November 23, 2014

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 563.


The Democratic presidential bench is looking a little thin these days, isn’t it? After Hillary Clinton, we have … um … Jim Webb, who I bet you can’t even remember what office he held, and outgoing Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who couldn’t even get his own lieutenant governor elected as his handpicked successor in a blue state. If anything happens to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee will effectively be taking out LeBron James to send in Pee-wee Herman.

But how big a problem is this? You don’t need a dozen good people on the bench, just one or two who could make a plausible run for the presidency. And those people tend not to emerge when there’s not much of a realistic shot at winning — for example, when you’ve got a high-profile candidate with great name recognition, primary experience and most of your party’s donor base sitting in their back pocket. Once Hillary wins or loses, other people will presumably start grooming themselves for a serious run, rather than make an idealistic attempt to pull the party leftward in the primaries or a long audition for the VP slot.

I’ve seen this argument made by smart people who know more about politics than I do, and part of me is convinced. But the other part of me wonders where those candidates are going to come from if Democrats remain confined to the deep-blue parts of the map. Those places are more populous, but less numerous, than the red states — which means fewer governors and congressmen to choose from. Especially because a few blue states have shown a penchant for electing Republican moderates to rein in their liberal legislatures.

Barack Obama aside, political talent has to be nurtured.

I think Barack could have done with a bit more nurturing himself.

SMOOTH OPERATOR: Obama Offers to Walk John Boehner’s Dog. Boehner Doesn’t Have a Dog.

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NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: As New Troops Head To Afghanistan, Worries Remain.

R.I.P., Marion Barry.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Watch as CNN pushes Josh Earnest to explain Obama’s immigration ‘flip-flop.’

Cuomo, who is the brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, questioned this line of thought, pushing the White House press secretary to explain what appears to be a pretty obvious “flip-flop.”

“[T]he president promised not to do this,” he said. “He kept saying, ‘I won’t take executive action.’ Everybody keeps showing the tapes of him doing it … And they said if you care about working with us, don’t do this. And then he did it. What’s the calculation?”

Earnest’s response? Blame House Republicans.

Gee, who could have seen that coming?

IT’S A HABIT THAT CAN BE UNLEARNED, THOUGH: MSNBC Shrill Is No Accident. It’s How Liberals Really Think. “Convinced that no intelligent, decent person could take conservatism seriously, liberals believe it is not necessary or even possible, when engaging conservative ideas, to go beyond diagnosing the psychological, moral or mental defects that cause people to espouse them.”

ED DRISCOLL: The Return of Original Sin: God and Manson at Gaia University. “Say what you will about Charles Manson, but he took the ‘warrior’ aspect of the phrase ‘Social Justice Warrior,’ not to mention the quasi-religious doomsday implications of that strange mindset, seriously.”

EVERYDAY HEROES: ‘If We Left, They Wouldn’t Have Nobody.’

When an assisted living home in California shut down last fall, many of its residents were left behind, with nowhere to go.

The staff at the Valley Springs Manor left when they stopped getting paid — except for cook Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez, the janitor.

“There was about 16 residents left behind, and we had a conversation in the kitchen, ‘What are we going to do?’ ” Rowland says.

“If we left, they wouldn’t have nobody,” the 34-year-old Alvarez says.

How can an assisted-living facility close and just leave the patients behind?

IT’S COME TO THIS: Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell Brawl Backstage at The View.

MICKEY KAUS ON OBAMA AND IMMIGRATION: Tomorrow’s Conventional Wisdom, Today!

November 22, 2014

WILL MORE BRITISH POLITICOS DEFECT TO THE UKIP? “A number of Conservative MPs are considering defecting but have agreed with the UKIP leadership that they will only do so if they have a chance of winning in 2015.” Hmm.

HOW ARE WE GOING TO TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE IF THE CONSEQUENCES ARE SO SMALL? No Prison for Lesbian Teacher, 24, Accused of Raping 17-Year-Old Girl.

IOWAHAWK ON OBAMA’S IMMIGRATION MOVE: Somewhere a legal immigrant engineer in his 10th year of paperwork and lawyers is on Orbitz shopping for flights back home.

Which leads to an idea for the GOP: How about legislation to refund the fees to legal immigrants who have applied over the past six years? Dare Obama to veto that. . . .

