August 3, 2015

VIDEO: Tesla slaughters a Hellcat in drag race. Meh. I’d like to see this repeated with the new Tesla “ludicrous mode.”

HOW TO RAISE GRATEFUL KIDS IN AN ENTITLED WORLD: From Kristina Ribali at the PJ Media Parenting section. What items would you add to Kristina’s list?

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama Gets It Right On Occupational Licensing.


Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 11.46.18 AM

IN THE MAIL: Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 816.

SHE’S NOT SAFE UNTIL SHE CAN PARDON HERSELF: John Fund: Hillary’s Two Races: To Keep Ahead of the Investigators, and to Win the White House.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Salem On The Thames: At Connecticut College, the outrage machine claims another victim.

Academics like to think of themselves as autonomous thinkers, and academia—meaning literally the protected realm of free speech—gives professors not only the right to speak their minds but also, via the institution of tenure, protection against losing their livelihoods by displeasing those more powerful than themselves. The fact that civil polities treasure safe spaces for free speech attests to their progressive bona fides. Especially in our times, when new social networks can turn ominously feral, one would hope that academics and their institutions, especially small, face-to-face college communities, could return that investment and resist anonymous, predatory, crowd behavior.

Yet mob rule is precisely what happened this past semester at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut, along the Thames River. Over the course of the past spring semester, philosophy professor Andrew Pessin was driven from campus based on a malevolent reading of a Facebook post in which he depicted “the situation” in Gaza as one in which the Israelis had confined a “rabid pit bull” to a cage, while animal rights activists protested for the poor beast’s release. Although Pessin didn’t specify in the text, he and a commenter did make clear that this metaphor referred to Hamas terrorists, not to the population generally.

But in an attack spearheaded by a Muslim student who in high school had begun a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, and a Muslim professor, recently appointed head of the new Global Islamic Studies Program, a small group of activists, given the run of the school paper by its editors, accused Pessin of comparing all Palestinians to rabid dogs and calling for them to be “put down.” Pessin, they claimed, “directly condoned the extermination of a people. A member of our community has called for the systematic abuse, killing, and hate of another people.” The editor who arranged for the publication of all three letters did not ask Pessin for a response in the same issue.

Shock and horror spread through the community, triggering among many traumatic memories of verbal, racial, dehumanizing abuse, and arousing heretofore silenced “marginal voices.” A great cry went up against racists and hate-speakers of all kinds. Racist graffiti, probably written by an outsider, found in the Student Center bathroom, added to the cries of hurt and indignation.

What a pathetic, evil, clown show. Cost of attending Connecticut College for one year: $62,965.

THE L.A. TIMES’ TED RALL VERSUS THE LAPD: HE MADE IT UP. AND HE GOT CAUGHT:Unlike politics, in the newspaper business, it only takes one lie for people to call you a liar,” the LAPD’s Jack Dunphy writes.

MELTDOWNS: Greek Politicians Should Learn From Latvia.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama Gets It Right On Occupational Licensing.

DEMOCRATS HATE YOUR GUTS, SAYS P.J. O’ROURKE: “Democrats need your vote and they’ll do anything—no matter how low and degrading—to get it. They hate you the way a whore hates a john.”

Read the whole thing.

BRITISH AND FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTRIES beginning to rethink their positions on immigration. “What we are currently facing is a global migration crisis. This situation cannot be seen as an issue just for our two countries. It is a priority at both a European and international level. Many of those in Calais and attempting to cross the Channel have made their way there through Italy, Greece or other countries. That is why we are pushing other member states – and the whole of the EU – to address this problem at root.” Until you make the prospect of immigration less attractive than that of staying home, people will keep doing it.

CRUMBLE: Americans now oppose Iran deal, 28/57.


WHY DO FEMINISTS HATE YOUNG MEN AND WANT TO DESTROY THEM? Ashe Schow: Opponent of new campus due process bill doesn’t hide her contempt for basic rights.

An opponent of a new bill aimed at providing due process rights to students accused of sexual assault disparaged the thought of such constitutional rights because schools “must prioritize the needs of survivors first and foremost.”

That’s all well and good, but one does not know whether someone is truly a “survivor” unless his or her story can hold up to scrutiny, something deliberately absent from current campus hearings. But that doesn’t seem to matter to Sarah Merriman, a spokeswoman for SAFER Campus, who told the Washington Post why she opposes the “Safe Campus Act.”

I suspect deep-rooted psychological problems. But then, there’s also this observation from Joan Didion:

“Marxism in this country had even been an eccentric and quixotic passion. One oppressed class after another had seemed finally to miss the point. The have-nots, it turned out, aspired mainly to having. The minorities seemed to promise more, but finally disappointed: it developed that they actually cared about the issues, that they tended to see the integration of the luncheonette and the seat in the front of the bus as real goals, and only rarely as ploys, counters in a larger game. They resisted that essential inductive leap from the immediate reform to the social ideal, and, just as disappointingly, they failed to perceive their common cause with other minorities, continued to exhibit a self-interest disconcerting in the extreme to organizers steeped in the rhetoric of ‘brotherhood.’ And then, at that exact dispirited moment when there seemed no one at all willing to play the proletariat, along came the women’s movement, and the invention of women as a ‘class.’…”

And, finally, they found someone willing to swallow the bullshit whole. And, you know, you have to break a few young-man eggs to make the feminist omelette.

PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: “Trump Sues Chef Who Backed Out Of Restaurant Deal” for $10 mil after chef Jose Andres got the vapors over Trump’s comments on illegal immigrations and apparently reneged on a previously announced new restaurant in a Trump property in DC.

By the way, the article is at ABC and uses the phrase “illegal immigrants.” No word yet if chastisement from ABC’s own Orwellian language bot will be forthcoming.

SOME KNOXVILLE FRIENDS ARE INVOLVED IN THIS: Jewelry Television® First Shopping Network to Broadcast Reality Show. And one of the contestants is the daughter of a woman I went to high school with.

THE INSTAPUNDIT POLL: I’ll repeat this after the GOP debate.

