ELIZABETH SCALIA: 85 Years Ago, Chesterton nailed the Boomers.
May 24, 2015
BREAKING: Bomb Squad Detonates Suspicious Device at U.S. Capitol. It was a pressure cooker. But not a pressure cooker bomb.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: I could be paying my student loans until I’m 77.
BECAUSE #TOLERANCE!: Charles C.W. Cooke on the Intolerant Jeweler Who Harbored an Impure Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage. Oh, the irony is deep on this one. A Canadian jeweler who opposed same-sex marriage nonetheless makes wedding bands for a lesbian couple. The lesbian couple then demanded their money back, claiming the jeweler’s thoughts tainted their rings.
Geez, either you do or you don’t want service. You cannot, however, demand agreement, even in Canada.
MICHELLE MALKIN: Entrepreneurs Are Not “Lottery Winners.”
For radical progressives, life is a Powerball drawing. Success is random. Economic achievement is something to be rectified and redistributed to assuage guilt. Only those who take money, not those who make it by offering goods and services people want and need, act in the public interest. Those who seek financial enrichment for the fruits of their labor are cast as rapacious hoarders in Obama World — and so are the private investors who support them.
Wealth-shaming is a recurrent leitmotif in the Obama administration’s gospel of government dependency.
In 2010, the president proclaimed, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”
Maybe he was thinking of Hillary. Plus:
The progressives’ government-built-that ethos is anathema to our Founding Fathers’ first principles. They understood that the ability of brilliant, ambitious individuals to reap private rewards for inventions and improvements benefited the public good. This revolutionary idea is a hallmark of American exceptionalism and entrepreneurship. Alexis de Tocqueville observed that the doctrine of enlightened “self-interest rightly understood” was a part of America’s DNA from its founding. “You may trace it at the bottom of all their actions, you will remark it in all they say. It is as often asserted by the poor man as by the rich,” de Tocqueville wrote.
Francis Grund, a contemporary of de Tocqueville’s, also noted firsthand America’s insatiable willingness to work. “Active occupation is not only the principal source of their happiness, and the foundation of their natural greatness, but they are absolutely wretched without it. …Business is the very soul of an American,” he wrote.
Here is the marvel Obama and his command-and-control cronies fail to comprehend: From the Industrial Age to the Internet Age, the concentric circles of American innovation in the free marketplace are infinite. This miracle repeats itself millions of times a day through the voluntary interactions, exchanges and business partnerships of creative Americans and their clients, consumers and investors. No federal Department of Innovation or Ten-Point White House Action Plan for Progress can lay claim to the boundless synergies of these profit-earning capitalists.
No, but those government programs produce superior opportunities for graft.
IT’S MUCH BETTER TO SEE CHANGE HAPPEN THIS WAY THAN BY JUDICIAL FIAT. WE SHOULD TRY IT. Ireland Legalizes Gay Marriage in Landslide Vote.
LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: ISIS rises, the economy falters, and Obama’s legacy falls apart.
Perhaps things haven’t come all that far from the early days of hope and change, when this iconic photo captured the national mood.
I USED TO LOVE MY ‘BERRY: The Inside Story of How the iPhone Crippled BlackBerry.
If the iPhone gained traction, RIM’s senior executives believed, it would be with consumers who cared more about YouTube and other Internet escapes than efficiency and security. RIM’s core business customers valued BlackBerry’s secure and efficient communication systems. Offering mobile access to broader Internet content, says Mr. Conlee, “was not a space where we parked our business.”
The iPhone’s popularity with consumers was illogical to rivals such as RIM, Nokia Corp. and Motorola Inc. The phone’s battery lasted less than eight hours, it operated on an older, slower second-generation network, and, as Mr. Lazaridis predicted, music, video and other downloads strained AT&T’s network. RIM now faced an adversary it didn’t understand.
“By all rights the product should have failed, but it did not,” said David Yach, RIM’s chief technology officer. To Mr. Yach and other senior RIM executives, Apple changed the competitive landscape by shifting the raison d’être of smartphones from something that was functional to a product that was beautiful.
“I learned that beauty matters….RIM was caught incredulous that people wanted to buy this thing,” Mr. Yach says.
For me, moving to the iPhone wasn’t about aesthetics at all. I loved my ‘Berry’s actual keyboard and its battery, which lasted a full 24 hours. Heck, I even loved my old trackball. But every time I wanted to quickly look something up on the internet, I felt like I was swimming in molasses, it was so freaking slow. So I converted to iPhone, and I’ve never looked back, because BlackBerry has never been able to offer fast, seamless internet access.
BECAUSE MARXISM HAS GLOBAL SUPPORT: This is the answer to the question Steven Hayward over at Power Line asks: “How is Liberation Theology Still a Thing?” Liberation theology is a Marxist version of Catholic teaching, which views poverty through the lens of capitalist oppression, much like Black Liberation theology–of which President Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is an adherent–views black poverty as a consequence of white, wealthy capitalist oppression of blacks. As Hayward observes, yesterday’s front page New York Times story about Pope Francis’s actions to bring liberation theology out of the shadows, a subject I’ve I’ve written about before. But in typical NYT fashion, the reporter fails to even seriously consider the deep Marxist undertones of liberation theology, much less what the Pope’s embrace of it might portend. The only mention of Marxism comes in this brief passage:
“With the end of the Cold War, he [Francis] began to see that liberation theology was not synonymous with Marxism, as many conservatives had claimed,” said Paul Vallely, author of “Pope Francis: Untying the Knots.” Argentina’s financial crisis in the early years of the 21st century also shaped his views, as he “began to see that economic systems, not just individuals, could be sinful,” Mr. Vallely added.
