October 6, 2015

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Ivy League prof. calls Ben Carson a ‘coon:’

  • U Penn Prof Anthea Butler tweeted “If only there was a ‘coon of the year’ award” in response to Ben Carson’s claim that people have the right to display Confederate flags on private property.
  • In the past, Butler has tweeted that God is a “white racist” and Michael Brown’s death was a “blood sacrifice.”
  • Butler has tenure status and has boasted “I can’t get fired” after previous criticism for her tweets.

But if she does, she can always receive tenure at MSNBC.

HAD ONE TOO MANY? These Breathalyzers will tell you.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Flight attendant reportedly made almost $1 Million having sex with passengers.

Q: WERE THE DINOSAURS KILLED OFF BY AN ASTEROID IMPACT, OR BY VOLCANOES? A: YES. Study Finds Asteroid Ahead of Dinosaur Extinction Accelerated Volcanoes. “For decades, researchers have debated whether a major asteroid strike or enormous volcanic eruptions led to the demise of dinosaurs almost 66 million years ago. According to a new study, the answer might be somewhere in between: The asteroid impact accelerated the eruptions of volcanoes, and together, these catastrophes led to the mass extinction.” Hey, when you have an earth-shattering kaboom, the earth shatters.

CAN WE JUST SKIP FALL, THEN? ALSO WINTER. No, You’re Not Imagining It — The Fall Weather Really Can Trigger Migraines.

READER BOOK PLUG: From Lisa McElroy, Called On, the book that some people are calling this generation’s One L.

BUT AREN’T PEOPLE STILL GETTING FATTER? The drop in soda consumption represents the single largest change in the American diet in the last decade.

WELL, I AM AWFULLY SEXY: In the End, People May Really Just Want to Date Themselves. “The data reveals a clear pattern: People are interested in people like themselves. Women on eHarmony favor men who are similar not just in obvious ways — age, attractiveness, education, income — but also in less apparent ones, such as creativity. Even when eHarmony includes a quirky data point — like how many pictures are included in a user’s profile — women are more likely to message men similar to themselves. In fact, of the 102 traits in the data set, there was not one for which women were more likely to contact men with opposite traits. Men were a little more open-minded.” We usually are.

CRAZY UNCLE JOE–YEAH, CRAZY AS A FOX: Biden himself leaked word of his son’s dying wish.

Joe Biden has been making his 2016 deliberations all about his late son since August.

Aug. 1, to be exact — the day renowned Hillary Clinton-critic Maureen Dowd published a column that marked a turning point in the presidential speculation.

According to multiple sources, it was Biden himself who talked to her, painting a tragic portrait of a dying son, Beau’s face partially paralyzed, sitting his father down and trying to make him promise to run for president because “the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.”

It was no coincidence that the preliminary pieces around a prospective campaign started moving right after that column. People read Dowd and started reaching out, those around the vice president would say by way of defensive explanation. He was just answering the phone and listening.

But in truth, Biden had effectively placed an ad in The New York Times, asking them to call.

Before that moment and since, Biden has told the Beau story to others. Sometimes details change — the setting, the exact words. The version he gave Dowd delivered the strongest punch to the gut, making the clearest swipe at Clinton by enshrining the idea of a campaign against her in the words of a son so beloved nationally that his advice is now beyond politics. This campaign wouldn’t be about her or her email controversy, the story suggests, but connected to righteousness on some higher plane.

Biden’s “Uncle Joe” schtick is designed to camouflage the career politician inside who has no qualms about lying to further his own ambitions. You know, the man who plagiarized his law review comment and falsely claims that he played college football, graduated in the top half of his law school class (he was 76 out of 85), had a blue collar upbringing, that his first wife and daughter were killed by a drunk driver (there is no evidence the driver was drunk), and that he was a skeptic of the Iran nuclear deal.

Biden has displayed, over a long period of time, a near-pathological propensity to lie in order to aggrandize himself. That he would “embellish” the story of his dying son’s last words–and plant the story himself with the New York Times–is just another example of this pattern.

Run, Joe, run!

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: How Hillary Clinton kept her wealthy friends close while at State Department.