Who do you favor as Republican nominee for President in 2016? free polls


Writing in the Forward, Nathan Guttman reports that Obama made the following argument:

Obama repeatedly weaved two themes known to strike a chord among progressives: the Iraq war, and the role of big money in Washington’s decision making process.

When put together it sounded something like this: Criticism of the deal, he said, comes “partly from the $20 million that’s being spent lobbying against the bill,” and “partly from the same columnists and former administration officials that were responsible for us getting into the Iraq war.”

Of course, the $20 million figure is a reference to AIPAC, as is his assertion that the same people who opposed the deal are the ones who got the U.S. into the Iraq war.  Some might, as Guttman writes, think that Obama accepts “the notion that the American Jewish community was behind the Iraq war” and that it is the same Jewish neo-cons who would take us to war again. William Daroff, an executive of the Jewish Federations of North America, immediately tweeted “Canard” as he heard the president say these words.

So when President Obama talks, as he did during the conference call, of “a whole bunch of folks who are big check writers to political campaigns, running TV ads, and billionaires who…are putting the squeeze on members of Congress,” he is clearly referring to AIPAC and other Jewish groups whose members are in opposition to the deal with Iran. With good reason, it is fair to refer to the words used by the president as bordering on old anti-Semitic tropes.

Nahh, can’t be. After all, Obama brags that’s he been dubbed America’s first Jewish president. Would he lie to you?

WHO WAS MAUREEN DOWD’S SOURCE? With Hillary stumbling, in order to advance the draft Biden campaign, Maureen Dowd enters into Bob Woodward territory and describes a “win one for the Gipper”-ish scene with a dying Beau Biden extracting a promise that his dad would run for the presidency. Bill Kristol asks who was Dowd’s source for this information?

Exit Question: How many dads call their male sons “honey?”

RELATED: Joe Biden for President?! Hillary Clinton Is a Weaker Candidate Than You Think.

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JAMES WEBB WEIGHS IN on the reported court-martialing of LCDR Tim White, who shot at the Muslim Terrorist who killed 5 in Chattanooga: “The Navy apparently is planning to bring charges against LCDR Timothy White for discharging a firearm on federal property in Chattanooga while trying to save the lives of our Marines and sailors under terrorist attack. This is absurd. He deserves a medal, not an indictment. A Webb Presidency would respect the obvious courage that this young officer displayed.”


UPDATE: Confirmed: Navy Seriously Considering Charges Against Lt. Cmdr Timothy White for Discharging Firearm on Federal Property.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION NEWS: Two (totally impartial?) journalists from ABC-Disney-owned Fusion create a bot to correct the use of ‘illegal immigrant’ in tweets.

VDH: IRAN, THE MUNICH COMPARISON, AND THE ABUSE OF HISTORY: “The Iran Deal is not Munich, but the same naiveté, vanity, and foolishness of Western leaders is close enough to warn us about what happens next. And it will not be good,” Victor Davis Hanson warns.

Read the whole thing.™


NOT ENDORSING HIM BUT: Ted Cruz to Koch Group: No, Global Warming is Not Real.  Mind you, he should have added “anthropogenic” because you know, counting from the little ice age, of course it’s real.  OTOH nothing to do with us.  Still it’s good to hear someone say it in public.  About time.

August 2, 2015

ROGER SIMON: Who Could Dethrone Teflon Trump? It’s not so much Teflon as reactive armor.

BILL WHITTLE ON Hiroshima And Today’s Revisionists.

Related: Thank God For The Atom Bomb.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama White House Gets It Right On Occupational Licensing.

ON TWITTER, #Mattis2016.

Well, better that than this: General Mattis Crosses Potomac With 100,000 Troops; President, Senate Flee City.

OBAMA’S LEGACY: Salena Zito: Making Environmentalism Divisive.


There is greater visibility for minorities, and interracial marriage has produced younger generations that tend to see people and personalities and not color. This is a singular accomplishment, the great social leap forward of the last half century,

Yet further down on the scale of moral importance, in the areas of music, books, general knowledge, cars, conversation, and fashion, the United States was far more diverse in the 1950s. The racial progress in America has led to a reflexive dismissal of everything else the culture produced prior to the civil rights victories of the 1960s. Marinating in self-regard for our progress, we reject previous eras as bland black-and-white prisons, a patriarchal matrix of Mad Men-style sexual harassment, racism, bland pop music and TV dinners. We now measure our ethical stature by our propinquity to “people of color,” forgetting that by every other measure Americans in 2015 have become one undifferentiated blob of bland sameness.

Everyone follows Taylor Swift on Twitter. We all know who Kim Kardashian is (but not Kurt Elling). We dress alike, in our jeans, t-shirts, yoga pants and cargo shorts. We go to the same superhero movies, slurp our coffee from Starbucks, use iPhones, and lunch at Chipotle. We know pop music and political correctness, but not symphonies, great visual artists, philosophers or challenging novels.

Read the whole thing.

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HE WAS A SMART MAN: Alexis de Tocqueville Predicted the Tyranny of the Majority in Our Modern World. Our Constitution, of course, was not originally designed to be majoritarian.

GOOD: Family to Pay Price for Trying to Sue Ammo Dealers. As the judge noted, it was a dumb, politically motivated action. The Brady folks should have to foot the bill, but I expect they’ll be scarce when that subject comes up.

UPDATE: Agreement at Popehat: “Family has to pay, but suit was brought by lawyers from @Bradybuzz. Those lawyers should pay, or Brady should. Unethical to advise suit.” Someone should complain to the bar.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Plaintiff actually works for the Brady Campaign.

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME: 99% of Hillary’s Charitable Contributions Went To Clinton Family Foundation. Which, as we know, spends only a tiny fraction of donations on actual charity.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Syracuse University is scrambling to offer retirement buyouts after an audit discovered that the university employs hundreds of administrators who only oversee one or two employees. “Tuition is scheduled to increase again at Syracuse next year—to $41,974 per student—as is room and board. At least now students know why their education is so expensive: they are quite literally paying for edu-crats to sit around doing nothing. When these stories arise, I usually point out that a bevy of bored administrators is an existential threat to students’ free speech rights. This time, I will simply redirect to the Bias-Free Language Guide, a project born of idle bureaucracy if ever there was one.”

