October 4, 2015



IF YOU SUPPORT GUN CONTROL, YOU WANT MORE BLACK MEN THROWN INTO PRISON: Gun Control: More Racial Disparities Than the Drug War. “Many gun control advocates seem to be under the impression that governments can pass new felony legislation that will take guns off the streets without requiring more aggressive policing, without putting more people in prison, and without the racial disparities in enforcement that characterize the rest of our criminal justice system. This is a fantasy: Gun control and tough-on-crime politics are two sides of the same coin. If governments are serious about cracking down on illegal guns in a meaningful way, they will need to use all of the same tools that they used to crack down on crime from the 1970s onward—tough criminal penalties (i.e., long prison sentences for offenders) and aggressive policing, especially in poor and minority neighborhoods that tend to have the highest rates of crime. Indeed, as Reason‘s A. Barton Hinkle pointed out, New York’s notorious stop-and-frisk policy, which left-wing mayor Bill DeBlasio led the charge against, was arguably one of the most effective gun control policies in the country.”

HMM: The new IBD/TIPP poll has Ben Carson in the lead — with 24% — and Trump at 17%. “How incredibly strange… and this follows on Carson’s much-noticed statement that he wouldn’t accept a Muslim as President. Can it be that what seemed like an unforced error actually helped his cause? Trump boosted his cause by making statements that look — to mainstream commentators — as though they outright disqualify him from being taken seriously. Perhaps it’s not Trump’s style and bluster that have put him in the lead, but the substance itself, the very substance that horrifies moderates. Because here’s Carson, with his completely different demeanor and tone, vaulting ahead saying something that anybody serious was supposed to know you just don’t say.”

ERICH PRATT IN USA TODAY: Gun-Free Zones Are Killing Us.

AT SOME POINT, YES: Should older drivers undergo road tests to keep licenses?

Of course, it’s easy for me to say that. By the time I’m that old, we’ll have self-driving cars and it won’t matter.

INFERIORS ARE SUPPOSED TO AVERT THEIR GAZE: 12-Year-Old Boy Suspended for Looking at a Girl. At Her Face. That’s It.

There’s a War On Boys, all right. If a principal did this to my kid, I’d make a point of turning his/her life into a living hell. Which, I’m happy to see, this boy’s mom seems to be doing.

JOE PAPPALARDO: 3 Things the U.S. Could Do About Syria, And Why They’re All Bad Choices. I kinda like #1, but I think it’s a no-go for Obama, who seems not to much like the Kurds for some reason.

MARS MOVIES: The Good, The Bad, And The Ridiculous.

BANNED BOOKS WEEK, BUSTED: By Slate, astonishingly enough.

BIAS OF ASSOCIATED PRESS SHINES THROUGH: While casually flipping through the Saturday edition of a local paper, the Key West Citizen, I happened upon a short piece under the “Nation” section about Carly Fiorina, the title of which caught my eye: (as I’m sure it did many others) “Fiorina makes distortion of Planned Parenthood a centerpiece.

After Googling this title, it turns out that the larger, “parent” piece (no pun intended) of the blurb was written by Bill Barrow at AP, as it appears in newspapers throughout the country, and contains the typical mainstream media’s minimal, begrudging attempt at “balance,” which is then robustly counterbalanced with thinly disguised bias, as evidenced in word choices and selective quotes.

But the patently biased headline itself–without any content at all– appears on the webpages of multiple local papers and televisions stations throughout the country (here, here, here, here, and here, for example).

And the blurb that is being spawned from Barrow’s larger piece is so one-sided that I almost spit out my coffee.  The Key West Citizen piece is not available online (the paper’s horrible search engine turns up nothing on “Carly Fiorina” at all). But it’s very short, so I will reproduce it in toto for the Insta readers to enjoy:

Fiorina makes distortion of Planned Parenthood a centerpiece

Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina has spent the last two weeks repeating an erroneous description of videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists. That seems bound to continue as she makes her opposition to Planned Parenthood a centerpiece of her 2016 campaign.