IS THE POPE CATHOLIC? An LA Times oped today by a former chief of staff to Israeli PM Netanyahu answers itself, “Are Islamic State terrorists sneaking into the West?”

Not since World War II has Europe seen such a stark population shift. Germany is preparing to house a staggering 800,000 refugees from Syria and elsewhere this year, a decision that will surely alter the country’s very character. Other nations have also pledged refuge for significant numbers, and they will also inevitably face enormous integration challenges.

Meanwhile, Hungary and Slovakia have been vilified by many for rebelling against taking in thousands of refugees. Not only have they rejected European Union-imposed quotas, but both countries have made it clear that a mass Muslim migration would pose unacceptable demographic and cultural challenges. Their concerns are well founded, not only over integration but especially from a security perspective.

Lebanon’s education minister, Elias Bousaab, warned recently that two in every 100 Syrian migrants arriving in Europe are Islamic State fighters, sent to infiltrate a continent distracted by sympathy. If Bousaab’s conservative calculation proves accurate, it would mean that among the 10,000 Syrian refugees that Secretary of State John F. Kerry has pledged to allow into the United States in 2016, there could be 200 committed terrorists. . . .

Many in the West would prefer to open their arms to waves of refugees — terrorists among them — rather than take up arms to deal with the root of the problem. Of course, those who require refuge must be aided. But the West can best help them by flexing its considerable military muscle. Refusal to do so is likely to hand the likes of Islamic State a double victory, as it entrenches its positions in Syria and Iraq while also establishing a foothold in Europe. 

A war weary America, led by an impuissant and anti-American President, is dangerous for the globe.

IN THE MAIL: A Call to Arms (Manticore Ascendant).

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 880.

AN ARMY OF MCCLELLANS: The Syria Mess and the Pentagon’s Serial Failures.

The U.S. is running a vast, multi-country war effort that has become unhinged from any serious strategic vision, and we have a military system in which the commanders who see the futility and try to do something about it (and there are plenty) are sidelined. Go along to get along is the way things work in Obama’s Pentagon, and both the White House and the Congress are more interested in making the military look pretty on the parade ground than making it perform effectively in the combat zone.

The President and the political overseers in Congress have made their priorities clear: You can persist with strategies that don’t work for years and still get steadily promoted up the ladder as long as you jump through hoops about integrating women and gays into more military roles. There’s nothing wrong with those goals. Integrating the armed services racially was once attacked by traditionalists as a step that would destroy military cohesion, but it’s made both the U.S. and our armed services much stronger over time. But the essence of military leadership (and effective civilian oversight) is to get the combat missions done with the lowest possible cost and loss of life.

Perhaps choosing between successful military operations and reshaping the makeup of the military doesn’t have to be either/or, but under President Obama we have opted for the latter and tanked the former.

It’s almost as if a strong America isn’t a priority for him.

YES IT IS, AND THE ENDGAME ISN’T LIKELY TO BE PRETTY: Turkey Is In Serious Trouble. “The source of Turkey’s dangerous polarization is Erdogan himself. Erdogan has won successive elections since 2002, and built a cult of personality, as a kind of authoritarian underdog, portraying himself as a victim who is forced to crack down harshly on those whose ‘conspiracies’ undermine his authority. On this basis, he has successfully targeted and politically brutalized the secular Turkish military, businesses, liberals, the media, Jews, left-wing voters, Alevis, and now the Kurds.”

Fortunately, America would never elect anyone like that to high office.

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If this keeps up, people may start to wonder if Springsteen’s whole leather jacketed everyday working man pose (and more recently a dilettantish affair with Occupy Wall Street) is merely a brilliant disguise, to coin a phrase.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE: Report: 1 in 5 campus rape reports are false.

It turns out the “one-in-five number” is correct, but it’s not the one-in-five the media are reporting. Harvard University released its sexual assault statistics as part of federal regulations, and it turns out 18.1 percent of reported rapes on campus are “unfounded,” defined by Harvard police as “any report of a crime that is found to be false or baseless.”

If this number is reported anywhere in the media that’s so eager to report every faulty survey purporting to show 20 percent of women are sexually assaulted in college, you can bet they will add in all the caveats they leave out in reporting incidences of sexual assault.

They’ll say it’s “heavily edited.”