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FERGUSON: Members of New Black Panther Party Arrested In Gun, Bomb Plot. “As initially reported by CBS News, the men were suspected of acquiring explosives for pipe bombs that they planned to set off during protests in Ferguson, according to the official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the case.”

Let me guess — if that had happened, they would have blamed the Tea Party or something.

SMART DIPLOMACY: ‘Biden, get out’: Protesters heckle VP in Turkey. Hell, we don’t want him either.

DEROY MURDOCK: The Silence Of The Colored People.

Voters on Election Day chose Tim Scott as South Carolina’s U.S. senator. They also sent Utah’s Mia Love and Texas’ Will Hurd to the U.S. House of Representatives. Thus, the 114th Congress will include three black Republicans. This is a new high-water mark for black Americans.

Too bad the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People couldn’t care less. (America’s oldest civil-rights organization still plasters that retrograde expression all over its logo and website.)

NAACP has yet to congratulate, acknowledge, or even attack Scott, Love, and Hurd — now America’s three most powerful elected black Republicans. What you hear is the silence of the Colored People. Despite 10 separate requests for comment on this “advancement of colored people,” I could not squeeze a consonant out of NAACP’s Baltimore headquarters, its Washington, D.C. office, or even its Hollywood bureau. . . .

NAACP did issue a November 14 press release expressing its “strong support of the new Qualified Residential Mortgage rule” under the behemoth Dodd-Frank financial services law. The group praised the rejection of new down-payment rules for home loans. Who needs strong credit standards? What could go wrong?

NAACP has offered communiqués praising Obama’s new draconian carbon-dioxide regulations and even applauding LaJune Montgomery Tabron for becoming president of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. As for three black Republicans getting elected to Congress? Crickets.

The NAACP is just a race-based arm of the Democratic Party. Since nothing it says about these winners can help the Democrats, it says nothing.

SO I HAD LUNCH AT SONNY’S BBQ TODAY, AND IT WAS SAD. Today was their last day in business, as they’ve lost their lease and the restaurant will be torn down to build something fancier and more expensive. I don’t eat there all that much — mostly just when I’m running errands out that way on a Saturday — but the food’s always good, and the people are always friendly. Many of the folks I spoke to today had worked there for years, and they were clearly sad to leave. I’m sure they’ll find other restaurant jobs, but it’s kind of sad. And Sonny’s was also gun-friendly before that became a fad.

YEAH, MOSTLY: “Almost every time I’ve talked to a reporter has gone this way: they had already decided the narrative beforehand.” I can think of some exceptions to this, but not a whole lot.

UPDATE: A reader’s comment about dealing with the press in Iraq reminds me of Toby Harnden’s reporting on the reporters.

Harnden, by the way, has a new book out, Dead Men Risen: An Epic Story of War and Heroism in Afghanistan. Worth a read, I think.

NOTES FOR 400 hours of Richard Feynman’s Hughes Lectures.

SHUT UP, THEY EXPLAINED: Game Developers’ Association Calls 10,000 Tweeters ‘Harassers’–Including Kentucky Fried Chicken.

In a sign of how frenzied, panicky and intolerant the games industry establishment has become over the legitimate concerns of ordinary gamers, the International Game Developers’ Association branded some 10,425 Twitter accounts, including those of journalists, as harassment “offenders” in a humiliatingly ill-conceived attempt to provide a “blocking tool” to its members.

The blocking tool, which has been widely mocked online for its lack of sophistication and “blanket ban” approach, was assembled by Randi Harper, a persistent online agitator. The tool prevents users from seeing not only the tweets of users Harper has decided are implicated in harassment, but also many accounts who simply follow those users, by blocking a list of thousands of users with the use of an automated “bot.”

So indiscriminately has the block list been compiled that the IGDA’s own staff appear on it. Roberto Rosario, chair of the IGDA in Puerto Rico, is named on the list. In an acutely embarrassing moment for the Association, Rosario, who is not a GamerGate supporter, publicly threatened to resign unless his name was removed or the bot was disavowed.

Good grief.

UPDATE: From the comments: “They took the concept of “guilt by association” and created a software algorithm to apply it automatically using social media. Congrats! You invented a McCarthyism robot.” Well, to be fair, Twitter already had one of those.