Do tell.

ELIANA JOHNSON: Inside the Koch Brothers’ Southern California Confab.

It’s a lavish three-day affair. So it was surprising to hear Charles Koch on Saturday evening, surrounded by some of the wealthiest men and women in the nation, take the stage to assail big bank bailouts and government handouts for the rich. Charles Koch is the more press-shy of the Koch duo, who together run one of the country’s largest privately held companies, Koch Industries. Doing away with crony capitalism might hurt some of the individuals in attendance, Koch said, and it would certainly hurt Koch Industries, but over the long term, doing away with crony capitalism would revitalize the economy and benefit all parties. Bailing out the big banks, he said, had not only created a culture of dependency at the top, but crushed small community banks at the bottom.

“We need to start by eliminating welfare for the rich,” he said. “Physician, heal thyself.”

I agree.

FOR SECURITY REASONS, A GOODBYE TO ANDROID: “This is the fundamental difference between Android and iPhone. When there’s a bug on iOS, Apple patches it and can push an update to all iPhone users as soon as it’s ready, no questions asked. When the same thing happens with Android, Google patches and then… god knows when the AT&Ts, Verizons, HTCs, and Sonys of the world will decide it’s important enough that they should care and send you the update with the patch (though to their credit, they’re starting to care, mostly because having an updated OS is now seen as a competitive advantage). Hell, even Google-owned Nexus phones, which the company has full control over, haven’t been patched for Stagefright yet.”


Is there a single person alive who believes that corporations, trade associations, NGOs, unions, and the like pay the Clintons enormous sums for speeches because they believe their members actually want to hear the Clintons say the same tedious talking points they have been spewing for years? If that were the only value received no profit-minded enterprise would pay the Clintons these vast fees because they would earn, well, a shitty rate of return.

No, the Clintons are not paid to speak. Businesses and other interest groups pay them for the favor of access at a crucial moment or a thumb on the scale in the future, perhaps when it is time to renew the Ex-Im Bank or at a thousand other occasions when a nod might divert millions of dollars from average people in to the pockets of the crony capitalists. The speaking is just a ragged fig leaf, mostly to allow their allies in the media to say they “earned” the money for “speaking,” which is, after all, hard work.

We have such people as the Clintons (and the tens of thousands of smaller bore looters who have turned the counties around Washington, D.C. in to the richest in the country) because they and their ilk in both parties have transformed the federal government of the United States in to a vast favors factory, an invidious place that not only picks winners and losers and decides the economic fates of millions of people, but which has persuaded itself that this is all quite noble. Instead, the opposite is true: This entire class of people, of which the Clintons are a most ugly apotheosis, are destroying the country while claiming it is all in the “public service.” It is disgusting. We need to say that, at least, out loud. . . .

Tear down the aristocracy of pull. This may be our last chance.

Ropes and lampposts optional, but increasingly appealing.

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SPYING: Warrantless mobile phone location tracking heads to Supreme Court. “The case has big privacy implications for anybody who carries a mobile phone. According to the government, that device may be tracked at will without the Fourth Amendment’s probable cause standard being met. What’s more, the petition to the high court from defendant Quartavious Davis comes as cell-site tracking has become a choice surveillance tool in the aftermath of a Supreme Court ruling that said the authorities needed a warrant to affix GPS trackers to vehicles. In that 2012 decision, the high court declared that the government’s act of affixing a GPS device on a vehicle was the equivalent of a search usually requiring a warrant.”

The two cases seem more similar than distinct to me.

FINISHED HARRY TURTLEDOVE’S Bombs Away. Pretty good, but very much according to his formula. If you like the formula, you’ll like it okay, but it’s pretty formulaic.

SOUNDS LIKE HUSBAND MATERIAL TO ME: N.C. man knocks out attempted robber who interrupted marriage proposal.

STEVE RATTNER: We’re Making Life Too Hard For Millennials:

Americans between 18 and 34 are earning less today (after adjustment for inflation) than the same age group did in the past. A typical millennial averaged earnings of $33,883 (in 2013 dollars) between 2009 and 2013. That was down 9.3 percent (after adjustment for inflation) in just a decade and is the lowest since 1980. Older Americans have fared considerably better; earnings of all full-time workers were roughly flat between 2000 and 2011.

Still more striking is that millennials have endured falling earnings even though they have attended college in record numbers. . . .

Another huge drag on the finances of younger Americans is the mountain of student debt that has been piled up in recent years. Members of this year’s graduating class left their campuses owing an average of $35,051, about twice the levels borne by their counterparts two decades earlier (after adjusting for inflation). That’s in large part because college is becoming less affordable even as it has become increasingly necessary. Since 1993, average tuition has risen by 234 percent, far above the 63 percent overall inflation rate.

Saddled with debt and thin paychecks, millennials are delaying purchasing cars and new homes, low mortgage rates notwithstanding.

Do tell. Someone should write a book on this.

IN THE MAIL: From Ronald Bailey, The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 815.

BRUCE/CAITLYN JENNER being encouraged to become more liberal as part of the transition:

The quoted dialogue comes from a trailer for the show, as does Jenner’s expression of conservatism. I think what’s going on is more that show needs dramatic tension, so something was set up, and the show needs a narrative arc, and there will be one. Thus, early on, Jenner expresses the view that people can get “totally dependent on” government, because they think “they can make more not working with social programs than they actually can with an entry-level job,” and they start thinking “Why should I work?” and they “get in trouble.” Later, I’m betting, Jenner will become more aware of social problems and the value of government programs. Narrative arc achieved. Quite boring of course.

The narrative is all, and social-justice values must prevail. Those who disagree must be not simply beaten, but changed.

DENVER DA: Passing out leaflets informing jurors of their legal right to nullify convictions is “jury tampering.” No, it’s free speech.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh wrote about a similar case a few years ago.

OUTRAGE OVER FORFEITURE, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS NOT: CATO: Outrage over Forfeiture Reform Is Unjustified.