Related: One in 375 Women May Be Victims of Campus Rape at Harvard. Nearly one in five Harvard rape reports determined to be unfounded.


This trigger-happy senator in particular seems particularly shifty:

I’d invite Harry Reid to Bullets & Bourbon in December, but he doesn’t seem like he’d enjoy it as much these days. Plus it’s a family-friendly venue, and he’s never responded to all those rumors

WELL, GOOD. IT SEEMS LIKE MORE CORPORATIST CRONYISM: Obama’s Trade Deal Under Fire From Right And Left.


NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: U.S. military struggles to explain how it wound up bombing Doctors Without Borders hospital. Note that it’s a “military” error, not one attributed to President Obama. I don’t remember President Bush being treated quite the same way.


Hey, from the Obama administration’s perspective, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter — and sadly, from Reuter’s perspective as well.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Chaffetz: ‘Gig Economy’ Is ‘Flowing’ Because Government Is Not Involved.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, expressed concern that the federal government might try to intervene in the “gig economy” and over-regulate companies such as Uber.

“One of the reasons I think this economy is flowing and this sector is flowing is because government hasn’t been involved. It has been the Wild Wild West. It has been tapping into that entrepreneurial spirit,” he said at a POLITICO discussion called “Generation Next: The Future of Work.”

“It’s been tapping into young people’s idealism that says you can make money. You can be an entrepreneur and you can do something without having to wear a tie. You can do it in your bathroom, if you would like, and you can do it at your own pace and your own creativity,” he added.

Chaffetz said he is “deeply concerned” the federal government is going to interfere and attempt to suddenly “save people from themselves.”

“I’m worried about that. I like the Wild West. I like the idea that entrepreneurs can thrive,” he said. “I worry that the government will come in and over-regulate it and create more barriers and slow people down.”

He also said there is a “generational” problem in Congress that could ultimately hurt the state of the gig economy, which is based on independent contract work.

The political system is scurrying to find ways to shut the gig economy down, or to extract graft from it. Because, you know, extracting graft is mostly what they’re about.

HER ADMINISTRATION SHOULD REALLY FINISH OFF THE ECONOMY: Hillary Hits Obama for Being Too Strict on Illegal Immigrants on Telemundo.

The L.A. Times put the phrase “funemployment” into wide circulation to Orwellianly describe life in the Obama economy; what phrase will they popularize to disguise the lack of jobs in Hillary’s?

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: The Coming Cultural Shift On Guns, Take 45.

The headline on the Daily Beast in the wake of the shootings at a community college in Roseburg, Ore., didn’t exactly come as a surprise. “The New Crusade for Gun Control: The Brady Campaign hopes we’re about to see a cultural shift in the debate over guns —and has a plan to capitalize on that change.”

What is somewhat surprising is that the press falls for this claim over and over again.

After every gun tragedy, gun control advocates talk about how this latest one is the one that will change American minds about the prevalence of guns in the U.S. And every time, journalists write about it as though it were a real prospect.

But then, sure enough, gun sales go up after each shooting, and nothing, or next to nothing, gets achieved.

After the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the press ran numerous stories about how the scale and horror of that tragedy opened the door to serious gun control laws.

The New York Times, for example, concluded that the massacre “appears to be profoundly swaying Americans’ views on guns, galvanizing the broadest support for stricter gun laws in about a decade, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.”

After spending zero time on gun control during his reelection bid, President Obama made it a top priority of his second term.

But a year after, a Pew Research Center survey found that attitudes were little changed from before the Newton killings. Obama’s plans had fizzled.

And now, a long-term Roper survey finds that public support for gun control laws is lower than it was in 1989, when 65% backed stricter laws. In fact, more now oppose stricter laws than support them.

It’s like the whole gun-control thing is really just virtue signalling for clueless lefties.


While it may be impossible to believe that an upstanding newspaper like The Los Angeles Times, a trusted and beloved publication that describes half-black men as “white supremacists,” is having financial troubles, the fact is that a bloodbath involving at least 10% of newsroom staffers is underway.