YOU’LL STILL NEED TO BE PRETTY STRONG TO GET FAR WITH THESE, THOUGH: Scale A Glass Wall With Gecko-Inspired Adhesive On Your Hands. “The Stanford project here uses octagonal hand grips, linked to a foot support below. This allowed a 154 pound human to climb several feet up a sheer glass wall in 90 seconds. If climbing walls sounds like something the military is interested in, that’s because it is. DARPA has climbing projects for both robots and humans. Because that research is of a military nature, it also means that all the details aren’t public like they would be in a published research paper.”

QUIETER, PLEASE: This Tiny Engine Could Make Leaf Blowers Sound Less Like Jets. It’s a rotary.

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POLITICS: EU Parliament Wants To Break Up Google… Because It’s Big & American Or Something. “There’s no discussion about any actual harm… just the fact that some people don’t like the fact that the company is so big (and not European).”


SPYING: Local judge unseals hundreds of highly secret cell tracking court records; Stingray docs unsealed by North Carolina judge could prompt wave of new appeals. “According to the Charlotte Observer, the records seem to suggest that judges likely did not fully understand what they were authorizing. Law enforcement agencies nationwide have taken extraordinary steps to preserve stingray secrecy. As recently as this week, prosecutors in a Baltimore robbery case dropped key evidence that stemmed from stingray use rather than fully disclose how the device was used.”

A FULL-EMPLOYMENT ACT FOR LAWYERS: CU-Boulder facing Title IX lawsuit from male student suspended in sex assault case. “The student, identified in court documents only as ‘John Doe,’ says he was wrongfully accused and suspended for three semesters after a night of consensual sex. The lawsuit comes amid an unrelated U.S. Department of Education investigation into CU-Boulder, which began last summer when a female sexual assault victim complained CU didn’t do enough to protect her.” From the complaint: “CU-Boulder has created an environment where an accused male student is fundamentally denied due process by being prosecuted through the conduct process under a presumption of guilt.”

I’m beginning to think that this whole campus-sexual-assault thing was secretly instigated by Kurt Schlichter to undermine the higher education establishment and get campus constituencies fighting among themselves, while enriching lawyers.

And seeing as how the complaint against him originated when the woman “realized he’s just another douchy frat dude,” I’m going to suggest that plaintiff’s attorneys in college towns might want to send flyers directly to Greek Row. And maybe even sponsor educational seminars on Title IX. . .

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: While you were sleeping, Obama re-upped us for another year in Afghanistan. “Was Barack Obama conveniently waiting for after the midterm elections to add another year of combat duty to our tour in Afghanistan, or is this just a big coincidence?” Obama’s entire presidency will take place after the 2014 midters — except for what he’s saving until after the 2016 presidential election. You say “lame duck,” he says “more flexibility.”

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: This Japanese Muscle Suit is the real life Power Loader from Aliens. “The 12-pound wearable power-assist device is worn like a book bag and uses a mouthpiece for controls. Wearing it won’t make you suddenly be able to move buildings, but it does make moving larger everyday objects a little easier.”

Another way you can make lifting heavy things a little easier, of course, is by learning to lift heavy things.

SO IF YOU’RE FEELING DEPRESSED ABOUT OBAMA’S IMMIGRATION ACTION, or the situation in general, well, don’t be. Instead, read Kurt Schlichter’s Conservative Insurgency, and make your plans.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 562.

MORE ON THOSE “FOUND” EMAILS FROM LOIS LERNER. I’m cynical enough to suspect that they’ve been found for a long time, and the delay was to (1) get past the midterms; and (2) allow someone to vacuum the archives of any truly incriminating material.

MEGAN MCARDLE: Campus Rapes And Kangaroo Courts.

I’ve heard some version of this argument over and over in discussing campus rape prosecutions: “not a big deal, because this is not the government depriving you of your liberty, it’s just a help for victims to get away from their rapists, and nothing really bad happens to the boys.

In the first place, the government is pushing for these relaxed standards of evidence and due process, via Title IX, which means that this is the government doing something to you. Not putting you in prison, to be sure. But — and I hardly believe I have to say this — getting expelled on a sexual assault charge is, in fact, something very bad happening to you. I don’t know why people keep saying that this is “all” that happens, as if it were the educational equivalent of having to change hotels mid-vacation.

