November 22, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Good grief.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 562.

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

MEGAN MCARDLE: Campus Rapes And Kangaroo Courts.

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

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

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

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

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

EVE TUSHNET reviews The Last Days of Disco.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW THE GOP CAN PLAY Amnesty Jiu-Jitsu.

November 21, 2014

THE INSTA-WIFE: Geeks On Strike?

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

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

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

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

ATTENTION HOMESCHOOLERS, AND EVERYONE ELSE: Open Culture: The Harvard Classics: Download All 51 Volumes as Free eBooks.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 561.


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

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

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

DISCIPLINE AND PUNISH: The University Policy That Fails Everyone.

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

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

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

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

The upside is that it will make some lawyers rich.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Michael Barone says, gangster government.

POLL: Lukewarm Latino support for Obama executive action.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, he doesn’t care about that.

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

November 20, 2014

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can we apply this approach to the IRS?

GALLERY: Buffalo Snow Photos.

WHEN POPEHAT turns poet.

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

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

Related: NollyLand app snapped up ‘like hotcakes.’

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

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

NICK GILLESPIE: Uber’s Real Crime Is Giving In to Politics as Usual. Well, once they hired David Plouffe, that was pretty much a given, right?

SADLY, AN “ACTUAL DEBATE” ABOUT A CHARGED SUBJECT AT AN IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL IS NEWS NOWADAYS: An Actual Debate About Rape At Brown. But don’t get too excited: “Since this is Brown, where then NYC police commissioner Ray Kelly was shouted down and prevented from speaking, the planning for the debate came with several indicators as to how students are supposed to feel.” Over sixty grand a year tuition for that. . . .

MICHAEL TOTTEN’S NEW BOOK, Tower Of The Sun, is now shipping. That’s the Kindle link. Here’s the paperback link.

A STRONG GENETIC COMPONENT for male homosexuality. “For gay rights activists, it’s a dilemma. Does it help or hinder their cause if science shows that homosexuality is partly or largely biologically determined, rather than a lifestyle choice?” I dunno, but for scientists, it should just be a question of, you know, what the facts are.

STEVE WOZNIAK on innovation.

IT’S POTEMKIN VILLAGES ALL THE WAY DOWN: Report: White House secretly counted dental plans in Obamacare enrollment numbers; Without counting dental plans, Obamacare would have missed its goal. When your Potemkin Village is so unconvincing that even Vox is pointing out the papier-mache and chickenwire. . . .

AND NOW FOR SOME GOOD NEWS: ‘Bubble Boy’ Disease Cured With Stem Cells. “Evangelina, a twin, was born with a severe immune disorder caused by a genetic aberration that makes her vulnerable to any and all bacteria and viruses; even a simple cold could be fatal. But doctors at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Broad Stem Cell Research Center gave her a new treatment, using her own stem cells, that has essentially cured her disease. She’s one of 18 children who have been treated with the cutting-edge therapy, and the study’s leader, Dr. Donald Kohn, says that the strategy could also be used to treat other gene-based disorders such as sickle cell anemia.”

FREE SPEECH IS LIKE A TRAIN: WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR STOP, YOU GET OFF. Oxford cancels student-group-organized debate on abortion.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Video: How living-donor transplants can save — and transform — lives.

IN THE MAIL: From Peter Lloyd of the Daily Mail, Stand by Your Manhood.

Plus, today only from Amazon: 50% Off Select Learning Resources Toys and Games.

And, also today only: Up to 40% Off Select PC Components and Peripherals.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 560.

ED MORRISSEY: Obama’s Immigration Ploy Smacks of Contempt for ‘Stupid Americans.’


So let me finish by noting what I actually find disturbing about the whole Gruber episode. It is not that voters aren’t particularly well-informed; voters could not possibly be well-informed about all the issues that our government deals with. No one can be, which is why, when people ask me my opinions about foreign policy nowadays, I say, “I don’t know. Looks like a hard problem to me.”

