April 17, 2015

WAIT, MORE PREMATURE INTERNET OUTRAGE? SURELY NOT! Kyle Smith: ESPN was totally wrong to suspend Britt McHenry. “Several reviewers have complained that Advanced Towing brings in legally parked cars — and then, when you complain, simply insults you and holds the car hostage. We don’t even know what was said to McHenry, since the Advanced Towing employee’s remarks have been edited out of the video that went viral. And how do you feel about private companies with which you did not choose to do business making videos of you, then leaking them to the media for the purpose of humiliating you?”

POLITICO: Hillary Clinton’s Real Opponent: Barack Obama. “No retiring president below 50 percent job approval nationally has passed the White House to his party’s nominee in the 75 years of the polling era. Obama’s approval rating, as of this writing, is around 45 percent (give or take), and his disapproval is about 50 percent.”

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THE REASON FOR MOB VIOLENCE? “It’s fun.”

IN THE GAMING COMMUNITY, WOMEN ARE SUPPOSED TO KNOW THEIR PLACE: Honey Badgers: Go Home, Gamer girl: Press release on unjust banishment from Calgary Expo.

BRAD TORGERSEN: Tribalism Is As Tribalism Does. “One example that leaps to my mind: back when I was an NCO, I had a Small Group Leader (SGL) at one of the Army’s NCO schools who had emigrated out of central Africa, come to the U.S., and joined the U.S. military. He said that he found it very interesting, as a born African, trying to navigate among American blacks and whites alike. Based purely on how he looked, he would be treated one way — right up until he opened his mouth. At which point his accent identified him as something remarkably other than black American. Whites who had been cool to him (in the literal sense) would sometimes warm up. Blacks who had been warm, would cool down. Sometimes, even turn hostile? . . . Getting back to my SGL at the NCO school, something else he said struck me strongly: nobody in America really knows ethnic strife the way he saw it, because he literally witnessed portions of his family wiped out by what essentially amounted to tribal warfare. To white American eyes, there’d have been no discernible difference between the people killing each other. But the Africans themselves knew the difference, and considered it a difference worth murdering each other over. The SGL in question therefore found 21st century American racial tension to be both familiar, and also utterly foreign. Small potatoes, compared to his experience. So how do you overcome small-potatoes tribalism? Sometimes, by simply creating a new over-arching tribe from whole cloth.”

That’s what the military does, and that’s what the whole “melting pot” approach was supposed to do for America at large. But the political class thinks it’s more convenient to keep us divided into tribes.

ED DRISCOLL: Leftwing Website Commits Crimethink, Begs Leftwing Mob for Mercy.

EASING THE PAIN:  Science is increasingly revealing that commonly used pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) can effect not only one’s perception of physical pain, but emotional pain as well.  A recent study shows that acetaminophen blunts positive emotions and emotional response generally.  Similar research has shown that ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) reduces emotional stress among women but amplifies the emotional response of men.  So if you are feeling blue, some suggest trying a Tylenol or Advil before resorting to prescription anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs.

RELATED:  Staring into Fido’s eyes releases the feel-good brain chemical oxytocin, which creates feelings of love.  I knew that from staring into my dog, Thomas Jefferson’s, big brown eyes.  Somehow I don’t get the same emotions when I stare into my cat’s eyes, though she rarely stares back.  The sound of purring seems to make me happy, though.

WELL, SINCE THEY LIVE CLOSE TOGETHER, THEY PROBABLY SHARE A LOT OF GENES: Two Strangers Who Look Identical.

CAROLINE GLICK: American Jewry’s Moment Of Decision.

I’M NOT SURE I BUY THIS: Better Body Software Will Make People Less Equal. Like most innovations, it’ll be expensive and scarce at first, but if allowed to follow the normal path it will get steadily cheaper. People used to worry about a “digital divide,” but now Americans on welfare all seem to have smartphones.

GREETINGS FROM THE RADIO QUIET ZONE, where wi-fi is forbidden. “In 1958, the federal government created the National Radio Quiet Zone to shield the GBT and the nearby Sugar Grove listening post (now run by the National Security Agency) from electromagnetic interference. As a result, cellphone, television, and radio transmissions–all of which rely on electromagnetic waves–are heavily restricted within its 13,000-square-mile area and banned in a 10-mile radius around the GBT. Residents are not entirely cut off. They can access TV and Internet with cable.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Loyola-L.A. Law School Shrinks Enrollment By 20%, Taps $20 Million From University Endowment For Student Scholarships.

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LAND-YACHT ROAD TEST: 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600. “All the Maybach’s stretch translates into additional legroom for the two occupants in back, who are seated in thrones that look as if they were pulled from an executive jet. With separate power controls, pillow-style headrests, extendable legrests, and a perfectly coddling shape, they’re as good for napping as any bed in your house. Six-footers won’t be able to tap the front seatbacks with their feet. Add the rear-seat comfort package—it really should be called the insanely comfortable rear-seat package—and a hot-stone-massage system is included.”