Read BuzzFeed’s account of what happened to men who went through these college disciplinary processes to see just how big this can be. One man lost his job after an anonymous caller notified them of his “convictions” — which were for “non-consensual kissing.” It can go on your permanent record, making it hard to get into grad school — you might possibly recover from a youthful bad grades, or plagiarism, but our society doesn’t offer much rehabilitation for sex offenders. You’ll probably lose credits, and for those attending selective schools, it seems likely to me that a man with such a notation on his record would have a hard time enrolling in another elite school.

When people say this is “no big deal,” how many of them would shrug off having this happen to them, on the basis of a hearing where the odds are stacked in favor of believing the accuser, and double standards are often rigorously applied? Which is to say: when two people who are equally drunk have sex, the girl can be presumed to be unable to consent—while the boy is held to be fully capable of determining her level of intoxication, and of making the informed decision not to have sex with someone too much the worse for wine. And this in the name of promoting equality between the genders.

It’s like there’s some entirely different agenda actually at work here.

EVE TUSHNET reviews The Last Days of Disco.

ONLY THE BEGINNING: Due process win: Swarthmore college settles lawsuit with accused student.

Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania has settled a lawsuit brought by a student accused of sexual assault, admitting the school acted unfairly in charging the student.

In April 2011, a student identified as John Doe shared a kiss and at a later date “consensual physical encounters” with another student identified as Jane Doe, according to the lawsuit filed earlier this year. On May 1, 2011, Jane came to John’s dorm room and initiated consensual sex. The lawsuit alleges Jane admitted she initiated the encounter.

But 19 months later, Jane reported the kiss and initial physical encounters to Swarthmore, saying she had been coerced. After a two-month investigation, the school closed the matter without bringing charges against John.

A few months later, in April 2013, two other students, according to the lawsuit, filed complaints with the Department of Education. These complaints had nothing to do with John Doe.

These complaints caused Swarthmore’s president to announce a “zero tolerance” policy for sexual assault. Just a few weeks later, John Doe’s case was re-opened.

Within a month, John alleges, the school re-opened the case, fast-tracked a hearing and found him guilty of sexual misconduct for an incident that happened two years earlier and had already been investigated and closed. John appealed.

On July 12, 2013, the Department of Education announced it would investigate Swarthmore based on the Title IX complaints unrelated to John. Four days later, according to John’s lawsuit, his appeal was denied.

In early 2014, John filed a lawsuit against Swarthmore alleging multiple violations of its own policies and denying him due process. . . .

Colleges and universities, anxious to be removed from the Department of Education’s list of Title IX investigations, are being incentivized to punish students rather than fairly investigate reports of campus sexual assault. It is terrible that John Doe lost months of his life battling this lawsuit that he could have spent getting an education — a potential detriment to his future earnings potential. His case should serve as a reminder for other colleges that if they treat accused students as guilty until proven innocent and deny them due process in kangaroo courts, they will be sued.

I hope it cost them plenty. And if I were a plaintiff’s attorney in a college town, I’d run “HAVE YOU BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT?” ads in the college newspaper on a regular basis.

YOU’VE BEEN GRUBERED! If You Like Your Obamacare Health Plan, You Can Keep It, If HHS Doesn’t Pick a New One For You. “Here’s a Friday Obamacare news-dump for you: In a 300-page regulatory proposal released late this afternoon, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it is considering changing Obamacare’s auto-renewal rules so that, within the health law’s exchanges, instead of being automatically renewed into your current health plan, you’d be moved into the lowest cost plan from the same service tier. . . . It’s not just auto-reenrollment. It’s auto-reassignment. Basically, if you like your plan, but don’t go out of your way to intentionally re-enroll, the kind and wise folks at HHS or state health exchanges might just pick a new plan—perhaps with different doctors, clinics, cost structures, and benefit options—for you. And if you want to switch back? Good luck once open enrollment is closed. There’s always next year. A hassle? Maybe. But have faith: They know what’s best.”

WHAT ABOUT BILL CLINTON’S? Why Is Bill Cosby’s Career Over, But Terry Richardson’s Isn’t? Actually, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy — it’s as if there’s some sort of White Rape Privilege going on here . . . .

UPDATE: Various commenters point out that it’s unfair to put Woody Allen — who faced charges that seemed very dubious — in with the others. That’s a fair point.

