IS ANYBODY SURPRISED? The Israel Defense Forces has just appointed a special team to plan a military strike against Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities. Promising to “snap back” sanctions if Iran cheats is likely an empty threat, but Israel’s margin of error is zero.
June 30, 2015
After much soul-searching, I am filing a civil-rights lawsuit on Wednesday against Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. I fear his retaliation, given what I know of his methods, but the Chisholm campaign against me that began at dawn on Sept. 14, 2011, requires a legal response to discourage the prosecutor’s continued abuse of his office.
Some background: Mr. Chisholm launched his first round of investigations into the affairs of Scott Walker in May 2010, when he was serving as Milwaukee county executive and Mr. Walker’s office reported the disappearance of some charitable funds. Rather than seek out the perpetrator—whom Mr. Walker’s office had also identified—the district attorney’s crew turned its attention to Mr. Walker and his staff.
The investigation grew in size, scope and intensity as Mr. Walker rose in Wisconsin politics, eventually winning election as governor in 2011, reforming public-employee union laws and prevailing in recall elections. By that time, the investigation by Mr. Chisholm, a Democrat, had moved well beyond the matter of the missing funds, citing a grab bag of potential offenses as justification to vacuum up the internal communications of Mr. Walker’s aides, apparently for anything that could be used against the Republican governor.
I was a close adviser to Scott Walker in the county executive’s office and then in the statehouse, but it never occurred to me that my own happiness would be collateral damage in a political vendetta.
Nothing could have prepared me for waking up to the shouts of men with battering rams announcing that they were about to break down my door on that morning in 2011. It was so unexpected and frightening that I ran down from my bedroom without clothes on. Panicked by the threatened show of force, I was then humiliated as officers outside the window yelled at me to get dressed and open up. I quickly retrieved clothing and dressed as I unlocked the door.
Agents with weapons drawn swarmed through every part of the house. They barged into the bathroom where my partner was showering. I was told to shut up and sit down. The officers rummaged through drawers, cabinets and closets. Their aggressive assault on my home seemed more appropriate for a dangerous criminal, not a longtime public servant with no criminal history.
After they left, I surveyed the damage. Drawers and closets had been ransacked. My deceased mother’s belongings were strewn across the floor. Neighbors gathered in small clusters at the end of their driveways and the press arrived in force.
What had prompted the raid? My guess: As an adviser to Gov. Walker, I had played a lead role in drafting and implementing public-employee labor reforms that would propel him to the national stage.
This was a serious abuse of power for the most craven of political reasons. John Chisholm and his minions should end up broke, unemployable, and possibly in jail. As an example to the others.
SO I’M BACK. I was supposed to get back Monday evening, but my Delta jet returned from the runway on Grand Cayman with a bad flight computer. They couldn’t fix it, and I wound up spending an extra night on Cayman. Which wasn’t as good as it sounds because I spent a lot of time waiting in lines or in airport lounges. They flew us out Tuesday morning, and I was supposed to have a confirmed seat on the 3:15 flight for Knoxville, but when I got to Atlanta that confirmed seat had mysteriously become a standby seat on an oversold plane. Wound up renting a car and driving home, rather than risk taking a much later flight and, possibly, being stuck overnight in Atlanta. Thanks to the folks at the Holiday Inn Resort Grand Cayman, who put up about 200 stranded passengers on short notice and were quite hospitable. This wasn’t exactly Delta’s fault — you can’t fly with a bad flight computer — but I did feel that they ran us through too many unnecessary hoops and lines. (They bused us to the airport Tuesday at 5 am, but there was nobody at their ticket counter until 6:15, costing us about 200 hours of unnecessarily lost sleep in total. . . ) I found the counter people in Atlanta pretty much useless, but Delta Assist on Twitter helped me out by canceling my Atlanta-Knoxville leg and refunding that portion, which covered the rental car — a very reasonably priced ($122) Audi A4 from Sixt.
This is my second overnight stranding in a month, though, which makes me feel less cheerful about flying in general. Anyway, I’m tanned, rested, and ready. Thanks to my guestbloggers for doing an excellent job while I spent some much-needed time offline (and this seems like it was a good week to miss), and for helping out an additional day while I was stranded. I honestly think the blog’s better when they’re around, so after this bravura performance, I’ve invited them to drop by and put up a post whenever the mood strikes.
OBAMA: “IT’S BEEN A GOOD FEW DAYS FOR AMERICA“: President Obama takes to the Huffington Post to praise the Supreme Court for rewriting the laws and our Constitution, and to push his new agenda for higher wages:
This week, I’ll head to Wisconsin to discuss my plan to extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million workers in 2016, covering all salaried workers making up to about $50,400 next year. That’s good for workers who want fair pay, and it’s good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve — since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren’t.
That’s how America should do business. In this country, a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. That’s at the heart of what it means to be middle class in America.
Notice that the President does not articulate any arguments for growing the economy or ensuring that anyone has a job to begin with. It’s all so very European of him– high wages, high unemployment, high government unemployment benefits. How depressing.
THEY DIDN’T JUST TWEET A PHOTO: As Ed Driscoll reports below, when TSA flack Lisa Farbstein tweeted a photo of the contents of a passenger’s luggage–$75,000 in cash–with a snarky comment, the gratuitous invasion of privacy generated quite a bit of public backlash. But the story gets worse. The TSA took a photo, but other federal agents took the money. Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post‘s Wonkblog reports:
In this case, the cash was seized by a federal agency, most likely the Drug Enforcement Agency, according to Richmond airport spokesman Troy Bell. “I don’t believe the person was issued a summons or a citation,” he said. “The traveler was allowed to continue on his way.”
No charges. No citation. No due process. Just perfectly legal theft.
JIMMY CARTER WORKS ON HIS LEGACY OF “NO LONGER WORST PRESIDENT”: Jimmy Carter: Obama’s Foreign Policy Accomplishments ‘Minimal’.
NOT A DREAM. AN ILLUSION BORN OF THE MIASMAS OF WWI: Europe’s dream is dying in Greece. Perhaps a warning too. These super-states controlling everything in the lands under their sway are never a good idea.
WORKER’S PARADISE. Cuba has ice cream. They have a chronic shortage of ice cream, but they do have some ice cream.
A couple of non-gullible journalists went down there with a video camera and recorded the state-run ice cream parlor. The line on a Sunday was two hours long. Only one flavor—strawberry—was available. It costs a little more than two dollars for a scoop. That’s more than ten percent of Cuba’s state-imposed Maximum Wage of twenty dollars a month. Such is life when the dictator insists on “socialism or death.”
OBAMA’S ‘BEST WEEK EVER’ AND THE COMING BACKLASH, from Noah Rothman at Commentary:
If history is any guide, change is coming. Dispirited conservatives will balk at the notion that Republicans can serve as change agents, but the out-party is the most frequent beneficiary of this voter sentiment. For progressives, the irrefutable moral justification of their cause renders any setback to its agenda a deviation from the norm, but this is self-flattery. American political history and the inherent dynamics of republican politics suggests that voters will soon correct for the excesses of the progressive left that it once empowered. When it happens, it will probably come as a shock to all those progressives who are forever citing the long march of history to justify their peculiar policy preferences.