Since becoming pope, Francis has expressed strong criticism of capitalism, acknowledging that globalization has lifted many people from poverty but saying it has also created great disparities and “condemned many others to hunger.” He has warned, “Without a solution to the problems of the poor, we cannot resolve the problems of the world.”
Notice that liberation theology’s linkage to Marxism is dismissed offhand as a “conservative . . . claim.” Yet in the next breath, the NYT reporter concedes that Pope Francis “has expressed strong criticism of capitalism.” Hayward is right to ask why liberation theology is “still a thing,” but the answer is that it never stopped being a thing, because the Marxist ideology is alive and well, with powerful apologists or allies (even if not full-fledged adherents) in the Vatican, White House and beyond.
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Teacher says she shouldn’t be fired for having sex with student. “A Brooklyn public-school teacher whines in a new lawsuit that she was unfairly fired from her job for bedding her 12-year-old student — even though DNA, videotape, text and financial records pin her to the dirty deed.”
THE SCOURGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE: “Back-to-back winters of historic ice coverage have reversed a 15-year trend of diminishing ice cover on the Great Lakes. The epic ice coverage of the winters of 2013-14 and 2014-15 led to difficult and extended ice-out seasons that hurt the shipping industry and led to a drumbeat for more icebreaking resources. . . . The drumbeat for another heavy icebreaker like the 240-foot Mackinaw started during the winter of 2013-14, when the Great Lakes were as much as 92.6 percent covered in ice. Ice out that year on Lake Superior wasn’t declared until June 6.”
Related: Lake Superior Ice Amazes This Year. “Lake Superior, the largest of the great lakes, froze almost completely this winter, for the first time in years. It was so unexpected 18 ships were trapped in the ice.”
Fallen Angels is just a science-fiction novel, right? Hey, an ice age is “climate change,” too, but I don’t think restricting carbon output is the right response.
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Greeley Teacher Katerina Bardos accused of long sexual relationship with middle school pupil. “The Greeley Police Department said the former Brentwood Middle School teacher allegedly had sex with a 13-year-old boy whom she taught in her sixth grade classroom in 2014. Police believe the sexual relationship continued over the course of a year. The teacher is also accused of providing the student with pot.”
CLARK AT POPEHAT, ON THE KEN WHITE VS. VOX DAY SLAPFIGHT: “Anyway: I respect both of these guys, and I wish they wouldn’t be dicks.”
IN THE MAIL: From Jonathan Gottschall, The Professor in the Cage: Why Men Fight and Why We Like to Watch.
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JOHN HINDERAKER: Hillary’s Real Libya Problem.
In my opinion, Hillary’s biggest problem isn’t Benghazi per se, it is the broader issue of Libya. Why were Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans murdered? Because by September 2012, Libya was a terrorist playground. Since then, things have only gotten worse. Libya has become a failed state, a 21st century source of boat people, as refugees from ubiquitous violence stream across the Mediterranean. Libya is now a haven for ISIS and other terrorist groups; it was on the Libyan coast that ISIS beheaded 30 Christians. Some of the “refugees” now making their way into Europe are, in fact, ISIS agents. In short, Libya is a disaster.
Whose disaster? Hillary Clinton’s. It was Hillary who, more than anyone else, pushed to overthrow Moammar Qaddafi. Why? No compelling reason. Qaddafi had been tame ever since the Iraq war, which he interpreted as a threat to his rule. Almost incredibly, Clinton and her cohorts in NATO overthrew Qaddafi (who was subsequently murdered by a mob) without having a plan for what would come next.
Who says Hillary Clinton is responsible for the Libya fiasco? She does. In fact, at one point she was poised to claim Libya as the notable accomplishment of her term as Secretary of State.
And, in fact, it was. . . .
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THE NEEDLE AND THE DAMAGE DONE: Woman who helped launch the current uproar over sexism in tech is sorry.
In 2013, Elissa Shevinsky wrote an article titled “That’s it, I’m finished defending sexism in tech.” The article was based on her concerns that a major tech expo would open with a presentation with an app called “Titstare,” which, as the name implied, allowed users to take photos of themselves staring at women’s breasts.
Shevinsky had been in the tech industry for a decade at that point, and said she had put up with sexism all the time. She concluded her article by writing that one of the solutions to the problem was to get more women in tech.
Her article received 40,000 views and was shared around the web, helping to spark a debate about the lack of women in the tech industry, a debate with the notable accomplishment of making a grown man — a comet scientist — cry on live TV because the shirt he was wearing offended some.
Because of the movement she helped create, Shevinsky has been described as a “social justice warrior” — a usually derogatory term applied to those who engage in hostile arguments in the name of righting a perceived social injustice.
Shevinsky is now sorry for whatever role she played in creating all of this outrage and silliness. She’s sorry, she writes in her new book, Lean Out, and she adds that her initial position was “flawed.”