Campaigning in South Carolina on Friday, Fiorina said she “absolutely” stands by her criticism of Planned Parenthood. She accused the women’s health organization–it’s also the nation’s largest abortion provider–of pushing “propaganda” against her while being “aided and abetted by the media.”

Oh, the irony of that last sentence!

The AP’s aiding and abetting of a hit job against Fiorina aside, notice the incredibly lopsided content of this blurb. It contains several assertions:

1.  Carly Fiorina has spend the last two weeks lying;

2.  She has been lying about Planned Parenthood videos that were “secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists”;

3.  Fiorina opposes Planned Parenthood; and

4.  Planned Parenthood is a provider of “women’s health,” which just happens to also include a large number of abortions.

There is no discussion of the content of the videos at all. The piece implies that there are some loony bin, right-wing activists who have secretly recorded some videos that distort Planned Parenthood, a provider of “women’s health.” Most readers, who rely on the mainstream media, have probably never even seen these disgusting Planned Parenthood videos. So they read this piece and assume that Cary Fiorina is going around lying about them simply because she–like other conservatives, of course–is opposed to “women’s health.”

She is, in short, a woman who cannot be trusted on women’s issues. The desired implication for the reader of the AP piece is that Carly Fiorina is a liar and opposed to “women’s health.” 

One cannot even imagine the AP running a piece on Hillary Clinton that is so overtly biased. I mean, Hillary would never lie or distort anything, right? 

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Hypertension Drugs May Be More Effective if Taken at Night.

DIAL 911 FOR THE GLEICHSCHALTUNG SQUAD: Greenwich CT police captain investigates Common Core opponent.

FIGHTING ISIS ONLINE: The Islamic State is an Internet phenomenon as much as a military one. Counteracting it will require better tactics on the battlefield of social media.

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On the day Narendra Modi returned from the United States, having wowed Silicon Valley with his openness to all things digital, a Muslim man was murdered in a village a mere 30 miles from the PM’s residence, his life pulped out of him by a Hindu mob that believed that he’d eaten beef for dinner.

The contrast between the modernity of the PM’s diplomacy and the unhinged primitiveness of the mob was so stark as to appear almost make-believe, like some sort of passion play staged to remind us that — for all our pretensions as a global power — we’re still a benighted land mired in the muck of bigotry. Drive 30 miles from 21st-century New Delhi and you’re in the midst of “junglies” from the Dark Age.

Read the whole thing.

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF NEW YORK WERE HIT SQUARELY BY A SUPERSTORM? “If New York—part of the Northeast megaregion—suffers a direct hit, workers will spend weeks pumping a billion gallons of brackish water out of its subway and train tunnels. The salt will corrode power lines, transformers and thousands of brakes and switches that control the trains. Some subsystems could take a year or more to restore.”

RECYCLING IS STILL GARBAGE: I was curious to see the reaction to my piece in today’s New York Times on the follies of recycling. It’s a sequel to a 1996 article that set a record for hate mail at the New York Times Magazine, and I wondered if green-minded readers would be any more receptive this time. A few of the commenters have offered counter-arguments and raised other issues, like the supposed blight of plastic garbage in our oceans — a myth that was masterfully debunked in Katherine Mangu-Ward’s recent article, “Plastic Bags Are Good For You.” But the typical reaction is nicely summarized by Carl V. Phillips, who posted a reflection on his fellow commenters:

It is quite remarkable how at least 80% of the comments so far consist of someone saying, in effect, “but I just know it is right” (without responding to Tierney’s cogent analysis), picking fights with straw man points, or pontificating about grand ideas that do not change the simple economics of the real world. I have not seen any substantive bit of analysis that finds fault with Tierney’s core points, and yet there are numerous conclusions that he is wrong. I would guess that that recycling enthusiasts fancy themselves to be more open-minded and scientifically literate than average. Apparently such “open mindedness” is reserved for criticisms of other special interests, and they dig in their heals when it is their own rites that are being questioned.

