July 31, 2015

IF YOU STRIKE ME DOWN…” Ex–Top Gear Trio Will Make a Car Show for Amazon Prime:

Alongside fellow ex–Top Gear hosts James May and Richard Hammond, the irascible [Jeremy Clarkson, formerly of the BBC's Top Gear series, aka "The Anti-Scold"]  has signed on to host a new automotive series on Amazon Prime, which will start streaming sometime next year. It’s a savvy move, contractually: The non-compete clause in the trio’s old BBC contract apparently only forbade them from signing with a competing British channel for two years, and said absolutely nothing about working with the content-producing arm of an American logistics company.

I wonder if any BBC subscribers will weigh what they’re getting for their mandatory license fees versus what’s included for voluntarily signing up with Amazon Prime or Netflix?

IN THE MAIL: From Jim C. Hines, Fable: Blood of Heroes.

Plus, today only at Amazon: 61% Off “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Collection.”

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Also: Up to 52% Off Altra Men’s and Women’s Running Shoes.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 813.

IT’S THE DETERRENCE, STUPID: Iran: The President says this is the best deal available. He’s right; it’s the best deal he could get—absent a credible threat to use force.

If military capacity were all that mattered, Iran would never have dared to build the full-scale uranium enrichment capacity that it now possesses. Intentions matter as well, however, and here the Iranian leaders have calculated—correctly—that the American government would not use its military trump card to halt Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons. As President, Barack Obama repeatedly asserted that, where that program was concerned “all options”—including, by inference, the use of force—were on the table, but the mullahs rightly surmised that this was a bluff and, by continuing to build the enrichment program that Obama had vowed not to tolerate, they called it. This is the sense in which the Obama Administration’s description of the deal as the best one available is correct. Given that it was negotiating from a position of self-imposed weakness, it is difficult to see how it could have obtained more favorable terms than the ones embedded in the July 14 agreement. . . .

All of this is to say that, at this very late date, keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, with all the catastrophic consequences that that would have, depends on a credible threat to use American military force. This is true even in the highly unlikely event that the process of inspections works as the Obama Administration claims it will. For if and when inspections in these circumstances detect violations, or the Iranian regime simply decides to withdraw from the agreement, as its thirty-sixth paragraph permits, what will the United States do? Nuclear nonproliferation in the Middle East ultimately depends, that is, not on the details of the Vienna agreement but on the familiar Cold-War policy of deterrence.

Even under Bush, it seemed as if the Iranians had more leverage than was visible. I can speculate on where that leverage came from, but that’s all it would be.

WHAT’S DRIVING THE OUTRAGE OVER CECIL THE LION? “It seems clear that Palmer has become a symbol of [fill in the blank] privilege. As such, he must be destroyed in protest of such privilege. Something tells me we wouldn’t be talking about this story but for the fact that it involves a man of Palmer’s status. It’s about him and the class of people he represents, not the lion,” Walter Hudson writes.

Spot on. And for the celebrities who doxxed him, it’s about guilt for having obtained an even higher level of wealth and privilege.

RELATED: Cecil the Lion and the Cultural Perils of Internet Outrage.

WHEN YOUR “CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS” FIRM DOESN’T WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH YOU. . . . Public Relations Firm SKDKnickerbocker Scrubs Website Of Tie To Planned Parenthood.

JACKIE CALMES HAS A PIECE FOR HARVARD’S SHORENSTEIN CENTER ARGUING THAT CONSERVATIVE MEDIA DRAG THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO THE RIGHT. This may be true, but it’s dwarfed by the extent to which the rest of media drag the entire nation to the left. As Prof. Tim Groseclose noted in his Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind, without media bias America as a whole would have the politics of Texas or Tennessee. That’s why I keep telling GOP donors that they need to occupy the media space — not just the conservative media space — to win. Otherwise it’s like fighting a battle without air superiority.

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PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: “James Woods is suing a Twitter troll for $10 million after the Ray Donovan star was called a ‘cocaine addict’ by the user @AbeList. List has since deleted his Twitter account. According to the suit, Woods wants $10 million because he feels like he was defamed by the troll. Here’s what you need to know.”

I wonder if the celebrities such as Mia Farrow and Continuum’s Rachel Nichols and the numerous others who doxxed Walter Palmer should start lawyering up as well? Should Twitter itself?

DON’T WORRY, I’M SURE EVERYTHING’S FINE: IAEA Refuses to Brief Senators on Iran Deal, Even in Classified Setting.

IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: Lerner emails show IRS tried to cover up targeting of conservative groups.

WAPO DISCOVERS THAT there are libertarians on both sides of the abortion debate. Though, naturally, most oppose government funding.

UPDATE: Well, most.

DUE PROCESS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS IS BAD, DUE PROCESS FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES IS ESSENTIAL: Obama Threatens to Veto VA Accountability Act: Says the bill would violate VA employees’ due process rights.

President Obama threatened to veto the Veterans Affairs Accountability Act in a statement on Wednesday.

The President called the bill “counterproductive” and said it would create “a disparity in the treatment of one group of career civil servants.” President Obama’s statement also said the bill would “have a significant impact on VA’s ability to retain and recruit qualified professionals and may result in a loss of qualified and capable staff to other government agencies or the private sector.”

“These provisions remove important rights, protections, and incentives which are available to the vast majority of federal employees in other agencies across the government and are essential to ensure that federal employees are afforded due process,” the statement said.

The bill would expand the VA’s ability to fire incompetent or corrupt employees. It is a follow-up to the 2014 Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, which extended that ability to top executives at the agency. The new bill would go beyond just executives to lower level employees.

Public servants, or public masters?

IN LOUISIANA, THE WORD OF OFFICER CLAY HIGGINS IS LAW: “By tomorrow, a hundred thousand people will have watched you commit a felony. You WILL be recognized. And the people that know you don’t really like ya, anyway. So when it comes down to a choice between you and a thousand dollars — they’ll take the cash.”