“I’m glad to come out in ‘Lean Out’ and say that my original essay — the one that has been the foundation for people assuming that I am [a social justice warrior] — was deeply flawed,” Shevinsky told the Washington Examiner. “I do see sexism and gender issues, a culture war, in Silicon Valley, but the knee-jerk responses (recruit more women! attack the men!) are not the answer.”
There is no obvious answer. Indeed, the obvious facts seem to fly in the face of explanatory power, in just the same way it does when one sees an unrepentantly patriarchal religion with more than a few troubling inclinations toward medievalism being defended by the Left. Feminists, for instance, have spearheaded much of the sneering and hysterical censoriousness where popular nerd pastimes like comic books and video games are concerned. All this despite the fact that most nerds are hardly the obvious examples of “rapey” masculinity that, say, UVA frat boys might be (though the author takes pains to note, similar accusations are slander in their case as well).
In fact, as the ever excellent liberal author Scott Alexander notes, nerds are the absolute psychological polar opposites of rapists. That a movement designed to protect women from the most ungallant members of society would start with a group about whom the stereotype is that they run around talking and acting like unshaven medieval knights is odd, to say the least. True, there is a degree to which this species of man can be found in the sphere of pickup artistry as well (yet another feminist bette noir), but there, too, it’s not immediately obvious why they’d start here. Say what you like about pickup artistry, but at least it’s about winning enthusiastic sexual consent from its targets, which presupposes the necessity of consent in the first place. Not exactly something you’d expect from unapologetic rapists.
Dig beneath the surface, however, and you find two very compelling explanations for the #WaronNerds. The short version is that it is simply a manifestation of cynical, bullying cowardice combined with emotivist, envious resentment. The long version? Well, read on for the first part.
In the visceral and terrifying musical Parade, written about the Leo Frank lynching, a yellow journalist enthusiastically describes how he will play on the fears of his audience to drum up readership by attacking Frank, or the “little Jew from Brooklyn with a college education.”
“So give him fangs, give him horns
Give him scaly, hairy paws
Have him drooling out the corner of his mouth
He’s a master of disguise
Check those bugged out creepy eyes
Hell, that fella’s here to rape the whole damn South!”
Sam Biddle, know thyself.
The comparison between today’s feminist rape lynch mobs and those of the Jim Crow era has been made before, and is apt.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Legislating AP credit: Higher Education bubble sign or . . . The Insta-Daughter, who took just about every AP credit she could feasibly take, thinks AP is a scam. AP calculus is worth about the first 3 weeks of calculus at Georgia Tech. . .
TERRORISM ISN’T A PRODUCT OF POVERTY. IT’S A PRODUCT OF LOW-FUNCTIONING INTELLECTUALS WITH DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR: Osama bin Laden, perpetual impoverished grad student. “If you think of Osama bin Laden as a thrifty, frustrated, nth-year graduate student, this all makes sense.”
POOR OBAMA. WHY DO BAD THINGS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO HIM? Why Obama has come to regret underestimating the Islamic State: The terrorists that the White House once dismissed as amateurs are closer than ever to creating a viable nation state.
PRESCIENT: Camille Paglia on feminism from 1995. “I began to realize this in the Seventies when I thought women could do it on their own. But then something would go wrong with my car and I’d have to go to the men. Men would stop, men would lift up the hood, more men would come with a truck and take the car to a place where there were other men who would call other men who would arrive with parts. I saw how feminism was completely removed from this reality. I also learned something from the men at the garage. At Bennington, I would go to a faculty meeting and be aware that everyone hated me. The men were appalled by a strong, loud woman. But I went to this auto shop and the men there thought I was cute. ‘Oh, there’s that Professor Paglia from the college.’ The real men, men who work on cars, find me cute. They are not frightened by me, no matter how loud I am. But the men at the college were terrified because they are eunuchs, and I threatened every goddamned one of them.”
Plus: “[You can't have] the Stalinist situation we have in America right now, where any neurotic woman can make any stupid charge and destroy a man’s reputation. If there is evidence of false accusation, the accuser should be expelled. Similarly, a woman who falsely accuses a man of rape should be sent to jail. My definition of sexual harassment is specific. It is only sexual harassment–by a man or a woman–if it is quid pro quo. That is, if someone says, “You must do this or I’m going to do that”–for instance, fire you. And whereas touching is sexual harassment, speech is not. I am militant on this. Words must remain free. The solution to speech is that women must signal the level of their tolerance–women are all different. Some are very bawdy.”
May 23, 2015
TUNKU VARADARAJAN: Reverse Swing: Look East, India.
REPORT: Riots In Cleveland. “Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell ruled on Saturday that white Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo is not guilty of two charges of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting deaths of two black individuals after a police chase in November of 2012.”
THINGS THAT DON’T SUCK: So I upgraded to an iPhone 6 a while back, and it’s a nice phone, but honestly the biggest improvement, I think, is the screen protector. I got one of these Tech-Armor screen protectors (they have ‘em for most phones), which is actually a stick-on sheet of tempered glass. Unlike the plastic ones I had before, this one is perfectly clear, and feels like the natural iPhone screen instead of like plastic. I really like it.
UPDATE: Link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!