The Los Angeles Times staff will be reduced from 500 to around 450, and buyouts are being offered, but not really. There’s some severance and an additional amount that equals a week’s pay for every year of employment. This sounds like less of a buyout than a small incentive to avoid being laid off, which is what will happen if not enough people accept the so-called buyout.

The LA Times is owned by Tribune Publishing, which will be laying off 80 total employees.

Bottom line: The LA Times is doomed. Imagine a left-wing publication that is so poorly edited, so untrustworthy, and so useless, it can’t even survive in one of the most left-wing cities in America. Things are so bad, the paper’s last publisher didn’t even last a year.

Don’t think of it as a bloodbath — think of it as a chance to enjoy “funemployment” — as in, “For the ‘funemployed,’ unemployment is welcome!” — after all, it’s a chance to “Keep rockin’”!

THANKS, BARACK! In Obama era, selling guns has been as good a bet as selling iPhones. “If you’d bought shares of Sturm, Ruger & Co. in 2009, they’d be worth about 10 times as much today. That’s a slightly better return than if you’d bought Apple.”

I wish I’d bought Ruger stock in 2008. And business has been good for my former students’ online ammo company, Luckygunner.com, which they were, er, lucky enough to start in the summer of 2008.

NOAH ROTHMAN: It’s Not A New Cold War. It’s Worse.

WOULD YOU TRUST THIS MEDIA: CNN Turns Mixed Race Oregon Shooter into a White Man. LA Times claims Mercer was a white supremacist.  (Oh, why not? After all entertainment weekly turned a Latin man, a Latina and a man in an interracial marriage into racist, sexist and homophobic bigots who want to keep women and minorities out of science-fiction.  Dizinformazia. It’s what they do.)

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): This photo-lightening report has been walked back, and is apparently false. Sadly, all too believable in light of past media behavior.

IT WOULD HELP IF THEY DIDN’T LIE: by omission and commission, by what they’ve reported and what they’ve failed to report. Why Americans don’t trust the media.

SHOCKED, SHOCKED (AGAIN): Bill Clinton White House suppressed evidence of Iran’s terrorism.

GO ON, GUESS:What Do They Have in Common? But give the bureaucrats more power.  This time they’ll get it right.  Pinky swear.


SO, THE REVERSE OF VIRGIN SACRIFICE: Attack of the Killer Virgins!


D*MNED IF YOU DO: Cultural appropriation and Political Correctness in writing.

CULTURAL REVOLUTION O’CLOCK AGAIN?Best Academic Abstract Ever [With Comment By John]

LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT: Having voted with my feet I still don’t get what’s wrong with that.  If you don’t feel American maybe you should find your true place in the world. One school’s pathetic and perverse ban on patriotism.  (I’m not stupid.  I know they think patriotism equals jingoism and that nationalism was really what caused world war two.  So, I’m not stupid, but they’re misinformed and not willing to learn.)

DESTRUCTION, SHE DOES IT WELL: Clinton Destroying Billions  In Shareholder Value
Of Drug Companies.

GLOBALLY WE’RE ALL THE ONE PERCENT: Foreign governments ready cash grab on U.S. earnings.

UNEXPECTEDLY: How Dodd-Frank explains our weak recovery.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE IS A WAY OF LIFE: Liberal Mom Shocked to Find She Might Agree with Conservatives About Family Values.

I KNOW, I KNOW: It’s Not a New Cold War, It’s Worse.

October 5, 2015

ARE PEOPLE GETTING FATTER because they’re getting less nicotine? Should I take up vaping?

IN THE NEW YORK TIMES’ “ROOM FOR DEBATE” SECTION, I explain why the “Gun Lobby” remains invincible. Basically, it’s because politicians always lie about gun control, and people don’t trust the police to protect them. The ironic way in which lefty anti-police activism conflicts with lefty gun-control messaging is also mentioned. (Bumped).

WILL RAND PAUL be the next candidate to drop out? I like him as a senator, and I was prepared to like him as a candidate, but it hasn’t gone very well.

GOT A PLUG I CAN USE? Report: I Bought a Used Electric Vehicle—Here’s How It’s Worked Out So Far.


Augustus Sol Invictus is the Florida Libertarian Party’s candidate and has faced other accusations ranging from his support of eugenics, prophesizing a “great war” within America’s borders and drawing support of neo-Nazis.