It’s entirely possible that the GOP could win the White House in 2016, but as far as the long march of history, while elements of the New Deal and the Great Society have been updated over the years (such as welfare reform), how much of Big Government has actually ever been rolled back? Yesterday’s Fox Butterfield-esque original New York Times headline on the Greek fiscal debacle, “Trillions Spent, but Crises Like Greece’s Persist,” could apply equally well to own bloated socialist leviathan.
CLAUDIA ROSETT ON NUCLEAR GROUNDHOG DAY: Today, You’ll Hear That State Dept. Needs ‘More Time’ To Finish Iran Nuke Deal They Can’t Possibly Enforce.
What could go wrong?
TWITCHY: THIS SCHOOLING OF GUN-GRABBING IDJIT STEPHEN KING BY DANA LOESCH, OTHERS WILL CRACK YOU UP: “What’s a ‘30-shot clip?’” “Also, clips and mags are two different things, natch. Unrelated: You made me hate clowns.”
Just a reminder: You can catch Dana Loesch speaking at Bullets & Bourbon in December in the Dallas area.
THEY REALLY, REALLY SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO THATCHER: The Greek Crisis: Too Little Democracy, Too Much Bureaucracy.
THOMAS SOWELL: Supreme Court disasters.
Many people are looking at the recent Supreme Court decisions about ObamaCare and same-sex marriage in terms of whether they think these are good or bad policies. That is certainly a legitimate concern, for both those who favor those policies and those who oppose them.
But there is a deeper and more long-lasting impact of these decisions that raise the question whether we are still living in America, where “we the people” are supposed to decide what kind of society we want, not have our betters impose their notions on us. . . .
When any branch of government can exercise powers not authorized by either statutes or the Constitution, “we the people” are no longer free citizens but subjects, and our “public servants” are really our public masters. And America is no longer America. The freedom for which whole generations of Americans have fought and died is gradually but increasingly being taken away from us with smooth and slippery words.
This decision makes next year’s choice of the next President of the United States more crucial than ever, because with that office goes the power to nominate justices of the Supreme Court. Democrats have consistently nominated people who shared their social vision and imposed their policy preferences, too often in disregard of the Constitution.
Republicans have complained about it but, when the power of judicial appointment was in the hands of Republican presidents, they have too often appointed justices who participated in the dismantling of the Constitution — and usually for the kinds of social policies preferred by Democrats. . . .
Can the Republicans — or the country — afford to put another mushy moderate in the White House, who can appoint more mushy moderates to the Supreme Court?
Most emphatically, no.
PROFESSOR: WHITE PEOPLE ARE CONDITIONED TO COMMIT MASS MURDER LIKE IN CHARLESTON: “Zandria Robinson still has a job at the taxpayer-funded University of Memphis.”
UPDATE: Well, not anymore, apparently; Katherine Timpf amends her article to note, “A University of Memphis spokesperson told National Review that Robinson was no longer working at the school, but refused to give further details – promising to release a statement on the issue soon. In the meantime, the school has posted the following on its Twitter account:”
Zandria Robinson is no longer employed by the University of Memphis.
— UofMemphis (@uofmemphis) June 30, 2015
HOWARD KURTZ: GOLLY, THE MEDIA HAVE TURNED INTO AN INTOLERANT MOB LATELY: Alternate headline of this post by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: Kurtz finally discovers that media bias is real — nearly 20 years, as Ed writes, after then-CBS insider Bernard Goldberg first openly discussed its existence in a Wall Street Journal column.
WINNER TAKE WHAT? “Ever wonder why no interesting center-left Democrats aren’t challenging an increasingly vulnerable Hillary Clinton? There aren’t any. Nobody. No one,” Noemie Emery writes in the Washington Examiner:
For several cycles, the GOP starting gates will be filled with fresh horses, while the Democrats have, at least for the moment, a collection of aging and battle-worn nags.
Ever wonder why no interesting center-left Democrats aren’t challenging an increasingly vulnerable Hillary Clinton? There aren’t any. Nobody. No one.
As Britain and France were bled white by their World War I battles, the Democrats were drained by a series of midterm debacles in which those in swing states were punished by voters, and all but the bluest of blue were cut down. On the altar of healthcare, Democrats sacrificed the fruit of two cycles of party-expansion, the picking of people who could win in red states and red districts, to bolster the party’s breadth and appeal.
Now, these Democrats were told by liberal bloggers that it was their duty to lay down their political lives for this unpopular measure that most of their voters despised. As a result, Clinton’s most viable challengers are a 75-year-old socialist from deep-blue Vermont, and the colorless former governor of very blue Maryland, who was so weak he could not help to elect his lieutenant governor, who lost to only the second Republican governor in a very long time. The Democrats’ bench is not merely weak, it is non-existent. And that is Obamacare’s work.
As Moe Lane adds in his post linking to Emery’s column, “I suspect that we have at least one last hurrah lurking down there in the crevices of the Grand Old Party, and that the folks over on the Other Side are telling themselves the exact same damned stories to boost their morale that I was telling myself in 2007. And we all know how that ended, huh?”
Still though, to borrow from one of the Insta-Professor’s recurring leitmotifs, this is not the time for the younger members of the right to embrace an overly arrogant or smugly self-assured pose.
“REPORTER MISREPORTED NOBEL SCIENTIST TIM HUNT’S WORDS TO SMEAR HIM AND GET A #SOCIALATTENTIONWHORING STORY GOING,” Ace of Spades writes:
Unbelievable. According to a third-party EU official, and Sir Tim Hunt himself, she took words out the context, and concealed the fact that Hunt’s remarks were jokes at his own expense.
The Guardian has now heavily re-edited this Social Attention Whore’s story to make it less defamatory — but the Guardian doesn’t alert you to that, contrary to its own claimed rules.
Hunt has now resigned from his important work in cancer research. And this Social Attention Whore got her scalp.
New revelations about the speech and the context of the joke have surfaced. An account of a European Commission Official who took detailed minutes of the event adds key information absent from the original report:
According to the new account, Sir Tim started with: “It’s strange that such a chauvinist monster like me has been asked to speak to women scientists” which makes clear he mocking sexism, rather than indulging in it. St. Louis reported this as Hunt simply admitting: “he has a reputation as a male chauvinist.”Immediately after the now infamous joke, according to the new evidence, he proceeded to make several very pro gender equality remarks, including: “Now seriously… Science needs women and you should do science despite all the obstacles, and despite monsters like me,” which was similarly disregarded in St. Louis’s twitter report.
Hunt has already protested that he added, “now seriously” to indicate the joke was over.
The Daily Mail is now vetting this #SocialAttentionWarrior, Connie St. Louis, and finding lots of troubling facts.
Troubled by Sir Tim’s fate, a collection of eminent scientists, including eight other Nobel Prize winners (and several senior female academics) chose to speak out publicly in support of him. Many professed outrage that, in the echo-chamber of social media, a single careless remark, just 37 words long, could apparently derail the career of a pioneering scientist.