I realize that true believers don’t need rational reasons for their religion, but it would be nice to see a little soul-searching in regard to some stats in the article: To offset the greenhouse impact of one passenger’s round-trip flight between New York and London, you’d have to recycle roughly 40,000 plastic bottles, assuming you fly coach. If you sit in the front of the plane, it’s more like 100,000 bottles — and you have to make sure not to rinse any of them with hot water, because that little extra energy could more than cancel out any greenhouse benefit of your labors.

I presume Al Gore and his fellow preachers are too busy to deal with all those bottles, so will they stay home? Or at least start flying coach?

IN THE MAIL: From David Weber, Hell’s Foundations Quiver..

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 878.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: U.S. Navy Prepares Confrontation in the South China Sea.

The United States is preparing to maneuver naval warships and aircraft close to China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea, in what would be the Obama Administration’s toughest response yet to Beijing. Reportedly, the White House is readying plans to send warships within twelve nautical miles of several of the islands—a move that China claims would be an illegal violation of its sovereignty. Citing a U.N. treaty, the United States argues that man-made outposts cannot be construed as legitimate territory. . . .

President Obama has been under increasing pressure from, for example, Arizona Senator John McCain to be more assertive in the South China Sea, and in the run-up to last week’s summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the White House promised to address the South China Sea disputes. Yet although Obama and Xi made some headway toward resolving other issues, their meeting concluded without any agreement about this issue, and China expert Bill Bishop remarks that these Defense Department comments may indicate the Xi–Obama meeting didn’t go as well as Chinese media outlets (and some American journalists) have been reporting. If the U.S. follows through on sending the ships, that could very well open a new, and more aggressive, chapter in recent Sino-American relations.

It’s like we’re giving ground to our adversaries everywhere at once.

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Is ‘Game of Thrones’ Really ‘Progressive’?

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Why It Was Easier To Be Skinnier In the 1980s.

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ASHE SCHOW: Overly broad definition of sex assault ensnares innocent students.

As I wrote in my column yesterday, not all accusations of campus sexual assault are black and white. Yet colleges are treating accusations as if the accused were a potential rapist, even when the accusation involves nothing more than requesting social media connections one too many times.

Kimberly Lau, a lawyer who has defended wrongly accused students in more than 40 cases, released a statement regarding a recent survey purporting to show that one-in-four women will be sexually assaulted while in college.

Lau notes what other critics of the survey, including me, have pointed out: that it relies on an overly broad definition of “sexual assault” in order to inflate its numbers for scary headlines. Lau has specific knowledge of the ways normal interactions, though possibly jerkish, have been elevated to the level of assault, warranting severe punishment.

One of Lau’s cases involved a male student who received a deferred suspension, was banned from his graduation and branded a sex offender on his transcript for stealing a kiss and exchanging inappropriate text messages that were later deemed harassment. Another case saw a male student suspended for a year because he sent multiple Instagram follow requests to a female student and once looked at her on campus.

Even a cat may look at a king. But apparently, males should keep their eyes averted at all times, in a proper show of subservience.

ROLL CALL: Senate Economist Warns Debt Limit Fight Could Raise Interest Rates.

The White House push for a debt limit hike got some ammunition Friday from the chief economist for the Senate Budget Committee, who warned failure to increase the limit soon could cause interest rates to rise on newly issued federal debt.

In a budget bulletin, economist William Beach, who formerly worked at the Heritage Foundation, warns the nation risks higher borrowing costs if it even gets close to exhausting the extraordinary measures used to avoid hitting the debt limit, now pegged by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew as occurring on or about Nov. 5, about a month earlier than expected.

