is displace American jobs purely for corporate profit while at the same time creating an entire class of workers who do not enjoy the full rights of citizenship.

To many in our ruling class, this is not simply a feature, but the whole point. More here.

NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SCIENCE: 170-year-old shipwrecked champagne much like bubbly today, study finds. “We were thinking the chemical composition of this wine would be very different from the composition of wines today. . . . But that was wrong. We have found that the wines were very similar.”

IN THE MAIL: From Nicole Goeser, Denied a Chance: How gun control helped a stalker murder my husband.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 723.

OBAMALAW?:  Al Sharpton is calling for the creation of a national police force.  And it looks like President Obama is considering the option.  While the federal government undoubtedly lacks a “police power” and the concomitant authority to create a national police force, it does have a “spending power,” implied from the Constitution’s enumerated power to levy taxes, and the Supreme Court has upheld the imposition of “strings,” or conditions, on the receipt of federal funds.

In the March 2015 Interim Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing--a group created by Obama’s executive order in the wake of the Ferguson incident –certain recommendations foretell plans to provide federal funding for state and local police, the receipt of which would be dependent upon such police departments meeting requirements established by the federal government, such as:

1.8.1 ACTION ITEM: The Federal Government should create a Law Enforcement Diversity Initiative designed to help communities diversify law enforcement departments to reflect the demographics of the community.

1.8.2 ACTION ITEM: The department overseeing this initiative should help localities learn best practices for recruitment, training, and outreach to improve the diversity as well as the cultural and linguistic responsiveness of law enforcement agencies.

1.8.4 ACTION ITEM: Discretionary federal funding for law enforcement programs could be influenced by that department’s efforts to improve their diversity and cultural and linguistic responsiveness.

2.1 RECOMMENDATION: Law enforcement agencies should collaborate with community members to develop policies and strategies in communities and neighborhoods disproportionately affected by crime for deploying resources that aim to reduce crime by improving relationships, greater community engagement, and cooperation.

2.2  RECOMMENDATION: Law enforcement agencies should have comprehensive policies on the use of force that include training, investigations, prosecutions, data collection, and information sharing. These policies must be clear, concise, and openly available for public inspection.

2.6 RECOMMENDATION: Law enforcement agencies should be encouraged to collect, maintain, and analyze demographic data on all detentions (stops, frisks, searches, summons, and arrests). This data should be disaggregated by school and non-school contacts.

2.7.2 ACTION ITEM: The Federal Government should create a mechanism for investigating complaints and issuing sanctions regarding the inappropriate use of equipment and tactics during mass demonstrations.

7.1 RECOMMENDATION: The President should direct all federal law enforcement agencies to review the recommendations made by the Task Force on 21st Century Policing and, to the extent practicable, to adopt those that can be implemented at the federal level.

7.3 RECOMMENDATION: The U.S. Department of Justice should charge its Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) with assisting the law enforcement field in addressing current and future challenges.

For recommendation 7.3, the COPS Office should consider taking actions including but not limited to the following:

•Create a National Policing Practices and Accountability Division within the COPS Office.
• Establish national benchmarks and best practices for federal, state, local, and tribal police departments.
• Provide technical assistance and funding to national, state, local,and tribal accreditation bodies that evaluate policing practices.
• Recommend additional benchmarks and best practices for state training and standards boards.
• Provide technical assistance and funding to state training boards to help them meet national benchmarks and best practices in training methodologies and content.
• Prioritize grant funding to departments meeting benchmarks

Many of the report’s recommendations are probably good ideas, but the worrisome part is that the Report contemplates federal control of local police practices via conditions placed on the receipt of federal funds.  This would allow the federal government to effectively “takeover” local police practices–something the Constitution clearly would not allow the feds to do directly.

President Obama, after receiving the Report, said, “I’m going to be asking Eric Holder and the Justice Department and his successor to go through all these recommendations so that we can start implementing them.”

This is one to watch, folks– dangerous constitutional territory.  State and local government can easily be coerced into adopting federal policies by dangling juicy federal funds in front of them.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Is the Lost Generation of Law School Graduates Still Lost?

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: Riot-Plagued Baltimore’s Catastrophe Is Entirely Of The Democratic Party’s Own Making.