WE SHOULD MAKE THEM SEPARATE, BUT STILL, YOU KNOW, EQUAL. Higher Education: Ethnic Minorities Deserve Safe Spaces Without White People.
LIFE AMONG THE CHURCHIANS: “My problem is that no church I know makes it clear what the wife’s obligation to her husband is.” In contemporary society, men have obligations. Women have entitlements.
DO WE LIVE IN A “RAPE CULTURE?” OR IN A “BREATHLESS HYSTERIA ABOUT RAPE CULTURE?” Sexual Assault Case Against Venice High Schoolers Collapses. “A high-profile LAPD raid on Venice High School that made international headlines after 15 male students were arrested on charges of sexual assault has resulted in prosecutors’ decision not to prosecute anyone in the case. The large number of students arrested in mid-March and the high number of law enforcement personnel that descended on the school’s campus and led students away in handcuffs drew widespread attention on the case. But now, over two months later, prosecutors with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office cited ‘insufficient evidence’ as the reason that no charges would be pursued, the Los Angeles Times reported.”
SO IF THIS REPORT IS TRUE, ISIS IS “BLOWBACK” FOR OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SUPPORT FOR ANTI-ASSAD REBELS: Secret Pentagon report reveals West saw ISIS as strategic asset. Well, you know, when the Germans put Lenin on that train to Moscow, they saw him as a strategic asset, too.
So far, media reporting has focused on the evidence that the Obama administration knew of arms supplies from a Libyan terrorist stronghold to rebels in Syria.
Some outlets have reported the US intelligence community’s internal prediction of the rise of ISIS. Yet none have accurately acknowledged the disturbing details exposing how the West knowingly fostered a sectarian, al-Qaeda-driven rebellion in Syria. . . . The newly declassified DIA document from 2012 confirms that the main component of the anti-Assad rebel forces by this time comprised Islamist insurgents affiliated to groups that would lead to the emergence of ISIS. Despite this, these groups were to continue receiving support from Western militaries and their regional allies. . . . The establishment of such a “Salafist Principality” in eastern Syria, the DIA document asserts, is “exactly” what the “supporting powers to the [Syrian] opposition want.” Earlier on, the document repeatedly describes those “supporting powers” as “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey.”
Further on, the document reveals that Pentagon analysts were acutely aware of the dire risks of this strategy, yet ploughed ahead anyway.
That would make Obama’s Iraq failure even bigger than previously assumed, on a par with his (and Hillary’s) Libya failure.
UPDATE: From the comments: “His Egypt failure is more epic than anything in Libya.” You can’t tell all the failures without a scorecard.
The newly released Hillary Clinton Benghazi emails do not contain any communications relating to security from the critical last month before the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Libya. During that period, Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who along with three other Americans would die in the attack, warned Clinton and other State Department officials of a growing danger, indeed a security emergency, in Libya. Stevens specifically noted that the possibility of an attack on Americans was growing, and, if such an attack occurred, the U.S. contingent did not have the strength to repel it. But to judge from the emails made public Friday, Clinton gave not a thought to the matter.
Go back to August 2012. On the 15th of that month, U.S. security officers in Libya held an “emergency” meeting to address the very real possibility that growing violence in the area could soon target Americans. The next day, Aug. 16, Stevens sent a cable to Clinton concluding that the Americans in Libya could not defend U.S. facilities “in the event of a coordinated attack, due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound.”
It was a clear call for help, one that, judging by the newly-public emails, went entirely unheard at the highest level of the State Department. Apart from some hugger-mugger analyses of Libyan politics by Clinton’s friend Sidney Blumenthal, there is nothing at all in the emails concerning Benghazi from the month before the attack. . . .
The period leading up to the Benghazi attacks is the most critical time in the entire tragic episode. What did Clinton know about the danger to American officials there, and what did she do about it? That is the key question of Benghazi. What happened afterward — the blame-the-video spin — can be interpreted as an attempt to cover up Clinton’s inaction before the attack. Yes, the spin campaign was dishonest. But the more serious offense was allowing the conditions that led to the deaths of Stevens and three other Americans. The crime is worse than the cover-up. And if Republicans thought they would receive any new information in the Clinton-edited version of the emails released Friday, they will surely be disappointed.
Contrast Hillary’s earlier “We came, we saw, he died.”
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Lisa Loeb: If You Want Children, Do It Sooner Rather Than Later. “I hate to say it because I want women to be able to do anything whenever they want, but if you want to have your own child, it’s something that you really do need to focus on — the sooner, the better.”
SPACE: New POV video from SpaceX takes you for a ride on Crew Dragon’s first flight. “The two-minute video shows the Dragon capsule blasting off from its Florida launchpad, separating from its trunk and reaching a maximum velocity of 345 mph, according to SpaceX. The Crew Dragon flew about 5,000 feet into the air before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean under its parachutes.”
#WARONWOMEN: Islamic State burned a woman alive for not engaging in an ‘extreme’ sex act, U.N. official says. Nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.
THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Why It Pays to Be a Jerk: New research confirms what they say about nice guys. One can choose to be an old-fashioned gentleman, but the genuine article was not a Nice Guy in the modern sense, but a person who was never unintentionally rude and who could be, as Robert Heinlein noted, “a cast-iron son of a bitch” when it suited.