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The UC Regents approved 3 percent raises for 15 of the University of California’s highest-paid executives. The new pay scale for the five UC chancellors are: $772,500 for UC San Francisco’s Samuel Hawgood; $516,446 for UC Berkeley’s Nicholas Dirks; $441,334 for UCLA’s Gene Block; $436,120 for UC San Diego’s Pradeep Khosla; and $424,360 for UC Davis’ Linda Katehi, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Also included in the raises were $231,750 for Anne Shaw, chief of staff for the UC regents, to $991,942 for Mark Laret, chief executive of UC San Francisco’s medical center. Many of them had salaries well above $400,000 before the new increase.

These are public employees who also can look forward to rich pensions and lifetime health care in retirement… unless the system goes broke. But that’s another story. These people will live as millionaires in retirement, courtesy of the taxpayers. A $770,000 annual retirement for 30 years is $23 million. Is anyone really worth $23 million in retirement for something they did not build themselves?

Others on the UC pay raise list include the UC system’s chief investment officer, Jagdeep Bachher, whose salary now will be $633,450; UC’s general counsel, Charles Robinson, $441,334; and UC Davis’ medical center chief executive, Ann Madden Rice, $848,720.

Kevin Sabo, board chairman of the UC Student Association, denounced the pay raises as “shameful” and said the raises would hurt future lobbying efforts in Sacramento to boost state funds for UC. He’s right, but no one is listening. They really don’t care.

Academics assume that capitalists are callous exploiters of those who work for them, because the people that academics work for really are that way. . . .

FROM BORING TO BAFFLING: Theodore Dalrymple on The Economist:

The anonymity of the articles was intended to create the illusion that the magazine spoke from nothing so vulgar as a perspective, but rather from some Olympian height from which only the whole truth and nothing but the truth could be descried. It is the saving grace of every such magazine that no one remembers what he read in it the week before. Only by the amnesia of its readers can a magazine retain its reputation for perspicacity.

I found its style dull, too. How was it that correspondents from Lima to Limassol, from Cairo to Kathmandu, wrote in precisely the same fashion, as if everything that happened everywhere was fundamentally the same? Walter Bagehot, son-in-law of the founder of The Economist and its most famous editor, was a brilliant prose stylist and a wonderfully witty literary critic, among many other things; but The Economist has long been about as amusing as a speech by David Cameron. Its prose was the literary equivalent of IKEA furniture, prefabricated according to a manual of style; it tried to combine accessibility with judiciousness and arrived only at portentousness.

Who now reads it, and what for? I suppose there is a type of functionary who does not want to be caught out in ignorance of the latest political developments in Phnom Penh, or the supposed reasons for the latest uprising in Ouagadougou. The Economist is intellectual seriousness for middle management and MBAs. To be seen with it is a sign of belonging to, and of identifying with, a certain caste.

See also: the election of 2008, which the Economist went all in to manufacture, and continued to run worshipful covers of Obama posing Ever So Seriously in the years since. But as Mark Steyn wrote in 2009, when the bloom was first rubbing off the era of Hopenchange:

This is the point: The nuancey boys were wrong on Obama, and the knuckledragging morons were right. There is no post-partisan centrist “grappling” with the economy, only a transformative radical willing to make Americans poorer in the cause of massive government expansion. At some point, The Economist, Messrs Brooks, Buckley & Co are going to have to acknowledge this. If they’re planning on spending the rest of his term tutting that his management style is obstructing the effective implementation of his centrist agenda, it’s going to be a long four years.

And for the Economist (and the similarly corporatist Bloomberg “Unexpectedly” Business) the “fun” continues, as the blinders never came off.

(Found via Kathy Shaidle.)

DOUG WEINSTEIN WANTED TO BUILD SOMETHING LIKE THIS, ONLY DEEPER, AS A TOURIST ATTRACTION, BUT I DON’T THINK HE EVER FOUND ANY BACKERS: Homeowner Builds $2 Million Scuba Diving Pool In His Backyard. “In addition to having a water slide, wading area, grotto and other amenities, the pool in Springville, Utah is 140ft/43m long, 60ft/18m wide and at certain points 26ft/8m deep. The US$2 million pool — which holds about 360,000 gallons/1.4 million liters of water — was built so the avid scuba-diving owner could practice his skills without having to travel.”

IT’S ALWAYS NICE TO MAKE TWITCHY: Instapundit deflates Jon Stewart’s final ‘Daily Show’ appearance with one tweet.

THE CAREER ARC OF THE OBAMA TOADY IS BRIEF, BUT IT BENDS TOWARDS SCATOLOGY: Neatly summing up her brief career as an MSNBC show host/Democrat operative with a byline, “‘Woo! Sh*t!’: Alex Wagner Jokes and Curses in MSNBC Show Farewell,” just after the camera faded to black, but the sound hadn’t yet been cut.

FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS: I Did Hot Yoga With 98 Degrees and It Crushed My Teenage Dreams.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Seattle CEO who set firm’s minimum wage to $70G says he has hit hard times:

Dan Price, 31, tells the New York Times that things have gotten so bad he’s been forced to rent out his house.

Only three months ago Price was generating headlines—and accusations of being a socialist — when he announced the new salary minimum for all 120 employees at his Gravity Payments credit card processing firm. Price said he was doing it, and slashing his $1 million pay package to pay for it, to address the wealth gap.

“I’m working as hard as I ever worked to make it work,” he told the Times in a video that shows him sitting on a plastic bucket in the garage of his house. “I’m renting out my house right now to try and make ends meet myself.”

The Gods of Copybook Headings could not be reached for comment.

WITH THE BEST COMMANDER IN CHIEF EVER, HOW COULD THIS BE HAPPENING? “As sergeants and young officers depart, the institution is breaking for a third time in my lifetime. The personal tragedies that attended the collapse of a soldier’s spirit in past wars are with us again. Suicide, family abuse, alcohol and drug abuse are becoming increasingly more common.” Who knew the armed services were so full of racists?