A few weeks ago, there was an election in Ferguson, Mo., the result of which was to treble the number of African Americans on that unhappy suburb’s city council. This was greeted in some corners with optimism — now, at last, the city’s black residents would have a chance to see to securing their own interests. This optimism flies in the face of evidence near — St. Louis — and far — Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco . . .

St. Louis has not had a Republican mayor since the 1940s, and in its most recent elections for the board of aldermen there was no Republican in the majority of the contests; the city is overwhelmingly Democratic, effectively a single-party political monopoly from its schools to its police department. Baltimore has seen two Republicans sit in the mayor’s office since the 1920s — and none since the 1960s. Like St. Louis, it is effectively a single-party political monopoly from its schools to its police department. Philadelphia has not elected a Republican mayor since 1948. The last Republican to be elected mayor of Detroit was congratulated on his victory by President Eisenhower. Atlanta, a city so corrupt that its public schools are organized as a criminal conspiracy against its children, last had a Republican mayor in the 19th century. Its municipal elections are officially nonpartisan, but the last Republican to run in Atlanta’s 13th congressional district did not manage to secure even 30 percent of the vote; Atlanta is effectively a single-party political monopoly from its schools to its police department.

American cities are by and large Democratic-party monopolies, monopolies generally dominated by the so-called progressive wing of the party. The results have been catastrophic, and not only in poor black cities such as Baltimore and Detroit. Money can paper over some of the defects of progressivism in rich, white cities such as Portland and San Francisco, but those are pretty awful places to be non-white and non-rich, too: Blacks make up barely 9 percent of the population in San Francisco, but they represent 40 percent of those arrested for murder, and they are arrested for drug offenses at ten times their share of the population. Criminals make their own choices, sure, but you want to take a look at the racial disparity in educational outcomes and tell me that those low-income nine-year-olds in Wisconsin just need to buck up and bootstrap it? Black urban communities face institutional failure across the board every day. There are people who should be made to answer for that: What has Martin O’Malley to say for himself? What can Ed Rendell say for himself other than that he secured a great deal of investment for the richest square mile in Philadelphia? What has Nancy Pelosi done about the radical racial divide in San Francisco?

Why, blamed Republicans, of course. Plus: “Yes, Baltimore seems to have some police problems. But let us be clear about whose fecklessness and dishonesty we are talking about here: No Republican, and certainly no conservative, has left so much as a thumbprint on the public institutions of Baltimore in a generation. Baltimore’s police department is, like Detroit’s economy and Atlanta’s schools, the product of the progressive wing of the Democratic party enabled in no small part by black identity politics. This is entirely a left-wing project, and a Democratic-party project.”

Ruin follows them wherever they go — but hey, so do splendid opportunities for graft, so what do they care?

FLASHBACK: Haddock And Polsby On How Riots Occur.

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AYAAN HIRSI ALI: Islam ‘not a religion of peace,’ but could become one.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken critic of Islam, said Friday that the religion she once belonged to was not peaceful, and any politicians that claimed otherwise were not to be trusted.

Hirsi Ali made the remarks at the National Review Institute’s Idea Summit in Washington, D.C.

“Islam is not a religion of peace,” Hirsi Ali said, “but it can become a religion of peace.”

She went on to separate Muslims into three categories: jihadists, a moderate majority and reformers. Hirsi Ali said she had been a member of each group at some point in her life, and that “if there was an Islamic State when I was 15, 16, I probably would have joined it.”

She claimed that Islam is not peaceful, yet she described the majority of Muslims as observers who aren’t radical and who are being pulled in two directions — either by the jihadists or the reformers (also called “heretics,” according to Hirsi Ali).

But her speech on Friday was actually somewhat subdued from her usual style. Last November Hirsi Ali described modern feminism as being too focused on “trivial bull—-.” This time, however, she avoided such inflammatory remarks.

To be fair, Western feminists have been making that point for her ever since.

PROGRESS: University of North Carolina Votes to Remove Controversial Anti-Harassment Rule.

Earlier this week, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Faculty Council voted to eliminate a university anti-harassment rule that’s been suspended since 2013. UNC’s Student Congress has also approved the change to this speech-restrictive policy, meaning that only UNC Chancellor Carol Folt is left to approve it. UNC law professor Richard Myers, a former federal prosecutor and outgoing chairman of the university’s Committee on Student Conduct, told the Faculty Council the rule was “unconstitutionally overbroad” and had been a source of tension for professors and student groups for a number of years.