Invictus, who declines to reveal his given name, is the only Libertarian candidate looking to fill the vacant seat left by presidential hopeful Marco Rubio. His position as the only representative of the party led now-former party chairman Adrian Wyllie to resign in protest.

Wyllie lobbed these claims publicly in a Facebook post on Thursday that included the accusation of Invictus sacrificing a goat, which Invictus denied to Politico.

Invictus, an avowed pagan, sang a different tune on Friday when pressed further on some of his beliefs and practices.

“I did sacrifice a goat. I know that’s probably a quibble in the mind of most Americans,” he told the Associated Press.

“I sacrificed an animal to the god of the wilderness…Yes, I drank the goat’s blood.”

I want to party with you, cowboy.

Tempting massive amounts of fate, Rick Moran asks, “I mean, really, can it get any weirder than this?”

Dude — it’s the 2016 election. To only slightly paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, when the going gets weird, the weird turn into politicians.

THAT MONEY SOUNDS LIKE VAPORWARE: Report: VW Emissions Scandal Could Cost $86 Billion; If you thought the cost of the BP oil spill in 2010 was bad, this is worse. Funny, everyone acts like it’s American companies that are inconsiderate of the environment, but it’s foreign ones that seem to have the biggest scandals.

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TO BE FAIR, ACKNOWLEDGING THIS REALITY WOULD ENTAIL WRONGTHINK ABOUT WOMEN’S RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR SEXUAL CHOICES: Obama Ignores the Obvious in Oregon: Yet Another Fatherless Killer. “From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s ‘list of U.S. school attacks’ involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.”

DELAY INDICATES DISARRAY: Boehner postpones House vote on House majority leader and whip. The GOP Conference’s vote on Speaker is still slated for Thursday.

Speaker John Boehner on Monday postponed the election for House majority leader and majority whip until next month, a blow to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), who announced less than 24 hours earlier he had the votes to win the majority leader race.

The House Republican Conference will still choose its nominee for speaker on Thursday, and the full chamber will vote on Boehner’s successor on Oct. 29.

Boehner’s decision could take some of the pressure off House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the favorite to replace him. But the bigger impact may be on the majority leader’s race: the delay will give conservatives more time to find a candidate to run against Scalise (R-La.) and Georgia Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) for the No. 2 leadership position.

Some hardline GOP conservatives are opposed to simply promoting McCarthy and Scalise up the leadership ranks following Boehner’s departure, believing that such a move will just leave in place a team that has failed to deliver on its promises to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood or dramatically reduce government spending. These hardliners have searched for an alternative candidate to Scalise and Price, but no one has stepped forward to take up that mantle. Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) are running against McCarthy, but neither is given much of a chance of defeating the California Republican.

The delay likely means more leverage for the Freedom Caucus and its desire to get more conservative/tea party voices in the GOP leadership as either Majority Leader or Whip. While current Majority Whip Scalise is a definite conservative, he has been closely aligned with Boehner and is not a favorite of the tea party wing of the party.

As for the Speakership, I wouldn’t rule out Chaffetz, though time is not on his side. He’s a smart and principled guy who may be able to bridge the gap between the establishment and tea party wings of the GOP. While McCarthy has indicated he wishes to bridge this gap as well, his position within the Boehner leadership team has tainted him with the tea party wing.

RELATED: Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), current chair of the powerful House Rules Committee, announced today that he will seek the Majority Whip slot. Sessions is no tea party favorite, either.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: DNA nanotechnology guides assembling cells into ‘Organoids.’

HUMANITY’S FUTURE: Species Death At The Hands of Hostile Artificial Intelligence? “I have a proposal for the “Why Aren’t The Aliens Here Already?” question: Every time biological intelligence evolves it eventually creates artificial intelligence before spreading out into the stars. The AIs always wipe out their creators. Then the AIs are smart enough to realize that this is a universal pattern and that they are now threats to each other. So each AI civilization hides.”


Two Edina elementary schools, worried about the politics of the playground, are taking an unusual step to police it: They have hired a recess consultant.

Some parents have welcomed the arrival of the firm Playworks, which says recess can be more inclusive and beneficial to children if it’s more structured and if phrases like, “Hey, you’re out!” are replaced with “good job” or “nice try.”