CREATIVE DESTRUCTION: Don Boudreaux: Uber vs. Piketty.

Problems galore fill Piketty’s book – including his failure to recognize that market-driven innovation and competition are incessantly creating new capital while reducing or even destroying the value of older capital, all in ways that move new flesh-and-blood people into the central ranks of the ‘capitalists’ while moving others onto the periphery of those ranks. (Twelve years ago Mark Zuckerberg, the son of a dentist, was no one’s idea of a capitalist. He’s now worth close to $40 billion.)

While working together earlier this week on a business trip to California, my Mercatus Center colleague Ashley Schiller and I were chatting about Uber and the assaults that governments are now launching on this amazing innovation. Ashley had a brilliant insight, which I share here with her kind permission: Uber (and other ‘sharing economy’ innovations, such as Airbnb) allow ordinary people to turn their consumption goods into capital goods.

Uber enables someone who would otherwise drive his or her car only for personal use to drive his or her car for paying customers – that is, to drive his or her car in an income-earning (and, hence, wealth-enhancing) manner. Uber enables a consumption good to easily become a capital good for however long the car owner chooses to operate as an Uber driver. For whatever number of hours car owners use their personal cars as Uber (or Lyft) cars, part of value of those cars becomes part of the value of an economy’s capital stock even if formal statistics do not yet register it as such.

Uber and other sharing-economy innovations create more productive capital and create more capitalists.

Ah. That explains why lefties hate them so much. It all makes sense now.

August 1, 2015

SHOT: Smallest U.S. Wage Increase on Record Muddies Pay Picture. “Signs of a nascent pickup in U.S. worker pay proved fleeting as wages and salaries climbed in the second quarter at the slowest pace on record. The 0.2 percent advance was the smallest in data going back to 1982.”

Chaser: Clintons earned nearly $141M from 2007 to 2014, tax returns show. On Facebook, John Steakley comments: “Recessions are for the little people.”

I AGREE: Trump’s Success Shows How Much The GOP Base Hates The GOP Leadership. If I were in the GOP leadership, this would give me pause. Or, perhaps, since this gives me pause, I wouldn’t be in the GOP leadership….

SO, BASICALLY, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ARMED THE GUNMAN WHO TRIED TO KILL PAM GELLER: Assailant in Garland, Texas, attack bought gun in 2010 under Fast and Furious operation. More and more, I’m doubting that this federal gun-smuggling operation was “botched,” or a “fiasco,” except to the extent that people found out what was going on.

THIS IS MODERATELY AMUSING: Man Describes All 50 States If They Were Actually People In A Bar.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION “CRITICAL MASS” THEORY DOESN’T APPLY TO MEN: Washington Post op-ed argues for extending Title IX to college admissions.

[O]ne of academia’s little-known secrets is that private college admissions are exempt from Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination—a shameful loophole that allows some of the most supposedly progressive campuses in the nation to discriminate against female applicants.

Consider my own alma mater, Brown University. In 2014, 11 percent of men were accepted at Brown versus 7 percent of women, according to U.S. Department of Education data.

Brown is hardly the only, or the worst, offender. At Vassar College, the 34 percent acceptance rate for men was almost twice as high as the 19 percent rate for women. At Columbia University, the acceptance rate was 8 percent for men versus 6 percent for women. At Vanderbilt University, it was 15 percent versus 11 percent. Pomona College: 15 percent versus 10 percent. Williams College: 21 percent versus 18 percent. This bias in private-college admissions is blatant enough that it can’t be long before “gender-blind admissions” becomes the new campus rallying cry.

Colleges won’t say it, but this is happening because elite schools field applications from many more qualified women than men and thus are trying to hold the line against a 60:40 ratio of women to men. Were Brown to accept women and men at the same rate, its undergraduate population would be almost 60 percent women instead of 52 percent—three women for every two men. . . .

Today’s [admissions] officials . . . fear though that if enrollments reach 60 percent women, it will scare off the most sought-after applicants, who generally want gender balance for social reasons. “Once you become decidedly female in enrollment, fewer males and, as it turns out, fewer females find your campus attractive,” Kenyon College’s dean of admissions, Jennifer Delahunty Britz, wrote in The New York Times in 2006.

So suddenly liberals/progressives are in love with merit-based admissions? That’s mighty funny.  

This argument for admitting more women to elite colleges–based on their higher objective academic credentials (GPA, SAT/ACT score) is more than a little ironic, given the liberal/progressive argument for race-based affirmative action is exactly the opposite. In race-based admissions, the liberal/progressives assert that white and Asian applicants’ objective academic credentials, although higher than Hispanic or black applicants, should not earn white applicants any admissions preferences. When it comes to race, in other words, academic merit shouldn’t drive admissions.

Instead, the liberal/progressive argument–that has been constitutionally legitimated by the Supreme Court–is that there is a compelling government interest in achieving the goal of racial “diversity” in college admissions, and this goal requires admission of a “critical mass” of black and Hispanic students with lower academic credentials. 

Apparently, according to the liberal/progressive view of the world, there is no need for a “critical mass” of men, at least not white men.  We don’t need to hear their “views” for purposes of “diversity,” and having gender balance– as opposed to a racial balance–is not a worthy institutional goal. Indeed, in the liberal/progressive mindset, we don’t really need men anyway.

What a mess we’ve created with the Equal Protection Clause. To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “Some people are more equal than others,” I guess.

LEGAL EDUCATION: New Law School Courses Explore Nietzsche, Guns and Bible. Hey, I was taking students to the shooting range back in the 1990s, though after I let them shoot the MP5 and got stuck with a several-hundred-dollar ammo bill my enthusiasm waned a bit. The women in particular seemed to enjoy full-auto.

LIFE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: Reporter expelled from public university ‘Black Lives’ event for not being of ‘African descent.’

And this remains evergreen, alas:

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 9.59.38 PM

Worst president ever.

FASTER, PLEASE: Non-invasive spinal cord stimulation gets paralyzed legs moving voluntarily again.


THE SCIENCE IS SURPRISINGLY UNSETTLED: How Far Can the Human Eye See a Candle Flame?