Maybe if I had a driver. . . .

THE EPIC STORY OF how we got to Pluto.

THE COST OF HIGHER-ED CREDENTIALISM: A Yale Graduate Leaves a Trail of Ventures and Debts. “While the total amount in dispute appears to be relatively small — roughly a few million dollars — the way Mr. Newman has managed to raise money easily from sophisticated businessmen, many with a track record of investing in Internet start-ups, is a vivid reminder of how the right connections and a strong sales pitch can seduce investors, even after the financial crisis.”

K.C. JOHNSON AT COLUMBIA’S LAW AND LIBERTY CENTER: “Unlearning Due Process: Troubling Trends on Campus.”

THEY LIE A LOT, SO PROBABLY: Did FBI Director Comey Deliberately Mislead on ISIS Recruitment of Americans Before Mid-Term Elections?

MARIJUANA DEBATE HEATS UP:  After an extensive 5-day fact-finding hearing,  a federal judge in California yesterday ruled that it is not “irrational”–and thus does not offend the Constitution– for marijuana to be classified as a Schedule I drug (no legal uses) under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  It is a blow to pro-marijuana advocates, who’ve had remarkable success in getting pot approved for medicinal use, and–in four states–even recreational useMany legal experts anticipated that the judge, an Obama appointee, would take a “bold stand” and rule that marijuana cannot be completely banned under Schedule I. She suggested (showing remarkable restraint for an Obama appointee) that, as an unelected federal judge, it was not her place to effect such a substantial national policy change.

President Obama (technically, the Attorney General) could, consistent with the CSA, reschedule marijuana by executive order.  But for some reason, on this issue, the President has thus far refused to get out his infamous pen and phone, stating recently that he thinks Congress should amend the CSA to reschedule marijuana instead.

And in perhaps the ultimate irony, the Supreme Court ruled in its 2005 decision, Gonzales v. Raich, that individuals who used medical marijuana pursuant to state compassionate use laws were not entitled to a constitutional exemption from the CSA, as the CSA is the supreme law of the land.

Based on Gonzales, in late December, Oklahoma and Nebraska filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court against Colorado, asserting that Colorado’s legalization of recreational pot has forced such neighboring States to bear the brunt of increased criminal activity, such as transportation of pot into their jurisdictions, where pot remains illegal under State law.  The interesting legal questions posed by the Oklahoma/Nebraska suit is whether state pot legalization conflicts with the CSA and is thus preempted, and if relatedly, whether the executive branch has a constitutional obligation to enforce the CSA’s prohibition in such states.  Some argue yes; some argue no.

WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT ACADEMIC INEQUALITY! Moody’s: Rich Colleges and Universities Are Getting a Lot Richer. “The 10 richest universities in America hold nearly a third of the total wealth, in cash and investments, amassed by about 500 public and private institutions. The 40 richest hold almost two-thirds of the total wealth.”

Perhaps we need to tax “excess” endowment holdings, and earmark the money for Pell Grants.

WHEN THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF DOESN’T CARE ABOUT YOU OR YOUR SACRIFICES, MORALE SUFFERS: Army morale low despite 6-year, $287M optimism program. You know what helps morale? An Army that fights and wins. You know what doesn’t? A $287 million 6-year “optimism” program. An army overrun with sociology grads, “resiliency directorates,” diversity officers, and the like is not an army that’s focused on fighting and winning.

UPDATE: From the comments:

Let’s see – the military was sent into a hell hole to fight with their hands tied behind their backs, and then were pulled out so they could watch the areas they conquered by loss of their friends be over-run by maggot terrorists while the politicians crowed and crowed. And the politicians wonder why the soldier’s morale is low?

The world is run by idiots that can’t remember what happened yesterday.

Related: Memo: Army’s Top Priority Is Not Winning Wars, It’s Sexual Assault. “The U.S. Army’s top priority for 2015 is not winning wars. Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh named preventing sexual assault as his top priority for the Army in the fiscal year 2015, according to a memo obtained by The Daily Caller.”

STEPHEN KRASNER: Failed States And American National Security.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 708.

PERSONNEL IS POLICY: Meet Jeb Bush’s National Security Adviser. “They may have been mocked at the time, but the views Mitt Romney articulated on the campaign trail in 2012 about foreign affairs are now considered not just clear-sighted but clairvoyant. He said that the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq was a mistake; that Vladimir Putin was a major threat; and that radical Islam was on the ascent. Romney detailed many of these ideas in a wide-ranging address on foreign policy at the Virginia Military Institute. That speech was crafted in part by John Noonan, who was recently tapped to be Jeb Bush’s national-security adviser.” Editing tip: You mean “prescient,” not “clairvoyant,” which basically (“clair” + “voyant”) just means clear-sighted. But yeah.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT?