By the way, I love the Internet; I’m watching Officer Higgins’ Crime Stoppers report on a Weblog in Australia where the second blog comment is from someone named “Tex Lovera,” who writes, “That is one Louisianan that is welcome in Texas anytime!”

So say we all! (Y’all.)

ANY LAWYERS OUT THERE WHO COULD help Mandy Nagy?

DOES IT CAUSE BRAIN DAMAGE? BECAUSE THAT WOULD EXPLAIN A LOT: Congressional Couches Test Positive for Toxic Retardant.

As Congress considers an overhaul of toxic chemical regulations, a new analysis has brought the issue close to home — perhaps a little too close for comfort.

The Environmental Defense Fund recently analyzed six couches from each of the congressional office buildings and found three contained a toxic flame-retardant chemical known as TDCPP. The chemical can be found on the California Environmental Protection Agency’s list of carcinogens.

The analysis could cause some concern around the Capitol — particularly among members of the “Couch Caucus,” who sleep in their offices. Advocates working to overhaul chemical safety regulations hope it pushes lawmakers to act.

“It’s crazy to think that there are toxic chemicals in the very furniture we’re sitting on while working to update America’s chemical safety law,” Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said in a statement. A couch from his office in the Hart Senate Office Building tested positive for TDCPP, along with couches from the Rayburn and Cannon House Office Buildings.

The EDF-secured nickel-sized samples of foam from the couch cushions of six individual offices. The samples were then sent to Duke University’s Superfund Research Center, which conducts free analyses of furniture foam, and three of the six samples tested positive for TDCPP.

The couches in the study are a small sample size for the hundreds of offices on Capitol Hill. But the EDF noted in a statement about the analysis that congressional furniture “remains in use for many years” and “the varying results may be due to differing ages of the furniture.”

TDCPP, also known as chlorinated tris, was used in children’s pajamas in the 1970s, but manufacturers stopped using the chemical when consumers became concerned about its harmful effects.

I mean, there must be some explanation.

HERBERT CROLY COORDINATE! HERBERT CROLY COORDINATE! Video: Chris Matthews stumps talking point-obsessed DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Tell Me The Difference Between You And A Socialist.”

NY POST COLUMNIST OUTRAGED SUPERMODEL GISELE BUNDCHEN “INSULTED” ISLAM BY WEARING BURQA TO HIDE HER IDENTITY: “LIKE THE RACHEL DOLEZAL OF ISLAM.”

Nonsense! Former Al Gore advisor Naomi Wolf assured us all that the burqa is the “ultimate feminist choice,” as my former PJM colleague Phyllis Chesler noted in 2009:

Wolf recently traveled to Morocco, Jordan, and Eygpt where she found the women “as interested in allure, seduction, and pleasure as women anywhere in the world.” Whew! What a relief. She writes:

“Many Muslim women I spoke with did not feel at all subjugated by the chador or the headscarf. On the contrary, they felt liberated from what they experienced as the intrusive, commodifying, basely sexualizing Western gaze….Many women said something like this: …’how tiring it can be to be on display all the time. When I wear my headscarf or chador, people relate to me as an individual, not an object; I feel respected.’ This may not be expressed in a traditional Western feminist set of images, but it is a recognizably Western feminist set of feelings.”

Good enough for Naomi, good enough for Gisele.

GOVERNMENT IS JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR THE THINGS WE CHOOSE TO DO TOGETHER: Did the EPA Cover Up a ‘Predator Who Was Fed a Steady Diet of Interns?’

UPDATE: Link was bad. Fixed now. Sorry!

A MUTED HALLELUJAH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: The Gray Lady doesn’t get all of her facts correct, Dexter Van Zile of CAMERA writes, but “By running a 5,000-plus word piece about the murder and enslavement of Christians by ISIS, the New York Times Magazine has given bien pensants in the United States permission to think seriously about the human rights catastrophe of our time. It might even encourage them to do something.”

Alternate headline: New York Times discovers with amazement powerful force more eager to destroy Christianity than themselves.

MILO YIANNOPOULOS: Donald Trump Would Be The Real First Black President.

We’re constantly told that there’s more to blackness than just being born African. Liberal theory has held for decades that race is a “social construct” with no “biological basis.” Hogwash, obviously, but apologists for “trans-black” wacko Rachel Dolezal are always reminding us that black identity is complex and about more than just skin colour.

You know what guys? I finally agree. And the proof is Donald Trump, who is, culturally speaking, a terrific fit for black America. Black writer Sonnie Johnson has noted as much in these pages. Blacks seem to identify with Trump’s swagger: they put him in enough rap songs, after all. He’s got hip-hop cred and defiant charisma the dreary Obama could never hope to match.

And black families would be far better off if his immigration policies were put in place. It seems to me that if the black community is as dissatisfied with Barack Obama as it claims, voters could do a lot worse than vote for Trump.

There is a minority war brewing between blacks and Latinos in America, fuelled by the policies and attitudes of a white Left that has forgotten about the civil rights struggle, and Trump is one of the very few, on either side of the political divide, who appears to at least understand the black side of the argument.

Someone should ask Trump what he thinks of this.

HENCE, THE RISE OF TRUMP AND SANDERS: Qualcomm Lays Off 4,500 Workers While Demanding More H-1bs.

TRUE: Lion Murderer Walt Palmer Has Done More For Conservation Than You Have. “In fact, trophy hunters like him are a large part of the reason we still have animals like lions at all. Hunting is one of those things that, if you don’t do it, probably flies in the face of your carefully curated 21st century morals. Everyone likes animals, so killing them is wrong, right? The fact is that there’s far more nuance to the argument than that.”