Nor is it that politicians lie to voters. We reward them for lying, because we want to be told that we can have everything we want, plus a pony, and the only cost will be that some undeserving layabout will get their benefits cut off, or some very rich person we don’t like will have to sell the second yacht and pay higher taxes instead. We should not be surprised when they tell us exactly that. I’m not saying that I approve of this, mind you; I’m just saying that the way to stop it is not to tut-tut at the politicians, but for voters to stop demanding that they give us the pretty moon.

No, what really disturbs me is the sight of so many journalists acting like insiders. . . .

That politicians should try to exploit the accounting rules was inevitable; that is what people do with accounting rules. I’m not saying that’s what the rules are for, or that they do no good; I’m just saying that about eight seconds after your rules are made, some bright Johnny will start figuring out a way to game them.

What is not inevitable is that journalists should effectively sanction this by saying it’s no big deal. We don’t have to get elected, after all. And those politicians and policy makers aren’t our bosses; the reading public is. We shouldn’t act like we’re part of the insider clique that decides what other people need to know — no, worse, that decides what other people do know. If we knew this all along and voters didn’t, that doesn’t mean voters don’t have a right to be outraged. It means that we’ve lost track of whose side we’re on.

On the contrary, I think it means that most journalists have chosen a side, and are sticking with it come hell or high water.

Related: ABC, NBC Nightly Newscasts Now 10 Days into Ignoring Gruber Scandal.


TRIFECTA: Slouching Toward Liberty: Can America Survive without Common Values?

ASHE SCHOW: The coming war between sex-positive feminism and affirmative consent.

UPDATE: As predicted, the growth of a new, “fast-growing” legal specialty: Suing colleges on behalf of the falsely-accused.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ayaan Hirsi Ali destroys American ‘feminism’ by discussing the real war on women. “Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a harsh critic of Islam’s treatment of women, said Wednesday that modern American feminism is focused on ‘trivial bullshit’ and needs to be reclaimed.”

Yes, there are two Ashe Schow links in this post. She’s really been on fire lately.

ROGER KIMBALL: A “particularly dangerous moment.”

UPDATE: NBC poll: Executive amnesty is… pretty unpopular with just about everybody. “Shockingly, only 63 percent of Democrats in that survey expressed support for an executive order. Even more surprisingly, that poll found that immigration reform via executive order is not especially popular with even Hispanic voters. Just 43 percent of Hispanics polled support an executive action creating legal status for millions of illegal immigrants while 37 percent disapprove.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: J. Christian Adams: Obama, Our Modern John C. Calhoun.

CHARLES BLAHOUS: Gruber and Barro Are Wrong to Assume the Public is Stupid. “Jonathan Gruber, Josh Barro and others are trying to persuade you that others’ failures of integrity, analysis, and policy design are your fault, simply for wanting a better healthcare market. Do not believe them. They are wrong on the ethics and wrong on the substance.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: University of Maine latest college to adopt ‘yes means yes’ consent policy. Trouble is, it’s really more like a “yes means maybe” policy.

The policy allows consent to be withdrawn at any time and makes clear that silence is not consent (which kind of negates the consent-through-actions part) and a history of past sexual activity does not equal consent. The policy also states that consent for one sexual activity does not equal consent for another activity, meaning consent must be ongoing throughout the encounter.

And of course, consent from someone who has had alcohol cannot be taken at face value, either. (An accused student, however, cannot plead drunkenness in arguing that he believed he had obtained consent.)

How does an accused person prove they obtained consent? That’s unclear. The only obvious way to prove one’s innocence in these situations (filming the encounter) is prohibited by the policy.

A representative from UMaine did not respond to a Washington Examiner request for clarification prior to press time.

The tuition goes up, the college experience goes down. How long can that go on?

UPDATE: From the comments:

My son just went through a mandatory meeting at his school and he came away with this:

“Everything is sexual harassment and there is nothing you can say or do to keep out of trouble.”

Sounds like a hostile environment based on sex to me. And again, it seems to me that colleges are overestimating their attractiveness to applicants in light of this kind of stuff.

PRIMARY SOURCES: How a New FOIA Bill Could Force More Government Transparency.