August 4, 2015

IT DEPENDS, DO WE GET BOLOS OR DO WE GET TERMINATORS? Military Robots: Armed, but How Dangerous? Will artificial intelligence inevitably make warfare worse?

A FINE MESS: Driverless Cars Could Put City Hall Out Of Business. I’ve said for years that traffic fines were essentially a randomly-imposed tax, rather than anything having to do with safety. This kind of proves it. . . .

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Chris Christie: At 16 of 17 New Hampshire Town Halls, I’ve Been Asked About High Student Costs.

Free advice, Chris: Read this.

OBAMACARE PREMIUMS SOAR: In response, the Obama Administration once again sticks its fingers in its ears and pretends to hear no evil. As revealed in this New York Times piece, ”Obama Administration urges States to cut health insurers’ requests for big premium increases.

After finding that new customers were sicker than expected, some health plans have sought increases of 10 percent to 40 percent or more. . . .

Kevin J. Counihan, the chief executive of the federal insurance marketplace, is urging states to consider a range of factors before making their decisions.

“Recent claims data show healthier consumers,” Mr. Counihan said in a letter to state insurance commissioners. The federal tax penalty for going without insurance will increase in 2016, he said, and this “should motivate a new segment of uninsured who may not have a high need for health care to enroll for coverage.”

In addition, federal officials said, much of the pent-up demand for health care has been met because consumers who enrolled last year have received treatments they could not obtain when they were uninsured. . . .

But Scott Keefer, a vice president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, which requested rate increases averaging about 50 percent for 2016, said his company had not seen an improvement in the health status of new customers.

“Our claims experience has not slowed at all,” Mr. Keefer said. “The trend has gotten a little worse than we expected.” . . .

President Obama, on a recent trip to Tennessee, said the final rates for 2016 would “come in significantly lower than what’s being requested.”

Moreover, consumers can avoid large rate increases by switching to lower-cost health plans next year, administration officials said. In any event, they said, the federal government pays most of the premium for most people who buy insurance on the exchanges, so consumers will be largely shielded from higher premiums.

The politics of Obamacare work so well for the Democrats who supported it precisely because Obamacare beneficiaries are shielded from premium increases. They continue to get their “free stuff”–or heavily subsidized stuff–and any increases they experience are blamed on “greedy insurers.” I predict more and more insurers will become insolvent, and concomitantly fewer and fewer choices will become available on the exchanges. After another decade or so–if Congress can’t muster the political willpower to repeal–there will be calls for amendments that will further subsidize the few, but large, insurance companies that remain to serve this population, likely through the mechanism of taxpayer-funded reinsurance. They will be “too big to fail.”

If you like Obamacare’s vision of government-run “competition,” you’re really going to love the Clean Power Plan, which will do for the energy sector (beginning with coal-fired electricity) what Obamacare has done for the health care sector–i.e., slowly asphyxiate it, leaving only large, heavily-taxpayer subsidized “private” crony-companies.  Hold onto your wallets and start hoarding bright lightbulbs, because prices are going to go up dramatically, and choices will decline. 

IN THE MAIL: From Jay Nordlinger, Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators.

Plus, today only at Amazon: Chappie and the Blomkamp³ Limited Edition Collection.

And, also today only: 50% or More Off Back-to-School Style Essentials.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 817.

RUNNING OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY: Puerto Rico Has Defaulted.

It’s all over the wires: Puerto Rico has defaulted on its $58 million payment to creditors of its Public Finance Corporation, which was due by the end of day. San Juan’s treasury only managed to scrape together some $628,000 towards the total. The government had tried to argue that the PFC bonds were of a different category—and had a different legal status—than general obligation debt. Credit rating agencies rejected the argument. “Moody’s views this event as a default”, Moody’s analyst Emily Raimes said in a statement, according to Reuters. “This is a first in what we believe will be broad defaults on commonwealth debt.”

What now? A whole lot of mess, more than likely.

That’s what happens when you run out of other people’s money.