PATHWAY TO CODSWALLOP: “Trump is full of it, too,” Mark Steyn writes. “But at least he’s full of it in English rather than bullsh*t:”

Which is what you’re speaking when you talk about “pathways to citizenship” and “comprehensive immigration reform”. They’re Democrat evasions, and the Republican base is entitled at the very minimum to demand Republican candidates who come up with some weaselly duplicitous evasions of their own. A significant section of the GOP base is sick of dialing Republican headquarters and hearing “Press 1 for Spanish, press 2 for consultant-approved claptrap, press 3 for artful straddle, press 4 for all disavowals of last year’s positions, press 5 for endless looped replays of John McCain’s amusing primary-season-only super-butch ‘Build the danged fence!’ commercial, press 6 for live audio feed of John McCain teaching Lindsey Graham how to say ‘Danged!’, press 7 if you know the Spanish for ‘Danged!’, press 8 to hear Jeb Bush say ‘No amnesty, not on my watch, no sirree!’, press 9 to hear Jeb Bush say ‘Viva la danged amnistía!‘ If you wish someone to speak to you in non-forked-tongue English, please stay on the line and wait for an operator.”

After years in touch-tone hell for GOP voters, the operator has now shown up. Donald Trump is a slicker operator than some of us would like, but his observations on immigration were a rare intrusion of reality into an other-worldly public discourse.

Read the whole thing.

I LOVE COLORADO, BUT TENNESSEE SOUNDS GOOD: In TN it’s apparently now a slur to call government by its name.

UPDATE (From Glenn): The lawyer in question, Drew Justice, is one of my former students. Nice work.

OR NOT. AFTER ALL, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? The movie Hillary Clinton should be very, very worried about.  Weirdly, a movie might make more difference than the actual event.  Strange times we live in.

CORRUPTION ALL THE WAY DOWN:After Hillary Clinton helped settle tax case, UBS increased foundation support. If we elect Hillary Clinton we owe Al Capone a posthumous pardon and an apology.

July 30, 2015

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Ky. man arrested after shooting down $1800 drone hovering over sunbathing daughter.

BOBBY JINDAL SPEAKS: “Notably, the Westboro folks opted to stay out of Louisiana.”

CAMILLE PAGLIA: “Wherever I go to speak, whether it’s Brazil or Italy or Norway, I find that upper-middle-class professional women are very unhappy. This is a global problem! And it’s coming from the fact that women are expecting men to provide them with the same kind of emotional and conversational support and intimacy that they get from their women friends. And when they don’t get it, they’re full of resentment and bitterness. It’s tragic! Women are blaming men for a genuine problem that I say is systemic. . . . Now we’re working side-by-side in offices at the same job. Women want to leave at the end of the day and have a happy marriage at home, but then they put all this pressure on men because they expect them to be exactly like their female friends. If they feel restlessness or misery or malaise, they automatically blame it on men. Men are not doing enough; men aren’t sharing enough. But it’s not the fault of men that we have this crazy and rather neurotic system where women are now functioning like men in the workplace, with all its material rewards.”

TIM BLAIR: No lions were harmed.

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SUSANNAH BRESLIN VISITS A “GUNTRY CLUB:”

A couple weeks ago, I walked into The Alamo in Naples, Florida, a state-of-the-art, self-described “shooting destination.” The newly-constructed, 26,000-square-foot facility into which its owner has invested over $10M is bright, airy, and modern. It was built from the ground up on what was once a dirt lot; it opened in early May. Kevin Creighton, The Alamo’s marketing manager, describes the opening as more of a “squishy” launch than a soft launch because this is the area’s off season; “snowbirds” from the East Coast and the Midwest will flock down here en masse come winter.

Inside, the sunlight streams through high windows. The employees are friendly. The 6,000-square-foot showroom is squeaky clean and equipped with video screens. There are no stuffed bears posed in the attack position, jaws agape. Every Monday, starting at 4PM, women don’t pay a dollar for their range time. In the back, you can have lunch at one of the high-top tables or pay to shoot holes in targets on any of the 19 lanes downstairs.

The Alamo is one of three firearms stores and gun ranges (two in Florida, one in Kentucky) owned by Robert Marcum’s Lotus Gunworks. What he’s selling at The Alamo: Gun Culture 2.0. Once upon a time, Gun Culture 1.0 was about shooting ducks with your dad. Today, a new generation of firearm owners is more diverse than homogeneous, more interested in self-defense than hunting deer, more likely to be a tattooed urban-dweller than an “Elmer Fudd.” As Creighton sees it, we’re living in an era focused on “personal empowerment,” and guns are one way people are choosing to empower themselves. Think: the Apple store — with bullets. For Gun Owners 2.0, “It’s no longer about food,” he says. “It’s about protecting what matters to me.”

This is what it looks like when you win a culture war.

TRAIN WRECK: AP: Audit finds 22 of 23 taxpayer-backed ObamaCare co-ops lost money in 2014. “As recently as the spring, the White House touted co-ops as an accomplishment.”

THE ACE OF SPADES CONJECTURE: “Most of tribal signaling — genuflecting to Ta-Nehisi Coates, for example — is not a form of politics, but is properly understood as a form of religion. You’re not supposed to ask about the parts of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ claims that don’t make sense, in the same way you’re not really supposed to ask how Noah fit all those animals on the ark. These are not political arguments, he asserts, but ‘sermons.’”

Well, yes. But then, the entire 19th and 20th century efforts of the “Progressive” movement and its offshoots “in a hurry” (Communism and Fascism) were attempts to first destroy God and then to build a replacement religion.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: UC paid former president Mark Yudof $546,000 in the year after he resigned. “Another episode of embarrassment in terms of executive compensation.”

DONALD TRUMP: POSTER CHILD OF AMERICAN DECLINE: “We respond to his PC-bashing, but that’s exactly what he went silent on when the subject was drawing Muhammad,” Robert Spencer writes.

