April 27, 2015

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Diversity Uber Alles At Chapel Hill. Universities like to focus on things like “sustainability” and “diversity” because they produce outputs for which they are likely to be held accountable.

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LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE:

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And this remains evergreen:

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YOU KNOW, TOO MANY STORIES LIKE THIS AND PEOPLE WILL START TO THINK THAT LAWYERS RUIN EVERYTHING: Meet The Class-Action Lawyer Who’s Going After Uber and Lyft.

PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE, PACE DREHER, IS NOT BACKING DOWN: “I am a sinner who is far from perfect. But I refuse to be a closeted sinner. And if my colleagues don’t like that, all I can say is ‘Come and Have a Go If You Think You’re Hard Enough.’” If you say that, and mean it, they will leave you alone. Like all bullies, they’re cowards.

VIDEOS: Lightning In the Erupting Calbuco Volcano. Plus: “So far the Calbuco eruption does not look to be as big as Mount Pinatubo in 1991 or Mount St. Helens in 1980. Pinatubo lowered global temperatures by about 0.5C. The big eruptions matter because they can cause climate changes that cause crop failures. An eruption on the scale of the 1815 Tambora eruption would cause massive crop failures and famine in many countries.”

LIFE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: Seven officers injured, one unresponsive in Baltimore riot: police.

Related:

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VIRTUAL, MY HINEY:  Elizabeth Warren’s Virtual Candidacy.  Mark my words:  Warren will run, and her platform will be indistinguishable from Obama III.  Progressives are salivating at the prospect.

EVEN? ESPECIALLY! You Should Google Everyone, Even Your Therapist.

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I SMELL A WISCONSIN RAT:  Reporter M.D. Kittle at WisconsinWatchdog.org asks a very interesting question:  What did the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel know, and when did it know it?  The question relates to the Journal-Sentinel reporters’ knowledge of a pre-dawn paramilitary-style raid of the home of Cindy Archer, a fomer aide to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and one of the architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10, which reformed that State’s public sector unions.

The raid of Archer’s home occurred in the early morning hours of Wednesday, September 14, 2011.  At the time of the raid, Archer saw an individual that she believed to be a reporter, standing in her lawn.  But the question became:  How would a reporter even know that Archer’s home was being raided?  Someone had to tip the Journal-Sentinel off.  But under Wisconsin law, disclosure of a search warrant’s issuance, prior to its execution, is a Class I felony and could also violate the judge’s secrecy order of the John Doe investigation itself.

The Journal Sentinel ran a story on the Archer raid on the same day that the raid occurred (Sept. 14, 2011), authored by reporter Jason Stein.  In that story, Stein suggests that the raid was associated with the ongoing John Doe investigation:

About a dozen law enforcement officers, including FBI agents, raided the home of a former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday as part of a growing John Doe investigation.

The home on Dunning St. on Madison’s east side is owned by Cynthia A. Archer, who was until recently deputy administration secretary to the Republican governor. Archer, 52, now holds a different state job but is on paid sick leave, records show.

“We’re doing a law enforcement action,” one of the FBI agents told a reporter.

He didn’t identify himself or provide further comment but confirmed that he and three others were with the FBI and that a Dane County sheriff’s deputy was present.

The raid on Archer’s home coincides with a John Doe investigation in Milwaukee County.

That probe was started last year after the Journal Sentinel reported that another Walker staffer who was being paid by Milwaukee County taxpayers to help citizens with county services was instead using her work time to post anonymous comments supporting candidate Walker on websites and blogs. As part of the investigation, authorities earlier seized the work computers of two former Walker staffers and executed a search warrant of one of their homes.

Stein also intimates that Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm, one of the John Doe prosecutors, was involved in the raid:

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm also declined to comment.

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said one of his deputies had been placed at Archer’s house during the search at the request of investigators from Chisholm’s office. Mahoney said his office wasn’t involved in the investigation.

Sources indicated that Chisholm’s office continues to take the lead in the case of Walker’s former county staffers, with federal authorities providing assistance with computers and other digital technology.

The rest of the Stein story describes prior John Doe raids initiated by Chisholm’s office.  Stein may have just guessed that the raid was John Doe-related, but the tone of his piece seems more confident than that.

Journal Sentinel reporter Patrick Marley–not Stein– has admitted that he was the reporter Cindy Archer saw in her lawn.  But Stein admits that he, not Marley, was tipped off about the Archer raid, and he merely asked Marley to observe and take notes because Marley lived closer to Archer’s home.

So the question remains:  Who tipped off Stein (a political reporter) about the Archer raid?  Stein denies that his source was a prosecutor or law enforcement officer, and it’s theoretically possible (though somewhat farfetched) that one of Archer’s groggy neighbors just happened to know Stein’s home or cell phone number and called him in the middle of the night to tip him off.

The John Doe investigation has been plagued by selective leaks all along, is an ongoing problem, and is almost invariably favorable to the prosecutors. All of this strongly indicates that the source of these leaks is an insider in the John Doe investigation.  While Stein appears to claim a reporters’ privilege to protect his source regarding the Archer raid, Wisconsin does not have a reporters’ shield statute, its courts have recognized only a qualified privilege pursuant to its state constitutional equivalent of the First Amendment.  So in theory, the identity of Stein’s source could be revealed under the right circumstances.

But regardless of Stein’s possible privilege, it seems evident that there is a serious and continuing leak in the Wisconsin John Doe investigation, and that it warrants an investigation of its own.

Indeed, if it hadn’t been for the courage of Eric O’Keefe of the Wisconsin Club for Growth–who has defied the ridiculous gag order imposed on John Doe targets–the only knowledge the public would have today about the investigation would come from these one-sided, pro-investigation leaks. But getting the truth about an issue of such public importance shouldn’t depend upon the courage of one person. The leak’s one-way nature and suspicious timing only amplify the impression that the entire investigation is, as O’Keefe’s lawsuit contends, a political witch hunt, designed to silence conservatives in the State.  Thankfully, O’Keefe is punching back twice as hard.