Hey, these days all it takes for a SJW to derail a leading scientist’s career is his wearing the wrong shirt. Read the whole thing, and then follow the link to the London Daily Mail article — a publication that St. Louis claimed to have written for, and yet according to the author of the above piece, the newspaper can find no evidence of her contributions in their archives or accounts payable department.
CRUZ REMINDS YAHOO VIDEO BLOGGER KATIE COURIC THAT HILLARY CREATED ANTI-OBAMA BIRTHER MOVEMENT: “The look on Couric’s smug face when he correctly reminded her that it was the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008 that birthed the anti-Obama Birther movement, is priceless.”
“WHAT CHUMPS!” wrote Chief Justice Roberts, dissenting in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.
Just over a century ago, Arizona became the second State in the Union to ratify the Seventeenth Amendment. That Amendment transferred power to choose United States Senators from “the Legislature” of each State, Art. I, §3, to “the people thereof.” The Amendment resulted from an arduous, decades-long campaign in which reformers across the country worked hard to garner approval from Congress and three-quarters of the States.
What chumps! Didn’t they realize that all they had to do was interpret the constitutional term “the Legislature” to mean “the people”? The Court today performs just such a magic trick with the Elections Clause. Art. I, §4. That Clause vests congressional redistricting authority in “the Legislature” of each State. An Arizona ballot initiative transferred that authority from “the Legislature” to an “Independent Redistricting Commission.” The majority approves this deliberate constitutional evasion by doing what the proponents of the Seventeenth Amendment dared not: revising “the Legislature” to mean “the people.”
BUZZFEED’S JOURNALISTIC STRUGGLES ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, IN GIFS: Images so easy to follow, even a BuzzFeed editor can understand them!
RELATED: An accurate albeit painful to read transcript of Ben Smith of BuzzFeed’s rapid-fire dissembling during his interview with Hugh Hewitt yesterday. Interesting question from Hugh:
I gave Hugh a standing slow clap for this. pic.twitter.com/YKe8MjFL14
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) June 30, 2015
Elsewhere, John Nolte of Big Journalism listens to Hewitt’s interview with Smith and spots this juxtaposition: “BuzzFeed Pledges Allegience to Gay Flag — Editor Ben Smith Won’t Call Shariah Evil.”
Or as Ace notes, “it is quite obvious that [Smith] has never even thought about the questions Hugh Hewitt poses before. Simple, obvious questions everyone even pretending to be a thinker must ask himself, like ‘Why is it I feel comfortable declaring there are no two sides on gay marriage, and yet I cannot bring myself to criticize Shariah law?’”
Which dovetails well with this observation from Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller, when as a (more or less) conservative, he debates leftists: “I’ve noticed an uptick in the following phenomenon: I go on a TV debate show, and the people I’m talking to fail to grasp my points. I don’t mean they disagree with me — I mean they don’t comprehend what I’m saying.“
Why, it’s as if the left and right are speaking an entirely different language — as Insta-guest blogger John Tierney noted here yesterday.
RELATED: “It is essential to our understanding of how we’ve been bested in the propaganda battles and culture wars — not on the merits but rather through the very kernel assumptions about language we’ve allowed to become settled truths.”
JURY REJECTS UNSUCCESSFUL CONSERVATIVE FACULTY CANDIDATE’S DISCRIMINATION SUIT AGAINST UNIVERSITY OF IOWA LAW SCHOOL, from Paul Caron at his Tax Prof blog.
A COLLEGE BALKS AT HILLARY CLINTON’S FEE, BOOKS CHELSEA FOR $65,000 INSTEAD: “As with Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches at universities, Chelsea Clinton made no personal income from the appearance, her spokesman said, and directed her fee to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation,” the Washington Post reports. “Just shy of her 34th birthday, Clinton commanded a higher fee than other prominent women speakers who were considered, including feminist icon Gloria Steinem ($30,000) and journalists Cokie Roberts ($40,000), Tina Brown ($50,000) and Lesley Stahl ($50,000), the records show.”
RELATED: “Chelsea Clinton too expensive? You can hire me for a lot less!” Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner makes her case — and she’s guaranteed to be an infinitely more interesting speaker — but how does her appearance offer allow universities the opportunity to fund the Clinton family’s personal slush fund?
THIS WEEK’S NEWEST FINAL COUNTDOWN: “Robert Redford Sees ‘Last Chance’ to Fix Climate:”
Robert Redford told the United Nations on Monday that negotiations on a global deal to tackle climate change could be the world’s “last chance” to save the planet.
“This December, the world must unite behind a common goal,” said the American actor and producer.
“Because look, this is it. This is our only planet, our only life source.
“This may be our last chance.”
It’s the final countdown! Or actually, the latest final countdown, which have been arriving on a regular basis from those warning of first global cooling and then global warming since the first “Earth Day” in 1970; just add it to all of these earlier “last chances” to save the earth.
Once he made his pronouncement, Redford may have retreated back to here:
As the InstaProfessor likes to say, I’ll believe global warming is a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis themselves. (Oh, and I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Glenn’s carbon footprint either.)
Though it’s interesting that Redford is playing weatherman after supporting Bill Ayers’ old Weathermen via his disastrously timed The Company You Keep movie, which inadvertently debuted in April of 2013, the same month as another real life terrorist bombed the Boston Marathon. Appearing at the start of that month on Good Morning America with Hillary Clinton flack George Stephanopoulos, who asked Redford if he was still sympathetic to the Weathermen, “Even when you read about bombings,” (i.e. the bombing of the Pentagon among others) the actor-director chillingly responded, “All of it. I knew that it was extreme and I guess movements have to be extreme to some degree.”
And finally, speaking of extreme, what’s up with Redford’s hair in the photo of him at the UN, which is beginning to take on unsustainable Trumpian proportions?
CURB YOUR (SEXUAL) ENTHUSIASM: Love is dead. Feminists killed it, Stacy McCain writes:
Do young people no longer have desires, instincts, urges? Have words like “passion” and “seduction” and “romance” lost all meaning? Does anyone expect hormone-addled teenagers parking in the moonlight on Lovers Lane to conduct their adolescent trysts like diplomats negotiating a trade agreement? Is there no longer any expectation or hope for spontaneous magic in human sexual behavior? What kind of dingbats are giving kids this wretched advice about sex?
Read the whole thing.
RELATED: At Reason TV, Professor Laura Kipnis Explores How Campus Feminism Infantilizes Women.
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT: POLYAMOROUS RIGHTS ADVOCATES SEE MARRIAGE EQUALITY COMING FOR THEM:
Like others across the country last week, a Washington, D.C., couple and their housewarming guests buzzed about the Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. But they were far more interested in Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissent than the majority opinion that made same-sex marriage the law of the land.
The couple – a husband and his wife – are polyamorous, and had just moved in with their girlfriend. And in Roberts’ dissent, they saw a path that could make three-way relationships like theirs legal, too.
“Did you see we were mentioned by Roberts?” the husband beamed as he welcomed guests the day after the ruling. The chief justice wrote that polygamy has deeper roots in history and that the decision allowing gays to marry ”would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.”