SANDERS/TRUMP 2016! Could labor be getting ready to bail on Hillary in favor of Bernie?

DNC-MSM REVOLVING DOOR REVOLVES: Sam Kass, former White House chef and husband of MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, joins NBC as well:

On Wednesday, the hosts of NBC’s Today cheered the network’s decision to hire former White House chef — and husband of left-wing MSNBC host Alex Wagner — Sam Kass. Co-host Savannah Guthrie gushed: “…we’ve got an exciting announcement. You guys remember Sam Kass, of course he’s the former assistant White House chef, executive director of the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign, and nutrition advisor to the President….He is becoming an NBC News senior food analyst.”

Obama attended Kass’s wedding to Wagner; in last year’s “Love in the Time of Obama,” Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon explored just how interconnected Kass and Wagner are with Big Money, Big Government, and Big Journalism, and how they used nepotism to leapfrog into “the new aristocracy,” as Continetti dubbed the Washington-NY power structure. But then, the entire MSM really does seem like one big happy mafia family of Democratic operatives with bylines, doesn’t it?

THE ABOLITION OF AMERICA: In “Cecil the Lion and America’s Broken Outrage Meter” at Real Clear Politics, Heather Wilhelm writes, “One of the joys of the digital age, at least to many, is the thrill of discovering a new World’s Most Despicable Person:”

You know the drill: First, some poor sap says or does something dumb or politically incorrect. Next, mobs of wild-eyed, unhinged keyboard cops swoop in to judge, shame, excoriate, and issue over-the-top condemnations. Finally, if they’re lucky, the Mean Typing League might even manage to destroy a life or a reputation or a business or two, not to mention everyone’s general faith in humanity.

After performing this ritual cleansing, one assumes, those involved feel slightly better about themselves. This sense of inner peace and superiority has not yet been scientifically measured, but it lasts, alas, for only a few fleeting days. That’s when it’s time to find a new World’s Most Despicable Person.

This week, that person is Dr. Walter James Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota with the unfortunate habit of paying copious amounts of money to kill large, exotic animals around the globe. Earlier in July, as the world discovered this week, Palmer messed with the wrong large, exotic animal: Cecil the Lion, one of Africa’s most beloved and famous lions, a favorite of wildlife researchers, and the “star attraction” of Zimbabwe’s Hwagne National Park.

I, like most of humanity, had never heard of Cecil the Lion until this week—thanks to the Internet, he now has approximately five million devoted new best friends, who had also, oddly, never heard of him until now—but there are several videos of him circulating online.

Read the whole thing. In his UK best-selling 1999 book The Abolition of Britain, Peter Hitchens, the Tory brother of the late Christopher Hitchens, reflected upon a moment when England seemed to have permanently lost its collective national mind, and a once sane, sober country had vanished forever. As Hitchens told CSPAN’s Brian Lamb on Booknotes:

LAMB: One of the things in your book, you have as a subtitle, “From Winston Churchill to Princess Di”–or Princess Diana. Why did you bracket this book between Winston Churchill’s death and Princess Di’s death?

Mr. HITCHENS: The crucial chapter and really the point around which the whole book revolves is the one which compares the two funerals of Winston Churchill in 1965 and Princess Diana. And the difference between them seems to me to sum up very eloquently the way in which the country has changed, the self-discipline of the people and their attitudes, the way in which the way in which the two things were …..It’s obviously two very different kinds of people, but here were two funerals in London of revered and much-loved figures. And they were utterly different, as if they’d taken place in different countries, and, in fact, they had taken place in different countries. The Britain of Princess Diana was an utterly foreign place to the Britain of Winston Churchill. And it seemed to me to be a good starting point.

This actually came to me during the bizarre weeks after Princess Diana’s death, when voicing any kind of criticism of the hysteria was pretty much taboo. And I did the sort of thing that Chinese dissidents used to do in the days of Mao Tse-tung. If they wanted to write about a political controversy, they’d actually write about one that had taken place in some dynasty 3,000 or 4,000 years before which they felt paralleled it. And I wrote about Winston Churchill’s funeral to make the points that it had been so different. And everybody got the message.

LAMB: What were the differences?

Mr. HITCHENS: The differences are in — first of all in the open showing of emotion. Now some people might say let it all hang out, show exactly what you feel. The trouble is that, in the case of British people, if they let it all hang out, quite a lot of what they let hang out isn’t very nice. We are a pretty bloodthirsty and violent lot, especially when we get outside out own borders and start misbehaving. And we need to restrain ourselves. And one of the reasons we’ve been so peaceful for so long is that we have. That was very much in evidence at the Churchill funeral and very much less in evidence at the Diana funeral when people applauded, for heaven’s sake, at a funeral, which is completely un-English, whereas in Churchill’s time, people queuing up to file past his coffin might occasionally dash a tear away from an eye and consider that to be slightly embarrassing. That’s one difference.

And the other differences were really in the whole shape and face of the country. Britain in 1965 was still a serious country, still scarred by what was seen by most people as a recent war, still very much a country living in the afterglow of imperial greatness, also quite a lot poorer and, in some ways, the better for it in that the self-indulgence which comes with affluence hadn’t really begun to take hold. And this whole feeling of a country self-disciplined for a serious purpose as opposed to a frivolous country weeping and wailing about a princess who was really a glorified film star with a crown on her head.

Will we look back on the outrage mob devouring* a dentist with penchant for Teddy Roosevelt-style big game hunting while simultaneously ignoring or shrugging while reading about the grizzly Planned Parenthood story as a similar inflection point in America’s history?

*Both doxxing him, to let the mob know where to mass with their torches and to destroy his business, and in some cases literally threatening him with death.