Never underestimate the environmental movement’s ability to squander its resources. Today’s fossil fuel divestment campaign is the latest example of fecklessness, and yet another demonstration—as if we needed one—that greens don’t understand the problems they’re trying to fix. . . .

College students campaigning against fossil fuel investments might be best served by putting down their picket signs and enrolling in an Economics 101 course. People invest money to grow their wealth, and while a family like the Rockefellers may be wealthy enough to assuage its guilt for how it made its money by publicly divesting from fossil fuel holdings, the rest of us can’t afford that luxury.

Take the time to read Gapper’s piece in full. It gets to the heart of the problem with the divestment movement: its rampant inconsistencies. By taking on something as enormous as investments in brown energy, greens have not only set themselves up for failure, they’ve also started tallying up opportunity costs. Public appetite for green initiatives isn’t limitless, and neither is the funding or media attention these causes du jour receive.

But greens are nothing if not experts at finding ways to attack problems from the wrong angles, whether it’s anti-Keystone activism or the Global Climate Treaty or divestment.

If people keep choosing means that seem unsuited to their ends, consider that you might not understand their ends.

I THINK THAT’S A TERRIFIC IDEA: Journalists at Gawker Media’s Websites Are Planning to Unionize.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: L.A. School District Terminates iPad Program and Seeks Refund From Apple. “It’s been an interesting ride, but the Los Angeles school iPad program is done. Between the rampant student hacking and the FBI probe, you can see how the focus kind of wandered away from education. But there are millions of dollars tied up in the project, so it’s not just lunch money.”

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CHANGE: House Votes To Repeal Estate Tax, Preserve Step-Up In Basis At Death.

SPENGLER: Yoram Hazony’s Brilliant Essay on Jewish Conservatism.

STEPHEN GREEN: Does the GOP Need a Republican Obama to Beat Hillary?

ASHE SCHOW: Due process on campus needs a congressional champion.

It’s a sad day in America when due process rights granted in the Constitution need protection, but here we are.

On college campuses across the country, students — particularly male students — are learning the hard way that they have little if any due process rights should they ever be accused of sexual assault. Indeed, an accusation is all that’s needed to destroy or severely alter their future.

The reason for this comes from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which has reinterpreted Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to view sexual assault as a form of gender discrimination instead of a crime. It therefore must be treated as a disciplinary matter, more closely aligned with plagiarism than the felony crime it actually is.

And since Title IX and OCR’s subsequent, infamous “Dear Colleague” letter recommend inadequate due process rights for those accused, following those guidelines has been shown in at least one instance to be an acceptable excuse for subverting the Constitution. For instance, although Title IX theoretically requires a fair hearing for the accused, it also requires a Title IX officer to oversee the investigation of sexual assault complaints and be a victim’s advocate, thereby placing the power of the office behind the accuser and against the accused. . . .

It is politically dangerous these days to even suggest that schools provide due process to those accused of sexual assault. Especially since these days all that is needed to brand someone a rapist is an uncorroborated accusation. But there must be someone in Congress brave enough to take up the issue and offer a bill that either amends existing law or requires colleges to provide due process to students who are accused.

One would hope.

REALLY? BECAUSE IT SEEMS TO ME HE DIDN’T GET ENOUGH: Reid Not Sure If Boxing Blows to the Head Were Good for Him.

WALTER HUDSON: Why Blacks Aren’t Voting Republican.

THE HILL: Obama immigration orders face major test in federal court.

President Obama’s executive actions on immigration will be tested on Friday when a federal appeals court considers whether to lift an order blocking the actions to allow millions of immigrants without legal status to remain in the United States.

Lawyers from the federal government and 26 states opposed to Obama’s immigration policies will make oral arguments in front of a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, the most conservative circuit in the country.

The administration is seeking an emergency stay lifting a Texas judge’s order freezing Obama’s November executive actions, which could provide deportation relief and work permits to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants.

Supporters of Obama’s programs are hopeful the court’s recent dismissal of a separate lawsuit against the immigration programs are a sign the judges will be on their side.

The panel may take days or weeks to decide on the government’s motion.

If it lifts U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen’s preliminary injunction, the Obama administration could begin implementing its programs. If it does not, Obama’s actions will remain in limbo.

The atmosphere surrounding the hearing is expected to be charged. More than 150 people plan to demonstrate outside the courthouse, including immigrants eligible for relief under Obama’s programs, according to immigrant-rights groups.

Well, the Obama crowd managed to intimidate John Roberts, so it’s worth a try with Judge Hanen, I guess.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: ‘Culture of Cheating’ Prevalent at Stanford, Other Elite Colleges.

BECAUSE IT’S THE PARTY OF OLD WHITE PEOPLE AND THEIR LOYAL RETAINERS. Byron York: Why is the 2016 Democratic field so old?