“If the majority is willing to take the big leap,” he added, “it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.”
“But why stop there when the concept of liberty goes a lot further?”, Richard Epstein writes in “Hard Questions on Gay Marriage,” at the Hoover Institute’s Defining Ideas Website. “In particular, Kennedy never explains why his notions of dignity and autonomy do not require the Supreme Court to revisit its 1878 decision in Reynolds upholding criminal punishment for polygamy, which is still on the books. Nor does he ask whether the dignity of workers could, and should, be used as a reason to strike down the full range of labor regulations on both wages and hours that make it flatly illegal for two individuals to enter into a simple employment contract on mutually agreeable terms.”
I’M GLAD THAT SOMEBODY NOTICED: “Blogger Glenn Reynolds noted that when the South was solidly Democratic, we got ‘Gone With the Wind’ nostalgia. Now that it is profoundly less racist, but also less useful to Democrats, it’s the enemy of all that is decent and good.”
WHO NEEDS SHAKESPEARE? A high-school English teacher caught flak for bragging in the Washington Post that she refuses to teach Shakespeare and believes he doesn’t belong in the curriculum. But Mark Bauerlein says her critics are wrong to focus on her. She’s merely following the principles she learned in teacher training programs:
- Students need “representation”—black students need to see black authors and black characters (humanely portrayed), and it’s best if they are presented by a black teacher.
- The past is irrelevant or worse—history evolves and mankind improves (if steered in the right social-justice directions); to emphasize the past is to preserve all the injustices and misconceptions of former times.
- Contemporary literature is better—it’s more diverse and more real.
- Classics are authoritarian—they deny teachers and students the freedom to chart their own curriculum and take ownership of their learning.
“Shakespeare can’t survive hack teachers, and he can’t survive progressive principles, either,” Bauerlein writes.
Shakespeare endures in the classroom on aesthetic and cultural grounds that progressivism refuses. It casts aesthetic excellence as a political tool, the imposition of one group’s tastes upon everyone else. And it marks the culture at whose pinnacle Shakespeare stands (the English literary-historical canon) as an outdated authority.
To say that Shakespeare is central to our cultural inheritance—beloved by audiences in the 19th-century American west, quoted by presidents, source of countless American idioms—is to dispel the multiculturalist breakthrough of the mid-20th century. If progressivism reigns in secondary and higher education, Shakespeare, Pope, and Wordsworth are doomed.
Yeah, but we’ll still have The Joy Luck Club and The House on Mango Street.
THE IRS SCANDAL, DAY 782: “IRS Won’t Release Lois Lerner Emails — Because They Might Be Duplicates.”
THE ATLANTIC’S JEFFREY GOLDBERG interviews former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. They argue. A lot. Mostly about Barack Obama. Goldberg says the transcript reads like two Jews yelling at each other on a park bench in Brooklyn, and it does.
“OUR REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION” IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON. My new book, Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Sovereignty of the People, won’t be published until February 2016, but you can now pre-order your copy on Amazon. The page does not yet contain a description of the books, so here is one:
In 1776, the Declaration of Independence affirmed that “it is to secure” the inalienable individual rights of the sovereign people that “governments are instituted among men.” By 1787, however, Americans had grown unhappy with “democratic” state governments that had restricted their liberties and stifled the economy. They then replaced the Articles of Confederation with a new form of “republican” government embodied in a written constitution. But because the Constitution of 1787 preserved the democratic power of states to maintain slavery, it fell to the newly-formed antislavery Republican party to complete our Republican Constitution with the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. Today, the constitutional limits on state and federal power are often criticized as “undemocratic” and even ignored altogether. This book explains the origins of our Republican Constitution, how it has been undermined, and the proper role of judges in securing the sovereignty of We the People, each and every one.
So if you pre-order yours here today, you can truly say you were among the first!
CALLING ALL COLLEGE STUDENTS INTERESTED IN PROTECTING FREE SPEECH ON CAMPUS: There is just one week left to register for the 2015 FIRE Student Network Conference, taking place July 24–26 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The event is completely free to attend, and travel stipends are available. Submit your application today!
SMART PARKING: Cities could dramatically ease traffic congestion, free up parking spots, and make money in the process if they made their parking meters smarter. City Journal’s Emily Washington says they just need to adopt the sort of congestion pricing that has successfully guaranteed drivers a fast commute on roads with tolls that vary according to the demand. The technology exists thanks to the electronic parking meters that are already being used. On the streets of central business districts, up to 30 percent of the drivers at any time aren’t actually going anywhere — they’re just looking for a parking space. Smarter meters would cost more at peak times, but by guaranteeing that spaces would be readily available, they’d unclog the streets and save valuable time for everyone.
ANOTHER CONSTITUTIONAL REWRITE: This time it was a Supreme Court rewrite of the Elections Clause, in the Arizona State Legislature vs. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission decision. While the Court majority upheld the state legislature’s standing to sue, it also upheld the validity of the ballot measure that transferred the power to draw legislative districts from the state legislature to an independent commission. According to the Wall Street Journal editorial:
In 2000 Arizona voters approved a ballot measure to amend the state constitution and give a five-member commission the power to draw the map for Congressional districts. The idea was to take redistricting away from politicians who invariably use it for partisan advantage.
Good intention, but the Elections Clause says the “times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof.” And the legislature didn’t sanction the referendum.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg nonetheless writes for the liberals and Anthony Kennedythat when the Framers wrote the word “legislature” they didn’t mean “legislature.” They meant it loosely because “the people themselves are the originating source of all the powers of government.”
The Founders weren’t perfect but they were more precise wordsmiths than the average Supreme Court Justice. For example, when they meant “the people,” they wrote “the people.” So when they wrote “the legislature,” confidence is high that they meant “the legislature.”
It’s been a bad week for words at the Supreme Court.
FOUR THINGS I LEARNED WHEN MY TODDLER LOCKED ME IN HIS BEDROOM, not the least of which is, “If bedroom doors lock from the outside, it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong,” Tricia Lott Williford writes at the new PJ Media Parenting section.
Plus, Kindle Daily Deals.
And, Today’s Featured Digital Deal. The deals are brand new every day, so browse and save!
GEORGE WILL: A GREEK DEFAULT WOULD BE A VALUABLE LESSON IN BASIC ECONOMICS:
Since joining the Eurozone in 2001, Greece has borrowed a sum 1.7 times its 2013 GDP. Its 25 percent unemployment (50 percent among young workers) results from a 25 percent shrinkage of GDP. It is a mendicant reduced to hoping to “extend and pretend” forever. But extending the bailout and pretending that creditors will someday be paid encourages other European socialists to contemplate shedding debts — other people’s money that is no longer fun.
Greece, with just 11 million people and 2 percent of the Eurozone’s GDP, is unlikely to cause a contagion by leaving the zone. If it also leaves the misbegotten European Union, this evidence of the EU’s mutability might encourage Britain’s “Euro-skeptics” when, later this year, that nation has a referendum on reclaiming national sovereignty by withdrawing from the EU. If Greece so cherishes its sovereignty that it bristles at conditions imposed by creditors, why is it in the EU, the perverse point of which is to “pool” nations’ sovereignties in order to dilute national consciousness?