The new date has the effect of making it a must-do item for outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, as he goes about cleaning up a “dirty barn” for his successor. Options for Boehner include passing a straight-up debt limit hike, attaching it to a must-pass deal on transportation due by the end of the month, or some other combination. Tying it to anything opposed by President Barack Obama risks a default crisis given that Obama has repeatedly warned he will not pay a ransom again after agreeing to hand Boehner north of $2 trillion in spending cuts for a debt limit hike in 2011.

Even a momentary failure to pay the nation’s debts could cause long-term increases in borrowing costs, Beach said, warning a mere technical error in 1979 caused a 60-basis-point hike in interest rates that persisted for nearly a year.

I dunno, these days it seems as if nothing can increase interest rates. But if interest rates do go up, it’ll help relieve the Senior Squeeze.

THE HILL: Democrats’ Benghazi panel talking point proven false.

Democrats claimed this week that the House’s special committee investigating the 2012 violence in Benghazi, Libya, was the longest inquiry of its kind, but fact-checkers on Friday proved them wrong.

In fact, there have been at least four special congressional committees charged with investigating various incidents that have run longer than the Benghazi panel, Politifact discovered.

The claim that the Benghazi committee had been in existence longer than any other special investigation committee was incorrectly reported by The Hill as well as The New York Times, ABC News and other media outlets.

The existence of the former committees pokes a hole in a frequent talking point for critics of the Select Committee on Benghazi, including the campaign of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of State during the 2012 attack.

Honestly, at this point that’s the least of her problems. But yeah.

BON JOVI TO ROGER WATERS: DROP DEAD! “I have no idea whether Bon Jovi is a Christian, but he evidently shares the excitement that Christians, Jews and others feel at the prospect of visiting the Holy Land. Good for him. He evidently will not be deterred by a left-wing, has-been bully. Somehow, I am not surprised.”

AMERICA, BEFORE THE FUNDAMENTAL TRANSFORMATION: When Boris Yeltsin went grocery shopping in Houston:

It was September 16, 1989 and Yeltsin, then newly elected to the new Soviet parliament and the Supreme Soviet, had just visited Johnson Space Center.

At JSC, Yeltsin visited mission control and a mock-up of a space station. According to Houston Chronicle reporter Stefanie Asin, it wasn’t all the screens, dials, and wonder at NASA that blew up his skirt, it was the unscheduled trip inside a nearby Randall’s location.

Yeltsin, then 58, “roamed the aisles of Randall’s nodding his head in amazement,” wrote Asin. He told his fellow Russians in his entourage that if their people, who often must wait in line for most goods, saw the conditions of U.S. supermarkets, “there would be a revolution.”

Of course he was right — but alas, eventually there was a revolution in both countries. As one blogger warned in 2006, “Americans Hate Their Fabulous Economy.”

It was great — literally the envy of the world — while it lasted.

Related: With a hat tip to the Gipper, Mark Steyn writes, “There’s a Bear in the Sand:” “Obama isn’t leading from behind, he’s leaving from behind: America is departing the world stage.”

BULLIES BULLY BECAUSE THEY CAN: UCC Shooting: The Culture of Helplessness.

THE LEFT EMBRACES SHUNS DIVERSITY OF THOUGHT: Breitbart Editor Ejected From Amber Rose Slut Walk By Police.

ENGLAND’S NHS, THE TERRIBLE WARNING: NHS cancer bonuses ‘are abhorrent, risky and misguided’.

Leading doctors speak out amid a growing backlash against new schemes offering doctors payments to cut referrals.

INSOMNIA THEATER (DEPT. OF ED​. EDITION) – ​ICYMI, last week I posted a video of Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) challenging Department of Education (ED) Deputy Assistant Secretary Amy McIntosh about past statements made by Catherine Lhamon, the assistant secretary for ED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Lhamon had testified that she expected colleges and universities to comply fully with OCR’s Title IX guidance, despite the fact that federal guidance is not binding. Huh?

McIntosh quickly backtracked from Lhamon’s comments, telling Alexander that “guidance that the Department issues does not have the force of law.” Then, in another congressional hearing just a week after this exchange, a second ED official, Under Secretary Ted Mitchell, also admitted that ED’s guidance “does not hold the force of law.”