But some of the kids at Concord and Normandale Elementary say they are confused, or that the consultants are ruining their play time.

“The philosophy of Playworks does not fit Concord,” said Kathy Sandven, a parent of twin boys who attend the school. “It is a structured philosophy — an intervention philosophy — not allowing kids for free play.”

The two schools have joined a growing number of districts that have hired consultants to remake the playground experience into more structured and inclusive play time. The games and activities, like four square and jumping rope, are overseen by adults and designed to reduce disciplinary problems while ensuring that no children are left out.

Edina school officials spent about $30,000 on the recess initiative over the summer, and some administrators are already becoming believers.

The school recess consultant sounds like a rapidly-growing career choice in the nation that was once called America.

Or, perhaps, not. (And oh to be a fly on the wall when elementary school administrators are debating “the politics of the playground.”)

BULLETS & BOURBON UPDATE:  The only remaining gun store in San Francisco, High Bridge Arms, announced that it will be closing the end of this month, due to increased regulations and the “political climate” of the city.

It has been the constant attacks on the Second Amendment by the President and the press that in part inspired us to create our Bullets and Bourbon event (and of course, its rather un-PC name) and we’re now less than two months away — it starts on December 3rd, and runs through the afternoon of December 6th. Bullets and Bourbon will take place at the amazing Rough Creek Lodge in Glen Rose, Texas.  Rough Creek has fantastic shooting and other outdoor activities, luxurious accommodations, and world-class food.

Joining us at Bullets and Bourbon will be Glenn Reynolds, the one, the only, the Blogfather; PJ Media’s founder, Roger L. Simon (who will be giving us some juicy tidbits from the campaign trail that he hasn’t written about at his Diary of a Mad Voter site); Steve Green, our friendly neighborhood Vodkapundit, who, in addition to speaking, will be shooting off model rockets with our guests; the always delightful and fascinating Dr. Helen, who, it is reported will be picking up bow and arrow as her “share an activity with the guests” event; and from other corners we have, in reverse alphabetical order, Kevin Williamson, Mark Rippetoe, Ed Morrissey, and Dana Loesch.

An almost final schedule for the weekend can be found here.

And please visit the High Bridge Arms Facebook page and tell them their story is being heard.

HMM: The Battle Over Genome Editing Gets Science Wrong.

THE RULE AGAINST REFREEZING is a myth. “Any raw or cooked food that has been thawed can be refrozen as long as it was thawed properly — in the refrigerator, not on the counter — and hasn’t spoiled. That includes raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood, Ms. Hanes said.”

MICHAEL MALONE: GREETINGS FROM NEWBURY PARK: “It’s been said that most of us stop listening to new music — especially by new bands — when we turn 25. And by the time we’re 40 we are hopelessly behind the Zeitgeist when it comes to the Latest Thing. So, how about a quick tutorial to make you cool with your kids on one of the hottest new sounds on the pop charts — courtesy of my son, Tad?”

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Novel Nanostructures Could Usher in Touchless Displays.

READER BOOK PLUG: Reader Jason Vail sends his nuclear thriller Gabriel’s Fire.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Robot See, Robot Do: How Robots Can Learn New Tasks by Observing.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How To Build a Self-Driving Mars Car—With Less Computing Power Than an iPhone.

ED VISITS THE FARNSWORTH HOUSE: Back in August, as part of my trek through the American Midwest, I toured Mies van der Rohe’s pioneering glass house design in Plano, IL. Building on my college-era obsession with Mies, I have a lengthy article on its circuitous (and often fractious) history and its legacy with numerous photos, over the PJ Lifestyle site.


IN THE MAIL: From Harry Turtledove, How Few Remain.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 879.


Four companies — Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple — are all jockeying to control as much of our technology experience as possible. A legal expert that I interviewed a few years back called it “the war of the APIs,” but it goes well beyond that. Each company is trying to leverage the dominance it has in one area to push into as many other areas as possible, while simultaneously trying to undercut the other firms that are already there.