STANDING ATHWART HISTORY, ARMED WITH LAWSUITS: “Uber Battle in New York Shows the Problems and Promise of the Sharing Economy,” Rick Moran writes at the PJ Tatler, noting that the goal of the reactionary left is “Lawfare writ large. If you can’t beat ‘em, kill ‘em. The enemies of what some observers are calling ‘The Next Big Thing’ are looking to strangle this derivation of the sharing economy in its infancy.”

IT’S CALLED THE AUDACITY OF HOPE: Iran publishes book on how to outwit US and destroy Israel.

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ABOLISH GOVERNMENTAL IMMUNITY, MAKE COPS BUY INSURANCE: SWAT Team Liable for Wrong-House Flash-Bang Raid on Grandmother, Teen Girl; Can Be Sued For Their Actions. Judge Richard Posner compares police action to Keystone Kops. Except the Keystone Kops were funny.

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): GDP Numbers Keep Getting Worse. “In the 138 years from 1870 to 2008, the US economy expanded by about an average of 3% a year. After the revisions to GDP data from 2012-2014, we see that the U.S. economy since the financial crisis has been growing an average of 2.0% a year versus the earlier 2.3%. The difference between 3% and 2% may not sound like much, but think of it this way: At a 3% growth rate the economy doubles in about 24 years. At a 2% growth rate the economy doubles in about 36 years – 50% MORE time!”

Plus: “Today there are 136 people receiving some sort of government benefit for every 100 people employed in the private sector.”

HILLARY SCANDAL UPDATE: Judge Slams Hillary and Huma, Orders Answers.

ASHE SCHOW: Judge again dismisses lawsuit from man accused of sexual harrasment without evidence.

Judge Margaret Morrow, a U.S. district court judge, dismissed for the second time a lawsuit filed by Scott Hounsell, a former executive director of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County. This was Hounsell’s amended complaint filed earlier this year.

But in a move beneficial to Hounsell, Morrow did not dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, allowing the former Republican staffer to amend his complaint once again, in part thanks to reporting on the case by the Washington Examiner.

Hounsell’s trouble began in 2012, when he participated in a bus caravan from Sacramento to Santa Clarita while he was still working for California State Assemblyman Cameron Smyth. Along for the trip were students from a local charter school who were learning about politics. One of those students was “Jane Doe” (her name was changed since she has not been charged with a crime), who would later accuse Hounsell of inappropriate behavior.

Doe claimed she sat next to Hounsell for about two hours during the return bus trip. One of her teachers disputed this claim, saying Doe had been kept away from Hounsell because she had remarked earlier she thought he was “cute.” Hounsell says he spent the return trip sitting next to friends and watching a movie.

Facebook messages between Doe and, allegedly, Hounsell sent nearly a year after the bus trip were discovered on Doe’s computer at school when she left the social media website open. Screenshots of the messages were taken by other students (though they appear to be screenshots of a phone, not of a computer) and sent to school administrators.

When school officials questioned Doe about the messages, she said that Hounsell had tickled her ribs on the bus trip but that the messages didn’t start until sometime after the trip. When she was questioned by the police weeks later, she claimed that Hounsell had tickled her leg while talking to another person and that sexually explicit Facebook messages began while they were both on the bus.

Doe insisted to police that she never planned to follow through with anything said in the messages and that she and Hounsell had never made plans to do so. Doe gave police access to her Facebook account to search for the messages. They found none.

Despite this, and the district attorney declining to file charges, the Los Angeles City Attorney picked up the case almost immediately and charged Hounsell with two counts of trying to seduce a minor. Before Hounsell was even aware of the charges, he says he and his former employer were inundated with media calls. Hounsell turned himself in downtown as media vans swarmed his home. He spent seven hours in jail.

Democratic prosecutors target political enemies and call it “justice.”

24 HOURS LATER, here are the results of the InstaPundit readers poll:

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Overall, not much change from the first hour, despite a lot more votes. I’m not surprised that Scott Walker and Carly Fiorina are popular among InstaPundit readers, but I am surprised at the size of Walker’s margin.

OUR SOURCE WAS THE NEW YORK TIMES: Real Time magazine headline: “Charles Koch Says U.S. Can Bomb Its Way To $100k Salaries,” as spotted by Mary Katharine Ham at Hot Air:

You won’t be surprised to learn that the libertarian Koch said…exactly the opposite. What he was pointing out as a “monstrous measure” was the amount of spending, particularly government spending on among other things military endeavors, that goes into the GDP that might not be a great representation of the growth of our economy.