I can tell you that after working on campuses for 15 years, I can’t think of one college that actually believes that following any ED ukase is optional, and I can’t believe that ED (which has power over federal funding of universities!) really believes that either.

This week FIRE’s Joe Cohn explained just how OCR’s actions both overstep its authority, violate the Administrative Procedure Act, and intimidate institutions into complying with its “non-binding” guidance.

You can watch the back-and-forth between Alexander and McIntosh in the video below or, for the hardcore issue fans, there’s also the full video of the hearing on the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ website.

YEAH, THEY DO THAT: Feminists abused my mother’s suicide, says Sylvia Plath’s poet daughter.

IT IS THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY: Scientists Invent a New Steel as Strong as Titanium.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: Well done, feminism. Now men are afraid to help women at work.

I’D WAKE UP SCREAMING: only it’s more like one of those dreams where the horror comes closer and you can’t move.  The Coming Defeat of NATO.

I’D SAY: Vassar College Says Ban on Israeli Foods ‘A Mistake’.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST: Penn State vs. The State Penn?

ARTHUR CHU WANTS TO BE YOUR BIG BROTHER: Arthur Chu’s Grand Vision of Repressive Tolerance.

WELL, THAT’S COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: Gun Control: If Journalists Were Being Murdered Instead of School Children.

October 3, 2015

I THOUGHT EVERYONE KNEW THIS: Avril Lavigne died in 2003 and was replaced by an almost-identical double.

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Plus, Generators and Portable Power for Storm Season.

MOORE’S LAW HASN’T GIVEN UP YET! IBM Scientists Find New Way to Shrink Transistors.

SELL YOUR CLOAK AND BUY A SWORD: Tennessee’s Lt. Gov: ‘Fellow Christians’ should consider handgun permits. “I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit. . . . I have always believed that it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it. Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise.”

IT’S NICE TO SEE PEOPLE RESISTING HYSTERIA: Still Strong Support for Gun Rights in Oregon Town Rocked by College Shooting.

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Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 8.55.31 AM

“INADVERTENTLY” IS THE NEW “UNEXPECTEDLY!” The Immigration Act That Inadvertently Changed America: Fifty years after its passage, it’s clear that the law’s ultimate effects are at odds with its original intent. “Seven out of every eight immigrants in 1960 were from Europe; by 2010, nine out of ten were coming from other parts of the world. The 1965 Immigration Act was largely responsible for that shift. No law passed in the 20th century altered the country’s demographic character quite so thoroughly.”

In academia, we say that personnel is policy. Does that hold for nations, too?


I’LL BELIEVE IT WHEN IT ACTUALLY HAPPENS: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): Congress will impeach IRS’ John Koskinen:

This Congress will impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, Rep. Jim Jordan, a member of the House Oversight Committee, told a group of students from the Young America’s Foundation Saturday.

“It is something that has to be done,” said the Ohio Republican. “If we don’t hold some people accountable in the executive branch for the executive overreach we’ve seen in [the Obama] administration, then they’ll never get the message.”

The audience applauded his call for removing Koskinen, the IRS chief presiding over the aftermath of the tax agency’s conservative targeting scandal.

The House is going to pursue impeachment because there needs to be consequences for the egregious behavior of the IRS and “we think it’s critical to preserving fundamental freedom, fundamental rights,” said Jordan.

As Glenn asked last month in USA Today (in an article focusing on Gina McCarthy of the EPA, the head of yet another out-of-control punitive federal bureaucracy), “Is impeachment the answer to lack of accountability in the executive branch? If it isn’t, what is?”

WELL, THIS IS DISTURBING: Legionnaires’ Bacteria Regrew in Bronx Cooling Towers That Were Disinfected.