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Permitless Carry Bill Introduced in Michigan.

THE INSTA-WIFE WRITES ON the secrets to maxing out your Social Security, and asks for your opinion.

THIS SEEMS USEFUL: Messaging App Weaves Smartphones Into an Alternative Internet: FireChat can link Android and Apple phones into a long-range communications network even when the cell network is down. “An upgrade to FireChat released today could make the app much more useful and powerful. It makes it possible to communicate with other FireChat users beyond the roughly 70 meters that your device can reach with Wi-Fi. Private and public messages can now travel longer distances by hopping between FireChat users until they get to the intended recipient—an approach known as mesh networking. Messages are encrypted as they travel through intermediate devices.” Even more useful would be if it could connect to other phones via direct radio connections at cellular frequencies. That’s much more challenging, though, and — I’m not sure — might require hardware changes, too, as I think all the cellular protocols divide base-to-mobile and mobile-to-base frequencies, so that I assume cellphones can only transmit on the latter.

HUMA ABEDIN’S “SPECIAL EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP”: The Washington Post reports that longtime Clinton confidant and aide, Huma Abedin (also wife of disgraced Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner) was overpaid by the State Department and may have violated the State Department’s conflict-of-interest rules due to her “special employment relationship” with the Clintons:

In letters sent Thursday to AbedinKerry and the Office of Inspector General, [Senator Chuck] Grassley wrote that staff of the inspector general had found “at least a reasonable suspicion of a violation” of the law concerning the “theft of public money through time and attendance fraud” as well as “conflicts of interest connected to her overlapping employment.”

Grassley also raised the possibility that efforts to investigate Abedin’s actions were thwarted because many of her exchanges were sent through Clinton’s private e-mail server. . . .

Since 2013, Grassley has been inquiring about Abedin’s “special government employee” status, which during her final six months at the State Department allowed her to take outside employment with the Clinton Foundation and Teneo, a firm led by longtime Bill Clinton aide Douglas Band.

 Paul Mirengoff over at PowerLine notes:

By allowing it, Clinton wasn’t just helping a friend boost her income. She was increasing the potential leverage of the Clinton machine, and in ways that could, and maybe did, benefit the Clinton Foundation.

The Abedin scandal is thus related to the “Clinton cash” scandal.

It is also related to Hillary’s email scandal. According to Grassley, the State Department investigators have “reason to believe that email evidence relevant to [its] inquiry was contained in emails sent and received from her account on Secretary Clinton’s non-government server, making them unavailable to [the investigators’ office] through its normal statutory right of access to records.”

It’s all just another thread in Clinton’s intertwined, rotten ball of corruption. The fact that her closest aide-de-camp has received special favors and status is par for the course.

JOURNEYING DOWN THE RPG RR: In his latest column on RPGs at the PJM Lifestyle section, Moe Lane explores what happens when the dungeon master sends his players down the dreaded Roleplaying Railroad.

AGING, AND THE BREAKDOWN OF THE ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM: “Scientists at the Leibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie in Berlin have now taken one step closer to providing an answer. They have conducted a study in which, for the first time, they have shown that a certain area of the cell, the so-called endoplasmic reticulum, loses its oxidative power in advanced age. If this elixir of life is lost, many proteins can no longer mature properly. At the same time, oxidative damage accumulates in another area of the cell, the cytosol. This interplay was previously unknown and now opens up a new understanding of aging, but also of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.” Understanding is good. Fixing is better.


“SOCIALISM ALWAYS STARTS WITH THE SAME PROMISES AND END WITH THE SAME DISASTERS,” Glenn tweeted earlier today, linking to a Bloomberg report that “Venezuelan soldiers seized a food distribution center rented by companies including Nestle SA, PepsiCo. Inc and Empresas Polar SA in Caracas as the government looks to boost support ahead of elections.”

Nestlé, eh? That business name rings a bell; it’s what launched Jonah Goldberg to write Liberal Fascism, which focused several chapters on a century’s worth of corporatism, the intertwining of government and corporations, much beloved by the namesake publisher of Bloomberg (and in an even more radical form by Bernie Sanders), which the post-Weimar government of Germany dubbed the Gleichschaltung. As Jonah told Kathryn Jean Lopez in 2009, at the apogee of the left’s Hopenchange Obamamania:

You know, when I first started pondering the book, I thought it might be all about economics. About ten years ago I went on a junket to Switzerland and attended a talk with the CEO of Nestlé. Listening to him, it became very clear to me that he had little to no interest in free markets or capitalism properly understood. He saw his corporation as a “partner” with governments, NGOs, the U.N., and other massive multinationals. The profit motive was good for efficiency and rewarding talent, but beyond that, he wanted order and predictability and as much planning as he could get. I think that mindset informs the entire class of transnational progressives, the shock troops of what H. G. Wells hoped would lead to his liberal-fascist “world brain.”

If you look at how most liberals think about economics, they want big corporations and big government working in tandem with labor, universities (think industrial policy), and progressive organizations to come up with “inclusive” policies set at the national or international level. That’s not necessarily socialism — it’s corporatism. When you listen to how Obama is making economic policy with “everyone at the table,” he’s describing corporatism, the economic philosophy of fascism. Government is the senior partner, but all of the other institutions are on board — so long as they agree with the government’s agenda. The people left out of this coordinated effort — the Nazis called it the Gleichschaltung — are the small businessmen, the entrepreneurs, the ideological, social, or economic mavericks who don’t want to play along. When you listen to Obama demonize Chrysler’s bondholders simply because they want their contracts enforced and the rule of law sustained, you get a sense of what I’m talking about.

I don’t think Obama wants a brutal tyranny any more than Hillary Clinton does (which is to say I don’t think he wants anything of the sort). But I do think they honestly believe that progress is best served if everyone falls in line with a national agenda, a unifying purpose, a “village” mentality expanded to include all of society. That sentiment drips from almost every liberal exhortation about everything from global warming to national service. But to point it out earns you the label of crank. As I said a minute ago about that “We’re All Fascists Now” chapter, I think people fail to understand that tyrannies — including soft, Huxleyan tyrannies — aren’t born from criminal conspiracies by evil men; they’re born by progressive groupthink.