The body of the story makes clear what Koch was saying, but the headline is horrendous.

To their credit, MKH adds that Time has since toned down their headline, but I’m not sure why they would have complained if Charles Koch had said what their original version implied. As James Taranto noted at the Wall Street Journal in 2010, Paul Krugman of the New York Times was praising the “miracle of the 1940s” for saving the reputation of FDR’s New Deal. In response, Taranto wrote:

What Krugman calls “the miracle of the 1940s” is more commonly known as World War II, a ruinous conflict that cost some 60 million lives, including more than 400,000 American ones, and that entailed the near-extermination of Europe’s Jewish population.

World War II is sometimes called a “good war,” meaning that few dispute American intervention was necessary or that we fought on the right side. But this easy moral clarity is possible only because the Axis actions that started the war were unambiguously evil.

In April 2009 we noted that David Leonhardt, a Krugman colleague at the Times, had praised the economic policies of Germany’s National Socialist Party. Now Krugman calls World War II itself a “miracle.” The Old Gray Lady is in the grips of utter madness.

Far from the only ones — but then, it’s hard out here for a Democratic operative with a byline.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Study: Yes, Student Loans Are Making College More Expensive. “We find that institutions more exposed to changes in the subsidized federal loan program increased their tuition disproportionately around these policy changes, with a sizable pass-through effect on tuition of about 65 percent.”

Do tell.

THE HILL: Poll: Clinton’s favorability takes a major hit.

Hillary Clinton’s favorability is sinking further underwater, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Monday night.

The Democratic presidential candidate is viewed unfavorably by 48 percent of likely voters, compared with 37 percent who view her favorably.

Her ratings are down significantly from the last NBC/WSJ poll in June, when 44 percent viewed Clinton favorably versus 40 percent who viewed her unfavorably.

These numbers will certainly add to the consternation already permeating Democratic circles following a recent Quinnipiac University poll which showed Clinton’s favorability drowning in key swing states.

True: Bill suffered worse. But Hillary ain’t Bill.

CBS, NBC MINIMIZE COVERAGE OF NEW MEXICO CHURCH BOMBINGS: “One wonders how much air time the Big Three networks would set aside if the two bombings took place outside of mosques in New Mexico.”

THE MEDIA/GOVERNMENT CLASS IS AMAZINGLY INCESTUOUS: Sen. Chuck Schumer enlists famous cousin Amy to pitch gun control bill.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Reinforcing Failure. “Venezuela is a problem similar but more severe than the challenge Greece poses to the European Union. In both cases you have countries with large voter blocs of socialist believers. They are charming, sympathetic and economically hopeless. Nobody even pretends to believe that another bailout will help Greece. Realistically no amount of charity will sustainably help Venezuela either, if the 12th largest oil reserves on the planet could not. About all a handout will do is simultaneously reinforce failure and obscure its causes.”

PRIVILEGE NOT CHECKED: Chuck Todd Lectures Ben Carson Over ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement.

MARC THIESSEN: Hillary’s Sandy Berger Problem.

The Clinton e-mail scandal reached a new level of seriousness when the intelligence community inspector general found classified information from five intelligence agencies in e-mails housed on Clinton’s private server. It is against the law to remove classified information from government facilities and retain it after you have left office and have no official reason to possess it.

Just ask Sandy Berger. In 2003, Bill Clinton’s former national security adviser was caught removing five classified documents from a secure reading room at the National Archives, as he prepared to testify before the 9/11 commission.

A Justice Department investigation ensued and in 2005 Berger reached a plea agreement in which he was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material instead of a felony. He was sentenced to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service and was stripped of his security clearance for three years. Prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed on a $10,000 fine, but the judge raised it to $50,000. In 2007, in order to shut down a disbarment investigation by the District of Columbia bar, he relinquished his license to practice law.

That was for unlawfully removing and retaining just five classified documents.

Clinton has apparently been caught removing at least five e-mails containing what we now know to be classified information and retaining them on her personal server in her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., after she left office. And in the weeks ahead, that number will probably grow to the hundreds, if not thousands.