Why are the Democrats running for president so old? Blame the Clintons.

There are five Democrats who have either declared or are thinking about running for president. Three — Joe Biden, Bernard Sanders, and Jim Webb — will be over 70 years old on Inauguration Day 2017. Frontrunner Hillary Clinton will be nine months short of 70. Only Martin O’Malley, who will turn 54 a couple of days before the 2017 swearing-in, has not reached retirement age already.

In 2008, Democrats had a 47 year-old candidate who mesmerized the party and ran away with the votes of Americans aged 18 to 29. Republicans, meanwhile, ran a 72 year-old man whose reputation was based on heroism in a war 40 years earlier. Youth won.

This time the situation is reversed. The average age of the Republican field is far below the Democrats, with every candidate younger than Clinton. The most senior is Jeb Bush, who will be 64 on Inauguration Day. Scott Walker will be 49; Marco Rubio will be 45; Ted Cruz, 46; Rand Paul, 54; Chris Christie, 54; Mike Huckabee, 61; Bobby Jindal, 45. Although Bush is in the older range, they’re all in the career sweet spot to win the White House.

What accounts for the Democrats’ dramatic change from the party of youth to the party of age?

“It’s the snuffing out of young talent by the strength and size and sheer velocity of the inevitable nominee,” says a well-connected Democratic strategist. “The Clintons took all the air out of the collective Democratic room. There are a lot of people who would be running who are much younger, but they’ve got their future in front of them, and they don’t want the Clintons to ruin it, in this campaign or after this campaign. So they’re waiting for a moment when there is enough oxygen to run.”

“If Hillary Clinton weren’t running, we’d have a field that looks like the Republican field — young and vibrant and diverse.”

Hillary is none of those things.

ILYA SOMIN: How the Constitution protects “free range” parents.

The Supreme Court has always indicated that parental rights are not absolute. The state can intervene to protect children against serious threats to their health and safety, and to ensure that all children get at least a basic education. But, as Troxel makes clear, the state can’t infringe on parental control over child-raising unless they have real evidence showing that there is a genuinely significant threat to the childrens’ safety and well-being. Otherwise, as Justice O’Connor’s opinion makes clear, the authorities must respect the “presumption that fit parents act in the best interests of their children.”

Forcibly detaining elementary school-aged kids for walking by themselves in a safe, middle-class neighborhood doesn’t even come close to meeting the necessary standard. Statistically, such walking is extremely safe, and probably less dangerous than police officers’ actions in forcibly detaining the children and driving them to a CPS office. According to the Center for Disease Control, car accidents are a leading cause of death among small children; riding in a car as a passenger is far more dangerous for kids than walking in most neighborhoods. Far from “protecting” the two children, the police and the CPS probably put them at greater risk than they were exposed to before (though the risk was still very low in an absolute sense). The Meitivs’ parenting practices are also much safer than numerous typical childhood activities, such as participating in contact sports like basketball and hockey, or going downhill skiing. If the CPS can force parents to stop letting their children walk home from the park, it can similarly target every other comparably risky activity, including numerous sports, and even driving the children in a car.

The bottom line is that the CPS’ actions here seem to be the result of exactly the kind of “mere disagreement” with parental choices that the Supreme Court specifically barred as a basis for overriding parents’ constitutional right to direct their children’s upbringing.

Tar. Feathers.

April 16, 2015

JOURNALISM: Rubio gets the Cruz treatment with dubious ‘fact check.’ The big-media fact-checkers have been pathetic partisan shills for quite a while. This particular piece of work was authored by the AP’s Steve Peoples.

ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS: ISIS Fighter converts to Christianity. “An ISIS jihadist has recently converted to Christianity after being left for dead near the Eastern border of Syria where he was finally rescued by Christian missionaries from the region.”

Related: Boots on the ground: The foreign volunteers training anti-ISIS fighters.

UPDATE: While I slept, InstaPundit readers exposed the first story as a hoax. Thanks!

JUST THE KIND OF “IMMIGRATION” EUROPE NEEDS: Italian police: Muslim migrants threw Christians overboard. “Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard — killing them — because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday. Italian authorities have arrested 15 people on suspicion of murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo, Sicily, said. The original group of 105 people left Libya on Tuesday in a rubber boat. Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants — Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal — threw the 12 overboard, police said.”

RECKLESS DISREGARD: Mediaite Screws Up Congressman’s Marital Status (And In This Case, It Matters). “Mediaite did correct themselves (see below). So now it’s a story about an unmarried congressman who’s dating an airline lobbyist.”

#HASHTAGFAILURE: One year later, Nigerian schoolgirls are still missing.