I BELIEVE THIS IS CALLED “MANSPLAINING” NOWADAYS AND HENCE IS DISMISSABLE: “Since the penis and testicles were mine and no one else’s, then my opinion must surely have some meaning.”

“HARBINGERS OF FAILURE:” Some people seem to have a knack for buying losing products. Wonder how this analysis would apply to political candidates.

WHY AUTOMATED CARS need new traffic laws.

When Delphi took its prototype Audi robocar from San Francisco to New York in April, the car obeyed every traffic law, hewing to the speed limit even if that meant impeding the flow of traffic.

“You can imagine the reaction of the drivers around us,” Michael Pozsar, director of electronic controls at Delphi, said at a conference in Michigan last week, according to Automotive News. “Oh, boy. It’s a good thing engineers have thick skin. All kinds of indecent hand gestures were made to our drivers.”

And that indicates that a problem is brewing, argues Prof Alain Kornhauser, who directs the transportation program at Princeton University. “The shame of the driving laws is that they all sort of have a ‘wink’ associated with them,” he says. “It says 55 miles per hour, but everyone knows that you can do 9 over. If that’s the situation, why isn’t it written that way—with a speed limit at 64?”

People know when to disregard a law, but it isn’t easy to reduce such implicit knowledge to an algorithm. Even if you could, there are some laws that robots should never have to observe.

“A stop sign—rather than a ‘yield’ sign—is there to make sure people have the opportunity to look both ways and see nobody is coming,” Kornhauser says. “But with 360-degree camera coverage, lidars and radars, those automated cars know in a 20th of a second whether something is coming. Why should we require them to come to a complete stop?”

In fact, if all cars were autonomous and connected to each other wirelessly, they wouldn’t need stop signs even at the intersections of multilane highways, as shown in this video simulation by Kurt Dresner and Peter Stone of the University of Texas at Austin.

True.

THE POLLING ON THIS MUST BE TRULY AWFUL: White House Won’t Commit to Veto of Bill Defunding Planned Parenthood.

UPDATE: Hillary Throws Planned Parenthood Under The Bus. Like I said, the polling on this must be truly awful.

ASHE SCHOW: Fraternity brothers sue Rolling Stone as top editor resigns. Take ‘em to the cleaners.

FROM KEN AT POPEHAT, an analysis of the TRO blocking publication of some of the abortion video.

CHANGE: Michigan’s Union Boomerang. “This is great news for self-government, empowering an elected legislature over courts and an unelected bureaucracy. But it’s even better news for state employees, who will now be able to decide if they want to pay the fees that finance an organization whose purpose and practices they may not support. Union membership has plummeted in Wisconsin and Indiana since similar worker freedom was allowed. The largest state teachers union in Wisconsin has lost more than half of its 40,000 members in four years. Meanwhile, the UAW faces another watershed when its auto contracts expire later this year, meaning auto workers will be eligible for right-to-work protections for the first time.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Cuts in Adjuncts’ Pay and Raises for All Others. The reason so many academics think capitalism is about the weak being exploited by the strong? Because that’s how academia works. . . .

BROTHER BOOK PLUG: My brother Jonathan recommends this book by his former student Russell Zimmerman: Shadowrun: Shaken (No Job Too Small).

HERE’S MORE ON MY revolving-door surtax plan.

GEORGE WILL: Iran deal shows disdain for Congress.

The best reason for rejecting the agreement is to rebuke Obama’s long record of aggressive disdain for Congress — recess appointments when the Senate was not in recess, rewriting and circumventing statutes, etc. Obama’s intellectual pedigree runs to Woodrow Wilson, the first presidential disparager of the separation of powers. Like Wilson, Obama ignores the constitutional etiquette of respecting even rivalrous institutions.

The Iran agreement should be a treaty; it should not have been submitted first to the U.N. as a studied insult to Congress. Wilson said that rejecting the Versailles Treaty would “break the heart of the world.” The Senate, no member of which had been invited to accompany Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference, proceeded to break his heart. Obama deserves a lesson in the cost of Wilsonian arrogance. Knowing little history, Obama makes bad history.

Obama’s legacy is his palpable distaste for the other branches of government, particularly Congress. While Obama’s other actions disregarding Congress have been frustrating, annoying, and worrisome, his disregard of Congress–and hence, the American people–on the Iran nuclear deal is dangerously meglomaniacal.

RELATED: Nicholas Kristof summons the energy to defend the Iran deal in the New York Times. His only real point comes at the very end:

If the U.S. rejects this landmark deal, then we get the worst of both worlds: an erosion of sanctions and also an immediate revival of the Iran nuclear program.

We have a glimpse of what might happen. In 2003, Iran seemingly offered a comprehensive “grand bargain” to resolve relations with the United States, but George W. Bush’s administration dismissed it. Since then, Iran has gone from a tiny number of centrifuges to 19,000, getting within two months of “breakout” to a nuclear weapon. The point: Fulmination is not a substitute for policy, and a multilateral international agreement achieves far more protection than finger-wagging.

Diplomacy is rarely about optimal outcomes; it is about muddling along in the dark, dodging bullets, struggling to defer war and catastrophe for the time being, nurturing opportunities for a better tomorrow. By that standard, the Iran deal succeeds. Sure, it is flawed, and yes, it makes us safer.

Translation: If we back out of the Iran deal now–after Obama has already diplomatically agreed to it, without seeking congressional approval–the other nations will still lift sanctions, but Iran won’t honor its agreement, and will indeed ramp up its nuclear efforts. Why Kristof assumes the former (that there will be an “erosion of sanctions,” in his words) if the US backs out, he never explains. Likewise, Kristof never addresses the key question that is troubling most of America: How can Iran be trusted to hold up its end of this “bargain” anyway, when it has not agreed to “anytime, anywhere” inspections (and in fact, the U.S. never sought them) and there are at least two secret “side deals” with the IAEA?