And they all end the same way, as Glenn noted today. In the meantime though, if anybody can up the chocolate ration, I’m sure the post-Chavez government, having seized one of Nestlé’s assets, can.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: 7 Tips To Help You Get Into Weightlifting.

Here’s the only tip you really need: Buy Mark Rippetoe’s book.

HUGO WARS: Larry Correia: Fisking the Guardian’s Latest Sad Puppy Article of the Week. “And when I say Article of the Week, I’m not really exaggerating. Apparently the Guardian is all worked up about Sad Puppies. A cursory Google search shows this is what the Guardian has run recently, and let me save you some time, it appears all of them run with the same racist/sexist/homophobic angry white cismale backlash narrative that’s been easily debunked since Entertainment Weekly beclowned themselves on day one. . . . Three years ago I set out to demonstrate that there was a left wing bias in publishing. Immediately the Guardian did their best to prove me right. Not once in three years have they spoken to anybody on my side.”

But here’s his best line: “The Guardian hasn’t been this upset since Hugo Chavez died.”

WELL, TO BE FAIR, IT’S NOT THE ONLY ONE: The College that Hates “Americans.”

The administrator who added a confusing, tin-eared Bias-Free Language Guide—a 4,500-word assault on the English language—to the University of New Hampshire’s website as a resource for students and faculty must have been crazy. . . .

The Bias-Free Language Guide is a massive wall of text that explains why common word choices, phrases, and modifiers are unwelcome in polite discourse. Its purpose is to assist in the creation of “an inclusive learning community” by raising awareness of trivial slights in everyday language that, “for some, feels like a form of violence.”

Its authors, UNH Coordinator of Community Equity and Diversity Sylvia Foster among them, intended the guide as tool for molding a more feelings-conscious campus. But if their advice had ever been followed by a significant number of students and faculty members, everyone would have soon found themselves walking on eggshells 100 percent of the time.

Some examples are in order.

Instead of referring to the elderly as senior citizens (or even as the elderly), members of the UNH community are encouraged to embrace the most up-to-date politically-correct terminology: “people of advanced age” in this case, according to the guide. This is supposed to be somehow less derogatory than “senior citizen”, which of course was once the politically correct of saying “old”.

A poor person is not a poor person; he or she (or ze! At least according to the section on gender-queer pronouns) is a “person living at or below the poverty line.” Ok, fine. But by the same token, one should say that the rich are “persons of material wealth,” since persons living at or below the poverty line may be rich in character, or spirit, or any number of other things.

Fat people are not fat, overweight, or obese; they are “people of size,” a decidedly abstract description. Are all of us not people of size, in some sense?

Midgets are “someone(s) of short stature.” Illegal aliens are “persons seeking asylum.” (Then again, what if they’re not seeking asylum?) A blind person is a “person who is blind.” . . .

It’s good that these public universities aren’t explicitly requiring the use of inoffensive language, because that would be both illegal and impossible. It would violate the First Amendment rights of students and faculty while failing to protect everyone’s delicate ears from words that hurt them. Everything is offensive to someone, and some things that are offensive to some people aren’t offensive to others. One man’s “fat” is another man’s “person of size.” The great war on hurt-feelings at American university campuses is unwinnable, and the causalities are significant.

Yeah, well, liberals/progressives aren’t very fond of the First Amendment anymore. I’m confident they would ban “offensive” speech if they could get away with it. Oh, wait–maybe I shouldn’t call them liberals/progressives. Probably the more politically correct term–as a literal matter– is totalitarians. There, that’s better.

IN THE MAIL: The Magic of Attracting Money.

Plus, today only at Amazon: 45% Off Chamberlain Ultra Quiet Garage Door Opener, $134.99 (46% off). The timer feature that closes the door when you forget sounds useful.

And, also today only: Up to 50% Off Top-Rated Strategy Board Games.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 814.


Unlike Muslims, who can conform and wait out ISIS until the day it is defeated, Christians, along with “polytheist” Yizidis, can don veils and give up cigarettes and alcohol, but, as non-Muslims, their very presence is an intolerable offense to the year-old “caliphate.” These minority religious groups in Iraq and Syria, lacking protecting armies or militias of their own, find themselves in unique peril. During his Bolivian trip this month, Pope Francis called it “genocide.”

ISIS demands nothing less than the conversion of all Christians and Yizidis to Islam under penalty of death for men and enslavement for women and children. (Another frequently cited option for Christian “People of the Book”, the payment of jizya, is a ruse, for the tax is raised until it becomes unpayable and property and lives are taken after all. Hence, last summer, Mosul’s bishops chose exile for their communities, rather than attend an ISIS meeting to learn of its jizya terms.)

The beheadings, crucifixions, and other means ISIS uses to slaughter unarmed Christian and Yizidi men—from priests and bishops to destitute migrant workers—have been proudly displayed by the ultra violent group on social media and have drawn condemnations worldwide. But the Islamic State’s “revival” of the institution of chattel slavery—sex slavery of Christian and Yizidi women and girls no less—has faded from public attention.

Hey, some dentist shot a lion.

WHEN GRAY LADIES COLLIDE: “Clinton campaign complains of ‘egregious’ New York Times reporting errors.”


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NEW YORK POST: Obama’s Pathetic Attempt to Spin the IRS Scandal: “No sooner did President Obama claim last week the IRS scandal was just a mirage than new evidence emerged to show it was anything but. . . . Of course, the biggest scandal of all is that Team Obama has managed to stonewall and leave the public hanging. And that no one has been held accountable.”

A BIT OF BACKGROUND ON THE JUDGE WHO BLOCKED RELEASE OF ABORTION STING VIDEO: “Judge William H. Orrick, III, granted the injunction just hours after the order was requested by the National Abortion Federation. Orrick was nominated to his position by hardline abortion supporter President Barack Obama. He was also a major donor to and bundler for President Obama’s presidential campaign. He raised at least $200,000 for Obama and donated $30,800 to committees supporting him, according to Public Citizen.”