SOMETIMES I SHOW MY CONSTITUTIONAL LAW CLASS THE FILM SEPARATE BUT EQUAL, ABOUT THE BROWN CASE. It’s really, really good, and it’s available on YouTube now. Here’s part one, and here’s part two. The film’s pretty closely based on Richard Kluger’s Simple Justice, an oral history of the Brown case. I heard some of these stories — the bedroom-key joke, for example — direct from Charlie Black when I was in law school.

CRACKING YOUR KNUCKLES DOESN’T CAUSE ARTHRITIS: It might even be good for your joints.

JONATHAN LAST ON TOWING COMPANY ABUSES. They do often tow legally parked cars and demand ransom. I think they should be treated as thieves. Back when I was in college, there was a problem with legally parked cars being towed on Old Fraternity Row, that ended when a mob of frat guys chased off a driver and wrecked his truck. When you tow someone’s legally parked car, you’re breaking the law while relying on the victims to be peaceable and law-abiding in how they respond. That sort of reliance shouldn’t be encouraged.

VIDEO: Watch the Incredible New ‘Star Wars’ Teaser Trailer. It looks good. But. . .

FARHAD MANJOO ON why TurboTax is not your friend.

ANOTHER 2002 POST THAT SEEMS RELEVANT TODAY: Feminists Wishing For A World With Fewer Men.

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LIFE IN THE OBAMA ERA: Ramadi could fall as ISIS militants lay siege, Iraqi official warns.

WAIT, I THOUGHT CALIFORNIA’S DROUGHT WAS DUE TO GLOBAL WARMING: In California, a Wet Era May Be Ending. “Scientists say that in the more ancient past, California and the Southwest occasionally had even worse droughts — so-called megadroughts — that lasted decades. At least in parts of California, in two cases in the last 1,200 years, these dry spells lingered for up to two centuries. The new normal, scientists say, may in fact be an old one.”

My advice: Build big nuclear plants, and use them to power desalination facilities.

MY OLD DIVE INSTRUCTOR LIZ PARKINSON IS NOW AN UNDERWATER MODEL. Here she is in a pic from a set done with a rather large Tiger Shark.

liztigershark

FASTER, PLEASE: Experimental drug that may repair nerve damage in MS moves forward.

JOHNNY ONE-NOTE: Charles Blow: If you oppose Hillary, it’s because you’re sexist. And probably also racist. To be fair, he actually mentions that the Republican field is more diverse, which must have hurt.

THE ENLIGHTENMENT WAS MORE ENLIGHTENED THAN I REALIZED:  Polish archaeologists find an 18th century sex toy made of leather and wood (and I must say, judging by the picture, rather large).  Hope the ladies (or men?) didn’t get splinters.

PARENTS: Don’t get so carried away with teaching kids to share.

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WELL, SHE DID SUFFER A HEAD INJURY A WHILE BACK: Hillary Parks in Handicap Spot.

FINALLY, A CHAMPION FOR ORDINARY FOLK AND A CRUSADER AGAINST POLITICAL CORRUPTION!:   . . . which is (more than ironically) what Hillary Clinton is billing herself as.  In her recent Iowa appearance, Clinton revealed these two themes as the basis upon which she’s shaping 2016 presidential bid.

She complained that chief executives make too much money, and of the horror that has befallen politics after the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United–which stands for the unremarkable position that groups of people organized in a business (e.g., corporations)  or association (e.g., unions or neighborhood associations) form still have a First Amendment right to free speech.

All of this is coming from a woman whose persona is defined by whose massive political fundraising, multiple ethical lapses, and laughable claims of poverty.  I would call Clinton a hypocrite, but somehow this word fails to capture fully the Orwellian nature of her behavior.  How do Democrat voters let her get away with such obvious doublethink? In the Words of Orwell, in the novel 1984:

In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird.

Ignorance is strength, I guess.

RELATED:  Liberal/progressive groups are urging President Obama to issue an executive order to require government contractors to disclose their donor lists, in direct contravention to the Supreme Court’s decision in NAACP v. Alabama (1958), which held that compelled disclosure of the NAACP’s membership lists was unconstitutional because it created a chilling effect on the First Amendment right to free association.  And we know what liberals/progressives like to do when they find out the names of conservative donors, and it ain’t pretty.

This is all part of the liberal/progressive campaign against so-called “dark money,” which is an incredibly misleading phrase (there’s Orwell again) that refers to political spending by outside groups (i.e., not the political parties or candidates themselves).  An FEC rule requiring broader disclosure was tossed out of court in November, with the federal judge calling the FEC’s attempt “arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law.”

So much for liberals/progressives belief in “privacy” or “free speech”– that stuff doesn’t apply to other people.

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Why Are Fast-Food Restaurants Hiding Their Condiments Behind the Counter?

HMM: Scientists Warn of Hormone Impacts from Common Solvents.

ER, BRING BACK DDT? Man sets rental car, self on fire trying to kill bedbugs.

SARAH HOYT: If This Goes On. . .