Yet somehow, in a biblical leap of faith, Kristof concludes that the Iran deal will make us safer, because we are muddling along in the dark, dodging bullets and struggling to defer war and catastrophe. In other words, the very most Kristof can muster in support of the Iran deal is that it might keep us ignorant about Iran’s nuclear ambitions a little longer and allow the Obama Administration to kick this apocalyptic can down the road to a future (likely Republican) Administration. And of course that is darn-near perfect, isn’t it?

NEWS YOU CAN USE: You Can Buy This Ridiculous Flamethrower If You Are an Insane Person.

WELL, THAT’S NICE TO KNOW: “InstaPundit’s still got it.”

DONS CLOWN NOSE TO COVER BROWN NOSE: Jon Stewart opens up on ‘secret’ White House visits.

HONESTLY, I THINK THE MEDIA ARE OFTEN AS COMPLICIT AS MISLED: Ed Morrissey: How the Media and You Are Misled by False Data.

IN THE MAIL: Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 812.

SO GUY CHARGED WITH MULTIPLE FINANCIAL FELONIES ALSO RAN BLACK CAUCUS’S CHARITY ORGANIZATION: Fattah Steps Aside at Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. “The Pennsylvania Democrat’s exit from the prominent spot with the education and policy nonprofit closely linked to the Congressional Black Caucus on Capitol Hill comes less than 24 hours after Fattah was charged in a 29-count indictment.” Might want to look into that entity, too. . . .

THE TOP GEAR CREW WILL BE STREAMING A NEW SHOW FOR AMAZON PRIME. Quoth Jeremy Clarkson: “I feel like I’ve climbed out of a bi-plane and into a spaceship.”

You can get Amazon Prime right here.

MEGAN MCARDLE ON those bogus campus rape studies:

Back then, the assumption was that most campus rape was caused by a bad culture — that men were committing rape because they’d been raised to understand that women who placed themselves in certain situations were “asking for it.” In the years since then, however, that assumption has been shifting. Now the focus is on serial predators, men who may be enabled by a culture that shames victims of sexual violence, and fails to do enough to protect them, but are very different from the majority of men who realize that rape is not really all right if she showed up at your fraternity party in a short skirt.

One of the major foundations of this shift in focus is a 2002 study by David Lisak, which has been widely cited in support of the emerging model of campus rape as a crime committed by serial predators who will perpetuate a cycle of violence unless stopped. This has major consequences for how you address the problem. If the issue is that most boys don’t understand a woman’s right to say no right up until the end, then what you need is a lot of education, combined with punishment of those who don’t get the message. If the problem is a small number of repeat offenders, then what you need is not so much education as much as better methods to identify and neutralize them.

Unfortunately, a new article in Reason magazine suggests that this foundation is much shakier than most people working on this issue — myself included — may have assumed. . . .

In short, Lisak’s 2002 study is not a systematic survey of rape on campus; it is pooled data from surveys of people who happen to have been near a commuter campus on days when the surveys were being collected.

Before I go any further, let me note that I’m not saying that what these men did was not bad, or does not deserve to be punished. But if LeFauve is right, this study is basically worthless for shaping campus policies designed to stop rape.

Nope. But it provided an excuse for people who want to turn college campuses into man-hating sexual police states. And that was the goal.

NONSENSE: VOTER FRAUD IS JUST A REPUBLICAN MYTH. Dead and Registered: Clarke County, MS, Sued for Having More Voters Than Live Citizens.

MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT: Right-to-Work Laws Apply To State Employees, Mean They Can’t Be Forced To Contribute To Union.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR HOUSING MOVES FORWARD: Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart reports on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, the Obama Administration’s latest affirmative action pet project that will withhold federal funds to localities that fail to have an as-yet-undefined acceptable percentage of minority residents:

The AFFH rule “gives the federal government a lever to re-engineer nearly every American neighborhood — imposing a preferred racial and ethnic composition, densifying housing, transportation, and business development in suburb and city alike, and weakening or casting aside the authority of local governments over core responsibilities, from zoning to transportation to education,” as National Review’s Stanley Kurtz put it last week.

When then-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan first proposed the AFFH rule in 2013, Paul Compton, a housing law expert and partner at the law firm Bradly Arant Boult Cummings told the Weekly Standard it is “a real shift in emphasis from ensuring that the private sector and participants in federal programs don’t unlawfully discriminate to defining the existence of racially and ethnically ‘segregated’ neighborhoods to be in themselves a violation of fair housing.”

Under this new rule, Compton said, “if a neighborhood is not integrated in some vaguely defined ratio, then that in itself is a fair housing issue.”

The Supreme Court has long recognized an important distinction between de jure (by law) versus de facto (by fact) racial segregation, with the former being forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause and the latter being, well, just the result of private conduct and human nature/preferences, and thus beyond the reach of the Fourteenth Amendment (which limits only “state”–government–action). Congress, however, has increasingly endorsed, via statutes–including the Fair Housing Act–that the notion that mere statistical differences in racial representation in private activities such as housing, mortgages, and employment, can constitute “racial discrimination” due to a theory called “disparate impact.

The AFFH rule is the Obama Administration’s radical vision of how to implement disparate impact theory under the Fair Housing Act. Congress could stop it immediately, if it so desired, by an explicit amendment to the Fair Housing Act that disapproves of the AFFH rule. But as is all too common these days, Congress seems unable to exercise its constitutional authority, instead preferring to roll over and show its beta belly in response to President Obama’s extreme transformation of the country.

I hope the moderators of the upcoming GOP presidential debates will be sure to ask all the candidates whether they will make it a priority to reverse the AFFH and similar disparate impact rules enacted by the Obama Administration.

WELL, THAT’S BECAUSE THE WHITE HOUSE HASN’T ISSUED STEWART’S TALKING POINTS YET: During the multi-country press tour for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, not even Jon Stewart has dared ask Tom Cruise about Scientology.