The EU has a flag no one salutes, an anthem no one sings, a president no one can name, a parliament whose powers subtract from those of national legislatures, a bureaucracy no one admires or controls, and rules of fiscal rectitude that no member is penalized for ignoring. It does, however, have in Greece a member whose difficulties are wonderfully didactic.
It cannot be said too often: There cannot be too many socialist smashups. The best of these punish reckless creditors whose lending enables socialists to live, for a while, off other people’s money. The world, which owes much to ancient Athens’s legacy, including the idea of democracy, is indebted to today’s Athens for the reminder that reality does not respect a democracy’s delusions.
Of course. But the people who need to hear the lesson the most are the least likely to learn anything from it.
Socialism: it’s gotta work this time!
OH MY: TED CRUZ SAYS STATES CAN IGNORE SCOTUS GAY MARRIAGE RULING: Mary Katharine Ham writes in response, “I’m pro-same-sex marriage AND I have a lot of issues with the actual legal reasoning, such that it is, in both Obergefell and King vs. Burwell, but I don’t think the answer is to ignore those decisions any more than I’d support advocating for ignoring Citizens United if you’re a liberal governor who doesn’t like it.”
FOUR (NEARLY) GUARANTEED WAYS FOR PARENTS TO STAY SANE: From Stephen Green who adds, “never feel guilty about doing what it takes to keep your sanity, because you owe it to your kids not to go too crazy.”
BULLETIN TO GOP: WAKE UP, LITTLE SUZY!, shouts Roger Simon, who adds, “If you’re a social conservative and dedicated to traditional marriage, time to go back to the place it’s really decided. And that’s not the Supreme Court of the Congress or the state house, but in our homes, churches, synagogues and, if you can dare to go near them, mosques:”
Meanwhile, in the real world, we have GIGANTIC problems. Obama is about to hand nuclear weapons to the Iranians who are well on their way to building ICBMs that can reach Chicago, if they haven’t already. A nuclear-armed Iran is ultimately more dangerous than the Soviet Union because some of its leaders, at least, believe in a fanatical religious system that has no fear of armageddon. Good-bye mutually assured destructions.
Read the whole thing.
BILL DE BLASIO HATES FREEDOM: Well, yes. But specifically, “Democrat doesn’t want New Yorkers to smoke in their own homes.” Or as the Daily Caller notes, “Former Pot Smoking Mayor Wants City Residents To Kick Their Tobacco Habit.”
Back in 2008 in response to Los Angeles’ anti-smoking proposals, Richard Miniter wrote, “In the 1950s, the most puritanical place in America was somewhere in Kansas. Today it is Los Angeles.” But as de Blasio’s latest initiatives illustrate, such leftwing Puritanism can be found throughout Blue America.
HOW TO GET RICH QUICK VIA TAXPAYERS! A bunch of politicos got in on the ground floor of Obamacare’s $2 billion co-ops in 2011. Today, they are filthy rich cauz nobody’s been watching. Except Richard Pollock of the Daily Caller News Foundation. Tomorrow’s second part will make you even madder. I know, I’m his editor!
“I AM NOW A BLOGGER FOR HIRE,” Aleister of the popular American Glob blog notes. Someone sign him up, fast!
June 29, 2015
GLENN REYNOLDS IN USA TODAY: Are happier lawyers, cheaper legal fees on the horizon?
FOX BUTTERFIELD, IS THAT YOU?
Trillions Spent, but Crises Like Greece’s Persist http://t.co/YPi6x3mG2z
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) June 30, 2015
Hangovers persist, despite chugging ouzo https://t.co/56DW5IqEh0
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) June 30, 2015
(Headline background here for those who don’t remember the cognitively dissonent textual stylings of Mr. Butterfield.)
David Steinberg’s article at PJM seems particularly timely right now:
— Nathan Hoffman (@Milenatehoff) June 30, 2015
— Nathan Hoffman (@Milenatehoff) June 30, 2015
— Nathan Hoffman (@Milenatehoff) June 30, 2015
.@dloesch is having an exchange with a guy from the US Chamber of Commerce much as Jaws had an exchange with Quint's intestines
— TheUltraYachtLife (@AceofSpadesHQ) June 30, 2015
If Mike Flynn was hired by Andrew Breibart and is supported by Mark Levin, Ace and Michelle Malkin, I think he's worth a look, at least.
— BayAreaFrau (@bayareahausfrau) June 24, 2015
The case for Mike Flynn, 18th District, Illinois http://t.co/299fRDFYfF
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) June 24, 2015
CAN TWITTER BE SAVED? “Why Twitter is terrible” is explored by former PJTV host James Poulos in The Week:
It would be one thing if we could redeem all society by leaving Twitter. But Twitter is just the beginning. We could “burn down the internet,” as the kids say, and still fail to calm our blind rage toward our all-too-human imperfection and intransigence. At this rate, maybe we will.
Two hundred years ago, another liberal philosopher explained how merciless worldviews can destroy all communication. “The nation could survive for a while,” warned Benjamin Constant, “on its acquired intelligence, on habits of thinking and doing picked up earlier; but nothing in the world of thought would renew itself. Writers strangled in this way start off with panegyrics; but they become bit by bit incapable even of praise and literature finishes up losing itself in anagrams and acrostics.” Sound familiar?
It may be too late to salvage Twitter. But if we’re going to save the internet, we’ve got to save some mercy for one another.
As Charles Krauthammer famously said in 2002, “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.” If you’re a leftist who has convinced yourself that you’re in the holy, planet-saving socialist justice warrior business of destroying evil one wrong-thinking person at a time, why take the time and effort to show mercy?
JUSTICE BREYER “SAYS THAT THE DEATH PENALTY IS CRUEL because it is unreliable; but it is convictions, not punishments, that are unreliable,” writes Justice Scalia in today’s Glossip v. Gross.
The reality is that any innocent defendant is infinitely better off appealing a death sentence than a sentence of life imprisonment….
Justice Breyer next says that the death penalty is cruel because it is arbitrary. To prove this point, he points to a study of 205 cases that “measured the ‘egregiousness’ of the murderer’s conduct” with “a system of metrics,” and then “compared the egregiousness of the conduct of the 9 defendants sentenced to death with the egregiousness of the conduct of defendants in the remaining 196 cases [who were not sentenced to death],” post, at 10–11. If only Aristotle, Aquinas, and Hume knew that moral philosophy could be so neatly distilled into a pocket-sized, vade mecum “system of metrics.”…
It is because these questions are contextual and admit of no easy answers that we rely on juries to make judgments about the people and crimes before them. The fact that these judgments may vary across cases is an inevitable consequence of the jury trial, that cornerstone of Anglo-American judicial procedure….”
TWO GRAY LADIES IN ONE: The NYT Doesn’t Publish Religiously Offensive Images, Except When They Offend Christians.
RELATED: Honesty! NY Times Reporter Admits ‘I Live in a Bubble.’