A 30-DAY FREE TRIAL OF AMAZON PRIME. I’ve actually started to take some advantage of the free TV and music offerings, which are surprisingly decent.

I’VE DONE IT BEFORE, but let me offer one more plug for Michael Cottone’s Rethinking Presumed Knowledge of the Law in the Regulatory Age. I really think this addresses a key problem — maybe the key problem — in current overcriminalization issues. (Bumped).

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Flexible supercapacitor from stacked nanomaterial.

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY: General Atomics Introduces a Weapons-Grade Self-Contained Laser Cannon That Can Be Mounted On the Roof Of Your Car. “What we were able to find out about this thing is that it’s a laser weapon with output energies (that’s output, not total power in the system) ranging from 75 kilowatts all the way up to 300 kilowatts. To put that in perspective, about a year ago we wrote about how Lockheed was using a portable fiber laser to shoot down rockets at a range of 1.5 kilometers using just 10 kilowatts of power. Suffice it to say, 300 kilowatts is rather a lot.”

WATCH NASA’S PROTOTYPE MARS ROVER do some serious drifting. Video at the link.

HILLARY CLINTON: The Sarah Palin Of The Left?

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 707.

I SAY, PUNCH BACK TWICE AS HARD:

Why has America gone lunatic on the subject of unattended children? Parents hover over their kids as if every step might be their last. If they don’t hover, strangers do, calling the police to report any parent who leaves their child to run into the store for a few minutes. What’s truly strange is that the parents who are doing this were themselves left to their own devices in cars, allowed to ride their bikes and walk to the store unsupervised, and otherwise given the (limited) freedom that they are now determined to deny their own kids. The police are making arrests that would have branded their own parents as criminals. To hear people my age talk about the dangers of unsupervised children, you would think that the attrition rate in our generation had been at least 30 percent.

Even people who haven’t gone crazy are afraid of the Pediatric Patrol. A mom of my acquaintance whose house backs up to a school playground, with a gate that lets her children walk straight into the schoolyard, is afraid to let them go through the gate without an adult, for fear that someone would call the same nutty CPS that has taken to impounding the Meitiv children. She compromises by letting them play alone in the playground only when she is in the backyard, so that she can intervene if the police arrive.

Think about that: Kids have the priceless boon of a playground right in their backyard, but they can’t use it unless Mom drops everything to accompany them. I am running out of synonyms for “insane” to describe the state we have worked ourselves into. What on earth has happened to us?

It’s not us. It’s them.

JOURNALISM: A Florida newspaper is along for the ride — and catches flak. “If a reporter and his newspaper know in advance — months in advance, as it turns out — that a man intended to undertake a stunt that could sow panic in the nation’s capital, are they obligated to alert law-enforcement authorities? And should they be faulted for not doing so until the last minute?”

JUST IGNORE ‘EM!:   What is it about progressives that makes them think it is good for society to ignore the rule of law?  The latest iteration comes in the form of explicit calls to ignore the Supreme Court whenever it rules the “wrong” (i.e., non-progressive) way.

Because the Supreme Court isn’t presently dominated by progressives and none of the 5 current, right-of-center Justices are likely to retire before the end of the Obama Administration, progressives are now trying to create acceptability for the idea of “ignoring” the Court.  A recent New York Times op-ed by William Baude, for example, asserted that if the Court’s King v. Burwell opinion ultimately denies Obamacare subsidies to individuals states without state-run health insurance exchanges, the Obama Administration should only enforce the decision against the 4 named plaintiffs in the case.

For everyone else, Baude suggests that the Administration pretend that the law hasn’t technically been decided.  The justification for such lawlessness?:  “If the administration believes that a Supreme Court loss would be egregious and disastrous, it ought to consider taking the political heat to limit it.”   Oh, okay– that makes sense.  If the President thinks the Supreme Court’s interpretation of a law is “egregious and disastrous,” he should just ignore it for everyone but the named plaintiffs who brought the suit.

Apparently, Baude is channeling the progressive mindset.  A Feb. 2015 Rasmussen poll revealed that only 35% of Democrats disagreed when asked: “Should the president have the right to ignore federal court rulings if they are standing in the way of actions he feels are important for the country?”  81% of Republicans and 67% of voters not affiliated with either major party disagreed– an astounding difference of 32 to 46 percentage points from the Democrat perspective.

 

RELATED:  The Obama Administration has been notoriously disrespectful of courts, having been threatened with contempt for perjury in the ongoing lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obama’s immigration executive orders and actually held the Department of Interior in contempt for its behavior ignoring the court’s preliminary injunction in a offshore drilling case.

And let’s not forget that President Obama’s own remarks bullying the Supreme Court prior to its big summer 201 Obamacare decision, NFIB v. Sebelius, triggered a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to order a DOJ lawyer to provide an explanation– of at least 3 pages, single-spaced– articulating the DOJ’s position on the propriety of judicial review of the constitutionality of laws.  Holder provided the letter– only 2 1/2 pages long, defiantly enough–and used wishy-washy language that only minimally acknowledged judicial review and lectured the court on its limited role.