HOW THE GOP CAN PLAY Amnesty Jiu-Jitsu.

November 21, 2014

THE INSTA-WIFE: Geeks On Strike?

PROFESSOR SAYS SHE CAN NO LONGER GIVE COMMON-SENSE ADVICE for fear of being accused of victim-blaming.

IT’S ‘COME TO THIS: The Rabid Equality Crowd Finally Outright Admits They Hate Testicles.

SPYING: Utah Considers Cutting Off Water to the NSA’s Monster Data Center.

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More evidence of the Obama “dense pack” approach to scandals. Can I call ‘em, or what?

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HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: UC-Irvine Cuts Class by 29% in Bid for Top 20 Inaugural U.S. News Ranking.

Heh. Just the other day, the parody student newspaper at UT Law contained an announcement that our entering class next year would consist of a single student, recruited with a $1 million scholarship, in order to boost our US News selectivity ranking. . . .

DEVELOP NEW TESTS, DISCOVER NEW THINGS: Minivan crash test ‘among the worst we’ve ever seen.’ “A new series of crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed troubling results for minivans that are often perceived as some of the safest vehicles on the road.”

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BEAM ME UP: NASA Just Set a New Quantum Teleportation Record of 15 Miles.

Of course, if you could actually teleport human-sized objects, we’d probably start with warheads. . . .


I mean, it’s not like it’s especially expensive, I just haven’t ever felt sufficiently motivated.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Scientists: Be Lazy, Don’t Rake Leaves. The science is settled. You don’t want to be anti-science, do you?

LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: $4.15 Per Pound: Ground Beef Climbs to Another Record High. “Five years ago, in October 2009, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $2.177, according to the BLS.” Boy, it’s a good thing we haven’t had any inflation or this would be really bad.

HMM: Triclosan, a common antimicrobial in personal hygiene products, causes liver fibrosis and cancer in mice. This study may overstate the dangers, but it’s also the case that triclosan doesn’t work all that well, and that most of the germs that make us sick are viruses, not bacteria anyway.

MY COLLEAGUE BEN BARTON has a book forthcoming from Oxford University Press: Glass Half Full: The Decline and Rebirth of the Legal Profession. Here’s an early review. Conclusion: “It is, however, a general lack of rose-colored glasses that is precisely this book’s strength. Barton offers some plausible positivity without being Pollyannaish. For its comprehensive and accessible (and often entertaining!) account of where we have been, where we are, and where we are headed, this book should be included on the 2015 ‘must-read’ lists of members of the profession.”

I’ve read this in manuscript and it’s excellent.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: VIDEO: Poli sci prof dresses as Cheney for Halloween, pretends to shoot up class.

IN THE MAIL: Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future. I talked with Neal Stephenson about this project a while ago. Glad to see it’s borne fruit!

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 561.


On Wednesday, Portland, Ore. police arrested Terrence Patrick Bean, who has been charged with two felony counts of having sex with a minor last year. This man is not just any old guy accused of having sex with a 15-year-old – he’s a big-money Democratic donor and liberal political activist with connections inside the Obama White House. Bean raised more than a half-million dollars for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. . . .

A search of the Federal Election Commission’s campaign-finance database turns up thousands in donations every cycle by Bean to the Democratic Party’s most powerful leaders, including Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Dick Durbin, and Rep. Barney Frank, among others. Photos of Bean posted online show him flying on Air Force One with Obama.

Although this report is in USA Today, I assume the major TV networks — which haven’t even covered Jonathan Gruber — will give this story a pass. Remember: Making sure you know what they want you to know is job #2 for them; making sure you don’t know what they don’t want you to know is job #1.

DISCIPLINE AND PUNISH: The University Policy That Fails Everyone.

Amid growing concern over sexual misconduct on American college campuses, the idea that the accused don’t deserve full legal representation has put some feminists and university administrators on the wrong side of morality and of the law. Fortunately, the reaction against this overreach is gaining ground, according to a new piece in the New York Times on lawyers who are pushing back against the way colleges handle these kinds of disciplinary proceedings. . . .

Rape is a horrible crime. To say that young people accused of rape are entitled to fair legal protections isn’t to endorse, defend, or enable rape. Nor is it to ignore the struggles that victims have in being believed or getting justice or protection. Sadly, some people have lost sight of these obvious facts.