As we previously reported, former UNC chancellor Holden Thorp suspended the rule in 2013—which prohibits “disruptive or intimidating behavior that willfully abuses, disparages or otherwise interferes” with another individual. The suspension came after student Landen Gambill was charged with violating the policy for publicly criticizing the university’s handling of her allegations of sexual assault against a fellow student.

FIRE gives this policy a “yellow light” rating in our Spotlight database, meaning the policy could be used to ban or excessively regulate speech protected by the First Amendment. As Professor Myers correctly stated, this rule is unconstitutionally overbroad because it is too subjective and can conceivably be applied to cover a wide range of speech.

FIRE is happy to see the necessary changes occurring at UNC in order to protect the First Amendment rights of all students. UNC should be proud of tackling this unconstitutional code and removing it from its Code of Conduct. If the Chancellor approves this change, the university will be in line for FIRE’s highest, “green light” rating. We very much hope to add UNC to our green light list, just as we did George Mason University recently!

I’d like to see college guides report on each school’s FIRE rating.

THE SECRET OF WHITE PRIVILEGE IS IGNORING ALL THAT CRAP: ‘Students of Color’ Group at Marquette Demands ‘White Privilege’ Classes. Marquette is really a mess these days, isn’t it? What the hell happened?

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Why men won’t marry you.

THAT KEEPS HAPPENING: Another Attack On Scott Walker Boomerangs.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Texas Tech Dean of Students: Due Process has a “Chilling Effect” on Justice at College.

Amy Murphy, the dean of students at Texas Tech, believes that giving students of her college the rights that they have access to has a “chilling effect” on people’s ability to accuse others of assault.

Murphy told Texas Tech’s college paper that, as a part of the Student Code of Conduct, students at the university do not have the right to confront their accuser. More than that, they cannot have a representative ask questions of the accuser at all, and cross-examination is simply not allowed.

According to Murphy, this process is a “learning experience” that “will be conducted in the least adversarial way possible.”

During Texas Tech hearings about alleged crimes, “students are not able to cross-examine witnesses, nor are the students’ advisers.”

“If cross-examination were to be allowed,” Murphy told the paper, “it would create a chilling effect for future possible reports.”

“We already have the information,” she explained.

Amy, you’re coming across kinda creepy here.

May 1, 2015

DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH: Arrested Baltimore Cops: Three Black, 3 White, One Woman. Well, that’ll let the air out of one major narrative, though I’m sure this is explainable by privilege-osmosis or something.

UPDATE: Yep! “And there is no debate that tragically, black police officers often absorb the attitudes of their colleagues.” It’s from Salon’s Joan Walsh, natch.

SO IT’S TERRIBLE TO SHAME WOMEN FOR NOT BEING “BEACH-READY,” but it’s fine to mock men for having “Dadbods.” Because equality!

WHEN HIPSTER FETISHES COLLIDE: Tattoos Might Be Causing Apple Watches to Malfunction.

WELL, GOOD: Western Hemisphere Wipes Out Its Third Virus: Rubella. “The Americas have led the way when it comes to eradicating diseases. It was the first region in the world to eradicate smallpox in 1971 and then polio in 1994. And the PAHO already has its sights on another target. ‘With rubella under our belt, now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and finish the job of eliminating measles as well,’ Etienne said.”

CHEATERS GONNA CHEAT:  Britain has informed a U.N. sanctions panel that Iran is attempting to procure illicit nuclear materials.  But hey, I’m sure they won’t cheat on us.

NEWS YOU CAN USE:  22 weird facts about animal sex.  If there’s reincarnation, I think I’d like to come back as a Bonobo.  Or maybe a whale.

OH, GOODY: In US First, Dog Infects People With the Plague.

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SCIENCE: Why Do Some People Get Fitter Than Others?

Studies indicate, unsurprisingly, that genetics must be involved, since a particularly high or low response to exercise tends to run in families. But less has been known about which genes might be involved, and how those genes actually increase or blunt the body’s response.