Paul Kael, call your office. And this seems like an appropriate post to add this as well:
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) June 29, 2015
DELAWARE SEEMS SO IMPORTANT, DOMICILE TO SO MANY CORPORATIONS. But it no longer has an any commercial air service — the only U.S. state in that predicament. But the state is so small. Enter through Philadelphia. Or just think of it as a imaginary place. Over the years, when I’ve told people I was born in Delaware — true fact! — they’ll say things like I thought only corporations were born in Delaware.
DON’T CARRY CASH, THE FEDS MIGHT STEAL IT: A New York City nail salon owner tried to take his life savings of $44,000 to help his siblings in California. The DEA took it from him at JFK airport, without so much as issuing a citation. Now he’s suing to get it back–but he has very little chance of succeeding. Read the whole sad story, including a copy of the lawsuit, here. From the article:
Nevertheless, the DEA took all of Do’s money under the assumption that he’s involved in the drug business, despite being more than willing to let him go without even a citation. Do had planned to take his money to California to help his financially-struggling siblings out, but ran into the DEA first.
Then there’s this:
The Plaintiff did not know that it was a violation of Federal regulations to carry cash in excess of $5,000 at the time of the seizure.There’s a good reason for not knowing this. There is no federal regulation prohibiting citizens from walking around (or boarding planes) with any amount of cash. Asset forfeiture laws make this practice unwise, but nothing in federal law says Do was forbidden from boarding a plane with his $44,000.
As Institute for Justice attorney Darpana Sheth said about IJ’s latest civil forfeiture case, “Carrying cash is not a crime. No one should lose their life savings when no drugs or evidence of any crime are found on them or their belongings.”
HILLARY CLINTON, GET THIS, EDITED THE EMAILS SHE TURNED OVER TO STATE TO DELETE EMBARRASSING REFERENCES TO OIL, TERRORISM: “Another story the media won’t discuss,” Ace of Spades writes.
The media who screamed Cheney and Haliburton over Iraq for six years weirdly silent over Blumenthal's oil deals with Hillary in Libya
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) June 29, 2015
— Razor (@hale_razor) June 29, 2015
IT’S NOT JUST GREECE: Puerto Rico is expected to default on more than $70 billion in debt, four times what Detroit owed when it went bankrupt. A report by economists Anne Krueger, Ranjit Teja, and Andrew Wolfe, nicely summarized in this WaPo explainer, points to the sort of fiscal mismanagement you’d expect in such a bankruptcy but also to federal policies that make things especially difficult for the island: the Jones Act, which requires all goods come on U.S. merchant marine vessels, thereby doubling shipping costs compared to nearby islands, and a minimum wage way too high for local conditions. (The WaPo’s Max Ehrenfreund finds the latter “surprising,” which is the opposite of what it is.) The population has been leaving in droves, presumably to more economically promising places.
YEP, GOVERNMENT CENTRALIZATION LEADS TO DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT: John Fund on how the latest Greek banking crisis exemplifies the EU’s persistent democratic deficit:
But for all the perfidy of the Greek government, it is, at least in its moment of crisis, returning to the roots of the democratic ideal: that it is the people, not experts or elites or aristocrats, who should have the ultimate say on those matters that must ultimately be settled politically. Here’s hoping the Greeks wake up their fellow Europeans to the fact that if they want to ensure a prosperous and free Europe for their children, politics is too important to be left to non-transparent Eurocrats.
Yep–the EU is a progressive’s dream: lots of elitist bureaucracy by “experts,” with little opportunity for republican or democratic participation by the unwashed masses. It’s a phenomenon that sounds increasingly familiar to American ears in the Obama era.
“HELLO, DETROIT? I THINK WE’VE FOUND YOUR NEXT MAYOR!”
“How can something like this happen without prior warning?” asked Angeliki Psarianou, a 67-year-old retired public servant, who stood in the drizzle after arriving too late at one empty ATM in the Greek capital.
Yes, it’s always unfortunate when bad economic news keeps happening so (wait for it…wait for it…) “unexpectedly.”
UPDATE: Closer to home, “Who’s ready for a bailout of … Puerto Rico?”
AT LONG LAST, AN EXPLANATION OF SETH ROGEN’S SEX APPEAL: Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight? A lot of people, it turns out. As I discuss in my NYT column on changing perceptions of “mate value,” psychologists and anthropologists can finally explain how someone who looks like Seth Rogen can wind up with someone who looks like Katherine Heigl, and why Mr. Darcy eventually falls in love with Elizabeth Bennet. The process may not come as a surprise to readers of Jane Austen novels or to viewers of Adam Sandler’s schlub-gets-babe movies, but at least we now have the data to back up our fantasies.
JEFF ROSEN PRAISES JOHN ROBERTS’ “DEFERENCE TO THE INTENT OF CONGRESS AS “THE UMPIRE IN CHIEF,”: saying he
embraced a bipartisan vision of judicial restraint based on the idea that the Supreme Court should generally defer to the choices of Congress and state legislatures. His insistence that the court should hesitate to second-guess the political branches regardless of whether liberals or conservatives win is based on his conception of the limited institutional role of the court in relation to the president, Congress and the states.
I have little doubt that this is how the Chief Justice thinks of what he did. And why he relied so heavily on deference in his dissent in Obergefell.
ARE HAPPIER LAWYERS, CHEAPER LEGAL FEES ON THE HORIZON? Glenn Reynolds, our beneficent Insta-host, reviews the new book, Glass Half Full: The Decline And Rebirth of the Legal Profession by Ben Barton, Glenn’s fellow University of Tennessee law professor, who has also been guest-posting here this week, in his latest USA Today column:
[W]hile technology is hurting firms’ income, it’s also cutting their expenses, and making life easier (in some ways) for solo practitioners. I have a former student who practices family law and doesn’t even keep an office. Her clients like it that she makes house calls, and she saves big on overhead. Email, voicemail and the like are better than a secretary, and online legal research is better than maintaining a law library.
Clients, meanwhile, will get cheaper legal services. There’s a limit to how much lawyers can cut their rates — those student loan debts have to be paid, and if you can’t make enough to pay them practicing law, you’re better off doing something else — but many tech startups are looking at ways to provide legal services more cheaply and efficiently than the old model ever did. Barton is optimistic about that, and I hope he’s right.
At any rate, law, as the ultimate white-collar job, is now undergoing what so many other fields have suffered before: Technological unemployment and a shrinking economic pie. Lawyers, who probably didn’t shed a lot of tears when this happened to linotype operators, will just have to deal with it as well. I hope that Ben Barton’s mostly-cheerful predictions turn out to be right.
Read the whole thing, to coin an Instaphrase.
THANKS SO MUCH TO GLENN, my co-guestbloggers, and to all of you for a great week. I learned A LOT from the posts, your comments, and the experience.
Most notably I learned that this is even harder than it looks from the outside! One possible explanation for the Blogfather’s excellence: Glenn is, in fact, a blogging cyborg. He doesn’t eat. He doesn’t sleep. All he does is post awesome links with interesting commentary. When he returns and finds that I have mocked his robot brethren I may be in some trouble. . . .