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MORE LIBERAL INTOLERANCE OR JUST PLAIN HYPOCRISY? Hans Wyss, the Swiss billionaire and funder of Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings project to empower women,  doesn’t want one woman – Jackie Long – empowered. He’s asked a Pennsylvania court to put her in jail because she told the Daily Caller News Foundation about allegations of how he sexually abused her. And Wyss threatened the DCNF with litigation after it published those allegations.

IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: Citing IRS Targeting, Cruz Compares Obama to Nixon.

KOCHS BUILDING NEW POLITICAL NETWORK: “One of the prime objectives could have a direct impact on Election Day 2016: to create a permanent ground force powered by a vast trove of data, replicating the kind of infrastructure that helped President Obama win reelection. . . . The libertarian-oriented network serves both as a valuable GOP ally and a rival power center to the Republican National Committee.”

My advice for the Kochs — put some money into media.

WASHINGTON POST: For Democrats, there’s no right answer on Planned Parenthood.

The surprise of today’s Republican press conference on Planned Parenthood came when one of the freshman class’s stars praised Hillary Clinton. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa.) described how undercover videos had found the family planning group’s executives coldly discussing the sale of fetal body parts, and said that even Democrats were recoiling.

“The American people, Republicans and Democrats alike, are horrified by the utter lack of compassion showed by Planned Parenthood for these women and their babies,” said Ernst. “In fact, now, Hillary Clinton is calling these Planned Parenthood images disturbing, and I agree.”

That line had the intended effect. It rattled abortion rights supporters, reminding them that the Democratic frontrunner for president had hedged on their issue. The fight to defund Planned Parenthood is only the latest in a series of conservative attempts to shift the conversation on abortion, from one that bedevils Republicans to one that flummoxes Democrats.

Bernie Sanders is hedging, too.

HANS VAN SPAKOVSKY: Can Mark Levin’s New Book, ‘Plunder and Deceit,’ Rescue America’s Youth?

ASHE SCHOW: Hardly any mention of due process at Senate hearing on campus sexual assault.

There was little discussion of due process rights in campus adjudications during a Wednesday hearing on campus sexual assault.

As expected, the one-sided hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee focused on how to make reporting easier for sexual assault accusers — which is very important — but failed to address the very real problem of false accusations. Typical statements from senators and other panelists consisted of long discussions about providing help for accusers, with a passing statement about ensuring a fair process tacked on at the end.

Most of the senators present — including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Claire McCaskill and Patty Murray – continually referred to accusers as “victims” or “survivors” and the accused as “accused,” “alleged perpetrator” or “rapist.” This, like the language of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, imposes a clear bias.

Gillibrand and McCaskill also mentioned having spoken to accused students and their families, making it seem as though their concerns were included in the bill. They were not. The senators may have listened, but they certainly didn’t hear.

You’d think that the GOP would stop the Senate from promoting these efforts to turn colleges into man-hating sexual police states, but you’d be wrong.

Related: Campus serial rapist survey debunked. It’s as if every lefty social crusade is based on bogus “social science” or something.

MOE LANE: The ’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi’ trailer. “It looks… a bit more serious than the stuff that Michael Bay usually does.” Plus: “I don’t… think that Hillary Clinton is stupid enough to seriously try to get the movie suppressed. But she must be tempted. Ach, well, she should have made better life choices.”

ROLL CALL: On Unattended Guns, Questions Linger for Capitol Police.

Called before Congress for an oversight hearing after a tumultuous few weeks of reports of loaded service weapons left in problematic places around the Capitol and an ongoing hunt for employees who may have leaked internal information, Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine promised the acts would be dealt with “firmly and effectively.”

But 10 weeks after that hearing, and six months after the first incident, only one of the officers who left a weapon unattended has been disciplined. The agent assigned to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security detail who left his Glock and magazine stuffed in the toilet seat cover holder of a Capitol Visitor Center bathroom stall served a six-day suspension without pay. He remains on assignment with the Kentucky Republican.

Disciplinary action is pending for a member of Speaker John A. Boehner’s security detail who left her loaded service weapon in the bathroom of the speaker’s suite 18 weeks ago, where a child discovered it. The case is open for a third officer whose service weapon was found on April 16 by a janitor cleaning the Capitol Police headquarters building on D Street Northeast. She remains in her position in the Mission Assurance Bureau.

Asked Tuesday if the situation concerned him, Boehner said he didn’t think the premise of the question was accurate. “I think these cases have been dealt with and decisions have been made in regards to sanctions on those individuals,” the Ohio Republican said in response to CQ Roll Call’s question during his weekly news conference.

The department has declined to publicly comment on the cases, except in front of Congress, citing a policy of not discussing disciplinary action.

Remember, only trained law enforcement officers can be trusted with firearms. Because they’re accountable!

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Ivy Honors And The Justices: “The differential treatment of justices on the right and left of the Court provides more evidence of the high double standards of higher education. It also offers some indirect evidence that professors on the right likely suffer discrimination in the elite legal academy. After all, the faculty and the administration of the law schools likely have some influence on who gets honorary degrees. And no doubt there is likely to be a similar message in many classrooms about which justices are worthy of emulation.”

OHIO DEM STATE REP: ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ CROWD SHOULD PROTEST PLANNED PARENTHOOD:

“Five thousand, four hundred and ninety-nine abortions are in Cuyahoga County, which I happen to represent,” Patmon said in a speech Tuesday. “And 63 percent of them are black women.”

Video at link. As Moe Lane adds, African-Americans have serious moral issues with abortion. It doesn’t stop African-Americans from voting for Democrats, obviously – but their personal attitudes on abortion still remain. So the Democrats are playing with some serious fire, here. Because you may have noticed that the crowd was firmly in agreement with state Representative Patmon on all of this…”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: NPR: Should Law Schools Pay If Students Don’t Get Jobs?