So when Apple announced that its mobile devices would finally permit ad-blocking apps, that was a win for consumers — and also a blow for Google, which makes its money off of those ads. Google, of course, has already challenged Apple where it makes its money, on pricey mobile devices. And now Amazon would like to force both of those behemoths to support its streaming video service — or steer consumers toward devices, like Roku, which already do.

This is exactly the sort of activity — leveraging a quasi-monopoly to gain dominance in another market — that caused the Justice Department to go after Microsoft in the 1990s. And indeed, one already hears rumblings about applying net neutrality rules to content providers (providers who, ironically, supported net neutrality as a way to keep cable companies off their turf). If Comcast can’t give preferential treatment to XFinity over Netflix, then why should Apple TV be allowed to favor iTunes content over Amazon Video?

A smart Republican would run a populist campaign against the out-of-touch oligarchs of Silicon Valley. A decade ago that would have been absurd. Now, not so much. And Democrats would be hamstrung because these are their funders.

WELL, FABLE-PEDDLING IS WHAT HE’S BEST AT: Hans Bader: Obama Peddles Gun Control Fable.

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BLUE ON BLUE: Someone is leaving these incredibly harsh notes on Volkswagen diesel cars in Portland:



SYRIA IS OBAMA’S WATERGATE, Michael Goodwin writes:

What did he know and when did he know it? The immortal question about Richard Nixon and Water­gate should be posed to Barack Obama about Syria. What and when did he know about Vladimir Putin’s axis-of-evil coalition?

The significance is not limited to Syria. The question goes to the heart of the Iran nuclear deal, especially the timing of the congressional votes.

Imagine Obama trying to sell the Iran deal now. With Russia, Iran and Iraq working together to muscle the United States aside and defend Bashar al-Assad, the president couldn’t possibly argue that the nuke deal would help stabilize the Middle East. Nor could he argue that Russia could be trusted to help enforce ­restrictions on Iran.

The strong likelihood that Obama would have lost the Iran vote if Congress knew then what the world knows now suggests the possibility the president concealed the Russian plan until the Iran deal was done. That view fits with his single-minded determination to get a deal at any price, including making key concessions and downplaying Iranian threats to Israel and the United States.

After all that, what’s another lie?

Don’t think of Obama’s approach to the Middle East as a lie — think of it merely as a series of promises reaching their expiration dates.


In sharp contrast, Saturday Night Live, which could arguably be considered a spinoff of the magazine due to the high crossover of writers and talent during SNL’s earlier, funnier startup days, is now “Basically a Hillary Clinton Campaign Ad,” as even the (equally Hillary-supporting) Daily Beast notes.

(H/T: Iowahawk, who adds that late Lampoon/SNL firebrand “Michael O’Donoghue [would be] spinning in his grave at 175,000 RPM” if he knew the pathetic corporatist fate of the TV show he helped pioneer.)

LAWS ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: Ispector General: IRS Improperly Withheld Information From Taxpayer FOIA Requests 12% Of The Time.

TIGTA reviewed a statistically valid sample of 65 information requests from a population of 2,809 FOIA/Privacy Act information requests and found eight (12.3 percent) for which the IRS improperly withheld information from the requestors. The IRS also improperly withheld information for four (7.3 percent) of the 55 I.R.C. § 6103 information requests reviewed. Although the IRS properly released thousands of pages from these documents, taxpayer rights still may have been violated because some information was erroneously withheld. In addition, TIGTA found that the Disclosure Office does not have direct control over how other IRS functions process I.R.C. § 6103 information requests, nor does it regularly assess the quality of disclosure responses throughout the IRS.

It’s as if they don’t want you to know what they’re doing.

AMERICAN APPAREL FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY: “As it turns out, hiring a CEO who hasn’t been accused of a variety of gross behavior wasn’t enough to revitalize American Apparel. The New York Times reports that the peddler of crop tops and body suits filed for bankruptcy protection early on Monday morning,” New York magazine notes today.

MICHAEL WALSH: Should Christians Arm Themselves?


This new migration is as perfect a recipe for disaster as you could find.  I hate to sound like an exclusionist in the melting pot, but I would be lying to say that we should admit any of these people.  Well, maybe one or two, after they are vetted for a dozen years or so (not exactly cost effective). And, ironically, the only way for the Middle East to change is for these people to stay and fight it out.  (Yes, it could take a thousand years.)