Berger got a good deal because he was a Clinton minion. But Hillary’s not a Clinton minion, she’s a Clinton.

14 NO TRUMP—GRADING THE CANDIDATES: Who won Monday’s rehearsal for Thursday’s first big GOP debate? Roger Simon casts his vote at his Diary of a Mad Voter site.

What’s your take? Let us know in the comments.

CHANGE: Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state. “The classic welfare state of the second half of the 20th century in these areas in particular brought forth arrangements that are unsustainable in their current form.”

August 3, 2015

THE WAPO ON CHARLES KOCH AND HIS PARTNERSHIP WITH THE UNITED NEGRO COLLEGE FUND:

Their relationship is viewed with deep skepticism among many liberal leaders, who accused the college fund president of betraying his principles last year when he accepted $25 million from Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees ended its scholarship program with the college fund after Lomax attended a Koch donor meeting. . . .

He and Lomax have found common ground over the issue of criminal justice reform, a cause that Koch Industries has taken up. And Koch expressed concern about the recent spate of high-profile incidents in which black men have died at the hands of police officers.

“To me, if someone is committing a crime, to deal with it needs to use the minimum force necessary to prevent that crime,” Koch said, alluding to the death last year of Eric Garner during a confrontation with police in Staten Island. “There has got to be a way to stop that. I mean, I’d let the guy go. No big deal. He’s not really hurting — maybe he’s avoiding taxes or something, but to end up in his death is outrageous.”

The conservative benefactor’s friendship with Lomax began after the former president of Dillard University in New Orleans took the helm of the college fund in 2004. Georgia-Pacific was a longtime supporter of the group, and when Koch Industries bought the paper company the following year, Lomax saw an opportunity.

When the UNCF launched a major fundraising drive several years ago, one of his first stops was Koch Industries.

As part of a 2014 grant that Koch gave to the college fund, $18.5 million went to create a Koch Scholars program, which provides scholarships based on financial need to students interested in economics and entrepreneurship.

Read the whole thing.

JOURNALISM: Time Smears Charles Koch in Headline; Changes Headline, Still Misses His Point.

THAT TALKING POINTS MEMO IS “DISGUSTED” IS JUST A BONUS: Ted Cruz is making bacon with a machine gun.

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YEAH, THERE ARE PROBLEMS IN THE COMMENT THREADS. We’ve got a solution coming.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Time For Conservatives To Get Medieval On The Liberal Establishment.

WAR ON WOMEN: Reuters: Special Report: State Department watered down human trafficking report.

TAMARA TABO: 3 Lies That Linger Even After Rolling Stone’s UVA Rape Story Was Debunked.

DONALD TRUMP: Harvard students ‘fraudsters and liars.’

I’M TAKING CREDIT FOR THIS: Obama Fires AFFH Warning Shot Over Hillary’s House. “Hillary Clinton’s suburban hometown of Chappaqua, New York has just become ground zero in the Obama administration’s efforts to nullify local control over America’s housing. Obama’s Justice Department has fired a powerful warning shot at Westchester County, New York, where the administration is conducting a dry run of its new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation.”

Dance, Obama, dance.

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LOUISE MENSCH: How The BBC Smeared Tim Hunt.

LOVING ANIMALS, LOVING PEOPLE: “Narcissism or the golden rule; Cecil the lion or America’s murdered babies; to dance round the golden calf of our own egos or to worship in the temple of true love,” Andrew Klavan writes. “In the media these last couple of weeks, we’ve seen what choice the powers-that-be would have us make. Let’s make another.”

Read the whole thing.

EVERYTHING THAT’S WRONG WITH AMERICA IN ONE PHRASE: “While New York City riders have increasingly more choices in how to get from here to there with the rise of e-hailing apps — and lawmakers grapple with how to regulate the booming industry — the drivers who keep cars moving are stuck in the middle.”

As Michael Walsh writes “regulate” is the AP’s dog whistle for “how to put Uber out of business or, at the very least, fork over large sums of money to the city’s graft merchants in exchange for being allowed to operate a private business within the borders of the United States of America.”