NOW IN CANADA, every time a new regulation is enacted, an old one of equivalent burden must be eliminated. Can we do that here?

Thankfully, regulatory transparency got a considerable boost Thursday when the Red Tape Reduction Act (C-21) received Royal Assent and became law. Minister Tony Clement, who has championed the bill, can be proud that Canada is now the first country in the world to require that for every new regulation introduced one of equivalent burden must be removed.

C-21, has been operating as policy for several years already, which means that the costs of new rules must be quantified and equal or greater costs removed. It essentially caps the cost of rules coming directly from regulations. Government rules can also come from legislation and policy so the one-for-one rule is not a cap on the cost of all government rules. Still, it is a very good start.

Why is this so important? Regulation, both necessary and unnecessary (red tape), are a huge hidden tax on all Canadians. The latest estimate from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business suggests that regulation costs $37 billion a year. To be clear, not all of these costs could or should be eliminated. But Canada’s small business owners suggest that about 30 per cent of these costs, $11 billion, could be eliminated with no negative impact on human health, safety or the environment. This number seems reasonable given that British Columbia has reduced its regulatory requirements over the past decade by over 40 per cent with no one arguing the cuts had any serious negative impacts.

(Via Against Crony Capitalism).

WHEN BOTS COLLUDE: Can Algorithms Create A Price-Fixing Cartel? A nice piece citing the paper by my colleague Maurice Stucke and Oxford’s Ariel Ezrachi that I linked the other day.

PLANETARY DEFENSE: A gentle nudge with a nuke: deflecting Earth-bound asteroids.

AFTERBURNER: The Class of 2015: Book Burners Afraid of Matches | Bill Whittle.

THE MESSAGE MAY NOT SINK IN UNTIL A FEW BUREAUCRATS ARE TARRED AND FEATHERED: “If there’s an overriding principle, it ought to be this: Let parents raise their kids as they see fit.”

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): My husband had a long affair with his aunt—starting when he was 16.

ROGER KIMBALL: Annals of corruption: What’s real, what’s parody?

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Hillary’s Scandals: Who Wins, Who Loses?

IN THE MAIL: From David Ignatius, The Director: A Novel.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 716.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Why Chinese Students Do Better.

The Chinese favour a “chalk and talk” approach, whereas countries such as the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand have been moving away from this direct form of teaching to a more collaborative form of learning where students take greater control.

Given China’s success in international tests such as PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS, it seems we have been misguided in abandoning the traditional, teacher-directed method of learning where the teacher spends more time standing at the front of the class, directing learning and controlling classroom activities. . . .

Beginning in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, teachers began to experiment with more innovative and experimental styles of teaching. These included basing learning on children’s interests, giving them more control over what happened in the classroom and getting rid of memorising times tables and doing mental arithmetic. This approach is known as inquiry or discovery learning.

Based on this recent study of classrooms in the UK and China and a recent UK report titled What makes great teaching?, there is increasing evidence that these new-age education techniques, where teachers facilitate instead of teach and praise students on the basis that all must be winners, in open classrooms where what children learn is based on their immediate interests, lead to under-performance.

Well, the chalk-and-talk approach is proven. The newer approaches seemed more exciting because they were new, and they also offered more opportunities to politicize the curriculum in appealing ways.

PRAY THIS WOMAN NEVER TEACHES YOUR CHILDREN:  Meg Stentz, a teacher in North Charleston, S.C., has written an “opinion” piece in Cincinnati.com (apparently she grew up in Cincinnati) lamenting racial violence.  Her lead paragraph is unremarkable, but her second paragraph is worth a close read:

Just over a week after Walter Scott was gunned down, the Rev. Jesse Jackson returned to his home state to speak about the national tragedy. He spoke to less than 100 people, including media. The event was put on by the small, young, grassroots group leading the local resistance, Black Lives Matter of Charleston.

Jackson offered the media a chance to ask questions after his talk. The first came from a flushed white man, who said that since Jackson was calling for police to wear cameras, he wanted to know how many officers Jackson had spoken to himself. This white micro-aggression, this nearly purposeful missing the point, has been largely how I’ve perceived Charleston to be taking this horrifying incident.

So apparently, in Ms. Stentz’s infinite wisdom, asking Jesse Jackson a logical question about whether he had spoken to police about wearing cameras is a “white micro-aggression.”  Not a “micro-aggression,” mind you– a white micro-aggression.  Is there really any other kind?

And of course this “aggressive” question came from a flushed white man.  Again, is there any other kind?  They’re just so, you know, pasty-faced– a bunch of Pillsbury Dough Boys, really.  I’m sure his “flushing” emanated from some unconscious physiological acknowledgment of his own whiteness and micro-aggressive behavior.

But wait, it gets worse:

After being raised in Ohio, I moved to now-well-known North Charleston to teach in a Title 1 middle school. My roommates are also transplants and teachers, meaning they’re at least as liberal as most of the North and still observant of how the South operates.

Of course, Ms. Stentz never bothers to explain “how the South operates,” but the educated (read: liberal) reader will understand what this means without elaboration (wink, wink, nod, nod).  You know, it’s how the South operates.  In case you don’t understand (because your white privilege or something is blocking your awareness), she thankfully makes her meaning clear in her closing paragraph:

In the Deep South, complacency is king, and the reaction here, even to sensationalized coverage, is minimal. My students are not angry, because anger only springs from a belief that things could be different. This racial violence is all they’ve known. I hope one day, that won’t be true, but from where I’m standing, the only people up in arms about this “news” are north of the Mason-Dixon line.

Well, thank you Ms. Stentz for condemning an entire region as racists.  I’m sure you know this is true, since you grew up in the pure, non-racist, above-the-Mason-Dixon State of Ohio and everything.