Now a new study in rats adds to a growing body of data about how and why bodies respond so differently to exercise. In the study, rats with a particular set of genes responded robustly to exercise, becoming much more fit after a few weeks of running, while rats born with other genes gained little cardiovascular benefit from the same exercise program, apparently because their heart muscles didn’t react as expected.

The results raise questions about whether people who remain stubbornly unfit, no matter how diligently they work out, might want to rethink their exercise routines.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say yes.

NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SCIENCE: Men, Women Want Sex at Opposite Times of Day.

AN IDEA SO CRAZY IT JUST MIGHT WORK: Irate Congressman gives cops easy rule: “just follow the damn Constitution.”

6 BALTIMORE PD OFFICERS CHARGED WITH FREDDIE GRAY HOMICIDE:  Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that Freddie Gray’s death was a homicide, and has filed second-degree murder and manslaughter charges against the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest and transportation.  Gray’s spinal and neck injuries are consistent with those of being involved in an automobile accident, and Gray was not belted during his transfer in the police van.  The van driver, officer Caesar Goodson, has been charged with second-degree murder on theory that he intentionally failed to secure Gray and then gave him a “rough ride” to throw Gray against the van’s walls.  All other officers have been charged with manslaughter for neglecting to provide medical attention to Mr. Gray.

The Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police has written a letter to Ms. Mosby, asking her to step aside and appoint an independent prosecutor, based on her conflicts of interest with Gray family attorney William Murphy, prosecutor’s connections with local media (who are likely to be witnesses in the case), and Ms. Mosby’s husband’s role as Baltimore City Councilman.

Strangely, in all of the media reports I’ve read thus far, I still cannot ascertain the race of any of the six officers charged.  I assume someone will report on this soon, though.  It would be interesting to know.

I THINK IT’S ALREADY SAFER THAN A CAB, SINCE THERE’S A RECORD OF WHO PICKED YOU UP AND WHERE THEY TOOK YOU: Uber’s New Panic Button Beams Real-Time Alerts to Police.

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I WANT TO BELIEVE: New Test Suggests NASA’s “Impossible” EM Drive Will Work In Space.

If this actually works as suggested — still doubtful, but growing less so — it’ll dwarf everything else that’s happened this year in importance.

IT MIGHT NEED TO BE BIGGER: Here’s the Entire U.S. Navy Fleet in One Chart.

WELL, THAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH SOMETHING YOU CAN STRAP ON YOUR WRIST: Small Display Bedevils Some Apple Watch Apps.

SCIENCE MARCHES ON: FDA OKs Shot to Zap Your Double Chin. It’s just a fat-dissolver, though, and won’t do anything for simple sagging.

But before you rush out to try this, how about giving the Gary Taubes / Mark Rippetoe approach a try?

CLUSTER HIRING, BECAUSE DIVERSITY!:   When I read this report, paid for with over $3.4 million of your tax dollars, another word commonly paired with “cluster” came to mind.  The report, “Faculty Cluster Hiring for Diversity and Institutional Climate,” was produced by a coalition of urban universities and the Association of American Medical Colleges with an NIH grant.  The report is a cheerleading exercise for “cluster” hiring of minority faculty:

A successful institutional climate is inclusive, collaborative, and engaged, and enables faculty, staff, and students from all backgrounds to thrive. Hiring a diverse faculty body is the first step toward attaining a desirable climate, but it is not the end goal. Universities must also adapt existing policies and programs to achieve the full benefits of diversity. . . .
Over the past 15 years, a number of institutions have piloted faculty cluster hiring programs and these efforts are now beginning to bear fruit. This study aims to identify how institutions have implemented faculty cluster hiring programs, factors for success, unintended consequences, and the programs’ impact on diversity and climate outcomes. The findings demonstrate the potential of this practice to improve faculty diversity and institutional climate . . . .

Yeah, right–they really want to foster an “inclusive” and “desirable” climate in universities, unless the faculty is conservative, in which case they will never be hired in the first place, much less “thrive.”  Just ask Teresa Wagner.

But of course the goal of “diversity” isn’t really diversity of thought and views (which one might foolishly think is important in higher education), but the antithesis of that–namely, hiring a “critical mass” of racial minorities, which liberals/progressives, in their infinite wisdom, believe will spout liberal/progressive views in the classroom.  It’s a horrible stereotype of racial minorities, of course, but liberals/progressives believe it with all their hearts, and it’s enforced mercilessly by attacking minorities who refuse to abide by it.  Just ask Clarence Thomas, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), Dr. Ben Carson, Allen West, or Condoleezza Rice, or U.S. Rep. Nia Love (R-UT).   Because #diversity!