RELATED: Tim Cavanaugh at City Journal on “California’s Uber Hunt:” “Uber’s very existence is an advertisement for the free market. It’s an obviously less-regulated initiative that has produced measurable, positive outcomes across a wide spectrum. No wonder people hate it so much.”

COLLEGE: AN OASIS OF TOTALITARIANISM IN A DESERT OF FREEDOM: Christina Hoff Sommers explains “How to survive the wacky gender politics on campus,” a survival guide for young people of all ideologies in a new five-minute long “Factual Feminist” video.

For a more detailed explanation of the campus reality lacuna and its origins, don’t miss Sommers’ new hour-long video interview with Bill Kristol on “how feminism went awry,” which concludes with an easy-to-follow introduction to the labyrinthine battles of GamerGate.

(Headline via Iowahawk.)

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Woman allegedly lures 11-year-old boy on Xbox.

CECIL VERSUS CECILE: HUMANENESS, BUT NOT FOR THE HUMAN: Or as G.K. Chesterton warned in 1920,  “Wherever there is Animal Worship there is Human Sacrifice. That is, both symbolically and literally, a real truth of historical experience.”

THE NATION IS RUN BY KNAVES AND FOOLS: Video: Navy won’t rule out charges against Chattanooga defender.

RUNNING OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY: Moody’s: Puerto Rico in default after measly payment.

PHOTO ESSAY: THE BLEAK AND BLAND STORE FRONTS THAT CAPTURE THE GRIM REALITY OF LIFE BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN IN THE 1980s. In the 1980s, as Reason noted, Democrat house stenographer Arthur Schlesinger returned from a trip to Moscow in promptly went full Duranty:

“I found more goods in the shops, more food in the markets, more cars on the street — more of almost everything,” he said, adding his contempt for “those in the U.S. who think the Soviet Union is on the verge of economic and social collapse, ready with one small push to go over the brink.” (By the way, Schlesinger, who has spent his life in praise of JFK’s adventures in Vietnam and Cuba but foamed at the mouth over every other American military action of the Cold War, proves Isaiah Berlin wrong: In addition to foxes and hedgehogs, there are also chameleons.)

Well, that’s one way to describe him. (Needless to say, never go full Duranty.)

FROM TIMOTHY SANDEFUR, more on that White House occupational licensing report, with some suggestions on concrete steps to take.

See also my USA Today column on the topic.

VIDEO: ANDREW KLAVAN AND BILL WHITTLE ASK, ARE THERE TOO MANY REPUBLICANS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT?

And who is being squeezed out by Trump sucking the oxygen out of the room?

SO IF WE’RE LIVING IN A SIMULATION, HOW DO I GET MY HANDS ON THE CHEAT CODES? Is Our Universe a Fake? “If you take seriously the theory of all possible universes, including all possible variations, at least some of them must have intelligent civilizations with enough computing power to simulate entire fake worlds. Simulated universes are much cheaper to make than the real thing, and so the number of fake universes would proliferate and vastly outnumber the real ones. And assuming we’re just typical observers, then we’re overwhelmingly likely to find ourselves in a fake universe, not a real one.”

Actually, if you live in a simulation, then there might genuinely be bugs, cheat codes, or Easter eggs to exploit. That might even provide a “scientific” foundation for things that look an awful lot like magic or religion.

UPDATE: Jim Bennett emails:

The real universe has all been converted to Type III Kardashev civilizations. We are in a sim, and the night sky is old wallpaper from before the stars were tamed. They don’t want to confuse us.

No matter how many resources they have, there will still be competition for them and a need to se them efficiently. Most of the people you see around you are wallpaper, too. They only have enough of a virtual computational capability to walk around. If you stop and ask a random stranger a difficult question, you notice they will look blank and pause a bit before answering? They are waiting to have the full personality kit downloaded to them.

Frighteningly plausible.

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I LIKE THIS APPROACH: PM Harper Appoints Conservative Blogging Law Professor to Canadian Supreme Court.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Clinton aide may have ‘delivered favors’ for friends, IG finds. “An inspector general probe suggested Huma Abedin leveraged her State Department job to benefit her two other employers at the time: the Clinton Foundation and a consulting firm called Teneo Strategies. Teneo Strategies was founded by a longtime aide to Bill Clinton, Douglas Band, and boasted the former president as a paid board member when it first launched in 2011.”