HOW DO YOU TELL SOMEONE THEY’RE NOT A VICTIM? “While speaking at the Network of Enlightened Women’s conference in Washington, D.C., on Friday, I was asked a question about how to tell someone they’re not a victim when the evidence shows they aren’t one,” Ashe Schow writes at the Washington Examiner:
As activists expand the definition of sexual assault and push debunked statistics to claim that it is rampant on college campuses, more and more might come to see regretted or misinterpreted encounters as something more sinister. We need to figure out how to gently tell them that they are not actually victims. But that would require finding another explanation for their negative feelings.
So many accusers, especially those who say the encounter happened while they were freshmen, say they become depressed and withdrawn. They see those feelings as the result of a sexual assault. Maybe, just maybe, some of those feelings come from being away from home for the first time or feeling overwhelmed in college, and have nothing to do with the first hook up of a college career.
I know that I haven’t figured out a way to properly articulate this idea, but I’m hoping someone else figures out a way to do so.
How do we change the enormous therapy-obsessed bureaucracy of university campuses, which have created a student culture where the will to power derives from victimhood?
BEN WATTENBERG, RIP: The veteran author, LBJ speechwriter, host of Think Tank for PBS and American Enterprise Institute scholar was 81. As Jonah Goldberg (who cut his teeth as Wattenberg’s producer and research assistant in the 1990s writes, “Ben was hard to classify intellectually or ideologically:”
Though it was not always as difficult as it is today because the tribe he represented — variously described as Scoop Jackson Democrat, Democratic neoconservative, Reagan Democrat, New Democrat, democratic triumphalist etc — no longer much exists. Obviously, the key word there is “Democrat.” But while his devotion to the partisan label with a capital-D waned over the years (without ever vanishing), his devotion to democracy itself was undying and infectious.
At the Weekly Standard, Jonathan Last notes that in the early 1970s, Wattenberg was one of the few to push back against the Malthusian doomsday rantings of Paul Ehrlich and others. “It takes an uncommon mind to challenge the assumptions of the age in search of the truth. But the fortitude it takes to stand amidst the mob insisting on the truth once you have found it is ever more rare. What a man.”
At Commentary, John Podhoretz adds that Wattenberg “was one of the Democrats in the late 1960s and early 1970s who committed himself to fighting those who wanted to divert his party into anti-American tributaries through the founding of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority, a group that had little success but did prove prophetic in insisting that only a move to the center, a la Bill Clinton, would save the party from itself. His most notable later book, Values Matter Most, became a hot topic of discussion when Clinton called Wattenberg and discussed it and his own failings in 1995.”
Shortly before his 2008 career retrospective Fighting Words: A Tale of How Liberals Created Neo-Conservatism was published, I interviewed Wattenberg for an early segment of PJM’s old Sirius-XM show to discuss Fighting Words. The audio from that interview is still online here.
POLITICAL THREATS TO SCIENCE: I earlier linked to Matt Ridley’s essay on how the Left has politicized climate science, and that’s hardly the only discipline that’s been corrupted. Democrats like to style themselves as the pro-science party, and a lot of reporters accept that assumption, but I see it as a highly debatable proposition. In fact, I’ve discussed that question with Intelligence Squared U.S., the sponsor of the great series of Oxford-style debates on public policy. It’s considering a debate next spring on the question of which side, the Left or Right, poses a greater threat to science.
Liberals have an easy time mocking creationist conservatives, whose impact on the practice of science I consider to be nil. But I wonder who on the Left would be willing to defend its overall record, which includes the promotion of so many unscientific fears (of genetically modified foods, fracking, nuclear power, etc.) and the ostracism of researchers who pursue taboo topics (like the effects of single-parent families, or innate differences between the sexes). I know of conservatives and libertarians who could debate their side of the question (John Stossel, David Harsanyi and Ronald Bailey have recently criticized the Left’s unscientific beliefs). But I’m not sure who would make a good case for the Left. Any suggestions?
GENTLEMEN, YOU CAN’T REPORT HERE, THIS IS A PRESS BRIEFING! State Dept threatens to arrest Washington Free Beacon reporter for covering Iran talks:
VIENNA—Officials with the Department of State threatened to call security Monday on a Washington Free Beacon reporter who was attempting to report on a briefing held by senior Obama administration figures in Vienna on the eve of an expected nuclear agreement with Iran.
Two State Department officials booted the Free Beacon from a room where Wendy Sherman, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, was talking to reporters, despite the Free Beacon’s being credentialed by the Austrian government for the ongoing Iranian nuclear talks.
Western observers present in Vienna for the talks linked the State Department’s behavior to jitters over media coverage revealing a still growing list of concessions being made to Iran by the Obama administration.
Melissa Turley, a State Department official, approached a Free Beacon reporter and demanded that he leave the room.
“You’re not registered with the U.S. press,” Turley said after being informed that the Free Beacon was attending the event.
“You have a press pass from the [European Union], not from me,” Turley said, after being informed that the Free Beacon was officially credentialed to cover the event.
Turley and her colleagues then threatened the reporter, instructing him to leave the room or be dealt with by “security.”
As even the New York Times (via Democrat true believer Albert Hunt) noted last year, “Under Obama, a Chill on Press Freedom.” The Times’ James Risen has dubbed Mr. Obama the “greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation.”
“LEADING ON RACE: COMMUNITIES, NOT ELITES,” Salena Zito writes at the Pittsburgh Tribune:
In a week that began with a white woman masquerading as black, the ensuing silliness of talk about being “transracial,” and the president unnecessarily invoking the mother of all racial epithets, it was the American people who showed how to lead on race.
In a show of profound unity and forgiveness, Charleston residents responded not with the lowest common denominator of social-media commentary or violent anger, but with promise.
More than 15,000 of them, of every size and color, put Southern solidarity into perspective by gathering on both sides of the city’s Ravenel Bridge. They met in the middle; they wept, smiled, laughed, hugged, turned strangers into friends. Homemade signs with messages of outreach, love and solidarity flapped in the wind, as prayers and hymns filled the air.
There wasn’t a major network or cable news channel, only local TV crews, rolling cameras to record America doing what it does best — opening its heart; the networks always seem to be on hand for looting or rioting. Yet, for the most part, Charleston’s participants didn’t care about being largely ignored, because that moment on the bridge was about them, about their community and, above all, about how to lead.
Their response, their unity, showed leadership. The president, dropping the “N-word” to an entertainment podcast, reeked of showmanship and his signature divisiveness.
What will linger in most minds, long after the history books are closed, is how a community impacted by the deaths of nine innocent people reacted — not a politician.
That sounds awfully selfish to me — if communities act calmly and humane, and refuse to self-detonate, what will CNN and MSNBC do for their nightly riot porn? How will Obama and Hillary gin up the voters?
THE OPM HACK AND OBAMA’S POLITICIZATION OF THE FEDERAL BUREAUCRACY: Jim Geraghty writes at National Review Online that “it’s clear that hackers — believed to be tied to the Chinese government – stole files from the Office of Personnel Management that amount to a giant ‘how to blackmail anyone in the federal government’ manual. This was America’s ‘cyber 9/11,’ exposing an administration full of true believers in the expansion of government who can’t handle the most basic tasks of secret-keeping.”