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Soon You’ll Be Able to 3D Print Chuck Yeager’s Supersonic X-1. I’ll be more excited, though, when you can print a full-scale working B-29.

INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE: IRS Seizes $107,000 From Innocent Small Business, Despite Recent Policy Changes.

A SERIOUS DIVERSITY PROBLEM AT HARVARD LAW: 98% of Harvard Law Faculty Political Donations Go to Democrats.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 722.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Power couple linked to Madeleine Albright accused of fraud.

A GOOD IDEA.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 1.08.01 PM

MEGAN MCARDLE: Riots Just Don’t Work:

You should be outraged. But you can be outraged, as I am, and still oppose the riots, as I do. The voices that try to rationalize the violence are presenting a dangerous false choice. They say that this was simply the inevitable result of monumental injustice, so let’s stop talking about the riots and start talking about the injustice. We should always talk about injustice, and strive to end it. The mass incarceration state, the erosion of Fourth Amendment rights and the vast excesses of the drug war are perhaps the most important moral crisis facing our nation. But we have to talk about the riots too, because they represent another urgent moral crisis.

Rioting is not simply a battle of opportunity between oppressor and oppressed. Saying that riots are the inevitable product of oppression turns out to be saying too much and too little: Oppression does not usually lead to rioting, and when rioting does happen, oppression is not always its target. Sports fans riot — sometimes after a win, sometimes after a loss. Economically oppressed blacks have rioted against the white power structure; so have whites, against their city’s black population. Some things, like ethnic diversity, seem to increase the chance of riots, but the link to inequality and poverty is much less clear than you’d think. Economically disadvantaged people and students seem much more prone to rioting, but that may be because those people have much less to lose from an arrest than middle-class people do.

Of course, rioting can fall on the continuum from flat-out immoral to justified. I certainly sympathize with the grievances of the people who rioted following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. more than I do with soccer hooligans or Tulsa lynch mobs. But regardless of justification, rioting is incredibly destructive, mostly in the neighborhoods where the rioters live. In my own city, Washington, D.C., the major retail corridors that were destroyed in the 1968 riots have only really begun to recover in the last five years (and one of them still hasn’t). Who suffered because of that? The store owners, obviously, and their insurers. But the people who suffered most grievously were the mostly black people who lived in those neighborhoods.

The question to ask isn’t who suffered from the riots. It’s who benefited.

HOUSE NDAA REAUTHORIZATION ENCOURAGES DOD TO HIRE ILLEGALS IN U.S. MILITARY:  The House Armed Services Committee on Thursday passed the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including an amendment offered by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) that explicitly encourages the Secretary of Defense to hire illegal aliens granted amnesty by President Obama’s unilateral executive orders.

On Congressman Gallego’s website, he explains the purpose of his amendment as follows:

Our military needs the best soldiers, marines and airmen it can get.

We shouldn’t let our broken immigration system stand in the way of our military’s recruitment goals.

By statute, the Secretary can authorize the enlistment of non-citizens when it is “vital to the national interest.”  And enabling the best and brightest in our nation to serve in uniform, including DREAMers, is clearly “vital to the national interest.” 

Gallego’s amendment squeaked by on a 33-30 vote, with the support of 3 Republicans.  (The Committee has 36 Republicans and 27 Democrats).  The 3 Republican “yes” votes came from:  Frank LoBiodo (R-NJ); Mike Coffman (R-CO); and Chris Gibson (R-NY). 

But Gallego’s Armed Services Committee colleague Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), issued a press release Thursday slamming the amendment:

“It makes no sense to me that, at the same time the Army is downsizing and issuing pink slips to American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, there are Congressmen who help illegal aliens deprive American citizens of military service opportunities.

“It’s appalling that some members of the Republican conference, and frankly all members of the Democratic conference, place illegal immigrants on pedestals over American citizens, contrary to the needs andwishes of the American people.

“Illegal aliens are already taking jobs from and suppressing the wages of struggling American families in the private job market.  Now Democrats and wayward Republicans are similarly and actively undermining Americans’ opportunities to serve in the military.