And I’m sure Southern racism persists because of the enormous influx of Northerners over the last several decades, as well the reverse migration of  of blacks into the South.  Oh, wait–those aren’t “real” Southerners (wink/nod)–they’re virtuous transplants from north, so they don’t really count as Southerners.  That term only applies to people who are direct descendants of Confederate soldiers–such as Bushrod Johnson, a Confederate General from Ohio– as any intelligent person knows.

And besides, there’s never any racial violence anywhere else, and it’s never initiated by minority groups.  #Ferguson #FreddieGray #NYCcopambush

This is the kind of intelligent discourse our universities are encouraging, awarding degrees to those who reflexively mirror their liberal/progressive professors’ views, all while flying the banner of #diversity and #tolerance.   And to make matters worse, she is a teacher.

EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH WASHINGTON: The White House Correspondents’ Dinner: “Everyone knows the White House Correspondents Association dinner is broken. What started off decades ago as a stately formal celebration of the best of presidential reporting has morphed into a four-day orgy of everything people outside the Beltway hate about life inside the Beltway—now it’s not just one night of clubby backslapping, carousing and drinking between the press and the powerful, it’s four full days of signature cocktails and inside jokes that just underscore how out of step the Washington elite is with the rest of the country. It’s not us (journalists) versus them (government officials); it’s us (Washington) versus them (the rest of America).”

It’s no surprise to anyone who has seen The Hunger Games.

Jay Rosen writes: “True! And yet they keep doing it. Why?” Contra Rosen’s predictable take, it’s not Bush’s fault. Thronesniffers gotta throne-sniff. And this is how these people get revenge for not receiving the adulation they think they deserved in High School.

Related: When Washington fiddled while Baltimore burned. “So, where were the cable networks on Saturday night as Baltimore was rocked by violence? Telling their viewers to go to Twitter if they wanted to read the news. . . . That editorial instinct, one shared by virtually every media outlet, reflects a toxic level of self-veneration and an ugly disdain for the public this institution supposedly serves.”

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Hillary’s Scandals: Who Wins, Who Loses?

THEY SHOULD BE: Are Democratic Insiders Starting To Panic About Hillary?

HE’S SMALL, PETTY, AND INSECURE, AND THUS CAN BROOK NO DISAGREEMENT: At correspondents dinner, Obama lets second-term anger out.

ETHICS RULES ARE ONLY FOR REPUBLICANS: Shouldn’t @ABC News explain their @GStephanopoulos policy to their viewers? How can he cover the Clinton scandals with his clear conflict?

VIRGINIA POSTREL: Breaking Moore’s Law? Does Not Compute.

LIFE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA.

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Related.

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Background here.

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): America’s Most Gullible Senator, Or Its Most Dishonest?

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: State restrictions on concealed carry by noncitizens are unconstitutional.

A federal district court in North Carolina held Friday that North Carolina may not discriminate against permanent resident noncitizens in issuing licenses to carry concealed guns. (Messmer v. Harrison.) The U.S. Supreme Court’s D.C. v. Heller decision said that general bans on concealed carry of guns are constitutional, because the have been around in many states starting with the early 1800s. But the Supreme Court held that state laws discriminating against noncitizens — even as to activities that aren’t themselves constitutional rights — usually violate the Equal Protection Clause. That seems to be the court’s rationale in this case.

I think the court’s result is quite right, and other courts have recently held the same, see Smith v. South Dakota (D.S.D. 2011); Say v. Adams (W.D. Ky. 2008); Jackson v. Eden (D.N.M. 2014). And there are older precedents supporting that, too: People v. Rappard (Cal. Ct. App. 1972) and State v. Chumphol (Nev. 1981). State v. Vlacil (Utah 1982), did uphold a ban on noncitizens’ possessing guns (not just carrying them concealed), but I think that was a mistake.

Note that none of this affects bans on gun possession by illegal aliens; such bans have been uniformly upheld. It also doesn’t affect bans on gun carrying or gun possession by noncitizens who are legally here but aren’t permanent residents — a category that includes not just tourists but also people who have lived here for many years, for instance on work visas that let them work in a particular job. Federal law generally bans gun possession by such non-permanent-residents; it doesn’t violate the Equal Protection Clause, because courts have said that the federal government may generally discriminate against noncitizens, but it might violate the Second Amendment, at least as applied to gun possession and not concealed carrying. I know of no cases that have dealt with the federal non-permanent-resident possession ban.

Plus: “A possibly surprising fact: The South Dakota and Kentucky cases were brought by the local ACLU chapters; though the ACLU generally views the Second Amendment as not securing an individual right to own guns (and thus disagrees with the Supreme Court), local chapters are apparently willing to challenge some discriminatory gun laws.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: LSU To Draft Insolvency Plan As Jindal Cuts Loom. “Exigency, declared when schools face insolvency, would allow the state’s flagship institution to restructure and fire tenured faculty.”

THE HILL: Cruz warns of ‘liberal fascism’ targeting Christians.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Saturday said Democrats had gone to extremes in their persecution of Christians.

“Today’s Democratic Party has decided there is no room for Christians in today’s Democratic Party,” he said at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition summit in Waukee, Iowa.

“There is a liberal fascism that is going after Christian believers,” the 2016 GOP presidential candidate continued.

“It is heartbreaking,” Cruz argued. “But it is so extreme, it is waking people up.”

“Liberal fascism.” What a catchy term!

Plus: Rubio: ‘The wrong people’ run America.

“Our nation is on the verge of another American century,” Rubio said. “It begins by turning the page on leaders trapped in yesterday.” . . .

Rubio cited flaws in Obama’s economic and foreign policies as the cause of fears over dwindling U.S. influence. First and foremost, the Florida lawmaker argued, were outdated notions towards America’s jobs market.

“Adjusting to the 21st century means understanding that automation and technology have ultimately changed the nature of work,” he charged.