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Political stances have consequences: “Natural gas is so abundant and cheap in much of the U.S. that producers want to export it overseas. Except in New England, where gas is so hard to get that companies are importing it from as far away as Yemen.” In this particular case, the stance was we do not want any of those dirty, dirty fossil fuel pipelines in our backyards; and the consequences are soaring natural gas prices (2/3rds higher than the rest of the country) according to the WSJ, with the price probably continuing to skyrocket because of increased demand from consumers and what may be a really, really cold winter*. There’s also apparently the consequence that New England air pollution levels have been rising in the last year due to the need to burn stuff that’s less efficient than natural gas, but that’s a whole different issue**.

…Well. Loathe as I am to see a bunch of Americans pay through the nose for electric – and more importantly, heat – many, many people are going to not-really-nicely note that New Englanders have largely brought this fate down upon themselves by voting in Democrats.  And it’s true! New Englanders did, and they have.

But who could have seen this coming? Actually lots of people – including Nick Schulz, my editor back in the day at Tech Central Station, who warned:

For example, energy market analysts predict this winter will see steep rises in home heating bills as the demand for natural gas grows and supply remains tight. And yet, for years politicians have known of the need to bolster supply and yet obstructed efforts to help do so.

Consider the Bay State, where politicians are considering energy price controls. Massachusetts Sens. Kerry and Kennedy have opposed siting LNG terminals in their region. They also recently voted against an energy bill that would help get more natural gas to market. The Bay State political class has been blocking the surest way to decrease energy costs for their constituents by opposing measures to ease supply. And now it wants price controls? This makes no sense.

In the past 30 years, most people have learned critical lessons. The knee-jerk reaction of capping prices is seen as deeply imprudent by nearly every serious economist and by most political leaders. The basics of free-market dynamics are now pretty well engrained in the culture… but there are holdouts in bell bottoms.

Nick wrote that a decade ago – but then, time always stands still on the “Progressive” left.

SO GOD MADE A FARMER — AND HIS WIFE: To The Woman Riding In My Husband’s Combine:

I know when you set foot on the farm you’ll be nervous about the farmers taking you seriously.  I know you’ll struggle with being able to connect on a personal level, while not getting too personal.  You aren’t as free to joke and laugh with customers as the male competition is.

I know when you climb into the cab with my husband you are going to be nervous about getting your sales pitch right – about showing that you understand the farm and the industry.

I also know that you probably understand it better than the men in your role. I know you already had to prove yourself beyond them, to the men that you work for.

I know you are working your tail off, in an industry you love, that generally views you as less competent.  I know you face challenges every single day and I want you to know – as a fellow woman I will not be another challenge for you.

I want to say thank you.   Thank you for being audacious enough to get into the cab of a combine!

Read the whole thing.

(Via SDA)

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Nanotechnology carries gene editing package into cells.

COPYRIGHT IDIOCY: Pokémon copyright lawyers demand $4,000 from party planner.


Related: Why I Hope There’s No Life On Mars.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How Not To Be an Absolute Jerk in an Online Multi-Player Roleplaying Game.

IT MAKES PERFECT SENSE IF THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON YOUR OPPONENTS POSSESS IS AN RPG: This Hybrid Tank-Boat Is Either Pure Genius or Pure Folly: The X-18 Fire Support Vessel has a massive gun, can carry 20 troops—and has virtually no armor plating.

IN THE MAIL: From Richard V. Hildebrant, Coming of Age in WWII.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 877.

INDEED: Why Conservatives Mistrust Even Modest Efforts at Gun Control: Liberals tend to blame the gun lobby for blocking new regulations, but they dismiss firearm owners’ fear of government at their own political peril.

While Obama has repeatedly called for new gun controls, those attempts have hit a wall in Congress. Furthermore, of the gun laws enacted at the state level since the Newtown massacre, more have actually loosened restrictions than tightened them. Firearm production and sales have also increased since Obama took office.