SUZANNE VENKER: The truth about the so-called “Rape Culture.” “There is no rape culture on campus. (Note I didn’t say no one’s ever been raped on campus.) What there is is an awful lot of gray between the sheets.”

SHOCKER: “Surveys show that Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats to agree that taxpaying is a moral responsibility.”

But if you like the idea of taxes as a moral responsibility, you probably shouldn’t corrupt the Internal Revenue Service.

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“THE BARBARIANS ARE BACK:” Ran across this post from 2002, which seems even more relevant in the era of ISIS.

FIRST YOU ELIMINATE DUE PROCESS, THEN YOU INSTITUTE MANDATORY MINIMUM PUNISHMENTS: Ashe Schow: California continuing its quest to brand all men as rapists.

Last year California passed a law that defined nearly all sex on college campuses as rape unless proven otherwise. Now, in addition to making it easier to label someone a rapist for just about every sexual encounter, state legislators want to go further to ensure that accused students’ lives are severely disrupted — if not ruined — by introducing mandatory minimums for their punishment.

The mandatory minimum would be a suspension of two years for students found responsible for sexual assault. But bear in mind that the burden of proof already lies with the accused, thanks to California’s “yes means yes” law. Accusers do not have to provide any proof that that they failed to give consent or were unable to consent due to incapacitation, and now a guilty finding would carry a minimum punishment under this new proposal.

First they made it easier to brand a student a rapist, and now they want to make it easier to ruin that student’s life.

I think that men should avoid California colleges.

WAIT, I THOUGHT FENCES DON’T WORK: White House expected to add steel spikes to fence.

The White House is expected to add half-inch steel spikes to its perimeter fence as a protective measure against potential jumpers, NBC Washington reports.

The report says the spikes would be attached to the existing fence for at least a year, before a permanent fence is built.

The National Parks Service is looking into that proposal, along with a permanent fix to either raise the height to 10 feet or to add a second interior fence, according to NBC, but the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and U.S. Capital Planning Commission must approve the final decisions.

“I want to see those spikes to make sure they don’t look so foreboding that people who visit the White House will figure they shouldn’t be there,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) told NBC.

Uh huh.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO, WELL, DO ANY OF THIS, REALLY: Horny Mom Threw Teen Daughter a Naked Twister Sex Party, AA Sponsor Says. “Lehnardt’s alleged story to her sober buddy only gets wilder from there. According to Augusta Crime: She initially joined in the teens’ naked game of Twister, but ended up f*cking an 18-year-old in the bathroom. Later, because she was still ‘horny,’ she brought out some sex toys and began using them on herself in the living room. The whole naked party eventually moved to the hot tub. . . . The night ended for Lehnardt around 3:30 a.m., when she woke up in her bed to find her daughter’s 16-year-old boyfriend having sex with her.”

And, of course, the piece de resistance: “Mrs. Lehnardt told [the sponsor] she and her daughter had spoken and that her daughter ‘felt guilty because the 16-year-old was 10 inches long and huge, and if she had just been able to take it, he wouldn’t have needed to rape her mother.’”

Sure, you’re saying, he initiated the sex with her. But reverse the genders and there would probably be charges. Well, maybe not: “The horny mom, arrested based on the sponsor’s story, won’t face any sex-related charges because 16 is Georgia’s age of consent.”

ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS: Mass movement: US Christians don orange in church to honor ISIS victims.

I’LL BET IT WON’T MAKE THE COVER OF ROLLING STONE, OR SPARK EXTENSIVE CAMPUS DISCUSSION: Third Student Charged in Gang-Rape on Panama City, Florida, Beach.

Note that when white frat boys are (falsely) charged with gang rape, their race and accompanying presumed attitudes toward rape are front-and-center in all coverage. . . .

April 15, 2015

CH-CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: A new, improved InstaPundit mobile site. And, as you may have already noticed, we got rid of the annoying popunder ads.

WOW, THAT’S AN UNFLATTERING PICTURE: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Poverty Voyeurism.

THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER IS ON THE STORY: EXCLUSIVE: HILLARY CLINTON LESBIAN LOVERS NAMED IN SECRET EMAILS. “The ENQUIRER learned the list of Hillary’s lesbian lovers includes a beauty in her early 30s who has often traveled with Hillary; a popular TV and movie star; the daughter of a top government official; and a stunning model who got a career boost after allegedly sleeping with Hillary. Hillary made the huge mistake of mixing public and private messages while using her personalized email server – before risking a massive scandal by refusing to make the documents public.”