Rubio next criticized Obama’s actions on the world stage. The president’s chief misstep, he claimed, was his tentative pact with Iran on its nuclear energy program.

“We can’t be a strong country if we are ambivalent towards our allies and accommodating of our enemies,” he said.

“How can it be that our president shows more respect for the Ayatollah in Iran than our allies in Israel?” Rubio added of Obama’s interactions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.

“There has always been evil, but never in so many places and in so many ways,” he concluded of the global atmosphere.

America has the worst political class in its history. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner’s sole positive function is to make that abundantly clear.

“POVERTY KILLS:” Rand Simberg on the tragedy of Nepal.

ANOTHER PIECE OF PARODY THAT’S SO CLOSE TO REALITY IT’S NOT EVEN PARODY, WHICH ONLY MAKES IT BETTER: Eric Holder Takes $77 Million Job With JPMorgan Chase. Or worse. . . .

NEWS FOR THE LEFT: Witch-Hunts Are Not Reality-Based.

ANDREW KLAVAN: Actors Quit ‘Ferguson’ Because ‘Truth is Subjective!’

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: What LSU Portends for the Future of Legal Education. “When we are trying to figure out what is going to happen with law schools we need to think through what is going to happen with universities. Regardless of what law schools do, if they become financial burdens on their host universities it can be expected that the universities will initiate actions. One is the bankruptcy variation such as reported in relation to LSU in the Boston Globe and the other is the closing of the law school in its entirety and termination of its faculty en masse. The latter approach may be as strategically cynical as closing a school for 3-5 years and then reopening as a new school after ridding the university of faculty during a period in which the demand for new law graduates may increase again.”

Yep. “Financial exigency” lets you override tenure for economic reasons. If economic conditions change, there’s nothing stopping schools from starting over, with new, cheaper hires. Accreditors might be a speed bump, but if more than a couple of schools do this, the accreditors will roll over. They have to have someone to accredit, after all.

April 26, 2015

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Hillary’s Scandals: Who Wins, Who Loses?

YEAH, THAT’S PRETTY MUCH IT: Charity watchdog: Clinton Foundation a ‘slush fund.’ “Charity Navigator, which rates nonprofits, recently refused to rate the Clinton Foundation because its ‘atypical business model . . . doesn’t meet our criteria.’” It’s a money-laundry for bribes. I hope that President Walker will order Attorney General Schlichter to investigate it thoroughly.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: George Washington University’s Swastika Problem: The Left discovers the value of fake hate crimes. I notice from Prof. John Banzhaf’s twitter feed that GWU is getting a lot of bad press in India, which they may come to regret since India is a source of many lucrative full-tuition foreign students. Which is why, contra Williamson, I don’t think that this kind of idiocy is the future. I think it’s approaching collapse.

ROGER KIMBALL: Is Ed Miliband Insane? “Let’s leave to one side the fact that Islamophobia is a fantasy tort: a “phobia,” as you dictionary will tell you, is an irrational fear or loathing of something in the noraml course of things is not fearsome or worthy of loathing. But how about Muslim extremism? . . . But here’s the question: if (heaven forfend) Ed Miliband actually moves into Number 10, will he arrest Tony Blair? For he has just gone on record saying that he wants to make “Islamophobia” a crime. Yes, that’s right. Not only does Ed Miliband want to expropriate wealth from the productive class, he wants to make an attitude a crime.”

ON TWITTER, A BUNCH OF LEFTIES ARE BLAMING BUSH FOR DESTABILIZING THE MIDDLE EAST, WHICH PROBABLY MEANS BATTLESPACE PREP FOR STILL MORE TERRIBLE NEWS. So remember, as late as 2010, the Obama Administration was bragging about how stable and successful Iraq was. And, of course, when Bush left office Syria, Yemen, Libya, Egypt were all stable. But they’ll blame Bush as long as they can get away with it, because it’s better than admitting that Obama has been an absolute disaster in foreign policy.

But, you know, the problem for them is that Obama has been an absolute disaster in foreign policy.

THE LONGER-TERM CONSEQUENCES OF MAKING “RACIST” THE EQUIVALENT OF “ENEMY OF THE REGIME” ARE LIKELY TO BE POOR: David French: Feds Play the Race Card to Crush Parents’ Revolt Against Common Core. If they keep this up, people may come to feel that racism isn’t so bad.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the Obama Administration if its reflexive accusations of racism weren’t also just a cover for its staggering ineptitude: “The federal government is flexing its muscles to protect an allegedly state-run program. Liberals are treating other liberals like they’re racist. Even the teachers’ unions are calling Common Core’s rollout ‘botched’ and walking back their ‘once-enthusiastic’ support for the program. It looks like the education technocracy is every bit as ineffective as the rest of our national technocracies.”

RUTH WEDGWOOD ON FACEBOOK: “John Kerry will run for president.”

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JOHN HINDERAKER: Our Mean-Spirited President Cuts Loose.

MY THOUGHTS ON LIFE IN AMERICA.

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TOO GOOD TO CHECK? Hillary Furious as Thousands of Americans Send Cigars to Her Office.

JOHN NOLTE: Gay Panic: Jenner, Rubio, Cruz Shock Parochial Mainstream Media.

IT’S NOT CHEATING WHEN THEY DO IT: Report: DHS Adding Millions of ‘New Americans’ to Vote Democrat in 2016. “Of the 20 states with the highest green card population, 14 are holding Senate races in 2016, so millions of new voters could dramatically impact the election.” This is no accident.

HOW OUR RULING CLASS THINKS: Gillibrand On Rape Hoaxes: ‘I Hope It’s Just Putting More Of A Spotlight On The Problem.’

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BECAUSE DIVERSITY!:  A “diversity” officer at Goldsmiths, University of London, Bahar Mustafa, sponsored a meeting recently to discuss the need for greater “diversity” in the curriculum, announcing on Facebook:

Invite loads of BME [Black and Minority Ethnic] Women and non-binary people!! Also, if you’ve been invited and you’re a man and/or white PLEASE DON’T COME just cos i invited a bunch of people and hope you will be responsible enough to respect this is a BME Women and non-binary event only.