The common liberal explanation for why this has happened is the entrenched power of the gun lobby—the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers. This isn’t wrong. The NRA’s power is considerable and it is carefully and effectively wielded. But focusing exclusively on the lobbying angle overlooks the very real fear and distrust with which many gun owners regard the government that drives much of the opposition to gun laws. Many of them simply don’t believe that enhanced background checks—or whatever other modest changes are proposed—are what they appear to be.

Well, that’s because gun control has always been sold on lies, and enforced based on broken promises. People do catch on after a while.

THIS IS SOMETHING LESS THAN A SURPRISE: Clinton Runs on Obamacare Benefits, Not Costs.

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USA TODAY: Calculated killing of Christians in Roseburg?

WHY OBAMA WANTS US TALKING ABOUT GUNS, CONT’D: CIA pulls staff from Beijing following a cyber attack on government employees.

Related: OPM Says Way More Fingerprint Data Stolen than Reported.

WHY OBAMA WANTS US TALKING ABOUT GUNS, CONT’D: Record 94,610,000 Americans Not In Labor Force; Participation Rate Lowest In 38 Years.

HOW’S THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Top Obama Cyber Security Adviser Quietly Leaves Post at White House.

One of President Obama’s top cyber security advisers has left the White House after two years, a move that the administration has barely acknowledged.

The Federal Times reported that Ari Schwartz, who served as the National Security Council’s senior director for cybersecurity, left his post Wednesday after working in the Obama administration for a two-year term.

The White House has been quiet about his exit, but an Obama official said that Schwartz had planned on leaving after two years. The administration also confirmed Schwartz’s exit to The Hill.

Schwartz first served as Obama’s director for cybersecurity privacy, civil liberties, and policy when he joined the administration in 2013. In March of the following year, he ascended to his latest role.

The move comes as the United States endures increased cyber security risks, especially from attacks originating in China and Russia.

Chinese sources were responsible for the large cyber attack on the Office of Personnel Management computer systems that compromised personal data of about 22 million Americans. Russia recently launched a sophisticated cyber attack on the Pentagon’s unclassified email system used by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Sources in both countries have also waged cyber attacks on commercial targets.

While the Obama administration has hinted at sanctioning entities for the cyber attacks, no sanctions have been announced.

But wait, there’s more: Over the last 10 days, Obama’s top advisers on cyber-security, ISIS, and Russia have all resigned. Luckily for them, there are so many failures that that no single debacle really stands out.

MEDIA NARRATIVE: HALF-BLACK OREGON KILLER IS A “WHITE SUPREMACIST:” “One slight problem. Mercer identified as multi-racial. His mother was black. He doesn’t seem to have even known his father. He identified with black TV killer Vester Lee Flanagan. This doesn’t seem to have stopped the media with George Zimmerman who was labeled a white Hispanic, so maybe Chris Harper Mercer was a white Black? Was he a Half-White Supremacist?”

EUGENE VOLOKH: Guns And Alcohol.

After various highly publicized shootings, those of us who are skeptical about gun controls are often asked: So what are we suggesting should be done about the shootings? If we’re not suggesting gun controls (as opposed to proposals such as letting teachers or professors be armed, increasing concealed carry rights outside schools, providing school guards or trying to figure out, maintain and extend the remarkable fall in violent crime since the early 1990s) — the argument goes, we’re not taking gun tragedies seriously.

Now I generally don’t support the “don’t just stand there, do something” school of criminal law. When all the proposals seem likely not to work, or do more harm than good, implementing one of them for the sake of “doing something” strikes me as a mistake.

But let me offer a concrete analogy (recognizing that, as with all analogies, it’s analogous and not identical).

Every day, about 30 people are killed in the U.S. in gun homicides or gun accidents (not counting gun suicides or self-inflicted accidental shootings). And every day, likely about 30 people are killed in homicides where the killer was under the influence of alcohol, plus alcohol-related drunk driving accidents and alcohol-related accidents where the driver wasn’t drunk but the alcohol was likely a factor (again not including those who died in accidents caused by their own alcohol consumption). If you added in gun suicides on one side and those people whose alcohol consumption killed themselves on the other, the deaths would tilt much more on the side of alcohol use, but I generally like to segregate deaths of the user from deaths of others.