For years I’ve been profiling great engineers—Nobel Prize holders, IEEE Medal of Honor winners. And so very often they tell me that their first involvement in anything electronic was building a Heathkit project.
Heathkits, they tell me, were magical—they were simple enough to put together and well enough explained that just about anyone could succeed. And the projects were things that kids wanted and would use—mostly radios, amplifiers, and other equipment for listening to music that for millennials have been supplanted by iPods and Pandora.
Heathkit closed down its kit business in the early 90s; kids interested in technology at the time wanted to code, not build things. New electronic building toys did emerge, like Lego Mindstorms and SnapCircuits. But none have dominated like Heathkit.
So there’s still room for the next Heathkit—lots of startups are vying for that title. And there’s still a general sense that these kinds of toys are important—to interest boys and girls in STEM careers early.
STATE-BY-STATE CONSIDERATION IS HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO WORK: A psychiatry professor’s WSJ oped, “The Assisted Suicide Movement Goes on Life Support,” explains why voters in liberal/progressive states such as Massachusetts have refused, and California is presently hesitating, to follow in the footsteps of existing right-to-die states such as Oregon and Washington.
Californians are realizing that assisted suicide represents the slipperiest of slopes. This can be especially true for those who rely on emergency rooms for primary care, lack health-care access, or who predominantly come from minority or immigrant communities with documented health-care disparities where many remain uninsured. They would have every reason to mistrust a health-care system under considerable pressure to drive down costs.
Furthermore, what message are we sending to teens and young adults if California legislators promote suicide as an appropriate response to difficult life circumstances? Suicide in the U.S. is a public-health crisis. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated a “social contagion” aspect to suicide, which leads to copycat suicides. . . .
The suicide rates in Oregon rose dramatically in the years following the legalization of assisted suicide there in 1997. After declining in the 1990s, rates rose between 2000 and 2010, surpassing the rate of increase nationally. As of 2010, suicide rates were 35% higher in Oregon than the national average.
As a psychiatrist, I have evaluated thousands of individuals who tell me they want to die. If they are helped through these crises—given the medical, psychological and social support they need—they are later grateful for that intervention.
A large body of psychiatric research has demonstrated that 80% to 90% of suicides are associated with depression or other treatable mental disorders. Yet only 5% of the individuals who have died by assisted suicide under Oregon’s permissive law were referred for psychiatric consultation before their death. This lack of basic psychological evaluation and treatment constitutes medical negligence.
I’m not so sure that California will reject the measure as did Massachusetts. Earlier this week, the California Medical Association became the first medical association to withdraw formal opposition of physician-assisted suicide, in exchange for language in the ballot measure that would allow health care professionals to “opt out” of the practice, if enacted.
Allowing States to experiment with new social policies is the appropriate way to handle issues about which there is tremendous disagreement– whether assisted suicide, gay marriage, abortion, polygamy or anything else. In a federal system such as ours, the national government has only limited and enumerated powers, and the residuum remains with the States. The Constitution does not mention any of these things, of course, and constitutionalizing them upsets the federalism architecture, imposing a one-size-fits-all decision when it would be much better to simply allow the people to decide, state-by-state, via the democratic process.
TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONES: Heavy radiation suits for Mars will also reduce low-gravity bone loss. Plus: “Someone taking a hike on the surface of Mars could easily carry a backpack that weights hundreds of pounds on Earth. A longer duration hiking trip on Mars would be possible because of the amount of weight hikers could carry. If the hikers had a cart to put their equipment on and pushed the cart a pair of hikers could probably easily push materials that would weigh 700+ pounds on Earth.” Do bear in mind, of course, that weight declines but inertial mass remains the same.
IN THE MAIL: From Craig Lambert, Shadow Work: The Unpaid, Unseen Jobs That Fill Your Day.
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IF ISIS IS JV, THEN OUR ADMINISTRATION IS PEEWEE LEAGUE: Walter Russell Mead: A Tactical Success, A Strategic Failure.
This weekend saw U.S. Special Forces pull off a stunning raid, flying deep into Syrian territory in an attempt to capture a senior Islamic State leader called Abu Sayyaf. Sayyaf, a Tunisian citizen, was killed in the raid, but his wife was caught and the raid produced “a significant intelligence gain” according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Around the same time, however, the Islamic State made huge strides in Iraq by taking over the city of Ramadi, the largest city in Sunni al-Anbar province, only 68 miles west of Baghdad. ISIS boasted of seizing tanks and executing dozens of Iraqi soldiers and militants. The United States increased its bombing campaign around Ramadi as Shi’a militia began massing for an assault to retake the city.
The success of the Syria raid and the collapse in Ramadi paradoxically point to the same grim fact: America’s chosen policies in the Middle East are failing—and the Obama administration faces uglier and uglier alternatives as it looks ahead.
The raid in Syria was a tactical triumph and points to the enduring strengths of America’s elite fighting units. But it also underscores a failure of administration policy: staying out of Syria is getting harder, the costs of inaction in Syria are growing, and the options for getting into Syria keep getting uglier.
When your preferred strategy is to put problems off until after the next election, problems that could have been easily addressed when small become problems that require major efforts, and risks, to address. Pretty sure Obama’s plan is to continue to put that off until . . . after the next election, when it’s somebody eles’s problem. In essence, that’s what Clinton did with Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.