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE: Wertz was charged by state police Trooper Joel Zimmerman of the Lykens station with reporting that she was raped at a home in Lykens on Sept. 9, 2014, knowing that the accusation was false. “Zimmerman said Wertz then told him she had consensual sex with the man and that she made up the rape charge because she was mad at him and at herself for cheating on her boyfriend. That same day, Wertz provided a written statement that she made up the rape charge, saying she was mad because after the two had consensual sex the man was ignorant to her and called her names.”

IT’S POTEMKIN VILLAGES ALL THE WAY DOWN (CONT’D): BuzzFeed: Hillary Invented “Immigrant” Grandparents. Well, to be fair, maybe she just uses the same genealogist as Elizabeth Warren.

TO BE FAIR, AL ALREADY LOOKS MANOREXIC, AND PROBABLY SHOULDN’T MISS ANY MEALS: NBC Anchor Stages Rolling ‘Hunger Strike’ to Aid Loretta Lynch’s Stalled AG Nomination.

JEFF JACOBY: Armenian genocide was also a jihad.

Turkish authorities weren’t always so reluctant to accurately label the genocidal horror unleashed against the Armenians a century ago.

Talaat Pasha, the powerful Ottoman interior minister during World War I, certainly didn’t disguise his objective. “The Government . . . has decided to destroy completely all the indicated [Armenians] persons living in Turkey,” he brusquely reminded officials in Aleppo in a September 1915 dispatch. “An end must be put to their existence . . . and no regard must be paid to either age or sex, or to conscientious scruples.”

US Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, flooded with accounts of the torture, death marches, and butchery being inflicted on the Armenians, remonstrated with Talaat to no avail. “It is no use for you to argue,” Morgenthau was told. “We have already disposed of three quarters of the Armenians. . . . The hatred between the Turks and Armenians is now so intense that we have got to finish them. If we don’t, they will plan their revenge. . . . We will not have the Armenians anywhere in Anatolia.”

If some of them survived, it wasn’t for lack of effort by the killers. Of the roughly 2 million Armenians living in the country in 1914, 90 percent were gone by 1918. The death toll was well over one million; innumerable others fled for their lives. To read eyewitness descriptions of the ghastly cruelties the Armenian Christians were made to suffer a century ago is to be reminded that the jihadist savagery of ISIS and Al Qaeda is not an innovation.

That key fact is one the pope, to his credit, refuses to downplay: Armenians were victims not only of genocide, but also of jihad. In imploring his listeners on Sunday to hear the “muffled and forgotten cry” of endangered Christians who today are “ruthlessly put to death — decapitated, crucified, burned alive — or forced to leave their homeland,” Francis was reminding the world that the price of irresolution in the face of determined Islamist violence is as steep as ever.

The way you stop a genocide is, you kill the genocidaires until they not only give up, but shrink from the very thought.

MARK RIPPETOE explains about weightlifting shoes. I replaced the Nike Free shoes that I was using, which weren’t bad, with the Rogue strapped shoes that he shows a while back. Walking in the Rogues is like walking with pieces of plywood on your feet — because, basically, that’s what you’re doing — but they’re much more stable for heavy squats.

CONGRESS VERSUS THE IRANIAN PARLIAMENT:  . . . and the Iranian Parliament seems to win.  Today, the Nuclear Committee of the Iranian Parliament issued a strange “factsheet” on the nuclear deal, which seems to contradict virtually every material aspect of the P5+1 Geneva Agreement, as conveyed by the Obama Administration.  In particular, the factsheet states that Iran agrees to only a 5-year deal (not 10-year); will be allowed to continue enriching uranium to 20% (weapons grade) if “needed”; won’t agree to shut down the Arak Heavy Water Reactor (which supplies plutonium necessary for bomb-making); and of course all Iranian sanctions must be terminated immediately, and in one single step.

Would Iran like fries with that agreement?

Meanwhile, back in the Bat Cave… the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday unanimously passed a toothless Corker-Menendez bill that appears to have a veto-proof majority.  After veto-proof congressional approval became inevitable, President Obama magnanimously said he wouldn’t bother to veto the bill.

Under the revised Corker-Menendez, Congress would only have 30 days to reject the Iranian deal; if it fails to do anything (which would not be surprising), the deal goes into effect, with the tacit approval of Congress.  And Congress also caved on the terrorism language of the bill, which used to require the President to certify, every 90 days, that Iran was not supporting terrorism against Americans (or the sanctions could be re-imposed).  That is now gone, an apparently disposable byproduct of garnering Democrat votes.

Wow– way to go, Congress.  You are negotiating away your constitutional prerogative to lift the sanctions you imposed via statute (and/or for 2/3 Senate ratification of treaties), in return for a mere 30-day window of consideration of a deal that the Iranians are already saying they won’t abide by.  This is what happens when a President successfully bullies Article I– Congress eventually gets the courage to feign a modicum of self-respect, but is so afraid that the President will “go around” them anyway (as he is wont to do) that it ends up giving the President its lunch money.