“It is no wonder that, in the face of such economic hostility emanating from Washington, America’s youth are too often despondent and all-to-willing to express their dissatisfaction via arson, assaults, riots, and other forms of criminal conduct.”

Rep Brooks is right, and the his fellow Republicans– Reps. Coffman, LoBiondo and Gibson–ought to be ashamed.  The Democrats have been trying to get this language approved for years.  It is more than ironic that this language gets approved in a Republican-controlled committee, now that the Republicans have retaken control of Congress, in no small part because of Americans’ opposition to the President’s unconstitutional executive orders on immigration.

If you live in Rep. Coffman, LoBiondo or Gibson’s districts and oppose the Gallego amendment, give them a call:

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO):  202.225.7882

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ):  (202) 225-6572

Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY):  (202) 225-5614

For national security reasons, the U.S. military should be restricted to U.S. citizens, and the invocation of this “vital national interest” must be rarely, if ever, invoked.  And I hardly think that, in an era of Obama-ordered military troop reductions and even pay cuts, there is any “vital national interest” that would require hiring illegal immigrants, no matter how sincere their desire to serve our country.  They can serve our country in other, honorable ways, such as working hard, paying taxes, going to school and being good, law-abiding neighbors.

TAKE NOTE: Ta-Nehisi Coates: Nonviolence As Compliance. “When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is ‘correct’ or ‘wise,’ any more than a forest fire can be ‘correct’ or ‘wise.’ Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.”

There are a lot of people in this country who feel disrespected, and who are increasingly seeing the law as “hollow” and the current social order as “failed,” and most of them don’t live in poor black neighborhoods. What “forest fire” might result from that, and has Coates — or The Atlantic — given this any thought at all? Because some of us have.

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WASHINGTON POST: Findings indicate Gray got head injuries in van. “Investigators believe Freddie Gray suffered serious head injuries while he was in a police transport van, although they have not concluded how the injuries occurred, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation. One wound occurred when Gray struck his head on a bolt that jutted out in the van, the official said, but that was not Gray’s only head injury. And the injuries overall are consistent with what medical examiners often see in car collisions, the official said.”

TRIGGER WARNING:  MICROAGGRESSION AHEAD!:  So apparently liberals/progressives now need trigger warnings when other liberals/progressives try to educate the rest of us about our #whiteprivilege.   The Asian American Students’ Association at Brandeis University was–get this–forced to apologize for a display of common microaggressions directed at Asian Americans.  The display was so disturbing to the delicate flowers on campus that they were forced to apologize:

[W]e would like to acknowledge and apologize to the Asian students on campus who were triggered or hurt by the content of the microaggressions in our installation. We understand and empathize with the effects that this installation could have without the context of the explanation provided on our Tumblr. As a response to student concerns, we installed a condensed physical explanation of our mission statement today at the Rabb steps. We want to reinforce that this installation is a commentary on how these insults build up together to create a campus environment that does not welcome Asian students.

As Asian students, we had no intention of mocking or harming our own community and ourselves. We acknowledge the disconnect between intention and effect.

This is deliciously ironic:  In their attempt to educate the world about how to avoid offending their hyper-sensitive feelings, liberals/progressives are offending hyper-sensitive liberals/progressives.  Classic, entertaining idiocy–like a dog chasing its own tail.

Brandeis, btw, is a $60,000+ per year college, and a bastion of progressive thinking, best known for a “tolerant” and “open-minded” environment in which students and faculty successfully convinced the school’s administration to revoke its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an advocate for women and girls’ rights, to give a commencement speech, on grounds that she is “Islamophobic.”

Spoiled, intolerant, ignorant brats.

FLAWED, DELIBERATELY DISHONEST, WHATEVER: Ashe Schow: How flawed statistics create policies that ruin lives.

The headline could easily apply to any number of government policies, but I am (predictably, perhaps) going to use it to discuss campus sexual assault.

The doom-sayers began with the statistic that 1 in 5 college women will be sexually assaulted to get their foot in the door. They screamed from the mountaintop that any woman in college will probably be raped any day now. Not in India, not in Iran, not in South Africa, but here. In America. On campus.