SO NOW IT’S A CLIMATE “WAR”: The rhetoric on
global warming climate change is heating up (pun intended). In addition to President Obama’s recent remarks to the Coast Guard Academy–when he said “the science is indisputable” and “[b]y the middle of this century, Arctic summers could be essentially ice free”–the liberal/progressive forces are gearing up to scare LIVs into believing global warming climate change is a national security risk. An oped by CNN’s homeland security analyst Juliette Kayyem is now trying to co-opt the overused “war on” shibboleth:
We have a tendency to view certain public policy issues as wars. As in “the war on … ” fill in the blank: drugs, cancer, poverty.
It is often a misleading analogy, but it is meant to get the public to respond to a dire need, just as they would in wartime. The terminology, however, is entirely accurate — and literal — when it comes to our need to address the changing environment as “the war on climate change.”
. . .
Skeptics of these global seismic shifts are not simply denying science, they are denying safety and security. Until we recognize — with the immediacy we would if a nation launched missiles against our cities — that climate change isn’t something that can be debated, but must be mitigated or, failing that, adapted to, we will not expend the effort or resources to prepare ourselves to the one phenomenon that we know is coming: simply, the waters are rising and this is a war.
So now, if one rejects massive economic reorganization based upon ever-changing evidence of cyclical, fluctuating global temperatures, one is not merely a “science denier,” but also putting U.S. national security at risk. Ironic, given that this accusation is coming from the same people who are so intimidated by ISIS that they dare not insult Mohammed, and think that talking about “radical Islam” is discriminatory because hey, as President Obama said, “Islam is a religion of peace.” But
global warming climate change!– now that’s a real security risk!
These radical climatists don’t want to hear about contrary evidence, of which there is plenty. And indeed, if someone dares to publicly disagree with the progressive orthodoxy on
global warming climate change, he is likely to be branded a heretic.
I hope the Republican candidates for President are readying themselves to punch back twice as hard when the mainstream media and Queen Hillary hit them with this “national security” accusation.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE WHEN YOU RUN OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY: Greek hospitals cannot afford painkillers, scissors or sheets as budget cuts bite.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The Other Lesson of Kennesaw: Social Media Puts A Face on Faceless Abusive Administrators.
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SO I’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THIS FOR YEARS, AND NOW IT’S FINALLY SEEING A BIT OF TRACTION: Senate would put colleges on hook for student loan default: Bipartisan push seen as way to make schools accountable.
Only 37 percent of student borrowers are current on their loans and paying down debt, and from 2004 to 2014 there’s been an 89-percent increase in the number of borrowers, and the average balance on their loans has increased 77 percent, according to a study released last month by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The ripple effect is felt throughout the economy, as young adults delay purchasing homes or starting businesses.
Hey, that sounds kinda familiar. So does this:
Among other ideas, Mr. Alexander said part-time students shouldn’t be able to borrow as much as full-time students, and perhaps colleges should be allowed to counsel borrowers more frequently or cap the amount students can borrow.
Senate Democrats, including Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, Patty Murray of Washington and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, are pushing Mr. Reed’s bill, which would force colleges repay a share of defaulted loans if at least a quarter of their students use federal aid.
As it stands, colleges do not face federal penalties unless the percentage of borrowers who default within three years of entering repayment, known as the “cohort default rate,” reaches a high bar of 30 percent. The national rate is much lower, close to 14 percent.
All is proceeding as I have foreseen.
Actor Matthew McConaughey (“alright, alright, alright”) had probably the best line of the season. He may not have intentionally decided to take on “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” — code words invented to explain why college students can’t handle reading or hearing things that challenge their worldviews — but he did.
“Life’s not fair,” McConaughey told University of Houston graduates last Friday. “It never was, isn’t now and won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitled trap of feeling like you’re a victim. You are not.”
Although some students were unhappy that McConaughey was paid $135,000 for his speech, his message was probably worth the price. He offered a corrective for the seemingly endless stream of stories about the fragility of college students. (The latest example comes from a Columbia University student who thinks Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” is offensive.)
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stepped away from the Obama administration’s preferred narrative that all is well in the world, that violent extremism is “on the run” and that only tepid responses to terror are necessary.
“The world’s a mess,” Albright told students at Tufts University. Before that she spoke of “rising sectarianism and extremism in the Middle East,” income inequality and how “technology has given new destructive tools to groups who use religion as a license to murder, as if God’s commandment were ‘thou shalt kill.’”
Some of what she said — income inequality, climate change and the “assumptions” of past generations — are among President Obama’s favorite talking points. But her central message – that the “world’s a mess” – is not so much. Obama seems to prefer making Americans think the true mess is at home. Albright cheered the U.S. as the “brightest beacon of human liberty,” and she managed to do it without the “but” that so often follows when Obama says such things.
Then there was English novelist Ian McEwan, who admonished Dickinson College students to defend free speech. He specifically mentioned Charlie Hebdo and the boycott from PEN America.