Nevertheless, sending a few more lawyers to college campuses will not change the cultural conditions that have led to widespread sexual assault. The dysfunction of campus sexual assault policy—for the victims and the accused alike—traces to the mess that college life has become for many students. Where binge drinking, drug use, and the hook-up culture have taken hold, vulnerable young people are exposed to painful and damaging interactions. Meanwhile, administrators are often reluctant to address these toxic trends, and ill-equipped to handle the fallout.

Young women (and not only young women) are not helped by a culture that celebrates casual sex in an atmosphere of unrestrained use of alcohol and other drugs. Feminists and others are right that the situation on some campuses is unacceptable, but the “affirmative consent” paradigm seems like a dubious solution in this context.

The upside is that it will make some lawyers rich.

SO, BASICALLY, IT WAS A FAILURE THEN: Children Still Struggle to Read in the Neighborhood Where the Latino-Rights Movement Began.

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HOWIE CARR ON DEMOCRATS’ DESPERATE FLIP-FLOP ON AMNESTY: “These illegal aliens are willing to do the work that Americans will no longer do — namely, vote Democrat.”

UPDATE: You know, if one of the GOP big-money donors — I’m looking at you, Sheldon Adelson — is smart, he’ll fund a welcome-wagon operation in swing states. Reach out to these newly-amnestied immigrants, help them get jobs, connect them with social services, offer them American civics education to help integrate, register them Republican. . . .

DAVID DAYEN: Why Gruber-Gate Is So Devastating To Democrats. “The growing impression that politicians don’t play straight with their constituents is completely toxic, particularly to Democrats, who actually want to use government to improve people’s lives. It’s one thing to downplay unpalatable choices made in the law; it’s another to never disclose the consequences of legislation until it’s too late for anyone to react. Combine that with the moustache-twirling of a Jonathan Gruber, saying that the idiots should be happy for what they got, and you have basically every conservative stereotype about liberal elites confirmed.”

GOOD: Tennessee District Attorney Restricts Use Of Civil Forfeiture. This policy seems like a good policy for law enforcement in general.

TRANSPARENCY IS FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: IRS thinks its employees’ income info should be kept away from investigators.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: VIDEO: Berkeley students prefer ISIS flag to Israeli flag.

JERRY POURNELLE: Don’t Panic Over Obama’s Executive Amnesty.

LIFE IN THE OBAMA ERA: Poverty Number Highest Since Records Were Kept:

The official U.S. unemployment rate has indeed fallen steadily during the past few years, but the economic recovery has created the fewest jobs relative to the previous employment peak of any prior recovery. The labor-force participation rate recently touched a 36-year low of 62.7%. The number of Americans not in the labor force set a record high of 92.6 million in September. Part-time work and long-term unemployment are still well above levels from before the financial crisis.

Worse, middle-class incomes continue to fall during the recovery, losing even more ground than during the December 2007 to June 2009 recession. The number in poverty has also continued to soar, to about 50 million Americans. That is the highest level in the more than 50 years that the U.S. Census has been tracking poverty. Income inequality has risen more in the past few years than at any recent time.

Related: Number of Ultra Rich Increased 6% in 2014.

Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.


USA TODAY EDITORIALIZES: Obama’s wrong way to do the right thing: The sweeping nature of his immigration plan amounts to executive overreach.

Best-case scenario: The Supreme Court knocks it down quickly, as in the Steel Seizure Case, and then he and Congress have to actually come to something mutually satisfactory if anything is to happen. You know, the way the Constitution says.

Worst-case scenario: Americans decide we’re not living under the rule of law anymore, adopt third-world strategies of evasion, passive resistance.

BOMBSHELL: Email Proves that White House, DOJ Targeted Reporter Sharyl Attkisson.

Judicial Watch reports that the Obama administration has turned over about 42,000 pages of documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal. The administration was forced to turn the documents over to Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Judicial Watch is posting them on its web site. The administration turned them over on November 18, 2014.

One of the documents provides smoking gun proof that the Obama White House and the Eric Holder Justice Department colluded to get CBS News to block reporter Sharyl Attkisson. Attkisson was one of the few mainstream media reporters who paid any attention to the deadly gun-running scandal.