3 THINGS I LEARNED FROM THE NEW YORKER ABOUT FREE SPEECH: In an article published in the latest issue of The New Yorker, “The Hell You Say,” I learned:

1) “For many modern free-speech advocates, the First Amendment is irrelevant.” That’s news to me! The First Amendment sure seemed to help in this case settled less than two weeks ago for nearly a million dollars that the author didn’t seem to know about.

2) “Speech nuts, like gun nuts, have amassed plenty of arguments”—which I guess means we “speech nuts” are wrong? Because, what, we have a lot of arguments for free speech? How does that work, again? Interesting thinking from a journalist who relies on free speech for his living.

3) Since the ’90s, “restrictive campus speech codes have been widely repealed.” Wow, that’s an interesting and totally false claim. I guess the author missed the ten lawsuits brought by my organization in just the last year and half? Or that 55% of universities maintain wildly unconstitutional codes? Did he miss that Cal Poly Pomona settled with an animal rights activist less than two weeks ago after not only trying to restrict him to a tiny free speech zone, but also making him wear a speech badge even within that free speech quarantine?

Do the writers at The New Yorker not have access to Google?

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: In Pregnancy Announcement, Zuckerberg Opens Up About Couple’s Past Miscarriages.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: “If the Norwegian Nobel Committee gives John Kerry the peace prize for the Iran deal, and Iran goes nuclear, will he throw away his Nobel medal?”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: The Roll Model: A Step-by-Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility, and Live Better in Your Body. I foam-roll regularly, and it does help.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Gene Hackers Resurrect Ancient Virus, Create Powerful Gene Therapy Vector.

RUGS VERSUS PLUGS: Dear Democrats: If We Get Trump, You Get Biden.

OK, so if it’s not a rug, what is the story with Trump’s hair?

“WHEN YOU’VE LOST NORMAN LEAR, IS THERE ANYTHING LEFT TO SAY?” Lear was America’s premier SJW in the first half of the 1970s, in that far more than any other producer at CBS during that period, his comedies pushed forced leftwing agitprop over laughs. As a result, of all of the sitcoms to air on CBS in the early 1970s after the “great rural purge,” his series stand up today the least. In contrast, M*A*S*H, Mary Tyler Moore and (arguably) Bob Newhart all leaned to varying degrees to the left, but all (including M*A*S*H during the earlier funnier days when Larry Gelbart was its showrunner) emphasized comedy first, before any social messages. Today, as with fellow leftist Jonathan Chait’s blue on blue cri de coeur earlier this year, and Jerry Seinfeld’s similar rebuttal, Lear is simply angry that the SJWs have begun pounding on his doors, rather than, like Lear in the 1970s, exclusively aiming their attacks on the right.

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.

SO AFTER ABOUT 4 HOURS, SCOTT WALKER IS FARTHER AHEAD IN THE INSTAPUNDIT READERS’ POLL THAN I WOULD HAVE EXPECTED. And this lead has been consistent from the very beginning.

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

Plus, today only at Amazon: Up to 60% Off Select Computer Components and Accessories.

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.

YES, WE’LL BE HIRING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE COLLEGE OF LAW THIS FALL: Here’s the info.

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?

 
pollcode.com free polls

OBAMA CALLS OUT HIS LEFT-WING TROOPS ON BEHALF OF THE IRAN DEAL, Ron Radosh writes:

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.”

webblcdrwhite

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.™

GUN USED IN GARLAND, TX, TERROR ATTACK MAY BE LINKED TO FAST AND FURIOUS.

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.

WAS AMERICA MORE DIVERSE IN THE 1950s?

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.

AT AMAZON, deals galore in Training & Fitness.

And shop the Amazon Emergency Prep Store. Plus, Emergency & Long-Term Storage Food Deals. When bad things happen, it’s good to have food.

Plus, Generators and Portable Power for Storm Season. Though the Insta-Wife was a generator-skeptic when we installed ours, a couple of outages have turned her into a believer.

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.