Non-binary is a term that apparently refers to individuals who don’t identify as exclusively male or female.  Ms. Mustafa tried explain the exclusion of whites and men:

Don’t worry lads we will give you and allies things to do.

How thoughtful and inclusive of her, especially for a department that touts as its goals:

  • combat discrimination, victimisation and harassment
  • advance and promote equality of opportunity between different groups
  • foster good relations between people from different groups

Ms. Mustafa–is it a microagression to refer to her as “Ms.”?– describes herself as follows :

I am particularly interested in looking at the gendered body in Japanese pornographic anime and horror through a Foucauldian framework in order to analyse the West’s gaze upon a world it attempts to categorize.  My politics are intersectional, queer, feminist, anti-racist . . . I am a working class, Turkish Cypriot, queer, disabled woman and activist.

Um, okay.  I cannot for the life of me translate that first sentence into English.  She is interested in Japanese anime porn’s portrayal of “gendered” bodies (is there any other kind?) because it attempts to “categorize”?  Whatever.  Yawn.

Apparently, the University was forced to back-walk its exclusionary policy, later posting “ALLIES NOW WELCOME.”   Yeah, right– about as welcome as a bleeding pig in a lion cage.

Can you imagine a University holding an event and publicizing it as “whites only, please?”  Of course you can’t.  “Diversity” is a just a politically-correct label for discrimination against whites, especially white males.  And it most certainly does not include diversity of viewpoint (i.e., conservative thought).

RELATED (kind of):  Abercrombie and Fitch decides to ditch its uber-sexual teen marketing and simultaneously announced  plans to continue to encourage “inclusion and diversity,” such as hiring more non-white “associates” (formerly called “models”).   It also announced plans to establish the A&F Global Diversity and Leadership scholarship program with the National Society of High School Scholars.

Gee, I wonder if this has anything to do with the Supreme Court case currently under consideration, Equal Employment Opportunity Comm’n v. Abercrombie & Fitch?  This is a discrimination claim by a Muslim individual who was not hired by Abercrombie.  During the interview, she wore a headscarf, though it wasn’t mentioned during the interview. She was later told by a friend that she wasn’t hired because of the headscarf.

Bottom line:  Make it very expensive not to hire anyone other than a white male.  And of course, make white men feel unwelcome as much as possible.  Because #diversity!

BECAUSE DIVERSITY!:  Johns Hopkins University student government votes to ban Chick-Fil-A from its campus.  Because, you know, tasty chicken and the whole belief in God thing is a #microaggression against the LGBTQ community.

NEWS FROM THE WISCONSIN STASI: Milwaukee DA John Chisholm Lets The Mask Slip. Again.

For guys who ordered pre-dawn raids using battering rams, the John Doe prosecutors turn out to be kind of touchy… so thin-skinned that they actually let the mask slip.

Milwaukee DA John Chisholm was apparently so unhinged by recent criticism that he actually suggested Saturday that Governor Scott Walker be criminally charged with defamation for criticizing him.

So, no, Chisholm really doesn’t get the First Amendment thing, does he?

And so much for the notion of prosecutorial restraint and Chisholm’s non-political motivations. Normally, prosecutors running a secret investigation that imposes gag orders on subjects avoid public comment. But obviously, they have been feeling the heat — legally, politically. Maybe that’s not surprising, because they’ve had a very bad week. No, make that a bad year.

Chisholm deserves to end up broke and in jail.

ED DRISCOLL: Lambert and Stamp: The Men Who Made The Who.

LIFE IN THESE UNITED STATES: The Plight Of A Christian Professor At An Elite Law School. I totally disagree with Rod Dreher’s counsel of despair. I say, punch back twice as hard. For Jesus! And, yes, I’m totally serious.

WORDS OF WISDOM, FROM JOHN RINGO ON FACEBOOK: “Idiots abound to such an extent one has to pick and choose which ones to care about and which to ignore.”

A TORTUROUS WASTE OF TIME:   Apparently, banning torture — even in one’s constitution — doesn’t do much to reduce the incidence of torture.  A recent study conducted by a couple of law professors concludes that they “do not find any evidence that constitutional torture prohibitions have reduced rates of torture in a statistically significant or substantively meaningful way.”  The authors find that 84% of national constitutions prohibit torture, and yet “countries without constitutional torture bans have actually engaged in less torture” over the 1990-2010 time period studied.

The definition of “torture” itself is highly subjective.  The UN Convention on Torture, for example, defines it as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person”.  But putting that definitional problem aside, torture may well work in some situations, yielding information that could not otherwise be obtained.  Robert Jervis, examining the Senate Intelligence Committee’s controversial report on the CIA’s interrogation program, put it this way in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs:

In judging the torture’s effectiveness, the majority report looks for direct connections between the intelligence derived from the torture and its benefits to national security. But the minority and CIA rebuttals are right to urge a broader view. For one thing, analysts needed a great deal of information about al Qaeda before they could make sense of any one source. By the majority report’s standard, the torture was not effective if it merely contributed to a general understanding of al Qaeda, rather than leading directly to the foiling of a terrorist plot or the capture of an 
al Qaeda member. Yet crucial insights often result from indirect links. It might have been, as the majority report argues, that breaks in many cases came from prisoner interrogations that did not involve torture. But in some cases, interrogators asked those detainees questions because of intelligence that came from others who were tortured. And although the majority report lends little weight to information that simply confirmed other intelligence, such findings can prove invaluable, since tips from individual sources are rarely sufficient to merit action on their own. In essence, the report and the rebuttals talk past each other on this point: the Democrats dismiss evidence of a type that the Republicans and the CIA (rightfully) consider central.

This past week, Amnesty Intenational issued a new report, complaining that the Obama Administration has “done nothing” after the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, and urging DOJ to prosecute CIA and other U.S. officials involved.