In an email dated October 4, 2011, Attorney General Holder’s top press aide, Tracy Schmaler, called Attkisson “out of control.” Schmaler told White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz that he intended to call CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer to get the network to stop Attkisson.

Schultz replied, “Good. Her piece was really bad for the AG.”

Schultz also told Schmaler that he was working with reporter Susan Davis, then at the National Journal, to target Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA). Issa led the House investigation into Fast and Furious. Davis now works at USA Today. In the email chain, Schultz tells Schmaler that he would provide Davis with “leaks.”

Davis wrote a critical piece on Issa a few weeks later.

Attkisson was later subjected to hacking of her computer by people who remain unknown, but who likely belong to a government agency. She and CBS parted ways earlier in 2014, and Attkisson has since said that the network blocked her reports from airing.

As Michael Barone says, gangster government.

POLL: Lukewarm Latino support for Obama executive action.

A six-percentage-point margin of approval is far short of overwhelming. A higher number of Latinos, 56 percent, told pollsters they would support congressional action on the issue, and 69 percent supported the idea of a pathway to citizenship for those now here illegally. But a core of Latinos opposed those measures too: 32 percent opposed congressional action, and 30 percent opposed a pathway.

And even more oppose unilateral Obama action. It turns out Latino support for the president’s strategy, which doesn’t even amount to a majority, is not quite as decisive as some advocates hope.

Plus, from IowaHawk: “LOL at all those Latin American immigrants who came here to escape tinpot dictatorships.”

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Obama’s Amnesty Threatens To Shut Constitution.

There’s more at stake here than mere political fortunes. We are at the constitutional tipping point that Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley warned us about as Obama continues to wield executive authority that he himself once said he did not have.

We live in a constitutional republic, and the president who says he cannot wait for the Congress to act ignores a Constitution that says he has to. Article I, Section 8 gives Congress exclusive authority to “establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization” and Article II, Section 3 says that it’s the president’s duty “to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Yeah, he doesn’t care about that.

JAMES BOVARD: The Closer Intellectuals Get To Power, The More They Deceive.

November 20, 2014

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: “The Court does not know how [the state] prioritizes projects, but dealing with an unconstitutional law should be towards the top of the list.” “In August, U.S. District Judge Anthony Ishii struck down the California 10-day waiting period to buy guns for people who are known to the state to already own guns — a narrow but significant Second Amendment decision. Today, Judge Ishii declined to issue a stay of his decision; here’s part of the reasoning.”

MEANWHILE, IN BRITAIN: Labour Front-Bencher Sacked For Mocking Patriotism.

IOWAHAWK: “If he’s gonna pretend to make the law, we should pretend to obey it.”


IMPERIAL PRESIDENT: The Hill: Obama moves to give legal status to 5 million illegal immigrants.

Plus: Obama Would Veto Any Bill Undoing Immigration Executive Action.

And: Sen. Sessions reacts: We must stop Emperor Obama.

Plus, this observation on tone from Moe Lane, which is spot-on: “Barack Obama wants you to be angry. The Democrats NEED you to be angry. So don’t be. Smile, shake your head ruefully, and say no. Nicely.”

Plus, from Mickey Kaus: Don’t Count Out the Court.

With Obama’s executive amnesty imminent, anonymous White House aides are cockily dismissing John Boehner’s threatened lawsuit against it as a stunt. Even among opponents of executive amnesty — and I’m with them — there’s a tendency to pooh pooh the suit. It’s a loser, it will take forever to decide, it’s an attempt to ‘redirect Republican rage’ away from budgetary remedies like denying funding, etc.

Not so fast. I’m all for giving defunding a try — also holding up appointments — but don’t sell the lawsuit short. I’ll even go so far as to lay down an Yglesias style marker: If Obama’s executive action is as broad as described, the Supreme Court will strike it down.

I think he’s right. I agree that this is comparable to the Steel Seizure Case. And I’m also a fan of Richard Neely.

Plus — Exclusive! Must Credit Instapundit! — a photo of President Obama immediately after his speech.


NEWS YOU CAN USE: 6 Ways To Make Sure Your Daughter Doesn’t Become A ‘Mean Girl.’

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TEACH OBAMA SUPPORTERS NOT TO RAPE: USA Today: Top Obama bundler accused of child rape.