Including Katherine Archuleta, who prior to becoming OPM’s head, “had no background in the kind of work the agency does,” Geraghty adds. But she certainly was a loyal Democrat foot soldier, which is far more important than actual competence in the Clinton and Obama administrations:
Before becoming the head of OPM, Katherine Archuleta had no background in the kind of work the agency does. Archuleta, a lawyer and former Clinton administration official, was national political director for President Obama’s reelection campaign. She served as the chief of staff to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solís, and was the City of Denver’s lead planner for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Like the president, she has roots in “community organizing”: She co-founded the Latina Initiative, a Colorado organization aimed at getting more Hispanic voters involved in politics. (In 2011, the Latina Initiative suspended its operations, citing insufficient funding.) Nothing in this record suggests any expertise in the vitally important human resources and record-keeping functions OPM is supposed to serve.
Before the hack, Archuleta’s primary goals at OPM appeared to be increasing the diversity of the federal workforce and implementing Obamacare’s changes to federal workers’ health-insurance options.
Her July 2013 confirmation hearing was brief and relatively controversy-free. Senator Mark Udall, (D., Colo.), introduced her and declared, “she has an impressive range of accomplishments that make her completely, totally well-qualified to be director of OPM.”
Archuleta mentioned her determination to “build on OPM’s health care experience” including “implementing its provisions of the Affordable Care Act.” She did say she would “prioritize the improvement of the agency’s Information Technology systems” and pledge to create the position of Chief Technology Officer, but that came in the context of a discussion on OPM’s difficulty in moving to a digital system for handling retirement services for federal workers. The topic of cyber security only came up during a brief discussion of whether OPM had sufficiently skilled personnel in that area.
“When news broke of the first of those breaches, in early 2014, Archuleta went so far as to insist in public that there was nothing that needed fixing,” Geraghty writes, noting that “Archuleta was quick to downplay the breach, declaring in a July 21, 2014 interview with Washington’s ABC affiliate that, ‘We did not have a breach in security. There was no information that was lost. We were confident as we worked through this that we would be able to protect the data.’”
There is no iceberg; the ship is perfectly fine; you can resume your dining and dancing without fear. Happy sailing and enjoy the rest of your evening!
ELENA KAGAN IN 2009: “THERE IS NO FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE.” As Prof. William A. Jacobson writes at his Legal Insurrection blog, “Then she was a nominee for Solicitor General, now she is an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Then she was bound to follow the law, now she gets to make it.”
BRADY CENTER ORDERED TO PAY AMMO DEALER’S LEGAL FEES: Judge orders Brady Center to pay ammo dealer’s legal fees after dismissing lawsuit.
THE IRS SCANDAL, DAY 781: Judge Demands Answers from the IRS by Month’s End; It’s Past Time for Orange to be the New Black for Lois Lerner.
THE LEFT-RIGHT GAP IN LANGUAGE: Liberals and conservatives use much different sets of words, according to an extensive textual analysis of chat rooms, news websites and State of the Union speeches. The analysis, published in the current Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, draws on a psychological distinction between the basic needs for “affiliation” and “power.” Liberals manifest their yearning for social connectedness by using words like care, help, kind, neighbor and volunteer more often than conservatives do. Conservatives more frequently use power words like boss, coerce, hero, strong and victory.
The team of German and American researchers say this is the first study to reveal this difference. And, as usual in social science, the difference is presented in a way that looks bad for conservatives. Citing previous research, the authors write:
These results, although novel, seem intuitive in capturing a fundamental difference by political ideology.
For example, the policies more greatly favored by liberals include social welfare programs and affirmative action, both of which appear affiliation-oriented from a broader perspective. By contrast, the policies more greatly favored by conservatives include increased defense spending and the death penalty, both of which are consistent with a desire to be powerful. Indeed, conservatives are often more invested in the trappings of power such as wealth and status.
Ah, those good-hearted liberals, uninterested in status and money. (The Obamas and their fellow liberals vacation on Martha’s Vineyard only because the beaches are so pretty.) And those deadly power-crazed conservatives, reluctant to even utter nice words like volunteer. (Never mind the studies showing that conservatives actually do more volunteer work than liberals do.)
But here’s another way to look at the results. Liberals talk about politics in language that appeals to our primal socialist instincts, developed on the savanna when we belonged to small clans of hunter-gatherers who really did look out for their kin. Conservatives discuss politics in language that reflects modern reality: socialism doesn’t work in groups larger than a clan, because people do not behave selflessly when they belong to a large group of unrelated strangers. Liberals believe in what the economist Daniel Klein calls “The People’s Romance,” but that fallacy has been exposed by Adam Smith, de Toqueville and Darth Vader, among others.
When liberals say that “government is the word we give to the things we choose to do together,” they score high on affiliation, and some of them may even believe government is one big happy collaboration among equals. But conservatives know that philosophy just means giving one small group of people in the capital more power to boss and coerce the rest of us.
BIG NEWS: Important affirmative action case returns to the Supreme Court. Ilya Somin comments:
Earlier this morning, the Supreme Court chose to hear Fisher v. University of Texas, an important case challenging racial preferences in admissions at the University of Texas. The outcome is likely to have important implications for the future of affirmative action. . . .
It seems unlikely that the justices would have chosen to hear this case again, if a majority were satisfied with the Fifth Circuit’s ruling on remand. Most likely, the five more conservative justices decided to take it because they intend to overrule the Fifth Circuit and forcefully reiterate the requirement that judges must not defer to universities on the narrow tailoring issue. The Court could potentially expound on the need to avoid deference on the narrow-tailoring requirement in greater detail than it did in Fisher I, so as to reduce lower court judges’ room for discretion and prevent them from continuing to defer, as the Fifth Circuit essentially did in its post-remand decision. If that happens, supporters of racial preferences in admissions might end up worse off than they would have been if the Fifth Circuit had not chosen to be obstreperous after the remand, and had struck down the Texas program, as many expected it would.
HOW UBER SURGE PRICING REALLY WORKS: “The data . . . suggest that surge pricing doesn’t seem to bring more drivers out on the roads, but rather pushes drivers already on the job toward neighborhoods with more demand–and higher surge pricing.”
EVERYBODY SETTLE DOWN: The Greek debt crisis—the Energizer bunny of debt crises—has stocks plunging around the world as bank lines grow in Athens, but Walter Russell Mead argues that it won’t necessarily be a disaster if Greece abandons the Euro.
A Greek exit may end up strengthening the credibility of the euro by removing the one member that all agree should never have been allowed to join in the first place.
In an important decision at the intersection of free speech and property rights, the U.S. Supreme Court today vacated a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judgment that had allowed the city of Norfolk, Va., to suppress a banner protesting the government’s illegal attempt to seize private property by eminent domain. Today’s decision sends the case, Central Radio Company v. City of Norfolk, back to the 4th Circuit so that it can reconsider the case in light of recent guidance the Supreme Court has provided on sign regulations and free speech in Reed v. Town of Gilbert.