Even if one agrees that what the CIA did, post 9/11 was “torture,” the truth remains that in some situations, the risk of not using such techniques may well exceed societal benefits of refraining from their use.  As liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz has put it, “No President would want to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent citizens if he could have prevented these deaths by authorizing the use of nonlethal torture against a guilty terrorist.”

Indeed, there is a logical reason why constitutional prohibitions on torture don’t reduce its use:  We may ban torture, to make ourselves “feel” better.  But given its amorphous definition and potential to save thousands of innocent lives, it will continue to be used in extraordinary situations.  So there is a legitimate question as to whether it is desirable, from the perspective of the rule of law, to ban something society knows (and indeed expects) will be disregarded in the most difficult situations.   And polls show Americans overwhelmingly believe torture is appropriate in such situations.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: ULA’s New Vulcan Rocket Comes Back to Earth via Helicopter. “ULA’s new Vulcan rocket will use BE-4 engines currently being developed by Blue Origin, the private aerospace company of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. They’ll be 20 percent more powerful than the engines currently powering ULA’s Atlas, and Vulcan will be able to handle six strap-on boosters for heavy lifting, as opposed to five on the Atlas. The Vulcan replacement for the Atlas should cost under $100 million, $65 million less than an Atlas launch, and competitive with the SpaceX Falcon. With 65% of the booster costs of the Vulcan wrapped up in the engines, reusability can slash launch costs dramatically. Rather than try to duplicate SpaceX’s not-yet-successful vertical landing to reuse the entire rocket, ULA is planning on reusing just the engines themselves, and to do that, they need to come up with a way of getting them back to Earth in a soft, gentle, non-crashy sort of way.”

OUCH: I Once Ate Barbecue Pork That Was Smoked in an Old Clothes Dryer: That’s how much barbecue sucks in San Francisco. Though, honestly, that wouldn’t necessarily have to be bad. And, in fact, in this case it wasn’t: “It was really, really good. In fact, it was the only edible barbecue sandwich I’ve been able to find in the entire Bay Area—and I’ve looked, I’ve looked really hard.” Which kind of undercuts the great headline.

But is this really a surprise? I mean, the place is a cultural wasteland: “People in San Francisco don’t have any idea how to make barbecue. They also don’t understand iced tea, chicken and waffles, or biscuits and gravy—but it’s the barbecue that really gets me.”

UPDATE: Reader Austin Waine emails:

I grew up in Memphis, went to UT (had several friends who were your students), lived in Nashville for 4 years, and have lived in SF for the last 3.

When I moved here, the BBQ was suspect; but there have been several spots producing good ‘cue. It’s not quite the Wasteland the author described.

http://4505meats.com/ These guys have *killer* brisket. Check out their site background photo and tell me that doesn’t look tasty.

http://sneakysbbq.blogspot.com/ This guy has an underground operation consisting of an email list and weekly pop-ups at SF area bars. He makes killer pork ribs, pulled pork, and even vegan using jackfruit. He uses high quality meat and smokes it in almond wood that doesn’t impart a lot of smoke flavor and brings out the flavor of the meat.

Well, good.

TEST-DRIVING THE 2016 Lexus ES. I don’t care for the “spindle grille.” It’s not quite as big a turnoff as the Acura beak, which I’ve always detested, but I’m not crazy about it.

ACCULTURATED: Fascism in Our Comics: It’s Not Where You Think.

MICHAEL WALSH: The World Barack Obama and Eric Holder Have Made: Baltimore, 2015. “You voted for it, America. And now you’re going to get it, good and hard.”

IN THE MAIL: From Dr. Tara Palmatier & Paul Elam, Say Goodbye to Crazy: How to Rid Yourself of that Crazy Ex and Restore Sanity to Your Life.

Plus, today only at Amazon: Up to 40% Off Cuisinart Grills.

And, also today only: Graco Highback Turbobooster Car Seat, $28.99 (42% off).

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 717.

DEATH BY A THOUSAND LAWSUITS?:   The death penalty may be dying a slow death, by litigation.  The Republican-controlled unicameral Nebraska legislature voted 30-13 (with 17 Republican “yes” votes) to repeal that state’s death penalty. The reasons for lost Republican support are varied:  the inefficiency (and cost) of years of litigation to carry the penalty out; perceived incongruity with pro-life beliefs; fear of wrongful executions; and a shortage of drugs needed to carry out executions.

The drug shortage is the biggest culprit.  The death penalty in most states is carried out by a lethal injection of a three-drug “cocktail”:  (1) an anesthetic (to prevent pain); (2) a paralytic (to paralyze); and (3) potassium chloride (which stops the heart). But in early 2011, U.S. drugmaker Hospira announced it would no longer manufacture sodium thiopental, the primary anesthetic used in the lethal injection cocktail.

Hospira’s exit from the market left States scrambling for a substitute, including purchases of the drug from foreign markets. When death penalty lawyers complained that States lacked legal authority to import sodium thiopental from foreign countries, the Obama Administration seized State stockpiles of the drug, claiming its possession violated federal law.  States then turned to pentobarbital, manufactured by Danish drug company Lundbeck.  But by summer 2011, Lundbeck, too, announced it was denying distribution of the drug to U.S. prisons.

The State of Oklahoma has turned to midazolam hydrochloride as a substitute anesthetic, though it hasn’t specifically been approved by the FDA as such.  It is widely used off-label, however, for anxiety and sedation.  On Thursday, the Supreme Court will hear an Eighth Amendment challenge, Glossip v. Gross, to Oklahoma’s use of midazolam, which claims that its use constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” because midazolam isn’t foolproof at inducing unconsciousness.