“There’s a phenomenon in intellectual life that I call bipolar thinking,” he said. “Let’s not side with Charlie Hebdo because it might seem as if we’re endorsing George Bush’s ‘war on terror’. This is a suffocating form of intellectual tribalism and a poor way of thinking for yourself. As a German novelist friend wrote to me in anguish about the PEN affair — ‘It’s the Seventies again: Let’s not support the Russian dissidents, because it would get applause from the wrong side.’ That terrible phrase.”
McEwan went on to defend Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim who now speaks out about what she sees as the dangers inherent in that religion. Last year, Brandeis University withdrew an invitation to Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree after complaints by her opponents.
“Campus intolerance of inconvenient speakers is hardly new,” McEwan said.
No, but it seems to be getting worse.
HILLARY’S FAILED WAR OF CHOICE IN LIBYA: Email calls Clinton ‘public face of US effort in Libya.’
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is referred to as the “public face of the U.S. effort in Libya” in a 2012 memo written by Jake Sullivan, a top Clinton aide at the State Department.
The email was written months before the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans.
Sullivan’s April 2012 memo detailed Clinton’s role in Libya, framing her as “instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition, and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime.”
It notes Clinton’s role in those efforts, including her work lobbying for United Nations sanctions against the dictator and working with coalition forces around the NATO mission to intervene in the Libyan civil war.
One of those accomplishments is the March appointment of Ambassador Chris Stevens to Benghazi, one of the four Americans killed in the attack.
The memo highlights the shift in perception of America’s role in Libya between the successful removal of dictator Moammar Gadhafi and the Benghazi attacks. Before those attacks, many saw Clinton’s work in Libya as one of her crowning achievements at State. But that’s since been overshadowed by Benghazi, which has sparked intense criticism from her Republican foes, and the ongoing turmoil in Libya.
The State Department released the email as part of the first release of messages from Clinton’s private server.
This is a modified limited hangout. Everything you get is sanitized, and none of the worst stuff is being released. And given that this stuff is actually fairly bad, that may provide a sense of what they’re holding back.
ED DRISCOLL: Gaslighting, Then And Now. “We’ve mentioned the left devouring its own several times in recent months. The ‘campus rape epidemic’ seems like a bizarre intellectual climate to serve as the background for Hillary’s campaign — and she has no one else to blame but her fellow Democrats for creating it. Or am I simply gaslighting myself?”
It certainly presents opportunities.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Report Blasts ‘Fantasy World’ of Presidential Benefits.
An Illinois Senate report will be released today blasting the “fantasy world of lavish perks” for presidents of public colleges and universities, The Chicago Tribune reported. The study criticizes funds given to presidents for cars, homes and clubs as well as large severance packages provided to a number of presidents. Some legislators are expected to introduce a bill that would, among other things, limit severance payments to one year’s salary.
Higher education leaders (and not just in Illinois) tend to defend various benefits for presidents as needed to recruit top talent. But the report says that these benefits have hurt important values. “This has led to a culture of arrogance and a sense of entitlement reflected in many of these executive compensation plans, with an apparent disregard for middle-class families whose taxes and tuition dollars are funding these exorbitant salaries and excessive fringe benefits,” the report says.
Well, yes. That said, the real harm isn’t done by fat salaries at the top, but by the swelling ranks of mid-level administrators with high-five and low-six figure salaries, plus expensive staffs, travel allowances, etc. And when you look at dumb, PC stuff happening on campus, it’s almost always the fault of one of these apparatchiks.
May 22, 2015
AND PUP’S JUST WENT OUT OF BUSINESS OR IT WOULD HAVE MADE THE LIST: Two Knoxville barbecue restaurants chosen as top 100 in nation.
GAME OF THRONES “RAPE” SCENE: Feminists are in a tizzy about the supposed rape of Game of Thrones character Sansa Stark. There’s a defense of the storyline and character development by Leslie Loftis in The Federalist today. But even Loftis assumes that the scene involved a rape. I’m a fan of the show, and I saw the scene. But I honestly don’t understand why everyone is assuming this was a “rape.”
During the episode, Sansa was married to character Ramsey Bolton (a creepy, sadistic character, for sure). Immediately after their wedding, Ramsey asks Sansa to undress. She complies, and then one hears her crying, presumably as Ramsey is raping her. But the two are married, and Sansa never once indicates, overtly or even implicitly, that she objects to having sex with him. So if she does not object in any way, would not her husband reasonably assume she consented? If one wanted to shoot a “rape” scene, should not the script writer have at least provided some indication that Sansa articulated a “no”?
I understand that Ramsey is an icky character, that he asked his slave to watch them have sex, and that he would not have taken a “no,” even it if had been uttered or indicated by physical resistance (in which case continuation would clearly have been a rape). But given that the scene offers no manifestation of objection by Sansa, is it even fair to characterize this scene as a “rape”?
HOPEY-CHANGEY: ISIS Recruits Muhanad Badawi and Nader Elhuzayel Arrested Near L.A. Charged. “Elhuzayel admitted to agents after his arrest that he had no intention to continue to Israel but planned to ‘travel to the Islamic State, pledge allegiance to ISIL (ISIS), and defend ISIL against attackers,’ according to the complaint.”
NO WORRIES — SMART DIPLOMACYTM WILL DEFUSE ALL THE TENSIONS: Finland tells 900,000 reservists their roles ‘in the event of war’: Amid rising tension with Russia, Finland takes the rare step of sending letters to every military reservist.