Conservatives complain that President Obama gets a free pass from the media, which acts as a de-facto public-relations shop for the Democrat in the White House. Never has that charge seemed truer than now as an ugly rape scandal unfolds on the west coast.

On Wednesday, Portland police arrested Terrence Patrick Bean, who has been charged with two felony counts of having sex with a minor last year. This man is not just any old guy accused of having sex with a 15-year-old – he’s a big-money Democratic donor and liberal political activist with connections inside the Obama White House. Bean raised more than a half-million dollars for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.

“Bean has been one of the state’s biggest Democratic donors and an influential figure in gay rights circles in the state,” reports “He helped found two major national political groups, the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and has been a major contributor for several Democratic presidential candidates, including Barack Obama.”

A search of the Federal Election Commission’s campaign-finance database turns up thousands in donations every cycle by Bean to the Democratic Party’s most powerful leaders, including Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Dick Durbin, and Rep. Barney Frank, among others. Photos of Bean posted online show him flying on Air Force One with Obama.

The scandal is escalating. Earlier today, according to local media Kiah Loy Lawson, allegedly 66-year-old Bean’s 25-year-old former boyfriend, was arrested by the Portland Sex Crimes Unit for sexually abusing the same boy. After the relationship between the two men ended, Lawson went public with claims that Bean had a practice of secretly videotaping himself having sex with others.

​This story was first reported by the local press, and there have been vague references to sexual trouble for Bean and Lawson since June, but the national media has not picked it up. That oversight is politically convenient for President Obama as he tries to pull off one of his riskiest political moves ever with his amnesty executive order.

Telling you what they want you to know is job #2; not telling you what they don’t want you to know is job #1.

TAKING ON THE SICILIAN MAFIA WITH GANDHI TACTICS. “Palermo, the largest city in Sicily, is at the heart of mafia country. In the past, trade association surveys have shown that about 80 percent of the town’s shops were paying pizzo. But now more than 900 Sicilian firms, a majority of them in Palermo, are publicly refusing to give money to the mob, thanks to one of the most remarkable social movements to emerge in the last decade. Addiopizzo—Italian for ‘Goodbye, protection money’—is resisting the racketeers with tactics you’re more likely to associate with Gandhi or the Arab Spring than a campaign against organized crime. The store mentioned on that tapped telephone call was affiliated with Addiopizzo, and the mafiosi didn’t think that trying to collect from it would be worth the inevitable trouble.”

Can we apply this approach to the IRS?

GALLERY: Buffalo Snow Photos.

WHEN POPEHAT turns poet.

SPYING: Feds To Apple: If We Can’t Read iMessages, A Child Will Die. Well, if that happens it will be because people don’t trust the feds to act appropriately.

GET READY FOR “BAD LUCK” AT THE Amazon Emergency Prep Store. Plus, Emergency & Long-Term Storage Food Deals.

Plus, Generators and Portable Power for Storm Season.

And, save over 40% off the Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor. And also, over 40% off the Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor. Back when I was doing serious cardio I had a Polar heart rate monitor, and I thought it was very useful. The new ones, of course, are much fancier.

BY NOW EVERYONE HAS HEARD OF BOLLYWOOD, but the #3 film industry in the world — and it’s #2 by some measures — is Nigeria’s, known as “Nollywood.” My lovely and talented sister-in-law has started a service called Nollyland that lets you stream films to pretty much any device — the tech is really slick as it auto-sizes for different data rates and displays. Here’s an article on the service. And the films aren’t just from Nigeria, but also from Ghana and other African film industries.

Related: NollyLand app snapped up ‘like hotcakes.’

UPDATE: In the comments, people are asking for specific film recommendations. I emailed my brother, who’s watched a lot more of them than I have, and he replies: “King of Shitta is one of the most technically/artistically impressive movies. I’d go with that and A Christmas Passion, which is a tender love story.” And he relays that his lovely wife recommends Love of My Life. (Bumped).

WELL, NHTSA HASN’T COVERED ITSELF WITH GLORY LATELY: Obama nominates Mark Rosekind for next NHTSA administrator. “Rosekind has served the past four years as a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, the independent government organization that investigates transportation accidents and makes recommendations to other agencies on how to strengthen safety. His appointment is still subject to Senate approval, but safety advocates believe he’ll be an effective new leader for the beleaguered agency.”