Donald Trump, who evidently feels the same way, opened the door on the immigration question and got branded a racist for it. Of course he’s not.  He was only talking honestly, if a bit coarsely, about social problems we’re having.  For the left, it’s much easier and more effective to accuse him of racism.  Otherwise, they’d have to deal with the problem.  Who wants that?  It might cost you votes.  Nevertheless, bad as this southern immigration may be with all the attendant crime, we can survive it. We will assimilate in the end. We can come together.

This potential Middle Eastern migration is a different matter.  Far more fateful in our evolving, oh-so-modern society. You have to laugh when you think about the culture clash as Islamic kids deal with the transgendered bathrooms in our schools.  But you stop laughing when you think who’s going to win that clash, ultimately.  And it’s not the transgendered.

UPDATE: As I completed this post, I notice via Instapundit that the strongest opponent of sharia law in the United States among all the presidential candidates has risen to the top of the polls.  That is Dr. Ben Carson.  So what I have written above may not be the opinion of a minority crank.

Read the whole thing.

RELATED: Like America in 2015? Thank the Ted Kennedy of 1965.

CHANGE: Chick-fil-A Arrives in New York, Gays, Animal-Rights Nuts Hardest Hit.

WHY YES, YES THEY DO: Do civilians with guns ever stop mass shootings? Of course, if it’s stopped early, it’s never a mass shooting. . . .


As they say at Red State, “Embrace the healing power of ‘And.’”

HANS BADER: Obama Peddles Gun-Control Fable. Peddling fables is his stock in trade.

DAVID FRENCH: In the Zombie World, Only the Conservative Survive. “The Obama era is the era of the zombie. It is a strange irony that the politician of “hope and change” has presided over a pop-culture world dominated by shuffling, moaning, undead cannibals who mindlessly rule a post-government apocalyptic landscape. In theaters, we’ve seen zombie blockbusters, zombie comedies, and even sweet zombie romances. But the zombie colossus, the rotting king of this macabre world, is AMC’s The Walking Dead franchise. . . . If government is — to borrow Barney Frank’s memorable definition — the ‘name we give to the things we choose to do together,’ then in zombie fiction like TWD, the things everyone chooses to do together include panicking, lying, and displaying breathtaking incompetence. To be fair, zombie fiction would be boring indeed if the first undead outbreak were promptly squashed by a squad of bureaucrats from the Centers for Disease Control. Yet even relatively government-friendly fiction, such as the bestselling book World War Z, features a series of catastrophic mistakes before the ship of state finally rights itself. In brief, in zombie world, the man who relies on the government for his safety will be zombie chow in short order. So who lives? Well, it’s not Pajama Boy. In zombieland, there are three kinds of people: those who know how to use guns, those who learn how to use guns, and zombies. . . . The groups that survive are the ones whose members understand that trust is hard-earned and there is no such thing as a ‘safe space.’ In other words, man is fallen, and you either remember that fact or you die.”

I had no idea zombie fiction was so realistic.


I LIVED THERE.  THEY STILL HAVE MONEY FOR STRANGE “SCULPTURES’ ON STREET CORNERS: The potholes of Colorado Springs draw the attention of Koch brothers’ group. At least they’ve stopped turning off lights on downtown streets to save money.  Apparently the increase in crime made it prohibitive.  Who’d have thunk?

WHAT HAVE WE EVER DONE TO THEM: US Considering Colorado Prisons for Guantanamo Bay Detainees.

OH, COME ON.  AFTER OBAMA, WHO DOESN’T DESERVE IT: No Bad Deed Must Go Unrewarded: A Nobel Peace Prize for Angela Merkel?

THAT… THAT’S A CURIOUS SPIN, MR. PRESIDENT: Obama: Putin Sent Military Into Syria ‘Out of Weakness’. I think Obama actually believed that claptrap about how not standing up to the bully proves you’re stronger.


YES, I KNOW PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE, BUT: Delta Force considered staging fake hijacking after 9/11.  I don’t think those fake highjackers would have been safe…

OBSCURING LINKS TO BENGHAZI: Hillary Clinton’s incomplete timeline on her personal e-mail account.