AMERICA’S OPPRESSIVE KNIFE LAWS: “We see it all the time, I’ve had all kinds of people being accused of having a dangerous weapon, and you go, ‘What weapon?’ And you look at what was classified as the weapon and you have to laugh.”
THE MIGRATORY INVASION OF EUROPE: David Solway: The Hour Is Later Than We Think. “The migratory invasion of Europe, uncannily but presciently foreseen in Jean Raspail’s much derided 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints, is now taking place with near-irresistible force on the shores of that beleaguered continent.”
It’s not irresistible, unless you lack the will to resist it.
YEAH, I’D PUT THE NUMBER HIGHER THAN THAT, MYSELF: Less Than 4% Chance That Lawyer, Professor Jobs Will Be Replaced By Technology.
MARRIAGE ADVICE FROM THE VICTORIAN ERA: “She may admire and desire a lover before she really learns his deeper qualities, but if she gets one who in the fulness of time manifests marked effeminacy, her love will wane, her admiration will sicken and die, and there will be a shaking in their contract before long.”
“AFTER MY ELECTION I’LL HAVE MORE FLEXIBILITY”: These were President Obama’s infamous words to Dmitry Medvedev back in spring 2012. David Adesnik at NRO now asks, “Is the Obama Administration Readying More Concessions to Russia?”
GENERAL MOTORS: That Car You Bought? We’re The Ones Who Really Own It.
Intellectual property has gone too far.
TED NUGENT’S COMMENCEMENT: In today’s Daily Caller, rocker Ted Nugent has a few words of advice for graduates. His first four pearls:
1. Life is not fair. Get used to it.
2. Social justice is a commie scam. Read the drivel of Saul Alinsky and fight it with all you’ve got.
3. Nobody owes you jacksquat. You will either earn your own way, or feel like a helpless leech. There is no middle ground.
4. Economic equality is for sheep. If you really believe we are all equal in our capabilities you will go nowhere.
As Nugent said in his song, “Workin’ Hard, Playin’ Hard”:
Now it’s my turn to show my stuff;
It’s sometimes fun and sometimes rough.
I’m workin’ hard to earn my way;
But, lucky me, my work is play.
Workin’ hard, playin’ hard;
Helps me get thru each day and night.
Workin’ hard, playin’ hard;
Makes everything all right.
SPYING: There’s an app for that: How NSA, allies exploit mobile app stores. “In 2011 and 2012, the NSA and the communications intelligence agencies of its ‘Five Eyes’ allies developed and tested a set of add-ons to their shared Internet surveillance capability that could identify and target communications between mobile devices and popular mobile app stores—including those of Google and Samsung. According to an NSA document published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the targeting capability could have been used to launch ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks on mobile app downloads, allowing the NSA and other agencies to install code on targeted devices and gather intelligence on their users.”
UNEMPLOYMENT IN AMERICA ISN’T SO BAD, so long as you’re not American. “Since 2009, when the national unemployment rate peaked, joblessness among foreign-born workers has fallen by 4.1 percentage points. The drop was 2.9 percentage points for the native born.” Obvious solution: Import more foreign workers and see unemployment drop even more!!
YEAH, THAT’S HOW I SEE IT: Los Angeles $15 Per Hour Min Wage Will Spur Robot Development. And the robot development will create new jobs! Too bad they’ll be in Taiwan. . . .
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: New University Of Texas President Rejects ‘Vulgar’ Salary Slurped Up By His Counterparts At Other Colleges.
WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Brain Implant Lets Tetraplegic Man Drink Beer with a Robot Arm.
THE “GOTCHA!” IRAQ HINDSIGHT HYPOTHETICAL: Charles Krauthammer: You want hypotheticals? Here’s one.
The current collapse was not predetermined in 2003 but in 2011. Isn’t that what should be asked of Hillary Clinton? We know you think the invasion of 2003 was a mistake. But what about the abandonment of 2011? Was that not a mistake? . . .
And the damage was self-inflicted. The current situation in Iraq, says David Petraeus, “is tragic foremost because it didn’t have to turn out this way. The hard-earned progress of the surge was sustained for over three years.”
Do the math. That’s 2009 through 2011, the first three Obama years. And then came the unraveling. When? The last U.S. troops left Iraq on Dec. 18, 2011.
Want to do retrospective hypotheticals? Start there.
All of these retrospective, if-you-were-omniscient hypotheticals are a waste of breath. But at least this one focuses on the role that the current Administration has played in the disintegration of the region, rather than continuing their silly “It was Bush’s fault!” distraction game. What I want to know is: What, Mr. President, do you plan to do now to stop the region from becoming even more dangerous to U.S. interests?
JOSH KRAUSHAAR: “One of the most underappreciated stories in recent years is the deterioration of the Democratic bench under President Obama’s tenure in office. The party has become much more ideologically homogenous, losing most of its moderate wing as a result of the last two disastrous midterm elections. By one new catch-all measure, a party-strength index introduced by RealClearPolitics analysts Sean Trende and David Byler, Democrats are in their worst position since 1928. That dynamic has manifested itself in the Democratic presidential contest, where the bench is so barren that a flawed Hillary Clinton is barreling to an uncontested nomination.”