The Supreme Court has never struck down a specific death penalty method as unconstitutional.  Indeed, in 2008, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a four-drug lethal injection cocktail in Baze v. Rees.  The Court suggested, however, that a state may violate the ban on cruel and unusual punishment if it continues to use a lethal injection method, without sufficient justification, in the face of superior alternative procedures.  In the Glossip case pending before the Court, therefore, Oklahoma asserts–in an excellent brief authored by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and well-known constitutional lawyer David Rivkin– that the inmate must carry the burden of proving that there are, indeed, superior alternative anesthetics available. They assert:

This Court requires Petitioners to demonstrate the availability of a constitutional alternative method of execution for good reason. Capital punishment is constitutional, and this Court has made clear that States must have a means of carrying it out, even if some pain results as an inescapable consequence of execution. Accordingly, challenges to a method of execution must demonstrate that there exists a feasible alternative method that will result in substantially less pain. Otherwise, a petitioner’s challenge would constitute a challenge to the death penalty itself – an issue foreclosed by the Constitution.

In the event that the Supreme Court uses Glossip to reopen the constitutionality of lethal injection, States are now bringing back older methods of execution including nitrogen gas, the electric chair and firing squad.

States’ adopting a variety of methods is probably the best way to ensure that the death penalty can survive these liberal/progressive “lawfare” tactics.

UPDATE:  Midazolam’s use for anxiety and sedation is “on label,” but its use for maintenance of general anesthesia is off-label.  It should be noted, however, that off-label uses of all FDA-approved drugs is perfectly legal and indeed, common.

MEGAN MCARDLE: Welfare Reform Was, and Still Is, a Good Idea. Yes, but the Democrats’ political strategy requires a large, dependent, easily-mobilized underclass.

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WE CAN’T TALK ABOUT DIVERSITY AROUND PEOPLE WHO ARE DIFFERENT! Anger after white people and men are banned from ‘anti-racism’ rally at British university by its own student union DIVERSITY OFFICER.

A students’ union has been accused of racism and sexism after banning white people and men from an event to promote equality.

Those studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, were invited to the students’ union meeting to discuss ‘diversifying the curriculum’.

But they were shocked when an organiser told white people and men ‘not to come’ as it was only open to BME [black and minority ethnic] women.

The union eventually backed down after a backlash from students, one of whom described the exclusive policy as ‘patronising beyond belief’.

The event, held on Wednesday, was organised by welfare and diversity officer Bahar Mustafa, who said she hoped to persuade academics to broaden courses to include more material relating to minority groups.

Fire her.

THOUGHTS ON UVA AND CAMPUS SEX CULTURE. I’m not convinced that campus sex culture is all that bad — though this piece seems to think otherwise, there are actually fewer sexual assaults on campuses than off — but the hypocrisy and ideological maneuvering of colleges on the subject is pathetic.

FLASHBACK: With so Many Red Flags, Why Isn’t the IRS Auditing the Clinton Foundation? Probably the same reason they’re giving Al Sharpton — and, apparently, the entire on-air staff of MSNBC — a pass.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: How To Save American Colleges.

With acceptance letters in hand, millions of high-schools seniors ruminating over where to attend college—and their parents who are panicked that their kid might pick the place with the best climbing wall—should all take a breath: It doesn’t much matter where you go to college.

What matters is “how you go,” says Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, the former governor of Indiana. He then lays out the results of the Gallup-Purdue Index, a national survey of 30,000 college graduates that was first released last year. The survey attempts to quantify not only what graduates earn but also how well they are navigating adult life.

A mere 39% of college graduates report feeling engaged with their work, and in that group as many hail from top-100 schools as don’t. The three most important contributions that college makes to a sense of workplace thriving after graduation: Having one professor who made you excited about learning, feeling as though teachers cared about you, and working with a mentor. Graduates who checked those boxes were more than twice as likely to sense they are flourishing at work.

But only 14% of those surveyed said they had hit that trifecta in college. Other positive factors from undergraduate experience: working on a long-term project, having an internship and participating in extracurricular activities. Where graduates went to college barely registered as a predictor of job satisfaction.


This surprises me not at all.
But there’s more:

That was two years ago, soon after Mr. Daniels arrived at Purdue. His first order of business: freeze tuition.

“I had a sense, first of all, it seemed like the right thing to do. Not to skip over that. But secondly that we probably could do it without great difficulty,” he says. For decades college tuition has outpaced inflation, forcing students to increase their borrowing, but next year’s Purdue seniors will have never seen a tuition increase.

“I thought this whole process—it’s sort of like a bubble, and people are using that term—just couldn’t go on much further, and so why not get off the escalator before it broke,” he says.

Not many colleges have followed, and Mr. Daniels has a few theories about why. “Corporate boards 15 years ago or so were roundly and rightly criticized for being too compliant with the desires of management. If this was true of corporate boards, I think it’s really been true of a lot of college boards and trustees,” he says. “They have such an affection for dear old alma mater, love those 50-yard-line seats, ‘Whatever you want to do, Mr. President.’ And so it’s been observed a long time that colleges will spend everything they can get their hands on, in the absence of either market pressure or stewardship by a strong-minded board.”

There is also what he considers an “insidious” idea that “if we don’t raise our price, people will think we don’t have confidence in our product.” He points out that “in the absence of proof, people assume a higher price must be a better product or education.” But according to data released last year, half of high-school seniors accepted by their first-choice college attended a different school, and most cited cost as the reason.

The jig is about up. And the many people worried about CEO pay being too high because the board is too close to the CEO might look more closely at higher education, and the nonprofit world in general.

Related: A Degree Signifying Nothing?

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) has released a report titled “The Unkindest Cut: Shakespeare in Exile 2015.” According to the report’s author, Dr. Michael Poliakoff, only 4 out of the top 52 liberal arts colleges and universities in the country require English majors to take a course on Shakespeare. “If reading Shakespeare is not central to a liberal education, what is? For English majors to miss out is far worse. A degree in English without serious study of Shakespeare is like a major in Greek Literature without the serious study of Homer. It is tantamount to fraud. A department that claims to cover the full span of literature written in English and represent the highest standards of academic study cannot marginalize the writer most honored and beloved in English literary history,” writes Poliakoff. The report notes that, while many colleges are giving Shakespeare superficial treatment, trendy courses, and even courses that focus on the works of children’s book authors, are growing in number. As ACTA’s president Anne Neal said in a recent interview, “It’s no wonder that the public is rapidly losing faith in our colleges and universities.”