Using that false statistic (most are at least intelligent enough now to stop using it), activists began a crusade to right the injustices of the past (and potentially present) by swinging the pendulum to the other side. This, not surprisingly, has created a new problem of male students losing their due process rights and being treated as guilty until proven innocent.

But 1-in-5 isn’t the only statistic being used to create these new policies. Now that the issue is consistently in the news, other statistics with equally dubious origins are cropping up.

One is that only 2 percent of rape accusations are false. This factoid traces back to a single source (Susan Brownmiller’s 1975 book Against Our Will), which in turn cites a police officer talking about a study that no one has been able to find. But from this dubious claim springs the dogma that one must therefore believe all rape-accusers to be true victims.

Couple the notion that all accusers must be believed to another statistic — that relatively few men commit the majority of sexual assaults — and the prevailing logic becomes that anyone accused of sexual assault must immediately be treated as a serial rapist, because they likely are or will be.

It’s as if the whole thing has more to do with sexist hatred and will to power than with any concerns about justice.

JEB BUSH DEFIANT ON IMMIGRATION: “I’m right about this.” “A feisty Jeb Bush gave a full-throated defense of his immigration stance in front of a Washington audience on Thursday, laying out the economic case that reforms he champions could return the nation to prosperity. Bush took a swipe at Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a likely opponent against Bush for the Republican presidential nomination next year, for saying that he favors limiting legal immigration to the U.S. as a means of preserving jobs in the nation for current citizens.”

You can’t complain about stagnant wages and hype increased immigration at the same time. Well, you can, but . . . .

DAVID POST: Barry Bonds, Baseball, And Prosecutorial BS.

MOST VOCAL OPPONENTS OF OBAMA’S TRADE PACT? Fellow Democrats. I have to say, I’m with Elizabeth Warren on this one. I don’t want to pass the deal to find out what’s in it.

A LOOK AT America’s Mid-Sized Metropolitan Areas.

The United States has 53 mid-sized metropolitan areas, with populations from 500,000 to 1 million. These metropolitan areas together had a population of nearly 38 million in 2014, according to the most recent Census Bureau population estimates (Table). In number, they match the 53 major metropolitan areas (over 1 million population), though they have only one fifth of the population (178 million). The mid-sized metropolitan areas are growing somewhat slower than the major metropolitan areas, at an annual rate of 0.81% between 2010 and 2014, compared to 1.00% in the major metropolitan areas. Combined, the major metropolitan areas and the mid-sized metropolitan areas have two-thirds of the US population.

But I suspect there are pretty big differences between “major” and “mid-sized.” At least, Knoxville is #12 on the “mid-sized” list, and it’s not much like New York.

April 30, 2015

SOME PEOPLE ARE COMPLAINING, BUT the Insta-Wife has found her Mother Of The Year. “This is a woman who has had enough of her kid acting like an idiot and putting himself in a very bad, and possibly dangerous situation. This mother let her son know that she did not approve of what he was doing and when he tried to walk away, she let him know that he had better listen to her. . . . But to compare an uncontrolled act of parenting to the justified anger that this Baltimore mom had in this dangerous and outrageous situation is wrong. To call it poor parenting is to misunderstand the difference between good parenting and feelings of guilt for lacking control. This mother was in control and she was teaching her son that his behavior warranted a strong response. I say a smack on the head here was the least of this teen’s problems. If in the end, he resents his mother for it, so what? Better that than end up in jail or dead because his mother was too concerned about appearing controlled.”

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BECAUSE IT’S ALL HE KNOWS HOW TO DO:  Obama says he wants to return to community organizing after his presidency ends. And it can’t end soon enough.  Too bad we can’t just buy out his contract or something.

WELL, THAT’S CERTAINLY NOT AUSPICIOUS: Creator of ‘The Wire’ Blames Martin O’Malley for Riots. I wonder how Hillary got to him. . . .?

FLIP OR FLOP: Hillary Clinton 1994: Lock Up Offenders Forever, Build More Prisons.

ED DRISCOLL: Mary Whitehouse Finally Triumphs: “Swinging London” a half century in the rearview mirror, England’s feminist left finally goes full reactionary. “The sexy girl atop this post really is necessary to the plot — honest.”

DEFENSE SECRETARY ASHTON CARTER: More Men Than Women Victims Of Sexual Assault In Military.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Brookings: Ranking Colleges By Value Added.