So what are we going to do about it? When are we going to ban alcohol? When are we going to institute more common-sense alcohol-control measures?

Well, we tried, and the conventional wisdom is that the cure was worse than the disease — which is why we went back to a system where alcohol is pretty freely available, despite the harm it causes (of which the deaths are only part). We now prohibit various kinds of reckless behavior while using alcohol. But we try to minimize the burden on responsible alcohol users by generally allowing alcohol purchase and possession, subject to fairly light regulations.

Read the whole thing.

CHECKMATE: THE ECONOMIC CHESS MASTERS PLAY A LOSING GAME: “Barack Obama & Co. represent the very freshest and most imaginative thinking of the 1930s,” Kevin D. Williamson writes. “Stimulus, public works, monkeying with the minimum wage, political favoritism for union constituencies, the ancient superstition that simply putting money in somebody’s pocket makes the nation richer through the miraculous power of the economic multiplier, etc.”

Hey, Time magazine promised voters that Obama would be the reincarnation of FDR in November of 2008 — curiously  though, they meant their comparison to be a compliment.

ACTUALLY, LET’S POLITICIZE MASS SHOOTINGS: “If you want to guarantee that Hillary Clinton loses, liberals, press her to call for stricter gun laws and hint that you want to take their Glocks from them. That’s about the only way you’re going to blow 2016.”

TO ASK THE QUESTION IS TO ANSWER IT: Why Do The Media Keep Helping Nancy Pelosi Avoid Abortion Questions?

CHANGE: Moore’s Law For CPU Speed Increases Coming To End. “The rate of computer processor power growth has slowed from doubling once every two years to once every 2.5 to 3 yeas. The doublings might stop entirely by about 2025.”

THE ETERNAL MIDDLE EAST: Why Outside Powers Can’t End the Destruction in Syria.

IT’S NOT SO MUCH LIKE SOLVING A PUZZLE: More like watching a train wreck, or one of those nightmares where you want to scream, but no sound comes out. Neo-neo con on Richard Fernandez and the puzzle of Barack Obama.


SPEAKING OF BAD TASTE: Why is everybody trying to dress little girls like skanks for Halloween? I guess they’ll be ready for those all important slut walks of pseudo adulthood, or something.

WHATEVER YOU THINK OF THE EMBARGO, THIS LEAVES A BAD TASTE: President Obama’s threatened UN vote against America.

A FRIEND OF MINE SELF-IDENTIFIES AS AN M1 ABRAMS TANK: We’re almost sure he’s joking.  This woman wasn’t.  And found people to indulge her insanity. Woman Fulfills Lifelong Wish To Be Blind, Now Happier Than Ever.

THEY CAME FOR THE MAD SCIENTISTS: I said nothing, because I wasn’t a mad scientist.

A MOST EXCELLENT FISKING: Fisking 27 ways to be a modern man.

Security Questions.



SOMETHING TO LOOK AT: And remember that once upon a time we could do big things.  Thousands of Photos by Apollo Astronauts now on Flickr.

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER: Son of the Black Sword, by Larry Correia.

PREDICTABLE RUSSIA IS PREDICTABLE: As Ted Cruz Predicted: PUTIN EYES ESTONIA – Signals Concern of Russian Minority.

THIS IS FUNNY: It’s dark humor, because I think this is how leftist think the world works, but it’s still funny.  Gun Free Zones.  (Video.)

October 2, 2015

WHY OBAMA WANTS US TALKING ABOUT GUNS, CONT’D: International monitors say they have spotted a deadly new Russian rocket system in Ukraine.

AT AMAZON, deals on Men’s Sneakers.

WHY OBAMA WANTS US TALKING ABOUT GUNS: Iran reportedly sending ground troops to Syria. Welcome to the post-American world.