Well, no, it isn’t.

April 25, 2015

JOURNALISM: CNN To Viewers: Check Twitter If You Want The News. “The most powerful man in the world is going to tell some jokes.”

Related: Rioting In Baltimore While ‘Nerd Prom’ Rages 40 Miles Away In DC.

UPDATE: From the comments: “Student Council wannabes are not nerds.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Salena Zito: Elites, Media, And Character.

THE PERSISTENCE OF JOHN DENVER among the Japanese. Love the pic. I had dinner with John Denver at some National Space Society thing or other, and what struck me most was that he was buff. I remembered the skinny fellow from the 1970s, but he had become much more muscular. He knew a lot about space, too, of course.

WHILE BALTIMORE SAW VIOLENT RIOTS OVER POLICE BRUTALITY, folks in the Capital District were walking the Red Carpet and ignoring the National Anthem at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. “No one is allowed to leave Oriole Park at Camden Yards. There are at least 15,000 people trapped in the stadium.”

UPDATE: Emblematic.

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ANOTHER UPDATE: Yep.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 10.43.21 PM

MORE: This is evergreen:

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 9.59.38 PM

Plus:

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Thronesniffers rejoice in being close enough to smell it.

PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: Honey Badgers, Expelled From Calgary Expo For Questioning Feminism, Seeking Legal Redress.

Is there a Canadian lawyer interested in getting involved?

IF YOU DEMONIZE PEOPLE AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY, THEY MAY GROW LESS LIKELY TO VOTE FOR YOU: The Democrats’ White-Voter Problem, In Two Maps.

THE PHENOMENON OF Mayonnaise Loyalty.

FIGHT THE POWER: Laverne Cox Gets Naked, Exposes Radical Feminist Exclusionism. “Feminist Meghan Murphy reacted to the photo just as Cox suggests that people often react to black and trans women — with disgust, prejudice and horror. . . . That coldness isn’t new. Ideally, you’d hope, feminism would be about fighting for the rights of all women and trying to free all people from oppressive gender stereotypes. In practice, though, the radical feminist tradition of Andrea Dworkin and Janice Raymond, who Murphy champions, has often built itself on exclusion rather than inclusion. Radical feminism’s radicalism is often defined by smearing other women. . . . The logic that led 19th century white feminists to push for votes for white women alone is still, painfully, visible in Murphy’s attack on Cox. Some women are not worthy of kindness, of love or of sisterhood.”

AUDIO: The Power Line Show: We Interview Scott Walker.

WHEN AMERICA SLIPS BEYOND PARODY: Bill Clinton’s Wife Condemns ‘Scourge Of Sexual Assault’ In First Big Speech.

THE PROBLEM WITH “THE SOCIALIST IMPULSE TO CLASSES VERSUS THE CAPITALIST FOCUS ON THE INDIVIDUAL,” courtesy of Prof. Russ Roberts: “Once you begin to see humans as the interchangeable members of a class, you begin to dehumanize them.”

To the political class, that’s not a bug, but a feature, since you can get away with a lot more.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Study: College-Age Concealed Permit Holders Don’t Fit Left’s Lawless Portrayal.

GENDER IN ACADEMIA: Chronicle of Higher Education:

In addition to women’s superiority in judgment, their trustworthiness, reliability, fairness, working and playing well with others, relative freedom from distracting sexual impulses, and lower levels of prejudice, bigotry, and violence, they live longer, have lower mortality at all ages, are more resistant to most categories of disease, and are much less likely to suffer brain disorders that lead to disruptive and even destructive behavior. And, of course, they can produce new life from their own bodies, to which men add only the tiniest biological contribution — and one that soon could be done without. . . . To call being male a syndrome is not an arbitrary judgment.

The eliminationist rhetoric just gets more and more open.

THAT’S PRETTY GOOD IN ANY VEHICLE: 58 hours, 55 minutes! Team drives Tesla P85D from LA to NYC in record time.

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

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, INDOCTRINATION EDITION: Rutgers University offers Hillary Clinton-centric class called ‘A Woman for President?’

QUERCETIN FOLLOWUP: So a while back I mentioned that although I was taking Quercetin as an anti-aging supplement, I also found that it helped with allergies. I’ve continued taking it through peak allergy season here in allergy-awful East Tennessee and it’s definitely made a big difference. Ordinarily at this time of year I’d be taking Sudafed most days; this year I’ve taken half a dose a couple of times as a precaution but I’ve never really needed it. It seems to help the sinus congestion a lot; it doesn’t do as much for my other allergy symptom of itchy eyes, though it seems to have helped somewhat on that front. Anyway, I’m pretty pleased.

UPDATE: From Rand Simberg: “On your advice I’ve started taking Quercetin, too. It’s helped a lot with chronic sinusitis I’ve had all my adult life.”

IN BRITAIN, A BRILLIANT TAX REFORM PROPOSAL:

The sorts of people who get recruited by political causes as celebrity supporters – television personalities, comedians and the like – should have to pay a special “fame levy” of around 20 per cent of their income. This tax would reflect the fact that they get paid to do really cool things, and are at the same time asked to opine about politics without the bother of getting themselves elected to anything.

It would, however, be voluntary. All the celebrities would need to do, to avoid the toll, is sign a public declaration to the effect that they wanted to opt out.

They’d be free to sign or not to sign. Either way, the rest of us would know whether or not to take them seriously when they assured us that they “wouldn’t mind paying a bit more tax” in order to “make society fairer”.

Heh.