Remember, when you elect a President, you’re also electing a whole lot of other people.


GUILT AS POWER: “One of the most common reactions to the Planned Parenthood body parts scandal is along the lines of ‘I can’t bear to watch the videos of those horrible people laughing and talking about the sale of babies. It’s just too upsetting to see,’” Richard Fernandez writes at the Belmont Club. “This exactly captures the reason why the videos are so dangerous: they have forced society at large to watch what many must have always suspected was true, but hoped never to confront directly:”

Freud, like many 19th century men were so steeped in custom they could never conceive of the possibility that “educated men and brain-workers” would free themselves, not only of God, but all fixed taboos — of everything. He himself never imagined the Nazis were possible. At the end of his life, sick and old in Vienna — a Vienna he never thought could come to pass —  he was saved, as David Cohen writes, not by the harsh logic of supermen, but by bourgeois sentimentality: the kindness of friends, the intervention of admirers and the secret intervention of a Nazi admirer.

The trouble with 19th century atheism is that it had not completely freed itself from the sentiments of Christianity: in many subtle ways they assumed that man after God would still have limits. They failed to understand until the middle 20th century that man’s need for power did not necessarily contain limits. They  learned, too late, that like the Bill of Rights understands, it is in the “won’ts” on men’s actions that earthly freedom lives.

The people who in the videos merrily describe the prices they can obtain for this or that body part may one day be old and as helpless as the infants they have dismembered.  Then they will be in the care of men like themselves.  And on that far day these young — then old —  may want water. On what grounds will they demand it? On what basis will they ask for care, love or compassion?

Read the whole thing.

BLUE MODEL MELTDOWN: Here Comes Puerto Rico’s Default.

The Puerto Rico meltdown is going to be brutal: Many of the bonds are held by Puerto Rican retirees, either directly or as part of pension fund portfolios. Moreover, the island is a typical example of blue model governance, with a bloated state that doesn’t perform effectively, public sector unions out of control, and lots of poor people who depend on a government that doesn’t serve them very well. And on top of all this, there are no bankruptcy provisions that would enable an orderly restructuring.

Ultimately, bankrupt blue cities and states and their pension funds will troop to Washington with their hands out, begging for bailouts. Already we’ve seen a leading New Jersey state Democrat call for a $1 trillion federal bailout fund for pensions. The political pressures around the issue will be intense. Some (mostly Republicans) won’t want to give a single dime to the improvident fools and crooks who created this mess. Others (mostly Democrats) will insist on no-fault bailouts, arguing that social justice demands nothing less than an infinite willingness to pour money down ratholes, so long as those ratholes are Democrat-run.

What the country needs is something in between: relief for reform. Cities, counties, and states (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, commonwealths) who can’t manage their debts anymore can qualify for limited help—but only if they undergo serious, life-changing reform. That may well mean the end of public unions, drastic changes in governance, haircuts all around, tax reforms, and other substantive changes. Forward-looking people in Congress should be thinking now about the legislation that would be needed to set up a framework of some kind to handle these cases. The legal issues are complex; courts have been upholding, for example, the inviolability of employee pensions under state constitutional provisions. It’s hard to see how federal bailouts would let those pensions go unchallenged.

But will anyone act before it’s a disaster?


The term ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ captures an important truth: an effective way to leverage power is by assuming the status of a victim. A culture of victimhood is inherent to political correctness. It is through this victimhood, ultimately, that the tribal hatred of its advocates are nourished, and the dignity of its opponents are undermined.

Read the whole thing.

SHATTERED FANTASY: Sorry Leftist Americans, Your Swedish Utopia Does Not Exist: It’s time to kill the myth about the superiority of the Nordic welfare state model.

As a Swede living in the U.S., one of the most common reactions when I tell people where I am from is the question of why I would ever leave Sweden in the first place. Many Americans seem to truly believe that life in the Scandinavian countries is superior to that in virtually all other places on earth, and that the Nordic welfare state model is the magical formula that explains it all. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont recently echoed these beliefs when he said that he wants America to be more like Scandinavia, where both incomes and equality are higher, the middle class stronger, both education and health care are publically funded, and even graduate school is free.

Sanders is not alone. The Scandinavian countries are regularly praised for their income equality, quality of life, gender equality, maternal care and many other traits, not just by leftist politicians and activists, but also by left-leaning economists like Paul Krugman. The Scandinavian model, they believe, is the ultimate proof that you can combine a high-growth economy with a generous welfare state.

The problem is that much of the praise is wrong. . . .

During the decades before, between 1870 and 1936, Sweden had enjoyed the highest economic growth in the entire industrialized world. Moreover, in the most intense period of “third-way” policies of market socialism, between the 1970s and 1990s, Sweden’s economic performance was exceptionally low. This period, however, was an exception: for most of its modern history, Sweden has been anything but a socialist mecca. The government has usually pursued free-market policies and free trade. If anything, high taxes and extensive social policies have hindered Scandinavian economic performance, which would most likely have been much higher without them.

Instead, Sanandaji shows, the root of Scandinavian success can largely be found in culture. These countries, and Sweden in particular, have historically had remarkably high levels of social trust, family values, a strong sense of work ethic, and social cohesion. The notion of the “Protestant work ethic” goes back far longer than the modern welfare state. Scholars like Max Weber, Sanandaji shows, long ago noted that the Protestant countries of northern Europe had an overall higher living standard and economic success than most. The often-celebrated equality of Scandinavian countries, too, began well before the welfare state was developed.

Again, these traditions and values by no means came with the welfare state. Sanandaji shows that these Scandinavian values follow people as they move abroad, even for generations: Americans of Scandinavian descent, whose ancestors left way before modern welfare states were established, tend to carry many of their norms with them. The median incomes of Americans with Scandinavian heritage is 20 percent higher than average income in the U.S. as a whole, and poverty rates in this group is roughly half of that of average Americans.

Yes, I believe that when Milton Friedman was told that poverty didn’t exist among Swedes, he responded that it was also unknown among Swedes in America.