NO BAYING OVER SPILLED MILK:  For those of you who bought Sasquan (Worldcon) memberships, the deadline for voting is coming up fast.  Don’t forget to vote.

TERRORIST OR DEAD?  Mullah Omar Dead?

July 29, 2015

MICKEY KAUS ON ANN COULTER’S NEW BOOK ON IMMIGRATION: “Her book would be incendiary if Donald Trump hadn’t come along and made her look like Desmond Tutu. Now maybe we can consider her six big points coolly and calmly. Probably not, of course. But here they are.”

MODERN ART IS DEAD: And I don’t feel so good myself. This is what happens when art becomes a racket at public expense.  Or as Robert A. Heinlein said “A government supported artist is a whore — an incompetent one.”

HE DOESN’T LOOK A DAY OVER 74: Bugs Bunny at 75: Watch the First-Ever ‘What’s Up, Doc?’ Moment.

HE DRINKS HIS OWN INK: Obama: ‘I’m a Pretty Good President’ And If I Ran For a Third Term, I Could Win.

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MEANWHILE IN EUROPE: France deployed 120 riot police to Calais on Wednesday to bolster security after thousands of migrants tried to enter Britain through the Channel Tunnel in recent days, with the resulting chaos leading to at least one death. “British daily The Times reported Wednesday that up to 3,000 were involved in a closely coordinated plan to cross the English Channel into Britain on Monday night alone.”

Hmm. “A closely coordinated plan to cross the English Channel into Britain.” Sounds like an invasion.

EVERYTHING IS A LIE: “Leftists eternally reference per capita calculations in order to present Australia’s carbon dioxide output in the worst possible light. Yet they do not apply any per capita analysis to Australia’s refugee intake – and for the very same reason.”

KURT SCHLICHTER: Gun Rights Advocates Have A Devastating New Argument Against Gun Control. Here It Is. I think this argument may have broader application.

UNDER DEBLASIO, NEW YORK GOES BACKWARD: “Take a walk around the Grand Hyatt and neighboring Grand Central Terminal these days. It’s often like stepping out of H.G. Wells’s time machine straight back into the 1970s or 1980s. Vanderbilt Avenue, in particular, is becoming once again the urinal of the universe, with one block wall-to-wall ‘bum stands,’ as my son, with childhood inventiveness, used to call them: the stolen supermarket shopping cart, the garbage bag full of scavenged cans and bottles for redemption, the prone figure wrapped mummy-like in a filthy blanket. The heart sinks. It took so much effort by so many people to clear up the human wreckage that so many years of liberal ‘compassion’ had created in a dying New York. And to see it all—I can’t put it any better than the esteemed New York Post—’pissed away’ by a mayor not smart or perceptive enough to have learned one thing from the experience of the last 20 years, since his own personal demons have left him stuck in the politics of the 1950s and 1960s, is tragic. It is so hard to build; so easy to destroy.”

MAKE ‘EM PAY. U.Va. Grads Sue Rolling Stone Over Retracted Rape Article. “Court documents show that three University of Virginia graduates and members of a fraternity profiled in a debunked account of a gang rape in a retracted Rolling Stone magazine story are suing the publication and the article’s author. The three graduates filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York. They are also suing Rolling Stone’s publisher, Wenner Media. A lawyer for the men said they suffered ‘vicious and hurtful attacks’ because of the inaccuracies in the November 2014 article, which was written by journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely.”

The complaint is here. The Southern District of New York, where this was filed, tends to be especially friendly to libel defendants.

DRIP, DRIP: Hillary Clinton’s former spokesman turns over 20 boxes of emails. Hmm. Mysteriously appearing boxes of records? That sounds familiar. Plus: “Hackett also told the court that State couldn’t produce all of the documents requested by the AP at this time — including one related to Huma Abedin’s role as a ‘special government employee.’ He said the agency is still awaiting work-related emails from former agency officials Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills. Hackett did not say whether the documents being sought were from a personal account or State.gov account.”

SEEMS LIKE AN UNLAWFUL PRIOR RESTRAINT. ALSO, AN ADMISSION OF SORTS: Restraining order issued against anti-abortion group’s video.

HONESTLY, I JUST AVOID BOTH: The Evidence Supports Artificial Sweeteners Over Sugar. This past year, the Insta-Daughter quit putting sugar in her coffee, following my advice: Just stop and after a couple of weeks you won’t miss it any more. That works for lots of things. And once you get used to that, the sugary stuff tastes icky-sweet.

INDICTED DEM REP. CHAKA FATTAH RODE ON AIR FORCE ONE TO PHILLY WITH OBAMA THIS MONTH FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM SPEECH.

And of course, the White House claims Obama “was not aware of Rep. Chaka Fattah’s pending indictment when they flew together recently on AF1.”

It’s a fair cop — our semi-retired president only discovers bad news after it’s been on TV.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: An Affair Of The Mind.

The controversy surrounding the F-35 is fundamentally an extension of the debate over what a future fighter should be. Recently the aircraft made news when it was officially announced that the airframe couldn’t dogfight worth a damn. The standard riposte is that dogfighting as a form of aerial combat, stopped being relevant a long time ago.

Perhaps the best advocate for dogfighting-is-dead point of view isn’t a paper for the F-35 but a paper which argues that air combat is fundamentally changing. Perhaps the F-35 is not the best tool for coming era, but neither is the super-dogfighter many in the public seem to crave. In a PDF article titled Trends in Air-to-air Combat, John Stillion of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments argues that the era of pointing the airframe at moving point in space is over. It never really existed. Even during the age of gun kills, most victories arose from a dominant situational awareness and the ability to initiate the fight and disengage at will. The dominant importance of getting in first did not change in Vietnam.

Read the whole thing.